Support Your Local Farmers Market

Winters in the Midwest are long not only because of the cold weather, but also due to the limited access to fresh fruits and vegetables. We have small winter markets where one can purchase turkeys for the holidays, root vegetables that store over the winter and jars of all things pickled but nothing compares to the selection available during the summer months. If you’re concerned that the cost of buying organic produce is beyond your financial budget, focus instead on buying local produce. There are several benefits to buying local produce regardless of whether or not it is organic. Michigan State University Extension outlined 7 benefits of eating local foods: Locally grown food is full of flavor. Like most children, I despised brussels sprouts. Several years […]

Share and Enjoy

Le Petit Theatre

There are few activities as exciting to children as role-playing. Just think about how much kids love Halloween, a chance to adopt a new personality and image for the day. It’s no wonder that play-acting is such a fun for children, as it gives them the opportunity to briefly escape to a land of costumes and props, engaging stories, and interesting sets while also allowing them to be the center of attention.   In recent decades there has been a shift away from creative arts in the classroom environment. However, in the past few years there is finally a national spotlight on the importance of play in learning and early childhood development. Acting is a form of play that offers children a host of additional specific benefits such as instilling confidence, empathy, and literacy and improving communication […]

Share and Enjoy

5 Days Until Halloween | Dia De Los Muertos

Every year as Halloween nears, decorations and merchandise dedicated to the holiday of Dia De Los Muertos, or the Day of the Dead, appears more and more prevalently alongside the candy and costumes in the Halloween aisles. You can find everything from Dia De Los Muertos rubber duckies to sippy cups. It may be a holiday that you already hold dear in your family or a tradition you know relatively little about, but the colorful skulls and dancing skeletons that characterize the day are sure to be familiar this time of year. Dia De Los Muertos Sippy Cups Dia De Los Muertos is deeply steeped in culture, history, and tradition, making it a rich and exciting topic to teach your children about. Regardless of the […]

Share and Enjoy

8 Days Until Halloween | Hay-Man & Murmets & Tattie-bogle Oh My!

Scarecrows are a common symbol of autumn that conjure up images of cornfields or pumpkin patches. Perhaps you picture the character Scarecrow from The Wizard of Oz. Have you ever envisioned a scarecrow in Ancient Egypt or Ancient Greece?  The first evidence of scarecrows occurred in Egypt over 3,000 years ago. They were used to scare quails away from wheat fields planted along the Nile River.  The Ancient Greeks placed carved wooden figures among their crops to keep birds away.  In Great Britain scarecrows are called Hay-man, Tattie-bogle and murmets.  The French refer to them as épouvantail.  Farmers in Bangladesh call them kaktadua.  In Spanish they are known as espantapájaros.  Russians refer to them as pugalo. No matter what you call them the purpose of the scarecrow is as the name […]

Share and Enjoy

15 Days Until Halloween | The Ubiquitous Cucurbitaceae

It seems that we are greeted by bountiful displays of pumpkins, gourds, and squash in an array of shapes and sizes wherever we go these days, whether chain grocery stores or farmstand markets. Your children undoubtedly take great delight in pointing out the more unusual white pumpkins and silly shaped gourds. I always enjoyed picking out the most unique shapes and colors as a child and drawing jack o’lantern faces on them with Sharpies. The gourds lasted long past Halloween, often drying out on their own.   Pumpkins, Gourds, and Squash So what is the difference between a pumpkin, gourd, and squash? It’s easy to get confused on the topic, as they all belong to the same expansive plant family. The Cucurbitaceae family also includes melon, watermelon and cucumber. Your garden […]

Share and Enjoy

18 Days Until Halloween | Roasted Pumpkin Seeds

One of the highlights of pumpkin carving as a child was getting messy cleaning out the pumpkin.  Don’t throw away those discarded pumpkin seeds!  The seeds are easy to roast and are full of health benefits.  They contain omega 3 and omega 6 fatty acids which assist brain development.  Pumpkin seeds are also high in tryptophan, which can help your child sleep soundly, potassium, which acts as an electrolyte, and phosphorous, which assists bone formation. Below are two simple pumpkin seed recipes, one salty, one sweet, for your family to try! Salty Roasted Pumpkin Seeds Ingredients 1 1/2 cups pumpkin seeds 2 Tablespoons melted butter (or 2 Tablespoons olive oil) 2 teaspoons kosher salt Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Separate the pumpkin seeds from the pulp. […]

Share and Enjoy

The Messy Business of Art

My daughter’s school does a wonderful job of engaging the kids in hands-on sensory and art projects. I’ve learned the hard way that they seldom give notice of such projects and her new school clothes come home bearing the byproduct of artistic expression. I’ve finally decided to get proactive and invest in a smock that can be tucked into her cubby at school for spontaneous art projects and smuggled home for weekend fun, too! I was pleasantly surprised to find that more than a few cute options exist for both girls and boys. See our boutique for our favorites.

Share and Enjoy

Kids’ Activity: Fall Scavenger Hunt

Another great way to make the most of a Fall day is with a “Scavenger Hunt.” Create a list of some common sights on an Autumn  day and let your kids get to work at finding them. We love this activity for the Apple Orchard and have added some of our Fall favorites to our hunt – apple cider and donuts! Use our Autumn Scavenger Hunt template or make a list of your own. Kids can mark their finds on a piece of paper, make a quick sketch, or even take a snapshot to capture their finds and keep score.

Share and Enjoy