When I was pregnant with Nick, my mother in law gave me this vase as part of my shower gift.  You can’t really tell from the photo, but it’s about 4 inches tall and designed specifically for holding small flowers like dandelions that a small child might pick for their mom.  Yesterday, when we were walking home from the park, Nick picked some “flowers” for me.  I knew just what to do with them.  This vase is now on my window sill by the kitchen window.  It makes me smile every time I look at it.  It was one of the most perfect baby shower gifts ever, even though it took 3+ years before it was used.

 Posted by at 1:36 PM  Tagged with:

Last week, we took a vacation from our Fresh Fork CSA.  There is a generous vacation plan.  In a nutshell, you can miss up to 4 weeks as long as you give advance notice.  When you return, you can double up a week or place a la carte orders for the dollar value.

Here’s what we would have received last week:

Small CSA:

  • 1 lb mild Italian sausage, ground
  • 8 oz grassfed Gouda cheese from Mayfield Road Creamery
  • 1 bunch of leeks
  • 1 pint cherry tomatoes
  • Approx a quart of hot hungarian peppers (6-8)
  • 2 Patty Pan Squash
  • 1.5 lbs slicing tomatoes
  • 1 pint blueberries
  • 1.5 lb peaches

In my opinion, it wasn’t a bad week to miss.  We love the sausage and cheese, but can easily get that on a special order or buy it from the back of the truck.  This time of year, we get tons of tomatoes, and our freezer is well stocked with blueberries.  I picked up some local peaches at Whole Foods over the weekend.  I have a hard time using hot peppers.  I’ve successfully used leeks before, but I’m fine without them.  I really liked the Patty Pan squash a couple of weeks ago.  It made the best veggie lasagna.

Now for this week:

Small CSA:

  • 1 4-oz. package goat chevre cheese from Lucky Penny Farm
  • 1 watermelon or 1 pint of blackberries
  • 6 ears corn
  • 1 pint heirloom cherry tomatoes (multi-color)
  • 2 ct. zucchini (dark green, light green, or golden…we have a good mix this week)
  • 2 ct. yellow summer squash
  • Approx. 1.5 lbs red slicing tomatoes
  • Quarter-lb. basil
  • 2 green bell peppers
  • 1 large black opal eggplant
  • 1 large candy onion

Here’s a group shot:


We bought 3 watermelons on sale this past Sunday.  We also got a watermelon on Tuesday in our CSA pick up.  We’ve eaten almost 2 watermelons so far.  We may end up freezing some for a watermelon frosty or two.


I think I’m going to use the tomatoes (along with the ones from Tuesday) and make some sauce to use in some eggplant/squash lasagna.  I think we have everything we need except cottage cheese.


I love the color on the golden zucchini.  I’m not sure I’ve ever had this variety.  I’m excited to try it.


I saw a recipe for corn fritters this week.  I think I’m going to combine that idea with my squash fritter recipe for a new fritter this week.


I’m sure the Cheve cheese will be tasty.  We enjoyed the corn for dinner.


Usually, I end up freezing herbs like basil.  But, this week I wished I had some fresh more than once.  I currently have it in water on our kitchen table and I’m hoping it lasts for Peach Vinaigrette salad dressing and Lemon Basil Egg Salad.  I’m hoping to make both this week.


Due to more company next week, we have week 12 as a vacation day.  Then, I need to figure out the best way to spend our credits.  They are worth the full value for 4 weeks.

Meanwhile, our fridge is well stocked and we have plenty of watermelon!


Yesterday, we traveled back to Rainbow Farms.  Last time we were there, we picked currants, but this time it was for blackberries.

It rained off and on during our 45 minute trip to Madison, but we were greeted with blue skies when we arrived.  We were told that they were pretty picked over from Monday, but Tina let us go out and see what we could find.  We had met our friends there.  It’s always nice to have an extra adult around and it’s also nice when we are the only ones picking.  We don’t have to worry so much about the kids getting in the way of other pickers.


This photo of Sally says it all!


We ended up picking 5 pounds of blackberries.  I thought that was pretty good considering that they were pretty picked out when we started.  They are $3.25 a pound and I ended up paying $14.90.  The math is slightly off due to my container credit.  If you bring your own containers, they weigh them and don’t charge you for that part.  If you use their containers, you end up paying $3.25 a pound for them.  We picked up another dozen corn while we were there ($5).


I was intrigued by the melons.  We bought one passport melon for $2.50 and 2 personal size orange melons ($3 for the two).  The passport one is a cross between a honeydew and a cantaloupe.  We haven’t tried the orange melon yet.  So, I ended up spending $25.40 total.


We’re looking forward to returning next week for peppers and tomatoes.


Today was the 9th pick up for the Geauga Family Farms CSA.  It’s hard to believe that we are almost half way through the season.  Today’s bounty was heavy!  The season’s first watermelons have arrived.

Here’s a group photo of what we received:


Let’s take a closer look.

Cherry tomatoes, slicing tomatoes


Peaches, beets


Green peppers, hot peppers


Eggplant, yellow squash


Cucumber, lettuce


Lettuce, yellow wax beans


Parsley, watermelon


I think we have entered my favorite part of the season.  I love melons!  I was glad to see lettuce since we were almost out.  I’ve put my parsley in water.  I think some parsley potatoes or salad dressing may be in order.  The squash, cucumber and peppers will probably go into a wheat or rye berry cold salad for dinner tomorrow night.  We eat at Wade Oval near the Cleveland Museum of Natural History and it’s challenging to make cold CSA food.  I’m getting better as the season progresses.

I’m going to remove the skins from the peaches, slice and freeze them for oatmeal.  One of my favorite ways to have oatmeal is with peaches.  I’ll be sure to save a couple of peaches for Thursday.  I’m expecting basil in my CSA pick on Thursday and I want to try my version of this dressing recipe from The Chubby Cook. I’m going to make the same recipe, but use an extra peach.  I sampled it at Whole Foods on Sunday and it was tasty.

I haven’t found any great ways to use hot peppers since I don’t care for spicy dishes and I like the kids to be able to eat anything that I prepare.  Usually, they get chopped and frozen and I use them sparingly as I make taco meat, pulled pork and chili throughout the winter.

I usually make Harvard beets whenever we get beets.  At dinner tonight, my son was content to eat beets and watermelon for dinner.  That made me very happy!

All in all, it should be a great week!


We had company all weekend.  Stephen’s parents and brother arrived from Dover, DE Friday evening.  They stayed with us and left this morning to head home.  We had a jam packed weekend.  Nick and Sally had the best time since they had undivided attention from Grandma and Grandpa most of the weekend.

Hale Farm, a farmer’s market, Trader Joes, Whole Foods to see The Chubby Cook make salad dressing, Hoggy’s for dinner and general play time around the house filled up the weekend.

Today, we had a normal day by heading to the J.  I did 25 minutes on the E Spinner and 20 minutes on the elliptical.  After the cardio, I did chest press, fly, triceps dips and bicep curls.  It was a good workout followed by a long uninterrupted shower.  With 7 people sharing 2 bathrooms over the weekend, it was nice to enjoy my shower today.

We came home and had lunch, naps and dinner with play time mixed in.  With a couple of loads of laundry this evening, we’ll be all caught up.  It’s so much easier to get caught up from a weekend with company compared to a weekend when we travel away with the kids.

I’m planning to go to bed early today.  We have blackberries to pick in the morning.

 Posted by at 7:05 PM  Tagged with:

Today, we once again visited the Countryside Farmers’ Market , which is held in Howe Meadow (Cuyahoga Valley National Park) on summer Saturdays. We had Stephen’s brother and parents in town and we were on our way to Hale Farm.  It seemed like a great place to stop.  It’s hard for me to turn down a market full of fresh and local items.


It’s so nice to look at the pristine produce displays.


There was music and dancing!


We bought local cheese – aged cheddar ($5), Munster ($5) and aged gouda ($6).


I stocked up on honey ($22).  So far, the honey from the Schmidt Family Farm in Medina is my favorite.  The first time we were at this market, they didn’t have any crystallized honey, but we were able to buy some this time.  She sold us the wholesale size in a mason jar ($10) with the stipulation that we bring her a jar!  We also picked up some honey on the comb ($10).  I asked Susan if we could come see the farm sometime.  She was definitely open to that.  I’ll be calling to schedule a visit.  I’m very interested in the honey process and I am sure that Nick would enjoy seeing it as well.  We had plans to grill local chicken brats for dinner and picked up some sweet corn to go along with it.  I was glad that it was $5 for a baker’s dozen.


The item below is called a Kabocha (Japanese pumpkin).  I’m always game to pick up something new at the market.  It’s a squash.  It was $5 and it’s about the size of a pie pumpkin.


Our guests bought a couple of items to take back to Delaware for friends and everyone had a great time.


Today, we headed to Hale Farm and Village.  We had purchased a Western Reserve Historical Society membership when they had a Groupon back in February.  I knew we wanted to go to Hale Farm at least once and the membership also gets us into the museum at Wade Oval.

We had a group of 7 since Stephen’s brother and parents are in town.  Since they have a seven passenger van, we traveled together.  That worked out well.

Here’s the entrance to the complex and the admissions building.


We visited the Broom Squire first.  We watched the man make a broom.  He started out by giving Nick and Sally each a broom to sweep with.  It was nice that they had a toy.



Nick is enjoying maps of late.  He’s very inquisitive about where we are going.  We also visited the potter (who also was filling in as the glass blower today.)


Sally and Nick both enjoyed a break at a rocking chair in one of the buildings.


Here’s the glass blower in action and the brick layer mixing the materials with his feet!


Around noon, everyone was getting hungry, so we enjoyed a picnic before heading home for nap time.  I’m sure that Stephen, the kids and I will be back again this year.


I’ve recently started using my pedometer again.  As of 9 PM this evening, I’m at 11,193 steps for the day.  That includes my workout.

The kids and I went to the J this morning.  I completed 20 minutes on the E Spinner and 30 minutes on the elliptical.  It was a good cardio workout.

I also did some stretching, biceps, triceps and abs.

We spent the rest of the day running errands and preparing for Uncle Derek, Grandma and Grandpa.  They arrived this evening for a weekend visit from Dover, DE.

The kids were still up and enjoyed saying Hi before bed.

We have lots of family time planned for the weekend.

 Posted by at 9:11 PM

Today, we met friends at the new Splash Park in Lyndhurst.  It’s located on Brainard Road near just west of 271.  I had heard from our friends that it was $3 for residents and $4 for non-residents.  I was pleasantly surprised that I was only charged $4.  It turns out that kids 3 and under are free with a paying adult.  So, for the rest of this season, I can take Nick and Sally for $4 total each time!  They are open 10 AM – 7 PM Monday through Saturday and 10 AM – 6 PM on Sunday.  Due to some construction delays, it didn’t open until July 10th, so it’s brand new!  There’s a small concession stand which we did not visit, but you are also allowed to bring food in and enjoy in designated areas.

We arrived just a few minutes after they opened and Nick and Sally were excited.  Nick immediately got wet and it took Sally a few minutes to warm up to the water.  It was warm and cloudy which was perfect weather.  The sun peeked out a few times too.

Here are a couple of wide shots so you can get the idea of what it’s like.


Nick really liked the slides.  He had a little trouble following the feet first rule, but after a time out, that was much better.  He also spent lots of time running around.


Sally walked up the stairs (and back down) 4 times before she let me hold her hand to sit down and use the slide.  She needed my hand another 4 times before she started going down by herself.  After the first solo trip, she went down many more times.  Eventually, she moved to the bigger green slide.  Both of the slides have water going down them.  It’s enough to make it slippery, but not too much.  Eventually, she was soaked and exhausted.


Sally sat with me for a few minutes and then Nick came up and told me he was ready to go home.  I’m hope that leaving will be that easy every time!  Both kids took 4 hour naps today.  Water play is great for wearing them out.


No formal workout today, but I’m at 9325 steps.  I ended yesterday at 12,306!


oatmeal (cooked!) with peanut butter, peaches, cinnamon, raisins
veggie lasagna
Afternoon Snack
mashed potatoes
Late Snack
toast with peanut butter
 Posted by at 8:56 PM