March 31, 2016

Sleeping Bear Wilderness Ambassadors: Free Teen Program

The Sleeping Bear Wilderness Ambassador Program is a free program for teens in grades 8-12. Participants will experience a wilderness environment and while learning outdoor skills and providing leadership to others.

Volunteer Work Ambassadors will have the opportunity to join park staff in one or more of the following activities: field science Wilderness monitoring working with kids trail and campsite maintenance site restoration. Besides the memories, friendships, and skills to last a lifetime, more tangible benefits include volunteer service credit cool swag to take home photo and video DVD bragging rights on leadership experience to put on college applications and resumes.

To be eligible, applicants may apply between April 4-25 for the June 20-26 trip. For more information, visit the Sleeping Bear Wilderness Ambassador webpage.

March 27, 2016

Free Tickets: Alexander, Who’s Not Not Not Not Not Not Going to Move

On Sunday, April 10 at 1:30 p.m. at the Michigan Theater, children (grades K-4) and their families should consider seeing the youth theatre production of Alexander, Who’s Not Not Not Not Not Not Going to Move. The show, part of the Benard L. Maas Not Just for Kids series, is about a young boy named Alexander, and what happens when he finds out that his family is moving. Join Alexander as he learns that home is “where your family is” and that change can be exciting.

Tickets for this youth theatre production are available at the box office or at for $12.00 each. Ann Arbor Blog parents though have the opportunity to win a family (4) pack by commenting below on what you would say to your children in the event of a move. All entries received by Thursday, March 31 will be entered into a random drawing.

March 26, 2016

Raita Savory Yogurt for the Family

Raita Savory Yogurt (pronounced Right-ah!) comes in three flavors Carrot, Cucumber and Tomato,
that range from flavorful to spicy. 
They can be purchased at area farmers markets, at Whole Foods,
the Produce Station, People's Food Coop, Argus Farm Stop and Plum Markets.

I was asked Harinee Sampath, product creator of Raita Savory Yogurt, if I would try the three recipes. Of course as a family blogger, I knew that ultimately it had to be something my family would eat. I have a picky eater with the one, and although my youngest has a broader pallet, she's still not very adventurous. Therefore this post features my children in their vlog debut. 

The opinions expressed here are their own. I will add commentary at the end though, as I did try all three yogurt options as well!

My son Zach was honest with his assessment but what is missing is the moment the heat hit. Of course that happened as soon as the camera stopped rolling! He very much likes spicy food but was not expecting the heat. he said after that he had a higher expectation of flavor and less of an expectation for the heat but cumin and coriander are not flavor profiles he was very familiar with. I believe he expected more Carrot flavor. Of course he was using a carrot as his choice for dipping, so he may have missed it simply because he was already eating a carrot.

Gabby got adventurous with both dips. She's decided she wants to start her own YouTube channel, so this was a way she could try to video blog. Here you will see her reaction to the two Raita flavors she tried.

Gabby reading the ingredients to the yogurt.
 As a mom, I can say this. I am most pleased to see that both of my children could read the ingredients on the label (with the exception of the names of the probiotic bacteria!). Fresh, ingredients with no preservatives are important. Plus the beneficial probiotics add a healthy boost! This is a Made in Michigan product that is available in area supermarkets and some Ann Arbor grocery stores too.

As with my daughter, I too very much enjoyed Tasty Tomato with Cumin & Coriander, although I think I preferred Zesty Cucumber with Cilantro & Mint. I loved the hint of mint that popped at the end. It was crisp, clean and very fresh.  Gabby is correct, in her video, she mentioned that she though both would make excellent salad dressings and I agree. I can also see both as a fresh topping for grilled meats!

I am not a "spicy gal" but did try the Spicy Carrot with Cumin & Coriander. When the heat hits though, I did not enjoy it as much. I can see this as a nice addition to those meals where you want the heat though!

You can find more details on the Raita Yogurt website or on the Raita Yogurt Facebook page. I can't wait to serve it up at tomorrow's Easter meal!

March 25, 2016

LEGOLAND® Discovery Center Michigan Celebrates Grand Opening

If you are a fan of the Ann Arbor Mom Facebook Page, then you saw some of the fun as it happened yesterday. I was excited to be able to participate in the grand opening celebration of the LEGOLAND® Discovery Center Michigan (at Great Lakes Crossing, 4000 Baldwin Rd, Auburn Hills, MI 48326)!

The grand opening celebration featured students, #LCDMichigan
Creative Crew members and Bertie the mascot, as well
as several dignitaries and adult guests.

The event featured representatives from local government, Merlin Entertainments, Visit Detroit, a second grade class from Grant Graham Elementary School as well as members of the #LCDMichigan Creative Crew!
It is so hard waiting! Members of the Creative Crew await
the end of the #LCDMichigan Grand Opening ceremony! 

The LEGOLAND® Discovery Center Michigan opens today to the public. It is the  8th LEGOLAND Discovery Center in North America, the 14th globally and the 100th Midway attraction for Merlin Entertainments.

#LCDMichigan is located inside
Great Lakes Crossing in Auburn Hills.

LEGOLAND Discovery Center Michigan is a 32,000 square-foot indoor attraction featuring fun and exciting LEGO themed rides, including Kingdom Quest and Merlin’s Apprentice, a 4D Cinema that brings favorite LEGO characters to life, numerous themed build and play areas, and the highly anticipated MINILAND exhibit that displays beloved local Detroit landmarks made from LEGO bricks.

Tickets are available online and must be purchased in advance. For more information about ticket sales, LEGOLAND Discovery Center Michigan events and activities, or for more information, please visit or the #LCDMichigan Facebook page.

 “It has been a long and exciting journey leading to our grand opening, and we are grateful for the support we’ve received from the metro Detroit community,” said Hayley Anderson, general manager for LEGOLAND Discovery Center Michigan. “We are excited to give local children the unique opportunity to be immersed in a whole new colorful world of creativity, learning and imagination at LEGOLAND Discovery Center Michigan.”

To see some of the photos I took yesterday, be sure to see them on my Flickr page. I will say that my favorite part (as expected) was Miniland. My kids were exceptionally disappointed that I made them go to school yesterday instead of going to the celebration. A recent round of illness in the household meant missing school could not happen. They were however exceptionally excited to see the photos. They were even more excited to be able to identify many of the landmark models!

So that you can also enjoy some of the excitement from yesterday, please see the attached video of the ribbon cutting - I mean BRICK BREAKING ceremony done by Bertie the mascot!!! My kids are certainly looking forward to their first visit to the LEGOLAND Discovery Center Michigan, are yours?

March 17, 2016

Creating a Pollinator Garden Library Event

Learn to create a pollinator garden at the Ypsilanti District Library (Michigan Ave. branch) on Thursday, March 31, 6:30-8:00 p.m. This free program will help you get ready for spring as you design a beautiful and functional garden.  Learn about selecting and sourcing native plants, herbs, perennials, and annuals that will attract a wide variety pollinators.  This free program is presented by by Shawn Severance, Washtenaw County Parks & Recreation naturalist..

March 15, 2016

Ann Arbor Summer Day Camp Information

Summer camp creates memories - swimming, crafts, sports,
or horseback riding  - of a lifetime!
Many parents are already searching for summer day camp options for their children, I know, I am one of those parents  It's exciting and scary. My son even wants to try an overnight camp this summer - I just don't know if I am ready for that.

So for working parents throughout the area, here is my annual camp list that includes Ann Arbor summer camp and day-camp options that are convenient and at a variety of prices.

I will be updating this list as information becomes available, so if you have other Ann Arbor area summer day camp information or feedback that you would like included, please contact Tammy at tmayrend (at) or add a comment to the post.


All Hands Active Summer Camp
Ages: 10-15
Cost: $200+
Times: 12:00-5:00 p.m.
Specialized Camps: Maker Bootcamp, Gamer Summer Camp and Arduino Bootcamp.

Ann Arbor Art Center - Art Camp
Ages: 5-12
Cost: $380/wk.
Times: 9:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m. - Pre and post camp care is also available starting at $30/wk.
Specialized summer camp - focus on arts including sculpture, mixed media, drawing, clay and more.

Ann Arbor Community Rec & Ed  Summer Camp Catalog
Ages: Variety
Cost: Varies based on program chosen. Pre-school camp programs are also available.
Times: 9:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m. Before and aftercare available to campers.
General summer camp activities.

Day camp may mean exploring the great outdoors, playing
in the sandbox and making new friends!
Ann Arbor Parks & Recreation Summer Camps
Ages: School aged children - Programs may be age specific
Cost: Start at $225+/wk
Times: 8:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m. - AM and PM extended care available for campers.
Specialized and general camping activities: Programs are available to canoe/kayak, swim, and playing golf. *For some of their camps, register by March 15 to receive a $20/week discount.

Ann Arbor YMCA Summer Day Camps
Ages: 5-16
Cost: Some camp prices vary $110+/wk for half-day - $210+/wk full-day
Times: 8:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m. Pre/post care camp options available.
General summer camp activities.

Camp CDC at Ann Arbor Learning Community
Ages: Grades 1-5
Cost: $156.50/wk morning only - $252.50/wk. Daily rates are also available.
Time: 7:30 a.m. -5:30 p.m.
General summer damp programming - swimming every day! Weekly themes and field trips. There is a non-refundable registration fee of $50 per child.

Camp Exploration​s​​ ​at the University of Michigan Museum of Natural History
Ages: ​6-12
Cost: $130+
Times: ​8:00 a.m - noon & 1:00-4:00 p.m. Post care camp options available.
All Camp Explorations programs include daily experiments, hands-on activities, related games, journaling, and plenty of play! Every session is a new experience. If your child is enrolled in an all-day session, lunch is between 12:00-1:00 PM and is supervised.​

Camp PAWS at the HSHV
Ages: 4-11
Cost: $255
Time: 9:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m.
Info: Activities that will help prepare kids to become responsible and compassionate future pet owners. Weekly field trips.

Creature Conservancy Summer Camp
Ages: Kinder Camp, Grades 1-3, Grades 4-7
Cost: $275+
Time: Kinder Camp = 9:00-noon or 1:00-3:00 p.m., Other Camps = 9:00-4:00 p.m.
Info: Day Camp focusing on animals.

Emerson School Summer Program
Grades: K-8
Cost: $115+/wk.
Time: 9:00 a.m. - noon and 1:00-4:00 p.m. Extended day childcare before and after camp is also available.
General summer camp activities - baking, chess, Lego's, soccer and more.

Flipside Art Studio Summer Camp
Ages: Pre-K - 9th Grade
Cost: $125+
Times: Half Day and Full Day options
Multi Mixed Media Camps centered around various themes learning multiple techniques.

Gym America
Cost: $153+/wk.
Time: 9:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m.
Sports camp: gymnastics and swimming with other great activities. Call for more details.

Honey Creek Summer Program
Grades: Pre-K-Grade 8
Cost: $45+/day
Time: 8:00 a.m. - 6:00 p.m.
Science, music, Greek mythology and more.

JCC Camp Raanana Summer Day Camp
Ages: K-8
Cost: $180+/week ($36+/day)
Times: 9:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.; AM and PM extended care available
General summer camp activities, plus specialties for grades 3-5, adventure program for grades 6-8 and counselor in training programs for teens. A 3-day option (M,W,F) is available for campers entering kindergarten.

Ages: 7-17
Cost: $849+/wk
Specialized summer computer camp held at University of Michigan.

Leslie Science Center Summer Camp Programs
Ages: 2-12
Cost: $115+/wk half-day - $250+/wk full day camp
Times: 8:30 a.m. - 3:30 p.m
General summer camp activities with focus on nature and the outdoors.

Ages: 5+ including pre-teen camps
Cost: $200+/half day, $320+/full day
Times: 9:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m. Pre and Post camp extended care also available. General camp activities with swimming, tennis, lacrosse, kung fu and lightsaber camp.

Meri Lou Murray Recreation Center Day Camp
Ages: 6-11
Cost: $150/wk.
Times: 9:15 a.m. - 4:15 p.m. Pre- and post-care is available
General day camp activities.

Michigan Math and Science Scholars Program
Ages: Grades 9-12
Cost: $1,000+
Times: 9:00 a.m - 4:30 p.m.
Math and science programs with titles such as Fibonacci Numbers, Roller Coaster Physics, and Human Anatomy and Physiology.

Oz's Music Summer Camps
Ages: 3 - 16
Cost: $275/wk half-day, $385/wk full day
Times: 9:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m.
Specialized summer camp - music.

Peachy Fitness
Ages: 3-14
Cost: $125+
Specialized fitness camps - dance, yoga, zumba and combo camp.

Planet Rock
Ages: 8-14
Cost: $275+
Ages: 8-18
Cost: $295+/wk
Times: 9:00 a.m. - 3:30 p.m.
Specialized summer camp - Theatrical swordplay, stunts and stage combat. Minimal pre and post care is available.

Rocks And Robots Summer Camp
Various weeks
Ages: Programs for ages 6-15
Cost: $239+/wk for half-day - $479+/wk full-day
Times: 9:00 a.m. - 3:30 p.m. Before and after care also available.
Specialized summer camp - Robots, rock climbing, computers.

Rolling Hills Summer Day Camp
Ages: 6-11
Cost: $135/wk. pre and post camp care available.
Times: 9:15 a.m. - 4:15 p.m.
Specialize summer day camp - swimming.

School of Rock
Ages: 8+
Times: 9:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m.
Specialized music camp. Lunch is provided. After care is available for $10/hour.

My children love their summer day camp experience!
Summers-Knoll Summer Programs
Ages: 4-12
Cost: $270+/wk.
Times: 9:15 a.m.-3:34 p.m. Before and after care available.
General summer day camp activities - adventure or hands-on educational fun.

Wild Swan Theater Summer Camps - Camp DoYaWanna
Half-day weekly camps June 22-August 7.
Ages: 4-12
Cost: $110+
Times: Vary
Specialized summer camp - Theater. 6175 Jackson Road, between Zeeb and Baker Roads.

WideWorld Sports Center Kids K.A.M.P.
Ages: 4-13
Cost: $195+/wk. Daily rates also available.
Times: 8:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m. Before and after care available.
Specialized summer camp - sports and soccer specific camp programs.



Real Life Day Camp & Farm
Ages: All ages
Cost: $215/wk
Times: 7:00 a.m. - 6:00 p.m.
General summer camp with a focus on farm life, animal care and horseback riding skills.

High Velocity Sports Camps
Ages: 5-17
Cost: $100/wk half-day - $200/wk full-day
Times: 9 a.m. - 4 p.m. before and after care available.
Specialized summer camp - sports.

SkyZone SkyCamp
COST: $30/day or $125/week
9:00 a.m. - 1:00 p.m.


Camp Birkett a YMCA Day Camp
On Silver Lake


Montibeller Park Day Camp!
Ages: 5-12
Cost: $75+/wk
Times: 9:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m.
General day camp activities.


Saline Parks & Recreation Summer Kids Camp
Ages: 5-14
Cost: $150+/wk (daily rates also available)
Time: 7:00 a.m. - 6:00 p.m.
General day camp activities.


Center Stage Productions Summer Camp
Cost: $350-$550
Times: 9:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m.
Specialized day camp - Musical theatre camp.

Inkstains Summer Writing Camp at Eastern Michigan University
Cost: $225+
Times: 9:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m.
Specialized day camp - summer writing camp for middle and high school writers with a focus on creative writing poetry and prose; staffed by certified, experienced English teachers.

Ypsilanti Township Parks & Recreation Day Camps
Ages: Pre-kindergarten-7th grade
Cost: $85+/wk half-day - $125+/wk full-day
Times: 9:00 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.
General day camp activities.

March 13, 2016

Early Spring Birding Hike

On Sunday March 27, 8:00 p.m.,plan to meet at Trinkle Marsh Preserve (Trinkle Rd., Dexter Twp.) for an Early Spring Birding Hike with Washtenaw County Parks & Recreation.  On the hike, families will spend time checking out the open water and wetland areas of the preserve to see what waterfowl and other wetland habitat birds we might find. Next hike along the east boundary of the preserve through open habitat to an oak hickory woods, looking for song birds, birds of prey and more.

Please bring binoculars and field guide if you can although some binoculars will be available to borrow.  Naturalist Faye Stoner leads this hike.

March 8, 2016

Free Alert: Pancakes All Day at IHOP

Today is National Pancake Day, so be sure to stop by the Ann Arbor IHOP (4221 Ellsworth Rd., Ypsilanti 48197) for free pancakes from 7:00 a.m. through 7:00 p.m. - Each customer will get a stack of three buttermilk pancakes at no charge, although the restaurant is encouraging donations for the Children's Miracle Network in hopes of raising $1.75 million in donations.

March 6, 2016

Full Moon Hike

Howl at the moon on Sunday, March 20 at 7:00 p.m. during the Full Moon Hike at County Farm Park. Meet in the Medford Lot for a hike through the park trails as the moon rises then end with
hot drinks around a campfire.

The moon of March goes by many names, the Hard Crust on Snow Moon, the Breaking Snowshoes Moon and the Maple Sugar Moon are just a few.    By any name it is a beautiful sight for families to see!

March 5, 2016

Junior Naturalist Program for Kids Ages 8-12

Join Washtenaw County Parks & Recreation for the next junior naturalist program titled "From Kettle to Kame – Exploring The Land!". This free program is for youth ages 8-12 on  Saturday, March 19, 10:30 a.m. - noon.

Join Faye Stoner for this hike to see and learn about habitats and geology. Hike to the highest hill, and explore the edges of the biggest pond in Park Lyndon to learn how each place came to be!  Wear sturdy shoes and dress accordingly. Meet at Park Lyndon South  in the west parking lot.

Please pre-register with Faye Stoner at, or 734-971-6337 x 334.

March 4, 2016

Soap Making for Kids

Having trouble at bathtime? It would be so much fun though to bathe with soap your kids actually made though! On Saturday, March 19 at the Ypsilanti District Library (Superior) from 2:00-3:00 p.m., kids ages 6-18 will learn the basics of soap making. This free event is fun, easy, and environmentally friendly using a melt-and-pour method. Kids will make washing lots of fun by adding small toys, colors, fragrances, oats, or fine glitter to their soap.

Registration is not required for the event.

March 2, 2016

Teen Tech Week: Teen Event

During teen tech week at the Ypsilanti District Library (Whittaker Branch), teens ages 12-18, will make light-up bracelets on March 9. The event is geek chic and happens at 5:30-6:30 p.m. Discover the world of e-textiles, and make a fabric, light-up bracelet with LilyTiny mini-arduinos. Meet at the teen area for this free event.

Garden Work Days with Washtenaw County Parks & Recreation

I love getting the kids outdoors, I also very much appreciate how volunteering gives my children a new appreciation for things. That's why Garden Workdays with Washtenaw County Parks & Recreation is a great opportunity for families! Dates vary throughout March (Mar 16, 23, 30, 31) from 9:00 a.m. - 1:00 p.m. Locations also vary.

To join in, please call Kathy at (734) 385-6560, 7:00-9:00 a.m. before each date to confirm attendance and location, Once there, families will appreciate gardening side-by-side with Washtenaw County’s Park Horticulturist, Kathy Squiers and Master Gardeners, to learn techniques and tips, gain experience and practice, and enjoy healthy exercise outdoors!  For spring garden clean-ups, we will rake, prune, weed, divide, mulch and plant.  Learn a lot while assisting with general garden and plant care in a variety of landscape settings.

March 1, 2016

Toddler Hike

Do you have a child ages 1-4 who likes to be outdoors? Then the Toddler Hike at Britton Woods will be right up your alley. Join Washtenaw County Parks & Recreation on March 15  or March 17 from 10:00-11:00 a.m. to visit the Fairies and Gnomes of Britton Woods.

Children and their caregiver will meet at County Farm Park (Medford Lot) to see a world of wonder and discovery. Hike through the forest to search for traces of tiny, quiet creatures and nature a plenty. This free program is limited to 15 children, so please pre-register as quickly as possible  Shawn Severance leads this hike. Email  or call 734-971-6337 x 335