March 31, 2011

Ann Arbor Deals, Discounts and Coupons

I have to admit I LOVE getting a good deal, finding that one awesome coupon and getting discounts - Who doesn't? That's why I was excited to hear that Groupon has launched Ann Arbor coupons!!! Make sure to get yours today, it's often a way families can do things for less.

Free Teacher Appreciation Day at the Henry Ford

April 16 is teacher appreciation day at The Henry Ford.
Teachers get FREE admission for themselves and guests!
On Saturday April 16, 2011, teachers and educators can get FREE admission to Henry Ford Museum (20900 Oakwood Blvd., Dearborn, MI) for teacher appreciation day, plus they can receive the added bonus of a free Ford Rouge Factory Tour and IMAX Theatre ticket when they attend one 20-minute educator session at 9:00, 10:00 or 11:00 a.m. - The museum is open 9:00 a.m.–5:00 p.m. for your enjoyment.

Perfect for teachers planning future field trips, The Henry Ford offers a wide variety of educational adventures for you and your students. Visit one of three educator sessions to learn how to connect your students to The Henry Ford online and onsite resources in the areas of history, science and technology. Also learn about professional development opportunities which include educator workshops, networking opportunities, and FREE educator events including an upcoming preview and lecture on the limited-engagement exhibit, “Discovering the Civil War” from The National Archives.

Attend an educator session and you will be eligible to win a $500 prize package that includes: A FREE field trip for your class, an Annual Family Membership, and a handmade item from one of the Artisans in Greenfield Village. (Must be a certified K-12 teacher with a classroom to win)

IMAX and Ford Rouge Factory Tour tickets will be distributed to teachers and educators after each session on a first-come first-serve basis.

All participants and their guests must check-in at the registration desk in the IMAX lobby as early as 8:30 a.m. bringing their credentials. - For more information, please contact the Henry Ford call center at 313-982-6001.

Free Ice Cream at Ben & Jerry's

Hey mom's, dad's and kid's - Don't foget that Tuesday, April 12 is Ben & Jerry's FREE cone day. Get a free scoop ice cream scoop at your local Ben & Jerry's as a to thank our customers for their support and to celebrate 33 years of scooping the chunkiest, funkiest ice cream, frozen yogurt and sorbet!

Ben & Jerry's Ice Cream
304 South State Street, Ann Arbor
Ben & Jerry's Showcase Ann Arbor
4100 Carpenter Road, Ypsilanti

March 30, 2011

Free Kids Activites At Ypsi Garden Fair

This weekend is the first Ypsi Garden Fair which sounds like a great thing to me - Kids AND gardening. After all families that grow together, stay together!

The weekend begins with a Garden Tea Party on Friday, April 1, 3:00-7:00 p.m. Join in for this free event enjoying tea, coffee and hors d'oeuvres. Fancy dress and costumes welcome but not required.  On Saturday, there are many great seminars, local entertainment and plenty to do for the kids including a kids hoola hoop demonstation at 1:00 p.m. and art projects, learning gardens, hands on activities, games and so much more.

This free event runs Saturday and Sunday 11:00 a.m. - 6:00 p.m. at the Freighthouse Plaza in Depot Town in Ypsilanti.

Fairywalk 2011: Free Family Event

Sunday's weather is supposed to be sunny and in the upper 40's, so why not take a brisk walk throughout Ann Arbor to check out the fairy doors sprinkled throughout the city?

Fairywalk 2011 is a free family event that consists of 2 mapped walks throughout the city (5K and 10K) courtesy of the Washtenaw Wanderers Volkssporting Club. The walk begins at the offices (301 E. Liberty St., Ann Arbor) at 10:00 a.m. and happens rain or shine until 4:00 p.m., so be sure to check it out. It's a perfect way to spend a sunny Sunday afternoon!

March 25, 2011

Free Kids Building Clinics in April

There are some great upcoming kids building clinics. They are worth spending a Saturday morning at your local Home Depot or Lowes and sure to help build memories the kids will have for years to come.
  • On Saturday, April 9 at 10:00 a.m. your children can their own sports pinball game or build a birdhouse on April 23, for free at Lowe's. Both of these great kid's building clinics require advanced registration though at the Lowe's Build and Grow website!
  • On Saturday April 2, have your child build their own planter basket at the local Home Depot. The program runs 9:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m. and is geared for kids ages 5-12.

March 22, 2011

Free: LEGO Racers Kids Event

This saturday at participating Borders store locations, kids under age 14 can participate in some LEGO fun. At 2:00 p.m. kids who love to build and play with cars can join in on a fun interactive racing event!
The free event will feature crafts, games and a free LEGO racer for participants! Space is limited though, so make sure to call the store for more details.

Ann Arbor Area Boarders Locations:

Ann Arbor - Waters Place - Borders
3140 Lohr Rd.
Ann Arbor, MI 48108

Ann Arbor-Downtown - Borders
612 E. Liberty Street
Ann Arbor, MI 48104

Canton - Borders
43435 Ford Rd.
Canton, MI 48187

March 21, 2011

New Car Seat Safety Guidelines for Toddlers

I read with interest an article posted on Parenting magazine that indicated children under age 2 should remain in rear-facing car seats!  I suppose if your children were used to it, that might work well, but it sure was difficult keeping my child rear facing.

In a new American Academy of Pediatrics statement published in the April 2011 issue of Pediatrics, it is now advised that parents keep toddlers in rear-facing car seats until age two, or until they exceed the height or weight limit for their individual car seat.

  • A 2007 study in the journal Injury Prevention found that children under age two are 75 percent less likely to die or to be severely injured in a crash if they are rear-facing.
  • Another study found riding rear-facing to be five times safer than forward-facing.
What will you do with your child? Will you flip them to forward facing at 20 pounds or age one or will you head the new guidelines of waiting until age 2?

Preschoolers: Bounce With a Super Hero Friday at Xtreme Bounce Zone

Bounce like a super hero Friday
at Xtreme Bounce Zone!
This Friday from 10:00 a.m. - 2:00 p.m., children under age 5 can enjoy a slice of pizza with a juice box, and bouncing for only $5! Kids can even dress like a super hero for the low-cost event too, and even meet Iron Man while bouncing.

For more information, call 734-761-3242 or visit the XBZ website.

March 20, 2011

Where Have You Been?

This past week I have been a bit quiet - At least on the blogging front. It actually began with a really bad week with one thing happening after another - A run around with our bank (who will soon become ex-bank), a loss of monthly income, politics within a small organization, the weather, a tsunami, an earth-quake, nuclear fall-out...  I know, very little of the last of that actually effected me personally, however it was dragging me down. I was feeling the weight of the world on my shoulders and it was making me crazy.

We all have these feelings; Once in a while, whatever is going on around us drags us down. Pulling us into a place that makes us slightly crazy and especially effects our families.

I just didn't want to feel that way. I couldn't take any more in, but unless I could travel to a remote part of the world without any media influences, what could I do?

It was much simpler than I had imagined. I just shut off the media. I watched limited television, vowed to not visit Facebook, and for a week just let myself be. I did Tweet about a few events and activities that I ran across, but I didn't write much and I didn't visit Facebook at all.

It wasn't as hard as I had imagined. It was only about the 4-5 day when I found myself posting status updates in my mind that I realized I missed social outlet. So what did that week give me? Reprieve. Quiet from the media buzz. And it probably gave me back many minutes of time where I would have otherwise been absorbed in someone else's troubles, elation's or lives.

I missed my friends, but I loved my family and know they need me more. I even found the time to reach a novel about a major earthquake. Reading it didn't even take me back to what I had been feeling. It was just nice to let go and do something for myself.

So when life seems to be getting a bit much, take a break. Step back and turn off the television. Exit out of your social network. DO whatever it is you need to reclaim a little bit of the insanity each of us takes in - It's a beautiful thing, and really very rejuvenating.

March 17, 2011

Teen Comic Drawing Class

Youth and teens can drop in every Thursday evening 6:00-8:00 p.m. through May 26, at the Ypsilanti District Library (229 West Michigan Ave., Ypsilanti) for a free comics drawing class with local artist Casey Dixon. During each session during the event, get advice on how to improve drawing techniques, chat, and enjoy the company of other like-minded teenage artists!

For more call (734) 482-4110.

March 10, 2011

Babysitting Traning Course: Ann Arbor, Ypsilanti & Chelsea

I had an inquiry from a young woman who was interested in upcoming babysitters training courses. She found my post from last year and wanted more up to date information.

In the Ann Arbor area, we have training opportunities through the American Red Cross but also through St. Joseph's. so if your teen is hoping to make some extra cash babysitting this summer, there is nothing better than attending a babysiter training class. It's the "gold seal standard" for parents hoping to hire a young individuals for babysitting services too!

There are even several days during spring break, when youth can take a babysitting course!

Babysitting trainging dates & locations:

St. Joseph Mercy - Chelsea Community Hospital
14800 E Old US Highway 12, Chelsea
(734) 475-4029
Dates: May 16, June 18, July 16, and August 20, 2011 - 9:00 a.m. - 3:30 p.m.
Cost: $60
Bring snacks, lunch, and drinks for the day.

this American Red Cross Course for 11-15 year old youth includes first aid and CPR skills to prepare them for babysitting services. The course helps youth understand what you need to know and what every parent wants in a safe and responsible babysitter! Designed for 11 to 15 year olds, the Babysitter’s Training course can help you care for children and infants. As well as how to be a good leader and role model, make good decisions and solve problems and keep the children you baby-sit and yourself safe when handling emergencies such as injuries, illnesses and household accidents.

Washtenaw County Red Cross Chapter
4624 Packard Rd., Ann Arbor
Dates: April 6, April 8, April 16, May 7, June 4, June 22, June 25 and June 29, 2011 - 9:00 a.m. - 3:30 p.m.
Cost: $55
Please pack a lunch and snack for your child.

This fun and exciting course, for ages 11 years of age and older, teaches sitters the importance of
their unique job responsibilities. Participants will learn how to act in an emergency, how to prevent
accidents, how to play with children of all ages, how to feed babies, and much more. 

YDL Science Saturday: Free Family Workshop

This Saturday, Ypsilanti District Library (Whittaker Branch - 5577 Whittaker Rd., Ypsilanti) will host their final Science Saturday Workshop - Water Wisdom. Children ages 6-12 and their parents will learn about water and how to care for it so future generations will continue to enjoy it. Registration is required for this free program by calling the library at (734) 482-4110 or by registering online with your Ypsilanti District Library card.

March 9, 2011

Free Barn Dance This Friday

Do-si-do along with your kids art the Summers Knoll school barn dance this Friday, March 11 from 6:45-8:00 p.m. at the Allen School Great Room. Bring your boots and hats, twirly skirts and dancing feet to join in the dancing led by the wonderful Jan Biliti.
This free event is for Summers Knoll friends and family. For more information call  (734) 971-7991.

March 8, 2011

Kids Read Comics Extravaganza at the Ann Arbor Arts Center

A few months ago my son picked up my husband's old Peanuts comic book which at first appalled me, then it dawned on me - HE'S READING! My kid was reading. My husband didn't want him to have the book at first, but I explained that it would be great for Zach to read, so we let him keep it.
To get your kids to read, check out this weekend's
Comics Extravaganza at the Ann Arbor Art Center!
This Saturday, the Ann Arbor Art Center (117 West Liberty St., Ann Arbor) is having a free Comics Extravaganza 10:00 a.m. - 8:00 p.m. that is FREE for all comic book - er - graphic novel enthusiasts. There are even two free workshops at 1:00 p.m. where students can create a mini-comic, or at 4:00 p.m. where cartoonists will explore illustration and storytelling with cartoonist Jerzy Drozd.

For a full schedule of sessions available, please check the Ann Arbor Art Center website or call 734.994.8004 x 101 to register for the free workshops!  I'm sure it will be a great event to check out, especially for parents who may have kids struggling to read - We'll be there!

Create a Bluebird House to Hasten Spring!

Let the kids build a bluebird house this Saturday at the
Oakwoods Metropark Nature Center in Belleville.
If you are wondering where spring is, why not coax it along by creating functional garden art when building your very own bluebird house. Bluebirds are the sign of good luck and are a welcome addition to any yard. Plus they are pretty for the kids to observe!

This Saturday at the Oakwoods Metropark Nature Center (17845 Savage Rd., Belleville) families can build their own blue bird houses to encourage some new "family members" to move in. The program begins at 10:00 a.m. and requires preregistration at 734-782-3956. Cost is $12 per bluebird house, plus the cost of a daily ($5) or annual ($25) park pass.

Addressing Late E-mail Event Blasts

The AnnArborMom tries very hard
to get families information as quickly as
possible and apologizes
for any failure to deliver.
A couple times in the past few weeks I have been told that the e-mails from my list are not sending out in a timely manner. I do apologize for that and am looking into the why, however as it is auto generated for me, I don't always have control. it is an inconvenience for families to hear about something that I have added last minute and I will try to address that for you!

I do find out about last minute events and deals that I would like to broadcast, so in addition to blogging about them I will add them to my twitter feed.

Please accept my apology for any inconvenience a late-going e-mail broadcast may have caused!

March 7, 2011

Free Movie Today

If your children are out of school today, like mine, and looking for something to do, check out the free family fiendly film series at the Michigan Theatre (603 E. Liberty St., Ann Arbor). Today at 1:30 p.m. Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 3D - The movie is FREE for kids 12 and under with special pricing for adults and teens.

March 4, 2011

Free Movies for Kids 12 & Under at MJR Theatres

With the price of movie tickets, even matinee movie tickets, escalating as fast as we can blink, driving from Ann Arbor to Brighton (Brighton Towne Square Digital Cinema 20 8200 Murphy Dr. | 810-227-4700) MIGHT not be so far flung...  That being said, the MJR Theatres are offering a FREE children's film festival.
These free movies are for kids 12 and under with adult tickets sold for $1.00 discounted movie ticket pricing.

The schedule for the free movies is as follows:

March 12 & 13 - Gulliver's Travels
March 19 & 20 - Narnia
March 26 & 27 - Yogi Bear
Aprili 2 & 3 - Megamind

Showtimes for the movies can be verified at the MJR Digital Cinema website approximately a week before the movies are scheduled to play.

How Do You Help Your Child Get A Positive Outlook?

My son has had a rough start in his first grade year. As parents we often wonder "It's first-grade what's to worry about?" However he's struggling with reading, making it less enjoyable for him. Everyone is pushing him all the time to read. We've hired a tutor for one on one time, found out he needed reading glasses and more, but the reading is just coming hard for him. I often find him saying "I want to be back in Kindergarten" and "I hate school." So what is a parent to do?

I have forbidden him from saying he hates school, and instead have encouraged him to express his feelings otherwise. We've even begun a mother-son journal so that he can write his frustrations, feelings or whatever he wants.

Now I'm considering the power of beginning each day with positive affirmations. Kind of like this child.

How do you support a healthy self-esteem for your child? Are there ways that you begin each day that help? As parents, what have you done to help your child get over a rough bump?

March 2, 2011

Free Building Clinics For Kids

There are a couple great kids building clinics scheduled this month at Lowe's and Home Depot. The programs are free for kids and are a lot of fun. they have been highlighted many times on the Ann Arbor Mom blog!
On Saturday, March 5, from 9:00 a.m. - noon, kids can build their own race car at the Home Depot kids building clinic. The Home Depot #20 Race Car kit looks like a fun kit to build too, just be sure to show up early if you want to build the car!

On Saturday, March 12, kids participating in the Lowe's Build and Grow clinic will be building their own hoops for March Madness! The cute "Shoot Around Basketball" kit will help your child with their own tournament time when they challenge their friends to a game of shoot around basketball. The clinic begins at 10:00 a.m. and requires pre-registration at the Lowe's Build and Grow website! 10:00 a.m.

March 1, 2011

Free Program: Kids create a felt ball

On Wednesday March 2, from 7:00-8:30 p.m. at the Ann Arbor District Library Malletts Creek Branch (3090 E. Eisenhower Pkw., Ann Arbor) kids, teens and youth can make their own felt balls using sheeps wool. It's a neat process where warm, wet soapy water and hands help the wool felt into amazing shapes - Youth can create felt beads to string a necklace, a pet toy or just a fun baby ball!

The program is free to participate in.