Category Archives: To do in Metro Detroit

The Stroller Crew Hits a Detroit Hot Spot

Moms, babies and toddlers love to get out and enjoy the sunshine. Eastern Market is the perfect place to do it, especially for the new Tuesday market. The Tuesday market is like the “best of” from the massive Saturday market, from my “mommy” perspective. I looove Saturdays at Eastern market for the sheer volume and amazing vibe, but I can barely weave my way through the crowd myself, let alone with a stroller!

You might not grab a Bloody Mary at Viviano’s with little ones in tow, but you’ll have your choice of locally sourced grass fed beef burgers with homemade buns at Ned’s food truck (totally cool converted airstream) with their farm fresh accouterment. Of course what kid doesn’t love macaroni and cheese?!? The Mac Shack has the most decadent options I’ve ever seen on this comfort food classic, a must-try.

Tuesdays market has all of my favorites. Coffee from the caboose cart, fresh leafy greens from Vang’s, made-that-morning bread and bouquets of gorgeous flowers to brighten any day.
We tasted artisanal cheese, strawberry rhubarb jam, kale chips, pickles and even had a go on the xylophone! You can’t get THAT at the zoo!
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If the little ones may ask for a cool treat on a sunny day, don’t deny them (or you). It doesn’t have to be a market day for you to enjoy Michigan’s own Hudsonville ice cream from Mootown Ice Cream shoppe. Try a double decker sundae, smoothie or even quesadillas!

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Grandma holding B while he tried his hand as a street performer.

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Bathroom details: Bringing a potty training toddler anywhere can be daunting. “Potty Breaks” are frequent and it’s important to know where the good potty spots are. I chose the bathroom in DeVries (formerly R. Hirt Jr.) which lies between Shed 2 and Viviano’s. Head to the back wall of their delicious shop for a one person private toilet which your stroller might actually fit into. Otherwise, it’s rural rest stop accommodations in the public stalls next to the Welcome Center in Shed 3.

Bonus: Shed 3 was open but not full of vendors like on a Saturday. It was an enclosed wide open safe space to let the toddlers run. There were some street performers from a Krav Maga studio which were pretty interesting. There was even a business making an attempt at a “kid zone” offering a bean bag toss and face painting. I’ll be honest, I really didn’t go over to investigate because if B saw something he could throw he would’ve hurt someone or something. Plus, face painting gives me the heebeejeebee’s.

Parking: At 10am on a Tuesday it was easier to find parking than on 7am Saturday. We got lucky with a spot directly in front of Viviano’s.

By an hour and a half we had filled our market baskets and sampled our way through the entire market. A quick side trip to Whole Foods (literally around the corner on Mack Ave) and it was a fun and filling morning.

B returning our cart at Whole Foods.

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Me and B enjoying our tasty lunch, YUM!

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Detroit Prince (SS)

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A beautiful day for a boat ride! The hum of the engine acts as a lullaby while the summer breeze tickles the toes through flip-flops (or flippers, as B calls them). The gentle touch of a toddlers hand is the icing on the cake. Although other “rulers” may be official in the two countries we are balancing between, B is truly a prince today.

As we slide through ancient glacial pathways that now separate two countries, one is tempted to think of those who swam, paddled and sunk in these depths. I am reminded of the constant balance battle between man and nature as a huge plume of steam rises from a smokestack along the rivers edge.

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The Detroit Princess Cruise line is NOT a sponsor nor did they compensate me in any way to take their cruise. I purchased a Groupon and took the chance on a sunny July day that my two year old could miss his nap and still enjoy the river.

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Facts:
Daily outings at 1:00 and 3:30PM at Bishop Park in Wyandotte (behind the Henry Ford Hospital and Bacon Memorial Library) and a separate boat has the same schedule at Hart Plaza/ RiverWalk. All passengers are taken on a first come first served basis do try to arrive thirty minutes before boarding and be prepared to stand in line, even if you’ve purchased your tickets in advance.

Good to know:
The ramp (the gang plank?!) was too skinny to fit the stroller through so we had to “unload it”, fold it and carry kiddo and everything else on board. Once on board we could’ve stayed in the dining area but attempted going up on the covered deck. Found a nice shady wooden bench (relief) after braving metal stairs that were more like a ladder (yikes). The bathroom was much like you would find on an airplane, so diaper changes would need to be done ” al fresco”. You can bring drinks and snacks on board for the 0-5 year olds but anyone 6+ better have cash on hand for anything else available at the bar.

At $17 per person 6+ years old for a two hour cruise it’s a fine family value, though I’m glad I had a half off deal.

Does your toddler love the water? If so, what water fun have you had this summer?

Toddler’s 1st Movie Theater Experience

Toddler’s 1st Movie Theater Experience.

Toddler’s 1st Movie Theater Experience

Monsters University at Emagine theater in Woodhaven, MI was our first choice for a mother-son morning. First of all, I love this theater because they serve beer (and everything else) although I did not have a beer this time, it was a cool and refreshing respite from the heat wave, while giving B and I something to do on a steamy July morning.

I followed a few simple suggestions from moms who’ve come before me, this is what they told me:
1. Choose a morning show time. (Most likely the crowd will be other kids who might be less likely to get bothered by toddler behavior.)
2. Arrive ten minutes (or more) after the posted show time to avoid the trailers. Most toddlers have a 90 minute max on their ability to sit still, even in this scenario.
3. Get your toddler a kid sized snack pack to hold, they will be mesmerized at least as long as the popcorn lasts.
4. Get the booster seat! B would’ve fallen through the crack in the seat if we hadn’t requested it. They are free but were not (hello, why not?!) at the entrance of Monsters University. B is a BIG two year old, and it was necessary for him.

Even though B and I did not sit through the ending credits like his dad and I would have, we had a very nice morning. Was it perfect, no, of course not. Between potty breaks and pure silly’s we saw about 80% of the movie. But, for a first time out, I was proud if B and me for our results.

Happy trails!! (His dad and I went to see The Lone Ranger after that…alone)

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A trip to Trader Joe’s is just as educational as the zoo, right?

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A quick morning errand turned into an education for mom & tot.

Visiting the new Trader Joe’s on Telegraph Rd. and Maple (15 Mile Rd.) gave B the chance to explore hands- on fruits, vegetables, dairy and grains from around the globe. Sipping coffee from a just-his-size sample cup (what, your toddler doesn’t like coffee?) and pushing his cart, he was allowed to be the “big boy” that he so fiercely proclaims to be. We talked about colors, letters, shapes, smells and textures all while trying to watch our manners (no running into the ankles of other patrons with your cart). B showed me and everyone at the store he was more than worthy of that free organic lollipop the cashier offered him.

Zoo, schmoo, how can watching a seemingly lifeless lioness (no matter how close that new glass enclosure can get you) compare to cool air conditioned independence??

Thank you Trader Joe’s, see you next week!

Mom & Tot Yoga – review

I love yoga. Since having B, my practice has severely diminished. However, recently a new class has become available in the Dearborn/downriver area that I love. I just had to shout it from the rooftops!

http://rowantreeyoga.com

(The website didn’t have the new classes listed, so I cut and pasted the July classes from the newsletter below)

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DETAILS:

1. It’s CASH ONLY and drop-in, so no commitments.

2. They have mats and blankets for you to borrow.

3. You don’t need special clothes because, if you’re like me, you’re probably already in yoga pants everyday, right?!

It’s ” mom & tot” so, if your kid is like mine and feels the need to run, skip, yelp or fart, it’s okay, you’re amongst those who understand! If you have two little ones, it’ll cost you $5 more, but don’t feel like you can’t attend because you can’t “control” both of them. This class is designed for little ones with even littler attention spans. No one expects your little ones to just stay on their mat. Mom gets a few poses in while junior may be trying to climb your tree pose or limbo under your down dog, that’s okaaaaay!!!! It’s still having a positive effect on your family, I promise. B takes the best naps when we go.

Where have you done mommy & me yoga with your little one?

Moo Cluck Moo Review

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Moo Cluck Moo- restaurant review

http://www.moocluckmoo.com/

Cross Streets: Telegraph Rd. & Joy Rd.

Bathroom: NONE (apparently when you are a “carry out only” establishment you are not required to offer any facilities to your customers.)

Food: YUM to the capital Y U and M. We used our groupon for two “all american BBQ” burgers and added regular fries (although they had many options) and a salted caramel chocolate milk shake. An amazing pickled cole slaw topped my BBQ burger that blew my mind, it was SO good!

Seating: A few bar height two tops inside and some rickety two tops outside on the blacktop within feet of cars whizzing by at 60mph. We attempted to dine outside as the inside was jammed but found it too challenging to balance a toddler on one knee and eat. Plus, you could barely hear each other talk with the whooshing of traffic.

Staff: The employees were amazing. I would be happy if any of them were my neighbor or lab partner.

To solve the “family dining” issue we drove a few blocks off Telegraph to a playground attached to a school. It was in a cute brick home lined neighborhood and we attempted to eat “picnic style”. However, as soon as B saw the playscape, he was off and running, big daddy in hot pursuit!

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This is a picture of the school parking lot. There was one other family there that looked like they had the same meal plan we did.

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Overall, I felt good about giving B a “fast food” burger from here. I was just surprised about the “carry out only” scenario. Now that I am prepared, I can go with the right attitude to fully enjoy this great food served up by an uber friendly staff.

Toddler Bowling

It’s a rainy day and our active family cannot be cooped up at home for long or we start to get crabby. So we tried a bowling alley in Allen Park, MI.
http://www.rooseveltlanes.com/open.html

A friend had pointed us in their direction because it is small, clean and family owned and operated, my kind of place.

For less than $5 our toddler got shoes, a ball he could lift (6 pounds) and an open lane. The staff gave us an apparatus that is used by bowlers in a wheelchair but it worked perfect for our two year old. They raised the “bumpers” on the lane so no matter how B threw the bowling ball, it would make it down the lane.

After a few rolls, B wanted to try to throw it down the lane like Daddy does. Now, Daddy has two 300 rings from league play, so, I think it’s safe to say, we’d all like to throw the ball like him, but regardless, B was done with the handicap ramp. He rolled the ball as hard as could down the lane and it literally took so long to get to the pubs the roll didn’t even register! Too funny! It was about as fun as watching paint dry but B got his silly’s out and we all had a few laughs.

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We played two games and B was beyond done. It took about an hour to complete the two games. Then we went into the “game room”. B doesn’t have the skills or interest to really play, so we saved our quarters but he had about another twenty minted of fun just clicking buttons and touching all if the games with their blinking lights.

We are potty training B now, so the bathroom is a really big deal when we go somewhere. When it was “time”, B was able to relieve himself with daddy in a clean bathroom, always a positive. No kiddy potty or step stool at the sink but, we still rated it high. There was also a changing table for the needs of tiny ones.

Follow us as we play and explore as a family in Detroit and surrounding suburbs. I will give my “mommy perspective” on our adventures. Restrooms, food, cost and whether I felt a place was kid friendly or not. I hope you find it helpful – ENJOY!

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