Dream Big

Val's Voice

Ohio banking services

Val's topic: Lifestyle

8 Homemade Gifts to Try This Holiday Season

Posted On: December 7th, 2018
Sometimes I think shopping for gifts is the most stressful part of the holidays. Fighting the crowds, worrying about prices, trying to determine the perfect gift for someone—it can all be overwhelming. Granted, online shopping has helped with the crowds, but if you really want to avoid some of the usual pain points of holiday shopping, why not make someone a gift instead of just clicking “buy now”? I love handmade gifts. Not only can you can save some money by making gifts, you can tailor the gifts I have in mind to individual preferences. ...read more

7 Easy Christmas DIY Projects

Posted On: December 4th, 2018
Christmas is already the most wonderful time of the year, and having a little one around to share it with makes the holiday season even better. I get to see everything through her eyes. She sees all the decorations and gets so excited for the upcoming festivities. Each night when we get home, she gets to turn on her tree and exclaims, “Mommy! My Christmas!” ...read more

How to Make a Faux Fireplace

Posted On: November 30th, 2018
All through the month of December, River Valley is having pictures with Santa. That means there will be a lot of festivities and fun at all of our branches. The Beavercreek office got really creative and made a whole background for the pictures, and it is so cute! The crown jewel of their background is an amazing fireplace they made. It looks so real! I love it so much I want to make one for my house. ...read more

Meet Chef Adam!

Posted On: November 21st, 2018
Hello Miami Valley. I am Chef Adam, a friend of Val’s. I know that one of her favorite things to share is recipes! Well, as a chef I do, too! I will periodically be guest-blogging right here and sharing many of my favorite recipes and cooking tips on just about everything and anything related to food! ...read more

5 Yummy Recipes to Try This Thanksgiving

Posted On: November 16th, 2018
When you think of Thanksgiving what comes to mind? For me its food, family and football! Like most, it turkey is the traditional main dish of our Thanksgiving meal. But, we don’t always have the same sides or even the same desserts each year. Every year, I like to include a few new things to mix it up. While searching for new recipes for my family (can you believe Thanksgiving is next week?) ...read more

5 Simple Thanksgiving Projects

Posted On: November 14th, 2018
The holiday season is almost here! That means we spent the weekend taking down our Halloween decorations and putting up our Thanksgiving stuff. While getting our decorations out I realized I don’t have much for Thanksgiving. In recent years it seems to me that Thanksgiving has just been skipped over a bit, with most retailers going right from Halloween to Christmas. ...read more

10 Last Minute Costume Ideas

Posted On: October 29th, 2018
Dressing up for Halloween is not just for kids. A lot of workplaces allow staff to dress up, River Valley included. I get a big kick out of walking into a local business and seeing my co-workers in costume. Some of them are so creative! ...read more

8 Spooky Recipes for You Halloween Party

Posted On: October 26th, 2018
Halloween parties are a whole lot of spooktacular fun, and it seems everyone I know is hosting one. They are a great way to get adults involved in the holiday. One aspect that I really like is the decorations and themed food that go into throwing a great party. ...read more

5 Easy DIY Ideas for Halloween

Posted On: October 23rd, 2018
Halloween is almost here which means I have been feeling extra crafty lately! Each season and holiday I try to include a few new décor items so our set-up is always changing. I can never find exactly what I want in the stores, so I find it easier (and most of the time cheaper) to make it myself ...read more

7 Delicious Soups to Try This Fall

Posted On: October 9th, 2018
Soup season is here! Who I am kidding. If you love soup as much as I do, it’s soup season all year long. It’s hard to beat the comfort of a warm bowl of soup on a cold night, though. Soup is also great when you aren’t feeling well. And if those aren’t enough reasons to love soup, remember that it is also usually easy to make and pretty affordable. Sometimes we have enough soup leftovers to last us a whole week. ...read more

6 DIY Projects Perfect for Fall

Posted On: October 3rd, 2018
Fall is officially here! It is my favorite time of year—for a lot of reason. I love watching the colors change on the trees and feeling the crisp, cool air, all the outdoor Octoberfests and other fall events …. ...read more

8 Honey Recipes for National Honey Month

Posted On: September 12th, 2018
Get ready for some really sweet news. September is National Honey Month! The National Honey Board originated the idea in 1989 to promote beekeeping and using honey as a natural sweetener. Honey can be used in many more ways than just as a topping on toast or oatmeal (my favorite way to eat honey!). It is thought there are some health benefits to honey; some people claim it has helped with burns and infections. The World Health Organization as ...read more

Fall Gardening Tips

Posted On: September 7th, 2018
Most people don’t think of the fall season as a time for gardening, but it is! Before you get started planting, though, you need to know the hardiness zone for your area. In 2012, the USDA created the plant hardiness zone (see the map here ) to help gardeners determine which plants are most likely to thrive in a specific location. Ohio has three different hardiness zones. ...read more

Exciting News About 4 Paws for Ability

Posted On: August 22nd, 2018
Hey Miami Valley! I have a really exciting announcement to make! I just couldn’t wait any longer to share the news. I am getting a dog! Well, sort of! Let me explain. River Valley has three local charity partners for the year and one of them is 4 Paws for Ability. Here is the exciting part: River Valley is going to sponsor two 4 Paws dogs and I am going to sponsor another! ...read more

5 Easy DIY Summer Decorations

Posted On: August 14th, 2018
I love having décor for every season; it really brightens up my home. The stores are starting to fill up with fall and Halloween decorations but I am not ready to leave the summer yet! I like to do my seasonal crafts a little late in the season to get more of a discount on items. It makes it feel like I get to stay in the season just a little bit longer. ...read more

8 Dorm Room Friendly Recipes

Posted On: August 10th, 2018
Going off to college is an exciting but nerve-wrecking time, especially if you are living in a dorm. This means you have to take care of everything yourself—even your meals. Now, most colleges offer meal plans to help make sure students get three squares a day, but that can get expensive quickly and kind of boring. ...read more

8 Peach Recipes for National Peach Month

Posted On: August 7th, 2018
Did you know August is National Peach Month? It makes sense, because I’ve always associated peaches with summer. I love a good and juicy peach on a warm summer day. Did you know that peaches are actually a member of the rose family and originated in China (which happens to be the largest producer of peaches in the world!)? Italy is the second largest. We call Georgia the Peach state, but 50% of all our peaches are grown in California! ...read more

5 Inexpensive DIY Projects for College Dorms

Posted On: July 24th, 2018
In just a few short weeks it will be college move in day. That means you are going to need stuff to fill that dorm room! There are plenty of dorm necessities checklists out there (find one here) but something else to think about is décor. Adding décor will make is seem more like home for the time you are there. Now, home décor can get pricey, but fortunately there are ways to decrease the cost. ...read more

10 Tip to Make Your First Year in College a Little Easier

Posted On: July 19th, 2018
It’s hard to believe, but school will be back in session soon. Move-in day for your college freshman will be here even sooner! Starting college can be a daunting task, especially if your child is going to an out-of-town or out-of-state institution. He or she may start out not knowing anyone or even what to expect, but eventually everything usually falls into place. I know my first few months in college were a big eye opener for me. ...read more

8 Fun Summertime Kids Activities

Posted On: July 17th, 2018
I love summer! The days are warmer and longer, so there is more time for outside fun. Summer is also the time of year when the kiddos are out of school and home full time. When I was young, I used to spend my summers at the local pool and library, but pool passes can get expensive, and not every kid enjoys reading. That said, there are many free and low-cost summer activities ...read more

8 Easy Independence Day Recipes

Posted On: July 3rd, 2018
It’s no secret: I love food and Independence Day! So I thought, why not a blog post combining the two! At our annual Fourth of July cookout I try to make it as festive as possible—which means a lot of red, white and blue stuff, including the food. ...read more

7 Easy Independence Day DIY Projects

Posted On: June 29th, 2018
Can you believe June is almost over? The year is sure flying by. That means that Independence Day, one of my favorite holidays, is just around the corner! I love the history of the holiday as well as the festivities that come with it. Each year, we have a big cookout for all of our family and friends and then walk to the neighborhood park to see fireworks. As I am sure you know by now I enjoy DIYing a lot of things and Independence Day decorations are no exception! ...read more

6 Healthy Snacks Great for the Office

Posted On: June 26th, 2018
I love a good snack. In fact, I have a special drawer dedicated to them at my desk. Recently, I have been trying to eat a little better, which means my normal snacks had to go. I started searching the Internet for healthy snacks I can eat at my desk. ...read more

5 Delicious Camping Recipes to Try

Posted On: June 22nd, 2018
One of the best things about camping is the food! While writing the previous post on camping, I got to thinking about camping recipes. When I was looking for recipes from the family’s last camp outing I was surprised at the wide variety of items we could make over the fire. We only used our stove once. The nice thing about all of these recipes is you can choose to make them while you are at camp, or you can prep them beforehand. This way you can have more than just hotdogs and s’mores all weekend. Let’s dig in! ...read more

A Beginners Guide to Camping

Posted On: June 19th, 2018
We love camping; it is a great escape from the stresses of everyday life and a fun and inexpensive way to enjoy the great outdoors with your family. I must confess, though, I am still fairly new to camping. My husband is a pro; he grew up camping and spent most of his youth in the Boy Scouts for America. Last fall, after 10 years of coaxing, he finally wore me down to go camping – with our toddler no less. ...read more

4 Ways to Make Your Staycation Awesome

Posted On: June 15th, 2018
Going on vacation is a wonderful experience for the entire family. It is a great way to explore new places and spend quality time with those important to you. Vacation can be expensive, though, and if you are looking for a lower-cost alternative to vacationing away, consider a staycation! ...read more

Happy Memorial Day!

Posted On: May 25th, 2018
Memorial Day is this upcoming Monday. It is the unofficial start to summer. Public pools start to open. Schools are either out or will be soon. Better still, we get an extra day off of work. There are parades, festivals, cookouts and American flags everywhere. Retail stores have massive sales ...read more

Easy DIY Mother's Day Gifts

Posted On: May 8th, 2018
This Sunday is Mother’s Day, a day when we celebrate how great our moms are. The holiday was created by Anna Jarvis in the early 1900s to honor the memory of her mother. The church where her mother is buried holds the title of International Mother’s Day Shrine . ...read more

Volunteer With Me!

Posted On: April 24th, 2018
For many, including me, the phrase “it is better to give than to receive” has been engrained in us since our childhoods. To this day, the phrase resonates very deeply and goes to the heart of who I am and how I live my life. I am blessed to work for an employer who shares this same sense of ...read more

All About Earth Day

Posted On: April 17th, 2018
Earth Day is this Sunday. While I always enjoy the tonic of fresh air, contact with the soil and companionship with nature, on this day especially I like to celebrate nature. It’s a great day to take a walk through the woods, enjoy a picnic, or go to the park. ...read more

Delicious & Inexpensive Slow Cooker Meal Ideas

Posted On: April 10th, 2018
Being a mom means you are busy all the time! If you are like me, that means you are always looking for ways to minimize time spent on chores so you can maximize snuggle time with the kids. One way I save time is by using my slow cooker or pressure cooker. I usually use my slower cooker and pressure cooker ...read more

How to Start a Garden

Posted On: April 6th, 2018
It’s finally April and my hyacinths, tulips and irises are beginning to bloom which means warmer weather is on its way. My favorite part of spring is seeing all the flowers in bloom, which is why I have 11 different flower beds in my yard. ...read more

Fun Children's Books

Posted On: April 2nd, 2018
Today is International Children’s Book Day. Established in 1967, the day was created by the International Board on Books for Young People to help encourage children to read and hopefully inspire a love of reading. The day coincides with the birthday of fairy tale author Hans Christian Anderson. As a kid I spent a lot of time at the local library reading as many books as I could. ...read more

Are You Ready For a Pet?

Posted On: March 27th, 2018
For those of you who have been asking yourself this question, I have some good tips and some things to keep in mind before making this BIG decision. The question really does require your careful consideration. Before committing to a new puppy or kitten ...read more

Fun and Easy Easter Crafts

Posted On: March 20th, 2018
Easter is one of my favorite holidays for a lot of reasons, one of the most important being that the decorations are just so dang cute! I also enjoy the family time that comes with Easter, from coloring eggs to egg hunts and ending with a big family dinner. Seeing the excited look on my ...read more

Easy Paper Organization Ideas

Posted On: March 16th, 2018
One of my resolutions this year is to get organized. As you can imagine, life with a toddler can get hectic and lead to some disorganization. There are many times when I can’t find what I am looking for, and at other times ...read more

Where to Find National Pie Day Deals

Posted On: March 14th, 2018
Pi Day is a celebration of the mathematical constant Pi. Pi has been calculated to over one trillion digits, making it a fun memorization challenge for students. Each year, National Pi Day falls on March 14 because pi is approximately 3.14159. I remember in my ...read more

How to Stay Motivated

Posted On: March 9th, 2018
Like most people, I find it hard to stay motivated throughout the year to keep working toward my fitness goals. For the last few weeks the Olympics have inspired me to keep moving, but now that they are over ...read more

Read Across America Day

Posted On: March 2nd, 2018
Reading is one of my favorite things to do. There is nothing better than curling up on the couch with a blanket and a good book. My little one enjoys it, too. Each night, before bed, we read three to four of her favorite books. ...read more

Easy Springtime DIY Projects

Posted On: February 27th, 2018
Ahhhh, spring. A time of renewal. Complete with sunny days, warmer weather and beautiful flowers. In fact, my tulips have begun to sprout so I know it’s getting closer and I can’t wait! In keeping with spring’s renewal theme, each year I like to search out simple, DIY ideas to spruce up my house ...read more

Fun Ways to Stay Active This Winter

Posted On: February 22nd, 2018
Like a lot of people, I am pretty good at making New Year’s resolutions, but not the best at keeping them. Every new year I vow to work towards a healthier lifestyle, and every year I do well for about a month. ...read more

Valentine’s Day on a Budget

Posted On: February 2nd, 2018
It’s February 14, so it only feels appropriate to make my first post about Valentine’s Day. Each year I struggle to find the perfect way to make my spouse feel special while staying on budget. ...read more