Earlier this fall, we surprised the kids with an incredible trip to Butler County, Ohio. We packed up their suitcases and picked them up from school, and off we went!

You can read about the first part of our trip here:

But today, I’m focusing on the most exciting part to me… the Butler County Donut Trail!

Started in 2016, the trail spans 80 miles and covers 12 donut shops. Start at any one of the shops and you can snag a passport that each store will stamp as you go. If you visit 11 of 12 shops, you even get a free t-shirt at the end!! Along the way, you can try every kind of donut you can imagine. Some of the unique flavors we saw were Fruity Pepples, Maple Bacon and S’mores. Y U MMMMMM.

Our first stop on the donut trail was Holtman’s DonutsThis shop was very close to our hotel, and so idyllic. We adored the interior design of subway tile walls, chalkboard menu boards, and teal leather seats. The kids devoured the donuts! We actually had to slow them down reminding them it was just the first stop of many…

Next up was Stan the Donut Man. This donut shop was completely different from Holtman’s. It’s located in a strip mall and doesn’t appear to have changed much in decades… but I LOVED it. The donuts were almost all picked over by 9:30 AM, CRAZY! The nice staff saved some donuts for us in a white paper bag. I don’t want to pick favorites here, but these donuts were INCREDIBLE. I couldn’t stop with just one! Stan the Donut Man was the kind of donut shop I went to growing up. Kind of a hidden gem. I highly recommend you not skipping over this shop.

Our third stop on the trail was The Donut House. Another hidden shop in a small stripmall. The Donut House had gorgeous pink walls and only a few booths. We were given a full dozen donuts here and these were some of the most unique offerings, including fill your own! Maple Bacon, Reese’s Cup and Cookies n Creme just to name a few. Plus, they had pumpkin Spiced donuts… which was perfect for fall. Okay, we were stuffed, but we trekked on…

Our forth and final stop was at Jupiter Coffee & Donuts. This donut shop is also filled with unique offerings. My husband had a banana filled eclair, and said it was the best donut he had all day! Needless to say, this may have been our last stop but it was just as delicious as the other three.

The entire morning was filling and gave our kids a sugar high, but it was so worth it. We’d love to go back and try some of the shops we didn’t have time (or an appetite) for. If you’re looking for a perfect holiday destination, close to home… give Butler County a try!

To read more about the trail check out the Butler County website here: https://www.gettothebc.com/

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Off to the Butler County Donut Trail

That chocolate mouth.

That chocolate mouth.

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Stan the Donut Man’s donuts were INSANE!

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Delicious.

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So many donuts, so little time.

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The Donut House

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Lisa’s Kitchen for lunch

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Wonderful family trip, indeed!

Last weekend, we surprised the kids with a fun-filled trip to Butler County, Ohio. We packed up their suitcases and picked them up from school. When they asked where we were going, we just kept telling them we were going to dinner. God love them for thinking it was a 2-hour drive to dinner. Ha!

Luckily, the drive was quick and we arrived at our hotel in plenty of time for dinner. After an easy check-in at the Staybridge Suites, we were off to our first stop at Troy’s Cafe.

By now the kids were bursting with excitement as we kept telling them we had so many surprises planned for them. Troy’s Cafe was a quant little restaurant with sandwiches, salads, soups and delicious mac and cheese for the kids. The place was full on a Friday night, which is always a good sign! We enjoyed a wonderful meal and were off again.

After Troy’s we had one more surprise in store before turning in for the night, The Cone. I am so happy we had the chance to experience this remarkable landmark of a shop. The ice cream was delicious, but the experience was even better. The weather was perfect that evening, and we sat outside under the giant ice cream cone while the kids ran around and played on the rides. We were then stuffed and ready to turn in for the night.

The next morning we embarked on the Butler County Donut Trail … which was AMAZING! I think we all gained about 5 pounds that morning. I’ll be sharing a more detailed blog post on the Donut Trail in the coming months, but I highly recommend the trail to anyone looking for something fun and unique to do!

After our sugar high, we hopped on over to Jungle Jim’s. This international supermarket is much more than a grocery store, it is a true destination. With hundreds of thousands of products from over 70 countries, Jungle Jim’s International Market is internationally known. We stopped in the toy store area first and then made our way to the most unique restrooms we’ve ever seen. I’m not even kidding when I say the bathrooms are an experience in themselves. We did a lot more browsing than buying, as we had a full day planned…but this is a place my husband and I would love to come back to sans children.

After Jungle Jim’s we were ready to eat again, hard to believe after all of the donuts, but Lisa’s Kitchen hit the spot. A hometown, casual spot with an even tastier menu. My husband and I both enjoyed the hot subs, while the kids devoured cheeseburgers and french fries.

My youngest was ready for a nap, and he fell asleep in the car on our way to the Niederman Family Farm Fall Festival. The weather was a bit chilly and perfect for jeans and fall attire. The crowds were not that bad, considering a rain storm was on the way. The Niederman Family Farm featured hay rides, pumpkin patches, a bounce pad, games and more. I enjoyed a nice cup of hot cider while the baby napped and the kids played. It was the perfect end to our fall afternoon.

We were all ready for a little R&R after such a busy day, so back to the hotel we went to rest up for dinner at WEB Extreme Entertainment. WEB features the largest laser tag facility in the tri-state area. Unfortunately, our kids were too young for laser tag and the go-carts. BUT, they absolutely loved the arcade games and putt-putt golf. We actually played two rounds as there wasn’t a long line for putt-putt. Dino, glow in the dark putt-putt at that. The kids had the greatest time at WEB!

Back to our hotel to rest for another fun-filled Sunday…. which I will blog about later this month.

Needless to say, we had a fantastic adventure and highly recommend this easy trip for any family looking for something unique to do!

To be continued…

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Dinner at Troy’s Cafe

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Dessert at The Cone

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The kids LOVED this place

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Off to the Butler County Donut Trail

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Jungle Jim’s was quite the entertainment

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Lisa’s Kitchen for lunch

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Family fall fun.

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CUTIES

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Dinner and late night (7 PM) fun at WEB.

Where do I even begin with this hotel?! From the moment you walk into The LeVeque Tower in downtown Columbus you feel as though you are transformed into a 1940s movie star. The theme song from the 1954 Sabrina movie song came to mind, as I entered the revolving door. You know, the Louis Armstrong trumpet version.

My husband and I received the royal treatment for our 7 year anniversary “stay-cation” last night at this incredible hotel. The rooms are uniquely decorated with dark wood, grey fabric walls, gold fixtures and mustard yellow chairs. There is a “star” theme in every little detail, from the framed photos to the evening stars illuminating the ceiling. Even the bedside chocolates have little stars printed on them.

The marketing team treated Jeff and I to a bottle of champagne and a beautiful candle for our anniversary. We ate dinner off site at Milestone 229, but returned to the hotel after a gorgeous stroll along the Scioto Mile. We enjoyed a nightcap at The Keep, and I couldn’t help but ordering the French Onion Soup. YUM!

After a very restful night’s sleep, we ordered room service this morning. THE VERY BEST FRENCH TOAST EVER!!!!!! Y’all, this is no exaggeration. Batter soaked brioche bread with seasonal compote syrup. I devoured it….

Now, it’s time to say goodbye to the most beautiful stay-cation as we head back to the chaos of our three little humans. At least we are refreshed and looking forward to another year of marriage.

xx

*This post was sponsored by Hotel LeVeque, all opinions are my own.*

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I’m currently writing this post laying in a fluffy white bed while sipping fresh brewed coffee and stuffing my face with gourmet buttermilk pancakes. I’m overlooking the city of Columbus, in my cotton bathrobe and slippers. There are no screaming children or breakfast demands this morning. Last night, I slept 8 hours. Eight blissful hours of  uninterrupted sleep. I feel rested, renewed and ready to embrace the chaos that awaits me at home.

But I don’t have to leave right now, and I am 100% cool with that.

My cousin and best friend, Natalie and I were spoiled rotten yesterday with a complimentary spa day and stay at Le Meridien The Joseph in downtown Columbus. The experience was first class from the moment we valeted the car.

We checked-in early and were quickly whisked away to a 4th level spa suite with a massage table, white sofas with fluffy pillows, duel showers, heated chaise loungers, and a porcelain bathtub. The room smelled of lavender and light elevator music filled the elegant yet tranquil room.

I enjoyed a 60 minute full body massage, and left the room feeling the most relaxed I’ve felt in months…scratch that, years!

We decided to step out on the town and visited a new sushi restaurant in the Short North – The 1126. Wow! DELICIOUS cocktails and fresh sushi, make my mama heart happy. Later that evening, our moms and my sister-in-law joined us for a girls’ night out at we Cameron Mitchell’s The Guild House. We were treated to unique appetizers including ahi tuna and a variety of  different desserts, including apple fritters with house made apple butter and ice cream. YUM!

After dinner, we crashed around 10:30 PM and it was fabulous! Can I just tell you what 8 hours of solid sleep can do for the mind, body and soul??? I really need to take better care of myself, but I digress…

So here I sit this morning, drinking my last cup of coffee and stalling until the very last moment before I have check-out.

I can’t rave enough about how fabulous this hotel is. The Joseph features 135 chic guest rooms and preferred member suites (we were lucky enough to be in a suite!). Honestly, from the lavish spa, to the delectable room service…it’s no wonder why this luxury hotel is a 5-star experience!

*This post is sponsored, all opinions are 100% my own.*

Mom-cation

Sleeping, eating, peeing without an audience. PURE BLISS!

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Waking up without breakfast demands. I could get used to this…

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Breakfast in bed. Spoiled.

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A room with a view

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Thank you for the beautiful flowers and wine!

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Appetizer from The Guild House

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We had the best time. Two thumbs wayyyyy up!

 

I’ve heard it all the time, a girls’ trip is good for the soul…I never took it really seriously until this last weekend.

My three best friends from high school and I said “hasta la vista” to our kids, husbands, fur babies and other responsibilities and traveled to Saugatuck, Michigan for 3 days. Honestly, we didn’t want the trip to end.

If you’ve never been to Saugatuck, it’s a perfectly idyllic coastal town on Lake Michigan. We Airbnb’d an adorable yellow house with a big front porch just steps away from the water. The town is splattered with art galleries, ice cream shops and small boutiques.

We enjoyed an amazing brunch and dinner at Mermaid, which was directly on the water. We devoured delicious meals, like Street Corn Salad from Wild Dog Grille in Douglas, MI. We also jammed to some rap tunes from the Broadway play Hamilton from a Kenny Rogers lookalike, haha. My personal favorite meal was at Grow where we brunched on avocado egg sandwiches, carrot cake pancakes and chocolate milk infused cold brew coffee. YUM!

As for us girls, we laughed until we cried talking about old times and people of our past. We also cried until we laughed touching on some deep discussions on life, stuff I can’t really talk to anyone else about. There really is something remarkable about spending a few days with people who know you best. The people who have been there for you for as long as you can remember. It was a great reminder of how important best friends really are. It also showed me of how crucial it is to maintain and nurture these relationships even when we are in the eye of the storm of raising babies, wiping noses and trying to work all at the same time.

But back to the lake house, did I mention the peace and quiet?! We woke up every morning, sipped on coffee without little humans demanding breakfast and activities. The first morning, we sat on the front porch in our pajamas drinking Bloody Marys and didn’t even leave the house until almost 2 PM. Talk about relaxation!

We paddle boarded and frequented the beaches, and spent our evenings watching Netflix and laughing like elementary school girls at a sleepover.

Last night, I spent several hours at the Chicago airport working on my laptop, eating junk food and reflecting on the trip and the week ahead as I snap back to reality. I boarded my airplane and landed back in Columbus, Ohio. I grabbed my bag and rushed out the sliding glass doors. At the very end of the passenger pickup lane stood my husband, with the tailgate open and Luke and Eden screaming “MOMMY!” with pure excitement. I had an overwhelming feeling of happiness and relief.

The kids climbed over the backseat and ran into my arms. As I bent down to hug them, I slipped in a pile of vomit. I kid you not, some clown threw up on the ground of the airport and no one cleaned it up, so my black flip-flop fell victim. C’est la vie cute seasonal shoe.

Despite snapping back to reality and two ruined flip-flops, I spent last night showing my kids videos and pictures from our girls trip. I took them upstairs, tucked them in, prayed with them, and kissed them goodnight.

Having the opportunity to step away from my chaotic life was something I needed more than I even realized. And today, it’s reminding me how wonderfully fantastic my chaotic life is.

*Special thank YOU to my wonderful mother who kept the kids while I was gone and Jeff was working. You are a saint!*

xx

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Bloody ‘Merica at Saugatuck, MI

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Paddle boarding was really the only form of exercise we partook in all weekend long. Unless you count hot tubbing and porch chair rocking.

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My Very Best Friends (VBFs) from kindergarten at New Albany!

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I made them take quite a few “Instagram worthy” photos. hahahaha

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This town is filled with the cutest little cottages.

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My delicious breakfast at Grow in Saugatuck.