Back to school shopping: Remember Operation Christmas Child and Christmas toy donations

Are you looking for a nifty charity to donate toys to this Christmas? Why not explore Samaritan's Purse Operation Christmas Child. This group collects Christmas shoeboxes filled with with gifts for needy kids around the world. To participate, get a shoebox and fill it with toys, school supplies, articles of clothing, personal care products, candy, books and other little gifts. Drop it off at one of the locations here or mail it in.

We've been doing this as a family since it started in 1993. We shop back to school sales for pencils, glue sticks, notebooks, markers, crayons, scissors, pens, activity booklets, coloring books and craft sets.  We fill our boxes with small backpacks, cuddle toys, hair accessories, toy cars, small brush and comb, wash cloth, energy bars, powdered vitamin drink, prayer cards, jewelry, sunglasses, socks and T-shirt. Shopping sales, especially back-to-school, I was able to get all these items for about $12-$15 per box. 2017 shoe boxes are due Nov. 13 to Nov. 20 and drop-off locations are listed on the website.

Don't forget to pick up extra school supplies at back to school sales to donate to those in need. 

Josh Duggar, Anna Duggar pregnant, 'Counting On' 5th baby to heal cheating rifts

 Anna Duggar is expecting baby number 5 less than two years after her husband Josh Duggar was caught in adultery, sex addiction and child molestation. The "19 Kids and Counting" star vowed to stand by her cheating husband and says she's forgiven Josh. The couple gushed over their pregnancy and Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar are, of course, proud to add another baby to the quiver. But others are concerned that the celebrity couple is moving on too quickly and counting on pregnancy to fix their marriage. Some think Anna shouldn't move on at all and should move out.  Josh Duggar, Anna Duggar pregnant, 'Counting On' 5th baby to heal cheating rifts

'Teen Mom 2' Kailyn Lowry risky pregnancy may explain obesity after weight loss

Pregnant Kailyn Lowry defended her reticence to go public with her baby reveal -- and it's not just mystery surrounding the baby daddy. The "#Teen Mom 2" star is at high risk of miscarriage with this third child. She didn't want to go public and then lose the baby. Lowry assures everyone that she's happy to be expecting and this pregnancy was planned, though the reality TV star didn't say with whom. A high-risk pregnancy would explain Kailyn's early weight gain, after big weight loss. Common risk causes are anorexia, maternal obesity, gestational diabetes, edema and preeclampsia. All Kailyn's plastic surgery could affect gestation too.   'Teen Mom 2' Kailyn Lowry risky pregnancy may explain obesity after weight loss

Viola Davis rocks SAG Awards 'Fences' speech, stunning white gown, weight loss

The name on everyone's lips after the 2017 Screen Actors Guild Awards is Viola Davis. The "Fences" star made history, winning five SAG Awards. Davis is the first black woman to claim so many after being the first to win an Oscar for "Best Actress" on television last year. Davis won more than just an armful of statues. Her #OscarsSoWhite acceptance speech earned big respect on this touchy subject. Davis was named best dressed, too, in a gorgeous white gown which showed off weight loss and an amazing figure.  Viola Davis rocks SAG Awards 'Fences' speech, stunning white gown, weight loss

'My 600-lb Life' Cynthia Wells blames diet, weight loss fail, gastric bypass cost on doc

 610-lb Cynthia Wells had a lot of blame to dispense after weight loss fails on Season 5 of "My 600-lb Life." Most of it was aimed at Dr. Younan Nowzaradan. The single mom of 5 faulted the bariatric surgeon for her initial weight gain, which postponed gastric bypass surgery. She complained that travel costs made her eat the wrong foods. Dr. Now prescribed therapy to treat her unhealthy food relationship which Wells called "bulls--t." Now, Cynthia's ready to quit the reality show after it picked up the tab for her expensive surgery.  'My 600-lb Life' Cynthia Wells blames diet, weight loss fail, gastric bypass cost on doc

Halloween alternatives: 100+ non-food, non-candy Trick-or-Treat prizes, giveways

So trick-or-treat is over and now your kids have a haul of #Halloween candy. And of course you want them to eat all that sugar as soon as possible (not!). Or maybe you're stuck with stale candy you couldn't give away because it rained on Halloween or you didn't get as many trick-or-treating children. Or maybe you gave out yucky kinds like Mike-N-Ikes or Mary-Janes, tsk-tsk. You could blow your diet, eat all the treats and then regret it. Or you could try one of these healthy ways to use up leftover trick-or-treat goodies.Halloween alternatives: 100+ non-food, non-candy Trick-or-Treat prizes, giveways

Halloween candy leftovers use-up recipes, ways to reuse stale candy from Trick-or-Treat

So trick-or-treat is over and now your kids have a haul of Halloween candy. And of course you want them to eat all that sugar as soon as possible (not!). Or maybe you're stuck with stale candy you couldn't give away because it rained on Halloween or you didn't get as many trick-or-treating children. Or maybe you gave out yucky kinds like Mike-N-Ikes or Mary-Janes, tsk-tsk. You could blow your diet, eat all the treats and then regret it. Or you could try one of these healthy ways to use up leftover trick-or-treat goodies. Halloween candy leftovers use-up recipes, ways to reuse stale candy from Trick-or-Treat

Jana Kramer has a 'Dancing With The Stars' mission which will make you smile through tears

Country singer Jana Kramer and partner Gleb Savchenko tangoed their way into the "#Dancing With The Stars" judges' hearts last week. They earned a 10 from Hough, Tonioli, Inaba and guest adjudicator Pitbull to nail that illusive perfect 40. But there's more to DWTS than dancing for the Rochester Hills, Michigan native, Kramer. She is dancing for a special mission and it will have you smiling through your tears.    Jana Kramer has a 'Dancing With The Stars' mission which will make you smile through tears

Duggars 'Counting On' Jana Duggar: Anna Duggar needs Jana, Jessa Seewald bosses sis?

Everyone is "Counting On" eldest Jana Duggar and maybe too much. Anna Duggar leans on Jana for support while her sex addict husband Josh Duggar (who molested Jana as a kid) is in rehab. Sister Jinger Duggar has the family by the tail with her whirlwind courtship and engagement to fiance Jeremy Vuolo. Everyone, most of all Jana, is busy getting ready for Derick and Jill Dillard to return from a mission trip. And sister Jessa Seewald will do her big pregnancy reveal and Jana's help will be expected there. Yet poor Jana can't even decorate the guest house for the Dillards without Jessa criticizing her clock choice. Tensions between the eldest single Duggar and her family will hardly surprise. Duggars 'Counting On' Jana Duggar: Anna Duggar needs Jana, Jessa Seewald bosses sis?

'My 600-lb Life' Ashley Dunn Bratcher weight loss finds iron will in jail of obesity

TLC "My 600-lb Life" stories are some of the saddest but also most exciting in Reality TV. Philistines see only morbidly obese trainwrecks trapped in fat-padded prison cells of their own making. But if you look close and listen carefully, you see and hear stories of heroism. Check out Ashley's story--after bariatric surgery, the Texas gal's half-ton weight loss found that there was one tough lady in that jail of obesity.    'My 600-lb Life' Ashley Dunn Bratcher weight loss finds iron will in jail of obesity

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Freelance writer, Top 100 Yahoo! Voices, Yahoo! News, Shine, Michigan, Detroit), blogger, teacher, mom of 4, happily married 25 years. Graduated GVSU 1986, psychology/general education and special education. continuing ed up to present. Certified MI teacher. Writing Michigan history mystery, children's Gothic fantasy. Areas of expertise: education, relationships, mental health, nutrition, history, world cultures. Passions: faith, Catholic church, sustainable living, interfaith initiatives, living simply that others might simply live. Working on MA in EI education. 

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