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!

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Halloween craft recap

Here is just a quick recap of the cute and wasy Halloween crafts we have shared with you, so you don't miss out on any of the fun!


Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Pet photo contest

I had an email forwarded to me from one of our Fun Friends (my mommy) to let me know about this fun contest from PetSafe! The email reads
"Send us a photo of your pet in their Halloween costume, and you could win a Trick or Treat prize pack featuring Busy Buddy® toys and Lickety Stik® treats.

Include your name, your pet's name, your address and telephone number in the body of the email submission. Contest rules apply. By submitting an entry, you accept the Official Rules."
So what are you waiting for? Get a photo and enter!! Even pets love Halloween and winning!

Monday, October 29, 2012

What to do when the storm comes

Photo from
As I sit here writing this, I know our Fun Friends on the cost are about to face Mother Nature at her worst. I hope everyone has supplies laid in and are safe. Children are effected by events like this on a deeper level then they let us know sometimes. They see adults worry and feed off that. So as parents it is good to keep in mind! I know you are worried, but for your children's sake, try to make it a little less stressful for the children. Here are some ideas to make this storm a little more "fun" (aka less stressful) for children.

1.) Living Room Camp Out - Get your flashlights ready and make a pillow, blanket pile in the living room. You may loose power but making it comfy and "fun" makes it less scary for children. Make sure you de-clutter a path to the bathroom so in the dark it is easy for little ones to get there.

2.) Games - As parents in this fast paced world we feel like we don't get to spend enough time with our children. Well, now you can. Set up a board game and have some quality family time.

3.) Puppet show - Day or night, you can hang a blanket and have a puppet show with stuffed animals or use a flashlight to make shadow puppets.

4.) Tell stories - Make them funny. Let your children take a turn. This is a chance for them to either take their minds off of the situation or to let you know through a tale how they are feeling.

5.) Create - Have crayons and paper and items like play-doh on hand to keep kids busy. A busy child tends to be distracted from the worries of adult life.

These are just some quick ideas to get you thinking. Remember, it isn't just about the material things, but the emotions of our little ones that will be tested during this storm. Be safe my friends, you are all in our thoughts!

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Camping and Halloween

We here at MAD Family Fun love, LOVE, love Halloween! For us it is not just one night of dressing up and getting candy. In fact we don’t just decorate our house, we take Halloween with us camping! Every year at a nearby state park they have a “harvest” aka Halloween weekend and we wouldn’t miss it for the world. People decorate their campsites. Some people do amazing displays. Sadly this year it rained most of the weekend. We decorated in the down pour anyway!

 We even did up our picnic table under our awning with a few of the crafts we have featured here on MAD Family Fun, like our Mummy Jars. The flowers with the skull added a touch of color to the rather gray weather. And of course we needed a steady stream of sugar from the candy cauldron to keep us running.
Sure we COULD have been moody and gloomy like the weather. We could have had a miserable time, but my belief is that things are only as fun as you make them. We decided to make our trip as fun as we could, so through the drizzle (and at times the downpour) we laughed and had a good time. We carved pumpkins we had brought with us, joined in the activities and when it was time for trick or treating, the rain finally stopped!!!
So why am I sharing all this with you? Well first to show you that you can have fun anywhere, you just have to have the right mindset. Secondly, checkout you local state parks for fun events, like this one! And last, to inspire you to go out and have fun! For us, rain or shine, our Halloween camping trip has become a tradition and year after year has and will provide wonderful memories for our children.


Thursday, October 25, 2012

Toilet paper tube owls

Whooo wants to make a craft? Whooo has toilet paper tubes? Well then lets get started with these adorable toilet paper tube owls!

What you will need:

Toilet paper tube
2 muffin liners
White paper
Orange paper

First you need to get your muffin liners cut for later use. Start by folding the first liner in half, and then in half again so it looks like the triangle shape in the photos on the right. Now cute off the tip of the triangle and cut along the creased areas so that you end up with four pieces like in the photo

One the second liner, simply fold in half. Cut off the top portion to make a flat edge. Next cut along the creased are to form the wings.

To make the owl, start by pushing the two sides of the tube inward and tape to create the owl's ears. To make the owl's tummy area, glue and layer the four cut pieces from the first step as show in the photo on the left. Take your wings and glue them on the back of the tube. Now cut out eyes and a beak from your construction paper and attach above the tummy area. Use the marker to create the eyes and you have a beautiful toilet paper tube owl! These little guys are a wonderful nature craft or a great decoration for Halloween.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Spooky Science Saturday Oct 27th

Photo by Kingman Museum

Looking for some free spooky fun? Why not try the Kingman Museum's Spooky Science Saturday on October 27th. This free event has lots of fun and learning and runs from 11am-4pm. Not only is the museum open with speciel events but so too is the children's garden at the Leila Arboretum. We have been to this event a few times and always enjoy ourselves. Don't miss out on this free family fun Mid-Michigan!!

Monday, October 22, 2012

Mummy Jars

One thing I have noticed, at least at my house, is we have jars. Lots of jars! Canning jars, baby food jars, even large pickle jars we have hung onto. So what to do with them all? Make a craft of course!

And what could be cuter then these "Mummy Jars!" They are easy to make and add a splash of fun to any Halloween setting. So let's get ready to make a few (or more!)

This craft is so simple even very little children can make one. We had wide gauze, so I cut our strips in half. It also gave a more "tattered" look, I think. As with any craft, there is no wrong or right so use what you want.

First make a dot of craft glue on your jar and attach gauze. Next simply wrap your jar up! Put craft glue at the beginning and end of each strip of gauze. Use as much or as little gauze as you want. It is all personal preference.

When you have your jar "mummified" the way you want it, simply glue on two wiggle eyes and you are done. This craft couldn't be simpler or cuter! For an added touch drop a tea light candle (or one of those fake battery operated candles) in your jar to give it a warm glow!

These Mummy Jars are so simple to make, that it would be a great gift idea for a party or to take to elderly neighbors to brighten their day! So what are you waiting for? Get crafting!

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Friday, October 19, 2012

Voices from the past

Cemeteries are amazing places full of wonderful people who have lived interesting lives. It seem around Halloween the living tend to take notice of cemeteries with "haunted" walks or on sad occasions, bad behavior. But cemeteries are not just for Halloween, ghost, or vandals, they are beautiful and full of educational opportunities! Check out what kind of GOOD fun you can have in a cemetery!

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Unforgettable Family Vacations

Planning for next summer can not come soon enough!!!
When you think back to your childhood, is there one summer that stands out in your mind? Why not give your family that kind of summer! I am going to tell you about my special secret hid-a-way and how you can find your own! 

A few years ago we wanted to rent a cabin on a lake for a week. Pricey, right? WRONG. I found this awesome site called Vacation Rentals by Owner. I looked all across our state and found a beautiful 2 bedroom cottage on Lake Michigan for less then $500 for a WEEK. Now think about it, a week at a hotel on Lake Michigan would run well over $1000. Plus who wants to stay at the hotel all day?

I can not say enough about the wonderful cabin, the owners, or the adventures we had that week. It is my “happy place.” Now, not all listings are equal, so you will have to hunt around. Our cabin included EVERYTHING except our food and clothes. There was wood for fires, games and books, even a welcome basket with the owner’s wife’s home made jams!! They were pet friendly and our dog had the time of his life! So get looking and see what you can find.

Here are some photos of our unforgettable family vacation…..

Our home away from home.....

Love the view
All the comforts of home
Memories in the making
Loving nature

Our grand adventures.......

The most amazing zoo ever, the DeYoung Family Zoo. They were recently on NatGeo with a show called "My Life is a Zoo." We visited before Bud and Carrie became celebs! LOL They are the nicest people ever and Bud even offered to let David ride on his cart to go feed animals. I can honestly say, I have never seen such active and happy animals anywhere!

Feeding time
Happy animals, happy kid!

Bears LOVE bellies!

Going into an iron mine in Iron Mountain, MI. We got to ride down into the mine and then explore. Our son loved he little "train" ride down. They took us around and explained the mining process. It was an interesting outing and a memory my son still holds dear.


Peninsula Point lighthouse, no longer in operation, is open to climb. It is also a main migration point for Monarch Butterflies in August and September. The little cliff around it are full of fossils. A neat place to visit and picnic.

Fayette Historic Townsite was amazing! There was so much to see and do. The town made pig iron in the mid 1880's and much of the town remains or has been reconstructed.

The cliffs around Fayette are breathtaking.


Wednesday, October 17, 2012

"Mom, can I bring it home?"

Children are notorious for wanting things, candy, toys, and in my son's case....bugs. He is always bring new "friends" home an asking if they can stay. I usually don't mind as long as their stay is only overnight.

On a day out a few weeks ago he found a catapillar he wanted to bring home. We placed it in a fast food cup for the hour drive home. Upon arrive we set the catapiller up in a "home" with leaves and such. The container was placed on a shelf and he forgot about it. I admit, I too had forgotten about it till one day our cat took great interest in the container. Our catpiller had turned into a butterfly!

I quickly placed a Q-tip soaked in sugar water in the container so our little friend could get something to eat. That afternoon when my son came home from school he was thrilled! We poured through our bug books trying to identify the little guy (or girl) and we learned it was a Buckeye butterfly. Again, as with most bugs, my son asked if it could stay. The weather was in his favor as it had turned very cold and the rain was intense for a few days.
When the rain finally broke and the sun peeked out, we decided it was a good time for the butterfly to go back to nature. We had an amazing time watching him before he left. We even got to see his tounge a few times! The joy and amazement my son showed for this winged friend reminded my why it is so very important to let children "bring it home" every once in a while!


Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Fall printables from Nick Jr

I don't know about your children, but mine do enjoy watching some of the shows on Nick Jr. I have found two great printable packs from Nick Jr. that I am sure my oldest will enjoy. The first is the Autumn Activity Pack. It is full of fun, with lots of engaging activities. The second one if the Fall Coloring Pack. With this pack of printables children can release their inner artist. Both are good way to keep the little ones busy while you try to get dinner ready or maybe just have five minutes to yourself!

Monday, October 15, 2012

Paper pumpkin craft

Have I mentioned how much I love Halloween? Cause I do! And I love to make decorations for Halloween. This is a simple craft we did using construction paper and pipe cleaners. Not only are they easy to make but they look good hanging around the house!

All you need to make one of these paper pumpkins is a single sheet of orange construction paper cut into equal strips and two green pipe cleaners. No glue, no tape, nothing. So let's get started.....

First you need to punch holes in both ends of the paper strips. You can use a hole punch or heck, even a pencil tip if you don't have a hole punch. Next put a pipe cleaner through the holes at one end and bend it to "hold" the strips in place.

Next make a bend near the other end of the pipe cleaner and feed it through the top holes. So it looks like the photo on the right. Now this is where you have to play with your pipe cleaner, in order to get the bunched up look on your pumpkin. I found once I had the top hole set with bends I could go back and pull the pipe cleaner through the bottom holes and wind it up to get the perfect "puff" to my pumpkin. It is all about being flexible and trial and error. Just have fun with it! No two pumpkins will look the same and that is a great thing!

The second pipe cleaner is for your pumpkin vine. Simple bend the pipe cleaner around a pencil or your finger to get the coil and then bend your coil around your stem. That's it! Your ready to hang them around you house for a little Harvest or Halloween fun. So what are you waiting for....go make some!


Thursday, October 11, 2012

Last chance to enter these two great giveaways!!!

Here at MAD Family Fun we are all about, well, FUN! And right now we have two great giveaways going which end tomorrow (10/12/12) and we don't want you to miss out on your chance to win! So hurry and click on the photos to enter before it is too late! You don't want to miss out on some free fun do you!?!?!
Halloween Giveaway

Craft Supply Giveaway

Fall means Harvest Festivals!

Around these parts, Fall means Harvest Festivals. We go every year to the annual Harvest Festival at the Calhoun County Fairgrounds in Marshall, MI. This free event on Oct. 13th runs from 10am to 5pm. We of course have to take a wagon ride and wander around visiting all the booths. There are also competitions for the best homemade chili, meatloaf, pumpkin pie and fruit pit. And this year they say there are going to be horse pulls and chuck wagon races! I'm excited!! If you don't leave nearby, don't fear, I am sure with a little googling you can find a Harvest Festival near you!

Spider pumpkin candle holder

Looking for some Halloween decorations that will not break the bank? Well then I have a great decoration craft idea for you! This cute spider pumpkin candle holder!!! It is so easy to make and since I had everything but the mini pumpkin on hand, my total out of pocket cost was 35 cents!

Mini Pumpkin
Orange pipe cleaners
Wiggle eyes
Tea candle

Simply "carve" out the pumpkin like you would a large one.  Take four orange pipe cleaners and cut them in half to make the eight legs. Twist four pipe cleaners together to make 2 bunches of legs. Next glue on the wiggle eyes. I put the candle in so it was snug and then placed the legs wedged between the candle and the pumpkin and wallah, the cutest darn tea candle holder ever!

I love how cute they are and the fact you can make so many and not go broke. They really do add a festive feeling to any room. This is a wonderful craft we will do year after year. How about you? Feel like making a spider pumpkin infestation in your house?

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Magical Migration, CraneFest Oct. 13 and 14

We live in a very small town (pop 1400) in Michigan. It is the type of place where neighbors know each other and kids can still be kids. At times it becomes a magical place to live as every spring and fall the Sand Hill Cranes migrate through out little piece of nature. It is not uncommon if you are outside to be over powered by the sound, in the early morning or near dusk, of thousands of these large birds calling. It is an amazing thing to see such a migration and I feel blessed our children witness this year after year.

Near the end of September each year, the tell tale call of these birds begins to appear. First only a few, often far off. But by mid October, when the weather begins to turn, the large Vs fill the sky and the echos of there calls are everywhere. These birds can be up to four foot tall and have a wing span up to seven feet!!! The fields around town become packed with majestic birds. It really is something to see.

And luckily for many avid bird watches they can see it, at the annual CraneFest held just outside of town at the Kiwanis Youth Area on 15 mile rd. But CraneFest isn't just for birders. They have all sorts of wonderful activities. Some of the attractions include artists with wears for sale, live birds of prey and other exotic critters, nature walks, hey rides and of course activities for the kids.

Admission if free however there is a cost of just $3 to park. So why not load up your car and check out what has become an annual event for our family.