Monday, October 6, 2014

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

Metro Creative Services

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

Friday, October 3, 2014

Sure you can, preserve this season of apples and pears

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

For more recipes or information on canning visit Fresh Preserving