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APRIL 2015





Family Living At Its Best

Family Living At Its Best







Family Living At Its Best

April 2015 •







at the zoo! pg. 49



Make your camp decision now with these 60-plus choices.

6 EDITOR'S NOTE Spring is here. Get a fresh, new outlook on the outdoors.


8 WORTH NOTING Local news, good reads and homemade baby food.


Create a different adventure in your outdoor play area with these tips. by Kristen Gough



Four spring projects that can help your community and world. by Diana Siemer



A stroller guide to your child's ride — whether you run or walk around town.

A peek inside math teaching methods and what parents need to know.

by Denise Koeth

12 BLOGGER CHATTER Fun rainy day activities that make your child's day brighter.


A rain barrel painted by Linda Zolten Wood



April is Child Abuse Prevention Month. We provide insight on how parents can protect their children and others. By Marie Elium


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Activities for children with autism around the region provide opportunities for fun and learning. By Marie Elium

Shop, dine, learn and play in this historic city.

48 FAMILY CALENDAR Spring into good health and get your kids moving with these family-fun events.

55 AGING ANSWERS Easy tips for proper food and nutrition for your pet.

58 #CLEMAMA Cash in on spring cleaning by fine-tuning your approach to organize and sell used items.

April 2015 •






n our backyard, there is an old plastic toddler basketball hoop, a toy dump truck and a playhouse that has turned into a residence for neighborhood spiders (I wouldn’t be surprised if a few animals also took refuge there during the cold winter nights). I’m not sure how you feel about your backyard, but I bet some of you feel the same way I do — that it’s in desperate need of a play area makeover. My two sons, now 6 and 8, need a place that’s age appropriate and will fulfill all their sports whims. I also want them to spend their time in our backyard doing popular summer activities, especially cooling off from the sun and having an overnight camp out. With the spring thaw, it’s time to get inspired. In this issue, we provide some ways to set up your yard for fun [pg. 34]. Also, with Earth Day on April 22, we offer ways you can bring green living into your family’s life — and home and backyard — through simple steps [pg. 36]. Instead of pushing my kids in a stroller, this summer I will be watching them ride alone on their on bikes, rollerblades and skateboards. Reflecting on those earlier years, I wish I would have taken the time to look at a stroller that fit my kids’ needs, but also some of my own. It would have been nice to put on my running shoes and hit the Metroparks trails with the kids comfortably seated in a jogging stroller. In our “Parents on Wheels” story [pg. 30], we find out what stroller features parents seek, both for one child and multiples. Finally, this past month I was reminded how lucky I am to still be called “Mom” by my two boys. Parenting doesn’t end or grow easier as they become older. Hopefully, for this upcoming summer, I can keep them close a little longer because before long, I will have to loosen the reins — but only a bit.

VOL. NO. 2 • ISSUE NO. 4

April 2015 Northeast Ohio Parent is a property of Mitchell Media LLC PO Box 1088 Hudson, OH 44236 330-822-4011 / NEOhioParent / NEOhioParent PUBLISHER

Brad Mitchell 330-714-7712 EDITORIAL: EDITOR

Angela Gartner 216-536-1914 MANAGING EDITOR


Marie Elium, Kristen Kelly, Ingrid Schaefer Sprague, Kristen Gough, Diana Siemer, Sara Carnes DESIGN PRODUCTION ADVERTISING PRODUCTION MANAGER


Chris Geer, 330-614-8471 Janyse Heidy, 330-671-3886 Tarah King, 216-403-3961 Michelle Vacha, 440-463-0146 OFFICE MANAGER


Tina Tindall 216-469-3750



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Pieces of Hope for Autism

n honor of National Autism Awareness month, the 43 Panera Bread bakery-cafes in Northeast Ohio are hosting its fourth annual “Pieces of Hope for Autism” campaign which benefits Cleveland Clinic Children’s Center for Autism. From Monday, April 13th through Sunday, April 19th, 100% of proceeds from all puzzle piece cookie sales will be donated to Cleveland Clinic Children’s Center for Autism. Puzzle Piece Shortbread cookies are unique to the area and can be purchased in the Panera Bread cafés or pre-ordered online at: AutismCLE. Over the last three years Panera Bread/Covelli Enterprises has donated over $175,000 to Cleveland Clinic Children’s Center for Autism through the Pieces of Hope Campaign. The funds raised benefit the “Panera Bread Outpatient Behavioral Treatment Program.” This program will provide community outreach and behavioral treatment to high need children with autism that have difficulty accessing services. The program focuses on both parent training and direct child therapy to improve social and communication skills. The students at Cleveland Clinic Children’s Center for Autism all receive care specific to their needs from the thoroughly trained staff. Students, such as 13-year-old Kevin Fox, develop essential skills through the help of the dedicated staff. When Kevin first arrived, he was unable to communicate and could not even point to things he wanted. But through the diligent tutelage of the school’s classroom behavioral therapists and speech therapists, Kevin learned to communicate with either hand signs or a computer device. By combining the skills of a first-class autism school with the medical support of Cleveland Clinic Children’s Center for Autism, Kevin continues to develop his skill set. “Our Panera Bread family is thrilled to continue to support Cleveland Clinic Children’s Center for Autism, during National Autism Awareness month” said Sam Covelli, Owner/Operator of Covelli Enterprises, the largest franchisee of Panera Bread. “The Covelli team of expert bakers created the specialty cookie as a way to show support for those affected by autism in our communities. That is what we strive to do at Panera Bread, make a positive difference in the community through our products and bakery-cafes.” “We are happy to continue our partnership with Panera Bread again this year to raise awareness for Autism,” said Dr. Tom Frazier, Director of Cleveland Clinic Children’s Center for Autism. “The Panera Bread Pieces of Hope campaign educates the public and brings awareness to our local communities about autism.” Throughout the months of March and April, Cleveland Clinic Children’s Center for Autism is the Operation DoughNation partner in the 43 Northeast Ohio area bakery-cafes. All of the money collected in the canisters from all cafes will be donated to Cleveland Clinic Children’s Center for Autism.



m s i t Auil 13 - 19 for


Pre coo -ord Co kies teor your v Au elli. day:

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April 2015 •




THE DISH ON BABY FOOD A recent trend among many parents is making their own baby food. That movement has generated several questions. When should parents start feeding babies solid food? How can baby food be made safely?

Your baby should exhibit signs of readiness for solid foods including sitting up with little support, maintaining good head control for the duration of a meal and interest in eating solid foods (indicated by reaching for food on your plate and opening wide for a taste from your spoon). Typically, babies consistently demonstrate these skills around age 6 months.


» When to Start Solid Foods

How to Make It Making homemade baby food involves two main goals: keep out bad stuff and make sure your child doesn’t choke. It’s best to start with simple, bland foods with a pureed consistency. Cereals, vegetables and fruit are appropriate, and the order is unimportant, although many babies are more willing to accept vegetables if they are introduced before fruits and when they are very hungry.

FOOD SAFETY Is botulism a concern? Check for more information on how to keep this out of your homemade baby food.


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Tips to make it go smoothly: » Wash and rinse your hands, equipment and produce. » Peel fruits and vegetables. Remove stems, pits and seeds. » For food that requires cooking, bake, steam, roast or microwave until tender. » When your child is ready for meat, remove skin, fat, bone and connective tissues. Cook fully (no pink). » In the beginning, add a little water, breast milk or infant formula and puree with a food processor. » As your baby becomes comfortable with textures, introduce mashed items. » Next (usually around age 9 months), introduce very small pieces of food (smaller than a dime). » When your child is ready, introduce self-feeding with finger foods. » Always supervise and watch for choking.

Dr. Mike Patrick is an emergency medicine physician at Nationwide Children’s Hospital.

SWIM RAISES FUNDS FOR DIABETES Diabetes Partnership of Cleveland’s 30th Annual Swim for Diabetes is on April 18 at more than 18 pools in eight counties throughout the area. Participants can raise money by swimming lengths, having fun walking in the water or just by getting active to prevent or manage diabetes. Swimmers get pledges to support their efforts. Donors can either pledge a certain amount of money per length, or make a flat donation. One-hundred percent of

every dollar raised stays in Northeast Ohio so that those affected by diabetes receive the support they need. Proceeds will provide diabetes education and support programs, including Camp Ho Mita Koda for children with diabetes. For more information or to hit the water, visit

BRINGING AWARENESS TO OPIATE, HEROIN ABUSE Crowd members who gathered at the town hall meeting in Mentor last month to discuss opiate and heroin abuse in the region had various reasons to attend. Some were concerned community members, others were recovering addicts or parents of addicts, while a few had children who perished due to addiction. Comprised of local officials, law enforcement and health professionals, the Lake County Opiate Task Force is among other groups fighting this epidemic and bringing awareness to the community. The next town hall meeting will be at 7 p.m. (doors open at 6:30 p.m.) on April 29 at the Wickliffe Community/Senior Center 900 Worden Road. This is free and open to all. Looking for help? Need support? Call the Lake County Alcohol, Drug Addiction and Mental Health Services Board’s (ADAMHS) Compass Line at 440-918-2000 to speak to a trained triage specialist.


National Library Week April 12-18! Check your local library for fun events and information!


You Are What You Eat and Other Mealtime Hazards By Serge Bloch

Star Wars Jedi Academy: Return of the Padawan By Jeffrey Brown

A picky eater has absurdly literal visions of common expressions about food. Devoted to his macaronionly diet, the boy ignores his mom’s claim that it “drives her bananas” to see him “eat like a bird,” until one day, he learns to try something new. Recommendation courtesy of Avon Lake Public Library.

It’s Roan’s second year at Jedi Academy, which means he finally gets to try the starpilot simulator. Flight training doesn’t go as Roan expected, and as if that weren’t frustrating enough, he also has to deal with bullies, lightsaber duels and feuding friends. Recommendation courtesy of Twinsburg Public Library.


school age

Project Superhero By E. Paul Zehr tween Thirteen-year-old Jessie is wrapped up in a yearlong research project, leading up to a debate against her archenemy in front of the whole school. Her topic: superheroes. She’s determined to find out how a regular person can become a hero. Recommendation courtesy of Mentor Public Library.

April 2015 •






What exactly is the ‘New Math?’ By Ingrid Schaefer Sprague


Family Living At Its Best

ath strategies in schools today require students to look beyond one plus one equals two. The new common core standards provide a different way of teaching, but the math problems haven’t changed. Challenging the Student Carla Calevich, director of curriculum and instruction at Brecksville-Broadview Heights City School District, says Ohio public schools and charter schools use the Ohio New Learning Standards for Math, also known as Common Core Standards. “While the standards are different at each grade, the mathematical practices are the same,” Calevich says. “The standards put an emphasis on problem solving and application of mathematical concepts.” In a typical math class, teachers use a Smart Board and online video math instruction. Students also solve math problems in small groups and may use modeling to work toward their answer. “Constructivist teaching puts an emphasis on students constructing knowledge in groups,” Calevich says. “There is always

more than one way to solve a problem and students share their ideas with peers.” Math problems are written in a way that challenges a student’s understanding of math, instead of being able to derive the answer from a simple method. The Common Core is just another set of standards, says Dawn Catalano, owner and director of Mathnasium Learning Center in the Akron/Canton area. She says these standards are not much different except the teaching methods are conceptual, which helps the students understand the concept behind the math problem. For example, when students are taught subtraction, they learn why they have to borrow, not just the problem’s algorithm. Catalano says the Common Core standards (can) vary from district to district regarding which textbook to adopt and each school has its own teaching methods. Sensory Learning Some schools, such as The Lillian and Betty Ratner School in Pepper Pike, are teaching math differently. “In a Montessori classroom for children ages 3 to 6, math is reduced to its simplest components using a multi-sensorial approach,” says Dawn Briggs, the school’s director of admissions and a former teacher. “It is the combination of seeing, hearing and manipulating the materials that leads to understanding mathematical concepts.” Dan Kalleres, a Ratner School math teacher, says the first and second grade math curriculum uses the Sadler-Oxford Progress in Mathematics series for core concepts that are matched to Common Core standards and provides this in a setting of smaller classes. At Assumption Academy in Broadview Heights, the private, parochial school has implemented Common Core State Standards, but does not provide PARCC testing, which hasn’t passed down from the state level to private schools.

Principal Donna Sejba says the school provides concepts to develop and master for students in each grade level. “We haven’t thrown away the basics,” she says. “The students still need to know their facts, but through exploration, the basic facts are built upon year upon year.” Math Monkey owners Billy and Jackie Chapnick said mental math is used to solve problems, simplifying and reducing the number of steps needed to solve a problem. Math Monkey also provides Vedic math as a strategy. “Vedic math is an ancient math methodology from India that emphasizes the true understanding of the relationship between numbers and numerical symbols,” Billy Chapnick says.

especially if they have social anxieties or are afraid to ask questions because of how they will be judged by their peers. In all, like it or not, the strategies introduced by Common Core will continue

in some form in order to build understanding, help students employ critical thinking strategies, and compete on the world stage.

Beyond the Classroom

Math can be confusing sometimes to both students and parents. While programs inside of schools exist to help students, there also are enrichment programs outside of schools throughout Northeast Ohio. “If you do something supplemental, it’s only going to increase (the student’s) livelihood for success,” Catalano says. She adds a lot of students can’t function in a normal classroom and need one-on-one individualized attention,

April 2015 •




son loves the water table and the Big Red Barn. Some of our other favorite indoor outings are the Great Lakes Science Center’s Polymer Funhouse, the Rainforest at the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo, Studio Play at the Cleveland Museum of Art, Sky Zone and local libraries.

Enjoy a Lazy Day

Keep the Rainy Day Blues Away

By Kristen Kelly


hile my 2-year-old son may be wondering what happened to all of the white stuff on the ground, I am excited to be done with the cold and snow. As I have been anxiously anticipating the arrival of spring. However, the beautiful days made for outside play don’t always begin right away. April is often filled with rainy days stuck inside. After a bitterly cold winter inside, cabin fever has more than set in. So, what are some things we can do to avoid boredom and keep our sanity on those rainy days? Here are a few tips.

Get Pinspired I have developed a minor obsession (OK, perhaps an intervention is imminent) with Pinterest. I could spend hours browsing all of the ideas, planning for home renovations and meals


Family Living At Its Best

that will never become a reality in our home. However, I have found several crafts, games and educational activities that I have actually done with my son and other family members. Among the “pins” that we have done are sensory activities, finger-painting a Father’s Day gift, recycling crayons into valentines, and decorating a felt Christmas tree. I have Pinterest boards filled with ideas just waiting for a rainy day.

Get Out and Enjoy the City Northeast Ohio has so many great indoor activities to offer that are perfect for a rainy day. We have been gifted memberships to several museums in Cleveland, which makes it easy to go for a few hours to burn some energy when you can’t be outside. The play areas at The Children’s Museum of Cleveland are great for infants and toddlers. Our

Sometimes we just need to take a lazy day, and rainy days are perfect for that. We enjoy staying in our pajamas, cuddling up on the couch, and watching a movie or reading some books. I may even join my son in a nap.

Go Outside Anyway Now that my son is in the toddler stage and he’s a bit more sturdy on his feet, I am looking forward to getting out there and enjoying some of those rainy days. Spring rain showers make for some great puddle jumping. I can’t wait to get some brightly colored galoshes and wet-resistant coats so we can enjoy dancing in the rain. Exploring the nature that comes to life in the rain can make for fun discovery moments and learning, too.

For more about Kristen Kelly, Northeast Ohio Parent Blogger from “Ready, Set, Parenthood!” visit NortheastOhio

April 2015 •



Family Living At Its Best



Looking for a camp? Northeast Ohio Parent brings you the rundown of the region’s summer camps.

Academic Fun & Fitness Camp The camp serves the unique needs of children with learning differences. This camp will give your child a new perspective on learning, while developing the self-esteem and social skills needed to be successful. It’s held at Lakeland Community College from June 15-July 25 (half-day or full-day options). Chagrin Falls, 440-914-0200

Akron Rotary Camp for Children with Special Needs June- August for ages 6 to adulthood, Sunday-Friday (overnight camps) and MondayFriday, 10 a.m.-4 p.m. (day camps). Activities include traditional camp activities adapted to meet the needs of each camper. Cost is $295 (day camp), $595 (overnight camp). Financial assistance will be provided to qualifying individuals. Visit open house from 2-4 p.m. on Saturday, April 11 or 25., Akron, 330-644-4512

Akron Zoo ZooCamp The Akron Zoo will be offering

25 different ZooCamps for kids ages 2-15. ZooCamps start in early June and run through August and are either one-, three- or five-day sessions. Registration is required and space is limited. Children will learn about the zoo’s animals and their environments, conservation programs and what it is like to work at the zoo. Akron, 330-375-2550,

Avon Montessori Academy

Foster your child’s love of learning with a hands-on Summer Camp. Emphasizing the fun in learning, activities focus around a theme and encourage children to learn through doing. Your child will love exploring indoor and outdoor classrooms through the lens of art, science and ecology. Like all programs at AMA, our Camp meets the learning needs of the whole child: intellectual, physical and emotional. Half- and full-day toddler and children’s camp spots available. Avon, 440-934-1774

BeauArtz Beaumont School BeauArtz is a total immersion into the arts and creativity, friendship and fun. Campers

delve into a variety of artistic mediums including fashion, cooking, drawing and clay work. BeauArtz is a place for girls to learn new disciplines and discover their own unique abilities and skills. Beaumont is an all-girls Catholic school that educates women for life, leadership and service.. Cleveland Heights, 216-325-1661

Beck Center for the Arts

Discover the arts this summer at Beck Center! Choose from half- or full-day camps for ages 5-19 in dance, music, theater and visual arts. The Arts Sampler Camp provides experiences in all four art forms for ages 7-12. Most camps conclude with a demonstration, performance, or exhibition! New this summer is Camp Create, a musical theater-based camp for individuals ages 13-19 with special needs. Lakewood, 216-521-2540

Bricks 4 Kidz

Bricks 4 Kidz camps take place in a high-energy, fastpaced setting where kids build, discover and test the

April 2015 •



limits of their imaginations. Themes include LEGO City, Minecraft, Clash of Clans, Classic Arcade Brick Adventures, Bricks 4 God, Ninja Training, Super Heroes, Star Wars and more. Early bird pricing and online registration for ages 5-12. Many locations such as East Cleveland, Fairlawn and, Medina County, 330-722-2223,

Camp Carl Camp Carl in Ravenna is nestled on 350 acres next to West Branch State Park. Take time this summer to ride horses, experience tubing, race a canoe, scale the iceberg, climb the tower, practice archery, descend the zipline, and make new friends. Variety of theme camps for kids ages

6-17. Camp starts June 7 and runs every week, Sunday-Friday until Aug. 7. 330-315-5613,

Camp Discovery

From June 15-Aug. 7, the theme is Art & Engineering. This program aims at inspiring students 4-12 years with hands on theory-based experiments. Future engineers are welcome to enroll weekly, bi-weekly or for the entire 8 weeks. You can choose from morning, afternoon or all-day classes. Experienced, qualified teachers expose students to various art experiences from sketching, watercolor and sculpting. Before and after camp care offered. Akron, 330-867-6222,

Camp Ignite Crossroads Camp Ignite is designed specifically for ages 10-12 diagnosed with ADHD. Fun daily camp experiences and activities will help strengthen social and organization skills, increase self-esteem and self-control and improve problem solving abilities. Camp Ignite is located at Maple Elementary School in Painesville, and runs from June 15 - 26, Monday-Friday, 8:45 a.m.-4 p.m. and will include lunch and snacks. 440-255-1700,

Camp Cheerful The Achievement Centers for Children Camp Cheerful offers day, overnight and weekend respite camps for children and adults with and without disabilities, including autism. Campers enjoy activities such as: hiking and nature study, swimming, canoeing, horsemanship activities, fully accessible high ropes activities, arts and crafts and sports. There are a variety of recreational activities to encourage confidence and independence, and create opportunities for lifelong friendships while having fun and improving their quality of life. Strongsville, 440-238-6200,

Camp Invention Camp Invention is where big ideas become the next big thing. Local educators lead a week of handson activities created especially for children entering grades 1-6. Camp Invention gives boys and girls the opportunity to investigate circuits, disassemble household appliances and much more. As they dream, build and make discoveries, they will have a chance to examine science and technology concepts during team-building exercises. Locations throughout the area. 800-968-4332


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Camp JCC - Shaw JCC of Akron Camp JCC offers exceptional traditional camp along with 14 specialty camps. Campers enjoy daily swimming, 50 acres of sprawling campgrounds, fresh snacks, and lunches on Fridays. Flexible weekly registration, a caring, experienced staff, and affordable prices. JCC camps are offered June 8- Aug. 21 from 9 a.m.-3:30 p.m. with extended hours available from 7 a.m.-6 p.m. Camps start at $200 (JCC members) or $275 (JCC guests). Akron, 330-867-7850,

Champions School Age Summer Camp Where fun is always part of learning. Kids want to have fun this summer, so give them six exciting themes to keep them active and engaged. The camp for children ages 6-12 runs from June 8 -Aug. 14 and features a daily rate to allow families flexibility. Activities include weekly field trips, swimming, walks to the local library and specialty clubs. Northfield, 330-467-8520,

East Ohio Conference Camps

Camp Aldersgate - Offers your camper opportunities to hand-pick their Bible study and select activities they want to try. Carrollton, 330-627-4369, Camp Wanake - Campers live in community in small family groups of 10-12 campers with two counselors who serve as positive, Godly role models. Beach City, Camp Asbury - Whether this is your child’s first camp experience or they are a seasoned camper, find summer camp options here. Hiram, 330569-3171,

Falcon Camp

Recognized throughout the Midwest as one of Ohio’s premier private camps, Falcon offers a beautiful lake setting, a talented, experienced staff and a wide variety

of activities. Program includes horseback riding, sailing, swimming, skateboarding, canoeing, fishing, rocketry, drama, crafts, team sports, riflery, archery, nature, overnights, special events and field trips, tennis and much more. Campers choose their own activities within a general framework each day. Carrollton, 800-837-CAMP,

Fine Arts Association

Kids can come express their creative side this summer at the Fine Arts Association in Willoughby. Campers ages 3-18 can choose from visual arts, theatre, music, dance and music therapy camps offering a multitude of arts experiences and fun. There’s something for all ability levels. Choose one-week or six-week camps. Before-Camp Care and Summer Lunch Bunch are available, too. Register now, as camp sizes are limited. 440-951-7500 x104,

Classroom Antics Tech Camps Kids can learn to create video games, produce stop-motion animation movies, code computer programs and program LEGO robots .Join other kids ages 7-13 across Northeast Ohio by attending affordable weeklong Tech Camps. Classroom Antics is a provider of technology education focused on developing, inspiring and enriching the lives of kids in today’s technology world through educational hands-on programs that promote creativity and teamwork. Limited space available. 800-595-3776,

Cleveland Metroparks Zoo Summer Day Camp The Zoo’s Summer Day Camp runs June 8- Aug. 14 in week-long sessions, each focusing on a unique theme. The sessions are available in half-day (9 a.m.-12:30 p.m.) and full-day (9 a.m.-4 p.m.) increments. The zoo’s Summer Day Camp is geared for children ages 5-14, with a special new half-day Nature Play Camp for kids ages 3-4. Games, arts and crafts, and see zoo animals and exhibits up close. Campers are grouped according to age to provide a safe and nurturing learning environment. 216-6616500,

Cuyahoga Community College These summer camps for children and teenagers are the perfect fit for talented, smart and enthusiastic youth who are eager to learn about a wide variety of topics. Offerings are available for ages 4 and older and include science, film, photography, sports, leadership, performing arts and much more. 216-987-6000,

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Geauga Park District

Geauga Park District’s third annual adventure camps are offered in week-long forms for youth grades 5-7 the weeks of June 15 and 22, July 6, 13 and 27, and Aug. 13. A week-long experience for teens entering grades 8-10 will be the week of July 20. Teens entering grades 8-10, can attend a single-day X-Treme Adventures on June 29 and 30, and July 1 and 2. Chardon, 440-286-9516 or

Gilmour Academy

Preschool, Day, Specialty, Sports and Academic camps are open to students ages 3-17. From sports to film production, baking to outdoor adventures, digital music to chemistry, Gilmour Summer Camps have something for everyone. Gilmour’s facilities have a state-ofthe-art natatorium featuring an 8-lane pool and a learning pool for younger swimmers plus two NHL-size ice rinks and playing fields for all sports. Gates Mills, 440-684-4580,

Girl Scouts of Northeast Ohio Girls love camp. Girl Scouts wants to make sure every girl has the opportunity to enjoy the traditional camp outings we all grew up with, while also taking advantage of the amazing variety of contemporary outdoor pursuits that camp allows them. In short, we want girls to have the camp experience they’ve always dreamed of. Camp Ledgewood, Peninsula; Camp Timberland, Wakeman; and Camp Sugarbush, Kinsman 800-852-4474,

The Goddard School

The Goddard School’s summer camp curriculum incorporates STEAM learning (science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics) into exciting, one-of-a-kind and fun experiences for your child every day. The Goddard School offers a broad range of programs and minicamps to pique the interest and curiosity of every child. 1-800-GODDARD,

Great Summer Science Day Camps The Great Lakes Science Center makes science come alive with week-long day camps for kids in preschool -high school. Campers will enjoy scientific exploration, cool experiments and plenty of fun. Certified teachers or science professionals facilitate their science camps and the camp programs have been accredited by the American Camp Association.Features more than 66 camp themes and six camp locations in Northeast Ohio. 216-621-2400,

Hathaway Brown

At Hathaway Brown, the fun doesn’t stop when the school year ends. All ages come to HB for a wide array of sports, academic, and enrichment camps in the summer. Options include the flagship Broad Horizons day camp, along with numerous athletics programs, Leading for Life adventure learning camp, the Hathaway Brown Theatre Institute, immersive off-site experiential camps, Superstart classes for middle schoolers, and Summer Studies credit courses for high school students. Shaker Heights, 216-320-8085,

Hawken Summer Programs


Whatever your child’s passion — from art, science, sports or cooking to music, photography, math or LEGOs — Hawken School has developed a summer program full of exciting adventures to interest boys and girls of all ages. Explore all five camp programs and register early as camps have limited enrollment and are filled on a first-come, firstserved basis. Day Camps, Passport Camps, Travel Camps, Athletics Camps and Summer Studies. Lyndhurst, 440-423-2940 Family Living At Its Best


Hiram House Camp Kids can join the summer fun at Hiram House Camp — enriching the lives of children since 1896. Enjoy an exciting, hands-on outdoor adventures, open new horizons and create great memories that will last a lifetime, all amid 172 wooded acres in Northeast Ohio’s scenic Chagrin Valley. 216-831-5045,

Hospice of the Western Reserve The Elisabeth Severance Prentiss Bereavement Center is a communitybased grief support resource from Hospice of the Western Reserve. Its unique camps welcome any child who has experienced a death of a loved one, whether or not Hospice of the Western Reserve was involved. Riding Through Grief, for children ages 8-12, is offered in June and July. Learn more at 216-486-6702. Together We Can is a day camp held in early August for

Music, Show Choir, Theatre (3 week sessions!), Day Camps featuring sports and outdoor adventure, Preschool Camps including sport camps and Safety Town. Teen Adventure Weeks, before and after camp care. 330653-1210 Camps located on the campus of Hudson City Schools,

John Carroll University Explore a variety of academic opportunities and sports camps at John Carroll University this summer. Academic enrichment classes

for high school students include Healthcare Information Technology camps and the Young Writer’s Workshop. Our youth sports camps will appeal to aspiring athletes interested in football, lacrosse, basketball, baseball, soccer, and more. We provide a safe, fun, learning environment on our beautiful campus in University Heights. 216-397-1886,

Jump Start! Gymnastics Camp 1: JS Adventurers, June 1-3, 9:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. This day camp is for boys and girls ages 4-6. Games,

ages 6-12. Learn more at 216-486-6042.

HCER Summer Camps 2015

Offers over 100 different options to help your child take charge of their summer. Sports camps with varsity coaches, STEM camps including video and phone app creation camps, Art,

April 2015 •



gymnastics, fitness and fun. Camp 2: Girls Only Camp, June 15-19; Aug. 3-7; Aug. 10-14, 9 a.m.-3 p.m. This is a day camp for girls ages 5 and older. Whether you’re an experienced gymnast or a beginner ready to learn, this is a great camp for you. The camp uses all the events of gymnastics, and girls work on new skills every day. Some games and a pizza party and performance on Friday. 216-8960295,


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Kids Country

A summer day at Kids Country — full of fun, adventure, swimming, mud kitchens, messiness, field trips, cooking, nature, games, parks, sun, building, experiments, growth, learning, popsicles, picnics, waterparks, baking, sandcastles, crafts, science, activities, go karts, trampoline parks, tea parties, special guests, splash days, hiking, fishing,

Lego mania, sports, Color Run, homemade milkshakes, water balloon contest and then repeat! Find your local center.

Lake Ridge Academy Open to all area students in grades K-12, The summer program includes full- and halfCAMP LISTINGS CONT. ON PG. 21


day experiences from June 8 -July 17. Camps and classes offered include Discovery and Adventure Camps, Fine Arts & Technology, Environmental & Experiential, Academic, Athletic Camps, and Chess Camp. Before and after care is available. Most programs are taught by experienced Lake Ridge Academy

faculty. North Ridgeville, 440-327-1175 ext. 9141 summer-programs

Lawrence School Are you worried about the Third Grade Reading CAMP LISTINGS CONT. ON PG. 22

April 2015 •



Guarantee? Ready, Set, Grow! and Lion’s LEAP summer programs can help your child. Both programs target the following skills: how to use word parts and context clues to understand new vocabulary; how to use text features to improve comprehension of textbooks; and more. Just looking for a fun experience for your child? The Cubs Camp is it. All three of the school’s programs run from June 15-July 10.

LifeCenter Plus LifeCenter Plus offers summer excitement and activities for children ages 3-13. In summer 2015, your camper will enjoy specially designed weekly themes and field trips for ages 8 and older. Camps run weekly Monday through Friday from June 8 -Aug. 21. Half- and full-day options are available. Amanda Boswell, director of youth fitness, at 330-655-2377, ext. 145 or email

Little Falcon Learning Center Early Childhood Education program offers full- and half-day programs for ages 3, 4 and Pre-K. Before and after school childcare is available. Interactive whiteboards, iPads and computers enhance curriculum as staff engages and fosters children’s natural love of learning. Preschoolers benefit from St. Rita School’s dedication to academic excellence grounded in Catholic faith. Solon. 440-248-1350 ext. 256,

Mad Science

Mad Science offers exciting, hands-on science camps for children ages 4-12 that present STEM concepts in a fun and memorable way. Seven unique week-long themes in convenient locations like Hudson, Twinsburg, Medina, Aurora, Jackson Twp., Chagrin Falls, and more. Half- and full-day camps are available. From nature to rockets, forensics to polymers, they have it covered. For descriptions, locations, schedule, and registration. 330-498-0033,

Mandel JCC Anisfield Day Camp The Mandel JCC’s award-winning Anisfield Day Camp has it all with boating, archery, sports, arts & crafts, music, ropes course, team building, youth theatre and more. The beautiful Geauga County lakeside campsites and the amazing camp locations in Beachwood offer spectacular programs that provide an action-packed summer filled with ruach (spirit). Campers develop confidence and gain independence all while having a blast. Beachwood, 216-831-0700 ext. 1349, mandeljcc. org/daycamps

Malone University Camps Summer Camps at Malone University are overnight academic programs complete with hands-on activities related to a student’s field of interest, as well as off-campus field trips,


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social activities, and meals at MU’s awardwinning dining commons. This summer, Malone will offer camps related to zoo/ wildlife biology, nursing, writing, science careers, chamber music and computer science. Canton, 330-471-8526,

Math Monkey Summer is for monkeying around. Summertime at Math Monkey is always an adventure. Math Monkey invites your child to spend the summer with them — where kids can have a ton of fun and learn a lot about math, too. Kids ages 3-12 learn through game-based activities. Swing into summertime fun. Cleveland, 440-9140060

Mathnasium The Mathnasium learning center is where “We Make Math Make Sense!” In addition to year-round programs, they offer summer packages to help your student avoid the “summer slide.” Individualized instruction based on a diagnostic assessment helps them catch up, keep up, or get ahead. The proprietary curriculum is used to provide quality math instruction to students from kindergarten through adult. Math and logic games are incorporated into the program throughout the summer. Set up a free consultation. Canton, 330-492-MATH (6284), beldenvillage

April 2015 •


The Music Settlement

The Music Settlement’s camps are for kids, tweens and teens with all levels of musical experience — including


none at all. The arts-enriched Music Builders and create-a-musical Musical Theatre camps welcome campers ages 5-12. Music Safari Camp introduces ages 6-9 to musical instruments. This year’s music instruction camps include Jazz, Hip Hop, Orchestra, Piano, A Cappella,

Suzuki, Rock & Blues, and Chamber Music. Financial aid, before/after care and inclusion opportunities. Cleveland, 216-421-5806 ext. 100

Musical Fingers Summer Camps Offering two camps for ages 10 and older: Classic Rock for pop/rock lovers and Contemporary Christian Rock for future worship leaders. Each camp has a maximum of 8 participants to allow 1:1 attention. They are about FUN, SELFESTEEM and developing a LIFE-LONG LOVE OF MUSIC. Especially welcomes campers with special needs. Two local venues: Good Shepherd Christian Church, Macedonia and Hilltop Christian Church, Mantua. 330-554-4140.

Old Trail School’s — S’Camp

Old Trail School’s Summer Camp (S’Camp) is returning for another great summer filled with sun, fun, friends and nonstop activities. Camp begins on Monday, June 8 through Friday, July 31 with 150-plus options. Half- and full-day camps are offered with extended day (early morning and late afternoon) options for working parents. Transportation (from Brecksville and Hudson) and lunch options are available for campers. 330-666-1118 ext. 469 CAMP LISTINGS CONT. ON PG. 26


Family Living At Its Best

April 2015 •



Open Door Christian School Summer Sports and Drama Camps Fun,

safe and instructional camps for students entering grades 1-8 for Fall 2015. Open to

the public. Camps include: Baseball, Softball, Football, Volleyball (girls only), Basketball, Soccer and Drama. Taught by ODCS head coaches/director and supported by other staff and ODCS high school students. Last week of

May through July. Pricing from approximately $50-$65 for two- to three-hour sessions for a one-week session (4-5 days). Times vary. Elyria, 440-322-6386,

OYO Camp OYO Camp (ages 10-high school), Aug. 3-9, and OYO Jr. Camp (ages 7-9), Aug. 6-9, are designed specifically for kids who are deaf or hard of hearing. All communication at this overnight adventure camp will be individualized for each camper. Adult volunteer opportunities are available. Register online, or if you prefer a paper form, please e-mail us. Please list Cleveland CCDHH as the Deaf Center that recommended you. Perrysville, 216-325-7553,

Shipwreck Camp 2015 This two-week day camp focuses on STEM (science, technology, engineering and math). Inspired by the research and exploration of Dr. Robert Ballard, finder of the wreckage of the Titanic, this camp for ages 12-15 will engage campers in field science and exploration weekdays from 9:30 a.m.-3:30 p.m. July 13-24. Campers will: read a novel around exploration or shipwrecks; conduct a virtual search for a Lake Erie wreck, meet local experts, visit historical sites, build a remotely operated vehicle, and discover SCUBA. Fee $525 (inc. daily lunch and snack). Case Western Reserve University, Leonard Gelfand STEM Center; Cleveland, 216-368-5075,


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Sky Zone Indoor Trampoline Park —Fit & Fun Sky Camp

This is a four-day camp that focuses on health and wellness. Participants engage in active play and learn basic athletic skills on an endless sea of trampolines. Campers will improve their social skills through team-building activities, 3D dodgeball play and instruction, and open jump time. Youth fitness classes and nutrition discussions encourage healthy lifestyle choices. A snack and Sky Zone giveaways will be provided. Westlake, 440-414-0444, Eastside location, Highland Heights, 440-596-3400,

Small Steps – Big Strides This skill-building and fun program with experienced faculty will engage, excite and delight your children. They’ll make new friends, take stimulating field trips, have fun with special visitors and run, play and learn through exciting activities. The program has a flexible schedule option and is geared for children who have completed kindergarten through age 11. Open 6:30 a.m.-6:30 p.m. providing a healthy breakfast, lunch and snack. Stow, 330-678-5554,


Pembroke Kids’ summer program is a fun, but carefully structured camp experience that is an extension of its regular programming. To add a bit of fun to the daily schedule, special weekly themes capture the essence of summertime. The program is designed for preschool children ages 3-4, pre-kindergarten (age 5) or school-age children in grades 1-6. Each of the lead teachers has at least a bachelor’s degree in early childhood education or related field. Teacher-student ratio is 1:10. Avon Lake, 440-933-3782,

Summer Ruffing It

The camp’s 38th summer at “Ruffing It” is open to ages 18 months through grade 9. Campers are guided by professionals in their field. Artists, musicians and trained educators provide quality experiences in small, student-centered groups that are fun, engaging and productive. The grades 7-9 program includes building a yurt, weekly field trips, camping, hiking, kayaking and adventure park visits. High school assistants are mentored as potential teaching staff. Cleveland Heights, 216932-7866,

Strongsville Rec Center Your child can join his or her friends for summer fun at the Ehrnfelt Recreation Center. The facility offers a wide range of activities for campers, including a pool with slides and diving boards, outdoor ball fields, a huge wooden playground, hiking trails and full court gyms. Other activities will include arts and crafts, organized games, movies and field trips all supervised by the dedicated and experienced staff. For campers ages 4-12. Strongsville, 440-580-3260, CAMP LISTINGS CONT. ON PG. 28

April 2015 •



Total Education Solutions

Total Education Solutions provides innovative, quality services to individuals with special needs, including Autism Spectrum Disorders. The family-oriented clinic hosts a multidisciplinary team that maximizes children’s potential by providing services such as speech and language therapy, occupational therapy, academic instruction and behavioral support. We also work with K-12 schools to ensure that special education programs comply with IDEA and local and state education standards. Visit or call 888-4TES-KIDS., Fairlawn, 330-668-4041,

University School

A Summer of Adventure: June 15-July 31. University School offers an all-boys’ day camp, coed sports camps and academic and specialty classes. Programs take place on campus in Shaker Heights and Hunting Valley, and are led by experienced US coaches and faculty. Pre-K Summer Camp, an exciting miniversion of the school’s traditional Day Camp, is specially designed to engage pre-K boys in a creative and stimulating environment with one to three weeks of age-appropriate, hands-on activities. For more information, visit


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Western Reserve Academy

Extending its academic tradition to summer programs, Western Reserve Academy strives to provide quality summer experiences for ages 8-14. A summer at WRA echoes the school’s commitment to offer a transformational experience where students strive for excellence, live with integrity and act with compassion, Hudson, 330-650-9715,

YMCA Camp Y-Noah

June-August for ages 6-16 from 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Activities include swimming, canoeing, climbing, horseback riding, arts and crafts, hiking, sports, science camp, cheernastics camp, SCUBA, robotics and paintball. Day camp cost is $165-$405 a week depending on programs. Overnight camp cost is $475 a week depending on programs. Visit a YMCA Camp Y-Noah open house 1:30-4:30 p.m. on Sunday, April 12 and 26 and May 17. Contact Y Camping Services at 330-896-1964. Clinton or

YMCA of Greater Cleveland Children enrolled in the YMCA of Greater Cleveland Summer Day Camp enjoy a weekly theme, themerelated curriculum and field trips, swimming, breakfast and afternoon snacks, arts and crafts, science and nature activities, large motor games, singing, clubs and much more. Camps offer both part-time (one to three days per week) and full-time (four to five days per week) rates. Each camp program has a limited number of spaces and registration is on a first-come, firstserved basis. Cleveland, 216-344-7700

YMCA Camp Tippecanoe Located on 1,100 acres in Harrison County, one hour south of Canton. Weekly overnight camps run June 14 - Aug. 1 for ages 6-17. Horseback riding, sail boating and outdoor activities. Cost is $475 per week for overnight Adventure Camp for Y members, specialty camp is higher. Miniweek or two-week sessions. Tippecanoe, 877-GotCamp,

For a complete listing of camps visit:

April 2015 •





Family Living At Its Best


Feeling overwhelmed by stroller options? Here's a guide to find the best fit for your growing family. by Denise Koeth


hen it comes to baby gear, strollers are high on the list of must-haves. With dozens of available brands, models and styles, the options can be dizzying. Whether you’re expecting your first baby, sizing up to a bigger stroller for your second child, or simply looking for an updated ride for your kids, consider the following options and features when making your selection. CHOOSING THE RIGHT FIT

Do your homework on the front end so that your stroller will last until your children are able to walk on their own for significant distances (usually by age 3 or 4). While there may be hundreds of strollers on the market, they all can be categorized as one of the following basic types. Standard-size strollers generally have a comfortable, padded seat that can recline into different positions and straps that can be adjusted as your child grows. Most standard strollers offer a sun canopy and belowseat storage. Prices vary greatly, from basic models to high-end versions packed with added features. Travel systems offer the ability to click in your infant’s car seat, which is a handy feature to have for the first several months so you can avoid waking a peacefully sleeping baby when moving from the car to the stroller. Most brands offer systems that include a standard stroller and coordinating infant car seat, an option that

will last from birth through toddlerhood. A lighter-weight and less expensive option, car seat stroller frames are metal frames designed to carry specific brands of infant car seats (check manufacturer or store websites for compatibility information). While the frames are easy to fold up and store in your car, once your baby outgrows the infant car seat, you’ll need to find another stroller option. Lightweight strollers — also called umbrella strollers — generally weigh less than 12 pounds and fold up more compactly than their counterparts. Because they often don’t have much padding and do not offer a wide range of adjustments, umbrella strollers are more suited to older babies and toddlers. However, their convenience and lower price tag make them a great option for families that plan to travel. VERSATILITY & CONVENIENCE

Today’s strollers are more than just basic transportation vessels. In addition to pushing your little one from Point A to Point B, some are able to convert into highchairs and bassinets. Consider how you’ll be using your stroller — for quick trips to the mall and walks around the block, or for all-day excursions? Does your child need to face forward or backward depending on age and stage? For infants, rear-facing means parents can check on the baby more easily. Some models offer reversible seats, so you can change direction as your child grows. Think about how easy it is to fold and maneuver a particular model. Several options offer one-handed folding with the push of a button or pull of a lever. Before you make a purchase, take the stroller for a spin at the store to make sure it handles as you’d like. If there is a large height difference between Mom and Dad, make sure you both are comfortable pushing the stroller, or look for a model that offers adjustable handles. Babies and toddlers require a lot of items. Parents often have to carry several diapers, clothes, food, blankets and toys. Compare the cargo areas of strollers. How large is the basket or shelf, and is it easy to reach? Are there multiple compartments? Add-on accessories offer convenience, too; consider feeding trays and cup holders — both for baby bottles and Mom and Dad’s drinks — rain covers or shade screens. While the array of types and features can turn your stroller hunt into a research project, the upside is there are solutions for each family’s specific needs and budget. April 2015 •


SEEING Double If you’re adding a second child or expecting twins, a double stroller often is a requirement. Decide whether you want side-by-side or front-to-back positioning. While the length of front-to-back double strollers may make cornering a challenge, a side-by-side may be more difficult to get through narrow doorways or crowded grocery store aisles. For children of different ages, some traditional strollers have the option of adding a platform behind the baby’s seat where an older sibling can stand. When Joshua and Michelle Dickstein, of Copley, recently added twins to their existing family of three, the couple chose a double stroller frame to use while Miriam and Ilana, now 10 months old, are still in their infant carriers. “My concern was fitting through doors, the weight of a double stroller, and overall bulkiness,” Michelle says. “I needed to think about having enough room in my car trunk to fit their stroller and groceries.”


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Once the twins outgrow their car seat carriers, they will move to a relatively slim-size double stroller that offers side-by-side seating. “The key elements for me here were wheel size, weight and ease of use,” she says. “Pushing two babies at once takes a little more muscle, especially as they grow bigger. This is why I really wanted to find lightweight double strollers that could become pretty compact and store nicely, because space is at a premium in my car.” Because the couple’s oldest daughter, Esther, was age 2 at the time of the twins’ birth, Michelle tried to find a triple stroller but was not pleased with the existing options and their customer reviews. “I thought about a sitand-stand, but they don’t have a sit-and-stand double stroller,” she explains. “So I thought about getting a sit-and-stand and putting one car seat in, my oldest would sit/stand and I could wear the other baby, but the logistics of getting a baby in and out of an infant car seat, into a baby carrier, and setting up the stroller were just too overwhelming.” Taking the advice of a fellow mom of three – two of whom are twins – the couple taught Esther, now 3, to hold onto the double stroller and/ or stay close by. “I quickly learned there is nothing small and cute when you have multiples — except for the babies themselves — so I just want my baby gear to be reliable,” she adds.

Full Speed


For runners who wish to continue the hobby with a baby on board, a jogging stroller is as important as a reliable pair of running shoes. Jogging strollers also are good options for regular walks on bumpy, twisty terrain. Featuring larger, air-filled wheels on a lightweight frame, these strollers are designed to deliver a smooth ride for both pusher and

passenger. Because they are bulkier, they often are not as easy to maneuver and don’t fold up as compact as standard strollers — but their wheel stability, tougher suspension systems and other safety features are better for higher speeds. Greg and Ellen Cicero, of Aurora, chose to buy a jogging stroller when their daughter, Ella, was a baby. “Until she was almost 2, we’d take turns running so one of us could be out while the other stayed home with Ella,” Ellen says about their daughter, who is now 6. “We wanted to go together and

take her with us.” Since adding two more daughters to their family — Makayla, 3, and Olivia, 1 — the couple has invested in a double jogging stroller. In addition to extra seating, their second stroller was a higher price point than their first, but was well worth the investment because of its features, according to Ellen. “The wheels are the most important feature; rotating front wheels are much easier to use and make for a smoother run,” she explains. “If the front wheel is stationary, you have to pick it up in order to turn.”

Ellen’s other favorite features include a convenient place to keep water bottles, keys, phones, etc., plus a wider hand grip that allows for a more natural hand position and running stride. Also worth the extra cost is an easy-fold mechanism, says Ellen, who adds, “The (double jogging stroller) is large, but it’s very easy to fold. You just pull up on a middle strap and it folds in half. The first was quite cumbersome to fold and was very bulky. That was fine when we only had one child, but now we have more things to put in our car, so saving space is important.”

April 2015 •




SPORTY Beyond the perennial favorite, basketball hoops, other game equipment is easy to use in your yard no matter the size. “Bocce ball and corn hole sets tend to be big sellers,” Palco says. “What’s great about those games is that kids and adults can play together.” The sport you’ll most often find the Garey family of Macedonia playing in the backyard is baseball. “My oldest already plays and my 6-year-old, Lilly, will start coach pitch this year,” Garey says. “It’s great to toss the ball back and forth. It’s something I did growing up that I can now do with my kids.” To make outdoor sports convenient and easy, consider putting in a soccer goal or pitcher’s mound, or somehow designating a space in your yard for a specific sport. You can find baseball bases secondhand at used sports stores or suggest your kids make their own from items you have on hand. If you have a worn or old rug, cut square pieces for the bases or grab some PVC piping to create a street hockey or soccer goal. If your kids aren’t into the traditional sports, set up a mini game day in which you can have spoon races, play tug of war or make up games of your own. Parents can create or purchase ribbons and other prizes to give away to winners.


Family Living At Its Best

By Kristen J. Gough


ompared to 20 years ago, children are spending half as much time outside, according to the National Wildlife Federation. On average, only 6 percent of kids ages 9-13 play outside on a weekly basis. So how do you help get your little ones moving? Start in the backyard. That’s right. By making an outdoor oasis just steps outside your home, the likelihood of putting down the tablets and adventuring outdoors increases, which not only makes kids more physically active, but helps boost creativity. While some outdoor play area additions can take planning and budgeting, others tap into your kids’ imaginations to lead the way. PERFECTING PICNICS All the basics for a cool outdoor picnic are probably tucked away right in your closet. For a simple picnic, all you need is a large blanket and a meal for your hungry crew. To make your picnic something special, brainstorm ideas with your kids. For example, you might dig out your holiday lights and string them around a tree near where you’re going to have your meal.

Your kids can create decorations like stars, fish or other animals out of paper and then hang those from the trees above your picnic spot. Balloons are another easy decoration that can be strung from tree branches. In place of a large picnic basket, quiz your kids on fun alternatives. Keep it simple by having them decorate brown paper bags to hold each person’s dinner, use buckets from their sandbox set, or purchase inexpensive plastic baskets at a discount store.




Swing sets appeal to kids of all ages — and even adults.

When Tammy Garey and her husband, Daniel, moved into their home, they had big plans for their backyard. “We wanted to make our yard and our house a place where our kids and their friends wanted to hang out,” says Garey, who had two young children at the time. “We decided it needed to be a cool place to be.” First came a swing set and later an above ground pool. Today Garey’s children, all girls ranging in age from 8 to 18 months, indeed have an outdoor haven in their backyard. “Watching kids on a swing set, their eyes just light up,” says Steve Bennett, father of two sons. Familiar with the draw of swing sets, Bennett builds his own systems as the co-founder, along with his wife Julie, and manufacturer of UltraBuilt Play Systems. He recommends that parents consider swing sets that are built to last and can expand as kids get older. “You can start out with a basic swing set and then add on to it,” Bennett says. “Keep in mind that swing sets can include other options, too, like clubhouses, rock walls and tire swings. “Also, parents need to remember that we live in Ohio, which means your kids won’t just be playing on the swings in the spring. My kids have had plenty of snowball fights around their swing set.”

While traveling to a local campground can be a great way to spend time with the family, you also can do this at home. “To have a backyard campout you don’t need a lot of expensive equipment,” says Angela Palco, store manager of Gander Mountain in Sheffield. “You can purchase an inexpensive tent and sleeping bags for the full experience.” She remembers having backyard campouts with her family as a child, along with camping outside as an adult with her own children. “What’s great about camping in your backyard is you don’t need a lot of extra equipment like a tarp to go under the tent. If the weather turns, you can always go back inside.” She does recommend adding a lantern and bug spray to your camping list — even in the backyard. To make the most of your kid-friendly campout, Palco suggests getting your children involved in the planning, from activities to the menu for the evening. Her family has a few traditions, she says. First, they usually go on a nature trek to explore what kind of animal tracks they can find. Another tradition is using pie irons for meals. A cross between a s’mores stick and a waffle maker, pie irons usually are made of two long metal sticks with a box at the end that you can fill and then place in the fire — grilled cheese is one of the family’s favorites. “For our family, camping outside is all about sharing a few laughs and that kind of thing,” notes Palco. “Being together is what makes it memorable.”

April 2015 •



your awareness

Four spring projects that can help your community and the world. by Diana Siemer

Spring is the time to clean out and clean up. Instead of making it feel like work,

discover all the opportunities that lie in your trash and waste. From inexpensive and fun summer projects you can do with your kids to helping the community, environment and even people around the world, make your trash powerful. Here are some spring cleaning steps to take all spring and summer long.


1 36


Composting is a fun, educational and inexpensive project to do with your children. “Composting only improves the soil so we have healthier plants and trees,” says Kathleen Rocco, education specialist at the Cuyahoga County Solid Waste District. “It’s a hands-on activity where you can get dirty, learn about the life cycle of things and reduce the amount of waste you are creating.” The Solid Waste District offers free, family-friendly workshops on composting, in addition to selling composting bins and materials.

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Rain is a good thing, except when it overflows our waterways, collecting pollutants on its way. Reducing excess rainwater by using it in your yard can have a major impact on your local environment. “A rain barrel is a small thing you can do to take some of that rain water out of our system,” says Amy Roskilly, conservation education specialist at the Cuyahoga Soil and Water Conservation District (SWCD). What’s more, using rainwater reduces your water bills and helps keep fluoride and chlorine out of the soil because chemicals from our faucet water can kill microbes the soil needs to thrive. The SWCD holds free workshops on rain barrels and sells 60-gallon food grade barrels and kits at a fraction of retail prices. An upcoming workshop will be held April 9 in Garfield Heights. For more information on rain barrel workshops, as well as other fun workshops on topics such as green cleaning, rain gardens and pollinators, visit Improving the quality of your space isn’t all work and no play. Making it pretty is just as important as making it clean. Once you get your rain barrel, a fun, affordable project is to make it beautiful. Local artist Linda Zolten Wood runs the Collinwood Painted Rain

A rain barrel painted by Linda Zolten Wood

Barrel Project in her community and says making them look good inspires others. Her painted rain barrels are on display at the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo until May 11. The exhibit raises awareness of the city’s free rain barrel program, which lets each local community development corporation office give out 20 free barrels on a first-come, first-served basis. Those who receive a free barrel can take Wood’s rain barrel painting workshop free of charge. Otherwise, she offers the workshop at a low cost to anyone who wants to paint his or her barrel. For more information, visit



You’ve probably noticed Planet Aid’s yellow donation boxes around your community. The group collects used clothing and resells it, using those funds to support projects in developing countries like Mozambique and Malawi. “We support programs that help out the poorest of the poor, living on less than a dollar a day,” said Patrick Kearney, operations manager at Planet Aid Northern Ohio. “We have food security here. We really don’t know what it’s like to have nothing.” For example, Farmer’s Clubs teach communities in developing countries sustainable farming skills so they can feed their families and sell the crops to make money to live. For information on how you can thin your closets and help farmers in Africa at the same time, go to



Once you have your water and compost ready to go, use them to make an amazing garden. If you need help getting started, check out local author and vice president of education at the Cleveland Botanical Garden ( Renata Brown’s book, “Gardening Lab for Kids: 52 Fun Experiments to Learn, Grow, Harvest, Make, Play and Enjoy Your Garden.” The book’s step-by-step instructions and pictures will give you projects to do all year round. Each project requires mostly materials you can find around the house, encouraging recycling and reuse, and incorporates science and environmental responsibility lessons so kids are learning while they are having fun. April 2015 •





A PLACE TO PLAY Activities for children with autism around the region provide opportunities for fun and learning. By Marie Elium


or most parents, the first time their child performs on a stage is both exciting and a little bit scary. Kacie Wielgus Buzzard remembers that feeling. Her daughter, Caroline, who is non-verbal and autistic, was the only child with special needs in her preschool. The annual spring ballet performance was coming up and she wanted her daughter to join the others on stage. However, there was a fear that Caroline would walk off during the performance.

Kacie Wielgus Buzzard’s daughter, Caroline, joined her classmates in the annual Spring ballet performance.


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Buzzard and her husband advocated for their daughter to participate. The solution was simple: a teacher sat in a chair next to her during the performance. “The look on Caroline’s face when the curtain was raised was one of pure joy and my heart nearly leapt out of my chest, I was so proud,” Buzzard says. “It is not always about finding programs that are specifically developed for kids on the spectrum or for kids with special needs; sometimes the right answer is to find a way for your child with special needs to participate right alongside their typically developing peers.”

Socializing — whether rehearsing a dance, learning a hobby or just hanging out with others — can be daunting for a lot of us, but for children with autism, it can take careful planning. Activities outside of school are important for all kids, not just those with autism, says Terri McIntee, family and community intervention specialist with the Cuyahoga County Educational Service Center. “It’s a pretty typical thing for any child to be connected to the community,” she says. “They CONTINUED ON PAGE 40

April 2015 •



build their strengths and individuality. They find their identity by trying other activities and that’s the same for any child with a disability.” CHOOSING A PROGRAM

The first step is to do your research on what program that would best fit your child’s needs — socially and if there are any other medical concerns. “When deciding what type of summer camp or program is most appropriate for their child, I tell parents to consider their


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child’s age, ability level and interest,” says Beth Thompson, the teen/adult services manager for Milestones. “Some kids may need a highly structured environment with a low adult to student ratio, whereas other kids would thrive (with some support) in a camp designed for children without disabilities. “The benefits of summer camps and socialrecreational programs are endless,” she adds. “Many kids on the autism spectrum are in need of a routine and these programs provide that while allowing kids to engage and socialize with peers over topics of similar interest.” Buzzard says, “As a parent, I want my child to have the same opportunities as typi-

cally developing kids, not only to enjoy recreational activities but to develop the skills and friendships that come along with those opportunities. “Sometimes, I find it enjoyable and less stressful to attend an event specifically for kids with special needs,” she adds. “When the event is just for kids with special needs, I can focus on Caroline and her enjoyment of the activity rather than explaining her behavior or apologizing to other parents.” Buzzard said that summer camps and other activities where parents can drop off their child with special needs can provide parents with a much-needed respite. “It can be extremely difficult to find care for children with special needs, so the opportunity to take my child to an activity she enjoys while I get some grocery shopping done without the fear of a meltdown is a gift,” she said. Some programs pair children with autism with typical peers, which helps with socialization and understanding of everyone’s different abilities. Other times, a program specifically suited for children on the spectrum is more appropriate. McIntee says parents should try to look in their own communities for programs that can be adapted for those with special needs. “They learn they aren’t the only ones (with a disability) and they stretch limits. I would tell parents to always see the potential.”


Each month, Cuyahoga County and surrounding counties offer several opportunities for social activities for children with autism or who have other special needs. One example is at Lake Metroparks, which offers numerous ways — both indoors and out — for people with special needs to participate in all sorts of activities through its Adapted Programming. Kids, along with parents in many instances, can go fishing, swimming, do karaoke and crafts, and participate in miniature golf. The events change seasonally. Lake Metroparks spokesman Jim Meadows says while the parks system provides a framework for more than 100 adapted programs annually, he has seen friendships develop among children and their parents outside of park events. Meadows adds about 90 percent of the participants come from Lake County, encouraging a local connection for kids to explore interests. Buzzard, in addition to being the parent of a child with autism, works with Milestones Autism Resources (, an organization that provides resources for families and professionals. The Beachwood group offers a wide range of programs, workshops and professional development opportunities for people throughout the region. Milestones focuses on coaching parents to advocate for their children, to connect with services and to prioritize needs. For kids 14 and older, the group also offers adult transition services to find appropriate levels of employment. Camps and recreational activities give kids skills they may need later in life to contribute to society, Buzzard says. A group that helps parents link their children with special needs with suitable programs is Solon’s Blue Ribbon Adapted Programming. Sports and day trips are offered, generally to teens. The program also has a sixweek summer camp for school aged children with disabilities. Buzzard suggests parents might also want to check the Mayfield Adapted Rec program, which serves people with special needs. Brandon’s Place ( has personalized social and vocational programming for people on the autism spectrum. The Oakwood Village group offers a social club for individuals ages 13 to 22 with autism and their typically developing peers. Local community art centers such as Beck Center for the Arts in Lakewood provide creative art therapies, including art, dance and music for people with special needs. Fine Arts Association in Willoughby also offers art and therapy programs. Also, offers a list of more than 800 support services and providers in Northeast Ohio, helping parents find playgroups, camps and centers, adapted sports, arts, music and more. Actvities can mean fun for the whole family, especially when it comes to vacation time. Cruise One Royal Caribbean offers an initiative for families living with autism, which in-

cludes sensory friendly films and toys, dietary menu options, and training for Adventure Ocean staff. While Northeast Ohio has lots of programming, the cost for some can be a factor for families, Buzzard acknowledges. She recommends checking with Milestones or similar groups for help finding scholarships to defray expenses. One option is The Autism Scholarship, which is available through the Ohio Department of Education. Fact sheets and applications can be found by checking with the

ODE directly or by calling 877-644-6338. Other help may be available from local county boards of developmental disabilities. Camps, clubs, teams and casual outings — all geared toward children with autism — can be a great way to engage and inspire. Finding activities for a child with autism — or any child with a disability — can help develop confidence and nurture friendships. “Accommodations are about leveling the playing field,” McIntee says. “You have to enjoy who your kid is and offer him support.”

April 2015 •






by Laurie G. Steiner, Esq., CELA Many parents can only dream of knowing what the future might hold for them or their children. While all families must plan for unforeseen circumstances, parents who have children with disabilities have to ensure their children have the right care for their special needs. Here are five ways parents can help both their children and family if something unfortunate does occur.

1 2 3 4 5 42

Family Living At Its Best

Buy enough life insurance.

A parent is irreplaceable, but someone will have to fill in. In all likelihood, the family will have to pay for some services the parent had provided. If the estate is not large enough for this purpose, it can be made large enough through life insurance proceeds. Premiums for second-to-die insurance (which pays off only when the second of two parents passes away) can be surprisingly low.

Will/appointment of guardian.

While a will and the appointment of a guardian is important for anyone with minor children, it is doubly so for a child with special needs. In some cases, the care needs of the child may be so demanding that he or she will need a different guardian from his or her siblings. The parents need to make these determinations while they can. The will is the vehicle for the appointment of a guardian.

Set up a special needs trust.

Any funds left for a child with disabilities should be held in a special needs trust fund for his or her benefit. Leaving money for anyone with a disability jeopardizes public benefits. Many people with disabilities cannot manage funds — especially large amounts.

Care plan/letter of intent.

All parents caring for children with disabilities are advised to write down what any successor caregiver would need to know about the child and what the parent’s wishes are for his or her care. The memo or letter can be kept in the attorney’s files with the parents’ estate plan.

Coordination with other family members.

A well-meaning relative who leaves money directly to a child with a disability can sabotage even a carefully developed plan. If a special needs trust is created for the benefit of the child, grandparents and other family members should be told about it so that they can direct any bequest they may like to leave to that child through that trust.



First Steps to Preventing Child Abuse Learn the warning signs and helpful ways to protect the children in your life By Marie Elium


hether you’re browsing social media, watching the news or listening to a morning radio show, it’s likely you will hear a story about a child being the victim of abuse or neglect. About 679,000 kids are abused or neglected each year, or nine out of every 1,000, according to the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services. One out of every four girls will be sexually abused by the time they are 18. For boys, it’s one out of every six, says Kim Brightbill, case manager and victim advocate for the Children’s Center of Medina County. In these situations, questions of “Why?” and “How did this happen?” usually arise. While the answers are never easy, the first step to prevent such abuse from occurring is to become aware of your community’s resources, know the warning signs and have open dialogue with your child. One key to keeping your child safe from being abused is to encourage them to advocate for themselves beginning at an early age. “A perpetrator is looking for a vulnerable child,” says Carrie Joseph, training coordinator of the Domestic Violence & Child Advocacy Center in Cleveland. Brightbill agrees, adding, “The more they know the more they’ll be able to respond and recognize (if ) something happens to them.”

Recognize the Signs

Some signs of abuse include injuries, passivity, hoarding or begging for food, victimizing other children, extremely dirty clothing, being overly compliant with adults, anxiety or aggression, and difficulty making friends, according to the Children’s Center of Medina County. Sometimes the signs of physical, emotional or sexual abuse aren’t clear, however. “It’s that gut feeling,” Brightbill explains. “There’s not a formula. The question to ask yourself (when deciding to report suspected abuse of a child) is, ‘Is this impacting the child, and if so, how?’” While there are many signs of abuse, it can look different on every child. Sudden behavior changes, irrational fears, dropping grades or other major changes demand further questioning, Joseph says. Every county in the state has a hotline to report suspected abuse. The national child abuse hotline number is

1-800-4-A-Child. A professional will ask questions and reports can be anonymous. It’s important to remember that you may be the first person to call with a suspicion of abuse, or your call may be one of many. Brightbill says adults should intervene immediately if a child is in extreme danger — if they see someone shaking a baby or beating a child, for example.

Open Communication on Sensitive Issues While it’s up to adults to protect kids from abuse, ultimately, children’s best protection may be the confidence to speak up for themselves. It begins with important conversations. Though parents may be squeamish talking about these subjects, such as sexual, physical or emotional abuse, an early start is vital. “The earlier you can have these conversations, the better,” Joseph says. “Explain why some behaviors are bad. We close off communication when we don’t teach as we re-direct poor behavior. Keeping open the lines of communication is a great prevention tool.” For example, “Body safety” starts by identifying body parts by their proper names. From the earliest ages, parents should explain that a child’s “private parts” are just that — private. Instruct them that no one should touch any part of their body a bathing suit covers. The tricky part is explaining why a parent may wash them in a bathtub or a doctor may examine them, for example. Explaining as they wash, or while a doctor conducts a checkup, is vital, Brightbill adds. Practice early and often to teach your children to advocate for themselves. “It’s okay to tell someone ‘no,’ even if they’re a grownup,” Brightbill says. “Tell your kid to speak up if he or she doesn’t want to be tickled or hugged or kissed — never force such encounters. If you teach kids at a very young age about their boundaries, they can articulate their boundaries.” Joseph advises teaching children they should talk to an adult they trust regarding “anything another adult or a child does to make them feel confused or scared.” Lastly, discourage secrets — it’s a common ploy for abusers. “There are no secrets about our bodies,” Brightbill says. “Let them know they can tell you anything.” April 2015 •



focus MEDINA

Shop, Dine, Learn and Play the Day Away in Medina By Denise Koeth


edina offers something for everyone, from its idyllic town square, lined with unique shops and local restaurants, to dozens of surrounding parks and a score of special events. There are plenty of family-friendly options both indoors and out, allowing residents and visitors to find the perfect activity throughout the seasons.

Retail Therapy

For dozens of unique, locally-owned shops located within walking distance of one other, visit Medina’s Public Square. For the crafty at heart, check out Potomac Bead Co., All Fired Up! or Studio Knit. Score a vintage find for your home at Perfectly Charming or Rustic & Refined. Second Sole is a runner’s paradise – offering shoes, apparel and other running paraphernalia – while The Raspberry and The Rose and consignment store 4 Ladies & More carry a wide array of clothing, jewelry and accessories. Opened last fall, Molly’s Closet carries unique and designer new clothing for babies, toddlers, tweens, teens and adults. Children will love the wide selection of unique toys at Medina Funtastic Toyz. For your budding train enthusiast, don’t miss Ormandy’s Toys and Trains, which also is home to the Medina Toy and Train Museum. Add to your child’s collection by dropping into Medina Sports Cards. Woodsy’s


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Music can meet all your school band needs, from sheet music to instruments and everything in between. Finally, don’t leave Public Square without a tasty treat. Options include gourmet popcorn at Something’s Popping; oils, vinegars and more at The Olive Tap; baked delights at A Cupcake A Day, Cool Beans Café or The Bakery Shoppe; and a self-created masterpiece at Lemonberry Frozen Yogurt. You also can pick up something for your furry family member at One Lucky Dog Bakery. Just a short drive from Public Square is Bennett’s, which features swing sets, gazebos, outdoor furniture and more – though your little ones may be most interested in the on-site (and aptly-named) Smartickles Educational Toy Store.

Dining Destinations

When it’s time to refuel after some grueling shopping, stay on the square for plenty of options, including town mainstay Main Street Café, kid-friendly Dan’s Dogs, or breakfast and lunch staples Eli’s Kitchen and Marie’s Café. Thyme2 and Dominic’s Italian Restaurant, each just a block away, offer extensive menus. Other unique fare options include the lavishly decorated Miss Molly’s Tea Room; House of Hunan, which

offers Chinese, Japanese or Thai selections; Sully’s Irish Pub, which often hosts live music; P.J. Marley’s, where your family can dine inside the former bank building’s vault; Lager & Vine gastropub, perfect for wine or beer enthusiasts; and Huth & Harris Wine Merchants, which offers a tasting room and tapas menu. Travel outside the Public Square district for even more locally-owned options, including Yours Truly; One Eleven Bistro; Mexican joints Tres Potrillos, Don Tequila and Fiesta Jalapenos; or sushi houses Project Sushi, Twiisted and Sushi on the Roll. For a fine meal and perhaps an extra surprise, visit The Corkscrew Saloon, which is rumored to be haunted.

County Historical Society, located in the historic John Smart house at 206 N. Elmwood St. You also can put Medina’s history at your fingertips by downloading the free Medina Historical mobile app ( Developed by the Center for Public History + Digital Humanities at Cleveland State University and Medina City Schools students, the app lets you explore the people, places and moments that have shaped the city’s history.

Educational Fun

The Medina County District Library – with six

Living History

Founded in 1818, Medina offers many points of interest for history buffs. The County Courthouse, built in 1841, is on the National Register of Historic Places and survived the fires of 1848 and 1870, which destroyed most of the business district (it took 10 years to rebuild the area in a Victorian style). Another must-see is the A.I. Root Co., founded in 1869 by Amos Ives Root. The business, which put Medina on the map as the “beekeeping capital of the world,” is still headquartered in the city and offers shoppers 75+ different varieties of scented candles, plus home décor, specialty food items and more. In-depth area information can be found at the Medina

April 2015 •



branches throughout the county, including a location on the city’s Public Square – offers rich programming for all ages year-round. For information, visit Broaden your children’s – and your own – horizons by enrolling in an art class at Artventure Studio ( or cooking class at Cool Beans Café ( For adults, the Medina County Career Center ( offers a wide variety of arts and crafts courses, from painting to cake decorating to refinishing furniture.

several unique features including a skate park, remote control car track, and mountain bike trail. Several of the city’s parks feature tennis courts, ball fields, pavilions, walking trails and playgrounds (visit for details). For indoor exercise, the Medina Community Recreation Center offers a fitness room, competition pool, leisure pool – complete with fountains and a slide – a jogging track, and a field house with four full-size courts. Hours, rates and class schedules are available at

The Great Outdoors

Events & Festivals

The Medina City Parks & Recreation Department maintains 14 parks. For example, Fred Greenwood and Ray Mellert parks, each home to a splash pad during warmer months; Memorial Park, which offers a fenced dog park and larger-than-life wooden play structure; Roscoe Ewing Park, which includes a disc golf course; and Sam Masi Park, which boasts a handicap-accessible playground. Reagan Park offers

Medina hosts several regular events throughout the year, beginning with February’s Ice Festival and ending with November’s Candlelight Walk. In between, this year’s major events include: Kids Day of Play on June 6, Pizza Palooza on June 13, Art in the Park on July 19, Medina International Fest on Aug. 22, Medina Beer Fest on Aug. 29, and the Medina County Fair, scheduled for Aug. 3-9. Recurring events sure to please music lovers include Rally in the Alley, Friday evenings from May 29 through Labor Day; Jazz Under the Stars, scheduled for June 6, July 11, Aug. 15 and Sept. 5; and the Medina Community Band’s weekly concerts on Public Square, held Friday evenings in June and July. For event information, visit

Read about more shopping adventures and buzzworthy businesses in Medina at


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focus MEDINA


BUSINESSES MAIN STREET MEDINA Nonprofit group Main Street Medina works to sustain existing businesses, attract new businesses, promote quality of life and coordinate events in Medina’s Historic District.The organization’s support and information is vital to businesses, residents and visitors. Its website features ample information on all things Medina – shops and restaurants, events, attractions, maps and more. 330-952-0910,

BENNETT’S Offering UltraBuilt swing sets and accessories, barns, gazebos and more, Bennett’s is a backyard superstore.With plenty of models on site, your children will have a blast testing out swing sets while you meet with staff to create a custom-built structure for your home. Located inside Bennett’s, Smartickles Toy Store features educational toys, games and more for children of all ages. Also on site is Bennett’s Kennels, which provides boarding and grooming for your furry family members. 330-2394847,,,

MEDINA COUNTY CAREER CENTER Offering more than 25 technical career majors for high school students, plus adult education and community services, the MCCC is a top resource in Medina County. Students can begin earning college credit before stepping foot on a college campus.They also can earn experience operating several services for area residents, including an optical clinic, restaurant, pet shop, salon, preschool and more. Adults can earn certification in several career areas, in addition to choosing from dozens of part-time courses covering a wide variety of interests. 330-725-8461,

BRICKS 4 KIDZ Bricks 4 Kidz teaches building, architecture and engineering concepts to children in a fun environment using LEGO bricks.Through activities designed to trigger imaginations and build self-confidence, children work with exciting themes to build models of famous places, as well as livemotion models like helicopters, cars, windmills and more. Bricks 4 Kidz of Medina offers after-school classes, preschool programs and camps; it also is available for birthday parties and field trips. 330-722-2223,

MISS MOLLY’S TEA ROOM AND GIFT SHOP Miss Molly’s Tea Room and Gift Shop features a lavishly-decorated, Victorian-style dining room that offers a unique menu and dozens of tea choices.The restaurant also is available for parties and special events. The on-site gift shop features tea-related gifts like special blends and fine china, as well as jewelry, oil paintings and other home décor.The recently opened Molly’s Closet carries unique and designer new clothing for babies, toddlers, tweens, teens and adults. 330-725-6830,

HIGH VOLTAGE INDOOR KARTING For some high-speed fun in any weather, check out the recently opened High Voltage Indoor Karting. Located inside a historic building that most recently served as a plant for the casting of air conditioning units, High Voltage’s track offers many challenging turns and a speedy straightaway, as well as a bridge finish line.The track is customizable and will be changed several times a year, and the ProKarts – which are 100% electric – can reach speeds up to 50 mph. 330-333-9000,

April 2015 •


APRIL For more event listings visit

calendar 4/3

Yoga for Kids. Children ages 6-10 join naturalist

Meghan Doran and a certified yoga instructor for this fun and exciting new program. Kids will mimic animals and other natural movements to connect to nature. Please wear comfortable clothing and bring a mat. 10:30-11:30 a.m. Summit Metro Parks, Nature Realm, 1828 Smith Road, Akron, 330-865-8065,


Hula Hooping Fun. Fun, exciting exercise for all ages

with Hula Hoops. Enjoy dance music while you learn to improve your skills on your waist, arms and lower body. Hoops are provided, or you may bring your own. 3 p.m. Odom Branch Library, 600 Vernon Odom Blvd., Akron, 330-434-8726, odomboulevardbranch.

Spring into Good Health


Youth Kayak Fun. Come out and make a splash in the warmth of the pool as you learn to kayak. Learning basic strokes and wet exits will be integrated into fun kayaking games. Participants should be comfortable treading water in a life jacket. 6-8 p.m. Baldwin Wallace, Lou Higgins Center, 136 E. Bagley Road, Berea, 216-341-1704,

Get your kids moving

ONGOING Through 4/10

4/15- 5/15

Through 4/19


Tuesday through Friday to help create fun pieces. Children will use their ingenuity to design and execute a unique piece. Make one, or stay for a while and explore the medium on several creations. Included with paid museum admission or museum membership. 1-2 p.m. Cleveland Children’s Museum, 10730 Euclid Ave., Cleveland, 216-791-7114,

many opportunities to catch fish in Northeast Ohio. This club meets three Wednesdays in the evening at various locations throughout the park district. Topics could include pond fishing, fly tying and casting, or lake/river fishing. Parents are welcome and encouraged to participate. 5:307:30 p.m. Environmental Learning Center, 7250 Alexander Road, Concord Township, 440-256-2118 x4277,

the Ice Age when mammoths and mastodons roamed the Earth. Touch the teeth of the colossal mastodon, feel mammoth fur and joust with mammoth tusks as you live among these larger than life creatures for a day. Free with museum admission. Times vary. Cleveland Museum of Natural History, 1 Wade Oval Drive, Cleveland, 216-231-4600,

central role our national pastime has played in the identity of Jews and other minority communities. It is presented by the Cleveland Indians, University Hospital, Ahuja Medical Center and The Treu-Mart Fund. Exhibit is included with regular museum admission. Maltz Museum of Jewish Heritage, 2929 Richmond Road, Beachwood. For museum hours and admission prices, call 216-593-0575, or visit

Pop in Art. Drop by the art table

Kids Fishing Club. There are



Family Living At Its Best

Mammoths and Mastodons: Titans of the Ice Age. Experience

“Chasing Dreams: Baseball & Becoming American.” Explore the



Teen: Silent Library. Come and

watch people doing some really wacky and hilarious activities, and try not to laugh. Ages 11-18. Please register. 3:30 p.m. Northwest Akron Branch Library, 1720 Shatto Ave., Akron 330-836-1081, northwestakronbranch.

4/3, 4/8

Children’s Big Spring Fling. In

this whimsical garden adventure, explore a Discovery Log of unique reptiles and amphibians, uncover some of the first signs of new life in Hershey Children’s Garden, and break out of the winter doldrums. 1-4 p.m. Please register in advance by calling 216-721-1600 x100. Cleveland Botanical Garden, 11030 East Blvd., Cleveland,

Kids Basic Cooking. Join chef

Mario as he goes over some basic recipes, safety 101 and sanitation. Ages 10-15. Pay at door $5 members; $7 non-members. 2-3 p.m. 2739 Center Road, Avon, 440-937-0764,

Drop-By Discovery. Drop by North

Chagrin Nature Center to see which animal is out of its indoor home. Get an up-close look at a snake, turtle, salamander or other creature. 1:30-4 p.m. North Chagrin Nature Center, 3037 SOM Center Road, Willoughby Hills, 440-473-3370,


Little Tikes’ Round-Up. Meet all the

horses, groom miniatures and finish with a ride on a pony. Fee includes Farmpark admission for one child and one adult. 10-11:30 a.m. Lake Metroparks Farmpark, 8800 Euclid Chardon Road, Kirtland, 440-256-2122,

Breakfast with the Easter Bunny.

Pancake Breakfast will be served. Adults $6; Ages 3-11, 2 and under free. 8-11 a.m. Easter Bunny will visit between 9:30-11 a.m. $4. Wellington Reservation, 535 Jones Road, Wellington, 440-647-2509,

Egg Hunt. The Easter Bunny is

coming to Lakeview. Bring your own basket, a camera and be sure to dress for the weather. 10-11 a.m. Ages 2-11. Lakeview Park, 1800 W. Erie Ave., Lorain, 440-245-1193,

Penguin Palooza. Come enjoy

stories and crafts while exploring the wonderful world of penguins. All ages are welcome. 1 p.m. Green Branch Library, 4046 Massillon Road, Uniontown, 330-896-9074,

Magic Egg Hunt. Enjoy some

fun hunting for eggs at the park. 11 a.m.-noon. 576 W. Park Ave., Barberton, 330-848-6739,


Spring Break Magic Show.

ONGOING: Penguin Shores Exhibit Cleveland Metroparks Zoo is ready to welcome the pitter-patter of tiny webbed feet when six African black-footed penguins take up residence in Penguin Shores presented by Cleveland Clinic Children's, a seasonal traveling exhibit opening April 3 in the Zoo's Northern Trek area. A new live animal show with all-star critters from the Zoo's Conservation Education department will be performed several times daily. Cleveland Metroparks Zoo is open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily. Admission is $13.25 per person, $9.25 for kids ages 2 to 11. Free for ages 2 and younger and Zoo members. 3900 Wildlife Way. 216-661-6500

Breakfast with the Easter Bunny. The Chardon Square

Association is hosting a breakfast with the Easter Bunny. Enjoy hot pancakes and a visit with the Easter Bunny. 9-11 a.m. Pilgrim Christian Church, 440-285-8791,

Breakfast with the Easter Bunny.

Find all of the eggs and receive a fun prize. Drop in anytime between 10 a.m.-1 p.m. 9465 Kinsman Road (Route 87),
Russell and Newbury Twps., 440-2869516,


Mario and Luigi Scavenger Hunt.

Breakfast buffet, crafts, activities, visits with the Easter Bunny and an egg hunt. Bring your own camera for pictures. Dress for the weather as this event takes place rain, snow or shine. Reservations required. 9-11 a.m. Akron Zoo, 500 Edgewood Ave., Akron, 330-375-2550,

Drop in any time to help Mario and Luigi find Princess Peach in the library. Watch out for Bowser. Children can move at their own pace with simple clues and activities. All ages are welcome. 1-8 p.m. Mentor Public Library, 8215 Mentor Ave., Mentor, 440-255-8811,

The Full Frog Moon: Almost an Eclipse. Catch highlights

Grandparents in the Park: Spring Break. Grandparents and

of the eclipse in our planetarium, then observe the rising “Frog Moon” using the Observatory Park telescopes. 8-9 p.m. Observatory Park, 10610 Clay St., Montville Twp., 440-286-9516,

Egg Hunt: Nature Style. Rhyming clues take you indoors and out to find hidden eggs and fun facts.

grandchildren are invited for a day of fun indoor and outdoor nature activities for all ages. Please bring a snack to share. Registration required. 10-11:30 a.m. Big Creek Park, Meyer Center, 9160 Robinson Road,
Chardon Township, 440286-9516,

Magician Jim Kleefeld brings his all ages “Reading is Magic” show to Avon Lake Public Library. Can you figure out how he does those tricks? 11 a.m.-noon. Avon Lake Public Library, 32649 Electric Blvd., Avon Lake, 440-933-8128,

Family Movie Nights. Watch

recently released movies on the big screen. Doors open at 5:30 p.m. and the movie begins at 6 p.m. “Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part 1” at Willoughby Hills Library, 35400 Chardon Rd., 440-942-3362


Snazzy Headband Holder. Need a cool place for your headbands and ponytail holders? Make and take a great headband holder. 7-8 p.m. Westlake Porter Public Library, 27333 Center Ridge Road, Westlake, 440-871-2600,

Paper Dahlia Wreath Craft. Create a paper wreath that is perfect for spring. Cardboard, hot glue and paper will be used to create wreaths. All supplies are provided. 6:30 p.m. Green Branch Library, 4046 Massillon Road, Uniontown, 330-896-9074, greenbranch.


Archery for Kids. Archery is

one of the oldest arts still practiced today. Ages 9-12 can learn international-style target archery and test their marksmanship at a traveling indoor range. Advance registration is required. 10-11:30 a.m. Coventry Oaks Area, 40 Axline Ave., Akron, 330-865-8065,

April 2015 •



calendar stages

Career Day. Career Day at the

Zoo is a wild experience. Explore the professional fields of animal care, veterinary medicine, education and more. Get close to small animals, take a behindthe-scenes tour and get a closer look at the real work involved with these careers. 9 a.m.-2 p.m. Pre-registration and waiver forms are required. 3900 Wildlife Way, Cleveland, 216-661-6500,


Trout Derby. Kids can receive a $1 cash prize if they catch a tagged fish. Bring fishing gear. A limited number of rods and reels will be available for use during the derby. For ages 15 and younger. 9 a.m.-2 p.m. Little Turtle Pond, 2400 Harrington Road, Akron,

Phineas and Ferb Party.

Come party like Phineas and Ferb. Activities include party games, air guitar, bingo and watching a Phineas and Ferb episode. 2-3 p.m. Westlake Porter Public Library, 27333 Center Ridge Road, Westlake, 440-8712600,


The Sky Tonight Planetarium Show. Learn what’s visible in

the night sky this coming week. Wheelchair/stroller accessible. 2-3 p.m. Observatory Park, Robert McCullough Science Center, 10610 Clay St., Montville Twp., 440-286-9516,


Sweet Science: Experiments with Candy. Test, soak, stretch,

dissolve, smash — and maybe even taste — candy to learn more about the science behind many of the candies you love. Space is limited; registration required. 7-8:30 p.m. Mayfield Branch Library, 500 SOM Center Road, Mayfield, 440-473-0350,


LAF 2.0: Recycle It. To

celebrate Earth Day, make sculptures and creative crafts from everyday recyclables. Ages 5-12. Registration required. 3:30-4:30 p.m. Lee Road Branch,


Family Living At Its Best

2345 Lee Road, Cleveland Heights, 216-932-3600,

Page to Stage: Schoolhouse Rock Live! Jr. Take the stage with

the Fine Arts Association and get a sampling of its summer fun by exploring musical theater from “Schoolhouse Rock Live! Jr.” During this interactive workshop, children will discover how “A Noun Is a Person, Place or Thing” as they sing and do a little dancing. Grades K-3. 6:30 p.m. Willoughby Library, 30 Public Square, 440-942-3200


The University of Akron Dance Company. Vibrant dancers and

original choreography create two soaring evenings of magical movement. 7:30 p.m. EJ Thomas Hall, The University of Akron, 198 Hill St., Akron 330-972-7570,


The Music Man. Fast-talking

traveling salesman Harold Hill makes his living selling band instruments in small towns. Even though he doesn’t know a note of music, he’s managed to lure people with the promise of forming a magnificent band. A musical the whole family will love. Times vary. Geauga Lyric Theater Guild, 101 Water St., Chardon, 440-286-2255,


Zen Tangle! Workshop. Ages

6-10 will love ending their week with this fun workshop and pizza dinner. (Parents, this is a perfect time to plan a date night or evening with friends.) Cost is $27 and includes pizza and materials. 5:30-7:45 p.m. The Fine Arts Association, 38660 Mentor Ave., Willoughby, 440-951-7500,


Celebrate Earth Day. Find out

how you can make a difference for our Earth with Earth-friendly activities and items you’ll make and take to go green at home. Ages 8-12. Registration required. 11 a.m.-12:30 p.m. North Olmsted Branch Library, 27403 Lorain Road, North Olmsted, 440-7776211,

Pete the Cat Party. Stories, songs,

activities and special surprises will be included. Each child will receive a free book in celebration of the Cleveland State University’s 50th Anniversary. Ages 3-8. 11-11:45 a.m. North Royalton Branch Library, 5071 Wallings Road, North Royalton, 440-237-3800,

5th Annual Community Paper Shred Day. Patrons and Mentor

residents are invited to bring up to five boxes of documents to the main library’s auxiliary lot on the corner of Mentor Avenue and Sharon Lee Drive from 9 a.m.-1 p.m. Mentor Public Library, 8215 Mentor Ave., Mentor, 440-2558811,

Fossil Fuel Fun. The day will be

filled with awesome hands-on learning opportunities. 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Cost is $10 for the whole day ($5 for members). Akron Fossils & Science Center, 2080 S. ClevelandMassillon Road, Copley, 330-6653466,

Earth Day, Every Day. Learn how to celebrate Earth Day everyday through a story and hands-on activities. Children and adults. Live animals. 2-3 p.m. Carlisle Reservation, 12882 Diagonal Road, LaGrange, 440-458-5121,

4/18, 4/25


Good Old-Fashioned Outdoor Fun. Families can join naturalist

Becca Zak for some interactive outdoor fun. Please dress for the weather. Parents will be expected to play, too. 1-2:30 p.m. Tinkers Creek Area, 10303 Aurora-Hudson Road, Streetsboro,

Raptor Appreciation Day. Learn

about raptors through crafts, games, presentations and more. 1-4 p.m. Carlisle Reservation, 12882 Diagonal Road, LaGrange, 440-458-5121


April Showers. Celebrate spring

with a special story time. Join for some stories and songs about the rain, followed by a snack. Ages 3-7. Registration is required. 1-1:45 p.m. Mentor Public Library, 8215 Mentor Ave., Mentor, 440-255-8811,

Kiddie Craft Club: Earth Day.

Fun nature crafts, games and activities for preschoolers and parents, followed by a movie. 4530 Colorado Ave., Sheffield Village. For more information, call 440-949-5200 Ext. 225 or visit


Yu-Gi-Oh, Pokemon and other Trading Card Games. Bring

your friends and your Yu-Gi-Oh, Pokemon, MtG, etc., cards and be ready to battle/duel. Please leave your favorite/rare cards at home so they don’t get lost. Ages 13 and older. 6-8:30 p.m. Willoughby Library, 30 Public Square, 440-942-3200


The Geauga County Maple Festival. One of the oldest maple festivals in the U.S. celebrates the production of pure maple syrup in Geauga County and Northeast Ohio. Four days of fun, food and “everything maple.” Times vary. Free shuttle bus service from Sheetz Plaza, 435 Water St., Chardon,


Match Wits. A friendly and fun

trivia competition for teams from around Medina County. After a buffet meal (cash bar available) and cupcakes from A Cupcake A Day for dessert. Event sponsored by Project LEARN of Medina County. 6-8:30 p.m. Coppertop at Cherokee Hills Country Club, 5740 Center Road, Valley City, 330-7231314,

4/21, 4/25

Early Childhood Workshop – Rainy Weather. April showers

bring…ways to learn about rain! Play with clouds and learn how

they make rain. 10:15-11 a.m. (ages 18-36 months); 11:30 a.m.-12:15 p.m. (ages 3-5). Great Lakes Science Center, 601 Erieside Ave., Cleveland. Register at 216-621-2400,


Family Movie Night. Celebrate Earth Week by watching “Fern Gully: The Last Rainforest.” Bring a blanket and snacks. 7-8:30 p.m. North Chagrin Nature Center, 3037 SOM Center Road, Willoughby Hills, 440-4733370,

Weird(er) Science. Students will

participate in hands-on experiments. Registration required. 4-5:30 p.m. Westlake Porter Public Library, 27333 Center Ridge Road, Westlake, 440-871-2600,

Arbor Day Celebration. Engaging, hands-on activities and interactive shows. A free tree seedling will inspire thousands of Arbor Day visitors to bring their experience home. 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Holden Arboretum, 9550 Sperry Road, Willoughby, 440-946-4400,


Kids Recycling. Learn how

everyone can recycle with activities and crafts. 1-2 p.m. 11106 Market St.,
Birmingham, 440-965-7237,

Saturday Lego Club. Each month features a new theme to build around; creations will go on display for the community to see. April 18, 2 p.m. (Grades K-6) Willowick Library, 263 E. 305 St., 440-943-4151; and Willoughby Hills Library, 35400 Chardon Rd., 440-942-3362. April 25, 1:30 p.m. (all ages) Eastlake Library, 36706 Lake Shore Blvd., 440-942-7880; and 2 p.m. Willoughby Library, 30 Public Square, 440-942-3200

4/18, 25; 5/12

Springtime Fun Ceramics Workshop. Ages 4-8 (9:30-10:30

a.m.) and ages 9-12 (10:30-11:30 a.m.) make cool ceramic items for Mother’s Day, Father’s Day or for themselves. Cost is $33 per participant. All supplies included in workshop fee. The Fine Arts Association, 38660 Mentor Ave., Willoughby. 440-951-7500 or visit

April 2015 •



calendar stages

Earth Day Dump Clean-Up! Clean up and

discover what’s in a 50- to 100-year-old household dump! Bring gloves and a small hand trowel. Event is off-trail with wet conditions, so please wear sturdy footwear. Be prepared for the weather. Registration required. 1-3 p.m. Observatory Park, 10610 Clay St., Montville Twp., 440-286-9516,

Super Saturday @ Beck. Free, interactive early

childhood event beginning with “Hear & Touch the Music: Meet the Xylophone and Percussion Family of Instruments,” followed by visual art and music activities. Ideal for ages 1-7, with friends and siblings up to age 10. 9:30-11 a.m. Registration required. Beck Center for the Arts, 17801 Detroit Ave., Lakewood, 216-521-2540 x10,


Children’s Bike Safety Clinic. Kids can learn

the hands-on rules of the road. Have them test their bike skills on a fun safety course designed for kids and learn about the safety of wearing bike helmets. Bring your child’s bike and have it inspected. 10 a.m.-noon. Environmental Learning Center, 7250 Alexander Road, Concord Township, 440-256-2118,

Lake Erie Beach Clean-up. Help keep Lake

Erie shorelines clean. Garbage bags and gloves will be provided. Please dress warmer; the shoreline is usually cooler in the spring. 10 a.m-noon. Arcola Creek, 941 Dock Road, Madison Township, 440-585-3041 x6800,

Earth Day, NRM-Style/Milkweed & Tree Giveaway. Become a “citizen scientist” for

a day to promote good stewardship, help biologists in the Natural Resource Management (NRM) Department with their research projects, and receive a free milkweed plant. Noon-4 p.m. Swine Creek Reservation, 16004 Hayes Road, Middlefield Township, 440-286-9516, Annual Mother-Daughter Tea. Celebrate the bond between mothers and daughters. Grandmothers are welcome, too. Enjoy tea, dainty sandwiches and desserts, along with special entertainment. Girls ages 5 and older. 2-4 p.m. Avon Lake Public Library, 32649 Electric Blvd., Avon Lake, 440-933-8128,


LAF 2.0: You’re a Superhero. Kids can get ready for Free Comic Book Day by making their very own superhero masks. Ages 5-12. 3:30-4:30 p.m. Lee Road Branch, 2345 Lee Road, Cleveland Heights, 216-932-3600,

Jack Hanna’s Into the Wild Live. Animal expert Jack Hanna brings his two-time Emmy Award winning television series to the live stage with Jack Hanna’s Into the Wild Live. 7 p.m. General admission $10. EJ Thomas Hall, The University of Akron, 198 Hill St., Akron 330-972-7570


Free Comic Book Day 2015. Taking place

annually on the first Saturday in May, Free Comic Book Day is a single day when participating comic book specialty shops across the U.S. give away comic books absolutely free to anyone who comes into their shops.

5/2, 5/3

Free Fishing Weekend. North Coast Harbor

for Ohio Division of Natural Resources state wide has a free fishing weekend. Grab your fishing gear & head to the pier- limited poles & bait will be available from noon-4p.m. Saturday and Sunday. E. 9th Street Pier in Downtown Cleveland.

5/2, 5/3

Ballet Theatre of OHIO presents Sleeping Beauty. Children are welcome to come dressed up as their favorite princess or prince or in their finest dress-up clothes. Attendees will feel like royalty as they enter the theatre. Arrive early to join in the fun activities planned for the lobby of the Akron Civic Theatre before each performance. Times vary. 182 South Main St. Akron, 330-253-2488


Family Living At Its Best

April 2015 •



Family Living At Its Best

Keeping Pets Healthy Easy Tips for Proper Food and Nutrition By Dr. Anna M. van Heeckeren, MS, DVM at One Health Organization


here are so many options when it comes to feeding and exercising our pets. But how do you know what to feed them, how much to feed them, and how often to feed them? What about treats and people food? Many things found on the internet are NOT reliable sources of information. There are several things to consider: • The type of food that is best • The amount of food that won’t lead to obesity (or anorexia) • The number of times a day your pet needs food • Your family’s preferences and lifestyle The first person you should talk to about what to feed your pet is your pet’s veterinarian. There are many marketing agencies vying to get you to switch to their diets with words that have no meaning for your pet’s true nutritional needs. If your pet needs a special diet, only your veterinarian can help you know what is best based on your pet’s medical history. Veterinary nutritionists may be consulted for pets with special dietary needs. How can you determine how much and how often to feed your pet? Again, your pet’s veterinarian can help guide you. There are charts available to help you know whether your pet is too thin or is carrying too much weight. If your pet is too thin or too heavy, a veterinarian can determine if there is a medical problem, or if it’s a matter of your pet not getting the right amount of calories to meet his or her needs. Treats, though tempting, are not actually needed by pets. If you want to give a treat, hold back a little on the amount of their regular diet, and use that as their treat (probably easier if you feed them kibble). Ask your veterinarian what treats are recommended for your pet. Regarding people food, it’s not a good idea for your pets to get table scraps. If your veterinarian recommends that your pet gets a homemade diet, or if that’s what you want to do, get a recipe that is properly balanced from your veterinarian. Besides proper food, your pet needs exercise. This is a great way — for your pet’s health as well as your own — to interact with your pet. What may seem like exercise can be turned into a fun thing you can do with your pet. Take your dog for a walk (on a leash) at a nearby park, or take an agility training course. Not only does your pet benefit, so can you. If you are older or disabled and cannot take your dog safely for a walk, ask someone you trust to take your pet and wear a video device to record the fun. Then you can experience it with them later. Cats love to play with wadded up pieces of paper, tennis balls or other toys that they can bat about. Some will even play fetch with you. Get a cat tree so your cat can climb, jump and stretch. Cats can be taught tricks with the right motivation, such as using a toy on a string to lead them along a path in your home. Do you need more information about pet nutrition and exercise? Contact your veterinarian, or reach us at or search our website at

April 2015 •




Family Living At Its Best

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April 2015 •




Cash in SARA CARNES • The Mom Squad • @TheMomSquad

on Spring Cleaning Fine-tune your approach to organize and sell used items

I t’s time to “think spring!” I love this time of year.

We can finally see flowers again, play outside and clean out our closets. What? You’re not excited to clean out your closets? Well, you should be. Cleaning out your closets and selling your used clothes, shoes, toys and more could help you make some extra money – not to mention how amazing a de-cluttered closet feels. I’ve been selling used items for years. It has brought my family so much extra money. Plus, it’s much more motivating to spring clean when you know you are going to cash in. One of my favorite – and one of the easiest – ways to sell my used items is at a consignment or resale shop. What’s the difference between the two types of shops? When you sell at consignment stores, you are paid after

the merchandise has sold, and if you sell to a resale store, you’ ll be paid up-front. I’ve had great success at both, plus found some great deals to purchase, too. Lisa Lukach, owner of a resale shop in Northeast Ohio, says when you take extra steps like these to prepare your items, the resale shop or consignment shop (which reviews items all day) will be appreciative and more likely to purchase the neat items that you have for sale. The nicer presentation equals more cash back in your pocket or more credit for you to be able to purchase new items for your family in that particular shop. Visit the thefishmomsquad. com and click on the “Resale & Recycle in NE Ohio” page for additional information on consignments stores in our area and ways you can donate around our community.

$ $ $

Lisa Lukach, who has owned a resale shop in Northeast Ohio for 17 years, provides some great tips on how to get the most cash out of secondhand items at a resale or consignment store.


Start with the age and condition.

For most resale/consignment shops, it’s preferred that the item was purchased new within the last three years, and is in gently used or like new condition.


Freshen up your items in storage.

Go through your closet, garage or basement, take items out of their containers and freshly launder them. This will brighten them up, as well as help to smooth out any wrinkles.


Make sure you’re organized.

Place your items in piles, fold them neatly before you put them in a nice container and put like items – shirts, pants, jeans, etc. – together. Fold coordinating sets together. Take a moment to wipe off your shoes –and don’t forget the bottoms. Spray

Sara Carnes with Lisa Lukach, owner of a resale shop in Northeast Ohio

Sara Carnes is co-host of the Family Friendly Morning Show with Len Howser every weekday from 6-9 a.m. on 95.5 The Fish. She and her husband Russ are raising their two daughters, Makayla and Reagan, right here in Northeast Ohio.


Family Living At Its Best

them with some Lysol or disinfectant and tie or tuck in the laces.


Call your local resale or consignment shop.

Ask them if they have any particular items that they’re looking for. Some are always looking for certain items like younger boys jeans, pajamas and seasonal items.

April 2015 •



Family Living At Its Best

Northeast Ohio Parent - April 2015 Issue  
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