April 29, 2013

Free Comic Book Day

Every year on the first Saturday in May kids of all ages enjoy Free Comic Book Day! This year, Saturday May 4th is no exception. In comic book shops across North America and around the world, on Free Comic Book Day, participating shops give away comic books absolutely free to anyone who comes into their stores!

For me this is especially exciting since my son will actually sit and read a comic book. So if getting your kid to read means getting them a comic book, then Free Comic Book Day would be the day to do that!

Ann Arbor Area stores participating in Free Comic Book Day:

Fun 4 All - 2742 Washtenaw Ave., Ypsilanti (734) 434-7440
Stadium Cards & Comics - 2061 Golfside, Ypsilanti (734) 434-0283
Vault of Midnight - 219 S. Main, Ann Arbor (734) 998-1413
Comic City - 42727 Ford Rd., Canton (734) 981-3561

Please verify the hours each business is open before heading over though!

April 25, 2013

Celebrate El Dia De Los Ninos With Your Family

I never had the opportunity to learn a language until I was in high school, and I'll never forget being introduced to Spanish my freshman year... That same year I visited my uncle in San Antonio and since I was learning Spanish, we were taken across the boarder to experience "Mexico". I actually understood much of what was being said - Well maybe not much of what was being said, but I am blonde and there were a lot of comments about me and my hair which I thought was fascinating.

The Ann Arbor District Library & Ypsilanti District Library join forces
to celebrate El Dia De Los Ninos this weekend. It's fun for the entire family!
That's why I am thrilled that my son is being exposed to Spanish in elementary school - He'll even have Spanish every year through eigth grade!

Our library has a bi-lingual story-time on every other Saturday, and unfortunately we've only been able to attend a few sessions.  I did however hear about the El Dia de los Ninos (Children's Day) and El Dia de los Libros this weekend  I thought it might be a fun event to attend.

On Sunday, April 28, the Ypsilanti and Ann Arbor District Libraries have joined forces to offer the FREE family event that will include kids crafts projects, refreshments and even a Mariachi Band - This family event is sure to be Muy Bueno for all!

El Dia De Los Ninos
April 28, 2013 - 1:30-4:30 p.m. in the Multi-Purpose Room
Ypsilanti District Library (5577 Whittaker Rd., Ypsilanti)
For more information on this event call the YDL Library at 482-4110.

Enjoy dancing, crafts, refreshments and music by -Mariachi Mexico 2000. Join other Ann Arbor and Ypsilanti families on this traditional day of celebrating children in Latin America as the library promotes literacy for all people of all cultural and language backgrounds.

April 19, 2013

Week 16 - Weekend Events Round-up: April 19-21

April showers bring May flowers - What will you do in Ann Arbor with the kids this weekend???
This weekend is shaping up to be a wet, muddy soccer weekend for us, plus my son is competing in the WESO Science Olympiad for two events. I am coaching his one team as well as coaching my daughter's soccer team. Then there is set load-in for the school play that my son is in. In a word, I am slammed! My kinds are slammed. My family is slammed. The end of the school year craziness has oddly already begun. Is anyone else experiencing that?

In looking at the Ann Arbor weekend events happening though, it seems we are light on things to do with the kids. Certainly there are the various Earth Day activities happening, and a few children's theater productions (The Young Actor's Guild and Saline Area Players), or the Passport2Pittsfield Event, but in general it's a very quiet weekend. Do you have weekend plans with the family? If it's wet, your kids may enjoy exploring the UM Natural History Museum with it's free dinosaur tours. Whatever you do, just enjoy and know that spring really will come soon. After all, "April showers..."

Saturday, April 20

This weekend might be a great time for a free movie. At 9:00 or 10:00 a.m. on Saturday or Sunday take the kids to see Paranorman at local Goodrich Theaters. If that's not yoru style, then consider getting crafty at the Fly Art Studio (40 N. Huron Ypsilanti) at 2:00 p.m. sew a handmade stuffed bird, and create a nest from recycled materials for only $10 - Just be sure to register on the website to secure your spot!

Sunday, April 21

Sunday is all about free movies with another chance to see Paranorman or head to The Michigan Theater (603 E. Liberty St. Ann Arbor) for the Family-Friendly Film Series showing of Freaky Friday (1976) at 1:30 p.m. Tickets are $10 for adults with free admission for kids 12 and under.

Don't forget to register to win free tickets to Seussical at the Michigan Theater too!!! The deadline for entry is rapidly approaching.

April 18, 2013

Ann Arbor on the Huron River: Kayaks, Canoes, Tubes and Paddleboards

I think many of you may have detected that I REALLY enjoy outdoor activities. I enjoy taking the kids on hikes, bike rides and take advantage of as many of the outdoor activities happening around Ann Arbor. We especially enjoy exploring along the Huron River. Families can enjoy picnics, biking, walking, tubing, fishing and even padding the river. I'll never forget the kids expressions the first time we took them out in a canoe - We had to grab my son's life vest to keep him in the boat. His enthusiasm simply bubbled over at the wonder of all of the Huron River's glory.

Want to experience that yourself? You can throughout most of the year, and now starting this week, you will even have the opportunity to rent canoes, paddle boats or inner tubes as the Argo Canoe Livery opens for the season on Saturday, April 20.

The livery provides families with the options to rent canoes, tubes, one or two-person kayaks, 5-person rafts, tubes and stand-up paddle boards. The livery even offers a concession stand, river merchandise, lockers and many river-themed family programs.

Hours of operation for the Argo Canoe Livery are 7-days a week 10:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m.

Later this spring, on May 24, the Gallup Canoe Livery will open for business offering a second rental location that includes paddle boat rentals.

We've taken the kids out from a very young age in the canoe, in kayaks and on the paddle boats on short trips and on longer all-day trips. The river trips can be as short as 1.5, to 4 hours or all day, so what are you waiting for? Get out there and enjoy the Huron River this year! Your family will thank you for the experience.

April 17, 2013

Win Tickets to Seussical at the Michigan Theater

Children's Theater is another passion of mine and here's another opportunity to take the kids. In fact you can even win free tickets to Seussical at the Michigan Theater (603 E Liberty St, Ann Arbor). 

Seussical at the Michigan Theater is on Sunday, April 28 at 1:30 p.m. and follows Dr. Seuss’s beloved classic characters as they go on an incredible crazy-quilt adventure. Be ready for experiencing the power of imagination and a miraculous “think” to save the day!

Ann Arbor Mom blog readers even get their own special offer which is the same price as Michigan Theater Members. That is, you can take your family to see this fin musical for only $12 per person if you don't win the free tickets.

To win a family (4) pack of tickets to Seussical at the Michigan Theater, comment below in this post on your favorite Dr. Seuss story. A random winner will be chosen from all entries on Midnight, April 22.

Get discount tickets to the Not Just for Kids Theater series at the
Michigan Theater - Seussical on April 28, 2013 at 1:30 p.m.

April 16, 2013

Family Day at the UM Kelsey Museum of Archaeology

I love Ann Arbor and all that it has to offer. There are so many free events and activities that families of all ages can enjoy. Many of the programs are enriching for mom and dad as well as the kids! Kelsey Museum Family Day programs are one of those great family opportunities.

The Family Day programs are designed for children (aged 5-12) to learn about the ancient world. Each two-hour program brings the past alive through creative educational and hands-on activities. Programs throughout the year include The Egyptian Family Days feature a hieroglyphs, the chance to create a mummy, and crown and jewelry design, while other Family Days are feature special exhibitions. One thing is for sure though, each free program provides creative educational activities for youth to learn about ancient lives on those living in ancient Egypt, Greece or Rome.

The next Kelsey Museum Family Day program is scheduled for Saturday, April 20 at 1:00-3:00 p.m. Bring the whole family to experience ancient Egypt while exploring the museum galleries and artifacts. This is a FREE event, although donations are always welcome. For more information visit the UM Kelsey Museum website or call 734-647-4167. Advanced registration is not necessary for this event.

April 15, 2013

HSHV Pets & Pajamas Movie Night: Parents Night Out

On select Friday nights, kids can enjoy a Pets and Pajamas Movie Night
at the Humane Society of Huron Valley. What do mom & dad do
while the kids are occupied - It's date-night time!
Fuzzy critter, PJ's and movies. That means it's time for "Pets and Pajamas Movie Night" at the Humane Society of Huron Valley (3100 Cherry Hill Rd., Ann Arbor)!

Kids ages 5+ can enjoy spending time with HSHV furry friends several Friday evenings coming up. Enjoy adoptable animal interactions, a vegetarian dinner and an animal themed movie with popcorn! Kids should plan to wear their PJ's, bring a sleeping bag and pillow and be ready for some animal themed fun. Did I mention that this is a "parents night out" program? That's right, mom and dad can enjoy a date night while the kids are occupied!

The Pets and Pajamas movie night program is offered once a month and is a great way for children to enjoy some after hours time at HSHV! The program runs 5:00-9:00 p.m. allowing for plenty of time for your date. The cost for the Pets and Pajamas Movie Night at the Humane Society of Huron Valley is $35 for the first child and $15 for each additional sibling. For more information on upcoming movies and to register, please visit the youth programs page on the HSHV website

Upcoming movies:

Friday, April 19th - The Lorax 
Friday, May 17th - The Lion King 
Friday, June 21st - How to Train Your Dragon

Photo courtesy of the HSHV

April 13, 2013

Thomas The Train Ticket Winner

Thank you to all who entered the contest to win tickets to A Day Out With Thomas at Greenfield Village. There was an amazing turn out in entries between the blog and the Ann Arbor Mom Facebook Page.

From a random drawing of all entries, Betsy Finn Thomas won. Her favorite characters? Why James, Toby, and Salty of course!

Congratulations Betsy Finn Thomas - You have won free tickets
to spend A Day Out With Thomas at Greenfield Village!

April 5, 2013

Week 14 - Weekend Events Round-up: April 5-7

I'm glad and sad that the kids will be back in school Monday. Spring break has been nice, but at the same time, having time to get things done, without their fights, will be really nice too. Anyone else happy about spring break coming to an end?

This weekend will be a busy one for my family  One kid will be at a sleepover then bowling for a birthday party for a friend, the other is having a meeting for his Washtenaw County Science Olympiad Team and I will be at the Skywarn Spotter Training tomorrow for the county. There are however a couple of noteworthy weekend events happening in AnnArbor including FestiFools and the Dance for Mother Earth Powwow. Families are always welcome to check out the University of Michigan Museum of Natural History and all it has to offer, including a new planetarium show called Larry the Cat.

What are your weekend plans? Have anything special on your weekend event planner??? Check out a few of these opportunities for the kids.

Saturday, April 6

Saturday is "for the birds" as young builders get to build their own bird feeder at a free Home Depot Kids workshop from 9:00 a.m. until noon. This free event has never required registration, however I did notice on the website that registration is now encouraged. Click the kids workshop tab in the Home Depot Workshops for more information and to register for the kids building clinic.

Let your kids explore their creativity while you shop at Michael's Crafts. For only $2 your child can make a cute Earth Day celebration craft - Sessions happen every half hour from 10:00-11:30 a.m. allowing lots of time for mom to shop.

Get a jump start in celebrating Earth Day with a special story-time at the Leslie Science and Nature Center (1831 Traver Rd., Ann Arbor) at 10:00 a.m. Children ages 1-5 will learn how they can care for the planet and plant some seeds in recycled items. Admission for the event is $2/child. Children do not need to pre-register.

The day should warm to the mid-50's which makes getting out into nature a MUST. Explore the landscapes of the River Raisin at the Leonard Preserve (Manchester Twp.) with a Washtenaw County Parks & Recreation naturalist at 10:00 a.m. to Noon. Families can learn about this unique habitat that supports a diverse array of plant and animal species. For more information visit www.stewardshipnetwork/rc. Light refreshments will be served after the program.

Want another opportunity to get outdoors Saturday? Then be sure to take the family to check out the Dance of the Timberdoodle 7:30 to 9 p.m. Independence Lake (Webster Twp.) Families will learn about the spring rituals of the woodcock. Plan to meet at the Boat Launch, near the park’s gatehouse for the trip outdoors.

Photo shared on Ann Arbor Mom Facebook page
courtesy of  Myra Klarman photography

Sunday, April 7

There is one more opportunity to get outdoors Sunday 2:00-4:00 p.m. As an added bonus families can learn about the beneficial uses of Garlic Mustard as we weed it from where we don’t want it to grow at County Farm Park (Meet at the Medford Road entrance). You will learn to make raw pesto, spring greens smoothies, and Greens Vichyssoise too!!!

One of these days I am going to attend Festifools - if you're planning to take the family though, there is costume-building workshop at 826 Michigan (115 E Liberty St., Ann Arbor) at 2:00-3:30 p.m. It was featured earlier this week on the Ann Arbor Mom Facebook Page - Be sure to stop by and let the kiddo's create a crafty robot.

April 1, 2013

Ann Arbor FestiFools: Family, Community, Art, Foolery & Fun

FestiFools is a yearly celebration in Ann Arbor where the community gathers together to make unique public art - huge paper-mâché puppets - that are marched throughout town in a parade late one Sunday afternoon in early April. This free event is family-friendly and a lot of fun, and is even proceeded by a nighttime lantern parade the Friday night before!

This year, Festifools happens on Sunday, April 7, 4:00-5:00 p.m. It starts on Main St., between William and Washington. Families can view many magnificent, huge, bizarre, human-powered papier-mache puppets while they join thousands of Ann Arbor's most Foolish friends as they frolic about downtown Ann Arbor.

Before that though, families should plan on experiencing the FoolMoon walk on Friday, April 5. Bring your luminaries and plan to begin between 7:45 and 8:00 p.m. as the procession of luminaries and shadow puppets weaves through the Ann Arbor Farmers' Market location, Slauson Middle School and throughout downtown as they thread their way to Washington and Ashley Streets in the heart of Ann Arbor. While this sounds like an adult-only event, I have been assured by others that it is appropriate for families.

For a better sense of what FestiFools is, here is a video of the 2011 parade or check out the YouTube FestiFools channel.