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.


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.


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.


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


Many of the stalls from the market were represented.


These blue costumes were made from recycled plastic bags.


Stilts are always fun to watch.


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.


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

Today I took Nick and Sally to Eddy’s Fruit Farm in Chesterland to pick apples. We met a friend of Nick’s there, as well as his parents and grandmother. I enjoyed meeting them, and it turns out that his Dad and I have some links via my alma mater.

In any event, the purpose of the day was apples. As Lyn may have mentioned, the tree fruit crop this year was hurt badly by this spring’s weather. Some U-pick farms don’t have picking at all this year, while others, like Eddy’s, are open for picking fewer days than usual. That said, the picking was great today. The trees were laden with ripe apples. Here and there they were even bunched like grapes down a heavily-bent branch.

As usual, the picking on the low branches wasn’t very good near the entrance. There were still some to get up high (I’m over six feet tall, which helps) and, of course, the farthest corner of the orchard is always the least-picked.

We started with Golden Delicious. Nick spent some time picking with his friend, while Sally picked with me. She was full of giggles when she picked one apple and had the other one come along for the ride.

There was a chilly breeze blowing despite the sunny day, and Sally was cold. Worse, she was missing her nap, so she soon asked to ride in the stroller. A few minutes later, she asked, “Daddy, can I pick from the stroller?”  I found a low-hanging branch and let her try. After she picked two of the four apples on that branch, she was done and ready to nestle under her blanket. We switched to picking some kind of red apple, and Nick decided to give one a try. It disappeared quickly, so it must be good.


We picked 49 pounds of apples, which comes to about a bushel and a quarter. I was impressed with our haul until Lyn told me it took 21 pounds of apples to can 7 quarts of applesauce. Ah, well, I can pat myself on the back for hauling all 49 pounds to the car while pushing a stroller and conversing with an inquisitive Nick. Yes, there are special skills daddies develop.

All in all, it was a good outing. We left a few apples on the trees, but if you go, be sure to call first to check hours and availability.


Today was a rainy, but very green pick up.  We haven’t seen this much green since the spring.


Here’s what we were expecting to receive this week:

  • 1 lb. city chicken (cubed Berkshire pork)
  • 1 head broccoli
  • 1 bunch turnips
  • 1 spaghetti squash
  • A handful Croatian peppers
  • 1 bunch beets
  • 1 bunch mustard greens
  • 1 head cabbage
  • 1 bunch kale
  • 1 head cauliflower
  • 1 lb. bulk Italian Sausage
  • Approx. 1 lb. onions
  • 8 oz. piece smoked cheddar cheese

We actually had our choice of the city chicken or a pork tenderloin.  We haven’t had tenderloin in ages and I had never had city chicken.  I ended up buying one as an extra.  The Italian sausage I cooked up to go with some pasta for dinner tonight.


Turnips are hard for me, but I’ve been perusing some new recipes.  Cabbage is always welcome in our house.  I’ll probably make unstuffed cabbage this week.


Local broccoli is one of my favorites.  It will probably be part of tomorrow’s dinner.  I’ll use the peppers in quiche or chili this week.


I’m going to prep the greens by sautéing all of them in the morning.  That way they will be easy to add to quiche, eggs or other dishes throughout the week.


I’ll probably include the onion when I sauté.


The smoked cheddar will go into quiche or perhaps some butternut squash burritos that I was just reading about.  We ate most of the cauliflower at dinner tonight.  The left over will be part of lunch tomorrow.


I love winter squash, but spaghetti squash is not my favorite.  I must research a new way to prepare it.  We are still finishing up our last two.


I missed apples this week.  Hopefully, Stephen will be taking the kids picking tomorrow and we can make some applesauce this week.  Last year, we canned many quarts and still didn’t have enough to get through the winter months.


Nick has been taking swim lessons for a while now.  There was a several week break in the summer, but today was the first day of a new session.  Sally is also finally old enough.  Well she is almost old enough, but since her birthday is next month, we thought we would try it.  Both kids were super excited today.  Sally packed her swim bag this morning 8 full hours before we needed it.


Sally loves her “swim bag” and made sure to hold on to it and the elevator.  Nick forgot his goggles and borrowed the yellow ones from Sally.  His lesson was first, so Sally spent some time in Kid Kare before her lesson.  That worked great since then I didn’t have to watch her on the pool deck during Nick’s lesson.


Nick’s lesson was mostly a review of past skills.  He did well and still loves the water.  Sally couldn’t nap today since she was so wound up.  I was just hoping she would actually like the lesson since she was so keyed up.


She couldn’t be happier.  I’m glad she was so comfortable in the water without me.


There were 5 kids and 2 instructors in her class.  The instructors trade off and work one on one and in groups with the kids.  She was really relaxed.


She even liked it on her back.


These dumbbells are used to help them float while they move their hands to swim.


I think our first lesson was a huge success.  I just hope that next week comes with an afternoon nap first.

 Posted by at 8:11 PM

The end of September brought us to Farmpark, one of our favorite family places, once again. This time was for the Fall Harvest Festival and Antique Tractor and Farm Engine Show, which is a bit of a mouthful, but lots of fun.

It was a grey day that threatened rain, but we went anyway. Right when we walked in the door, Nick and Sally found the Western Reserve Spinners and Weavers Guild practicing their craft. The ladies of the guild were friendly and patient and had just the right touch answering Nick and Sally’s questions, or in at least one case, just keeping on spinning as Nick inspected the wheel from all angles. I thought it was very nice that they were perfectly happy to stop their craft to answer questions from our two little ones. The weaver answered particularly many questions, and showed Nick and Sally all about her loom and the patterned weave she was making.

We went outdoors next, and saw quite a few fascinating tractors and other machines. I think I enjoyed this part the most, though Nick found some interesting things to look at, too. Sally quickly saw enough tractors and machines and preferred to stay comfortably cozy.

Farmpark had a corn maze to explore, but for the little ones, they also had a straw bale maze. Sally was hesitant, but Nick ran right in. Soon she saw the fun he was having and decided to dive in and had fun, too.


It was lunchtime, a very important time of the day for two young ones (and their father), so I tried to hustle them to the car. But no, they saw the woodcarver and had to stop. I’m glad we did. He was every bit as wonderful with them as the spinners and weavers were, and patiently explained what he was doing and let Nick and Sally touch anything they wanted except his blades, which he kept a little less obvious than safer things. Sally was tired and started out watching from her stroller, but soon she wanted to get into the action as well.


He explained to them that they could carve, too. My protective instincts got a little worried, but he soon explained to them (and to me?) that the chips he cut off with his knife were the same thing as the dust from sandpaper, and that sandpaper was like thousands of tiny knives that they could carve with. They jumped at the opportunity to participate and soon were discovering how sandpaper turns rough wood into smooth.

By then we were well into lunchtime. My plan for our grumbellies having collapsed, I invited Nick and Sally to lunch in Farmpark’s cafe. That’s a rare treat in our frugal family. Just to make it better, we sat next to some good friends that our family knows well. It took a few reminders to get all the kids to eat instead of playing. We went home tired, fed, and sleepy. It was another great day at Lake Farmpark.



Our CSA pick up was smooth today.

Here’s what we received:


Red Russian kale, romaine lettuce


Garlic, bell peppers


Apples, butternut squash


I feel like the share is a bit light this week.  The lettuce will go into salads.  We’ll use some peppers for snacking.  I’ll chop the garlic and use it with the kale.  The apples will be for snacking and oatmeal.  I’m going to use some squash for soup and roast the rest as cubes.  (I have two of them in our kitchen right now).

I’ve been extra busy the last couple of weeks.  I’m anxious to get back to cooking more.


Saturday night, I took my mom to see The Zak Brown Band.  It’s ok if you’ve never heard of them.  They are a country band and they are great.

I hadn’t been to a concert (other than the orchestra) for some time.  Mom has a friend who works there.  She asked what we were allowed to bring.  The reply was something like blankets, low chairs, single bottle of factory sealed water, food in a clear Ziploc bag.

When I ordered the tickets, I paid extra for paved parking.  Between my knee issues and the weather, I didn’t want to park in the grass lots.  When the tickets came, the parking passes had “It is in your best interest to arrive by 5PM”.  I thought that 5PM was awfully early for an 8PM show, but then I realized that the show started at 7PM.

I had to leave my docent class early to be able to be there close to 5PM.  I made my way down to Akron, ate a quick sandwich and mom and I headed to Blossom.

When we arrived, we had no problem parking.  As soon as we parked, I was wishing for my camera.  The tailgating that was going on in the parking lot was AMAZING.  There was food, beer, chairs, etc. everywhere.

We made our way toward the gate.  Our bag was searched and we headed to the ticket collection area.  We had our tickets scanned and entered the grounds.

There were lots of booth set up with various groups and radio stations.  I took note that WGAR was going to have a Zak Brown Band takeover from the end of the concert until midnight.

We headed to the grass (the pavilion was sold out before we had decided to go to the concert).  The next thing we knew, there was a gate at the top of the hill.  We had to stand in line until they opened up the grass.  It was so surprising.  It’s 5:20PM and we are standing in line.  We ended up there until just after 6PM.  Remember that the concert starts at 7PM.

We found a good spot on the grass and waited for the show to start.  Meanwhile, there are plenty of people selling beer ($10), water ($5) and other beverages.  Lots of people around us were drinking multiple beers.  Many people had also rented chairs for $10.  They would receive $5 back from returning it at the end of the night.

At 7PM sharp, the first opening act started.  They were ok, but not great enough where I remembered their name.  I was amazed at all of the people smoking around us.  I’m not sure if it was allowed or not, but I’m not sure how you’d police it.  Next time, I’ll bring some allergy medicine.

After a few songs and a short break, the next act came on.  They reminded us of Lyntrd Skynrd.  They didn’t remind me of anything country.  They played a few songs.  Then, there was a long break before the main event.

The crew spent a lot of time putting up a screen and centering/focusing some video equipment.  Soon enough, it displayed the city and date and a count down.

The band arrived and the show was AWESOME.  I’m so glad that my mom and I were enjoying the show.  It’s fun to watch her smile.

At some point during the show, a beer was flung toward us.  We didn’t see where it came from, but the can hit my mom on her shoulder.  It was full and sprayed all over a bunch of us.  She was ok, but who throws a $10 beer.  It was just one crazy part of the evening.

The other thing was that everyone had chairs (some rented) and blankets, but once The Zak Brown Band started, no one sat down the entire concert.  The chairs and blankets became place holders that people weaved through during the evening as they traveled up and down the hill.

The show ended with Chicken Fried which is the song that put the band on the map.  It was great.

We headed to our car and headed back to mom’s.  We enjoyed the Zak Brown songs on the radio until exactly midnight.  Syndicated programming took over in the middle of a song.

After dropping off mom, I made it back home just before 1AM.  All in all, it was a successful night.

 Posted by at 1:59 PM

FitBloggin’ was held at the Hyatt near Baltimore’s Inner Harbor.  McCormick had just opened a new store right across from the hotel.  Since they were such a generous sponsor, I had to go check it out.


I never realized that Thai Kitchen was a McCormick brand.


Being in Maryland, there’s no shortage of Old Bay Seasoning.


The store was part items to buy and part displays and interactive.  These cases were like a mini museum display.


There was an interactive where you could find our your flavor preferences based on choosing foods that you liked.


This vides showed how we get vanilla.  It was like watching a “How It’s Made”.


Besides the spices, there were also displays of some cooking tools.


Finally, now store at Inner Harbor is complete without souvenirs.


I didn’t need anything, but I had a 20% off coupon and left with some extracts.

It was a fun store and I’m sure it will be super busy around the holidays.

 Posted by at 11:11 AM

We picked up our bag in Mayfield today.  Tonight’s the Homecoming Football Game, so the hours are shortened and they are expecting full parking lots for the game.  We got there early and quickly picked up our bag.

What a pretty bag!


Here’s what we were expecting this week:

  • 1 piece Mayfield Road Creamery “Bloomfield,” a brie style cheese
  • 1 lb. raw honey
  • 1 bunch Swiss chard
  • 1 bunch carrots with tops
  • 1 bunch radishes
  • 1 bag mixed greens, can be used for braising or salad greens
  • 1 head speckled romaine lettuce (it will have brown spots…that is how it should be)
  • 1/2 dz. ears sweet corn
  • 1 quarter peck gala apples
  • 1 butternut squash (2 if they are small…but that’s doubtful based on what I’ve seen)
  • 1 pint mixed color cherry tomatoes
  • 2.5 lbs. Roma tomatoes
  • 2 zucchini/squash
  • Approx. 1 lb. onions
  • 1 head broccoli
  • A handful Croatian sweet peppers

We received everything exactly as listed.  I’ll probably just use the Swiss chard in a quiche.  We haven’t had it in a while and I plan to be home on Sunday, so it’s a good day to make it.  I’ll probably use some other veggies in it as well.  The kids are excited to see the carrots, so they’ll make an easy side dish for lunch one day this week.  I usually just cook them and sprinkle a bit of cinnamon on them.


I have plenty of eggs and think some zucchini muffins are in order.  The corn is going to need cooked today, so I’ll be adding it to tonight’s dinner.


I haven’t decided on a specific use for the Brie, but I’m sure it will disappear.  We use honey as our regular sweetener.  This will mostly go into tea and muffins.


I’m going to make some sauce this week and use the onion, peppers and tomatoes.  We also picked tomatoes from our garden, so we have plenty.



We’ve been eating the apples as they come.  I’m going to try to source some additional ones for sauce this week.  Winter squash is my favorite.  I’ll probably make soup with this butternut squash.


The speckled lettuce and radishes will go into salads.  The broccoli is part of tonight’s dinner.


I’m determined to tackle braising greens this winter.  We’ll see these often and I never can get away from the bitterness.  I am going to conquer them.  I’m open to ideas.


Hopefully, our schedule will start to calm down this week and I’ll be able to cook a bit more in the kitchen soon.  Lately, our meals have been thrown together based on what’s handy.  It works, but I miss some of the more complex dishes.


Last year, I attended FitBloggin’.  When I was researching about the conference, there was chatter about whether you really needed to bring an extra suitcase.  The answer is YES.

FitBloggin’ wouldn’t be possible without our awesome sponsors.  It’s not really possible to photograph it all, but I tried.

When we first arrived, were were given a traditional SWAG bag.  It’s basically a bag full of products from our sponsors.  This year, the bag was a nice Reebok duffle.  We had a choice of resistance band or yoga mat.  I chose the yoga mat.  Also included in our bag were Pop Chips, biPro protein powder, McCormick spices, Attune cereal, Nature Made vitamin C and fish oil, a I Love Beef apron, bars and more.  The next stop was the Reebok table where I picked up my shirt and shoes.  Yes, they are bright pink and I am going to wear them!


At lunch one day, we arrived to find this Be Epic bag with bottle and shirt hanging on our chairs.


Saturday night’s mixer was sponsored by Unilever.  With two young children and a love for cooking, I can never have too many wooden spoons or measuring cups.


Our Ignite Fitness Keynote was sponsored by Polar.  I spoke during the keynote and loved having the chance.  I’ll post more about it later after the video is available for sharing.


There were many more sponsors and I thank them all.  All of the generosity makes FitBloggin’ affordable and available to many bloggers.

I didn’t really need an extra suitcase, only because I left a bag and a box at my sister’s house.  She’ll bring it back to Ohio at Thanksgiving.

 Posted by at 1:53 PM