Sunday, March 20, 2011


Deviating from my "typical" type of posts (do I have typical posts?) to share a family-friendly outing for fellow Cbus-ers.

Local readers may be interested to know that Battelle Darby Creek is the new home to 6 female bison. They come from The Wilds and seem to be thriving in their beautiful new prairie habitat.

We made our first trip to this park last Sunday and had a very enjoyable walk. The 1-mile path is wide and easy and pets were permitted. There are two playgrounds at the trailhead. A park volunteer was on hand at the bison viewing area, taking questions and sharing information. The park is apparently also home to coyote, fox, and of course many birds.

Bring your camera!

8/23/11 UPDATE: The Metro Parks Facebook page recently posted some tips about bison viewing. During the heat, early morning is best, or after a rain. 

Also, if you take your kids, you may want to swing by the library afterwards to learn more about bison. We always leave nature parks with more questions! The non-fiction area of the library is definitely becoming J's favorite--books about animals, insects, dinosaurs, volcanoes and planets abound!

We are also reading this cute new picture book right now about a buffalo. I need to look up the difference between buffalo and bison...again. I can never seem to get that straight!

Friday, March 4, 2011

Rainy Day Soup

After a week or two respite of Spring-like weather, we are back to cold, blustery winter weather and yet another sinus infection (which may be explained by these huge fluctuations in weather). I've been almost recovering from this sinus infection since Christmas. It's getting old. I'm feeling a little down.

So, today went a little something like this:

woke up (from a dead sleep with a pounding headache and sinus congestion) to the sound of J playing TRIOs, role-playing an elaborate Batman vs. Joker storyline, complete with the Joker's evil cackle (at the top of his lungs)

blow nose; cough; take Sudafed and guzzle water

shush J by wincing and pointing to my head

play LEGOs with J

put together a new birthday toy for N that (thankfully) has a volume control switch

blow nose; shush J

apply warm compress to face, but peel it back every 10 seconds to make sure N is not trying to eat LEGOs

repeat for the next 4 hours and pray I can muster enough energy to tire J out to the point that he'll agree to a nap


As I write this, the kids are napping (at the same time!) and I am lounging under blankets, watching it rain buckets from a bleak gray sky. Blah.

But the good news is that I pulled myself together enough to make a delicious hearty soup that I hope will help. When you're sick, you always want mom's chicken noodle soup, but this is right up there as well. It's my aunt's recipe for a vegetable minestrone, and I'm not sure where she got it. She brought us a pot of it the week we brought J home from the hospital, and it's been one of my go-to comfort foods ever since. It has a very savory flavor because it's made with bacon. Yes, bacon! Unusual, but trust me--it's good. And I'm not one of those people who thinks that everything tastes better with bacon on it. :)

Aunt Kathy's Minestrone

1/4 lb. bacon, cut into pieces
2 garlic cloves
1 large onion, diced
1 t. parsley
1 t. Italian seasoning
1 t. salt
1 t. pepper
32 oz. carton beef broth
16 oz. can kidney beans with liquid
28 oz. can crushed tomatoes
2 potatoes, diced
2 carrots, diced
2 celery stalks, diced
1 can green beans with liquid
8 oz. can tomato sauce
1 c. uncooked elbow macaroni
grated Parmesan to top

Brown bacon, garlic and onion in large soup pot. Add spices and broth. Stir in tomatoes and kidney beans. Bring to a boil. Add potatoes, carrots, celery, green beans and tomato sauce. Cook 1 hour on medium, or till vegetables are tender. Add macaroni. Cook 30 minutes. Season and serve with grated Parmesan.