My Country Tis of Thee

This weekend I visited our great nation’s capital. I am embarrassed to say that this was only the second time I have been to Washington D.C. Either way, it was an incredible weekend and I ready to move there – that is unless the next election doesn’t go my way…

One of my favorite people in the whole word is moving to Washington D.C. next weekend. I am so excited to have my friend (who will remain nameless because she is paranoid about internet exposure) closer to New York and foresee many more girls weekends in our future.

From 2002 – 2005, we spent this weekend every year swimming our hearts our at the Ivy league Championships. While we weren’t roommates in college, we always roomed together during that swim meet. It was a funny coincidence that we got to, again, spend this weekend in a hotel, hanging out. And this time, I think we were both excited to have the focus be on something other than swimming, shaving, swimming, sleeping, swimming and eating Wheaties. Instead we walked around the city, looked at apartments, checked our neighborhoods and took in some of our country’s great history.

The absolute highlight part of the weekend was when, as we passed by the White House on Friday night, I saw the silhouette of a dark and hansom character taking a late evening stroll in the yard…

No, not President Obama… even better….

BO OBAMA!

How freaking cute? I think if Bo were to meet my niece Bexley – there might be our own Royal wedding. Take that Will and Kate.

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Oh and did I mention that Abby came into the city for Sunday brunch? Yah, I didn’t think one weekend could pack so much fun either!!!!!

Englehardt version 2.0

How amazing is my litter sister-in-law???

Halloween Cake and Cupcakes!
Cupcakes for a Baby Shower - almost makes me want to get pregnant!
 
Now, can someone tell my why Matt didn’t get any of these skills? I guess second borns are just a lot more advanced than first borns!
 
 

Chalk It Up

In the house where I grew up, we had an unfinished basement that Abby and I turned into our play “zone.” We would roller skate around on the cement floors, do karaoke performances on the “stage” for our parents and jump on the homemade trampoline that we created (two old couches pushed together). However, one of my favorite things was that our parents let us write on the walls. I am not exactly sure that they approved of this idea before it actually happened, but they didn’t freak out when it did.

Because the basement wasn’t finished, our walls were a cool grey cement that was a perfect canvass for chalk. We practiced out signature, drew smily faces and supported our swim team with things like “GO SUNFISH!” scribbles around the room. When friends came over to play, they were immediately intrigued by this “wall art” that we were allowed to do.

When Abby and I were in high school, our parents decided to “finish” the basement. Walls went up, carpet went down and new furniture came in. We put a tv in the basement and a dart board. We went from having our very own roller skating rink, to having a youth center. It was the setting for many swim team parties and I shamefully sat downstairs with a few dates, making them watch Disney movies… Matt was the only boy who lasted through The Little Mermaid, Aladdin, AND Toy Story.

While the new space was certainly nicer than the unfinished basement that we had grown up with, Abby and I missed having the ability to write on the walls. My parents tried to make up for this by hanging a giant whiteboard on one wall, but it was just not the same.

A few weeks ago, I decided I would get back the ability to write on my walls by painting a wall in our apartment with chalk board paint. Matt wasn’t terribly excited about this but he also knew I wasn’t going to back down. So we bought some paint and he sat quietly on the coach as I covered a small wall with black paint. The painted worked wonderfully – now all I needed was something to write/draw…

Weeks went by and the chalkboard wall remained blank. I had to wait for the right inspiration. Thankfully, that inspiration came when Matt and I decided to host a small Super Bowl party last night.

Thanks to everyone who came by! It was a lot of fun; and surprisingly, we didn’t have too much food left over! Thank goodness for “binge days.”

Be Your Own Boss – Cupcake Kids!

When I was in college, I had a friend, Jessi Walter, who was a few years older than me, that I looked up to like a sister. She was one of the nicest people I had ever met, extremely smart, and would give me advice whenever I asked for it (which was probably too often!) I loved hanging around her room – it was clean and organized and she had the most amazing hand-painted furniture.  I always felt like I was in a real house, as opposed to a dorm room when I went over there. Whenever I was there, I just felt happy.

I am so glad that we have reminded friends over the years. She is still one of the nicest people I have ever met, extremely smart, and she still gives me advice on life. Now, instead of hanging out in her dorm room,  we hang out in the Cupcake Kids! kitchen.  Every time I walk into the space, I feel that same sense of happiness, that I felt when I walked into her dorm room many years ago.

The idea for Cupcake Kids! was born when Jessi Walter decided to combine her love of kids and food in a practical way. Jessi set out to create a company that would provide students with hands-on cooking experiences designed to provide them with the opportunity to have fun in the kitchen while learning about food and nutrition. Jessi believes that creativity and education in the kitchen play an important role in a child’s development and help kids to build self-confidence and independence. For 4 years, she has been giving this experience to the kids of NYC.

Formerly a Vice President on Wall Street, Jessi’s passion for kids and food and her entrepreneurial spirit have taken her on a new adventure. Jessi graduated from Harvard in 2003, where she earned an economics degree and was a member of the Women’s Swim Team. As one of the oldest of 23 cousins, she has a passion for kids and their development. In her previous life as a swimmer, Jessi started a company offering technique lessons for young swimmers and brought the same enthusiasm and fundamentals to the pool as she brings to the kitchen today.

What sets Jessi and Cupcake Kids! apart from other child-centered companies is the pride that Jessi takes in her work and ultimately in her company. I’ve had the pleasure of helping out with Cupcake Kids! for the past 2 years. Jessi’s focus is on coming up with lessons that entertain, as well as educate, the “budding chefs” who visit her kitchen. She wants them to walk out of the kitchen with a smile on their face and a new appreciation for food and a sense of accomplishment. They gain confidence through measuring, mixing and baking. By combining ingredients to make a delicious treat, these children are able to see their successes right before their eyes, and taste them too! The excitement that Jessi, and her teachers, have for cooking and food is passed on to the children.

 I am so proud of Jessi for all that she has accomplished. I am also honored to have been a part of it  and I can not wait to see what the future holds for Cupcake Kids!

Please visit the Cupcake Kids! website to learn more about classes and birthday parties and, visit Facebook to become a fan of Cupcake Kids!