Mocha Angels 365. Day 347.

I received a blessing at the grocery store yesterday morning. I was waiting in line behind a woman who reminded me of my friend Lori, who is a sparkly magical woman. I saw she had Shoprite store gift cards. I thought, “Good for her. Someone blessed her with gift cards before Christmas.” While I was waiting, I looked at the tabloids and felt thankful that I’m not a celebrity. 😊 The lady left without a word to me.

I made nice with the cashier. We talked about the weather. The cost of my groceries was $43.65. The cashier swiped a store gift card. I saw it lying by the cash register, so I thought it had a zero balance because the lady in front of me had used it. The store card had a $35.55 balance. And it was for me.

The cashier says, “Your total is $8.10.” My jaw dropped. “What?”

“The lady who just left said to give it to you. Merry Christmas!”

Stunned. Happy. Joyous. Grateful. I was all of those things. The cashier and a few other ladies said some very nice things about the lady and about me. I am so happy right now.

Q-Bitz, Korner’d, and Qwirkle

Looking for great holiday presents for kids? I’ve got three great board games for you. Me and my teenagers love these games.

Q-bitz. 2-4 players. Ages 8+

This is a game of visual dexterity. It’s a simple concept: Match your 16-colored cubes to the pattern on the black and white game cards. This is how you play the game.

Round 1

With 2 to 4 players, each person gets 16 colored dice. Look at one black and white game card. Race to recreate the pattern on the card. Be the first player to complete the pattern and you win the card. This is the easiest way to play. You can always stop here because it’s challenging enough.

Round 2

Roll all the cubes on the table like dice and use as many cubes as possible to recreate the pattern the pattern shown on the card. Be the first player to complete the pattern, and you win the card.

Round 3

Players have 10 seconds to study the card. Race to see who can recreate the pattern from memory. If you have all, or most, cubes in the right place, you win the card. The object is to collect the most cards, and you win.

Korner’d 2-3 players. Ages 8+

Another visual dexterity game. Simple yet difficult. Each player gets 3 to 4 multi-colored pieces. Be the first person to match all your pieces on the puzzle board. It’s so much harder than it looks. My 14-year old can match all his pieces in about 60 seconds. Me and the 17-year-old, not so much. Every adult I’ve seen play this game has a hard time. It never gets boring. I love this game!

Qwirkle 2-4 players. Ages 6+

The object of the game is to make lines of tiles that are either all one color or all one shape. There are 108 tiles of 6 different colors and 6 different shapes. Score points for every tile played. Whenever you complete a line of all six colors or shapes, you have made a Qwirkle. The player with the most points wins the game. This game takes 30-60 minutes to play.

These three are wonderful games. Let me know if you buy them for the holiday season.

Mocha Angels 365. Day 332.

It’s Black Friday in the United States. “Black Friday” refers to retail stores slashing their prices for the start of the holiday shopping season, which ends on Christmas Day. Stores hope they end the season “in the black,” meaning they have made a profit, rather than “in the red” which means they have lost money.

My picture is red on purpose. Too many consumers end their holiday season in debt aka “in the red.” When those credit card bills arrive in January, it stings. Debt is the worst.

Don’t do that anymore. Talk to your family and make new traditions. Do a secret Santa. One gift per person. I’m getting my kids one gift each. However, I know their gifts will mean something to them because I’m listening for what they really want for Christmas.

Let me know how you are handling holiday gifts and spending this year.