Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Eco Friendly, Nature & Green things to do with your children in Metro Detroit

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Some friends told me about a pinterest post of 50 things to do with your children in Detroit. 

I wanted to do my own list with an eco twist! 

There are so many local parks and open areas to go to, that I cannot name them all, but I wanted to give you a list of things that can be done in a few hours, or a whole day trip.  You can also volunteer in your community with your family.  

The things on the list are as close to the Metro Detroit area as possible, with a few long drives for super-cool venues.

50 Green Things to do with your Kids in Metro Detroit
50 Green Things to do with your Kids in Metro Detroit

1} Go to the Detroit Zoo and learn about their conservation efforts.

2} Splash around in the sprinkler park at Heritage ParkSprinkler Park with nature walks, climbing structures, nature center and free concerts

3}  Learn about clean energy at the Ann Arbor Hands on Museum I loved this as a child and it has gotten even better

6} Learn about native Michigan Animals and let a deer eat out of your hand at Belle Isle Nature Zoo

9} Learn new things at Cranbrook Institute of Science Be sure to see a show at the planenarium, learn about bat in the Bat Zone, take a look at the mineral & gem room {my personal favorite}, walk through the Erb Family Science Garden.  There are acres of beautiful scenery, so this is a great place for a picnic and stroll even if you don't go to the museum.  

11} Play at Kensington Metropark Swimming, Biking, fishing, boating, Farm Animals and winter sports too.  You can go many times and not do the same thing twice. (pet friendly) 

Mini ready to play at Kensington Metro Park, 2013

12} Learn to Sap trees at Maybury Farm or go to see the animals, ride horses at the stables, go on a hayride, learn about honey bees and much more.  

13} Spend the day in the life of a farmer at Carousel Acres - see all the animals, ride the pony, pet a donkey.

14}Take time to see the flowers at Matthaei Botanical Gardens & Nichols Arboretum I didn't do this until college, and there is so many fascinating plants.  Plus they have a children's garden that is interactive.  

15}Spot a Coyote at the E.L. Johnson Nature Center open year round with more then 2 miles of trails, nature center and 1800's homestead to explore. 

16} Refresh yourself at the Franklin Cider Mill.  Eat while enjoying the ducks in the creek and then walk down to the Franklin park after to play. 

Baby Bear watching the Ducks at the Franklin Cider Mill, 2012

17} Bike or walk the West Bloomfield trail

19} Take a trip to Arts and Scraps Detroit or The Scrap Box in Ann Arbor and stock up on industrial 'left overs' that are great for imaginative crafting. 

20}Have Tea at the Townsend, an Eco friendly Hotel in Metro Detroit

21}Take a trip to the Sleeping Bear Dunes

22} See how technology has evolved and what the "House of the Future" looks like at the Henry Ford Museum

23} See the Holland tulips in bloom

24} Walk through the Heidelberg Project in Detroit

25} See how ceramics get made at Pewabic Pottery

26} Explore all of the fresh produce at Eastern Market

27} Watch the stars at Longway Planetarium- Michigan's largest planetarium

28} Learn about the Great Lakes at Dossin Great Lakes Museum Bell Isle

29} Pick your own fruit and see how its grown 

30} Go camping along to Great Lakes (all 5?!)

Baby Bear & I boating on Lake Michigan {Mini is in my belly} 

31} See the home of rare habitats, the lake plain prairies and oak savannas provide places to view prairie plants, birds and butterflies at Algonac State Park.

32} Get up close and personal with the animals at Domino's Farm or Hess Hathway Park (Hess Hathaway is free and they are wheelchair friendly too with a great climbing structure)

Baby Bear at Hess Hathaway Park, 2011

33} Meet the new baby Lemurs at the Toledo Zoo They have even instituted some sustainable practices at the zoo like solar power 

34}Rent a canoe on the Huron river and enjoy a quiet paddle Dogs welcome and they also run many kids educational and recreational programs. Don't forget to pack a picnic lunch, sunscreen, and lots of water. 

35} Make your own nature scavenger hunt and then go to Madison Heights Nature Center Call first, they have walking tours. 

36} See the place (where legend says) that Chief Pontiac is buried- Apple Island.  There are private or group tours available, you must register for a tour, this is a private island.  

37} Take a swim in Cass Lake or go fishing off the fishing pier. 

38} Cross Country Ski in the cold weather at Proud Lake Recreation Area.  They are open year round with over 20 miles of trails for hiking, biking, and skiing. 

38} Take a biking tour of the beautiful Pontiac Lake Recreation Area.  Bring your tent and make it a weekend outing.  

39} Ready for a challenge? Bald Mountain Recreation has some of the steepest hills and rugged terrain for some challenging hiking.  They also have trout fishing and rustic camping.  

40} Spend the night at the Potter Zoological garden in Lansing

41} Enjoy a a movie in the open air at the Ford Drive-in

43} Take a trip to a local Farmer's Market and bring home fresh produce to make a family meal with

44} Try something new and visit a salt room 

45} Make a kite and take it along the Great Lakes Shoreline to fly it

46} Join the Greening of Detroit and Plant some trees.  Make sure you set up a volunteer appointment. 

47} Volunteer to extract honey or make jam at Earthworks Urban Farm or work at the Capuchin Soup Kitchen

48} Help clean up urban blight with Motor City Blight Busters

49} Stock shelves at a food pantry so you can be more thankful for what you have

50} Talk to your local Fire Station and see if they can give you a tour and education about Fire Safety. 

Baby Bear at the Detroit Zoo, 2013

There are some amazing site in the UP and Northern part of Michigan for long trips.  You can go Rock climbing and caving without leaving the state.  

Remember - Your never more then 6 miles from an inland lake in Michigan, so take some time to enjoy!

PS. If you see anything that needs correcting, or should be added please let me know!

Recycling in The USA Facts

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Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Are Gardens Ugly?

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Someone in our association complained about our garden!  

This older guy name Lou (he happens to be the grandfather of an old neighbor) made the complaint.  

There are many people that have flower beds planted in the same area, so it seems to me that people feel that Gardens are ugly.  At the moment, there is nothing really happening, so it does look like a lot of dirt with a few buds.  

ducks and garden
Love these ducks that live in our pond! 

It is really important to Mr. BBH and I that we teach our children a healthy lifestyle and learning where their food comes from is part of this.  

Here are some other people's flower plantings in our association
(not judging what they planted or put up as decoration)

It reminds me of a case in Oak Park, Michigan last year of a women that was going to get jail time for planting a vegetable garden.
What do you think?

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Baby Bear #2?

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~I have an exciting announcement~

There is a Baby Bear #2 in the works
and (God willing) will make an appearance around December 6th

Here baby is saying "Shalom" as my really funny OBGYN wrote on the first ultrasound

The reveal to my parents

Friday, May 25, 2012

We can silence the sounds of Pertussis

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This post in in honor of my close friend's cousin Francesca Marie McNally, who died from Pertussis, a preventable illness at 2 months old and was buried this week .   

Fanny McNally February 24, 2012- May 17, 2012

Francesca died of Whooping Cough or Pertussis, an illness that is preventable though a vaccine.  Pertussis is a contagious respiratory infection caused by the bacterium Bordetella pertussis

According to the CDC :
Pertussis (whooping cough) can cause serious and sometimes life-threatening complications in infants and young children, especially those who are not fully vaccinated.

In infants younger than 1 year of age who get pertussis, more than half must be hospitalized. The younger the infant, the more likely treatment in the hospital will be needed. Of those infants who are hospitalized with pertussis about:

1 in 5 get pneumonia (lung infection)
1 in 100 will have convulsions (violent, uncontrolled shaking)
Half will have apnea (slowed or stopped breathing)
1 in 300 will have encephalopathy (disease of the brain)
1 in 100 will die

Adults and older children can unknowingly pass this on to babies that do not have enough immunity from vaccinations if they have not been properly vaccinated.  


Every 10 year you needs to get a Pertussis booster (Tdap- tetanus, diphtheria, and acellular pertussis)  in order for the vaccine to be effective against the illness. 
I was given the shot by my midwife after I gave birth and I think that this should be the norm to prevent the spread to children regardless of your views of vaccinating children.  (She also was going to give it to my husband Mr. BBH, but since he works in the medical field, he was up-to-date on his shots.)

If only they sent reminders like I get for my dog's shots- "due for the TDaP shot" on this certain date. 
 Plus, if you don't want to go to the Doctor, you can also get vaccinated at many CVS minute clinics, or your local Heath Department Office.   

Listen to the sound of Pertussis from the CDC Website 

The Franny Strong Foundation was created in memory of this beautiful little girl. 

 Please talk to your Doctor or go to your local Health Department Clinic for the Pertussis Vaccine TODAY in Franny's memory. 

Monday, May 21, 2012

Dress Up & Make Believe Kit

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Dress up and Make-Believe Kit a baby bear must-have
dress up and make believe kit DIY

Every kid needs to use their imagination during play.  The best way to do that is to have a dress up chest with things that kids can use to pretend with.  You do not need to have all literal items because kids will use their imagination.  I have collected some things for Baby Bear that are starting out her kit.

storage bench

We keep most of Baby Bear's toys in our living room since that is where we spend a lot of time.  Mr. BBH and I do not like to have obvious toy storage, so we use this 'Grown-Up' bench to hide dress up things.  You can select anything to keep your Dress Up things in, so if you do not have a fancy box, just paint or decorate a cardboard box. 

cowboy shoes bootsfancy shoes

Things you may want to put in your chest
Fancy Hats
Worker Hats
Animal Masks and Ears
Magic Wands
Super Hero Cape

Ask friends and family for old items that you can use or go to garage sales.  Kids do not need anything specific or fancy to  get started pretending. 

I keep Baby Bear's fancy jewels organized in an old make-up bag so that they do not get lost.  

baby with stethoscope

baby with stethoscope

baby with stethoscope

 Baby Bear likes to play nurse with her medical kit and even makes the sounds that go along with a heart beat.  She remembered it by herself, but you can hear my voice in the middle because I wanted her to keep doing it since it was so cute.  

Kids love to practice being adults and re-creating things that happen in their daily lives.  Make sure to give them the tools to learn and the freedom to use their imagination.  If it is all together in one box, then they can safely explore instead of going in your closets and cabinets to find the things that they want to use.  Make sure to make-believe with them!  

baby in PJs and red heels

What are you going to add to your kit?

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Family Heirloom Project II

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family heirloom project stamp

Here is my newest installment of my Family Heirloom Project Series.  I am using heirlooms to tell the stories of my family and where they came from.  

There were a few different words that I looked into when deciding what to call the series.  I chose 'Heirloom' because {according to wikipedia}

"In popular usage, an heirloom is something, perhaps an antique or some kind of jewelry, that has been passed down for generations through family members."

Silver Plated Bowl

 Here is an ornately patterned footed bowl with plate.  It was from my Great Grandma Reva Goodman (Guggie).  We are not sure about the history of this piece and it looks really interesting, if you know anything, please leave a comment! Hey Mom,  this one really needs a good polishing!  

Silver Plated Carved Tea Pot 

This is a silver plated coffee pot that is also from Guggie.  She had a lot of fancy silver items that she used for serving. Reva and her husband did OK during the depression.  Lois was a life insurance salesman for Mutual of New York and Reva worked at Sander's Chocolates (a Detroit Favorite) before she was married.

Czech Glass Fish

Czech Glass fish that I purchased on a trip to the Czech Republic.  Not an heirloom yet, but it is still meaningful.  I got this for my Dad because we always go boating in the summer as a family and this reminded me of that.  

Pewter Candlesticks

Pewter Candlesticks that my Mom got for her wedding as a gift from Guggie.  Reva and Lois had 3 children.  The was Melvin and he lived only until he was 5 because he had something wrong with his digestive system.  This is something that can now be easily fixed.  Louis was their daughter and my Grandfather Bernard (Buddy) was born in 1927 [died 1970].  Reva survived all of her children and husb

large peacock ceramic vase

This vase is from Esther Remer (lived to be 68) 
and Morris Gerber (lived to be 88) born around 1880 in Podulsk.  Both immigrated to the USA when they were very young and they met at a party when he was 23 and he was 18.  I am named after my Grandma Esther 

They purchased two of these in 1939 at a DuMochelle auction and they kept the urns on the porch of their Detroit house. 


Crystal Candy Dish with Lid and Gold stand.  This is from Edith (Marcus) Belfer born 1900 in Missouri.  She married George Thomas Belfer (born in Russia) and they later moved to Grand Rapids, MI. 

George had a candy business in Rockford, Michigan and the KKK burned a cross in front of it and he closed it.  He later invented the process to clean the barrels for transport and started George Belfer Drum and Barrel .  

My mom likes this dish because her 'Nanny' (what she called her Grandma Edith) always chocolate covered raisins in the dish.  Her Nanny loved to eat candy. 

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Language acquisition

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raising a bilingual child

As I said before, Baby Bear is learning two languages.  We do not speak English with her, but everyone else does!  

She was a little bit late talking, but she understood everything in both languages.  I really thought that she would talk earlier because she was a babbler from a young age, but when she got to be a little over a year, she didn't say much more then "Aba" (Dad), "Mama", NaNa (instead of saying Nanny for my mom), "BaBa" (from the word Saba for Grandpa) and "MA" (she calls my sister Mima, the Yiddish word for Aunt) and of course "NO!" and "all done".  She could use these words creatively to get her point across.  If she didn't like something, then she said "all done", But that was pretty much all she said until the last few months. 

This video is BEFORE she started talking.  We were at my friends house and she just started saying "doggie" out of nowhere.  


All of the sudden she started speaking in BOTH languages.  She can say more words in English, but for the most part, the words she says she can say in BOTH languages.  I thought that was so interesting that she didn't just learn words in general, but the word for an item in both languages.  Baby Bear loves to sing and dance, so she will sing along with her songs.  

Not only does she have a really large vocabulary, she also can form short sentences with them like "Azit Shamma" (our dog Azit is over there) and "BaBa Come!".  She can count to 10 in both Hebrew and English and can say some of the alphabet.  She repeats almost every word that we say to her to practice, and I can hear her in bed in the morning before she gets up practicing her words.  

It was totally worth the wait in her speech, and it is so exciting to hear the new words that she says every day. 

Here she is a month ago. I am asking her what she is eating.  She says bagel, door (so I will close the door) and cookie when I ask if she is eating a cookie.  

This one I had to add because it is so funny that she says "hummus"

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Babysitter checklist ~ Free Printable by Olive&Ruby

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We have an incredible FREE Printable by 
Olive&Ruby Kids designer Stephanie 

free babysitter checklist printables by olive & Ruby Kids

{printables after the jump}

I never know what to give babysitters when they come over with all of the necessary information.  It usually ends up with scribbles on a paper and oral instructions to the babysitter.  

I really wanted a nice sheet that could be given to babysitters and not just a scrap of notebook paper.  I  would like to have things clear so that if the babysitter needs anything, then they have all of the information in one place if they need to get a hold of me.  

We don't go out very much, but when we get a chance to have a date night, it is refreshing to know that everything is in place so Baby Bear has a smooth bedtime and the babysitter does not have a headache.  She is such a good baby, but bedtime for the 'non professional' (her Dad included) can be difficult if you do not follow her routine.  It is not very complex, she just knows what to expect and goes down without a peep.  Here is the routine: PJ/diaper, brush teeth, book, white noise, bedtime 'Shema' song while being held and patted on her back, then bed with her giraffe and doll and gets covered by her blanket.  So last night when the babysitter came, I made sure to give her the full instructions on my new printable and she was sleeping right away (last time she would not go to sleep).  Score for organized Momma!

Stephanie from Olive & Ruby Kids (formally Cabbages and Kings), designed an incredible pink & blue set for you to download, print, and personalize with your kids information to your hearts content!   I would recommend to print it out and have it laminated so you can just write with a dry erase and re-use.  

We purchased some of Stephanie's prints for Baby Bear's Bedroom Decor.  The designs are fresh, modern and fun additions to any room.   They are also perfect baby gifts because they are personalized and handmade.  

olive & ruby print from etsy

olive & ruby custom design wedding invitation

She also designs wedding invitations and birth announcements.


How are you going to give this to he sitter? Let me know in the comments!

Thursday, May 10, 2012

How we planted our garden

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I did't do the best job of planning out my garden last year and it got really messy when our vegetables started budding.  We could not tell what was a weed and what was a veggie.  

how to organize your garden

This year I decided to put more effort into organizing my garden before I planted.  

gardening, organization, planting, organic gardening, burpee, seeds of change

I started with some of the seedlings that I started to cultivate early in egg cartons and also the seeds that I had.  I then made a diagram of approximately where things were going to be planted. 

seedlings, organic gardening, sprouts

Here are the peppers that I started sprouting.  I don't think that there is any benefit to doing this unless you have a very well rooted seedling. 

garden bed

Here is my garden all planted.  You can't see anything is some parts because those are the seeds.  I made sure to water the first watering very thoroughly.  Keep your diagram somewhere handy if you have questions about weeds or what things may be.  I am also going to go back in and add markers for each plant.  

Now come the hardest part... just waiting on Mother Earth.

We decided to convert all of our plants to edibles this year.  If you are not read for a large garden yet and want to start small, see our easy herb garden post here, or our living wall here.  You can modify this to be a few veggies instead.   

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

DIY living wall tutorial

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This is by far the coolest product that I have been lusting over.  I always wanted to have my own living wall and thought about constructing my own, but the biggest hesitation was keeping my walls clean while watering the plants.  Bright Green's GroVert system has made this easy.  

living wall art DIY tutorial framed indoor garden grovert

There are so many applications for this product.  It is called the GroVert by Bright Green.   You can either make one frame like the tutorial, or you can use the box as a canvas and join them together to use inside or outside your house.

materials needed to make the groVert living wall planter
materials needed to make the groVert living wall planter
GroVert living wall container (with or without the frame)
Potting Soil
Enough plants to fill your boxes 
Moss (optional)

GroVert wall bracket, garden, living wallgrovert water reservoir garden living wall

This is what the GroVert looks like in the back.  There is a water reservoir that you can access to water your plants easily from the top with no mess.  

The water will trickle down and then the water pads hold water.  

The watering pads should be in place before you place your soil.  You will want to start by filling with soil up to the bottom of the slit.  

You will need to use the correct potting soil for the type of plants that you are using.  You can use edible plants and herbs for outside planting, succulents, flower, indoor plants, etc-the sky is the limit.  

One more thing to consider is that you will also need the correct growing conditions for the plants for them to thrive, so think about that when choosing your plants.  Overall, the plants that work best, are ones that like to dry out between watering.   

Take our your plant from the container and gently squeeze the roots to break up the pattern left from the container.  Place them so that the plants will droop nicely in the correct direction. 

  Fill in a few plants and then add the rest of the soil to those plants before moving on.  Push down gently on the soil to make sure that you filled it to the top.  Work on a few boxes and a time and if you are going to add moss, now is the time to start that.  

You will want to soak the moss before you place it. Just wrap it around in pieces and press in place.  The purpose of the moss is to cover the part of the container that is visible, but is not necessary because as the plants grow, they will naturally expand.  

Here is the finished wall container. 

Now fill your watering can

Do a super-soaker watering the first time.  You will then want to leave it flat for 24 hours.  

Thanks Planterra for showing us and letting Baby Bear do the watering!
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