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downtown-1This weekend was a great weekend. On Friday night, we (and the gallery) surivived our visit to the munchkin’s first art gallery. In the car on the way home she kept asking, “Why couldn’t I run in there?” Really?

Then, we drove through a freak monsoon and had dinner at Jeni’s. (You can have ice cream for dinner, right?)

We also had out-of-town family in for the weekend, and we took them to some of our new favorite places in Columbus. Every place we went this weekend was kid-friendly – as we had a two-year-old and a six-month-old with us.

We went to:

Jeni’s – Everyone loved Jeni’s ice cream, of course. And, yes we went there twice in one weekend. My new favorite flavor is Queen City Cayenne (new to me, not Jeni’s). The munchkin usually eats at least half of my ice cream, but I had to explain that this was chocolate with hot sauce, and she couldn’t try it. Her comment was, “I’ll eat hot sauce when I’m a big girl.” Yup, in our house, only the big girls eat the hot sauce. (This is a conversation we have a lot, as I put hot sauce on a lot things.)

Ying’s Teahouse and Yum-Yum in Clintoville – This is my new favorite Chinese restaurant in Columbus. Everything that we have eaten here has been amazing. Our favorites are the crab ragoon and veggie/tofu dumplings. The staff were also very nice and accomidating with the kids.

North Market’s Artisan Sunday – This was our first Artisan Sunday, and we will be back. They are the first Sunday of every month. We got cute hair scarves from Emily Kitturah-Westenhouser and an adorable apron and cupcake hat from Circa Circus. Every mom needs one of Emily’s cute hair scarves. Perfect for bad hair days.

Corner Cafe – We loved their sandwiches and their patio. It was the perfect weekend for an outdoor lunch too. We got three different sandwiches and shared them. They were all amazing. My favorite was the Fig & Proscuitto

We had a great weekend showing off our city and hanging out with our family.

[Photo credit: Columbus]

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A few weeks ago, the munchkin and I went to the Franklin ParConservatory on a cold Sunday morning. It’s been difficult keeping her entertained inside this winter, and we hadn’t been there since the summer.

The Conservatory has a great exhibit right now called Bending Nature that she loved. Part of the exhibit is an interactive area for children. There are about six different activities for children, and the munchkin enjoyed all of them. Her favorite activity was recreating Dennis Oppenheim’s large sculptures. We spent about two hours there, and she had a blast. 

The exhibit will be at the Conservatory until March 29, 2009. For more information about the Conservatory, check out this post.

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I took the munchkin to her first pumpkin patch this weekend. We went to Leeds Farm in Delaware County.

Leeds Farm was not what I think of when I think pumpkin patch. I pictured us walking into a field of bright orange pumpkins and letting her walk around until she found one. Leeds Farms was a lot more fun than that. Especially when I realized she wanted every pumpkin she saw.

At the farm, the munchkin got to feed goats. She loved getting to see the goats up close and was very excited to feed them, since feeding our dog at home is discouraged.

She also played in a corn box, which was like a giant sand box, but instead of sand, it was a play area with kernels of corn. We rode in the banana car train, which was pulled by a tractor. She also slid down a huge slide that in another life was some kind of huge drainage pipe. It was cooler than it sounds.

And those were the activities that she was also old enough to do. There was also a zip line, pumpkin pillow jump, and human gerbil wheels – all of which she was too little to do this year. But we will go back next year for sure.  

We also picked out some pumpkins to take home too, include a cool green pumpkin. Along with the pumpkins, the farm was also selling a few varieties of winter squash. 

The entire outing cost us $19.00, which included a bag of kettle corn, two drinks, and our pumpkins. The admission was $7.00 for ages three and up. Under three was free. 

Location: 8738 St. Rt. 36, Ostrander, Ohio 

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Looking for something to do with the kids this weekend? What’s a better fall activity that going to a pumpkin patch?

Here is a website I found that lists pumpkin patches: Pumpkin Patches and More. You can search by state, then by area. 

[Photo Credit: Pumpkin Patch]

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COSI has a new exhibit – Sesame Street Presents: The Body. The munchkin and I visited the exhibit last week.

Like all of COSI, the exhibit is incredibly interactive. The exhibit is all about the body, and how to take good care of your body.

My daughter is 21-months-old, and she was probably too young for the exhibit. Older children will definitely enjoy the exhibit more than she did. She interacted with the activities, but didn’t understand what she was doing. She loved getting to see the large pictures of Big Bird, Elmo, and Grover located throughout the exhibit. 

Her favorite activity was “Super Grover’s Obstacle Course,” which was a small, padded obstacle course the kids can run around. She also liked “Mr. Hooper’s Store,” where the kids can walk around the exhibit and fill their grocery baskets with healthy food. 

The exhibit will be at COSI from October 4, 2008 until January 4, 2009. It’s worth a visit. 

Where: 333 West Broad Street, Columbus, Ohio 43215. There is parking available in lots directly in front of the building. I have never had trouble finding a spot.

Fee: The exhibit is $3 for COSI member and $5 for non-members. Two-years-old and younger is free.

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This weekend, we had beautiful fall weather which was perfect for a hike. Hiking in the fall is great, because it isn’t too hot or too cold and the bugs aren’t biting.

We went to Old Man’s Cave in the Hocking Hills State Park. I was a little worried about hiking with a 21-month-old, but she loved it. She rode on my back in a backpack carrier the entire time. She snacked on granola bars and drank from my water bottle as I walked.  

We parked in the parking lots at the Welcome Center, and began our hiking by taking the Gorge Overlook Trail. The trail was an easy hike. We crossed at the “A” Frame Bridge Over the Gorge and took Grandma’ Gatewood Trail back.

Grandma’ Gatewood Trail was a harder hike. There were more fallen trees across the trail and more rocks to climb up, down, and over. Having a 27-pound toddler strapped to your back doesn’t make the hike any easier. It took us about four hours to complete that hike, but that included multiple stops for lunch and water breaks. 

This was a great, free activity for a fall weekend. I haven’t been to Old Man’s Cave in about 10 years, and I forgot how incredibly beautiful the park is. The trees have not started to change yet, but the hike will be even more magnificent when they do.

Where: From Columbus, take U.S. 33 East through Lancaster to Logan, Ohio and exit onto State Route 664 South. Take 664 South approximately 12 miles to the park area. It took us a little over an hour to drive there from Columbus.

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On Saturday, October 4, the North Market will be hosting its Harvest Festival.

The Harvest Festival is free and has activities such as pumpkin pie, apple pie, and pumpkin bread contests; free cookies and apples for kids; face painting; crafts; and music. 

If you haven’t bought any local apples, pumpkins, squash or cider this fall, the Farmers’ Market at the North Market is a great place to do so. Last week, the selection was great. It seemed like there were more vendors at the market last week than in previous weeks. As usual, the Farmers’ Market opens at 8 a.m.

Scheduled Harvest Festival activities include: 
•Farmers’ Market and North Market merchants open at 8 a.m. 
•Pumpkin Bread contest, 9 a.m. 
•Live music by Slate Ridge, 10 a.m. – 12 p.m. 
•Pumpkin Pie contest, 10 a.m. 
•Free pumpkin cookies for the kids, courtesy of Mozart’s Bakery, 10 a.m. while supply lasts. 
•Free apples for the kids, 10 a.m. while supply lasts. 
•Autumn crafts with the Columbus Jaycees, 11 a.m. – 1 p.m. 
•Apple pie contest, 11 a.m. 
•Face painting, 11a.m. – 4 p.m. 
•Live music by Cowboy Hillbilly Hippy Folk, 12 – 2p.m. 
•Live music by Loosely Strung, 2 – 4p.m.

For more information about Fall activities in Central Ohio read this post about Circle S Farms and a great website to find pumpkin patches and apple orchards.  

[Photo Credit: Pumpkins]

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