February 24, 2012

Weekend Events Round-up: Feb 24-26

I don't know about all of you but this mild Michigan winter is making me sick and tired of beinsick and tired. In the past 6 weeks my son has had strep three times, my duaghter has had strep, an ear infection and now pneumonia and I have had strep. It's enough to make a mom, and her sick-time bank, crazy. How do you handle sick children? If they can't go to school or daycare what types of back-up do you use?

Luckily I should be heading to the Lake Erie Shore's tomorrow night for a Mommy's Night Out, so a break is in the very near future, even if it is only for 24-hours. For those less lucky, like my husband, what will you do throughout this weekend? Are you attending any events? Special activities for the kids?

Of course the snow will FINALLY allow for some much anticipated sledding. I do have a nice list of Ann Arbor sledding hills. My kids also like making snow cream (that's snow ice cream) when the flakes fly. Families should also consider inexpensive cross country ski rentals at Rolling Hills in Ypsilanti Township. Of course for some schools, it is the end of mid-winter break, so there are a few events listed for Friday like free movies and crafts or if you have a snow day, there were several fun snow-day ideas I posted last year . What are your plans? The Ann Arbor Mom blog has some great weekend events and activities for area families, check it out...

Friday, January 24:

3:30 p.m.  - Teens should consider heading to the Ypsilanti District Library (5577 Whittaker Rd., Ypsilanti) for teen gaming. Spend time with friends while enjoying games on the Playstation or Wii. If that's not enough though, The Ann Arbor District Library (343 S. Fifth Ave. Ann Arbor) is hosting a Smash Bros. Tournament at 6:00 p.m.

Weekend children's theatre options are plentiful this weekend as well with roductions of the Jungle Book at Mitchell Elementary and Beauty & The Beast at Tecumseh Youth Theatre.

Saturday, January 25:

This year's unseasonably warm winter has pushed maple syrup season up a little earlier than normal. So it might be a great idea to get out and learn about the history behind making maple syrup at the Hudson Mills Journey to the Sugarbush event. This special event is happening this weekend, so be sure to call 734-426-8211 to register.

9:00 a.m. - Stop by local Target stores for Read Across America. The free event will be featuring The Lorax with other games, activities and goody bags until 11:00 a.m.

10:00 a.m. - Young creators have a new home at the Pittsfield Grange (3337 Ann Arbor-Saline Rd., Ann Arbor) on the fourth Saturday of each month. Make sure to take the kids to check out the Grange Junior Makers.

10:00 a.m. - Rumblin Racers at the Lowe's Build and Grow kids building clinic.

11:30 a.m.  – Do you have an American Girl fan? Then be sure to stop by Barnes & Noble (3235 Washtenaw Ave., Ann Arbor) for an American Girl event clebrating the newest girl ,McKenna! At this free event, girls will learn about McKenna and participate in activities related to her inspiring stories. Geared for girls age 8+.

1:00 p.m. - It's a gamers weekend as the Ann Arbor District Library (343 S. Fifth Ave., Ann Arbor) hosts Mario Kart: Double Dash gameplay.  Played like you mean it on a GameCube - one screen per team! Come with your cart-mate to enjoy some tense completion and a most elegant pizza dinner. Gift Card Prizes will also be offered during this free event. Program for teens in grade 6+.

2:00 p.m. - Kids and teens ages 7-18, will enjoy making some bottle cap folk art at the Ypsilanti District Library (8975 MacArthur Blvd., Ypsilanti). Use bottle caps, wooden blocks, soda cans, buttons, and your imagination to create a unique work of folk art. 

Sunday, January 26:
1:00 p.m. – Even the tiniest of tots like to shake it, so be sure to stop by Dancing Babies at the Ann Arbor District Library (3333 Traverwood Dr., Ann Arbor) for a great program of music and dance!

2:00 p.m. Head on over to Park Lyndon for an afternoon hike exploration. Look at wetland plants, watch for animal signs, and perhaps even find a sign or two of spring! Wear boots that can get wet and warm clothing. For more information visit parks.ewashtenaw.org, call 971-6337, ext. 334, or email stonerf@ewashtenaw.org.
For parents that are beginning to consider summer camp options for their kids, I have begun updating the Ann Arbor summer camp and daycamp list too! I'm looking for quotes from parents on camps they love and updates on camps too.

February 17, 2012

Mid-Winter Break Activities & Events

What do your kids do when they are off school for mid-winter break? For many families this will be a very popular question next week. Schools from Ann Arbor to Ypsilanti to Milan are off for some or all of the week. Looking for something to do? The kids can enjoy skating, crafts, free movies and even many educational opportunities throughout the week.

Events and activities will be added as they are discovered, so check back for daily and weekly activities for mid-winter break in Ann Arbor!
There are man free movies for the family to enjoy this week.
Check out what's available that your kids would enjoy!
Free Movies:

There are so many opportunities for the kids to enjoy free movies when out of school. Here is a list of the movies, show times and locations.

2/20 at 1:00 p.m. - Open Season 3 at the Dexter District Library
2/20 at 2:00 p.m. - Coraline at the Ypsilanti District Library Mich Ave.
2/20 at 7:00 p.m. - Teen Movie - I Am Number Four at the Ypsilanti District Library Mich Ave.
2/21 at 2:00 p.m. - Zookeeper at the Ypsilanti District Library Mich Ave.
2/22 at 2:00 p.m. - Rango at the Ypsilanti District Library Mich Ave.
2/23 at 2:00 p.m. - Tangled at the Ypsilanti District Library Mich Ave.
2/24 at 2:00 p.m. - Despicable Me at the Ypsilanti District Library Mich Ave.

Builders of Tomorrow:
If your kids are into Lego’s, and what kid isn’t, then maybe they’d enjoy the Library Lego League: Problem Solving at Ann Arbor District Library (343 S. Fifth Ave., Ann Arbor) on Monday and Tuesday, 1:00-5:00 p.m.  Kids will explore the fundamentals of logic, programming and robotics design in this LEGO NXT competition! Kids will get a chance to build and test their robot then compete against other robots being built!

Book Groups for Kids:

A few weeks back, I mentioned the many great book groups for kids of all ages. Just because the kids are on break, it shouldn't mean they stop learning entirely. Check out one of the groups, who knows, maybe your son or daughter will get hooked on a new hobby of reading!
For the Skaters in Your Family:

There are many ice rinks in the area for skating, however this week, several have extended hours to allow the kids to enjoy ice skating longer. Buhr Park has added hours from 12:00-2:00 p.m. each day when the kids are off school. For those of you that would like to stay a bit warmer, the Skatin Station II (8611 Rhonda Dr., Canton) also has added extra hours. Kids can skate from 1:00-4:00 p.m. throughout the week and also from 7:00-9:00 p.m. on Wednesday.

Daily Highlighted Events:

Throughout town there are many great activities for mid-winter break that I wanted to highlight. Below is are some, listed each day, that should not be missed!

Monday, February 20:

9:30 and 10:30 a.m. – KinderConcert by the Ann Arbor Symphony Orchestra at the Ypsilanti District Library (5577 Whittaker Rd., Ypsilanti) where tots ages 2-6 can dance and enjoy the music.

10:00 a.m. - Kids can learn a few basic artistic techniques to capture the wonder of nature during Sketchbook Detectives at Matthaei Botanical Gardens (1800 N. Dixboro Rd., Ann Arbor). Admission of $5.00 per child includes activities and materials. Preregister at 734-647-7600.

Tuesday, February 21:
10:00 a.m. – Kids will listen to a folktale and then create their own legend story collage, complete with items found in nature at the Matthaei Botanical Gardens (1800 N. Dixboro Rd., Ann Arbor). $5.00 per child admission includes activities and materials. Pre-register at 734-647-7600.

2:00 p.m. – Celebrate Mardi Gras with crafts at the  Ann Arbor District Library (3090 E. Eisenhower Pky, Ann Arbor). Make masks, beads and noisemakers to celebrate Mardi Gras 2012!

Wednesday, February 22:

10:00 a.m. - Enjoy a breath of fresh air and a trek outdoors searching for signs of animals in winter at the Matthaei Botanical Gardens (1800 N. Dixboro Rd., Ann Arbor). This is a free event.

4:00 p.m. – Tweens and teens in grades 5-8 will have fun experimenting with cool science during the Mythbusters program at the Ypsilanti District (5577 Whittaker Rd., Ypsilanti). Snacks will be served during this free program.

7:00 p.m. – Teens in grades 6 and up can meet animals from The Creature Conservancy at Ann Arbor District Library, (343 S. Fifth Ave., Ann Arbor). Here's your chance to see and learn about some truly unique creatures and get your questions answered.

Thursday, February 23:

10:00 a.m. - Kids and their parents will enjoy learning about papermaking and nature journals at the Matthaei Botanical Gardens (1800 N. Dixboro Rd., Ann Arbor). $5.00 per child admission includes activities and materials. Pre-register at 734-647-7600.

1:00 and 4:00 p.m. – Take your little princess to enjoy Tea with the Fairies at Crazy Wisdom Tea Room (114 S. Main St., Ann Arbor). Tickets are $11 and include tea and petit fours served by real fairies! There will also be story time with books available from Crazy Wisdom Bookstore.

2:00 p.m. - Celebrate Black History Month with a concert from the Gratitude Steel Band at the Ann Arbor District Library (343 S. Fifth Ave. Ann Arbor). The audience will enjoy different musical adventures with fun, action, and audience participation! This event is perfect to children in elementary school.

4:00 p.m. – Come to the Ypsilanti District Library (5577 Whittaker Rd., Ypsilanti) for an open studio craft session with the FLY Children’s Art Center.
During mid-winter break, have tea with a fairy or find out
about the many faries at the Matthaei Botanical Gardens!
Friday, February 24:

10:00 a.m. - Kids and their parents invited to welcome fairies and trolls by helping construct fairie dwellings for the Conservatory and the Gaffield Children's Garden at the Matthaei Botanical Gardens (1800 N. Dixboro Rd., Ann Arbor). The $5.00 admission includes activities and allws children to build their own fairie gardens or troll houses to take home. Pre-register at 734-647-7600.

2:00 p.m. – Teens can learn beginning Chinese writings, sample food, hear about Chinese culture, and learn a few basic phrases during the free event at the Ypsilanti District Library (229 W. Michigan Ave., Ypsilanti).

February 16, 2012

Weekend Event Round-up: January 17-19

From crafternoons, to teen Mardi Gras parties, to dinosaur tours, free movies and even MANY great free storytime events happening around town, the Ann Arbor Mom blog has plenty for the kids to do this weekend. What will you do in Ann Arbor with the kids?
Kids can check out the animals from
Australia at the Dexter District Library Friday.
Friday, January 17:

11:00 a.m. - Go on an expedition to the Land Down Under with Nelson “The Animal Guy” at the Dexter District Library (3255 Alpine St., Dexter).  Meet several live animals from Australia. A free event for children age 4+.

1:00 p.m. - Teens in grades 4-12 can enjoy a Mardi Gras Party at the Dexter District Library where they will decorate masks, listen to Cajun music and enjoy some snacks. prizes will be given out to the teen with the best mask design.

Your Fancy Nancy will enjoy her own party at the
Ypsilanti District Library. Find treats, crafts and
a fashion show at the free event.
Saturday, January 18:

10:00 a.m. - The youngest members of the family will enjoy a free Kinderconcert at the Dexter District Library (3255 Alpine St., Dexter).

10:30 a.m. – Do you have a Fancy Nancy in your midst? Your daughter will enjoy dressing up, listening to a fun story then creating a flower ring crown for her own fashion show at the Ypsilanti District Library (229 W. Michigan Ave., Ypsilanti). Cupcakes and punch round out this fun, free event!

11:00 a.m. - The amigurumi club is back again this weekend at the YDL for teens interested!

11:30 a.m. - It's another Family Science Workshop at YDL too.
1:00 p.m. – Take the family to enjoy some theatre at the PerformanceNetwork (120 E. Huron St., Ann Arbor) as the Children’s Theatre Network presents 'The Fisherman and His Wife'.

1:00 p.m. – Spend the afternoon learning about ancient Egypt during the Family Day at the Museum at Kelsey Museum of Archaeology (434 S. State St., Ann Arbor). The event is free and might be a nice experience for your mummy.

2:00 p.m. – How about taking the family to see a free movie? You’ll be sure to enjoy the Family Film Series at the EMUStudent Center (900 Oakwood, Ypsilanti) where they are showing Rango.  

Walk like an Egyptian during a free Family
Day at the Kelsey Museum of Archaeology.
Sunday, January 19:

1:00 p.m. – Want to learn about Chess? Head over to the Ann Arbor District Library Mallets Creek (3090 E. Eisenhower Pky, Ann Arbor) for Chesstastic.

1:00 p.m. – Stop in for the once yearly storytelling event at the Ark (316 S. Main St., Ann Arbor) where the kids will enjoy tall tales as spun by several featured storytellers!  Tickets are $10.

2:00 p.m. – Put on your dancing shoes and get those toes a tappin for the monthly Family Dance at the Pittsfield (3337 Ann Arbor-Saline Rd., Ann Arbor). Admission is $12 for the family and includes live entertainment, and tasty home baked cookies!

February 14, 2012

Little Mermaid Sing-a-Long at Michigan Theater

This weekend and even on Monday when the kids are off school for President's Day, why not consider taking the kids to sing-a-long with the Little Mermaid! The movie, playing at the Michigan Theater (603 East Liberty St., Ann Arbor) has shows throughout the weekend.

Buy tickets to the Little Mermaid
sing-a-long at the Michigan Theater
at Ticketweb.com or charge by phone
Little Mermaid Sing-a-Long at the Michigan Theater
Friday: February 17, 7:30 p.m.
Sunday: February 19, 1:30 p.m.
Monday: February 20, 1:30 p.m.
Cost: $16 adults, $14 students/Sr., $11 kids under 12

Families can sing along with Ariel and the whole gang while also enjoying a costume parade, goodie bags and prize giveaways. I'll admit that this is one of the Holy Trinity Disney musicals for me so I'm super excited about the show. This rated G, Academy Award winning movie should not be missed, especially when you are allowed to belt out the tunes while the movie is on the big screen!

February 11, 2012

Weekend Events: Feb 11-12

Sorry that I'm late in getting the events planner together this weekend. I've not been sleeping well, have been working a lot this week, and have been slammed with scouting events and activities. In a word I'm pooped and am now paying the price with exhaustion and an apparent cold. Yup I'm a  mom and that's what happens to us. It's inevitable.

So here is a VERY brief list of some things to do in Ann Arbor today and tomorrow. I promise to get some more free events posted soon, but for now this Ann Arbor mom is off to grab a shot of NyQuil!

There may not be enough snow to make a
snowman, however it's still a great time
to step outdoors and enjoy some fun
winter activities!
Saturday, February 11

Sunday, February 12 Besides all of the fun and mostly free activities around town, consider that there are many kids movies out this weekend, younger children might enjoy many of the storytime events or simply take a walk in the sunshine and snow then enjoy hot chocolate with the family after! What will you do together with the kids this weekend?

February 8, 2012

Perspective is Everyting: Child Sleeping in Car in Winter

As I arrived at work this morning I was very surprised and angered to see a child in the car next to where I parked, huddled over, sleeping. Temperatures were in the mid 20's, and although the kid was wearing a knit cap and warm coat, the car was not running. More importantly though, their parent was nowhere to be found! I was furious.

I stood there for what felt like an eternity, vacillating over what to do. Then I marched into my office to call the police.

Once inside, I took a few breaths and observed the car for 2-3 minutes, all the while pacing by the window, and venting to my co-workers. How could this person be so irresponsible? What terrible parent would leave a sleeping child in their car in the middle of winter? At that point I couldn't take it, and decided to walk back out to the car.

At fist I couldn't decide if I should knock on the window. What if I woke the child? Wouldn't I really scare her? So instead I stepped towards the car for a closer look and take action...
I'm glad I did too. The "sleeping child" turned out to be a knit cap pulled over a bag of items.

I walked back into the office just in time to have my boss ask if he needed to call the police...I guess one never quits being a parent.

Lesson of the day: Perspective is everything!

February 6, 2012

Parents Night Out: God of Carnage at Performance Network

On Friday night I got to experience a rare treat with my spouse - a DATE! Earthshattering I know. It seems we haven't dated much since...  Well since we dated, and even then we were both homeowners and homebodies! So when I was given tickets to see God of Carnage at the Performance Network (120 E Huron St., Ann Arbor) I happily accepted.

For an entertaining night out (without kids) check out
God of Carnage now playing at Performance Network!
I wasn't familiar with the storyline, but apparently is it based on a recently released movie, “Carnage.” Many of the audience members were murmuring about the similarities after the lights came up. The play though is about two couples, who meet at one of their homes to discuss a playground altercation between their boys. As the evening progresses, the couples have a civilized battle of wits that devolves into a hilariously chaotic evening.

I was told to expect a "comedy of (bad) manners will change the way you look at polite conversation" but in sitting through the play I had to laugh knowing that I have "seen" glimmers of this type of parenting in some folks I have come across.

Typically the Ann Arbor Mom blog covers "family" themed events and activities, however getting mom and dad out is alos a big part of parenting. After all if mama's happy... 

God of Carnage contains adult themes and language, so its not a kids activity, but the show, which is superbly acted, is a nic night out. God of Carnage runs at the Performance Network through February 19. If however you can't get away for a parents night out before then, this is the 30th Anniversary Season of Performance Network, so there is bound to be another opportunity to experience great theatre in Ann Arbor!

I like to think of God of Carnage as expressing the though “how far would you go if someone hurt your kid?” So, how far would YOU go?

Please visit the website for information on Performance Network tickets or information on upcoming shows and performances.  God of Carnage plays Thursdays at 7:30 p.m., Friday's at 8:00 p.m., Saturday's at 3:00 p.m. and 8:00 p.m. and Sunday's at 2:00 p.m. Tickets start at $27 making it a very reasonably priced professional theatre experience in our own back yard! 


February 3, 2012

Weekend Event Round-Up: Feb 3-5

Since last Saturday at 2:30 a.m., I have spent the week cooped up in the house with feverish kids with strep throat, so I am VERY tempted to run crazy this weekend. (Of course that would likely be without the kids.) Which is really great too, considering the many fun, free events happening around Ann Arbor. Lot's of free craft activities, events and the library and even some stargazing!
So take a look at the weekend planner to see what might be in store for you and your family.
Tots will enjoy celebrating at the Elmo Birthday Bash at the YDL Friday at 10:30 a.m.

Friday, February 3
  • The youngest family members will enjoy celebrating at Elmo's Birthday at the Ypsilanti District Library (5577 Whittaker Rd., Ypsilanti MI). From 10:30 a.m.-noon, join in on a fun party that will include a story, DVD, songs, craft, and refreshments.
  • In the evening, families might want to see stars of another kind while enjoying a Field Trip to the Stars at the EMU Planetarium and Observatory (402 Sherzer Hall, Eastern Michigan University 124 College Pl, Ypsilanti) at 7:00 p.m. Families will find free admission, however it is best to call to pre-register for the free event, as space is limited 734-487-1849. Tour EMU's  brand new planetarium then take a short walk to the Sherzer Observatory to see what’s happening in the real sky. Tour led by Norbert Vance, Director of Sherzer Observatory. Meet at the EMU Planetarium, parking is available at southwest corner of the EMU campus, Washtenaw at Oakwood St, Lot G, for $1 per hour.
Free kids crafts are a great way to stay busy this weekend too!

Saturday, February 4
  • The Home Depot Kids Building Workshop is also this Saturday starting at 9:00 a.m. This months project is a cute heart box.
  • Do you have a teen that is interested in writing? Why not have them join in the New Point Learning (2216 S. Main St., Ann Arbor) Winter Writing Workshop and Contest. The event runs 10:00 a.m.-noon . For more information and details on the contest, visit: http://www.clonlara.org/campus/writing_contest or contact Martha Rhodes 734-926-4617 or martha@clonlara.org.
  • A few weeks back I mentioned the fun Amigurumi Club at the YDL that is for teens. It will be hosted again at 11:00 a.m. Saturday.
  • Yesterday's post talked about the free Lego Friends event at Toys R Us at noon too.
  • Maybe you or your child is interested in comic books. Then be sure to stop at the Sports Cards, Memorabilia, and Comics Show at Ypsilanti District Library (5577 Whittaker Rd., Ypsilanti) from noon-5:00 p.m. You will find free admission to the show where comic book dealers, collectors, hobbyists, and casual fans are welcome to buy, sell, and trade their sports cards, memorabilia, merchandise, and comic books.
  • Teens have another great event this weekend too. On Saturday at 2:00 p.m. they can watch the movie What's Eating Gilbert Grape? at Ypsilanti District Library (5577 Whittaker Rd., Ypsilanti) then check out the book, because a few weeks later there will be a discussion of that same book and movie! Teens can talk about books made into movies and whether or not directors can translate your favorites into film.
  • 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.
  • If the weather is still nice, how about a Twilight Hike at West Lake Preserve? From 5:00-6:30 p.m. enjoy some “end of the day” winter quiet in nature. We’ll set a goal of hiking to the lake edge, where we will stop, rest and have a hot drink under the winter twilight sky. Be sure to dress so that you will be warm.
With the unseasonably warm winter weather in Ann Arbor,
consider getting outdoors for some fun too!
Sunday, February 5
  • The warm weather has made many of of consider spring, especially Tiger's Spring Training, so why not get a jump on things and have Breakfast with PAWS at St. Mary's Catholic Parish (10601 Dexter Pinckney Rd., Pinckney). On Sunday starting at  8:30 a.m. until 11:00 a.m., the St Mary’s Men’s Club in Pinckney is sponsoring "Breakfast with PAWS". The free event (donations are welcome however!) includes a delicious menu of fried or scrambled eggs, hash browns, biscuits and gravy, French toast, pancakes, quiche, ham, pork sausage, and of course our renowned “waffle station”. Get those cameras ready for an great family event.
  • Do you have a crafty kid? There are several free events Sunday for them to enjoy. Make A Lion Mask For Lantern Festival at Ann Arbor District Library (3333 Traverwood Dr., Ann Arbor) at 2:00 p.m. All supplies are provided free for this craft. Or head over to Michael's Crafts (3655 Washtenaw Ave., Ann Arbor) where kids ages 3+ can make their own Foam Valentine's Mailbox at 1:00 p.m. (Supplies free with purchase of mailbox) or they can create a free custom Valentine's Day card at 2:00 p.m.
  • How about getting out and about while the weather is still mild? From 2:00-4:00 p.m. the kids will enjoy learning about Tracks, Scat and More at Brauer Preserve! Learn how to identify many of the signs that animals leave behind. Be sure to dress warmly for this hike; we will stop often to look at things on the ground/in the snow. 
  • Want to begin liberating your child in the kitchen? Then why not bring them to the Cooking with Your Kids event at Pittsfield Grange (3337 Ann Arbor-Saline Rd., Ann Arbor). At 2:00 p.m. for only $15 for one adult and one child (for adult with 2-3 children $20) kids ages 7 and older can learn to make a one-skillet meal (salsa skillet meal) with mom or day. Pre-registration at www.eventbrite.com/event/org/814998331 or contact 734-997-8844 or preservetrad@gmail.com for more information.

So what will you do and around Ann Arbor with kids? I'd love to see your family fun photos either on the blog or the Ann Arbor Mom Facebook page.

February 2, 2012

Build Free Lego Friends Lemonade Stand Saturday

On Saturday, February 4 from noon-2:00 p.m. Toys R Us (3725 Washtenaw Ave., Ann Arbor MI) is hosting a special Lego Friends event.
This free event lets kids experience the brand new building craze, LEGO® Friends, and support Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation (ALSF) in the fight against childhood cancer! Each child that attends can create a complimentary LEGO Friends lemonade stand to take home. For each stand built, The LEGO Group will donate $1 to ALSF.