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Young adults may be in for yet another disappointment.

In addition to the ever-increasing cost of college and the student loan debt they may be met with once they graduate, college students may find they’re making less money than they expected when they enter the workforce.

That’s based on a recent survey by Clever, a real estate company based in St. Louis, that asked 1,000 undergraduates about their salary expectations and career goals after college – and down the line, too.

Generation Z” undergrads surveyed said they expect to make $57,964 one year out of college, but the national median salary is currently $47,000 for graduates who have a bachelor’s degree and less than five years of job experience, Clever reports.

Mid-career (mis)estimates

“The average undergraduate also overestimates how much they’ll be making by mid-career (10 years out of college) by about $15,000,” the report states.

The survey also found that women expected lower salaries than men with the same degree and major.

Overall, college students with a four-year or graduate degree will earn about 23 percent less than they expected to in their first year out of college, according to Clever.

Expectation vs. reality

While the expectation versus reality pay gap was significant overall, students did have success estimating their potential income in some cases.

For example, tudents majoring in engineering, for example, expected to make an average of $64,615 in their “early” career, and the actual “early” career median salary in engineering is $64,200. Results were similar for fields like accounting and humanities/liberal arts.

Business majors, on the other hand, face a greater reality check. In the survey, business students expected to make an early salary of $61,085 but data shows the median early income for business is around $46,500.

Reduced spending

It’s probably a good thing, then, that a recent University of Michigan study found young adults spending less compared to previous generations, Clever points out.

“Younger consumers view the buying conditions for big-ticket items like homes and cars less favorably than older generations, leading to less spending overall,” the report states.

“The study points to weakened job prospects, delayed marriage and student debt as the primary causes, but we also need to consider that college graduates are discouraged by their middling salaries upon their entry to the workforce.”

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The latest baby name lists are finally out for 2018, and there are no major surprises: Emma and Liam have earned the top spots for the second year in a row.

But instead of just seeing what’s most popular throughout the U.S. for baby names, now, expectant parents and baby name enthusiasts can actually see what’s trending right where they live. The Social Security Administration, which releases the top baby names each year, gives us that information – plus some other fun tools to explore baby name popularity.

So which baby names are most popular in Michigan? Parents here seem to prefer Noah and Olivia most, according to an article on Mother.ly.

The problem, of course, is that knowing about the popularity of a certain baby name can make parents want to avoid it altogether. If it’s too popular, they think, their child could be in a class where several students share the same name (shoutout to the Jessicas, Jennifers and Michaels who know the feeling).

Experts say that concern is less of an issue these days, since parents are choosing a greater diversity of names overall – for example, the percentage of girls given a “top 10” name dropped from around 25 percent in 1945 to 8 percent in 2007, Live Science reports.

Still, many parents are cautious about choosing a so-called “popular” name. If that’s the case for you, consider these top-ranking names in Michigan and some similar alternatives.

Top 5 boys names in Michigan (plus alternatives) 1. Noah

If you love this name with biblical roots, you might consider Gabriel, Elijah or Jacob.

2. Oliver

According to Nameberry, people who like the name Oliver are also fond of names like Ezra, Henry and Theodore.

3. Liam

The name Liam has Irish roots. Another Irish name is Declan, which means “man of prayer” or “full of goodness,” according to BabyCenter.

4. Benjamin

Fans of this name might consider a slight variation, such as Benny or Benji.

5. William

If you love this distinguished name that means “resolute protector,” you might like other royal names like George, Charles or Edward.

Top 5 girls names in Michigan (plus alternatives) 1. Olivia

One variation of this name is Olive, which has soared in (relative) popularity from No. 990 in 2007 to No. 270 in 2018.

2. Ava

While Ava is at peak popularity in many places, the name Avery is at No. 16 in 2018 – not too far from where it was at No. 18 in 2011.

3. Emma

Parents who love the name Emma might consider the longer Emmeline or the similarly short but equally adorable Ella.

4. Charlotte

How about Scarlett, Chloe or Grace? They’re just a few of the “Charlotte alternatives” offered up by Romper.

5. Amelia

This baby name may be popular, but not nearly as popular as the similar name Amalia, which is derived from the Germanic word “amal” meaning “work.” The name Amalia is currently ranked No. 593 in the U.S.

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My niece was about 6 when my sister told me that she was dreading the day that her daughter became a teenager.

We were in the girls department of a big name store buying our other niece a birthday present – and my sister, who is on the modest side, looked crestfallen as she picked up a padded training bra.

All she wanted was her daughter to be able to have the clothing that she needed without being sexualized, and here was this tiny pink “your first” bra that had no real business being padded.

As my nieces got older, my sisters developed tests to make sure that clothing covered what needed to be covered. My nieces were still allowed to wear what they wanted, but it had to be age-appropriate – no extreme cleavage or booty cheeks.

Generally, my nieces never really had a problem with this reasonable rule, but occasionally a low-cut shirt or a high-cut pair of shorts would be off limits.

Jason Hilley, a father of two from Florida, ran into this issue with his 14-year-old daughter, Kendall, a few weeks ago.

According to reports, Kendall made an appearance in the living room in shorts that dad felt were a little too short, so Hilley gave Kendall his debit card and told her to buy shorts that fit.

She bought new shorts, but dad didn’t like the length of those either. So he cut his jeans into a pair of Daisy Dukes and strutted into Kendall’s room wearing his new shorts, telling her that if she left the house in hers then he’d pick her up from school in his.

Naturally, a grown man in what looks like a blue jean diaper caused the teen (plus her mom and brother) to crack up laughing.

And, judging by the multitude of comments that echoed “I’m going to steal this idea when my daughter is older,” it also inspired the 210,000 people who saw it to take a more humorous approach to child discipline, which is what Hilley was aiming for by posting the video.

“We joke around a lot, but Kendall knows when my jokes are serious,” Hilley told TODAY Parents. “Kids will be kids and try to push the limits. That’s when I step in and try to correct the behavior with a little bit of humor. You don’t have to yell and scream and punish to get a point across.”

And he’s right. There’s a time and place for everything, but a lot of times teens aren’t going to listen to you if you scream at them. It’s better for both of you if you find something they will listen to – and they’ll definitely hear this.

Have you done something funny to teach your child a life lesson or to enforce a rule? Tell us your story in the comments.

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We go to great lengths to get kids to eat healthy – bribing, threatening, sneaking cauliflower into the mac and cheese and, of course, lying. Kraft has your back and is encouraging you to feel less guilty about those little white lies when you pick up a packet of their new “Salad Frosting.”

Kraft’s head of marketing, Sergio Eleuterio, put it this way in a press release: “Innocent lies parents tell their kids help alleviate the pressures of everyday parenting, and, if it gets kids to eat their greens, so be it. Simple, innocent lies are not only part of parenthood, but a true tactic used by parents everywhere. Kraft Salad ‘frosting’ is one lie you won’t feel bad telling your kids.”

Before you turn your nose up at the disgusting name and any associations you have with frosting, be reassured that it’s just ranch dressing in an easy squeeze packet.

The product hasn’t hit shelves yet, but the creators hope that the frosting tube design with confetti on front will appeal to kids and trick them into thinking they are putting a sugary glaze over their broccoli and carrots.

To get parents on board, the company launched a Twitter campaign with the hashtag #LieLikeaParent. The campaign was part of a contest, and the results were pretty amusing.

Twitter personality and comedian James Breakwell is taking the credit for the Kraft campaign, referring to a tweet he posted in February saying his 6-year-old called ranch “salad frosting.” Whether the company acknowledges his contribution or not is yet to be seen, but he jumped on board with his own #LieLikeaParent tweets.

However, some parents don’t see the humor in the campaign. Twitter user @bgeuzzie writes, “Shame on you, @KraftHeinzCo. Seriously? #LieLikeaParent? Relationships are built on trust, and no, ‘innocent lies’ are not a part of parenthood. No lies are innocent.”

One parent also pointed out the irony of the nutrition facts of ranch dressing, saying it is more fitting to be considered an unhealthy treat like frosting.

“OK, I want to get behind a deviously creative execution, but when the @KraftBrand Ranch Dressing has slightly more calories than @Pillsbury Creamy Supreme Classic White Frosting, this doesn’t sound like a lie. It sounds like finally telling the truth,” writes Twitter user @enjoypatrick. An article by Karl Utermohlen for Investor Place confirms that the dressing is just as unhealthy as frosting with twice the amount of fat and over 200 more milligrams of sodium.

Is the product a fun new way to get kids to eat veggies, or are parents buying into the same lies they’re telling their kids? We’ll see if “Salad Frosting” helps boost the company’s sales when and if it hits store shelves.

Have you ever told your kids any white lies to get them to eat certain foods? Let us know in the comments.

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Getting pregnant and deciding on a birthing plan is incredibly personal.

Some couples might struggle to conceive and some may need to take a look at different birthing options to ensure that both mom and baby come out of it healthy.

That’s why it’s stupid to shame other parents for these decisions: Whatever works for you, works for you.

That said, the decision to squat in the middle of the woods and push out your kid is quite the bold choice – but doula Simone Thurber did just that when she gave birth to her fourth child in 2012 and then posted the video to YouTube a year later. It really took off in 2016. And, thanks, to mysterious social media algorithms, it recently popped back up in our feed. These days, it’s at just about 80 million views.

While Perouze, the baby in the video, is now 7 years old, the footage, which checks in at just over 22 minutes, remains a powerful digital reminder of her mom’s choice.

At the beginning, Thurber includes a message explaining that she wanted to give birth in nature after watching a video called Birth into Being.

Her first three daughters were born at home, she explains, but with her fourth child, she decided to make her dream a reality – and flew to a friend’s home in the Daintree Rainforest in Australia.

She went into labor at 11 p.m. on Friday, Feb. 3. At 6 a.m. the next morning she got naked, hopped into a bath and labored there for three hours – all of which is documented in the video by her husband, who has since passed away.

At around 9 a.m., Thurber felt “pushy,” so they decided to go down to the creek and, by 10:50 a.m., she gave birth.

All of this, up to and including the baby exiting her vagina, is all featured in the video below. (Warning: This video features full frontal nudity and graphic images of childbirth. Use your discretion.)

Birth in Nature: Natural Birth - YouTube

In 2016, Thurber was interviewed by the New York Post about her experience and explained that she’s “not a hippy drippy mom” but that she did want her experience to happen away from “beeping machines” at the hospital.

Of the video, she added, “Women have been giving birth in the wild for thousands of years, but the thought of a modern women squatting in a creek and giving birth horrified many people even before I gave birth and shared the video.”

And I can understand why people might be a bit concerned about taking this route.

There’s an abundance of complications that can happen during childbirth and, if you’re out in the woods, if one of these complications were to arise, you’re putting both your life and your baby’s life at risk.

As a doula, Thurber would probably recognize an issue if it arose – but still, she admits that there was no doctor present and it would have been hard to get to the hospital.

Also, you’re vulnerable during childbirth, and there are wild animals in the woods. She did have friends around, but you still run the risk of having to waddle away from a curious Estuarine Crocodile – which, by the way, is native to the Daintree rainforest – while a baby’s head is crowning in your nether regions.

Still, I do have to admit that both she and the video are quite miraculous all these years later. After all, the whole childbirth thing is tough in general. Doing it with no doctor, no drugs and completely in-tune with nature is kind of rad.

I don’t think I could do it.

What do you think of this mom’s birthing story, and would you ever consider giving birth out in nature? Tell us your thoughts in the comments.

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While it is enjoyable to gather around for a family board game or hit the beach, it’s a feeling of pure freedom and bliss to hit up a local roller rink with the fam.

And there are plenty of them to choose from in southeast Michigan.

Whether you’re a beginner or pro, there’s a rink where you’ll fit right in. Many places even offer lessons as well as family-friendly skate sessions and with locations in Macomb, Oakland, Wayne and Washtenaw county there’s bound to be an option near you.

Here are our picks for the best roller rinks in our area. Check out the list and lace up your skates – or blades – at one near you.

BonaVenture Family Skating Center Farmington Hills
  • Address: 24505 Halsted Road, Farmington Hills
  • Phone: 248-476-2200

Skate along to the music whether it’s coming from the rink’s DJ or the huge jumbo vision video screen at BonaVenture. The skating center allows guests to host birthday parties or come down to skate with family and friends while also enjoying the laser light show featured in the facility. There’s an arcade, laser tag and a playscape, too.

Detroit Roller Wheels
  • Address: 16611 Schoolcraft St., Detroit
  • Phone: 313-837-7680

Let the good times roll. The rink is a great spot for hosting birthday parties, family reunions and more with group rates and skating lessons available to give you the rundown on the basics of skating.

Lincoln Park Skating Center
  • Address: 1419 Southfield Road, Lincoln Park
  • Phone: 313-381-7465

Get your roll on inside the 23,000-square-foot building while skating around to top 40 music. This skating rink offers special events and guests can make group reservations and host private parties.

Northland Roller Rink
  • Address: 22311 W. Eight Mile Road, Detroit
  • Phone: 313-535-1666

This family spot claims to be the largest and oldest skating rink in Detroit. With colorful scenery and music to jam out to, the skating rink is a great spot for a family outing.

Riverside Arena Roller Skating Center
  • Address: 36635 Plymouth Road, Livonia
  • Phone: 734-421-3540

Skate the night away at Riverside. Come out during special event nights or throw a birthday party for someone in your family. The skate shop has skating classes as well as a pro shop.

Rolladium Skating Center
  • Address: 4475 Highland Road, Waterford
  • Phone: 248-674-3949

Exercise your leg muscles and enjoy quality time with your family while skating at Rolladium. If skating doesn’t come naturally to you, take advantage of the center’s skating lessons.

RollerCade Detroit 
  • Address: 2130 Schaefer Highway, Detroit
  • Phone: 313-736-0832

This roller rink has offered skating fun to families since 1955. Book a birthday party or roll on in for open skate, which runs 2:30-5 and 6-9 p.m. daily. Skating lessons, too.

Rollerama Family Skating Center Brighton
  • Address: 6995 Grand River Road, Brighton
  • Phone: 810-227-2010

Similar to BonaVenture, you can head to Rollerama for loads of family fun! Outside of skating, your family can also enjoy inflatables, an arcade, bumper cars and laser tag.

Royal Skateland 
  • Address: 5201 Alter Road, Detroit
  • Phone: 313-882-5911

This spot offers open skating on Tuesdays and Saturdays, plus adult skate night on Sundays. Check out their skating lessons and ask about throwing a party here.

Skatin Station II
  • Address: 8611 Ronda Drive, Canton
  • Phone: 734-459-6401

Roll out into skate paradise at the Skatin Station. Take advantage of the special events held such as “Rollers and Strollers Skate” as your family skates until you start to feel your legs ache.

Skate World of Troy
  • Address: 2825 E. Maple Road, Troy
  • Phone: 248-689-4100

With a variety of themed skating events from teen and adult nights to coffee and cake skate, Skate World has something for everyone. Don’t miss the special events held each month as well as cheap skate for $4 on Wednesdays from 4:15 until 6:15 p.m.

The Great Skate
  • Address: 29100 Hayes, Roseville
  • Phone: 586-777-4300

From Zumba classes to adult skate and junior roller derby there is something for everyone to enjoy. There are also opportunities to take skating lessons and host your own skating party.

The New Rink
  • Address: 50625 Van Dyke Ave., Shelby Township
  • Phone: 586-731-5006

Come roll and bounce the New Rink. With a bounce zone for children 12 and under as well as roller hockey, this spot is perfect for the kids.

Looking for even more fun to be had on wheels? Check out our roundup of skateparks in metro Detroit and Ann Arbor

This post was originally published in 2016 and is updated regularly. 

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Sure, your kitchen is a place to make and eat meals with your family – but it can also be a classroom for your kids. Even young kids can begin to help you put together simple recipes. As you get your kids more involved in the kitchen they can perform more tasks.

Keep in mind that each child is different. Some will have more interest and abilities in developing kitchen skills compared to others. Use the kitchen skills below as a general guide for the activities your child can be working on. Build on one skill set and then add more.

Along with this list of cooking skills for kids, there are links to recipes perfect for their age group and ability.

Preschoolers (ages 3-5) – little sous chefs

These youngsters will need plenty of guidance and supervision learning new kitchen skills. Guiding them through simple tasks will give them a solid foundation toward doing more as they get older.

  • Pouring ingredients from cans
  • Making simple sandwiches and wraps
  • Rolling cookie dough into balls
  • Stirring batter
  • Measuring out ingredients for recipes
  • Cleaning fruits and vegetables
  • Preparing simple salads
  • Setting the table
  • Putting away utensils from the dishwasher
  • Opening up packages

Recipes to try:

Grade schoolers (ages 6-8) – young chef

Your kids can learn their ABCs while sounding out ingredients and directions in cookbooks. Take time to instruct your child on safety in the kitchen. Plan on supervising them as they tackle new-to-them kitchen skills.

  • Stirring boxed mixes like cakes, brownies, and mac ‘n’ cheese
  • Using the microwave for simple tasks
  • Rolling out bread and cookie dough
  • Loading and unloading the dishwasher
  • Browning ground beef in a pan
  • Cutting up soft foods with a kitchen knife
  • Boiling pasta (but not straining it)
  • Getting out recipe ingredients from the pantry and refrigerator
  • Greasing pans

Recipes to try:

Middle schoolers (ages 9-12) – chef-in-training

Tweens can start preparing recipes on their own with a parent or adult on hand for any questions. Begin preparing more complex meals with them so you can show them how to tell when a cake is done, chicken is fully cooked and more.

  • Draining pasta
  • Using the oven
  • Grilled cheese sandwiches
  • Quesadillas
  • Following basic recipes
  • Making quick bread recipes
  • Using some kitchen appliances, after an adult sets them up
  • Sautéing meat and/or vegetables
  • Shredding cheese using a box grater
  • Loading and unloading the dishwasher
  • Making scrambled eggs
  • Slicing soft vegetables and meats (tomatoes, chicken, zucchini)

Recipes to try:

Teenagers (ages 13-18) – assistant chefs

It’s time to take off the cooking training wheels! Teens should be able to do most kitchen tasks on their own, although you may still get a question or two. Try to find ways for your teen to do more in the kitchen – maybe he or she can make the family dinner once a week.

  • Chopping ingredients and using various knives
  • Making bread recipes using yeast
  • Using kitchen appliances, including food processors and blenders
  • Cooking with a wok
  • Frying foods like chicken tenders, French fries and tater tots
  • Cutting raw meat
  • Cleaning up all plates, knives and appliances
  • Slicing all vegetables and meats
  • Loading and unloading the dishwasher

Recipes to try:

For even more tips on basic cooking skills kids can do in the kitchen, see Kraft’s Kids in the Kitchen Guide and Lifehacker’s Kitchen Skills by Age Infographic.

This post was originally published in 2015 and is updated regularly. 

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So many kids seem morally opposed to putting veggies anywhere near their lips. But sometimes, parents can help by introducing vegetables gradually – and by blending them in a dish kids already like. These sorts of hidden vegetable recipes are both delicious and (at least a little bit!) nutritious.

One prime contender is macaroni and cheese. Metro Parent stepped in the kitchen and whipped up this recipe that features plenty of kid faves – like noodles, three types of cheese and Goldfish crackers – along with a very subtle vegetable that’s packed with vitamins and minerals (not to mention, it’s a great source of fiber).

Try the recipe for Metro Parent’s original cauliflower mac ‘n’ cheese below. And if you’re feeling even more adventurous, check out our tips on how to get picky eaters to try new foods, too.

Basics
  • Prep time: About 40 minutes (includes stovetop cooking)
  • Final baking time: 30 minutes
Ingredients
  • 1/2 stalk of cauliflower, chopped
  • 2 Tbsp. white onion, chopped
  • 2 Tbsp. butter
  • Cooking spray
  • 1 cup vegetable or chicken broth
  • 2/3 lb. dried elbow macaroni (substitute with noodles of choice; try colorful rotini to brighten things up)
  • 3 Tbsp. flour (if your child’s palate is more adventurous, try a mix of half-regular flour and half-wheat flour, for a healthier option)
  • 2 cups fat-free milk (can use 3/4 cup buttermilk, if desired)
  • 10 oz. cubed cheddar cheese
  • 1 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
  • 1 cup of shredded Monterey Jack cheese (substitute with mozzarella, if desired)
  • Salt and pepper
  • Goldfish Baked Snack Crackers
Directions Cooking the cauliflower
  1. In a pot on stovetop, saute the chopped white onion in 1 Tbsp. butter.
  2. Add chopped cauliflower.
  3. For extra flavor, add the 1 cup vegetable or chicken broth (alternatively, just stick with water).
  4. Cook on low heat, about 10 to 15 minutes, until soft and tender. Be careful not to overcook; that makes the cauliflower too mushy.
  5. Mash up the cooked cauliflower with masher.
Preparing the noodles
  1. In another pot, cook up the dried elbow macaroni, following directions on box. Be sure the texture is al dente (slightly chewy).
  2. Drain the pasta in strainer.
Preparing the cheese sauce (thickening paste)
  1. In third pot, blend the other tablespoon of butter with the 3 tablespoons of flour, over low heat. Mix with spoon until well blended. Note: This is called a roux, and it serves as a thickening paste.
  2. Slowly, stir in the 2 cups of fat-free milk. It’s crucial not to add the milk too fast, or the roux will clump up and harden. Again, mix until well blended.
  3. Gradually add in the three cheeses. Mix until cheese is pretty much melted.
  4. Add a healthy pinch of both salt and pepper, for a bit of flavor. A dash of nutmeg or dried mustard also can enhance the flavor.
Putting it all together
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Pour the mashed cauliflower into the bowl of noodles. Mix well.
  3. Pour the cheese sauce into the cauliflower-noodle blend. Mix well.
  4. Pour the entire mixture into the casserole dish (make sure the dish is first covered with the cooking spray). Spread around so the mixture is evenly distributed.
  5. Top with a few Goldfish Baked Snack Crackers for a kid-friendly garnish.
  6. Bake for 30 minutes, or until golden brown.
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School is officially out and the time for family bonding is officially in – but with all the fun summertime options for families in Macomb County, it can be tough to decide what exactly to fill your precious 12-week break with.  

Sure, the annual trip to Cedar Point or a summertime trek up north might be a given but how do you narrow down the fun to be had closer to home?

Fret not local families, we’ve done all that legwork for you and came up with this list of 15 summertime must-dos for families who live in or near Macomb County.

In it you’ll find everything from daring adventures at local amusement spots to educational animal experiences and community traditions that every child should try.

Take a peak at it and start planning out your 2019 summer today!

Note: Some items on this list are free, some have admission fees and you may have to register in advance for others. Check ahead to get the details before you head out.

  1. Ride the Ferris wheel at CJ Barrymore’s. It’s 110-feet tall and offers a spectacular view of the surrounding area. The park also features a 120-foot drop tower, two roller coasters, three go-kart tracks and a more than 100-game arcade.
  2. Kayak down the Clinton River. Got good weather? Rent gear from Clinton River Canoe & Kayak Rental and enjoy a peaceful day out in nature.
  3. Grab a Cone from Erma’s “Original.” This local ice cream shop has been dishing out treats in Macomb since 1942. Stop in at one of three locations for a cone of classic vanilla or a scoop of a weekly flavor.  
  4. Catch a ballgame at Jimmy John’s Field. The four teams that make of the United Shores Professional Baseball league go head-to-head in Utica almost every weekend. Grab a mitt and root for your favorite.
  5. Meet Tommy the Turtle. He’s at the Sterling Heights Nature Center and is ready to make friends. Want even more reptilian fun? The Reptarium in Utica features more than 100 amazing snakes, alligators, tortoises and lizards – for just $5 you can feed some of them.
  6. Follow the Macomb County Art Map. It will take you to more than 100 different art installations and street art displays in all 27 of the county’s communities.
  7. Hit up a community festival. Sterling Heights offers Polish and Italian cultural fests in July. Fraser and Armada both host annual carnivals and so does Warren. Check with communities near you for more hometown fun.
  8. Experience the Trippo Water Slide at Stony Creek Metropark. This 50-foot-high and 245-foot-long inflatable slide will get you and your family soaked for just $2 a ride. Not into that level of thrill? Kick back on one of the park’s two beaches.
  9. Look for painted rocks in St. Clair Shores. Or join The Kindness Rocks Project and spread a little joy by painting and hiding your own in the community.
  10. Watch a roller derby bout. Macomb County’s roller derby team, Bath City Roller Girls, play at Joe Dumar’s Fieldhouse in Shelby Township. Their hard-hitting season picks back up on Aug. 17. Kids 12 and under watch free with a paying adult.
  11. Conquer the Macomb Orchard Trail. Bike, walk, jog or skate your way through this 23-mile paved train, which spans from Dequindre Road all the way out to Richmond.
  12. Laugh with Rosco the Clown. Lovable, laughable Rosco hosts his annual Picnic Palooza series in Macomb Township this June and July. Stop by for games, inflatables, wiggles and giggles.
  13. See a show. Warren, Richmond and Macomb Township all have community offerings, while big names in music play at the Michigan Lottery Amphitheatre at Freedom Hill. Take a look at their line-ups to find an option you like. And don’t forget about Movie in the Park options.
  14. Cruise down Gratiot. Got a classic car? Take the kids and participate in the Gratiot Cruise. No car? No problem! Set up some chairs and watches the different rides cruise by. Happens Aug. 4.
  15. Try Puppy Yoga. UpDog Yoga offers fun yoga sessions with adoptable puppies at its Shelby Township location. Get a good workout in as you play with the pups.

For more summer fun ideas in Macomb County, visit Make Macomb Your Home online – and don’t forget to leave some of your favorite Macomb County summer bucket list ideas in the comments.

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As parents, we work continually to create balance in our own lives and in the lives of our kids. For many of us, summer is welcome relief from the often hectic school-sports-activities-homework treadmill that dominates the rest of the year.

While summer does give kids some well-earned freedom, it also gives them a lot more unstructured time, which can translate to hours of screen time. A recent nationwide survey found that 92 percent of parents believe their kids spend more time on their electronic devices during the summer than any other time of the year. Seventy-four percent said they wish they had a way to better control their kids’ Wi-Fi access.

“If you haven’t familiarized yourself with your internet provider’s technology, you may be missing out on some great features that could enhance your summer experiences and make it easier to manage your household Wi-Fi usage,” says Michelle Gilbert, vice president of public relations with Comcast – Heartland Region.

Xfinity provides ways for parents to monitor and limit their kids’ access to Wi-Fi in their homes. These tools, together with a plan for use that is discussed among the family, are often very effective at helping parents make sure their kids strike a balance between time spent offline – whether outside in the sunshine, in face-to-face conversations with friends, riding a bicycle or reading a book – and time spent with a device like a computer, a tablet or a mobile phone.

Here are some Wi-Fi tips for striking a balance with device time for your family this summer.

Create a plan that honors individual experiences. Your younger child is up with the sun, but your teen sleeps until late morning. Xfinity’s xFi is a platform that gives parents individualized control over how much Wi-Fi usage is allowed per child, down to individual devices.

“I can create profiles and assign devices to my kids’ profiles, then customize their usage,” Gilbert says. “An older child can get four hours online and that’s it, while a younger child can use their device between 11 and 1, and then they go play outside.”

Prioritize family time at home. With xFi, parents can also pause Wi-Fi to all devices for important face time with family – like dinnertime – whenever that might be, seven days a week.

This applies to parents, too! Thirty-nine percent of teens believe their parents spend too much time on a personal device, according to a 2019 study by Common Sense Media. Forty-four percent of teens feel parents are distracted at least once daily. Pausing Wi-Fi for everyone at dinnertime might be a good way to avoid this distraction.

Review device usage regularly. It’s a good idea to monitor network activity every once in a while. Are there any devices you may have overlooked? Parents who find their kids switch from tablet to TV once their Wi-Fi time is used up can also use xFi to pause Roku, Apple TV or other household devices on an individual basis, or all at once.

Protect your kids from the bad stuff. Older kids who are at home on their own during summer days, or younger ones who spend time with sitters while parents are at work, can innocently stumble across age-inappropriate content online and on the TV.

“Every provider has some form of parental controls, and it’s helpful to know what they are and to re-familiarize yourself with them every six months or so, since enhancements are being made,” Gilbert says.

Xfinity customers, for example, can use Safe Search to prevent age-inappropriate channels from appearing in searches on TV, and can use the xFi app to set parental controls to block unwanted URLs, even when away from home.

“Parents should still be parents, and no technology is perfect. It’s a good idea to look at your child’s browsing history from time to time to be aware of what they are searching for,” Gilbert says.

Give sleep a fighting chance. With 29 percent of teens sleeping with their phones in their beds, and 36 percent waking at least once each night to check their phone, a Wi-Fi bedtime could help growing kids get the sleep they need over the summer. Remember, pausing Wi-Fi overnight doesn’t pause cellular data usage, so talk with your kids about nighttime habits or even put devices in the common area of your home overnight – where text alerts won’t wake anyone at 2 a.m.

Maximize Wi-Fi when it makes sense. Summer vacation is a great time to recognize the value of using home Wi-Fi to download recorded shows to watch on roadtrips or at hotels and campgrounds where Wi-Fi might be suboptimal. Xfinity customers have access to the Xfinity Stream app that makes it easy to download DVR recordings and on demand content to your mobile device to watch in the car or in airplane mode.

“Check with your own video provider to learn about your ability to download content to watch on the go, so you don’t use expensive wireless data to stream videos,” Gilbert says.

“It’s about getting more value for the products and services you are paying for and rely on in the home. You should take full advantage of everything your provider has to offer.”

For more information on cable, internet and special offers, visit xfinity.com.

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