Living Outside the Cloud


As a 17-year-old, I am part of the last generation raised before The Smartphone Era. My baby photos are glued into scrapbook instead of stored on laptops. The movies I watched as a child were on big boxy tapes and not slim DVDs. I learned everything in kindergarten from real textbooks, instead of an iPad. Continue reading

Teenage Gardener Shares Tips for First-Time Growers


Always wanted to garden but didn’t know where to start? Begin with your favorite flowers and veggies – and an easy container garden that can go in your yard, on your patio or deck.

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Candlemaking 101

glenda's candles

I’m a huge fan of candles. I love their wonderful scents and their warm glow. My bedroom shelves are filled with half-burned candles I’ve acquired over time. I always thought they seemed like an easy enough thing to make myself, but up until recently I hadn’t gotten around to actually doing it. I’m glad I did though, because despite my lack of experience, the candles turned out great! And it was a very fun activity to do with my mom.  Continue reading

Ready to Go Meatless? Here’s Why You Should (+ 4 Yummy Recipes).

Avocado on white

Becoming a vegetarian is a big decision that many people make because of compassion for animals, health concerns or just food preferences. I myself have been a vegetarian for several months and it has impacted my life in a very positive way! I find myself with more energy, a clearer complexion and a healthier heart. Also, it’s a great feeling knowing that what you’re eating is cruelty-free and got to you without any living creatures being harmed in the process. Continue reading

What to Plant: Invite Beautiful, Beneficial Creatures to Your Yard

Everyone knows flower gardens are beautiful, but did you know that the type of flowers

Our specially selected seed mix contains butterfly favorites like black-eyed susan and dwarf cosmos. At and our store in Kidron, Ohio.

Our specially selected seed mix contains butterfly favorites like black-eyed susan and dwarf cosmos. At and our store in Kidron, Ohio.

you plant will affect what kinds of insects and birds you see in your yard? If you want to see lots of beautiful butterflies fluttering about your garden, plant red, purple, orange, pink and yellow flowers with flat tops. These can include snapdragons, lilacs, pansies, goldenrods and day lilies.

Honeysuckle, sage, hibiscus, petunias, desert willow and fuchsia are perfect for attracting hummingbirds. Like most birds, hummingbirds have no sense of smell so the colors of the flowers will attract them. Continue reading

Chilly Days Don’t Have to Be Boring Days

Living in Ohio means putting up with low temperatures in the winter, but you won’t even notice Jack Frost nipping at your nose if you are busy having fun. If you are getting cabin sledfever from being inside all winter, try some of these fun outdoor activities. One of my favorite things to do outside in the winter is go sledding. If you chose a place to sled with really tall hills or ramps, then this can be a very exciting and thrilling activity.. If you prefer a more relaxing and safe activity, you can still go sledding – just chose somewhere with smaller hills, like a yard in your neighborhood.

A winter picnic might sound like an oxymoron, but it can be fun if you’re bundled up with lots of blankets and thermoses of hot chocolate and soup.

Bird watching is also a great winter activity. Macardinal snow globeke your own birdfeeder out of pine cones, peanut butter, and bird seed. Birds of bright colors (think of the Cardinal) look beautiful against the white snow. Keep a list of the birds you see at your home and compare it year over year. My father and I have a list that dates back almost 10 years.

An intense snow ball fight with teams is a great way to get outside and enjoy the brisk winter weather. You can make snowmen or even a snow family. If the weather is too cold, have a snowball fight inside. You and your children can have hours of entertainment with pretend snowballs — all the fun of snow without the wet and cold. Made of a soft, textured material, they even feel crunchy like a snowball!

Igloos are fun to build and play in. If it staysAsherigloo cold, your snow fort will last for weeks.

Speaking of cold, once the temperature gets below 32 degrees, here’s a whole new twist on blowing bubbles. Go outside the next time it is bitter cold and watch the bubbles turn to ice as soon as you blow them. You can mix water and food color and put it in a bottle and spray paint the snow in your yard. Add the snow family, igloo and ice bubbles and your yard becomes your canvas.

So don’t stay inside all day – get out there and enjoy the winter!

Youthview: Loving Traditional Family Thanksgivings

Alli Ervin, Youthview blogger.

Alli Ervin, Youthview blogger.

Last year we hosted Thanksgiving at our house for the first time in several years – I enjoyed the holiday more than I ever had before and that’s saying something because it’s one of my favorite occasions. It makes me feel warm and loved to have family (I am talking aunts, uncles, cousins, the whole gang, ranging in age from four years old to 84 years old) at our home.

I love helping my mom prepare the food and put out seasonal decorations. We live in a woods so tree branches, leaves and pine cones, artfully arranged in a large glass bowl, add great fall touches. I always get to choose which music we are going to play and what drinks to serve (a simple one is grape juice and 7-Up, garnished with orange slices) and, when everything is ready and the house smells like turkey and stuffing, we wait for the doorbell to ring.

The turkey is always a centerpiece of my family's traditional meal.

The turkey is always a centerpiece of my family’s traditional meal.

I have such a big, fun family and I love it when we’re all together*. The food is always amazing, especially at Thanksgiving. My mom and I often bake bread together, which is what she used to do with her mother. Our Thanksgiving menu is very traditional – we briefly discussed doing something different (how about a baked potato bar?) but the outcry was heard for miles. Turkey and ham, mashed potatoes, corn casserole, seven-layer salad, fresh bread, and more pies that you can count. My mom made deviled eggs last Thanksgiving (that’s one of her specialties) and forgot to get them out until after the meal. We enjoyed a round of appetizers after dessert and had a good laugh.

Even though it’s more work, hosting the holidays at your house is a great experience. It’s all about being with family and friends so if the cooking stresses you out, make it a pot luck carry in, or even call ahead and order something. Enjoy a meal and then, afterwards, (at least in my family), the men retire to watch football and yell at their favorite teams and the women do a craft (we had a fun one this year – more on that in the next blog).

No many how many times I get asked what grade I am; how I am doing at school or how tall I am (I grew 5 inches over the past year and am 5’8”, by the way) it’s always so much fun when my family is all together.

*Editor’s note: Allison’s grandfather is Jay Lehman, founder; her uncle is Galen Lehman, president; and her mother is Glenda Lehman Ervin, vice president.

Amish Country Autumn; Leaves Tops In World

When you spend some time in Amish Country, you may see one of these smaller carts.

When you spend some time in Amish Country, you may see one of these smaller carts.

Below, you’ll see a great poem by our Youthview writer, Allison Ervin, celebrating autumn in Amish Country. Want to experience it yourself? Don’t miss Amish Country in leaf peeping season! Our own Holmes County, Ohio is #3 in the world on NatGeo’s Top 10 Places to See Autumn Leaves.

And National Geographic’s Four Seasonal of Travel book says, “In the heart of central Ohio’s Amish Country, maple, oak, and the iconic state tree, the buckeye, hang over narrow roads that meander through wavy fields of corn. Drive under the boughs of bright reds and yellows, sharing the road with horse-drawn carriages of the Old Order Amish and stopping at roadside farm stands along the way.”


Fall in Amish Country

Smells like apple cider and freshly cut grass
Like rain on pavement and pumpkin pie
Like candles burning and candy corn

Fall in Amish Country
Tastes like salted caramel and hot chocolate
Like pumpkin lattes and hot gooey s’mores
Like chicken noodle soup and bread from the oven

Fall in Amish Country
Feels like a bonfire’s warm glow on your skin
Like leaves crunching beneath your feet
Like your favorite old sweater and a warm pair of boots

Fall in Amish Country
Looks like brightly-colored trees and pretty grey skies
Like jack-o-lanterns and the moon over trees
Like apple orchards and chilly sunsets

Fall in Amish Country
Sounds like children laughing and puppies barking
Like a horses hooves, clomping down the road
Like happiness that can’t be beat
—Allison Ervin