2016, blog, cookies, june, myblog

Oatmeal chocolate chip drop cookies

Today I decided to bake some cookies. I opened up my cookie cookbook and turned to a neat recipe that I customized based on my liking. 

If I were to bake these cookies again, I’d divide the recipe in half because I was able to make 3 dozen cookies and that’s a lot. I also wouldn’t add the cinnamon again because it’s pretty noticeable in the cookies. Here’s the recipe: 


  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1/2 cup peanut butter
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 1/2 cup all purpose flour
  • 3 cups regular or quick cooking oats
  • 1 cup chocolate chips 


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F
  2. In a large bowl, with an electric mixer, beat butter and peanut butter on high for 30 seconds
  3. Add sugars, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt, beating ingredients in. 
  4. Beat in eggs and vanilla
  5. Slowly add in the flour
  6. Stir in oats and chocolate chips 
  7. Place balls of dough onto ungreased cookie sheets
  8. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes 
  9. Cool for 2 minutes 

Recipe created from ” Make-it-mine oatmeal cookies” on page 45 of  Better Homes and Gardens The Ultimate Cookie Book 2nd edition 

2016, blog, columbus, debbie, june, myblog

Worthington Farmer’s Market Haul

This morning I went to the Worthington Farmer’s Market  for the first time. 
I’d heard it ranked as one of the best in Ohio so I wanted to experience it for myself. 
Personally, I think Granville is the best farmer’s market but Worthington definitely had more vendors. It was overwhelming how many tents and vendors there were. 
One thing I love about farmer’s markets is the dog watching. Today, it was almost 90 degrees so all the dogs that were walking around were panting and looked a bit uncomfortable. I saw one dog that looked like a bernese mountain dog/ boxer/ lab mix. 
Here’s my Farmer’s Market haul:
My first purchase was a $2 cup of coffee from Silver Bridge.  I got the Salted Carmel flavor and really enjoyed that. They have such a wide variety of fun flavors at Silver Bridge. I went over to the cream and sugar part of the table and saw they had flavorings behind the table. I asked the young girl if I could get a pump of carmel in my coffee and she informed me the flavors are only for iced coffee. Note to self: Get an iced coffee next time so I can get the pump of carmel flavoring. 
On the street, this young man was handing out samples of Beer Bratwursts from Oink Moo Cluck and that delicious free sample is why I bought these $4.50 bratwursts. I’m not 100% sure how to cook them. I talked to the young man for a good while asking him how to cook them and he told me I can boil them in hot water and cook them in the oven for 10 minutes. Sounds suspiciously easy. At first he told me to grill the meat and I told him I didn’t have a grill. His next question was whether I had an oven or not. Come on, who doesn’t have an oven? 
I bought these $2 cheddar scones from a woman who was selling a wide variety of pastries. I almost bought this key lime tart she had. She saw my Columbus Arts Festival shirt and told me she had baked 100+ Art Shark cookies and had the image of the shark burned into her mind so seeing the shark on my shirt gave her flashbacks. That made me laugh. 

This was my favorite purchase and I will definitely get it again. This $6 ham and cheese croissant from Dan the Baker is phenomenal. As in, tastes like perfection. The ham is so juicy and there’s multiple types of cheeses baked in, including gruyère. I went to the Farmer’s Market searching for a delicious breakfast pastry and I found it!

This post reminds me of those “haul” YouTube videos girls make all the time whenever they shop at Target. But my post is with food. 

2016, june, summer

Summer watermelon nails

It’s after Memorial Day, so that means it’s summer, right? 

I painted my nails last night and as my AC was blasting me with cold air, I decided to try out some hot summery nails. 
I used Essie nail polish in lime green and hot pink, alternating fingers. 
To make the watermelon seeds, I used a Sharpie. I get more control and a smaller dot than if I used black nail polish or a special striper nail polish. 

johnstown, johnstownindependent, johnstownvillage, june, ThisWeek, ThisWeekNews

Village water-use audit numbers being compiled

Read it on ThisWeekNews.com

The Johnstown village water and sewer department conducted an extensive water-use audit recently and presented those findings to Village Council at the regular June 16 council meeting.

According to the Environmental Protection Agency, the average loss in any water system is 16 percent.

The specific numbers for Johnstown are being revised after a clerical error was noticed, village officials said. Village officials said they are working to compile accurate audit numbers.

The water audit was prompted after a citizen questioned the amount of water loss in the village.

Village officials said the water and sewer department makes a concentrated effort to monitor water usage.

For example, June 11, water and sewer employees noticed an unusually high amount of water consumption.

They began to search within the village for possible leaks, until the high water usage suddenly switched back to normal.

The high water-use issue was discovered within 24 hours and three water and sewer employees were dedicated to finding the source.

Through the village’s investigation, officials were able to determine the owner of Johnstown Skate-N-Swim, 143 Edwards Road, filled the pool using a fire hydrant.

Village officials said the situation was an issue of the business owner not knowing the proper procedure for filling the pool.

Employees spoke with the owner, who used more than 100,000 gallons of water, and set up a payment plan so he can pay for the water.

blog, june, myblog

Should I stay or should I go?

My lease at my current apartment complex is up at the end of August. It’s crazy to think that this time last year I was apartment hunting and really nervous about moving to a new apartment. Now, I’m right back in that boat: apartment hunting and really scared about moving. If I’m scared about moving, then I should probably stay where I’m at, right? Nah. I don’t want to “get stuck” or complacent somewhere and I do get excited about the thought of a new place and learning about a new area. As much as I love my comfort zone, I think a new apartment will be a nice shove outside the comfort zone.

I wanted to take a minute to journal my thoughts about what I like and dislike about my current apartment complex and the one I’m considering moving to.

Albany Woods

stock photo of Albany Woods

  • Big. A lot of square feet for what I pay. 
  • Soft fluffy carpet
  • Nice stainless steel appliances 
  • Within biking distance of library
  • Within biking distance of Kroger grocery store
  • Pool (that I’ve never used)
  • Walking trail around the property, which I do use once a week or so
  • 24hr fitness center that I use. It’s not the nicest gym area in the world but it gets the job done
  • Free parking
  • Very quiet, like a nursing home almost. 
  • Quick maintenance reponse
    stock photo of Albany Woods.
    I would never own those bed sheets. 


  • Arguably ugly carpet
  • Bugs. I’ve found stink bugs, spiders, flys and even a moth last night. I realize this is typical and I am not saying it’s infested with bugs, I’m just extra grossed out by any kind of bug.
  • Sometimes I heard my neighbor’s dogs barking but usually it wasn’t that often
  • View of a parking lot. My window looks out on the parking lot which is nice for checking on my car but otherwise unattractive. 
  • Removed from Columbus. I find myself driving 20mins downtown when I want to go somewhere cool. 
  • Commute to work. Some days I hit traffic and that can make my commute time so unpredictable. 1 hour or 20mins?
  • Neighbors and community members keep to themselves and are older generally

Heritage Apartments

  • Free Internet (a savings of $35 a month for me)
  • Free Cable. 80 channels. I could watch MTV!! 
  • Grandview area. I’ve heard great things about this area. 
  • Pool
  • 24hr fitness center
  • Closer to work
  • Closer to downtown
  • Lots of neat small businesses to check out
  • More young people
  • Kroger right across the street
  • Unit would be inside, like a dorm, so hopefully less bugs sneaking in. 
  • Free parking
  • Worst comes to worst, I can sublease my apartment out to someone else
  • the dumpster and mailboxes nearby
  • Bar, grill, and pizza place in the apartment community


  • I’ve read some bad reviews online. 
  • Would still have a gas bill, electricity bill and utility bill
  • The outside of the buildings look less nice
  • Smaller unit than what I have now
  • Could be loud. Could have loud neighbors. Maybe the walls are thin
  • Expensive and arguably overpriced
  • Could be more unsafe than the area I’m in now 
  • I heard online that people received huge utility bills after they moved out. 
Any thoughts? 
2015, june, ThisWeek, ThisWeekNews, westerville

Enrichment Center, EOS honored as national model

Read it on ThisWeekNews.com here

Wednesday June 17, 2015 10:10 AM

Westerville City Schools was one of six programs nationwide to receive the prestigious 2015 Apex Learning Award of Excellence this spring.

The Apex Learning Award of Excellence recognizes innovative schools and districts across the country for excellence in implementing blended and virtual learning programs that result in higher student achievement.

Apex Learning representative David Norris praised the district for its programs.

“Dr. (Scott) Ebbrecht and the entire staff at the Academic Enrichment Center, where the Educational Options for Success program is located, are to be commended for being a leader in utilizing digital content to enhance student engagement, academic achievement, and graduation rates,” he said.

Ebbrecht is the Westerville district’s director of alternative education services and assessment.

Norris described Westerville as a role model district in terms of incorporating digital learning into the curriculum offered at the Academic Enrichment Center, 336 S. Otterbein Ave.

The building, formerly the school district’s administrative offices, has housed the Educational Options for Success program since 2011.

EOS itself was launched in 2000-2001 as a program to help highly at-risk students complete their high school coursework and earn diplomas. Until the administrative offices were moved to Eastwind Drive in 2011, the program operated out of modular classroom trailers at Westerville North High School.

“EOS is truly a model program and, for this reason, I continue to refer other school districts to Westerville to learn from one of the best programs in the United States,” Norris said.

The district will be honored at a regional Blended Learning Conference during the 2015-16 school year.

“The goal of this award is to highlight successful programs to serve as models for the education community,” said Cheryl Vedoe, the CEO of Apex Learning.

In Westerville summer school classes this year, a blended model that incorporates Apex curriculum will be utilized for students looking to recover class credits.

The EOS program serves students who have become, for many different reasons, disenfranchised from the traditional high school experience.

The Enrichment Center also acts as a district “hub” that coordinates and provides program options for all 15,000 students in the Westerville City School District and for those outside the district.

At the AEC, the primary objective for each student is to facilitate successful school completion and develop skills to be successful within the school and community environments they will face when they leave the program.

Hundreds of students have benefited over the 14 years of the EOS program’s existence, with the vast majority of students earning a high school diploma, and forming an established plan for what comes next in terms of college or a career, Norris said in announcing the Apex award.

This year’s Award of Excellence winners also include Boston Public Schools, Burbank Unified School District, Cabot Public Schools 4, Lincoln Public Schools, and Sycamore Community Schools.

johnstown, johnstowncity, johnstownindependent, johnstownvillage, june, ThisWeek, ThisWeekNews

Johnstown’s Firemen’s Festival

Read online story at ThisWeekNews.com

Friday June 19, 2015 8:09 PM

The fun, food and festivities of summertime Fourth of July parades, come early to the village of Johnstown, with the annual Johnstown Fireman’s Festival.

The festival will begin Wednesday, June 24, and run through Saturday, June 27.

The parade is scheduled to step off at noon, Saturday, rain or shine.

It is organized by the Johnstown Fire Department Association, a group of retired and current firefighters who raise money for the Monroe Township fire department.

Amusement rides and vendors will open at 6 p.m. daily, Wednesday through Friday, and at noon, Saturday.

The festival started in 1975 as a local street fair and a way for the fire department to raise a few dollars.

Now, it has grown into an event so large that former fire chief Johnny Johnson estimated the festival attracts more than 10,000 people over the four days.

“It’s a big family gathering where people can say ‘hi’ to old and new friends,” Johnson said.

He said the festival used to be held on July 4th but the organizers found their was too much competition with other festivals and celebrations in Granville, Sunbury and Centerburg.

There will be 12 food trailers, offering classic carnival food such as corn dogs, elephant ears, gyros, cotton candy and bratwurst and otherr sausages.

Johnson said rides at the festival are top-notch because festival organizers contract with the same company the Franklin County Fair uses.

In previous years, the Miss Johnstown Pageant has been held the Tuesday before the Firemen’s Festival, but this year it’s being held Saturday, June 20, because of summer camp scheduling conflicts.

Each night of the festival there will be live music from 8 to 11 p.m.

Wednesday night, Southern Touch will perform. Thursday, June 25, the music will be provided by Sidewinder.

Friday, June 26, local band Cool Kids will perform and Saturday, June 27, Marquis 66 will perform.

The parade will start with a line up at the Johnstown High School at 9 a.m. and will proceed along Route 37, turning left onto Pershing Drive and left onto Oregon Street, ending back at the high school.

Floats will be judged starting at 10:30 a.m. and winners will be announced as they pass the announcer’s stand. Awards and trophies for best looking, best float and judge’s choice will be presented near the Gazebo after the parade.

The parade lineup is based on a first-come, first-served basis and Johnson said everyone is invited to participate.

“I get 40-50 calls every year from people wanting to be in the parade,” he said. “All they need to do is show up in the morning.”

The grand marshals of the parade will be all 192 members of the Johnstown High School Big Red Band.

The band has previously performed in parades such as the Outback Bowl, Chick-fil-A Bowl and at Walt Disney World.

Only parade vehicles will be allowed on Douglas Street.

There will be a drive-thru lane via Oregon Street for drop off only of parade participants.

For more information, call Johnny Johnson at 740-967-7771.

johnstown, johnstownindependent, johnstownvillage, june, ThisWeek, ThisWeekNews

Delay in moving utility lines holds up Concord project

See original here

Friday June 19, 2015 2:50 PM

Repairs to Concord Road could be delayed up to six weeks because of delays with a utility company moving service lines and poles, according to Johnstown Village Manager Jim Lenner in his report to Village Council during its June 16 meeting.
Lenner said Century Link — a company that provides internet, telephone and TV services — was notified about the Concord Road construction in February, but has not yet moved the necessary poles, underground lines and cables.
Johnstown Service Director Jack Liggett said the utility lines need to be moved because a new storm sewer, water line and ditch configuration will be put in place on Concord Road.”We are working hard to figure out why this is still a problem and relocate those utilities as soon as possible,” Liggett said.
The project originally was supposed to start June 15 and had an expected deadline of Oct. 31, if there were no delays.
Lenner expressed his frustration at the council meeting.
“We should have been moving dirt already,” he said.
“Now, the proper people have been made aware of this issue. It is frustrating that we did our best to notify them that this needed to be done and progress was not made sooner.”
He said the road project is now expected to be completed in November.
The preconstruction meeting for the project was held May 28.
Other matters
Within the next two weeks, a new sidewalk will be poured near Whit’s Frozen Custard at 551 W. Coshocton St.
The work will be done by Holbrook Construction, the same company that recently repaired some resident’s street curbs and will be repairing the bricks in the historic clock tower.
Also, bids were opened for the Raccoon Creek Pedestrian Bridge.
Opening bids were approximately $60,000 lower than estimated. A final cost is not known yet.
Additionally, there was a first reading of a proposed ordinance to establish new wage and salary ranges for various village positions.
Some positions could see up to a 5-percent increase in the maximum wage or salary range.
Lenner said the changes are being proposed so the village can offer employees competitive wages and increase retention of employees.
The last change to the wage and salary structure was passed Jan. 8, 2013.
blog, june, myblog


Last weekend, I went to the Columbus Arts Festival downtown. 
I’d never gone before and was amazed at the sheer number of vendors there were. You could find any type of art medium for sale there. All the artists were incredibly talented. 
I was also excited to be in an area of Columbus that I don’t venture down into very often. 

I think it’s genius of the ArtsFest to have such an adorable mascot: the ArtShark. See him pictured above. I proudly bought a t-shirt with him on it and got a magnet of the shark. He’s the kind of shark I want to hang with and he probably gets kids excited about art. 

Even though the Riverfront is undergoing some major construction, it’s still fun to see all of the tall buildings and liveliness of the city.


I couldn’t resist buying a cute ArtsFest t-shirt. The proceeds went to the Faith Misisons charity in Columbus. I also got a “Mojo-dilla” from the MojoTago food truck. It was delicious but so messy.

I knew that I wanted to splurge and buy something at the ArtsFest. I saw jewelry, art prints and pottery that I liked. It was tough to make a decision. I asked myself which item I would use most and I told myself, “Well, I could wear a necklace very often, look at the art print every day or use a coffee mug ever week.”

We spent a lot of time in this one tent of a potter named Scott Martin. He works with his wife and shows in both Florida and Michigan. I was obsessed with the purple glaze he used in his pottery. After talking with him for fifteen minutes, I purchased a purple bowl that he made. It’s microwave and dishwasher safe, which is great.  
I hope I can go the ArtsFest next year.

The bowl I got at the ArtsFest
2015, june, summer, ThisWeek, ThisWeekNews, westerville

Changing district policies put new spins on summer school offerings

Originally published in print in Westerville’s ThisWeek News and online here

Bus transportation and meals are being offered to middle school students, and for the first time, kindergarten students can enroll

Wednesday June 10, 2015 2:10 PM

Even though schools are out for the summer, the learning continues in Westerville City Schools.

The district offers summer school classes for all grades including — for the first time this year — kindergarten. More than 69 kindergarten students registered.

Also new this year is bus transportation to Genoa Middle School for students in grades 6-8 and breakfast and lunch being provided for those middle-school level students.

That means all registered students now have access to transportation to summer programming and all participating students in grades K-8 will have access to breakfast and lunch.

At the high school level, a handful of blended-learning courses using online teaching are offered, in addition to physical education and Ohio Graduation Test preparation classes.

Scott Ebbrecht, the district’s director of alternative education services and assessment, said high school students choose to attend summer school for a variety of reasons.

“Some do it for course acceleration, so it frees up time in their schedule to potentially take a college-level course,” he said. “Others take the classes for credit recovery or grade replacement, where they might have failed a class and want to retake it for a better grade.”

The Westervillel Board of Education adopted a new policy Dec. 8 which allows students who, during high school, participate in athletics, marching band or cheerleading for at least two full seasons, the option to be excused from the physical education graduation requirement.

Because of this new waiver, only 101 students signed up for summer gym class, versus 334 students who enrolled last year.

“Students are taking advantage of this new opportunity,” he said. “Now, they have room in their schedule to take an elective class of their choice.”

The new waiver caused a significant drop in all high school summer school enrollment. This year, 263 high school students are signed up for summer school whereas last year, 492 students enrolled.

However, enrollment in math and science summer school classes increased this year from 107 to 123.

High school summer classes use digital content and offer students a flexible schedule to learn the material while possibly simultaneously working a summer job.

“We believe that using digital content, students still need to form a relationship with a teacher and need help from them, but that by working at home, at their own pace, they can best take ownership of their learning,” Ebbrecht said.

For students in grades K-8, Westerville offers the “Passport to Success” program in the summer.

Students who are identified as needing intervention, especially in reading and math, are invited to participate.

More than 512 elementary school students are participating this year, which is the highest number in three years.

Program administrator for grades K-3, Melissa Krempasky, said summer school provides an opportunity for students to maintain or increase their current reading level.

“Research shows that at-risk kids need to read every day or receive some form of instruction, or else they could potentially lose skills they learned during the school year,” she said.

Students risk losing one to two reading levels over the summer if they do not stay involved, Krempasky said.

Ebbrecht agreed that students should continue to enhance their knowledge, even when school is out of session.

“I believe that summer regression is a problem, depending on what students are spending their time on,” he said. “Through the summer learning opportunities in Westerville, we hope to provide structured activities to extend learning and enhance reading strategies and math skills.”

Krempasky said she has wanted to offer summer school for kindergartners for several years.

“Now, we can help at-risk kids more and give them a solid start to first grade,” she said.

Ohio Graduation Test Intervention courses and tests also are offered over the summer. Students can take the June 4-12 course and then take the test the next week.

In 2014, 140 students in grades 10-12 enrolled in OGT prep classes and in 2015, 99 students are enrolled.