Friday, July 26, 2013

Macomb Charitable Foundation for children needs door prizes for fundraiser

Macomb Charitable Foundation is swinging into action on Aug. 12 with a ladies golf outing at Cracklewood Golf Club and they need some help. 

Though tickets for the outing are sold out the event is in need of donations of “lady friendly” items for door prizes and raffles. All proceeds from the annual event will go to make a difference in the life of a child.

If you’ve ever done any work with the homeless chances are you know about the MCF.
Founded by Shelly Penzien and supported by an army of volunteers – Macomb Charitable Foundation works to help members of the homeless population who fall between the cracks. Such as families who have nowhere to stay when the shelters are full or nothing to wear to a job interview.  

Just yesterday while on assignment at the Macomb Intermediate School District Summer Day Camp I was told by the director that the program is funded by the schools but that the field trips that the children -– who are homeless or have been in foster care over the past school enjoy are made possible through charitable donations. 

Thanks to the Macomb Charitable Foundation – all 26 campers were treated to a wonderful day at Cracklewood Golf Course in Macomb Township. Penzien not only arranged for the children to golf but hooked up an instructor from a local high school – who brought along members of the school’s golf team – to teach the campers how to drive, putt and chip. Then they gave the kids a thrilling ride on the golf carts.

“That group is a blessing,” said Kathy Kropf, homeless education liaison and director of the MISD Children First Summer Day Camp. “If we can’t get a family into a shelter they’ll put them up until there’s an opening. They help with clothes. They help with transportation. They do everything we can’t do as a school.”
To make a donation contact Shelly Penzien: macombcharitable@comcast.net

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Welcome to the world Baby Cambridge!

AP photo

Orbiting the moon or cruising Woodward Avenue -- no matter where you were yesterday, chances are you heard the news. 

Prince William and Kate have a son! 

Britain now has a third-in-line to the throne. 

If only my grandmother were here today. I’m sure she would be glued to the TV enjoying the revelry surrounding the infant’s arrival. She was a Brit and a royal follower. Not because of the royals’ celebrity status, I’m sure, but because she was proud of her country’s heritage and traditions. My grandmother died long before I was born so I never heard the stories about the royal events that she celebrated as a child. It may be why I’ve always followed England’s news, that and having grown up in Canada, which is steeped in British tradition.

So, when the newest member of the Mountbatten-Windsor family arrived I smiled quietly in my corner of the world.

Prince William and Kate -- like any new parents -- spent the first few hours bonding with their little one before unleashing the official announcements.

Among the first to shout out the news to the crowd of royal followers waiting anxiously outside St. Mary's Hospital in Paddington -- where Prince William and Prince Harry were also born -- was town crier Tony Appleton. A town crier is an officer of the court who is required to share news of importance with the people in the streets. Appleton was voted best town crier of the year -- noted by the patch he wore proudly on his red and gold robe. His traditional garb also included white breeches, black boots and a tricorne hat adorned with plumes of red and blue. As with the 18th century town criers of the past, Appleton carried the official proclamation and the traditional handbell used to attract people's attention. According to historians, town criers shout the words "Oyez, Oyez, Oyez" before making their announcements. Oyez means "hear ye," which is a call for silence and attention derived from the Anglo-Norman word for listen.

They did listen. Then they cheered.

Tourists and well-wishers camped out at Buckingham Palace got the word via the Queen's senior Page Philip Rhodes who -- in keeping with another royal tradition -- was handed the official notification in the forecourt of Buckingham Palace announcing that the Duchess of Cambridge had given birth to a son. The notification was then set up on a gold easel facing the gates for public view. (AP Photo/John Stillwell, Pool)

"This was a great event, yet again our royal family is bringing everyone together," said 27-year-old David Wills, who took a two-mile detour on his run to work to pass the palace.

To the delight of everyone hearing the news, a band of scarlet-clad guardsman at the palace then kicked into a rendition of the song, "Congratulations."

 People everywhere were partying in honor of little lord what's-his-name. Even here in Macomb County -- where a large population of Brits and Canadians have come to live -- businesses joined the parade.

"In the spirit of England and in honor of the royal baby, we're going to make baby blue vanilla bean scones," said Jennifer Colombo, founder of Just Delicious Scones in Roseville. These will be offered along with Colombo's European classic scones that are rich (as in lots of butter) but plain and lightly sweet. Since this is a special day, indeed, to this she will add a sampling of lemon curd and Devonshire cream.

"You would not believe how excited people are," said Colombo, who launched her tea house and scone shop around the same time as Prince William and Kate's royal wedding. For that she made royal wedding scones that sold like hotcakes.

I have no recipe for scones but in honor of the royal baby have put together this collage of celebrations reported for the Associated Press by journalists from around the world.

Monday, July 22, 2013

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge have a son!

Her royal highness the Duchess of Cambridge safely delivered a son at 4.24 p.m. 

The baby weighs 8lbs 6oz.

The Duke of Cambridge was present for the birth.

The official announcement by the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge.

Prince William's Twitters following the exciting arrival of his son.

Twitter users react to news Duchess of Cambridge is in labor

Everyone is watching with twittering with great anticipation. Check out what's being said around the world in reaction to news that the Duchess of Cambridge is giving birth to the next .... princess or prince of England.

Royal chatter on Twitter

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Baby talk with Brits

The first child of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge's (aka William and Kate) is expected to arrive shortly. By the time this column appears, Britain may already have a new prince or princess. As of press time, royal followers were betting (3:1) that Kate would have a girl and that the royal parents would name her Alexandra. Second to that was Charlotte at 5:1 odds. Diana or a variation was running even with the name George for a boy at 7:1 odds.

While Brits ponder names, many mums in North America - who might also be expecting their first little prince or princess - have been speculating on the royal nursery. I imagine it to be quite lovely and big. Judging by the scaffolding in place at Kensington Palace in London where refurbishments are in the works for the parents and their little one, there will be room enough for the baby, parents, nanny and a tea party with friends. Built in 1605, Kensington Palace has been home to six British monarchs - including Prince Charles and Diana.

In the spirit of speculation and to inspire American mums working on their own royal nursery, here's the excerpt from an e-chat with Britain's Olivia Robinson, creative and development director at Mamas & Papas (us.mamasandpapas.com) surrounding the arrival of the royals' baby. (Mamas & Papas is a British brand of baby furnishings and accessories, not the musical band known in America.) 

Q: How excited are people in the United Kingdom about the upcoming arrival of William and Kate's baby? What does it mean to Brits?
A: I think many young people in the U.K. identify with William and Kate because they are such a modern, relatable couple and there is genuine excitement for them as they start their family. Anticipation is growing as each day passes and it's certainly an exciting time to be here in the U.K.

AP Photo
Q: When is the baby shower? Where will it be?
A: There has been lots of speculation about whether or not Kate would have a baby shower and it seems as though the consensus was that Kate would have a shower. As this is a break with royal tradition, I doubt any details will be released or even confirmation that the shower has happened. Your readers may not know that baby showers are not very common in the U.K., so that's part of the reason there has been so much "will she" or "won't she" speculation.

Q: Is there already a trend with regards to baby items because of what Kate and William may or may not have planned for the nursery?
A: Yes, trends are already starting within the baby industry as a result of the royal baby. For example, Kate was spotted buying a Moses basket and sales of these baskets have increased by 57 percent. We are seeing a trend toward classic and traditional items which makes sense because I think most people would describe Kate's style this way.

Q: I understand no one will see it, but what do you imagine it will look like? What is popular in the U.K. right now - with regards to nursery themes or trendy d├ęcor?
A: I think we can expect the nursery to have a modern and elegant look. Although we likely won't see photos of the baby's room, I would imagine it to have a classic, neutral color palette like our Once Upon a Time Collection. It features neutral shades, super soft fabric and animal detailing. Overall, we have found that parents in the U.K. are shying away from pink or blue rooms and are creating nurseries that are gender-neutral and match the style of the parents.

The Mamas & Papas Baby Snug.
Q: If parents in America wanted to have a few items from Mamas & Papas that are super popular in the U.K. what would they be?  
A: The Baby Snug is one of our most popular items and is a must-have for any new mom. It is a floor seat with a wide, durable base that gives baby a place to sit, eat and play, thus giving parents the ability to keep an eye on baby in their seat while having their hands free. This item was a lifesaver when my son was young.

Q: What about new technology? Is there anything trendy with regards to cribs, bedding, high chairs or strollers? What is a Footmuff? 
A: Parents are always looking for baby products that make their lives easier. Our Urbo stroller is a great example of how we design products to meet this need. The Urbo is the perfect stroller for city dwellers. It's easy to push, lightweight (under 20 pounds), allows baby to face forward or backward and lies flat so that it can be used from birth. It's also available in a variety of colors - red, turquoise, black, sandcastle, lime jelly and purple.
Footmuffs are very popular in the U.K. and are becoming increasingly popular in the colder climates. Our footmuffs are available in the U.S. and coordinate with our strollers. (Much like sleeping bag for the stroller) they keep baby warm and snug on cold days and convert to a stroller liner during the warmer months.

Q: Was the Pip bunny inspired by (you-know-who) anyone in particular?
A: No, Pip Bunny was not inspired by anyone in particular, although we think it would be a great gift for Aunt Pippa to give to the royal baby! Pip Bunny is a part of our Once Upon a Time collection, which was designed with qualities similar to those Kate is so fond of - soft, high-quality fabric with a classic and modern look.

Q: The outfits for boys are very nautical, featuring boats, anchors and stripes. Is there any particular design that is hot in the U.K., such as monkeys which are hopping here?
A: Funky patterns and stripes are a very hot trend right now. Monkeys are definitely popular here in the U.K. as well. We have a number of babywear pieces coming out this fall that feature a fashionable animal theme. My favorite is an Owl Dress that's made of high quality fabric and features bright colors and owls.

Gina Joseph is a reporter and columnist for The Macomb Daily. Send comments to gina.joseph@macombdaily.com, follow her on twitter @ginaljoseph and visit her beat blog at macomblife.blogspot.com.

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Inaugural Blue Water Sandfest is underway in Port Huron

Master sand sculptor Brett Stocker of Los Cabos, Mexico.

Judging by the crowd attending Friday's Blue Water Sandfest it is likely to become an annual event at Fort Gratiot Lighthouse in Port Huron.

"It's a great idea. I think they should do it every year," said Erica Chilcutt. "We brought three kids up here for something inexpensive to do and they're loving it. I'm loving it."
The event features five master sand sculptors and five professional advanced amateur sand sculptors who, over the course of the weekend will create works of art out of buckets and buckets of wet sand. There's frogs and princesses, a candle in the wind and of course castles. On Sunday, judges will choose the best of the lot for prizes including one from each category chosen by people visiting the festival.

The idea for the sand sculptor competition and festival came to members of the Fort Gratiot Lighthouse last September. 

"We wanted to come up with something that would raise some major dollars for funding," said David Brooks, chair of the Sandfest. The idea for this event came after one of the members told the group about the sand festival in Fort Meyers, Fla. However, while Michigan has plenty of sand -- it's not the same as the white stuff packed against the shores of the ocean.

Porter Duncan, 4, left, of Chesterfield Township and Ian
Chilcutt, 8 of Port Huron create their own work of art.
"Michigan sand is very young," Brooks said, repeating what he was told by the sand-sculpting experts. Older sand as in the case of Florida and California -- is sand that has been pounded by the waves over and over agin. So, instead of using the sand on the beach in Port Huron -- 150 tons of old but very clean sand was donated to the event by Mid Michigan Materials in Jetto and delivered free of charge by Burgess Contracting. Besides creating a community event that is fun for all ages -- all of the sand that is being used for the sculpting competition will be donated to the Community Foundation of St. Clair. The Foundation plans to use it in the construction of the riverfront project.
"Our target is to raise $20,000 to match the grant from the Michigan Lighthouse Assistant Program," said Brooks, adding the funds will go toward the upkeep of the lighthouse, which offers tours to anyone interested and overnight stays to large groups.

"We all went to the top of the lighthouse," said Cheryl Duncan of Chesterfield Township, who attended the Sandfest with her family. "It's beautiful, what a view."

Master sculptor Brett Stocker -- the title applying to sculptors who have been at it for more than 15 years and won awards for their work -- said he travels all over the world for competitions when his wife is willing to mind their resort business in Los Cabos, Mexico. 

So far, Stocker said he's very impressed with the Blue Water Sandfest. 

"The sand is great. Very clean and easy to work with," said Stoker, who is creating an architectural piece.

Visitors to the festival can watch the sculptors work -- and give it a try. A small area of the festival offers children the opportunity to get their hands wet. There's also an art village, live entertainment, food, tours of the lighthouse and a gorgeous view of Lake Huron.

Admission to the Blue Water Sandfest is $5 per person, children 4 and under free. 
The event is hosted at the Fort Gratiot Light Station County Park, at 2802 Omar Street, Port Huron, Michigan 48060. For more information visit: www.bluewatersandfest.com.