Stepping Stone Learning Preschool

This week as I get back into blogging (finally!) I want to feature somewhere near and dear to our family hearts… Lalo’s preschool!!

This fall we had to begin looking for where he would enter his first year of preschool and we were fortunate that our church building hosted a new preschool just starting up.  We were a bit apprehensive because Lalo doesn’t always make adjustments well (or so we thought) so we wanted to make sure this was the right fit for him.  We visited last August and he was shy but that first September day we dropped him off he flew into the classroom and has never looked back!

We have been overwhelmingly pleased with the care that the teachers and directors give to all of the students as well as the smaller class sizes.  Lalo has made some great friends and I have met some really wonderful parents and I am sure we will both have some lasting friendships 🙂

The center is run by Kristi San Miguel and Donatella Arona.  Both are certified Early Childhood Educators and there are two classroom teachers as well.  The school has a playbased learning philosophy were students are encourage to explore and engage in their education as well as have some time to learn center based education prepping them for kindergarten.  Lalo has greatly benefited from this program and not only loves it but has succeeded wildly!

Stepping Stone Learning is enrolling NOW!  If you want to schedule a time to swing in let me know or fill out their contact form.  If you do enroll we both get 50% off a month’s tuition so make sure to let me know so we can both get that benefit! 🙂   2015-05-19_0003 2015-05-19_0004 2015-05-19_0005 2015-05-19_00082015-05-19_0002 2015-05-19_00012015-05-19_0006

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Feature Friday: Gwen’s Cakes

For February’s Feature Friday I bring you Gwen from Gwen’s Cake Decorating!!

I met Gwen last year at the Saline Bridal Show and reconnected with her this year as I began planning local featured vendors!2014-03-02_0001

Random fun interesting fact- Gwen lives on (and operates!) on the same street as my mother in law!! She has an industrial kitchen right in her garage, how awesome is that! Gwen first began decorating cakes for her kids which grew to family and friends and then eventually it grew into strangers and then into a licensed business!  What began as birthday cakes and cupcakes has grown into beautifully elegant wedding cakes (she won the Best of Weddings from the Knot in 2013!) 2014-02-26_0002Because Gwen has her fantastic studio/kitchen right in her home she can bake cakes anytime of day (or night!)  When you meet for a tasting or consultation you walk into her beautiful sprawling ranch located right outside Saline.  Once inside you can see many of her sample cakes, photo albums of past cakes as well as other examples of her exemplary work! 2014-03-02_0002

She said there have been many weekends where her and her two assistants will be delivering 8-10 wedding cakes in addition to the ump-teen birthday cake and cupcake orders!  And if that isn’t impressive enough she once filled an order for St Joesph Mercy Hospital for over 1,000 cupcakes!  Aren’t these cakes just beautiful!! And these are just sample cakes!  Her real cakes are even more impressive!2014-03-02_0003Another fun random fact is while Gwen loves to bake and decorate cakes her favorite hobby is scuba diving!! How neat is that!?  She was certified in Cozumel and regularly takes scuba excursions!2014-02-26_0001If you are in need of a wedding, birthday, graduation or just a regular old cake Gwen is the place to go!  Not only does she do typical cakes, ones with fruit fillings but she also can accommodate gluten free (I know where my birthday cake is coming from 🙂 !!)

Feature Friday: Maureen’s Designs

I have been hoping to incorporate blogging into my off season more (and let’s be honest, my busy season too :p ) So I began brainstorming some good topics to include during my ‘less’ busy season.

Most of the Wedding Industry is much like a blind date.  You hear good things about vendors, maybe a friend or an acquaintance knows them but in all reality you are showing up to a coffee shop or their store front with little to no background information about them.  So- enter Feature Friday!  I work with these vendors on a very regular basis!  So what greater way to get to know them then through a blog post with pictures of them and their work! 🙂

My current goal is to blog vendors once a month, but I may try to add more too that as time allows!

For January, meet Maureen of Maureen’s Designs!

You will find Maureen’s Designs on the corner of Ann Arbor Street and Michigan Avenue in Saline right behind Mac’s Acadaian Seafood.  A true mom and pop shop, Maureen opened in March of 2007 with her husband, Jack.  The two moved to Saline in 2006 with their four boys, all of whom are in college now.

2014-01-31_0003Image courtesy of Complete Luminance

Like many vendors located in Saline, Maureen appreciates the small town feel, “I really enjoy the courteous and friendly clients who recognize quality work.”

As you enter her shop it greets you warmly with not only the smell of flowers but an absolutely enchanting atmosphere.  She has some products available ready to be purchased as well as all of the necessities to make handmade arrangements.  There are several colorful vases to choose from as well as baskets and just about anything you could imagine to make a memorable bouquet.  She has a sitting area that resembles a garden patio to look over photos and ideas from clients.

2014-01-30_0003Then as you continue around her shop you will see every detail of the shop pairs perfectly with her work.  Enchanting, fresh and lively. 2014-01-30_0004I was so excited to find my floral favorite, succulents (and the most difficult potted plant to kill 😉 ) are also available for sale!

2014-01-30_0002One of the things I admire about Maureen’s work is everything she does has a personal touch.  From the arrangements you order over the phone to your bridal bouquet she has a knack of hearing what you’re looking for and creating the perfect visual masterpiece!  Maureen designs many of the pieces herself, unlike larger flower shops.  She does have on assistant that she will bring on during busier seasons but she personally oversees all creations.  Another awesome thing is how she educates her brides.  In the advent of Pintrest, many industry professionals will simply recreate what the bride brings, but Maureen is able to create from scratch some amazing artistic arrangements (as she did for my husband’s and my wedding!) as well as what you can find on Pintrest!

Here are some photos from our wedding, they really do not do the flowers JUSTICE!  I had a simply stunning Calla lily bouquet and each of my bridesmaids had these amazing handmade flower balls!!! This is a perfect example of describing to Maureen an idea and precise execution!  They served as head table decor as well with the aid of stocking hangers!  She also arranged some beautiful pieces for the front of the church too!2014-01-31_0002Photo credit to the *amazing* Sarah Lugo Photography

Below is Maureen assembling an arrangement ordered for a client’s wife’s birthday! 2014-01-30_0005Jack is there to help with more of the business end of things as well as deliveries and moral support!  You can see their love for each other in how they work together, which is pretty rare in husband and wife run business!  As you can see they are adjusting to business– and an empty nest very well! 2014-01-30_0007 Maureen is still booking for some 2014 Weddings and Events!  So get in while the gettin’ is good!  Also she is an excellent choice for Valentines Day, or just because!  While located in Saline, they deliver to all of Washtenaw County!

If you have had any work done by Maureen make sure to leave some love on the blog or on her facebook page!!

Maureen’s Website

Maureen’s Facebook