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May 23, 2015

5 Easy Kids Wall Art Projects

 5 Easy Kids Wall Art Projects
By: Danielle Hegedus

Do you want to decorate your child’s room so that it is playful, stylish, and a place where they want to hang out? Instead of spending a lot of money on a professional upgrade or pricey artwork, consider taking on the project yourself, or with your kids if they are old enough to help. Here are five easy wall art projects to help infuse your child’s room with personality. I hope they inspire you to create your own unique masterpiece!

Let Your Child’s Interests Inspire You
We live in the Motor City, how could I pass on this?! What a great way to bring an array of color into the room without being overwhelming. Imagine Our Life-Creative Living With a Family has a great tutorial on how to create this rainbow car art work. You can use standard Hot Wheels or Matchbox cars, but I found that there were a lot more lighter-weight options at discount stores (like the Dollar Store or WalMart) that adhere to the canvas more easily. In the tutorial, they used nail polish when they couldn’t find the right colored cars needed to complete the rainbow effect--very smart!


Nurture a Burgeoning Artist
My kids create tons of art and it can be a challenge to find a place for it that lets them know how much I appreciate it. Create a gallery wall to proudly display your child’s art while creating a focal point for the room. I recommend using uniform frames to pull all the artwork together. Ikea is a great source for inexpensive frames. Once you’ve pulled out the level, hammer, and nails the hard part is done. Easily change out artwork as they get older and their personal style becomes more sophisticated.

Give Old Art Projects a New Life in a Mosaic
This is so beautiful, I would have bought it in a store! Create this mosaic with the help of your family using scrap paper from art projects long passed. You’ll teach your kids about recycling and how you can make something really stunning by working together. Also, if you live in an apartment and can’t paint your walls, this is an incredibly effective way to bring bold color into the room. Kate Bullen provides a tutorial on how to create a piece like this, but it is very simple. A blank canvas, deco pauge, and a mix of scrap paper and old artwork (that we’re emotionally okay with recycling--trust me, ask first), and scissors and you’re ready to go!

Introduce an Element of Whimsy
This project doesn’t cost much, but it does take a little focus, so you’ll need to supervise young children lest you end up with more paint than feathers! All you need are fake feathers, paint, and paintbrushes. If you are working with young children, perhaps have them paint the entire feather in a color they like, and then follow up behind them to add detail. When displayed on a wall these decorated feathers add such a feeling of fluidity to the room. If your windows are open and you catch a good breeze, they just might take flight.


Try Your Hand at String Art
I was initially intimidated by string art--it looks so complex, but I found a tutorial on Instructables that really simplified the process for me. You can work with wood and nails (as pictured here) or start out with corkboard like in the tutorial. Ultimately this is a low cost project that is light-weight on your walls, and creates an impressive effect. Also, if you mess up a few times, it’s super easy to start over and you won’t have wasted any materials. I like that this type of artwork teaches my kids about shapes and introduces  texture and dimension to their walls.

I hope these examples have provided you with some inspiration to create your own artwork to make your child’s room one of a kind!

For more design ideas and information, head to Modernize.com.

May 22, 2015

Benson the Sea Turtle is Coming Soon to Sea Life Michigan

SEA LIFE Michigan, the 35,000-square-foot aquarium at Great Lakes Crossing Outlets, announced today, on the eve of “World Turtle Day,” that it will be welcoming a new resident to its large ocean tank: Benson the Sea Turtle




Sea turtles are an endangered species; only 1,000-10,000 of the turtle hatchlings born each year will survive to adulthood according to the Sea Turtle Conservancy. They face not only natural threats from predators, but also human-caused threats such as commercial fishing, pollution, beach erosion and illegal hunting.   
Benson the Sea Turtle was stranded in 2014 at Anastasia State Park in St. Johns County, Fla., after being hit by a boat, which caused a caudal carapace fracture and induced a hypothermic reaction called cold-stunning. Benson was rescued and has been recovering at the Georgia Sea Turtle Hospital in Jekyll Island, Ga., and while he is doing well, Benson is non-releasable, which means he will never be able to survive in the wild. While age is difficult to determine, experts estimate Benson is approximately eight years old. 
On Saturday, May 23, “World Turtle Day,” Sea Life curators Lucy Handel and Kelli Cadenas will escort Benson to his new home at SEA LIFE Michigan via a Southwest Airlines flight where the turtle will have his own seat. Once Benson arrives at SEA LIFE Michigan, he will receive round-the-clock care and monitoring in a special med pool for at least a week before being released into the 120,000-gallon ocean tank. 
“Turtle hospitals take in hundreds of non-releasable Sea Turtles every year. By bringing Benson to SEA LIFE Michigan we are providing one with a safe and happy home with expert care,” said Kelly Cadenas, SEA LIFE Michigan curator. “We hope visiting Benson will enable our visitors to learn more about protection and conservation efforts of endangered animals worldwide and inspire them to take an active role in eliminating the human threats.” 
Benson’s food, a diet currently consisting of lettuce, cucumber and peppers, will be donated by Kroger, one of the world’s largest grocery retailers. An announcement will be made when Benson is ready to be released into the 120,000 gallon ocean tank at SEA LIFE Michigan to join his new marine family. 

The Newly Renovated Hotel Breakers at Cedar Point #sponsoredpost

Cedar Point and Hotel Breakers gave our family a free hotel stay and tickets to visit Cedar Point in exchange for this promotional post.  All opinions here are my own, your experience may differ.  


Hotel Breakers at Cedar Point just received a makeover and let me tell you this hotel is fabulous.  Each guest room features an LCD TV, dorm-sized refrigerator, microwave plus new bedding, d├ęcor and furniture. 




There are plenty of opportunities to enjoy swimming, a gorgeous beachfront, indoor pool and outdoor pool deck that includes a water play area with zero-depth entry, a hot tub plus new deck chairs and umbrellas (outdoor pool areas open Memorial Day Weekend).










The indoor lobby and public areas are gorgeous.   Plenty of comfortable seating makes this a great place to wait and meet up with friends before a meal or just relaxing after a great day at the park.




The gift shop saved the day for us twice, providing some essential items we had forgotten at home, saving us a trip in the car.


The outdoor public areas were beautiful as well.


A Cedar Point entrance is just a few minutes walk from the hotel .  Convenient when you want to take a break (especially handy when you have little ones who nap) or at the end of the night when you just want to crash after a day full of walking.


Here is the view of the Power Tower from our room.


Overall the hotel stay was fantastic.  We enjoyed dinner our first night at TGI Fridays, breakfast at Perkins.  We were planning a visit to TOMO Hibachi Grill, but it was closed.  All three restaurants are in the hotel along with a full service Starbucks and the Surf Lounge bar.

I highly recommend staying at Hotel Breakers if you are visiting Cedar Point.  The hotel stay made our visit exceptional and much more enjoyable.

You can visit the Hotel Breakers website here: 
https://www.cedarpoint.com/places-to-stay/hotel-breakers
Follow Cedar Point on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/cedarpoint
or Twitter http://twitter.com/cedarpoint

May 21, 2015

10 “Healthy” Foods with a surprising amount of sugar!



Metro Detroit Mommy Blogger  Theresa Walker- Beach Body Coach



The recommended amount of sugar in-take per day for an adult is 6-9 TBSP, which equals 24-36g sugar.  Take a look at what “healthy” items I found that break the bank when it comes to staying within your daily goal.  Keep in mind, a Krispy Kreme donut has 10g sugar, each of these offenders have more than a donut!    When you’re done, take a look in your pantry, see if there are any offenders that might pack in way more sugar than you ever realized. 

1.  Bumblebee Sensations Spicy Thai tuna in a can.  At 180 calories, 21g protein, and 6g healthy fat, you might think this is a perfect on the go lunch choice.  Not with 10g of sugar!   Even worse, this product actually won a Healthy lunch award in 2014 from Self magazine. 

Instead: Bumblebee Sensations Lemon & Pepper Tuna in a can.  At 160 calories, 24g protein and 6g healthy fat and not even ONE gram of sugar, this is a much better option!  As is the Sundried Tomato Basil can with only 2g of sugar. 

2.  Odwalla smoothie- Berries gomega has 300 calories and a shocking 45g sugar. 

Instead: If you are looking for something fast on the go, Lifeway Kefir Perfect 12 Triple Berry Tart has 110 calories, 12g sugar.  Better yet, try making your own smoothie and adding in fresh fruit.  Or, just eating cut up fruit- the sugars you get from real fruit is much better than anything in a bottle or juice form. 

3.  Campbells Soup at Hand “Healthy Request” Classic Tomato: At only 140 calories you may be shocked to find it has 20g sugar!! 

Instead: Campbells Soup at Hand Vegetable Beef, 50 calories, 3g sugar, or chicken and stars 60 calories and also 3g sugar.  Even Creamy Broccoli at 160 cals has only 4g. 

4.  Power Bar Performance Energy Bar, Citrus Burst 220 calories, 6g protein, yet 29g sugar.  If you read the ingredients, the “energy blend” is just a blend of different sugars.

Instead: Nature’s Valley Peanut Butter & Chocolate Protein bar has 190 calories and 6g sugar.  They have other flavors as well, also with the lower sugar.

5.  Bertoli Tomato Basil Pasta Sauce- Has only 70 cals, yet 12g sugar. 

Instead: Ragu Traditional Sauce, 80 calories, 6g sugar.  Or Newmans Own Maranara with 70 calories and 7g sugar.  Or, try making your own sauce!

6.  Oikos Greek Yogurt Orange Cream- 160 calories, 11g protein, but 19g sugar.  That's almost double the sugar than protein!  

Instead: Oikos Triple Zero 120 calories, 15g protein and 7g sugar.  Or any flavor of the Triple Zero, none of which has any artificial sweeteners. 

7.  Quaker Real Medley’s Instant Oatmeal Cup, Apple Walnut, boasting wholesome mulit-grains and chunks of real fruit and nuts, this packs a punch at 290 calories and 22g sugar. 

Instead: Quaker Real Medley’s Instant Oatmeal Cup, Blueberry Hazelnut is a better swap, same easy breakfast with 270 calories and 13g sugar, saving you 9g!  Or, if you have time, make a large batch of oatmeal, put individual servings in Tupperware and then add your own honey for flavor so YOU control the sugar content.

8.  Dole Canned Fruit- Tropical Fruit (in *light syrup*) at a half cup, 90 calories you might find this a quick option for your fruit for the day. However, that small half cup has 20g sugar!  Keep in mind, most people are going to eat a full cup, which would take you to 40g.

Instead:   If you must do canned; Del Monte has some canned fruit in extra light syrup, with 50 calorie serving sizes, still a half cup, and 12g sugar.  However, obviously the better choice would just be to eat some fresh fruit.  Much better to get your sugar from the FRUIT and not any liquid or syrup!

9.  Belvita Breakfast Biscuits, Apple Cinnamon, they boast “nutritious steady energy, all morning”, however with 230 calories and 13g sugar, the measly 3g protein doesn’t hold much value. 

Instead- Choose a Kashi granola bar, there are a lot of options that have much more protein and fiber; which is what you want for energy and keeping you full.  For instance Honey Almond Flax is 140 calories, 7g protein and 5g sugar.  Or the Kashi Trail Mix bar weighs in at 140 calories, 6g protein and 6g sugar.  These are just as easy and quick when you’re on the go. 

10.  Sun Maid Raisins ¼ cup has 130 calories and may seem like a great topping, but they contain 29g sugar per serving.  Basically, any dried fruit is going to pack a punch, it’s fruit, but it it’s dried form, you are getting much more concentrated sugars.

Instead- Eat in moderation!  Have a half of a serving or less.  Or, again, fresh fruit is a better option.  It will also fill you up much longer. 

The above list is just to name a few of the offenders in the food industry.  It illustrates that often times what is labeled as healthy and we *purchase* thinking we made a good decision, isn’t so great after all.  Other items you may not realize pack a big punch are condiments like ketchup (4g), BBQ sauce (16g), chili sauce (5g) and relish (4g).  These can especially be deceiving- because you may not use just 1 serving of the condiment, you may use 2 or 3.  I was surprised by Honey Maid graham crackers (8g) and Nutrigrain cereal bars for the kids (13g).  Even Vitamin Water, a 20oz bottle has 33g sugar, Snapple Iced Tea 16oz has 46g sugar and Arizona Iced Tea 24oz has 72g sugar; not far off from a 20oz can of Coke has 65g sugar.  Take a look at what is in your pantry, you might be unpleasantly surprised!


Theresa Walker 
Theresa is a wife and stay at home mother of 2 energetic boys, DJ (8) and Aiden (5). She has a bachelors in Communications and prior to being a mother she worked at Better Investing magazine in advertising and as a Corporate Account Manager. These days she is fortunate enough to spend time with her boys checking out all of the local fun there is to be had. She and her family love to travel. She is also active in a large online mom's group through Facebook that she started called 
Planet Mom. She enjoys being active and one of her proudest accomplishments was running the Detroit Half Marathon as well as the Romeo to Richmond Half. In her free time you can find her running or biking through Stony Creek. Or curled up on a couch with a good book and her cat in her lap. She recently became a BeachBody Coach, so that she could share her love for health and fitness with others to help them reach their personal goals. You can find her Facebook page at Inspired Health & Fitness. She considers herself a "Fit Foodie" and loves trying new recipes, experimenting and new restaurants around town. She hopes she can share some of her tips for healthy eating and exercise for busy moms and Metro Detroit Mommy Fans.

May 20, 2015

Tradewinds Jimmy Buffett's Island Tea- A Review #TeaTimeSomewhere #giveaway

Metro Detroit Mommy Blogger Theresa WalkerBeachBody Coach

Sponsored Post: Metro Detroit Mommy received complementary samples of iced tea in exchange for this promotional post.  All opinions expressed are my own.  Your experience may differ.



Tradewinds Jimmy Buffett's Island Tea's are inspired by a family tradition of real brewed sweet tea. Since 1992 Tradewinds has been dedicated to providing refreshing and enjoyable iced tea using the finest ingredients, high-quality tea leaves and real sugar.  Based on that family tradition, Tradewinds Slow-Brewed iced teas are made in a slow-brewed process that gives each sip a signature, flavor-packed taste.  

I was able to sample four flavors: Paradise Punch Hibiscus Tea, Tropical Citrus Green Tea, Strawberry Lime Black Tea and Peach Mango Black Tea.  The paradise punch has a very light and refreshing fruity and hibiscus flavor.  The strawberry lime is probably the sweetest and has a very juice-like taste.  Peach mango was my favorite and tasted closest to a traditional iced tea.  Tropical citrus green tea tasted of a mix of orange flavor with a hint of green tea.  I enjoyed all 4 teas, they'd make a nice refreshing beverage choice during the hot summer days. 



Each bottle has approximately 2.5 servings, 50 calories per serving and 12g sugar.  While I appreciate that there is only real sugar in the teas, at over 25g of sugar per bottle, it packs a punch in the sugar department, if you are trying to watch your sugar intake.  The first two ingredients on the list are water and sugar.  

“Sip & Sing Your Way to Paradise”
To complement the launch of the tea line, Tradewinds is also launching "Sip & Sing Your Way to Paradise” where an experiential tour bus will following Jimmy Buffett on tour at select regions, one of which happens to be in Detroit, MI on June 25th.  You are invited to the party to enter a national karaoke contest. The fabulous prizes include a trip to the Margaritville Resort in Hollywood, FL, a trip to Las Vegas, NV for a VIP experience at Magaritaville, a year supply of Tradewinds Jimmy Buffett’s Island Tea, and swag bags to a handful of lucky winners (Additional information is available on www.tradewindstea.com/jimmybuffett )


You can find Tradewinds Teas
www.tradewindstea.com
Facebook: http://facebook.com/tradewindstea
Hashtag #TeaTimeSomewhere

Giveaway Details:
Two winners will win a Tradewinds “Sip & Sing Your Way to Paradise” Swag Box, filled with must-haves like shirts, cozies, sun glasses, towels and of course the new brew!



Theresa Walker 
Theresa is a wife and stay at home mother of 2 energetic boys, DJ (8) and Aiden (5). She has a bachelors in Communications and prior to being a mother she worked at Better Investing magazine in advertising and as a Corporate Account Manager. These days she is fortunate enough to spend time with her boys checking out all of the local fun there is to be had. She and her family love to travel. She is also active in a large online mom's group through Facebook that she started called 
Planet Mom. She enjoys being active and one of her proudest accomplishments was running the Detroit Half Marathon as well as the Romeo to Richmond Half. In her free time you can find her running or biking through Stony Creek. Or curled up on a couch with a good book and her cat in her lap. She recently became a BeachBody Coach, so that she could share her love for health and fitness with others to help them reach their personal goals. You can find her Facebook page at Inspired Health & Fitness. She considers herself a "Fit Foodie" and loves trying new recipes, experimenting and new restaurants around town. She hopes she can share some of her tips for healthy eating and exercise for busy moms and Metro Detroit Mommy Fans.

7 Common Mistakes Parents are Making - Oral Health #sponsoredpost

Metro Detroit Mommy Sponsored Guest Blogger: Dr. Megan Stowers - Cabot and Stowers Pediatric Dentistry



Dental Health and habits are important to start at a very young age.  We want to do what is best for our kids by having them brush their teeth every day and visit the dentist regularly.  But oral health isn't is as easy as it may seem.  According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 42% of children ages 2 to 11 have had cavities in their baby teeth. And 21% of children ages 6 to 11 have had them in their permanent teeth.

Here are 7 mistakes parents are making when it comes to their children's oral health....

1. Letting kids brush alone
           Most children don't have the dexterity to brush effectively until they are 8 years old. Parents need to supervise brushing and perform the brushing nightly at the very least.

2. Putting a baby to bed with a bottle 
          The bottle at bedtime or a sippy cup of milk/juice all day long keeps the sugar levels in the mouth elevated all the time... and the cavity breakdown of teeth begins and progresses. If a baby wakes up at night for a bottle or to nurse, wipe out the baby's mouth with a soft cloth or brush teeth if present following consumption. 

3. Making the first dentist appointment too late 
           1st trip to the dentist when the 1st tooth erupts and no later than the 1st birthday is the recommendation. We believe in "starting early", our office early childhood visits allows us to educate and discuss prevention. As it is not uncommon to see children 2 or 3 years old who require general anesthesia to treat cavities and infection. 

4. Offering "healthy food"
           Bananas, raisins, dried fruit, and fruit snacks seem healthy but these sticky foods have concentrated sugars that sit in the grooves of teeth and create cavities. 

5. Thinking cavities are no big deal 
         Cavities at an early age, especially if not treated, can lead to problems with speech, poor sleep, infections, pain/discomfort, and low self esteem. Cavities in baby teeth need to be treated, they are important in maintaining space for the adult teeth.

6. Not using Fluoride 
         Fluoride toothpaste should be used, proper amount is key. Under 2 years of age apply a smear layer over the bristles of the toothbrush, above the age of 2 apply a pea size amount. Although fluoride is controversial, experts agree that the research is clear; it's one of the BEST ways to prevent cavities. 

7. Loading up on sports drinks
        A common cause of tooth decay in older kids is sipping on sports drinks throughout the day, throughout the game, and at home. Even though sugar free sports drinks are available, it is the acidity in the sports drinks that is causing the breakdown of teeth. Water is the best, both on and off the field.

Use these 7 points as a learning tool aimed at achieving a lifetime of dental health for your child.

At Cabot and Stowers Pediatric Dentistry our doctors and staff are dedicated to providing the highest quality and most compassionate dental care to our patients from infancy through young adulthood, including those with special health care needs in a fun environment. 

Dr. Megan Stowers was awarded her Doctor of Dental Surgery degree from The University of Detroit Mercy School of Dentistry. She earned her Master of Science in Pediatric Dentistry from The University of Michigan and is a Diplomate of the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry. Dr. Megan is currently on staff at St. Joseph Mercy Oakland in the department of surgery. She is always eager to meet new smiling faces in the practice. 

May 19, 2015

Lunchtime Learning Webinars - Free Learning Resources for Parents

Lunchtime Learning Webinars  with Kelly Orginski
May 2015
Join Michigan Alliance for Families for a free webinar for parents, caregivers, and educators. For each topic, we will be hosting a corresponding Facebook Q&A discussion at www.facebook.com/michiganallianceforfamilies

Transition Overview
CLICK ON DATE TO REGISTER
Thursday, May 21st, Noon to 1:00 pm
Kelly will provide information for parents to help young adults plan for a successful transition to adulthood, including rights and responsibilities. This includes tools for Person Centered Planning, Self-Determination and the use of transition assessments to guide the Indiviualized Education Program (IEP)
Inclusion: Free Appropriate Public Education and Least Restrictive Environment
CLICK ON DATE TO REGISTER

Thursday, May 28th, Noon to 1:00 pm
Kelly will provide information about the big picture of access to and participation in the general education curriculum, and extra-curricular, non-academic activities. Learn tips and tools for achieving FAPE and LRE, as well as what the data says about outcomes of children who are "included" a general education classroom.

Space is limited
to the first 100 people who sign-in on the day of the event. You will receive a confirmation email with directions for the webinar when you register. (Registration links can also be found at www.michiganallianceforfamilies.org/webinar).
First time attendees are encouraged to check out our Frequently Asked Questions at www.michiganallianceforfamilies.org/webinar/webinar-faq
Share this event with others! Flyers for each event can be found online at http://www.michiganallianceforfamilies.org/upcoming-events/
On Demand Webinars from our prior IEP Learning Series are available on our YouTube channel: www.youtube.com/user/MichiganAlliance and on our website.

Questions? Contact us at info@michiganallianceforfamilies.org or 1.800.552.4821
Michigan Alliance for Families webinars are presented at no cost. Our work is funded by the United States Department of Education.