I couldn’t ask for a better place to raise my family than Birmingham. It’s a truly unique community that has that…
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 @growingupsarita on Instagram? If you aren’t following Sarah on Instagram then you are totally missing out! This local mom shares the most delicious, mouthwatering Mexican dishes that make me long for a homecooked meal from my own Abuela. And be sure to check out Sarah’s Instagram stories as she walks you through some of her favorite Mexican dishes.
Hola, I’m Sarah, Mami to Samuel & Raquel. I have an Instagram account where we share our adventures in the kitchen exploring our Hispanic heritage through food and language. @growingupsarita, most of the storytelling comes from food memories of a childhood spent in Mexico and a tiny bit in France. My Instagram houses all my easy, child-approved recipes with step by step instructions; we would love for you to try our family comfort foods! Although I can’t replicate the kind of experiences I had amidst these cultures for my kids, I love sharing the richness of Mexican culture with them and our friends. Sometimes we dive into French culture but learning Spanish always comes first in our home and we love to teach our friends. Our favorite family pastimes are cooking together, discovering new gardens & parks, going out to a local brunch & practicing our Spanish by pointing out colors and foods in our daily life with vocab in Español.
Favorite Ways To Spend Family Time:
- Cooking together
- Getting weekend brunch at local diners
- Exploring new parks and gardens
Favorite Places To Go:
- Blake’s Orchard & Cider Mill (Armada)
- Elizabeth Park (Trenton)
- Bagley Pedestrian Bridge (Detroit): After a dinner out in Mexicantown, our family likes to run off some energy on the Pedestrian Bridge. The kids like to watch the cars drive under the bridge and run around in the plaza at the end of the sidewalk.
Favorite Bedtime Stories:
- La Princesa and the Pea by Susan Middleton Elya
- The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett
- The Magician’s Nephew by C.S Lewis
Favorite Dinner Recipes:
Best Park/Playground: Heritage Park (Taylor)
We like to go pack a picnic and eat in the butterfly pavilion or the vegetable garden. The kids love to point out different colored “mariposas” (butterflies) and watch the vegetables grow. There is a huge pond where we like to feed the geese, a playground to get our energy out, and a splash pad for hot summer days. It’s also a beautiful spot for fall family pictures.
Best Fall Destination: Blake’s Farm (Armada)
Our most favorite place to go in the fall is Blake’s Orchard & Cider Mill. There is a giant outdoor space where the kids can play, climb & run through spooky houses. We love their giant bouncy mat and of course, it wouldn’t be complete without Blakes’ famous cider donuts and apple cider. The kids look forward to the fall season because of this very special, fun destination.
Your Mom Must Have: Screen-Time Limits
When our kids learned what an iPad was and how accessible shows were, it turned into a very easy “activity” for when they were bored. Instead of them asking constantly if they could watch a show, we decided Friday is the only day we watch shows and/or a movie. We have exceptions to the rule of course (sometimes mom just needs a minute to think) or especially in the long winter months, but it definitely saved me some sanity to learn that when everyone knows the expectation the kids are forced to get creative and mom doesn’t constantly repeat the same answer.
Best Kids Show: Netflix’s Bilingual Kids Show
Speaking of shows, sometimes friends ask me for ideas on learning Spanish at home. Netflix has dozens of shows available in Spanish and English. My little advice is that if your child watches shows, encourage them to watch a show in English first (so they know the storyline) and then watch the same show in Spanish. When the kids catch a joke or a funny part, they often retain the punch line or word in the new language. They sometimes think it’s cool that they know a “funny” sounding word and often don’t realize they are learning a different language. That’s a win-win for everyone 🙂
“Pat Yourself on the Back” Accomplishment
My youngest, Raquel, wasn’t always motivated to learn Spanish. My oldest had a better opportunity to learn the language as we traveled to Mexico more frequently when we had only one child. As Raquel grew older, she wanted to keep up with big brother in all aspects, including expanding her Spanish vocabulary. During dinner time, we like to play conversation games giving out points for whoever knows the names of the foods or items at the table. My aha-moment (in trying to spark their interest in Spanish) was that if our toddlers are competitive, we can channel that drive into learning useful skills! Mealtime is a way of connecting for us and talk about “modales” = table manners. It isn’t always pretty and we are not perfectly behaved, but through repetition (just like Spanish vocab) we are hoping to instill basic life skills in our young children. We’re not huge on sugar around here, but a jar of mini chocolates at the table has helped to encourage our learning process :).
Photo credit: @growingupsarita
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.