November 30, 2011

Free Educational and Fun Event for Kids

Kids can learn about Tangram puzzles and eat
pizza at Mathnasium's free event this Saturday!
This Saturday, December 3, Mathnasium of Ann Arbor (2111 Packard Rd, Ste C, Ann Arbor) is hosting an open house with Tangram games and a pizza party in celebration of their success so far this year. This fun, free event begins at 11:00 a.m.-1:30 p.m.

Tangram puzzles consist of 7 pieces that are manipulated into simple shapes and is a perfect way to teach geometry, shapes, patterns, area/length calculation and creativity! Plus they are a lot of fun. My kids actually LOVE Tangram puzzles!

The event is open to any area children in grades K -12.

Win Free Tickets to Sesame Street Live 1/26-2/12 at the Fox Theatre

Happy Holidays to all of my Ann Arbor readers. I have another amazing give-away for that special child in your life. Read on to find out how you can win tickets!

Did you know that Sesame Street Live is coming back to the area?  From January 26 through February 12, 2012 at the Fox Theatre in Detroit, “Elmo’s Super Heroes” will be taking over in a larger-than-life, musical touring stage production that features Big Bird, Elmo, Cookie Monster, Bert and Ernie…and of course Elmo!  

Sesame Street Live is coming back to the Fox Theatre in 2012!
The fabulous five, featuring Elmo and all of his friends, are on a quest to put the “super” back in Super Grover.  Singing and dancing their way through fun lessons on healthy habits, they discover how exercise, rest, nutritious food and good hygiene can save Super Grover -- and turn your children into Super Heroes, too!  

Tickets are on-sale now at the box office, OlympiaEntertainment.com, and all Ticketmaster locations or to charge by phone, call            800-745-3000      . Admission tickets are: $12, $20, $25, $35 (Gold Circle) & $65 (Sunny Seats).  Special ticket pricing is available during Family Night where all seats (except Gold Circle seating) is $10, or during kid’s matinee shows where all seats are $8 for school/daycare groups and $10 for the general public.

Helping Super Grover during the performance helps teach kids
about healthy eating and taking care of themselves.

No onto the special surprise I mentioned above! As an added bonus, one lucky Ann Arbor Mom reader will win a family (4) pack for a performance to the Sesame Street Live Performance of “Elmo’s Super Heroes” by answering the following trivia question. 

Q. All of the Sesame Street Muppets have four fingers, except ____, who has five. Please leave the name of the five-fingered Muppet below in the comments. All correct answers will be placed into a drawing on of entries received by midnight December 13. One entry per person please.  

Bird Hike at Hudson Mills

Bring your binoculars and a field guide to observe bird species around Hudson Mills (8801 N. Territorial Rd., Dexter) this Saturday for a guided bird hike at 8:00 a.m. Verify the birds that are seen, record dates, locations, and trends from year to year. Participants will explore a variety of habitats throughout the park.

Preregistration is required for this event and the cost is only $3 per person with vehicle entry fee. Contact: 734-426-8211 or 800-477-3191 to register and for more information.

November 26, 2011

Ann Arbor Ice Skating Fun Holiday Traditions

I love ice skating during the cooler months. In fact when I was in college I took my skates to Central so I could skate on a tiny glassy pond in front of the library. It felt like freedom. I told my husband this recently and he looked at me odd as he remembered that specific pond to be about as big as our children's summer pool, but I guess I didn't care, or didn't see it that way!

Last year I created a post with ice skating information that included area ice rinks, admission costs and times for open skate sessions. Since there is already traffic to that post, I will edit it appropriately, adding a link to the trending posts area on the right-side of my homepage. I hope you can take your kids out to experience the many local ice rinks - both indoor and out - this season!

Ann Arbor Parks and Recreation even offers parents many open skate sessions when the kids are out of school or on winter vacation. During the Ann Arbor Public Schools winter/spring vacations and other days that school is not in session, public skating is offered Monday-Friday, 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.

November 22, 2011

Win Fabric Gift Bags from The Eventual Farmer

Recently I was given items from The Eventual Farmer to review and blog about - I have to say, the products are wonderful, easy to clean and very useful. I had actually seen them being used by several of the children in my son's class during lunch noticing how popular they are.


Would you like to win something to gift or keep?

Keri Middaugh, a work-from-home mom and owner of The Eventual Farmer makes snack packs, sandwich wraps, fabric gift bags, and homemade laundry soap among other creative items. Wherever possible, she uses reclaimed, re-purposed, or recyclable materials to create these simple, yet unique items.


I had a chance to chat with Keri recently and found that her philosophy is very similar to mine. As a small-business, she considers what she does as an extension of her hobby by 'using what she has' instead of relying on running out to the store. She's trying to teach her family to turn away from consuming and back to a state of producing what they need.

"When my daughter started bringing a lunch to school last year, I noticed how much trash was being produced just by one child's one meal." Said Keri, "Trying to find a way to make lunches trash-free, I needed a reusable Ziploc bag option. This also coincided with trying to reduce my family's trash and recycling."

She came across an idea of a reusable baggie and decided to try lining it with cereal bag liners that she was throwing away, and that was the birth of the Sandwich Wrap. The Snack Pack came along a few months later, when she had trouble making the cut fruit and veggies stay nicely in the Sandwich Wrap.


You can find The Eventual Farmer items available locally year-round at the Ypsilanti Food Co-op (312 North River St., Ypsilanti) or seasonally at the Ypsilanti Farmers Market. Additionally, items will be offered for sale at the Lunasa Holiday Open House on Tuesday, December 6, as well as the Mix Marketplace on Wednesday, December 14, and by ordering through The Eventual Farmer Facebook Page. Items generally cost less than $10 and make excellent holiday gift ideas when considering buying local and sustainably!



In honor of the holidays, The Eventual Farmer is offering one Ann Arbor Mom reader to win a set of 3 Fabric Gift Bags. Wrap your gifts in style in re-purposed cloth, to give a little 'green' flair to gift-giving. In fact, the Fabric Gift Bags are so charming, they could be the gift!

To win, be sure to comment below or on the Ann Arbor Mom Facebook Page on "Why you are on the nice list and deserve to win!" A random winner will be drawn from all entries received before midnight on December 6.




*Photos courtesy of The Eventual Farmer

November 20, 2011

Crafty Christmas: Fun Craft Events for the Family

Michael's Crafts (3655 Washtenaw Ave., Ann Arbor) is helping families learn about traditions from around the world December 3-17 with the Passport to Imagination. Kids will have fun creating their own gifts or decorations for the family Christmas tree.

Let the kids get crafty during the Michael's Crafts Passport to
Imagination December 3-17!

December 3: Visit Australia 10:00 a.m. - 2:00 p.m. and create a Christmas Countdown Calendar, a Christmas Stocking or a Gingerbread House.

December 4: Visit Germany 1:00-4:00 p.m. to get creative in Rudolph's Kitchen, create Santa & Rudolph's Treat Bag or make "Cookies" for Santa!

December 10: Visit Iceland 10:00 a.m. - 2:00 p.m. to make a Reindeer Frame, create Santa's Letter or make a cute Spatula Reindeer.

December 11: Visit Japan 1:00-5:00 p.m. to make a Snowman Ornament, a Snowflake Frame or a S'more Ornament.

December 17: Visit Mexico 10:00 a.m. - 2:00 p.m. to make a Duct Tape Luggage Tag, Cravable Craft Cookbook, or a Pointsetta Card for gift giving.

November 18, 2011

Contest: Kids Eat Free Tuesday's at Applebee's

Win a $25 Applebee's Gift Card from the Ann Arbor Mom - For the holidays or to treat
your family. Kids eat free Tuesday's so your card could go a long way too!


I laugh every time my daughter asks to eat at Applebee's. Not because of how she asks, but she LOVES the place more than almost anywhere else. I suspect it's all the decor that allows her to play a pretty awesome game of I Spy! Did you know though that kids eat FREE at Applebee's on Tuesday's?

And now for the great part - Ann Arbor Mom readers have a chance to win a $25 gift card to enjoy at their favorite Applebee's location! All you need to do is comment below, or on the Ann Arbor Mom Facebook page on your favorite menu item at Applebee's! A winner will be randomly chosen from all entries received by December 2 - Your family of four could go out on a Tuesday and get an Applebee’s 2 for $20 meal (appetizer and two entrĂ©es) and be all set with the $25 gift card, or you could give the prize away as a holiday gift!

A few thoughts to pass along - In all 32 metro Detroit Applebee’s locations, customers will find other deals like $5.99 All You Can Eat Lunch, $6.99 Pick ‘n Pair Lunch, and ½ off Appetizers from 8 p.m. – close. Each Applebee’s location has different specials and events on any given night of the week so ti's best to “Like” your local Applebee’s location on Facebook for more information.

Ann Arbor has 2 local Applebee's locations. For the convenience of Ann Arbor Mom readers I have added a link to each of their Facebook pages!

Applebee's - 2310 Green Rd., Ann Arbor | (734) 741-1870
Applebee's -1005 West Eisenhower Pky., Ann Arbor | (734) 741-4851

Don't forget to enter the contest to win a $25 Gift Card by December 2 by naming your favorite menu item in the comments below or on Facebook!

November 17, 2011

Weekend Events Round-Up: November 18-20

It's the weekend before Thanksgiving. Has the craziness began at your home? My kids are anxiously awaiting having several days off of school! I however am starting to fret about holiday preparations, specifically fixing Thanksgiving dinner. I have done it that past couple of years out of necessity since my children were ill with something or another, and we were avoiding elderly family members, this year however I am cooking for mom and my cousin Peggy and possibly a few more guests.

So what will you do this weekend to keep the kids out of your hair? Do you have weekend plans for the kids or even for the whole family? I've put together the weekend planner filled with some fun events. Don't forget to check out the holiday event planner on Ann Arbor Mom too though, it's filled with events and activities that are geared for the holidays.


Friday, November 18
  • Your toddler will enjoy dancing away during a free Music and Movement playgroup at Dancers Edge (3045 Broad St., Dexter). This free event is for kids age 5 and under. 11:00 a.m.
  • Kids can decoupage and paint their own memory box at the Ypsilanti District Library (5577 Whittaker Rd., Ypsilanti). This is a free event for kids age 6-12. 3:30-5:30 p.m.
  • Take your teen (grades 6-12) over to the Ypsilanti District Library (229 W. Michigan Ave., Ypsilanti) at 6:00 p.m. for free Teen HQ.
  • Take a free tour of the EMU observatory at 6:00 p.m.
  • Several theatrical productions are available this weekend for the whole family. It's a Wonderful Life opens or take your family to see a theatrical production of four Hans Christian Anderson tales during Pixies, Kings and Magical Things at the Ann Arbor Jewish Community Center (2935 Birch Hollow Dr., Ann Arbor). 7:00 p.m.

Saturday, November 19

Sunday, November 20

  • Make free "Thankful" tree at Michael's Crafts (3655 Washtenaw Ave., Ann Arbor). 1:00-3:00 p.m.
  •  Take the family to the Family Dance at Pittsfield Union Grange (3337 Ann Arbor-Saline Rd., Ann Arbor). Cost $12.00 family. 2:00-4:00 p.m.
  • Enjoy music and crafts at the Baltics Family Cultural Celebration at Ann Arbor District Library (343 S. Fifth Ave., Ann Arbor) 2:00-3:30 p.m.
  • Traditional Japanese Drumming at Ypsilanti District Library (5577 Whittaker Rd., Ypsilanti). 2:00-3:30 p.m.

November 15, 2011

It's a Wonderful Life in Dexter

Get into the holiday spirit by taking the family to see It's a Wonderful Life. The production by The Encore Musical Theatre Company (3126 Broad St., Dexter) opens this weekend with performances through December 23.
It's a Wonderful Life
November 17-December 23
Thursdays 7:00 p.m.
Fridays 8:00 p.m.
Saturdays 3:00 p.m. & 8:00 p.m.
Sundays 3:00 p.m.
The Encore’s original musical version of It’s a Wonderful Life is based on the classic holiday film of the same name starring Jimmy Stewart. The tale takes place in Bedford Falls, New York, 1946, and George Bailey, who has long considered himself a failure, faces financial ruin and arrest and is doubting his own self worth. But, high above Bedford Falls an eternally bumbling Angel, Clarence Oddbody, is sent to help George out. After 200 years Clarence has yet to earn his wings. But before he can do that, Clarence is given a crash course on George's life, and the multitude of selfless acts he has performed.
Admission to It's a Wonderful Life is $28/Adults, $25/Seniors (55+) and Youths (17 & under). Tickets may be purchased online at theencoretheatre.org/Encore/Tickets or by calling 734-268-6200.

November 14, 2011

All About Owls - Free Nature Program for the Family

It's wise to attend All About Owls next
Saturday at Independence Lake. The kids
will surely give a hoot!
My son's teacher LOVES owls. Why wouldn't she, they symbolize wisdom after all! That's one reason I thought this program sounded interesting. On Saturday, November 19 7:00-9:00 p.m., The Washtenaw County Parks and recreation Program has another wonderful nature program for the family - All About Owls.
The indoor program with naturalist Faye Stoner will be followed by a hike to call for owls at Independence Lake. Families should plan to meet at the Beach Center.

The program is free, however vehicle entry fees into the park apply. pre-registration is also required for this program by contacting Faye Stoner at stonerf@ewashtenaw.org  or by calling (734) 971-6337 x334.

Faye puts on wonderful programs for the family that engage everyone from 0-99 so be sure to attend if you are at all interested!

Free Tour of EMU Planetarium and Observatory

Take the kids for a free tour of the Shertzer Observatory November 18.
On Friday, November 18, 6:00-7:30 p.m. the Eastern Michigan University, Sherzer Observatory (124 College Pl., Ypsilanti) will be hosting a free tour of the Astronomy Lab and Shertzer Observatory. The tour, geared for children in 3rd grade and up will explore all the possibilities of our universe - meteor showers, constellations, moons, and planets in the planetarium! Then take a short walk to the Sherzer Observatory to see what’s happening in the real sky.
Families interested in participating need to meet at the EMU Planetarium, parking is available at southwest corner of the EMU campus, Washtenaw at Oakwood St. for $1 per hour. Space is limited though, so please pre-register soon by calling 482-4110 ext. 1385. For more information and directions visit www.emich.edu/physics/emu_planetarium/index.php.

November 13, 2011

Childrens Theatre: Pixies, Kings and Magical Things

On November 18-19, families can enjoy Pixies, Kings and Magical Things at the Ann Arbor Jewish Community Center (2935 Birch Hollow Dr., Ann Arbor). These charming and witty Hans Christian Anderson tales will delight audiences with brief adaptations of four of his tales. Your family will enjoy music and laughter at the Young Actors Guild production.

Pixies, Kings and Magical Things includes four stories; The Swineherd, The Pixie and the Grocer, The Emperor's New Clothes and The Ugly Duckling on November 18 at 7:00 p.m., or November 19 at 2:00 p.m. and 7:00 p.m. Admission for the shows is $5 for students, and $10 for adults. Tickets may be purchased in advance at www.aayag.org or at the door.

November 11, 2011

Weekend Events Round-Up: November 11-13

It would have been nice to have this list published a bit earlier today, however I suppose it's being a bit later than intended is a direct reflection on my relaxed mood. That does not mean however that there are any fewer Ann Arbor events happening this weekend for the kids!

Today after school I'm taking my Cub Scouts to help collect the 100 flags from the Ypsilanti Township government offices after their Veteran's Day observance.  After that though, I am going to take the weekend to take a much needed breath, or sanity break, before everything shakes loose.

Whether you're visiting Santa as he arrives at Briarwood Mall
or taking the family to a free library event, there is always things-to-do
in Ann Arbor with kids!

I know that Santa is arriving at Briarwood Mall tonight, but frankly since the turkey hasn't even arrived yet, I'll wait it out a bit longer before my kids visit Santa. I've heard though that my neighbor is putting up his Christmas lights (Thanks Brian for making me feel like a slacker) so I may need to rectify that too. Oh who am I kidding I still have some end of the season yard and garden cleaning to do too, and of course we have to prep the snow-blower for the eventual snow! So here's your weekend event planning calendar filled with a round-up of the weekend events and things-to-do in Ann Arbor.


Friday, November 11

  • If mom, dad, grandma or grandpa are a Veteran, consider taking them out somewhere to receive their much deserved Veteran's Day freebie from free meals to discounts! It's a good time too, to introduce the kids to recognizing these wonderful people and what they have given us as citizens.
  • With bells ringing, Santa Arrives at Briarwood Mall tonight with his reindeer at 6:00 p.m., while you are at the mall swing by the Salvation Army's Beyond Bells area too for some musical enjoyment and early holiday cheer.
  • Children's book author Jan Brett visits the AADL (Downtown) with a book signing of her latest book Home for Christmas.
Saturday, November 12
  • Become a pioneer at the Ypsilanti District Library (5577 Whittaker Rd., Ypsilanti) learning to make butter, soap and dip candles during this free event for kids (grade 1+). How did they ever do it without electricity or grocery stores!? 2:00-3:00 p.m.
  • Take the kids to see a free movie during the Family Film Series at the at Student Center Auditorium, EMU (900 Oakwood St., Ypsilanti) to see Gnomio and Juliet. Campus Life and the Children's Literature program team up once again to give students and families something different to do on a Saturday. 2:00 p.m.
  • Older kids and teens can learn to make their own paper at YDL Superior (8975 MacArthur Blvd., Ypsilanti). Make lumpy pulp, glitter, strings and even flower petals into something you can gift or keep. Registration is required 482-4110 x1391.
  • Take the family to enjoy Family Day at Kelsey Museum of Archaeology and receive free admission for the whole family. Family Day programs at the Kelsey Museum are designed to teach kids aged 5-12 about the ancient world.

Sunday, November 13
 

November 10, 2011

Gingerbread House Contest at the Ypsilanti District Library

When stopping by the Ypsilanti District Library the other day I noticed that they are going to have a Gingerbread House Contest this year. I grabbed the flier and brought it home. It wasn't until my daughter brought the flier to my attention this morning that I remembered the contest, and was reminded that I wanted to share the details with my Ann Arbor Mom readers! Since it will take a little planning, I thought to get the details out sooner rather than later too.
Building it or tearing it down, creating a gingerbread house can be a lot of fun.
Let your kids enter the YDL Gingerbread House Contest this year!

On December 3 2011, the Ypsilanti District Library will be hosting a Gingerbread House Contest awarding winners from several age categories including children (Age 5-8), kids (Age 9-12), teens (Age 13-17) and adults 18 and up. Why not help your kids create and decorate a unique gingerbread structure, or encourage your older child or teen to create their own structure, then bring it to the YDL-Whittaker by 2 p.m. on December 3 for entry into the contest.

Then from December 3-13, visit the library to view all of the beautiful and creative entries, and votes on the best of the best designs.  

For a contest entry form and rules, visit the library or the YDL Gingerbread House Contest page. Let your kids use their imagination, get creative, and mostly just let them have fun. My kids have already decided they MUST enter the contest, and even I find it appealing. Will your kids or you enter the contest?

November 5, 2011

Free Movies: MJR's Canned Film Festival


On Thursday November 10th, MJR theartres will give FREE movie admission to anyone bringing in 5 canned goods for movies showing 4:00-10:00 p.m.

The nearest locations to Ann Arbor are:

Brighton Towne Square Digital Cinema 20 | 810-227-4700
8200 Murphy Dr.
Brighton, MI 48116

Westland Grand Digital Cinema 16 | 734-298-2657
6800 N. Wayne Rd.
Westland, MI 48185

You can find a full list of area theatres at the MJR Theatre website. All food donations will benefit the Gleaners Community Food Bank.

November 4, 2011

Weekend Events Round-up: November 4-6

I don't know about you but my family is trying to get a little breathing room before the hoopla of the holidays begins! That being said there are already holiday decorations up at several places and music playing on the radio, so soon expect a holiday events guide any time!

There are several great events happening this weekend. My husband and son are going to be at the hand drum workshop while my daughter and I are selling Girl Scout nuts at Hillers in Arborland. So what's in our plans for the family this weekend? Are you headed out for any activities or events? The weekend round up events list has something for everyone, so enjoy!

Friday, November 4:
  • Candy buy-back at Arbor Dental (2301 Platt Rd., Ann Arbor). Dr Jaffer’s office Arbor Dental is hosting another year for Candy Buy –Back in co-operation with Operation Gratitude. Unopened candy will be collected at our office. We will give $1 a pound for all the candy we receive, and then ship the candy along with dental goodies to our troops overseas.   
  • Take the kids to see the Ann Arbor Civic Theatre's (4800 Huron River Drive in the Crane Liberal Arts Bldg., Ann Arbor) performance of Cinderella Nov. 3-5 at 7:30 p.m., and Nov. 5-6 at 1:00 p.m. Tickets are $5 and are available by calling or visiting the A2CT office (734) 971-2228, or at the door of WCC’s College Theater before each performance. 

Saturday, November 5:
  • Take a walk in the woods at Hudson Mills (8801 N. Territorial Rd., Dexter) during a bird hike. Bring binoculars and dress warm. 8:00 a.m. Cost for event is $3.00 plus applicable vehicle entry fees.
  • Free fall movies at the Quality 16 at 9:00 and 10:00 a.m. Saturday and Sunday, this week is Zookeeper.
  • Sensory Sensitive Cinemas at Rave Ann Arbor (4100 Carpenter Rd., Ypsilanti) at 10:00 a.m. and a Lights Up, Sound Down showing of Puss In Boots at the Quality 16 at 10:00 a.m.
  • 11:00 a.m. - noon kids decorate a canvas tote bag with recycled materials at Michael's Crafts (3655 Washtenaw Ave., Ann Arbor) or from noon-2:00 p.m. they can craete a free Vetran's Day flag craft.
  • Teens can make their own mosiac jewelry at the Ann Arbor District Library (2359 Oak Valley Dr., Ann Arbor) at 11:00 a.m. - 1:00 p.m. or 3:00-5:00 p.m. All supplies will be provided for this free event.
  • Free kids building clinic at Home Depot 9:00 a.m. - noon where the kids can paint a picture frame in honor of picture frame. 
  • Stop by Tree Town Toys (2611 Plymouth Rd., Ann Arbor) to try your hand at making sand art 1:30-5:00 p.m. Create works of art out of sand! Select one of our exciting patterns and peel off the pre-cut stencil. Sprinkle sand onto the adhesive-coated pattern to create an original design. Simple or sophisticated- it's up to you! This activity is for ages 5+ and costs $2.
  • Do you have a budding entertainer on your hands, kids and teens can participate in Kid's Open Stage at Oz Music (1920 Packard St., Ann Arbor) the first Saturday of every month a 4:00 p.m.

Sunday, October 23:
  • Free fall movies at the Quality 16 at 9:00 and 10:00 a.m.
  • Tree Town Toys has another fun craft project creating sticky mosaics from 1:00-3:00p.m. Follow the numbers and place the colorful sticky foam squares onto fun patterns. We recommend ages 3+ because of small stickers. This activity costs $1.00.
  • At Michael's Crafts, kids can participate in a free yarn Make-It, Take-It craft event from 1:00-3:00 p.m.
  • Explore Sharon Mills with a nice fall hike at 2:00-4:00 p.m.
  • Take your talented teen to the hands-on comics workshop at the Ann Arbor District Library (343 S. Fifth Ave., Ann Arbor) at  1:00-3:00 p.m. where guest artist Joe Foo will answer the question "What makes a good character?"  Drawing supplies will be provided for this free teen event.

November 3, 2011

Ann Arbor Mom Success Story: Yesterday, Today & Tomorrow!

Hello readers. It's been an exciting few weeks at our home. Unexpected and crazy in many ways. I don't know how many of my readers know the story of why I began the blog, but it some ways it has everything to do with many changes in my life, so I thought I'd share.


Several years ago, I decided to leave where I was working and work for myself. Years earlier I had done that and found that in was happiest when I controlled my own destiny and I wanted to spend a little more time with the kids. I left and started consulting, doing online advertising and search engine optimization, mostly for small businesses. As fate would have it though, my husband lost his job not long after, so essentially we were two not-working-very-much persons with two young children.

Children don't stop wanting things or wanting to do things though, so I began looking for free events and very low cost activities near Ann Arbor. Surprisingly there were a LOT of family events and activities out there for us to experience! Pretty soon friends started asking me "Where did you learn about that?" and saying things like "You find all of the cool events for kids!" So I hatched the idea to start blogging.

It actually fit nicely into what I was doing with search media, and I had already begun diving into social media so I started the Ann Arbor Mom blog with the following goals in mind:

1) I wanted to walk-the-walk and -he talk-with clients,
2) I did not intend to get rich off of the blog (despite what many websites offer),
3) I got a better understanding of the power of blogging,'
4) I wanted a creative outlet,
5) and I wanted to put myself in a position to get more clients and maybe a full time position at some point later.

Surprisingly I was noticed right away and was hired as a contributor for AnnArbor.com when they went live. I also found several clients and made the next several years successful for myself and several of them. I have been contacted by PR firms for paid sponsorships, reviews and give-aways and even found a couple of paid advertisers for the blog!  I call that a success story!

The blog has changed several times too. I had a calendar of events at the start of the blog that I discontinued when I began working for AnnArbor.com and I used to write "Life Lessons" stories about my parenting experiences. I'd like to re-implement several of these ideas, and a few new ones, so you may see changes in the coming months. Since starting the blog I have also started providing information through Twitter and Facebook, which is often unique to each platform. I'm really trying to not bombard my fans and readers (can I call you fans) with full duplication of information across all platforms.

Now here comes the exciting part. The blog and all of my social media efforts were so successful that I have been hired as the Search & Social Media Director at PWB Marketing Communications!

I will not abandon the blog, in fact it strengthens my resolve to find the best content for Ann Arbor families. So in the coming weeks, look for some changes, new content and new ideas. Hopefully it's the best for everyone and it will help keep the Ann Arbor Mom blog on the top of lists for events and activities in Ann Arbor for kids!

If you ever have story ideas or thoughts, please don't hesitate to contact me at tmayrend at gmail dot com or leave comments on any of my posts. Thanks for your continued support. Without the notice of folks in the area, I wouldn't be where I am now!

November 1, 2011

Exploring the Sharon Short Hills Preserve

Fall back with your clocks, but don't forget to head out for a wonderful fall hike exploring the Sharon Short Hills natural area at Sharon Short Hills Preserve on Sunday November 6, 2:00-4:00 p.m. Explore the wetlands and forested hills with a naturalist from Washtenaw County Parks and Recreation seeing some late fall colors, woodland creatures and maybe even a bird or two. This is a free event for the whole family!

Class: Kids are Chefs, Too!

Thanksgiving is the perfect time to enjoy the late fall harvest. On November 19, 10:00 a.m. - noon, let your kids participate in a fun program at the Matthaei Botanical Gardens to turn on their inner chef. During the event, your children will learn how to turn fall apples, squash, and wheat into delicious sauces, cookies, and bread and the best part, is that everyone gets to take home goodies for the Thanksgiving feast!

The event is $5 per child. To register call 734.647.7600 or register online at the Matthaei Botanical Gardens and Nichols Arboretum website.