Water Safety

Though May was National Water Safety Month, we are really just getting to pool weather now, right?

Last summer, we spent most of our water play time at splash pads because my kids didn't have much experience in water and there was no way I can handle two in the pool. But there was a day last June when when we experienced a pool in a way we never imagined. 

You can read the whole story here, and many of you already know it. But, suffice to say that we "never thought it would happen to us" and I have never felt the same way about water since then. I knew a few things had to change:

1. Swim lessons. We are fortunate to have access to them, and I am grateful for Goldfish Swim School's emphasis on water safety.

2. Deliberate talks about water safety. Krissy, Rhys' swim instructor encourages us parents to ask the children (often!) "What do you do if you fall in the water?", "What if your brother fell in the water?"

3. A total mindshift in supervision. Just because kids are not IN the water doesn't mean they will stay that way. My water-shy 4 year old had no intention of getting in the water that night, but it happened, even with 8 attentive adults standing there. Looking back, one of us should have been either in the water near her, sitting next to her, or she needed a lifejacket on while sitting on the side (even though life jackets are no substitution for supervision).

So, enough from me. I wanted to share a bit from the experts at Goldfish. 

Goldfish Swim School's number one focus is swim safety, and owner Lisa Armitage encourages families take these five precautions around water:
  • Respect the WaterEven skilled swimmers can get hurt in the water. It's dangerous and children of all skill levels need to respect it. 
  • Swim Lessons: Everyone needs to know how to swim. But once you've equipped your child with swim lessons, your job is not over. One of the key lessons at Goldfish Swim School is if a child falls in the water, have them turn around, keep their head above water and swim to the edge they came from. Kids often think the easiest way out is across the pool, but they might be closer to the edge than they think.
  • Designated Watcher: Never leave a child unattended in or around water. Make sure there is a designated watcher or lifeguard on duty and ensure that kids aren't in the pool alone. Drowning can happen in the time it takes to send a text message or answer a phone call.
  • Safety EquipmentEnsure that there are life preservers and life vests available for all swimmers. Avoid inflatable swimming aids such as "floaties," which are not substitute approved life vests and can give children and parents a false sense of security.
  • No Rough-Housing: Drowning is a leading cause of injury related death for teenagers, and kids who are rough-housing can go unconscious even if they know how to swim.
I know my children are not in swim lessons to become the next Michael Phelps. I literally have them in lessons to save their lives. Every time we are in the tub, we talk about water safety. Even last night, Larkyn surprised me by saying "If Rhys fell in, I'd jump in to get him". NO. Yell and yell like crazy for help and if anything, throw one end of a towel in for him to reach. 

Another eye-opener was the idea of keeping the pool totally clear of loose toys. They should be stored somewhere else or used in the pool while the child is supervised. See how motivated Rhys is to get those floating toys?

Ahhh!! I cringed when I looked through our vacation photos of our pool. I would not put it past Rhys (not Larkyn, she hated water at this age) to reach in to grab one of those tempting toys. 

I have learned that smart children, children we trust, are still children. Older children may play on icy ponds, little ones may see their sibling slip in and panic (and consequently react in a tragic way) while you are momentarily distracted. There will be moments when supervision unfortunately lapses, and if they know what to do, it could save their lives.

For further information, read here:

A Guide to Father's Day in Cbus

One my most popular lists last year was our Fathers Day Guide for families. Some of these ideas are from last year's list (classics!), and most are brand new. I hope you find something special to do, eat and give to the special men in your life, while supporting local businesses and exploring Columbus...

To do:

Origins Gaming Fair
If dad likes board games, trading games, or the many other games out there, this convention has activities for the whole family. There is a family area where parents can play games with their kids (like Pokemon!) and another room that is childcare for ages 5-12, including games and crafts.

Creekside Blues and Jazz Festival (Gahanna)
This festival is going on all weekend long, and is perfect for the dad who loves good music and serious food. The food vendors all weekend include: Schmidt's, Mikey's Late Night Slice, as well as Asian food and Tortilla. There is a Family Fun Zone and a Little Kids Zone to satisfy the whole family.  The complete listing of vendors is here.

Metro Parks Fun:
Family Scavenger Hunt, Battelle Darby Creek- 6/18 
Fly Fishing for Beginners, Clear Creek- 6/19
Planet Stargazing, Glacier Ridge- 6/18
Campfire Building for Beginners, Three Creeks- 6/18

Columbus Craft Cocktail tour (not family-friendly, but a fun date night!)
Book the babysitter and learn how to make craft cocktails at three stops in downtown Columbus. Discounted cab fare is included in your ticket, as well as snacks at each stop and time with a mixologist to really up your cocktail game!

6/19, 11:00-2:00
Dublin Taiko presents an exciting performance of traditional Japanese drumming at 2pm. Stop by the Live Fire Cooking Theater for a gourmet hot dog ($2), and don't forget the Origami in the Garden exhibit is going on as well. 

Monday 6/20, 7:05 pm
If you find yourself wanting extra time with dad after the holiday or can't get together on Sunday, look forward to a Columbus Clippers tradition with Dime-a-Dog night. Not hot dog fans? No problem...there is plenty of local food at Clippers games as well. Looks like the whole week is home games at beautiful Huntington Park.

To eat:

Picnic at Rockmill Brewery (Lancaster)
Before leaving Columbus, pack a picnic to take down to this picturesque Lancaster brewery located on a horse farm. Though I have not visited, social media has shown many children visiting and enjoying the property with their parents.

Brunch at Double Comfort (Short North)
Double Comfort has a great mission, partnering with food pantries to donate for every meal purchased. So, take "comfort" knowing that your beignets and chicken biscuits will help someone in need.

Brunch at Natalies Coal Fired Pizza (Worthington)
The whole family should be satisfied with the menu, including Natalie's crispy pizza, quiches, cinnamon rolls, eggs Benedict, sweet potato hash, and breakfast cocktails. 

Breakfast or lunch at Jack and Benny's Barnstormer (Dublin)
If dad, grandpa or the kids are into airplanes, check out the planes like we did at Don Scott Airport as you dine. You can take a trip to the old control tower and see the view after trying out some diner classics. Not too far away is Hayden Falls, which is a fun trip if you've never seen it. 

A trip to the North Market could include breakfast of Destination Donuts AND Dos Hermanos tacos or Hot Chicken Takeover for lunch! There is something for everyone here, and no mess to clean up when the whole family chooses something different to eat. Sunday is also the Peddler's Picnic, so dad could even pick his gift and make the North Market a one-stop shop. 

Brunch at CBC (Brewery District)
We had a lovely Mothers Day brunch here, and it is perfectly family-friendly. There is something for everyone on the menu, from burgers to chicken and waffles, and a nice covered patio. Afterwards, go explore nearby Scioto Audubon Park. 

A donut run to Amy's donuts (West Side) can be combined with a trip to Battelle Darby Creek Metro Park to work off all those donuts you will surely enjoy from Amy's amazing lineup. You may want to order ahead, as Amy's tends to sell out!  Make sure to read Nick's review so you know exactly what to expect and try...

Brunch at 101 Beer Kitchen (Dublin)
This would be a great kid-friendly option to treat dad to the meal he deserves. They have an inventive kids' menu with things like shrimp skewers, ants on a log, and taco rolls. Personally, I have enjoyed  101 Twinkie, Praline biscuits, and the amazing loaded tots are amazing. And an enormous beer list to suit every dad's taste, all at a reasonable price point.

The iconic steakhouse is celebrating its 61st year, indulging guests with steaks, lobster, and classic drinks from the Mad Men era establishment. Take a trip back in time for a night at The Top (opens at 5:00 on Sundays). 

Hyde Park (multiple locations)
They have a Sunday special that would spoil dad with quality steaks and chops. Their service is top-notch and would give the whole family an excuse to dress up and try some amazing lobster-topped filets or the best salmon in Columbus. 

If you are up for adventurous eating, try one of these Alt Eats.

Or if dad loves to show off his grilling skills, pick up some outstanding meat from Thurns (Greenlawn), Carfagna's (161) or Weiland's (Clintonville). 

To give:

Tour and tasting at Mill Street Distillery in Utica.  Take a drive out to the country to experience some Ohio-made bourbon, moonshine, and Grappa. Owner Hernando Posada is a father himself and welcomes families, or drive dad out there yourself so he can enjoy a more peaceful experience without the kids. We've teamed up with the family-owned Mill Street to bring 5 lucky winners a gift package, including a tour package, tee shirts, glassware and merchandise. Enter at the end of this post to win. And how much fun is this guy having?

Goodmakery personalized gifts
We had a blast making Christmas gifts with Leslie at Goodmakery. Kids can pick out a gift from her stock and personalize them with their own artwork and/or name. The technology is pretty mesmerizing, and I loved walking out with the items all ready to give as a gift. You can also order online by submitting art via email (we have done this as well, and it was flawless). If you'd like to win a pair of collar stays for dad or grandpa, your chance is at the end of the post. 

Local shirts from 7thirty8 Apparel
Matt's designs are perfect for the hip dad who wants to rep Ohio but not necessarily the Buckeyes (i.e.: my husband). Our whole family has shirts from him, and we love picking them up from Wholly Craft, Simply Vague, or the Made Local Marketplace. You can win this shirt for dad (size large) at the end of this post. 

I tasted them for myself on the Old Worthington Food Tour, and they were awesome! You can pick up the delicious meats and pair them with other items at these locations:
  • Worthington Farmers Market, Saturdays from 8am-12pm
  • North Market, Sunday, June 12 from 10am-5pm
  • Weiland's Market, beginning June 16 (in-person demo day on June 18 from 2pm-6pm)

A "man basket" filled with local treats:

No matter what kind of taste dad has, there is a tour for it. There are several tours available on June 18th and a Taco Truck Tour on June 19th, which could be dad's present AND meal. We have tried the Worthington and Breakfast Tours and they are so much fun! All tours are in air conditioned vans or walking with knowledgeable guides taking guests to the most delicious local spots in Columbus.

What could be more perfect for dad than the Pizza and Pitchers tour on Fathers Day? Be the favorite child by taking dad on this tour or any of the other Brew Tour to Downtown, Brewery District, Grandview breweries or even out to Buckeye Lake. Learn about our city's brewing industry while being transported by guides who talk you through samples and snacks. There are 3 different tours offered on 6/18, but it looks like tickets are going fast!

Ohiyo Chocolates paired with local beers
Mike from Ohiyo was kind enough to write some guidelines to help you make the perfect pair:

"Beer and chocolate pair together wonderfully due to many complementary flavors from similar roasting and fermentation profiles.  I would recommend pairing the fruity and earthy 70% Tanzania chocolate with something earthy like MiddleWest Spirits' Pumpernickel, Actual Brewing Company's Conductor Rye IPA, or Reingeist's Hustle Rye ale.  While The dark raisin and dessert spice character of the 70% Jamaican Dark chocolate compliments the chocolate and spice of Kindred Artisan Ales' Salvage Porter with star anise.  The 70% Bolivian with coffee pairs really nicely with North High Brewing's Milk stout, both are made with coffee from Thunderkiss coffee and contain rich chocolate flavor.  The 40% Dominican white chocolate with sour cream compliments Actual Brewing's Fat Julian Stout, and Wolfs Ridge's Dire Wolf on every level.  The rich vanilla and fudge flavors compliment the roasted grains in the beer while the creamy texture makes it impossible to tell where the white chocolate ends and the beer begins.  While the 70% Belize contains a lot of red fruit character and gentle brightness that complements a dry cabernet sauvignon quite nicely."

Wow. Who is ready to shop for that fun gift?! Thanks for the beautiful photo, Mike.

Brock Road leather gifts
As local father, Drew makes beautifully-crafted items for cool dads. My husband has been eyeing the wrap bracelets, and the key clips would class-up any dad's car keys. Most items are made just for you, so contact him soon to get your items in time.

Surprise dad by heading out to the game on 6/18 or putting some tickets in his card for a game later in the week. And check out all the local food that is served at the games. With the kids out for summer break, this would be a fun outing for everyone, complete with dinner.

Dads should get to treat themselves, too, right? These natural products use beeswax and oils to help tame dad's facial hair and skin. You can pick these up (along with many more gift items) at Wholly Craft or buy them online. 

Rogue Bakery cookie delivery
I know my husband is a cookie monster, and how fun to find a package of cookies on the doorstep. Even better, these cookies sound absolutely amazing (Cornflake marshmallow and dark chocolate oatmeal?!) and you may want to add a few extras for yourself. 

I hope this gives you some fresh, new ideas. My dad simply loved grilling out and spending time with us. A box of cashews were always his favorite, and last year's family photo session was the best gift I ever gave. Remember what it is all about...honoring dad. And now for the giveaways from these generous Cbus makers:

Kids Experience Columbus Art

Our city has become an artistic epicenter, and there are so many opportunities to share this art with your families. From mural-hunting in the Short North to hands-on experience in our Columbus maker-spaces, there are lots of options for little ones. Here are some ways you can experience, encounter, and appreciate art in Columbus:

The Columbus Arts Festival
June 10-12
Columbus Riverfront

It is the 55th annual festival, and the Columbus Makes Art Activity Village looks like a lot of fun this year! This is just a small part of the experience, as there will be hundreds of vendors and festival food, of course. They need 100 volunteers to make this work, so please consider volunteering your time for a shift (sign up here) and stay for the fun! Here are all the fun things planned for the kids' area:

  • Shadowbox Live: Stop by to get a sneak peek at 'Shadowbox Playcafe.' Kids will get crazy with theater warm up games, pick out costumes, and jump into a madhouse rehearsal for a classic fairytale show. Parents and friends join us at the end of the one hour session for the grand opening of your child's production.
  • Cobenick Studios: Help create a series of sculpted paper murals using raw, recycled cotton paper pulp. 
  • Columbus Crew SC: Test your soccer skills and see if you can hit all 4 targets at our Accuracy Strike Activity. Also enter to win some cool Crew SC giveaways and walk away with some Crew SC prizes.
  • Columbus Zoo and Aquarium: Come meet some of the animals, and stay to create your own paper animal to take home.
  • Ohio History Connection: Decorate an 1890s-era style mustache on a stick.
  • Fantasy Cupcake: Create edible cookie art. Learn to make fondant cut-out decorations to take home. For a small fee, you can also frost and decorate a fresh baked sugar cookie to display your edible art pieces.
  • Game-U: Stop by to play video games built by students, or participate in a demo.
  • Igloo Letterpress: Each participant will get a chance to hand-ink a poster, created using our antique wood-type, and pull a print on our antique 1890's printing press. You may purchase your poster for $5.00.
  • Art Garden Studios: Stamp, draw, and decorate a bag to hold all of your Festival loot! 
  • Ohio Craft Museum: Young artists can express themselves by designing a mask that can be uniquely embellished with a variety of craft supplies. 
  • Last, they provide a scavenger hunt, which is always a win. Those are great for keeping kids' interest while you browse the areas for things you would like to see.

photos provided by Columbus Arts Festival

The Pizzuti Collection Family Days
632 North Park Street
Columbus 43215

On the first Sunday of every month, admission is FREE for families, and kid-friendly activities are planned for various times. Children get a free sketchbook and can participate in a scavenger hunt and child-centered guided tours three times per day. Please check the site for updated dates and times.

Columbus College of Art and Design
60 Cleveland Avenue
Columbus 43215

If your child (grade 1-12) has a serious love for art, you may want to consider Saturday workshops at CCAD to further their exploration and techniques in several mediums. Scholarships may be available, and coffee shops are popping up all over that area so you have something to do while you wait for your little Picasso.

Columbus Museum of Art
480 East Broad Street
Columbus 43215

Visit for FREE on Sundays, or come when it is less crowded during the week. The Wonder Room in the basement is amazing, and there is something interesting to look at around every corner of the galleries. Read our review for more details and to plan your visit.

Short North Arts District
High Street

We love spotting murals on the buildings in the Short North. They are fun to memorize (here comes the upside-down lady!" "Can you find the copper lady?"), and if you walk up to them, you can see the artists' name and title of the piece. If you are feeling confident, try a gallery like Sherrie and Lindsay, who are known to be welcoming to curious children. Our guide might help you plan your visit.

Clint Davidson murals
Various locations, below are in Glen Echo Ravine and on South 18th Street

Speaking of murals, our family has enjoyed finding Clint Davidson's striking murals across the city. They are easily recognizable with the vibrant, contrasting colors and his characteristic lettering. We tend to find them in areas of revitalization, and the bird mural under Indianola led to all kinds of discussions about Ohio birds.

Franklin Park Conservatory
1777 East Broad Street
Columbus 43203

You probably go for the flowers and the butterflies. But did you notice all the art that surrounds you at the Conservatory? The Chihuly glass, the galleries, and opening this week: Origami in the Garden!  These colossal structures tell the stories of Asians in America, and I can't WAIT to see them. Every Thursday, there are preschool programs, and every Saturday, art activities for children.

Art Studios for Kids (Paper Moon, Art with Anna, Zen Kids Cafe)
I love that Paper Moon's philosophy focuses on the process, not the product. These places allow children to explore (and probably to make a mess) at their own pace and get them to enjoy creating. Many have family fun nights, toddler workshops, and summer camps.

Topiary Garden
480 East Town Street
Columbus 43215

Take the family to picnic inside a work of art! This amazing topiary garden is based off Sunday afternoon on the Isle of la Grande Jatte, by  Georges Seurat. I know my children love nothing more than an open place to run and play, and this is the perfect spot to bring art and play together.

The Wexner Center and The Columbus Cultural Arts Center are also great options. At this time, I did not see any children's programming available, but I know they have it from time to time. 

(Thank you to my amazingly artsy friend, Mara, for being my trusted advisor in this area)

Worthington Food Tour

Yes, most of the activities I post about are kid-friendly. But, this one is reserved for adults. Pick your tour buddy (or go solo!) and get ready for a Columbus Food Adventure, this time in Old Worthington. In January, I went on the Breakfast Tour and it was fantastic. I was excited for the inaugural Worthington tour because it is where we live and I wanted to know it a little better. So, off my mom and I set one CHILLY afternoon in May (literally, it was colder than the January tour).

We started by walking through the Worthington Farmer's Market, which is one of our weekend favorites. I was excited to see the first strawberry harvest (Rhoads Farm), and we definitely brought home a pint for my little strawberry lovers.

Inside The Candle Lab, we met our tour group, led by Columbus Food Adventures owner Bethia Woolf. Here, we learned about the history of the first planned community in Ohio (it was all blueprinted out before they even came--those type-A pioneers!) Names like Thomas Worthington (who advised the settlers on where to make their community) and James Kilbourne (the founder) were explained and Bethia noted that Worthington is actually older than Columbus.

I got to explore The Candle Lab for a few minutes and must go back soon. You can pour your own candle based on the smells that attract you (from their huge wall of candle scents) and even bring in your own repurposed container and pay by the ounce.

From there, we caught the end of the farmers market. We started with Honeyrun farms, which is a market mainstay. The owner gave us some fun facts about their bees. They actually take them to pollinate Lynd Fruit Farm trees and then those smart little bees are able to find their way back to their hive and come home to Honeyrun!  We learned that honey takes on different flavors based on the season and the flowers they pollinate, and we got a sample honey stick.

We tried cheese curds from Blue Jacket dairy and sheep's milk cheese from Kokoborrego, then it was time for some wine!

I have been wanting to try House Wine since we moved to Worthington 2 summers ago. Oh, have I been missing out. First, the owner is nice as can be. They have an enomatic machine, you can have parties there, and they team up with Candle Lab for events too. Today, they picked a fresh little rosé for us. It was paired with salami from North Country Charcuterie and Weed Knob breadsticks (which were addictive). Great things are happening for the North Country guys, and you'll soon be able to find their products in stores. I loved the local refurbished wooden tabletops and all the available seating in the store. Who's coming back with me?

Time for our first meal, across High Street in the Worthington Inn. Have you ever seen a more beautiful building design? My mom and dad took me for a fancy dinner when I was young enough to take my American Girl doll along...so it's been a while. We heard about the ghosts who smoke cigars on the "staircase to no nowhere" and the restaurant's rich history as an Inn halfway between the Ohio River and Lake Erie.

And then our amazing Eggs Worthington came out. I've never had eggs benedict and wasn't sure about it, but seriously? I could eat this egg/spinach/potato hash once a week and be happy. The Prosecco mimosas were the perfect addition! I was impressed by the restaurant's emphasis on Ohio-made products, and excited to learn about their awesome Happy Hour when drinks are half-off and Pub Menu items are $2 off. Also, every Tuesday night is Trivia Night!

We needed something sweet after that amazing savory start, so next was La Chatelaine to be treated with Pan Aux Chocolate made with dark chocolate ganache, as well as the quiche of our choice. I've been here before and have tried the spinach quiche (which is great), so this gave me the chance to try quiche Lorraine (ham) for the first time. That's what I love about these tours; so far I had already samples about 5 things I wouldn't have chosen for myself and liked all of them. The patio at La Chatelaine is divine...not on this particular day, but try it one beautiful morning even if you just get a breakfast drink and a pastry.

These drinks were not part of our tour, but I highly suggest them for your next brunch cocktail: peach ice wine, orange juice and grenadine. 

We took a walk down High Street and down New England Avenue to learn about some of the buildings I regularly pass but never knew the history. There are 29 Worthington buildings on the Historical registry, including The Snow House (fondly known to us as the Crooked House), Ripley House, and the Masonic Lodge. 

I could tell our group was getting excited as we saw the Sassafras Bakery sign up ahead. The kids and I have stopped in for their Milk and Cookies happy hour (Wednesdays 3-5), but I've only ever tasted their awesome sweets. Owner AJ prepared samples of fresh farro salad, a warm ramp and cheese scone, and tangy-sweet rhubarb walnut crumble. She has been a lifelong baker and a success story of baking out of her own kitchen and growing into her space on High Street. That was my first experience with rhubarb and certainly not my last. If someone could tell me how to cook it, that'd be great. 

To our north, we took a creative break to do some letterpress printing at Igloo Letterpress. Everything about this business (including Swoonful Gifts in the front half) speaks to my heart. The local artisan products, the stationery supplies, just everything is so carefully selected and I want to buy IT ALL. Anyway, Allison showed us her beloved letterpresses and told us a little bit about the process. Then, we got to make our own coasters (which I have photographed no less than 20 times; sorry mom). If you want the prettiest invitations or business cards in the land, check out Igloo.

told you. They deserve to be photographed, though. 

We took a walk through The Village Green, where we learned about the two beautiful churches on the corner (one of which was my parents' marriage site, so that was special too). The Village Green is active during the warmer months, so check it out for live music and community events. 

Last stop: The Whitney House. I have been for late night drinks and I have been for my birthday lunch, but never for brunch. And I haven't stopped thinking about the Ohio French Toast ever since. It is brioche, battered and topped with a blueberry sauce and served with Ohio our maple syrup. For someone who thought she didn't like blueberries, this recipe knocked it out of the park.

There's the famous Chef Max! Also-- I am obsessing over their lighting. 

I had so much fun getting to know my neighborhood a little better with my mom. The only problem is deciding where to go back first. The Worthington Food Tour runs on Saturdays from May-October, and is the perfect birthday present for anyone who loves food and learning a little more about Columbus' history.  
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