Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Michigan on a Budget #3- State Parks

Now that spring is finally in the air, it's time to talk about outdoor fun in Michigan! Michigan has State Parks and Recreational Areas all over the state. The parks vary in the amenities they offer, but it's quite possible to find fishing, boating, hiking and biking opportunities all in one place. Some of the parks have nature centers and educational programs. Many have beautiful beaches and swimming areas. Take a picnic and spend the day!

At $6 for a daily entrance to the park or $24 for an annual vehicle pass, the deal is too good to pass up!

There are additional fees for camping or some other activities, and if you're going to be doing anything that requires a permit-make sure you get one!

Check out the Michigan DNR website for more info!

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

More Michigan Resources

Are you heading out the grocery store and want to know what Michigan products are lurking on the shelves? Then just check out some of these sites!

Buy Michigan Now
Made in Michigan
Buy Michigan Products

I've used each of these sites while looking for Michigan products and I like all three. I will be featuring these sites, and others, individually in later posts, but I wanted to make sure everyone had the links to start using with your very next trip to the store!

Enjoy-you may be pleasantly surprised about which products are made right here at home!

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Hiller's Michigan Foods Fair

Hiller's is a Michigan-based grocery chain that is spearheading a campaign to support Michigan companies. Their circular highlights which products are from Michigan and how many people each company employs. Not only that, they are very fun store with lots of gourmet and hard to find items!

On March 21-22, 2009 from 11am until 4pm there will be a Michigan Foods Fair at the Union Lake Hiller's store on Commerce Road. Vendors will be offering samples of their products and people will be on hand to answer questions about supporting Michigan and what else you can do to help. Check out Hiller's website for more information.

Another awesome thing going on at Hiller's is the Hometown First program. When you spend $100 at Hiller's you qualify for a Hometown First card. There is a list of local businesses that will accept your Hometown First card as a coupon. The card is redeemable one time. There is a more detailed explanation here.

Please find your local Hiller's and check them out! You will find a great selection of products and you will be helping Michigan businesses-everybody wins!

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

It's Maple Sugaring Season! and Michigan on a Budget #2

Did you know that Michigan is very active in the Maple Sugar industry? Michigan is one of few places in the world that has native maples suitable for sugaring!

This is the time of year to see some sugaring demonstrations. Freezing nights and above freezing days cause the sap to run. On a good day, from a large tree, you might get a gallon of sap. It takes forty gallons of sap to boil down to 1 gallon of syrup!

Parks all over Michigan are doing maple sugar demos in the next couple of weeks. My family headed over to Independence Oaks in Clarkston for Maple Magic last weekend. Using a puppet show to interest the kids, we learned the basics of tapping a tree, collecting the sap and boiling it down to syrup. With crafts and samples of foods made from maple syrup the program kept everyone happy!

After the inside portion, we headed outside to tap a tree and see a kettle of sap boiling over an open fire. The presenters did a great job and the program was enjoyed by everyone!

The park itself looked like it had a lot to do. We passed trails, play equipment and picnic tables. The Lewis Wint Nature Center has both stuffed and live animals to check out. The entrance fee into the park is $7 for a day, so if it hadn't been raining we would have spent a lot longer. The program was an additional $2 a person. If the weather had been nicer, we could've packed a lunch and had a great day out for $13. Definitely budget friendly!

Check out the Maple Syrup Association website for more information about sugaring and check out possible demos in your area!

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Great Lakes Children's Museum

I love Traverse City. It is beautiful, fun and has something for everyone. For the younger members of your group there is the Great Lakes Children's Museum. When we went my son had just turned two and he had a blast!

It has a water and boating theme (appropriate enough). There is an area for coloring, a very cool climbing/sliding explanation of the water cycle and the most incredible virtual stream that reacts as people walk through it. The best part, though, is the huge, interactive water table that dominates the center area.
Kids are able to see how the flow of water changes as they add or remove the plastic panels. A large collection of floating toys helps drive the lesson home. As a bonus, adults seem to love the table as much (maybe more) than the kids. My husband played at the table for much of our visit!

There is a small toddler area full of fish pillows, books and a small, soft slide.

There is also a game that helps illustrate how pollution affects us and the water around us. It was a little advanced for my little guy, but the older kids really seemed to be enjoying it.

At just $6 a person for an all-day admission (under 2 are free), the museum is a great bargain for a little fun for the kids. Visit the museum website for more information on hours and events.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009


I must apologize for my absence. I was out of town for a while and kind of got out of the routine! I will be back tomorrow with a post about some fun in the northen lower peninsula!

See you tomorrow!