LIFE WITH A NEWBORN

“A baby will make love stronger, days shorter, nights longer, bankroll smaller, home happier, clothes shabbier, the past forgotten, and the future worth living for.” – Anonymous

Words that were never more true. So many emotions have emerged these past few weeks as we have welcomed our sweet little bairn (Scottish word for baby for those that are not familiar – I’ve been watching too much Outlander) into this world.  We have experienced fatigue like we never have before.  We have felt immeasurable joy and pride in seeing mini versions of ourselves.  We have experienced anxiety and despair while trying to calm a screaming baby.  But most of all, we have felt love so great it brings us to tears.  

Obviously when you bring a new human into the world, many things change.  We have had to completely adapt to a new way of life (which we were anticipating, but it doesn’t make it any easier).  There are so many things we have learned over these past few weeks and we want to share our experience with others, in the hope it will bring other new parents some hope or comfort.  And hopefully this post will help anyone thinking about starting a family.

No Sleep.  – This one is obvious, but you really don’t understand what it means until it happens. It LITERALLY means NO SLEEP.  This has been by far the hardest adjustment for me. I’m an in bed by 9pm kind of girl who never pulled all-nighters and would beg my friends in college to leave the bars at midnight so I could go to bed.   I need at least nine hours of sleep to function.  Whelp, not anymore!  I’ve lost count of how many all-nighters we’ve pulled in the past seven weeks. 

The first week was by far the hardest.  No one tells you that babies aren’t born with a built in circadian rhythm (aka, they don’t know night from day and have to learn that).  That first week Miss L would not sleep at all at night, and definitely not in her bassinet.  The only place she would sleep was on mom and dad.  We would have to take 2-3 hour shifts holding her so the other could sleep.  It was really rough. 

But, everyone told us things would get easier, and it does.  Each week Miss L adds on a little more sleep in between feedings.  We are now up to 4.5 hours between feedings which means I can get more than an hour or two of sleep at a time.  YAY!

Breastfeeding is really hard! – This was as big a shocker to me as the lack of sleep.  I knew I always wanted to breastfeed, but I had no idea how hard of a job it would be.  The first few weeks you are feeding that baby every two hours and it takes 30-45 minutes for each feeding.  That gives a breastfeeding mom just over an hour to try and eat or take a shower or sleep or do just about anything.

Breastfeeding is also really painful at first.  Your breasts are not used to being used like that, so you are constantly sore and in pain.  Around week 4 I finally felt comfortable again and at week seven I actually enjoy feeding my sweet babe.  I’ve come to realize what a blessing this special time is with her and I love the bonding that happens between us.

(p.s.Breastfeeding makes you extremely thirsty! I recommend all mamas who are going to breastfeed to have a glass of water next to you at all times!)

Baby is just as scared as the parents. – Realizing that being born into this world was just as shocking for L as it was for us really helped to center us when she was upset.  Many people don’t realize that for a baby, this is a whole new world, filled with unfamiliar sounds, smells, and faces. It’s a shock to their system (remember they’ve been comfortably cocooned for nine months) and it takes them awhile to become adjusted.  The first couple of weeks when she would cry,I would always try and remember that she was just as scared as me and that definitely helped me to cope better and comfort her better.  My mom sent me this piece a day or two after she was born and I still cry so hard when I read it.  It’s so painfully beautiful, but it has helped SO much when trying to comfort L.  

Set a routine earlier than later. – Setting a routine for L is something we JUST started doing.  I am reading the book Secrets of the Baby Whisperer by Tracy Hogg and one of the ideas that has really stuck with me is putting baby on a flexible schedule as soon as possible.  Tracy calls it the EASY method – Eat, Activity, Sleep, You (time for Mom). Babies need to be taught what is expected of them and they like a structured schedule.  When I started implementing this idea about a week or two ago, I saw a huge change in how much more content baby (and mom!) have become.   That being said, I’m also a huge advocate for figuring out what works for you and your family.  There are so many books, ideas, and opinions coming at you from every direction and it’s really important to pause, listen to your baby, and implement things that work for your lifestyle.

Two products we have loved. – I thought it would be fun to share some of the baby items that we have come to love and use on a regular basis.  The first item I highly recommend is the Boppy pillow.  We have two of them (one for the nursery and one for downstairs).  We use our pillows every single day (hubby even naps with them!).  They make breastfeeding so much more comfortable, plus as baby grows you can use them to support their back when they begin to sit up on their own.

Another product we use daily is our rock n’ play seat/sleeper.  L LOVES this seat.  It has a vibrating function, as well as the ability to rock.  I’m convinced she gets some of her best sleep in this seat. Plus, it folds up super easy and so traveling with it is a breeze.

We could talk all day about our experience the past few weeks, but we don’t want this post to be too long.  Hopefully what we have shared will help other new parents or expecting parents.  At the end of the day, having a baby is the most challenging but the most rewarding thing you will ever do.  We can’t imagine life without our sweet L and cherish each day with her.  She is such a blessing and a gift and we are so excited to embark on this new adventure with her.

Slainte,

Shannon

p.s. You can shop my sweater by checking out this post and you can find the nursery details here

APPLE PICKING

One of the favorite fall activities around Northwest Ohio is apple picking at the famous MacQueen’s Orchard!  MacQueen’s Orchard is a local family farm that has been around for over 55 years.  Visitors and school tours come from near and far to check out the state of the art cider mill, pick apples, and enjoy warm apple cider with homemade donuts.  It is truly a gem of Northwest Ohio and a great place to bring your family and friends.

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This past weekend hubby and I made a date night (possibly our last before baby arrives!) of picking apples.  Despite it being cloudy, the weather was a perfect 60 degrees for apple picking (YAY for being able to wear plaid again!).  We came home with at least a ½ bushel of Granny Smith and Jonathan varieties.

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I love experiencing different fall activities, but I really love fall for the fashion.  Each season brings new styles and fall fashions always embrace the feeling of being comfy and cozy.  Especially being in my ninth month of pregnancy (what!!), I’m all about feeling comfortable.

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My favorite fall styles include J.Crew plaid shirts, oversized cardigans, chunky sweaters, boots (riding, Hunter, and booties!), cozy scarves, and leggings.   The trends I’m loving this particular year are animal prints, plaid and tweed (no surprise with my Scottish heritage), and casual knits.  J.Crew Factory has some great fall finds right now (like this plaid bell sleeve top).  I also like shopping at Gap, Loft, and most recently, Nordstrom for the best fall fashions.

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What are your favorite fall activities?  What about your favorite fall fashions?

As always, thank you for stopping by A Dash of Solt!

Slainte,

Shannon [and Rob]

SHOP MY OUTFIT
PLAID SHIRT (SIMILAR) |GAP MATERNITY STRIPED SHIRT |GAP MATERNITY JEANS | J.CREW FACTORY BOOTIES | KJP PEARL EARRINGS 

NAUTICAL BABY SHOWER

A few weeks ago my sisters threw me the most adorable and memorable baby shower!  It meant so much to Rob and me to have a full day of spoils for our sweet baby girl.  Our hearts are bursting with happiness and we are still completely overwhelmed by all the love for Baby Lilly.

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I requested the shower to be at Perrysburg’s Carranor Hunt and Polo Club.  This is one of my favorite historic places in Perrysburg.  The interior decorating reminds me of all the cute pubs in Scotland and England.  It’s very early Americana and I absolutely adore it (seriously google image the club and you will see how cute the interior and exterior are).

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It’s no surprise that the shower was nautical themed!  How cute are those diaper cakes?! My mom found these oversized whale, sailboat, and anchor decals and they are so fun! All of the details from the cookies, to the games, and nautical décor were so perfect.  I literally cried when I walked into the room and saw how cute everything looked.

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I was completely overwhelmed by everyone’s excitement!  Seeing as this is our first baby, we have been lacking on the baby supplies.   Our friends and family went above and beyond to make this day special and equip us with the baby essentials.

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Thank you to everyone near and far who attended the shower, sent well wishes, and were with us in spirit.  We are so grateful to each and every one of you and we can’t wait for the world to meet Baby Solt!

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Slàinte,

Shannon [and Rob]

OUTFIT DETAILS:

PINK BLUSH DRESS | JACK ROGERS SANDALS | J.CREW EARRINGS (SIMILAR)| KATE SPADE WATCH | HUBBY IS WEARING ALL J.CREW FACTORY AND SPERRY SHOES!

FLORALS AND GARDENS

This past weekend Rob and I explored a hidden gem in our cute little town.  The 577 Foundation is a historic site that works to preserve and maintain the integrity of the land.  They offer numerous classes for adults and children that range from pottery, to painting, to herb walks, to making soap, and all sorts of holiday inspired crafts.

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The 12 acre property dates back to the 1880s and the deed to the property was actually signed by President John Quincy Adams.   The estate was owned by Mr. and Mrs. George F. Greenhalgh (Mrs. Greenhalgh was a niece of Edward Drummond Libbey, major benefactor of The Toledo Museum of Art), and then later by Duane and Virginia Stranahan.  The Stranahans had six children, none of whom wanted the property, so Virginia gave the property back to the community.  Her hope was that the land would be a fun place where people could learn about the environment and enjoy the beauty of Perrysburg and the Maumee River.

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The 577 Foundation is known for their beautiful gardens.  Guests are encouraged to plant their gardens on the property, with the purpose being to learn, discover organic practices, and share their knowledge with others.

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We had a lovely morning walking around and exploring the grounds.  The flowers and gardens are in full bloom right now and created the most picturesque backdrop for some photos.  Both Rob and I have always been huge history buffs so we naturally fell in love with the beautiful historic buildings on site.  This would be the cutest location for a bridal shower, senior pictures, or even a small wedding!

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We are trying to soak up every minute before sweet Baby Lilly arrives!  It’s hard to believe we are already 28 weeks along.   She will be here before we know it!

Slàinte,

Shannon

p.s. I’ve linked my outfit details below! This floral maxi was perfect for a stroll around the beautiful gardens.

MATERNITY MAXI | TASSEL EARRINGS | RAYBAN SUNGLASSES | RATTAN BAG | KATE SPADE WATCH (SIMILAR) | BOURBON AND BOWTIES BRACELET PEARL (SIMILAR) | BOURBON AND BOWTIES BRACELET (PINK)

TRAVELING SOLTS – SAUGATUCK, MI

Last week Rob and I jetted out of town for a quick “babymoon.”  For those of you unfamiliar with the term, a babymoon is a fancy way of describing your last vacation as a couple before your baby arrives (basically a second mini honeymoon).

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When we were planning our babymoon, we knew we wanted something coastal, but not too far.  Rob did tons of research on cute coastal towns and we ended up choosing Saugatuck, MI! We found the most charming B&B to stay in called the Wickwood Inn (Pictures below are of their beautiful gardens).  They are known for their impeccable interior decorating and gourmet food – neither of which disappointed!  Our favorite food of the whole trip was blueberry, pecan sticky buns that the inn served one morning.  They were incredible!

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Although the weather was less than ideal (monsoon rains for two days straight), we still had the best time and found plenty of things to do.  Saugatuck is known for it’s art galleries (we found some awesome original art for the house!), shopping, harbor, and stellar food.  They even have a cute local distillery where Rob was able to sample some yummy bourbon.[I got Shannon’s free samples which made for interesting early afternoon] I’ve rounded up a list of fun things to do in Saugatuck below (thought that would be easier than detailing every activity we did).

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The main reason for taking this babymoon was to get away so we could disconnect and relax.  We definitely did that!  Even though it rained almost every day we were there, we didn’t mind too much because it gave us time to read and just hang out with each other.  The B&B didn’t have any TV’s in the rooms and the WiFi could be spotty, so we were truly able to relax and just enjoy the comforts of the B&B and local town.

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We ended the trip with a quick stop in South Haven, MI (one of my favorite coastal towns!).  We spent about an hour or so walking around the town and exploring the local beach and lighthouse.  It was the perfect end to a delightful trip!

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Favorite Things to do in Saugatuck

Oval Beach – Included in Condé Nast Traveler’s Top 25 Beaches in the World, Oval Beach is just gorgeous.  We spent a half day here walking among the dunes and enjoying the (freezing cold) water.  I wish we had been able to enjoy the epic sunsets everyone talks about, but that would have required the rain to stop.

Local Shopping – We were very impressed with the quality of the local shops.  My favorites were The Brass Anchor (the name says it all) and the Saugatuck Art Gallery.

Favorite Restaurants – Definitely book a reservation for Hercules.  Our favorite meal was eaten here.  We loved the ambiance and the menu provided a delicious array of Mediterranean inspired dishes.  We also enjoyed The Mermaid.  The Mermaid is a local tourist favorite for its waterfront seating and famous fish n’chips.

Slàinte,

Shannon {and Rob}

BABY SOLT DOCKING FALL 2018

If you follow me on Instagram you will have seen a super fun announcement! We are expanding our brood! Baby Solt is due this October and we couldn’t be more excited!

Naturally I’m obsessed with all things baby and motherhood right now, so the blog will be taking a fun turn over the next few months as we share our experience with our first pregnancy.

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We wanted to make an announcement on social media and so we had my mom take our pictures down by our town’s boat club this past weekend and I’m so thrilled with how they turned out.  Our crazy three-year-old labradoodle did so good! Normally he won’t sit still long enough for a picture, but if you bribe him with some cheese, he will do anything! [Shannon will also try to bribe me with cheese, or beer].

If you’ve been following our blog the past year, you will have noticed it’s been pretty quiet the past few months.  I had a pretty rough first trimester – lots of morning sickness – and Instagram and blogging (really technology in general) made the nausea even worse.  But, now that I’m 19 weeks, I’m feeling much better and am ready to share our experience! [Funny it didn’t effect online shopping.  I was the one nauseous after I got the bill for the first wave of maternity clothes…]

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Despite the morning sickness, I had a TON of cravings.  Prior to becoming pregnant, my way of eating was pretty strict.  I didn’t eat sugar and I limited grains and dairy.  At about week five or six that way of eating completely went out the window.  The only food I could stomach eating included pasta, toast, pizza, tacos, potato chips, and pickles (LOTS of pickles).  [Like a jar every 2-3 days] The thought of any vegetable, grilled chicken, and coffee completely disgusted me.  This lasted until about week ten or eleven.  I can finally eat vegetables again (yay!).  On any given day I crave pickles (always dill), ice-cream sundaes, popcorn, graham crackers, fruit (any and all), lemonade, and waffles. [Planning for meals was always a real treat].

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Now that we are full swing in to the 2nd trimester, I’ve been spending pretty much all my free time scouring the internet for the best and safest baby products.  I’ve already started our registries and it’s been so much fun picking out cute things for Baby Solt! We find out the gender next month, so that will make registering that much more exciting.

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I’ve also LOVED shopping for maternity clothes. [And that’s not an understatement]. The trend nowadays for many expectant mamas seems to be wearing regular clothes in bigger sizes.  I’ve explored this route, but honestly the maternity clothes I’ve found are AMAZING – so soft and flattering.  I’ll share a post about my favorite finds over the next couple of weeks.

Thanks for being patient as we took a mini vaca from blogging.  We are excited to be back at it and to share our pregnancy adventure with you all!

Slàinte,

Shannon and [Rob]

SHOP OUR LOOKS

PINK BLUSH DRESS | SAM EDELMAN SANDALS (SIMILAR) | SUGARFIX EARRINGS  J.CREW FACTORY SHORTS | J.CREW FACTORY SHIRT (SIMILAR)| ROB’S SPERRY’S | BABY SPERRY’S

TOLEDO MUSEUM OF ART

“Art is not what you see but what you make others see.” – Edgar Degas

I feel so fortunate that Toledo is home to one of the most prestigious museums in the world.  Founded in 1901, the Toledo Museum of Art (TMA) is home to over 30,000 works of art.  I’ve visited countless times, but it wasn’t until my twenties that I really appreciated the significance of the TMA’s global reputation and all it has to offer.

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This past week I dragged two of my sisters and brother-in-law to the museum with me.  I’ve always been interested in the arts, but it wasn’t until I studied abroad in London that I really fell in love with it.  I would spend hours at the museums in London and New York, finding inspiration and endless amounts of creativity.

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It was during my time in London and New York that I discovered my favorite artists – Monet, Degas, and Van Gogh.  When I was studying fashion, I found SO much inspiration by scouring museums and studying the work of different artists.  We have several coffee table books and prints around our home from these artists, but nothing compares to seeing the actual pieces at the museum.

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One of my favorite paintings – Ophelia by Arthur Hughes

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One of the most famous and most beautiful of Claude Monet’s paintings. [And a fancy fireplace!]
TMA is home to 45 galleries!  We spent about two hours walking around the museum and the majority of that was in the classics section (obviously because impressionism is my fav).  The museum has an entire section dedicated to modern and contemporary art, as well as ancient Greek, Roman, and Egyptian works.

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Gallery wall of my dreams! [Good news, we can afford the paint].
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This beaut is titled “Scottish Highlands” by Gustave Doré. [Freeeeeedooooom!!].
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Hubby’s favorite painting! Architect’s Dream by Thomas Cole. [It is quite magical.].
If you are ever in the Northwest Ohio area, I highly recommend checking out this beautiful museum.  I promise that you will not be disappointed!

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As always, thank you for following along on our adventures!  Props and thanks to my sisters for acting as my photographers for the day. [The usual photographer had to work his dayjob…]

I hope you had a joyful holiday season and I wish you all a Happy New Year!

Slàinte,

Shannon [and Rob]

p.s. I’ve tagged my outfit details below!

ANN TAYLOR PANTS | J.CREW FACTORY BUTTON DOWN (SIMILAR) | NORDSTROM BOOTIES (SIMILAR) | STARFISH PROJECT NECKLACE | LONGCHAMP BAG  | GREY PONCHO

FAVORITE GIFT IDEAS FOR THE HOLIDAYS

It’s getting to be that time of year again!  Many of you have probably already started your holiday shopping.  I started lists back in September but really need to get buying for the peeps in my life!

When thinking of gift idea for our families, Rob and I like to be really intentional and thoughtful.  We try and shop local if we can, but many times Amazon wins for it’s fast shipping and convenience.  Nevertheless, we spend a lot of time planning and thinking about gifts for each person in our life. [Fun Fact, Shannon spends more time creating lists for gifts for herself then everyone else combined].

Below I’ve rounded up some of my favorite gift ideas for family and friends this year (many are local to Northwest Ohio!). Hopefully this gives you some ideas for your holiday shopping!

  1. Michelle Brunner Art – If you follow my Instagram, you will have seen a few posts and Instagram stories about my love for Michelle’s art!  Michelle is a local Northwest Ohio artist and she paints the most beautiful watercolor paintings of Lake Erie and the surrounding landscape.

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    How cute are these paintings?! My mom picked out three for my sister’s room and they look so good!

    You HAVE to check out her Instagram and website.  Her paintings are so bright and colorful and full of nautical details.  I want to purchase some of her work for my dining room but I can’t decide which painting I want since I want them all!  Her art is the perfect gift for the person who loves art, shopping local, and the nautical life.

  2. Essential Oils from Young Living – Over the past few months I’ve become quite interested in essential oils.  Not only do they smell delightful, but they are amazing at curing tons of ailments.  I’m a very anxious person by nature so the lavender infused “Stress Away” oil is essential for my daily life.

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    I always have these two essential oils on me at all times (one for helping with anxiety and one for stomach aches)

    In general though, essential oils are wonderful for fighting cold and flu symptoms, alleviating pain, healing skin conditions, balancing hormones, improving digestion, eliminating toxins, the list goes on and on. [Legal disclaimer, talk to your doctor before curing cancer with lemongrass and ginger oil]. Gifting someone in your life who is interested in lovely scents and using natural products, essential oils are a great gift.  I personally only use the Young Living brand because of their high standard practices and packages.  My friend Hannah sells Young Living Essential Oils and she has some fantastic information on her Instagram page.  Be sure to check it out!

  3. Packer Creek Pottery  – Unique pottery is such a fun gift idea for any occasion!  I love finding pottery on our travels (we have vases from St. Lucia and Mexico and mugs from Scotland).  But when I can’t jet off somewhere exotic to find some unique pottery, I turn to a local pottery shop.  Packer Creek Pottery sells super bright, colorful pottery.  All the pieces are painted a fun pattern, which makes it easy to buy for people (I have a ton of pieces from their blue and white and nautical line – who’s surprised?).  The variety of pieces in which you can choose from is endless – vases, platters, bowls, tables, mugs, etc.  This is definitely a great idea for anyone who loves pottery, shopping local, and fun prints! IMG_1037
  4.  Maumee Bay Brewing Company Craft Beer – This is for the craft beer lovers in your life! Established in 1995, Maumee Bay Brewing Company operates out of the Historic Oliver House in Downtown Toledo.  They create delightful ales, lagers, porters, and stouts.  Not only do they brew several different types of brews, but they also have several restaurants throughout the Toledo area. [Mmmmm, now you have my attention…maybe Santa will get me a six pack this year].
  5.  Books – I know this is general, but books are always a good idea.  Both Rob and I are passionate readers.  Growing up, books were always a topic of conversation in both our families.  Every time my siblings and I would visit our grandma, she would ask us, “Now, what book are you reading now?”  I had to be reading something to be able to answer her and not disappoint her!  And now as adults, Rob and I make a point to read a little bit each day.  That being said, we have tons of recommendations across all the genres and we love to share the books we love with others. [Shannon and I are team “physical book” as opposed to Kindle or whatever the kids are using these days. In my humble opinion there is nothing that compares to the feel of a book in your hands and even the smell of a first read novel].    Whether it’s nonfiction, fiction, fantasy, DIY, or a coffee table book, books are the perfect gift for the holidays!

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    One of my favorite books right now is Domino’s Guide to a Stylish Home! 

Although many of these items are local to Northwest Ohio, they are easily shopable online and make for great gifts.  We hope this short list sparked some creative ideas for the loved ones in your life!  Happy Holiday Shopping!

Slàinte,

Shannon [and Rob]

PUMPKIN FARM

Last weekend hubby and I decided to explore one of the local pumpkin farms and pick our own pumpkins!  For anyone who lives around Northwest Ohio, we highly recommend checking out Fleitz’s Farm in Oregon!

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Fleitz Farm has something for everyone!  They have pumpkin picking, hayrides, a craft shop, animals, corn mazes, and donut trucks.  [#pumpkin spice fun!] We picked our own pumpkins and enjoyed a yummy pumpkin spiced donut from one of the trucks. [Told ya]

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We realized driving over to the farm that neither one of us had ever been to a pumpkin farm or picked pumpkins!  We usually just buy them at a local grocery store.  We definitely enjoyed the experience and plan on making it a yearly tradition.

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[I believe the correct term is “Native American Corn”]
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[She actually lifted this whole pumpkin over her head. I guess that didn’t make the cut. shoutout to my shadow!]
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Happy fall!

Slàinte,

Shannon [and Rob]

p.s. Get ready Outlander fans, a recap of the Highlands is coming next week!  It’s going to be bittersweet sharing the last post of our Scottish adventure!