I’ve been a member of the JCC for almost four and a half years.  I have been pretty consistent with my workouts during that time.  Lately, I’ve been really looking at my workout schedule and the type of workouts that I work into my schedule.

  • Monday Spinning: This is a great workout for me.  It’s a full hour of cardio and is challenging.
  • Tuesday Water Aerobics:  I’m still working on making this class more challenging.  I love the water and incorporating it into my routine feels good.
  • Wednesday ??:  This is my “pot luck” day.  For me, this usually means a rather unplanned workout.  If we get to the gym in time, I’d like to take the power sculpt class.  In reality, that doesn’t happen and my options are limited since we leave early to go to the library.  I don’t want to strength train since that is on my Thursday schedule.  I usually end up with the elliptical.
  • Thursday Strength Training with Trainer:  This is one of my best workouts of the week!
  • Friday ??: This is another “pot luck” day.  We get to the JCC late so the kids can enjoy Teacher Debbie.  So, all of the classes are out.  Currently, I’m walking the track for a bit to cheer on my partner in crime as she trains for a 5K.  I’m looking into a small group yoga class, but nothing is set up yet.
  • Saturday/Sunday:  Although I try to be active on the weekends, the reality is that I don’t get real workouts in.  This also means that I’m only get strength training once a week.

So far, Monday, Tuesday and Thursday are great workouts.  Wednesday and Friday aren’t.  I need to figure out how to get exercise in on the weekends.

To help with this goal, I joined another gym.  I know it seems crazy, but our weekend time is precious.  It takes me 13 minutes to drive to the JCC and another 5-15 to park, walk inside, go to the lockers, and get started.  To get a 45 minute workout, I need at least an hour and a half.  Anytime Fitness is just over a half mile from our house.  If I drive there, I can be putting on shoes at home one minute and working out 5 minutes later.  Ideally, I’d like to walk/jog up to the gym, do strength training and walk/jog back.  I think I can get a really good workout done in an hour.  The gym is open 24/7.  I have a key fob to use to enter and it’s a secure spot.  I don’t plan on working out at crazy hours, so there will always be people around.  My weekend goal is to be back home by 8AM and that’s when the JCC opens!

I’d also love to get one or two extra cardio workouts in during the week.  But, the weekends are my first priority.  Saturday is Nick’s birthday and I’m planning to start my day out with a workout so that we can spend the rest of the day having fun.

 Posted by at 9:27 PM

Last night, we went back to the J after nap time so I could do the 6PM workout.  This year, we’ve had more variety in the workouts… pool, cycling, gym, etc.  I missed the first gym workout, so I was glad that I could attend last night.

There were about 40 people in attendance.  4 of the JCC personal trainers put us through our workout.

We had a basic cardio warm up with walking, shuffles, and other movements down the gym court and back.  After that warm up, we did a series of 1 minute exercises.  We did things like push ups, step ups, oblique twists, knee lifts, partner rows, and a few others that currently escape me.  The trainers incorporated bands, body weight, and the BOSU into the workouts.  We ended with a nice stretching period.

The trainers did a pretty good job of mixing it up and keeping us moving.  My only complaint is that we were crowded for the warm up.  They had us line up in two lines and do our movements down the court.  We really needed to be in 3 or even 4 lines to have enough space between us.

All in all, it was a good workout.  I’m glad I made the effort to attend.  It’s so much easier this year since the workouts are all at 6PM and Kid Kare is open until 7:30PM.  It allows me go and take the kids with me.

The next Biggest Loser workout is next Thursday in the pool.


Today, I went to my water aerobics class.  Our regular instructor was not there.  Adam was our sub.  We had Adam before and he’s great.  Today, he surprised me by joining us in the class.  He came into the water and did the entire class with us.  It was so much fun.

I think it’s good for me to change things up a bit, especially in the water.  Usually, I feel good after class, but when we have Adam, I am beat.  I really feel like I get a great workout.

He seemed to do a better job than I remembered making moves more difficult if needed.  I think when an instructor can modify to make exercises both easier and harder, they gain the support of a wider variety of students.  All of us are definitely not created equal.

My favorite moves of the day included racing Shayna down to the deep end with our noodles.  We had several races that included flutter kicking and bicycling (forward and backwards).

I’m so glad that I take this class on a regular basis.  The water workouts are a nice change of pace and are definitely fit well in my routine.

Shayna and I decided to figure out a 15-20 minute workout to do while the kids take their swim lesson on Thursdays.  I see some additional racing in our future.  I can’t wait!


On Fridays, we go to the J on the late side.  On Fridays, Teacher Debbie comes to Kid Kare at 11:15AM for a half hour.  She has stories, songs and games for the kids.  All of the kids at the J love her.  So, in order to follow Kid Kare’s 2 hour rule, we try to arrive right at 9:45AM.  Recently, Kid Kare stopped allowing snacks due to allergy and kosher issues.  We used to bring a snack, especially on Friday, since by almost noon, my kids are starving.  So, when I picked them up at 11:45AM, both Nick and Sally were super hungry.

We left Kid Kare, made our way upstairs to the lobby, and sat on a bench separated from the Subway by a low wall.  I brought raisins for the kids. I’ve been putting them in a little plastic bowl with a lid.  Nick was almost done when he turned around to look into the Subway restaurant to check out the happenings. Then he dropped a raisin.

It’s not out of the ordinary to drop a raisin.  We take care to pick them up and throw them in the trash. This was different.  He dropped the raisin from his hand onto the Subway side, just like a kid dropping a raisin into a neighboring booth at a restaurant.

Nick wanted to find and throw away the raisin.  I told him not to worry about it, but he persisted. The table where the raisin dropped was occupied by a gentleman working on his computer. Nick wanted me to come with him. We walked around to the opening for Subway, and told the man that we were looking for a raisin that Nick dropped because he wanted to throw it away.  The guy was super nice and moved his computer bag from the floor to a chair so Nick could look around.  We couldn’t find it and Nick started to cry. Then it went beyond crying into the start of a full-blown tantrum, all over a lost raisin.

With some help from the computer guy, I convinced Nick to leave for the car. He kept crying and was really, really upset.  He screamed and carried on. At one point, Teacher Debbie passed us and could not believe that sweet, happy Nick was so upset.  I told her about the dropped raisin, and that Nick wanted to throw it in the trash but couldn’t find it.  She said that melted her heart.

For a minute, Nick was happy and calmed down, but as soon as he thought again about the raisin, he started bawling again.  I remembered that I had a raisin in my coat pocket. I’m sure it’s from when one of the kids dropped a raisin the other day.  Sometimes, I pick them up on our way out, and they don’t make it into the trash can right away.

I hid the raisin in my hand and reached down to Nick’s shoe. I put it carefully on his shoe near the Velcro as if it was stuck.

“Nick, look, there’s the raisin.  It must have fallen out of your hand onto your shoe!”

He liked that at first, and then said, “But Mommy, my raisin couldn’t have fallen on my shoe because it fell out of my hand onto the other side of the wall.”

I said, “Well, maybe the raisin fell from the man’s computer bag when he moved it and landed on your shoe.”

“Yeah, Mommy, that’s what happened.  I’m happy now.”

And so was I.

Note: I’m not advocating being untruthful to your kids, but sometimes, it’s worth a story or two to calm a tantrum.

 Posted by at 2:24 PM  Tagged with:

On Wednesday, we had our 3rd Biggest Loser workout at the J.  We had about 35 people show up for spin class.  It was really set up well for the new folks.  I’d guess by looking around that this was the first spin class ever for at least 25 of the participants.

Richard taught the class.  He wasn’t prepped ahead of time for the audience and was so excited to have a full class of students.  He waited until 6PM and after some introductions, he took a few minutes to explain to everyone how to set up their bike.  Set up is pretty important or you can compromise your knees and have a bad experience.  For some of us who were already set up, we just started spinning during that time.  By 6:15PM or so, there was music and actual class going on.

Richard is very narrative.  He loves to paint a picture and tell stories.  This was my second class with him.  In the first class, many months ago, he took us to the Lake Placid Olympics and we went ski jumping.  He paints a vivid enough picture that you can remember it much later.

In Wednesday’s class, he went through several basic moves and then we ended with a 5K race,  He’s really good at having you visualize the competition.

I got a good workout and was impressed with all of the beginners.  I hope all of them felt like they accomplished something.  For me, a SPIN class was really hard to walk into the first time.  Once I got the hang of setting up my bike, I was hooked.  Currently, I try to spin at least once a week.

Later in the month, there’s a Yoga session.  I’ve never done yoga and I’m hoping that the class is beginner friendly.


Last night, Stephen and I had an early Valentine’s Day dinner at Fahrenheit restaurant.  Our first date was on February 14, 2004.  It’s hard to believe that it’s been 8 years.

I have been following some of the local chefs lately.  I really like Michael Symon and enjoyed seeing him at the Fabulous Food Show.  I’ve also caught a couple of episodes of The Chew.  Stephen and I both like The Iron Chef and attended the watch party at Noodlecat for Team Sawyer a couple of weeks ago.

So, naturally, I wanted to support Rocco Whalen and his accomplishments for losing over 100 pounds at the Fat Chef watch party last night.  Rocco is one of 12 chefs that are being featured on the Food Network’s new show.

We arrived at the restaurant at 8PM for our dinner reservation.  We were seated in the far room where we’ve eaten for company parties before.  For the first 30 minutes or so, we were the only ones in the room.  It was like a private dining experience.  I had tomato bisque soup and lobster macaroni and cheese.  Both of them were heavenly.  I also really like their olive tapenade for the bread.  I must duplicate it at home soon.

As 9PM approached, there were more and more people around. I caught up with Crystal from Eat, Drink Cleveland and Julie from Wearing Mascara who were there for the watch party also.


I thought the show was well done and did a good job of depicting the challenges of weight loss, schedules and consistently being around food.  Kim Gibson from the Cleveland are was also featured.  Cleveland was nicely represented.  I was a bit disappointed in the watch party itself.  Rocco never came into the other room (where we were sitting) to introduce himself or say hi.  He gave a short speech in the other room.  We couldn’t hear it very well.  I’m sure he was with family and friends.  His TV star trainer Brett and local trainer Dan were both there as well.  Apparently, Brett surprised him by coming.  The watch party included an appetizer buffet.  We didn’t partake since we had dinner right before.  The restaurant was packed and there was lots of cheering for Rocco during all of the commercial breaks.  In total, he lost 25% of his weight for the show and is still working hard to get to his goal.

I wanted to say hi and get a photo at the end of the party, but Rocco was mobbed and we were beat, so we headed home.  We were up past midnight, which is way too late for a work night.

I think we are done with watch parties for a while, but my list of restaurants to try out in the Cleveland area keeps growing.


Today was our week 8 pick up for our Fresh Fork CSA.  We got there about 5PM and didn’t have any wait at all.  It’s nice when the kids can just run around for a minute or two.

Here’s what we were expecting this week:

  • 1 stewing chicken, approximately 2.5 lbs.
  • 1 bag dried egg noodles
  • 1 pint fig vinegar roasted cherry tomatoes
  • 1 lb. egg linguini
  • 1 lb. bacon
  • 1 bag spinach or mixed greens
  • 1 8-oz. piece of cheese
  • 1 dozen eggs
  • 2 lbs. cornmeal
  • 1 quarter peck apples
  • 3 lbs. sweet potatoes (please keep refrigerated)

Here’s a group shot:


We were notified early today that there wasn’t going to be spinach.  The yield wasn’t as the farmer had hoped.

I was glad to see apples today.  We love having them in our oatmeal.  I don’t think I’ve ever cooked a stewing chicken.  From reading, it sounds like it will make great stock.  I have some carrots and celery in the fridge to add to it.   I’ll probably also add the noodles.


We had our choice of beer or cheddar cheese.  I chose beer cheese since it sounded more fun.


Our kids call the Ohio City linguini “spider web pasta”.  It’s always welcome in our house in any flavor.  Maybe we’ll top it with the roasted cherry tomatoes for dinner one night.


I don’t feel like we use a ton of eggs in our house, but we always seem to use them up.  Baked oatmeal, muffins, pancakes, and such all use an egg or two at a time and it adds ups.  I’ve been leaving the bacon frozen and cutting it across the width for smaller pieces of bacon as flavoring in dishes.  It works well since I don’t need to thaw all of it at once and it last longer for us.


I’m hoping to have the sweet potato / chorizo type of hash that Stephen made for us before using the potatoes.  I think we have all of the ingredients in house.  Our kids eat corn muffins like they are going out of style.  I also want to try some pancakes made out of corn meal soon.


We also picked up a bag of corn chips ($3.5) from the back of the truck.


All in all, this is a pretty easy week.  I’m glad to have a chance to use up more from our freezer stash.  We have two small freezers in the basement and one needs to be defrosted soon.  I’m hoping to tackle that in the next 2-3 weeks.


During last summer’s CSAs and farm visits, I ended up with some rhubarb.  I knew I didn’t want to make cobbler or pie.  So, I decided to freeze it and save it for sauce at a later date.

I washed the rhubarb and cut it into 2 inches chunks.  I froze it in 3 quart bags.

Monday, I decided was the day to make sauce.  I had purchased some ham loaf from Fresh Fork CSA a few weeks back and I thought that honey rhubarb sauce would be good with ham loaf balls.

  • 7:30AM get out crock pot, add 3 q.t bags of rhubarb, 2 qt. homemade tomato sauce, turn crock pot on low
  • 7:50AM add one cup of chopped onion from the freezer
  • 8AM leave for JCC
  • 12:30PM stir
  • 1PM stir
  • 1:15PM add one cup honey from The Gyette Family.  It’s local, but definitely not my favorite kind.  Stirred in 1 cup of cider vinegar
  • 3PM used the immersion blender to make the sauce smooth
  • 3:05PM added spices 4 t garlic, 2 t mustard powder, 2 t Worcestershire sauce, 2 t salt, 2 t smoked paprika
  • 3:10PM left lid off and cooked on high
  • 4PM stirred in 2 T molasses
  • 4:40PM added 2 cans of tomato paste
  • 5PM added 1 t ancho chili pepper
  • 6:15PM Stephen comes home from work and says it’s good
  • 8:45PM I went to bed and left it on warm
  • 7:40AM Tuesday morning, I added 1 t liquid smoke and 1 t mustard
  • 8AM covered and turned up to low and left for the JCC again
  • 12:00PM tasted it – yum.  turned off crock pot and ladled into jars
  • 1PM cooled, topped jars and put in fridge

The entire ingredient list:

  • 3 qt. chopped rhubarb
  • 2 qt. home made tomato sauce (it was kind of thin)
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 1 cup honey
  • 1 cup cider vinegar
  • 4 t garlic
  • 3 t mustard powder
  • 2 t Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 t salt
  • 2 t smoked paprika
  • 2 T molasses
  • 2 cans of tomato paste
  • 1 t ancho chili pepper
  • 1 t liquid smoke

If I were to make the sauce again, I’d add everything except the liquid smoke at the beginning and I’d only use 1/2 cup of vinegar to start.

The recipe made about 2 1/2 quarts.  It can not be canned per se since I just made this recipe up on the fly and have no idea what the pH values would be.  I’ll probably share some with a friend, freeze some, and use some with the ham loaf.