City Goggles: Places to visit in the area


Don’t you just love when you have pleasant surprises? Well, today was just the day when I received one. I am on a homeschool forum and one of the moms posted a link to her son’s page concerning places to visit here in the Greater Cincinnati area. I was intrigued by the miniatures museum and went to check it out.

Cory Woodruff is a student at DAAP at the University of Cincinnati and chose to do his senior capstone project on coffee shops and various other places to enjoy in Southwestern Ohio and Northern/ Central Kentucky. Not only did his short clips make me want to visit the locations he chose to film, but I also found his angle shots interesting and his story lines intriguing.

The surprise that I had was when I looked at his gallery page and found that my son in Cory’s videos. Malcolm is representing Carabello Coffee, the shop that he has worked at for the past 2 years!  Carabello Coffee is a wonderful place to visit and get a great cup of coffee and nosh on sweets and delicious Bella Pops.  I am posting the link to Cory’s project so you can enjoy all the clips. City Goggles Be sure to check out the statue video as well. He has history links to each of the statues and you can incorporate this into your history studies.

Perhaps some of your children are interested in film and are exploring career and hobby possibilities. I hope to have an interview with Cory in the near future.  🙂

Summer Activities for All

Yay! Summer is here and it’s time to explore! This week I will feature local parks, but even if you don’t live in Cincinnati, you can still find a park near your home. Better still, come for a visit to our town!

  • Go on a nature walk/hike. Take along a notebook and find a spot to stop and draw something is of interest. It can be a plant or an animal such as a bird. Pack some identification books to help you with unknown plants and animals.
  • Play on a new playground. Tired of the same ol’ playground in your area? How about finding a different one to take the children to play? It will seem like a mini vacation, but you’ll be home in time for dinner. 🙂
  • Exercise! Pull the plug on the video games and electronics and go for a bike ride or a long walk. Both of the Hamilton County Parks I have listed below also have horse trails if you feel adventurous.


Local Parks

The Cincinnati Parks Foundation has three amazing parks along the Ohio River that are family friendly and give your children the chance to run and play. Not only is there a playground along the walkway, but there are a few large water fountains that your children can play in, and a carousel you can pay to ride. The Waterfront Parks system consist of three major Cincinnati Parks: Theodore M. Berry International Park,  Sawyer Point & Yeatman’s Cove and the  Smale Riverfront Park that is by the Great American Ballpark so you can go and catch a Reds game after you are finished playing.

Hamilton County Parks has done a fantastic job of providing green space in the greater Cincinnati area.  There is a motor vehicle fee to get into the park and you may either purchase a day pass for $3.00 or an annual pass of $10.00 that will give you access to all of the county parks and includes discount coupons to use throughout the park system.

Parky’s Farm has a fully functional farm with horses, goats, chickens,sheep, and bees. There is a garden for children to see and trails to meander along. The barn and outdoor pens allow children to see the animals up close.  If you take some extra money with you, your children can take a horse ride or play in the indoor playground.  Parky’s Farm is a part of Winton Woods that has an outdoor spray park and playground. Bring along a fishing pole to cast your line from either shore or a rental boat. There is also a pontoon boat to take a cruise along the lake. If you’d like to spend the night, there is also a camp site or small cabins to rent.

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Miami Whitewater Forest is  beautiful and is the largest park in county. While it does have an amazing lake with fishing and boating, and a beautiful golf and frisbee golf course, it has something that no other county park has that is quite so nice.  It has a 7.8 mile hike/ bike path that meanders through the countryside (where I grew up) and has spurs off it as well so you can extend your biking experience if you like. If your children are not able to go on the long bike trail, there is a shorter inner trail that is 1.4 miles long.

My friends have a bike shop called West Trail Bikes and it is a quick jaunt off the bike path to their place on New Haven Road. You can rent or purchase a bike if you would like something different than the rentals that are offered at the park. There is a quaint country shop adjoining their shop and a little grocery store (that I worked at when I was in college) where you can get an ice cold drink and a snack. You can hop back on the bike trail at several points from the town of New Haven.

If you have never been to Miami Whitewater Park, make a day of it. Pack a picnic lunch, your swimsuits for the spray/ water park,  and a pair of binoculars for wildlife watching while you are hiking the many wooded trails. I don’t think you will be disappointed!

Metro Parks of Butler County has 10 great parks, but the newest park called Voice of America MetroPark is the one with which I am most familiar. There is a nice playground that is next to the air conditioned Wheelhouse, which has bathroom facilities and a vending machine to get snacks and drinks.

There is a nice sized lake and a walking/biking path along it. Fishing is allowed in certain areas and there are benches along the way to stop and rest or just enjoy the nature you will see. During the winter there is also a sledding hill, so be sure and visit then too!

Taking Care of Business: kids and business ideas


Do your children want things you don’t have the money for or have they asked you how they can generate income for something they want? It can be difficult to come up with ideas and have the know-how to help them do this. Maybe you have a child who has great ideas that you think could actually work. I have discovered some organizations and websites that can help.

Does your child have a great imagination and is always thinking of ways to improve something? Does s/he want to take apart things to see how they work? Plug them into networks for young inventors. There are many  organizations students can join to get hands-on experience in being an inventor and entrepreneur, including Odyssey of the Mind and First Robotics. Plus, organizations like Girl ScoutsBoy Scouts and 4H also develop a lot of these leadership and entrepreneurial skills.

And, there are tons of competitions they can enter that will give them a good starting point. Intel and Google each have a science competition. By Kids for Kids is basically a clearinghouse for all kinds of competitions sponsored by companies — not just math and science competitions, but in all different types of categories including arts and athletics. Even if they don’t go on to become an entrepreneur or kid millionaire, it will build valuable life and business skills. Plus, there’s usually a cash prize involved, which gives a nice boost to their piggy bank to help fund their invention, pay for college or help them get a jump-start on saving.

The Secret Millionaires Club is also a part of the By Kids for Kids website that is a cartoon, but has great episodes for young entrepreneurs. The ones I watched were on starting a lemonade stand business and having a business plan.

Perhaps you feel that their interests in this area seem like a distraction to your school day. If you see this as an opportunity for practical applications for  math and science, you can allow this to be a benefit and enrich your curriculum.  Remember, you are exploring and finding the areas of strength and interest that your child has been given. Textbooks are terrific, but look beyond that to see the possibilities of what you child can do. Who knows but that your child has an idea that could revolutionize our world?:)


Family Fun Night Ideas

A_Family_Playing_a_Board_Game_and_Eating_Popcorn_Royalty_Free_Clipart_Picture_100221-120804-577053With the evenings growing longer and the children being cooped up in the house, Family Fun evenings are a welcome idea. How about trying one of these?

  • Twister  When is the last time you played Twister? Your kids will love watching you look like a pretzel!
  • Bingo make up your own Bingo cards and use math problems, history facts, trivia questions, etc., to cover the board.
  • Popcorn and a movie  Pick a movie you haven’t watched in a while or rent a movie your family didn’t get to see at the theater.
  • Board Games or Card Games can be fun. Some oldies but goodies are Sorry, Trouble, Outburst, Charades, Go Fish, Crazy Eights, Euchre, Rook or Pit.
  • Start a wild tale and let the next person add to it. Ideas can be to talk about a vacation or an adventure your family would go on together, or an exotic pet you brought home to live with you.
  • Telephone If you have never played the game before, your kids will love it! Whisper a rather long sentence in the person’s ear next to you and do not repeat it. Go around the room until everyone has had the person next to them whisper what they thought they heard. The last person who receives the message and is to the right of the person who said the sentence originally says it out loud to the group. I bet it won’t be the same sentence that was told the first time!

Have fun and be sure to take pictures to capture your wonderful evening together!




Trail Life USA: A Program for Young Men


BlogLogoMy boys were in scouts for a while and loved the camping trips and being outdoors. Read all about a new organization in which your sons can become a member. 🙂

Most guys want exciting outdoor adventure with their friends. We’ve got that! Trips and travel? That, too. Camping. Check. Physical and mental challenge? Yep. And awards? Of course!

Trail Life USA is a Christian adventure, character, and leadership program for young men. The K-12 program centers on outdoor experiences that build a young man’s skills and allow him to grow on a personal level and as a role model and leader for his peers. Living the Trail Life is a journey established on timeless values derived from the Bible.


Our vision is to be the premier national character development organization for young men which produces Godly and responsible husbands, fathers, and citizens.


Our mission is simple and clear: to guide generations of courageous young men to honor God, lead with integrity, serve others, and experience outdoor adventure.


“Walk Worthy”

Colossians 1:10  “… so that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and please him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God, …”


On my honor, I will do my best
To serve God and my country;
To respect authority;
To be a good steward of creation;
And to treat others as I want to be treated.

For more information CLICK HERE