Published October 11, 2017

METRO DETROIT — Our pets fill our days with silly expressions, belly rubs and furry snuggles.

And it can be hard to think that one day, inevitably, all of that joy will come to an end.

Losing a pet is never easy, but over the years as our furry friends have become more like members of the family, veterinarians and pet experts have been working on ways to make saying goodbye a little easier.

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Published October 3, 2017

METRO DETROIT — When you were in home economics class as a teen, and the teacher taught you the importance of balancing your checkbook to stay on budget, did you listen?

Did you sit for hours and add the numbers in the check register, hoping they would match your account balance? Did you burn through one too many pencil erasers trying to get the figures right? 

Or, like so many, did you just give up and hope for the best?

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Published September 20, 2017

METRO DETROIT — If you haven’t noticed, it’s fall. 

If the cooler temperatures or mid-September date on the calendar didn’t tip you off, no doubt the innumerable mums popping up at retailers all over town likely did.

But there’s more to autumnal planting than just hardy mums — a lot more, according to flower experts like Karl Eckert, of Eckert’s Greenhouse in Sterling Heights.

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Published September 13, 2017

METRO DETROIT — Karen Hart, of Southfield, is about as proud a grandmother as they come.

You can tell by the photos she shares of her happy towheaded granddaughters playing on the beach and posing in the backyard. 

But when it comes to interacting with those grandkids on Facebook, she takes a step back to look and not touch, so to speak. 

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Published September 5, 2017

METRO DETROIT — After 21 years of active duty in the military, Dari Pfeiffer knew a thing or two about what it takes to stay fit.

She also knew that she was ready to kick off her combat boots and find an exercise regimen that would benefit more than just her muscles.

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Published August 30, 2017

METRO DETROIT — Your kindergarten teacher taught you well: When you’re done playing, you need to clean up after yourself.

Well, now that summer is winding down, the beautiful shores that meet Michigan’s Great Lakes need to be picked up after months of enjoyment. The Alliance for the Great Lakes is hosting several Adopt-a-Beach cleanup events around Michigan, Wisconsin, Illinois and other states on the borders of the Great Lakes. 

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Published August 23, 2017

METRO DETROIT — Students aren’t the only ones getting ready to head back to the classroom in a few weeks. 

Teachers are gearing up for a new school year too, but there aren’t many shoe sales or backpack promotions aimed at the ones standing in front of the blackboard day after day. 

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Published August 16, 2017

METRO DETROIT — If you just can’t look at one more water park this season, even though there’s still plenty more warm weather and sunshine to be enjoyed, there are things to do outside with the family that make for a great transition into fall.

Or, better yet, a great ride into fall.

Horseback riding is a sometimes forgotten pastime in an age when screens and team sports are king. Sharon Hake, owner of Rochester Hills Stables and boarding, said riding lessons can give students of any age a great sense of discipline, patience, joy and even exercise.

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Published August 1, 2017

C&G Newspapers

It was in the middle of an impassioned speech from her longtime boyfriend about the 2017 solar eclipse when Robin Udell, of Silver Spring, Maryland, thought about taking the next step in their relationship.

“So, he was talking about how cool the eclipse is, how awesome it is that it’s happening in our lifetime, and I thought, ‘OK. So let’s get married,’” said Udell, formerly of Ann Arbor.

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Published July 28, 2017

C&G Newspapers

The Haugh family makes it a point to limit screen time for their children.

But a few evenings each week, you’ll see all four of their faces glued to a smartphone screen. And that’s OK, said Wendee Haugh, of Southfield.

“Although we use the app for this, it doesn’t count because it’s a family activity that we can do together and be outside,” Haugh said of geocaching.

The outdoor activity utilizes a smartphone’s GPS to navigate a neighborhood in search of hidden treasures, or caches, stashed at certain coordinates.

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Published July 19, 2017

METRO DETROIT — Has your social media feed been packed with photos from everyone else’s summer vacation?

It’s not too late to have a memorable summertime getaway of your own, even if it’s just an overnight stay a few minutes away from your home.

The first step in planning your semi-staycation is deciding which type of experience you and your family would enjoy. Does the tranquility of the great outdoors spark your interest? Or would you rather explore the culture and history of a bustling city?

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Published July 12, 2017

METRO DETROIT — Jody Johnston doesn’t need your Wi-Fi. 

And please keep your cellphones and televisions too.

The Silver Lake State Park manager, who lives near the park in Mears — halfway between Muskegon and Ludington — just cares about getting back to the basics whenever he goes camping with his wife and his kids, ages 11 and 14.

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Published July 5, 2017

METRO DETROIT — There’s nothing better in the summertime than cooling off with a frozen treat.

Well, your dog happens to feel the same way.

But it’s tough to include Fido in summer sundae fun when ice cream doesn’t sit well with many dogs, according to Janet Platt, owner of Maestros Dog Haus in Bloomfield Hills and Ferndale.

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Published June 28, 2017

METRO DETROIT — It’s a trend that sort of combines art class with science class and math class, with a twist of comic book sci-fi.

Or it could be totally different from that. 

It’s all about what you make it.

It, of course, being the maker trend that’s been sweeping the nation for the past decade, with everything from 3-D printers to knitters to mechanical fire-breathing dragons — no, really. Makers and their wares are becoming popular enough that event planners and even municipal governments are taking notice.

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Published June 21, 2017

METRO DETROIT — Are you just itching to get outside and play in this gorgeous Michigan summer weather?

Or are you just itching?

It’s been a banner year so far for creepy crawlers, with nature centers and medical professionals alike reporting higher-than-normal rates of insect bites. 

That’s particularly true of ticks, which are not only notoriously stealthy but also potentially dangerous.

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Published June 14, 2017

METRO DETROIT — Telephones aren’t the only things that’ve changed since the nuclear age. Traditional family roles have evolved too, and that’s good news for dad.

More and more, the role of father is going well past provider into the realm of friend, nurturer, cheerleader and even hairstylist. The “manly” limitations that fathers adhered to in years past are long gone, according to Birmingham resident and PTA dad Rez Sazgari.

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Published June 7, 2017

METRO DETROIT — You know what pairs perfectly with just about any summertime meal? A side of fresh air.

It’s picnic season, and whether you’re looking to change up the family’s nightly dinner routine or plan a romantic afternoon lunch date, a blanket in the grass is always the best table in the house.

But not all picnic foods are created equal; some fare better in a wicker basket than others. 

For Royal Oak resident Nicole Hudson, the first rule of picnicking is keeping things easy. 

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Published May 31, 2017

METRO DETROIT — Spring cleaning.

It’s a fairly broad term that means everything from a little dusting and window washing to sore backs and blistered hands as years of junk is hauled out to the curb.

Clutter is a problem for many, and paring down our things is easier said than done. When garage sales don’t seem like an option, it’s time to look at other ways to shoo out the stuff.

When your clutter can make you a bit of cash, that’s always good news. 

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Published May 24, 2017

METRO DETROIT — In December, Bloomfield Township resident Virginia Lee Smith will be 100 years old.

Closing in on such an impressive milestone means Smith moves a little slower than she used to, though she’s still moving just fine with a little help from a walker. And she’s not working full time at the library that employed her for decades and that she even helped to found, but she’s still there several times a week to help out as a volunteer.

Smith said she just can’t seem to let go of the things she’s passionate about.

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