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Tuesday, January 31, 2012

We Support... 12 Charities Worth Your Attention (part 1)

In my desire to be more of a radical giver this year, I've created a list of charities we support.  The idea being that we will donate to one of these every month in addition to our regular church giving.  Some you may know, some you may not.  This is Part 1, with 6 charities.  The other 6 will be featured next week in Part 2.

1. American Heart Association
Did you know heart disease kills more women each year than breast cancer?  As someone with a bit of a wonky heart anyway and a non-blood cousin that died in her early  30s, this is a special charity to me.American Heart Association - Start!

2.  American Cancer Society



A close relative of mine is nearing their 5 yr cancer-free anniversary.  Several other of my relatives and friends are still fighting.  I love this charitable cause and plan to donate in the month of my relative's 5 yr survivorship!

3.  Donors Choose



I talked about this one once before.  Teachers can make donation pages requesting certain supplies. I have checked it out, known teachers who used it, and donated personally.  It does, in fact, work!  I hate that teachers have to ask for basic supplies like microscopes, books, and paper in the first place.  But I'm glad they have a place to do it!  You can choose any classroom  you want to support and they even take paypal as a form of donation!
DonorsChoose.org




4. March of Dimes
March of Dimes
You may remember that our second child died.  He passed away when I was 9 months pregnant.  Unfortunately for him, there was nothing that could have been done.  We love that March of Dimes funds research on stillbirth in addition to providing oodles of support for NICU families, community education, and reducing the rate of premature births.  If our donation can help a family NOT have to experience the loss of a child, we are happy to give!


5. Molly Bears
Check them out here on facebook.
Molly Bears makes stuffed bears for families experiencing the loss of a baby.  My baby that died weighed 7lb, 4oz...I am on the waiting list with Molly Bears.  When my turn rolls around, they will send me a bear, FREE, that is weighted to the exact weight of my baby, 7lb, 4oz.  That way I can have something to hold.  It is a charity that I wish did not NEED to exist, but am so glad it does.
It costs them over $30 I think to make just one bear, so I try to send them donations from time to time to help keep their process going!



6. Samaritan's Purse
You are probably already familiar with Samaritan's Purse, at least through Operation Christmas Child (you know? Where you collect items and fill a shoe
box with school supplies, toys, and hygiene items for a child in need).  Operation Christmas Child is put on by Samaritan's Purse.  
SP has a lot of OTHER ways you can give too!    
One year, in honor of my mom at Christmas, we donated money to the fund to buy a plush little lamb that plays "Jesus Loves Me" for a traumatized child.  Mom got a card saying a lamb had been bought in her name.  She loved it!
One year we funded the stocking of a fish pond in Africa (provides food and a source of income fora  community) as a Christmas gift to my grandparents.

You can see all sorts of giving opportunities at their Gift Catalog.



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Stay tuned for the rest of the list, and please, share what YOUR favorite charities are!

Friday, January 27, 2012

Top 5 Must-Haves for a Post-Partum Mommy

Know anyone having a baby soon?  Exactly 25,089 people in my life are pregnant right now (NOT ME).*

Being that I've done the whole "have a baby" thing three times, I figured it would be good to share my top 5 must have's for post-pregnancy (for the MOMMY, not the BABY..that is an entirely different post).

Next time you need a gift for someone who just had a baby, consider one or all of these!

1. Trashy magazine.
After having pushed out another human being from my lower mommyparts, I was not up to reading some heavy  magazine about genocide or corrupt politics.  Give me some Brangelina news!






2.  Food, glorious food.
The stuff they passed off as "chop suey" at my last hospital stay was actually vegetables covered in brown beef GRAVY.  The kind you put on mashed potatoes.  ??WTHeck hospital!?  Take that new Mama something good.  A good coffee, a sub from a local place, heck take in a deep dish pizza.  Anything so she doesn't have to eat that "chop suey" that my hospital passes out proudly.











3. Nipple Cream.
Did not discover this until baby #3.  If she tries to nurse AT ALL, bring that woman a tube of nipple cream.  I know, it isn't as fun as buying a cutesy baby outfit with ducks on it.  But her nipples will thank you.  I used this brand:
Lansinoh Breast Creme

4. Granny Panties.
FYI, birthing a baby is very messy.  Even a c-section is messy and you'll bleed out the hoo-hah.**  So be a good friend and buy your buddy some boring undies that she can ruin and not feel bad about.  OR buy her some nice ones to replace the nice ones she's sure to trash.






5. Booby Ice Packs.
Nursing or not, those things blow up with engorgement like balloons.  While the male species thinks this is the best thing to ever happen to them, it hurts like the dickens.  Your New Mama friend will adore you if you bring her some cooling pads.
Medela Tender Care HydroGel Pads - Medela  - Babies"R"Us



*Fine. I "estimated" the number.
**Is that spelled right?  IS there even a correct way to spell hoo-hah?  These are the things I wonder about daily.




Question for my mommy readers:
What were YOUR must haves after birth?  Anything I missed?  Mommies that adopted, I'd love to hear from you too!  What was most useful in those first few weeks?



If you liked this post please share it on facebook, tweet, comment, email me with lavish praise, or tattoo the link on your forehead.


Linking up here:
A Little Knick Knack
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Wednesday, January 25, 2012


Today I am contributing at Livin On Love And Cents!  I'll be there 2ce a month to talk about one of my favorite topics...giving!  Here is the first part of today's post:

Is there a lot of testosterone in your house?  Because we have extra if you need it!  My family consists of me, and 3 sons (2 living, 1 living in Heaven) and a husband.  Boys, boys, boys! 
not my actual kids but close enough..from klinwin.com
In between throwing stuff into the fireplace “lets see what happens when [fill in the blank] burns!” and launching balled up socks into the whirling ceiling fans (we can’t have nice things), they occasionally settle down and watch a little tv.
Mythbusters is a household favorite.
pic from adamsavage.com
Stuff blows up, cars crash, you know, everything a guy likes.
As I was thinking of my first post here on the topic of giving, I thought of Mythbusters.  The TV show busts myths like “hey I betcha that car can’t drive through that brick wall”, I’m about to bust a GIVING myth.



Click HERE to read the rest!  And pretty please with a cherry on top...comment and tell your friends about it!  :)

Thursday, January 19, 2012

I plead the 5th...

This may or may not have actually happened to me:

When do I put on PANTS??

Seriously I saw that on pinterest and laughed for like twenty minutes.  And then emailed it to my husband and laughed for another twenty minutes.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

2011 in Review


Rage Against the Minivan had this neat recap of the year.  I copied her.  Well with my OWN answers of course!

1. What did you do in 2011 that you’d never done before?
graduated from college!

2. Did you keep your new year’s resolutions, and will you make more for next year?
meh.  My only goal was to not care what people thought of me, my family, my kids, my house, etc.  I'm getting better at it.  Same goal for this year, it is a work in progress.  Also working to buy more made in the USA items and increase our giving.
3. Did anyone close to you give birth?
Several dear friends.
4. Did anyone close to you die?
No, but an  old friend from high school lost her mom weeks before Christmas.  
5. What countries did you visit?
hahaha.  You think a one income family with three kids can afford international travel?  Not this one!

6. What would you like to have in 2012 that you lacked in 2011?
More regularly  reading my Bible.
7. What dates from 2011 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?
My Rainbow Baby's 1st birthday. (a rainbow baby is one born after a loss, it signifies that the loss/storm is still there, but with this new life comes a promise of added joy.)
8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?
Getting my first college degree!  YEARS in the making!
9. What was your biggest failure?
Mt. Laundry.  I have not conquered it yet.  Send help.
10. Did you suffer illness or injury?
Oh please.  My doctors know the sound of my voice over the phone without me even identifying myself.  I have single-handedly saved the medical economy.  You're welcome.
11. What was the best thing you bought?
Crayola crayons for .25 a box at the back to school sales!

12. Where did most of your money go?
Paying the mortgage probably.  I'm proud to report that we now own the toilet.  The rest of the money paid on interest.
13. What did you get really excited about?
Education!  Hands on! Montessori!  Wheeeeee!
14. What song will always remind you of 2011?
"I'm on the right track baby, I was born this way!"  
15. Compared to this time last year, are you:
– happier or sadder? happier
– thinner or fatter? thinner.  20 lbs GONE.
– richer or poorer? our savings account took a hit with medical expenses, but we're building it back up
16. What do you wish you’d done more of?
played more games as a family
17. What do you wish you’d done less of?
Caring what other people's opinions of us are.  God's opinion matters, theirs does not.
18. How did you spend Christmas?
We stayed home Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. Well we went to church, but we did not go try to visit 110 different family events.  It was marvelous.  
19. What was your favorite TV program?
I have watched Grey's Anatomy from the start so that is always top of the list.  This year I discovered a few new funny shows too, "Up All Night," "The Middle," "Modern Family," and "The Big Bang Theory"
20. What were your favorite books of the year?
Escape by Carolyn Jessop
The Help (isn't that on everyone's list?)
21. What was your favorite music from this year?
Jeremy Camp, Adele, Lady Gaga, some country
22. What were your favorite films of the year?
hmmm

23. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?
I am old enough to stop telling my age!  We had pizza and cake with our families.
24. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?
A DVR.  
25. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2011?
jeans and a tshirt.  "Mom Uniform"
26. What kept you sane?
My husband, my parents, friends, finding funny things on pinterest.
27. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2011.
Pour bacon drippings on the dog's food if you want her to love you forever.
-----
Let me know if you do this 2011 in Review too, I'd love to read it!

Monday, January 16, 2012

Collection of MLK Jr. Quotes

"Everybody can be great... because anybody can serve. You don't have to have a college 

degree to serve. You don't have to make your subject and verb agree to serve. You only 


need a heart full of grace. A soul generated by love."


- Martin Luther King, Jr.


So true.  We are all called to serve, some of the greatest, wisest people I know

do not have 
college degrees and rely heavily on spellcheck.  Yet they are

selfless, Christ followers, hard 
workers, willing to give of themselves and their

resources to others.  I have to think that is
more highly valued in the kingdom

of Heaven than what title you held at a job or what your 
salary was.




Philanthropy is commendable, but it must not cause the philanthropist to overlook the circumstances of economic injustice which make philanthropy necessary.



In the End, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends.

History will have to record that the greatest tragedy of this period of social transition was not the strident clamor of the bad people, but the appalling silence of the good people.


Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.

I got many of these quotes here: :http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/authors/m/martin_luther_king_jr_3.html#ixzz1jdStWZmQ
 

Friday, January 13, 2012

Pretty, New Blog Button

Yes there are designers who can whip out a blog button in their sleep.  With their hands tied.

Then there are people like me.

I made a new blog button.



It took me 2 and a half hours.  55 hours if you count all the times I had to stop to do school work, change a diaper, referee a wrestling match.  Still pretty proud.

I like the smiley face stick figure.  Hopefully you like her too, so much that you want to put her on your own blog.  She's very well behaved, although occasionally, like me, she gets her head in the clouds with grandiose ideas (SAVE THE WORLD, I CAN DO IT ALL BY MYSELF andmakebrowniesfromscratch
inmysparetime!) and needs brought down to the real world.  :)

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Oh yeah, it is official.

Update: I graduated.

My degree came in the mail a couple weeks ago since I graduated mid-year.  The whole "put on a cap and gown" ceremony won't be until May, and yes, I am walking.

I'm framing the diploma and hanging it above a bookshelf where I store all my professional development books, textbooks, etc.  This was a degree in general studies (my husband asked what that qualifies me to do. I said, "generally everything." haha Get it?).

I am still in school though!  My second degree, an A.S. in Education should be done this coming December and from there I can transfer and finish the bachelor's.  Phew!  My classes this semester are all education and are a ton of work, projects, papers.  But since they are all educational topics it is fun.  Much better than last semester when I had to work with Earth Science topics (sorry to all my nerd friends).  :-)

Are any of you in school right now?  Or all you all done, never ever going back!?

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Made in the USA: 3 things

If you remember, part of my Drawing the Line series was about feeling a need to buy more things made in the USA.  I was excited to see that three things I purchased this week were USA made (which means we know they were NOT manufactured by child labor or slave labor elsewhere).

1. Softsoap
Usually just a buck for a bottle of this stuff, we use it in the kitchen and the guest/kid bathroom.  I had never really checked to see where it was made, so this time I did.  USA.  Score!

2. Expo Dry Erase Markers
Shhh.  Can you keep a secret?
These are actually a valentine's gift for my son's teacher.  I have grand plans of making a cutesy tag that says "Teacher, you've got the WRITE stuff!  Happy Valentine's Day!"  Those plans will probably turn into me hand-scrawling a note on a piece of paper from the notepad on our refrigerator.  I once sent a teacher a note written on the back of a used envelope.  MOTHER.OF.THE.YEAR.
Anyway, she said she never has enough dry erase markers, these were on sale, and the cherry on top is that they were made in the USA!

3. Dr. Bronner's All-One Bar Soap  
This I purchased from my grocery store in the organic section (Kroger).  Around $4 for a bar.  My skin was sensitive and itchy so I wanted something pretty natural and loaded with good oils.  This looked good so I bought it.  I use it as my hand soap in my bathroom.  Love it!  I get clean, it smells fresh.  I have used Dr. Bronner's All-One Lip Balm in the past and thought it was very high quality.






Those are this week's USA Made finds! If you know of any brands made here, I'd love to hear about it!  


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Saturday, January 7, 2012

Redneck Gift Receipt

Every year I have grand ideas of how sophisticated my gift wrapping will be.

Pinned Image
from this blog via this pinterest
And then I set out my stuff and actually start wrapping.
"I make it so pretttty!"

There are chimpanzees who work better with scissors and tape than I do.



I was wrapping quickly this year. Trying frantically to get every mother in law, father in law, sister in law, niece, brother in law, sister, mom, dad, grandma, etc gift wrapped. Then I did it. Put on the last piece of tape on my brother-in-law's gift. Uh oh. The gift receipt. I didn't include it. I could unwrap the gift, tape on the receipt, and re-wrap it.

But that would take more work.

*moment of genius strikes me* Some might call this a moment of Redneck. I prefer moment of genius.

I folded up the receipt* and taped it to the back of the package. PRESTO.

*The "gift receipt" is actually just a regular reciept because I forgot to tell the Miejer cashier that I needed a GIFT receipt. So my sister's husband could easily unfold it and see that his Adidas cologne set me back $9.99. He could also see that I had bought an Angry Birds game for my son, socks for my husband, and probably some random thing like bananas or maxi pads.

Linking up at:"
Pinteresting Party
Serenity Now

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Educational, Eco, and Mommy giveaways



Have you ever entered blog giveaways?  I have hosted some and entered some.  Sometimes I even win.  Once I won some fabric from The Intrepid Thread.  I'm waiting on my arch set from Little Sapling toys to come in the mail. :)

Today I decided to hop over to a giveaway linky and enter some that looked appealing to me.

You might want to enter some of these too!

First there is this little time tracker from Learning Resources, being given away at Busy Mom Media.  I love Learning Resources, don't you?  Enter to win here.
Time Tracker Mini from Learning Resources
Letters From Mama is giving away some eco friendly, reusable wipes and a wipe case from Planet Wise.  They are super cute!  I've never used reusable wipes before, but certainly would try them if I won them!  You can enter this giveaway here.



I've been really interested and learning more about Montessori education.  One of the blogs I follow, living Montessori now, is giving away a half price online training program OR two books.... from Keys of the Universe.  This is geared for elementary ages and with me having a 2nd grader, my fingers are crossed to win!  If you want to reduce my odds at winning and enter yourself, you can do so here.  :)

Another Learning Resources giveaway over at Two Classy Chics...this time for a pretend play supermarket. Doesn't it look cute??


Lastly, this is for you mommies, or ladies.  Or men who want a new bag to carry.  A consultant for 31 gifts is doing a giveaway over at her blog.  Enter the giveaway here.  It is a progressive giveaway, meaning the value of the gift card increases with more entries.  Right now it is a $50 gift card! Peggy Tew is the consultant and if you want to daydream about how you'd spend the gift card if you win, you can browse her website.











Monday, January 2, 2012

Happy Birthday! To me!

This blog's first birthday was yesterday, New Year's Day!
Thanks to all of you for following and commenting!  Hopefully you like, or at least don't mind, the variety of topics.

The most popular post by far has been the Reading Comprehension  post I did in August.  In fact, I still need to print out this spinner and start using it!
Thanks again for reading and following.  Here's to another great year!

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