Comerica Bank and The Detroit Zoo Seeking Artists for Penguin Contest {Through 2/28}

Comerica Bank

Thought this was a great contest for local students and wanted to share the information I received. I am SO excited for the new Penguin Conservation Center to open — it’s my favorite part of the Detroit Zoo.

Comerica Bank is launching an art contest to help welcome the gentoo penguins to the Detroit Zoo following their debut this month. The contest is open to metro Detroit K-5th graders and runs through Feb. 28.

The contest coincides with Comerica Bank’s $50,000 contribution to the Detroit Zoological Society (DZS) for the new Polk Penguin Conservation Center, slated to open early next year.

A Gentoo Penguin at The Detroit Zoo. Get inspired and create a penguin work of art for a chance to win a great prizes!

A gentoo penguin at The Detroit Zoo. Get inspired and create a penguin work of art for a chance to win a great prizes!

The winner will receive entry to the Detroit Zoo for his/her entire elementary school class to see the new gentoo penguins and participate in a special presentation from a penguin keeper, as well as explore the rest of the Zoo. Comerica will also provide a $1,000 grant to the winner’s elementary school.

Art submissions may be done using pencil or colored pencils, pen, water color, paint, marker, crayon, etc., but must be drawn on an 8.5” x 11” piece of paper.  The use of glitter or 3D paint is not permitted. Students interested in entering can have their parents upload their penguin art through the Penguin Art Contest tab on the Comerica Cares Facebook page.

Entrants must be enrolled in kindergarten through fifth grade at an elementary school in Wayne, Oakland, Macomb, Washtenaw or Livingston counties.

A panel of judges from the Detroit Zoo and Comerica Bank will review all submissions and upload the finalists to Facebook. The public can vote for their favorite entry Tuesday, March 10 through Friday, March 27. The contest winner will be announced Monday, March 30.

For more information and to enter, visit

Best of luck! I only wish my 4-year-old could enter. She’s super into art right now!


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

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


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 😀


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

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.


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

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


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.



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,

Learn more about Comerica by visiting, 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!


#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 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 😀 Hope you all can check out the event!

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


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.


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 😀 Looks like it’s going to be some perfect weather for a fun run, too!


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


  • 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! 😀


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.


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 :)



Guest Postin’ at Visit Detroit

Visit Detroit

Come on over and check out my guest post all about the Detroit Zoo in springtime over at the Visit Detroit blog today! After, be sure to poke around to learn about all kinds of other fun ideas on things to do and see in the Detroit region 😀

Here’s the link to the post:

Visit Detroit Blog Gues Post

Where are your favorite springtime destinations?


Fun In My Hood: Meijer Cereal Party This Saturday, April 20

I was provided with Meijer cereal for the purpose of writing this post.

Meijer Cereal

Photo provided by Meijer

I don’t know about you all, but I love cereal. I lost interest in it for a while, but now that I have kids and it’s always in my house, it is well-loved again {though I eat a bit with unsweetened almond milk these days to save on calories}!

I was excited to be contacted by Meijer to try some of their new cereals. Anyone who tweets with me knows I tweet about Meijer at least once a week because — you guys? It’s my second home. I live less than a mile from one, so it’s my go-to store. The whole family loves shopping there. {TIP! Did you know kids under 12 can get a FREE cookie in the bakery? I know, crazy, right?! Dangerous, but so great when you need some shopping bribery.}

Anyways, if you shop the Meijer cereal aisle, you may have noticed some changes recently. First, Meijer brand cereal has a fresh new look. Second, the Meijer brand cereal line has grown, the number of varieties will nearly double in the coming months including several new non-GMO options.

Through this Saturday, Meijer will be running a 50 percent off sale on Meijer brand cereal. Additionally, Meijer stores will also be hosting in-store cereal parties this Saturday, April 20 from 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Shoppers will be able to sample the new flavors, make cereal crafts and pose for fun photos. Sounds like a fun perk to shopping on a Saturday, right?

Sample flavors:

  • Fiber Complete with Probiotics – A fiber-rich wheat and bran cereal with nine grams of dietary fiber. It includes probiotics to help maintain overall digestive health and pieces of real strawberries, raspberries and blueberries.
  • Multigrain Toasted Oats – This nutritious O-shaped cereal is made with five whole grains and lightly sweetened. It’s perfect for the entire family. {The toddler’s favorite!}
  • Blueberry Muffin Squares – Enjoy the delicious flavor of blueberry muffins that’s sure to please the whole family along with whole grains and 12 vitamins and minerals. {OMG – totally my favorite!}

Thanks to Meijer for sending your delicious cereal my way 😀

Hope you all check out the cereal party Saturday if you happen to be out running errands! Are you a Meijer shopper?


Fun At The Michigan Science Center in Detroit

This past weekend, we packed up and drove to Detroit for a visit to the Michigan Science Center.

After being closed for a year, I was thrilled when I heard they were re-opening last December. This place is SUCH an asset to the region for families looking for fun things to do! I had been once before with Jason to see the Bodies Human exhibit {so cool}, but hadn’t visited yet with the kids.

 Michigan Science Center

As a fan of all things science, I knew I would totally be in heaven, but I wasn’t too sure about my kids — after all, Kinley is just 2 years old and Karina 8 months. Boy, I was wrong to assume they wouldn’t be into it. They both LOVED it. We literally walked in, Kinley saw a truck exhibit, and went nuts. What’s so great about a science center is that it’s encouraged for kids to touch everything. So nice to not have to say “Don’t touch that” for once!

Kinley with hard hat

The gal who checked us in at the front desk told us all about the best spots to take kids that are 2 and under, starting with Kids Town, an area designated for the 5 and under crowd. It was set-up like a little town and was so cute {mini mailboxes, anyone? Adorbs.}. Kinley had a ball trying on all the dress-up clothes, playing on a kid-sized computer, and playing in the pint-sized diner.

Kinley on bike

Even Karina was able to get in on the fun and enjoyed an area specifically designated for her age.

Karina with mirror

After scoping out Kids Town, we walked around to all the neat exhibits, taking everything in. Kinley loved seeing the space shuttles, plasma globe, hot air balloon and more. She ran around until she was exhausted, which always leads to a great nap — and happy parents!

Kinley in Car

Of course, with me trying to get healthy, I was partial to checking out the health and nutrition area, which focused on foods and even had some couch potatoes — perfect for photo ops! {Why I look like I am trying to be nice to these guys is beyond me…I should’ve been giving them an angry fist shake instead ;)}

Couch Potatoes

After we got done walking around to the exhibits, we ended our adventure in the awesome IMAX to see Animalopolis, a cool Dr. Suess-esque movie about animals, geared toward younger children. Kinley was in awe of how big the screen was and both girls behaved like angels the entire time. After, it was fun chatting with Kinley on all the cool animals we saw in the flick. {Let’s just say I had no idea crabs produced so much offspring! That part was creeeeeepy.}

A few alternative things I loved//tips about The Michigan Science Center:

  • Parking. We got there right when they opened, so were able to find a spot right in front of the building. For no cost. So nice!
  • Family bathrooms. These are SO nice when you have multiple diapers to change.
  • Prices at the Cosmic Cafe. Normally when you go to any cool tourist destination, you pay out the eyeballs for food. Everything on the menu was under $4, making it totally affordable for families.
  • Bonus for nursing mamas: Plenty of spots to sit down and feed baby! I had no issue finding seats to feed my littlest gal. I even found an amazingly comfortable chair in Kids Town, and Karina enjoyed her lunch as we watched our IMAX movie.
  • Get there early. We got there right when they opened and loved roaming around without fighting the crowds. By the time we left at 1 p.m., it was starting to fill up.

See my entire album of photos on my Facebook page here or check out #VisitMiScience on Twitter to see what others saw.

More information about pricing, special exhibits, and hours here.

I was part of a paid TweetTeam™  that tweeted about our adventure and was given complimentary entry passes, however, this post was written just because we had such a great time and was not part of my compensation. All opinions expressed belong to me.

Have you been to the Michigan Science Center since it reopened? What are you waiting for? Plan a trip today and let’s keep this amazing spot in business!


“Make the Play” for a Healthier Michigan Video Contest

How fitting that I was just announced as a Shaklee 180™ blogger yesterday on my Facebook page {more to come about this in the weeks ahead!} when I was planning to post this information.

Obviously, health is something that matters to me. But ya’ll? This is a recent realization for me. I am trying to change the way I perceive food and fitness — not for me, but for the sake of my kids. They deserve me healthy.

I’m excited this contest from Blue Cross Blue Shield has come back around for the second year because it’s so fab! I love that it empowers kids to talk about health, and in return, rewards them for their efforts.

Check out the information that follows, and I hope if you have a child in grades 4-8, you encourage them to enter!


“Make the Play” for a Healthier Michigan Video Contest

From the press release:

Michigan has an estimated 400,000 obese or overweight children, which is why Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan is kicking off the second year of “Make the Play for Healthy Habits,” a video contest that challenges kids in grades 4-8 to answer the following question “What would you do to make Michigan healthier for yourself, your family or your classmates?”

Video submissions are being accepted Jan. 30 – March 29. In April, 10 semi-finalists will be selected and notified and their video submissions will be posted on for a two-week public voting period. The winner will be announced in early May.

The winner of the contest gets a special school assembly with Detroit Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford this spring and will get to star as a host of his/her own healthy lifestyle video blog series on

 Make the Play for a Healthier Michigan Video Contest

Detroit Lions QB Matthew Stafford with last year’s winner, Hailey Samples

Video submissions should be no more than two minutes long.  They should creatively answer the question “What would you do to make Michigan healthier?” and include the student’s perspective on how themselves, their family, teachers and classmates can live a healthier life.  Students should explain how they would communicate healthy lifestyle choices with their families and fellow students.

Students can submit a video using any digital recording device using an MP3 format, such as a smartphone, iPad, Flip video or webcam or they can upload a video via YouTube. For more information, please visit

Students, grades four through eight, must be enrolled in an accredited public or private learning institution within Michigan to participate.

According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), childhood obesity has both immediate and long-term effects on health and well-being.  The CDC also reports that 14.2 percent of Michigan adolescents in grades nine through 12 are overweight, while 11.9 percent are obese. In children ages two to five years, 16.3 percent are overweight and 13.3 percent are obese.

How do you encourage your kids to be healthy?


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