How to Survive the Holiday Break With Your Kids

I really do love my kids. But after two weeks of being indoors with them, we both welcome the new school year. I am always on the hunt for inexpensive things to do to keep my kids occupied during this season. Here are some of my favorites: Read more

Treat Christmas Shopping Like a Military Operation

I recently ran into some old friends of mine at a school event. It’s amazing how people get paired with their opposites. The wife is carefree and never gets upset. The husband is about one obsession shy of having OCD.  Read more

All I Wanted For Christmas Was… a Flu Shot?

For years my friends and colleagues have been telling me to get a flu shot at the onset of flu season and for years I’ve been ignoring them, reluctant to do so for fear of somehow reducing my immunity to the virus or worse yet contracting the flu from the shot itself.  Now before you start sending me nasty emails telling me I’m wrong, let me just say that the Center for Disease Control has beat you to it. The truth is our family has been relatively healthy throughout the years, and my wife and I figured that all the hubbub over the flu shot was to create demand for something I really didn’t think most people needed.  In fact, the only reason I received my first flu shot last year was to appease my loving neighbor who insisted I get one prior to flying out for business. Read more

An Unusual Place to Shop This Time of Year

Merry Christmas Eve everyone!  Twas the night before Christmas, and all through the house, not a creature was stirring…except my wife who found herself making an unexpected, last-minute shopping trip because someone forgot to tell her that they needed formal wear for a Christmas concert the next day. While this may cause the average person to recoil in frustration, read on to see how my wife responded under these less-than-ideal circumstances. What she has to say may just be the little Christmas miracle you’ve been looking for this year. Read more

Finding Some Extra Jingle, Jingle For the Holidays

As I pulled into the unmanned toll booth on 90W in Chicago recently, I was glad to find I had quite a bit of change in the bottom of my purse since the toll was $1.90 and took coins only.  That got me thinking about all the loose change many people have in their pockets or car cup holders and all the extra coins sitting around in coffee cans, piggy banks, and like in my house – a huge plastic pretzel jar.  The average household has about $58 in loose change based on the typical amount of coins cashed in at Coinstar. Read more

Last Minute Moves to Save on Taxes for 2014

I have never been a big fan of shopping during the busy holiday season, where we are all encouraged to buy, buy, buy no matter where we turn. In fact, I personally prefer to do my shopping in the convenience of my home office and avoid the consumer-driven hustle and bustle as well as the traffic. Click, click, done! Read more

The Best Laid Plans…

As someone who did some online shopping this year, I read this article about gifts that didn’t arrive in time for gift giving and felt a great sigh of relief.  I can’t imagine getting to my mother’s house completely empty handed on Christmas Day.  The people who ordered their gifts online, with a “guaranteed” delivery prior to Christmas, and didn’t receive their items probably didn’t have the joyous holiday they expected. There was probably a bit of anxiety and disappointment mixed in with their holiday. Not that the season should be all about gifts…but the reality of where we are as a society places an undue emphasis on a commercialized Christmas.  (My opinion!)  This article made me think about not just my view of the holiday season, but of life in general. Read more

Did You Find a Little Extra in Your Stocking This Year?

As the year winds down, some employees may find a little extra in their stockings this year in the form of profit sharing, year-end bonuses, or other such windfalls.  Such surprises may leave them wondering “What should I do with this?”  Well, if you’ve managed to stay on the nice list all year, here are a few ideas as to what you can do with this extra bit of Christmas cheer: Read more

A New Year, A New Attitude About Electronic Games

This Christmas has been a little rough on the Ward family.  On the one hand, you love to give your children everything they want for Christmas, but on the other hand, you know that giving your child everything they want is a surefire way to spoil them.  My wife even commented on how she has not had quite the same level of joy this year shopping for the kids as she has in previous years, and when you look around our house and see all the forgotten toys and gifts from Christmas past, who can blame her?  You want to give your kids what they want, but you also want the gifts to be appreciated and to be edifying in some way. Read more

Merry Christmas!

Here’s to wishing all my readers a Merry Christmas and a prosperous New Year in 2013!

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