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Celebrate Life

What to Read Right Now: Beach Reads for 2019

Books
beach reads

There have been years when I measured summer entirely in books. A summer well spent is a summer well read. But this summer is different. I’ve spent tons of quality time between pages and also made time for other important things, like making slime with my grandkids during a weeklong visit in June and taking my mother on a proper glamping trip.

Between the books and the activities, this year I feel like I’ve gone above and beyond taking advantage of summer. I’ve been more intentional about the way I spend my time (thank you, Living Well Spending Less planner). And summer isn’t even over yet! continue reading

How To Plant A Succulent Garden

Creativity and Crafts
plant succulent garden

Succulents are everywhere these days! Oh, wait…You missed the trend? Not sure what I’m talking about?  Well, according to Wikipedia succulents are, plant that have some parts that are more than normally thickened and fleshy, usually to retain water in arid climates or soil conditions.”

I think this helps to explain their popularity; they’re pretty hard to kill. I’m not saying it can’t be done but if you’ve got a brown thumb, succulents are perfect for you.  But gardeners with thumbs of all colors love succulents because they’re as pretty to look at as they are easy to care for.

You can find whole wreaths made out of succulents, outdoor topiaries shaped like turtles and a myriad of indoor stylings — some with a single plant and others in more of a succulent garden.

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Best Tamale Pie Recipe for Your Next Campout

Adventure and Travel, Food for Grownups

For me, half the fun of camping is the cooking.

Now, I’m not talking about heating up something on the stovetop or in the microwave of a motorhome or trailer.  I mean real campfire cooking, out of doors and over an open flame, like the pioneers did it.

Okay, well. Maybe not quite like the pioneers.  You’re not going to find any salt pork, hardtack, or squirrel on my campfire menu. As I explained in my earlier post I don’t camp, I glamp.  And when I glamp, food is the star of the show.

My carefully planned and executed menus feature delicious dishes made from fresh, flavorful ingredients, served on real dishes with real silverware, a tablecloth, flowers, and candles. Think of it as rustic chic – emphasis on chic.

But the rustic part applies too. When I’m glamping, I can’t cook quite the same way I would at home. I need to make some concessions for the limitations of storage space, equipment, and refrigeration (or lack of it).  That’s why, when it comes to campfire cooking, one-pot meals are definitely the way to go!

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Amazon Prime Day 2019: Deals for Quilters, Crafters, and Cooks!

Celebrate Life

There’s not going to be a lot of glamour to this, but there are a lot of savings!

Today (and into tomorrow) which is July 15th is Amazon Prime Day. If you’re new to that, it means a whole lot of really great deal on Amazon for Prime members. I’ll be covering the deals during the whole thing and updating this as best I can when new items are added and items sell out. Below, you’ll see things loosely broken out into a few categories. Please know that I’m listing prices but I cannot guarantee it will be the same price by the time you click the link. Shop for yourself or shop for everyone else (I have gotten some early Christmas shopping done in years prior!)

First thing to know: you have to be an Amazon Prime member to get these deals. Not a Prime Member? You can sign up for a FREE trial right here and join Amazon Prime!

Ok, so now you’re a Prime member, let’s get to checking out the deals. Happy shopping Monday!

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Roughing It, Sort Of. Genius Hacks for Easy Gourmet Glamping!

Adventure and Travel

Taking my mother camping was high on my list of goals for 2019. In fact, I’d been eyeing this goal of mine in my Living Well Spending Less planner for months.

I know it might sound funny that something as straightforward as camping required so much goal setting and advance planning to accomplish but my mom is 86. Camping with her involves more than just loading up the car with sleeping bags, a tent, and a bag of trail mix; a few creature comforts are required.

Besides, while we both love the great outdoors, at this stage of life neither Mom or I are really interested in roughing it. Glamping is more our style. Much more. continue reading

Diving Into the Deep End and Out of Your Comfort Zone

Celebrate Life, Marie's Triathlon Journey
dive into the water

I’ve been standing out on the deck in my bathrobe this morning, cheering and clapping for a long line of runners who have been streaming down the bike path near my house.  The Pacific Crest Endurance Sports Festival is taking place in my community today, the same event that, two years ago, inspired me to try tackling my first sprint triathlon.  

In honor of that anniversary, I decided repost this blog I wrote in February of 2018. I don’t know what challenges, crazy notions, or comfort zone smashing ideas might be tugging at your sleeve right now, but I hope reading this will inspire a few of you to dive into the deep and take them on.

It’s okay to be scared. It’s not okay to let fear prevent you from living ferociously and fully.

You can do this.

Marie

 

In the fall of 2017, I began swimming twice a week as part of my triathlon training.  Like a lot of novice triathletes, this was the part of the race that made me nervous.  It wasn’t that I couldn’t swim, just that I didn’t – at least, not very often and not very far.

Finding a race that required a swim of just 300 meters in a pool was what made me decide to go through with it.  The security of swimming in a pool, where lifeguards would be on the watch, made the whole thing a lot less daunting. Three hundred meters was still farther than I’d swum in a long time but it seemed doable.

For the first session of training, my goal was to swim 50 meters.   That’s just two complete lengths of the pool, up and back.

I didn’t make it. continue reading

A Homemade Slime Recipe, Plus Practical Life Lessons

Creativity and Crafts, Family

Last week, I had my entire family in town: my three sons, three daughters-in-love, and six very, very advanced grandkids (I’m obviously not partial). It was a constant whirl of activity. The whole crew made a homemade slime recipe together. We visited the fire station. We paddled down a river. Some of us rode horses. We ate loads of ice cream. It was such fun and I’m still soaking up the sounds of their laughter and little voices.

Having the family around one table just made my heart so happy. But now, they’ve all travelled back home and we will have to rely on the fun photos to keep the memories fresh. continue reading

The Best Father’s Day Gift Idea: Books For The Dads In Your Life

Books, Family
father's day books

Are you prepared for Father’s Day this Sunday or are you frantically looking for last-minute ideas that don’t seem so last minute? It might be too late to pull off some of the great ideas I included in the Fierce Father’s Day Gift Guide, but don’t fret. I have a solution. (You can thank me later).

As your resident author friend, I’m obligated to share book ideas on all subjects. (It’s in the universal author contract. Right below the clause that says I can helpfully correct grammar and spelling. Hah!)

Back to sharing books. I read. A lot. Some might say too much. They would be wrong. But I certainly do a big chunk of reading.

So let’s have all the time I spend reading serve a purpose for you, my Fierce Friends. Whether it’s a gift for your husband, son, or your own father or grandfather, books are always the answer.

Books: The Best Father’s Day Gift Idea

Without further ado, a few suggestions for Father’s Day books (aka the best Father’s Day gift idea, in my unbiased opinion):

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DIY Memorial Day Decorations: Red-White-and-Blue Ideas Everyone Will Love

Creativity and Crafts
DIY memorial day decorations
THIS POST MAY CONTAIN REFERRAL LINKS. IF YOU CLICK THROUGH AND TAKE ACTION, I MAY BE COMPENSATED, AT NO ADDITIONAL COST TO YOU.

Memorial Day is so many different things: the unofficial beginning of the summer. A day off work. The end of the school year. The day on the calendar after which your mom decreed you can wear white pants.

However, we all know the Federal Holiday commemorates something more. But through the years, as more and more time passes from those civics classes of our youth, it’s easy to muddle up some of our related holidays. So let’s take a moment for a mini educational opportunity, courtesy of yours truly.

Memorial Day: Last Monday in May. In remembrance of American service members who have died in armed conflicts.

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DIY Flower Arrangements for Mother’s Day

Creativity and Crafts
DIY flower arrangements
THIS POST MAY CONTAIN REFERRAL LINKS. IF YOU CLICK THROUGH AND TAKE ACTION, I MAY BE COMPENSATED, AT NO ADDITIONAL COST TO YOU.

If the Mother’s Day Gift Guide or the Mother’s Day Pistachio Bundt cake didn’t tip you off, Mother’s Day is Sunday, May 12th.

Yes. This weekend.

You’ve still got time to Amazon Prime her a copy of my latest book, but why stop there?

Wouldn’t it make your mother feel special if you arrived with a DIY flower arrangement in hand in addition to a little gift, a few hugs, and a card? (Seriously, Fierce friends, don’t forget the card!)

Nod your head. The answer is yes. Though some of you may be saying, “Yes. But how?”

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