Bottoms Up Coffee Co-op

Bottoms Up Coffee Co-op

Victoria Calderón and Virginia Nunes Gutierrez don't just talk about serving the community but they have planted themselves knee deep in the location they aim to serve. Bottoms Up Coffee wants to revive the Franklinton neighborhood by bringing business to the area, but they never ignore the very real turmoil that plagues them. Franklinton has one of the highest infant mortality rates and in cooperation with CelebrateOne they aim to drastically reduce those numbers. 

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Coffee Connections Hilliard

Coffee Connections Hilliard

This spot isn't just for parents and children, but I see teenagers through seniors being able to commune to have meetings, projects, etc. I love the mission  behind the Greniers family coffee shop. They don't just want to sell a product, they want to build relationships and strengthen their community. You can't NOT support an establishment like this.

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Brick of Dreams

Brick of Dreams

I don't know about you, but I want to encourage my children's love of Legos as much as I can. This type of play expands their creativity and imagination, helps their fine motor skills, provides a basic concept of physics, and ultimately is the first step towards a brilliantly successful career in engineering. The dividends of that success  which are sure to secure me a cushy senior living home. Wait, did I leap too far ahead there?

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The National Museum of the United States Air Force

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On a day like to today, at the tail end of election week, I'm reminded that it's the every day people that matter most. No matter what political position you take, what race or gender, or where you live. People from all walks of life make huge sacrifices for the sake of their country. And they do this time and time again, no matter what the political climate. We need to value those who have served every day and find ways to serve those who have served us.

I am so happy that we made our way out to Dayton this past weekend to visit the National Museum of the United States Air Force. In retrospect it was aptly timed.  Watch your children's eyes widen as they view more than 360 aircraft and missiles that are on display. We chose to walk all the way back to the new fourth building and work are way up from there. The newest building consists of their Presidential Gallery where you can view and climb aboard most of the presidential aircrafts including the SAM 2000 which carried President Kennedy's body back to Washington after the assassination. 

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For children this is a place of wonder and excitement but I think adults really feel the full weight of the equipment involved in warfare. To see these majestic planes and all their armament up close was enlightening and the respect I already had for our veterans increased exponentially. You can roam through all the galleries for hours and still not have scratched the surface of everything this Museum has to offer. But you can visit time and time again because admission, parking, and wifi are all free! But instead of having to pay admission please consider donating or becoming a member to help support this facility so they can keep expanding and so that they can provide awesome educational opportunities for children. 

And now.... the pictures of course! Our family can't wait for our next visit.  

 

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Thank you to all the veterans of the U.S. Armed Forces! We greatly appreciate your service.  

Big Machines @ COSI

As I'm writing this, there is only one more day left of the Big Machines exhibit at COSI. Hopefully enough of you see this in time that you run down there tomorrow and check it out. Give it the send off this awesome exhibit deserves.  

After the week I had, I really had no designs on heading downtown for any reason. But there was something about this exhibit that kept nagging at me, and I thought we just had  to check it out before it left for the year. And boy am I glad we did! The kids had a blast and I had a blast watching them. I had no idea that they were going to be able to climb up and control actual equipment! This is every kids dream when they pass a construction site. The "Touch A Truck" events are always awesome, but this exhibit just stepped it up 1000 notches. 

 

Yes folks, real life construction equipment.  

Yes folks, real life construction equipment.  

What did you today Charlie? Get lifted by a crane? Yea, totally normal 😂 

What did you today Charlie? Get lifted by a crane? Yea, totally normal 😂 

Make sure to snag your hard hat! Safety first! 

Make sure to snag your hard hat! Safety first! 

Every kids dream.  

Every kids dream.  

No biggie, just a 2.5 year old operating construction equipment.  

No biggie, just a 2.5 year old operating construction equipment.  

Maybe you will read this in time, maybe you won't. But it's important to know just how awesome this museum is and to get on their email list and keep tabs on the visiting exhibits. Currently they have an awesome video game exhibit (Game Masters) that the kids loved and would also make an amaaaaazing date night. Not to mention the new CityView Patio is open!!!! (Video games, scenic view, and drinks = ideal date night)

City View Patio hours of operation are 5pm to 10pm on June 17, 24, July 8, 15, 16, 29, 30, August 5, 12, 13, 19, 20, 26, 27, and September 2, 3, 2016. 

 

A Birthday Party with the Columbus Zoo

Yes, I admit it. I'm one of those moms that tries  to go all out for their children's birthday parties. I know many people find it ostentatious but we are not a family that hosts get togethers and parties other than for birthdays. It's a way to get all the family and friends together and it just so happens to surround a birthday. It's one (well, three) day(s) a year that we get to make the children that I longed for so greatly, feel extra special. 

Now there are definitely levels to the birthday party "madness." I like to consider myself flying somewhere in between the average birthday bbq and the gold plated wonderland style. That being said, it is still so time consuming scoping Pinterest and Etsy for unique decorations and party ideas.

This year I went the laid back easy route and it was amaaaaaazing. For Sebastian's 4th, we held his party at the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium. I could not have been more impressed and it was so stress free! I actually got to enjoy the party for once and see my son having fun. Sometimes you miss the precious moments when you run around and try to ensure perfection that you can't ever achieve. The volunteers took care of absolutely everything from organizing and running the children's activities, to serving the guests food, drinks, and dessert. I truly did not have to lift a finger! The kids had an amazing time, our out of town guests got to experience a Columbus gem, and I threw my FIRST stress free birthday party. (Priceless). 

So here are the deets:  

  • Ideal age is 4-12
  • Party takes place in the air-conditioned  Education Building.  
  • Packages include parking and all day admission for all your guests (Max 50) , printable invites, birthday cake (if you choose, I made my own cupcakes), punch & water. 
  • Themes are Pirates, Safari, and Party With a Purpose where the child can take donations to a charity or adopt an animal in lieu of gifts! (Although we ended up with both gifts and donations)
  • Add ons include pizza, fruit tray, veggie tray, party favors, character ambassador, upgrade to the special Jack Hanna animals, and ride wristbands / ride tickets 

 

All in all, I would recommend this location to anybody searching for a fun and easy birthday party idea. Give your son or daughter an adventure to remember. Make to sure to reserve at least   three weeks in advance if not more! 

 

Everyone pet the alligator! 

Everyone pet the alligator! 

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Cutest armadillo ever! 

Cutest armadillo ever! 

Birthday boy looks mesmerized! 

Birthday boy looks mesmerized! 

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Simple cupcakes this year, the zoo was exciting enough! 

Simple cupcakes this year, the zoo was exciting enough! 

Happy Birthday!! 

Happy Birthday!! 

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Time to explore the rest of the zoo! 

Time to explore the rest of the zoo! 

A Weekend In Pictures

The kids and I had so much fun this weekend that I can't even put it into words. So I won't. View away! 

 

Checking out all the cool toys and comic books at  Big Fun   on High Street

Checking out all the cool toys and comic books at Big Fun  on High Street

Columbus Family Photography | A Mommy Nearest
Columbus Family Photography | A Mommy Nearest
So many cool finds here! 

So many cool finds here! 

Post shopping bubble fun with Dr. U R Awesome!!! He holds two Guiness World Records for his giant bubbles. Check him out  here  

Post shopping bubble fun with Dr. U R Awesome!!! He holds two Guiness World Records for his giant bubbles. Check him out here 

Columbus Family Photography | A Mommy Nearest
Seriously awesome.  

Seriously awesome.  

Columbus Family Photography | A Mommy Nearest
Off to look for a brunch spot! 

Off to look for a brunch spot! 

Sunday funday at  COSI   . It's great to have fun indoors when it's so unexpectedly chilly!

Sunday funday at COSI  . It's great to have fun indoors when it's so unexpectedly chilly!

Columbus Family Photography | A Mommy Nearest
Awww, they DO love each other! 

Awww, they DO love each other! 

If you are ever curious for some new ideas on how to spend your weekend, check out What Should We Do Today Columbus? She'll have you covered with unique ideas and exciting events Friday-Sunday! 

North Market & Mothers Day Weekend

This past Mothers Day weekend we skipped the breakfast in bed and crafts and opted for some fun family activities. Lucky for us Saturday was Free Comic Book Day! (It's always the first Saturday in May each year) We chose Packrat Comics in Hilliard and had a wonderful time. Not only free comics but inflatables, photo ops, games, food, artist meet and greets. We were blown out of the water and my 4 year old son has been talking about comics ever since. It also gave us an opportunity to see the amazing things a local business in our community has to offer and we will definitely be back. 

 

"Spider girl, spider girl. Does whatever a spider girl does" 

"Spider girl, spider girl. Does whatever a spider girl does" 

Columbus | North Market | Blog | A Mommy Nearest
Columbus | North Market | Blog | A Mommy Nearest

Stimulate your child's love for reading and celebrate one of my favorite story telling mediums, comics. There's a much wider selection than just superheroes and for some children, this is one of the only things they can get excited about reading. Free comic book day may be over but I bet they have a lot of these freebies still hanging around the store so here's a run down on all the free samplers that were released this past weekend from one of favorite journalists, Glen Weldon. (Hint: click on hyperlinked name)

Sunday we hit up North Market to grab some tasty eats and then let the kids run out some energy at Goodale Park

North Market was established in 1876 and features 35+ vendors. You can shop for flowers, meat, fish, produce, specialty items, and my favorite, pastries. Not to mention eat at all the amazing food stalls. We just have to keep going back again and again so that I can try everything there is to eat there but, considering the crowd, we went with our tried and true favorites. Hot Chicken Takeover for lunch and Pistacia Vera and Jeni's Ice cream for dessert. We enjoyed it, the kids enjoyed it. You have to go, and you have to take the kids because they will be entranced by all the colors, smells, people, etc. Just go, and go again. And again. 

 

Columbus | North Market | Blog | A Mommy Nearest
Hot Chicken Takeover

Hot Chicken Takeover

Columbus | North Market | Blog | A Mommy Nearest
It really will!  

It really will!  

Sneaking a macaron early  

Sneaking a macaron early  

Lots of seating on the upper level of North Market!  

Lots of seating on the upper level of North Market!  

Our favorite flavors are pistachio honey and wild berry lavender! 

Our favorite flavors are pistachio honey and wild berry lavender! 

Mesmerized.... 

Mesmerized.... 

I definitely keep them strapped in as we stroll through the market but they don't seem to mind

I definitely keep them strapped in as we stroll through the market but they don't seem to mind

Sweet tea from Hot Chicken Takeover! 

Sweet tea from Hot Chicken Takeover! 

Columbus | North Market | Blog | A Mommy Nearest
Columbus | North Market | Blog | A Mommy Nearest

Hope our adventure encourages all you parents out there to take your kids to Norh Market. It's definitely a repeat outing and Goodale Park is just right up the street to take your sweets! <3

Scioto Audubon Metro Park

At this point we have only explored 3 of the 16 metro parks Columbus has to offer and I am constantly knocked off my feet at each one. When we moved here I never would have guessed this city had so much to offer in the way of family activities and bringing nature into an urban setting. We have not traversed our way through all 16 parks yet but this one has got to be the most urban park of them all. With a freeway on each side and located in the Brewery district of downtown Columbus, this park is a nature oasis! A very unexpected spot amidst all the hustle and bustle. This park is on a peninsula stretching into the Scioto River and contains many wetland areas where you can use their telescope to observe turtles, frogs, big fish, and all sorts of wildlife. Great for kids but also for people of all ages. 

The three trails are easy with Scioto Greenway and Connector being the best for hiking, biking, and pets. Rent a COGO bike and take in the breathtaking scenery and great view of the city. Grab some friends and rock climbing equipment and scale the 32 ft. climbing wall, or start up a game of sand volleyball. (They also offer classes so you can learn to climb and where they provide the equipment!) 

Just here to exercise? Not only can you bike or run the trails but there is a great obstacle course and outdoor gym of sorts. And don't keep the dogs or kids at home because there is a great dog park that is separated into 2 areas by breed size and they each have their own agility course.

The kids can explore a new-age playground that has to be one of the coolest playgrounds I have ever seen. Not to mention preschool story time at 10 a.m every Thursday and Saturday morning at the Grange Insurance Audubon Center's library. Don't leave without seeing the indoor play place aka Forest Room that the kids can run, play dress up, and climb. The play place opens right up to an observation deck overlooking a wetland and don't miss the sandbox around the corner! (I know my kids sure didn't, *groan*)

Grange Insurance Audubon Center at the end of Whittier Avenue.  

Grange Insurance Audubon Center at the end of Whittier Avenue.  

Dress up fun in the Forest Room

Dress up fun in the Forest Room

Heading to the water tower observation deck

Heading to the water tower observation deck

Watch some rock climbing while you play on the playground!&nbsp;

Watch some rock climbing while you play on the playground! 

Adventure is everywhere!  These kids are checking out the library before storytime begins.

Adventure is everywhere!  These kids are checking out the library before storytime begins.

Solo storytime action &lt;3

Solo storytime action <3