Why? Jet Express Giveaway!

This weekend, Matthew, Jeffrey, my parents, and I made a little day getaway to Put-In-Bay aboard the Jet Express.

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The Lake Erie Islands make for the perfect summer staycation and, when you only have a day to explore, the Jet Express is the perfect way to get there.

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The Jet Express provides the quickest way to get to Put-In-Bay or Kelley’s Island from either Port Clinton or Sandusky, with tons of travel times, central drop-off locations, late night service, and guaranteed spots when you reserve online.

So, how do you make the most of one day on Put-In-Bay? Here’s my Top 5 List:

1.Plan ahead. Think about your interests and what you would like to do while on the island. The Jet Express offers packages to fit lots of different needs, from families to island hoppers. We had the Kayaks & Caves Adventure Deal as our package for the day, which helped structure our activities.

2. Secure a mode of transportation. This will ensure you can maximize the ground you cover. Our Kayaks & Caves package offered a free bike rental for two from Island Bike & Cart Rental.

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Since we had 5 people and a wagon to haul, we opted for a cart rental instead. This allowed us to cover maximum ground in minimum time.

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3. Head below ground. Both Perry’s Cave

and the Crystal Cave at Heineman’s Winery

offer one-of-a-kind experiences unique to Put-In-Bay and captivating for all ages. Tours of both caves were included in our package and were not something I would have experienced otherwise.

4. Nourish and hydrate appropriately for your adventures. From the lobster roll and Lake Erie perch and walleye at The Boardwalk Upper Deck (we had a $25 food voucher there as part of our package)

to the award-winning wines at Heineman’s Winery

to a fruity blender drink at Mojito Bay Tiki Bar, there’s plenty to tempt you in food and drink. Make sure you have time to enjoy a variety!

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5. Leave time for distractions. We went in with the Kayaks & Caves Adventure Deal guiding our day. But along the way, we stumbled into Kimberly’s Carousel

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and the Pyrate Fest

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and the beauty and history of Perry’s Victory and International Peace Memorial.

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As much as you need to plan to maximize a one-day trip, you need to also allow the island to work it’s charms on you and not be afraid to stop and enjoy them along the way!

So you can enjoy your own getaway to the Lake Erie Islands, I have two round-trip tickets on the Jet Express to give away! The tickets are good for any day in 2017, departing from Port Clinton. And to sweeten the deal, I’ll throw in a bike rental for two voucher from our package that we weren’t able to use.

Here’s how to enter (you can do one, two, three, four, or all five entries, just leave a separate comment here for each):

1.Leave a comment telling me what you’d most like to do with a day on Put-In-Bay.

2. Visit The Jet Express and Why CLE? on Facebook and leave a comment here letting me know you visited both pages.

3. Follow @jetexpress and @whycle on Instagram and leave a comment here letting me know you’re following both.

4. Follow @JetExp and @WhyCLE on Twitter and leave a comment here letting me know you’re following both.

5. Tweet the following phrase and leave a comment here letting me know you tweeted:

I want to win @JetExp tickets for an island getaway from @WhyCLE: https://whycle.com/2017/06/27/why-jet-express-giveaway #giveaway 

 You can tweet once per day for additional entries, just leave a separate comment here each time you tweet.

The giveaway will close on Sunday, July 2 at 11:59pm and the winner will be notified the following day. Good luck!

***Disclosure: I was invited by the Jet Express to spend a day on Put-In-Bay with the Kayaks & Caves Adventure Deal and to share my experience. I received a complimentary Kayaks & Caves Adventure Deal, as well as a swag bag and 2 complimentary Jet Express round-trip tickets to give away. As always, all opinions are 100% my own.***

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Why? Eton Explorers!

I’m always on the hunt for fun new experiences with Jeffrey, which led us to Eton Explorers, a fun, carnival-like event put on by Northeast Ohio Parent and held once a month in the summer at Eton Chagrin Boulevard.

The theme for this month’s Eton Explorers was Superheroes and Princesses, so capes and frilly dresses were everywhere!

There was lots of fun to experience, from a balloon tent manned by The Twister Girl

…to police cars and fire trucks from the City of Woodmere…

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…frozen yogurt treats from Menchie’s

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…to games and crafts from the Cuyahoga County Public LibraryThe Ratner School, the Cleveland Gladiators and Cleveland Monsters, and more.

It was a true community event, with lots of participation from various family-friendly businesses. And while it was a bit crowded, the lines moved quickly and we were easily able to participate in all the activities.

The next Eton Explorers are scheduled for July 18 (Splash Pad) and August 15 (Scavenger Hunt.) The events are free and open to the public. And if you live on the West side, you can check out Crocker Park Kids, scheduled for July 11, August 8, and September 12.

I’m proud to be blogging for Northeast Ohio Parent (check out my posts here), but I’m also happy to share this event because it was honestly a great time with a fun theme! We’re excited for the next two Eton Explorers!

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Why? Cleveland Metroparks Zoo Membership!

One of our favorite places to go, both with Jeffrey and as a couple, is the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo.  From amazing special events to incredible exhibits that let you get up close and personal with the animals to a commitment to wildlife conservation, there’s so much to love at the Zoo!

 

We’ve found that the best way to enjoy the Zoo is with a membership. Because your membership gets you unlimited free admission to the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo and The RainForest, you don’t feel the pressure to see everything in one day, which is definitely a benefit when you combine a 3-year-old with a Zoo as big as ours!

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We also save on carousel rides, which is always a must-ride for any Zoo trip!

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We’ve also used our membership to save money at reciprocal zoos around the country from as close to Akron to as far away as Corpus Christi.

You can choose the membership level that’s right for you, from Individual Plus to Family Select, with varying levels of guests, perks, and more.

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A Zoo membership pays for itself in about two visits, which is easy for anyone to accomplish. So, what does membership get you?

  • Free unlimited admission to Cleveland Metroparks Zoo and The RainForest for one year – go right to the gate, no waiting in line
  • Discounted daytime admission to more than 150 zoos nationwide
  • Subscription to award-winning Z Magazine
  • Discounts on camps and educational programs
  • Exclusive invitations to special events
  • 10% discount on purchases at Zoo gift shops
  • Discounts on carousel rides and Total Experience packages
  • Discounts on Twilight at the Zoo (in May only)

Membership contributions support the Zoo and its efforts to promote wildlife conservation and education both within your Zoo and around the world.

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As you can see, a Zoo Membership features a lot of benefits and gives you access to one of Cleveland’s finest and most fun attractions! And I have a discount code that lets you save 15% on a membership!

When you purchase a membership online, enter code WHYCLE to save 15% on the Individual Plus, Family, Family Plus, or Family Select membership levels. The discount code expires on August 31, 2017.

I hope to see you at the Zoo soon for a wild time for all ages!

***Disclosure: I was asked by the Cleveland Zoological Society to help promote zoo membership. In exchange, I received a complimentary membership renewal for myself, as well as the discount code for readers. As always, all opinions are 100% my own.***

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Why? Weekends!

Aside from backyard vinyasa, we had lots of other weekend plans! On Friday, Matthew’s family came over for an early Father’s Day BBQ. The kids played in the pool and yard like crazy, the grown-ups had a chance to catch up, and everyone enjoyed lots of summery treats, like watermelon and a homemade sundae bar.

Saturday morning, we took Jeffrey to Legacy Village for Meet the Machines. This event packed Legacy Village with all kinds of vehicles from police cars to fire trucks to construction equipment to the Euclid Beach Rocket Ship Car.

You could even get in some of the vehicles to drive and explore!

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I really appreciated how spread out the vehicles and activities were, giving everyone plenty of space to see and enjoy everything. Plus, there was a huge variety of vehicles, so every kid could find something cool to check out.

Beyond just the vehicles, there was live entertainment, giveaways from local companies, and crafts. Jeffrey loved decorating his CAT construction hard hat!

Legacy Village’s Meet the Machines was really well put together, which made it just as much fun for the adults as for the kids!

On Sunday, Matthew selected an activity to do with Jeffrey for Father’s Day and he chose to go to the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo. The Zoo had free admission for dads on Father’s Day and we saw a lot of families taking advantage of this fun way to spend time together.

The animals were definitely putting on a show on Sunday, too. We got very up close and personal with the giraffe…

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…lion…

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…and tiger.

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It was a really great morning with lots of good family memories made! Stay tuned this week for more information on Zoo membership and all the great reasons to check out our Cleveland Metroparks Zoo!

After that, we headed to my parents house to stuff ourselves with guacamole and margaritas, as it should be on Father’s Day!

It was a fun, family-centered weekend! How was yours?

***Disclosure: I have an ongoing relationship with Legacy Village to promote their events. In exchange, I will receive compensation in the form of Legacy Village gift cards. As always, all opinions are 100% my own.***

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Why? Little Legacy and Meet the Machines!

I’ve been sharing a lot with you about the great goings-on at Legacy Village and now I have two more to share that are specifically focused on your kiddos.

Little Legacy

Three Wednesdays this summer, the green at Legacy Village will be filled with fun activities specifically geared for children pre-K and older. There will be on-stage entertainment from Jungle Terry, The Real Pop Fusion, South Euclid-Lyndhurst Library, Mercury Theatre Co., and more.

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There will also be crafts and games provided by Cuyahoga County Animal Shelter, Cleveland Cavaliers, Lake County Captains, L.L. Bean, Playhouse Square, and more.

Little Legacy is free, open to the public, and takes place Wednesday, June 14; Wednesday, July 12; and Wednesday, August 9 from 10:30am-12pm.

Meet the Machines

On Saturday, June 17 from 11am-3pm, Legacy Village will host a monster-sized touch-a-truck event that will allow children to get hands on with safety vehicles, construction equipment, service vehicles, and more.

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This event that is perfect for the whole family will also feature live entertainment, giveaways, and safety information. Jeffrey loves these types of events and it’s always fun to see your child sit in a fire truck, interact with safety officers, and just generally have a wonderful time!

We have found Legacy Village to be the perfect spot for fun for the whole family and these two events certainly adds to that feeling. Hope to see you out and about at Little Legacy and Meet the Machines!

***Disclosure: I have an ongoing relationship with Legacy Village to promote their events. In exchange, I will receive compensation in the form of Legacy Village gift cards. As always, all opinions are 100% my own.***

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Why? Weekends!

It was a busy, fun, summery weekend in the CLE! On Friday night, my friend Melissa and I met up for Zippity Zoo Doo, a fabulous fundraiser for the Cleveland Zoological Society.

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This year, the Cleveland Zoological Society is celebrating 60 years of supporting the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo‘s conservation efforts and educational programs. The event raised an impressive $300,000 through ticket sales, a Wild Side Silent Auction (I scored a great package of gift cards and tickets for summer fun), and the Giving Tree donations.

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The Driftwood Group provided delicious food, from passed appetizers (the coconut chicken was my favorite) to small bites (the beet and goat cheese pasta was to die for) to mixology drinks, including a special and yummy Zootini, served in a souvenir martini glass.

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There were also fun giant games to play, like Jenga, Scrabble, and Connect 4.

Melissa and I got to take on some of the Cleveland Gladiators in Connect 4! And how’s this for symbiotic content: I have a Gladiators ticket giveaway going on now!

We also got the chance to meet the Zoo’s new Amur tiger, Hector, who was enjoying his first night in the Roseborough Tiger Passage.

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From delicious food and drinks to games and music to majestic creatures to benefiting a great cause, Zippity Zoo Doo had everything that makes an event truly spectacular! There are two more great events to benefit the Cleveland Zoological Society scheduled this summer: Twilight at the Zoo and Date Night at the Zoovies.

On Saturday morning, Jeffrey, my mom, and I went to the Macedonia Funfest because we love summer festivals with rides, games, and fun!

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Plus, it gave us an excuse to stop by Rosati’s Frozen Custard, which is just so yummy on a hot day!

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Then on Sunday, we decided to beat the heat at the newly-opened Cedar Point Shores Water Park.

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From the brand new kids area with tons of slides and fun critters for the kids to great new thrill rides for the grown ups, Cedar Point Shores expanded the water park fun and the access to and views of Lake Erie.

There are also expanded food selections, updated seating and cabanas, and more. This will definitely be a summer destination for us!

So, that was almost all of the weekend…stay tuned tomorrow for my recap of the Cleveland American Heart Association Heart Ball! How was your weekend?

***Disclosure: I was asked by the Cleveland Zoological Society to help promote their events. In exchange, I received one complimentary ticket and one discounted ticket to Zippity Zoo Doo and I will receive complimentary tickets to Twilight at the Zoo and Date Night at the Zoovies. As always, all opinions are 100% my own.***

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Why? Weekends!

This weekend was so chock-full of fun and food and awesomeness, so I’m going to try to get through it all (but I’m saving a bit for tomorrow)…

Friday was our fifth anniversary, so Matthew and I had a special weekend planned. I kicked it off by heading in the direction of the rest of our weekend plans, spending Friday morning at Cedar Point with Jeffrey and my mom.

 

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We have season passes and just love taking Jeffrey up to enjoy our world-class amusement park (click here for my tips and tricks for enjoying Cedar Point with your little one.) He is a ride monster and it’s so fun to see him not only enjoy the rides he can go on, but also daydream about the ones he wants to ride when he gets bigger.

Then Matthew met up with me for dinner at Chez Francois in Vermilion. This restaurant is 100% worth the drive and knows how to elevate a special occasion to a true experience with fabulous service that is unhurried, yet responsive; decadent food; a lovely, rustic French atmosphere; and a wine list to die for.

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Matthew and I chose the prixe fixe menu, which meant six course of deliciousness. Some of our favorites were the seared tuna with daikon radish,

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the Wagyu beef tartare with quail egg

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the quail stuffed with prosciutto and served with morel mushrooms and sweet potato mousse,

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the soft shell crab over sea beans,

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and the Chilean sea bass over Lyonnaise potatoes with local asparagus.

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We had an absolutely amazing dinner and enjoyed every relaxing minute of the three hours we lingered over our meal.

We spent the night at Captain Montague’s Bed & Breakfast in Huron.

This lovely old home, decorated impeccably was a great spot to stay. We had a short walk to the lake, plus the veranda near the pool was a lovely place to relax with a glass of sangria.

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The breakfast on Saturday morning was delicious and the company and hospitality were great, too. If you’re looking for somewhere to stay near the wineries, Vermilion, and Cedar Point, I highly recommend Captain Montague’s.

We spent our afternoon on Saturday at some of the wineries in the area, so stay tuned tomorrow for more on that!

We had to scurry back to Cleveland for Saturday evening, as we were attending the Cleveland Play House Gala with some fellow members of Playhouse Square Partners.

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I think it’s so great that local arts organizations support each other, because we all benefit from a mutually strong arts community.

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The theme of the Gala was Grand Illusion and the spectacle of the event was extraordinary! There was also a live auction with amazing packages that raised funds for Cleveland Play House’s education programs, a delicious dinner from The Driftwood Group, and fabulous music from Bluewater Kings Band.

It was a fabulous night supporting the first regional theatre company in the country (and a Tony Award winner, too!)

On Sunday, Jeffrey and I stopped by Legacy Village to check out Art in the Village, a strolling art show with everything from jewelry to wall hangings to wood carvings.

Despite the rain, we had for checking out all the different art work and brought home a couple pieces, too!

So, that was (almost) all of our crazy, busy, lovely weekend. How was yours?

***Disclosure: I am the vice co-chair of Playhouse Square Partners. Also, I have an ongoing relationship with Legacy Village to promote their events. In exchange, I will receive compensation in the form of Legacy Village gift cards. As always, all opinions are 100% my own.***

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Why? Weekends!

Really, this post should be titled, “How to Do Wall-to-Wall 3rd Birthday Festivities.” We had lots of celebrating to do for Jeffrey’s birthday! On Friday, I visited Jeffrey’s class with cupcakes and a birthday story.

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Jeffrey requested rainbow cupcakes for his class, so I summoned every ounce of Pinterest-y creativity to create these:

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I took white cake mix, divided it up and added food coloring. Then I spooned each color into cupcake papers. And the result was kind of psychedelic and definitely kid-approved! Jeffrey loved putting the sprinkles on too!

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On Saturday, we hosted lots of Jeffrey’s friends (and our friends, too) at Mitchell’s Homemade Ice Cream‘s Ohio City location.

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We of course love the taste of Mitchell’s ice cream, but having the party right at the factory location added in the magic of watching the ice cream be made right in front of our eyes!

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Plus, the Rialto Room (upstairs) at the Ohio City location is bright, cheery, and the perfect spot for hosting a party, with views of both the factory and West 25th Street.

Since Jeffrey calls Mitchell’s “the ice cream train store” (because of the trains in each of their locations), we made our party Thomas the Tank Engine-themed. Before we enjoyed our ice cream, we munched on pizza from Rascal House.

Then, it was ice cream time!

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Our guests got to select their favorite flavor and we had to have plenty of sprinkles, too! Delicious!

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Jeffrey had such a wonderful time celebrating with his friends and their families! When everyone was singing “Happy Birthday,” I kept watching his face and it was filled with such pure joy. That’s the kind of moment you live for as a parent!

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I also can’t say enough about how easy it was to plan a party at Mitchell’s and how wonderfully helpful and sweet the staff were to us. I couldn’t have asked for more from this fabulous Cleveland business! If you want to have a party in the magical land of ice cream, click here for more details.

Then, on Sunday, there was one more party to be had, with our immediate family. Since Jeffrey is all about Paw Patrol, we went with that as our theme. Check out our matching shirts!

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Jeffrey also had this amazing Paw Patrol cake from Luna Bakery’s Custom Cake Shop.

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Luna’s cake designer worked with me to find out about Jeffrey’s favorite characters and create a cake that was just perfect. It even included a hand-painted Cali the Kitten on the front! It was not only adorable, it was delicious too! We chose chocolate cake with strawberry cream. Yum!

And Jeffrey got a very cool Big Wheel for summer biking adventures!

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It was such a fabulous weekend celebrating our favorite little man!

Today we’ll attend the Memorial Day parade in downtown Willoughby to help commemorate the day and remember those who sacrificed everything for our country.

I hope you are enjoying the unofficial start of summer!

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Why? Happy Birthday, Jeffrey!

Every cliche about time flying and children growing up so fast is true.

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Photo Credit: Lane Baldwin Photography

It is unbelievable that it’s been three years since you were born, Jeffrey.

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Photo Credit: Lane Baldwin Photography

I am amazed by your intelligence and curiosity; I am sustained by your love; I am made hopeful for our future by your kindness; I am challenged by your growing pains; I am inspired by your openness to everything the world has to offer.

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This currently says it all for me. I am and always will be so proud of you, my best buddy.

Happiest of birthdays with all of my heart.

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Why? Weekends!

We had a really fun weekend! On Saturday, we did one of our favorite things to do: had friends over for dinner. Especially when the weather is nice, there’s nothing like being outside on the patio, watching the kids play in the yard, and enjoying some great company!

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My friend Maria (we met in our freshman year in college!), her husband, and their adorable daughter recently moved back to Cleveland and I couldn’t be happier to have them nearby! And I think Jeffrey is pretty happy about it too, given how sweet the kiddos were together!

I made one of my favorite summer dishes: chicken kebabs with tons of fresh veggies (bell peppers in lots of colors, zucchini, mushrooms, and pearl onions). I used this recipe for the marinade and it was as easy as it was tasty!

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And rose season is in full swing over here!

On Sunday morning, Matthew, Jeffrey, and I went to Day Out with Thomas put on by the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad.

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I’m so impressed with the events put on by the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad! They are fun and well-organized and the volunteers are just the sweetest!

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The Day out with Thomas includes a half-hour train ride, photo opps with Thomas and friends, an Imagination Station with train tables and coloring, model trains, and lots more!

Day Out with Thomas also happens this coming weekend, May 26-28, and tickets are still available online. This is a magical family time not to be missed!

Sunday evening, we took a stroll up to the Downtown Willoughby Rib Burn Off. It’s amazing how this event has grown to feature tons of bands, BBQ restaurants, and fun!

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We enjoyed ribs from two Downtown Willoughby favorites: Olivor Twist and Nickleby’s Roundbar. Both were finger-lickin’ good!

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I love how many fun events and great restaurants are in Downtown Willoughby! We always have such a great time there!

So, that was our weekend! How was yours?

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