Why? Matthew’s Birthday!

Last week, Matthew turned 40, which called for several celebrations…

Marble Room Steaks and Raw Bar

Marble Room Steaks and Raw Bar was one of the spots we kept wanting to go to, but hadn’t yet. A big birthday celebration seemed like the perfect reason to go!

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We went a bit before our reservation time, so we could enjoy a cocktail at the bar and take in the ambiance first (thanks for the pro tip, Adam and Rebecca!)

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I had the Love Potion, with Belvedere Vodka, Pama Liqueur, grilled pineapple purée, pomegranate glaze, baked coconut flakes, and cranberry juice. This was light, fruity, and seasonally perfect!

Matthew had the High on Life, with Tanquerey Gin, St. Germain Elderflower, Dolin Blanc, cucumber, mint, lemon juice, and shiso leaf.

For dinner, we shared two appetizers: Hamachi Jalapeño Crudo and Duck Confit Duo (a Korean BBQ bao bun and confit-mushroom spring rolls).

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The Hamachi was perfection and the duck was smoky and delicious. I could drink the ginger-plum sauce that came with the duck!

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For our entrees, we made our own surf and turf. Matthew chose the dry-aged Delmonico and I had the King Crab. Both were simple, but prepared very well.

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The side dishes are shareable and we split the Crispy Potato Cake, with roasted poblano and guajillo chiles, garlic, scallion, and cotija cheese. It’s like a hash brown in heaven!

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For dessert, Matthew was presented with Marble Room’s homemade special-occasion cotton candy.

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He also got the Liz’s Gilded Chocolate Cake and I got the classic Vanilla Bean Crème Brulée, served with a snickerdoodle cookie (my favorite cookie).

The food, service, and atmosphere all truly made it a very special meal!

The Lion King

From there, we walked down to Playhouse Square to see The Lion King.

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The show is playing at the KeyBank State Theatre through Sunday, September 1 and is truly something to see. You know the story, of course, but there are new songs and the costumes are incredible. Disney never skimps on production value!

Dinner at Home

On Thursday (Matthew’s actual birthday), we enjoyed a family dinner at home with tacos and birthday cake, which is a meal that can keep everyone from a 5-year old to a 40-year old happy!

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Jeffrey helped make the cake, which made it even more special!

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Masthead Brewing Co.

Then on Saturday, we gathered with friends at Masthead Brewing Co. for one last birthday celebration of this big year.

Masthead was the perfect spot to meet up: great beer, delicious food, a nice patio, convenient parking, family-friendly for those who wanted to bring their kids…

We ordered lots of pizza and pretzels to share and of course enjoyed lots of craft beer, too!

It was a fun few days celebrating! Where are your go-to birthday celebration spots?

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Why? Weekends!

Oh my gosh, you guys. It’s JULY! When did that happen?! Here’s how we closed out the last weekend in June…

John Carroll Alumni Volunteer Summit

I spent a good part of my weekend up at John Carroll University attending the inaugural Alumni Volunteer Summit, which was truly energizing and inspiring.

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The Summit brought together alumni volunteers from various university departments and areas of the country to share ideas, learn about the university’s vision for the future, and eat ice cream overlooking our beautiful alma mater’s campus.

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We kicked off the Summit with a cookout outside of Murphy Hall, spent Saturday hearing from various departments within the university, and ended with a party on the Quad with a band and food trucks.

Matthew and I stuffed ourselves with pizza, mozzarella sticks, and truffle fries from Sauced Wood Fired Pizza (the firecracker chicken pizza is so good).

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As one of the incoming members of the Alumni Association Board, the Summit was a great chance for me to connect with other Board members and get ready to once again give back to a place that has given me so much.

Dear Evan Hansen

On Saturday night, Matthew and I attended one of the final Cleveland performances of “Dear Evan Hansen.”

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This deeply moving, funny, true, heavy, beautiful story made me laugh, cry, and think about loneliness, human connection, parenting, and so much more. I was so glad we had a chance to see it!

Cedar Point

On Sunday, we met up with our dear friends (and some of Jeffrey’s godparents) Amanda and Scott for a toasty, fun summer day at Cedar Point.

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Jeffrey is enjoying his new height and was able to ride Thunder Canyon for the first (and second and third) time this season.

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From rides to lunch at Famous Dave’s to ice cream at Toft’s to fun with some of our favorite people, it was a perfect summer Sunday!

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How was your weekend? Do you have big plans for the holiday week?

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Why? Moon Cleveland!

You’ve probably read Douglas Trattner‘s writing over the years, from Cleveland Scene Magazine to co-authoring four of Michael Symon’s cookbooks to Eater to Food Network Magazine.

This prolific local author has just written a new Cleveland guidebook: “Moon Cleveland.” The guidebook is easily broken down into sections that will help both locals and visitors find their perfect Cleveland experiences.

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Start with the “5 Top Experiences,” for the must-do, top-level Cleveland things, like food, sports, and beer.

Visiting (or entertaining visitors) for a weekend? The “Three-Day Best of Cleveland” will have you hopping all over town hitting some impressive highlights that will certainly leave your guests wanting to come back again and again.

Just moved to Cleveland or to a new location in your hometown? The Neighborhood Guide can help you find the best spots in your new locale.

From Sights to Restaurants, Nightlife to Recreation, “Moon Cleveland” covers it all, with digestible, but still informative descriptions, prices, hours, websites, and maps.

Love Cleveland, but want a quick trip away? The “Day Trips” section shares Trattner’s favorites from Amish Country to the Lake Erie Islands.

I like to say that Cleveland has so much to see, do, eat, and explore that it can be impossible to keep up with it all. But Douglas Trattner certainly does an impressive job in “Moon Cleveland.” The book can help you ease into learning about Cleveland or give even a seasoned local some great suggestions of new places to try.

“Moon Cleveland” is on sale now at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Apple Books, Google Play, Kobo, and Ebooks.com. Click here to order your copy and start (re)-exploring Cleveland!

***Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of “Moon Cleveland” from the author. As always, all opinions are 100% my own.***

 

Why? Weekends!

Aside from breaking in the new Lindey’s Lake House, we had a very theatrical weekend, so let’s get on with the show…

Beck Center for the Arts

On Friday, Matthew and I went to see a performance of “Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar and Grill” at Beck Center for the Arts.

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Held in the intimate Studio Theater, you felt as if you were in Emerson’s Bar and Grill in Philadelphia in 1959.

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The show dramatically recreates a performance given by Billie Holiday a mere four months before her death. Her classic songs are interwoven with funny and tragic stories from her troubled life.

Nicole Sumlin is brilliant as Billie Holiday and the practically one-woman show left us riveted.

“Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar and Grill” continues at Beck Center for the Arts through April 14. You can purchase tickets online.

Community theater is a vital part of our arts community and Beck Center not only allows performers and audiences a chance to enjoy great shows, but it also furthers arts education.

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Beck Center for the Arts offers multiple theater experiences, from shows suited for adults and families alike. Check out their upcoming shows, including “King Lear” and “Matilda the Musical.” Beck Center also offers educational programs, with a full array of summer camps.

***Disclosure: I was invited to attend a performance of “Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar and Grill” at Beck Center. I received two complimentary tickets to the performance. As always, all opinions are 100% my own.***

Sesame Street Live

From jazz and blues and tales of addiction to magic and sing-alongs and inspiration, we shifted gears and attended Sesame Street Live Make Your Magic on Saturday.

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Jeffrey felt like he might be a little big for Sesame Street Live, but as soon as the show started, he was transported and thoroughly enjoyed the songs and story.

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Elmo and Abby and friends learned not only how to perform magic tricks, but also how to find wonder if the every day happenings of life.

It was a fun, vibrant performance that we left singing.

***Disclosure: I was asked to help promote Sesame Street Live. In exchange, I received three complimentary tickets to the show.***

How was your weekend? Did you get outside and enjoy the glorious weather?

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Why? Sesame Street Live Giveaway!

Who doesn’t love seeing their favorite characters come to life on stage right in front of their eyes? This is exactly the fun and magic your child can experience at Sesame Street Live! Make Your Magic! coming to the Wolstein Center on Saturday, April 6 and Sunday, April 7.

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Make Your Magic! helps kids and adults alike find the magic in the everyday moments. You’ll see all your favorite characters, like Elmo, Abby Cadabby, Big Bird, and Cookie Monster, and enjoy high-energy dance numbers.

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Tickets are currently on sale and start at just $15. You can also add on a Meet & Greet experience for $20 per ticket (must also purchase a show ticket). The Meet & Greet includes photo opps, a scavenger hunt, magic tricks, and more up-close experiences.

You can purchase show and Meet & Greet tickets online.

Or you can enter to win a family 4-pack of tickets to see Sesame Street Live! Meet Your Magic! on Saturday, April 6 at 6pm. 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 letting me know your child’s favorite Sesame Street character (or yours).

2. Visit Sesame Street Live and Why CLE? on Facebook and leave a comment here letting me know you visited both pages.

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

4. Follow @sesamestlive 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 see @sesamestlive thanks to @WhyCLE #giveaway https://whycle.com/2019/03/20/why-sesame-street-live-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 Sunday, March 24 at 11:59pm and the winner will be notified the following day. Good luck!

***Disclosure: I was asked by Feld Entertainment to help promote Sesame Street Live! Make Your Magic! In exchange, I will receive complimentary tickets to the show, as well as show swag. As always, all opinions are 100% my own.***

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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?

jenclesig_pur

Why? Broadway in CLE!

The line-up for the 2019-2020 KeyBank Broadway Series at Playhouse Square has been announced! From music and stories we all know and love, to new tales that will tug at your heart, this upcoming season has something for everyone.

Here’s what’s coming and when:

Summer: The Donna Summer Musical tells the behind-the-music story of the Disco Queen, with a score featuring more than 20 of her greatest hits.

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See it October 8-27, 2019.

The Band’s Visit, winner of 10 Tony Awards including Best Musical, this show tells the story of a band of Egyptian musicians who wind up in the wrong town and find their lives changed by the locals.

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See it November 5-24, 2019.

Mean Girls is so fetch! You probably know the movie, but you’ll love seeing it come to life in song and dance on stage!

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See it December 3-22, 2019.

Anastasia will take you on a journey to the past, from the fall of the Russian Empire to Paris in the 1920’s, as Anya struggles to find home, love, and family.

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See it February 4-23, 2020.

Jesus Christ Superstar celebrates its 50th anniversary in 2020, as a rock opera that started as a record album and went on to shake up the theatrical world. With rock songs that tell a story as old as time, this show is sure to stir your soul.

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See it March 10-29, 2020.

My Fair Lady is a revival of the classic story of Eliza Doolittle and Professor Henry Higgins, with gorgeous costumes, set, and songs to transport you to London in 1912 and make you able to dance all night.

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See it April 28-May 17, 2020.

Disney’s Frozen brings what Disney does best together with what Broadway does best to tell the beloved tale of Elsa and Anna in spectacular visual format.

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See it July 15-August 16, 2020.

Season ticket packages are currently on sale online. Cleveland boasts the largest touring Broadway season ticket holder base in the country, with 46,000 season ticket holders! This is the best way to secure your seats for all these amazing shows and be a part of Broadway in CLE!

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Why? Jump Back Ball!

Saturday was the annual Jump Back Ball put on by Playhouse Square Partners. This year’s theme was Jump Back Across the Pond and the guests came decked out as everything from royalty to musicians to wizards.

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The VIP Party had the royal family make an appearance…

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…including the Queen’s corgi (in reality, Murray, who belongs to Beard and the Broad).

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We also enjoyed specialty cocktails from Tito’s Handmade Vodka and Pope’s Kitchen, high tea inspired appetizers from The Driftwood Group, and music from North Coast String Quartet.

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Then it was off to the main event, with more great food and drinks, music from Abby Normal & the Detroit Lean on the main stage and Faction on the late night stage, and tons of fun British-themed photo opps, all created by Playhouse Square Partners members.

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This was our eighth Jump Back Ball and I’m amazed how, every year, we have such an incredible time at this truly unique, fun, epic event!

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Oh, and did I mention it’s all to benefit Playhouse Square’s community outreach and education initiatives, such as the Dazzle Awards and the Disney Musicals in Schools program?

What a bloody brilliant evening! Stay tuned for next year’s theme announcement and ticket sales kickoff in Fall 2019!

***Disclosure: I was asked by Playhouse Square to help promote Jump Back Ball. In exchange, I received two complimentary VIP tickets to the event. I am also the co-chair of the Communications Committee for Playhouse Square Partners. As always, all opinions are 100% my own.***

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Why? Weekends!

It was a super busy weekend in the CLE, so let’s get right to it…

Partner Yoga

On Friday night, Matthew and I took a Partner Yoga workshop at Yoga Roots. Both of us have practiced for a long time, but never like this!

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Led by Yoga Roots teachers Sharon and Nick, the workshop put you and your partner in poses together, from feet touching in child’s pose to planking on top of each other!

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The room was filled with lively conversation and laughter. It was a great way to not only connect with your partner, but to build connections within the Yoga Roots community too. After class, we grabbed some wine and snacks for a little picnic on our mat.

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This was a fun and unique date night and a cool way to expand our practice!

Donut Fest

Saturday, we continued our annual tradition of attending Donut Fest.

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Held at RedSpace, this event brings together 12 donut purveyors to offer samples of their tasty treats, along with local coffee vendors to help wash it all down.

This year, some of our favorites included the chocolate strawberry creme stick from Jack Frost Donuts

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…the chocolate clementine donuts from Fiona’s Coffee Bar and Bakery

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…and the sour cream donuts from Goldie’s Donuts & Bakery.

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While Donut Fest is definitely a sugary overload, I feel like the bakeries have moderated the sample size from the first year, so you can actually enjoy something from each of the shops. Plus, who doesn’t love the chance to taste test so many different types of donuts under one roof?!

Anne Cate Studio Opening

Saturday night, my friend Mariah and I attended the grand opening party for Anne Cate‘s studio space in Mentor.

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This space is part office, part production studio, which can also sell some of the skyline merchandise. It’s sleek, modern, and perfectly pretty in Anne Cate’s signature pink and black!

I can’t wait to see what fabulous things Anne Cate has in store (haha) for this space!

Partners Brunch Around

On Sunday, I joined some of my fellow Playhouse Square Partners for brunch in Tremont. We had groups at 4 different Tremont restaurants and I was lucky enough to land at Fat Cats.

As one of Tremont’s longest standing restaurants, Fat Cats has stood the test of time and remains a delicious spot to eat. I had the Williams Wake Up Breakfast Sandwich, with egg, avocado, bacon, and slaw.

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Served on lightly grilled bread and with a side of sweet potato fries, this was a perfect brunch item: sort of breakfasty, sort of lunchy, and totally yummy!

After our brunches, the groups from the various restaurants all met up for a drink at The Flying Monkey Pub.

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What a great Sunday Funday!

Bright Ideas

After that, I headed to The Brecksville Theatre to see my friend Wes in their production of “Bright Ideas.” This show is a campy and fun look at parents trying to get their kid into a very exclusive preschool.

We definitely laughed a lot and found some very relatable moments in the show. It’s playing February 15, 16, and 17 and you can purchase tickets online.

So that was our busy weekend! How was yours?

jenclesig_pur

 

Why? Weekends, Part 2!

The rest of our weekend was family-fun focused, so here we go…

Children’s Museum of Cleveland

Jeffrey had a parent/teacher conference day on Friday, so since he didn’t have school, we were looking for something fun to do. We went to the Children’s Museum of Cleveland to check out their two newest exhibits: Theater and Playlist.

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Theater and Playlist opened at the end of November and give children new ways to explore their creativity at the museum. Theater has everything you need to put on a play, from a ticket booth to a tech area that controls lights and sound effects to hair and makeup stations and costumes.

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Children can put on plays, musicals, puppet shows, or concerts. The creativity I saw in the different types of shows and costumes was awesome! What a cool spot for kids to explore!

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Playlist incorporates shadow walls and wooden “instruments” to let children express themselves in dance and instrumentation. Playlist has different musical themes, from Latin to African to Americana.

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Much like Theater, Playlist encourages individuality and creativity. It was so cool to see Jeffrey dance and perform (and not even want to leave those two areas).
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If you haven’t been to the Children’s Museum of Cleveland in a bit, you’ll find all the favorites you loved, plus new exhibits to spark the imagination!

***Disclosure: I received two complimentary passes courtesy of the Children’s Museum of Cleveland. As always, all opinions are 100% my own.***

Children’s Theater Series

On Saturday, we enjoyed the next show in the Children’s Theater Series at Playhouse Square: “The Rainbow Fish.”

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Put on by the Mermaid Theatre of Nova Scotia, this bright and engaging puppet performance was a wonderful way to enjoy a story that Jeffrey was well-familiar with from the children’s book.

Every time we take Jeffrey to the theater, I see him become more invested in the storytelling and it’s truly a wonderful experience for the whole family!

Open House

On Sunday, we took Jeffrey to an Open House to see where we applied for him to be in Kindergarten. I honestly can’t believe we’re at the Kindergarten application point!

He really enjoyed getting to see where his “big boy school” may be. Plus, we all enjoyed going out for pizza and pasta at Pizzazz on the Circle with his best friend afterwards.

 

So, a win-win all around!

That was our weekend, in two parts. How was yours?

jenclesig_pur