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Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Art & Apples Festival Ranked Among Top 20 Fine Art Festivals Nationwide

Art & Apples Festival Ranked Among Top 20
Fine Art Festivals Nationwide

Presented by Paint Creek Center for the Arts September 5-7, 2014

WHAT:            The 49th annual Art & Apples Festival was recently voted 14 out of 2,000 festivals in the nation by Sunshine Artist Magazine.  The festival welcomes over 290 artists from 33 states and two countries and includes stunning fine arts, family activities, live entertainment, and three food courts.

WHEN:             Friday, September 5:  4:00 pm – 7:30 pm

                       Saturday, September 6:  9:00 am – 7:30 pm
                       Sunday, September 7:  9:00 am – 4:00 pm

WHERE:          Rochester Municipal Park, Rochester, Michigan

(West of Main Street, north of University)

·       ARTISTS – Over 290 artists will showcase their fine art in a variety of mediums – textiles, watercolor, woodworking, glass, pottery, jewelry and more. This year, one third of the artists are new to the Art & Apples Festival.

·       KIDS STUFF – Kids and families can enjoy a variety of FREE activities in the Meijer sponsored Kids Art Zone including “make and take” art projects from Paint Creek Center for the Arts and the Detroit Institute of Arts, a life-size art maze, crafts and activities provided by Metro Parent Magazine and a rock climbing wall and inflatables provided by Oakland County Parks and Recreation.

·       8th Annual Pie & Dessert Contest – Finalists will be asked to bake an apple pie or specialty apple dessert for Saturday, September 6th at 11:00am. Guest judges include: Rochester Hills Mayor Bryan Barnett; Rochester Mayor Jeff Cuthbertson; Oakland County Executive, L. Brooks Patterson; FOX2 Personalities Taryn Asher and Jason Carr; and Miss Oakland County Teen 2014, Kristin Penrose.

·       FOOD - Three food courts will feed hungry festival-goers. New fare this year includes polish cuisine and barbeque goodies along with all of the familiar favorites and of course, apple pies.

·       ENTERTAINMENT- Entertainment will feature both local and national acts including Rochester-area high school bands. The event also features the Oakland University Acoustic Stage.

·       SPONSORS – Atlas Home Improvement, Bloomingdale Construction, Boyne Mountain Rentals, C&L Ward, Canine Academy, Ever Dry, Golling Alfa Romeo Fiat, LolĂ« Rochester, Main Street Chiropractic Wellness Center, Majic Window Co., Massage Envy Spa, Michigan Credit Union Network, Renewal by Andersen, Shelton Buick GMC, St. Paul’s United Methodist Church, The New York Times, WindowPro, WOW!, Xfinity

FOR MORE INFO:           Visit

New Series #MomsWhoShine Lauren Weber from Mrs. Weber's Neighborhood

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

Lauren Weber is the gal behind Mrs. Weber’s Neighborhood, which highlights local fun for families.

Tell me about yourself. (For our fans, please share what makes you shine)

First, I love meeting new people, experiencing new things and writing. This lead me to obtaining a degree in public relations from Central Michigan University (Fire Up Chips!). After working at an agency for 5 years, I switched gears to focus on my growing family.

These days, I am lucky to work part-time from home for an amazing mom-friendly company called Hay There Social Media. I also write a personal blog, Mrs. Weber’s Neighborhood, which highlights local fun for families.

Tell me about your family. 

I have been married to my love, Jason, for six years, and have three children -- almost 4-year-old girl, 2-year-old girl, and a newborn son. Every day is an adventure!

What is a normal day in your home like?

I work from home, so I am constantly juggling with whatever the day has in store, whether it’s posting to Facebook or Twitter for a client, or drafting a blog post for work or for my own blog. Most of the time, our mornings consist of an outing and the afternoon involves naps and independent activities so I can work. I try to start each morning with an open mind because things don’t always work out as I plan – moody kids or a rough night of sleep can alter our day significantly.

But one thing is consistent – I almost always wake-up before the kids so I can take a shower and have a cup of coffee while it’s still hot.

What is the most rewarding thing about being a mom?

I just adore watching my kids learn and re-living my own childhood through them. It’s astonishing to see the wonder in their eyes with each new thing they discover – a daddy longlegs spinning a web, a hot air balloon flying in the sky or trying a s’more for the first time. Kids just make us appreciate the little things in life.

What is your biggest challenge of being a parent?

Discipline! I am laid back person and a people pleaser, so I find that comes across with my kids. I’m slowly getting the hang of it.

How do you find balance between being a mom, working and having time for yourself?

I am very lucky to have a supportive network of people who help me, especially my husband who understands when I need to bow out of parental duties to spend some time alone or do a few minutes of catch up with work. When they say it takes a village to raise a child, they aren't joking. I am blessed with an amazing village.

What are some of the lessons you’ve learned since becoming a Mom?

Every age and stage has its roses and thorns. Try to see the good and focus on that versus always seeing the negative. When I start blaming things on the terrible twos or am sassed by my threenager, I always sing that Darius Rucker song, “It won’t be like this for long.” It’s so true – it all flies by!

Photo Credit: Deanna Spivey Photography
What is the best advice about being a parent you have received and who gave it to you?

A nurse once told me to sneak in and look at your children while they are asleep each night. Even if you had a frustrating parenting day, it all melts away when you see your babies asleep.

It’s SO true! No matter how hard of a day I had, the moment I see their peaceful little faces dreaming away, I’m reminded I must be doing something right.

What advice would you give to other moms?

Just because you’re a parent doesn’t mean you need to lose sight of yourself. Make time to go out with girlfriends, have date nights with your spouse, and volunteer to help others. It’s so important for your children to not only see you as a mom, but also as a great friend, spouse, and person overall. 

Have a question for Lauren?  Please leave a comment below and I will make sure I forward it to her!  

Thank you Lauren for taking the time to answer our questions:)  Are you a Mom Who Shines or know a mom who would be great for this series?  Email me their contact info at

Monday, September 1, 2014

Beat the Winter Blues - our indoor family fun guide for Livingston County

Castaway Play Cafe - Howell
Address: 1800 North Burkhart Road, Howell, MI 48855
Phone: 517-545-7386
Hours: Mon. - Thur. 10am-8pm
Friday 10am-9pm
Saturday 9am-9pm
Sunday 11am-6pm
Fee: Mon -Thur Children ages 3 and up $7.50
Children ages 2 and under $4.00
Fri - Sun and Holidays
Children ages 3 and up $9.00
Children ages 2 and under $5.00
Parents and adults Always FREE
Infants in carriers Always FREE

Hartland Sports Center
Address: 2755 Arena Drive, Hartland, Michigan 48353
Phone: (810) 632-7222
Hours: Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays, 7:30p - 8:30p
Fee: 5-punch card: $67.50, 10- punch card: $120.00

Kensingston Valley Ice House
Address: 10540 Citation Drive, Brighton, MI  48116
Phone: 810-494-5555
Hours: Mon, Tue, Thur 11a - 12:50p
Wed: 9a - 10:50 a
Thur: 1p - 2:50p
Sun: 1:15p - 3:05p
Sat: Skate Jam - 8:15p - 10:05p
Fee: $3.00 per skater (All Ages) – (Weekdays)
$5.00 per skater  Sundays (Weekend)
$7.00 per skater for Saturday night Skate Jam
$3.00 Skate Rental

Hartland Ice House
Address: 2755 Arena Drive, Hartland, MI  48353
Phone: 810-632-7222
Hours: Sun 3:15p to 5:05p
Fee: $5.00 per skater  Sundays (Weekend)
$3.00 Skate Rental

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Hytail Ponytail Hat Review

Metro Detroit Mommy Blogger: Jennifer Wooley -  founder of Any Age Fitness

As a woman in the health and fitness profession I workout frequently.  I have long hair and I've struggled to keep it off my neck and out of my face.  Pony tails get loose, and head bands seem to slip.  Baseball caps stay wet with perspiration and can be itchy and cause break-outs.  I had the opportunity to try a new product called the Hytail Ponytail hat by Tess Rogers, so I put it to the workout test.
The Hytail is similar to a baseball cap but with a few changes.  The back has a thick elastic band and the hole is placed a little higher up than on a regular baseball hat.  I wore the Hytail during an intense 30 minute cardio workout to start.  The thick elastic band makes the hat fit snug so it didn't move during the workout.  It even lasted through burpees and some floor work like crunches.  My ponytail was high enough it kept most of my hair off my neck and the way the Hytail sits on my forehead, a little higher up than a normal cap, I didn't feel itchy or bothered my perspiration.   

Running errands later that day I found the Hytail kept the sun out of my eyes and also allowed enough room to wear my sunglasses.  The Hytail comes in three neutral colors of black, white and pink that will easily match your favorite workout gear.

With all that being said, I have a few things I didn't like about the Hytail.  I found after wearing the Hytail for an extended period of time it was too snug.  Unlike a regular baseball cap I couldn't adjust it throughout the day for my comfort.  Although I liked the functionality of the Hytail, I didn't find it to be very fashionable.   The bill seemed too large for the size of the hat itself and I didn't care for the look of it on my head.   Without a logo or a team name or some bling, the hat was too plain. 
If you're looking for a functional hat for your run outside, or a hike or a bike or a trip to the gym this hat will serve your purpose.  

For more info on the Hytail, or 409-776-8989

Jennifer (Jenny) is the founder of Any Age Fitness. She's an Independent Beachbody Coach, nurse, wife, and mom of 4. Jenny is passionate about health, nutrition and exercise and helping others achieve their fitness goals regardless of how old they are or how old they might feel. In her spare time she enjoys reading.

Jennifer received free samples of this product in exchange for this promotional post.  All opinions are her own.  Your experience may differ.

Saturday, August 30, 2014

I'm so nuts over this coconut juice! @AmyBrianNatrual #BeBetter #Giveaway {ends 9/20}

Metro Detroit Mommy Blogger: Robin Slawnyk -

You put the lime in the coconut and shake it all up.....
sing along with me, you know you want to!

In my house, we are coconut crazy.  We use coconut oil for absolutely everything and it is so nutritious, and aside from water - coconut juice is all we drink!  I recently tried Amy & Brian's Coconut Juice with Lime and I am totally hooked!  This refreshing juice tastes just like limeade and my whole family loves it.  I poured my first glass today and shared it with my kids - who drank it gone and asked for more!  I just placed an order to stock up our pantry.
What's so awesome about coconut juice (or coconut water) you wonder?  I am so excited to tell you.  This potassium rich treat is so crisp and refreshing, full of nutritious benefits and a total miracle drink. It's packed full of electrolytes and so much better for you (and your littles!) than traditional, sugar-packed juice drinks.
I am so pleased that Amy & Brian Naturals confirms that their product is grown and produced free of GMOs and pesticides.  This is very important to my family!  They also use a method called flash-pasteurization which is the best way to go, maintaining all of the nutritious benefits for us!  I also love supporting small family businesses, such as this.  I am so excited about this product and I wont think twice about offering this wonderful drink to my children!  They loved it as much as I did.
In addition to the Lime flavor, Amy & Brian Naturals offers a traditional flavor and one with pulp.  You are sure to find one that your family loves!  One can is enough to give both of my children a beneficial serving!
Check out the FAQ directly from the source, here:
Awesome deals on your future favorite drink, here, here, and here.
(and if you now have that song stuck in  your head, you can listen here... you're welcome!)
Bottoms up!  Cheers!

Robin is a busy Wife and Mom of 4 and owner of . She considers herself a stay-at-home Mom even though she is a Photographer and Holistic Practitioner working in her community. Robin homeschools her children and leads a very natural and organic lifestyle. You might consider her the "crunchy" one of the group, as her focus will be on the natural products and services available to us and like-minded families.

Robin received free samples of this product in exchange for this promotional post.  All opinions are her own, your experience may differ.  

Use the form below to enter to win a sampler pack from Amy & Brian!!!!

Bottle Bright Review

Metro Detroit Mommy Blogger: Jennifer Wooley -  founder of Any Age Fitness

I have a very active family of six.  We are constantly on the go and grabbing water bottles for sporting events, coffee mugs for work days or early morning games and shaker cups for after workout protein drinks.  These beverage containers are sometimes difficult to clean, especially when they have been forgotten in the back seat of the family car or bottom of a gym bag.  They also take up precious space in the dishwasher and are my least favorite things to hand wash.  I was given a sample of a new product called Bottle Bright that states "Cleans drinking containers safely and easily" and tried it out on our numerous beverage containers.

Bottle Bright's purpose is to promote reusable drinking containers.  I like that with each purchase of the product, the company Clean Ethics give the same amount of Bottle Bright to people in need of clean water containers.   This product is formula certified safe, natural and sustainable.  It's chlorine free and has no harsh chemicals.  It is an effervescent tablet that you place in your drinking container and mix with water.   So after reading all the literature about it I just wanted to know, will this really get my bottles clean?

I gathered my water bottles and coffee mugs and sippy cups and put it to the test.  I followed the instructions and put the tablet in the containers and filled it with warm water.  I disconnected the valves from the sippy's and the straws from the camel backs and placed them in the bottles to soak.  After five minutes the tablet is dissolved and you're instructed to mix the solution by shaking the container.  Once you shake, the directions then state let stand another fifteen minutes.  Once the fifteen minutes are up you discard the solution and rinse clean.

I was amazed with the results.  The long standing coffee smell and stains were removed from the coffee mugs, the sippy cup valves were spotless.  I didn't notice any smell associated with the solvent or any taste after we refilled with water.  The Bottle Bright tab seemed like an excellent solution for hard to clean drinking containers.   The only downside I see to this product is that it cannot be used if you are in a hurry.  It takes at least fifteen minutes for it to be clean.  With all the extra containers I have though this wouldn't be a problem for me.   I plan on taking Bottle Bright on road trips when I don't have the capacity to wash them out, to take camping and  to bring to sporting events.  My husband is already planning on keeping some at work so he can clean his travel coffee mug each day.

For more information on the product you can go to

Jennifer (Jenny) is the founder of Any Age Fitness. She's an Independent Beachbody Coach, nurse, wife, and mom of 4. Jenny is passionate about health, nutrition and exercise and helping others achieve their fitness goals regardless of how old they are or how old they might feel. In her spare time she enjoys reading.

Jennifer received free samples of this product in exchange for this promotional post.  All opinions are her own.  Your experience may differ. 

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Broadway's Biggest Blockbuster, WICKED, is returning to the Detroit Opera House

After breaking box office records and selling out in record time in 2011, WICKED, Broadway’s biggest blockbuster, will return to the Detroit Opera House, December 10 – January 4.  Tickets go on sale Friday, September 12 at 10 AM at all Ticketmaster locations, by phone at 1-800-982-2787, online at or and at the Fisher Theatre  and Detroit Opera House box offices.

With music and lyrics by Stephen Schwartz (Pippin, Godspell, Academy Award®-winner for Pocahontas and The Prince of Egypt) and book by Winnie Holzman (“My So Called Life,” “Once And Again” and “thirtysomething”), WICKED, the untold story of the witches of Oz, is directed by two-time Tony® Award winner Joe Mantello (Take Me Out, Love! Valour! Compassion!, The Vagina Monologues) and features musical staging by Tony® Award winner Wayne Cilento (Aida, The Who’s Tommy, How To Succeed…).

Based on the best-selling 1995 novel by Gregory Maguire, WICKED, winner of over 50 major awards, including a Grammy® and three Tony® Awards, is the untold story of the witches of Oz.  It is produced by Marc Platt, Universal Pictures, The Araca Group, Jon B. Platt and David Stone.

“I’m very pleased that we have secured a return of WICKED for Detroit, especially during the holiday season when many families are looking for an extra special way to enjoy quality time together,” said Alan Lichtenstein, Executive Director, Broadway In Detroit.  “In my opinion, the national tour is even better than the Broadway production, which I also loved. The producers of WICKED should be complimented for sending out such a high-quality show.”

Long before Dorothy drops in, two other girls meet in the Land of Oz.  One – born with emerald-green skin – is smart, fiery and misunderstood.  The other is beautiful, ambitious and very popular.  WICKED tells the story of their remarkable odyssey, and how these two unlikely friends grow to become the Wicked Witch of the West and Glinda the Good.

WICKED has been declared “A Cultural Phenomenon” by Variety and “The Best Musical of the Decade” by Entertainment WeeklyWICKED currently has nine productions around the world, in New York, London, Japan, Australasian Tour, South Korea, Latin America, a U.K. Tour, and two concurrent North American National Tours.  Since its New York premiere a decade ago, WICKED has grossed over $3.4 billion worldwide and has been seen by over 42 million across the globe.  WICKED has been performed in over 100 cities in 13 countries around the world (U.S., Canada, England, Ireland, Japan, Germany, Holland, Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, South Korea, The Philippines, and Mexico) and has thus far been translated into five languages: Japanese, German, Dutch, Spanish, and Korean. 

Performance times for WICKED appearing December 10 – January 4 at the Detroit Opera House, located at 1526 Broadway St., in Detroit, are:

-        Monday through Saturday evening performances at 8:00 p.m.
-        Saturday & Sunday matinees at 2:00 p.m.
-        Sunday evening performances at 7:30 p.m.
-        Matinees at 1:00 pm on December 11, 23, 30 & 31
-        No performances on December 15, 24 & 25 and January 1
-        Sunday, December 14 at 7:30 p.m. is a special open captioned performance

Tickets for WICKED start at $49 (includes facility fees) and go on sale Friday, September 12 at 10 AM at all Ticketmaster locations, by phone at 1-800-982-2787, online at or and at the Fisher Theatre  and Detroit Opera House box offices. Tickets for the special open captioned performance may be purchased 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 (20 or more) please email or call (313) 871-1132. Performance schedule, prices and cast are subject to change without notice.

Grammy Award-Winning Cast recording available on Decca Broadway. For more information about WICKED log on to or visit

The Broadway In Detroit Series at the Fisher Theatre is sponsored by Chrysler.  As part of this sponsorship, the latest and hottest Chrysler vehicles will be on display at the theatre.