Today, we had plans to go up to Wickliffe Lanes to bowl.  We usually just get a party lane.  For a flat rate ($35) on Sunday, you can have up to 6 bowlers on a lane and that includes shoes.  It’s easy and they are good at accommodating groups.  On Friday, when I called to reserve, I had to leave a message.  On Saturday, I didn’t hear from them so I called to follow up.  They didn’t have any lanes available.

So, instead, we found ourselves at Freeway Lanes.  Freeway Lanes was hosting a tournament this weekend, but was to have open bowling at 4PM.  At 4:45PM, we were finally able to get a lane.

It turned out to be a bit cheaper than Wickliffe.  $3 a person per game and $3.50 each for shoes.  The guy at the counter didn’t make the parents get shoes (even though we clearly were going to help the kids).  He also didn’t really have shoes small enough for 2 of the 4 kids, so he only charged us for 2 pairs.  Then, our friends had coupons for 2 free games.  For $13 the 4 kids bowled 6 frames.  Our kids don’t usually last much more than a game, but with the late start, everyone was getting crabby and hungry, so we left part way through the game.  It didn’t help that naps we pretty much non-existent today.

Another advantage of Freeway Lanes was the Bowling Ball Ramp that was available.  I think that most alleys have them available for handicapped bowlers, but they are also common for little kids.

In this photo of Nick, you can see him lining up the ball on the ramp.


Sally can just about bowl by herself with the help of the ramp.  Nick likes to watch the ball from the ramp view.


As a parent, I like the ramp because it makes the ball go much, much faster.  That means, the game also moves faster and the kids don’t get so bored between turns.  Some snacks help with the boredom factor, too.

After bowling, we headed to Red Robin for dinner.  It was packed.  We think there were more people out than normal due to the President’s Day Holiday tomorrow.

I’d definitely consider Freeway Lanes for our next bowling outing.


A friend from church picked up a box of 3 giant gingerbread cookies for us at an after Christmas sale.  It was so fun that she thought of us!

Nick was excited to try them out the other day.


Sally and Nick were even more excited when we opened the box.


We got to work on them.  Of course, the kids sampled the goods.  I was in charge of putting the icing on the cookies.  The kids added all of the fun stuff.



They added the finishing touches.


Then, they enjoyed tasting.



They were a sticky mess when we finished up.


I’m happy to say that they both still have some cookie left.  They are very hard to eat and they are huge.  We still have one cookie left.  I’m not sure if we are going to decorate it or gift it to a friend.  I have yet to decide.

I was hoping to make a gingerbread house this past season, but we never got around to it.  I’m still hoping to make one before spring.  I bought a kit to use in case my dough doesn’t turn out.  Next year, we are going to look into making one for the WinterShow at the Cleveland Botanical Gardens.

 Posted by at 8:46 PM

Yesterday, we had our second workout in the pool.  It was much better (harder) than the first workout.  We only had about 16 people or so.  Last time we had 40.  I think the smaller numbers made the group more manageable.  Both Adam and Bobbie were the instructors again.  After a brief 5 minute warm up, we divided into two groups.  Adam worked with one group on the deep water and Bobbie worked with the other group in shallower water.  We had floatation belts on for most of this workout.

With Adam in the deep end, we did things like cross-country skiing, jumping jacks, knee lifts, etc.  All of these were done without touching the bottom.  Then, the groups switched and we did a different series of exercises with Bobbie.

Later in the class, we did some work with the noodles.  There are some stiffer white noodles that get used for classes since they are stiffer.  You can do bicycles and other cool exercises with them.

The last part of the class, I was back in the deep end.  To make it harder, we didn’t use the floatation belts.  So, we were treading water the whole time.  We formed a circle and then tossed a small water basketball around.  It’s incredibly hard to throw a ball and keep treading water.  We started just throwing the ball to the person next to us and then we made things more interesting by throwing the ball to whomever we wanted.

I left the workout before the formal stretch and cool down since the kids were in the playroom and needed picked up.

I enjoyed the workout and I am looking forward to trying Yoga for the first time next Wednesday.

 Posted by at 7:12 PM

We had a productive day today.  The kids and I went to story time at the library, cleaned two bathrooms, did the dishes, did 2 loads of laundry, went to the gas station, the post office and two stores.  All of this occurred before lunch!  After nap time, we took Nick to his swim lesson and then picked up our Fresh Fork CSA (where I put the cold items in a cooler with ice) before returning to the J so I could take a class.  Whew!  No wonder I’m tired.

Here’s what we were expecting to receive this week:

  • 1 whole pasture raised chicken
  • 1 pint frozen raspberries
  • 1 quart farmstead yogurt
  • 1 8-oz. piece gouda cheese
  • 1 1lb bag of granola, either Krispy treat or spelt granola (vegan)
  • 3 lbs. Yukon gold potatoes
  • 1 bag mixed salad greens
  • 1 quarter peck gold rush apples
  • 1 package tofu

Here’s a group shot:


The chicken is in the freezer.   I had just cooked our last chicken this week and we still have stock in the fridge.  We’ll probably cook it soon since it takes up quite a bit of room.  The greens look really good this week, so some more salad will be in the mix.


I am always glad to see yogurt.  We’ve been buying this brand at Heinen’s whenever there isn’t any on the truck.  I love that my kids eat plain yogurt with a bit of homemade honey sweetened jam.  We’ll use the apples in our oatmeal for breakfasts.  We were down to our last one today.


My kids were happily surprised to see “more raspberries”.  We haven’t been getting them in our CSA, but we have been eating frozen ones from our summer picking for the past few days at home.  They have been very popular, so I don’t expect these to last long.  There was a problem with a truck this week, so we were given a choice of waiting until the next pick up for the Yukon gold potatoes or taking sweet potatoes.  We love sweet potatoes and already had some white potatoes at home, so we opted for the sweet potatoes.


All of the local cheese we have received has been great.  Gouda is one of our favorites.  The tofu is a new product for the CSA.  I’ve poled several people and everyone describes it differently.  The best description that I have heard so far is that it’s really firm, but crumbly.  I plan to freeze it and make tofu sausage crumble with it.  I also heard that I need to freeze it for two weeks.  So, that’s what I’m going to try.


The granola is one of my favorites.  I bought an extra bag for $5 because it’s so good.


All in all, we have another great batch of local goods to work with.  I’m going to do some meal planning in the next day or two so we can use our pantry staples and new products for some tasty dishes.


Today, my partner in crime and I met with Jen, our trainer.  A week or two ago, I had inquired about doing a kettlebell workout.  I was so glad that today was the day.  I had been intrigued by them ever since I attended a demo about them at the Fit Bloggin’ conference last year.

I spent about 20 minutes on the elliptical for a warm up.

Then, we met up for our workout.  All of our weights through the rows used the kettlebells.

  • Multi-Directional Lunges x 5ea. way

3 sets of the following:

  • Kettlebell Swings 15lb x 1:00 minute
  • KB Push Press 12lb x :30 seconds each arm
  • Windmill 5lb x 15ea side
  • Twisting Squats 15lb x 30

2 sets of the following:

  • Tactile Lunges 15lb x length of gym (passing the kettlebell under your leg after each step of the lunge)
  • Bentover Row 15lb x 20ea. side
  • Mountain Climbers on Slideboard x 50 (with crazy booties to help my feet slide)

1 set of the following:

  • Box Squat to Press 18lb bodybar x 20
  • Isometric Bicep Curl 12lb x 20ea arm

My partner in crime had to leave a bit early.  Jen helped me stretch out well.  I think that was a good thing.

An hour is a really long time to do strength training.  I’m already sore.  It was crazy.  It was hard.  It was good for me.  I could fall in love with kettlebell training.   I can’t wait until next week’s workout.

 Posted by at 7:59 PM

On Saturday, as part of Nick’s birthday, we decided to make marshmallows.  He had been watching Good Eats with Alton Brown on the Food Network this week.  He watched the marshmallow episode 4 times and really wanted to make them.  On Friday, we went off to the store to buy the needed ingredients such as sugar and gelatine.  He loved carrying the recipe around the store and helping gather the ingredients.  I had heard lots of things about making them.  Some people said it was easy, while others said that I should prepare Nick in case they don’t turn out.

Stephen joined in the fun to help make them.  He and Nick worked on measuring the ingredients.


Nick and Sally double checked the recipe.  The recipe is really simple.  In a mixing bowl, gelatine and cold water soaks, while a sugar mixture cooks.  I loved that the mixture needed to cook, but we didn’t need to stir constantly.  We were going for 240 degrees.


After the mixture cooked, we added it to the gelatine mixture.  Then, the mixer needed to beat on high for 13 minutes.  It was loud and the stand mixer definitely got a workout.


We were quite excited to see marshmallow fluff in the making!  The last step was to add the vanilla.  The mixer goes crazy during that step.


Then, we spread it in the pan with the help of oiled gloves and an oiled spatula.  The gloves were GREAT!


Sunday morning, we turned them onto a cutting board and with a little cutting, our individual marshmallows were born.


I don’t see us ever putting the mixture into a piping bag for making marshmallow bunnies, but we’d definitely make this recipe again.  They were so creamy and delicious.

We took them to Nick’s family party on Sunday and served them with our version of Alton Brown’s  homemade hot chocolate.  We did make a couple of changes to his recipe.  We only had 1/2 cup of Dutch Process High Fat Cocoa and used it along with 1/2 cup of Natural High Fat Cocoa.  Both of these were from Penzeys.  We omitted the cayenne pepper, but added a teaspoon of cinnamon.  Our powdered milk was non fat.  We combined all of the ingredients in the food processor to help the mix have an even texture.  It worked great.

This was the best hot cocoa and marshmallows that I’ve ever had.  Nick can’t wait to make them roasting!  I guess we’ll be having a fire this summer.

 Posted by at 7:17 PM

Nick’s birthday was on Saturday.  We started the morning with waffle making.  After breakfast, we let him open his gifts from his Grandpa, Grandma and Uncle.  He got a new Richard Scarry book.


He also received a set of tube pipes that match his Saxoflute pipes from a couple of years ago.  He got busy building.


He took a time out to admire the 4 inches of snow we got overnight in honor of his 4th birthday.


After I walked to the gym and we got the driveway cleared, we headed to the Cleveland Museum of Natural History.  The roads weren’t so great on the way down, but we ended up with about 45 minutes there.  Nick enjoyed the Discovery Room by playing with these dominoes and doing the Balto puzzle.


We stopped at Wendy’s for a quick lunch.  Then, we stopped to pick up some CSA items.  Our goal was to meet up with friends at Mitchell’s Homemade Ice Cream around 12:30PM.  Nick enjoyed strawberry.


He also enjoyed a few gifts.  A set of Thomas puzzles and a Dr kit were both big hits.


After nap time and dinner on Saturday, we set out to make homemade marshmallows.  One step is to run the mixer on high for 13 minutes.  It was a little loud.


The birthday celebration continued Sunday evening with family at great grandma’s house.  We enjoyed hot chocolate and marshmallows along with birthday cake.


Nick had a great birthday and the whole family had fun, too!

 Posted by at 8:46 PM

Geauga Family Farms CSA is offering an egg share for the next 4 months.  Apparently, the hens that were raised in anticipation for the winter CSA are finally up to full production.  So, they had an excess of eggs and wanted to do an egg share.  We didn’t really need an egg share, but since there was a local (Cleveland Heights) delivery available, we ordered some extras.  We picked up our goods yesterday in the midst of celebrating Nick’s birthday.

GFF was offering a $10 produce bag.  I had no idea what we might get.

Here’s a photo of our bag contents:


Carrots, lettuce, parsley, cabbage, potatoes, and I believe collard greens.  I have to say that I wasn’t overly impressed.  The lettuce and cabbage were frozen.  I cleaned the lettuce and put in in our greens container.  I didn’t try it out yet.  The outer couple of layers of cabbage were also frozen.  I haven’t tried to cut into it yet.  You can see the frozen green in the photo.  The carrots were the best we’ve had, but it was only enough for each of us to have a couple of bites.  Parsley is hard for us to use.  We usually make tabouli, but we don’t have the other ingredients for it.  I think I’m going to try to make chimmichurri sauce.  I’m glad I tried the grab bag, but I’m not sure I’d order it again.

The honey and maple syrup were the main reasons for our order.  I’ve become picky with my honey.  I really like the wildflower honey from Schmidt Family Farms and the Miller’s Country Jam honey.  The Miller’s Jam is available through GFF, so I ordered it.  It was $5 a pound and we got 4 pounds.  I also ordered a quart of maple syrup for $14.  This is a good price for local maple syrup.  I’m excited for new production in March, but we were running really low. I picked up a dozen eggs for good measure.  They were $3.25.


I’m not sure we’ll place another extras order next month, but it’s a nice option for us during the winter.  I’m excited for the summer produce season.

 Posted by at 10:25 PM

Yesterday, my partner in crime and I had our trainer workout with Jen.  Last week, I remember commenting that we didn’t do much leg work.  Some workouts are more balanced for  upper and lower bodies.  Others focus more on one or the other.  Well, we made up for it yesterday.  My quads are really sore.  I’m reminded of my workout every time I stand up and every time I use the stairs.

I was on the phone about our home refinance, so I didn’t really get a formal warm up.  I also didn’t feel all that great, but I try hard not to be a whiner.

Here’s the workout

  • 2 sets of the following:
  • Squat to bench/Curl/Press 5lb x 30
  • Overhead Tricep Pull Dropset 50lb->10lb x 12ea
  • Standing Row Dropset 60lb ->20lb x 12ea
  • Lateral Lunges x 20ea
  • Isometric Front/Lateral Raises 3lb x 20ea
  • Step-up to Reverse Lunge x 15ea
  • Bench Pushups x 15
  • 45degree sidebends 10lb x 15ea
  • Good Mornings x 15
  • Walking Lunges w/ Overhead Press 10lb x length of gym (1 set)

I’m pretty sure it was the 2 sets of 3 different lunges that did in the quads.  Apparently, I have weak quads and need to keep doing more exercises.

Despite the quads, my arms and shoulders and even obliques  are feeling pretty good today.  I’m so glad to be doing these small group workouts.  It’s so different strength training for a full hour.

Despite my quads, I did 20 minutes on the elliptical and 25 minutes of walking on the indoor track.

Next up:  My first workout at Anytime Fitness in the AM.