August 23, 2012

Fresh Beverage Idea: Contest

Win a copy of Fresh, Fast and Fabulous on the
Ann Arbor  Mom Blog!
Last week, I was offered an opportunity sponsored by Sam's Club called the "Fruit Cooler" Challenge, and YOU all get to benefit from it. My challenge was to create a refreshing fruit cooler recipe to share with my family and friends. Of course all of you know that as an Ann Arbor blogger, I like deals and discounts, so it was important to me to create a quick and easy recipe that anyone can make.

I went to our local Sam's Club (5450 Carpenter Road, Ypsilanti Township) armed with my copy of Fresh, Fast and Fabulous to be inspired by whatever I ran into. There were beautiful peaches, watermelon, blueberries and more. Everything looked juicy and smelled so fresh that it was hard to make my selection, but ultimately the fresh raspberries caught my eye. Then the challenge began. What in the store could I add to the raspberries to make my fast, family friendly beverage cooler? And that's when I saw the end cap display with large containers of Country Time Lemonade! Some may say it's cheating, however when I present a beautifully made cocktail that looks like I spent hours preparing, I consider it a win for me AND my guests!

So here is my Kid Friendly "Homemade" Raspberry Lemonade.


Lemaid mix
fresh berries (I used raspberries, however any fresh summer berry like blueberries, strawberries, or blackberries would be amazing)
a fresh lemon
garnish with fresh berries or sprigs of mint


Place 1 pint of the berries into a bowl, reserving a few for garnish later. Next mash the berries to break them up into smaller chunks. Add powdered lemonade mix and water - I did not make the recipe as directed on the can, and instead made it a little weaker initially. I then let the lemonade and berry mix sit overnight in the refrigerator, however letting it sit for a few hours would also be sufficient to mix the flavors.

Getting kids to prepare recipes
is a great learning experience!
The next day, strain the berries out of the mix - This is a great step for the kids to help with.  Cut the fresh lemons in half and add a little freshly squeezed lemon juice. This step is why I did not mix the lemonade mix to full strength initially. Then pour your beverages into glasses with ice, and add a fresh berry or two and a spring of mint for garnish. Then enjoy! Your friends and family will be surprised at how tasty the recipe is and will swear you took a lot of time (and lemons) to make hand squeezed lemonade!

Since this recipe was for my friend and her children who were coming to visit, I made this without alcohol, however I can imagine adding some vodka would make it a wonderfully simple adult beverage!

Do you have a simple summer cooler you have created for friends and family? Would you be inspired by the fresh fruit available at Sam's Club? I offer you the readers your own summer cooler challenge and post it in one of three ways. Create a quick and easy mock-tail or adult cocktail to share with fellow Ann Arbor Mom readers - Either in the comments of this post, on the Ann Arbor Mom Facebook Wall or by blogging about it on your own blog and sending a Tweeting your #FruitCooler to @tammayrendA2Mom and @samsclub. One winner will be chosen from all of the entries to receive their own copy of Fresh, Fast and Fabulous for their own cooking inspiration!

All entries must be received by midnight on Labor Day - So take your time and create a fabulous beverage for your holiday weekend.

August 22, 2012

Cruzin’ The Park

End the summer by Cruzin' the Park, the Lower Huron Metropark to be exact! This weekend, August 24–26 is the annual car show with hundreds of classic cars and street rods, plus muffler-rapping. Kids activities include a Kid's Coloring Contest, Saturday at 12:30 p.m. or Sunday at 2:00 p.m. but really, the flame throwing competition Saturday at 7:00 p.m. is a must-see activity too! The entire schedule of events is posted on the Cruzin the Park website or on their Facebook Page!

August 21, 2012

The Ypsilanti Firetruck Muster

Mayrend-Firetruckmuster2006.jpgAre you interested in seeing antique and vintage firetrucks? How about watching them spray their hoses into the Huron River? Do you have young children (especially boys) in your household?
If you answered yes to at least one of the questions above, you need to stop by the Michigan Firehouse Museum's Annual Firetruck Muster at Riverside Park in Ypsilanti.

The muster is FREE for families on Saturday August 25 from 10:00 am - 3:00 pm. Expect to see plenty of firetrucks, a few age specific events for the little ones and MAYBE get to spray Mayrend-Firetruckmuster2008-2.jpgwater into the Huron River yourself - the awesome power of these old beauties can not be experienced any other way (Unless of course you visit the Firehouse Museum!). Check it out, if anything, it's a pleasant way to spend a lazy Saturday morning - Hope to see you there!

photos by Tammy Mayrend
photo 1: A hazy day at the Michigan Firehouse Museum Firetruck Muster at Riverside Park 2006
photo 2: Zachary Mayrend at the Firetruck Muster 2008 getting a turn at the hose!

August 16, 2012

Weekend Events Round-Up: Aug 17-19

Oh these last few weeks are going to fly by for sure. There are so many great activities for the kids including festivals, and free events a plenty! I can't even keep up with them all, and will be happy when school is back in session!

This weekend's hot tickets include heading to the Ypsilanti Heritage Festival for free fun for the family, or take a little drive to Holly after picking up your 50% discount Michigan Renaissance Festival tickets (although you can use them any weekend before the end of September). If that's not enough, there are many library programs including teen events and weekly storytime programs to keep you busy!

So what's on your weekend planner?

Friday, August 17:

Kids can keep their Summer Math Skills sharp with a fun program with Mathnasium at the Ann Arbor District Library (3333 Traverwood Dr., Ann Arbor) at 1:30-2:30 p.m. Kids in Grades K – 3 can play with math as coaches from Mathnasium of Ann Arbor lead games and strategies that improve math skills.

Will your teen win at  Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3 ?
This is your last chance for your teen to participate in Teen Gaming at the Ypsilanti District Library (229 W. Michigan Ave., Ypsilanti) at 2:00 p.m. Battle other gamers in Xbox tournaments for prizes during this fun teen event. This months battle is Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3.

Teens in grade 6+ can get a little Hair Flair at the Ann Arbor District Library (3090 E. Eisenhower Pky., Ann Arbor) at 4:00-5:00 p.m. Create one of a kind hair clips, combs and headbands to keep wayward locks under control while letting the real you shine!

Saturday, August 18:

The Ypsilanti Heritage Festival hits the streets of downtown Ypsilanti on Saturday at 10:00 a.m.

Earn some "Mom Buck's" during the Diary of a Wimpy Kid' Party at the Ypsilanti District Library (229 W. Michigan Ave., Ypsilanti) 10:30 a.m. Too bad you can't spend them, however you CAN play trivia games, eat some Wimpy cake. Plus everyone that attends will get to take home their own personalized diary!

The first 250 kids get free backpacks
during a  Back to School Bash  at
the Ypsilanti Free Methodist Church 
The Ypsilanti Free Methodist Church (1800 Packard Rd., Ypsilanti) is having a "Back to School Bash" at 11:00 a.m. - 1:00 p.m. where 250 free backpacks will be given away. Kids who attend will also get to play fun games and snack on some munchies. This free event will be held in the church parking lot, which is located across from Estabrook Elementary in Ypsilanti.

Do you have a collector on your hands (and God help you if you do!)? Then the Sports Cards, Memorabilia, and Comics Show at the Ypsilanti District Library (5577 Whittaker Rd., Ypsilanti) is the place to be! From noon-5:00 p.m. dealers, collectors, hobbyists, and casual fans are welcome to buy, sell, and trade their sports cards, memorabilia, merchandise, and comic books during this free event.

Learn about nature and her pollinators during a free program through the Washtenaw County Parks and Recreation program at 1:00 p.m., my kids LOVE attending the programs with the naturalists! You're sure to BEE just as happy as my children are about it.

Teens in grades 6+ and adults will enjoy making their own ceramic tile during a Motawi Tile-Making Workshop at the Ann Arbor District Library (343 S. Fifth Ave., Ann Arbor). The free program (yes it's FREE!) is at 1:0-3:00 p.m. Attendees will make their own impressed tile, using Motawi’s clay and tools. Make it to keep or to give as a gift, you only need to go back later to pick it up after it is kiln fired!

Celebrate Percy Jackson's Birthday at the Ypsilanti District Library (5577 Whittaker Rd., Ypsilanti) at 2:00 p.m. enjoying games and crafts inspired by Rick Riordan’s series, Percy Jackson and the Olympians, featuring characters based on Greek mythology.

Bring your summer reading to a close at
the Ypsilanti Heritage Festival Sunday!
Sunday, August 19:

The Chelsea Community Fair isn't fully up and running, however you can get things rolling with free admission to Sunday's tractor pull at 9:00 a.m.

Did your child read all summer with the Summer Reading Program at the Ypsilanti District Library? Then be sure to stop by the Summer Reading Finale at the Heritage Festival noon-5 p.m. for an afternoon at the Children’s Activity Tent.

Need some Sunday Craftiness to happen? Then be sure to screen print a glowster (a poster using glow-in-the-dark ink) at the Ann Arbor District Library (343 S. Fifth Ave., Ann Arbor) at 1:00-3:00 p.m. All materials and supplies for this free event are provided.

August 14, 2012

Meet a Bee and Other Pollinators

Honey makes the world go 'round, the world go 'round, the world go 'round...

Kids can learn about bees and other pollinators
during a free kids program this Saturday!
OK maybe not so much, unless you are a bee or beekeeper. In fact those little guys scare me (for reasons of allergies!) however I'll have to admit they fascinate me at the same time. I've even briefly considered donning a bee suit and getting close to the action, but my sanity has remained.

If you and the family are interested in learning about bees though, this Saturday is a perfect opportunity to explore their world at County Farm Park (Off Platt Rd., Ann Arbor). Starting at 1:00 p.m. kids 8 and older (and their parents) will learn about bumblebees, orchard bees, wasps and many more creatures that are so important to the life of plant, with guest naturalist Mark Charles. Spend time inside with a brief lesson, then head out to look for pollinators doing their work. Several of these creatures may even be captured briefly for a closer look! 

This is one of many free kids events that the Washtenaw County Parks and Recreation staff puts on!

August 11, 2012

Perseid Meteor Shower Watch Tonight at Independence Lake

Attention star watchers - Check out the stars tonight at Independence
Lake County Park tonight at 
10:00 p.m. - 2:00 a.m. 
Tonight the Perseid Meteor Showers, or “shooting stars”, are at their peak into the early morning of tomorrow, and Independence Lake offers great views of the night sky – Join Washtenaw County Parks and Recreation for this special opportunity to be in the park at night, watching for meteors. Naturalists will be on hand to offer some information, however there won't be a formal program.

Attendees MUST pre-register at the park today by calling Faye Stoner at 971-6337, X334.  Don't plan on staying the night, however bring blankets or sleeping bags so that you can be comfortable looking at the night sky.  

This free program will be cancelled if it is cloudy!

August 10, 2012

The Circus is Coming To Town!

Growing up I have fond memories of going to the circus. My grandpa and several uncles were members of the Masons which brought the circus to town. Clowns, fire-eaters, high wire acts - Cotton candy, cool flashing flash-lights - horses, dog acts, elephants - The whole nine yards!

This Sunday, the Kelly Miller Circus is coming to town. So take the kids and make some memories!

Kelly Miller Circus
Sunday, August 12, 2012
Lakeshore Apartments, Ypsilanti MI
Show times at 2:00 p.m. and 5:00 p.m.

If you can't splurge on the tickets (which are reasonably priced for pre-sale tickets) stop by at see the elephants raising the big-top tents during set up at sunrise. Advance tickets are $10 for adult and $6.00 for children under 12. Proceeds to benefit Care Charities. Tickets can be purchased at Aachen Auto, Lakeshore Apts, Keybank on E Michigan Ave.

Weekend Events Round-Up: August 10-12

This weekend, area families can enjoy lots of good old-fashioned family fun at the Saline Summerfest and Dexter Daze on Friday and Saturday. A friend was just asking me about the free dinosaur tours that happen each weekend too, that's always a lot of fun. Of course with the rain, families might consider other indoor activities like bouncing at Pump It Up in Canton (Friday night 5:30-7:00 p.m.), at Jump-City in Ann Arbor (Friday 6:30-9:00 p.m. or Sunday 4:00-6:00 p.m.) or at Xtreme Bounce Zone (Saturday 2:00-5:00 p.m.). There is nothing like bouncing all of your willies out weather is not cooperating!

Whatever you choose to do this weekend in Ann Arbor with kids, have fun and stay dry!  

What will you do with the kids during this rainy weekend? Nothing should stop you from enjoying all that Ann Arbor, Ypsilanti, and Dexter have to offer. There are plenty of great activities and events for everyone!

Friday, August 10

Does your toddler or preschool aged child have Friday morning fever? Then make sure to head to the Ypsilanti District Library (5577 Whittaker Rd., Ypsilanti) at 10:30 a.m. to remedy that with some engaging library fun!

 Saturday, August 11

Step into the Lowe's building clinic at 10:00 a.m. - Just make sure you are pre-registered. This weekend they are making a fun Shrek toy.

Saturday building clinics begin at 10:00 a.m. and Sunday clinics begin at 2:00 p.m. Be sure to register for these free events at the Lowe's Build and Grow website.

Although school is a few weeks away, take the kids to Whole Foods (3135 Washtenaw Ave., Ann Arbor) from 1:00-4:00 p.m. to sample healthy back-to-school snacks perfect for after school treats or packing in the lunchbox. Every student will receive a “report card” to grade six snacks then can turn in the completed report card to receive a free prize! There will be music and entertainment during the free event as well.

Teens ages 10+ are invited to stop by the Ypsilanti District Library (8975 MacArthur Blvd., Superior Township) at 2:00-3:30 p.m. to make guitar string bangle bracelets. Create an original and stylish, summer wardrobe accessory.

Does your teen like anime, then stop at the Anime Typhoon at Ypsilanti District Library (229 W. Michigan Ave., Ypsilanti) at 3:30-5:30 p.m. to watch and discuss new (and old favorite) anime films.

Sunday, August 12:

The circus is in town! (I have fond memories and recognize that many in Ann Arbor feel differently, but I'm hoping some of you may appreciate knowing.) Shows are at 2:00 p.m. and 5:00 p.m. at the Lakeshore Apartments.

Dance around the Maypole or search for hidden Fairy Doors at the Sunday Artisan Market Fairy Door Festival from 11:00 a.m. - 3:30 p.m.

Ann Arbor Mom Facebook Fans got the heads up on seeing ET at the Rave Theaters last month, the movie, which is celebrating 30 years, will show at 2:00 and 7:00 p.m.

August 9, 2012

Fairy Door Festival at the Sunday Artisan Market

Ever wondered about Ann Arbor's Fairy Doors?
Learn a bit more during the Fairy Door Festival this Sunday!

Picture courtesy of Bob Simmons from Fairy Hill Woodworks

Sunday, August 12, 11:00 a.m. - 3:30 p.m., bring the wee ones down the the Sunday Artisan Market (315 Detroit St., Ann Arbor) for a day full of fairies, knomes, and lot’s of fairy door fun! The free event, courtesy of Mity Nice and TSAM, will offer plenty of entertainment for the entire family!

For the kids, the Fly Art Center will be at the Market making fairy crafts, join in the fun during the Fairy Door Hunt, dance around the Maypole or simply sit quietly for fairy stories. Don't forget to dress appropriately, costumes are encouraged!!! There will even be a costume contest.

For more information, check out the Sunday Artisan Market Facebook page or the Mity Nice website.
Don't miss out on this one!

August 7, 2012

Free Nature Fun on Thursdays: Kids Ages 5-8

There are two times this month for your kids (ages 5-8) to get outdoors and enjoy nature during some fun (and free) programs sponsored by the Washtenaw County Parks and Rec. On Thursdays August 16 and 23 at 10:30 a.m., your child will enjoy checking out all that Mother Nature has to offer.

The first program, Nature Art and Science, will have your kids getting messy as they make play dough, water color paints, and a science toy. The second program will explore creepy crawly insects. Each participant will make their own insect, play a game with them, and then head out to go on a hunt looking for real insects!

Pre-registration for these free events is required by calling 734-971-6337 X334. Both programs will start near the pavilion.

August 3, 2012

Weekend Events Planner: Aug 3-5

It's the weekend - YEA! I'm excited to visit with a good friend who is in town and to hit the free movie in the park tomorrow night at Rolling Hills. What's on your event planner for this weekend? Have any hot events to attend? What about hanging out in Gallup Park, hitting the Independence Park beach or even going to the drive in movies? There is always a lot to do in and around town!

Friday, August 3:
Periscopes up at a free craft at the Ann Arbor District Library (3333 Traverwood Dr., Ann Arbor ), at 2:00-3:30 p.m.  Kids in grade K-5 will make a simple periscope and learn how it works.

Saturday, August 4:
Get your child excited about heading back to school as they build their very own cork board during the Home Depot Kids Clinic. Since cork is sustainable, participants will even get some specially sponsored give-away items from the Lorax movie. The program runs from 9:00 a.m. - noon.

Start the afternoon off right with a free drop-in class where kids ages 6+ can make their own origami sea creatures at the Ypsilanti District Library (8975 MacArthur Blvd. Superior Township) at 2:00-3:30 p.m.

Have a budding singer or musician in your midst? Then the Kid's Open Stage at Oz Music (1920 Packard St., Ann Arbor) is a must. 4:00 p.m.

End your evening with a picnic, a blanket and your family for a free movie in the park at Rolling Hills to see Cars 2. There will be plenty to do early, and the movie starts at 9:00 p.m. 

Sunday, August 5:
If you have a child with autism, then the Ann Arbor District Library (2359 Oak Valley Dr., Ann Arbor) may be worth checking out Sunday 1:00-3:00 p.m. for their Play Connection. Parents with kids Grade K-5 are invited to follow their child's lead as they journey from the building blocks to the puppet corner to the fun sensory activities in this open play session. Onna Solomon and Dr. Rick Solomon of the Play Project will be on hand to foster interaction and answer questions.

Want to get outdoors, then a guided Butterfly Walk may be in the cards for you and the family. 2:00 p.m.

August 2, 2012

Butterfly Walk This Weekend

This Sunday, August 5 at 2:00 p.m. there is a fantastic opportunity for your family to learn all about butterflies with Washtenaw County Parks & Rec naturalist Ron Gamble. The free event, happening at the Leonard Preserve (off of Union St., Manchester), being led by Ron Gamble will have the family out on a butterfly walk AND learning lots of great information.

 Ron helped me with a Cub Scout Fun Day this past spring, and I've also participated in a sky watch event during a camp-out with him. He's a very knowledgeable naturalist, and great with kids! You really won't want to miss this event.

August 1, 2012

Free Movie in the Park at Rolling Hills

Catch Cars 2 as it rolls into Rolling Hills
on August 4, 2012.
Outdoor movies and summertime fun go hand in hand, so why not check out Cars 2 when it rolls into Rolling Hills? This free event is the perfect summer event for everyone to enjoy. All the favorites are back – Mater, Sally, Flo, Sheriff, and Lightning McQueen as they take a world tour like no other.

The free movie will take place in the field between the lodge and prairie parking lots and there is no registration required. Just pay the vehicle admission fee (if you don't already have a yearly membership) and don't forget to bring your chairs or blankets! 

There will be a few limited concessions available for purchase. Cars 2 will begin at dusk, around 9:00 p.m.

For questions or more information, please contact Gus Rosa or call (734) 484-9676.