Lou and I started the process of updating our kitchen about 3 years ago when we first bought our apartment. We painted the cabinets, added molding and a backsplash and got a new Samsung Smart Fridge that we had built in. It completely changed the entire look and feel of our apartment! So much brighter, which makes things seem more spacious.
We just recently replaced our free standing range that was about 10 years old with Samsung’s new slide in Smart Range and we LOVE it! It’s so easy to install (not that I did anything haha, but I watched them install it in like 5 minutes), and it’s much sleeker looking than our old range.
The range also has wifi connectivity. Connect the range to the Smart Things app on your phone, and you can set the oven temperature and baking time, adjust them at any time or cancel without having to actually touch your oven! There are plenty of moments when I am occupied in the other room, hear the “one minute left warning” and would love to add on five more minutes without having to leave what I’m doing. If I have my phone with me, I can add on the time from the app!
And ever forget if you forgot to turn the burner off? Just pull up the range in the app and it will let you know if any of the burners are on. And speaking of burners, the Samsung range has the most powerful dual valve brass burner in the industry!
All in all, not only is the Samsung slide in range beautiful looking, but the smart technology piece is really something that I find useful (over just being “cool”). I am someone who loves a good shortcut as long as the result is the same quality. Really anything to make my life easier! If you are considering this as a new appliance, I am happy to say in honesty that I really love it! You can take a look at all of their new slide in range options here.
This post is in partnership with Samsung home appliances. I am fortunate to be given the opportunity to work with brands I love!
Three Ways the Samsung Smart Slide In Range Has Made My Life Easier
So I literally live in a smart apartment now 🙂 My Samsung smart fridge with the family hub, washer/dry and slide in range all connect to the Smart Things app on my phone. From there I can control the appliances without needing to get up, or in some cases even be home! But one of the main questions I get is, “Do you actually use the technology?”
The answer to that is yes! But to be honest, I was initially surprised myself with how much I log into the app. As a mom of two (with my little one only being a few weeks old) I am often stuck on the couch breastfeeding or in the other room with my toddler. I can’t always run out for a timer, but I do almost always have my phone next to me. Here are three examples of how the Samsung slide in range has made my life easier.
From my phone I can set or adjust the baking temperature and time for my Samsung Slide In Range from my phone. So if I am breastfeeding Kaia or in the middle of something with Luca, I can cancel the timer or add a few more minutes onto the time until I am free.
Ever leave the house and forget if you turned the burner off? Because I do that all the time (mom brain). You can actually log into the app and it will show you if any of the burners have been left on.
So this isn’t a technology piece, but the Samsung slide in range is fingerprint resistant and any mom with toddlers know that is a blessing in itself!
Not only are these appliances BEAUTIFUL, but they really do come in handy to help make life a little bit easier. Take a look at some of the other Samsung reviews for more details on the Samsung Smart Fridge.
Like many families, we’re looking for ways to spruce up our kids’ Christmas break with safe activities both around the house and out of it. Options are limited these days, but thanks to the kind folks at the Courtyard by Marriott Worthington up at Crosswoods, we treated our boys to a little overnight staycation that focused on a lot of local activities.
We stayed early in the week before Christmas, so the hotel wasn’t busy. That gave us almost free run of the place.
The Courtyard by Marriott has all the appropriate protocols in place to ensure a safe visit. They generously gave us a small suite with two bedrooms.
We were able to check in just after lunch-time, so we stopped by Amano’s Sports Bar in the back of The Shops at Worthington Place to pick up a pizza, mozzarella sticks, and a giant meatball.
Did I say giant? It weighed one pound and was stuffed with cheese!
The pool is open at the Marriott, which is a big draw for our boys. They wanted to spend most of their time in it.
In order to maintain proper social distancing, guests sign up for slots at the front desk.
We allowed some screen time at the hotel, but we also tried to focus on other projects, games, and books. For the boys we brought projects from AR Workshop Worthington: a pair of banners with painted stencils that fit their personalities.
AR features a variety of take-and-make projects; as our boys are a little older, we let them do the painting themselves.
The end result: avocados and video games!
Continuing our streak of local meals, we ordered out from Sushi Ko in Crosswoods, barely a minute’s drive from the hotel.
We ordered a selection of crab rangoon, tempura vegetables, California rolls, the Christmas roll, the kamikaze roll, and the conical volcano roll. All expertly prepared. Highly recommended for the sushi-lover.
We brought a small stack of board games from home, including the always-delightful Throw Throw Burrito, a game from the creators of Exploding Kittens (one of whom is Matthew Inman from The Oatmeal).
Zaftig Brewing had just released some big barrel-aged beers, so I packed a bottle of their 2020 Big Barleywine, aged 22 months in Weller bourbon barrels.
The next morning we ordered breakfast online from First Watch inside the Worthington mall, just a couple minutes away.
We feasted on everything from breakfast tacos to cinnamon pancakes, eggs benedicts to breakfast burritos.
After one more swim in the pool (of course!), we checked out of the hotel and headed over to Play: CBUS. Play is tucked into a light industrial area in Worthington just north of I-270, and it is a sight to behold.
At 52,000 square feet, Play: CBUS has the designation of being the world’s largest indoor ropes course. The facilities include ninja courses, multiple climbing walls, ropes courses of varying difficulties, a kid’s play area, and even a full-service restaurant and bar. And because of its size, it’s ideal for socially distanced indoor play.
We’d never deign to call ourselves an athletic family, but we handled ourselves fairly well on the courses. Fairly well. Thank goodness for good padding on the courses.
After falling repeatedly tackling a couple of the ninja courses, we got harnessed up to take on the ropes course. They train you first on using your anchor line to move around the course; it feels perfectly safe – you’re never unhooked from the safety lines.
There are two levels to the course, the higher level being the more difficult. We stuck to the main level (which is still one story up).
It was an exhausting but fitting end to our staycation!
To learn more about where we went on this trip:
Disclaimer: the hotel stay and visit to Play: CBUS were comped. We handled meals; photos and opinions are our own.
The best part about traveling are those unexpected discoveries along the way. A couple weekends back, Visit Butler County had us out to do a little safe, local shopping and dining in downtown Hamilton; you can read about the full experience in my blog post on Ohio.org.
The following morning we strolled around to see some of the public art and grab breakfast at Almond Sisters Bakery downtown. And, man, were we in for a treat.
The bakery’s small storefront can be found on High Street, catty corner from the Butler County courthouse. They offer a full-service coffee bar plus a wonderful selection of scratch-made pastries, cookies, bar, rolls.
The place was already on our radar because Brian, the owner of Future Great Comics in town, was singing the praises of their geode cookies. I love when local businesses brag on each other.
My eye went immediately to the giant, bear claw-like pumpkin croissants. Fantastic structure and flavor to them.
And we selected a couple geodes – chocolate chip cookies with brownies inside them – based on Brian’s recommendation.
The big hit were the almond twists, like little twisted fingers of iced pastry with marzipan. We ordered a couple, took our stuff outside, took one bite of these, then promptly went back in and bought another half dozen.
Here’s our total haul (clockwise from upper right): M&M cookie sandwich, a pumpkin croissant (incredible), almond twists (just two?) a bacon and cream cheese cheese croissant, almond croissant, a geode, chocolate cookie in the center.
Props to their coffee service, too. They had one of the best pumpkin spice lattes (named the Basic Bee) that I’ve tasted, and I’m not usually a fan. Beth also loved the Kyoto, a velvety smooth mocha.
The city of Hamilton has helpfully lined the street with picnic tables for more socially distanced dining.
We took our spoils of war outside and dug in.
Even weeks later, I’m still thinking about the pastries we had at Almond Sisters. I can’t wait to go back there, and if you’re passing through the city, be sure to stop!
We’ve enjoyed our trips to Butler County over the past few years, checking out local restaurants and breweries, working our way through the ever-expanding Butler County Donut Trail, hiking through different parks and exploring museums. I’ve compiled all of our past adventures on the Butler County travel page.
Like many small downtowns, Hamilton has worked hard to adapt to life in a pandemic while still supporting its local businesses. In addition to Christmas lights draped over trees, they’ve set up picnic tables for more social distancing room along High Street.
If you’re not familiar with the city, yes, Hamilton IS named after our country’s first treasury secretary. It was established first as Fort Hamilton in 1791, and today features a statue of him WEARING AN AMERICAN FLAG AS A CAPE in the center of High Street. The sidewalks around it are embedded with famous quotes from him.
We stayed in the Courtyard Marriott Hamilton, a newer hotel just a block off High Street and close to the Great Miami River, within walking distance of parks, public art, a pavilion, a brewery, dozens of restaurants and shops.
We called in an order of calzones, subs, salad, and nachos from All8Up downtown.
Then walked our dinner over to Rotary Park nearby to eat at one of the picnic tables there. Rotary Park, like many parts of Hamilton, is full of public art. I really commend the city on its public art program. Dozens of murals, sculptures, and installations dot the city.
The theme of that night’s Holly Jolly Hamilton was Music on Main, so there were DJs, singer-songwriters, and small brass bands spread throughout the neighborhood.
After dinner we stopped by Municipal Brew Works, housed in the old municipal building on High Street next to the river. It’s a beautiful Art Deco structure that once served as fire station, police station, city council chambers, jail. I got a tour from one of the owners, Jim Goodman, back in 2017.
Municipal has a giant patio and invites local food trucks to park outside. We snagged a couple beers and kept strolling. Downtown Hamilton is a DORA (Designated Outdoor Refreshment Area), which means you can take adult drinks to go and walk the neighborhood.
We visited a few shops east of the river first, including InsideOut Studio, a studio and gallery dedicated to adults with development disabilities.
We then followed the bridge over the river to Main Street, another concentrated stretch of local businesses. They installed barriers to widen the sidewalk and offer more social distancing.
Our first stop was Fleurish Home to see holiday decor, artwork, supplies, clothing, and more.
Then it was Future Great Comics, where I chatted for a bit with owner Brian LeVick. We picked up a few Star Wars and Spider-Man comics.
There was a lot going on in the district, and it all felt safe. We spied puppies in the window at a pet store, lots of holiday decorations, Santa and Mrs. Claus waving to passing cars, live musicians filling the air with music.
Last stop of the night was Unsung Salvage Design Co., which sells T-shirts, funny knick-knacks, and many other creative gifts.
We finished the night with a visit to one of our favorite stops in Hamilton: Pyramid Hill Sculpture Park. When we were first introduced to it back in 2017, we were completely stunned to find this beautiful property with 60+ sculptures nestled in the rolling hills PLUS a museum in the center with ancient artwork.
From now through January 3, 2021, they’re running a drive-through light show called Journey Borealis, set to music performed by the Cincinnati Boys Choir and Cincinnati Chamber Orchestra.
Then it was off to a delightful first breakfast and coffee at The Almond Sisters Bakery. We were impressed with their lattes, almond twists, croissants, cookies – all of it. I’d consider it a must-visit. (Stay tuned for more about them.)
We strolled a bit through Marcum Park nearby to admire more of the sculptures.
Never ones to shy away from just one breakfast, we picked up breakfast sandwiches at True West Coffee. Their High Street location is currently closed, but their Main Street location sports a very narrow but helpful drive-through. If you’re waiting in line, you can spot the signature Hamilton mural.
But what about third breakfast? We couldn’t leave town without checking out the latest addition to the Donut Trail, The Donut Dude. Owners Laurie and Glen Huey shared a dozen of their creations, all creative and crave-able. The perfect end to another lovely trip!
The food truck Redwood Wagon has set up a delivery and pickup location in Worthington at 6969 Worthington Galena Rd.
Business First broke the news this week that two new eateries are on the way for the Worthington area: an Albanian restaurant at 2151 E. Dublin Granville Rd. and a Mexican concept for 530 High St.
Two new vendors join North Market Bridge Park this week: Pasta Ditoni’s has opened and Lan Viet will open this Saturday, Dec. 19
Multiple sources reported this week that Macelleria East Side Butchery is coming soon to 2474 E. Main St. in Bexley
The cloud kitchen, delivery-only food business ClusterTruck has expanded its delivery area by beginning to operate out of the Dublin Kroger
A new location of Sweetwaters Coffee & Tea opens Sunday, Dec. 20 at 5780 N. Hamilton Rd. in Hamilton Quarter, with a full grand opening scheduled Jan. 3
Noodles & Company, which has 10 locations around central Ohio, announced it is adding new ravioli and tortellini dishes to its menus
The owners of Clintonville Pizza Primo announced this week that they have closed the business, although the owner of Papa Giorgio’s on the Northwest side announced that he would take over the location.
P.S. Friday Food Bites will take a break next week. Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to all!
Like, many places we love to visit, Delaware presents us with a familiar dilemma: do we try new places this time or return to our old favorites?
Well, we had the opportunity to do both last weekend when Destination Delaware invited us up for a little holiday dining and local shopping on a warm Friday night.
We’ve always loved Delaware’s downtown, with its collection of well-preserved historic buildings and shops, bars, restaurants, a movie theatre, and more. And of course these small downtowns look all the more warm and welcoming with holiday lights.
First stop was Old Dog Dog Alehouse & Brewery, a relatively newer addition to the neighborhood. We ordered up a charcuterie board, giant soft pretzel, and tempura buffalo cauliflower to go. When I stepped up to the bar to pick up our food, I noticed a cooler with a half dozen house beers, so I grabbed bottles of Snake Eater amber ale and Rosa’s Haze IPA.
I was craving a burger, too, so we stepped across the street to Son of Thuman, a branch of the popular Thurman Cafe in German Village. The pub has the same heavily-decorated feel of the original; I walked out with a classic Thurman Burger, corn dogs, and fries.
We took our carryout to the patio of Staas Brewing, our favorite brewery in central Ohio. It’s a family-owned corner pub that brews in small, all-grain batches. Liz and Donald nail every style they brew. They built out a back patio and added heaters to accommodate guests during COVID-times.
The Thurman Burger is as big as I remember it. And it’s barely half the size of their famous Thurminator.
We ordered up pints of Staas’ Flying Fat Man Christmas ale and Evangelist Belgian quad while we dug into dinner. The Sons of Dekker helped take on the Son of Thuman.
After dinner we strolled the streets, admiring the many patios (some of which have enclosures for warm, safe dining) and poking our heads in a few shops like our favorite Beanbag Books. We also spotted Santa on a motorized bike.
For a sweet treat, we stopped into Coffeeology, a spacious coffee shop, gallery, and handmade goods store. We left with their Instagram-worthy toasted marshmallow mocha.
But just one dessert won’t do! We also snuck into Ciao Cafe, a corner store lined with windows that features coffee, pastries, donuts, smoothies, paninis, and – the main event – homemade gelato. We tasted gelato flavors like tiramisu, buckeye, birthday cake, and peppermint.
Speck features modern Italian dishes. We had a fantastic meal there pre-COVID. This time around we opted for corn fritters and the speck + burrata.
Likewise, 1808 is offering dine-in and carryout, and has a few enclosed tables for safe outdoor dining. We’ve never had a bad dish from 1808. Their offerings include sophisticated but approachable takes on classic pub dishes: think the best versions of wings, brussels sprouts, burgers, risotto, pasta.
And there you have it! This time we managed to try both new places and old favorites. And like any good trip, we left with a long list of places to try when we return. Thanks to Destination Delaware for hosting us!
As we left Delaware, we detoured just a little ways east off Route 23 to the Lights of Glenross, a collection of 250+ homes in a subdivision with massive amounts of Christmas lights all coordinated to music. It’s free and a fun diversion with the family, especially if you’re a fan of Christmas lights like me.
A new pop-up eatery called Ash & Em opened at 541 S. High St., serving burgers, wings, and pizza
Tasty Dawg opened this week in the Arena District, co-located with Zoup! Eatery at 155 W. Nationwide Blvd.
Son of Thurman, a small extension of the Thurman Cafe in Delaware, announced they will be opening a second location next February in Galena
Dragon Donuts opens its third location today, this one at 4100 Worth Ave. at Easton. This joins shops in Grandview and Grove City.
SuperChef’s announced that they have closed their downtown location, pending the demolition of their building. Their Gahanna location remains open.
Two pop-up holiday-themed cocktail bars are in the works these days, the annual Miracle pop-up at The Citizens Trust downtown, and now a tiki-themed companion Sippin’ Santa at Huli Huli Tiki Lounge in Powell. Both are running through Dec. 31.
Columbus Underground reports that Corso Ventures is planning three concepts in Luxe 23 building at 1079 N. High St.: Urban Chophouse, Whiskey Lounge, and Terrace Bar.
Taft’s Brewing announced that Columbus artist Erin Lee has been selected to design the cans for their new Paint the Town Hoppy double IPA. Lee was chosen from 14 other applicants; cans can be found at local bottle shops and beer aisles.
The fried chicken pop-up Fried Chicka Bang announced it will be opening a second location in January, located inside Sunny Street Cafe in the Arena District
We love getting to explore the many cities and towns of Ohio, and we’re never ones to do just one activity at a time, so when the folks from The Syndicate in Bellefontaine invited us out for brunch one Saturday, we turned it into a day trip.
We started the morning with eggs benedicts, boozy coffees, shrimp and grits on the front patio. Read all about brunch at The Syndicate here.
We lucked out with a wonderfully sunny early November day, which proved perfect for exploring downtown Bellefontaine. The city’s center has grown and changed dramatically in recent years, with significant investment in historic buildings and new businesses by groups like Downtown Bellefontaine.
You can see these new steps in large and small ways. One of the small ways, that still has a dramatic impact, is the use of signage on the corners to direct you to local businesses.
I love quirky bits of trivia and odd historic or geographic sites, and in Bellefontaine you get three. The first is right next to the courthouse: the oldest paved street in the United States. Court Avenue was paved in 1893 by George Bartholomew, a pioneer in concrete. There’s a statue of him and a series of plaques to commemorate it. You can still see the original paved sections embedded with a square pattern to keep horse’s hooves from slipping on wet or icy pavement.
We always make coffee part of the itinerary, and already had Native Coffee Co. on our radar from brunch. We strolled down to the shop, ordered a cortado, and enjoyed a lovely chat with the barista.
The trailhead is a funny little spot, a small parking lot in the middle of a neighborhood with a porta-potty in one corner. This portion of the trail (Bellefontaine -> Urbana) is paved in crushed limestone. We found it to be stable and compacted enough to still comfortably ride on, but realize that it’s better suited to bikes with wider tires.
The trail runs alongside unused railroad tracks, offering some very pretty views as you go. We rode a few miles south, then back toward Bellefontaine, spotting snakes and birds and farmland.
Back into town we refueled at City Sweets & Creamery, a long, narrow shopfront serving ice cream, donuts, and plenty of other sweets.
To finish with a slightly larger snack, we reserved a spot on the back patio of Brewfontaine, which is next door to The Syndicate and owned by the same folks. It’s a full service restaurant with an interesting beer list. We ordered up snacks like pretzels, a hummus plate, house-made pickles, and a flight of beers (for the adults).
On the way out of town we visited the last two bits of trivia in Bellefontaine. The first, just west of the courthouse square, is McKinley Street, the shortest street in the U.S. at 20 feet long.
And, just a couple miles northeast of downtown Bellefontaine sits Campbell Hill, the highest point in Ohio at 1550 feet above sea level. The actual high point is nestled on the grounds of a career center, next to some off-limits radar equipment and other buildings. There’s a very tiny park with a placard, a guest book you can sign, and a little certificate you can fill out to prove you stood there!
Earlier in 2020, the owners of Brewfontaine, a beer bar and restaurant in Bellefontaine’s revitalized downtown, opened an event space called The Syndicate next door. While the year’s events have curtailed plans for a full schedule of hosted events, they’ve converted some of the operations into a full-time restaurant and bar, including weekend brunch service.
In order to help spread the word, they kindly invited us to try their brunch, and we turned it into a full day of shopping, biking, coffee, and historic sites around Bellefontaine.
We started, of course, with a pair of drinks for the adults.
Both are boozy selections:
The Wake Up Call (left) blends espresso bean-infused Watershed vodka, Kahlúa, and cold brew from local Native Coffee
The super boozy Bourbon Brunch (right) looks like an innocent cup of coffee but hides Maker’s Mark, coffee liquor, vanilla, and heavy cream inside, and arrives with a slice of bacon and corner of waffle
But it’s not all about the booze. The brunch menu features kid’s and adults’ offerings, with a lot of creative spins on the classics.
The Syndicate’s building was home to Jackson’s News Stand for nearly 50 years, and the owners continued that newsy theme with old newspapers and decor reminiscent of a newsroom.
We tried four dishes from the brunch menu, largely relying on the advice of our server. First off was a worthy version of shrimp and cheesy grits, layering nicely seasoned shrimp with roasted poblanos and red peppers.
My favorite of the meal was the chicken and waffles. They wisely used thigh meat, which is more succulent and has better flavor. It’s expertly breaded and fried, then laid atop sweet potato waffles (again, good choice) with a drizzle of Ohio maple syrup.
Our youngest Owen is on a mission to try the eggs benedict everywhere he goes (a man after my own heart), and this traditional version (English muffin, Canadian bacon, poached eggs, hollandaise) earned his thumbs up. It came with a side of potatoes, which were a little soft and under-seasoned.
Kudos to the biscuits and gravy, too, made with zesty chorizo gravy that’s balanced by a drizzle of local Nate’s Nectar honey.
All in all, The Syndicate has a solid brunch going! It’s a big space, too, and includes a covered front patio, so there’s plenty of room to safely spread out. It made for a terrific start to a day exploring the city.
Disclaimer: this meal was hosted by The Syndicate. Photos and opinions are our own; gratuity was covered by us.