3 Places I Love to Take My Kids in Columbus: Mary Hoover

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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 Mary for sharing 3 of her favorites with us this month!

1. Rusty Bucket

Dining out when you are sticking to a budget can be tricky, but that’s why our first “fave place” has been a dinner saver (and marriage saver too!). Whenever I need a night off from cooking, The Rusty Bucket is our first stop.  Not only because we have one in walking distance from our house, but mainly for their awesome Kids Eat Free program (best in town, IMO!).

I LOVE the Bucketeer Bookworms Reading program.  Simply pick up a bookmark at your fave Bucket location, have your kiddo read 5 books (or read to them) and record them on the bookmark.  Once they have read 5, you can redeem for a FREE kids meal.  Even better, this is any night of the week and no per adult stipulation. So you can save money and encourage your kids to read! Can you see why we love the Bucket so much?  Not to mention the food is sooo good! (So glad they brought back my mommy indulgence, Chicken Finger BLT sandwich!)

2. Chick-fil-A on Sawmill

To keep up with the food theme, another one of our favorite places in Columbus is the Chick-fil-A on Sawmill Road.  Not only are we fans of the food (are you sensing a theme here with tweens/teen kiddos) but this location in particular goes above and beyond to make every experience amazing.  Whether it’s a family activity night, the ice cream trade in for the kids meal toy, a random freebie offer on your receipt, a donation drive opportunity or just the tried and true – “My Pleasure”, we just LOVE CFA Sawmill. And yes there are plenty of ways to save at Chick-fil-A too! Start by downloading their CFA One app, they are always sending fun freebies. 

2. Timbuk Farms

Finally, something non-food related. I do love to save money and that means I am a big “Black Friday” season shopper- BUT I actually don’t ever shop IN the store on Black Friday.  What? You say? That’s because my family has a “Green Friday” tradition. 

For 10 years now we have been cutting down our Christmas tree at Timbuk Farms (Granville, OH- just a short drive from Cbus) on the Friday after Thanksgiving.  It’s a wonderful tradition (at a farm I used to go to as a kid too) and I would much rather be there making memories with my kids, then battling the crowds for a deal (I just snag all the deals online!). It’s a wonderful way to start the holiday season, Free picture opportunity with Santa and Mrs. Clause included! 

Mary Hoover is on a Mission to help your family save! This Columbus native is married to her Columbus City Schools High School sweetheart and they have 3 kiddos. On MissionToSave.com, Mary shares weekly grocery match ups, frugal DIY ideas, family friendly recipes, deals you won’t want to miss, and other great tips to help you save money! Along with her blog and social media, you can find Mary on monthly Good Day Columbus segments. She has invited you to join the Mission Savers Community.


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ICYMI: Free Splash Pads and Fountains in Columbus, Ohio


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Happy Holidays from Columbus: The Best Holiday Tips from Your Local Bloggers

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I’ve joined together with a bunch of great Columbus bloggers to share our best tips for the holidays! Whether it’s healthy eating, gift giving, local events, family traditions, crafts or decorating, you’ll find some great ideas here!

I shared 10 of Our Favorite Christmas Traditions around Columbus! We are looking forward to doing each of these things during the upcoming holiday season!

Malini from Lakes and Lattes, shares Christmas in Columbus: A Family Adventure which includes 3 challenges to complete with your family including a scavenger hunt!

Shannon from My Life in the Blink shares How to Simplify Holiday Gift Giving with 5 simple guidelines!

The The Best of Christmas in Columbus from Eryn at 614 Mom includes the best holiday events around town!

Get some great ideas in Lindsay’s Healthy Columbus Holiday Gift Guide on her blog Find Where You Fit!

Kim from Wear Love Wanders is sharing a Columbus focused Holiday Gift Guide that features some beautiful AND yummy ideas for holiday gifts from local artists and businesses!

Ashley from Columbus For Kids has shared ideas for 3 Holiday Nature Crafts to keep the kiddos busy this time of year!

In From Walmart to Wow: How to Decorate Your Artificial Christmas Tree, Tara from Pennies From Heaven Home shares some great tips for decorating an artificial tree!

In How to Keep the Holidays Healthy but Still Fun! Kathleen from Just Keep it Simple Fitness shares some great tips for keeping it healthy during the holidays (including not being TOO hard on yourself)!

Mary from Mission to Save says it’s not too early (or too late) to get a game plan for your holiday shopping. Check out her Tips for Black Friday and Holiday Shopping.

Emily from Let’s Play the Speech and Language Way shares ways to encourage language development in your little ones throughout the holiday season with Santa Claus is Coming to Town!

Happy Holidays from Columbus!


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ICYMI: 10 of our Favorite Columbus Christmas Traditions

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25 Things to Pack for a Successful Trip to the Splash Pad

25 Things to Pack for a Successful Trip to the Splash Pad

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You guys, a trip to the splash pad feels like a major outing!

We explored several splash pads last summer and have begun the tour this summer as well. This is the first summer my boys have actually enjoyed getting wet! I shared in my post about the awesome splash pad/park combo in Delaware that I didn’t even pack any extra clothes or swim suits for the trip because they normally hate to be splashed in the face! They actually ventured closer to the fountains than I expected that day!

We had an outing planned with some fellow mom-bloggers to the Powell splash pad last week and based on my Delaware experience and the fact that my kids have also recently begun to enjoy running through the sprinkler at home, I decided I better be prepared on this trip!

Even though I felt like my 4 bags were packed with everything I could think of and I was even able to produce a band-aid on demand for a friend, I still felt like I had missed a few things. My kids’ sandals were drenched and they had to wear them to our next destination. As a result, the dry socks I was so proud of myself for bringing were quickly just as soaked as the ones they took off. (Ok, side note. My kids insist on wearing socks and sandals through the water . . . most of you probably don’t have this problem! LOL!) Their towels for drying off were drenched too.

I thought I would use the “wisdom of crowds” to come up with the most complete “What to Pack for the Splash Pad” list as possible! I asked my fellow blogger friends and followers on social media to weigh in on what makes for a successful trip to the splash pad.

Here you go! It turns out you *only* need these 25 things for a successful trip to the splash pad:

1. Drinks

2. Snacks

  • Local Tip: A lot of splash pads are within walking distance to restaurants and snack options, but the splash pad at Veterans Park has a snack shack on site!

3. extra set of clothes for each child

4. swim diaper

5. extra swim diapers

6. a towel for each child

  • Local Tip: You can borrow a towel at the fountains at Easton Town Center on the weekends in case your shopping trip turns into an unexpected run through the fountains!

7. an extra towel, just in case

8. sunscreen

9. water shoes

10. camera

11. water bottles for each person

12. sun hats

13. tent

  • Local Tip: a tent was specifically recommended for the Bunny Fountains in Dublin because of the large green space and lack of shade.

14. water buckets

15. water toys

16. picnic blanket

17. high water fruit for kids who don’t drink enough water

18. packed lunch

19. money for a food truck or lunch

20. cups for playing in the water

21. lawn chair

22. band aids

23. extra pair of shoes

24. plastic/grocery bags for carrying home wet clothes

25. coffee

Photo provided by Hilliard’s Station Park

This list was compiled with help from Kimmi of Crazy Richards Peanut Butter, Kimberly of Little Fire Brigade, Julie of Borm & Co, Lindsay of Find Where You Fit, Eryn of 614 Mom, Helen of Diaperbag Diaries, Nina of Chaos in Mommyhood, Chelsea of Greatest Little Blessings, @emilyp103, Stacie from Little Adventures Await and Leslie of The Penmanship Lab!

What did we miss? Add your ideas in the comments!

Click on the images below for more local splash pad info!

Exploring Delaware, OH with Your Kids

5 on Friday: Splash Pads


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ICYMI: A Boy Mom Does American Girl


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