Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Dig deep, there's a gold mine of scholarships to be had

Photo courtesy of the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library and Museum.
President Reagan posing outside the oval office:6/6/83
Right about now, many college students or undergrads are busy collecting a few more hours of community service, letters of recommendations and transcripts in anticipation of the 2012 season of college scholarships.

While most students will apply for funds offered by clubs and organizations, there are others who, having done some excavating, know there are nuggets of obscure scholarships just waiting to be unearthed by some worthy student.

Did you know there's a scholarship that honors the legacy and character of our nation's 40th president, Ronald Reagan? Like President Reagan, candidates use the formative experiences of their youth to lead, serve and pursue a life of purpose and significance, both individually and for their communities. Each year, roughly 20 scholars will receive a $10,000 scholarship renewable for an additional three years.
There's $40,000. Apply here by Feb. 17, 2012:

The Ursinus College Creative Writing Award, honoring the creative work of The Catcher in the Rye, author J.D. Salinger not only awards recipients a whopping $30,000 but the honor of living in the author's former dorm room. J.D. Salinger once attended Ursinus College, and it seems the school is looking for its next great writer in residence with this scholarship. Applicants must share a portfolio of creative work in fiction and/or poetry in the spirit of “Catcher in the Rye's” unusual perspective, brilliance and voice. What's interesting about this scholarship is it is known on campus as "Not the J.D. Salinger Scholarship."

First page of The Catcher in the Rye.
 The New York Times article “J.D. Salinger Slept Here (Just Don't Tell Anyone)” explains the incident in detail.

The school was hoping to attract publicity for Ursinus and tried everything they could think of to lure Salinger from the secluded world he'd lived in for his final 50 years. They offered to make him a guest lecturer; to build a literary festival around him; to award him an honorary degree. "No response," said Richard DiFeliciantonio, the vice president for enrollment at the small liberal arts college. "Absolutely nothing."

Then Jon Volkmer, an English professor, had what Holden Caulfield would have called a goddam terrific idea. They could establish an annual J.D. Salinger Scholarship in creative writing for an incoming freshman, and as a bonus the winner would get to spend the first year at Ursinus in Salinger's old dorm room. "Any college could offer money," Professor Volkmer said. "Nobody else could offer Salinger's room."

2011 Grand Prize Winner.
Also on the list of obscure and often unknown is the annual Stuck at Prom scholarship contest. 

In this case it's not academics that garner cash but imagination, creativity and gumption. For 11 years now, Duck brand duct tape has offered a Stuck at Prom scholarship contest, which awards $5,000 scholarships to the couple with the most creative use of duct tape in their prom outfits. What's particularly nice about this scholarship is the winner's school also gets $5,000.

Not your cup of tea?

I believe that true identity is found in creative activity springing from within. It is found when one loses oneself -- Anne Morrow Lindbergh

Friday, November 25, 2011

Choirs invited to sing for Gleaners Community Food Bank

File photo by WPA Pool/Getty Images Europe
If you've ever thought about asking members of your choir to go Christmas caroling this would be the year to do it? Whole Foods Market in Troy is inviting local talent to spread cheer this holiday season while helping to feed those in need. 

"For every hour a choir sings, Whole Food Market will donate $50 in food to Gleaners Community Food Bank," said Dawn Danhausen, Whole Foods Market marketing and community relations specialist who came up with the idea. 

Whole Foods Market is hoping to have choir groups of five or less caroling throughout the store every weekend in December, between 11 a.m. to 8 p.m.  "We have a big heart but a small store so we have to limit the size of the choir," added Danhausen.

That's not to say you couldn't spread the cheer and have one group sing for an hour and anther singing after that.

How great is the need for help?

Last year, Gleaners Community Food Bank (www.gcfb.org) distributed more than 40 million pounds of emergency food to over 552 partner soup kitchens, pantries, schools and shelters in Macomb, Oakland, Monroe, Livingston and Wayne counties. "Of every dollar donated, 95 cents goes directly to food and food programs; one dollar provides three meals for a hungry neighbor," Danhausen said in her report.

Whole Foods Market Troy is at 2880 West Maple. For more information email, dawn.danhausen@wholefoods.com or call (248) 649-9600 ext 109.

I have never been especially impressed by the heroics of people who are convinced they are about to change the world. I am more awed by those who struggle to make one small difference after another -- Ellen Goodman, American journalist.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Tips for making the most of your time and money on Black Friday

AP Photo/Mark Lennihan, File
There's been a lot of discussion regarding Black Friday and stores opening earlier than ever, some even staying open through Thanksgiving.  The bottom line is families are anxious to save money. That's understandable. With Michigan's economy and family budgets being what they are, holiday shopping this year will depend on careful deal-hunting and focused buying. 
To help with the process here are a few Black Friday tips from the editors at Woman's Day Magazine , retailers and experienced Black Friday shoppers:

1. Make it a fun experience
For some shoppers Black Friday is an annual event. Those who are traveling long distances will even stay in a hotel. However, in order to make it enjoyable, all of the details are planned out carefully. For example: a group might meet on Thursday night (after Thanksgiving dinner) at the hotel. Once everyone has checked-in they will read through all of the Black Friday fliers to determine which stores they want to hit. A woman from Ontario who has planned a Black Friday girls' weekend for a number of years said she always includes a second option in case the lines at a particular store are too long to endure.

2. Read the fine print
Black Friday sales are designed to look fantastic. And it could very well be a great deal, but before you commit to purchasing any big ticket item (such as a big screen TV or recliner), make sure you read the fine print. "We found that, a lot of the time, the savings advertised are savings off the manufacturer's suggested retail price (MSRP), which is misleading," said Christine Frietchen, editor-in-chief of ConsumersSearch.com, a product review site. As she explained it, because stores usually price items below the MSRP anyway, those deals are not as great as they may seem. Other details to look for include store limits. Albeit a great deal, it could be that the special is limited to four products per store. So, if you are not among the first shoppers in line, you cannot count on scoring that bargain.

3. Do a search for coupons
Jeanette Pavini, consumer finance expert for Coupons.com said shoppers should never click "purchase" until they've searched for a coupon or discount code. Sites like Coupons.com and CouponMom.com were designed for exactly this, to find coupon deals such as free shipping, 10 percent off or buy one, get one free coupons available at stores such as Sephora, Best Buy and Barnes & Noble. Look for in-store coupons too. How often have you been standing in line at a store and noticed that the person next to you had a 50 percent off any regular-priced item coupon? It takes a few minutes to search for coupons but it can make a difference in the purchase of big ticket items.

4. Keep your receipts
What seems like a great idea on Black Friday when you're rushing to find something on your list may turn out to be a mistake once the excitement of the day wears off. "Even with the great deal you're getting, by the time the holiday comes and goes, your item or gift may be discounted even more," said Joanie Demer, cofounder of TheKrazyCouponLady.com. "In case it needs to be returned, you want to get full credit back."

5. Pay with cash
If you want to really save money on Black Friday, leave the credit cards at home. Experts will tell you that doing so not only saves you from paying the interest that will accrue if you can't pay off the balance in full, but it also helps you stay within your budget and avoid post-holiday debt.

6. Take full advantage of the sales
If you have the time and money, consider buying items that might not be on your Christmas list but that you know you'll need, such as a wedding shower, birthday or upcoming graduation. "Look for smaller ticket items in less heavily trafficked stores," said Teri Gault, co-author of "Shop Smart, Save More." "Not only will you likely get a deal, you'll be set for the rest of the year."

7. Arm yourself with shopping tools
There are plenty of apps that have been created specifically to help holiday shoppers get the best deals, so be sure to have your Smartphone charged for the trip. Black Friday Apps available for iPhones and Androids, let you browse "leaked" ads from more than 60 major retailers, and according to the report by Woman's Day, offers will be organized in one place so you can comparison shop or search for specific items when you're on the go. If you don't have a Smartphone, the information can also be accessed via the Web.

8. Follow through on rebate offers
If you're going to purchase an item that requires you to mail in rebates in order to cash in on savings, be prepared to do the paperwork - otherwise you didn't save a thing. "Manufacturers count on people forgetting to mail in their rebates," Pavini said. "Make sure you get copies of the original receipt, the UPC Codes and any other information the manufacturer needs. Then mail it in."

9. Stay focused
A lot of the deals offered are designed to get you into the store, but not every single item will be a major sale. "They put the great bargains at the back of the store so you have to walk through everything else to get to them," said Frietchen. Shop with a list, a budget and stay focused. Also, getting the best price, if it takes all day may not save you money in the end. A smaller store might be offering the item you want at a higher price but you have to consider how much easier it will be to find a parking spot and getting in and out. The time you saved in one store might be used to find another great deal.

10. Stick to your budget
When you find that one incredible deal, do not be tempted to spend beyond your means. All of the stores will be offering shoppers the opportunity to open a store credit card to get extra savings, but be sure to think long and hard before you consider it. "Store credit cards are usually higher than bank cards. On average, a store credit card is between 21 and 24 percent. Some cards will increase that rate up to 30 percent if you are late on a payment," said Pavini. Here's an idea: Set up a buddy system so that whenever you are tempted to ditch the budget you have someone that you can call for advice.

The quickest way to know a woman is to go shopping with her -- Marcelene Cox


Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Thanksgiving delivers a box-office feast for area theaters

Arthur Christmas opens Nov. 23.
For many families the night before Thanksgiving is movie night. Whether it means pulling out the home movies and slides or a trip to the theater to see the newest holiday release, it’s a tradition that has been growing for years.
Among the holiday films opening tomorrow is “Arthur Christmas,” an action-adventure comedy set on Christmas eve, which reveals how Santa and his huge army of high-tech ‘combat elves’ can actually get round the whole world in one night.  Arthur Christmas is written by Oscar® nominated comedy writer Peter Baynham (Borat) and Britcom writer-producer-director Sarah Smith. At the heart of the film’s classic Christmas story is a family in a state of comic dysfunction and an unlikely hero: Santa’s youngest son, Arthur. When this amazing operation misses one child out of hundreds of millions of deliveries, he alone, must embark on a hilarious, exciting rogue mission against the clock with his politically incorrect grandfather Grandsanta and a gift-wrapping-obsessed elf named Bryony, to deliver the last gift before Christmas morning dawns.
To celebrate Arthur’s release and in anticipation of the holiday visits by families MJR Marketplace will present a special event featuring coloring and crafts, hot cocoa, gingerbread houses and more, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the theater located at 35400 Van Dyke Ave., in Sterling Heights.
Other family movies showing this week include: Jack and Jill (Rated: PG); Happy Feet Two (Rated: PG); Tower Heist (Rated: PG-13) and Puss in Boots (Rated: PG). Looking for great movies to rent? Check out this list of top classic holiday films:
  •  It’s a Wonderful Life (1946)
    It's a Wonderful Life
  • Miracle on 34th Street (1947)
  • White Christmas (1954)
  • The Bishop’s Wife (1947
  • A Christmas Carol (1951) or the version from (1984)
  • A Christmas Story (1983)
  • Christmas in Connecticut (1945)
  • Babes in Toyland (1961)
  • National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation
  • The Polar Express (2004)
  • Home Alone (1990)
  • Elf (2003)
Strange, isn't it? Each man's life touches so many other lives. When he isn't around he leaves an awful hole, doesn't he?~ Clarence Oddbody, the angel from It's a Wonderful Life.

    Friday, November 18, 2011

    Tips to make holiday road trips fun for everyone

    If you're on a mission to create a list for St. Nick or pick out a cool toy for a friend's birthday party a child might enjoy joining you in the shopping excursion. But to be told not to touch anything while being dragged in and out of stores with no end in sight is sheer torture. It's also one reason why, at some point along the way, someone is going to cry.
    It's for this reason, when faced with a full day of Christmas shopping, you might want to consider finding something else for the kids to do. Below are just a few ideas, courtesy of child care experts and other moms:
    Play dates are way better than shopping.

    Play dates
    If you know the parents of your child's friends, talk to them about planning a holiday play date. However, it's only fair that you offer to be the first host - since it's your idea. Chances are they'll be glad to participate.

    A day with grandma and grandpa
    Grandparents are a great source for family recipes, especially when it comes to Christmas favorites such as apple pie and shortbread cookies. Perhaps grandma or even grandpa is more of a crafter than a cook. If that's the case, maybe you can set up an afternoon project like a do-it-yourself wreath or Christmas card. If grandpa loves to work and the child is older, maybe they can work on building a Christmas decoration. Whatever they make during the time they're together (while you're out shopping) is sure to be a keepsake.

    Cookies or cards make great projects.

    Spring for a babysitter
    Teenagers are always looking for ways to make money during the holiday season. Check with the teens in your family or circle of friends to see if any of them might want to earn a few bucks. Make it a special time for them too by picking up a special movie and munchies or a game that they can play.

    Food and fun gadgets
    When my children were toddlers, I never left the house without a container of Cheerios and one of their favorite toys. My daughter had a Sesame Street computer that she took everywhere. It was great because it kept her amused for hours, even miles. My husband and I liked that the computer-generated voice was cute rather than irritable. It means a lot when you're hearing a computer voice in the backseat saying press-a-button, over and over again.

    Favorite music
    Unless you plan on singing along, be sure to pack some tunes. Crayola is one of several companies that has come out with child-friendly MP3 players that are durable and simple to use.

    Favorite movie
    If you're fortunate enough to have a video player in your vehicle, you're all set. Just load it up with movies you know your child will enjoy. If not, consider investing in a portable player. The cost has come down considerably and you'll find that they're not only nice to have during a winter road trip but on a summer camping trip when it's pouring down rain and everyone is bored with dad's Three Stooges impersonations.

    Not all children can read in the car, but those that do should have their own basket filled with their favorite titles. If you're looking for a great new title, "Dream Big Little Pig!" (Sourcebooks Jabberwacky, $16.99) is a wonderful new book featuring inspiring words by Kristi Yamaguchi and adorable illustrations by Tim Bowers. For little boys consider "Bunny's Lessons" (Blue Apple Books, $16.99). It's a charming tale written by Harriet Ziefert about a little boy and his pal and the day that they have together, learning about life's daily delights (along with the bumps and bruises of friendship and love).

    Looking for family-friendly events to attend in the Detroit area? Check out our weekly listing:

    Holiday crafts
    Christmas cookie walk and vedor sale to benefit Harrison Township Public Library, noon-3 p.m. Dec. 4, at the library, 38151 L’Anse Creuse. Cookies $4 per pound. Vendors include Avon, Pampered Chef, Half Baked Bakery, Mary Kay, Tastefully Simple. Admission $1.
    Millionaires Party
    Oakar A. Andreas VFW 1794 Ladies Auxiliary hosting Millionaires Party, 10:30 a.m.-2 a.m. Dec. 1-2 and 8-9, at Sterling Plaza Hall, 44605 Schoenherr at Hall Road, Sterling Heights. Includes poker, blackjack,
    Annual Christmas Bazaar, 9 a.m.-4 p.m., Dec. 3 at Romeo United Methodist Church, 280 N. Main St.  Admission $2, free parking, no strollers. For details, 586-752-6783.
    Memphis Music Boosters fall craft show, 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Nov. 19, at the high school, 34130 Bordman Road, Memphis. Admission $1, free younger than 10; pictures with Santa $5.
    Vendor and craft show 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Dec. 10, at Neil Reid High School, 37701 Harper, Clinton township. Free admission.
    Christmas vendor show, noon-5 p.m. Dec. 10, at Eagles Hall, 23631 Greater Mack, north of Nine Mile Road, St. Clair Shores. Proceeds benefit American Diabetes Association.

    Thanksgiving concert
    The Salvation Army’s Royal Oak Citadel Band & Songsters present their Thanksgiving concert, 7 p.m. Nov. 19, plus guest artists, at the Royal Oak Corps Community Center, 3015 N. Main St., Royal Oak.

    Lakeside signing
    Artist Daniel Cascardo signs his custom designed tote bags with purchase of new True Religion fragrance Hippie Chic, 1-5 p.m. Nov. 19, at Macy’s at Lakeside Mall, Sterling Heights. The fragrance company has donated $20,000 to Turning Point, the shelter in Macomb County for victims of domestic violence.

    Shores Library
    Janine Marie Lanza, WSU associate professor of history, speaks on women’s lives in 17th century France, 7 p.m. Nov. 30, in meeting room of St. Clair Shores Public Library, 22500 11 Mile Road.

    Toy benefit
    Christmas Toy Fundraiser for Native American children, 5-10 p.m. Dec. 4, at Gino’s Surf, 36400 Jefferson, Harrison Township. Admission $25 and unwrapped gift for child 1-13 years of age; tickets include entertainment, buffet dinner, desserts, cash bar. Call 586-634-1081 or 586-468-3798.

    Community theater
    Clintondale Community Theatre presents, “The Winter Spirit,” a Christmas play for all ages, Dec. 8, 9 and 10, Clintondale High School Auditorium, 15 Mile Road (East of Little Mack, between Gratiot and Groesbeck). Enter off 15 Mile Road. Tickets: $5 advance, $7 at the door. Call 586-791-6300, Ext. 2409.
    Auditions for Lakeview Public Schools’ production of “Doctor Doolittle,” 6:30 p.m. Nov. 29-30, in Lakeview High Schools’ Schaublin Auditorium. Callbacks Dec. 2, cast selections announced Dec. 5. Production dates March 16-18 and 23-24, 2012. Call 586-445-4040 ext. 2749.
    Grosse Pointe Theater presents “The Trip to Bountiful” by Horton Foote, 8 p.m. Nov. 19, in the Fries Auditorium of the Grosse Pointe War Memorial, 32 Lake Shore Road, in Grosse Pointe Farms, $18, www.gpt.org or 313-881-4004.
    Richmond Community Theatre dinner production of “Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus,” doors open 6 p.m., dinner at 7, show 8 p.m. Nov. 25-26, at Maniaci’s, 69227 Main St. Tickets, $28 adults, $14 younger than 12, available by calling 586-727-9727.
    St. Clair Shores Players present “A Christmas Carol” by Charles Dickens, Dec. 2-3, 9-10, at Good Shepherd United Methodist Church, 31601 Harper, St. Clair Shores. Doors open 7:30 p.m., curtain at 8. Tickets $10 at the door, $9 seniors and students with ID. Visit www.scsplayers.org.
    Wayne State University’s graduate Hilberry Theatre presents “The Cripple of Inishmaan” by Martin McDonagh, a dark, Irish comedy, Dec. 2-Feb. 4 in repertory, at Cass Avenue and Hancock, Detroit, $12-$30, for show dates and times, visit www.wsushows.com  or call 313-577-2972.
    Henry Ford II High presents “Annie,” 7 p.m. Dec. 8-10, 3 p.m. Dec. 11, at Henry Ford II Performing Arts Center, 11911 Clinton River Road, Sterling Heights, $12.

    Holiday music
    Symphonia Chorale presents “Sing Gloria” by David Hamlton, 7 p.m. Dec. 2, at SS John and Paul Catholic Church, 7777 28 Mile Road, Washington Township. Also, 3 p.m. Dec. 4, at St. Clement of Rome, 343 S. Main St., Romeo. Tickets for each $12 adults, $10 students, free 5 years and younger. Call 586-752-7734.
    Holiday concert presented by Twelfth Night Singers, 3 p.m. Nov. 27, at Zion Lutheran Church, Woodward and Albany, Ferndale. Free-will offering accepted.
    MCREST Annual Benefit Concert, 8 p.m. Dec. 3, at Warren Consolidated Schools Performing Arts Center, 12901 15 Mile Road, Sterling Heights. VIP seats $30, reserved $20; to order tickets, 586-415-5101 between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m., or online at www.mcrest.org. Entertainment by Don White and Matt Watroba.
    Warren Concert Band and General Motors Employees’ Chorus Holiday Concert, 2 p.m. Dec. 4, at Warren Woods Community Theatre, 13400 12 Mile Road, west of Schoenherr. Tickets at door, $8 adults, free ages 12 and younger with paid adult. Call 586-709-8192.
    Macomb Symphony
    “Holiday Concert” performed by Macomb Symphony Orchestra and the Macomb Concert Choir, 3 p.m. Dec. 4, at the Macomb Center for the Performing Arts, Garfield and Hall roads, Clinton Township. Tickets, $24 adults, $20 students, seniors and children, call 586-286-2222 or visit www.macombsymphony.org.
    “Home for the Holidays” concert by Warren Woods Tower High School and Grosse Pointe Chapter of the Barbershop Harmony society, 7:30 p.m. Dec. 9, at Warren Woods Middle School auditorium, 12 Mile and Schoenherr roads. Tickets $15 each, or two for $25. Call 586-294-9432.
    “Too Hot To Handel,” 10th anniversary performance, 3 p.m. Dec. 4, at Detroit Opera House, 1526 Broadway,Detroit; free pre-concert with artists at 2 p.m. Tickets $18-$65; call 313-237-SING or 800-745-3000 or at www.MichiganOpera.org.
    Oakland Choral Society presents J.S. Bach: “Magnificat and Christmas Oratorio,” 3 p.m. Dec. 4, at St. Jane Frances de Chantal Catholic Church, 38750 Ryan Road, Sterling Heights. Also, OCS performs Handel’s “Messiah,” 4:30 p.m. Dec. 11, at Lutheran Church of the Redeemer, 1800 W. Maple, Birmingham. Tickets $15, $25, for each show, at the door or by calling 248-391-0184.
    Madison Chorale holiday concerts, 7:30 p.m. Dec. 2, at Congregational Church of Birmingham, 1000 Cranbrook Road, Bloomfield Hills; also, 3 p.m. Dec. 4, at Our Lady of LaSalette Church, 2600 Harvard, Berkley. Tickets $15 at the door; call 248-808-6238.
    Langsford Men’s Chorus Christmas celebration concerts, 7:30 p.m. Dec. 9, at Royal Oak Middle School auditorium, 709 N. Washington; also 4 p.m. Dec. 11, at St. Malachy Catholic Church, 14115 14 Mile Road, Sterling Heights. Tickets $15 at the door, $12 in advance by calling 810-632-4067 or going to www.langsfordmenschorus.org.
    Cantata Academy Chorale and Grosse Pointe Symphony Orchestra Holiday Concert, 7 p.m. Dec. 4, at St. Ambrose Catholic Church, 15020 Hampton St., Grosse Pointe Park. Tickets $15 adults, $12 seniors/students, $30 family, at the door or by calling 313-242-7282.
    MASS Ensembles performance group Christmas-theme show, 8 p.m. Dec. 10, at Music Hall Center for the Performing Arts, 350 Madison, Detroit. Tickets $30, $40, $50, at box office or www.ticketmaster.com.

    Nutcracker Ballet
    The Nutcracker Ballet Theatre Company presents Tchaikovsky’s “The Nutcracker,” Dec. 9-11, at McMorran Theatre in Port Huron. For tickets, call 810-985-6166 or visit Ticketmaster.com; for more information, visit www.porthuronnutcracker.org.

    Toys for Tots
    Angie D’Aleo Morelli holds 18th annual Toys for Tots party, 6 p.m.-midnight Dec. 2, at The Mirage Banquet Center, 16980 18 Mile Road, Clinton Township. Admission $20 per person and a new unwrapped toy. Entertainment by Mario’s Music Company and the Casali Holiday Dancers; Santa Claus also on hand. Call 586-863-2323.

    Metropark events
    Wolcott Mill Historic Center near Romeo, “Heritage Holidays,” 6-8 p.m. Dec. 2-3, 9-10, 16-17, includes children’s games, holiday decorations, etc. recalling years past, hot mulled cider, holiday music. Donations at the door.
    Also, gingerbread house workshop at the Historic Center, 1 p.m. Dec. 4, fee $5 per house. Advance registration required. “An Evening with Santa,” 6 p.m. Dec. 2, at the Farm Center; advance tickets $7 per child, 44 adults, and “Lunch with Santa,” 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. Dec. 3-4, at the Farm Center.
    For registration and tickets, call 1-800-477-3175 or visit www.metroparks.com.
    “Lunch with Santa,” 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. Dec. 10 and 11, at Stony Creek Metropark Nature Center, near Rochester/Washington Township, $5 per child, $3 adults, 586-781-9113. General park admission also required, 800-47-PARKS.
    Metro Beach in Harrison Township, “Lunch with Santa and Mrs. Claus,” 11 a.m.-2 p.m. Dec. 3, at Thomas S. Welsh Activity Center, tickets $7 per person. Also, “Birds at the Feeders, noon-3 p.m. Dec. 4, at the Nature Center, for ages 10 and older; donations. “Nature Christmas Ornaments,” 1 p.m. Dec. 11, at Nature Center, $4 per person, ages 6 and older; “Explore Nature in Winter,” 1 p.m. Dec. 18, at the Nature Center. Fee $3 person, advance registration required. For Metro Beach events, call 586-463-4581.
    Collectors show
    Military Collectors’ Show, 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Dec. 4, sponsored by Men’s Auxiliary to VFW Bruce Post No. 1146, 28404 Jefferson, St. Clair Shores. General admission $5. Refreshments available; patrons may bring military items to sell, trade or display.

    Christmas market
    “Gifts of Joy,” Christmas artists’ market, through Dec. 22, at Anton Art Center, 125 Macomb Place, Mount Clemens, admission free, 586-469-8666:
    Meet the Artists reception on 1-3 p.m. Nov. 20.
    Free family fun and make-and-take activities, 1-4 p.m. Nov. 20 and Dec. 11.
    Mount Clemens Family Christmas, 1-4 p.m. Dec. 4, with free activities at Anton Art Center, the Crocker House Museum and the Michigan Transit Museum.

    Fishing clubs
    Vanguard Trout Unlimited for fishing enthusiasts meets 7:30 p.m. second Thursday monthly at Rochester’s Dinosaur Hill. Also, Fishing Buddies Fishing Club gathers 6:30 p.m. third Tuesdays at Rochester Hills OPC, 650 Leticia Drive. Call 248-375-1931.

    ‘Michigan’s Harvest’
    “Michigan’s Harvest: Food, Family and Community” program series Nov. 19, at the Lorenzo Cultural Center at Macomb Community College, Garfield and Hall roads, Clinton Township. The program includes more than 30 free presentations, a series of five free exhibits and three special events (admission fee). For series and registration information, www.MacombCenter.com or 586-286-2222 or 586-445-7348.

    Palette Club
    Lakeside Palette Club has studio space 9 a.m.-3 p.m. Tuesdays in Room 111 of Adult Education Center on Masonic near Jefferson. Call 586-350-4518 or visit www.lakesidepaletteclub.org.

    Chrysler Museum
    “Cars, Trees & Traditions” exhibit features 23 decorated trees paired with Chrysler vehicles throughout the Walter P. Chrysler Museum in Auburn Hills, through Dec. 30. Open 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Tuesday-Saturday and noon-5 p.m. Sundays; admission $8 adults, $7 ages 62 and older, $4 ages 6-12, free 5 years and younger. For details, www.wpchryslermuseum.org.

    Farmers Market
    Mount Clemens Farmers Market open 7 a.m.-1 p.m. Nov. 19, at 141 North River Road. Locally grown products, including flowers. Visit www.mountclemensfarmersmarket.com.

    Holiday Gift Gallery
    Holiday Gift Gallery, featuring handmade objects and artworks by Michigan artists in all media, opens with a Morning Shopping Extravaganza, 9 a.m.-1 p.m. Nov. 19, at Paint Creek Center for the

    Line Dancing
    Line dancing and couples classes, Tuesdays, 6:30 p.m. beginners, 7:15 p.m. beginner plus, 8:15-9 p.m. couples, at Roseville Recreation Center, 18185 Sycamore, east of Gratiot, north of Interstate 696, $5 per session. Call 586-777-7242 or countrycuzzins@wowway.com.

    Square dancing
    Patches Squares dance club hosts beginning square dance lessons, 7-8:30 p.m. Wednesdays at First United Methodist Church of Warren, 5005 Chicago Road. First class (no matter when dancers start) is free, $3 for following sessions. Call 248-613-3169.

    Collectors show
    Military Collectors’ Show, 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Dec. 4, sponsored by Men’s Auxiliary to VFW Bruce Post No. 1146, 28404 Jefferson, St. Clair Shores. General admission $5. Refreshments available; patrons may bring military items to sell, trade or display.

    Features Editor Debbie Komar contributed to this listing.

    Thursday, November 17, 2011

    Cupcakes that ‘Twilight' fans can sink their teeth into, while standing in line for the movie's midnight release

    Now that midnight releases are the trend audiences have learned to adapt. Instead of sitting in line with nothing to do they show up with cards and games, often inspired by the movie's theme or characters.  Tonight's midnight release of "The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn - Part 1" is no exception. Fan or not you've got to admire their spunk. And so, to celebrate the enthusiasm of audiences who camp out in line for the title of been-there-saw-it-last-night we've asked celebrity author Gina Meyers (no relation to Stephanie) to share one of the recipes from her vampire-inspired cookbook, "Love at First Bite: The Unofficial Twilight Cookbook." Vampires and wolves alike will want to bite into these sweet little cupcakes.

    4 tablespoons cocoa powder
    1 ounce liquid red food coloring
    3/4 cup water
    1 yellow cake mix, with pudding in the mix
    4 eggs
    1 teaspoon vanilla extract
    1 teaspoon butter
    4 tablespoons buttermilk
    1 tablespoon white vinegar

    Directions: Preheat oven to 325°. In a large bowl, mix cocoa powder, red food coloring, and part of the water to form a paste. Next, add all of the other ingredients except the white vinegar. Blend for 2 1/2 to 3 minutes with a mixer on medium speed. Then add the vinegar and mix with a spatula. Pour the batter into a bunt or round cake pan, and bake for approximately 35 minutes. This recipe can be made into cupcakes as well.

    Adorn each cupcake with various miniature candies or the names of your favorite characters. You could also double the batch so you have cupcakes for two teams: Team Edward and team Jacob.