Jun 20, 2018

Ferndale’s Nature’s Playhouse Provides Support for Moms Suffering with Maternal Mental Health Issues

Nature’s Playhouse is a proud sponsor of the 2018 Climb Out of the Darkness®. The event, according to host Postpartum Support International (PSI), is the world’s largest event raising awareness of pregnancy and postpartum mental health disorders. Friends, families and survivors of postpartum depression (PPD), anxiety, OCD, bipolar disorder, and psychosis are invited to participate in The Climb in Detroit on June 23.

Similar events take place all over the world, on or around the longest day of the year, specifically chosen to shine the most possible light on maternal mental illness, according to Postpartum Support International (PSI). Funds raised support PSI, a nonprofit organization and online community of support resources for women around the world as well as local groups and resources that help provide support to moms and their families.

“We are proud to be one of the event sponsors this year,” says Sarah Doyle, licensed Master Social Worker, executive director of Nature’s Playhouse, and local Climb Leader. “But we want to also let women know that Nature’s Playhouse is a place women can turn to after the event.” Located in Ferndale, Nature’s Playhouse is designed specifically to help with maternal mental health issues every day, providing an array of supportive services for women including counseling services (some insurances accepted), birthing and lactation support, massage, drop in play, yoga and fitness classes, and many more.

“Motherhood is the hardest job,” says Doyle. “Anxiety and depression make us doubt our intuition. As new moms, we are overwhelmed, and sleep deprived. At Nature’s Playhouse, we can help new moms find the support they need and help them find new joy in life’s most beautiful moments.”

All moms, dad, families, and friends are invited to participate in their local Climb Out of the Darkness® to be held at Philip A. Hart Plaza, 2 Jefferson Ave E, Detroit, MI 48226 on Saturday, June 23rd from 10-12pm. Participants are encouraged to register prior to the event at https://climb-out-2018.causevox.com/team/detroit. Sponsorships from local businesses are also being accepted. Please contact local Climb Leader, Sarah Doyle, at 248-955-3219 or Sarah@naturesplayhouse.com for more information on sponsorships that will help support the Climb.

Event participants will enjoy refreshments and games for the children followed by a 1-mile walk down the river walk. Strollers and wheelchairs are welcome.

“At Nature’s Playhouse, our goal is to help women through this journey and show them that they are not alone in the darkness,” says Doyle. “Maternal mental health matters because it sets us up for a close connection with our child. It builds confidence and puts us on a road to empowered, thoughtful parenting.”

Metro Detroit Mommy Writer:

Five Summer Safety Tips Every Mom Should Know

Brought to you by Vive Health.
Summer is here, and, if you’re like most parents, that means you and your kids are going to spending a lot more time running around outside.

If you want to enjoy your fun in the sun without worrying about burns, bites, and other common summertime injuries, keep reading. Listed below are five summer safety tips that every parent should keep in mind to keep their kids (and themselves) safe and healthy all summer long.

1. Practice Sun Safety

Spending about ten minutes in the sun unprotected allows you to safely boost your vitamin D levels. If your children are spending more than ten minutes outside without sunscreen, they’re definitely at a higher risk for sunburns and UV damage.

Make sure your kids are applying sunscreen that has a sun protection factor (SPF) of at least 15, although 30 is preferable. Look for a broad-spectrum sunscreen, too, that will protect against both UVA and UVB rays. Apply it generously and re-apply it every two hours. If your children are doing a lot of swimming or sweating, you may need to reapply sunscreen more frequently.

Kids who are particularly prone to sunburns may also want to wear sun-protective clothing as an extra precaution.

2. Guard Against Bug Bites

Insect bites are annoying and can potentially spread a variety of diseases to children and adults alike.

If you’ve got a big camping trip coming up -- or just live in an area that has a lot of insects flying around -- be sure to invest in a quality insect repellent.

Use caution when using repellents that contain DEET -- this is an insecticide that is toxic and can even be deadly if it accidentally swallowed. Look, instead, for a non-toxic insect repellent -- many contain essential oils like citronella, cinnamon, and lemongrass -- to keep bugs at bay.

If your child is stung or bitten by an insect, be sure to remove the stinger (if the insect has one) right away. Then, apply ice to the area to minimize pain and swelling. You can also use hydrocortisone ointment to prevent itching.

3. Protect Your Kids’ Heads

During the summer, your kids are probably going to spend a lot more time riding bikes and scooters outside. These activities are fun, and they’re great forms of exercise, but they can also be very dangerous if your children aren’t wearing proper safety gear.

Make sure your child wears a helmet whenever they’re riding a bike, scooter, or anything else on wheels. A heavy-duty helmet will protect them from serious head injuries should they fall or get hit while riding.

Remember to lead by example -- if you want your kids to wear helmets, make sure you wear yours when you’re out riding with them!

4. Avoid Dehydration

When they’re spending lots of time out in the heat, especially playing sports, it’s easy for children to get dehydrated. Make sure they drink plenty of water before, during, and after their trips outside.

You may be tempted to mix things up by giving your kids sports drinks or juice instead of water. While these drinks are fine from time to time, they’re also full of sugar, so they should definitely be an occasional treat rather than a daily occurrence.

5. Brush Up On Your Pool Safety

Finally, make sure your kids are staying safe when they’re playing in the pool. Thousands of children drown every year, and many more are injured in near-drowning accidents.

In order to keep your children safe while they swim -- especially if you have a pool in your backyard -- keep these tips in mind:

  • Put up a gate with a lock and alarm
  • Never leave kids to swim unsupervised, no matter how capable you think they are
  • Don’t treat a flotation device as a lifeguard substitute

It’s also beneficial to learn CPR for kids, specifically. Hopefully, you’ll never need to use these skills, but they’re good to know nonetheless.

Final Thoughts

  • You don’t need to be a helicopter mom, of course, but it’s important for every parent to understand these basic summer safety tips. They’ll give you peace of mind and help your kids get the most out of their summer vacation.

Metro Detroit Mommy Writer:

Tips to Keep the Family Safe from Ticks

By: Dr. Gina Lynem-Walker, physician consultant at Blue Cross Blue Shield of MichiganDr. Gina Lynem-Walker

Michigan’s tick population is reportedly on the rise. While it’s important to spend time outdoors and enjoy everything summer has to offer, it’s also crucial to understand the risk of these insects and how to keep the family safe and healthy.

What are ticks?
Ticks are tiny insects, comparable to the size of a sesame seed, that attach themselves to the skin of humans and animals as they brush against them. They are most prevalent in Michigan between mid-April and September.

How Should I Remove a Tick?
One of the most effective ways to remove a tick is with tweezers. Grab the tick as close to the skin as possible, pull upward with a steady, even pressure and straight out of the skin. After the tick is safely removed, clean the area with soap and water. Put the tick in a plastic bag and save for the doctor in case signs of infection begin to show.

What Harm Can a Tick Cause?
Ticks can carry Lyme disease, an infectious disease capable of affecting humans and pets. Michigan has seen a dramatic increase in the amount of ticks carrying Lyme disease in the past ten years. Oftentimes, ticks need to be attached to the skin for at least 36 to 48 hours in order to transmit the disease. Other diseases that can result from a tick bite include: ehrlichiosis, babesiosis, tularemia, rocky mountain spotted fever and tick-borne relapsing fever. The risk of infection often depends on what region the tick is located.

What Are the Symptoms of Lyme Disease?
Victims of a tick bite may see a rash that looks like a “bull’s eye,” red, circular pattern one to two weeks after being bitten. It also produces an inflammatory reaction to the skin in early stages, in some cases affecting joints, the nervous system, and the heart later on. Other symptoms of Lyme disease include flu-like symptoms such as fever, chills, headache, fatigue, muscle and joint pain and swollen lymph nodes. If you think you have early signs of Lyme disease, see your doctor as soon as possible—thankfully, it can be easily treated with antibiotics if detected early.

How can I Stay Safe from Ticks?
The easiest way you can protect yourself is by avoiding contact with common tick “hiding spots,” including: high grasses, wooded areas, low shrubs, and leaves. It’s also important to make a habit of checking everyone’s exposed skin for ticks after spending time outdoors. Don’t forget to check your hair, ears, under arms, belly button, between your legs and the back of your knees – these are the most common areas to find ticks. Lastly, you can prevent these miniature insects by using bug spray before you go outside. If you go for a walk in the woods, it is recommended to wear long sleeves and pants to shield exposed skin. For further protection, you or your kids can tuck your pants into your socks to prevent ticks from crawling onto your ankles.

Are Pets Affected, Too?
Ticks can latch onto pets as well as humans. Like the rest of the family, it’s important to check a pet after time spent outdoors. Feel the skin for bumps that could potentially be ticks and get them removed before they can enter the home or transfer to other hosts. Some common places to check for ticks on pets include: inside ears, between toes, under tails, around eyelids, and under collars.

Dr. Gina Lynem-Walker is a physician consultant Dr. Gina Lynem-Walker and Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan provider. For more health tips and information on member tools, visit www.Mibluesperspectives.com.

Metro Detroit Mommy Writer:

Jun 18, 2018

#90DaysNoPay? I'm Going on a Getaway!

Who doesn't wonder as they pay their bills each month what they would do with a little extra money in the bank? If I could skip my car payment for 3 months I would love to take my family on a vacation to Mackinac Island, check out Stitch Fix or maybe subscribe to Martha & Marley Spoon for meal delivery. 

Cornerstone Community Financial Credit Union has sponsored this post so we can share this great opportunity and giveaway with you.

Cornerstone Community Financial Credit Union makes buying a car (or refinancing your existing auto loan) a lot easier with their 90 days - No Payment Auto Loan Program.  

When you finance your new or used auto loan with Cornerstone Community Financial Credit Union (CCF), you will be payment-free for 90 days, which means you can enjoy that new vehicle and some extra activities!  Or, Cornerstone may be able to save you money by refinancing your existing auto loan from another financial institution. By refinancing your auto loan with CCF, you can still take advantage of the limited time 90 day, no payment offer. <Apply now

There are so many fun, educational activities the whole family can enjoy on the island. You can tour Fort Mackinac and Fort Holmes to learn a little about the history of the island. There are horse-drawn carriage tours of the island as well. One of my favorite things to do is bicycle the 8 miles around the island. You do not have to be a seasoned bicyclist to do this (or I'd never make it) and it can be done at your leisure. Bicycles can be rented at many stores along Main St and it's a great way to explore the island and get some exercise. Of course, there is the famous Mackinac Island Fudge to try.

Check out Ten Things do with Kids on Mackinac Island

If I can't make a vacation work I would love to try a personal shopper service, such as Stitch Fix. What woman wouldn't like to have a personal shopper send a selection of clothing to her that she can try on in the privacy of her home? Stitch Fix is $20 per shipment and they send you a prepaid package to return clothes that don't work. Keep the clothes you like and return the rest. Stitchfix.com has an extensive style quiz, asks your sizes, gives you some sample looks so your stylist can get a feel for what types of outfits you like, asks for your color preference and will also shop for shoes, jewelry, outerwear. I rarely shop for new clothing and if I had a few extra hundred dollars a month I would love to stock up my wardrobe with some classic pieces. 

Check out what fellow Metro Detroit Mommy writer, Crystal, has to say about Stitch Fix on her own website Mom Among Chaos

Another service I'd like to try is a meal delivery service, like Blue Apron or Martha & Marley Spoon. It can be exhausting cooking for a family of 5. Trying to make a meal that most everyone will eat, is healthy and easy to prepare gives me a headache most days. I usually end up cooking the same dishes over and over again. I would love to tell someone else my family's preferred foods and receive my dinner ready to assemble and cook, We could try some new foods, learn new recipes and make dinner fun. For $145.00 per week, I can sign up and try a personalized menu for my family, making dinner a little less stressful. The best part is you can skip a week or cancel the service at any time. 

Read about our experience with Martha & Marley Spoon:

What would you if you didn't need to make an auto loan payment for ninety days? Please leave a comment below, like CCF Credit Union on Facebook, then use the form to enter for a chance to win a $50 Visa Gift Card from Cornerstone Community Financial Credit Union. Apply for their 90 days - No Payment Auto Loan Program today.


Metro Detroit Mommy Writer:

Jun 12, 2018

Livonia Kirksey Recreation Center - Indoor Pool and Splash Pad

Last week we visited the Livonia Kirksey Recreation Center which is located at 15100 Hubbard in Livonia, on the south side of Five Mile Road, between Hubbard and Merriman. Our prime purpose for our visit was to check out their splash pad and indoor pools. 

At the time of our visit (May of 2018) the fees were: 3 and under FREE with paying adult, youth $5/$10 (Resident/non res), teen $7/$14,  adult $8.50/$17.  So my family of 4 ended up costing us $37 for day passes for each of us (one adult, two youth, one tot). See current fees.

Upon entry, each person is photographed (for security) and all your info goes into their database.  It's a bit of a process... more than what my almost three-year-old could manage to wait for. 

The facility offers a ton of great indoor amenities including a leisure pool, lap pool, gym, workout facilities, indoor track, rock wall, party & meeting rooms, child care (additional charge, two-hour max stay), tree fort, gymnastic center, concessions, and locker rooms.  Outdoor features include skateboard park, inline skating rink, picnic pavilion, volleyball courts, walking/jogging paths, soccer fields and water spray ground.

We visited the Tree Fort first. The Tree Fort is a huge indoor play structure for children ages 10 and under.  All three of the girls enjoyed exploring the tubes and slides.  Under the structure is a mini rock wall and off to the side is a space for toddlers. 

Tree Fort

Toddler Area in the Tree Fort

Mini Rock Wall in the Tree Fort

There is an awesome rock wall in the main lobby area.  It wasn't clear if there is an additional charge, or if there were certain times the rock wall was open.

Rock Wall in the Lobby

The competition lap pool hosts eight 25-yard lanes that are 12'deep, 1-meter diving board, movable floor, and bulkhead. Pool floor can be raised to the deck surface or lowered to 7 feet.  Spectator seating for up to 400 people. So yeah.. that is cool, right?

Competition Lap Pool

The leisure pool is a 6,500 square foot area with a zero depth entrance. The water playground features a couple of sprayers and geysers (that were not on while we were there).  The pool also hosts a lazy river where guests can enjoy a leisurely ride on an inner tube.

Leisure Pool
Guests can relax in the spa or swim in the four-lane, 25-yard warm-up pool. The 25' high tube slide has limited hours of operation, so be sure to check the times before you attend (it was closed during our visit).

Leisure Pool - Slide
Leisure Pool - Hot Tub

Leisure Pool - warm up pool
Leisure Pool - Lazy River
The Water Spray Grund features water sprays and geysers, a padded play area and plenty of places for parents to chill around the perimeter. 

While the girls had a good time, I was less than impressed.  I would only advise visiting the spray park and pool if you are either a resident or if you want to get a membership because there are many other great FREE spray parks in the area, such as Herritage Park in Farminton Hills. The facility is wonderful, but it would be nice if they offered a spray-pad only fee. 

Metro Detroit Mommy Writer:

Flashfoodbox Launches in Detroit

Our family had the fortunate opportunity to experience all of the amazing goodness of receiving a 'Flashfoodbox' to our doorstep. I was familiar with similar subscription services that delivered fruit and veggies to the door, however, I was SUPER intrigued to learn that Flashfoodbox also included protein items within the contents of their box. I'll be honest, I was curious how they intended on keeping the products cold while awaiting our arrival home from school and work.

To my surprise the box was quite large and heavy, though still manageable for me to carry in to the house. I was filled with anticipation to dig in and see what goodies were inside. While opening, there was insulation made from recycled water bottles and 2 large (reusable) ice packs, successfully keeping all of the fresh produce and meats nice and cold.

As I removed item after item, one by one, I was pleasantly elated to find a nice variety of produce that our family regularly cooks with and prefers. In the past with other subscription services similar to this one, items tended to include options my children (and husband) typically didn't care for.

Along with all of the bright and bold produce colors and items, I was far too excited to see the protein options and their delicious flavors and spices. I found myself instantly meal planning for the remainder of the week, though I had already planned our meals over the next few days. I was very happy to find that the items (sausages, chicken burgers and meatballs), mostly included outdoor barbecue grilling options for our summer time fun!

Overall, the experience with Flashfoodbox was beyond pleasant and their price point was incredibly affordable. Equally, we found that their mission and history touched the heartstrings of our family and created a new customer out of our household.

From their website:

It all started when, a family member was distraught about throwing out $4000 worth of food after a catering event. A decision that was made by her boss. That seemed too hard to dismiss as a common everyday occurrence, yet, that was the norm in the food industry.

In fact, when food gets thrown out, it usually ends up in a landfill, gets covered by other garbage and rots. When this happens, the food doesn't have oxygen and the decomposition process produces methane gas.

The statistic that eventually created Flashfood is:

"If International food waste were a country, it would be the third leading cause to GHG emissions behind the US & China".
- National Geographic (March 2016)

In speaking to hundreds of grocery employees and top level executives in the grocery industry, it was alarming to learn that food items that were not sold and approaching their best before dates by up to 2 weeks, were simply thrown out! This is when the idea of Flashfood app was solidified. An app that allows shoppers to browse food items approaching their best before date, buy them at a discount and pick them up in store.

Over the past 18 months, we’ve worked with Longo’s (Toronto), Farm Boy (London) and Buy-Low Foods (Vancouver) and diverted over 15,000 meals from the landfill into the bellies of hungry people through our Flashfood app. This is roughly equivalent to GHG emissions of driving a car 18,000 km [in a car].

Given the oligopolistic nature of the Canadian grocery industry and the lack of immediate action to expand across Canada, we’ve created a direct to consumer model called the Flashfoodbox.

In April 2018, we expanded to the Detroit metro area through a partnership with Tyson Innovation Lab. We continue to build upon our mission of reducing food waste by offering high-quality surplus produce and protein at an affordable price, along with additionally providing the option to donate a box to local families through Forgotten Harvest, a nonprofit organization dedicated to fighting hunger in Detroit.

With the Flashfoodbox, we’re maintaining our core mission of reducing food waste by giving farmers and growers the ability to provide us with surplus food items that grocers don't want because of their aesthetic appearance. We add these items in the Flashfoodbox and ship it directly to our hungry community who actually want to use their buying power for the environmental benefit of everyone.

Moreover, we are actively looking for ways to solve the problem of food insecurity within our existing platform as we strongly believe that everyone should have access to healthy and nutritious food.

Our community uses it’s collective buying power, to validate food waste as intolerable. We couldn't be any more grateful for our community support to date. This is just the beginning.

Who wouldn't fall in love with a mission and drive like this? We're happy and think you will be too!

Be sure to check out https://www.flashfoodbox.com/ to subscribe. Stay up to date on all of their Detroit happenings via their Facebook Page by clicking HERE.

For first time subscribers, use the code DETROITMOMMY to get a 50% discount on your first box! 

Welcome to Detroit Flashfoodbox, we're ecstatic to have you!

Metro Detroit Mommy Writer:

Jun 11, 2018

Ten Exercise Activities for Non-Sporty Kids

My oldest son has never been "sporty".  He never wanted to join soccer and he couldn't care less about football or baseball.  If it's competitive, he's not interested.  He has many wonderful talents and qualities, but sports is not one of them, at least yet.  (He's in middle school)   He may be in the minority of his generation that practically came out of the womb playing soccer, but he's not the only one.  So here's a list of some active things that he and some of his friends *do* enjoy.  Just because you're not on a team doesn't mean you can't find something active that fits your personality and talents.

1. Walking- Going for a walk is easy and fun.  It's also something the entire family can do together.  Find a nature trail where you can spy on some wildlife.

2. Disc Golf or Frisbee- There are several parks in the area with disc golf courses.  My son's school recently even started a disc golf club.  Frisbee is perfect in the yard or at the beach this summer.

3. Roller Skating or Roller Blading- Indoors or outdoors both of my kids love skating.  We went to Play it Again Sports and got a couple of used pairs of skates to get them started. Also, lately Skate World has been running Groupons so you can coordinate a cheap afternoon date with the kids.  Even *I* enjoy skating!

4. "Rock Climbing"-There are several places you can take your kids to climb a "rock wall".  Planet Rock is one of our favorites but also some gyms have walls for the kids to work on.  I've done it myself and it's exhilarating and a serious workout!

5. Biking- Most every kid loves biking.  Even more fun if you find different routes or trails to bike on.  MetroParks are a perfect spot or Dodge Park.

6. Yoga- My son's teacher started doing this in the mornings at school with his class and once in a while he enjoys doing a few poses with me.  It's an excellent stress reliever too.

7.  Ropes Courses- As of lately, there have been several parks opening up with high ropes courses, including Stony Metro Park and West Bloomfield Adventure Center.  If your child isn't scared of heights these are a lot of fun and a great challenge!

8. Trampoline Time- Easily one of my kids' favorite activities.  If you're looking to burn off some energy jumping will definitely do the trick.

9. Martial Arts- Not the typical sport but definitely worth considering because it teaches discipline, strength, balance, respect and so much more.

10. Swimming-  Another huge energy burner and also a good life skill to develop.  Indoors during the winter and outdoors in the summer, my kids enjoy swimming year round and so do I!

I hope you can find something on this list your non-sporty kid can enjoy being active with.  Other suggestions I forgot to mention?  Please share and comment below.

Metro Detroit Mommy Writer: