Skip to content

Natural Goodness Blog

  • 5 Creative and Affordable Holiday Gifts for Teachers

    As the holidays creep closer and closer, the list of people we’re expected to buy gifts for just gets longer and longer. While there is nothing more gratifying than giving someone a gift they love and deserve (and boy, do teachers deserve something nice!), the stress of picking something out can be overwhelming.

    So before you jump on Pinterest and get completely overwhelmed by all the Teacher Gift Ideas – we thought we’d scan through them for you, and then give you a summary of our favorites – and a couple tips for what to avoid.

     No matter what you buy for your kids’ teachers, it really is the thought that counts. But if you really want to go above and beyond, stay away from things like trinkets and home décor (unless you really know their personal style), as well as baked goods (they get SO many), and scented lotions and candles that are very much a matter of personal taste. 

     Still stumped on what to get? Here are our top 5 creative and affordable holiday gifts for teachers:

    1.   This super cute chapstick apple is a really fun gift for a teacher. It’s a little bit crafty, a lot affordable and has the bonus of offering the teacher something almost everyone loves – EOS chapstick!  http://www.thesuburbanmom.com/2015/08/03/an-apple-for-the-teacher-eos-teacher-gift/

    AppleEOS4Teacher

    2.  If you have somewhat older kids, capable of more advanced crafting, this DIY sharpie mug is pretty awesome. This particular version is dishwasher safe, making it way more practical than the first couple sets of instructions that were circulating the web. http://catchmyparty.com/blog/dishwasher-safe-sharpie-mug-diy

    MarkerMugForTeacher

     3.  A live plant is always a thoughtful gift, and can really help brighten a teacher’s classroom. This particular craft calls for a cute paint job on the pot that reminds teachers just how instrumental they are in helping kids grow. http://gigglesgalore.net/thanks-for-helping-me-grow-teacher/

    FlowerPotForTeacher

     4.  If you’re not into crafting or just don’t have the time, many teachers claim the nicest gifts they receive are handwritten notes from their students and their parents. It may seem small, but just telling a teacher how much you appreciate them can be the most meaningful gift of all.

     5.  For all the practical parents out there, you can never go wrong with an Amazon gift card, or a new set of markers, pencils or other classroom supplies. Some teachers have wish lists that they’ve created for their classrooms online, so don’t be afraid to ask them if there is something in particular they need.

  • Moving Stories from the Journey to Arlington National Cemetary

    Today is the big day. The Oakhurst truck filled with thousands of wreaths arrived at Arlington National Cemetery early this morning and our volunteers have begun unloading it for the official wreath laying ceremony at 10:30am. According to Joe Masse, our volunteer driver, and Jeff Reinold, a 36-year Oakhurst employee and Vietnam War Veteran, it’s been an amazing journey and an incredibly moving experience for both of them.

    OakhurstTruck

    Before Joe and Jeff started unloading the Oakhurst truck, and begin the emotionally moving act of helping place thousands of wreaths on the graves of our fallen heroes, they shared with us some uniquely special moments from their journey this past week.

    Tag

    According to Jeff, the incredible women of The Gold Star Wives of America really stood out in his mind. He shared a particularly moving conversation he had with one of these women. She told Jeff that she and her husband had lived in California – very close to where Jeff had lived at the time – and that her husband had been deployed around the same time as Jeff. “This trip brings people together from far and wide, but sometimes the world is an incredibly small place,” said Jeff. The woman continued her story and told him that when her husband left she was only 21 and that she was three months pregnant. She also told him that it was only a few months later when there was a knock at her door bringing with it the bad news that her husband had been killed. She said she hid from the messenger because she couldn’t bear to hear the news, and let her father greet their unwelcome visitor. She spoke of how devastated she was at the time but how incredibly happy she is that her husband’s memory lives on through this incredible event and its mission to Remember, Honor and Teach.

     Jeff then told us that her story, along with the countless others he has heard this week, reinforced in his mind that the real heroes are those buried at Arlington. We believe that every man and woman living or dead who has fought bravely for our country is a hero and should be honored as one.

    It came as no surprise that Jeff went on to say that because he found the trip so awe-inspiring, he plans to be a part of the annual Wreaths Across America pilgrimage to Arlington National Cemetery every year, until he physically can’t do it anymore. He also notes that the Wreaths Across America initiative has inspired him to dedicate his free time to a cause that involves honoring our country’s veterans when he retires. He said, “This trip has made me realize that I HAVE to be involved with an organization like Wreaths Across America.”

    Both Joe and Jeff echo the sentiment that the crowds along the convoy route from Maine to New Jersey have been incredible, but they did say they felt that Mainers were the most patriotic, standing in the streets as the trucks drove by, waving flags and shouting “thank you.” They concluded that the outpouring of support and patriotism has been so inspiring and moving that it’s really hard for them to put it all into words.

    Jeff Reinold & Joe Masse

     Thank you Joe and Jeff for representing Oakhurst on this important journey and for being there to help pay tribute to American’s fallen heroes.

  • Wreaths Across America – A Tribute to America’s Fallen Heroes

    The Wreaths Across America Journey is a powerful tribute to America’s fallen heros. Anyone who has witnessed it first-hand would echo that sentiment. That’s why, for the 5th consecutive year, we’ve decided to donate transportation services to Wreaths Across America (WAA) and help deliver 230,000 veterans’ wreaths to Arlington National Cemetery on Saturday, December 12, 2015.  Jeff Reinold, a Vietnam War veteran and Oakhurst sales representative for more than 35 years will be joining our driver, Joe Masse, on the trip this year.

    Joe&ParkerWAA

    “For me, this trip is all about honoring those who served and the heroes who didn’t come home”, said a modest Reinold whose own bravery and service should not go unnoticed.

    Wreaths Across America is a Maine-based non-profit that coordinates wreath-laying ceremonies at Arlington National Cemetery and other veterans’ cemeteries in all 50 states and beyond. 

    The wreath-laying effort began in 1992 when Morrill Worcester of Worcester Wreath Company in Harrington, Maine, donated 5,000 evergreen wreaths to Arlington National Cemetery. Today, the annual weeklong pilgrimage from Maine to Arlington National Cemetery is known as the world’s largest veterans parade. The event is made possible by thousands of volunteers who organize local ceremonies, raise funds to sponsor wreaths, and participate in the events. The cost of the program is paid by individual wreaths sponsors and corporate donors. Volunteer professional truck drivers make the trip each year carrying truckloads full of wreaths.

     Truck

    The very first ceremony of the trip began early yesterday morning with a sunrise service at Quoddy Head State Park where the U.S. Atlantic coast meets the Canadian Atlantic coast. The trip starts here to represent the program’s reach from ‘sea to shining sea’. The parade will conclude next Saturday, December 12th with a wreath laying ceremony at Arlington National Cemetery. This year they anticipate delivering and placing 230,000 wreaths at Arlington National Cemetery.

    Arlington National Cemetery

    You can follow along during the journey on Oakhurst’s interactive map and watch the “Escort to Arlington” streamed live at http://waa.oakhurstdairy.com. Be sure to take a look at our Dashboard Camera – you’ll feel as though you’re on the road with Joe and the rest of the convoy. Don’t forget to check out our Cab Camera, too.

    For more information about the “Escort to Arlington” and how you can sponsor a wreath, visit www.wreathsacrossamerica.org.

  • 5 Holiday Treats Made with Egg Nog

    Egg Nog is a holiday staple. Especially Oakhurst Egg Nog! But there’s only so much of it you can drink straight from the glass (or is there?). If you’ve got a fridge full of delicious Egg Nog and are looking to get creative- here’s 5 recipes that’ll inspire you to start cooking!

    1.     Egg Nog Pancakes

    Who says you can’t have egg nog for breakfast? These pancakes are perfectly fluffy with just enough tasty egg nog flavor to make you feel warm and fuzzy throughout the holidays. These would be so yummy on Christmas morning! http://www.cookingclassy.com/2014/11/eggnog-pancakes/

    EggNogPancakes

     2.     Bundt Cake with Egg Nog Frosting

    You pretty much can’t go wrong with an egg nog bundt cake drizzled in egg nog frosting, can you? Not to mention how pretty this cake would look on a holiday dessert table. Try the recipe as is, or sub in one of our Buttered Rum Egg Nog for an extra special twist. http://cookingwithruthie.com/2013/12/05/egg-nog-bundt-cake-egg-nog-frosting/

    BundtCake w EggNogFrosting

     3.     Egg Nog Fudge

    This would make the sweetest (literally) holiday gift. Perfect for all the candy lovers on your nice list!

    http://www.recipegirl.com/2007/11/30/eggnog-fudge/

    EggNogFudge

     4.     Baked Egg Nog Doughnuts

    We’ve never met a doughnut we didn’t like – and this egg nog doughnut is no exception. The fact that it’s baked (and not fried) makes it a little bit healthier…maybe…and also way easier to clean up. Make it with or without the suggested rum glaze, it’s delicious either way!

    http://www.savorysimple.net/baked-eggnog-doughnuts-with-eggnog-rum-glaze/

    EggNogDonuts

     5.     Ginger Cookies with Egg Nog Cheesecake Dip

    Cookies + Egg Nog + Cheesecake? Count us in! There’s pretty much no way this recipe could go wrong. Plus, it’s easy to put together and store, making it the perfect treat to bring to your next holiday party. Get the recipe here: http://www.a-kitchen-addiction.com/soft-baked-ginger-cookies-with-eggnog-cheesecake-dip/

    EggNogCheescakeDip

  • 5 Simple and Easy Ways to Teach Kids Gratitude

    The holiday season is totally magical, but with all the new toys and gadgets and lavish meals it can be easy for kids to get wrapped up in the wanting part of the season, and miss out on the giving part- and especially the gratitude part.

    Teaching kids gratitude is about more than just manners, though. According to research from the Greater Good Science Center, grateful people are more stress-resistant and have a higher sense of self-worth. Who doesn’t want that for their kiddos?!

    Teaching your kids gratitude doesn’t have to involve anything extreme like cancelling Christmas or giving away all of their toys. Here are five of our favorite ways to incorporate gratitude into your family’s daily life and remind your kids to be grateful.

    1.     Model Gratitude in Daily Conversation

    It’s as simple as remembering to say “thank you” in your daily life – and making sure you mention it out loud when you feel grateful for someone else’s gift or actions. Even things as simple as talking about gratitude help kids to recognize and remember the feeling.

    2.     Practice Giving

    Bake a batch of cookies with your little ones and then let them choose people they are thankful for to gift them to. It could be a teacher, pediatrician, neighbor or babysitter – the act of giving will make your kid feel good and encourage them to think about those they are grateful for.

    Gratitude Cookies

    3.     Insist on Thank You Notes

    I know, I know – it’s like pulling teeth (wait, don’t kids like losing teeth?) – but insisting on thank you notes from an early age will instill great habits for when they get older and means more than you probably know to friends and relatives. There’s something about a handwritten thank you note that brings a smile to almost anyone’s face. And it forces your kids to think about the gift they received and what they love most about it.

    Gratitude Note

    4.     Sometimes, Say No

    One of the best ways to teach kids gratitude is to sometimes say no. Especially during the holiday season, it’s easy to get wrapped up in wanting each and every new toy – and as parents – it feels good to be able to give our kids all the things they want and revel in their excitement. But if we always say yes, our kids won’t learn to truly appreciate the things they have. Sometimes, waiting a few days, weeks, months or years to get the things we want the most makes them feel just that much sweeter in the end.

    5.     Unwrap with Care

    Christmas can be incredibly overwhelming for little ones who are unwrapping dozens of new toys. While kids are often prone to opening everything in one big frenzy, it pays to slow down and enforce a “one gift at a time” rule. Watching others open their gifts increases anticipation and excitement, and having time in between presents allows little ones to think about and appreciate the gift they have now, versus wondering what’s inside the next box. Remind kids to say thank you after each gift, and keep a list of what they received so they can write thank you notes later!

    Gratitude Gifts

    Learning gratitude takes time, but I think most of us would agree, it’s #SoWorthIt.

    What are some of your holiday family traditions that center around gratitude?

  • Two (More) Reasons to Love Oakhurst Egg Nog

    This year, traditional Egg Nog connoisseurs need to be more conscious than ever and carefully check the labels of their favorite brands. Why? With the egg shortage this past summer, some of the brands are eliminating the use of real eggs as an ingredient in their holiday offering and you might find “Nog” or “egg nog flavored dairy beverages” on shelves instead. But don’t worry- not Oakhurst! Our Egg Nog is our pride and joy, and we remain committed to using real eggs, as we have for generations, to create our creamy delicious seasonal Egg Nog.

    “Every year, we hear from so many New Englanders how much they love the taste of our Egg Nog,” said John Bennett, President of Oakhurst. “A key ingredient to our seasonal winter beverage recipes is real eggs. With the kind of consumer feedback we’ve received over the years, we couldn’t imagine changing our recipes even in the face of increased ingredient costs.”

    Our classic Egg Nog, Light Egg Nog and Buttered Rum Egg Nog will reach stores in late Octoberand can be found in pint, quart and half-gallon sizes. And remember, don’t wait, Egg Nog is a seasonal beverage and it will disappear from store shelves in January.

     OakhurstEggNog

    Another Reason to Love Oakhurst Egg Nog

    In addition to staying true to our classic Egg Nog recipes dating back generations, we also remain committed to our annual holiday giving tradition of donating five cents to The Salvation Army of Northern New England for every container of Egg Nog sold. Last year, we donated $21,257 to the organization – the largest donation in the history of the annual holiday fundraiser. Over the last 16 years, we’ve contributed more than $260,000 to The Salvation Army through this annual effort.

    The Salvation Army continues its long-standing tradition of serving “Others” by providing children, adults and seniors assistance and enrichment programs. Salvation Army Divisional Commander, Major James LaBossiere states, “At Christmas time and throughout the year, local individuals and families are finding themselves in need of a helping hand. Every cent raised helps us to help those in need and we could not do it without the support of Oakhurst and their generous customers. Thank you.”

    For information about The Salvation Army, please visit www.use.salvationarmy.org/use/www_use_portland.nsf

  • 9 Tips for a Spooky (and Safe) Halloween

    What little kid doesn’t love Halloween? Costumes, candy and extended bedtimes are the epitome of fun, but it’s important to think about Halloween safety, too.

    Try one (or all) of these spooktastic safety tips to keep the kiddos safe and warm this weekend.

    1. Find creative ways to integrate light colors and reflective strips into your child’s costume so they are easily seen on the roads. Giving your kids a couple of glow sticks to carry is another great way to keep them visible or even a small flashlight.
    2. Opt for face paint instead of a mask whenever possible, to make sure kids have their full peripheral vision while out on the street.Halloween Kids
    3. Make sure your littlest trick-or-treaters are accompanied by an adult, and only visit neighborhoods where you know the homeowners. Trick-or-treating is also a great opportunity to teach your children about looking both ways before crossing the street, and always keeping an eye out for cars.
    4. Test makeup on a small patch of skin before painting the entire face or body, to prevent an allergic or skin reaction.
    5. Steer clear of decorative contact lenses, as they can cause inflammation, infection and serious eye damage.Halloween Candy
    6. Make sure your kids eat a filling dinner before trick-or-treating, and challenge them to see who can bring home the most candy, giving them an incentive not to eat it along the way. Once their home, make a game out of separating it into different categories and then let them choose a couple of pieces to eat before bed, and a couple more for their lunch the next day. You can also keep your kids from gorging on candy by taking half of it to a local candy donation center – a number of local dentists and other organizations offer toys or cash in exchange for candy in the days following Halloween.
    7. Advise kiddos to only enter homes with a trusted adult, and not to eat homemade treats unless you’ve approved it!
    8. Paint your pumpkins instead of carving them for a fun activity that the kids can participate in. Halloween Pumpkins
    9. Last but not least, if you’re a parent of a child with food allergies, you know how difficult Halloween can be. Help ease the minds of other parents by participating in the Teal Pumpkin Project. The project encourages families who are offering non-food treats like toys or crayons instead of candy to place a teal pumpkin on their stoop to let parents know they are an allergy-friendly home, and safe to visit.

    Did we miss anything? What are your go-to Halloween safety tips?

  • It’s Hockey Season – Hit the Ice with Oakie Through the Oakie’s Corner Experience!

    It’s that time of year again…time for 5am practices and weekend-long family outings at the ice rink. If you’re a hockey mom, you know it – and you probably love it, at least a little bit, right?

    Here at Oakhurst we love hockey, too. For that reason, we are once again partnering with the UMaine Black Bears and the UNH Wildcats Men’s Hockey teams to offer a unique experience for young hockey players across the two states. It’s an exciting program called the Oakie’s Corner Experience.

    UNH Oakies Corner Experience

    Here’s How The Oakie’s Corner Experience Works

    Oakhurst will select one youth team per game to be its guest at seven (7) UNH and seven (7) UMaine Hockey home games (see below schedule for games). Each youth team will receive 20 free tickets, special Oakie’s Corner seating in each of the arenas, a visit from Oakie, an opportunity to engage with the University hockey teams, special recognition and gifts the night of the game. Sounds fun, right? Well here’s how you get signed up:

    It’s Easy to Become the Oakie’s Corner Experience Team

    • Submit an application at oakiescornerexperience@oakhurstdairy.com
    • Tell us the name of your team, your town, age and provide a person to contact (email and phone)
    • List the top 2 games your team would like to attend
    • Winning teams will be selected on a first-come first serve basis and notified at the beginning of the University hockey season
    • Eligible teams must not have players in 8th grade or above, therefore we are looking for teams in Mite, Squirt and Peewee age groups ONLY

     Transportation to and from the game is not provided. Any souvenirs or food items purchased at the arenas will be the responsibility of the teams.

    Oakie’s Corner Experience Home Game Schedules

    UMaine

    • Saturday, November 21, 2015 vs. University of Vermont
    • Friday, December 4, 2015 vs. UNH
    • Saturday, January 9, 2016 vs. Colgate University
    • Friday, January 15, 2016 vs. University of Connecticut
    • Friday, January 22, 2016 vs. Boston University
    • Saturday, February 6, 2016 vs. Providence College
    • Saturday, February 20, 2016 vs. Merrimack College

    UNH

    • Friday, December 11, 2015 vs. Dartmouth College
    • Wednesday, December 30, 2015 vs. University of Maine  – this will take place at the Verizon Wireless Arena in Manchester
    • Friday, January 8, 2015 vs. University of Massachusetts, Lowell
    • Saturday, January 16, 2016 vs. Northeastern University
    • Saturday, February 13, 2016 vs. University of Vermont
    • Friday, February 19, 2016 vs. Boston University
    • Saturday, February 27, 2016 vs. University of Connecticut

    UMaine Oakie Shake

    Oh, and don’t forget to refuel after practice with Oakhurst Lowfat Chocolate Milk!

     Aspire.     Most kids who hit the ice every week or participate in any other sport want to achieve a certain goal

    Perspire.  And they work hard trying to achieve their goals

    Restore.   We want coaches, parents and all the athletes out there to take care of their bodies during their sports seasons. One simple way is to drink 16 ounces of lowfat chocolate milk within one hour of training and games in order to refuel.

    Research suggests lowfat chocolate milk is superior to drinks like Gatorade for muscle recovery after tough training sessions, workouts and games because it has the right mix of proteins and carbohydrates, which have been shown to refuel and rebuild exhausted muscles, better after heavy exercise. And chocolate milk is great for rehydrating – it’s a delicious, nutrient-laden liquid that will help replace lost fluids after exercise due to sweating.

     

     

  • 4 Make-Ahead Breakfasts for Back to School

    Back to school is always a busy time – and with early mornings for everyone, all too often breakfast gets either skimped on or skipped. Not good for kiddos needing energy to power through their day!

    To stay sane AND energized, we’ve put together a list of our four favorite Make-Ahead Breakfasts that you can assemble the night before and then serve the next morning without missing a beat – or a minute of extra sleep. Check them out below!

    CranberryOatMuffins

    These delicious muffins can be made with regular white milk or Almond Milk and are incredibly easy to prepare ahead of time. You can even freeze them! Just toss them in the toaster oven when you’re ready to eat and – voila – instant breakfast on the go.

    BlueberryBreakfastPops

    For a healthy treat without the extra effort these frozen breakfast pops fit the bill perfectly. Assemble the pops the night before, freeze, and serve with granola (or on the go) the next morning. Yum!

    Quiche

    For a healthy breakfast that tastes as good as it looks, this veggie quiche is sure to please. Assemble the ingredients and refrigerate the night before, than all you have to do is bake and serve the following morning.

    OvernightOats

    This trendy breakfast is a nutritionist favorite because it’s full of fiber, protein and vitamins. Make up to five days ahead of time with your preferred oats, refrigerate, and then add milk just before you’re ready to eat. Making it in mason jars makes it even more fun (and stylish) for the kiddos.

    Breakfast can be a challenge when you’re in a rush, but fueling up properly is #SoWorthIt, especially for kids heading back to class. What are your favorite back to school breakfasts?

  • Head, Heart, Hands and Health: Why We Love 4-H

    Summer in New England is in full swing and that means state fairs all around Maine and New Hampshire are ready for prime-time, and with them, the incredible young men and women of 4-H.  For those of you who might not be familiar, 4-H is a national youth program created to empower children and teens to become confident and capable contributors to their community, especially in the fields of animal science and agriculture.

    Through the 4-H program, children and teenagers learn how to care for all sorts of animals, including livestock and dairy cows.  Many motivated 4-H youth have steered much of their time and learning towards maintaining agriculture through family farms, an effort we believe is definitely #SoWorthIt.

    4-H Winner & Oakie

    In Maine in particular, there is a large effort to encourage learning through 4-H Animal Science and Agriculture.  These farm-oriented programs help young people learn about caring for animals and how they directly contribute to the quality and quantity of our food supply.  4-H youth Ellie Pendleton says the farms she attends “hosts agricultural events and activities where visitors learn about cattle, sustainable agriculture, and land conservation.” Family farms feed a huge percentage of our community and world at large, and the families who operate them understand the importance of nurturing and maintaining the land and the animals – exactly the thinking that 4-H instills.

    Lydia Elwell, another 4-H’er, explains that “due to the positive experiences I’ve gained from my 4-H group, my main aspiration in life is to help as many people as possible.”

    This amazing organization continues to have an incredible impact on the lives of children and the betterment of our communities. It gives future dairy farmers the hands-on experience they need to be successful, and teaches children about being active members of their community. In fact, 4-H members are four times more likely to make contributions to their communities, two times more likely to be civically active and two times more likely to make healthier choices. Girls participating in 4-H are also two times more likely to take part in science programs compared to girls in other extracurricular activities. Outcomes like these are why we at Oakhurst continue to make it a large priority to support 4-H programs in Maine and New Hampshire.

    4-H Winner

    Throughout the summer we will be donating $100 awards to winners of state fair dairy cow contests (a total of over $3,000) and in addition offering them the affection of our beloved mascot Oakie.  This year marks the eleventh consecutive year in Maine and ninth in New Hampshire that Oakhurst has supported and recognized the achievements of these young dairy farmers.

    Each summer, all of us here at Oakhurst are thrilled to see so many young people take an active interest in the business we’ve loved for more than 90 years. We look forward to following this year’s group of competitors!