Tag Archives: detroit

ICED COFFEE ~ Detroit Style

I love iced coffee. I have become particularly focused on (some would say obsessed) creating the perfect iced coffee brew.

Here’s my version of perfection:

Cut a 5X5″ square of cheesecloth

Dump 1 cup of your favorite ground coffee into the center

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Bring the corners of the cheesecloth together, twist and tie tightly with cotton thread/twine.

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Fill a large glass container with 5-7 cups of cold purified water.

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Place the cheesecloth pouch into the water. Let sit out on your counter or in your refrigerator overnight or for at least 8 hours.

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Voila!

Keep in your refrigerator with the black gold for up to a month. Enjoy ice, cream, sugar or just plain, like me, for up to a month.

If you do not love strong coffee, use less coffee to water in your brew and take the cheesecloth out after the first “overnight” brew.

Cheers!

Comerica Park on the Pepsi Porch…best seats in the HOUSE!

Relaxing with a twisty straw at our seats on the Pepsi Porch

Relaxing with a twisty straw at our seats on the Pepsi Porch

The sun was hot, the Tigers were…lukewarm. We cheered for our home team, jeered the opposition and ordered food and drink from our seats, it was a great time! For under $50 per seat, I think these seats were a score. The view was awesome. The little one who cannot sit still for long had room to stretch, stand up, swivel his chair all the way around, rock back and forth and we all got to enjoy the game. Next time you consider buying tickets for a Tigers game, ask for the Pepsi Porch, you will not regret it.

I am not a die hard fan of baseball. For me, to go to a game it has to be an experience. I want to sip something new, taste something new and not have to wait in line for a stinky bathroom. That is asking a lot for most stadiums, unless you pay for a suite. I heard from a friend the Pepsi Porch was a great place to go, especially with kids. I took a chance for a “special occasion” and went above our usual bleacher seat purchase. I sipped locally brewed beer, munched on strawberry-marshmallow kabobs and shared cotton candy with my two favorite people. The crowd-free restrooms were less than 50 feet away from the seats and were spic and span. There are comfy couches all around and a full service bar, plus the “wave” was a BIG DEAL in our section.

Comerica Park is great when it comes to family entertainment and customer service. We rode the all Tiger carousel and the Baseball Ferris Wheel with ease (just $2 per rider). A quick visit to the Customer Service center (nicely air conditioned) for our birthday boy and we walked out with a certificate, rubber Detroit Tigers bracelet, baseball and mini bat. Too bad the birthday boy was turning 43 and the customer service representative gave it all to our 3 year old, but he should’ve known better, ha ha! I love that he’s a kid at heart!

Let’s Go Tigers!

Campus Martius Christmas

Campus Martius is right in the center of the hub of downtown Detroit. In winter the ice skating rink, majestic tree and small business mall (complete with beer tent parents) is a destination to build memories and traditions. During the holiday season when my far-stretched family comes to visit we always make it a point to spend some time there.

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We strolled around the rink, admiring the agile and the fallen in their glory and their agony respectively. The lights of the small business mall beckoned and we purchased some Detroit memorabilia. My sister a shirt, for mom a mug, a sweater and a set of coasters. The husbands marveled at the biker gear and beer accessories. I nibbled some Germack nut mix and coveted a Warhol- esque canvas that could be made from your own photo. Something for everyone! Then we all agreed the beer tent was a good idea.

Live music is always enjoyable to me, but it’s especially fun when you can watch your three year old jam out like nobody’s watching. I swear, we really should’ve thrown a tip jar down. He was entertainment for a while until his interest waned and we moved on.

Inside of the Compuware building Santa himself is available from noon-6pm for unlimited photos with your own camera for FREE! No one else was there so we had a blast. B was very apprehensive initially but warmed up when we all got in the picture together.

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The massive waterfall inside the lobby a few feet away allowed B to be amazed long enough for everyone to enjoy a hot cocoa from Tim Horton’s. The ATM helped us get more loot to head back out again and enjoy more winter traditions. Along our exploration we stumbled upon a sidewalk chess board in front of the DTE Energy building.

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What fun family memories are you creating with your family this season?

Letters to Santa

Writing a letter to Santa has an entirely different meaning today than ever before. As a child it was a letter of hope and optimism. As a parent I am holding my breath, smiling through my teeth and hoping my child writes down what we bought him because if not, we’re screwed! Luckily, he did ask for the big gift we bought- whew!

Visiting The Henry Ford Museum is our family tradition to write our letters and visit with Santa. It’s also a fantastic place to explore for my little guy. Drive a huge combine machine, change the tires or muffler on a car in a Texaco shop or build Legos to your hearts content, there are hours of cold weather fun to be had! Older kids (a.k.a parents) can fold paper into a model airplane and launch it in a “test area” or power a light bulb with a crank. Literally hundreds of planes, trains and automobiles to touch, sit in, climb on and discover.

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Step 1: Write a letter to Santa

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Step 2: Check it twice

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Step 3: Send it to the North Pole

Seems simple.

I’m glad it worked out this year. I still feel like just a little bit of Christmas magic was in play. Tis’ the season!

What Christmas traditions do you have in your family?

Detroit Time Machine

Greenfield Village is an authentic time machine that can transport you into Edison’s workshop and the very chair he used while inventing the incandescent light bulb or into the Wright brothers family kitchen. Take a horse and buggy ride, cruise in a model T Ford or chug along on a steam train.

The one hundred year old carousel is magical and the village green is the perfect spot for a family game of “tag”. You can bring your own picnic lunch or enjoy a healthy snack (most likely grown or made in the Village) from one of their shops. With all of that, they’ve gone and topped it!

Introducing (drum roll, please) the new playscape!

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A huge Firestone tire replica spins round and round in one corner and the two-story water tower shines in the weak October sun, highlighting three ways to go up and down! It’s fully fenced in with a staff member at the entrance/exit to guide young explorers. It has something for every age group, even the adults! Our first time there we spent two hours and only explored half of the playscape!

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Of course there’s a Ford flatbed truck! Climb in the drivers seat, turn on the engine and imagine yourself trolling along. Just in front of its bumper is the sandbox, of course it wouldn’t be complete without a life-size excavator, right? Then there is the ten foot high pumping station that spits out real water (even at the end of October) and the swing set that will delight infants and gymnasts alike.

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You can sing “row, row, row your boat” at the top of your lungs!

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Learn about the physics of water flow…

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Place different shaped wood pieces at different intervals to create a damn or a waterfall…

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Regardless of your intent, you won’t be able to stop the mystical time tunnel that is, Greenfield Village.

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Potty details:
Proper restrooms with changing tables, family restrooms with rockers for nursing and real soap and towels to dry are everywhere throughout the village.

Cost:
This place is not cheap. We do get a membership each year with ride passes and at nearly $370.00, it is triple the cost of our zoo or science center memberships, but completely worth it.

Parking:
Easy and free if you are a member. Easy, still, even if you’re not a member, they just add the cost onto your ticket,

As always, these are simply my own opinions and observations. I did not in ANY way get compensated for this review.

Do you have a favorite play area around town? Write it in the replies, or if you’ve already written about it, post your link 🙂

Costume Police!

You might get ticketed by the costume police when you’ve got a matching vehicle as a part of the design. We “spared no expense” as they said on Jurassic Park… Oy! I justify the expense by telling myself, “I only have one child and there are a finite amount of Halloweens…yadda, yadda”, you know the lies we tell ourselves.

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I fell in love with it at first sight! I love the hat, the boots, the badge, I love it all! Not to mention, B seems to like it too.

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A tip ‘o the hat and my heart swooned. No warm blooded mommy could say no to this, right?

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There he goes, having stolen my poor heart!

What costumes are your kiddos wearing this year?

Back to Detroit (…Waldorf)

Seasonal scents of applesauce and soups dance down the hallways with the sounds of children singing and making music. As my little guy leans his head on my shoulder, still not sure about coming back to “school”, his tense muscles begin to relax and he starts to peek up. Slowly, he asks to slide down so he can walk on his own as we approach Miss Maggie’s Parent-Tot Classroom.

Leaving our shoes and bags in a cubby outside the room entrance, Miss Maggie greets us warmly, washing B’s hands for him with a cloth warmed with lavender and water. I wash my hands too and bring the cloth to the tot-sized table as we take a seat and begin to chat with our neighbors while peeling and slicing apples from the mounding bowl on the table. Everyone joins in as an easy rhythym begins and the children start to lose interest in the apple slicing and explore the simple wooden toys in a peacefully muted play area.

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Miss Maggie invites the class to sing the “Good Morning song” with lots of big movements that encourage the children to stretch and giggle. This easily transitions into holding hands for a lively game of Ring-Around-the-Rosie where the “cows are in the meadow eating buttercups” (B’s faaaavorite part). After independent play and quiet parent observation she offers some talking points about the development and education of our tots and then prepares the table for snack.

I absolutely love that we MADE our own snack from scratch, have been smelling it cooking the entire morning and will now get to share it with our friends! I was nervous at first about the bowls and teacups being “real”, in other words they would break if they dropped, but it feels very special and sweet to be sipping out of them. The very shape and weight of a teacup seems to encourage delicacy.

Of course the children should have “real” tools to work with, and in twelve weeks I’ve never seen one break once. A candle is lit and a non-denominational “blessings on our snack” is said before we pour water or tea from glass pitchers into our grandmother-esque teacup and pass a bowl of almonds or berries around the table to top our freshly made applesauce. What a treat!

A relaxing, bonding and educational morning for my son and myself. I feel a collective “sigh” as class comes to a close and we pick up our bags and our tots to head outside to the beautifully natural play area.

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The Detroit Waldorf School has given my son and I a local opportunity to connect with nature and our neighbors once a week. The six week parent-tot sessions are short enough to get a good sized sample of the Waldorf education model and early childhood curriculum without a huge commitment. It’s definitely been a joy for us.

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Detroit Metro Parks (and other places to skip stones)

Sometimes you just need to get outside and get immersed in nature. Deep forest, marshlands, estuaries, lakes, water fowl and everything that goes along with it. Without traveling more than 30 minutes from Greektown, you can find peace and tranquility in the form of Metro Parks.

Detroit Metro Parks are as diverse as the city itself. Many have Nature Centers with turtle tanks and local wildlife hides for show and tell. We’ve attended many pre-registered events for a meager $3.00 that gave B inspiration for weeks of imaginative play.

There are paved running trails that are stroller friendly and more rugged trails lined with mulch. Whether you like a colorful playscape or a deep, dark forest, there is something for everyone!

One of our favorites is Lake Erie Metro Park because of the children’s play area and tiny beach nearby to throw rocks into the lake (B’s favorite pastime). This past Saturday morning was absolutely gorgeous weather and the park was the perfect place to stretch our legs. We packed a picnic lunch and spent a few hours climbing, swinging, digging, sliding and skipping.

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Another favorite of ours for toddler-sized nature walks is Oakwoods Metro Park where the 700ft. nature trail surrounding the Nature Center is perfect for B’s interests, legs and attention span.

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A balcony overlooking the river/estuary was perfect for skipping stones with B.

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The path was perfect for exploring. We searched for different sizes, shapes and colors of leaves for our seasonal nature table. We found leaves, insects, spiders and birds to observe quietly. We collected acorns, chestnuts and bark that had fallen around the trail. It was punctuated enough for B and diverse enough to hold the adults interest for the morning.

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Do you have a favorite spot in nature that you love to spend family time?

Mai Tiki Wanna Playa?!

Beach, bonfires, brisket and Paul Bunyan combined with Tiki huts, sand volleyball and waves… am I still in Michigan?!? Yes, about three hours north of Detroit (give or take traffic). We took a little family weekend getaway to Oscoda, MI and had a BLAST!

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It was pleasantly Autumn weather in northern Michigan. The water was chilly, but not polar bear and refreshing to feel the waves lapping at your feet and soothing your soul.

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We tossed around a frisbee, zipped down a twelve foot high metal slide (it was AWESOME) and tried our hand at some beach volleyball.

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The resort is made up of vibrantly colored little cottages on the beach where you can step outside your front door and stick your toes in the sand. Mother Nature put on an awe-inspiring light show at sunset. (We took this picture with our iPhone, imagine it in living color, insane!)

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A mix of sun and clouds wasn’t exactly August beach weather, but we were happy to play in the sand, building and demolishing sand castles. Sand toys, balls and frisbees were all available for free to guests.

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The town hosted a Paul Bunyan Festival the weekend of our trip (September 20-22, 2013) with bountiful sights to see! A doggie costume contest, a brisket and ribs contest (yum), a wood carving contest (think chainsaws and bear statues) and plenty of carnival food and rides. There was even a real life Paul Bunyan giving free axe throwing lessons, now THAT was a sight to see!

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There was a huge wooden slab target surrounded by massive hay bales to arrest any wayward axe tosses. Most people landed the target with no problem. Paul Bunyan’s favorite advice to give is often something I say to my two and a half year old, “finesse not force”. We sat and watched men and women of all ages and physical stature give the axe throwing a try, it was definitely something I will not soon forget.

Resort Details:
Mai Tiki Resort
3322 N. US Route 23
Oscoda, MI 48570
989-739-9971

We liked:

The beach

The kids pay area

The full kitchen

There was a bonfire on the beach every night with wood and chairs provided

The box fan in the unit (there is central air, but the fan helped as a noise buffer for our toddlers bedroom)

The charcoal BBQ grill for each unit

Free wifi

Flat screen TV with cable that also accepted a DVD player (movies for our toddler to watch as needed, it rained for about two hours one day).

We brought:

Food to grill and snacks to munch

Marshmallows and sticks to roast them
(There is a Walmart, other chain stores and mom & pop shops within a few miles north and south of the resort to buy whatever you need)

Charcoal and lighter fluid

Paper towels, plates and napkins because there is no dishwasher

Kitchen towels, bath towels AND beach towels (we will also bring tupperware for food storage and our own sponges for dish washing next time)

Oh yes, we brought beer and wine too

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Sure, I would have liked an updated decor with tile floors and new everything, but for the price and locale, it really was a good value. I can appreciate that sand and lake weather can beat down the exterior and interior of a place more than I could imagine, but the manager/owner seemed to take care with heart. There was always a friendly helpful answer to every question we had both before and during our stay. Even when we locked ourselves out, he was kind and gentle with helping us back in.

We really liked our stay and would go back again.

In no way did the resort compensate me to write this review, as always, these are just my opinions.

Where was your last weekend getaway?

Flying on a Tuesday

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Another beautiful day in Detroit. Seventy-seven degrees, slight breeze, sunny blue skies smiling down on everyone, it is a MUST to get down to the Detroit Riverfront before cool Autumn comes rolling in. The playscape is beautifully designed with parents and kids of all sizes in mind. Benches in both sun and shade, clean, lined trash bins and a spectacular backdrop.

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The perfect spot for swinging and sliding!

As we are still in full potty training mode, it was extra nice to be able to park within a few feet in the Rivard parking lot (free). We are still lugging our froggy potty around with us everywhere so B has a familiar spot to relieve himself. However, he did also use the public facilities here today, exercising his new found ability to pee standing up. The restrooms were clean and fully stocked. There was no kiddie potty like at schools or museums, but it was a public restroom that didn’t induce the gag reflex, always a good thing.

We played for about an hour and then headed over to visit Eastern Markets Tuesday vendors in Shed 2. Food trucks, live street performances and of course sampling of all the delicious jams, pickles, sweet breads and fruits. The smells and sounds are a treat for the senses and we always walk away with both our belly and our mind on FULL.

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So much to do! The staff at Eastern Market are amazing at inspiring and utilizing local talent giving creativity a direct pipeline to the lucky foot traffic twice a week.

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We even got to see the championship Detroit Waldorf School jump rope team in action! They performed some amazing feats and then opened it up for everyone to get a try. Totally cool.

What’s your favorite “last days of Summer” thing to do?