Monday, October 6, 2014

Children's shoes: A good fit usually makes for happy feet

Metro Creative Services

Shoes might not be a priority during the summer months when children are running barefoot in the sand or pounding the turf in flip flops. But one of the most important purchases a parent will make in the next couple of months are shoes and boots for fall and winter. This is especially true of younger children. To help parents find a good fit the Michigan Podiatric Medical Association has compiled a list of important factors for parents should consider while shopping:

What fit in August may not fit in September. Children’s feet are forever changing. Every few months you may need to reexamine their shoe and sock size.

·      What’s good for one child might not be good for another. Just because one son wore a size 7 shoe at 18 months does not mean his brother can wear the same shoes at his age. Measure the child’s foot and be aware that sharing shoes can spread fungi such as athlete’s foot and nail fungus.

·      Be aware of unusual wear. A child that wears through the heels of their shoes quicker than outgrowing them could indicate a foot problem and should be checked by a podiatrist.

·      Bring the child along when shopping. Trying the shoes on in the store is the best way to tell if it’s a good fit and letting a child have a say in the shoe buying process promotes healthy foot habits down the road, according to the MPMA.

·      No two feet are the same. Since feet are seldom precisely the same it’s a good idea to buy for the larger foot.

       Breaking in a pair of shoes is not the best way to go. The shoe should be comfortable immediately. Also, if a child is likely to be wearing the shoe with tights rather than thick socks that’s what they should use when trying them on.

     Never force a foot into a shoe. If it doesn't fit properly it can aggravate the feet. Measure the child's feet before buying the shoes and watch for signs of irritation around the toes and heel.


To be sure you’re buying a quality pair of shoes the MPMA advises parents to watch out for the following:

       Does it have a stiff heel? When pressing on both sides of the heel it should not collapse.

       Is the toe flexible? According to the MPMA the shoe should bend with your child’s toes but not be too stiff or bend to much in the toe box area.

       Flimsy shoes are not a good idea. If the shoe can be twisted in the middle you might want to reconsider a different style.

       Slip on slippers might be OK but when it comes to proper walking shoes laces or Velcro are best to hold the foot in place.

For more information and to find a local podiatrist, visit Michigan Podiatric Medical Assocation

Friday, October 3, 2014

Sure you can, preserve this season of apples and pears

In the next couple of weeks, cider mills and U-pick orchards will be brimming with families — venturing through the orchards and browsing through the shops for apples. Is there anything sweeter than biting into a delicious apple — while riding in a hay wagon meandering through an orchard trail?

How about dishing out a spoonful of apple butter you made yourself for a Thanksgiving gathering?
One of the hottest food trends is still home canning and if you’re game for trying there’s still plenty of time to get started with seasonal produce like apples, pears, beets and green beans. Chris Carlisle, vice president of marketing at Jarden Home Brands — which is the maker of Ball and Kerr brand canning products says because of the business he’s in he often fields questions on social media and websites from people who want to try canning but are afraid to do so.

“I always tell people that if you can boil water, you can can. It is that easy,” says Carlisle. For those who still aren’t sure, here are a few points made by Jarden experts hoping to demystify the top home canning myths. They show how canning is as easy as 1-2-3.
MYTH 1: Home canning takes too long. Canning might have been a time intensive process 10 or 15 years ago, but these days many recipes can be prepped and preserved in well under an hour including the recipe for apple butter provided below. Other easy recipes can be found at freshpreserving.com.

MYTH 2: Summertime is the only time for canning. Not true, says Carlisle. “Preserving season doesn’t end in August or even September.” As long as there are fresh, seasonal produce such as apples, carrots, cranberries, squash and grapes there is still time for preserving them in jellies, pickles and sauces.
MYTH 3: Canning is too complicated for the average cook. “In reality, the home canning process is actually just three steps,” says Carlisle. “Assemble and prepare your equipment, make your recipe and fill and process your jars — that’s it.”

Pears in Syrup
For best results use Bartlett pears for this easy recipe, courtesy of the cooks at Ball and Kerr.

• 8-12 large ripe but firm pears, peeled, cored, halved and drained (about 24-36 medium)
• Ball Fruit-Fresh product (or a mixture of ¼ cup lemon juice and 4 cups water) to prevent browning
• 1 batch hot light or medium syrup (see directions)
• 8 Ball (16-ounce) pint glass preserving jars with lids and bands
• Water bath canner

1. Begin by peeling, coring and halving the pears. Submerge the pears in the Fruit-Fresh solution or a lemon juice mixture, then drain. To prepare syrup: combine 2 ½ cups of granulated sugar and 5 ¼ cups water for light, or 3 ¼ cups granulated sugar and 5 cups water for medium syrup, in stainless steel saucepan. Bring to boil over medium-high heat, stirring until sugar is dissolved. Lower heat and keep warm until needed, taking care not to boil the syrup down.
2. Prepare boiling water canner. Heat jars in simmering water until ready for use. Do not boil. Wash lids in warm soapy water, set bands aside.
3. Pour syrup in a large stainless steel saucepan, and add a layer of pears and warm them over medium-low heat. Add another layer of pears to the syrup and repeat until all pears are heated in the syrup, about 5-7 minutes.
4. Remove the pears from the heat using a slotted spoon and pack them, cavity side down and overlapping layers, into hot jars to within a generous ½ inch of top of jar. Ladle hot syrup into hot jar to cover pears, leaving ½ inch open at the top. Remove air bubbles by gently tapping jar on counter. Adjust top space, if necessary, by adding more syrup. Wipe rim. Center lid on jar and apply band until fingertip tight.
5. Process pint jars in a boiling water canner for 20 minutes and quart jars for 25 minutes. Remove jars with tongs and set aside to cool. Check lids for seal after 24 hours. Lid should not flex up and down when pressed in the center.

For more recipes or information on canning visit Fresh Preserving

Monday, September 8, 2014

Algonac Community Theatre to host auditions for 'The Butler Did It'

The butler did it. 

It's an old familiar phrase. 

It also happens to be the next production for Algonac Community Theatre and the perfect opportunity for aspiring actors and actresses looking for an opportunity to work on a show.

Auditions for "The Butler Did It" will be held at 7 p.m. on Sept. 9-10 at Algonquin Middle School, located at 918 South Marsh Road, Algonac. There are 13 roles available including such characters as Haversham, the young housemaid and ex-convict and Louie Fan the mystery writer.   

"This comedy parodies every English mystery play ever written; but it has a decidedly American flair. Miss Maple, a dowager with a reputation for clever weekend parties, invites a group of detective writers to eerie Ravenswood Manor on Turkey Island where they are to impersonate their fictional characters. The hostess has arranged all sorts of amusing incidents; a mysterious voice on the radio, menacing face at the window, a mad killer on the loose. Who is that body in the wine cellar anyway? Why do little figurines keep toppling from the marble? Then a real murder takes place and Miss Maple is outraged. She offers an immense reward to the 'detective' who can bring the killer to justice. And what an assortment of zany would-be-sleuths! When they're not busy tripping over clues, they trip over each other!" according to Samuel French, Inc., which holds the rights to the play by Tim Kelly.

Your directors will be Judith Gulliver and Sandra Malik.

For further information and an audition form visit Algonac Community Theatre or call the directors at 248-840-6644 (Gulliver); 810-278-1547 (Malik).


•Snug Theatre, 160 S. Water Street, Marine City, will present “Laundry and Bourbon” and “Lone Star” written by James McLure, Sept. 5-21. Shows: Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays at 7 p.m. and Sundays at 3 p.m. Tickets are $20 and available at The Snug Theatre or by calling 810-278-1749. The one act plays center around three discontented wives whose marriages have turned out to be less than what they had hoped for and three male counterparts who find themselves drunk behind a bar one night.

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Comedian Joan Rivers dead at 81

(AP Photo/Dan Steinberg, File)
Joan Rivers, the comedian who broke the ceiling on the male-dominated latenight talk shows and interviewed Hollywood celebrities on the red carpet with no agenda -- accept maybe to point out their bad choice in clothes, died Thursday at Mount Sanai Hospital in New York, surrounded by family and close friends. 

She had been hospitalized Aug. 28 after going into cardiac arrest in a doctor's office following a routine procedure. The New York state health department is investigating the circumstances.
Locally, Rivers was known for her performances at Andiamo Celebrity Showroom where she was scheduled to perform this November.

Joe Vicari, CEO of Andiamo has issued the following statement on the passing of Joan Rivers.

“The entire Andiamo family is deeply saddened by the passing of our friend Joan Rivers. She has graced our stage numerous times and provided laughter and entertainment to our audience as she has to her countless fans all over the world. Our thoughts and prayers are with her family at this time.”

Ticket holders may receive a refund from point of purchase. 

Survivors include Rivers' daughter, Melissa and a grandson, Cooper.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Get it on the fun at the Michigan Renaissance Festival

The Festival is on a mission to discover the best beards in all of the seven seas (Flickr/Loren Kerns).

Got a beard? It could be worth a pirate’s treasure at the Michigan Renaissance Festival taking place in the Village of Hollygrove.

“The Festival is on a mission to discover the best beards in all of the seven seas, asking contenders to showcase their facial follicles in the annual free beard competition,” according to festival organizers. Participants can enter one of several categories including longest, grizzliest, most unique and best trimmed beards for a chance to win great prizes provided by BeardHead.

Ladies with a competitive streak and a tattoo can also win their share of the Festival’s treasure in the annual free tattoo competition. Categories will include best color, best black and white and best overall tattoo.

Festival goers – be they bearded or clean-shaven, men, women or children, will find a host of great acts on the 16 stages in the Village of Hollygrove. A new treat for attendees this year is The Vodka Family on Treetop Stage – a theatrical troupe that performs a variety of gypsy dances, drumming and comedy.  Look for the Vodka Family shows each day at 11 a.m., 12:45 and 2:30 p.m. All of the shows including the troupe’s fire show at 5:15 p.m. are held on Treetop Stage. Vodka on the Rocks – which features a blend of belly dancing and sword balancing along with ye old hip-hop on the streets dancing is held at 6:15 p.m. near the front gate.

People love the characters at Michigan Renaissance Festival.
Those looking for Renaissance Festival treasures will find a shipload of vendors at the festival’s special events area known as the Valley of Aberdare including Tudor Crafts, Olde World and the Pirate Shop. Whether it’s a pirate’s hat and shirt or a maiden’s necklace, the Valley of Aberdare’s merchants are sure to have it.

New to this year’s lineup of competitions is the First Annual Mural Competition. The nautical-themed murals created by more than 60 artists from across the state line the walls of the Festival’s Mermaid Lagoon area.

There is good reason this is the 36th season for the Renaissance Festival. The music, acting, costumes, contests – and food – did we mention the great food – makes it an event that Michiganders and their neighbors look forward to every year.

The Festival is open from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. (rain or shine) weekends through September 28, plus Festival Friday, Sept. 26. Admission at the gate: $21.95 for adults; $12.95 for children 5-12; children age 4 and younger free. Advance discount coupons are available at participating Kroger, Walgreens, Menards, Goodwill and Costco. Subway and Dunkin Donuts also carry discount coupons. Free parking is provided by Al Serra Auto Plaza.

The Michigan Renaissance Festival is located at: 12600 Dixie Highway, Holly. For more information visit michrenfest.com

Friday, August 29, 2014

A sneak peek at Disney/Pixar's short 'Lava'

It's short but sweet!

Check out this first look clip from Disney/Pixar’s new LAVA.

 LAVA will open in theaters in front of Disney/Pixar’s INSIDE OUT on June 19, 2015


Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Televsion actors were the stars of the Emmys

Breaking Bad's Bryan Cranston poses with his fourth best drama actor Emmy. (Photo by Jordan Strauss/Invision AP)

Movie stars such as Julia Roberts, Woody Harrelson and Matthew McConaughey had VIP seating. But the 66th Annual Pimetime Emmy Awards were all about television and its stars including a long list from 'Breaking Bad" proving voters have a long memory since the finale aired 11 months ago.

Sporting a Clark Gable mustache and obviously enjoying the evening was Bryan Cranston. That actor who played the meth dealer Walter White on Breaking Bad captured his fourth best drama actor Emmy -- tying him with another four-time winner, Dennis Franz - and the audience's attention after grabbing Julia Louis-Dreyfus for a long kiss - as she made her way up to accept the award for outstanding lead actress in a comedy series for her work on Veep. 

Julia Louis-Dreyfus. (Photo by Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP).

Here is the full list of winners at Monday's 66th annual Primetime Emmy Awards presented by the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences:

— Drama Series: "Breaking Bad," AMC.
— Actor, Drama Series: Bryan Cranston, "Breaking Bad," AMC.
— Actress, Drama Series: Julianna Margulies, "The Good Wife," CBS.
— Supporting Actor, Drama Series: Aaron Paul, "Breaking Bad," AMC.
— Supporting Actress, Drama Series: Anna Gunn, "Breaking Bad," AMC.
— Directing, Drama Series: Cary Joji Fukunaga, "True Detective," HBO.
— Writing, Drama Series: Moira Walley-Beckett, "Breaking Bad," AMC.
— Comedy Series: "Modern Family," ABC.
— Actor, Comedy Series: Jim Parsons, "The Big Bang Theory," CBS.
— Actress, Comedy Series: Julia Louis-Dreyfus, "Veep," HBO.
— Supporting Actor, Comedy Series: Ty Burrell, "Modern Family," ABC.
— Supporting Actress, Comedy Series: Allison Janney, "Mom," CBS.
— Directing, Comedy Series: Gail Mancuso, "Modern Family," ABC.
— Writing, Comedy Series: Louis C.K., "Louie," FX.
— Miniseries: "Fargo," FX.
— Movie: "The Normal Heart," HBO.
— Actor, Miniseries or Movie: Benedict Cumberbatch, "Sherlock: His Last Vow," PBS.
— Actress, Miniseries or Movie: Jessica Lange, "American Horror Story: Coven," FX.
— Supporting Actress, Miniseries or Movie: Kathy Bates, "American Horror Story: Coven," FX.
— Supporting Actor, Miniseries or Movie: Martin Freeman, "Sherlock: His Last Vow," PBS.
— Directing, Miniseries, Movie or Dramatic Special: Adam Bernstein, "Fargo," FX.
— Writing, Miniseries, Movie or Dramatic Special: Stephen Moffat, "Sherlock: His Last Vow," PBS.
— Variety Series: "The Colbert Report," Comedy Central.
— Writing, Variety Special: Sarah Silverman, "Sarah Silverman: We Are Miracles," HBO.
— Directing, Variety Special: Glenn Weiss, "67th Annual Tony Awards," CBS.
— Reality-Competition Program: "The Amazing Race," CBS.
AAP contributed to this report