Category Archives: Breaking News

Too exciting to wait for it’s official day.

Free Bike Helmets!

OK this is too exciting. I have to squeeze one more post in! I just told you about the Put A Lid On It Program, and it has expanded. The Griffins are going to give bike helmets away at various libraries; and I’m just going to cut and paste their press release in the interest of time.

A.P. has a friend over, and in the course of half an hour they have 1) located the shovel and put dirt all over the slide 2) peed in the yard and 3) removed almost all of their clothes. Meanwhile, the neighbor boy wandered down the street, would not come back with me, so I had to run over and alert his grandma to have her go get him.

I have to keep an eye on these boys.

I know a lot of you love the Grand Cycling Classic (the one that used to be the Priority Health Classic, then changed sponsors and dates) – I am still waiting for online registration to open up because it’s in July this year.  I have a link on my Active Kids page. Enjoy!


GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. – One hundred local children will receive a new bike helmet at no cost when the Grand Rapids Griffins and Safe Kids Greater Grand Rapids host the third annual “Lids at the Library.”

The event will take place on two separate days at branches of the Grand Rapids Public Library and the Kent District Library. KDL’s Wyoming Branch (3350 Michael Ave. SW) will be the site on Tuesday, June 15 at 1 p.m., while GRPL’s West Side Branch (713 Bridge St. NW) will host the event on Thursday, June 17 at 1 p.m.

Volunteers from Safe Kids and the Griffins will be on hand to properly fit these free helmets for the first 50 kids at each location. Helmets for kids ages 1-12 will be distributed (subject to availability), and a parent or legal guardian must be present for a child to receive a helmet. A Griffins mascot will entertain patrons and a variety of information from the Griffins and Safe Kids will be available for pickup.

“Lids at the Library” represents the start of the seventh summer of the Griffins’ award-winning “Put A Lid On It!” (PALOI) helmet safety program, which is presented by Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital. Since the program’s founding in 2004, the Griffins have worked with dozens of local organizations – including Safe Kids, police departments, pediatricians, schools, libraries, bike shops and sporting goods stores – to encourage helmet usage during wheeled sports, prevent head injuries, and reward kids who wear their helmets.

PALOI, which earned the Brain Injury Association of Michigan’s 2007 prevention award, targets elementary and middle school students in a seven-county region of West Michigan. Children age 17 or younger who visit with parental permission and sign a pledge to always wear their helmet will be rewarded with a voucher for two free tickets to a 2010-11 Griffins game, and they’ll be registered for a drawing to win a new bike.

Ever-present at local bike races throughout the summer, PALOI will co-sponsor the kids race at the Grand Cycling Classic for the second straight year, providing helmets to the first 150 kids who register for the July 10 event.

Information for parents, including tips for choosing a helmet and getting children to wear it, is available at For more information about the program, call (616) 774-4585 ext. 3046.

The “Put A Lid On It!” program is supported by Centennial Securities, Comcast, Dean Foods and Delta Subaru.

2010 PALOI Event Schedule

June 15 – Lids at the Library – KDL Wyoming Branch (1 p.m.)*

June 17 – Lids at the Library – GRPL West Side Branch (1 p.m.)*

June 18 – Bike Rodeo at Glen Valley Dentistry in Caledonia (10 a.m.-1 p.m.)

June 19 – Bike Rodeo at Walker Ice Arena (8:30-11 a.m.)

July 3 – Kentwood Fourth of July Parade (9:30 a.m.)

July 4 – East Grand Rapids Fourth of July Parade

July 10 Grand Cycling Classic*

Aug. 3 – National Night Out

Aug. 7 – U.S. Coast Guard Festival Grand Parade in Grand Haven (11:45 a.m.)

Aug. 7 – Ada Criterium

Aug. 22 – Gaslight Criterium in East Grand Rapids

All events subject to change

* Helmet distribution event

PALOI By the Numbers

10 – West Michigan police and sheriff’s departments that participate in our ticket voucher reward program.

18 – Michigan counties with kids who’ve made a helmet pledge.

60 – Michigan cities with kids who’ve made a helmet pledge.

1,649 – Different kids who’ve made a helmet pledge through since 2004, including many who’ve done so on an annual basis.

9,500 – Free Griffins tickets awarded to kids through the voucher reward program since 2004.

$15,000 – Grants provided by the Griffins to local Safe Kids organizations for the purchase of more than 1,500 helmets that have been distributed free to needy kids since 2004.



Leave a comment

Filed under Active Kids, Breaking News

Family Film Festival!

It used to be called the “Dove Family Film Festival“. After a few years, a baseball-hat high-top tennis shoe wearing piece of popcorn called Flick came in and strong-armed the whole enterprise.  There was a fierce battle; a fight for the right to entertain kids and sell them snacks.  Defeated, the Dove finally lifted its battered wing like a white flag of surrender.  “Take good care of them, Flick.  They’re yours now“. 

I have no idea what actually happened. I’m sure it was not nearly as interesting as my version.  Some Memorandums of Understanding were signed, contracts were negotiated, and other boring boardroom stuff is probably what went down. What I do know is that if this film festival was a person, it would have a restraining order against me because I stalk it. 

For the uninitiated; it’s a nice opportunity for you to see a movie with your kids for $3.50 (everyone under 12 is free) in the theater right before it hits the rental market. It’s a sweet deal. I must know what movie is playing when and schedule accordingly.  So here you go, Big Binder readers.  You (probably) heard it here first.  They are all rated PG.

  • Planet 51 March 12-18
  • Astro Boy March 18-25
  • Where the Wild Things Are March 26-April 1
  • Alvin and the Chipmunks – the Squeakuel April 2-8
  • Cloudy With A Chance of Meatballs – April 9-15
  • The Spy Next Door – April 16-22

More information is on the Celebration Cinema website.  And I’m totally not saying you are, but if you were the kind of person that sneaks candy into movies and robs the theater of their rights to sell you their smaller, more expensive concession stand candy you might want to check out SnakSnak.  I cannot get enough of this website.  They review snacks.  I love snacks.  And cheap movies.  And epic battles.  So much goodness in the world; I just had to share.


Filed under Breaking News, Feature Friday

Plans vs. Reality – Guess Who Won?

Today was supposed to be action-packed.  I had to blink a few times and refocus my eyes when I realized I would be leaving the house at 7:30 AM and not returning home until 6:30 PM.  My plans included the following:  

  • Two school drop offs
  • Two school pick ups
  • One workout
  • One drop off at sitter
  • One meeting
  • One pick up at sitter
  • One Tae Quan Do class
  • One grocery store trip

Somewhere in there was lunch.  Being Little Miss Prepared, I had everything set out last night and was ready to go.  Here is what my day actually looked like:

  • One A.P. with a barking cough
  • Four “sorry, I have to cancel” phone calls
  • A trip to and from preschool

It was frustrating, but I was glad I could be at home with him instead of trying to sneak him into school hepped up on cough syrup.  I tried that once and it didn’t go well at all.  You can read about that here. I will still share what I had intended on writing about though.  It makes me feel better to at least do one thing I had planned on. 

The Grand Rapids Civic Theatre Travel Troupe is presenting two free performances. According to the press release, it’s a lively adaptation of Beatrix Potter’s, The Tale of Jemima Puddle-Duck…”Ducks don’t have the patience to hatch their own eggs,” says Henrietta Hen. “Flibberty-gibbets, the lot of them!” Jemima Puddle-Duck determines to prove the conceited Henrietta wrong.

I have no idea what that means. My working knowledge of Beatrix Potter is a little rusty and I’m telling you about this a little early in case yours is too and you’d like to check out a few books from the library to brush up, and for your kids to enjoy. The performances will be Saturday, February 27 and Saturday, March 13; both at 11:00 AM.  No tickets are required, and all seats are general admission.

And now, back to the hacking.

Leave a comment

Filed under Breaking News

Museum Pass

This is sweet – did anyone take advantage of this last year? The free museum day pass  is back, and the date is September 26.  There are participating museums all over the country, but for those of us in West Michigan the two biggies are the Air Zoo and the Kalamzoo Nature Center.  I vote for KNC because the Air Zoo has been free all summer and is until August 30. Click here for the website, and follow the instructions from there – you do have to print a pass to get in. Have fun!

Leave a comment

Filed under Breaking News

Pooh’s Corner

I have an addition to the “Grand Rapids Roundup” post  I did last week.  Pooh’s Cornerwas one of the summer reading clubs we signed up for and had a mediocre participation level in.  The program culminates this Saturday August 22 at 10:30AM with a “Super Saturday Storytime” event.  This is a souped up Story Time and some of the other stores in Breton Village are getting involved with things like face painting and popcorn. Pooh’s Corner will have drawings for prizes and t-shirts, and you can turn in your final reading list if you have them. 

To participate, please bring a donation for Kids Food Basket.  They need 100% juice boxes the most, but can also make great use of plastic spoons, pudding cups, fruit cups, single serving size raisin boxes, self-lock sandwich bags, self-lock snack size baggies, cracker packs, and jars of peanut butter.

1 Comment

Filed under Breaking News

Big Birthday Bash

PhotobucketMy friend Jill is celebrating her birthday by hosting a “Birthday Bash” blog carnival.  The idea is that you give someone ELSE a birthday present.  She highlighted Kids Food Basket, which I absolutely love (so much that one of my Christmas presents this year was a KFB sweatshirt) and wrote about here and here and here.  If you live in the Grand Rapids area, this is a wonderful organization and they are impressively efficient with their resources. 

I’d like to introduce you to the Great Start Parent Coalition Diaper Drive.  While the Coalition poo-poohed (sorry) my suggestions for giving levels “Just Pee”, “Breastfed Baby”, and “Total Blowout“; I am still very excited about this! Our goal is to collect 25,000 diapers between now and September. 

One out of every five babies in Kent county is born into poverty.  As you can imagine, and may have experienced first-hand, the number of families in need of assistance has increased dramatically this year.  WIC and food stamps do not cover diapers, which cost about $100 a month.

Now let me stop for a minute and say I am VERY pro-cloth diapering.  The diapers we are collecting are disposable.  So why am I supporting it? For one, most child care centers do not accept cloth diapers.  And second, families who do not have a washing machine at home cannot wash cloth diapers at a laundromat because they do not allow it. It is very unhealthy and uncomfortable for a baby to sit in a dirty diaper for a long time, but if a family cannot afford enough of them, this is exactly what happens. 

So how can you help? Well, there are a few ways. First, start looking around town for Diaper Drive boxes.  They will be at many local businesses, churches, and other organizations and will be tall white boxes clearly marked.  You can just put unopened packages of disposable diapers in all sizes.  Personally, I am going to start looking for ‘diaper deals’ and use sales and coupons to score some inexpensive diapers to donate. Coming soon to the Great Start website will be a list of donation sites.

If your business, employer, or organization would like a donation box please contact me! I will totally hook you up. My email address is:  bigbinderblog (at) gmail (dot) com. It’s easy; you just have to let it sit there and be a box.  Then you will have a contact person to call when it’s full. Much better than when you are actually dealing with the end user of the diaper.

You can also make a cash donation.  Make checks payable to “Heart of West Michigan United Way”  and write Parent Coalition Diaper Drive in the memo line.  Send it to this address:

Heart of West Michigan United Way

United Way Center

118 Commerce Avenue SW

Grand Rapids, MI 49503-4106

We will present the diapers to ACCESS (an organization working to provide services to families in need) at the Celebration on the Grand, and they will then distribute them through food pantries. 

Find out about other worthy and interesting causes here. And wish my girl Jill a happy birthday while you’re there!


Filed under Breaking News

Summer Activities

Be sure to get a copy of today’s Advance newspaper (they don’t distribute it in town anymore, but it’s in all the surrounding communities).  There is a ” Love INC Summer 2009 Fun For Families and Children” listing of free and inexpensive events in Kent and Ottawa counties. 

This is published every year and it is a fantastic resource.  You’ll see many of the same things I put on my calendar but for Ottawa county also.  There is also a listing of Vacation Bible Schools.  For you out of towners – this is kind of a big deal around these parts 🙂

It will be up on their website soon, but it’s pretty long so you might want to get a hard copy.  It will show up at libraries pretty soon too.  Good stuff!


Filed under Breaking News