Mother of Necessity

because sometimes, you just have to.

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Holiday Tips & Reminders


It’s that time of  year. The holiday season has begun. Time to start prepping for visitors, big dinners, and lots of shopping.

Here are a few tips to keep in mind for the holidays.

VISITORS: If you are making your rounds and making impromptu visits, keep in mind people may not be prepared. No judging their homes or actions.

If the home is dirty or they don’t have anything to offer you (drinks/food), don’t be mad. You are surprising them.  Remember why you are visiting. You are there to check in with them, have conversations and see if there is anything you can do to help. These are people you love and adore, please do not judge. Be kind and offer your help.

If you would like to, you can always bring a small gift when you go visit. The gift could be your help around their house, such as helping with decorations or cleaning. You could also gift them with coupons to help with cost of the upcoming events. A nice small centerpiece is always good. Bring your own snacks and drinks.

Bringing a small token is a great gesture of kindness and love.

When you have folks come to your home to visit, I recommend on Thursday or Friday night before the weekend or the day or 2 before the holiday, go through your home and do some light housekeeping.  

Make sure the bathroom is clean, dishes are done and you living room is picked up. Maybe go to the grocery store and get some snacks and extra drinks. This way you are prepared for any visitors.

Visiting is a great way to reconnect with loved ones and everyone feels good when you are able to connect.

DINNERS:  If you are hosting the dinner, make sure you have everything you need. Making that last minute grocery store run can be awful or the store may be closed and you are out of luck.

Ask for help. No need to do this by yourself. There are others that would be grateful to assist you.

Relax: Don’t pressure yourself to make everything perfect. If something doesn’t work out the way you planned, it’s ok. Remind yourself why you are hosting. It’s not for the glory of compliments (even though compliments are wonderful) but for making memories with the people you hold dear. Trust me, your guests don’t care that things are perfect, they are happy to be surrounded by folks they love too.

If you are going to someone’s house for dinner, remember your etiquettes. Be polite (please & thank you), offer your assistance, clean up your mess and play nice with others.

If you are helping with the dinner by bringing a dish (pot luck style) please bring what was asked of you or what you committed to bring. Your friends/family are relying on you to do your part.

If you are not bringing a dish you might want to bring a small gift for the host or for the home. If you are like me and can’t afford a gift, make sure you help with the cleanup. Your host will be so thankful for the help.

Send a nice “Thank You” card after the dinner. It shows your appreciation and the love you have for that family.

SHOPPING: Just a few helpful tips.

Fill up the car with gas before you leave. You don’t want to interrupt the shopping spree by getting gas. Travel with your car lights on. Even during the day. 

Have a list of people you need gifts for or a list of gift items needed. It helps keep you on your budget and reminds you who/what you are needing to purchase.

Keep your money secure. Keep your purse in your hand at all times. Wear a cross-body purse (less likely to be set down or stolen). Carry you debit/credit cards in your front pocket of your pants.

Charge your cell phone or have a car charger. You don’t want to be out shopping and not have any service to retrieve those online coupons.

Carry a small amount of actual cash. Some of those small business do not accept credit cards. It’s also nice to leave your lunch tip in cash for the wait staff.

Set a budget for how much you are spending on your spree.

I hope you have a safe, happy and stress free holidays.


Family Reunion 2015: Success!!!

Our family reunion was last Saturday (8-8). I am glad to report that the reunion was a hit. We had some new faces and then the ‘usual’ yahoos were there too. We had over 60 folks come for the festivities.

It was a beautiful day. The temperature was in the low 80’s. The sun was shining, big white fluffy clouds in the sky and a cool breeze blowing. The weather was perfect. Just warm enough to break a sweat playing some games.

City Park

City Park

The reunion was held at our local city park. We have had many reunions here when I was a kid. It’s a beautiful park with ball diamonds to play on, lots of playground equipment for the kids. Big shelter houses that seat 75-100 people.

Our shelter house set on the top of the park.  I say ‘top’ because the park has 2 entrances. One part is setting on a hill, that’s where most of the playground and shelter houses are. The second entrance is for the ball fields and a shelter house. (The picture above is the ‘top’ of the park looking down onto the ball fields and shelter house.)

Our family likes to play a game called Corn Hole or Bean Bag Toss. It’s a fan came and we had a couple set up for everyone to play. Most of the second cousins played. Some of us first cousins are too old to break a sweat.

The little ones had fun playing on the playground equipment.  Well, some of the older ones had fun playing too.

jees ashan       mike connor

The food was awesome. We had one of the cousins cook up hamburgers and hot dogs. Everyone that came brought a side dish. Sorry I don’t have any photos of the food spread. Take my word for it.  It was all yummy.

We had homemade potato salad, deviled eggs, chicken and noodles, baked beans, potato and cheese casserole, mac-n-cheese, pineapple upside down cake, banana pudding and so much more.

All I can say is: we have some great cooks in this family. No one left hungry.

There was lots of catching up at the reunion. Some of us have not seen each other in a long time. Having so many cousins connecting and reconnecting with each other was a wonderful sight to see and be a part of.

Everyone sharing with the next person. Telling stories of the good old days. Sharing what has been going on in each of their lives. Making new memories with family. Can it get any better than that?

alyza jess            george cameron

One of the Aunts brought her genealogy research of the family with her. Very interesting stuff to go through. I found out I am in the 10th generation.

Also found out that we are descendants of two Declaration of Independence signers: The first being John Hancock and the second is Roger Sherman. My son thought this was the coolest information of the day. He went around telling anyone that would listen. Love my kid and how much he loves this family and our history.

Just for fun we asked the family to provide a quote that their parent said that was funny or something they still use today. Here are a couple of the quotes.

“Fish and company stink after three days.”

“Follow the dictations of your heart.”

“Don’t be ugly”….meaning do the right thing, make the right choices

“You can be in the wrong place at the wrong time and mess up your life.”

“That would gag a maggot on a gut wagon”……my personal favorite.

And last:  4 things you need when you live in Ohio:

Money in your pocket

A decent car

Good pair of boots

Good mattress

Now there’s some sound advice to everyone. Love my family’s humor too.

The photo slideshow was a hit. It ran the whole day. I had made an 800 picture show. It was fun watching everyone guess who the person was on the screen. Lots of laughter and lots of “Oh Shelly, why did you put that photo in there?”

jill slideshow   merle carly

It was a great day filled with laughter, love and lots of hugs. I am so thankful for everyone that helped make the reunion work so well. There were so many helpers that chipped in when needed. I am blessed beyond measure with my family. I can’t wait till next year.

If you want to have a great reunion too, check out the “BOOKS” tab and get your book today to plan for your next reunion.

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4 Weekend Ideas

We all get a little bored on weekends. Doing the same old stuff or not knowing what to do. I thought I would help you out. Here are some ideas you might enjoy.

board games Childhood Weekend:  Think about your childhood and plan some fun activities. This will be fun for the adults and the kids. It’s time to unplug and just relax having fun.

Have a game night. Invite your friends over. Have them bring one board or card game. You can make this a pot-luck meal too or order some pizzas. Have fun playing games.

Go to the park and play on the equipment. Bring your friends. Take pictures, Have a picnic.

Play in the yard. Get some yard games, invite friends or family over and play till it’s dark.

Go to the zoo, a water park, play miniature golf (Putt-Putt). Visit your local aquarium.  How about mid-night bowling, that’s always fun and entertaining for all.

Go to a county fair or festival. How about a flea market or a few garage sales. Go to a car/truck or bike show.

lazyLazy Weekend: Use this weekend to re-coop or have a mini-vacation at home. Treat yourself.

When you get off work on Friday, Go to the grocery store and pick up just the things you want/need for the weekend. Then go to your favorite restaurant and order 3 meals for take-out. One for Friday night, the second one for Saturday and the third for Sunday.

If you want turn your phone off and set in front of the TV, watch movies or get caught up on your shows. Just relax. No cooking, no clean-up…just you and the things you enjoy.

Another option for a lazy weekend is to do little as possible. If you have to get something done, do it first thing in the morning. This way you have the rest of the day to relax.

If you don’t want to be alone, invite a friend to share in your laziness. No fuss, no muss. RELAX!!!

I really don’t think I need to tell you how to be lazy. I think we all have that one under control.

The point here is to really be selfish and do something or nothing just for you. Take a break and relax. Make an appointment with yourself.

paintProject Weekend: Mark your calendar and plan for that project you have been putting off because every weekend is a party or social event. Make the time to get some things done.

Organize your electronics: sort those selfies and photos so they are easier for you to find. Get those photos off your phone and load them to your computer so you can easily print them off or use one of those print sites like, Shutterfly or Snapfish.

Organize your electronic documents. I don’t like doing this one either but it needs to be done.

Have you been putting off redecorating that room? This is the time to get that project done.

Why not make a project to visit family for the weekend. I’m sure they would love to see you and you will enjoy the time as well.

Haven’t given the apartment or house a good cleaning, this is the time.

Fix the broken drawer in the kitchen. Fix the screen door. Try and fix what you can to save money.

Take those charity boxes to your local facility.

You get the idea. If you have been putting off ANY project, big or small, here’s your opportunity.

Make a list and get it done.

place settingNew Adventure Weekend:  I’m not talking about sky-diving or anything like that. Let’s do something we’ve always wanted to do but never have.

Have you ever wanted to pet a cow or a goat? Go to a petting zoo and pet as many animals as you want.

Never been bowling? Here’s your chance.

Have you ever thrown a dinner party? Why not now and use your friends as guinea pigs with a new recipe.

Go someplace you have never been. For instance a festival or an antique shop. Go hiking for the first time.  Go to a car show.

Visit a museum you have not been to. Go to a historical spot in your state. Be a tourist in your home town.

This is your time to do something that you have never done. Go small and simple this way you are not over whelmed.

Let me know how you plan on spending your weekend.


Planning A Reunion In 9 Steps—Promotion included

family reunionIt’s that time of the year where some of us will be going to family reunions. Better yet some of us are planning the reunions.

I love our family reunions. I like reconnecting with my family which are my friends too. I like catching up with everyone, playing games, looking at pictures, hanging out and I love all the food.

If you are planning a reunion this year I have a few helpful tips.

First: Ask for help, you can’t do this by yourself. In our family we have a group of cousins that pitch in and help. There are 5 of us that generally do all the planning, date setting, organizing, set up and clean up.

Second: Pick the date/time. You need to pick your date and time at least 2 months in advance. We do ours about 6 months ahead. Because we have so many that come out of state and we need to be sure this is the final date for them to have time to arrange their schedules.

Third: Pick venue. Decide where you are going to have the reunion. It could be someone’s home, a city park, the country club. Make sure you have your reservations in place.

Fourth: Food options. Have a chat with your committee to see what options they are wanting. You could have it catered, you can assign what foods to bring by what family, and you can do a pot luck style, or the committee provided the main dishes (meats) and everyone bring a side.

Fifth: Make a list. You and you team of helpers need to make a list of everything you will need for the day of the reunion. Such as, plates, cups, silverware, ice, coolers, trash bags, table clothes, extension cords.

Once the list is made then divvy out who’s getting what. This helps relieve the pressure for one person to get everything. You can also ask other family members besides your team to help purchase a few items if needed.

You could also do a day shopping spree with your helpers. This way you have everything at one time and no need to any more shopping.

Sixth: Send out invitations. I recommend social media as your first invites. Do this about 2 months ahead as a reminder. Then mail or send e-mail or social media reminders a month in advance.

Corn HoleSeventh: Entertainment. Plan for some games. This can be yard games, board/card games. You can have a craft table for the little ones.

If you want you can have a DJ come in and play music or a band.

Eighth: Set-up/clean-up. Here’s where your committee comes in handy. Make sure you have everything you need and have your team meet you at the venue at least 1-2 hours in advance. You will need this time to put table sloths on, make sure bathrooms are clean, setting up food stations, drink stations, games, the band or DJ.

The clean-up is just as important. You want to make sure the venue is just like you found it, if not better. Make sure you help take out the trash, sweep up you mess, wipe off tables and chairs. This will also help your family remember everything they brought. No need for a lost and found each year.

Ninth: Remember what worked and didn’t work. After you get home rest a day and think about the things you want to do different the next time. Call your helpers and see what they have to say too. Make a list of what worked and what didn’t so you can be sure to make your reunion better the following year.

If you would like more information on planning a family reunion, please go to the top of the page and click on the “BOOKS” tab. I have written a short book on family reunions. It is a step by step guide with lots of helpful tips. Only $3.99 and you can have it the same day to help you get started.

I will give away (for free) my book to the first 3 people that e-mail me at  In the e-mail please provide your name and e-mail address you want your book delivered to. Promo ends on July 3rd.

I hope these tips and book help you and your family have the best reunion.

Please let me know what worked for you or what didn’t work.

Do you have any helpful tips for a family reunion?

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6 Steps For Your July 4th Party

fireworksI’m sure most of us have plans for next weekend. Yep, that’s right, Independence Day is next Saturday. It snuck up on me too.

I want to help you plan your get together. Here are some steps to make your event smooth and easy.

This if for a small gathering at your house.

Make lists: Menu list: Food to serve, or make it pot luck and you provide the main dish. Drinks: What you will have, what you want your guests to bring. Purchase list: Ice, napkins, plates, cups, silverware (plastic), trash bags, food, drinks, Citronella candles, and bug spray.

Invites: Social media, e-mails, phone calls, texts…all should be taken care of by this Wednesday at the latest. When you send out invites make sure you inform your guests that they will need to bring (fill in the blank)

Clean up before: Make sure the house is tidy. Especially the bathrooms. Leave extra toilet paper out for your guest (keeps them from snooping).

Empty all trash cans. Have a trash can set outside too. Makes for easy clean-up.

Clean off lawn furniture, mow the yard.

Try to have all of this done by Friday. It will make things easier for you on Saturday.

Prep time: I suggest on Friday you prep as much of the food as possible and set up the seating for outside.

Do a once over for the house, tidy up and make sure that the extra toilet paper and trash bags are were your guest can get to them.

Go Time: The day of your gathering will be busy before your guests arrive. Start putting things together a couple of hours before they arrive.

Start cooking. You can always reheat or keep things warm in the oven.

Make sure you have a table or two for the food. You may even need a power-strip for those guests that may bring a crock-pot. Make sure you put the plates, napkins and silverware out for everyone to grab and go.

Have a designated spot for drinks, coolers, ice and cups.

ENJOY: you have set up a wonderful gathering for friends and family. Now go and enjoy all the hard work and have fun visiting with the people you love. Don’t forget to be safe with your personal fireworks.

I hope these steps have helped you plan your 4th of July party. Don’t forget the real reason we have an Independence Day.

USA flag

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6 Points For Planning a Graduation Party

Center piece, my son's graduation

Center piece, my son’s graduation

Planning for your Grads party can be hard and time consuming. I know it was for me when I planned my son’s.

Since I live on a budget, I planned a year in advance. This way it didn’t hurt my wallet as much.

I know graduation is only about a month away, you still have plenty of time to plan your Grads’ party and keep the budget down.

Let’s keep this as simple as possible. I have found out that you don’t need to spend a lot of money do have a real nice party for your Grad.

Keep in mind this is a party for them, not you. Most kids don’t want all the stuff we want. Like, expensive decorations, an array of food or a grand venue. The only thing our kids want are their friends and family, the gifts and some food to eat. Maybe a game or two to play.

Outdoor setting for my son's graduation party

Outdoor setting for my son’s graduation party

1.Food: Ask your child what is the one (1) food they would like to have. If your kid likes this food then all his/her friends will too. (No waste).

*If you don’t want to cook, I suggest going to your local grocery store and ask them to make up fruit trays, vegetable trays, cheese tray and a lunch meat tray. This is simple, convenient and you will only have to purchase a few more items (chips, dip, and buns) and you are done. You want to call now to make sure the grocer has plenty of time.

*If you and your family are cooks then you can do your own catering. You can cook a large ham, hamburgers/hotdogs on the grill, make sloppy joes, meatballs (for sub sandwich) or a vat of spaghetti. You can have a salad, baked beans, make grandma’s potato salad and some fruit.

*The key here is at least one main dish (I suggest 2 just for variety), 2-4 side dishes and a couple snack items (chips, fruit, raw veggies).

2.Drinks: Bottled water and lots of it. You can buy 12 packs of pop/cola. In my family we have to have sweet ice tea. Lemonade is always a favorite. You can do a punch of some sort. But there always has to be someone filling the bowl. Have plenty of ice. Have a cooler full of ice.

3.Cake: No need to go fancy (unless you want to). Have your local bakery make a sheet cake that has a creative top. Like: your kids school mascot and the year. Use your imagination.

4.Decorations: Keep this simple too. Some balloons in school colors, a Graduation sign, and a few center pieces. You don’t have to decorate every table.

My centerpieces were my sons’ senior pictures and a couple baby pictures put in frames with confetti on the tables. Simple, cheap and easy.

5.Gift table/picture table: If you don’t use pictures for center pieces you can do a montage of pictures on foam board or a DVD loaded with pictures. This table can also be the gift table.

Get a box, cut a hole in the top (so cards can be placed inside and wrap box with wrapping paper. Have plenty of space for wrapped gifts as well.

6.Items for party:

*Table clothes, enough to cover all tables. It makes a big impact and it’s pretty.

*Plates, napkin, silverware, cups: Dinner plates: enough for 2 per person. Cake plates: enough for every person, Napkins: 2 per person, Silverware: 2 per person, Cups: 2 per person. You may have leftovers, but better safe than sorry.

*Crock pots, warmers, roasting pans,

*Coolers: to hold ice and cans of pop/soda/cola

*Serving utensils: forks, spoons, tongs,

*Extension cords: for crock pots, TV and anything that needs to be plugged in.

*Tents: if being held outside

*Chairs/Tables: you can ask in the invitations for people to bring chairs, you can rents chairs and tables. You can also ask your local churches if they would lend/rent out chairs/tables

*Trash cans/bags: at least 2 large trash cans

*Helpers for set up and clean up: I suggests 3-4 helpers

*Leftover containers: containers that you can freeze or containers to send home with people

*Condiments: for sandwiches

Tips: Plan for everyone to have at least one serving of the main dish and ½ eating the sides. 1/2 of your guests will eat cake, plan accordingly.

Drinks: plan at least 2 bottles of water and one other drink. Especially if your party is outside in the heat. is a great website to get your supplies

Make sure there is plenty of parking.

Send out invitations at least 2 weeks in advance. I recommend 1 month ahead so people can plan for the big day.

Don’t forget to remind your Grad to send “Thank You” notes to every person that helped with the Graduation party or sent/gave a gift. You want to send these out as soon as possible but no later than 1 week after the event.

LAST: Have fun, relax, take pictures (or have someone do that for you) and watch how much fun your Grad will have at their special day, celebrating them and their achievement.

If you have any questions please leave in a comment. I will respond within 24 hours…..Promise.

Let me know if this is something you liked or what you will use. Thanks.