Monthly Archives: August 2013

Detroit Doughnut Shop To Honor Producer J Dilla

Former Avalon baker starting a doughnut shop in Harmonie Park using all-natural and organic ingredients?!? AWESOME!!

Detroit is Two-Faced

Detroit is two-faced! Or is it us that is two- faced toward her? I suppose your opinion would be based on your most recent experience.

You may be in love with the D today because your summer taxes are paid, the weather is perfect and you just had a fantastic lunch outdoors at your favorite local spot. Whereas, tomorrow you hate her because you ran over a broken bottle, got a flat tire AND a parking ticket (as a result of not moving your disabled vehicle) and the Tigers lost to the frighin Royals, ugh!!

Are you an optimist or a pessimist? Is the glass half full or half empty?

I chose to love the city on Sunday. I chose to be an optimist. Even though my dear hubby was stuck at work, I took a picnic lunch to him for his break and then took B to the River Walk to burn off some of his boundless toddler energy. I parked near my old building (free parking on Sundays) and walked through the Renaissance Center (because who doesn’t like a good puzzle on a Sunday) to the gleaming blue waters of the Detroit River.

Free Parking

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Gerbil Tubes Shooting off the RenCen

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Enjoying the sunshine and watching the boats.

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We sauntered down the River Walk past all of the pooches on the pet walk, the joggers and even one brave woman on rollerblades speedily pushing a stroller (woah!) to Wheelhouse Detroit where you can rent any bike complete with gear, totally awesome!

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The fountain and carousel were a big hit with B!

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The outdoor seating was plentiful, the grills were turning out some quality eats and the sun was beaming. We had just eaten our picnic lunch with Big Daddy, but once B caught sight of that slushie machine, there was NO WAY he was leaving without one. Sooo, my little man got his “special treat” of red dye #40 and he couldn’t have been happier.

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The playscape was just big enough for B to get his “swing on” but not get lost in an intricate web of shoots and ladders like some we’ve been to. It had beautiful benches, flowers, waste receptacles and clean, kid friendly bathrooms. There was also a HUGE free parking lot two feet away. Note to self, park there next time if not bringing a stroller!

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Here is the dichotomy: All of this beauty, cheer, food and fancy drawing your eyes to the river and the joys of being near it, but if you turn around… It’s a chained off, barren, seagull infested blight.

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This is where we make our choice
to love her or hate her, or maybe the third option is just allow ourselves to feel both. Isn’t that what a relationship is all about?

What are your most recent experiences in Detroit?

Light Catcher

We are attempting to do no reduced screen time and we found such a quick, easy, cute craft for these gloomy days at the Dollar store! Everything was included for $1.00. The paintbrush, paints and the light catcher.

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We popped open our learning tower, tossed on our apron, laid down a drop cloth/towel and set to creating.

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B loved getting messy!

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Amazingly, we finished our craft and the sun came out!


What are you doing with your little ones as you strive to reduce screen time?

Thunder Over Michigan

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Our first air show as a family was a hit! I hadn’t been to an air show in years and was happily surprised at how much they had to offer. Three generations of our family enjoyed a perfect weather day celebrating America.

Amazing planes from the last century parked on the Tarmac for all to see and TOUCH! Very cool for B! Then later, these same planes were started up (hello gas and fumes!) and flown through the sky with finesse.

My favorite was a re-enactment camp depicting accommodations, weaponry and tactical gear from each of the major American wars from the last century complete with veterans in their official uniforms to tell their war stories. Another surprise was a WWII battle re-enactment with cannon fire and an ambush by the Germans. It seemed to be a HUGE hit for the young boys ages 7-9 years old (even more so than the bouncy house area)!

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We brought a picnic of fruit, trail mix and PB&J sandwiches, a blanket, some folding chairs and enjoyed five hours of non-stop fun. B barely made it to the car before he fell asleep
(Very unlike him!) from the running around, sun and yes, bouncy houses. The Kid Zone was worth the trip in B’s opinion.

The real action was in the skies however, the aerobatic planes were incredible. Just watching from my spot on the ground made my stomach turn, I could only imagine actually being up there! AMAZING!!

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Deets:
Admission is FREE for kids 15 & under. Adults $35 but I bought a Living Social deal for half off plus a deal on parking (usually $15). All told I spent $77 for four adults and one child to park and enjoy. I felt like I got MORE than my money’s worth!

For additional fees you could take a ride in an actual plane or dine in air conditioned comfort in a special luxe tented gallery. We did spend $10 for an all day pass, versus $3 per jump, for B to jump in the bouncy houses, which, in my opinion was 100% worth it. There were also rock climbing, bungee swings, tennis and other kid-centered activities. I feel confident that any child or adult could find something to spark their interest here. The day was perfect enough, where even an indifferent teen could simply relax and soak up the sun while the family browsed around. There was certainly enough security, military and fire safety personnel present to put a parents mind at ease.

Food: Check their website for any changes but this year (2013) you could bring in anything that did not require a cooler. No alcohol or barbecues of course 🙂

No Smoking! They real reason was because the planes on the Tarmac were going in the air and were fully fueled up causing fumes that are extremely flammable. I just thought it was great to be at an outdoor event and not have to choke through clouds of smoke – blech!

Bathroom: Port-a-poetry’s only for the general admission folks. There were running water portable sinks to wash hands at every cluster and they weren’t disgusting (as far a port-a-potty’s go) . B got to use his first urinal, because there was no way I was going to try to balance my toddler over an open hole of excrement. I was impressed at his skill! Of course he let daddy take him potty after that.

Charitable: Proceeds from the event went to funding the Yankee Air Museum http://yankeeairmuseum.org/ and the bomber plant where the original “Rosie the Riveter” became a National hero.

Have you ever been to an air show?

Wine/ Hard Cider Tasting

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The Northville Cider Mill and Winery was a perfect spot for a Saturday night date with my hubby. We went for a tasting (yes, I bought a LivingSocial deal, I know, I’m addicted) and found a place we’d love to return to again with or without a toddler in tow.

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The outdoor space is absolutely charming with hand painted adirondack chairs and live music (check schedule). The menu states you can bring a picnic or order a pizza and get it delivered, love it! The atmosphere is artsy but not stuffy. VERY laid back staff are chatty, cynical and intuitive, as needed.

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The crowd was varied, which I love. 20’s- senior citizens were all mingling happily. Some were tasting, many were just enjoying a bottle of their fabulous hard cider or local red wine. The whole place has a very “come as you are” attitude. Attire was everything from flip flops and t-shirts to polo’s and pressed khaki’s. The parking lot had everything from beach cruiser bicycles to muscle cars to range rovers. Truly, “come one, come all and enjoy” could be their motto.

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Although my husband and I were in and out before any real “standing room only” crowds converged, it was a bustling bistro. I overheard one group saying how they had been there the past weekend really late and it was like “tailgating at a polo match”. That brought some vivid imagery of Julia Roberts mixed with Prince William to my crazy mind, but it sounded fun at any rate!

Deets:
Location: 630 Baseline Rd., Northville, MI (one block south of Novi Rd. and 8 mile Rd. intersection on the residential block of Baseline)

The party is Friday 6-10 pm & Saturday 4-11pm only (for now)

The bathroom: clean and family friendly

The front patio/open green space: perfect for relaxing on a picnic blanket nibbling treats (or pizza delivery) and sipping locally sourced and bottled hard cider and wine.

We brought home a bottle of Rockin’ Hard Cock Cider (yeah, the taste was great but the name, hysterical!) to take to our out- of- state family the next time we visit. We need to represent Detroit and show them how we do it!! Ha!!

http://thenorthvillewinery.com/

Disclaimer: I was not in anyway compensated to write this review. I visited this establishment and I am simply offering my genuine opinions.

Schmutz the Dog, our new favorite pet

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Schmutz the dog is our new favorite pet. He looks like our doggies, smells like our doggies, but lives in a book on the activity table. He’s inspired us to get bits and baubles from our craft trunk and create some of our own family portraits.

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Covering the table with our pirates booty of treasures we laid out the book for inspiration. Once we decided our base would be a paper plate we squirted glue where the necessary body parts would be adhered and discussed the function of those parts (eyes for seeing, nose for smelling, mouth for tasting). B was deep in thought as I started using scissors to cut strips from some yarn and ribbon.

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Voila! Our masterpieces!! (Sort of) I am still working on mine. We had a great talk about body parts, senses and buttons. B used his fine motor and decision making skills. I would say we made the best of this gloomy day…

Heritage Park Conservatory & Botanical Gardens

Filling a bucket with water, dumping it out, squishing mud and sorting pebbles, oh yeah, “these are a few of B’s faaavorite things”! B and I joined some of our mommy crew and set out to donate some time to enhance the beauty of Metro Detroit. The http://taylorconservatory.org/ is nearly 100% volunteer based and offers a community garden, fairy garden and botanical garden. While we wanted the children to get hands on experience with growing plants and donating their time, we also were lucky to get a beautiful day of perfect weather and sunshine.

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Potty Deets:
There is a clean baby friendly bathroom inside the building across the parking lot (about two ABC song verses away) that houses the Petting Farm entrance. We brought our froggy potty this day however.

Food:
It is completely BYO and there are so many picturesque spots to enjoy a meal or a snack, my vote goes to the wooden log benches by the by the slate floor pavilion.

Cost:
FREE
*if you choose to check out the Petting Farm it’s $4/person 1 & up. Cash only.

But wait, there’s more!
There is a brand new playscape (built summer 2012) next to another pavilion with picnic tables that B and I have enjoyed when he was just one year old and still getting the hang of walking. I have also seen someone rent a bouncy house and have it installed right next to the play scape and host her daughters fifth birthday party under the pavilion. It looked AMAZING!

Where is your favorite green space to take your family on a perfect picnic weather day?