Grilling Tips from LongHorn Steakhouse {+ Gift Card Giveaway} ENDS 7/14

This post is sponsored by LongHorn Steakhouse. All opinions expressed are my own.

You guys. When people email me about food, I listen intently. Mention pizza, steak or ribs, and you will really have my attention, which is why I am excited to share some fun tips from LongHorn Steakhouse and offer the chance for one of you to win some fun swag!

Grilling Tips from LongHorn Steakhouse

First the tips, a few of which are totally new to me. I can’t wait to put these to work this summer.

5 Summer Grilling Tips from LongHorn Steakhouse’s Executive Chefs 

  • Boldly season. Don’t be shy when seasoning your steak! Go bold, like we do at LongHorn. For an at-home rub, try “The Big 4” – salt, pepper, granulated onion powder and granulated garlic powder.
  • Sear-in diamond marks. Searing locks in flavor, as well as creates those great grill marks synonymous with summer. Grill your steak for 2-3 minutes on one side, then give it a quarter turn. Flip and repeat.
  • Test for doneness. You can test for doneness two ways. First, with a meat thermometer. Steaks should be at minimum 120-130 degrees if you like it rare, and up to 170 degrees, if you prefer your steak well-done. If you don’t have a meat thermometer, you can estimate doneness with your hand. Start with an open, relaxed palm. Using your other hand, touch the smooth area directly under your thumb. That’s how a rare steak should feel when you touch it with your tongs. Touch your thumb and forefinger; that’s medium. Thumb and middle finger is medium-well and thumb and pinky is well-done.
  • Handle with tongs. Only use tongs to touch your meat. Poking with a fork to rotate or pull it from the grill will let the juices and flavor out.
  • Give it a rest. Make sure you let your steaks and other proteins rest for 2-3 minutes before serving. This will allow the juices to settle back into the meat, resulting in optimal flavor.

[Read more…]

10 Reasons to Visit The Henry Ford and Greenfield Village This Summer {+ Ticket Giveaway ENDS 6/6!}

10 Reasons to Visit The Henry Ford and Greenfield Village This Summer

Nothing screams summer in metro Detroit quite like a visit to The Henry Ford Museum and Greenfield Village. This place is amazing for kids, adults and history lovers alike, and always top of my list when entertaining out-of-town visitors.

I’ve compiled a list of 10 reasons to visit this summer, but believe me — I’ve left off a ton. See the entire calendar of fun here. In the meantime, here’s a few excuses to get you to make the drive to this Dearborn gem!

IMAX Theatre presentation of Secret Ocean 3D {Through Sept. 7} — Jean Michel is the son of ocean pioneer Jacques Cousteau and has been exploring Earth’s oceans for nearly 70 years. His movie gives a breakthrough look at a secret world within the ocean. Spend a rainy day watching this masterpiece and teaching kids more about the mysteries of our ocean. {Tickets range from $9.75-$13.75}

National Get Outdoors Day {June 13} — Join a historic forest ranger in Greenfield Village for a day of one-of-a-kind outdoor activities, including an afternoon nature hike, presentations by our historic forest ranger on horseback, tours of the William Ford Horse Barn and other hands-on activities. {Free with GFV ticket admission}

Tinker Hack Invent

Tinker.Hack.Invent Saturdays {Weekly throughout summer} — Inspire ingenuity in your kids and join the Tinker Task Force to let them have a blast trying your hand at all sorts of things. Hands-on. How-to, DIY, science and more, with a different activities each month. {Free admission with Henry Ford ticket purchase. Some activities may have an extra fee.}

Macy’s 2nd Mondays {2nd Monday of each month} — Introduce your preschool children to the wonders of The Henry Ford — all before nap time. Storytelling, live entertainment and dozens of hands-on activities. During summer, all the events take place in the Village. Monthly themes: June 8 – Liberty Craftworks, July 13 – Summer Celebration, August 10 – All Aboard!, September 14 – Back to School. {Children under 4 are always FREE. All of the special children’s activities are included with admission.} [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 range from $19-$45 and are available at 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.


Into the Wild LIVE with Jack Hanna at The Whiting


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?


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


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!


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 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.


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


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.


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

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.


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, The Fox Theatre and Joe Louis Arena box offices, Hockeytown Authentics in Troy {without service charge} at all Ticketmaster locations and 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 –>


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 :)


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!


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…]

Wall Decal Fun with Katie’s Vinyl Decor {+ Giveaway for $30 Credit! Ends 4/3}

I received my own wall decals exchange for my post. All opinions expressed are my own.

One of my favorite parts of blogging is learning about the amazing businesses out there…and meeting new people! I don’t want to brag, but I think I have the greatest readers ever 😉 I was thrilled when a local gal named Katie reached out to me, and I’m excited to share about her great business today — Katie’s Vinyl Decor, which is based in Roseville, Michigan.

What started out as a hobby last spring has become a real business for Katie and her husband, Carl.  A piece of my heart smiles because Carl is a financial analyst and she is an accountant. {My husband is a CPA and I am truly impressed that both Katie and Carl have the creative side of their brain since I often tease my husband about missing that gene!}

Katie's Vinyl Decor Team

How cute are they?

As Katie told me, “We work with numbers all day and then during the evenings and weekends we get to do the fun creative work.” Love it! Somehow they also raise 3 boys, too. I’m impressed!

Katie’s Vinyl Decor offers wall decals, car decals, etched bakeware and custom clothing. I had a hard time choosing what I wanted to order — there were so many fun things. I love how decals can replace traditional artwork, which can get very expensive. These are a great alternative for filling up some wall space in a beautiful, personalized way. Here are a few of my favorite designs they have, but they have more than 100+ items available:

Katie's Vinyl Decor Examples

The decals are SO simple to install, too. Believe me, if I can do it while taking photos and caring for 3 needy little kids, you can too!

The process was super simple. Let me just say this is one more reason why a library card is the best card in your wallet! I used mine to get the decal to adhere to the wall. I should also note that while the backing is sticky, it’s super easy to move around until you get it in the perfect spot. I loved that I could see what it would look like before I made it stick for good.

Katie's Vinyl Wall Decor Image

Ta-Da! The final product. I love the look of it!

Wall Decal

[Read more…]

Our #PureMichigan Getaway to Stafford’s Crooked River Lodge {+ 2 Night Stay Giveaway! ENDS 3/28}

CRL logo outlined

Last weekend, I had the awesome privilege as a blogger to travel to my happy place — Northern Michigan, specifically to stay and review Stafford’s Crooked River Lodge, located in Alanson. While people looked at me like I had three eyes when I said I was heading to the Petoskey area during winter, I brushed it off knowing the awesomeness in store.

As we drove north, I literally got emotional taking in all the beauty of the snow, the beautiful white birch trees and millions of pines we passed along the way. I just felt a sigh of relief to getaway from all of life’s distraction — even for two nights.

After 3.5 hours in the car, we arrived at our destination. My 4-year-old asked if we were at the North Pole. I couldn’t blame her thinking, it felt like it!

Stafford's Crooked River Lodge

Walking into the lodge was everything we envisioned our Northern Michigan getaway to be: friendly faces, a chandelier made of antlers and a blazing fire inside and out, surrounded by welcoming adirondack chairs. I mean, couldn’t you relax and spend some time here?

Crooked River Lodge 2

Lucky for us, a cancellation meant we were upgraded to the River View Suite. Talk about the SUITE life. It was the most amazing place we’ve ever stayed. A full kitchen, a massive shower to fit our entire family, plenty of beds {sleeps 12!} and even a gorgeous balcony overlooking the river. I told my husband I could easily live here.

River View Suites - Stafford's Crooked River Lodge

I love that all the suites include a kitchen. This is crucial with small children!

[Read more…]

Cinderella 2015: Courage, Kindness and A Whole Lotta Sparkle


I attended a sneak peek of Cinderella. All opinions expressed are my own.

“So this is love, mhm mhmm mhm mhm” rang through my head while I watched the newest Disney film debuting in theaters today: Cinderella. While the song never actually appeared in the film {or much vocal music for that matter}, the classic story was brought to life in a stunning manner, from the England landscape to every detailed costume.

The film followed the Disney animated classic pretty tightly, but did have a few little surprises sprinkled throughout. The mice did not talk {I was SO relieved over this}, but they were pretty adorable and their personalities shown through — even fan favorite chubby Gus Gus.

Lily James was excellent in the role of Cinderella. She was so sugary sweet with her perfect teeth and cool hair, I couldn’t help but fall in love with her myself! The evil stepmother – Cate Blanchett – also rocked the role and her cold hard stares had me shaking in my boots. I was hoping for a tad more depth to Helena Bonham Carter’s role as the Fairy Godmother and narrator, but the brilliant costuming and CGI during her scene made up for it.

The film was visually beautiful and brought some new sparkle to this classic love story. Like literal sparkle…The glass slippers were amazing in Swarovski crystal. Swarovski also provided more than 7 million crystals that were used in costumes and 100 tiaras for the ball scene. “Sparkly” is pretty much the perfect word to describe this film. The film’s scenery also made me want to travel to the countryside of England. Simply gorgeous. [Read more…]

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