Sally turned three years old today.  It’s hard to believe.  As a family of four, we celebrated with ice cream after dinner.  Nick was super excited about giving Sally her gift.  Sally was excited about special birthday ice cream.


So, she ordered banana.  She orders banana every time.


We had just a couple of gifts.  In case you are wondering, when your almost five year old goes shopping with Stephen for a present, a pink guitar that makes noise comes home.  She also received a Richard Scarry book.


Stephen and I got her a felt mosaic pattern set.  She quickly got to work.  (Only because the guitar didn’t have batteries yet.)


We ended our trip with a noisy ride home.  Nick wanted Stephen to be a spaceship driver.  He talked about space stations, lights, and space all the way home.  Sally didn’t want to be left out.  Stephen was her horse driver.  It’s hard to parent in two different fantasy worlds at the same time.  But, we survived.

Both kids fell asleep quickly tonight.  I’m glad they had fun.  Stephen and I sure did.

 Posted by at 9:40 PM

Thanksgiving has always been one of my favorite holidays.  We have a large family and my grandparents were married Thanksgiving morning, many years ago.  Grandpa really liked the sweet potato dish that I started bringing to dinner a few years back.  I’ll always think of him throughout the year, but especially today, as I make sweet potato casserole.  Today, is our first Thanksgiving since Grandpa passed.  We’re sure going to miss him.  I’m glad to have this photo of my grandparents that I took last year on Thanksgiving at uncle Marty’s house.


I’m thankful for more than I can possibly mention.

Happy Thanksgiving Everyone!

 Posted by at 6:10 AM

Today, as part of the Ohio Blogging Association’s All State Blog Swap, I’m going to introduce you to Elizabeth Wantz from the Lake County Visitors Bureau.  Throughout Ohio, bloggers have been teamed up to guest post on different sites.  For a full listing of participants, visit Poise In Parma today.


In this holiday season, families have multiple chances to visit Santa such as Country Lights at Lake Farmpark featuring thousands of Christmas lights on view by horse-drawn carriage and Holiday Strolls through Downtown Willoughby and Painesville! You can even see the Grinch as Santa in Fairport Harbor (although right now he is still on the naughty list). Perhaps, though, we are not all aware of the more unique Santa events happening in Lake County!

Great Lakes Mall will hold a Caring Santa™ event this holiday season on Sunday, December 2 from 9 to 10:30 a.m. Caring Santa is a special event dedicated to families that have children with special needs, providing a subdued environment to visit The Santa Photo Experience located in the Dillard’s south concourse.

Many steps are taken to reduce sensory triggers, creating a more comforting environment for the children’s magical visit with Santa. This environment includes:

• Turning off in-mall music, stopping escalators located near the Santa set, dimming the lights, and shutting down fountains during the duration of the event.

• Eliminating queue lines through the use of a numbering system whereby guests approach the set when their number is called.

• Special activities and stories geared toward the needs of the child during the ‘wait’ period to help the child understand what activities will occur during the visit.

This will be the second year for the Caring Santa program at many Simon malls.

“Last year, we saw families who received a Santa photo with their child for the very first time,” said Sheryl Young, CEO of “We are fortunate to have terrific alliances with Simon and their photo operators who have worked with us to lessen potential triggers, like having the event occur during private mall hours and other slight adjustments that help provide a calmer sensory-friendly environment for all children to enjoy.”

Participants are encouraged to RSVP for the Caring Santa event at Great Lakes Mall by going to Attendees should enter the mall through the food court doors the morning of the event.

Another unique opportunity this holiday season is Pet Photo Night with Santa! If you are looking for your pet to visit Santa, Great Lakes Mall will host Pet Photo Night where families and individuals can bring in dogs and cats for photos with Santa on Sunday, December 2 and Sunday, December 9 from 6:30-8 p.m. Dogs, cats and their owners are invited to join Santa in his sleigh at Great Lakes Mall located in the Dillard’s South concourse. Each pet will receive a treat bag, if they’re on the “nice list,” of course.

No matter how you come to visit Santa in Lake County this year, the Lake County Visitors Bureau wishes you a warm holiday greeting and a jolly Christmas season!

-Elizabeth Wantz, Social Media Specialist

Lake County Visitors Bureau




 Posted by at 1:01 PM

Today was our second pick up.  Again, we picked up in the dark.  It’s definitely not my favorite time of year once the time changes.    I took a couple of days off of blogging this week and it felt good to have a break.  Life has been crazy busy and I love it like that.

Here’s what we received in our bag this week:


Here’s what we were expecting this week:

Winter Week 2:

  • 1 bone in pork shoulder roast, approx. 4 lbs.
  • 1 half lb. bag hard neck garlic
  • 1 bunch carrots with tops
  • 3 lbs. sweet potatoes
  • 1 head cabbage
  • 1 bag broccoli shoots
  • 1 bunch collard greens
  • 1 bunch mustard greens

I’m going to bake the sweet potatoes and add them to my stash for Thanksgiving.  We’ll get 4 pounds in our package, but I need more than that for our crowd.  I’m adding cabbage to our stuffing, so some of this red head will be used for that.  I’m probably going to braise the rest.


This is a ton of garlic.  I still have plenty of garlic frozen.  I’ll need to get more creative and/or remember to use it more often.  The pork roast is a bit on the small side.  I am planning on making pulled pork with it.  I need an easy crock pot meal tomorrow.  My in-laws are coming to visit and we aren’t sure of their arrival time, so I need something that will be ready and waiting.


I’ve been using the collards in fajitas or taco filling.  It’s a good gluten free item, so I’ll be making that while my brother in law is in town this weekend.  Carrots don’t last long in our house.  The kids will probably eat these at lunch one day this week.


We’ll cook the broccoli as a side soon as well.  The mustard greens worked well in quiche the last time we received them, so I’ll be doing that with them again.


This is my first time receiving broccoli shoots.  We don’t get many new items since I’ve been doing CSAs for 4 years.  I’m wondering if they are suppose to have some “mini” broccoli crowns.  They look a lot like collards, but the photos that I’ve been looking at on line leave me thinking these are broccoli greens.  I’ll probably chop them up with the collards since the greens cook down so much.


I seriously need to spend a few hours in the kitchen tomorrow.  I need room to put the turkey away on Tuesday or Wednesday.  I don’t even know what day I’m picking mine up yet.  I don’t hate green weeks anymore, but they are bulky.

Hmmm…. I’m going to ask the guys at Fresh Fork about the last green. I’m now thinking the broccoli might be the shoots from doing more reading. More to come!



Stephen had some extra bubble wrap that he was going to get rid of.  It was the kind that has the really big bubbles.  Needless to say, Nick and Sally had a blast.  It took them most of the day, but they ran, stomped, rolled all over it.  By bed time, it was flat.


There was lots of follow the leader and giggles.



Every motion led to pops.


It’s the simple things that the kids love the most.  I may add bubble wrap to our holiday shopping list.


Some days they are such pals.  I love it!

 Posted by at 10:03 PM

A couple of week’s ago, some friends of the family called us and ask if we wanted a set of blocks for Nick and Sally.  We accepted their generous offer.  A couple of days ago, two boxes were delivered to our door step.  The kids had no idea what they were opening.  It was like an early Christmas.




Of course Nick had to take a break from opening to read the instructions.



A few minute later, we already had a road with street lights.


It didn’t take long for cars to appear.


These are classic blocks that we will have for many, many years to come.



They are perfect~!  We’ve already got hours of use out of them with many, many more to come.

 Posted by at 6:48 PM

Today was the first pick up for the winter program with our Fresh Fork CSA.  It was also our first pick up in the dark.  Since we are on to the winter program, Mayfield is no longer a pick up site, so we pick up in Beachwood.  Thursdays, Nick and Sally have swim lessons, so we pick up on the late side around 5:30PM.  Stephen is a great help and set up the lights for me so I could take decent photos.


Here’s what we were expecting this week:

Winter Week 1:

  • 1 whole pasture raised chicken, approx. 5 lbs.
  • 2 spaghetti squash (unless we have a few enormous ones)
  • 1 half gallon apple cider
  • 1 quarter peck Winesap apples
  • 1 handful sweet peppers (all of them are sweet, even though some look hot)
  • 1 bunch turnip greens
  • 1 bunch kale
  • 1 head cauliflower
  • 1 dozen eggs
  • 1 bunch beets with tops
  • 1 stalk Brussels sprouts
  • 1/2 lb. bag stir fry mix

And, it’s exactly what we received.

I was excited to see the Brussels sprouts.  I’ve been eyeing this recipe from my pal Katie.  I’m thawing my bacon for it now.  I have all of the other ingredients on hand.  We were out of eggs, so I was glad to get them in my bag this week.  I’ve made the butternut squash custard drink a couple of times now and don’t want to be out of eggs just in case I want to make it again.


These are the turnip greens.  We don’t get them too often.  My go to recipe for greens that I don’t know what to do with is quiche.  So, I’ll probably make one of them this week.  It will include some leftover chicken and turnip greens.  And, it’s another reason that I’m glad we got eggs this week (although I also have some eggs frozen that I could use).  I like cooking the whole chickens.  We had them a lot growing up, so they never intimidated me.  I like making stock and using all of the pieces.


The different colors of cauliflower have been fun.  I’ll make this as a side dish and maybe serve them mashed.  The stir fry mix will go into a stir fry.  Wasn’t that an original idea.  I may combine it with some spaghetti squash and serve it Asian style.


My family isn’t a big fan of the spaghetti squash with tomato squash.  I need to investigate some additional recipes for it.  The peppers will go into chili that I am making tomorrow.


I’ll probably just sauté the kale.  I don’t have anything specific in mind.  I’ll make Harvard beets and use the greens in some eggs this week.


Apples almost always go in oatmeal and for snacks.  These will be no exception.  I don’t like apple cider.  I may decide to try it again some day, but it always has given me a headache.  That being said, Stephen, Nick and Sally all like it so they will enjoy it this week.


So, our winter season is off and running.  Three weeks in a row and then we go to every other week until May.  I love the CSAs, but I am also looking forward to a break in the action so we can use some of our preserved food.  I also need to start cooking some of the lamb soon.


What does Hurricane Sandy have to do with a movie projector?  My son Nick has quite the imagination.

He and Sally love to darken the living room.  They turn out all of the lights that they can so the room is dark for their “movie”.  A movie to them is a 30 minute PBS show, a Wallace and Gromit episode or maybe The Muppet Movie.

During the storm last week, Nick asked me if he could use the flashlight.  It’s one of his favorite toys.  I told him that he couldn’t use the flashlight because if we lost power from hurricane Sandy, we were going to need the flashlight to have good batteries.

Sigh, and he went off to play with something else.

Today, Nick came running into the kitchen asking me if hurricane Sandy was over.  Yes, it’s over.  He excitedly asked me if he could use the flashlight now.  I said sure and got it down for him.  The next thing I know, it’s on the steps, turned on, facing the TV.  It’s now the movie projector.

Kids are great.

 Posted by at 7:02 PM

I’m glad that we have the right to vote.  I’m sick of the ads and all of the political talk.  I’m heading to bed early today.  I can learn everything I need to know in the morning.  My hope is that we actually know who the president will be by the time I wake up.

Nick learned all about elections in preschool this week.  They did some matching exercises with which candidate liked which food.  I hope that he grows up to vote by looking at the issues at hand and not based on which was likes the same food.

Sally didn’t really understand voting at all yet.  She’s to the stage where she knows that she has to “agree” with her brother to watch a TV show before I’ll turn it on.  I’m glad that they are learning how to share and negotiate their opinions.  I think some of our politicians could learn a ton from the little kids.  Nick learned the term brotherly this week as well.  I heard many words used to describe the debates and other campaigning, brotherly was not one of them.

I hope you all exercised your right to vote today (or in early voting).

 Posted by at 9:29 PM

Tonight, I attended the Fresh Fork Market first Thanksgiving Dinner and cooking class.  I had a great time.  I got to spend time with friends of Fresh Fork that I don’t see often.


This was mainly a dinner event, with occasional demos and commentary from Chefs Adam and Parker.  It was served family style with about 70 people in attendance.  The dishes just kept coming.  We had turkey, cabbage, corn, sweet potato hash, mashed potatoes, cauliflower, 2 types of stuffing, gravy, greens, 4 different desserts including fresh whipped cream.  Whew!  I don’t even know if I remembered everything.


The lighting wasn’t very good for photos, but I managed to snap a few.  Here’s Trevor (head of Fresh Fork)  and Parker (Fresh Fork’s chef in residence).


I didn’t get a photo of Chef Adam, but we enjoyed his discussion about turkey and his bacon panna cotta.  It was an outstanding dessert!  No Fresh Fork Thanksgiving would be complete without pie from Humble Pie Bakery.  Diane talked to us about pies for a few minutes.  One of the best parts of the night was that the chefs were available for questions.


If you haven’t had fresh whipped cream, you are missing out.  It was a great compliment to the apple, pumpkin, and confetti pie or on its own.


I surely won’t be hungry at breakfast.  Everything was great and I hope they repeat the event next year.  For the first time, I am going to be making Thanksgiving dinner with my mom.  I can’t wait to introduce our family to a couple of new recipes.

 Posted by at 11:09 PM