Tag Archives: family

3 Ingredient Peanut Butter Cookies

3 ingredient, gluten-free peanut butter cookies:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

1 egg
1 cup of sugar
1 cup of peanut butter

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Mix all ingredients into one bowl. Stir until well-combined. Roll into balls. Place on a well-greased or parchment-lined cookie sheet and press down with the tines of a fork to make the classic peanut butter cookie criss-cross pattern.

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Bake for 11 minutes, or until slightly browned. Allow to set for a few minutes, then place on a cooling rack.

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I double dog dare you NOT to eat these all in one night!

What’s your favorite gluten-free dessert recipe?

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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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A is for A P P L E

Apples, apple cider, apple cider slushies, apple cider doughnuts, apple butter, apple cake, applesauce, apple pie… I felt like the character Bubba from the movie Forest Gump, except no shrimp! I want B to know where his food comes from. Since he eats about five apples a week, I want him to know they grow on trees and not believe they somehow form from the big fruit bowl on our kitchen counter.

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All told, it took about thirty minutes for my two and a half year old to pick a half BUSHEL of johnagold, red delicious, macintosh and fuji apples. That’s about fifty apples. All from the trees themselves, any he picked off the ground were rejected from the bag (someone’s got to do quality control!). It seemed like that part should’ve taken longer.

Since we had driven an hour to get to the orchard and the weather was more Indian Summer than Autumn, we set out to see the rest of the sprawling orchard and seek out more toddler friendly fun.

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There were chickens to feed…

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Goats to be amused by…

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Cool, old tractors to explore…

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Apple cider AND apple cider doughnuts made it home with us, barely

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We each enjoyed (thoroughly) an apple cider doughnut and a shared apple cider slushie (which I never knew existed, new Fall craving MUST HAVE) while browsing their amply stocked apple-everything country store.

It was a relaxing, windows-down kind of day. All the way home we talked about goats, chickens, tractors and trees. We also talked about how yummy a fresh baked apple pie would be for dessert that night. When we arrived home, we set out on the task of doing just that.

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Rollllllllllll it…

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Pat it…

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and give it a milk and sugar wash (old bakery trick)…

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Mark it with an “A” (not a “B” as in the nursery rhyme) for apple, then put it in the oven for my family and me!!!!

Erie Orchards was definitely worth the trip for all of the family fun it provided. No fees to park or play, just pay for the apples you pick. On weekends there are pony rides, hay rides, a pumpkin shaped bounce house and always an act performing (see their events page). I prefer the quiet peace of a weekday morning, personally. Bathrooms are port-a-johns only, but some of the nicest I’ve ever encountered. We shall be back!

Have you been to an orchard to pick apples with your family? What are your family Fall traditions…

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?

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?

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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