When you're looking for a sweet escape, look no further than Michigan. We all know about the fantastic summer destinations…
Do you need ideas for activities to do with kids? Tried and true suggestions that real moms actually do? Here they are! We’re asking families to share their favorites, to help you find yours.
Are you following @everyday_erica_ on Instagram? Erica is the proud mom to two little cuties and proves that achieving that perfect balance between work and motherhood is totally obtainable. We love her hip street style fashion along with the absolutely adorable moments she captures and shares with her followers.
I’m Erica. I’m a wife to my wonderful and darn handsome husband Jeff, momma to two perfect littles, Reese (4) and Harrison (2.5), and two adorable fur babies, Macy and Miles! I work full time as a Senior Program Manager for Corporate Volunteerism for DTE and have always found fulfillment in being a change maker in my local community. Helping others feeds my soul. A self-diagnosed shopaholic, I also recently began a fashion & lifestyle blog to share my passion for fashion with fellow mommies and their littles. Haven’t checked it out yet? Don’t miss out!
Favorite Ways To Spend Family Time:
- Neighborhood golf cart rides
- Outdoor movie nights with the projector and an overflow of popcorn
- Weekends at our cottage
Favorite Places To Go:
Favorite Bedtime Stories:
- Oodles and Oodles of Noodly Noodles by Cindy Ninni Grant
- Chicka Chicka Boom Boom by Bill Martin Jr.
- Oh, The Places You’ll Go by Dr. Seuss
We adore both Marshbank Park in West Bloomfield and Central Park in Milford. Marshbank has an awesome play structure surrounded by rolling hills so there’s plenty of space for the kids to run around and let out their (never-ending) energy. They also have awesome community events, like concerts in the park, that get the kids dancing and singing with other kiddos in the local community. Central Park also has a stellar play structure that my kiddos enjoy. It also has volleyball courts, a kayak launch, and a creek that runs through the woods that the kids love splashing around in. It’s also a great location that’s only feet away from multiple ice-cream shops and local Ma and Pa stores that we love to support while in the area.
Best Family-Friendly Annual Event: Zoo Boo at the Detroit Zoo (Royal Oak)
Halloween is definitely a fan favorite for the Schlenker family, and we ADORE Zoo Boo. Any excuse to get all dressed up in our favorite family costumes! We love that the event is outside, beautifully decorated, and organized. The kids get to enjoy the animals while also running around with their friends to burn off all the candy they collect. It’s a win, win for the whole family!
Your Mom Must Have: Play Pack Grab & Go sets
I carry 3-4 Play Pack Grab and Go sets in my purse at all times. Whether it’s while we are at a restaurant or in the car driving- when the kiddos get bored they start to get whiney and unhappy. I give each of them a play pack and they are instantly focused on it! It has saved me from more meltdowns than I can imagine. Lifesavers, I tell ya!
Best Fall Destination: Cider Mills
Is there anything better than hitting the cider mill once Fall hits?? The warm cinnamon sugar donuts and the cold apple cider slushies?! Not for our family. It’s our absolute favorite! We love going on cider mill “tours” and participating in the different attractions each has to offer (and obviously taste-testing every donut available). We love apple picking, pumpkin carving, and hayrides. The kids never get sick of the cider mills!
“Pat Yourself on the Back” Accomplishment: Finding Balance with Motherhood + Work
I think as moms we can be so hard on ourselves. Guilt for working, guilt for staying home, guilt for it all. I remember when my maternity leave was up I felt like such a horrible mom having to leave my babies and go to work. Yet, once I got back in the working game, I realized how much it filled my cup and fulfilled me in a way that was extremely different from motherhood. I am so proud that I have found my best version of balance with being a working mom and an extremely present mother. My kids often tell me that they are proud of me and if that isn’t the best accomplishment ever, what is??
Photo credit: @everyday_erica_
About Ashley Hubbbard-Porter
Ashley Porter is a Chicago native who now calls Birmingham home. Ashley and her husband Mike and son Jake love attending local festivals, exploring Detroit’s diverse food scene, and venturing outside of Metro Detroit to enjoy the natural beauty of Michigan. With a background in Early Childhood Education, Ashley loves connecting with and supporting families in her community, which is why she is so excited to be a part of LittleGuide Detroit.