17
Nov

National Family Literacy Month

We spend a lot of time here on our blog talking about light & fun topics like holiday decor, sweet treats, and camping tips! Today, we’re taking a bit of a detour because we think this issue is too important to ignore. Many of us take our ability to read for granted. It’s like being able to breathe or speak – it just happens. Unfortunately, illiteracy is a very serious issue in our country.

Statistics show that over 30 million adults in America are considered to be illiterate – that’s over 1/8 of the entire adult population that cannot read.

So, since November is National Family Literacy Month, we are shedding some light on this issue, why it is so important, and what you can do to help, or get help!

What is family literacy?

Family literacy programs use a family-focused approach to education, increasing the skills of both the parents and the children; it’s the wonderful idea of parents and their children engaged in learning together! It encourages parents to prioritize their own education so they can be more involved in in their children’s learning and literacy.

There are three basic components to a family literacy program: adult education (such as reading, writing, GED and ESL programs), parenting education (which helps families participate in their children’s education), and early childhood education (for preschoolers).

How can you help or get help?

You can donate to ProLiteracy here to support awareness and advocacy programs.

“The National Center for Families Learning’s mission is to address our nation’s literacy challenges by engaging all family members in learning, with a primary focus on parents and children living in poverty.”

To help you celebrate National Family Literacy Month, click here to view the National Center for Families Learning’s most-popular educational tools and resources designed to help families, educators, community leaders, and librarians facilitate two-generation learning.

Sources:

http://familieslearning.org

https://proliteracy.org

http://www.readingrockets.org

10
Nov

November Decorations

By now, your Halloween decorations are already down. It’s on to the next chapter of the holiday season: Thanksgiving! It’s hard to believe that there are only a couple of months left until 2018. Either way, we’re knee deep in the holiday spirit – and ready to put up some new festive autumn decorations! There are plenty of easy, inexpensive ways that you can decorate your home this month. Who doesn’t love a little DIY project, or two? We’re here to share some of our favorites!

You can do these on a lazy Sunday afternoon, with the kids, with items you may have around the house or that you can grab from any craft store. It may take more effort than just buying the decorations, but they mean more because you took the time to craft them yourself!

LEAF GARLAND: This garland can be placed on your mantle, in your kitchen, or on your front porch! Fabric scraps, scissors, and string are all you really need to create this decor! Click here for step-by-step directions.

TIN PUNCHED VOTIVE CANDLES: This is a fun one, looks very expensive, and can be completely customized! These votives are the perfect centerpiece for your dining table or decor on your mantle! Click here for the step-by-step directions.

CANDY CORN ART: If you still have Halloween on the brain (we do!), this piece of art is for you! Orange, yellow, and white buttons – along with a few other items – are used to create a gigantic (non-edible) version of one of our favorite Halloween treats! Click here for the step-by-step directions.

PUMPKIN SPICE CANDLES: Pumpkin spice is a MAJOR reason for the season! Fill your home with this delicious fragrance with these scented candles. Use amber-tinted glass jars to get the full fall effect. Click here for the step-by-step directions.

Decorating for the holiday season is a foolproof way to get everyone in the spirit! Tell us your favorite fall decor or let us in on which DIY project you plan to try!

Photo credit: A Beautiful Mess

3
Nov

World Vegan Month All November Long!

World Vegan Day was on the 1st, but we’re celebrating World Vegan Month all November long! Veganism is becoming more and more popular across generations, but what exactly IS a vegan? What do they eat? Are they constantly hungry because they ‘can’t’ eat much? We’re here to debunk the myths and set the facts straight on this popular diet plan!

WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO BE VEGAN?

A vegetarian doesn’t eat meat or fish, but may allow eggs and dairy in their diet. A vegan takes this practice a step further, cutting out EVERY food that originated from an animal including meat, dairy, eggs, honey, etc. Some vegans extend their practice to exclude products and items that originated from an animal, as well, making it more of an overall lifestyle transformation. This would include leather, wool, fur, cosmetics, toiletries, and more.

WHY BECOME A VEGAN?

Animal welfare and environmental concerns are two big reasons to follow a vegan-based diet. A vegan diet can also reduce the risk of certain diseases, including hypertension, heart disease, and certain cancers.

WHAT CAN A VEGAN EAT?

Fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, beans, and grains are all on the OK list. There are also various types of almond-based or soy-based products, such as cheese, meat, and milk, that are vegan-approved. There are tons of foods that vegans can now enjoy!

FAMOUS VEGANS:

“It’s basically no dairy, no meat, everything is just plant based and just from the ground. I love that I’m eating more greens. It makes you feel so much better.” – Jennifer Lopez, Singer/Actress

According to GLAMOUR Magazine UK, other famous vegans include Brad Pitt, Beyonce, and Ellen DeGeneres. The list goes on and on.

For more info on the the vegan lifestyle, click here to see PETA’s very helpful infographic!

We’ll end with this note: People have different interpretations of being a vegetarian or a vegan. Everyone is entitled to follow the diet/lifestyle plan that they are comfortable with. We are just here to give some commonly found information on this specific diet plan.

Tell us: Are you a vegan? Is this diet plan right for you?

26
Oct

Halloween Candy

Halloween is so close, we can almost touch it. If we haven’t told you already, we just LOVE Halloween. There are so many ways to enjoy this fun, festive, spooky (or not-so-spooky) day! We’ve covered Halloween decor, party treats, costumes, and party beverages in our recent blog posts. These posts are packed full of ideas to help you have the most successful, exciting Halloween adventure!

Today, we’re wrapping up our series with the final piece of the Halloween puzzle: CANDY! Which candies are the most popular? What are the healthiest options? We’ve got all the answers.

MOST POPULAR OPTIONS:

According to POPSUGAR, kids ranked their favorite candy and the top 8 results were pretty surprising (ie: Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups did NOT make the list!). Sweet treats like Smarties, Starbursts, Skittles, and Nerds made the cut, as did some chocolate favorites like M&Ms and Twix. To see the full list, click here.

HEALTHIEST PICKS:

Not all candy is created equal – in terms of heart health and calorie count! There ARE better choices that you can make. You’ll be happy to hear that tons of delicious & popular options made the Greatist list of 20 healthier Halloween candy. Dark chocolate, Twizzlers, even Reese’s made it on the list – click here to see the healthiest Halloween candy choices!

THE “LOVE IT OR LEAVE IT” CANDIES:

We have 2 words: candy corn. We could debate all night about it but if you love it, you love it, and if you don’t, there is no changing your mind – and there’s no in-between! Same seems to be true for some nostalgic Halloween treats: candy buttons and circus peanuts.

NON-CANDY OPTIONS:

Candy isn’t the only option; there are plenty of other things that you can hand out to trick-or-treaters. Play-doh, temporary tattoos, stickers, and bubbles, just to name a few, are great ideas. Consider joining the Teal Pumpkin Project movement, which raises awareness of food allergies and promotes inclusion of all trick-or-treaters throughout the Halloween season. Make your home a safe spot for all kids!

We hope you have a very Happy Halloween! Tell us: what is your FAVORITE Halloween candy?

21
Oct

Halloween Party Ideas

Ready to party? We are (almost) ready! We’ve published some recent blog posts with great tips and inspiration for your Halloween decor, treats, and costumes. Which got us thinking…you’ll need something to wash down all of those delicious recipes we shared, right? So, we’re following up with some spooky – and not-so-spooky – Halloween-themed drink ideas for your upcoming soiree!

Kid-friendly:

  • A vanilla milkshake with whipped cream or, as Martha Stewart calls it, a Boo-Nilla Shake! You can use a small paintbrush to paint a melted chocolate face on the inside of your glass before you pour in the drink. Adorable & delicious!
    • Here’s another quick tip from Martha! Put gummy worms & water into ice cube trays and freeze. Then, you can add these worm ice cubes to any clear drink & watch the kids squirm!
  • When the weather is cool, make the drinks hot. (Or, for the kids, make them lukewarm!) This Halloween hot chocolate recipe from This Grandma Is Fun looks really cute. Change it up with different food coloring and various toppings – perfect for kids of all ages.

21 or over only:

  • These Glowing Jell-o shots will be the ‘shinning’ star at your Halloween party – pun intended! These shots have vodka in them so make sure your party attendees are of age to drink alcohol!
  • Everyone loves pumpkin spice – so consider serving this Pumpkin Spice Punch recipe from HGTV! Serve in a pitcher, punch bowl, or, for more flavor, a pumpkin!

Dessert drinks:

  • This Hard Cider Pumpkin Float is SO easy to make and looks the part of a spooky Halloween treat! Use your favorite ale and your favorite gelato or ice cream, and you’ve got a winning Halloween dessert drink!
  • Let’s face it…when it comes to candy corn, you either love ‘em or you hate ‘em! Fortunately for the haters, these candy corn Jell-o shots only LOOK like the famous Halloween candy; they taste like a delicious creamsicle.

Are you thirsty yet? Tell us: What are you planning to serve/drink at your upcoming Halloween party?

12
Oct

Halloween Costumes

With less than three weeks until October 31st, we are officially in the Halloween spirit! We hope you’ve enjoyed our last couple of blog posts where we talked about Halloween decor and DIY treats. But, if you haven’t already, it’s time to start thinking about your costume! Here are some tips to help you outfit the entire family with the coolest costumes of 2017!

COUPLE/GROUP COSTUMES

  • Grab your friends and dress as the gang from a popular TV show, like Stranger Things or Game of Thrones, or movie, like It or Star Wars. Buy your costumes or get creative and DIY!
  • Superheroes are ALWAYS a win! There are so many great options to choose from and you can dress up as one superhero or do it as a big group.
  • Costumes that continue to be popular every year: sports teams, witches, ghosts, Disney characters, the cast of Grease or The Addams Family, just to name a few!

COSTUMES FOR THE KIDS

  • Occupations, like police officer, firefighter, mailman, or construction worker, are an awesome option for kids of all ages because they love to play dress-up and wear a uniform!
  • Animal costumes, like lions, cats, or mice, are adorable – the younger the child, the cuter they look!
  • Disney characters make great costumes. Princes and princesses, the cast of the Descendants or Despicable Me, or good old Mickey and Minnie are sure to excite your child and make for great photo opps!

PET COSTUMES

  • What is cuter than a dog in a costume? We’ll answer: not much!! From sushi rolls to cowboys, here are some outfits that will make you smile! http://ow.ly/qivs30fNVaR
  • As long as Fido is up for it, we say get him in on the trick-or-treating action (minus the treats – chocolate is poisonous to dogs)! Here are some more pet costumes for your dog or cat: http://ow.ly/b1Pb30fNWir

We want to know: what are you and your family dressing up as for Halloween this year?

5
Oct

Halloween Treats

Hello, October!

We’re just getting our feet wet with our ‘All Things Halloween’ series on the blog. Last week, we touched on decor with some great tips and options to decorate your home. Today, we’re coming in with delicious do-it-yourself treats that will satisfy every ghost, ghoul, and goblin that RSVPs to your Halloween party!

We found some delicious, easy-to-make recipes that you and your guests can indulge in before you head out to trick-or-treat on October 31st!

APPETIZERS

SWEET TREATS

  • One (BIG) reason why Halloween is such a treasured holiday? Sweet treats!
    • This bark is NOT for the dogs! Boo Bark is so easy to make, you don’t even have to bake it! Grab your favorite chocolate melts and your favorite chocolate candy. Melt the chocolate, mix with your favorite candy, and let it set. Done. And YUM!

http://greatideas.people.com/2014/10/17/bakerella-halloween-chocolate-bark/

  • Here’s another no-bake sweet treat: individual pumpkin cheesecakes! https://lilluna.com/no-bake-pumpkin-cheesecakes/
  • These Rice Krispies Treats are almost too cute to eat. Almost! Everyone loves these classic, childhood treats! And with this recipe, you can add in whichever Halloween candy you’re in the mood for!

https://www.yummyhealthyeasy.com/easy-pumpkin-krispies-treats

FRUIT

Tell us which treats you plan to make to celebrate Halloween this year!

29
Sep

Halloween Time

We know the fall season has just entered the building (when will the weather receive the memo?), but we couldn’t wait another MINUTE to discuss one of our favorite holidays – HALLOWEEN! We love to celebrate Halloween because it’s all about fun, family, and friends – much like your camping adventures at our resort.

 

We want to help you be completely prepared for Halloween. So, we’re going to run a (very exciting) 5 part blog series titled ‘All About Halloween’ to get you ready for October 31st!

 

To start us off, here is All About Halloween: Decor!

  • Family-Friendly:
    • Party City has an amazing kid-friendly section of goodies this year. Giant hanging friendly ghosts, jack-o-lanterns, and happy ghouls, just to name a few. There are so many great options: http://ow.ly/om4K30ftrrj
    • You’ll get more smiles than scares with POPSUGAR’s DIY cute Halloween decorations! You can get the kids involved and have them help you make some garland, banners, treat dishes, and more. Check out all the details: http://ow.ly/aMAH30ftrXS
  • Lights and Sounds:
    • Light up your house! These Walmart finds give you lots of bang for your buck – and tons of options, too! Little lights to adorn your porch, projection lights, animated life-size ghosts, and LED lights aplenty! http://ow.ly/Wg6K30fuliX
    • There are so many easy and not-so-spooky DIY light up Halloween decorations; WooHome compiled a great list of ideas that you and the kids can make together!

http://www.woohome.com/diy-2/19-easy-and-spooky-diy-lights-for-halloween-night

  • Super Spooky:
    • Spirit Halloween takes it up a notch in the scare tactics department. If you’re looking to really spook everyone – think IT, Halloween, and Freddy vs. Jason – these mature Halloween decorations are for you! http://ow.ly/f3xU30funA5
    • You could always sit outside your cabin, RV, or home “pretending” to be a scary mannequin. Then, when people walk up to the door to trick-or-treat, you can pop up and frighten them! We know it’ll get ‘em every time!

We want to know: what are your favorite go-to Halloween decorations?

20
Sep

Good Time of Year For Apple Picking

We love this time of year. It’s all about family, togetherness, wonderful weather, cozy sweaters, mugs of hot tea – and apple picking! Here are some interesting apple facts: There are over 2,500 different types of apples grown in the United States and they are grown in all 50 states! However, the crabapple is the ONLY type of apple that is native to the U.S..

They say, “An apple a day keeps the doctor away!” Apples, a member of the rose family of plants, are fat-, sodium-, and cholesterol-free, and a great source of fiber! They’re convenient to store, to pack, and to eat! Apple trees take four to five years to produce their first fruit but, once they do, they’re the gift that keeps on giving; the average lifespan of an apple trees is 100 years!

We’re jumping on the apple bandwagon and are excited to make some delicious homemade recipes this season: applesauce, apple pie, apple fritters, apple tart, apple crisp, apple turnovers, apple cider, baked apples, oh the possibilities are endless!

In order to make your recipe taste great, though, you need to use the best apples. But how do you pick the perfect apple? We’ll tell you….

  • Choose firm apples. The firmer the apple, the better the fruit will hold up when you cook it.
  • The apples nearest the outside of the tree are the ones that ripen first.
  • Don’t just pull on the apple to remove it. Gently twist it off of the tree.
  • Once you remove an apple from a tree, they’re done ripening!

Let us leave you with this delicious recipe. Enjoy!

MICROWAVE BAKED APPLES (For the full recipe, click here)

Serves: 4

  1. Cut off top 1/2 inch from each apple. With melon baller, core through stem ends without breaking through bottom.
  2. Place in a glass pie plate; sprinkle with sugar and spices.

Cover. Microwave on Medium-High for 8 minutes or until tender. Let stand, covered, for 3 minutes. Add toppings and Enjoy!

20
Sep

Fall Is In The Air

Fall is in the air – and we couldn’t be happier! Fall foods, fall fun; there are so many reasons to fall in love with fall.

Here are a few of our favorites:

  • Weather / Foliage – The crispness in the air and the colors of the leaves changing – it’s a wonderful sight to see, and feel! Take out your sweaters, mugs of tea, and good books. It’s time to get cozy!
  • Holidays – Halloween and Thanksgiving – need we say more? Halloween is fun, creative, spooky, and exciting. Thanksgiving is a wonderful time to reflect, give thanks, spend time with family and friends, and eat!
  • PSL – Pumpkin Spice Latte is, for some people, the reason for the season! Pumpkin here, pumpkin there, pumpkin flavor is literally EVERYWHERE during the fall! It’s a hot debate amongst friends because you either love it, or you don’t! Where does your vote “fall”?
  • Apple Picking – Looking to make homemade applesauce or delicious apple pie? Use fresh apples – pick them straight off the tree!

New season, new to-do list:

  • Health Checklist – This is the perfect time to schedule appointments with your Internist (for your annual physical), Dentist (for your biannual cleaning), and Opthamologist (to check your vision).
  • Fall Cleaning – Much like spring, fall is a great time for a deep clean and thorough purge. Go through your fridge, freezer, and pantry and throw out expired foods. Go through your closet, and your kids’ closets, and take out clothes that are too big, too small, or out-dated. You can also pick through your kids’ toys & books and remove any that aren’t age-appropriate anymore. Then, you can donate EVERYTHING in your “no-go” pile to a worthy cause! It will also make more room in your house for all of the Christmas and Hanukkah gifts that will show up in December!

We want to know: What is YOUR favorite part of fall?