An Evening at the Ronald McDonald House

In case you haven’t noticed, besides running, I love cooking and baking. There’s just something about food and creating (and sharing) a meal that makes me happy. So this week, when I was asked to help prepare a meal at the local Ronald McDonald House with several other bloggers, I knew it was something I couldn’t say no to.

fine chopping skillz

fine chopping skillz

veggie platter almost done!

veggie platter almost done!

Ashley (from Teamtaseff) and I with our veggie platter

Ashley (from TeamTaseff) and I with our veggie platter

Are you familiar with Ronald McDonald House Charities? Many people aren’t. Ronald McDonald House Charities (RMHC) helps families with sick children. When a child is fighting an illness, the last thing a family should have to worry about is financial strain. That’s where RMHC comes in. There are more than 338 Ronald McDonald Houses around the world, including Cleveland, that allow families to stay together near a hospitalized child. The House its services can help alleviate expensive travel costs, and most importantly, allows families to spend more time with their child as they heal. So instead of having to stay in (and pay for) a hotel or travel far to be near a sick child, a family (including their other children) stay at the House for nearly free (and they don’t turn anyone away who can’t afford to pay the donation). The Cleveland House was the 9th Ronald McDonald House built in the country AND these days typically has families from multiple states and 5-10 countries staying in there at a time!

This week, I met with a few other bloggers for a tour of the House and to make dinner and dessert for those staying here. Jacquie from Cleveland Kiddos helped organize the event, including planning the menu for the evening that we would use to feed the 70 or so people staying at the House. I was a terrible food blogger and did not take pictures of our food (except the dessert!) but we prepared fruit salad, a veggie crudite, steamed green beans, fried chicken fingers and homemade mac and cheese.

This is what cupcakes for 50 families looks like. We had a blast decorating them with the kids!

This is what cupcakes for 50 families looks like. We had a blast decorating them with the kids!

I also helped prepare the chicken

I also helped prepare the chicken

The group of us after cooking

The group of us after cooking

It was a great event. I really enjoyed meeting the other bloggers, getting a tour of the House and its facilities (they have a meeting room and kitchen that’s for rent too!), and hanging out with the families (after dinner I spent some time decorating cupcakes with the kids). I feel so fortunate to have been able to attend and participate, as well as help spread awareness of the House and the services it provides to those in the community. If you’re interested in volunteering for the House, you can learn more here, and also check out how to donate money or supplies to the House.

Me and Laura, a friend from DCA City Advocates AND the House's Communications and Marketing person

Me and the amazing Laura, a friend from DCA City Advocates AND the House’s Communications and Marketing person

Some questions for you:

  • Are you familiar with the Ronald McDonald House? Did you know what services they provide?
  • Have you ever cooked a meal for 70 people?
  • Do you regularly volunteer? Which charity do you volunteer with?
  • What’s something you did this week that you feel good about?

The Friday Five: What I’m Looking Forward To This Weekend

Phew! WHAT a week it’s been. I was in town all week, which usually means a pretty easy/carefree week, but for some reason it was crazy! I’m so happy it’s Friday and am looking forward to the weekend.

Do you have any plans? Here are five things I’m looking forward to:

1. Happy Hour With Friends

Friday after work B and I will be joining some friends for drinks, and then going out to dinner. I cannot WAIT for a glass of wine, some conversation and dinner out!

vino anyone?

vino anyone?

2. Indians Game – Social Suite!

Saturday, B and I are heading to the Indians Social Suite to watch the Indians take on the Chicago White Sox. It will be my first official game of the season and with weather calling for temps in the 40s, I’m glad we’ll be watching from the warmth of a suite! Plus, I can’t wait to meet a few of my fellow suite members, including a few people I follow on Twitter but haven’t met in real life.

Don’t laugh – it’s me and Slider at the Indians Home Opener back in the day – at the original Social Deck!

3. Boston College Alumni Day of Service Event at the West Side Catholic Center Women & Children’s Shelter

B and I are service chairs of our local BC alumni group chapter. One of the things we do each year is plan and organize our chapter’s Alumni Day of Service Event – which is this weekend! For the past few years, we’ve worked with Moriah House, with the West Side Catholic Center, cooking and serving breakfast. I will be up a little earlier than I typically am on Saturdays, but it’s so worth it.

Cooking up some breakfast at last year's Day of Service

Cooking up some breakfast at last year’s Day of Service

4. More Cleveland International Film Festival Action!

B and I somehow ended up with 4 more tickets to the film festival – and I couldn’t be happier! We have two full days now to get some more movies in. My recap of the first films we saw is here. Any suggestions on what to see next?

5. DOING ANYTHING I WANT.

Maybe it’s going to the West Side Market again for fresh produce. Maybe it’s going for a long run outside on Sunday, or checking out my much neglected (on my behalf) fitness membership. Maybe (well hopefully because I have a huge urge) it’s baking. Maybe it’s FINALLY finishing Gone Girl and paying my $2 overdue library charge! Maybe it’s all of the above. Because despite having some things already planned, and some work and non-related items I need to cross off my to-do list, I am SO ready for the weekend!

my fave produce stand at the market. B and I typically buy 90% of everything we need for the week there.

my fave produce stand at the market. B and I typically buy 90% of everything we need for the week there.

What are you looking forward to this weekend?