Most summers, my friend Sherry and her husband host a summer party.  This year’s bash was yesterday.  Since Stephen was working on a project, I headed down to her house with the kids after nap time.  I wasn’t sure how long I’d last with the kids.  It’s hard to take two kids to a party solo.

But, everything changed once we arrived.  Sherry took the kids and I down to the bounce house and introduced us to two older girls.  She let us know that they were hired to help with kids and everyone should have fun.  I was so excited.  Not having to stand by the bounce house most of the evening was an awesome thought.


I enjoyed plenty of adult time on the deck, keeping an eye on the kids every once in a while.  Nick made up his own rules for corn hole.


Sally tried her hand at a hula hoop.


She was having a blast.  Nick’s in the background at the craft table.  There was plenty for the kids to do including art projects, sidewalk chalk, and of course the bounce house.


Later the kids played some games like Duck, Duck, Goose.


The party was complete with tents, tables, food and great company.  I was able to enjoy myself to the fullest, and chat with friends that I haven’t see in quite a while.


It was the perfect night for an end of summer party.  Thanks Sherry!


Today was Willoughby’s annual Touch a Truck event.  Stephen was busy today, so I took the kids solo.  They were super excited.  The event was held from 10-2 at the Willoughby Hills City Hall and Fire Department near 91 and route 6.


First up was the bounce house.  We arrived just before 10AM, so there wasn’t any lines.


After a visit in a ambulance, we headed to the ladder truck.


Sally loved the trucks.  The first one is in the ladder truck, the second one is in a construction truck.


I don’t think she’s big enough to operate a mower yet.


Nick loved that the wheels turned for wheel if we worked hard enough on the steering wheel.


He made sure to buckle his seat belt in this one.


Both kids loved spraying the fire house.


The highlight of the event is when the Life Flight helicopter lands in the field.


Soon, we had seen all of the trucks and it was time to head home.


Thanks to Willoughby Hills for another great event!


We’re members of the Cleveland Zoo, but we just don’t make it there very often.  Yesterday, we decided to meet up with some friends.  Nick and Sally love riding on the Tram.


Check out Axton.  Could he possibly be any cuter?  It’s hard to believe that he’s standing and I just met him yesterday.


After we saw the elephants and the mole rats, we took the Tram up the hill to the primates and playground.  After some play time and lunch, we waited for the Tram to go back down.  We could have easily walked down, but the kids love the Tram and they were ready for naps.


The Tram took a while, so Alaina got our her IPad to help entertain Nick and Sally.


Soon enough, we were back to the starting point.  Sally spotted this elephant and Nick joined in for the photo.


It was such a nice day to catch up with a good friend.  I used to work with Alaina and she’s one of the sweetest people you could want to know.

After we got back home, the kids both took good naps and that was the perfect end to a perfect outing.


Back on July 13th, the kids and I picked up my mom and headed to Akron’s Derby Downs to watch local teams like Goodyear compete in a derby competition as a United Way fundraiser.

I was excited to go since Nick and Sally had never seen derby cars.  It was a beautiful day and my friend was in charge of selling cookies.

We picked up dinner and made our way to Derby Downs.  It’s near the Akron municipal airport.


In typical Goodyear fashion, the blimp was out to draw attention to the event.  The kids were thrilled.


Soon, we were enjoying our spot in the bleachers.  Nick and Sally were enjoying climbing up to the top.  Boy, were they making me nervous.  Luckily, we didn’t have any trips or falls.


After 45 minutes or so, we starting seeing some of the heats.  I’m not sure the names of the other teams racing, but Goodyear ended up not winning.


Sally entertained us with some dancing in between heats.  Both her and Nick enjoyed their grandma time.


I was happy to attend the event and spend a minute catching up with my good friend.  It was a fun way for Nick and Sally to check out the derby cars.


We’ve been friends for 20+ years and don’t get together often, but it’s always great when we do.

 Posted by at 10:47 AM

Today, the NEO Foodies group enjoyed an event at Community Greenhouse Partners.  My kids and I go to farms all of the time, but we had never visited an urban farm.  A tour, kids pizza class, gazpacho demo and potluck were on the schedule.

The site is over 2 acres and occupies the grounds of a former church in the middle of the city.


This is definitely a place where nothing is wasted.  The boxes on the left were built out of wood that was salvaged from a nearby construction site.


Tim Smith welcomed us and introduced us to the ground, concept and history.  We began our tour by checking out the chicken tractor that is under construction.  They hope to be keeping chickens soon.


We moved to the front of the property where Tim talked about mixing up the crops and the benefits.  On the right, a YELLOW cucumber grows.


These garden socks are full of compost.  We spied watermelon and other deliciousness growing.


One of the local tree trimming companies brings the mulch by.  It’s a win win for everyone.  The company doesn’t have to haul it away, The CGP can use it for mulching and fuel.  The kids have a mountain to climb when they come visit.  On the other side of the church, 3 more hoop houses.


Kathryn helped Nick and Sally pick some tomatoes for their pizza and showed them around the garden.


Back at the home base, Chef Robin of Cooking with Care gave us a gazpacho demonstration.


Outside, the kids were making pizzas.  Nick loves his topped with fresh peppers, tomatoes and cheese.


Everyone pitched in to help with the pizzas.  Some of the adults made them too.


Judi was ultra prepared and great with the kids.


We enjoyed the potluck dinner and then said our goodbyes.  Nick asked if we could go back tomorrow.  We stopped at our community garden to harvest tomatoes and water.  Sally fell asleep before we pulled in the drive.


We had a great time and can’t wait for the next “kid friendly” NEO Foodies event.


I’ve read about using shaving cream and paint together several times.  Several weeks ago, I bought some shaving cream and we never got around to using it.  Well, this week after my trip, we spent some extra time at home, so I got it out.

Originally, I thought the kids would make rainbows or something.  I added some paint to shaving cream and loaded up a muffin tin.  They each received a baking sheet to use as their canvas.


Using cotton balls, toothpicks, spoons and their hands, they had a blast.


I think they were surprised that they could do whatever they wanted.


When they were done, I tossed the “brushes” and washed the dishes.  Clean up was a breeze.  I’m sure we’ll be doing this activity again.


Last summer, most Wednesday evenings, you’d find our family eating dinner by the dinosaur at the Cleveland Natural History Museum.  Once we were done, we’d visit the museum for a bit and head over to Wade Oval Wednesday for people watching, the farmers’ market and music.  This year, our schedule has been crazy on Wednesdays, but on August 1st, we finally made our way down.

Apparently, we chose the busiest night of the year to go.  Parking was particularly difficult.  After waiting about 10 minutes, we were able to get a spot at the museum.  There’s lots of parking around the oval, but we have parking included with our membership to the museum, so we like to park there.

We ate our packed dinner inside the café while I had a pre-trip meeting with a few other Capitol Reef participants.  Then, we headed across the street to Wade Oval.

Sally was in a silly mood.  Both kids were glad to see the farmers’ market.


The market at the oval is small.  There are about 8 tables or so.  We didn’t really need anything and didn’t shop, but it was still fun to look at the items and quiz the kids on their produce knowledge.


We made our way around to the Cleveland Botanical Gardens.  The kids enjoyed a few minutes in the Children’s Garden.


Soon, it was time to head back to the car.  We made our way through the crowd.  Many people came out to see the reggae band.


I’m not sure if we’ll make it down for WOW another day before Labor Day comes, but I’m sure glad we were able to make it down once this summer.


A couple of weeks ago, Nick was in camp at the Great Lakes Science Center.  Since Sally and I were driving down to pick him up around lunch time, we decided to meet up with Stephen for lunch.  Stephen works near downtown, so it worked out well.

Koko Bakery had been suggested to me by several friends, but I hadn’t made the effort to check it out.  It’s located in Payne Commons near E.37th and Payne.


We didn’t have any trouble finding the place.


It’s a bakery, but they also sell rice bowls and other lunch items.  We decided to buy things out of their display cases (hot and room temperature).

We started with 3 wrapped hot dogs, a bacon and cheese bun and another breakfast bun.  We also got a juice for the kids to share and a watermelon bubble tea for me.  I loved the bubble tea and can’t wait to have it again.


After we consumed our first tray, we picked up a pork bun and a couple of sweets.  An egg tart, a cream Danish type of bun and a custard filled bun.


Including our drinks, our bill was less than $20 and all four of us were full.  There wasn’t fruit and veggies at this meal, but it was a fun special treat.  We’d definitely stop there again.  Everything was fresh and delicious.


One of my best friends is moving to Israel this week.  Between us, we have 6 kids and we have had a blast over the last year and a half.  Both of us are adventurous and have been on many outings with the kids.  I have fond memories of Lake Farmpark, the Akron Zoo, Squires Castle, picking lots of fruit, learning about canning, working out, and much more.  She was taking her kids to see Niagara Falls before they moved, so we drove up too.  The goal was to do the Maid of the Mist and Cave of the Winds.  We needed to take two cars, so I invited my mom to join us.  It’s never bad to have an extra adult along.

Nick’s and Sally’s first view of the falls.  He said “WOW!”.  They also loved seeing the boat from the observation deck.


We saw a double rainbow.  Since Nick just finished a camp about rainbows and light, that was timely.  The kids weren’t into posing, but we took a few photos anyway.


My mom is so much fun!  Soon we were off to the boat.  We left my house just after 6AM, stopped to pick up sandwich fixings in Buffalo, enjoyed the observation deck, and were at the boat around 11:30AM.  I love taking clock photos.


The ponchos were hot, but Sally and Nick didn’t mind.


I put my camera away for the boat ride.  I didn’t want to take any chances.  After the ride, we noticed that there was a small boardwalk path up a few stairs near the exit.  It looked similar to how the Cave of the Winds would be, but shorter.  I took my friends baby and found a bench.  The rest of them ventured up the path.  Too bad we had already recycled the ponchos.


They were soaked from head to toe.  Although, I’m not sure the ponchos would have helped as I saw people ringing out their clothes in the restroom.  They had worn ponchos.

Here’s my favorite shot of the falls from this trip.  The weather was perfect and I love the clouds.


Here’s my mom with the kids.


We opted to skip the Cave of the Winds and headed to the car for a picnic.


Soon, we were on the road back home and arrived just before dinner.  It was a great day!


Here’s the last installment from our day at Wholesome Valley Farm.  First, here’s an overview photo of the barn, parking and main area.  If you look closely, you can see the bounce house.  Our kids had lots of fun in it, but I never took any photos of them jumping.


One of the first thing that the kids did was this cart ride.  They loved it.  It’s a bit strange to send your 2 and 4 year olds off with kids that aren’t all that much older, but they were never totally out of sight and had a blast!


In addition to the bounce house, the kids loved the corn box.  Here’s Sally sitting in the corn.  She spent lots of time in the box.  The next photo is of the chicken house.  The chickens can come and go as they please.  It was fun to check them out.


Two of the Amish boys help us gather eggs.  The kids (and I) thought it was great.  One of the eggs was still warm.  Eggs don’t get any fresher.



After gathering eggs, the kids got to check out the 2 day old chicks.  The expressions were hard to capture, but were priceless.


Last up was produce picking.  It was super fun for Nick and Sally to pick a few items from the fields.  They ended up with patty pan squash, onions, carrots, and tomatoes.  The produce picking came with a ride in the golf cart which was also fun for the kids.




It was such a fun day and the weather was great.  The kids are still talking about it.  Thanks to the 2 Amish boys especially.  They were super nice to Nick and Sally and really made them feel special.