December 30, 2011

Waterloo Recreation Area New Year's Day Hike

Want to start the new year with a breath of fresh air? Literally! On Sunday, January 1 from 11:00 a.m. - noon at the Waterloo Recreation Area (16345 McClure Rd., Chelsea 48118), families can enjoy a casual hour long hike followed by a bonfire with snacks! You need only to bring warm gear and wear comfortable shoes. Kids might also want to bring a roasting stick, watter bottle, binoculars and a story to share around the fire. Families that have the Recreation Passport on their vehicles get in totally free too!
Get a jump-start on a healthy New Year with a family hike at the Waterloo Recreation Area in Chelsea!

December 28, 2011

Fun at the Ann Arbor Hands on Museum

Zach making snow at the Ann Arbor Hands on Museum.
I was given the opportunity to check out the Ann Arbor Hands on Museum the other day. Funny thing is, my kids have been there and I never have, so it was a fun experience for all of us! We were invited to check out the Winter Games activities (There was an ice carving demonstration, the kids had fun making snow and even got to create their own pocket hand warmers.) however we stayed to play too!

My children, as most children do, LOVE to get dirty and mostly love to be involved in things. At almost 6 and 8, they are also becoming very interested in "science" type projects and experiments so the day was not wasted. We got to learn more about water, light, motion, nature - Pretty much everything you can imagine being tucked neatly into one little downtown 4-story building. The kids LOVED running from exhibit to exhibit dragging mom along, and they loved experimenting!
I think my son mostly enjoyed the WA2HOM Ham Radio operator and my daughter favored stepping into a bubble, but with so many things to see and do, it's easy to forget what your favorite might be. I certainly would have liked to be able to play more myself, or maybe explain a bit more about the science behind each of the activities, but they were too busy checking everything out.
 If you take your family, I recommend having at least 4 hours to explore - and don't worry about your child becoming bored, as there is so much to see and do.

Future Survivor contender? Gabby was challenged to catch the 4
balls before they dropped into the basket! The balls beat her though.
As a parent I would recommend tag-team parenting when you visit the AAHOM though. Even with my own two, it was hard not to get pulled into two directions; As one child found something amazing in one corner of the room, the other was running across the room finding something else! I did like though, that much of the space allows mom and dad to have a clear line-of-sight connection to their child. Another tip would be to either skip the water area on the lower level saving it to your last stop, or consider bringing a dry shirt. Even my two were all too happy to get wet!

Getting wet at the Ann Arbor Hands on Museum!

I found the museum to be bright and colorful, neat and well managed. The staff was all to happy to help too! And of course my kids LOVED the gift shop...  Thankfully it's not too difficult to say yes to educational toys.

A visit to the Ann Arbor Hands on Museum would be a great way to introduce out-of-town visitors to one of the many great Ann Arbor attractions while keeping your youngest visitors happy too. For those in and around town, families can always find fun, exciting and educational events and activities at the Ann Arbor Hands on Museum (like this weeks Winter Games) that keep you coming back for more.

Ann Arbor Hands on Museum | 220 E. Ann St., Ann Arbor 48104

Museum Hours:
Mon. - Sat.: 10:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m. (Open Tuesdays 9:00 a.m.)
Sunday: noon - 5:00 p.m.

Museum Admission:
Members: free
Admission (ages 2 and up): $10
Under 2: free admission
ACM Travel Passport Museum Guests: free admission
ASTC Travel Passport Museum Guests: Museums within 90 miles- $5, +90 miles - free admission

December 21, 2011

Happy Holidays!

Cat-zilla contemplating the destruction of the village.
Merry Christmas & Happy New Year Ann Arbor,
may your holidays be bright!

I'll admit it, I have a couple posts in my mind that I'd like to get to before the end of the year, however time is quickly escaping... So just-in-case, I wanted to take the opportunity to wish all of my readers a happy ending to your year. May your house be filled with warmth, love and family!

My journey is made ever-better by your comments, and presence on my website. May 2012 be an exceptional year for you and your family. I'll for sure be back at the start of the year if not before. Don't forget, you can find plenty of activities and events for the family during holiday break on my Holiday Break Events post.

December 17, 2011

New Zoo Play Cafe Open Today

Today in Ypsilanti Township, the New Zoo Play Cafe opened!
Excited area families were already enjoying the re-opened indoor play structure too.
Today in Ypsilanti Township, the New Zoo Play Cafe opened in the old Zoobilee space. Hours of operation are Tuesday through Saturday 9:00 a.m -the 7:30 p.m. and Sunday noon- 5:00 p.m. What I really liked was that when we met with Doug the owner, a family came in and he told them that all kids must use hand sanitizer before entering! That makes a mom happy.

New Zoo Play Cafe
1834 Whittaker Rd., Ypsilanti Township
(734) 547-0966

Children 12-24 months - $3.25
Kids 2 years and up - $6.50
Family admission rates - $20.00
Adults and infants always receive free admission.

December 16, 2011

Looking for Prize Winners

Hello Ann Arbor Mom readers, I am trying to track down several prize winners from recent contests. If winners would please contact me at tmayrend at gmail (dot) com, I with get their prizes shipped out. (I need complete mailing addresses for each prize winner.). If I do not hear from winners by Monday December 19, I will re-draw for new prize winners. The winners I am looking for are:

Eventual Farmer Fabric Gift Bags: Jill Kynaston
Aquaphor Baby Products: Sara (the 4th entry in the comments)

Weekend Events Round-Up: December 16-18

It's been kind of crazy for me. I suppose it's been crazy for each of you too. It's amazing how much time gets sucked up during the holiday season. To me it feels like that dream where you are running down a hall and the hall keeps getting longer... Things just get away from us. That is why it is important for each of us, as parents, to take care of ourselves. Take a nap, enjoy a long bath, get a massage or simple find somewhere to sit for a few minutes in silence to listen to your own deep breaths and the rhythm of your own body.

After a brief moment to relax, you hear the kids say "Mom what can we do? Mom I'm bored." So, know that it's easy to find something to do in Ann Arbor right now - in fact this weekend there are many great events and activities to enjoy for your weekend planning needs! There are also more "holiday specific" events in the Ann Arbor Holiday Event Planner.

Friday, December 16
Saturday, December 17
Sunday, December 18

December 13, 2011

Three Cedars Farm: Back for Christmas!

Bring out the holly and mistletoe, Three Cedars Farm (7897 6 Mile Road Northville, MI) is back in business for this holiday season, at least in part...

The farm, is popular with Ann Arbor area families throughout the harvest season and into the fall and provides some amazing back-drops for photo-ops as well as becoming a popular place to see Santa and Mrs. Clause. After being canceled by the Township earlier this year, the family-owned business has decided to scale back their once-loved traditions and hold a scaled-down celebration.

This weekend, Thursday through Saturday at 4:00-8:00 p.m. and Sunday 1:00-5:00 p.m. children can come to the family farm-house to meet Santa and Mrs. Claus while enjoying free cider and donuts.

As a bonus for families hoping to encourage their childre to give this year instead of only receiving, Three Cedars Farm will accept donations to benefit Active Faith Community Services, a nonprofit that helps low-income families.

December 12, 2011

Get Hands-On During the Holidays for Winter Games!

Are you considering something fun-to-do in Ann Arbor with kids while they are on holiday break? I know I'm already loading up my calendar. In fact, thanks to the Ann Arbor Hands On Museum (220 E Ann Street, Ann Arbor, MI), my kids will be experiencing one wonder filled day.

Be hands-on with the kids this holiday season with fun at AAHOM!
From December 26 through January 6, over the holiday break, families everywhere can experience the  Hands-On Holidays Winter Games programs at the museum. The program, which is free with museum entry will feature things kids can do outdoors in the winter and the science behind them. Build igloos out of blocks, try ice fishing simulation and experience more hands-on activities and special events every day.

Visitors will find free admission to Ann Arbor Hands-On Museum members and children under 2, otherwise, admission is $10 for ages two and up. Museum hours are Monday - Saturday, 10:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m. and Sunday, noon - 5:00 p.m. Get an extra bonus on Tuesday's with a rise and shine time of 9:00 a.m.

Have out-of-town guests during the holidays? Fear not, the Ann Arbor Hands On Museum has something for everyone and they are even open on New Year’s Day from noon - 5:00 p.m. for the non football fans in your family! For more information call 734.995.5439.

December 3, 2011

$25 Applebees Gift Card Winner

Congratulations Maria Dugan who posted on the Ann Arbor Mom Facebook Wall that she likes Asian Shrimp and Broccoli at Applebee's. Maria's name was randomly drawn from all entries to win a $25 Applbee's Gift Card.

There are several more chances to win prizes on the Ann Arbor Mom this season, so make sure to get all of your names in for some of the fun prizes.

December 2, 2011

Weekend Events Round-Up: December 2-4

For me this week has been a running week. It seems that I had to do something or be somewhere every moment of every day. That isn't always bad, except next week is already promising much of the same - And it's ONLY the first week into December! What's a mom to do. For me that would normally mean we do less over the weekend, but that's not going to happen this weekend either!

What are you doing this weekend in Ann Arbor with kids? Have any plans to attend one of the many outdoor festivals? Are you visiting with Santa? Taking the kids shopping? Or attending any entertainment venues? How about parades - There are parades in Milan, Chelsea, Grass Lake and Belleville happening Saturday. There are even FIREWORKS in Belleville!

Here's are events to fill out your calendar; the weekend event round-up for your planning needs! It'll be really easy to fill your calendar with all of the great events, but take time for yourself too. (I know I can dish out good advice that I find difficult to follow!) There are also more "holiday specific" events in the Ann Arbor Holiday Planner.

Friday, December 2

  • Chelsea Hometown Holiday Festival - A free event in Chelsea happening throughout the weekend
  • Kindlefest and Kindlemarket in Kerrytown. Families will find live music, fire pits, s’more roasting, good food, and a Lantern Parade with caroling at this free event. 6:00 p.m. - midnight
  • Lantern Parade at the Ann Arbor Farmers Market. 6:00 p.m. lantern pick-up followed by a 7:00 p.m. parade.

Saturday, December 3

Sunday, December 4
  • Teens can participate in a hands-on comics workshop with cartoonists Ryan Estrada and Jerzy Drozd at Ann Arbor District Library ( 343 S. Fifth Ave. Ann Arbor). Come ready to draw, learn, share and get some fresh ideas for your next comics or graphic novel creation. All drawing supplies will be provided free. 1:00-3:00 p.m.
  • Michael's Craft's Passport to Imagination takes the kids to Germany. 1:00-4:00 p.m.

Festival of Lights in Grass Lake

The Grass Lake Festival of Lights is a free family event on Saturday, December 3 10:00 a.m. - 7:00 p.m.

Free Friday: Aquaphor Baby Products

Just in time for the cool weather, win
Aquaphor Baby products to soothe
your child's skin!
I told you all that I would have some great prizes for Ann Arbor Mom readers. Now, just in time for the cool weather is one to help soothe the skin on your baby, toddler or child.

Recently I was given several Aquaphor Baby products to try out and use on my children. I'll admit though, I already was a fan of Aquaphor products. They are great at preventing dry skin and worked wonderfully for diaper rash - I even used it on my son this summer when he had a brief chafing issue!

When we think of our skin and cold winter months – dry, itchy, inflamed and cracked are a few trademark characteristics that come to mind. Imagine how this must feel on a baby, whose skin is even more sensitive and susceptible to “eczema”. Aquaphor Baby Healing Ointment and Aquaphor Baby Gentle Wash & Shampoo used together can help keep your baby (or even your young child) comfortable when the weather is less than comfortable!

The Baby Healing Ointment, a smooth, creamy ointment, is a pediatrician-recommended formula that will soothe and protect your baby’s uncomfortable dry skin and provide effective relief even for the most severely dry, cracked skin. And the Gentle Wash & Shampoo is a mild, tear-free and fragrance-free cleanser for daily use on baby’s sensitive skin. Aquaphor soothes and protects a baby’s skin to help keep your baby comfortable throughout the entire winter.

The package arrived at our household at the right time too. My son had been really complaining about an itchy back most nights before bedtime. After rubbing some onto his back for several nights, the itchiness became less of an issue and helped him sleep soundly. Secretly I think his "itchy back" might have been a bedtime stall routine, however mom's solution of using Aquaphor products left him with very little to say.

Now for the Free Friday prize: One lucky Ann Arbor Mom reader has an opportunity to win their own set of Aquaphor Baby products! Keep it for your family, save it for an upcoming shower gift or stash it away for yourself all you need to do is to comment below on why you like Aqauphor products. Entries must be posted  before midnight on December 9. A random winner will be chosen from all entries. One entry per person pleas.

For more information on Aquaphor products, visit the Aquaphor Facebook Page or the Aquaphor website!

December 1, 2011

Find Winter Wonders at the Matthaei Botanical Gardens

Nature provides beautiful and elaborate patterns everywhere you look including in the plants that suround us. Don't let the fallen leaves disappoint you, instead take the kids to the Matthaei Botanical Gardens (1800 North Dixboro Rd., Ann Arbor)  to experience Winter Wonder and learn how to find the patterns in the night sky, in nature and celebrate the Winter Solstice. The program, December 17, 10:00 a.m. - noon, allows kids to create beautiful decorations from natural materials. Anticipate them making snowflakes, pine cone ornaments, winter gift bags, and evergreen decorations to bring home to you!

Cost of the program is $7 per child. To register call 734.647.7600.