Monday, February 28, 2005

The Angel Company

In typical Laura fashion, on a complete whim, I signed up to sell The Angel Company (TAC) stamps. I signed up under fellow homeschooler, Barbara Campbell. I am hoping that I can talk a few people I know into hostessing stamp workshops for me. The hostess benifits are wonderful and each guest gets a free stamp with each $30 they order.

Hostess benifits ($100 minimum net workshop sales):
1) Complimentary catalog
2) Free hostess set of your choice
3) Free hostess set for workshop net totals of $250, $500, $750 or $1000
4) Hostess 1/2 price item (anything in catalog)
5) 20% discount on purchases up to but not exceeding $150

I signed up because they were having an INCREDIBLE offer for new recruits in Feb (hence me signing up the last day of the month!!).....I got $225 in stamp plus about another $75 in stamping supplies (not counting the business forms and catalogs) for $150.......the company is really cool about minimum orders to stay active (only $100 every 4 months) and Hannah and I were usually ordering almost that much we get the discount! Hannah is trying to come up with some kind of stamp camp idea for girls for this summer.

Another Angel posted the catalog at her site if you would like to check it out!

Friday, February 25, 2005

Perfect North Snow Tubing Activity
Thursday, February 24, 2005
4:30 PM until close

I was so excited when I saw that another homeschooling family was organizing a snowtubing trip to Perfect North. With the group rate of $10 a person for 4 1/2 hours of tubing, it seemed like the perfect deal. I even convinced Jay to join us, he is usually reluctant to join us on homeschooling outings since it seems that none of the dads ever show up. The kids were really excited and we began our journey west at 3:15 PM.

The whole drive, I had visions of hanging out in the lodge with the baby and sitting by the roaring fire. I was so disappointed when we got there and I realized that the tubing hills were nowhere near the lodge so that I would be spending my evening in a large TENT! My self pity quickly evaporated when Kas and her girls pulled into the parking lot! I'll take good company over a fireplace anyday!

I went into the tend and got us settled...I brought a huge crockpot of vegetable soup and some rolls, some snacks and hot chocolate. Will was fairly content! Jay paid for the tubing and the aventures began. The kids had an absolute blast. Even Sophie went down the hills, well at least with her father and sister, she REFUSED to go when I took her up and poor Brett had to clumb back down the STEEP walkway with her....poor kid fell half way down!

I couldn't believe that I actually ENJOYED tubing, it was a blast, brought back memories of being a kid and sledding on the hill at Gibson Greeting Cards....of course here we didn't have to worry about falling into a creek at the end of the hill or climbing ALL THE WAY back to the top (gotta LOVE the moving sidewalk!). Jacob was a complete daredevil, conquering each of the runs, he even made me climb all the way to the highest run and go down with him. OK I will admit it, I kept my eyes closed and SCREAMED....but it was a BLAST!

Will was such a TURKEY when we were trying to eat. Another mom was holding him while I tried to eat some soup and he was throwing an absolute she asked if she could feed him something....we made him a bowl of soup and boy did you know if they were shoveling it in fast enough! And he was SO PICKY....he wanted the corn, potatoes and peas but kept spitting out the lima beans! I think he ate more soup that Sophie or Cade!

I can't wait until next winter! Hopefully more families with join us and another dad will actually show up! I wonder if baby Will will continue to want to keep up with everyone and actually join us on the hills...only time will tell!

More info on Perfect North:
Snow Tubing Groups:

Bring a group of 15 or more to tube after 4 p.m. and receive a discount on your ticket. Call (812) 537-3754 or (513) 381-7517 as soon as possible to make your reservation. A credit card is required for deposit (we must have at least 48 hour notice of cancellation or card is charged $5 per person based on the number registered.) The Group Coordinator will receive a complimentary tubing ticket for organizing the group. Upon arrival proceed directly to the Tubing Park. Collect all money (no personal checks) and only the Group Coordinator should go to the window to pay.

Snow Tubing Group Pricing:

Any day After 4pm, Monday – Thursday unlimited hours $10Friday, Saturday, Sunday & Holidays 2-Hour Tickets $15(To add additional time: $5 upgrade for each additional hour of tubing if purchased at same time as initial ticket purchase. If purchased during the 2-hour session the cost is $10 for each additional hour of tubing.)

At what age can a child tube?
We prefer that children be at least three (3) years old. A separate, small tubing area is provided for children 3-6 years old. Children must be supervised by a parent/guardian while in this area. It's the parent's choice to allow their child to tube on the main tubing hill or in the children's tubing area. The cost for children 3-6 years old is $10.

Can more than one person ride in a tube?We allow one person per tube. On the main hill, as many as three tubes can "link" together. So a parent can hold onto their child's tube.
Do I need to sign anything?We do require that everyone sign a Tubing Waiver form. A parent/guardian signature is required for anyone under 18. A copy of the Waiver form is available to download.

Can I bring my own sled?We do not allow personal sleds to be used on the tubing runs. The tube rental is included in the cost.

How do I get back up the hill?You can effortlessly ride back up the hill on our state-of-the-art moving sidewalk.

Can I purchase a tubing pass for the season?We do offer for sale a Tubing Season Pass or you can add the tubing option to your ski pass. Go to "Plan & Buy" and get pass information and pricing under "Snow Tubing."

Do I need to wear special clothing?Dress according to the weather and as if you were going sledding. We suggest dressing in layers and waterproof clothing is recommended.

Sunday, February 20, 2005

Happy Birthday Hannah!

I can't believe that Hannah is now officially a TEENAGER! My goodness, two teens in one household, how will I ever survive??? (OK, let me be dellusional here for a minute...I do realize that eventually I will have 4 teenages at once...YIKES!!)

Hannah's birthday celebration was overshadowed a bit by the Team Showcase. She didn't mind at all since she is so passionate about dance, but was a bit miffed when the instructor called her on stage and had EVERYONE in the auditorium sing Happy Birthday! to her! We ended up going out to dinner after the competition was over.

Wednesday, February 16, 2005

Springfield Township police station tour
Wednesday, February 16 1 PM

Margie wrote: The Springfield Township police will give a tour of their station for young homeschoolers. 1130 Compton Rd near Daly in Finneytown. RSVP by February 2 to Margie.

Emily, Sophie, Grant, Jacob, Cade , Will and I joined a bunch of the younger homeschoolers for a tour of the Springfield Police station. I was a bit leary, the boys were being wild and loud prior to the tour starting, but they quickly fell into line once the police officer began to show them around. The tour mainly showed of the building, but they did get to see a taser (and I was shocked to learn that each cartridge for it cost $25). I wished that we had gone into the holding cell and been able to see a police car, but the kids seemed to enjoy themselves.

Tuesday, February 15, 2005

Story Circles
Freedom Center
February 15
12 PM

Highlighting wonderful children's books featured in the Freedom Center's Teacher Resource Center and Gift Shop, these interactive sessions invite our young participants to read aloud to the group. Recommended for ages 3 - 11 years. This program series is free with Center admission.February 15, 12:00 p.m.Hall of Everyday Freedom Heroes

Although I was a bit apprehensive about heading downtown without one of the older kids to help me out, I decided that we would give the story circle a try. We didn't have any trouble finding parking (although I did have to pay $4 to park) and the walk from the garage under the stadium to the Freedom Center was only a few blocks. Because Jay frequently takes the boys downtown for baseball games, they are really familiar with downtown walking and stay constantly aware of the buzzing traffic.

There were 4 other families that tried to join the story circle, but the oldest of the children looked to be only about 3 and they didn't want to sit and listen. The Riesenberg children, on the other hand, made themselves quite comfortable laying on the floor and gave the woman in charge their full attention. She ended up reading them 4 magnificent books. The only one I know the exact title of was "The Butter Battle Book" by Dr. Suess. I believe the titles of the others were "Don't Laugh at Me", "The Princess who lost her hair" and "Zuma" based on an African folk tale.

After storytime was over she stayed and chatted with me a bit, saying she loved having homeschooled children come to events at the Freedom Center and how she and her husband plan to homeschool their own family once they have children. It is so wonderful to hear from adults that encounter children daily that they are impressed by homeschooled kids. She told me to keep watching for more events for the kids.

We wandered around the center for a while, taking in a couple of the movies and playing in the interactive areas. The kids really enjoy playing the interactive computer game where they pretend to be a slave who decides to run and where they have to make decisions that guide their journey north. What amazes me is that both Cade (4) and Jacob (6) know how to answer the questions just from walking around the museum and listening. They also love playing in the mock up of a "safe house" . One of them pretends to be a slave catcher and the other a slave and they have to decide where to hide.

When we left and headed back to the parking garage, we found the power to the elevator turned off so we had to walk all the way past the stadium and down all the steps, made for a long journey back. The weather was absolutely GORGEOUS, so I asked the kids if they would like to stop by the zoo before heading home since it was less than 10 minutes from downtown. Everyone agreed!

We ionly spent about an hour and a half meandering through the zoo. We saw the elephants, giraffes, okapi, wild hogs, gazelles, white lions, polar bears and speckled bears. Sophie, Will and I sat on the bench when the other kids went through the manatee exhibit. I am so glad we took the opportunity to enjoy the warm day, since I heard on the radio on the way home that we are in store for "return" of the cold wet weather that has plagued us this winter.

Friday, February 11, 2005

Other local recreation resources:

World of Sports 7400 Woodspoint Dr., Florence, KY 41042Phone: (859) 371-8255World of SportsThis unique sports complex has activities for a variety ofinterests. It includes an 18-hole golf course and driving range,miniature golf, billiards, slam dunk basketball, racquetball,Nautilus, and a game room.

Cincinnati Cycle Club P.O. Box 8371, 45208Phone: (513) 791-7190New and experienced bicyclists will enjoy being a part of theCincinnati Cycle Club.Members sharing a common interest in the outdoor sport, canparticipate in a variety of year round rides - from challenging torelaxing, city to parks.

Cincinnati Diving Center 8412 Winton Road, 45231Phone: (513) 521-3483The Cincinnati Diving Center (CDC) offers scuba lessons (entry levelthrough mixed gas diving), sales, equipment service, rental and divetravel. Students learn from instructors who have years of experienceexploring some of the world's most beautiful waters. The CDC trainsand manages volunteer divers at the Cincinnati Zoo Manatee Exhibit.

Kids First Sports Center 7900 E Kemper Rd45249513-489-7575Home to one of the largest gymnastics programs in the United States -Queen City Gymnastics, Kids First offers instruction and events forkids in a variety of sports and other activities. Among itsprograms: Starfish Swim School, Tumble Bees, TnT -trampoline andtumbling, soccer school, Queen City Dance, taekwondo, basketball,and golf instruction.

Cincinnati Recreation Commission 805 Central AveCincinnati, OH 45202513-352-4000The Cincinnati Recreation Commission operates recreationalfacilities, athletic leagues, seniors programs, therapeuticprograms, student programs, and special events throughout the city.

Little Miami-Whitewater Canoe Rental 225 Corwin Rd., Lebanon, OH 45054Phone: 800-634-4277Morgan's Canoe Livery5701 St Rt 350Lebanon, Ohio (main address)with liveries at: Ft. Ancient by Kings Island or Brookville, IndianaPhone: 800-WECANOE Scenic River Canoe Excursions 4595 Roundbottom Road513-831-5552For outdoor lovers, this area offers a variety of recreationopportunities.For more information onwhat Greater Cincinnati has to offer, you can contact theseorganizations.
Cincinnati Area Recreational Resources
Most of this info came through on a local homeschooling list....what great resources!

Every Child's Playground Sawyer Point on the Cincinnati riverfrontWith the help of more than 30 companies and hundreds of volunteers,Every Child's Playground, a 1000 Hands/Cincinnati RecreationCommission project at Sawyer Point, is the area's first totallyinclusive playground. Included in the playground are features neverbefore integrated into a local play area. Among them: a pavedpathway leading from the parking lot to the playground; tactileplayground maps; tactile puzzles and Braille signage; therapeuticswings next to regular swings; a cushioned safety surface; heightconsiderations; visual and auditory play opportunities and rampingthroughout allowing for easy wheelchair mobility.

Clermont County Parks We use this park's resources and staff for many of our wonderful homeschool park programs.

Miami Township/Clermont County Parks

Hamilton County Parks 10245 Winton Rd., 45231Phone: (513) 521-7275 Hamilton County parks have been wonderful in offering programs to homeschoolers.

City of Cincinnati Parks 950 Eden Park Drive, 45202Phone: (513) 352-4080

Campbell County Parks and Recreation 24 W 4th StreetNewport, KY 41071 859-635-1104

Warren County Park District300 E Silver StreetLebanon, Ohio 45036 513-695-1109

Kenton County Parks and Recreation Department 3902 Richardson Rd Independence, KY 41051859-392-1921 This is the park district that hosts the WONDERFULLY FUN Wild Wednesday Programs from May through September.

West Chester Parks and Recreation 8070 Tylersville RdWest Chester, OH 45069513-759-7311

Boone County Parks and Recreation PO Box 566Burlington, KY 41005859-334-2117

Butler County Park District2051 Timberman RdHamilton, Ohio 45013513-867-5835

Thursday, February 10, 2005


I don't think I have mentioned that our dance studio is going to go to Chicago this year for Nationals (well actually to Aurora, which is 37 miles west of Chicago). I was thrilled to find out that a number of museums in the Chicago area have reciprocal programs with our local museum center. Now the problem is going to be figuring out what museums to visit! If anyone has an opinion, please leave a comment in my comment section!

Chicago Children's Museum

The Field Museum of Natural History

International Museum of Surgical Science

Museum of Science and Industry

Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum

SciTech Hands-On Museum Science

Another cool possible outing:
Trammel Fossil Park

Trammel Fossil Park (this is supposed to be one of the richest fossil sites in our area):

From the website: "Trammel Fossil Park is an excellent place to look for nice Ordovician fossils from the Cincinnatian series. At this outcrop there are four formations exposed. From oldest to youngest the formations exposed here are the Fairview, Miamitown, Bellevue, and the lower portion of the Corryville fm. The park has excellent facilities, there is ample parking and there are signs galore all over the park telling exactly what is there."

"Trammel Fossil Park is located in Sharonville, Ohio just off of I-275, as mentioned above there are four formations present. The bedrock and fossils in each reflects the environment at the time of deposition. The formations that are older have predominantly more shale than limestone this indicates that the rock was deposited in a deep marine environment. The fossils in these deep water marine units are mostly intact compared to those fossils deposited in shallow marine environments. Why? Deep water environments are much more calm, enabling a better environment for organism preservation. As opposed to a shallow marine environment that is more chaotic because it is located closer and within the wave base. The organisms in this situation are less likely to be preserved intact because of the hostile environment caused by the wave action that is not present in a deep water environment."

What to bring: field guides /fossil books, a few simple tools (I am guessing a bucket/pail and something to dig with, something to work fossils loss with)

Directions: From I-275-take exit 46 (Sharronville/Mason Rt. 42 Exit)-and turn NORTH on Rt. 42 (if coming from points west, this will be a left on 42, from points east this will be a right on 42). Turn left at Hauck Rd. (You should see a White Castle)-After about a half mile go right on Tramway Drive. From there you can't miss it (or so they say!).
Cool Outing Possibility:
Ohio River Explorers Field Trip

This just recently came through on one of the many homeschooling lists I am on and it looks like it could be great fun.... The cost is $6 per child, a bit steeper than what I like to pay for programs, but it really sounds worthwhile!

From the webpage:
Sample Field Trip Timetable :

A typical field trip lasts 4-5 hours with a 30 minute sack lunch break. Lunch is not provided by Ohio River Foundation and should be brought by the student or school. All students will rotate through each of the learning stations for 1 hour per station.

9:30am: The group arrives and is greeted by the Ohio River Foundation leader, who discusses the day's plans and safe behavior.
9:45am: Learning Station 1
10:50am: Learning Station 2
11:55am: Lunch Break
12:30pm: Learning Station 3
1:35pm: Closing Activity
2:00pm: Group Departure

Learning Stations:

The following are our basic learning stations. Generally, program participants rotate through 3 of the 6 available learning stations for 1 hour per station. This format allows us to connect with students in small groups where hands-on learning is easier to facilitate. The stations are chosen by the teacher at the time of registration but can be changed by the teacher before the actual visit. River Explorer learning stations can be customized based on the interests of the classes. If you are interested in something we don't have here, please contact us and we will work with your specific needs.
• Mussel Mania : Did you know there are monkey face and pig snouts in the Ohio River? Just what does a baby bi-valve look like? How many eggs do mussels produce at one time? Discover the unique life cycles of the mussels of the Ohio River and see how they have evolved to survive as a part of the river's ecosystem. Learn how the mussels' well adapted anatomy helps them resist attack from most predators. Did you know the Zebras are attacking? This exotic invasive species is muscling its way into the ecosystem, destroying the native populations, and has made species such as the pink mucket, orangefoot, fat pocketbook, clubshell, and fanshell endangered. Learn how these interlopers starve the natives and what can be done to stop them!
• Fish Factor: What can you tell about the way a fish lives by how it is physically structured? The answer is… everything! Don gloves and examine preserved and live fish specimens to learn about fish morphology, life cycle, and population levels. Biology at its best!
• Planktonia: Some squirm, some undulate, some pulse and others scoot. What are these bizarre looking critters? They are one of the smallest creatures on the planet, Plankton. For something so small they are arguably the most important member of any aquatic food chain. We'll throw plankton nets and examine our catch under microscopes. Everyone will learn about the important role of plankton in the Ohio River food web and the environmental conditions that affect population size. Endless fun and knowledge at the end of your microscope slide.
• River Chemistry: C.S.I. team needed! We found some dead fishes and we need a top notch investigative team to figure out why. Our prime suspect is the water. We need you to test samples of river water for oxygen, temperature, and more. Learn why these parameters are so important to river health and fish longevity and vitality.
The Water Cycle and River Ecology: Through games, puzzles, and group activities, piece together an overview of the Ohio River hydrologic cycle and ecosystems, learn how to tell what caused certain erosion patterns, and focus on the impact human activities have on the health of the river and its riparian zone. Two heads are better than one when solving a problem, but ten heads are better than two. These activities allow students to use innovative “out-of-the-box” concepts and really stretch their mind!
All Together Now: Learn about the differences between food chains and food webs in the Ohio River. Create a food web and learn about the various factors that can disrupt the web. This exercise takes pieces from all of the other activities and amalgamates them into a big picture lesson. Guaranteed to make students look at the river in a new light.

Through discussion and hands on activities, all modules will explore what changes, small and large, can improve the environment and the Ohio River. By learning about their individual roles in the environment, students will be empowered to live in an ecologically friendly way.
In my child's mind.....

During a recent trip to the Cincinnati Museum Center, the kids and I were chatting in the car. Emily started talking about how she wants to have 12 kids when she grows up (OK so she watches "Cheaper by the Dozen" all the time) and that she would probably end up homeschooling them (big beaming smile from her mom when she said it) but then she interupted my *smug* moment by adding ..."well, unless I marry a school teacher or a school football coach so they can go to school for free." A bit puzzled by her comment, thinking a doctor or lawyer would make a much better husband if one wanted to send their children to private school, I posed the question.....

"Emily, do you know that it is free to go to public school?"

Her answer" "Really? I thought we were homeschooled because we were too poor to go to school!"

I started laughing HYSTERICALLY...good thing I had peed right before I left the house. Out of the mouths of my *poor* child
Team Showcase Schedule:

Just got the girls schedule for the dance showcase up at Mason Middle School (same place as last year). It will be held on Sunday, Feb 20 is the schedule....This is probably my favorite dance day by far, I get a chance to see all of the routines our studio is taking to competition and but you don't feel the frenzy pace of a typical competition.

1:00 Carousel Ballet--Emily
1:25 Sugar and Spice and Everything FUNKY! Hiphop--Emily
2:05 Sign Up! Production Hiphop--Hannah 8 minute routine!
2:45 Workin' Day and Night Tap Solo--Hannah
3:10 Gypsies, Tramps and Thieves Tap--Emily
5:00 A Star is Born Jazz Duet--Emily
5:05 Trash to Treasures Tap--Hannah
5:50 Work it Out Jazz--Hannah
5:55 Out of this World Jazz--Emily

Tuesday, February 08, 2005

Girl Scout Valentine's Meeting/Party
Tuesday Feb 8th
10 AM to 12 PM

We plan to kick our meeting off with a cool Valentine's craft. The cost will be $3 per girl for the craft, please bring exact change.

Following the craft we will exchange Valentine's. Encourage your daughter to get crafty and make her our Valentines, although store bought ones are acceptable!
They need to make a Valentine for each girl in the troop. I know Sophie and Shelby will want to be part of the fun, so they are on the list also!

Hannah F.
Hannah R.

Following the Valentine exchange, we will have a snack. Please have your daughter bring a treat to share. We have an icecream cake (thanks to Dairy Queen) and I will provide napkins/cups/plates/forks. Kas will provide drinks.

What great fun! The meeting started out with the girls making these adorable folding mini photo albums. Tabby had made one previously and Kas ordered the kits for the girls to use. Tabby led the whole activity! Once the girls were finished they had cake (from our Dairy Queen tour, slightly melted but oh so tasty!) and exchanged valentines!

Will had an absolute blast crawling all over the Ridiman's floors, I was surprised how quickly he moved on the hardwood!

Once the meeting was over the girls, Will and I headed over to Melodie's for our quilting class. We created some 9 block design (it has a funky name that is escaping my swiss cheese brain!). At 3 PM we had to leave to get Hannah to dance class. Once I dropped her at dance class, I swung back by the house, grabbed Grant and took him and Emily out to their Tuesday night art class. After art we went and picked Hannah up and then came home. Certainly a very very full day....and they worry about homeschoolers being social!

Thursday, February 03, 2005

Ronald McDonald House
Thursday, February 3rd at 6 p.m.

The S.M.I.L.E. Youth Group Menu:
Fried Chicken Chris L*
Beef Stew Marie L*
Devilled Eggs Hannah R*
Carrot & Celery Sticks Brett R*
Strawberry Jello Salad Pat S*
Vegetable Casserole Scottye A
Green Bean Casserole Kathy B
Mac & Cheese Mike T*
Rolls Mike T*
Mashed potatoes Cori *
Cookies Alexa H*
Salad & fixings Tara B*

Rides: I'll meet everyone down there. Marie Lauer will drive Hannah and Brett (theyre neighbors). Pat S will drive Mike T, Cori S, Alexa H and Tara B.

*=means coming down to help. If there is no (*), that means they're sending food. Let me know if the food is a drop-off and where youre dropping it off.

I had a couple of kids that were interested in going, but we really dont need more than 10 people down there helping. Besides, Pat S car seats 5 and shes at capacity as it is now.

Call me if you have questions Chris

Brett and Hannah went back down to RMH to volunteer and to serve dinner. As usual they had a great time! I am so proud of them, that even in such a little way, they are making things brighter for families in crisis! I bet none of the families they serve know how close we came to losing Brett as a baby and how Children's Hospital and their wonderful staff saved his life.

Tuesday, February 01, 2005

Animal Tracks!
Tuesday, February 1, 2005 11 AM
Pattison Park in Owensville

Laura wrote: Come and learn about animal tracks! The program will be held inside the lodge (located on the left hand side of the road) and we will also go for a short hike (barring subzero temperatures) to see what animal tracks we can find in the park. Dress for the weather. RSVP to Laura

What a wonderful program and a great turn out! Keith did his usual great job at getting the kids interested and keeping them involved. He used a huge sheet that they had made animal tracks on and scattered some pretend scat on it. All of the kids got a real kick out of the scat! He showed us a stuffed beaver and made a comment about it being stuffed in 1973 adding that it was older than he was, which of course sent all the moms into hysterics since that meant he was a good 5 years younger than even the youngest of us! We told him he was just a "baby"! Once he finished up showing the kids the prints, he let them make plaster molds of some prints to take home. While the molds dried, he took us on a snowy hike to see what kind of prints we could find. Deer, squirrel, and rabbit were among the many we saw. And of course he had to point out both rabbit and deer scat to the kids!

I found a great site once I got home for info on animal tracks that even had some great scat pictures.... Jacob is talking about making a project for the homeschool science fair on animal tracks. It should be great fun!