Monday, March 31, 2008

Free Science Programs from Kenton County Parks & Recreation
(Almost) Every Other Thursday Science!

Due to the great popularity of Third Thursday Science, Kenton County Parks & Recreation will expand the program to what we’re now calling (Almost) Every Other Thursday Science!
We’ll kick off the program with a visit from Crystal Clear Science and a program called E is for Energy. During the season, the Cincinnati Museum Center will present four programs, COSI On Wheels will be featured on the third Thursday of June, July, and August, and Mad Science of Cincinnati will present a program titled Rockin’ Rockets!

(Almost) Every Other Thursday Science programs will be held at Shelterhouse 1 in Pioneer Park (3951 Madison Pike Covington KY 41017) beginning at 10:00 am on each date. The free programs will be delivered in 45-minute to 1-hour theatrical assembly presentations.

• May 15 – E is for Energy: Eye-popping demonstrations! E is for Energyincludes over a dozen experiments showing the different forms of energy, energyconversions, and how we can help the environment by conserving energy. Light, sound, heat, electrical and magnetic energy are covered as well as Newton's Laws of Motion!

• May 29 – The Reasons for the Seasons: Using globes, rotate and revolve yourway to learning about the seasons and to understanding why spring and summerare warmer times of the year and fall and winter are colder. Investigate theannual cycles of animal migration, hibernations, and toleration then learn abouttracks and scat. Create the sounds of spring and learn why leaves change colorand why fall is called “fall”!

• June 5 – Chemistry in Your Hands: See and feel the evidence of physicalversus chemical change. Perform experiments to deduce which chemicalsproduce what changes. Learn chemistry basics and practice lab safety. Beware:The results you take home may be slimy!

• June 19 – What’s Wild?: Learn about the science of wildlife diversity. Humansaren’t the only living creatures that call Kentucky home. Thousands of species ofplants, insects, birds, fish, and animals also live here. Discover animal habitatsand how wildlife biologists use technology to study and manage animalpopulations. Help find and identify birds using binoculars, catch and measure“fish”, and discover clues to identifying animals from what they leave behind.Learn through many hands-on stations!

• June 26 – Rockin’ Rockets: A wild ride of rockets and flight! Transform a teabag into a rocket that will soar up to 15 feet in the air! Examine the five necessaryparts of a rocket enabling them to fly straight and be recovered safely. Seedemonstrations of the power behind a rocket engine. THEN, take a trip to thelaunch pad for 3 to 5 launches of real model rockets and be a part of an actuallaunch or recovery team!

• July 17 – It’s Simply Chemistry: Explore chemistry through simple experimentsdesigned to introduce children to the basics of chemistry. Help the ChemistryDetective solve the mystery of who stole the ingredients for SUPER-SLIME!Create endothermic and exothermic reactions, learn to identify unknownsubstances, and make a container of super-slime to take home!

• July 31 – Taxonomic Detectives: Classification isn’t as mysterious as it sounds.Use clues given by animal eye placement and teeth type, along with adichotomous key to identify real animal skulls and determine to which taxonomicorder they belong. With some simple classification activities to get you started,it’s a detective case you’ll soon solve, right down to the species of each skull!

• August 7 – Digging for Dinosaurs: Uncover fossils on a paleontological“dinosaur” dig. Discuss the world-famous Ordovician fossils. Learn how fossilsare formed and make a plaster cast of a fossil for someone in attendance tokeep! Examine touchable fossils from dinosaurs such as Allosaurus,Tyrannosaurus, Stegosaurus, raptors and many more make this a juniorpaleontologist’s dream!

• August 21 – Launch Into Space: Will YOU be the astronaut of tomorrow?Explore outer space and space travel right in Pioneer Park! Take a round tripvoyage to space including rocket launch, life in space, and the trip back to Earth.Engage in science experiments. Launch cork rockets! Investigate space food!Discover the make-up of stars! And much, much more!

(Almost) Every Other Thursday Science is free to attend and enjoy. Please remember to bring a donation of non-perishable food or personal care items for those less fortunate.Your donation will go a long, long way right here in our community! Your kind donations of non-perishable food and personal care items have helped way more than you know. Let’s keep giving! Please remember to bring your donations for those less fortunate during each of our free programs: Wild Wednesdays!, Kids All-American Fishing Derby,Haunted Halloween Trail and Great Pumpkin Races, and Letters To Santa / Letters From Santa.

If you would like to see a full calendar of all events being sponsored by the Kenton County Parks:
Gluten Free Candy/snacks:

As we venture into uncharted waters with Luke's gluten sensitivity, I occassionally stumble onto resources and lists that I think I may want to hold onto...the following is such a list. Remember, you MUST ALWAYS read labels, as ingredients tend to change over time....Luke really loves EnviroKidz Cereal Bars (berry) and so does everyone else here! Fortunately even our local grocery carries them. Since the following list is dairy free as well, there are other gluten free choices that are not listed!

Airheads (January 2004)
Allan Brand Candy Canes
Altoids - gluten will be listed on label as wheat, rye, barley, or oats (Kraft product)
ANDI Bars (Gluten Free and Casein Free) available through
Astro Pops� Bazooka Gum (August 2004)
Beechnut: Peppermint, Spearmint, Cinnamon flavors (September 2003)
Big League Chew Gum (Original, Grape, Strawberry)
Bottle caps
Breath savers Mints (Sugar Free, Iced Mint, Mint Cinnamon, Peppermint, Spearmint, Vanilla Mint, WinterGreen)
Bubbilicious Gum (April 2003)
Bubble Yum Gum
Candy Corn by Goelitz (October 2003) is also VEGETARIAN. Verified: 10/22/03
Carefree Gum (September 2003)
Certs Mints
Charms: Fluffy Stuff Cotton Candy September -2003)
Charms: Squares, Pops, Blow Pops, Super Blow Pops Zip A Doo Da, Family Fun, Super Sour Balls, Pops Galore (October 2003)
Chicklets - regular and tiny size (January 2004)
Chick-O Stick
Clorets Gum
Clorets Mints
Crows by Tootsie (March 2004)
Dentyne Gum all September 2003
Dots by Tootsie - Regular, Tropical, or Wild Berry are gluten-free (March 2004)
Double Bubble Gum (October 2003)
Eclipse Gum by Wrigleys (is also vegetarian) (August 2003)
EnjoyLifeFoods BIG Cookies -available through (Check ingredients to make sure the flavor you buy is dairy free)
EnviroKidz Cereal Bars (except Chocolate flavored:contains milk) (marked gluten-free) (September 2004)
Extra Gum by Wrigleys (is also vegetarian) (August 2003)
Farley: Candy Corn, Harvest Mix, Jellybird Eggs, Holiday Creams (Christmas Easter) (September 2003)
Farley: Banana Chips, Pineapple Wedges, Fruit Snacks (September 2003)
Farley candies: Fruit Flavored Jells & JuJu & Bears, Giant Jellies, Gummy Bears, Jelly Bird Eggs, Jelly Rings, JuJu Coins, Jumbo Jelly Beans, Orange & Lemon Slices, Speckled Bird Eggs, Tiny Jelly Eggs
Ferrara Pan: all, including Red Hots, Lemonheads, Jaw Busters, Boston Baked Beans, Atomic Fireballs, Black Forest Gummies, Grape Heads, Jellybeans (March 2003)
Freedent: peppermint, spearmint, winter fresh (September 2003)
Fresh Fruit, Of course!!!!
Fruit Stripe gum - all (September 2003)
Fun Dip
General Mills general statement: read label. Wheat, rye, barley, oats will be listed
Glennys Potato Crisps and Soy Crisps (assorted flavors are gluten free and can be found at
Goldenberg's Peanut Chews by Just Born
Honey Acres candies: Honey Gummies (are also vegetarian), and Honey Mints (are also vegetarian) (September 2003)
Hot Tamales (February 2004)
Ice Breakers Gum
Jelly Belly (All flavors of Jelly Beans EXCEPT: Cafe Latte, Buttered Toast, Caramel Corn, Buttered Popcorn, Chocolate Cherry Cake, Chocolate Pudding, Strawberry Cheesecake) Do not get bags of assorted due to cross contamination from these flavors.
Jolly Rancher Lollipops
Jolly Ranchers (Hershey's product. Check label. Gluten will be listed as wheat, rye, barley or oats)
Just Born: Valentines Day Mike and Ike, Valentines Day Peep Hearts, Easter Peeps, Eggs, Bunnies, Easter Mike and Ike, Jelly Beans, Halloween Pumpkins, Ghosts, Cats, Christmas Trees, Snowmen, Teenie Beanie Holiday Mix (February 2004)
Kettle Valley brand Fruit Leather (apple, Tropical Blend, Watermelon, Strawberry, Raspberry, WildBerry) available at
Kraft will list major allergens
Laffy Taffy by Willy Wonka (October 2003)
Lifesavers general statement: gluten will be listed on label as wheat, rye, barley or oats (Kraft product)
Lifesavers Gummies
Marvel Candy Sticks (marked as gluten-free) and found at some Wal-Mart stores
Mega WarHeads (June 2003)
Mike and Ike (February 2004)
Nabisco general statement: read label. Wheat, rye, barley, oats will be listed
Necco Brands (Candy Stix, Mary Janes, Mary Janes Peanut Butter Kisses, Wafers, Talking Pumpkins, Wintergreen Lozenges, Conversation Hearts (September 2003)
Nerds by Willy Wonka (October 2003)
Orbit Gum by Wrigleys (is also vegetarian) (August 2003)
Pez (June 2004)
Pixie Sticks
Pretzel Packs made by Ener-G Foods or Glutino (specially marked gluten free) and are available at� Running Rabbit Licorice (confirm gluten-free status) (Ingredients: corn syrup, turbinado sugar, cornstarch, dextrose, licorice root extract, tapioca dextrin, anise oil, salt, separating agents (mineral oil & bees wax). 5oz box (approx. 35 pieces) Free of: Wheat, Gluten, Dairy, Peanuts, Tree Nuts, Egg, Soy, Rice, Potato, Yeast, Sesame and is available at
Sees (Asst Sugar Sticks, Candy Canes) (January 2003)
Sesame Seed Crunch (INGREDIENTS: Sesame Seeds, Corn Syrup, Sugar, Honey)
Skittles (September 2003)
Smarties Brand Smarties (October 2003)
Smarties Double Lolly, Mega Lolly (October 2003)
Sour Patch Kids by Trebor Allen Swedish Fish (Sepetmber 2003)
Spangler LolliPops: Dum Dums, Astro Pops, Picture Pops (June 2004)
Spangler: all candy canes, xmas shop pops (December 2003)
Spree (February 2004)
St. Claires Sweets (All are gluten, casein, nut, egg, GMO, soy, corn, peanut, shell fish free and they are certified organic. They have certifications from all their suppliers that they are gluten and all the other allergens free. And available through� Starburst Fruit Chews (September 2003)
Starburst JellyBeans (September 2003)
Stretch Island 100% Fruit Snack (Apricot*, Berry, Blackberry, Great Grape, Rare Raspberry) (September 2004)
Sunkist chewy candies - Fruit Gems, Jelly Beans, Orange & Cream Chews, Super Sour Stars October 2003)
Sunkist Fruit Slices (April 2004)
Swedish Fish by Trebor Allen (September 2003)
SweetTarts (February 2004)
Tangy Taffy
Tart N Tiny
TicTacs (April 2003)
Topps: all are gluten-free, (but read labels for dairy), including Ring Pops, Push Pops, Baby Bottle Pops, Juicy Drop Pops and Chews, etc. (August 2004)
Trident Gum all (June 2004)
Trolli Gummi: Peachie O's, Squiggles, Sour Bite Crawlers, Octopus (September 2003)
Tropical Source 100% Gluten Free & Dairy Free chocolate bars (available at Whole Foods and other healthfood stores)
Welchs Fruit Snacks all (April 2004)
Wonka: check label. Gluten will be listed as wheat, rye, barley or oats
Wrigleys Gum (all are gluten-free June 2004)
Zours made by JustBorn (February 2004)

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Third Annual Geography Fair: Where in the USA?
When: Sunday March 30, 2008 3 PM
Who: ALL HOMESCHOOLERS (preschool to teens and anyone in between)
Cost: None
Where: Jr. OUAM Hall in St Bernard
What to Bring: Your project and a dish to share (no NUTS or POPCORN please, due to food allergies!).

We have decided to have this year’s geography fair focus on the USA. Come bring your family to an afternoon of “visiting” the United States in a fun way. At the start of the geography fair, we will hand out roadmaps and each “traveler” will get their roadmaps marked as they visit each state. We will provide small stickers to use to mark the “visitors” roadmap!

To participate: Each child (or family, it can be a group project) choses a state and makes up a presentation on that state. Let your imagination be your guide! The great thing about this opportunity is that any age child can participate and present their research to the best of their abilities. No competing! Certificates of participation will be given to each participant. The hall has plenty of electrical outlets so feel free to use one (or more)!Projects can be set up from 3-3:30 PM at which time we will give each participant a chance to presenttheir project to the group. At the conclusion of the presentations, certificates will be given to the participants. Similiar events have run until about 5 PM in the past.

We are also asking that participants bring a dish representative of their state to share (this can be as simple as cornbread or as elaborate as your cooking abilities allow!).We will have a potluck as part of our event. Drinks, plates, silverware and napkins will be provided. Remember no nuts or popcorn please! Families who do not want to make displays but still want to come and participate and “travel” are welcome, consider bringing a dessert or some kid friendly (nut free) munchies to share.

We had a wonderful turnout (despite 4 families dropping out at the last minute!). The following states (in no particular order) were represented: Maine, West Virginia, Ohio, California, Nebraska, New York, Indiana, Texas, Louisiana, Alaska, Michigan, Florida, Kentucky and Hawaii (with a model volcano and pineapples!). It was great to see the kids enthusiam and to watch them all color in their passport books with each state they visited! Now to decide if next year will be states as well, or if we will go back and do countries instead!

I have no pictures to share yet, as I left the digital camera at home and had to take my pictures with a cheapy throw away camera!

Friday, March 28, 2008

What: Cincinnati Fire Museum Field Trip
When: March 28th, 2008
Time: 1:00 p.m. approximately 1.5 hours
Ages: all ages
Price: 6.00 adult 3.00 child ages 0-2 free
RSVP: ****** payment due in advance after reservationis made
Address: 315 West Court Street


We invite you to bring your students to the Cincinnati Fire Museum for a fire safety education program and tour.

Here's what to expect:Your class will be greeted at the front door by a trained and caringfire safety guide.We'll gather together in the Assembly Room for a short film on ExitDrills In The Home (EDITH).Now how about joining me for an imaginary tour? We'll have fun andlearn a lot, too.The history of Cincinnati in frontier days comes to life as thechildren participate in a "hands-on" bucket brigade and take a turnon an old style hand pumper.Imagine the excitement of seeing a large antique steam pumper pulledby horses; then ring a fire bell."The Fox," a shiny red fire engine made by Ahrens Fox of Cincinnati,seems about to leap through the doors and dash to a fire.Look, there's the cab of a modern fire engine! Children can wail thesiren, flash the lights and "drive" to a fire.Three interactive computers are fun and tell you all about today'sfirefighting and fire safety.Having fun? Sure! Now it's time for some serious but non-threateningfire safety education.Everyone moves into the "Safe Home." The firefighter outside ourbedroom window looks scary but we learn he is our friend and not tohide under the bed or in the closet.Don't play with lighters and 911 can save a life, we learn.Let's Stop, Drop and Roll. Everyone can do it!Microwave safety is demonstrated in the "Safe Home" kitchen.And much, much more!Our homework? Tonight we'll sit down with our family and figure outan emergency exit plan for our home. In a fire, seconds count.Our tour is almost over but it seems our guide has kept the best tillast. Could it be? Yes! Let's line up and slide down a real firepole.I promised your tour would be fun and it has been, but what is thereal value of your visit? Fire prevention and learning about what todo in case of a fire.Our fire safety guides want to reach as many children as possible.Help us save a life or prevent the tragedy of serious injury. Bringyour class to the Fire Museum. Our fire safety guides will be waitingfor you at the door.

We hadn't been to the fire museum in quite a few years (I can't remember if I was pregnant with Sophia or if she was a tiny baby during our last visit) and Sophia and Will had a WONDERFUL time. The older kids seemed to enjoy themselves too, and the tour was geared to the 10 and up crowd, so they left learning quite a bit. The biggest hit of the tour? Sliding down the firepole!

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Homeschool Easter Egg Hunt
When: Wednesday, March 26th 11 AM(yes this is AFTER Easter, hit the after Easter sales for candy to donate!). We will be at the park no later than 10:30 AM to accept donations and stuff eggs, we would LOVE help!
Who: ALL HOMESCHOOLERS including teens!
Where: Miami Riverview Park Loveland, OH
Cost: Free although donations of nut free, non chocolate candy and/orfilled eggs is appreciated!Organizer: Laura

The hunt is open to ANY HOMESCHOOLER (toddlers to teens and everyonein between) who wants to hunt for Easter eggs (regardless of age).Remember to bring a bag or basket for collecting eggs!

Donations of NUT FREE and NON CHOCOLATE candies or other small prizesare much appreciated. We ask for safety reasons that candy beindividually wrapped. Little bags of skittles, individual bags ofjelly beans, ring pops, small size airheads, small boxes of nerds,those safety suckers are just a few suggestions. Small toys (likestickers, bracelets, necklaces and whistles) also work, but pleaseavoid those small bouncy balls as they are a choking hazard. We willeven have a couple of prize eggs that will win a special Easterbasket! The hunt will start around 11 AM. Plan to picnic and playfollowing the hunt.

RSVP to Laura . If you decide at the last minute to join us, that is fine,there is no need to RSVP, but it is helpful for us in getting a countas to how many hunters we will have.

Questions, just ask!

Directions: Take I-275 to exit #52 (Loveland/Indian Hill) and turnLEFT at the bottom of the exit ramp. Follow to the first road on theright (Hopewell) and turn RIGHT onto HOPEWELL. Follow about .3 mileto Branch Hill-Loveland Rd (you should see a small brown sign on theright hand side of the road pointing to the park) and turn LEFT ontoBRANCH HILL-LOVELAND RD. Follow about 1.5 miles to the park entranceon your RIGHT. MIAMI RIVERVIEW PARK. We will meet near theplayground, most likely in the large shelter behind the playground.

What a great time and great turnout (close to 50 kids) we hid over 800 eggs and everyone had a blast searching for them. Will managed to find a "golden" egg and won a prize basket, he was so excited! The weather was absolutely gorgeous, I honestly think that my MIL gently nudged God to give us a gorgeous day (despite forcasts of rain and cloudy skies, we has temps in the upper 50s and SUN!) after all she was the one who taught me how to do an easter egg hunt the right way! That is the one thing I miss the most about not gathering with Jay's family on Easter, the utter chaos of the easter egg hunt! It was so nice to meet new families and to reconnect with old ones (many homeschoolers seem to hibernate much of the winter!). Of course after the hunt a game of baseball and then a game of football broke out, even the girls joined in!

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Easter this year is: Sunday March 23, 2008

As you may know, Easter is always the 1st Sunday after the 1st full moon after the Spring Equinox (which is March 20).

This dating of Easter is based on the lunar calendar that Hebrew people used to identify Passover, which is why it moves around on our Roman calendar.

Based on the above, Easter can actually be one day earlier (March 22) but that is pretty rare.

This year is the earliest Easter any of us will ever see the rest of our lives! And only the most elderly of our population have ever seen it this early (95 years old or above!). And none of us have ever, or will ever, see it a day earlier!

Here are the facts:
The next time Easter will be this early (March 23) will be the year 2228 (220 years from now).

The last time it was this early was 1913 (so if you're 95 or older, you are the only ones that were around for that!).

The next time it will be a day earlier, March 22, will be in the year 2285 (277 years from now).

The last time it was on March 22 was 1818. So, no one alive today has or will ever see it any earlier than this year!

Sunday, March 09, 2008

According to the national weather service...we had a blizzard here in Loveland, OH Friday and Saturday (until I looked it up online, I had no idea that a blizzard had more to do with wind and visibility than it did with snowfall totals!) ...some of these pictures are from a lull in the storm yesterday (we got another few inches after that...I believe the total is now 13 to 15 inches in our area) and some are from this morning....we are supposed to get another 2 inches tonight....
The kids had great fun having a snowball fight at dusk last night....wish I had gone out and captured it on film!
Ruler showing 10 inches...this was close to the house, may have been deeper at that point in the middle of the yard.

Hannah (16) and Emily (13 1/2) with their snowman

William (3)

Sophia (5)

Brett (17) in front of the minivan...notice the tree leaning on it!

Jay , Louie (our boxer) and Emily

The boys (Grant, Jacob and William) shoveling the bottom of the driveway (I did the rest of it,can you explain that to me when I live in a house with 7 males in it???) right after the snowplow came and cleared our road.

Somehow I don't have a picture of Cade (7) and of course Luke (10 mo) stayed inside....I will have to be sure to get a picture of Cade later when the kids go back out to play.

Friday, March 07, 2008

The Blizzard of 2008

According to Wikipedia, a blizzard is a severe winter storm condition characterized by low temperatures, strong winds, and heavy blowing snow. Blizzards are formed when a high pressure system, also known as a ridge, interacts with a low pressure system; this results in the advection of air from the high pressure zone into the low pressure area. The term blizzard is sometimes misused by news media to describe a large winter storm that does not actually satisfy official blizzard criteria.

And from the national weather service: A BLIZZARD WARNING!!!!

I was actually surprised when I turned on the news and found out that we were having a blizzard. Having been in the house all day, all I saw was pretty snow and no traffic going up or down our usually well traveled street. One of Emily's friends spent the night last night and is now "stranded" with us, but the house is quiet, outside the sounds of a coughing Will (his asthma is acting up) and a stuffy headed baby. We are safe, have food, drink and toilet paper, so barring a power outage, we should be able to weather the storm quite comfortably!

So what will the blizzard of 2008 mean? I have no idea...tomorrow we will venture out in the snow and play....I vaguely remember the last blizzard to hit our area, way back in the late 1970's and walking home in the snow in my uniform skirt when the closed school early. I remember the snow being to the top of the car (most likely from a snowplow than real snowfall, but as a kid I just remember thinking it was so high!)

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

I guess I am weirder than I thought....

A link to this article came through on one of the many homeschooling lists I am part of. The post was followed by replies about what a great and encouraging article it was.....encouraging??? I think not. I just wanted to scream "GET THE HELL OUT OF YOUR HOUSE. GO AND DO SOMETHING, ANYTHING!" I think I would probably kill my kids (or they would kill me, given their pack mentality) if I stayed home and stared at these 4 walls all winter!

I get that it is cold, I get that there may be snow on the ground, but that isn't an excuse. When I look at my calendar for the months of January and February, there are just as many outings/ fieldtrips as there are any other month. Take January for example, outside of basketball and dance and Sophia's girlscout activities, we also had (1) conditioning each week (2) weekly ASL class (3) Make your own boardgame day (4)4-H (5) library program (6) 2 different park programs (7) open skate and (8) the science fair. Let us not forget our 3 day trip to Sandusky for the Unschoolers Winter Waterpark Gathering! February was equally full with (1) conditioning each week (2) weekly ASL class (3) volunteering at RMH (4) tour of Lowes (5) 4-H (6) Chinese New Year (7) 3 park programs (8) library program (9) Valentine's party (10) dance team showcase and (11) snow tubing. OK, so not everyone would want to be on the go as much as we are, but come on, pick ONE THING and go out and do it if being at home all winter is, to quote the author, "one of the single biggest reasons for our at least fantasizing about putting them all in school".

To me having my kids home means being part of the world, getting out in it and learning from it, not staying holed up in the house, hiding for months on end. Like I said, I must be the oddball, becuase the article got "ohhs and ahhs" from other moms on the list! I guess HEM won't be approaching me anytime soon to write an article....I think they much appreciate the kinder, gentler empathetic approach!