August 24, 2010

Are you looking for something interetsing (and free) to do this weekend? On Saturday, August 28, 2010 from noon - 7:00 p.m. be sure to stop by the Westgate shopping center (W Stadium Blvd, Ann Arbor 48103) for some family friendly fun at the Westgate Festival.

The event will provide a variety of kid activities and educational opportunities from the Learning Express, Nicholas Books and Leslie Science Center - Plus there will be plenty of musical entertainment, an Ambassador program and prize rally, and a “Back to school supplies drive” to benefit SOS Community Crisis Center. All local families are encouraged to come enjoy the great food and entertainment this family event has to offer!

August 20, 2010

Today Through Sunday Check Out The Yspilanti Heritage Festival

This weekend, one of my favorite Ypsilanti local events, The Ypsilanti Heritage Festival in beautiful Riverside Park, is taking place. There's something truly magical about the event. I don't know if it's all the green trees surrounding the park, the quiet trickle of the river as it slowly meanders through the park or the homey feel of the re-enactors, whatever it is, I often feel relaxed, comfortable and happy when we attend. Judging by the other attendees, I might argue we all feel that way! So if you've never attended, consider attending when you plan weekend activities for the family.

Some of our personal favorites are the free little kids area (with the free bounce house for kids 5 and younger), the food (of course), the root beer cart, the duck race, all the great musical performances, and the living history folk who camp in the park. My son especially loved watching them grind cornmeal last year then coming home with his own little baggie of it to make Johnny Cakes!

Some of the Ypsilanti Heritage Festival featured events this year are "The 1973 Ypsilanti All-Star Game That Never Was" featuring Ypsilanti's own Little League gal Carolyn King Minot, and the Haab's second annual bed race. We're also excited to meet the Butterfly Lady!

We'll be there throughout the weekend. After all it's free family fun! So make sure you pack up the kids and head on over to Riverside Park. It's a weekend your family will appreciate for years to come!

The festival runs from noon - 8 p.m. Friday, 10 a.m. - 8 p.m. Saturday and 11 a.m. - 6 p.m. Sunday.

August 16, 2010

Free Snacks for Ann Arbor Baby & Toddler Playgroups

I realize it's been a slow week in the way of posts - I'll admit, I've been slammed. Which really is not a good excuse. I do however have a great promotion for Ann Arbor mom's. Check it out:

I am running a YoBaby and YoKids promotional event for Stoneyfield Farms next month and am lining up playgroups who may like FREE snacks. Essentially that means that I would come in to your playgroup with healthy, organic samples for the kids, some give-aways, discount coupons and information for the parents.

So how does a free healthy snack sound to you? If you are interested, contact me at Tmayrend (at gmail dot com). It is a really great organic brand that makes for the perfect snack - And yes I was a user of the product before they contacted me!

August 11, 2010

Take The kids Fishing at the Spring Valley Trout Farm in Dexter

As seen on

The summertime of my youth consisted solely of spending time outdoors. I would wake up and immediately leave the house not to be heard from until the street lamps went on, unless I needed nourishment or a cold beverage. My brother and I would catch bugs, wander the local elementary school fields and playgrounds, camp in the backyard or with our family, pick whatever out of the garden and pop it directly into our mouths unwashed. We were typical kids of the times; fishing, hiking and the outdoors were some of our favorite summer memories.

It is a living testament to my parents and grandparents that I have continued spending my time as an adult in much the same way, and love passing these experiences onto my children as well. We garden, camp and, as of late, gone fishing.

For my children, this consists of dropping a baited hook, which mom has carefully threaded a worm on off the edge of a dock with toes dangling in the water. I love listening to my kids squealing with delight when they ‘catch a big one”. It is a bit tiring though throwing back the smallest of the bunch. Lately my children have really wanted to keep and cook what they have caught, too. The tiny pan fish they catch wouldn’t feed us, and would hardly be worth cleaning, so what’s a mom to do? Where could we go to catch fish large enough to eat? And that’s where the Spring Valley Trout Farm came into play.

The Spring Valley Trout Farm, in Dexter, is set on a picturesque park-like setting with pavilions, a playground, and several ponds stocked with farm-raised trout and catfish. They provide everything one could need for a day of fishing including the equipment, bait and helpful staff. I couldn’t see much when driving through the front gates, however the two school buses in the parking lot and multiple cars tipped me off that it must be good. I was really impressed though when stepping through the fishing cabin onto its large covered porch with comfortable seating that overlooks several tree lined ponds and picnic pavilions. It was really quite lovely and an unexpected surprise.

The kids wanted to try their hand fishing in the children’s pond, which was really a great idea since Gabby caught part of our dinner very easily after only a few moments of trying. The kids got help from a friendly young man named Patrick. “Mom his name is the same as on SpongeBob Squarepants!” Zach said. Patrick was only part of the very helpful staff on site that day, who told us all about the farm, gave me a page of their favorite recipes and also cleaned our fish.

As kids do, they got tired of waiting for the fish to bite, so they left me to fend for myself and catch the rest of our dinner. Which I did.

I’d recommend bringing snacks and whatever drinks your family would want, and possibly chairs or blankets to relax on, although you may lean against the rails of the fence lining the ponds. I’d also suggest families bring their own life jackets for any children smaller than 54” in height. Life jackets are provided, however they are the older style with a less than comfortable fit. And don’t forget the sunscreen and bug spray. What you don’t need to worry about is bringing your own equipment or cleaning your fish and bagging it in ice, as the staff will do that for you should you choose!

In all the day was wonderful for the children and myself; I was so impressed with everyone working at the trout farm and their friendly, helpful attitudes. If there were any drawbacks to the day, it was that the rain meant that everyone had to stop fishing and stay under the porch at the fishing lodge, even though it was just sprinkling. I was also unprepared to pay $5 per person older than 5 to fish. The added admission meant our fish dinner was an expensive one. I also had not realized that they are only open from only 9 a.m. - 6 p.m., making our late afternoon arrival a little more rushed.

I will say however freshly caught fish is the way to go and makes for a relaxing, educational, fun day with the family!

You can find the Spring Valley Trout Farm at 12190 Island Lake Road in Dexter or online at From Memorial Day to Labor Day they are open Wednesday through Sunday, with weekend hours in the spring and in the fall.

Hint: Make sure you sign the guest book when you visit, because the sign indicated discount coupons are sent each spring and fall!

August 9, 2010

Kids Can Meet Paws and Get A Free Lunchbox

On Saturday August 14, 2010 from 1:00-2:00 p.m. at the Ypsilanti District Library, kids can meet Paws, the Detroit Tigers official mascot and receive a free lunchbox. Make sure to get there early though, as only the first 50 kids will receive a lunchbox!

August 5, 2010

Kids Eat Free All Month Long

Kids and pancakes are like America and Baseball, that's why this freebie sounds so great to me. My kids LOVE pancakes and order them at least 90% of the time when we eat out!

Throughout the month of August, participating IHOP restaurants are helping families out back-to-school shopping by promising that kids eat free from 4:00-10:00 p.m. (one free kids meal for each adult entree you order).

The freebie is good for children under age 12, and they must order from the kids menu. Also note that beverages are not included unless otherwise specified on the "Just for Kids" menu.

August 4, 2010

Free Sam's Club Shopping Weekend - Stock the Pantry or Get Back To School Supplies!

This weekend, August 6-8, is a free Sam's Club Weekend - That's right, no mombership is required to shop at Sams Club. So listen up mom's and dad's, it's time to stock the pantry and grab all the back to school goodies you can get!