MAD (Mindie, Adam, Alex, David) Family Fun is the result of friends and family asking "How do you find so much fun stuff to do?" So, I decided to share with everyone! There are no BIG secrets involved, I promise. I just have a knack for finding fun and now I want to share it with you!

MAD Family Fun is a place to find activities, events and ideas to have more fun with your family. Enjoy!

Thursday, June 30, 2011

What's more fun then stitches? EVERYTHING!!!

We had a very unexpected adventure here at MAD yesterday. Someone learned that opening string cheese with scissors was  BAD idea. After a traumatic trip to urgent care and stitches he is recovering fine. Every day is an adventure around here but this is one adventure I never want to have again!

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Become a Planet Protector

Join the EPA Planet Protector's Club which includes: An official membership certificate, An official Planet Protectors Club badge, activity booklets for grades K-3 and 4-5

The art of touch

Today we played a fun game of "what is it." One person closed their eyes and the 2nd person hands them an item. Through only using touch, the 1st person had to guess what they were holding. Some items were very easy, others more challenging. We each took turns collecting items in a bag and trying to get the other person to guess. It was a simple game but there was much laughing. Why not give it a try!

Monday, June 27, 2011

Popsicle 4th of July Flag

It is time to start getting ready for the Fourth of July and I have found a super cute Popsicle flag you can make.

Campout, fun and done!

Home Sweet Home (in the backyard)

Did you take part in the Great American Backyard Campout? We did!! We had a wonderful time roasting marshmallows and catching fireflies. We had crawled in the tent for the night and someone would NOT stop talking so I told him a campfire story.

I told him there were Oooblies who were bigger then cats but smaller then dogs. They had purple eyes and ate grass. But their most favorite thing to eat ever was a child filled with marshmallows. At this point, the boy claimed he had not eaten a single marshmallow. I told him when they found a tent with a kid full of marshmallows, they scratched at the tent. Well of course I had to scratch the tent!

He then claimed to have had 3 marshmallows. When the scratching got louder he yelled "I HAD MORE THEN 3!!!" I could not stop laughing. Needless to say, even though I assured him there were no such things as Oooblies, the tent was abandoned around midnight. Though to his credit at 3 am he wanted to go back out!

I think backyard campouts might have to become a tradition, Oooblies and all!

Catching fireflies

Hot dogs and S'mores. Check the dog out eyeballing the boys s'more on the arm of the chair!

Sunday, June 26, 2011

How much fun can you have for $3?

I read the paper. I talk to strangers. I find the fun, I am the cruise director! So how much fun can we have on just $3? More then should be legal!

After going to Lowe's Build and Grow clinic where he made a waving flag (for FREE) we headed to the local children's garden. They were asking for a $1 donation per person for their Garden Critter event. We explored the gardens, did a scavenger hunt, made a craft, met worms, bug eating plants and more.....

Since we had made our $1 donation each at the children's garden, we were then told we got FREE admission to an area museum! How cool was that! The little museum also had a small planetarium and for $1 we both got to go! David had never been to one before.

So that my friends is how much fun you can have for $3!!! Be creative and get out there and have some fun!

Friday, June 24, 2011

Chickens are pets too!?!?

Okay, yes, we might be a bit strange having chickens for pets but look at the joy on his face! He LOVES chickens and he has done a great job taking care of them. And as an added bonus, we will be getting fresh eggs sometime soon! I think it is important for children to have the responsibility of a pet, even if it is a chicken. Our chicks have grow so much in the last few month. *sniff* Look at me getting all sentimental! Here our our "babies" now:

Learning about tools

Okay, we finally figured out what we were doing today.....

BUILD SOMETHING! We were lucky enough to pick up a few extra (FREE) Lowes Build and Grow kits and even tough he had already made the race car before, he was excited to do it again. He "read" the directions (on the blue sheet) and built it with NO help from me. I am so proud! It is amazing when you just step back and watch sometimes.

Now I know this may sound silly, but how much does your child know about tools and how to use them? I introduced my son to real tools (not toys) early in life. Let me tell you, when I am in the middle of something and ask him to go get me a phillips screwdriver, it is such a time saver!

So why not pull out some tools and have a "Tool Petting Zoo." I am not saying hand them a saw and walk away, but let them feel them and used them. Let them pound a few nails, turn a few screws. Trust me, they not only build confidence, but sure can help out when your stuck in the middle of a project.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Let's make a volcano mess

Everyone loves the erupting volcano at the science fair, right? Well now you can do one at home. Now if you don't like mess, well then maybe this is NOT for you! But if you love science, don't mind messes, and enjoy watching a child having fun, then read on.

Here is a site that not only tells you how to do it, but the science behind how it works. Here is what we did........

First put down newspaper, like I said, there will be some mess. Next place a pan on top with your container of baking soda and dish soap. We did add food coloring for fun. We were out of red so we had to opt for green. David insisted on the dinos for a more authentic eruption. We then wrapped the container with tin foil to make it look kind of like a mountain.  Last it was time to add in the vinegar and watch....

Our second eruption was even better but alas, due to technical difficulties we can't show that video. The MAD Tester enjoyed the experiment so much he is currently playing with his dinos in a pan of yuck. I am sure he will smell like vinegar for days!

You gotta get one of these

If you don't know by now, I am a Dollar Tree junkie.  And since it is science Thursday I couldn't think of a better item to share. This bug kit will also be great for the Great American Backyard Campout on Saturday.

The reason I like these is, well, they are only $1. They are awesome for kids to drag around. They have not only built in air holes, but a magnification window on top. And if you as a parent don't like touching bugs, you don't have too!

Think of the fireflies you can catch and watch with one of these....

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Campout Cooking

Saturday is almost here and that means the Great American Backyard Campout!!! Since it is Art Wednesday, I thought we would cover the "art" of cooking. So here are some easy, kid friendly eats for your camp out. Remember the Internet your friend, a quick Google search will bring you TONS of recipes.

Grilled Peanut Butter Sandwiches
Recipe Ingredients:
  • jar of peanut butter
  • bread (not too scrunched)
  • butter or oil
Cooking instructions:
Spread peanut butter on one piece of bread and put another slice on top to make a sandwich. Butter the outsides and cook on skillet till golden brown. Flip and do same to other side.

Mini Pizzas
Recipe Ingredients:
  • Pizza sauce
  • One or two packages of english muffins (2 muffins per person = 4 mini pizzas)
  • Package of shredded pizza cheeses
  • Package or two of pepperoni slices (four or five slices per pizza)
Cooking instructions:
Heat grill on camp stove and coat with a light amount of butter or cooking oil. Cut english muffins in half and lightly grill inside surfaces. Turn muffins halves over, add pizza sauce, pepperoni and shredded cheese. Leave on grill until cheese is melted and then serve.
Walking Tacos
Recipe Ingredients:
  • Small bags of tortilla chips (crushed)
  • taco meat (pre-cooked)
  • Shredded cheese
  • Lettuce
  • Tomato
  • Salsa
  • Sour cream
Cooking instructions:
Mix everything in tortilla bag and enjoy.

S'MORES (can't forget these!!!)
Recipe Ingredients:
  • Chocolate
  • Marshmallows
  • Graham crackers
Cooking instructions:
Put chocolate on graham crackers at edge of fire to melt while you toast the marshmallow. Stack it all up and eat!!

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Story Time in the Park was Moo-velous (I know that was a bad one!)

During the song "Old McDonald had a farm" David got to be the sheep!

We had another fun day at Story Time in the Park this week. Besides the wonderful songs and stories (thanks library ladies) there were farm animals!!!

Donyaellie Wheaton from Wheaton Farms brought lots of different critters for the children to see and pet. She did this on behalf of the local Farm Bureau Promotion and Education. The Farm Bureau Promotion and Education Site has more information to share with children including these fun games.

While most of the children were interested in the sheep and cows, my little man was in love with the chickens and their farm dog “Dora the wonder pup.” Thank you to Donyaellie and all her helpers!

Another big thanks goes out to Chris and Kris Langmaach from Langmaach Diary who were there on behalf of the Michigan Milk Producers. They gave all the kids FREE ICE CREAM! It was very hot out and the ice cream was a welcome relief.

What a great FREE event this was. If you didn't make it out this week, remember there is always next Tuesday. Don't live around here? Then check your local library for some summer fun!

Camp fire songs and stories

It is reading Tuesday and with the Great American Backyard Camp out coming up fast I thought I would share some resources to help make your camp out more fun!

First off we have the NWF official Backyard Camp out link of stories and songs. You can hear and print of the song from this site. My son is currently singing "Alice the Camel" as I type!

Next is the Scoutorama site. It has over 700 camp out song lyrics!

Last, from Ultimate camp resource we have we have a bunch of stories to tell around the fire.

If you still want more, just google campfire songs or stories. There are many, many, many sites out there that can help you. Just remember to keep it fun, keep it silly, and above all have FUN!!!!!

Monday, June 20, 2011

FREE Peanut Butter Sample

Do you like peanut butter? My Son does, A LOT!!! I requested my free sample, why not get yours!?!?

Adding it all up

It's math Monday again! Math does not need to be all about websites and worksheets. Math is every where and you can make a game out of it every day. For example, count how many of each species at a zoo or simple subtraction when playing a game of bowling. You can even do math in the car! How many red cars do you see. Want to make it advanced? Have the kids keep track of how many of each different color car you see and then graph it when you get home!

Its free. It's fun! Make up a math game anywhere, anytime.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Get your kids out for a run

Today my son ran a fun run race at a nearby zoo. This was his third race ever and he had a blast. Not to mention, he did well too, finishing in the top five (he was in the bottom 1/3 at the same race last year.) Why am I sharing this? Because running is a great activity for children. You can start them in a 100 yard dash and grow to who knows, the Boston Marathon!

Okay, maybe not that crazy, but all the kids seem to be having fun. They are usually around $10-15 to enter. The kids, besides the pride and fun of the race, usually will get a t-shirt and/or medal. I found a site that list some races (you can search by state.)

I find the best place to start looking for a first timer is at zoos. Their races are geared for children and they usually combine it with a family fun day event, like today's race. All three of us got into the zoo with free parking, the race, t-shirt, medal, snacks and family fun day for $13. Now that was an awesome value. So why not try one and see if your child likes to run!

Friday, June 17, 2011

Family Summer Camp at Bass Pro Shop

Do you have a Bass Pro Shop near you? If you do, you are so in for some fun! They are having Family Summer Camp!! They are offering free activities, craft and workshops. Each workshop you attend, you get a FREE pin. They also have FREE Summer Fun Activity guides available in store that look very neat. They are also having an amazing give-a-way.

Bass Pro Shop is really offering some great things to get you to come in and they are all FREE. I don't have a Bass Pro Shop near buy but I am so going to hit my hubby up to take a day trip to the nearest one so we can get in on the fun!

It's mystery Friday, let's bug out

Welcome to mystery Friday! Last night I saw our first firefly or as my 5 year old calls the "blinky bugs" of the season. To me it is just not summer till the fireflies start blinking. I have fond memories as a child of catching fireflies and it is an activity I have since passed down to my son.

So, tonight we shall begin "firefly watch 2011." I found an article for you new firefly watchers to help you on how to help these neat bugs and safe handling of these amazing critters. Like the fact, insect repellent on you hands will hurt them! Not something you would thing about in your excitement to catch them.

Thanks to the Museum of Science in Boston, you can do even more then just watch and catch these "blinky bugs." They have started Firefly Watch, where volunteers all over can report their backyard firefly activity to help the scientific community learn more about these bugs, like if their numbers really are declining.

So get your jars ready, wash your hands, stay up late and make some firefly memories!

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Quaker Steak & Lube - FREE kids club

I have never been to one of these but I found a link for their Kids' Club. It is for kids 8 and under. They will receive an official Coop's Crew Kit including driver's card, frequency meal card and a voucher for a free kid's meal good at any Quaker Steak & Lube® location. I think the driver's card will be neat! And if we ever make it to one of these (there is one in my state) then the boy gets a free meal!

"mom I have some mail for you!"

Well it is science Thursday and ours has started out with a whirl wind. My son came and found me and announced "mom I have some mail for you." Ummm okay. So I go out to the porch and he pulls a plastic bag out of the mailbox and hands it to me. I didn't know what to expect, but what I found wasn't even one of the many thoughts that had gone through my mind.

I opened the bag and my "mail" was looking back at me!!!!!

It was a squirrel!!!! I asked where he got it and he said he found it laying in the grass. Oh No. So after letting him share his joy over his new found friend, we started science Thursday with a few little lessons:

1.) This guy was not a friend but a wild animal and NO we can't keep him as a pet
2.) Something is wrong with him if he was just laying in the grass (now go wash your hands)
3.) NEVER put an animal in a plastic bag, they can't breath.

Our science buddy is now resting in a cage outside (no my dear child he may NOT live in your room.) I hope it turns out the squirrel is fine and we can release it. As you can see by the photo, my son is VERY excited by the squirrel.

So for science Thursday, we will be learning all about squirrels. Why not pick an animal to learn about today too! I just hope it doesn't end up in YOUR mailbox!

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Sponge Art

It's art wednesday!!! Let's get crafty with sponges...............

For today's art project we are going to use sponges. You can get WASHABLE paint at Michael's for $2 a bottle and they even have them on sale sometimes for $1. Just get primary colors (red, blue, yellow) you can mix the rest yourself. You could also buy sponges and cut out shapes yourself but I am so cheating today! Dollar Tree had this wonderful pack of pre-cut sponges for $1. Can't beat it, right?

If you don't have sponges, just finger paint. Who cares if paint gets every where because you should use WASHABLE paint. Less worry, more fun! So be creative! And post you master pieces on the FB page wall. We would love to see them!

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

One World, Many Stories - Summer Kick Off

Today kicked off the 2011 summer Story Time in the Park program put on by the Charlotte Community Library.  I have waited, umm I mean, David and I have waited all winter to sing the welcome song at the Story Time. "Hello. My name is Jo. I have a wife and three kids and I work in a button factory. One day, my boss came in. Said are you tired? I said no!" Trust me it is fun!

Today's event included WILX Channel 10 Weather personality, Darrin Rockcole and the mobile weather lab. He answered the childrens' questions, like where does lighting come from, what was the most rain in one day, and what is the hottest it has ever been in Michigan. The answer to the the last question is 112! WOW.

Not to be out done the "Library Ladies" put on a wonderful story time with weather related books, lots of songs and even some dancing!

Story time
David getting his dance on!
If you missed out this week, never fear! Story Time in the Park takes place Tuesdays from 11am till noon. Next week is Farm Animal Day, so meet us there to pet some live critters. Come early for a good seat, stay after for play time and don't forget your picnic!!

Don't live near by? Well check YOUR local library! I am sure they have some kind of summer fun to get into!!

Reading Tuesday 6/14/11

It is Reading Tuesday and we here at MAD will be heading to story time in the park, thanks to the Charlotte Community Library. They offer an amazing series in the summer, every Tuesday from 11-12. The park they use is great for picnicking after and playing at.

Most community libraries offer some type of summer reading programs. So hurry up and check your local library so you don't miss out on the fun!

Monday, June 13, 2011

Math Monday 6/13/11

It's Math Monday again! Do you have your thinking caps on?? Today I found a site where you can get FREE printable math worksheets!  They have them broken up by grade level, type of math, themes and holidays. The site covers preschool through 5th grade. I know David will love the themes, like this dino addition worksheet.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Product Review: Mixbook Softcover Pocket Photo Book

I recently was chosen to do a product review of a Mixbook softcover photo book. After logging on to their site I found a whole new world of photo books. Not only was the site very easy to navigate, but Mixbook also has a unique feature which allows users to invite friends and family to work on a project together. For example weddings and family reunions, this feature would be amazing.

For my 20 page, 8 x 6" landscape photo book, I put together a "story book" for my son of some of our adventures. I made it simple to read as he is just starting to learn to read. He was beyond thrilled when it arrived and in fact, took it around the neighborhood showing everyone. The paper quality in the photo book is good, shipping was timely, but next time I am going for the hardcover version as it will hold up better to a child's "love."

One of the features of Mixbook photo books that I loved was the ability to scrapbook my pages! I was able to add in elements that made it unique.

I also liked the fact that on the back cover of his book I could write him a message. Yes I got a little sentimental, but some day (when he is in his 40s,) he might appreciate it.

Mixbook was nice enough to not only let me review their produce, but for all you fun people out there they have given me a special code for a 20% off discount if you want to order from them! There is no expiration date, but it can only be used once per customer.
code: TOMOSON20

I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using created by Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commissions 16 CFR, Part 255 Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising. Tomoson Product review & giveaway Disclosure.

Product Review: Monkey T-shirt

Does this child look happy? He LOVES his "monkey shirt" from I received this shirt as a product to review and of course he laid claim to it straight away as he is our monkey boy.

So how do you tell the quality of a t-shirt? You put it on a 5 year old and let him be himself. This shirt has been washed so many times because of filth and yet the monkey image is still on there and each time the mess comes out. I have no idea where they get the shirts they silk screen on, but it is high quality. not only does t-shirts, but hoodies, hats and more.

I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using created by Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commissions 16 CFR, Part 255 Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising. Tomoson Product review & giveaway Disclosure.

Friday, June 10, 2011

It's Mystery Friday

Welcome to Mystery Friday!!! Have you heard of dinner and a movie? Well why not make a date for lunch and a movie! Today we are going to have theater time in our own home. I am going to offer up Kung Fu Panda or Beverly Hill Chihuahua and I already now the dogs will win. We have watched it so many times, but who cares, as long as we are having fun. So pop some popcorn and cuddle down with you family and have a home theater experience.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

It's science Thursday

Welcome to science Thursday. Today I thought we would learn about friction! I found this fun game on the Sid the Science Kid website that lets you try different surface to see how friction effects the distance something goes. Next we are going to try some of the same ideas in real life by running our own experiments. For example a building block on hardwood, carpet, and linoleum.

If friction isn't your idea of fun, the Sid the Science Kid website covers tons of science topics. Here at MAD, we love Sid!

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Today is World Oceans Day

June 8th is World Oceans Day. This year's theme is "Youth: the Next Wave for Change." The oceans connect everyone on this planet and you don't have to live nears one to care about them or make a difference.

There is a non-profit page on FaceBook for World Oceans Day. I scrolled down the wall and found tons of really neat information. While I am going to share a few things I found here, you really should check it out.

Some Fun things to check out.......

National Geographic has wonderful photo galleries you can go through to see images of our oceans and the life in it.
The ARKive website is amazing, not only do they have photos, but video and more. Very neat!
This website gives some good ideas on how to celebrate World Oceans Day, including the "7Cs Pledge" for ocean conservation.
The FunnelBrain site has a ton of quizzes to check you ocean IQ.

So get on over to World Oceans Day and see what you can find. You might even be able to get some ocean saving swag, like reusable bags!