A couple of weeks ago, I was reading this post by Money Saving Mom.  She detailed putting together felt patterns for making snowflakes.  I took that idea and made paper snowflake parts for Nick.  Then, I gave him a snowflake to use as a guide for the pattern.  Since he’s still getting used to gluing, so this was right up his alley.


I forgot to have him put his glasses on before we started.


My hexagons were a bit big for the size of paper.  I cut it down a bit for the others.


He ended up making 3 different snowflakes and loved it.  I can’t wait for him to be able to cut.  Then, he’ll be able to cut out the pieces and glue them!  He’s already asked when he can make more snowflakes.  We’ll be doing this again soon.


The kids and Stephen went up to St. Noel’s today to pick up week 5 of our Geauga Family Farms CSA.  Next week is the last pickup for the winter share.  Today’s pickup was particularly great.

Here’s a group shot of what we received:


Let’s take a closer look:

Butternut squash, sweet potatoes


Eggs (Yeah!), garlic


Broccoli, carrots


Red cabbage, beets


Two kinds of lettuce


Wheat bread


We have quite a few squash right now.  I will be baking most of them tomorrow and making squash puree for the freezer.  We also have quite a few sweet potatoes.  The kids really like the baked sweet potato slices, so we’ll be making them again soon.

Eggs we use in everyday cooking and they are always welcome.  We have quite a bit of garlic frozen, but this is our only fresh piece.  I’ll be putting it in chili this week.

The broccoli and carrots both went into Shepherd’s pie tonight.  It was delicious.  I used local butter, potatoes, ground beef, broccoli, cauliflower and carrots.

I don’t have any immediate plans for the cabbage, but something will come to me soon.  The beets will be combined with some others in the fridge for Harvard beets.

We had some of the lettuce in salad today and will probably use the rest in a day or two.  The wheat bread is almost 1/2 gone.  It made nice peanut butter and apple butter toast for snacks today.

I’ll be sad to see this CSA end next week.


I’ve decided that my kids watch too much TV.  It wasn’t on purpose, but over the last few months the amount of TV used to occupy them while I get ready in the morning, make dinner or take a break has been on the rise.

Last week, I decided that enough was enough and I have been making a conscious effort to have Nick and Sally do other things.  Crafty projects and games don’t come naturally to me and it’s extra challenging since Sally is two and Nick is almost 4.  They have very different abilities.

When I was making dish water (read: we don’t have a dishwasher),  the soap was extra sudsy and created a mound of bubbles.  Both Nick and Sally thought it was a hoot.  We had fun playing with it together.  Later, I gave Sally a spoonful of the suds.  She giggled and concentrated and had a blast.



Sometimes, it really is the little things.  With winter upon us, it’s good for me to figure out indoor activities that I can do with the kids.  It’s also good to have some table activities they can do on their own while I make dinner.  I hope to share about many of our activities to help remind or suggest things to other moms along the way.

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Today, we had a great Fresh Fork CSA pick up.  It was not busy when we arrived and we were in and out in a flash.  Robert even carried our stuff to the car.  Also, it was DRY!  There was an almost full moon and no precipitation.

Here’s what we were expecting this week:

  • 1 bunch bok choy (approx. 8 oz.)
  • 1 bunch leaf lettuce
  • 1 bag mixed braising greens, approx. 0.75 lb.
  • 3 count winter squash
  • 2 lbs. onions
  • 1 head broccoli
  • 1 head cauliflower
  • 1/2 lb. spinach or pak choy
  • 1 bag corn chips
  • 1 8-oz. wedge of Havarti or pepper Havarti from Mayfield Road Creamery
  • 3 lbs potatoes, Yukon gold or Red Norland
  • Approx. 3# beef roast (we’ll have an assortment available)

Here’s a group shot:


Both the ground beef and the roast were frozen, so I just popped them in the freezer.


I really like caramelized onions and haven’t made them in a while. I think I’ll be having them soon.  I’m also going to try a Shepard’s Pie with the potatoes.


We were supposed to get one head of cauliflower.  I’m guessing we have two due to the size.  They aren’t in the best shape, so I will be cooking them tomorrow.  The winter squash look nice.  We have an acorn, butternut and an orange Hubbard squash.


Bok choy has been being made Asian style for Stephen lately.  I’m not sure if we will try something different or not.


The lettuce will go into taco salad.  Fresh Fork posted a recipe on the braising greens.  I think we’ll try it out this week.  We get these weird mixed greens a lot during the winter.


These are two tiny heads of broccoli.  I’m sure they are tasty and will disappear quickly.  We had the return of the corn chips. We bought one extra bag ($3.5) not pictured.


This week’s share ended with local Harvarti cheese.  All of the cheese from Mayfield Creamery has been great and I’m sure this will be no exception.


As you may recall, we we short a few items from our Thanksgiving package a couple of weeks ago.  These items were delivered with our regular share today.


So, we have more of a few items and are glad to have apples back in stock.  I’ll probably be cooking/freezing the winter squash and pumpkin in the next day or two to have for recipes in the winter.

The holiday ham and other package order form came out today.  I’m not sure if we are going to order a ham this year.  I’ll need to check with my folks to figure out our menu for Christmas.

I’m off to put the rest of our share away and clean the kitchen from dinner.


Today, we headed back to the gardens for another look at the WinterShow.  We met up with some friends and enjoyed out morning.

First, we headed to the glasshouse and looked at the creatures.  I enjoyed watching this turtle eat breakfast which consisted of a veggie and fruit salad.  It looked delicious.


We saw butterflies and birds.  The kids enjoyed the telescopes.  They even got to practice taking turns.  Sharing is rough when you are 4.


Sally really enjoyed the shop again.  Nick even helped her scan.  I like that she thinks the microphone is an ear piece.



One of our friends really enjoyed these cupcakes today.  Sally liked them so much on our last visit, that we bought a set for a Christmas gift.


At some point the kids decided that it was fun to sit under the tables.  They got a bit crazy and it was definitely time for lunch.  I really liked the use of M&Ms on this house.  I feel like I see new houses every visit.


We had a planned lunch at their café.  They have a simple menu plus some deli premade things.  We enjoyed some chili and grilled cheese.  It was a nice way to end our visit.

Nick had a temper tantrum as we were leaving.  He’s been a handful lately.  Today, as we left to walk to our car he decided to walk past the ice rink instead of the birds.  I always let them pick the direction we travel around Wade Oval.  When we got to the crosswalk, he had a fit about not seeing the birds.  He’s not happy with being told no.  It’s hard teach a 4 year old about choices and consequences, but we’ll keep trying.  I was happy that both kids stayed awake on the way home and then took 2+ hour naps.  They both needed one and I needed a break.


The Cleveland Chapter of the Ohio Blogging Association had a Holiday Party and Cookie Exchange last night.

Here’s Crystal from Eat*Drink*Cleveland, me and Julie from Wearing Mascara sporting our holiday hats.


There were lots of snacks and drinks to enjoy while we mingled.  This is only one of the tables of items to choose from.


There were so many cookies and treats for the exchange, that I needed two shots to capture them all.



Everyone left with a container full of mixed treats.

Alicia from Poise In Parma did an awesome job coordinating the event.  You can check out her post to see the list of attendees. Thanks to Crystal and Mark for hosting us.

The OBA group started having month meet ups back in January.  I attended my first one in the spring.  It’s a great welcoming group and we have a ton of fun.


Today was an awesome day!  I completed my first full spin class since my second knee injury.  For the last couple of weeks, I’ve been doing 1/2 of the class.

I was hoping that my knee would be pain free today and it was.  I didn’t feel like I needed ice or a nap when I was done.  WIN WIN!  As usual, I’m careful with the standing positions and still go at my own pace, but it’s so motivating to spin in Beth’s class.

Tonight, it feels a tad tight, but I’ll take it.

I’ve had some other good workouts lately, but nothing makes me sweat like a full hour of spinning.

I love planning my Monday’s around spin class and can’t wait until next week.


Whenever we decorated the tree or opened presents growing up, we listened to Alabama Christmas.  Specially, we liked the song “Thistlehair the Christmas Bear”.  Even today, we always play this at our family’s holiday gathering.  So, we played it this week as we set up our tree.

It really was a week long project.  One night Stephen made room and rearranged the entertainment center gate.


Another day, he put the tree together.  Another day, he put colored lights on the tree.  One night was spent debugging them.  We ended up with the white lights this year.


The kids are super excited!


Finally, they got to help decorate.


I handed them ornaments and untangled hooks.  Their hanging job was pretty good.


Here’s the finished product.  My grandmother made the angel for the top.  My mom always hung red bows on our tree growing up.


We’re excited for the holidays this year.  Our calendar is filled with fun events and we’ll be keeping busy.


Today was the 4th pick up for the winter Geauga Family Farms CSA.  Stephen took the kids for the pick up while I made a quick Kohl’s trip.  We met up back at home where I quickly photographed before we headed to the Cleveland Museum of Natural History.  Ironically, I had a class about sustainable eating and supporting the local food movement!

Here’s a group shot of what we received:


Let’s take a closer look:

Leaf lettuce, apples


Loaf of pumpkin bread, potatoes


Butternut squash, red leaf lettuce


Bok choy, collard greens




Aside for some mandarin oranges from yesterday’s Whole Food sale, a few potatoes and a couple of onions,  we were out of everything fresh.  So, today’s pick up was welcome in our fridge.

Both of the lettuces will go into salad.  I’m thinking of using some leftover chorizo and beans and making some type of Mexican inspired salad.  The apples will go into oatmeal.  When we have apples available, we use them in our oatmeal.  The rest of the time we use frozen or home-canned fruit.

Half of the pumpkin bread is already gone.  It’s extremely good.  We’ll have the potatoes as part of dinner one night this week.  Since butternut squash is one that can be peeled, I’ll probably roast it in chunks with cinnamon, pepper and olive oil.

I’ve been making Asian bok choy for Stephen with garlic and sesame oil.  He seems to like it and it gives him an Asian dish.  Sesame is not really my thing.

I haven’t decided on a collards dish yet.  We’ve tried several.  It’s still hit or miss on whether we like the end product.  Clearly, I need a consistent go to recipe for them.

We haven’t made Harvard beets lately, so I’ll be making them this week.

Originally, we were supposed to get eggs each week.  They have new chickens and the production has not been as anticipated.  I was surprised that we didn’t get them this week since we didn’t have a pick up last week.  But, I have more than a dozen left from our other CSA, so we aren’t out yet.

We also placed an add on order for a half gallon of local maple syrup ($25).  I’ve been reading up on making maple coated pecans and some eggnog type of beverages that used maple instead of sugar, so I thought we should stock up.  It’s hard to believe that new maple syrup will be available in less than 4 months.


It’s nice to be stocked back up on fresh items.  It’s hard to believe that there is only 2 weeks left of this short winter CSA.


On Thursday, we headed back to the Cleveland Botanical Gardens with more friends.  This first photo is the grand tree in the lobby.  It’s super tall.


Clark Hall has an entire display of trees that are sponsored by the affiliate garden clubs.  This year all of the trees are themed based on children’s books.  The snowman tree is my favorite.  I don’t quite understand a Hanukkah tree!?  There was story time at 11AM in the library.  One of the books was about red mittens.  It ended with a craft to make a pair of red mittens out of paper, yarn and cotton balls.


We took a look at more gingerbread houses and collected some more ideas for making our own.


We played in the spice shop.


Sally and the little boy really enjoyed the carpet where story time was held.  Throughout the building, there were tons of beautiful poinsettias.  I may make a stamp out of this photo.  A couple of years ago, I bought some photo stamp kits on clearance.  I paid less than the value of the stamps at that time.  It turns out they are good for the current first class postage.  This year, we’ll be printing our own photos for stamps instead of buying the current holiday stamp at the post office.  It’s nice to have something that is appreciating in value.


It looks like we have one or two more trips to the WinterShow before it ends at the end of the month.