Pneumococcal disease: How it affected my life, how to prevent it from affecting yours

Pneumococcal disease: How it affected my life, how to prevent it from affecting yours

This is a sponsored post in partnership with the National Foundation for Infectious Diseases.

When I was in fourth grade, I was the only one in my class who could spell pneumonia. I clearly recall my teacher standing at the front of the class, carefully writing out P N E U M O N I A on the chalkboard then asking the rapt students who knew what the word was. No one raised a hand… so I did.

I did indeed know the word because I was, in fact, the reason my teacher had written it on the board. He resourcefully used my return from an extended absence—due to pneumonia—as a lesson on a wacky word that not only began with a silent P, but boasted an abundance of vowels.

That wasn’t the first time I’d had pneumonia. I had suffered a serious bout at …

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Grand giveaway: Grandparent journals and Logitech webcam make connecting with grandchildren simple

Grand giveaway: Grandparent journals and Logitech webcam make connecting with grandchildren simple

Win a perfect prize for connecting with grandchildren now... and later

Both of my grandmothers lived far away from me when I was a child. My maternal grandmother—the one the longest distance from me but closest to my heart—got in the habit as I got older of writing letters a few times a year, filling me in on the simple day-to-day of her senior years.

Gramma was always intentional in staying in touch with me, up until her arthritic hands could no longer write and my return letters—typed in large, bold-face font for easier reading—were no longer easy to read at all as her vision had failed. Had webcams been around prior to her passing, I'm pretty sure Gramma would have been keen on connecting via the high-tech wonder.

Those handwritten letters from my grandmother are among my most cherished possessions. I still have every one. And though I loved reading of her ordinary everyday doings, I now long for more. I wish she would have shared her family story, her personal longings, her dreams and wishes and deeper thoughts on the virtues and values she held close and hoped to instill in her progeny.

My desire for something tangible showcasing such sentiments from my grandma is what makes me so excited to share this giveaway.

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Empower dear ones with the Let's Be Well Diabetes Box™

Empower dear ones with the Let's Be Well Diabetes Box™

This post sponsored by AARP and the American Diabetes Association.

My husband isn't normal. I guess a more accurate descriptor would be that he's an anomaly. See, my husband has peripheral neuropathy—numbness, tingling, pain, and worse in his feet. It's a condition most commonly due to diabetes. Yet my husband does not have diabetes, not even pre-diabetes. According to literally decades of blood tests seeking a diabetes-PN connection, there is no connection.

There are, though, chronic—and oh-so stubborn—foot wounds my husband regularly contends with, similar to the foot wounds folks with diabetes often experience. It's a confounding state, to say the least.

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Enter to win sweet prizes! Sweet’N Low® Spread Sweet Holiday Cheer sweepstakes

Enter to win sweet prizes! Sweet’N Low® Spread Sweet Holiday Cheer sweepstakes

Sharing sweets and treats with loved ones tops my list of ways to spread holiday cheer. My traditional Spritz Cookies, loaves of Cranberry Pumpkin Bread, and stockings filled with Confetti Popcorn are the goodies I most often give.

Sweet'N Low®, America's favorite pink zero-calorie sweetener, has gotten into the giving game this year, launching a national sweepstakes to spread holiday cheer. Fans of the brand can enter for the chance to win sweet prizes not only for themselves, but for a friend of their choice, too.

The makers of Sweet'N Low® have shared with me a gift card in exchange for sharing with you the details on their sweet seasonal sweepstakes. Check it out:

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Life Reimagined: Well on my way to unstuck

Life can be sticky. And those sticky spots in life — unfun events, moments, circumstances — can lead to being stuck in unhappy, uncreative, unproductive places in myriad phases.

life reimaginedI've been stuck in such a place for several months. I shared here about a month ago my hope that Life Reimagined, an online, subscription-based service helping millions of American's plan for the "what's next?" questions in life, could help me get unstuck.

My progress report? It's working!

In the past 30 days or so, I've used a variety of the many Life Reimagined tools to figure out what to do to move forward, get free of the sticky spots holding me back personally and professionally. In particular, I used what I learned from my initial quizzes and time with an online life coach to focus on reducing stress and finding more joy in my day-to-day in order to get back...

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Life Reimagined: Seeking support to get unstuck

I'm stuck. In my career, for starters. I used to be creative, used to be fairly prolific.

Not lately. I'm stuck in a spot where I'm unable to write as well — and as often — as I'd like. Unable to even come up with creative ideas to put to paper or pixel.

My stuck state applies to more than my career. I'm pert-near paralyzed personally, too, due to hefty medical, marital, and monetary hurdles I've clumsily crawled across in the past year.

I'm stuck and need assistance getting unstuck.

life reimaginedLife Reimagined to the rescue! 

I was serendipitously invited to participate in a paid campaign about AARP's new online subscription-based service designed to help American adults navigate life — from bumps in the road to major transitions to full-blown makeovers of life missions and goals — at the very moment I was most overwhelmed by not being where I want to be in all areas of my life... and unsure of where I even really want to be in most.

Life Reimagined has a plethora of tools to help...

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Good to know: Parents and grandparents can help deter underage retail marijuana use

good to know colorado 

This post sponsored by Single Edition Media on behalf of the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment.

Back in the '80s and '90s, when I was a Colorado mom with three young and growing daughters, warning them to stay away from marijuana use was pretty simple. There were health reasons to why I wanted them to steer clear of smoking the stuff, of course, but the bottom line of my stern warnings was this: Marijuana was illegal. Don't do it. It's against the law. Case closed!

Now that I'm a grandma and those three daughters have grown and gone — and added a few beloved grandchildren to our family tree — talking to the kiddos about marijuana use isn't so much the...

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Every dog has a tale: Mickey, IAMS, and a dog named Duck

My youngest daughter, now 30 years old, had an interesting technique for naming her pets when she was young. She would consider things she admired or loved, then name the animal after that. It made for interesting conversation, as well as curious glances from neighbors when the cat she'd named "Shannon"—after her oldest sister's friend, whom she adored—got out at night. Neighbors who didn't know us well surely wondered about the child who required our nightly shouts to return home.

When our youngest went off to college and my husband and I rescued an abandoned puppy, we wanted our daughter to still feel she had a hand in the doings at home despite being hundreds of miles away. So we allowed her to name the pup. Following her standby pet-naming technique, our daughter considered the Caramel Macchiato coffee drinks she'd been consuming between classes and how the coloring of our new dog perfectly matched the creamy, tan, and brown of her favorite caffeine kick.

pit/pointer puppy

"Caramel Macchiato!" she gleefully gave us the name.

Being unwilling to back down on our promise...

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