Today, we went to the Cleveland Botanical Gardens.  From now until the end of the year, they are featuring their annual WinterShow.  WinterShow to me means gingerbread houses and Christmas trees including a huge one in the lobby.

We met up with some friends.  It was our first outing with the twins.


Sally was so excited for the trees.  The twins looked adorable.  I can’t believe how big they are getting.


The gingerbread houses were great.  I hope to make one with Nick this year.  We collected lots of ideas.


This barn was really detailed.  I liked the one the garden.


The kids section was full of holiday oriented things.  There were jars of spices to smell and guess the item, a Claus Café complete with all of the makings of coffee and tea, and there was also a store for buying holiday spice items.  Ornaments for coloring and decorating the tree were also available.


At my friend’s request, I took some photos of her with the kids.  In my opinion, this one is the best.  Since she’s always the one taking photos, she doesn’t have many with her and the kids.  I was happy to oblige.


Around 11:30AM, my kids started getting really hungry.  It was time to go.  Sally couldn’t understand why she couldn’t eat the pretzels.


These two left me wondering where I could buy sugar cubes in bulk.  I think Nick would have a great time building with cubes and icing.


We were on our way out when this photo was taken.  The kids were hungry and tired.


We didn’t get to look at one section of houses and we breezed by the tree display.  It’s a good thing we have another outing planned for Thursday.


My knee is finally showing great improvements.  It still gets a bit swollen and tender after activity, but generally doesn’t bother me.  Next week on Monday, I am going to do a full spin class.  That will be the test.

With the holiday weekend, I didn’t go to the gym.  But, I tried to stay active.  On Thanksgiving, we had a morning hike as a family.  Later after dinner, my sister and I went on a walk.  Sunday, we walked a bit in the rain to go over the two suspension cable bridges that go over Grainger near Canal Road.  Nick’s wanted to see them up and close all summer and yesterday was the day.

Today, I did a set of weights along with 30 minutes on a stationary bike.

The next few weeks will be tough for workouts.  There are many activities planned throughout the month that involve food and not activity.

I’m planning on a solid 3 workouts a week and hoping that I can usually get 4.

For the rest of the week:

Tuesday: off from the J.

Wednesday: high intensity elliptical workout for 45 minutes.  I need to charge my ipod and load some new songs.

Thursday: off from the J.

Friday: eSpinner bike and weights.

Also, I’d like to implement a family walk most nights after dinner.  I’m not sure if that is realistic.  We’ll give it a try tomorrow.



 Posted by at 9:19 PM

Last Saturday, November 19th, the Cleveland Museum of Natural History had a welcome back Alice party for the return of the Allosaurus.  The Allosaurus was dismantled in 2008 so it could be rebuilt to reflect current dinosaur knowledge.  It was originally found in Utah in the 1960’s.  The museum had many special events to celebrate the day.  Nick, Sally and I had a great time.


We aren’t used to crowds at the museum.  I lost Sally twice during our first 10 minutes.  After that, we got really good at holding hands.  On Wednesday evening, it’s not necessary.

Our first stop was the registration table to fill out a drawing entry and pick up our Allosaurus trading card.  Then, it was off to hat making.


Sally and Nick both colored a hat template.


Nick declined a hat, but Sally loved it.


We signed up for the roaring contest.  While we waited for it to start, we played museum bingo.

Then, it was time to gather the participants and head up to the balcony for roaring.  Nick and Sally thought it was cool to be upstairs looking down at the dinosaurs.


After some time outside in the Perkins Wildlife area and other displays, it was time to head home.


I’m glad the kids enjoy the museum so much.  We definitely get our money’s worth out of our membership.


It was a beautiful day on Thursday.  We started out with a family hike.  We went to the duck pond at North Chagrin and walked the paved trail.  Somehow, we ended up off the pavement and in the mud!  Stephen had to carry Sally and then Nick a few times to avoid unhappily muddy kids.


We ended up at Buttermilk Falls and then took the paved multipurpose trail back to the car.


Our family Thanksgiving dinner was at 4PM in Munroe Falls.  We arrived just before dinner and found 2 of my uncles at the grill checking on 2 of the meats.  They also made good use of the grill burners.  Inside, Marty slices the pork loin.


Soup and salad is served and the rest of the dinner is buffet.


After dinner, my sister decided that the pie wasn’t worth the calories, but the whipped cream was.  Then, like mother, like daughter.


Grandma and Grandpa at their 65th wedding anniversary.  It’s been so awesome to live close to them my whole life.  My cousin Kristy got engaged Thanksgiving morning.  She’ll always have the memory of getting engaged on our grandparent’s 65th anniversday.  She was surprised with a black diamond ring, but I didn’t get a photo.


Toward the end of the night, we tried for a group shot of cousins and their kids.


It was a great day!

 Posted by at 8:13 PM

We spent the day with my family.  We started out with a 10:30AM showing of The Muppets.


We beat the rush and arrived to find an empty black Friday parking lot.  It wasn’t even that crazy by the time we left.


This was the “passing of the torch” as the new generation of cousins carried on with the tradition of a movie the day after Thanksgiving.  This is a tradition that I grew up.  Sally is still a bit young, but Nick enjoyed his first movie with 2 of his cousins.


He enjoyed popcorn, previews and the whole movie theatre experience.

After the movie, Stephen and Nick spent the afternoon at home.  I enjoyed Luigi’s with my siblings and some shopping with my sister.

Later, we met up at my parent’s house for Swenson’s and some pre-birthday cupcakes for Sally.  She even got a few gifts.

We ended the evening with a few rounds of Bananagrams before heading home.


Today, I am thankful for many things.   As we head to dinner with my family at Uncle Marty’s house, we will also celebrate the 65th wedding anniversary of my grandparents.  They were married on Thanksgiving morning.

Here’s a photo of them with Stephen and I taken at our wedding September 16, 2006.

I’m so happy to share this day with them and many other family members.


Happy Thanksgiving!

 Posted by at 8:33 AM

While I picked up my regular share yesterday, I also picked up a Thanksgiving package from my Fresh Fork CSA.  There were 3 to pick from and I choose package number 1.  I debated whether to get a package since we don’t usually cook Thanksgiving dinner.  We go to my uncle’s house.  I discussed it with my husband and we decided to try it out.  Let’s just say we will be eating well for a couple of weeks.

Here’s a group shot of what we received.  It was hard to get everything in one photo!


We were expecting the following:

Package 1 Contents:

  • Tom Turkey
  • Apple Pie
  • Sweet Potato Pie
  • Beets
  • Carrots
  • Candy Onions
  • Sweet Potatoes
  • Red Norland Potatoes
  • Shallots
  • Garlic
  • Dinner Rolls
  • Turnips
  • Cauliflower
  • Lettuce
  • Bread for Stuffing
  • Eggs
  • Winter Squash Mix
  • Cornmeal
  • Pie Pumpkin
  • Frozen Ohio Sweet Corn
  • Bacon
  • Braising Greens
  • Apple Cider
  • Apples
  • White Spelt Flour

Let’s take a closer look.

The pies look awesome.  The apple pie is made with Ohio apples and came from Humble Pie Baking.  It came with instructions for a little bit of additional baking time before serving.  We are taking it with us to my uncle’s house.  The sweet potato pie came from Lucky’s Café.  We didn’t need the pie at my uncle’s house and I didn’t need a whole pie here.  So, I sent it to work with my husband this morning sans a piece.  The kids and I shared a piece with lunch.  It is one of the best pies that I ever tasted!  I’m extra glad that it went to work with my husband today.


We hardly ever by grocery store eggs.  The farm fresh ones are so good.  We also like knowing where they came from.  We were almost out of eggs until our delivery.  We’ll use some in our waffles this weekend, my sweet potatoes for tomorrow, hard boil some and use some for regular everyday cooking.  The frozen corn is a new item.  This corn was frozen this summer when it was in season.  I just popped it in our freezer.  We probably won’t try it for a week or two as we make our way through our fresh items.


The bacon is always great.  I just put it in the freezer.  We’ll use some with our stuffing recipe and some with our greens.  If there is any left, we’ll crumble it on our salad.  We were out of apples and already have eaten some on our oatmeal for breakfast.  These won’t last long in our house.


We received whole wheat flour instead of spelt.  Either is fine with us.  We use almost all whole wheat flour in our house, so the change was welcome.   We tried a couple of rolls with dinner last night.  They were very tasty and buttery.  We put the rest in the freezer.  My kids love bread and these will be easy to give them with lunches.


Winter squash is one of my favorite foods.  It’s so versatile and delicious.  These should store well and are not on my immediate radar to use up.  This bread looks great.  It’s intended for stuffing, but I have a feeling it may become French toast or squash inspired bread pudding instead.  For now, it’s in the freezer.


The lettuce is super fresh.  Some went to work for my husband’s lunch.  The rest will probably be served with dinner.  These heads of garlic are HUGE!  We are in garlic overload this year.  I’m not sure why we have so much, but if I can’t get it used soon, I’ll chop and freeze it.  I mostly just need to remember to put it into dishes.


I enjoy cooking with shallots.  They have a milder flavor than onions and compliment other flavors well.  For now, these are being stored in our basement.  Turnips will probably go into soup.  I don’t have a great go to recipe for them yet.


Our local, pasture raised turkey came to us fresh from Martha’s farm.  This bird weighed in at 22.8 pounds.  They were just processed on Monday.  Since we aren’t cooking Thanksgiving dinner and I’m interested in trying a turkey sausage recipe, we are freezing our bird in several pieces.  I’ll be making some of it for dinner tonight and we’ll get many meals out of this big bird.  The braising greens will get sautéed as a side in the next couple of days.


The corn meal is a great pantry item.  Nick loves corn muffins and we haven’t made them much lately.  They’ll be a great use for some of this corn meal, eggs and whole wheat flour.  The carrots look super fresh.  Everyone in our house likes carrots and we’re having them for dinner tonight.


Cauliflower is so easy for us to use.  Everyone likes it.  I usually do it plain, with a few seasoning or in a simple au gratin recipe.  With a head here and in our regular pickup, maybe we’ll have it three different ways this week.  With the beets, I’ll make a small batch of Harvard beets.


We’ll be having our fill of mashed sweet potato casserole tomorrow, so these will probably get baked into fries for lunch one day next week.  The kids love them with Ozark blend and cinnamon spices.


After I got home and sorted out all of our goodies,


I realized that we were missing or short on a few items.  We were missing onions, potatoes, pie pumpkin and apple cider.  We were short some apples and cornmeal.  A quick email to the great guys at Fresh Fork and they’ll remedy it at the next pickup.  I was given an option to pick it up at another site today, but I’m in no rush.  We have plenty to last us for a while.

Our pick up was not the best yesterday.  It was extra busy with the regular shares, holiday packages, turkeys, pies and LOTS OF RAIN.  We had to wait for a while, but everyone in line was chatting and taking it in stride.  Even the kids just liked running around in the rain.

The food always tastes amazing and the people who work the truck are super nice.  I already can’t wait to see what they offer for Christmas.  Berkshire ham anyone?


Today, we had a rough Fresh Fork CSA pickup.  It was extra busy because people were picking up Thanksgiving packages, regular shares, turkeys and a variety of other holiday items.  It was also raining!

Here’s what we were expecting this week:

  • 1 half gallon apple cider
  • 1 quarter peck of Mutsu apples (very large, tart apples)
  • 1 lb. nitrate free bacon
  • 1 dozen pasture raised chicken eggs
  • 1.5 lbs. white spelt flour
  • 1 large white stem bok choy
  • 1 bunch medium leeks
  • 1 bag, half lb., of young mustard green mix
  • 2 lbs. butter, salted or unsalted
  • 1 lb. pumpkin sage linguini
  • 1 head cabbage
  • 1 head cauliflower

Here’s a group shot:


We ate the pumpkin sage linguini for dinner tonight.  There’s one serving left and I’m hoping to have it for lunch tomorrow.  We’ve been out of fresh apples for oatmeal the last few days, so these are welcome.


I put the bacon in the freezer.  Soon, I’ll make a version of my uncle’s stuffing and it will use the bacon.  The spelt flour came as whole wheat.  This is fine with us since we use whole wheat flour all of the time.


I was happy to get unsalted butter this time.  We don’t usually buy salted butter.  I’m looking forward to trying it.  I never know what to do with leeks.  I’ll probably chop them up in an Asian stir fry for Stephen along with the bok choy.


We’ll have our standard sautéed greens with balsamic, garlic, salt and pepper with these greens.


Personally, apple cider is too sweet, but my husband and kids love it, so it’s always welcome.  Behind all of these leaves is a head of cauliflower.  Everyone in our house likes cauliflower, so it will go quickly.


Cabbage is used in the stuffing recipe that I’d like to make in the next few days.  I may freeze the cabbage by blanching it just to give me time to use some of our other items up.  We were almost out of eggs.  I need them for my sweet potato recipe and for waffles this weekend.



We got the granola that was owed to use from the last pickup and purchased some more yogurt ($10).

We also picked up a Thanksgiving package.  I’ll show it to you tomorrow!  It’s late and there are still dishes left in the kitchen.


As a part of today’s Ohio Blogging Association Cleveland November Blog Swap, I’m happy to introduce you to Danielle from Namaste Or Should I Go?  Today, bloggers from around Northeast Ohio are guest posting on one another’s blogs as a way to get to know others in our blogging community. For a full listing of blog swap participants, please visit Poise in Parma today.

Getting Started with Bikram Yoga

Hello Life Lyn Style readers! Allow me to introduce myself – my name is Danielle and I’m a teacher at Ohio’s first Bikram Yoga studio, Bikram Yoga Cleveland ( in Shaker Heights.

On blog swap day, Lyn suggested that I write about starting yoga, since it’s something she’s never done, due to fear of doing it wrong, weight trouble, knee issues, and so forth. Well never fear, LLS readers – I’m hear to tell you all about Bikram Yoga, how to get started, and why it’s the perfect form of yoga for beginners!

As Bikram Choudhury, the founder of Bikram Yoga, likes to say:

“You’re never too old, never too bad, never too late and never too sick to do the yoga and start from the scratch once again.”


Bikram Yoga Cleveland in Shaker Heights


We start, of course, with…What is Bikram Yoga?

Bikram Yoga is a sequence of 26 Hatha Yoga postures (and two breathing exercises) selected and developed by Bikram Choudhury.  These postures, performed in the same order each 90 minute class, systematically work every part of the body, to give all the internal organs, ligaments, and muscles everything they need to maintain optimum health and maximum function.

And yes, it’s hot in there; we heat the room to 105 degrees with 40% humidity.

Wait, what?  105 degrees?! And you’re saying this is GOOD for beginners? Please explain.

Bikram likes to use the metaphor of forging a sword to explain the need for heat (I’m quoting from his “Bikram’s Beginning Yoga Class” book): “Suppose you are going to make a sword.  You start with a piece of fine steel and the first thing you do is put the steel in the fire and heat it up.  When the steel is hot, it becomes soft.  Then you can hammer it and slowly you make it change shape to the sword you want…now, if you don’t heat it up and start hammering the cold steel, nothing is going to happen to the steel, but you break your hand, the hammer, your arm.  The same thing happens when you do any exercise, even Hatha Yoga, in a cold environment.”

The heat makes you less likely to strain, to pull a muscle, to hurt yourself.  You’re more flexible and malleable, just like that fine piece of steel. For beginners, especially those with old injuries, scar tissue, tight muscles, etc that’s a fantastic way to stretch your body without aggravating it.

Also, when you exercise in a hot, humid room, you sweat.  You sweat a lot.  And that has such a wonderful, detoxifying effect on your whole body.  When you walk out of that room, and you’ve worked every muscle and joint in your body and sweated out every toxin, you will feel AMAZING.  There’s no high like a Bikram Yoga high, I promise you that!


Bikram Yoga Cleveland’s studio space


Won’t the class be full of skinny, bendy young people? I’m worried I’ll feel self-conscious about my weight/tummy/legs/<insert body issue here>.


Nope! The great thing about Bikram Yoga Cleveland is that because we’ve only just opened, we have a wonderful mix of beginners and advanced students alike. In every class you’ll see all shapes, sizes, and abilities. The heat and structure of the class make it easier to just focus on yourself and not worry about what people are doing, feeling, or wearing around you. Plus, Bikram Yoga is FANTASTIC not only for weight loss, but for building muscle and, especially, improving overall health. It can change your life!

And don’t worry if you can’t do all the postures right away – because every class is structured the same, you’ll feel more familiar with the poses and start seeing improvements in balance, strength and flexibility within only a week or two!

Besides, in Bikram Yoga it doesn’t matter how flexible you are, how close you can get to the full expression of the posture – as long as you’re doing it 100% the right way, you’re getting 100% of the benefit, regardless of how deep you can go, how long you can balance.  Bikram Yoga is for everyone!


Danielle in Half Moon Pose (in Napa Valley)


Okay, I admit it, I’m intrigued.  How do I learn more?

There’s lots of useful information on our website,   And stop by or call, we’re happy to answer any questions!  We’re located on Fairmount Circle by John Carroll University.  There’s plenty of free parking in the adjacent lot.

See you in the hot room!