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

No, I didn’t recently go to Israel to pick onions, but as you may recall, my friend recently moved there.  She sent me this post to share about onion picking.  She’s also compiling a “foodie list” of things for me to see and do when I have the opportunity to visit.

Today my family and I headed out to a field about an hour from us to pick onions. We weren’t picking for us, we were picking for a charity group that gleans fields that farmers have already picked in order to donate the food to food pantries.  The field we went to was in Nahalal (in Israel), and while it may be far from where you are, like I said, it only happens to be an hour from us. There were about 31 of us, so the crowd was sizable.


The directions were pretty simple: pick a row, pick every onion that is not rotten or too small, remove as much of the paper as you can, throw it in a bucket. They collected all the buckets and as a group we ended up filling two large crates (maybe six feet by six feet by 4 feet, but it was a guess).

We started picking around 9 a.m. when it wasn’t too hot, and kept going until 11:15 a.m. (when it was VERY HOT). The group stopped for fruit and water, and then everyone else went back to picking. My kids were done by then, and a friend of my husband who lives on the next kibbutz over heard we were around and stopped by to say hi. The group picked until about 12:15 p.m. and then everyone was done and ready to go. By the time we left a group of army recruits from the base nearby had shown up to finish the field, along with a bunch of employees from a corporate bank. They get a lot of volunteers, which is great, they have a lot of fields to cover.
Afterwards we took the bus to Tsfat, instead of home, and enjoyed dinner with a beautiful view of the Kinneret. A good day all around.  It is 7:00 p.m. as I type this and I still smell like onions. I’d never picked onions before, so it was definitely an experience. Next year I hope we get to pick something a bit more tasty and a little less smelly.

Thanks for sharing!  I can’t wait to hear about more adventures.

 Posted by at 10:17 PM

Hello Life Lyn Style readers!  My name is Kelly and I am the lucky locavore girl who had the pleasure of picking up Lyn’s Geauga Family Farms CSA share today while she is on vacation.  This is me-


Being a goof on my own recent vaca

I don’t currently have a blog of my own, but maybe someday soon you’ll see me sharing stories of parenting, running, and my adventures in local eating.

I know Lyn because she is a fellow Fresh Fork Market CSA customer/part-time employee.  We’ve worked the Spring Fabulous Food show together, noshed on the best local breakfast in CLE at Lucky’s Cafe, and had an interesting time attempting the pain-in-the-butt delicate art of pierogi making.

I’ve heard wonderful things about the GFF CSA, but so far my only experience with it has been right here on Lyn’s little slice o’ internet.  The pick up at Whole Foods was super easy and at first glance the produce looked terrific.  Picking up my FF share always feels a bit like Christmas but this time I had no clue what was going to be in the bag!  So fun:)  Here is the surprise I received-

Doesn't it look amazing?!?!

Swiss Chard, Broccoli, Cauliflower, Green Onions, Pickling Cukes, 1 Slicing Cuke, Leaf Lettuce, 1 Yellow Squash, Sugar Snap Peas, Cherry Tomatoes, and 1 Slicing Tomato

Everything seems to be extremely fresh and it all looks so tasty.  Lyn usually shares her well thought out plans for the produce in her bags, but I am a bit of a slacker, and honestly most of this stuff is going to be eaten raw in salads and as snacks.  The main exception will be the Swiss Chard.  I’m going to take a recipe from my fav book Animal, Vegetable, Miracle , along with local carrots and eggs from my Fresh Fork bag, and turn them into Eggs in a Nest.

Bag Highlights (In my humble opinion)-


These have no chance of becoming pickles! My little bean and I have already demolished the bag:)


More snack food. I love that the cherry tom container is #1 plastic so it can either be reused or recycled in our community.


Give peas a chance. Best. Snack. Ever.

Big thanks go out to Lyn and her family for sharing their bounty with me while they are enjoying some time off in Delaware.  I hope that they have a lovely and relaxing vacation.  Thanks also to the peeps in Geauga County who put together a fantastic bag of Ohio goodness that does not contain Kohlrabi:)

What?!?!  Kohlrabi in next week’s FFM bag?  Freecycle here I come………


 Posted by at 10:14 PM

Good morning from Love You More Than You Know. Thank you to Lyn for having me as a guest blogger for the Ohio Blogging Association‘s All State Blog Swap.  Thanks to Alicia for organizing today’s swap.

Lyn’s blog celebrates the joy of being a mom and taking care of herself and her family.

My experience with taking care of our children and spouses always seems to revolve around food. With my husband, five children, their spouses, and 10 grandchildren so far, someone’s always hungry!

Joe 3 yrs

It seems like not to long ago, my children were as young as Lyn’s are now. Here is a picture of my son, Joe as a three year old. When he was little, I would bundle him up to face the world safe and snug. Looking into his bright eyes, I would say, “Make sure you wear your boots and jacket and hat! I never imagined thinking, “Make sure you wear your boots and flak jacket and Kevlar helmet!”

Joe Iraq

Here is a picture of Sgt.Joe Reinart, at 23 years of age, in the Ohio National Guard, when he was active duty and deployed for 15 months during Operation Iraqi Freedom.

Guess what Joe always asked me to send in his care packages? Joe asked for food because anytime they left their barracks, the soldiers had to be in full body armor and gear. For lunch everyday the soldiers had MREs (Meals Ready to Eat). Sometimes it was just easier to eat what you had in your room and not go out in the heat after working a 12-14 hour day.


So every week, I would shop for groceries in Ohio to send halfway around the world—always buying enough so that my soldier could share with those who didn’t receive any packages. Joe made so many chocolate chip muffins from a mix that just needed water and a toaster oven that he became know as the Muffin Man.


For Joe’s birthday I sent a “Party in a Box”, including streamers, party plates, napkins, cups, candles, candy, party favors (squirt guns) and a banner that read HAPPY BIRTHDAY. I researched on the Internet what kind of cake had the best chance of surviving the extreme heat (temperatures 100-130 degrees) for the two weeks to twenty-one days it might take the package to arrive. The answer was an un-iced angel food cake. To solve the problem of frosting, I added a jar of Nutella, the chocolate hazelnut spread, so that Joe could frost the cake when the package arrived at his barracks.

Sending care packages was a way for my soldier to be connected to home. We made it through Joe’s deployment and celebrated when he came home. We continue to have many meals together as a family. The celebration continues as Joe is getting married in July!


I will continue bringing you true stories of our heroes in uniform, sharing with you the bravery and sacrifices that our troops and their families make everyday for all of us. You are invited to share your story about your soldier at Love You More Than You Know as a guest blogger. Send stories to




About Janie Reinart
Love You More Than You Know: Mothers’ Stories About Sending Their Sons and Daughters to War (Gray & Company, 2009 at

A storyteller, educator, and freelance writer, Janie seeks ways to give people a voice to tell their own stories through prose and poetry. She and her husband, Ed, are grateful for their five children and grandchildren. Most weekends, you will find Janie praying and singing with the choir at Holy Angels Catholic Church.

Janie’s chapter, “Boots to Ground “ in Love You More Than You Know, won second place in the National Federation of Press Women’s 2010 Communications Contest in the category of a chapter/essay in a nonfiction book. Her chapter won first place in the Ohio Professional Writer’s Communications Contest.

Janie’s blog Love You More Than You Know is a finalist for the 2012 Milbloggies (6th Annual) Best U.S. Military Parent Blog Award.


Thanks to Janie for sharing her post today.  Her passion for our soldiers is amazing!  I’m definitely going to look into sending a care package to a soldier this year.


Hi, everyone! This weekend’s adventure with Nick and Sally was to the Great Lakes Science Center, where they took me (their dad) to see all the neat stuff.

Great Lakes Science Center main entrance

I was excited to go. Though I have been to GLSC for various events, I have never really been in the galleries to see the permanent exhibits. Even better, part of the museum has been redone as the NASA Glenn Research Center’s visitor’s center, after budget cuts forced the closure of the original visitor’s center. I have fond memories of numerous school trips to NASA and was looking forward to seeing it again after a few decades away.

Imagine my excitement when, as soon as we walked in the door, I saw a real Apollo capsule on display. This one carried a crew to Skylab, the US’s first space station. Nick has been very much into rockets and space ships lately. I wasn’t sure he understood at first, but he got excited once he had a look inside and saw the seats and controls. Later, he told Lyn, “I saw a real space ship!”

Nick and Sally take a look at the Skylab 3 Apollo capsule

Nick and Sally tolerated a trip into the biomedical engineering section, to humor their Daddy who has worked in that field for some years. They enjoyed it more than they expected. Nick liked working controls to move a dummy’s arm (the exhibit was about using electronics to move paralyzed limbs), and Sally liked playing with a giant DNA model.

Next, we visited the play area on the third floor. Nick enjoyed fixing a play car they had. Sally preferred to drive it.


Uh oh, it looks like Sally needs to make some repairs, too…

On the way out, we passed through the electricity exhibit. Nick asked recently how traffic lights work, so he took a few minutes to investigate.

After too many detours to count, we finally made it out of the exhibit hall and into the main entryway. I breathed a sigh of relief — at this age, lunch and naps are very important things. Suddenly Nick exclaimed, “Daddy, I can see the stairs!” I looked around, seeing an escalator, but no stairs. Eventually I saw what both children had already seen. This escalator had a glass side to show the steps circulating back down to the bottom. The escalator held their attention for longer than many of the exhibits.

Finally, we made it back to our car. The outing was deemed a success by all. We will be returning. We have plenty of museum left to explore.


As a part of today’s Ohio Blogging Association Cleveland November Blog Swap, I’m happy to introduce you to Danielle from Namaste Or Should I Go?  Today, bloggers from around Northeast Ohio are guest posting on one another’s blogs as a way to get to know others in our blogging community. For a full listing of blog swap participants, please visit Poise in Parma today.

Getting Started with Bikram Yoga

Hello Life Lyn Style readers! Allow me to introduce myself – my name is Danielle and I’m a teacher at Ohio’s first Bikram Yoga studio, Bikram Yoga Cleveland ( in Shaker Heights.

On blog swap day, Lyn suggested that I write about starting yoga, since it’s something she’s never done, due to fear of doing it wrong, weight trouble, knee issues, and so forth. Well never fear, LLS readers – I’m hear to tell you all about Bikram Yoga, how to get started, and why it’s the perfect form of yoga for beginners!

As Bikram Choudhury, the founder of Bikram Yoga, likes to say:

“You’re never too old, never too bad, never too late and never too sick to do the yoga and start from the scratch once again.”


Bikram Yoga Cleveland in Shaker Heights


We start, of course, with…What is Bikram Yoga?

Bikram Yoga is a sequence of 26 Hatha Yoga postures (and two breathing exercises) selected and developed by Bikram Choudhury.  These postures, performed in the same order each 90 minute class, systematically work every part of the body, to give all the internal organs, ligaments, and muscles everything they need to maintain optimum health and maximum function.

And yes, it’s hot in there; we heat the room to 105 degrees with 40% humidity.

Wait, what?  105 degrees?! And you’re saying this is GOOD for beginners? Please explain.

Bikram likes to use the metaphor of forging a sword to explain the need for heat (I’m quoting from his “Bikram’s Beginning Yoga Class” book): “Suppose you are going to make a sword.  You start with a piece of fine steel and the first thing you do is put the steel in the fire and heat it up.  When the steel is hot, it becomes soft.  Then you can hammer it and slowly you make it change shape to the sword you want…now, if you don’t heat it up and start hammering the cold steel, nothing is going to happen to the steel, but you break your hand, the hammer, your arm.  The same thing happens when you do any exercise, even Hatha Yoga, in a cold environment.”

The heat makes you less likely to strain, to pull a muscle, to hurt yourself.  You’re more flexible and malleable, just like that fine piece of steel. For beginners, especially those with old injuries, scar tissue, tight muscles, etc that’s a fantastic way to stretch your body without aggravating it.

Also, when you exercise in a hot, humid room, you sweat.  You sweat a lot.  And that has such a wonderful, detoxifying effect on your whole body.  When you walk out of that room, and you’ve worked every muscle and joint in your body and sweated out every toxin, you will feel AMAZING.  There’s no high like a Bikram Yoga high, I promise you that!


Bikram Yoga Cleveland’s studio space


Won’t the class be full of skinny, bendy young people? I’m worried I’ll feel self-conscious about my weight/tummy/legs/<insert body issue here>.


Nope! The great thing about Bikram Yoga Cleveland is that because we’ve only just opened, we have a wonderful mix of beginners and advanced students alike. In every class you’ll see all shapes, sizes, and abilities. The heat and structure of the class make it easier to just focus on yourself and not worry about what people are doing, feeling, or wearing around you. Plus, Bikram Yoga is FANTASTIC not only for weight loss, but for building muscle and, especially, improving overall health. It can change your life!

And don’t worry if you can’t do all the postures right away – because every class is structured the same, you’ll feel more familiar with the poses and start seeing improvements in balance, strength and flexibility within only a week or two!

Besides, in Bikram Yoga it doesn’t matter how flexible you are, how close you can get to the full expression of the posture – as long as you’re doing it 100% the right way, you’re getting 100% of the benefit, regardless of how deep you can go, how long you can balance.  Bikram Yoga is for everyone!


Danielle in Half Moon Pose (in Napa Valley)


Okay, I admit it, I’m intrigued.  How do I learn more?

There’s lots of useful information on our website,   And stop by or call, we’re happy to answer any questions!  We’re located on Fairmount Circle by John Carroll University.  There’s plenty of free parking in the adjacent lot.

See you in the hot room!



With all of my travels, I asked my friend Chaya to write a post about being a vegan.  She was happy to oblige.  Thanks Chaya!

I have been a vegan now for over 17 years, and I can tell you that the first question people ask me after I tell them of my culinary choice is “So wait, what do you eat?” My stock answer is a chuckle and to reply “Food.” This also seems to baffle people. And so they press further, “well, what did you have for dinner last night?” For some reason people always ask about dinner, which I find strange, but we can discuss that in some other guest post. So I have come to demystify you. What are we crazy vegans eating for dinner?

Let’s first start by explaining what we crazy vegans are not eating for dinner. The vegan diet consists of the basic rule “don’t eat anything that is a by product of something which had a face/mother.” On my table you will find no fish, dairy products, meat, eggs, or honey. Before you decide that I am off my rocker let me offer up some foods you may easily find which are vegan. Oreos are vegan, Lays potato chips, Coca Cola, Barilla spaghetti, Luigi’s Italian ice, and when you ask for soymilk, even a Starbuck’s Frappucino is vegan and the list goes on and on. I admit that list is rather unhealthy, but you get the idea, none of us are starving.

Back to dinner. I menu plan pretty vigorously in my house. I regularly have to cook for myself, my husband, my three youngins, and my mother. Let me tell you, everyone likes eating something else, but in my kitchen everyone eats vegan. So I submit to you, gentle readers, my menu for the next week.

Sunday: Tofu stirfry with tons of vegetables from our CSA, brown rice, and melon smoothies. This meal makes everyone happy. My older kids love tofu, my baby loves rice, my husband will eat anything with soy sauce on it, and my mother will eat anything she does not have to cook.

Monday: Sourdough bread stew, and acorn squash bake. Monday I clean out the fridge because we pick up our CSA, and I need to use up that bread. I always make a big green salad. So we’ll have that as well.

Tuesday: Sheperd’s pie. Need I say more? Veggies with mashed potatoes on top, no one complains.

Wednesday: Rice and beans. This is a fast and cheap meal, two things I love. I’ll also sauté some kale.

Thursday: I’m out this night on a regular basis so I make dinner easy. Bush’s vegetarian baked beans, Lightlife hotdogs, and French fries. Not super healthy, but it is a special once a week treat.

Friday: Tempeh bake. I admit my kids are not super fond of this meal as I bake tempeh with potatoes and sauerkraut, but my kids love to pick out the tempeh and potatoes, so it isn’t that bad.

Saturday: My husband and son eat at synagogue for dinner, and I am too lazy to do anything by this point, so the rest of us eat cereal and soymilk.

I have more meals that I regularly cook: meatloaf, lasagna, quiche, tacos and a variety of other things, but this was just to give you an idea. So next time you meet a vegan, ask ‘em what they for lunch.

 Posted by at 10:07 PM

Today, I took a day off from blogging and invited my husband Stephen to do a guest post.  He accepted.  He writes a technical blog about electronics at  Feel free to stop by.

Enjoy his post, I’ll be back tomorrow!


A few months ago, we got an Akron Zoo membership. I don’t quite remember why Akron instead of Cleveland, but I think the idea was that Lyn’s parents, who live in Akron, would find it easier to go to their local zoo with Nick and Sally. Today, though, Lyn wanted to go to her parents’ house to do help out with some housework and the like, so Nick and Sally took me to the Akron Zoo without Lyn.

It was the first time any of the three of us had been to this zoo. I had been warned numerous times that Akron’s Zoo was smaller than Cleveland’s. It may well have been, but I would not have noticed. I let Nick and Sally set the pace, and there was plenty of zoo we did not see. That’s fine – it’s more to see next time.  That philosophy is a big change for me, but Lyn introduced me to the idea that if you become a member of a zoo or museum, it is perfectly OK to visit for a half an hour or to not see the whole thing. I was brought up with the philosophy that if you were paying for admission, you were going to stay until you saw everything, period. This relaxed approach was a change, but it is one I enjoy, and I’d recommend buying a membership at any institution you might like to explore in depth over the course of a year.

Right after walking through the gate, we saw the penguins. Sally was not sure about them initially, until she started watching them swim underwater. From on top of my shoulders, the view was not to her liking, but on the ground, her height was perfect to watch them swim. Gales of giggles emerged every time a penguin swam by, which touched off chuckles in some of the surrounding adults…


After that, it was off to visit some fellow primates in the lemur house. Nick was fascinated, as evident from his studious look.


Before we left for the zoo, Nick asked to see a lion and a tiger, so we followed the signs in that direction. First, though, we came across a carousel. “Oooh, Daddy, I want to go on that!”  It turns out that he is just tall enough to ride alone under their rules, which was nice because then I could escort Sally. Had he been an inch shorter, I would have needed to quickly divide into two in order to let them ride.

Sally was initially excited as the carousel started up, but as it reached cruising speed, she got a little doubtful and wanted to be held. Nick loved his ride on a penguin.


Carousel ride over, we found Nick his tiger. We found the lion too, sort of. It was a hot day, and the lions were sensibly taking a nap in the shade behind a rock. All we could see was a bit of mane and a left flank. Venturing on, though, we less-sensible primates found our quarry:


It was time to meet Lyn and her parents for lunch. On the way out we stopped for photos at one last carousel animal. Sally found this one more to her liking.


All in all, it was quite a successful outing. We all had fun.

As we drove back to Grandma and Grandpa’s house, we sang the Peter, Paul, and Mary song that titles this post:

We’re going to the zoo, zoo, zoo.
How about you, you, you?
You can come too, too, too.
We’re going to the zoo, zoo, zoo!