Monday, September 1, 2014


I may be a touch partial, but I think that it’s safe to say that there was nowhere to go but up after finishing North Dakota week up.  And after I spent so much time for digging for anything interesting from “The Peace Garden State” I feel like this week will be a breeze as we head back to the Midwest to a place I am very fond of, Ohio!

On April 5, 1983 the best thing to ever happen to Ohio occurred – my birth!  (Just kidding!)  But as most of you know I spent the first 18 years of my life in “The Buckeye State” and the majority of my family lives there.  So to say that the Dynamic Duo is very familiar with Ohio is a fair statement – they even lived there for a few months when we transitioned between Florida and Michigan.  While I would have been delighted celebrating the state that brought us everything from the cash register to the soda pull tab I’m glad it’s something we don’t have to focus on quite as hard this week with school starting back up for Noah, the chaos that brings and the big bowling party this week.   Just this summer alone, my twosome have gotten huge doses of Ohio including Noah’s trip to Cedar Point, multiple trips to the Toledo Zoo, their awesome Cincinnati adventure full of Skyline Chili, a Reds game, King’s Island and the Cincinnati Zoo, a day at Maumee Bay State Park, a trip all the way up and down I-75 on the way to Georgia (including a viewing of the new “Big Butter Jesus”) and a night with the Toledo Mud Hens!  So if the point of our little project is to teach Noah and Kayla what makes each state special and unique, I’d say we’re well ahead of the curve on this one! 

This week, as with Michigan, since it has been more about the experience than the learning from afar, I’m going to keep my ‘intro’ blog brief.  Yes, there’s TONS about Ohio I could teach them, but I’ve picked some of what I thought was most important to give a pretty simple run down.  Don’t worry, there’ll be plenty of Ohio adventures this week (and for the rest of their lives), so without further ado…
Did you know Ohio is often referred to as “The Cradle of Presidents”?  Seven presidents were born in Ohio and William Henry Harrison, though born in Virginia claimed Ohio as his home state and is often included to give Ohio 8 total presidents (tying them with Virginia).  Ohio’s presidents were:
Ninth President – William Henry Harrison
Eighteenth President – Ulysses S. Grant
Nineteenth President – Rutherford B. Hayes (my personal favorite as his Presidential Library is located practically in my parent’s backyard in Fremont)
Twentieth President -  James A. Garfield
Twenty-Third President – Benjamin Harrison
Twenty-Fifth President – William McKinley
Twenty-Seventh President – Howard Taft
Twenty-Ninth President – Warren Harding

If Presidents don’t interest you, what about astronauts?  In total, twenty-five astronauts that have been part of the United States space program have hailed from Ohio, by far the most in the nation.  This could be for a few reasons (probably not this one); chiefly native sons John Glenn, Neil Armstrong and the Wright Brothers.  On February 20, 1962, Glenn flew the Friendship 7 mission and became the first American to orbit the Earth.  On July 21, 1969 Armstrong, the first man to set foot on the moon, uttered the famous “That's one small step for [a] man, one giant leap for mankind.”  Further, you may remember that Ohio and North Carolina are still locked into a fierce debate over the true birthplace of aviation. But I think the fact that Orville and Wilbur Wright spent the majority of their life in Dayton and opened the Wright Cycle Company there gives Ohio the slight edge.  For all you flight of any kind (space included) enthusiasts a trip to the US Air Force Museum in Dayton is lots of fun.  (I’ve been, it’s totally worth the fun tour of an old Air Force One!)

If the science of flight doesn’t captivate you, perhaps Ohio’s attention to public safety is more your style.  Did you know that the first ambulance service began in Cincinnati in 1865?  Cincinnati is also home to the first professional fire department in the country, which began in 1853Akron (which is also known as the Rubber Capital of the World) also claims the first police car!  It was a wagon run by electricity fielded on the streets of Akron, Ohio, in 1899. The first operator of the police patrol wagon was Akron Police officer Louis Mueller, Sr. It could reach 16 mph (26 km/h) and travel 30 mi (48 km) before its battery needed to be recharged.  And I’m sure Officer Mueller would have (if they’d been around) adhered to the traffic signals, the first electric one being installed in Cleveland in 1914.  The first pedestrian controlled signal was also installed in Ohio (also in Cleveland) in 1948.

My crew, of course, needed to be filled in on the sports!  Though it’s not allowed spoken in my house, there is “that Ohio team” collegiately.  My Tigers take on the Cleveland Indians and my sister Sarah roots for the oldest professional baseball team, the Cincinnati Reds.  The Toledo Mud Hens (AAA team for the Tigers!) rocketed to fame in the 70’s when native son Jamie Farr regularly sported their apparel (and longed for a dog from Tony Paco’s) on the TV show M*A*S*H*,  The Columbus Blue Jackets take the ice in the state’s capital as part of a recent addition to Ohio’s sports offerings.   If you’re a pigskin fan in Ohio you have the choice of rooting for the Cleveland Browns or the Cincinnati Bengals, not to mention that the Pro Football Hall of Fame is located in Canton which also happens to be where the National Football League (then known as the American Professional Football Conference) was founded in 1920.  (Famous sports figures Cy Young and Jesse Owens also both hail from Ohio!)

I’ve already mentioned quite a few attractions that are worth seeing in Ohio, but I may also suggest a trip to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame located in Cleveland?  Or maybe a trip to Columbus to visit COSI and while there eat at the very first Wendy’s restaurant founded in 1969 in by Dave Thomas?  (The Menches brothers of Akron also have a claim in that they invented the hamburger, but I’m sticking with Louis’ Lunch in Connecticut on this one.  But try out one of their restaurants while in Ohio for sure!  Or make a trip to Akron for the National Hamburger Festival)  If you love the water, the shores of Lake Erie are a must, and I’d recommend a ride on the Jet Express to check out Put-In-Bay and the famous Perry Monument.  If you like to slow things down a bit and embrace the simpler things, there’s plenty to check out in Amish Country.  And to learn more about Ohio’s history and its earliest settlors the Serpent Mound is definitely something worth seeing.  And if you love to snack, you could make a trip to the only museum dedicated to popcorn in the world in Marion.

Besides me (because seriously, how could you be more famous??) and the scattering of those I’ve mentioned already, you may be surprised to learn that Ohio is the birthplace of Steven Spielberg, Erma Bombeck, Thomas Edison, Clark Gable, Gloria Steinem, Jack Nicklaus, Paul Newman, Toni Morrison, Dean Martin, LeBron James, Halle Berry, Sarah Jessica Parker, Katie Holmes and Drew Carey (who based is TV show in Cleveland!) just to name a few.   Boy does Ohio produce good people!

I could probably (like most of the states – other than North Dakota which yes I’m still bitter with from last week) go on and on about Ohio.  From “Hang on Sloopy” (the Official State Song) to the claim of Reynoldsburg to be “The Birthplace of the Tomato” to Lifesavers candy being created by Cleveland native Clarence Crane in 1912 – there’s no shortage of fun facts about “The Heart of it All”  (And just in case I haven’t convinced you, check out these 24 reasons you should stop underestimating Ohio!)

I have had so much fun planning our culinary adventure through Ohio this week.  There are certain dishes that are synonymous with Ohio like both of tonight’s samplings.  I’ve already mentioned Skyline Chili above, and if you’ve ever made a trip to Cincinnati hopefully you’ve tried the chili that is named after the city.  Cincinnati Chili is based on the chili, spaghetti, grated cheddar cheese, diced onions, and kidney beans (yes, in this EXACT order) and you can order it certain ‘ways’  It is traditionally offered as follows: Bowl: chili in a bowl, Two-way: chili and spaghetti, Three-way: chili, spaghetti, and cheese, Four-way: chili, spaghetti, cheese, and onions and Five-way: chili, spaghetti, cheese, onions, and beans.  The chili itself is characterized by the spices used in it, most notably cinnamon, cloves, all spice and chocolate.  Tonight I planned on using this Quickie Cincinnati Chili recipe, but my wonderful sister Sarah hooked us up with a Cincinnati staple – Skyline Chili!  We dressed it up different ‘ways’ to suit everyone here and it disappeared.  Thanks Sar!  Earlier the kids helped me make dessert, Buckeyes!  The actual nut that falls from the Buckeye Tree (which just so happens to be the state tree!) is poisonous, so this concoction of peanut butter and chocolate will just have to suffice to all those Ohioans!  The crew had a lot of fun making these and it was a good way to get into an Ohio frame of mind for the week!

Alright, big day tomorrow (first day of school for NJ!) so it’s time to wrap up Ohio for tonight.  Don’t worry, I’ll be back tomorrow with I’m sure big news from Noah’s first day, my trip with the Bean for her first day of school outfit and supplies, our salute to Wendy’s and who knows what else.  So until then…

Ohio Fun Fact of the Day: 50% of the United States population lives within a 500 mile radius of Columbus.

Bring on the Buckeyes! 





Workin' it

A recipe without eggs - licking the beaters!

Rolling away


Not bad for our first attempt

Time to get measured!

Hmmm, I'd say the Bean has grown just a touch this year

NJ too

And since we were there, this year's handprints

Taste testing the Buckeyes

Thanks Sarah!

Chili 5 Way!

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