Stocking Stuffers?

Perhaps this roundup of products, gadgets, and past-times will include the perfect last minute Christmas gift for someone you know.  Perhaps not.  These are a few of my new favorite things, things that I wonder how I got along without for so long.  I’ll begin with my idea of the most giftable and include some links where you can order.


I know this is a great gift because several years ago I bought one for each of my family members.  They still mention how often they use their CRACK POT.  This little bowl has a nice handle, a rubber ring on the bottom to prevent sliding, and that indented edge where you crack your eggs.  It’s deep enough to beat lots of eggs in, and perfect for mixing up a cornbread mix or batch of pancakes.  It even goes in the dishwasher.


Why, oh why, did it take us so long to start measuring the internal temperature of our meat?!  Great gift for the one who grills, or broils, or roasts, etc.  I even used this when tempering dark chocolate yesterday.  As one who is pretty averse to under-cooked meat, I’ve eaten my share of dry burgers.  Now we prepare perfectly grilled chicken breasts and pork chops, and  juicy hamburgers that are not pink inside.


According to the box, “Quiddler, the Short Word Game, is a delightful challenge for rookies and wordsmiths alike.”  It’s much more than that to my husband and I.  I found this game that is for Ages 8 to adult and for 1-8 players at the Cleveland Clinic gift shop after Dave’s heart surgery.  We passed time by learning and playing Quiddler and still play several times a week 5 years later.  Begin making words with 3 cards with letters and progress up to a hand of 10 cards.  It’s fun!!! If you get the Deluxe version, an official Quiddler dictionary is included.


Another gift for people who use words, this is the children’s book that I wrote.  It’s full of rhymes and colorful photos of kids of different ages who learn that what we say is important.  The last page reads, “At home, at school, or with my friends, I want to be well-liked.  I win by using words that help.  They’re true, kind, and polite”.  I have paperback copies of this 20 page book for $15.  You can use the Contact tab to let me know if you’re interested.


If the person who does your laundry appreciates using natural methods, but, like me, doesn’t use a clothesline, he or she might love to find these in the stocking!  After using unscented dryer sheets forever, I discovered wool dryer balls and gave them a try.  I just bought this set from an Artfire shop and love the way our clothes come out of the dryer.  The balls bounce around with the load, absorbing moisture and preventing wrinkles.  I can’t believe how nice my clothing feels when it isn’t full of residue from dryer sheets.


Not everyone on your list needs one of these, but I can tell you that this little tool has been the solution to one of my laundry problems.  Our new washer is a large high efficiency top loader.  I am a small, short-armed woman who has strained my shoulder trying to retrieve those 3 socks that are clinging to the bottom edge of  the tub.  These silicone tongs from the kitchen store are perfect.

OK,  here’s where I move from legitimate Christmas gift ideas to a couple of products that have so improved my life that I just need to endorse them.  However, I have gifted these to  my mom, and I wouldn’t mind finding them in my stocking.  I don’t think my husband would either.  We both use Breathe Right strips every night.  We sleep better when we breathe better and there is less snoring.  Enough said.

Don’t put this in a Christmas stocking, but do get some for yourself if you have stubborn toenail fungus.  I had given up wearing open-toed sandals after losing most of the nail on my big toe.  I tried a few products and methods, but didn’t have any success until I found Funga Soap and just washed my feet with it in the shower.  My toe nail grew back nicely and I’m back in sandals.

Merry Christmas.



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From Coach to Author!

A few years ago, I began visiting a couple of 1st grade classrooms in our public elementary school to share “Winners Walk Tall” lessons with the boys and girls.  “Winners Walk Tall” is a character education program that was developed by a Cincinnati area grandfather whose desire was to help students succeed and avoid being drawn into gangs.

Since I have a soft spot for kids and their futures, my heart was quickly drawn to WWT.  When the timing was right, I worked up the lessons adding my personal touch and began encouraging the 6 and 7 year old students to be honest, respectful, and responsible and to work hard toward worthy goals.

I had no idea that being a “Winners Walk Tall” coach would lead me to writing books!  During the 2014-15 school year, I put together a book for the classrooms called “All Done…Unless” that reminds kids to clean up after themselves.  The process and product were so rewarding that I followed up in 2015-16 with “Words That Win”.  Incorporating many of the goals of WWT, my poetry informs kids that our tongues should be used for good manners, kindness, good sportsmanship, telling the truth and the like.

Here’s the first page:


Here’s the last page, p. 20:


Production of “Words That Win” is very limited, but I have a few hard cover copies and have now done a paperback version that’s a little less costly.  It really gives me joy to provide an engaging, positive book that teachers, parents, and grandparents can share with children.  And, I am extremely blessed to know that a couple of school counselors have embraced “Words That Win”!


“From the fruit of his lips a man is filled with good things as surely as the work of his hands rewards him.”  Proverbs 12:14

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