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, November 29, 2012

Melting snowman

When it comes to making crafts, we try to use things we already have around the house. This craft, a melting snowman, uses household items you probably already have like paper, twigs, and cotton balls. Remember when it comes to art, there is no real right or wrong. Let your children use their creativity. If they want to use a different material or add something to the craft, let them try! You might be surprised!

So let's get started with our melting snowman...........

* White paper * Cotton ball * twigs * pipe cleaner * black marker

First cut out a free form snow puddle from your white paper. This can be any shape you want. No two snowmen will look the same! Next, with a black marker put the eyes and mouth on the cotton ball and buttons on the paper for your snowman.

We glued a small bit of orange pipe cleaner for a nose. We also used a piece of pipe cleaner to twist a simple scarf. After a quick trip outside for some twig pieces we were ready to build out melting snowman.

First we glued the scarf pipe cleaner to the paper. Next we put glue on the twig arms and positioned them in the scarf. Lastly we put a generous amount of glue on the cotton ball head and pressed it into place. Placing the head made the arms stand up! Hold the head for a minute and your done! One super cute melting snowman!

Make a gingerbread house at Lowe's

I have said it before and I am saying it again (and no I do not get compensated to do this)  take your kids to the Build and Grow clinics at Lowe's. They are FREE and lots of fun. Coming up on December 8th the kids will be making these cute gingerbread house boxes. Tell me these are not cute! So what are you waiting for, it is FREE!!! Signing up online on their website is easy, so get going.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Craft stick snowman

There is something special about those "not so perfect" ornaments made by our children that really make a Christmas tree have personalty. Here is a cute ornament idea made out of craft sticks, a snowman face! For this project you need the following (and any other items that your creativity sparks):


10 wooden craft (Popsicle) sticks
White and black paint (other colors as desired)
Wiggle eyes
Pipe cleaner

We started by gluing 9 sticks together to make the "face" area. Once the glue was dried, it was time to get out the paint! Painting is my 6 year old's favorite part of any craft these days. We painted the bottom 2/3 of the sticks white and the top 1/3 black. We also painted the 10th craft stick black for the hat portion of the snowman.

Once the glue was dry it was time to put our snowman together. The 10th stick is glued where the colors meet to form the hat section of the snowman. With just some wiggle eyes, sparkly pipe cleaner and paint we created a friendly chap who will look amazing on our tree. For the hanger we used twine. **Hint: put tape over the glue and twine till the glue dries in order to keep the twine in place.

Your tree will be darling with your child's handmade ornament hanging on it. These rnaments would also make precious gifts for the grandparents! So what are you waiting for? Hurry and make some of these cute snowmen faces for Christmas!

Sunday, November 25, 2012

50% of Memebership sale at the Alligator Sanctary!!

As some of you know by now, we here at MAD love going to Critchlow's Alligator Sanctuary. It is one of those hidden gems of mid-Michigan. If you live in mid-Michigan I have the best deal ever for you! Mr C. (who owns Critchlow's) is offering 50% of all their memberships till the end of November. That means you can get a 1 year family membership for just $25!!!!

Not only do they have alligators, but they have so much more. And you can get hands on with many of the animals (including the alligators.)  And trust me, this is the type of place your kids will ask to go to again and again.You can even get your membership over the phone! How easy is that!!! Check out their website.

Simple can be just as good

For Thanksgiving, we did not have the onslaught of friends and family most people do. We had just the four of us and a yummy meal. Our dining table has long been given over to crafts so what were we to do? Our six year old came up with the best idea ever, of putting tv trays together to form a table in front of our couch.

That got me thinking, so I threw a bed sheet over the tables and we grabbed a few items to decorate. Was it the most glamours Thanksgiving table ever? Not to most, but to my son it was the most beautiful thing he had ever seen. Some times simple can be just as good.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Make a Cornucopia

The Cornucopia (also know as the horn of plenty) is symbol of abundance and nourishment and has become a Thanksgiving icon. With just a paper plate, twine and generous amounts of glue you can make your own cornucopia as part of a center piece or a few to fill with yummy goodies like popcorn as a snack.

Simply roll the paper plate into a horn and tape. Next grab the glue and be generous with it as you start at one end of the horn and wrap it with twine. This craft is not for the toddler set as it takes some patience, time and LOTS of glue. When you get to the other end, secure the twine with tape till the glue dries.

Once I had my paper plate wrapped in twine, I turned it over a pop bottle and added even more glue over the top of the twine. I left it on the bottle to dry over night. The next day my cornucopia was very firm and sturdy and ready to be filled. Since we were out of popcorn, I used beans to give you an example. I will have to pop by the store for my popcorn!

This craft is an item you can store and use for years to come. Who knows, maybe one day they will end up on the Thanksgiving tables of the grown children who helped make them!

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Paint chip turkey

Here is a new twist on our toilet paper turkey we did last year. This year we raided the paint department at our local home improvement store! We cut the multi color paint chips to remove the names of the colors and then glued them on to our toilet paper tube. Next we added wiggle eyes, a paper beak and a red piece of pipe cleaner for, as my son calls it, the gobbler. I think Mr. Turkey is looking very colorful this year!

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Please help me help my community

I never ask for anything because I love to give, through my time and creativity on my blog. Well now I am finally asking for help from you for something that means a lot to me. We live in a very small town but we have an amazing opportunity. I recently entered a contest to win funds to start an Environmental Explorers Club at our elementary school! We were excepted and now we need YOU to vote!
The Environmental Explorers Club is in the running to win $1000 through GOOD Maker, a new online platform for catalyzing social change. GOOD has asked the community to submit ideas on how to get your community outdoors, and the public gets to choose a winner.

Environmental Explorers Club proposes to use the funds to purchase field equipment for the club to use at meetings and on outings such as binoculars, nets, magnifiers, field journals, etc. EEC would also be able to buy supplies needed for meetings such as owl pellets to dissect and insects to raise.  Besides club meetings EEC would also occasionally hold weekend Family Field Trips to encourage the student’s entire family to participate, and now EEC needs your vote to win!






Our school is behind us! Please take a few minutes out of your busy day and help 263 children get a great oppurtunity! Help me, help the children of my community develop a better relationship with nature through good old fashion, hands on exploring! Thank you so very much!

MAD Family Fun

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Destination Nature's Handmade Holiday Giveaway

Check out these amazing handmade items that Destination Nature is giving away! The entry is super easy, just click here. They even ask you which prize you would like to win the most. I was torn between the owl crayons and the bubble magnets. Which will you choose???

Monday, November 12, 2012

Make your own Mayflower

Thanksgiving is almost here and it is time to make your own Mayflower!! This craft is too cute and all you need is some paper, paint, and your child's hand! It is a craft and a keepsake all in one. 

Simply paint your child's hand brown and press it to the paper. Next cut out some sails to glue on. Once that is dry, let your child add clouds and the ocean. You will have a wonderful picture to hang for the holiday!

Friday, November 9, 2012

Make some haystacks

Fall is here and Thanksgiving is almost upon us! It always bugs me how we move from Halloween to Christmas, neglecting a very important holiday like Thanksgiving. Oh sure you eat and watch football but do you decorate?

Well now it is time to get crafty and decorate! Check out these super easy haystacks! They also can be used as name card holders for place settings at your thanksgiving meal! Let make a few shall we......

  • Yellow construction paper
  • brown pipe cleaner
  • Scissors
  • White construction paper (optional)
  • Straw (optional)
  • Tape (optional)

Cut your yellow construction paper in half the long way. Now cut the edges on both sides to "fray" it. Now simply roll it up! Secure your haystack with a section of pipe cleaner (cut pipe cleaner.) Fluff out your top and bottom and you have a haystack!

If you want to use them as place settings, simply cut a straw to the desired height. Write the name on some white construction paper and tape it to the straw. Kids will love making these and they will add a festive touch to your decorating! And imagine everyones delight when they learn your child made the name holders for the dinning table!

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Go down not Australia!

Through out time there has always been something magical and mysterious about caves. I personally LOVE going in caves and have been in quite a few all over the country. I don't know what it is about caves, the beautiful formations, the wildlife, the adventure, but something draws me underground time and time again.

On a vacation to the Upper Peninsula of Michigan a few years back, we had a chance to take our son underground for the first time at the Iron Mountain Iron Mine. We suited up and road the mine train down. We toured the mine and got to see some bats! We had such a wonderful time and since then my son wants to go underground again. Sadly there are not many natural caves to visit in Michigan. And money is too tight to travel to say Mammoth Cave in Kentucky or Carlsbad Cavern in New Mexico. So how do I keep this burning interest alive in him?
Well thanks to the USGS web site I can not only keep his interest alive, but take it further then before. This site is jamed packed with all sorts of wonderful nuggets of information, mounds of entertainment, and vast chambers of activities. Okay, I'll stop with the attempt at cave humor. But honestly, this site offers more then you can dream of! It has everything you would want and need to teach a child all about caves. Check it out!

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Do you bake with your children?

Something about fall always triggers in me the desire to bake. I don't care what, cupcakes, cookies, breed. Baking can be a great introduction of children into the kitchen. Most recipes are measure, stir, bake, which is well within their abilities. When my son was little he enjoyed making white bread with me. He love to knead the dough. Alas when you are little and knead like a crazy man, accidents do happen. Like the time he kneaded so hard his pants slipped to his ankles reveling he had put his undies on backwards. We all had a good giggle that day and now have a memory to carry with us.

The point is, it may take a little more time to get things done, but the fun you can have with your child in the kitchen is well worth the it (and yeah the extra mess too.) Not to mention you are teaching them skills they will use later in life, like how to follow directions. They get to practice math by measuring. And yes indeed there is science in the whole process, like explaining how yeast works. So the next time you head into the kitchen to bake, even if it is a box mix, take the children along and create some memories of your own!

Friday, November 2, 2012

How much fun can you have for $2.52?

Time and time again I tell people, it doesn't take a lot of money to have fun. It really doesn't! And to prove my point, I am going to show you what we did this past Saturday and it cost us a just $2.52.!!!

Our first stop for fun was at Lowe's Build and Grow Clinic. I have mentioned this before (like a million times) but I will say it again because this is a great program. The clinics are FREE and run about every two week on Saturdays at 10am. Children get to build great things like this Monster Box the oldest Fun Tester made this week. Children get an apron and for each thing they build, a patch to put on the apron. They also receive a certificate and get to take home their project at NO COST. How can you beat it!?!?

 Our second stop of the day was at Michael's craft store for their Make It, Take It event. This event cost us 52 cents to purchase a pail (which was on sale.) The children cut out designs from duct tape with the help of stencils to create their own trick or treat bucket! How neat is that? The Fun Tester made a face on one side and a bat on the other. These events are either free or with a purchase which always seems to be a low cost item.

Our final stop of the day was at an event called Spooky Science Saturday. It was being held jointly at the Children's Garden and the Kingman Museum. They had all sorts of education (science) activities set up. The Fun Tester had a wonderful time learning about surface tension, making animal tracks, learning about the technology that led to modern films and much more! It was all hands on and he had a wonderful time. The cost of this event was free but they were asking for a $1 donation per person. $2 for all that fun and learning was a steal. Not to mention, the next day in the paper was the Fun Tester's photo!!! Now there is a memory he will have forever.

See, having fun does NOT have to cost a lot. And finding events doesn't have to be impossible either. Check out our Cruise Directing 101 to learn how to find events. Now get out there and find some fun!!

Thursday, November 1, 2012

November is Epilepsy Awareness Month

No, my son does not have Epilepsy, but a little boy who is very special to me does. I have a friend who gave birth to a beautiful little boy we will call B, around the time I had my oldest. B has had to face many things in his life, including Epilepsy. Yet this little boy continues to smile through it all. That is why, for me, this Awareness Month is so important. To learn more about Epilepsy and how to be involved visit the National Epilepsy Awareness Month site and learn about their "Now I know" Campaign.

So this month I will wear purple more (for Barb and her amazing B) and I hope you can join me in raising awareness!! Now go put your purple on!

Now why would we go to a pumpkin patch and NOT get a pumpkin?

Recently we made the trip to the “pumpkin patch” at Gull Meadow Farms. We didn’t go for pumpkins, oh no, we went for the fun. We had been last year and our oldest had been asking to go again. Now normally we couldn’t afford the prices for the whole family to go do all the activities they offer, but we of course found a deal, so off we went.

Now they offer pumpkins for sale, but no, my son blew right by them. When I asked if he wanted to go on a wagon ride, he firmly said “no thank you.” When I suggested we visit the animals, again it was no. So what was it we were there for? Pumpkin Lane! A magical wonderland of activities that my son just HAD to do.

He did the zip line (a FEW times), he bounced his brain out, and he went down the "apple chute" slide. He navigated the obstacle course and he tried a maze (which I had to go in and get him out because he was hopelessly stuck, as were most of the adults.)

But the real reason he wanted to go, his mission for being there, were the duck races. I don't know what about it brings him such joy or how he could stand there so long doing it, but he LOVED it. All it is, is a hand pump that shoots water into a trough and the ducks ride the water to the other end. The kid at the other end transfers them to their trough, pumps water, and sends them back. That's it, but the kids all love doing it!
He begged me to build him one at home and you know what, it doesn't look that hard to make, and it would keep him busy for hours, but sadly I don't have a hand pump or know where to get one cheap. Hmmm, I think I know what I am going to be hunting for this winter!