Why? Weekends!

***A bit of blogkeeping: Congratulations to timzaun (Comment #6), randomly-selected winner of a Euclid Beach Blast prize pack. Euclid Beach Blast happens this Saturday and is sure to be a great time! Hope to see you there!***

Christmas Eve in July was not the only fun to be had this past weekend. On Friday morning, Jeffrey and I met up with our Kindermusik friends to beat the heat at the Lyndhurst Spray Park.


This is a great spray park, with lots for both big and small kids to do! Jeffrey loved the slides and the animals that sprayed water. We worked up an appetite, so we went to Taza Lebanese Grill for lunch. Not only is the food delicious, but the restaurant is really kid-friendly! We always have a great experience there!

On Saturday, Matthew and I attended the 10th annual Luau on the Lake to benefit Shoes and Clothes for Kids. This yearly fundraiser turns Whiskey Island into a tiki-style party, with delicious island-themed food and drink, hula and limbo dancing (I even participated in the limbo competition this year!), and gorgeous views of Lake Erie.

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The sunset on Saturday was pretty incredible! We met up with Alicia and Hans and had a really lovely, relaxed evening on the shores of our great lake!

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For every dollar raised at the event, Shoes and Clothes for Kids can purchase between $15-$20 worth of new clothing and shoes to provide to children in need. What a wonderful cause to support!

Sunday was a mostly relaxed, stay-at-home kind of day, but being that it’s summer, we had to get out and enjoy some ice cream at Mitchell’s. Every once in awhile, ice cream for dinner is OK!


How was your weekend?

***Disclosure: I was asked to help promote Shoes and Clothes for Kids Luau on the Lake. In exchange, I received 2 complimentary Big Kahuna tickets for myself and 2 Big Kahuna tickets to give away. I was asked to help promote Euclid Beach Blast. In exchange, I received some complimentary items for myself and a prize pack to give away. As always, all opinions are 100% my own.***


Why? Partners Christmas Eve in July!

***A bit of blogkeeping: Congratulations to Cheryl scheckel (Comment #75), randomly-selected winner of two general admission tickets to Twilight at the Zoo! Please check your email for details. If you didn’t win, you can still purchase general admission tickets online.***

On Friday night, Playhouse Square Partners kicked off our 25th year with a fun and festive celebration of Christmas Eve in July. US Bank Plaza, just outside the Playhouse Square theaters, was decked out with Christmas trees, snowmen, a Festivus pole, a stilt walker, snowflakes, and ugly Christmas sweaters and reindeer antlers.

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There were also carolers from the Lake Ridge Chorus, yellow “melted snow” from Pope’s Kitchen, dollar dogs and other delicious food from Dynomite, and rockin’ 80’s covers from Billy Morris and the Sunset Strip.

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It was a really fun party and the perfect way to start Partners 25th year. There are lots of great things on tap for this year. Of course, there will be the 25th annual Jump Back Ball in February 2016, but there will also be quarterly dine-arounds in Cleveland neighborhoods, volunteering with Tinsel Town and the International Children’s Festival, networking opportunities, theater tours and cast parties, and so much more!

If you want to learn more about Partners (and be the first to know the theme for the 25th Jump Back Ball), come to Partners YP Cinema Night on Thursday, August 13. You can find out more about Partners, meet some of us, enjoy movie snacks, and save 20% any Partners membership at the $100 or above level. Plus, you’ll get a free ticket to see “The Breakfast Club” that night on the big screen at Playhouse Square. You do need to reserve your seat, so click here to do that.

I hope to see a lot of you there! Playhouse Square Partners’ 25th year promises to be it’s best ever!

***Disclosure: I am a member of the executive board of Playhouse Square Partners. Also, I was asked to help promote Twilight at the Zoo. In exchange, I will receive 2 complimentary VIP tickets for myself and 2 general admission tickets to give away. As always, all opinions are 100% my own.***


Why? Euclid Beach Blast Giveaway!

There are few things better than a summer beach party, which is why I’m so excited about the 6th annual Euclid Beach Blast, coming up on Saturday, August 1. This a volunteer-run event that celebrates creativity, community, and, of course, Lake Erie love!

There will be live music from Beachland Ballroom at the Beach bands, sunset yoga, fat tire bikes, a sandcastle contest, paddle boards, food vendors, and much more! This is sure to be a hot summer party you don’t want to miss!

To help you enjoy the Euclid Beach Blast, I have a prize package valued at $75 to give away! The package includes a beach towel, t-shirt, and beach balls featuring the event logo; a voucher for dinner for two at any Euclid Beach Blast food vendor; and 15 raffle basket tickets to be used at the event.

Here’s how to enter (you can do one, two, three, or all four entries, just leave a separate comment for each):

1. Leave a comment telling me your favorite Lake Erie summer activity (boating, etc.)

2. Visit Euclid Beach Blast and Why CLE? on Facebook and leave a comment here letting me know you visited both pages.

3. Follow @BeachBlastCLE and @WhyCLE on Twitter and leave a comment here letting me know you’re following both.

4. Tweet the following phrase and leave a comment here letting me know you tweeted:

I want to win a @BeachBlastCLE prize pack from @WhyCLE: http://wp.me/p1fb9r-2qY  #giveaway

You can tweet once per day for additional entries, just leave a separate comment each time you tweet.

The giveaway will close on Monday, July 27 at 11:59pm and the winner will be announced the following day. Good luck!

***Disclosure: I was asked to help promote the Euclid Beach Blast. In exchange, I will receive some Euclid Beach Blast gear for myself, as well as a prize package to give away. As always, all opinions are 100% my own.***


Why? Door to Door Organics Recipe!

Matthew and I have really been enjoying our deliveries from Door to Door Organics! They’re convenient, chock full of tasty items, and easy to modify. For more info on how Door to Door Organics works, check out this post.

The folks at Door to Door Organics challenged us to come up with an original recipe using Door to Door Organics items. I turned to Matthew for help on this one. While I know my way around a kitchen, I’m generally a follow-the-recipe girl more so than a create-the-recipe girl. But Matthew whips up original cooking creations on the regular, so I knew he could help.

What we made are Pineapple Macaroon Sundaes with Dark Chocolate Sauce and they are quite tasty (this from a girl who doesn’t generally like flaked coconut). They kind of remind me of a pina colada in dessert form.


You can get almost everything you need to make these from Door to Door Organics. So, here’s the recipe, with links to the Door to Door Organics products.

Pineapple Macaroon Sundaes


1. Preheat the oven to 325°F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.

2. Peel, core and slice the pineapple room temperature into ½” slices. Place on cookie sheet lined with parchment paper.

3. In a medium bowl, mix together the shredded coconut, sweetened condensed milk and vanilla extract. Set aside.

IMG_39784. In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat the egg whites and salt until stiff peaks form. Use a large rubber spatula to fold the egg whites into the coconut mixture.

5. Using about 4 heaping tablespoons of the macaroon mixture, cover the pineapple rings completely in a thin even layer of the mixture.

IMG_39805. Bake for about 20-25 minutes or until the coconut is all a nice golden brown.


6. Remove from oven and cool slightly.

7. Top with vanilla ice cream. Drizzle chocolate sauce over pineapple rings and serve warm. Store in air tight Tupperware for up to 3 days.

Dark Chocolate Sauce

Optional:  1 teaspoon of Bourbon or Rum to be added in with the vanilla.


1. Combine chocolate and butter in a double boiler. Stir until melted and smooth. Remove from over water.

2. Bring cream to simmer in small saucepan; gently stir into chocolate. Add vanilla, and salt and stir to blend. This can be done ahead of time, up to 3 days ahead. Cool, cover, and chill. Warm as needed over low heat before using.


I hope you enjoy these as much as we did! But more so, I hope you find creative inspiration of your own in all the delicious, healthy, organic products that Door to Door Organics has to offer! I’d love to hear about your own recipe creations!

***Disclosure: I was asked by Door to Door Organics to help promote their Cleveland-area launch, including creating an original recipe with their products. In exchange, I received an account credit for Door to Door Organics. As always, all opinions are 100% my own.***


Why? Twilight at the Zoo Giveaway!

Remember when I told you to stay tuned, because I had some wild Zoo giveaways coming up?! Well, here’s the first one! Twilight at the Zoo presented by Medical Mutual is coming up on Friday, August 7 and I have two general admission tickets to this awesome party to give away!


This 21-and-older fundraiser put on by the Cleveland Zoological Society benefits the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo. The general admission party goes from 7pm to 12am, all over the Zoo. Your general admission ticket includes small bites, Samuel Adams beer, Angry Orchard cider, wine, and soda. You can also rock out to 18 local bands with styles from pop to country to reggae to swing.

twilight_bon jovi band

This is one hot party and you don’t want to miss it! Here’s how to enter to win two general admission tickets to Twilight at the Zoo (you can do one, two, three, four, or all five entries, just leave a separate comment for each):

1. Check out the list of Twilight at the Zoo bands and leave a comment telling me which you’re most excited to see.

2. Visit the Cleveland Zoological Society and Why CLE? on Facebook and leave a comment here letting me know you visited both pages.

3. Follow @clevezoosociety and @WhyCLE on Twitter and leave a comment here letting me know you’re following both.

4. Follow @clevezoosociety on Instagram and leave a comment here letting me know you’re following.

5. Tweet the following phrase and leave a comment here letting me know you tweeted:

I’m #wildaboutCLE and want to rock out at @clevezoosociety #TwilightattheZoo to benefit @clemetzoo: http://wp.me/p1fb9r-2qJ #giveaway

You can tweet once per day for additional entries, just leave a separate comment each time you tweet.

The giveaway will close on Sunday, July 26 at 11:59pm and the winner will be announced the following day. Good luck!

***Disclosure: I was asked by the Cleveland Zoological Society to help promote Twilight at the Zoo. In exchange, I will receive 2 VIP tickets for myself and 2 general admission tickets to give away. Also, Matthew and I are members of the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo. As always, all opinions are 100% my own.***


Why? Weekends!

Well, it finally felt like summer this weekend! We had lots of outdoor plans, so the sunny, warm weather was just what we wanted! Friday morning, Jeffrey and I met up with our Kindermusik friends for a play date at Patterson’s Fruit Farm. While there is no apple-picking yet, we all enjoyed some apple cider donuts and some real apple cider to take home.



We also enjoyed their outdoor play area, with swings and tractors and slides. Any playground is a good playground!


I definitely can’t wait to go back for Patterson’s Fun Fest, with a corn maze, slides, wagon rides, and more, starting in September!

From there, we grabbed a quick lunch at Kirtland City Tavern. My recommendation? The soft pretzel appetizer with queso dip. Dive bar deliciousness!


Friday evening, Matthew and I went on a date night to see the Minions movie. Yes, we’re adults. Yes, we went on a date to see the Minions movie. And yes, I laughed so hard I snorted. It was pretty perfect!

On Saturday, Matthew was part of a team from AECOM competing in the AIA Cleveland Beach Day sand castle building competition at Edgewater Beach. Jeffrey and I went up to cheer the team on and to “help” with the building.

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Jeffrey loved the beach! Playing in the sand and starting to explore the waves made him so happy!

Matthew’s team, which built the Lake Erie lighthouse and monster, won both the Judge’s and People’s Choice Awards, which netted them $600 in scholarships from AIA to distribute to interns. Their sandcastle was really awesome and I’m so proud of all the work that went into it!


Sunday was one of the hottest and most humid days of the summer, so of course it was also the Taste of Tremont! My parents and I braved the heat and crowds to enjoy food and drink in one of Cleveland’s best neighborhoods! We started with some refreshing sangria at Wine & Design, which is always a favorite stop.

We also munched on cabbage and noodles from Pierogies of Cleveland, jambalaya from Bourbon Street Barrel Room, ribs from Dante, a lobster roll from The South Side, and Jeffrey ate a meatball from Dante and carrot cake pancakes from Grumpy’s Cafe.

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It was another great (and hot!) year at Taste of Tremont!

How was your weekend? Did you head out to Taste of Tremont? Were you at Edgewater and happen to see the cool sand castles?


Why? Weekend of Festivals!

There’s nothing I love better than a summer festival. I will drag Matthew (and now Jeffrey) all over the Greater Cleveland area to stand elbow-to-elbow with other Clevelanders, drink overly-sugared lemonade, and eat funnel cakes. This weekend, two fabulous festivals are on tap to keep you busy and happy and well-fed.

On Saturday, July 18, St. Malachi Parish is hosting its Homecoming Festival from 2pm-8pm at the St. Malachi campus at West 25th and Detroit.


There will be live music, food trucks, and a cornhole tournament and other games. There will also be history displays and church tours, as St. Malachi is celebrating its 150th anniversary this year!

Image Source - stmalachi.org

Image Source – stmalachi.org

A lot of you know St. Malachi because of their charitable community work or their 10-mile race. The Homecoming Festival is a great way to learn more about this Cleveland faith institution, have some fun, and benefit the parish in the process. Admission is free.

Then on Sunday, July 19, is one of Cleveland’s biggest (and one of my favorite) summer festivals: Taste of Tremont. The festival takes over Professor Avenue from 12pm-8pm.

There will be entertainment; a beer and wine garden, including signature rum drinks from Portside Distillery; more amazing food than you could possibly eat from places like Lolita, Fahrenheit, Dante, Bourbon Street Barrel Room and more; shopping with Banyan Tree, Evie Lou, So CLE Tees, and more; and just the general happy, fun vibes of a crazy Cleveland street fair. Admission is free, food and drink purchases are on you.

I hope to see you out and about this weekend at one or both of these great festivals! What are your favorite Cleveland summer festivals?


Why? Weekends, Part 2!

Aside from our Friday date night, the rest of the weekend was busy with lots of good family time. On Friday morning, we met up with our Kindermusik friends for a play date at the Cleveland Botanical Garden.


It was a beautiful morning to explore the gardens, as well as the Branch Out exhibit featuring lots of unique treehouses. Branch Out continues through Sunday, August 23 and is $11 for adults, $6 for children ages 3-12, and free for members and children under 3.

Even more than the gardens, the kids were very interested in every fountain we passed, especially the one in the Children’s Garden, since they could splash in it.


We headed across the street to the Provenance Cafe at the Cleveland Museum of Art for lunch. They have spectacular mac & cheese and chocolate chip cookies that kept both kids and moms quite happy. It was a great start to the weekend in one of Cleveland’s best neighborhoods. I love how easy it is to have Jeffrey experience culture at such a young age!

Saturday morning, we got up bright and early to go to the Akron Zoo for their Pancakes with the Penguins event.


The event included a pancake buffet breakfast, a zoo tour, and a chance to feed the penguins. Jeffrey was a bit more excited about the lemurs than the penguins and was even more excited about the pancakes!

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The Akron Zoo is smaller than the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo and we were able to, albeit quickly, see all the exhibits within an hour. The staff were knowledgeable and friendly, the exhibits were nice and intimate, and the breakfast and gift bag (a stuffed penguin, a penguin keychain, and snacks) were perfect for kids of all ages. I’m glad we ventured south for some animal fun!

Saturday evening, we met up with Matthew’s dad for the St. John Vianney festival. From fun games to tasty food to some small kids rides, everyone had a great time. Jeffrey particularly loved the train!


I love going to these annual events that we’ve always attended, but now seeing them through Jeffrey’s eyes!

Sunday, Jeffrey and I continued the busy social schedule with brunch and splashing at Crocker Park with friends Beth and Enzo and their son Luca.


The kids didn’t mind the rain, since they were getting wet anyway! The Crocker Park Splash Pad offers a fun option for kids, although the 10-minute break every 15 minutes can make sustained interest a little tough, particularly at Jeffrey’s age.

Phew! Our little man’s social schedule is busier than ours lately, but it sure is a lot of fun!

***Disclosure: Matthew and I are members of the Cleveland Botanical Garden. As always, all opinions are 100% my own.***


Why? Weekends, Part 1!

***A bit of blogkeeping: Congratulations to jessica z. and timzaun, randomly-selected winners of 2 tickets and a parking voucher each to the WGAR Dollar Bank Country Jam! Please check your email for details. If you didn’t win, you can still purchase tickets online.***

On Friday night, Matthew and I had a lovely date night with some of the best that downtown Cleveland has to offer. We started our evening at Tri-C Jazz Fest at Playhouse Square.


The concert we attended was a centennial celebration of Robert Lockwood, Jr., an acclaimed blue musician who called Cleveland home for much of his life. The many artists paying tribute to Robert Lockwood, Jr. included members of his band, as well as Walter “Wolfman” Washington.


This is my third year attending Tri-C Jazz Fest and what’s really struck me is the wide variety of music that is under the “Jazz Fest” umbrella. From Latin rhythms to big band to blues, we’ve heard such diverse offerings, which makes Tri-C Jazz Fest an even better cultural experience, to my mind.

After the concert, we went to dinner at Butcher and the Brewer. While we’ve had drinks there before, this was our first time trying the food.


The menu is tapas-style with small and medium plates. You are encouraged to pick 2-3 plates per person and share among your party. Matthew and I started with the calamari and the stuffed dates, both of which had fabulous flavor and were a nicely portioned to allow room for the food to come.

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From there, we shared the steelhead special, with local corn and a blueberry reduction. We heard rumors this may be coming to the permanent menu and I hope it does. It was a dish of summer deliciousness! We also shared the beef tartare and the patatas bravas with chorizo.

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The portions of all of the dishes really do allow for sharing and trying lots of different items. I was so impressed with everything we ate that night! The dishes were high-quality, creative, and just plain good. Plus, I love the interactive nature of the menu…it makes for such a fun dining experience.

And while we shared most of our food, we went solo on desserts: ginger lime cake for him and the s’mores brownie for me. Decadent and delicious!

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On our way back to the car, we ran into these fabulous street performers as part of the outdoor entertainment at Tri-C Jazz Fest. Everything was glowing: the performers, the GE Chandelier, and me from a wonderful night with my favorite guy in the best city!

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***Disclosure: I was asked to help promote Tri-C Jazz Fest. In exchange, I received 2 complimentary tickets to the concert of my choice for myself, as well as 2 tickets to that same concert to give away. I was asked to help promote the WGAR Dollar Bank Country Jam. In exchange, I will receive 2 general admission tickets and a parking voucher for myself, as well as 4 general admission tickets and 2 parking vouchers to give away. As always, all opinions are 100% my own.***


Why? Lake Metroparks Farmpark and Cafe O Play!

I wanted to share a couple fun places Jeffrey and I went in the last couple weeks. And in deciding I wanted to share these, I realized that (1) I’ve been sharing things we do with Jeffrey for awhile now and (2) my somewhat irrational white-knuckled fear of being labeled a “mommy blogger” was getting the better of me. What I’ve always tried to do with Why CLE? is make it a reflection of my life: the things I love, do, think are fun, etc. So, while you won’t see Jeffrey’s developmental updates or my latest parenting struggle documented here, I will allow myself a little more freedom to share the cool places we go. Because a huge reason Why CLE? for me is that it is a wonderful place to raise a child, with so many awesome opportunities to enjoy.

The first place I wanted to share is the Lake Metroparks Farmpark. I had only been here for Vintage Ohio, so this was a bit of a different experience. There are several areas of the Farmpark to explore, from the barnyard to the horse stables to the gardens. Jeffrey got to see and pet sheep and pigs, plus get hands-on with a pony during a grooming demonstration and up-close with a cow during a milking demonstration.

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There’s a new exhibit that opened just after we were there called Factory of Frozen Fun, which shows the process of making ice cream through use of fun things like slides and characters from Frozen. You can also see ice cream making on site every weekend this month!

Despite being decidedly not an outdoorsy person, I had a great time at the Farmpark and I know Jeffrey did too!

This week, Jeffrey and I met up with my friend Tracy and her daughter Nina at Cafe O’Play. With the weather this summer, we’ve had as many outdoor activities as we can, but also a lot of indoor days. I had heard rave reviews about this place from fellow momma Rachel and I was not disappointed. Cafe O’Play has a huge indoor play area, with several different rooms, including a toddler area, a video game floor, slides, and a mini dance club.

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Amidst all the fun, we also had lunch at Cafe O’Play, which has an area where adults can enjoy coffee while watching their (older) kids playing and where families can grab a bite. I ordered Jeffrey the “Kids Tin,” which is a muffin tin filled with your choice of five items from an extensive and healthy list.


Jeffrey had hummus, tortilla chips, turkey, apples, and cheese. He loved it! And I enjoyed my turkey sandwich and tomato soup combo. For about what we’d spend at Panera, we didn’t have to leave our play place and had a delicious, healthy lunch! Plus, your admission to Cafe O’Play is good all day, so you can even work a nap into the middle of your day and then come back for more fun.

I think this is such a cool concept and I know we’ll be back for more fun!

Where are some of your favorite spots to take your little ones?