May 27, 2010

Ann Arbor Area Memorial Day Events, Parades and More...

Check out the great Ann Arbor events and area parades this weekend as we observe Memorial Day:

Friday - Monday, May 28-31:

The VFW Graf-O’Hara Post 423 (3230 S. Wagner Rd., Lodi Township) will observe Memorial Day with an Open House and display of items from their Military Museum. Families can learn about Memorial Day and it's significance by viewing military uniforms, dating from WWI, and various medals, weapons, and patches from many branches of the armed forces. This event is open to the public and donations are accepted.

Sunday, May 30

The 26th Annual Memorial Day Observance begins at 2:00n p.m. (2521 Glazier Way, Ann Arbor) with a flag ceremony, color and honor guards, 21-gun salute, Scouting volunteers, and notable speakers. Bring a lawn chair – The event will honor Veterans rain or shine!

Monday, May 31

Chelsea: 9:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. The Veterans For Peace Chapter 93 honors veterans with it's “Arlington Michigan” display at Pierce Park (located on South Main Street, just north of Old US Highway 12). Crosses displayed for each Michigan soldier killed in Iraq or Afghanistan will honor our fallen heros.

Dexter: The American Legion hosts its annual Memorial Day parade at 10 a.m. on Main Street.

Saline: The Memorial Day parade begins at 10:00 a.m. at the fire station on Harris Street at Michigan Avenue and goes to Monroe Street, finishing at the Oakwood Cemetery. After the proceedings, a brief brick dedication will take place across the street from the cemetery at the American Legion post.


The Yankee Air Museum (Willow Run Airport) Memorial Day hosts an all-day Memorial Day observance beginning at 8:00 a.m. and includes a Pancake Breakfast, aircraft fly-overs, a blood drive, displays of aircraft, hot dog lunch, simulators and special activities for kids.

The Ypsilanti Memorial Day Parade begins at 9 a.m. (North Huron Street/Michigan Avenue) and ending at the Highland Cemetery for a ceremony. Includes veterans, Scouts, marching bands, Gold Star Mothers, and a 21-gun salute.

Ypsilanti Township: At 1 p.m. at the Washtenaw County Vietnam Veterans Memorial at the Ypsilanti Township Civic Center (7200 Huron River Drive) an event will recognize military heroes and lay flowers at the memorial.

May 25, 2010

This Weekend: FREE Pops Concert in Ypsilanti

Start your Memorial Day family weekend off with a bang with a FREE outdoor pops concert at Riverside Park in Ypsilanti. At 2:00 p.m. the Ypsilanti Symphony Orchestra will perform "An Afternoon at the Drive-In" featuring well known music and from family favorites such as "Harry Potter", "Forest Gump," "Jurassic Park," Star Trek," "Carousel," "My Fair Lady," and many more musical favorites from classical films. There is something special about spending the day, under shaded trees, on a blanket, watching children of all ages dance and enjoy orchestral music - We'll be there relaxing and dancing the afternoon away and hope to see you there!

In the event of dreaded rain clouds, the rain date for the concert will be the next day - Sunday May 30 at 2:00 p.m.

May 23, 2010

Get Your Discounted Ann Arbor Pool Season Passes Now - Pools Open May 29!

Buhr Park, Fuller and Veterans Memorial Pools open May 29 - Get your discounted season pool passes now before the season opens. Buy your season passes at the customer service center located at Cobblestone Farm on Packard in Ann Arbor.

May 21, 2010

Free Language Assessment for Children Ages 2-5 Years

The University of Michigan Autism and Communication Disorders Center (UMACC) is running a new research study and providing free language assessments for children ages 2-5 years. This is a great opportunity to gain insight into your child.

For more information on getting a free langauge assessment, please contact Kristin Houck at 734-936-8665 or at khouck[at]

May 20, 2010

This Weekend: Innovative Event for Families at the AAHOM

I’m a techno-geek of sorts. My husband often says that I should be more accurately ladeled a "gadget geek" - I just love finding the newest and greatest things for the garden, for my computer or even for craft projects. Including technology into ANY of these areas of my life, gets me pretty excited! The kids are learning about it too, through my excitement. I suppose that is why this Saturday’s event at the Ann Arbor Hands-On Museum caught my eye.

This Saturday, the Ann Arbor Hands-On Museum is hosting its second Local Tech Event on from 6:00 - 9:00 p.m. The event connects entrepreneurs, innovations and their families for an inspiring evening of fun and features dozens of innovative companies from throughout the local region who will display fuel cells, video games and other interactive technologies.

Dozens of innovative companies from throughout the local region who will display fuel cells, video games and other interactive technologies. Entrepreneurs will be on hand to talk with families about what it takes to turn an innovative idea into a thriving business.

The event does not ignore the kids either with kids-only activities will be offered through supervised hands-on workshops throughout the museum and live music from HiDef and The Chief Blues Officers - Plus there is a museum-wide scavenger hunt! Refreshments will also be served, including a special kids-only dining area.

Tickets are $25 for adults and $10 for children - Family packages for two adults and two children are $50. For more information, or to buy tickets online, visit the Ann Arbor Hands on Museum website.

May 19, 2010

Kids Can Touch an Ambulance, School Bus, Fire Trucks and More This Weekend

Has your child ever wanted to sit in the driver’s seat of a school bus? Explore the inside of an ambulance? Climb aboard a cement mixer? Get up close with these and many other vehicles at the Touch-a-Truck event at Briarwood Mall on Saturday May 22, 2010 - 9:00 a.m. - 1:00 p.m.

May 17, 2010

Tonight: Parents Learn About The Benefits of Reading To Your Child

I am realizing more and more that my son is struggling some with his language development skills this year, specifically reading. He just has little to no interest in reading. As both my husband and I are avid readers, this has been a challenge we are facing together. We know that reading to our children as they grow can provide a lifetime of benefits - Everything from having good solid readers, to happy readers, to readers that do well in school! There is help for other parents facing the same or similar situations though.

Tonight at Bryant Community Center (3 West Eden Court, Ann Arbor 48108) from 6:00 - 8:00 p.m. parents can participate in a FREE Parent University with Dr. Patricia A. Edwards, Professor of Language & Literacy at Michigan State University. Dr. Edwards will discuss the benefits of reading to your child while highlighting the successes of parents who have developed a summer reading program with their children.The program will feature an open dialog between Dr. Edwards and parents with questions.

May 13, 2010

Kids Love Hot Rods and Classic Cars - Check It Out This Weekend

Growing up I have fond memories of my dad taking my brother and I to Autorama and other car show events in the area. My brother and I would run excitedly from car to car checking them out – Quite possibly my parent’s only took us to tire us out. Regardless, it was low-cost family fun for all of us!

This Saturday, May 15 at Riverside Park in Ypsilanti your family can have their own hot rod experience at Billetproof's 7th Annual "Motor City Mania". See 1964 and earlier traditional style rods and customs cars and choppers, along with vendor and artist booths. Live bands will also be performing throughout the day.

Make an all-day outing and allow your kids to burn some energy. The show opens at 9:00 a.m. (Cost: $10 / Free for kids under 13).

May 10, 2010

Help a child get a bicycle by eating a burger at Red Robin!

Be sure to stop by the newest Ann Arbor Red Robin (575 Briarwood Circle, Ann Arbor) from May 17-23 to support the Ann Arbor Fire Department's Bikes for Tykes program. For every burger purchased on those days, 50-cents will be donated to the program which generously delivers new bicycles to needy area children each Christmas!

So be sure to stop by for a great dinner for charity!

May 9, 2010

Happy Mother's Day!

To all of the wonderful, beautiful mother's, grandmother's, and moms-to-be, have a blessed, wonderful and relaxing celebration of YOU today!

May 7, 2010

Free Books to Ypsilanti Children Under Age 5

I caught wind of a program to deliver FREE books to children once a month until their 5th birthday.  What's the catch you ask? You must reside in Ypsilanti or Ypsilanti Township, specifically in the 48197 or 48198 zip codes!

Through the Dolly Parton Imagination Library children from birth to 5 years of age will receive a new, hard-cover, age-appropriate book mailed to their home. This means that by the time they enter kindergarten; children will have their own library of books and be more prepared to enter school and become readers. The books have been specifically chosen to capture the interest of children throughout their early years and to provide opportunities for parents and children to spend time reading and learning together.

The Washtenaw Imagination Library is made possible through a collaboration between Washtenaw Success by 6, Washtenaw County Head Start and the Literacy Coalition of Washtenaw County with the generous financial support of the Ann Arbor Link, Inc. This collaborative effort reflects the goals of both the county-wide strategic plan of Washtenaw Success by 6 and the Literacy Coalition's Blueprint to End Illiteracy.

For more information about the program, please be sure to visit the Washtenaw Success by 6 website!

To sign up for the program call Sian Owen-Cruise at 734-994-8100 ext 1277 or email and include your childs name, date of birth and full mailing address.

Have fun and remember to read to your child - early readers enjoy a lifetime of reading and are almost always among the top students academically!

Free 8x10 Photo Collage for Mother's Day

I'll admit sometimes I take the easy way out when buying my mom and mother-in-law their Mother's Day gifts - Call me crazy but who wants another knick-knack or trinket to display - REALLY?! However if that trinket should include images of their precious grand-babies then it is a MUST-HAVE in their eyes... I even get the wise-cracks about "where are my photos!" I probably even get the evil eye if they are not produced in a timely manner - So I try my best to accommodate them.  That is why this next family-friendly freebie is a great one.
From now through Saturday, May 8, 2010, you can get one free 8×10 photo collage printed for FREE from Walgreens.  All you have to do is get the photos together, upload them and enter "GOODTHOUGHTS" for the checkout promo code. It's SIMPLE and FREE - Just upload your photos online, design the photo collage, then pick up the print in person! 

To begin designing your free Mother's Day photo collage, visit the Walgreen Photo website.

May 4, 2010

Sometimes Mom's Just Need Caffeine: 1/2 Price Drinks at Starbucks May 7-16

I know it and you know it - Caffeine is not necessarily good for us, however it is sometimes a necessary evil. Thankfully from May 7-16 from 3:00-5:00 p.m.* Starbucks will be offering half-priced Frappuccino blended beverages! This is a promotional discount to kick-off their new Frappuccino “However You Want It” Campaign - I'm also thinking though it might be to go head-to-head with another retailer who has been launching their blended coffee drinks and smoothies... Either way it's a win for us tired moms.
Be sure to treat yourself to your half-off Starbucks Frappuccino May 7-16!

*Available at participating locations - so be sure to check if your location will participate!

May 3, 2010

Kids Create Their Own Mother's Day Gifts

One Mother's Day not so long ago, my husband decided to take the kids shopping for my gift, allowing them to choose their own Mother's Day gifts to give. I thought that was ok, because after all he'd have to guide them in their purchase right? Instead though, they came home with the gaudiest, HUGE ring and earrings made of amber colored resin that must have been the only things remaining in the store. This was worse than any macarroni necklace... It is something I would never, ever wear. Thankfully my children weren't old enough to remember them, but just in case they are hidden at the bottom of a drawer!

Oddly enough it is the special "hand made" gifts for Mother's Day that I have treasured the most! The year my son was around 15 months, he created potted flowers from coffee filters he colored and pipe cleaners - To this day it is displayed in my kitchen! I'm not going to say he was brilliant in his creative endeavor, or even that he didn't have help assembling the project. It was just simple and sweet and just what I needed.
It is those types of creative home made gifts that I love the most and seek out. This week throughout Ann Arbor, there are several make-it take-it events where your child can make their own Mother's Day gift, and many of the events are FREE!


From 6:00 - 8:00 p.m. at Michael's crafts (3655 Washtenaw Ave., Ann Arbor 48104) your child can create their own mother's Day corsage. Materials will be on-sight to use in creating it, parents only need to purchase the flower!

Kids can create their mom a special Mother’s Day Canvas Bag at the Whittaker Road branch of the Ypsilanti District Library at 6:30 p.m. in the story room. Registration required by calling 482-4110 ext. 1340.


Pamper mom by creating her a "Spa Clay Pot" at Michael's - Decorate a pot from 6:00 - 8:00 p.m. with materials by DecoArt and Ceramo. Get there early though, this will only happen while supplies last!


Purchase a t-shirt at Michael's crafts and decorate it special for mom with materials by iLovetoCreate! This event is sponsored from 6:00 - 8:00 p.m.


Dad's and kids should sneak over to Tree Town Toys anytime from 10:00 a.m. - 6:30 p.m. to create a birdhouse masterpiece for Mom. Bring the kids in to decorate a birdhouse - Tree Town Toys will even make it easy on Dad by supplying an already assembled birdhouse, plus, all the paint and glitter your kids will need to make Mom's birdhouse special. This activity is best for ages 3+ and will cost $6/child. For more information call (877) YAY-TOYS.

Don't forget Mom's card! Create your own free card for Mom at Michael's crafts from 6:00 - 8:00 p.m.


Dad's have a second chance to help their children decorate a bird house at Tree Town Toys from 10:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.

Then after you can stop by Michael's crafts to decorate Mom her special cookie at the Wilton Cookie Event from noon - 1:00 p.m. - Just be sure to get there early, as this free event will only happen while supplies last!

May 1, 2010

When "We Time" Trumps "Me Time"

It was one of those days that I dread. The kids are misbehaving, we’ve had a particularly long and tiring weekend, everyone is whiney, and mostly everyone, including me is out of sorts. It is one of those days when I call my husband to request that he “leave on time” instead of being late; It’s really his long commute that is the challenge, if he doesn’t leave on-time, he arrives home almost at the point where the kids are getting ready for bed. This leaves me with little to no daylight hours. Typically I want to get to bed at that point as well.

On this particular sunny 65-degree afternoon in April, I decided I wanted, no needed to walk the woods in search of the elusive morel mushrooms that should be beginning to pop up. That’s not to say I am an expert hunter, frankly I’ve never found or even tasted one, it’s really just the process of walking throughout the quiet woods “in search of” – I really don’t even care if I find one, but getting out into the quiet woods can be therapeutic after a rough day.

At 5:30 the phone rings. I can tell by the area code who is calling and dread picking up the phone. It is my husband. He tells me he’ll likely leave a little later than 6:00 – Which means he gets home when the kids are getting ready for bed. There goes my walk.

The kids hear my discussion with him and insist they want to go for a walk. The woods are just too alluring to little people! I really don’t want to take them, however after some careful consideration I dress everyone in jeans and rubber rain boots and saddle up with all the necessities needed for the adventure. I figure at this point, if this is the only way I’m getting into the woods means taking them, I will acquiesce.

My latest favorite spot is close-by. Really we could have walked to it, however I know that would then prevent us from walking IN it. So we drive the mile and a half to the small dirt-covered parking lot which after our rain resembles a pig trough with an abundance of mud-puddles. The kids love this and dive out of the car to splash amongst the water bugs and mud sending sprays of muddy water in every direction including onto my face.

The park is mostly a mountain biker heaven, with dense wooded trails that have been cut among the trees; however I love that there is an abundance of wildlife and a diverse eco-system. I know that we can walk into wetlands, open fields, thick pine trees, on meandering paths along the pond or even among the towering hardwoods. This specific day however I had a plan of attack and two semi-willing accomplices.

As my children scurry ahead on the trail, splashing in every puddle along the way I smile. It was really a small smile, but it was like a sigh of relief or a breath of fresh air if you will. For some reason, as we veer off the path into the denser wooded area, my children become convinced that there are bears or other unforeseen monsters lurking nearby, ready to snap them up. This makes me laugh. Some careful cajoling on my part and the act of re-direction are put into place to change this however.

“What do you think the moss feels like when we step on it? What about when we touch it, is it soft?”

“Look at that interesting plant over there, it’s called a Jack-in-the-Pulpit.”

“Did you see that pretty moth?”

Before long, I am really enjoying myself. The air feels fresh and green in the muted forest. Muffled car engines can be heard driving along the nearby road; those noises however are drowned out by the birds singing and the snapping of twigs as we walk.

Then came that one special moment, the moment where we stepped into a bright forested area with a plush green carpeting of moss. I instantly though that if we looked hard enough we’d find magical toadstools with fairies fluttering by. The smells. The plants. And more importantly the moment in which we stood reminded me that having “me time” is important, however moments like this with my children are too precious to miss.