Grandparents Day in Cbus

September 11th is Grandparents Day.

It is a holiday that may seem a little "Hallmark" to you, but an important day nonetheless. Grandparents are there for the spoiling that us parents refuse, the weekend trips for mom and dad only, and the last minute "I need a babysitter!!" calls. They deserve a special day, and we are here to help you plan it.

Sunday Brunch


When it comes to brunch, who knows better than Dr. Breakfast?  Nick Dekker, of Breakfast with Nick shares his top picks for brunch with the grandparents. Visit his site or join him on a breakfast or brunch tour to get your next Columbus breakfast fix. 

Double Comfort
Fried chicken for breakfast? I think everyone can get behind that. Double Comfort features crispy and peppery Memphis-style fried chicken, and they put it to good use at brunch on top of chicken and waffles. They feature a number of Southern favorites like their Eggs Sardou or a duck and sweet potato hash. Bonus: Double Comfort donates their profits to groups like the Mid-Ohio Food Bank.

 

Valter’s at the Maennerchor
Valter’s was a happy discovery of ours this spring. Valter Veliu, a local restaurateur, was invited to build a German-style pub in the home of the Columbus Maennerchor (a German singing club dating back to the mid-1800s). Valter’s weekend brunch includes American favorites like pancakes and corned beef hash, with some German-themed dishes like a sausage omelet or the Berlin breakfast sandwich. One item of note is the colorful Egg in a Bell, a take on eggs in a nest (or birds in a nest or whatever you call it) using bell peppers instead of bread.

 

Milestone 229
If you can catch it on a beautiful day, brunch on Milestone’s patio is ideal. The restaurant offers some of the best views of the city skyline and the riverfront. The brunch menu covers everything from French toast to eggs benedict to shrimp & grits, but the real bright spot is a creative kid’s menu. Bonus: you can visit the Scioto Mile fountains or hit up COSI when you’re done.

 

Hudson 29
Cameron Mitchell Restaurants generally do very well at catering to the whole family. The know how to please kids, and not just by throwing chicken tenders and French fries their way. The short rib hash and smoked salmon may appeal more to the adults, but fun starters like pineapple upside cake donuts should be a hit for any age. Hudson 29 features two locations: Upper Arlington and New Albany.

 

Third and Hollywood
This and Hollywood serves a Sunday brunch that's both elegant and easily approachable.  Entrees range from steak and eggs to burgers to deep dish French toast. Sunday brunch often features live jazz, and if the weather is nice, you can gather on their patio, too. 



Local Gift Ideas


Farmer's Market basket
Take a basket or a cute tote to a farmers market (or the North Market) and fill it with amazing produce and snacks that grandma and grandpa can enjoy all weekend long. Bonus if you include a bottle of their favorite wine from House Wine (part of the Worthington Farmers Market).

Goodmakery
Stop in the Grandview studio to use the fun engraving machine and create a keychain or other item for grandma and grandpa. In a pinch, you can email handwriting samples to be made into gifts.

Red Giraffe personalized jewelry
Grandma might love a personalized "Nana" or "Mimi" cuff or bar necklace from this Columbus favorite. Stop in their store in the Short North or email sales@redgiraffedesigns.com to place your order ASAP.

Storge ideas
Andi has the perfect little store in Powell (right by the railroad tracks with perfect public parking). Stop in one day soon to pick up some of her favorite gift ideas, and hang out with her for a while...she is the sweetest! (The Powell Street Market is on 9/11, so that is the perfect day to stop in!)

The Gallery Wall Numbers By Art+Alibi $34 (cute to showcase how many grandkids they have)


Welcome To Our signs....By RJ Creations $40


Candles By Legacy Candle Co. benefit human trafficking victims and come in some amazing varieties (like Sunday Brunch and Cranberry Cider...better stock up!)


The Family Celebrations Wall Hanging By Route 31 Designs $40 (put the family members name and birthday or anniversary on the circle and hang it under the appropriate month).


And my favorite, a Photo Session WITH grandparents, using a local Cbus photographer (If you're a long-time reader, you'll remember why this idea is near and dear to my heart. I will never regret this gift.)


Family Activities


Grandparents Day Tailgate, Westerville
For the Buckeye families, this could be a fun way to spend a few hours together!

Franklin Park Conservatory Columbus Zoo animal visits 
What a fun day you could have. Walk around the grounds outside, the conservatory inside, and visit with the animals.


Free Sundays, The Columbus Museum of Art
If the grandparents haven't been to the art museum, this could be the perfect chance to go as a family. Spend time playing in the Wonder Room as well as visiting the exhibits upstairs. And if it is nice outside, it is a short walk to the Topiary Garden (grab some snacks from the cafe inside the CMOA or the Main Library).


Kids' Fishing at Homestead Park, Hilliard
The quintessential activity for kids and grandpas: fishing! Combine that with a fun playground and pack a picnic for the gazebos and shelters, and you have a perfect summer day with family.

Homemade Gift ideas


Reasons why I love Nana card (Come on, anyone can make this, and they will keep it on the fridge for 26 years).

via mamapapabubba.com

Personalize, download, print art from Etsy (one of my favorites when I am short on time!)

via blackstarpress.etsy.com

Grandparents Day Printable (free) (Your older child can fill it in independently, and you can dictate your little one's answers and let them illustrate).

via gigglesgalore.net

My personal favorite is simply taking a nice photo and framing it. Always classic, always loved. Pinterest tends to make us overthink or go out and buy unnecessary stuff. You could make a sign, use chalk on the porch or driveway, or just pick your favorite photo from this summer. Tip: Make it worth your while and please print on matte paper instead of glossy!

I hope this motivates you to make Grandparents Day special this year. Enjoy!


Cbus Moms Save Dinnertime!

If you follow us on Instagram, it is obvious that we enjoy restaurant food quite a bit. It's often carryout, a cookout, or one of 3 go-to recipes at home that my kids will eat. Because LIFE. With a nightshift husband and two very picky kids... I literally can't even think about dinner prep when I get home from work most nights.

So. What do I do? Call in the experts. You can find me liking their photos on social media and wishing I was meal-planning like them. But for now, I will step away and let them introduce themselves and their dinner-time family favorites.


Courtney

@Neighborfoodie

I'm Courtney and I'm the quirky lady behind the blog NeighborFood. I'm also a wife, mom, and rabid Buckeye fan. I believe much of the pleasure we receive from food comes from sharing it with the ones we love. It's not about perfection or Pinterest perfect plates. It's about gathering around the table, and bringing all the sippy cups and wine glasses and spills and chaos with you. I believe cooking should be fun, approachable, and always, always delicious.  All of these recipes fit that description, and it's why they make a regular appearance at our family table.

1. Creamy Chicken Sausage Tomato Tortellini Soup- This is everything I want in a soup--creamy, comforting, loaded with veggies, and great for freezing. It's exactly what I need on that first chilly, rainy fall night.



2. One pot and one pan meals are totally my jam these days, and this five ingredient Sheet Pan Pesto Chicken and Veggies has saved us from takeout on more than one occasion.



 

3. I love meals that are easy to adapt based on what you have on hand, and this Creamy Italian Pasta is definitely one of those meals. The base recipe is stupid easy, and then you can add whatever veggies or meat you like. We like bacon, mushrooms, and cherry tomatoes, but also
use crab and peppers sometimes.




4. This Crock Pot Barbacoa Beef tastes better than Chipotle (yes, I said it), and has endless uses. We put it in tacos, nachos, and quesadillas, but have also added it to eggs, ladled it on baked
potatoes, and stirred it into mac and cheese. It's also one that freezes well.




5. I just made these Mediterranean Meatballs for the first time a few months ago, but they're already making my favorites. They're super flavorful and great by themselves or in a pita sandwich. Oh, and they freeze well. Can you tell I like to freeze things?

Melissa 


@madebymelissalee

Hi, I’m Melissa and I write the food blog Made by Melissa Lee.  I’m so happy to be stopping by Little Adventures Await today to share my top five family friendly meals!  Even though I only became a mom last year, I already know how important it is to find meals the whole family will enjoy.  These dinners have become quick favorites at our house and I hope they do at yours too!  

After a long day of work and then shuttling the kids around to all of their extracurricular events, no one wants to spend much time making dinner.  These tasty Italian meatball sub start with pre-cooked, frozen turkey meatballs, which helps get dinner on the table in a snap!  Shhh… that will be our little secret. 


We celebrate the start to the weekend every Friday with pizza night!  With minimal prep and ingredients, this is something the kids can help with too! Plus, by making it at home you have total control over the ingredients and have the ability to make it much healthier than the usual take-out. Our favorite combo is spinach (for me) and pepperoni (for my husband).  Have your kids pick out their favorite toppings for a make-your-own pizza night that everyone will enjoy!


Who doesn’t love macaroni and cheese?  I personally don’t know many.  This version gets a healthy make-over with the addition of pureed butternut squash.  It’s so cheesy that even your pickiest eaters won’t know there’s a “secret” ingredient hidden inside! 


We love having breakfast for dinner! While I don’t always like the amount of sugar in the syrup, I do like the fact this version includes whole wheat flour.  It adds a little extra fiber and if you serve them with some fresh fruit, you’ve upped the health factor a little bit more.  At the very least you can count on the kids not complaining about what you made for dinner, right? 


Let the crock pot do all the work for you on this super easy, chicken dinner.  Simply throw some salsa, black beans, corn, chicken and spices into the crock pot and you’ll have a delicious dinner waiting for you at the end of the work day.  We love to serve this over brown rice and topped with avocado, diced tomatoes and cilantro. 


Cat

@simple.pearls

Bio: Hi I'm Cat I am the mom behind the blog of @simplepearls "insta-blog." @simple.pearls is a space full of simple and fun food plans for families. The account also features fashion ideas for mom and kids, along with many products reviews.  I have very active twin girls who are always up for an adventure in Columbus. Search #pearlsmeals to checkout all my favorite meals ideas!

1. Crockpot BBQ chicken quinoa sloppy joes
(Found this on Pinterest and it wasn't a fail)
1 lb ground chicken
small onion, finely chopped
¾ cup quinoa, dry
1½ cups water
1 medium-large carrot, shredded
1 cup ketchup
½ tsp salt
5 tbsp apple cider vinegar
¾ cup barbecue sauce
½ tsp minced garlic
2 tbsp worcestershire sauce

Brown the chicken the add the onion to the skillet and cook. Pour the chicken and the onion into a crockpot. Next pour the quinoa into the skillet and toast for 2 mins while stirring frequently (it will pop a little) then add to the crockpot. Next mix in all other ingredients. It will look very watery at first but the quinoa will soak it all up! Cook on low for 6 hours.



2. Easy Tomato, basil, mozzarella calzone
-1 tube of Pillsbury pizza crust
-3 Roma tomatoes 
- fresh mozzarella 
-1/4 cup basil
-marinara sauce for dipping

Heat oven to 425. Lay out pizza crust and cut into 4 squares. Layer on diced tomato basil and mozzarella. Fold edges over to make a pouch and pinch together place in a cookie sheet cook for 10 mins until golden brown.


3. Ham, honey and Swiss sliders
-1 can jumbo biscuits
-deli honey ham
-simply nature wildflower honey
-Swiss cheese

Preheat oven to 350. Spray cookie sheet with Pam. Peel apart biscuits and layer with ham, Swiss and add a dime size amount of honey. Press top of biscuits to the bottom of biscuit to make a pocket. Continue until all biscuits are used up. Pop in oven for 15 minutes until golden brown. 


4. Crockpot spaghetti squash and Italian sausage meatballs 
1 spaghetti squash cut in half and seeds removed 
1 jar of spaghetti sauce
1 28oz can of diced tomatoes
1 lbs ground Italian sausage 
1 tbs of Italian spices

Pour sauce and tomatoes into crockpot and put squash face down in sauce. Next, roll ground sausage into small bite size meatballs. Place the uncooked meatballs around the squash and fully in the sauce (they need to be covered to cook) add in spices. Cook on low for 5 hours. At end of cooking remove squash and shred with fork. Serve meatballs and sauce over squash and enjoy.

Liz



Hello! I’m Liz Renneker, a busy mom to three and a healthy lifestyle coach. I am a nurse by trade with over 11 years of pediatric oncology experience but have found a second passion in helping other busy moms get fit. I specialize in creating positivity, self-love, health and balance in the busy mom life. The right fitness program, nutrition plan, and support go a long way to achieve health for yourself and family.

I create and host online groups each month where I share healthy, and more importantly simple, meal plans for the week. I provide grocery lists, recipes, and helpful preparation tips to you. Each month there are varied meals or themes but having ideas and a plan presented have helped many busy moms simplify their daily routine and “what’s for dinner?” stress. Throughout the week we post daily motivation, helpful health tips, and mini workouts. Prizes are awarded throughout the week to keep it fun! I hope you follow my Facebook page, Busy Moms Get Fit, and join a group in the future!

For more information on how to enroll in these FREE groups please complete the brief questionnaire here.

Here are my 5 top tips for family meal planning:
  1. Keep it simple.
  2. Serve at least one familiar and well liked food on your child’s plate.
  3. Serve new foods multiple times to children before giving up on them liking it.
  4. Use one day a week to prep your foods for the week.
  5. Join an online group for new ideas and support of other moms!

Thanks, ladies! I hope their blogs, groups, and accounts help you in your dinner-planning. Enjoy!

Back to the Smokies

When we got home from our beach vacation (which Matt had to miss due to his first nursing clinicals), the first thing he said was "I need a vacation". His summer term was just about to end and I was just about to go back to school, so we would have to find a place fast!

We looked at Michigan first, because I have been dying to go. No luck. We knew we wanted a rental house, cabin, or cottage, so to speed things up, we just looked straight to Gatlinburg. Not too far away (7ish hours), the best cabin selection, stuff to do, and mountains! Check out last year's Gatlinburg trip here.

I wanted a place with pool access because as much as I like to relax for a few hours in a cabin, keeping kids inside a vacation home or hotel room for any longer than a few hours is torture. We stayed at Twin Cedars' Mountain Patriot and I have zero complaints. We would book there again and recommend it to anyone. Look at the view from our deck and dining room window...


Also, grocery delivery from Smoky Mountain Grocery saved us a lot of room in the car and the annoying task of grocery shopping as you enter the city (along with everyone else). You order on line, they call to confirm, they shop and stock your food. There is a delivery fee, but the groceries were not marked up. Next time, we will order a lot more!

Our favorite house feature...the "chacutsie", as Larkyn called it, between the kitchen and living room.

That night, we stayed in and made ourselves comfortable with a lot of Olympics and a lot of s'mores (it was national s'mores day, of course).


That night was ROUGH putting them to bed for some reason, but we all made it out of bed the next morning for Dollywood!  I used a highly reliable and scientific method to gauge whether or not we should go to Dollywood: Facebook. People love it, and now I know why. Clean, adorably Southern-themed, the nicest staff ever, and just fun things to do and ride all over the place. Of course, we paid about $100 in food and a few souvenirs, but we all know that happens at amusement parks.

If you need an AC break, the gift shop right by the Country Fair area is a perfect indoor play spot.

I wanted to take the kids on the train, but it had the loudest whistle in the history of the world. Trauma.



The photographer didn't offer to try again. Oh well. 

Larkyn was in heaven, riding ride after ride. She switched between Matt and I riding with her, since most of the rides required an adult for her height. There was one section of 4 rides that little man could try.




I'll admit that I haven't been on rides in years, and probably not a roller coaster in like 15 years. Oy! That whole gravity thing is interesting when you grow up. The swings are her favorite and were always mine too, but looking down was not smart.




I was dying to get into the National Park (I don't think the rest of the family was, but I made them). You can't go to Gatlinburg without actually entering the park, come on!  I picked the Gatlinburg Trail, a simple path with water access.





The kids were in their element (and later we learned, poison ivy), and having a blast. The lowlight of our trip though, was packing up this fun and the whining and crying that ensued over the muddy shoes. If you go on this trail, watch out for poison ivy and 100% bring a change of clothes and shoes.

More hanging around the house to decompress from hiking drama.




And the aquarium the next day!  I was hesitant, thinking this was a strange place in the middle of a mountain range to put an aquarium. Would it really be that fun? YES. The kids loved having everything at eye-level, the selection of animals was fantastic, and the shark tunnel was amazing. Instead of people just going in and standing around, all jeopardizing precious viewing spots, you travel through on a slow people-mover. I want these installed everywhere.














As we (literally) soaked up our last night in the hot tub, Matt quietly said "Hey, there's a bear" and I didn't believe him. Yep, there he/she was! Just casually walking down our driveway, eating grass. The bear didn't seem to notice us or didn't care that we were freaking out. But it was definitely the most exciting part of the trip.



We weren't ready to go home at all, but school started up for the ladies in the house.

Vacations have changed a lot for me, and sometimes that is hard for me to accept. When I travel, I want to LIVE the city--the food, the drinks, the shopping, the landmarks. And 5 and 2 year olds have little patience for that nonsense. Of course, my favorite part is watching them explore new places and experience things that they love. But I am ready for a vacation where we can do some adulting at some point. Any advice?




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