March Is Reading Month With Hudsonville Ice Cream

Reading Month with Hudsonville Ice Cream

I am the type of person that has tons of interests and passions…But there’s two that trump almost all of them: literacy and ice cream!

Therefore when I was contacted about March Is Reading Month With Hudsonville Ice Cream, I jumped at the chance to share this fun program with all of you.

Here’s the scoop:

Visit the Hudsonville website and download both the reading instructions and the reading calendar, which will be your way to enter for a chance to win great prizes at the end of the month. Copies of the instructions and calendar can be found here.

The grand prize is ice cream for a YEAR! Other awesome prizes outlined below.

{P.S. You guys. Hudsonville is by far the BEST ice cream ever. I’ve even gotten my hubby addicted!}

Reading Month With Hudsonville IC

Have questions? Contact socialmedia@hudsonvilleicecream.com.

Will you be doing anything fun to celebrate reading month? Please share!

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Free Books for Michigan Students from Michigan Friends of Education

I posted about this awesome program on my Facebook page awhile back, but am excited to share the details on how local families can receive FREE books thanks to Michigan Friends of Education. Such an amazing program :D

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Michigan Friends of Education (MFE) is a nonprofit organization dedicated to helping the community, especially for Michigan families who cannot afford to buy books for their children. The new book program makes it possible for families to get books for FREE. MFE believes that every child deserves an opportunity to learn, grow and fulfill their dreams. Therefore, this program is focused towards helping kids who struggle with reading or want to improve their reading skills.

“We worked closely with a variety of publishers and booksellers to make this program available to Michigan families,” said Menachem Kniespeck, president  & CEO of MFE. “The response from families has been overwhelmingly positive. Our volunteers are working extra shifts to quickly get books into the hands of thousands of kids.”

How To Get Books For FREE From MFEfamily.org

Families may select as many as 14 books per order for free. The only cost is shipping charges along with a handling fee of just $2. The shipping cost depends upon the total weight of books, packaging and package size.

Who Is Eligible For The Program?

All Michigan is eligible for this program. There are no income qualifications; however, families grappling with household finances, or those who have struggling school-aged readers, are encouraged to visit the site.

What Kinds Of Books Are Available?

The free book program has a mix of chapter books, leveled-readers, study aids, and activity books at all grade levels. The inventory changes frequently as new books arrive on a regular basis.

Donations

Those wishing to make a contribution towards the Michigan community and make the future better for the kids can visit the website.

For more information about Michigan Friends of Education, visit www.mfefamily.org.

How cool is this program? Hope some of you are able to take advantage!

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Free Admission to Michigan Science Center on 12/26 Courtesy of Comerica Bank

If you’re off this week and looking for something fun to do the day after Christmas, I have some great information to share for families in the metro Detroit area — there will be free admission to Michigan Science Center thanks to Comerica Bank!

If you’re not familiar with how AWESOME the Michigan Science Center is for all ages, you can check out this post about my visit back in March. Check out the release below for the FREE fun and see more December events here.

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MICHIGAN SCIENCE CENTER PARTNERS WITH COMERICA BANK TO PROVIDE FREE ADMISSION ON MUSEUM’S FIRST BIRTHDAY 

First birthdays are always special and thanks to Comerica Bank, the public is receiving a special gift – free admission to the Michigan Science Center (Mi•Sci) on Dec. 26, 2013, the museum’s first birthday. To celebrate the Science Center’s first year of success, fun birthday events, including a community cake, games and a gigantic card signing, will be part of Mi•Sci’s extended holiday hours of 9 a.m.-5 p.m. The first 200 guests also will receive a free piggy bank, compliments of Comerica Bank.

Along with the many interactive activities the museum regularly offers, visitors can enjoy engaging Comerica-sponsored math games and experiments throughout the day, including pattern block and Unix cube art projects in Kids Town (for ages 5 and under), traveling magic numbers with graphing and measurement experiments in the museum’s Centennial Laboratory.

In 2013, Mi•Sci achieved many successes including serving more than 150,000 visitors and families, operating debt-free, re-energizing science education in metro Detroit and expanding science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) outreach throughout Michigan and beyond. The museum has made great strides in upholding its mission to inspire children and their families to discover, explore and appreciate STEM in a creative, dynamic learning environment and plans to make an even greater impact in 2014 and years to come.

Holiday Hours

Mi•Sci will be open with extended hours during the holidays.

  • Dec. 23, 26, 27 and 30: 9 a.m.-5 p.m.
  • Jan. 1: Closed
  • Jan. 2-3: 9 a.m.-5 p.m.

The Michigan Science Center is a hands-on museum that inspires children and their families to discover, explore and appreciate science, technology, engineering and math (STEM). The Science Center features five theaters, including Michigan’s largest screen at the Chrysler IMAX® Dome Theatre; the Dassault Systèmes Planetarium; the Toyota Engineering Theater; the DTE Energy Sparks Theater; the Chrysler Science Stage; a 9,800 square-foot Science Hall for traveling exhibits; hands-on exhibit galleries focusing on space, life and physical science; Kids Town just for pint-size scientists; and education and outreach programs.

For more information, please call 313.577.8400 or visit the website, http://www.michigansciencecenter.org.

Learn more about Comerica by visiting www.facebook.com/ComericaCares, or follow on Twitter at @ComericaCares.

Comerica Bank

What family fun things to you have planned for the week? I hope you all have a wonderful Christmas!

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#Detroit Fun: FREE Annual Bat Festival In Southfield 9/28/13

I have a fascination with bats. As much as they look creepy, I also think they are one of the coolest animals out there. We have woods in our backyard, so I love watching the bats come and go in the evenings. I love them also because they help keep mosquitos away!

Bat Festival in SouthfieldPhotos provided by the Organization for Bat Conservation

I thought the upcoming FREE bat festival in Southfield outlined below sounded like such a cool event for families. My nearly 3 year old is currently obsessed with all things science and nature. Unfortunately, we won’t be in town, but this event sounds like such a cool way to spend a Saturday.

Here’s the scoop from press materials:

The 12th Annual Great Lakes Bat Festival will be held on Saturday, Sept. 28, 2013. This free event will be held at the Southfield Pavilion in Southfield, Michigan from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. The festival drew 2,000 attendees in 2012 and is expected to attract 3,000 attendees this year.

The festival celebrates the unique role of bats in the Great Lakes ecosystem while dispelling myths and misinformation that generate needless fears and threaten bats and their habitats around the world. The goal of the festival is to help people discover the importance and uniqueness of bats in a fun and interactive environment.

Attendees will have the opportunity to:

  • Build bat houses for our national forests as part of National Public Lands Day
  • Meet a life-size Stellaluna
  • See live bats from around the world including giant flying fox and vampires
  • Watch birds of prey programs
  • Be a Bat Scientist with bat expert Tim Carter (Ball State University)
  • Explore the “Bat Cave”
  • Participate in nature-themed educational exhibits and bat-themed activities
  • Purchase signed copies of new children’s book, Bats A to Z

The event is for all ages and is free thanks in part to sponsorships from Spirit of Alexandria, Critter Catchers and DTE Energy Foundation.

For more information about the festival, visit the Organization for Bat Conservation’s website at www.batconservation.org or Facebook page or call (248) 645-3232.

Bat Festival in Southfield2

Seriously…how cool does that sound?! And it’s FREE!

Here are some other factoids I learned about bats from the Organization for Bat Conservation folks:

  • Bats are NOT blind
  • Bats are NOT aggressive
  • There are more than 1,100 species of bats worldwide, living everywhere except Antarctica
  • A single bat can eat 2,000 to 6,000 insects at night {YAY!}
  • Many species have ultrasonic sonar capabilities, which they use to navigate and catch insects in total darkness.

There you have it, friends…MANY reasons to love bats :D Hope you all can check out the event!

What cool family-friendly events have you discovered lately? Keep me in the loop!

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Run or Dye in Hazel Park This Saturday

Run or Dye Detroit

Disclosure: I was provided with free entry in exchange for promoting this race.

Who is excited about the Run or Dye race happening in Hazel Park on this Saturday?! It is going to be a grand ole time!

There are still some spots left, but they are filling up FAST. If you are interested, I highly recommend registering HERE quickly.

I am very excited to see many familiar faces and run my 4th race {wow, that sounds crazy!}. No worries if you’re not a hardcore runner, this is just for FUN.

DISCOUNT CODE

From what I am seeing, the $10 off coupon code is still working! Just enter RACEORDYE at checkout. Additionally, feel free to join our “Michigan Bloggers United” team to save even more. Please note prices have gone up since my original post, which is why it’s important to register in advance when possible.

Lace up those sneakers and see you on Saturday :D Looks like it’s going to be some perfect weather for a fun run, too!

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Calling All Young Entrepreneurs: Lemonade Day Detroit is Looking for You!

Lemonade Day Detroit

When I am garage saling, which is almost every week these days, there is almost always at least one lemonade stand. I am always sure to stop and give a little more than the kids are asking. I’ve had to suck down some pretty sugary-sweet lemonade, but seeing the look on the kid’s faces when I say I want to buy is absolutely priceless. They work so hard to earn that money and please their customers. I only wish every time I bought something from someone I was greeted with that enthusiasm!

One event I have supported virtually the past few years is Lemonade Day {Detroit/Michigan}. This awesome, FREE event aims to teach youth entrepreneurial skills while having fun, too. Youth participating in Michigan will be selling lemonade on June 8, 2013, so be sure to stop by and support them while out.

What exactly is Lemonade Day?

Each child that registers here receives a FREE backpack with an Entrepreneur Workbook that teaches them the 14 lessons of Lemonade Day like creating budgets, setting profit-making goals, serving customers, repaying investors and giving back to the community. Along the way, they acquire skills in goal-setting, problem solving, and gain self-esteem critical for future success. They keep all the money they make and are encouraged to spend some, save some and share some.

Art Van locations across metro Detroit, Ann Arbor and Flint will be backpack pickup locations. Find the location nearest you here.

What do kids learn by participating?

 Financial Literacy & Economics

  • capital equipment & consumables
  • supply & demand
  • credit, debt, gross & net income
  • marginal utility
  • return on investment
  • compound interest

College Readiness & Career

  • critical thinking & collaboration
  • interest in attending college
  • civic responsibility
  • customer service
  • teamwork & problem solving
  • presentation skills & design
Life Skills/Personal Development

  • leadership
  • belief that attaining goals is within reach
  • personal productivity
  • self-direction & time management
  • social responsibility & charity
  • high order thinking
  • social skills & self confidence

Academics

  • math calculations
  • reading & interpreting data
  • oral & written communication

How fabulous is that?

Read this story of one local boy from last year and his lemonade stand creation – the AwesomeAde Depot. {Check out the $ he raked in…Super impressive!}

Find out more and register your child by visiting the Lemonade Day Detroit website. If you are not local to Detroit, there are links to the national site as well.

Follow Lemonade Day Detroit on Facebook | Twitter

Be sure to make a child’s day by supporting their lemonade stand on June 8th. See you around the neighborhood! :D

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90+ Places for Outdoor Activities in Southeast Michigan

Outdoor Activities in Southeast Michigan

Is there anything better than summer in Michigan? I certainly don’t think so! I have a lot of love for all the seasons my home state offers, but nothing gets me more excited than spending the summer by water and relaxing around a bonfire at the end of the night.

I decided to come up with another BIG list of places for outdoor activities in Southeast Michigan. This is not sponsored by anyone, and none of the links you will click pay me. This is truly just meant to be a resource for you all, and of course myself, too! :D

Since I live smack dab in the middle of the southeast section of the mitten, this list has places to go in the Ann Arbor, Detroit, Flint and Lansing areas.

Plan an adventure today and enjoy the beautiful summer ahead!

*Please note: Many of the public pools and splash pads do not open until Memorial Day.*

GENESEE

For-Mar Nature Preserve & Arboretum {Burton}

Auto City Speedway {Clio}

Heavenly Scent Herb Farm {Fenton}

Heavenly Scent Herb Farm

Heavenly Scent Herb Farm store on the garden grounds

Spicer Orchards with Playground {Fenton}

Flint Farmer’s Market

Bluebell Beach and Splash Pad Spray Ground {Genesee Township//Flint}

Creasey Bicentennial Park & Splash Pad {Grand Blanc}

US-23 Drive-In Theater {Flint}

Crosssroads Village, Huckleberry Railroad and the Genesee Belle {Flint}

Linden County Park on Clover Beach with Playscape and Trail {Linden}

INGHAM

Lake Lansing Park {Haslett}

Burchfield Park – Beach and canoe rentals {Holt}

Family Aquatic Center with Splash Park {East Lansing}

W.J. Beal Botanical Garden {East Lansing, MSU’s campus} Make sure to visit the MSU Dairy Store too!

4-H Children’s Gardens {East Lansing}

Cooley Gardens {East Lansing}

Lansing City Market

Lansing River Trail

Baldwin Park {Lansing}

Cheer on the Lansing Lugnuts

Potter Park Zoo {Lansing}

Potter Park Zoo

Kinley having fun at Potter Park Zoo

Fenner Nature Center {Lansing}

Hawk Island County Park with a Splash Pad {Lansing}

Woldumar Nature Center {Lansing}

Livingston
Brighton Recreation Area and Bishop Lake

Brighton Mill Pond and Imagination Station Playground

Island Lake Recreation Area {Brighton}

Hell Canoe & Kayak Rental & Screams Ice Cream {Hell}

Brighton Recreation Area Riding Stables {actually in Howell}

Howell City Park at Thompson Lake with Beach

Genoa Township Park, Fields and Trail {Howell}

Howell Nature Center

Howell Nature Center

Howell Nature Center entrance

Lakeland Trails State Park {Pinckney}

Pinckney Recreation Area

DeGroot’s Strawberry U-Pick {Gregory}

Hazen’s Farm for U-Pick {Howell}

MACOMB

Partridge Creek with Fountain and Play Structure {Clinton Township}

George George Memorial Park {Clinton Township}

St. Clair Shores Metro Beach Squirt Zone {Harrison Township}

Westview Orchards and Adventure Farm {Romeo}

CJ Barrymore’s {Clinton Township}

Stony Creek Metropark {Shelby}

Metro Beach {Mt. Clemens}

Freedom Hill County Park {Sterling Heights}

Macomb Orchard Trail {Sterling Heights}

OAKLAND

Cranbrook Gardens {Bloomfield Hills}

Spraypark at Clintonwood {Clarkston}

Hazel Park Raceway

Holly State Recreation Area

Friendship Woods & Nature Center {Madison Heights}

Red Oaks Water Park {Madison Heights}

Kensington Metropark with Splash & Blast {Milford}

Heavner’s Canoe/Kayak Rental {Milford}

Biking on the Milford Trail

Bald Mountain Recreation Area {Lake Orion}

Clinton River Trail {Through Oakland County}

Seymour Lake Park and Splash Pad {Oxford}

Upland Hills Farm {Oxford}

Paint Creek Trail {Rochester}

Yates Cider Mill – Ice Cream, Trail & Petting Farm {Rochester}

Meadow Brook Hall and Gardens {Rochester}

Meadow Brook Hall

Meadow Brook Hall

Detroit Zoo {Royal Oak}

Troy Family Aquatics Center

Waterford Oaks Waterpark {Waterford}

Indian Springs Metropark with Spray N’ Play Area {White Lake}

West Bloomfield Trail

WASHTENAW

Domino’s Petting Farm {Ann Arbor}

Nichols Arboretum // Matthaei Botanical Gardens {Ann Arbor}

Delhi Metropark {Ann Arbor}

Leslie Science and Nature Center {Ann Arbor}

Gallup Park and Canoe Livery {Ann Arbor}

Buhr Pakr and Outdoor Pool {Ann Arbor}

Fuller Park Pool {Ann Arbor}

Veteran’s Memorial Park Pool {Ann Arbor}

Turtle Cove Family Aquatic Center and Water Park {Belleville}

Hudson Mills Metropark {Dexter}

Dexter-Huron Metropark

Putterz Golf & Games {Ypsilanti}

Rolling Hills Water Park {Ypsilanti}

Rowe’s Produce Farm for U-Pick {Ypsilanti}

Independence Lake Park and Spray Play {Whitmore Lake}

WAYNE

Heritage Park Splash Pad {Canton}

Flodin Splash Park {Canton}

Greenfield Village {Dearborn}

Ford Drive-In Theater {Dearborn}

Belle Isle Park {Detroit}

Family Aquatic Center at Chandler Park {Detroit}

Comerica Park to cheer on the Tigers {Detroit}

Detroit Princess Riverboat

Diamond Jacks River Tours {Detroit}

Eastern Market {Detroit}

Riverwalk//Dequindre Cut {Detroit}

Wheelhouse Detroit

Edsel & Eleanor Ford House – Gardens {Grosse Pointe}

Ford House

Some of the gardens at Ford House

Maybury State Park - Hiking/Biking Trails, Riding Stable and Farm {Northville}

Heritage Park Petting Farm {Taylor}

Northwest Park Pool {Taylor}

Midway Sports & Entertainment {Taylor}

H20 Zone Spray Ground {Westland}

RE-PIN HERE!

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Where are your favorite spots around SE Michigan for enjoying the great outdoors?

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Detroit: Win Justin Timberlake + Jay-Z Tix From Ellen on Local 4 #Ellen4Justin

Disclosure: I was selected for this sponsored post by the company I work for, Hay There Social Media. All opinions expressed are my own.

I’ve talked about Ellen before here…and as I’ve said, I LOVE her. She does such great things for this world and is so kind-hearted — qualities that seem to be missing from a lot of celebs.

Plus, she invented koala-ing. Not sure what that means? See here. I seriously may need to try this tactic on someone very soon…

…someone like…Justin Timberlake! I’ll be the first to admit, I was never a fan of N*Sync, or any boy bands for that matter. Heck, I wasn’t even a JT fan until he went solo. It took me a long time to admit it, but ladies? He’s hot and the boy can sing to boot. Plus, after seeing him in The Social Network, I have to say his acting skills {and social media skills!} are decent, too.

Anyways, the reason I am posting today is because I am excited to say The Ellen Show is working with Local 4 News to give away a pair of tickets to the SOLD OUT Justin Timberlake and Jay-Z show, coming to Ford Field on Aug. 6. How fun would that be? If you won, you could even say “I got 99 problems, but tickets ain’t one” – Jay-Z style. ;)

Win with Ellen on Local4

All you have to do is visit HERE for the full details. To find out who won the tickets, you will want to tune into The Ellen Show the week of May 6th because that’s when the winner will be announced. In fact, you’ll want to continue to watch her for the entire month of May because some great guests are lined up. I know in our house, we’re always ready to laugh and dance with her, too. Don’t forget — she comes on Local 4 at 3 p.m. Monday – Friday in the Detroit market, so be sure to tune in.

TWITTER PARTY THIS WEDNESDAY!

In addition to trying to win tickets to the show, join me {@laurenweber84} and @emilyahay this Wednesday, May 1, 2013 from 8-9 p.m. for a Twitter party using the hashtag #Ellen4Justin. No need to RSVP; all are welcome. We’ll be giving away LOTS of swag and prizes from The Ellen Show and hope you’ll join us!

Tweet ya later :)

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