Category Archives: family

  Ready. Set. Eat. : A Jump on Meal Prep (sponsored)

Hi CLE friends! Hope you guys are prepping for a fun Labor Day weekend ahead. So many great things to do around town from holding onto summer activities (beach trip, ice cream, boating & more!) to prepping for fall (yard work, county fairs & back to school shopping) it is going to be a busy weekend for sure.

This past week has also been a jam packed week for my family. Our little guy started Kindergarten last week and while he loves it, it for sure adds a few more prep elements around the house. From prepping his clothes the night before, to packing his lunch, to doing his worksheets and practicing his guitar…weeknights are a whirlwind. To try and make after-work time easier on all of us; Sundays are filled with LOTS of meal prepping to help make dinners easier for the whole family.

Last Sunday I spent the afternoon cleaning TONS of produce. From snapping homegrown beans, to roasting cauliflower, to dicing up peppers, making small jars of mirepoix, grilling chicken and hours slow roasting tomatoes…food prep makes work and school nights better around here.

Last weekend I bought Roma Tomatoes specifically to slow roast (275 for 4 hours) and add to salads, sandwiches and dinner time for that extra healthy and yummy topping. I made sure they were cooled down before I stored them in the fridge in some of my new fridge containers that I found on Wayfair. Give them a try, they are so yummy.

Also, cleaning and prepping our produce and proteins on Sundays help make weeknight, family dinners so easy that there is no excuse not to eat at home. For dinner the other night, I simply stir fried green beans, broccoli, peppers and chicken breast (topped with roasted tomatoes and basil) for an easy, quick dinner meal.

Since we cook a lot at home; I love new pots and kitchen tools. Recently I bought a new Le Creuset pot for meal prep and a bunch of  glass storage boxes for make ahead meals. I donated some of our older kitchen things and our new kitchen additions have been making meal prep extra special.

Last nights dinner was super simple, so I thought I would share. I took the cleaned and prepped peppers, broccoli, beans, chicken and mushrooms and sautéed them in ghee and a handful of spices. I topped each bowl with the roasted tomatoes and basil and voila! Dinner was served in under :20 minutes. I’m telling you, with these new kitchen “toys” and a few hours on the weekend…cooking during the week can be very easy and quick.

I hope I have inspired some of you to make time over this upcoming holiday weekend to prep for next. It doesn’t take a lot of time and with a few new, kitchen pots and storage containers I promise you will thank me!

SPONSORED POST: Thank you to Wayfair for inviting me to share a few ways to make weeknight dinners better. Thanks for supporting this business, while allowing me to create special content like this for iheartcleveland!

  100 Things to Do in Cleveland this August!

One official month left of summer? Not to worry. Here is a list of 100 things to do in CLE to make your summer complete.

  1. Lindey’s Lake House
    Visiting Lindey’s, you might even feel as if you are in Maine sitting by the water indulging in a lobster roll, a great place for a summer afternoon.
  2. Edgewater Live
    Visit Edgewater Beach Park for a sampling of local music on the Lake.
  3. Tabletop Board Game Café 
    Get your summer game on with an afternoon of classic board games with your friends…and snacks!
  4. Cedar Point 
    Take a day to visit the roller coaster capital of the world for a fun thrilling day at The Point!
  5. Water Lantern Festival
    Summer makes everyone feel lighter & brighter! Embrace the feeling by lighting the water in an unforgettable way August 17th at this event
  6. An Ice Cream Trifecta
    Cleveland is filled with so many great ice cream shops make summer your excuse to try them all. Some of my favorites are Mitchells, Masons Creamery or Sweet Moses for the perfect sweet treat on any summer day
  7. Feast of the Assumption in Little Italy
    Take a trip to (Little) Italy August 15th-18th to celebrate the Feast of the Assumption. Best Italian food and music for your summer pasta cravings!
  8. Beach Boys at Blossom
    Grab a lawn chair and head to Blossom to listen to this classic surfer rocker and his summer hits.
  9. Lolly the Trolley
    Nothing says summer like cruising on the Shoreway in Lolly! Take a tour of Cleveland and enjoy sightseeing as you ride in an old fashioned trolley
  10.  Playhouse Square Silent Disco
    Raise the Roof August 10th for a musical dance experience on the streets of downtown Cleveland. Summer sandals a must.
  11. Drinks at Pier W
    Enjoy an after-work happy hour as you enjoy an Adirondack chairs on Pier W’s patio with seriously, the BEST views of the lake
  12. Wade Oval Wednesdays 
    Pack a picnic and head to Wade Oval for their weekly music concerts. Every Wednesday through August 21st
  13. Take a hike in the Metroparks
    Visit one of the many locations throughout Northeast Ohio to enjoy miles of paved trails along the river or through the woods! Don’t forget a canteen of water & some bug spray!
  14. A visit to the Memphis Kiddie Park
    Pack up your car filled with the “littles” for an early morning visit to this classic Cleveland summertime destination.
  15. Explore Cleveland Pickle Fest
    Yes, this is a real event! Pucker up and head to East 9th Street Pier on August 24th for a day of pickle themed foods and hilarious activities.
  16. 808 Shave Ice
    A classic summer treat with over 30 flavors of shaved ice, keeping all of us cool(er) in the summer with locations in Strongsville and Fairview Park
  17. Cruise on the Nautica Queen 
    Have a sunset dinner or Sunday brunch on this boat with your family. I love taking in the views from the top deck, complete with a Corona in hand.
  18. Visit the Cuyahoga County Fair
    Indulge in a few funnel cakes and cotton candy as you stroll through this yearly fair extravaganza! August 6th-11th
  19. Tax-Free Weekend
    Three full shopping days of savings August 2nd-4th for early back-to-school shopping! Clothes under $75 and school supplies under $20!
  20. Take a cruise to the Drive-in Movie
    Don’t forget the popcorn and pack your pj’s for a double feature at the Auto-Rama Twin Drive-In for current hit movies for the whole family!
  21. Si Jolié: French Fashion Exhibit
    Looking to get out of the summer sun, visit the new French fashion exhibit at the Western Reserve Historical Society; Si Jolie!
  22. Kayaking at 41 Degrees North
    Rent a kayak or stand up paddleboard to explore the Rocky River and the shores of Lake Erie at your own pace or with a tour group
  23. Go to an Indians Game
    Support our beloved baseball team for a day of running the bases and home runs! Go, Tribe!
  24. An icy cup of joe at Goodkind Coffee
    Enjoy an iced coffee or cappuccino at this local caffeine gem. Personally, I love their coffee that tastes like a manhattan; cherries and all!
  25. The Cleveland Arcade
    Walkthrough this historic landmark as you enjoy the turn of the century architecture. So cool even on the hottest of summer days!
  26. Playhouse Square: Lion King
    Get your tickets to this Broadway musical. Try not to be late as the opening sequence is awe-inspiring!
  27. Johnny Mango World Cafe + Bar
    Who doesn’t love margaritas on the patio! Try one of many summer cocktails and Caribbean-inspired food outside.
  28. Kelly’s Island and Put-in-Bay
    Can’t get away for a long summer vacation? Spend the day up at the islands where you’ll cruise around in your golf cart under the summer skies. Don’t miss out on The Boardwalks’ Lobster Roll!
  29. Outdoor yoga by Three Sisters Yoga
    Relax and stretch out as Three Sisters Yoga offers all-level classes to find your inner peace. They currently are offering outdoor, donation-based classes. Check them out!
  30. Summer sweets at BA Sweeties
    Be a kid on summer break and visit the enormous candy store or try their putt-putt golf in the candy-themed course
  31. Terminal Tower Observation Deck
    Take in the summer views, look out at incredible views of the entire city from the 42nd floor of Terminal Tower for only $5 a ticket
  32. Downtown Vermillion
    Head to this quaint little town for a casual lunch on the beach or a fancy night out at Chez Francois
  33. The Princess Bride at Playhouse Square
    Enjoy this timeless film August 8th in Connor Palace as part of their annual Cinema in the Square celebration.
  34. Brewella’s
    You’ve seen it on Instagram, now why not treat yourself this month to a sweet or savory crepe at this darling cafe in Lakewood!
  35. Westside Market
    The perfect destination to pick up burgers and dogs for an impromptu backyard cookout (plus they sell so much more, LOVE The market!)
  36. Gordon Square Sip & Shop
    Experience the heart of this arts district through wine tastings and variety of eclectic shopping happenings on August 16th
  37. Cleveland Air Show
    Layout a blanket and picnic August 31st to enjoy the U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds …don’t forget your headphones for the little ears…it gets really loud!)
  38. Pizza on Harlow’s patio
    Kick back on the patio of Harlow’s located in Lakewood for fresh wood-fired pizza and a good tequila cocktail. Summer at it’s finest!
  39. Self Care at Flower Power Skin Studio
    Feel refreshed with a facial from Flower Power Skin Studio in Lakewood to rejuvenate your skin after a day in the sun!
  40. Oberlin Bike Path
    Rent a bike or bring your own to ride on this 13-mile paved trail while enjoying the woods and small neighborhoods in and around Oberlin.
  41. House of Blues
    There are a few awesome shows coming up at the House of Blues but if you don’t get tickets…they also have a killer happy hour Monday through Saturday at 3:00 pm
  42. Baumhart Berry Farms
    Pick buckets of blueberries or blackberries at this farm in Vermillion. Perfect for making summer pies or eat as you pick!
  43. The Grocery
    Grab supplies for a picnic at the beach at The Grocery in Ohio City. They have everything you need for a relaxing day with your toes in the sand. Loving the bagel sandwiches, scones and all of their fresh-pressed juices!
  44. Barrio Tacos
    Sit outside in Lakewood, Tremont, Cleveland Heights or downtown to enjoy queso and a cocktail!
  45. Catch an outdoor movie in Playhouse Square!
    Bring your blankets, outdoor chairs and your neighborhood kids to the US Bank Plaza at Playhouse Square to take in Spiderman under the stars
  46. Vegan Brews and BBQ
    Save the date, August 5th & 6th a large Vegan barbeque sponsored by the Terrestrial Brewing Company! Sounds healthy & yummy!
  47. Beach Volleyball
    Grab some friends for an evening of outdoor fun at Huntington Beach, Edgewater Park, or many other sand volleyball hot spots around the city
  48. Flats Festival of the Arts
    Head down to the Flats to see the works of both national and local artists as they exhibit and sell their work August 17th and 18th throughout the Flats East Bank
  49. Merwin’s Wharf
    Kayak on over and hope out for dinner on the river. Don’t miss out on their monstrous soft pretzel! My fave!
  50. Lake Erie Nature &Science Center
    Visit Bay Village to explore native animals and take a walk through the many rolling trails. Get out of the sun and explore the wonderful nature in Bay.
  51. Prayers from Maria Sunflower Field
  52. Admire the work of Prayer for Maria by visiting the field of sunflowers, usually in bloom by late August. Remember those we’ve lost but celebrate the living with a family photo.
  53. Porcos’ Lounge & Tiki Room
    Sip on a tropical tiki cocktail to make you feel like you are on a getaway in the tropics even on a Tuesday after work!
  54. Twilight at the Zoo
    Head to the Metroparks Zoo August 2nd to catch your favorite local band playing all kinds of tunes …the animals love it too!
  55. Crocker Park
    Pack up your lawn chairs and bug spray and head up to Crocker for a great family movie night on one of their many lush and lovely lawn areas.
  56. William G Mather Ship
    A fun summer outing, board the steamship to experience what it would have been like to live on a Great Lakes freighter.
  57. Swings and Things
    Batter up…for an afternoon of batting cages and arcade games. I know a little boy who loves this place!
  58. Main Street Modern
    Summer Saturdays are the perfect time for a road trip to Canton to visit my favorite, Main Street Modern. This place is a regional destination for all things mid-century. You don’t want to miss it!
  59. Edgewater Beach House
    Not only is this beachy hangout the perfect place for any summer sunset…did you know they have free wifi too? Work hard, play hard!
  60. North Union Farmers Market
    Visit the locations at Crocker Park, Chagrin Falls or my personal favorite Shaker Square for the freshest produce in town!
  61. Summers at Severance
    Listen to the world-renowned Cleveland Orchestra followed by an after-party on the outdoor terrace of Severance Hall…what better way to “summer” than a touch of classical tunes & sipping champagne
  62. Chagrin Waterfalls
    Have you ever seen the falls in Chagrin? OMG, they are so pretty. Grab a coffee and head down the path for a mesmerizing view of the raging falls.
  63. Shop & Rock Handmade Fest
    Celebrate summer with live music, food trucks and shopping from homemade artisans and other vendors on August 3rd
  64. Tour Great Lakes Brewery
    Tour this brewing destination housed inside a 19th-century building in Ohio City. Learn how their product is made while sampling some of their favorite brews…it is a great tour to share when you have visitors in town.
  65. Believe in CLE yoga
    Come to a free yoga party to celebrate Cleveland and the practice of yoga. Celebrate outside the Rock Hall followed by live music, food trucks and the power of community on August 30th
  66. La Plaza Supermarket Tacos at Terrestrial Brewing
    Order some of the best tacos, most authentic tacos in town and watch the trains go by!
  67. Tremont Walkabout
    Let’s Luau! Come to a Hawaiian Festival, Friday night August 9th. Who doesn’t love a good theme party?
  68. Cleveland Art Museum: Medieval Monsters
    Check out the limited-time exhibit on some of the wonders of beasts and terrors of the medieval times. It’s so Game of Thrones.
  69. Sparx City Hop
    Hop on and off trolleys while discovering different art galleries and hidden gems of the city August 17th
  70. Collision Bend
    Enjoy the sunshine and a cold brew as you watch the barges and boats pass by. So relaxing!
  71. Greek Festival
    Experience St Constantine & Helen Greek Orthodox Cathedral with traditional Greek food and dancing August 22nd. Love me some Baklava!
  72. Guided Sunset Paddles
    Take a guided sunset kayak with the Avon recreation department enjoying the colors of the lake.
  73. Kelsey Elizabeth Cookies & Cakes
    This summer, be instantly transported to Paris with one of Kelsey’s fancy, French macarons.
  74. Bay Arts Farmers + Art Market
    Bring your blanket and plan to go hungry every Thursday from 5-8pm at the Bay Arts outdoor shops.
  75. Restore Cold Pressed
    Nothing says summer like a fresh juice! Sip on a freshly pressed juice or smoothie for a morning go-to or afternoon pick me up.
  76. Big Met Golf
    Book a tee time and practice your swing on this course in the Metroparks
  77. Il Rione Pizzeria
    Check out this rustic-chic pizzeria serving New York-style pies with unique toppings. Also, don’t miss out on their Negroni’s…I love them!
  78. Rocket Fizz
    Try over 400 flavors of old fashioned soda as well as thousand of vintage treats and goodies. Our little guy loves going there on a special summer day.
  79. Horseback Riding in the Metroparks
    Get back in the saddle and take a ride at the Rocky River stables or even take a lesson to learn more about horseback riding. Giddy up!
  80. A concert at Cain Park
    Sway to the music of the late ’60s with the “Summer of Love” at Cain Park August 8th
  81. The Cleveland Orchestra at Blossom
    Don’t forget the wine and cheese! Enjoy extraordinary scores from exceptional composers on the lawn.
  82. The Cleveland Flea: Night Markets
    Head to Van Aken on August 9th and 23rd to shop and come together as a community to support local vendors.
  83. Barbeque from Woodstock
    Known as one of Cleveland’s best smokey bbq joints, you must try a little bit of everything. So yummy!
  84. Cinema at the Square
    Indulge in classics such as Jurassic Park and Jaws this August at Playhouse Square. Check out the site for movies and times.
  85. An evening at Nightown
    When the summer heat gets to be too hot, head indoors for some Jazz tuned and old fashioned cocktails!
  86. Shaker Square Garlic Festival
    Enlighten your taste buds with some unusual garlic foods such as garlic ice cream, beer, and cocktails August 25th.
  87. The patio at Georgetown
    If you are looking for a quintessential summer patio, look no more. Georgetown serves a mean martini and makes a great summer salad to share.
  88. Geauga County Fair
    Ohio’s oldest continuous county fair is held as a grand finale to summer. We love to go and not only do some fair food, games, and rides….personally, I love the animal barn.
  89. Punchbowl Social
    Feel like going out in the flats but want someplace indoors with games, some good food, and drinks? Punchbowl Social is a fun place to meet up with friends some hot summer night.
  90. Heinen’s Downtown Cleveland
    Pick up lunch for a summer event or enjoy it indoors on the corner of East 9th and Euclid in the magnificent old Cleveland Trust bank,
  91. Music Box Supper Club
    Ever been to brunch at Music Box? Music. Mimosas. Eggs. Makes every breakfast best!
  92. Cleveland Sand Festival
    Check some crazy amazing sculptures made of sand! You can even play along with your build-your-own castles. August 3rdat Edgewater Beach,
  93. Big Bounce America 2019
    OMG! I want to try and go to this! Sounds like a lot of fun and a great workout!
  94. Visit Antique Shops
    Carve out time for a bit of treasure hunting at the many antique shops sprinkled around Larchmere, Lakewood or other parts of the city
  95. Girls Night Out: Cleveland Aquarium
    Grab a gal pal for an evening at the Aquarium complete with pop up boutiques and lots of love aquatic creatures. August 15th
  96. Margarita Crawl
    Frozen or over ice, try any flavor of Margarita August 17th throughout the city with friends. Sounds yummy…I’ll bring the chips
  97. NASA Free Youth Day
    Great Lakes Science Center welcomes all Cleveland youth Monday, August 12th as part of a partnership with NASA’s Glenn Research Center. Grab a mini-van load of kids, it’s FREE all-day
  98. Pour Cleveland
    Sample fresh pour-over coffee each morning from some of the best roasters all over the world. Pour Cleveland is so adorable, you might not want to leave,
  99. Lincoln Park Arts Events
    Watch actors perform classic Shakespeare dramas and different types of dance theatre. Bring your lawn chairs, these events get crowded fast.
  100. Rock Hall Outdoor Concert Series
    Live music, all summer long! Enough said.

So those are just a few ideas of fun things this month! Now go out and get that summer on. (Thanks to M. Shenk for collaborating on this very fun list, Nice job!)

  Dining Alfresco!

Sponsored by TIKI Brand BiteFighter Torch Fuel  

It’s summertime! The month of June is perfect for taking your weeknight dinner routine outdoors. At our house, we have a tray that hangs out in the kitchen. The tray is filled with stacks of melamine plates, outdoor cutlery, and acrylic drinkware…basically, everything we need to take dinner alfresco.

As a working mom, I pride myself on doing a bunch of meal prep on Sundays which help make weeknight dinners easy-er. However, with the addition of the summer grilling season, it only gets better. Throw on some chicken burgers and locally-grown veggies to your hot grill and voila…dinner is served. Easy peasy. Don’t forget summer popsicles for dessert! Our little guy’s favorite part of eating outside…popsicles with no bowls…drips encouraged.

One thing we are always very conscious about when eating outdoors is ensuring we keep the mosquitos at bay. My 4 yr old and I are pretty prone to be eaten by mosquitos (we must be extra sweet) and so anything we can do to repel mosquitos for dinner time is also a plus. Enter the stylish TIKI Brand Torches and TIKI Brand BiteFighter Torch Fuel. I received a few of these sleek, white and gold Table Top Torches which when filled with the TIKI Brand BiteFighter Torch Fuel keep the mosquitos far away. The slight scent of cedar is a pleasing outdoor smell and doesn’t get in the way of the barbecue grill smell wafting through the backyard.

Another thing I love about these new, chic Table Top Torches is their easy, adjustable flame knob on the side of each torch. The little knob allows me to easily adjust how high the flame is at dinnertime when we all sit down to eat.

There is something about eating outside in the summertime. It automatically feels like vacation, relaxed, simple, fresh. Dinnertime outside should be spent without mosquitos. With the addition of TIKI Brand Torches and TIKI Brand BiteFighter Torch Fuel to any alfresco table, there is proven mosquito repellency that will help keeps mosquitos far away even after all the hotdogs are gone.

If you are interested in these torches or TIKI Brand Bitefighter Torch Fuel, I am happy to offer 25% off and free shipping if you follow the link

Happy alfresco dining everyone…except the mosquitos!

Disclosure: This post was written in partnership with TIKI Brand.

  Family holiday photo fun!


hello friends. Wanted to quickly share some fun family photos we took over the holidays. My entire family is pretty spread out, Cleveland, Seattle, Virgina, London and we don’t all get together super often so when we do, we try and snap a few group shots…and these were too fun not to share!

Where can you go in the winter, with great light, awesome cocktails and the BEST wallpaper backdrop in town? You guessed it…the Plum Kitchen! Thanks to the kind staff for letting our crew come in, grab a handful of cocktails, move the furniture around a bit and hog the pinball machine for hours, you guy are great! Thanks to my friend Katie A. for agreeing to hang with our crew and capture our silly family fun, we love the images, Thank you!


110Cheers to family photos…and while I didn’t get around to a holiday card this year (gasp!) I am proud to still have accomplished these.

  family : Happy Mother’s Day

Hey CLE, It’s FRIDAY! My first full week of work after returning from vacation. It totally flew by but I have to admit, I’m ready for two free days of summer at home. Just a few things, tonight the monthly Tremont Art Walk and it looks to have great weather for it, go check it out. Another thing to note is while Great Gatsy hasn’t gotten totally stellar reviews, it is out and I really want to see it this weekend. Plus, to all the Moms out there, Sunday is YOUR day so whoop it up and enjoy a day with your family or totally just for yourself. Happy Mother’s Day!

Now, onto my friend, “i heart cleveland families” as she offers a few tips from her perspective with regards to the weekend holiday. Happy weekend everybody!

“Hello CLE! What incredible weather we are having! And it looks like Mother’s Day on Sunday will be equally shiny and bright. I want to extend a big shout out to all you fabulous moms! You work hard, and deserve a beautiful day.

Many of my friends prefer going out to brunch or dinner, and after perusing some of the fabulous CLE eateries websites, almost all had a Mother’s Day offering. Some other friends prefer planting flowers on their day and right now the garden centers are bursting with color. Petitti’s Garden Centers never disappoints, and I recently came home from Dean’s Greenhouse in Westlake with this little gem. A succulent arrangement that’s almost impossible to kill :)  MORE! →