Sunday Scroll

Going to try out a new weekly segment that I’m calling Sunday Scroll. Each week, I’m going to share 4 Instagram posts that simply stopped me as I scrolled on through Instagram this week!

So let’s dive right in

This post from raskalov had me ready to roll. It’s an overhead view of the traffic leaving 2019’s Burning Man in Nevada. It’s beautiful – full of unity and adventure!

This next one features two of my favorite things! girlnextdoorhoney dealt with this amazing bee swarm all over these ripe tomatoes. Have you seen anything more beautiful? Nature is amazing.

Pottery is something I love to look at. I would watch pottery videos all day if I could. I love seeing how creative people get, so it’s not surprising that this earth toned photo from dorothydomingopottery stopped me in my tracks.

I am totally in love with this moody portrait by _blomst_. She recently acquired a studio in downtown Dayton and she is creating some gorgeous images in there. Go check her out!

Aaand done! Easy stuff right? Come back next Sunday to see what photos from this coming week make it into Sunday Scroll.

Dayton Area Fall Favorites

It’s finally September, so if you haven’t gotten spooky yet – now is the time! I started decorating around August 1st because I was just too excited to wait. Would you be interested in some Fall decor photos?

Since moving to Dayton, Stephen and I have developed some favorite annual Fall events that we always attend. It’s been super exciting to share that with CJ as she gets older. We LOVE autumn. The tree changing colors, the welcoming fall decor, all of the mums, spooky decor, and the crisp cool air speaks to us.

Two weeks ago was the Fairborn Sweet Corn Festival and even though this is mid August, it really feels like the start of autumn for us. It’s held every year around the 3rd weekend of August at the Fairborn Community Park. The dinner is what draws us in – blackened chicken, corn fritters, lemonade, and fresh steamed & delicious corn!

Another favorite is Katie’s Pumpkin Barn. This is a small place and it is not a u-pick pumpkin patch. It is better because it is literally a barn full of every color, shape, and size of pumpkin you could imagine. The barn is always decorated for the spooky season and usually opens at the start of September.

They have a live stock that you can look at and sometimes pet. They even have a small corn maze that is super friendly for small children. I think what I love the most is the classic Halloween decorations. Katie’s is our favorite stop in Autumn!

Peifer Orchards is a new place that we explored last year. We went Apple Picking! Again, this venue isn’t huge, which is what we loved about it. They sell mums, baked goods, pumpkins, and apples. You can do your own apple picking, which is so fun! It’s a bit of a walk down the path, so if you have little kids make sure to bring their strollers. CJ got tired and just sat down in the middle of the trail last year after all of the excitement. This year, we will bring the stroller.

Honorary mentions –

Tecumpsah Land Trust for Sunflowers – its best to check their Facebook for updates about the fields.

Hiking at the smaller family friendly trail at Wegerzyn once the leaves begin to turn.

Apple Butter Festival in Enon in October 12th & 13th

Sauerkraut Festival, if you don’t mind give crowds! October 12th & 13th in Waynesville.

Potato Festival – get there early to beat the crowds. I recommend the potato ribbons! Happening on October 5th & 6th in Spring Valley

Ohio Renaissance Festival is a must! Now -Oct 27th on Saturdays and Sundays

Dayton Dragons

PLAY BALL!

Sitting on the lawn at a Dayton Dragons baseball game, watching pitches, swings, misses, and home runs…. you never really think about what goes on behind the scenes.

My husband was recently honored as a Hometown Hero at a Dayton Dragons game and with that comes VIP tickets, a swag bag, & a tour through the stadium. It was so eye-opening to see what goes on beyond the field.

We started with the main lobby – full of photos showing honored players who went on to play for big league and memorabilia collection of a record breaking sold-out game streak. Things I never really knew about the Dayton Dragons, even though I’d been to the games.

Next we headed on downstairs. The players were getting ready to play the Whitecaps, so instead of peek into the bustling locker rooms & gym, we were shown pictures of what they look like and why they wore different jerseys depending on who and when they were playing.

Up next? THE BASEBALL FIELD! I never knew how much I wanted to stand on the Dayton Dragons field until I was there. It was a totally different view. Standing there looking at the 6000+ fan seats I found myself wondering how the players even keep their head in the game when all eyes are on them. It’s truly impressive.

Standing on the field was a favorite, but closely following that was when we headed upstairs to see the media portion. Huge towers of servers, screens, buttons… lights, cameras, ACTION! It was so captivating to see all of the people that it took to create the optics of each and every game.

We saw a few more cool photos and heard some fun facts before we headed on down to our seats. I have to mention the food. The concessions at the Dayton Dragons Stadium is very well varied. I vote for the BBQ next time you visit. It was such a cool experience and we were so honored that my husband was chosen for that evening’s Hometown Hero.

Fun fact about the photo above! There are only two weeks in time difference between the last two photos! Can you imagine how much work was put in in those last two weeks?

If you live in the area and haven’t been to a Dayton Dragons game, you need to make it out there! Oh, and I almost forgot to mention the outstanding & hilarious mascots – Gem & Heater – our residential Dragons! They perform the best skits during the game and kids LOVE them!

5 Tips for the Three Rs

Every Wednesday, Layla from Lettered Cottage does a segment called “Let’s Go With Layla” on her Instagram and she shares 5 tips, ideas, or cool finds that she spots out and about. A few weeks ago, she decided to open the floor up to anyone who wanted to participate and host their own Let’s Go With Layla!

Stepping WAY out of my comfort zone, I decided to hop on Instagram and share a few of my favorite five tips in the topic of Reduce, Reuse, Recycle.

So let’s go (with Layla!)

Tip One: Cutting out the plastic water bottles! I’m actually super guilty of this. I’m very weird about drinking water from the sink – I always have been. So up until about March, I was buying water bottles by the 24pack. Between my husband and I, we would put out 60-70 bottles a WEEK!

I finally had enough so I just dove in and bought a water filter while I was at the grocery store. It has reduced our recycling waste by a bunch and I feel much better about our smaller impact on plastic use.

This is the one I purchased from the grocery store Classic 18 Cup Dispenser

Tip Two: Ditch the plastic shopping bags! I invested less than $7 in reusable grocery bags from my local grocery store and haven’t looked back since! I always take them with me! Pro Tip: buy a clip to hang them from the cart, so you take up less space inside the cart. It’s so nice not bringing all of that one use plastic into my home. Luckily lots of stores now recycle their plastic bags, so you can just bring them back to the store if you’ve got a collection or forget your reusable bags.

I want to add that I just switched to using mesh bags for my fruits and vegetables instead of those super thin & hard to recycle plastic bags in the produce section. I love them so much! Click here for the Mesh Bags I bought on Amazon.

Tip Three: Regifting Books/Library Card! I joined a challenge in January on Facebook where if you shared the post, you agreed to send one book each to the first 5 people who commented, as long as they also shared it and committed to the challenge.

It got me thinking – I tend to read books and just leave them sitting on a shelf for… well, ever. So now aside from this challenge, I’m also making it a habit to regift these books. I’ve also stepped up my library book borrowing game up.

Tip Four: I try to be really smart about buying CJ toys. I tend to buy less toys that have batteries and buttons because they break easier, creating more waste. I also look for toys made from recycled items. Bonus points if those toys are second-hand, but I always deep clean them when I get them that way. Don’t worry – she has plenty of new loud and bright toys too.

Tip Five: Reusable straws & cups are a favorite in this house. I purchased some reusable straws on amazon and have collected an assortment of reusable water and coffee cups over the years. Most places don’t mind you using your own – some even encourage it.

The straws came in a carrying pouch, so I can keep them in my purse. The cups are harder to carry around, but they do encourage me to just fill up at home. That ultimately saves a little bit of money – especially at the coffee shop!

So there you have it! 5 easy ways to Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle! What are some of your favorite 3R Tips?

Dismissive Nature

I don’t often touch on the military subject, but I wanted to put a couple things out there – from both sides of the spectrum.

“This is what you signed up for” is a phrase that military spouses hear way too often. I don’t think people mean any real harm by it, but they also don’t realize how dismissive it can be to our feelings. So friends & family, please delete that phrase from your mind when asking us how we are doing and responding with those words when we tell you we miss our spouse.

For a lot of us, we loved our spouse before they joined the military. I met my husband two years before he joined. I married him because I loved him and I couldn’t imagine spending my life without him. I can guarantee you that the idea of spending 6 to 12 months alone with a baby in a house where things just start breaking the second your spouse leaves town was not an appealing factor in our marriage.

So instead – you can substitute those words for something more encouraging like “Wow. That’s got to be hard, but you’ve got this!” Or the cliche but still encouraging “Hang in there. They’ll be back before you know it.” — OR my personal favorite “Wow. That’s rough. More wine?

On the opposite side of the street though, I would like to address other military spouses for a minute. You guys. We get it. Deployments and short tours… they are hard. It’s not easy. You miss your spouse and you have every right to.

HOWEVER, when your civilian friend comes to you and talks about how their spouse is on a business trip for a few days, it is NOT okay to compare that to a 6 month deployment.

EVERYONE is allowed to miss their spouse no matter how long they are gone.

So please check yourselves before you say “Well at least your spouse isn’t gone for six months at a time.” It really is just as dismissive to them as “This is what you signed up for” is to us.

Those are just some thoughts I wanted to share with you all. If you are going through a deployment or your SO is out of town, I just want to say that you aren’t alone. It’s rough, but you’ll get through it. Also, an evening glass of wine can’t hurt. Just drink responsibly!

Hidden Valley Orchards

The sunshine was working it today! It has been a whole week of clouds, thunderstorms, and dreary days, but we finally woke up to total sunshine this morning. I immediately decided that CJ and I needed to get out of the house for an adventure that didn’t involve a grocery store.

So we headed out to Hidden Valley Orchards, which has been one of our favorite places to visit since we moved to Ohio. HVO has changed a lot since the beginning, but it’s still an amazing family adventure.

During the summer, they host holiday events, Fruit festivals, petting zoos for kids, and u-pick events. Everything from grapes to apples! They also sell small home decor, fresh fruits & vegetables, baked goods, and canned items. They also just opened a bar and huge patio area this year!

So today CJ and I headed out to pick some blueberries! We got a pint sized buckets for five bucks and ventured out to the fields in search of something yummy.

I love to do stuff like this with her. We went strawberry picking last year at HVO and apple picking in the Fall at another orchard in Yellow Springs. Much like last year and my tomatoes though, she picks the ripe berries AND the tiny little green ones too.

After we filled up our pint-sized bowl of blueberries, we headed inside for lunch. Hidden Valley Orchards has a huge and delicious menu! Burgers, sandwiches, salads, flatbreads, and so many delicious baked goods.

I got CJ a burger with a side of fresh fruit and I got a bacon grilled cheese with green beans. We also got a buckeye brownie, which is less of a brownie and more of a small sized cake.

It was a gorgeous day and totally something we needed after such a gloomy week. We’ve been having a hard time getting back into a routine since we got back too, so even though it’s quite opposite of routine, the spontaneity of today was just what we needed.

And now we’ve got some delicious and as fresh as they get blueberries for the weekend. I’m thinking blueberry pancakes? Muffins? Cake? Or all of the above!

HVO is located at 5474 OH-48 in Lebanon, Ohio 45036

Click here for their Facebook for more info

Plant Mom

It is finally time to start growing!

I missed out the the initial seeding season because I actually spent the whole month of May in Florida visiting family (most posts on that coming soon). Now that I’m back though, I haven’t wasted any time.

Instead of starting with seeds though, I decided to support a local farm called Friendly Knoll Farm that sets up shop at the Wednesday Fairborn Farmer’s Market. I’ve been buying from them for two summers and I am never disappointed. Aside from seedlings, they also sell plantable flowers and in true farmers market fashion, they also have an assortment of veggies for purchase- Peppers, tomatoes, cucumbers, watermelon, etc.

The two guys who run the booth at the Fairborn Market are always super friendly and full of useful information on the products you are buying. They are always willing to chat about plants, which is why I think I trust them the most. Their tips are always helpful.

Back to the blog post!

So the first Wednesday that I came back to town, I dropped by the market and picked up an assortment of tomatoes, peppers, and for the first time I’m going to try growing my own cucumbers!

I made sure to pick up a wide variety of tomatoes – Black Cherry, Chocolate Cherry, San Marzano, Yellow Brandywine, Marglobe, and Golden Jubilee. I’m excited to see what all grows.

The cucumbers are a new adventure for me. I also have sweet peppers – ivory & jupiter. Oh, and my raspberries are growing from last year! It’s bound to be a busy season.

Stay tuned for updates!