A Weekend Away With Friends: Hocking Hills

B and I just got back from a weekend away with the kids. It was our first trip since our summer getaway to Toronto and Ithaca, and it was our first trip ever with some other couples with kids. And it was a success! We all got (some) sleep, had good food and had fun on some hiking trails. We spent the weekend away in Hocking Hills, about a 3 1/2 hour drive from our house (longer if you’re traveling with 2 kids and one gets carsick about halfway through …).We got into town around 8 ish or so on Friday night. We had dinner with the kids and just hung out for a while talking after the kids went to bed late. We were beat – the car ride down had not been easy. LM cried for a good portion of the trip, FW needed to get out to go to the bathroom when we were in the middle of nowhere, and then LM got carsick twice. But we did have this pie waiting for us when we got there (made by my friend Anson).Saturday, we started off with breakfast. I had made a French toast casserole that we just had to heat up before the day began. Our activities began with a drive to Ash Cave and a hike to the cave. We hiked the Gorge and Rim Trail. Those trails were only about 1/2 mile or so, so we ended up walking a bit on the Grandma Gatewood Trail before turning around and making it back to our car for a picnic lunch.After lunch, we opted for another trail – this time to Old Man’s Cave! We hiked the lower falls and Gorge Trail, both of which were fun and not too hard to do with the kids – we had the little ones in backpacks and preschoolers with us at all times (basically FW was holding my hand as we walked up the tons and tons of stairs and anytime we were along the cliffs).Then, back to the cabin for nap time. We finished the afternoon with a cookout, complete with s’mores and the s’mores cookie bars I had brought.

These were pretty good 🙂

Sunday morning we had to pack it up and leave. But not before one last hike! This time we walked a little around the property. It was 80s and the kids were getting tired so it wasn’t too long of a walk – just enough to get out some energy before the car ride home.

All in all, it was a great weekend. Being around 5 children at a time could be a little overwhelming, but I would definitely do it again!

Questions for you:

  • Have you been to Hocking Hills?
  • Have you done a trip with other couples and their families?

24 Hours In Detroit

Well, that weekend went way too fast. Know why? We were hardly in Cleveland at all – we spent 22 hours in Detroit!

What does one do with 2 kids when they’re in Detroit for a day? Well, we spent most of the time with family. B’s brother lives downtown and his other brothers and dad were in own visiting, so we met up with them and hung out.

We did walk to the Eastern Market, which was a cool outdoor/indoor market with lots of different food vendors.

FW even got a free apple from one of the vendors!

After walking around the market, we ordered pizza and got some beers at Eastern Market Brewing I really liked their Session IPA and FW loved the pizza from Supino. He had 2 slices!

We saw some cool artwork. there are beautiful murals all over the city, and I really liked these two – the Welcome  to Detroit right under Stevie Wonder. 

Then, while the boys went to the Tigers vs. Indians game (Indians won!), LM and I walked around a little and got dinner. She loved the veggie sandwich from Avalon. Brownie not pictured.

Sunday morning we woke up to rain. And not a “hey it’s just drizzling, we’ll put on our raincoats and be fine” kind of rain – but the kind that had us bundling in our raincoats and as we walked outside we were immediately soaked. Even as we left the hotel, some guy commented, “You’re going outside? You’re gonna get wet.”

We walked a little around before hopping into Avalon (yes, again – but B and FW hadn’t been there) for breakfast. If I lived here, I could see myself going there a lot.

We had plans to walk around the city some more and check out the River Walk before our hotel checkout time, but even when we left the restaurant, it was still a complete downpour. So we went back to the hotel and before we knew it it was time to check out.

We will definitely have to go back to Detroit again soon – hopefully next time the weather will hold out and we’ll get to do some more stuff.

Questions for you:

  • Have you ever been to Detroit?
  • White pizza or saucy pizza?

 

How I’m Learning to Deal with Picky Eaters

I have a confession to make. Last week alone, I fed my kid “chik’n” nuggets, grilled cheese and quesadillas … and I’m okay with it.

I never intended to buy frozen food, heat it up and serve it on a regular basis. I know my mom never did that (did you, mom? Because the only thing I’m pretty sure you bought frozen was tortellini, but you made it with your homemade sauce so that doesn’t count, right?) … and before kids, our dinners consisted of grilled meats and fishes, healthy grains, homemade sauces and dressings, salads and even homemade bread. So what happened?

how to deal with a picky eater toddler

I have a picky eater. My (almost) 3-year-old doesn’t like vegetables. Not even the so-called “kid-friendly” vegetables like broccoli or carrots (yes, people have told me that these are the veggies kids like). He doesn’t even really like pizza!

So how are we surviving? Here’s how I’ve learned to live with it:

  • Stop comparing and beating myself up. Before having kids, I’d heard people say that if you feed kids what you eat then they’ll have to eat it. Let’s just say that that’s not the case. That’s what we’ve tried to do, but my son is perfectly happy not eating dinner. If we’re eating something he doesn’t like, he’s happy going to bed without eating and then waking up at 3 a.m. starving. For his well-being (and attempt not to wake up at 3 a.m.), I prefer that not be the case.
  • Never give up. Just because he doesn’t like something the first time (or the 5th time), doesn’t mean he always won’t like it. And, the more he sees us eating different foods, the more likely he is to try them. You can imagine my astonishment when one day he reached for a drumstick off my husband’s plate and took a bite. And now “chicken on the bone” (as he calls it) is something he loves.
  • Find a food your kid loves and sneak the good stuff in it. My son loves muffins. We call him the muffin man. So you’d better bet that we’ve made spinach muffins, lentil muffins, zucchini cauliflower muffins, etc. Is he eating spinach or lentils or zucchini on a regular basis? Not by itself, but definitely in a muffin. And, after he’s eaten the muffins, I do tell him what is in there. His favorite muffin is a banana, zucchini, lentil, chocolate chip muffin.
  • Make mealtime fun. The last thing I want is to make dinner stressful. So maybe we’ll put the peas on his plate in the shape of a letter C. Or maybe the roasted carrots will be standing up. OR, maybe I’ll hide a gummy fruit snack under a few pieces of vegetables for him to find. And if he doesn’t eat them, he doesn’t eat them – but at least they make him smile.

Do you have any tips for fellow moms of picky eaters?

Note: This post originally appeared on my page on Northeast Ohio Parent Magazine’s website. I blog for them on occasion- see what else I have to say there!

Last September Weekend

If you can believe it, September is gone. And to celebrate, I’m sharing a quick weekend recap, one-sentence-per-photo style.

We kicked off the weekend with a trip to the Natural History Museum.

It was a gorgeous Friday to enjoy their outdoor animal area (which has some play areas for kids).

Saturday we did some shopping at the West Side Market.

It had been too long since we had been there.

We took an afternoon stroll around the neighborhood.

And ended up on the nearby playground.

The weekend also included a little run with this lady in the stroller.

We also got in a nice walk around the neighborhood.

And finished up with dinner at the grandparents’ house with the cousins!

A quick post for a weekend gone way too quick.

Some questions for you:

  • How many cousins do you have?
  • Did you run this weekend?

I’m linking up with the weekly wraps!

Feels Like Fall Up Here

It finally has started feeling like fall here! Which makes sense, because Saturday was the first official day of fall and it was only in the 50s all day.

Do I prefer summer? Yuppppp! But it was still a good few days.

Some of the fun included:

Finally getting to see the Infinite Mirrors exhibit by Kusama at the art museum.

If you ever have a chance to so this, i HIGHLY recommend it. It was amazing.

After the exhibit, we decided to get some wine and cheese, which was the perfect way to end the night.

The weekend also included some homemade pizza. FW helpes with the dough.

Saturday was pretty fun, too. We started off the day with a trip to one of the coolest playgrounds nearby and met up with Celia and Maura and Maddie.

FW had a blast with Celia.

And I’m sure LM had fun with Maura, too.

The day also included some basil picking and pesto making.

And even a short walk.

And B and I made dinner together, which hasn’t happened in FOREVER.

Penne with bacon, leeks and mushrooms.

The night ended pretty boring- catching up on work with football and ice cream as aids (I had a Sunday a.m. deadline and a call that started at 11pm).

Sunday morning fun included a family run!

We brought our nephew and niece along for the ride, too.

The day also included a walk and ANOTHER playground visit!

And some monkeying around with the cousins.

I have another busy week at work coming up, so I also tried to get in all the snuggles I could.

We finished off the weekend with dinner at B’s parents’ house. And make-your-ow sundaes!

And now I’m ready to take on a crazy week! Some questions for you:

  • What’s your favorite sundae topping? I’m team caramel ober chocolate syrup any day!
  • Did it feel like fall near you?

I’m linking up with the weekly wraps

Living For Weekends

Welp, last week was my first full week back at work after maternity leave. And I’m not gonna lie, it was a doozy. I put in more hours than I have in a while, and working late plus little sleep (yay toddler and 3 month old) made me SO pumped for the weekend! And thank goodness, it was a good weekend.

B and FW made dinner Friday night, which meant we were able to have homemade pizza on the porch!

Saturday started out with breakfast for FW and me. We both had eggs – his were in fun shapes.

Then, I took FW out for a run.

It was pretty much perfect running weatherweather- low 60s and cloudy. We got in a little more than 4 miles.

Also, when did FW get so old? He looks so old compared to LM!

For dinner B made homemade pasta, which is pretty much my favorite comfort food. He also grilled some scallops for the perfect meal.

It stayed perfect weather for an after dinner walk.

Sunday morning started with pancakes! B made us all breakfast.

The day included some catching up on work, chores (yay for laundry … and then more laundry after a blowout) and a trip to The Container Store.

The rest of the day was low key, especially since it was pouring rain and super windy all day long. We didn’t make it outside for a walk or run or anything. Instead, we watched football and did some reading.

But, we did make it to B’s family’s home for dinner. FW got to enjoy some time playing with his cousins.

AND how excited are you for this? I’m a little afraid on how it’s going to portray CLE, but excited to see what’s in store for one of my favorite podcasts.

Some questions for you:

  • Did you have crazy rainy weather this weekend?
  • What kind of workout do you do if you can’t get outside?

I’m linking up with the weekly wraps!

Wonderful Long Weekends

A good three-day weekend with the family can put you in the best of moods – don’t you agree?

I had a really nice weekend with our family of four. The weather was pretty amazing and felt like a great way to wrap up summer. Our days involved plenty of outside time, running, baseball, baking and more.

Friday night included some of my favorites – patio beers with B, a walk with FW (we walked to pick up our CSA) AND dinner outside on our porch.

Saturday morning, we took a trip to the local farmers market. There’s one we can walk to, so LM and I ran there while B and FW rode the bike.

We picked up some fruit and meat for dinner.

The afternoon included an impromptu trip to the lake to watch the annual Labor Day air show. We got there just in time to catch the Blue Angels! FW was amazed by the loud and fast planes.

That night, B cooked us a pretty amazing meal that just screamed summer. AND it was all local food – the steak was from the Saturday farmers market, the bunching onions were from the farmers market at FW’s school and the corn and potatoes were from our CSA.

Sunday morning started off pretty perfect as well! B and FW surprised me with bagels. My favorite bagel, an everything, was even warm when we ate on the porch.

They also picked up a local blend if everything bagel seasoning.

We decided to go for a little family run together before it got too hot out. It was out fastest family stroller run since we became a family of 4.

That afternoon, while B did some yard work, FW and I made muffins! He loves these chocolate chip banana lentil muffins.

And then it was time for baseball! We left LM with a babysitter, and FW, B and I went to the Indians game. We stayed for the whole game- I was impressed with how good he was for 9 innings.

Monday brought a lot of fun, too. We started off the day with a trip to the park for a picnic with some other mommas and their kiddos, too. FW loved the playground and I had fun catching up with my friends.

The afternoon included some meal prep grocery shopping and even a 2ish mile family walk. It was 90+ degrees out, so it was a sloooow walk and hot.

And that night was our fantasy football draft! I’ve never played before, so this should be interesting … maybe it will get me more intrested in football?

Some questions for you:

  • Are you obsessed with everything bagel seasoning too? What do you use it for?
  • Do you like baseball?
  • Do you play fantasy football?

I’m linking up with the weekly wraps!