Explore Clary Gardens in Coshocton, Ohio.

When it comes to local exploring, Mila and I are on a mission. Our latest go to place was the Clary Gardens in Coshocton, Ohio.

Located right by Roscoe Village, the gardens are a secret escape to play and learn for all.

There are so many aspects of the gardens that I love. Since I’m a planty person, seeing the different types of plants and flowers was magical. Believe me, everywhere you look is beautiful.

I’ve actually been planning on taking Mila here for a little while. On the Clary Gardens Facebook page, I saw them advertise their Story Walk and knew we had to go.

Mila is set anytime learning and being active is involved. So, we put our go-fasters on and went on our way.

Here were our favorite parts of the trip, besides the beauty of the gardens!

The Story Walk Trail

This isn’t a secret, the Story Walk was our favorite part of our visit!

Clary Gardens, the Coshocton Public Library, and The Frontier Power Company teamed up to make this walk happened. They plan to change out the story seasonally, so that means we’ll be going back!

This season’s story was Giraffes Can’t Dance by Giles Andreae. It’s an adorable book about, you guessed it, a giraffe that can’t dance.

As you walk through the trail, you get to read more pages in the book.

Mila loved this and was searching for the page stands. Throughout the walk, I asked her to recap what happened from the pages before. She did amazing and was really engaged with the Story Walk!

The walk also lets you explore the gardens more. It gives you beautiful views of the property and a little walking trail that is safe for kids. Mila’s favorite parts of the trail was walking by the pond and going into the woods.

Mila taking the route less traveled.

This book choice was perfect for us too, since Mila loves to dance. She danced right with the different animals in the book.

It was a fun adventure through the gardens and I love seeing Mila’s love for reading expand. Spoiler alert, the giraffe dances at the end and Mila did a little celebration dance with him.

Check out the video at the end of this post.

The Octopus

Along the Story Walk was this big and beautiful, wooden octopus.

The octopus is all hand carved and hanging from a tree. He slightly sways if you touch him or the wind blows hard. This freaked Mila out a little, but she warmed right up to him.

I am completely amazed by all the details in the octopus. From the tentacle suckers to the big eyes, Mila and I both had a hard time walking away.

The size and detail reminded me of the wooden giants at the Bernheim Arboretum and Research Forest in Louisville. That was our last adventure before COVID. Except the giants were even bigger. It was still nice to be reminded of that memory.

When you go to Clary Gardens, definitely seek out the octopus.

Children’s Area

Since I’ve become a mom, finding a place where Mila can play is a must. Clary Gardens has a big area set aside just for this!

There’s different areas for kids to crawl through, climb on, and play. The sandbox was Mila’s favorite! Fortunately, there were buckets and shovels already provided for kids to use.

I personally appreciated the vegetable garden areas. Mila and I were looking to see if any had grown and trying to identify the leaves. Just another learning opportunity that we had to take.

The beautiful artwork at the side of the play area was so cute too.

After her time in the sandbox, Mila pointed out the colors and different things on the mural. She immediately ran up to the butterflies and pretended to be one.

This would be a perfect spot for a play date. You could picnic here (or any of the gazebos) while the kids played. The kids would have so many options to play and moms could get some shade and catch up.

Here’s a little compilation video of our visit. My favorite is Mila’s dance at the end.

The gardens offer even more too. Not only can you get married here or hold an event, it has a beautiful amphitheater too. There’s a few plays by Rogue Elephant Productions coming up in the near future that I need to go see.

If you’re local to Coshocton, plan out your visit to the Clary Gardens soon!

Have you ever been to the Clary Gardens? If not, do you have local gardens that are similar?

Embarrassing Story Time: Toothpaste or Something Else?

There’s nothing like a little embarrassment, especially from your past self.

I love rereading old blog posts and remembering stories that happened. Sometimes I even go to my old blogs just to see. It makes me laugh every time.

Recently, I’ve started a project with my grandpa (and all the family) and was reminded about one story. It happened clear back in 2015 when I went to watch my little cousin graduate from boot camp. I found it on one of my old blogs and figured I’d share it with you now.

It also makes me smile knowing this was written when Jensen was just a little speck in my belly. I didn’t know yet, but I was pregnant with him.

Look and see how much I’ve grown in six years… and you can laugh at me too.


Brush, Brush, Brush…

As many of you know or would guess, I’m a very clean person. I’m constantly brushing my teeth, washing my hands, or showering. My biggest pet peeve is my teeth being unclean or feel like there’s buildup on them. Every night, I brush my teeth, wash my face, and brush my hair. Every night it goes smoothly, until I went to Fort Leonard Wood, MO this past weekend.

The clouds are low in MO.

Since I wanted to get there a day early, I left with my Uncle Steve and Grandpa. I tried to pack everything I could think of that I would need for one night. Usually my mom will have all the other things I forgot, but she wouldn’t be there. The whole trip was going smoothly. I remembered all my car sickness medicine, my toothbrush, and deodorant. When we got back to the hotel room late, I realized I forget conditioner.

This simple sample-sized product can usually be found in the hotel shower. Yet, there was none. As my uncle and grandpa settled in and started to fall asleep, I snuck down to the lobby to ask nicely for conditioner. Turns out the whole hotel was conditioner free. At this point, I was stuck. I couldn’t ask anyone for keys to drive to the store. Plus, I didn’t even know where a store was. Of course I got on Pinterest and found out once could use lotion as a conditioner substitute. Well, it was worth a try.

Thankfully the lotion worked.
This probably was the biggest success of my nightly routine.

The after effects of lotion: puffy hair.

After my shower I felt like all the travel grime was washed away. I could sleep peacefully all clean in a nice comfortable bed. First things first though, I had to get that minty fresh taste in my mouth. As I’m rummaging through my weekend bag, I realize I forgot one other thing… my toothpaste.

Let’s just say there’s not Pinterest tips to help me here. In my last attempt effort, I saw my grandpa’s toiletry bag by the sink. He has to have toothpaste in there. It only takes a second to find the tube. I get my toothbrush out, squeeze the paste, and go to town on my teeth. But, the toothpaste tasted off, it was bland and seemed to be sticking to my teeth. I keep brushing as best as I could, but still it gets harder around my teeth. Then it tastes and feels as if there’s cement all throughout my mouth.

In a panic, I hurry and look at the ‘toothpaste.’ Instead of saying Colgate, I read Fixodent: All Day Hold.

I just had confused denture adhesive with toothpaste; aka the WORST decision ever. Not only was it the most disgusting taste, I seriously did not think it was going to come out. I kept brushing, but nothing helped.

Long story short, it took my 45 minutes to get all the adhesive out. Better yet, when I put my old clothes back into my bag… I found my toothpaste.

Moral of the Story…

Always put your toothpaste in a place you can easily find.

Hopefully you all enjoyed this post and got a little giggle out of it. Initially after I did this, I only told my mom and did not want anyone else to know. BUT I think you would all enjoy.


What a night to remember.

I think the second best part of finding this was the grainy phone pictures six years ago. Either way, this put a smile to my face.

Do you ever look back on past situations and just laugh? Or have you ever mistaken denture adhesive with toothpaste?

Oh… that last part is definitely just past Danielle.

Support Local: Tuscarawas Valley Farmers Market

On Wednesdays, we go to the market. More specifically, we head to the Tuscarawas Valley Farmers Market in Dover, Ohio for food, entertainment, and a fun time.

Open every Wednesday from 3-7pm during the months of June to mid-October, the Market sets up at the Tuscarawas County Fairgrounds. It’s open rain or shine.

Anytime we can support local farmers, makers, and businesses, we do! So, we grab our canvas bags and go shopping.

Mila loves interacting with all the people and I love knowing where our food is coming from.

It’s a perfect combination.

It’s so fun watching Mila interact and explore different foods. She loves to pick out zucchini, all fruits, and flowers. I love that everyone is patient with her (and me too!). Somehow I feel like this is only going to strengthen her relationship with food.

My favorite part is trying out different vegetables than what we would normally pick out.

We’ve tried different squashes, baby carrots, and a vegetable called a kohlrabi. Kohlrabi looks like an alien vegetable, but tastes like cauliflower. I have a recipe I’m going to share soon with it.

We also love the homemade jams, puff corn, hot sauces, and flowers too. I guess you can say we like everything there.

Every time we go, Mila enjoys picking out fresh cut flowers to take home.

They add so much beauty to our home and are different every week we go. That’s the magic about buying local, it’s whatever is growing or read that week.

When you go to the Market, you’re not just going to get produce and leave.

The library brings crafts for kids every other week to do. You can either make them there or take them home to do later.

There’s usually entertainment, such as local bands and musicians too. Mila and her friends danced for a while one week. They had so much fun, as well as everyone else around too. It’s so special to watch a community come together and enjoy the moment.

Another added bonus is the food trucks and stands that join in on the fun.

I don’t know if anyone else is like me, but after I get back from shopping I get tired. Instead of rushing home to make food, we love ordering food and eating there. They usually have brick oven pizza that tastes so good!

Mila usually had sampled all of our produce by the end, but never turns down macaroons or ice cream!

Once you do get home to make meals, you won’t be disappointed.

Last week, I made an amazing BLT with all local ingredients. It honestly tasted fresh and so much better than usual. I definitely need to pick up more tomatoes and bread this week!

We hope that you can make it to the Tuscarawas Valley Farmers Market this year!

It’s a great event for our community, way to educate our kids about food, and help grow our local commerce. You might even get to try an out of this world vegetable too!

Just watch out for Mila pushing her cart!

If you’ve ever been to the Tuscarawas Valley Farmers Market, what’s your favorite thing about it?

My faraway friends, do you have a local farmers market you like to attend?

Explore the World’s Largest Cuckoo Clock in Sugarcreek, Ohio.

Mila and I love to find quirky, local adventures. One of our favorite places to explore is the World’s Largest Cuckoo Clock in Sugarcreek, Ohio.

It’s definitely worth the visit!

You’ll find this treasure located in downtown Sugarcreek, on the corner of Main Street and North Broadway.

We actually went to go out to the cuckoo clock, but got sidetracked by the Butterfly Exhibit at the Norma Johnson Center. If we’re nearby the clock, Mila and I like to get ice cream and watch the show.

It’s one of the places she asks to go quite frequently. I have no idea how she got so fascinated with it.

The clock plays it’s song and show every half hour in the summer. Its closed down in the winter, so be mindful of that if you’re planning a visit during the cooler months.

We got there a little early, so we walked around the block to explore… and take pictures.

The history of the World’s Largest Cuckoo Clock is pretty cool. If you read the Ohio marker in the picture it tells you all about it.

Here’s a little recap of what it says:

Originally, the clock was at a local restaurant a few streets down. It was on the the cover of the Guinness Book of World Records in 1978. Then, after decades, it needed a major restoration. Two years after it was restored, the restaurant it was at closed down and the clock was moved to its current location.

I think knowing what the clock has been through and seeing the shear size of it, makes it even more impressive.

Once it was time for the clock to do its song and dance, Mila ran over to the bench.

The whole thing runs about five minutes.

It’s really cute to watch and Mila likes it too. You can always tell when it’s the half hour because there’s a little crowd all around the clock.

When it was over, Mila gave me her best cuckoo clock impression. I think she loves the dancing.

If you’re close to Sugarcreek or visiting Ohio, this should be on your list to see. It’s only a ten minute stop if you time it up right. Then you can get lunch, ice cream, or go shopping at the local shops.

It’s truly a sight to see and something that will make you smile. Your kids will love it too!

Local friends… have you ever seen the World’s Largest Cuckoo Clock? What other fun things would you suggest people see?

Far away friends… what’s your closest “World’s Largest” to you?

We Went Strawberry Picking. Here’s Our Experience.

Strawberries are the fruit of choice in our house. When I let Mila know she could actually go strawberry picking, we had to leave immediately.

Of course she had to dress for the occasion and picked out this fitting outfit.

Since strawberry season is coming to a close in Ohio, we had to find a place that was still doing you-picks. I ended up finding Smokey Lane Farms in Sugarcreek, Ohio.

It was actually their last you-pick day!

Smokey Lane Farms was a smaller farm that had two areas to pick strawberries. It also had places for kids to play and farm animals.

When we first got there, we started picking in the first field. It was pretty sparse since it was the last day, but Mila seemed to find a lot.

I’m pretty sure she ate more than what ended up in her bucket.

Who can blame her right?

One thing I wish I would have done before we started picking was to tell her what to look for. She picked small berries, mushy berries, or any that her eyes could see.

If I could go back, I would have told her to get big, light red berries that were mushy.

Live and learn!

After we found a bunch of strawberries in the first field, we took a play break.

She went down the slides, jumped on the air trampoline, and attempted to climb the ropes. Good thing mom was there to help out a little. I think her goal right now is to solo swing across the monkey bars.

We also ended up strolling through their green houses and checking out the farm animals.

After playing with some new friends on the playground, Mila was ready to tackle the second strawberry field. Thankfully, there were bigger strawberries so I could show her what we were looking for.

Let’s just say… she ate a ton of those too.

In all, I think we were at Smokey Lane Farms for like three hours or more. We loved finding the strawberries and just being outside.

It was the perfect day to go: not too hot or cold.

One thing I’d suggest to parents is to bring water. Mila drank a lot and it was nice to have some on hand.

We obviously didn’t need any snacks!

Not only was it nice to get outside with Mila, we love exploring new places.

It’s been years since I’ve been strawberry picking and it was Mila’s first time. Maybe it can turn into a fun first of summer tradition with our family.

I love having the opportunity to start and keep these types of family outings. Mila loves exploring and I know I do too.

Maybe we’ll have to try their blueberry you-pick!

Since we have a huge bucket of strawberries, it’s time to make our strawberry recipes and enjoy them.

I think we’ll be doing strawberry chocolate chip cookies first!

Have you ever been strawberry picking? What’s your tip to finding the perfect strawberry?

Also, if you’re from Ohio, what other local adventures should we try?

15 Things To Do With Your Toddler This Summer

Summer is OFFICIALLY here!

Mila and I love the warm months and everything to do with our time off. It may be hard to think of fun things to do with your toddler in the heat, but getting outside is so important.

We’re going to track our time outside until next summer. Our goal is to hit 1000 hours and I have a feeling the majority of the time will be when the sun is shining bright. 1000 Hours Outside is a movement to get outside and lessen screen time. They have a fun coloring page to track your hours and I think it’s a fun little challenge.

I also think about how Mila and I only have EIGHTEEN summers together until she goes off to college or enters adulthood. We’re going to try to make the most of them.

This is summer 4/18.

Here’s a little list of what Mila and I will be doing this summer. I can’t wait to see all of our adventures.

Create a Scavenger Hunt

You know how much Mila and I love scavengers hunts. They’re easy to make and can be done anywhere outside. We love to do them in our backyard, but have also done them on hikes, walks, and on vacation too!

Scavenger hunts are great ways to keep your little busy and you can join along too!

Go to the Zoo

Zoos are such fun places to explore. There’s all kinds of different animals and kids are just in awe of them. It may get a little hot during the summer, so make sure to pack extra water.

I’d also suggest trying to go early in the morning or during zoo nights!

If you’re in Ohio, check out the Columbus and Akron Zoo!

Go to the Pool

Mila and I’s FAVORITE summer activity is going to the pool. We love to swim and just relax in the water. She’s also started asking to go to the waterpark. She loves the slides!

For us, swimming passes the time so quickly and cools us down. It’s also fun to play pool volleyball, make floaty forts, and play Marco Polo! Pool days have unlimited opportunities to play and learn.

Watch the Clouds

One way to engage your child’s imagination is to watch the clouds. Ask them what they see in the sky. Mila tries to make up stories along with them too. Let’s just say, she always has me laughing with what goes on in her mind.

Stargaze

Summer means staying up a little later than normal. Just like watching the clouds, stargazing with Mila opens up different conversations than normal. She asks about the moon and how to get to space. We also try to find different constellations, but I’m not very good at finding them right away. I promise I’ll be better at the end of summer!

Play with the Hose

Some days you can’t get to the pool, but still want to play in the water. We love playing with out hose and the attachments with it.

It’s a fun and simple activity that I think most toddlers love.

Just like going to the zoo, going on a walk or hike can be hindered by the heat. Make sure to stay hydrated or go when it’s cooler.

If you go on a hike, it could be fun to go somewhere where there’s water to be cooler too!

Tend Your Garden

If you started a garden, you’ll probably have to tend to it.

Tending your garden can be so much fun for you and your toddlers to watch flowers, fruits, and vegetables grow. It’s even better when you can pick and eat what you’ve helped grow!

Have a Fire

Extend your time outside by having a fire.

You can make food, like s’mores, and just enjoy the moment. We also like telling stories. Anytime there’s light that makes shadows, Mila thinks it’s story time! It’s also a fun way to wrap up a pool day or time spent with family.

Blow Bubbles

This is pretty self explanatory, but deserved a spot on the list!

Play with Chalk

Playing with chalk is not only creative for kids, it can be a great learning activity. You can do color recognition, practice shapes, and even help learn letters too!

Also, it always brings a smile to my face when I see sidewalk chalk art when we go on a walk.

Go Somewhere New

There are so many places to explore. Recently, I’ve joined an Ohio Facebook group to see if there are any quirky or fun new places for Mila and I to go. Honestly, i already have a huge list of things to do this summer and beyond.

If you’re in Ohio, I’d totally recommend going to the Fountain of Dogs in Mt. Vernon. It’s still one of the places Mila asks to go frequently.

Go on a Road Trip

Just like going somewhere new, going on a road trip is another fun option. Mila is finally loving the car. It’s a blast to sing songs together and watch her see the world around her.

The opportunities are endless when it comes to road trips!

Volunteer or Donate

No matter if you volunteer or donate your time officially or just on your own, it’s important to show your child how important it is. On our walks, we’ll pick up trash. When we have extra money, we’ve taken dog food to the humane society.

It’s a way you can get outside and help your community too.

HAVE FUN!

This is the most important thing on the list!

No matter what you do this summer, just make sure to have fun. Kids are only little one times in their lives… and I think it’s magical to watch your children experience this time too. I know I’ll be having just as much fun as her this summer.

What is your favorite thing to do on this list? And what’s something you’re planning that you’d add?

5 Reasons We Love the Akron Zoo.

One great thing to do is go to the zoo. Ohio has some great ones! Our latest adventure was to the Akron Zoo.

Since the Akron Zoo is the closest to us, we seem to frequent it more. Although it’s smaller than the Cleveland and Columbus zoos we’ve been to in the last few months, it’s just as beautiful and educational.

Before you visit, here are five of the reasons why we LOVE the Akron Zoo.

The Size

Although the zoo may be smaller, it’s perfect for toddlers. There’s isn’t as many animals or as much walking as Columbus, Cleveland, or Cincinnati, but it still makes an impact.

We can walk and see all the animals in a few hours without rushing. Plus, we can play in certain areas without feeling like we need to hurry up to get through. It makes it nice for kids to actually play and explore.

The zoo is expanding though!

On May 29, 2021, they’ll be opening their Wild Asia expansion. Mila and I will be back to see. We love tigers! There were also signs about expanding Africa too!

Even though it is smaller, you’ll still be getting a workout. There’s a huge hill to walk up!

The Otter Exhibit

Any parent who goes to this zoo knows they’ll be spending a ton of time with the otters.

There’s a huge slide that goes right through the exhibit and water. Kids can see the otter swim right by them!

The slide goes surprisingly fast and it’s a big hit with the kids. Mila spent a ton of time going up the steps and sliding right down. It’s cute to see the kids make themselves stop midway so they can get a better look at the otter.

It also has two huge viewing spots to see the otter. So while parents are waiting for their kids, they can get a good view too.

The otter was adorable! This was my favorite exhibit as a kid!

The Komodo Dragon

One of mine and Mila’s favorite zoo animals is the Komodo Dragon. The exhibit at the Akron Zoo is beautiful and we can always get a close look at this guy.

We love seeing him walk and perk up. It’s not an animal you get to see everyday!

I’m pretty sure Mila think this guys either an actual dragon or a dinosaur. Honestly, I can’t say I disagree.

One of my favorite parts of the zoo is seeing animals you’d never be able to get close to in the wild. I think this is why Mila and I are both fascinated with this guy.

By the Komodo Dragon is other reptiles, amphibians, and sea creatures. Plus the Komodo Kingdom Cafe!

The Carousel

I know, I know. There’s carousels at every zoo, but it’s our favorite every time.

Mila genuinely gets so happy when she sees them. She picks out an animal in the line, then switches last minute!

This carousel has beautiful painting on all the saddles and above. It also has a variety of different sized animals you can ride, which I thought was really nice.

It’s also a great break before walking up the hill!

I think the carousel at every zoo will make our top five. It’s only $2 to ride at the Akron Zoo and if you’re a parent who has to accompany your child, you get on free. The best $2 spent!

The Greenery and Gardens

If you didn’t know, I love plants and greenery. The Akron Zoo has beautiful plants everywhere you look!

I love when zoos really step up their plant game. It makes it feel more relatable for the animals and gets you in a wild mindset.

The Zoo Gardens also gives you the opportunity to walk and really take in the flowers. Immersing yourself in nature is so healing and relaxing. Mila loves it too!

These aren’t the only things we love at the zoo, but are the ones that stuck out the most during the latest trip. We cannot wait to go back this summer to check out the new exhibit!

I love that this zoo is growing since it’s so close to us.

Here are some other pictures I have to share from our experience.

We love the Akron Zoo!

Anytime I can see Mila’s amazement by what’s around her makes me so happy. She loves the animals, the playgrounds, and the environment when we get to go.

What’s your favorite part of the zoo closest to you?

Explore the Fountain of Dogs in Mount Vernon, Ohio.

It’s no secret that Mila and I love to explore. Whether it’s in our backyard or a different country, we love adventure. So, finding a Fountain of Dogs wasn’t too out of the ordinary.

Located at South Main Plaza in Mount Vernon, Ohio, sits 18 dogs all spitting water to a golden bone.

We were in town visiting a plant store and after looking for a place to eat. It was quite eye catching to drive by this… playful fountain. I was surprised Mila didn’t see it.

After dinner, we walked around the block and her eyes got so big as she took in the fountain.

If I hadn’t had a hold of her hand to cross the road, she would’ve ran right up to it. For a little girl who LOVES animals, she was impressed.

Upon further inspection, there was a variety of different dogs. Four you could touch and the rest were in the fountain. But, they all were pining for the golden bone in the middle.

There’s also a cat, horse, and two birds that are around the fountain too. They’re not so interested in the bone.

Around the fountain are plenty of benches and it’s a clean place to just relax.

Honestly, if we lived in Mount Vernon, I could imagine eating lunch here during the summer. It’s beautiful, fun, and quite peaceful.

Although if you’re a toddler… there’s no relaxing.

Mila gave every dog or animal she could get to equal attention. She loved putting her hands in the water and trying to get me wet. We were there for about forty-five minutes and I think she ran and climbed the entire time.

When we had to leave, Mila was heartbroken. I reminded her of the plants in our car and she was happy to get them back home. Before we left, she said goodbye to every dog.

We had to get one last picture too.

It was one of the most unusual fountains I’ve ever seen, but I’m glad I got to see it with Mila.

I plan on going back to the plant place and I’m pretty sure the Fountain of Dogs will be on our list of places to stop, maybe for lunch.

If you’re ever in Ohio and love roadside attractions, the Fountain of Dogs is a cute place to go. No matter your age or if you’re a dog lover or not, it’s something to be seen!

What’s your favorite roadside attraction in your state or beyond? Maybe Mila and I will have to go visit!