Page 1



Cooking for a great cause

Catch up with local tween Chopped Junior champion


Putting a dash of magic into the Christmas season Wil Strickland, Ann Arbor’s favorite Santa


HOLIDAY Hullabaloo Holiday Happenings Guide The best of the season

954 Phillips Ave., Toledo Oh 419-720-7387 'G .+,B>44(&G<)&>>\>+$B>44(&G8)&> (-B>49(&G8)&>>\>>',">.(2


â&#x20AC;¢ December 2016 â&#x20AC;¢

Volume 21 • Issue 12 December 2016

[special features]

HOLIDAY Hullabaloo Holiday Happenings Guide The best of the season

Holiday Worship Guide These local places of worship invite you to join them during this Christmas season and New Year for worship services and other celebrations.



[departments] ann arbor favorites


community snapshots


what’s briefly happening


new kids


tween the lines


healthy kids


exceptional families


ask the expert



On the cover

Quinn Edmonds, 22 months, Saline by kat foley PHOTOGRAPHY


25 Simple Ways to Countdown to Christmas By Lisa A. Beach

Giving Back

Blessing bags for the homeless By Tiffany Doerr Guerzon

19 calendar 21

craft of the month

compiled by Jacqueline Bull and Laura Eliason



[commentary] parent profile

Putting a dash of magic into the Christmas season


A conversation with Wil Strickland, Ann Arbor’s favorite Santa By Aimee Grant Eldon

diary of a dad

We’re Michiganders!


Sooner or later, we all give in to “Arbor Gravity” By Doug French


What to Expect When You’re Expecting in December


Happy birthday, my Christmas baby By Katy M. Clark

food fight

From Guatemala with Love


[Always online]





Our Special Needs Guide is a great resource for parents with special needs children. The guide includes information on local businesses, nonprofits, support groups and service providers that can provide help to both children and parents.

Craving more relatable and hilarious content? Blogs by local moms, for local moms, are at your fingertips—just look online. Join us and our 1,000+ followers for laughs, updates & parenting discussions.

Fresh, flavorful fare from Encuentro Latino By Katy M. Clark • December 2016 •


An inside look at what we’re loving for parents this month

Peaceful Puppy

The Calm Down Companion is a product with a purpose. This peaceful pup employs a multi-sensory approach to help children get to sleep with a calmer state of mind when they feel upset. The toy was developed in a partnership between the local ChadTough Foundation, headed up by Tammi and Jason Carr, and Rosa Lee, the owner of the local store My Urban Toddler. It was inspired by Tammi and Jason’s son Chad’s love for his own stuffed puppy. A portion of proceeds from the sale of this Peaceful Puppy will go toward the ChadTough Foundation to fund research and awareness for DIPG. $35.99 or

On-Call Hand Muff

Keep your hands warm and your electronics in close range while you stroll this winter. This fleece-lined, water-resistant hand muff snaps with tabs onto any stroller. It also features a clear zip pocket with a special port for headphones, allowing you to see and operate your phone through the window. $34.99.

Adams Street Publishing Co. What’s your favorite holiday tradition?

KIDS HOROSCOPE Dec. 21 - Jan. 22 By Sue Lovett This child may come out of the womb already looking smarter than you look! And this goes on.. and on… They learn to talk at a very young age and are serious about whatever they say. Adult conversations are never a mystery to them. When they play with children their own age they are the leader of the pack. They are touchy and often keep their hands on the person to whom they are speaking. No matter the age of other family members, they get along well with them so long as they can be the boss! When they are ready for pre-school they are often are “teacher’s pet” because they are so bright and follow the rules. They enjoy history and even like antiques. They are natural-born leaders and this quality lasts throughout their lifetime. Save your money because they may need it for their education which surely goes at least through college and perhaps beyond. You will always be proud of your Capricorn child.

Publisher/Editor in Chief

Collette Jacobs ( having whole family together

Co-publisher/Chief Financial Officer Mark I. Jacobs ( Making the whole family happy


Assignment Editor: Laura Eliason ( seeing what cookies santa eats Contributing Writers: Sue Lovett, Katy M. Clark, Tiffany Doerr Guerzon, Lisa Beach, Heidi Philipsen, Heidi Alene Harris, Malia Jacobs, Darlene Sweetland, Ron Stolberg, Denise Morrison Yearian, Scot Martin, Carolyn Jabs, Aimee Grant Eldon, Doug French, Jacqueline Bull

Digital Media

Saul Jacobs ( Santa


Production Manager Imani Lateef ( Atlanta in the fall Senior Designer: Leah Foley ( cooking baking and decorating (eating!) Contributing Designer Anita Tipton christmas morning with my girls, no matter how old they are

Advertising Sales Coordinator Jenny Leach ( christmas eve with the whole family Sales Representative Catherine Bohr ( my whole family singing the 12 days of christmas


Cassie Haddad ( watching the muppet christmas carol with my dad


Accounting: Robin Armstrong ( donating to toys to tots

We’re hiring! Freelance writers & outside sales reps. see full details on page 23

Advertising/General Info: For advertising and general information, call (734) 668-4044 or fax (734) 668-0555. E-mail ads to Ann Arbor Family subscriptions are available by mail for $28/quarterly or $75 per year at Ann Arbor Family, 3003 Washtenaw, Suite 3, Ann Arbor, Michigan 48104. Letters to the editor must be limited to 300 words, are subject to editing and should include the writer’s full name and phone number.

Entire contents © 2016 by Adams Street Publishing Co. All rights reserved. Reproduction in any form is prohibited without the written permission of the publisher. Also publishers of:

Chuggington Wooden Railway: Koko’s Safari set

This 38-piece set with sounds includes a two-in-one safari tree riser and tunnel with swinging door, monkey and parrot with sounds, exclusive safari gate and safari risers with trees. Push a button on the food station to load food into the cargo car and deliver it to the safari elephant and giraffe. Compatible with Thomas & Friends Wooden Railway. $74.99.



• December 2016 •

Audited by

Member recycle this paper for our children's future ...



December Giveaway


We love to see what the community is up to. Send your favorite pics with names, ages and hometown to Who knows... It may end up on the cover!

Say hello to the only car seat you’ll ever need. Lovingly engineered with a full steel frame, the Diono radian rXT all-in-one car seat provides unmatched safety for your child from birth to booster - and every marvelous moment in between. Just send us a photo of your family outing for a chance to be featured in our “Community Snapshots” section and a chance to win our giveaway!

Giuliana, Hunter and Maddie Rokke, ages 13,3 and 10, Chelsea, enjoying raspberry picking at Berry Hill Farm

To enter, send your snapshot to, through December 31! Be sure to include the name(s), age(s) and city of those pictured. Or comment on the giveaway post on our Facebook page. Check out our Facebook page for weekly Holiday flash giveaways during the month of December to win great prizes! Izabella, 5, Ypsilanti Township • December 2016 •


Compiled by Laura Eliason

Winter wonderland daddy-daughter dance Treat your little “princess” to a magical evening filled with music, dancing and refreshments when Pittsfield Township hosts an enchanted winter wonderland. Daughters will receive a special gift and there will be an opportunity to take keepsake photos with dad, grandpa, uncle or special family members. This event is perfect for children ages 5-12. Please pre-register by December 7. Friday, December 9. 6-8pm. $40/person (non resident), $35/person (resident), $10/each additional child. Pittsfield Township Community Center, 701 W. Ellsworth Rd. 734-822-2120.

A new way to shop

Here is a new, convenient way to shop for meat: Zaycon Fresh is offering a new, convenient way to shop for meat. Consumers can purchase high-quality, local, fresh meat in bulk at cities throughout the U.S. including 19 cities in Southeast Michigan. “Zaycon Fresh set the standard for buying in bulk. Unless you own your own farm you aren’t going to get anything fresher,” says CEO Mike Conrad. Register online to see when Zaycon is holding an event in the area and then choose their purchase from the website. On the day of the event, Zaycon Fresh loads the meat, seafood, chicken, etc. direct from the plant onto a refrigerated truck that is driven directly to the event location for customers to pull up and have their purchase loaded directly into their cars. Zaycon says that customers can save 20 percent to 40 percent and also buy food that hasn’t been sitting in the grocery store for eight to 10 days in processing. Zaycon Fresh has events every month. Past events have been held at Grace Bible Church, 1300 S. Maple Rd. Visit to see when the next events will be held in Ann Arbor and surrounding cities.

Winter break fun

Online child protection registry

Need activities for the kids during winter break? The Ypsilanti District Library has a week-long series of activities after Christmas and before New Year’s Eve at the Whittaker Branch. Activities planned include a showing of the movie Pete’s Dragon (complete with popcorn), 3D collage making, and art workshops focusing on fun techniques, painting with masking tape and sandpaper transfer art. The activities will be perfect for ages 5-12. The Michigan Avenue branch of the library will also offer a program called “Boredom Busters,” running during the same dates and times. See the library website for full details.

Supervised and unsupervised, in many locations and on several devices, most children are now online. To make sure Michigan Secretary of State Ruth Johnson is making sure Michigan parents know that there’s an effective way to protect children from unwanted online ads and solicitations wherever they are online. The Michigan Child Protection Registry is a free and secure service that can block adult-oriented ads for products like alcohol, tobacco, pornography and online gambling from reaching their children’s email inboxes, tablets, cell phones or instant messenger IDs. How does it work? Parents or schools may register the electronic addresses for any devices children use at The secured registry is housed on the Secretary of State website and once the child’s cell phone number, email address and Instant Messenger ID are entered into the system, the registry will block adult internet ads for all the registered contact points for three years or until the youngest child with access to the contact point reaches the age of 18.

December 27-30. 2-4pm. Ypsilanti District Library - Whittaker Community Room, 5577 Whittaker Rd.,Ypsilanti. 734-482-4110 x1340. Free

For more information or to sign up, visit the registry at


• December 2016 •

Dexter Co-op Preschool has found a permanent home. After a few years in between spaces, the more than 40-year-old co-op preschool, which enrolls about 75 young students, has completed its move into the new addition of Peace Lutheran Church, 8260 Jackson Road in Scio Township. The new addition features two classrooms for two half-day 3-year-old classes and two half-day 4-year-old classes, plus a gymnasium. Co-op parents also raised money to install a new playground that’s tailored to preschool-aged children. Interested families can schedule tours to see the new space and meet the school’s teachers by emailing

More room for support

Cancer Support Community of Greater Ann Arbor (CSC) has completed exciting new renovations. CSC is a great local resource for cancer education and information, and a place to gain support– all in an environment of acceptance and hope. In order to ensure that all people impacted by cancer are empowered by knowledge, strengthened by action, and sustained by community, the organization has added two new support group rooms to allow them to accommodate groups meeting simultaneously. The extra space was also needed because of the number of programs the organization provides such as play therapy, movie nights and “Kids Kicking Cancer,” a karate class for kids. The renovation also included an overall refresh of the space including in the kitchen area where cooking classes meet. If you would like to know more about the free services CSC provides to those touched by cancer visit the website at • December 2016 •

RESERVE SPACE NOW!! Call 734.668.4044 or Email

A new home

Issue Date: JANUARY Space Reservation by: DEC 15

Can’t decide if you want to learn piano or yoga? Learn them both—together! Longtime piano instructor and certified Rainbow Kids Yoga teacher Paola Savvidou offers a new form of integrated instruction by teaching kids both yoga and piano in a session. Each week kids learn a different music concept through a combination of yoga-based activities and at-the-piano instruction. Savvidou believes that the skills of breathing, stretches, and poses learned in yoga transfer to piano playing in many ways including breathing with the music, and learning outward expression. Pianoga Lotus is taught out of her Ann Arbor home. For more information, please visit

Meet the people behind the scenes of providing the tools your children need to succeed in the classroom. Principals, superintendents, and educational leaders share what their visions and inspirations are.

Yoga and Piano: Pianoga Lotus


THELINES TWEEN advice for parents with children 10-16

healthy kids

Cooking for a great cause

Hurry-Up Health Care By Malia Jacobson

Sooner or later, all parents face an unexpected medical meltdown: the baby spikes a scorching fever in the wee hours. The preschooler swallows something suspicious. The middle-schooler wrenches an ankle at basketball practice. When faced with a medical emergency—or a situation that could become one—what’s a parent to do? Head straight for the chaotic, costly hospital emergency department (ED)? Or a local urgent care center? Don’t load your sick kiddo into the car just yet. It’s best not to rush to an ED or urgent care right away. “The best first move is to contact your child’s pediatrician,” says Dr. Andy Seiler of Liberty Pediatrics in Ann Arbor. With knowledge of your child’s medical history and any existing conditions, your child’s pediatrician is best equipped to steer you toward the appropriate critical-care option, says Seiler. And whatever treatment course you take, notifying your pediatrician allows the doctor to update your child’s medical chart and follow up as needed. Also, providers who cannot know your likelihood of following up are more likely to do tests and prescribe antibiotics that may turn out to be unnecessary. Sore throats, earaches, coughs, and rashes are much better handled in the office as long as your child can be made comfortable in the morning, again because many children are over-treated in ED and urgent care settings, Seiler asserts. If a child is an infant or needs a CT scan, IV hydration, care for a broken bone, or surgery of any kind, the child is much better off in a hospital setting, where the required procedure can be performed quickly, and will use minimal radiation techniques, says Seiler. But urgent cares can be great lower-cost options for older children with minor cuts, burns, strains, and sprains.

Urgent care or emergency room? When might parents want to consider an urgent care center instead of an emergency room? Urgent care centers can be a quick alternative to a regular doctor’s office visit, because patients can be treated for minor cuts, obtain prescriptions, and get basic lab work and X-rays. Another factor is cost: according to insurance provider Blue Cross Blue Shield, the average emergency room visit has a pre-insurance price tag of $1,045, while urgent care treatment comes in at just $130. But before you write off the ER as too costly, consider this: if your child needs to be transferred to an ER after visiting urgent care, as many do, you’ll end up footing the bill for both. Most insurance plans cover emergency room care, and federal law requires that emergency rooms treat all patients, regardless of insurance status or ability to pay.

The bottom line

Any time parents perceive a life-threatening condition, they should call 911 and take the patient to the emergency room. Conditions requiring a swift ER visit include significant injuries or deformities to limbs, difficulty breathing, ingestion of a foreign body, head injury or concussion, significant trauma or bleeding, sudden severe pain, severe allergic reactions, and dizziness, disorientations, or sudden changes in mental functioning. Questions about fevers, vomiting, diarrhea, and flu-like symptoms should be fielded by a child’s pediatrician, while concerns about possible poisoning warrant a call to the local Poison Control Center. Those experts will advise you on whether your child needs to head straight to the ER or not.

By Heidi Philipsen

This past October, local Ann Arborite and Chopped Junior Champion tween, Chef Nicholas Bruzzano, teamed up with his mentor, celebrated local Chef Brandon Johns of Grange Kitchen & Bar to create a deliciously unique farmto-table four-course treat in Ypsilanti for a good cause: Growing Hope’s Chefs In the Garden Dinner on the Farm. The evening dining extravaganza, the second of an extremely popular monthly dinner series event where guests enjoy a gourmet farm-to-table meal prepared by celebrated regional chefs, was created to benefit Growing Hope so that they may continue with their mission of helping “people improve their lives and communities through gardening and increasing access to healthy food.” When the 12-year-old culinary champion, Chef Nicholas Bruzzano, heard that his mentor would be cooking with this year’s team, he stepped up to the plate to see if he could assist in any way. Ann Arbor Family caught up with Nicholas assisting Chef Johns on-site at the Growing Hope fundraiser to find out how life has been for the eighth-grade Tappan Middle School student since winning Chopped Junior this past July.

Why are you here today at Growing Hope?

I really love to cook and last year I went to Growing Hope’s Chefs In the Garden Dinner on the Farm dinner and it was really great. I’ve been working with Chef Johns, and we asked if I could help and he let me. I’m super thankful and I think it’s going to be really fun! How have things changed for you since you were in Chopped Junior? I’ve gotten more publicity and it’s been really cool. I’ve been in touch with other chefs and have started filming cooking videos on YouTube. I’ve also done a lot of demonstrations and interviews– it’s helped me to reach my goals and boost my career. My goal is to be a restaurateur in the future. When did you first know that you wanted to be in the field of culinary arts? I knew this is what I wanted to do around age 9. I’m 12 right now and turning 13 in late October. I used to only eat rice and tofu so my mom introduced me to the Food Network program Chopped and we started playing “Chopped” at home with a basket. My mom would put different ingredients, like tomatoes, squash and all of these other ingredients that I would otherwise never eat into the basket for me to cook. She must have known that if I cooked it, I would always eat it. I started eating a bunch of other foods and now I love a variety like asparagus, squash, and filet mignon.

What is your favorite dish to cook?

I love to cook farm-to-table, so– whatever is out of the farmer’s market. But my favorite dish, if I had to choose, would be butter sautéed asparagus, filet mignon and de glace sauce with crispy, pan-fried, diced potatoes. So what’s next, Chopped Junior champion? I want get out there, prove my skills, and let people know more about my cooking. My parents always support me, which has helped, and if I have the drive then I know I will achieve my goal. You can follow Nicholas Bruzzano on social media: Chef Nicholas has a twitter account @Chef_ Bruzzano; a YouTube Channel called Nicholas Bruzzano, an Instagram account @chef_bruzzano; and a Facebook page @Chef Nicholas.


• December 2016 •

Photo Credit: Brett Moyer

Where to turn when your child needs medical attention, STAT

Catching up with our local tween Chopped Junior champion

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Ask the Expert


Choosing Joy

The Overscheduled Child

By Heidi Alene Harris

By Darlene Sweetland and Ron Stolberg

Strategies to help special needs kids with holiday stress Let’s face it: the holiday season brings joy to our lives, but can also bring a lot of stress. All of the parties, festivities, events, and activities of the season can feel overwhelming to everyone, especially children with special needs. Betsy Stoelt LMSW, a clinical social worker at Eastern Michigan University’s Autism Collaborative Center, shared key strategies to help families choose joy. “You set up situations for success when you can give yourself permission to change or cancel plans if your child is having a challenging day,” Stoelt explained. In addition to that great advice, use the tips below to choose joy this holiday season.

Pick and Choose

Betsy Stoelt LMSW, a clinical social worker at

It might be difficult to choose between your coEastern Michigan University’s Autism Collaboraworkers Hanukkah party or the family Christmas tive Center, invites families to choose joy during this season party, but saying “Yes” to all the invitations of the holidays can be too much. Choose what events your family will attend; think about each event and imagine how your child will respond. Create a visual calendar together; visual reminders support communication and help to make abstract concepts more concrete for children with special needs. Prepare a social story about the upcoming event that will help your child know what is going to happen. Online free printable social stories can be tailored to your individual situation.

Holiday Shopping

Ruth Berean, President of the Washtenaw Learning Disabilities Association wants to help families enjoy the holiday season.

Another aspect of the holidays that can bring stress for children is shopping. Children may struggle with the noise and business of the typical mall environment. To create a less stressful shopping experience, shop at farmers markets and local businesses that draw smaller crowds. Have a sensory bag of tricks with you when you shop to give your child a way to handle the crowds and busy stores with bright lights. For example, you could use fidgets, noise-cancelling headphones, or chewing gum. Give positive feedback to your children when they follow through with expectations by participating cooperatively in holiday shopping.

Attending Parties

Going into unfamiliar environments can cause anxiety for a child with special needs. Before attending a party, go through pictures to talk about people who will be there, bring a favorite comfort item of your child’s to the party, and create a signal ahead of time that your child can give to you if they need a break from the situation. Ruth Berean from Washtenaw Learning Disabilities Association, a nonprofit organization that serves people with learning disabilities in Washtenaw County, explained that is a a great online resource for parents to find practical suggestions to support your child with special needs through various challenging situations, such as anxiety caused by attending holiday parties.

5 tips to avoid the pressure trap

Parents feel pressure to provide their children with every advantage to get ahead. From choosing the perfect preschool to finding the best enrichment activities, parents often fear their children will be behind if they miss an opportunity for advancement. This is the pressure trap. Most parents know when their kids’ schedules are too full, but there is a lot of pressure parents feel to make sure their children don’t miss out. In addition, when parents see the abundance of social media posts that show what it seems like “all of the other kids” are doing, it is a strong pull. The pressure trap can lead to kids who do not have enough unstructured or down time. As psychologists we see two consequences to this. First, we see kids who are overwhelmed and stressed out with all of their commitments. What begins as, “I just want my children to be happy” and “I want them to develop their own interests,” turns into “They need to play on the competitive sports team” and “They need to add more extracurricular activities for their college application.” The second pattern we see: kids who do not know how to manage unstructured time. When adults structure their schedule, children have no need to make decisions about how to plan their day, solve a problem, manage their time, and prioritize activities. When children have to figure out what to do with unstructured time they learn tolerance, problem-solving, and how to adapt to unexpected changes in plans.

5 tips to avoid the pressure trap 1. Listen to your kids If you are hearing your children say things

such as “I’m tired,” “I don’t want to go,” or “I’m burned out” there is a chance they are overscheduled. 2. Provide electronics-free unstructured time Make sure there

are at least two periods of time per week that your child is not in a scheduled activity. This time is free choice, without electronics. It can be done alone or with other kids. This may be difficult for some kids, but don’t give in. If they say they are bored, it means they need more practice. 3. Don’t say “Yes” to everything Resist the pressure to enroll

your child in everything. Prioritize your child’s favorite things and family commitments, then add activities only as free time allows.

4. Avoid the impulsive “Yes” Don’t make long-term scheduling

Choosing Joy

Remember, it is the in-between times that we most remember: the first snowfall of the winter or the neighborhood decorated with twinkling lights. While holidays can bring stress, implementing supportive strategies for your child with special needs may help to create a more joyous season for your family.

commitments when talking with a group of other parents. All activities sound great. Go home, carefully look at a calendar, and then make the decision. 5. Find your child’s passion Because there are many choices out

there, focus on activities that your child is passionate about. When considering new activities, make sure they fall during a time in the year when your child still has down-time.

My Turn is a year-long program created for families affected by Autism Spectrum Disorders by the Ann Arbor Hands-On Museum. Participating organizations take turns hosting free events on the second Sunday of the month that offer a less stimulating and crowd-free environment. Each program lasts two hours, allowing visitors to explore at their own pace, includes hands-on activities, and the option to take a break in a quiet room if desired. Past events have been held at University of Michigan museums, Therapeutic Riding, the Leslie Science and Nature Center, and the Ann Arbor Symphony Orchestra. There are still a few events left in the series. The Ann Arbor Hands-On Museum will host the next event 9:3011:30am December 11.

As psychologists, we have never worked with a young adult who struggled because he or she didn’t play enough sports or learn enough musical pieces. However, we have worked with many who never learned how to tolerate unexpected challenges or communicate with people they disagree with, and many who never developed the confidence to solve problems on their own.

My Turn events are free for registered attendees, but space is limited, and is available on a first-come, firstserved basis. Visit for registration information.

Dr. Sweetland and Dr. Stolberg are married, child and family psychologists, and are raising two children of their own. • December 2016 •


HOLIDAY Hullabaloo We are bringing you the best of the season in Washtenaw County to help you get into the holiday spirit with friends and family!

Santa’s Mailbox

Downtown Ann Arbor 318 S. Main St. 734-668-7112 |

Merchants in the Main Street area have decided to once again fund a direct mail route from Ann Arbor to the North Pole! Santa’s mailbox will be open for wish lists in front of Conor O’Neill’s. All letters received by 3pm on December 16th will be answered. Please remember to include your return address. Free

Saturdays and Sundays

December 2

2pm and 4pm The Creature Conservancy (Stone Stage) 4950 Ann Arbor-Saline Rd. 734-929-9324 | Meet Seven the reindee this month. $8.

6-10pm Ann Arbor Farmer’s Market Fourth Ave., between Catherine and Kingsley 734-662-5008 | An annual, free and outdoor holiday market featuring local and regional artisans and farmers selling hand-crafted ornaments, toys and unique holiday gifts, as well as German foods, sweets and beverages. Enjoy live music, fire pits to keep you warm, a heated tent, s’more roasting and a Lantern Parade in the Kerrytown neighborhood. Bring your family to the Christkindlmarket and parade around with colorful lanterns while singing holiday carols.

Creature Encounters: Reindeer


Creatures of Light: Nature’s Bioluminescence exhibit 10am Michigan Science Center 5020 John R. St. Detroit 313-577-8400 | This exhibit features the extraordinary and diverse organisms that produce light. Learn how and why they glow. $14/adult, $11/child under 12, Free/ child under 2.

December 2

Chelsea Tree Lighting Ceremony & Santa Arrival

6pm Pierce Park 901 S. Main St., Chelsea 734-475-1145 | The Chelsea Area Girl Scouts will kick off this event with a dedication of a new holiday tree. Sounds of the holiday season will be performed by members of the Chelsea High School Choir followed by the Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony. Next, Santa heads to the Chelsea Historic Depot where he will spend the evening listening to special wishes from Chelsea’s children during Santa’s Workshop. The Chelsea Children’s Co-op Preschool sponsors free craft projects for the children and parents are encouraged to bring their camera. Free 10

KindleFest, A Christkindlmarket

December 2-4, 9-11, 16-18, 20-23, 26-30 Holiday Nights in Greenfield Village

6:30-10pm Greenfield Village 20900 Oakwood Blvd., Dearborn 313-982-6001 | Take a lantern-lit journey into a living snow globe filled with live music, skating, fireworks and tons of winter wonder during America’s premier celebration of the season. Holiday Nights in Greenfield Village is like stepping into a Christmas card from the past — the golden glow from candlelit windows, the scent of roasting chestnuts, the sound of carolers in the distance, the jangle of sleigh bells. Where else will you find lantern-lit paths, costumed presenters, horse-drawn wagons and Model T rides, plus Santa with live reindeer. $26/adult, $23.50/senior, $19.50/child, Free/kids 2 and under. $6/vehicle for parking.

December 3

12th Annual Chelsea Light Parade

6pm Downtown Chelsea 310 N. Main St., Chelsea 734-474-9178 | 12th annual parade featuring dozens of lighted floats and vehicles, marching bands, and the big guy himself, Santa! Parade starts at Chelsea State Bank’s south-end lot (corner of US12 and M52) and travels North on Main Street to Jackson Street. After the parade, head down to the Clocktower Complex for the “Lights Out After the Parade.” The community is invited to warm up with music, photo booths, s’more fire pits and hot chocolate. Free

• December 2016 •

December 3

Breakfast with Santa

8:30am Comfort Inn & Village Conference Center 1645 Commerce Park Dr. (off M-52), Chelsea 734-475-1145 | Children enjoy a pancake breakfast with other goodies and sit with Santa. Bring your camera for photo opportunities with Santa. Free

December 1-31

Lights Before Christmas

Sunday-Thursday, 3-8pm Friday-Saturday, 3-9pm Toledo Zoo 2 Hippo Way, Toledo 419-385-4040 | The zoo becomes a winter wonderland during this Toledo area classic event. Enjoy a visit to the Winter Village for treats and a visit with Santa. Experience a ride on the Ice Slide and witness the beauty of ice-carving. And of course, wish some of your favorite animals Happy Holidays! $17/ages 12-59, $14/seniors 60+ and children 2-11, Free/kids under 2.


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Breakfast with Santa Detroit Zoo

8-10am Detroit Zoo 8450 W. 10 Mile Rd., Royal Oak 248-541-5717 | Get ready to have breakfast with your favorite holiday friends at the Detroit Zooâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Wildlife Interpretive Gallery. The buffet-style waffle breakfast also includes a special gift for each child, arts and crafts, photo opportunities and of course a visit from Santa. Breakfast will be served at 8:15am. You will be able to visit the Zoo once breakfast is over at 10am. $40/adults 15 and older, $35/children 14 and under.

December 3

Frosty the Snowman

1:30-3:30pm Michigan Theater 603 E. Liberty St. 734-668-8463 The beloved holiday song â&#x20AC;&#x153;Frosty the Snowmanâ&#x20AC;? has inspired this brand new story. A young orphan named Billy discovers magic in a stolen hat. When he places the hat on a snowmanâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s head, the snowman comes to life! But can Frosty the Snowman help Billy find his real family in time for Christmas? Recommended for grades K to 5. $12/person. Kids 12 and under/ Free

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December 3

Annual Saline Christmas Parade

5:30-7pm Downtown Saline 734-429-4494 | Over 1,700 participants and 4,000 visitors are expected to attend the Christmas Parade in downtown Saline, featuring floats, marching bands, animals, performances and Santa arriving in his sleigh with his chief elf. Free

December 5

Holiday Light Earrings

7pm Ann Arbor District Library - Westgate Branch 2503 Jackson Ave. 734-327-4200 | Join the library for a fun event that will hang some holiday lights on your ears! This event will help you make super cute bead earrings using simple tools. Perfect for kids in grades 6 and up. Free

Join Us for Santaâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s visit December 7, 6-8pm!

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December 8-11

A Christmas Carol

December 8, 10am December 9, 12:30pm December 10, 2pm December 11, 2pm Wild Swan Theater Towsley Auditorium, Morris Lawrence Building, Washtenaw Community College 734-995-0530 | Based on the novel by Charles Dickens and adapted for Wild Swan by Jeff Duncan with original music by composer Tom Schnauber, Wild Swan’s version of this wonderful holiday classic has been especially created for family audiences. A Christmas Carol tells of the astonishing transformation of miserly old Ebeneezer Scrooge after he is visited by three spirits on the night before Christmas. $12/child, $15/adult, $3/lap child (under 2).

Meet the people behind the scenes of providing the tools your children need to succeed in the classroom. Principals, superintendents, and educational leaders share what their visions and inspirations are. Issue Date: JANUARY Space Reservation by: DEC 15

4pm Monument Park, Downtown Dexter Baker Rd. at Main St., Dexter 734-929-9027 | Naughty or nice, walker or runner, come breathe in the December night air, burn off a few holiday calories and give back to others. A silly, hilly dash around Dexter that will take in the neighborhood light displays and give you a chance to see the flashing gang ahead or behind you! This is a charity event, bring canned or nonperishable food items for the needy and get a raffle ticket for each item! A stroller friendly course. $40/5K, $25/ 1 Mile (Under 18), $35/ 1 Mile (18 and over).

December 10

8pm Hill Auditorium 825 N. University Ave. 734-994-4801 | Mark the season with a festive mix of orchestra and voice, classical and pops at this annual Ann Arbor Symphony Orchestra tradition. It is a wonderful way to welcome in the holiday season. Enjoy an evening of merry music-making with some of our area’s most beloved choruses including the men of Measure for Measure, Pioneer, Huron and Saline High School Choruses all concluded with singers harmonizing to the song Let There be Peace on Earth. Tickets are $10-$52.

10am-12pm Matthaei Botanical Gardens 1800 N. Dixboro 734-647-7600 | Traditionally evergreens have been used to signal the winter holidays and to bring natural beauty and fragrance to the home. Choose from a selection of evergreens and ribbons and decorate a bough for the door or mantle. Make winter related crafts to take home. This program is open to Scouts and their families and the general public. Kids of all ages welcome. $10/child.

December 10

9am Toledo Zoo 700 Broadway St. 419-385-4040 | Drop the kids off for a winter adventure with exhibit tours, animal visitors, crafts and games. Get some time to shop or nap. For ages 5-10. Registration is required. $40-$45.

Gingerbread Houses

1pm Ypsilanti District Library - Whittaker Community Room 5577 Whittaker Rd., Ypsilanti 734 482-4110 x1340 | It’s the perfect time of year for gingerbread! Create your own unique gingerbread house by adding frosting and candy to a graham cracker house. Fun for kids of all ages. This event will also take place at the Michigan Avenue branch location on December 17 at 3pm, see the website for full details. Free


Holiday Hustle 5K and 1 Mile

December 9

Holiday Pops

Educating for Eternity

December 10

• December 2016 •

Winter Greens Crafts

December 10, 17, 27-30 Winter Camps

December 11

The Hip Hop Nutcracker

7pm Fox Theatre 2211 Woodward Ave., Detroit 313-471-6611 | A holiday mash-up for the entire family, The Hip Hop Nutcracker, a contemporary re-imagination of Tchaikovsky’s timeless music, is an evening-length production performed by a supercharged cast of a dozen all-star dancers, DJ and violinist. Through the spells cast by the mysterious Drosselmeyer, Maria-Clara and her prince, Myron, travel back in time to the moment when her parents first meet in a nightclub. Tickets are $25-$75.

December 16

Holiday Fun Night

6-7:30pm Pittsfield Township Community Center 701 W. Ellsworth Rd. 734-822-2120 Tis’ the season to enjoy a night of crafts, cookies, hot chocolate and a classic holiday movie. Kids will watch a holiday movie, make holiday crafts and write letters to the North Pole. There may even be a surprise appearance by Santa! Pre-register by December 14. Perfect for ages 4-10. $15/pittsfield township resident, $20/non-resident.

December 11

Frosty on Ice Skate

1-2:30pm Veterans Ice Arena 2150 Jackson Ave. 734-794-6235 | Children of all ages will love this skate with Frosty. There will be free candy canes, a meet and greet and pictures with Frosty. Cost of general admission. $5/resident adult, $4/resident youth or senior, $3/skate rental.

December 15

Holiday Pops with the Phil

6pm and 8pm Michigan Philharmonic - Penn Theatre 760 Penniman Ave., Plymouth 734-451-2112 | A festive, family-friendly yuletide pop concert featuring traditional Christmas carols like A Charlie Brown Christmas, Festive Sounds of Hanukah, Jingle Bells Forever, and a christmas sing-along. $30/person.

December 15

One Candle for Tzedakah

6-8pm Jewish Community Center of Greater Ann Arbor (JCC) 2935 Birch Hollow Dr. 734-971-0990 x126 | Swing by the JCC beginning November 21 with your children and help them choose a child you would like to “adopt” for the holiday season. Jewish Family Services (JFS) will share a list of refugee children in need and the information will be hung on tags from the menorah in the lobby. Then shop together for gifts for that child and remember to keep the tags you picked so you can attach it to the gifts for the child. On December 15 the JCC will celebrate the Hanukkah holiday and the mitzvah of giving to children who would otherwise not have a joyful holiday themselves. The party begins with games, a giant gift-wrapping party, and a card station to decorate a card welcoming the children to Michigan. There will of course be a wonderful Hanukkah dinner. After the Hanukkah candles are lit and the wrapped gifts are presented to JFS, relax and enjoy some Hanukkah entertainment. $10/individual or $20/family


A Christmas Carol

December 8th - 11th


Based on the novel by Charles Dickens and adapted by Jeff Duncan with original music by composer Tom Schnauber, Wild Swan’s version of this wonderful holiday classic has been especially created for family audiences!

December 16-18

Fancy Nancy: Splendiferous Christmas

December 16, 6:30pm December 17, 11am, 2pm and 5pm December 18, 11am and 2pm Fox Theatre 2211 Woodward Ave., Detroit 313-471-6611 | What could be fancier than Christmas? This year, Nancy is especially excited. She bought a brand-new sparkly tree topper with her own money and can’t wait to decorate the Christmas tree. But when things don’t turn out the way Nancy planned, will Christmas still be splendiferous? Fancy Nancy: Splendiferous Christmas is based on the New York Times bestselling picture book by Jane O’Connor and illustrated by Robin Preiss Glasser. $29.50/person.

Performance Dates & Times: Thursday, December 8: 10am Friday, December 9: 10am & 12:30pm Saturday, December 10: 2pm Sunday, December 11: 2pm

Performances at Towsley Auditorium, Washtenaw Community College For tickets, call

(734) 995-0530

or order online at

December 18

The Saline New Horizons Band Holiday Concert 4pm Saline Middle School 7190 N. Maple Rd., Saline 734-769-2613 | This event will feature familiar favorites, according to band director Dr. Joseph Labuta, with a few surprises as well. Free

December 31

New Year’s Eve All-YouCan-Play Laser Tag at Zap Zone 10pm-2am Zap Zone Ann Arbor 4177 Carpenter Rd. 734-930-6670 Action-seeking kids can ring in the New Year with unlimited laser tag and glo-golf. A family friendly party with a balloon drop at midnight! Check ahead for age information. $35/person, pre-register and pay to reserve your spot. • December 2016 •


p i h s Wor Guide


Community Christmas Eve Service Dec. 24 s 7pm All Ages/Family Friendly s Candles and Carols

3980 Research Park Dr. s Ann Arbor, MI 48108

These local places of worship invite you to join them during this Christmas season and New Year for worship services and other celebrations.

First United Methodist Church of Saline 1200 N. Ann Arbor St., Saline 734-429-4730

Christmas Cantata - A Christmas celebration in music, “Night of the Father’s Love” December 18 9am and 11:15am Longest Night Service - A quiet meditative service for those that may struggle with the holidays because of grief or loss. December 20 7pm


• December 2016 •

Christmas Eve Worship Services December 24 5pm Family Friendly Service 7pm Communion Service 11pm Candlelight Service Christmas Day Worship Service December 25 11:15am New Year’s Day Worship Service January 1 11:15am

First Presbyterian Church 1432 Washtenaw Ave. 734-662-4466

Worship in Advent - Parts of Handel’s Messiah will be presented during worship. On December 18, during worship, a special 40 minute presentation from the Messiah will be given by the Chancel Choir, soloists and chamber orchestra. November 27 - December 18 9:30 and 11am

Christmas Eve Worship December 24 3pm Christmas Pageant 5 and 7pm Candlelight Lessons and Carols Prelude - John Rutter’s Gloria presented by Chancel Choir, brass ensemble, organ and percussion, beginning at 4:30 and 6:30pm 11pm Candlelight Communion Christmas Day Family Worship December 25 10am

Pea e p Ho

Longest Night Worship - A special service for those who are struggling with grief December 18 5pm and 7pm

LifePoint Church 3980 Research Park Dr.

Community Christmas Services December 4,11,18 10:30am Contemporary songs and traditional carols will be sung, all ages are welcome. A free kids program will be available.

First United Methodist Church of Saline

Community Christmas Eve Service December 24 7pm All ages welcome for this family friendly service with candles and carols. Community New Year’s Day Worship January 1 10:30am Start the new year off by hitting the reset button.

Christmas Cantata Sunday, December 18th at 9:00 & 11:15 AM A Christmas celebration in music, “Night of the Father’s Love” Longest Night Service Tuesday, December 20th at 7:00 PM A quiet meditative service for those that may struggle with the holidays because of grief or loss.

ce Joy


Christmas Eve Services Saturday, December 24th 5:00, 7:00 & 11:00 PM 5:00 PM Family Friendly Service 7:00 PM Candlelight Service 11:00 PM Candlelight Service

Christmas Day Worship Service Sunday, December 25th at 11:15 AM New Year’s Day Worship Service Sunday, January 1st at 11:15 AM

1200 N. Ann Arbor St Saline, MI 48176 734-429-4730

Health tips from area practitioners. Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints 1330 N. Freer Rd, Chelsea

Chelsea Creche Celebration December 3, 6-8:30pm December 4, 1-7pm Along with creche displays from around the world, the two brief musical programs at 2pm and 5pm on Sunday, December 4 will feature classical and traditional Christmas music, with a more child friendly program at 5pm. The concerts showcase Tenor Stanford Olsen, professor of voice at the University of Michigan. Professor Olsen, a frequent guest soloist with the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, has also been a regular performer at the New York Metropolitan Opera House. Free

Make sure your practice is part of our TOP DOCS issue! Issue Date: JANUARY Space Reservation by: DEC 15


RESERVE SPACE NOW!! Call 734.668.4044 or Email • December 2016 •


Bring home the green

Cut your own Christmas tree around Washtenaw County By Scot Martin

One of the top thrills in preparing for the Christmas season has to be choosing your own wild Christmas tree. Michigan is the No. 4 producer of Christmas trees in the nation. While many will sing the praises of artificial trees, let me offer a paean to the ones that grow from the ground up. Luckily for you, Washtenaw County has five “U-cut” tree farms as well as countless lots where you can purchase pre-cut trees.

Westman’s Tree Farm 8000 Chamberlin Rd., Dexter 734-646-7062 Opens the Friday after Thanksgiving 3:30pm-dark, Monday-Thursday 9am-dark, Friday-Sunday Owner Bill Westman remembers when their trees were $2.00—back in 1965. “Know your space,” says Westman to first-time tree harvesters. “People usually cut down a tree bigger than they need.” This year the property will feature a new-build snack shack with treats to enjoy while you find your tree. Thousands of trees include Norway Spruce, White Spruce and Colorado Blue Spruce.

Arend Tree Farm

Urquhart’s Tree Farm

3512 Notten Rd., Grass Lake 734-475-7584 Opens the Friday after Thanksgiving 9am-5pm, 7 days a week With two locations, three farms, and 400 acres of trees, Arend Tree Farm probably won’t run out of trees before Christmas. The family business started in 1939 with Lee Arend’s grandfather selling trees in Saline. The farm features horse-drawn wagon rides on weekends. Many visitors stop by the 150-year -old country church next door that sells homemade doughnuts and cider on weekends.

10050 Jerusalem Rd., Chelsea 734-433-8733 Open four weekends, starting the Friday after Thanksgiving. 12-5pm, Wednesday-Friday 10am-5pm, Saturday-Sunday. Owned by Brian and Susan Urquhart since 1991 with 200 acres of trees. Brian Urquhart’s advice to those worried about a tree fire? “Fresh-cut trees are basically fireproof; just don’t let the water run out.” Don’t miss the wagon rides on the weekends!

Braun’s Tree Farm

796 Warren Rd. 734-663-2717 Opens the Friday after Thanksgiving Friday-Sunday, 10am-dark Northeast of the city of Ann Arbor, you’ll find 50 acres of trees at Braun’s. Not only can you cut your own tree, but you can also purchase pre-cut trees, wreaths, and tree stands, too. Braun’s invites the whole family, including dogs, to enjoy the festive holiday market atmosphere on the farm.

Real trees act as a carbon sink.

Harvesting them contributes directly to a local economy

85 percent of artificial trees are imported from China and are made from PVC

U-cut trees require people to get outside and walk around in the elements.


Hillside Christmas Tree Farm

14745 Sharon Hollow Rd., Manchester 517-456-7233 November 25-27, December 3-4, and December 10-11 10am-5pm Hillside is a fairly recent entry in the Christmas tree farm game; the farm planted in 1983 and has been making customers’ Christmases since 1988. Owner Richard Stefani suggests you “dress for the outdoors,” when coming to visit their farm. The farm also features a tot lot, wagon rides, and other fun activities and displays.

• December 2016 •

Putting a dash of magic into the Christmas season Photo Credit: Aimee Grant Eldon

A conversation with Wil Strickland, Ann Arbor’s favorite Santa By Aimee Grant Eldon

Wil Strickland sits on a wooden bench, his soft brown eyes twinkling at the young children sitting next to him. Donning his handcrafted red parka accented with white snowflakes of soft, furry angora and glittering Swarovski crystals, Strickland plays a grand Santa as he embraces the magic and sparkle of the Christmas season. “Sparkle is always good. This time of year we need sparkle. It’s part of the magic,” he remarks.

Bringing back the magic

Strickland started out dressing as Father Christmas while whimsically walking the dogs in his Ann Arbor neighborhood, bringing a smile to neighbors’ faces in the months following the enveloping sadness of September 11, 2001. Soon he began a

magical tradition by dressing as Father Christmas in costumes he spun, felted, and constructed himself, for everything from trips to the grocery store to events at restaurants and businesses in and around Ann Arbor. “I try to bring back the magic, and avoid the commercialism,” he says. When chatting with children who come to visit Santa, Strickland has a thoughtful approach. “I don’t ask what they want, I ask what their wish is,” he says. “To me it makes sense that kids get toys that time of year because kids are stuck inside and need new toys to play with. It’s the darkest season of the year.” Listening to the wishes of both children and adults alike gives Strickland a unique insight into the magic of the season. “I like to view it

(left to right) Anna Eldon and Wil Strickland at Matthaei Botanical Gardens.

as a season because it’s easy to put all your expectations on one day, and we just need to keep reaching out at this dark time of year with whatever light we have. It’s a time to reach out and think of other people.” While he no longer has a preference between “Father Christmas” and “Santa” (“I answer to anything now”), Strickland has some helpful tips for parents who

bring their child to visit Santa. “Let kids react naturally. Don’t force it if they’re timid and shy.” He also advises parents to talk to their child before it’s their turn to sit with the jolly fellow. “Talk about how magical and nice Santa is. Have them prepared with what they want to say because they usually get really shy.”

Opportunities to visit with Ann Arbor’s favorite Santa December 3

Q & A with Wil Strickland

Downtown Home and Garden 10am-1pm 210 S. Ashley St.

Favorite spot for hot cocoa in Ann Arbor? My kitchen, with homemade

gingersnap cookies.

December 6

6-8pm Metzger’s German Restaurant 305 N. Zeeb Rd.

Best place for a winter walk in Ann Arbor? I like to walk around Argo Pond. How would you spend your ideal winter day? In front of a warm fireplace

with my dogs and a good book.

December 11

Favorite spot to pick up Christmas gifts in Ann Arbor?

12-3pm Brewed Awakenings 7025 E. Michigan Ave., Saline

Favorite Christmas movie?

December 17

Treasure Mart

Miracle on 34th Street (the original in black and white)

11am-1pm Matthaei Botanical Gardens 1800 N. Dixboro Rd.

Favorite Christmas book?

Dickens’ A Christmas Carol

Hidden winter gem in Ann Arbor?

A nice, cozy dinner at Ayse’s Café in the Courtyard Shops.

Photo Credit: Aimee Grant Eldon • December 2016 •



We’re Michiganders! Sooner or later, we all give in to “Arbor Gravity”

What to Expect When You’re Expecting in December Happy birthday, my Christmas baby By Katy M. Clark

I’m a little mushy right now. My daughter turns 10 this month and I can’t believe it. Thinking back to when she was born, I can do nothing but smile– and get mushier. I never thought it would be so nice to have a December baby. Growing up in southern California, I had no idea that I’d end up living my adult life in snowy Michigan. When I was pregnant the first time, with my son, I was so happy to be expecting in the summer. I love summer: warm breezes, sunny days, and time spent outside. Happiness! When I got pregnant with my second child, I was dismayed to realize that my due date was in December. Cold, snowy, dark December. I worried about whether postpartum depression was more common then. I worried about driving to the hospital in a snowstorm. I worried about the dangers of having a newborn to tote around during the coldest months of the year. I worried about all the fools who said things like, “Oh, it’ll be hard to have a birthday so close to Christmas.”

Worrying in vain

I worried about December and I didn’t like it. Turns out, I worried in vain. My daughter came on a snowy weeknight. However, I did not fret about the snow or darkness, only about making it to the hospital in time, as she came much more quickly than her brother. My two-day stay in the hospital at Christmas time was—dare I say it—peaceful. The hospital was decorated beautifully. The demeanor of the nurses was happy. After I cursed my way through labor, the remaining time was spent listening to a Christmas album as my husband and I cuddled with our newborn. My husband even found our daughter ’s name on a Christmas tree ornament in the gift shop. That ornament is still so special to me. We drove home on a dark, snowy night. But again, it was peaceful. There was no one else was on the road and I didn’t have the first-time jitters that marked the ride home with my firstborn. The next few weeks of caring for my newborn during the Christmas season went by sweetly. I nursed by Christmas lights. I ate good food that other people cooked. I had the greatest excuse for skipping Christmas busywork and just enjoying the season. Having a baby at the holidays? It was everything I did not realize it could be. Happy birthday, my Christmas baby. I love you!


By Doug French

You might not know it by looking at me, but I’m not from around here. That shouldn’t be very surprising, though, since Ann Arbor has a lot of transplants. Literally billions of people come here for school, get sucked into the seductive pull of Arbor Gravity, and never leave. (OK, not billions. It just seems that way on football Saturdays.) The weird thing, I have to confess, is that during the five years I’ve lived here, my first instinct hasn’t been to say I live here. I have this strange compulsion, when anyone asks, to answer that I’m in Ann Arbor “for now.” As if, at any moment, I could be launched somewhere entirely else, where there are fewer potholes.

Discovering America’s high five

I grew up in New Jersey, with a vastly limited understanding of America’s High Five. There were two peninsulas, the Lions played on Thanksgiving, you gotta lose your mind in DEE-troit, Rock Cit-AY. And “born and raised in South Detroit” seemed perfectly plausible. Even after I married into Midwesternism (in a small church in Monroe County) and began visiting during holidays, each trip was an exotic adventure. I discovered the joy of Vernors. I learned how to spell “pączki.” And once, I actually asked my in-laws if church was ever canceled because of the cold.

Then, after my wife and I split up, and we were raising our two boys in nearby Manhattan apartments, she got into Ross Business School and proposed relocating here. And when she did, I knew two things: wherever my kids were, I’d be there, too, and that staying in New York would have turned me into the worst helicopter parent ever. I wanted the boys to grow up with some sense of autonomy, and to walk to school

• December 2016 •

on sidewalks less strewn with restaurant garbage. After I flew here to see the town, I knew a third thing: I could totally live here. You know what really sealed it for me? I saw the A2ICE3 sign at the Ice Cube and thought, “OK. This is the nerdiest place ever. Where do I sign?” Seriously. What other town refers to itself with exponents? How many even can?

Something flipped about a year ago

After more than 40 years in and around New York, I found that acclimating here was slow going. But I think something flipped about a year ago, when my parents flew out here for Thanksgiving. The boys and I took them around to all of our favorite places—French fries at Ashley’s, ice cream at Stucchi’s, hippie hash at the Fleetwood—and they were delighted. Then we showed them some of the 111,829 maize-and-blued fans hiking from all over to the Big House for the Ohio State game, and it blew their minds. It was such a fun weekend that it started me thinking. The boys and I have done a lot here. We’ve hammered out “Hail To The Victors” on that pipe organ at the Hands-On Museum. We’ve learned how to pronounce Mackinac and Hamtramck. We’ve cultivated an instinct to turn on the air conditioner when it’s 75 degrees out. We’re Michiganders, dammit. High five!

Craft of the Month By Laura Eliason

Nutcracker Christmas Crafts By Denise Morrison Yearian

For many families, attending The Nutcracker ballet is an annual holiday event. Whether you plan to go to a performance or not, you can enjoy this enchanting tale by making a craft!

Supplies Nutcracker Sweet

Craft fur (black)

Empty potato chip can (Pringles type)

Glue gun (low setting)

Rounded clothespins (2)


Ruler Scissors Felt (black, blue, red, pink) Craft foam (black)

Wiggly eyes Fabric trim, ribbon, buttons, rhinestones, sequins, fabric paint Candy

Instructions 1. Remove lid from can and place open side down.


With a marker, divide the can into three sections to create the head, body and legs.


Measure and cut felt rectangles to wrap around each section of the can to create blue pants, a red jacket and a pink face. (Note: rectangle sizes will vary according to the measurements in step 2.)


Glue face, jacket and pants in place.


Measure and cut two 2-by4-inch red felt rectangles and wrap around each clothespin to create arms. Glue in place.

6. Glue arms vertically to the can.

7. To create boots, cut two long, narrow rectangles from black felt. Glue to the front of the nutcracker.

8. Cut a thin strip of craft fur and glue around the top of the head to create hair. 9. Cut a rectangle from craft

foam that measures approximately 2½-by-9 inches. Wrap just above the top portion of the can to create a hat. Glue in place.

10. Cut a small triangle from craft foam to create a nose. 11. Glue wiggly eyes and nose to the face then create a long mouth with markers. 12. Embellish the hat, jacket and pants with trim, ribbons, buttons, rhinestones, sequins, fabric paint, etc. Let dry.


Fill the can with candy and secure with the lid.

If you’d like to make attending The Nutcracker a new holiday tradition, check out local performances in the area. River Raisin Ballet Company Friday, December 2 at 7pm Saturday, December 3 at 2pm and 7pm Sunday, December 4 at 3pm River Raisin Centre for the Arts 114 S. Monroe St., Monroe $20/adult, $18/senior, $13/child. Call 734-242-7722 or visit Academy of Russian Classical Ballet Saturday, December 3 at 2pm and 6:30pm Brighton Center for the Performing Arts 7878 Brighton Rd., Brighton $27/person. Call 810-299-4130 or visit Academy of Russian Classical Ballet Saturday, December 10 at 7pm Michigan Theater 603 E. Liberty St. $45/person. Call 734-668-8397 or visit

Ann Arbor Ballet Theatre Friday, December 16 at 8pm Saturday, December 17 at 2pm and 8pm Sunday, December 18 at 2pm Power Center for the Performing Arts 121 Fletcher St. $30/adult, $25/senior, $15/ child under 12 Call 734-763-8587 or visit muto. Ballet Chelsea Saturday, December 3 at 2pm and 7pm Sunday, December 4 at 2pm Saturday, December 10 at 7pm Sunday, December 11 at 2pm CHS Performing Arts Complex 740 N. Freer Rd., Chelsea $20/adult and $15/child/student/ senior. Call 734-475-3070 or visit Grosse Ile Academy of Dance, Plymouth-Canton Ballet and Metro Shores Ballet Saturday, December 3 at 6:30pm Sunday, December 4 at 2pm Salem High School Auditorium 46181 Joy Rd., Canton $20/adult and $15/child. $2 discount if purchased in advance. Call 734-676-7233 or visit • December 2016 •


From Guatemala with Love Fresh, flavorful fare from Encuentro Latino By Katy M. Clark

Encuentro Latino 228 W Michigan Ave Ypsilanti, MI 48197 Phone: 734-483-1727 Hours: Mon-Fri 11am-8pm; Sat-Sun 8am-8pm Find them on Facebook

“You come try,” said Manuel De Paz, owner of Encuentro Latino. “I promise you will love it.” With that invitation extended, I was intrigued. It’s not every day that I eat Guatemalan food. Encuentro Latino opened late last year in the spot formerly occupied by Wolverine Grill in downtown Ypsilanti. It retains the same casual vibe as the old diner, with 10 booths, counter seating and a few tables. Now the walls and decorations exude Latin warmth and flare. The restaurant offers many Guatemalan dishes to consider: appetizers such as chicken tacos, salads, soups, and entrees such as pupusas or beef stew with rice and homemade tortillas. Breakfast is served all day and specials are offered, too. Prices are affordable, with nothing more than $12.

Horchata, tamarindo and more

After settling into a booth, my family needed to decide on beverages. Our server, Sindy Vasquez, Manuel’s niece, was patient and friendly. She brought 20

us samples of horchata, a rice milk drink with hints of cinnamon, tamarindo made from the fruit of the tamarind tree, and cantaloupe juice. Manuel’s wife makes the flavorful juices on site. My daughter, 9, ordered cantaloupe juice and I picked horchata. My husband stuck with water and my son, 13, chose Jarritos, a Mexicanbrand soda. Next, we ordered chips and guacamole ($5), after confirming they make their own guacamole. “We make everything,” Sindy told us. The guac was divine. Our generous bowl was rife with avocado and seasoned with tomatoes, cilantro and a hint of lemon, served with tasty, salty chips. Sindy brought us hot salsa, too, made with four different peppers. My husband, who likes spicy, was amazed by the heat and flavor. For our entrees, my husband ordered the most popular dish, churrascos: beef cut with rice, beans, avocado, scallions, tomato sauce and corn tortillas ($11.95). I ordered the Guatemalan breakfast, another popular dish, with eggs, beans, fresh cheese, cream, fried plantains and tortillas ($8.95). My kids were less adventurous, ordering mac and cheese ($3.50) and chicken wings ($5.95). Other kids’ meal choices include chicken tenders, grilled cheese and cheese quesadilla ($3-3.95) with a side of fruit or French fries.

¡Muy delicioso!

The kids gobbled up their dinners without complaint. On the other hand, my husband and I couldn’t keep quiet with our praise. The churrascos was heavenly with tender, tasty marinated beef. The avocado salad was fresh while thick, handmade corn tortillas were perfect along with appetizing rice, salsa and beans. “Everything’s amazing,” declared my husband. My Guatemalan breakfast was delightful, too. The cream brought out the flavor of the cheese, the beans were smooth, and the homemade salsa enhanced the eggs. Lightly fried plantains added sweetness. “¡Muy delicioso!” my eighth grader proclaimed in Spanish. We finished with a piece of Tres Leches cake, with fruit and nuts in between layers of moist white cake ($4.99). Okay, so I finished with a piece of cake, as my family was too full to indulge. We left not only full, but also knowledgeable about the flavors of Guatemalan food. Look for Manuel when you visit and prepare to be educated—and delighted, too.

• December 2016 •

The Short Course Kid-friendly: Yes

To avoid wait: You can make a reservation Noise level: Moderate

Bathroom amenities: No changing table High chairs? Yes

Got milk? Yes, plus a wide variety of fresh juices, sodas, and drinks like horchata. Kids’ menu? Yes

Anything healthy for kids? Get fresh fruit as a side.

Food allergy concerns? Everything is made-to-order. They know all of the ingredients and can advise you. Call ahead and talk to your server and the kitchen.

{December 2016} All calendar events are subject to change, cancellation and limited size. Calling ahead for confirmation is recommended.



Nature Tales: Wiggly Worms Get involved with outdoor, nature-based activities that instill curiosity and wonder in your kids. Learn about some wiggly worms and their unusual lives. 10am. $3. Leslie Science and Nature Center, 1831 Traver Rd. 734-997-1553. Tiny Tot Time at the Cat Cafe Kids under age 4 are encouraged to come visit the cats for a 30-minute visit. The Tiny Lions Lounge has a comfy space to enjoy the company of the cats. 10am. $4. Tiny Lions Lounge & Adoption Center, 5245 Jackson Rd. 734-661-353. Jumpstart Storytime Perfect for 4 and 5 year-olds. Sessions include vocabulary building, parachute, music, crafts, playtime and stories. 10:30am. YDLWhittaker, 5577 Whittaker Rd. 734 482-4110. Free. Kids Zumba The ultimate dance-fitness party for young Zumba fans, boys and girls ages 6-13. The program has age-appropriate music, and basic steps and choreography. 6pm. $10- $15. Peachy Fitness, 2835 S Huron Pkwy. 734-681-0477.

2 FRIDAY Pets & Pajamas Movie Night Join some furry friends for a cozy evening. Visitors are invited to come in pajamas and to settle in for a movie with some cuddly companions. 5pm. $35. Humane Society of Huron Valley, 3100 Cherry Hill Rd. 734-662-5585.



Avant Garden Plants have always had a huge influence on fashion. Plants have not only been used to create textiles and dyes, but have also inspired patterns in art and design. Kids will have a chance to explore their influence in this hands-on program. 10am. $10. Matthaei Botanical Gardens, 1800 N Dixboro. 734-647-7600. Captured in Clay Preserve the little hands and feet. The Little Seedling invites families to make a clay tile of the child’s hand or footprint. Registration is required. 10am. $35. The Little Seedling, 2121 W Stadium Blvd. 734-418-2392.

Cookies Galore!

The Little Scientist Club The newest thing at the Ann Arbor HandsOn Museum is the The Little Scientist Club. The visitors will explore hands-on activities, science-themed stories, and makeand-take projects. 10:30am. $5-$12. Ann Arbor Hands-On Museum, 220 E. Ann St. 734-995-5439. Storytime at the Museum Come to the galleries where children ages 4-7 will hear a story that focuses on Japanese Prints of Kabuki Theater. 11:15am. UMMA, 525 S State St. 734-764-0395. Free Newborn Care Class Learn the basics of caring for a newborn in a fun, hands-on class. The class will discuss diapering, techniques to calm a newborn, bath time, baby wearing, and car seat safety. 1:30pm. $60. Center for the Childbearing Year, 722 Brooks St.. 734-663-1523. Zoo Family Class: Winter Animal Friends Learn about the animals of the season such as reindeer, polar bears, and penguins. The event occurs before Lights at the Zoo. Perfect for kids ages 3-10. 12pm and 2pm. Pre-register by December 2. $6/person (members), $10/person (nonmembers). Toledo Zoo, 2700 Broadway St. 419-385-4040. Princess Moana Luau To celebrate the Pacific Island culture of Disney’s latest princess, Moana, the Ypsilanti District Library is hosting a luau with stories, games, limbo, hula hoop, island-inspired snacks all celebrating the Pacific Island culture. 2pm. YDL-Whittaker, 5577 Whittaker Rd. 734-482-4110. Free. Kids Zumba Jr. Kids ages 4-6, with a parent, are invited to try out Zumba in a fun environment with an aerobic/fitness approach. 6pm. $10-$15. Peachy Fitness, 2835 S. Huron Pkwy. 734-681-0477.

5 MONDAY Baby Storytime This storytime is focused on developing your baby’s pre-literacy skills as well as providing an opportunity for you and baby to spend time together with other families.10:30am. YDL-Whittaker, 5577 Whittaker Rd. 734-482-4110. Free

Join the Ann Arbor District Library and the People’s Food Co-op for a fun evening of cookie baking. The class will be led by Keegan C. Rodgers, head baker at the People’s Food Co-op, and will feature hands-on learning. In this class, students will learn all about how to make cookies for the holidays or anytime– the ingredients, the steps involved with each cookie, and proper storage of the finished product. Perfect for children in grade 6 and up.

Monday, December 12. 7-8:30pm. Malletts Creek Branch, 3090 E. Eisenhower Pkwy. 734-327-4200. Free

Drop-In Tutoring One-on-one help with homework on any subject. This program assists grades K-8. 4pm. YDL-Superior, 8795 MacArthur Blvd. 734-482-4110. Free Monday Minecraft Meetup Kids ages 8-14 are welcome to get in on the action with YDL’s minecraft server. There are weekly building challenges and projects. 4pm. YDL-Whittaker, 5577 Whittaker Rd. 734 482-4110. ypsilibrary. org. Free



Parents & Caregivers Coffee Hour Hop in for some much-needed coffee after the morning school drop-off. Connect with other area parents and caregivers. 9am. Cultivate Coffee & TapHouse, 307 N. River St. 734-249-8993. Nature Tykes: What’s Wild Designed specifically for 4 and 5-yearolds, this session gets kids outside and engaged with nature. There are animal presentations, nature hikes, crafts and hands-on experiences. Registration is required before Dec 6. Also on Dec 13 and Dec 20. 10am. $3. Leslie Science and Nature Center, 1831 Traver Rd. 734-997-1553.

7 WEDNESDAY Kids Yoga Kids Yoga promotes physical strength, self-esteem and self-respect. Children ages 6-13 explore yoga by imitating animal poses, learning breathing techniques and playing games in this non-competitive and fun activity. 6pm. $10- $15. Peachy Fitness, 2835 S. Huron Pkwy. 734-6810477.

8 THURSDAY Kids’ Night Out Whether the parents need some time for last-minute shopping or just a date night, this event at Saline Recreation is offering a fun solution that the kids will enjoy. They will make crafts, watch movies, play games and swim in the pool. Pizza is provided. Participants should wear athletic shoes and bring a bathing suit and towel. 5pm. $25-$35. Saline Recreation, 1866 Woodland Dr. 734- 429-3502.

10 SATURDAY Critters Up Close The featured animals this month are hawks and falcons. Experience live animal interactions and learn about the natural world with hands-on activities. 10am. $3. Leslie Science and Nature Center, 1831 Traver Rd. 734-997-1553. Parents’ Night Out: Animal Engineers The parents go out and the kids stay in at the Leslie Science and Nature Center. This event offers the kids an opportunity to study the incredible adaptations that help animals hunt, run, jump, and swim. And then use those ideas for their very own inventions and creations. The evening will be mostly outside, so the kids should dress for the weather. There will be pizza and carrots for dinner and a late-night popcorn snack. 10am. $30. Leslie Science and Nature Center, 1831 Traver Rd. 734-997-1553. Robotics Showcase: Hammerheads The students from Troy High School and Athens High School are bringing their competition robots to the Ann Arbor Hands-on Museum. See the robots in action and talk to the teams about the design and engineering. 10am. $5-$12. Ann Arbor Hands-on Museum, 220 E. Ann St. 734-995-5439.

Meet the people behind the scenes of providing the tools your children need to succeed in the classroom. Principals, superintendents, and educational leaders share what their visions and inspirations are.

Issue Date: JANUARY Space Reservation by: DEC 15 RESERVE SPACE NOW!! Call 734.668.4044 or Email • December 2016 •


Clay Dreidel Making

Make your very own dreidel! This workshop goes through the entire process of making a traditional clay dreidel. Led by the fabulous teachers of the Ann Arbor Art Center, the class is open to the whole family; all children under age 9 must be accompanied by an adult. All of the materials are provided. Your dreidel creations will be available to take a home a week after the workshop.

Pittsfield Township Parks & Recreation Play for the fun of it! r$BSEJP%SVNNJOH r6SCBO#BMMSPPN%BODF r:PHBr-JOF%BODJOH r$BSETr#JOHP r%BODFr4XJNNJOHr,BSBUF r4PDDFS-FBHVFT r#BTFCBMM-FBHVFT

Saturday, December 17. 10am. $25. Ann Arbor Art Center, 117 W. Liberty St. 734-994-8004.

STEM Storytime Kids age 7 and under are invited to hear stories, play games and do experiments. This event could help your child develop a love of science, technology, engineering and math. 10:30am. YDL-Whittaker, 5577 Whittaker Rd. 734482-4110. Free Winter Greens Crafts Enjoy the beauty of nature in the winter. Kids are invited to make a craft from winter greens. The program is open to Scouts, families and the general public. 10am. $10. Matthaei Botanical Gardens, 1800 N. Dixboro Rd. 734-647-7600. Sensory Story Group This group is geared for children ages 3-12 who have a hard time in large groups, are on the autism spectrum, or are sensitive to sensory overload. There are many different activities including movement activities, arts and crafts, play with accessible toys, songs, rhymes, and stories. 11:30am. YDL-Whittaker, 5577 Whittaker Rd. 734 482-4110. Free Tiny Expo: Indie Holiday Arts and Crafts Fair Come to the library to shop over 40 local artists and crafters selling their wares in a festive library space where you can shop local and handmade! There will also be several “make and takes” happening including screen-printing, letterpress, and button-making! All ages can drop by the Youth Story Corner throughout the day to create Tiny Expo Polymer Clay Snow globes. 11am-5:30pm. Ann Arbor Downtown District Library, 343 S. Fifth Ave. 734-327-8301. Free Cheesy Holiday Appetizers This class is for kids age 8 and over who are showing an interest in food and cooking. In preparation for the festivities that await us, we will prepare a trio of holiday-themed appetizers that will be sure to be a hit at your upcoming family gatherings. Menu will include baked mozzarella sticks with marinara sauce, spinach and artichoke dip and a festive herbed cheese spread. 1pm. $50. Sprouting Chefs, 1500 Scio Church Rd. 734-474-1006.


• December 2016 •

11 SUNDAY Wonderful Winter Woods Check out what is happening with the critters under the snow. Hunt for tracks and animals on this hike. Make crafts, enjoy hot cocoa and warm up by the fire. 1pm. $3. Leslie Science and Nature Center, 1831 Traver Rd. 734-997-1553.



Stroller Strides® Community Class Try out a total fitness program that moms can do with their babies. The class features intervals of cardio, strength and body toning exercises using exercise tubing, the stroller and the environment. 9am. Briarwood Mall, 100 Briarwood Circle. 734-725-4075. Free



The Snow Queen The Ann Arbor Young Actors Guild presents The Snow Queen, a beautiful fairytale about a young girl trying to find her friend. Take the family out to see some talented young actors. Also on Saturday, December 17 at 2pm and 7:30pm and Sunday, December 18 at 2pm. 7:30pm. $12/adult, $5/student through college. Lydia Mendelssohn Theatre, 911 N. University Ave. 734-526-5829.



Pop-Up Makerspace Design, build and test! Discover your inner engineer in this Pop-Up Makerspace. This challenge is make it float. 10am. $5-$12. Ann Arbor Hands-On Museum, 220 E Ann St. 734-995-5439. Webelos: Adventures in Science Workshop Scouts will launch a rocket, experiment with circuits and learn about famous scientists. And later they will enjoy a museum scavenger hunt. Scouts will complete their Adventures in Science badge during this workshop. Pre-registration required. 11am. $15/scout, $8/adult. Ann Arbor Hands-On Museum, 220 E. Ann St. 734-995-5439.

Drawing Club: TCCC (Teen Character Creation Club) Have a teen who has a knack for drawing or comics? They will work on developing sketches and storylines for characters, both manga and American superhero style. It also provides an opportunity to meet friends with similar interests. 12pm. YDL-Whittaker, 5577 Whittaker Rd. 734-482-4110. Free Girl Scout Brownies: Home Scientist Workshop Learn how to distinguish between salt and sugar by looking at them both under a microscope. Brownies will learn how to be a kitchen chemist and complete the badge. Pre-registration required. 2pm. $15/brownie, $8/adult. Ann Arbor Hands-On Museum, 220 E Ann St. 734-995-5439. Kids’ Night Out The kids will enjoy gymnastics, crafts, and pizza while the parents get a chance to shop or have a night out on the town. The kids don’t need to be students to attend. 5:30pm. $25. Michigan Academy of Gymnastics, 240 Metty Dr., Suite C. 734-761-7610.




Intuitive Children Gathering Parents of Intuitive Children come together to discuss experiences, find encouragement, and learn techniques to help their intuitive children flourish. The group will be led by Christina DePugh, of the Enlightened Soul Center. Children are welcome; healthy snacks and activities will be provided. 6pm. $5-$10 donation. 734-968-9723.


Free Classifieds: Individuals may receive

one free 20-word ad per month (products offered in ads must sell for under $100). Each additional word 40 cents, payment must accompany ad. Free ads run one month and are reserved for private-parties use, noncommercial concerns and free services. Ads MUST be typed or neatly printed and MAILED, E-MAILED, or DROPPED OFF to Ann Arbor Family Press. Classifieds by the15th of the month prior to publication.

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Cooking Club for Teens Teens learn all the basics: prep work, recipe reading, label info and also have a discussion on bringing out your own personal tastes. 6pm. Ypsilanti District Library-Michigan, 229 W. Michigan Ave. 734-482-4110. Free

words or less. Each additional word is 40 cents each and any artwork will be $5 extra. Display Classifieds: Display classifieds with a box may be purchased for $25 per column inch.

services Massage: Walk-in Appointments Available. Come in stressed leave refreshed. Free Parking. Make some time for yourself! RelaxStation. 734-623-1951


18 SUNDAY Family Swim Shake off the winter cold and get active with the family. Check out the website for the complete swim times. 6pm. $15/family. Goldfish Swim School, 2107 W. Stadium Blvd. 734-864-5555.


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Farmers Market Storytime - Stop by for a story, songs and kids activities while you shop at the Ypsilanti Farmer’s Market. 4pm. Ypsilanti District Library, 5577 Whittaker Rd. 734-4824110. Free


Lego Night - Drop in and build with the library’s block collection. Duplos are available for younger children. 5pm. Ypsilanti District Library Superior, 8795 Mac Arthur Blvd. 734-4824110. Free


Little Peeps Family Program Each week features a different theme, sometimes performances, othertimes drama activities and crafts. For pre-k through grade 5. 10:30am. $7/ per child, $5/each additional child. Pointless Brewery and Theatre, 3014 Packard Rd. 989-455-4484.


Baby Playgroups - Each playgroup includes 15 minutes of stories, rhymes and songs. Parents or guardians must remain with their children. Branch locations and times vary. Call or check online for more information. Ann Arbor District Library Branches. 734-327-4200. Free

Tuesdays and Saturdays

Storytime with Linda Zimmer Adventure to Bookbound Bookstore for captivating storytelling. Free for kids ages 6 and under. Tuesdays at 6pm and Saturdays at 11am. Bookbound Bookstore, 1729 Plymouth Rd. 734369-4345. Free


Lego Night Join other Lego enthusiasts for open play every Thursday. The kids will love it and the adults can sneak in on the action as well. 5pm. Ypsilanti District Library-Superior, 8795 MacArthur Blvd. 734-482-4110. Free

First Wednesday of the Month

Visitors Night: Ann Arbor Model Railroad Club All ages are invited to check out the trains whizzing around on the club’s big, elaborate track. All housed in a depot restored by the club. 7:30-10pm. Michigan Central Depot, 3487 Broad St., Dexter. 734426-5100. Free

Safe Step Walk-In Tub Alert for Seniors. Bathroom falls can be fatal. Approved by Arthritis Foundation. Therapeutic Jets. Less Than 4 Inch Step-In. Wide Door. Anti-Slip Floors. American Made. Installation Included. Call 1-800-906-3115 for $750 Off

HELP WANTED Massage Therapist: Currently hiring therapists to work at RelaxStation in downtown Ann Arbor to accommodate our already established clientele. Free parking, flexible hours, great team! 734-623-1951 SERIOUS MOMS WANTED. We need serious & motivated people for expanding health and wellness industry. High speed internet/phone essential. Free online training.

Photos are accepted with ads for an additional $5 per photo. Deadlines: Ad copy must be received by the 15th of the month prior to publication. Payment: Payment must be received before an ad can be placed. We accept checks, cash, money orders and credit cards (Visa/Mastercard).

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Ann Arbor Family Press Classifieds, 3003 Washtenaw Blvd., Ann Arbor. Phone: 734-668-4044 E-Mail: Refunds: Sorry, NO REFUNDS given. Misprints: Credit toward future ads.

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December 2016 Ann Arbor Family Press  
December 2016 Ann Arbor Family Press