Cuyahoga Valley National Park 2013 Summer Schedule

I have been stalking the CVNP website to sign up our oldest for the Junior Ranger classes. The 2013 Summer Schedule is finally out. So many great activities for adults, kids and families! I love the place.


Easy Family Activities For the Summer

I am always amazed by my friends’ abilities at scheduling summer camps and activities for their children.   My calendar is a complete mess, I could really use some white out with the activities that are scratched out, rescheduled, cancelled, added, etc.     And I only have two.     But there are two programs I really love because they allow you to commit to a short period of time (only one morning), are ala cart so to speak, are inexpensive, and are family-friendly, meaning I get to participate and spend time with the kiddo and if I need to, the two-year old little brother can join us.

The first program we actually did last year.    It is the Cuyahoga Valley National Park’s Junior Ranger, Jr. program.    I wrote about it here.  Each session is two hours and is $8 per child.

For details on this year’s programs, visit

The second I just found out about.    It is the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo’s Family Discoveries.  Programs are 90 minutes long and cost $15 per person (Zoo members $10 per person).  Program fee includes admission to Zoo and RainForest.

You can find all of the info on the various programs here:

Are you aware of more programs like this?     If so, please share the info below in the comments section.

Until next time,


Take Back the $5 Value Meal This Saturday

Courtesy of  The Countryside Conservancy’s Farmer’s Market e-news:

Eric Schlosser, author of Fast Food Nation, states that a full one-quarter of U.S. adults eat fast food every day. Part of the reason, he claims, is because fast food is so inexpensive. Affordable meals are on everyone’s minds these days. Health is also at the forefront of our national conversation. We all know the counter-arguments against regular fast food consumption: inexpensive fast food may lead to expensive health issues down the road. But still the myth persists that fast food is somehow cheaper than what we can make at home, especially if your family’s meals focus on local, fresh and seasonal foods.

Slow Food USA has created a wonderful campaign to help dispel this myth, and encourage everyone to take back the $5 value meal this Saturday. “Challenging” participants to create meals for friends and family using fresh, local products for less than $5 per serving in order to highlight the myriad healthy, nutritious meals you can make for under the common cost of a fast food “value meal.”

I signed my family up to participate, but really- it’s not so much of a challenge in our household unless we’re really splurging. Shopping at the market provides a wealth of options for creating delicious meals for $5 per serving, and in many cases well below that bar. Here are some links to others who have taken the challenge (or similar ones), that can help get your wheels turning if you’re inclined to participate. Jump on over to our facebook page to share your favorite $5 meal!

The Conservancy hosts farmers’ markets at the following locations:

Howe Meadow, 4040 Riverview Road, Saturdays, 9am-Noon, May 14-October 29
Highland Square, W. Market Street and Conger Ave., Wednesdays, 4-7pm, June 1-Sept. 28

Cuyahoga Valley National Park Junior Ranger Programs

I’m really excited to get back to my original purpose for writing a blog, sharing my family’s great experiences in and around Cleveland, Ohio!

This morning I took the kiddo and the former-baby-now-toddler to one of the Cuyahoga Valley National Park’s Junior Ranger, Jr. programs.   This one in particular was called, “A Seed’s Journey.”    The last one we attended, a couple of weeks ago, was titled, “Come Hide With Me.”     Both took place down in Peninsula and were a lot of fun.  It was challenging to have the toddler with us, as the program is geared towards children ages 4-6, however both times my babysitter (grandma) fell through so I brought the toddler along.  Fortunately everyone there was very kind to me and the toddler, and at both programs there was at least one other baby or toddler present. 

Each session lasts two hours and has several stations set-up at picnic tables with hands-on activities.     The children spend a 1/2 hour or so on the different activities, at their own pace.    Then there is a short storytime, a hike plus a game and/or craft.   The kiddo has really enjoyed himself so far, and once he’s completed 3 sessions, he receives a badge, which he is eagerly anticipating.     After 5 sessions he’ll receive a patch.   

The great thing is, it’s an inexpensive organized activity without a significant time commitment.  This may be what I love most.   You sign up for whichever sessions you want or are convenient for you and your children.  Each session is $8 per child.    You don’t have to commit to a full week or a specific day every week of the summer.    You can go to only one session or try to fit in 5 during the summer in order to get the patch.     And apparently these programs are offered year-round.  

We’ve got one planned more for the badge, and maybe we’ll work towards the patch this fall.

There is also a similar program for children ages 7-12 called the Junior Ranger program.   The Conservancy for Cuyahoga Valley National Park also offers week-long day camps and overnight camps.   For more info on summer camp programs, visit

Until next time,