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Minding Our Elders: Don’t let holidays make life changes more difficult

Dear Carol: Nine months ago, my 63-year-old husband was happy and active and we were both looking forward to his retirement. Then he had a massive stroke, and our lives were permanently changed. I’m very grateful to have him at all, so I don’t want to be misunderstood. It’s just that ...

Nostalgia blooms when only godchild says ‘I do’

By the time you read this, my godchild will be married. My beloved Kari — the little girl I nicknamed “Flower” because of her sunny disposition — will officially be a wife. How did this happen? I now understand the disbelief that parents must feel when they see the baby they once ...

Use the slow lane when choosing holiday gifts this year

NEW YORK (AP) — The world is fast and furious. Why not slow it down for the holidays? Ways to achieve that lofty goal are plentiful. Some ideas on how to give the gift of slow living: THE SLOW HOME PODCAST The podcast is hosted by the Australian Brook McAlary, a mother of two. She’s a ...

RIGHT AT HOME: Deer and reindeer motifs for the holidays

Booths at this year's gift and decor trade fairs featured lots of deer and reindeer motifs — some specifically for the holidays and others to leave up and enjoy after the festive season is over. Incorporating the woodland icon into your home decor can be a fun departure from an otherwise ...

RIGHT AT HOME: Holiday decor offers sweet sugarplum hues

Amid a seasonal sea of red and green or silver and blue, there's a sweet, alternative palette in holiday decor. Think of fresh fruits and delectable candies, and you're on the right track — it's an enticing, enchanting array of sugarplum hues that home decorators can have fun with. "Pair ...

Plan seeks to designate Route 66 as National Historic Trail

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — A new proposal moving through Congress seeks to designate Route 66, the highway that connected Chicago to Los Angeles and was once an economic driver for small towns across a post-World War II United States, as a National Historic Trail. U.S. Sens. Tom Udall and Jim ...

Maybe making a Thanksgiving turkey is easier than using a snowblower

FARGO — At the ripe old age of 53, there are still several grown-up rites of passage I’ve never attempted. One is to make a Thanksgiving turkey. Another is — knock on wood — to change a tire. And the last is to operate a snowblower. As of last week, I’ve been able to scratch one ...

Kindness is Contagious: Kindness can rewrite people’s stories

FARGO — We never really know what someone’s going through, do we? The clerk at the grocery store who stands on her feet all day and then goes home to take care of an ailing parent. The teacher who pours lessons of kindness and sharing into beautiful little hearts and then realizes she’s ...

Is intelligence predestined? Don’t ask this product of encouragement

“You are so talented.” “You are so creative.” “You’re such a good writer.” I often heard those phrases while growing up, and always considered myself so fortunate to hear them. I knew of kids whose parents and teachers never said a kind or encouraging word to them, and I ...

Minding Our Elders: Caregiver dealing with guilt-tripping co-workers

Dear Carol: My mother is 76, healthy and enjoying life. She lives in the same small home where I grew up. Mom still drives, though she’s smart about when and where, and in cases where she’s not comfortable, she rides with younger friends or I drive her. She loves to garden, but again, ...

For many families, ‘tis the season for matching jammies

By MELISSA KOSSLER DUTTON Associated Press Amy and Kevin Wilson began giving their three sons matching pajamas at Christmas for a reason: They wanted their little ones to get excited about going to bed so that they, the adults, could get ready for Christmas morning. Now, more than 15 years ...

Tips for hosts and houseguests to keep holidays happy

By KATHERINE ROTH Associated Press The holiday season often means houseguests. What does it mean to be a good host — or a good houseguest? “Remember the spirit of the holidays. It’s easy to get caught up in wanting everything to be perfect. The point is to have fun, and whether ...

How to throw a holiday open house party

By KATIE WORKMAN Associated Press There are many ways to entertain, but during the busy holiday season, it’s the open house party that I gravitate to. Not a big, sit-down meal. Not a frenetic, crowded, two-hour cocktail party. Rather, a gentle stretch of time with people coming and going ...

Wrapping up the holidays in an eco-friendly way

By KIM COOK Associated Press For many of us, wrapping gifts is even more fun than giving them. But each year, we throw away miles and miles of wrapping paper, much of which can’t be recycled because of inks, coatings or other additives. If you want to make a gift to the environment at ...

For crafty gifts, pair how-to books with supplies

By HOLLY RAMER Associated Press CONCORD, N.H. (AP) — Santa has his crew of crafty elves, but those of us living south of the North Pole could use a little help. Sure, your creative friends and loved ones will appreciate a how-to book full of new projects for an existing hobby, or ideas ...

Is intelligence predestined? Don’t ask this product of encouragement

“You are so talented.” “You are so creative.” “You’re such a good writer.” I often heard those phrases while growing up, and always considered myself so fortunate to hear them. I knew of kids whose parents and teachers never said a kind or encouraging word to them, and I ...

Caregiver dealing with guilt-tripping co-workers

Dear Carol: My mother is 76, healthy and enjoying life. She lives in the same small home where I grew up. Mom still drives, though she’s smart about when and where, and in cases where she’s not comfortable, she rides with younger friends or I drive her. She loves to garden, but again, ...

To cut back on single-use plastics … ‘refuse, rethink, reuse’

Plastic is versatile, lightweight, cheap — and seemingly everywhere. It's also a scourge on the environment. While plastics have important uses, the bulk of plastic waste — much of which ends up clogging landfills and polluting oceans — comes as things designed to be used exactly once, ...

Recycle that: Many household items find surprising new lives

From packaging to clothing to cigarette butts, more and more everyday items that once were destined for landfills are being recycled, composted or upcycled in creative ways. Many of the new products made from waste are finding their way onto runways and into design museums and ...