3 Places I Love to Take My Kids in Columbus: MaryAllison Comfort

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Each month I will be featuring a local parent who will tell us about three places they love to take their kids in Columbus!

Thanks to MaryAllison for sharing 3 of her favorites with us this month!

1. Cover to Cover Bookstore

This is just about the cutest bookstore I have ever seen and it’s weekly story time is a who’s who of preschoolers. If you know Clintonville, you may remember this classic bookstore located on High Street. A new and equally welcoming owner took over and reopened this gem of a children’s bookstore in Upper Arlington.

This little store is charming and the staff is ever so friendly. Picture a local version of The Shop Around the Corner from You’ve Got Mail! There are Saturday morning story times and even a Harry Potter bookclub for young kids. I took my kids to the Harry Potter birthday party in fact, complete with Bertie Botts beans! Bonus points that it is around the corner from a coffee shop, too!


2. Grandview Heights Public Library

I’ll drive all over Columbus to try out different libraries, but it turns out our favorite library is just a short drive away in Grandview. My kids love the iPad stations with a great selection of educational games. Even my youngest can gleefully bang on the screens and “play” a game. If screen time isn’t your jam, there’s an elaborate dollhouse, a train table, and so many puzzles! Is there anything better than playing with someone else’s toys?

While the kids play nearby, the local events bulletin board fills my social calendar, alerting me to new family fun. Whether our visit to the library is a short one or a “we’re leaving in five minutes” on repeat kind of visit, the outing is not complete without climbing the steps or (power) walking up and down the ramp over and over. When you have small children, it’s the little things in life that make for the best day, or at least it’s a sticker that can sooth a kicking and screaming child when it’s time to go.


3. “Kitty Zoo” aka any pet store

This is a genius parent hack that I borrowed from a friend. I wish I could say I came up with the idea, but it needs to be shared with all! My girls love kittens, cats, any passing dog for that matter, so they love to to visit the “kitty zoo.” We visit with the kitties, ooh and ahh for several minutes, come up with imaginary names for all. Then we make our way to the fish tanks, and the fish are almost as exciting as the cats with their bright colors and fancy aquarium decorations.

By this point, a brand new puppy or lovable big dog has made a visit to the pet store with their owner. We are the pet store’s unofficial greeters for all four-legged patrons. After all the excitement of watching the cats, fish, and dogs, we have spent a good thirty minutes in the store, which is exactly what this mom had in mind for a quick and free adventure.


MaryAllison Comfort is a work-from-home mom while she juggles the schedules of her first-grader, preschooler, and toddler. She has a health and wellness business that helps people take back control of their health, whether its through weightloss, healthy aging, or energy and performance. Follow along with @ma.comfort on Instagram for her adventures in parenting and nutrition-inspired living.

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ICYMI: Free Splash Pads and Fountains in Columbus, Ohio

 


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Fight Human Trafficking in Columbus One Delicious Brownie at a Time

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Fourteen Twenty Nine is a Central Ohio bakery with a vision for social enterprise and a heart for survivors of human trafficking! 

Thanks to Fourteen Twenty Nine for sponsoring this post!

Amanda Caldwell grew up baking with her grandma every Friday night. Her grandma made all the birthday cakes for her family and the whole family got together to bake on “Cookie Day” each Christmas season.

Baking is the one thing that comes naturally to Amanda and when she came to a crossroads in her professional life, she stepped out in a new direction, believing that her calling was to start a bakery. And not just any bakery, a bakery that will support, train and hire women who are survivors of human trafficking and who don’t have easy  access to traditional avenues of employment.

Amanda baking brownies

Amanda and her husband Aaron have been married for five years and started their business, Fourteen Twenty Nine, this past December. The name Fourteen Twenty Nine comes from the Bible verse Deuteronomy 14:29, “so that the Levites (who have no allotment or inheritance of their own) and the foreigners, the fatherless and the widows who live in your towns may come and eat and be satisfied, and so that the Lord your God may bless you in all the work of your hands.”

Fourteen Twenty Nine Baking Brownies

Little boy licking spatula

Amanda and Aaron partner together, shifting their work schedules to juggle caring for their 22 month old, Judah, while Amanda bakes brownies from her home kitchen and ships them out or delivers them in person within 48 hours!

Bowl of Brownies

Amanda keeps things simple with a focus on brownies: Cake Batter Brownies, Snickerdoodle Brownies, Buckeye Brownies, Cookies and Cream Brownies, Nutella Brownies – and my personal favorite, a Chocolate Chip Cookie Brownie, to name a few!

Cookies and Cream Brownie

Brownie

In the coming months, Amanda will begin working with a local agency to teach at-risk women things like baking skills, how to build a pantry and how to make healthy meals with their kids. In her spare time, she collects toiletries and gently used purses to put together packs of supplies to hand out to women she meets on the streets of Columbus while volunteering with Reaching for the Shining Stars.

Chocolate Chip Cookie Brownie

These are just a few of the ways she has set to work building relationships with community organizations, looking for ways to partner together to battle human trafficking and help survivors find dignity and meaning.

Brownies on table

How can you help? The number one, super tasty way? Buy some brownies!

Order here! All proceeds from the sale of brownies will go towards procuring a commercial kitchen space where Amanda can bake her brownies and begin to accept women who want to volunteer to learn baking skills. As the business grows, Fourteen Twenty Nine will be able to hire women to work in the kitchen space!

brownie on a plate

Amanda also accepts women’s toiletries including toilet paper, deodorant, toothpaste, etc. as well as gently used purses to hand out to women through her work with Reach for the Shining Stars.

You may also be able to help by connecting Amanda with other community resources in Central Ohio, passing on ideas for an affordable kitchen space, and any other resources that will help her dream become a reality! Connect with her through her Instagram and Facebook Pages or send her a message through her website!

mom and son baking

Brownies can be ordered anytime of course, but if you’d like to try a Sample Box, a limited time offering just for Valentine’s Day, you need to order by February 12, 2018! If you need your brownies mailed, make sure to order this week! Order here!

Plate of wrapped brownies


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ICYMI: 3 Places I Love to Take My Kids in Columbus: Lisa Armitage


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3 Places I Love to Take My Kids in Columbus: Lisa Armitage

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Each month I will be featuring a local parent who will tell us about three places they love to take their kids in Columbus!

Thanks to Lisa for sharing 3 of her favorites with us this month!

Disclaimer: I am a Goldfish Swim School partner.

1. Friendship Cross-Fit

The best thing about Friendship Cross-Fit is the fact that they get the whole family involved! They do an amazing job of focusing on the overall well-being for kids, teens and adults. This is one of our favorite things to do together as a family!

2. 101 Beer Kitchen

This restaurant is wonderful! They do a great job accommodating our son’s life-threatening food allergies. Not only that, but their food is always top-notch!

3. Mad River Mountain

Always a fun time hitting the slopes with our favorite people! Mad River Mountain is a fun little day trip filled with fun and good times for the whole family!


Lisa was a stay-at-home mom to three young children in Michigan, and while her kids were taking lessons at Goldfish Swim School, she fell in love with the program. Swimming is a life skill and water safety is a huge priority for Lisa and her husband, Steve, and she loved that water safety is incorporated into every class at Goldfish from babies to 12 year olds. Leveraging her business and marketing education background and inspired by her mother who was a longtime business owner, Lisa opened her first Goldfish Swim School in Dublin nearly four years ago, a second location in Westerville two years ago and will be opening a third location in Lewis Center in 2018. The business continues to grow and thrive here in central Ohio.

Lisa is a vocal advocate for year-round water safety in the community, and regularly speaks with community organizations, business groups, scout troops, media outlets and blogs about the topic. Lisa and her team have conducted more than 100 free water safety presentations at local schools, reaching thousands of children. This is a huge passion and priority for Lisa and a primary reason the business is so engrained in the communities it serves. Lisa, her staff and Goldfish Swim School members also partner throughout the year on an array of non-profit service initiatives. Goldfish Swim School was named one of Columbus Business First’s Best Places to work in Central Ohio.

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ICYMI: 4 Amazing New Exhibits for Kids in Columbus

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