Thursday, May 28, 2015

Summer Bucket List



There is so much I want to do this summer that I created a Summer Bucket List. I want to appreciate Northeast Ohio a little more and really enjoy this summer so I have researching some places to check out plus in addition to some things we have talked about doing but never gotten around to. I tried to get a mix of kid and adult activities (but Lincoln will be accompanying us on most of these trips.)

This may be completely unreasonable and is not set in stone. I love to plan so I wanted to get a list going and I will just call it a work in progress. I plan on giving updates and sharing what we do or don’t accomplish and how the list evolves over the Summer. When I say Summer I am basically referring to the months where it is warm enough to enjoy being outside in Northeast Ohio :)

I’m going to break this up into a couple of different categories. Clearly doing something that is five minutes away is going to be much easier than anything that is an hour away or more. We’ve actually already started working through the list so I already can cross off a couple of things.


To Do- In Cuyahoga Falls
Play in the fountain downtown
Go to a Friday night concert downtown
Italian Fest
Waterworks
Keyser Barn Summer Concert Series
Concert at Blossom
Cuyahoga Falls Library
Local playgrounds
Wading Pools
Riverfront Cruise In
Kids Carnival (7/23)


To do- Close By
Fishcreek Road Firehouse Park
Rubber Ducks Game
Hale Farm
Akron Zoo
Stow Library
Visit as many Metroparks as possible for biking and hiking
Explore the Cuyahoga Valley National Park trails
Stan Hywet- Done

To Do- 30 minutes plus
Great Lakes Science Center
Natural History Museum
Botanical Gardens
Cleveland Zoo
Headlands Beach
Indians game
Cleveland Flea
Cleveland Aquarium
Holden Arboretum
Cleveland Children's Museum
Stearns Homestead Farm (Parma)
Malabar Farm (Lucas)
Lake Metroparks Farmpark (Kirtland)
Hinkley Reservation
Preston Hope Playground (Beechwood)

Restaurants to Try
Laziza
Newdle Bar
Flipside
Lager and Vine
Red Tomato Grill
Nuevo Modern Mexican and Tequila Bar
Katsu sushi
Moe’s Restaurant
The Wine Mill Winery
Kiflis Restaurant and Bakery
Flurys Café
Darby’s Done

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Our Visit to Stan Hywet

On Mother’s Day Mike, Lincoln and I went to visit Stan Hywet. Mother’s got in free for the day and I’ve never been (or I don’t remember going) and Mike hasn’t been since he was young. If you never heard of it, the house was built by F.A. Seiberling and his wife Gertrude. F.A. was one of the two founders of the Goodyear Tire and Rubber Company. The house is 64,500 square feet with 23 bathrooms, 23 fireplaces and three elevators! They had a staff of 22-24 people to run the enormous house. Needless to say it’s a beautiful mansion with 70 acres of amazing gardens. It’s even one of the largest houses in the United States

The house was so amazing and ornate. It was built between 1912-1915 and it’s really amazing how some of the features seem so contemporary for a house built so long ago. Many of the bathrooms had a shower and freestanding tub. There was a room for everything, including a flower arranging room and an indoor pool. The house has been impeccable preserved and it was quite amazing to take a look back in time.

Not only is the house amazing but it highlights a time when Akron was the place to be. The tire industry was booming and the neighborhoods of Goodyear Heights and Firestone Park were built to support all the families that lived and worked in Akron.

Our day started out a little drizzly but after we toured the house it cleared up and was beautiful. Since mother’s were free the house was a bit crowded and we got out just before Lincoln was ready to start scaling the walls.  

Lincoln did enjoy our walk around the grounds. There was a reflecting pool, Japanese garden, a path under birch trees, and a quarry where the family used to swim. There was even a fun playground for kids that has been created in recent years. Lincoln had fun playing with the huge bowling pins and driving the old time truck.

No pictures of the inside (too busy carrying the little guy or helping him to keep his curious hands to himself) but we got a few outside on the grounds.


Stan Hywet





Thursday, May 21, 2015

Lincoln’s 18 Month Update

 

Hi! I’m back after an unintentional break. We’ve been so crazy busy over the last couple of weeks there was no time for blogging. I actually wrote up some posts but the thought of getting the pictures ready was too overwhelming so I have some backlog. Mike rebuilt our back deck which was starting to fall apart and then we had a garage sale to purge the mountain of stuff we’ve accumulated over the years. Now that there is a third person in our house it was time to make more room for all the stuff he has brought with him.

Lincoln’s turned 18 months old a week ago and I normally am aware of his monthly birthday but this time I didn’t realize until a few days later. Things are getting back to normal around our house so I figured it was time to get back to writing.

Lincoln is turning into quite the big boy. He is starting to become much more opinionated about what he wants to do. We’ve actually be going through a bit of a rough patch because he has been getting very frustrated about not being able to communicate what he wants when it come to his snacks.

I’m sure it is just a phase as he is learning so many new words every day. His new favorite word is “cracker” or as he says it “cracka.” It’s becoming the universal word for food. Other words he says a lot are cheese, water, mommy, daddy, Abby, car, ball, baby, blankie, outside. He knows many of the farm animal sounds too and will call some of the animals by the sound they make. He is starting to repeat back a lot of words too. My proud moment was teaching him to say “pee pee” haha :) I am pretty sure he looked at himself in his car seat mirror today and said Lincoln.

He is a lover of books and will sit and “read” his books forever. He loves when we read to him but is also content flipping through all the pages and moving on to another book. When it comes to reading bedtime stories he definitely has his favorites and I always let him pick which ones to read because he won’t listen to a book if it’s not on his favorites list. He just looks longingly in his basket at the book he wishes we were reading.

Lincoln is 100% obsessed with being outside. He calls it “side” and will beg to go out on the deck. He lights up when he is out there and it helps to get him out of any bad mood he might be in. We are starting to collect a plethora of outside toys. We had a couple of things last year that he’s still interested in but our collection keeps growing. He loves his water table, golf clubs, push car and any type of ball. He loves checking out the garden and I can’t wait until our veggies are planted and we can pick them to eat.

His other obsession is toy cars. He loves the monster trucks at his sitter’s house so we went and bought him his very own and he was the happiest boy in the world. I’m actually not sure who  was more exciting about getting it, Lincoln or Mike :) His matchbox cars are another favorite and he walk around saying “car, car,car” when he is looking for them.

We are very much looking forward to this summer and playing outside. We have already spent more time in our backyard than we did all last year. I have lots of fun stuff planned for us too to get out and explore our area.

 

Lincoln 18 month 2

Wearing Daddy’s hat/ Swinging/ Reading in the morning/ Reading before bed

lincoln 18 month 1

Making silly faces in the front door/ Meeting a horse after our bike ride

Lincoln 18 month 3

Playing in the pool and water table

Friday, May 1, 2015

Cutting Cable: Saving with Sling TV

 

sling tv

I wrote a post back in 2012 about how we cut our cable bill by converting to internet TV. Since that post we have continued to watch shows through Hulu, Netflix and have added Amazon Prime to the mix because we got the membership for the two day shipping. I recently discovered a new option to watch tv on the internet called Sling TV. I’ve seen some reviews on it online but I felt like I needed to share my own opinion.

Let me first say I am writing this review completely on my own and was not compensated for it. I feel pretty strongly about the money savings we have enjoyed by not paying a cable bill but it is definitely a sacrifice since there are many shows we can’t watch through the options we have. When I first heard about Sling TV and told Mike about he took about two seconds to say we should try it. Sling TV is by Dish Network and it’s an internet TV service that offers several cable channels that include ESPN, ESPN 2, HGTV, AMC, Food Network, TNT, TBS, Cartoon Network, CNN, Disney Channel, ABC Family, Travel Channel, Adult Swim, DIY Network, Cartoon Network and a few more.

The three channels that really swayed us were ESPN, HGTV and AMC. We already were buying the full season of the Walking Dead from Amazon and this would offer us another way to watch it in addition to getting the other channels. The cost for Sling TV is $20 a month and right now they are offering a deal to get a free Fire TV stick or Roku stick or 50% off a Fire TV or Roku box for prepaying for three months. We got the free Roku stick since we already have a Roku and are familiar with the interface. I felt like it was a good deal because I looked at it as getting three free months of Sling TV by paying for a Roku stick we were already considering buying.

Here’s the pros. It’s pretty awesome to have HGTV again. Mike and I have binged watched it on many occasions. I am in love with Chip and Joanna Gaines from Fixer Upper and may move to Waco Texas just so they can design my house. Mike watches ESPN every second he can get. We are very pleased with the channel selection and find ourselves watching it probably 50% of our tv watching time.

Here’s the cons. By adding an extra $20 a month to our other bills of $7.99 for Hulu, $8.53 for Netflix and $50 for internet is getting us a lot closer to a full cable bill. It’s still a big savings because when we originally switched we were saving $80 a month. I don’t count Amazon Prime in this because I would keep that subscription even if I didn’t get the free shows but it is a cost of $99 a year or $8.25 a month.

The Sling TV interface kind of sucks. If you watch on the computer, the app you have to install is almost unusable. The shows kept freezing and if the show restarts you can’t fast forward to get back to the place you left off. The Roku app is a lot more stable but neither option has a very good search functionality to be able to find shows. The main functionality requires you to navigate to a channel and then scroll through previous shows if you want to watch them. Not all channels even have this functionality and some of them just allow you to start watching whatever is playing right now. Another downfall is that you can only watch on one device at a time.

Despite the cons I am pretty sure this TV option is here to stay for now. We may decide to cancel in the future but right now I need my HGTV fix and Mike needs his ESPN. We may burnout on those channels but right now I’m not sure how we lived without them. We moan and groan over the quirks of the interface but I have hopes that it gets improved one day. That being said, if you already have cable and want to switch you would probably not put up with this service. But if you have been deprived from these shows for years like us then you will put up with the quirkiness to have a chance to watch some previously not easily attainable cable shows.

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