Family Fun in May 2015 in Southeast Michigan {Ann Arbor, Detroit, Flint & Lansing Areas}

Just writing the word ‘May’ makes me SO happy. It’s one of my favorite months of the year for many reasons — the flowers peeking out, the smell of fresh-cut grass, and the return of many farmer’s markets are just a few. Luckily, there is plenty to do with kids this month too!

Family Fun in May 2015 in Southeast Michigan

Family Fun in May 2015 in Southeast Michigan:

May 1 — Into the Wild LIVE with Jack Hanna at The Whiting {Flint} — Learn more about the show at the post linked above.

May 1 — Free Admission to Cranbrook Institute of Science {Bloomfield Hills} — Visit after 5 p.m. the first Friday of every month, courtesy of the MASCO Corporation, for FREE.

May 1 — Touch a Truck at Drake Sports {West Bloomfield} — From 6-9 p.m., kids can get a firsthand look at police, fire, construction, trash and all the really cool work vehicles we see every day, but don’t get the chance to touch. Several food trucks will also be on site. FREE.

May 1-3 — Spring Fling Fest {Mason} — Visit Mason to experience a 5K run, a craft show on the courthouse square, pie sale, duck race and much more. FREE.

May 2 — LEGO Bricks Build Off {Ann Arbor} — The Ann Arbor Art Center presents their Lego Exhibition. View all of the LEGO Bricks creations that were submitted by the finalists in the Ultimate Lego Bricks Build-Off Contest and vote for your favorite! Families are invited to participate in a craft project and LEGO activities during the exhibition. 1 p.m. – 3:30 p.m. FREE.Heavenly Scent Herb Farm

May 2-3 — Faerie Day Festival at Heavenly Scent Herb Farm {Fenton} — Visit this beautiful farm for fun with fairies! Story telling, dancers, workshops and more. $1/person for entry.

May 2-3 — Victorian Days {Grand Ledge} — Salute the Victorian era with a ball, maypole dance, high tea, Civil War encampment, riverboat rides, carriage rides, period craft demonstrations and more. FREE entry, some activities have a fee.

May 2  — Lunch with Princess Joslyn at Canterbury Village {Lake Orion} – Singing, dancing, story time and lunch with a princess! 11 a.m. $18/person.Picket Fence Frame

May 2 — Home Depot Kids Workshop — Picket Fence Photo Frame {Nationwide} — Come learn how to build a picket fence photo frame. FREE hands-on workshops; designed for children ages 5 – 12, from 9 a.m. – 12 p.m. All kid get to keep their craft, receive a FREE certificate of achievement, a Workshop Apron, and a commemorative pin while supplies last. Register online in advance.

May 2 — Michaels Kid Club {Nationwide} — Drop into a Michael’s Craft Store and take home a completed project! Just $2 per child for 30 minutes of creative craft fun, including supplies. 10 a.m. – noon. Ages 3 and up. This day’s project is a Mother’s Day wood frame.

May 2 – Fly Guy and Other Stories at The Wharton {East Lansing} – This inventive musical revue is based on favorite children’s books and may include Fly Guy meets Fly Girl, in which Fly Guy has met his match, and he is totally impressed…and totally smitten. Tickets: $9. Recommended for ages 4 and up. [Read more…]

Ways I Cheat As A Mom to 3 #GerberWinWinMoment

Gerber Graduates Win Win Moment

This is a sponsored post with Gerber and MomSelect. All opinions expressed are my own. 

I hear it daily: “You are a superwoman!”

While the sentiment is obviously flattering and appreciated, believe me ya’ll — I’m just trying to get through the trenches like everyone else. In my eyes, anyone who is raising a human is a super hero.

Super cape aside, can I tell you a secret? Having 3 kids honestly as hard as having one at times.

After all, they all entertain each other, and my girls love taking care of my little guy.

Seriously, they are my biggest helpers! They love pushing him around and helping me with tasks like getting diapers, finding toys for him to chew on, and keep him occupied while I get things done. He just lights up whenever they are around him. Talk about a win-win!

#GerberWinWinMoment

When it comes to meal time, they LOVE making sure he gets fed. They will even fight over who gets to help him. We started with purees at 6 months, but this kid quickly lost interest and wanted what his sisters were eating, so we just let him feed himself with a combo of infant snacks and whatever we’re eating, and his sisters are always near by to feed him more. [Read more…]

Into the Wild LIVE with Jack Hanna at The Whiting in Flint on 5/1 {+ Giveaway} ENDS 4/28

Have you ever caught animal expert Jack Hanna on TV? We love him here! Excited to share about a fun coming to Flint in a few weeks!

America’s most beloved animal expert, Jack Hanna, brings his three-time Emmy Award-winning television series to the live stage with Into the Wild Live! at The Whiting in Flint on Friday, May 1 at 7:30 p.m; locally presented by HAP.

In this live show, prepare to be fascinated as Jungle Jack takes you into the wild with a spectacular array of incredible animals. Jack will also share humorous stories and amazing footage from his adventures all around the world from Africa, to the Amazon, to Antarctica and beyond. He will also inspire with his passion and dedication to wildlife conservation.

Audiences can expect to see approximately fifteen animals in the live experience. The exact animals to appear aren’t confirmed until soon before the show since each animal must receive medical clearance, however, fans can expect to see animals such as a baby cheetah, kangaroo, baby tiger, two-toed sloth, penguin and much more.

TICKETS

Tickets range from $19-$45 and are available at www.thewhiting.com by phone at (810) 237-7333 or by walk-up at The Whiting Ticket Center and at the new Flint Farmers’ Market.

The Whiting is located at 1241 E. Kearsley Street in Flint, just off I-475 between the University of Michigan-Flint and Mott Community College on the beautiful Flint Cultural Center campus.

BUY TICKETS HERE: http://thewhiting.com/tickets/production.aspx?performanceNumber=5956

Into the Wild LIVE with Jack Hanna at The Whiting

GIVEAWAY

I have a family 4-pack of tickets to give away, thanks to The Whiting. Ends on April 28, 2015 at midnight. Good luck!

Jack Hanna at The Whiting

What are your child’s favorite animals to see?

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Celebrating 4 Years of Blogging

Today marks 4 years of blogging. While this doesn’t seem like much of a feat, it is. Do you all know how much time blogging takes up? 😉 I only wish I had more time — I have SO many ideas to share!

With that said, I maintain starting this blog has been the best decision I ever could have made for myself and my family. While I don’t make a ton of money with it, I have so much fun, and it has proven to be an amazing outlet for me to connect with awesome people and companies, and to practice my writing and photography skills.

I am a people person through and through. I love learning new things and exploring with my kids. I enjoy trying to help businesses achieve their goal, whether it’s bringing people through the doors or selling tickets. I am very passionate about social media. But most of all, I just love sharing and learning great info from my readers.

I have had many great memories of blogging through the years. A few of my favorites:

~ Taking a ride around Detroit in the Oscar Meyer Weinermobilewienermobile

~ Touring Hudsonville Ice Cream

~ Tossing the first pitch at a Tigers game {at 33 weeks pregnant!}

~ Attending the grand opening for the SEA LIFE Aquarium

Kids Checking out SEA LIFE Michigan

~ Visiting Crooked River Lodge in Alanson, Michigan and Castaway Bay in Sandusky, Ohio

~ Having this post of Christmas events go viral {very cool experience, but also very scary!}

~ Writing dozens of letters to my children for their major age milestones

~ Getting countless messages of appreciation for sharing about my daughter’s speech delays

~ Emails from readers sharing how I have helped their family with free/discounted tickets or ideas for things to do

On a professional level, I’ve been contacted for jobs and worked with many of my ‘dream’ brands, proving you can do anything you set your mind to just by being who you are and doing what you love.

From a family perspective, I have been able to bring SO many experiences to my children — things we never could have afforded otherwise. For that, I am eternally grateful for each and every opportunity I’ve been granted {and for my wonderfully patient husband and eager children for always coming along on adventures}.

Thank you for listening, commenting and sharing my posts during the past 4 years. You fill my heart with joy daily and I feel so blessed to have you along on my journey!

I have a fun giveaway coming up to celebrate, so stay tuned!

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Wild Kratts LIVE! in Detroit 5/28 {+ Family 4-Pack Giveaway} ENDS 5/2

WildKratts_1200x628_4

Wild wild wild Kratts wild wild wild Kratts…Does that theme song get stuck in anyone else’s head nearly every day? It sure does stick over here! I love the Wild Kratts because we are a PBS-loving family, and it’s a show I don’t feel an ounce of guilt for my kiddos to watch in the morning since it’s so educational. So I’m pretty stoked that Wild Kratts LIVE! is coming to the Detroit Opera House on May 28, and I have the chance for one of you to take your family!

ABOUT THE SHOW

Animated Kratt Brothers, Martin and Chris, “come to real life” in a classically Wild Kratts story.  Off “To the Creature Rescue!” the Emmy nominated Kratt Brothers activate some fan favorite Creature Power Suits to confront a comic villain. Through hilarious pratfalls and amazing animal ‘wow facts’ the Wild Kratts team rescues their favorite invention from Zach’s clutches so the animals of the creature world are safe once again.

Wild Kratts LIVE! is created for the stage by the imaginative minds of Martin Kratt and Chris Kratt from  Zooboomafoo, Kratt’s Creatures and Be the Creature. The Kratt Brothers’ national tours draw tens of thousands of creature-crazy kids and their families and the not-for-profit Kratt Brothers Creature Hero Society, together with kids, has successfully protected critical wildlife habitats through the creation of nature reserves.

Wild Kratts LIVE! will be at Detroit Opera House on Thursday, May 28, 2015 for a 7 p.m. show.

TICKETS

Tickets are on sale now and can be purchased at Ticketmaster.com800-745-3000 and the Detroit Opera House Box Office. Ticket prices start at $35.

GIVEAWAY

I have a family 4-pack of tickets to giveaway to one lucky reader to attend the show on May 28, 2015 at 7 p.m. at the Detroit Opera House. Ends on May 2, 2015 at midnight. Good luck!

Wild Kratts

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Monkey Kingdom: A Must-See For Nature Lovers Young and Old

Monkey Kingdom

Wow. I don’t think I have been able to wipe the smile off my face since my Tuesday evening screening of Disneynature’s latest documentary, Monkey Kingdom. I have loved all of the movies in the nature series, but this is my favorite BY FAR.

The story is compelling and surely one parents, children, and nature lovers will enjoy.

ABOUT THE FILM

Narrated by the ever-so-funny Tina Fey, the plot follows Maya, a clever blonde-bobbed toque macaque monkey whose world is forever changed when she welcomes her son, Kip, into her complicated family. Like all families {human and otherwise!}, Maya’s has plenty of colorful personalities, but she is determined to give her son the best life possible. When their home is taken over by neighboring monkeys, Maya’s family is forced to relocate. Thanks to her street smarts, they make the best of it and come out on top.

This film is stunning to watch. From sweeping views of the jungle in Sri Lanka, to seeing all kinds of other creatures including a monitor lizard and some darn cute sloth bears, it will educate everyone who watches. [Read more…]

13 Spring Races To Do in Southeast Michigan + Giveaway to Hightail to Ale 5K in Detroit {Ends 4/30}

As a company that’s committed to helping others lead healthy lifestyles, Michigan-based Absopure is actively involved in the local running community and supports races throughout the state. As the official water sponsor of Running Fit, Absopure has provided me with two registrations to the upcoming Hightail to Ale 5K—the first stop in the brand new Thirsty 3 series.

I am super excited to share that my husband and I are down a combined total of 50 pounds since the beginning of the year!!! The question we keep getting: “What’s your secret?”

Friends, there are no secrets. No fad diets. No crazy painful workout routine. Just better foods, portion control and exercise. Who knew?! 😉

Our preferred form of exercise is running. I know it sounds crazy to many people, but honestly, it’s the best. We love the endorphins it releases, and it’s convenient for us as parents to little ones since we can do it outside in our neighborhood after putting kids to bed. Additionally, it’s the perfect excuse for a guilt-free date!

Jason and I - 5K

We recently got up at the crack of dawn to run the 5K and 10K with the Ann Arbor Marathon. It was super fun, and an awesome excuse to spend some time together.

With spring and summer on the horizon, we are starting to look at some races to keep us motivated to meet our goals {mine is another 10K, his is a half marathon}. I am excited to check out some of these races my friends from Absopure has sent me as part of their partnership with Running Fit.

13 Spring Races To Do in Southeast Michigan

East Lansing Family Fun: Michigan 4-H Children’s Gardens and MSU Dairy Store {+ Calendar of Fun!}

MSU Children's Gardens

Now that the weather is getting nicer, I’m hoping to start doing more posts to inspire you all to get outside more…Because I’m sure I am not the only one who needs to peel away from my love of technology more often 😉

Yesterday we had a day filled with East Lansing family fun on the campus of Michigan State University. After digging online and still not getting a clear picture of where to go or what to expect as a visitor with kids, I decided to do a post for all you visual learners like me.

Butterflies in the Garden is happening now through April 30, 2015 at the 4-H Children’s Gardens, and is a great excuse for some East Lansing family fun.

How To Get There

Your GPS can tell you which expressways to take. From there though? If you’re not familiar with campus, there are a lot of buildings with very small signs.

First, plug 1066 Bogue St. into your GPS, which will land you at the Plant & Soil Sciences Building {with a very small rectangular green sign out front}. On the weekends, parking is free and plentiful. During the week, you will need to pay $1.80/hour at a meter, and my guess parking won’t be as easy until school is out for the year.

Butterflies at MSU

From there, enter the back of the building, under the green awning. We didn’t see any signage except a little sign in the window, so beware. Upon entering, you will see a blue line on the ground. You can follow that to the restroom {genius idea since it’s a maze of halls!}, or follow the green vine to go to the butterfly house, which is located inside one of the many greenhouses.

The butterfly area was small, but for a FREE day, I thought it was definitely worth the drive. We saw lots of different species and they were gorgeous! My girls got SO excited every time they spotted one, and we had a nice time slowly walking through and finding them.

Butterflies at MSU Gardens

Note: You cannot bring a stroller inside the area, so bring a baby carrier or a designated baby holder. Stroller parking is right outside. [Read more…]

If You Give A Mouse A Cookie in Detroit June 6-7, 2015 {+ 4-pack Giveaway} ENDS 4/27

If You Give A Mouse A Cookie - Detroit

Today I am sharing about one of my favorite children’s books being brought to life on stage in Detroit. Check out the information to get tickets or enter to win a family 4-pack to go! I love this show for introducing the world of theatre to smaller children.

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Olympia Entertainment and Etico Productions once again present the children’s favorite, If You Give A MouseA Cookiea family production that explores the tasty chain reaction set in motion when a little boy offers acookie to a visiting mouse. This heartwarming stage adaptation, produced by Performance Network Theatre, returns for another run at the City Theatre {inside Hockeytown Cafe in Detroit} on Saturday, June 6 and Sunday, June 7.

Tickets are $19 and are on sale now and can be purchased at OlympiaEntertainment.com, The Fox Theatre and Joe Louis Arena box offices, Hockeytown Authentics in Troy {without service charge} at all Ticketmaster locations and Ticketmaster.com. To charge tickets by phone, call (800) 745-3000. Groups of 10+ receive a discount by calling (313) 471-3099 for more information.

Created and directed by Etico Productions founder John Manfredi, If You Give A Mouse A Cookie is a madcap messy ride through Laura Joffe Numeroff’s best-selling children’s book. Don’t miss this funny heartwarming story about a boy and his energetic, demanding and inquisitive visitor. Michigan’s Etico Productions has been aleader in providing live family entertainment since 2007, including creating the Michigan Premieres of Alexander and the Terrible No Good Very Bad Day and Good Night Moon. Etico has also adapted other If You-stories including; If You Take a Mouse to School and If You Give Pig a Pancake.

The production is produced by the Performance Network, Ann Arbor’s premier professional theater. The theatre is home to award-winning theatre, music and concert events, making it one of Michigan’s most renowned cultural destinations.

Performance schedule:
Saturday, June 6: 11 a.m., 2 p.m. & 5 p.m.
Sunday, June 7: 11 a.m. & 2 p.m.

Purchase tickets –> http://www.olympiaentertainment.com/events/detail/if-you-give-a-mouse-a-cookie-1

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Additional tips:

  • There is parking directly behind City Theatre in the Fox garage on Montcalm. The cost is $15 and is cash only. There are some $10 lots as well, but you will need to walk a few blocks. Here’s a map for parking. {There is no Tigers game this weekend, so parking shouldn’t be too crazy!}
  • The first 100 kids at each performance get a free bag of cookies, compliments of Little Caesars.
  • City Theatre is a small venue, so great for a child’s first show. Seats are not assigned, so for the best seats, arrive early.
  • Hockeytown Cafe has a kid’s menu and is a fun place to eat before/after the show.
  • City Theatre is also across from Comerica Park. If the weather is nice, go check it out! My kids love the big tiger in front. Bring a camera :)

GIVEAWAY

The kind people of Olympia Entertainment have teamed up with me to give one lucky winner a family 4-pack of tickets for one of the performances. Follow the instructions below to enter. Must be a U.S. resident over the age of 18 and willing to drive to Detroit for the show. A winner will be chosen and notified after April 27, 2015.

If You Give A Mouse A Cookie in Detroit

If You Give A Mouse A Cookie

Good luck!

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Imagination Station Toledo: Perfect Day Trip With Kids {+ Ticket Giveaway} ENDS 4/25

Imagination Station Toledo, Ohio

I received tickets for my family and tickets to giveaway in exchange for a post. All opinions expressed are my own.

A place I have always heard fabulous reviews for but hadn’t had the chance to visit yet is the Imagination Station in Toledo, Ohio. So the other day when it was cold and dreary, we decided to road trip and visit! It took us an hour and fifteen minutes to get there from where we are in Howell, and wasn’t a bad drive at all, just straight down US-23.

My kids got the biggest smiles upon our arrival. There was SO much to do, and we didn’t even get to all of it. We are so lucky to have some amazing science centers here in Michigan, but I absolutely loved the unique things offered here and definitely think it was worth the drive. I mean, just look at this place…Definitely designed with kids {small and big} in mind!

Little Kidspace - Imagination Station

First — let’s chat cost — which, to me, is very affordable for what you get to experience. Big kids {ages 13 – 64}: $10, kids {3 – 12}: $8, seniors {65+}: $9, children 2 & under are free. Additionally, both teachers and military are FREE with a valid ID.

With that said, I highly recommend getting a membership. With a few kids, this will pay for itself in a few visits. Best of all, it will get you into PLENTY of other science museums throughout the country for FREE or half off. See reciprocal museum list here {all of my local favorites}! [Read more…]

11 Reasons To Visit Granite City Northville {+ $25 Gift Card Giveaway} ENDS 4/21 #GCNorthville

Granite City Northville

I was invited to attend a blogger preview at Granite City. All opinions expressed are my own.

Last week I had the chance to try the newest Granite City Food & Brewery location in Northville before it opens to the public tomorrow {April 8}. The vibe was electrifying as new staff learned the ropes and eagerly dropped their menu knowledge with our group. I often meet friends for dinner in the area, and cannot wait to add this one to our rotation of fun places to go — both with or without kids.

Here are 11 reasons to visit Granite City Northville {in no particular order}:

1. Location. Super convenient that is not far from 96/275, near Haggerty and 7 Mile Rd. {Two major perks for me: It’s close to both IKEA and a Trader Joe’s!}

2. Good Beer. GC prides itself on its unique patented brewing process, called Fermentus Interruptus, which makes for consistent beer across all of the chain’s 33 locations. I love that they have a variety of unique “two-pull” options, where you can mix beers, or even top with lemonade to change the flavor. Growlers are available for purchase and fill, too.

Food at Granite City Northville

3. Awesome Cocktails. If craft beer isn’t your thing, have no fear. There are plenty of delicious cocktails to choose from, including skinny versions with fewer calories.

4. Scratch-Made Menu Items. It’s absolutely as much about the food as it is the beer here. You have your standard fare of pizzas and burgers, but there also is some really good stuff. My favorites were the braised bison spare ribs, jumbo sea scallops with wild mushroom risotto and the pulled pork waffle sandwich made from corn and jalapeno. Loved the sweet potato tots as a side. See the entire menu, which also features gluten-free items, here.

Granite City Scratch Meals

[Read more…]

Spring Kid Fashion with Carter’s {+ Coupon!} #SpringIntoCarters

#SpringIntoCartersI participated in an Influencer Activation on behalf of Influence Central for Carter’s. I received a complimentary gift card to facilitate my review and thank me for my participation.

Ah, spring! The birds are singing, the sun is shining, and we are so.stinkin.close. to my favorite reason for the season change: New clothes!

I don’t know about you all, but I have about 10 pairs of my girls’ leggings that just need to go…Holes in the knees, paint in the creases, etc. I just can’t let go until we shake these frigid temps for good.

We recently went over to our local Carter’s store for a little shopping. I usually don’t love taking all 3 kids on adventures like this, but I made the exception because Carter’s has LEGOs, which means my girls actually love visiting. They can sit and play while I shop…and I can let them pick out items they would like, because if you have girls — you know how opinionated they can be, even at 2 and 4.

Thankfully, my 2-year-old does the “This looks good – I’ll take it!” approach, so she is fairly easy to shop with. I loved this outfit she picked out. Cute and comfy — totally her style!

Carter's Spring 2015 Toddler Girls

My 4-year-old is especially picky, so I generally have to work with her a bit. If she doesn’t pick it out or approve of it, she simply won’t wear it. {My mom will tell you it’s all my years of being a picky kid/unique dresser coming back to haunt me!} I was delighted we could meet in the middle and find things we both loved. I mean, how cute is this tunic and jegging set? I want it in my size 😉

Carter's Spring 2015 - Girls

For being a shy kid, she LOVES the camera! Or, she’s just used to her crazy blogger mama 😉

[Read more…]

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