Another Round of Birthday Fun

Thursday, August 18, 2016

A few weeks ago I had another birthday. My birthday is a little bittersweet. I love to celebrate birthdays, and as a Leo, I love celebrating my own. But this whole getting older thing just stinks. The best way I know to survive birthdays is to celebrate as much as I can, and not count the candles on my cake.

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This year for my birthday I wanted to go to the zoo and feed the giraffes. I saw people doing this a few years ago, and had just missed the feeding time, so it has been on my bucket list for a few years now.

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Meed Conner. He was a hungry fella and was the only one out of all of the giraffes that would eat anything from us. I guess the giraffes were a little scared of all of us, especially the kids. They also didn't like anyone wearing baseball caps. But luckily Conner cooperated and I got to check another thing off my bucket list.

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For those who are local, it cost $3 for a few leafs of lettuce. There are multiple feeding times throughout the day, including 9 am, 11 am, 1 pm, 3 pm and 5 pm.

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We then had to stop by one of my other favorite creatures. A few years ago I took a camel ride for my birthday and checked another item off my bucket list. I think this guy might have remembered me from a few years ago, and was wishing me a happy birthday!

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I am always excited to see the flamingos, and enjoyed this one practicing his yoga moves. The flamingos were really active that day, and you can see the one guy in the upper left who was showing off.

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It was so super hot that day and most of the animals were lounging around. This guy had the right idea about keeping cool.

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I have no idea why the polar bears weren't keeping cool in the water. There is a baby polar bear named Nora that you can visit with in the morning. We didn't arrive until later in the afternoon, but I would love to go back and see her sometime. I heard they are moving her to another zoo, so I'm not sure if that will be able to happen though.

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The elephant was keeping cool with a little hay on his back. It was crazy to see him so close. I feel like most of the time they are pretty far off in the distance.

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More lazy animals, although this guy was really pretty.

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And of course I had to include a pic of my love who made sure I had a pretty amazing birthday.

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He started my day off with waffles, bacon and mimosas. Then after our trip to the zoo we had dinner at Cooper's Hawk, one of my favorite restaurants.

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On Sunday my family and Rick's family came to visit to continue the celebrations. We cooked tacos, Mexican rice and Mexican street corn. It was so delish and a lot of fun to catch up with everyone!

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My bro and I cheesing it up for the camera.

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We joke we only get along when wine is involved.

It was a great birthday, and I'm trying my best to continue the celebrations as much as I can. I love celebrating but I'm not ready to celebrate the next birthday anytime soon.

Weekend Recap { Alpacas and Wine + A Few Other Creatures }

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Last weekend we, along with my brother and SIL, visited the Yellow Butterfly Winery in Coshocton County, and my oh my it was an experience. Before we get to the winery, let's talk about the trip there.

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The winery was a little over an hour and a half trip, but thankfully we were driving out of the monsoon that has been hanging over Columbus for the past week. The day (for the most part) turned out to be beautiful, and there was a lot of nice scenery to take in, as shown below:

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Exhibit A: We came across a random goat enjoying a little salad of grass along the side of the road. He clearly had escaped his leash, and had no cares in the world. We said Hello!, snapped a few pics, and headed on our way.

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Exhibit B: We then came upon a field of zebras...in the middle of nowhere...in Ohio. We were driving by and Rick casually says..."are those zebras in that field?" I had to do a double take and then of course we had to snap a pic to document this sighting. I mean who was going to believe us right??

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We arrived at the winery and let me tell you this place was hopping. The parking lot was full of cars and we immediatly understood why. The tasting room was in this beautiful yellow barn, that had a nice big back deck with live music and amazing views.

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Views of this little guy that is.

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He was very interested in what I was doing, and we clearly are quickly becoming BFFs. Rick says he totally wants to be my BFF and braid my hair in this pic.

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Before we had any tastings, I of course had to take approx 180 pictures of these beautiful creatures.

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Again my BFF { 😍 }

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And yes we attempted a little photoshoot with the alpacas.

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In all seriousness, how georgous is this view? We didn't get to sit on the deck and enjoy it as the rain soon followed us from Columbus, but I totally want to come back and enjoy a glass { or two } of wine and enjoy watching my favorite animals.

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Before we headed back up to taste some wine, Sarah commented it looked like the alpacas had recently been vaccumed. We expained they were likely recently shaved, but we had a fun little laugh. The kinda do look like they were vaccumed.

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Overall it was a fun time. The tastings were 3 for $1 + tax, which you cannot beat. And my tasting was free because we told them it was my birthday { which was true as it was last week }. The wine was a little too sweet for me, but I did enjoy a few of the dry red wines. Rick thought they were still a little too sweet for him, but he likes the really dry wines, and I prefer more of a semi-dry. I think most Ohio wines are a little on the sweet side, so that's to be expected.

If you are looking for a fun experience I would highly recommend Yellow Butterfly Winery. They have a fun country BBQ dinner and live music on Saturdays, but you do have to make reservations by the Thursday before. Just something to keep in mind.

After leaving Yellow Butterfly Winery, we headed over to Ravens Glenn Winery for some tastings and dinner. They had some really good wines as well and a beautiful dining room. It was dark, and too rainy, so we didn't get any pics, but trust me if you are in the area, I would recommend stopping by that one as well.

Life Lately

Thursday, August 11, 2016

I've been a little MIA lately with the blog. Life sometimes gets in the way and it's more important to live your life than spend tons of time documenting it...right?? But sometimes I get sad that I didn't have those moments documented to look back on. I love looking at my blog over the years and seeing all of our adventurers. So I'm going to try and take some time to catch up and share some of our favorite adventurers over the last few months.

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Today I wanted to share some random photos (mostly from Instagram) of what we have been up to lately.

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Work has been super busy as we've been in the thick of 2017 planning. Back in April I traveled to St Louis to visit my clients and we had the most amazing dinner at the 360 Rooftop Bar, which was the top floor of our hotel. Amazing views, great food, and a fun time catching up with a few of my coworkers.

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Miss Abby had a birthday back in May and she turned 14. I can't believe she is getting so old, and for the most part she doesn't act her age. She has been my best friend for 14 years and has been through so much with me...both good times and bad. She's been having some health issues, which has been a huge wakeup call that she won't be with us forever. But for now we are just enjoying every moment we can with her.

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Miss Bella had a dance recital also in May. It was so much fun to watch all of the little dancers, and it totally brought back so many memories of my dance recitals. I'm so happy she is following in her Aunt's footsteps, althogh I'll admit she is likely going to be so much better than I was :)

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Our good friends Jackie and Nate had a little baby Girl in July and we had fun at their couple's shower at Good Vibes Winery back in May as well.

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Had a little Snapchat fun with Bryn. We had a little health scare with Bryn in May when she pulled a disk in her neck. She spent 3 nights at the vet and after about 2 weeks of recovery, she was back to being Bryn.

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June brought Peony Season and I took a few (3) trips to Red Twigs Farm for fresh cut peonies.  One of those trips was with my good friend Amy and her daughter Avery.

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How georgous are these blooms? I wish every season could be Peony Season.

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We also spent some time hanging on our deck, relaxing with a good book. Well until it got super hot and we got invaded by bees :(

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Of course we had to celebrate National Donut Day with a free donut from Krispy Kreme (+ a dozen).

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We welcomed some more babies at the Holmes Family Farm. These little ones quickly grew up, so I'll have to share a farm update soon.

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Rick and I celebrated our 2 year wedding anniversary at the beach. Vaca recap to come soon as well!

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We celebrated the fourth with a cookout with my parents. Rick had to work, so earlier in the day I took Mom and Dad for ice cream at Jeni's in Powell, and then a trip to the new outlet stores. Kind of a low key holiday, but just what I needed since we had just returned from vaca.

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Again with the health problems...ugh!! Miss Abby has a sore/growth on her side that we just cannot get to heal. We tried to have it surgically removed, but her bloodwork showed some issues, so we didn't feel comfortable moving forward with the surgery. In the mean time, she has been looking cute sporting her t-shirts to help keep her from licking her side. Although she isn't too fond of the t-shirts, she tolerates them better than the cone-of-shame.

That's been our life lately...busy, but fun times! I'll try and share another update soon...hopefully sooner than 4 months ;)

Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins { Clean Eating Version }

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

I am kind of obsessed with the Banana Chocolate Chip Bread at Starbucks. But it doesn't really work with my current clean eating plan. So when I came across this recipe on Pinterst, I wanted to try making a few tweaks to work with the 21 Day Fix plan. The texture is a little different, but it is quite delicious with a cup of tea or coffee for breakfast (or as a mid-day snack). And since all of the ingredients are natural (minus a few chocolate chips), you can feel good knowing you are fueling your body with a healthy snack.

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The modifications I made were to use oat flour instead of real flour and I made my own using old fashioned oats. I also used raw honey instead of brown sugar. I think the oat flour is the biggest change as it does add a little more texture to the muffins and they do not rise as much. The honey made the muffins slightly less sweet, but I think the chocolate chips totally make up for that.

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Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins
21 Day Fix - 2 muffins = 1 yellow treat container

-- 1 cup plain Greek yogurt
-- 2 medium ripe bananas
-- 2 large eggs
-- 2 cups rolled oats (old fashioned or quick)
-- 1/4 cup of raw honey
-- 1/2 cup dark chocolate chips (or cacao nibs)

Preheat oven at 400 degrees.

Place your rolled oats in a food processor and pulse until ground into a flour consistency. Then place the remainder of your ingredients in the food processor and pulse until well combined. Drop batter in a greased muffin pan, or muffin liners and fill all the way to the top. I only filled 3/4 the way full, which is why mine are on the small side. You may want to add a few chocolate chips on top to make pretty and add a little more chocolaty flavor.

Bake at 400 degrees for 15-20 minutes.

I placed the majority of these in the freezer and just pull a few out and warm in the microwae for about 30-45 seconds before serving. Our you can keep in the fridge for a few days to stay fresh.

Enjoy!

Gardening & Creatures in our Backyard

Monday, May 2, 2016

Happy May! May is one of my favorite months. The weather warms up, which means it's time for gardening. I LOVE flowers and plants, and spend most of the Winter thinking about what I'm going to plant the following Spring.

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I was always told to hold off until Mother's Day to plant flowers, to ensure they weren't damaged by frost, but so far the 10 day forecast seems to have lows in the 40's and 50's, so we decided to take a chance and work on our garden this weekend.

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The romaine lettuce at the bottom is actually from last year's garden. It started to sprout back in February and we actually harvested a little of it this weekend for salads this week. Such a nice surprise after our pretty mild Winter.

We also purchased a heirloom purple tomato plant and a san marzano tomato plant, and then planted some pepper seeds as well.

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I also planted some herbs (actually last weekend), and can't wait to start using them in our dinner recipes. The chives in the middle actually came back from last year as well, which is why they seem to be taking over. They started to come back in March, so they have had a few months to really start growing.

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These are the herbs that I decided to plant this year, in addition to the chives. I'm super excited about my mint strawberry herb. I think that will be super tasty in mojitos this Summer.

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Here is the beginning of our garden, which doesn't look like much, but just wait another month and I bet it will be growing like crazy. I love to take pictures throughout the Summer to show the progress. We typically get a lot of rain throughout May, so by the end of the month, our plants our typically growing like crazy. Let's hope we have the same success this year.

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While we were planting, we took a moment to check out the baby goslings in our pond. We actually followed them down the street earlier that morning on our walk with the pups. They were walking in a single file line with the mommy in the front and the daddy in the back (or so we think :) )

If you look close enough, there is a bullfrog hiding in the grass in the lower-left of this picture...can you see it?

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I also caught these two little fuzzballs cuddling together in the grass. It was a nice sunny afternoon, so I'm sure they were enjoying the warmth, especially after a few cold and rainy days.

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Other creatures in our backyard are also excited for our garden. We have caught all of our pups at one point having a little salad in the herb garden.

You can find our past gardens here:

2015
2014