Movie at the Barn with CINEMOOD


I love little adventures just like these! It’s the end of the summer, and officially the beginning of my favorite season - Fall. It’s still warm enough to spend your evenings outside without freezing when the sun goes down. So last Friday night, we packed up the car with our CINEMOOD, blankets, pillows, snacks, and individually packed picnic boxes, and we set off for a movie night.


I got these little boxes at Hobby Lobby, and packed them with sandwiches, fruit, cheese slices, and mini pies for our family picnic. They were a fun little way to contain everything for travel without needing to bring plates, and everything was finger foods so no need for silverware.

This little gadget we brought along was the key to everything. I’ve been using our CINEMOOD all summer to occupy B while I cook dinner or get some chores done, and I love how portable it is. I charged it the morning before we left and loaded it with a downloaded movie. It was super easy to just turn on and cast onto the side of the barn. I had it on the edge of the car for a bit, and then our busy toddler wanted to explore a little while we watched, so I just picked the CINEMOOD up and handheld it for a bit to avoid pigtails in our projection ;).


This has been the best gadget I’ve had all summer, and I’m excited to use it for cozy nights ahead at the farm, in the car, snuggled up watching holiday movies, etc. B’s constantly on the move, and, this makes it really easy to enjoy a movie as a family without getting stuck in one spot. It’s so light and portable, you just pick it up and point it somewhere else. We’ve been exploring all the pre-loaded content that comes with the CINEMOOD, lately, and it’s stellar. B literally asks for some of the shows by name now.


Charlotte’s Web at the barn just felt like the right choice - also I always cry at the end with the tiny spider babies.


Those tiny hand pies were so easy! I made them in greased muffin tins with store-bought pie crust and a can of blueberry pie filling. They were baked at 375* for about 20 min. Perfect for little toddler hands! (And messy - bring napkins haha)


We’re huge fans of the CINEMOOD, to say the least, and I’m so grateful for a device that lets us watch movies as a family in adventurous locations. It’s the best of both worlds! And yes, I do have big plans for family nights watching holiday movies this Halloween and Christmas - I know you’re not surprised ;)

You can pre-order CINEMOOD on their website for $100 less this week + get a cute free cover ($50 value) with your purchase using my code ANDSOTHESTOREYBEGINS.

At-Home Date Night


It’s such a treat to get date nights out, even if we’re keeping things low-key with the actual date itself. Jordan and I both love the dynamic of our family now, but it’s an adjustment on your marriage and the time you spend together is SO important. We try to get a night together at least every other week, and it’s usually sporadic so some weeks are easier than others. We’re also big fans of traveling together (just the two of us) and I know that’ll be a priority for us both as we grow our family, but that doesn’t mean that quality time isn’t needed between those special dates.


At-home date nights can be as elaborate or simple as you want. I think the best dates happen when you relax, connect, and enjoy the evening whether you’re in a beautiful restaurant by the water or in a sticky booth inhaling queso and chips. This is the same concept - some nights may be a little fancy, and others may be super casual. For us, the perfect night-in includes wine, a darn good show on Netflix, and perfectly-cooked steaks. But because I wanted this to be an after-B-goes-to-sleep activity, I kicked it up a notch with a charcuterie board from a fantastic new business that’s local to us - Boards in Wichita. It’s so similar to food we would’ve had in Sonoma where we got married, and we paired it with a really amazing red wine. Such a treat!

This board had some amazing local foods like honey from Murphy Family Ranch in Augusta, KS, and micro-greens and organic Marigolds (that are totally edible by the way!) from Kan-Grow Hydro Farm in Wichita, KS. The board itself is even locally made by JW Craftsman! They also come in Vegan and Vegetarian options - you can check out their full website with more info here. I LOVED how this board was put together. Everything on the board worked so well, and even the fruit was perfectly ripe and had amazing flavor. Aside from the fact that it looked gorgeous, it tasted even better than I expected!

 We saved that Cute tiny apple for B ;)

We saved that Cute tiny apple for B ;)

Some important keys to a successful night-in are:

  1. Try a new location: We like hanging out on the deck when the weather’s nice (complete with string lights - so romantic and cozy!) If it’s too hot or cold to be outside, try making a picnic on the floor in your living room for something a little different.

  2. Bring home a treat: This charcuterie board is something we would’ve had in Sonoma, and I love that special detail. Another fun idea is trying takeout from somewhere new and taking it out of the styrofoam to eat on nice plates. Or pick-up a fancy dessert for you to share after the kids are asleep.

  3. No phones or distractions: Just like a regular date, this is about connecting and hanging out just the two of you. If you’re truly making an attempt at a date night at home, it’s important to set your phone aside no matter what you’re doing (and yes, that includes not browsing social media during a movie.)


A little more info on Boards below:
Location: Will be open Final Fridays for walk-in orders to dine-in at the Revolutsia commons area
Instagram & Facebook
Full website

Drew's Mac & Cheese


Here's a little insight into my family: I have two younger brothers - Christian (4 years younger than me) who's in medical school and just got married to the sweetest gal Julia, and Drew (8 years younger than me) who's a junior in college. Because Drew and I are so far apart, our lives actually overlapped in Wichita at the same time. I moved back to Wichita around the time he was starting his senior year of high school. And lucky me, I was back in time to reap the benefits of his (at the time) newfound love of cooking. This guy made everything from homemade pasta to chicken wings to mac and cheese. He absolutely kills it with the mac and cheese. (His wings are also STELLAR.) So it's no wonder that 3ish years later when I'm thinking "I'd really like to attempt mac and cheese as a side dish for tonight's dinner, but really hate sifting through Pinterest recipes at 4PM." that I called him up and end up chatting for an hour about said mac and cheese and other life things.


I'm giving you my version of this because it was a mix of "Yeah you want to add a 'crap ton' of butter." and actual measurements. I took notes along the way, along with some helpful tips from Drew because he's the mac and cheese master after all. Full disclosure, he learned the original recipe from this awesome little cookbook, and I changed a few things as he retold it by memory over the phone. 

1/2 stick of salted butter
1/2 cup of flour
2-3 cups of milk
1-2 teaspoons kosher salt
8 oz shredded cheese*
1 lb pasta of choice (I used Rigatoni because it's what I had. As long as your noodles are tube shaped - Penne and Macaroni are also ideal - they'll work well.)
Optional: Bacon (but is it really optional??)

*Note: I used Smoked Cheddar Cheese and grated it from a block. If you're taking the time to make this, I fully recommend going the extra mile and grating it yourself instead of getting a package of pre-shredded cheese. It'll melt like a dream, and if you go the smoked cheese route, the end result's flavor will knock your socks off.

Another pro-tip from Drew: If you want to go the extra mile, start the cooking process in a dutch oven, and when your mac and cheese is done, add breadcrumbs, a few cubes of butter, and extra shredded cheese, and bake at 350* until top is golden brown.


  1. Cook pasta al dente according to package instructions, and while it's cooking, set a timer and start the steps below.
  2. Melt the butter on medium heat.
  3. Add flour in slowly while whisking. Let that cook for about 5-8 minutes while continually whisking.
  4. Slowly pour milk in and whisk continually. I poured it in about 1/2 - 1 cup at a time because Drew was adamant that the cheese sauce be on the thicker side. Nobody wants runny mac and cheese, ya feel? You can always add more milk in later!
  5. Cook on medium low until sauce is thick like the consistency of frosting.
  6. Around this time, my pasta was done. I drained my noodles, and added them to the sauce.
  7. Add in your shredded cheese and mix well. Add in any extras at this time too. Salt and pepper to taste.
  8. If consistency gets too thick, add a splash of milk and stir on low.