Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Cheesy Broccoli and Rice Casserole

I made this for Christmas Eve and thought I would share, it was really yummy!

1 1/2 cups of water
1/4 cup of butter
2 TBSP dry onion
10 oz package of frozen chopped broccoli
1 1/2 cups of minute rice
1 can cream of celery soup
1 small jar of cheeze whiz (I could only find the 15 oz jar so I used 1/2 of it)

Bring 1 1/2 cups water, 1/4 cup of butter, 2 TBSP dry onion to a boil. Add 10 oz of frozen chopped broccoli and boil an additional 3 minutes. Remove from heat. Add 1 1/2 cups of minute rice. Cover and let stand 5 minutes. Add 1 can of cream of celery soup and 1 small jar of cheeze whiz. Mix well and bake at 375 degrees for 45 minutes.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

The Riesenberg Clan 2008:

Here is our annual picture, YES, it is HARD to get 11 people to look presentable and LOOK anywhere TOWARDS the camera! I decided the year that Will was born (2004) that we would make sure the entire family was captured in the yearly photo, I used to only do the kids, but I figured that someday they might want to remember just what mom and dad looked like! And after 4 years of doing it, Jay finally doesn't complain about the appointment! No, we AREN'T Ohio State fans, it was just the easiest colors to find in every size!

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Merry Christmas!

Well it is ALL OVER but making dinner! The FREAKING turkey isn't thawed, it has been in the fridge 3 days, so I now have it sitting in the sink in cold water and am going to go wrestle with it here in a bit...we don't plan to eat until late tonight....Brett is heading to Sarah's Great Grandma's house for lunch at 1 PM, so we are holding dinner until they get back here...probably around 6 PM.

The kids were all THRILLED with their gifts (amazingly they let us sleep until 8 AM, good thing since Jay and I were up until after 2 AM "celebrating" and everyone is happily playing with their new toys! Things went OK at my mom's last night, we ended up staying about 5 hours and she acted like a human the entire time, a real plus for brother, on the other hand, decided to show up at her house at 2 PM and left at 4 PM, knowing that my family and I wouldn't get there until 5 PM......he just really pisses me off....have I mentioned that he has yet to see Luke?

My mom bought our family our YMCA membership for the year, a zoo membership, a museum center membership and gave us $900 to pay for our trip to Kalahari Water Resort in Feb (she gave me $300 in Nov to put down the deposit and $600 yesterday to pay for the remainder when we check in)! Have to love that she sees spending $$$ on you to mean she LOVES you! I much prefer these LARGE family gifts over toys the kids will break and leave scattered on my floor! Will was so excited when I told him Grandma gave us money to go back to Kalahari, he was jumping up and down and screaming! And she was worried he would be mad about not having presents to open. We gave her a picture of our family in a silver frame, the cd from the musical Jersey Boys (she went to see that with my aunt Judy in the fall and LOVED it) and the calendar I made her for the year....I chose to highlight 12 family vacations through the years, it turned out really nice!

We went to 3 PM services at our church, minus Hannah and Emily who decided they would attend midnight services with my mother. Even though we got there 30 minutes early, there wasn't an entire pew left, so we had to split up, Brett, Will and I sat in chairs along the back wall and Jay and the other kids jammed into a pew. I was VERY distracted by the guy standing next to me.....he had his two sons with him (maybe 6 and 9 years old) and he had them watching MOVIES on their ipod the ENTIRE SERVICE....I guess I should be surprised, after all he was sending text messages the entire time as well.....but WHY EVEN SHOW UP??? My guess was he must have promised someone that he would take those boys to Christmas services, I certainly can't figure out ANY other reason you would fight the traffic, park blocks away and then NOT pay attention at all to the service....OK rant over! The music was gorgeous and it set a great tone for the rest of the day!

Hope everyone is having a great day!

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Gingerbread Houses!

The kids had an AWESOME time and made some fantastic creations. Good thing I took pictures of them because someone (there seems to be some disagreement as to EXACTLY who that money is still on William and Cade) ate most of the candy off of them later that afternoon! We had a great turn out despite two families cancelling at the last minute because of kids with the stomach bug (YUCKY! THANKS FOR NOT SHARING!!!)

Details about event:
CHRISTMAS PARTY with Gingerbread house making and parade
When: Wednesday, December 10 12:30 PM to 3 PMWhere: Jr. OUAM Hall, St Bernard, OH. Directions sent with RSVP

Ages: homeschoolers of all ages, limited to 40 participants

Cost: Free, but we ask that you bring a bag of candy and one basicbuilding supply

RSVP: Laura with your child(ren)'s name/age and if they want a premade house

Hosted by: Laura , Deanne and Melodie
What participants need to bring: candy, one basic building supply (seebelow) and a nut-free snack to share.
What we are providing: Premade houses for the younger kids (when you RSVP please let us know if your child wants a premade house),cardboard bases for everyone, cardboard boxes to use as forms (if desired), graham crackers, icing, glueguns and glue sticks (feel free to bring your own if you wish). We will also have water and some other drinks for everyone.

All participants need to bring candy to share (great way to get rid of the last of the Halloween candy!). Laffy Taffy's are GREAT becausethey can be rolled out and cut into any shape. We are also asking thatwhen you RSVP that you sign up to bring one of the basic "building"supplies, for example, icecream cones, pretzles (rods or smaller ones), wafer type cookies, coconut flakes, or marshmallows.

Before attending the event, have your child pick a favorite book andbegin to decide what they want to build to represent that book. Bringthe book with you if you can. Once we are all gathered the child (orchildren) can assemble and decorate their house. Once everyone is finished we will put the houses on display and have a PARADE throughour STORYBOOK TOWN!

We will have some other activities to keep the kids busy as they finish their houses, coloring pages, card making supplies (cards will be distributed to nursing home residents if the child wishes to donate them)games to play and more! We may update what additional activities will be included prior to the event. A good time will be had by ALL!
A little background on the gingerbread house parade: Two years agoduring our annual trip downtown to see the Christmas displays, westumbled upon some WONDERFUL gingerbread houses. Each house was basedon a children's book, such as Harry Potter, Cloudy With a Chance ofMeatballs, Disney Princesses, Kate's Castle, The Three Little Pigs,and The Grinch. I thought it would be fun for each family (or child ifthey want to do their own house) to pick a book and make a gingerbreadhouse to represent it. We will then display all the houses foreveryone to see. The event will double as a holiday party/social withgames and holiday music. If you would like to see photos of the housesfrom last year, or the house we saw downtown that inspired this event,email me and I can send pictures to you.

A week before the event I sent out:
You are receiving this email because you RSVPed to the Gingerbread House making and Christmas party this Wednesday at the Jr. OUAM Hall!

1) If you would like a PREMADE house, please respond to this email telling me that you need a premade house and also tell me how many. Please respond ASAP so that work can be done on these in the next few days!

2) We are asking each family to bring with them 1 can of icing/frosting (like you would use for a cake), a building supply (pretzel rods, ice cream cones, wafers, coconut, etc) and at least 1 bag of candy. Please bring a nutfree snack to share. We ask that you not bring popcorn. Drinks and paper products will be provided. Right now, if I have the count correct, we have just over 30 children attending!

If you have any questions, let me know!

Friday, December 05, 2008

Luke LOVES Santa

You never know how a child will react to a rather large strange man in a red coat and with a fluffy white beard. I have had children burst into tears and refuse to get anywhere near him, I have had kids run and jump in their lap, but usually at about 2 years old, it is almost always the former! I was shocked that Luke climbed right into Santa's lap. I love these pictures! Unfortunately we were OUTSIDE and it was in the lower 20's so I couldn't take off his coat!

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Pictures from Krohn Conservatory

Yesterday afternoon I invited Nancy, from the photo class, to join me to go down to Krohn Conservatory and take pictures. I was lacking pictures for this week's class and I figured I would rather walk around the nice warm conservatory that was full of beautiful flowers rather than outside in the dreary rainy weather. It is always more fun to have someone with you when you are shooting, plus you don't look like such an idioting shooting close ups of flowers and leaves if someone else is doing the same thing! Plus it is great fun to ride in a car and have ADULT conversation and not have to listen to my kids argue! Usually when I go out to shoot a class assignment I am happy to come home with 1 or 2 pictures I like (see the Blue Hour post below) so I was THRILLED with the number of pictures I ended up with that I actually liked, keep in mind that I only shot about 150 pictures and had 10 I thought were OK, much better than the 1 out of more than 140 of the blue hour!! Some I like way more than others, but the assignment this week was to shoot patterns, so some are in this batch because that is what they represent!

Again, these are stragith out of the camera. I am pretty happy with these, as I was hand holding the camera, set at ISO 100, F-stop 1.8, at 1/15 of a second, pretty amazing that I didn't have more shake and blur to them given the shutter speed!

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

A couple of upcoming holiday events:

This is by far one of our favorite holiday traditions. We stumbled upon this event the year we moved to Loveland and haven't missed it since. The kids really look forward to attending this year! According to the weather forecast (if you can believe it), the weather might be a little iffy on Saturday, but looks perfect on Sunday!

The Living Nativity
Saturday, December 6th and Sunday, December 7th : 4:30-7:30 pm
Loveland United Methodist Church 10975 S. Lebanon Rd. -Loveland, OH 45140

From their website: Loveland United Methodist Church invites you, along with your friends and family, to join us for the 7th annual production of "The Living Nativity" – a presentation through drama and song of the account of the birth of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, according to the gospels of Luke and Matthew.When you arrive you will be received by our Roman Guards who are at their station making sure all that arrive to Bethlehem do so in an orderly and safe fashion. They will direct you to a warm, welcomed greeting by our greeters who will introduce you to your tour guide, “Luke.”

As you begin your walking tour, you will witness the following events along the way:
Caeser Augustus Issuing a Decree that a Census Be Taken

The Roman Guards Stationed at the City Gates

The Census Taker

The Angel’s Promise of the Birth of John the Baptist to Zechariah in the Temple

Angel Gabriel’s Promise of the Birth of Jesus to Mary

An Encounter with the Townspeople at the Baker's Home - Delicious Samples!

An Angel’s Appearance to Joseph

Mary’s Visit with Elizabeth

Townspeople Sharing Scripture

The Market Place Bustling with Music and Dancing

Mary and Joseph's Arrival at The Bethlehem Inn

Prophecies are Recalled of Jesus' Birth

An Angel and the Heavenly Host Appear to the Shepherds

The Living Nativity

The Live Animals - There will be time to visit with the animals!

The 3 Wise Men at Herod's Palace

Following your tour, there will be plenty of hot chocolate and Christmas cookies ready for your enjoyment.The Living Nativity Walking Tour takes place outside in the lower level parking lot of Loveland United Methodist Church, so please dress warmly! Also, please know that on Saturday evening, December 6th, sign language (PSE - Pidgin Sign English) interpretation will be available on the tour, if requested. We look forward to sharing the Good News with you and, as your brothers and sisters in Christ, ask that you please lift us up in prayer as we all serve together to touch hearts and change lives all in His name.All this, AND there’s no admission fee! This is our Christmas gift to you!Looking forward to seeing you in “Bethlehem” in 2008!

Event Location:Loveland United Methodist Church - 10975 S. Lebanon Rd. -Loveland, OH 45140 683.1738


We have never attended this event, but have heard that it is really nice. We plan to go this year!
Ohio National Victorian Holiday Village

From their website: Ohio National Financial Services is pleased to announce its seventh annual Victorian Holiday Village -- held on the grounds of its Cincinnati corporate headquarters. This free public event continues the company’s commitment to community outreach and service, and supports the spirit of the holiday season in a quality, noncommercial venue.

WHAT: A memorable outdoor event for the entire family featuring thousands of twinkling lights; miniature-sized, yet fully decorated Victorian-style homes and buildings; entertainment; free cocoa and cookies; and children’s goodies and a complimentary photo with St. Nick.

WHERE:The grounds of Ohio National Financial Services One Financial WayCincinnati, OH
Ohio National is located at the southeast corner of the Pfeiffer Road (Exit 15) and I-71 interchange. Pfeiffer Road is the first exit south of the I-71/275 intersection. Need directions?

Friday, December 5 from 6-8:30 p.m.
Saturday, December 6 from 5-8:30 p.m.
Thursday, December 11 from 6-8:30 p.m.
Friday, December 12 from 6-8:30 p.m.

The village will remain lit throughout December, but specialty houses, gifts and entertainment will only be provided during the four nights above.

WHY:Ohio National's Victorian Holiday Village is a free event, open to the public, that continues the company's commitment to community outreach and service, and supports the spirit of the holiday season in a quality, noncommercial venue. While admission to the event is free, all guests are asked to bring a nonperishable food item (no glass containers, please), which will be donated to the FreestoreFoodbank.

Ohio National’s Victorian Holiday Village will be open rain or shine.

Due to the outdoor terrain and gravel path, the Village is not handicapped accessible.

The walkway to the Village is approximately 380 feet from the garage, and the distance from the

Village walkway to St. Nick’s Workshoppe (the furthest building) is approximately 500 feet.

Free on-site covered parking is available for 800 vehicles.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

First "Blue Hour" shoot

One of the members of the photo class I have been taking, Fredrick, always has these AWESOME pictures of what he calls the "blue hour", the 1/2 hour before sunrise and the 1/2 hour before sunset. On Saturday he invited the class to meet him downtown by the foot of the Roebling Bridge to photograph the blue hour. We arrived at 6 AM and set up, and for the next hour snapped pictures and watched the sky change. It really is an AMAZING sight to see the sky change the way it does. The only thing was that it was COLDER than all get out and I really wasn't dressed properly (even though I had on long underwear!) I hadn't thought much about my feet (I figured 2 pairs of socks were plenty, but apparently NOT with gymshoes!) and my fingers, despite my fleece gloves, were FROZEN! Of course Fredrick, who is from Sweden, laughed at us and said there is no such thing as "cold weather" rather there are "improperly dressed people", have to remember that for the future! I think I will enjoy the blue hour more come spring and summer.

So, here is the shot I liked the most (of the 143 I took), this is straight out of the camera, not photoshopped or cropped or brightened or anything!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

This weather is only fit for polar bears!

Our beautiful Indian summer has come to an end. Yesterday Emily had an appointment at Children's Hospital and we were running ahead of schedule and decided to pop into the zoo, which is just a couple of blocks from the hospital, and see what was going on. It was a balmy 30 degrees during our visit, but one animal decided to put on an amazing show for us, something we have never seen during our numerous visits during the summer...definitely worth the walk in the cold. Here are just a few pictures of our encounter with the polar bear!

Monday, November 03, 2008


No I am not referring to Luke, who at 18 months, has well mastered this task, I am talking about GRANT! We went to the orthopaedist and after 5 weeks of absolutely no weight bearing, he was given the OK to start walking on the leg. He chose a bright blue cast (Xavier colors!) and seems to be enjoying his new mobility. He is a little wobbly, but he is so much happier! He has lost all the muscle mass in his calf but hopefully by being able to walk now, he won't lose any more muscle mass in his thigh. He was so anxious, they told him he had to wait an hour after getting the cast on to put weight on the leg, you would have thought he was standing in Time Square on New Year's Eve waiting for the ball to drop the way he kept checking the time!

So now we spend 3 weeks in this walking cast and then we go to a lace up brace and get to start rehabbing the leg! Hopefully he will be back for the majority of the basketball season! You can tell that it is killing him to have to be sitting on the bench when the other boys are practicing. This past weekend he made Jay take him up to the park in the WHEELCHAIR so he could shoot some hoops. Countinued prayer that this heals well is much appreciated!

Sunday, November 02, 2008

Thursday, October 23, 2008

My camera is back and I had to fiddle

Today we went to the museum center after we went on an early morning tour of Steilin's Meat Market (on Colerain Ave). I was trying to do available light photography, really hard under the lightening in the basement of a very old building. I could have gotten nicer shots with a tripod, I got quite a bit of blur in some of them, especially when he was playing with the balls. I opted to convert them to b/w because I didn't like the yellow glow I got in the color shots.
Can you believe Luke is 18 months old? I can't wait to do his official photo shoot, hopefully in the next few days, hoping for some awesome fall color.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Loveland Stage Company catches on fire!

We live about 2 blocks outside of the historic district on Loveland. Last night around 7 PM one of the buildings, the Loveland Stage Company (built in 1939), caught on fire. The building is a total loss, ironically it sits directly next door to the firestation. We couldn't get into town to see what was going on until the fire was completely contained (according to the police officer standing guard at the time of the road it burned itself out, they couldn't get it to go out), so the pictures are from around 10:15 PM last night. I just got my SLR back yesterday afternoon, I was thrilled to have it to try to capture the shots, but it took me a while to remember why I couldn't get what I wanted...I finally switched to the normal 50 mm lens which I can open wide (1.8 fstop) and I had to set the exposure at 1/4 sec to 1 sec, the shake is pretty noticable in the shots, that's what I get for trying to travel light and not bring a tripod! I couldn't believe how many firefighters were at the scene.
Here is a link to the article from a local paper:
Click on the collage to see my shoot from last night:

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Big Bone Lick State Park – Salt Festival
Where: Big Bone Lick State Park 3380 Beaver Road Union, KY 41091-9627(859-384-3522)Date: Friday, October 17th, 2008
Time: 10:30 – 3:00 (you do not have to stay till 3pm but you are welcome to)
Cost: $1.00 per person
Who: Homeschoolers/Unschoolers of all ages
RSVP: No later than Friday, September 26.

Here is a information they send as well as a copy of the schedule:

Welcome to Big Bone Lick State Park, the home of American vertebrate paleontology, for our 2008 Salt Festival.

Big Bone Lick was famous for its salt springs, which drew many large Pleistocene mammals to the park. Some of these large mammals were tapped here at the park, becoming mired in the soft bog like area around the springs. Additionally, the are was well known to Native Americans going back to the Paleo-Indians, who hunted the giant Pleistocene mammals here. In more modern times native Americans and European pioneers gathered water from the springs to obtain salt.

This weekend will be highlighted by many activities, programs and special events going on through the park. After checking out the festival, don't forget to stop by our visitor's center, gift shop and live bison herd.

The Old Caintuckee Primitives and Clands of Desdin Glen are proud to be hosting our primitive camp this year. Both groups would like to extend a warm invitation for you to come and join them to learn some of the shills and lifestyles of our early settlers. Demonstrations include beadwork, leatherwork, wood splitting, fire starting, weaving, old time coffee making, soap making, story telling, pioneer children's games, and more. Special demonstrations are denoted by a blue flag being raised by each camp. If you see the blue flag raised, please stop in for a special demonstration.

9 AM to 2 PM: Pioneer encampment open. Step back in time to the 1840s and participate in demonstrations, storytelling, talks, and hands on learning about many facets of pioneer life. (Pioneer Encampment Field)

9 AM to 3 PM: Salt making demonstrations all day. See how pioneers got salt for the springs here at Big Bone. (Salt furnace behind the big shelter)

9 AM to 3 PM: Learn how Native Americans made spear points, arrowheads, and much more during our flint knapping demonstrations. (Primitive Shelter Area)

9 AM to 3 PM: Make your own pottery masterpieces with Albert Bauman (Shelter Field)

9 AM to 3 PM: Reptiles of Kentucky. Join Scott Braunstein as he shoes you the many species of reptiles that can be found in KY while learning why these natives species need to be protected (Shelter Field)

9 AM to 3 PM: Visit Pat and Mat Maley as they demonstrate the many uses of plant fibers and hair for spinning, weaving, cordage and much more. You don't want to miss these demonstrations (Pioneer Encampment)

10:30 AM Tomahawk Demonstrations: Any age welcome to come watch, but you must be 12 or older to throw! (Primitive Shelter Area)

11 AM Listen and be mesmerized by the beautiful melodies from Soaring Raven as he plays the Native American flute (Crafters venue)

12 PM: Atlatl demonstrations. Join us at the altatl filed to learn about a most ingenious hunting device used by people all over the world. (Primitive Shelter Area)

12:30 PM: Mammals of Kentucky presented by the KY Environmental Education Company (Main Tent)

1:30 PM: Prehistoric fire starting demonstration. Learn 2 different ways that Native Americans used to start fire without matches or lighters (Primitive Shelter Area)

2:15 PM: Tomahawk Demonstrations: Any age welcome to come watch, but you must be 12 or older to throw! (Primitive Shelter Area)

What great fun! The park is located about an hour and 10 minutes from here, but the drive was easy and the traffic light. When we got there the place was PACKED, but after lunch the school buses really cleared out. It was hard to push Grant around in the wheelchair, but we made the best of it. One of the funnier things, we stumbled onto a reenacting family with a teenage daughter. She was making corn husk dolls and giving them out to the kids. She ran out of husks and said she was going to get more, the 3 older boys (Gaige, Chris and Jacob....poor Grant got left out since it was in the wheelchair) go traipsing off after was HILARIOUS..figures they would find the one teenage girl in the entire event!

After the event, we went up to the visitors center to see the bison. Grant decided to walk, and the 400 yards we had to walk to find the bison really wore him out. The bison were cool to see, yet they were surprising aggressive, butting the fence at our presence!

Collage of pictures from event, click to enlarge.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Pumpkin Farm and Maze

Fellow homeschooler, Jessica, decided to celebrate her 10th birthday by going to a local pumpkin farm for a hayride, corn maze and play. We went to Blooms and Berries in Loveland and although the set up was nice, it wasn't as much fun as Turpin Farms had been in past years. The kids found the maze to be easy, even with pushing Grant through in a wheelchair it only took them about a 1/2 an hour. The hayride was nice, longer than at Turpin Farms. The weather was perfect! The animals in the petting area were incredibly sweet, Luke loved them (and he didn't call the goats DAWGS this time!). We missed the cowtrain from Turpin Farms.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Luke turns 18 months old next week and I am hoping to do a photo shoot with him. I wanted to make sure the Halloween costume I found for him was going to fit, so I put it on him this morning when he got out of the bathtub.....taking pictures of an almost 18 month old is like shooting at a moving target! My SLR is in the shop, so I just shot these with my little digital! Click on the collage for a larger view!

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Did you see us on the Fox 19 morning news?

We were able to set up a tour for 20 people to see the fox 19 studios and be on the morning news. Bad thing, with my crew, that only left room for a couple other families! Frank Marsullo, weatherman, gave us a tour of the studio and put the kids in the spotlight! He has even agreed to come out in the spring a give a tornado talk to the kids, everyone is really looking forward to that! It was neat to see all the behind the scenes stuff and to see just what goes into getting the news on the air! Only drawback? We had to be in downtown Cincinnati at 8:45 AM, so we had to leave Loveland at 7:45 AM, which meant everyone had to be up and ready that early! We got hung up in traffic but made it to the studio exactly at 8:45 AM! Click on the collage to enlarge!

Monday, October 06, 2008

Weekly Grant Update!

We went to the doctor this morning and had the leg xrayed. Everything is still lined up (although the thinner of the two bones has shifted some, but not anything significant) so they are fairly confident that he WON'T need SUGERY! The "bad" news is that there weren't signs of significant healing, so they were unable to cast the leg. He is still stuck in the overwrapped splint until next Monday at the earliest. I asked if we should have seen signs of healing and they said that what they saw was fairly typical of that severe of a fracture a week out from the injury. They recommended making sure he gets lots of calcium, vitamin C and phoporous. We go back next Monday at 10:50 AM. So he has to stay off his feet for another week, hopefully he doesn't go completely stir crazy!

Thursday, October 02, 2008

Grant Update

We went back to Children's yesterday afternoon. Really no more answers than we got from the ER, they boxed in the splint (wrapped casting material around it) and told us to make an appointment for next week (made it for Monday at 10:30 AM) when they will xray it to determine if the reduction is holding (something about muscles pulling it out or some such!), if it is holding, they will cast it with a waterproof cast, if not then we will discuss surgery. The biggest concern seems to be that the bone broke at the growth plate. One of the docs looking at the scan seemed to think there is also a break in the growth plate, but the other doc wasn't sure/didn't think so. Jay is frustrated that they can't give us any answers at this point.

The good news is that Grant is allowed out as long as he is sitting (no walking except to and from the car and absolutely no standing around). He is still in a lot of pain (saying a 3 or 4 with taking percocet every 5 hours).

Grant fell while going to the bathroom this morning. The bottom of the cast hit the ground first and then he fell onto his butt. He said it hurt when it happened, but that it doesn't hurt any more than it was hurting now (does that sentence make sense???). Hopefully he didn't knock anything!

Continued prayers are much appreciated!

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Apple Picking at A & M Farm
Location: 22141 SR 251 Midland, OH 45148 513-875-2500 (mapquest fordirections from your location)
When: Tuesday, September 30 11:30 AM (we plan to eat lunch on the way)
Who: Homeschoolers of any age
Organized by: Riesenberg, Leland, Brown and Bayne families
RSVP if you want us to watch for you: Laura

The write up read: Our families are planning to go apple picking and would like to invite otherhomeschooling families to join us. The only cost involved is for the applesyou pick ($0.45 a pound).When I called A&M the woman who answered the phone said by September 30thwe should be able to pick:red and yellow delicious, empire, johnathan, grimes golden and one other variety (I can't remember what she said) She said the winesap may or may not be ready, we are welcome to "bite" one and see if we like them that day.This is one of the few UPICK farms for apples in our region of the state.The staff has always been wonderful and friendly and the kids really enjoy themselves.

A&M is open 9 AM to 6 PM. They have a couple of picnic tables out front, you are welcome to arrive early and eat a packed lunch or if your family eats lunch later, feel free to eat lunch following apple picking!

Things really weren' t the same without Grant with us, but I knew he would enjoy a quiet house so we headed out! We kept missing the roads we were supposed to turn on, it got to be quite comical after the second missed turned! 2 other homeschool families showed up and joined it, the weather was absolutely gorgeous! The bees were out and about but not at all aggressive! We ended up with 20 lbs of apples, 2 gallons of cider, some candy and some homemade jam. Click on the collage to make it bigger!

Sunday, September 28, 2008

How we spent our Sunday...

So....this is how I spend my Sunday.....this happened on one of the opening play of Grant's game, Jay was in the announcer's booth and went onto the field when he realized Grant wasn't getting up and people were screaming for ice and someone to call 911, when I saw him turn white and look like he was going to puke I went running onto the field (any good sports mom knows you NEVER go onto the field, you leave everything in the coaches hands), the quick glimpse I got of it was more than enough, thankfully I could hear the sirens approaching quickly....btw, this was my first ambulance trip ever! I rode in the ambulance with Grant and Jay and my mom (who happened to be at the game) met us down there.

We just got home for the hospital.......they were able to do a closed reduction and think they have everything lined up and he won't have to have surgery...both bones are broke through.....tibia at the growth plate, fibula further up (forgive me if those are spelled wrong!). We are supposed to make an appointment to see the ortho in a week to 10 days, so we probably won't know anything else until then. Grant was an absolute trooper, never cried or shed a tear the entire time, even when he had 3 doses of morophine in him and was still rating his pain at a 7 or 8. He is hanging out on the couch right now, perocet numbing the pain. Docs at Children's said 6-8 weeks in a cast, then rehab. Only time will tell.

On a funny side note, Grant demanded that I call someone to find out the score of his from his game, he got hurt on one of the opening plays. We got ahold of one of the dad's on the teamr...he gave us a wonderful update with a play by play and Grant was happy going into the reduction knewing his team pulled off an amazing win! Click on photo to enlarge!

Just a few shots from the Family, Farm, Garden and Environment Day at the Clermont County fairgrounds. Playing around with the collage prints at picasa! Click on the print to make it larger.
What: Family, Farm, Garden and Environment Day
When: September 27th from 10am to 3pm
Where: At the Clermont County Fairgrounds: 1000 Locust St. Owensville, OH 45160
Costs: FREE!

The Clermont County Agricultural Center's Family, Farm and EnvironmentDay in participation with the Great Outdoor Weekend will be onSaturday September 27 from 10 a.m. until 3 p.m at the Clermont CountyFairgrounds. Come ride around the fairgrounds on a hay wagon and seeall that we have to offer.

The USDA Farm Service Agency will have displays and talks about grainsthat are grown in Clermont County. Come on and learn about the foodyou eat and the wide range of products produced from our locally growngrains.

The Ohio State Extension of Clermont County will be demonstrating safefood preservation, how to compost, learn to winterize your garden,agricultural and natural resource youth activities and animals forviewing such as dairy goats, exotic cattle, and more.

The Clermont Soil and Water District will be having rain barrel andrain garden demonstrations and stream monitoring activities for youth.

There will also be displays from Clermont County Farm Bureau, ClermontCounty Cattleman's Association, a Goat Show put on by the ClermontCounty Meat Goat Association, and more.

This event would not be possible without our host and sponsors, theGreat Outdoor Weekend, Clermont County Agricultural Society andClermont County Farm Bureau.
Event held rain or shine with concessions available.

Friday, September 26, 2008

What: History Hunters: Wright Cycle Company Complex Tour
When: Friday September 26, 2008 10 AM
Where: The Wright Cycle Company & Wright-Dunbar Interpretive Center Dayton, OH (directions below)
Who: Homeschoolers of all ages, program geared to grades 2 -12
Cost: FREE
RSVP: Laura

Wright Cycle Company Complex: This tour will help participants discover the importance of the Hoover Block and The Wright Cycle Company building in serving as the locations of the mechanical development for the foundation of the first heavier-than-air flying machine. Participants will investigate the early careers of the Wright brothers by exploring the only original bicycle shop and print shop remaining in Dayton, while engaging in interactive exhibits and hands-on activities.Grades 2 – 12. 60-90 minutes (90-120 minutes with movie).From the coordinator: Usually, we start with the orientation movie (30minutes). Next we tour through the Wright-Dunbar Interpretive Center and then walk across the plaza to the Wright Cycle Company building.If we need to split into two groups - one group will tour the interpretive center while the other tours the bicycle shop; then switch. After your programs here, you could walk or drive to the Oak &Ivy Park which is located on Edwin C. Moses and Horace Street, just a few block away for lunch.

Getting to our Facilities: The Wright Cycle Company & Wright-Dunbar Interpretive Center-South Williams Street From either North or South I-75, take the Third Street exit (53) and proceed west along Third to Williams Street (2nd street light after bridge). Turn left onto Williams. The buildings are on your left. Bus parking is on the street. Other parking is available in our lot accessed from Fourth Street. The RTA bus line also runs along West Third Street.

What a wonderful program! Being a Cincinnati resident my whole life, you would think I would have BEEN TAUGHT at some point, the historical significance of Dayton in the entire "first flight" event! The center is very informative and everyone in attendance learned so much. The weather was just perfect for walking the neighborhood and getting a sense of the "streets" that Orville and Wilbur walked each day. Click on collage to enlarge.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Hurricane Ike hits Ohio!
Living 12 hours from the closest beach, one with never think a hurricane would hit Ohio. Apparently weather conditions were just perfect and that ONCE IN A LIFETIME storm blow our way! With no power, there was nothing better to do than walk the neighborhood the day after Ike hit Loveland. All of the pictures of damage are from within a 1/2 mile of our house. The pictures of the kids are from the football games we were watching when Ike hit! Can you believe they played football in hurricane force winds??? And our dinner by candlelight of coldcuts was recorded, figuring it would be the ONLY night we ate that way....hahahaha...we didn't get power back for 4 days and meals by candlelight became the norm. After spending Sunday through Wednesday with no power, I decided I am not cut out for a pioneers life!

Unfortunately I didn't get a picture of the people across the street and 2 houses up who had their car crushed by a huge tree, I intended to take a pic when we came back from our walk, but they cut it off when we were out walking (we were gone about 2 hours).

Click on the collage to bring it up full size.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

When did I become a Libertarian?

With Obama announcing Biden as his vice-presidential running mate, I decided to go and find out about him. I stumbled onto an interesting website called On the Issues: that lists every candidate and where they stand on each issue. It was interesting to see just where all the candidates, including Biden stand on the issues. Bitchy side note: How can someone who identifies themselves as a Catholic be pro-choice?

Anyhow, another link on the site brought me to a quiz with 20 questions that is supposed to help you decide which candidate is most in line with your way of I did the quiz and GUESS WHO IT PICKED????

Nope....NOT MCCAIN........

Certainly it didn't same OBAMA???? Yeah, not in this lifetime.......

I apparently should be voting for Bob Barr, a Libertarian, dare I admit that I have never even heard of the guy before?

Take the quiz yourself, see if you are surprised by the results:

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Bring Your Own Bags!

Just last night a mom from the dance studio and I were talking about how we were both "bringing our own bags" to the grocery store to reduce our use of plastic. We both commented on the strange looks we get but both know it was so worth the effort. The other mom even admitted that the whole "bring your own bag" thing was her new year's resolution and if she "forgets" her bags she will take her entire grocery purchase to the car BAGLESS! OK, I am not that dedicated yet, but with a family of 11, any trips I remember them on saves an average of 20 or so plastic bags.

Then I log onto one of the local homeschooling lists that I am part of and found this wonderful link posted by the list owner!

From the web site:"Why Bring Your Own Bag?

Start a habit you'll be proud to flaunt: remember your own bags everytime you go to the store. It's one simple way to go green in your
daily life. And when people see you're making the right choice,they're likely to do it too.

Some paper & plastic statistics:

* Each year the United States consumes 30 billion plastic and 10billion paper grocery bags, requiring 14 million trees and 12 millionbarrels of oil.

* The pulp and paper industry is the 2nd largest industrial user of energy in the U.S.

* More than 46,000 pieces of plastic contaminate each square mileof our oceans.

* Over 100,000 marine animals die every year from plasticentanglement.

* Only 1% of plastic bags are recycled annually.

Did you know that in alaska 30 communities have instituted bans on the distribution of non-biodegradable plastic bag?

In my area (Cincinnati) most stores sell reusable bags for anywhere from $.99 to about $4. Some stores like Kroger's and Whole Foods even give you a bag discount (about $.05). Here is a wonderful idea , why not make your own tote bags (for yourself, for gifts, or a fundraiser!)? Two of my teens just joined the Clermont County Teen Board, I am thinking I will have them really look into this as a service project! Wouldn't it be great to "give away" some resuable bags and then see them out and about in the community?

She even included some great pattern links:

Here is a simple pattern for a tote : you could even use webbing for straps instead of fabric if you were so inclined.

Here's Martha Stewart's beach tote version: can't see me digging out a vintage tablecloth, but I could certainly find some cute fabric on clearance to use!

Another beach bag :\tag=besewstylish&entry=127

Basic, simple tote with animated directions!:

a pretty knit tote?:

Save trees, save oil, save the environment......make some bags!

Monday, July 28, 2008

What: Passport to Fishing Program
When: Monday July 28, 2008 10 AM to 2 PM
Where: Lake Isabella Loveland, OH
Who: Homeschoolers ages 10 and up, limited to 24 participants
RSVP: Laura
Costs: Free (Hamilton County parks yearly sticker or daily pass required $5 yearly/$2 daily per vehicle)
What to bring: lunch, sunscreen and an eagerness to learn

“Passport to Fishing” is sponsored in part by the Recreational Boating and Fishing Foundation. Fishing fundamentals are taught including casting, knots and rigging, habitat and handling. Passport to Fishing is promoted as an easy way to learn the basics of angling, get kids outdoors and on the road to a lifetime of recreational activity. As part of the program participants will be assembling their own rod and reel fishing pole that they will take home with them at the end of the program. Participants will also recieve a copy of Sport Fishing: Aquatics Resoures Handbook

Parents are welcome to drop children off for the program, remember to pick up promptly at 2 PM. If you decide to stay on site, you may NOT have younger siblings in the program areas (classroom and fishing at lake with the group). There is a playground within the park limits that you may choose to visit during the program.

Despite a slight mess up with Angie (naturalist) where she ended up being an hour late, the program went amazingly well. When the other naturalists realized she was going to be late, they got the kids set up with fishing and then Mike got the kids working on assembling their poles. The kids were wonderful and paid attention as they were led through pole assembly. When Angie got there she went over all that they would need to know to be successful fishermen/women.

Grant caught a TINY fish, bigger than his late great catch, but still smaller than his hand! Cade waded in and snagged a "dying" catfish, it died almost as soon as he got it out of the water. It weighed a little over a pound and he was so excited, even though he didn't catch it with his pole. He asked to bring it home to show his dad, and despite the odd looks from other moms, I let him put it in a bag and bring it home. On a side note, a mom whose kids were at the fishing clinic brought a bunch of bagels from the food pantry her daughter volunteers at (apparently they throw out the baked goods at the end of each day) so I had a bunch of bagels in my van.....between the dead fish and the everything bagels, my car smelled like a jewish deli!

I was slightly annoyed...somehow the information about the event, that I only advertised on a local group I am active with (due to the limit on the # of kids I could have), got posted outside the group. It isn't that I mind others being there, but it that people from the group that came NEVER post their stuff outside of their group and they would never let people who weren't part of their exclusive group participate. OK rant over!

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Luke and Louie! Just had to share this picture, I thought it was just so adorable. Louie is amazingly patient with Luke and all his climbing!
Bake-it Contest at the County Fair!

Sophia returned to her reign as CHAMPION of the CUPCAKE DIVISION (she won 3rd place last year but had won first place the year before). There were over 20 entries in her division. Little brother William also entered cupcakes and although they didn't win, he was so proud that he decorated them all by himself!

After 3 years of NOT even placing, Emily WON 1ST PLACE in the quick bread division! She made a WONDERFUL Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Bread.

Grant tried his hand at a decorated cake for the first time this year! He came in 3rd place in his division, pretty impressive if you saw some of his competition!