Thursday, June 20, 2019

Mealtime Magic: Dumbo Showstopping Sprinkled Animal Crackers

Recipe from Geeks Who Eat

Thrifty Thinking: Ready To Retire? 5 Steps For Getting A Good Night’s Sleep After The Paychecks Stop

Those early days of retirement can be exciting as you are finally rewarded with a little rest and relaxation after all those years of toil.
But it can be a bit unsettling as well when the regular paychecks you counted on stop appearing in your bank account.
That’s why anyone who’s still a few years away from retirement should ask themselves: Am I ready for that moment both financially and emotionally?
The answer could come down to whether you have a solid retirement plan – or a plan at all.
“Regardless of how much you accumulate for your retirement, poor planning or lack of planning can put you at risk of exhausting your resources,” says Tad Hill, a retirement planner and author of Retire with Freedom: The Five Steps to Getting a Good Night’s Sleep After the Paychecks Stop (
Hill says people nearing the end of their working years should follow this five-step process for a more secure retirement:
  • Create your ideal picture of retirement. What is it you want out of retirement? Do you want to travel? Volunteer with a charity? Spend time with the grandkids? The first step isn’t about your financial portfolio, Hill says, it’s about forming a clear image of the big “why” of your ideal retirement. “Otherwise, even though your money may last the rest of your lives,” Hill says, “you may never achieve your dreams because you’re unclear on your dreams.”
  • Put your situation to the “stress test.” With the help of a financial professional, give your retirement plan a “stress test.” That can include reviewing how to best maximize your Social Security benefits and examining how your portfolio might perform under a variety of market scenarios. “Analyze all the factors that could affect your retirement plan over the next few decades and create a strategy for dealing with those risk factors with as much certainty as possible,” Hill says.
  • Design your plan. Designing a retirement plan, Hill says, is much like creating the blueprint for a house. “These blueprints identify the strategies available to help minimize risk, increase certainty, avoid excess taxes and ensure an adequate retirement income,” he says. Some of the concerns that need to be addressed include income planning, investment planning, health care planning, tax planning and legacy planning.
  • Build the plan. Once the design is agreed upon, it’s time to implement it. “That can mean making changes to your current structure, adding some things and getting rid of others,” Hill says. “Maybe risk-prone aspects of your current approach that we need to eliminate were discovered in the design step. We also often identify new strategies that you aren’t using that can really make a difference.”
  • Seek continued guidance. Even a great retirement plan may need tweaks and adjustments over the years. “Times change, people change and situations change,” Hill says. With his clients, he holds a regular yearly consultation to help ensure they are on the right pathway to retirement success at all times. “You need to look at whether there are things that have changed in your life that need attention,” he says. “Are there decisions you need to make about a pension or Social Security? Is your spending tracking at the amount you thought it would?”
“There are no guarantees of anything in life, including how your retirement will work out,” Hill says. “But taking action to create a solid and well-thought-out plan for this important part of your life is a critical first step.”

About Tad Hill
Tad Hill, author of Retire with Freedom: The Five Steps to Getting a Good Night’s Sleep After the Paychecks Stop (, is the founder and president of Freedom Financial Group. He is registered as an Independent Advisor Representative and is a radio and TV host, industry trainer and speaker who helps retirees work toward their financial and retirement goals. Hill has passed the Series 65 securities exam and holds licenses in life and health insurance in Alabama, Florida and Texas. He has earned his Registered Financial Consultant (RFC®) and Chartered Retirement Planning CounselorSM (CRPC®) designations. 
Investment advisory services offered only by duly registered individuals through AE Wealth Management, LLC (AEWM). AEWM and Freedom Financial Group are not affiliated companies.
Investing involves risk, including the potential loss of principal. Any references to security or guaranteed income generally refer to fixed insurance products, never securities or investment products. Insurance and annuity product guarantees are backed by the financial strength and claims-paying ability of the issuing insurance company. Freedom Financial Group is not affiliated with the U.S. government or any governmental agency. 18805

Parenting Pointers: How to Avoid Epic Career & Life Fails

Success Guru Sheryl Grant Cites 3 Ways a Mental ‘Road Map’ Can Help you Reach Work and Life Goals

By Merilee Kern, MBA

For entrepreneur, professional speaker and success coach Sheryl Grant, transformational leadership through personal development and community building is the name of the game. A Ms. Olympia at over the age of 50, Sheryl clearly knows what it takes to realize over-and-above achievement both in life and in business. Today, through her eponymous company Sheryl Grant Enterprises, this powerhouse is helping CEOs, executives, entrepreneurs and other professionals master key areas of their careers and lives overall.

Her secret sauce? Sheryl taps into a trifecta of neuro-training, physical fitness and increased productivity to unlock personal ambition, revenue potential and self-confidence. Sheryl urges that success-minded people must aspire to be F.I.T., heavily leaning on “Faith, Intuition and Tenacity” to reach their goals. 

“F.I.T. cultivates your inner ability to push through any of life's perceived obstacles, break through barriers and manifest your heart’s dreams and desires,” Sheryl explains. “Whether you seek a job promotion, new business endeavor or a healthier body, F.I.T. helps establish a mindset and emotional framework that will nurture, uplift and inspire these and other areas of your life.”

A key area of Sheryl’s various F.I.T. presentations and webinars is a focus on developing mental strength through neuro-training, whereby she offers a variety of tactical techniques related thereto.  With this having piqued my curiosity, I recently connected with Sheryl for insight on some of her mind-bolstering methodologies that, as Sheryl explains, can help us cultivate a greater awareness of who we are, develop a road map of where we need and want to go, and conceptualize how we intend to get there:

  1. Start a Dialogue with Yourself. Begin by asking yourself some basic questions: Who are you? What are you good at? What do people you care about see in you? When have you felt the most alive? What can you learn from others who have a strong purpose and who are inspirational to you?  Such self-awareness fosters drive, confidence and self-esteem that can transform you into an unstoppable force,—giving you the strength to persist...even through failure and adversity. You’ll likely be happier, too, and an inspiration to those around you.
  2. Identify ALL of Your Inner Strengths. When people are living in their “sweet spot,” they are more productive and naturally add value to the world around them. Accordingly, this “mode” is when people also tend to make more money! What are the things you’ve always been good at? What motivates and inspires you? Perhaps it’s things that come naturally to you, to the point that you wonder why others struggle in the same area? While passion can also certainly blossom from areas in which you aren’t naturally talented, Sheryl’s personal and professional experiences have shown that we rarely aspire toward ambitions for which we have no natural talent to achieve. As civil rights leader Howard Thurman once wrote, “Don't ask yourself what the world needs; ask yourself what makes you come alive, then go do that. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.” Indeed they do.
  3. Know Where You Add Value. Doing work that you’re good at, but which holds no passion for you, is not a pathway to fulfilment. When we know our greatest strengths and where we as individuals can add the most value, we can better focus on the opportunities, roles and career paths in areas where success will likely occur. These are usually the same areas where a person finds the greatest sense of accomplishment and contribution. All too often we undervalue our strengths, skills and the expertise that we naturally acquire over time. A great way to discover this for ourselves is to discern what we’re equipped to help solve in the workplace, career, organization or industry. Also, uncovering what problems we enjoy solving, and what problems we feel passionate about attempting to solve.  The answers to these questions can help people focus and develop a much clearer series of intentions that are based on natural strengths and those things one is innately good at rather than trying to bolster or eliminate weaknesses.  

Through overcoming personal challenges in multiple areas in her life helped by employing the strategies above, Sheryl says she quickly learned that her biggest difficulty was not the obstacles in front of her, but rather the lack of belief and trust in herself. By her shifting from a focus on fear and limitations to a focus on empowerment fueled by faith, intuition, and tenacity (F.I.T.), she reached greater heights than ever before...and continues to do so.

In summarizing the above, Sheryl also conveyed her belief that, ultimately, unlocking one’s inner presence makes leaders the best business people and human beings that they can be.   Sheryl suffered in her own life until she established, and wholeheartedly practiced, her F.I.T. philosophy. In doing so, she not only realized extreme changes but also actually enjoyed the process...and the people around her enjoyed her more as welI. I, for one, will certainly relish my own journey striving to get F.I.T.


Branding, business and entrepreneurship success pundit, Merilee Kern, MBA, is an influential media voice and lauded communications strategist. As the Executive Editor and Producer of "The Luxe List International News Syndicate,” she’s a revered trends expert and travel industry voice of authority who spotlights noteworthy marketplace change makers, movers and shakers. Merilee may be reached online at Follow her on Twitter here: and Facebook here:

Wednesday, June 19, 2019

Area Attractions: "Plan B" Alternatives to Popular Attractions

Many American families will leverage summer to plan a fun, entertaining, relaxing trip together. School is out and the weather is warm. It is one of the few times in any year all family members can be together at once. The summer vacation is a yearly rite of passage, as traditional as the 4th of July or Thanksgiving. The challenge is when all those American families want to enjoy togetherness at the same time and in the same place as yours does. Is there some way to preserve that precious togetherness without standing in a line for an overcrowded venue or attraction? The answer may be to seek alternative or complimentary destinations to the ones that are overrun with other people’s children. Here is a sample curated by SwampButt Underwear. 
Plan B: Florida’s Epcot Center
Nothing says ‘theme park’ or ‘election controversy’ like Florida but there is a downside to all the fun the family or a federal judge can have here.  Too many entertaining rides based on pop-culture phenomena can raise the anxiety levels of kids aged 6 months to 100. Why not soothe and calm the travel party with a trip to Epcot? While made to honor a hopeful future, the lack of any updates since the park was opened in 1982 make it the most nostalgic of all the Disney properties. Is Mickey Mouse out place here? Who are we to judge? And to prove that predicting the future is really hard, look no further than Epcot’s Future World where nobody guessed correctly about anything. The lack of crowds makes the $74.00 ticket the ultimate entrance to summertime relaxation and that nap you need.
Plan B: Missouri’s Nuclear Waste Adventure Trail & Museum
When travelling to Missouri this summer, places like Branson, Lake of the Ozarks, St. Louis, Hannibal or Springfield each has much to offer. Whether music in Branson, Mark Twain in Hannibal, The Simpsons in Springfield or water in the Lake of the Ozarks there is something for everyone. But when everyone is in the line in front of you and you’ve reached the end of that last nerve consider “The Nuclear Waste Adventure Trail and Museum” located in Weldon Spring, MO. It’s the answer to the question, ‘what should the U.S. Government do with 1.48 million cubic yards of PCBs, mercury, asbestos, TNT, radioactive uranium and radium, and contaminated sludge and rubble? The answer (of course) is charge people to walk across it. According to Roadside America, “The Weldon Spring Site Remedial Action Project Disposal Cell -- its official name -- covers 54 acres. We call it the "Nuclear Waste Adventure Trail.” It has a welcome center and gift shop.
Plan B: Nevada’s Little Ali Inn
When the garish glow of artificial lights, clanging of bells inside casinos and world class entertainment from celebrities like Billy Ray Cyrus, Wayne Newton, or Adam Sandler are too much, jump in the car and head to Rachel, NV and visit the ‘Little Ali Inn’. Located near the military’s top secret ‘Area 51’ base, the ‘Inn offers hamburgers, drinks and souvenirs from the so named ‘Extra Terrestrial Highway’. Full disclosure, the author visited here in 1998 and enjoyed the food and tall tales from some of the more colorful local residents.
Plan B: South Dakota’s Corn Palace
Don’t sell the southern ‘Dakota’ short. Whether touring the “Badlands” or “Custer State Park” South Dakota is what North Dakota would be like if there was no Mount Rushmore. But if counting buffalo is more than a family can manage, it’s time to visit the World’s Only Corn Palace. No doubt the corniest attraction on any list, the 123-year-old Mitchell Corn Palace's exterior (and intricate murals) is made entirely out of local corn and grains. Flocks of hungry birds are not as big a problem as anyone might first believe.
Plan B: Washington State’s Award-Winning Gum Wall
If you wanted Vancouver but without the aggressive panhandlers, arrive in Seattle, WA. Seattle sports the Space Needle, the Museum of Pop Culture, Mount Rainier and that fish market where employees chunk salmon at each other. But if the line for the tour of the Boeing plant is longer than the list of complaints your teenage children have, head to Seattle Market Theater Gum Wall. According to the Wikipedia, the wall is by the box office for the Market Theater and named 2009’s second germiest tourist attraction in the world behind the Blarney Stone (this is the award). Colorful as it may be, it's basically a wall of someone else’s spit held together with gum. In Cologne, Germany there is a bridge with padlocks that fill the pedestrian walk that is really charming. Seattle has a biohazard that doubles as a tourist attraction.  
Plan B: Texas’ National Museum of Funeral History
Texas is a really big state with lots to see and do. For those visiting the greater Houston area there is NASA, Space Center Houston, the San Jacinto Battleground, professional and college sporting events, the Menil Art Collection, Ally Theater, Natural History Museum and world class dining and shopping. But buried among all those places is the National Museum of Funeral History. According to their web site, ‘the idea for the Museum grew from Robert L. Waltrip’s 25-year dream of establishing an institution to educate the public and preserve the heritage of death care.’ Mr. Waltrip collected many tools of the trade and used the museum to save and even help resurrect the techniques of the trade. October is their busiest month. 
Why Does SwampButt Underwear Care? 
Easy. Whether visiting the Mystery Spot in Michigan, the Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail in Alabama, the President George H.W. Bush Museum in College Station, TX or the Military Antiques and Penry Museum in Petaluma, CA, summer means heat, heat means sweat and that means an unsightly, sweaty backside. America’s men work too hard affording family vacation to be stuck to a plastic booth inside Stuckey’sDairy Queen or Wonder Cave in San Marcos, TX. Get some SwampButt Underwear™ and make this the best summer trip ever.
About SwampButt Underwear
SwampButt Underwear is a real company that makes and sells a real product that solves the problem of visible butt sweat on men. SwampButt Underwear™ is trademarked in the U.S. and foreign countries. We paid a lot for it so please do not use it without permission.

Casting Call: Supernanny

Lifetime will be bringing back the fan favorite, “Supernanny,” and they are casting families nationwide who are interested in getting one-on-one help from the original Supernanny and parenting expert, Jo Frost

This new season of Supernanny is all about the modern family, and the trails and tribulations social media and technology bring to parenting in this new era. We want to show all sides of America, highlighting the idea that regardless of economic status, skin color, or origin, struggles are universal within all types of families, ultimately uniting us. 

They are excited to highlight all types of family dynamics in America and help calm the chaos! 

Supernanny is back! Parenting in today's world isn't what it used to be. With the advent of video games, computers, and social media all within arms length of every child, modern-day parents face a new set of issues! If navigating this new parenting world is turning your house upside down, apply today for a chance to work with renowned parenting expert, Jo Frost. Nanny Jo is looking to infuse her decades of wisdom into homes nationwide and tackle some of the toughest situations. If you are struggling to calm the chaos, apply today! Send us a brief description of the issues you are facing, as well as a family picture, your email address, and best contact phone number to *Must be U.S. resident.

Mealtime Magic: Iced Coffee Recipes from Steeped Coffee

When the summer heats up, coffee lovers crave something a little less steamy and a little more refreshing. Iced coffee fits the bill perfectly. For some, that means driving to the nearest chain, dropping a bundle, and leaving quality to chance.
But you can save time and money – and the planet – on a superior brew by making it at home, exactly the way you like it.
The award-winning coffee experts at Steeped Coffee have some tips on preparing the perfect iced coffee. Their simple method requires no gadgets, no expensive equipment, no mystery instant powders, and no wasteful pods. With a pack of single-serve Steeped Coffee, a great-tasting and sustainable glass of cold summer happiness is just a few minutes away.
Steeped, Inc. is all about coffee without compromise. Their proprietary single-serve brewing method features Steeped Coffee Bags (think tea bags engineered for coffee) to deliver the best ethically-sourced and locally roasted specialty coffeeone delicious cup at a time. Nitro-sealed to preserve freshness, Steeped Packs are made with renewable and compostable materials.
According to the team at Steeped, the secret to a classic iced coffee is a well-crafted coffee concentrate. A good concentrate is also the basis for many other refreshing coffee drinks we associate with summer sipping. 
First, we’ll cover the recipe for Steeped Coffee Concentrate, and then we’ll dive into all the different variations of iced coffee you can create using that concentrate.

How to make Steeped Coffee Concentrate

For each serving, you’ll need
       1 Steeped Coffee Pack
       10 oz. mug
       Filtered water

  1. Heat filtered water to 205 degrees, or just below boiling
  2. Place a Steeped Bag at the bottom of a standard 10oz mug
  3. Pour hot water over the Steeped Bag until the mug is half full
  4. Dip and dunk Steeped Bag 20 to 30 times over 1 minute
  5. Leavthe Steeped Bag in, and let steep for 5 to 7 minutes or more to taste
  6. Remove Steeped Bag. Your Steeped Coffee Concentrate is now ready for one of our 7 recipes below.

Pro Tips
       To serve guests, make several batches of Steeped Concentrate in multiple cupsYou can always store Steeped Concentrate in the fridge for later.
       Freeze Steeped Coffee Concentrate in ice cube trays. Use coffee cubes instead of regular ice cubes to avoid diluting your beverage.
       Everyone knows the best way to enjoy iced coffee is through a straw. Be kind to the environment – buy reusable, dishwasher-safe metal straws!

Now it’s time to win summer with Steeped Iced Coffee in 7 delightful variations.


For each serving, you’ll need
       1 serving of Steeped Coffee Concentrate (see above)
       A tall glass
       Optional: sugar and creamer or dairy substitute such as oat milk

  1. Fill the glass to the top with ice 
  2. Slowly pour the Steeped Coffee Concentrate into the glass
  3. Optional: top off with your favorite sweetener, creamer or dairy substitute to taste. Stir and enjoy.


You’ll need
       Steeped Coffee Concentrate (see above)
       A tall glass
       Milk or dairy substitute such as oat milk
       Cocktail shaker
       Optional: a simple syrup or flavored coffee syrup

  1. Fill a cocktail shaker with ice
  2. Add 1 part Steeped Coffee Concentrate and 1 part milk
  3. Sweeten to taste or use a flavored coffee syrup to make a vanilla latte, caramel latte, or other classics
  4. Shake until foamy
  5. Pour into a chilled glass


You’ll need
       Steeped Coffee Concentrate (see above)
       A tall glass
       Whipped cream
       Optional: sweetener or flavored coffee syrup

  1. Fill a blender with a glass full of ice
  2. Add 1 part Steeped Coffee Concentrate and 1 part milk (or dairy substitute)
  3. Sweeten to your preference or use a flavored coffee syrup to make a vanilla latte, caramel latte, or other classics
  4. Pour into a chilled glass
  5. Top with whipped cream to taste


You’ll need
       1 serving of Steeped Coffee Concentrate (see above)
       A tall glass
       Good quality chocolate syrup
       Cream or preferred dairy substitute
       Whipped cream

  1. Pour the Steeped Coffee Concentrate into the glass
  2. Stir in chocolate syrup and milk or dairy substitute, leaving space for ice
  3. Add ice to the glass until full and stir
  4. Top with whipped cream to taste


You’ll need
       1 serving of Steeped Coffee Concentrate (see above)
       A tall glass
       Sweetened condensed milk

  1. Fill the glass to the top with ice 
  2. Slowly pour the Steeped Coffee Concentrate into the glass
  3. Stir in sweetened condensed milk


You’ll need
       A tall glass
       Extra-strong Steeped Coffee Concentrate (use two Steeped Coffee Bags instead of one)
       Sweetened condensed milk or evaporated milk or coconut cream
       Ground cardamom

  1. Fill the glass to the top with ice 
  2. Slowly pour the strong Steeped Coffee Concentrate into the glass
  3. Top with your choice of sweetened condensed milk, evaporated milk, or coconut cream, but DO NOT STIR
  4. Sweeten to taste
  5. Sprinkle with ground cardamom


You’ll need
       A tall glass
       1 serving of Steeped Coffee Concentrate (see above)
       Liqueur of your choice: hazelnut, orange, Irish cream, amaretto, etc.
       Sweetener or creamer (optional)

  1. Fill the glass to the top with ice 
  2. Slowly pour the Steeped Coffee Concentrate into the glass
  3. Stir in 1 shot of liqueur
  4. Sweeten and top with creamer to taste.
  5. Stir and enjoy

About Steeped Coffee
Steeped, Inc., based in Santa Cruz, California, is a B-Corp (Benefit Corporation) focused on every detail from farm-to-cup and beyond, to bring people the most convenient, quality, ethically sourced, and sustainably packaged products available. Steeped Coffee provides a single-serve method that combines convenience and quality all within Guilt-Free Packaging. The proprietary Steeped Brewing Method delivers 100% freshly roasted, precision ground, and nitro sealed specialty coffee pre-portioned within Steeped Full Immersion Filters. Steeped Coffee is the simplest way to make a perfect cup of coffee, with no machine needed, just add water. Steeped, Inc. offers its brewing method to Licensed Partners around the globe. For more information, visit For business inquiries, contact