Scavenger Hunts – Getting Our Start at Seton Hill University & Continuing

There was no harm in taking aim, even if the target was a dream.  ~John Knowles

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Aw Else Boutique at the Seton Hill University Block Party in Greensburg, PA. Danielle & her daughters! What a great group of gals! 9/20/14

This past weekend was a busy one.  The highlight?  Administering to the Seton Hill University Scavenger Hunt – Discovering Greensburg Scavenger Hunt, in none other than Greensburg, Pennsylvania.

How did it go?  Very well!  There was a lot of participation and the feedback was VERY positive.  This was my second year at the block party and generally speaking, there was a lot of interest in the scavenger hunt, not only from my prompting, but from some who sought me out knowing they wanted to become a Thrill Seeker!  Not to mention, those who inquired about private scavenger hunts for birthday parties, Halloween events and fundraisers.  Perfect!

Plus, it’s great making new friends and contacts, and rekindling old pals and acquaintances.  As a business owner I know the importance of exposure and word-of-mouth advertising.  Administering to the scavenger hunt gave me all those.  Youngwood Corner Market was one I just met, who I may team up with in the future.  It was also a happy surprise to see Danielle, the owner of Aw Else Boutique, who I’ve known for years.  She is great gal and an inspiration!  Gotta love networking!

On a side note, Danielle is also a Seton Hill Alumna.  As we were talking and catching up on business, friends and family, she refreshed my memory when I tutored her in Adobe Photoshop.  I completely forgot all about that!  Since those good old days on the hill, she has informed me that she is a pro at the software and loves doing her own creative.  Way to go Danielle!  Again, Seton Hill has always influenced me, even being a backdrop to future friendships.

As an entrepreneur of a start-up company, those words and inquiries recharge my battery and reiterates why I started the company in the first place, to get people moving around, excited about discovery and exploring the nooks and crannies of an area, while enjoying a mind teasing game.  Believe it or not, I love being challenged with the development of new scavenger hunts and I really LOVE seeing the participants excited about joining in on the fun and having a good time.

Sadly, my sidekick, Kyle was not able to attend and help me administer to the scavenger hunt.  He also missed last year’s block party too.  I guess my little teenager is a busy man and he’s going to have to pencil me into his schedule.  I want Kyle to grow with the company as it continues to do the same.  With each event, I try to teach him skills and share insights, not only for his potential career in business, but to grow as a person.

You know it’s true what they say, always keep your contacts and never burn bridges.  Over the years I’ve kept in touch with friends and business owners, as with some professors at Seton Hill University.  I’ve never ever had a reason to speak of Seton Hill in any other fashion but pure respect.  They, after all, are my Alma Mater for both of my degrees. (one when it was the college and one the university)  I’ve always held that school in high regards and they’ve reciprocated all the way, even to show encouragement and support for my business.

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Great food at Youngwood Corner Market! Met some new friends to team up with in the future! Seton Hill University Block Party, Greensburg, PA 9/20/14

When I started Thrill of the Hunt in 2012 (that was when we officially developed our very first scavenger hunt – The Piper Corporation was established in 2011) Seton Hill gave us an opportunity to strut our stuff so to speak.  Since then, Thrill of the Hunt has been apart of the Seton Hill Block party Discovering Greensburg in the Rain and the Alumni Weekend Decoding the Past Scavenger Hunt.

Working with Seton Hill University has been a dream of mine and has been a blessing!  I truly hope we can continue our relationship and grow to benefit both parties.

I will always hold a special place in my heart for all those companies, schools and participants who have helped and continue to patron Thrill of the Hunt.  I appreciate it immensely!

Down the road, as the company grows, I hope to work with more schools and universities.  I enjoy the learning environment and interacting with those who are open to a challenging scavenger hunt adventure.

Now time for my marketing promotion of Thrill of the Hunt.  If you’re interested in a unique custom scavenger hunt or just want to discuss the possibilities, email me at Game@ThrillScavengerHunt.com, Heather@AuntHeather.com or fill out the form on our Contact Us page for a free quote.  We will get back to you within 24 business hours. I promise!

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Thrill of the Hunt table at the Seton Hill University Block Party. Great participation & interest in the Scavenger Hunt! Greensburg, PA 9/20/14

Please note, Thrill of the Hunt will be hosting our annual Doggie in Disguise Scavenger Hunts in local cities including Latrobe, Pennsylvania, Annapolis Maryland, Alexandria, Virginia and New Hope, Pennsylvania.  Tickets are on sale now, but are limited.  We are still accepting local businesses to be on the hunt, at no cost.

Speaking of different areas, we are always open to hearing suggestions on scavenger hunt themes and hometowns to bring our events.  I just received a request to bring our dog scavenger hunt to Winchester, Virginia.  I will certainly start looking into the possibility and hopefully by next year we can make it happen.  Please Suggest An Event, either on our website or email Game@ThrillScavengerHunt.com or fill out the form on the Contact Us page.  I seriously want to hear from you!

Please make sure you’re following the hunt on our social sites. Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Youtube, always using #ThrillofHunt

Remember, everyone needs to … Experience the Game!

posted by auntheather in Common Sense,Education & Learning,Family,Hiking & Outdoors,News,Observation & Imagination,Thrill of the Hunt Scavenger Hunts and have No Comments

Random Fun Facts: Saint Vincent College

Nobody ever figures out what life is all about, and it doesn’t matter. Explore the world. Nearly everything is really interesting if you go into it deeply enough.  ~Richard P. Feynman

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Statue of Saint Boniface Wimmer in front of Saint Vincent Church at Saint Vincent College. I received the Sacrament of Confirmation in this church… Ryan was the alter boy.

Since I recently wrote about Random Fun Facts:  Latrobe, Pennsylvania, it wouldn’t be complete without addressing Saint Vincent College.

This past June, for Kyle’s birthday gift I got him, Bricks 4 Kidz, Kyle’s Lego Camp Birthday Surprise at Saint Vincent College in Latrobe!  Actually I got him two different Bricks 4 Kidz sessions, Animal Grossology for the morning session and Space Adventure – Star Wars for the afternoon session.  The Lego camp lasted a week, from Monday June 24 through Friday, June 28.  Kyle’s birthday is in July, so he was really surprised.

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Saint Boniface Wimmer, Saint Vincent College

The first day of Lego Camp, on Monday, I thought it would be neat to hang out with Kyle for lunch.  So I packed us a picnic and we ate on the college grounds.  It was a warm day but really pleasant under the trees.  Afterwords, I thought he might find a tour of the campus interesting.  In my head, I remembered how cool it was when Father Alred gave our sixth grade class a tour of the college when attending Sacred Heart.  He talked about the history, the architecture, the stain glass windows, and so on and so forth.

Well, as it turns out, I remembered the feeling more than the facts.  I must say, I fell short and needed a refresher.  Kyle wasn’t amused at all!  It was at that moment when I thought, I need to revisit Saint Vincent College, in the books.

Ironically, when I was doing research for the Discovering Greensburg Scavenger Hunt for Seton Hill University Discovering Greensburg in the Rain  (the sister college of Saint Vincent), at the Westmoreland County Historical Society, I came across a lot of intriguing content on  Saint Vincent College.  I hope you find the history of the college as interesting and almost mind blowing as I do!  Please read to the very end!  I promise it will shock you!

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Sportman’s Hall, built in 1790 by Father Theodore Brouwers- later become Saint Vincent

Random Fun Facts: Saint Vincent College

  • Founded in 1846 – Saint Vincent Arch-abbey and College
  • In 1766, before the monks John Fraser, an Indian trader, acquired land on part of which Saint Vincent is now situated
  • February 10, 1766 granted a tract of land along the Forbes Road to John- made in the name of the King George II of Great Britain by Captain William Murray, Commander of Port Pitt.
  • December 3, 1768 John Fraser transferred teh entire parcel of land to James Hunter, a farmer for Five Pounds Lawful Money
  • James Hunter owned the land for 21 years
  • March 12, 1790, the Supreme Executive Council of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania granted Joseph Hunter “a certain tract of land called ‘Sportsman’s Hall'” – 1st time the name of Sportman’s Hall was given to individual tract of land (name retained for over half a century)
  • Sportman’s Hall was called “the Cradle of Catholicity in western Pennsylvania”
  • April 16, 1790 Joseph transferred the deed to Rev. Theodore Brouwers, O.F.M.
  • Father Brouwers died on October 29, 1790.  As per his will his body was laid to rest in a plot overlooking Sportsman’s Hall.  Since 1869 his remains have reposed under a a stone cross in Saint Vincent Cemetery
  • Father Brouwers provided his successor by bequeathing all of his real estate “to a Roman Catholic priest that shall succeed me in this same place, to be entailed to him and to his successors, forever.”
  • In 1787, 6 Catholic families moved from Philadelphia and settle near Greensburg
  • A small log church was erected
  • Sportsman’s Hall stood northeast to the present Saint Vincent Archabbey Basilica until 1883 – in 1930s a marker was erected on this site
  • Reverand Michael Galllagher succeeded Father Stillinger as pastor, serving until October 21, 1846 – then Rev. Boniface Wimmer, O.S.B. was pointed as pastor
  • Boniface Wimmer was a monk from the Benedictine Abbey of Metten in Bavaria

Hence the name Wimmerton for the neighboring housing development

  • Boniface Wimmer received the monastic name of Boniface upon his entry into the monastery, a name with deep significance for German Catholics
  • Saint Boniface was an English monk who in the 18th century brought the Gospel and the Benedictine Rule to the Rhineland, where he established  monasteries and served as bishop of Fulda

He wanted to provide education for the sons of German immigrants and train clergy for the German community in the United States.

  • Saint Vincent is the 1st Benedictine college in the United States
  • Saint Vincent sits on roughly 200 acres of land
  • First buildings were built by the monks
  • The Benedictine Rule is known for spirituality and practicality
  • By 1855, Saint Vincent was divided into the Seminary, the Classical Department, and the Commercial Department – basic structure of college for next 50 years
  • In 1870, the college was incorporated by the State Legislature of Pennsylvania and given the power to grant degrees in the arts and sciences
  • February 25, 1931 Benedictine Sisters left Germany to go to America, set up residence in Saint Vincent, to earn money to send back to mother house during World War I
  • By 1987, one sister retired and founded Saint Emma’s Retreat House in Greensburg
  • In 1948, there were 19 majors available in the divisions of Humanities, Social Sciences, Science and Business
  • January of 1963 – a fire destroyed part of the campus – no life was lost

On the campus they have a memorial with a rescued bell saved from the bell tower.  The bent and torn metal of the once perfect bell is so surreal yet intriguing.

  • In 1983, Saint Vincent became co-educational

Until that point it was an all male college, sister college to Seton Hill University, which used to be an all female college

  • The college is sponsored by the Benedictine Monks of Saint Vincent Archabbey and shares the campus with Saint Vincent Seminary (4-year graduate school of theology), and Saint Vincent Parish
  • Saint Vincent College offers undergraduate degrees in business, education, medicine, engineering government service and church.
  • Saint Vincent College offers Masters degree programs in education and business
  • The Fred M. Rogers Center for Early Learning and Children’s Media (yes THE  Mr. Rogers!) is a college center
  • Nationally known, students from 24 U.S. states/territories and 20 foreign countries – half of these students are in the top 20% of their high school graduating classes
  • Accredited by the Middle States Association of Colleges and School
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Bell Tower at Saint Vincent, built in 1871 to commemorate the 25th anniversary of the arrival of the Benedictines in the U.S. In 1963, destroyed in a fire

Ok, now for the the really fun and interesting information I stumbled across.  Evidently, the students at Saint Vincent College need or did need to write a senior thesis before graduation.  Using primary resources, they were permitted to write about anything.

One student narrowed his focus to Latrobe and decided to write about the history of Latrobe’s volunteer firer-fighters and the Latrobe fire company.  Nice little topic!

Unbeknownst to him, he was going to stumble upon some really ground breaking news that was overlooked, even by Saint Vincent scholars, even to present day!  When I had lunch with my cousins John and Sherry Business Leader in the Form of a Youngster, in September, I asked John if he ever heard of the news I will reveal to you below.  He didn’t.  Dr. Olczak who also translated books for Saint Vincent College and most certainly was knowledgeable in the history of his Alma Mater, had no idea!

In the 1870’s, the Latrobe Advance, the local paper which is now the Latrobe Bulletin, circulated a story which dealt with a recent incident at Saint Vincent College.  What made the news but never made any other history books regarding the college and was forgotten?

Boniface Wimmer, yes the founder of Saint Vincent monastery and college, made the paper in the form of a small hidden story.  On October 1, 1879, the newspaper reported that the then 70 year old Abbot was nearly assassinated by a “lunatic”.  YEP!  No joke!  Keep in mind at this point in history, Boniface Wimmer was no stranger to the world, especially when concerned with his dedication and progress towards education and as a missionary.  In fact, he was recognized by many as the American Roman Catholic Church leader.  Kind of a big deal!  The paper reported that the mad man tried to assassinate Boniface Wimmer in his monastery room.

The story goes, a stranger was found lurking around, outside the monastery for several days.  On Saturday, September 13, 1879 the stranger gained access to the monastery where Boniface Wimmer resided.  A monk cut him off at the pass and ejected him from the premisses.  A week later the creepy stranger, on Tuesday September 23rd made his way back in the monastery and proceeded towards Brother Nicholas room.  He was the Porter or the gatekeeper of Wimmer.  This crazed stranger struck Brother Nicholas on the head and bolted up the stairs to the Abbot Boniface’s room.  (currently located in Mauer Hall and is used as a guest room) The lunatic took the key and tried to lock himself inside along with Boniface Wimmer.

Quick witted and matching reflexes, even from an aged man, the Abbot noticed this unusual sight and took the would-be assassin off guard before he could lock the door.  There was a tussle between the two men and that’s when Boniface Wimmer received a blow to the head, but not before gaining a hold of the intruders arm and managing to gain the upper hand. The 70 year old Abbot took down his attacker!  Yes!  He wrestled him to the floor!  This just proves, you have nothing to fear with God on your side and when you have complete faith in Him.

The recovering Porter came to Boniface’s assistance, after gaining his wits about him, and eventually a couple of monks arrived at the scene, hearing yells for help.  They removed the determined stranger from the premises.  No charges, no cops, no finger pointing, nothing.  Now-a-days that would have made front line news and opposing sides would be talking about it and pointing fingers at everyone including the Abbot for days, or weeks, heck months.  Everyone would have someone to blame.

The reason for this situation?  Not an Anti-Catholic message nor a hatred against Saint Vincent nor its Abbot.  The intruder was a Latrobe native who had mental issues and recently escaped from an asylum.  He felt if he killed the Abbot Wimmer he would in turn take his place as the Abbot of Saint Vincent.   At least the mentally disturbed man had goals!

Since this was not recorded anywhere else or brought to the spotlight, how can we know this actually happened? Even though back then the reporters needed to check and verify their sources, so I would be pretty confident they did their due-diligence before including the story in the paper.  Well, I came across documentation of a letter Abbot Wimmer wrote to the Vatican giving them an update on the church and the college.  This was a standard letter, with pleasantries and general day-to-day stuff.  At the conclusion of his letter, yes not as a headline, the butt end, as if just mentioning it in passing or as an afterthought, Abbot Wimmer made note of this incident.  Why didn’t he make it out to be the big deal it was?  Simply, because he was a humble man and didn’t want to upset anyone or have the general population turning on the assailant.   At least that’s my guess.  Or perhaps he didn’t like the negative publicity.  Either way, it was real history.

posted by auntheather in Church,Common Sense,Education & Learning,Family,LEGO's,News,Observation & Imagination,Random Fun Facts,Reminiscing,Thrill of the Hunt Scavenger Hunts and have No Comments

Discovering Greensburg In the Rain

Sunshine is delicious, rain is refreshing, wind braces us up, snow is exhilarating; there is really no such thing as bad weather, only different kinds of good weather.  ~John Ruskin
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Elliott, MaRissa & Chris participating in the Thrill of the Hunt, Discovering Greensburg Scavenger Hunt for the Seton Hill University Homecoming weekend. Great job! 9/21/13

This past Saturday Thrill of the Hunt was commissioned by Seton Hill University to develop and administer a custom scavenger hunt for their homecoming weekend.  It was called Discovering Greensburg Scavenger Hunt.  This was exiting for me for many reasons.  The most obvious reason, it was a paid job.  Being a start-up company every business and every opportunity is a blessing and is needed for survival, let alone taking Thrill of the Hunt to the next level.

Also, building this scavenger hunt gave me additional experience.  The more scavenger hunts I can outline and manage, the better I become at developing them and getting a feel for what works and what doesn’t.  I already have ideas on how to push my limits to offer even more interactive and exciting hunts.  Want to know one?  I would like to build a ‘Singing in the Rain’ type of scavenger hunt.  But I guess that ones for down the road.

Not only did building the Discovering Greensburg Scavenger Hunt build my portfolio of events, but administering the game gave Thrill of the Hunt great exposure.  Again, every point of contact, every lead, every bit of feedback a start-up company can receive, will only help in the growth.  Seton Hill was gracious enough to allow me to share the Seton Hill Alumni booth to pass out brochures and business cards, speaking to curious onlookers and of course checking-in and giving direction to registered participants.

Discovering-Greensburg-Scavenger-Hunt-Thrill-of-the-Hunt-Greensburg-Pa-9-21-13-v1 Aunt Heather Piper

Thrill of the Hunt shared the Seton Hill University Alumni tent for the Discovering Greensburg Scavenger Hunt in Greensburg, Pa. 9/21/13

When it comes down to it, I guess the true focus of my excitement was working with Seton Hill University!  My two time Alma Mater.  Yes, I graduated with two different degrees at two different times.  Proudly, I use both degrees, Bachelor’s in Arts (Marketing) and Bachelor’s in Fine Arts (Graphic Design) daily.  To this day, I can honestly say I received a great education and I value my contacts at the school.  Seton Hill is very encouraging, to not only their alumni, but also to local entrepreneurs.  So having the opportunity to work with the school was on my ‘want’  list of businesses, and I got them!  A goal accomplished!

With every scavenger hunt I build, the more I enjoy what I’m doing and the more unique Thrill of the Hunt becomes.  This particular scavenger hunt allowed me to camp out at the Westmoreland County Historical Society for a couple of days, digging through books, old newspaper articles and such.  I find that research is a lot of fun and intriguing.  A great way to spend my time!  Keeping with the theme, I wanted to make sure my facts were correct and I wanted to bring possibly unknown information to the participants, educating them a bit while having fun.  My scavenger hunts typically bring something new to light or introduce some small corner of the area.  This one was no exception.

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MaRissa & Chris submitting their online challenges for the Thrill of the Hunt Discovering Greensburg Scavenger Hunt at the Seton Hill University Homecoming weekend 9/21/13

Seton Hill’s Homecoming and family weekend had a lot going on, in addition to the Discovering Greensburg Scavenger Hunt.  It was also graced with rain.  At first the rain was light and doable, but then it became stronger and heavier.  Now don’t get me wrong, I certainly don’t shy away from falling water, but when it’s a cold windy rain, not really my cup of tea.

Believe it or not, I had last minute participants sign up to partake in the Discovering Greensburg Scavenger Hunt.  Great!  A few brave souls.  That is until the rain intensified and the wind joined in.  I was safe with my fellow Seton Hill Alumni until that point.  Then, it became a scramble to cover all brochures and such.  We were also very luck to have the SHU wrestling team beside us, especially to hold down our now airborne tent.  Really?  Yes!  It was almost comical.

Eventually, they took down the tent.  Where do I go?  And guess what?  I still had participants braving the rain and going through the scavenger hunt.  Wow!  Most people quit when the sky opened up, but I will give a special kudos to MaRissa Boros, Chris Herrera and Elliott Moore who maintained their online communication with me and finished the scavenger hunt, soaked through and through.  Yet happy!  Once I got to shelter, I continued following and reaching out to my brave souls, until they finished all the physical and online challenges.  Great job guys!

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Seton Hill University Alumni & Thrill of the Hunt tent at Homecoming weekend. Discovering Greensburg Scavenger Hunt, Greensburg Pa. 9/21/13

Usually I have my sidekick with me.  But alas not this time.  Kyle had other plans and to be honest, it worked out pretty good.  It was not a lot of work to manage the registrants and most of my efforts had to be focused toward the online activity, which Kyle can’t do, at least not yet.  I wouldn’t have wanted him to get drenched like I did either.  Perfect timing!  Now next weekend, when we have the Exploring Inspiration Scavenger Hunt for the Race Expo at the David L. Lawrence Convention Center, I will need all hands on deck.  No fear of rain interrupting that one.

It’s funny, just a week prior I was just commenting on how blessed I’ve been, having great weather with each and every one of my scavenger hunts.  I knew that would not always be the case, but it was certainly encouraging.  Almost as if God was saying, ‘You’re on the right track and I will take care of you’.  Was it a bummer for the rain?  Sure, not just for me, but for the rest of the activities planned.  Even though, it was a nice time and I can’t wait for next year.  I truly hope Thrill of the Hunt will be invited to join in on the Seton Hill University Homecoming festivities.

I know as I grow I won’t be able to administer to all Thrill of the Hunt Scavenger Hunts, and it won’t be possible to write about each and everyone one of them, but while we’re small, I want to remember my roots and how I got started and those who helped me along the way.  Thank you Seton Hill University!

Discovering-Greensburg-Scavenger-Hunt-Thrill-of-the-Hunt-Greensburg-Pa-9-21-13-v12 Aunt Heather Piper

posted by auntheather in Church,Common Sense,Education & Learning,Family,Milestone,Observation & Imagination,Patience,Thrill of the Hunt Scavenger Hunts and have No Comments

Music Reinforces Our Tight Bond

Music is a higher revelation than all wisdom and philosophy.  ~Ludwig van Beethoven

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Kyle at his 1st piano recital, at his 1st grand piano. 5/17/09

Last night I took Kyle to his piano lessons.  I must admit, I truly love getting my little man, eating dinner together, and just plain hanging out.  He is back in the swing of school and back to a standard routine.  As with most special memories, this one was unplanned and came as a surprise.

My phone died early in the day.  Why didn’t I charge it you may ask?  Well, simply because I had no idea what I did with the plug.  I have a stock pile of cords from my last iPhone, which also charges my iPad and Kyle’s iPod Touch, but alas I only have the one plug for the iPhone 5.  I’ve been meaning to get another one, but like many people, I put it off until there’s an issue.  Guess what?  Issue!  I needed my phone to call on Greensburg businesses to get the Discovering Greensburg Scavenger Hunt ready and finalized for Seton Hill University.  Crap.

Anyway, I had to leave to pick up Kyle.  Naturally, once in my car, he reached for my phone to probably play a game and it was dead.  He looked at me in shock.  I know!  We both felt really off our game.  Almost as if we were being detoxed from an addiction.  Now that I’m thinking back on it, that’s a shame we are like that with our phones.  But we are a product of our surroundings.  Did we survive without it?  Most certainly!  Did it help that Kyle had his phone?  Yes!  Only so my parents and my sister could touch base with him, no dire emergency.

Why is this relevant?  I’m so used to getting my emails via my phone, as well as text messages and Facebook messages, it didn’t dawn on me that Kyle’s music teacher would be reaching out to me through my online communications.  Yep, he had to cancel Kyle’s piano lesson.  Well, as I found out the next day, after recovering my long lost phone cord (1 day) and juiced up the handheld addiction, his teacher did indeed cancel his lessons.  Actually, using common sense, it didn’t take a phone to tell me Kyle’s piano teacher wasn’t there.

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Kyle’s music recital group. 5/17/09

While sitting in the waiting room, and as the minutes passed, Kyle became impatient and wouldn’t let me read, (he forgot his book The Lord or the Rings: Return of the King).  At that point, we both decided to get up and look around for his teacher.  His teacher, David is a Seton Hill student and who is always on time and very responsible.  Just out of curiosity, Kyle and I walked down to his piano practice room to check out the situation.  Nope no David but there was THE PIANO!

Not being able to resist a beautiful baby grand piano, I walked in, sat down and started striking the keys.  I’ve always wanted to learn to play the piano but my parents didn’t have the money when I was younger and it never was a priority for me as I got older.  Maybe one day I will take the time and learn.  But for now, it’s all on Kyle.

Kyle knowing that I had no idea what notes I was hitting, and no clue how to combine them to form a single song, he sat beside me on the piano bench and started to play a few memorized tunes.  Show off!  But I loved it.

Without saying anything and almost as if by muscle memory, Kyle opened his piano book and started to play a song,  It was one he previously covered in a past lesson, totally new to me.  Kyle started to actually instruct me, showing me were to place my fingers and how to play.

It was AWESOME!  He played a few notes and I watched his little chubby fingers to mimic his actions, messing up every other time.  He was very patient and showed me the fingering a few times so I could follow along.  He even went as far as to instruct me how to play with both hands, and I did!  Now there was certainly no mistaking me for Mozart or Beethoven, but I was playing an actual song, all because of Kyle!

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Close up of Kyle at his 1st piano recital. 5/17/09

Kyle sat further down on the keys to my right and played along side me.  He was too cute, even waiting for me as I slowly hit the notes.  We both enjoyed sharing in on the same song, side-by-side, in our space, just the two of us. (As I wrote that, the song, Just the Two of Us popped in my head! I crack myself up!)  We played together for at least twenty minutes or so.  Yes the same song!  I think Kyle was really enjoying playing with me, as I know I was most certainly having a great time.

Then, out of nowhere, Kyle turned to another one of his piano books and started to teach me about notes, and counts.  He was actually instructing me!  I loved it.  Sitting there attentively and taking in all his knowledge, I started to grasp the music theory.  As he reviewed the notes, it came back to me how to read music, not that I was ever very good at it but I got by.

Once Kyle started to get bored with the situation he busted out one of his standard songs, which happens to be his pappy’s favorite Ode to Joy (German: Ode an die Freude) by Ludwig van Beethoven, always a favorite of mine too and always beautifully played by Kyle.

We sat and played, mostly in silence until it was half past the hour.  Then we decided we were done for the day and headed home.  As we left I told Kyle how much I always wanted to play the piano and I asked him if he would teach me.  He smiled this grin that was almost ornery mixed with excitement and nodded his head in agreement.  Cool!

Our family is not the most musical.  My mom played the piano in her younger days and my sister played the flute for a few years.  I did learn to play the scales on the saxophone, but none of us is fluent in music.  Kyle is the closest we have and he is pretty good.  No prodigy, but I’m happy with his musical abilities and his love and appreciation for the musical arts.

We had a great night!  Before our musical performance we watched Parental Guidance, which I rented and was never able to watch.  Kyle really wanted to see it and we had just enough time to squeeze it in before his lessons, since he didn’t have homework.  It was a funny movie that we both got a kick out of.

I will admit, I enjoyed my music lesson so much more than sitting there watching a movie with Kyle.  I literally could have have stayed in that practice room all night and played and listened to the beautiful music leaving Kyle’s fingers.  Can’t wait for my first lesson!

posted by auntheather in Common Sense,Education & Learning,Family,Milestone,Observation & Imagination,Patience and have No Comments

WannaBe 80’s Scavenger Hunt & a Puppy In a Day

Learn what is to be taken seriously and laugh at the rest.  ~Hermann Hesse

WannaBe-80s-Scavenger-Hunt-Thrill-of-the-Hunt-Shadyside -Aunt Heather Piper

Me & Kyle at the WannaBe 80’s Scavenger Hunt Event in Shadyside. Great time! 8/17/13

This past Saturday proved to hold an exciting day!  My sister was on her way home with a new bundle of puppy.  The very same day, my company, Thrill of the Hunt, was holding another scavenger hunt event in Shadyside, in Pittsburgh Pennsylvania, called the WannaBe 80’s Scavenger Hunt.  Not to mention a big day wouldn’t be complete without a little attitude and whining from Kyle.

Let’s start in the early afternoon with the arrival of Avery Piper.  This 20 pound cute playful puppy really turned the house inside out.  Scooby, being a grumpy old man was not too pleased to have the rambunctious visitor.  He was growling and nipping and just plain being a bully.  Pretty much everything we expected out of Scooby.  Seven on the other hand was curious and almost excited to have a new friend.  Maybe he remembered how hard it was to be the new doggie on the block.  Seven had to deal with Scooby solo and maybe Seven just wanted to be a mentor, a friend to Avery.

Nicole-Avery-Piper-Aunt-Heather-Piper-8-17-13

Nicole hanging with Avery! Don’t let her cute looks fool you! She’s a stinker! 8/17/13

Then let’s discuss, Storm, my cat.  She is a year old and is not very friendly with other people, strange places and certainly not puppies.  She was clearly the one who was the most upset.  She sat up in her perch (This is a tree house type of structure I built for her.  It stands about six feet tall and is equipped with multilevel sitting areas and carpeting.  It’s a place for her to escape the dogs.) and puffed up till she resembled a soft fluffy ball of cat.  She was hissing, and growling, and spitting and swatting her razor sharp claws (I can attest to that!) at the completely ignorant puppy.  Did I mention, as far as we know, Avery has never seen a cat before?  So this was a real treat for her.  Her Avery, not her Storm.

Avery, a.k.a. Acorn (yes I already gave her another name to instigate my sister!) was just so happy to be hanging with all of us and truly didn’t understand the disdain of Storm and Scooby.  She was jumping on the furniture and wanting to play like it was a big party.  Even though I did soak up the playful energy projected from this short haired, pig tailed eared, clumsy, teething youngster, I was still concerned for the stress levels of my Storm.

WannaBe-80-Scavenger-Hunt-Thrill-of-the-Hunt-Shadyside -5 Aunt Heather Piper

My perfect little Thrill of the Hunt assistant! He is a great businessman & he worked at the WannaBe 80’s Scavenger Hunt Event. 8/17/13

While all this was going on, Kyle and I needed to get ready for the WannaBe 80’s Scavenger Hunt in Shadyside.  It started at 3:30 pm, which means we needed to be there between 2:30 pm and 3:00 pm to set up, sell any last minute tickets and hand out brochures to continue to get our name out there.  Not to mention it takes at least an hour from Latrobe to get to Pittsburgh, depending on the traffic.

Kyle and I had the car packed and everything ready.  I am not a procrastinator, I figure why give myself added stress that I can control, when there is always something unforeseen or uncontrollable that inevitably pops up.  That’s enough excitement for me, so that’s why Kyle and I packed the car and ran through our checklist the night prior.  We also went through the same list one last time before heading out, to cross our T’s and dot our i’s.

Duo-Pappy-Avery-Aunt-Heather-Piper

Pap & Avery taking a nap together! 8/17/13

God has really blessed us in our new adventure.  I mean it.  Recently, Thrill of the Hunt has been commissioned to develop and administer the Discovering Greensburg Scavenger Hunt for Seton Hill University, the Pittsburgh Marathon is having Thrill of the Hunt build a scavenger hunt for the race expo, Exploring Inspiration Scavenger Hunt and for their 10k, 5k, Pet Walk in North Park this October, Witches Brew Scavenger Hunt.  Did I mention thus far, for all of our scavenger hunt events we’ve had perfect weather?  Yes!  I know the weather will never cooperate one hundred percent, but to start out and get acclimated to our scavenger hunt events, it certainly does help.

WannaBe-80s-Scavenger-Hunt-Thrill-of-the-Hunt-Shadyside -19 Aunt Heather Piper

I’m ready to get the WannaBe 80’s Scavenger Hunt on the way! We had a perfect day! 8/17/13

The WannaBe 80’s Scavenger Hunt went off without a hitch!  It’s funny, Kyle was being such a kid during the day, wanted everyone to play his card game and wanted to sit on his iPod and play games and not practice his piano or read his Lord of the Rings The Two Towers book, yet when he was in the car with me and most certainly when we got to Shadyside to set up, Kyle changed his tune quickly, without being asked.  Kyle didn’t complain one bit, he went right to work helping to set up and he even started reaching out the pedestrians supplying them with brochures.  He was supporting Thrill of the Hunt in best possible manner.  When he met with people, he shook their hands confidently and truly was the perfect assistant!  I don’t know if Kyle likes the work, enjoys being part of the company or is just innately aware I would kick his butt if he misbehaved.  But he was a great business partner and the perfect assistant!

Kyle & Aunt Heather Piper TextingEither way, as like most times hanging with Kyle, we had a great time!  I try to be very approachable and friendly to potential clients when I’m representing Thrill of the Hunt.  I stand by my station ready to answer inquisitive looks and comments as those unknown to Thrill of the Hunt walk by.  Yes, I stand for the hours it takes to complete the scavenger hunts, unlike Kyle.  One of his weaknesses.  To keep his body from complete shock, I had him stand with me in little spurts before he would retreat to his bench to sit and relax.  I’m fine with that, for now!

Kyle cracked me up!  During the WannaBe 80’s Scavenger Hunt, the participants not only had to figure out the riddles, but they had online challenges to execute as well.  I also had to review the online activity to see if anyone was stumped or questioning a specific clue.  Yes, so while I was greeting “passerbyers”, I was also following the online activity.  During all this, Kyle was texting my sister to see the status of the mad house back home.  Then, to throw me off my concentration, Kyle began to send me funny text messages, like asking if my legs were tired and calling me a Bad Girl (inside joke within our family due to the labeling on the butt of my sisters underwear).  Kyle was cracking me up!

Side story.  The last time I was down at my sisters, we were commissioned to develop and administer to the Discover Scavenger Hunt for a five year old birthday party.  That Friday night, after I got in, I came around the corner to ask Nicole something, while she was in the kitchen and what did my eyes read?  Yep, Bad Girl written across her underwear as she stood at the sink.  Immediately, I lost it!  I could barely say, “Bad Girl” when Nicole instantly busted out laughing, while running to the bathroom.  She was laughing so hard she had to pee!  Now I couldn’t just let something like that only be shared between the two of us, so I told my family.  Mom, died laughing!  Even dad got a chuckle out of it.  But Kyle thought it was the funniest thing he’s ever heard.  Since then, everyone once in a while we just say, “Bad Girl!”.  It cracks us all up!  Especially Kyle, who loves being in on the inside joke.

WannaBe-80-Scavenger-Hunt-Thrill-of-the-Hunt-Shadyside -4 Aunt Heather Piper

Me & Kyle promoting Thrill of the Hunt & getting ready for the WannaBe 80’s Scavenger Hunt in Shadyside, Pittsburgh Pa. 8/17/13

Well, the feedback from the WannaBe 80’s Scavenger Hunt participants were very positive.  I didn’t have a huge turnout, but enough to make the event fun.  It seems like I can’t give the tickets away for my scavenge hunt events lately, at least at present day.  Although I have a feeling, that comment will be just unbelievable and silly in the future.  Especially, when it catches on that these themed scavenger hunts are challenging, interactive and just plain fun!  Not to mention, my scavenger hunts also help to support and promote small communities and local merchants.  Win, win for everyone!

When we got back to the house, it was still standing and everyone learned to calm down a bit.  Kyle was back to being my fun little man again, especially after I was praising him for his help and behavior.  We celebrated with Primanti Brothers sandwiches and we rented The Burbs.  Perfect evening to a crazy day!

Please vote for Thrill of the Hunt!  We have a chance to win a commercial during the Superbowl!  We need all the votes!  Everyone can vote daily, so keep them coming!!

VOTE HERE!  Thrill of the Hunt

 

Check out the pictures / videos from the WannaBe 80’s Scavenger Hunt from our Gallery page, Facebook, Pinterest and Youtube!

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posted by auntheather in Common Sense,Education & Learning,Family,Milestone,Observation & Imagination,Patience,Reminiscing,Travels and have No Comments
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