9 Ways To Spend Your New Year's Eve

Countdown to Noon 10 am-1 pm | Forever Curious Children's Museum, Fennville A year-end celebration featuring crafts, science experiments, a photo "booth" and a balloon drop at noon. A one-year family membership to the museum and four passes to the Holland Aquatic Center will be raffled off (total value of $90). Admission: $4.50 per person. Noon Years' Eve 11 am-noon | Holland Civic Center Stories, dancing, noisemakers and a kid-friendly countdown courtesy of Holland's Herrick District Library. Free. New Year's Luau 1-4 pm | Holland Aquatic Center A tropical pool party with games, prizes, a countdown and ball drop. Maranda from WOTV4 will be attending. Admission: $8 per person (free for membe

What's On This Weekend: Dec 30-Jan 1

The last weekend of 2016 is here already/at last. What traditions do your family hold near and dear this time of year? We usually go bowling on New Year's Eve, have a simple dinner, then write out our favorite thing about the year and one thing we want to see happen in the next one. I'd like to start spending New Year's Day outdoors connecting with nature. Maybe that will be my "resolution" -- to get outside more often. Whatever your plans, have a safe, cozy, glorious New Year, everyone. . FRIDAY Explore a whimsical, life-sized Candyland at the Otsego Public Library (through Jan 21) Splash around the Holland Aquatic Center during extended open swim times (through Jan 2) Learn all about hawks

10 Things To Do Over Winter Break

That week between Christmas and the New Year presents an odd lull in routine. How to spend those long, lazy days? We've got you covered. 1) Enter a real-life Candy Land The enchanting board game has been brought to life by the lovely people at the Otsego District Library. Don't miss your chance to play though Jan 21 during library hours. $1 per game ($5 max per family; children under 2 are free). 2) Hit the ultimate sledding hill The toboggan run at Echo Valley in Kalamazoo tops out at 60 MPH. Seriously. Tubing is offered as well for those looking for a milder thrill. Open all week from 11:30 am to 8 pm. 3) Take five selfies, win a prize The Sarett Nature Center in Benton Harbor is hosting

What's On This Weekend: Dec 23-25

All is quiet in Southwest Michigan. Winter has descended upon us, Christmas Eve and Hanukkah are less than 24 hours away, and cozy activities like baking cookies, curling up by the fire and constructing epic blanket forts have never sounded better. Spend your weekend with loved ones, doing what you love to do. We wish you the happiest of holidays. FRIDAY Drop the kids off at the Holland Arts Council to make and wrap gifts while you do some shopping Stroll under the holiday lights at Binder Park Zoo, meet Santa and enjoy free carousel rides, train rides, animal meet-and-greets, holiday stories and more (last day!) Glimpse a live display of the first Christmas at the Critter Barn Find Santa's

Make These Adorable DIY Christmas Tree Cards Already

I spotted a bag of colorful jewels at the store a few weeks ago and immediately know what I wanted to do with them. So we spent a slice of this snowy morning making Christmas tree cards for our neighbors, and they turned out even cuter than expected. Hopefully our neighbors agree ;) SUPPLIES cardstock paper paint (we used super awesome paint sticks to keep the mess minimal) jewels or stickers"snow" glitter (optional) any type of glue Fold the short edges of the paper so that they meet in the middle. Paint on the tree and background. Glue on the jewels and glitter, then let them dry before writing your message on the inside. That's it. Easy peasy. These probably wouldn't hold up well in the

What's On This Weekend: Dec 16-18

Another December weekend, another chance to dip into all the wintery activities across Southwest Michigan. The local ski resorts are open and blanketed with snow, ice rinks and sledding hills are waiting, nature centers have their supplies of snow shoes and cross country skis at the ready, and the zoos, parks and quaint downtowns are bedecked in wonderful illuminations. Bundle up and #optoutside. Or stay cozily indoors with a ticket to a show, indoor crafts, delicious meals and more. The choice is yours. No judgement here. Photo credit: Timber Ridge FRIDAY Take up a fun indoor/outdoor scavenger hunt at the Outdoor Discovery Center in Holland (through Dec 31) Catch a steampunk version of the

Letter To Santa: A Free Printable

I'll admit it: letters to Santa tend to bother me. They're cute and all, but the lengthy demands for toys and such really brings out the Ebenezer in me. Thus began my search for the perfect letter that not only asks for gifts but requires a little reflection on good behavior. I whipped up our own letter (modeled off a similar version), and then the littles got busy filling them out last night before bedtime. I was too lazy to change the printer cartridge, so please ignore the non-festive yellow hue. Download the printable pdf here.

What's On This Weekend: Dec 9-11

If all this snow isn't your cup of cocoa, stay cozily indoors with one of several stage performances (A Charlie Brown Christmas, The Nutcracker and A Christmas Carol are just a few), fun events at your local library or a dizzying array of crafts (snow globes, candles, cards, ornaments...) for the whole family across Southwest Michigan this weekend. Stay warm, friends! FRIDAY Glimpse a live display of the first Christmas at the Critter Barn (through Dec 30) Don't miss a live production of A Charlie Brown Christmas at the Holland Civic Theatre (through Sunday) Meet Santa, take a horse-drawn wagon ride, pet reindeer and more during a festive fundraising night in Zeeland Grab your tickets for a

How To Make A 30-Minute Advent Calendar

We were super late getting our advent calendar up this year, so I almost decided not to do it at all. But then I remembered how much fun it was last year when the kids took a bubble bath in the glow of twinkling Christmas lights or when we ate a festively colored, tree-shaped margherita pizza on a picnic blanket beside the tree and watched the Grinch or when we bundled up and took a brisk walk around the neighborhood to see the lights. Sure, we could do those things anyways, but the best part was not knowing when we woke up what the day was going to bring. I called a few audibles, depending on the weather and general household mood, an advantageous strategy for those of us with children who

What's On This Weekend: Dec 2-4

Pretty much everything you could ever possibly want to do for the holidays is happening this weekend. Grab a cup of hot cocoa and read on before mapping out your plans. FRIDAY Help decorate the Holland Museum for the holidays, make paper snowflakes and design your own ornament to hang in the museum lobby Nab your seat for the live production of A Charlie Brown Christmas in Holland (through Dec 10) Watch as more than 100 lighted floats, costumed characters and marching bands march down the streets of Dowagiac during the Candlelight Christmas Parade and enjoy festivities afterward Catch the beginning of the spectacular light display along St Joseph's Lake Bluff Park Witness the storefronts of

Your Ultimate Southwest Michigan Winter Bucket List Has Arrived

One thing a Midwestern winter will teach you: to embrace it, for otherwise you will be in for a dreadfully long, horribly un-fun season. We found a little sledding hill near our house last winter and made use out of it almost every day that there was snow on the ground. I -- someone who has wholeheartedly cursed the cold weather as an adult -- found myself having fun despite the subfreezing temperatures. The promise of hot chocolate afterward helped. Also helpful? The fact that there are a million delightful ways to while away the winter days, both indoors and out. Download the PDF here

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