The upcoming year, 2016, is a special one for They're Our Kids -- it's our 10th anniversary!
We began as the 2006 Leadership Hendricks County group project for Jan Currier, myself (Eric Ivie), Gus Pearcy and Richard Sutton, and the first, very rudimentary, version of TOK went online in November of that year.
TOK has been revised, updated, and expanded countless times since Version 1.0 hit the Internet in 2006, and as we close the door on 2015, we celebrate 137,987 page views and 38,654 unique visitors to the website over the past year! Woo hoo!
This blog, The Village, is the primary source of those page views and unique visitors, and in an effort to determine what information Villagers are most interested in, I investigated which blog posts in 2015 drew the most interest.
Here's how it shook out:
Over the weekend, I started the Downtown Danville Chocolate Walk and discovered it to be a fun, free (and delicious!) activity for families. It's also a good source of gift ideas for Valentine's Day.
Click here to read about my experience, and then come on out to Danville with your kids to start your own chocolate walk!
"It was the veterinarian who first told Clarence he needed to move to a cooler climate."
And so begins the adventures of Clarence -- a camel suffering from heat stroke who must move away from Cairo, Egypt and finds himself in Danville, Indiana.
"Clarence the Christmas Camel" is written by Philip Gulley, an accomplished author, speaker and Quaker pastor from right here in Danville. He has published several books and was approached by the Downtown Danville Partnership to write a children's Christmas story this year for the town.
Gulley obliged, and "Clarence the Christmas Camel" was published by Sycamore Printing in the form of a children's coloring book, sponsored by Waste Management. Illustrations for the story were done by several local artists and members of the community.
At the annual "Christmas on the Square" celebration on the day after Thanksgiving, Gulley's wife, Joan Gulley, read the story at the Royal Theater to all who were in attendance. It was then revealed that all of the illustrations were posted on windows of businesses around the historic Courthouse Square.
Each illustration corresponds to a page of the story, so by beginning at the Mayberry Cafe on the northwest corner of the Courthouse Square and following the black camel hoof prints around the Square, a person can read all about the adventures of Clarence.
We were out of town during "Christmas on the Square," so the girls and I only recently did the walking tour. It was a hit!
We read all about Clarence's airplane trip from Egypt to the United States by way of Paris, what kind of food he likes to eat, how some people were rude to him, and how a nice woman from Danville made him feel at home in our little town.
The girls enjoyed reading each part of the story and looking at the colorful artwork. We also stopped in at the Gallery on the Square and picked up complimentary "Clarence the Christmas Camel" coloring books for each of them. (You can get them at Mayberry Cafe and at the Danville Public Library, too, as long as supplies last.)
This is a fun, free Christmas activity for the whole family, and if you go at night, you'll be dazzled by all the Christmas lights around the Square. There are lots of neat shops and eateries around the Square if you want to duck inside from time to time to get warm, do some Christmas shopping or grab a bite to eat.
In our house, it's just not Christmas without Dr. Seuss. An annual holiday activity on our family advent calendar is to watch "How the Grinch Stole Christmas," and our kids -- like millions of others -- develop their reading skills by reading the works of Dr. Seuss.
So when the Danville Public Library offered Christmas in Who-Ville yesterday, we couldn't miss it.
The program began with a Dr. Seuss enthusiast / comedian / magician entertaining the kids with a reading of "Green Eggs and Ham," some information about Theodore Geisel AKA Dr. Seuss, and some magic tricks -- even using some of the kids as "helpers."
My girls had a great time laughing at the jokes, hearing one of their favorite stories read to them, and clapping after the magic tricks. I made the mistake of not "harumph"ing with the rest of the room during part of the story, so the performer picked on me good-naturedly for the rest of the act, much to my daughters' delight.
After the hour-long program, the kids had the opportunity to meet Santa Claus. When I say "the kids," I mean all of the kids at the library. However, my kids have never been fond of meeting St. Nick, so they made a bee-line for the crafts room instead.
In that room, they could make Christmas reindeer from popsicle sticks and they could make their own Grinch masks, all the while inhaling as much juice, milk and cookies as they could.
All told, we spent two fun hours at the Danville Public Library and spent a grand total of nothing.
Don't forget about the libraries when you're looking for fun, educational and free (or dirt cheap) stuff to do with the kids throughout the doldrums of winter.
Need help finding your library? No worries. Just click here.
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