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Learn the ABCs of p10 these starter schools


International Neighbors Welcoming women of all nations to Ann Arbor

Dip Into Romance

How to host a fondue party

p14 p15

Issue Date: Apr. 1st Reserve By Mar. 15th


• February 2017 •

Volume 22 • Issue 2 February 2017

[special features]

International Neighbors 14


departments what’s briefly happening


exceptional families 7

Welcoming women of all nations to Ann Arbor



tween the lines 9 healthy kids 9 ask the expert 13 calendar 34 — compiled by Jacqueline Bull

marketplace 38

On the cover

Dad, Matthew Deason, Mikisha Deason , Izik Deason, 11, Isaiah Deason, 9, Ann Arbor



commentary parent profile 8

Stay-at-home Dad Dustin Kuras Competes on Sports Jeopardy!

— by Jennifer Brough

diary of a dad 15

Those Four Little Words “I love you, anyway.” — by Doug French

food fight 16

Full bellies, warm hearts

Giant pancakes and more at Nick’s — by Katy M. Clark

A Valentine’s Day Playbook for Your Family By Christa Melnyk Hines Here’s the plan for a perfectly playful V-Day for the whole family.

My friendship with older moms helped me more than my peers ever could By Kathryn Streeter One hand reaching to another, this is how we make it, moms.

[Always online]

Top local options to let your child grow, learn and prepare for kindergarten.

Blogs by local moms, for local moms, are at your fingertips. Relatable and hilarious reads online. Join us and our 1000+ followers for laughs, updates & parenting discussions. • February 2017 •


Adams Street Publishing Co. Do you collect anything?

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

KIDS HOROSCOPE January 20February 18 By Sue Lovett

Bitten Mitten

A new teether for your Michigan baby shows off your love for the “mitten state.” Bitten Mitten released its new Mitten Teether, a soft, flexible teether, made from food-grade silicone. $19.99.

Young Architect House Building Set

Perfect for the budding architect in your house, this house-building set lets kids, ages 8 and up, design and create a 3-D model floor plan of their dream house! Use the 18x24-inch work mat to create the blueprint and then acrylic walls and doors to bring it to life. They can even draw in furniture with the included colored pencils. $59.99.

One of the first things you will want to do when this baby is born is to have its hearing checked. No – there’s nothing wrong – but they will always have “selective hearing” and pay attention only when they feel like it! Presidents Reagan and Roosevelt were both very popular Aquarians. The children will be well liked in school and are natural-born leaders. They may not be “teacher’s pet” because they express themselves too clearly. They will never be prejudiced and will always participate in games in and out of school. The biggest problem they will have is that they may not always listen – so be sure to get their attention first – then all is well. They enjoy their family life and this is throughout their lifetime. They will not want to go too far from home but will enjoy pre-school, making new friends, and any pets they have. They accept responsibility and can be counted on to do any chores assigned to them cheerfully.

Collette Jacobs ( Cats and dust.

Co-publisher/Chief Financial Officer Mark I. Jacobs ( PARKING TICKETS


Assignment Editor: Laura Eliason ( Recipes and cookbooks Contributing Writers: Kathryn Streeter, Laura Eliason, Jacqueline Bull, Louis Meldman, Katy M. Clark, Doug French, Jennifer Brough, Janice Richardson, Lisa Beach, Erica Bloom, Raegan Nelson, Donna Iadipaolo, Heidi Alene Harris, Heather Artushin, Christa Melnyk Hines, Sue Lovett Calendar Editor: Scott Peterson ( Comic books

Digital Media

Saul Jacobs ( Concert Tickets and Guitars


Production Manager Imani Lateef ( basketball Senior Designer: Leah Foley ( STRESS. Graphic Designers: Anita Tipton ( Art from local artists while on vacation. Kelli Miller ( Robots


Sales Coordinator Jenny Leach ( ADS Sales Representative Catherine Bohr ( Sun art


Ron Likus ( Darts


Accounting: Robin Armstrong ( Hard Rock Cafe guitar pins

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.

This is the World: A Global Treasury

This is the World, a must-have book, is an amazing compendium of the best pages of author Miroslav Sasek’s beloved travel books for children. The “This Is” series was inspired by the author’s Parisian vacation when he decided to create children’s travel guides to big cities in the world. This large, colorful 234-page compendium is illustrated in Sasek’s fantastic watercolor style. $28.00.


Publisher/Editor in Chief

Also publishers of:


• February 2017 •

Audited by


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



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!

Local girls at the Women’s March in Washington- Savannah Welch, 15, Ypsilanti, Gloria Dixon, 16, Inkster, Dea Chappell, 17, Ann Arbor, Yatesha Welch, 17, Ypsilanti, Fanta Soumaoro, 17, Ann Arbor, Djeneba Soumaoro, 14, Ann Arbor

February Giveaway Finn + Emma Play Gym

Meet your baby’s new best friend— the Finn + Emma Play Gym. All Play Gym frames are made from birchwood and are sealed with nontoxic stain and lacquer (free of lead, phthalate, nickel, mercury, and VOC’s). The attached wooden toys are nontoxic, made from all natural, untreated Indian hardwood buffed with vegetable seed wax while the knit dolls were made with phthalate-free rattles inside and hand knit from organic cotton. And all Finn + Emma play gym buddies are interchangeable!

To enter, send your snapshot to, through February 28! Be sure to include the name(s), age(s) and home city of those pictured. Or find the giveaway post on our Facebook page. • February 2017 •


Compiled by Rose Carver

Stitching with attitude

Think knitting is for grannies? The Ann Arbor Stitch’nBitch meetup group will definitely change your mind! The group meets weekly to knit or crochet and to share stories and discussion. Those who are just learning how to crochet or knit are also invited to join the group to compare notes and gain ‘purls’ of wisdom. The meetup group currently boasts 991 members and posts information about upcoming meeting dates and locations on their meetup page. To join the group and find out more visit

Easing the transition to middle school A new program, Success Academy, is

helping 6th graders ease the transition from elementary to middle school. The weekly program, run by the Family Learning Institute (FLI), is open to students who have graduated from the FLI’s longstanding tutoring program. Founded in 1999, The Family Learning Institute helps eliminate the achievement gap in Washtenaw County. FLI’s core program provides free, one-on-one reading and math tutoring for 2nd to 5th grade students from economically challenged households in Washtenaw County. Success Academy continues the work of the FLI and provides students with homework help, but also gets them talking about some of the difficult issues that are unique to middle school: how to make friends, how to set goals to keep pace with schoolwork, and how to deal with stress. “The program is a logical progression designed to help students who had previously attended FLI tutoring sessions in math or reading,” says Christy Martin, Success Academy Program Director. Success Academy is held Thursdays from 5:30-7:30pm at the Ginsberg Center, 1024 Hill St.

A Bosch award for STEAM education The Bosch Community Fund recently

awarded an inaugural grant supporting organizations in the Ann Arbor community. The $56,826 grant to Ann Arbor Public Schools (AAPS) allows for Project Lead The Way (PLTW) programming at alternative AAPS high schools.

Ping Chong + Company bring their ASL interpreted theater to Ann Arbor

Ping Chong + Company is bringing their theater performance Beyond Sacred: Voices of Muslim Identity to Ann Arbor on Saturday, February 18. This interview-based theater production explores the diverse experiences of young Muslim New Yorkers, who came of age in post-9/11 New York City, at a time of increasing Islamophobia. Participants come from a range of cultural and ethnic backgrounds and include young men and women who reflect a range of Muslim identities. The performance will be American Sign Language interpreted. Recommended for ages 14 and up. Saturday, February 18. 8pm. Power Center, 121 Fletcher St. $24-$40 per ticket. 734-764-2538.

Ice fishing derby

The Washtenaw County Parks & Recreation Commission will hold their annual Ice Fishing Derby at Independence Lake County Park on Saturday, February 11. Head to the icy lake to fish for Northern Pike, Bass, and Crappie and win prizes. In both kid and adult divisions. Bring your own bait. Lunch will be provided. Registration is required, to pre-register at parksonline.

Saturday, February 11. 7am-5pm. $10/adult and $5/child before February 11, $15/ adult and $10/child day of event. Independence Lake County Park, 3200 Jennings Rd, Whitmore Lake.


• February 2017 •

“Bosch is proud to support the students and teachers of AAPS engaged in science, technology, engineering, arts and math (STEAM) programs,” said Vivek Jaikamal, director of engineering for a subsidiary of the Bosch Group. As a result of the Bosch Community Fund grant, an increased number of students at Pathways and Community High Schools will be exposed to STEAM programming. STEAM learning spaces in the two high schools are undergoing renovation, including upgrading of lighting, electrical and dust-collection systems, technology, storage and adaptable furniture. The grant also provides support to the schools’ integrated science curriculum through purchasing fuel-cell vehicles, enhancing energy and environmental units, and giving Pathways the ability to purchase robotics materials to support the robotics engineering curriculum.

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Fighting the daily battle of Crohn’s disease

Local teenager Nicky Andrews faces Crohn’s disease with courage

A new vegan/vegetarian option on Main Street

By Janice Richardson

On the surface, Nicky Andrews looks like a typical teenager. The Superior Township high school sophomore likes to have fun with her friends and family. She is heavily involved in dance. She enjoys forensic research. What is not apparent are the biweekly injections she receives to help her fight Crohn’s disease, and the team of doctors who work to keep her healthy and strong.

What is Crohn’s disease?

Of the 780,000 Americans who suffer from Crohn’s disease, about 5 percent are children, like Andrews. Crohn’s is a chronic inflammatory bowel disease that causes swelling, inflammation and pain along the digestive tract. Because there is no cure, the goal for those who have Crohn’s is to manage the symptoms and hopefully have their body respond well to medication.

Quick and unexpected onset

the hospital. During one routine administration, she experienced a sudden and severe allergic reaction. To counter this type of reaction, her doctors developed an elaborate treatment plan that included medicine a few days before the IV, Benadryl right after the IV, followed by steroids; all to attempt to minimize the allergic reaction while still delivering the necessary Crohn’s-fighting medicine.

Adapting and finding ways to cope

Earlier this year she was switched to another medication and has responded quite well. When faced with this medication change, Andrews was nervous because she had heard that the biweekly shots hurt, but she is strong and has found ways to cope. She says the 10 seconds of the shot are better than the six to eight hours she was spending at the hospital for her IV treatments.

Hope for those who suffer For Andrews the onset was quick and While there is no cure for Crohn’s disunexpected. When she was 12 years old, ease, there is hope. Each fall Andrews and she went to a routine doctor’s appointher family participate in the annual Take ment and had no symptoms, but about Steps for Crohn’s and Colitis fundraising two months later her mom noticed her walk at Gallup Park. Each summer she athands seemed “dainty.” The next day, tends Camp Oasis, a camp for children in she had no strength to go out with her grades 2-11 who have Crohn’s or colitis. friends. They immediately consulted There she has made the doctor. After friends who underundergoing various stand what she is tests, Nicky was experiencing. diagnosed with Andrews says Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation Crohn’s, a disease she wishes more of America, Michigan chapter she had never people knew about Local chapter of the national organiheard of before. Crohn’s disease. zation dedicated to funding research, Andrews and her She regularly has to raising awareness, providing educamom consider explain what it is. tion and support for Crohn’s and her lucky since Sometimes people Colitis patients. 248-736-0900 her body has don’t understand or responded fairly believe her because well to the medicaCamp Oasis her physical aption her doctors Annual summer camp held in Michipearance is healthy. prescribed. Crohn’s gan and around the US for children Greater awareness patients often try who suffer from Crohn’s or Colitis of Crohn’s disease multiple medicasearch the website for will help the huntions before finding “Camp Oasis.” dreds of thousands effective treatAnn Arbor Take Steps of people who have ment. Andrew’s for Crohn’s and Colitis Walk the disease and first medication Annual fundraising walk to support who, like Andrews, was administered Crohn’s and Colitis research held fight it every day. intravenously at each fall at Gallup Park. 248-7370900 Ext. 6,

Ann Arbor vegans, vegetarians, and veggie-lovers, rejoice at the opening of Vedge Cafe on Main Street. Located in the space formerly occupied by Legion clothing, the new restaurant features a menu filled with fruitof-the-earth goodness, plant-based, made-from-scratch fare that is both delicious and good for the environment. The menu also features prices, mostly under $10, that are good for wallets. Vedge Cafe. 205 N. Main St. 734-929-4485.

A new-Detroit native arrives in Downtown

Detroit-based Avalon International Breads has opened a cafe in Downtown Ann Arbor, in the space recently vacated by Mezzevino. Avalon Cafe and Kitchen, serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner and includes a coffee bar, showcasing Mighty Good Coffee. Avalon’s breads and baked goods, made with 100 percent organic flour, are featured in a warm, cozy environment. “The decision to open an Ann Arbor location was an obvious return to our roots. As a U-M alumna and Ann Arbor-lover, I am thrilled to have the opportunity to bring our baked goods, sense of community and passion for people to a great city,” said Jackie Victor, CEO. Avalon Cafe and Kitchen. 120 E. Liberty St.

Local Resources • February 2017 •


Stay-at-home Dad Dustin Kuras Competes on Sports Jeopardy! By Jennifer Brough

With boundless energy and enthusiasm, Dustin Kuras, a stay-at-home dad from Ypsilanti, competed on Sports Jeopardy! on NBCSN last November. Coming in a close second to the reigning champion Earl Holland, Kuras says, “was so much fun and just a great experience. My kids can now say, ‘My dad was on television!’ �

From selling steel to the demands of a family

“I worked for 11 years selling steel to the automotive industry. My wife, Dawn, is a successful dentist and loves her work. It just made sense for me to stay home and look after our daughter Clare,� Kuras explains. Their son, Ben, arrived 18 months later, and they are expecting their third in March. “I’m getting used to having absolutely no control over my day. I make minute-to-minute decisions and sort out a myriad of problems. Sometimes I think the steel industry job might be better, but then consoling Clare on the disappointment of Peppa Pig not being on TV, that day is just priceless.�

For the love of sports

Kuras grew up playing baseball and then basketball. “I did nerdy things like writing down team player names and roster numbers. I also collected baseball and football cards, avidly studying them for information.� When the best man from his wedding saw an ad soliciting Sports Jeopardy! contestants, he told Kuras, “You should

Local dad Dustin Kuras (right), on the Sports Jeopardy Show with host Dan Patrick (left).

totally do that, you’d be great.� Kuras took the online test and was invited to Manhattan for a four hourlong interview with 30 other contestants. “Dawn was really eager to sightsee, but all I wanted was an aspirin.�

Q&A with Dustin Kuras

And Dad goes on TV

“Do you want to be on Sports Jeopardy?� shouted Maggie, the producer phoning from the studio, a month later. “As soon as I saw where the call was from, I started fist-pumping the air. She was so fired up and I yelled ‘Yes’ and booked the tickets to L.A. for the recording of the show,� Kuras recalls. Kuras knew that 50 percent of the challenge was being able to hit the buzzer first. He ordered a practice buzzer and started honing his technique. “I got pretty good, but when it came time to be on the show, I was just in awe for the first game. I must have looked really dumb. Although everyone was really supportive, the show environment was so ra ra and hyped up, it was hard not to be overwhelmed.� In the remaining rounds, he became more focused on the game; he earned 15,000 points, but some lucky daily double picks by Earl eventually thwarted his chance of winning. Kuras says, “That was both the fastest 42 minutes of my

life and the coolest thing I’ve ever done.� What about your family, aren’t they the coolest? “Competing on Sports Jeopardy! really was the coolest thing in my life,� he says, “but my wife, Dawn and our kids are, without doubt, the greatest thing in my life.

The next challenge for the Kuras family

“My wife is opening up her own dental practice soon which I’ll be co-managing, then we’ve got the new baby coming along. After that, we are heading for the wheel, that is, the Wheel of Fortune. We watch it religiously when the kids have gone to bed. It’ll be a great next challenge,� says Kuras with the same drive and enthusiasm that took him all the way to Sports Jeopardy!

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Whatâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s your favorite activity to do with your kids? Dance party! Be it to Mickey Mouse Clubhouseâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s â&#x20AC;&#x153;Hot Dogâ&#x20AC;? song or something more mainstream on the radio, seeing them laugh along with their uncoordinated dance moves is good medicine! Favorite memory you have from when you were a kid? Summer visits to my aunt and uncle near Houghton Lake. I loved riding on their pontoon boat, fishing and spending time with my brother and cousins. Whatâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s your go-to activity when you finally have a few minutes to yourself? Breathe, and then probably eat (quietly) then catch up on sports and news. Name one thing you swore youâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;d never do as a dad, but totally do. Teach my kids how to use my iPhone. Thatâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s come back to bite me a few times! Describe your life in five words. Crumbs, diapers, crying, laughing, love!

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’Tween Art and Heaven The Riverside Arts Center By Louis Meldman Riverside Arts Center

Ann Arbor has nothing over scintillating Ypsilanti when it comes to art opportunities for tweens. This year marks the 20th anniversary of the Riverside Arts Center (RAC), an ongoing local labor of love, run entirely by volunteers until Director Will Hathaway assumed his post two years ago. Hathaway is something of a genius at maximizing the good of any organization. Before coming on board at RAC he served as director of human resource development at Eastern Michigan University, manager of the office of student conflict resolution at the University of Michigan, and executive director of the League of Women Voters of Michigan, where he obtained massive and well-deserved grants for that august institution.

Nice neighborhood

The Riverside Arts Center stands on the edge of the amiable Huron River in a stately edifice erected in 1909 as the local Masonic Temple. Next door is the formidable former Detroit Edison Building, built in 1915, now the “Off Center”

RAC facility. Connecting the two is a sleek modern elevator column, connecting the magnificent, timeless architecture. But, it is what goes on inside that counts. Classes and exhibitions are for all ages, toddler to adult, so that tweens can find their level of comfort and ability and just jump in. There is every art imaginable, but my favorites are the fine arts, dance and theater programs. The RAC is home to the Academy of Classical Russian Ballet, the only school in the greater Ann Arbor area with professional Russian ballet instructors. There is a one-time registration fee and an additional fee for semester or drop-in classes. Here’s something cool: boys get a 50 percent discount. Will Hathaway said that’s because for recitals there are never enough boys. Attention tween boys! Attention tween boys! Trust me, there’s no better way to make friends and work on your strength, coordination and balance. In addition to ballet, the RAC offers instruction in “Unveiled Dance,” a.k.a. belly


THELINES TWEEN advice for parents with children 10-16

Fun for All Ages at the RAC dancing! Don’t laugh. Classes are open to all ages with two levels of ability, and you can master the basics in just a few classes. This is fun and good exercise for tweens and at least as much fun for parents or the whole family. Parents, don’t tell your tweens I said this, just get some friends together and go for a basic class! You won’t be able to wipe the smiles off your faces for hours.


Perhaps the most ambitious RAC program is the Ypsilanti Youth Theater, which takes all ages and makes sure that anyone who wants to perform will get on stage. Tweens are always needed. These are real plays with at least one Shakespeare production each year. Director Hathaway

pointed out to me that he salvaged the box office from the University of Michigan’s Hill Auditorium, 115 seats and risers from the Trueblood Theatre in the old Frieze Building, and curtains from the Lydia Mendelssohn Theater. “We are the repository of the best of the spirit of UM theatre,” Hathaway noted. And well he might. That’s part of his genius. And don’t miss this month’s fourth annual special exhibition of art by black artists in honor of Black History Month. See you there, and keep an eye on this space for more tween updates. Tween word of the day: Scintillating— meaning sparkling, shining and excitingly clever! Riverside Arts Center, 76 N. Huron St., Ypsilanti. 734-480-2787.

healthy kids

Timely Parenting Research The low-down on diet, toys, and stay-at-home parents

have a powerful influence on children’s thinking, interaction with peers, and creative expression. Other toys do not. Some of the toys that look most interesting to adults are not particularly effective in promoting development.”

by Lisa A. Beach

What does the latest research say about the diet of U.S. children or the best toys for kids’ development? And what do adults really think about working versus staying at home to raise a family? Take a look:


In a study recently published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, researchers from Brown University found a marked improvement in the diet of U.S. children between 1999 and 2012. However, their overall diet still remains poor, the scientists noted. The National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) examined the diet quality of more than 38,000 kids aged 2 to 18 and found that, in general, their nutrition is steadily improving. However, what they eat is still far from ideal, and disparities persist by income, race and receipt of government food assistance.

In fact, many of the components measured in the study’s Healthy Eating Index improved significantly, such as children eating more healthy foods (like whole fruit) and decreasing their consumption of “empty calories” (like sugary drinks). Sodium consumption, however, worsened. “I am encouraged by the gains,” said study lead author Xiao Gu, a master’s student in epidemiology in the Brown University School of Public Health. “Although we showed several components still need to be improved … our paper provides evidence that we are on the correct track.”


Trendy electronic gadgets pull kids in and dazzle them like a magician, but according to the latest toy research, back-tobasics toys are better. In an online article recently published by The National Asso-

Stay-at-home parents

ciation for the Education of Young Children, researcher Jeffrey Trawick-Smith points out that simple, open-ended toys provide a variety of opportunities for flexible, imaginative play. Trawick-Smith, professor of early childhood education at the Center for Early Childhood Education at Eastern Connecticut State University in Willimantic, offers a few best-bets for kids: hardwood blocks, a set of wooden vehicles and road signs, and classic wooden construction toys. “The most important finding emerging from our studies is that different toys impact children’s behavior in different ways,” says Trawick-Smith. “Some toys

Even though women have been flooding into the workforce for decades, a recent survey from the Pew Research Center notes that most Americans think children with two parents fare better when one of them (not necessarily mom) stays home to take care of the family. In 46 percent of two-parent households in the U.S. today, both parents work full-time, compared to just 31 percent employed full-time among two-parent households in 1970. Among the 59 percent of U.S. adults who think children are better off with a stay-at-home parent, about half say it doesn’t matter whether mom or dad forgoes a career to raise a family. Who is more likely to think one parent should stay at home? Men, older Americans, Hispanics, and adults with a high school education or less. • February 2017 •


Early Learning Center Preschool 3070 Redwood Dr. 734-973-7722 |

The Early Learning Center believes that young children’s learning takes place primarily through exploratory play. They offer a variety of both directed and non-directed activities to encourage children to develop a strong sense of curiosity, self-esteem, and independence. The NAEYC accredited school is a traditional half-day preschool program that serves children that are two and a half to five years of age. They are run by a parent board of volunteers so families have an active role in decision making in the program. Each classroom is composed of two teachers with Bachelor’s degrees in Education who team teach and work together to make sure that each child is getting a well-rounded preschool experience.

The Discovery Center

775 S. Maple Rd. 734-663-7496

What school best starts your child’s educational journey?

Creating Brighter Futures 4201 Varsity Dr., Suite B & C 734-926-0740

Creating Brighter Futures (CBF) offers customized Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) autism treatment for children between the ages of 2-18. Their unique family-based Autism treatment center is conveniently located and uses individualized behavioral and play-based autism therapy to dramatically improve your child’s skills.

The Discovery Center is an early childhood program for 2-and-a-half to 5-year-olds that has been serving families in the Ann Arbor area since 1974. With our highly-educated and experienced staff, our modern building designed specifically for our use, and our nurturing, flexible program, we believe the environment created here for young children is ideal. The Discovery Center has been an accredited program through the National Association for the Education of Young Children since 1993. The Discovery Center provides an environment that encourages each child to approach optimum physical, social, emotional, aesthetic, and intellectual growth. Our programs are based on an open classroom approach with emphasis on a hands-on, experiential environment. The classroom environment encourages each child to explore “discovery centers” set up by the staff and to participate in a full range of activities occurring throughout the day. The program is also enhanced by outside specialists who provide Spanish, music, and storytelling enrichment activities.

Dexter Community Schools 734-424-4240 |

A creative and innovative approach to childhood education and an award-winning high school – that’s what parents can expect for their children when they enroll in Dexter Community Schools. Children aged six weeks to five years start at the Jenkins Early Childhood Learning Center, and then progress through a unique elementary school and middle school system that breaks down schools into age groups, allowing students to better focus and interact with their peers. The program culminates at Mill Creek Middle School — named a “School to Watch” by the National Forum to Accelerate Middle School Growth — for grades seven and eight. Students then matriculate to Dexter Community High School, home of the International Baccalaureate (IB) Diploma Programme, numerous Advanced Placement courses, plus awardwinning music, athletic, and extracurricular programs. The high school is also part of a consortium which provides career and technical training, as well as Washtenaw Community College dual enrollment in which students can earn college credit while still in high school. Dexter Community Schools is a limited School of Choice district.

Daycroft Montessori

Preschool-K Campus 100 Oakbrook Dr. 734-930-0333 K-8 Campus 1095 N. Zeeb Rd. 734-662-3335 A Daycroft education provides a Montessori, student-centered learning environment that nurtures the whole child. Two teachers per classroom provide individual and group lessons, allowing students to develop at their own pace. Preschool offers a solid foundation with a five-day-per-week program with full or half day options. At the K-8 campus, the multi-age classrooms inspire students to be independent, motivated, curious, and joyful learners. Specials include art, music, Spanish, technology, and physical education. There are also a variety of afterschool enrichment offerings.

TLC Adventure Preschool Individualized attention in a Warm, Creative, Christian environment

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COME TO OURÊOPEN HOUSE TO LEARN MORE ABOUT TLC! -1 9]Ê °Ê£Ó]ÊÓä£ÇÊUÊÈ* Unique to the Saline location: Open Play Space (M-F from 9-11:30am and 1-3 pm) Great location for a field trip for your preschool, daycare or lower elementary school s Host rentals for special events & birthday parties.

(734) 662-4419 œÀÊi“>ˆÊ«ÀiÃV…œœJÌÀˆ˜ˆÌÞ>>°œÀ} £{ääÊ7°Ê-Ì>`ˆÕ“Ê Û`°ÊUʘ˜ÊÀLœÀ]ÊÊ{n£äÎ


• February 2017 •


TLC Adventure Preschool 1400 W. Stadium Blvd. 734-662-4419 |

The TLC Adventure Preschool (TLC) meets Monday, Wednesday, Friday from 9am-1:30pm and offers both mixed age group and same age small group activities. TLC offers a theme oriented program in three classrooms for children that are two and a half to five and half years, including a young five older four group. Teachers are certified and experienced, and licensed by the state of Michigan. Their curriculum-based learning focuses on cognitive learning skills, language and communication, social/emotional development, fine and gross motor skills. Daily classroom activities are designed to develop reasoning/decision making, strong value system, positive peer interaction, independent thinking and kindergarten readiness. TLC Adventure Preschool provides a nurturing and caring learning environment that focuses on the whole child.They are always looking for wonderful families to become a part of our preschool.

Preschool and Young 5â&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Programs Accepting Enrollments for the 2017-2018 School Year

A traditional preschool program founded on learning through creative play.

Caterpillar Class: !GESAND Butterfly Class: !GESAND

For more info visit



Kensington Woods Schools 9501 Pettys Rd., Lakeland | 517-545-0828

Kensington Woods is a small, personal, tuitionfree and college-prep 6-12th grade public charter school that values an engaging curriculum and caring faculty. The schoolâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s mission is to prepare each student for success in college, career, and life through an engaging, challenging and innovative educational program that is student-centered and promotes character and values. Students are held to high expectations and graduate prepared for college and the school has a 100% college acceptance rate for all graduates. Kensington Woods creates a relevant learning environment for students by exploring content through a focus on subject area integration and 21st century skills like collaboration, critical thinking and creativity. Classes are small so students can get the attention they need and emphasis is placed on building character and strong student/teacher relationships. Kensington Woods believes strongly that all students can succeed in school, and they embed a mind set of success within the day to day curriculum as well as through special programs, such as their Advisory program.


â&#x20AC;˘ February 2017 â&#x20AC;˘

Metropolitan Speech, Sensory & ABA Center 7025 E. Michigan Ave., Saline 313-278-4601

Metropolitan Speech, Sensory & ABA Center (a division of Dearborn Speech & Sensory Center, Inc.) in Saline provides the highest quality speech therapy, occupational therapy, physical therapy and psychological services for individuals from infancy through adulthood. Their team of certified therapists assists clients in areas of speech, handwriting, central nervous system alignment (sensory integration therapy), feeding, fine and gross motor coordination, and social skills. Their professionals also provide tutoring services and ABA therapy services to children who are on the autism spectrum. Many in the area will remember their newest Saline location as the My Urban Toddler award winning play space! They are excited to re-open the play space and rental of the facility for birthday parties to the public, and make all of their therapy services available to the Saline, Ann Arbor and surrounding areas.

Ask the Expert Nature as Classroom

A glimpse inside Ann Arbor’s Forest School By Erica Bloom

“Let’s go to the porcupine trees!” a child shouts. It’s 8:30am and the students of the Ann Arbor Forest School are excited for another day of outdoor learning and exploration.

Play-based education and community projects

Building a nature-based school

Habeck founded the school after learning about nature-based early childhood education from her friend Jeannine Palms, who has run her own nature-based home preschool, Blossom Home. Habeck, who previously worked as a teacher in public and private schools abroad, has studied

Photo Credit: Silver Thumb Photography

Under the large conifer trees the preschoolers pick up sticks to draw circles on the ground while closely examining the color of pine needles. It’s a windy morning and the children— bundled up in boots, hats, and winter coats— will spend the entire day outside learning about the natural world.

Tara Habeck, founder and teacher.

At Washtenaw County’s first forest preschool, children gain life and kindergartenreadiness skills by attending school entirely outdoors. In the summer, the day could be spent digging up rocks or harvesting from the community garden, while in the winter they could be sledding Audrey, 3, from Canton enjoying the winter weather at school. or helping elderly neighbors shovel their wilderness first aid and permaculture dedriveway. Even when temperatures fall sign. When a house adjacent to Buhr Park into the teens children are outdoors, don- and next door to Palms became available, ning snowsuits, goggles and face masks, she turned it into a licensed preschool. eating lunch in a winter tent, but nap- Each week the two teachers bring their ping indoors. Students play outside in 20- students together to engage in environminute increments with no exposed skin mental stewardship activities in the park. and only on days when the temperature remains below-zero-degree will the chil- Many benefits of outdoor classrooms dren remain inside all day. Ann Arbor’s first forest school is more Every weekday morning, Tara than a preschool; it’s part of an internaHabeck, the founder and teacher at the tional movement to create outdoor classschool, opens her home and backyard to rooms where students have opportunities six students ages 3 to 6. Wearing a wide- to develop compassion, curiosity and conbrimmed khaki hat, she leads the children nectedness with nature. More educators through nearby Buhr and County Farm are starting to counter the trend of too Parks. “Everything is enhanced when the much indoor “screen time” with nature as kids are outside. Opportunities for learn- the backdrop for learning. In fact, studies ing abound, health is improved, and rela- show students who attend these types of tionships are stronger. Besides, it’s more schools have increased concentration, crefun,” says Habeck. ativity, physical stamina, and elevated perThis particular day, Habeck walks the formance in reading, science, and math. children to Cobblestone Farm to feed the With every day a new adventure, the barn animals. One child balances on a students at Ann Arbor Forest School exemsmall rock and jumps down with a laugh. plify the benefits of outdoor, play-based “Children gain confidence and resiliency education. “Children’s brains develop in this type of place-based education,” best in calm environments, and they are Habeck says. “They can adapt to chang- soothed by the colors, shapes and smells of ing weather and develop creative prob- the world,” says Habeck. “Playing in nalem solving skills just from interacting ture is therapeutic.” with nature.” For more information about the Ann Arbor Forest School visit • February 2017 •



Neighbors Welcoming women of all nations to Ann Arbor By Janice Richardson

The varied faces of International Neighbors

The following are stories of women who participate in an English conversation group with on site babysitting.

Photo Credit: Brett Moyer

Moving to a new city brings with it many challenges, such as finding grocery stores, registering kids for school, and locating the public library. But when you move to a foreign country and don’t speak the language, those challenges intensify. This is the situation faced by families moving to Ann Arbor from other countries each year. In 1958 Esther Dunham, an Ann Arbor resident, learned from a friend at the University of Michigan International Center that the number of foreign graduate students coming to the University with their families was increasing. It was common for the husbands to study in class all day while the wives, who faced the challenges of learning a new language and culture on their own, often felt lonely and isolated. Dunham and her neighbors took action and began an informal gathering of neighbors held each month. Next, they added English conversation groups and then a newsletter. By 1963 Dunham’s group, International Neighbors, became an official nonprofit charitable organization.

A variety of activities

International Neighbors’ emphasis is on activities that strengthen friendships between women while promoting cultural exchange and helping participants feel welcome in the United States. All women are welcome to participate.Groups meet regularly at libraries, churches, cafés or members’ homes. The nonprofit is funded through donations, with no fee to participate. All group leaders and board members are volunteers.

A dentist abroad

Aya Fujiwara was a dentist in Japan and came to the U.S. with her husband and three children, so that her husband could do research with the University of Michigan Medical School. This is Fujiwara’s second year in an English conversation group. She comes prepared with a pocket translator that she occasionally uses to look up a word. She enjoys other women and is happy that her 2-year-old daughter can attend the nursery during the meeting, with other children. Fujiwara believes the organization needs to advertise more. She loves the groups she has attended and wants more women to know about them.

Precious time

When Sonoko Sato’s husband was transferred from Japan to Ann Arbor to work with Toyota, she began looking for resources to help her adjust to life in America. She discovered the International Neighbors website and attended an open house. There she found an English conversation group that would fit her schedule and allow her son to attend as well. To Sato, “This time is precious!” as she can sit with other women and speak English while learning new things. She enjoys the small group setting that allows everyone to have the opportunity to speak. Sato, who is expecting another boy this spring, is nervous about adjustment to a new baby, but is grateful that friends through International Neighbors are supportive.

Valuing friendships

Valeria Mora was a busy mom and practicing

psychologist in her native Chile when her husband received a scholarship to U of M to work with the Institute of Social Research. Mora, who had studied English, was excited to come to the U.S., yet she found it isolating to be in a new country. She was at home with her toddler during the days while her husband and two older children were attending school, when she heard about International Neighbors at the community center in her housing complex. It’s wonderful to find a weekly group where her young son is welcome and where she can speak English, talk and laugh with other women. Mora values the friendships she has made.

Truly International Neighbors is building bridges of friendship and understanding, one woman at a time. To find out more about International Neighbors visit 14

• February 2017 •

Hearing others’ experiences Satoko Hikage, a dermatologist from Japan, came to the United States for her husband’s studies. As the mom of two daughters, Hikage was excited when a friend told her about International Neighbors’ conversation groups with free babysitting. For Hikage, the chance to speak English has been very helpful. She has enjoyed getting to know women from around the world, learning about their cultures, and hearing their experiences.

Learning opportunities

Originally from Japan, Sayaka Aoyama is the mother of two sons. Her family came to Michigan for her husband to study business. Apart from International Neighbors functions she speaks Japanese almost exclusively. Attending the weekly conversation group allows her to practice her English skills and meet other women. She has made new friends and even carpools to group meetings with her neighbor, who also attends.

A brief visit Hacer Kirli (not pictured) was a student in Istanbul studying Islamic law

when her husband was admitted at the University of Michigan. Only here for a year, and wanting to make the most of her time in America, she attends an English conversation group. Kirli has been delighted with visits from International Neighbors friends congratulating her and meeting her new baby daughter, and looks forward to attending the group again, once her baby is older.


Letter to My Teenage Son about Marriage By Kathryn Streeter

Dear Teenage Son,

Today your dad and I celebrated our 24th wedding anniversary. It was a remarkable day since all around us with increasing regularity, marriages are falling apart. Tying the knot is the easy part; staying together requires intentional habits, and staying in love most certainly does not happen by chance. Here are some things you may be unaware of that your dad has done well to keep us together and in love over the years:

Exercise has been a priority. We married young and he brought his high school football body into the marriage. Luckily, he quickly realized that without playing the game his muscles would soften and so he morphed into a runner. When we turned 30, just as when we turned 40, people continued to warn that rapid weight gain was practically guaranteed due to a slower metabolism and a sedentary lifestyle. Your dad thought it a ridiculous prophecy and rejected it. Because of this, at age 46 he kept up with you in the last Spartan Race competition. Not only is he able to be a more engaged father, but his disciplined workout routine has also kept me motivated to do the same. We have a fuller life because we can bike, paddle-board and hike together. Besides the natural health benefits of exercising, we recognize that our options are more open to the adventures we can have now in mid-life and beyond.

We’ve synchronized habits. Your dad’s professional life has always meant that the alarm sounds early. Synchronizing our sleep habits was reasonable because we wanted to be tired at the same time so that our rising together helped to better launch a new day. Establishing this routine helped us do the little but difficult daily things together, such as getting you out of bed for school. There were times in your dad’s career when he’d barely get home in time to kiss you good night before you drifted to sleep. We’d then share a simple meal off the grill and though he’d be whipped, we would update each other on the day. It helped keep our worlds connected. Too many couples fall apart because their worlds grow apart. He hasn’t harbored resentment. Your dad doesn’t keep a list about what I’ve done wrong. He doesn’t keep score. This character quality is something I’ve admired in him since we were newlyweds. I’m profoundly grateful that he honestly lets things go after some disagreement has been righted. There are already too many things that pull relationships apart. Nagging each other about trivia is perilous to a strong marriage. So is regurgitating past wrongs.

We’ve prioritized play every weekend. Your dad likes to make memories together. Early on in our marriage, we did weekends very simply: we played together. When you kids entered the picture, we adjusted and went to playgrounds. We didn’t have huge expectations for our weekends. The honey-do list didn’t exist and neither did your dad have unrealistic expectations for me. We were content putzing around and playing together. Do couples who play together stay together? For us, yes. This doesn’t negate the obvious, that, as you’ve seen, he’s often worked late into the nights. But play over the weekend was, and always will be, important.

We are forthcoming about the week’s demands. We talk beforehand about what is scheduled for the upcoming week— no surprises means you’re better prepared. This time of exchanging and reviewing the pending week’s schedule often revealed just how many times your dad had excused himself from various cocktail parties and receptions so as to get home at night. These conversations were illuminating to me: it underscored his desire to get home to us at the end of each intense day. It also helped me to prepare for the extra-long days as a work-athome-mom (WAHM) when he was gone and I’d be running completely solo.

He has a willingness to lead. Since I’m the product of an indecisive home, I’ve appreciated your dad’s unapologetic direction. When I’ve been ambivalent and he’s felt strongly, I appreciated your dad showing decisiveness. It’s a relief. He’s offering something I don’t have and helping us to be whole. Of course there are ways I solely contribute to our marriage partnership, but I humbly acknowledge that this isn’t one of them. As you grow into manhood, you’re learning from observing men in your life. We both know that your dad hasn’t been a perfect. But when he’s messed up, he’s been able to readily apologize and make fun of himself. He doesn’t take himself too seriously. As your mom, I’ve been delighted to watch you two hang out together. Ultimately, these notes I’ve written down today are to help you know your dad more fully and recognize habits that have contributed to our marriage. This letter isn’t to be confused with marriage insurance, as if such an equation existed to achieve a long, happy marriage. You’re your own man. You’ll be great, just as you are.

Those Four Little Words

“I love you, anyway.” By Doug French

Since I’ve moved to Michigan, I’ve learned it’s particularly challenging to look outside your window at the gray slush pooling in your driveway and think about love. But think about it we must, because after four months of meteorological punishment, Valentine’s Day is all we have to keep our inner pilot lights lit until the Great Thaw.

I’m not currently in love. But I have been, four times. I’m talking L-O-V-E love, the jump-off-Oprah’s-couch love. The love that sends you into a spiral of Morrissey tracks and Lars Von Trier movies when it’s over. And even though none of those relationships has panned out, I look forward to being in love again. Love is special. What else can kick your guts out four times and keep you on the lookout for number five? Emotional growth comes from learning how to cope with life’s paradoxes, and nothing other than love is this good at simultaneously being the best thing ever and a total pain in the ass.

This is why everyone should be in love before they become a parent. People need to learn that after you have a child, it’s perfectly normal that you would happily throw yourself under a bus to save someone who drives you up the wall. Being in love doesn’t mean saying “I love you.” (Hell, I’ve said that to a cat.) If you really love someone, you can tell them “I love you, anyway.”

After you’ve lived a half-century or two, you get a sense of how the world

works. You realize that, among us humans, communication is a struggle and chemistry is a miracle. To get to a stage of intimacy with someone where your glasses are so rose-colored that you can’t see all their red flags? That’s about as rare as a pig flying over a blue moon while eating his hat. If you can find it, that’s really all you need. I’m out there, now. Again. And not just for me. Now that my boys are tweenagers, I think it’s important to model a relationship for them beyond the sterile negotiations with their mother. The thing is, though, when you’re out of love and looking to get back in, there’s this whole rigamarole of courting, and deodorant, and keeping up this preposterous façade that you’re a much better person than you really are. It’s exhausting.

When you’re a parent, though, you get to skip all that. Because that love is built right in. As soon as someone hands you that squirming little mess, your heart grows three sizes, and you know you’ve entered a new stage of confinement that you’ll never want to escape. You know they’re going to put you in precarious situations. They’ll throw tantrums in church and leave wet towels on the leather sofa. They’ll defy and disappoint you. They might even lie, or steal, or break your heart.

But your life will be richer for the adventure, and for the rest of your life you’ll get to say “I love you, anyway” over and over.


Originally published on The Good Men Project. • February 2017 •


Nick’s Original House of Pancakes 3030 Lohr Circle Ann Arbor, MI 48108 Phone: (734) 622-NICK (6425) Hours: Daily 7am-3pm

The author’s son (L) and UofM quarterback Wilton Speight (R) both enjoy breakfast at Nick’s.

Full bellies, warm hearts

Fried chicken and a waffle— the perfect compromise for diners who want dinner with a side of breakfast.

Giant pancakes and more at Nick’s By Katy M. Clark

There is nothing better on a cold winter’s morning than a warm breakfast. That someone else cooks. So it was that my family became ensconced in a booth at Nick’s Original House of Pancakes. Located near the intersection of Ann Arbor-Saline Road and I-94, Nick’s has been serving breakfast and lunch for seven years. Owner Nick Panos has created a warm, large dining space full of natural light.

Big decisions

While the menu is bigger than your typical diner menu, so are the prices. There are jumbo gourmet omelettes, egg specialties such as the Baja Bennies with avocado and tomato, Belgian waffles and French toast. Diners can pick a sizzling skillet like the Fat Cat layered with hash browns, eggs, ground sirloin and veggies. Lunch choices include burgers, sandwiches such as a BLT or Reuben, soups and salads. And of course pancakes, made from scratch and served with warm syrup, come in original and decadent versions, such as the fruit explosion with blackberries, strawberries, blueberries and bananas, or the Michigan cherry with walnuts. Specials include selections like pumpkin or blueberry lemon poppy seed pancakes that rotate with the season.

My son, 13, picked the chocolate chip pancakes topped with whipped cream and powdered sugar. After I spied another table’s pancakes, I urged the short stack— two versus three pancakes— costing 59 cents less ($7.70). I selected an Athenian omelette with spinach, feta, Greek olives, onion and tomatoes ($9.99) served with wheat toast and hash browns. Fried chicken and waffles ($12.99) appealed to my husband, while my daughter, 10, chose a Mickey Mouse pancake from the kid’s menu (all children’s menu items cost $5.49, including a drink). She added chocolate chips ($1.29), bacon ($3.49) and toast ($1.99). While we realized the chocolate chips were an upcharge, we failed to notice the bacon and toast cost extra. Our mistake. Other children’s menu options were eggs, French toast, grilled cheese, burgers or chicken fingers.

Big portions

Heaps of hot food were served. My omelette was substantial, overflowing with feta and olives, perfectly cooked and accompanied by hash browns. My son dug into his chocolate chip pancakes. The short stack was plenty. I tasted them; the pancakes were fluffy and sweet. Meanwhile, my daughter munched contentedly on her pancake and toast, split-

ting her side of crispy bacon with my husband. “The chicken is really good,” he commented. “It has tasty allspice on it. The waffle is amazing, too.” “Can I have some?” I asked. “Seriously?” he replied. “You have half a chicken!” I protested. Indeed, his serving included four pieces and a waffle as thick as my waist. My indignation and 22 years of marriage garnered me ONE bite, which was yummy.

Big satisfaction

We found big portions that satisfied at Nick’s. As a testament to the colossal serving sizes, we spied members of the University of Michigan football team dining that morning. None of them took home leftovers. Plus, U of M quarterback Wilton Speight posed for a picture with us. Go Blue and Go Nick’s.

The Short Course

Kid-friendly: Yes To avoid wait: Go early for dinner or try lunchtime on the weekends Noise level: High if full

To avoid wait: Mid-morning on weekends is busiest

Bathroom amenities: Changing tables in both men’s and women’s High chairs? Yes

Got milk? Yes. Assorted juices and soft drinks are available, too. Kids’ menu? Yes

Anything healthy for kids? You can order sides such as sliced banana or oatmeal.

Food allergy concerns? Alert your server, who can help with ingredients. The kitchen cleans the grill and uses fresh utensils to prepare meals for those with allergies.


• February 2017 •

{February 2017} All calendar events are subject to change, cancellation and limited size. Calling ahead for confirmation is recommended.



826michigan: Youth Creative Writing Budding writers (ages 8-12) can get creative and exercise their writing ability. 4pm. Ypsilanti District Library-Whittaker, 5577 Whittaker Rd. 734-482-4110. Free Kids Yoga Kids Yoga promotes physical strength, self-esteem and self-respect. Children ages 6-13. 6pm. $10-$15. Peachy Fitness, 2835 S. Huron Pkwy., 734-681-0477.



CyberSafety for Parents The Cyber Safety Coordinator from the Washtenaw Area Council for Children talks to parents about what their kids are seeing online, including how to recognize the signs of cyberbullying. 6:30pm. Ypsilanti District Library, 5577 Whittaker Rd., 734-482-4110. Free Noises Off! A comedic look at theater, Noises Off! is recommended for ages 14 and over. February 2 through the 19. 7pm. $21. The Encore Musical Theatre Company, 3126 Broad St., 734-268-6200.

4 SATURDAY The Little Scientist Club A special day for the preschool aged children to discover and be curious about the world. Older kids are welcome, too. 9:30am. $5-$12. Ann Arbor Hands-On Museum, 220 E Ann St., 734-995-5439. Kids Zumba Jr. Kids ages 4-6, with a parent, are invited to try out Zumba in a fun environment. 10am. $10-$15. Peachy Fitness, 2835 S. Huron Pkwy., 734-681-0477. Cloth Diapering Workshop This workshop covers basic cloth diaper options, care, cost and adapting a system to your family. Diaper services will also be discussed. 10am. $20. The Little Seedling, 2121 W Stadium Blvd., 734-418-2392. Miss Marlena’s All-Star Story Hour Meet all of the friendly and silly characters who drop by, with the storytelling, songs, and laughs. Recommended for ages 6 and up. 10am. $5. Eluminous Studios, 1205 Industrial Dr, Saline. 734-944-0286. Kids Zumba The ultimate dance-fitness party for young Zumba fans, boys and girls ages 6-13. 11am. $10- $15. Peachy Fitness, 2835 S. Huron Pkwy., 734-681-0477. Children’s Meditation Dennis and Irena Stoilov of Sahaja Yoga are coming to YDL to teach kids and parents how to meditate. Kids ages 4 and up are welcome with a parent. 12pm. Ypsilanti District Library-Whittaker, 5577 Whittaker Rd., 734-482-4110. Free

Stewardship Workday: World Wetland Discover the Barton Nature Area’s wetlands, usually inaccessible in the warm months. Participants will use hand tools to remove the invaders and should dress for the weather. 1pm. Barton Nature Area, W. Huron River Dr., 734-794-6627. Valentine’s Claymation (Families) A fun hands-on class for families. Work together as a team to create a Valentine’s Day animation using 3D claymation techniques and animation software. Price includes supplies for up to four participants. 1:30pm. $115. Ann Arbor Art Center, 117 W Liberty St., 734-994-8004.

Build your own pull-toy

The Ann Arbor District Library offers more than books! This two-part workshop will lead community members through the design and building process to make their very own custom pull toy. The class will be taught by members of the UM Global Design Lab, from the University’s Department of Mechanical Engineering. Materials used in the workshop will include foam, fiberboard, and craft supplies for decorations. This activity is perfect for kids from first grade to adults. Saturday, February 11 and 18. 2-3:30pm. Ann Arbor District Library-Downtown, Secret Lab, 343 S. Fifth Ave. 734-327-4200. Free

Creature Encounters: Cougar Harper, the cougar, is the featured creature for the month of February. Also check out other animal ambassadors. Families are invited to bring a snack. 2pm and 4pm. $8. The Creature Conservancy, 4950 Ann Arbor-Saline Rd., 734-929-9324. Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood The legacy of “Mister Rogers Neighborhood” is reborn with a live performance of “Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood”, sharing stories of friendship, singing dancing and laughter. Best for PreK-Grade 3. 3pm. $25-$35. Michigan Theater, 603 E Liberty St., 734-668-8397. Strum & Drum Fam Jam Get your hands on some drums and make music as a family. New families get in free. 3pm. $15. Oz’s Music, 1920 Packard St., 734-662-8283. Kids Open Stage Any child with a flair or interest in music may enjoy this chance to listen and perform. Jokes, poems, dance moves and art will also be shared. 4pm. Oz’s Music, 1920 Packard St., 734-662-8283. Free Parents’ Night Out Parents go out and kids stay in at the Leslie Science and Nature Center. Activities will be outside, so dress for the weather. Pizza for dinner and a late-night popcorn snack. 5pm. $30. Leslie Science and Nature Center, 1831 Traver Rd., 734-997-1553.



Dancing Babies with Dianne Dudley Does your baby or young child (up to age 5) love to dance and wiggle? It’s a program of music and motion. 1pm. Ann Arbor District Library-Malletts Creek, 3090 E. Eisenhower Pkwy., 734-327-4200. Free GameStart Workshop: 3D Video Game Design The kids will get to work with the Unity Development Kit, a software that real video game developers use. The event is intended for grades 3-8. 2pm. Ann Arbor District Library-Downtown, 343 S. Fifth Ave., 734-327-4200. Free

Skins Scat and Skulls Naturalist and educator Dave Szczygiel brings his collection of native Michigan animal specimens. Nature walk after the program. Advance registration requested. 2pm. $2-$5. Eddy Discovery Center, 17030 Bush Rd., 734-475-3170. Kidfolk-Sing and Tap Along Get your hands on interesting traditional instruments like banjo, mountain and hammer dulcimers, and guitar. The event is intended for PreK-grade 3. 4pm. Ann Arbor District Library-Downtown, 343 S. Fifth Ave., 734-327-4200. Free

8 WEDNESDAY New Mothers and Babies Group This group is for new mothers, feeling a little unprepared, or just wanting to meet other new moms. The group is led by a social worker who shares coping skills, anxieties and postpartum issues. Call to register. 2pm. $15. Ann Arbor Counseling Associates, 6276 Jackson Rd., Ste D. 734-548-9772.

9 THURSDAY Drum Me a Story A colorful performance of African tales through storytelling, acting, dancing, and drumming. This is an interactive and immersive performance. Runs through Feb 11. 10am. $3-$12. Washtenaw Community College, 4800 E Huron River Dr., 734-995-0530. Kids in the Kitchen Kids in grades 1-5 are invited to the “Heart Healthy Science” workshop with the Junior League of Ann Arbor, with experiments, cooking and activities. Preregistration required. 6pm. $5-$10. Ann Arbor Hands-On Museum, 220 E Ann St., 734-995-5439.

Brick bash

The ever-popular Brick Bash returns! A benefit for the Skyline Band Program, Brick Bash is a public, hands-on, LEGO-building exhibition for the whole family. Hundreds of LEGO creations will be on display made by people from all over the country: trains, trucks, towns, robotics, and more. The event will feature an abundance of LEGOs to play with, animated films made with LEGO products, and other activities for kids. The Skyline Drumline will also present an exciting performance at 2pm. Arrangements available for children who benefit from a sensoryfriendly environment for one hour following the public hours on Saturday, with prior arrangement required via a form on the event’s website. Saturday, February 25 and Sunday, February 26. 11am-6pm (Saturday). 12pm-5pm (Sunday). $5/person, $20/family of four or more. Skyline High School, 2552 N. Maple Rd.

10 FRIDAY TinkerLab: Art Kids ages 2-6 that love to get a little messy with arts & crafts have an opportunity for some unstructured tinkering. This session topic - “Paint Like Michelangelo”.10:30am. Ypsilanti District Library-Whittaker, 5577 Whittaker Rd., 734-482-4110. Free Butterfly Ball Get all dolled up and head on over to the ball. This Daddy Daughter dance is a night of music, refreshments and, of course, dancing. 6:30pm. $11-14. Summit on the Park, 46000 Summit Pkwy., Canton. 734-394-5472. Spinx Honors Concert The 20th annual Sphinx Honors concert invites schools from Washtenaw county to see a free concert featuring top Black and Latino string musicians. 12pm. Orchestra Hall, 3711 Woodward Ave., Detroit. 313-877-9100. Free



Critters Up Close The featured animals this month are decomposers.10am. $5-$12. Ann Arbor Hands-On Museum, 220 E Ann St., 734-995-5439. Movie & Popcorn for Kids Bring the children in for some popcorn and the movie “Storks.” 11am. Dexter District Library, 3255 Alpine St., 734-426-4477. Free Make a Valentine Card and Decoration Celebrate Valentine’s Day with some themed crafts, heart-themed ornaments and cards. 2pm. Ann Arbor District LibraryPittsfield, 2359 Oak Valley Dr., 734-327-4200. Free • February 2017 •




Winter Warmers Learn to make dishes that keep the heat in during the cold months, like a beef and bean chili with all of the fixings. For kids ages 8 and up, parents are welcome, too. 2pm. $50. Sprouting Chefs, 1500 Scio Church Rd., 734-474-1006. Elmo’s Birthday Party Celebrate the lovable red Muppet’s birthday with Elmos themed stories, crafts and snacks. 3:30pm. Ypsilanti District LibraryMichigan, 229 W Michigan Ave., 734-482-4110. Free



Storybooks in Clay Get a fun introduction to clay through famous book characters. All materials will be provided. For kids ages 5-9. 12:30pm. $85. Ann Arbor Art Center, 117 W. Liberty St., 734-994-8004. Family Reading and Science Program Workshop This workshop’s topic is “The Secrets of Plants”. Learn how plants are used in research for global warming and medicine. Registration is required. 1pm. Ruthven Museums Building, 1109 Geddes Ave. 734-764-0480. Free Stewardship Workday Show invasive species who’s boss and help protect the native species. All ages are welcome, but dress for the weather. Volunteer at Furstenberg Natura Area and participants will meet in the parking lot off Fuller Rd.1pm. Huron High School, 2727 Fuller Rd., 734-794-6627.


Bats of the World The Organization for Bat Conservation presents on the world of bats from North America, South America and Africa. Advance registration requested. 2pm. $2-$5. Eddy Discovery Center, 17030 Bush Rd., 734-475-3170.

13 MONDAY Stroller Strides® Community Class Try out a total fitness program for moms and babies featuring cardio, strength and body toning exercises. 9am. Briarwood Mall, 100 Briarwood Circle. 734-725-4075. Free



All Star Readers Grades 3-5 are invited to attend a monthly book discussion group. This month the group will be reading Chocolate Touch by Patrick Skene Catling. Registration is required. 4:30pm. Dexter District Library, 3255 Alpine St., 734-426-4477. Free



Computer Coding for Elementary School Students The Huron High School Computer Science Club shares their love of coding with kids in grades 1-6. Participants are asked to bring their own laptop. 5:30pm. $5-$10. Ann Arbor Hands-On Museum, 220 E Ann St., 734-995-5439. Guided Meditation for Kids Kids in grades 1-5 can benefit from quieting their mind. A local meditation leader, will lead guided meditations for peacefulness and clarity. Bring a pillow or blanket

for comfort. Parents are welcome, too! 6:30pm. Ann Arbor District LibraryTraverwood, 3333 Traverwood Dr., 734-327-4200. Free Julie Danielson: A Picture Book Discussion Author Julie Danielson writes about and her own picture books. 7pm. Literati Bookstore, 124 E. Washington St., 734-585-5567. Free

18 SATURDAY ScienceFest: Physics Palooza. The UM Society of Physics Students teams up with the Hands-On Museum for a weekend of programing. Also on Feb 19. 10am. $5-$10. Ann Arbor Hands-On Museum, 220 E Ann St., 734-995-5439. Love A celebration of love and friendship, this interactive performance. Is recommended for children preK-grade 5. Adults are free. 10:30am. $7. Pointless Brewery & Theatre, 3014 Packard St., 989-455-4484. Daddy Daughter Dance Dads, grandpas, uncles or guardians are welcome for dancing, light refreshments and crafts. Get all dolled up. 6:30pm. $8. Meri Lou Murray Recreation Center, 2960 Washtenaw Ave., 734-971-6355 x. 211.

19 SUNDAY Stix and Tones: Musical Elements for Young Children The Stratus Ensemble brings a love of music to this dynamic children’s concert. Focusing on melody, rhythm and improvisation. Intended for preK-grade 3. 2pm. Ann

• February 2017 •

Arbor District Library-Downtown, 343 S. Fifth Ave., 734-327-4200. Free GameStart Workshop: Choose Your Own Adventure Website The computer and tech-inclined (or even just intrigued) are invited to make their first website in the style of a “Choose Your Own Adventure” book. Kids will learn the basic formatting of HTML to tell their own story. This is intended for kids in grade 3-8. 2pm. Ann Arbor District Library-Downtown, 343 S. Fifth Ave., 734-327-4200. Free



Doug Scheer Presents: Uncle Sam’s Comedy Jam Celebrate Presidents’ Day with some laughs. Learn about the Constitution, the Bill of Rights and the three branches of government. All ages. 1pm. Dexter District Library, 3255 Alpine St., 734-426-4477. Free Winter Seminar Series: Childhood Nutrition This seminar will discuss the benefits of breast milk, formula, baby food and school lunches. 6:30pm. Robin Hills Farm, 20390 M-52. 734-834-8496. Free



Honk! Jr Auditions Auditions are open for Honk Jr. The story of Ugly, the duckling on his journey to understanding. A musical adaptation of the Hans Christian Anderson tale. Ugly is assisted by a gaggle of animal characters. Playing May 5-7. Call for participation fees. 6:30pm. Ann Arbor Civic Theatre, 322 W. Ann St., 734-971-2769.




Friends of Library Book Sale Start or add to your personal home library. Bring a grocery bag and fill it with books of different genres.10am. $4-$5. Ann Arbor District Library Downtown, 343 South Fifth Ave., 734-930-1673.

Storytelling for Kids The Ark’s annual Storytelling Festival wraps up with a show for families and kids. 1pm. $10. The Ark, 316 S. Main St., 734-761-1800.

Sweet Treats Baking is a great family activity. Add some new recipes to the family repertoire. Healthy ingredients including mixed fresh berries and banana and zucchini. This is a nut free class. Kids ages 8 and up. Parents are welcome.10am. $50. Sprouting Chefs, 1500 Scio Church Rd., 734-474-1006.

Teen Creative Studio Teens drop-infor an opportunity to get creative, get a snack and to meet others. This month’s activity is chocolate science. 5:30pm. Ypsilanti District Library-Whittaker, 5577 Whittaker Rd., 734-482-4110. Free



Understanding Owls The Leslie Science Center offers a fun learning experience about owls. Recommended for kids ages 5 and up. 2pm. Ypsilanti District Library, 5577 Whittaker Rd., 734-482-4110.

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marketplace ADVERTISING IN MARKETPLACE 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.

Line Classifieds: Only $20 per month for 20

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. Photos are accepted with ads for an additional $5 per photo.


Children’s Storytime Enjoy storytime in Literati’s comfy space. Kids of any age are welcome. 11am. Literati Bookstore, 124 E Washington St. 734-585-5567. Free


Dinosaur Tour All dino fans are welcome to this 30-minute docent-led tour of the dinosaur exhibits at the U-M Museum of Natural History. Sign up on the day of the tour. 2pm. Ruthven Museums Building, 1109 Geddes Ave. 734-764-0480. Free


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. Ann Arbor District Library Branches. 734-327-4200. Free


Wee-Bots and Up This drop-in writing workshop is specifically for younger writers, ages 6-10. Experiment with writing prompts, learn techniques and discuss creative writing with other students. 6pm. 826Michigan, 115 E Liberty St. 734-761-3463. Free


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

Select Thursdays

Read to Otis the Library Dog Otis is a certified Therapaws dog and a great listener. Kids in grades 1-3 read aloud to Otis to practice their skills without judgement. On Feb 9 and Feb 23 your child can use a 10-minute slot to read to him. Phone registration requested. 6pm. Ypsilanti District Library-Michigan, 229 W. Michigan Ave. 734-482-4110 x1390. Free


Tales for Twos Develop tots early literacy skills with some engaging storytime. Share stories, songs and rhymes. Recommended for ages 2-3 years. 10am. Brighton District Library, 100 Library Ave. 810229-6571 x223. Free

the 15th of the month prior to publication.

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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.


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



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FitMama FitMe Fellowship & Fitness to build lasting friendships and healthy lifestyles FREE for Moms with Tots (ages 0-4) Thursday from 10:15-11:30am. 3830 Packard Rd, Suite 150 Ann Arbor, MI 48108. Call Kimberly at 240-388-2537 to reserve your spots or answer questions

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Ann Arbor Family - February 2017  

Education Guide, Ann Arbor welcomes women of all nations, How to host a fondue party

Ann Arbor Family - February 2017  

Education Guide, Ann Arbor welcomes women of all nations, How to host a fondue party