We had always dreamed of taking a good vacation every year…..

But with 5 children, it was often hard to afford to do much or even get away.  What Linsley and I have done now to make sure that we will always be able to get away on vacation and so will our children and their children…….. we bought a condo in Hilton Head recently.  Its not exactly a timeshare, but it does allow us to take 4 weeks vacation each year, free of charge by using the points system that goes along with our condo, or at a very reduced rate if we don’t want to use our points.  The beauty of this plan is that we have no upkeep that we have to do ourselves, and the condo is always in perfect condition when we arrive for our vacation.  The other really cool stuff about the plan we bought is that we can save our points up for years and switch destinations, again either by using odomandmasseywedding1ur points or by paying a hugely reduced price for other 5-star resorts.  Which means that if we save our points for a few years, we can go to Singapore or Tahiti, or Bora Bora for almost free.  As far as we can see, this all adds up to a win/win situation for us.

My eldest son who lives in Singapore got married last year, but we were unable to go to the wedding because our finances at that moment just wouldn’t stretch that far.  With the plan we have now, we would be able to go out there whenever we wanted to, which is another reason why we invested now.

We have recently moved Linsley’s parents closer to us so that we can spend more time with them and make sure they have lots of fun times in their remaining years.  One of the reasons we invested in the condo, was so that we would be able to take them on adventures with us, as travel is going to be a big part of the fun they want.

We also wanted to always make sure that our grandson, who is now 4 years old always has a vacation, so he grows up knowing what it is like to have a vacation every year.  That is something that I never had as a child, I actually can only remember ever having two vacations with my parents.  One was a camping trip, and the other we stayed in a caravan for a week at the beach with my auntie and cousins.  So for me, it was important that our grandchildren always have that summer vacation.

We have a 4th grandbaby on the way, He or She will be joining us around the beginning of July, which is a great time of year to be born! We almost have a basketball team now!  How time flies……….

We actually never made it on the Viking River Cruise through Europe at Christmas.  One day we will make it, it is still very much on our bucket list.  Ha ha talking of bucket lists, with the medical problems that we both had last year, our bucket list grew in leaps and bounds over the past year.  We now HAVE to start knocking items off that list as we do them.  We hadn’t really thought that we would need to start actually doing things on our bucket list for a while, but last year showed us both that neither one of us is invincible.

We both actually have a new lease on life with a new attitude and go into each day with determination to get the things we want to get done, done so that we can get to what we want to do.  Its funny, its like we had a new start, and things just seem so much better now, we are much more able to do the things we want to do because we have changed the way we think and so are much more in tune with our wants and needs.  Its amazing how that happens when you see your own vulnerability.

I guess my message is to live as if it was your last year on Earth and love as if it were your last year too.  But make sure you have those fun times, that vacation you promised yourself and do what you need to do, but also try to add in there some of what you want to do too.  Its good for us to do what we want sometimes.   I know Linsley and I are interested only in being happy and having our loved ones around us as much as possible.


The start of my cottage industry

tableThis last year has been a little crazy.  In 2016, I suffered a stroke and my husband had a heart attack, we went into 2017 hopeful that it would be a better year, but I was laid off from my job as part of a restructuring of the law firm I worked for………

One of the upsides to all of that was that I had some time at home.  In April 2017, we had a few trees in our back yard taken down, one was too close to the house, the other was leaning badly and we were worried it may fall in a storm.  So we found a tree service company after getting several quotes, and hired them to do the job.  The job entailed dropping the two trees, removing all the brush and cutting the trees into firewood and stacking it along the fence line.  Pretty simple for a tree service and we really thought the back yard would look so much better after this was all taken care of.

More fool us!  After dropping the two trees, cutting one of them into 18 inch rounds and putting the brush into huge piles, chopping and strewing logs all over the whole yard, the guys just went off one day and didn’t come back for several days, when they did come back, they said that they would only clean the mess up if we paid them more money.  At that point, we didn’t have a lot of choice, so we ended up forking over another $600.  Well, that as it turned out was just throwing good money after bad, because these men disappeared never to return to do any work.

Short of legal action, we didn’t have much recourse.  We did post on our neighborhood chat room a bad review of this particular tree service, and we also found out that this same service had a string of similar bad reviews about them.  Did we feel foolish!  Absolutely we did.

Well with the mess that we were left with, which was just too much to clean up ourselves, we looked at other tree services that would come and clean the mess up and cut the 40 foot tree trunk that was laying across our back yard for us.  I also realized that one tree was a black walnut, and although the trunk had been cut into 18 inch lengths, I could have those stumps cut into 3-4 inch lengths and I could make some really nice live edge side tables.  The crafter in me took center stage at this point, I had the tools on hand to finish the rounds, I just needed to save enough to have the second tree service come in and cut the wood for me.

We now have the wood cut and have started making the side tables.  I have to say they are totally beautiful.  The more I sanded the more colors came out in the wood.  Who knew that the wood inside the trunk of this tree that had stood outside my kitchen window since the house was built would be so amazingly beautiful!  I certainly didn’t.

What had seemed like a nightmare was now becoming a situation that we could turn into a positive.  I researched what needed to be done to the wood in order for it to stand up to use as a piece of furniture, and formulated my plan.  I looked for similar tables on websites and found a few, but really not many, and certainly nothing that had the beautiful colors and patterns in the wood.  I must say that I was amazed at the price of some of the side tables that I did find online.  With a partial live edge, with some bark still attached, sanded, but not completely finished, I saw some tables for sale for over $2000.00.

My tables are roughly 20-23 inches in diameter and 3-4 inches thick.  Most have a full live edge with the bark attached, and I have sanded them until the wood felt like silk, then completely finished them with a totally clear, high gloss Epoxy finish.  I have lots of tables still to make, and I can finish them according to requests once I start to sell them.

I am in the process of setting up online store pages in a good few craft, and handmade websites, this is where my lovely husband comes in, he is very handy when it comes to setting up websites and working with computers.  I, not so much.  But that is what makes us a great team.

I have attached some pictures of the process that has gone into making the first few tables, and I have tried to get some good pictures of all the different stages.  A lot of love has gone into the making of these lovely little tables and I have to admit, I am very proud of them.  Each one is unique and special in its own way.

I intend to start them out at $800.00 each, and a lead time of around 5-6 weeks.  Now that may change if demand is great.  And I sincerely hope that demand will be great.  I know that sounds cocky, but it really isn’t, each one of these tables is one of a kind, none of them are the same, and the care that I put in to making each and every one of them is evident when you see the finished product.

I have started a new blog geared specifically to the sale of these gorgeous tables.  My new blog page is:  katiekraftdesigns.wordpress.com but I will still continue with this blog page too.  This is going to be a fun time, trying new things and having lots of fun times doing it.  I hope you all will join us for the fun!


I am a diabetic! I think I am doing really well with control of my diabetes, but every so often I take the time to visit my endocrinologist to just make sure! Last week was one of those every so often times. We moved recently, so I went to a new endocrinologist, who was wonderful! He said I was doing really well, but that he was going to get me to the point where I was doing even better and be able to lower the dose of my insulin, which I have been on for years!

This was great news to me, to find a doctor who is really vested in your health is a rare thing. Dr. Smith had some great ideas and was so enthusiastic about working with me and my disease that I was almost speechless! (For anyone who knows me this is a very rare predicament indeed!).

So, going into this new year with renewed enthusiasm for my diabetic control, I will add this to my blog, I know so many people who struggle with diabetes, and if you are able to get it under control, it is so much easier to live with. I almost forget I have it now, I pretty much eat whatever I like, I have gone through the pains of giving up certain things that I loved pre-diabetes, and have finally landed at a place where I know what sends my blood glucose levels high, and what I can and can’t eat. And like I said I pretty much eat whatever I want to now, it’s all in the amount. I don’t consider it cheating if I eat a slice of cake, I just have a smaller slice than I would have had before I was diabetic. I know it will make me a little higher than normal for a while, so I adjust whatever else I eat to compensate. When we go out for dinner, I will have grilled salmon and salad for my main course, specifically so that I can have that piece of cheesecake for dessert! As you have to have so many carbs in a meal, I will have hardly any carbs in the entrée and all the carbs in the dessert!

Salmon-Salad-2-1-of-1CHEESECAKE SLICE I have learned that it’s all in the choices you make, just like life.   If you make good choices, you do better! It has taken many years to come to this point where I am comfortable with my diabetes, and where I don’t crave the things I shouldn’t eat, that was tough. I was always a bread and potato girl, coming from England, of course I was! So it was so hard for me to not include some type of bread and potato with every meal. They were staples in my diet, probably one of the reasons I had become diabetic to begin with! I didn’t use sugar, and I didn’t really eat much rice or pasta, so those were easy to remove from my diet. I still will occasionally make a switch to incorporate some really good bread into my meal, but it has to be REALLY GOOD BREAD!

To me, it’s all about balance, and for me to even contemplate allowing myself to become unbalanced now, I give myself a pep talk about living longer, and every time I mess up my balance, I cut so many months off my lifetime. I want to live forever, so for me, that does the trick, I think everyone needs to find the one thing that works for them to curb their getting off balance. I truly believe that coming to terms with the balance of diabetes control is half the battle. It’s not easy, but if you use some way to ensure you keep that balance, you can live a much happier, healthier life with diabetes. Less stress and worry and less carb counting, as you get to know exactly what you can and can’t have and how much of it you can have. You learn what makes you high, what doesn’t and what you can load up on. You learn new things that you love to eat to load up that are good for you!

I think I am going to start posting some of my favorite recipes, diabetic friendly, but also yummy family meals that my kids loved, and make for themselves and their families now even though they are not diabetic! The first of which I will add to this post. I like to call it Hungarian Pork. It’s a very simple easy meal that only takes about 20 minutes to cook.


Using either pork tenderloin, or boneless pork ribs, cut them into either small chunks or thin slices. Coat the meat in paprika and rub it in. Use lots of paprika.

Using onions, peppers (green, red, yellow, orange) slice the onions and peppers into long thin strands, slice mushrooms. Then using baby gherkins, slice about 10 gherkins into slices about ¼ inch thick. Using silver cocktail onions, cut about 10 onions in half.

Heat some olive oil in a pan and throw the paprika covered meat into the hot oil, flash fry for a few minutes, tossing the meat to ensure it is browned on all sides. Remove meat from pan and lay on serving plate.

Using the same pan, add more olive oil and drop in all the veggies together, add more paprika and cook down for a few minutes until the veggies begin to wilt.

Pour the veggies over the meat on the service dish and place in the oven (350 degrees) and leave for 10-15 minutes.

Remove from oven and viola, the most tender meat with the greatest veggies on the planet! YUM!

 Hungarian Pork



Ok, so now I have been back at work for just over a year, I’m loving it again. Funny how taking some time off can improve your prospective on a lot of things!

I used to look forward to retiring, but I’m not sure now that I won’t just cut down on hours, but continue to work, obviously taking time to travel and do the things that my husband and I want to do along the way. We decided this Christmas, that no matter what, we are going away next Christmas. We are looking at a Viking River Cruise along the Danube in Europe, it will take us through Germany, Austria and Hungary. Sounds like a wonderful way to spend next Christmas! We have been wanting to do a River Cruise for a while now, but always something came up to stop us, and like most parents of grown adult kids, we let what was happening with the adult kids stop us from doing things for us!

I think that there comes a time in life where we really do have to cut our adult children off. We have kids ranging from 30’s to mid 20’s. All totally old enough to not be reliant on parents any more, but it seems not. We have a few of our 5 kids who just can’t seem to stay away, and keep moving back home with us, which is not ideal now that we are trying to reconnect with each other after years of raising children……

I wonder how many people our age are going through the same thing with their adult children, it seems to us that more and more adult kids nowadays are not wanting to get out there and start their lives on their own. Even with babies of their own, they are still wanting to come home and live with parents, and I can assure you it isn’t because they love us soooo much! I’m really not sure what the answer is, but it is a dilemma for my husband and I. We love our kids, but we really want to throw them out and tell them not to come back again! I cannot imagine staying with my parents this long, I couldn’t wait to get out and start my life on my terms, so I am totally flummoxed wondering what to do about some of our kids who can’t seem to get going on their own lives.

I found this article and it seems that this is happening all over the world!


 There are websites set up on “how to eject your kids from your home,” all good information, but how do you actually do what they suggest? I don’t know!


 There really aren’t any asnswers to our dilemma, but maybe with more people thinking about these types of problems, there may be some way to deal with the situation going forward.





After a long Hiatus, I’M BACK!!!!



I have been very remiss! I have not written anything on my blog for a very long time. I won’t make excuses, I will simply apologize to my faithful readers and catch you up on what has been going on since I last wrote!

The biggest thing, well, two big things really the first is that I started back to work full time, which was great, but difficult in the beginning as it had been a long time since I had been doing the 9 – 5 thing. So I was very tired at the end of each day! The other tiring thing was that in order to get to work each day, I had a 2 hour commute EACH WAY! That was very hard, but something that you do if you have to. I did it for 5 months, but the second huge thing is that we moved! Now I have a 20 minute commute, which is absolutely do-ably wonderful!

Hubby and I moved in February, 2014 and at the same time as moving, also became empty nesters……. We haven’t got used to not having kids around all the time, (mainly because one is around most of the time!) but we intend to get used to it, travel, do things we haven’t been able to do for years while the kids were at home, and just basically fall in love all over again!  emptynest

We actually moved in the middle of a huge snow event, which made things very difficult to say the least. But now it is done, and we are almost straight and settled in to our new to us home! We realized after making the move that although the house we had been living is was nice, new and big, it was never “HOME.” The house we have moved into is older, but it has a lovely feeling of home that we are both really enjoying. We are looking forward to exploring our new territory, we have a lake around the corner and my husband is looking forward to eventually getting his boat.

So everything is going well, just a matter of getting used to the new digs and making our empty nesters list (similar to a bucket list!)!

Well, I think that’s enough for now, I will write about our explorations and, bearing in mind that my blog is primarily about being older and fabulous, obviously the things we get up to in the coming months will be all about two over forties exploring new territory and finding new things to do, so it will all work.



How a Woman Over 40 Can Look Great With a Wardrobe That Is Age Appropriate

fashion chic

Scarlett De Bease

Professional image consultant and wardrobe stylist, Scarlett Image  Posted: 05/10/2013 9:31 am

Ladies, let’s be honest with each other: It is tough out there for women over 40, 50, 60 and beyond to know how to put together a clothing wardrobe that will be flattering and age appropriate.

Whether in business or otherwise, women are in competition with younger women and are confused as to what their clothing wardrobe should consist of. They might realize that the clothes they currently wear are dated looking, but feel silly when trying on the latest fashion trends.

One of the most common concerns my new clients share with me is, what should their clothing wardrobe consist of, so as to look current but not foolish. In other words, how to dress age appropriate and stylish, but not like they are trying to look younger.

There is a great expression in England that pretty much sums it up: mutton dressed as lamb — definitely a way of describing an older woman who is dressed in a style that is more suitable for a younger woman

Ex.: Do you think this dress is too young looking for me? (I don’t want to look like mutton dressed as lamb.)

The problem with dressing in styles that are for the under-35 set, is that they actually make us look older and sometimes a bit foolish. You’ve seen some women who are wearing skirts that are too short, or tottering in shoes designed for a 20-year-old, but being worn by a 60-year-old. Your observation is most probably never a positive one.

Often a woman will look great from behind, but when they turn around it is quite clear that she is over the age of when one should wear a particular style. This can be an unattractive shock to the observer and cause even more confusion as to what their clothing wardrobe should consist of.

I am not trying to be mean, but I am sharing with you the thoughts I get from women and men who observe other women, and who desperately do not want to also be the fashion victim or fashion don’t.

When I work with a client, I am able to create a clothing wardrobe for her that will take her look out of the past and into the present, but not look like she is trying to look younger. When a woman wears the right fitting clothes and styles specifically best for her, she automatically looks younger and more professional. She is then projecting an image of being capable to be competitive with the younger, and may I say, less experienced woman.

So what can you do to avoid the mutton dressed as lamb dilemma? Here are a few suggestions.

  1. Even if you are lucky enough to have the body that can fit into junior clothes, don’t shop in that department. For starters, the styles are designed for teenagers and the quality is not what a woman who cares about her image, should be seen wearing.
  2. Go easy on the bling by staying away from too much shine and sparkle. If a 13-year-old would wear it, then you shouldn’t!
  3. Focus on fit and not size. Avoid getting trapped by only wanting to wear a certain size, even if it means squeezing into the garment. Too tight, can make us look heavier and older.

Scarlett’s tips have nothing to do with income level or your job, etc. It’s not about where you shop, it’s about what you buy.


just old fashionfashion bug

Wrinkles, pimples and bumps, oh my!

If you’re like me, even in your 50’s you still get that occasional pimple or bump, not to mention those infernal wrinkles.  It used to feel like an uphill battle to keep it all under control and I have never been one of those women who use all kinds of face creams, and peels, and long regimens of cleansing.  I have always been a soap and water kind of girl!  So as I noticed that I was losing the battle against the wrinkles and sagging around my jaw and eyes, I realized that maybe it was time to look for something that would help me in the fight.

I searched and searched, tried all kinds of things that promised instant relief, but none of it worked.  I really thought that I would have to satisfy myself with growing old gracefully and try to be happy with that.  And I was good for a while, but when I was going with my husband one day to a cottilion at our son’s school, as we were leaving the house, our daughter took a picture of us in all our finery.  WELL……. a few days later when I saw that picture, I almost dropped on the spot……..  I looked so old and I had a streak of white hair flowing from each temple, I LOOKED LIKE MORTICIA!  I was horrified!

That is when I knew I had to do something and growing old gracefully was definitely NOT that something!.

So, again I started searching for that special something that would make me look as young as I felt again!  Not to mention finding a hair color to match my natural red hair that didn’t look like it was out of a bottle.  I found the hair color, actually I found two hair colors, which when mixed together, give me an almost perfect match to my natural color!

I guess two years went by, trying this face cream, that face cream.  I never went for the chemical peel, because I’m a bit of a whussie when it comes to that sort of thing, but I was getting to the stage where I thought that would be my only option.  Then I found it!

Only last year, I found an amazing product that really did do what it said it would do.  I thought — ok, this will work for a while, but then everything on my face will slide back to where it was ……  BUT IT HASN’T!  

Its been almost a year now, and each day, my skin looks better and better!  My husband had started taking pictures of my face for me before and after using some of the creams because you can see on pictures much better than in the mirror if there is any change.  So here are a few pictures, taken before this face saving serum.

carolyn beforecarolyn after

So, the first two pictures were taken with no makeup, one week apart.  The very first picture was before I used the product, the second picture was after using it for one week, and the third picture was after using it for 3 weeks, and already you can see that the brackets on my face have diminished a lot and the saggy eyes are not as bad.  At the bottom, I have posted a picture of how I look now, allbeit, I do have makeup on in that picture (I never wear a lot of makeup though), but I think you can see a huge difference!

Now, my blog is not the place to push any type of product, so I will just say that this product really has made a difference in my looks and in turn my confidence.  It is very new in the USA market, but has been in the Asian markets for a long time.  It was formulated by a leading cosmetic surgeon in California and is based on adult stem cell technology.  Everything I have read about it really does make me believe that it is the way of the future, and I personally know that it works.  And from all the research I have done, it seems that it works for men too.

If anyone would like to know more about this product, please send me a private comment and I will share with you what it is that has made me so happy!  I’m not trying to push anything here, this is my blog, but I did want to be able to share with anyone who wants to know about it.

As yet, as far as I know, the product and the whole line is not available in stores, but it is available online.  I wrote a piece a few months ago about Resveratrol and lots of people were very interested in that.  This same company also carries Resveritrol and a product called Propectin which helps to clear out all kinds of harmful environmental contaminants from your body.


This is the picture of me a little while ago after using the product for a few months. I can tell the difference, hope you can too!

So send me a comment if you would like more information and I will gladly share.

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