Sunday, April 10, 2011

Horseback Riding at Winton Woods Riding Center

Sophia had the opportunity to go horseback riding with her girlscout friends! She had a great time, although she said her horse was the only one who wouldn't stay in line and do what it was supposed to do! Figures, she ended up with the same kind of horse I always ended up with, at least hers didn't step on her toe and break it like the last horse I rode did to my toe or have her horse run into a brach on a tree and tear up her arm! I haven't been on a horse since, and that was back when I was in maybe 5th grade and away at overnight summer camp!

A couple of pictures:
Tomatosphere--we have sprouts!

We have our first 3 sprouts from our tomato seeds we planted as part of our tomatosphere project! 1 is even considered an actually germination because it already has 2 leaves!

For the first time in my life I have been able to GROW SOMETHING from a seed that actually GREW....OK, let me take that back, I actually GREW A PLANT from a seed...I guess technically I have grown a few other things in my life...10 of them well enough to produce my beautiful children....but this is my first success using soil and seed and I am so EXCITED about my tomatoes!

Luke was so cute, I was showing them to him and I said “see our tomatoes are growing!” and he says “Me eat that one!” pointing to the biggest one! I told him he has to wait a little while before he eats his tomatoes!

Friday, April 08, 2011

Happy 11th Birthday Cade! We are celebrating our 2nd brithday of the year! Cade is now officially 11 years old! Happy Birthday!

The weather COOPERATED! We has GREAT FUN today designing and launching different types of rockets. All of the kids made rockets out of 2 liter bottles and launched them using a very simple launcher (pvc pipe and a bike pump), it was so much fun to watch the rockets take off and gain height and then fall back to the ground! Jacob didn't do ANYTHING to his 2 liter and of course, because it was the lightest, it went the highest! We also experiments with vinegar and baking soda and also alka seltzer tablets as "rocket" fuel! One of the families brought a HUGE water powered rocket and the boys had a great time trying to figure out how to get it to launch.....when it finally took off, half of us weren't even paying attention any longer because it had taken so long for them to get it to launch!

Friday April 8, 2011 at Miami Riverview Park
In April we will be making and launching rockets:

Items needed:
film canisters (I have pretty many of these, but if you have some laying around please bring them)
alka-seltzer tablets (would someone like to buy a box to bring?)
I will bring vinegar and baking soda
2 liter soda bottle (minimum of 1 per rocket, can use 2 per rocket)
foam core, cardboard or balsa wood to make fins and nose cone

Film Canister Rockets: I would like to do both alka-seltzer rockets ( and baking soda and vinegar rockets ( these should only take a few minutes to make and launch!

Soda Pop Bottle Rockets:

This is the launcher I wanted, but at the last minute the family who said they would make it backed out so I ended up making this launcher instead,, it worked, but not like the first one would have--or so I suspect! Also a word of warning...the PVC glue STINKS and is expensive for what you get, I think I might try gorilla glue or super glue if I made one again!

We also made some "stomp" rockets as well, these are super simple and would be quite entertaining for a kids birthday party as a craft to keep the kids busy!

Tuesday, April 05, 2011


Will exposure to extreme conditions, representing a breech in the holding tanks on a space shuttle headed to Mars, have any impact on how the seeds go? Only time will tell!

Deanne sent the follwing info to our 4-H group:

4-H - Monday, April 4th
10:30am - till you choose to leave
4-H hall Owensville
Bring your containers and if you want your lunch

We are planning to do the Tomatosphere seeds on Monday, April 4th. Each CHILD will get 4 seeds. So each family needs to provide 2 containers per child or 1 bigger container that can be seperated into 2 sections. We are getting regular seeds and altered seeds which will come in packets marked with 2 different letters and so we have to keep them separated so we know which is which. Containers can be pie pans, plastic food containers, etc. with clear lids or Saran wrap. The seeds will be kept inside until they germinate. Majority voted to keep logs on the project through growth so that's what we'll be doing - about 9 weeks. I will bring everything else that we need for the project.

If you haven't already can you please save these links:
Each family will keep a log of their seeds:
At the end I need each family's results. You can do this as they suggest, by keeping a folder on the computer and sending the results to me through e-mail,
or you can give me paper and I'll get your results on the computer.
Teachers Guide the Experiment -
Teacher Resources at the side bar -

Monday, April 04, 2011

Tori's Therapy Follow Up

When we went to Tori's last high risk appointment they asked that we come back for a physical therapy follow-up! The therapist things she LOOKS GREAT and gave us some exercises to work on with her but said at this point SHE DOESN'T NEED PHYSICAL THERAPY! We are so thrilled!

Her tone is still not even on both sides and she HATES tummy time but they don't want to see her again for 2 more months!

Monday, March 21, 2011

Adams Brown Recycling Center

I had wanted to tour this facility for quite some time but never managed to get it on the schedule. One of the moms from our 4H club set it up as an outing for one of our meetings. It has been interesting to tour the different recycling centers in our area and see how each place handles the multitude of recyclables that they receive every day. In addition to the standard recycling, this place also recycles glass into suncatchers, it was really cool to watch the glass be melted down and pressed into the suncatchers and to see the red glowing glass!

From Melissa: 4H Monday March 21 is at the Adams Brown Recycling Center at 11 am. We are touring the facility. Dress for the weather as it is an inside and outside tour. If I remember right, there are some muddy patches. We also will tour the Glass ReFactory where they recycle glass bottles into sun catchers. They are available for purchase for $7. The tour is about an hour long. The address is 9262 Mt Orab Pike, Georgetown, OH. If you would like to check out their website it is

Friday, March 18, 2011

Geography Fair: Dream Destination

This year we decided to put a new twist on the geography fair! Each child picked their DREAM DESTINATION and then described their dream trip to the other participants! The Riesenberg children surprised me with where they picked....Sophia chose Hawaii so she could surf and see the volcanos, William chose Texas because he wanted to watch the rodeo and ride a bull, Cade chose Mardi Gras in the French Quarter, which really cracked me up since the kid can't stand crowds or loud noises!, Jacob chose to go to Pauley Pavilion on the campus of UCLA to see a UCLA/USC basketball game and Grant chose Paris.....not for the sites but for escargot! Gotta LOVE my kids! It was great fun to see where the other children wanted to travel and why!

What: Geography Fair--Dream Destination
When: Friday, March 18, 2011 1-3 PM
Where: Symmes Township Library
Ages: Homeschoolers of all ages
Cost: free
RSVP: Laura
What to Bring: Your project and a dish to share!

We have decided to have this year's geography fair will
have a DREAM DESTINATION theme. Pick any place
in the world that you would like to travel and tell us all
about it! Come bring your family to an afternoon of
"visiting" the world in a fun way. At the start of the
geography fair, we will hand out road maps and each
"traveler" will get their road maps stamped as they visit
each location.

To participate: Each child (or family, it can be a group
project) chooses a location and makes up a presentation
on that destination. Let your imagination be your
guide! The great thing about this opportunity is that any
age child can participate and present their research to
the best of their abilities. No competing! Projects can
be set up the first 1/2 hour of the event, at which time
we will give each participant a chance to present their
project to the group. Similar events have run about 2
hours in the past.

We are also asking that participants bring a dish representative of their state to share (this can be as simple ascornbread or as elaborate as your cooking abilities allow!).We will have a potluck as part of our event.Drinks, plates, silverware and napkins will be provided. No popcorn please!

Families who do not want to make displays but still want to come and participate and
"travel" are welcome, consider bringing a dessert or some kid friendly munchies to share.

Friday, March 11, 2011


Our busy day ended with attending Sophia's puppet show! Sophia was invited by her friend Sara to join her at a weekly art class that focused on puppets! Sara's mom picked Sophia up each week and took her to the class over in Kentucky, it was so much fun for Sophia and such a nice break for me when I am so used to being the one who takes my kids places. The puppet show was adorable and we even get to check off FIRE DRILL on our yearly assessment because the fire alarm sounded while we were there and we all had to evacuate the building! I have to say I was EXTEMELY PROUD of Sophia, while the rest of the kids in her class were busy grabbing their puppets and props, the only thing she bothered to pick up was her baby sister and grab William's hand and led them out of the building!

Greenacres class March 11

Following the Invention Convention, we headed to a program at Greenacres. We hadn't attended a program there in over a year (probably much longer!) but it felt like going HOME! We had a GREAT time!

Greenacres class March 11
Submitted by Martha

What: Free Class at Greenacres - Topic: Simple Machines
When: Friday, March 11, 11:30-1:30
Where: 8255 Spooky Hollow Road Cincinnati OH 45242
Greenacres is at the corner of Spooky Hollow and Loveland Madeira
Roads in Indian Hill.
Ages:Grades 4-8
Cost: Free
RSVP to Martha Please include your name, your children's names and grade level. It is helpful if Greenacres isin the subject heading. I will answer your RSVP. If I don't answer, I didn't recieve your email, or I missed it, please email me again. IF
YOU DO NOT HEAR BACK FROM ME, PLEASE DO NOT JUST SHOW UP. This is a hands-on class where we will be rotating through stations. CLASS SIZE IS LIMITED.

The way the Simple Machines class works is different. The Old Church
Building where parents usually wait with siblings will not be
available because it will be used as a classroom. Part of the class
will be outside, but we will not be doing our usual hike.
It is a Greenacres policy that a parent or guardian stay on the
premises during class.

The first half hour is to eat lunch, packed from home with other
homeschoolers. Class starts promptly at 12;00. Meet at the Old Church
Building, an old stone building encircled by a gravel driveway.
Part of the class will be outdoors. Dress for the weather.

Your ideas for future topics are welcome.

To learn more about Greenacres Foundation, go to,
or do a web search of Greenacres Foundation Cincinnati.

We had a great time today making racecars powered by a mousetrap. Jacob and Cade came up with the best design, by extending the level, more string was pulled out and the car went further. After we ran the cars the first time, one of the boys decided that adding rubber bands to the wheels really added to the traction and the car went much futher with the wheels just spinning in place. All in all it was a great learning experience!

A few days prior I send the following email: Luke and I made some cars...the one that worked the best was a simple one made from: 1 mousetrap 1 paint stir stick 1 4" wooden dowel (5/16" diameter) 4 washers that the dowel will fit through to secure wheels 2 cds/dvds that you don't want to reuse 2 #14 eyescrews (the dowel needs to fit into these....I tested mine at the store) thin sturdy string (I will bring this) Although the original directions called for a pingpong ball I didn't have one and the car still ran far straighter than anything we made with 4 wheels......I think that alternately you could use rubber bands to hold the wheels in would probably need 4 per wheel. They also suggest putting a balloon around the wheels for traction, but I have a latex allergy so I didn't try it....... Remember you are free to make ANY design you like, just bring directions and materials with you!

From: the Riesenbergs
Sent: Wednesday, March 09, 2011 7:58 AM
Subject: Invention Convention--Reminder

Reminder----- Friday March 11 (Symmes Library) 10 AM to 12 PM. We will build cars from 10 AM to 11 AM and then begin "racing" them at 11 AM. Grant and I are working on a couple of different cars and I hope to be able to send you pictures and supply lists for those cars this evening if you want to make the simple cars we made. I will be providing string and glue guns for everyone. Is anyone willing to bring a roll of duct tape to people to use if they would like? Items needed: mousetrap (1 per car) additional items to build your car (please look at the websites and decide which car you want to make and bring supplies and directions with you!) Pick whichever car you want to build, the only rule is that the car can ONLY be powered by the ONE mousetrap! Feel free to find other designs! These are just a few suggestions!

Wednesday, March 09, 2011

Spring Homecoming 2011

Even though we homeschool, it has never stopped Hannah and Emily from attending the dances at the local highschools as well as the annual homeschool prom. This past weekend was Milford's Spring Homecoming dance. I snapped a couple of pictures before the girls headed out the door to pick up Emily's boyfriend and head out to dinner. I was exhausted from getting no sleep the night before because we were at the hospital with Tori so these are definitely more "snapshots" than portraits!

Stint Removal--3-4-2011

Tori had the stints and hardware placed during her nasolacrimal reconstruction back in November removed Friday March 4th! We are now hardware free and hopefully have experienced our last surgery for her at Children's Hospital!

The surgery was scheduled for 1:30 PM and got bumped back all the way until almost 4 PM. She was miserable and couldn't understand why mommy was holding her and wouldn't let her eat....after all those beautiful boobs were right in sight and leaking that sweet smelling milk EVERYWHERE! She was so excited after her surgery when we walked into the recovery room and she was able to nurse! The surgery itself took less than 20 minutes and much to the doctor's surprise, one of the stints had fallen out of her right nostril. We have NO IDEA where it went, but it was gone!

Her poor little foot is all bruised up because the IV catheter got all bent up (it looked like a lightening bolt instead of a straight line).

We hated spending the night at the hospital, but we survived and ask for prayers that last Friday night be the last time that we are every guests of Children's Hospital!

Tori starts physical therapy on Monday April 4th. We have already seen huge improvements in her using her left side (note in the picture she is turned to the left and sucking her left thumb!) since we started doing her exercises. Hopefully when we go for our first visit they will decide that she doesn't need therapy!

Monday, March 07, 2011

Mardi Gras--Party-Gras!

To celebrate Mardi Gras our 4-H club decided to have a party! We came up with games for the kids to play, a craft where they each made carnival parade floats out of shoe boxes, face painting, electing a king and queen, and of course FOOD! Each family brought a dish to share. We ended up with a king cake, jambalya, dirty rice with beans, donuts and baked Cajun Crab Dip. Everyone had a really great time and we already have plans in the works for repeating (and increasing) the fun for next year!

Our KING and QUEEN.....Joseph and Emily

Recipe for the Baked Cajun Crab Dip
Preparation Time: 10 minutes
Total Time to Serve: 25 minutes
Servings: 16


1 package (8 oz.) cream cheese, softened in microwave at high for 30 seconds.
2 tablespoons sliced green onion
1 tablespoon milk
1 tablespoon hot pepper sauce
1/2 teaspoon prepared horseradish
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 can (6 1/2 oz.) crab meat, drained, flaked, cartilage removed
Slivered almonds (optional) ---I didn't add almonds


1. In small bowl stir together cream cheese, green onion, milk, pepper sauce, horeradish and salt. Gently stir in crab meat.

2. Spread in 3- to 4-cup casserole or 9-inch pie plate. Sprinkle with almonds, if desired. Bake at 375°F about 15 minutes or until heated through. Serve with crackers.

Does anyone watch "MY NAME IS EARL"? These pictures of Luke just crack me up and made me think of how Earl can't take a picture without closing his eyes...

A short slide show of pictures:

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Cheesy Chicken Mexican Bake

1 box Penne Pasta shells

2 cups cubed chicken (I always use the cooked Perdue Mesquite chicken breast found near bacon at Kroger)

4 cups "Mexican" cheese blend (1 cup reserved for topping) OR you can get 2 cups shredded Monterey Jack cheese and 2 cups shredded Cheddar Cheese (1/2 cup each reserved for topping)

1 Cup Sour Cream

1 Can (4 oz.) chopped Green Chilies

1 can Condensed cream of Chicken soup, undiluted

1 Cup medium or Hot salsa

2/3 cups Milk

-Cook pasta according to package, drain and rinse with cold water
-Meanwhile, in a large bowl, combine chicken, 1 1/2 cups Monterey Jack cheese, 1 1/2 cups Cheddar Cheese, sour cream and 6 Tbls green chilies.
-In another bowl, combine soup, salsa, milk and remaining chilies.
-Put 1/2 of sauce in bottom of greased pan
-Add the pasta to the chicken mixture and mix. Pour on a greased baking pan.
-Pour the remaining sauce over past/ chicken mix.
-Cover with foil and bake at 350* degrees for 30 minutes.
-Uncover, sprinkle with remaining cheeses and bake for 10 more mins or until cheese is melted.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Tori's 4 month appointment at Children's Hospital.....

Today Tori had her 4 month appointment with the high risk clinic at the hospital. A few weeks late, due to scheduling conflicts with our favorite doctor, but worth the wait!

Tori now weighs 12 lbs 3 oz and is 24 inches long! Talk about a growth spurt! Her head is just under 16" which he was really thrilled about since it indicates normal brain growth, something they worry about with preemies.....he said that her head is actually on the charts! He has been working with preemies since 1974 and said that normal head growth is one of the greatest indicators of a positive outcome overall!

He completely agreed with me about delaying solids, saying that he would prefer that we wait until at least 4 or 5 months adjusted age (so 6 1/2 to 7 1/2 months actual age) to even consider starting and that if we wanted to wait LONGER that was fine with him. He is THRILLED that she is nursing and completely breastfed at this point.

She was cleared for her surgery next Friday to remove all of the hardware they placed when they did her bilateral nasolacrimal reconstruction. Surgery is scheduled for 1:30 PM, we have to be at the hospital at noon. Prayers would be much appreciated!

There are 2 issues they are concerned with:

1) there is a slight "turning in" or crossing of her left eye. He said it is very slight and something that the eye doctor may want to follow. He said it will most likely correct itself, but to be aware of it and alert the eye doctor if it seems to get worse.

2) Tori has "uneven tone". There seems to be a slight difference in tone between her left and right side of her body. Because of this she tends to turn her head to the right (or is it left, I am so confused!!) and only used her right arm to reach for toys. The uneven tone is most obvious in her neck and arms. The doctor mentioned that her head lag (head falling back) doesn't have to do with the size of her head but because the muscles in the back of her neck are tight. The physical therapist gave us a bunch of exercises to work on and we are going to start physical therapy in 6 weeks. They are hoping that since they caught it now that by the time we go in to start therapy the issue will resolve itself. Ironically I had mentioned to Jay a few weeks back that she seemed "tighter" than our other kids had across her chest and through her arms.

We aren't due back at the high risk clinic until near the end of May!

Monday, February 21, 2011

Favorite President

In honor of Presidents Day here in the United States, do you have a favorite President? Mine has always been Abraham Lincoln.....not so much for his politics (I honestly can't say I know much about it) but because he is my great, great, great, great, great, great cousin, so it is a family thing!

My kids had to pick 2 presidents to bring their favorite dish for 4H today....they picked Van Buren (whose favorite snack was apples) and Nixon (who liked his wife's homemade chocolate chip cookies)....can you tell we picked by FOOD rather than accomplishments?

Whether I agree with their politics or not, I am so grateful for the men who have stepped forward to lead this country. It isn't a job that I would ever want, despite your best intentions, someone is always opposed to what you are doing and how you are doing it. You are always in the spotlight. I pray that in the future, good men and women step forward to continue to lead this nation in our great tradition.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Happy 19th Birthday Hannah!

Hard to believe that my FIRST BABY GIRL is now 19 years old! Does it surprise anyone who knows here that she was in such a hurry to get here that her daddy didn't even make it into the delivery room before she made her grand entrance?

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Snow Tubing at Perfect North

This is by far our favorite winter tradition!

The details:

Location: 19074 Perfect Lane Lawrenceburg, IN 47025
Perfect North Slopes is located in Lawrenceburg, Indiana. From I-275
take the US 50 Exit 16, follow ski area signs north on Indiana Route 1
to ski area

When: Wednesday, February 16. 1:00 pm - 9:30 pm

Ages: ALL ages welcome (snowtubing is NOT recommended for toddlers or younger)

Cost: $20.00 per person


We always have a great time doing this! Last year most of us stayed from 1-8:30PM!! We are asking everyone to try to arrive no later than 1pm so we can collect the money and waivers, pay and get on the tubing slopes as soon as possible. You are welcome to bring your own food. They have a heated tent with picnic tables, outlets for anyone wanting to have hot food and/or drinks, and a concession stand for those who choose to buy. We recommend dressing in layers because you never know
what kind of snow tubing weather it's going to be.

Cost: $20.00 per person group rate. So that we can get the group rate you pay me when you get there or ifyou can't get there until after 1pm then you pay me before hand and I will have your tickets for you when you arrive. Or if it would work
better for you to pay on your own then you can pay $25.00 a person and show up whenever you like.

Feel free to invite others....friends, family, homeschoolers, non-homeschoolers. The more the better! Just make sure that if they aren't paying and being counted with your family that they RSVP.

Waivers: Everyone must have a tubing waiver -