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 Pumpkin Pie Alternative Vying for a Permanent Spot on your Annual Thanksgiving Menu

Food for Grownups

Sweet potato pie. Pecan pie. Pumpkin pie. Apple pie. There’s bound to be at least one of these on your Thanksgiving table. And there’s a reason for that: they are all delicious and nostalgic and wonderful!

While I am a traditionalist when it comes to our tried and true Thanksgiving menu, I do like to get a little creative with the desserts.

Move aside plain pumpkin pie. There’s a new pumpkin dessert in town. 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

Broccoli Cheddar Chicken Soup for the Soul – The Ultimate Comfort Food

Food for Grownups
broccoli cheddar chicken

There’s something about comfort food that just seems to solve all kinds of problems. Do you have the sniffles? Are you feeling stressed? Did you get a little too carried away at the Target $1 aisle? Did you lose your fifth pair of reading glasses in the last week? Well let me tell you something. Comfort food cures it all. It’s an instant pick me up.

This week while I am on the road at the International Quilt Festival in Houston, I’m out of my routine (but having so much fun!). It got me thinking about what I want to do when I get home. I think I’ve narrowed it down. Cuddle my dog, Showgirl, wrap myself in the comfiest quilt of all time, slip on some divine house slippers, burn a Christmas-y candle, light the fire, read for hours, and enjoy a homemade bowl of the coziest, comfiest soup I can think of. Broccoli Cheddar soup has always been one of my favorites.  continue reading

Love You Because…

Cherish Relationships, Grow in Wisdom
love languages

Before the start of each new year, I think carefully and choose a word to represent a personal quality or trait I want to focus on for the coming year. This isn’t something I thought up myself.  The first person I heard talk about this was Debbie Macomber, a wonderful author who is also a wonderful friend. Debbie is someone who has mastered the art of living intentionally, and that quality shines through in her character and her life.

Since then, I’ve met many others who also choose a word of the year. If this is a new concept for you, I recommend you give it a try in 2019; it’s a practice that can help focus your intention and even change your life, in large ways and small.

My word of the year for 2017 was love, and it was one of the most challenging words I’ve ever chosen. However, searching for ways to live out that word, intentionally showing love to someone every day taught me a lot. It also changed me, in some some good ways. continue reading

Stuffed Delicata Squash Recipe: Delicious Squash Boats (Just 5 WW Freestyle Points!)

Food for Grownups
stuffed Delicata Squash recipes

I have amassed any number insights and truths in my Beyond 50 years. Here is one of them:  People either like squash, or they don’t.

I definitely fall into the pro-squash camp.  I never met a squash I didn’t like – zucchini, acorn, butternut, spaghetti – they are all scrumptious. And so healthy!

So imagine my delight when I came across a new variety, the aptly named delicata, a delicious, sweet, firm-textured squash with a skin that is so thin and delicate that no peeling is required.  After cooking, delicata squash can be eaten whole, the flesh as well as the skin.

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Health insurance for 50 Years and Over (before Medicare Kicks In)

Health and Fitness, Plan for Tomorrow
Health insurance for 50 Years and Over

For a long time, I never thought about health insurance. We simply had a health plan through my husband’s job. But now that my husband has shifted his focus from a full-time job to several consulting and board positions, we don’t have a group health plan like we’ve enjoyed in the past. 

On top of that, and maybe many of you are in the same boat, my husband is a bit older than me and already reaping the benefits of Medicare. But being young and fierce, I still need normal health insurance.  Now that I’m on my own during open enrollment, I’ve realized that the health insurance marketplace is 1) expensive, 2) confusing, and 3) sends me into an emotional tailspin that only crafting or a Great British Baking Show binge can cure. 

Even though I am pretty healthy, keeping up with my Weight Watchers goals, and exercising regularly (hello, triathlon!), I still need health insurance. Like I mentioned in a recent retirement planning post, numbers aren’t really my thing. And that includes health insurance, and all its tricks and numbers and costs and acronyms and weird jargon that I may or may not be pronouncing correctly.  continue reading

What to Read Right Now – Fall 2018

what to read now

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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What I’m Loving Now – Fall 2018

Beauty and Fashion

If you know me at all, you know that when I love something, I love it intensely and absolutely must tell people about it.

To that woman I accosted in the fiction section of the bookstore, insisting you could not leave without a copy of Kristan Higgin’s Good Luck With That, I apologize if I frightened you.  On the other hand, what’s a little scare if you a get really great read out of the deal? You’re welcome.

Okay, yes. It is possible that I sometimes go overboard in my enthusiasm.  Who doesn’t love sharing a good thing? I consider it a sort of public service on my part. continue reading