Why? Weekends!

It was a busy, fun, outdoorsy weekend (yes, this is the right blog and I said outdoorsy). Let’s get right to it…

Camping

Matthew, Jeffrey, and I embarked on an overnight camping adventure with Matthew’s siblings and cousins and their kids. As you know (or can probably surmise), camping is a bit outside my wheelhouse. But Jeffrey was excited to go and I ended up having a really great time!

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We spent the weekend on Matthew’s cousins’ property in Thompson. We made a bonfire and roasted hot dogs and s’mores…

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…we took a creek walk and went waterfall sliding…

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…we went canoeing…

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…we watched fireworks…

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…and just generally had a good time with family in nature. Tobey even joined in the fun!

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Being that we’re not big campers, we needed some supplemental gear, which is where CampRents came in.

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CampRents is a local company that rents backpacking and camping gear and can get you outfitted for everything from backyard camping to hiking the Appalachian Trail.

We rented a one-person tent (to add to our three-person tent), sleeping bags and pads, and a headlamp. Everything came cleaned, packed, and ready to go.

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When we were done camping, we just packed everything back into the bag to return. This is an easy, cost-effective way to try out new gear or get yourself ready for an adventure that might not happen often enough for you to buy your own supplies.

All in all, I survived the great outdoors and even enjoyed it!

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***Disclosure: I received complimentary rental items from CampRents. As always, all opinions are 100% my own.***

Yoga + Beer at Platform Beer Co.

On Sunday, after returning to civilization and showering, I headed to Platform Beer Co. for an hour-long vinyasa flow with a beer chaser taught by Alicia.

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Alicia’s accessible, but still challenging, teaching style was the perfect thing to wake me up on Sunday morning (and get out some of the sleeping-on-the-ground stiffness). Plus, it’s always fun to practice outside, especially on such a beautiful morning!

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After class, we stayed to chat and enjoy a beer. I highly recommend the Passionista Wit!

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Plus, the whole event was a fundraiser to benefit the Arthritis Foundation. What a win!

If you’re interested in starting your Sunday with a little detox to retox, Alicia is teaching another Yoga + Beer event at Platform on Sunday, August 18. Cost is $20 and includes an hour-long class plus a beer.

You can also trade your beer for wine when Alicia teaches Yoga on the Viaduct on Wednesday, July 31, with incredible sunset views and a social at Luca Italian Cuisine to follow. Cost to attend is $25 and includes an hour-long class, glass of wine, and appetizers. Both events benefit the Arthritis Foundation.

Splash Park

Sunday afternoon, we cooled off with friends at the Lyndhurst Spray Park.

This is one of our favorite places to go in the summer, because it’s always bright, clean, and has a lot to keep all ages entertained.

It was the perfect end to a fun summer weekend! How was your weekend?

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Why? Weekends!

It was a busy holiday weekend, filled with friends, family, and favorite traditions.

Cleveland Botanical Garden Easter Egg Hunt

I’m big on traditions, especially at the holidays. And as a parent, I love taking Jeffrey to the same event year after year because it really illustrates how much he’s grown.

The Cleveland Botanical Garden‘s annual Easter Egg Hunt is one of those holiday traditions for us.

From the egg hunt in the Hershey Children’s Garden (luckily we were in the second hunt and the rain stopped)…

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…to seeing the gardens in spring bloom…

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…to meeting the Easter Bunny…

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…to fun games and crafts, there’s so much to enjoy.

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We also got to experience the Cleveland Botanical Garden’s Amazing Butterflies, which is open through Sunday, April 28. Kids get to work their way through a maze and take a journey from caterpillar to butterfly, with tons of fun, hands-on elements.

This is definitely an annual tradition we will keep!

Easter Fun

The rest of the weekend was filled with more traditional Easter goodness, from dyeing eggs with friends on Friday…

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…to dinner with Matthew’s family on Saturday, to which he brought this sinfully good carrot cake (recipe here)…

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…to church and dinner with my family on Sunday…

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…it was a weekend full of good food, favorite traditions, and people we love.

Whether Easter, Passover, or just a regular weekend is what you celebrate, I hope you had a great one!

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Why? South Florida!

This weekend, Mom, Jeffrey, and I headed down to South Florida for a little spring break trip. The reason for our visit was to celebrate my Great Uncle Ray’s 80th birthday, but we also squeezed in some other South Florida fun.

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We stayed at B Ocean Resort in Fort Lauderdale, which was right on the beach. Jeffrey loved both the time on the beach and at the hotel pool.

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We brought home lots of seashells (and sand!) The last time Jeffrey was in this part of Florida, he was just under 2 years old, so his excitement over the ocean was almost brand new.

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While at B Ocean, we had a delicious lunch at the Naked Crab. The rock octopus was so smoky and good!

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We also took a stroll down A1A…

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…and found Bo’s Beach, a perfectly-situated beach front restaurant with delicious Frose cocktails and yummy churrasco steak.

Everything tastes better with beach breeze blowing through your hair!

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By chance, we happened to be in Florida for a John Carroll Alumni Presidential Reception, so we had a chance to attend the luncheon at The Capital Grille.

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Not only was the lunch so tasty, but it was a great chance to connect with some Florida alumni and hear what’s been going on at campus lately from the new president, Dr. Michael Johnson, and his wife, Jill.

Now, to the point of the whole trip: Great Uncle Ray’s birthday! We surprised him and he was truly shocked when he opened his door to the three of us standing there!

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From a delicious birthday dinner at Cooper’s Hawk (get the gnocchi with roasted butternut squash)…

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…to time spent at their house in the pool, it was a wonderful chance to catch up and celebrate!

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And while we had lots of other fun on the trip, the whole point was the family time. There’s truly nothing like face-to-face connection and I’m so glad we had a chance to make it happen for this big birthday!

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How was your weekend? Are you doing any spring break travels?

jenclesig_pur

Why? 2018!

2018 was, well, a year. To be completely honest, I’m not a huge fan of New Year’s Eve on a good year and this year was more challenging than most. I’m having a hard time separating the bad from the good, so I’m mostly just ready to welcome a new beginning.

But when I look back on it, there were certainly fun moments in 2018, along with a lot of growth, strengthening of relationships, and deepening of commitments.

In 2018, we ate…

…we drank…

…we traveled…

…I yoga-ed and barre-d…

 

…we sported…

 

…we got cultured…

 

…and we got to the Point.

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We loved…

 

…and lost.

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And my kid grew into even more of an extraordinary, funny, smart, inquisitive human.

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It’s been a hell of a year and while I’m honestly not sad to see it go, I do hope the lessons, the growth, and the friendships stay with me into 2019.

May the New Year land softly, however you may feel about 2018. XO

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Why? Weekends!

Just to let you know right from the start, this post is 90% Jeffrey’s birthday and 10% donuts…

Goldie’s Donuts

On Friday afternoon, Jeffrey and I had the chance to check out the brand new Goldie’s Donuts and Bakery in Lyndhurst.

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Located in the former Amy Joy’s Donuts location, Goldie’s does more than just donuts, but boy, do they make great donuts! The sour cream donut was my favorite: so moist and delicious! I also tried the classic glazed, which was light and fluffy.

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Goldie’s also offers tons of pastries, like cookies with rich and delicious chocolate icing, Russian tea cakes made from a 100-year old recipe, and decadent brownies and coconut bars.

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Goldie’s also has apple fritters and chocolate chip cookies that are both as big as your head!

Goldie’s is open daily from 5am to 10pm, so any time you’re craving donuts or any of their other delightful treats, you can grab one (with the convenience of a drive-through if you want). Goldie’s is a great addition to our fabulous locally-owned donut scene in Cleveland!

***I was invited to a complimentary tasting at Goldie’s Donuts and Bakery. As always, all opinions are 100% my own.***

Jeffrey’s Birthday: Parts One, Two, and Three

Jeffrey turned four yesterday and it’s hard to believe how fast time has gone! I’m so proud of the boy he has become: so inquisitive and funny and smart and empathetic. And what better way to mark turning four than with a weekend of parties?!

On Friday, we had a party for Jeffrey’s school friends at Preston’s HOPE Playground Park. This is always a favorite place to play and it was the perfect spot for the kids on that beautiful day.

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We ordered pizza from Pizzazz on the Circle and had a great time playing.

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Jeffrey has gotten really into birthdays, particularly singing “Happy Birthday,” and it was such a treat to watch him get so excited for that part of his parties.

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On Saturday, we had a party with Jeffrey’s friends at the Children’s Museum of Cleveland.

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When the new Museum opened, Jeffrey immediately requested to have his birthday party there. It was the perfect spot, with lots of fun things for the kids to do, plus a spacious and well-appointed party room and friendly staff that made hosting a breeze!

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Jeffrey’s cake came from Cakes to You and was designed to match his invitations and party décor perfectly!

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Jeffrey also requested a rocket ship piñata (thank goodness for Amazon…you can find anything, I swear), which led to a lot of excited candy grabbing!

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And then on Sunday, we had a party at our house with our family and Jeffrey’s godparents. My dad arranged for a pretty amazing surprise in our driveway: Lightning McQueen and Mater!

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Lightning is my dad’s car, with the addition of a perfectly-designed sunshade. It was so cool for Jeffrey to see these characters come to life in his driveway!

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We had lots of good BBQ food, time to play in the yard, and another fabulously designed Cakes to You cake.

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Anything that can make Jeffrey this happy is completely worth doing (three times over)!

Happiest birthday to our favorite little man, who woke up this morning and said very seriously, “Momma, I am four now.” I can’t wait to see what it brings!

And of course, what an epic Cavs win! Pretty nice birthday present they gave Jeffrey there!

I hope you enjoy the rest of your long weekend and take time to remember the reason for the holiday, too.

jenclesig_pur

Why? Weekends!

It was a busy, fun-filled weekend in Cleveland, so let’s dive right in:

Fish FRYday

There’s nothing more Cleveland this time of year than a fish fry. Jeffrey and I met up with friends at St. Dominic Church for their Lenten Fish Fry.

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Do not pass up the hush puppies or the fried shrimp! Jeffrey loved his kids cheese pizza meal, but he also loved the crafts and balloon artist there, too. This was everything a fish fry should be: classic, tasty, well-run, and fun!

Children’s Museum of Cleveland

On Saturday morning, we took Jeffrey to a school friend’s birthday party at the Children’s Museum of Cleveland.

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We just love this bright, fun, imaginative space! But then you throw in the excitement of a birthday party on top of it…well, as you can see, a great time was had by all!

The Children’s Museum is also working to reach its capital campaign goal, with plans to open expansion exhibits, including Meadow (for children ages birth to 3 years), Music, and Theater.

Meadow Exhibit rendering

You can donate to the Museum’s capital campaign online now.

Ohio City Beer Crawl

From the party, Matthew and I headed to the craft beer mecca of Ohio City. We met up with our friends Denise and Ritch, who have the goal of hitting 40 craft breweries in the area before Ritch turns 40. Being the good friends we are, we agreed to help him accomplish his goal!

We started at Hansa Brewery, where we munched on superb potato pancakes and Bavarian pretzels, washed down with a beer sampler.

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The Wit Wit and Bye Felicia! were my favorites.

Then we walked over to Forest City Brewery to enjoy another sampler and their West Side Market chacuterie platter.

The St. Wendelin Wheat was my favorite here.

Then it was off to Bad Tom Smith Brewing, which I have to confess was completely unheard of to me before our crawl.

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But you should definitely stop by to try their wide selection of beers, plus you can order from their neighbor Ohio City Burrito while you’re there!

We ended our crawl at Nano Brew Cleveland, with more samplers, plus the Stoner Fries and fried mac ‘n cheese bites (both are pretty much necessary for life on stop 4 of a bar crawl).

Add in their DJ spinning epic 80’s music and you have the end to a perfect afternoon in Ohio City. I love how walkable, energetic, and diverse the neighborhood is. Whether you want a bar crawl or a nice meal, you can find it there!

Cleveland Orchestra Family Concert

On Sunday afternoon, we met up with Matthew’s family for the Cleveland Orchestra Family Concert of Scheherazade. Matthew’s brother and sister-in-law chose the concert as a family Christmas present and it was a great choice!

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Not only did Jeffrey get to experience the beautiful music and creatively-told story thanks to the Orchestra and the Enchantment Theater Company, but he also got to try his hand at playing some of the instruments before the show.

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The Meet-the-Instruments pre-show event allowed children to get hands-on with some of the instruments they would hear during the concert and certainly sparked interest in a lot of future musicians.

Matthew used to play the French horn, so we especially loved seeing Jeffrey try that out!

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How lucky we are to be able to experience not only one of the best orchestras in the world, but one of the loveliest venues too! I also love that the Orchestra offers family-friendly options to make music and culture accessible to all ages. Jeffrey can say he cut his teeth on music from the Cleveland Orchestra and that is pretty spectacular!

Dewey’s Pizza

After the show, we stopped by Dewey’s Pizza for a fun family dinner filled with laughter, catching up, and of course, yummy pizza. Dewey’s has a wide selection of creative pies, plus a window where the kids could watch their pizzas being made. It was a perfect dinner choice!

So, that was our weekend. Lots of great times with family and friends and lots of time at some of Cleveland’s finest neighborhoods and institutions. You can’t ask for more than that!

jenclesig_pur

Why? Weekends!

It was a wonderful Christmas weekend, filled with family and friends and presents and food!

Cupcakes and a Story

On Friday, Matthew and I met up with friends at White Flower Cake Shoppe for their Cupcakes and a Story event. We got to hear a sweet winter story, as well as see how to decorate 4 different Christmas cupcakes.

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While our decorated cupcakes never look quite as good as the originals, they sure are fun and tasty to make!

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Cookie Baking

From cupcakes to cookies, we spent most of our day on Saturday baking cookies and wrapping presents. I try to make everyone in the family their favorite type of cookie, so we had lots of varities from shortbread to thumbprints to double chocolate peppermint.

And Jeffrey was my best helper…or taste-tester, I should say!

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Christmas

We’re lucky to have both of our families in town and to be able to split the time between Christmas Eve and Christmas Day with everyone.

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We all got lots of great presents under the tree! Jeffrey loved his sled (and then we got enough snow to actually use it)…

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And my mom continued her tradition of buying Jeffrey musical instruments (and then sending them home with us).

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Jeffrey also scored big with some of his favorite character toys: PAW Patrol and Cars. His excitement for Christmas this year and his enthusiasm as he opened each present was really wonderful to see!

Matthew got a couple beer-themed gifts, which is perfect in such an awesome beer city! We both can’t wait to read “Cleveland Beer” and this Cleveland wooden six-pack holder from Wood ‘n What Knot (available at Merchant’s Mrkt) is perfect for parties!

My mom loved this custom cutting board that I got from Lovely Paperie & Gifts. It has a handwritten recipe from my great grandmother laser cut on it. These cutting boards are such a unique and touching way to showcase a recipe!

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Speaking of cutting boards, check out this awesome board from my brother-in-law!

And I of course got a little sparkle…

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…and a little Cleveland, which is always the perfect combo for me!

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Is it Opening Day yet?! 

Hope you all had an amazing holiday weekend and enjoy a nice week before round two of holiday celebrating!

jenclesig_pur

Why? Weekends!

Has your turkey coma lifted? I hope you all had wonderful Thanksgiving weekends! Here’s what we were up to:

Thanksgiving, Parts 1 and 2

This year, we flip-flopped our normal holiday arrangement, which meant we celebrated Thanksgiving with Matthew’s family on Thursday and with my family on Saturday. Since I’ve prepared Thanksgiving dinner for my family for 11 years now (!), it was kind of odd to be just hanging out in my jammies, watching the Macy’s parade. I kept thinking I was forgetting to cook something!

For Matthew’s family dinner, we brought caramelized butternut squash (recipe here) and this gorgeous cake from Kelsey’s Bakery.

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This cake was as tasty as it was pretty, with moist chocolate cake layered with caramel buttercream. The frosting was the perfect level of sweetness and everyone from Jeffrey to my father-in-law loved the cake!

Kelsey’s Bakery has a kiosk at Beachwood Place for the season, so check them out for some holiday sweetness.

On Saturday, we hosted my family for Thanksgiving, part 2. I cook as if we’re feeding an army…I counted and I made enough side dishes that everyone could have their own!

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I use my grandma’s stuffing recipe and my great grandma’s pumpkin pie recipe. Everything we eat is traditional and tastes just like it always has, which I love at the holidays!

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It was so nice to be able to celebrate with everyone in our families (and get a little breather between all the eating, too!)

Holiday Decorating

The rest of the weekend was spent preparing for Christmas. We went and picked out our Christmas tree…

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And then covered it in lights and sparkles and ornaments with lots of history, tradition, and stories.

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Jeffrey also has a small tree in his room with his own ornaments (think: lots of Lightning McQueen, fire trucks, and the like).

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Even the pups are in the holiday spirit!

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I love Christmas time and I love having the house all sparkly and twinkly. I think this year is going to be the peak of Jeffrey’s Christmas excitement, too, which makes everything more fun.

I’m glad we had such a nice, productive weekend at home, too. The next weekends are jam-packed with chasing Santa all over the Cleveland area! Stay tuned…

jenclesig_pur

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?

jenclesig_pur

Why? Weekends!

Whoa! What a kickoff to the Fourth of July long weekend…this past Friday through Sunday were packed with fun! On Friday, my sister-in-law Elizabeth and I went to the Total Package Tour, with Boyz II Men, Paula Abdul, and New Kids on the Block. But before we get to all the flashback fun, let’s talk about our pre-show dinner.

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We went to Bakersfield Tacos in Ohio City, which I had heard nothing but good things about. And the reviews were right! We started with drinks, of course. The spicy margarita packed some nice heat, but it was also just a really good margarita: smooth, and not overly sweet or syrupy.

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We shared the queso dip, which was flavorful and delicious, with light, crispy tortilla chips.

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Elizabeth and I ordered the same thing for dinner: the short rib tostada (essentially an open-faced taco) with tender short rib, fried egg, black beans, Bakersfield hot sauce, queso fresco, shredded romaine lettuce, and cilantro buttermilk ranch dressing.

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The flavors were delicious and the egg added a nice richness to the dish. I can’t wait to go back to Bakersfield and try some of the tacos and some more of their yummy drinks!

Then it was off to the concert. All of the acts sounded great and played all of their 80’s and 90’s hits, with plenty of dancing, light shows, and confetti to go along with them.

While NKOTB was on stage, they mentioned that they’ve been playing shows in Cleveland for 29 years now. I was at their shows that long ago (eek!) and it was so fun to be at another one and have just as much giddy excitement as back then!

On Saturday, we had another dinner in Ohio City and concert combo. Matthew and I met up with Alicia, as well as some of Matthew’s friends. We started with dinner at Townhall, which was absolutely packed between the gorgeous weather and lots of U2 fans grabbing a bite before the show.

I had the unfried chicken sandwich, which has cashew-crusted chicken, avocado, and spicy Bang Bang sauce. This huge, tasty sandwich might be my new Townhall favorite. The truffle fries were pretty amazing too!

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It was Alicia’s birthday, so of course a cookie skillet was part of the dinner and the birthday girl was kind enough to share some nibbles with all of us.

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From there, it was on to FirstEnergy Stadium for the U2 concert.

The band put on an incredible show! There’s something about a stadium show that is just very sweeping and grand and U2 definitely knows how to capitalize on that.

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There was a pretty stark difference between the concerts on Friday and Saturday night, but both played great shows in their own right and owned the niche they fit into.

Sunday, we headed up to Cedar Point for a day of family fun in the sun.

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Jeffrey loves the rides and kept insisting on one more ride, one more ride until we were all pretty beat!

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We ended the day with some Toft’s Ice Cream and headed home to rest up from a fun and crazy weekend!

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