Columbus Parent is proud to present the National Center for Adoption Law & Policy’s Central Ohio Adoption Hero Awards, presented by Columbus Parent. These awards recognize individuals and organizations which have done great things in their own lives and in the lives of children in the adoption and foster care community.
You can enter nominations in any of four categories:
1) Adoption/Foster Care Professional: Honoring professionals who have demonstrated leadership and innovation in their efforts to achieve permanence for children.
2) Adoption/Foster Care Advocate: Honoring adoptive parents, foster parents, kinship parents, or volunteers who have demonstrated extraordinary efforts on behalf of children.
3) Families’ or Parents’ Group: Honoring an organization for outstanding support of adoptive, foster or kinship parents/families.
4) Youth Hero: Honoring exemplary community service by a child or young adult who was adopted or in foster care. (Service does not need to be related to adoption or foster care.)
We’ll be collecting nominations through our website until Monday, May 2, at 5 p.m.
The winners will be selected by a panel of community professionals and announced at the 2011 Forever Home Adoption Celebration, June 4 at COSI (and we’ll have more details on that event in the weeks to come because it promises to be a great family-fun festivity).
To find out more about nomination requirements and selection criteria, and to enter a nomination, please visit our website.
An important announcement about the Mom of the Year contest: On March 1st, Columbus Parent launched its 2011 Mom of the Year contest, using pre-tested Facebook and Twitter tools to record votes. Effective March 4th, Facebook changed the functionality of its voting tool, enabling a user to use “Share” or “Like” , and subsequently tabulated votes more than once. Columbus Parent was not aware of this change until March 28. It was determined that the standing vote currently displayed could not be changed without disabling the entire voting mechanism. Thus, voting for the 2011 Mom of the Year contest will end at 12 noon on Thursday, March 31. At that time, the management team at Columbus Parent will review the results. Based on an analysis of those results, a final decision will be made and announced the morning of Friday, April 1. Columbus Parent regrets that this glitch occurred and would like to thank those who made us aware of the change.
As Mom of the Year is winding down here, we wanted to get your appetites whetted for our next big contest. Starting next Monday, when the new April issue comes out, we’ll be launching our very first Best of Columbus Awards contest!
We figure parents know best what’s best in Columbus, so we’re taking the vote to you. There are 52 categories of family-friendly things to do, places to go, stuff to buy, and food to eat, and we want to know which ones you think are best!
The ballot will be available on our website, starting Monday, April 4, and all of the voting will be done online there. The results will be unveiled in our June issue.
In each of the 52 categories we’ve come up with, we have suggested some worthy nominees but you are not limited to vote only for them. Anyone can write in a nominee and you are welcome (within reason) to let people know who those write-in nominees are on our Facebook page. But you will notice that, wherever possible, we are featuring locally-owned and operated businesses.
You’ll have to click in to see the full ballot on Monday, but until then, here are a few of the categories we’ve come up with: Best Ice Cream Parlor, Best Dine-In Pizza Restaurant, Best Hot Dog, Best Place to Buy Clothes for Kids in Grades K-5, Best Shop to Buy Baby Shower Gifts, Best Food Festival, Best Library Children’s Area, Best Outdoor Playground, and much, much more!
The American Academy of Pediatrics has changed its recommendation regarding children and car seats.
The new policy, which will be published in the April issue of Pediatrics, advises parents to keep their toddlers in rear-facing car seats until age 2 or until they reach the maximum heights and weight for their seat. It also advises that children will need to ride in a belt positioning booster seat until they have reached 4 feet 9 inches tall and are between 8 and 12 years of age.
A change in recommendation from the AAP does not mean a change in the law — although that is a possibility in the future.
It does mean parents should evaluate their child's car seat situation and determine whether it's the safest option possible.
It's also a good reminder to check whether your seat is properly installed. Studies have shown that the majority of seats are installed improperly.
Locally, the Columbus Public Health department coordinates car seat checks, where professionals check to see that seats are properly installed. Here is a list of upcoming checking stations:
From The Dispatch’s Nancy Gilson come more great books for kids about heroes in African-American history:
“Odetta: The Queen of Folk” (Scholastic, 40 pages, $18.99, ages 4 to 8) by Stephen Alcorn In a vernacular, poetic voice, Alcorn tells the story of the Alabama-born girl who grew up to become a force in American folk music. Alcorn, a friend of Odetta's, also supplies the folk-style illustrations, which include depictions of Bob Dylan, Joan Baez and others whom the singer influenced.
“Rosa's Bus: The Ride to Civil Rights” (Calkins Creek, 40 pages, $17.95, ages 5 to 8) by Jo S. Kittinger, illustrated by Steven Walker The story of Rosa Parks refusing to give up her seat on a bus is built around the bus itself — No. 2857, on display at the Henry Ford Museum in Dearborn, Mich. The storied vehicle makes clear to young readers how critical the bus boycott that began in 1955 was in the nation's struggle for civil rights. Walker's paintings are big, colorful and dramatic.
“Skit-Scat Raggedy Cat: Ella Fitzgerald” (Candlewick, 42 pages, $17.99, ages 6 to 10) by Roxane Orgill, illustrated by Sean Qualls How a girl born poor and not particularly attractive grew up to become one of the nation's most revered singers is depicted in words and appealing color illustrations. The hardships of Fitzgerald's life — her mother's death, her life in an orphanage — aren't glossed over, making her rise to famous jazz and pop vocalist all the more dramatic.
Here’s a great reason to visit the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium on Sunday -- there’s going to be a big birthday celebration for Beco, the baby Asian elephant. He’ll be turning 2 that day!
His name came from a “Name the Baby Elephant” contest, and is a combination of his mother’s name, PhoeBE, and his father’s name, COco.
In celebration of Beco’s second birthday the Zoo will be throwing a party complete with free cake, games and activities, appearances by some of Beco’s friends including Manny Manatee and Polly Polar Bear and more. Beco will also receive a special gift from our keepers to celebrate his big day.
Events take place between 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. on the Asia Quest mallway in front of the pachyderm building (it’s on the north side of the big pond).
Guests will have the opportunity to purchase a copy of “Beco's Big Year” and have their books signed by author Linda Stanek. Author John Becker will also be in attendance to sign copies of his book “Frenemies.”
Go to columbuszoo.org for more information.
On Saturday, March 26, the zoo play area at Polaris Fashion Place will be crawling with more than kids.
The cushy animals that children climb on will be joined by real zoo animals as the folks from the Columbus Zoo & Aquarium invade the space!
There are also kid (and animal) friendly activities planned, plus the opportunity to win prizes. Favorite Columbus Zoo characters will be on hand, as well as presentations with real animals throughout the afternoon.
Then don't miss the Big Birthday Bash for the Columbus Zoo's favorite toddler. Beco isn't a “baby” anymore; the beloved elephant turns 2 this month!
The Zoo will host a birthday bash for Beco from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Sunday, March 27. Enjoy games and activities...and free birthday cake! For more information, go to the Zoo’s website.
-- Kristen Maetzold, contributing writer for Columbus Parent Magazine
We can't always count on April Showers to do all the work when it comes to our May flowers. So this Saturday, March 26, take advantage of the opportunities to ask some local experts their gardening and lawn advice!
The Franklin Park Conservatory has something for green thumbs of all sizes with two workshops. Garden Seed Starting is a hands-on class that will give you all the materials and info you need to start your flowers from scratch! You will get soil, your choice of seeds, and a flat to start them in. It takes place on Saturday, March 26, from 10:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. (cost for members is $25, for non-members $30). www.fpconservatory.org
For the younger set, FPC is offering Fun Crops for Kids which encourages young gardening enthusiasts to grow their own plants from seeds. Kid-friendly crops include fruits, veggies, and flowers. It takes place on Saturday, March 26, from 1:30 p.m. to 3 p.m. ($15 members, $20 non-members) www.fpconservatory.org
If you're looking for good garden info, but want something a little less “hands-on,” Oakland Nursery in Delaware is hosting a visit from gardening expert Ron Wilson. Wilson's radio show “In the Garden” airs every Saturday on 610 WTVN and this Saturday Wilson will broadcast live from Oakland Nursery from 10 a.m. to 12 noon. Oakland Nursery Delaware Garden Center, 25 Kilbourne Rd. in Delaware (right off Rts. 36/37). www.oaklandnursery.com
And finally, is your lawn in need of a little TLC? Start from the ground up. Dills Greenhouse will offer their Luscious Lawn Seminar on Saturday at 10 a.m. They'll have tips on starting a healthy thriving lawn from scratch, or improving your existing lawn. Best of all, the seminar is free! Dills Greenhouse is located at 5800 Rager Rd. in Groveport. www.dillsgreenhouse.net
--Kristen Maetzold, contributing writer
Only nine more voting days are left in the Columbus Parent Mom of the Year contest! So here’s a helpful reminder about how to vote for one of our five fabulous finalists — Samantha Bennett, Kathy Collins, Kristen Marks, Amanda Moon-Thomas and Jennifer Winn:
1. Click here to get to our website page where you’ll find photos of our finalists. 2. Click on each photo to read the nominating statement that was submitted for that finalist. 3. After reading the bios, pick ONE (and remember, you will only get ONE vote, so make it count!), then log your vote using either the Like button via Facebook or a vote via Twitter.
Voting is open until 11:59 p.m. on Thursday, March 31. While the number of votes received will be the primary (and we hope only) factor for determining our winner, Columbus Parent does reserve the right to adjust the results if voting irregularities occur (basically some computer geek figures out a way to cheat the system and stuff the ballot box).
A winner will be announced on Friday, April 1, and then featured in our May issue! So if you haven’t voted yet, please do so!
I'm going to be eating well on my next birthday.
After learning that Starbucks gives customers a free drink on their birthday, I began to wonder what my other fave places do. So I Googled “free birthday gift” and found all kinds of freebies. You can also visit the website of your favorite coffee shops and eateries to see if they have deals.
Many restaurants will give you a free dessert or appetizer on your big day. Others offer a free meal.
In most cases, you have to provide an email address so the free stuff might cost you some junk mail.
Some of the treats are just for kids but there's plenty for moms and dads too!
Happy Birthday to me -- and you!
Have your kids noticed the green buds of tulips or daffodils that have recently started poking out of the ground?
If they have, they're probably curious about plants and how they grow.
Growing seedlings is an ideal — and easy — home experiment.
Now is a great time to plant seeds that will grow into small plants that you can move outside when the weather gets better.
You can start seeds in old egg cartons or a variety of recycled containers you already have around the house.
Choose a few flowers and maybe some vegetables your children have never tried. (They may be tempted to eat them after growing the veggies themselves.)
Here's a great website to get you started:http://www.livestrong.com/article/245133-how-to-plant-flower-seeds-with-children/
Top o’ the morning to you! (or afternoon, or evening) We hope you’re having a grand St. Patrick’s Day!
And while you’re at it, we can start thinking about another holiday celebration --Earth Day 2011.
In Columbus, the Green Columbus organization runs a great series of events in April. The first is a worksite weekend where volunteers can sign up and work at a community worksite (like a community garden, riverbank or some other outdoor site that would benefit from a little TLC). That takes place on Saturday, April 16, and Sunday, April 17.
The second big event is Earth Day itself on Saturday, April 23, where everyone gets together at the Scotts Miracle-Gro Community Garden campus on the grounds of the Franklin Park Conservatory.
But back to the worksite weekend. Registration just opened on March 15 for both volunteer signup and anyone who would like to get their community site registered as a place where people can volunteer to work.
Here are the details and links that you need:
1. VOLUNTEER at a community worksite and/or the celebration (FREE, and you get sweet perks) – Volunteer registration for Earth Day worksites scheduled for Saturday, April 16 and Sunday, April 17 will open March 15. Once you are registered, you may select the service project of your choice and sign up for one or more shifts. (Don't worry, we will never share or sell your info.)
2. REGISTER A SERVICE PROJECT (Be a Worksite Host) – This too, is FREE with perks. If you have a "pet project" (like a community garden or a habitat to restore) or a "pet peeve" (like all that litter along your favorite road or river), register to be a worksite host and get 'er done. See Worksite Weekend FAQs here for details. Worksite registration is NOW OPEN. Use your 2010 login or create a new profile. Worksite registration closes April 5.
The bad weather has had me searching for fun indoor things to do. The kids seemed tired of their board games and I was looking for something a little more active.
We have talked about getting an air hockey table but don't really have room for one. Plus I hate investing in high-dollar items unless I'm sure the kids will use them — a lot!
I was excited to find a storable version of air hockey. Hover Hockey has a puck with a fan built into it so any hard surface can become a game table. During a recent snow day, the kids and I blew up the inflatable rink, which creates an enclosed, rectangular-shaped playing a area. We played on the floor. The pushers have felt bottoms so I wasn't worried about scratching my floor.
The kids thought it was cool and no one complained about having to crouch over the playing area, which also could be set up on a table.
When we were done, we deflated the rink and put it back in the closet.
Sportcraft makes two versions of the toy. One sells for $24.99. The other $9.99.
The Franklin Park Conservatory has come up with an evening that I consider near genius: They have paired a fun grown-up night with a great class for kids.
Several evenings this spring, the Conservatory will host its popular event, Cocktails at the Conservatory. The evening event is a casual evening in the Conservatory's beautiful space featuring grown-up drinks and snacks.
Elsewhere in the building, kids are invited to attend a cooking class. So everyone is at the same place, having fun; but moms and dads have some adult time.
I like it. And you can bet that Columbus Parent Magazine will be sending its Worth the Price of Sitter team to check it out for you!
Admission to Cocktails at the Conservatory is $11 per person and in return each guest is given $10 worth of beverage or hors d'oeuvres tokens. The event takes place every Thursday from 5:30 p.m.-10 p.m.
For more details about the coinciding cooking classes, visit http://www.fpconservatory.org/programsfoodedu.htm.
Portal 2 ($60, PC, PS3, Xbox 360)
When the original Portal snuck onto the scene a few years ago, players expecting the same old action-packed shooter experience got a refreshing dose of thinking in their action titles. Portal — and now Portal 2 — basically amount to 3D puzzle games where players are asked to move blocks, push buttons and flip switches to advance through a maze of challenges.
The physics-based puzzles of the first game return in this sequel along with an option that adds more complexity — co-operative puzzles.
Now, not only will one player be tasked with using their gravity and space defying portal gun to manipulate the environment, but many of the games' challenges will need a team approach to solve them.
This sequel continues the story of Aperture Science and the devious GlaDOS expands with a new cast of characters through the single-player campaign, while the addition of team play gets its own set of challenges. Portal 2 still features some violent content, but if you or your teen have grown tired of endless rounds of Angry Birds, then you owe it to yourself to try mastering the puzzles in store here.
—Shawn Sines, games reviewer for Columbus Parent Magazine
From The Dispatch's Nancy Gilson comes a trio of book reviews about heroes in African-American history:
"Fort Mose" (Abrams, 42 pages, $18.95, ages 10 to 14) by Glennette Tilley Turner In the 18th century, Francisco Menendez — born in western Africa and abducted into slavery as a young man — founded the first free black community in North America. The story of his life and the establishment of Fort Mose in St. Augustine, Fla., is told in a detailed picture book that provides readers with plenty of historical context. Photos, paintings, maps and drawings make this a complete package.
"Jimi Sounds Like a Rainbow" (Clarion, 32 pages, $16.99, ages 9 to 12) by Gary Golio, illustrated by Javaka Steptoe The man behind Purple Haze and the memorable performance of the national anthem at Woodstock evolved from a boy named Jimmy who loved to draw, paint and listen to records. With poetic text and collage illustrations — both delivered in a flamboyant, free-flowing style —the picture book traces Hendrix's creative development. The "rainbow" in the title is appropriate for the colorful book.
"A Nation's Hope: The Story of Boxing Legend Joe Louis" (Dial, 40 pages, $17.99, ages 5 to 9) by Matt de la Pena, illustrated by Kadir Nelson The picture-book biography — with big, robust paintings of Louis — is built around the boxer's dramatic fight with Max Schmeling of Germany in 1938, before the onset of World War II. The theme of a nation willing to put aside racial prejudice to rally around a sports hero is as powerful as the book's action-packed illustrations.
For a real taste of all Ohio has to offer, stop by The Hills Market this Saturday, March 12, for Ohio Market Day!
Come meet the people who grow, make and otherwise produce your food locally. There will be dozens of local vendors, prizes, free hot dogs and other treats to sample (and Hills’ samples are always seriously good).
You're also invited to participate in four different cooking workshops. The event is free and open to all. The Hills Market is located just off of Rt. 315 north of I-270 at the base of Worthington Hills. And the Ohio Market Day events run from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
For more information, visit their website at www.thehillsmarket.com.
--Kristen Maetzold, contributing writer for Columbus Parent Magazine
Do you know about the Pleasure Guild? You should because we're giving away four tickets today to their upcoming production of "Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat" at the Palace Theatre, this Saturday, March 12, at 7 p.m. Just go to our Facebook pageto enter and win!
But back to the Pleasure Guild because we are nothing if not all about educating our readers. According to their website, the Pleasure Guild of Nationwide Children's Hospital is:
"…a 102-year-old organization of 45 women committed to raising funds for Nationwide Children's Hospital's hospice and palliative care program. This program provides care for children for whom a cure is beyond reach. The services are typically provided in a child's home to keep the child comfortable and provide spiritual and emotional support to the child and his/her family.
Each year, the women of Pleasure Guild raise more than $200,000 for the hospice and palliative care program… Pleasure Guild's leading fundraiser is a professionally directed family play production held annually in March at the Palace Theatre in Columbus."
To which we say, wow, those 45 women must be very, very old now (sorry, just a little misplaced-clause editorial humor there). No, but seriously, it is an amazing cause and an amazing production that is truly a part of Columbus history. In fact, pretty much every Central Ohio person we can think of who has gone on to a professional career in the performing arts has performed in a Pleasure Guild show.
For more information about tickets (which go from $15 to $27 for shows on March 11, 12 and 13), go to the Pleasure Guild website, call the CAPA tickets office at 614-469-0939 or Ticketmaster at 1-800-745-3000, or visit the CAPA Ticket Office at the Ohio Theatre (39 E. State Street) or any Ticketmaster outlet.
The weather forecast is looking wet but warm for tomorrow night, but you still might want to venture out for the Short North Gallery Hop.
The Short North Business Association will host the monthly Gallery Hop on Saturday March 5, 2011 from 4 p.m.-10 p.m. The Gallery Hop is a free event open to the public that occurs the first Saturday of each month and is highly family friendly.
This month, the district will proudly host the coed a cappella group Mixed Company from Yale University (think the Glee episodes that have Darren Criss and his Dalton Academy buddies!).
Mixed Company will be performing two sets during the Hop from 6 p.m.-7 p.m. and 8 p.m.-9 p.m. in front of the Victorian Gate Condominiums located at 663 N. High St.
While hanging out at the NBC4 Daytime Columbus show today, we found out about the Arnold Sports Film Festival that opens today and runs through Sunday. You probably already know about the sports part of the festival, but this year for the first time, there's a film component to "The Arnold" (as everyone has taken to calling this Central Ohio tradition, now in its 23rd year).
Short films, 15 minutes or less in length and centered on sports themes, have been created by professionals and high-school students, selected for screening at the festival, and a jury will choose the award winners. Workshops about film-making will take place all weekend, as will screenings of the candidate films at the Arena Grand Movie Theatre, located at 175 Nationwide Blvd., just a hop, skip and a leg press away from the rest of the Festival events taking place at the Greater Columbus Convention Center at 400 N. High St.
Admission to the film screenings is free with an Arnold Sports Festival wristband. If you are attending the Arnold Festival at the Convention Center, your arm band will gain you access to the film festival for no additional charge. Admission is only granted for that day's events. For example, if you attend the Festival on Friday only, you may see the film festival entries on Friday only.
Tickets for the Film Festival ONLY are $15.00 and will go on sale at the Arena Grand box office one hour prior to scheduled show times. Seats for all showings are limited to a first come, first seated basis. The schedule is as follows:
Since drinking green beer isn't really a family activity, consider celebrating another fun holiday in March.
March is National Craft Month. Craft projects help create fun memories for your kids. They're also a great way to keep the kids occupied on snowy or rainy days.
Locally, we have some exciting places to explore. Wholly Craft, in Clintonville is sure to get your creative juices going. (They also have great classes for grown-ups.)
The Ohio Craft Museum, is another fun place to get inspired. The museum also offers classes.
Michaels, has tons of projects on their website. The chain of craft stores routinely offers free crafting sessions for kids on the weekends.
Jo-Ann Fabric and Craft Stores, also sells lots of fun craft kits and supplies.
Lowe's stores are another spot for free kids' activities. The DIY store hosts free Build and Grow clinics for children on many Saturdays. Check out for details.
And to honor National Craft Month, we’ve got a giveaway for you: a copy of “Recyclo-Gami,” a great new book with 40 craft projects to do at home! It’s by Laurie Goldrich Wolf and comes from Downtown Bookworks. Just go to our Facebook page and tell us you want it where we ask you to tell us if you want it!