Is local melon season really over already?  The share seemed so light this week without a tasty watermelon.  Maybe we’ll get lucky and see one more next week.  The week’s share is full of tasty looking items.


Peppers, green beans


Zucchini, onions


Cherry tomatoes, slicing tomatoes


Sweet corn, green pepper




I took a dehydrating class last night.  I’m hoping to try out my new skills with the peppers and slicing tomatoes.  We’ll have the corn and beans for dinner.  This lettuce will go into salads for Stephen.  It’s not my favorite variety (leathery romaine), but it won’t go to waste.  I’ll pair it with some feta and cherry tomatoes an add a bit of basil balsamic vinaigrette.  I currently have a mound of onions that need chopped and froze so these will get added to that project.  I was hoping for zucchini since I found a recipe for cornbread that uses it.  I think I’ll be making it this week.

I’m glad I get a small share early in the week.  It tends to pair well with my large share that I get on Fridays.  It’s hard to believe that summer is almost over.


Today, the NEO Foodies group enjoyed an event at Community Greenhouse Partners.  My kids and I go to farms all of the time, but we had never visited an urban farm.  A tour, kids pizza class, gazpacho demo and potluck were on the schedule.

The site is over 2 acres and occupies the grounds of a former church in the middle of the city.


This is definitely a place where nothing is wasted.  The boxes on the left were built out of wood that was salvaged from a nearby construction site.


Tim Smith welcomed us and introduced us to the ground, concept and history.  We began our tour by checking out the chicken tractor that is under construction.  They hope to be keeping chickens soon.


We moved to the front of the property where Tim talked about mixing up the crops and the benefits.  On the right, a YELLOW cucumber grows.


These garden socks are full of compost.  We spied watermelon and other deliciousness growing.


One of the local tree trimming companies brings the mulch by.  It’s a win win for everyone.  The company doesn’t have to haul it away, The CGP can use it for mulching and fuel.  The kids have a mountain to climb when they come visit.  On the other side of the church, 3 more hoop houses.


Kathryn helped Nick and Sally pick some tomatoes for their pizza and showed them around the garden.


Back at the home base, Chef Robin of Cooking with Care gave us a gazpacho demonstration.


Outside, the kids were making pizzas.  Nick loves his topped with fresh peppers, tomatoes and cheese.


Everyone pitched in to help with the pizzas.  Some of the adults made them too.


Judi was ultra prepared and great with the kids.


We enjoyed the potluck dinner and then said our goodbyes.  Nick asked if we could go back tomorrow.  We stopped at our community garden to harvest tomatoes and water.  Sally fell asleep before we pulled in the drive.


We had a great time and can’t wait for the next “kid friendly” NEO Foodies event.


I’ve read about using shaving cream and paint together several times.  Several weeks ago, I bought some shaving cream and we never got around to using it.  Well, this week after my trip, we spent some extra time at home, so I got it out.

Originally, I thought the kids would make rainbows or something.  I added some paint to shaving cream and loaded up a muffin tin.  They each received a baking sheet to use as their canvas.


Using cotton balls, toothpicks, spoons and their hands, they had a blast.


I think they were surprised that they could do whatever they wanted.


When they were done, I tossed the “brushes” and washed the dishes.  Clean up was a breeze.  I’m sure we’ll be doing this activity again.


This marks week 11 of our Fresh Fork Market CSA.  It’s hard to believe that we are 1/2 way through the season.

Since I was in Utah earlier in the week, I opted to take a vacation week this week.  Occasionally, I take a vacation week when we are having busy week or if I feel behind on veggies even if I am actually in town on pick up day..  Then, I usually hold my breath and hope that Trevor doesn’t send out the “best bag of the season” list two days later since vacation requests are due on Saturday and the list usually comes out on Monday.

Here’s what folks received in their bags this week:

  • 3# bag red Norland potatoes
  • 1/2 dozen sweet corn
  • 1 bunch leeks (may be 1 leek depending on size)
  • 1 bulb fennel
  • Approx. 1.5 lbs. heirloom tomatoes
  • 2 oz basil
  • Approx. 2 lbs. slicing tomatoes
  • 1 lb. grass-fed ground beef
  • Approx. 2 lbs. peaches
  • 1-2 eggplant, depending on size
  • 2 zucchini or squash
  • 1-2 onions
  • 2-3 “Italian frier” peppers (red sweet stuffing peppers)
  • 1 melon – choice of cantaloupe or watermelon
  • 1/2 lb. Swiss chard
  • 1 bulb garlic
  • 1 piece Havarti cheese

I’ve been hearing from other people who do CSAs that they have too much food or are too busy to get it all used.  I can’t say that we are perfect in our house, but we are pretty good at blanching, chopping and freezing items to make sure we don’t waste food when we are particular busy or have an over abundance.

Almost all of the above items could be froze with little effort.  I love pulling items out of the freezer in the middle of winter and getting a taste of fresh local food.

I think every bag is outstanding, but this is a bag that has lots of items that we get on a fairly regular basis.  I am happy with my decision to be on vacation.  With a little luck, I’ll get a photo of a large share tomorrow and add a photo to my post.


I’m back from Utah.  I had a great trip, and I have many things to tell you about.  But, tonight is about sleep, laundry, unpacking and general clean up.  My numerous photos and tales will have to wait.

Instead of a post about the trip, let’s quickly talk about beer.  I don’t drink much (maybe one drink a year), but I’m around people who drink socially pretty often.  Someone purchased some beer for our trip while we were in Utah.  Check it out!

In honor of the natural history museum, this one was purchased.  Noticed the “Darwin Approved” and Created in 27 days, not 7”.


Then, we have Polygamy Porter.  Keep in mind, we were in Utah.  There’s nothing more to say.


We all got a laugh out of the beer choices.  Apparently, they were both good, too.

I’m hoping for a solid night sleep and a relaxing Friday.


Wow, it’s been such a busy summer and I still have many posts to catch up on.  Back in June, the family completed the rest of the Spree For All.  You can read about the first part here.

We had reason to be in Munroe Falls for a party and decided to leave a bit early to finish up the hikes.  Our first stop was the bike and hike trail.


It was a very hot day and there wasn’t much shade.  But, soon we were to the turn around point and heading back to the car.


Sally loved running ahead and then making sure we were still watching her.


Next up was the towpath trail at Memorial parkway.  This walk included Mr. Spider.


Soon enough we reached our turnaround point.


Our last stop was the Overlook trail.  We were all getting a bit tired, but the kids were troopers.  There was also shade!


Sally wanted a spot on daddy’s shouders.  Soon enough we had completed the Spree For All.


We had a great time and Stephen and I loved sharing the Metro Parks with the kids.  We have many fond memories of the Summit County park system.

 Posted by at 9:14 AM

Hi, everyone! Husband Stephen here with a guest post. Tomato season is upon us, we’re still in melon and corn season (yum!), and there’s pretty much produce everywhere this time of year. It’s great!

Here is what we received in this week’s Geauga Family Farms CSA small share.


First up are the tomatoes, in regular size and cherry. In fact, some of these cherry tomatoes are so small that they may count as the “grape” variety.


Next, some onions and a bell pepper. The onions are strong. I could smell them as soon as I opened the bag.


Corn and cabbage…


And finally, a head of lettuce and a medium watermelon.


The forecast is for a break from this unusually cool August now that these peppers have arrived to heat things up…


I love this time of year!


Last summer, most Wednesday evenings, you’d find our family eating dinner by the dinosaur at the Cleveland Natural History Museum.  Once we were done, we’d visit the museum for a bit and head over to Wade Oval Wednesday for people watching, the farmers’ market and music.  This year, our schedule has been crazy on Wednesdays, but on August 1st, we finally made our way down.

Apparently, we chose the busiest night of the year to go.  Parking was particularly difficult.  After waiting about 10 minutes, we were able to get a spot at the museum.  There’s lots of parking around the oval, but we have parking included with our membership to the museum, so we like to park there.

We ate our packed dinner inside the café while I had a pre-trip meeting with a few other Capitol Reef participants.  Then, we headed across the street to Wade Oval.

Sally was in a silly mood.  Both kids were glad to see the farmers’ market.


The market at the oval is small.  There are about 8 tables or so.  We didn’t really need anything and didn’t shop, but it was still fun to look at the items and quiz the kids on their produce knowledge.


We made our way around to the Cleveland Botanical Gardens.  The kids enjoyed a few minutes in the Children’s Garden.


Soon, it was time to head back to the car.  We made our way through the crowd.  Many people came out to see the reggae band.


I’m not sure if we’ll make it down for WOW another day before Labor Day comes, but I’m sure glad we were able to make it down once this summer.


A couple of weeks ago, Nick was in camp at the Great Lakes Science Center.  Since Sally and I were driving down to pick him up around lunch time, we decided to meet up with Stephen for lunch.  Stephen works near downtown, so it worked out well.

Koko Bakery had been suggested to me by several friends, but I hadn’t made the effort to check it out.  It’s located in Payne Commons near E.37th and Payne.


We didn’t have any trouble finding the place.


It’s a bakery, but they also sell rice bowls and other lunch items.  We decided to buy things out of their display cases (hot and room temperature).

We started with 3 wrapped hot dogs, a bacon and cheese bun and another breakfast bun.  We also got a juice for the kids to share and a watermelon bubble tea for me.  I loved the bubble tea and can’t wait to have it again.


After we consumed our first tray, we picked up a pork bun and a couple of sweets.  An egg tart, a cream Danish type of bun and a custard filled bun.


Including our drinks, our bill was less than $20 and all four of us were full.  There wasn’t fruit and veggies at this meal, but it was a fun special treat.  We’d definitely stop there again.  Everything was fresh and delicious.


One of my best friends is moving to Israel this week.  Between us, we have 6 kids and we have had a blast over the last year and a half.  Both of us are adventurous and have been on many outings with the kids.  I have fond memories of Lake Farmpark, the Akron Zoo, Squires Castle, picking lots of fruit, learning about canning, working out, and much more.  She was taking her kids to see Niagara Falls before they moved, so we drove up too.  The goal was to do the Maid of the Mist and Cave of the Winds.  We needed to take two cars, so I invited my mom to join us.  It’s never bad to have an extra adult along.

Nick’s and Sally’s first view of the falls.  He said “WOW!”.  They also loved seeing the boat from the observation deck.


We saw a double rainbow.  Since Nick just finished a camp about rainbows and light, that was timely.  The kids weren’t into posing, but we took a few photos anyway.


My mom is so much fun!  Soon we were off to the boat.  We left my house just after 6AM, stopped to pick up sandwich fixings in Buffalo, enjoyed the observation deck, and were at the boat around 11:30AM.  I love taking clock photos.


The ponchos were hot, but Sally and Nick didn’t mind.


I put my camera away for the boat ride.  I didn’t want to take any chances.  After the ride, we noticed that there was a small boardwalk path up a few stairs near the exit.  It looked similar to how the Cave of the Winds would be, but shorter.  I took my friends baby and found a bench.  The rest of them ventured up the path.  Too bad we had already recycled the ponchos.


They were soaked from head to toe.  Although, I’m not sure the ponchos would have helped as I saw people ringing out their clothes in the restroom.  They had worn ponchos.

Here’s my favorite shot of the falls from this trip.  The weather was perfect and I love the clouds.


Here’s my mom with the kids.


We opted to skip the Cave of the Winds and headed to the car for a picnic.


Soon, we were on the road back home and arrived just before dinner.  It was a great day!