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!

Friday, April 29, 2011

Be a TREEture


Just stumbled across this wonderful website, TREEtures. It has amazing lesson plans for parents and teachers to help kids learn about trees. There are so many fun things to do! LOL I am a bit overwhelmed by my choices. For today I am just going to start at the beginning with the Twigs character lesson and we will definitely be back to do the others!

Thursday, April 28, 2011

April 29th is Arbor Day - HUG A TREE


Yes folks, tomorrow is Arbor Day. But what is Arbor Day you ask? Well according to the Arbor Day Foundation:

Arbor Day is a nationally-celebrated observance that encourages tree planting and care. Founded by J. Sterling Morton in 1872, it's celebrated on the last Friday in April.

The Arbor Day Foundation website has all sorts of interesting stuff to thumb through, including how to celebrate Arbor Day, the Nature Explores Families Club with free down loadables, and lots of Educational Resources.

Also if you Google Arbor Day 2011 and your state you can find events planed to celebrate, like our local zoo has an event! If nothing else, get out there tomorrow and hug a tree. Remember they give us shade!!!

Save the frogs day - April 29th




Get out of town!!!! I had no idea there even was a save the frog day! Yep folks that is right, these little guys went and got their own day and the NWF has all sorts of info to share with you on frogs.  There are even some save the frog day rallies going on so check this site to see if your state has any nearby. Hop to it people!

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Are you sunwise??? Free stuff


The EPA comes through again with free fun stuff! It is their Sunwise program. You can either download or order hard copies (at the bottom of the page) of books, activity books, posters and more on how to be smart in the sun. With those summer days ahead, it might be a good idea to teach kids about the ozone and how important being safe in the sun is. Great for you homeschoolers!

Do you have a PBS Kid?


Sesame Street, Curious George, Caillou, or Dinosaur Train anyone? Does you kid love PBS shows? Well here is the spot for them! It is the PBS Kids Webite for educational games and more! Play games with Clifford or do printables with Sid the Science kid. Wonderful rainy day activities! Enjoy!!

Monday, April 25, 2011

Lovely Baby & Mommy CD Review




I am a mom of a 4 year old and let me tell you, when I received this cd to review I was expecting the same old "kid" type music cd. You know what I am talking about, children or animals singing the "hits" in those awful squeaky voices. Or the classics being pounded out on synthesizers. I was pleasantly surprised by what I heard!!!

The cd contains easy listening music that is well done. I listened to it while driving my son to pre-school and was surprised by his interest in it even though he was above the recommended age. At one point we were singing one of the songs together and I just had to smile. In fact I have found myself listening to it when he is not even in the car! And I have found myself singing "You can sing along" while cleaning!

The lyrics speak to the new mother in a way I know I would have found helpful in those early days of fatigue. I found this cd to be so refreshing from the cds I had for my son as a newborn. If you want to hear a few samples from this cd go to the Lovely Baby CDs Site.

Thank you to Raimond Lap for producing a product that meets the needs of children AND adults.
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I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using Tomoson.com created by WebBizIdeas a Minneapolis SEO and Web Design firm. 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.

Free Milk Coloring Book


We all know milk is good for us right? Well here is a little free something to teach that to our kids. It is the Milk Matters coloring book. It is the fourth one down the list. If you need it in Spanish just keep scrolling down. You know your kids love getting mail, so order a free copy today!

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Get out and have fun

Yes the sky is grey and the wind is blowing but that is not going to stop the fun!!Today we are attending an Earth Day "Party for the Planet" at our local zoo, Binder Park. Then it is off the make a bird house at Lowe's Build and Grow. Then at 1pm we are going to our local Easter Egg hunt.

But what if it rains? Well that is what an umbrella is for, right? Don't let the weather keep you in the house. There are many places to go on a rainey day. Visit a pet store, go to a cheap movie, or hit Steak and Shake where kids eat FREE on the weekend.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Easy weave newspaper basket


With Earth Day and Easter coming I found a fun way to recycle and make a basket. It is an "easy" weave newspaper basket. You do need to follow the directions and use a "form." They suggest a paper towel roll and we all know we have that on hand! You can't go wrong with this earth friendly and Easter festive craft.

Easter is almost here!!!

We have gone into full gear here at MAD. Eggs just finished boiling and the Easter Trees (bushes) have been decorated!! Printables have been done. Next up crafts!!! So what have you guys been doing to prepare???

Earth Day freebies and discounts

I logged on to my Yahoo email this morning and in the "top news" area I found a nice link for Earth day discounts and freebies. Free Starbucks coffee, trees at Lowes and more. Check it out!

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Need something to keep the kiddos busy?


The eggs are boiling but the kids are already to color them NOW....what to do? Keep them busy with some of these wonderful Easter printable from Disney's Family Fun site!!! They have coloring pages, connect the dot, mazes and more. Get printing and keep those little bunnies from hopping all over you!

Yarn eggs

Disney's Family Fun site has a simple but beautiful craft for the Easter season, Yarn Eggs!!! We are definitely going to give this one a try!

We are now doing product reviews!!!



Believe it or not, MAD Family Fun is now doing product reviews. The first one just showed up and my Monkey Boy laid claim to the monkey shirt. LOL Think he like it? Let's see if it holds up to an almost 5 year old!!!

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Summer is coming, be a super mom!


Are you a super mom? Me either! LOL But I try to be. With summer on the horizen it is never to early to prepare. Those children will be out of school and in out hair all too soon. So what do we do with them? Anything and everything we can find! But where do we find things to do with them???

Here are you "getting started", summer planning tips......

1.) Check your local library. Many libraries have summer reading programs. Some libraries have special events. Ours has a library in the park program once a week that is free. So call your library and ask.

2.) Summer sports. Your local rec department usually handles this type of thing and it isn't always expensive. We got our son into a summer t-ball program for just $15.

3.) Zoos. Many zoos have special events all summer long, like arbor day and animal enrichment days. Don't forget to check out if zoo camps are available. These can be very expensive depending on the zoo. We are lucky and our zoo offers 3 hrs a day for a week for $50. Getting a membership at a zoo makes visiting often easier and usually discounts on things like camps. Also check to see if they have scholarship programs.

4.) Museums and Nature Centers. Check websites for free days, special events and camps.

Now I know this is not the end all be all of things to do this summer, but it is a good jumping off point. I know when I sat down and started putting together my son's summer activities, these were some of the main things that are already on the calendar.

So start looking now. Things fill up fast. Remember you don't have to spend a ton of money to have fun. Free things are just as good. So start planning your low coast, no coast summer of fun!

Monday, April 18, 2011

A rabbit that lays eggs? What's that all about!?!?!?

Yes folks, it is that time of the year when little kids hunt eggs and as one of my friends (who is Jewish) asked, "What's up with a rabbit that poops eggs?" I have other friends (who are Christan) who say eggs and bunnies have nothing to do with Easter at all. Well folks, as a degree holding historian, I went on a search for the history behind Easter. I hope that you find this information helpful in explaining the connection of Easter, eggs and bunnies!

Since its start as a holy celebration in the second century, Easter has had its non-religious side. In fact, Easter was originally a pagan festival. As it happened, the pagan festival of Eastre occurred at the same time of year as the Christian observance of the Resurrection of Christ. The festival was altered, to make it easier to convert Pagans to Christianity.  The early name, Eastre, was eventually changed to its modern spelling, Easter.

The Easter Bunny is not a modern invention. The symbol originated with the pagan festival of Eastre. The goddess Eastre's earthly symbol was the rabbit.  So the Easter bunny has its origin in pre-Christian fertility lore. The first "modern" written account of the Easter Bunny was mentioned in German writings in the 1500's.

Eggs were also seen during the festival of Eastre as symbols of rebirth and spring, thus the the Easter Egg. Now I am not sure how or why the legend of a rabbit laying eggs came to be, but it seems to have been a legend that was around since the 1680's. Children would make a nest for the bunny to lay eggs. That nest is now the modern day Easter Basket.

That is it in a nutshell. So I guess it doesn't matter if your religious or not, Eggs or no eggs. Easter is a holiday for everyone! So no matter what this Easter season, get out there an have fun, anyway you want!

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Can you have too much fun? Maybe!!

We had a jam packed fun filled day yesterday. And the saying goes "you can never have too much fun" but maybe you can! LOL Our day started with a trip to our bank, where they were having a free event for kids to plant sunflowers that they got to take home.


Next it was off to a free author event put on by our wonderful Great Start group. There were stories, craft and games.


After a fun lunch and play time at McDonald's, we headed to our local Walmart for the Easter event. There was an egg hunt, snacks, games and the Easter BUNNY!!! David won a bunny cake at one of the games and was beyond excited.


By the time we returned home, 7 hours later, I pondered the idea, can you have too much fun. As I lay there on the couch exhausted, listening to my sugar powered child, I came to the conclusion that, maybe indeed, you can have too much fun. I know I was exhausted!!! LOL

Friday, April 15, 2011

Kids and crittors, fun!



Does your child love animals? Mine does! We currently have 1 dog, 1 rat, 1 snapping turtle, 2 chicks, 3 cats and too many fish to count! Here is a neat website from the ASPCA just for kids! There are games, videos, cartoon and even areas to ask about pets and learn about jobs working with animals. So if it rains tomorrow like the forecast is calling for and you can't get outside, let them visit this site for some educational fun.

Meet the “staff” behind MAD Family Fun! PART 3 Our "product tester"



This is the last part of our meet the "staff" at MAD Family Fun series. I think this staff member, our "fun test," is our best gage at what is and is not fun. He is the D in MAD, our son David, who is 6.

David was our third try at having a child and we were blessed to get him happy and health via a c-section at 36 weeks. He has been a blessing and at times a hand full! I love watching him learn about the world and I get the chance to rediscover my inner child. I can walk through a store and do things most people would be locked in a padded cell for, but because I have a child with me, people just smile.

What can I tell you about David. Well he is definitely a cat and chicken person. He loves trains, books, and always being on the go for new adventures. His favorite food is a bagel with a gigantic smear of cream cheese. He totally dislike potatoes in any form.

He is compassionate, most of the time. He is cuddly, most of the time. But when he goes bad, oh he does it with zest. He is very smart, but that is because of me LOL No I don't mean I have better genes then my hubby, I just spend more time exposing David to the world. The fact he is an only child also plays into his intelligence I think. He spent the first four years of life with mostly just adults. And since he was the only one to get my attention, he got it all.

He says he is going to be a Train Engineer when he grows up. I tell him he can be anything he wants! I look forward to seeing him grow and develop. I am amazed daily by him. Like today he asked me to get a CD out of a package and I told him I would have appreciated it if he had come to me for help before he mess up the package, to which he said, "well I would appreciate if you would just get the CD out for me." That's my boy! LOL

FREE Lorax activity book


Here is some more free mail and fun for kids K-2 grade. It is from Energy Star (you know the blue box that is on you appliances.) It is easy to order. It shows up quick. And David enjoyed his. It has lots of little games to do. David's favorite was cutting out the match memory game cards and whipping mama's hindend over and over! LOL


Thursday, April 14, 2011

FREE Easter Egg hunt at walmart? Check your local store!

Now, I don't know if this is every Walmart or we are just the lucky ones, but it is worth calling YOUR Walmart to find out. On April 16 the Charlotte, MI Walmart is having Easter activities for kids. The hunt is from 1 to 2 pm (BYOB, Bring your own basket, LOL) and from 2 to 4pm they will be having games throughout the store. There will be a special appearance by the Easter Bunny, cookies and juice and a coloring contest.

Also on April 16 from 2 to 4 pm you can get  FREE 5"x7" photo in the 1 hour photo center with the Easter Bunny! Free. Did I mention it was FREE. LOL  So you might want to call your Walmart and ask if they are having activities too. Usually when one store does something, others do too. Worth the call.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

The Easter tree. Yes or No?



Okay, maybe this guy goes a LITTLE overboard!!!!

When my hubby first moved to Michigan he was shocked to see his first Easter Tree. The tradition of decorating trees with colorful Easter eggs is well known in Germany, but I guess where he grew up, not so much. German or not, I have always grow up with an Easter Tree. Hubby claims it is a “Michigan Thing” but I don’t think so. So I am turning to you my friends……

Tell us, have you ever seen an Easter Tree? Do you do an Easter Tree? And let me know which state you live in!!! I want to prove to hubby that the Easter Tree is not just a Michigan thing.

Now this is what I am used to

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

It is nesting time, make a craft


Well spring has sprung and the birds are back! Now is a great time to talk to your little ones about birds and nests. We just took a bike ride to look for signs of spring and saw some old nests. We decided to make a "donation" to the birds so they could build new nests. It was simple and recycled too!

First we got the mesh bag that our popsicles come in. You could use onion bags or any other kind of mesh bag. Next we collected up straw. We cut ribbon, yarn, and pipe cleaners.  Last, and I know this might sound weird, but we got hair, from our brushes and the pet brushes.

Cutting up yarn


Stuffing the bag


Once the items were cut and placed in the bag, it was time to hang it so the birds could stop buy and shop for nesting materials. David insisted on hanging it himself, so up the tree he went. I must say, he was proud that he got to help the birds and I think the little bag of bits adds a splash of color to our yard!


Watermelons, Yummy!!

You never know what your going to find when your looking around on the web. I stumbled across this interesting page from the National Watermelon Promotion Board. I didn't even know there was such a thing! LOL Their site has a whole section just for kids. You can meet "J. Slice" and learn facts, recipes, games and more.There is even a link about watermelon history, different types, and that all important issue, how to make sure your watermelon is ripe!

Meet the “staff” behind MAD Family Fun! PART 2


Today I thought I would introduce you to the A in MAD, Adam, my hubby. He is 38 and a very hard working guy. He puts in a lot of hours to provide for us, and while we appreciate it, we do miss him. That is why family time is so important. When we have weekend adventures, we want them to count, like moving alligators!

Adam is a west coast boy who moved to Michigan for me. Awwww!!! He misses his family but has adjusted well. He love to fish, though he doesn’t get tons of time to do it because of work. He also has tried his hand at hunting. Adam is an AMAZING cook, and his BBQs are to die for. Our son knows who to ask to make dinner and it sure ain’t momma! LOL

What else can I tell you about my dear hubby? Hmmm, he likes remote control helicopters, good food, microbrews and home brewing. He love his new big flat screen TV. He is a devoted hubby and daddy. I don’t know what else to say. He is a quiet man who doesn’t wear his emotions on his sleeve but we know he loves us and that’s all that counts! David adores him and well heck, we have been married going on 8 years, so I must kinda like him too!

Monday, April 11, 2011

Our gator fun from this weekend


We had a wonderful time this weekend at the Critchlow Alligator Sanctuary. I know I have mention this place before, but yesterday was "moving day" for the gators! It was out to the summer pens and ponds and we got to be a part of it! I want to thank Mr. C and his family for opening their doors and letting the community be a part of this day. I know I enjoyed it and my son was beyond excited that he got to carry a gator and help out.

So here are some highlights of the great gator move of 2011.......
Mr C. greeting everyone and explaining how the day would go.

Then it was time to start moving all the gators

All taped up and ready to go

Gator on the move

Almost to the outdoor enclosure





It took a whole team of staff and volunteers to move the big gators.




video

video

Meet the “staff” behind MAD Family Fun!



Hi!! I am Mindie and I just turn 37 (gasp) but frankly I still feel 25. I am married to a wonderful man, Adam. And we have an amazing son, David, who will be 5 next month. While David is amazing he is also amazingly naughty at times too!

I have a degree in history and have worked in museums, zoos, and aquariums. Now I am a full time stay at home mom, which is kind of funny for a girl who was never going to get married or have kids! Funny how life gives you what you need, not what you thought you wanted.

We live in a very small town in Michigan, but we have “major” cities within driving distance. I make a point of reading the papers and searching high and low to find things to do. Might as well take advantage of what’s out there, right? Friends and family always asked where I find so many fun activities and events and that is how MAD Family Fun came to be. Having fun shouldn’t coast a lot, period. And I believe all families could do with an extra dose of fun these days.

So what makes me me? Well I am still trying to figure that one out! But I do know that the loss of our first son, Andrew, who was still born at 38 weeks, has definitely made me the mommy I am. Andrew taught me life can be short and to live it as full as you can while you can. I think that is why I make a point of having fun and experiencing life to the fullest everyday. While some people might think it strange that I have baby chicks living in my dinning room, I say why not! While some people might cringe that I let my 4 yr old handle an alligator, I say why not??? When my hubby brought up tapping our trees to make our own maple syrup, I said, why not!

We learn, love and share life here at MAD and I wouldn’t have it any other way. Yes, we might be over run by a dog, 3 cats, a rat, a snapping turtle, 2 chicks and a butt load of fish, but the joy we get and lessons we learn are all worth it. I may not have the newest, nicest truck, but then again, I don’t have to worry about getting it dirty when it is time to go on an adventure. My house may not be spotless, oh and it is not, but the crafts that we make are too much fun. I would rather pretend my couch is a pirate ship and sail it all day long with my son, then do dishes or laundry.

So that’s just a little bit about who the M in MAD is. I enjoy sharing my adventures and helping others find their own. And if you ever have any questions for me, feel free to ask. Maybe one of these days I will do a Q and A session with you. But for now, it is back to the fun…..get out there and have some fun today people!!

Saturday, April 9, 2011

April's nature notebook



I know I have posted before about the Nature Notebook from the National Wildlife Federation. Well it is time to do the month of April. This month focuses on how trees change in the spring. It is a nice little scientific observation project you can do a in a few minutes 1 day a week for 3 weeks. So get out there and check out your changing trees!

Friday, April 8, 2011

Let's go to Germany

Are you curious about the world? Maybe you home school or have a child who need some cool facts for a report for school. Well here is an interesting site I stumbled across recently called Germany.info. This site has some neat stuff like a whole section on Germany for kids and teens. Broken down into 2 age groups it is geared to teach children about Germany for a German child's view.  The site also has publication and some neat games. So take a minute and learn something while having some fun.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

FEMA Freebies - fire safety

I was surprised how fast we got our stuff! I mean I just ordered it this week. What stuff you might ask? Well on the FEMA US Fire Administration website they have publications you can order for FREE. I ordered:

  • Kids Firetruck Foldup Activity Sheet

  • Let's Have Fun with Fire Safety: Marty and Jett's Activity Book

  • Sesame Street Fire Safety Station Color and Learn


  • They also have stuff in Spanish too! So get ordering and get your child some fun, educational, and FREE stuff!

    Wednesday, April 6, 2011

    Let them eat dirt

    I can not personally take credit for this yummy, fun treat. We actually learned about it while my son was at spring break camp at the children’s museum. It is easy to make and the kids couldn’t get enough.

    You need:
    Chocolate pudding
    Oreo cookies (crushed)
    Gummy worms

    That’s it! Mix it all together and they are eating dirt and worms and LOVING it! LOL



    Tuesday, April 5, 2011

    Color someone's day

    With so much technology today, kids can call or email friends and family in seconds. Has your child ever sent a snail mail? Well now they can with meaning and purpose! Fischer-Price has FREE printable greeting cards kids can color and send to friends and family. They have holiday, get well and the all important THANK YOU card kids should be sending to the grandparents for those birthday gifts.

    So print a few out and let the kids color. I sure the kids will love making them and I know the people who receive them will cherish them!

    Monday, April 4, 2011

    Hurry this end soon


    I am not big on contests but I know some of you LOVE to enter them. I have the worst luck and never win anything! LOL But here is a contest to win a cruise with Nickelodeon. You have till April 10th to enter. I figured, what the heck, my kid loves Nick, I would love to go to the Mediterranean, so I clicked.

    Become a sneeze catcher!

    Proper tissue use is important! Well maybe not a critical issue in the grand scheme of things, but Klenex has a fun site to teach kids about not spreading germs. Kid’s can become “Sneeze Catchers.” You can print of a membership card and download an activity book. Boogers beware!!!!

    Sunday, April 3, 2011

    Home sweet home





    We love nature here at MAD Family Fun. Anything we can do to introduce our son to the world around him is top on our list. A few years back we dug a small pond to attract wildlife to our yard. We planted native plants around it and put in cover, like logs.

    Our son has always like frogs and toad. So we made a toad house. We used a terracotta pot and actually struck it with a hammer. Let me tell you, we used a few pots! It was a fine line between hitting it too hard and too soft.

    As I get older I find there are much better ways to do things some times. This is one of those time! The NWF has awesome plans for making a toad house. They still use a flower pot but they were smart, they used plastic and cut it with scissors. Ahhh much cheaper then terracotta! LOL