Why? Family Halloween Events!

Have you noticed that Halloween events are everywhere these days? It’s a fun holiday to celebrate and there are lots of ways to enjoy as a family:

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What: Hauntaquarium

Where: Greater Cleveland Aquarium

When: Fridays and Saturdays, October 20, 21, 27, and 28 from 6-9pm

What: Trick or treat stations, animal encounters, crafts and experiments, games, magician, face painters, costumed SCUBA divers, and more

Tickets: $12 for non-members, $10 for members, free for kids under 2. Buy here.

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What: Boo at the Zoo

Where: Cleveland Metroparks Zoo

When: Fridays-Sundays, October 20-22 and October 27-29

What: Trick or treat stations, carousel and train rides, a Monster Mash Dance party, Zoo admission, and more

Tickets/admission: $10.50 for non-members and $9.50 for members in advance (add $1 if purchasing at the gate). Buy here.

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What: Mall Trick or Treat

Where and When: 

Great Lakes Mall Trick or Treat is Wednesday, October 25

Eton Chagrin Boulevard Boo-Tique Trick or Treat is Thursday, October 26

South Park Mall Mall-o-Ween is Sunday, October 29

Great Northern Mall Mall-o-Ween is Sunday, October 29

What: Trick or treat around the mall stores

Tickets/admission: Free

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What: Owls & Howls

Where: Cleveland Museum of Natural History

When: Saturday, October 28 starting at 10am

What: Games, crafts, pumpkin decorating, animal enrichment, museum admission

Tickets/admission: Free for members, included with general admission for non-members ($15 for adults, $12 for children ages 3-18, $12 for seniors, free for children under 2). Buy here.

However you celebrate, have a fun, safe, and happy Halloween!

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Why? Weekends!

It was another glorious fall weekend in Cleveland, this one packed with lots of family fun! Here’s what we did:

Halloween Hayrides

On Friday, we headed to Lake Metroparks Farmpark for the Halloween Hayrides.

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We started with a hayride past several fun, not-too-spooky stations with everything from traditional Halloween scenes…

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…to movie characters…

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…to cute decorations.

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The hayride drops you off where you can select your path: scary or not scary. We stuck with the not scary side, where we enjoyed glow dancers…

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…festive decorations…

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…and yummy concessions (Corbo’s Bakery apple fritters are not to be missed.)

Before we left, Jeffrey had to take a pony ride, too!

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The Halloween Hayrides have definitely become a favorite Halloween event for us. And while they are sold out for this year, keep your eyes open for next year’s ticket sales!

Pumpkin Party

Saturday morning was the annual Pumpkin Party at Jeffrey’s school. They create a mini pumpkin patch for the kids to pick a pumpkin and decorate, as well as other crafts and donuts and cider to enjoy.

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And since the weather was so fabulous, the kids got plenty of time to play outside on the playground too!

Marvel Universe Live!

Saturday afternoon, we met up with Jeffrey’s godparents Amanda and Scott for Marvel Universe Live.

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Jeffrey is just starting to get into superheroes and Amanda and Scott are very into superheroes, so it was the perfect activity. Jeffrey enjoyed the show (he thought most of the fight scenes were simply funny due to the number of flips and crazy moves) and declared Spiderman and Ironman to be his favorites. For me, I love that Jeffrey and his godparents can connect and have so much fun together!

Birthday Party

Sunday, we had a fifth birthday party for our niece Hannah. Elizabeth was pregnant with Hannah at our wedding…time flies! The party was at West Side Gymnastics Club and Jeffrey had a blast bouncing and playing with his cousins.

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Home Cooking

Despite all the activity, we managed to squeeze in some dinners at home too. I made my favorite homemade mac ‘n cheese, which has hatch chiles and chorizo.

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I use this recipe, but add in the chorizo. So spicy and comforting and yummy!

On the lighter side, I made swordfish with tomato relish (recipe here) and rice and broccoli pilaf (recipe here).

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Lots of good, fresh flavors in this meal! With as crazy as our schedules can be, I miss being able to cook at home and it was nice this weekend to have the time to make some meals for us.

So, that was our weekend! How was yours?

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Why? Boo at the Zoo!

As Halloween approaches, it’s time for one of Cleveland’s favorite Halloween traditions: Boo at the Zoo at Cleveland Metroparks Zoo.

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This year, Boo at the Zoo is expanded this year to three weekends: October 13-15, October 20-22, and October 27-29. There are also an expanded number of trick or treat stations, as well as unlimited 4-D Theater movies, carousel rides, and train rides, in addition to long-time favorites like the Monster Mash Dance Party and Magic Show. Plus, you’ll see the Zoo decorated for the season, as well as get to see the Zoo animals.

If you are a Zoo member, Boo at the Zoo tickets are $9.50 in advance and $10.50 at the door.  For non-members, tickets are $10.50 in advance and $11.50 at the door.

On Sundays, you can also purchase a dinner package with kid-friendly food, entertainment, and character visits. Cost for Boo at the Zoo and the dinner package is $27.50 for Zoo members and $28.50 for non-members.

This will be our third year attending Boo at the Zoo and it is truly one of our favorite ways to celebrate Halloween in one of our favorite places in town.

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Click here to purchase tickets. Hope to see you at Boo at the Zoo!

***Disclosure: I attended the media photo call for Boo at the Zoo. As always, all opinions are 100% my own.***

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Why? Pete the Cat!

One of the projects at Jeffrey’s school involves the storybook “Pete the Cat.” The kids got really into the story and even created their own class version of it. Then, Pete himself appeared and every child got a chance to take Pete home for a few days. So, here’s what Pete did at our house:

Pete got to know the natives. While he and the dogs are on uneasy terms…

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…Pete was able to find some feline friends in Cali and Halloween Cat.

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He also found some familiar reading material to make him feel comfortable.

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Jeffrey treated Pete to a concert, a cookie, and some play time with friends.

Since the weather was so beautiful, Pete also spent lots of time playing outside!

As a member of the Hathaway Brown community, Pete of course attended Light the Night to support the Blazers.

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He played games…

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…and even found a guitar to strum.

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The line for the East Coast Frozen Custard truck at Light the Night was a bit long. And since ice cream is like catnip for Jeffrey, his momma, and Pete, we headed to Mitchell’s Homemade Ice Cream for a sweet treat.

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Pete has an adventurous streak, so a trip to Cedar Point seemed the best way to spend our Saturday. Pete rode the carousel and the “crazy corner cars” (as Jeffrey calls them)…

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…but was quite disappointed that he didn’t make the height requirement for the Raptor.

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He did get to trick-or-treat, though!

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Pete was also a big winner at the arcade and took home a yo-yo from his skeeball skills.

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Pete also got to meet Jeffrey’s grandma and do some baking with her.

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Pete might have had a few too many sprinkles.

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And of course Pete spent a lot of time cheering on Jeffrey’s favorite team, the Cleveland Indians!

Most important, Pete and Jeffrey formed a lifelong friendship (and tired each other out!)

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Why? Weekends!

This weather, right?! What a gorgeous weekend! And a busy one too…

Light the Night

On Friday evening, Jeffrey and I went up to Hathaway Brown for their Light the Night celebration, which kicks off homecoming weekend. From balloon artists to games to music to food trucks, there was something fun for every age.

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While the event was mainly to celebrate the high school athletes, Hathaway Brown did a great job of making even the youngest in the community feel welcome and engaged.

Halloweekends

Jeffrey loves Cedar Point and I love a fall festival, so Halloweekends is the perfect combination! The Great Pumpkin Fest transforms the kids’ areas of Cedar Point with trick-or-treat stations, hay bale mazes, pedal tractors, and non-spooky haunted house, and more Halloween fun.

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Plus, there are still all the favorite rides to enjoy! Jeffrey escorted Brenna on one of the car rides…how sweet are they?!

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Plus, the Halloween decorations throughout the park are impressive! There are tons of pumpkins everywhere, some creatively shaped, too!

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Plus, the summer-like weather and the chance to spend a day with some of our favorite people made Halloweekends quite the perfect day!

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Yoga and Brunch

On Sunday, I met up with my friend Beth for another round of Alicia‘s Yoga/Brunch series at Dante Next Door. After a challenging and centering practice, we headed downstairs to brunch. By happenstance, I knew almost all of the other yogis, so I not only had a chance to catch up with Beth, but chat with other Yoga/Brunch loving friends, too.

I’m working my way through the Dante Next Door brunch menu (it’s a tough job). This time, I chose the braised beef croissant, with shortrib, Gruyere, Dijon, and fried onions. The sandwich was so flavorful and tender!

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The flavors reminded me of French Onion soup, just in sandwich form. Delicious!

The next Yoga/Brunch is Sunday, October 22. $15 gets you an hour-long practice, plus a complimentary mimosa or coffee at brunch. Click here to register!

So, that was our weekend. How was yours? Did you enjoy the weather and cheer on the Indians?

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Why? Weekends!

Aside from all the eating we did this weekend, we also had some great family time too!

Great Lakes Science Center

We met up with friends for a fun, whole family play date at the Great Lakes Science Center. The kids spent most of their time in the Polymer Funhouse, which has a ball pit, slides, and lots of hands-on things geared to their age (see what I did there?!).

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To celebrate the Halloween season, check out Spooktacular Science at the Great Lakes Science Center on October 21-28, with things like a Monster Mash Dance Party, Eerie Science behind Lake Erie, and Pumpkin Explosions.

PAW Patrol Roll Patrol Tour

On Sunday, we took Jeffrey to play in Adventure Bay come to life at the PAW Patrol Roll Patrol Tour. He got to explore a life-sized Lookout…

…captain the Sea Patroller…

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…drive PAW Patrol-themed vehicles…

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…and, best of all, meet some of his favorite PAW Patrol characters!

Jeffrey LOVES the PAW Patrol, so the chance to not only meet the characters, but explore a life-sized version of their world was so exciting!

So, that was our weekend! Lots of eating (as you saw over the past two days) and lots of family fun too. How was yours?

***Disclosure: I was asked by Spin Master to help promote the PAW Patrol Roll Patrol Tour. In exchange, I received a box of Spin Master toys and a PAW Pass that granted me VIP access to the Roll Patrol Tour. As always, all opinions are 100% my own.***

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Why? Weekends!

It felt more like summer in Cleveland this weekend! And we kept up the summer schedule of being really busy, too!

Cleveland Heart Walk

On Saturday morning, I headed downtown bright and early (OK, dark and early)…

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…for sunrise yoga and a spinning class as part of the American Heart Association Cleveland Heart Walk. The entire morning, from yoga to spinning to the health and wellness fair were focused on a multitude of ways to be heart healthy.

The morning started with yoga, led by the Cleveland Clinic’s director of yoga.

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I think it’s so great that the Cleveland Clinic recognizes the benefits of yoga for their patients and provides the opportunity for practice as part of rehabilitation.

From relaxed to high energy, it was off to a spinning class led by Cyclebar Beachwood.

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The view of the lake was lovely to focus on during the the ride. I hadn’t taken a spin class in a long time and I missed the great workout and fun tunes that come with spinning.

The Cleveland Heart Walk offered lots of ways to be heart healthy, from great workouts to breath practice to CPR demonstrations and health screenings to healthy food options from places like ReBOL and Coastline Bowls.

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Heart health isn’t just one component, but many; a series of choices that you could find lots of support for at the Cleveland Heart Walk.

Nature Center at Shaker Lakes

I’ve found so many times that once I discover a new place to love in Cleveland, it somehow sneaks it’s way into my life on a regular basis. On Saturday afternoon, I found myself back at the Nature Center at Shaker Lakes for a birthday party for one of Jeffrey’s classmates.

The kids got to go on a fun nature hike and each received a picture of a different animal or plant to locate on the hike.

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Jeffrey had great time and we found even more reason to enjoy being at the Nature Center!

Richard Marx

By complete happenstance, my friend Renee ended up with an extra ticket to the Richard Marx concert at the Hard Rock Rocksino.

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Having never seen Richard Marx live nor been to the Rocksino, I just had to say yes! After cocktails at Kosar’s, we headed over to the show. Richard Marx played all his greatest hits as part of an acoustic show and peppered in a lot of humor and fun stories too.

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It was a really fun night and I’m so glad I got a chance to see an all-time favorite artist of mine on stage!

Yoga and Brunch

Sunday morning was the perfect cap to my birthday week, as I attended Alicia‘s Yoga and Brunch event at Dante Next Door.

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I had a group of dear friends join me, some for practice and some for brunch, which made it a perfect celebration of things I love: yoga, brunch, and my tribe!

I couldn’t pass up one of my favorite items on the brunch menu at Dante Next Door: the crab cake Benedict.

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I also enjoyed the daily special cold truffled corn soup. Everything was so fresh and delicious! Plus, as I said, it was just the perfect combination of all my favorite things to kick off my Sunday.

So, that was my weekend. How was yours?

***Disclosure: I was asked to help promote the Cleveland Heart Walk. In exchange, I received a swag bag and VIP walker jacket from the Cleveland American Heart Association. As always, all opinions are 100% my own.***

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Why? Weekends!

It was another busy, fun weekend in the CLE, with plenty to do and plenty of baseball to watch too! Here’s the round-up:

Iain McGovern Fundraiser

On Friday night, our whole family attended a fundraiser for a remarkable young man, Iain McGovern. We are fortunate to know Iain and his family. Iain has been a great “big” buddy for Jeffrey. But in the midst of that, Iain has also been battling going through major brain surgery.

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Iain has such a positive attitude and strong family support. So, we couldn’t pass up the chance to attend a fun evening that also helped to defray the cost of his still-accumulating medical bills.

We enjoyed BBQ from Stewart’s Smokin’ Backyard BBQ, cupcakes, carriage rides, and a live auction and Chinese raffle packed with fun prizes.

To see the room packed with so many people from all different parts of the McGovern family’s life was really heartwarming! If you’re interested in learning more or donating to Iain and his family, click here.

Nature Center at Shaker Lakes Hike, Run & Explore

Somehow I had never explored the Nature Center at Shaker Lakes and surrounding lakes, which is why I was so excited to attend the Hike, Run & Explore event on Sunday.

I participated in the 5-mile hike that took in all 4 of the Shaker Lakes, with lots of historical facts and anecdotes provided by our guides, Leo and Jane.

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They are lifelong Shaker Heights residents and so much to share about the area. Plus, the Shaker Lakes are beautiful and serene! If you haven’t been, you definitely need to take a hike of your own to check them out!

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Back at the Nature Center, there was lots more to explore, including tree climbing, archery, food trucks, a beer garden, and live music.

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Hike, Run & Explore was such a fun community event and it definitely got me keyed in to some natural beauty I didn’t even know existed in the area!

Dinner at My Parents’ House

Sunday evening, I earned back all the calories I hiked off with a delicious dinner at my parents’ house as an early birthday celebration. From seared tuna for an appetizer to perfectly-cooked scallops as our entree to a decadent cake from Michael Angelo’s Bakery to a wine bottle with my very own “J” on it, everything was fabulous!

It was a great weekend and a wonderful kickoff to birthday week!

***Disclosure: I was asked by the Nature Center at Shaker Lakes to help promote Hike, Run & Explore. In exchange, I received one complimentary registration for the event of my choice. As always, all opinions are 100% my own.***

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Why? Weekends!

What a beautiful, fall-like weekend in Northeast Ohio! Here’s how we enjoyed our time:

Cafe o’Play

One of our favorite indoor play date spots is Cafe o’Play, which offers a ton of fun things for kids to do from slides and climbing to basketball to video games to a dance party room.

But even more than the chance to run around and burn off energy, I love that Cafe o’Play is run by some of the kindest, most caring people you’ll ever meet. To that end, through the end of September, Cafe o’Play is collecting diapers, Pull-Ups, adult diapers, and wipes to donate to the Houston Diaper Bank.

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We took our donation there on Friday and I think it’s a great way for even little kids to do something charitable in a way that they can understand.

Brunch at The Flying Fig

On Saturday morning, I met up with two of my favorite ladies at what has become our favorite brunch spot.

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Alicia, Amanda, and I enjoyed a chatty and delicious meal at The Flying Fig. I ordered the French toast, served with a crispy chicken thigh, bourbon bacon jam, and berries.

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A perfect balance, this solved my usual brunch dilemma of whether to order savory or sweet. Add a spicy bloody mary and time to catch up with my girls and you have a perfect Saturday morning!

Dinner at BRIM Kitchen and Brewery

Saturday evening, we met up with my parents for an early Grandparents Day dinner at BRIM Kitchen and Brewery. Every time we eat at BRIM, I’m impressed with the quality of the food and friendliness of the service.

I chose the pan-roasted duck, with sweet potato puree and truffle pierogi.

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The duck was tender and flavorful and I loved the pairing with the pierogi and sweet potato!

My mom had the short rib gnocchi, which she is still raving about!

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And of course we can’t pass up dessert. I had the churro pound cake with chocolate ganache and malted milk ice cream and Matthew had the carrot cake with marscapone ice cream.

We all enjoyed our dinners and had a lovely evening at this bright and bustling downtown Willoughby spot.

Woofstock

Sunday was a perfect day to groove, play, and fundraise at Woofstock to benefit the Geauga Humane Society.

There was so much furry fun to take in, from a puppy costume parade with all kinds of creative outfits…

…to a vendor fair with dog toys and treats; services such as grooming, pet sitting, training, and more; and lots of fun things to make life with your pooch even more awesome…

…to my favorite part: Resuce RRRow with adoptable dogs from various humane societies and rescue organizations around the area.

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Woofstock was a celebration of all things fuzzy and it certainly warmed my heart to spend a morning loving on some sweet pups!

So, that was our weekend! How was yours?

***Disclosure: I was asked by the Geauga Humane Society to help promote Woofstock. In exchange, I received one complimentary registration to the event. As always, all opinions are 100% my own.***

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Why? Lake Metroparks Farmpark Apple Harvest Pairing Dinner!

Boy, this weather has me thinking about fall! And while I love a lot of the flavors of the season, one of my absolute favorites is apple. Which is why I can’t wait for the Apple Harvest Pairing Dinner at Lake Metroparks Farmpark on Friday, September 29.

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The dinner is a celebration of all things apple and is about more than just eating! You’ll have the chance to hand-press cider, as well as explore the orchards with the Farmpark’s Horticulture Education Specialist to learn more about the varieties and harvesting of apples.

Then you’ll enjoy dinner in the Machinery Barn, a rustic, yet modern setting overlooking the Farmpark grounds. Dinner begins with a harvest favorite of pumpkin soup, followed by apple-braised pork osso buco, layered white and sweet potatoes, and curried butternut squash with honey and candied pecans. If that isn’t fall-like menu, I don’t know what is!

All of this delicious food, including dessert, will be expertly paired with wines from Debonne Vineyards.

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Tickets are currently on sale for the Apple Harvest Pairing Dinner for $45 per person. Click here to reserve your spot!

***Disclosure: I was asked by the Lake Metroparks Farmpark to help promote the Apple Harvest Pairing Dinner. In exchange, I will receive two complimentary tickets to the event. As always, all opinions are 100% my own.***

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