July 31, 2015

Discounted Michigan Renaissance Festival Tickets

I know it's not a local event, however the  Michigan Renaissance Fest (12600 Dixie Hwy, Holly, MI) is a great experience to have at least once in your life. Mom, dad and the kids are sure to enjoy spending the day on the grounds exploring all there is to see, do and eat!

When I was in college I spent a season at the festival as a street performer. it was a lot of long days and hard work, but I loved it. It was an experience like no other. I've been wanting to take my kids to the festival for the past few summers, but for one reason or another, we were unable to go. When I saw this amazing ticket deal though, I couldn't pass up going.

Get your discount MichiganRenaissance Festival tickets today! 
Right now CBS local is offering deeply discount tickets - $11/adult and $6.50/kids ages 5-12 - That's over a 50% discount on Michigan Renaissance Festival tickets! I know that the day will cost much more with food and all, but for this price, I can afford to take the entire family for a day of fun.

From past experiences, I can recommend getting there early to park. It's difficult to say how different things will be now, I noticed that a few friends still performing (like my friend Rob from Pippin Puppets) with many new acts being offered. I can't wait to share the experience with the kids! The Festival runs weekends & Labor Day, from 10am-7pm, from August 22nd thru October 4th, PLUS Festival Friday, October 2nd. Then after the festival, get in the spooky spirit of the Halloween season with fun activities at Halloween In Hollygrove with discounted ticket prices of $25 for one-entry to the Horton Lake Outbreak At Halloween In Hollygrove or $27.50 for one-ticket to the Phantom's Feast At Halloween In Hollygrove.

One hint to new comers. Don't ask any of the street performers where the restrooms are...  Then again, go ahead and prompt your kids to do it for you. You may get a big surprise!

My friend Rob of Pippin Puppets with my kids in 2013.

Now I need to go try and dig up a photo or two of my Ren Fest days...  The kids will get a kick out of that!

Disclaimer: I do have an affiliate link through CBS Local and may receive compensation as a result of blogging about this deal. My tickets were however purchased.  

July 28, 2015

Summer Heat Wave Pool Give-away

The box arriving at my house the other day was perfect timing. It sure has been warm in Ann Arbor the past week or so! We finally flew past 90-degrees straight into a week of summer. Of course my children were crushed when they realized that they can not enjoy what was in the box due to the way our yard slopes.

Wait, what was IN the box? Funny you should ask!

Right now on the Ann Arbor Mom blog, local families have the opportunity to WIN a free backyard pool from Backyard Ocean! You read that correct as one Ann Arbor family gets their very own 8' x 26" Float to Fill Ring Pool Set. All you have to do to win, is comment below with one of your favorite ways to cool off in summer. For us it is a trip to the Argo Cascades followed by wading in the river at Island Park. Need some hints? Backyard Ocean has several great ways to cool off this summer and I highlighted a few of my favorites from their list!

Top Ways to Cool Off this Summer

1) Create a Slip n' Slide - This last week while visiting Silver Lake State Park, we heard of a local that creates a killer water slide using just sheets of plastic and a water pump. The slide starts at the top of the dune and ends in Silver Lake. Unfortunately he did not put it up while we were there. I also appreciate this great idea of a water-slide baseball! Honestly though the kids will have a lot of fun using a plastic drop cloth and sprinkler this summer!

2) Ice Cube Relay Races - Love, love, LOVE the idea of using ice cubes for any kind of game or relay race. I especially like freezing mini toys in ice cubes, then in using a stray see who can "thaw" their toy the fastest using only their breath. Although it is not a "ice cube" also consider stringing together frozen spoons then run an in and out relay.

3) Stay off Hot Pavement with a Bike Wash - No we are not talking a motorcycle wash (although pretty sure the riders would think this is cool) but how about using PVC a drill and a garden hose to create this front yard monstrosity? Pretty sure ALL the kids would want to play, making your the "cool house" for more reason than one! You can get all necessary supplies at Lowes.

Bike wash project directions courtesy of Lowes
 4) Homemade Popsicles - We used to make these ALL the time with small Dixie Cups, popsicle sticks, plastic wrap and a juice of choice. Consider adding real fruit too. Just drop fruit and juice into a cup, wrap the top with plastic wrap and insert a popsicle stick. Then freeze until solid! Easy peasy.

So what are your thoughts on the best way to keep cool? Comment below with your tip for a chance to with backyard pool from Backyard Ocean. All comments received by midnight August 7 will be entered into a random drawing. There is one caveat though, the winner must be available to meet with me in the parking lot of the local Sheriff Station in Ypsilanti - I already have the pool in hand, ready to give to the winner.

Thank you to Backyard Ocean for this amazing pool give away.

After you win your backyard pool, you may also appreciate some information on swimming pool safety and maintenance!

Hope to see many great tips - Stay cool.

July 8, 2015

Michigan State Fair 50% Discount Ultimate Wristband Tickets!

I have many fond memories of wandering the Michigan State Fair. I loved seeing all of the livestock exhibits, the homemaker and arts exhibits and the baby animal exhibits. I was always amazed at what other kids displayed and dreamed of winning a ribbon. Then one sad day the Michigan State Fair went away.

Several years ago I finally entered several jars of canned goods, photography and other pieces of art in the Saline Community Fair. Although it was not the exact same thing, I was excited that I won the ribbon that I had dreamed of. I have since submitted entries for the past several years and have even gotten the kids on the action after they realized they could earn a few dollars if their displays won!

I'll admit, I have not gone to the Fifth Third Bank Michigan State Fair since they moved to the Suburban Collection Showplace in Novi. That was mostly due to us traveling at that time the last few years. It looks like this year however I'll be able to take my kids to the fair for their own experiences. The best part is, I can get Fifth Third Bank Michigan State Fair tickets at 50% off right now! That's a great family deal and definitely one to scoop up now!

The Fifth Third Bank Michigan State Fair runs September 4-7, 2015 at the Suburban Collection Showplace (46100 Grand River Ave., Novi MI 48374). Ticket prices start as low as $8 for entry into the fair, however on the website, they are offering an Ultimate Wristband for $30 which includes unlimited carnival rides, the exhibit hall, the agriculture and home arts shows, free entertainment, and a performance of the Shrine Circus.  You can get 50% off Michigan State Fair tickets though through July 26! That's just $15 for the Ultimate-Wristband and all that it entails!

We're going to attend this year, will you take the family to the fair?

Note - Some friends were confused by the mention of Fifth Third Bank. They are the sponsors and not where you pick-up tickets. The discount voucher reads like this: "Please print and present voucher or present on mobile phone at the Fifth Third Bank Michigan State Fair and visit the Carrot Pass/QR code experience line for express entry and to redeem voucher." Also note that you are limited to buying (4) tickets for yourself and (4) tickets for a friend with this deal!

June 8, 2015

Win Free Strawberry Shortcake at the Belleville National Strawberry Festival

Win (4) free strawberry shortcakes ($16 value) during
Belleville's National Strawberry Festival June 19-21.
For YEARS before my children came along, I have enjoyed Strawberry Festival time. When the kids were born it became even more special. We enjoy the crafts, activities and events that happen during Belleville's National Strawberry Festival. We were happy to end up joining a church that promoted the event too and even happier to learn that our church makes the most amazing Strawberry pies and shortcakes! That's one reason why I love this opportunity to share with Ann Arbor Mom readers this great give-away.

Since 1977, Trinity Episcopal Church has been a part of the National Strawberry Festival in Belleville, which is held yearly over Father’s Day weekend. Visitors come from all over southeast Michigan for the famous homemade sloppy joes and glazed strawberry pies offered. Imagine a pie filled with four pounds of fresh berries! Don't have time to stop in to the church and eat out back? Don't worry as I have personally observed MANY visitors even stopping by just to pick up their pie.

It is best though to stop in and stay a while. Come for the craft show or enjoy many tasty treats in a comfortable, family friendly atmosphere. Nachos, sloppy nachos, 100% beef hot dogs, strawberry shortcake, sundaes, and smoothies are just a few of their delicious offerings. In addition to the fresh glazed strawberry pies, their bakery tent sells homemade strawberry bread and muffins, strawberry freezer jam, cheesecake, and tarts. They also offer no-sugar-added and gluten-free options. Food tent and bakery menus can be found on the Trinity Episcopal Church Strawberry Fest page of the website too!

I am proud too, that my children have had the opportunity to work alongside many volunteers during the festival, and that half of the proceeds from Trinity’s Strawberry Festival activities go back into the community. Your support helps support local services and projects while the other half supports special projects in the church.

In addition to their craft show, bakery and good food, this year Trinity will also have live entertainment on Friday and Saturday evening and a free Kid Zone on Saturday and Sunday with crafts and games and special guest appearances by Disney’s Princesses Anna and Elsa.

Let Trinity Episcopal Church is the first Strawberry Festival stop you see on Belleville Road when you exit I-94 heading into Belleville. They will be open on Friday, June 19 (4:00-9:00 p.m.), Saturday, June 20 (10:00 a.m. - 9:00 p.m.), and Sunday, June 21 (11:00 a.m. - 6:00 p.m.) Credit cards will be accepted at the bakery and food tent and parking is free. Find more information about the event at the Strawberry Festival Facebook Event Page for Trinity Episcopal Church.

Trinity is also one of the National Strawberry Festival Trolley stops.

Want another reason to stop at Trinity during Strawberry Festival? How about winning (4) FREE Strawberry shortcakes to eat there or take home? Now for Ann Arbor mom readers, comment below for your chance to win. Comment on Facebook for a second entry too. Just tell us which product your family likes best: A - Strawberry shortcake, B - - Strawberry pie, C - Strawberry smoothies, D - Strawberry cheesecake or E - ANYTHING strawberries!!!

All entries must be submitted by midnight Wednesday, June 17.

June 7, 2015

Nature Fun For Kids 2015

The naturalists at Washtenaw County Parks and Recreation have an awesome opportunity for Ann Arbor families looking for a great outdoor experience. "Nature Fun For Kids!" happens throughout the summer at various locations at 10:30 a.m. on a variety of topics. Are your kids interested in nature and science? The perhaps they would appreciate learning about clouds, what is swimming in the pond, or local wildflowers! Whatever their interest, the park naturalists can address your needs.

June 13: Cloudspotting
June 18: Dipping the pond
June 27: Hiking
July 2:P Living like a pioneer
July 11: Monarch butterflies
July 16: Wading the stream
July 25: Fishing fun
July 30: Wildflower bouquet
August 8: Skull hunt
Aug 13: Spiders

Just be sure to pre-register for their free program as it is limited to 15-participants. Register by calling 734-971-6337 x334.