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Celebrate Life

The Fierce Reader’s Gift Guide: Gift Ideas for the Book Lovers in Your Life (Even If it’s You)

Books
Gift idea for book lovers - bookmark, throw blanket, funny books, cookbooks
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Oh books, how we love thee.

Let me count the ways!

It goes without saying, but since I’m an author and all, books are one of my first loves.

Write them.

Read them.

Love them.

Share them.

On a related note, gifting a friend my best-selling Cobbled Court Series isn’t the worst idea in the world. Or even just starting them with the first book! 

It’s always a great idea to buy your loved ones books for Christmas. Remember that books are never returned for being the wrong size or color, plus they are proven by science to help calm heart rates, decrease muscle tension, preserve your mental sharpness, and make you nicer! (Not that any of you need to be nicer.)

But for this post, I wanted to take a look at some fun options for the book lovers in our lives beyond books.

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DIY Advent Wreath Ideas – Create Meaning This Season

Celebrate Life, Creativity and Crafts
advent wreath

I love everything about Christmas.

I love the parties, the presents, and the greeting cards. And I love the lights, and the decorations, and my oh my – do I ever love the food! I love reading Christmas themed novels and watching Christmas themed movies on the Hallmark Channel.

I even love digging out the DVD player and watching “It’s a Wonderful Life” for the twelve gazillionth time.

(My kids do not appreciate that part quite so much. But, tradition is tradition. And this is the price they must pay for my having done the favor of bringing them into the world.)

The bottom line is, I am crazy about Christmas and all that goes with it – the secular, the commercial, and the familial, the cherishing of old traditions and creation of new ones. continue reading

Easy Entertaining Tips and Tricks

Celebrate Life

This past Saturday marked the premiere of Christmas Everlasting, a Hallmark Hall of Fame production based on one of my novels, The Second Sister.

(If you haven’t read the book yet, I think you should. Really.  Here’s a link.)

It was a pretty big night for me, one I wanted to share. And I did, with about 5,000 cyber friends who joined me for my online Virtual Watch Party.  I also hosted a watch party in my home for about 25 non-virtual friends.

This was our first large get together in this house. Given that, I wondered if we might run into some glitches but everything went smoothly. My guests had a great time. And even though this was one of the busiest weeks of my life, so did I.

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Grandkid-friendly Thanksgiving Craft Ideas: A Gratitude Tree & Turkey Place Cards

Creativity and Crafts
thanksgiving crafts for kids

Our sixth grandchild was born earlier this month. Like all my other grandchildren (and, I am sure, yours) she is beautiful. And very advanced.

Seriously. You can tell just by looking at her.

Having six grand darlings doesn’t make me a total expert on the ins and outs of the grandparenting gig. Still, I’ve  picked up a few things along the way and can certainly pass on some tips regarding the Habits of Highly Popular Grandparents. continue reading

The Fierce Way to Curb Holiday Spending

Cherish Relationships, Creativity and Crafts, Finances
holiday spending

As I mentioned in my recent post about love, gift giving is my love language. I show my love by sending the most thoughtful gifts to those I love. I must say I’m quite good at it.

But there’s just one little problem. 

Things can get, well, a little out of hand. 

It’s so easy to get caught up with the gift-giving spirit of the season, and the catchy Christmas carols don’t exactly help…Santa honey one thing I really do need, the deed to a platinum mine…or I want a hippopotamus for Christmas…or all I want for Christmas is my two front teeth…or all I want for Christmas is you…

You get the idea. Whether it’s your Instagram feed or your friends or the displays at the store, everywhere you look, you are prompted to want something or buy something. Charge it and pay for it later.

I’m not saying gifts are bad. But really, do your loved ones and friends want you to blow out your budget on things you can’t afford? Probably not. 

This year, make a plan and stick to it. My friend and financial sherpa Peggy Doviak, whose book has been helping the Chairman and I get a handle on our finances, shares a few ideas on how to make this the best Christmas ever without breaking the bank. 

We had such a great response from Peggy’s last post on planning for retirement, I wanted to bringing her back to shower us all with her bright, shining financial wisdom. 

Here’s what she had to say. 

The Best Christmas Ever

Do the upcoming holidays fill you with joy or dread? Are you already wearing cozy holiday sweaters, drinking hot cocoa, and watching Hallmark movies? Or do you find yourself wondering whether Scrooge was right, and we really should be boiling people in their own plum pudding?

I think money is one of the leading causes of holiday stress for people. We want to create the perfect event, and we try not to think of the bill that will arrive in the mail around January 15th. Well, here’s the good news—it’s possible to have a great holiday season and stay out of debt. Planning ahead, being willing to spend hours rather than dollars, and knowing how to say “no” can help you have a wonderful, prosperous December. continue reading

What to Read Right Now – Fall 2018

Books
what to read now
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It’s National Author’s Day!

Since I love reading, writing, and all things books, this little known holiday is right up there with National Penguin Day or National Chocolate Chip Cookie Day for me.

It’s so fitting that National Author Day happens right as Fall is in full swing. It’s the moment when it’s socially acceptable to wear cozy clothes all day, with house slippers, and reading glasses, and a crackling fire, and sip on hot tea, cocoa and coffee all the day long.  Books and Fall go together like peas and carrots, if you ask me.

In honor of today, I thought I would put together a short list of the books I come back to again and again.

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My Son’s Wedding: The Dress! The Flowers! The Epic Mother Son Dance!

Celebrate Life, Family, Hospitality and Entertaining
mother son dance

It seems like yesterday when my youngest son thought every single animal, no matter what it was, was a cow. Moo! (it was a cat), Moo! (it was a dog). Moo! (It was an elephant for goodness sake).

Just to embarrass him, here’s a picture of him as a little ball of fluff. Adorable, right?

Oh, and here is one from those awkward middle school years with braces.

It’s my right as a mother to share these on the internet, yes? I think so. continue reading

Grammy’s Craft of the Month Club Strikes Again: Yarn Pumpkins, Messes, & Pinterest Fails

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

Living to be over fifty and all, you’re bound to pick up a few life lessons.

Here’s one of them: when it comes to crafting, Pinterest can either be a trusted friend or a misleading purveyor of emotional breakdowns and lies. Sometimes the result is just so, so good. Other times it’s what I like to call a #PinterestFail.

Before we get into my recent crafting project and #PinterestFail, here are a few nuggets of wisdom I’ve accrued during the 2,452,856,818.50 hours I’ve spent on Pinterest. continue reading