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? Weekends!

Hey, hey, it’s March! We welcomed the new month with a fun weekend out and about in Cleveland.

Home Cooking

But before we were out and about, we were in and cozy. On Friday night, I made BBQ chicken mac ‘n cheese (recipe here).

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Before I made the mac, I cooked the chicken wrapped in foil packets at 250 degrees for 2 hours. This made the chicken tender and perfect to fork shred, which was the exact right consistency for the mac ‘n cheese.

Pair this with Matthew’s homemade Old Fashioned and you have a perfect little Friday evening meal!

Children’s Theater Series

On Saturday, we had the third of four shows in the Children’s Theater Series at Playhouse Square. This one was “Emily Brown and the Thing,” about a little girl and her stuffed rabbit who have many adventures after bedtime.

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We didn’t know the story going in and found the show to be engaging and funny. I love taking Jeffrey to see live theater, especially in the incredible theaters at Playhouse Square!

Lunch in Ohio City

From there, we headed over to Great Lakes Brewing Company for lunch. I always enjoy going to the brewpub because, while you can find Great Lakes beer all over, there’s always something special on tap at the pub.

I tried the Imperial Buzzcut Nut Brown Ale, brewed with honey and hazelnuts, and Matthew had the same. We both really enjoyed this smoothy, nutty beer!

To eat, I had the Fitzgerald burger, with bacon, smoked cheddar, Edmund Fitzgerald BBQ sauce, and onion straws.

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Flavorful and juicy, this was one delicious burger! The fries were particularly good, too!

Matthew had the Sweet & Salty Pork pizza, with smoked pulled pork, cucumber, green pepper, onion, mozzarella, goat cheese, garlic oil, and orange lavender honey.

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He ate the entire pizza (!), so my guess is that it was quite tasty!

Jeffrey loved his chicken fingers, too! The brewpub atmosphere for a weekend lunch is wonderful for kids, too!

From there, we had to stop to get dessert at Mitchell’s Ice Cream!

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The Buckeye Sundae was the perfect sweet treat. Jeffrey is pretty much all of us when it comes to Mitchell’s…

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What a fun family day!

***Disclosure: I received a gift card from Great Lakes Brewing Company as part of my partnership with Lyft. As always, all opinions are 100% my own.***

Sprinkle

On Sunday, I attended a Sprinkle for my dear friend Mariah, who is expecting a little girl in May. While Mariah has two boys already, it was so fun to fete her new arrival with lots of pink clothes and toys.

I also had to snag her this adorable onesie from Anne Cate!

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We had a great ladies lunch, with bellinis, homemade pesto and chicken, salad, fruit, and pastries from Luna Bakery & Café.

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It was a lovely way to celebrate a lovely lady!

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So that was our weekend! How was yours?

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Why? Ohio City Galley!

When I got together for Galentine’s Day with my girls Alicia and Amanda, we had our very different tastes on display.

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Luckily, we had dinner at Ohio City Galley, a restaurant incubator with four different mini-restaurants, so our different tastes could all be satisfied under one roof!

Ohio City Galley is a chance for chefs to essentially test a restaurant concept rent-free, with the Galley Group providing marketing, space upkeep, and the like. Ohio City Galley’s current restaurants are Poca Casual Mexican, Sauce the City, Tinman, and The Rice Shop.

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I chose the BBQ Pork Belly from The Rice Shop, served with sticky rice, honey mustard kale, and sambal sour cream.

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The dish was flavorful and the pork belly was the perfect balance of crispy and tender.

Alicia and Amanda both chose dishes from Poca Casual Mexican: the Al Pastor tacos and the Oaxacan tamales. And while I didn’t sneak any bites, they were very happy with their choices. We also shared some of the guacamole with the most delicious masa chips!

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Photo Credit: Alicia

For dessert, the apple fritters from Tinman, served with caramel sauce and Apple Jacks ice cream were a decadent and delicious end to our meal.

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The bar at Ohio City Galley is also serving up creative treats. I enjoyed a Moses Cleveland, with bourbon, herbed plum syrup, citrus, and soda.

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We also got to help the bar manager Daniella practice four signature Galentine’s cocktails, all of which were unique and delicious.

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Pro tip: Go to Ohio City Galley during happy hour (Monday through Friday, 5-7pm) for half off all drinks and specials at the restaurants!

With it’s haute cafeteria-style environment, tasty drinks, and creative cuisine, Ohio City Galley is the perfect way to try something new and satisfy everyone’s different tastes in one place!

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Why? HaylieStory in Motion!

Awhile ago, I met up with Haylie from HaylieStory and Zak from Zak Films to film a City Surge video all about Cleveland.

From the West Side Market, to East 4th Street, to Playhouse Square, we checked out some of the best that Cleveland has to offer.

I tried to pick places that really highlighted the culture, food, and people that make Cleveland so awesome!

And now, I’m so excited to share the final product with you.

For more awesome City Surge videos, along with thoughts on travel, life, and fun, follow along with #HaylieStory! Thanks to Haylie and Zak for spending such a fun day with me around Cleveland!

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Why? Weekends!

It really feels like autumn, with the trees in all their glory! And once the rain finally stopped, it was a lovely weekend! Let’s get to all the fun…

Eight Crazy Nights Launch

These past two weeks, I’ve been starting my weekend recap with my Thursday night activities. I feel like I’m in college again!

This past Thursday, I attended the launch of Eight Crazy Nights, the holiday beer from Collision Bend Brewing Company.

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I make an exception to starting the season early when it comes to holiday brews! Eight Crazy Nights is spicy, not too heavy, and a tasty seasonal pour.

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The launch was a lot of fun, with music from the Ohio City Singers and lots of tasty nibbles from Collision Bend’s menu. The bianco pizza and the Collision Bend popcorn, with chicken schmaltz, Mexican pepper mix, lime zest, and pecorino, were my favorite bites of the night!

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Eight Crazy Nights is available on tap at the restaurant, as well as in cans in your local store (I’ve already confirmed my local Heinen’s has it!)

***Disclosure: I was invited to attend the launch of Eight Crazy Nights at Collision Bend Brewing Company. As always, all opinions are 100% my own.***

Parents Night Out

Part of my job as one of the Room Parents for Jeffrey’s class was to plan Parents Night Out. This evening was a chance for the Pre-K parents to connect with each other outside of the drop-off line and without kids clamoring for attention.

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We held the Parents Night Out at Nighttown.

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Nighttown was so easy to work with setting up the event and the service was spot on! We had a selection of tasty (and generously-sized) appetizers, including egg rolls, bruschetta, chicken satay, and mushroom tarts.

It was a fun evening of catching up with friends and meeting people outside of school! We even got to hear some of the awesome live music that Nighttown had that evening before we had to get home to relieve babysitters of their duties!

HaylieStory

While I was a BloggyCon, I had the pleasure of meeting Haylie from HaylieStory.

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Haylie, along with her friend Zak of Zak Films, make City Surge videos where they visit cities around Ohio. So, we decided to collaborate on filming a City Surge video around Cleveland!

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We started at the West Side Market, then checked out East 4th Street, Playhouse Square, and University Circle.

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I tried to pick places that really highlighted the culture, food, and people that make Cleveland so awesome!

I can’t wait to see the finished video and will share it with you once it is done! What places would you have taken Haylie and Zak?

Modern CLE

Have you been hearing about Modern CLE? There’s quite the buzz about this website that launches today!

Modern CLE is written by journalists and focuses on telling stories from a female perspective.

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There will be news, health and wellness, financial advice, lifestyle, and more content put out daily covering Cleveland and beyond from a journalistic, female point of view.

I attended the launch party for Modern CLE at Heyday Collective. There were lots of tasty treats, bubbles, and fabulous ladies!

 

I’m so excited to read along with Modern CLE and enjoy their fun, fresh, female content!

So, that was my weekend! How was yours?

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Why? Perplexity Games!

I love when we can find something to do on a night out with friends that involves an activity, not just drinks and dinner. It sparks conversation, encourages interaction, and just makes the evening more unique.

So, when Perplexity Games invited us to come in for an evening in one of their escape rooms, I jumped at the chance. Matthew and I teamed up with our friends Deborah and Kevin to try to crack the case of the Eliot Ness Escape Room.

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I love the Cleveland theme to this escape room! Set in the time of Eliot Ness’s tenure as Safety Director in Cleveland, the escape room challenges you to find the ledger of a crooked city commissioner.

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Through various clues, hidden doors, and fun surprises (and a couple clues from the watchful eyes), we had the chance to step back in time, work together, challenge our brains and our speed, and have a great time!

We were able to find the ledger with just a minute and a half to spare (you have an hour in the escape room.)

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But even if we hadn’t cracked the case, we would have had a wonderful time! The escape rooms at Perplexity Games are about challenging problem-solving, not feeling trapped or scared.

All the escape rooms are designed by the owner’s family, who share a love for gaming and found games to be a way to connect as a family. Along with the Eliot Ness Escape Room, there is the Clockwork Caper Escape Room and the T.I.T.U.S. Escape Room. Each room is priced at $30 per person and can hold different maximum numbers (Eliot Ness – 12, Clockwork Caper – 8, T.I.T.U.S. – 5.)

Perplexity Games is also in the process of building two holiday escape rooms called The Naughty List, which can each hold 10 people and will be perfect for holiday parties.

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Perplexity Games is family-owned and operated, creative, fun, and located in the perfect neighborhood for an evening out – Ohio City. For your next couples night out, team-building, or game night, check them out and see if you can crack the case too!

***Disclosure: I was asked to help promote Perplexity Games and received complimentary admission for four to the Eliot Ness Escape Room. As always, all opinions are 100% my own.***

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Why? Cleveland Candle Co.!

Last night, I got to hang out with some fabulous fellow blogger babes while getting hands-on with making candles, bath bombs, and lip balms, which was really a fantastic way to spend a Thursday night.

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Cleveland Candle Co. invited us in to not only check out their amazing pre-made products, but make our own too. Cleveland Candle Co. has a huge selection of fun, delicious, lovely smelling candles, with seasonal favorites, food and drink scents, and specialty scents (the Black Tie, trust me).

All of their products are produced with local ingredients (90% of the waxes used are sourced from Ohio) and all USA-made glass. Plus, Cleveland Candle Co.’s candles are soy wax and use all-natural ingredients, so they burn clean and smell wonderful.

To create our own custom candle, we started by exploring the scent wall and choosing scents we liked. Then the girls at Cleveland Candle Co. helped us create a blend based on the scents that worked for us. They could help make our candles fresher, sweeter, spicier…whatever our preference.

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My perfect blend, which I titled “Fall AF,” includes Apple Orchard, Mulled Cider, Crackling Firewood, and Orange Spice. So fall. I can’t wait to cozy up with it.

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Then we got to mix custom bath bombs, choosing our own scent and color. My blue Spa Day bath bombs will make for a relaxing soak, if I can use them before Jeffrey does! He loves bath bombs!

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We also created our own custom lip balms, getting to choose the perfect oil, butter, and scent to make our lips luscious. My blend included cocoa butter, blood orange and vanilla infusion essential oils, grapeseed oil, and Vitamin E.

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My balm’s name? Orange You Glad You Kissed Me 😉

It was so fun to not only support a local small business committed to quality products, but to feel like part of the process in creating our own items. I am NOT a crafty person, as we know, but the team at Cleveland Candle Co. made everything easy and fun.

Plus, we could bring in our own beverages and snacks, so we definitely had a party with wine, stuffed peppadews, and Reese’s cups, which is the trifecta of an amazing meal.

For pre-made products perfect for treating yourself or those you love or for a totally fun and unique party idea (birthdays, bachelorettes, any given Thursday), be sure to check out Cleveland Candle Co., with locations in Mentor, Coventry, and Ohio City.

***Disclosure: I was invited to attend a complimentary candle, bath bomb, and lip balm workshop at Cleveland Candle Co. As always, all opinions are 100% my own.***

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Why? Limelight CoWorking!

As more and more businesses shift to work-from-home and remote opportunities and as more and more people harness their entrepreneurial spirit, there is a need for work space that is not your traditional, company-owned office.

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Limelight CoWorking in Ohio City is a new, locally-owned option for people who want a focused place to work outside of the normal office environment. From inviting “soft areas” to tables to private office space, Limelight offers something for every style of worker. When I visited, I found myself floating from tables to these cozy chairs as I worked.

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Limelight offers big and small conference rooms to conduct meetings, as well as “phone booths” to take calls or attend webinars.

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Whatever work you need to accomplish, whether solo or in a group, you can find a space for it at Limelight. There are also printing and copying services, mail services, WiFi, and the all-important office snacks!

I spent the morning at Limelight and found everyone to be a nice balance of friendly and focused. The people working there were welcoming, but also had their own tasks to accomplish, so everyone was able to have a productive time in a comfortable space.

As someone who spends time floating in between coffee shops to get work done while Jeffrey is in school, I found Limelight to be a great option. This is a space dedicated to people getting work done, without the noise, distractions, and less-than-ideal environment of a coffee shop.

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Limelight is beautifully-decorated, well-appointed with everything you could need to be productive, and, best of all, locally-owned to help Clevelanders find the work space they need.

There are different levels of Limelight membership to fit your needs, from single day passes for $45 to four or eight-day per month passes for $90 and $150 respectively to daily access for a month for $225. Contact Michele for more details and to sign up at 216-316-3013 or michele@limelightwork.com.

As we move away from traditional corporate jobs, spaces like Limelight allow for productivity and access to all the office niceties in a beautiful, relaxed environment.

***Disclosure: I was invited to a complimentary morning at Limelight CoWorking. As always, all opinions are 100% my own.***

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Why? Bakersfield Cleveland!

A restaurant that bills itself as tacos, tequila, and whiskey sounds pretty fabulous, right? On Friday night, Matthew and I got a delicious sampling of what Bakersfield Cleveland has to offer, which is not only great food, but a relaxed, friendly atmosphere too.

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We started with Bakersfield delicious margaritas, any of which can be made spicy with the addition of jalapeno and Serrano peppers. I really enjoyed the pineapple margarita, with el Jimador Blanco, Licor 43, pineapple, agave nectar, and fresh lime.

We also dug into housemade salsa and guacamole, along with queso with chorizo, black beans, and pickled jalapenos.

I love the add-ons to the queso dip! So savory and filling!

Next up was the Willie salad (named after Willie Nelson), with romaine mix, roasted chicken, bacon, black beans, tomato, corn, fresnos, queso fresco, and buttermilk dressing. The salad was light and bright, with lots of fresh flavors.

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We then got to try three different kinds of Bakersfield’s tasty tacos, all on tortillas made in-house. The Baja shrimp had delicious lightly-breaded shrimp, chipotle lime crema, guacamole, red cabbage, pickled fresno, and chive.

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The cochinita taco had anchiote-braised pork, pickled red onion, habanero hot salsa, and cilantro. The pork was super tender and flavorful! And the salsa had a delicious heat on the back.

We also tried a seasonal taco with chicken, kimchi, black beans, and queso fresco. I really loved the flavorful heat on this taco!

We got to end our meal with Don Julio 1942, a fabulous sipping tequila that shows what kind of great hospitality and dining experience you’ll have at Bakersfield. For a fun atmosphere, with creative and delicious Southwest cuisine, check out Bakersfield!

***Disclosure: I was invited to attend a complimentary dinner at Bakersfield with a guest. As always, all opinions are 100% my own.***

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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!

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