Sunday, June 29, 2014

Smitten with the Mitten

One of my very favorite things about Michigan is all the little towns that are quaint, quirky and always active with fun events.  In addition to our favorite hometown of Farmington Hills, some nearby favorites include Plymouth (we love their street festivals, especially the Ice Carving one in January and the Halloween one in October), Birmingham (they have an awesome Farmer's Market and the coolest playground with a turf hill!) Northville (love "Tunes on Tuesday" during the summer with the kids and they have awesome parades - ask my parents who went to the 4th of July one with us a couple of years ago or the kids who went to their light up parade at Christmas time a few years back) and Lake Orion (Dragon boats!).  But those are just the tip of the iceberg as I know Grant and I both try really hard to find things 'nearby' to expose the kids to, and honestly, living here it has been fairly easy.  I feel like we get the best of both worlds - we have the quaint towns like these or a decent sized city in Ann Arbor or a really big city and all that it can open up in Detroit.

So this morning we decided to head out and explore one of our other favorites - Royal Oak.  About a twenty minute drive it's home to The Detroit Zoo and our favorite pottery place.  There is always something going on in Royal Oak and it has tons of fun shops, restaurants and things to see.  If it had been a little closer to Grant's office we may have ended up there actually.  (Though love the Hills and our location, don't misunderstand!)  But this time we check out the Royal Oak Farmers Market - someplace new in Michigan to see!  We had so much fun since on Sunday's the farmer's market pairs with tons of flea market dealers.  Grant found a game that is a cross between scrabble and boggle (best way I can describe it), Noah got his hands on the neatest Michigan light switch place and I found authentic Michigan pasties!!!!  (So excited, it was worth me finding them from a place that specializes in them as opposed to trying to make them myself this week.  More on this later in the week, though)  We had a lot of fun, strolled around Royal Oak for a bit and then headed back here before the rains came.

This afternoon the kiddos and Grant made use of one of our favorite nearby Michigan activities - the Sprayground at Heritage Park.  This huge park (and Nature Center) is only about a mile and a half from our house and we are there quite a bit as it has a really nice playground, the Sprayground, hiking trails, our favorite sledding hill in the winter, concerts during the summer - it's kind of fabulous.

Tonight we squeezed one more Michigan piece of fun after dinner by watching Toy Story.  Don't worry - I haven't lost it completely, I have a legitimate tie in!  The voice of spaceman Buzz Lightyear is none other than Michigan's own Tim Allen!  Though not Michigan born (he actually hails from Colorado), he spent most of his life in none other than one of my faves from above - Birmingham!  He is well known for his role on "Home Improvement"  which is actually set outside of Detroit (and where he makes many references to the area!) and perhaps even more relevant, he provides the voice work for Michigan's huge promotional "Pure Michigan"  campaign.  (Seriously, I live in the state and can't go a day without hearing that goofy music and his voice telling me about some Michigan point of interest!)  Anyway, seemed more than appropriate tonight, along with a glass of Faygo red pop.  (I'm a bigger fan of Rock 'N Rye myself, but there is no shortage of flavors to choose from)

Keeping my fingers crossed that the rains stay away tomorrow as I'm planning on taking the kiddos to explore Michigan's oldest lighthouse.  Plus dinner's either going to be those awesome pasties or a tribute to one of Michigan's most iconic brands - Kellogg's!  (Leggo my eggo!)  And if they play their cards right a trip to Guernsey Farms Dairy may be in the works.  Ah I love showing them Michigan!  So until then...

Michigan Fun Fact of the Day:  Did you know Gerber baby food originated and is based in Michigan?  According to wikipedia:  "Gerber was founded in 1927 in Fremont, Michigan by Daniel Frank Gerber, owner of the Fremont Canning Company, which produced canned fruit and vegetables. At the suggestion of a pediatrician, Gerber's wife Dorothy Gerber began making hand-strained food for their seven-month-old daughter, Sally. Recognising a business opportunity, Gerber began making baby food. By 1928 he had developed five products for the market: beef vegetable soup and strained peas, prunes, carrots, and spinach. Six months later, Gerber's baby foods were distributed nationwide." 

At the fountain in Royal Oak

Finding treasures at the Farmer's Market

His switch plate says "Michigan turns me on, Ohio State turns me off"

Found traditional pasties!

Hey Papa - have you seen these???

Yep, you really do peel them.  I am told the outside is like frozen jello and ice cream on the inside

Made plans to hook up the Bean

Faygo - a Michigan original

Toy Story


Getting into some tasty Kellogg's treats for with the movie

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