Today was a tough day to be a parent.  Nick was in a mood all day.  It started with a mini tantrum as we left to go to the J.  I was not buckling his seat belt the way daddy showed him.  He threw a fit that included that screeching scream that hurts your ears.  It would not be the only time I heard it today.  Stephen had to go out to the car and explain to him that his seatbelt was twisted before and that’s why he took it off of the hook to buckle it last time.  Whew!  I thought I all of a sudden didn’t know how to buckle his car seat.

Next, we made it to the J and when we entered, Nick announced that he wanted to take the stairs.  When Sally rides the stroller in, we have to take the elevator.  Today, she walked.  I said that the stairs were ok.  Nick walked up to the elevator and pushed the button for down.  It opened and Sally rushed on.  Now, Nick would have to ride the elevator.  More screaching screams ensued.  They continued all the way down the hall to the play room where he laid on a couch and would not come in.  He finally came into the room and spent the next 40 minutes crying and screaming.  30 minutes into it, the care givers told me to try to go workout and they’d see how he did.

I left to ride the elliptical and vent to a friend.  Soon enough, we didn’t hear the crying anymore.  I did 30 minutes and headed back to the play room.

We had planned to go to the spray ground and changed into swim suits.  We went across the way to the pool area and didn’t even stop at our car.  After sunscreen was applied, both Nick and Sally quickly made use of the water sprays and enjoyed the coolness of getting splashed.  At some point, Nick fell and while getting up he realized that he still had his sandals on.   This meant that we hadn’t changed him into his plastic water shoes.  More screaming ensued.

Shortly after this tantrum, we headed home.  There were a couple of more tantrums throughout the day for various reasons.  It was exhausting.

We are going blueberry picking again in the morning.  I’m hoping for a fun, calm day filled with a happy Nick and Sally.


 Posted by at 8:26 PM

Today, I took a day off from blogging and invited my husband Stephen to do a guest post.  He accepted.  He writes a technical blog about electronics at  Feel free to stop by.

Enjoy his post, I’ll be back tomorrow!


A few months ago, we got an Akron Zoo membership. I don’t quite remember why Akron instead of Cleveland, but I think the idea was that Lyn’s parents, who live in Akron, would find it easier to go to their local zoo with Nick and Sally. Today, though, Lyn wanted to go to her parents’ house to do help out with some housework and the like, so Nick and Sally took me to the Akron Zoo without Lyn.

It was the first time any of the three of us had been to this zoo. I had been warned numerous times that Akron’s Zoo was smaller than Cleveland’s. It may well have been, but I would not have noticed. I let Nick and Sally set the pace, and there was plenty of zoo we did not see. That’s fine – it’s more to see next time.  That philosophy is a big change for me, but Lyn introduced me to the idea that if you become a member of a zoo or museum, it is perfectly OK to visit for a half an hour or to not see the whole thing. I was brought up with the philosophy that if you were paying for admission, you were going to stay until you saw everything, period. This relaxed approach was a change, but it is one I enjoy, and I’d recommend buying a membership at any institution you might like to explore in depth over the course of a year.

Right after walking through the gate, we saw the penguins. Sally was not sure about them initially, until she started watching them swim underwater. From on top of my shoulders, the view was not to her liking, but on the ground, her height was perfect to watch them swim. Gales of giggles emerged every time a penguin swam by, which touched off chuckles in some of the surrounding adults…


After that, it was off to visit some fellow primates in the lemur house. Nick was fascinated, as evident from his studious look.


Before we left for the zoo, Nick asked to see a lion and a tiger, so we followed the signs in that direction. First, though, we came across a carousel. “Oooh, Daddy, I want to go on that!”  It turns out that he is just tall enough to ride alone under their rules, which was nice because then I could escort Sally. Had he been an inch shorter, I would have needed to quickly divide into two in order to let them ride.

Sally was initially excited as the carousel started up, but as it reached cruising speed, she got a little doubtful and wanted to be held. Nick loved his ride on a penguin.


Carousel ride over, we found Nick his tiger. We found the lion too, sort of. It was a hot day, and the lions were sensibly taking a nap in the shade behind a rock. All we could see was a bit of mane and a left flank. Venturing on, though, we less-sensible primates found our quarry:


It was time to meet Lyn and her parents for lunch. On the way out we stopped for photos at one last carousel animal. Sally found this one more to her liking.


All in all, it was quite a successful outing. We all had fun.

As we drove back to Grandma and Grandpa’s house, we sang the Peter, Paul, and Mary song that titles this post:

We’re going to the zoo, zoo, zoo.
How about you, you, you?
You can come too, too, too.
We’re going to the zoo, zoo, zoo!


Yesterday, after we finished our first blueberry picking, I decided to go up the street and take a look at Blue Jay Orchard.  The kids were already starting to get worn out, so this trip was really just to check the place out.

They are located in Hiram, Ohio.  They are off route 422 a couple of miles east of route 44.  From our house in Mayfield Heights, it would have been about 36 minutes.  Since we left from another farm, it was only about 15 minutes away.

I love the sign that you see from route 422 and the one near the entrance for the farm.


There’s a useful hours and time post with a phone number.  I had in my mind that they didn’t open until 10 AM, which is why we hadn’t visited there yet, but in fact, they open at 8 AM.  As we pulled in, we noticed that they have the bushes covered with netting to keep the birds out.  Apparently, blueberry patches can lose a significant yield to birds.  Since they don’t have a lot of acreage, they found it worth the money to invest in the netting.


Sally and Nick are really getting the hand of the process.  It’s nice for me that they understand picking and how fruits and vegetables are grown.  Yesterday, we picked in the back.  Turns out they have picking near the entrance and then also toward the back of their farm.  The signs were easy to navigate.


Here’s a photo of the proprietors, Lowell and Mary Evans.  They were very nice to us.  Lowell shared that they don’t spray the berries, but unfortunately have to spray the apples.  This was a tough year due to the hail and the apple crop isn’t fairing as well as they would like.  I’m not a blueberry plant connoisseur, but the blueberries looked quite plentiful to me.  After picking, we took our berries up to the barn to have them weighed and pay.  The barn is also their market.  Since the kids were in the car, I didn’t take any time to look around.


I love the back of the sign as you exit.  It was such a beautiful property.  Since we had already picked 7 pounds of berries earlier in the day, we just picked a few here.


We ended up with 0.9 pounds for $2.80.  This is only a couple of cups of berries.  Blueberries are $2.95 a pound.  There was a sign when we went to the barn that they had a 5 pound minimum, but I had no idea when we were picking.  I suspect most people have at least 5 pounds whenever they pick, so I doubt the minimum is a huge issue.  Lindsey said not to worry about it.  That was good, because it was not going to be practical for us to pick more.

We have some other farms to visit for blueberries before the season ends, but I suspect we’ll try this orchard out for apples in the fall.  I’m glad apple season is long, since there are so many farms to visit!

Blue Jay Orchard is located at 17909 Rapids Road, Hiram, OH 44234.  Phone: 440-834-4318.


Nick, Sally and I have picked 9 times so far.  We’ve visited 8 different farms.  Wintergreen Tree Farm is the first farm that we have repeated this summer.  We love blueberries and had an awesome plentiful picking experience on Tuesday, so we returned today.

Here are my favorite photos from today.  Nick and Sally are all ready to pick with their buckets (which are really temporary holding locations for a few berries that they eat).  The enthusiasm of picking wore off quickly and we made good use of our blanket once again.  They get lots of fresh air and I get serenaded while I pick berries.


Here’s Sally and Nick with the attendant Julie.  She already knows the kids.  Nick was concentrating on holding the bucket of berries and therefore was not looking at the camera.  7 pounds is heavy for a 3 year old.


We ended up picking 7.3 pounds of blueberries for $10.91.  They are $1.50 a pound.


Today was the 7th pick up for the Fresh Fork CSA.  It’s hard to believe we’re 1/3 through the season already.  As far as CSAs go, we’ve been receiving many familiar and easy to use items this year.  Here’s the list of what we were expecting today.

Small CSA:

  • 1 lb green beans
  • 1 bunch cilantro (last week we substituted green onions, this week it will be cilantro)
  • 2 ct zucchini
  • 2 ct squash
  • 1 whole pasture raised chicken
  • 1 head leaf lettuce
  • 1 pint blueberries
  • Approx 1.5 lbs cling peaches
  • Approx 1.5 lbs slicing tomatoes

Here’s what we received:






There was a problem with the chicken order this week.  Apparently, they don’t fair well with thunderstorms.  One of the farms lost a bunch of them this week.  So, we had the option of a whole chicken or a roast.  We had a chicken thawing in the fridge already, so we opted for the roast.  Also, last week, we were shorted our zucchini, so we have 4 this week to make up for it.

The pint of blueberries seems really small to us.  Lately, we’ve been picking them by the quart or even gallon.  Everyone in our house loves blueberries, so these will probably make it until breakfast tomorrow before they are gone.

I read a recipe for zucchini pizza dough the other day. I’m going to try it out this weekend. I’ll write it up if it turns out well.

We picked up a container of local cream cheese while we were at the truck.  I don’t know how much it is, but I’ll let you know when I pay for it next week.  It was offered as part of the large package this week and will be for sale regularly when we pick up.  Robert wasn’t sure of the price, so we’ll settle up next week.



I was heading south on route 8 today as I traveled from Mayfield Heights to Akron.  When I approached Hudson and the Clarion Hotel, I noticed a few historical ambulances.  After I finished up in Akron and headed back north, I decided to exit at Hines Hill Road and check it out.

Turns out, this week is the Professional Car Society International Meet in Hudson.  Who knew that such a society existed?

The hotel parking lot is where the cars are displayed.  It’s at the intersection of Hines Hill Road and Route 8.


There were many ambulances along with some combo hearse/ambulances.


Elmo and Grey Poupon mustard were both highlighted in this one.  There was a whole row of hearses.




Vehicles are still arriving and will all arrive by Saturday for the official meet.  A schedule of the events, includes a drive in as well as a lights and sirens show.  If you are in the area, it’s worth stopping by this week.  About 120 vehicles are expected for the peak on Saturday.


The weather was great today.  The kids and I headed to the J for a quick workout.  I ended up doing 20 minutes on the bike and then triceps, biceps, and abs.  After the J, we headed to a friend’s house to play.


I think it’s always more fun to play at someone else’s house.

Later in the day, my mom was released from the hospital.  She is doing well.  The flowers were from her brother and sister in law who live in Florida.  My cousin is still in ICU, but we expect her to move to a regular floor soon.


On the way home, I ran across a car show.


Today was our 5th pick up for the Geauga Family Farms CSA.  I think we have entered the heart of the growing season.  Based on what we received today, it looks like the crops are doing well despite such a wet spring.

Here’s what we received in our family share (not pictured are raspberries):


Let’s take a closer look.

Red raspberries, green leaf lettuce


Red leaf lettuce, large onion


Yellow squash, zucchini


Tomatoes, broccoli


Pickling cucumbers, beets


Green onions, kohlrabi


Potatoes, sugar snap peas




This looks like a pretty easy week to use everything.  I may freeze the onions, but I suspect everything else will be used as we prepare meals this week.


Today, we had GREAT blueberry picking at Wintergreen Tree Farm in Mantua.  It took us about 40 minutes to get there from Mayfield Heights.  They are located near route 44, south of 422.

We saw a couple of Pick your own signs along our route.  They made it easy to find the location without driving past.  This U-Pick farm is low key.  There is one attendant who works out of a large shed type of building. We were greeted by Julie.  This is her family’s farm, so she has worked here a long time. She was very friendly and especially nice to the kids.


The parking lot was very close to the road.  So, truck entertainment was enjoyed by Sally and Nick.


The kids start out picking.  They are usually excited to pick when we first arrive.


There were so many blueberries on the bushes.  I think I only picked at 4 large bushes.  That’s 2 pounds per bush!  They were huge bushes.


The kids got bored early, so we got the blanket out of the car.  They sang “row row row your boat” complete with clapping at the end of the song.  Nick makes up verses just like me so it’s extra fun to hear him sing.


Julie took a photo of us when we finished.  I’m wearing a 32 oz. yogurt container with string around my neck to allow for 2 handed picking.  It worked great.  Whenever it started to get full or the kids needed something, I dumped the berries into the larger (provided) bucket.  When we were done, Julie weighed our berries which we took home in a large plastic bag.  Then, I put them into containers.  We froze the 3 containers on the right, I made a blueberry pie and we left some in the fridge for snacking and blueberry muffins.


We ended up picking 8.08 pounds of berries.  Our total was $12.12.  They are $1.50 per pound.  For reference, there is about one and a half pounds to a quart of blueberries.  So far this summer, we have done U-Pick 8 times without repeating a farm.  Since blueberries are my favorite, I think we’ll be going back to Wintergreen Tree Farm a couple of more times while we can get good picking.

Wintergreen Tree Farm is located at 3898 Winchell Rd, Mantua, OH 44255.  Their phone number is (330) 221-3835.


I spent the day at Akron City Hospital.  My mom and my cousin both had surgery.

My mom’s surgery was 5 hours long and then we had to wait 2 hours to see her.  She’s doing fine and should go home on Wednesday.

My cousin has been in ICU since Wednesday when she gave birth to a premature baby and encountered some unexpected problems.  Today, was her 4th surgery.  She was able to hold her baby for the first time today.  We are praying that she recovers quickly and doesn’t need more surgery.  The baby is doing fine and that’s quite a blessing.

We spent most of the day walking from the Same Day Surgery waiting room to the ICU waiting area and back.  I should have worn my pedometer, because lots of steps were involved.

next up: more blueberry picking in the morning


 Posted by at 9:43 PM