Why? Spice Spring Supper Club at Borrow Rentals!

Last night, Mom and I celebrated an early Mother’s Day with the best gift we can give each other: time together.

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We attended the Spring Supper Club at Borrow Rentals, with food and expertly-paired wine from Spice Kitchen and Bar. The setting was perfect, with Borrow’s eclectic, vintage decor fitting in perfectly with Spice’s seasonal, farm-driven cuisine.

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We were welcomed with Prosecco (the only way I like to be welcomed) and prosciutto-wrapped asparagus.

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Our first course was 3-Way Dandelion Kombucha Soup, with radish, snow peas, and dandelion greens, paired with Corvidae Riesling.

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I was so skeptical about this course and I just loved it. The soup was tangy and spicy, with just enough sweetness from the snow peas to balance it out.

The second course was Guinea Fowl “Caesar” Salad, with romaine, ramp croutons, Styx mountain cheese, and Lake Erie Caesar dressing, paired with The Curator White Blend.

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One of my favorite things about Spice is how hyper-local and seasonal their food always is. Ramps are a sure sign of spring in Ohio!

Our third course was Venison Sausage Pasta, with spring green pea pesto, whipped ricotta, Spice Acres mushrooms, and foraged nuts, paired with Farnese Montelpuciano d’Abruzzo Fantini.

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Rich, delicious, and creatively presented, this dish was a winner!

We ended our spring dining with Angel Food Cake, with Chantilly cream and rhubarb jam, paired with Marenco Moscato d’Asti.

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What a lovely evening of creative food in a creative atmosphere, shared with the lady who taught me to love both!

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Why? Weekends!

Happy Home Opener, Cleveland! There may be snow on the ground, but the home opener means summer is just around the corner…

So, how did I fill the chilly last weekend of March? Let’s get to it…

Brewery Crawl

On Saturday, Matthew and I met up with our friends Ritch and Denise for a brewery crawl. Ritch has a goal of hitting a certain number of Cleveland breweries by a certain birthday (numbers withheld because we’re all getting older), plus it was just Denise’s birthday, so what a fun way to celebrate!

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We started at Saucy Brew Works, where we love the food just as much as we love the beer.

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We shared the Nashville Hot Chicken and Bees Knees pizzas and definitely couldn’t decide which we enjoyed more.

From there, it was a short walk to Bookhouse Brewing. This cozy, bookstore style brewery made us want to sit there all day. I had a sampler and really enjoyed all the (fabulously-named) beers I tried: Patio Season, Maybe Partying Will Help, River of Memories, and Reasons to be Cheerful.

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Next up: Brick and Barrel Brewing, where we played board games while enjoying our brews. I had a Roasted Out of My Gord pumpkin porter, because if this cold weather is sticking around, so is my love for porters and stouts.

Our final stop was Terrestrial Brewing Company, which was filled with great beer, but also with sweet fuzzes. I love bars that are dog friendly. I spent most of my time hanging out with the pets (sorry, friends).

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It was a fun afternoon and such a great reminder of how many awesome breweries we have in Cleveland, who are putting out creative, delicious beer! We also picked up a bunch of stamps in our Cleveland Brewery Passport!

Monsters Purple Game

That evening, we picked up Jeffrey and headed to the Cleveland Monsters Purple Game, to benefit the American Cancer Society, Ohio.

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We had so much fun (and amazing seats). The Monsters games are action-packed and really family-friendly, which make them a favorite sporting event choice for us.

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Plus, the Monsters commitment to the American Cancer Society was really touching and made it an even better night out.

The Monsters auctioned off a special commemorative purple jersey to raise funds, as well as showing videos throughout the game and having people make support signs for those in their life impacted by cancer.

When everyone waved their purple rally towels, it was a sight to see!

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Stay tuned for my on my growing involvement with the American Cancer Society…

***Disclosure: I was asked by the Cleveland Monsters to help promote the Purple Game. In exchange, I received three complimentary tickets and a parking pass. As always, all opinions are 100% my own.***

Superstar and Nuevo Modern Mexican

I had a Sunday Funday with my mom, when we attended “Superstar: The Songs. The Stories. The Carpenters.” at Playhouse Square. I got Mom the tickets for her birthday and have to admit to not being a huge Carpenters fan going in to the show. But, the music was great!

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I had no idea going in that Helen Welch, the lead singer, is a Cleveland resident who has performed at places like Nighttown, so the local connection had me enjoying the show even more.

After the show, we grabbed dinner at Nuevo Modern Mexican. There’s something about having guacamole and a margarita while it’s snowing that just makes you feel like you’re shaking your fist at the weather.

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Gosh, I can’t wait for patio season!

We shared the habanero jelly guacamole and then I had the Cuban sandwich, which was meaty and flavorful!

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For dessert, I had the manzana gallette because I seriously cannot pass up an apple dessert.

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It was a great way to end a great weekend! How was yours? What are you doing to celebrate the Home Opener?

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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?

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Why? St. Kitts!

I’m ba-a-a-a-ck. Literally at 1:30am today. And here I am, writing to you all. That’s true love, right?

Also, I figure the window on me talking about my vacation is closing, so here we go…

It had been awhile since Mom and I had traveled just the two of us. In fact, the last “girls only” trip was when we went to Scottsdale a couple months before Jeffrey was born. So the chance to get away together was much appreciated.

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Which means right off the bat, I have to give mad props to Matthew for holding down the fort (seriously, the literal fort is still standing) and my dear friend Mariah for helping out too.

So, now to the trip: As you may remember, my dad owns a tire business (Tireman USA) and this trip was part of an incentive program with Goodyear. When we first got to St. Kitts, we spent a day with the other Goodyear folks and incentive-earners working on clean-up and building projects at a local school.

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The group built picnic tables, re-tiled a kitchen, cleaned up classrooms, painted playground equipment, did landscaping, and packed nearly 200 bookbags stuffed with donated school supplies.

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It was surely a different way to kick off a vacation, but so worthwhile!

We stayed at the St. Kitts Marriott Resort, which boasted amazing ocean and mountain views, beautiful pools, and delicious food and drink.

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Matthew and I honeymooned in St. Lucia and the topography of St. Kitts reminded me very much of that destination.

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Some of our favorite things we ate at the Marriott included the Chilean sea bass at Blu Seafood Restaurant, the St. Kitts BBQ Pizza from Pizza Shack, and the mushroom soup en croute at Royal Grill Steakhouse.

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We also explored St. Kitts and it’s neighboring island, Nevis, a bit. On St. Kitts, we went to a wonderful dinner at Marshall’s Restaurant.

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I had lobster jerk pasta and Mom had grilled local lobster tail, both of which were so fresh and delicious.

On Nevis, we saw the home where Alexander Hamilton lived as a child, which was a great piece of history and obviously much more popular because of the musical. They were actually playing the soundtrack at the house!

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We also had lunch at the world-famous Sunshine’s Bar.

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The walls are covered with celebrities who made their way to this beach shack restaurant for the Killer Bee cocktail, a rum punch that packs quite a sting!

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Nevis is a much quieter island than St. Kitts, with a smaller population and tons of wild monkeys running about.

We also went on a snorkel catamaran cruise off St. Kitts, which was a gorgeous way to see the island. The Caribbean waters are so clear that we could see tons of fish and turtles and coral, too!

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We ended the trip with a party on the beach with live music, a huge fire pit, and lots of fun!

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It was an amazing chance to get away, relax, do some good, and see a new place in the world! I am so glad to have gone, but also so glad to be back home in CLE!

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Why? Weekends!

It was a low(er)-key, family-centric weekend for us, which is always a nice break, especially after a super busy weekend previously.

Monster Jam Triple Threat Series

Saturday afternoon, Jeffrey got to experience his first Monster Jam when the Triple Threat Series roared into Quicken Loans Arena.

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Jeffrey was excited to not only see the big trucks, but also wear his noise-cancelling headphones (seriously, that might have been the bigger excitement for him).

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The Triple Threat Series featured crowd voting after each round, so it was fun to pick and cheer for our favorites.

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This is definitely one of those “boy mom” experiences that I never thought I’d be doing, but when I saw how much fun Jeffrey had, it made it worth it! This was a great, family-friendly activity!

***Disclosure: I was asked to help promote Monster Jam Triple Threat Series. In exchange, I received three complimentary tickets to the event. As always, all opinions are 100% my own.***

Mom’s Birthday Dinner

On Saturday, I made a three-course birthday dinner for my mom. She’s usually the one having us over to eat, so it was nice to be able to make a fancy meal for her instead.

Our first course was Tomato Basil Crab Bisque (recipe here). Slightly spicy, thick and creamy, this was a great first course for a winter meal.

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For the second course, I made Veal Osso Buco (recipe here) and Creamy Parmesan Polenta (recipe here).

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The osso buco smelled so delicious while it was cooking and came out very tender and flavorful!

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For the polenta, I would suggest cooking it slightly longer than the recipe suggests or giving it a little time before serving to set up. But it was the perfect flavor complement to the osso buco.

For dessert, Jeffrey helped me make a Raspberry-Fudge Fantasy Torte (recipe here).

 

I love the combination of chocolate and raspberry! And the whipped cream frosting is a nice, light change of pace.

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It was a fun night celebrating our wonderful mom/grandma!

Family Yoga

On Sunday, we took another Family Yoga class at the Mandel Jewish Community Center.

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These have quickly become a favorite family activity, with a great mix of activity, meditation, and breath work geared to Jeffrey’s ability and attention level.

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The next class is on Sunday, March 17, with sessions at 10am and 11am. The class is free for Mandel JCC members and $10 for non-members. You can register here.

Winking Lizard

After yoga, we went to lunch with friends at a favorite for all ages: Winking Lizard.

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From a great beer selection for the grown-ups to a tasty kids menu to bowls of popcorn for group munching, everyone can find something to enjoy!

What a great Sunday Funday!

So, that was our low(er) key weekend! How was yours?

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Why? Weekends, Part 1!

We had a busy weekend, so I decided to split it up into two posts. On Thursday and Saturday evenings, we attended wonderful fundraising events, so I’ll fill you in on those first…

Red & White on Thursday Night

On Thursday, we headed down to Akron for Red & White on Thursday Night, a fundraiser for the Arthritis Foundation, Ohio.

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I always enjoy this event because it gives me a chance to experience so many of Akron’s great restaurants in one spot!

We noshed on delicious short ribs and parsnip puree from Crave

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…artichoke D’Agnese from D’Agnese’s at White Pond

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…mini Galley Boys from Swenson’s Drive In

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…lobster mac ‘n cheese from The Galaxy Restaurant and lobster rolls from Bistro on Main

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…and sweet treats from Chocolates by Erin and West Side Bakery.

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Everything was delicious and we washed it down with lots of wine! There were lots of great silent auction items up for bid, too, like a Baker Mayfield autographed football, jewelry from Kendra Scott, and more.

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Great food, great wine, and a great time, all for a great cause!

***Disclosure: I was asked by the Arthritis Foundation, Ohio to help promote Red & White on Thursday Night. In exchange, I received two complimentary VIP tickets to the event. As always, all opinions are 100% my own.***

Allison Rose Foundation Founders Event

On Saturday night, Mom and I attended the Allison Rose Foundation Founders Event.

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The Allison Rose Foundation was started after Allison Suhy’s life was tragically cut short due to anaphylaxis brought on by a food allergy. Out of this loss, Allison’s family decided to start a foundation to educate families about food allergies, help children transition to safe independent living with food allergies, and research new treatments and cures for food allergies.

The Founders Event was a celebration of how much Allison and her family mean to their community. The room was packed with family, friends, and fellow firefighters (Allison’s dad is the fire chief in Cuyahoga Heights).

Speaking of firefighter support, I got a chance to meet UFC Champ and Valley View firefighter Stipe Miocic, who was there to support the event.

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There were tables packed with awesome raffle prizes, plus a silent auction and 50/50 raffle.

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We also heard from Dr. Sandra Hong of the Cleveland Clinic, who spoke about developments in treatments and potential cures for food allergies.

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What really struck me about this event was how many people have been touched both by Allison and her family and the issue of food allergies. The Allison Rose Foundation may just be kicking off, but they are starting with a huge amount of community support. I can’t wait to see the impact they’ll make for food allergy families.

***Disclosure: I was asked by the Allison Rose Foundation to help promote the Founders Event. In exchange, I received two complimentary VIP tickets to the event. As always, all opinions are 100% my own.***

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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!

It was a fabulous holiday weekend, filled with family, food, and fun! Here’s the recap…

Sugar Pines Farm

I love Thanksgiving and we had a fabulous run of back-to-back dinners with family, but on Friday, I was ready to kick off the Christmas season. Step one was to get a Christmas tree.

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We headed to Sugar Pines Farm for a cut-your-own tree experience. It was so fun to pick our tree, cut it down, and haul it back ourselves!

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Sugar Pines Farm also has a bonfire and s’mores, wagon rides out to see Santa, and a snack shack with yummy things like funnel cakes, roasted nuts, and hot chocolate. More than just getting a tree…it was a total experience!

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Plus, the tree is just beautiful and looks fantastic all decorated!

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Holiday CircleFest

On Friday evening, we all headed to University Circle for a little preview of Holiday CircleFest, which happens this coming weekend.

Holiday CircleFest includes a Polka Skate with the Chardon Polka Band on Friday night; a holiday market, horse-drawn carriage rides, and live music on Saturday; and free admission to museums, live music, horse-drawn carriage rides, ice carving, and photos with Santa on Sunday.

This weekend, we checked out the Rink at Wade Oval, which is a centerpiece of the Holiday CircleFest events. Unfortunately the Rink wasn’t frozen enough for skating yet, but we can’t wait to go back and let Jeffrey have his first ice skating experience!

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The Rink is open through February 18. The lights around the Rink make it just a lovely holiday spot!

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We then headed over to the Cleveland Botanical Garden for Glow. Glow is a wonderland of Christmas trees decorated by garden clubs…

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…gingerbread houses created by talented and creative Clevelanders (Jeffrey and I had the tough task of judging these houses)…

…the Garden Express train…

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….and delicious holiday treats and fantastic live music.

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Glow is happening at the Cleveland Botanical Garden every day except Mondays through January 5 and is a lovely holiday tradition!

***Disclosure: I was asked by University Circle to help promote Holiday CircleFest. In exchange, I received three complimentary tickets to the Rink at Wade Oval and Glow. As always, all opinions are 100% my own.***

Tannenbaum Trail

On Saturday, my mom and I checked out the Tannenbaum Trail put on by the Ohio Wine Producers Association.

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A ticket for the Tannenbaum Trail gets you a wine sample, small bite, and ornament at 13 different Geneva-area wineries, as well as an 18-inch tree to put your ornaments on.

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Mom and I started Ferrante Winery and hit six other wineries too: Laurello Vineyards, South River Vineyard, Red Eagle Distillery, the Winery at Spring Hill, Maple Ridge Vineyard, and Grand River Cellars.

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We had a great time exploring the wineries and getting some fun souvenirs to take home with us! The Tannenbaum Trail is a yearly happening and for a small price, you can check out lots of wineries, get a cute Christmas decoration, and you have three weekends to complete the trail!

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So, that was our weekend! I hope you all had a wonderful holiday!

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Why? Walt Disney World!

We’re back after a fantastic vacation in Walt Disney World. This was a great time to go, not only because the weather was a lot warmer than it was in Cleveland, but also because Disney was completely decked out for Christmas.

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We stayed at the Polynesian Village Resort. Located right on the Monorail, it was easy to get to all the parks, plus the hotel’s theme was fun and beautiful.

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We took advantage of the holiday proximity and attended Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party, with dessert stations, a Christmas parade, and snow on Main Street (seriously, the most magical thing ever.)

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The Magic Kingdom remained the favorite of our parks, with tons of rides for all of us to enjoy.

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Jeffrey also loved the newly-opened Toy Story Land at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, with bright décor, fun rides, and character meet-and-greets from the movies.

 

If you go, get lunch at Woody’s Lunch Box!

 

And Matthew and I had a lot of fun at Epcot, where we picked one food or drink item from each country for a great around-the-world experience!

 

My mom came with us, which made for great family bonding time! It also gave Matthew and I the chance to sneak in a date night at the Spirit of Aloha luau dinner, with great food and a high-energy hula show.

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Matthew even got chosen for part of the audience participation dancing!

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I loved seeing how excited Jeffrey was to meet his favorite characters, go on roller coasters, and just generally have a magical experience!

 

And now it’s great to be home and gear up for the holidays in Cleveland!

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Why? The Macaron Tea Room!

Yesterday, three generations joined together to raise our pinkies and enjoy a delightful spot of tea!

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Mom, Jeffrey, and I enjoyed lunch at The Macaron Tea Room in Broadview Heights. Mom and I marveled at their large selection of teas, from specially-blended black teas, white teas, traditional black teas, and fruit teas.

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I particularly enjoyed the Blueberry Wildchild. I also love the adorable cups and teapots at The Macaron Tea Room. Even Jeffrey’s lemonade came in a teapot!

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Mom and I shared the High Tea for Two, which included three tiers of delicious nibbles.

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The first level included tea sandwiches: cucumber with cream cheese and chive; tuna salad; shredded egg with garlic spread; roast beef; and avocado and bacon.

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It’s hard to pick a favorite of the sandwiches! All the breads were delicious. I really liked the horseradish on the roast beef sandwich and you can never go wrong with avocado and bacon!

The next tier included a scone with clotted cream and fresh jam, a petit four (ours had apple butter), a Victoria spongecake, and a tea biscuit.

The top tier included a Nutella waffle cake (yum), a mini pecan pie (yum), and a macaron (yum).

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Jeffrey got the Nursery Tea, with grilled cheese and ham and cheese sandwiches cut out like airplanes (so cute), grapes, and a macaron.
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We had fun with the dress-up corner and the paintable cookie, too!

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We all just generally enjoyed a lovely and relaxing lunch! The Macaron Tea Room takes time and care creating delectable, delicate food that is perfect for a ladies’ (and small gentleman’s) day out!

***Disclosure: I was invited to attend a complimentary lunch at The Macaron Tea Room with guests. As always, all opinions are 100% my own.***

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