How to keep metro Detroit kids happy at the tail end of winter

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With the weather hovering between icy wind and mild temperatures, kids are getting antsy for spring. Until you can simply send your little one outside for hours of amusement, here are some ideas to keep them happy and occupied.

Make a special occasion out of going to the theater. The Macomb Center for the Performing Arts in Clinton Township is showing the children’s classic “Charolotte’s Web” March 23 and 24. Your adolescent might enjoy “Rock of Ages” put on by the Clintondale Community Theatre the first two weekends in May.

The Anton Art Center in Mount Clemens offers youth art classes. March’s classes are 3-D Map, Illuminated Monogram and Impressions. April’s classes follow an upcycling theme. No appointment is needed to create your own art at Plaster Playhouse in Shelby Township. Simply choose your piece of plaster or pottery and start painting!

Boost your baby’s brain power through programs offered at your local library. Throughout the year, the Clinton-Macomb Public Library offers storytime sessions including Baby Time, Tot Time, Little Listeners, Preschool, Music & Movement and Pajamarama. My daughter loves Pajama Storytime at the Eastpointe Memorial Library, where kids dress in their pajamas, bring their favorite stuffed animal to hold and listen to the youth librarian read stories.

Check with your local Parks and Recreation Department to see what seasonal offerings are scheduled. The Warren Community Center boasts an indoor waterpark comprised of a lap pool, pool basketball, waterslide, lazy river and play structure complete with a water cannon and waterfall. Other nice amenities for adults include a sauna, steam room and fitness room.

Get hands-on and join your kid for a skate around the rink. The St. Clair Shores Ice Arena has public skating from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays. It is $3 per person, and children under 6 are free when accompanied by an adult. Admission to the Mount Clemens Ice Arena is $5 for adults and $4.50 for students, seniors and youth. Skate rental is $3.

Pack on the layers and head out to one of Macomb County’s Metroparks. Weather permitting, Lake St. Clair Metropark offers ice fishing, cross-country skiing and outdoor ice skating. Snowshoe or cross-country ski across marked trails at Stony Creek Metropark, or head over to the winter sports area with hills to snowboard, sled or toboggan. Eastpointe’s Spindler Park recently revamped its new sledding hill. Open dawn to dusk, it includes a hay bale safety barrier and seating area. The Macomb Orchard Trail isn’t just for running or biking; it’s also open to cross-country skiers.

Just Delicious SconesJust Delicious Scones on Utica in Roseville is a quaint tea room, bakery and coffee shop with … well, delicious scones. Get big-girl dressed up for this fancy excursion. Sip tea or cider from beautiful china and delicately nibble on scones – a memory your child will remember. If your little one isn’t likely to sit still for long, try Chuck E. Cheese in Roseville or Sterling Heights. Jungle Java in Clinton Township is an indoor play center with a sports court and laser maze. It includes a separate toddler play area and a full menu.

Let the kids burn off energy at the Bounce House in New Baltimore, St. Clair Shores or Sterling Heights. It consists of giant inflatable slides, moon walks and an obstacle course along with arcade games that might even entertain mom and dad. Try Airtime in Sterling Heights or Sky Zone Trampoline Park in Shelby Township for open jumping on wall-to-wall trampolines, foam pits, dodgeball and basketball. Jumpers are sorted by age to make sure the intensity level is a good match, though there are waivers that must be signed before participating in the fun. Play miniature golf any day of the week at Jawor’s on Gratiot in Roseville. It has an 18-hole course for kids of all ages and is open year-round.

It doesn’t matter what you decide to do as long as you make the time you spend together count. Unplug and give your kids your full attention – that’s all they want!

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Top five reasons I’m pumped to Walk for Warmth

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Despite being in its 26th year, I never knew very much about Walk for Warmth. This year, I decided to participate with my family. Here are the factors that motivated me to register – maybe they will motivate you too!

1. Help those in need
Hosted by Macomb Community Action, this event raises funds for low-income Macomb County residents with heat-related emergencies. Funds will go toward paying utility bills and even replace broken furnaces, providing vulnerable residents with an essential need – warmth.

Macomb Mall sign2. Shop at the newly-renovated Macomb Mall
With an Old Navy gift card burning a hole in my purse since Christmas, this is the perfect excuse to spend some time shopping. Macomb Mall has generously donated their newly-remodeled space for this event. Check out the renovated lights, tiles, paint and seating as well as the new stores like ULTA Beauty, Rue 21, Chipotle, Potbelly and H&M – I’m so excited to have one nearby! I also look forward to trying 1,000 Degrees Neapolitan Pizza.

3. Exercise
After hibernating the past few months, I’m ready to stretch my legs, strap on my baby carrier and heft my soon-to-be 10-month-old around. At the rate she’s growing, I don’t know how much longer I’ll be able to do this! I signed up for the indoor 5K walk, but there is also the option to compete in the outdoor 5K run – brrr!

4. Start a tradition of giving
A few months ago, our department participated in a training seminar offered by Care Worklife Solutions, the county’s employee assistance provider. The presenter shared a story about how as a child, she went with her father to pass out fresh produce to their neighbors and those in need. Because she grew up witnessing the impact of giving, it continues to play a large role in her life today. Not only would I like to place more emphasis on charity in my own life, but I would also love to create a culture of giving for my daughter. Since this is an annual event, this is the perfect time to step up your own philanthropy, both now and in following years.

12804713_1208548415840582_6694656021203243462_n5. Be part of the community
With so many struggles occurring all around us in this state and in the world, it can be easy to forget those in need right in our own community. Funds from Walk for Warmth might be helping my neighbors or yours. A great turnout for this event will not only enable participants to support Macomb County residents, but also send the message that we care about our low-income residents and support them.

The 26th Annual Walk for Warmth event will take place on Saturday, Feb. 27. There is still time to register, sponsor or make a donation at mca.macombgov.org/W4W. I hope to see you there!

Bagels on the eastside

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This past weekend, I went to Baffin Brewing Company to meet up with Shannon Parent of Eastside Bagel to drink some micro-brewed beer and talk about bagels. I savored a Heffenwolf hefeweizen while she sipped a Crossroads cream ale and told me about the origin of Eastside Bagel – a St. Clair Shores instituation for the past 21 years.

When Shannon’s mom and dad Liz and Joe Parent moved into the area in 1987, they had a tough time finding a bagel shop anywhere on the eastside. With career backgrounds in office and industrial work, these entrepreneurs took matters into their own hands to remedy the situation. Liz started working at a bagel shop to learn how to bake. From there, they opened their own business and perfected their bagel recipes. A family business, Shannon and her sister have worked at the shop most of their adult lives.

“Over the years, I fell in love with every aspect that it takes to be part of this business,” Shannon explained. “It’s a craft and a process, and it isn’t easy, but it’s worth it.”

Eastside Bagel produces thousands of bagels a week. They make the dough, kettle boil the bagels, lay them out on canvas boards, bake one side, and flip onto stone to bake the other side until shiny. And all of this usually takes place around 3 a.m.

Shannon compared the bagel process to brewing at Baffin, another small business in St. Clair Shores. Brewer Evan Feringa often brews all night and into the early morning hours, crafting a unique product from scratch. When you put that much effort into your work, you’re bound to be passionate about it.

Eastside Bagel offers an extensive variety of bagels, the most popular being Jalapeno Cheddar, Everything and Spinach Asiago. The bagels are soft and fresh. One of my favorites is the Cinnamon and Sugar bagel, but I also really enjoy their nutritious Breakfast Cookie, which is packed with dates, raisins and almonds.

While bagels are the star, Eastside Bagel also offers sandwiches, soups and salads made to order. The vinaigrette they use is Shannon’s great-aunt’s recipe. They make their own cream cheese that comes in delicious flavors like cherry almond, garlic and chive and feta. Lox sandwiches are also popular, and they sell lox by the pound at a competitive price. Beverages include coffee, chai tea, cappuccino, fresh-squeezed juice, fruit smoothies and more.

When you walk into one of their stores, you’ll order at the counter. The line moves fast, so it’s helpful to have an idea of what you want. There are a lot of interesting options to choose from though, so don’t be afraid to try something new! Pay at the counter, and if you’re dining in, just have a seat and they will bring you your food. The friendly staff may chat with you while you wait.

Eastside Bagel is a great place to enjoy a hot breakfast and a cup of coffee, to pick up a dozen bagels for the office, or to cater your next business meeting. So now that you’ve heard all about these delicious, one-of-a-kind, preservative-free bagels made locally, go try one!

Bagel A

21601 Harper, St. Clair Shores, MI 48080
(586) 775-8820

Hours
Monday – Friday 6 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Saturday 7 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Sunday 8 a.m. to 3 p.m.