a life with style blog

family adventures

Summer Fun

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We're deep into July and summer days are feeling way too long at this point! I've already started wistfully looking at the calendar and anticipating Rowan's return to school. I feel crafted and activitied out!

But, last week we rediscovered two fun new places to hang out that hit the sweet spot of being tolerable for me and fun for Rowan. And, they're F R E E (or relatively cheap!)

We visited Parky's Farm on Tuesday. It's part of the Hamilton County Parks District so I vehicle permit is required ($10 annually/$5 daily for residents of Hamilton County and $15 annually/$8 daily for non-residents) however, we've rarely encountered anyone working the gate on weekday visits. Visiting the petting zoo, walking the farm or playing on the playground are all free! And there's enough to do to occupy a full morning. After everyone is all played out, enjoy your packed lunch down by the pond.

They offer pony rides, hay rides and an indoor play area. Pony rides and the indoor play barn are $5 per kid. The hayrides are $5 per person. We spent $15 for the play barn and the hayride for Rowan and my husband. The wagon was pulled by a tractor which is his favorite so, there was no way we were leaving without seeing it up close and personal!


We also revisited one of our favorites from a few years ago! For one reason or another, The Play Library, had fallen off of our things to do list. And since our last visit they have moved from Elm Street to a much larger space on Main Street. Have no worries, none of the charm of the original space has been lost in the move! There are literally hundreds of toys and games for kids to enjoy and enough nostalgia for grown ups to appreciate!

You can drop in and play for free. However, donations are welcomed. They also have a membership package allows you to check out toys and games to enjoy at home.


Be sure to check out these places on those days when you're completely stumped about how to keep the kiddos occupied between the neverending request for snacks.

Saturdays Are For Coffee

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Cold is not my favorite but I’m a sucker for a good cup of coffee. So last Saturday we bundled up and headed to Wyoming Community Coffee!

This charming coffee shop is tucked into one of our favorite Cincinnati neighborhoods! As if the promise of a fantastic latte wasn’t enough, we got to check out the Book Bus while we were there.

The Book Bus is the cutest bookstore on wheels I’ve ever seen! It’s the only mobile bookstore I’ve ever seen but I challenge anyone to to find a cuter one than this!

We settled in for the hour with our delicious drinks- one caramel latte, one london fog and one chocolate milk- and spent some quality time together.


We will definitely be making more regular visits to this little gem! Cincinnati friends if you are looking for a local cup of coffee, a yummy quick bite and comfortable and cozy atmosphere, check them out!

Art Play on a Snow Day

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Like most of the Midwest, we’ve spent the last week buried under the snow and frigid temperatures dished out by the polar vortex. The snow and lack of school for Rowan was starting to get to all of us a bit. So last Thursday we braved the cold and the ice and headed downtown for some fun. The Contemporary Arts Center has always been a favorite place for us to hang out with Ro but we have an appointment every Thursday that has kept us from going to Art Play the last few months. My husband was on vacation so we rescheduled our appointment to have some impromptu family fun. The fact that Dad got to join us made it extra special!


During our last visit he was much more of an observer. This trip he had a ball interacting with all of the exhibits.


After some quality time getting our culture on we headed across the street to one of our favorite restaurants, NADA, for tacos!

One of the things I’m committed to doing this year is journaling. So, when we got home I printed out a few photos of the day and had a little memory journal session.

Sunday Family Funday

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Last weekend we set out on our first official(since it's actually December!) holiday activity. We'd actually planned on doing something Saturday and Sunday but you know what they say about best-laid plans! Anyway, Sunday was a bright, beautiful and 60-degree day, so we ventured out. Our plan was to head to the Krohn Conservatory to take in the gorgeous holiday display. But, when the husband suggested we drive downtown, hop and the streetcar and have brunch first, I wasn't going to argue. There has been much debate about whether or not the streetcar was a wise investment for the city. I guess that remains to be seen but if my kid's excitement is any indication, the answer is YES! 


A quick ride on the streetcar delivered us to one of our favorite restaurants, Maplewood Kitchen. We got there at the perfect time. Shortly after our arrival, the line began to snake out the door! After filling up on bistro steak and eggs, lemon ricotta pancakes and chicken hash we made our way to Eden park to check out the holiday display at Krohn Conservatory.


The display never disappoints! Rowan could have stayed for hours watching the trains! 


 A streetcar ride, giant pancakes, trains and a Ferris wheel! This kid was on cloud nine for the next two days! 

Holiday Bucket List

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It's official! The 2017 holidays have arrived! There have been times in the past where I've approached this time of year with dread. Going through the motions because it was expected of me. This year Rowan for the first time in his life, Rowan kind of gets the holiday. His eyes light up at the sight of twinkle lights and Christmas trees. He still approaches Santa with a healthy dose of side-eye but he is a frequent topic of conversation! 

Last week we decided to cross off one of the items on our holiday bucket list-The Festival of Lights. The first year we took Ro, it was the week before Christmas. It was freezing, crowded, and none of us enjoyed it very much. Last year we went the week of Thanksgiving and discovered it was the perfect time to go. The weather is more cooperative and the crowds are less intense. And, just like that, a new tradition was born! This year we ventured out the Tuesday night before Thanksgiving. We were not disappointed!    


It feels good to start a new tradition with our family. I'm hoping it's one we can continue. What do you with your family that signals the start of the holiday season? 

Sunday Funday|An Afternoon in the City

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I am not the most spontaneous person. Neither is my husband. I don't know if it's because we're both Virgos or if we're just set in our ways. So, I was pretty proud of us for deciding to pack up the kiddo and head downtown for the day. We were all dressed, ready out the door in an hour! Shouldn't Sunday afternoons be about finding a little adventure?   We hadn't been to the Observation Deck at Carew Tower in years but it was a perfect afternoon to introduce Rowan to a picture perfect view.   

Why does my sweet baby boy look like such a big kid these days?! Gah! It's all flying by too fast! 

We stumbled upon a climate change rally! These were my two favorite signs. After spending time on Fountain Square we hopped on the streetcar to head to Findlay Market. We've been on it a handful of times and just realized that Nick Lachey voices the stops. That is so Cincinnati!  


We had a quick and delicious lunch, listened to some street performers and bought some goodies before heading home. Sunday, fun day, indeed! 

Butterfly Show {family fun}

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The annual Butterfly Show at Krohn Conservatory is a harbinger of summer and one the entire city looks forward to seeing every year. The last time we went, Rowan was too little to enjoy it. so this year it was so much fun to watch him take it all in! 

"Butterfly" is a new-ish word for him so to hear him say it with so much joy as he pointed with delight at all of the gorgeous butterflies landing around us made this year's trip extra special.  And, can we talk about how wonderful it smells! Butterflies are attracted to the scent of jasmine. Krohn passes out these little scratch and sniff cards that release the scent to encourage the butterflies to interact with you. I'm not sure if there's a heaven, but if it exists, I hope it smells just like this! 


a day in indy{family adventures}

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on my birthday we took a little drive to indianapolis. i've been to the children's museum there years ago with my other kids but this was the first time for rowan. he loved it! we could have spent the whole day in the dinosaur exhibit and playing with the trains and he would have been 100% satisfied!

i've only started going through the 400 pictures i took that day so i put together this little video of some of the highlights.

family{opening day}

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opening day in cincinnati is an unofficial holiday. people take off work. parents call their kids in sick to school. some schools will bring classes down for a field trip. it's a day that blankets the city in a sea of red and gives everyone the warm fuzzies.

we headed downtown monday to be a part of the festivities. 

rowan lasted longer than we thought he would but we were all a bit ready to escape the crowds. so we followed up the parade with tacos and a few adult beverages!

we're looking forward to more of this-warm days, dining outside and of course, baseball!! 


family{kiddos and a carousel}

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Holy crap! I can't believe February flew by and I went MIA. There were some life things that were thrown at me last month that took some time and most of my energy to sort through. But, I'm happy to be feeling well enough to write up a quick post!

Last saturday we headed down to the riverfront for the Kids Kuisine event, a fundraiser for the YMCA, at Smale Park. It was nice to go to a food event where we didn't need to worry about our little one behaving, well. like a toddler. The event featured food stations, interactive demos for little (would be)chefs and a ride on the Smale Park Carousel!

Ro definitely enjoyed the banana smoothies!

A Cincinnati favorite, Holtmann's Donuts, was there.

A fun cooking demo with little foodies.

The one thing that we found a little curious was that for an event geared towards kids the options for anything not sugar or carb based were practically nonexistent. We really try to limit Rowan's processed sugar intake. I know that kids can be picky eaters but this would have been the perfect setting to try to introduce them to some new things in a fun way. Overall, we had a good time!

Someone is waiting patiently for his turn on the carousel.

It was a little chilly but a beautiful day so we took a little stroll along the Ohio River. This is one of his favorite toys. In the last few weeks he's insisted on taking it with us every where we go. It's a little bulky so if anyone has any suggestions for something that is similar but slightly smaller-and not as noisy!- I would appreciate it.