15Jul/17

The Michigan Science Center

The Michigan Science Center opened in December of 2012 and occupies the sprawling campus of the former Detroit Science Center. The museum features live stage shows, an IMAX® Dome Theatre, Planetarium, 250+ hands-on exhibits, lab activities, special exhibits and more. There is so much to see and explore; you could easily make an entire day of the science center. Exhibits exploring health, physical science, space, engineering and much more fill the three-story space.

Visiting the Michigan Science Center

The entrance to the museum showcases an impressive 1000 foot Erector Set replica of the Mackinac Bridge containing over 15,000 pieces. Much of the main-level is dedicated to various exhibits featuring engineering, health & wellness, and Detroit’s signature auto-industry. One of the most notable and enjoyable things about the museum was, that nearly everything is hands-on. Kids learn by doing and this place had plenty to offer; a giant suspension bridge, interactive factory with machines to play with, MRI machine, and US steel funhouse. I’ll hear the occasional gripe from my youngest, who is 6, that museums are boring because there is too much to read. Well, I’m happy to report that this was not the case at Mi-Sci. All of the exhibits are accompanied by brightly-colored comic-book style informational guides that even the most reluctant reader will enjoy. Brevity is key with so much to do and see.

Michigan Science Center

We were welcomed to the basement of the center by a friendly-staff with a live Boa Constrictor draped around his shoulders; kids took turns petting the live snake. I did not. The basement of the center hosts a Creation Kitchen where kids can host their very own experiments and tinker with their own inventions. Motion, Waves, Lazers and Space galleries fill the basement level. The highlight of kids’ trip involved the space exhibit where they took turns testing Newton’s Third Law of Motion sending pressurized bottle rockets to the ceiling above.

Michigan Science Center

Unfortunately for us, our timing prevented us from catching the IMAX show and had I known they had a full café on the main floor, we would have skipped the pre-museum fast food lunch. We clocked in a full day at just over 4 hours. A relaxing, educational, fun-filled day for the whole family. I would definitely recommend you and your family stop by if you’re visiting the Motor City.

Tell us: Have you visited before?

the Michigan Science Center

12Jul/17

GET THE INSIDE SCOOP ON SPIDER-MAN HOMECOMING W/ CO-PRODUCER ERIC HAUSERMAN CARROLL

As the release of Spider-Man Homecoming comes closer, I finally have the go ahead to share more with you from our set visit. Even then, I have to tread lightly since our visit was loaded with spoilers that I’m not allowed to leak yet. Patience, patience. It’s all coming in due time. 😉 That’s why you shouldn’t worry about that any updates or trailers will ruin the fun for you — Marvel and Sony are keeping a tight reign on the best parts!

After arriving at the studio, we went into the “war room.” Concept art from the entire film, scene by scene, lined the walls. These included set ideas, talents, costume designs, and more. Co-Producer Eric Hauserman Carroll walked us through everything. And I do mean EVERYthing! His enthusiasm for the film was oozing over.

A young Peter Parker/Spider-Man (Tom Holland), who made his sensational debut in Captain America: Civil War, begins to navigate his newfound identity as the web-slinging super hero in Spider-Man: Homecoming. Thrilled by his experience with the Avengers, Peter returns home, where he lives with his Aunt May (Marisa Tomei), under the watchful eye of his new mentor Tony Stark (Robert Downey, Jr.). Peter tries to fall back into his normal daily routine – distracted by thoughts of proving himself to be more than just your friendly neighborhood Spider-Man – but when the Vulture (Michael Keaton) emerges as a new villain, everything that Peter holds most important will be threatened.

Spider-Man Homecoming w/ Eric Hauserman Carroll — Story & Characters

The first few minutes of the movie introduces viewers to the villain, Vulture, before he went bad. Adrian Toomes runs a salvage company. Following the events of the first Avengers movie, he desperately did what he could to get contracts to clean up these sites. But, when a new government agency swoops in and takes over, Toomes goes over the edge.

This is literally a guy who picks up the scraps left behind from super villain battles, takes that tech, and repurposes it and profits off it. In an interesting way, he’s kind of the dark mirror of Tony Stark.

Cookies & Clogs | Exclusive interview with Co-Producer Eric Hauserman Carroll and insider info of Spider-Man Homecoming movie from Marvel and Sony. Michael Keaton as Vulture.

Photo credit: Chuck Zlotnick; COPYRIGHT: ©2017 CTMG, Inc. All rights reserved.

The actor who plays the main character is Tom Holland (my interview with him is coming soon). He blew his audition out of the water when he offered to do a backflip on the spot. The crew already liked him but the backflips sealed the deal.

Aunt May is played by Marisa Tomei as a re-envisioned version of the character. Believe it or not, the movie has scenes of her actually leaving the house and having a life!

Their relationship is a huge part of the comics but, at the same time, it’s never really explained why Aunt May is twice the age of his parents. So, we decided to go with the literal translation that this is his father’s sister and she is roughly the age his parents would be.

Jacob Batalon portrays Ned Leeds. Ned is Peter’s good friend, almost like a sidekick, who he’s known since they were young. When filmmakers looked back at some of the other movies, he never had any real friends. (Harry doesn’t count since he was bad almost right away.) In a school full of smart, nerdy kids, these guys are “nerdier.”

While Carroll said it wasn’t intentional, I love the fact that the cast is so diverse. They also purposely casted a young group of actors so, if they do two more movies, they can use the same people. The idea is that each movie will take place during a year of high school. In Spider-Man Homecoming, Peter is a sophomore.

Cookies & Clogs | Exclusive interview with Co-Producer Eric Hauserman Carroll and insider info of Spider-Man Homecoming movie from Marvel and Sony. Tom Holland as Spiderman.

Photo credit: Chuck Zlotnick; COPYRIGHT: © 2016 CTMG. All Rights Reserved.

Spider-Man Homecoming w/ Eric Hauserman Carroll — Becoming a Hero

When people think of Spider-Man, they think of the web-slinger who swings off skyscrapers through New York. But, like most people, Peter Parker starts off with a rational fear of heights. It’s pretty scary when you’re 40 stories off the ground with nothing between you and that drop.

One of the stories we’re trying to tell is that he’s going to have to work up to being a world-class superhero. So, in this movie, we never really see him more than 4-6 stories off the ground because he’s still growing into this sort of role.

When asked about Spider-Man’s origins, Carroll mentioned that they will acknowledge it but won’t rehash that story. One of the mission statements for this film was to make a really different kind of Spider-Man movie. It’s more about modernizing the story and putting a twist on it to make it fit in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

We’re making the first Peter Parker movie. It’s not the sixth Spider-Man movie.

Spider-Man will still be the same fun and chatty character that fans know and love, though. As we saw in Captain America Civil War, Spider-Man will continue to be in awe of the science behind his enemies’ weapons. Also, well-known talents were brought in to help keep the comedic tone just right. These include Jonathan Goldstein and John Francis Daley (Vacation movie) and Chris McKenna and Erik Somers (Community and other television comedies).

We sought out people to help us to make sure he had a fun, funny voice and it stayed light.

Spider-Man Homecoming w/ Eric Hauserman Carroll — On Set During Filming

After blowing our minds with Spider-Man Homecoming goodness. We jumped onto a couple of golf carts to visit the set. Filming was actually taking place while we were there. So, a monitor and some headsets were brought out so we could watch. If you look at the featured photo at the top of this post, you can also see the school lockers used in the film!

They were filming the part when Ned finds out about Peter being Spider-Man (as shown in the first official trailer). The scene went through several retakes and bloopers. It was so fun to watch it all happening live and unedited. We even saw the hair and makeup artists going in between scenes to freshen up the actors. Oh, it wasn’t too bad meeting the Director, Jon Watts, while on set either. 😀

11Jul/17

FINDING COMMON GROUND TO BETTER COMMUNICATE WITH YOUR TEENAGER

It was so easy to talk with my daughter when she was younger. In fact, it was harder to not talk with her. There were times when she would go on and on about anything and everything. Things changed once she became a teenager. She didn’t want to open up as much and I had to be mindful of when and how I approached her. Raising a teenager is definitely an ongoing task. But, I have found that having some sort of common ground helps tremendously.

Opening Communication with Your Teenager

By having things that we can both relate to, conversation can become more natural and engaging. Instead of a battle of wills, it becomes a safe environment to bond and chat casually. Finding subjects that both parents and teens relate to can be a challenge though. The two-decade age gap causes us to have different interests and tastes. Fortunately, we found a few shows that we both enjoy watching together. How does that help? Check out this video Netflix put together about how some series can get families talking.

Finding Common Ground

When we sit down to watch movies or television shows with Munchkin, we have something to talk about. Even if it’s about how awesomely corny The Flash is, why A Series of Unfortunate Events is so addicting, or repeatedly mimicking antics from The Minions, watching these together can break the ice. It allows us to talk without tension or anyone being “right.” Once the lines of communication are established, we can keep it going and discuss deeper issues when necessary.

Cookies & Clogs | It can be tough finding common ground to better communicate with your teenager. One idea is to watch the same shows together and have something you can both relate to talk about.

It’s so much harder to be a teenager now than it was when we were younger. The pressures they deal with on a daily basis are intense and, many times, are more serious than we can even imagine. That’s why it is more important than ever to get those conversations started now! We need to help our teenagers feel comfortable enough to talk with us, even if it’s about sensitive subjects. Only then can we offer advice in making good decisions and support them when it gets tough.

04Jul/17

FINDING MOM SNEAK STREAM TIME & VOLTRON LEGENDARY DEFENDER SEASON 3

 

Everyone needs a break once in awhile. That’s especially true if you are a mom. For the past 15+ years, I have heard the constant onslaught of “Mama!” every single day from my daughter. If she’s not vying for my attention, she’s in my face or over my shoulder trying to see what I’m doing. And, since I have homeschooled her this whole time, this is happening 24/7 and 365 days out of the year. It’s crazy! No wonder I try to get some Mom Sneak streaming tv time in. With Voltron Legendary Defender Season 3 today, August 4th, I’m already plotting when I’ll “disappear” the next few days.

The Need to Mom Sneak

It’s not that the shows I want to watch are inappropriate for Munchkin to see. Afterall, she’s 16 years old and I tend to like lighter stuff anyway. Sometimes I just want some private “me-time” to decompress with my favorite series. Or, I want to watch a romantic comedy, musical, older series, or anime without the peanut gallery commentary from my daughter or husband. You know what I mean?

Apparently, I’m not alone in this. Netflix put together an infographic of how personal streaming time can help moms recharge. I definitely relate to the four most popular benefits listed.

Netflix Mom Sneak Streaming TV Time Infographic

Voltron Legendary Defender Season 3 Out August 4th

As mentioned above, I’m pretty excited about Voltron Legendary Defender Season 3 being released today, August 4th. There are seven new episodes. These will cover what happens after Zarkon’s defeat and Shiro’s disappearance last season. A new power rises in the form of Prince Lotor, Zarkon’s son. With the team down a pilot and unable to form Voltron, they’ll have to work harder than ever to defend against the reinvigorated Galra Empire.

Netflix Original Voltron Legendary Defender Season 3

Netflix Original Voltron Legendary Defender Season 3

But, since Munchkin enjoys the series too, she’s intent on watching the new season with me. I asked her if she was actually interested in seeing this next installment of Voltron. If not, then I could “sneak” away to see it. Yeah, it seems that won’t be happening. This was her response.

If you watch it by yourself, I will find you… I will pounce on you… And I will watch it with you…
— Munchkin.

So there you have it. Now you know why I feel the need to watch shows secretly. If I don’t watch in bed, while cooking, or on the toilet, I will have a pair of prying eyes keeping me from actually enjoying the downtime. Maybe she’ll let me watch EmmaSeventeen AgainQueen of Katwe, and Rogue One on my own…

Are there shows that you enjoy which you’d rather watch sans kids?

Netflix Mom Sneak Streaming TV Time

I received a year subscription of Netflix and a device to stream the content as part of the Netflix Stream Team. All opinions are my own.