Saturday, August 31, 2013

Accessibility for Attendees with Physical Disabilities

Based on our experience with the 2013 reunion, we would like to provide some information regarding our location and activities for families who may have members with physical disabilities, including those affecting their mobility.  We hope that this information will be helpful to you in determining whether or not our event is a good fit for your family.  In 2013, we had adults and children with a variety of physical disabilities successfully navigate our reunion grounds, but we understand that no two people are alike and what may be feasible for one person may not be so for another.

Hamilton County Parks in Cincinnati, Ohio have a four-level classification system for accessibility as follows:

·         Level 1: Considered fully accessible and meets architectural standards for handicap accessibility. Level 1 sites include Visitor Centers, Ranger stations, snack bars, restrooms, numerous picnic areas and paved trails. There is at least one Level 1 facility at each developed park.
·         Level 2: Usable to disabled persons, but may include inconveniences.
·         Level 3: Difficult to use by disabled persons; assistance may be required. These sites include facilities which are located in difficult terrain.
·         Level 4: Undeveloped section of the park; inaccessible to most disabled persons.

Winton Woods Park Campground  in the Hamilton County, Ohio parks system has a Level 1 handicap accessible public restroom which is found about 530 feet from our reunion grounds.  You may drive or walk to this restroom on paved roads, including a slight hill up/down.  There is also a fully accessible cabin with a bathroom located directly on the reunion grounds.  If you let us know ahead of time, we will try to make arrangements with the family renting this cabin to allow use of their bathroom for your family member with a physical disability if this would be preferable to you.

This is the hill connecting the main road with the reunion grounds.  While it is difficult to capture its grade of steepness in photos, here it is pictured from two angles:

The Level 1 restroom and shower at the Winton Woods campground:

If you use the shower house and restrooms designed for the general public, this is what you will find:

 This is the Level 1 handicap accessible cabin located directly on the reunion grounds:

As reunion organizers, we will make every effort to arrange for a parking space for families affected by physical disabilities directly at our reunion location.  There are two larger handicap parking spots available and we will prioritize them for attendees with mobility issues.  Just let us know prior to the reunion that you would like one of these spots and we will assign them on a first come, first served basis.

The surfaces you will find at the reunion grounds include paved roads and grassy areas.  The paved roads are smooth, however, the grassy areas are somewhat uneven.  There is a maximum of a 3 inch, ungraduated step down from the road onto the grassy areas where we we serve and eat our meals and hold most of the activities.

Considering the wide spectrum of special needs represented in our group (anything from limb differences to hearing impairments to cognitive/developmental disabilities), we understand that not every child is going to be able to participate in every activity that we provide.  However, we are and have always been committed to making sure that each child will be able to be a part of at least one game and craft on each Friday and Saturday should he/she so choose.  While many of our young attendees enjoy being on the move, we also offer seated activities that may include t-shirt decorating, a variety of arts/crafts, face-painting, cultural presentations, and card games.  For more information on next year’s reunion activities, please check our reunion blog in the coming months.  If you have ideas for activities suitable to children of all abilities and ages, please feel free to leave a comment here or email us at

Many of the children and teens attending the reunion enjoy riding bikes, tricycles, skateboards, etc. on the reunion grounds.  We do realize that this causes some dangerous traffic conditions, particularly at meal times and while activities are in progress.  Therefore, the 2014 reunion will feature certain hours during which these activities will not be permitted on the reunion grounds.  This new arrangement should make things safer for all of us, including those with physical disabilities.

Our reunion weekend always features family time from about noon to 4:30 pm on Saturdays.  Families use this time to rest, have lunch, and explore the park.  Many families visit the wet playground at Winton Woods, but you are in no way required to participate in this activity if it is not suitable for your family.  Instead, feel free to check out the other playgrounds at the park or explore the two easy, paved trails that are Level 1 accessible (Harbor Trail and West Loop) and on which (power-driven) mobility devices are permitted.  For more information, please visit

If you have any further questions regarding access or activities, do not hesitate to contact us directly at  We, the organizers of this reunion, are parenting children with physical and developmental disabilities ourselves and will try to address any concerns on these matters.  However, please understand that we do face certain locational and financial limits in what we can do to accommodate each attendee's individual needs.  It's up to each family to decide if our reunion is a good fit and how to make the most of it for its children.

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Silent Auction

Just a reminder that we are planning a silent auction to raise funds for next year's reunion which will help keep costs to our families as low as possible in an economic climate that is tough for sponsorship.  So far the following items have been offered for auction:

Nicely Family - handmade bracelet
Villemure Family - movie basket
Horn Family - handmade bandana skirt with matching t-shirt
Bromund Family - gift card
Martini Family - toddler fun basket
Larsen Family - summer fun basket
Perkins Family - framed original photograph from Bulgaria
Santor Family - loaf of homemade bread and a dozen homemade cookies x 2
Brooks Family - lotto/scratch off tickets
Mandeville Family - 3 Romany cook books

If you would like to contribute an item that showcases your talents or put together a little basket, please let us know and I will add you here.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Going Greener

In a small effort of trying to make our reunion be a little more environmentally friendly, we have ordered BPA-free plastic stadium cups this year to be used and re-used at our lemonade, water, and iced tea fountains.  It broke my heart last year to see all of us grabbing a new cup just about every time we wanted another drink.  We generated way too much garbage.

So, this year, there will be one stadium cup per person in the family welcome bags. The cups have a custom design on them that provides a line on which to write the owner's name (we will have sharpies at the ready when you check in).  Hopefully this will help us all in keeping track of our cups.

If you lose your personal cup or want extras to take home, we will have a limited number of additional cups for sale at the price of $2.00 each.  Proceeds go into the coffers for next year's reunion expenses.  Families are also encouraged to bring reusable water bottles or other environmentally friendly vessels for their drinks.

Na zdrave -  to your health!

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Pot Luck Sign Up

Potluck Items

Ethnic Bulgarian Dishes

Villemure Family - shopska salad

Stankov Family- Banitza, Luitenitza, Sirene and Other Bulgarian Goodies

Meat  (grilling meats)

Haven Family - hotdogs

Bodell Family-Smoked Pork

Boman-Plance Family - hamburgers

Brooks Family - hamburgers

Horn Family - hamburgers

Dunham Family - hamburgers

Nicely Family - hot dogs

Collicot Family - 100 buns for hamburgers

Cox Family - 100 buns for hotdogs


Cox Family - Potato Salad

Van Roekel Family - Fruit Salad

Stewart Family - Bean Salad

Haven Family - Lettuce Salad

Brooks Family - Broccoli Salad

Dunham Family - Oriental Coleslaw

Other Sides

Martini Family - hummus/ gluten-free tortilla chips

Korich family-Pasta side dish

Stewart Family-Cheesy Potatoes

Perkins Family- Chips

Larsen Family- Wisconsin Cheese Tray

Rowe Family - Veggie Tray

Sallot Family - Mac'n Cheese


Rickenbach Family-Watermelon, Jello/Fruit Salad

Van Roekel Family-Fruit Salad


Martini Family-gluten-free/dairy-free lemon pie

Cox Family- Cookie Assortment

Stewart Family- Cake

Rickenbach Family- Jello/Fruit Salad

McCulle Family- Fudge & Brownies

Gillian Family – Cupcakes

Parks Family - Chocolate chip cookies

Boyd Family- Sliced Apples, Dessert


Larsen Family-ketchup, mustard, pickles

Villemure Family-hamburger fixins tray-lettuce, onion, tomatoes


The reunion provides for Country Time Lemonade, Lipton Iced Tea and Drinking Water for the weekend.   If you do not like the drinks provided than this will allow you to plan to bring drinks for your family.  Though juice boxes are fun for kids, I hate for some kids to get them and not others.

Serving Products-

Bodell Family - all paper products

Mulroy Family- all plastic cutlery

Brooks Family - napkins


Conger Family - icecream toppings for Friday night

Santor Family - smores supplies

These families were TBD and waiting to see what was needed… which I appreciate.

Hanka Family - TBD

Rieben Family - TBD

Buchanan Family - TBD

Montes Family - TBD

**Deluxe cabins have full size refrigerators, Viviane and Yvonne's will have many supplies for the weekend but you are welcome to use them until they are full.  We hope some of the deluxe cabin attendees will offer space as needed to keep thinks cold until the potluck.

In a large group like ours, there will certainly be people who have food allergies or food intolerances/sensitivities. We ask that families mark and/or limit items with nuts.  We hope to  have a separate table for these specialty dishes (please provide ingredient list).

Lastly, we ask all of our parents and parents-to-be please do not feed any children that are not your own. Children do not always make responsible choices when offered a food or may not even know what's safe for them to eat and what isn't. Dangerous reactions can occur from a simple piece of candy or even a slice of bread, so please be aware.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Fees, Forms and T-shirts

Where in the world did February, March and April go?  I was commenting yesterday to Viviane that it felt like it was the beginning of March here in Southeastern Michigan.... maybe that is because of our cold and crummy weather... we are just this week having a solid week in the 50's... just yesterday I had to scrape a frosty snow layer off my car.  I want to cry... it is just not far to be so cold for so long!!!! I am over cabin fever and ready for our camping weekend!!   Maybe we will be fortunate that June will prove to be a beautiful balmy month and not quite the sauna from the past two years.  :)

So Topics of today-

1. FEES- The deadline for Reunion fees is May 1st.  Please keep this in mind.  I am open to Paypal or checks in the mail... whichever is easier.  I can tell you guys that Viviane and I cannot move forward right now until the fees are in.  We are dead in the water (because we have received a limited # of fees) so please get them in so we can make this a successful event!! If you have sent your fees, thank you!  If you haven't please, please send them today! 

2.  FORMS- Thank you to those of you that have sent me your forms either in the mail with your payment or electronically.  These forms help us immensely.... if you haven't signed up for a potluck item, let me know and I will give you a few ideas of what may still be needed.... pretty sure we still need hotdogs and hamburgers! (Hotdogs, hamburgers, smoked pork and buns are now covered though it would help with costs if another family or two would sign up for hamburgers.  If anyone wants to bring chicken, please remember to pre-cook it.  We could use another green salad - Yvonne is making shopska- and possibly a tray of hamburger/hotdog fixings like tomatoes, lettuce, onions, pickles, and condiments.)

3.  T-SHIRTS- We will be ordering the shirts earlier this year, the past two years we have cut the deadline close.  My t-shirt guy has been wonderful to give us a great price because he adores my little ladybug (Thanks Nicky Minaj for changing the way that sounds in my head!!) Anyways, Tom is a wonderful guy and tells me every time he sees me that I did such a wonderful thing in adopting Elina... boy I have him fooled... I'm the lucky one to have such a spitfire.  So getting to the point, in the past 2 years I have allowed people to order t-shirts almost up until the week of the reunion... this equals a very frenzied Momma trying to pick up t-shirts the day before leaving and Tom with his gravel voice saying... "Yeeee---vonne, I pulled it off but you need to give me more time girl."  In an effort to preserve both my sanity and Tom's I am ordering the t-shirts the first week of May.  This means that I need the t-shirt sizes ASAP... send me your forms so I can organize this! 

***NOTE: If you are a family that is still waiting for travel dates and are putting off sending fees, please contact me ASAP so that we can work out  the t-shirt order.  I can always ship your t-shirts to you if you are unable to attend.  But I would really hate for anyone to not have the reunion shirt for our pictures! BTW, I will not be ordering extra t-shirts this year.  Last year I ordered extra and we still have a few left.  If you are interested in purchasing a 2012 t-shirt for $5, please e-mail Viviane for the sizes that are left! ***

Now, send fill our that form, open PayPal or pull out an envelope and stamp and help make the Reunion a success! :)

Monday, April 22, 2013

Volunteer Sign-Up Sheet

Friends, we need help.  Please take a look at all the work which will have to be done to make the reunion a success and let us know where you can pitch in.  You can leave a comment or email me at viviane 8 at yahoo dot com.  This year, we will have a sheet posted at the reunion with tasks and the names of those who volunteered to complete them, so that Yvonne and I can have a little more time to socialize with everyone, too.  If the job you volunteer to do requires any supplies, Yvonne and I will have them ready for you.  Teens are invited to volunteer as well.


Set up tables, chairs and tents around 4:00 pm - David N., Kay & J.C. B.
Fill up water balloons around 4:30 pm - Terri and Marty G.
Decorate tables around 4:30 pm - Stephanie B.

Assist with nacho bar prep and set-up around 5:30 pm - Meagan & Kurt B.

Announce/run children's games (musical chairs & water balloon toss) around 6:00 pm - Tony S., Yana & Bojan B.

Assist with nacho bar take/down and clean-up around 7:00 pm - Andrew & Katie R.

Set up and serve at the ice-cream social around 7:30 pm - Irina & Max B., Katie & Andrew R.

Clean up the shirt decorating area around 8:00 pm - Lynda C. & Family

Collect garbage and transport to dumpster around 9:00 pm - Aaron and Jennifer S.


Prep and set-up breakfast bar around 8:00 am and on - Stephanie B.

Assist with breakfast clean-up around 9:30 am - Wendy B., Donna L.

Take the group photo around 9:45 am - Jennifer S.

Toddler stories and games at 10: 00 am, ages 4 and under - Jason and Kim V., Craig M.

Photo/Video Scavenger Hunt at 10:00 am, ages 5-10 (5 volunteers with digital cameras to accompany teams and 1 judge needed) - Celeste H., Lindsey P., Aaron S., Jennifer S., David N., Coleen S.

Preteen/Teen Challenge at 10:00 am, ages 11-21 (5 volunteers to advise and assist teams with their challenges and 3 judges needed) - Allen R., Donna L., Kay M.

Supervise and assist at arts and crafts table - Kay B.

Pick-up children’s wrist bands for the splash park (if we have the funds) around 11:00 am - Celeste & Chris H.

Collect garbage and transport to dumpster around 12:00 noon - Aaron and Jennifer S.


Assist with Enyovden cultural activity at 4:30 pm - Acia S.

Set-up for potluck around 5:30 pm - Adrienne P. and Gail D. 
Grill for potluck around 5:30 pm - Steven P. and Mark D. 

Clean-up after potluck around 7:00 pm - Adrienne P. and Gail D.

Make and supervise a campfire around 7:30 pm

Collect garbage and transport it to the dumpster around 9:00 pm - Aaron and Jennifer S.


Assist with cooking/setting up breakfast around 8:00 am and on - Alicia K.

Assist with breakfast clean-up around 9:30 am - Allen R.

Take down tents/tables/chairs around 10:00 am - Lynda C. & Family

Clean up cul-de-sac around 10:00 am - Adrienne & Steven P.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

2013 Reunion Schedule

2013 Reunion Schedule

Friday, June 21

Check in starts at 3:00 pm - Please meet us at cabin 4H to receive your welcome bag

5:00 pm - Meet & greet with icebreakers for the kids & t-shirt decorating
6:30 pm - Nacho bar
7:30 pm - Icecream social
8:00 pm - Campfire

Saturday, June 22

8:30 - 9:30 am - Breakfast in the cul-de-sac (provided)
9:45 am - Group photo
9:30 – 12:00 am - Bubbles, Balloons, Play Dough, and Chalk
                             Games (all ages) – twister, hopscotch, jump rope, balls
                             Crafts (all ages) – friendship necklaces, paper airplanes, beads
10:00 – 10:30 am - Toddler story time and games, ages 4 and under
10:00 – 10:30 am - Scavenger Photo Hunt, ages 5-10
10:00 – 11:00 am - Teen/Preteen Challenge Game, ages 11 and up
Noon - 4:30 pm -  family time to mingle, rest, or explore, have lunch, visit the splash park

4:30 pm - face painting starts
5:00- 6:00 pm - Culture Time: Enyovden Celebration with a story, song, game, and Enyovden wreaths
5:30 pm - Set up for potluck
6:30 pm - Potluck dinner
7:30 pm - Campfire, smores (provided), dance the Horo

Sunday, June 23

8:00- 9:00 am - Group breakfast (provided), thanks and farewell
9:30 am - Clean-up
11:00 am - Check out

Friday, March 1, 2013

Happy Grandmother March

Честита Баба Марта

 Chestita Baba Marta!
To all of our friends have a Happy Grandmother March.  May you have good heath!

Monday, February 25, 2013

Heads Up Families In Cabins

For the families who have reserved deluxe or camping cabins through the group reservation, please note that your payment to me will be due on tax day, Monday, April 15, 2013.

Two nights in a deluxe cabin including all taxes/fees cost $282.52.

Two nights in a camping cabin including all taxes/fees cost $117.52.

You can send your payment via Paypal from a bank account.  If you go this route, please select Personal and then Gift, so Paypal does not take out fees.  You will be responsible for all fees if you choose a different Paypal method.  Please email me at viviane 8 @ yahoo dot com for my Paypal address.

You can also send me a personal check or money order.  Please email me at viviane 8 @ yahoo dot com for my mailing address.

You can send your payments at any time between now and April 15, 2013.

1H - Korich Family - PAID
2H - Larsen Family - PAID
3H - Reunion Headquarters (Martini) - Paid $200 down payment on June 25, 2012 - PAID
4H - Reunion Headquarters (Villemure) - PAID
5H - Stewart Family - PAID
6H - Van Roekel Family - PAID
7H - Santor Family - PAID
8H - Cox Family - PAID

1C - McCulle Family - PAID
2C - Bromund Family - PAID
3C - Nicely Family - PAID
4C - Boman Family - PAID
5C - Perkins Family - PAID
6C - Sallot Family - PAID
7C - Montes Family
8C - Bodell Family - PAID
9C - Collicot Family - PAID
10C - Gillian Family - PAID

Monday, February 18, 2013

2013 T-Shirt Design

The voting has closed for the 2013 t-shirt design contest.  There were 25 votes cast in total and ten of them went to...

Design E 

Congratulations, Santor children, on your winning submission.  Your prize will be in the mail soon.

Thank you to all of our creative kids for their efforts in helping us find a design for this year's t-shirt.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

T-Shirt Design - Time To Vote

The polls have closed.

Here are the designs received for the 2013 reunion T-shirts.  You can click on the images for a larger view.  Some of the kids forgot that we said for the images to be kept in black and white, so if a multi-colored design is chosen, we will ask the winner to reproduce it in black and white only.

Voting Process: Voting will begin on February 10, 2013 at 7:00 pm ET.  Voting will end on February 17, 2013 at 7:00 pm EST.  One vote per person, child or adult, (all we can do is appeal to your sense of honesty and fairness here).  You must identify yourself in some way in a comment and let us know which design (include the letter) you want to see on the t-shirts this year.  The design with the most number of votes wins.  In case of a tie, we will have another vote to break the tie between those designs.

Design A:

 Design B:

Design C:

Design D:

Design E:

Design F:

Design G:

Design H:

Design I:

Thanks to all of our young artists for submitting their terrific designs.  Now let the voting begin.  Good luck.

Friday, February 1, 2013

Silent Auction?

One of our new families for the 2013 reunion approached us with an idea for a silent auction to be held at the reunion.  They have already offered to donate a few items.  However, to make it worthwhile, we would need more.  Is anyone interested in doing this?

Funds raised could be used for next year's reunion expenses or to sponsor an orphan cause in Bulgaria or both.

Here are some ideas for potential silent auction items:

1) Gift baskets (lots of great examples in various price ranges can be found on Pinterest)

2) Handmade items from our talented artists and crafters: quilts, scarves, greeting cards, paintings, children's clothing, etc.

3) Homemade preserves and sweet treats from our gifted cooks and bakers

If anyone is interested in having an auction and contributing an item, please leave a comment or email us.  If there's enough participation, we will try our best to move forward with this idea.

While I am here, I also want to thank our families who have approached their placing agencies about making a donation to this year's reunion and the families who have offered to sponsor certain aspects of the event themselves (breakfast cereal, paper goods, and so on).  We really appreciate everyone's efforts and know that with wonderful families like ours, this will be another great reunion.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

T-Shirt Design Contest

Just a reminder that there are only ten days left to submit your t-shirt design for the 2013 reunion.  You can find all the details and guidelines here:

We are looking forward to seeing everyone's ideas.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Reunion Sponsorship 2013

Dear Families,

It's hard to believe, but our reunion keeps growing.  We have already heard from new families who plan to attend this year and, of course, there will be newly-home Bulgarian children, too.  With this growth also comes an increase in expenses.  Yvonne and I want to keep the fees to our families as low as possible and not pass the added expenditures on to you.  However, this will only be possible if we can continue to receive sponsorship from placing agencies and other corporate entities.  Last year, Hopscotch Adoptions, Tree of Life Adoption Center, McDonald's, Hands Across The Water Adoption Agency, Golden Rule Travel, Skip's Bagel Deli, and Adoptive Family Travel all contributed financially to the success of our reunion.

This year, we need help again.  Therefore, please contact your agencies and talk with them about the wonderful experience you had at the reunion last year and explain that you would like to keep this unique gathering going.  Ask them to consider giving any type of monetary donation to help us offset our costs.  In return, we will list all of our sponsors on the back of our t-shirts again, so that their names can be worn into all corners of this country.

If you work for a company that might be able to donate supplies, such as food or craft items, we would be grateful for those as well.

If you have any questions or need an official letter requesting a donation, please email Viviane at viviane 8 at yahoo dot com.

Looking forward to seeing you this summer,

Viviane and Yvonne

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Got Hair?

One of the things we would really like to see as part of our reunion is a charitable aspect and we are wide open to ideas from our families.  Most probably we would try to support each other (children's clothing swap?) or our adoptive families in process (small grant award?) or organizations helping children/orphans around the world.

One suggestion was brought to us a few weeks ago by one of our moms who would like to donate her hair after having it cut at the reunion.  Another mom has already committed to joining her.  Is anyone else, child or adult, interested in this idea?  If so, we will try to provide more information on donation requirements as well as attempt to find a  local hair stylist to help with the project.  Please let us know in a comment here or via email what you think.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

2013 T-Shirt Design Contest


Are you creative?  Talented?  Have a great sense of style?

This contest is for you.

We are looking for the 2013 t-shirt design for our Bulgarian families reunion.

Who can enter?

Any child up to 22 years of age who has ever been to a Bulgarian reunion in the past 
or will attend for the first time in 2013 can enter the contest.  
One entry per child.

How to submit?

Please email your submission to viviane 8 @ yahoo dot com.

When is the deadline?

The deadline for submissions is January 31, 2013.

What kind of design can be submitted?

You can submit any original design which must be in black and white only.  
Your design must include the words "2013 Bulgarian Adoptive Families Reunion" 
and in some way relate to Bulgaria, Bulgarian culture, history, symbolism, etc.  
The design must be digital or able to be reproduced digitally
so that it can be printed onto the front of the shirts by our supplier.  
Please also keep in mind that many children who attend the reunion 
like to decorate their t-shirts with fabric paint and markers.

How will the winner be determined?

All design submissions will be posted on this blog for a popular vote in February.  
Details of the voting process will be decided in early 2013.

Is there a prize?

Yes.  The winner of this year's contest will receive a $50 visa gift card.

So, sharpen your pencils, bring out your brushes, move your mouses, and let's see your ideas.