July 30, 2009

Another Weekend Event in Canton

Spend Saturday August 1 strolling through the 4th annual Cherry Hill Arts Festival!

Wander local businesses, the Village Theater, and Canton's many historic sites, all while enjoying art and performances by local artists. Musical entertainment, face painting, delicious food, educational workshops, demonstrating artists, artist/crafter booths, and art-themed activities for all ages are just a few of the things that the festival has to offer.

Activities will include:

  • An Interactive Art Workshop for the entire family provided by D&M Art Studios of Canton
  • Face Painting
  • Plein Air Painting Demonstrations
  • Chalk It Up Competition featuring sidewalk chalk painting from talented local artists along Ridge Rd.
  • Artist/Crafter Booths & Tents
  • Educational & Interactive Art Activities in and around Cherry Hill School
  • Festival Food
  • Particpation from local businesses & community groups
For a full list of activities and events at the festival, check out the Cherry Hill Arts Festival website.

Cherry Hill Arts Festival
Saturday August 1
11 am - 4 pm
Cherry Hill Village Downtown District



Photo slideshow credit: Canton Leisure Services

Crankin' Weekend in Ypsilanti

Do you know what a hurdy-gurdy is??? What about a "monkey organ"??? Want to find out?

This weekend, the Mid-America Chapter of the Musical Box Society International will be presenting the 34th annual Band Organ Rally in downtown Ypsilanti. Society members will be playing a variety of large roll-operated carousel, band organs, and hand-cranking music on portable organs.

Everyone is invited to enjoy the music and try their hand at cranking some of the smaller organs.

Band Organ Rally - July 31 - August 1
Riverside Park & Depot Town
Time: Begins at 10:00 am daily
Cost: free

Adventures in duct tape ~ Expand your creativity!

MayrendDuctTape.jpgDo you have a great, creative idea for duct tape? Who doesn't! Google the phrase and you'll find photos of dresses, wallets, purses, clothing, ties, and my favorite - creative car repair... Duct tape now comes in many colors too - So what are you waiting for?

Get your creative juices flowin' tonight at the Ann Arbor library "Duct Tape Do Over". Young adults in grades 6-12 can expand their horizon's by creating a craft project with duct tape.


Location: AADL Downtown Library/Multi-Purpose Room
Time: 7:00-8:30 PM
Cost: free

July 29, 2009

Get Your "Scottish On" at The Highland Games in Livonia!

This weekend, only a few minutes away in Livonia, are the Highland Games!

From July 30-August 1 at Livonia's Greenmead Historical Park, you will see everything from the beautiful Scottish border collies, pipe and drum performances, music & dancing and new this year, Scotch Whisky Tasting! Also new this year is a family-friendly movie night under the stars, viewing The Water Horse: Legend of The Deep.

The Saint Andrew's Society of Detroit 160th Highland Games
Greenmead Historical Park, Livonia
July 30-August 1

Schedule of Events:
Thursday, July 30, 2009 ~ Movie Night
Sunset to 10:45 p.m.
Cost: Free Admission / $5 parking fee
BYO blankets and lawn chairs! Coolers may be brought in / No alcoholic beverages are allowed. Popcorn and beverages will also available to purchase.

Friday, July 31, 2009 ~ Ceilidh
(Scottish traditional dancing to informal music)
5:00 p.m. to 11:00 p.m.

Saturday, August 1, 2009 ~ 160th Annual Highland Games
9:00 a.m. to 8:30 p.m.
Plus, enjoy the Pipedown after closing ceremonies!

Specifically for the Kids:
The St. Andrew's Society of Detroit also recognizes that children are the future. To help bring the Scottish heritage to them, there are plenty of special activities for the Wee Bairns. Events allow children to gain an understanding of our heritage while having FUN! Events include:
  • Paint a shield for protection on the journey
  • Take a wee tour of Scotland
  • See the animals of Scotland
  • Visit MacFarlane's Company and battle the British
  • Drill with the 42nd Royal Highland Regiment
  • March in the Wee Bairns' Clan Parade
  • Toss a wee caber
  • Play cricket
To purchase tickets for the event and for a complete schedule of events, please visit the Highland Games website.

It's hump day - What is there to do?

MayrendHoolaHooping.jpg There's something to be said about the simple joys of childhood - Relay races are one of those memories that can not be forgotten. Remember that one road rally where you ended up in the local cemetery, the three-legged-race where you carried your partner across the finish line or the wheel barrel race where you smashed your partners face into the dirt???

Today children in grades 4-8 can participate in the Ann Arbor Library Ridiculous Relay.

Can you hula-hoop? Do you rock at DDR? Kids race from station to station as fast as they can to see who wins. Prizes will be awarded.

Location: AADL Downtown Library/Multi-Purpose Room
Time: 2:00-3:00 PM
Cost: free

The weather man is calling for rain - Hang out at the library for a fun afternoon adventure. Maybe even win a prize for your efforts!

July 28, 2009

Creating a crown of flowers for my daughter

MayrendWildflowerCrown.JPG It was a perfect morning - I had just dropped my son at day-camp, the sun was shining, the birds were singing and I was down to one child for the day. What more can a gal ask for?

I decided to take Gabby on a nature adventure of sorts - Harvesting blackberries in my friends open field. It was a grand time, however as it often happens, mom did all the work in picking the berries. Gabby did all of the eating. We did however manage to come home with 2 very large buckets of the juicy black pearly gems. Enough to munch on the spot AND make luscious deserts and jams at home.

I noticed though that Gabby was very preoccupied by all of the wildflowers throughout the field - With the rain the past few days, they was flowers of every shade of white, yellow, purple, and even a few blues sprinkled throughout the field. She was having a grand time picking at each blossom. As luck would have it, I had also recently read an article about creating a Crown of Wildflowers.

"Gabby would you like to work on a special project with mommy today?"

And so we sauntered home, berries in hand (and all over Gabby's shirt) with lovely bouquet of wildflowers laying on the seat next to me.

It was much easier than I anticipated - making the wildflower crown. And the results were stunning - If I do say so myself. Gabby felt like a little princess, and ran around for much of the day wearing her treasure.

I didn't get to prepping the berries yet, but that's OK. Taking a crack at the slower pace, and enjoying my time with my daughter made for the perfect Mother/Daughter memory!

And so I ask again, what more can a gal ask for...

There are fields, upon fields of flowers blooming throughout Ann Arbor right now. Why not try and create your own wildflower crown for your child. For an hour of your time, it's a memory that can not be forgotten... I created a short instructional video on "Making A Wildflower Crown" too, so that no one need wade into uncharted territory.

July 27, 2009

Working from home — a particularly challenging day

When I quit my job last year to begin my own business, I didn't fully understand the challenges of being a parent and working from home. Then again, my husband was still working, so the kids were attending preschool several days a week. That all changed in September, though, when he lost his job...

Now, I have both kids home with me (luckily my husband is back to work). I actually love having the kids home, and love the opportunity that working from home affords (i.e making my own schedule). Unfortunately though this can create challenges: What do I do with the kids when I need to meet with a client or when I need to work from home during the day?

For the most part, I ship them off to Mom, or in the summer months to the in-laws. On the rarest of occasions, I hire a young neighborhood girl to watch the little monsters while I work. Recently, though, my options were limited. No one was available to watch the kids during a scheduled phone interview with a potential client. So what did I do?

I threatened them with bodily harm. No, no, not really, but I did make sure all their needs were met before the call began (supplying them with food, beverages, etc.) and sat them in front of the telly, the idiot box, the boob tube, a.k.a. the virtual babysitter. I then told them, "Please don't make a lot of noise, mommy has to get on an important phone call."

I suppose I should have been more specific.

I think the phone conversation went very well initially (and actually overall, too). I was able to speak to the potential client's needs, and speak intelligently and coherently about the specifics of my background, and how I could help them. Of course I told the kids I would be on the phone for a bit, but what does time really mean to a 3- and 5-year-old?

The first time I was interrupted, it was my 3-year-old daughter: "Mom, Zachary had diarrhea."

(pause)

The potential client (laughing): "Working at home with the kids?"

"Yes, typically they're shipped off to mom, but she's sick today."

Then came the second plea by my daughter about my son's "diarrhea" episode. Quite possible too, some complaint on the part of my son that I was taking too long to assist him. I'm not entirely sure what was said by either child, as I dashed as quickly as I could into the den of silence: the bathroom.

Nothing was said on the other end of the phone, and I made no further mention of what had happened. Whew! I escaped relatively unscathed.

The conversation continued, and seemed to be going well, when the munchkins started pounding on the bathroom door. I had to do something. The pounding was so loud. And that's when it happened, my next mistake. I opened it to shush them when...

"Mom, my butt needs to be wiped!"

Darn! I, and most assuredly the potential client, heard the loudly uttered phrase. Luckily for me, the potential client said she had a 4-year-old at home, so she understood. Life is about learning experiences anyway, right? If anything, I learned a lesson on working from home with the kids.

I should have been very specific, and should have told them "Do not interrupt mommy," instead of just telling them not to make a lot of noise.

For those of you that may be wondering - In this case, I DID land the client!

Working from home — a particularly challenging day

When I quit my job last year to begin my own business, I didn't fully understand the challenges of being a parent and working from home. Then again, my husband was still working, so the kids were attending preschool several days a week. That all changed in September, though, when he lost his job...

Now, I have both kids home with me (luckily my husband is back to work). I actually love having the kids home, and love the opportunity that working from home affords (i.e making my own schedule). Unfortunately though this can create challenges: What do I do with the kids when I need to meet with a client or when I need to work from home during the day?

For the most part, I ship them off to Mom, or in the summer months to the in-laws. On the rarest of occasions, I hire a young neighborhood girl to watch the little monsters while I work. Recently, though, my options were limited. No one was available to watch the kids during a scheduled phone interview with a potential client. So what did I do?

I threatened them with bodily harm. No, no, not really, but I did make sure all their needs were met before the call began (supplying them with food, beverages, etc.) and sat them in front of the telly, the idiot box, the boob tube, a.k.a. the virtual babysitter. I then told them, "Please don't make a lot of noise, mommy has to get on an important phone call."

I suppose I should have been more specific.

I think the phone conversation went very well initially (and actually overall, too). I was able to speak to the potential client's needs, and speak intelligently and coherently about the specifics of my background, and how I could help them. Of course I told the kids I would be on the phone for a bit, but what does time really mean to a 3- and 5-year-old?

The first time I was interrupted, it was my 3-year-old daughter: "Mom, Zachary had diarrhea."

(pause)

The potential client (laughing): "Working at home with the kids?"

"Yes, typically they're shipped off to mom, but she's sick today."

Then came the second plea by my daughter about my son's "diarrhea" episode. Quite possible too, some complaint on the part of my son that I was taking too long to assist him. I'm not entirely sure what was said by either child, as I dashed as quickly as I could into the den of silence: the bathroom.

Nothing was said on the other end of the phone, and I made no further mention of what had happened. Whew! I escaped relatively unscathed.

The conversation continued, and seemed to be going well, when the munchkins started pounding on the bathroom door. I had to do something. The pounding was so loud. And that's when it happened, my next mistake. I opened it to shush them when...

"Mom, my butt needs to be wiped!"

Darn! I, and most assuredly the potential client, heard the loudly uttered phrase. Luckily for me, the potential client said she had a 4-year-old at home, so she understood. Life is about learning experiences anyway, right? If anything, I learned a lesson on working from home with the kids.

I should have been very specific, and should have told them "Do not interrupt mommy," instead of just telling them not to make a lot of noise.

For those of you that may be wondering - In this case, I DID land the client!

July 25, 2009

$25 A Day - Splash Park Adventure

This is the second post in a series aimed at helping families of four, find something to DO in the Ann Arbor area for under $25/day.

It's hot, the kids are cranky, which makes YOU cranky, so WHAT can you do to cool off your temper and the temperature? The sprinkler works, but you want to get out of the house... How about visiting a local Splash playground, or Spayscape??? Spray away the heat of the day...

We love going to the nearby splash playgrounds, and I love them even more when they are free, so today I am going to blog about the Canton local splash playground. It's a 20 minute drive from my home to Heritage Park in Canton, and well worth the visit to stay cool, and it's FREE!

IDEA #2 - Splash Away The Heat Of The Day

Canton's Splash Playground at Heritage Park

We have visited the sprayscape several times in the past two years. I enjoy sitting in the shade reading a book or visiting with friends while the kids run in and out of the water feature. It's the perfect hot weather day activity.

This summer, the city changed the hours of the sprayscape to accommodate birthday parties and event booking. The hours are now M-Th 1-7 PM with weekend hours from 11 AM - 7 PM.

What I liked:

The park is well set up with available picnic tables, and a small playground next to the sprayscape (A larger wooden structure is also within walking distance). Parking is also very convenient.

Of the last several times we visited, the ice cream truck stopped by (which can be a pro or a con depending on how well trained your children are to the sound of the trucks music!). The last time we visited a bicycle "ice cream" vendor pulled up too - He sold bottled water and cold beverages, as well as ice cream novelties. Most items on the bicycle cart were less than $2.

What I Would Like To See Different:

Say the word "free" and people come running. In this case, at certain times of the day, buses pull up with day-campers. That means MANY children are there to enjoy the sprayground. Many children of many ages, sometimes children much older and larger than my pre-schoolers.

I would also prefer to have some shade provided at the sprayground - There is little to no shade except for a single tree nearby which is often "in use" by the time we arrive. Otherwise the treeline is too far away to enjoy the shade provided by it. That's why we always bring either a beach tent or our Easy-Up tent to give us instant shelter from the sun!

The restrooms are within walking distance but far enough away to be inconvenient for small children. Make sure to head over to them BEFORE the children need to use them!

Cost:
Food - Picnic goodies of choice
Parking - free
Location - Canton's Heritage Park directly south of the Community Center. The park is within a 30 minute drive from most parts of Ann Arbor.

What else to bring:
Shelter - This is a MUST for the Canton splash park unless you want to sit under the sun all day.
Sunscreen (as needed)
There are plenty of other local spray parks available in the area. Not all of them are free, but all are worth checking out if you are up for a fun family outing.

Be sure to check out my other $25 a Day post too.


July 24, 2009

County 4-H Youth Show is FREE to All!

Kids and animals go hand in hand and the bonus is:

-----Free Parking

----------Free Admission

---------------and Free shows.

What more could you possibly ask for in a family-fun event? On July 26-31 at the Washtenaw farm Council Fairgrounds (5055 Ann Arbor Saline Road), families can visit the annual County 4-H Youth Show. There will be plenty to see and do with plants, animals, food and clothing... And did I mention "it's FREE"??? Check out the schedule of events at the Washtenaw County 4-H Youth Shows website.

Bring your children, to see other children (and young adults) do some amazing things - These kids work hard and would love support from the community, plus it will probably be fun!!!

July 23, 2009

Looking for Something to DO This Weekend - Chelsea Summerfest

I have only recently discovered "Chelsea", it's quaint charm is quite wonderful. If you are looking for something to do this weekend, the Chelsea Summerfest may just be that ticket.

Chelsea Summerfest
July 24 - 25

SummerFest is the city's annual festival. It started decades ago, as a summertime sidewalk sale that has now grown into into the area's highlight of summer drawing visitors from the greater Ann Arbor area and beyond! The two-day event features something for everyone ~ music, children's entertainment and activities, a classic car show and so much more... So come visit Chelsea and keep a look-out for the Mayrend entourage, we may just be milling about.

(Get it? Chelsea is home to the Jiffy Mix mill??? Sorry, BAD pun!)


July 22, 2009

Stop and Smell The Blossoms in Ann Arbor for FREE!

My parents were great parents - That's not to say "I want to be just like mom (or dad)" because we all want to be a little different. After all the world is made of completely unique individuals right? My parents were great because they were very much involved in my life. THAT'S the parent I want to be.

As a child I actually had a little difficulty that all of my friends LIKED my parents, and wanted to talk to them. At parties my friends hung with mom, because she was fun to talk to (I suppose). My experience-bank is pretty full as a result of what mom and dad taught me. One of those teachings was quite simple actually - To observe nature and my surroundings. Those teachings have given me my unique perspective on life.

This perspective is what drives me to pass along these experiences. I love taking the kids anywhere where they can observe nature, and recently one rainy, cool day we discovered the Conservatory at Matthaei Botanical Gardens! The icing on the cake, was that visitors are allowed FREE admission Wednesdays from noon to 8pm.

So the stop by the conservatory to top off your experience-bank. On the next rainy day allow your children warm their spirits in the warm temperate atmosphere of the conservatory ~ And don't forget to take along your camera!

Please be sure to check out my latest posts on AnnArbor.com too!

July 20, 2009

FREE Alert for Zoobilee Play Cafe!

Attention all you thrifty parents - On Thursday July 23, Zoobilee is allowing the first 100 children in for FREE. So stop in and say "Happy Second Anniversary" and enjoy the day at the play cafe!

For details, check out the coupon on the Zoobilee website...

For those of you that are unable to attend the free anniversary event, the Zoobilee website also has a $1 off coupon just for mentioning you saw their website!

July 16, 2009

Angel Sightings - Blue That Is!

It's official, the Blue Angels are in town - We just saw (and heard) them fly over the house. Screams erupted from within the house as well as my son realized what happened...

We LOVE this week - It's been a yearly event. Every time the airshow runs, we can watch (for days in advance) the air-planes running through the show. In fact we can sit in our driveway for hours at a time and watch the skies above us. The kids get the most excited though when they can see the jets, specifically the Blue Angels.

Don't forget the Thunder Over Michigan is this weekend and for those of you that can enjoy the pre-show, pull out your lawn-chairs, relax and enjoy the show!

July 10, 2009

$25 A Day - Family "Island" Fun

I don't know what inspired me to create this piece for the blog, but I got to thinking about it after watching one of Rachel Ray's shows - $40 A Day... What kind of things can Ann Arbor families DO for under $25 for the day?

I realize that some of the things I will talk about in months to come will be obvious areas of interest, but for new families they may be new ideas. They may also spur other great ideas from you. So please if you have a GREAT under $25 a day activity, please pass along the idea...

IDEA #1 - Picnic and Play along the Huron River

I know most of you are thinking DUH! But I am not thinking about a picnic in any of the obvious parks like Gallup Park - Instead discover Island Park! I discovered it last year after being invited to a picnic at one of the picnic shelter areas there. The kids really loved the park and we went back several times throughout the summer. Families with small children won't fear their children falling into the river and being whisked away...

What I liked:

The park has the general natural spaces and plenty of trees for shade. In addition the "Island" is situated between a deeper part of the Huron River (still wade-able) and a very shallow 4-8" deep part of the river. The kids played for HOURS in that part of the river!!!

Cost:

Food - Picnic goodies of choice
Parking - free
Location - Across from Fuller Park near the U of M hospital

What else to bring:

Shelter (if you prefer - Sometimes bring our Easy-Up tent)
Sunscreen/Bugspray (as needed)
A Beach ball (to race down the river)
Outdoor toys

July 9, 2009

Cars, Cruisin', Music and Fun!

One hot and humid night not so long ago, I began to think about something to do with the kids. Mom was going to watch the kids during the day and when I got home I wanted to "DO SOMETHING". Then I remembered ~ Ypsilanti has a downtown cruise night in Depot Town.

I took mom and the kids that night, and enjoyed looking at all the old cars, followed by eating at the Sidetrack Bar & Grill then visiting Gordon's Five & Dime for some treats! It was a nice relaxing night filled with cars, music and good food. So take a step back in history - Stop by and check it out!!!

DEPOT TOWN CRUISE NIGHTS
June 4 - September 17, 2009
East Cross Street in Depot Town

For additional information, call the Ypsilanti Automotive Heritage Collection at 734-482-5200.

July 4, 2009

July 1, 2009

Family Fun & Safety During Independance Day Fireeworks Displays!

We all love to attend displays of fireworks for the July 4th holiday. For those of you attending local fireworks displays, I have a few tips to make this family event safe and fun for all...
  • Get there early and wear comfortable clothing and shoes. You may be waiting for a long while or walking a distance to the display area!
  • Bring bug spray, a flashlight and possibly sunscreen (depending on when you arrive)
  • Bring your own glow sticks instead of buying them on-site, you'll save a TON!!!
  • If you arrive early, bring something to pass the time - Games, cards, balloons, snacks, beverages...
  • Leave sparklers home. The space is too tight, and even sparklers can be dangerous for the little ones - If you MUST bring them, make sure you have the space and a bucket of water to drop them into when they are spent.
  • If you are like my family, make sure to spot the Port-a-Potty before picking your spot, also use it BEFORE you need to, avoiding long lines...
  • Pack the kids wagon for transport - Add the cooler, blankets, and any other necessary items. If the kids need to ride the load back to the car, it will be easier than carrying them!
  • In crowded places I've begun adding my cell phone number written in pen on the upper arm of my children.
  • Park for easy access out AFTER the fireworks. Nothing like being stuck in a lot you can't leave when everyone is tired and cranky.
Have fun and HAPPY Independence Day!