With mega-stars making their fame through reproducing nowadays, many people have begun to argue about how many children is enough for one family. Are Jon and Kate of the "Kate Plus Eight" family terrible people because they chose to go through with a sextuplet pregnancy? Are the Duggars crazy because of their "19 Kids and Counting"? Where on the spectrum does Octo-mom lie? Since this is a finance website, let's look at this social issue solely by finances. Then feel free to weigh in with your thoughts!

Choice and Pre-Planning

What New Year's party is complete without at least one decadent dessert? If you're throwing a party or have been asked to bring a side dish, you might want to consider lemon bars. These sugary yet tart pieces of heaven can serve a few purposes: one, they're a sweet completion to almost any meal; and two, they can be used as a palate cleanser, with the lemon helping diners ease their way from the flavorful meal to the piles of desserts.

With New Year's Eve on the horizon, there may be another mad dash to set up for yet another holiday party. If you're all out of ideas for a quick and easy, stay-hot side dish to serve, then you've come to the right place. I'd like to share my absolute favorite side dish recipe, Confetti Beans (aka Calico Beans or Cowboy Beans).

This flavorful side dish is always a hit, and thanks to the crockpot simplicity, making this dish ahead of time is possible for the busy season. In fact, the longer the beans sit in the crockpot, the more flavorful the dish becomes. So here it goes: Calico Beans!

As Melinda continues her series on cheap places, she has decided to broaden her focus area to include some of the most exciting and fun locations across the United States. However, she needs our help. If you know of any cheap places to take the family, let us know in the comments below! For now, let’s take a look at my neck of the woods: Northeast Iowa.

I have always been a self-reliant individual. As a child, I took care of myself and my little sister while my mother worked, and I was “cooking” — sandwiches, mac and cheese, fruit salad, cookies, etc. — since I was 12 years old. The teen years struck me with an even more independent nature, and the minute I graduated from high school, I was out the door.