Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Free Trip - Dayton, Ohio

Hey there!!  I participated in "Creating Really Awesome Free Trips" over on C.R.A.F.T. (Creating Really Awesome Free Things) a few weeks ago and thought you might want a little "look-see" at the post.  Don't forget to click the "participation" button on the side bar to see the rest of the free trips!

Hello there!  I'm Jessica and I grew up in a suburb of Dayton, OH!  I'm sure not many of you have heard of Dayton, OH.  It's not exactly a BIG city, but it certainly has a BIG history!  I have collected 10 awesome and FREE things to do, during a days travel around the Dayton area.

1.  United States Air Force Museum.  In case you didn't know Dayton, OH is the birthplace of flight.  It is where Orville and Wilbur Wright had their bicycle shop and did most of their R&D on the first airplane, so it fits that it is the home to the United States Air Force Museum.  The Museum has everything anyone would want to know about air travel from the beginning (air balloons) to present day missiles.  It is open from 9am to 5pm daily (except for Thanksgiving, Christmas Day, and New Years Day) and always have FREE admission.  (Best part about this place is the FREE air conditioning on a HOT day!

2. Dayton Art Museum.  The Dayton Art Museum is home to many wonderful pieces of fine art.  It is located atop a hill of the edge of the Great Miami River overlooking downtown Dayton, the view on the outside is almost as brilliant as the fine art within.  The Museum is closed on Mondays and Tuesdays, but open the rest of the week.  The Museum has a "suggested" admission fee ($8 per adult and kids are free) however, it is free to view the "permanent" areas of the museum.  Not only does this building hold a lot of beautiful items inside, the architecture is rather brilliant as well.   

3.  RiverScape Metro Park.  This park is along side the Great Miami River and is the perfect place to start a walk, jog, bike ride, or to just sit and eat some ice cream.  In the winter there is an ice skating rink (free, except for skate rental).  In the summer there is a fountain for kids to run through as well as a HUGE July 4th celebration (usually on the 3rd of July) including fireworks, food vendors, and band concerts.   

4.  Old Court House.  The Court House in the middle of Dayton has been a staple since its completion in 1850.  The Court House was the backdrop of many Presidential Campaigns as well as war bond drives during World War II.  Today, this area is home to festivals (both in summer and winter) as well as a great place to sit and eat lunch while enjoying the sights and sounds in the middle of the city.  

5.  Booshoft Museum of Discovery.  This Museum is a GREAT place for kids!  It is full of science exhibits including areas of Astronomy, Anthropology, Biology, geology and robotics.  This museum is open from 9am to 5pm Monday through Saturday and from 12pm to 5pm on Sundays (Closed on most major holidays.)  The admission is "usually" $8 for children and $9 for adults, and is free to its members.  It does however have certain days throughout the year they they open up to the public for free admission  

6. Germantown Dam.  Not to far from the center of downtown Dayton is a large natural park which is home to a dam.  This park has a nature center, LOTS of trails, as well as a great big (you guessed it!)...  Dam.  The Dam was built in 1918 (only a few years after the big 1913 flood).  It is 100 feet high and 655 feet wide at its base (its soo big, I couldn't get a good picture of it!).  This Dam is really important to Dayton and its surrounding areas because without it, Dayton would flood.

7. The Greene.  The Greene is an outside mall located in a really close suburb of Dayton.  It has lots of stores and places to eat!  One of the best parts about this mall is yet, another fountain for the kiddos to run and play in, but also the free concerts just about every evening.  This can range from cover bands, garage bands, to even popular artists like Mandy Moore!

8.  Sun Watch.  Sun Watch is an Indian Village and Archaeological Park located in Dayton that is connected with the Boonshoft Museum for membership.  This historical park takes visitors back in time to discover an 800 year old "partially reconstructed" Fort Ancient Village.  This includes touring replicas of homes and gardens which brings the ancient history to life! This park is open year round from 9am to 5pm Monday through Saturday and Sundays from noon to 5pm.  The admission for tours and events is usually $5 for adults and $3 for kids (children 6 and under are free).  This place has a coupon online for buy one, get one free admission for these events, too.   

9. The Miamisburg Mound.  The Miamisburg Mound is just that, a Mound, located in a suburb not too far from Dayton's Downtown.  The Mound is the largest conical burial mound in the state, and possibly in the eastern U.S.  Archaeological investigations of the area suspect the it was constructed by the Adena Indians (899 DC - AD 100).  You can climb the 116 steps from its base to its summit for not only a work out, but also to get a great view of the surrounding areas.  

10. Historical Oregon District.  The Historical Oregon District is probably one of my favorite places in Dayton, hence why I left it for last.  This area of Dayton is home to wonderful restaurants, art stores, historical homes, a small park, and many more.  This block is also the home of a LARGE Halloween Festival in October and a "First Four" Festival in March celebrating March Madness.  This quite but busy area is perfect for a mid-day walk.

I hope you have enjoyed this tour around a place I like to call my home town!  Come visit, there are plenty Awesome and Free things to do!!    

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Wedding Planning: How SMASHing

I have been using websites like Pinterest, to help me search the internet for ideas when it comes to party planning, home organization, and fashion.  However, I still like the old fashioned, skimming through a magazine and tearing out the pictures of what I like!  

During the wedding planning process, I have been using one of my FAVORITE offline tools:  the SMASH book.  This book is a classy spiral bound book with scrap book paper already inside!   

I realize that Pinterest is so easy to use when scouring the internet, while planning an event, but I really like the fact that with this book, I can write notes to myself, keep a list of things to do in the handy back pocket, or keep it in my purse for the improptu "light bulb" idea with the half ink/half glue pen!

Note:  I was in no way compensated for this post!  I really just like SMASH books!!
Here it my SMASHing in progress:


Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Party Lighting - High and Low Light

Just like with music, lighting is a vital part of a party’s atmosphere.  Bright stage lights would be weird during an intimate date night dinner at home…. and low lights would be just as awkward during a large birthday party. 

Major lighting changes are hard to make with out buying new lamps, or re-wiring light switches to dimmer switchs (although dimmer switches are REALLY COOL!).  However, you can certainly alter the mood of the room with a few minor changes….

To create low light:
  • Put a thin scarf over lamps to darken the light (Possible fire hazard, so please only do this with CFLs or LEDs, they do not get hot!)
  • Use candles, or flameless candles around your event’s area to give light, but not bright bold light.
  • Use side lamps, rather than over head lights, this way lighting is coming from the side, and not from over head.
  • Keep colors of décor darker.

To create “high” light:
  • If it’s a sunny day, open up all the blinds, curtains, and window treatments that you can! Its FREE light!!
  • Use White Light bulbs, it creates a “brighter” feel
  • Use bright colors or white for décor colors, they won’t take away from the “bright light”

Note:  I tried SO HARD to get pictures of lighting for this post, however I totally failed!  Here is what happened:

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Cheese Cake Truffles

A while back, I shared an idea of how to turn left over cake (if you had that problem) into cake pops.  I used that same idea with a different type of dessert:  Cheese Cake!  

Look how they turned out:

I mashed up the cheese cake (crust and everything!) into a bowl and then scooped it into truffle sized balls.  Once they were frozen, I melted some chocolate and then dipped & decorated.  

If you are a Cheese Cake fan, these are DELICIOUS!

This just goes to show that, with a bit of creativity and some chocolate, left overs can be turned into decadant party treats!

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Party Planning - Refrigerator Space

I don’t have a huge refrigerator… in fact, I think my fridge is smaller than most "normal" sized refrigerators (that's usually what happens in an apartment).  Soooo sometimes I run out of room in the fridge while making food for a party.  (I really hope I’m not the only one with this problem!!) 

{Note:  This is NOT my refridgerator, oh but how I would love this much space!!}

While trying to work on a solution to this problem, I have figured out a few tips on how to utilize all the space in your fridge and perhaps some tips on how to keep your party essentials “cool”.

1.       Clean out your fridge before you start making food, or buying beverages, this way you can use all the free room, rather than taking up valuable space with old and half empty food containers
2.       Think about what types of food and drinks you are going to be putting in your fridge/freezer.  It is possible by thinking prior to putting all the items in the fridge and playing tetris, you could save space by being smart!
3.       Put it in ICE…  Put your beverages on ice just a few hours before the party, this way they are chilled, but haven’t taken valuable space in the fridge.
4.       Do you have a chilly basement or garage?  Put stuff in these places if possible…

Note:  Be mindful of ALL food safety tips!  Some food may be harmful to your health if not stored at the appropriate temperature.
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