YoYo Champ at COSI

Sat morning I noticed this tweet from COSI:

Santa, holiday treats, @gamaonline Game Room, Holiday light show, world class YO-YO & Top Spinning artists. it’s today! Included w/admission

World Class YO-YO artist!! Well we had to go. So I gathered up Thomas and Beth and off to COSI we went. We headed straight to the atrium where there were all kinds of classic toys set up on tables. I think I was expecting a young, punkish, skate board looking, tattooed, Asian spinning yo-yo’s, since that’s who we seem to see in all the you-tube videos. Instead we were directed to the 2 older gentlemen in the corner that were playing with spinning tops.

We headed over to watch what they were doing but they seemed more interested in talking to each other than interacting with us. So after a few minutes we wandered to the gaming room to check out all the Settler of Catan (another favorite thing in our house) type games. The gaming room wasn’t quite set up yet so we headed back to the atrium to see if we could make any headway with the YO-YO guys.

This time I managed to get a word in and asked Dr. Zeemo what do you need to be To-Yo Champ, his response, “string, a yo-yo and little bit of time.” I guess I didn’t phrase my question correctly. OK lets try a different tact, Thomas oblivious to all outside stimuli took out his yo-yo and started doing what he does. Well this finally caught the yo-yo guys attention, apparently Thomas is pretty good. Besides Dr. Zeemo there was another gentleman, Mike Hout that is involved with a yo-yo group in Miamisburg, OH. They put together an annual competition, much like a spelling bee you keep progressing through the ranks local, state, national then international. After seeing what Thomas could do he said if we were available in February, if we were they would build a event around Thomas. This strikes me as very funny, I think the local yo-yo world is hurting for some fresh blood. But we are excited that we finally found a somewhat local competition that Thomas can try out.


Dr. Zeemo demonstrating his art.


Thomas really does seem to be oblivious to everything when he yo-yo’s but if I ask him questions about what was said he can repeat it all back, I think yo-yoing may help him concentrate.


Getting our Xmas tree

We try to always go cut down our Xmas tree from a you-cut farm. I say try because a couple years the tree farms had such pitiful selections we actually did have to go to the YMCA to buy a tree. This is not generally a fun family trip, although Dan always tries to make that way. It’s usually cold and snowy and one or more kids does NOT want to be going and usually I don’t either. But for some reason this years Xmas tree adventure WAS the perfect family trip. Maybe because it was sunny outside and just slightly chilly. Or maybe because we actually found a Xmas tree farm that wasn’t just some guys back yard that needed to be clear cut. Or possibly it was the stop for UDF peppermint ice cream on the way to the farm. Whatever it was we all had a great time with no complaining, and lots of Xmas music for the 45 min drive.

This was the first tree we saw but since we found it within 15 seconds of walking onto the farm we thought we should keep looking.


The farm supplies you with a saw and sled to cut down your tree and haul it back to the front of the farm.


Another good looking tree, but a little to fat for our house. We have high ceiling so tall trees are OK but we have a small house so I think the tree needs to be skinny. I always lose on that one though and we end up with fat trees year after year.IMG_6294

This looks like a good one too…


Then somehow we ended up with this scraggly tree. No one seemed to notice the weird shape when we finally chose it. It’s definitely a skinny tree, now that its in the house I actually think its too skinny.


I started the initial cutting


Then Thomas finished it up…



Thomas was being very dramatic about pulling the tree back.


They even had a wreath picture spot so, of course, we had to take more pictures. Notice the smiling faces!



Too much brotherly/ sisterly love and it turns into a wrestling match



We will definitely return to this farm in the future! Cackler Family Farms


Homeschooling…but what do we do??

That’s a big question, our neighbor and graduated homeschooler is working on a college research project looking at different groups in society. She chose homeschoolers and came along to our co-op to observe. After 2 weeks of observing she interviewed a few of the participants. When she interviewed me she asked what our homeschool day looks like, what type of program do we use, do we have a typical day? Um… well first off every day is different, dictated by what outside activities are going on. Our type of homeschooling is community based (I just made that up) we don’t spend a lot of time at home doing school work.

One thing we do, that we really love is our Friday co-op, all the moms teach different topics to a group of 26 kids. This session we have been studying Medieval times. So Thomas in his literature class has read Beowulf and is now reading Canterbury Tales, he also does a gym class, and a music class where they are writing and performing a medieval musical. Then we all eat lunch and move on to a large group activity. Every 2 weeks is taught by a different pair of moms and covers a different medieval topic. So far the topics have included: overview of Medieval Times & architecture, Medieval medicine and herbs, a day in the life of Medieval people…Armor, chivalry and becoming a knight.

We’ve also had to 2 field trips trips to local castles: Loveland Castle & Mac-O-Chee castle (which isn’t really a castle after all.)

For my 2 weeks I provided wooden shields and swords that were used when the kids were knighted. The kids went through stations learning about being a page, squire and finally a knight. And you certainly can not be knight without your weapons!

Here is Thomas working on cutting out 1 of the 30 swords that needed to be done. He also helped cut out and sand all the shields that we made.


That purple sword that we were using as a template is actually my sword. Beth claims I gave it to her but I don’t think so, I’m pretty sure that Shera Princess of Power needs her own sword!



After having some technical difficulties with the band saw (thanks to Daniel breaking the blade) Dan had to hop in and help or we may never have finished. After the band saw proved fruitless Dan switched over to the jigsaw to finish up.


Here is the group pledging their Code of Honor and preparing to be knighted by me Queen Sheila

Pauli and Thomas were having a serious battle, I think Pauli may have got the best of Thomas.


Next Beth jumped in, why is everyone picking on poor Pauli?


Pauli the victor!


Peppers, peppers and more peppers

Last week when the weather was turning really cold I decided it was time to finally harvest all the green peppers that were floating around the yard. Dan likes to put pepper plants wherever he can find space.

I ended up with 5 big bowls of peppers; sweet, medium and hot.



First I decided to pickle the hot peppers. I ended up with 12 jelly jars of pickled peppers. Dan had pickled 8 pint jars of peppers earlier in the summer, so I think we’ll have more than enough pickled peppers to get through the year.



The next day I chopped up all the Poblano peppers and sealed then in freezer bags, I ended up with 10 bags, each with 2 cups of peppers. Even with gloves on I could feel a little bit of the heat getting to my fingers. These pepper plants were super prolific, each plant had at least 30 peppers on it.


Then finally a few days later I got around to chopping up the sweet peppers. I decided to chop up some onions also and seal the mixture in freezer bags. I got 4 bags with 2 cups peppers and 2 cups of onions each.


I didn’t have as many bags of sweet peppers as I usually do for the winter, which is too bad. I really don’t like to buy peppers since the organic ones are so expensive and almost all the peppers are coming in from Mexico. I guess the kids will just have to learn to live with the heat of the hot peppers.

Thomas and that yo-yo

Thomas really wanted a fancy yo-yo for his b-day. I’ve seen him yo-yo a bit with the inexpensive regular yo-yo’s you get at the store, it was never anything exceptional; up and down, walk the dog, around the world, just the regular tricks kids do. Then he started watching YouTube videos about yo-yo tricks (I think all the hula hooping videos segued into yo-yo videos.) Then he started researching yo-yo’s online and several months before his birthday he said the ONLY thing he wanted was a fancy yo-yo and a metal detector. That was it! And he kept talking about that yo-yo. Well as I’ve now learned there are quite a few different types of fancy yo-yo’s for all kinds of different types of tricks (literally I think there are hundreds.)

But Thomas chose the Yomega Maverick yo-yo

The Yomega Maverick is a new all-aluminum yoyo designed for low friction spinning. It has clean lines, an internal wing shape, and is even laser etched to reduce rub points.
Included with the Maverick Yo-yo is the Yomega Mania DVD. It includes maintenance instructions, a yoyo music video, bloopers, and more than 150 tricks filmed in high definition. The DVD has tricks for all skill levels, but this yo yo is best for intermediate and advanced users.

  • Stainless Steel Ball Bearing
  • Weighted outer perimeter
  • Smooth rubber return system
  • Adjustable gap system
  • Durable 6061 Aluminum Alloy (anodized for extra strength)
  • Includes trick book, extra string, and Yomega Mania DVD
  • See that’s a fancy yo-yo! And about that instructional DVD, it is running all time at our house. Whenever Thomas has free time (which he has a lot) he is watching that DVD and trying the tricks. He literally is always yo-yoing, unless he is doing schoolwork or snuggled up in the evening watching TV, he is yo-yoing. And he’s really good, he can actually do most the crazy tricks they do on the DVD, and the really advanced ones that he can’t do yet, I’m sure he’ll have figured out eventually.

    He’s already starting on his Xmas list with the other yo-yo’s he wants. Because you know there is a special yo-yo for all these different tricks!

    ***Thomas just came up to me to show me is finger where the string is leaving a permanent indentation and to tell me that he really needs a yo-yo glove, “because like in that song about about the guy that got his first real six string and he played it until his fingers bled, I’ll probably be yo-yoing until my fingers bleed.” That’s some serious dedication to the yo-yo.




    Rock the baby:




    HighBall Halloween

    Beth’s friend Stanley was asked to design a outfit for the Young Designers runway show going on at HighBall Halloween in the Short North, and Stanley asked Beth to be his model. So we headed down to the Short North to watch all the excitement. Before the young designers show, there was a kids costume contest that was very cute and fun to watch.





    Later on in the evening there would be an adult costume contest, so the streets were full of interesting characters, it was a great time to be taking pictures on High St.!





    Finally the show began. All of the other young designers were REALLY young and they were designing for little kids. So down the runway came lots of little kids, then Beth all 6+ feet of her in her scantily clad dress, then more little kids. It could have been planned a little better. I think 2 shows one for 7-13 and another for 14-18 year olds would be perfect. Really give the high school age designers in the city a place to show off what they’re working on.

    But either way Beth still rocked the runway!




    Impromptu Halloween Party

    As a friend so wisely said, “if you have two more families getting together than it’s a party.” And that’s what happened on Halloween night, one family asked if they could come by to trick or treat since they had missed their neighborhoods trick or treat night (the only advantage to having trick or treat on multiple nights around the city.) Then an email went out inviting others and the kids talked to their friends and before you know it 9 families, a few college kids, the neighbors and some extra kids thrown in just for fun descended on our house for a Halloween/ Trick or Treating party.

    Most of the adults stayed at the house eating, drinking and having our own fun, while the kids were out gathering candy!


    Here are a few of our friends in their costumes, heading out…



    Even Ann got to go along, but Dan forgot to bring a bag for doggie doo doo, so I got an emergency call to bring a bag a few blocks over.


    Here’s Dan already pilfering the kids candy. A few of the dads did go trick or treat with the kids, Dan went along to help direct everyone around the neighborhood. He may have not been the best choice for that job considering how long it took us to find him when we tried to bring a few late comers to the group. After 15 years of living here you’d think he would know the difference between the streets surrounding our house.


    Here’s the group of teens off carousing the streets. While Beth is claiming to be dressed up like super-model Twiggy (she doesn’t really know who that is) and Karen is dressed in a 50’s ensemble the rest of the kids went for the ever popular look of American teenager.


    Here’s our little Ros as a chicken.


    Black and white was the theme of the night.


    Finally trick or treating is done and now the very important candy sorting and swapping begins.



    Daniel and some of his friends even came by for the festivities. They pretty much grabbed some food and spent the rest of the evening around the camp fire. But we always like when he comes home to visit.


    and here’s Dan again looking for hand outs.


    Birthday Presents

    Thomas had been asking for 2 things for his b-day a really good yo-yo (I don’t know what makes a yo-yo really good) and a metal detector. As Thomas said, “a metal detector can pay for you,” I’m not sure how much he thinks he’s worth but he did have a quote of a man finding 2.5 million dollars worth of Mexican pennies with his detector. That seems like a lot of pennies! He must have watched a show about metal detectors on the discovery channel because he sure has a lot of stories about people finding treasures. Do you even know how much a piece of meteorite will go for, if you find it. Again how you identify it as meteorite I’m not sure and where exactly do you find a buyer? Hmm maybe eBay, I bet Daniel would bid on it.

    Well needless to say Thomas did get his Metal Detector, since my parents, Dan and I went in on it together we gave it to him when we all met for dinner at the Chines Buffet. And as soon as we got home he headed out to the yard to start looking for treasure. I’m willing to bet my life that my dad would never have allowed us kids to dig up the yard searching for buried treasure. One advantage to having a lawn made of weeds, its just not that big of a deal. I did tell Thomas as he fills in the holes to pull the weeds out of the clumps of dirt, I’m pretty sure he ignored me.


    His first find a 3oz lead surf casting weight. Isn’t it ironic that the first thing he finds is a weight for a fishing jig, hmm I wonder if it broke off when Dan was trying to hook one of the kids in the head? Dan claims its not his weight since it’s actually on a key ring and not on the remains of a fishing line. He does however use these weights when fishing in the ocean in North Carolina.


    Well we’re not getting rich so far but maybe just maybe we’ll get rid of some of the weeds in the yard!

    Silly Daniel

    Apparently Daniel is an impulse buyer and not a very smart one at that. He stopped by the house the other day going directly to my computer and the next thing I know he’s asking for my password for eBay. I should have stopped him right there but he’s almost 20 he should be able to spend 5 minutes on eBay without causing too many problems. Next thing I know I hear moans of complaint from the computer room. He had bid on a “leather” bomber jacket with hat (he really liked the hat more than the jacket) I’m assuming to use for his costume in Adventure at COSI. But immediately after pushing the bid button he realized the size (which was prominently displayed in the title) was 12 months.

    Of course, this would be the one time that he actually won what he was bidding on!

    No matter how much he tries it’s just NOT going to fit. So anyone out there need a size 12 months “leather” bomber jacket with hat?


    First day of work

    IMG_5208Thomas finally had his first volunteer day at COSI a couple weeks ago. On the way to drop him off Beth asked if he felt grown up he said he did and she agreed that when she started she also felt very grown up. He was scheduled for a full day, 9-5. I couldn’t imagine him on his own for so long but we’ve been involved with COSI long enough that I knew he would be OK.

    He had a great first day, he was pretty much left to explore the building but in a scheduled methodical way. All employees and volunteers are given a very detailed daily schedule that tells you where you should be throughout your entire shift.

    Thomas started his day at 9am at the morning meeting, the schedule shows the meeting lasting for the first hour but it really only lasts about 10 min then he shadowed his friend Louisa until 11. Then a new volunteer tour and finally lunch at noon. Thomas has an hour to eat but since he finished in about 10 min he got to explore COSI the rest of time (as long as he has his work shirt covered up.) Then at 1:00 off to adventure for more scheduled exploring, 1:30 watch the EG (electrostatic generator, the thing in the commercials that makes your hair stand up) show, 2:00 watch the pumpkin explosion show, 2:30 watch rat basketball, 3:00 watch the Imax movie about caves, 4:00 watch the weather show, then at 4:30 the final debriefing before he gets sent home. I can’t help but think that he must have been sent off to war when I see the debriefing. When I asked Thomas about that he has no idea what that means. Maybe they walk through a secret chamber to erase all their memories from the day.

    No wonder he had such a great day all the things he loves about COSI and left to explore them on his own! A perfect day for a 13 year old boy.