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Monday, August 18, 2014

Moms Night Out With Music Under the Stars

If you've been looking at my pics on Instagram or Twitter you saw the great time I had on Saturday night!  My great friend Jen and I headed to Blossom Music Center to see Yo-Yo Ma with the Cleveland Orchestra.  This concert was part of the 2014 Blossom Music Festival.  

Blossom is the summer home of the Cleveland Orchestra.  It is a wonderful outdoor venue to see concerts in Northern Ohio.  For Orchestra events, you can even bring in your own picnic dinner including wine.  We took the opportunity to pack up some yummy treats including cheese, crackers, fruit, vegetables (some just picked out of my garden), chips, dessert and of course wine which we made into tasty spritzers.

Yo-Yo Ma accompanied by the Cleveland Orchestra was simply beautiful.  The Cleveland Orchestra is world-renowned and spending one night listening you'll know why.  The night included an Overture by Bedrich Smetana, Cello Concerto by Edward Elgar highlighting perfectly the amazing talents of Yo-Yo Ma, and finished with Symphony No. 6 by Antonin Dvorak.

Yo-Yo Ma is probably the world's most famous cellist at this time.  His talent is unsurpassed.  The program from the event stated that the cellos he plays are from the 1700's, showcasing the fact that true music is timeless.  

The Cleveland Orchestra still has a few more concert events at Blossom this summer. One of which is the Family FunFest, which will feature family friendly music from the Little Mermaid, Wizard of Oz and Frozen. This will be a great way to get kids excited about the orchestra and the arts.  So if you live in Northern Ohio, take the time out to visit the Orchestra at Blossom.  Not in our area, support your local arts and they will keep giving back!  

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Saturday, August 16, 2014

Chilling with Real Frut at the Farmers Market

So tonight I'm having mom's night out.  Yeah!  So I needed to do a little preparation and get some tasty treats for a picnic dinner.  I figured we could combine my need for shopping with a little family bonding time and have some fun at the Crocker Park North Union Farmers Market.  As soon as the kids heard farmers market, Jude replied "can we get the shook-up lemonade? " What's shook-up lemonade you ask?  Well let me tell you about Real Frut.

Real Frut is company started right here in Northeast Ohio.  They make Shake-ups which are a combination of water, ice, sugar and fruit shaken up like a cocktail rather than mixed in a blender. They are delicious!  We like the Original which is a mix-up of strawberries and lemons. Yum! They have many more flavors including raspberries, blackberries, pineapples and even mango.  

Where can you find Real Frut?  CLICK HERE for a list of events they will be attending or CLICK HERE for a list of all the farmers markets where they set-up their stand.  You can also follow them on Facebook and Twitter.  If you are in the area, check them out!

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Friday, August 15, 2014

Adventures at the Akron Zoo!

Those of you that follow me on Instagram and Twitter got a sneak peek at our great day at the Akron Zoo yesterday.  What a wonderful day we had.  The weather was perfect, warm but not too hot with a lovely breeze.  The animals were out in abundance soaking up the sun's summer rays.  Life was great! 

We took a ton of pictures to share with everyone.  Take a look.  Our first top was the penguins.  They were really active because it was feeding time.  This was our first experience seeing feeding time.  It was amazing to see all of them flock!!  So much fun.

We caught the snow leopard dozing off. Didn't seem to mind us clicking a quick pic.  Sweet Dreams!

Next stop the carousel.  And what a beautiful carousel it is.  Not just your boring horses.  No it is much more than that.  Hand carved replicas of animals that can be seen throughout the zoo. It is truly a masterpiece.

Grandma Plicka came with us so it was the perfect time to get her to take a family picture of us.  It is rare that the boys and I get a picture all together that isn't a selfie!  

Jude then decided to take a ride down the slide which goes right through the otter tank.  Pretty cool! While Joel decided to chill and just rock out!  Total opposite of his usual self.

What next you ask.  The petting farm.  Yes unlike a lot of other zoos, they still have a petting farm and it's fabulous.  We bought a few crackers to feed the goats and sheep.  Looks like everyone was happy with our decision!

After washing up, it was time to stop and smell the roses.  The Akron zoo has a beautiful garden!  Look at these flowers.  Gorgeous!  

One last stop.  Time to see and feel some fish.  Jelly fish are beautiful creatures, as long as they are behind glass ;) The touch tank was a hit.  They got some hands on experience with hermit crabs and stingrays!  

All and all a great day.  So looking for a little bit more fun before summer is over and school begins? Get out and support your local zoo!

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Thursday, August 14, 2014

Sweet and Spicy Refrigerator Pickles

Refrigerator pickles are one of the best things in summer.  These are a little sweet and a little spicy. After a batch of these yummy pickles you'll be yearning for them all year round!  

Sweet and Spicy Refrigerator Pickles
Prep time: 15-20 minutes
Cook Time: 1 minute
Total Time: 20 minutes

6 cups (about 2 pounds) thinly sliced cucumbers (pickling cucumbers are great but this recipe can be made with other types and works well)
2 cups thinly sliced onions
6 jalapeno peppers thinly sliced in rings  
3 cups white vinegar
1 1/2 cup sugar 
2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon mustard seeds
1 teaspoon celery seeds
1 teaspoon ground turmeric (watch this spice is often used as all natural dye & stains)
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
8 whole peeled garlic cloves


Place cucumbers, onions and jalapeno peppers in a large bowl.  Mix well to combine.

Combine vinegar and remaining ingredients in a small saucepan; stir well. Bring to a boil; cook 1 minute.

Pour vinegar mixture over cucumber mixture and let cool.

Transfer cucumber mixture into glass jars with lids for storage.  No need to seal.  Chill in the refrigerator for at least 4 days prior to eating. 

Pickles may be stored in the refrigerator for up to one month.

Like this recipe?  Hope you do.  There are even more fabulous family friendly recipes under the What's for Dinner tab! 

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