Imagination Station lets you truly experience science, from becoming a human yo-yo (Haylie was brave enough to try it) to flying a flight simulator.
Imagination Station is bright, fun, and engaging…a perfect place to spend an afternoon with your kiddo and kids at heart!
We said goodbye to Toledo with a stroll through Promenade Park, which especially comes to life in the summer with a splash pad and outdoor concert series.
It was a jam-packed day that gave us a taste of the family fun that Toledo has to offer.
You know I’m always encouraging you to explore Cleveland, but there are also lots of other great places to explore in Ohio, so take a day trip beyond your backyard and see what you can find!
***Disclosure: We received complimentary admission to the National Museum of the Great Lakes and Imagination Station and complimentary lunch, courtesy of Destination Toledo. As always, all opinions are 100% my own.***
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.
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.
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.
While at B Ocean, we had a delicious lunch at the Naked Crab. The rock octopus was so smoky and good!
We also took a stroll down A1A…
…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!
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!
From a delicious birthday dinner at Cooper’s Hawk (get the gnocchi with roasted butternut squash)…
…to time spent at their house in the pool, it was a wonderful chance to catch up and celebrate!
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!
How was your weekend? Are you doing any spring break travels?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
Located in Easton Town Center, the Legoland Discovery Center is an immersive LEGO experience, with something for every age of LEGO enthusiast.
You begin your experience with a LEGO factory tour and a chance to make your own virtual mini LEGO.
From there, you enter the Kingdom Quest area, where you can go on the Kingdom Quest ride and help rescue the Princess and protect the dragon. Jeffrey found parts of this ride a little scary, but he was delighted with the cute baby dragon made out of LEGOs at the end.
We spent a lot of time exploring MiniLand, which features LEGO versions of Cleveland, Cincinnati, and Columbus.
From the Rock Hall to the Free Stamp to A Christmas Story House to the Terminal and Key Towers to the Fountain of Eternal Life, the LEGO version of Cleveland hit all the high points.
There was even one of the iconic Cleveland script signs!
We could also check out the Horseshoe and watch a LEGO version of a Buckeyes game.
Many of the elements of MiniLand featured movement, sound, and lights, from the football game to a concert to a dragon boat race.
The lights in MiniLand also went from day to night and back again. What a cool room and a testament to the amazing things you can build with LEGO!
These areas were Jeffrey’s favorite and he easily could have built and tested cars for hours!
We also went on Merlin’s Apprentice Ride (twice.) This ride spins you around and you can control the height of your car by how fast you peddle. Considering Jeffrey could barely reach the pedals, I got a good workout from this ride!
There is also an amazing birthday room, which kind of makes me want to invite everyone to drive 2+ hours for Jeffrey’s next birthday party!
Speaking of that, it’s obviously a drive from Cleveland to check out Legoland Discovery Center. But, there is a ton for families to enjoy both there and in Columbus (check out our trip there from last summer), plus Easton Town Center itself has great shopping and restaurants you can enjoy without even leaving the Legoland Discovery Center’s immediate area.
Tickets and annual passes are currently on sale online. So, take a road trip and build yourself a perfect day!
***Disclosure: I was asked to help promote Legoland Discovery Center. In exchange, I received two complimentary tickets to Legoland Discovery Center. As always, all opinions are 100% my own.***
This weekend still felt like summer to me! So, despite the appearance of pumpkins later on in my post, I’m hanging on to the end of summer…
On Friday morning, while the kids were in school, I went with my friends Mariah and Ashlie to Brewnuts for their Harry Potter-themed donuts that were available this weekend only.
Brewnuts not only makes gigantic, creative donuts, but they come up with lots of fun theme days to sprinkle even more magic on the donuts. I opted for a Sorting Hat donut, whose yellow buttercream filling told me I was a Hufflepuff.
Add in a Butterbeer latte…
and the cute, tiki-themed decor…
and you have the makings of three very happy moms!
On Saturday, I attended Bloggy Conference, a conference for bloggers. Held at Cedar Point’s Hotel Breakers, the location was perfect for soaking in a bit more of summer.
We heard speakers on everything from SEO to brand ambassadorships and had a chance to connect with other bloggers from around the country.
This was my first blog conference, despite how long I’ve been doing this, and I really feel like I came away with some valuable insights into things I can implement with the blog, as well as things that I don’t want to change.
Small City Taphouse
Since we were spending the night in Sandusky, I had dinner at one of my favorite restaurants out that way: Small City Taphouse.
This restaurant boasts 80 beers on tap, which obviously means you have to get a flight because it is impossible to choose just one.
My two favorites from my flight were the Big Bad Baptist from Epic Brewing and the Haunted Hayride Pumpkin Ale from Masthead Brewing.
Small City Taphouse also has a full sushi and Asian cuisine menu. The TNT roll, with tuna and jalapeno was a great choice, as was the spicy egg noodles with beef.
If you find yourself in Sandusky, definitely check out Small City Taphouse!
It seems there’s a day to celebrate just about everything nowadays. This Tuesday, September 18 is National Cheeseburger Day! To celebrate this all-American classic meal, Kalahari Resorts and Conventions is offering a special promotion.
If you order an adult entree burger at B-Lux Grill & Bar at Kalahari this Tuesday, September 18, you will receive a free waterpark pass to return for a future visit of splashtastic fun! This offer is valid for the first 500 customers at the Sandusky Kalahari Resorts location.
Matthew, Jeffrey, and I went to Kalahari last weekend and enjoyed some tasty burgers at B-Lux Grill & Bar. Matthew had the Black & Bleu Burger, with bleu cheese and stout steak sauce.
And I had the Frenchie burger, with Brie, caramalized onions, bacon, and dijonnaise.
Also, don’t skip the boozy milkshakes. It’s a drink and dessert all in one! I love me some multitasking.
Jeffrey chose the cheese pizza and giant pretzel, which just goes to show that it doesn’t have to be a cheeseburger meal at B-Lux (but it IS a great spot to celebrate National Cheeseburger Day).
Then we headed down to the waterpark for a ton of fun! Jeffrey is tall enough now to go on a lot of the slides, including the Zip Coaster, which is essentially a roller coaster and water slide combined.
We all had a great time splashing and sliding the day away! And we definitely can’t wait to go back!
So, head to Kalahari and grab a cheeseburger at B-Lux Grill & Bar to celebrate National Cheeseburger Day, so that you not only get a tasty meal, but a chance to return for even more family waterpark fun!
***Disclosure: I was asked to help promote Kalahari Resorts’ National Cheeseburger Day promotion. In exchange, I received three complimentary waterpark day passes and a gift card to B-Lux Grill & Bar. As always, all opinions are 100% my own.***
Is your kid as nuts for LEGOs as Jeffrey is? From DUPLO to LEGO Junior, we have tons of LEGO sets at our house. Which is why we’re so excited about the new LEGOLAND Discovery Center opening in Columbus in a couple weeks!
LEGOLAND Discovery Center is geared for families with children ages 3-10 and includes tons of fun attractions like 2 LEGO-themed rides, 10 LEGO play zones, a 4D Cinema showing the latest LEGO movies, classes with Master Builders, and a DUPLO and Soft Play area for younger children.
You’ll also get to see MINILAND Ohio, which includes LEGO models of Ohio landmarks from Cleveland, Columbus, and Cincinnati. I can’t wait to see the Rock Hall made out of LEGO bricks!
LEGOLAND Discovery Center opens exclusively for annual pass holders on Friday, September 21. You can purchase an annual pass here. The Grand Opening to the public takes place on Friday, September 28.
And I have a giveaway for a family four-pack of tickets to check out LEGOLAND Discovery Center Columbus, good for any day from September 28, 2018 on. Here’s how to enter to win (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 your child’s favorite thing to build with LEGO bricks (Jeffrey’s is a roller coaster).
3. Follow @ldccolumbus and @whycle on Instagram and leave a comment here letting me know you’re following both.
4. Follow @ldccolumbus 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 tickets to the new @ldccolumbus thanks to @whycle #giveaway https://whycle.com/2018/09/13/why-legoland-discovery-center-columbus-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 Tuesday, September 18 at 11:59pm and the winner will be notified the following day. Good luck!
***Disclosure: I was asked to help promote the LEGOLAND Discovery Center Columbus. In exchange, I will receive complimentary tickets and a swag bag for myself and 4 tickets to give away. As always, all opinions are 100% my own.***
This was Jeffrey’s last weekend of summer break, so we decided to continue a tradition we started last year by taking a weekend away as a family. It was a pretty easy choice where to go: Cedar Point, which is easily Jeffrey’s favorite place to go these days.
Jeffrey had been requesting both beach time and to see the rides lit up at night, so we decided to stay at Hotel Breakers. This provided us some lovely beachfront access, as well as the chance to stay late at the park and be just a quick walk away from our beds.
When we arrived on Saturday, the afternoon decided to be stormy, so we started out at Breakers’ indoor pool, then had lunch at TGI Friday’s there.
By the time we finished lunch, the rain stopped and we were able to go enjoy the park.
Jeffrey is tall enough now to ride so many of the “bigger” rides, like the Matterhorn, Scrambler, Tiki Twirl, and Troika. He’s definitely a thrill-seeker!
We spent Sunday at Cedar Point Shores, soaking up the last of the summer water sliding fun.
It was so nice to get away as a family and celebrate the end of summer break together! This is definitely one of my favorite family traditions!
And today, Jeffrey starts his last year at Hathaway Brown‘s Early Childhood program.
I can’t believe he’s going into Pre-K! I’m so proud of him and excited for all the things this year will bring!
How was your weekend? Is your summer break winding down too?
It’s hard to find a getaway that can equally charm everyone from adults to kids, but The Lodge at Geneva-on-the-Lake did just that! Matthew, Jeffrey, and I had the chance to spend a night in one of The Lodge’s lake-side cottages and had a wonderful little getaway.
The lake-side cottages are brand new and perfect for a family getaway, with two bedrooms, a living room, and kitchenette. Plus, the cottages have absolutely gorgeous Lake Erie views!
We started our adventure at The Lodge with dinner at Horizons Restaurant. Horizons boasts some lovely Lake Erie views of its own!
When in wine country, we had to enjoy some local wine, so Matthew and I each had a glass from Ferrante Winery. Horizons has a diverse selection of local vintages on the menu.
I was impressed with the food at Horizons. While the entrée selections were not huge, they covered everything from fish to pasta to veal and the quality was excellent.
For my entrée, I had the chicken porcini, a bone-in breast with porcini mushroom sauce, creamy Boursin polenta, and vegetables.
Matthew had the smoked Berskhire pork chop, with brown sugar dry rub, caramelized onion apple compote, smoked gouda mac ‘n cheese, and vegetables.
Both entrees had stand-out side dishes and were well-seasoned and perfectly prepared. Jeffrey enjoyed his classic cheese pizza, too!
For dessert, I enjoyed the warm berry pie with lemon-infused crust and Matthew had the mocha chocolate cake (which he definitely had to share with Jeffrey). We took the desserts back to eat on our porch and I was so captivated by the sunset, I didn’t get any pictures!
The next morning, we started with the breakfast buffet at Horizons, then headed off to the indoor pool for some splashing fun!
The Lodge at Geneva-on-the-Lake capitalizes on the Lake Erie views wherever they can, including the pool area!
There are both indoor and outdoor pools and hot tubs, as well as an outdoor splash pad and playground.
As you can see, my brave guys each took on an Adventure Course. Jeffrey was at the young end of the age range for the Kids’ Adventure Course (which is designed for 4-10 years old).
Our guide, Kate, did a wonderful job helping Jeffrey get through the course and easing his nervousness.
He had a great time and, although he wasn’t ready to do the zipline at the end, I think he’ll be back to tackle the course again. I’m definitely proud of his willingness to try something new!
And Matthew had fun and got a bit of a workout too on the adult Adventure Course while Jeffrey was exploring the Kid’s Adventure Course.
The Lodge at Geneva-on-the-Lake made for a really wonderful little getaway. It was far enough from home to feel like we were away, but close enough to be able to go for a night without wasting a lot of time traveling. The food was delicious, the cottage was just the right set up for a family, and the activities from the pool to the Canopy Tours gave us lots to do! This is a perfect summer weekend place!
So you can experience the fun too, I have two tickets to Lake Erie Canopy Tours to give away, good for either of the Adventure Courses or the Canopy Tour. 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 here telling me if you’ve ever ziplined before and where. (I have, in Jamaica).
5. Tweet the following phrase and leave a comment here letting me know you tweeted:
I want to soar at @lodgeatgenevaoh thanks to @WhyCLE #giveaway http://whycle.com/2018/05/14/why-the-lodge-at-geneva-on-the-lake-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, May 19 at 11:59pm and the winner will be notified the following day. Good luck!
***Disclosure: I was asked to help promote Lake Erie Canopy Tours at The Lodge at Geneva-on-the-Lake. In exchange, I received a complimentary overnight stay, $50 dinner voucher, breakfast voucher, and tickets to the Lake Erie Canopy Tours Adventure Courses. I also received two tickets to give away to Lake Erie Canopy Tours. As always, all opinions are 100% my own.***
This past weekend, I met up with my “PLP” (platonic life partner) Andrea for a fabulous weekend of face-to-face catching up in Austin, Texas.
Andrea and I met in law school and quickly became inseparable. And while life has taken us in a lot of different directions since then, we’ve always managed to stay in touch and even carve out time to see each other in person.
We chose Austin because it was a city we could both get to easily (Cleveland has direct flights there now on both Southwest and Allegiant, woot) and we had heard great things about it. So, here’s where we went and what we loved:
The South Congress (or SoCo) neighborhood reminds me of Gordon Square or Tremont, with lots of great restaurants and fun boutiques to explore.
On my first day in Austin, while I was waiting for Andrea to arrive, I popped into the South Congress Hotel for a tasty drink in their adorable lobby bar.
Andrea and I both relaxed with pedicures at Ten Over Ten, a salon that exclusively does nail appointments and is totally relaxing, as well as totally focused on non-toxic products.
Also in the SoCo area, we fell in love with the adorable Maya Star boutique, as well as the tasty Amy’s Ice Creams (think Coldstone-style treats, but yummier).
This street art says it all…we loved SoCo!
Another great neighborhood in Austin is Rainey Street, which has bars and restaurants galore, all built into adorable bungalows. Rainey Street also boasts some of Austin’s “trailer parks,” which are areas that have food trucks permanently parked.
I had a drink and food truck chicken wings at Lustre Pearl on Rainey Street. I sipped on a Clive Davis (Bulleit rye, lemon juice, ginger beer, and Peychaud’s bitters) while hanging out in the backyard-like patio with giant games, lawn chairs, and astroturf.
Later in the weekend, Andrea and I returned to Rainey Street for margaritas and guacamole at El Naranjo.
Rainey Street was definitely hopping on a Saturday night! For a fun collection of restaurants and bars, with tons of options for whatever your taste, I highly recommend a walk (or two) down Rainey Street!
The Roosevelt Room
From the laid back to the fancy, Andrea and I spent an evening sipping fabulous cocktails at The Roosevelt Room, a reservations-only speakeasy nestled in downtown Austin.
The menu is divided by era and offers a huge selection of craft cocktails, with everything from a Manhattan to a Long Island Iced Tea. We scored seats at the bar, where we got to see the amazing bartenders work their magic, as well as enjoy our own delicious beverages (I got the Air Mail Special, with champagne, dark rum, honey, and lemon).
The Roosevelt Room was a treat for all the senses!
While we received tons of different recommendations for places to go in Austin, one place almost everyone mentioned was Mattie’s.
Mattie’s feels like something out of “Gone With the Wind,” with a beautiful plantation-style house and a distinct feeling of southern hospitality. We went for brunch and loved everything from the amazing buttermilk biscuits to the duck confit hash.
Both the food and the setting were unique and lovely! Mattie’s famous peacocks were strolling the grounds while we were there and Snowball the peacock definitely enjoyed showing off for the camera.
Mattie’s is a not-to-be-missed southern experience!
While in Austin, I also got to catch up with my friends Shannon and Steven, who took me to Still Austin and The Austin Winery, both located within steps of each other in an industrial park.
I highly recommend the cocktail flight at Still Austin, which gives you a great taste of their different varieties of whiskey mixed into tasty drinks.
Also in the same industrial park is a local brewery, so you can get whiskey, beer, and wine all in one spot!
When your AirBNB doesn’t have coffee, you end up at the nearest coffee shop, which is how we discovered the lovely SummerMoon.
We also ended up at a lovely lunch spot by happenstance: Laundrette. Located in a former laundromat, this bright, charming restaurant served up a lovely ladies lunch.
The fried chicken sammie was delicious, as was the beet hummus!
We also hit Barlata Tapas Bar, for delicious small plates. Andrea and I had a favorite tapas restaurant in law school, so Barlata was a nice bit of nostalgia, as we shared tapas standards like patatas bravas, garlic shrimp, and blistered shishito peppers.
Yay for eating local! Austin definitely has no shortage of great places to eat!
Getting my Om On
If you know me, you know I also snuck in some time on my mat while in Austin. I practiced at Sukha Yoga, which has a beautiful studio and a warm, welcoming vibe. Seriously, if you’re in town, check out this studio!
I also picked up a class at barre3 Austin. Because barre3 is standardized across the franchises, I knew exactly what I’d be getting, which was a great workout that felt instantly familiar.
So, that was our weekend in Austin! Tons of time exploring a fabulous and fun town, but even better, tons of time catching up with a fabulous and fun friend!