Why? Weekends!

It was another fun, festive weekend! Here’s what we were up to:

Brewnuts

On Friday, my mom watched Jeffrey for the day, so that I could have my self-proclaimed “Mommy’s Holiday Get Sh*t Done Day.” The day included gift shopping, grocery shopping, party prepping, and some time for me, too.

I started my day at Brewnuts, which I had been dying to get to since they opened their storefront in Gordon Square.

The store is as adorable as the donuts are tasty. Brewnuts are HUGE donuts and a great balance of sweet frosting and not-too-sweet dough. I had a hard time deciding which to get, but I chose the mint chocolate coffee, made to look like a Frappuccino.

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Yum! Brewnuts also has a large selection of craft beer and options to make your coffee or hot chocolate boozy.

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Whether you stop for a morning treat or an after-work libation and donut, Brewnuts is an awesome, funky, tasty place to try!

The Beauty Room

From there, it was time to pamper my long-neglected toes with a pedicure at The Beauty Room in Tremont.

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I met up with my girlfriend Kimberly, which meant that the pedicure was also good for my soul! Add in some pomegranate mimosas and you have the makings of a perfect morning!

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The Beauty Room is bright, inviting, and has a wonderful selection of products and services (everything from massages and facials to blowouts to manicures) to make you feel, well, beautiful! And starting my day with so much relaxation guaranteed a productive, low-stress remainder of the day at the stores.

Goodyear Blimp Toys for Tots Drive

On Saturday, Matthew, Jeffrey, my parents, and I drove down to the Goodyear Blimp hangar to participate in their annual Toys for Tots drive.

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For a donation to Toys for Tots, you get to drive through the Goodyear Blimp hangar and see the hangar and blimp all decked out for Christmas.

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Santa is also there to greet you, as well as Marine in full dress uniform to accept your donation.

Jeffrey loved getting to check out the blimp up close, as well as any chance to have even a brief audience with Santa.

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What a cool thing to be able to see and a great way to drive donations to a wonderful cause!

Jeffrey’s Holiday Play Date

For the third year in a row, we packed our house on Sunday with Jeffrey’s friends and their families for a holiday play date.

 

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The calm before the toddler storm 

 

We played winter carnival games, did a holiday book exchange, and generally had a fun, slightly chaotic, wonderful time.

And while the food at the party tends toward the simple pizza, cookies, and brownies, I did add in a new addition this year: spiced wine (recipe here).

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This was the perfect cozy treat and I loved that I could leave it in the slow cooker to stay warm for the entire party! Plus, anytime the toddler count in your house climbs to double digits, you need wine too.

The holiday play date has become one of our favorite traditions and I love the chance for everyone to get together in this festive season!

So, that was our weekend! How was yours?

jenclesig_pur

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Why? A Christmas Story House!

I love the movie “A Christmas Story,” especially because parts of the movie were filmed in Cleveland. But I had never been to A Christmas Story House. The holiday season seemed like the perfect time to remedy that!

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A Christmas Story House is located in Tremont. You can tour the house where parts of “A Christmas Story” was filmed, including iconic scenes like Ralphie on the stairs in his pink bunny suit, the leg lamp scenes, and the shoot-out with Black Bart.

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The entire house is hands-on, so you can sit, touch, and pose to your heart’s content.

 

Even though Jeffrey hasn’t seen the movie yet, he was immediately drawn to Randy’s kitchen hiding spot!

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You can also see Ralphie and Randy’s bedroom, complete with Ralphie’s Red Ryder essay.

Our tour guide also gave us tips for spotting which scenes were filmed in Cleveland when you watch the movie.

After touring the house and yard, you head across the street to the museum, which is filled with memorabilia from the film.

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We also got a chance to see the A Chirstmas Story LEGO prototype, which was created by a fan of the movie and his 9 year old daughter.

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The prototype has been submitted to LEGO Ideas and, if it gets 10,000 votes, will be reviewed to be created and sold by LEGO. You can head over to LEGO now and give it a vote online.

A Christmas Story House is open year-round except major holidays. It’s a fun way to interact with the history of one of the most popular movies filmed in Cleveland.

Plus, if you visit A Christmas Story House, you’ll save 10% off your meal at The Rowley Inn, which is right across the street.

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Saving 10% and getting a great meal makes Jeffrey excited 😉 

After my last visit, I couldn’t wait to get back to The Rowley Inn and lunch there capped off a perfect morning of Cleveland nostalgia.

jenclesig_pur

Why? PAW Patrol Live!

Front-row center seats. The performers looking you in the eye. Dancing with wild abandon right in front of the stage. Where else but at PAW Patrol Live?

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I joked that I’d never been front-row center before, but it’s true. Not for U2 or Billy Joel or any of the amazing acts I’ve seen live. But for how happy the show and the proximity made Jeffrey, it was absolutely worth it!

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The PAW Patrol Live show was themed “The Great Pirate Adventure” and it was filled with fun songs, upbeat dancing, lots of neat effects, and of course an adventure for the pups to save the day.

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We also had the VIP tickets, which gave us access to a meet-and-greet following the show with Ryder, Skye, and Chase.

The VIP area also included snacks, juice, books, and toys…everything you need to keep kids happy while they wait for their photo opp!

It was so fun to see Jeffrey’s reaction to some of his favorite characters being brought to life right in front of him.

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From Skye flying across the stage to Zuma scuba-diving in the ocean, all the pups had a part to play. No job is too big, no pup is too small!

If your kids love the PAW Patrol as much as Jeffrey does, there’s another chance to see PAW Patrol Live when it comes to Playhouse Square on February 9, 10, and 11. Tickets are on sale now!

PAWSOME!

jenclesig_pur

Why? Cleveland Starts Here!

The Cleveland History Center of the Western Reserve Historical Society just debuted a new permanent exhibit that focuses on the history of Cleveland.

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Cleveland Starts Here takes visitors through Cleveland’s past, from agriculture to industry…

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…from the sixth city to the mistake by the lake (and back again).

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There are bold, eye-catching pieces in the exhibit, like this Delorean…

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…the old Chief Wahoo sign from Municipal Stadium…

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…and this model of the Terminal Tower.

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There are also interactive elements incorporating elements of Cleveland’s past to peek through, spin, and open that engage even the youngest visitors.

The exhibit also features a film about Cleveland, as well as a detailed historical timeline of Cleveland’s past.

The exhibit, housed in the Reinberger Auditorium, is a new focal point for the Cleveland History Center, as well as the only place in the city to get such a sweeping, beautiful, and comprehensive view of Cleveland’s history.

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Our city has so much to be proud of and to look forward to and the new Cleveland Starts Here exhibit brings that all together. It’s something every Clevelander should experience!

And to help you do just that, I have two admission passes to the Cleveland History Center, where you can take in not only the Cleveland Starts Here exhibit, but also the Crawford Auto Aviation Museum, the Euclid Beach Park Grand Carousel, and more.

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

1.Leave a comment telling me your favorite moment in Cleveland history.

2. Visit Cleveland History Center and Why CLE? on Facebook and leave a comment here letting me know you visited both pages.

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

4. Follow @clestartshere 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 check out the new Cleveland history exhibit at @clestartshere thanks to @WhyCLE #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 Saturday, December 9 at 11:59pm and the winner will be notified the following day. Good luck!

***Disclosure: I am a member of the Western Reserve Historical Society. On my visit to the Cleveland Starts Here exhibit, I received two complimentary passes for a return visit, which I decided to give away here. As always, all opinions are 100% my own.***

jenclesig_pur

Why? Weekends!

Welcome to the time of year where every weekend is so packed with fun and festivities that they might burst. So, let’s get right to it!

Pajamas and Popcorn

On Friday night, Jeffrey’s school hosted Pajamas and Popcorn, a family movie night with pizza, popcorn, kids in PJs, and cookies.

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The movie was “Horton Hears a Who,” so there were also cute Dr. Seuss photo opps. It was a really cute idea and a fun way to ease Jeffrey into the movie theater experience.

The Capital Grille

On Saturday night, we met up with my parents to celebrate my Dad’s birthday with dinner at The Capital Grille.

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I started with the Blackberry Bourbon Sidecar, because apparently I like cocktails with bourbon now. I’m clearly growing as a person. Matthew and I also shared the lightly-breaded calamari with cherry peppers that give it a nice kick.

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For my entrée, I decided to be the only non-red meat eater at the table because I just couldn’t resist the evening’s fish special: grilled swordfish topped with crab gratin.

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Paired with a nice Sauvignon Blanc, this meal had lots of delicate flavors that were executed perfectly. Swordfish is one of my favorite fish and when you top it with crab…wow! My dad ordered the lamb chops, which received rave reviews!

For dessert, Matthew ordered the warm double chocolate cake with port-wine cherries and I had the apple crostada.

Each was the perfect compliment to our meal. We have never been less than totally impressed with the food and the service at The Capital Grille. And during the holiday season (until December 30), The Capital Grille will also be open for lunch from 12-3pm.

Breakfast with Santa

Sunday morning, we attended the John Carroll Alumni Breakfast with Santa. The event includes a Mass, a toy collection for Bellefaire JCB, breakfast, and of course a visit with Santa!

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My favorite part of this event has been how my friends and I have used it as a chance to gather with our kids. I spent the morning with people I’ve known for 18 years (whoa) and got to see our kids forming friendships with each other too. It’s really special, especially being up on campus with our future Carroll students!

If you’re a John Carroll alum, you have another chance to celebrate the season on campus at the annual Christmas Reception this Wednesday, December 6. It’s truly one of my favorite events of the year, so don’t miss it!

Om for the Holidays Cleveland

While Jeffrey was napping away his Santa-induced exhaustion, I headed to Om for the Holidays Cleveland.

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The rainbow in this pic. I just can’t. @namastenik led an awesome flow!

Om for the Holidays was the brainchild of Angela from Universal Architect and Scare Your Soul. It brought together not only some amazing merchants for holiday shopping…

…but also live music, coaching, community-building, and yoga.

What better way to kick off the busy holiday month than with an opportunity to not only accomplish some holiday gift-buying, but also a chance to nurture your soul with like-minded folks?

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Merry Everything, indeed!

So, that was our weekend! How was yours? Is Christmas crazy starting to creep into your life yet?

jenclesig_pur

 

 

Why? Legacy Village Ugly Holiday Sweater Bar Hop!

The holidays are fun and festive not just for kids, but for adults, too! Legacy Village invites you to a grown-up way to be jolly at the Ugly Holiday Sweater Bar Hop, happening Thursday, December 14.

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From 5-9pm, participants can enjoy access to exclusive Ugly Holiday Sweater Bar Hop drink and appetizer menus from the participating Legacy Village bars and restaurants. Hop on over to Bar Louie, California Pizza Kitchen, Granite City Food and Brewery, Brio Coastal Bar and Kitchen, The Capital Grille, and The Melting Pot for festive libations and jolly bites!

You’ll also receive giveaways courtesy of Legacy Village and a photo opportunity with Santa Claus (available until 8pm). Plus, it’s the perfect reason to wear your most fun, outrageous holiday sweater in public (and maybe get some of your holiday shopping done as you’re hopping around)!

Tickets are $10 per person and a portion of the proceeds benefit the American Cancer Society. So, you’ll not only have fun, but benefit a great cause too! You can purchase tickets online. Hope to see you at the hop!

And check out info on all the other great Legacy Village holiday events here and here.

***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.***

jenclesig_pur

 

Why? Goldfish Swim School Holiday Package Giveaway!

Giving the gift of experience is a great option for holiday gift-giving and when that experience is one that teaches you a valuable skill, the gift just keeps on giving!

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Goldfish Swim School is offering two different holiday packages that are perfect for the little fish in your life:

  • The Group Lesson Package, which includes 2 months of group lessons, the annual membership fee, a Bubbles the Goldfish stuffed animal, a Goldfish towel, goggles, and three family swim passes – $189
  • The Mini 3 Lesson Package, which includes 2 months of Mini 3 lessons (designed for ages 2-3 years), the annual membership fee, a Bubbles the Goldfish stuffed animal, a Goldfish towel, a reusable swim diaper, and three family swim passes – $239

Jeffrey has had such great experiences at Goldfish Swim School and developed so much in both confidence and skills.

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What better gift to give to someone special little one in your life?! Which is why Goldfish Swim School (with locations in Northeast Ohio in Fairview ParkCleveland East, and Hudson) is giving away your choice of one of the two above-mentioned holiday packages right here!

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 to whom you’d gift the Goldfish Holiday Package.

2. Visit your Goldfish Swim School of choice (Cleveland EastFairview Park, or Hudson) and Why CLE? on Facebook and leave a comment here letting me know you visited both pages.

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

4. Follow @goldfishswim 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 a holiday swim package from @goldfishswim and @WhyCLE #giveaway  https://whycle.com/2017/11/30/why-goldfish-swim-school-holiday-package-giveaway 

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

The giveaway will end on Tuesday, December 5 at 11:59pm and the winner will be notified the following day. Winner will be chosen at random. Note that lesson dates and times are subject to availability.

***Disclosure: I was asked by Goldfish Swim School to help promote their Holiday Gift Packages. In exchange, I will receive holiday gift package of the winner’s choice to give away. As always, all opinions are 100% my own.***

jenclesig_pur

Why? Cleveland Zoo Memberships for Christmas!

As you’re starting your holiday shopping (if you’re almost done, I don’t want to hear it), I have an awesome gift idea and a way to save on it, too.

Unwrap snowleopard Emma or Blog

Since Jeffrey was born, we’ve had a membership to the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo. Membership to the Zoo through the Cleveland Zoological Society is great because it allows you to experience the Zoo as much as you want, at your own pace.

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You also get access to Zoo special events, including Boo at the Zoo, Twilight at the Zoo, and the Zoo’s camps for kids over winter break and summer.

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Plus, you’ll not only be opening the door to amazing experiences, you’ll also be helping the Zoo’s efforts in conservation, research, and education. A portion of every Zoo membership goes directly to this mission.

More and more, I find giving the gift of experience is an awesome present that keeps on giving throughout the year. And with a Zoo membership, it’s easy and fun to find something to add on for the little ones to open, like a cute stuffed animal that clues them in to the wild animals they’ll get to experience.

If you’re ready to give the gift of Cleveland Zoological Society membership, to yourself or someone else (I don’t judge buying presents for yourself), you can save 15% on a new membership by using code WHYCLE at checkout.

There are lots of membership options, from those perfect for a couple to those great for a big family. While you’re at it, check out the Cleveland Zoological Society holiday shopping guide for even more inspiration. And, since it’s #GivingTuesday, check out the Give for Gorillas campaign, with the goal of raising $5,000 for gorilla conservation.

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I hope this helps check an item (or two) off your gift-giving list this season!

***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.***

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? Cleveland Christmas Events!

The turkey has been eaten and now it’s officially time to celebrate the Christmas season in Cleveland!

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Here’s a round up of some of our favorite holiday events going on around town to fete the holidays:

Winterfest and HoliDazzle

This Saturday, November 25, downtown Cleveland is the place to be for Winterfest and HoliDazzle. From Public Square to Playhouse Square, there will be holiday shopping, ice skating, crafts and character appearances, live entertainment, food trucks, and lots of sparkling holiday lights! Even if you miss Winterfest, head down to see the lights and skate at the Cleveland Foundation Skating Rink.

Magic of Lights

Pack the family in the car and head to Victory Park in North Ridgeville for the Magic of Lights. From the warmth of your car, you’ll enjoy incredible holiday lights displays, with proceeds benefiting Rainbow Babies and Children’s Hospital.

Candy Land Has Gone Wild!

From now through January 1, visit Penitentiary Glen Reservation in the Lake Metroparks to play Candy Land on a real life scale at Candy Land Has Gone Wild! Kids of all ages will enjoy this fun and magical game. There are also special holiday events on weekends, such as campfire s’mores!

Glow

Glow at the Cleveland Botanical Garden is one of the most aptly-named holiday events in town, happening now through December 31. You can check out trees decorated by local garden clubs, creative entries in the gingerbread house contest, ride on the Garden Express train, and lots more. You can also stop by The Rink at Wade Oval for ice skating and outdoor lights.

Kringle’s Inventionasium

Cleveland’s most original holiday offering has to be Kringle’s Inventionasium, a wacky, loveable twist on Santa’s workshop. You can take a complete tour or just enjoy a one-on-one visit with Mr. Kringle.

Cleveland Orchestra Christmas Concerts

The world-renowned Cleveland Orchestra offers many ways to bring the music of the season to life at the gorgeously-decorated Severance Hall. There are the traditional Christmas concerts offered December 14-23, the PNC Holiday Rainbow concerts focused on kids ages 3-6 on December 9-10, and “Tim Burton’s The Nightmare Before Christmas” with the live score played by the Cleveland Orchestra on December 19-20.

Deck the Hall

From now through December 30, the historic Stan Hywet Hall and Gardens transforms into a winter wonderland at Deck the Hall 2017. Aside from lots of lovely lights, you can also enjoy live music, visits with Santa and Rudolph, gingerbread cookies, and unique holiday shopping.

Wherever and however you celebrate, there are so many great ways to get in the holiday spirit!

jenclesig_pur