The Value of a Gift From Scratch


What if you could give someone the feeling of a sunny summer day in an apple orchard as a gift? Or the warm comfort of your kitchen as the aroma of chocolate chip cookies drifts from the oven? Continue reading

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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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

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.

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

Scatter these unique seed mixes over prepared soil and watch as annuals begin blooming in 6-8 weeks. At and our store in Kidron, Ohio.

Scatter these unique seed mixes over prepared soil and watch as annuals begin blooming in 6-8 weeks. At and our store in Kidron, Ohio.

The bees will help pollinate your flowers and plants, so they’ll produce seeds and you won’t have to spend money on new plants year after year. You might want bees in your garden because they are excellent pollinators, or you may not want them because of their painful sting. Either way, you should know what flowers bees love so you can either plant or avoid them. Bees are attracted to warm-colored blooms, especially ones like fennel, oregano, sunflowers, lion’s tail, salvia, lavender and yarrow.

Birds love flowers with delicious, nutritious seeds like daisies, zinnias, sunflowers and poppies. Remember, birds feed by sight, not by smell.

Ladybugs love bachelor buttons (get it – the ladies love the bachelors?), sweet alyssum, and mountain mints for their high sugar content.

Planting flowers doesn't get more fun than this! Seed slinger with seed bombs at and our store in Kidron, Ohio.

Planting flowers doesn’t get more fun than this! Seed slinger with seed bombs at and our store in Kidron, Ohio.

Caterpillars are great because they grow up into butterflies, but they can be annoyances because they eat the leaves of your plants. Nevertheless, if you’re willing to put up with tiny creatures munching on your leaves in order to one day enjoy gorgeous butterflies, try planting buckwheat, dragon sagebrush, parsley, fennel and wild back cherries.

Flower gardens are a wonderful addition to any home, but make sure you’re informed about you’ll be attracting when you plant yours.

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 fever 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. Make 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 stayscold, 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.