Monday, December 27, 2010

Last Week Of 2010, Buy A Pork Roast

Good Day Everyone...So as we say goodbye to 2010 I am reflecting a bit on the last 365 days. What are some of your favorite memories of the year? One of my highlights was when I committed to my new home of Cincinnati and continue to work with all of my friends here at FOX19. We kicked off the FOX19 News Morning Xtra in September, and it is something that I have wanted to do for a very long time. It's 60 minutes of information and entertainment highlighting people and places right here in the Tri-State. Plus, I get to work with a new friend in my co-anchor Tracey Johnson. I also have enjoyed bonding with mans best friend, my dog Mr. Benson he is a great dog and finally became potty trained by the end of the year! My carpet thanks you Mr. Benson. So as we look to 2011 let's start off on the right foot, it's a family tradition for me to eat pork roast and blackeye peas every New Years Day. My mom always told me if you eat chicken on the first day of the new year then you will be scratching all year long. My co-workers have never heard of this tradition please prove me wrong. Thanks to all for making us a part of your mornings this year and here is to a great 2011.

Friday, December 24, 2010

So's Christmas Eve

So's Christmas Eve

Happy Friday...Dan Wells writing, I hope this note finds you well and in good spirits!

The Nutcracker.

One of my families favorite Christmas traditions. I went with my family in Pennsylvania when I was little (I think my mom made me...but anyway), this year was my first year to start the tradition of taking our little one.

Even more exciting was the fact that I was asked to read the opening story, 'Twas the Night Before Christmas' and my daughter was invited to sit on my lap while I read.

For some reason, I thought my daughter would eat it up and have no issues sitting on stage with other little boys and girls that were in the play. However I forgot one minor detail: the curtain would open and there would be 2,700 hundred pairs of eyes staring at her.
Enter her exit.

Actually, she didn't even make it that far. My wife and I took her up on stage as they were preparing everything for the show, we practiced sitting in the chair, and then she said, as politely as she always does, "I am ready to go home now, thank you."
My wife tried her best to convince my daughter that she would be fine...(a mom's gotta try!)...but she's not dumb.
So, away she went back to our seats, and enjoyed the entire show from start to finish. And although she wasn't up there reading with me, she was the perfect audience and I couldn't be more proud of her...and who knows, maybe we'll be invited back next year and she'll be a year older and a tad braver!
Happy Holidays!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Christmas In Cincinnati

I love Christmas in Cincinnati!

Sheila here, and I love all of the ways families can make special memories during the Christmas season here. Ric, Katie, Eric, and I went to the Cincinnati Zoo's Festival of Lights last weekend. We hadn't been there for several years.

After a few weak protests about the cold weather, we layered up our clothes (2 pairs of socks!), and headed up to the zoo before dusk. It was a perfect time. We saw a few of the animals before darkness descended, and then we watched the lights brighten as the sun went below the horizon.

It's amazing to me to think about how long it must've taken Zoo employees to put up more than two-million LED lights, and they did a fantastic job. We walked through the candy cane forest, gingerbread land (in the Children's Zoo), stopped for hot chocolate, and enjoyed our personal grand finale as we walked past Swan Lake on our way out.

We wrapped up our night with a family dinner at LaRosa's pizza in Northern Kentucky.

Some of my family's other hometown Christmas favorites include seeing "A Christmas Carol" at Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park. We go every year, and I absolutely love Bruce Comer as Ebeneezer Scrooge. A stop Downtown is always fun. Fountain Square is so festive. I'm too clumsy to do any ice skating, but the rink is a popular place right now. We also had a great time at the Cincinnati Museum Center's Holiday Junction this month. If you have a train lover in your family, it's a natural. And the Santa Claus there is the sweetest.

I also think the live Nativity at the Krohn Conservatory is a wonderful reminder of the true message of Christmas. The decorations inside, particularly the miniature Cincinnati landmarks, are very cool too.

Whatever you choose to do as we approach the holiday, I hope you find many blessings in it. I wish you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Chicago Blizzard

I don't know if you watched the second football game a week ago Sunday, but I was there. It was blizzard.
Good snowy morning everyone. Rob here.

Spent a few days in Chicago last week. That's not too unusual. A lot of tri-staters head to Chicago from time to time. Especially time of year, when it's decked out for Christmas. However, this time for the first time I decided to take the Megabus. Most of my friends thought it was a fine idea. I also remember Pat Barry telling us he took the Megabus to Chicago. He said it was easy and convenient. When I told Frank Marzullo, he laughed and said I would hate it. That kind of freaked me out a bit. Was he right? Will I be induced into a claustrophobic panic attack. At first, I thought of taking the bus that left at 1AM. I could sleep, but that sounded crazy to me. Maybe when I was in college this would work, but not today. I decided on the more civilized but that left around 9AM. The bus was nice. It's a double decker with a lot of seats. However, I really didn't want anyone sitting by me. So I took the worst seat on the bus. That's right, next to the bathroom. There weren't that many Cincinnati passengers, but I didn't know how many would join us in Indianapolis. Turned out not many. I really thought it was a comfortable ride. I didn't have to worry about driving. I could just relax. I suggest a portable DVD player or a laptop. You can catch up on your "stories" as my mother would say. Oh there's wifi on board. Nice bonus. Also the coolest part of my trip was seeing SSG. Salvatore Giunta. The first living person to be awarded the Medal of Honor since the Vietnam War.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Santa Visits Florence

Happy Friday, Dan Wells writing...I hope this note finds you well and in good spirits. Today's blog is my tribute good ole Florence!

If you have ever talked to anyone who doesn't live in or near Cincinnati and you mention that you live around Florence, Kentucky chances are pretty good that the first thing to leave their mouth will be "Oh, by the Florence, Y'all water tower?"

Yep, that's it!
But these days, good old Florence has a lot more to offer than just its infamous tower.

Florence has a newly remodeled Mall Road, and a ton of new stores inside the mall, (my wife loves these new stores...and what makes her happy makes me happy) including H&M and Sephora, which has now made its home on the second floor of JCPenny's.

If you happen to be shopping with kids in tow, take a break and enjoy a visit with one of the best Santas in the city.

Disclaimer: He looks real, he sounds real, sometimes I question him myself.

After working up an appetite,(you have to eat after shopping or at least that's my reasoning) your choices for lunch and dinner have broadened, there's a new Chick-Fil-A, Chili's, City Barbeque, and Chipolte on Burlington Pike across from the Boone County Library.....Giddy UP!!!!

So the next time someone makes the reference between Florence and the water tower, be sure to let them know that this great little community has quite a lot to offer!

Happy Holidays - and welcome to Florence Y'all


Wednesday, December 15, 2010

A Sweet Tour

Got your Christmas cookies yet?

Sheila here, and we haven't plunged into the big part of our Christmas baking yet at my house, but my kids got a head start last Saturday at Servatii's.

I have a Servatii's gingerbread house on display at home, and for the first couple of days I had it, I couldn't keep my son Eric away from it. I was telling Gary Gottenbusch about it when I ran into him and his family at Germania Society's Christkindlmarkt, and he asked how we would like to come to their big bakery in Madisonville to see where they make the gingerbread houses and other sweet treats. Of course, we jumped at the chance.

Gary started our tour with a little history lesson on his grandfather's first Servatii's bakery and café in Muenster, Germany. Gary Gottenbusch opened up shop to sell his sweets and baked goods in the 1950's. Then Gary's dad, Wilhelm brought those delicious traditions to the United States with the first Servatii's on Observatory Avenue in 1963, and Gary carries on with his brothers Greg and Mark.

Once inside the bakery, Katie, Eric, and I saw bagels being made and Gary showed us the ovens where he can bake hundreds of cookies at one time. They're big enough to fit a couple of people inside (but much too hot!) In the cake decorating room, we saw several award winning women putting their touch on birthday and holiday cakes, and they took a few minutes to teach Katie some of their icing techniques. Katie and Eric decorated cookies, and my little guy was more than generous with the icing sprinkles. Gary wrapped up our tour by showing us the newest toy in the Servatii's arsenal. It's a state of the art water cutter, which uses computer precision to cut cakes in any shape the creative bakers there can imagine. We watched as it sliced a huge sheet of Key Lime pie into tiny squares with fancy edges. Servatii's is one of only two bakeries in the U.S. which has this water cutter technology. I asked Gary how important it is for him to be able to offer products which are different from anyone else's, and he told me, "It's all about the wow factor." With more than 400 products and so many awards on the mantle, it's no wonder Servatii's was placed in Cincinnati Magazine's Best of the City Hall of Fame long ago.

Katie, Eric, and I took home a big box of goodies, but best of all, a new family Christmas memory from a Cincinnati baking family whose kindness has no boundaries.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

A Snowy Great American Ball Park

When is opening day? This picture of Great American Ball Park, really sums up our earlier than normal cold snap and snowfall. We are already 5.1" above normal when it comes to snowfall this year with a total of 8.1". You add that to our very cold air and wind chills from 5 to 10 below zero this morning and the thoughts of Spring Training and our Cincinnati Reds really could warm us up. Plus, winter does not officially start for 7 more days. I do not see a huge warm up coming in fact I am tracking a sleet and snow mix coming in on Thursday morning. You can stay on top of it right here

Friday, December 10, 2010


Good Friday Morning - Dan Wells writing, I hope this note finds you guys well and in good spirits.

Ok, I usually try not to self indulge but today is my birthday. Yep. Another year older and definitely not counting.

I'm searching. Searching for a way to slow down time. The days between Christmas and my birthday used to take FOREVER when I was a child. What happened? Do children experience time in slo-mo, or are (we) adults so unaware of every precious moment of every single day that they let time slip by?

A birthday is usually a happy occasion (it is for me today). It's also an opportunity to reflect on life, especially when you've reached a certain age. A birthday is a good time to assess one's strengths and weaknesses, to think about where you've been and where you're going.

The past year, has had many ups and downs (more ups than downs), I've gathered significant memories - people, events, inner stirrings, dreams, jolts, joys, heartaches, etc. - all that touched my life in any sort of special way.

As I look over my year: I thought I'd share some of my thoughts with you!

I am amazed at ... the love from my family, friends and complete strangers.

I am puzzled by ... intolerance, lying and (funny) the push of EVERYTHING to social media. (yes, I'm bloging)

I wish that ... we as a society, would actually just slow down a bit....have dinner with our families (think "Leave It to Beaver")....and just soak in life.

As I look toward the coming year:

I long for ...the continued good health of my family and friends
I hope that ... I cherish as many moments as I can
I trust ... there is a plan
I promise ... I will work hard
I ask for ... patience....we all need a little bit more... don't you think.

Happy Friday!
Dan Wells

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Watching Sunday's Forecast

Frank Marzullo Here...Does it feel like it is a lot colder than usual? You would be correct! Our average high is in the mid-40's and for most of this week we have been in the low 20's for daytime highs and those wind chill factors ... WOW ... at zero or below. My friends, this is a late January and early February type of air mass that we are dealing with. Now it will warm up this weekend to near 40 by the Saturday, however our temperature roller coaster into Sunday will determine how much snow we will get Sunday. This system we are tracking will continue to change. As of now looking at rain on Saturday afternoon with possible rain snow mix far north on Saturday evening, but temperatures will warm and we will stick with rainfall through Sunday morning. Then depending on how fast the cold air moves in will depend how much snow we get Sunday. Right now it looks as if by mid-morning our snow change over will take place and snow showers will continue into Sunday afternoon. It is to early to predict snow totals because the track of just 50 to 100 miles could change this entire thing. Your FOX19 Stormtracker Weather Team will continue to track it and pin-point snow amounts as we get closer. You can track it here at . By the way it is not even WINTER YET!!!!

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Why Christmas Has To Wait

What's the best Christmas gift I ever received? Hands down, it was a baby.

Hi, it's Sheila.
The last time I put up our Christmas tree before December 9 was in 1993. That was the year I became a mother. I got the tree up in November that year because I knew I wouldn't have time to do it after Katie arrived. I think I got my Christmas shopping done in October in case she came before her due date!

Ric and I decided back then that we would never allow Katie's birthday to be overshadowed by Christmas. We had heard stories of people whose parents always combined their Christmas birthdays with the holiday, and we didn't want Katie to feel as if her birthday wasn't a holiday for our family too.

While our neighbors have had Christmas trees in their windows and lights blazing outside for weeks, our house looks like it does every other day of the year. Our lights and ornaments are still stored away. I do make an exception for our Nativity scene, and it goes up around the beginning of Advent. Eric plays with the figures like they're army men, but having the manger out is a good way for our family to think about the real reason we have Christmas as we count down to the holiday.

So tomorrow, we'll have birthday cake instead of Christmas cookies. We will honor December 9. Before Katie was born, I would sit in her newly decorated pink bedroom and dream about what she would look like, about her personality, and about what she would be. As she turns 17, I can report that she is even more than I could have imagined. Katie is outgoing, adaptable, smart, funny. She is teenager, so sometimes she's moody and wants to grow up too fast, but she has a maturity which I think is rare in people her age. Most of all, she has brought indescribable joy to our lives, and tomorrow we will remind Katie that she is our most precious gift.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Holidays on the Square

Walked across Fountain Square on Saturday on my way to TJ Maxx and the square was packed.
Hey everyone. Rob here.
I love seeing people enjoying downtown, that what I saw over the weekend.

The water wasn't flowing at the Tyler Davidson Fountain but the Genius of Water still welcomed tri-state residents.

To me the square is like Cincinnati's family room. Where people gather, celebrate, connect and now watch T.V. The ice rink was packed. You see parents who no doubt skated downtown as kids, making similar memories with their kids. Its affordable. $3 for admission and another $3 for skate rental.

When you get hungry, I suggest Tom + Chee. I had their tasty grilled cheese sandwich last year. You can also buy hot chocolate (delicious) there. I also hear the tomato soup is fantastic. The owners have set up a facebook page. Find out more They also have a new location on Court Street.

In addition to Tom + Chee there are a ton of restaurants around the square. Via Vite(great pizza) and Palomino's which has a new menu. I'm trying to drop a few pounds before I start to really train for the flying pig, so I always get the tuna crudo. Its one of the best appetizers out there.

So this holiday season, support downtown and stop by Fountain Square. We can connect as a city.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Chug A Chug A...Chug A Chug A...

Good Morning Everyone...Frank Marzullo Here...I think I can... I think I can... I think I can...That is what I was shouting all afternoon on Sunday as I made my first trip to Entertrainment Junction. Rob and I took a trip up north to West Chester to celebrate our former co-worker Regina Russo's sons second birthday. I have never been but have always heard great things. The detail from the train villages to the little people on the tracks to the trains themselves were awesome. They also have a special area for Holiday Trains complete with fake snow and snowmen. The best part was seeing kids of all ages including adults wearing the train conductor hats. I of course had to cheese it up and where my hat. The funny part was while we were in one of the party rooms a family was walking by and said " Hey Frank and Rob...what are you doing here?" So I said we do birthday parties on the weekend....and then the family actually hired us to make balloon animals and sing songs. Do you believe me? Yeah not really the way it happened... haha Have a great day!

Friday, December 3, 2010

Winter Driving and a big ole Cracked Windshield

Good Friday Morning!

Dan Wells writing, I hope this not finds you guys well and in good spirits!
So today I'm talking (venting) about my cracked car windshield, I know winter driving conditions can be dicey, but I never thought rock(s) would be flying around Tri-State roads like they are.

So when I looked up information on the issue, I found a lot of useful information, and I thought I'd pass it along.

If your windshield has been cracked or damaged, it can hinder visibility, especially in adverse driving conditions. While a small ding from a pebble kicked up by the vehicle in front of you on the road may be easy to overlook in good weather, it may be more of an issue in the winter. It is also unsafe, as small windshield cracks or dings can, if left unrepaired, turn into bigger problems.
In nighttime or low visibility driving situations, windshield damage can dramatically affect visibility, according to a study at the Highway Safety Research Institute. In a laboratory study simulating nighttime driver decision making, windshield damage was an important factor.

Sixteen drivers, ages 17 to 76, were shown slides of a two-lane rural road which they viewed through four different levels of windshield damage, both with and without simulated glare. As soon as each slide appeared, drivers pressed one of two buttons to indicate if they should slow down or if it was safe to proceed. Increasing levels of windshield damage were associated with increases in response time, with decisions made with the severely damaged windshield taking 8.5 percent longer, on the average, than with the undamaged windshield. Adding glare to windshield damage resulted in further increases in response time.
Winter weather conditions contribute to an increase in auto accidents as well. If your windshield is cracked, the overall safety of your vehicle may be compromised. "Many people don't realize that their car's windshield contributes to the vehicle's structural integrity by supporting the roof during a rollover," says Leo Cyr, vice president of the National Glass Association's (NGA) Auto Glass Division.
If the windshield is dislodged during a rollover, roof crush may be more severe. In addition, some vehicles are equipped with passenger side airbags that use the windshield for support during deployment. A damaged or improperly installed windshield may render that air bag ineffective when needed most.
That's why keeping your windshield in good shape is so important. Repairing or replacing your windshield should be done by a certified expert. But fixing your windshield may not be as costly as you think. Most professional auto glass businesses today offer both windshield repair and windshield replacement. By fixing small rock chips and cracks right away, you can avoid more damage, and it is highly likely that your original windshield can be saved.
The NGA's National Windshield Repair Committee recommends replacing any windshield where the damage has pierced the windshield's inner PVB layer or has broken the inner layer of glass. During windshield repair, the damaged windshield is not removed from the vehicle. The factory applied seal of windshield to vehicle is preserved. That fact alone may be good reason to consider windshield repair as a first option.
Some windshields may be so badly damaged that repair is not possible. If windshield replacement is indicated, Cyr recommends that consumers place their highest priority on locating a competent, professional installation company. "Windshield replacement is a skilled, safety related service requiring highly trained technicians using the best materials technology can provide.
So with all of that said I'm replacing my windshield on Monday...AND THE BEST insurance is paying for it!

Happy winter driving.

Dan Wells

Thursday, December 2, 2010

It's The Holiday Season

Are you ready to deck the halls? Frank Marzullo here...With yesterdays snow flurries and cold air I got into the mood. First off the tree is now up and decorated and the house smells like pine! I bought my first ever fake Christmas Tree this week and it was already pre-lit so that saved sometime. However, I do like the real tree feel and smell, so I bought some of those scented pine cones and a wreath to hang in my house. But, while I did that yesterday I had some comfort food cooking in the crockpot. I made for the first time chicken and dumplings and I have to say it was pretty good. I took 4 chicken breasts and sprinkled them with salt, pepper, and paprika. Then I placed them in the crock with 2 cans of cream of chicken soup and a chopped up onion. I covered it with water and then slow cooked it for 5 hours. Then pull apart two cans of biscuit dough and roll it into little balls and put them in the crockpot for another 40 minutes and sprinkle with paprika. Serve over rice and enjoy....sooooo warm and comforting!

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

All Board For Holiday Junction!

Nothing says Christmas for a little boy like a holiday train display.

Sheila here.
I took my three-year-old son Eric to the Cincinnati Museum Center with our friends Karen and Matthew. Holiday Junction is chugging along through the end of the year.

The Museum Center has dozens of toy trains in all shapes and sizes. The displays are elaborate with snow covered hills, tunnels, and tiny people. Eric was excited when he saw an airplane flying above one of the displays, and Matthew was so happy to see his friend, Thomas the Tank Engine. Boys and girls their size can climb inside a real train for a ride, and Eric had a great time ringing the bell. He and Matthew rode it again and again.

Inside a little nook with an antique toy display next to Santa's big chair, you can see a Cincinnati classic. Adults get a bit nostalgic when they see the cornerstone of that display, the old talking reindeer from Pogue's department store Downtown, Poguey and Patter. They don't talk anymore-- no room for the guy with the speaker, I guess-- but they still look pretty good. Once the volunteer near the Santa display told Eric they don't talk anymore, he was obsessed with them. He talked for the rest of the day about the reindeer, and he even asked Santa what was wrong with them. Santa was kind enough to carry Eric over and let him pet Poguey.

Eric and Matthew sat on Santa's knee and told them about their Christmas wishes. Matthew cracked us up when he told the jolly old elf that he wants Santa for Christmas! Eric told Santa he wants a drum set with pedals he can reach.

Holiday Junction is a great way to get into the Christmas spirit with your little ones, and you can find out more at the Museum Center's website: