September 28, 2009
“Wait, what did you say," you ask, “Modes of transportation?”
“Why yes, thanks for asking!”
This Halloween enjoy family friendly events from train rides to a trick or treat journey down the Huron River - For Mummy's, Daddy's and on-the-go families these make for the perfect ghoulishly good time!
The City of Ann Arbor has come up with another fun family event. On Sunday, October 25 your family can experience the Huron River in a whole new way by trick-or-treating by canoe or kayak! Come to the Argo Canoe Livery between noon and 4 p.m. to enjoy the splendor of the Huron River in all its fall beauty while stopping along the way to collect candy and drink swamp muck given out by costumed characters on the banks of the river. The fee is $22 per boat with no pre-registration required. For details call 734.662.9319.
Not far from Ann Arbor are two trains offering family Halloween experiences - The Pumpkin Express in Blissfield and the Hobo Halloween Train in Walled Lake.
On October 24, hop on-board the rails of the Pumpkin Express with donuts, Halloween candy, apple cider and seasonal activities on board. What a unique and fun way for young families to celebrate the Halloween season, and is a perfect outing for grandparents and grandkids, too. This seasonal special train runs once yearly, so don’t miss the fun, call (888) 467-2451 for information or visit the Blissfield Railroad website.
Rail Entertainment USA offers 25th Annual Hobo Halloween Trains. Children of all ages should wear a favorite costume for great Halloween family fun with the “Wacky Witch Revue” on a one hour “Hobo Halloween Express Train”. See the “Dead Man’s Diner” and “Haunted Railcar” along with fall colors and the graceful elegance of Woodpecker Lake. Dine on traditional snacks along with season favorites including “Frankenstein Franks”, “Spider Cider”, “Caramel Apples” and “Deadly Donuts”. Reservations are highly recommended as seating is provided to guests holding confirmed reservations. Halloween Trains run various weekend days throughout October, for more information, call Rail Entertainment USA at (248) 960-9440 or visit the Rail Entertainment website.
Photo: Wachy Witch Revue courtesy of Theatre Arts Productions.
September 25, 2009
Webster Fall Festival and Pig Roast
On Saturday September 26, the Webster United Church, in conjunction with the Webster Township Historical Society will be having a fall festival that includes a luncheon, an auction, country store, antique cars, kids pony rides, hayrides, a horseshoe contest, crafts and so much more - All of this for FREE.
The event the swings into the evening with a pig roast from 5:00-7:00 pm with additional children’s activities, crafts and live music. Cost for the pig roast only: Adults $9, children $5.
The Webster United Church is located at 5484 Webster Church Road in Dexter. For more information visit the Webster Fall Festival event website or call 734-426-5115.
Harvest Time in Saline
Another fun Saturday event can be found at the Rentschler Farm in Saline (1265 Michigan Avenue, Saline). From 11:00 am – 4:00 pm families will be able to enjoy guided tours of the farmhouse and barns and many exhibit areas with turn of the century interpreters. There will also be a kid’s petting farm, a merry-go-round, and many more fun activities.
If you’d like to see how turn of the century Saline harvested their fall crops, be sure to stop by!
Cost is a $1 donation for adults, and is free for children. For more information check out the Saline Rentschler Farm webpage or call 734-944-0442.
Clinton Fall Festival
Enjoy a leisurely Sunday drive along US-12, 11 miles past Saline, and you’ll run into the annual Clinton Fall Festival. Stop by anytime from Friday through Sunday and you will find over 200 juried artists and crafters in Clinton, food, plenty of entertainment, Ann Arbor Hands On Museum activities, a softball tournament, lost arts a silent auction and a motorcycle show. There will be plenty to do for the entire family so be sure to check out the entire list of scheduled events! Most events are free too...
For more information visit the Clinton Fall Festival website or call 517-456-7396.
September 24, 2009
The Ann Arbor Treasure Hunt takes participating “Pirates” on a voyage through Ann Arbor’s stormy and wild seas to the unique local shops and restaurants that make Ann Arbor a must-experience ‘Port of Call’. The goal of the hunt, which began in 2008, is to draw an audience to downtown Ann Arbor, into locally owned shops and restaurants. Last year, pirates and pirate teams of all sizes took part in this fun month-long event. There were families, co-workers and adult groups that all ‘took up arms' and heaved the Jolly Roger to follow the trail around town in hopes of being the lucky pirate team.
Beginning October 1 and running the entire month, pirates with treasure maps in hand will be guided to participating shops, restaurants and galleries in search of the treasure – A solution to a clue. Once located, the pirates must "capture" the clue on film. After capturing all of the solutions, they must submit their photo proof and treasure map for a chance to win the bounty - a chest filled with items that have been collected from the participating Ann Arbor shops. The treasure hunt is a FREE family friendly event open to everyone interested in pillaging to win lavish pirate loot!
The Ann Arbor Treasure Hunt was created as a fun local event offered to families and individuals in the area looking for an autumn adventure. Last year over 20 shops, galleries, and restaurants participated.
Ye been chosen to venture on the high seas of Ann Arbor this October. So strap on ye sea legs, set sail and give yourself the chance to win a treasure chest filled with lavish pirate loot. The Annual Ann Arbor Treasure Hunt runs from October 1-31st. For additional information, or to learn how you can participate in the hunt, visit the Ann Arbor Treasure Hunt website, or contact Samantha Nielsen Misiak at 734-657-4940. You can also find the Ann Arbor Treasure Hunt on Facebook!
September 23, 2009
It's two weeks into the school year and already my son has to stay home from school because of illness. I kept hearing about neighbors and friends whose children have became ill this past week, and let's face it, as parents that is the worst part of the school-year. Bringing germs home to spread among the family is no fun. This year it seems to be an even greater fear for families, with the threat of H1N1 lurking everywhere. So what do we do?
The Center for Disease Control (CDC) says that proper handwashing is the most simple thing a family can do in the prevention of infection and illness. That's great, perfect really. My son has received countless fliers on doing this, and even the health insurance company is spending their money printing helpful hand-washing fliers. As parents though, this really doesn't help me. Yes I can teach my children to sneeze into their sleeve, use a tissue, and wash their hands - But how can I make it FUN for them? Being "fun" is sometimes the greatest motivator for children. So where can I go for help?
This is really a trick question for me, because I have already found an excellent resource in The NSF Scrub Club!
Each year, more than 164 million school days are lost due to illness, which could be greatly reduced with proper handwashing. That’s why Ann Arbor based NSF International created the Scrub Club® - to raise awareness about the benefits of handwashing and ultimately improve the health of children and reduce school sick days.
The program is the first of its kind designed for children 3 to 8 years of age - This fun, interactive and educational website teaches children the proper way to wash their hands. The site consists of Webisodes, interactive games, music, many educational downloadable activities for kids, educational materials for teachers and program information for parents. My son loves the Scrub Club theme song and has even begun singing along!
So be sure to visit the Scrub Club® website with your preschool aged and young children - Everyone will benefit from the fun and informative learning experience through the website interaction. Don't forget to pass along the word to your children's elementary school teachers, as there are some great classroom resources as well inclucing the 6 Steps To Proper handwashing Poster.
Artwork compliments of NSF International
Tomorrow night, September 24, from 5-8 pm stop by your local Cold Stone Creamery to receive a special 3-ounce serving of a one-of-a-kind creation in exchange for a donation to the Make-A-Wish Foundation.
Cold Stone Creamery will host the “World’s Largest Ice Cream Social,” a fundraising event to benefit the Make-A-Wish Foundation. This year’s celebration includes a 3 oz. creation developed by 5-year-old wish child and 2009 Junior Tastemaster™ Jack. He combined sweet cream ice cream with brownie, sprinkles and fudge to create his special treat! Don't forget to purchase your Make-A-Wish® star while you are there - 100% of proceeds will benefit the Foundation.
To learn more visit The Worlds Largest Ice Cream Social website.
Local Cold Stone Creamery locations:
Ann Arbor (3597-B Washtenaw Ave. 48104)
Canton (50409 Independence St. 48188)
Admission is $7.50 per person by Sept 25 or $15.00 per person at the door. In addition to the auction there will be door prizes, a raffle, and light refreshments. For more information call Anne Bouse (734) 369-3250.
All major credit cards will be accepted at the auction.
September 21, 2009
Here are a couple of ongoing free indoor activities that I always forget about. They are a great way to spend a rainy lazy weekend day.
Free fall matinees at the Quality 16 Theatres
We are lucky to have two Quality Theatres conveniently located, one on the West Side of Ann Arbor (3686 Jackson Road, Ann Arbor 48103/Info: 734 623-7469) and a second located in Canton (43555 Ford Road, Canton 48187/Info:734 844-3456). This fall they are offering some great movies too – Family friendly, fun and free! Each of the matinees does have a 15-minute intermission, so parents be prepared with a few dollars for snacks. Those parents with younger toddlers, this is the time when you will likely loose the attention span of your youngest too!
The movies are every Saturday and Sunday at 10:00 & 11:00 AM.
September 26-27: Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa
October 3-4: Aliens in the Attic
October 10-11: Monsters vs. Aliens
October 17-18: Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian
October 24-25: Ice Age 3: Dawn of the Dinosaurs
October 31-November 1: Coraline
November 7-8: The Tale of Despereaux
Build and Grow Kids Clinics
For families with more active children, Lowes offers some wonderful free Saturday buiding workshops. The projects are fun and easy to create, but not so simple as to loose your child’s attention. The clinics are geared for children in elementary school, however many times I have seen projects offered that I’d like to build!
There are two projects currently listed on the Build and Grow registration website a cool fire truck and a ball toss game. The Build and Grow Clinics run for 1 hour and are free.
Fire Truck Saturday September 26, 2009 10:00-11:00 AM
Ball Toss Saturday October 10, 2009 10:00-11:00 AM
To register for the clinics be sure to visit your local Lowes store or register at the Build and Grow website.
September 17, 2009
Every Friday through Sunday beginning Sept. 18 and running through October, the corn maze at Talladay Farms will be available for fall family fun. This vegetable labyrinth features over 10 miles of twisting, winding paths that from above, form intricate dinosaur-themed designs. The designs were precision-cut into the corn field with special software and a GPS unit that I'm certain would make any crop circle look insignificant at best.
The maze, is located adjacent to the Wasem Fruit Farm in Milan and is open Friday's 6:00-10:00 pm, Saturday's 1:00-10:00 PM and Sunday's 1:00-6:00 PM. Bring your family for an fun day of running wild through the corn maze and don't forget to bring a flashlight if visiting after dark!
Talladay Farms Corn Maze
6270 Judd Road
Milan, Michigan 48160
The maze is located East off the US-23 Willis Road exit past McCrone/Stoney Creek Roads. Cost: $6 for adults/ $5 kids 5-11/ 4 and under - free with a parent.
September 15, 2009
MetroParent Magazine is hosting Education Expo 2009 where families can discover the best opportunities for your children's academic successes as well as discovering the Detroit Institute of Arts. Families are welcome to enjoy FREE museum entrance, FREE activities, and receive the latest and greatest information on what's new in education from over 65 exhibitors.
While pre-registration is closed for the event, you can still receive free admission on October 4 by stopping at the Metro parent table located at the group entrance on John R Street.
September 14, 2009
This article is part of a series aimed at helping families of four find activities in the area for under $25.
Like most Michigander's I love fall, the colors, the smells, the crisp clean air and most of all cider and donuts! I love cider so much, that the family and I go on a yearly pilgrimage of sorts to find the best cider around... Personally I like the un-pastorized ciders, but have come to accept that it is increasingly difficult to find unless you press your own cider; which we also do yearly, but that's for another story!I have passed this love of fall activities onto my children - They also seem to look forward to visiting the cider mill, picking out their pumpkins and eating the donuts. Last fall though, we were on a pretty tight budget. As I was lamenting about the cost of going to many local cider mills, a neighbor told me about Jenny's Farm Stand in Dexter.
What I liked:
When we pulled up the stand, we had no trouble parking - Actually we went twice last year because the kids enjoyed it so much, and neither time did we have difficulty parking! The walk from the parking lot was simple as well; we only had to yield to the horse drawn hay-wagon as it came through.
Jenny's is a very picturesque location. There are an array of colorful seasonal baskets of mums, shades of shining orange pumpkins, many gourds, corn stalks, Indian corn and a small gazebo next to a quaint pond with a small water fall. There is also a small petting-farm on the property. It makes the perfect back-drop for the many fall family photo-ops you desire!
If you ask my son, he loved the glistening golden hay-bale "pile" that beckons to children of all ages and sizes. At first I was a bit leery that my children might become stuck among the hay-bale tunnels, but as any good parent would do, I conquered that fear by suffering the potential indignation and laughter if I became stuck - Oh who am I kidding, I am a big kid at heart and fully enjoyed clambering through the underground maze of tunnels and "peek-holes". For concerned parents though rest-assured the pile is not simply bales of hay, but a carefully constructed series of platforms with hay bales piled on top! My children enjoyed climbing on top, around and through the myriad of tunnels within.
My family also thoroughly enjoyed the REAL horse-drawn wagon rides. The wagon was loaded with plenty of straw, driven by a very friendly driver and two beautiful draft horses. The best part was, the $4.00 pp ride lasted over 20-minutes, and was pulled out over the fields of a scenic neighboring farm and surrounding hillside. We especially loved the gentle bumping as the horses moved into a trot as we rode down the gently rolling hills; I think my son's reaction was "Yea a roller coaster, can we do that again?"
Of course it would be remiss of me to neglect mentioning the wonderfully delicious cider and homemade donuts we purchased as well. You just can't go wrong with fresh cold cider out of a wax paper cup and donuts so fresh they melt in your mouth!
Honestly, there wasn't anything I found on my visits that I DIDN'T like! I suppose if I had to complain, I would say that the pony rides may be a tad on the expensive side - Considering they are front and center, they are very difficult to avoid. What child wouldn't try to gently coerce a parent that they MUST ride a pony? If you are a parent averse to paying $4.00 per child for a ride, then find an excuse before you go... The first time we went my daughter wanted to ONLY ride a "pink pony" - "Gee honey I'm sorry but they don't have a pink pony to ride..." She was much wiser the next go-around, so now I just expect to pay up, and am ready with a few dollars on hand!
Jenny's Farm Stand has something for everyone from fresh produce, to cider and donuts to Halloween and seasonal decorations and flowers. Take a break from the typical and make sure to stop by; you'll be happy that you did!
Jenny's Farm Stand
8366 Island Lake Road
Dexter, MI 48130
For the convenience of my reader's I have also compiled a list of all the Cider Mills and Orchard's in Washtenaw County.
All photos by Tammy Mayrend. In photos Zach, Gabby and Tammy Mayrend taken at Jenny's Farm Stand, 2008.
September 13, 2009
12835 N. Territorial Road
Dexter, Michigan 48130
Dexter Cider Mill
3685 Central Street
Dexter, Michigan 48130
Read about Jenny's on my website
8366 Island Lake Road
Dexter, Michigan 48130
Wasem Fruit Farm
6580 Judd Road
Milan, Michigan 48160
11030 Macon Road
Saline, Michigan 48176
Windy Ridge Orchard and Cider Mill
9375 Saline-Milan Road
Saline, Michigan 48176
Wiard's Orchards and County Fair
5565 Merritt Road
September 10, 2009
The garden features dozens of "special" spaces including a “sense-ational garden”; a natural builders garden; a habitat garden for exploring and imagining the homes of wild animals; a butterfly garden for attracting and encouraging butterflies; secret spaces for children to find and create their own places in the garden; and much more.
The grand opening celebration will also include three children's theater performances, and music and activities throughout the afternoon! Free to all with no registration required. For more information, call 734-647-7600 or visit the event web site.
September 7, 2009
The pool has a six-lane, 25-yard main pool and attached 30-foot by 42-foot children's tot swim area. A ramp leading into the pool provides for easy accessibility for all.
Pool Schedule - Sept. 8, 2009 to May 23, 2010
Lap Swim and Tot Swim
M-F, 11 a.m. to noon
T & TH 6 to 7:30 p.m.
Public Swim(2 lap lanes available)
M-F, 7:30 to 9 p.m.
SAT, 1 to 5 p.m.
SUN, 11:30 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Daily pool admission or season passes available! For more information, visit the Mack Pool website or call 734.794.6237.
September 4, 2009
September 3, 2009
Q: How many fewer calories can you expect to consume at lunch if you drink a glass of fat free milk at breakfast time?
A: The answer can be found at www.whymilk.com!
ANSWER: Now there's a new reason for the weight-conscious to drink fat free milk at breakfast time, suggests a new study published in the July issue of the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. Researchers in Australia found that drinking fat free milk in the morning helped increase satiety, or a feeling of fullness, and led to decreased calorie intake at the next meal, as compared with a fruit drink. The milk drinkers ate about 50 fewer calories (or nearly 9% less food) at lunch.
Click here to read the entire research article at Why Milk.
Photo by Amanda Burns at the Milk Mustache Tour 2009
The end of the Michigan State Fair?! That can't be. I'll never have the chance to win a blue ribbon for my prize winning recipe or overly large vegetable...
That being said, I haven't taken my children to the state fair since they were born. I suppose once I moved to this side of town we've only attended the Wayne County and Washtenaw County Fairs, but not the grand daddy of fairs in Michigan. I'd hate to loose this great tradition, though, so I would like to encourage all of my Ann Arbor friends and families to attend the fair this weekend if possible. I know it's a 30 minute drive to the fairgrounds for us, but really it's worth the trip!
The Michigan State Fair runs through Sept. 7, 2009. We'll be there sometime this week to support the fair for future generations to enjoy and hope to see you there as well. Come and enjoy America's first state fair!
September 1, 2009
Saturday, September 19
2:00 - 4:00 pm AADL Traverwood Branch
Ages: Grades 4 - 8
I know that my son was especially fond of the locker he was given during Safety Town this year - What kid doesn't love their own personal locker!? At this event, kids can create cool stuff to organize and decorate their school locker.
Jump Roping Blast With St. Francis Heartbeats
Wednesday, September 23
4:30 - 6:00 pm
AADL Malletts Creek Branch Parking Lot
Ages: (To participate) Grades 4 - 12
I'll bet EVERYONE would enjoy their demonstartion though, regardless of age!
Kids bring your ropes, bring your rhymes and have a jumpin’ good time! Double-dutch, Chinese, and standard jump ropes with special guests, the St. Francis Heartbeats, and a demonstration of their skills. If it rains, we’ll jump inside.
Tree Key: Identifying Leaves & Trees
Saturday, September 26
2:00 - 3:30 pm
AADL Traverwood Branch
Ages: Grades K - 3
Delve into the woody life of trees. Join the staff of the Leslie Science and Nature Center for hands-on activities and discover how to use a scientific key to identify trees. Weather permitting, you’ll take a leafy walk through nearby Stapp Nature Area after the program.
Dancing Babies With Dianne Dudley
Sunday, September 27
1:00 - 1:45 pm AADL Pittsfield Branch
Ages: (with adult) Infants - 5 Years
Enjoy creative movement with Dianne Dudley as she leads this active program for families with very young children.
For more information on upcoming events, contact your nearest Ann Arbor District Library location.
Creative Commons License / photo 1: Lisa Russell /photo 2: About forestry