Mini Vacation with the Baby

We’re back from a weekend away and the baby’s first hotel stay! B and I got in a quick weekend away with FW in Columbus and enjoyed some good food, drinks and even family time.

The weekend started off with pizza (yup,  every Friday) from Pies and Pints.  We didn’t get in until late, so we ended up not going out. Instead,  I picked up the pizza and grabbed a drink at the bar while B put FW to bed.  #winningmom


Saturday we had a while day of exploring to do! We started with breakfast and a walk in the Short North.


And then we spent the day on our feet walking – we walked to the Columbus Topiary Garden, downtown and German Village.

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In front of the statehouse where his great grandfather worked

We also had to stop by North Market.


And then we were back again to grab drinks at the Short North.


Saturday night,  we enjoyed dinner at a cute (and baby friendly!) restaurant- Hubbard.


I had amazing food.  We started off with fried Brussels sprouts and then I enjoyed a cauliflower sandwich with arugula quinoa salad. Jeni’s ice cream not pictured.

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Sunday morning, we got up early and went for a stroller run around the city. We made it to a trail with a nice view of downtown.

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Then, it was time for brunch! We ended our trip with brunch at B’s cousins’ house and FW got to meet his great aunt and cousins.

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B, FW and cousin Pete – the Wolfpack! (I swear FW is howling at the moon, not crying)

And of course, we ended Sunday with dinner with B’s parents. We celebrated B and two of his brothers’ birthdays with B’s favorite – steak, mashed potatoes and chocolate chocolate cake!

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  • What is your favorite birthday cake? Ice cream cake!! Love me some Ben & Jerry’s ice cream cake- Heath bar (I know it’s not called that anymore) or Peanut Butter fudge.
  • Have you ever been to Columbus, Ohio?

And because it’s Monday, I’m linking up with ErinKatie and the weekly wraps.


Another Carnoski Thanksgiving in NY and Cleveland

I really love this time of year. I love the food, the holiday music, the traditions, etc. But really, I just love seeing my family. B and I swap Thanksgivings, spending pretty much every other holiday with my family, and this was one of the years we spent in New York so I got to see my family and friends.

A few highlights from my Thanksgiving:

A few homemade meals (I still love my mom’s cooking):

Chicken with mozzarella and spinach

Chicken with mozzarella and spinach

Quinoa with Apples and Pecans - i crashed the web

Quinoa with Apples and Pecans – recipe here!

A scenic train ride into New York City:


Walking around the city with B and then dinner with one of my bffs, Jane:


Sorry, no food pics (it didn't come out) but we enjoyed an awesome Mediterranean meal!

Sorry, no food pics (it didn’t come out) but we enjoyed an awesome Mediterranean meal!

Walking across the Brooklyn Bridge with B:

halfway up the bridge!

halfway across the bridge!

Our approach from Brooklyn

Our approach from Brooklyn

Sushi with my parents:

Does anyone know what the raw egg on top of the fish on the top left is ? It was amazing...

Does anyone know what the raw egg on top of the fish on the top left is? It was amazing…

A surprise day-before-Thanksgiving Noreaster – so pretty! (it had been 70 in the city the day before!)


A Thanksgiving morning 5k and a too brief reunion with my other bff, Melgar:

<3 the two Melissas

❤ the two Melissas before the Turkey Trot (with matching headbands of course)

Melgar's husband, B and me post-run

Melgar’s husband, Jon, B and me post-run

Me and Melgar and her sister with our medals!

Me and Melgar and her sister with our medals!

Thanksgiving dinner with family

so many appetizers!

so many appetizers!

Family picture <3

Family picture ❤

Post-Thanksgiving Chinese (What does this fortune even mean?!)

I have no idea ...

I have no idea …

B’s family’s post-Thanksgiving celebration – annual bowling tournament

B - the bowling all star (he made it into the finals this year!)

B – the bowling all star (he made it into the finals this year!)



Final score of my best round - 81!

Final score of my best round – 81!

And made it back to Cleveland just in time to catch the end of Winterfest and the lighting of downtown!

Love the Christmas music, the tree and chandelier lighting and all the people!

Love the Christmas music, the tree and chandelier lighting and all the people!

fireworks and a tree lighting

fireworks and a tree lighting

Okay, off to listen to some Christmas tunes (finally!!!!!) and get into the holiday spirit. Only a few weeks until Christmas!


Some questions for you:

  • Did you do a Turkey Trot?
  • How do you spend Thanksgiving? What’s a fun tradition you have?
  • Do you wait until after Thanksgiving to listen to holiday tunes?

Bacon Bombs, Bowling and More = A West Virginian Thanksgiving

And so it begins – the holiday season is officially here! Woohoo! I really do love this time of year – from the baking and holiday foods, to the festive lights decorating downtown to of course being able to spend time with my family – what’s not to like?

lights in the Arcade in Cleveland

lights in the Arcade in Cleveland

This weekend we celebrated Thanksgiving. And because we trade locations (NY with my family vs. here with B’s family) each year, this year we were spending the holiday with B’s family. And this year, B’s family had rented a cabin in Wheeling, West Virginia at Oglebay Resort. We would be in a cabin for three nights with about 20 members of B’s family and extended family – which meant lots of good meals, drinks, games, and we even fit in some even some runs and walks! Some highlights:

The cabin:

Here’s where we stayed- it was really nice and a short walk from the main lodge which meant just a short walk from the pool and fitness center! (yes, I got in a 6 mile treadmill run one day while the kiddos were splashing in the pool).

Our home for 3 nights

Our home for 3 nights

The food:

We arrived Wednesday night at the cabin to a dinner of what B’s family was calling bacon bombs. Bacon/meat-lovers rejoice – have I got the meal for you – imagine a giant meatloaf wrapped in bacon? That’s what this is:

bacon bombs!

bacon bombs!

And what would Thanksgiving be without all of the other glorious food?

dinner collage

Some of the fun:

Before getting on the road, we decided to do some pre-vacation pampering! I went with my niece and two of my sisters-in-law and we got our nails done.


I brought supplies with me to make some candy turkeys I’d found on Pinterest – and they were a hit! The kids loved making them and trying to steal all the candy/cookies/frosting/etc. they could get their hands on.


We went sleigh riding down what a local called “Suicide Hill.” I mostly watched and ran up and down the hill to keep warm, but couldn’t help but take photos and video of the fun. My favorite? Sending Oliver down the hill in a laundry basket that we had in the car.

Keeping the Thanksgiving morning tradition of running alive, we found a 5k in Wheeling and ran it – with a few of the other family members! It was tons of fun. I ran the whole race with B’s cousin who’s the girl in the front in the blue hat in the pic below – she’s fast and came in 4th in her age group (14 and under).

B and me post-race. B rocked and PRd with a 5k in 23 something minutes

B and me post-race. B rocked and PRd with a 5k in 23 something minutes

The whole gang who ran!

The whole gang who ran!

And of course just all around shenanigans and playing with my niece and nephew and cousins-in-law.

He's a pretty good reader for a preschooler huh?

He’s a pretty good reader for a preschooler huh?

Teaching her some of my favorite old hand-games.

Teaching her some of my favorite old hand-games.

Pirates are completely normal on Thanksgiving, right? Didn't they come over with the pilgrims?

Pirates are completely normal on Thanksgiving, right? Didn’t they come over with the pilgrims?

And Thanksgiving with B’s family wouldn’t be complete without BOWLING. That’s right, the Saturday after Thanksgiving, his dad’s side gets together for a bowling competition (the side of the family who gets together for softball competition each year). No, I didn’t win (for some reason scoring a 76 didn’t even get me into the finals!) – but there’s always next year, right? I’ll be seeking bowling coaches – you know where to find me! (kidding)





And that was it! From traveling to West Virginia and then to way out northeastern Ohio for bowling, I’m somewhat feeling I need a vacation from my vacation!

Some questions for you:

How was your Thanksgiving? Do you travel for the holiday?

What did you make for the holiday? B and I were in charge of desserts! We also were to make a vegetable – so we made roasted squash and Brussels sprouts!

Did you try any new foods? Yes! Shoofly pie, that B and I made, as well as a slice of a bacon bomb. 

Do you have any fun family traditions during the holidays? Bowling with B’s family the Sat. after Thanksgiving has become a great tradition!

Did you do any Thanksgiving day races / Turkey Trots?

What are you most looking forward to about the coming month or so of the holiday season? Love Actually, Christmas music and seeing my family again!

I leave you with this pic of B and me chopping veggies:


A Midnight Baseball Game, A Bowling Birthday Bash and a Babysitting Adventure

If you want to know what B and I did this weekend, the title really says it all … we went to an Indians Game (which pretty much started after midnight!), went to a Bowling Birthday Party and borrowed our niece and nephew for a downtown sleepover/babysitting adventure. And we (and the kiddos) survived!

Midnight Ball Game

Friday night, B and I had plans to go to the Indians game with B’s sisters, B’s brother and a few of B’s sister’s friends (you follow?). B’s sister Katie’s boyfriend (or boy friend) was in town and the plan was to show him a night out in Cleveland. The plans were to meet for happy hour before the game, and then head to Progressive Field for some $1 hot dogs and cheap seats.

The plans didn’t quite work out … the weather turned Friday afternoon from sunny and 80s to chilly and torrential downpours – which caused a rain delay. And then another rain delay. And then another rain delay! We made it over to the game for the new 9 p.m. start time, and ended up watching two innings before another rain delay – this time for about two more hours! Determined not to waste our evening, we feasted on $1 — er, now 50 cent — hot dogs, pop corn, beer, and waited. At about 11 p.m. we decided to leave. JUST as we left the stadium, they lifted up the tarp – they were going to play again! We decided to wait the next hour at a bar while they dried up the field. B’s brother headed home, and I was getting tired, so I confess – I didn’t make the end of the game. B and his sister and her boyfriend were troopers – they stayed until nearly 3 a.m. when the game was over!

50 cent hot dogs? I’ll have 6!

Waited it out. For a long time. The game ended at nearly 3 a.m.! (I’m sure the people behind us in the photo are leaving. )

AH! Oh no. Not the tarp again!

AH! Oh no. Not the tarp again!

Bowling Birthday Bash

Caring Cubs, an organization that I’m involved in thanks to Bridge Builders (and posted about before, here) was hosting their 5th Birthday celebration this weekend. Part of my Bridge Builders project was actually to help them come up with something that would help them fund-raise (they mostly rely on community donations and occasional grants!)  – and the options were endless! We eventually came up with an event with a silent auction – and Saturday’s Bowling Birthday Bash was born. Even though I was volunteering at the event, B also attended and we brought our niece and nephew to the festivities. Why not? It included bowling, bumpers for the kids, pizza, birthday cake, crafts, facepaint AND even an appearance by a Care Bear! It was definitely fun  – and I’m proud that my efforts are contributing to the sustainability of this organization.

My helper at the check-in table!

My helper at the check-in table!

A real Care Bear! (Side note – I had to show them who the Care Bears were on my phone before the event)

Hanging out at the Bowling Birthday Bash!

Hanging out at the Bowling Birthday Bash!

What's a birthday party without cake?

What’s a birthday party without cake?

24 Hours in Babysitting

After the Bowling Bash, B and I had plans to have his niece and nephew sleep over. Their parents were out of town, and (admittedly, after a few Memorial Day glasses of wine) we volunteered to babysit them from Saturday through Sunday. I was a little nervous leading up to the weekend – I hadn’t officially babysat in years (in college I used to babysit an infant and eventually toddler pretty much once a week, and summers I would babysit two elementary school girls 2-3 full days during the summer — but that was years ago!) and B’s nephew can be a handful sometimes. It was actually a lot of fun and I have to give B credit – it seemed like he did most of the work, and I had most of the fun! From painting nails, to baking cookies, to walking to the lake and taking the trolley (the kids were super impressed with the “big trains,” “big buildings,” and pretty much everything about downtown), to running on the treadmill and B watching the kids (they did like watching me for a little!), to watching The Muppet Movie  to hanging out in the homemade fort – it was really a fun weekend! No temper tantrums, no bruises and we all (yes, all four of us) survived.

This photo is completely normal.

This photo is completely normal.

Some of the awesome ways we spent our night -  face paint, trolley rides, baking cookies, Muppet movies and fort making!

Some of the awesome ways we spent our night – face paint, trolley rides, baking cookies, Muppet movies and fort making!

Watching the boats on the lake

Watching the boats on the lake

They loved the trolley!

They loved the trolley!

Will we be watching them again anytime soon? I asked B – he said “that depends on what they report back to their parents.”  Hmm … not sure if that’s a yes, but it’s definitely not a no!

How was your weekend? Some questions to ponder:

  • Did you used to babysit? Did you ever take the Red Cross Babysitting Course? Yes I did! I took it in 5th grade and babysat through college. I’m a little rusty, though…
  • What’s your favorite kind of birthday cake? I love ice cream cake! Vanilla heath bar crunch ice cream please. OR I’ll settle for a cassata cake 🙂
  • What’s the latest you’ve ever watched a baseball game?
  • How many hot dogs do you chow down on during $1 dog night? Have you ever seen 50 cent dog night?
  • What’s your favorite baseball game snack? It used to be the pretzels with mustard – but now that I found the tri-colored popcorn stands (cheddar, caramel and regular) I may have a new treat!

Another Wonderful Weekend in the CLE

We had another wonderfully sunny, warm and beautiful weekend in Cleveland! Since I was out of town last weekend, I was excited for a few days of sleeping, a long run or two, and overall a relaxing weekend.

Friday night, B and I got a few invites to watch the Indian’s game or go out with friends, but we already had plans – a First Communion celebration. B’s cousin was receiving her First Communion and we were invited to the Mass and a dinner celebration after. It was great to see B’s family and we enjoyed some great food – including some homemade smoked salmon. I wish I had taken a photo – it was SO good! We got home somewhat late and since we had planned on a day full of errands and partying, for Saturday, we decided to stay in and watch up on our DVR and bake. I had my own mini Nutella bakefest – and made some awesome Peanut Butter, Nutella, Chocolate Pretzel Bars, along with some Nutella Heath Bar Rice Krispie Treats (recipe coming soon), while sipping wine. Definitely not a bad way to spend a Friday night in my opinion 🙂

a sneak peek at my baking - nutella rice krispie treats!

a sneak peek at my baking – Nutella rice krispie treats!

Saturday morning, we woke up early to cross a few items on our to-do list – mine included running, going to the West Side Market, laundry, finishing baking and going to Kentucky Derby Party. And somehow, I got it all done!  I got in 7 miles – the first 3 by myself, and the last 4 with B. Running with B is so much better than running alone!

running by the lake this week

running by the lake this week

After our run, B and I headed to the West Side Market for some groceries and samples. I LOVE the popcorn stand there and cannot make a trip there without trying my favorite flavor, Dichotomy (a mix between caramel and cheddar) and one new one, this time the spicy jalapeno popcorn. While we  were there, I checked my phone and saw that Market Garden Brewery was offering a Kentucky Derby special – buy a mint julep and get a special official Kentucky Derby glass!

market derby

So of course we had to make a stop and try out their juleps. For the free glasses of course. And a soft pretzel.

Mint julep at Market Garden Brewery

Mint julep on the patio at Market Garden Brewery

After stopping by the Market and enjoying some afternoon drinks, I finished my baking and did some laundry, and we got ready for the Kentucky Derby Party. Each year, B’s brother and sister-in-law host a Derby Party. There is plenty of food, lots of drinks, and even a little gambling. As always, it was a fun event – and this year, I even won! I somehow guessed the 1st place winner, and even put money on #3 to come in 3rd place.

B's niece in my hat

B’s niece in my hat

ladies with hats

ladies with hats

winning ticket!

winning ticket!

After having a few mint juleps and  Black-eyed Susans (the official drink of the Preakness), I had planned on sleeping in on Sunday.  But when B got ready to go to his Sunday morning softball games, I decided to join him and even go for a run while the team was playing. The first few miles were tough – my feet were a little tired after a week of running, but after I got warmed up, it was great. The area where B plays softball is a mixture of suburbs and parks, so it’s definitely not boring. I turned on some tunes and even turned on my MapMyRun app  for motivation. And don’t worry, I took Monday off from running so my legs got some time to relax.

The rest of the afternoon was pretty relaxing – starting a new book, catching up on emails, preparing some meals for the week, and more catching up on the DVR. Slightly boring? Maybe. A pretty perfect day? In my mind, yes.

Some questions to ponder:

  • Do you make to-do lists on your weekends? 
  • Do you enjoy the occasional low-key (“boring”) weekend? Yes! Sometimes a perfect weekend for me is spending time just baking and running.
  • How did you celebrate the Kentucky Derby? Did you win any money?
  • What’s on your DVR? We have Mad Men, Happy Endings, The Mindy Project, Glee, The Voice and New Girl.
  • What’s the last thing you baked?

Half Marathon Weekend Recap – The Holy Half

B and I ran a half marathon this weekend in South Bend, Indiana. You may recall that one of my goals for this year was to run at least 2 half marathons (to partially make up for my injury while training for a full marathon last year). I was thinking of training for Cleveland, but since we’ll be at B’s sister’s graduation from Notre Dame that weekend, we started looking for other races. So when B’s sister mentioned she’d be running the Holy Half at Notre Dame, it only seemed appropriate that we run that!

holy half marathon

How did it go? The race itself went well except B wasn’t feeling good most of the time. He was feeling a little sick the first half, and then was in much more pain the second half of the race – stomach, legs, etc. I kept with him the whole time and we finished, but definitely weren’t running for time. Maybe that’s why I felt so good after the race and could have run at least a mile or few more.

B's Aunt Marie took this action shot!

B’s Aunt Marie took this action shot!

What did we like about the race?

  • The running crowd – I really enjoyed the group of people that were running. It was mostly Notre Dame students so it was a lot of young people – but quite a few non-ND students were mixed in as well (including a BC grad like myself). It didn’t hurt that B, his two sisters and one of his brothers were all running the half or the 10k!
  • The cheering – The students were all over campus cheering the runners on. It was fun to see the students with signs and cheering everyone on – even those who clearly weren’t part of their campus.
  • The water/Gu stops – There seemed to be plenty of water stops to keep us hydrated and even 3-4 stops that also included Gu Chomps.
  • The run through campus – The running route was about two laps of a 10k course. Parts of it were through campus, which was fun to see! I’m slightly biased with my idea of what a beautiful campus looks like (Sorry, but BC was GORGEOUS!) but it was nice to see another pretty college.
  • The start time – Starting at 9 a.m.? LOVED not having to get up at the break of dawn to get to the race!
  • The post-race food – Free Jimmy John’s subs (veggie for me), Dunkin Donuts bagels, Peeps, fruit and more. The supply was endless!

What didn’t we like about the race?

  • The weather – I guess you can’t really blame this on the race but it was COLD! I couldn’t feel my fingers at the end, at all, which wasn’t fun. I was wearing normal winter running gear, but for some reason couldn’t get my hands warm. This could have to do with the fact that I’m incapable of drinking water during runs and spilled the ice cold water cups a few times. Whoops!
  • The overall course –  While I did love running through campus and liked the loop, I didn’t like miles 2-4 of the loop, which were almost like a trail run. They were around a lake or pond on campus and the path was very narrow – some parts you were barely able to pass anyone, which is not good for the start of a race – and the ground was rock solid and uneven. It had clearly been muddy at some point, and then re-frozen and it hurt my knees more than the normal concrete. B also didn’t like the last few miles of the loop because it was mostly running around parking lots, etc.
  • No medal – We didn’t get a medal. Not that I do anything with the medals I get (do you?) but we didn’t get anything for finishing. Our race bags had t-shirts and some odd assortment of goodies (jewelry cleaner?) but there was no medal or anything at the finish line.
Post-race relaxing at Notre Dame .. and a photo-bomb by Pete!

Post-race relaxing at  Legends on Notre Dame .. and a photo-bomb by Pete!

After the race, we met up with B’s aunt, uncle and cousin, who had been cheering everyone on and grabbed a few drinks on campus before heading back to take a nap. Post-nap we were starving! We enjoyed some pretty good pizza (surprisingly good for what I was expecting out of a small pizza joint in Indiana) and then headed to a local bar for some dancing, fuzzy navel shots and some seriously amazing games of beer pong (B was undefeated!). Definitely not a bad way to spend a half-marathon weekend! 

Some thoughts to ponder:

  • Have you ever signed up for a half marathon less than two weeks before the race? How did it go?
  • Do you like to run with a friend/significant other when racing? Do you leave them behind or stick with them through the end?
  • Have you ever run a race through a college campus?
  • What’s your favorite post-race indulgence?
  • What’s your favorite college campus?

Weekend Recap: St. Patrick’s Day Edition

St. Patrick’s Day 2012 has come and gone and it was a success! What do I mean by a success?

  1. The weather was awesome. Sunny and 70s in March? Short sleeves and a skirt? Success.
  2. Downtown was crazy and I mean crazy. Reports said that there were 500,000 people downtown for the parade and other festivities, which is more than even LIVE in Cleveland proper!
  3. Some bad decisions were made – but all to be expected and we all survived.

See? A success!

Saturday morning B and I hit the streets and got started early – no, not with what everyone else was doing, but with running. B, Mary and I went for our 10 miler around 9 a.m., knowing that we were expecting B’s family and some of our friends over for beer and cupcakes (yes, beer and cupcakes) before the parade. We finished our run around 11 a.m. and I already had 5 text messages and 6 missed calls. B’s family had gotten in from Columbus early! Yipes. We rushed back to the apartment and were greeted by B’s Aunt Marie (aforementioned in the Atlantic City weekend post), Uncle Dan and cousin Pete, along with his mom, who had dropped off his brother at the parade (it was his last year marching with Ignatius’ band). Downtown was already a mad house – as we approached our apartment we could see that East 4th was completely full of people and Cadillac Ranch had people smooshed all the way up to the fence. Thank goodness we had our own apartment, and deck, to hang out on!

Ali stopped by too!

Pre-parade, the cupcakes (St. Patrick’s Day themed – Murphy’s Chocolate Cupcakes with Dark Chocolate Ganache & Bailey’s Buttercream Frosting) and beverages were a success! B’s niece and nephew even couldn’t get enough of the cakes.

Yum, cupcakes!

We went out to watch the parade around 2, knowing that B’s brother would be crossing our paths soon. Getting to the parade reminded me of an episode of Walking Dead – except with drunk people. It was insane just trying to get to the area where we could even see the parade.

 After the parade was over, we went back to our apartment to meet up with some more people for some more cupcakes and beer, and then headed down to the Flat Iron where we feasted on corned beef and experienced some live Irish music and more Irish beers. We hung out for a little while and then walked back home. Yup, walked home. I love warm days and living downtown!

Tower City, lit up green, on our walk home

Sunday we probably did what most other Clevelanders did – pretty much nothing. After going out for breakfast and Mass, we hit up the store for some groceries (without beer and cupcakes, our fridge was suddenly very empty!) and then sat ourselves down in front of the TV to catch up on 3 weeks of DVR watching. Lazy? Yes. But there’s something so rewarding about hitting delete after watching your shows and seeing the DVR go from 73% to barely 20%. A great end to a great weekend.