Thursday, March 29, 2012

13 Non-Candy *foods* for the Easter Basket!

Looking for the Sleep Sweetly giveaway?  It is here.


Don't get me wrong, I'm not anti-candy.  I'm not a super crunchy mom who is only putting organic oats and fair trade yarn in her childrens' Easter baskets.

  • I love candy.  
  • Our kids love candy.  
  • I do not love being in my house after the kids have consumed an entire Easter Basket/Halloween Bucket/Christmas Stocking full of candy.  

So while they get a little bit, I try to limit it.  If, like me, you don't want to spend Easter weekend scraping young children off the walls, here are some ideas of treats you can put in their baskets!

Choose one or choose several for their baskets.  Whatever floats your boat.  :-)


1. Juice boxes
2. Granola bars (doesn't have to be the whole box!  Buy one box and stick a couple in each kid's basket)
3. Bag of microwave popcorn
4. Little cartons or baggies of Goldfish crackers
5. Mini boxes of cereal
6. Graham cracker sticks
7. Animal crackers
8. Pretzel sticks
9. Puffs (for the toddler age group)
10. Fruit cups
11. Jello cups
12. Baggy of Cheez-It crackers
13. Teddy Grahams



linked up with Serenity Now

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Giveaway: Sleep Sweetly

You guys how cute is this etsy shop?

Sleep Sweetly by Lizz Sather

Baby Boy I Love Grandma Ultra Cuddle Fleece Baby Boy Blanket Nap Time or Baby Boy Cuddling on the Couch with Grandma EtsyKids Team EtsyBABY   Baby Blanket Gender Neutral Green and White Polka Dotted Gender Neutral Baby Blanket EtsyKids Team 
Baby Girl Washcloth /  Burp Cloth Gift Set Stylish Pink, Green, and Blue Striped Washcloth/Burp Cloth Set of 2 EtsyKids   Baby Boy Burp Cloth Set of 2 Blue and Brown Animal Print Baby Boy Burp Cloth Great for a Baby Boy EtsyKids Team

She has such soft blankets, burp cloths, wash cloths, security blankets, and even tutus!


Lizz has offered to giveaway two great baby items to one lucky reader from my blog!

What could you win?

This red and black burp cloth set.  Which I think could be great for a boy OR girl.
RESERVED for ZUCCHINI SUMMER Burp Cloths Cudley Soft White and Black Damask with Red Fleece Backing, Baby Shower Gift for a Girl


AND this matching red/black wooby.
RESERVED for ZUCCHINI SUMMER Wooby Security Blanket White and Black Damask Wooby  for a Baby Girl

What is a wooby?  Lizz says it is, "a mini blanket with a tacked corner to make it easy for a little one to hold on to." Size is 20x20.

So how can you enter to win the matching burp cloth/wooby set?

Mandatory Entry:
*Visit the Sleep Sweetly shop and leave the name of the specific item that is your favorite.  Include your email address so I can contact you if you end up winning!

Bonus Entries:
*Be a follower of my blog.  You can choose GFC, RSS, or Email subscriptions.   :-)
*"Heart" Sleep Sweetly Shop on Etsy (leave your etsy name)
*"Heart" an item from Sleep Sweetly (leave the item name and your etsy name)
*"Like" Lizz's Sleep Sweetly facebook page (leave your fb name)
* Follow Sleep Sweetly on twitter (leave your twitter name please)
* Share this giveaway!  One entry per day if you post on facebook or twitter.  You can post on both daily but would still just get one entry per day.  Leave the link to your fb or tweet.

Boring but necessary details:
--Open to U.S. residents only.
--Winner has 48 hrs to claim their prize or a new winner will be chosen.
--Giveaway closes on Wednesday, April 4th at 12noon!

Now what are you waiting for? Enter to win!

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Water Warriors-Donation Day

Thanks for bearing with us through this water challenge!  If you have saved a few dollars by not buying soda for the last week (or skipping fancy coffees, etc), today is World Water Day and the perfect day to make a donation. 

Yesterday's post highlighted a few charities.  If you know of others, I'd love to hear it!

I have $5.75 to donate.  It isn't enough on its own, but when we all pitch in and combine our resources, we can make a real difference!

If you do contribute, and are comfortable, let me know the amount in the comments and we can keep a rough running total.

(Unrelated but look to the right -->  see those cool social media buttons that look like Easter eggs?  Lauren from Tutus & Tea Parties helped me get them up here.  I stink at html stuff so she did it for me.  Go show her blog some love!)

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Water Warriors-Wednesday

We mentioned how thousands of children die each day because they lack clean water.

We have been cutting back on sodas and fancy coffees for almost a week in order to save that money and donate.

Donate where?  You are free to donate your money to any charity that you choose.  Here are a few suggestions to get you started in case you don't know where a clean water initiative is in the first place. :)

Samaritan's Purse---No secret that this is one of my favorite charities.  Many of us fill shoe boxes each year for children through their Operation Christmas Child program.  They also work to get families in need fixed up with a clean water well or in home water filtration system.  Information about their water program can be found here.


Water.org---Also working to provide clean water and they have Matt Damon in a promo video, so you know, there is that bonus.  Their donation page can be found here.


Drop in the Bucket--One of the first websites I found when researching for this project.  You can read about their efforts here.






Tuesday, March 20, 2012

How goes the water drinking?

Ashley at Proverbs Living is doing today's check in.  Keep drinking water as much as possible and saving a bit of money to donate to a clean water initiative at the end of the week!  

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Checking in--how is your WATER drinking going?

Checking in with my Water Warriors!

If you need to catch up on what this is all about, read here.

Are you able to keep up with just drinking water and donating the savings to charity?  I followed the rules and brewed my own coffee at home on Friday (usually do) but something went wrong and it was NASTY.

We have a pitch in lunch at church today. They usually serve big 5 gallon jugs of tea or lemonade so I will have whatever they have.


Friday, March 16, 2012

Water Warriors! Join us to save lives!

This is it! Our first day!
Ashley and I are excited for you to join us!

To recap the intro:


U N A C C E P T A B L E



What is a Water Warrior?
--We are people committing to drinking tap water for a week.    We are taking the money we WOULD have spent on sodas, lattes, etc and saving it for a week, to be donated to a charity that provides clean drinking water.



Okay.  Why?
--4,000 children died yesterday because they don't have access to clean water.
  

Details?
--We'll be posting and checking in every day.  You can read and comment as often as you like.

--You can make coffee at HOME, provided you use your tap water to brew it.
--If you happen to have packets of crystal light or flavored water mix at home, you can use those to flavor your water.
--If you go out to eat, you should order a glass of ice water. Tap water.  No Fancy Shmancy brand.
--alcoholic beverages are also discouraged this week.
--If you usually buy a 12 pack of Coke to have at home for the week, don't.  Donate the money instead.

Do I have to give YOU my money?  I don't know you.
--No.  You don't send me money.  You will donate it to a charity of your choice (we will provide a list of several that are known to work with clean water as a focus).
--The amount of money each person donates will be DIFFERENT.  If you have a $3 latte on the way to work every day, and give that up for this duration, you'll have a higher amount to donate than someone who just has two gas-station .89cent soda's each week.  That is OKAY.

Can I do this if I don't have a blog?
--YES. Please do!

Does my whole family have to do it?
--It would be great if an entire family wanted to do this together!  It is not a requirement though, and certainly any babies and children should be given their regular breastmilk/formula/whole milk/doctors orders.  Talk to your spouse and older kids and see if maybe they are willing to do without their soda or latte for the week.  The savings can add up!

How do I tell others?
--Please help spread the word!  There are +1, tweet, and facebook buttons at the end of this post. Additionally, you can just copy and paste the URL and send it in an email/text/facebook post yourself.
--You can also grab the "I am a Water Warrior" button on the sidebar and put it on YOUR blog.  This will show all of your readers the good you are up to!


How long does it last?
--Water Warriors starts today Friday March 16th and ends on Thursday, March 22


Are you joining us?  Let's chat in the comments!

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Giving on a budget--28 items to look for to pack in OCC Shoeboxes

Today I want to share with you one giving opportunity that you can work on throughout the year.

On my own blog I recently started sharing some charities that we support.  One of them is Samaritan's Purse.  You may know them best for their Operation Christmas Child program.

The goal is to fill a shoe box with items for a child living in poverty.  The millions of boxes donated each year go to places like China, Africa, South America, and more.  Many of the children have never had something of their own before, never had a gift.

"Um do you realize this is a Christmas charity you are talking about?"

"Yes"

"It is March."

"Yes."


The reason I am sharing this now is so you can start saving items for a shoebox, NOW.

One year I saved things all year and was able to do 6 or 8 boxes.
Last year I forgot to save and didn't do any!  :(

My goal this year is 6 boxes.  Here are some ideas of what to save to pack in your box!

School Supplies
*consider looking for these around August when Back To School sales start up!

1. Pencils and sharpeners
2. Erasers
3. Crayons
4. Colored Pencils
5. Markers
6. solar powered calculator
7. small notebooks

Health/Hygiene*If you are a couponer, you can get a lot of this free with coupons, save some of your stash back for the shoeboxes!

8. Toothbrush
9. Bar soap
10. Hairbrush
11. comb
12. Hair barrettes/headbands
13. new washcloths
14. socks
15. small tshirt/hat/scarf

Fun stuff:
*Much of this can be grabbed on sale.  Target does a toy clearance in June or July where you can get little toys or games very inexpensively.  Also try the dollar stores, and even yard sales or thrift stores sometimes have NEW items for sale.

16. Small toys like Littlest Pet Shop or Polly Pocket or Hotwheels
17. Small stuffed animals (after holiday clearance can score stuff....try after-Easter sales for plush bunnies)
18. Books
19. Bouncy balls
20. Stickers
21. Stamps and stamp pad
22. magna doodle/etchasketch
23. jump rope
24. yo yo
25. puzzles
26. slinky
27. gum
28. candies--individually wrapped (red/white mints, gummies, skittles.  No chocolate due to melting issues)

Keep in mind, these are suggestions to get our minds flowing.  You couldn't fit EVERY one of these items into one shoebox.  Just pick what you can find within your budget and fit into a box and know that you will be making a huge difference in the life of a child!

My box is packed, now what?
National Collection week is November 12-19th this year.  Many churches, community centers, and moms clubs will be collecting them and take care of getting  your box where it needs to go.  Check back here and use their search engine in October to find your nearest drop off location (I live in a small town and have at least 2 places I could go).

Did I miss anything that could go in a shoebox?  Tell me in the comments.
If you liked this post, please consider sharing it on facebook, twitter, pinterest, etc!

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Hey guess what?

Green snot.

That's what.

We've been sick, sick, SICK.

Do you KNOW how much green snot a 2yr olds little head can produce?  The answer is "way more than you ever thought possible."

Personally, I'm on week 2 of sickness.  Started as a sinus infection and when I went to Immediate Care to get looked at, I picked up some other heaven-knows-what illness too.  A double whammy!

Then on top of all that, last night my oldest got a tooth knocked out.  He was skateboarding outside and wiped out.  Came in we wiped off the blood, thought all was well.  Until a couple hours later when he took a bite of a breadstick and announced "i lost a tooth!"

We weren't sure if it was an adult tooth or baby tooth.  So we rushed to get the tooth preserved in a cup of milk and call dentists.  This of course happened AFTER 5pm, so the first half-dozen offices I called were closed and the on-call people were no help.

Finally we found a dentist still open.  We loaded up 2yr old Snot Machine, me (sick and hadn't showered in 2 or 3 days), Toothless, and Husband.  The dentist was super nice and luckily it was a baby tooth.  But dang, what a night!


Friday, March 9, 2012

Water: Make A Difference


U N A C C E P T A B L E
Get ready, one week from today we are going to make a difference.  You can do it too!  Here are the details.  


What is a Water Warrior?
--We are people committing to drinking tap water for a week.  No drive-thru soda's.  No fancy latte on the way to work.  No can of soda at home.  We are taking the money we WOULD have spent on those things and saving it for a week, to later be donated to a charity that provides clean drinking water.



Okay.  Why?
--4,000 children died yesterday because they don't have access to clean water.  Another 4,000 children will die today.  We don't think that is right.  We take for granted our ability to flush a toilet and never see the sewage again.  We take for granted our ability to turn on the faucet and have clean water to drink that won't make us sick and won't kill us.
  

Details?
--We'll be posting and checking in every day.  You can read every day and comment or not, up to you.
For someone like me who loves her McDonald's Sweet Tea, this won't be easy.  But you know what else isn't easy?  Watching your child suffer and die because they didn't even have water.  So yeah, I'll whine this week.  But I'm also going to suck it up and do it.  My life problems are so minuscule and insignificant when we look at the bigger picture.
--You can make coffee at HOME, provided you use your tap water to brew it.
--If you happen to have packets of crystal light or flavored water mix at home, you can use those to flavor your water.
--If you go out to eat, you should order a glass of ice water. Tap water.  No Fancy Shmancy brand.
--alcoholic beverages are also discouraged this week.
--If you usually buy a 12 pack of Coke to have at home for the week, don't.  Donate the money instead.

Do I have to give YOU my money?  I don't know you.
--No.  You don't send me money.  You will donate it to a charity of your choice (we will provide a list of several that are known to work with clean water as a focus).
--The amount of money each person donates will be DIFFERENT.  If you have a $3 latte on the way to work every day, and give that up for this duration, you'll have a higher amount to donate than someone who just has two gas-station .89cent soda's each week.  That is OKAY.

Can I do this if I don't have a blog?
--YES. Please do!

Does my whole family have to do it?
--It would be great if an entire family wanted to do this together!  It is not a requirement though, and certainly any babies and children should be given their regular breastmilk/formula/whole milk/doctors orders.  Talk to your spouse and older kids and see if maybe they are willing to do without their soda or latte for the week.  The savings can add up!

How do I tell others?
--At the bottom of this post is a tweet button, if you are on twitter you can click that and it will tweet a link to this post.  You can do that as many times as you want.  There is also the Google +1 button to click, a facebook button, and a button to send this post as an email.  Additionally, you can just copy and paste the URL and send it in an email/text/facebook post yourself.
--You can also grab the "I am a Water Warrior" button on the sidebar and put it on YOUR blog.  This will show all of your readers the good you are up to!


How long does it last?
--Water Warriors starts today Friday March 16th and ends on Thursday, March 22nd, World Water Day.


Linking to spread the word at: Serenity Now

Monday, March 5, 2012

Goals: February in review


February Goals Check in


Personal:
  • Read through the New Testament this year. (currently in Mark)
  • Take photos and upload to a snapfish photobook each month so at the end of the year I just have to "print", no more paper scrapbooking. Oh man.  I gotta get on this.
  • Continue keeping soda-drinking habit in check, one a week.(Good)
  • Finish my next degree and again graduate with honors. (All A's in my classes this semester so far)
Children:
  • Plan summer homeschool curriculum for oldest Beginning planning going on.
  • Actually DO the summer homeschooling.

Ministry/Community Involvement:
  • Continue volunteering in nursery Yep
  • Volunteer again on Thanksgiving Day
  • Fill 6 shoe boxes for Operation Christmas Child this year
  • Volunteer at elementary school once a week Yep
  • Participate in PTO Yep
Working/Blogging:
  • Remain active in my 2 blog buddy groups by sharing my new posts and commenting on theirs. Good!  Working on a collaboration project right now.
  • Get to 400 GFC followers (at 287 as of January)
  • Update Facebook at least once a week. Doing better at this
  • Post 2ce a week on the blog Good
Financial/Giving:
  • Continue tithing to our church without missing any months. 
  • Pay cash for vehicle repairs Paid cash, hoping no more repairs for several months!
  • Agree with husband on Emergency Savings amount for the year and attain it. Oh. Yeah this.  We did commit our tax refund to savings, other than that we still need to set a specific year-end goal.
  • Pay cash for all birthday/Christmas gifts So far, so good.
  • Send cash donation each month to one of the charities we value.
  • Save my spare change for one of the charities on the list.(reworking this goal, news about it soon)
  • Sell the kids old clothes and donate the money
  • Give away some of the kids old clothes. Gave some in February

Social Responsibility:
  • Buy Made in the USA products for my kids birthday party supplies and presents and Christmas presents at least 75% of the time.
  • Call or write my elected officials about matters that well, matter, to me.  
Household:
  • Get the kids clothes we are saving organized and put away. Got Newborn, 0-3 and 3-6 month sizes done!
  • Sand and paint deck.
  • Organize pantry. Done and blogged here.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

7 Kid Giveaways to check out

Two Classy Chics always has tons of giveaways going on.  Some I enter, some I skip.  Right now I noticed they have several great ones for kids!  We'll have two kid-geared giveaways going on here on my blog soon, so stay tuned!  In the meantime, check these out:

1. The big purple guy is the brunt of many jokes, but he's cute and kids love him.
Enter to win a Barney Clean Up DVD here.



2. Got daughters?  Maybe Angelina Ballerina is more your style.  Two Classy Chics is giving away the Ballerina Princess DVD here.


3. Now this one I am really crossing my fingers for.  My little guy would love a Bob the Builder DVD.  I entered to win it (and so can you) over here.


4. Are there any Thomas fans at your house?  My oldest never got real into it, but our youngest saw a clip of Thomas a few weeks ago and got VERY excited about it.  I think he may end up being the train lover of the house.  You can enter to win a DVD here.


5. DVDs aren't the only kid things being given away this week!  I've heard great things about Loveable Labels and now you can enter to win some at Two Classy Chics.




6. PetCakes.  I hadn't heard of them until the review and giveaway.

 But they are super cute little stuffed animals!  If you've got a kid that would like their own, go enter the giveaway!


7. And lastly, a kid giveaway from Two Classy Chics and Learning Resources (one of my fave educational places).  A butterfly net and tent.  Go enter here.



Phew!  Told you they had a lot of good stuff going on over there!  Go enter, but be sure to check back here often because there are two baby/kid giveaways coming up soon, you won't want to miss them! :)

Thursday, March 1, 2012

But seriously, WATER

Sometimes, we need to think beyond our own little lives of crafts, home decor, and hairdos.

Sometimes, we need to be serious.  There is a world out there, past our own noses.  A world that hurts.



Today, 4,000 children will die because they didn't have clean water.  1 every 20 seconds.


photo credit WaterAid / Marco Betti

Tomorrow, another 4,000 children will die.

And the day after that, and the day after that, and the day after that.

Credit: WaterAid / Suzanne Porter
These facts sober me.

I'm working on processing this information and seeing what tiny bit I can do to help.  When there are more details, I'll let you know and hope you join me.



1 child is too many.  4,000 is darn near criminal.

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