All posts by admin


Summer Camp @ Home

The kids are out of school and home for the summer. Now what?

Why not host a summer camp at home? With a little planning and a few creative ideas, you can keep costs down but excitement up as you host your own summer camp with the kiddos. Each week you can check out books from the library that go along with the weekly the theme. This will keep kids excited about reading through the summer and get them out of the house and into the library each week!

Eleven Themed Weeks for the Perfect Summer Camp

Week 1 – Friendship Week
Talk about being a good friend.
Have a friendship day with water fun and a special pizza treat.
Write letters to a friend and make crayon art.

Week 2- Beach/ Under the Sea
Learn about different animals under the sea.
Have an Under the Sea Mega Movie Night (“Finding Nemo” and “The Little Mermaid”) with a special treat and campout in the living room.
Make some under the sea sand art, visit an Aquarium and go to a pet store to see the fish.

Week 3- Outdoor Fun
Have a S’mores Night campout.
Go for a hike and make a nature bracelet, outdoor art and painted rocks.
Make a bird feeder and get creative with some sidewalk paintings.

Week 4- Go America!
Participate in Fourth of July celebrations.
Make Patriotic art and a USA treat.
Enjoy pool fun, hold a yard sale and go for ice cream.

Week 5- Outer Space
Enjoy glow in the dark bubbles outside.
Make a spaceship or model plane, make an outer space mobile and visit a planetarium.
Eat dessert outside and watch the moon and stars.

Christmas-in-JulyWeek 6- Christmas in July
Host a Blizzard Party and make Christmas crafts.
Start a Christmas Saving Jar and give toys to a charity.
Enjoy a Christmas movie during the week.

Week 7- Pioneer Week
Make homemade bread, ice cream and butter.
Visit a history museum.
Talks about what a pioneer is.

Week 8- Trains and Transportation
Go on a train ride.
Participate in transportation activities (cars, buses, trains, planes, etc.).
Enjoy Hot Wheels® races with friends.

Week 9- Dinosaurs
Visit a science museum.
Make a dino model and dino art.
Make a “mudpie” dessert .

Week 10- Be Creative
Have a fancy family art show with a fancy dinner for the kiddos.
Make lots of art to show at the art show.
Enjoy lots of crafts this week.

Week 11- Sports and Water Play
Visit a new park, host an end of summer barbecue and enjoy pool play.
Host a Family Olympics and let the kids make medals for awards.
Enjoy back to school shopping and begin prep work for the new school year.

These are just a few ideas to get your started with eleven weeks of themed activities. The kids will love that each week includes new ideas, and don’t be afraid to take these themed weeks with you on vacation!


Save Yourself – Healthy Habits for Summer

We all love to have tan bodies during the summer, but sun worshipers beware!  Melanoma, which is the most dangerous form of skin cancer, is also one of the most common forms of cancer and is connected to overexposure to UVA and UVB rays. Although you can have overexposure to the sun any time of the year, it’s more likely to happen during the dog days of summer.  Longer days, warmer temperatures and enjoying the outdoors during the summer months makes this season a prime time to overexpose your body to the elements. By following a few simple steps, you can be on your way to a safer and healthier summer.


When you think about the term “overexposure,” you probably think about sunburns or being in the sun for extended periods of time. For example, hours upon hours enjoying the sand at the beach, right? In actuality, overexposure means any more than 15 minutes exposed to the sun before 10 a.m. or after 2 p.m. Anything more than that is considered overexposure.


The Difference Between UVA and UVB Rays

UVA rays are less intense than UVB rays and are more preventable as well. UVA rays are present any time of the day, even the cloudiest of days. UVB rays cause burns and reddening of the skin. UVB rays are the ones responsible for damaging the surface of the skin.

Aging and Wrinkles

Sun exposure gradually thins skin and that is what causes wrinkles. To keep the signs of aging away a little longer, it’s imperative to reduce your exposure to the sun as well as to apply sunscreen. Another idea is to invest in a few sun-proof shirts.  These shirts can be found at local outdoor sporting goods stores. They’re lightweight, allowing heat to flow away from the body, but protect the skin form the sun’s harmful rays.

Tips for Staying Sun Safe This Summer

sunblock and legsApply Sunscreen Regularly

  • Use sunscreen that protects against both UVA and UVB rays. It’s no longer just about a high level of SPF in your sunscreen.
  • Apply sunscreen at least 20 minutes before exposure. This allows ample time for the sunscreen to be absorbed by the skin and offers the highest level of protection.
  • Your eyes need just as much protection from the sun as your skin. Make sure to wear sunglasses while exposed to the sun. Today there are so many varieties you can find a pair that offers protection against both UVA and UVB rays.

Moisturize Regularly

  • Lips need love, too! Keep your lips well-protected against damaging rays by applying an SPF lip balm or ChapStick® to your lips on a regular basis. This will help keep them moisturized and soft.
  • Moisturize often. Keep your skin pliable and soft by moisturizing throughout the day and throughout the year. Purchase a daily moisturizer that has at least 15 SPF (and this goes for the men as well). Women can purchase makeup with an added SPF and if your makeup doesn’t have it, make sure to apply a facial moisturizer that does before putting on your makeup.
  • As always, make sure your children are protected with hats, sunglasses and clothing that covers delicate skin. Use UVA/UVB sunscreens with at least 45+ SPF. Apply sunscreen often. Although some sunscreens are water repellent, it’s still a good idea to reapply frequently to avoid sunburns.

When it’s beautiful outside, make sure you take the right steps before enjoying the sun to avoid causing damage to your skin. With these helpful tips you can keep your entire family safe this summer and all year round!


Penny Pinching – Saving Time and Money

By Stacy Vanzant

Let’s be honest. We’re all trying to save money, and the easiest place to blow your cash is around your home.  The Bible teaches us to be humble in our ways.  Although God will provide for our needs, we should take a closer look at what our needs really are and not be blindsided by our wants.

When you take a look around your house, what do you see?  When I took a deep look around my home I realized that as humans we want to make our lives easier, but at what cost and are there other alternatives?

When I watch infomercials on television or even walk down the aisle at a store, I’m bombarded with items that claim to make my life easier.  Steam vacuums, 3-in-1 dusters, cleaning supplies and even expensive organizational products all tell me they can save me time and effort.  So I took a look at many of the products I use around my house on a weekly basis and started looking for ways to be more frugal.

Here are a few of the keys finds that can save me hundreds of dollars each year and even a little elbow grease.

Make Your Own Laundry Detergent

On average, a container of store bought laundry detergent will cost anywhere from $10-$18.  This will average around 60-70 loads of laundry.  Here is a great and easy recipe to make your own detergent with very little effort and could save you hundreds of dollars each year.  The average cost per load using this recipe is around .01 per load. Wow!


Bar soap – The most typical type of soap to use is Fels Naptha.  It is an old-fashioned type of soap usually found in the laundry aisle.  The other options for soap are Ivory or another brand called Zote.  Any of these will work.   If you use Ivory or your own homemade soap you will need to use the whole bar.

Washing Soda – This is not to be confused with baking soda.  They are not the same thing.  It is a white powder and its purpose is to help remove dirt and odors.   Arm & Hammer Washing Soda is one type that can be found in the laundry section of the grocery store.   If you’re having a hard time finding it, you can order washing soda online through

Borax – Borax is a naturally occurring mineral: Sodium Borate.  It is a white powder.  Its purpose is as a laundry whitener and deodorizer. The brand to look for is 20 Mule Team.  It comes in a 76 oz. box.  You should be able to locate this in the laundry detergent aisle.


1/3 bar Fels Naptha or 1 bar other type of soap, as listed above

½ cup washing soda

½ cup borax powder

You will also need a small bucket, about 2 gallon size

Grate the soap and put it in a sauce pan.  Add 6 cups water and heat it until the soap melts.  Add the washing soda and borax and stir until it is dissolved.  Remove from heat.  Pour 4 cups hot water into the bucket.   Now add your soap mixture and stir, then add 1 gallon plus 6 cups of water and stir.  Let the soap sit for about 24 hours and it will gel.  Use ½ cup per load.

If you want your soap to have a scent you can add ½ to 1 oz. of essential oil or fragrance oil of your choice.

The finished soap will not be a solid gel.  It will be more of a watery gel that has been accurately described as an “egg noodle soup.” The soap is a low sudsing soap, so if you don’t see any suds, that is ok.  Suds are not what does the cleaning; it is the ingredients in the soap.

Replace your Household Cleaners with Hydrogen Peroxide

Hydrogen peroxide should really be called oxygen water, since it is basically the same chemical make up as water but with an extra oxygen atom (H2O2). Because of this it breaks down quickly and harmlessly into oxygen and water.  It’s non-toxic so it’s versatile and can be used around children, food and many other areas of your home.  No need to invest in the fancy brand name cleaners.

Replace your mouthwash

Use hydrogen peroxide as a mouthwash to freshen breath. It kills the bacteria that cause halitosis. Use a 50/50 mixture of hydrogen peroxide and water.

Kitchen Cleaner

Clean your cutting board and countertop. Let everything bubble for a few minutes, then scrub and rinse clean. Wipe out your refrigerator and dishwasher. Because it’s non-toxic, hydrogen peroxide is great for cleaning places that store food and dishes.

Remove baked-on crud from pots and pans

Combine hydrogen peroxide with enough baking soda to make a paste, then rub onto the dirty pan and let it sit for a while. Come back later with a scrubby sponge and some warm water, and the baked on stains will lift right off.

Clean the toilet bowl

Pour half a cup of hydrogen peroxide into the toilet bowl, let stand for 20 minutes, then scrub clean.

Toss the bleach

Remove stains from clothing, curtains, and tablecloths. Hydrogen peroxide can be used as a pre-treater for stains — just soak the stain for a little while in 3% hydrogen peroxide before tossing into the laundry. You can also add a cup of peroxide to a regular load of whites to boost brightness. It’s a green alternative to bleach, and works just as well.

Clean kids’ toys and play areas

Hydrogen peroxide is a safe cleaner to use around kids, or anyone with respiratory problems, because it’s not a lung irritant. Spray toys, toy boxes, doorknobs, and anything else your kids touch on a regular basis.

Around the House

Help out your plants. To ward off fungus, add a little hydrogen peroxide to your spray bottle the next time you’re spritzing plants.

Detox in the Bath

According to alternative therapy practitioners, adding half a bottle of hydrogen peroxide to a warm bath can help detoxify the body. Some are skeptical of this claim, but a bath is always a nice way to relax and the addition of hydrogen peroxide will leave you – and the tub – squeaky clean!

Steam Cleaner

Use one pint of 3% hydrogen peroxide to a gallon of water to clean humidifiers and steamers.

You can see a more in depth list of ways hydrogen peroxide can help around your home at Here

Toilet Tissue Savings

With a simple smash you can save a lot of money on wasteful toilet tissue runs. Smashing down your tissue rolls it prevents you or those in your family from running off more than they need.  It might sound silly, but just give it a squish and see how it works out for your family.


This might sound like an easy way to save, but it can add up to  savings on  your utility bill.  By simply going around your home and unplugging phone chargers, appliances, computers and even microwaves, you could save big.  Even when not in use, these items pull energy from your home.  By bending over to unplug you could save up to 10% a month on your utility bill.  It might not sound true, but give it a bend and see what happens.