Road Trip to Columbus

The first day of our road trip to Columbus, Ohio for the Buckeye Elite Showcase Tournament was pretty soggy.  Most of the baseball games were canceled as there was an incredible amount of rainfall.  Fields and highways were standing in high water.  I-70 was shut down for an extended period in two different places.  It looked like some of the boys on teams that played should have been wearing swim suits instead of ball uniforms.

We stayed in the Embassy Suites on Corporate Exchange Drive at Cleveland Avenue exit of I-270.  It has lovely, clean, accommodations with efficient service.  Since our games were canceled for the first day we used the Chitty-Chitty Bang Bang button in our cars and ventured out to Roosters for some stress reduction and lunch.

stress reduction

Our team did not play until late in the day on Friday.  This was my son’s team’s last baseball tournament of the year and our second out-of-towner of the season. Our first out-of-town tournament was in Indianapolis and my daughter and I went to the conservatory there, so this time in lieu of ball games, we decided to check out the conservatory in Columbus, Ohio on this road trip for Plan B (as Suzy Toronto would say).

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Flamingo topiaries

We were lucky to see “Topiaries at the Conservatory, Wild Wonders” as well as “Blooms and Butterflies” plus all the other exhibits for our admission price of only $14 each adult. The topiaries were so fun and playful – I especially liked the expression on the lion and panda.

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Lion Topiary

The Pacific Island Water Garden was loaded with over 2,000 beautiful, colorful, butterflies. In the Rainforest we tried to get the macaws, Mic and Max, to talk us but they weren’t feeling chatty.  Outside the John E. Wolfe Palm House guests were arriving for a ceremony and they were setting up tables inside.

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Elephant topiaries

I don’t want to spoil the exhibit by showing all 13 of the topiaries.  If you want to see them all you won’t find them here until I update in November when the show is over. The butterfly exhibit runs through September 17, 2017 and the topiaries will be displayed until October 29, 2017.  We took about an hour and a half to buzz through the conservatory, but I could easily have spent another hour or so.

Leave it to us to find time for a gift shop! On the way out we stopped in the Botanica Gift Shop & Greenhouse and bought some little pots and a hoe for our fairy garden and a 2″ succulent and a little ceramic pot for it. So far we haven’t killed the succulents we planted in our terrarium earlier this year so we thought we could handle another one.

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We attempted to go to The Thurman Cafe in The German Village on Friday night, but it was packed and we were already running on empty so we decided not to wait.  If you are on a road trip to Columbus I recommend this cafe for a tasty burger.

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We found it once by accident years ago when we were visiting COSI which, by the way, is an excellent place to visit if you are ever on a road trip to Columbus, Ohio.  Give yourself at least 4-6 hours to explore this science and industry museum.


Cincinnati Stix 15U team won all three of our pool play games ranking us fourteen out of over 80 teams so we got a bye and enjoyed a late Saturday lunch at The Winking Lizard.

Unfortunately, we fell hard and fast this morning at 8am losing by too many runs to report 😦 .

So that is the end of the tournament for us, the end of our 2017 baseball season, and the end of our road trip to Columbus, Ohio.


Have you ever been to Columbus? What’s one of your favorite places to eat or visit in Columbus, Ohio?

3 Terrific Gift Ideas

I want to share with you the gifts my children gave me for Mother’s Day because I think they are terrific ideas for birthdays, graduate, anniversary, or even bridal.

My oldest son lives in California and he and his fiance sent me the first two seasons of Pushing Daisies  and  The Big Book of Pies and Tarts.

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Pushing Daisies is new to me.  I’m part way through the first season and so far it’s meeting the description of quirky and fun.  I can’t wait to cook up some of the delicious recipes in the cookbook.

I think this could also make a great birthday, anniversary, or bridal gift.


My oldest daughter and my son-in-law live in Florida and they sent me a terrarium kit.

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My daughter recently joined a garden club and has been learning about succulents.  She knows I am interested in trying my green thumb on them too.

I think a terrarium would make a great gift for a birthday, anniversary, or the graduate going off to college.  A tiny little garden could give a touch of home to a dorm room or to anyone who occupies a small space.  Terrariums are a fun way to bring a little outdoor life to an office cubicle too.


My youngest daughter gave me a beautiful handmade card.  I love orange and pink together so this card is right up my alley.

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“Life comes with a mother, not a manual.  I think you are great at being the manual.”


These ideas can be used for a family member or friend that you know well, but they are also terrific birthday gift ideas for someone you aren’t as close to – like a neighbor or co-worker.

Here’s a picture of my terrarium.  Let me know how you think my terrarium turned out and I’d love for you to give me any tips you may have for keeping my little green friend alive.


Read our blog to find inspiration for gifts and life.

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Why are frogs so happy?

Why are frogs so happy?

Because they eat whatever bugs them!

What is a frog’s favorite flower?

A croak-us!



Save the date and buy tickets now for
April 18th 
Frogs & Sunshine Paint Party
10:00 AM – 12:00 PM

Weedis Victorious

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Comic Latin Plant Pick

If you live in Ohio I hope it is too early in the season for you to be putting this comic latin weedis victorious plant pick in your flower garden.  Beware.  It won’t be long before the weeds will be victorious if allowed.

Now is a good time to be putting down a pre-emergent in your flower beds. Tweet: Now is a good time to be putting down a pre-emergent in your flower beds. https://ctt.ec/dyeHO+

At our house we use Snapshot which contains the active ingredients isoxaben and trifluralin. Another popular pre-emergent is Preen which contains the active ingredient of trifluralin.

Generally speaking these products do not kill weeds.  They simply keep new weeds from sprouting.  Don’t use these products on areas seeded with flowers that have not yet germinated.  It can be used after flowering plants have germinated and are 2 – 3 inches tall.

Taking the time to put down a pre-emergent now will save you from having to waste time pulling weeds later.  Instead you’ll be able to spend more time enjoying your flowers.  These products are not labeled for use on all vegetables.  Be sure to check the label before applying to a vegetable garden.  Also, be sure to check the label to know when it is time for a reapplication.

When in doubt, check the label.  Check the label.  Check the label.  Chemicals can be a great help, but when used carelessly they don’t work properly, or worse, can be harmful.

If by chance weeds become victorious in your yard or garden you know where to find signage for them.  Or maybe you have something magnificent that this would be appropriate for.

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Comic Latin Outofcontrolus Magnificus

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Comic Latin Bugus Devourous

comic latin rabbit
Comic Latin Rabbitas Nibbleum

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Comic Latin Plantus Unknownus

Which one is your favorite?


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Where Are the Monarchs?

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Simon Kenton Memorial Bridge Maysville to Aberdeen

Last night I took a little venture to Maysville, Kentucky to attend the 8th Annual Farm & Family Night at Maysville Community and Technical College.  While I was there, I attended the session Saving the Monarch Butterfly.

According to what I learned, the monarchs that live east of the Rocky Mountains are now in Texas. They are on their yearly journey north from Mexico.  Those that live west of the Rocky Mountains winter in California and spend their summers in the Northwest states.

Part of what makes monarch migration so wondrous is the fact that monarchs are the only insect to migrate a distance of 2,500 miles.  During migration monarch butterflies can fly up to 300-500 miles a day.  During their migration north monarchs will go through about 4 generations.  Those monarchs that fly south in the fall, however, can journey the whole distance living up to 9 months.

The purpose of the session was to discuss why monarchs are at risk and what can be done to help them.

Currently the monarch population is 4% of what it was in the 1970’s.  The biggest factor leading to their decline is loss of milkweed.  Other contributing factors to the decline of monarch populations are weather, use of insecticides & herbicides, and habitat loss.

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Some things we can do in Ohio to help the butterflies as we await their arrival this year is to learn about their habitat.  We can plant milkweed and other pollinator plants that monarchs need.  In addition we can learn about plants that are native to our yard that butterflies enjoy and keep them in place when possible, rather than removing them.

Being that it is almost spring (12 more days, but who’s counting?), now is a great time to think about monarch butterflies that are migrating our way.  When planning your garden try to include some nectar plants.  These can be annuals, biennials, and/or perennials.  Here are just a few examples: Shasta Daisy, Cosmos, French Marigolds, Lantana, Verbena, Zinnia,  Black Eyed Susan, Hollyhock, Phlox, New England Aster, and Purple Coneflower. Milkweed, Goldenrod, and Ironweed are often plants that we might consider undesirable, but butterflies like them.

If possible, know your plant source.  When purchasing plants ask what type of greenhouse they came from.  Ideally, buy plants raised in a chemical free greenhouse.  Often times you can find someone who has perennials who is willing to split off part of their plant that you could start in your yard.

Choose a sunny location for your plants and consider including windbreaks such as a fence or shrub.  If you have limited space many of these plants do well in pots or containers. Bird baths or water containers should be shallow with some object which will allow for butterflies to perch.  Items such as floating corks can be placed in deeper water to provide a perch.

Do you plant flowers in your gardens for butterflies?  What are your favorites?


Learn more about Protecting Monarchs and Monach Watch .

Feature photo by Chris Bending

18 More Days and Counting

I am hesitant to get excited about spring just yet. Although it will officially be here in 18 days.  I am doubtful that our unseasonably warm weather is here to stay.  I am waiting for old man winter to give us a final blast or two.

wp-1488669102488.jpgWhile I’m waiting I have been planning out my gardens.  I love planting annuals .   I always plant pansies.  I have one from last spring that has managed to survive and is blooming already.  I also love petunias and marigolds.

I had almost no perennials at my old house, but our current home came with lots of perennials.  I am learning to appreciate them.  I used to think perennials were high maintenance and got out of control easily.  Now I have seen the light.  I fell in love with coneflowers last summer.  Although they do require maintenance they are easy because they just come back year after year like magic.  With regular tending hopefully they won’t go wild.

My daughter and I have been playing with some new concrete molds that she received for Christmas along with some of our older molds that we bought last summer.

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Soon to be Painted

We’ve been doing a little painting with our sculptures.  We still have lots more to paint.  We are considering having an event where people can choose a piece and paint it for their own garden.

This year we are planning a fairy garden.  We thought about it last year, but never made progress other than to read some articles.  There is no doubt in my mind that this year we have a sweet little fairy garden.  We have been dreaming of the idea in our minds for almost a year so it should all come together pretty quickly.

If not now, When?  Tweet: If not now, When?https://littlegiftshopoh.com/2017/03/03/doubt

The only thing that concerns me is it is in a high traffic area and right next to the garden hose.  Hopefully it won’t get trampled or squashed.


We also have a tree in our woods that came with some gnomes in it.

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The gnomes we painted to add aren’t to scale with the old ones.  I’m not sure how it will turn out.  Even if it doesn’t exactly match, I think it will be a fun spot to visit on our walks.

Comment below to share your favorite annuals and perennials.   Are you planning anything new in your garden this year?


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Prompt: Doubt

Feature photo by Katherine McCormack