Thursday, July 19, 2012

Read and Ride

This is my friend Karen Koets who runs a week long morning summer program named Read and Ride.  It has been held the last three years at a local therapeutic horse facility called the Cheff Center in Augusta, Michigan.  Like me, she also teaches first grade students at another local school district.  She has 15 students who are at risk readers and just need a little nudge and practice to become proficient.  Her infectious energy and enthusiasm for reading are just what the doctor prescribed!   She Dibel tests them the first and last day of camp and has  amazing data that shows growth not only in reading scores but an increased interest in reading.   She incorporates horse riding and care, reading, writing, a little math and a program similar to Brain Gym called Bal-A-Vis-X.  A program of exercises and fun activities for brain -body integration.  Kids switch at intervals to "centers" and stay with a group of 4-5  kids.  They are either, reading to Karen, reading to a dog, riding a horse and doing phonics activities that are incorporated with riding the horse.  Kids LOVE this part so much!!   So check out some of the pictures!  Amazing program!                                                                                               

These are the cute, gentle and trained animal therapy dogs that  the kids read too.


Here are the riders along with their guides ready to ride and do phonics activities at the same time.  These students were given ping pong balls with words on them.  They had to ride their horse to the appropriate oy, oi or bossy r  bucket and drop their ball in.  Lots of focus and coordination for this job!

Who knew your hand span is 4 inches?   Well, that' s how these kids measured the height of this horse!  A little math sprinkled into the reading program can't hurt.

This is definitely a power packed program that delivers results.  I wish all students could get this opportunity because there is so much active learning going on but threaded through lots of fun.  No behavior problems  here.  Gee, I wonder why?  LOL

Tuesday, July 17, 2012


Our son, daughter in law Jessica and grandaughter Ava surprised us  Fourth of July
weekend and came home for a visit from Georgia.  They had never taken the train to Chicago so we to
take a field trip to the Windy City.  Can you tell, it WAS windy but a hot 82 degrees.   We took
the Urban Architectural Tour Boat and learned so much we were amazed!
Here is a picture of the Chicago skyline from the boat with Ryan, Jess and Ava.

When in Chicago you must have the famous Chicago Dog!  After our boat tour we ate along the River Walk and had our Chicago Dogs. Peppers and pickles oh my!

No trip to Chicago is complete without a trip to Garrett's Famous Popcorn.  We stocked up on carmel corn with pecan and the Garrett Chicago mix of cheese popcorn and carmel corn. When you go there expect a line but it goes very fast, definitely worth the wait!! YUM!
We ended our day at Millenium Park where there were splash pads and  water fountains cooling everyone off  who enters this refreshing area!  Chicago is an energetic city with a smorgasbord full of activities to satisfy any appetite!

Monday, July 16, 2012

Bloomin' Fertilizer

I went to Lowe's to pick up some paint for me bathroom makeover.  While the woman waiting on me  was mixing my paint I went to the garden section to pick up fertilizer for my droopy plants.  Isn't everybody struggling with this hot summer season with little rain to keep our plants perky?  I spotted Miracle Gro which is what I always use and placed it on the paint counter waiting for my paint to be mixed.  Then the Lowes woman brought me my paint.  She spotted the Miracle Gro and said "Miracle Gro, eh?  What are you trying to fix?"  I explained my plants were unusually droopy even with frequent waterings and not blooming very fast.  She said "follow me".  She explained she used to work in the garden department.  She immediately grabbed a bottle off a shelf in the garden center and explained this stuff works the best.
It smells absolutely AWFUL!  I mixed it with water and held my nose to fertilize all my outdoor plants.
After about a week I have already seen my plants perk up in my window boxes.  I planted this year purple verbena, white russian climbing petunias and red germaniums.   Check it out!