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- Cadillac News

Buying gifts for the camper, climber or hiker in your life

ERIC CHRISTeNSeN Many of us have friends or family members who love the outdoors. They disappear for days at a time to hike, climb or camp. For those of us who are unfamiliar with that lifestyle, buying gifts for them can be difficult. A trip to an outdoor supply store can overwhelm us with spaceage materials, clothes for every climate and technical gear that looks downright alien. But if you think small, focus on the fundamentals and get creative this holiday season, gift giving will be easy. The first tip is to think small: Focus on the small but useful accessories fans of the outdoors use. Brendan Leonard, who has written for Backpacker, Outside and Mens Journal and runs the website, recommends water bottles, headlamps and multi-tools. Specifically, he recommends the CamelBak Podium Chill insulated squeeze bike bottle ($12), Hydro Flask standard-mouth vacuum bottle ($26) or the Klean Kanteen insulated stainless steel wide-mouth Bottle ($30). Leonard suggests the Petzl Tikka Plus 2 ($40) or the Princeton Tec Vizz ($50) headlamps, saying, A good, basic headlamp is useful for trail runners and hikers who stay out after sunset or start before sunrise, anyone who camps, and when youre not outdoors, you can use them when fixing things around the house. For multi-tools, he suggests the Gerber Suspension Multi-Pliers ($35) or the Leatherman Skeletool ($65). The second tip is to focus on the fundamentals: Look
Friday, December 13, 2013 |

for highly rated gear and clothing that are light, compact and waterproof, such as tents, backpacks, compression sacks, sleeping bags, sleeping pads and clothes. These tend to be more expensive because of the high-tech materials and activity-specific modifications. And many users can be picky when it comes to gear or clothing, so it helps if the person youre buying for can provide you with a list of specific items. But if you dont have such a list, Geoffrey Conner, a gear expert, or gearhead, for the outdoor gear site, says, Dont be afraid to call and pick a gearheads brain. We all love to help people get the right gear for their trips and activities. If the site youre using doesnt employ similar experts, Conner says, Quality is key. Generally, if you spend a little bit more, you will get a product that will last much longer and perform much better. But this is not always the case, so doing research and checking out gear review sites before purchasing can go a long way. In regard to clothing, Conner advises, Probably the most important thing when buying for others is knowing that persons measurements beforehand. I would say a majority of the returns we see are because the wrong size was ordered. ... Important measurements would be chest size, sleeve length, waist, inseam, torso length and foot size. ... At Backcountry, we can set up orders for multiple sizes and set up free returns so that a customer can check out a variety of options. The final tip is to get creative: Instead of buying an photo courtesy of PatitucciPhoto Outdoors expert Brendan Leonard recommends focusing on small but useful items, such as water bottles, when you are shopping for the outdoorsman on your list. item, buy an experience. Leonard suggests state parks passes or national parks passes ($80), saying, A national parks pass gives the holder access to all of Americas national parks and monuments for a year. State parks passes can be just as expensive, but give the holder access to lots of wild terrain closer to home. If youre going to state parks more than two or three times a year, theyre a value. He also suggests guided adventures, such as whitewater rafting ($100-$200 per person) or mountain climbing. And many rock climbing gyms sell day passes if you want to give the gift of a first climbing lesson. Outdoor supply stores such as REI also sell once-in-alifetime travel packages such as a Mount Kilimanjaro climb and safari or a cycling trip in Vietnam. However, some of these trips also come with once-in-a-lifetime price tags. Buying outdoor gear for a loved one shouldnt be about getting the shiniest or most complex gadget. It should be about keeping your friends and family safe, warm and dry when outdoors. Whether you provide them with a critical accessory or the tent that keeps them out of the rain, if you use these tips, theyll definitely be happy campers. COPYRIGHT 2013 CREATORS.COM
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Happy Christmas to all, and to all a safe shopping
CHELLE CORDERO Preparing for the Christmas holiday usually involves making a list and checking it twice (at least), and lots of trips to shopping centers. All of that money changing hands and bundles of expensive merchandise just waiting to be giftwrapped can prove to be a huge temptation for the naughty people on Santas list and potential danger for the shopper intent on holiday merriment. From the FBI to local police departments, many of the cautionary tips for holiday shoppers are the same: Park your car in well traveled and well lighted areas. Always lock your car doors and trunk, and set the alarm if you have one. Be aware of your surroundings. When returning to your car, have your car keys ready in your hand. Do not use a clicker to unlock your car before you reach it. Visit the shopping centers during the day if possible and preferably with a shopping partner, especially if you shop in the evening. Carry a whistle with you to use for attention if needed Dress casually and comfortably; wear shoes you can easily walk or even run in. If you are carrying a purse, hold it close to your body. Avoid wearing flashy jewelry or wearing headphones. Dont carry a lot of cash; do most of your shopping with a credit card or check. If you do carry cash, put it in your front pocket and dont flash it around. Ensure that only your salesclerk can see any necessary ID you need when making a purchase and do not toss sales receipts with credit card numbers. Dont overload on packages to the point where your view or movement is seriously encumbered. Several stores offer assistance to escort shoppers and help carry your packages to the car. Do not load your car with packages and then go back into the stores to do more shopping. Even if you put your packages out of sight, such as in the trunk, thieves may be watching and can break into your car as soon as you are out of sight. Be wary of strangers who approach you to ask the time, directions or to start up a conversation. Do not give any strangers access into your vehicle.

Carry a cell phone and call for professional help lost and unharmed, reunite the child with the if your car is disabled. Lock your car doors from searching family member. inside once you enter your vehicle. If the child is found accompanied by someone other than a parent or legal guardian, make Shopping with children in a crowded store reasonable efforts to delay their departure adds another level of danger. Children are easily without putting the child, staff or visitors at risk. fascinated by bright decorations and displays and Immediately notify law enforcement and give can easily wander off. A parent, intent on fulfilling details about the person accompanying the child. special holiday wishes, may get distracted for just Cancel the Code Adam page after the child is that one moment and suddenly lose the child. If this found. happens, immediately notify both law enforcement Shoppers are also cautioned to be careful and the store manager. Many stores have trained when shopping online. Do not click on links or their employees to follow Code Adam steps: attachments in unsolicited emails. Go to the retailer Obtain a detailed description of the child, website directly to conduct any transactions. Dont including what he or she is wearing. send any personal information via email and dont Page Code Adam. Describe the childs physical supply credit card numbers by phone unless you features and clothing. initiated the phone call. Verify the Website URL Designated employees will immediately stop with every step of the transaction to make sure working, look for the child and monitor front you havent been redirected. If you believe that entrances to ensure the child does not leave the youve been scammed, contact the Internet Crime premises. Complaint Center at Ensure that law enforcement is notified. If the child is found and appears to have been COPYRIGHT 2013 CREATORS.COM | Friday, December 13, 2013


- Cadillac News

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Creative ideas for wrapping

Kristen Castillo The holidays are hectic, and gift-wrapping may seem like a chore. Sure, you could cover the gifts in store-bought paper or slip them into gift bags, but think again. This is a great opportunity to get creative in wrapping your gifts. "Creatively wrapping a holiday gift shows the recipient that you took time to prepare their gift, that this wasn't a last-minute gift," says Alyson Dias, consumer experience director for iLoveToCreate. "With life so often running at warp-speed, it's nice to remind family and friends that you took time to carefully craft something just for them. It is often the wrapping that is more appreciated than the gift itself. If the gift inside is also hand-crafted, that just makes it even more special. Happiness is handmade." Creative wrapping usually takes a little (or a lot) more time than traditional wrapping, but it's not always very expensive. Plus, you can involve the kids because many wrapping projects are family-friendly. K I D C R E A T I O N S . For Malia Britton, an environmentally conscious mother of two young children, holiday gift wrap is as simple as recycling her children's artwork. "That way, the recipient gets unique, one-of-a-kind gift wrap, my kids get to share their art, and I get to offload the ever-increasing stack of paintings. It's an allaround win!" says Britton, noting her solution is both green and a cost saver. Gift recipients love the artwork-as-gift-wrap, too. "By using my kids art on the outside of their gift, they get a little glimpse into my kids' creativity and can elect to save it for their walls or keepsake folder if they so choose," says Britton. SWEET INSPIRATION. Add some holiday flair to your gift giving by adding some sweets to the top of the package. Tie different candies to the gifts' bows and ribbons. Candy choices include candy canes, lollipops, Pez dispensers or mesh bags filled with small chocolates or gummy bears. COOkIE-CUTTER CREATIONS. While you don't want "cookie cutter" holiday wrap, it's fun and creative to make gift tags by tracing cookie cutter designs onto card stock or plain gift wrap. Consider using cookie cutter designs like stars, trees, snowmen and angels. Then cut, glue, layer and decorate the cutouts any way you want before affixing them to the present. SEASON'S GREETINGS. Got a stack of last year's used or unused Christmas cards? Give those festive designs a new purpose by trimming the wording, images or characters from the cards and turning them into gift tags. For example, cut out a card's sparkly tree and glue the cutout to the wrap. From the texture of the cardstock to the color of the images, this form of upcycling can really dress up a gift. ADD SOME SHINE. Tie a Christmas ornament to the top of the gift or tuck one onto the handles of a gift bag. The ornaments can be standard fare or personalized. Either way, they'll look great on the gift and can be reused on the tree, year after year. GET SCRAPPY. Use Christmas scrapbook paper and stickers to create your own gift labels or to decorate wrapping paper and gift bags. Since scrapbook paper is generally made of a thicker cardstock, it holds up well when used alone, or glued or taped to wrapping paper. PICk A THEME. Choose one color, texture or pattern as a gift-wrap look with maximum impact. For example, wrap gifts in one color like festive red; focus on the feel of your wrap using smooth paper and satin ribbons; or choose a pattern such as snowmen or reindeer to unify your gifts. GET INSPIRED ONLINE. Search craft websites for ideas on ways to create memorable holiday wrap. For example, you can make iLoveToCreate's "Glitter Gift Boxes" using gift boxes, glitter, foil, glue and a few other supplies. Dana Byerwalter, editor of All Free Christmas Crafts, shares her holiday wrap ideas, including finger-painted gift wrap, which is easy for kids to create using their thumbprints as lights, and making gift boxes out of Christmas card boxes you already have at home. ECO-FRIENDLY. "Since I don't get to wrap gifts often, I like to be creative and eco-friendly by using either chic, reusable tote bags, colorful scarves or old, patterned shirts," says DIY fashion blogger Tanya Thamkruphat. COPYRIGHT 2013 CREATORS.COM


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- Cadillac News

6 tips for sending holiday cards

By Kristine Reyna front of their house or on the grass somewhere. Or it might just be a shot of the kids. And while those AUSTIN, Texas Halloween decorations are are great images, they are just like most of the cards on clearance, malls are packed and Ive had to wear that we all receive every year. Take a few minutes a sweater twice this week. All of this can only mean and talk about a fun scenario that you can do. one thing: Christmas is on its way! Keep it humble. Sending and receiving cards is one of my favorite Its tempting to use your card to tell everyone things about the holidays, because it allows us all about all the awesome things your family has done to travel back to a time when snail mail and hard in the past year, but bragging about your trip to copies were the norm. Although setting up an Spain or your daughters acceptance to Harvard appointment with a photographer and getting the isnt always in good holiday spirit. Plus, chances are family together to take a photo sounds like a huge good your family and friends are already aware of holiday chore, it doesnt have to be. Here are some your accomplishments. Unless you want to become tips for organizing your holiday card strategy this part of other families tradition of being made fun of season. for your obnoxious cards, try to keep your message simple. Do something creative. Austin photographer Eric Doggett started Austin Christmas Cards,, in 2008 with a mission of shooting and designing memorable cards for clients. I think a little bit of extra effort can go a long way toward making something memorable, Doggett said. A lot of families will have a nice photo of them taken in

Gather mailing materials in advance.

Try to find a holiday card package that includes envelopes and maybe even stamps. This way youre Make a list, check it twice. not scrambling to put everything together at the last Write a list of all the households youll be sending minute. cards to, then order that many cards plus some. You Mail your cards by early December. may receive cards from people you didnt expect, so December is the busiest time for the U.S. Postal its good to have a small reserve for occasions such Service. If possible, have your cards ready to send as this. Doggett says he has a holiday card contact out by the first week of December. list on his computer that he adds to each year. McClatchy-tribune news service

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Friday, December 13, 2013 |



10 random presents for 10 random people
Kristi Mexia Being a gifted gift giver is no easy task. Giving is an art form, and like all other forms of art, not everyone is good at it. While the toenail clipper you bought your sig-o and the Starbucks card you got your best friend last season may be gifts they needed (we all know foot hygiene can go unchecked and people need their lattes in the morning), they probably weren't something they wanted. This year, some innocent cyberstalking and a few caffeinated conversations might be in order to unearth what your loved ones love. Up your gift ante by getting ideas for "The Godfather" fans and the "Dexter"-obsessed cooks in your life. For the overeager wilderness pragmatist: the Wenger 16999 giant Swiss army knife. Weighing more than 7 pounds, this Swiss army knife will not fit in your pocket. It has more than 140 functions and 87 implements. Tools include a telescopic pointer, a golf-club cleaner, a cigar cutter, a universal wrench, and a fish scaler, as well as the more traditional pocket knife functions of a corkscrew and a 2.5-inch blade.

1) photo courtesy of The Wenger 16999 giant Swiss army knife weighs more than 7 pounds.

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- Cadillac News

For the I-have-pets-not-kids person: a For the wine-guzzling sommelier: the wine petcam. While there are lots of options out bottle wine glass. Part bottle, part glass, there, with simple to elaborate solutions, this cheeky product offers a bigger, bolder Netgears VueZone systems allow for remote video sampling for the budding wine taster. No longer must monitoring. Owners can record their pets most the wine lover in your life limit him or herself to a mere adorable moments for later playback, take pictures and glass. They had a tough day at work? Bottles up. view any of their friends shared cameras for hours of furry fun. Pet lovers can also create their own personal For the avid nudist swimmer: The Skinny pet monitoring network that is viewable from most Dipping Report. Exhibitionism, while still smartphones, tablets and Internet browsers. scandalous, has become an art form. If you like to swim and be naked at the same time, then For The Godfather enthusiast: a horse head this calendar is for you. The Skinny Dipping Report pillow case. Let your favorite Godfather showcases a photo each month of a skinny dipping fan re-create going to the mattresses by adventure. Half social experiment, half commercial waking up next to a bloody horse head. While this may product, every image in (the) calendar is of a real be a gruesome wake-up call, it will also probably make person from a real place with a real story. Each image was captured and presented for public consumption on your friends and family early risers. Flickr and ended up in The Skinny Dipping Report For the dirt-loving shower-hater: a nose to communicate what the person in the photograph is shower gel dispenser. Usually, if it drips from feeling, to understand the particularity of the place and a nose, you shouldnt rub it all over your the moment through the lens of skinny dipping. body. However, these giant nostrils ooze shower gel, not snot. Mini suction cups stick this big sniffer to the For the Dexter-obsessed cook: the personwall in your shower, and the device offers good clean piercing knife holder. It sounds dangerous fun for the dirty rascal in your life. and slightly criminal, but this five-piece knife set by Italian industrial designer Raffaele Iannello is actually quite nice. It boasts five different kitchen

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knives, including 8-inch chefs, bread and carver knives. For the bacon-crazed hog addict: a bacon air freshener. Bacon-wrapped chocolate and bacon cocktails exist, so why not bacon air freshener? If your bacon lover cant get enough of those crispy, greasy morsels, then keeping that fresh bacon smell with him or her at all times is the next best solution.

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For the Yoda impersonator: the Yoda bathrobe. Yes, they never got over their obsession with Star Wars, but at this point, why should they? Fuel the passion and youll have your Yoda soothsayer not only speaking but also looking the part. For the beer drinker: the Beerbelly stealth drink cooler. The company Cooler Fun invented the Beerbelly. Made for hot or cold beverages, the Beerbelly holds up to 80 ounces, includes a bladder and adjustable sling, is machine-washable, and fits nicely under your clothes. According to the product description, the bladder even has a wide mouth opening for adding ice for Margaritas! Now thats drink versatility. COPYRIGHT 2013 CREATORS.COM




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The top Christmas gifts for men

Sharon Naylor What to give to the guys on your list? Men can sometimes be vague when you ask them what they want, and you might get a sweet reply of I have you, and thats enough from your sweetheart. But youll still need to wrap something fantastic to make him smile when he opens his gift from you, and you might want to shower him with multiple presents if you know hes giving you a collection of goodies. And there are likely other men on your list: your dad, your brother and your best guy friend. Chris Easter, founder of The Man Registry, includes among the top gifts for men a variety of items featuring the top trend: personalizing. The mans name or initials appear on an enormous variety of guy gifts this year, including personalized barbecue toolsets, personalized pilsner glass collections and items with a dream lifestyle twist, such as the personalized surfboard-shaped bamboo cutting board. Also big in the personalized gift picks at The Man Registry is the customized wooden bar or grill sign to hang above the space he considers his domain. Because beer is such a hot trend, top gift picks this year include beer recipe kits for the home brewing hobbyist. Add a fun FYI to his gift by printing out the White House-shared recipes of what may have been the first beers ever brewed at their location a honey porter and honey ale found at the website AskMen. An extra little factoid gift adds interest to his beer recipe or beer glass gift, and it gives him an FYI to share with company during your next get-together with friends or during the family holiday dinner. Scotch and bourbon are also hot gift picks this year, especially small-batch distillery liquors from a well-known brand. A collection of those bottles in his bar would give him extra status by having them to serve to friends. For your sports fan, there are always pro-style jerseys of his favorite player, especially if the player has just been traded to a new team and your guys entire jersey and T-shirt collection is outdated. Load him up with NFL, NBA, NHL or FIFA gear such as team logo coasters, drink cozies and coolers for his sports-watching fandom. Speaking of sports watching, you might get him an upgrade in your cable television plan to the full sports package or NFL plan that expands his game-viewing access. And then there are always tickets to a professional game, which hell appreciate when he knows how hard these are to Gadgets give guys better game. photo courtesy of Garmin


come by. You might buy them through the teams official ticket purchase site, or acquire those two great seats via a colleague or relative who owns season tickets. (Be wary of online auction sites, since a disreputable seller could be hawking fake tickets!) Gadgets are always a hot category for mens gifts, from an upgraded heart monitor for your runner guy, to a GPS golf watch giving the golfer in your life the edge on the links. A gadget timing his grilling will help him pull those filet mignons (which you can

give him with the grill timer!) off the fire at the perfect time. And home improvement-type guys love laser levels and other tools that help them get weekend projects done faster. In that category, a gift card to the home improvement store never fails, but these tech toys are often something guys wouldnt indulge in when theyve gone to the store for fertilizer, furnace filters and light bulbs. Your gift adds some kick to their to-do list and maybe even inspires your guy to paint a few more rooms or hang those photo frames sooner rather than later. Wed fallen into a rut of giving each other purely practical gifts every year, Evangeline Descarte, who has been married for a long time. So in the bag of new white T-shirts and new white socks that he gets every year as one of his gifts, I added some top designer dress socks in bright colors to really stand out. They were just a little something indulgent for him, and he was happier about those than he was about the new speaker I bought for his computer. COPYRIGHT 2013 CREATORS.COM



- Cadillac News | Friday, December 13, 2013

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The hottest toys for your family this season
Diane Schlindwein


Barbies moving up in the world, and Elmos back in a big way, as is Furby, according to toy experts who are predicting what kids across America will be listing on their letters to Santa this holiday season. You know, everyone always asks, Whats the next Elmo? says Christopher Byrne, known internationally as The Toy Guy. This year, there is one: Big Hugs Elmo. Im not sure if its going to the cultural phenomenon that it was in 1996, but this is the most interactive Elmo ever. Hug Elmo to have him hug back. Move him to see him dance. Lay him down to hear a lullaby and sleeping sound effects. Kids will love him, Byrne predicts. This year, a big box store let a team of kids pick their top-20 favorite toys and Big Hugs Elmo came out a winner there, too, as well as the new robotic pet Furby and a new Barbie Dreamhouse play set, among others. Barbies newly renovated, three-story Dreamhouse will debut as every girls dream, says Margaux Vega, public relations representative for Fisher Price and Mattel. The new house features six fabulous rooms and luxury details that any doll will appreciate with pink stainless steel appliances and not one but two elevators. It also features the ultimate closet and a bathroom for quick outfit changes. For older girls, Monster High continues to be a big hit in the form of Monster High 13 Wishes doll assortment, she says. Among the dolls are Twyla, Gigi Grant and Howleen Wolf. Dolls come with a pet, diary, brush, doll stand and character-specific accessories. For girls who want to craft their own fun, Byrne says the Shimmer n Sparkle Cra-Z Loom rubber band bracelet maker is totally popular. This is probably the hottest arts and craft toy out there, he says. Rubber band looms are huge! Little girls are going to request Doc McStuffins toys, he predicts. Doc McStuffins continues to be the it girl for the preschool set, says Byrne, who is director of content for The Doc McStuffins Get Better Check-up Center will be extremely popular, so get it early. TIS tHE SEASON
- Cadillac News

Batman continues to be fun for boys ages 3-8, says Vega. The best-selling Imaginext Batcave has been fully redesigned for 2013, she says. The set features a Bat computer, a Bat pole, a secret button to open the jail door and two turn disks one that opens the Bat door so that Batman can ride out on the Batcycle. The set comes with Batman, Robin, a Bat flight suit, a Batwing, a Batcycle and two projectiles. Younger boys who liked the Disney movie Planes will have fun recreating the movies action with Wing Control Dusty Crophopper Radio Control Plane. The plane moves when they do just push the button to set its propeller spinning and move it forward. Then use the two controllers one for each wing to tilt the wings and control its movement through mimicry. For another flying toy that really takes off, Byrne suggests EB Brands Iron Man Flying RemoteControlled Extreme Hero. This is a real innovation in flying toys, photo courtesy of Mattel he says. Its a tad expensive and for Barbies Dreamhouse features six rooms and many luxury details. outdoor use only, but we were really attempting to keep a balloon from popping. The impressed by how easy is it to fly. Of course, it wouldnt be a modern Christmas person who pops the balloon loses. This is my favorite game of the year, he says. season if kids didnt ask Santa for electronic games. It is so classic and fun. Also, it has been a hit in Byrne suggests the LeapPad Ultra tablet. There more than 35 countries before finding its way here. have been lots of tablets for kids, and LeapFrog Be sure to order extra balloons, which are available really invested heavily in updating theirs for this through Spin Master. year, he says. Its a bit more expensive, but for Finally, if you know an adult that is still a kid younger kids, I think its definitely worth it. Two at heart, help him or her remember a favorite video games to watch are Disney Infinity and Christmas past. Byrne recently published a book Skylanders Swap Force, he adds. called Toy Time: A Look Back at the Most And who says toys are just for kids? For Beloved Toys of Decades Past (Crown Publishing Christmas, Byrne always picks a game that a Group) that he has written for the grown-up who family can play together. For 2013, hes suggesting has never seemed to grow out of his or her toys. Spin Masters Boom Boom Balloon, which allows each player to take turns throwing a dice while
COPYRIGHT 2013 CREATORS.COM | Friday, December 13, 2013

Moms champion traditional toys even in a digital age

As smartphones and tablets are more frequently finding their way into kids hands, many parents may wonder about the implications of increased screen time, and question what role traditional toys should play in their childrens lives. While there is no denying the benefits of digital devices and it is becoming commonplace for parents to pass their tablets to Junior, research shows many want to limit the time their kids spend on screens, large and small. Parents also actively encourage their kids to play with toys that may help them reach critical developmental milestones. So how have traditional toys stood the test of time? The various ways in which children play have remained largely unchanged throughout time. In many cases, technology can help amplify play by helping to introduce characters or tell a compelling story. When Mattel, the worlds largest toymaker, asked moms their opinions about toys and technology, it found that even in a digital age, moms continue to place a high value on traditional toys. Kids today are digital natives and are immersed in digital experiences, says Dr. Michael Shore, vice president of Global Consumer Insights for Mattel. However, when you walk into a childs room and see what is visibly present and displayed on the shelves, you wont see an app on the wall as an expression of who the child is, what he or she loves, or as markers of the childhood experience. For that, toys will continue to endure as ideal gifts for
Friday, December 13, 2013 |

children. After all, you cant wrap an app. However, as experts and media debate whether digital devices will one day replace dolls, cars, trains and action figures, most moms do not think smart digital devices and traditional toys directly compete with one another as a source of kids entertainment. Rather, each category remains fundamentally different. While 75 percent of kids today play with devices like smartphones and tablets, Mattels research found the time they spend with these devices actually competes with the time they spend with other screens, such as televisions and computers. In fact, 59 percent of moms felt that smart portable devices will one day replace other electronic devices, not traditional toys. According to Mattels findings, moms frequently associate toys with social activities since toys are often used to play with others, whereas digital devices are generally associated with solo play (for example, keeping a child entertained when waiting at the doctors office or on a long car ride). Moms also credit toys with providing opportunities for active play that allow kids to exercise and burn off energy. Further, moms see toys as a great way to help kids spark their imaginations and flex their creative muscles. Knowing that the leaders of tomorrow will be those who think differently and solve problems in new ways, imagination is more important than ever before. Dr. Shore offers some tips for using play as

a catalyst for fostering imagination and creativity: In an increasingly overscheduled world with a variety of things competing for kids time, it is easy to overlook the importance of dedicating time just for play. Give your child the time and space to play, and watch his or her imagination soar.

Make sure your kids have time to play.

neighborhood or hosting play dates at your home or local playground. Bring out the toy chest and see what games the kids can create when they play together.

Provide a safe place to play and tools for play. Consider starting a play group in your

for play are toys and an imagination. Help your children dream beyond what they see on screen and encourage them to bring those cartoon characters to life using their toys and imaginations. Dont forget that play is good for grown-ups too. Everyone loves a good old-fashioned tea party or toy car race down the hall. Playing together is one of the most fun and meaningful ways for parents and children to bond and foster creative thinking for both of you. BPT
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Encourage your kids to play with all thats available - including their imaginations. Two of the most important tools

Get involved and play with your kids.




From decking the halls to trimming the tree, everyone loves the tradition of decorating their home for the holiday season. Its a time to pull out heirloom pieces and blend them with modern elements to make your home truly one of a kind. This year, refresh your holiday motif with a few top decor trends for a look guaranteed to impress. Design expert Kate Law, who has designed flowers for the likes of Ellen and Jennifer Lopez, lends insight into the top holiday decor trends and how you can easily integrate them into your home: for a festive season whether you live in the city, a suburb or rural area. Rustic elements can be easy to incorporate into your homes holiday look. Start with a centerpiece that features live greenery. A quilted table runner and stockings in appliqued felt complete the rustic design.

Expert tips for adding

Relaxed rustic

Personalizing your holiday designs can help make your home decor special. Unique touches enhance your enjoyment of the holidays and can serve as conversation starters when guests visit. The easiest way to add a personal touch to your Taking cues from classic holiday stories set in holiday decor is through customized items, like the countryside, beautiful rustic decor sets the tone monogrammed pillows and towels, personalized wall hangings that feature a special message, and ornaments and figurines that highlight the family name.


Bold patterns


The holiday season is full of colors and designs that delight the senses, and bold patterns have never been more popular. Polka dots and chevrons are trending for the year and bring personality to any homes holiday celebrations. Welcome guests in style with a chevron monogram doormat. Try your hand at homemade polka dot and chevron The thick and fleshy skin of succulent plants ornaments. Make your time baking even more like aloe, jade plant and echeveria varieties make special by treating yourself to a whimsical polka them great indoor ornamental plants. During the dot sugar cookie apron. holidays, succulents can be a beautiful alternative or complement to traditional evergreens. Even the whitest of winters can benefit from a dash of greenery, so add succulents throughout your One of the most affordable and accessible holiday home. A candle or wreath are stunning holiday trends of the season is mason jars. You additions to any holiday decor. can find these at your local craft store, grocery store or even at second-hand stores. Try using jars Feeling as jolly as Santa and his elves starts with as candle sleeves and place tea lights within for a creating a festive environment in your home. These warm holiday centerpiece. Fill with various shades top trends for seasonal decor will ensure you and of holiday candy for colorful decor throughout your guests have a very merry holiday and start the the house. Complete your punch or eggnog new year in style. drink station with mason drinking jars for a fun BPT alternative to traditional glasses.


Mason jars


- Cadillac News | Friday, December 13, 2013

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Quick, simple holiday entertaining tricks

The holidays are that special time of year when we open our homes and welcome guests from far and wide. It is a chance for us to connect with old friends and family we may not have seen since the previous holiday season. If youll be hosting holiday guests this year, you know there are plenty of preparations to be made. While the main course and the sleeping arrangements may require some additional thought, you dont need to get bogged down in the decorations. Follow these tips to create a beautiful holiday motif in just a matter of moments. Wrapping paper and Christmas print ribbon only appear once a year, so when they do make the most of them. Use some of that print ribbon and wrap it around your curtains to make festive, holiday bows. This will bring your furnishings into the holiday spirit and give the room a more complete look. The main course may be extravagant, but theres no reason the snacks have to be laborious. This year, offer your guests Wheat Thins Holiday snacks. These better-for-you hexagonshaped snacks feature festive imprints, including snowflakes, a gingerbread man, a bell and a candy cane. Plate them on a holiday platter and serve them with a garlic dip, a spinach artichoke dip or another of your own creation for a fun, unique snack. Share your entertaining ideas for Wheat Thins Holiday snacks on Twitter @WheatThins.

Dress up the curtains.

Serve a festive snack.

Have A Beautiful Holiday!

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- Cadillac News | Friday, December 13, 2013

Why should the tree get all the attention? If you have plants in your home, decorate them with festive ornaments of their own. A centerpiece doesnt have to be a large, dramatic thing. For a simple, yet elegant centerpiece, place vintage ornaments on a cake stand and surround them with holly leaves or evergreen twigs.

Dress up your house plants.

Create a sparkling centerpiece.


Fruit Baskets
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touching piece that will engage and entertain your guests. Hang an unadorned twig wreath from a wall. Then supply your guests with small, blank cards and markers to write on and ask them to write a message about the season or the upcoming year on the card before adding it to the wreath. Your guests will enjoy creating their own messages as well as reading the messages of their fellow event attendees. If youre looking for simple decorations to adorn your house with, fill tall, slim drinking glasses with candy canes for a festive, yet elegant appearance. Tie a red ribbon around each glass to complete the look. Preparing your home for that holiday get-together doesnt have to mean hours of decorating. With these simple tips youll be able to showcase your Christmas spirit and spend your newly-found free time enjoying the season. BPT

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HO, HO Holiday Treats

Make the Season Simple and Sweet
Nothing says home for the holidays like the smell of treats baking in the oven and a crowded kitchen lled with loved ones. Whether making decades-old family favorites or starting new holiday baking traditions, you can create homemade holiday goodies in a (ginger) snap. The holidays are a time when families are in the kitchen at record rates to bake cookies, build gingerbread houses and create a wide variety of sweet treats, says Nancy Siler, vice president of consumer affairs at Wilton. The good news is, even if you only have 30 minutes to spare during this hectic time, you can make amazing desserts for gatherings or gifting. Try these easy treat ideas from Wilton to spread holiday cheer: Holiday Helpers: Invite family and friends for a cookie decorating day to help prepare gifts for upcoming events. You provide the Sparkling Sugars and Sprinkles, Peppermint Twisted Sticks and red and green icing ... everyone else provides the creativity. Miracle on Your Street: Crunched for time with a party to attend? Pick up ready-to-eat cookies and artfully dip them in red and green Candy Melts candy for an elegant upgrade. No one has to know how simple it was to create a customized dessert. Instant Snowman: Coat peanut butter sandwich cookies in white Candy Melts candy to create instant snowmen. Decorate with hats, scarves and, of course, carrot noses. Its a Wrap: Turn your homemade treats into gourmet gifts. Stock up on holiday-themed gift bags and boxes, colorful tissue paper, ribbons and tags to transform made-from-the-heart goodies into extra special gifts. For more holiday ideas and inspiration, visit FAMILY FEATURES

Festive Peppermint Twists

Dark Cocoa, Light Cocoa, Green or White Candy Melts Candy Peppermint Twisted Sticks Candy Assorted Holiday Sprinkles, including Holiday Nonpareils, Confetti and Jimmies, Red and Green Colored Sugars Line cookie sheets with parchment paper. In Disposable Dipping Container or bowl, separately melt Candy Melts candy in microwave following package instructions. Dip peppermint sticks into melted candy; tap stick lightly to smooth surface. Immedi ately add sprinkles. Set on prepared cookie sheet; chill until set, 5 to 10 minutes.

Sweet Snowmen Cookies

White, Red, Green, Black and Orange Candy Melts Candy Peanut butter sandwich cookies Holiday Confetti, Holiday and Snowflake Mix Sprinkles Cinnamon Drops Black Sugar Pearls Silver Pearlized Sugar Melt white Candy Melts candy following package instruc tions. Place cookies on cooling grid positioned over parchment-lined cookie sheet. Spoon melted candy over top surface of cookie; chill 5 to 10 minutes or until set. Turn cookies over, candy side down, on cooling grid. Com pletely cover cookies with melted candy; chill 5 to 10 min utes or until set. Repeat, if needed, to completely cover cookie. To decorate snowmen, melt Candy Melts candy follow ing package instructions as needed. Using red, green and white candy in candy or disposable decorating bag, pipe hats,

Cheery Cereal Tree Treats

Makes about 12 treats 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter or margarine 4 cups mini marshmallows 6 cups crisp rice cereal Juniper or Leaf Green Icing Color White Cookie Icing Jumbo Rainbow Nonpareils, Sprinkles or Sugars, as desired Prepare 3D Silicone Tree Mold and silicone spatula or wooden spoon with vegetable pan spray. In large saucepan, melt butter. Add marsh mallows; cook and stir until melted. Tint with icing color. Remove from heat and add cereal; mix well. Press into prepared mold. When cool to touch, remove from mold. (If mixture becomes hard to work with, microwave at 50 percent power for 30 to 60 seconds to soften.) Heat Cookie Icing following label direc tions. Squeeze snow and garlands on trees; add sprinkles and sugars as desired. Let dry. | Friday, December 13, 2013

ear muff band and scarves, adding colored sugar trim to candy before it sets. For ball cap, cut a Candy Melt candy wafer in half; attach with melted candy. Attach sprinkles for buttons, ear muffs and decorative accents using dots of melted candy. Using melted black candy and decorating bag, pipe facial features. Using melted orange candy and decorating bag, pipe nose.



- Cadillac News

Merry Marshmallow Sticks

White, Red, Green and Dark Cocoa Candy Melts candy Large Marshmallows Holiday Confetti, Nonpareils and Colored Sugars In Disposable Dipping Container or bowl, melt Candy Melts candy separately follow ing package instructions. Dip marshmallows in melted candy and place on cooling grid positioned over parchment-lined cookie sheet. If desired, sprinkle with sugars and sprinkles. Chill 5 to 10 minutes or until set. Using candy decorating bag or disposable decorating bag, drizzle melted candy or pipe outlines, if desired; immediately sprinkle with sugars or nonpareils. Attach confetti with dots of melted candy. Chill 2 to 3 minutes or until set. With point of sharp knife, carefully cut through candy on the marshmallow where stick will be inserted. Insert three marshmallows onto each Colored Lollipop Stick, securing with melted candy.

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Green, Red, White, Light and Dark Cocoa Candy Melts Candy Assorted purchased ready-to-eat cookies Holiday Confetti, Nonpareils, Holly Mix, Colored Sugars and Sprinkles In Disposable Dipping Container or bowl, melt Candy Melts candy separately follow ing package instructions. Partially or completely dip cookies in melted candy. Place cookies on cooling grid posi tioned over parchment-lined cookie sheet. If desired, sprinkle with sugars and sprinkles. Chill 5 to 10 minutes or until set. Additional decorating ideas: n Drizzle with melted candy in a contrasting color. Chill 3 to 5 minutes or until set. n Attach sprinkles with dots of melted candy. Chill 3 to 5 minutes or until set. n Pipe melted candy bows & other decorations.

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Jolly Santas Treat Cookies

Makes about 3 dozen cookies 2-3/4 cups all-purpose flour 1 teaspoon baking powder 1 teaspoon salt 1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened 1-1/2 cups granulated sugar 1 egg 1-1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract 1/2 teaspoon almond extract Red, Green & White Cookie Icing Red & Dark Green Colored Sugars White Sparkling or Pearlized Sugar White Sugar Pearls

Preheat oven to 350F. In small bowl, combine flour, baking powder and salt. In large bowl, beat butter and sugar with electric mixer until light and fluffy. Add egg and extracts; mix well. Add flour mixture, 1 cup at a time, mixing after each addition. Do not chill dough. Divide dough into 2 balls. On floured surface, roll each ball into a circle approximately 12 inches diameter and 1/8 inch thick. Dip Cookie Hugger or Ho-Ho Word cookie cutters in flour before each use. Bake cookies on ungreased cookie sheet 8 to 11 minutes or until cookies are lightly browned. Cool cookies completely. Outline and fill-in cooled cookies with Cookie Icing. For Ho-Ho cookies, sprinkle with sugars; let set until icing is completely dry. For snowflake cookie, add white Cookie Icing detail to dried cookie; attach Sugar Pearls with dots of icing.

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Last year Mercy Hospital served 65,000 patients and provided nearly $7 million in community benets and uncompensated care to your family, neighbors and friends in the Cadillac area. Over 22,000 were served in the emergency room alone, often in times of medical crisis. Health care is about providing for basic human need. Your tax deductible gift helps to ensure people who need Mercys medical care will receive it, each and every day. With your gift, Mercy can also reinvest in state-of-the-art, life-saving medical equipment and facilities that keep our hospital current with rapidly changing technology. And if youd like to make your gift on behalf of someone special, please ll out the form below and a holiday card will be mailed to them. CONTRIBUTOR: Name: _________________________________________________________________________________ Address: __________________________ City: ______________________ State: ______ Zip: ________ E-mail: ____________________________ Phone: ___________________ Gift Amount: _____________ Please complete this section for a holiday card mailing to your selected person of honor: Name: _________________________________________________________________________________ Address: __________________________ City: ______________________ State: ______ Zip: ________ Thank you for your generosity and support of Mercys healing mission.

Please send to: Mercy Hospital Cadillac Foundation c/o Mercy Hospital Cadillac 400 Hobart Street, Cadillac, MI 49601