Back to School

21 Aug

It’s that time of year again. The summer is nearing the end and time to start thinking about school again begins. Getting back into the groove of things after a summer of relaxation and care free fun, can be difficult. Therefore, a couple weeks before school starts it is important to do a few simple things to your kids or you, back into the groove:

-Start waking up a little earlier each day. Remind your kids how hard it will be to wake up in the morning if they don’t gradually let their body adjust.

-Go school shopping!  Let them pick out an outfit that they like, or choose a new outfit for them to sport on the first day of school. Many kids will be excited to show off their new look after a summer away from friends.

-Shop for school supplies in advance. Get them new folders, notebooks, pens, pencils and other things they need before school starts. This will get them thinking that summer is closing in and school is starting off a brand new year.

-Do short and fun refresher activities before bed to help them brush up on any skills they might have forgotten over the summer. Spend at least an hour a day reading, writing, or doing educational crafts to help sharpen the brain.

I geek nature!

20 Aug

With this generations love for video games, cell phones, computers and tablets, sometimes its hard to remember what surrounds us. Nature is something that everyone should appreciate. Whether it’s once and a while, or every day, the environment is something that doesn’t need to be charged or plugged in. With that being said, join us Saturday, August 24th at 11 a.m. in Deerfield County Park to unplug and connect with nature. There will be geocaching, nature stories, bird watching, nature hikes, crafts, a petting zoo, and free food! Enjoy a day outdoors, leave your phone at home, and reconnect with nature.

I Geek Camping!

13 Aug

Michigan offers so many great places to visit and one of the best ways to enjoy the beautiful scenery in our state is to camp.  Campers/RVers have many choices when it comes to camping, from private campgrounds and RV Resorts, National and State Forest Campgrounds and county parks, to state parks.  Where you stay depends a lot on what you want to do on your trip and on what amenities you want while you camp.  National and State Forest campgrounds are all rustic – you can pull in your RV, but there won’t be any electric, water or sewer service.  RV Resorts and private campgrounds usually have a good number of sites that offer it all as well as other added benefits like swimming pools, cable television and wi-fi.  State parks aren’t going to offer swimming pools, cable television or wi-fi, but many do offer campers the option to truly rough it or go a little more modern.  Here are some of my favorite parks – each park offers different levels of amenities.  Checking the Pure Michigan website (once there, choose Stay | Campgrounds and RV Parks) is an easy way to see find each park’s web address and see what each park offers.

Hartwick Pines State Park – Grayling, MI
Hartwick Pines State Park has the largest area of old growth white pine in the Lower Peninsula.  There are many great trails, including a nicely paved trail through the old growth forest, which will also lead you to the Hartwick Pines Logging Museum where you can see what life was like in the logging camps.  Visitors can watch wildlife, hike, bike, and fish and if you want to visit in the colder months, you can even snow shoe, ski and hunt.  This is one of the few state parks that offers some full hook-up sites for those who like to have all the luxuries of home.

Interlochen State Park – Interlochen, MI
The first state park, established in 1917, Interlochen State Park is a great place to stay if you want to visit the Traverse City area, and don’t mind being a few miles out of town.  About 15 miles south west of Traverse and 25 miles east of the Lake Michigan shoreline, this park sits directly across the road from the Interlochen Center for the Arts.  If you are a music lover, this campground is a great place to camp … sit outside in your lawn chair and listen to the students at the summer arts camp practice their instruments, or walk across the road and catch a concert (the camp also has a great ice cream store!)

Krystal Lake Campground – Vassar, MI
A newer, private campground just south of Vassar, this campground has a sandy beach and a swimming pool, putt-putt golf course, playgrounds, game room, laundry room and paddle boat rentals.  There are even several sites available right along the water.  Want to take a day trip?  Frankenmuth is about 16 miles away and shopping in Birch Run is about 25 miles away.

Tahquamenon Falls State Park – Paradise, MI
Tahquamenon Falls are a beautiful sight, no matter what time of year.  The Tahquamenon Falls State Park offers four campgrounds to choose from that offer both modern and rustic campsites.  This campground is a great place to go hiking and view the wildlife of northern Michigan, just remember the bug spray!  If you want to visit in the colder months, cross country skiing, snowshoeing, and snowmobiling are available.

As always, don’t forget, whether you’re a seasoned camper or just starting out, your Chippewa River District Libraries can help you with a variety of resources and we also have park passes you can check out if you didn’t purchase a Recreation Passport the last time you renewed your license plates.  Passes are valid for seven days after check-out and are good for one free day into any state park or recreation area.  So, get out there – enjoy all the beautiful scenery our great state has to offer!

I Geek Travel

8 Aug

We live in a rare beautiful state that is surrounded by The Great Lakes. If you haven’t explored all of the mitten state, there are a few places you need to pack up and take a road trip to.

1.)    Traverse City- Is known for its annual cherry festival and white sandy beaches along Lake Michigan shoreline. There is an abundance of inland lakes, dunes and beaches. With award winning wineries and golf courses, there are plenty of things to do here. No matter what season you are in, Traverse City has been a Michigan favorite for many years. Travel time from Mt. Pleasant: 2 hours

2.)    Mackinac Island- Known for is extraordinary homemade fudge and the beautiful Mackinac Bridge, Mackinac Island is a great place to take your family for a true Michigan adventure. Relive the simple pleasures in life here by swimming or biking in this beautiful Michigan Island. Stay at the Grand Hotel for the full Mackinac experience. Travel time from Mt. Pleasant: 2 hours and 15 minutes

3.)    Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore- Visit this hidden gem of Michigan. With multicolored sandstone cliffs, beaches, sand dunes, forests, and waterfalls. Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore is a scenic and magical adventure along Lake Superior. Backpack, camp, kayak, fishing, and sightseeing are just a few activities you can indulge in here. Travel time from Mt. Pleasant: 4 hours and 45 minutes.

4.)    Harbor Springs- Known for the deepest harbor in the Great Lakes, Harbor Springs is a friendly community with beautiful beaches along Lake Michigan. Pond Hill Farms is a main attraction here, with a café, winery, livestock farm, and petting zoo, you get to see what you eat before you eat it. Enjoy this small town by visiting well known resturants and shops. Travel time from Mt. Pleasant: 2 hours and 20 minutes

5.)    Empire- The city of Empire Michigan is known for the famous Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore. Empire also has beautiful beaches and lakes, with Glen Lake close by. This scenic and friendly community is sure to welcome you. Travel time: 2 hours and 30 minutes.

6.)    Michigan Adventure- Visit Michigan’s largest amusement and water park. Equipped with seven roller coasters and 20 water rides. The water park is free with the admission of Michigan Adventure amusement park ticket. Travel time: 2 hours

There are many more Michigan travel destinations! Visit http://www.michigan.org/ for more information.

I Geek Gardening

1 Aug

Gardening is a way of life for a lot of people. Being outside, watching your work grow daily, caring for your plants and yielding the benefits are just a few perks of gardening. However, there are some pesky things that can get in the way of your gardening experience. There are a collection of tips and tricks gardeners around the world have been sharing with others to make sure you enjoy your hobby even more.

  1. To prevent dirt from collecting under your finger nails, run your nails along a bar or soap. This creates a seal to keep the dirt out from under your nails. Afterward just take a toothpick and scrape out the soap for clean nails!
  2. For handy garden twine, take a ball of twine and place it in a small flower pot. Take one end of the twine and string it through the drainage hole, and turn it upside down. You’ll always have twine ready to use!
  3. The next time you boil or steam vegetables, don’t pour the water down the drain, use it to water potted patio plants, and you’ll be amazed at how the plants respond to the “vegetable soup.”
  4. Use chamomile tea to control damping-off fungus
  5. Use small pinecones at the bottom of pots for better drainage.
  6. If you are starting plants from seeds, sprinkle ground cinnamon powder on the soil to prevent fungus.
  7. Cover seedlings with an upside down clear drinking glass, to keep in moisture and protect the plant from cold air.
  8. Cut up banana peels and bury them around your rosebushes to add potassium and phosphorus to the soil.
  9. Crushed eggshells or water from boiled eggs sprinkled around tomatoes will add calcium to the soil.
  10. Use flat club soda to water houseplants.
  11. Plant basil with tomatoes. The basil will repel some tomato pests.
  12. Plant tomatoes with asparagus to keep asparagus beetles at bay
  13. Plant garlic and onions among your roses to repel pests
  14. Marigolds protect cucumbers from nematodes and attract pollinating bees.
  15. Plant radishes with vegetables like broccoli, cabbage and cauliflower to deter cabbage moths.
  16. Growing hot peppers with squash plants keeps squash bugs away
  17. Plant a clove of garlic with each tulip bulb to keep squirrels and other rodents from eating them.
  18. Pour boiling water on weeds growing in the cracks in cemement. It will kill the weeds and any seeds the might be hiding there too.
  19. Rinds from citrus will keep cats away from your garden, they don’t like the smell.
  20. To keep plants healthy, clean your pruning shears with a solution of one part bleach and 10 parts water before moving on to the next plant.

Need more tips and tricks, there are shelves and shelves full of books and more waiting to be checked out at your CRDL.

I Geek Crafts

30 Jul

Let’s face it, kids get bored quickly. However, one thing that almost all kids geek for are crafts. There are a few craft events for kids to participate in at your CRDL. July 30th at 2 p.m. we will be digging up dinos and enjoying crafts and activities related to dinosaurs.

If you can’t make it on the 30th here are a few craft ideas that can help keep your kids occupied and happy:

-Stone owls- find some flat stones and markers and have them draw owls or other animals.
-Home-made play dough: 2 cups flour 1 cup salt 2 tablespoons vegetable oil 2 tablespoons cream of tartar 1 1/2 cups boiling water Optional: add a few drops of food coloring and/or scent.
-Button Tree- Grab a branch and some old buttons and some paper and have them decorate the branch using the button as leaves.
-Soup can windchime- eco-friendly and fun. Wash and peel the label off of several soup cans and have them paint the cans however they like. Carefully poke a hole in the bottom of the can and string them to a branch or hanger, then let the wind do the rest.
-Old crayons new colors- gather all of those pesky broken crayons and have your kids melt them into new colors!
-Felt Kangaroo Ipod pouch
-Mason Jar Snow Globes
-Glow stick mason jar lanterns
-Leaf art pictures

-Paper bag puppets
-Paper plate masks

Just to name a few ideas!

I Geek the Farmers Market

25 Jul

Healthy Living isn’t hard to do in Mt. Pleasant. Every Thursday and Saturday in Island Park, Mt. Pleasant hosts a Farmers Market where you can get locally grown fresh produce and fruits at a low cost. The Farmers Market runs from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Thursdays and 7:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. on Saturdays. Come by and see what your local community members are doing this summer. The Chippewa River District Library System will be there too! Every Thursday stop by our booth and check out some books about cooking from your Farmers Market and catch up on our geek the library campaign! Pick up a program for a list of all our upcoming events for the remainder of the summer.

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