Take Your Dog

Take Your Dog

In the mood to spend a day exploring but only have a few free hours?  Why? Because there is no one to let the dog out.  Ever happened to you? We love our dog, but he does cramp our style. When there have been weeks where it seems like he has been alone too much – or we just find ourselves with a full free day and want to run around without having to stop back home mid-day, we find a way to bring him along. It’s a little more work but can definitely lead to a fun and different way to spend the day. Luckily there are many places these days that allow dogs.  I’ve had good luck at local restaurants and breweries or wineries with outdoor seating, parks of course; ice cream shops, coffee shops, farmer’s markets, outdoor concerts and sometimes an outdoor tourist attraction (like a walking tour – self-guided or not). A few tips to make for an easy day: Call ahead to make sure your pup is allowed. Combine a variety of activities – some food, some walking, maybe just some hanging out Check the weather – nothing worse than a wet dog in the car! Be a good dog owner – bring along water and poop bags and pick up after your dog Ready for an example?  If you live in the Indianapolis area, here is a fun day with your dog: The day must start with coffee, right?  Luckily most coffee and bagel shops are happy to have your dog join you. Once everyone is fully charged, a little walking seemed like...

Chicago for Tweens

I recently had the opportunity to visit Chicago with just my son. For school-related reasons my daughter (and therefore husband) couldn’t join us so it became a fun one-on-one trip. Not something we get to do often, so it was very special. We arrived Friday night to our amazing room at the Wyndham Grand – it was the perfect location, easy to get everywhere and with awe-inspiring city views. Once I parked my car, we used Uber or good old-fashioned walking the rest of the weekend – it was lovely to not think about driving, parking, etc. However, I do want to caution everyone to be very careful with valet parking – we ended up with some issues that I’m still dealing with – and this was at a very nice hotel and expensive parking spot. Thanks to our Chicago CityPASS, we knew our Friday night adventure would be the 360 Chicago Observation. After enjoying the views – loved the ice breaking up on the water – we walked across the street to do a little shopping at The Water Tower. I actually remember shopping there as a kid so it was nostalgic to share that experience with MY kid. As we had a full day planned for Saturday, we just grabbed quick salads and “fancy” drinks at The Cheesecake Factory just outside the mall. I rarely do chains when traveling, but that’s what my kid wanted and this was his weekend … The next morning started bright and early with the goal of seeing how many museums we could visit in one day (and still enjoy them!). We also...
Salt Caves and MudLove in Warsaw, Indiana

Salt Caves and MudLove in Warsaw, Indiana

Our Saturday started off bright and early with a tasty breakfast at The American Table – it was less than a mile from our hotel and very busy.  The breakfasts tended to lean towards huge platters of eggs, meats, and potatoes – they looked delicious, but a little heavy for our tastes.  Luckily, the menu is so large, my son and I found the perfect start to our day too. After breakfast, our plan was to head downtown to check out the Cave on the Square.  Once we parked, we stumbled across the local farmer’s market.  Since I love a good farmer’s market, we took a little detour to pick up some fresh yellow tomatoes and cucumbers.  Yum! When we entered the Cave on the Square, we immediately noticed the delicious smell of freshly roasted coffee.  In addition to offering a Himalayan Salt Cave, the store had a full-service coffee bar.  We grabbed a couple of drinks (coffee for me and a maple steamer for my little guy) and headed into the salt cave.  For only $5 each, we were able to enjoy the soothing atmosphere of the cave for an hour.  The salt cave was carefully created to simulate an actual salt cave or mine.  There are salt rocks all over the walls, the floor is covered in loose salt (which made our feet very soft), comfortable chairs and small tables all around and the cave is lit with soft glowing lights.  Soothing music was playing and the air temperature was perfect.   We also discovered a foot lamp which was very enjoyable.  It was warm and smooth...
Overnight Breakfast Casserole

Overnight Breakfast Casserole

Need an easy but delicious breakfast for a crowd?  An overnight casserole is your answer.  No getting up at the crack of dawn to fix breakfast, no standing at the stove making a variety of different types of eggs while everyone else eats.  Simply prepare it the night before, store it in the fridge and pop it in the oven in the morning.  You get to eat with everyone else and enjoy a relaxing morning too!  Master this – you’ll be glad you did: Overnight Breakfast Casserole 2 cups oven fries (make a double batch one night for dinner and save half) 1 to 2 cups chopped veggies (peppers, mushrooms, onions) 1 cup cooked breakfast sausage 5 to 6 large eggs 1/2 cup shredded cheddar sea salt; freshly cracked black pepper Step one:  spray a casserole dish (9×9) with olive oil spray and place oven fries in the dish Step two:  sprinkle veggies and sausage evenly over the potatoes Step three:  beat the eggs until fluffy and pour over top Step four:  sprinkle cheddar on top of the eggs and lightly salt and pepper Step five:  cover and place in fridge overnight Step six:  Pop in the oven in the morning at 350 until eggs are cooked through (depending upon how deep your dish is, will probably be about 40 minutes). Enjoy – it will quickly look like this:   Shared on Create with Joy, The Mommy Club, and Real Food...
Happy Halloween!

Happy Halloween!

Halloween is such a fun holiday – as a kid I loved it because it was close to my birthday – so I often had costume parties – FUN! Want to make Halloween fun for you family?  Here are my favorite ideas: Start the day with pumpkin pancakes (hint:  don’t eat these and then go do an hour of piloxing – just saying . . .) Decorate!  We typically don’t go all out like this year, but it WAS a fun family project. Make some fun and healthy after school snacks:  Halloween Snacks More fun Halloween Ideas from last...

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