Tag Archives: Family

Go Green!

Whether you’re motivated by a workplace initiative, a personal goal or the opportunity to teach your children lifelong positive habits, now is a great time to become more environmentally friendly.
Here are three ways your family can create positive environmental change starting today.

Recycle

Research shows that less than 2 percent of waste in the United States is recycled, yet almost half of all trash can be recycled. Packed lunches are one source of waste that most families don’t consider. These are tossed away each afternoon once lunchtime is finished. This is true during the school year and during summer vacation, as some children in daycare have to bring their own lunch.

Instead of throwing out plastic wrappers, collect them and send them to a company like TerraCycle. They turn recycled wrappers into products like tote bags, pencil cases, and even picnic benches! Visit www.terracycle.com for more information.

Protect water resources

Water is one of the most important resources people have, yet every year billions of gallons are needlessly wasted. You can conserve water in your home by teaching your children to take shorter showers or baths, turning off dripping faucets and avoiding letting the water run while they are brushing their teeth.

You can also reduce water waste in your home by investing in water-saving appliances and by reducing or eliminating the practice of watering your lawn, relying on rain to do so instead.

Help plant a tree

Few things are as beautiful as a tall, healthy tree. But trees are more than just a beautiful backdrop, as they are also essential to the environment. Here are four reasons why from the Arbor Day Foundation:

1. Trees help clean the air. They improve the quality of the air you breathe by capturing dust and pollution particles that can affect your health.

2. Trees help fight climate change. As trees grow, they remove greenhouse gases like carbon dioxide from the air, store carbon, and release pure oxygen into the atmosphere.

3. Trees planted along waterways can help filter out chemicals that might otherwise wash to water sources. They also can create stable soil and help prevent soil erosion, flooding and even landslides.

4. Trees properly planted around a home can help lower air conditioning and heating costs by up to 25 percent.

Environmentally friendly habits are easy to pick up and they can be a great way to bond with your children on a shared project while developing lifelong habits. So don’t wait another minute! Start your family down the eco-friendly path today.

Extracurricular Gardening

Beginning in April 2012, the Blue Ridge Land Conservancy teamed up with Grandin Court Elementary School to begin an after-school Garden Club for students interested in learning about gardening and growing food.
Teachers and parents wanted to spruce up the raised beds at the school and use them as a hands-on learning exercise. At first, they worried there might be limited student interest in such an “uncool” activity like gardening. But that spring, kids were playing outside, handling worms, and learning how to care for plants- and they loved it!
They saw how the items on their dinner plate were parts of living plants which took time and effort to grow. They were proud of making the school grounds more beautiful by planting flowers. The Green Thumbs Garden Club quickly grew to over 40 students. A second season of the club was planned for the fall so that all of the kids who wanted to attend could do so. Students and their families were also invited to tend the garden over the summer.

gc2With funding from the Roanoke Kiwanis Club, the Blue Ridge Land Conservancy built new gardens at Westside Elementary in 2014 and Highland Park Elementary School in 2015. Each new garden works towards an ultimate goal, to help students who participate in the garden clubs gain a better understanding of what they are eating. With more awareness of the different types of plants and what plant parts people can eat, the Blue Ridge Land Conservancy hopes to encourage students to be more adventurous in what they eat and to be unafraid to try new things.
Last year, project manager Meagan Cupka helped students plant corn at Westside Elementary. When she poured the seeds into her hand, one young student cried out, “That’s just corn!” Many students had no idea that the yellow kernels they eat are actually seeds. That moment is just one of many that illustrates how important this educational program is for young people.
This project continues to reconnect kids to their environment and provide them with a space where they can play and learn about the world in which they live. For more information on the Blue Ridge Land Conservancy and their after-school garden clubs, visit www.blueridgelandconservancy.org/garden-clubs.

Weekend Getaway in Lewisburg

In our June issue, we mention Lewisburg, West Virginia as a great weekend getaway for couples or families. A two hour drive from Roanoke, it has so much to offer including a rich history of which too many are unaware. The Greenbrier Historical Society’s Home and Garden Tour on Saturday, June 13 is the perfect opportunity to explore the city and learn about the earliest recorded history of the Greenbrier Valley.

One of Greenbrier Valley’s early treasure houses is situated on a bluff above the Greenbrier River near the Greenbrier River Trail. Built in 1796 of stone, this venerable structure served as the home of Benjamin Grigsby, the second pastor of the Old Stone Presbyterian Church in Lewisburg. The site was beautifully located on a bluff overlooking the Greenbrier River. Reverend Grigsby left his ministry at Old Stone in 1801 for a new call in Norfolk and his property passed through many hands before becoming the home of the Totten Family in 1902.

More recently, it was thoughtfully restored by Richard and Judy Lewis as a Bed and Breakfast Inn. Later, the panoramic views and proximity to Camp Allegheny attracted Dr. and Mrs. David Hunt to purchase the property and make it their own.

The home features gracious living room and dining rooms with fireplaces and an entry hall with murals depicting local history painted by Judy Lewis. The superlative kitchen is state of the art seamlessly blended into the fabric of the early structure. Outdoor spaces are appealingly integrated into the terrain.

An example of the “noggin” used between the logs of the oldest house in Lewisburg owned by Glen and Carol Jewell.
An example of the “noggin” used between the logs of the oldest house in Lewisburg owned by Glen and Carol Jewell.

“Comfortable, convenient, and colorful” is how Glen and Carol Jewell describe their house built by Jesse B. Bowlin in 1784 on “Hardscrabble Hill”. It is the oldest surviving house in Lewisburg. It certainly lives up to those descriptors now that the Jewells have nearly completed their renovation.

Just imagine seeing exposed logs that were put in place before the United States was born; a fireplace surround from 1750; a dining room ceiling that has never been painted; and whitewash or bright colonial colors throughout. The modern kitchen has cleverly hidden conveniences and room for a gourmet cook.

Many of the special touches were created by Mr. Jewel whose skill as a wood worker is apparent in the furniture he has made as well as his ability to add modern conveniences while making them look like they belong.

Mrs. Jewell’s love of fine fabric is apparent in the upholstery materials and window treatments. She had one room painted to showcase a set of crewel bed hangings which will soon be installed.

For more information on the tour, please call the Greenbrier Historical Society at 304-645-3398. Tickets, available at the North House Museum and the Greenbrier Convention and Visitors Bureau, are $50 for the gala on Friday evening, $30 for the Homes tour on Saturday, and $10 for the church tour and concert on Sunday afternoon. A combination ticket can be purchased for $80. The lunch at the church is a separately ticketed event and tickets are available for $10. Both the gala and church lunch tickets must be purchased in advance and by Monday, June 8Saturday Home Tour tickets and Sunday Church Tour and Concert tickets may be purchased at the door.

Be sure to pick up a copy of our June Travel issue for more great weekend trip ideas to consider this summer!

 

 

Reading Outside of School

Reading is a fundamental skill people use throughout their lives, and in this digital age reading is more important than ever. When children and tweens read, they improve their reading skills and they also improve their comprehension, knowledge base, concentration and vocabulary. Many children love books, but getting those children to continue to read as tweens can be more difficult.
As a parent, you cannot afford to let your tween’s reading fall by the wayside or trust that the reading they do at school is sufficient. Supplemental reading at home will help your child do better at school and in real world after graduation, too. To encourage their reading outside the classroom, follow these suggestions:

* Keep it positive. Encourage your tween to read without pressuring, nagging or bribing them. Tweens should read for enjoyment, not because they feel forced or stand to profit financially from doing so. You should also avoid criticizing what they read. Even reading a gossip, music or video game magazine is better than not reading at all.

* Set an example. Want your tweens to take an interest in reading? Then read yourself. If your tweens see that you make a habit of reading and enjoy doing it, they’ll be more apt to pick up supplemental reading on their own.

* Find a story that interests them. Looking for a unique story that will interest your tween? Broken by Tanille Edwards is the love story of Milan, a high-school girl with a burgeoning modeling career. She’s also deaf and struggling with the same insecurities many tweens and teens face. This book is geared toward young adults, making it easy for them to tackle. The book also comes with its own musical soundtrack, allowing your child to enjoy the music as they turn the pages.

* Start a book club. Join your tween in what they are reading. Ask them to pick a book you will both read together and then discuss at the end of the month. This will help keep both of you on task and provide a great way to share mutual interests.

* Stress reading’s other benefits. Reading offers numerous benefits to your child beyond the purely academic, so make sure they are aware of them. Reading a book also grows their imagination, spurs creativity, entertains and provides a cost-effective way to kick back and relax after a long day of school. The more your child sees reading as a reward, the more apt they will be to do it in their spare time.

Between friends, technology and school, there are plenty of forces vying for your teen’s attention; make sure supplemental reading is one of them. Encouraging your tween to read in their free time, as well as at school, offers them with a wonderful hobby today and lifelong benefits down the road.

Serve It Up Sassy: 2015 Graduation Gathering!

RECIPE DEVELOPMENT, FOOD STYLING, PHOTOGRAPHY, and ARTICLE BY LIZ BUSHONG

chevron canvasIt was just a few years ago on a bright sunny morning, you held the hand of your six -year old  as a big yellow school bus pulled up in front of your mailbox. It was time to board the bus for their first day of school. Your little darling could hardly reach the first step on the bus but with a gentle nudge from you, the climb to board was easy. As you held back the tears, the excitement and joy in your child’s eyes melted your heart, and a new page in this chapter of life had just been turned. As the pages of time turned year after year, it is now 2015 and graduation day is on the horizon.

It is time to plan a graduation gathering; an after-the-ceremony reception for your graduate. A bright summer color-palette like hot pink, orange, and lime green sets the color scheme for this reception. This ‘graduation gathering’ focuses on her, but colors can be changed to focus on him, such as navy, light blue, and forest green or choose school colors.

Another inspirational idea is a painted wall canvas. This colorful chevron wall canvas provides the perfect back drop for the dessert table and is part of the graduate’s gift, something she will take with her for the college dorm or apartment. For step-by-step instructions on creating a wall canvas in the chevron pattern please go to my blog, www.lizbushong.com.

In keeping with the color scheme, hot pink, orange and lime, large daisy flower heads are arranged in rows by color in a clear acrylic tray. A piece of glass was cut to fit the acrylic tray to serve festive lemonade’s that color-coordinate with the Gerber Daisies.

Graduation candy caps made of miniature peanut butter cups and chocolate covered grahams are served up sassy with a lime green butter cream frosting tassel.

spot on cake loaf with slicesThe spot-on cake* was baked in an 18- inch loaf pan, then covered with a delicious butter cream fondant and decorated with three fresh Gerber Daisies, one of each themed color. Baked inside the cake are three large pre-baked cake balls that carry the same hot pink, orange and lime color scheme for the spot-on look. For instructions and recipe, visit www.lizbushong.com.

Other food on the menu includes easy pick-up fare that can be served so the graduate and guests can visit while eating. Mini pimento cheese sandwiches, chicken salad croissants, small vegetables with jalapeno ranch dressing, assorted chips, chocolate dipped pretzel rods and trail mix with personalized orange M & M’s are small bites you can create the day before the event. You can order personalized M & M’s at www.mymms.com for an extra surprise in the trail mix.

A separate skirted side table should be set up for gifts. Suggested graduation gifts for the college-bound graduate include a camera, an alarm clock, a desk organizer with coordinated desk supplies, monogrammed or personalized notepads and stationary, and gift cards. Of course, cash is golden for all graduates. The Instax Mini 8 camera prints out photos immediately, so creating a scrapbook or photos for a dorm room is quick and easy. This little camera creates 2 x 3- inch photos and comes in several fun colors for teens. After the reception, the graduate could send thank you notes to all the guests for their gifts and include a photo of the graduate using or holding the much appreciated gift.

It’s been a journey to get to this day.  As you reminisce the years gone by, you are entering another new chapter in this book-of -life with your ‘little darling.’ It is graduation day, a time to celebrate a momentous achievement with the anticipation of a bright new future ahead. Look -out graduate, your future is so bright you are going to need shades!!!

graduation candy capsGraduation “Candy” Caps

20 Mini Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups®
20 Keebler Deluxe Grahams®-fudge covered
½ cup Buttercream frosting- divided- chocolate, color of choice for tassel

Unwrap all peanut butter cups and place upside down on a baking sheet. Cut each rectangular graham cracker into a square shape if desired or use as is. Place ¼ cup chocolate frosting in piping bag with small tip and pipe small dot on top of bottom of peanut butter cup. Attach graham cracker on top of frosting to create the graduation cap. Using the remaining ¼ cup of frosting in the school color of choice, place frosting in a piping bag with tip #5.  Create a tassel on one side of the cap. Store in a sealed container until serving.  Can be made one day ahead.

graduation gathering dessert table

Triple Lemonade

3 (12 ounce) cans frozen lemonade concentrate, thawed but cold
2 cups water
2 cups sprite or ginger ale-chilled
1 (12 ounce) can frozen orange juice concentrate, thawed but cold
1(16 ounce) jar stemmed maraschino cherries with juice

In a large pitcher, mix lemonade concentrate and cold water. Stir to combine. Divide 2 cups of lemonade into three pitchers evenly. Add to one pitcher, thawed orange juice and set aside. To another pitcher, add cherry juice and to the last pitcher, add 2 cups of ginger ale. Each pitcher should be a different color to go with color scheme. If needed, add a few drops of food coloring to make the intensity of the color desired. Or, if you want to make a large punch, combine all ingredients and serve in a punch bowl.
Garnish:  Slice orange wedges for the orange lemonade, lime wedge with stemmed maraschino cherry for the Cherry lemonade, and a lemon twist for the plain lemonade. Serve in champagne glasses.

*Cake was inspired by Surprise-Inside Cakes: Amazing Cakes for Every Occasion–with a Little Something Extra Inside by Amada Rettke.

Make a Statement, Make it Sassy, Make it Yours! ®
Liz Bushong is an expert in the three-dimensional art of entertaining. She transforms simple dining occasions into beautiful and memorable moments by adding a touch of her own “sassy” style. For more information about Liz and Serve it up Sassy go to Liz’s blog www.lizbushong.com and website, www.serveitupsassy.com like and share www.facebook.com/lizbushong, and pin www.pinterest.com/lizbushong.

Children’s Music Celebrating Gender Freedom and Expression

Is your family getting tired of hearing the same children’s music? Are you looking for music that will not only entertain but also educate them? Consider introducing them to Chana Rothman, a singer/songwriter whose debut children’s album, “Rainbow Train,” celebrates gender freedom and expression.

2138114Chana is also an award-winning music educator and mom to two children (ages 1 and 4). Born in Toronto and formerly based in Brooklyn, she now lives/works in Philadelphia and her music is played and sung in communities around the world. Chana’s most recent project, “Rainbow Train,” is born of her experience as a family musician and music educator – seeing a need for music that celebrates healthy gender expression both for her own kids and family and for all kids and all families.

Chana was inspired to write and record this album based on her own experiences and that of her son, who, as an early toddler, experimented with his gender expression. With this album, Chana aims to affirm and celebrate the many different ways to express gender; attach a relatable voice to a growing gender-freedom movement; open a dialogue based on respect, honesty, and kindness; and provide a usable, danceable tool that can create social change. “Dress Up and Dance” is a particularly notable track that both children and parents can relate to and perhaps use as a tipping-off point for a conversation on individuality and being respectful of others.

“Rainbow Train” is available now!  Visit her website or Facebook page for more information on Chana and download tracks from the album here.

Planned Parenthood South Atlantic Spring Luncheon

f883aecea06b97670f7fd979c17af2ae_f1115The Fourth Annual Planned Parenthood South Atlantic Spring Luncheon will be held in Charter Hall in the downtown Roanoke Market Building on Thursday, May 21 at 11:30 am.

The luncheon will include keynote speaker Jenny Black, the newly appointed president of the newly merged Planned Parenthood South Atlantic that serves women, men, and teens here on the southern East coast. Warner Dalhouse will be honored at this event. Warner is a philanthropist, founder and the former CEO of Home Town Bank and other local banks. Additionally, he was the keynote speaker at the 1991 Planned Parenthood Annual Meeting.

Actress Kathleen Turner will also be in attendance this year. Turner is the chair of the national Planned Parenthood Federation of America Board of Advocates. She is most notable from her roles in the films Peggy Sue Got Married, Romancing the Stone, and Serial Mom. She has also appeared on stage in The Graduate, Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, and most recently in Red Hot Patriot, a one-woman show about Texas liberal journalist, Molly Ivins.

Kathleen Turner has been a longtime supporter of Planned Parenthood. About her work with the organization, she says, “As I travel the country, I’m still shocked at what I see. Attacks on women and women’s health are rampant. No woman should have to face these attacks to access the health care she desperately needs.”

Consider attending this luncheon and volunteering your time and money to this amazing organization that helps support the underserved women AND men in our area. For more information about the many services Planned Parenthood provides, visit their website.  If you are interested in obtaining tickets to their luncheon, email Rachel.Fletcher@ppsat.org.

Written by Krista Knauer

Rethinking “I’m Sorry”

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Last year, I made a personal commitment to stop saying “I’m sorry” for things that should not require an apology. I found I used those two little words far more often than I should– and I finally made the connection to how detrimental it was to my self esteem. I’ve eliminated “I’m sorry” from the following situations in my life and it has resulted in a  level of genuine happiness I was unable to experience before.
On the surface, these situations seem like obvious moments to forego saying, “I’m sorry.” However, it took the wise council of a friend to point many of them out to me, and I am not too proud to admit that her advice truly opened my eyes. So, without further ado, the apologies that I will strive to never utter again:

  1. “I’m sorry, but I just can’t deal with the drama you add to my life.” Stop being sorry for distancing yourself from toxic people. This includes those you once thought were your best friends and even family members. Grandparents that don’t make the effort to have a relationship with their grandkids. Parents who lie or emotionally, mentally, or physically abuse their children. If someone’s actions are becoming detrimental to your own well being, you do not have to feel bad about letting them go.
  2. “I’m sorry that my physical appearance (tattoos, clothing, hair, etc) offends you.” It is not the responsibility of a tattooed person to ignore your negativity. It is your responsibility to avoid making assumptions about other people based on decisions they made that have no impact on you or anyone else. The same is true for the girl you think should not be wearing a bikini on the beach, the soccer mom who accidentally spilled coffee all over her white shirt on the way to the game, or even a bank teller with a mohawk. How a person looks doesn’t influence how they treat you, but even the best of us can crumble when we are greeted with criticism based on what others believe are flaws in our physical appearance.
  3. “I’m sorry for changing my opinion or that my opinion is different from yours.” Not always as cut and dry as it sounds, this apology often comes when faced by peers who once shared your opinion on a matter find out that you now support the opposing side. If you become an outcast because you made an informed decision to change your mind, then it’s time to make new friends who can be kind to you regardless of a difference in opinion.
  4. “I’m sorry for everything, including my existence, that makes you uncomfortable.” Many “modern” families include divorced parents, step siblings, and all kinds of unique situations that have the potential to be awkward for certain members of the family. No one should have to apologize when the effort they make to build a relationship is never enough or for the jealousy that others feel when they have to share the spotlight for a few tiny moments. Apologizing for unintentionally being the face of someone’s insecurities is useless. Until they figure out to conquer their personal issues, you will waste so much energy trying to understand what you are doing wrong— when the answer may simply be that you are enabling a bully.

11011176_948260001893397_446509867776045038_nApologies are powerful, and we certainly should not do away with them. Unfortunately, when they become a substitute for a real conversation or a way to deflect bullying, they lose any ability they ever had to heal the broken. Ask yourself if you are truly sorry– if you have a reason to be, or if you “being sorry” is to justify someone’s inability to communicate and behave like an adult.

Written by Hayleigh Worgan