Living Treasures and Grocery Store Scavenger Hunt

Today we went to Living Treasures Wild Animal Park with the girls’ two cousins. The park is very small, so the kids split up into pairs and went off on their own to explore. We saw the new ringtailed lemur born this summer, and also the usual suspects: fallow deer, flamingoes, bison, llamas and alpaca, and the miniatures in the petting zoo.

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O7 and J6 feeding the fallow deer some carrots.

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At one point, we caught up with S9 and D9, who were listening to a short talk on the park’s alligators:

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O7 checking out the lion

Checking out the gator deck:

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We also saw the peacock that wanders through the park. He was irritated with one of the deer and was putting on a show.

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After a trip through the park, we stopped for lunch. Then, everyone was ready to help do some grocery shopping. I had written out my list items on individual slips of paper.

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The kids again divided into two teams of two. Each kid picked a slip out of my basket, then the teams went off to find the two items they had chosen. They found every item except one (Glad freezer bags).

O7 and J6 had to order a pound of lunch meat at the deli! They ended up handing the lady at the counter their slip. But they got their item, so it was all good.

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S9 and D9 had to get 10# of potatoes. They didn’t know that potatoes usually come in 5# bags. S9 had the brilliant idea to weigh the bags.

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Eventually, they figured out that they needed to get two bags.

Both teams asked for help at least once from a store associate. I thought that was great. No one ever knows all the answers. Sometimes, the smartest person in the room is the one who asks the right question. Knowing who to ask, and what to ask, is a valuable skill.

To celebrate, we went to Menchies for some hard-earned froyo.

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Wetlands Preserve Hike

This afternoon, we stopped on the way home from O7’s violin lesson at the Mill Creek Park Wetlands Preserve for a nature hike.

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Today was a perfect day to hike here. We knew this was a spring or fall adventure because, as a wetlands, there aren’t really any trees to provide shade in the heat of summer.

There is a map at the parking area. We chose to hike the main wetlands east of the parking lot.

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The interpretive signs along the trail made it a very interesting hike, both in terms of local and park history as well as the wildlife and plants we eventually saw along the way.

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We quickly spotted red winged black birds. They were everywhere. One kept circling and then landing on marshy growth up trail from us, seemingly to keep an eye on what we were doing.

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We spotted cattails, a sure sign of wet areas:

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The kids were very excited by all the wildflowers. It was hard to resist the urge to pick them, but we left them alone.

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Mostly.

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We learned about the “Mill Creek Greenway”:

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spotted more red winged black birds:

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and hiked around to the large pond in the northeast corner of the area:

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We found a great sign that helped us identify several of the birds we spotted that day.

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More cattails as we approached the pond.

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At the pond, we spied a pair of Canada Geese about to go for a dip.

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They changed their minds shortly after, though, and headed for another pond.

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More helpful signs:

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Here is a crayfish “chimney”:

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We also spotted loads of tadpoles in a puddle:

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S9 made an interesting, but icky, discovery:

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The trail we hiked was about one mile long. Next time, we hope to visit the “Uplands” area and the American Elm demonstration exhibit.

Children’s Symphony

Today we attended a children’s concert performed by the Youngstown Symphony Orchestra.

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The theme focused on planets and stars, and there were some really interesting pieces- including several movements from Gustav Holsts’s The Planets. In addition to the symphony performers, a screen above center stage projected images related to the music.

We spotted our violin teacher among the performers, and said hello to her after the show was over.

Thanks to our friend, W, for securing tickets.

Young Historians Club

S8 attended her first meeting with the Young Historians Club today.  They meet monthly at the Bond House in Canfield, which is home to the Canfield Historical society and an adorable little colonial museum.

Through critical thinking and cooperative exercises, problem solving activities, mapping, note booking and role play opportunities participants will learn about the people and events that influenced our nation’s government. Programs will enhance understanding of our nation’s government, and lead participants on the path to becoming an informed member of society.

We the People
12:30pm to 3:00pm
the second Wednesday of each month, December through April,
Registration is $10 per class.
Recommended for any home schooled student ages 8 thru 16

December 12, 2012 Framers of the Constitution

January 9, 2013 Our Constitution

February 13 , 2013 The Commander in Chief

March 13 , 2013 Citizens of the United States

April 10, 2013 A Mock Congressional Hearing

Holiday Concert with YSO

Today was the kids’ big day- they performed a Christmas piece with the Youngstown Symphony Orchestra during the annual Holiday Pops concert. It was a real experience for them. Public performance aside, having a chance to play with a big symphony and under a renowned conductor was just amazing.

In the early afternoon, they went to a run-through (read: dress) rehearsal at the concert hall. It went very well, and helped them get out any butterflies they might have before the big night.

Here they are, tuning with Miss Tina and some of the other musicians in the green room, before the run-through:

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Backstage, waiting to go on:

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The group as they will look tonight:

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Grandma and Grandpa came to see the rehearsal, along with Dad and Uncle Eric.

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After rehearsal, we went home to get some supper and change clothes. Our friend from Italy, Michele, was in town, and he joined us for dinner and then came to the show.

Here are some of the ladies with Miss Tina, ready to go on stage:

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The group:

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The concert was a great success. After our kids performed “Stompin’ On The Housetop”, Mr. Fleischer (the YSO conductor) commented to the audience that all the YSO musicians were just like the kids once. Everyone starts somewhere.

Joy Cone Factory Tour

Today we toured the Joy Cone Factory. Joy Cone is the largest ice cream cone manufacturer in the world. They make about 75% of the cones on the market today.

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Not only did they kids get to see how ice cream cones are made, they each got a box to take home!

On the way home, we stopped at Kraynak’s, which is a nursery and gift shop. They also happen to have an impressive Christmas and Easter display each year. We got to see the Christmas display and picked out some new lights for our tree.

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O6 was particularly excited to see the snow leopards, which are her favorites.

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Of course, later that evening, we had some ice cream in our cones.

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