Archives for March 2008

Did Someone Say SPRING BREAK???

People line up for tickets under the marquee of a theater which reads sundance Film Festival 

There is so much going on around town during spring break I am dedicating an entire post to it.  That and, my Silly Sister In Law called and told me to get a move on. 

Some of these events require registration, and are for kids a little older than I usually try and keep entertained.  After all, Spring Break doesn’t really a lot to a 2 year old…


First, the usual suspects:

  • Statue of John BallJohn Ball Park Zoo has Zoobilee with many special activities from keeper talks to crafts, to special games & fun! Every day is different…but you’ll find something different each day!

Children's Museum IThe Grand Rapids Children’s Museum isn’t usually open to the public on Monday, but they are during Spring Break. They will still have the Thursday Night $1.00 night though. Kenny Ahern will have special performances all week; check the website for times.  Don’t forget to bring a new paint brush or roller for Habitat for Humanity; you’ll get one free admission per family.

Meijer Gardens continues with it’s Butterflies are Blooming Exhibit.

The Grand Rapids Art Museum has Spring Break “ArtVentures” for families on Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, and Saturday.  Look at their website for specific times and events.

The Grand Rapids Public Museum is having the “Spring Break Explorers Club. Activities include geo-caching activities, costumed interpreters, and super sized maps. 


Sporting Events :

Whitecaps play April 7, 8, 9 and 10

Grand-Rapids GriffinsGriffins play April 4, 11 and 12

Grand Rapids Rampage TicketsRampage plays April 13


And some things we don’t do every day:

Grand Rapids Civic Theater Spring Break Escape Theater Classes.  All week.

The Humane Society of Kent County is offering a Kids and Paws camp where kids can interact with animals, make crafts and play games.  Contact the Humane Society for details.

Kids Day at the Farm Museum Wednesday April 9 from 10am-2pm.  Coopersville.

Blandford Nature Center Spring Break Day Camp “Grow It! Eat It! Break It Down!” April 8, 9, and 10 from 10am-3pm.  More details are here.

Craig’s Cruisers has several different spring break specials.

Climbing Walls: 

  • One hour climbing wall instruction/ one hour free swim. The fun starts April 5 and goes through April 10. 2 Sessions: 10a-noon or 1p-3p. All four days $75. One day $20. Ages 5-12 welcome. 4620 Kalamazoo SE
    Kentwood, MI 49508.  Contact Jen, Marta,Michael or Jake for reservations. Email: Phone: 616.455.8700
  • Or check out Higher Ground, all of the info is on the website.

Bounce Party has added more ‘open bounce’ times during spring break; their website lists them all.

Tarry Hall has roller skating. Go ahead, shoot the moon!

Gymco has open gym several times during the week as well.

Kentwood Aquatics has open swim in the evenings all week.

The Forest Hills Aquatics Center has special Spring Break swim times as well.

Dairy Discovery has a tour on Saturday.




Story Times

Barnes and Noble has several; click ‘events’ on the website and type in your ZIP code for the time and place convenient to you.

Pooh’s Corner has story time every day except Tuesday.

Check with your local library for story times and other events; they aren’t all listed on the GRPL website and there are too many to list here on the KDL website.

I don’t know if this is an exhaustive list; but I do know that I am exhausted after writing it so if I need to add anything, please let me know! 


Menu Plan Monday

Ugh! All of this talk about an economic dip/recession/depression is getting to me. I keep reading that the price of corn is going up so all of those yummy processed foods with corn syrup (which is everything) will get more expensive too.  I might as well buck up and sharpen my skills now.  Here is a great post about Recession-Proofing Your Diet, and another about 6 Easy Ways to Battle Rising Food Costs. I’m getting pretty good at stocking up, so I shouldn’t have to buy much this week to make this menu happen. 

My own personal attempt at saving money on groceries is to work my way up the food pyramid.  Why not? Naturally, my bread maker died immediately upon hearing this announcement.  I am now equipped with a new one, so I’ll also be experimenting with that this week.


We had spaghetti and meatballs with my Dad and Grandma Sunday night they are both doing much better, thank you everyone for your very kind words!!) and have plenty of leftovers.


I’m going to give this recipe for Mexican Lasagne from Heart Matters a try. As a side we’ll have Super Fresh and Tasty Lentil Salad from Sarah’s Musings.


I love copycat recipes; and although I’ve never had the original I’m going to make Applebees Tequila Lime Chicken.

We’ll also have Slow Cooker Baked Beans from ‘Burgh on a Budget with a few modifications.  I use dried beans and I’m not sure what varities I have on hand, but I’ll make it work. 

We’ll also have some corn.


I made a lasagne last week and put it in the freezer.  It was a day of cooking frenzy, and I can’t remember what all went into it, but I think that sausage was involved.  I’ll serve it with fresh steamed carrots.


I need to use up the rest of my frozen asparagus from LAST year before the new crop comes in.  Note to self; easy on the asparagus this year.  We have decided to try and eat less meat, so I was happy to come across this recipe for Roasted Asparagus with Poached Egg and Parmesan on the Cheap Healthy Good Blog.  Just a little tidbit for my fellow Grand Rapidians – I use regular parmesan (not the dried stuff in a shaker) for everything, and have found that Horrocks has the best price per pound. 

Although it seems like a weird combination I think I will also make some baked potatoes to ‘bulk up’ the meal a bit.


Here is a recipe for Fried Rice from I will throw some bacon in there and see if I can pass it off as a meal :)

My weird kids like spinach salad, so I’ll make some of that too.


We found one of those old school popcicle trays in the cupboard, and started making our own last week.  The kids are crazy about them, and since we either use juice or leftover smoothies, they are very healthy. 

We go through a ridiculous amount of popcorn, but I’m happy to keep buying it.  This is a great snack for the kids, and for us.

I am on the lookout for the perfect blueberry muffin recipe, please toss any suggestions my way!

For more Menu Plans, head over to Laura’s blog.

Food Pyramid


Free Family Resource Guide

photoI’ve written before about the Child and Family Resource Council.  If you’d like to see that post, click here.  Now, they are offering their newly updated free Family Resource Guide.  This has a very complete listing of programs, organizations, and events for families in Kent County.

You can either download it, or call for a copy.  It’s a great way to find out about services available to us as parents! Here is the link for more info.


Win Tickets to Meijer Gardens!!

GR Now is giving away a family four pack of tickets to see the Butterflies Are Blooming Exhibit at Meijer Gardens!! Here is the link; winner is drawn tomorrow so hurry and enter. Good luck!


Feature Friday. Yes, I Know.

OK so it’s Saturday.  Does this mean tomorrow you can expect Something to Make Saturday, or Sanctuary Sunday?  I’d like to pretend I am trying to be suspensful and stir it up, but it’s much more mundane.  Just a few technical difficulties coupled with a late Griffins Game put me a whole day behind.  The lure of Dollar Beers and Dollar Dogs was just too much for us to resist.

Well, let’s get on with it then.  No news here; I am a huge library fan.  In addition to the excellent resources available to us from many different sources via Lakenet, did you know that you can actually use your library card to “check out” a ticket for admission to area attractions? Yep, that’s right.  An entire family can get into the Grand Rapids Children’s Museum, Meijer Gardens, John Ball Park Zoo and The Gerald Ford Museum for free? Sometimes symphony and opera tickets are available too!

Last year, we used a checked-out membership to visit Meijer Gardens around Christmas.  The cost for all of us to go would have been, well, a lot, so we felt very lucky that we could use the Library Pass. How it worked was that I got a pass at the Library, and just exchanged it for admission at the Gardens.  It was totally free.

Not much information is available online about this, so touch base with your local Grand Rapids Public Librarian for more details. At any given time there are a limited number of passes circulating, so also check to see when the pass for your attraction will be available.  I don’t know of KDL offering this program, but if anyone has information about it please let me know and I will post accordingly!


Things To Do Thursday

Looking for some things to do this weekend? Here are a few suggestions: 

  • Go to the Zoo before while they are still charging Spring Admission Rates (adults $3.50, children over 2 $3.00, and children under 2 free).  If you’re thinking about getting a membership, do it now; those rates are going up a little soon.  Also, try and get ahold of a Culture Pass.  You may have received one from the Library for a reading program, or from an area attraction where you hold a membership.  It has a coupon you can use towards Zoo membership.
  • It’s the last weekend for Sugarbush at Blandford Nature Center.  My kids are still talking about this, especially the part where they got to use a hand drill to make a hole for a tap. 
  • Check out the Bob the Builder Exhibit at the Grand Rapids Children’s Museum.  We went last week and my kids LOVED it.  If you bring a paintbrush or roller to donate for Habitat for Humanity, you will receive one free admission per family.
  • See the Bee Movie at the Dove Family Film Festival, adults are $2.50 and children under 12 are free.
  • The Cottage & Lakefront Living Show is this weekend at the DeVos Place.  I mention this for two reasons. First, my kids love riding the DASH bus from the parking lot. Second, there will be a huge indoor beach (just the sand, not water) that the kids can play in. That and someday, I might have a huge cottage and will need some decorating ideas. Well, probably not. OK just the bus and the beach then.  Admission is $9 for adults (there is a buy one get one free coupon in the Entertainment Book), $4 for children 6-14 and free for children 5 and under.

Need more? Check out Big Binder’s Calendar!


Wordless Wednesday

National City Building

Skating At Rosa Parks Circle 

Photo Credit: Ann Teliczan


Another Sugar Cube, Ella?

Tasty Tuesday was an ‘in house’ production today.  Our Bright Beginnings Parent Educator came by for a visit this morning and was kind enough to stay longer than her appointment so that my kids could show her every single toy in each of their rooms. Her patience is nothing short of saint-like.

In addition to running a little later than planned, I decided to stay home for a few reasons. First, I have to weigh in at Weight Watchers once a month now that I am ‘lifetime’.  The end of the month is drawing near. To borrow a line from the Breakfast Club, I am pushing maximum density.  Second, we set aside a small amount each week for fun money.  All of my fun money was donated to a good cause this weekend.  The good cause was about 8 tacos (two at a time) and 4 orders of chips and salsa from the Big Burrito in Kalamazoo.

So I borrowed an idea from PreSchool Mama.  When I read her post about it, I couldn’t believe I hadn’t done this yet with my kids.  What is it? A tea party! I think it’s funny that American kids would be excited about a tea party.  Little European preschoolers, maybe, with their cute little accents, who have actually been to a tea. Apparently there is some universal appeal, as it proved to be extremely entertaining. 

It took a little convincing that the tea itself would be pretend.  Even using water would have turned the whole thing into a complete mess and having just cleaned up the fingerpaint lesson from Bright Beginnings, I wasn’t ready to start all over with the disaster zone thing.  Maybelle is quite the hostess, and spent the entire time arranging and re-arranging the seating.  Unfortunately, the guests were already seated.  Fortunately, they are all dolls and stuffed animals. Her favorite doll, ‘Baby Ella’ was treated with special reverence.  Her cup was consistently topped off with fresh, hot air-tea.

It was a bit of a thrown-together affair today and next time I will make some little finger foods. We might even invite some real people.  I will also send A.P. off somewhere to play, as he was bored after just a few minutes when he realized there were no good snacks.

Maybe next week we will be back to dining out for Tasty Tuesday.  Hopefully I will have a few dollars in my wallet, and a few less pounds on the scale.  If not, I’ll just let the kids order what they want and have a nice big serving of air; I hear it’s all the rage.


Menu Plan Monday

I usually write my Menu Plan (and therefore, the blog post) on Sunday evening.  This weekend was so incredibly fun I am just now settling down long enough to figure out what we will be eating this week.

We went to Blandford’s Maple Syrup Festival Saturday morning, and after pancakes and seriously the best sausage I have had we went stomping around the Nature Center looking at all of the tapped trees.  It was great just to be outside. 

From there we went to a very fun birthday party in the afternoon.  Yesterday was Palm Sunday and the kids got to follow the Priest around waving palm leaves during the processional.  They loved it.  They also found that palm leaves make excellent swords if held properly.  That afternoon Mr. Binder hooked the ‘bugger’ bike trailer up and took the kids for a ride.  A.P. had to bring a treat to school today, so we made rice crispy treats with green food coloring, then cut them into the shapes of shamrocks using a cooking cutter.  I think I showed incredible restraint, considering I am somewhat obsessive about snack themes.

Allright onto the Menu.

Tonight, we had corned beef sandwiches, pieces of Irish cheese, coleslaw, and Guinness.  Well, milk for the kids.


This looked like a great recipe for Lasagne from Nic in the Kitchen so I’ll give that a go tomorrow.


Slow Cooker Chicken Stroganoff seems easy and tasty from Life in the Button Factory (click on “Scott’s Favorite Chicken”).


I am not sure how I stumbled upon this blog.  It is called “Cooking for Engineers”.  I thought it meant cooking for someone (else) who happens to be an engineer – as if they all have similar tastes? No, it is cooking for people who are engineers.  The charts and graphs make me giggle.  I will be trying the Shephard’s Pie recipe.

That’s it! I’m gone Friday and we’ll be in and out the rest of the weekend.   For more Menu Plan Monday, head over to Laura’s blog.


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