National Harbor: Family Fun

Back in November, I shared that Travis and I spent a date weekend at the National Harbor. We had such a wonderful time that we decided to return with Jack once everyone was decorated for Christmas. I booked the same hotel (Hyatt Place National Harbor) and once again we ended up with a beautiful room overlooking the water.

We booked the same kind of room too – a king bed with a pull-out couch, so we had ample space for the three of us. On Saturday, we went to the Gumdrop Tavern, which was a fun holiday themed pop-up. We each got a delicious hot cocoa topped with marshmallows and sprinkles. We also got some snacks to take back to the room (totally don’t do this, it was CRAZY expensive for a couple bags of popcorn and cookies). The cocoa was great though!

Anyways, back to the room we went with our snacks and watched Christmas movies on TV. Then, at 5:30pm and had THE BEST view of the evening fireworks:

I mean… holy moly! I couldn’t have asked for a better or more comfortable seat to watch that show!

For dinner, we walked over to the Crab Cake Café for dinner. The food was good, but for the price of it I thought the ambiance was pretty terrible. It felt like a fast-food kind of place with sticky tables… but with $20 crab cakes. We grabbed some ice cream next door at Ben & Jerrys and then took it back to the room to enjoy in our pajamas while watching more Christmas movies.

On Sunday, we knew that breakfast at the hotel was going to be ‘meh’ at most, so I had made reservations for us to have brunch at Succotash. Our last brunch at Succotash in November had us basically swooning, so it was a surprise that our family meal was EVEN BETTER. We decided to do a big smorgasbord shared meal between the three of us and ordered: deviled eggs with bacon jam, pecan sticky buns, chicken & waffles, French toast, and two sides of bacon. And we destroyed it all. The three of us basically had to be rolled out of the restaurant.

From there, we decided to check out the Capital Wheel Ferris wheel. The wheel takes you 180 feet up and we could see Maryland, DC and Virginia from our gondola. It was closed in and temperature-controlled, so we didn’t freeze.

I’m so glad we had our little family overnight getaway back at the National Harbor. The decorations were beautiful, the room was comfortable, the fireworks were spectacular and the Succotash brunch was divine! Even just one night away is such a nice little refresh before we jump back into the craziness of the holidays.

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Quick & Easy Stocking Stuffer Ideas

Rather than doing a gift guide, I decided it would be more fun to collect some crowd-pleasing stocking stuffer ideas! So for your easy shopping enjoyment, here are 5 ideas for stockings, all under $16 and easily available on Amazon.

Idea #1: Sheepskin insoles, $12.99 https://amzn.to/3Euj55q

Source: Amazon.com

I’ve bought these insoles a few times over the years and like to keep an extra pair in my shoe stuff box for ‘just in case’ needs. They are basically like the inside of an Ugg boot or slipper and you can put them in ANYTHING. I have a pair in my slippers and I also have a pair in some thrifted Frye boots that are a half size too big. They are fluffy and warm and fabulous!

Idea #2: 12-pack Squishy set, $8.99 https://amzn.to/3y1CA2I

Source: Amazon.com

This is going in Jack’s stocking this year. The kids at his elementary school are obsessed with squishies and this pack of 12 was relatively inexpensive for $9. Believe me, there are TONS of squishy options out there and they get kind of pricey for a piece of foamy plastic…

Idea #3: Makeup Eraser, $15.98 https://amzn.to/3ydtKzn

Source: Amazon.com

I picked up an Original Makeup Eraser set at Costco over the summer and I’m obsessed. This has taken the place of any of my disposable eye makeup wipes. If you’re not familiar with it, you just wet it with warm water and the magical little fuzz removes every trace of your makeup with just a wipe or two across your face. It’s gentle and reusable and a fantastic stocking gift!

Idea #4: Brain Teaser Puzzles, $14.99 https://amzn.to/3DrbQdb

Source: Amazon.com

Jack recently got this set and the whole family has been enjoying it. So far, I’ve mastered the star metal cage puzzle like a champ, which makes you feel quite smart once you figure out the trick to it. The wooden one is a bit more difficult, so we are working on it. This would be a great addition to anyone’s stocking – kid or adult. {Sad update: the star metal cage puzzle disappeared out of Jack’s locker at school and he’s heartbroken! Santa might need to re-buy this one and save the day!}

Idea #5: Candy Cane Peeps, $8.95 for a 10 count, pack of 3 https://amzn.to/3lFbnOs

Source: Amazon.com

Don’t forget the Christmas peeps! The listing shows that you can use them in hot chocolate, which sounds amazing. However, mine always just go directly into my mouth.

Happy Holidays!

Disclaimer: This post contains a Amazon affiliate links. This means that clicking on a link may help me earn a small commission at no cost to you.

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Jack Book Recommendations: The Diary of an Awesome Friendly Kid Series

Source: Amazon.com

Many people have heard of the Jeff Kinney book series, Diary of a Wimpy Kid. It’s super popular with 16 books (so far) and centers around a middle schooler named Greg Heffley. It is written from the perspective of Greg writing in his diary and we’ve read a few of the books here and there (they are always available at the thrift store).

Well, Greg’s best friend got in on the action with his series: The Diary of an Awesome Friendly Kid and we are HUGE fans!

Book #1: Diary of an Awesome Friendly Kid: Rowley Jefferson’s Journal by Jeff Kinney

Find it here: https://amzn.to/2YpBD7i

  • Recommended for ages 9 – 12
  • Grade level: 3 – 7
  • Lexile measure: 1020L

We started with this book and JACK LOVED IT! Every night before bed we read a chapter or two. Jack and I alternate pages reading out loud, which is great for keeping him engaged and on track with his reading practice. I actually MUCH prefer the Rowley books to the Diary of a Wimpy Kid books… because Rowley is really innocent and nice. In fact, in many of his anecdotes about his friendship with Greg, Jack and I discuss how Greg isn’t actually a very good friend to Rowley. This makes for a great jumping off conversation about how you should treat others and what to do if someone isn’t treating you nicely.

I would HIGHLY recommend this book for grade levels 3 and 4. This would actually be a great stocking stuffer or gift for the kiddo in your life too!

Book #3: Rowley Jefferson’s Awesome Friendly Spooky Stories

Find it here: https://amzn.to/3wkdpYp

  • Recommended for ages 9 – 12
  • Grade level: 3 – 7
  • Lexile measure: 1020L

You may have noticed, I skipped from book 1 to book 3. That’s because the third book in the series is spooky stories told by Rowley… which I thought would be fun for us to read around Halloween. I think Jack liked this book even more than the last and laughed out loud at some of the sillier bits. This totally is not stuck to spooky-season either and would be appropriate all year long. The best part is that the stories are NOT actually spooky at all for a 4th grader.

Book #2: Rowley Jefferson’s Awesome Friendly Adventure

Find it here: https://amzn.to/2ZXhtlU

  • Recommended for ages 9 – 12
  • Grade level: 3 – 7
  • Lexile measure: 1020L

Jack has been begging for me to buy this book and I just hit ‘order’ over on Amazon. He can’t wait to read the next Rowley adventure and I just love having a kid who wants to read!

You can purchase the all three books for a total of $22 (based on today’s pricing on Amazon) and we have really been loving this series. I’m crossing my fingers that more get published in the future!

Disclaimer: This post contains Amazon affiliate links. This means that clicking on a link may help me earn a small commission at no cost to you.

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