Sesame Street Live’s “Make A New Friend” Now LIVE in Detroit Through 2/16/15 {Review + Tips!}

Sesame Street Live Sign

I received complimentary tickets to Sesame Street Live in exchange for promoting the show. All opinions expressed are my own.

The team behind Sesame Street Live has done it again — they have created a show that not only brings out the beautiful joy of childhood wonder, but they’ve added some stuff for us adults, too.

Each year I patiently await the arrival of Sesame Street Live at The Fox Theatre in Detroit. It has been a tradition of ours since my oldest was born and it has yet to disappoint. I was extra excited to take my 2-year-old this year since I figured she may get into it quite a bit. I was right — she went nuts when Elmo made an appearance and danced and clapped like crazy during many of the scenes.

Sesame Street Live - ABCs

The show incorporates letters and numbers, in true Sesame Street fashion

SHOW DESCRIPTION

No matter where you’re from or where you’ve been, everyone is special – so join in! Elmo, Grover, Abby Cadabby, and their Sesame Street friends welcome Chamki, Grover’s friend from India, to Sesame Street. Together, they explore the universal fun of friendship and celebrate cultural similarities, from singing and dancing, to sharing cookies. Join the fun and make a memory with your friends and family!

Sesame Street Live - Cookie

Chamki sharing Biskuts from India with Cookie Monster

Each performance is 90 minutes of singing, dancing and audience participation, including a 15-minute intermission. The perfect length for very young children! [Read more…]

Castaway Play: Indoor Fun in Southeast Michigan {+ Giveaway ENDS 1/30}

Castaway PlayI received free admission to Castaway Play in exchange for a review. The opinions expressed are my own.

I’m hearing it in all the mom circles: Those of us with little ones are starting to get stir crazy. So what to do when temps are dipping, and your kid has endless energy?

Enter Castaway Play, dubbed a Family Entertainment Destination. And, entertaining it is!

Castaway Play is a short distance off the M-59 exit {from I-96}, right up the road from the Tanger Outlets in Howell, Mich. {Also, across from the Livingston Antique Outlet — one of my favorite places to visit when I can shop solo!}

We visited last Sunday after stewing over where we wanted to go for some time. We needed out of the house – period – and the kids needed to burn some energy. Castaway Play was exactly what we needed.

The location has been in Howell for quite some time, but there were awesome improvements we saw versus the last time we visited. We arrived right when they opened {which is 11 a.m. on Sundays} and were greeted by the friendly staff. We signed a waiver, and off we went to explore and play.

Castaway Play Entry

There were lots of tables where we could place our things, so we claimed a space of our own with no troubles. My kids immediately got the biggest grins on their faces and started climbing into all the structures.

Castaway Play StructureThe thing I noticed first? Big, comfy leather couches surrounding the perimeter — perfect for parents to relax while the kiddos play. These were amazing as a nursing mama! So nice to be super comfortable while feeding my baby.

Michigan's Largest Play Structure - Castaway Play

Michigan’s largest indoor structure, complete with 5 levels of soft play!

[Read more…]

SEA LIFE Michigan Aquarium Grand Opening January 29 + Family Fun Giveaway {ENDS 1/24} #SEALIFEMI

SEA LIFE Michigan Aquarium

I am a SEA LIFE Michigan Aquarium Parent Ambassador and will be receiving an exclusive first look at events leading up to the attraction’s grand opening and complimentary tickets. All opinions expressed are my own.

Really exciting news, ya’ll: the SEA LIFE Michigan Aquarium grand opening is opening January 29, 2015 at noon, and I have the scoop on the latest activity.

On Thursday, the 35,000-square-foot aquarium in Great Lakes Crossing Outlets in Auburn Hills, Mich., welcomed one Nurse shark, three Blacknose sharks and two Bonnethead sharks to their new home, along with the enthusiastic winners of the Young Environmentalist contest—aged 8 to 12—standing by to cheer them on.

SEA LIFE Michigan Sharks3

The creatures arrived in a transport truck, and after some testing and preparation, were rushed inside via stretchers by trained aquarists. The sharks were then placed into a small, connected acclimation tank before swimming off into the main ocean tank. A crew continuously checked water parameters at regular intervals, looking at ammonia levels, oxygen, temperature and pH, and curator Lucy Handel was there to help as well.

Many of the other creatures, including Moray eels, seahorses and stingray, have already been delivered to the aquarium, with the remaining inhabitants arriving within the next week, allowing them time to settle in before the attraction opens.

SEA LIFE MIchigan Sharks2

SEA LIFE Michigan Aquarium will feature 22 tanks in highly themed, engaging exhibits, including a 180-degree ocean tunnel and interactive touchpools. SEA LIFE’s conservation messaging will be included throughout, inspiring guests to take an active role in protecting the world’s oceans and sea creatures. [Read more…]

Get Whiter Teeth in 2015 with a SmileBrilliant Teeth Whitening System {+Giveaway!}

The post below is sponsored by SmileBrilliant. I received a kit for review. All opinions expressed are my own {and my husbands}!

Win A SmileBrilliant Teeth Whitening System

We all have our goals for 2015, right? One of mine is to eat less processed foods and shake this post-baby jiggle once and for all. Also, I’d like to incorporate more self-care such as relaxing baths on occasion. It’s the little things that can make a big difference in our lives.

Additionally, my husband and I are trying to get healthier with better food choices and more exercise. I begged him to start running with me a few years ago, and not only did he complete a half marathon within a year’s timeframe, but he’s on track to do another one this spring. Nothing sexier than a man who takes care of himself!

So when I received the opportunity from SmileBrilliant to review their teeth whitening system, I let him have a shot at it. I’ve whitened my teeth in the past, so was curious to see about his experience.

SmileBrilliant Kit

SmileBrilliant makes it SO simple, and best of all — affordable! It’s the exact process I went through at the dentist, but a fraction of the cost {$119.95 versus the $500 I spent}.

The process begins by creating a custom fitted tray — all from the comfort of your own home. My husband followed the exact directions and thought it was a very simple process.

He took an impression of his teeth and then sent it back to the company in an envelope they provided. A week later, his whitening trays arrived. Easy peasy! I was amazed at how quick it was. Sure beats carving out time to go to the dentist!

SmileBrilliant Impressions

From there, he was able to whiten his teeth and follow it up with the desensitizing paste. He wore the trays for about 30 minutes at a time, several times, until he achieved the shade he wanted. Since his teeth were coffee-stained, it took a few times, but he still has whitening gel leftover, so maintenance moving forward should be relatively easy. He wore them about 8-10 times {unfortunately not right in a row as suggested since things kept popping up}, until he received the perfect shade. [Read more…]

Michigan Product for Families: The Green Glove Dryer {+ Giveaway ENDS 12/22}

The Green Glove Dryer Giveaway
The post below is sponsored by the Green Glove Dryer. All opinion expressed are my own.

Every once in awhile a product catches my eye as something I never knew I needed until I saw it. One such product is The Green Glove Dryer, made by a Michigan mom who was searching for a greener way to dry her boy’s winter gear after playing in the snow.

Mompreneur Karen Smoots invented the Green Glove Dryer out of necessity after feeling like drying her kid’s gloves was an endless task.  After years of attempting to dry them in the dryer or over a heat register trying to prop them up, or turn them inside out {only to wake up the next morning and they had fallen over} was frustrating to say the least.

The dryer is a non-electric glove or mitten drying solution that is placed directly over a floor register or leaned against a baseboard register. When your heat turns on, it captures it and forces it up to top of the mitten, drying it from the inside out. The dryer does not use any electricity other than your furnace running, which would be doing so already. This saves homeowners money on energy costs by not having to utilize a dryer and allows you to leave your home or go to sleep at night without the fear of any fire hazards. Best of all, you will wake up or return with dry, warm gloves or mittens.
 The Green Glove Dryer

The Green Glove Dryer in action. Works perfect, even for drying little boots!

10 Children’s Books by Michigan Authors Every Kid Needs {+ Giveaway with Bucket Fillers Inc. ENDS 12/18}

10 Children's Books by Michigan Authors

Amazon affiliate links used below. When you purchase items from these links, you support my blog {and the author too!}.

One super simple way to support our state is by purchasing books written by local authors. As a mama who is passionate about early literacy, I am constantly looking for fun books to read to my minions. Lucky for me, we have a pool of insanely talented authors right here in our home state.

These are 10 books I think every infant and young child needs to start their Michigan library. These would all make fantastic presents this holiday season ;)

Baby’s Bucket Book by Carol McCloud, illustrated by Glenn Zimmer — This colorful, rhyming board book starts the process of teaching infants that they each have their very own invisible bucket. The book illustrates how happy a little one is with a bucket full of love and light and how sad when something causes that love and light to disappear. You’ll quickly see that the love and light in a baby’s bucket is the joyous result of simple, caring interactions that fulfill a baby’s essential needs for security, love, belonging, independence and fun. {This is my new must-give for showers to start baby’s library!}

See a past review of some of my other favorites from Bucket Fillers Inc. including Bucketfilling from A to Z and Have You Filled A Bucket Today? These are excellent books for kids of all ages!

Baby's Bucket Book

Daisy and Josephine by Melissa Gilbert {you may know her from Little House on the Prairie. She lives in Michigan!} — Everyone has a favorite person, and Daddy is Daisy’s. But when the two of them are on the road for Daddy’s work, Daisy sometimes feels lonely. So Daddy gets Daisy a surprise: a puppy named Josephine. This charming story of an unlikely friendship, based on actress and New York Times bestselling author Melissa Gilbert’s own childhood and her very own French bull dog named Josephine is one that everyone can relate to. {We adore this book!}

Daisy and Josephine

A Moose in the Basement by James Miller and Leslie Kelly – Take a tour of Willoughby’s home full of wild animals. You’ll have fun exploring with Willoughby as he shows you animals you may or may not know exist. {My daughters also both love A Spider Lives In My Belly and A Monstorous Smile by the authors, too! Our copies are very well loved.}

A Moose in the Basement

Who I Am, Not What I Am! by Tara Michener — Janelle is a fun girl who discovers the secret to happiness is loving herself for who she is, not for fitting into what others want her to be. Join her on her adventure as she learns that true beauty comes from who she is not what she is. {Such great lessons to be learned here, and we love the colorful illustrations! Check out Tara’s other books for pre-teens too.}

Who I am, Not What I am [Read more…]

Michigan Goodies Flash Giveaway! {Ends 12/12}

I am very thankful for all of you, so when I was out shopping local the other day, I thought it would be fun to shop for one of you. Thank you for reading. It means the world to my family and I!

To celebrate the season, I am awarding one lucky reader a prize pack full of goodies from some of my favorite businesses, all purchased from Heart of Michigan, one of my favorite local shops in Howell, Michigan.

Michigan Goodies Giveaway

Here’s what’s inside:

  • A bag of Better Made Barbecue Chips
  • Williams Cheddar & Smokey Bacon Dip
  • Sanders Hot Fudge
  • Sayklly’s Fudge and salt water taffy
  • Heart of Michigan Toasted Coconut coffee
  • Fireside Coffee Coconut Creme instant coffee
  • I {heart} Michigan magnet
  • Finnish Family Bath Products – black cherry lip balm and mini Michigan goat soap in lavender

Either keep it for yourself or send to a friend in need of some Michigan loving!

Must be a Michigan resident to win. Ages 18+ only. Contest ends Dec. 12 at midnight.

Good luck!

P.S. I am testing the new giveaway tool below. It may need a second to load. Please let me know if you have any troubles or if you like it!

Michigan Goodies Giveaway

What are your favorite Michigan made items? Tell me in the comments and I will try to work with them for a future giveaway!

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Shop Small and Local With Erin’s Headbandz for Cute Winter Gear {+ Giveaway ENDS 12/12}

The first place I look when shopping for presents is through my friend’s list. I am incredibly lucky and have many friends that make the coolest stuff ever! I am thankful for well-marketed days like today’s Small Business Saturday to have the opportunity to highlight a fellow momprenuer.

One of my best girlfriends, Erin, is a crafty knitting mama and makes a ton of adorable hats and headbands with her side business Erin’s Headbandz. As a mom to four little ones and a labor and delivery nurse, I have no clue where she finds the time, but she has always love creating things.

She has made me a ton of cute things through the years. Most recently, she made Kinley {below} a Monsters Inc. Mike Wazowski hat and Kin is obsessed with it. She always gets a ton of compliments when wearing it out in public. Check out some of her other adorable creations:

Erin's Headbandz

Erin can make everything from flowery headbands to Elsa and Anna {or other Disney-inspired princesses}, Spiderman and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. Just message her on her Facebook page to place an order. Headbands are just $15 and hats are $20. Super affordable and perfect for all on your Christmas list! [Read more…]

Michigan Gift Ideas for Busy Moms {+ Giveaway for Meijer Gift Cards!}

bcbsm-logo

The post below is sponsored by Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan. All opinions expressed are my own.

One of my favorite local corporate blogs is aHealthierMichigan.org from Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan. The writers and social team publish GREAT content, and I often find myself clicking on their links to learn more about the latest and greatest in the health world, including recipes, tips, and more.

So when I was approached about publishing their gift guide featuring Michigan-inspired retailers, services and products, I knew it would be good stuff, and of course, a fab fit for this blog.

Blue Cross Blue Shield is my family’s insurance provider. Little did I know that I could get discounts with the Healthy Blue Xtras program. I am ecstatic to find this out, especially since supporting Michigan businesses is a passion of mine. Pair that with saving money, and I’m smitten!

You can visit the website to access more than $7,000 in exclusive discounts and offers on a ton of healthy products and services like food, fitness, recreation and much more.

Healthy Blues Extras

A few of my favorite discounts available that would be perfect for busy moms:

[Read more…]

Win A VIP Experience at America’s Thanksgiving Parade in Detroit from Absopure {Giveaway ENDS 11/24} #DetroitParade

Absopure Giveaway

There are few traditions as deeply rooted in Michigan as America’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in Detroit.

As a little girl, I have fond memories of waking up each Thanksgiving morning to watch the parade, getting excited as I saw a floating Elmo or Big Bird go by, and anxiously awaiting the arrival of the big man in red.

As a teenager, I attended the parade on a few occasions and always had a blast watching the floats, interacting with the fun clowns, and nabbing breakfast at a downtown restaurant after.

As a parent, I look forward to the day I can take my kids down to the parade so they too can be mesmerized by the lights and beautiful floats.

Absopure {yes, the water people} is a Michigan-based company that also has deep roots with this beloved tradition. For nearly 20 years, they have provided water to parade marchers, volunteers, Turkey Trotters and event staff.

While you watch the parade, be sure to keep your eye out for the company’s classic Model T delivery truck. It will be leading the way during the Model T section of the parade, and is driven by third-generation owner, William Patrick Young. The vintage Ford Model T was the first automobile used to deliver Absopure bottled water the year it was founded in 1908. How cool is that?

GIVEAWAY

Because Absopure knows firsthand how much fun it is to attend this exciting event, they have partnered with me and Metro Detroit Mommy to give away a Thanksgiving Day Parade VIP experience to a family of four so they can create new memories this holiday season. The details are outlined below. [Read more…]

Sesame Street Live in Detroit Jan. 23 – Feb. 16, 2015 {+ Giveaway ENDS 12/1}

Sesame Street Live in Detroit Jan. 23- Feb. 16

Sesame Street Live is heading into The Fox Theatre in Detroit January 23 through February 16, 2015 and I have the scoop and a chance for you to win a family 4-pack! Sesame Street Live is a larger-than-life, musical touring stage production featuring Big Bird, Elmo, Cookie Monster, Bert and Ernie…and more. As I have mentioned before, Sesame Street Live is one of our absolute favorite kid shows — my girls LOVE them, and there usually is some adult humor sprinkled in to give us a laugh, too.

I wanted to make sure this information was shared now since tickets to the show would be a GREAT gift for children. {I’m all about giving experiences versus another toy!}

ABOUT THE SHOW

No matter where you’re from or where you’ve been, everyone is special – so join in! Elmo, Grover, Abby Cadabby, and their Sesame Street friends welcome Chamki, Grover’s friend from India, to Sesame Street. Together, they explore the universal fun of friendship and celebrate cultural similarities, from singing and dancing, to sharing cookies. Join the fun and make a memory with your friends and family!

Each performance is 90 minutes of singing, dancing and audience participation, including a 15-minute intermission. The perfect length for very young children!

TICKETS

Ticket prices: $15, $25, $35 {Gold Circle} and $65 {Sunny Seats}

Opening Night {Friday, January 23 at 7 p.m.} — All seats are $10 {excluding Gold Circle and Sunny Seats}. Additionally, group savings are available. Groups 10+ call 313-471-3282.

Get the ultimate fan experience with Sunny Seats! The Sunny Seats Package includes a VIP Seat and a pre-show Meet & Greet photo opportunity with two Sesame Street Live friends. Additional fees/surcharges may apply. To charge by phone, call 800-745-3000.

To purchase tickets, visit this link: http://www.olympiaentertainment.com/events/detail/sesame-street-live-3

[Read more…]

Big Hero 6 Review {A.K.A. I Want A Squishy Robot}

Big Hero 6

The other night, my 4-year-old {Kinley} and I had the opportunity to have a mom-daughter date night to see Disney’s newest flick, Big Hero 6.

I wasn’t sure what to think prior to the movie. I had thought the previews made it look cute, but I didn’t know if it would capture our attention.

Well, I was positively surprised. Not only did the animation blow me away, but overall, I really enjoyed this movie — and so did Kinley.

ABOUT THE MOVIE {FROM PRESS MATERIALS}

With all the heart and humor audiences expect from Walt Disney Animation Studios, BigHero 6 is an action-packed comedy-adventure about robotics prodigy Hiro Hamada, who learns to harness his genius—thanks to his brilliant brother Tadashi and their like-minded friends: adrenaline junkie Go Go Tamago, neatnik Wasabi, chemistry whiz Honey Lemon and fanboy Fred. When a devastating turn of events catapults them into the midst of a dangerous plot unfolding in the streets of San Fransokyo, Hiro turns to his closest companion—a robot named Baymax—and transforms the group into a band of high-tech heroes determined to solve the mystery. Inspired by the Marvel comics of the same name, and featuring comic-book style action, Big Hero 6 is directed by Don Hall {Winnie the Pooh} and Chris Williams {Bolt}, and produced by Roy Conli {Tangled}. This film is rated PG.

[Read more…]

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