The Thoughts That Count: Our No-Stuff New Year Philosophy

Can we go back to Christmas for a sec? In the constant warp speed that is parenting it feels like eons ago already, but there are still forlorn trees strewn across curbsides and rolls of wrapping paper that still haven't made their way up to the attic. Or is that just our house? My husband and I were very deliberate with the presents we bought our kids this year. There was no going overboard, they were thrilled for the most part and Christmas was an all-around jolly success. But a nagging feeling in the back of my mind grew at every consumer report mention of how much money Americans collectively spend over the holidays. It is an obscene amount. On Cyber Monday alone, we spent $6.6 billion.

What's On This Weekend: Jan 19-21

Our little corner of Michigan is dishing up a veritable smorgasbord of entertainment this weekend, with everything from wild animal encounters, snowshoeing and ice sculptures to theatrical performances including ballet, Stomp and Daniel Tiger. And did we mention that the Harlem Globetrotters will be coming to the area? What are your weekend plans? FRIDAY Check out live ice sculpture carvings, tasty food, sledding, crafts and more in downtown Niles (through Sunday) Explore the trails of DeGraaf Nature Center at night, guided by glimmering torches, and sip hot cocoa Spend an evening with Daniel Tiger and his friends as they embark on musical adventures at LMC's Mendel Center in Benton Harbor

50 Free Things To Do With The Kids This Winter

Love it or loathe it, winter is loooooooooong. We need more stuff to do. And free stuff is always good. So we've rounded up 50 activities you can do with the whole family that will cost you exactly zero dollars. You're welcome. See the current exhibits at the Box Factory for the Arts in St Joe. Go to a library that you've never been to before. Take a hike at a state park. Stroll through the wintery fun that is the IceBreakers Festival in South Haven. Ask your local wellness center for guest passes to use. Wander through a toy store. Visit the lighthouse in St Joe, South Haven or Holland. Wander through the hands-on Kalamazoo Valley Museum. Play tag in the woods. Have a sock puppet show. Take

What's On This Weekend: Jan 12-14

Snow shoe or ice skate. Roller skate or swim. Create an airplane or Olympic-inspired art. There are so many things to get up to this weekend. What are your plans? SATURDAY Hike the wintery trails of the ODC Nature Preserve in search of winter wildlife using Ojibwa-style snowshoes Experiment with flying machines at the Air Zoo's Sky Kids' Club: Design & Fly Challenge Compete in different Olympic-themed art events and sip on hot chocolate at the Krasl Art Center in St Joe Drop the kids off for a night of swimming and fun at the Benton Harbor/St Joe YMCA Bring the family for an evening of free skating, fireside gathering, roasted marshmallows and hot chocolate at the Chikaming Ice Rink Skate an

What's On This Weekend: Jan 5-7

The holidays are over and now it's time to make the most out of winter break. Lazy days are fabulous, but there is definitely a delicate balance if you want to maintain your sanity. So make some time to get out and play, even if it's just bundling up and taking a walk around the block. You can also take advantage of this never-ending snowfall to go sledding, ice skating, cross country skiing, drive out to Lake Michigan to check out the ice (but please don't walk on it!), or visit a nature center. Or hit up the library or movie theater if those all sound too frigid for you. Whatever you do, enjoy this beautiful Southwest Michigan snow globe <3 FRIDAY Enjoy family-oriented programs and activit

Experience These Spectacular Shows Coming To Town

If one of your goals for the New Year is to focus on experiences over things (or if you just love a good theatrical performance), you are in luck. A smattering of colorful, whimsical productions are headed to stages near you at the start of 2018. We've already snagged tickets to two shows, but honestly I wish we could go to all of them. Well, almost all of them. Wizard of Oz National Tour Jan 5-7 | Kalamazoo A fresh, lavish rendition of the beloved classic for audiences of all ages. Available tickets start at $32. Daniel Tiger's Neighborhood Live: King for a Day Jan 19 | Benton Harbor The popular PBS Kids musical is back with all your favorite characters and brand-new adventures in Neighborh

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