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.