November 17, 2017
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
November 10, 2017
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
November 3, 2017
World Vegan Month is 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!
"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?
October 26, 2017
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.
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.
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?
October 21, 2017
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!
- 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!
- 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?
October 12, 2017
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!
- 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!
- 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?
October 5, 2017
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!
Tell us which treats you plan to make to celebrate Halloween this year!
September 29, 2017
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!
- 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
- 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?
September 21, 2017
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)
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.
3. Cover. Microwave on Medium-High for 8 minutes or until tender. Let stand, covered, for 3 minutes. Add toppings and Enjoy!
September 21, 2017
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
September 10, 2017
Ahhh, can you feel it? The hot summer weather is starting to dissipate and the fall weather is very slowly peeking in. With less humidity and cooler weather, it’s the perfect storm - for outdoor activities! One of our favorites is hiking! All you need is a friend (because you should never go alone!), your sneakers, some sunscreen, and water. Never been hiking before? You’re missing out! And let us tell you why….
- It’s Informal & Affordable! You don’t HAVE to go on a designated path - you can just start walking. As long as you’re in a safe area that you’re familiar with, you can hike along a trail, in the woods, along a street, wherever your legs may take you!
- You Can Go At Your Own Pace! Pump those arms and take long, hard strides, or take your time and go slow - enjoying the scenery.
- You Can Do It As A Family! This is probably the most important reason that we love hiking! You can strap the little ones in a carrier on your back, and let the older kids hike along with you. We guarantee this is a family fun event that everyone will want to get involved in.
- You Gain Mental Clarity! There is a reason it is called the “great outdoors” - because it really is great, for the mind, body, and spirit! You (and your family) get away from technology, electronics, and chaos, even just for a short time. This can help you think more clearly, increase your energy level, and elevate your mood. It’s a win-win-win!
- It’s Great Exercise! Hiking, like walking or running, is great for your bones, your muscles, and your heart - plus you’re burning calories!
- It’s Fun! You get to explore new plants and trees. You may see some animals that you weren’t expecting to come into contact with. Tread lightly, though - only touch plants or wildlife if you know what they are. You wouldn’t want to ruin your hike by getting poison ivy!
August 31, 2017
We are swooping in with today’s blog post and we hope your sweet tooth is ready! Whether you’re here with the kids, family members, or friends (old or new!), there comes a time mid-morning, or mid-afternoon, or the evening - heck, it can happen ANY time of day - where you just need a little something sweet! It’s between formal meal times, but you’re having a full-blown snack attack. What do you do? We’re here giving you some ammunition (AKA camping snack ideas) to curb that attack and satisfy your sweet tooth at ANY time of day.
One Ingredient Wonders:
- Marshmallows - You can roast ‘em, toast ‘em, or eat them right out of the bag! However you decide, keep these close by....you’ll need them for some other snack ideas further down our list. ;)
- Fruit - Since they are naturally sweet, fruits are a delicious, easy-to-prepare snack idea. Sliced apples, chunks of pineapple, or a handful of grapes are a very healthy and very tasty dessert option.
- S’mores - Remember those marshmallows from above? Grab them because we’re talking about the #1 camping snack staple. We talk about this one on our blog OFTEN because, well, it’s delicious! This snack is SO versatile, SO easy to prepare, and SO fun to eat!
- Trail Mix - Another versatile option, you can basically throw ANYTHING - such as nuts, dried fruits, or chocolates - into the mix. Use raw nuts and dark chocolate for a healthier option, or ‘go crazy’ with M&M’s, peanut butter chips, honey roasted almonds...the possibilities are endless (and yummy!).
Easy as 1-2-3:
- No-Bake Cookies - (1) Ripe bananas, (2) uncooked oats, and (3) chocolate chips, peanut butter chips, raisins, or nuts. You can make a whole boat- RV-load so they’re easily accessible and ready to grab & eat when you’re in the mood!
- Rice Krispies Treats - Grab those marshmallows again! For this recipe, you only need (1) butter, (2) Rice Krispies cereal, and (3) those marshmallows to make this ooey-gooey sweet treat that EVERYONE loves!
Tell us - what is your go-to to satisfy your snack attacks?
August 18, 2017
Beginner Barbecuing Questions
Barbecuing is a simple and delicious way to prepare a variety of meals and side dishes for breakfast, lunch, or dinner. When you’re camping, it’s the perfect way to cook - and the easiest way to clean up! But, what if you’ve never fired up the grill before? Have no fear - we’re here with a (BB)Q & A to answer all of your beginner barbecuing questions so you can man (or woman) the grill like a true pro!
Q: How hot should I make the grill?
A: According to Executive chef Erwin Manzano of Morton’s the Steakhouse, you should make sure the grill is as hot as you can get it! A hot grill is what seals in the juice and creates the crust on the outside. If you're using charcoal, make sure they're red hot but not flaring up.
Q: Do I need to clean the grill every time I use it?
A: YES!! Ray Sheehan of Neptune, creator of the BBQ Buddha line of sauces and rubs, says to start out with a good, clean grill! When you use a wire brush, pieces can break off, get stuck on the grill, and then end up in your food. (Not a great seasoning for your steak!) Instead, use aluminum foil, a steam cleaner, or a bamboo grill brush with rustproof brass bristles after every BBQ session.
(source: http://ow.ly/SNaG30eui85, http://ow.ly/L4Qs30eujXb)
Q: Do I need to season my meat before I cook it?
A: That’s completely up to you! You really should consider seasoning or marinating your meat - especially if you’re using lean proteins with little or no fat (aka flavor). A marinade acts as a tenderizer and brings out the meat’s natural flavors before grilling. According to the USDA, you can marinate: poultry for up to two days in the refrigerator, beef for up to 24 hours, and fish for 30 minutes to 1 hour. Or, use a dry rub!
(source: http://ow.ly/M4xg30euLOO, http://ow.ly/3MBU30euLQ4)
So, what are you waiting for? Get to grillin’!
August 17, 2017
Solar Eclipse Coming
Monday, August 21, 2017 is a very special day! It’s been 38 years since a total solar eclipse was visible in the United States. And it will be another 7 years until it happens again! While it’s not necessarily a once-in-a-lifetime, it will only happen ‘once in a blue moon’ so it’s definitely a big deal! And what better way to experience this celestial event than while camping in the great outdoors? Here are some facts and tips to get your geared up for the 2017 solar eclipse!
So, what is a solar eclipse? When the moon passes between the Earth and the sun, we experience a solar eclipse. For the 2017 solar eclipse, a path, stretching from Lincoln Beach, Oregon to Charleston, South Carolina, will experience a TOTAL solar eclipse - where the moon completely covers the sun and there is total darkness (totality). The rest of the country will experience a partial solar eclipse - where the moon covers most, but not all, of the sun’s disk.
Unless you are in the exact location during a moment of totality, you NEVER want to look directly at the sun during a solar eclipse. If you do, you could severely injure your eyes and permanently hurt your vision. You can safely view an eclipse of the sun with direct viewing, using special eclipse glasses/shades, or indirect viewing, where you project an image of the sun onto a screen. Click here for more information on viewing the solar eclipse safely: https://eclipse2017.nasa.gov/safety.
So, what can you expect? If only for a few minutes, wherever you are in the United States, the sky will darken - around 9am PDT if you’re on the west coast, around 4pm EDT if you’re on the east coast, or somewhere in between as the shadow of the moon travels from west to east!
Happy Solar Eclipsing, everyone!
Watch live video streams of this awesome event at from locations across the country at https://www. nasa.gov/eclipselive.
Find more information about the 2017 total solar eclipse at the following links:
August 3, 2017
Get Ready For Your Closeup
Hello August! The summer is flying by and we’re having a blast with all of our camping families. Everyone is busy laughing, playing, and making amazing memories that will last forever and, with all of the pictures that our guests are always taking, they definitely WILL last forever! Documenting your camping vacations is a wonderful way to remember all of the amazing activities, events, and adventures that you take part in each camping season. You can look back and see how your family has changed and how much your kids have grown.
You already have a beautiful backdrop at our resort - so we’re coming in with some simple tips to help you take the perfect family pictures on your next camping adventure at our resort.
Tip #1: LIGHTING. It’s all about utilizing natural light, so try to take your pictures outside! Wait for the beautiful sunset or, if you’re taking a picture midday, make sure you’re not in the shadow of a tree or building.
Tip #2: CLOTHING. No need to go all matchy-matchy for your pictures. Your best bet is to select colors or patterns that compliment each other. In fact, think of what will look best in your living room - you may want to transform the best picture into a canvas to decorate your home!
Tip #3: KEEP IT NATURAL. Like the lighting tip, keep the atmosphere of the shoot natural. Posing everyone for the “perfect” picture can be exhausting and virtually impossible. Let the kids play around and have fun. The grins in these pictures are more natural than any “cheese” smile you’ll have to force them to give.
We’ll leave you with one final tip - create a photo book each camping season! They are so simple to make (a few clicks of the mouse & it’s done!) and are such a great way to keep all of your awesome pictures organized and easy to share with everyone!
We would love to see the pictures that you take out our resort. Remember to share them with us on our Facebook page!