April 30, 2010

National Mom's Nite Out at Briarwood Mall - Thursday May 6, 2010

Mom's everywhere need a break, and while Mother's Day is THE premier celebration of "mom" many of us spend so much time making everyone else's Mother's Day special that we neglect ourselves - That's where "National Mom's Night Out" comes in.  On May 6, the Thursday before Mother's Day, area mom's can enjoy a NIGHT OUT out at Briarwood Mall (a Simon Mall) to celebrate THEMSELVES with special sales, pampering and special events happening throughout the mall. 

Check out all the offerings for the event then grab your calendar and add "National Mom's Night Out", it'll be a date you won't want to miss!
  • Edible samples from Domino's Catering, Costco's Kirkland Foods and Godiva chocolate strawberries
  • The award winner of the Model Mom contest will be awarded
  • Prizes from Pearle Vision, The Body Shop, Pottery Barn, and more... 
  • Water bottles courtesy of AnnArbor.com
  • Multiple contests, samples and coupons
  • Entertainment provided by Southern Comfort
  • A massage chair/service provided by Tai Ji
  • Demonstrations by Sephora, Williams-Sonoma, Trade Secret,
  • Fashion presentations by Coldwater Creek and Destination Maternity
Ann Abor area mom's who attend the event at the Briarwood Mall are also encouraged to bring items for the SafeHouse collection at the event.

April 29, 2010

FREE ALERT: Comic Book Day


May 1, 2010 is Free Comic Book Day. It is a single day - the first Saturday in May each year - when participating comic book shops across North America and around the world give away comic books absolutely free to anyone who comes into their stores! So if getting your kid to read means getting them a comic book, then this would be the day to do that!

Ann Arbor Area stores participating in Free Comic Book Day:

Fun 4 All - 2742 Washtenaw Ave., Ypsilanti (734) 434-7440
Stadium Cards & Comics - 2061 Golfside, Ypsilanti (734) 434-0283
Get Your Game On - 709 Packard Rd., Ann Arbor (734) 786-3746
Vault of Midnight - 219 S. Main, Ann Arbor (734) 998-1413
Comic City - 42727 Ford Rd., Canton (734) 981-3561

April 28, 2010

How Messy is YOUR Family Car - A Few Stale French Fries Are Nothing Compared to THIS car!

On any ordinary day, my husband would cringe at the thought of driving my car anywhere. As the family's main means of transportation however it's not so bad. Yes it has assorted trash, crumbs, dirt and toys, however I can clearly say that my car is not nearly as bad as this one I found sitting in the library parking lot.

When I came in for a closer inspection I realized that the ENTIRE inside of the car was filled to the windows with trash. The only clear space in the entire car was where the driver would sit!

How messy is your family car???

April 27, 2010

Mothers Day Make-It, Take-It Craft Events This Weekend

This weekend at area Michael's locations (3655 West Washtenaw Avenue, Ann Arbor) children can make their own Mother's Day gifts!  On Saturday, May 1, create FREE personalized jewelry - beaded earrings from 1:00 - 2:00 p.m. and glass beaded bracelet from 2:00 - 3:00 p.m. Then on Sunday May 2,  from 1:00 - 3:00 p.m. purchase a mug with markers and learn how to persoanlize it for mom. two great make-it take-it events for one fantastic mom!

April 26, 2010

Getting Children Into the Garden - Gardening Classes at The Produce Station

One of my earliest memories of my grandparents is spending time with them in the garden. I especially liked picking asparagus, strawberries, corn, carrots, squash, tomatoes, and raspberries - OK really nothing the grew in there was beyond my plucking or picking and immediately crunching down within my teeth, dirt and all. Nothing tastes as good as home grown goods warmed gently in the sun!

I suppose that is where my love of gardening came from. It's no surprising that the first outdoor project I finished in my first new home was a garden, and it was no surprising that I introduced my children to the garden even before they could walk. During the summer months there aren't many days that go by where one of my children isn't out snagging something from the garden - Even today my daughter and I enjoyed munching on some of our earliest breakfast radishes!

Not everyone I know however is able to pass along this knowledge. I can't even begin to count the number of friends who ask for my help to get their kids started... Many too are amazed that my kids eat almost anything, and laugh when I explain that the kids and I often race out there to see who gets to eat whatever is growing first...

However if you happen to fall into that category, the one that just doesn't know how to start your kids gardening education fear not, The Produce Station has gardening classes for even the youngest green thumbs!

Beginning in early May, children ages 5-11 have many gardening class options including the following.

Gardening classes for children ages 5-7
Cost: $5.00 each

Sunday, May 2: 3-4 p.m. and Friday, May 7: 4:30-5:30 p.m. - Plant a Gift that Mom will Love! Children will plant a beautiful green friendly sustainable flower pot for mom on her special day and create a Mother’s Day card using stamps made with fruits and vegetables to go with the gift. Children will also receive a $5.00 Produce Station Card for attending the class.

Sunday, May 16: 3-4 p.m. - The Edible Garden for Kids! Hey kids, learn about planting, what makes up soil, and plant tomatoes and peppers. Each child will take home a mini planted garden and information on how to care for it!

Sunday, May 23: 3-4 p.m. - Herb Gardening for Kids! Children will plant a mini herb garden and find out about many different herbs and their uses. This class also includes a yummy taste testing of food using fresh herbs, such as strawberry mint lemonade and basil pesto and breadsticks!

Sunday, June 6: 3-4 p.m. - Beautiful Butterflies! Kids will learn how to plant a garden that will attract beautiful butterflies and plant a zinnia to take home.

Sunday, June 13 and Friday June 18: 3-4 p.m. - Peppers for Pops. Spice up Father’s Day by planting some spicy peppers in a green friendly sustainable pot. Learn how to make salsa and create a Father’s Day card using stamps made with fruits and vegetables to go with your gift. Children will also receive a $5.00 Produce Station Card for attending the class.

Children ages 8-11 may also participate in The Produce Station Children’s Community Garden Classes each Saturday from 3:00 - 4:00 p.m. The cost is $35/Child for participation in all classes and is limited to 15 children per gardening class.

The Children’s Community Garden aims to provide garden education to children in order to nurture children's awareness, confidence and connections to the natural world, promote healthy food practices, and foster hands-on, lifelong learning. For more information on specific Saturday themes for the Children's Community Garden, be sure to check out the produce Station website.

April 23, 2010

Jungle Java Coupons TODAY ONLY Get 5 Passes for $15

I'm ALWAYS looking for great coupons and discounts that I will use, and this one fits the bill.  Today only at Groupon.com you can get 5 passes to Jungle Java for $15.  They are typically $6.50 EACH! 

Passes can be used at Jungle Java Ann Arbor, Jungle Java Canton or Jungle Jave Farmington Hills.  Don't let this one slip awahy...

April 21, 2010

Earth Day Celebrations

April 22 marks the 40th anniversary of Earth Day, an annual celebration of environmental activism and awareness. Earth Day is celebrated in many communities with fairs and festivals, including activities for kids and business opportunities for adults including a great event here in Ann Arbor.

The Ann Arbor Area Earth Day Festival will be held on Sunday, April 25, 2010 from Noon until 4 p.m. at Washtenaw Community College (4800 E. Huron River Drive, Ann Arbor) at the Morris Lawrence building. The event is free and offers more than 60 exhibitors providing information to families and hands-on kids activities - Including the favorite All-Species Parade!

If you can't make it to the Ann Arbor event, there are several others happening throughout Michigan including:

Michigan Earth Day Fest (Rochester, April 23-25)
Monroe County Earth Day Fair (Monroe, April 24)
Embracing Our Earth (Bad Axe, April 24)
Green Street Fair (Plymouth, May 1-2)

April 14, 2010

Don't Miss This Pippin Puppets Production This Weekend!

Every once in a while you meet and work with a truly talented person. I have been blessed to work with many of those types of people! Sometimes I'm lucky and even run into them again...

As I was looking into material for articles I came across the upcoming Ypsilanti Youth Theatre special fundraiser, and there it was - Pippin Puppets and Rob Papineau.

Rob Papineau, is a fabulous puppeteer that I have had an opportunity to work with in several acting venues - Come to find out he's been directing right around the corner from me with Ypsilanti Youth Theatre productions! I know that kids (and adults) of all ages just respond to his youthful exuberance and I highly encourage local parents to bring the entire family to attend this upcoming fundraiser - This local gem will not disappoint!

"Pippin Puppets" has entertained zillions of kids a year at live, play-along, original puppet shows all over the state. This rare, "concert-style" performance will include a full-length "fairy-tale" (a Rob original), some other "artsy" short subjects (infrequently seen), demonstrations of some crafty make-at-home stuff, some demos of "how the puppets work," and maybe another story . . . if you're good.

The fundraiser will be presented by the Ypsilanti Youth Theatre April 18, 2:00 p.m. at St. Luke’s Episcopal Church (120 N. Huron St., Ypsilanti). Suggested ticket donation is $8. For more information call the Ypsilanti Youth Theatre at 734-481-9285.

April 12, 2010

Ann Arbor Summer Camps 2010 - Theatre & Arts

If your children are interested in theatre, dance or "the arts", the Ann Arbor area has several summer day camp options.

Wild Swan Theatre Summer Camps
Cost: $150/wk half-day - $250/wk full-day
Ages: K-8
Times: 9:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.

Michigan Theatre Young Filmmakers Camp
Location: 603 East Liberty Street, Ann Arbor, MI 48104
(734) 668-8397
Cost: $399+/week
Ages: Suggested for 5th-8th graders and 9th-12th graders
Four Sessions beginning August 2

Ann Arbor Community Education & Recreation Summer Camps
Dance, Art & Drama Camps
Location: Varies
Cost: $129+/week half-day - $199+/week full-day
Ages: Variety
Times: 9:30 a.m. – 3:30 p.m. Aftercare available

Ring of Steel Stunt Academy
Cost: $280+/wk
Ages: 8-18
Sessions include: June 28-July 2, July 5-9, and August 9-13.

For a longer list of Ann Arbor Summer camp ideas make sure to check out the complete list of Summer Camps on AnnArbor.com!

Ann Arbor Summer Camps 2010 - Technology, Computers & Educational Camps

If your children are interested in computers, robotics, technology or getting a boost up on their education, the Ann Arbor area has several summer day camp options.
Location: This summer camp program is held at The University of Michigan
Cost: $651+/wk
Ages: 7-17

Camp CAEN at the University of Michigan - College of Engineering
Location: This summer camp program is held at The University of Michigan
Cost: $651+/wk
Ages: 10-17

Rocks And Robots Summer Camp
Location: 1735 S. Wagner Rd., Ann Arbor
Cost: $239+/week for half-day - $479+/week full-day
Ages: Programs for ages 6-17
Times: 9:00 am – 3:30 pm - Before and after care also available!
Programs beginning June 21.

Leslie Science Center Summer Camp Programs
Location: 1831 Traver Rd., Ann Arbor
Cost: $90+/wk half-day - $210/wk full-day
Ages: 2-12
Times: 8:30 a.m. – 3:00 p.m

Ann Arbor Hands on Museum Summer Camp
Location: Variety
Cost: $115+/week half-day - $199+/week full-day
Ages: Grades 1-5
Times: 7:14 a.m. – 6:00 p.m. (half day programs also available)

For a longer list of Ann Arbor Summer camp ideas make sure to check out the complete list of Summer Camps on AnnArbor.com!

Ann Arbor Summer Camps 2010 - Sports

If your children are interested in sports - basketball, soccer, volleyball or any outdoor sporting activity - the Ann Arbor area has several summer day camp options.

Summer Programs at The University of Michigan – UMove Fitness
Location: U of M Campus Ann Arbor
Cost: $120+/ half-day weeklong program
Ages: 4-15
Times: 8:00 am – 4:30 (two half day sessions – Optional aftercare available)
Programs beginning June 21

Ann Arbor Parks & Recreation Summer CampsCanoe Livery River Camps
Location: Argo Canoe Livery and Gallup Canoe Livery - Ann Arbor
Cost: $160+/week
Ages: School aged children – Programs may be age specific
Times: 9:30 a.m. – 3:30 p.m. – AM and PM extended care available

One on One Basketball Camp
Location: Variety - programs through Ann Arbor Rec Ed
Ages: Grades PK-3
Times: 9:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.

Summer Action Camp at the Ann Arbor College of Martial Arts
Cost: $230+/wk
Ages: Over 6
Times: 8:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m.
Specialized summer camp - Sports & fitness with general day camp activities.

Worldwide Sports Multi-Sports K.A.M.P.S.
Location: 2140 Oak Valley Dr., Ann Arbor, MI 48103
Cost: $135/wk half-day - $195/wk full-day
Ages: 5-13
Times: 8:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. – before and after care available

High Velocity Sports Camps
Location: 46245 Michigan Ave., Canton, MI 48188
Cost: $100/wk half-day - $200/wk full-day
Ages: 5-17
Times: 9:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.

Rocks And Robots Summer Camp
Rock-wall climbing camps
Location: 1735 S. Wagner Rd., Ann Arbor
Cost: $239+/week for half-day - $479+/week full-day
Ages: Programs for ages 6-17
Times: 9:00 am – 3:30 pm - Before and after care also available!
Programs beginning June 21.

For a longer list of Ann Arbor Summer camp ideas make sure to check out the complete list of Summer Camps on AnnArbor.com!

Ann Arbor Summer Camps 2010 - General Day Camps

There are many choices for summer camp programs throughout the Ann Arbor area. Below is a list of "general" summer camps for children that have a wide range of interest or would like a broader summer camp experience.

Ann Arbor Community Education & Recreation Summer Camps
Location: Variety
Cost: $129+/week half-day - $199+/week full-day
Ages: variety
Times: 9:30 a.m. – 3:30 p.m. Aftercare available

Ann Arbor Hands on Museum Summer Camp
Cost: $115+/week half-day - $199+/week full-day
Ages: Grades 1-5
Times: 7:14 a.m. – 6:00 p.m. (half day programs also available)

Ann Arbor Parks & Recreation Summer Camps
Location: Variety
Cost: $160+/week
Ages: School aged children – Programs may be age specific
Times: 9:30 a.m. – 3:30 p.m. – AM and PM extended care available

Real Life Day Camp & Farm
Cost: $200/wk
Ages: All ages
Times: 7:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m.

Montibeller Park Day Camp!
Location: Montibeller Park Pittsfield Township
Cost: $75+/week
Ages: 5-12
Times: 9:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.

Saline Community Education Summer Camp
Cost: $250/wk
Ages: 5-14
Time: 6:45 a.m. – 6:00 p.m.

Ann Arbor YMCA Summer Day Camps (In Ypsilanti)
Location: Summer daycamps are held at Recreation and Prospect parks in Ypsilanti.
Cost: $55+/week
Ages: 5-16
Times: Monday–Friday and will begin at 8:30 a.m. and end at 4:30 p.m.
Programs beginning the week of June 21 - YMCA Day Camp is a full day camp.

Ypsilanti Township Day Camps
Cost: $70+/wk half-day - $130+/wk full-day
Ages: PK-7th grade
Times: 9:00 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.

For a longer list of Ann Arbor Summer camp ideas make sure to check out the complete list of Summer Camps on AnnArbor.com!

April 10, 2010

Free Lecture: Create a Healthy Family Life

I received notice of an upcoming lecture and seminar April 23-24, 2010 located at the Rudolf Steiner School of Ann Arbor. The first annual "The Years of Wonder” conference is open to parents, educators, homeschoolers and those individuals interested in creating an environment where young children can acquire skills, capacities and knowledge needed to live well in the world.

The overall conference will focus on enriching parenting skills, practices to foster vigorous brain development and creating a healthy, nurturing home environment!  There is also a FREE Friday night lecture “Love’s Other Name-Discipline”  and focuses on creating a healthy family life that supports intuitive discipline. Parents will take home skills to support their children’s well-balanced, broad-based learning, and thereby give these children treasures to last a lifetime.

April 7, 2010

Life Lesson: Teaching Gratitude with a Side of Math!

Zach and I headed over to Food Gatherers today for their Family Volunteer Day - Which was really a block of 90-minutes instead of all day. It was a great activity for him, very age appropriate, and was just long enough to hold his attention for a lesson in being socially responsible by helping others.

My first objective, was to make sure that he understood what the Food Gatherers organization was about. I settled on telling him that Food Gatherers is a place where food is collected to give to those that can't afford to go buy groceries. A clearer explanation for him though came while we were driving when I mentioned the "food bank warehouse" and Zach pipped up "You mean it's like the bank where I put my college money?" "Actually yes that's exactly what it is. Food Gatherers takes food from people like you and I (we brought a few cans to donate which helped) and then stores it for people who need groceries. Families can then take their groceries out of the bank!" That still doesn't completely encompass what Foodgatherer's is, but it worked easily enough and further explanation came when we were inside volunteering.

Zach and I were actually assigned to the Carrot Cake Crew (or maybe that was what we called it!) where we created 2-pound bags of carrot cake mix from larger bulk bags. I was thrilled to do this too because not only was it a lesson in volunterring, but this job was a quick "math lesson" as well: 

"We have 3 bags already packaged Zach, how many more do we need to reach 8?"

"Each box needs 16 bags of cake mix and there are 11 already there. How many more bags do we need to put into the box?"

Zach thoroughly enjoyed being the one to scoop the cake mix into the bag on a scale, he also really liked watching the scale adjust until he got each bag weighed just right.  He was a tad on the short side though and complained - only briefly - that his arms were hurting. (I don't blame him at all!) So instead he sealed the bags and carried them over to the packing boxes.

He and I bagged around 36 bags of mix, and never once did he ask to go home! He didn't even mind the clean up portion and grabbed the broom with glee... If only he volunteered to help like that at home!

If they asked I'm certain he would have wanted to stay all day...

Our morning was a great way to spend time together, to enjoy helping others and was a great way to instill gratitude into Zach. I would do it again in a heartbeat and will be watching very closely for more family volunteer days - If you would be interested in family volunteer opportunities, be sure to sign up for the Food Gatherers e-mail list.

April 3, 2010

Take the Family on a tour of a Working Mill: Learn About Eating Local!

I found a neat opportunity for local families when researching another article.  Have you ever wanted to teach your children about the entire process of getting food to your table - Call it teaching them the farm to fork method!  On April 11 from 2-3:30 p.m. you have that opportunity by touring the Westwind Milling Company (8572 Silver Lake Rd., Linden 48451).

Gather the family and take a family-friendly, hands-on field trip to historic Westwind Milling Co. in picturesque Linden (30-40 minutes north of Ann Arbor up US-23), where you’ll learn about the milling process, the history of the mill, and the significance of eating local food. The cost os very family friendly as well at only $5 per person, however children under 5 get in FREE.  In addition to the tour, the price includes Westwind’s bran or nonbran muffins and organic apple cider and children will also receive an activity book.

This event is sponsored by the Matthaei Botanical Gardens & Nichols Arboretum, so please register at MBGNA and pay at the mill.

April 2, 2010

Another Family Friendly Volunteering Opportunity for Older Children & Teens

The Ann Arbor Earth Day Festival is currently recruiting volunteers to assist with onsite coordination during the event on Sunday April 25th, 2010 at Washtenaw Community College. We are looking for individuals and organizations that have interest in contributing towards making this year’s event a success while helping us celebrate the 40th anniversary of Earth Day! This opportunity is great for older scouts, high school volunteer groups, college and adult organizations and individuals. Volunteers can select from a variety of positions ranging from costumed assistants during the annual All-Species parade to onsite Zero-Waste facilitators. For more information on how to be involved please visit the Earth Day Festival information page.

April 1, 2010

This Weekend: Create an Egg Masterpiece at Tree Town Toys

Here's the Saturday morning scenario - And it's not a "yolk-ing matter" (Sorry for the April Fools Pun):

Your eggs are decorated, the Easter baskets are filled and you are ready for Easter Sunday brunch. The kids are getting antsy though, and want to DO something however you don't want your children's craft projects to make a mess in YOUR house. So what's a mom to do??? Why they load their children into the car and decorate Easter Eggs with Tree Town Toys!

On Saturday April 3, from 10:30 a.m. until 1:30 p.m. kids ages 4 and up can join Amber at Tree Town Toys (2611 Plymouth Rd., Ann Arbor) for a fun Easter "masterpiece" for just $3. To sign up for the project call 734.929.6545 or visit the Tree Town Toys website.