Friday, October 26, 2007

What: Halloween Party
Who: Homeschoolers from infant to teen and everyone in between
When: Friday, October 26 from 12:30 PM to 3 PM
Where: Jr. OUAM Hall St. Bernard
What to bring: Bag of candy per child (see list below for allergies and suggestions), bucket/bag for trick or treating and a snack to share (chips, cookies, etc)
RSVP: Laura

Come join the fun! Everyone is welcome to wear costumes! We will begin the party by decorating cardboard houses (which we will later use for trick or treating) and then continue with games, crafts, snacks and fun!

Please bring chips, pretzles or a child friendly snack to share (no popcorn or peanuts please!). Drinks will be provided.

Feel free to bring a craft or a game with you!

Please be aware that we have children attending with the following food allgeries/adversions: nuts, red dye #40 and popcorn. We ask that you not bring any items with nuts or popcorn to the party.
The following items are nut-free and would make great choices for sharing: individual bags of pretzles/snack chips (avoid bags of potato chips as many are fried in peanut oil!), tootsie rolls, tootsie pops, dots, charm suckers, jr mint, charleston chews, andies mints, sugar babies, sugar daddy's,nerds, laffy taffy, airheads, bottle caps, sweettarts, smarties, crunch bars, plain m&m's, fruit snacks, individual bags of animal cookies, individual bags of oreos, individual bags of goldfish, bubble gum, Werther's carmels, regular carmels.

What an absolutely awesome time. We had an amazing turnout, close to 30 kids and over a dozen adults and one charming service dog! We started out by decorating boxes and then we had the kids trick or treat to each of the boxes (each box represents a house, it is a great halloween party idea that I borrowed from what a fellow homeschooler did with her daycare kids!)......we ended up having 6 "houses" and the kids all trick or treated around our "neighborhood" 5 times! After trick or treating, we did some crafts (ghost suckers and haunted magnets) and then played some game, one where you pass around the bowls and pretend they are full of are body parts and then the crowd favorite APPLE BOBBING....Will was absolutely hiralious, he patiently waited in line and then when he got up to the bucket, promptly shoved his ENTIRE ARM, shirt and all, into the bucket and just grabbed an apple, you should have seen the smile on his face! Limbo was the final game of the afternoon.... it is always funny to watch kids limbo in costumes! There was a beanbag toss (with FRIGHTFUL monster beanbags!), a table with coloring pages and a pool table to keep the kids busy!

I think that the witch costume was the most popular, I believe there were 4 "traditional" witches and a couple older girls that costumes could have fallen into the "witchy" category!

Thursday, October 25, 2007


The boys, Sophie and I are part of a newly established homeschool hiking/nature club. Below is an activity I planned for the group, like geocaching wasn't enough, now we are hooked on letterboxing!

At our last hike a few of use discussed the idea of adding a letterboxing aspect to our hikes. We decided to met on Thursday, Oct. 25th at 1 PM at Sawyer Point to discuss letterboxing and so that the moms could design the stamps for the letterboxes while the kids played on the playground. Each family that wants to participate will need to design 2 identical stamps to use. Our plan is that each family will then go and hide their letterbox in a local park and the other families will be able to go and find them.

Please RSVP to Laura to let her know if you would like to join in on this activity so that we are sure there are enough supplies for everyone. There will be a small fee for the material to make the stamps with (under $5) and Cari is going to bring the tools to carve them with. Below you will find some links about letterboxing for those of you that aren't familiar with exactly what it involves! Included are the Hamilton County park rules about letterboxing, if you hide them in other parks, you may want to check to see if they have any guidelines.

History of Letterboxing:

Letterboxing North America: has a great FAQ section as well as a section to find letterboxes in your area.

Another site for locating letterboxes:

Hamilton County Park Letterboxing rules and registration form:

Guidelines For Placing Geocaches or letterboxes within the Hamilton County Park District:

Must use a normal type of container. (ie, it cannot resemble a pipe bomb or otherwise cause alarm to the public, etc.) and provide a description of it.
Must be placed on or near an authorized trail. An authorized trail is one that is maintained by the HCPD’s Trail Crew, usually has either asphalt, crushed gravel or wood chip base. The container cannot be placed more than 25 feet from the trail. The container cannot be placed in any unsafe areas (ie, near a steep embankment).

Placement or access to the container cannot damage park property or vegetation.

All materials must be safe and appropriate for families and children.

Requesting party is responsible for checking the container contents, as well as it’s proper location.

The HCPD must be given the actual location of each container. (For example, The container is .5 miles into the Oakleaf Trail, under the log to the right of the trail sign that is titled “What Good is Dead Wood?”).

Each request will be given a registration number by the HCPD that must be visible on the outside of each container.

The HCPD will record the name, address, phone number and if applicable, the e-mail address of the requesting party associated with the container.

Annual renewal is required for all active boxes.

The requesting party must abide by all Park District By-Laws.

We had great fun creating our stamps today! 6 families showed up to make stamps, including a new family that we had not met before! It will be exciting to find the boxes once each family hides them. Sarah and Brett are going to place one along the biketrail too, so there will be 7 new letterboxes in our area just from our hiking club! And unbelievably, it only cost us each $2 for the materials, thanks to Cari having the carving tools! A fun new activity and we aren't breaking the bank! Jay should be thrilled!

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Natural Bridge State Park

Cave Tour at Natural Bridge State Park (2.5 - 3 hours south in KY)
Meet at Hemlock Lodge Lobby just before tour
When: Wednesday Oct.17th at 1:00
Who: Homeschoolers of all ages
Cost: $2.50 a person (babes in arms are free)

We plan to stop and get lunch on the way down there. When we get there we'll meet at the Natural Bridge State Park for a Cave Walk guided by a naturalist (complete with helmets and flashlights). The Cave Walk takes about 1 hour. Not sure if we’ll do this or not but after the program we are welcome to walk the trail that leads under Natural Bridge. From Hemlock Lodge it's about .5 mile which should take under an hour.

What to Bring:
Snacks and drinks
Field guides
Magnifying glasses
flashlights (they do provide these but you can bring extra if you like)


Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Celebrating Fall in Granny's Garden:

What: Fall in Granny's Garden
Where: The grounds of Loveland Elementary School
When: Wednesday, October 10, 2007 9:30 AM to Noon
Who: Homeschooler ages 5-10
Cost: $5 per child. Program limited to 28 children. There will be a facilitator/student ratio of 1 to 7, along with a teen helper for each group.
RSVP: Laura

Enjoy learning hands on about what happens in the garden during the fall. Activities may include harvesting (potatoes and whatever else may be available), cooking (perhaps roasted potatoes & bruschetta - depending on what is available), planting (spring bulbs or garlic), a craft (most likely flower presses ) and perhaps a walk on the nature trail. Other activities may be added if time permits.

Because school is in session, the program will all take place in the gardens on the hill in back of the elementary school. There is plenty of parking. There are two learning centers in this area.

Rain will cancel.

Parents will be on site but involved in a separate activity at Granny's office. Younger siblings can play in the yard at Granny's office. Light refreshements will be served to the parents. This is not a drop off program, you must stay on site or arrange for another parent that is attending the program to supervise your children.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Home to meet his brother.....

My uncle died October 9th, less than 10 months after my is his obituary.....last names edited out....

H. George William "Bill", loving husband of Judy , beloved father of Deborah (Norbert) K, Bill (Kellie) H, Pam (Robert) H, Kevin H, Kathy H and Teresa (Timothy) D, devoted grandfather of 16 grandchildren and 3 great-grandchildren, dear brother of Terrence H and the late Dave H. Bill, a resident of Withamsville, died October 9, 2007. Age 69. Visitation Sunday, October 14, 4-7 PM at E.C. Nurre Funeral Home, St. Rt. 125, Amelia. Mass of Christian Burial on Monday at 9:30 AM at St. Rose Church, 2501 Eastern Ave. Interment Gate of Heaven Cemetery. Memorial contributions may be made to Hospice of Cincinnati East, 7691 Five Mile Rd., Cincinnati, OH 45230.

Monday, October 08, 2007

The next phase of babyhood:

Luke, 5 1/2 months old, is moving all over the place....not really a crawl using his arms and legs but more an army crawl where he uses his arms more and kind of wiggles the lower half of his body...but he can get ANYWHERE he wants doing it.....all the way across the living room.....into the hallway.....under his to the cabinet the tv sits on.....guess it is time to babyproof the place! I have to be grateful that his pincher grasp isn't too developed yet, or he would probably have gotten a bead or a penny into his mouth. The kids aren't too great at keeping tiny pieces off the floor. We are definitely going to have to be more vigilant!

Friday, October 05, 2007

Here we go again.....

My mom called yesterday to tell me that they transfered my uncle (my dad's oldest brother) to hospice. I don't know if I ever mentioned it here, but they diagnosed him with cancer back in April. A different kind of cancer than dad had, but apparently just as invasive. None of the treatments they tried worked. I told mom when she called yesterday that I would go with her to visit him, knowing she would have a hard time going on her own, since he is in the same hospice that dad died in.

She took off work early today, picked me up around 1 PM and we went to see him. It was rough to walk back in the building, rougher to see him dying (far too many memories of dad) and even rougher to deal with mom afterwards. I think I have cried more today than I did even right after dad died, most of my crying after he died was out of frustration, dealing with my mother. It has been a very rough day.

I would say that my uncle's time could be measured in days, not weeks. I have watched one too many people die....Jay's aunt died when I was pregnant with Brett, Jay and I were in the room as she took her last breath...Jay's dad, his mom, my dad....I have come to know the look and the sound of death...

My uncle is a wonderful man...great father, wonderful husband, loving grandfather. Not only was he my father's big brother, he was his friend.

I could go on here to ponder the reason why God has chosen to take both my father and his big brother home well before we were ready to let them go but he leaves their piece of shit brother living and breathing on earth. I know life isn't fair, but right now it seems almost cruel.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Photo Slideshow from Egg Drop

What: Egg Drop
When: Wed. October 3rd at 10:30
Where: Gower Park in Sharonville (100990 Thornview Drive across the street from the Sharonville Community Center& Library)
Who: Homeschoolers/Unschoolers of all ages invited
Cost: Free but we are asking that each family bring at least one item to share with the group off the suggested materials list.

Our kids thought it would be great to do an Egg Drop so we’re inviting other families to join in on the fun and learning! We plan to meet at the shelter by the parking lot (You can park across the street at the library and Rec. center lot but Gower does have a small parking lot located by the tennis courts and that’s where we’ll be).Once we have our eggs safely inside their containers we’ll walk across the street to a high wall by the library and drop them from a certain height onto a target. If your egg is still intact, you can drop your container onto the target from higher up on the wall and see if it survives. Because we must leave the area where we’re dropping the eggs the way we found it, we’re asking that each family participate in clean up and that we use materials that won’t make a BIG mess if our containers do break open (See Materials NOT to bring for Egg Drop below). We also plan to picnic and play. Gower’s amenities include: Playground: (swings, slides, age appropriate play features, sandbox), Patio with Open-Air Picnic Tables, Creek, Perimeter Walking Trail, 2 Picnic Shelters, Lovitt Building, 3 Tennis Courts, 1 Lighted "Class A" Ball field, 1 "Class D" Ball field

Eggs, scissors and bubble wrap will be provided.
Please bring at least 1 item off the suggested materials list to share with the group in addition to whatever else you bring for your own family.

Suggested materials:
Tongue depressors
Shoe box
Empty soup can
Popsicle sticks
Plastic bags
Rubber band
Cotton balls
Pipe cleaners
Coffee filters
Toilet paper

Materials NOT to bring for Egg Drop: glass, liquids, food of any kind (peanut butter, jell-o, fruit, etc), powdered soap, flammable substances, anything that will splatter!

A few interesting egg drop web sites.
Very cool Egg drop based on designs by Leonardo da Vinci -
This web site has pictures of different designs people have made -
Egg drop contest site -

What a fun time. The kids, 15 in all, had a great time designing their containers to drop. Two kids brought their containers already made, but everyone else designed theirs once they got there. We ended up with 14 containers (one family opted to make a single container rather than 2) and of those 7 eggs survived the drop and 7 eggs perished! We were all surprised that it fell into a perfect 50/50 ratio! We did conclude that most surviving eggs had some kind of balloon or parachute attached to them to help slow the fall ever so slightly! I do suspect that a few of the boys, particularly ones who belonged to me, designed their containers for maximum BREAKAGE! Emily, Will and Sophia all had eggs that survived. Grant, Cade and Jacob were quite proud of their scrambled eggs!

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Cade and the mystery rash

On Wednesday Cade had a few odd looking spots on his leg, I didn't think much of it, but by Thursday night it looked worse and by Friday it was causing me major concern. It was only on ONE leg, but was spreading both up and down the leg. It wasn't poison ivy or chicken pox (at least by my thinking) so we made our SECOND trip to the pediatrician's office in less than a week to get it check out.

Well the rash completely stumped the staff and we were told to put steriod cream on it and to give him benadryl, the rash is clearing up. So we have no idea what it is or what caused it, but apparently it isn't contagious, thank you Lord!

So in less than a week, two of my children break my "we haven't been to the pediatrician except with a newborn" streak that had been going since well before Sophia was born! Maybe 6 years?????

Monday, October 01, 2007

Pioneer Village Tour

I have set up the following fieldtrip for any homeschoolers that would like to attend. Our family has participated in this program for the last 5 years (it used to take place at Caesar Creek) and the interpreters LOVE homeschoolers, a few of them are homeschoolers themselves. Please join us! Pack a lunch and dress for the weather! The program is very hands on and extremely informative.

When: Monday Oct 1 9:30 AM to 2 PM ARRIVE PROMPTLY!!!!
Where: Quaker Knoll Campground, 675 Sprague Road, Wilmington, Ohio 45177
Cost: $5 per student, preschoolers and parents free BRING EXACT CHANGE!!! Pay the day of event! Cash only!
RSVP: Laura Riesenberg that they can be properly staffed to handle our group
Other info: bring a picnic lunch, dress for the weather

Every culture in the world requires that young people learn their own history. History provides answers for the future by examining the problems of the past. Inessence, it is the study of the problems of human life.Our challenge is to get our youth interested in historyat all. When competing with electronic games andtelevision, stories of the past can seem dry, at best.For several years Frontier Resources has offered a schoolprogram designed to capture the interest of the studentof Ohio history. The program makes maximum use ofHands-On and interactive learning. We have designed our‘School Days’ to interest students in early Ohio history toreinforce your classroom efforts.

Frontier Resources is an organization that designs and presents programs to students all over the country. Our specialtyis “hands-on history”. Our programs are designed togive your students a taste of the activities, both work andplay, of children of early Ohio. These include, but are notlimited to:

• OXEN- An explanation of the importance of oxen toearly America and how children were involved withthem is followed by an opportunity for students to trytheir hand at driving oxen.
• SPINNING- An introduction to the problem of clothsupply for the Ohio frontier family involves a chancefor students to try to make a piece of yarn.
• CHILDREN’S WORK- A view of the importance ofchildren on the frontier while they work to shape agrindstone.
• ONE ROOM SCHOOL- An introduction to early nineteenthcentury learning.
• TOWN MEETING- Students experience frontierdemocracy by taking part in a town meeting and wrestlingwith a vital issue of the day.
• CHILDREN’S GAMES- A look at entertainment onthe frontier while students try an outdoor game of the1800s.
• INDENTURED SERVITUDE- Forty percent of thepopulation of Colonial America arrived under termsof indenture. This station examines the lives of the children who found themselves so situated.

The program takes about 4 hours, running from 9:30 a.m.until 2:00 P.M. Cost is $5.00 per student, there is no cost forteachers and chaperones.

Here is a link to a blog about the village:

Best to mapquest this address from your location:Quaker Knoll Campground is located at 675 Sprague Road,Wilmington, Ohio 45177, a lovely site on the north end ofCowen Lake State Park.

Here are the directions I followed (follow at your own risk!):Take OH-28 (Milford Exit off I-275)towards BLANCHESTERto LEFT onto OH-133 (according to mapquest this isabout 16 or so miles). Go a little over 3 miles and staySTRAIGHT to go onto OH-730. Go a little over 6 miles and turn RIGHT onto SPRAGUE RD. Quaker Knoll is aways down on the left hand side.

By far one of our favorite fieldtrips each year, we were not disappointed! Gary Barker, one of the main organizers, greeted us, his head now bald, but looking as great as ever. We found out that the schoolteacher wouldn't be there (he tends to really SCARE the kids) because his wife had sinus cancer (?) so that was our big disappointment of the day, since he is such an authentic re-enactor! As always, we were flooded with new information (the program is never the same two years in a row) and the kids absorbed it like the little sponges they are.

Will and Sophia seemed more interested in the playground and playing in the rainpuddles (yes, it rained on us at one point!) but the other kids really enjoyed the entire day!

Pioneer Village Slideshow