Credit 101 For Teens and For Everyone

Our bankers spend a lot of time in local schools during the spring. We talk to little kids about spending and saving money and to high school kids about topics important to them. As they’re about to venture out on their own we give them an overview of real world money topics like how to open a checking account, how to apply for a loan, and what it takes to build good credit.

Here for You BadgeWe can’t go to the classrooms so we wanted to bring the credit talk to the blog! Since every consumer needs credit for a variety of reasons, this is helpful information for everyone – not just those high school students!

What is a credit score?
A credit score is numerical summary of a person’s credit worthiness. It takes into account several factors including length of credit history, outstanding debt, pursuit of new credit, types of credit in use, and payment history. The higher your score, the better your credit.

Why do I need good credit?
Your credit score will be considered when you apply for a loan or a credit card. Many employers look at your credit as do insurance companies, landlords, and even cell phone companies. In other words, your ability to get a cell phone, rent an apartment, get a credit card, insure your home, start a new job or afford a loan for a car is tied to your use of credit. In the world of borrowing money, someone with excellent credit may qualify for a lower interest rate than a customer with good or acceptable credit. Good credit can literally save a customer hundreds if not thousands of dollars in their lifetime.

How can I improve my credit?
– Pay your bills in full and on time every month.
– Use 25% or less of your available credit. In other words, if your credit
limit is $10,000, carry a no more than $2,500 of debt.
– Maintain steady employment. You will be perceived as being reliable and
better able to pay bills if you are able to hold down a steady job.

What negatively impacts my credit?
– Late or missed payments.
– Using more than 80% of your available credit.
– Bankruptcy.
– Liens or foreclosures.
– Periods of unemployment.
– Too many requests for new lines of credit.

How do I establish good credit and keep it that way?
– Pay your bills, on time every month.
– Open a credit card and pay it off every month, or keep a very low manageable
– Do not open too many credit cards or credit accounts at one time.
– Avoid using the mantra “I’ll pay it off later” as a crutch for going into
debt for things you cannot afford.
– When it comes to credit cards, only charge things you can afford.
– Only apply for loans where the payment is manageable using your current
– Do not stretch your budget too thin. Ask yourself, could I afford this car
loan if I lost my job or got sick and couldn’t work?

What is a good credit score?
740 – 850           Excellent Credit
680 – 740            Good Credit
620 – 680            Acceptable Credit
550 – 620           Subprime Credit
300 – 550           Poor Credit

Who tracks my credit?
Your use of credit is reported to three major credit reporting agencies: TransUnion, Experian and Equifax. Each time you pay a bill, apply for insurance, change jobs, or exceed your credit card limit, that information becomes part of the permanent record known as your credit report. You are advised to request a free credit report annually through This report is a snapshot of your credit worthiness. It is important review regularly for accuracy.

Small Business Spotlight: Clary Trucking

Small businesses are important to communities and running a small business is tough work. That’s why we feature a small business in one of our communities every month!  

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Talk to Dan Clary about his family’s business for very long and it’s easy to understand the company’s values. Family, hard work, honesty and fairness are not just words in a mission statement but a way of life for the owners and employees of Clary Trucking.

The company is now celebrating its 71st year in business and has grown by leaps and bounds since Dan’s grandpa Jesse Clary, Sr. bought his first truck to haul school coal in 1947. Today the fourth generation family business has an impressive fleet of iconic red Kenworth trucks but they maintain a strong connection to where they have come from and the values that have made them successful.

It all started in 1947 when Jesse Clary Sr. bought that first truck to haul school coal. The next year he bought an International wrecker truck to use for towing services. Then in 1956, on his sixteenth birthday, Jesse Clary, Jr. acquired his driver’s license and began hauling aggregate material and household coal. “Grandpa was a mechanic and happy to do what he did. He was comfortable in his own skin but he didn’t want to deal much with people,” Dan explained. “But he told dad, if he wanted to deal with people, he could do more.”

That’s when the company began to grow. When Jesse Sr. passed away in 1970, the company was hauling coal and was transporting base material for the construction of Route 32, the Appalachian Highway, which cuts through several southern Ohio counties.


Jesse and Patricia Clary are revered by their family for the work they have done to grow the business.

His dad Jesse and mom Patricia grew the business to fifteen trucks that hauled coal, foundry sand and asphalt. Their three children, Rick, Dan and Jackie all joined the family business in the seventies and, by 1978, Clary Trucking had outgrown their location, causing them to move into a new, larger facility in Richmond Dale.

“Mom and Dad did everything by themselves for years, until us kids came of age and could help,” Dan recalled with admiration. “Mom did the bookkeeping at the house and answered the phone. All while they were raising the kids. Dad likes to tell the story that he had six dollars in his pocket when they got married and that’s all the money they had.”

Dan credits his hardworking parents for building the business on a strong foundation and for instilling in their kids and grandkids the value of hard work and growing the business smartly. Jesse Jr. and Patricia have been married for sixty years and, as a team, helped the business grow to what it is today.

And what it is today is impressive.

In 2003 the company had grown so much it moved to a new, larger facility on Eastern Avenue in Chillicothe. Among other things, the facility has a welcoming office space, warehousing and cross-docking capabilities.

With more than fifty trucks and over 130 trailers, Clary Trucking now employs 54 people, including ten who are Clary family. Dan’s sister Jackie, wife Jody, nephew Ben and son’s Scott and John are all part of the operation.

Many of their employees have been with the company for decades, others have retired from there, while some even have grown children who now work for the company. Many employees have been there so long they are like family. They have four employees with a combined total of 175 years working with the company. “Carol, Ron, Wayne and David are very much appreciated. We don’t know what we’d do without them,” Dan said as he talked about folks who have spent their careers with the company.

“We have a good crew of people here. We couldn’t do it without them,” Dan continued. “We have good people and good customers and we learn how to get along with everyone to make it work. One of the best parts of the business is having the family here and that we get along. We don’t fuss and fight. We all pitch in and, for the most part, we’re all pretty universal. We can do each other’s jobs. If it takes extra effort to make something work, you’ve just gotta do it.”

Dan talked about the effect this attitude has on the morale of employees. The drivers notice that the family shows up and works just like they do. “One guy told me once ‘you work with us. You don’t just show up and go home.’ And that’s true. We aren’t living a high life. We live pretty modestly and we work hard to be where we are. We’re not out buying race cars or anything like that,” he laughed.

Dan takes pride in how they do everything in-house. From accounting to mechanics to technology and everything in between, they are completely self-sufficient. “We want things to be done right. It’s that simple. We have found that if we want it done our way, it’s a lot easier to just do it,” Dan observed.

He also emphasized the importance of the company’s good reputation and of doing the right thing, pointing out that they have worked hard to diversify the business and investments to stay on firm financial ground. “You never want to find yourself in the position that you can’t afford to do the right thing. It hasn’t always been easy but we do our best to do the right thing,” he emphasized. “I tell our drivers, it’s not a sin to make a mistake. It is a sin to not own up to it so we can make it right with the customer.”

While some might say they are old fashioned, the Clary family stands by the values that got them to where they are today.

“I want to see us get to a hundred years. But that won’t happen without work. When I was eighteen, I thought growing the business was the hard part and it would be easy once we got there,” Dan reminisced. “I know now it takes as much effort to stay here as it took to get here and we are grateful every day.”

Today, about fifty percent of their business is outside of Ohio and their regular routes include Louisville, Detroit, Charleston, South Carolina and Roanoke, Virginia. “We have grown a lot through our customers because they need something and you have to take care of your customers. You never want to say no if you don’t have to,” Dan explained.

Along with that growth has come countless changes, especially in technology used for operations and for managing their fleet of trucks on the road every day. “Dad, he’s amazed by it, by how much has changed and how quickly it changes,” he acknowledged.

But as they say – the more things change, the more they stay the same. Family and hard work are as important today as they were in 1947 when Jesse Sr. bought that first truck.

At 77 years young, Jesse and Patricia are semi-retired but Jesse still drives a truck whenever he can. They spend part of their year in Florida with their pride and joy – their dog Daisy. The pair have six grandchildren and seven great grandchildren.

“We’re grateful to be here working and for the people we work with. We’re grateful that everyone is healthy and happy and that we can still be here. It’s been a great life,” Dan said.

Learn more about Clary Trucking at their website.

Small Business Spotlight: Pataskala Meats

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Small businesses are important to communities and running a small business is tough work. That’s why we feature a small business in one of our communities every month! 

On a cold and blustery December day, the doors of  Pataskala Meats opened up for a visit from VCNB and a chance to be featured in our Small Business Spotlight series.  As one of the only butcher shops in the area to be built from the ground up in the last thirty years, Pataskala Meats showed itself to be a happening place full of unique eats at great prices.

Pataskala Meats is the project of Kirk Hall, who has spent much of the last twenty years working on his family farm and raising sheep.  With the dream of creating his own butcher shop and market, Kirk spent years looking for existing buildings to renovate to make this idea come to life.  But time and time again, he kept coming back to a lot sitting along Broad Street in Pataskala.  In 2011, Kirk pulled the trigger and purchased the oft-visited lot and went to work.  Instead of renovating a building, he’d be building from scratch.  And after ninety truck-loads of clay were brought in to raise and level the ground and a dilapidated building was demolished, Kirk began work on his shop.  After four years of hard labor, enormous expenses on pavement, cooling racks, and processing equipment, Kirk was ready to open the doors of Pataskala Meats in spring 2016.

Pataskala Meats is a USDA licensed butcher shop first and foremost, working mostly with cows, pigs, sheep, and goat.  With two hanging coolers in the back, Kirk and his crew are able to immediately begin the cooling process and continuously move the meat along for further processing.  With a USDA inspector on hand on a regular basis, the process and the meat itself is inspected and stamped for approval for sale to the general public.  Pataskala Meats also takes orders from private customers and farmers for their own use and consumption as freezer meat.

After the cooling and hanging process, the meat is cut and divided for packaging.  Kirk’s smoked meat is so popular the smoker is nearly pushed to the limit by constant use.  “We’ve found it’s too small really – it’s constantly running!” he says.  Bacon is marinated for five days before being put through the smoker, the ham is injected with a secret mixture before running through, and smoked pork chops are one of Kirk’s personal favorites.  Pulled pork and other meats are smoked by request.

Photos of Kirk’s family farm line the market walls in the front of the building.  The fresh cut steaks, chops, specially blended sausages, and house made jerky make headlines, but there’s more happening here.  With the best prices around on deli meats and specials (seriously –smoked ham was going for $.99/lb at the time of our visit!), house made potato salad and sides, and an incredible variety of cheeses, spices, and condiments, the market clearly has something to offer everyone.  Huge coolers hold everything from specialty items and frozen foods to sweet tea and Monster energy drinks.  Aisles of shelves are lined with sweet treats and salty snacks, including some packaged in bulk.  Pataskala Meats was just awarded with a liquor license as well, and will soon have a selection of wine available.

Whether you are grilling, picnicking or tailgating, you can find all your fixings at Pataskala Meats!

Perhaps the market’s most unique offering is that of a cooler dedicated to your furry friends.  Raw pet food is ground, packaged, and sold either in bulk or in one pound tubes for $.75/lb, and various sizes of smoked bones can be purchased for your pets.  These bones can be as large – or as small – as you request, and can be cut to size if you prefer.

We thank Kirk and his staff for giving us a glimpse into what they have going on during a bitterly cold day, and we look forward to seeing Pataskala Meats grow as they continue settling into their location at 12397 Broad Street. Follow them on Facebook or call  740. 927.3006.


Make The Holidays Easier With VCNB

Tis the season for holiday giving and that means you’ll probably be doing a lot of spending. VCNB has a product called Popmoney® personal payment service that is perfect for the holidays and today we’re talking about three times it might come in handy for you!

This service allows you to send money to another person electronically. All you need is the mobile phone number or email address to send the funds and it’s easy for them to have it deposited into the bank account of their choice. Each transaction costs just .50 cents, making it an affordable, easy and relatively quick way to get money to another person. Popmoney can be used from our mobile app, VCNB Mobile or through Online Bill Pay so you can literally send funds at any time.

Shared Gift Giving – In a lot of workplaces, co-workers combine their resources to buy their boss a nicer gift. If you’re like a lot of Americans, you may not carry a lot of cash or your checkbook to work. Pay your share by sending your contribution electronically to the person collecting the funds.

Festive Meal With Friends – Your group is going out for dinner to celebrate but the restaurant requires a party of your size pay on one check. Don’t make your friend who’s footing the bill wait for your share! Just send them the funds via Popmoney, right there from the dinner table!

Last Minute Gift  – Forgot to buy a gift for someone on your list? No sweat! You can use Popmoney to send them cash, along with a holiday greeting!

Remember, you can also use Popmoney to request funds! Say you’re in charge of buying mom and dad’s gift from you and your siblings. Let your brothers and sisters know how much they owe by sending a request via Popmoney. They can respond to that request directly, and send the money right back to you. No muss, no fuss and no excuse for your baby brother not to pay his share!

How might you use Popmoney this holiday season? Tell us in the comments section below!

Small Business Spotlight: Great Escapes Travel

Being a small business owner is a tough job. That’s why we spotlight a different business each month to help you learn about unique businesses in your own back yard.

In the age of self service and online travel booking sites, many Americans may not think to consult a travel agency for their next vacation. However, there’s one travel agent in Logan who says business is thriving and that her services are as needed today as ever. Great Escapes Travel owner Tracey Adams is a 33-year veteran of the business who says above-and-beyond customer service keeps clients coming back trip after trip.

“Even though people can book online, you would be surprised to know how many people feel more comfortable booking a trip with me,” Adams said. “I can take someone’s vacation savings and turn it into the trip of their dreams. Even if they vacation every year, I want them to come home feeling like it was a once-in-a-lifetime thing.”

ParisFrom Disney trips and Caribbean cruises to international journeys to far flung places, Adams can send a client anywhere in the world they want to go. The real value though is that she provides not just the standard flight, room and car rental, she plans and sees to every step of their journey. “From the minute they leave their home until they return, I take care of everything. Flights, transfers, cancellations, online check-in, hotels, cars, research. You name it and I do it because I want to make it as easy and convenient as possible for my client,” she explained. “It’s a service that my clients have grown to expect. Not every agency will do all that but I think personal service is important.”

The demographic of her client base is broad, including people of all ages and backgrounds. She cites stories of trips she has planned for both young and old, families, couples, friends and singles as well as travelers from all backgrounds. She said that most of her clients are repeat customers, making it easier to recommend destinations and activities because she is familiar with their likes and dislikes.

What are some reasons a traveler might find a travel agent like Adams helpful? The list is long, she says. One important reason relates to experience and knowledge. “Either by research or by first hand experience I am familiar with your destination. I’ve been doing this for 33 years so I can tell you what to see and what to avoid. I know when you’re actually getting a good deal and what you need to do before you leave,” she said. She went on to discuss how so many international travelers aren’t sure about how to get a passport, what inoculations they might need or what to pack. “I do all the research and I take care of you.  I can look after you if a flight is cancelled and be there for you every step of the way.

When considering her favorite destinations, she mentioned Disney because there are so many customizable options and because it is incredibly popular with people of all ages. Her absolute favorite trip though is Alaska. “It’s the most amazing place I’ve ever seen in my life. The people are so nice and the air is clean. The ice, the whales, the eagles are amazing in person,” she gushed.

Another favorite is the Caribbean where she not only sends countless clients every year but where she leads an annual trip. This year’s seven day Carnival Western Caribbean trip will be Oct. 1 through Oct. 8 and bookings are still available. Ports of call for this trip include Costa Maya, Isla Roatan, Belize and Cozumel. “This is a huge group from Logan and the surrounding area and we have a blast,” she said with a laugh. “Cruises are great for families and for people who aren’t sure they really want to travel. Men especially are the hardest to get on a cruise but they’re the first to come back and book another because they have the best time.”

To learn more about Great Escapes Travel and how they can help you plan your next trip, call 740.385.1999 and follow them on Facebook. They are located at 60 N. Mulberry St. in Logan.

See below for a few more pictures from Great Escapes Travel!

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Love Your Pet Day

It’s Love Your Pet Day and we wanted to show off some pets from the VCNB Family! If you can handle the cuteness, we encourage you to scroll through and admire pictures of pets submitted by our employees. You will note that we have a lot of traditional pets and a few that aren’t so traditional! Enjoy!

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Dream Field Gets Big Boost From Franklin County Banking Center


From left are Grove City Branch Service Manager Shayne Applegarth, Head of Retail – EVP Denise Fauber, Branch Manager Sue Ross, Commercial Lender – VP Jeff Guminey, President Ron Collins, Grove City Little League Board Treasurer Jack Widner, GCLL VP Jimmie Harris, Buddy Ball Board Treasurer Lynn Stitzlein and Buddy Ball Board President Michael DiBlasi.

Since its inception in 1867, The Vinton County National Bank has stood tall as a community-centered organization, serving local communities by providing personalized loan and deposit services to individuals and local businesses. Now with 17 locations in seven Central and Southern Ohio counties, community service and financial donations in the areas where we live and work continue to be an important part of our bank culture.

In 2015, after adding the Franklin County Banking Center in Grove City to our financial family, an opportunity was presented to us to contribute to a project near and dear to the heart of many Grove City residents.  The Grove City Little League’s Project Dream Field, as it was being called, had been underway for a several years and was beginning to enter the home stretch.

The project’s goal?  The development of an accessible field to provide opportunities for children with disabilities to play baseball, regardless of their abilities.  After researching the Little League’s efforts and their proposed plan, VCNB was proud to present the Little League with a $3,000 donation toward the Dream Field earlier this month.  Grove City Little League Executive Board Member Jack Widner recently agreed to talk to us in depth about the project and shared some exciting news about the grand opening.

Tell me about the objective of the Dream Field project. 
In 2012, the Mayor of Grove City came to a group of Grove City citizens and asked them to resurrect the Grove City Little League.  The group of men, some of who played in the previously-disbanded league’s first games in the 1950’s, were happy to get involved in bringing Little League back to Grove City.  After they were able get to the league back up and running in 2013, the GCLL Board of Directors heard about a previous effort to bring a miracle field to Grove City.  That plan never came to fruition, so they decided they would like to try and make it happen.  The Board met with the City of Grove City, who pledged to help fund the project if the GCLL Board could raise $252,000.

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Little League Board Treasurer Jack Widner updates Grove City Branch Manager Sue Ross on the fundraising process.

How many children do you think this will benefit in the Grove City area?  Is your aim beyond this area?
A new baseball group has formed out of the creation of the Dream Field: “Buddy Ball at Grove City Dream Field.”  The Buddy Ball baseball group will be in charge of putting together a league for children to be able to play baseball at the field.  They initially thought they would have six to seven teams of children with different needs.  However, since word has gotten out about the new field, we have received requests from teams as far away as Jackson, Ohio and London, Ohio to host games at the Dream Field.  It’s hard to tell exactly how many children will be served by the field – but we expect to draw children from a big chunk of Central Ohio and Southern Ohio.

I know a similar program in Dublin has been helpful in this project.  Did you model this off of another project specifically or was it a combination of various influences?
It was a combination of things that led us to develop this project.  We did talk to the organizers of the Dublin field, who were very helpful, and found out that they are serving over 47 zip codes and are having difficulty keeping up with the demand for the field.  There are 219 of these fields in the United States, and we thought the success of that particular field showed us there is certainly a demand for this here.

Tell us why you’re so passionate about the project and who is working on it with you.
When the Board of Directors had fulfilled its mission of bringing back Little League to Grove City, we were looking for a way that we could continue to give back to our community.  Once we saw the need, and the response the community had to our efforts, we knew we had to see this through.  Each of the Board members is looking forward to driving by that field and seeing children of all abilities able to enjoy the game of baseball.

It seems the community has really been on board with this – how much of your goal have you been able to raise and how were you able to do so?
Once word got out about the Board’s efforts to bring this project to fruition, the community was very supportive.  We had Girl Scouts, Cheerleaders and various service groups help raise money for the field.  The Grove City Community Club has been extremely generous to the Dream Field. Three gentlemen generously included Dream Field contributions in their obituaries:  Coach Ernie Plank, Dick Robinson, and Jim O’Connor.  One very successful fundraiser was hosted by Planks in Downtown Grove City which brought in around $5,800.  Most of the community’s fundraising efforts came in smaller amounts – but every penny counted in helping us reach and then surpass our goal.  Mount Carmel, the Mirolo Foundation, and the Chamber of Commerce’s Leadership Class were very supportive.  Because of support from the community, we have raised over $550,000, all private funds!

I understand the Grove City Dream Field Specialty License Plate was created via Senate Bill 159, introduced by State Senator John Hughes and Representative Cheryl Grossman.  The next step is its discussion in the Ohio House of Representatives.  If all goes according to plan, proceeds from this specialty plate will help with the Dream Field upkeep.  What can you tell me?
Yes, that bill is still in the process of being approved.  Once it is, the license plate will cost $25.  $15 dollars will go back to support Buddy Ball and help offset their costs.  We need a minimum of 500 license plates sold each year to keep the program available.

So this whole concept really got going in 2013, correct?
Yes.  After the Board got Little League up and running in 2012, they moved on to bringing a Dream Field to Grove City.

…And you were able to break ground in June of 2015.  That’s a pretty quick turnaround from concept to construction.  How far along are you in construction and when is your expected completion date?
The field is complete and will be ready for play on opening day May 7.  Many items are still being added to the facility, however, such as water misters that were donated by Elks Lodge 37 and a scoreboard that was purchased by the Grove City Community Club.  The parking lot is being completed and the accompanying building with restrooms, changing tables, concessions, storage will be wonderful.  A new shelter house is planned to be built this Summer.

I heard there are plans for a universal playground next to the facility; is this accurate?  Was this always a part of the plan?
Because of the additional money that was raised, we were able to incorporate this into the project.  We expect to break ground on the universal playground this spring, with completion in early fall.

I’ve been keeping up with the Grove City Little League’s updates on the Dream Field’s progress.  Tell our readers where they can keep up with the latest information and how to make a donation if they’d like.
The best place is or on Facebook on our Grove City Little League page (

Do you have any marketing materials or videos you could share with us for our blog?
There is a great video on our Facebook page and the City of Grove City has been tracking progress of the project.  Karen Fahy in the community affairs division has been taking pictures all along the way of the building of the field along with a lot of the fundraisers we have had.

Well Jack, we certainly appreciate you taking the time to discuss the Dream Field and we look forward to the grand opening on May 7!
Thank you so much!



Easy Comfort Foods For Winter

Old Man Winter finally made his way to Ohio and we have begun to see some cold and even a little snow. Cold days and long winter nights are a great time to enjoy comfort foods. Sadly, with work, school and extracurricular activities, we don’t always have time to cook a meal. So we have compiled a few easy recipes to enjoy without breaking a sweat.

All of the ingredients can be found at your local grocery or maybe in your own pantry.

Three Step Pot Roast

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  • 4 pounds Chuck Roast
  • Salt and Pepper to taste
  • 1 packet Dry Onion Soup Mix
  • 1 cup Water
  • 3 Carrots, chopped
  • 1 Onion, chopped
  • 3 Potatoes, peeled and cubed
  • 1 stalk Celery, chopped


  1. Season the roast with salt and pepper to taste. Brown on all sides in a large skillet over high heat, about four minutes per side.
  2. Place the roast in the slow cooker and add the soup mix, water, carrots, onion, potatoes, and celery.
  3. Cover and cook on low setting for 8 to 10 hours.



The Pioneer Woman’s Perfect Potato Soup


  • 6 slices thin Bacon, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 1 whole medium Onion, diced
  • 3 whole Carrots, scrubbed clean and diced
  • 3 stalks Celery, diced
  • 6 whole small Russet Potatoes, peeled and diced
  • 8 cups Low Sodium Chicken or Vegetable Broth
  • 3 tablespoons All-purpose Flour
  • 1 cup Milk
  • 1/2 cup Heavy Cream
  • 1/2 teaspoon Salt, more to taste
  • Black Pepper to taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon Cajun Spice Mix
  • 1 teaspoon Minced Fresh Parsley
  • 1 cup Grated Cheese of your choice


Add bacon pieces to a soup pot over medium heat and cook bacon until crisp and fat is rendered. Remove the bacon from the pot and set it aside. Pour off most of the grease, but do not clean the pot.
Return the pot to medium-high heat and add the onions, carrots, and celery. Stir and cook for 2 minutes or so, then add the diced potatoes. Cook for 5 minutes, seasoning with salt, pepper, and Cajun spice.

Pour in the broth and bring it to a gentle boil. Cook for 10 minutes, or until the potatoes are starting to get tender. Whisk together the flour and the milk, then pour into the soup and allow the soup to cook for another 5 minutes.

Remove half to 2/3 of the soup and blend in batches in a blender or food processer until completely smooth. (***USE CAUTION WHEN BLENDING HOT SOUP; IF POSSIBLE, ALLOW THE SOUP TO COOL BEFORE BLENDING***) Pour it back into the soup pot and stir to combine. Let it heat up as you taste for seasonings, adding more of what it needs. Stir in cream, then stir in parsley, reserving a little for garnish.

Serve in bowls garnished with parsley, grated cheese and crisp bacon pieces.



homemade rollsHomemade Pan Rolls

  • 2 1/2  to 3 cups All-purpose Flour
  • 1/4 cup Sugar
  • 1/4 cup Shortening
  • 1 teaspoon Salt
  • 1 package Regular or Quick Active Dry Yeast
  • 1/2 cup very warm Water (120°F to 130°F)
  • 1/2 cup very warm Milk (120°F to 130°F)
  • 1 Egg
  • Butter or Margarine, melted


  • Mix 2 cups of flour, the sugar, shortening, salt and yeast in medium bowl. Add warm water, warm milk and egg. Beat with electric mixer on low speed 1 minute, scraping bowl frequently. Beat on medium speed 1 minute, scraping bowl frequently. Stir in enough remaining flour to make dough easy to handle.
  • Turn dough onto lightly floured surface. Knead about 5 minutes or until smooth and elastic. Place in greased bowl and turn greased side up. Cover and let rise in warm place about 1 hour or until double. Dough is ready if indentation remains when touched.
  • Grease bottoms and sides of two nine-inch round pans
  • Punch down dough. Cut dough in half; cut each half into 24 pieces. Shape into balls. Place close together in pans. Brush with butter. Cover and let rise in warm place about 30 minutes or until double.
  • Heat oven to 400°F.
  • Bake 12 to 18 minutes or until golden brown.

Help dinner prep go smoothly by making these rolls the night before. Just reheat and enjoy!



Hershey’s Homemade Pudding

Hershey pudding

  • 2/3 cup Sugar
  • 1/4 cup HERSHEY’S Cocoa
  • 3 tablespoons Cornstarch
  • 1/4 teaspoon Salt
  • 2-1/4 cups Milk
  • 2 tablespoons Butter or Margarine
  • 1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract
  • Whipped topping (optional)

Stove Top Instructions

Stir together sugar, cocoa, cornstarch and salt in medium saucepan; gradually stir in milk.

Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until mixture boils; boil and stir 1 minute. Remove from heat; stir in butter and vanilla. Pour into individual dessert dishes. To avoid a skin from forming on top, press plastic wrap directly onto surface; serve warm or refrigerate at least 2 hours. Garnish with whipped topping, if desired.


Microwave Instructions

Stir together sugar, cocoa, cornstarch and salt in large microwave-safe bowl; gradually stir in milk.

Microwave at HIGH (100%) 7 to 10 minutes or until mixture comes to full boil, stirring every two minutes. Stir in butter and vanilla. Pour into dishes and serve as directed above.



Lessons from our grandparents

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Spending time with family over the holidays encouraged a lot of us to reminisce about the good old days. While some things may not have been better and going back in time isn’t possible, there are a number of things we all can learn from past generations. If you have grandparents who were a product of the Great Depression, you probably know they did things differently than younger generations.  Some of their skills and money management ideas are trendy today!

It’s the small things – Even a small thing can be a luxury and your grandparents will probably tell you there’s nothing better than an ice cream cone on a hot August day. Take time to enjoy the smell of cut grass, the sound of a baby’s laughter or the taste of a warm cookie fresh from the oven.

Keep your wants under control – Nothing kills a budget like a never ending list of wants. Worst of all, wants erode your satisfaction with what you already have.

Face to face is better than Facebook – They “went visiting.” They chatted with neighbors on the porch, they invited the pastor over for Sunday dinner and they didn’t stare at a tiny device in their hand every waking moment. They were good neighbors, recognizing that time and money are precious resources that could be used to help others in their community.

Save for a rainy day – Anyone who was a product of the Depression will tell you that you never know when a crisis will arise or how much money you’ll need to survive. That’s why a lot of these people were millionaires next door, secretly stashing away as much as possible but maintaining a simple way of life.

Two men and carpentry.jpgGrow your own food – A lot of our grandparents had gardens. Even in cities, folks with yards often grew backyard gardens and anyone with a windowsill could grow a pot of tomatoes. Gardening is back in vogue as it is cost effective, healthy and a good form of exercise. You’re guaranteed to know where your food came from when you pluck it from your own garden.

Embrace practical skills – Did your grandma sew or quilt? Maybe she canned green beans from her garden and baked a great apple pie. Generations before us knew how to do things for themselves. Your grandpa could probably change a tire and the oil in his own car. They likely knew how to repair things that were broken and entertain themselves without a smart phone or tv. They were Renaissance men and women who had to know a little about a lot of things to thrive in life.

Keep a family album – When was the last time you printed a picture and put it in an album? Your pictures are probably stored on a phone or computer. However, it’s not so fun to gather the family around to scroll through pictures on your phone. Periodically print a few of those favorites and put them in a family album, something that can be passed around, flipped through and enjoyed.

Conserve – Your time, money and possessions are precious resources. It especially seems like there’s never enough time and money to go around so don’t squander them on things that aren’t important to you. There weren’t green recycling labels on everything back then because people typically needed to find multiple uses for every object.

Get creative – Depression era folks had to use what they had to decorate their home, clothe themselves and feed their families. Instead of running to the store every time you think you need something, try shopping your home or substituting another ingredient in your recipe. You may be surprised at the creative solutions you find!

Tell us: What are your memories of your parents or grandparents? What did they do that we could learn from today?