≡ Menu

Boy Scouts Offer Tips to Keep Kids Busy During the Holidays

This post has been contributed by The Orange County Council, Boy Scouts of America


The Boy Scout motto is “Be Prepared” and that adage can apply to holiday downtime for kids just as easily as outdoor preparedness.  Winter break is just around the corner and parents need to make plans to entertain their kids during the long school recess.

“Keeping children entertained doesn’t necessarily mean watching a television set or playing video games for extended periods of time,” said Jeff Herrmann, executive scout for the Orange County Council, Boy Scouts of America (OCBSA). “Even with our busy lives, it’s important to be prepared to plan activities that engage your children during the holidays.”

Here are five tips from the Orange County Council, Boy Scouts of America to keep kids active and engaged during the holiday season:

 Discover new interests

Visiting the library is a cost-effective and educational field trip that allows children an opportunity to discover new interests.  Children of all ages enjoy choosing a book of their choice for the holiday break. “Every successful and satisfied person knows that learning does not stop when you graduate from high school or college,” says Rob Neal, OCBSA chairman of the board. “Warren Buffett talks about becoming a ‘Learning Machine’ and most would agree a love of reading is the key to learning.”

 “Outing in Scouting”

Spend more time outdoors while incorporating physical activity in your child’s day.  Going on a bike ride, taking a family nature hike or visiting the zoo are all simple, fun and low-cost outdoor activities.  “One of my best memories as a youth was camping in the rain,” said Mike Bergler, Eagle Scout, Webelos den leader and pack 672 committee chair.   “If you can’t stand the weather, or don’t have the time, just open any Boy Scouts rank book or go online for a wealth of information on indoor and outdoor scouting activities.” said Bergler. “My son often doesn’t realize he is working on a badge or beltloop…he’s just having fun.”

Incorporate academics at home 

Provide opportunities for children to learn while school is not in session by teaching life skills and home economics such as baking, cooking and laundry.  “I like to incorporate academics in the kitchen by baking cookies with my children and teaching math while using measuring tools,” said Marilyn Pilcher, pack 819 committee member.  “It’s a great way to teach children measurements while having fun and encouraging learning along the way.”

 Inspire creativity

Expand your child’s imagination by creating arts and crafts projects together which makes for great, personal holiday gifts. “Creating homemade art projects not only allow your child to tap into their creativity but is also a fun way to spend quality time together,” said Debbie Stroman, troop leader for OCBSA.

Coordinate family game nights

Take time away from the television set to participate in family game night.  Game nights are a cost-effective way to spend quality time with each other while having fun and creating memories. “Game nights have a number of benefits including teaching children the importance of cooperation and teamwork by taking turns and learning to follow directions,” said Heidi Newell, den leader for OCBSA. “It’s also a great way to open the lines of communication in your household while having fun.”

Giving back 

The holidays are a great time to give back to the community.  Volunteering creates a positive learning experience and is a wonderful way to teach children the real meaning of the holidays.  “This season, my boys will be helping set up for our local library tree lighting and working on a Rose Parade float,” said Irene Alonzo, former den leader for OCBSA.  “Community service during the holidays is a tradition in our family that has become second nature to us all.”

About The Orange County Council, Boy Scouts of America:
The Orange County Council is one of the largest youth-serving agencies in the county serving almost 30,000 youth with educational programs that instill values, develop social and leadership skills, and promotes physical fitness and environmental awareness. The mission of the Boy Scouts of America is to prepare young people to make ethical and moral choices over their lifetimes by instilling in them the values of the Scout Oath and Scout Law.
{ 1 comment }

The Boy Scouts: Mentoring a New Generation of Young Men

Something has been on my mind this summer. Something that had become so urgent that I just could not get out of my head. My eldest boy is now 9 and is that much closer to independence. So the questions on my mind are:

 Are we doing enough to prepare our son for life’s challenges? 

Though I try not to think about it too much, my little guy is growing into a man.

A man that will be in a position of leadership in one sense or another in his lifetime.

A leader in his family, his work place, his friends, his church, in an emergency situation…and a million other situations.

 What kind of leader will he be?

That’s when I got an email from The Boy Scouts of Orange County.

It just so happens that the Boy Scouts are concerned about these things as well.

 The Boy Scout Tradition Lives on…and Grows

The Boy Scouts tradition of  building character while having fun and community involvement is still the main purpose of this 100 year old educational organization, however the newly developed Board of Regents will add to this by advising the principles and skills that will help young men to grow into leadership positions later in life.

The Board of Regents includes local Orange County business leaders, some of which were boys scouts themselves when they were young!

 The Proof is in the Puddin’

I had the pleasure of meeting 2 very distinguished Scouts at the Boy Scouts HQ in Santa Ana and I’m not gonna lie to you…this mama was impressed!

Both young men had achieved the highest ranking in the Boy Scouts (Eagle), both were well mannered and behaved like fine young men in a room full of grown-ups and grown-up talk. You know how tough that can be for boys!

One Eagle had earned every single badge there is to earn in CA and on his way to the Marines, while the other Eagle was on his way to West Point.

 Not bad…not bad at all.

Something to Consider

Boys need mentoring and leadership guidance.

While I believe that the best teacher of these things are a boy’s own father or other male family member, The Boy Scouts are a wonderful addition.

Dad/Grandpa/Uncle can get the support they need in teaching their boys leadership.

Our sons get the skills they need and the fun they crave.

And the bond between them grows stronger.

 What’s your plan for preparing your son for leadership?



Recipe for Making a Happy Home

Bake some happiness in your home today! All you need is…

1T of each: Frugality, Industry and Planning

2T of each: Patience, Understanding and Gentleness

4 oz box of Charity

6 cups of Humor

Knead thoroughly with the salt of cheerfulness and flavor with the essence of comfort. Bake at 350 degrees for 25 min and sprinkle with hugs and kisses when cooled.

How do you bake happiness in your home?

This post is also linked up to Raising Homemakers Link-up.


{ 1 comment }

Amish Friendship Bread – Spreading the Love!

About a week and a half ago, my aunt called me saying that she was going to drop off a surprise for me…and what I got was a bag of mush. Sure it looked quite unimpressive then, but she promised me that if I just followed the directions I was going to be rewarded with an incredibly delicious cinnamon bread…with some mush left over to pass along to other friends.

Now you probably have already made a batch or two of this friendship bread (seems like everyone I meet has), but this was completely new to me. So just in case you have no idea what I’m talking about here is what Amish Friendship Bread is:

Similar to a chain letter, a friend gives you a bread starter which you “feed” with milk, flour and sugar. This multiplies the starter so that you can bake a sweet cake-like bread for yourself and pass along some starter to other friends to do the same.

Now the legend is that only the Amish know how to make the starter, but after searching around a bit I found a very easy recipe:

Amish Friendship Bread Starter
Prep time: 
Total time: 
  • 1 (.25 ounce) package active dry yeast
  • ¼ cup warm water (110 degrees F/45 degrees C)
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour, divided
  • 3 cups white sugar, divided
  • 3 cups milk
  1. In a small bowl, dissolve yeast in water. Let stand 10 minutes. In a 2 quart container glass, plastic or ceramic container, combine 1 cup flour and 1 cup sugar. Mix thoroughly or flour will lump when milk is added. Slowly stir in 1 cup milk and dissolved yeast mixture. Cover loosely and let stand until bubbly. Consider this day 1 of the 10 day cycle. Leave loosely covered at room temperature.
  2. On days 2 through 4; stir starter with a spoon. Day 5; stir in 1 cup flour, 1 cup sugar and 1 cup milk. Days 6 through 9; stir only.
  3. Day 10; stir in 1 cup flour, 1 cup sugar and 1 cup milk. Remove 1 cup to make your first bread, give 2 cups to friends along with this recipe, and your favorite Amish Bread recipe. Store the remaining 1 cup starter in a container in the refrigerator, or begin the 10 day process over again (beginning with step 2).
<span class="mceItemHidden">from <span class="mceItemHiddenSpellWord">allrecipes</span>.com</span>


The instructions that came with my starter (though very thorough) seemed a little jumbled and un-pretty, so rewrote the original recipe in a much more pleasing manner. You can download it here:

After you have made the classic Friendship Bread, you may want to look at variations that other have come up with, like chocolate, lemon or butterscotch breads and sourdough style pancakes and muffins.

Okay, confession time. I only gave away 2 of my 4 starters. I was so smitten by the idea of using a starter for bread making that I kept 2 to experiment with. I’ll be trying out some of the recipes from those links up there. =)

Makes a great Valentine

Whip up some starter to give to a friend on Valentines! To make it more Valentine-y, place the pre-filled gallon bag and the instructions in a mason jar and tie a pretty ribbon around the jar.


Making History Un-Boring for Kids

This school year, my rascal and I have been doing a lot more with history than we have in past years. Of course it was easy for me to get excited, but it took a bit more for my 9 yr old son to feel excited about history.

This, of course, is not unusual. Even though I had always loved history ( I credit this to my crush fascination of Indiana Jones), history class was boring in my school years.

My sister who is now a history teacher said that her childhood  history classes in were boring too.

I asked a friend if she liked history as a kid. Not only did she say no, but she even said that she didn’t care much for it now. Ouch, that that one really hurt.

But I can understand why.

In order to appreciate history, one must experience  it.

Dipping candles, weaving baskets, whittling wood, dancing a waltz, singing a hymn, digging for artifacts, churning butter, building a model Viking ship, dressing up like a cowboy, dressing up like an Egyptian queen, going on a train,  going to a car show, making a spear, writing with a quill,  reading Pinocchio, going on a hike, making a diorama of The Ruins of Rome,  riding a horse, making a map, picking strawberries, crocheting, quilting, reading a biography, watching a movie about a historical event…but a few of the ways for kids to experience history.

Or better still, visiting a historical location.

That’s what I did with my rascals this past weekend. We visited San Juan Capristano Mission and I witnessed something amazing with my son.

We have been studying California history this school year (how I love the wild west!) and talking a lot about the missions. And it was there, seeing the oldest building in California for himself,  that the excitement for history was ignited.

I could see that something was stirring inside him so I sort of stepped aside and let him soak it in and have his moment.

Then it happened.

He placed his hands on the building, closed his eyes, let out a deep sigh and fell in love with history.

 Luckily, I was able to take a quick photo of it. Yes, this mama got awfully teary eyed. Aw, heck…I’m teary eyed now!

So I urge you mama, make history come alive to your rascals.

Fill them up to the brim with vintage goodness so that they can experience the past and then blaze trails for the future!




Finding Your Parenting Purpose

School’s have motto’s. Company’s have mission statements. Blogs have taglines.

What do all these things have in common and what do they have to do with old fashioned motherhood?

It’s about purpose.

Purpose: The reason for which something exists, or is done, made, used, etc (dictionary.com)

Purpose give you clarity on what your next move should be when it comes to parenting. It’s so easy to get caught up in the moment when Tommy talks back to you or when Mary just slammed the door when you sent her to her room.

Or when little Johnny is throwing a tantrum in the grocery cart…again.

Purpose helps you to see the bigger picture.

It calms you down.

It reminds you that this obstacle is an opportunity (a hard one, I’ll admit) but an opportunity none the less to demonstrate your purpose.

Find Your Purpose

An easy way to think of what your parenting purpose is to think of a character quality that you would like your children or yourself to have.

Here are some examples:

  1. Patient
  2. Kind
  3. Honest
  4. Forgiving
  5. Fair
  6. Courageous
  7. Helpful
  8. Dependable
  9. Grateful
  10. Generous
  11. Encouraging
  12. Compassionate
  13. Diligent
  14. Cooperative
  15. Loving
  16. Creative
  17. Self-controlled

Next, find a quote or Bible verse that speaks to you about the character trait(s) that you chose.

Print out the quote, frame it and put it up on the wall where you will see it often.


Just telling them, “You need to be grateful” or “You’re not playing nice, say you’re sorry” is probably not going to cut it here. Demonstrating that character yourself (I know! It’s hard!) and choosing your words to guide your little ones to that trait is going to stick much better.

What’s my parenting purpose?

I’ve decided to focus on the traits of compassion and helpfulness. Compassion because my littlest rascal is quite the fighter and frankly his aggressiveness was becoming a big problem. I figure compassion is a good way to nip that in the bud.

And I chose helpfulness because it was something that I wanted to work on myself.

I have definitely noticed a difference in our family when I parent with my purpose in mind. Not only am I more calm, but my rascals are more willing to listen and help.

And of course the reverse is true. As soon as I get lazy or lose sight of my purpose, my little rascal becomes a bully again and my other rascals aren’t so willing to help…and I turn into frazzled mama.

What do you think? Do you have a parenting purpose? How has is helped you?



Freedom in Giving Up

On my New Years Eve post, I shared with you some ideas to help make this year just a bit more simple. Many mama’s emailed me to let me know how much they appreciated those idea’s (glad to help!). There was one suggestion on that list that seemed to really hit home with many and in just the few weeks that I have implemented it myself (I like to start before the official new year) I’ve already seen many positive changes.

Give up something on your “one day” list

At first the idea of giving something up scared me.

What was I willing to give up?

For how long?

What terrible thing might happen if I give it up?

Does that mean I’m a quitter?

I needed to put things in perspective.

The real reason I felt I need to give things up was because it was pulling my time and energy from things that are necessary now.

  • Like planning more science experiments for my 9 year old rascal (he’s my budding scientist).
  • And going outside in the sunshine more.
  • And organizing the toys before I throw them all out because I just can’t take it anymore.
  • And making hubby his breakfast and lunch to take to work because he wants to eat healthier.
  • And stopping everything in the middle of the day for 15 min so that I can read to my little rascals before their nap.
  • And start my day off with a Bible study and prayer because I don’t function well without it.

So those things were on my “to do” list, but what was I willing to drop?

I am no super woman nor do I care to be. I can’t do it all. I needed to give things up…but what?

  • Watching T.V. in the evening.
  • Bootcamp or other gym commitment. I’ll just need to find creative ways to do my own bootcamp workout while the boys play outside.
  • Additional extracurricular activities for my boys.
  • Making up any new recipes. 
  • Making certain foods from scratch when there is a very good pre-made version available (like spaghetti sauce, chicken broth and laundry soap). 

And then there are things that just need to wait…

  • Fixing up my patio and having a garden. It’s enough that I sweep it up an keep the spider webs to a minimum for now.
  • Taking a dance or photography class. It’ll just have to wait until my hubby finishes school in about a year.
  • Starting business…my children are still so young and need so much. I just wouldn’t be able to launch that, be there for my family, take care of my home and of course, write for my blog here.
  • Learn how to sew which is especially hard at the moment because I bought a few Disney pillow sew kits on sale, I have a yearning to make an apron like this and this sewing machine is on super sale on Amazon! Perhaps in the summer…

Giving things up gives me freedom.

As soon as I start to add more things or trick myself into feeling guilty about not doing those things on my “one day” list, I let stress ruin the joy of this season of my life…

…when my “baby” is just leaving toddler-hood and entering the exciting years of preschool.

…when my middle little rascal becomes more independent and inquisitive.

…when my eldest is on his last years of boyhood and if I blink I’ll miss it.

…when my hubby and I celebrate our 10th wedding anniversary and discover that though we are still madly in love, commitment and vows still need to be renewed everyday.

**What are you willing to give up or put on hold for the sake of freedom?


**What will you be able to focus your attention on when you give it up?



Cold Cream Cleansing 101

Odd how one can see something everyday yet still not know how it’s actually done . That’s the way I felt about cleansing with cold cream. I saw my grandma cleanse her skin with it every night when I was a little yet I never actually learned how to use it  until I studied skin care therapy.

I recieved an email last week from a vintage mama with the same dilemma…How does one use cold cream?

Fret no more mama, I’m gonna show you how the professional does cold cream cleansing!


Facial Sponges or Esthetic Wipes

If your skin is on the oily side you need to wipe off with a warm, wipe or sponge. The sponge can be re-used several times (just rinse thoroughly, squeeze excess water out and let it dry out over night) before you toss it out and get a new one. I’ve used mine for a month with no problem.

Esthetic wipe look like very soft, durable facial tissue.  They can be used both wet or dry and are much more efficient and gentle to the skin than regular tissue paper. Use one wipe for each cleansing and then toss.

Hint: In a pinch, I used unscented baby wipes with great success. I just rinsed it out with warm water several times before I used it to wipe off the cold cream

Cold Cream

There are several cold cream options out there (read this post for more on that) but pictured below is the most popular. Try out several cold creams to see which one works best for you. Do be aware though that heavily perfumed cold creams have been known to cause eye irritation or possible eye infection. The only cold cream that I use on my eyes is Albolene Moisturizing Cleanser which is fragrance free.

Popsicle Stick (or something like it)

This is just for scooping out the cold cream. Help to prevent germs from ruining a good cream.

How to Cleanse You Skin with Cold Cream

  1. Pull your hair back with a headband or clip. Scoop out a cherry size dollop of cream and apply to forehead, apples of cheeks, jaw line, neck and collar bone.
  2. Using your middle and ring fingers, start making small circle beginning at the forehead. Continue all along the hairline, work your way around your face paying close attention to areas prone to clog pores.
  3. Still using your middle and ring fingers, cleanse the neck and chest trying to avoid any downward tugging of the skin.
  4. Wet wipe or sponge with warm water (or you can leave it dry) and begin at the forehead again to gently wipe the cream off. Rinse the wipe several times during the wiping process.
  5. Lastly wipe the chest and neck, again avoiding any downward tugging of the skin.
  6. Use any finishing skin products when done if you wish. I wipe my skin with toner on a cotton pad and use a firming serum.

More Tips

  • I cleanse my eyes in the same fashion with Albolene before I clean my face. I apply it with my ring finger and work the product around my eyes, then wipe off with a moist wipe.
  • Moisturizer is usually not necessary after cleansing with cold cream.
  • You may find that you will need to exfoliate more often when using cold cream. That’s because the extra moisture creates a barrier on the skin that can prevent skin from flaking.

Did you find this post helpful? Subscribe to my free Vintage Mama Society Newsletter below!



Easy {and Thoughtful} Gifts You Can Make By Christmas

I pretty much had my Christmas shopping done last week, but I had 2 or 3 gifts that I wanted to add a little something extra to. Though I could have just bought something at the mall or online, I’ve been feeling extra crafty lately (which done’t happen too often) and decided to make a tied fleece blanky. It turned out so wonderfully (and my hubby was so smitten by my craftiness) that I decided to make 2 more as gifts for his mom and sister.

You probably get that feeling too…wanting to give a thoughtful, handmade gift…but don’t have a lot of time or crafty know-how to make one. Here are some of the best idea’s I found for easy handmade gifts:

Tied Fleece Blanket

Of course I must put this one since it is the craft that inspired this post. I just recently started making these (helped out to make some at church to send to troops a few weeks ago) and I was so surprised at how easy it was. I just made one last night and it took me about 1 hour to complete. The only supplies you need are 2 yards of a printed fleece fabric, 2 yards of a solid color fleece fabric to match and scissors (fabric scissors work best).


Vintage Homekeepers Notebook


This is one that I made for my sister as a house warming gift. I printed out the entire Homekeepers Planner and 550 Puttery Treats from BrocanteHome.net and put it in a 3 ring binder for her. She really loved it! If you need a gift for a blogger, you can print out the Bloggers Planner (which I also have) and put that in a 3 ring binder for her. So easy, so vintage and so lovely!

Iron-On Images


You can personalize almost any fabric gift with an iron on transfer! I gave my grandma (who is really tough to shop for) a canvas tote with a photo of my 3 rascals on it. She thought it was a great idea and uses her little tote daily. All you need is an iron-on transfer or printable fabric that you can find at any craft store, an iron and something to iron your image on. You can find free vintage images at The Graphics Fairy, Free Vintage Images, and The Vintage Moth. Look at this pajama, hand towels and vintage coloring totes for inspiration.

ReWrap Soap or Tea with Nostalgic Prints

It really doesn’t get any easier than this. Print out the free wrapping paper and re-wrap the soap or tea to give it new nostalgic charm. I plan to do this with my recent old fashioned soap finds from my local 99 cent store, Yardley and Cashmere Bouquet! Makes a great hostess gift too.

 Do you have an easy, last minute gift idea? Share your thoughts in the comments below!


{ 1 comment }

J.R. Watkins Opens Shop in Irvine Spectrum!

For nearly 150 years, J.R. Watkins has been America’s pioneer in natural living…and they have now opened up shop in Orange County! Located right next to the giant Ferris wheel in the Irvine Spectrum you’ll find the darling apothecary filled with natural living essentials. 

…and vintage mama’s around the world cheer!

Share this post if you love wholesome apothecary by J.R. Watkins!


{ 1 comment }