30 November 2007

On my way home...

I have been away from home most of the week. My friend, Mark, had surgery on Tuesday and since then, I have been staying with his teen-aged son, Matthew. Matt's a great kid and we have been just fine.

I have been astonished at how productive I have been with no distractions -- no charming budgie to enchant me away, no handsome husband to beguile me, no housework silently calling, no e-mail to answer. With so much time available I have completed 16 Yule cards and 9 scrapbook pages! Wow!!

But, you know... I have missed my guys. We usually sleep in a puppy pile in our big Queen bed. Without the hum of the CPAP and the purr of the little guy, I have slept lightly, listening to the silence.

The guys have joined me for lunch or dinner alternately while I have been away, so we have actually seen each other every day. Still, I find my mind drifting to them and wondering what they're doing more often than I expected.

I will be home tonight because our friends Chris and Kimberly will be hanging out with Matthew for the weekend, but on Sunday evening I will be back. Mark is not recovering as fast as the doctors had predicted. This doesn't surprise me as much as it does Mark. Three or four days to be walking again after spinal surgery seemed outrageously optimistic to me. But there is no telling at this point when Mark will be home.

Anyway, if I owe you an e-mail, that's why. I'll try to get to my e-mail over the weekend, but no promised. I have a charming budgie and a beguiling honey to catch up with.

27 November 2007

Another Milestone

Around the age of four and a half or five, most children attain a milestone that few, if any, parent looks forward to or feels prepared for. Jack has just attained that milestone.

Jack has become aware of death and comprehends it enough to be worried about it. So far, he's not afraid of dying himself, but he is afraid of Rod or me dying. He has several friends whose mothers died when they were still small children. He also knows that both of his grandfathers have died. Losing a parent is a scary proposition.

Now, having been through this stage before, Rod and I were not caught entirely off-guard. We had found ways to answer the hard questions before, at least. Interestingly the thing that seems to offer the most comfort to Jack right now is when I tell him that TJ and Corey worried about this when they were four, too, and that their parents are all still here, even though they're adults now. And that I worried about death when I was four, and I was grown up with teenage children (and my own driver' license) when my Dad died -- and my Mom is still here!

So far his concern is on the pragmatic level:

"Dad, when your Dad died, who drived you around?"

"Mamma, did you know how to drive when your Dad died?"

"If a Mamma or a Dad dies, who cooks for their child?"

But I am also away from home for a few days this week for the first time in Jack's life (I will be staying with the teen-aged son of a friend who is having surgery.) and that is making the questions more pressing. Jack is concerned about my being away, but he is also worried about our friends. He understands that Matt hasn't got a spare parent and he does, so he will share me while Mark in in the hospital. (He's mildly perplexed because Matt is taller than I am, and in the simple world of a four year old, that suggests that Matt is an adult, and older than I am -- but he is willing to take my word for it that Matt is too young to be alone for several days.) But he is concerned because Mark is in the hopital, and he knows that people often go to the hospital to die. We've been as reassuring as we can, but I think he will just have to see Mark again to be really reassured.

And so, of course, I am hunting for a book or three about death to help him grok. So far, most of the books I am finding are aimed at children who are experiencing death in their own lives. I'm glad those books are out there because certainly they are needed, but they aren't what *I* am looking for. I am finding fewer to help a child who is becoming aware, but not through personal experience.

We already have Badger's Parting Gifts by Susan Varley. Badger's Parting Gifts is an excellent look at the death of a well-loved member of the community and the way that his friends coped with their deeply felt loss, but it looks at death through the lens of animal characters which I think removes some of the emotional intensity for small children. It shows death as a natural next step after a long life and a solution to a failing body, rather than something to fear, which I quite like. The main focus of the book is about how Badger remains present amongst his friends, in the form of all the things he taught them, which is lovely.

Another book that looks very promising is Lifetimes: A Beautiful Way To Explain Death To Children. It seems (from reviews) to have just the right tone for our needs; it's not too emotional and not too religious, leaving us room to speak of our own beliefs.

I also bought The Next Place by Warren Hanson to help with the idea that dying isn't to be feared. It is, as I understand it, pretty vague while being reassuring. I like the fact that it points out that no *really* knows what the next place is, because, of course, we don't remember. ;)

Though the death of a tree doesn't really speak to Jack's immediate concerns, The Gift of the Tree looks like it will be useful in creating an understanding in the cycle of life and deaths place in it. Combined with other books, it seems like a good addition.

If anyone has suggestions of other books that have worked for your families, I would be very happy to hear about them.

26 November 2007

Fitness Update

Oh well. *sigh* I haven't walked in weeks.

First I came down with a cold and felt woozy and weak. Then I developed shingles and really just didn't feel up to it. Then came the holiday.

I think it's time I made an effort again. Now my only excuse it a sluggish feeling that makes it feel 'too hard'. I think this is exactly what has always stopped my efforts before. Fortunately, right now I am reading Jackson's Track by Darryl Tonkin. It's MOST compelling reading, and I think that is enough to get me moving today. And then maybe it will work again tomorrow, too.

Oh, and by the way, this has to be the fastest case of recovery from shingles on record! I was diagnosed on Thursday and by Sunday, I was all but recovered! I still have a mild neuralgia but the pox are gone, the fever and swollen lymph nodes are gone. I am pretty much completely recovered just a week late. Shingles usually lasts a month or so! My deepest thanks to my energy worker friends! You are amazing!!!

25 November 2007

The Eater's Agreement by Marc David

I hereby agree, from this day forward, to fully participate in life on earth. I agree to inhabit the appropriate vehicle for such participation - a body. As a requisite for the sustaining of that body, and of the life that dwells therein, I agree to be an eater. This agreement fully binds me for the duration of my stay on earth.

As an eater, I agree to hunger.

I agree to have a body that needs food. I agree to eat food. I recognize that as the biological need to eat is fulfilled with greater awareness and efficiency, the benefits of my well-being will increase. I further acknowledge that ignorance of the eating process may cause undesirable consequences.

Because the essence of my participation in life is one of learning and exploration, I agree to experience uncertainty as an eater. I recognize there are a great variety of foods to choose from, and I may not know which to eat. I may have a choice of different nutritional approaches, and not know which to follow. I may have an assortment of habits, and not know how to manage them. I recognize that my relationship to food is a learning process, and I will inevitably make mistakes. Therefore, as an eater, I agree to accept my humanness and learn as I go along.

I acknowledge that as the body changes from infancy to old age, so will the eating process change. I recognize that my body may call for different foods as the days, seasons, and years progress. My dietary needs will also shift in accord with changes in my life-style and environment. I understand that there is no one perfect diet.

As an eater, I accept pain.

I recognize that I may suffer pain when the body is disturbed by my choice of food or eating habits. I may also experience pain when emotional and spiritual hungers are confused with physical hunger. I further understand that eating to cure a pain that cannot be remedied by eating may bring even more pain. I further agree to accept a body that is imperfect and vulnerable, that naturally decays with the passage of time. I recognize there will be moments when I am incapable of caring for it myself. I agree, then, that to live in a body is to need the help of others. I also agree to be vulnerable as an eater. I acknowledge that I will be helpless as an infant and will need to be fed. I may be equally helpless when I am old and unwell. I further recognize that even when I am fully capable, I may still need the warmth and care of someone who can feed me. Therefore, as an eater, I agree to be nourished by others.

If I have a woman's body, I acknowledge that I have a special relationship to eating and nourishment. I recognize that as a giver of life, I am the nourisher of life as well. Whether through my cooking or the milk of my body, I acknowledge that the union of food and love is a quality that marks my womanhood and has a profound effect on human-kind.

As an eater, I acknowledge the domain of the sacred. I recognize that the act of eating may be ritualized and inspired. It may be given symbolic meanings that are religious or spiritual in nature. It may even be joyous

I further agree that eating is an activity that joins me with all humanity. I recognize that to be an eater is to be accountable for the care of the earth and its resources. I acknowledge that despite our differences, we are all ultimately nourished by the same source. As such, I agree to share.

I recognize that at its deepest level, eating is an affirmation of life. Each time I eat, I agree somewhere inside to continue life on earth. I acknowledge that this choice to eat is a fundamental act of love and nourishment, a true celebration of my existence. As a human being on earth, I agree to be an eater. I choose life again and again...

It's snowing!

Have we mentioned that we Smiffies really love snow and winter?

This photo was actually taken on Thanksgiving (thus the apron under my jacket) when we had a brief flurry...but it's really snowing heroically out there at the moment.
Jack, unfortunately, fell asleep on the way home from our trip to the DIA Grand Opening, and we carried an inert boy through the flurries. He has no idea yet.

I do hope tomorrow evening works out for Jack and I to build a 'snow budgie'.

There was only one snow storm adequate to the job last winter, and the snow was gone before there was a break in our schedule. This time, I will be away from home for a few days starting on Tuesday, so it has to be tomorrow evening.

22 November 2007

Giving thanks

It's been a very good day.

It started with Jack and I making cranberry sauce, first thing this morning.

Later in the morning, after our showers, we made pumpkin pies and some chocolate chip pumpkin custard.

Eventually, little by little, we pulled together a relatively simple Thanksgiving meal. Basically only the standards, since it was to be only the three of us.
From Thanksgiving 1
Simple, festive, delicious. Then, at the end of the meal, my favorite part. Over pie and coffee, we all shared what it is that we are most grateful for. We had much to share.

19 November 2007

An Open Letter to the Scholastic Company

19 November 2007

Scholastic Worldwide Headquarters
557 Broadway
New York, New York 10012

Dear Madam or Sir:

We have just received another invitation to a homeschool book sale event. Sadly, we will not be accepting your invitation, though we have in the past. Nor will we be buying Scholastic books for our home classroom on our adventures in other book stores.

As a mother, grandmother, and home educator, I am dismayed at Scholastic’s decision to partner with Kaiser Permanente to offer The Incredible Adventures of the Amazing Food Detective video game. Although I cannot belive that your company is really aware of it, the hate-mongering and interpersonal intolerance encouraged by this game are extremely offensive to our famiy's values, as is the promotion of the long-discredited pseudo-science on which this game bases its “facts”. I do not and can not believe that the Scholastic Company of my youth, the company that first introduced me to the idea of diversity, could knowingly be a part of distributing the bigotry and misinformation conveyed by this game.

Here’s an example I have borrowed from nutrition researcher Sandy Szwarc:

“The Food Detective game invites kids to click on the ‘AFD Case Files’ of various ‘Suspects:’ children who are supposedly behaving badly. The fat little 10-year old girl is Emily. The game tells kids that Emily is fat because ‘she eats too much and needs to learn portion control.’ The food detective sets up a security cam in her house ‘to catch the culprit in the act’ and she is shown gobbling nonstop a table of fattening foods and a chart shows her eating a whopping 4,550 [kilo]calories.”

My first objection is to the inculcation of the idea that it is somehow OK to snoop in other people's homes or into other people's personal habits with the excuse that one is "saving them from themselves". From there, it is a short step to teasing in the school lunchroom because of what "Emily's" real life analog has in her lunch today. What other people eat should not be the concern of anyone else - - and certainly not of children! My second objection is to point out that there is no scientific consensus about what causes people to get fat. Research has long disproved the idea that people get fat because they overeat; while eating and exercise habits may play some role, research verifies over and over again that the human body is amazingly adaptable and that, given a state of reasonable health, it maintains its weight within a narrow weight range, regardless of activity or nutrition.

Sandy Szwarc again:

The DONALD (Dortmund Nutritional Anthropometric Longitudinally Designed) Study, for example, clinically followed children, actually weighing the individual children and recording their diets (the foods, amounts and eating occasions) at least ten times a year and followed them thusly for 17 years. They found that no matter what the children ate during childhood or adolescence, they naturally grew up to be a wide range of weights. While there were great differences in the children’s diets, these differences weren’t at all related to their weights.

One of the real conclusions drawn by recent research is that the bullying experienced by children who are considered ‘fat’ by their peers results in higher levels of depression, suicide, and disordered eating. A large and growing number of children -- of all sizes -- are at increasing risk of developing eating disorders because they are afraid of getting fat. More than half of women aged 18 to 25 have told researchers that they would rather be hit by a truck or lose a limb than be fat.

In light of this finding, this game psponsoroed the Scholastic Company is not just misguided, it is unethical!

Sadly, the game doesn’t just promote wrong-headed ideas about fat children. (Another child, Cole, is presented as a “weakling” and a problem case because he eats ‘junk food’.) Is there now to be only one 'correct' body type among children? What does this tell our kids about their classmates who are bigger or smaller than they are? And if we can’t tolerate a natural difference in size, how long will it be before handicapped and challenged children are blamed for their differences from the “ideal”?

Good nutrition and an active lifestyle are indeed important things to teach children about, for their future happiness and good health and there are many ways to teach children about eating good food and about loving healthy movement. This game, sadly, is far from one of them. The developers could so easily have used this game as a fun, non-judgemental way to teach kids about good nutrition without demonizing foods or fat kids. Shame does not engender healthful habits and bigotry can not give children a love of good food and joyful movement.

If, as I have long believed to be the case, Scholastic Company truly cares about the children to whom you sell books and other products, you must take a long, hard look at this video game and the bigotry it engenders and reconsider your involvement in it. Look instead, I beg you, to return to your tradition of positive encouragement for diversity and a fun approach to learning.

Until that day comes, I will not buy another Scholastic product and I will urge my fellow homeschoolers to look elsewhere for suppliers for their childrens educational needs.

Misti Anslin Delaney
former Scholastic customer

16 November 2007

Cleaning day ...

Posted by Picasa

Mystery solved...

Ok, so that mysterious spider bite? It started to spread, I got a fever and swollen lymph nodes. It got serious enough that budget or no budget, it was time to see a doctor.

So I called yesterday and talked to a nurse, who sounded pretty panicky about it being facial cellulitis. (Ick!!) I trotted right in, at her request. The doctor took one look at it and grinned and said "Yup. Shingles."

Basically, I have chicken pox redux.

OK, so, no big deal. I'm not going to die or be permanently disfigured -- it's just going to be uncomfortable for a while. Five weeks, if I'm lucky, or...a long time if I'm not.

But in five weeks, at least I won't look like a contagious mess.

In the morning, uncomfortable just about describes it, except for the combing of the hair. By bedtime, though, as I get more and more tired, it gets excruciating. The most evident solution is not to get over tired, so I won't be doing much in the evenings for a bit. (Probably not much during the day, either, if I can help it.) I am feverish and tired already this morning...and cold. Very cold. If you know me, you know how weird it is for me to be cold -- when we have the house at 65 for guests, I duck outside to cool off periodically. Lately, at 63, I am shivering. Ick.

Anyway, mystery solved, but the viral part of the chicken pox is giving me a hard time and I'm not feeling terribly fluent. I'll be back when my brain doesn't feel so hot. ;)

15 November 2007

Baby wisdom?

"I love you you very much Jack."

"I know, Mamma. That's just the nature of women."

Where do these things come from?

Further investigation reveals that it is "the nature of women" to love children. I haven't the heart to break reality to him just yet.

12 November 2007

Spider bite?

I haven't had a lot to say recently -- partly that was a matter of a busy Samhain weekend, but partly it was because of this.
It looks awful -- but it looked worse yesterday. I think it might be a spider bite, but I am just guessing.

It started as a mild burning sensation last week. I couldn't see anything, so I just treated it with tea tree oil and aloe gel. Thursday evening or so, it started to look kind of red, and I started to feel kind of feverish. By Sunday night, it was an angry, blistery red and it seemed to have spread into my scalp. It also seemed to have inflamed the glands in front of my ear and in my throat on the left side. The glands swelled to the size of a very, very tender painful walnut. I was starting to get worried when it seemed as though it was spreading behind my eye, as well, by bedtime. I felt feverish and awful and when I could collapse, I did.

I had intended to see urgent care this morning, but when i woke up it seemed less red and less painful, so I decided to give it a few more days.

But we are definitely vacuuming both sides of the mattress. Just in case it is a spider bite.


Jack's Daemon

My Daemon ...

How astonishingly appropriate! *laugh*

10 November 2007

Now this is a GREAT idea!

Mabel's Labels sells labels. Name labels for kids lunch boxes, shoes, books, clothing -- pretty much anything a kid might lose. Boy, do I wish I'd had these for TJ and Corey!

But even more exciting, they also have "allergy alert labels" -- stickies that list the things your child shouldn't be given to eat. Peanuts, dairy, wheat ... up to six specific allergens. There is some talk on the street that they're also working on a vegan/vegetarian label, too. These labels would be put on the child's cup, lunch box, etc -- to remind caregivers of the child's food concerns.

08 November 2007

Fitness Update

Interesting thing I noticed today ...

I had to move inside for my walks earlier this week when it got just too cold and wet to walk outdoors with a book. Outdoors, the track is 1/2 mile. Indoors, the track is 1/5 of a mile.

When the increment is a half mile, there is an mild emotional block to adding another circuit. It feels like a lot. I did it, I went from one circuit to two, to three over the course of the summer.

But when the increment is only 1/5 of a mile, it's pretty easy to add another one because it doesn't feel like all that much. Over the course of the week, I went from 8/5 of a mile each day to 11/5 or 2 1/5 miles today. Because it was easy. Also,m because the track is a lot smoother, I am walking faster as I read, so it's not taking me much longer to walk 2 and a bit miles than it was a mile and half outdoors.

Hmm. Maybe instead of losing fitness over this winter, I'll actually make strides. Wouldn't that be cool?!?!? *happy grin*

06 November 2007

Adventures accessible from SE Michigan

We’re getting so many hits on this list that it seemed worth a serious revamp, so here it is, Adventures Accessible from SE Michigan, sorted by region and topic! Please be aware that this is research based and not experiential. If I have specific remarks about a place I'll add them, but I recommend that you do some research of your own before heading out. If the website is still up, I assume the place is still there, but that won't always be the case and I can't get to every place at once.

If you know of a cool place that *isn't* on the list, please let me know -- we're always on the lookout and we know there’s a lot missing!

We add anything new we find to our list, so check back when you're in the planning mood! (I am slowly, slowly going in and adding URLS to make planning easier.)

Oh, and if you;d be so kind as to know how you find this lisr, we'd be tickled! Thanks!!

Region 1 Washtenaw


University of Michigan - Museum of Art
525 South State Street, Ann Arbor, MI
The Museum of Art houses a rich permanent collection with holdings from both the western and Asian traditions. Highlights include paintings by Picasso, Whistler, Monet, photographs by Ansel Adams to name just a few. In addition to its permanent collection, the museum offers a changing series of special exhibitions, family programs, chamber concerts, a full compliment of interpretive programs.

Washtenaw Community College Gallery One

4800 East Huron River Drive , Ann Arbor, MI
Gallery One is dedicated to developing and presenting exhibitions that are enjoyable as well as educational and challenging. Free and open to the public, the exhibitions are developed to be aesthetically appealing, informative, and thought provoking, while helping to make art accessible by relating it to different aspects of life. Almost all of the exhibitions are accompanied by related workshops and lectures from artists and qualified experts.

Ann Arbor Art Association

117 W. Liberty Street, Ann Arbor, MI

One of Michigan’s oldest and most respected arts organizations is committed to engaging the community in education, exhibition, and exploration of the visual arts. The Art Center offers youth classes year-round for ages 3 - 17 in a creative learning environment meant to introduce art media, build skills and awaken the young artist within. From My 1st Art Class to Young Masters to Introduction to Pottery for Teens, they provide an array of diverse and fun-filled courses with something for every age and skill level.

Food Supply

Tours of the Zingerman's Bakery

3711 Plaza Dr. Ann Arbor, MI

Ever wonder what a 50 Lb. block of butter looks like? Come for a tour of the Bakehouse! See the hands behind the baked goods as we walk you through the bakery.
To book a private group tour please contact Amy Emberling at 734-761-7255. $50 per group of up to 20 people. 2 hours. For their safety, no children under 6 please.

Classes available for older kids and adults.

Tours of the Zingerman's Creamery

3723 Plaza Drive, Ann Arbor, Michigan

Cheesemaker and managing partner John Loomis leads the whey and gives the inside scoop on how we make artisan cheeses and old-fashioned gelato (that's Italian ice cream)!

Every Sunday, beginning at 2pm for $5
Give us a call at 734.929.0500 and we'll save you a place! Classes also available for older kids and adults.

Matthaei Botanical Gardens

1800 N. Dixboro Rd. Ann Arbor, MI

Matthaei Botanical Gardens and Nichols Arboretum are about connecting people with nature. We're about sustaining the earth. We're about caring for our natural heritage. We're about sharing knowledge and promoting learning. Take a nature hike, explore the trpoical conservatory, take a class, volunteer.

Jiffy Mix

201 W. North Street, Chelsea, MI
Tours are available Mon through Fri by reservation. Tours will last about 1 1/2 hours and consists of a slide presentation, a refreshment period, and a walk through our packaging plant. For safety reasons children under 6 are not allowed into the plant, but there will be a designated place in the tour center where one adult can stay with the younger children.


Cobblestone Farm, Living Farm Museum

2781 Packard St., Ann Arbor, MI
Living history museum in the restored 1845 cobblestone Classical Revival two-family home of Dr. Benajah Ticknor (U.S. Naval Surgeon) and Heman Ticknor (farmer and Whig politician). Guided tours and special events portray rural lifestyle of the 1845-1860 era.

Michigan Fire House Museum

110 West Cross Street, Ypsilanti, MI
The Michigan Firehouse Museum encompasses an original historic firehouse and a new, modern 10,000 square foot addition. The original firehouse, constructed in 1898, complete with horse drawn vehicles and an original brass pole, offers visitors a glimpse of life in a firehouse circa 1900. The new 10,000 square foot addition, built in 2002, houses a changing exhibition of fire fighting vehicles and equipment.


Leslie Science and Nature Center

1831 Traver Road, Ann Arbor, MI

50 acres of fields, prairie, woods, and pond, the Leslie Science and Nature Center provides natural science and environmental education programs for youth and their families. Stroll along the trails, meander past the outdoor enclosure of our new Resident Raptors, or join us for an education program. The Center is an amazing place where children and families revel in the exploration of the natural world. Affiliated with National Wildlife Federation.

Ann Arbor Hands-On Museum
220 East Ann Street, Ann Arbor, MI
Inspire young people to discover the wonder of science, math and technology. Ignite your imagination as you explore nine unique galleries containing more than 250 interactive exhibits. With subjects ranging from physics to health to nature to mathematics and beyond, learning is made fun for all ages in an informal environment where hands-on experience is the best teacher.

Exhibit Museum of Natural History

1109 Geddes Avenue, Ann Arbor, MI
Exhibits include displays on prehistoric life with the most extensive dinosaur exhibits in the state of Michigan, Michigan wildlife, Native American culture, anthropology, geology, and a Planetarium. The Exhibit Museum is open seven days a week, 357 days a year.

Ypsilanti Automotive Heritage Museum & Miller Motors Hudson

100 E. Cross, Ypsilanti, MI
The Museum is also home to the world's last Hudson Dealer. With its records dating to 1927 a priceless part of Ypsilanti automotive history is now preserved. See original Hudson dealer memorabilia and transportation technology displayed.


Dreamland theater

26 N. Washington St. ~ Ypsilanti ~ MI 48197 (734-657-2337)

Puppet shows. Make sure to check out the show before you bring children. The humor is definitely not appealing to more traditional families.

Region 2A Wayne


Children's Museum of Detroit

6134 Second Avenue, Detroit, MI

It is the third oldest childrens museum in the nation. Detroit Children's Museum has developed into a unique educational and cultural institution. The galleries at the Children's Museum feature various exhibits, which explore the sciences, history, world cultures and the arts.

The New Detroit Science Center

5020 John R. Street, Detroit, MI
The New Detroit Science Center -- where creative exploration is the key to discovering the wonders of science and technology. The From Michigan's only IMAX® Dome Theatre to the Dassault Systèmes Planetarium, family programs to field trips, live science demonstrations to hands-on exhibit laboratories, the Science Center has something for kids ages 2 to 92. Check the website for a list of family programs.

Heritage Park Petting Farm
12803 Pardee Rd., Taylor, MI
The Farm offers a hands on experience for the young or just young at heart in a unique park atmosphere. Meet Sonora the cow who likes to give kisses. See and touch the soft fuzzy baby chicks and a wide variety of bunny rabbits. Walk around the stalls of the goats, sheep and piglets.


Detroit Institute of Arts

5200 Woodward Avenue, Detroit, MI
Founded in 1885, the Detroit Institute of Arts has been a beacon of culture for the Detroit area for well over a century. The DIA is a world-class museum with a variety of permanent and traveling exhibits, and is the fifth-largest fine arts museum in the country; offers over 100 galleries with art from ancient to modern times.

Center Galleries

301 Frederick Douglass, Detroit, MI

Center Galleries displays the work of the students of The College of Creative Studies, you can view and purchase the artwork displayed, the gallery is located in the Center Area, right across the street from the Institute of Arts Museum, and near the Detroit Science Center.

Pewabic Pottery
10125 East Jefferson Avenue, Detroit, MI
Pewabic Pottery is a living treasure that offers visitors an exciting glimpse of a little known part of American history. Founded in 1903 during the Arts & Crafts Movement, Pewabic is nationally renowned for its tile and pottery in unique glazes. Today it is a non profit ceramic art education center which welcomes 70,000 visitors annually.

Your Heritage House Fine Arts Museum for Youth
110 East Ferry Street, Detroit, MI
Museum and school for youth, with workshops, classes, arts camp; exhibition space for one-person and group shows; collection of children’s books by African-Americans; historical African and African-American artifacts, documents, and objects.


Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History

315 E. Warren Avenue, Detroit, MI

The world’s largest institution dedicated to the African American experience, the museum provides exhibitions and programs exploring the diversity of African American history & culture. The Museum houses over 30,000 artifacts & archival materials and is home to the Blanche Caggin Underground Railroad Collection, Harriet Tubman Museum Collection, and much more.

Greenfield Village
20900 Oakwood Boulevard PO Box 1970, Dearborn, MI
The Henry Ford is the history destination that brings the American Experience to life. Five distinct attractions captivate and inspire visitors of all ages. Encounter ideas that change the world, travel through America's past, embark on America's greatest factory tour and more. It all comes together at The Henry Ford, America's greatest history attraction.

Detroit Historical Museum

5401 Woodward Ave., Detroit, MI
Cobblestone streets, 19th century stores, an auto assembly line, toy trains, and a fur trading post from the 1700s are only a few of the wonders to see at the Detroit Historical Museum. For more than 75 years, the Museum has chronicled the life and times of the region, safeguarding its rich history.

Historic Fort Wayne

6325 Jefferson Detroit, MI 48209

The Fort is open for visitors every Saturday and Sunday from May 27 through September 3 from 9 a.m. until 4 p.m. on Saturday and 11 a.m. through 4 p.m. on Sunday. There is no charge for self-guided tours. Visitors are provided with a brochure upon entering the park which has the self-guided tour map. Guided tours are available both days at 12 p.m and 2 p.m. Tours typically last between 1 and 1 1⁄2 hours and cost $3.00 per person. The National Museum of the Tuskegee Airmen is also housed at Historic Fort Wayne. Their hours are by appointment. To schedule a tour of their museum while you visit Historic Fort Wayne, call 313-833-8849.Secured, on-site parking is available for $5.00.

Yankee Air Museum - Willow Run Airport

2041 A Street, Belleville, MI
Willow Run Airport was built by the Ford Motor Company in 1941 to serve as an airfield for their B-24 Bomber Plant. This was the first aircraft manufacturing plant to use Ford's automotive mass production techniques, a leading technological innovation of the time. Ford Motor Company built 8,685 B-24s from 1942 until the end of World War II. At its peak, the Willow Run plant employed over 42,000 people and produced one B-24 every 59 minutes. The last bomber to roll off the assembly line was named the "Henry Ford." When the war was over the airport became the hub for passenger flights and air freight in the Detroit Metropolitan area.

Belleville Area Museum

405 Main Street, Belleville, MI
The Belleville Area Museum features small-scale replicas of historical buildings which once stood in Belleville, Sumpter, and Van Buren Townships. With visitors regularly promenading its “Main Street”, the Museum became a popular attraction. The Belleville Area Museum preserves the history of the community through exhibit of historical artifacts and the presentation of historical programs and events.

The Plymouth Historical Museum (Dunning Memorial Building)

155 South Main Street, Plymouth, MI
The Plymouth Historical Society seeks to promote education by historical study and research; to collect, preserve and exhibit historical materials connected with the Plymouth Community; and to maintain the Dunning Memorial Building as the Plymouth Historical Museum, providing those who enter with "Knowledge of our forefathers, enjoyment of our heritage, encouragement toward preservation, and inspiration to continue progress." - Margaret Dunning

Nankin Mills Interpretive Center

33175 Ann Arbor Trail, Westland, MI
Nankin Mills in Westland, Michigan dates from 1842. Once a grist mill, it now serves as an interpretive center and tells the area's cultural and natural history. The building was onced owned by Henry Ford who used the mill to manufacture automotive parts.

Greenmead Historical Park

20501 Newburgh Rd., Livonia, MI
The 95 acre park site was the 1820's homestead of Michigan pioneer, Joshua Simmons. It includes the original farm complex, the Livonia Historical Village, picnic facilities and recreational areas. The farm complex features an 1841 Greek Revival farmhouse with nine of the original eleven outbuildings still intact.

The Henry Ford Estate at Fair Lane

4901 Evergreen Road , Dearborn, MI

A museum rich in history of first auto maker Henry T. Ford. Showcases the mansion where Henry and Clara Ford lived.

Arab American National Museum

13624 Michigan Ave., Dearborn, MI
Affiliated with the Smithsonian Institution, the Arab American National Museum is the first museum in the world devoted to bringing the voices and faces of Arab Americans to mainstream audiences. Learn about their economic, political and cultural contributions. The Museum pays tribute to the diversity of our nation by bringing to light the shared experiences of our immigrants and ethnic groups.

Automotive Hall of Fame

21400 Oakwood Blvd., Dearborn, MI
The Automotive Hall of Fame is both a visitor attraction and an educational resource for inspiring others to higher levels of achievement in their own work and lives. Visitors will experience automotive history through visual and interactive exhibits, automobiles and authentic artifacts. Induction into the Automotive Hall of Fame is considered the highest honor in the motor vehicle industry.

Model T Automotive Heritage Complex, Inc.

411 Piquette Avenue, Detroit, MI
Detroit's Ford Piquette Avenue Plant is the birthplace of the Model T. It is the only example of an early Detroit auto factory open to visitors. See where Henry Ford designed the Model T and built the first 12,000 "Tin Lizzies." Learn about transportation technology and the colorful personalities who set the world's record for car production, making Ford the world's largest manufacturer of autos in less than four years.

MotorCities National Heritage Area

200 Renaissance Center, Detroit, MI

Located in Southeastern and Central Michigan and one of twenty-three designed national heritage areas, our MotorCities tours allow visitors to discover Michigan's rich automotive heritage. Each tour takes visitors to such attractions as The Henry Ford Museum, Greenfield Village, GM World, Detroit Institute of Arts, Michigan International Speedway, Automotive Hall of Fame, Yankee Air Museum and the River Rouge Plant Factory Tour. We’ve developed theme tours and Tour packages to make the planning easy so you can have more fun.

Food supply

Art/ History

Art House Tours and Lectures

59 Alfred Street, Detroit, MI
Art House is an 1872 Gothic Revival home located in an historic neighborhood in downtown Detroit. Its original interiors have been preserved, and since 1981 it has served as a center for art and architectural study and a tour destination for those wanting to relive an era of graciousness that once was found in the city of Detroit when it was known as the "Paris of the Midwest." Tours, Classes and Events.

Edsel & Eleanore Ford House

1100 Lake Shore Road , Grosse Pointe Shores, MI
Since opening to the public in 1978, hundreds of thousands of guests have visited Edsel & Eleanor Ford House to marvel at the extraordinary home and collection of original antiques and art; to stroll the 87-acres of beautiful, lakefront grounds; and to attend special events.

Winter Hours: January — March: Tuesday — Sunday -- 11:30 a.m.— 6 p.m.


Motown Historical Museum

2648 W. Grand Boulevard, Detroit, MI
Motown Historical Museum is one of Detroit's most popular tourist destinations. Its mission is to preserve the legacy of Motown Record Corporation and to educate and motivate people, especially youth, through exhibitions and programs that promote the values of vision, creativity and entrepreneurship. The exhibitions include a fascinating collection of historical photographs, artwork, music, costumes and other memorabilia from this booming musical era.

Region 2A Ingham


Kresge Art Museum

Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI
Kresge Art Museum, founded in 1959, houses Michigan State University's collection of over 7,000 works of art. Portions of the collection are on continuous display, offering a rich diversity of style, technique and media. Objects on view span 5,000 years of human history and include representative examples of works of art from ancient Cycladic figures to contemporary mixed media installations.


Michigan State Capitol building

Michigan Ave, Lansing

Michigan Women's Historical Center & Hall of Fame

213 West Main Street, Lansing, MI
Our museum recognizes the achievements of Michigan women, past and present. It houses the Michigan Women's Hall of Fame gallery and the Belen art gallery, which displays the work of Michigan women artists and photographers. The center is located next to Cooley Gardens, an outstanding botanical garden.

Michigan Historical Museum

702 W. Kalamazoo Street, Lansing, MI
The flagship of the Michigan Historical Museum System, the Michigan Historical Museum offers you Michigan's rich past, from the time of the state's earliest peoples to the late 20th century.


Impression 5 Science Center

200 Museum Drive, Lansing, MI
Impression 5 is a hands-on learning environment that challenges its visitors to experience, discover, and explore the physical and natural world in which they live. Impression 5 achieves this by producing hands-on exhibits and participatory programs engaging all five senses.

Potter Park Zoological Gardens

1301 S Pennsylvania Avenue, Lansing, MI
The Potter Park Zoo is home to over 100 species of animals, many of which are threatened or endangered, including Siberian Tigers, Black Rhinos, Red Pandas, Bali Minah Birds, Snow Leopards, Tamarin Monkeys, Bongos, Aldabra Tortoises, and many more. It is a great way to spend time with your family and reconnect with nature.

Minibeast Zooseum and Education Center

6907 West Grand River Avenue, Lansing , MI

This unique learning center is devoted to minibeasts—everything from worms to insects—with all the best attributes of a zoo, museum, interpretive center, science store and outdoor classroom. Enjoy exciting displays, hand-on activities, programs and outdoor exploration.

R. E. Olds Transportation Museum

240 Museum Drive, Lansing, MI
At the R. E. Olds Transportation Museum, you'll not only find the oldest Oldsmobile, but the fastest. You can see rare vehicles like REO, Star, Durant, and Viking. See buggies, bicycles, trucks, engines, and more! Come take an exciting tour. :::: Don't miss the museum rated one of "The Ten Best Automobile Museums in the United States"

Region 2A Oakland


Cranbrook Art Museum
39221 N. Woodward Ave., Bloomfield Hills, MI

This museum offers exceptional exhibitions of modern and contemporary art, architecture and design in all media. Collection highlights include works by Dubuffet, Eames, Lichtenstein, Saarinen, Stella and Warhol, along with a wealth of objects from the Arts and Crafts-era to the present. The museum offers exhibitions throughout the year, including work by leading national and international artists.


Meadow Brook Hall

Oakland University, Rochester, MI
Meadow Brook Hall is the fourth largest historic house museum in the United States. Built between 1926 and 1929 , the 110-room, 88,000-square-foot, Tudor-revival style mansion is complete with vast collections of original art and furnishings. Meadow Brook Hall strives to preserve and interpret its architecture, landscape, and fine art so visitors may be educated and inspired by history.

Governor Warner Mansion

33805 Grand River Avenue, Farmington, MI
The Governor Warner Museum is a Victorian Italianate structure built in 1867 by P. D. Warner, the Governor’s father, and is furnished in late Victorian style. Sitting on almost three acres, the house is surrounded by gardens lovingly tended by the Museum Garden auxiliary.

Birmingham Historical Museum & Park

556 West Maple Road, Birmingham, MI
The Birmingham Historical Museum & Park features the 1822 John West Hunter House and the 1928 Allen House. These historic buildings sit side-by-side in the beautiful John West Hunter Historic Park near downtown.

Shalom Street

6600 West Maple Road, West Bloomfield, MI
Shalome Street welcomes all to engage in a unique interactive experience in an exciting 4,500 square-foot facility. More than 30 exhibits enhanced by dramatic programming are designed to inspire a sense of wonder and exhilaration. Key themes of the major exhibit areas include Jewish traditions and values such as Tikkun Olam (repairing the world through volunteerism and philanthropy), our relationship with and responsibility to nature, Jewish arts, and the diversity of our people.


Cranbrook House & Gardens

380 Lone Pine Road, Bloomfield Hills, MI
Cranbrook House and Gardens stands as a centerpiece of Cranbrook's 319-acre National Historic Landmark campus. From May through October, visitors can experience the grandeur of both the House and the Gardens with guided and self-guided tours.


Detroit Zoological Park

8450 West Ten Mile Road, Royal Oak, MI
The Detroit Zoo is a natural habitat for more than 3,000 animals and 700 varieties of trees, shrubbery and flowering plants. Of the 340 species at the Zoo, 64 are officially listed as endangered or threatened and two are extinct in the wild. Major exhibits include the Arctic Ring of Life, the Wildlife Interpretive Gallery, Great Apes of Harambee, Penguinarium, free-flight aviary, Holden Museum of Living Reptiles, the National Amphibian Conservation Center, giraffes, Siberian tigers, African lions, Asian elephants, Grevy's zebras, Bactrian camels, snow monkeys and the prairie dog exhibit, just to name a few. In 2001 the Detroit Zoo opened the world’s largest polar bear exhibit, the Arctic Ring of Life. The Arctic Ring of Life features the Polar Passage, a 70-ft long clear tunnel in which visitors can get breathtaking views of diving and swimming polar bears and seals. Guests can experience the tundra, open sea and pack ice of the Arctic environment, and the animals that are distinctively adapted to life there.

Cranbrook Institute of Science

P.O. Box 801, Bloomfield Hills, MI
Cranbrook Institute of Science, a great place to explore science, technology and natural history. Join 200,000+ visitors who every year appreciate the Institute's fascinating exhibits, hands-on activities, and planetarium shows.

Belle Isle Nature Zoo

8450 West Ten Mile Road , Royal Oak, MI
Open daily 10 a.m.- 5 p.m. 362 days a year. Closed Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Years Day. Offering family nature programs on the weekend and nature-based (Michigan flora and fauna) education programs to schools and community groups during the week.

Hermelin ORT Resource Center

6600 West Maple Road, West Bloomfield, MI
This resource center offers technology training and media facilities for the benefit of the general public. Classes are offered on a variety of computer and photography topics, and Windows laptops, Macintosh graphics workstations, color printers, and wireless network— are all available for nominal fees. JCC and ORT members receive reduced rates for classes.

Walter P. Chrysler Museum
One Chrysler Drive, Auburn Hills, MI
Plan a visit to the Walter P. Chrysler Museum where automotive history is learned and explored. Take an hour, or spend the day to experience the history of Chrysler vehicles, learn from interactive kiosk stations, or enjoy educational films in our movie theater.

Birmingham Bloomfield Art Center
1516 S. Cranbrook Road, Birmingham, MI

The Birmingham Bloomfield Art Center offers over 500 classes and has students age 3 through adulthood. The Center has four exhibition galleries-each with its own focus. Local, regional and national artists, community, school, BBAC faculty and students all exhibit. Exhibitions are free. The Gallery Shop has constantly changing, affordable, unique artistic gifts including home decor.

Region 2A Macomb

Food supply

Morley Candy Makers Factory tours

23770 Hall Road (M-59), Clinton Township, MI
Come observe the Morley Candy Makers in action! Arrange a tour for your group today. Our tour director will take you back to 1919 where it all began. Can't arrange a tour time? Just stop in between 9 am and 3 p.m., Mon. through Fri., and take a self guided tour by walking down our 70 ft. glass observation hallway.


Loren Andrus Octagon House

57500 Van Dyke, Washington, MI
Built at the beginning of the Civil War, the Octagon House is said to have been on the route of the Underground Railroad leading to Canada. The eight sided house with the beautiful spiral center staircase crowned by the cupola made the Octagon House the gem of the community.


Michigan Transit Museum

200 Grand Ave., Mt. Clemens, MI
Michigan Transit Museum was established in 1973 as a non-profit corporation to compile and record historical data on mass transportation systems and equipment, and to collect, preserve, display and operate such equipment.

Selfridge Military Air Museum

27333 C Street, Bldg 1011, Selfridge, MI
The Selfridge Military Air Museum and Air Park is the final resting spot for over thirty vintage aircraft that served the nation in times of peace and war. Climb into the cockpit of a F-16 fighter jet. View photos, newspapers, artifacts and memorabilia of aviation history from World War I through Desert Storm. Children and adults alike will love this hands-on and close-up view of aviation history.

Lionel Trains

26750 23 Mile Road, Chesterfield, MI
The Lionel Tour is free and lasts about 45 minutes. You will see a 14x40-foot operating layout with ten trains running simultaneously and accessories that visitors can operate by pushbutton. The Center houses a 52-foot-long display of artifacts tracing Lionel's history since its founding in 1900. The Center also features a 6x8-foot children's layout where kids get to run the trains themselves!

Region 2A Monroe

Food Supply

Calder Dairy Farm & Country Ice Cream Store

9334 Finzel Rd, Carleton, MI (734) 654-2622
10:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m.
Calder Dairy was originally established in 1956 by William Graham Stewart Calder. You are welcome and encouraged to bring your group out to see a REAL WORKING DAIRY FARM! Feel free to bring your lunches and picnic next to the pond at the Farm.

You are welcome to just stop by with your kids anytime we are open. There are no entry fee's at all. Farm tours are available by appointment for larger groups of 15 people or more for a nominal fee. After you make your booking, a confirmation will be sent to you by mail or fax. Be sure to let the farm know if your group numbers change, if you are running late or need to reschedule.

q Milk a Cow by hand!

q Give a Calf her bottle of milk!

q Feed the Ducks and Geese by the Pond!

q Go on a Hay Ride!

Region 2A Lenawee


Hidden Lake Gardens

6214 Monroe Road (M-50), Tipton, MI
The gardens offer beautiful scenery including the lake and pond, natural woodlands, and open fields that are accessible via hiking trails and paved auto roads. A wide variety of plants are displayed in a tropical conservatory, dwarf conifer collection, hillside and perennial garden. The Visitor Center includes educational displays, classrooms, auditorium and gift shop.

Region 2A Jackson


Ella Sharp Museum

3225 4th Street, Jackson, MI

A charming art and Jackson history museum inside beautiful Ella Sharp Park. The museum opened in 1965 in the 19th century home of Ella Merriman Sharp. In addition to touring the elegantly furnished Victorian home, visitors to the museum may visit a one-room school, an exhibition of carriages, woodworking shop and peer into several other historic buildings used for educational purposes


Indian Brook Farms

5883 W. Michigan Avenue, Jackson, MI
Fun filled environment that also educates kids about aquaculture and agriculture. You will see a trout pond, petting zoo, gift shop, snack bar and a huge display of pumpkins in the fall. A free wagon ride takes kids (and adults) through 120 acres of agricultural experiences including wet lands, vegetable and flower gardening, natural untouched plant growth and one of the biggest pumpkin patches around.

Region 3A Lucas, Ohio


Toledo Museum of Art

2445 Monroe Street Toledo, OH
The Toledo Museum of Art continues to grow in its facilities, its collection, and its relations with the Toledo community. The Museum offers a variety of tours for both children & adults. Most are free, some have a modest charge. The Museum maintains its own program of art classes for adults & children.


Oak Grove School House at Wildwood Preserve

5100 W Central Ave, Toledo, OH
In 1893, the average schoolhouse was little bigger than a typical classroom in a modern school. Students worked their family farm for several hours both before and after attending the school. Teachers not only taught, but scrubbed the floors and repaired the roofs. Oak Grove School is typical of schools from its era. Visit this old schoolhouse for free.

The S.S. Willis B. Boyer Museum Ship

International Park, Toledo, OH
The S. S. Willis B. Boyer (formerly the Col. James M. Schoonmaker) was built in 1911 and “retired” in 1980 after 69 years of service. For many of these years it ruled as “queen of the lake freighters.” But today, the S. S. Willis B. Boyer is polished, repaired, and safe for visitors — thousands of them since the boat was opened to the public in July of 1987. Free Parking.

Whitehouse Historical Society

6925 Providence Street, Whitehouse, OH
A circa 1840 log house covered with siding was discovered and moved to town property in 1969 by the Whitehouse Businessmen. They and other interested people formed the Whitehouse Historical Society in 1970 to continue the restoration project. The house was restored and furnished with furniture of the 1840's period. The first floor gives an inviting homelike appearance. The second floor has been turned into a museum for memorabilia depicting history of Whitehouse and the Maumee Valley.

Wolcott House Museum Complex

1031 River Road, Maumee, OH
A trip to the Wolcott Museum Complex can be an extremely rewarding learning experience for students. Tour the grounds and experience life in the 19th century! The grounds include the 1836 Federal style home, along with a log cabin, and 1840s saltbox farmhouse, a 19th century church and the Toledo and Grand Rapids Railroad depot. See the "Teacher Tour Activities" section of the website before visiting.


Fossil Park

8250 Mayberry Square, Sylvania, OH

May to October only! Fossil Park is rich in brachiopods, coral, and over 200 species of prehistoric life. These fossils tend to be large and whole. Visitors will have rare exposure to fossil hunting in an actual rock quarry with an abundant fossil content. It's up to you to dig up these buried treasures and the best part is that you get to keep what you find!

Toledo Zoological Gardens

PO Box 140130, Toledo, OH
The Toledo Zoo is dedicated to promoting wildlife and its conservation in an enjoyable, recreational and family-oriented environment. The Toledo Zoo is home to over 4,800 animals representing over 700 species, as well as the largest collection of WPA-era buildings in the country. Toledo zoo is the perfect place to explore, learn and just have fun any time of the year.

Toledo Botanical Garden

5403 Elmer Drive, Toledo, OH
Enriching lives through gardens, the arts and nature, Toledo Botanical Garden is a center for horticulture and the arts. The only botanical garden in the region open free to the public (excluding some special events). Visited by more than 120,000 people

A unique & valuable community resource!

Wildwood Manor House

5100 W. Central Avenue , Toledo, OH
The Wildwood Manor House is a Toledo icon and the centerpiece of the beautiful estate grounds now known as Wildwood Preserve Metropark. The 500-plus-acre Metropark includes 300 forested acres carpeted with wildflowers and ferns, and inhabited by small mammals, whitetail deer, fox and a variety of birds. The natural features are best enjoyed from the extensive network of walking and all-purpose trails.

Region 3A Erie, Ohio


Merry-go-round Museum

301 Jackson St , Sandusky, OH
Enjoy a fun and relaxed atmosphere while you tour the Merry-Go-Round Museum and learn about the history and art of the carousel. Watch carvers bring neglected carousel pieces back to their full beauty. Visitors young and old will thrill to memories of the past, and create new memories to last a lifetime. A carousel ride is included with museum admission. It's fun for the whole family!

Milan Historical Museum

10 Edison Drive, Milan, OH
Experience close-up the occupations, chores, and hobbies of everyday life in the 1800's, when American life shifted gradually from the farms to the factories. The Milan Historical Museum in Milan, Ohio, the birthplace of Thomas Edison, gives a one hour tour through the Galpin House which is the main museum building, the Doll & Toy House, the Carriage Shed, the Blacksmith Shop and the General Store.

Edison Birthplace Museum

9 Edison Drive , Milan, OH
Thomas Alva Edison, inventor of the phonograph, the incandescent light bulb, and many other devices that make our lives fuller and simpler, was born in Milan, Ohio, in 1847. The Edison Birthplace Museum features a collection of rare Edisonia, including examples of many of Edison's early inventions, documents, and family mementos.

Inland Seas Maritime Museum

480 Main Street, Vermilion, OH
Experience the history of the Great Lakes through interactive and hands-on exhibits and artifacts including ship models, maritime art, and an authentic 1910 steamship pilothouse. Interactive diving experiences explore Great Lakes shipwrecks, and original Fresnel lighthouse lenses. The two-story museum also anchors the Great Lakes Historical Society.

Region 3A Fulton, Ohio


Sauder Village

22611 State Route 2, Archbold, OH
Come and experience history at Sauder Village. You'll chat with costumed guides about how families lived over 100 years ago. You'll marvel at craftsmen blending skill & creativity in glass, metals, fabric, plus more. Enjoy scrumptious homemade goodies & the warmth of genuine, old-fashioned hospitality. Experiencing the past at Sauder Village is just plain FUN for every member of the family!

Region 3A Ottawa, Ohio


African Safari Wildlife Park

267 Lightner Road, Port Clinton, OH
See more than 50 different species of the world's most beautiful and exotic animals roaming free in their natural habitat. Each group is provided with educational information as they are escorted through the Drive-Thru and the Walk-Thru portions of the park. Educational information is also brought to the public by signs, naturalistic exhibit displays, and a fun and exciting Educational Animal Show.

Region 3B Calhoun

Kids 'N' Stuff: An Interactive Experience for Kids

301 S. Superior, Albion, MI
Kids 'N Stuff: An Interactive Experience for Kids will enhance the educational opportunities for children and their families by providing a creative and enriching experience through interactive exhibits and programs in the arts, humanities, sciences and technology. An Interactive Experience for Kids, unlike other area museums, will focus on youth ages 10 months to 12 years old.

Region 3C Genesee


Flint Institute of Arts

1120 East Kearsley St., Flint, MI
Established in 1928 as a museum and art school, this facility has recently undergone extensive renovations and currently houses a rich collection of over 6,500 works of art, from 16th century renaissance paintings to modern abstract sculpture. Classes offered year round for students from 2 1/2 years to adult. Look for exhibitions, art classes, films & videos, to lectures, concerts, tours and more.


Crossroads Village

5045 Stanley Road, Flint, MI

Stroll around our 51-acre Village where friendly folks in period attire welcome you to the homes, mills and shops dating back to the 1800's. Visit the blacksmith at his forge, a doctor dispensing herbal remedies, and a printer at his press! Visit the early mills, where the power of water turns grain into flour, saws logs into lumber and presses apples into cool, sweet cider.

Whaley Historical House Museum

624 East Kearsley Street, Flint, MI
One simple decision, the results of which are still evident today. Robert Whaley, the longest serving President of Citizens Bank, authorized the $2,000 loan to William "Billy" Durant, which eventually enabled him to form General Motors Corporation in 1908. Come see the original loan booklet.:::: :::: Asided from legendary auto history, the Whaley House itself is sure to spark your curiosity. Built in 1859, the house has been restored to its original splendor, complete with period furnishings, family heirlooms and Flint community artifacts.


The Flint Children's Museum

1602 W. Third Ave , Flint, MI

Explore the Flint Children's Museum. Hands-on educational exhibits are tucked in every corner. Each visit is a new experience with special programs every month. It's a great destination for a scouting or class field trip. Plan your birthday party with us and share the experience with all your friends.

Alfred P. Sloan Museum

1221 E. Kearsley Street, Flint, MI
Regional history, historic automobiles and hands-on science are major features of the Sloan Museum. The Science Discovery Center allows children and adults to explore principles of chemistry and physics through exhibit and staff presentations. We also offer seasonal exibits & lectures, historical heritage programs, and Michigan & American history programs. Check out our website for the latest information.

Robert T Longway Planetarium

1310 East Kearsley Street, Flint, MI
The Robert T. Longway Planetarium was dedicated on June 26, 1958. Featuring 285 seats under an impressive 60-foot dome, the Longway Planetarium is Michigan’s largest planetarium. The Longway Planetarium’s Learning Center provides opportunities for fascinating new learning experiences. These may include hands-on science demonstrations, astronomy classes or telescope workshops.


The Whiting and Flint Youth Theatre
1241 E. Kearsley St., Flint, MI
The James H. Whiting Auditorium was dedicated and officially opened in October 1967. Each year, this 2,043 seat theater hosts the Flint Symphony Orchestra, performances presented by Flint Youth Theatre, New York's Joffrey Ballet School Midwest Workshop and the Spotlight Series, featuring Broadway hits, touring musical and dance groups and guest artists from around the world.

Region 3C Clinton

Food supply

Andy T's Farm

3131 S. Business US 27, Saint Johns, MI
A family fun farm with a fresh fruit and vegetable market, flowers, nursery stock, u-pick, hayrides, holiday trees, a farm fresh bakery, 6 acre corn maze, petting farm, straw maze and make your own caramel apples. Stop by for locally grown produce and lots of weekend activities. We give tours of this mint farm! Open April through December.

Region 3C Saginaw


Wilderness Trails Zoo

11721 Gera Rd., Birch Run, MI

Wilderness Trails Zoo offers a unique zoo experience as our mile long trail winds past trees, ponds and over 50 different species of animals. Exhibits are constructed so guests may see the animals much closer than at a typical zoo, while maintaining as much of Michigan's natural beauty as possible.

Grandpa Tiny's Farm

7775 Weiss St., Frankenmuth, MI
Step back in time at this working Historical Farm. Visit the Petting Farm and hold cuddly baby bunnies & chicks; watch playful lambs and goats and play with other farm animals. Your tour also includes a horse-drawn wagon ride!

Region 3C Shiawassee


Steam Railroading Institute

405 S. Washington, Owosso, MI

Come and see the actual engine from the movie The Polar Express along with other train transportation technology. The Steam Railroading Institute programs are implemented through a group of dedicated volunteers who enjoy working "back in time" to see and feel what their ancestors saw as a part of everyday life. The volunteers and SRI staff share their hands-on experiences with the public at our 7-acre facility in Owosso.

Region 3D St Clair

Food supply

Ruby Farms of Michigan

6567 Imlay City Road, Ruby, MI
Come choose-&-cut your own real Christmas tree. In the fall, you can pick your favorite pumpkin, go on a hayride, enjoy a real fire truck ride, give the kids a real treat with an old time carousel ride, enjoy the great outdoors with an orchard tour, purchase fresh homemade baked goods, visit our cider mill and museum and enjoy the animals in our petting zoo. Also see the antique store.

05 November 2007

I think I have figured out who I look like...

This woman is, I believe, my paternal great grandmother, Maryann Ryan, with her granddaughters, my aunts, Margaret and Theresa. I don't have any younger photos of her, but as I near the age she was in this photo, am beginning to see a resemblance.

Jack's Chunky Chocolate Almond Cookies

We've mentioned that Jack loves to bake cookies! Well, ok, what little kid doesn't like to bake cookies -- especially once they figure out that they then get to eat them!

Last night, when I was about ready to call it a night, Jack really wanted to bake cookies. He'd been very helpful all day, so we did.

We tried a variant on his usual favorite recipe --this one turned out really nice, too, if you like this sort of thing.

Jack's Chunky Chocolate Almond Cookies

These cookies and a glass of milk make a decent breakfast -- they are coarse and crumbly and very filling. YUM!

2 sticks soft butter
1 cup Sucanat (Jaggery would work, too, I expect)
3 eggs
1 tablespoon vanilla

3/4 cup whole grain pastry flour (we prefer white wheat because it's sweeter)
3 cups coarse oat flour
3/4 cup coarse raw almond meal
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 teaspoon unrefined sea salt
2 Tablespoons cinnamon
1/4 cup bakers cocoa

1/4 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips, chunks, or shavings


Heat the oven to 350

Cream together the butter, sugar, vanilla, and eggs in a large bowl bowl

In a small bowl, blend the dry ingredients

Mash the dry ingredients into the wet, 1/2 cup at a time. When the dry ingredients are all thoroughly moistened and the mass is taking shape, mix in the chocolate chunks.

Make small (1 Tablespoon) balls and flatten them slightly.

Bake for 12 minutes.

Cool on the sheet for 2 or 3 minutes and then move to a cooling rack.

04 November 2007

The rest of what we did today

Thanks to our friend John, who not only helped put the garden to bed, but then was sweet enough to record the leaf raking for posterity!

Noticing some more...

Jack was eager to get out this morning to notice some more. This morning, he wanted t switch his focus from leaves to bark...

We packed a 'noticing kit', and off we went.
Outdoors, we got up close to the bark we wanted to really notice. We took a photo, and then we described the bark carefully in words, while Dad took notes.

Finally, we did a rubbing to try to capture the texture of the bark. We'll try to share that a bit later -- even with the spare hour, we're tired.

We visited each of the trees that Dad and Jack checked out yesterday, and we'll add these bark rubbings and notes to the same book.

Perhaps we'll start a noticing calendar for each of them to notice when each of the trees has a new response to its environment.

Being a good noticer

“…But listen: are you a good noticer?” Do you notice things well? I mean for instance, supposing you saw two cock starlings on an apple tree, and you only took one good look at them, would you be able to to tell one of them from the other is you saw them again the next day?"

"…that is what you call the powers of observation – noticing the small things about birds and animals: the way they walk and move their heads and twitch their whiskers and wiggle their tails. You have to notice all those little things if you want to learn animal language.”

Hugh Lofting: The Voyages of Doctor Dolittle, part 1 chapter VIII.
In the afternoons, Rod and Jack have been reading the Voyages of Dr DoLittle by Hugh Lofting. The above is a quote, spoken by Polynesia, the good Doctor's companion parrot.


Yesterday, I was washing laundry, tidying the kitchen and preparing to head out to Flint to scrapbook with a witchy friend, Erin, who teaches at a local craft shop (you know, doing the "Mom" thing).

I became aware that my two beautiful Smiffy boys were scurrying about collecting an array of equipment -- a notebook, a camera, a sound recorder, and a collection bag.

"What's up?" I asked.

"We're going out 'noticing'", says Jack


"You have to be a good noticer to be a naturalist" explains Dad

"Ahh, I see" I said, in wonder.

Off they went. They spent several hours watching birds and trying to tape their songs, taking pictures and observing which trees each type of bird seemed to prefer.

When they ran out of birds, they started photographing the trees in our front yard and collecting fallen leaves to catalog them. They wanted to be able to notice, on future forays, which type of animal and bird like what kind of tree best.

Then they came in and we made leaf rubbings from each of the leaves and labeled them, while Dad uploaded the sound and photo files to begin a new online journal called "Jack's Noticing Page". (Not started yet, as far as I've heard.)

We then make a book of the pages, so Jack can easily keep track of what he has noticed.

While we were working, we noticed that red and yellow maples have slightly different shapes. We tried rubbing them in black so that the colours wouldn't be distracting.

Sure enough -- the yellow maple has much deeper lobes -- they *are* different!

And that is how literature acts as the core of an education -- painlessly begins our nature study and the beginning of scientific inquiry.

Such fun!!