4 Benefits of Getting Kids Involved in Scouting

scoutsKids are back at school! Not every kid is into after school sports, but they all need something to do between the last bell and when you get home from work. A scouting group may be an alternative activity for your child. Here are 4 benefits of getting kids involved in scouting.

Self-confidence  Joining scouting clubs typically requires learning new outdoor and indoor skills. Demonstrating these skills translate into merit badges.  Learning new skills gives children a sense of accomplishment. While in adult life, new skills and accomplishments sometimes means an increase in salary or a promotion, in scouting, children receive a badge to acknowledge that they’ve mastered a skill; mastery of one skill gives them courage to pursue more difficult challenges.

craftingTeamwork In scouting, kids are involved in troops. Activities – crafting, camping or cooking — are planned around working with other kids, communication and building skills as a group. Unlike working in the classroom where children do individual assignments, kids have to talk to each other, share equipment and supplies – even teach others new skills. Teamwork also allows for socialization and developing friendships they may not have the opportunity to bloom in their regular classrooms.

Value of Volunteering Scouting emphasizes service work. Exposing kids to service or volunteer work early on teaches them the value of giving back to the community and that helping others feels good. Getting involved in community service work also introduces children to the working world before they have to earn a wage. It gives them a jump start on developing a work ethic and helps them learn time management without the pressure of a paying job.  These are skills kids can also apply to school work as well as sports.

scoutsAdvancing Education and Career Development It’s never too early to help your kids with their careers. By getting kids involved in scouting, they can explore interests and activities outside of academics that they don’t have the opportunity to look at in the classroom. The more exposure they have to a variety of activities, the more likely they are to find their own path to higher learning and, subsequently, a career.

There are many after school activities for kids to participate in – whether your child joins scouting, a sports team or dance class, after school activities help mold children into contributing members of society – and it prevents them from spending too much time in front of the television.

 

 

Pinteresting Picks for September

Fall is a great time for home-improvement projects and crafts. Our Pinterest followers are in a mood for decorating and DIY. Many already are casting their eyes toward Halloween. The Lakeside Collection has a huge selection of eerie decor for the indoors and outside to make your home boo-tiful for trick-or-treaters. Here are our Pinteresting Picks for September.

Trade your real candles for this Set of 6 LED Candles for the safety of your children or pets.

Trade your real candles for this Set of 6 LED Candles for the safety of your children or pets.

Sculpted Pumpkin Planters are handpainted to look like real pumpkins!

Sculpted Pumpkin Planters are handpainted to look like real pumpkins!

 

Make yours the scariest house on the block for Halloween night with these Lighted Ghosts Yard Stakes.

Make yours the scariest house on the block for Halloween night with these Lighted Ghosts Yard Stakes.

Handprint Ornament Kit gives your Christmas tree a personalized touch from your kids.

Handprint Ornament Kit gives your Christmas tree a personalized touch from your kids.

 

7 Game Day Traditions

football-fans On college campuses across the country, students, alumni and fans are putting on their game day gear and heading to the stadium for weekend football games charged with spirit and enthusiasm passed down from generation to generation. One thing that fuels the enthusiasm is tradition. Every team has some sort of tradition – some are more extreme than others. Here are 7 of the more interesting game day traditions.

Florida State: Away games in which Florida State is the underdog are called a “Sod Game” and the practice field has a “Sod Cemetery” which is a symbol of victory for the Seminoles. In 1962, a professor challenged the team to “bring back some sod from between the hedges”. That was a reference to the University of Georgia who was expected to beat Florida State. FSU won the game and the team captain brought back a piece of sod which was buried and memorialized at their practice field. Team captains continue the tradition and bring back sod from fields where they were victorious.

fans3Alabama: Alabama football fans chant “Roll Tide” during games for the Crimson Tide – which is a phrase fans tacked on to the Alabama Fight Song. Along with the fight song, Lynyrd Skynyrd’s “Sweet Home Alabama” is played at every game and fans insert “Roll Tide” half-way through the song.

Notre Dame: At Notre Dame home games, both the fans and the football players follow tradition. At the end of the third quarter, fans salute the coach as the marching band plays Tchaikovsky’s 1812 Overture. At the end of the game, win or lose, the football team shows their appreciation for the fans by throwing their gloves to the fans on their way out of the stadium.

Ole Miss: At Ole Miss, fans dress in their Sunday best to tailgate at The Grove.  Tailgaters are so serious about their spots, a rule had to be made and enforced by campus police that no one is allowed to claim a spot before 9pm the night before game day.  Players enjoy The Grove as well — two hours before each home game, the football players “walk The Grove” to greet fans. It’s been a tradition for the last 30 years.

Ohio-State-footballOhio State: The rivalry between Ohio State and University of Michigan has a long and deep history. Since 1934, after every win over Michigan, players and coaches receive and a gold charm replica of football pants. It started with Coach Francis Schmidt. When reporters asked him what his team’s chances of defeating Michigan was, he replied, “Those fellows put their pants on one leg at a time just like everyone else.”

Clemson:  Clemson’s football stadium is nicknamed “Death Valley” just like the national park. The name of the stadium is actually Frank Howard Field at Clemson Memorial Stadium. Frank Howard was once Clemson’s head coach. During his tenure, another coach referred to the stadium as Death Valley because his team rarely won games there. Howard started calling it Death Valley after that and the name stuck. Howard was then presented with an actual rock from Death Valley and for years, players would rub the rock before each game.  The rock is now under a protective case at the stadium.

football fansGeorgia: At the University of Georgia, every football game starts with the Battle Hymn of the Bulldog Nation (the tune of Battle Hymn of the Republic) — fans stand and take off their hats while a lone trumpeter plays the first seven notes, the rest of the band joins in to finish the song alongside a narrated video that highlights the team’s history.

6 Facts You Might Not Know About Fall

fall leaves5On September 22nd at 7:29, we celebrate the first day of fall or the fall equinox. Popular assumption is that we get 12 hours of daylight and 12 hours of darkness — that actually happens on September 25th this year. But that’s not the only interesting fact surrounding fall, here are 6 facts you might not know about fall.

Squirrels and Nuts Squirrels are known to collect nuts in the fall and store them to eat in the winter (where we get the term “squirreling away”). Red squirrels store them in piles where they dry out but gray squirrels bury their nuts. Gray squirrels tend to forget where they bury most of the nuts. Those nuts don’t dry out but take root and develop to be big trees. If it weren’t for forgetful gray squirrels, we might not have as many oak and walnut forests which depend on gray squirrels to thrive and grow.

pumpkin-dishesPumpkins We carve them for Halloween and put them in pie for Thanksgiving and Christmas because 80% of the pumpkin supply in the United States is only available in October. And, while we enjoy our spiced pie fillings, pumpkins were originally used for the pie crust and not the filling.

Cider Hot spiced apple cider keeps us warm on chilly fall nights and we don’t stop drinking it until the holidays are over. In New Hampshire, though, they celebrate cider all year (even if it’s not available all year). New Hampshire’s appreciation for the hot fall beverage is so deep that in 2010, cider beat out milk as the official state beverage.

Gourds Starting in September, we start seeing gourds everywhere — in a centerpiece for big fall dinners, on decorative door wreaths and to dress up the mantel to welcome fall. While we use them for decor now, Native Americans had a more practical use for them. In the 1700s, gourds were used by Choctaw and Chickasaw native American tribes as bird feeders to attract purple martins to keep bugs out of their villages.

fallleaves6Apples The apples you know and love — the ones that fill an apple pie, are boiled down for a spiced cider and give a juicy crunch to caramel as a caramel apple — aren’t native to North America. When the English settled in the northeast, the only apples they found were crabapples — those tiny bits of fruit that can really only be used for making jelly. Unsatisfied with the crabapple, the English  brought over seeds to plant apple trees in the New World. Now apple trees grow in all 50 states.

scarecrowScarecrows While scarecrows are a favorite fall symbol, they are not native to North America. One of the earliest scarecrows was used by Greeks to scare birds away from grape vineyards. They were made to look like Priapus, the son of Greek god Dionysus and goddess Aphrodite. Priapus was said to be very ugly and legend has it, while playing in the vineyards, he scared all the birds away and the farmers had a bountiful harvest.

With or without the little known facts, the colors of the changing leaves, the chill in the air and anticipation of the holidays is interesting enough to make it one of our favorite seasons.

National Women’s Friendship Day: 5 of TV’s Best Women Friends

women Some of the most incredible things in any woman’s life are the friendships she has with other women. Research confirms what you already know: women have the ability to build friendships that not only last, but also survive distance, fights, and major life changes. National Women’s Friendship Day is September 21, and it’s a perfect time to celebrate your girlfriends who are as close as sisters. Invite them over, open some wine and watch some of television’s greatest girlfriend sets. Here are 5 of TV’s best women friends.

1. Lucy and Ethel The original TV female duo, Lucy Ricardo (Lucille Ball) and Ethel Mertz (Vivian Vance), set the standard that on-screen girlfriends are measured against during six seasons of I Love Lucy. Where Lucy was excitable and ambitious, Ethel was practical and unsentimental. The two balance each other out, and their unflappable loyalty sees them through many of Lucy’s wacky schemes.

2. Laverne and Shirley The title characters of Laverne & Shirley, Laverne De Fazio (Penny Marshall) and Shirley Feeney (Cindy Williams) are roommates and brewery co-workers trying to make their dreams come true in Milwaukee. Upbeat Shirley smooths cynical Laverne’s rough edges, while Laverne keeps her friend firmly rooted in reality. They stay best friends through horrible dates, the death of Laverne’s fireman boyfriend and a move to California.
women

3. Patsy and Eddy  There is a fine line between “friend” and “enabling co-dependent”. Patsy (Joanna Lumley) and Eddy (Jennifer Saunders) cross that line with hilarious results in Absolutely Fabulous. The leading duo of the 1990s British comedy known to fans as Ab Fab are inebriated, lazy, and slaves to fashion. Patsy and Eddy are an over-the-top and frequently funny satire of excess and reluctant aging. Through the haze, Patsy and Eddy are devoted to each other is a way that inspired British fans and gained them a cult following in the United States. While an American version never got off the ground, Patsy and Eddy are poised to return in a big-screen adaptation of Absolutely Fabulous in 2015.

4. Blanche, Rose, Dorothy, and Sophia Best friends do not only come in pairs, they can come in threes and fours, like The Golden Girls. With their husbands gone, and their children living their own lives, Blanche (Rue McClanahan), Rose (Betty White), Dorothy (Bea Arthur), and Sophia (Estelle Getty) emotionally support each other, forming a kind of family all their own. The girls swap dating horror stories, help each other through financial woes, and remind viewers that it is never too late in life to make new friends—or too late at night to enjoy cheesecake.

women5. Daria and Jane from MTV’s Daria While her animated adventures are set in the world of 1990s teen culture, cynical Daria Morgendorffer (voiced by Tracy Grandstaff) wrestles with issues that feel familiar no matter what era you grew up in—hope vs. reality, staying true to oneself, and dealing with an annoying younger sibling. Daria would have accepted being a loner, but luckily, she meets up with a fellow teen outcast, the artsy Jane Lane (Wendy Hoopes). Each one accepts the other just as she is while trading barbs with the popular kids. Daria and Jane keep each other from becoming too jaded or lonely as they grow up in the suburbs.

Apple Dumpling Day: Recipe for Apple Dumplings

Apple-DumplingIt is National Apple Dumpling Day! If your only encounter with apple dumplings was The Apple Dumpling Gang, your idea of an apple dumpling might be misguided. An apple dumpling has nothing to do with orphans, golden nuggets or Don Knotts; it’s an Amish baked treat that can easily be substituted for an apple pie. It’s perfect for the cool fall weather and make a great holiday dessert.

Here’s how you make them.

For the Dough:

  • 1 ⅓ cup all purpose flour
  • ¼ tsp baking powder
  • pinch salt
  • 6 TB cold butter, cut into cubes
  • 3 TB cold milk

(As an alternative, you can use a 9” store-bought pie crust)

IMG_4666Directions:

With a fork, mix the dry ingredients together in a medium bowl. Add the butter and, with your hands, squeeze the butter and flour mixture together to distribute the butter. Keep working the mixture until you have what looks like lumpy cornmeal. Make a well in the flour. Pour the cold milk into the well. Using a fork, gently bring the wet and dry ingredients together until it’s just combined. Bring it all together to form a loose ball. Cover it in plastic and refrigerate it for one hour.

For the filling:

  • 3 or 4 baking apples (Granny Smith, Jona Gold, Cortland, Gala), peeled and cored (the smaller, the better)
  • ¼ tsp lemon juice mixed with enough water to cover the apples (it keeps the peeled apples from browning)
  • ¼ cup brown sugar
  • ¼ cup granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 2 TB butter, cut into cubes
  • Cinnamon and sugar for garnish (optional)

IMG_4668Directions:

Preheat the oven to 375°F.

With your hands, work together the butter, sugars and cinnamon until you have what looks like wet sand.

Roll out the dough until it’s about 1/8” thick.Put one apple in the center of the dough and cut a t-shape out of the dough — each arm of the “t” should be as wide as the apple.

Apple-DumplingFor three apples, stuff ⅓ of the sugar mixture inside the apple and along the arms of the “t.” Bring one arm at a time to the top of the apple and cut off any excess dough. Squeeze together the dough to seal it. Garnish it with dough cutouts and sprinkle a little bit of cinnamon and sugar on top if you want.

Using the dough scraps, repeat the process for the remaining apples. Place the apples in an oven-safe dish. Bake the apples at 375°F for ten minutes and then reduce the temperature to 350°F and bake for another 25 minutes or until the dough is nicely browned.

IMG_4673Serve immediately. Apple dumplings go well with vanilla ice cream and coffee.

 

Homemade Craft Dough Recipe

play-dohToys are very different today than when we were kids — even in the last ten years, technology has made toys evermore complicated. But there’s one toy that will always stay the same: Play-doh. Tomorrow is National Play-Doh day so in honor of timeless toy, here’s a recipe for homemade craft dough: IMG_4650

Ingredients:

  • 2.5 cups water
  • 2.5 cups flour
  • 1 1/4 c. salt
  • 1 1/2 tbsp. cream of tartar
  • 5 tbsp. vegetable oil
  • Food Coloring

Play-doh collage

  • In a large pot (a 4 or 5-quart stock pot), mix everything together except for the food coloring. Stir with a wooden spoon until it’s well-combined. It’s OK if it’s lumpy – it will work itself out during the kneading process.
  • Over low heat, cook the dough. Stir frequently. As it cooks, it will start to pull away from the sides of the pot and form dough – it takes about ten minutes, but the time may vary.
  • Remove the pot from the heat.

Play-doh collage2

  • Turn the dough out on a clean surface and knead it until it’s smooth.
  • Divide the dough into as many pieces for different colors as you want. This recipe yields about 44 oz. (almost 3lbs); for four colors, you can have about 1.5lbs for each color.
  • To color, drop the color on each ball and then knead it until the color is even. You may have to play around a bit with the amount of color you add. For vibrant blue, green and yellow, ten drops was enough, but to get a vivid red, more food coloring was required.

 

Store the dough in airtight containers or sealable plastic bags. They should last for several months. This is an excellent winter activity for when your kids are stuck inside.

play-doh pic

Lakeside Selection: Our Choice of Favorite Items of the Week

As the weather gracefully transforms the world to autumn, it is time to start making the indoors cozy for the coming winter. Pile your bed high with new, soft bedding, and don’t forget to decorate for Halloween and the harvest season. Add a sparkling layer to your favorite outfit for extra style. Here is The Lakeside Selection: Our Choice of Favorite Items of the Week.

Dress your dining room for your Halloween celebration with this spooky 5-Pc. Spiderweb Lace Table Set.

Dress your dining room for your Halloween celebration with this spooky 5-Pc. Spiderweb Lace Table Set.

Camo Fleece Sheet Sets make it a lot easier to hide in bed all day.

Camo Fleece Sheet Sets make it a lot easier to hide in bed all day.

Add a little bling to your wardrobe with a Plus-Size Sparkle Cardigan.

Add a little bling to your wardrobe with a Plus-Size Sparkle Cardigan.

You'll want to stay in bed forever, once you experience the astonishing softness of this Plush Microfleece Sheet Set!

You’ll want to stay in bed forever, once you experience the astonishing softness of this Plush Microfleece Sheet Set!

The High Back Sherpa Comfort Pillow lets you relax in softness and comfort while reading a book, watching TV and more.

The High Back Sherpa Comfort Pillow lets you relax in softness and comfort while reading a book, watching TV and more.

 

Positive Thinking Day: 16 Positive Quotes to Give Your Spirit a Boost

positive-thinkingSome days are better than others and on the bad days, it’s hard to stay positive. September 13th is Positive Thinking Day and to honor the day, here are 16 positive quotes to give your spirit a boost – no matter what kind of day you’re having.

“Turn your face to the sun and the shadows fall behind you.” — Maori Proverb

“Every thought is a seed. If you plant crab apples, don’t count on harvesting Golden Delicious.”–Bill Meyer

“Life isn’t about finding yourself. Life’s about creating yourself.”– George Bernard Shaw

“I have for many years endeavored to make this vital truth clear; and still people marvel when I tell them that I am happy. They imagine that my limitations weigh heavily upon my spirit, and chain me to the rock of despair. Yet, it seems to me, happiness has very little to do with the senses. If we make up our minds that this is a drab and purposeless universe, it will be that, and nothing else. On the other hand, if we believe that the earth is ours, and that the sun and moon hang in the sky for our delight, there will be joy upon the hills and gladness in the fields because the Artist in our souls glorifies creation. Surely, it gives dignity to life to believe that we are born into this world for noble ends, and that we have a higher destiny than can be accomplished within the narrow limits of this physical life.” — Helen Keller

positive-thinking“The most common way people give up their power is by thinking they don’t have any. –Alice Walker

“If you can dream it, you can achieve it.” –Zig Ziglar

“Pain is inevitable. Suffering is optional.” – Haruki Murakami

“If a person has ugly thoughts, it begins to show on the face. And when that person has ugly thoughts every day, every week, every year, the face gets uglier and uglier until it gets so ugly you can hardly bear to look at it. A person who has good thoughts cannot ever be ugly. You can have a wonky nose and a crooked mouth and a double chin and stick-out teeth, but if you have good thoughts they will shine out of your face like sunbeams and you will always look lovely.”–Roald Dahl 

“The greatest discovery of all time is that a person can change his future by merely changing his attitude.” –Oprah Winfrey

“If you don’t get everything you want, think of the things you don’t get that you don’t want.”–Oscar Wilde

“Oh, my friend, it’s not what they take away from you that counts. It’s what you do with what you have left.”– Hubert Humphrey

positive-thinking“Each morning when I open my eyes I say to myself: I, not events, have the power to make me happy or unhappy today. I can choose which it shall be. Yesterday is dead, tomorrow hasn’t arrived yet. I have just one day, today, and I’m going to be happy in it.”–Groucho Marx

“If you don’t like something change it; if you can’t change it, change the way you think about it.”–Mary Engelbreit

“To be upset over what you don’t have is to waste what you do have.” –Ken S. Keyes, Jr.

“You have to learn the rules of the game. And then you have to play better than anyone else.” – Albert Einstein

“Once you replace negative thoughts with positive ones, you’ll start having positive results.” — Willie Nelson

Soccer Mom Must-Haves

soccer-momSchool is back in session and that means it’s time to work sports into your fall schedule. Whether your kids are new to the field or you’re a veteran to the sidelines, here are some soccer mom must-haves so you can show your support all season.

Comfort You want to be as close to the action as you can and seating isn’t available at every soccer field, but you need to be comfortable when you give your soccer player a shout-out – have a collapsible chair handy in the car. And, for the most part,  games are played, rain or shine, so keep this in mind as you pack your car. Bring gloves, ponchos and umbrellas so when the weather turns, it won’t turn you away.

soccer-momCravings Every good soccer mom has a cooler packed with snacks and sodas for her hungry brood and their friends for after the game – but while the game is on, you’ll need to do snacking and sipping on your own. Bring a travel mug full of hot coffee — it goes well with the fall weather.

Camera Your smartphone likely has a camera on it, but in case you don’t have enough cloud storage for all of the action shots you want to take of your soccer player (that perfect header or that surprise save) having an extra contraption to capture those once-in-a-lifetime moments couldn’t hurt.

soccer-momConclusion Winner or not, your soccer player needs just as much support after the game as he does during the game. Make sure to bring him a change of clothes and a blanket to stay warm, a first aid kit to bandage any scrapes and bumps and a big hug just in case he didn’t hear you cheer from him on the side lines.

Being a soccer mom is hard work – getting everyone to and from games with enough energy to root for your team can drain you, but if you’re organized, you can cheer with the best of them.