Good Reads

Therapy dogs help ease stress during busy Thanksgiving travel season

(BPT) - This Thanksgiving is gearing up to be one of the busiest travel seasons since 2005, according to travel organization AAA, with Wednesday, Nov. 27, expected to be the worst travel period nationally.

While it is well known that the day before Thanksgiving is always a hectic time to travel, most people don’t know that the Wednesday the week before Thanksgiving is just as bad for business travelers. While Americans are gearing up to see family and friends, business travelers are racing against the clock to wrap up their work before the holiday, which means stress is at an all-time high. In fact, according to SAP Concur, nearly 60% more business travelers are on the road that Wednesday than the average weekday, making Wednesday, Nov. 20, the busiest business travel day this year.

As stress continues to become a major factor facing today’s workforce, many are turning to pet therapy as a solution. It’s becoming more common for companies to welcome pets in office settings to help reduce stress for employees, and the power of puppy love has extended well beyond office settings. Pet therapy dogs from national nonprofit Pet Partners were even present at the first round of public impeachment hearings on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., to help ease stress for congressional staffers, and the San Francisco 49ers recently introduced their emotional support dog, Zoë, a French bulldog who was adopted to help the team manage players’ stress levels and mental health.

Hotel brands like La Quinta by Wyndham are making it easier for business travelers who may not be in an office setting to experience the power that dogs have to relieve stress. On Wednesday, Nov. 20, La Quinta by Wyndham is unveiling its Take a Paws Project, a program offering stress-relieving amenities at select hotels on the busiest business travel day of the year, including therapy dogs from Pet Partners in the lobby, weighted blankets, eye masks, fitness classes, sound machines and more to help frazzled guests de-stress while on the road. According to the brand’s recent “La Quinta Means Business” survey from Wakefield Research, 86% of business travelers agree that petting a dog while on a business trip would be one of the best ways to de-stress, and as one of the most pet-friendly hotel brands in the business, La Quinta is encouraging its guests to really stop and take a "paws."

No one understands the power of the uplifting connection between humans and animals better than Dr. Evan Antin, a veterinarian who also has five pets of his own. “As an entrepreneur, I’ve experienced firsthand what it takes to be a true road warrior,” says Antin. “That’s why I’m excited to partner on the Take a Paws Project with La Quinta by Wyndham, a brand that understands the stress business travelers face — particularly during some of the most stressful times of the year — and provides just what we need to put our best foot (or paw) forward.”

As travelers gear up for a busy Thanksgiving travel season, we shouldn’t underestimate the power of pups and the beneficial impact they can have on human stress levels.

5 reasons now is the right time to advance your career

(BPT) - As 2019 comes to an end, it marks a time of new possibilities and change. While some might get the itch to tackle a new challenge or hobby, many adults use this time to reflect on their current job and what might be next for their career path.

The good news is that with today’s competitive job market and new educational models, now may be the perfect time to go back to school to advance your career.

This article, presented by Capella University, lists five key reasons why:

1. We’re experiencing a strong, competitive job market.

The fall season is typically the final hiring period of the year and, therefore, the last opportunity to fill any remaining positions, as well as to create positions for the new year. This presents the perfect time for you to explore new opportunities.

If you are already at an organization, open positions may present an opportunity for you to step up and fill a new role in your current organization. Show your employer that you are capable to take on new responsibilities and are well deserving of a promotion.

2. Flexible learning options are growing.

Don’t let the fear of student loans or your busy schedule stop you from advancing your career. Not only do many institutions provide professionally aligned online degree programs, but some design different learning models that benefit working adults.

For example, in addition to the traditional model available at most colleges, Capella University offers a flexible format called FlexPath that allows students to set their own deadlines and move through course work at their own pace, saving time and tuition dollars. This model makes a lot of sense for educators looking to go back for their master’s in education. When students have the ability to adapt their courses to meet their busy schedule, they’re able to complete their studies on their time. Capella’s MEd FlexPath students have also expressed that programs like these meet them where they are, so they can continue learning and improving their craft.

3. Trainings and degree programs have an impact on earning potential and employability.

Workforce training and new credentials at any stage in your career can build your experience and impact your salary. Even polishing up soft skills can improve your employability. A study conducted in 2016 found that soft skills training can boost productivity and deliver higher employee retention. Today’s employers have recognized that these traits, like interpersonal communication, time management, and problem solving, are essential qualities and something they look for when hiring and promoting.

4. Many employers are supporting their employees’ continued education.

Right now, organizations across all sectors are looking for new ways to train their employees. Amazon recently expanded its postsecondary training programs to retrain 100,000 of its employees for jobs they hold and for their future.

Additionally, organizations are partnering with higher education providers to bring the best training to their employees. Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) offers an opportunity to its dealership employees to earn a customized degree through the Degrees@Work program at no cost. With these programs on the rise, don’t be afraid to ask your HR manager about what kinds of tuition assistance and other on-the-job training benefits are available to you.

5. It will bring you more happiness and fulfillment.

In the most recent Deloitte Shift Index on worker passion, only 13 percent of respondents exhibited all three attributes of worker passion: commitment to domain, questing, and connecting dispositions. All workers deserve better, and focusing on learning and development can help turn that around. The World Happiness Report found that people who have experienced longer years of education often experience increased employability, job security and faster promotion, all of these factors being conductive to higher happiness.

If you’re on the fence about advancing your career or pursuing a new training or degree, consider all the benefits that it could bring you. Don’t let another day pass you by. As the leaves change, so can you.

4 festive tricks to make a holiday meal work for everyone

(BPT) - The holidays are full of family, friends — and lots and lots of food. And while we love getting together with all our loved ones, the thought of coming up with a meal that pleases everyone can be a bit frightful. But with a little prep work, planning, and new healthy takes on cooking and baking staples, making meals that satisfy everyone is now joyfully easier.

Make Everyone Happy

The not-so-secret ingredient that brings a rich, creamy taste to any dish — is butter, of course. But when your not-eating-dairy-this-week cousin and more-butter-the-better sister are both coming to dinner, you need to come up with the one dish that makes them both happy. Give yourself a gift by swapping out dairy butter for Country Crock® Plant Butter. It tastes like butter, but is dairy-free, plant-based and has less saturated fat than dairy butter. Now everyone’s happy — including you!

Twist-up A Classic

Mashed potatoes without heaps of butter? Never! Here’s to holiday indulgence all your dinner guests can enjoy by adding an extra dollop (or two) of dairy-free Plant Butter. To sneak in some extra veggies, try this delicious twist on the holiday classic, garlic mashed cauliflower and potatoes.

Veggies Not Just for Vegans

Giving your grandmother’s timeless (but let’s be honest — sometimes tasteless) green bean casserole a dairy-free edge for your vegan guests is great, but who says veggies are for vegans only? Add more holiday shine to your table with a veggie side dish such as roasted Brussels sprouts with a maple balsamic glaze. It’s made with Plant Butter that features oils from olives, avocados and almonds so everyone gets to enjoy flavorful, rich, and nutritious veggies.

Dairy-free Dessert

Face it, desserts are the true stars of the holidays, and where there is a traditional cake, cookie, or pie recipe, there’s butter. Sticks of Country Crock® Plant Butter taste, cook and bake like butter, meaning holiday baking just got easier because you can swap it one-to-one for dairy butter in any recipe! Now you don’t need to give up that time-tested, family favorite recipe in search of a dairy-free dessert! This dairy-free apple cranberry crostata is great for everyone to enjoy after a delicious holiday meal.

Holidays are a wonderful time of the year to make everyone at the table happy. Whip up these delicious, dishes to make meals that all your loved ones can enjoy. Whether keeping up time honored traditions or starting new ones, with a little planning and preparation, it’s easy to manage the dietary needs and desires of everyone — and that’s the best gift of all.

How to make any occasion sparkle

(BPT) - What if everyone spent a little more time and energy celebrating everyday moments, tiny victories and micro-achievements? Rather than focusing on the negative, directing your attention toward what you are grateful for, and making a special occasion out of those things, is the secret to a happier life — according to many psychologists, writers and self-help experts.

So what can you do, right now, to add a little more sparkle to your life, to celebrate those little occasions that actually make the difference between a bad day and a great one?

1. Tune up your tablescape

Whether you just made it through a grueling day of meetings at work, you managed to take the car in for an oil change or you got through the holidays unscathed, it’s worth celebrating!

So roll out a tablecloth and light a few candles for dinner tonight — even if it’s takeout or delivered. Turn off your phone and relish the moment!

2. Dress to impress

Going out to dinner with your significant other for the first time in ages? Or maybe you're staying in for a night with friends?

What’s stopping you from dressing up as if it was your first date or as if you’re headed to a cocktail party? Toss on that little black dress or a fun, festive outfit just because. Add some sparkly accessories or makeup and enjoy the reaction when you show up looking like a million bucks!

3. Drink something sparkly

For those everyday moments that you want to celebrate, fill a glass with a delicious sparkling wine, like Riondo Prosecco Spago Nero, or use it to create a tasty cocktail. Riondo Prosecco has a light effervescence and fresh notes of apple and pear that make any ordinary occasion seem extra special.

Follow the lead of media personality, author, entrepreneur and restaurateur Giuliana Rancic by embracing the authentic flavor of Italy while you enjoy Giuliana Prosecco. Elevate your everyday dinner as you savor the fruity and elegant prosecco — or serve it to guests at your next awards show viewing party!

Or for a bigger occasion, make a statement with another great prosecco worthy of New Year’s Eve, a wedding or an anniversary. Nino Franco Rustico Valdobbiadene Prosecco Superiore DOCG will impress your guests or fellow revelers with its crisp, bright, refreshing and fruity taste.

4. Celebrate someone you love

Stop at a party store and pick up banners, glitter, confetti or other decorations to celebrate someone you care about. Surprise them by decorating their doorway with a sign that says “Congratulations” or “Welcome Home” — even if they’ve just been at work all day.

Bring flowers, cupcakes or other special treats to celebrate being together and whatever mini-accomplishment your loved one may have achieved recently — or simply for being there for you when you needed them.

Show that person how much you love that they are a part of your life, and have a mini-party, just the two of you.

5. Crank up the music

Instead of the drone of the TV or talk radio, play your favorite upbeat tunes on the way home from a long day at work. Crank up songs you love at home while you do your household chores to put some pep in your step.

Make a "victory playlist" to celebrate finishing a tedious appointment or completing a project. Then set your favorite song as your ringtone.

Let each day be an opportunity to enjoy everything life has to offer, and to celebrate being a part of it. By adding just a little extra sparkle, everyday moments can become special occasions.

6 Ways to Save Time and Money This Holiday Shopping Season

(BPT) - No matter what holiday shoppers are looking for this season, there are two things on everyone’s list: saving time and saving money. Whether you’re making memories with friends and family, or enjoying some JOMO (joy of missing out) cozied up with a holiday flick and treat, we all wish we had more time over the holidays. Picking out the perfect gift for everyone on your list can also be a drain on your free time — and your wallet — with The National Retail Federation predicting that holiday spending will increase approximately 4% this year. This holiday season, simplify your shopping with these six easy tips so you can save both time and money and get back to enjoying “the most wonderful time of the year” with family and friends.

  1. Set a budget — and stick to it. With shoppers expected to spend more this year, setting a budget will be as important as ever, and a great first step in managing holiday spending. Sticking to your budget can be difficult, but there are plenty of ways to save. For many, purchasing in cash adds a level of accountability and is a key way to keep holiday spending on track. Try paying with cash even when shopping online, with helpful resources like Amazon Cash and Amazon PayCode.
  2. Shop online — but know where to shop to get the best prices. This year, according to PwC’s 2019 Holiday Outlook, more than half of customers (54%) will shop online. Save time and money by shopping with a one-stop location. A recent report by Profitero stated that Amazon is set to beat U.S. online retailers on pricing throughout the holiday season by 20% on average across key consumer shopping categories.
  3. Shop with Prime. ‘Tis the season of busy schedules and eleventh-hour needs. Whether you’re looking for last-minute ingredients or the best playlist for a holiday gathering, Prime can help you save time and get everything you need this holiday season. In addition to getting the best of shopping and entertainment, Prime members have access to exclusive perks to help navigate the holiday season — from free ultrafast grocery delivery when you need something in a pinch, to early access on the hottest holiday deals.
  4. Look out for deals. Everyone wants to score deals on products they love — but comparing prices during the holidays can feel like an extra job. Luckily, you can track the best deals without spending much time or energy this season. Customize your gift search, or, simply sign up for “Watch a Deal” alerts and receive alerts when items you’ve had an eye on drop in price. Also, thrifty shoppers can check out Bargains to find savings on a vast selection all in one place.
  5. Don’t stress over gifting. Finding the perfect gift can be overwhelming! Eliminate the stress by starting with curated gift guides on top categories like Toys, Electronics, Books and Luxury Beauty. They’re a great way to see what’s popular this season and get gift ideas for anyone on your list. Plus, you can even sort by price, making it easy to stay on budget by finding gifts at the right price point. Still can’t find the perfect gift? A gift card will allow you to set the budget you want, and everyone can find something they love from a wide selection of products.
  6. Delivery your way. Once lists are checked twice and shopping is complete, select convenient shipping and delivery options that work best for your holiday schedule. Amazon Day gives Prime members peace of mind knowing that their purchases will conveniently arrive on the day of their choice, and are consolidated into fewer boxes whenever possible. In addition to other flexible delivery options like Amazon Key, shoppers can make use of secure pickup options as well. Eliminate the worry of ruining a surprise or transporting packages by using self-service Amazon Lockers, staffed Amazon Locker+ pickup and return locations or visiting a staffed Counter location.

This holiday season, give yourself the gift of saving time and money so you can spend the holidays doing more of what you love with the people you love most.

Caring for the family caregiver: Ways to manage your health and wellbeing while supporting others

(BPT) - Caring for a loved one with a chronic illness is something millions of Americans do every day. Whether it is a parent, spouse, extended family member or friend, the stress of caring for another adult can take a toll.

"I have to do absolutely everything for her," explains Anthony Cowels, whose 71-year-old wife, Florence, was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in 1986. As he watched her disease progress, his caregiver responsibilities grew. What's more, for some of the years Cowels also cared for his elderly parents, compounding his responsibilities.

"It has been a long journey of caregiving," says Cowels, 70. "I try not to let it overwhelm me. I always look for ways to do better." Cowels learned to care for both himself and his wife better through useful tools, education and friendship and by joining a caregiver support group. He says he can "interact with others who identify with my situation.”

Family caregiving: A growing trend

Cowels represents a growing number of Americans who care for older or aging loved ones. About 41 million family caregivers in the United States provided an estimated 34 billion hours of care to an adult with limitations in daily activities in 2017, notes the AARP report Valuing the Invaluable: 2019 Update. What's more, as the population ages, caregiving demands are increasing while the pool of potential caregivers is decreasing.

As the Valuing report states, "Americans will have more older relatives or close friends to potentially care for than children in about 15 years. The U.S. Census Bureau projects that, by the year 2035, adults ages 65 and older will outnumber children under the age of 18 for the first time in U.S. history. This fundamental demographic shift is the result of the aging of the U.S. population, increasing longevity, and a declining birth rate. "

Caring for yourself

In addition to helping with self-care activities like bathing, dressing and going to the bathroom, family caregivers today often perform complex medical tasks, including wound care, giving injections and handling medical equipment. The tasks that were once provided in hospitals and health care clinics are increasingly the responsibility of family and friends, who are often given little training or support.

While many family caregivers often report positive feelings in their role such as a sense of purpose or connection with their loved one, it often comes with feelings of being overwhelmed. Exhaustion, worry, loneliness and financial stress are common challenges caregivers face. If you also work a full-time job, it can be even more difficult to balance your needs and responsibilities.

While you may not achieve perfect balance, it is important to prioritize your physical and mental wellbeing, so you can be there for the person you care for. These first steps can help you find some balance as you navigate your caregiver journey:

  • Join a support group. Ask your health care provider about local options. Community centers are another good resource. If you live in a remote area or have difficulties commuting, online support groups are another useful way to connect with others in similar situations.
  • Make time for yourself. When you care for another person and have your own life demands, it can feel as though there is little time left in the day for yourself. Even if it is just 15 minutes, make time to do something you enjoy, such as walking or reading.
  • Don't be afraid to ask for help. No one person can do it all. It takes a team to care for someone, especially those with complex medical conditions. You can start by asking your provider about local health care resources and reach out to family and friends for assistance.

It is important for family caregivers to stay mentally and physically healthy so they can provide the best care possible to the growing number of people who need support. For helpful tips and caregiver resources, visit www.aarp.org/caregiving.

Gift Yourself A Very Merry Holiday

(NAPSI)—Best-ever holiday? It’s on. From friends & family gatherings to cocktail parties and holiday potlucks, there’s no shortage of unforgettably beautiful holiday moments worth celebrating (even the unfiltered, messy, probably embarrassing, and slightly dramatic ones). And you can find all the go-to styles to give and gift yourself for every merry occasion at your nearest maurices store or online. Here are some of the season’s hottest fashion gifts for others or yourself!

Gifts to give & get from under $25

From stocking stuffers such as lip gloss and travel-size fragrance to super-soft slippers and socks, plaid wallets, jewelry sets and limited-edition holiday graphic tees, you’ll spread extra cheer no matter what you choose. And, if you still can’t decide on the perfect present, a gift card can always fit her style, her personality, her size, and your budget.

Cozy up to oh-so-soft sherpas

Get into all things warm and fuzzy this season with sherpa vests, jackets and slippers that feel like a hug. One for a friend, one for you. It may be the softest thing you’ll wear all winter along. Best of all, you get twice the style with reversible vests that are cozy on one side, and quilted on the other. Layer over a thermal tee, plaid or blouse for endless winter outfits—and compliments.

Bundle up in sweaters & sweatshirts

There are few things better than wrapping yourself up in cozy sweaters and sweatshirts. From cardi dusters and trend-worthy colorblock pullovers to sweatshirts with fun pops of buffalo plaid, you won’t run out of cozy styles to add to your list. Pair with supersoft (and super comfy) jeggings for a laid back cookie exchange with your girlfriends or take it up a notch with a skirt and tall boots for happy hour or date night.

Mix it up with fun plaids

It’s the season’s hottest fashion trend to give, get and style. Create a touch of drama with a plaid ruana over skinny jeans or polished bengaline pants for an instant party-ready look. Layer a plaid top with leggings or jeggings for a casual gift exchange, or dress it up with dark denim for a fun night on the town. And don’t forget a plaid blanket scarf—it’s a great way to wrap up any holiday outfit on the go.

Do-it-all denim

Treat yourself to jeans that feel as amazing as they look. Dress them up for a holiday party or dress them down for whenever. Now with more sizes, rises, washes, colors, and fits than ever before in sizes 0-24, you can find a pair you’ll want to wear again and again. For example, there’s maurices’ super-slimming Everflex jeans that feel so amazing on, you may never want to take them off—especially when they’re paired with a rockin’-around-the-tree top.

Finish it all off with best-selling duck boots

Can’t decide between comfort and style? You don’t have to. Duck boots are an excellent way to finish your look without compromising on style. And with a fun pop of buffalo plaid on the inside, you’ll wear them dashing through the snow or anywhere you go.

They’re all available at maurices stores and online at www.maurices.com.

Feeling extra merry and bright?

Visit a maurices store for a Holiday Party Nov. 21 from 3 pm to close to treat yourself to a FREE scarf (a $24 value) with a $60 purchase, styling sessions, sips, snacks, and more.

clicktotweet “You and those you care about can look extra festive and fashionable this holiday season and into the months ahead. http://bit.ly/2qXwuSy

On the Net:North American Precis Syndicate, Inc.(NAPSI)

Tackle Two at a Time: Treat Your Diabetes and Protect Your Heart

(BPT) - People living with diabetes are two times more likely to die from cardiovascular diseases, such as heart disease, heart failure, heart attack and stroke.i And, nearly 70 percent of people aged 65 or older with diabetes die from some form of heart disease.i

Diabetes can lead to many complications, including having a higher risk for cardiovascular disease. There are many reasons for this. For example, people with diabetes often have high blood pressure and high cholesterol which increases the chances of having heart disease or a stroke.ii Furthermore, over time, high levels of glucose and fats (such as triglycerides) in the blood from diabetes can damage your nerves.iii People with diabetes-related nerve damage may not notice any chest pain, one of the warning signs of a heart attack, which can lead to delays in seeking treatment.ii Sadly, an adult with diabetes in the United States is hospitalized for heart disease every 80 seconds, and an adult with diabetes is hospitalized for stroke every two minutes.iv

Despite the known link between diabetes and heart disease, a 2018 Harris Poll survey examined people aged 45 and older with type 2 diabetes and found that only half of them recognized their risk or had discussed their risk for cardiovascular disease with their healthcare team.v But that can change: if you have diabetes, talk to your healthcare provider about how you can better manage your disease and protect your heart. Do not delay, because the longer you have diabetes, the higher the chances are that you will develop heart disease.ii

The American Heart Association and the American Diabetes Association recommend a few tips to care for your heart when you have type 2 diabetes:vi

  • Check in with your doctor regularly and ask specifically about your heart health
  • Maintain healthy eating habits like adding fruits and veggies to your diet
  • Keep exercising and moving
  • Perform self-care to help lower stress
  • Quit smoking
  • Monitor blood glucose, blood pressure, cholesterol and weight
  • Take medication(s) as prescribed

The link between diabetes and heart disease does not need to be twice as scary. When you manage your diabetes, you are also taking care of your heart.



[i] “Cardiovascular Disease and Diabetes.” American Heart Association, https://www.heart.org/en/health-topics/diabetes/why-diabetes-matters/cardiovascular-disease--diabetes.

[ii] “Diabetes, Heart Disease, and Stroke.” National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, https://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/diabetes/overview/preventing-problems/heart-disease-stroke.

[iii] “Diabetic Neuropathy.” National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, https://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/diabetes/overview/preventing-problems/nerve-damage-diabetic-neuropathies.

[iv] Know Diabetes by Heart, https://knowdiabetesbyheart.org/.

[v] American Heart Association and American Diabetes Association. (2018). People with T2D Baseline Survey. Online survey; USA. Conducted by The Harris Poll in September 2018. https://www.endocrinologyadvisor.com/home/topics/diabetes/type-2-diabetes/aha-ada-announce-joint-education-initiative-to-reduce-cvd-deaths-in-t2d/.

[vi] “7 Tips to Care for Your Heart When You Have Type 2 Diabetes.” Know Diabetes by Heart, https://knowdiabetesbyheart.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/06/KDBH_7TipsToCaretoCareforHeart.pdf.

New Program Empowers Parents to Boost Early Learning

(StatePoint) Science has consistently shown that the first three years of life are vital to a child’s developing brain, and new research confirms that families play an important role in language development and educational readiness.

“We’ve seen first-hand in our research what a positive impact parents can have in the process,” says Dr. Dana Suskind, professor of surgery and co-director of the TMW Center for Early Learning + Public Health at the University of Chicago.

Preliminary results from a five-year study, supported through a $3 million grant by the PNC Foundation and conducted by the TMW Center, reveal that parents improved their toddler’s language environments by increasing conversational turns almost four times more than parents in the control group. These findings are particularly meaningful because they mirror new and emerging research that points to the importance of conversational turn-taking in building a child’s language and cognitive skills.

These results are generating attention and investment in programs like “Any Time is 3Ts Time,” a campaign launched by the TMW Center that’s designed to empower parents with the knowledge and skills needed to make the most of everyday interactions with their young children.

The campaign, which is supported by an additional $3.3 million grant from the PNC Foundation, is built on the “3Ts” -- Tune In, Talk More and Take Turns -- and includes the distribution of online and print materials to parents through a network of community partners, particularly in underserved neighborhoods. The free, easy-to-use resources at the3Ts.org will become available in both English and Spanish in early 2020 and eventually include access to an interactive web-based app.

The grant, which is supported through PNC Grow Up Great, a bilingual $500 million, multi-year initiative helping prepare children from birth to age 5 for success in school and life, also will support the TMW Center’s “Let’s Talk!” parent group program, which is designed for deeper 3Ts engagement and includes real-time coaching and in-person sessions. The group program will debut in Chicago and later extend to early education programs in other U.S. cities.

“We recognized an opportunity to develop high-quality, early educational resources for families with children under age three. Now, with proven research from the TMW Center, we are able to support their effort to make new resources accessible to millions of parents and caregivers across the country,” says Sally McCrady, chair and president at the PNC Foundation.

Access to high-quality early education and resources is critical for a child’s success in school and life. Thanks to new programs based on scientific research, more children are going to start school ready to thrive and learn.  

5 Reasons Why You Need a Financial Plan Before a Recession

(StatePoint) With speculation swirling that the U.S. economy is heading for another recession, you might be wondering what you can do to protect yourself from feeling the pinch of a slowing economy.

Experts agree that proactive and prudent financial planning is key to avoiding emotion-driven decisions and maintaining a long-term orientation during times of turmoil. Those who already have a financial plan should take the time to re-evaluate its goals and strategies to ensure it can withstand a dramatic market decline. If you do not have a financial plan yet, take the initiative to start putting one together. A Certified Financial Planner (CFP) professional can provide you with guidance on creating and maintaining a comprehensive financial plan.

Here are five reasons why you need a financial plan in place before a recession:

• Know Where Your Finances Stand. When markets are in turmoil and you are feeling scared, your personal situation should guide your decisions. The first step in developing a financial plan is to figure out where you stand, which includes getting a thorough understanding of your cash reserves, consumer debt and current retirement contribution level and savings.

• Balance Fear and Greed. Bull markets can make investors more hopeful that gains are perennial, leading them to assume too much risk. Conversely, when the market drops, fear takes over and makes them want to sell everything. A financial plan helps you to avoid impulsive actions and balance market highs and lows.

• Manage Your Cash. A sound financial plan ensures that you do not put money you know you will need in the short term at risk. Money you anticipate needing within a year or so should be kept in a safe place, like a checking, savings or money market account, a short-term Certificate of Deposit (CD) or a bond.

• Maintain a Diversified Portfolio. One of the best ways to prevent emotional swings is to create and adhere to a diversified portfolio that spreads out your risk across different asset classes, such as stocks, bonds, cash and commodities.

• Take a Break from the Bad News. Once you have assessed your personal situation and made some choices, it’s smart to tune out from the constant news coverage. The drumbeat of bad news can lead to a cycle of negative thoughts, like “I am never getting this money back,” or “I will never retire.” Psychologists say such thoughts can distort reality, disrupt thinking and erode performance.

To find a CFP professional who can help you prepare a financial plan, visit letsmakeaplan.org.

However dire a crisis may seem, having a long-term financial strategy will keep you on track to achieve your financial goals.

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Photo Credit: (c) cat-scape / iStock via Getty Images Plus

Transform Your Kitchen with an Easy DIY Tile Backsplash

(BPT) - As the home’s center for family gatherings and entertaining friends, it’s no surprise that kitchens are the most popular room to renovate, according to online home remodeling and design resource Houzz. However, Houzz also identifies kitchens as the most expensive room to update. This challenges homeowners to find upgrades that can be completed quickly without hiring a contractor. Installing a new backsplash with glass, ceramic or mosaic tile is one of the fastest, easiest, most affordable options. It’s so simple that it's often overlooked as a do-it-yourself project. Pairing a new backsplash with a paint job and simple cabinet hardware changes can dramatically transform the entire look of your kitchen — just in time to host an annual holiday party or an impromptu get-together.

For years, the process of installing a backsplash was intimidating and best left to a contractor with years of experience working with mortars and grouts. That’s no longer the case as high-strength installation alternatives like SimpleMat replace messy thin-set mortars and mastics for bonding tiles to a wall. In addition, ready-to-use professional-quality grouts have come a long way. Products like Fusion Pro grout provide unparalleled levels of stain resistance against common household products. They don’t need to be sealed, they don’t require mixing to ensure consistent color performance and are easy to apply. The best grouts offer a stain-proof, color perfect guarantee and a lifetime warranty.

How to Install a Kitchen Backsplash

Remember to put safety first when working on home projects. Follow manufacturer recommendations and wear eye protection and gloves as needed.

* Measure your backsplash to determine the amount of tile, setting mat and grout needed for the project.

* Ensure that your chosen tile meets the size and weight requirements of the mat.

* If necessary, remove any wallpaper, tile or other existing coverings on the wall where the backsplash will be installed. In addition, make repairs to any damage to the wall to create a flat, smooth, stable surface for the bonding mat and the tile.

* Wipe the wall clean to remove surface dust or contaminants.

* Cut the two-sided adhesive mat to size, peel off the back to expose the wall-side adhesive and apply to the wall, overlapping sheets according to the instructions.

* Lay out and cut your tile in desired sizes and shapes. Remove the release liner to expose the adhesive ridges on the front of the mat. You do not need mortar. Set the tile in place on the wall and then firmly push the tile into the mat using your hand or a flat surface like a grout float to lock the tile into position. Mosaic tiles often come on 12” x 12” sheets that are already spaced for even easier application or use grout spacers.

* Be sure to grout the tile within 24 hours after setting the tile into the adhesive. Apply the grout according to the directions, spread the grout using a grout float held at a 45-degree angle and make sure that grout fills every joint between the tiles.

* Remove excess grout and then wipe clean on a diagonal with a lightly damp sponge and microfiber towel using clean rinse water.

* Repeat the process until all of the tile has been grouted and cleaned.

* Enjoy welcoming guests to your “new” kitchen!

With the wide variety of tile materials and shapes — as well as all of the complementary grout colors on the market today — homeowners are only limited by their own creativity when installing an elegant and functional backsplash. For more information on products and systems used for installing tile and stone, visit Custom Building Products at www.custombuildingproducts.com.

6 ways to turn your home into a natural oasis

  • Updated

(BPT) - As the year comes to an end, many people make resolutions to start the New Year strong. This might mean ramping up your workout routine, increasing your self-care regimen or finding time to de-stress.

The EPA reports we spend 90 percent of our time indoors, but most people feel that spending time in nature has a positive effect on their mental well-being and stress level, according to a recent YouGov study commissioned by VELUX. So, if your goal is to de-stress, here are some healthy behaviors and design tips to help you bring nature’s sanctuary indoors.

Fill your home with photos of nature

Surrounding yourself with images of nature can have a positive effect on wellness. Try framing some photos of special memories in nature like a hike with your family, beach sunset or mountain view.

Let in more fresh air and natural light

Today’s homes are built tighter and more sealed, which means they trap toxins from daily living — such as cooking, cleaning, pets and more — inside. Adding skylights that can open is a simple home renovation project to improve fresh air flow, helping rid indoor air of pollutants. Additionally, studies show that exposure to natural light helps to sync your circadian rhythm, allowing for better sleep at night.

Fill your home with natural scents

Up your chef game by using fresh herbs in your cooking that will fill your kitchen with natural fragrance. Making an indoor herb garden ensures you’ll always have some on hand. You can also incorporate fresh herbs into bouquets or wreaths for a natural air freshener throughout your home.

Meditate or do yoga in the morning

Waking up with stretching or meditating is a great way to prepare yourself for a successful day. Open the blinds or curtains on your windows and skylights to let in early morning light and help you feel invigorated and refreshed.

Go green with your décor

Reap the benefits of nature by bringing it inside, adding greenery or even fruit into your décor. The possibilities are endless — use a bowl of fresh fruit as a centerpiece or mix different sizes of pots to create a succulent gallery. Little touches of green in each room will go a long way.

Use natural cleaning products

Many common cleaning products have harsh chemicals that can be inhaled or absorbed into your skin. Combat the dangers of these toxins by switching to natural cleaning products. You’ll feel safer and more relaxed when your home is chemical-free.

From boosting your home’s natural light to going green and adding plant life, it’s easy to turn your home into a natural oasis with these simple steps. For more information, visit whyskylights.com.

Connecting Veterans And Volunteers Nationwide

(NAPSI)—Army veteran Ron Hope was piloting a helicopter in Vietnam to extract a company of soldiers, when he was shot down. His left brachial plexus—the network of nerves that sends signals from the spinal cord to the arm and hand—was crushed. He also broke both legs, suffered compound fractures in six vertebrae and had third-degree burns covering 55 percent of his body.

The Texas native was honorably discharged from the Army and turned his focus to recovery. He went on to enroll at Tarleton State University and dedicated 40 years to serving his fellow veterans. Each year on July 15, Hope hosts what he calls a “celebration of life” gathering to mark his Alive Day and remember the battle buddies he lost. “I met a lot of good people in Vietnam. Unfortunately, I don’t have many of them left, but I still remember them and those we left behind.”

Alive Days are now common among veterans who have survived catastrophic wartime injuries, whether visible or invisible. These special days mark the anniversary when they almost died serving their country. Many Vietnam-era veterans have reached 50 years’ worth of Alive Days. DAV (Disabled American Veterans), a nonprofit charity that helps veterans get their benefits and services, honors those milestones through a new online series of articles and podcasts featuring Vietnam heroes.

For example, Marine veteran Bobby Barrera had been in Vietnam for only six weeks when a massive explosion rocked his vehicle, causing severe burns over 40 percent of his body and leaving him without a right hand or left arm. While his family marks the anniversary of the day—Sept. 16, 1969—every year, Barrera says, “My real Alive Day was when I married my wife, who gave me a renewed reason to live.” With her support, he went back to school and they started a family. He also found meaningful work with DAV, helping other veterans and their families.

Another Vietnam veteran, Jim Sursely, thought only of sports as a teenager—football, baseball and basketball. But while driving down the street in his Minnesota hometown, he saw a sign that read, “Uncle Sam Needs You.” Sursely went to see an Army recruiter and three months later, was inducted into the military. A year into his service, Sursely stepped on a landmine, immediately losing both his legs and left arm.

After accepting and adjusting to life as a triple amputee, Sursely moved to Florida, where the new construction business brought more accessibility and opportunities in real estate. Today, he and his wife run their family business and he is one of the top real estate professionals in the area. Sursely is proud to say that he enjoys life with his four children, 12 grandchildren, and three great-grandchildren. And he continues to honor his Alive Day and looks forward to celebrating his 51st next year.

To read more about these and other Alive Day stories and learn about the support available to veterans of all generations, go to www.DAV.org.

clicktotweet ““Alive Days” for veterans mark the anniversary when they almost died serving their country. DAV (Disabled American Veterans), a nonprofit that helps veterans get their benefits and services, honors them through online articles and podcasts. http://bit.ly/34ZtCne

On the Net:North American Precis Syndicate, Inc.(NAPSI)

The Fascinating Story Of Toy Giant Hasbro And Its Incredible Leader

“Kid Number One” by G. Wayne Miller

(NAPSI)—Who can’t like a person who says his favorite toy growing up was Mr. Potato Head? And his most formidable adversary was Barbie? Add to that he’s committed to a concept in Judaism which holds its believers responsible not only for their own moral, spiritual, and material welfare, but also for the welfare of society at large. In short, a guy who believes it’s his job to help others.

Alan G. Hassenfeld is a third-generation Hassenfeld brother and much of the energy and spirit behind the toy company giant Hasbro. G. Wayne Miller, author of the true-life business suspense story “Toy Wars,” now brings us “Kid Number One,” a thorough narrative of the Hassenfelds, the toy conglomerate they built, and its abundance of international kindness. Hasbro is not just a manufacturer of games and toys. Miller’s latest book makes that clear.

The history of the company that brought us G.I. Joe, Transformers, My Little Pony, and of course Mr. Potato Head is a testament to an America fueled by immigrants. Driven from Europe as teenagers during the First World War, brothers Henry and Hillel Hassenfeld came to the U.S. fleeing societal unrest, unmitigated hatred, and pogroms which slaughtered thousands of Jews. Like other Jews before them, they settled in the lower east side of Manhattan and struggled to make enough money to eat. Their first venture was rags. Literally, rags.

How they got from rags to Mr. Potato Head is only part of the story. “Kid Number One” indeed chronicles Hasbro’s history, face-offs with its fiercest competition, and the painful stories of toys that didn’t succeed.

Alan never wanted to be CEO of anything. He was happy traveling the world. But when he became part of the company, he found he could build a corporate atmosphere of ethical professionalism and familial loyalty while making enough profit to do what he wanted to do more than anything: spread goodness around the world.

It’s hard to do justice to the Hassenfeld brothers’ philanthropy. After the hurricane that devastated Puerto Rico, Alan flew doctors, nurses, and 11,000 pounds of food, water, clothes, and medications to the ravaged island. He brought many of the sickest Puerto Ricans back to the mainland for treatment.

He helped build the Bamboo School in Thailand and provided scholarships for needy children. He supported the Mechai Viravaidya Foundation there, to improve the lives of people in remote rural villages. He helped refugees from Europe and Asia start productive lives in the U.S., supported the Afghan Women’s Development Centers, and established a Day of Global Joy at Hasbro where employees were encouraged to go do acts of charity.

Perhaps the jewel in the crown is the Hasbro Children’s Hospital in Providence, RI, an architecturally designed building with children’s needs and imaginations as the focus.

“Kid Number One” is a business book, yes, but reading it can make you feel like there’s some good in this world. Purchase at https://amzn.to/2CikMEN.

BookBites is a continuing series bringing readers information and ideas for their next read. For more reading ideas, visit BookTrib.com and subscribe to the weekly newsletter.

clicktotweet “A fascinating story of a toy giant and its incredible leader, “Kid Number One” is a thorough narrative of the Hassenfelds, the Hasbro toy conglomerate they built, and its abundance of international kindness. It’s available from BookTrib.com. http://bit.ly/34YSBa7

On the Net:North American Precis Syndicate, Inc.(NAPSI)

Are You Ready for College Entrance Exams?

(StatePoint) While a student’s long record of academic achievement is generally the most important measure that colleges take under consideration during the admissions process, getting as prepared for one’s college entrance exams as possible is a great idea.

Here are a few things to know going into the process:

• Almost all four-year institutions of higher learning require that candidates submit either SAT or ACT scores with some requiring strictly one or the other. Certain selective schools also require SAT Subject Tests and AP Tests. Check which tests you’ll need to take to apply to your schools of choice. You may also want to check the average scores of last year’s incoming freshmen.

• Find out whether the schools to which you are applying look at the score of every test you take or only your top score. If they look at every score, you may want to avoid taking the test until you’re feeling completely confident. If they look at only the top score, consider taking the test multiple times (if money and time allow) until you get the score with which you’re satisfied.

• Each institution weighs scores a bit differently. Some colleges use entrance exam scores in order to place incoming freshmen in classes. Some schools use the scores to award scholarships. Understanding what the scores are used to determine, can help you get motivated to succeed.

• When it comes to the mathematics portion of the exam, it’s important to know that graphing and scientific calculators are allowed. Calculators for College Boards available from Casio offer an affordable solution to aid in the preparation for college entrance exams. Whatever calculator students choose to use for their exams they should familiarize themselves with completely so that come exam day, they can easily manipulate its features and functions. To that end, students should use the calculator when taking practice tests and consider using it in the classroom and when doing homework.

• Testing rules and format have evolved over time. Be sure any preparation materials you use are current so that they deliver accurate information about what to expect and reflect the kind of questions you’ll actually face on test day.

• Your practice tests should resemble the real test day as much as possible, so have handy only tools which are allowed in the testing facility, putting away any other reference materials or distractions.

While the process of preparing for and taking college entrance exams can be nerve-wracking, sufficient preparation and the right tools can give you the confidence you need to be successful on test day.

*****

Photo Credit: (c) monkeybusinessimages / iStock via Getty Images Plus

3 Warm and Fuzzy Holiday Activities to Try this Season

(StatePoint) Whether you’re braving the cold to find the perfect Hanukah gift or searching high and low for the ideal Christmas tree, there are plenty of opportunities to create special memories with your family this season. And there are ways to make each event a little warmer and fuzzier.

“One of the best things about the holidays is how cozy everything can feel,” says Laryssa Grant, women’s buyer for national shoe retailer, Rack Room Shoes. “And while it can be a busy time of year, it’s important to treat comfort as a priority and slow down to enjoy each moment.”

Here are three activities to try this season that can make you feel warm and fuzzy on the inside -- and outside!

Get Snuggly

Over-scheduling can put a damper on the holidays. That’s why it’s important to carve out some quality time to get in the spirit. Give each family member a goodie bag of holiday-themed pajamas and then pop in a holiday movie to spend the evening snuggled up with the people you love.

Make it cozier: Pair the pajamas with shearling-lined slippers, such as those from Koolaburra by Ugg to ensure everyone’s feet stay warm and toasty all night. Minnetonka and Skechers also offer faux fur-lined options to try. Cozy, comfortable slippers can also serve as ideal stocking stuffers this holiday season.

Adopt a Charity

Set an example for younger generations by adopting a charity for the holidays. Whether you give the gift of your time or money, supporting causes close to your heart can become a cherished family tradition.

Make it cozier: After each family member selects a special charity, set aside time to discuss over a cup of hot chocolate and homemade cookies.

Take a Tour of Local Lights

Check out the lights in your community for a fun and budget-friendly way to get in the holiday spirit. From spectacular light shows to twinkling home displays, take advantage to explore all your area has to offer.

Make it cozier: Popular shoes from Sperry and Crocs are now available with a plush fur lining for warmth and comfort no matter where your holiday plans take you. To view all warm and fuzzy options in footwear, visit Rack Room Shoes in store or online at www.RackRoomShoes.com.

Whether it’s doing good works or enjoying the sights and sounds of the season, there’s no better time of year for creating cozy memories.

*****

Four reasons to pursue careers in nursing

  • Updated

(BPT) - As time and technology reshape the workforce, most professionals are not in the position to choose one career or one track and stick with it until retirement. Nursing offers relevant, future-focused opportunities for people of all ages and levels of experience, from those re-entering the workforce or making a career change, to registered nurses pursuing further education. Below, you’ll find for four key reasons students are pursuing licensure or a degree in nursing (RN to BSN and beyond), shared by Dr. Bonnie Stegman of Maryville University.

1. Satisfaction

If you are interested in making a direct impact on the lives of individuals and communities, you should consider nursing. It’s a rewarding career, according to nurses themselves — 83% say they are satisfied with their career choice. Many find the job fulfilling on a personal level as caring for others is a hallmark of the profession. Nurses provide a great deal of personal contact and engagement with patients, a traditional role that has only become more important in today’s often-hectic healthcare environment. At the same time, nursing is an exciting and expanding field with new areas of focus and settings in which to practice. You have more options than ever before to pursue your individual interests and work at the cutting edge of healthcare.

2. Wide-ranging opportunities

Nursing often is associated with foundational healthcare settings such as primary care practices, hospitals or nursing homes. However, nursing offers many different paths to build and develop the specific track that’s right for you. It includes many different specialties, including areas relevant to our aging population, such as gerontology (focused on elderly patients) and genetics (patients with or at risk of hereditary diseases). You also can specialize in public health, working in nonprofit organizations, community health centers or governmental agencies. Across specialties and settings, you also can build on your experience caring for patients and transition into other areas, serving as an administrator or an educator, for example.

3. Flexibility

The array of options and opportunities available within nursing means that you can pick what best fits your needs and preferences. For example, if family responsibilities mean you need to keep a 9-to-5, Monday-Friday schedule, some primary care or specialty practices can accommodate that. Through telehealth, you can provide patient care and education remotely, potentially creating opportunities across geographic areas and time zones. If you’re open to moving around, you might find work as a traveling nurse to be an interesting — and usually well paid — choice. And, this flexibility means you can adapt and shift your focus as you move through different stages and phases of life.

4. Demand and compensation

Nurses are in high demand nationwide, a trend that shows no sign of slowing. That means you can expect competitive salaries and benefits. You’ll even find that employers are getting creative in how they recruit and incentivize new hires. Mercy Children’s Hospital in St. Louis created a seasonal staffing option, where nurses can opt to work a full-time schedule from September to June, then take time off in the summer months while retaining their benefits — and a guaranteed job in the fall. It’s a valuable offering for anyone with childcare considerations. Other employers are providing financial incentives such as signing bonuses and tuition reimbursement. It’s an environment ripe with opportunity.

Make it happen

Once you decide to pursue your licensure or earn a nursing degree, you have a variety of educational options. It all starts with finding a program that offers a realistic path for your existing schedule and responsibilities.

Online programs typically are designed for flexibility. The online nursing offerings at Maryville University, for example, include an RN to BSN program with multiple start dates throughout the year that can be completed 100% online to help students balance work and school commitments. You also can find flexible options in on-campus programs as well. In addition to programs for full-time and transfer students, Maryville’s on-campus nursing options include a part-time evening and weekend program designed for working adults.

As our population ages, career options in healthcare are predicted to expand and grow. Nursing is worth considering — a resilient and wide-ranging career field with significant opportunities, now and in the future.

Veterans Commemorate 50th Anniversary Of Vietnam War With ‘Alive Day’ Stories

  • Updated

(NAPSI)—Army veteran Ron Hope was piloting a helicopter in Vietnam to extract a company of soldiers, when he was shot down. His left brachial plexus—the network of nerves that sends signals from the spinal cord to the arm and hand—was crushed. He also broke both legs, suffered compound fractures in six vertebrae and had third-degree burns covering 55 percent of his body.

The Texas native was honorably discharged from the Army and turned his focus to recovery. He went on to enroll at Tarleton State University and dedicated 40 years to serving his fellow veterans. Each year on July 15, Hope hosts what he calls a “celebration of life” gathering to mark his Alive Day and remember the battle buddies he lost. “I met a lot of good people in Vietnam. Unfortunately, I don’t have many of them left, but I still remember them and those we left behind.”

Alive Days are now common among veterans who have survived catastrophic wartime injuries, whether visible or invisible. These special days mark the anniversary when they almost died serving their country. Many Vietnam-era veterans have reached 50 years’ worth of Alive Days. DAV (Disabled American Veterans), a nonprofit charity that helps veterans get their benefits and services, honors those milestones through a new online series of articles and podcasts featuring Vietnam heroes.

For example, Marine veteran Bobby Barrera had been in Vietnam for only six weeks when a massive explosion rocked his vehicle, causing severe burns over 40 percent of his body and leaving him without a right hand or left arm. While his family marks the anniversary of the day—Sept. 16, 1969—every year, Barrera says, “My real Alive Day was when I married my wife, who gave me a renewed reason to live.” With her support, he went back to school and they started a family. He also found meaningful work with DAV, helping other veterans and their families.

Another Vietnam veteran, Jim Sursely, thought only of sports as a teenager—football, baseball and basketball. But while driving down the street in his Minnesota hometown, he saw a sign that read, “Uncle Sam Needs You.” Sursely went to see an Army recruiter and three months later, was inducted into the military. A year into his service, Sursely stepped on a landmine, immediately losing both his legs and left arm.

After accepting and adjusting to life as a triple amputee, Sursely moved to Florida, where the new construction business brought more accessibility and opportunities in real estate. Today, he and his wife run their family business and he is one of the top real estate professionals in the area. Sursely is proud to say that he enjoys life with his four children, 12 grandchildren, and three great-grandchildren. And he continues to honor his Alive Day and looks forward to celebrating his 51st next year.

To read more about these and other Alive Day stories and learn about the support available to veterans of all generations, go to www.DAV.org.

clicktotweet ““Alive Days” for veterans mark the anniversary when they almost died serving their country. DAV (Disabled American Veterans), a nonprofit that helps veterans get their benefits and services, honors them through online articles and podcasts. http://bit.ly/34ZtCne

On the Net:North American Precis Syndicate, Inc.(NAPSI)

Christmas Dreams Come Early For Wife Of Work-Life Balance Expert

  • Updated

(NAPSI)—It could be said that everything Troy Amdahl learned to love he learned in kindergarten. No kidding. He met Kristen, his wife of 29 years, at age five, remained friends, took her to the senior prom, married and raised four children.

Recently, Amdahl had a post on his Facebook page go virile for an act of kindness for his wife that he never, in his wildest dreams, could have imagined.

Amdahl, along with Dave Braun, is one of the OolaGuys, and has co-authored several international bestselling Oola books on finding the proper work-life balance. With a simple message, “Live the life you deserve,” they recently published their newest collaboration, “Oola for Christians: Find Balance and Grow.”

A self-avowed “Christmas curmudgeon,” for decades Amdahl approached the holiday season with a debate: when to put up the Christmas tree. Kristen, on the other hand, loves Christmas and everything about it—decorating the house, gatherings with their large family, making homemade gifts, the Hallmark movies and, most importantly, the meaning of the season. Yet, through it all, Troy tried to rein in the holiday cheer.

For all of Amdahl’s lessons as the Oola guy, he was about to walk the talk.

The couple had recently moved out of their home while renovations were being completed. That’s when the idea hit him. He thought about how he wanted to try to give back some of the joy and happiness to this woman who has been by his side for his whole life.

Unbeknownst to Kristen, Amdahl put a call in to their decorators to fully decorate two stunning trees: one “blank canvas” for the many family ornaments the kids had made over the years, and another Pinterest-worthy tree to surprise his wife as she walked in the door.

He never expected the response he got when they returned to their home on Halloween. Their son was there to capture the magical moment when his mom saw the first tree and cried tears of joy. When she saw the “other” tree, she lost it. Jumping up and down and crying.

“Why did I put these restrictions around when, what and how,” mused Amdahl, “when enjoying Christmas early gave my wife such joy?”

“Love well the people who love and support you,” Amdahl says. “Invest in their dreams, even if they are different from your own.” By his wife’s reaction, he continues, “My only disappointment is that I didn’t do this years ago. Heck, if it makes someone I love this much this happy, it can stay up all year as far as I’m concerned.”

You can purchase “Oola for Christians: Find Balance and Grow” at https://amzn.to/2K3sbMx.

BookBites is a continuing series bringing readers information and ideas for their next read. For more reading ideas, visit BookTrib.com and subscribe to the weekly newsletter.

clicktotweet Troy Amdahl and Dave Braun co-authored several international bestselling books on finding the proper work-life balance. The newest collaboration is “Oola for Christians: Find Balance and Grow.” http://bit.ly/2XbRktv

On the Net:North American Precis Syndicate, Inc.(NAPSI)

Better Basting For A More Beautiful Bird

  • Updated

(NAPSI)—This holiday season, making a marvelous meal for friends and family can be easier than ever with clever new cookware: a roasting pan with a concave bottom that naturally lets the juices pool to either side for safer, faster basting.

How It Works

There’s no need to lift and tilt the pan to force cooking juices to pool to one side for basting and the nonstick roasting rack is shorter than standard racks so there’s enough space for a basting spoon to fit. Because of this unique design, you don’t have to wait too long for the basting juices to start pooling. Within 30 minutes of popping your turkey in the oven, you can start basting and making a beautiful, golden bird.

The rack also has folding handles, so it’s easy to transfer food to a cutting board or serving platter. This 17” x 12” Quick-Baste Roaster from GoodCook brand of kitchenware is made of durable carbon steel with an easy-to-clean nonstick coating.

Delicious Side Dishes

To keep that terrific turkey company, try this trio of sweet and savory sides.

Maple Marshmallow Sweet Potatoes

2 (29 oz) can cut sweet potatoes

2 eggs

½ cup pure maple syrup

½ cup melted butter

1 ½ cups marshmallow fluff

Pecans (optional)

Sausage Cornbread Stuffing

½ cup ground sausage

⅔ cup diced celery

¼ cup dried cranberries

6 oz cornbread stuffing

1−1 ¾ cup chicken broth, boiling

Parmesan Rosemary Mashed Potatoes

8 medium red potatoes, boiled

1 egg

¾ cup shredded Parmesan

1 Tbsp garlic puree

⅔−1 cup heavy cream or half-and-half (to desired texture)

Pinch salt

1 teaspoon dried rosemary

Heat oven to 350° F. In a large bowl, mash together sweet potatoes, eggs, maple syrup and butter. Swirl in marshmallow fluff. If desired, top with pecans. Spoon mixture into 8 of the muffin cups in an oversized muffin pan. In a large skillet, brown sausage, with celery and cranberries. Transfer to a large bowl. Add stuffing and stir in broth, adding just enough broth until desired stuffing texture is reached. Spoon into 8 more of the muffin cups. For the mashed potatoes: mash all ingredients together. Spoon into 8 remaining muffin cups. Bake for 30−40 minutes, or until marshmallow fluff is browned and mashed potatoes begin to turn golden around the edges. Let cool slightly before scooping from the muffin tin and serving.

Learn More

The GoodCook Quick Baste Roaster is available at https://tinyurl.com/GCroaster.

clicktotweet “This holiday season, making a marvelous meal for friends and family can be easier than ever with clever new cookware. The Quick-Baste Roaster from GoodCook is a roasting pan with a concave bottom that naturally lets the juices pool to either side. http://bit.ly/2NL1QFe

On the Net:North American Precis Syndicate, Inc.(NAPSI)

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