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Wednesday, September 17, 2014


Metro Detroit Mommy Blogger: Carmen Lawes - Frugal Fads

Carmen received free samples of this product in exchange for this promotional posts. All opinions are her own. Your experience may vary.

My parents have a pontoon boat in Northern Michigan. You can find them out on their boat any day in the spring, summer, or fall if the weather is above 75 degrees and sunny. I’m sure you can imagine the freezing water temperature especially in the spring. It can be completely intimidating when you have to urinate and you are stuck out at sea without a bathroom. Therefore, when I saw these “TravelJohns”, I jumped at the chance to try them out. I imagined wrapping a towel around myself and using this instead of jumping in the frigid water every time I have to “go”. 

The company advertises these as being “THE Civilized Solution. Anytime, anywhere!” They sent me three types of TravelJohns, the original for all, one made specifically for women (TravelJane J) and a “TravelJohn Jr.” edition. I can’t tell the difference between the original TravelJohn and the TravelJane except the color (the TravelJane is pink and the TravelJohn is white). However, the TravelJohn Jr. is shorter and therefore has a smaller capacity (600 cc compared to 800 cc). They are about the size of a Twinkie, rolled up which makes them easy to take places. I see myself throwing them in my beach bag before heading out on the boat. I also see myself keeping some in the car for my toddler son when he begins potty training. I could easily store these in my purse as well. The portability of this product is its best feature in my opinion.

The cool part about them is that they have a “Liqsorb” super absorbent pouch in the puncture-
resistant bag which turns the liquid into a gel immediately so that there are no spills or leaks. This is some sort of polymer that is biodegradable and nontoxic. This earns the company the “originality” award.

I have two critiques of the product: 1) The bag needs to be sealable and 2) I’m plastic-phobic lately, meaning, I don’t like the plastic waste part of it. However, I do see my family using these in a pinch while out on the boat or traveling. We also have one bathroom at home…maybe they would be helpful when our bathroom is occupied?

About Travel John- from the company:
TravelJohn is a safe and hygienic solution to when your kids “have to go” but there isn’t a restroom for miles. Their TravelJohn JR is biodegradable spill proof pouch that is easy to use and non-toxic. It’s a very innovative product that works!!

You can purchase TravelJohn from these local retailers: 
Pep Boys

Follow TravelJohn on Facebook or Twitter.

Carmen is a high school chemistry teacher, wife and mother of a toddler boy. She enjoys fashion, homemaking, sewing and crafts. Carmen runs a new lifestyle blog titled "Frugal Fads" that focuses on fashionable finds with a teachers budget while also documenting her crafts and homemaking projects. She has a classic style and enjoys personal shopping. She also has a relatively new Etsy site in which she designs and makes organizational buttons/magnets, titled "ButtOn Another Note".

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Broadway In Detroit and ANNIE Support the Michigan Humane Society With a Special Fundraising Event on Saturday, September 27

Detroit, MI, September 15, 2014– Broadway in Detroit today announced that it is partnering with the Michigan Humane Society (MHS) on a special fundraiser for the non-profit organization through the upcoming engagement of ANNIE at the Fisher Theatre.  Those who are familiar with the iconic Tony® Award-winning musical know that it stars a red-headed girl named Annie and her best friend, Sandy the dog.

To celebrate the friendship of Annie and Sandy, Broadway In Detroit is hosting a special MHS fundraising night at ANNIE on Saturday, September 27 at 7:30 p.m.   MHS supporters can save $10 on each regular priced ticket purchased to that evening’s performance when they use the code “FRIEND” at the time of sale.  For each ticket sold with the code “FRIEND,” Broadway in Detroit and ANNIE will donate $10 per ticket to the MHS.

The discounted tickets are available for sale at all Ticketmaster locations, by phone at 1-800-982-2787, online at or, and at the Fisher Theatre box office.  Discounted tickets are sold based on availability at the time of purchase.  And, as always, discounted ticket prices are not valid on previously purchased tickets or in combination with any other discount or offer; additional restrictions may apply.

At the special fundraiser, representatives from the Michigan Humane Society will have information on all of their programs; and, local ice cream shop Treat Dreams will be selling their original flavor “Annie & Sandy’s Smile” with a portion of proceeds benefitting the MHS.

Additionally, Detroiters are invited to enter an online contest to win a four-pack of tickets to the MHS fundraiser at ANNIE on September 27.  The winner will also have the opportunity to meet the dogs playing Sandy. To enter the contest, visit and click the “enter to win” link on the ANNIE show page.

In ANNIE, the two dogs that play Sandy were both rescued from animal shelters. One of the dogs is Sunny, a 4-year-old terrier mix who was discovered by guardian and trainer William Berloni at the BARC Municipal Animal Shelter in Houston, TX, 24 hours before her time at the shelter was coming to an end.  The other dog who is the understudy for the role of Sandy in ANNIE is Macy, who was also adopted by Berloni from Rocky Spot Rescue of Oklahoma City, OK in December of 2009 at the age of 18 months.  He had seen her on and traveled all the way to Oklahoma to adopt her. 

The new U.S. National Tour of ANNIE will begin at The Fisher Theatre in Detroit, September 26 – October 4, 2014.   Directed by original lyricist and director Martin Charnin for the 18th time, this production of ANNIE will be a brand new physical incarnation of the iconic Tony® Award-winning original.

Tickets for the Detroit engagement of ANNIE are now on sale at all Ticketmaster locations, by phone at 1-800-982-2787, online at or and at the Fisher Theatre box office.

ANNIE has a book by Thomas Meehan, music by Charles Strouse and lyrics by Martin Charnin. All three authors received 1977 Tony Awards® for their work.   Choreography is by Liza Gennaro, who will incorporate selections from her father Peter Gennaro’s 1977 Tony Award®-winning choreography. 

The beloved score for ANNIE includes “Maybe,” “It’s the Hard Knock Life,” “You’re Never Fully Dressed Without a Smile,” “Easy Street,” “I Don’t Need Anything But You” and the eternal anthem of optimism, “Tomorrow.”

Performance times for ANNIE appearing September 26 – October 4, 2014 at The Fisher Theatre, located at 3011 W. Grand Blvd., in Detroit, are:

-        Wednesday through Saturday evening performances at 7:30 p.m.
-        Saturday matinees at 2:00 p.m.
-        Thursday and Sunday matinees at 1:00 p.m.
-        Wednesday, October 1 at 7:30 p.m. is a special open captioned performance
-        Friday, September 26 at 7:30 p.m. is Family Night at the Fisher Theatre; pre-show activities begin at 6:00 p.m.

Regular priced tickets for ANNIE range from $35 - $85 (includes parking and facility fees) and are now on sale at all Ticketmaster locations, by phone at 1-800-982-2787, online at or and at the Fisher Theatre box office.  Tickets for the special open captioned performance may be purchased in person at the Fisher Theatre box office or by phone at 313-872-1000, ext.0. A limited number of premium seats will be available through Ticketmaster and at the box offices.  For group sales (12 or more) please email or call (313) 871-1132. Performance schedule, prices and cast are subject to change without notice.

The Broadway In Detroit Series at the Fisher Theatre is sponsored by Chrysler.  As part of this sponsorship, “Broadway In Detroit” meets “Imported from Detroit,” with the latest and hottest Chrysler vehicles on display at the theatre.

For more information, please visit,, @ANNIEonTour or

Monday, September 15, 2014

Corn Maze Location in Southeast Michigan & Metro Detroit

Gearing up for fall Metro Detroit Mommy has put together over 30 Corn Mazes for you in the Southeast/Metro Detroit area.  Please contact the maze to find out their current hours and prices.  
Genesee County

Porter's Orchard
12060 Hegel Road Goodrich, MI 48438

Hillsdale County

DarkSyde Acres
11375 Rowe Road, Jonesville, MI 49250

Ladd's Evil Acres
3481 West Bacon Road, Hillsdale, MI 49242.

Meckley's Flavor Fruit Farm
11025 S. Jackson Road, Somerset Center, MI 

Ingham County

Bestmaze Corn Maze
3803 Noble Rd Williamston,

Michigan The Bone Yard
5010 Green Road, Stockbridge, MI 49285

Jackson County

Carpenter Farms Pumpkins
534 E. U.S. 223, Adrian, MI 49221

Hearthstone Farm Market
3215 Chapel Road, Spring Arbor, MI 49283

Pregitzer Farm Market
6870 Territorial Road, Munith, MI 49259

Macomb County

Blake Orchard & Cider Mill
17985 Armada Center, Armada, MI 48005

Westview Orchards
65075 Van Dyke Washington Twp., MI 48095

Monroe County

BJ Farm
9777 Secor Road, Temperance, MI 48182

Crots Corn Maze
4800 W. Temperance Road, Ottawa Lake, MI 49267

Farmer J's Corn Maze
16405 Pherdun Rd Dundee, MI 48131

Fun Acres Family Farm
11665 Haggerman, South Rockwood, MI 48174

Heck of a Corn Maze
4309 W. Albain Rd. Monroe, MI 48161

Houpt's Pumpkin Patch
19929 Tecumseh Road , Dundee, MI 48131

J. Webb Farm
4262 Post Road, Newport, MI 48166

Kackleberry Farm
6421 North Stoney Creek Road, Monroe, MI 48162

Kackleberry Farm Corn Maze at Farmer Charley's
6421 North Stoney Creek Rd, Monroe, MI 48162

Trabic Family Pumpkin Farm
1560 East Sterns Road, Erie, MI 48133

Oakland County

Bowers Farm Corn Maze
1219 E. Square Lake Rd Bloomfield Hills, MI 48304

Long Family Orchard & Cider Mill
Commerce Township, MI

Mitchell Farm
3404 Mitchell Road, Holly, MI 48442

Oakhaven Farm
7515 Grange Hall Road, Holly, MI 48442

St. Clair County

Corn Maze Adventure Park
9391 Lindsey, Casco MI 48064

Washtenaw County

Alber Orchard & Cider Mill
13011 Bethel Church Road, Manchester, MI 4815

Coleman's Corn Maze
12758 Jordan Road Saline, MI 48176

Denny's U Pick
4260 Gottferson, Plymouth, MI 48170

Talladay Farms
6270 Judd Rd Milan, MI 48160

The Blast Corn Maze
6175 Daly Road, Dexter, MI 48130

Three Cedars Farm
7897 Six Mile Road, NorthVille, Mi 48167

Wayne County

Debuck's Corn Maze and Pumpkin Patch
50240 Martz Rd, Belleville, MI 48111

Maybury Farm Corn maze
50165 Eight Mile, Northville, MI 48167

The Pumpkin Factory
48651 Harris Road Belleville, MI 48111

Lisa Ball #MomsWhoShine

#MomsWhoShine is a series about moms who have some kind of talent.  The series was inspired by Dad of Divas Dads in the Limelight.  

I know Lisa as the co-owner of Nature's Playhouse in Ferndale.  I simply love her fun, laid back spirit and her positive energy.  

Tell me about yourself…
I wear a lot of hats as most Moms do.  I’m a published author, business owner, community organizer,  and coffee addict!  I have two books sold worldwide on, head up my own consulting firm called, and co-own with another busy and talented Mom named Michelle McEvoy.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Fall 2014: Five Everyday Fashions For Moms

Metro Detroit Mommy Blogger: Carmen Lawes - Frugal Fads

Fall just arrived as the temperature outside dipped from 94 degrees one day to 70 degrees the next.  I, for one, welcome the cool weather and I definitely welcome the new trends.  I've taken the liberty of picking my top five fashions for moms this fall.

1. Boyfriend Jeans
Though they have been around for years, boyfriend jeans have taken over the scene in casual wear recently.  I've even seen people dress them up with heels and a pretty lace top or a blazer for night life.  Boyfriend jeans are typically a lighter shade, looser fit, ankle length version of denim that are usually rolled at the bottom.  They are typically roughed up a little even though you can find them in a variety of styles these days.  My grandma always says "You paid for jeans with holes in them?!!!" and I giggle.  They will go with ANY type of shoe.  I have 2 pair in my closet:  one from The Limited (Slim Boyfriend) and the other from Kohls (Jennifer Lopez, Boyfriend Jean).  The Limited pair is a slimmer cut which I feel comfortable wearing to work on casual Fridays or for a girls night out.  Both versions run bigger so I went a size or two down.

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2.  Chambray Shirt
Just like the boyfriend jean, the chambray shirt is extremely versatile.  Dressed up or down, there is no doubt that this should be a staple in everyone's fall wardrobe.  And again, even though these have been around for a while, this fall they are all over the fashion scene. In past years, I would wear the chambray top with colored skinnies.  But this year denim-on-denim is all the rage and non-matching is better!  The shirt can be worn by itself or layered with just about anything.  I have two versions of this staple as well:  an old one from Kohls (Lauren Conrad-no longer available) and a sleeveless variation from Old Navy.  Below I'm showing a sleeved chambray from Old Navy too.  I like the sleeveless option for wearing underneath cardigans and blazers to rid the arm bulk.
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3.  Plaid Tops
I went to college in the 90's during the grunge era.  To me nothing is more nostalgic than a flannel shirt.  We used to tie them around our waist and head out to a party at Michigan State University.  Oh, the glory days!  Well, flannel shirts have been making their comeback for a while now and I couldn't be happier.  Plaid, in general, is big time for fall.  Check out my picks below:    Asos Plaid T-Shirt is the first one but all the rest are from Old Navy.
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4.  Leather Oxford Shoes
These just made their re-appearance this fall.  They remind me of bowling shoes! :)  I think they are adorable with boyfriend jeans and one of the plaid tops shown above.  The only thing is, I think they are going to be expensive.  I recently picked up a faux leather pair from Target that I had to return because they just felt "faux", you know?  I've pictured the Target pair below along with several real leather picks from Nordstrom.

5.  Satchel Bag
Large purses are back, which is crazy because I had gone so small recently to the point I was only carrying around a wristlet that held my phone, debit card and license. I recently purchased a satchel bag from Target similar to the 1st picture below.  I really wanted a leather version but I just couldn't bring myself to spend the extra money.  I like to change purses a lot so it doesn't make much sense to me to spend a lot on just one....even though I really really want to.  The "faux-ness" of this pleather bothers me a little but I love the purse.  Target has some great handbags at many price points, even leather ones.  I have chosen a few below.
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Carmen is a high school chemistry teacher, wife and mother of a toddler boy. She enjoys fashion, homemaking, sewing and crafts.  Carmen runs a new lifestyle blog titled "Frugal Fads"  that focuses on fashionable finds with a teachers budget while also documenting her crafts and homemaking projects.  She has a classic style and enjoys personal shopping.  She also has a relatively new Etsy site in which she designs and makes organizational buttons/magnets, titled "ButtOn Another Note".

Saturday, September 13, 2014

SEA LIFE Michigan - Family Fun coming to Great Lakes Crossing

Mark your calendar: SEA LIFE Michigan attraction is coming to Auburn Hills at Great Lakes Crossing in early 2015.  That is just a few months away!

This family-friendly aquarium will focus on interactive fun {and there will be learning too}.  SEA LIFE Michigan promises to transport you into the underwater world, where you’ll come nose to nose with amazing sea creatures, like starfish, seahorses, sharks {really... sharks} and graceful stingray. This aquarium will be home to approximately 3,000 sea creatures {perfect for the child who loves sea life}, and visitors will experience an underwater ocean tunnel, an interactive touchpool where they can hold a crab or touch a starfish, live feed shows throughout the day and more.

You can find SEA LIFE Michigan on the web (
Be sure to follow them on our favorite social media outlet to keep up to date on the progress!
Twitter (,
Facebook ( and
Instagram (

Friday, September 12, 2014

Now is the Time - Celebrate Grandparents #discount for Kalahari

Why not celebrate family by scheduling some time with your parents and make some memories?  Now is the time!  

Dad, me, Grandma B. and Rosa, Summer of 2009 Camping
It has been quite some time since I have taken a vacation without the children or one of their grandparents. After leaving my family behind for five years to live in New York, it became quite apparent that family is much more important to me than what I had realized.  I treasure each moment I spend with the great people I have in my life.  

Chancellor, Damian, Rosa, Me, Carlyn & Dad USMC Graduation Summer 2013
Sometimes that quality time consists of family dinners (we have dinner with various family members three times a week and Sunday Brunch with my dad) sometimes we travel together, and other times we just hang out at home or at local venues.  

My Mom and Rosa 2010 NY Aquarium
Some of my favorite memories growing up are of spending time at our cabin up north.  Campfire stories, family reunions, smores, pudgie pies, building forts in the woods, picking (and eating) fresh blueberries from the woods, getting stunk by a million bees, all these memories are priceless. 

Grandpa Ross and Carlyn Summer of 2013
My goal is to provide my children with similar experiences, creating memories to last a lifetime.  Now is the time, because if you wait, it will be too late!  

Grandpa Paul and Carlyn in Williamsburg, spring 2014
Kalahari Resorts offer a beyond expectations experience “all-under-one-roof,” and this fall, they would love to to help incorporating grandparents into your vacation. There’s no better time to start spending more time together to create those memories that will last a lifetime.  

To help facilitate that family vacation Kalahari would like to extend a special discount for our readers:
  • Promotion includes:
    • $119 per night with 4 Safari Animal Park passes and $20 food and beverage credit in Hut or Desert Room
    • Dates offered: September 1-4, 7-11, 14-15, 21-25, 28-29, October 1-2, 5-9, 12-15
    • Additional Dates: September 19 & 20 (Sat) $179 rate