Grandpa passed away on Monday.  We’ve spent the week crying, laughing, remembering and celebrating his life.  There are so many memories of this week.  I thought I’d make a list of the ones that come to mind, but I’m sure I won’t remember everything.

  • “Hi Linnie!, Thanks for coming.”  These are the last words that Grandpa ever said to me.  I was glad that I was able to see him while he still knew me.
  • Stephen, Nick and Sally had a great visit with Grandpa on January 1st.  It was a totally normal visit with the Browns game on the television and the sound to the game on the radio.  He made sure that we had a bit of pork and sauerkraut while we were there.
  • Watching my Grandma say goodbye after 65 years of marriage was the single hardest thing that I ever have done.
  • Grandpa was able to die in peace, at home, surrounded by family.  There was a full house at the time of his death.  That was fitting since Grandpa loved to gamble.
  • All 8 of his children and their spouses were able to be in town most of the week.  Most of the grandchildren and great-grandchildren were also in town.  We had family come from Florida, Maryland, California, Michigan, Washington, North Carolina and ITALY!
  • Uncle Mike used the “Spirit App” on his iPad to share a glimpse of heaven with us at the funeral home.
  • I played taps at the cemetary.  It was frigid.  It was an honor.
  • Much of the week was spent looking at photos and creating photo displays for display at the funeral home and luncheon.  There were 12 boards total.


  • At one point there were 6 computers, a Nook, a tablet and several phones connected to G&G’s WiFi network.  I think it overloaded.
  • We took Nick and Sally to the funeral home for a small bit of the calling hours.  It was their first experience with death.
  • Nick got croup and spent several hours in the ER Monday night.
  • Nick got an early birthday present from his aunt and uncle.  It’s a baseball and glove.


Grandpa was known for making bow-ties out of crisp dollar bills.  My sister showed up at the funeral home with hers and my Grandma thought it was great.  She went and got a box that contained a bunch that Grandpa had made.  Within a few minutes, we were all wearing them at the calling hours.  It was a great tribute.  Many people who came in to see the family knew exactly what they were for.


He’d give you a dollar so you’d never be broke.  We’re all rich and blessed since we knew him.  Love you Grandpa!

 Posted by at 7:58 PM

I signed up for the Biggest Loser contest at our gym again this year.  There’s a discount on personal training packages if you participate in the contest, so it was a no-brainer.  I was planning on attending all of the workouts, but needed to miss the first one due to Grandpa’s death.

My friend offered to guest post by giving  me her thoughts.  In addition, the  J sent out a copy of the workout, but I haven’t had a chance to review it in detail.

Biggest Loser workout numero uno

Hey gang! It is your resident vegan blogger come to bring you the first Biggest loser workout. I thought it was a big loser, but that is due to the fact that there were too many people in the gym, the trainers did not all yell loud enough to be heard over the basketball being played.  I was able to slack off if I wanted to since the group was so large (seriously, I need someone riding my butt if I’m going to get a really great workout. Although Rich did come around and pick on me bunches. Especially during the hard-for-me stuff. Thanks Rich). They were great about offering modifications for everything but that meant that some people just did the modification because it was easier (I know at least one person who did at least, ahem hubby).

The breakdown:
Five minutes of warm ups: walking/jogging around the gym and some shuffling.

It was hard for me to slow my pace enough as there were  fifty people trying to circle the gym together, but it was a good reminder that warming up is a good idea.

Fifteen minutes of fifteen exercises:
We did each exercise for 30 seconds and then repeated the circuit.
Some were harder than others. I recall cherry pickers, twist jumps, grapevines, jumping jacks,  heel kicks, butt kicks, basketball jumps and flip jumps as well as plank walks. I’ll be honest, the others ellude me right now.

Arms and legs:
They split us up into groups of twenty five and each group did fifteen minutes of arms or legs and then we switched. For arms we did pushups on the BOSU, oblique twists, lifts with the BOSU, presses with the BOSU, bicep curls with a band, and more jumping jacks. For legs there were squats, jumping jacks, split leg squats, and plie squats.

I skipped the cooldown as my kids were watching me over the partition and just wanted to go home.

For a first workout it was not bad. (I was expecting worse based on last year’s first workout). I’m not sure I should have missed my beloved 20/20/20 class for it, but I look forward to the workouts getting harder as they learn better what we are all capable of. Here’s hopin’ I hurt after next week’s workout.

Thanks for filling us in.  I’m excited for the pool workout this week.



 Posted by at 10:10 PM

Today, since I was in Akron spending time with family, Stephen and the kids picked up our Fresh Fork CSA.  Again, there wasn’t any rain, but there was lots of snow this week.  It sounds like the pick up was smooth.  Thanks to Stephen for taking the photos for this week.

Here’s what we were expecting this week:

  • 1 slab Berkshire spare ribs, approx. 2.5 lbs.
  • 1 pint homemade BBQ sauce
  • 1 lb. stew beef
  • 1 8-oz. portion mixed salad greens
  • 3 lbs. roasting potatoes
  • 2 lbs. organic spelt flour (substitute for your all purpose flour)
  • 2 lbs. organic sweet corn, frozen
  • 1 package Italian Sausage links, approx. 1.25 lbs.

Here’s a group shot:


We had some of this frozen corn at Thanksgiving time.  It was so tasty.  For now, this corn is in the freezer.  We’ll eat the greens in the next couple of days.  They look very fresh and tasty.


We put the ribs and sausage in the freezer also.  With my grandpa’s funeral this week, we aren’t eating many meals at home.


Eventually, we’ll use the stew meat in some stew.  The flour is easy to use in our everyday cooking.


This BBQ sauce was a hit this past summer.  We didn’t get it in our share, so I’m glad we have the opportunity to try it.  We were out of potatoes, so it will be easy to make a meal with this early next week.


Winter has arrived, so we have many shelf stable/freezer items this week.  I’m glad that it will be easy to use everything without any waste.  I plan to get back into the home eating cooking groove by Monday.


Here’s my part two of statistics from the past year of blogging.

Top three posts:
1. /2011/06/26/recipe-summer-squash-like-zucchini-fritters/
2. /2011/08/04/lyndhursts-brainard-road-splash-park/
3. /2011/06/11/recipe-chunky-tomato-béchamel-sauce/

At some point, I linked my zucchini fritter post to a popular blog.  I never expected so many hits on one post.  That day was my busiest for the blog.  The splash park was quite popular.  Last summer was the first season for the new park.  Then, there’s the standby of the béchamel sauce.  I wonder how many people actually made the recipe.

Top three category pages (by number of visits):
1. csa
2. recipe
3. u-pick

The top categories are from when people visit the blog and search based on a particular topic area.  It’s fun that my CSA and U-Pick topic areas have been so popular.  I’ve really been enjoying the eat local movement.  Getting to know local products and farms is fascinating.

2012 Plans

  • Continue U-Pick posts
  • Continue CSA Pick Up posts
  • Run series on joining and prepping for a CSA
  • Get back to exercise and weight loss posts
  • Continue to highlight adventures with Nick and Sally
  • Formalize more recipes (especially ones using local and real ingredients)
  • Continue to post everyday

Here’s to a great second year!

 Posted by at 10:39 PM

A year ago, I started this blog with help from my husband Stephen and lots of input from friends.  I’ve posted at least once a day ever since.  I’ve learned a lot about blogging since last January.  To commemorate today, I thought I’d share some statistics.

This blog had 6278 visits from 3130 unique visitors, who viewed 9799 pages.  When I started this blog, I never imagined that so many people would end up reading it.  I’ve also met some great folks along the way.

People from 64 countries visited the blog,  from every continent except Antarctica.  It’s cool that the web has such a great reach.  It makes it easy to stay in touch with friends and family all over the globe.

The blog had visitors from from 47 states and DC.  Most visits were from Ohio.  Delaware came in second.   I guess I need to meet some folks in New Mexico, South Dakota, and Wyoming.  My in laws live in Delaware, so that stat makes sense.  The blog is an easy way for them to keep up with Nick and Sally adventures.

Top five search terms:
1. life lyn style
2. brainard splash park
3. lifelynstyle
4. patterson fruit farm
5. tomato bechamel sauce

The number 1 and 3 search terms aren’t a surprise because many people I run into can remember the name of the blog, but not the exact url.  Brainard splash park doesn’t seem to have it’s own website.  When people are looking for information on it, my post comes up frequently.  Patterson Fruit Farm is very popular in the Cleveland area, so there’s not really any surprise there.

The search term that surprises me is the tomato béchamel sauce.  I loved this recipe and will definitely make it again this summer.  It was such an easy way to use CSA veggies and tasted great.  I still am amazed that so many people search for this type of recipe.

It’s been a great year.  I’ll be back tomorrow with a few more statistics and some thoughts on year 2.

 Posted by at 7:02 PM

I have been fortunate to have Grandpa living close by my whole life.  I have so many great memories.  Here’s a few photos that I wanted to share.

On my wedding day:


Hanging out at the house:


Visiting with Nick:


At one of his great-granddaughter’s baptism:


Visiting at my mom’s house:


Thanksgiving 2011 – Celebrating 65 years of marriage:


Enjoying the game:


Meeting Sally for the first time, Enjoying her at Christmas:


Teaching us to make bow tie dollar bills:


We are so blessed with so many awesome memories.  We’ll all miss you grandpa!

 Posted by at 3:18 PM

Hi, everyone. I’m back for another guest post. Today Nick and I had a fun morning skiing. We finally got enough snow for some cross-country skiing. Conditions were not perfect, but Lake Metroparks’ Chapin Forest Reservation was hopping as skiers released their pent-up urges to strap boards to their feet and have some fun. This was Nick’s second time, and he had a ball. He still shuffles in the skis. I haven’t persuaded him to glide yet. I did hear, though, all about how Curious George’s friend Bill said that skis were the most fun way to travel in deep snow. :-) I didn’t get any pictures, though several people told me how cute Nick looked on his skis.

One great thing about Chapin Forest, by the way, is that they rent kids’ skis for $3 for the first hour, prorated for rentals less than an hour! Nick lasted about 35 minutes today, so I paid all of $2. I am grateful to the Lake Metroparks for making it so affordable. There are no other costs, by the way — the ski trails are free.

Being out in the cold weather also makes this a great time to think about heart-warming foods. This one is a doozy — a fabulous recipe that I’m definitely going to make again. As Lyn may have mentioned, I’m making an effort to give her a break in the kitchen by cooking a meal once a week or so. It’s a little intimidating, but I’m forging ahead. I think I was a reasonably competent bachelor cook, but my bachelor days are long past and my skills are a bit rusty.

Anyway, enough of that. A few weeks ago, our Fresh Fork CSA brought us andouille sausage. Lyn wasn’t sure what it was, but I’ve had this spicy pork sausage from Cajun country before and enjoyed it. If you don’t have andouille handy, chorizo makes a pretty good substitute. Andouille is fatty and flavorful. It is usually used as a way to add flavor rather than as a prime ingredient. We also had several sweet potatoes and a fistful of shallots, all stored from earlier weeks’ CSA shares.

With a goal of using up what we had on hand, I found Five And Spice’s recipe for sweet potatoes and andouille online. It’s kind of like a roasted hash. It would make a good side dish, though we used it as a light entree.

If there’s one cooking technique I’ve learned from Lyn, it’s to use recipes for inspiration, not as laws. Here is my version of the dish:

  • 5 medium-to-large sweet potatoes
  • a handful of shallots
  • 1/2-3/4  pounds andouille sausage  (I used 1.3 pounds, but see below…)
  • some fresh baby spinach
  • 2-3 tablespoons olive oil
  • paprika, smoked or regular (optional, see below…)


  1. Peel the sweet potatoes. Remove all yucky parts. If they are late-season organic sweet potatoes, as ours were, you will definitely have some yucky parts to cut out. Cut the sweet potatoes into cubes about 1/4″ on a side.
  2. Peel and chop the shallots.
  3. Clean the spinach.
  4. Preheat oven to 425  °F.
  5. Put the andouille in a frying pan and sear it on all sides until a probe thermometer in the middle reads a safe temperature. I cooked ours to 160 °F. It coasted to above 165 °F after I took it off the heat, which was my target temperature for killing any little nasties that might be in it.
  6. Toss together the sweet potatoes and shallots with the olive oil. I forgot the paprika, but this is where you would include it if you have a better memory than me. Put them in a roasting dish. (I used a 9×13 oven-safe glass pan.)
  7. Roast the potatoes until they are starting to get tender, about 20-25 minutes. While the potatoes roast, let the andouille cool enough to handle, then break it up into 1/4″ pieces.
  8. Stir the andouille into the roasted potatoes. Roast until the potatoes are deliciously tender, about 5 more minutes.
  9. Remove from oven. Toss with the spinach, which will wilt.
  10. Serve hot.

The flavor of the andouille melts all over everything and makes a wonderful savory-sweet mix with just a touch of zing. The small pieces of sausage and potatoes let the full flavor emerge in every bite.

I have a few things I would do differently next time. First of all, I used the full 1.3 pounds of andouille that we had. If you are used to lots of meat in your dishes, you would probably love it, but we, chez Lyn Style, have been gradually growing accustomed to vegetable-centric meals. I will use less andouille next time, such as the 1/2 to 3/4 pound I suggested above. Second, I might try leaving out the olive oil. Between the oil and the sausage, it was a bit too oily for my taste.

[I wouldn’t use less andouille. I would double the sweet potatoes instead. – Lyn]

Don’t worry about it being too hot because of the sausage’s Cajun roots. Nick and Sally couldn’t get enough of the sausage. I doubt they would have liked it straight up, but the veggies tempered its heat nicely.

Enjoy the snow, and try some sweet potatoes and andouille. Until next time, this is husband Stephen, signing out.


Today, I finally made it to Lucky’s Café.  I had read about this restaurant in Tremont a few different time.  Last night, Kelly mentioned that she was heading there for brunch today with her sister, Kirsten.  I was happy to meet up with them.  Both of these ladies are Fresh Fork CSA customers, bloggers and into fitness.


Nick had a class at the Cleveland Museum of Natural History, so Stephen took him to class.  Sally got to come to brunch.  Kelly and Kirsten were on a quest to fuel for the Run for Regis Trail Fun Run tomorrow.  When you are going to run longer than 2 hours in the cold, snowy weather, you can eat whatever you want the day before the race.


I ordered a waffle and pecan crusted bacon.


Sally really wanted mac and cheese.  She ate about 1/3 of it and we took the rest home.  I also picked up a couple bags of Sweet Mosaic Granola.  The restaurant is pricey, but they source as many ingredients locally as possible.  They make much of the menu from scratch on site and it’s awesome.


Today’s brunch crew!


Everyone had a great time.  I’m looking forward to getting to know Kelly and Kirsten better.


A few days ago, I told you about Bendables.  Since then, they have acquired a new name.  Nick calls them Sticky Sticks.  Apparently, the gluey type of substance that helps them stick together is sticky.  He always calls them Sticky Sticks and always wants to wash his hands without being prompted after each use.

Nick hasn’t been napping much lately.  Instead, he comes down and asks for the container with the sticks.  He takes it up to his room and plays.  If he’s not going to nap, the next best thing is for him to play quietly.

Today, he wanted to play with them.  He was so excited to show me what he made.


It’s a bowling ball and a stick for bowling.  He puts the ball on the table and hits it with the stick.  He was not happy with his first prototype since the ball roll crookedly.


He kept adding pieces to the sides and was so excited when the ball rolled straight.  By the way, I’m sure the way the ball rolls is mostly due to the player of the game and not the engineering of the ball.  But, it was so fun to watch him at work designing!


It worked!


Sally was feeling left out on the photo opportunity.  She wanted a photo of her pretzels so everyone could see her snack.


I’m having a super productive day and with an hour left until bed, I’m off to work on my list.


I’ve debated sending Nick to preschool for some time.  Most schools won’t accept him yet because he’s not 100% potty trained.  I also don’t think it’s necessary for him to have 2+ years of preschool.  I think we have decided to send him for one year prior to starting elementary school.

I think that it’s good for him to go to the child care at the gym on a regular basis.  He gets to be with other kids (and adults) and I get to exercise.  The problem with babysitting is that they aren’t there to teach.

I think that Nick and Sally both learn tons from all of the activities that we do, but I also felt like I needed a list of things I was supposed to be teaching them.  Many times, I’m looking for activities to keep them busy (and away from the TV) and having a list is helpful to give me ideas.

One skill that is important to learn is cutting.  Nick received this activity set for Christmas.


The scissors that came with the kid are not very good at all.  I picked up a regular pair of kid’s scissors that I thought would be good for Nick.

Normally, we wouldn’t spend money on this type of kit since it’s very disposable, but this on sale at a good price.  Sometimes, I need to have something easy and handy for the kids.  This serves that purpose.


It’s also nice that Nick thinks it’s a cutting game and loves to get it out to play.


He’s just learning how to cut, so we started with the easy project, cutting straight lines to separate the strips.  Eventually, he’ll glue them together for a paper chain and move on to more difficult projects.

Now, how long will it be before he cuts Sally’s hair?