Lessons Learned!

Lessons Learned!

As I get another year older…I’m so grateful that my parents were such good examples of teaching me how to love life in all its various stages.

Life Lessons Learned! Embrace the current season of your life quote.

We’ve all heard the saying, “with age comes wisdom” –however, I suppose that we have to be willing to learn in order to gain that wisdom!

Being An Avid Learner!

Celebrating another birthday seems like as good a time as any to reflect on a few of the life lessons I’ve learned over the years…although I hope to be an avid learner in the school of life, so to speak, for many years to come!

Small daily habits are important.   As a nurse, I often see people who don’t feel well because they haven’t taken very good care of themselves.  Sure, we all get sick once in a while, but if there is one life lesson I’ve learned that seems to compromise the outcome of other great lessons to be learned in this life, it’s taking our health for granted.  It’s never too late to make it a daily habit to look forward to each new day, pray, exercise, eat fresh food, brush our teeth and be more aware of all the little things that can help inspire us to live better!Life Lessons Learned. Aristotle quote.Be stronger than yesterday.  My parents grew up in what has been coined as “the greatest generation”having persevered during the tumultuous times marked by the historic economic downfall of the stock market in the 1930’s, followed by World War II.  At every turn in their lives, they taught me that personal duty, integrity and faith should be the defining characteristics in how I face challenges in my life.  My mom always had a quiet dignity about her, but she was fierce in teaching her children that every day was a good day to be stronger and make a difference!


Change is inevitable.  When we hear this cliché, it seems to imply something bad…but if there’s one life lesson that is a persistent teacher, it’s that life is change!  Change can become one of our greatest life lessons and allows for the most personal growth if we allow ourselves the permission to step outside our comfort zone and learn from it.  As I’ve embraced change and impermanence in my life, surprisingly I have found more inner peace and contentment.  In fact, on those occasions when it seems my life has hit a plateau, so to speak, whether it’s in my relationships, my job, my health…I try to change things up a bit to keep things fresh and even a little unpredictable.

Life Lessons Learned! Change is inevitable.

• Deliberately choose the people you spend the most time with.  If we spend time with people who bring out our best personality traits, but at the same time challenge our fears and insecurities, chances are we’ll become the best version of ourselves.  Sometimes people come into our lives at a crucial time because something in us wants to learn–and they too want to learn from us…and a lovely friendship is formed.  I’m so grateful for all the incredible people in my life who love me unconditionally and teach me wonderful life lessons through their examples so that I can continue to cultivate my true potential!

Life Lessons Learned! Surround ourself with good people!

• Trust your heart.  I have found that if we stay true to ourselves, our hearts will never guide us wrong.  Throughout my life, I’ve often felt the pull between what other people think I should do (or what the accepted standard is) and what my heart discreetly and sincerely tries to tell me is right.  The world likes to bombard us with big promises, glorified acclamations and even false adulation, resulting in our egos getting in the way of what we know, deep down, is in our best interest.  Call it intuition or a small inner voice, it is essential for us to take a step back from our busy lives once in awhile, so we can honor our true feelings and trust that our hearts will help us make the decisions that will bring us genuine and lasting happiness.  Like anything else, this takes time and practice, but the reward for doing so will ultimately be what defines our personal legacy!

Life Lesson Learned! Trust your heart.

And finally, a few other important lessons I’m always trying to learn better…

Life Lessons Learned!

I’d love to know what life lesson or advice has helped you most in your life? 


Cinderellas Days! Games And Activities For Older Kids!

Cinderella Days!  Games And Activities For Older Kids!

Cinderella Days! www.mytributejournal.comNo matter how much I might try to will it otherwise, my grandchildren seem to grow-up just as quickly as my own children did.  (We really wouldn’t have it any other way…right?!)  While it might be an easier task to keep little hands and minds entertained with various toys and crafts, I have found it to be a delightful challenge to find some neat games and activities that my older grandkids enjoy playing on those special Cinderella Days we spend together!

Being A Cool Grandma!

Every grandma wants to be that “cool” grandma that always has some neat things to do when their grandchildren come to visit…especially as they start getting a little older!  Here are a few games I’ve found that are a lot of fun to play with your growing children and grandkids!


Chicken Foot is just one of many great domino games that we enjoyed playing as a family with our children when they were young, but it has required a whole new skill set as my two older granddaughters have learned to play and dominate this game.

Doninos for Chicken Foot game.

While there are “Chicken Foot” domino sets available in most game and department stores, we just use regular colored domino tiles.

Games and activities for older kids.

The domino tiles in the game box are turned face-down to begin with, each player then draws 7 dominos.  The rest of the dominos are the chicken yard where you draw a tile when you can’t add one you have to the ones played.

You start playing Chicken Foot by placing the highest numbered double domino in the center of the game table, you play all four sides of this tile.  Whenever a double is played, it is a chicken foot.  You must complete the three toes of the chicken foot before players can put pieces on any other open end.

The game ends when someone plays all of their tiles.  Other players then add the total of their remaining dominos.  The object of the game is to score the least number of points.  You can get more in-depth instructions here.

Games and activities for older kids.

Chicken Foot is a fun game that my older granddaughters love to play! 

Qwirkle! Games for older kids.

Another great domino-type game is Qwirkle, where you create columns and rows of matching colors and shapes to score points.  Older kids love playing this game.

♦ Dice Games

I think the trick to finding games that older kids like to play is that they are easy to learn and move quickly to keep their attention.  Dice games do that perfectly!

Games and activities for older kids

It does us good put away our electronics for a while to play some fun games!    

Heart dice game.

I played this fun heart dice game with my granddaughters at my Valentine Tea Party, but you could play it anytime using candy bars or better yet, quarters.

Yahtzee! Games older kids lover to play.

A beloved dice game that I used to play with my parents, is still a family favorite!

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For each turn you can shake the dice up to three times to try and get the highest scoring combination to fill in one of the 13 categories on the score card.  Luck may or may not be in your favor on any particular throw of the dice, but the desire to beat the odds is a mutual feeling for all players, young and old!

Zilch! Dice games for older kids.

Zilch is a fast-paced dice game that is easy to learn, but requires that you brush up on your math skills.  You also have to practice some self-restraint because if you keep shaking and don’t score any points, you will lose all the points you earned that turn.  The first person to score 10,000 points wins the game. 

♦ Board Games

Fun board games are always a good “go to” when planning a game night with kids of all ages!

Board games to play with older kids.

The main object of the board game, Sequence, is to form rows of 5 poker chips by placing them on the board spaces that correspond with cards played from your hand.  Initially, you may have to team up with younger children to help them learn the strategy of getting their rows completed while blocking opponent’s plays…they catch on quick though!  Get details on playing Sequence here.

Chutes and Ladders board game.

There’s some board games that kids will always love to play no matter their age, but we’ve found that changing them up a bit is a fun way to keep them exciting.

Adaptations of fun board games.

My husband is a genius at adapting a board game for special occasions.  For our Halloween Festival last year, he swapped out the usual boy and girl characters for spooky faces on our Chutes and Ladders game.  When you’d land on one of the faces, you drew from a pile of papers that gave instructions to either do a physical activity or pick a toy!  It was a fun, unexpected twist to the game!

Fun Activities

My granddaughter’s have taught me that boys aren’t the only ones who love a little friendly competition.  Timed activities and relay games always seem to be a big hit with growing kids."Minute To Win It" games.

Any type of “minute to win it” game, where you have to accomplish certain tasks in a minute, is a fun and funny way to keep kids (and grown-ups) entertained!

"Minute To Win It" games.

My oldest granddaughter, Makena, recently had a fun “late night” with some of her friends where they played a variety of these type of games…from stacking Dixie cups to seeing who could pull out the most Kleenex tissues in a minute. 

Find some other fun “Minute To Win It” activity ideas here.

♦ The Magic Of Imagination

Oftentimes, a little imagination and a few creative minds working together are all you need in planning a fun day at grandma’s house!

Creative play! Making a box huts!

There’s just something about a special box hut that makes for the best kind of fun!

Creative play! Making a box hut!

Grandpa could only imagine when he was putting it together, how much the girls would love holding secret meetings and playing games inside this fun fortress! 

Playing In Good Company!

The best thing about playing games is just being together with those you love!

Playing games quote.                                                                      –Gary Gygax

I am always looking for some fun, new games to play with my grandkids…what are some you love to play with your family?



Home Sweet Home! Love At Home!

Home Sweet Home!  Love At Home!

We’ve probably all got a few Valentine decorations adorning our houses for the month of February…..but I think it’s fun to have a few love and heart themed design elements in our homes that we can leave up all year-long!

Home Sweet Home! Love At Home!

In this crazy world we live in, it seems like a good idea to have some little reminders around our homes to help us remember that love will always be the stabilizing factor that helps us through the ups and downs of everyday life!

Live Laugh Love art!

A canvas sign like this sat on a hall table of my parent’s home for many years, and served as a timeless reminder for me to embrace all that life has to offer! 

Love deeply quote.

I like the updated version of this message via Zazzle, hung in such a clever way.

Home Décor With Heart!

As I’ve mentioned before, my oldest daughter, Malia, is an interior designer, so it comes as no surprise that she has a flair for including unique love and heart design elements in her home that make it warm and welcoming…..I can attest to the fact that it feels like you’re getting a big hug as you enter her cute house!

Home Sweet Home! Hi, I love you sign.

This sweet greeting is the focal point of a collage Malia hung on a loft wall by her girl’s bedrooms where they play and do homework.  Her daughter, Makena, told her she loved reading it when she ran up the stairs to her bedroom after school.

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The double-sided glass of the white frames makes it easy to change-out photos.

Mother Teresa quote.

I have a neat friend, Hayley, who has been remodeling her home over the past year, and she has one of my favorite love quotes hanging in her cute kitchen.

Love At Home! Pictures of love quotes.

(via Hobby Lobby)

These are a few other heartfelt signs that I love!  No matter your home décor style, there seems to be a unique framed love quote that will fit in perfectly!

Decorative pillows are an easy and fairly inexpensive way to spread a little love around your home. 

Love At Home decor.

While it’s definitely fun for getting into the Valentine spirit, Malia likes to leave this pillow out all the time…..a subtle reminder to always have love at home! 

Love At Home! Flour sack pillows!

(via etsy)

I like to decorate with pillows too.  I especially love these fun flour sack pillows!

Oftentimes, it’s the little accessories or sentimental items from loved ones we place around our houses that have the biggest impact on giving it a special, personalized feeling of warmth and love!

Home Sweet Home! Love At Home!

My sweet hubby gave me this wood love plaque several years ago when we first moved into our house.  While I may add some Valentine’s decorations during the month of February, it sits on our living room table all year to help us remember that first and foremost, we want to create an atmosphere of love in our home!! 

Home Sweet Home! Love At Home!

Again, my friend, Hayley, shared this special flower heart that is on her 13 year old daughter’s dresser to remind her every day that she is loved.  Next to it sits a bunch of pink peonies, her grandma’s favorite, who had over a dozen bushes in her yard.  Whenever it’s possible, Hayley likes to have fresh ones in her home.

While I’m not one to invest too much on home design trends that seem a bit fleeting, there are a few out there that are fun additions to any love at home décor!

Love At Home decor trends.

(via Pinterest)

I love the trend of blending design styles that is so popular now…..like the look of this vintage chair with the more modern, geometric pillow.  Such fun love décor.


Cutting boards in different shapes and sizes stacked on your kitchen counter are definitely on trend now, so why not add a heart one to the mix like this one from Sundance catalog.  Also, how fun are the variety of letter boards available these days where you can change the quotes depending on the holiday or your mood.

Valentine's Day decor.

Even when gold isn’t as trendy as it is now…..I will always love it in my home!

(After Valentine’s Day, you could swap out the heart card for another fun photo.)

Share Love!

There are so many décor options available to showcase love in our homes, but let’s never forget that the best part of love is to sincerely share it with others!

Love quotes.

“It’s beautiful to express love…..but it is even more beautiful to genuinely feel it!”  Dejon Stojanovic

I hope you always find ways to surround yourself with love!

What special décor do you have in your home that inspires you to love better?  Comment about them below and you’ll get a chance to have one of the gold love clips sent to you!  

–Love, Mary