Last week, the kids and I were in Target picking up a prescription and we bought some fruit cups.  I needed a few easy snacks for the kids.

These Del Monte packs were on sale on an end cap and I picked some up.

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I needed a quick item to take to the J for a lifeguarding snack the other day and grabbed one of the peaches.  It tasted horrible!  I knew there was something fake in it.  Yuck!

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When I got home, I checked the label and noticed SUCRALOSE.  I hate sucralose.  It has an awful taste.  It’s also known as Splenda.  It’s no wonder that I couldn’t eat them.

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It was the same thing with the pears and oranges.

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But, if you bought the mandarin oranges in light syrup….

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they just had sugar.

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Yeah, it’s my fault for not reading the “artificially sweetened” description on the front and reading further.  But, really Del Monte, you have a recipe that uses plain sugar and felt the need to make two different products.  One with real ingredients and one with fake ones?

This is just another reason why I can my own peaches and pears whenever possible.  I also like to use honey and maple syrup for my sweeteners most of the time, but I would pick sugar over anything artificial.

 Posted by at 8:54 PM
 

I’m such a party animal this week.  I was out both Tuesday and Wednesday nights.

On Tuesday, we had the monthly gathering for the Ohio Bloggers Association.  Instead of a scheduled activity, we met at The South Side in Tremont for dinner.  We had most of their enclosed patio for our group.  It was nice when we first arrived, but the room didn’t have good acoustics and it quickly got very loud and hard to chat once everyone had arrived.

It’s always nice to catch up with local bloggers and hear about what’s going on in the area.   We did some mingling and when we sat down to order, we did a quick roundtable for introductions and announcements.

I ordered the pulled pork pita and a cup of chili.  Both dishes were excellent, however the chili was quite spicy for my taste.  We had close to 20 people and 2 servers who did a great job with our group.

Other bloggers in attendance:

I sat near Jen, Kimberly, Nadine, Julie and Tammy.  It was nice to chat, meet and catch up with them.  Next month is a virtual blog swap.  We’ll be paired with another blogger and exchange guest posts.  It should be fun!

Last night, after we enjoyed the Cleveland Museum of Natural History, I headed to Brothers Lounge in Lakewood.  I’ve been taking the docent class at the museum and one of my classmates plays trumpet in M2B2, specializing in big band music that was playing.    I met up with 3 other classmates to hear the band.  I also had the burger special for a late dinner.

The band was fun and reminded me of when I played in jazz band.  I’ve always enjoyed music and last night was no exception.  Oh, and if you ever go to the Brothers Lounge, they have some painted renditions of a few artists on the walls.  Included are Phil Collins, Mick Jagger, Jimmy Hendrix, and Gregg Allman.  Trust me, everyone will want to figure out the photos and you can stump them with Gregg Allman.  We asked several people that worked there and finally our friend in the band found out for us.

After two nights out in a row, I volunteered to guard at the pool at 5:15AM this morning.  I’m beat and definitely crashing early tonight.

 Posted by at 7:41 PM
 

The warm weather this week made it a perfect evening for a trip to the Cleveland Museum of Natural History. Nick brought a friend from school this time. They enjoyed some time in the new whale exhibit before I arrived. Then it was time for a fall dinner at the picnic tables outside. (Don’t forget to brush the leaves off the table!)

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After dinner, Nick found the boulders nearby an irresistible challenge. Sally spent some time hanging out with Steggie the stegosaurus.

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We went back in, and after a whirlwind tour of the dinosaur hall and the Perkins Wildlife Center, spent the rest of our evening at the museum in the basement, at the Smead Discovery Center. It’s a perpetual favorite.

All in all, it was a fine family evening out.

 

I’ve been continuing with my training to become a Cleveland Museum of Natural History docent.  I first wrote about becoming a docent a couple of weeks ago.

So far, we have covered astronomy, volcanoes, plate tectonics, earthquakes, rocks, gems, minerals, caves, Ohio geology and more.  I love this class!

We are basically getting an in depth tour all of the nooks and crannies the museum has to offer.  We are meeting many of the museum staff and educators along the way.  It’s amazing how many cool exhibits that I have just walked by in the past and never stopped to digest.

Each session we take a quiz which usually consists of a review of the previous session in the format of how we would use our knowledge with visitors.

My favorite thing so far is the rock and mineral touch cart.  As a docent, we’re able to take the carts out and use them to interact and educate visitors.  I can’t wait to practice with Nick and Sally.  I met another docent who had the cart out after our class finished with it on Saturday.  She knew all of the rocks and minerals inside and out.  She was great with the visitors.  I hope that I can schedule time to work at the cart with her soon.  As docents in training, we can learn a lot from the more experienced docents.

Next up we’ll be discussing taxonomy and climate change.  I’m excited to continue on my journey to become a docent.

 Posted by at 7:09 PM
 

Part of the celebrations for the West Side Market turning 100 this year included today’s festival and parade.  I had signed up to volunteer by selling soda and water.  I also was going to spend a bit of time before hand helping out Edible Cleveland.  I took the Rapid down to Ohio City.

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There was a nice tone set in the station with this trio playing.  I tried to check in at the volunteer tent, but it was too early for me since my shift was 2PM and it was about noon.  I found a spot to watch the parade under cover.  Since I was not on the main street, it was not crowded at all.  I’m sure the rain also kept the crowds down.

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The parade was fun to watch, but it was a bit strange too.  It definitely wasn’t your normal parade.  There was lots of people in market costumes.  The St. Ignatius band also participated.

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I was surprised that the woodwinds marched.  Usually, you don’t want to get them wet and it was raining pretty hard.

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Many of the stalls from the market were represented.

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These blue costumes were made from recycled plastic bags.

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Stilts are always fun to watch.

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My favorite was the birds which also ended the parade.   The timing of the parade was a bit off.  I thought it had ended three different times before we actually saw the end go by.

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I checked in with Edible Cleveland who didn’t need my assistance since it was pretty slow with the rain.  I also picked up a delicious crepe.  It was raining to hard to take photos.  I also talked to a few people selling drinks (since I was up next to do that at 2PM).  There were 7 stations set up.  They were so close together that you could see the next one down the road.  None of them were selling anything.  It just wasn’t the weather for it.  They also didn’t really have any cover.

At almost 1:45PM, I checked in with the volunteer tent and asked them if they were going to keep all of the stations.  They didn’t really know yet.  I told them that it wasn’t a good use of my time and I’d gladly stay if they had something to keep me busy.  I ended up bailing.

I wasn’t cold the entire time I was at the festival, but I got chilled on the way home on the rapid.  I enjoyed a nice shower and a hot beverage when I got home.

The festival was nicely done with vendors, food trucks, the market open on Sunday, etc.  The rain just made it a light turnout and kind of miserable.

Although I don’t visit the market often, I’m glad that we have it in Cleveland.  100 Years is awesome!

 Posted by at 8:28 PM
 

If I have to pick just one reason to go to FitBloggin’, it’s the fabulous people that you meet.  Some people are already friends, some people you only know from on-line and many others you meet throughout the conference.

Here’s a quick glimpse of some of just a few of my favorite people photos from the weekend.

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Everyone is friendly, welcoming and approachable.  It sets the foundation for a great conference.

 Posted by at 11:17 PM
 

Two years ago, I thought about becoming a docent for the Cleveland Museum of Natural History.  A docent is a person who trains to be an educator and guide.  Usually, it’s a volunteer position.  The docent training at the museum is like taking a college level class about the overall museum.  The class meets for about 60 hours over the course of a few months from September until December.  I already had many weekend things planned and could not take the class at that time.  I planned to take it last year, but then found out that it’s only offered every other year.

I had it on my radar early this year and filled out an application and interviewed back in May.  I’m so excited that our class began about two weeks ago.

I am going to become a docent for several reasons.  We love going to the museum.  As a family, we go there 2-4 times a month.  I want to know about all of the exhibits so as Nick and Sally learn about various topics, I can enhance their knowledge based on what’s availble at the museum.

The other reason to volunteer as a docent is to help inform and educate museum visitors. Docents are guides, they help interpret exhibits, they staff “please touch” carts with specimens and models visitors can handle, they staff off-site events for the museum, and they act generally as ambassadors for the museum. I look forward to sharing tidbits about the museum as I go through the course.

 Posted by at 10:08 PM
 

This is the last night at the beach house.  My sister Holly really wanted to play Reverse Charades.  She touted it as the best group party game ever.  She has a huge closet full of games at home.  She likes to entertain and plays games often.  As soon as we got the kids to bed, all of the parents and grandparents played 3 rounds of male vs. female.

It was awesome.  I’ll be adding this game to our collection soon.  Just imagine 4 guys trying to act our c-section or garter while one of them guesses.  We laughed and laughed.  My smile muscles are sore and I can’t think of a better way to end vacation.

One last sunrise on the beach and then we’re packing up.

 Posted by at 10:37 PM
 

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We are having a great time on vacation.  Tonight, we remembered to take a few pictures while everyone was at the house at the same time.  We followed this up with a great home made Jeopardy game.  I’ll have more to say about that later.

 Posted by at 10:17 PM