Monday, May 19, 2008

Check out our new website!

Please point yourself to our new website at


Sunday, May 18, 2008

We made it! All sweaty and tired...but we made it.

35 brave souls, mostly returning KIVA members, blazed a trail up to the amazing sights at the top of Peaks of Otter on Saturday!

Thanks to Target for the water, man did we need it, and to Clif Bar for supplying the snacks! Hmmm...Chocolate Chip Bars, Double Chocolate Bars, Sour Apple Twists Ropes, and Strawberry Twists Ropes...

Two quick things:
June 7th, Roanoke City Parks has invited KIVA members for a special hike at 10AM. I will send out an e-mail of details.

NEW - The Phenomenal Jon Beard and the Ever-talented Kim Avis have created a bright and bold new website for KIVA. It is still in the works. I will give you the link, as soon as they give the go ahead. These guys hiked with us, took amazing pictures and still had the energy to go home and develop this fantastic addition to our increasing web presence. Thank you guys.
Please check out Jon's work at

Thanks All.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

A hiking we will go...a hiking we will go....

Join us today, if you can! See below for details. Check back Monday for really neat news and an extra special date for KIVA members in June. If you have not signed up for our monthly newsletter, please send an e-mail to
Also: Please check out this great article about the work of Richard Louv and the people of Children and Nature Network.
Also wic... Thanks to the Roanoke Times for their excellent coverage of Bike Month. They published my letter to the editor today about these efforts. I will be riding in the Ride of Silence Wednesday, to bring attention to the growing number of people who are making the clean commute to work.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Ready to take on the mountain?

Join us Saturday for a beautiful day spent hiking to the top of Sharp Top at the lovely Peaks of Otter. Our children have enjoyed this fall and spring tradition for several years now. Each of them has spent time in our worn out old backpack. This will be our youngest last journey in the faded teal and blue snuggly. And he will be excited for that. His little legs are not so little anymore.

Our kids enjoy the trip for the snack breaks, and the chance to see Daddy winded. Last year, nearing the top, I heard our youngest mimicking me from the I'm sure he didn't know why I was making the noises, he just new I was supposed to be doing it, and therefore so should he.

This year the trip will be shorter, as we have grown, but also because we will have friends hiking along with us. Many people on our mailing list of over 160 families have said they will come out. We are happy to also welcome Ms. Virginia Ehric from the Friends of the Blue Ridge Parkway. We joined FotBRP after hiking the trail last spring. I came down the mountain noticing how much cleaner the trails were and a few days later I read a great article about how a group of teenagers spent their spring break cleaning up the Peaks trails for a project sponsored by the Friends.

Ms. Virginia will be sharing about the FotBRP programs, box turtles and tree plantings. We will be writing up our adventure on Saturday for their newsletter. The timing of this event is perfectly set to the recent newspaper accounts of the loss of funding for the Blue Ridge Parkway. Come join us as we learn more about the efforts of so many people working to keep our area beautiful. Can't make it, but want to learn about the Friend's efforts, check out

Meet us at 10 AM at the Discovery Center atop Mill Mountain for a pit stop and directions, or meet us at the bottom of the Sharp Top Trail at 10:45 AM. We hope to see you there. Bring a picnic lunch. Snacks are being provided by Clif Bar and 72 water bottles have been donated by Target of Roanoke. We will begin the hike about 11:20.

Thanks for your support and for passing the information about KIVA onto many friends, family, and neighbors.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Went up on the mountain, to give my horn a blow...

E-mail us at for an agenda for the year and monthly newsletter.

Such a reward this has been, to invite people out to a favorite park, to share picnic lunches, to meet new families. A simple idea has grown into a very large list, a slightly large undertaking, and something the Donahue family looks forward to all month long! Our last meeting cemented for us that we have a good thing going with KIVA. For those who could attend, the families who hunted down this little oasis of a park (Happy Hollow Gardens) we thank you.

For those of you that could not attend for various reasons, but sent notes of support (Go Windy Hill Yard Sale Day!) we thank you. For those of you that sent prizes for our talent show, over 100 prizes given away!, we thank you. To those of you who didn't run away when I destroyed a lovely rendition of my favorite banjo tune, I'm sorry for your pain. I promise not to do that again...any time soon. I spoke of how honored I was that friends would be willing to come up and play for our talent show. Not just for the cool swag, donated by area businesses, but just because I asked. Thank you all.
The Ever Incredible Mike Franke
The Golden Throated Jamie Booker - The Cat Came Back!
The Rockingest Rockers in the Land - The Wading Girl - songs about bears...oh my!
The Entertainingest and Extremely Energetic Tom Angleberger
The Easy Go Calmly Lynwood Hall
and the addition of a wonderful mandolin player (and son) and storyteller, Bill Saul - who needs to send me a recording of his tune about playing in the Blue Ridge Mountains...
and lastly, the many, many talented kids who took to the stage!

Thank you to the businesses and individuals who donated prizes - you will be noted in our next monthly newsletter... Over 100 prizes!
Holiday Inn - Roanoke at Valley View
Plan 9 Music of Roanoke
Grandin Theatre
POPS Ice Cream Parlor (for strength)
Walkabout Outfitters in Downtown Roanoke - please call them for your hiking needs!

If you get a chance, please tell all the fine businesses "thank you" the next time you stop in!

Tom Angleberger for the signed copy of Quikpick Adventure Society - a book that got KIVA stewing in our brains. A must read!
Karen Adams for a copy of her book, The Mystery of Roanoke

and the wonderful, wonderful teachers at Glen Cove Elementary who emptied their closets (and wallets) just for me!

Now keep on getting out there. Roanoke, Salem and the surrounding areas offer us so many great places for free outdoor fun. Last weekend, I had the chance to so some puddle splashing with our kids on their bikes! That kind of adventure brings you to life. That's what showers and changes of clothes are for, right? April Showers bring Virginia clay stains. Maybe we should write for a sponsorship from the maker of the bleach pen! I'll work on that. In the meantime, make some memories with your children. It won't be long until they won't want to have a thing to do with us. Unless...

Saturday, April 26, 2008

We'll see you on the mountain!

KIVA meets today! See below for more information.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Your name here? KIVA Talent Show!

Happy Hollow Gardens, here we come! Updated 4/21/08

We take to the mountain with our free monthly outdoor adventure club on April 26th from 10 AM until 3 PM. If you have never been to Happy Hollows, please check the link below or mapquest it yourself.

6697 Mount Chestnut Road, Uninc Roanoke County, Virginia

or this link
Happy Hollow Gardens

Times are still available. We have so many great people who have offered to share their talent with us. If you don't see your name here, but you would like, please let us know through e-mail at

THERE WILL BE PRIZES for each person who gets on stage. The prizes have been donated by area businesses and teachers. Gently used books, toys, hiking supplies, coffee, frisbees, a night's stay at a local hotel, John Lithgow books, music and much more. We now also have an official POP's t-shirt, a gift certificate from Grace's Pizza, a prize package from Plan 9 Records in Roanoke, coffee from Starbucks, tickets to a movie at the Grandin Theatre and gift certificates from B and D Comics. There will be a table of prizes laid out that day for you to choose from. We are still accepting prizes, as well as talented people!

Here is the schedule at this time.

Still waiting on a time for you, right?
Email at

10:00 arrival, introductions, pass out agendas
10:30 Grounds tour and share Lithgow books
11:00 Donahue family and others
11:30 Mike Franke and others
12:00 - 12:30 Picnic lunch
12:30 Jamie Booker and others
1:00 The Wading Girl and others
1:30 Tom Angleberger and others
2:00 Lynwood Hall and others

No talent too small! Due to parking restrictions, feel free to come up anytime throughout the day. About 20 cars can fit in the parking areas, please consider carpooling.

Families are encouraged to visit the stage when you would like, but feel free to walk around the park, enjoying the lovely creek, the wonderful trails, and the tremendous trees! Please remember to stay with your child at all times. Childcare will not be provided, but lovely memories will be made.

Check here for updates. Banjo, storytelling, jokes, tap dance, singing, mad skills, gardening, break dancing, flat footing, air guitar, soduko? Whatever your talent is, come share it with us!