August 27, 2018

Back-to-school Bedtimes

This is the last week of summer for my children although for many throughout the area and state their kids have already gone back to school. For us, that meant a bedtime discussion, especially for my middle school aged child. She needs more sleep than her brother, always has. That also meant drama and whining in our household since I suggested 9:00 p.m. as her bedtime. So how do you deal with getting back into the routine? What is your child's school bedtime?
WebMD suggests that school aged children ages 7-12 get 10-11 hours of sleep each night while older teens should get 8-9 hours of sleep. As a parent with kids in that age range, I know how challenging mornings can get when they don't get into bed early enough. Cranky mornings are the worst.

One of the ways I avoid cranky mornings is that we don't allow TV or technology before school Monday-Thursday. Then IF they get up and get going without complaint, they get to have technology or TV on Friday mornings. We also pack Monday lunches on Sunday night, since Monday's always are the worst. While these help our morning routine some, it still does not help me encourage them the get into bed earlier.

A recent University of Michigan blog post offered these school night bedtime tips that I thought were interesting.

  • Be consistent
  • Store gadgets
  • Cut out caffeine
  • Create a refuge
We do store any electronics. In fact even I find that placing my phone across the room means I won't reach for it in the middle of the night to surf social media. We also don't dink much, or caffeinated beverages. Our challenge, with sports, activities, scouts, etc. is consistency.

"Set and maintain a schedule that helps reinforce the notion of turning in: bath time, brushing teeth, putting on pajamas and perhaps reading a book together. “Routine is very important,” Reed says, noting that the rundown shouldn’t change on weekends." 
This was easier when they were younger but not so much now.  So, what can a mom do? Your thoughts are always appreciated! Comment below with your school routine challenges or solutions we can all benefit!

March 4, 2018

Disney Junior Play Date

On March 24, noon-1:30 p.m. in the JCPenney Court at Briarwood Mall, area families can come to a Disney Junior play date with Muppet Babies. This free event will feature sampling from Dole, balloon tying, street magic, juggling, Bingo with shapes, and other family friendly activities.

The event is free but space is limited, so please reserve your space online. The ticket will entitle event goers to receive a Make and Take Disney Muppet Babies Color Wheel, a game piece for Color and Shape Bingo, Dole snacks and more. Craft supplies are limited to attendees who reserve their spot, but a ticket is not required to participate in the music and entertainment portions of the event.

March 3, 2018

Free Dental Health Care at the University of Michigan School of Dentistry

Each year, the University of Michigan School of Dentistry Student Council sponsors Dental Health Day for kids ages 4-18. This free dental clinic will be offered on March 31, 2018 to Ann Arbor and surrounding communities.

Because of the increasing cost of dental care, lack of information about dental services and changes in insurance coverage, many people refrain from seeking dental evaluation and service until they are experiencing pain, or find themselves in and emergency situation. Dental Health Day was designed to allow more people, who would otherwise refrain from seeking dental treatment, to receive basic dental health care, free of charge, reducing risks of emergencies.

This year, Dental Health Day will be held March 31, at the University of Michigan School of Dentistry, 1011 N. University in Ann Arbor. Individuals regardless of income can participate in the program. An appointment is not necessary, however, patients will be seen on a first-come, first-served basis. Treatments will not be provided. Registration will start at 7:30 and will continue until noon or until 100 patients have been evaluated. All participants will receive FREE oral exams, FREE oral cancer
screenings, FREE dental x-rays and FREE oral hygiene instruction. Please enter the School of Dentistry at the North University Avenue entrance. Parking will be available at the Fletcher Street parking structure.

If you have further questions or seek additional information, please contact U of M School of Dentistry (989) 787-0712, e-mail them at or visit the School of Dentistry's website.

March 2, 2018

Ann Arbor Summer Camp & Day Camp Expo

Find details on Ann Arbor Summer Camps
and Summer Day Camps during the Summer
Camp Expo at Briarwood Mall.
It may be cold and the sun may not be shining much, but I know many Ann Arbor parents are beginning to plan what to do this summer when the sun DOES come out; Ann Arbor parents are already considering summer camp and day camp experiences when the kids are out of school for summer vacation! I know, I have already started looking too...

I am in the process of updating my annual list of Ann Arbor summer camp and summer day camp options for parents, but if you are anxious (and I know many of you are based on the e-mails I have received) then I have a solution for you!

On March 3, 2016, noon-4:00 p.m., Briarwood Mall will once again host its annual “Spring into Summer” Camp Expo. This year’s event will hist more than two dozen camps and will address a wide range of interests for children and young adults up to age 18. Some of the camps already slated to attend include Oz’s Music, Go Like the Wind Montesorri, Summer’s Knoll, and several YMCA day camps.

Attendees at the free event will also enjoy entertainment from Colors the Clown and various kids activities. Do you have a fun kids activity to include in the event? Be sure to register for this free camp expo event.

Ann Arbor summer camps that wish to send me updates on their summer camp programs can contact me at tmayrend at gmail dot com - This year I will also have openings for sponsorship and special advertising deals for Ann Arbor summer camps and those in the surrounding communities!

March 1, 2018

Support Beginning & Struggling Readers with Circus Vowels

A few years ago I wrote a blog post about a book called Circus Vowels. My children and I really did enjoy reading the book, and even today I still use some of the analogy even though my kids are in middle school.

Now, author and creator Jodi McMaster, is launching a Kickstarter campaign for Circus Vowels: Empowering Beginning and Struggling Readers. Through the campaign she is hoping to bring awareness to the interactive teaching tools she has created that get children up and moving while working on phonics skills. 

Her book includes reading strategies that give children the power to get up, move around, and act out the story while wearing letter vests. The book is called, Circus Vowels: The Long and the Short of It. It makes learning to read easy, fun, and simple. It is for parents to read with their children or teachers to read to their students. Basically, it teaches any beginning or struggling reader a trick that helps them understand which vowel makes which sound within a word. 

The Circus Vowels interactive reading strategies have already helped over 100,000 children learn to read and are being used in thousands of classrooms across the country. You can check them out at

For individuals who become Circus Vowels Kickstarter backers, they will receive awesome rewards and feel good knowing that books/kits will be donated to children and schools in need.