Apr 25, 2017

Hidden treasures at Kensington Metropark

On a recent visit to the Kensington Metropark, we enjoyed seeing the baby animals and taking a hay ride at the Farm Center. But this part of the park offers a few hidden treasures as well.

If you walk down the hill, you will find a labyrinth, a thatched roof cottage, a seasonal grass maze and a wooden tractor. For kids who love rocks and the outdoors, there is enough here to keep them busy for an hour at least; maybe more if you bring a picnic and enjoy your meal by the river nearby.

The labyrinth is a wonderful feature, with stones marking the path. It’s manageable for all ages and fitness levels and is a fun challenge. It was the Eagle Scout project of a young man named Owain Kert. It was installed in August 2013. My son loved racing through the 50-foot diameter labyrinth and conquering it. He wasn’t alone.
The thatched roof cottage is also a delight. Made entirely of natural materials, this little cottage is a shady and cool retreat. It’s awesome to look at and spend time in and many children were enjoying some make-believe play during our visit.

There is also a grass maze in the area, but it’s seasonal. We were told by a staff member that it will be up and running later this summer.
There is also a cool wooden tractor to climb in and pretend on and many children – including my son – had a blast there.

If you have a more adventurous climber or explorer, there are big rocks to climb on and jump off of, trees to examine and explore and open spaces to run.
The area is also home to the new early skills area, which features a blacksmith shop and a brick oven and is open for adult classes on weekends. It’s worth looking into if you want to learn how to make a nail, cook over an open fire or do some woodworking.

It was early in the season, but the area also boasts an herb garden, a community garden and other foliage and features.
It’s a great place to see and explore and extend your visit to the park’s awesome Farm Center

Check out our reviews of the Farm Center and Splash & Blast both at Kensington Metropark

Metro Detroit Mommy Blogger:

Shop Local for Mom

All Things Detroit returns May 7 to Eastern Market

WHAT:                        Small business owners are the center of attention at this special pre-Mother’s Day edition of All Things Detroit. Expect an array of artisans, food enthusiasts, entertainers and so much more. All Things Detroit will present more than 230 businesses and 20 food trucks at its May installment, a celebration of the talent found in Detroit. Bring the family, shop handmade gifts for Mother’s Day, sample a new food truck and enjoy spring in Eastern Market. All Things Detroit will feature free Mom and Me photos; fresh flowers; activities like corn hole and putt-putt.

MARKETPLACE:        All Things Detroit’s Pre-Mother’s Day event will coincide with the debut of the All Things Marketplace, a national online community to highlight the wares of small business owners. Launching May 7 at allthingsmarketplace.com, interviews are now available to learn more.

WHY:                          Founder Jennyfer Crawford, a business consultant and owner of Ask Jennyfer, developed the All Things Detroit trade show as a way to bring together local business owners, enhance exposure for their goods and services, and help create stronger community connections. The most recent All Things Detroit event drew more than 10,000 visitors - from nearby and as far as Traverse City, Mich. and Chicago.

WHERE:                      2934 Russell Street in Eastern Market, Detroit, Mich.
                                    Visit Sheds 2, 3, 4 and 5.

WHEN:                        10 a.m. to 4 p.m. May 7, 2017
Beat the Crowd ticketholders only may enter beginning at 9:30 a.m. for an extra hour of shopping.
                                    General Admission ticketholders admitted at 11 a.m.
                                    Event ends at 4 p.m.

WHO:                         Founder Jennyfer Crawford, All Things Detroit and Ask Jennyfer

VENDORS:               Expect 72 new vendors - like Joy Canter Designs custom plants, Re-Zip It handmade jewelry, flowers and art and vintage wares from Mama Coo’s Boutique. Returning favorites - including UsableArt4U and Ink Detroit – make for a total of 250 businesses in one location. For those planning to make a day of it, 20 food trucks will be onsite, like Delect-a-Bowl, Crepe Day-Twah and El Charro Food Truck. Surrounding Eastern Market restaurants and shops will also be open.

TICKETS:                     $5-$15 in advance. Tickets will also be sold at the door.
                                    All $15 Beat the Crowd ticketholders must enter through Shed 3.
                                    Children 12 and under are welcome, free of charge.

BUY:                            Purchase tickets online: https://app.gopassage.com/events/all-things-detroit-food-truck-rally-pre-mother-s-day-edition

BEAT THE CROWD:   Ticketholders who purchase Beat the Crowd access gain access to the event at 9:30 a.m., are provided with a beverage voucher courtesy of Faygo; a free All Things Detroit tote bag, a food truck voucher.

SPONSORS:               The event is made possible by Ask Jennyfer; Pixel Print; Faygo; Reel Clever Films and Haute Is magazine

MORE:                        Learn more about the event by visiting www.iloveallthingsdetroit.com or downloading the All Things Detroit mobile app - available at Apple Store and Google Play.

Metro Detroit Mommy Blogger:

USA Cycling Selects Midtown Detroit to Host U.S. Cycling Madison National Championships

New Multi-Sports Complex at City of Detroit’s Tolan Playfield to Host National Indoor Cycling Competition in October

The Detroit Fitness Foundation (DFF) has been selected by USA Cycling (USAC) to host the 2017 U.S. Cycling Madison National Championships at its indoor multi-sports complex, which is set to open by fall. The women’s and men’s competitions will take place October 19 - 21, 2017 at the to-be built 64,000 square foot location.

“USA Cycling is excited to bring our 2017 and 2018 U.S. Cycling Madison National Championships to the Detroit Fitness Foundation’s new Indoor Multi Sport Complex,” said Tom Mahoney, USAC National Events Manager. “We’re delighted to be a part of shining a spotlight on this new, world-class velodrome being built right here in the United States.”

USA Cycling is the governing body for Velodrome Track Cycling races in the United States. USAC is affiliated with the United States Olympic Committee (USOC) and the Union Cyclist International (UCI). On October 19 and 20, cyclists will be given warmup and training time before participating in the qualifying rounds for the final competition. Gold, silver and bronze awards will be presented to winners after the final competition on October 21. Dates for the 2018 event have not been set.  

“DFF is honored to have the opportunity to host the U.S. Cycling Madison National Championships,” said Dale Hughes, executive director of the foundation. “Being selected for this national championship is the kind of opportunity we hoped to attract to the city of Detroit with this project. We have a strong cycling community and it’s incredibly exciting to bring this unique sport to our new venue and introduce the Detroit community to a fun and competitive sport.”

The cycling velodrome within the complex features a steep, oval track and meets hosting facility requirements with its 166 meters of wood surface oval banked 15 degrees in the two straights and 50 degrees in the two turns. The indoor complex also includes run/walk/skating lanes, fitness class areas and a café with light food and drinks.

The complex will be an air dome structure designed and built under the leadership of world-class velodrome developer Dale Hughes, and will house the second permanent indoor cycling velodrome in the United States. Hughes, a lifetime resident of Metro Detroit, has designed and built more than 20 velodromes worldwide, including the 1996 Olympic Velodrome in Atlanta and the 2015 Pan Am Games Velodrome in Toronto. Like Hughes’ own Olympic connections, Tolan Playfield has an Olympic heritage. The park was renamed in 1968 to honor Thomas Edward Tolan, Cass Tech graduate and the first African American man deemed the “World’s Fastest Human” and two-time Olympic Gold Medalist. His accomplishments were extraordinary at the time and remain so today.

DFF has partnered with the Detroit Sports Commission (DSC) to assist in recruiting national and international cycling events, like the USAC cycling championship, for the multi-sports complex. DSC’s mission is to enhance the local economy and image of metro Detroit by attracting and hosting amateur sports events.

In addition to the velodrome, the multi-sports complex will provide additional sporting and fitness opportunities, including many programs for local youth. DFF is also seeking a naming rights sponsor, as well as additional sponsorship opportunities for the complex. Interested parties may contact Susan Tait, Director of Sponsorships and Grants at +1313-820-9955.

For more information on the competition, visit http://www.usacycling.org.

Metro Detroit Mommy Blogger:

Apr 24, 2017

Memorization Tips - Spelling and Multiplication Facts

I have been asked quite a few times to provide tips for memorization.  While it is best for kids to understand the how, some things, like spelling and multiplication facts, may take a long time to commit to memory without exercise.  There are a ton of fun games online, but if you want to do some games at home, here are a few ideas.

Math Fact: is a whole equation, for instance, 9x3=27
Math Problem is incomplete, for instance, 9x3

Commute: (Spelling or Multiplication Facts)

The child will have a sheet of information (spelling words or math facts) in one room and a blank sheet of paper in another room.  The child will look at the first word or problem on the sheet of paper then walk to the other room where they will spell the word (IE Rhythm R H Y T H M, rhythm, R H Y T H M) or say the problem (9x3=27, nine times three equals twenty-seven, nine times three equals twenty-seven) out loud while walking repeatedly until they arrive.  They will then write down the information and return for the next word or problem until all the problems are completed.

Toss the Ball Spelling - Solo
The child will have a sheet of paper with their words on it.  They will throw the ball against the wall each time they say a letter in the word out loud.
IE Rhythm R throw and catch ball H throw and catch ball Y throw and catch ball T throw and catch ball H throw and catch ball M throw and catch ball
Alt: Child can throw the ball into the air or roll the ball into the wall

Toss the Ball Spelling - Team
The child will have a sheet of paper with their words on it.  They will throw the ball to the other person each time they say a letter in the word out loud.  The child can say each letter or you can alternate letters.
IE Rhythm R throw to you H you throw back Y throw to you T you throw back H throw to you  M you throw back
Alt: you can roll the ball back and forth or play with more than two people

Toss the Ball Math Facts - Solo
The child will work on one set of math facts and say each number in the series, skip counting until they get to the pre-determined end.
IE working on threes times tables
3 throw and catch ball 6  throw and catch ball 9  throw and catch ball 12  throw and catch ball 15  throw and catch ball 18  throw and catch ball 21  throw and catch ball 24  throw and catch ball 27  throw and catch ball 30  throw and catch ball
Alt: Child can throw the ball into the air or roll the ball into the wall

Toss the Ball Math Facts - Team
The child will work on one set of math facts and say each number in the series, skip counting until they get to the pre-determined end.
IE working on threes times tables
the child can say all the facts or you can alternate
3 throw to you 6  you throw back 9  throw to you 12  you throw back 15  throw to you 18  you throw back 21  throw to you 24  you throw back 27  throw to you 30  you throw back
Alt: you can roll the ball back and forth

Toss the Ball Math Facts 2- Team
You will throw the ball back and forth, you start and state a problem, like 2x7
The child catches and says "14" then gives you a problem
Alt: you can roll the ball back and forth

Large Muscle Movement (Spelling and Math)The child will have a sheet of information (spelling words or math facts) and the child will either spell out the words in the air, making the letters as big as they can or draw the numbers in the air for the math problems.

In the Car - or Waiting
Make use of time when you normally aren't doing much else.  In the car, waiting in line, walking in the store, wherever you can.  Quiz your child on their math facts or try to skip count.  Alternate spelling words from a list.

Skip Counting Race:
On Monday, have your child skip count by the number you are working on for the week.  Time how long it takes for them to get to the end (up to 10. 12, or 15 numbers).
Then have them complete the task again at the end of the week to see the improvement.
Skip counting is an easy way for children to learn their multiplication tables and a good reference for them when they get stuck.

Challenge YourselfKids will find it fun if you join in on the learning.  Create a spelling list or math fact list that is challenging for you and work on memorizing it.  Play games with your child and alternate between them quizzing you and you quizzing them.

MemoryCreate a memory game of spelling words or math problems and answers. The spelling game would have matching words, where each time you pick you have to say the word and spell it.
The math facts game would have the problems matching the solutions, so one card would have 9x3 and its match would be 27.

Flip It 
Create cards with the spelling words or math facts on them.  The child would look at the word or fact.
Spelling: The child would say the word spell it, flip the card face down, say it spell it again, then write it down on a piece of paper. Then move onto the next card/word.
Math: The child would say the fact, flip the card face down, say it again, then write it down on a piece of paper. Then move onto the next card/fact.

Trace, Copy, Recall
Fold a piece of paper into thirds. Label the first column ‘trace’, the next ‘copy’ and the last ‘recall’. Spelling: 
Write the each word in the 'trace' column for your child. Then have your child trace the letters in column one. Next, have them copy the word into the 'copy' column by looking at the word in the 'trace' column. Finally, have them fold (and hide) the first two columns and recall the spelling on their own. Have them do one word at a time, completing all three steps before moving onto the next word.
Write the each fact in the 'trace' column for your child. Then have your child trace the numbers in column one. Next, have them copy the math fact into the 'copy' column by looking at the word in the 'trace' column. Finally, have them fold (and hide) the first two columns and recall the fact on their own. Have them do one fact at a time, completing all three steps before moving onto the next fact.

Be Creative: 
Children can create artwork with markers, glitter, crayons, incorporating their spelling words or math facts.  You can have them write each one on a piece of paper with a different color, do one big one and decorate it, they can write them on masking tape, or even use window markers and write them out on the window or mirror.

Rice or Shaving Cream
Fill a shallow baking pan with rice or shaving cream.  Then have the child spell out their word on the pan or write the math fact.  They can 'erase' it by smoothing back over the pan with a flat hand.

Got Your Back
Have your child write their spelling word or math fact on your back with their finger and you try to guess what it is they are writing.

Metro Detroit Mommy Blogger:

PRESTO is Looking for Study Volunteers - Discovering Factors that Affect Fertility and Miscarriage

Not many people know that I have suffered a miscarriage. Chancellor and I got pregnant with our 4th child in September of 2014. At about 6 weeks I started bleeding and went in for an ultrasound which was a crushing experience. I remember knowing within minutes that the baby was not going to make it even though the tech was not allowed to talk about diagnosis. Even though the doctor told us we did nothing wrong, I always wonder if anything I did could have affected the outcome.

Regardless, we were lucky enough to get pregnant right away after the D&C and Naomi was born in July of 2015. Many families are not as fortunate as we are.  They struggle with fertility and pregnancy.  I can't imagine what a family goes through when having to deal with multiple miscarriages.  It is heartbreaking.

The Boston University PRESTO program (Pregnancy Study Online) is looking for women in the Metro Detroit area to become a part of the largest prospective cohort study of fertility and miscarriage in the world. These studies are conducted primarily online through surveys and there is a substudy for biospecimen collection for participants in the Detroit area.

PRESTO has already found some significant information from their data. Have you ever wondered what factors affect fertility or miscarriage?  Some of their study findings include:
  • Female overweight or obesity is associated with reduced fertility; moderate or vigorous exercise in this subgroup may enhance fertility;
  • Lean women (body mass index <25) who exercise vigorously for more than 5 hours per week have reduced fertility.
  • Recent discontinuation of oral contraceptives is associated with a temporary decrease in fertility that resolves after about 3 months; long-term use of oral contraceptives does not appear to harm fertility.
  • Moderate alcohol consumption (<2 drinks per day) does not appear to harm fertility, though drinking in excess of 2 alcoholic beverages per day might be associated with reduced fertility (numbers of such drinkers were small in our study).
  • Excess consumption of caffeine in early pregnancy may be associated with miscarriage.
  • Sugar-sweetened soda consumption in males is associated with reduced fertility (published in abstract form only).
  • Sleep durations of <6 hours per night in males is associated with reduced fertility (published in abstract form only).
PRESTO is looking for more participants to enroll from the Detroit area, especially for biospecimen collection at Henry Ford Health System. They will be studying environmental chemicals in blood and urine and the extent to which they are causes of subfertility or miscarriage. Do you want to be a part of this study which will help identify factors that affect fertility and miscarriage?  Women (and their male partners) between the ages of 21 and 45 years, actively trying to get pregnant (or not doing anything to prevent pregnancy) now or within the next 6 months can apply online: http://presto.bu.edu. Male partner participation is optional, however, women who are already pregnant, using contraception, or using fertility treatments are not eligible.

You can learn more about their study by checking out their website: http://presto.bu.edu, their facebook page: www.facebook.com/bostonuniversitypresto, or follow them on twitter: www.twitter.com/buprestostudy.

Metro Detroit Mommy Blogger:

Apr 21, 2017

Unforgettable the Movie - Review

When I started the movie, I was expecting it to be just another cliché or remake of the same scary tale. "Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned."

Tessa (Katherine Heigl) wastes no time letting her ex-husband David (the adorable Geoff Stults from 7th Heaven) know that his new fiancé Julia (Rosario Dawson) is not her friend & not a proper fit for their daughter Lily.

My favorite part of the whole movie was Tessa's first line, "Now you're perfect, just like mommy."

It is quickly evident where Tessa may have adapted her OCD-tendencies, her own mother (Cheryl Ladd) is quite the proper perfectionist, especially of maintaining a certain image both in physical & material appearances.

As the movie goes on, I was wondering if Tessa is just a scorned ex, really truly mentally ill, having fun playing pranks & mind games, or really just trying to scare her ex-husband away so she can selfishly have him for herself. Maybe I'm not sure still the true final answer.

Another telling lesson in the movie I realized is Tessa screaming "It's my life!" We all just hold onto so much of our past, & Julia & David are also holding onto control of the life they are trying to begin together.

The movie is my favorite kind of scary movie. It is believable but not enough that it made me panic or paranoid & it is not very violent (though of course some occurs).

Unforgettable is rated R for sexual content, violence, some language, and brief partial nudity.

Unforgettable is in theaters everywhere on April 21.

I can definitely see why early reviews say that Katherine is chilling & Rosario is at her best. Both girls played the up & down emotions realistically & in tandem with each other.

You can follow Unforgettable on Instagram, Facebook, & Twitter.

You can catch a sneak peek here:

Metro Detroit Mommy Blogger:

Celebrate Earth Day With Free Admission to the Michigan Science Center


Celebrate Earth Day with free general admission when you wear STEM or green colored attire

What: Commemorate Earth Day at the Michigan Science Center (MiSci) during their “Make Way for Earth Day” celebration! The event features a special Science Parade throughout MiSci as well as other interactive Earth Day activities and programs that introduce children of all ages to the fields of Earth science, and allow them to get hands-on with Earth science concepts.

Thanks to support from Axalta Coating Systems, a leading global supplier of liquid and powder coating, guests who dress as their favorite STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering or Math) professional or wear green will receive free general admission. “At Axalta, we support STEM efforts worldwide because we believe our future needs bright and dynamic students to solve the challenges of the 21st century and beyond,” said Axalta’s David Fischer, Vice President for Market Strategy and Growth. “We are proud to lend our support to the Michigan Science Center.”

When: Saturday, April 22, 2017, 10 a.m. – 6 p.m. Science Parade begins at noon.

Where: The Michigan Science Center
              5020 John R St
              Detroit, MI 48202
              Parking Information

About the Michigan Science Center
The Michigan Science Center is a hands-on museum that inspires curious minds of all ages to discover, explore and appreciate science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) in a creative, dynamic learning environment. The Science Center features five theaters, including Michigan’s largest screen at the Chrysler IMAX® Dome Theatre; the Dassault Systèmes Planetarium; the Toyota Engineering 4D Theater; the DTE Energy Sparks Theater; the Chrysler Science Stage; a 9,800 square-foot Traveling Science Hall for special exhibits; hands-on exhibit galleries focusing on space, life and physical science; Kids Town just for pint-size scientists; along with, education and outreach programs. The Michigan Science Center is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization and does not receive support from the city of Detroit or the state of Michigan. For more information, please call 313.577.8400 or visit the website, www.Mi-Sci.org

About Axalta Coating Systems

Axalta is a leading global company focused solely on coatings and providing customers with innovative, colorful, beautiful and sustainable solutions. From light OEM vehicles, commercial vehicles and refinish applications to electric motors, buildings and pipelines, our coatings are designed to prevent corrosion, increase productivity and enable the materials we coat to last longer. With more than 150 years of experience in the coatings industry, the approximately 13,000 people of Axalta continue to find ways to serve our more than 100,000 customers in 130 countries better every day with the finest coatings, application systems and technology. For more information, visit axalta.com and follow us @Axalta on Twitter and on LinkedIn.

Metro Detroit Mommy Blogger: