Alaska’s Denali National Park

Tundra Landscape deep in Denali National Park, Alaska.

Tundra Landscape deep in Denali National Park, Alaska.

Alaska! There is no place quite like it in the rest of the United States. In the heart of Alaska lies one of the the largest national parks in the country – Denali National Park. With more than six million square miles of incredible wilderness, Denali is larger than the entire state of Massachusetts.

Visiting Alaska had always been one of those “trip of a lifetime” dreams my husband and I had dreamed about for years.  We could never justify the expense, and it always seemed out of reach. Then, at age 48, my husband had a sudden heart attack and had to have quadruple by-pass surgery. When you realize how quickly life can end, it changes the whole perspective about justifying the expense. [Read more…]

Discount Coupons for Summer Fun with US Family Guide!

I admit to being a coupon addict in my past years. I even had my husband clipping coupons for me. Hey – when you are raising five kids every penny counts! Because I love going on vacations, finding coupons and discounts for that kind of thing is like gold to me. I would also figure if I saved $5 on the admission to a place, that would go toward lunch, souvenirs or even gas to get there. photo_17And when its summer and school is out for the kids, finding things to do for the day or a weekend can stretch the budget. Well, I today I discovered  some opportunities (coupons!) that I want to share with you for some savings through US Family Guide.  I am a member of their network, and they have some great savings for this summer on family attractions, water and theme parks around the USA. For my Texas family and friends, here are links to coupon guides for some major Texas cities this summer: [Read more…]

Cheap Eye Makeup Remover

FR6A2627coconut oil and blue containerI have discovered the wonders of coconut oil! This stuff is really good for you in all kinds of ways, but recently I have discovered that it also makes a very cheap (and good for your eyes) eye makeup remover. Over the past couple of years I have battled with red itchy patches on my eyelids and around my eyes. It would drive me crazy with the itching and burning, and wearing makeup over it was not fun either. Both my family doctor and a dermatologist told me to quit wearing eye makeup and gave me steriod creams to use. Seriously?? Nobody really wants to look at me without makeup (I don’t like looking at me without makeup!!). And the problems with the steroid creams is that they don’t work that well. I wasn’t too crazy about the information I read on them, either. Plus, going without makeup on the weekend was not improving anything. Assuming I was having an allergic reaction to my eye shadow, I started by trying to change that, looking for the brands with pure ingredients. No luck. I changed mascara, and tried several other things. Finally, I changed what I was using to take off my eye makeup. [Read more…]

Pumpkin Banana Muffins for Breakfast – Gluten Free!

Pumpkin banana muffins - gluten-fre!I have been trying to eat gluten free. I know there is controversy over the idea of gluten, but the one thing I have discovered is that I feel better when I don’t eat it. Of course, that leaves out the traditional foods like muffins, pancakes, sandwiches and toast. And darn it, some of those are really fast grab-and-go foods (never mind yummy!!). For me, breakfast is often VERY grab-and-go. Not eating the carbs also helps me, but I miss the variety. Occasionally I WANT a muffin or pancakes. I have been trying to find some gluten-free substitutes, and have been pleased with some of what I have found. While doing a search for gluten-free breakfast muffins, I found a few different varieties of pumpkin muffins. I happened to have canned pumpkin on hand, and so did my own twist on a few of the recipes I found. Here is my version of Pumpkin Banana muffins, and they are gluten-free! [Read more…]

I Had the Best of Intentions…

The road that turns ...

Sometimes you think you are going one direction, and suddenly the road you are on makes a turn! I took this photo when we were exploring the road leading to Red Lodge, Montana.

I had the best of intentions when I started this blog. I really did. It was going to be my opportunity to help people by being myself and sharing things I was interested in. I spent most of last summer putting it together: thinking, designing, planning and learning. Then, about the time I got it up and going, summer was over! We took a late vacation (which I was going to write about extensively and post lots of pictures relating to). But I had to have a procedure done on my heart due to problems with atrial fibrillation, and then the summer was OVER. I had to go back to teaching school and got sucked into the school grind.

[Read more…]

How You Can Use Great Camera Equipment Without Having to Buy It

Canon 5D Mark III - Lens Pro to Go

Canon 5D Mark III

For all of you who love great cameras, but can’t afford to buy the “really nice stuff” out right, there may be another option. You can rent it. Lens Pro to Go is a great way to rent DSLR cameras and equipment on a short time basis for special events or vacations, or to have an opportunity to try out a camera or lens that you are considering buying. They have all of the latest DSLR cameras (both Nikon and Canon) and equipment available to rent, and they can ship it to you anywhere in the United States. Shipping is included in the rental fee, which is extremely reasonable. I have done this twice and have been really pleased with the experience. Please note: I receive NO compensation for this post in any way. I just had a great experience and wanted to share it. [Read more…]

Fifty Isn’t Fatal

Sandy at 17 - black and white photo

Me at seventeen.

Women don’t like to talk about how old they are. Those who know me, of course, know how old I am. For the record, I am 52. I can’t BELIEVE I just put that out there like that, but there it is!

There used to be an old commercial on TV that used the phrase “forty isn’t fatal”. It was a ploy to sell hair color and the commercial was actually pretty good at making you think about going to buy their hair color. I used to wonder back then how it would feel like to turn forty and when forty came, while it made me do a lot of re-examining myself (and a lot of checking for gray hair!), I found out they were actually right. Forty wasn’t fatal for me. Not fun exactly, but not fatal.

Fifty hit me like a brick wall. [Read more…]

Redneck Slip and Slide

Grant on the redneck slip and slideWater fun!

Most of us played on a slip n slide as a kid. There is something about that hunk of blowup plastic and water, but they are great fun! Unfortunately, being the blowup plastic thing that they are, they tend to get holes quickly and not last very long. Very often,  they lasted one play session and then a hole from a stick or a rock rendered it to the trash. If you were lucky, you may have gotten a few play sessions out of it.

Recently, my daughter hosted a birthday party for our three year old grandson in our front yard. We live out in the country and have lots of room, and she originally wanted to rent of those big blowup devices for water fun as there would be kids of different ages attending. She finally decided the cost was just too much for the birthday budget and bought a small swimming pool instead. [Read more…]

Niagara Falls – Behind the Rainbow

IMG_6380-Niagara_edited-1Waterfalls!! They are one of my favorite landscape views. The “granddaddy” of waterfalls in the USA in terms of sheer power and volume is Niagara. It is a very popular spot for vacations, and with good reason. Located next to Buffalo, New York, Niagara Falls is on the Niagara river, which divides the U.S. from Canada. It’s also actually three waterfalls in one. The American Falls, Bridal Veil Falls and Horseshoe Falls from a horse shoe shape, with most of the falls area within United States territory. On the United States side, the area is a state park (said to be the oldest state park in the US). We visited Niagara Falls in July 2013 and had a great time. All of the photos here are ones I took when we were there. [Read more…]

Hello World!

Welcome to living On Faith and Dreams!

This site is for all of you out there whom, like me, live your life on a foundation of faith and  are giving your all to follow your dreams. My name is Sandy, and I love discovering things that make life better for all of us.

I particularly enjoy sharing information that adds value to the lives of my family and others, particularly on topics that I am passionate about. Coming from a big family, a lot of our together time involves swapping ideas and cool things we have learned.  It is so much fun to share!

On Faith and Dreams will be sharing ideas on living with technology, travel,  photography, living healthy, aging gracefully, living with dogs, saving money, DIY living and so much more.

Tips, tricks and truth will be the goal here! Tips and tricks are easier or better ways of going things, and truth gives us knowledge and power. My philosophy comes from this:

“As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God’s varied grace”   1 Peter 4:10

 I have received so many gifts over my lifetime, and I like to share because, quite honestly, gifts have a tendency to multiply when you share them. Just like me, this site is work in progress. I hope you come back to learn and grow with me.

To get to know me a little better, please check out my About page!