National Harbor


Capital Wheel


The Awakening

Today we took a spur of the moment trip to National Harbor. We needed to get out of the house and move a little. And I was hoping to change a few attitudes with the scenery. Once we were parked, we walked right past the Farmer’s Market straight to the Peeps store. That is right- year round you can satisfy your need for sugar-coated creatures in a rainbow of colors. You can also buy just about anything that they could get to sit still enough to put a picture of a peep on- including t-shirts, pillows, stuffed animals, key chains and that’s right- even pet toys (cats and dogs!). I thought what better way to change moods than loading everyone up with sugar. Maybe not the responsible parent thing to do, but occasionally I think it’s ok.  


Peeps Mobile

Patty chose party cake flavored peeps.  Shawn- Strawberry Reunion Mike and Ike’s, Ryan finally settled on Jurassic World Mike and Ike’s and me, I couldn’t pass up the standard cherry Mike and Ike’s. We ate those under the pavilion by the water and watched the Capitol Wheel. It took a little convincing, but finally the chicken (aka Ryan) agreed to go on. So we did. It has a great view of Alexandria and all the way up to DC.  Even though he day was hazy, we could still easy pick out the  Washington Monument in the distance. 

        We opted out of buying the photo that they took as we boarded. I rarely like those. Afterwards, we strolled down the street and right past the build-a-bear. Which instantly made my wallet much thinner as I shelled out for two bears- one Elsa bear and and Iron man bear named Eepik.  Oh, and and outfit for each- the full Elsa costume for one, and Yoda- complete with light up lightsaber for the other. Holy Cow! I didn’t realize that I could possibly spend that much on a teddy bear!!  But I did learn that if the bear is ever lost, and someone finds it and returns it to a build-a-bear store, they will scan the bear and mail it to the registered owner. Pretty cool!  I also sprang for the bear skater strap that essentially allows the kids to sling it over their shoulder like a purse. I figured a bear leash was essential to ensuring I wouldn’t find a bear in my mailbox one day!  

Next we strolled up to the Gaylord Hotel and embarked upon a Peep Pursuit.  They have 9 stuffed animal peeps hidden throughout the atrium of the hotel. If you locate 7 of them, you can register for a sweet treat from the peep store. We found the base 7, but did not locate the 2 bonus peeps. 

Peep Pursuit

By this point, stomachs #1 (aka Patty) had been whining about being hungry for almost 2 hours, so we decided to stroll back down to McCormicks and Schmicks for dinner.  They have a somewhat small gluten free menu, but it’s certainly better than nothing.  And since it includes scallops, I am a happy camper. I was also quite pleased that they didn’t harass me about swapping out the kids sides for things from the gluten free menu. The only gluten-free thing on their menu is a bunless burger- which is a staple to my two kiddos. I only wish the fries also were gluten free. But at least they had roasted corn and roasted potatoes so the kids were satisfied. 

I have to say that it is quite pleasant sitting here on the patio looking over the water while waiting for our dinner to arrive. And I’m only a little concerned about the thunder I hear in thy distance. And I’m thankful that we have an umbrella above us- just in case the heavens open up.  Not so much because i don’t want to get wet- that might feel good. But because I don’t want my dinner to get soggy. 

I’ll post more in a few- once we actually eat the food!  And I’ll try to snap a picture or two- if I can before the food gets inhaled. 

So I ordered the pan-seared scallops that came with spinach and crab potatoes. Yum! The potatoes were amazing! I’m pretty sure they had cream/cheese in them. And crab is an iffy for me as well. I will pay for that later, but they were very good going down. Praying that my stomach won’t protest too much. Shawn ordered the New York strip with asparagus. All he could muster was a meh. Not sure if that was at all tainted by his back pain. Ryan didn’t like the char marks on his corn- he is picky like that. But the burger disappeared in short order. Patty loved her potatoes. And the burger disappeared too fast to be tasted but I’m assuming that meant it was good. I did snap a few pics before it was all devoured- though not all of them are prior to sampling. I’m lucky the phone didn’t get eaten in the process!  


New York Strip


Pan-Seared Scallops


Burger and Corn






Product:3.0 Stars (3.0 / 5)
Service:4.0 Stars (4.0 / 5)
Accuracy:4.0 Stars (4.0 / 5)
Atmosphere:4.0 Stars (4.0 / 5)
Gluten Free Options:3.0 Stars (3.0 / 5)
Average:3.6 Stars (3.6 / 5)

And last but not least, we stopped by the Peeps store one last time for our “sweet treat” for completing the Peep pursuit- a chocolate covered peep- which for Ryan they happily exchanged for a sample of Mike and Ike’s- a gluten and dairy free alternative.  I also picked up t shirts for the kids. I have to buy them clothes anyway, so why not buy them cute ones from places we visit?

All in all a great day. And a long drive home in a torrential downpour. Thankful for the 4 brand new tires and 4wd to keep my sleeping babies safe as I leisurely drove home. Goodnight!

Red, Hot, & Blue Leesburg – June 2015

After a day of tubing down the Antietum Creek, we decided to go to Red, Hot, & Blue for dinner.  


Patty and Ryan making pigs of themselves

Laura and I each got the 5 Meat Platters.  Laura told them to hold the sausage and order sweet potato fries and coleslaw for sides, while I got the beans and coleslaw for sides.  


Laura’s meal


Shawn’s meal


While there are some items on the menu that are gluten free, the kids menu has nothing.  Patty got a bun-less hamburger with tomatoes and ketchup. Ryan are off Laura’s plate.


Patty’s meal – Hamburger patty with tomato

Overall, it was a good meal.  Laura and I both ended up with leftovers.  We will likely add Red, Hot, and Blue to our list of places to eat.

Rubino’s Pizzeria Broadlands – June 2015

Product:3.0 Stars (3.0 / 5)
Service:3.0 Stars (3.0 / 5)
Accuracy:4.0 Stars (4.0 / 5)
Atmosphere:4.0 Stars (4.0 / 5)
Gluten Free Options:2.0 Stars (2.0 / 5)
Average:3.2 Stars (3.2 / 5)

Today for lunch Patty and I went to Rubino’s for Patty’s Softball Party.  Rubino’s is a local chain with 3 locations in Northern Virginia.  It’s a great atmosphere; perfect for bringing kids and watching sports.  

Rubino’s Broadlands

Patty and I got the gluten free pizza.  It was good, but there are definitely better pizzas in the area.


Rubino’s Gluten Free Cheese Pizza

Some of the other girls at the party got Garlic Knots and Macaroni and Cheese.  The girls seemed to like it a lot.

Garlic Rolls and Mac and Cheese

Rubino’s offers an old childhood favorite to drink.  Flavored  ICEE.  All the girls got an ICEE.  Patty enjoyed the blue one.


Nando’s Peri-Peri – June 2015

Product:4.0 Stars (4.0 / 5)
Service:2.0 Stars (2.0 / 5)
Accuracy:4.0 Stars (4.0 / 5)
Atmosphere:3.0 Stars (3.0 / 5)
Gluten Free Options:4.0 Stars (4.0 / 5)
Average:3.4 Stars (3.4 / 5)

Tonight Laura and I dined at Nando’s Peri-Peri at One Loudoun in Ashburn, VA.  The food was pretty good, but thought the setup was a bit cloogy.  

Nando’s is famous for its Portuguese flame-grilled, butterfly‑cut chicken, which is marinated for 24-hours before being basted and cooked in Nando’s famous PERi-PERi sauce!

They first show you your table with menus, then you get up from the table and then go to the counter to order your meal which will be brought to your table when it’s ready. They have one soda machine with patrons backed up trying to fill their drinks which also happen to block the station for silverware and condiments.


decor at Nando’s in Ashburn

Laura ordered the “Red” Sangria.  This potion was mixed with apples, cinnamon, and orange.  It had a very nice, fresh taste; perfect for summer.

I ordered the 1/2 chicken with the mild sauce and Portuguese rice.  The chicken came out pretty good.  It had a couple of dry areas, otherwise it was very juicy.  The sauce had a little kick to it – I wished they put more on it.  The Portuguese rice was good too.


1/2 chicken with rice

Laura got the Butterfly Chicken Breast with Mango & Lime sauce.  She said her chicken was a little dry.  The Mango & Lime sauce was very fresh and tasty.


Butterflied Chicken with Mango and Lime sauce

The food was good the service was just okay especially for the price.  I think we’ll be back occasionally, probably with the kids next time.  I don’t think it will ever be one of normal eateries, but might be good once in a while.