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3 Places I Love to Take My Kids in Columbus: Abby Hallstrom

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

3 Places I Love to Take My Kids in Columbus: Abby Hallstrom:

1. Blacklick Ridge Community Park 

boys holding a fish at Blackridge Community Park

My boys love to fish and spend time outdoors. We luckily found a wonderful park close to home that has a pond. Blacklick Ridge Community Park has a small catch and release pond at the back of the park. The boys love going here because they always have luck with catching several fish.

We also pick Blacklick Ridge Community park as one of our favorites  because of the fun community events that take place throughout the year. An Ice cream social, Hog Roast, and a Halloween party are just a few of the fun events.

2. Pickerington Public Library

Boys at Pickerington Library, Columbus Ohio

The library has always been a fun place that we enjoy going to as a family. The Pickerington Public Library Sycamore Branch has become the favorite one to visit for the boys. The kids section is top notch. Games, books, nature backpacks, and videos can all be checked out to continue the fun at home.

The cherry on top for Sycamore is the fun and educational programs they frequently put on for the kids. We have attended programs about reptiles, hedgehogs, and tarantulas. We recently learned the process of making apple cider, and have participated in a fun Noon Years Eve celebration with games, dance parties, and crafts.

I have also enjoyed being creative with a class by AR Workshop Pickergton and creating String Art, all for free at the library. Make sure to frequently check the events page or follow them on Facebook. They are always posting events and classes. 

3. Lego Store at Easton

Boys at LEGO Store at Easton Town Center, Columbus, Ohio

My boys are huge Lego fans and are constantly building and creating with Legos and Duplos. We are fortunate to have both LEGOLAND Discovery Center and a LEGO store here in Columbus.

We visit the LEGO store frequently for the free mini builds that take place once or twice a month. You can stop into the store or call at the beginning of each month to register for the free builds. On the night of the build you come, make the build, and take it home.

The store also has several LEGO stations out where the kids can build and create. One Monday a month you can bring in minifigures to trade with the employees.You can find the monthly events calendar online, or pick one up in the store. 

Abby Hailstorm, @Cbusboymomma
Hello! I am Abby and I am a momma to three amazing little guys, a wife to a pretty cool man, an educator, and an online small shirt shop owner. We love to explore and have fun in our city Columbus, Ohio. Being a momma of 3 and an educator for 13 years I have learned a few tips and tricks along the way. I love to share our adventures and activities on my Instagram @cbusboymomma or on my blog www.cbusmomma.comMy creative side can be found at my shirt shop www.cbusgalsdesign.com. Columbus is an amazing place to live, work, and play! I am proud of our great city!


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7 Ways to Give Back in Columbus By Doing Things You Already Do

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Here are 7 ways to give back in Columbus by doing things you’re probably already doing!

In this age of social media and instant news, it can be overwhelming to figure out how to help when there are so many important causes, major issues and people in our own community who need help! Here are 7 ways you can help others in Columbus by doing things you’re already doing!

1. Light a Candle

Burning Candle from Eleventh Candle Co

Everyone likes their home to smell good, right? We’re already buying candles, diffusing oils and boiling cinnamon sticks on the stove, so put your money towards a good smelling candle or room spray that provides jobs for women who are at risk of or survivors of human trafficking right here in Columbus! The factory that makes the candles employs these women in Columbus and the profits from the company then go on to support an orphanage and at risk women in Ethiopia. Shop here (referral link): Eleventh Candle Co. Use my referral code “todaycolumbus” to get 10% off your purchase! They will also soon have a retail space at The Madery in Worthington!

2-4. Go Out for Coffee

Well, this is a no-brainer! If you’re planning a coffee date with your BFF, choose one of these 3 coffee shops where a portion of the profits are being given to a good cause:

Third Way Cafe

coffee mug at Third Way Cafe

Third Way Cafe is a venture of CleanTurn Enterprises whose mission is to “strengthen communities with an empowered workforce by creating profitable social enterprises.”

The cafe hosts a variety of community meetings, classes and informational sessions! Examples include: Entrepreneurship 101, Homework Clubs for neighborhood kids and meetings for parents of addicts. Join them for an open mic night, brunch pop up, card making class and more! Or just stop in for a bottomless cup of coffee for just $2 and browse their large book collection! Follow Third Way Cafe on Facebook to stay in the loop about all of their upcoming events.

Bottoms Up Coffee Co-Op

Outside of Bottoms Up Coffee Co-Op

Bottoms Up Coffee Co-Op is on a mission to reduce infant mortality in Columbus! The coffee shop is also part co-working space and you can rent a work space in the form of a desk or an office on a monthly basis. A portion of the proceeds are given to local non-profits that are working to reduce infant mortality.

Bottoms Up is actively involved in the Franklinton neighborhood and the coffee shop offers coffee, speciality drinks (my favorite is the Canary Island) and baked goods. Read more about them in 5 on Friday: Kid-Friendly Coffee Shops.

Roosevelt Cafe

Coffee mug at The Roosevelt Coffee House

The Roosevelt Coffeehouse is a coffee shop with a mission. Proceeds from the coffee shop support efforts in the areas of clean water, hunger and human trafficking. The coffeehouse partners with local and international organizations who are making a difference in these three areas.

Examples of local organizations the coffee shop supports are: Faith Mission, She Has a Name Cleaning Services (also part of CleanTurn Enterprises), Gracehaven, The Central Ohio Rescue and Restore Coalition and the Salvation Army. Read more about the causes and organizations your coffee dollars support here.

5. Bring a Snack to Share

Plate of brownies from Fourteen Twenty Nine

Next time you have to take a birthday treat to school, bring dessert to a potluck or just want to surprise a friend or family member with a special treat, consider ordering your baked goods from Fourteen Twenty Nine. Owner Amanda’s goal is to open 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.

Order your brownies 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! Read more about Amanda and Fourteen Twenty Nine at Fight Human Trafficking in Columbus One Delicious Brownie at a Time!

6. Have a Family Night Out

Bowling Alley at Ten Pin Alley, Hilliard, Ohio

Ten Pin Alley has recently been remodeled and provides tons of family-friendly fun! There’s bowling, an arcade, laser tag, bocce ball and a full kitchen! (See New and Improved Ten Pin Alley Provides Family Friendly Fun in Hilliard!) But a night out can be more than just that. Ten Pin Alley has instituted Heart & Bowl, a way to give back to local non-profit organizations! For all of 2018, 2% of all sales will be given to Hilliard Food Pantry, Action for Children and Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central Ohio! You can see all of the information about Heart & Bowl here.

7. Take your Kids to the Library

baked goods at Freedom a la Cart

You’re already taking your kids to the library to pick out books and I’m guessing you’re swinging through the Starbucks drive-thru on the way for your coffee fix. (Why do I assume that? Because I do it ALL. THE. TIME. 😉 ) Next time, save yourself the drive thru wait and check out Columbus Metropolitan Library’s Northside Branch. This newly rebuilt library has a fun and bright children’s area AND it’s home to Annie Maude’s Café, named after Annie Maude Battelle, the first woman to serve on the Columbus Public Library Trustee Board, and run by Freedom a la Cart.

Freedom a la Cart employs survivors of human trafficking here in Columbus and by doing so gives them job skills and a safe place to learn, grow and heal. The cafe serves One Line Coffee drinks, snacks, cookies, brownies and other sweet treats. Read more about Freedom a la Cart here!

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downtown Columbus, Ohio

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5 on Friday: Chocolate Chip Cookies in Columbus

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You guys – would you believe Friday, August 4th is National Chocolate Chip Cookie Day? Can you even believe my luck? When I was deciding what this month’s 5 on Friday feature would be, I could NOT pass this one up! I know I already featured 5 Bakeries, and at nearly all of them I got a chocolate chip cookie, so, in an honest effort not to repeat myself too much, I took on the great hardship of trying out a few new options to add to the list! 😉

1. Fox in the Snow

1031 N. 4th St., Columbus, OH 43201

A while back, Fox in the Snow posted a picture of a chocolate chip cookie with the statement that they had wanted to add a cookie to their amazing arsenal of baked goods (oh my!) but had just not been satisfied with a recipe – until now! Well, you know if Fox in the Snow has worked hard to perfect a recipe, it’s gonna be good. Still, I was still taken aback with my first bite. I know, that is a lot of hyperbole for a cookie, but when something is hyped up in your mind and it doesn’t disappoint, that’s saying something! Give a try to their brown butter, toffee, chocolate chip cookie (sprinkled with sea salt) and I just can’t imagine you’ll be disappointed!

P.S. I never thought I would take my kids to Fox in the Snow. It’s hip, trendy and not somewhere I have felt confident taking a 3 year old. HOWEVER – whenever I have gone, there have always been kids there. (Ok, a good number of them have been in infant car seats or just a single child) but I guess it boosted my confidence because when I stopped in to get the cookie, I actually let my kids talk me into a cinnamon roll and staying there to eat on their great outdoor patio. Granted, the patio is probably better for kids than inside, but I guess the moral of the story is don’t be afraid to take your kids there – the pastries are so good they’ll be guaranteed to sit still for at least 60 seconds. 😉


2. Northstar

Multiple Locations

So, I’ve been eating the double chocolate chip cookies at Northstar since 2008, but a few months ago I saw a regular chocolate chip cookie for the first time and couldn’t pass it up. (Have you noticed yet that chocolate chip cookies are my weakness?) It was gooey and yummy and I’m so glad they have them at Northstar now!


3. Kittie’s Cafe

2424 E Main St., Bexley, OH 43209,

Ok, I’ll admit, Kitties Cafe in Bexley is a repeat. But I just couldn’t leave off my favorite chocolate chip cookie. This salted chocolate chip cookie is the first one that made me stand back and say, “Whoa!” Plus this spot is across the street from the amazing Bexley Library and next door to Gramercy Books – so you’ve got complete outing already planned!


4. Freedom a la Cart

Inside the Northside Library, 1423 N. High St., Columbus, OH 43201

Speaking of another complete package, Freedom a la Cart has a cafe inside Columbus Metropolitan Library’s newly remodeled Northside Branch in the Short North! The cafe is on the first floor of the library and has a lot of treats to offer! Before I even knew I was going to write this post, I chose the salted chocolate chip cookie. Yum! Salt + Cookie is the best thing ever! Freedom a la Cart employs victims of human trafficking, giving them skills, experience and a safe place to learn a trade. Top your cookie off with a stop at the fish tank on the same floor and a visit to the kids’ area of the library and you’ve got your day’s outing done!


5. Sweet Carrot

1417 W 5th Ave., Columbus, OH, 43212, 614-488 – 7151

The chocolate chip cookie at Sweet Carrot looked so good from behind the counter the first time I ate there, but I passed it up. I had to try it out for this post so I stopped in to pick one up a few weeks ago. It was definitely yummy! I noticed a lot of other tasty looking desserts that will now get inside my head to try next! Sweet Carrot is a kid-friendly restaurant with a rabbit theme. They serve BBQ options (think pulled pork), mac and cheese and those two things together in a tasty combo! The decor inside is lots of fun! There’s an outdoor patio, too, so give it a try this summer!

Who makes your favorite chocolate chip cookie in Columbus?


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ICYMI: 4 Nature Themed Story Times Around Columbus


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