October 31, 2009

Happy Halloween!

Wishing all families around Ann Arbor a safe and Happy Halloween celebration - From my family to yours...

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October 29, 2009

Free Indoor Play at Ypsilanti Community Center

It's a rainy or cold day and your toddler is running around like sugar-crazed, caffeine-pumped mega-monster. (Yes I know that NEVER happens!) What's a parent to do? If you are a lucky Ypsilanti Township resident, have no fear, there is a convenient and fun solution.

Weekdays from 9:30 - 11:30 am, October 12 through June 4, 2010, the township community center allows children (under the age of 4) to jump and romp their extra energies away at Tot Time. Tot Time fills their large space with balls, large building blocks, ride on/push toys and a Little Tykes basketball hoop for the most active child to enjoy (You can always tote your own toys too!)

This program is FREE, however parents must be in attendance and supervise their children. For more information, call the Ypsilanti Township Community Center at 734-544-3800, at www.ytown.org or become a FAN of YTRD on Facebook.

October 28, 2009

Halloween Safety Tips

I found a read a very informatitive, helpful document from the City of Ann Arbor Police Services regarding Halloween that I would like to pass along. In general, trick-or-treating this year may take place in neighborhoods on Saturday, Oct. 31 between 5-8:00 p.m. we're lucky too, since this year, Halloween is on a weekend, so some families can start a little earlier than in past years!

Halloween is the children's night for tricks and treats … ghosts and goblins … haunts and horrors. Unfortunately, some of the horrors are all too real. Every year, on Halloween, many children suffer from auto accidents, fire injuries, falls, cuts, bruises or poisoned treats. Be aware and be informed so your children can have a safe, enjoyable Halloween. Supervise your children's evening, and stay in neighborhoods that are well-lit and familiar. Here are more precautions to help keep your Halloween happy.

• Children become careless from excitement and may run into the road - Watch your children closely!
• Dusk is the time of poorest visibility for drivers - Try to Trick or Treat while it is still
• Choose a costume that is easy to walk in, easy to see out of and can be seen by car drivers.
• If the Trick or Treating lasts into the night, wear a light colored costume.
• Use reflective tape on the costume for additional visibility.

• Loose costumes, oversized bags or unsafe shoes can cause falls or accidents.
• Masks reduce vision.
• Sharp or pointed toy weapons are unsafe.
• If wearing a mask, choose one that is cool, comfortable and easy to see out of. Take off the mask before crossing the street. Better yet, wear make-up instead of a mask.

• Billowing costumes are dangerous around an open flame.
• Flowing false-hair wigs are unsafe around candles.
• Wigs and costumes should be of non-flammable materials.
• Use a flashlight. It makes children more visible and lights their way.

• It's sad, but true, that some people wish to cause harm. Treats must be checked for potential poisoning or unsafe objects.
• Unpackaged items such as popcorn or small candies should be DISCARDED.
• Candy with loose or torn wrappings should be DISCARDED.
• If you should discover anything wrong with the "TREATS" brought home, report it to law enforcement so that other parents may be warned and the people responsible caught.

Wishing all of my readers a safe and Happy Halloween!!!

Baby Einstein DVD Exchange/Refund Program

A friend of mine brought this to my attention, and although it's not an "activity" for families, it is a great rebate or upgrade for anyone wanting to return any baby Einstein DVD's purchased between June 5, 2004 and September 4, 2009.

In essence, if you are not satisfied with the Baby Einstein DVD you purchased you may, for a limited time beginning on September 4, 2009 and ending on March 4, 2010, exchange it for one of the following:

One (1) Baby Einstein Book of your choice
One (1) Baby Einstein music CD of your choice - Or -
One (1) coupon for 25% off the purchase of one Little Einsteins™ product. Redeemable with promotion code only at DisneyStore.com.

OR you may return it, and we will refund the current retail value of the DVD ($15.99).

What it boils down to is that you can get a refund on up to 4 Baby Einstein DVDs - $64 total – per household if you return them. To request your DVD exchange or refund, check out the program specifics at the following link. I will admit, my son LOVED the first two (earlier) Baby Einstein DVD's we had, however the later ones I purchased were not as enjoyable to him and thus hardly used... This is a GREAT deal and yes parents it IS legit!

October 27, 2009

Trick-Or-Treat & Crafts Too!

Hey all you Ann Arbor families, I have a new FREE alert for you. On Saturday, October 31st from 10 a.m.-Noon take your children to any local Michael's craft stores for a Halloween celebration.

Pick up your FREE trick or treat pail, plus enjoy a FREE coloring activity, FREE Crayola pencil topper demo with Crayola Model Magic Fusion and Make-it Take It Halloween frame. Children also will receive a FREE ballon and candy. Remember, these events are available while supplies last, so attend the Halloween Event early!

Michael's - 3655 Washtenaw Ave., Ann Arbor MI 48104

Michael's - 41904 Ford Rd., Canton MI 48187

October 26, 2009

This Week: Halloween Events in Ann Arbor

There are MANY great events happening this Halloween weekend in Ann Arbor... Hope to see you all out and about!

Halloween Party & Movie
Friday, Oct. 30, 12:30 to 3:30 p.m. at the Ann Arbor Senior Center
Cost: $5 - Pre-registration by Oct. 28.

Children of the Earth Club
Saturday, Oct. 31, 9:30 – 11:30 a.m. at the Leslie Science and Nature Center (1831 Traver Road, 734.997.1553).
Enjoy Nature songs, environmentally-themed games and home action plans that will be led by singer and environmental educator Joe Reilly.
Cost: $8 per person; adult not required for kids to participate.
Ages: Second graders and up.

Halloween Skate
Saturday, Oct 31, 1 – 2:30 p.m. at Veterans Memorial Park Ice Arena (2150 Jackson Road, 734.794.6235).
Skate to the spooky sounds of Halloween. Best costume prizes awarded.
Cost: (General Admission Prices)
Residents:Adults - $5, Youth/Senior - $4
Non-residents:Adults -$6, Youth/Senior - $5
Skate Rental - $3
Ages: Appropriate for all ages.

Community-wide Halloween events - Ann Arbor, Ypsilanti & Saline

There are plenty of fun, safe, and FREE family Halloween celebrations in communities throughout Washtenaw County, specifically in communities surrounding Ann Arbor. Highlighted are three local Halloween celebrations in downtown Ann Arbor, Ypsilanti and Saline.

Friday, October 30th:

Downtown Ann Arbor Treat Parade - 11 a.m.-5 p.m.
Sponsored by the Main Street Area Association, the Ann Arbor Treat Parade allows costumed children and their parents to stroll downtown Ann Arbor and pick up treats from businesses that display holiday balloons. The event takes place in businesses along Main, Liberty, Fourth, and Washington street areas. For more information call 734-668-7112.

Ypsilanti Halloween Festival - 5:00-7:00 p.m.
Children from around the Ann Arbor region are invited to enjoy games, prizes, contests and of course, free candy at the annual Ypsilanti Halloween Festival. This year, families have an opportunity to give as well, by bringing canned goods to the downtown Ypsilanti District Library to donate to SOS. The event takes place in the Ypsilanti District Library Park at North and South Washington Streets in downtown Ypsilanti - Michigan Avenue will not be closed this year, instead the Ypsilanti Volunteer Service Corps will be on hand to help supervised children cross Michigan Avenue. For more information, visit the Downtown Association of Ypsilanti website.
While you’re enjoying the Downtown Ypsilanti Halloween Festival, stop into the YDL downtown library and listen to a slightly scary storytime at 4:30 p.m.!

Saturday, October 31st:

City of Saline Halloween Boo Bash - 1:00-3:00 p.m.
The streets of Downtown Saline will be crowded with witches, power rangers, princesses and fireman at the local Halloween street party, the Halloween Boo Bash in downtown Saline. It is an old fashion family celebration with tricks and treats, games, and music. The event takes place in downtown Saline in Parking Lot #1 behind the Saline Chamber of Commerce.

October 22, 2009

Great Halloween Happenings Throughout the Area!

AnnArbor.com has collected quite the list of great local Halloween Events for kids and adults of all ages - Beginning this weekend through October 31. Be sure to check out the AnnArbor.com Halloween Guide!

October 17, 2009

FREE Halloween Party at the Museum of Natural History

Our first Halloween in Ann Arbor, we discovered a fun (and FREE) family Halloween party at the University of Michigan Museum of Natural History. It was a CRAZY event that was packed with families, however it was free.

My son especially loved the cute crafts available on each floor of the museum. He also enjoyed the live animals that were visiting and he especially loved the dinosaurs!

Family Halloween Party
Exhibit Museum of Natural History - 1109 Geddes Ave., Ann Arbor
Sunday, October 25, 12:00-5:00 p.m.

Have a Halloween that's fun, safe -- and educational as well! Discover special stations and displays full of hands-on activities. Many favorite stations will be back, along with new stations, and live animals! Come in costume (not required, but recommended) and don’t forget to bring a goodie bag — as treats will be handed out throughout the exhibits! The party is suitable for all ages, and is FREE! No reservations or tickets are necessary.

For more information, visit the event details page on the Exhibit Museum of Natural History website.

October 15, 2009

Be Out There With The National Wildlife Federation

I received this cool idea yesterday in my e-mail in-box that I thought I would share. The National Wildlife Federation (NWF) is launching their Be Out There campaign, a national movement to return to the nation’s children what they don’t even know they’ve lost - The great outdoors!

I know I have MANY fond memories of camping, hiking and just playing outside in the fort behind my parents garage - Heck, for many of us, childhood memories are synonymous with outdoor moments like climbing trees, skipping stones, or cloud gazing. But today’s kids spend twice as much time indoors as their parents and grandparents did, missing out on the simple pleasures and lasting mental and physical health benefits of daily outdoor time.

Studies show children who spend time in nature are healthier, happier, and become better stewards of the environment.

That's why the NWF has teamed up with the movie Where The Wild Things Are to formally launch Be Out There. Where The Wild Things Are is based on a favorite children's book - The movie is a collaborative effort between innovative director Spike Jonze and celebrated author Maurice Sendak that tells the story of a rambunctious and sensitive boy who feels misunderstood at home and escapes to the island of the Wild Things.

Celebrate with NWF and organize your own Wild Rumpus Day - download the Where The Wild Things Are Kids' Activity Guide. Get together, head outside and try a few activities like flying a kite, playing tag, riding a bike, walking through one of the many local Ann Arbor parks or building a fort on the patio - The only key is, to remember to have tons of family outdoor fun!

October 14, 2009

Register Now for Ypsilanti Township Parks & Recreation Programs

My friends at the Ypsilanti Township Parks & Recreation department wanted to let everyone know that registration is now open for the Winter/Spring 2010 Recreation Guide. Stop into the building, sign-up through the mail or even sign up online!

There are some great programs and classes for children and teens including
basketball, floor hockey, dodge ball, golf, soccer, baseball and t-ball, many art programs, open play times and many other fun winter and spring activities for Ypsilanti Township residents and supporters from surrounding communities.

October 9, 2009

Git Along Little Doggies - Michigan Fall Festival & Wild West Show

I found this neat activity idea online today. Although it would cost a family of four $40 for the event, and it would be a 45-minute drive for Ann Arbor area families, it is unique enough to give a shout out!

On Saturday October 17 stop by and enjoy the Fall Festival Wild West Adventure Northfork Outback Horse and Adventure Camps in Webberville. The event runs all day from 11:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. and features fun family events including a craft show, petting zoo, pony rides, covered wagon rides, 1800's old west town, and fun western events including a shoot-out, ropin' ridin', hootin' n hollerin'!

Everything’s included for $10.00 per person including unlimited pony rides and petting zoo (not including food!) Reservations are recommended call 517-881-9142 or visit the Northfork Outback website.

I'll tell you I am intrigued by the event, and am thinking of checking it out with the family!

Their website also highlights Fall Wagon Train rides on October 10 & 17, 2009. Step back in time for a realistic adventure with a one hour wagon train ride in a real COVERED WAGON! For the cowgirls and cowboys, you may also ride a horse and for the younger or shy folks they can go in the horse drawn wagon. Upon returning enjoy grub at the chuck wagon.

Check the website for more information on the wagon rides, departure times and the cost for horsebackriding.

Childrens Book Signing at Found on Saturday October 10

Join author Philip Christian Stead in the signing of his book "Creamed Tuna Fish & Peas on Toast" tomorrow October 10, 2009 from 3:00-6:00 p.m. at FOUND (407 North Fifth Avenue, Ann Arbor - 2nd floor). What an amazing find this children's book is for FOUND! It is entirely typeset using vintage toy printing sets AND the backgrounds are filled with bits and pieces of old letters and advertising and postage stamps. The books author, will debut Creamed Tuna Fish and Peas on Toast at the shop in Kerrytown.
Families are all invited to FOUND for an Author Event with Philip Christian Stead on Saturday, October 10th from 3:00 - 6:00 p.m. Books will be available for $16.50 and he'll sign them on the spot - He's also bringing in the original collage artwork and the printing sets that he used for the lettering. What a fun opportunity to meet the author and learn about his unique techniques!

Refreshments will also be served at the book signing, however FOUND has promise it won't be anything fishy.

Columbus Day "Dog Days" Party at The Borders Arborland

On Monday October 12 (Columbus Day), readers young and old a-like can join in a party celebrating the hotly anticipated release of “Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Dog Days” by New York Times bestselling author Jeff Kinney at the Arborland Borders. The ultra-popular series, which also includes “Diary of a Wimpy Kid,” “Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Rodrick Rules” and “Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Last Straw,” features the snarky and hilarious journal entries of character, middle-schooler and middle child Greg Heffley.
The party officially kicks off at 4:00 p.m. with a special welcome message from author Jeff Kinney. Kids can delight in talking about their favorite characters and scenes in all of the Wimpy Kid books—and weigh in on what they would like to see happen in the upcoming “Diary of a Wimpy Kid” feature film. In addition the celebration includes an opportunity for ardent fans to participate in adrenaline-pumping trivia, to create their own cartoon books and event participate in a Greg "look-a-like" contest.

Besides the book, kids can also purchase a Diary of a Wimpy Kid t-shirt that they can customize with a favorite saying or quote using the washable ink pen that comes along with the shirt. This cool customizable shirt can only be found at Borders, Waldenbooks and Borders Express stores; It retails for $5.99 with book purchase or $9.99 individually, while supplies last.
As an additional bonus to fans, October 12-16, Borders Group will give away 20 free signed copies of "Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Dog Days" via Twitter. Each day Borders Group will tweet four store locations where one lucky reader will be able to claim the book at that location by approaching a cashier and uttering the password: "cheese touch." The first person to say the password will receive a free signed copy of the book - Follow twitter.com/bordersmedia for clues.

October 5, 2009

Free Thursday Night Flu Prevention Seminar in Ann Arbor

After spending the past few days in bed with a nasty bug of one kind or another, I have begun to re-think this winter's strategy on fighting germs in my home. My kids are in school now, and are bringing germs home on a weekly basis, and the fear of seasonal flu as well as the H1N1 virus is lurking in the news everywhere - What's a family to do?

This Thursday, October 8 at 6:00 p.m., the Children's Orchard resale shop (Colonnade Shopping Center on West Eisenhower Parkway, Ann Arbor) will be hosting a free parental educational seminar presented by a local University of Michigan pediatrician discussing the H1N1 Virus.

“We’re seeing growing concern among moms who shop at our store about the H1N1 Virus and its potential impact on their children and families,” said Taylor Bond, CEO of Children’s Orchard. “The goal of this event is to ease parents’ worries by educating them about the proper procedures in preventing and treating this virus.”

The presentation will be led by Pediatrician Dr. Jill Noble, a practicing physician for the University of Michigan Health System as well as Clinical Assistant Professor for the Department of Pediatrics and Communicable Diseases. She will answer parents’ questions about H1N1, including:

• How is the H1N1 virus different from the regular flu?
• How do I know if I have H1N1?
• What should I do if I think someone in my family has H1N1?
• If I do not have insurance, where can I get treatment?
• Should I have my children vaccinated?
• Should I get vaccinated?

Parents who are interested in attending the event are asked to RSVP by emailing Children’s Orchard at annarbor@childrensorchard.com, calling (734) 995-8889 or stopping by in-person.

October 3, 2009

Antique Truck Show in Ypsilanti

There will be trucks of every kind rolling into Riverside Park (5 E. Cross Street) tomorrow for the annual Antique Truck Show - It's a great addition to the area's already famous antique car shows & events. Unique antique and classic trucks will be displayed by the American Truck Historical Society.
Bring your family, kids of all ages enjoy looking at cool old trucks!

October 2, 2009

Free Resource for Parents With Preschoolers Learning to Read

I found a great resource the other day - a free and fun story-based learning tool available for preschoolers to help them with their language development. The Social Language Story Maddie Gets Ready for Bed” was created especially for young children learning language, including those who have language problems.

It's a free, web-based story can be read on-line or printed and used as a readable coloring book. It is being offered through the University of Michigan’s University Center for the Development of Language and Literacy.

Make sure to check back with the site often, as new story's will be released in the series!