Monday, November 25, 2013

Stop Threatening Me With Santa

                Tis the season to use Santa to get our kids to listen and behave.  You know the drill.  “You had better stop hitting your brother or Santa won’t bring you anything for Christmas.”  We’re all guilty of it or at least we have most likely had it used on us at some point in our lives.  But, I propose this.  Let’s use Santa to encourage our kids to do good.
                Maybe your child worked on a mission type project this year such as collecting canned goods for the food pantry or volunteering somewhere.  Wouldn’t it be cool if Santa wrote him/her a thank you card, letting him/her know that his/her good deed was noticed, that he is very proud of him/her for doing it and maybe suggesting something else that he/she might do? 
For example, my daughter and I are still trying to collect 5000 books for Bernie’s Book Bank.  We started this summer and are at about 1600 books right now.  Santa might tell her the importance of having books, thanking her for what she has collected so far and encouraging her to continue the collections to try to complete her goal by the end of next year.

                It will only take a minute to draft a letter from Santa and your child will be encouraged to go out there and continue being the good kid you know he/she is.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Host A Dinner Party

                A dinner party?  Sounds like fun doesn’t it?  There’s most likely not enough time to set this up by Giving Tuesday, but you can make the plans that night.  Now, for the details.
                Stop Hunger Now is an organization similar to Feed My Starving Children.  They package food that contains rice, soy, dehydrated vegetables and a flavoring mix including 21 essential vitamins and minerals.  They support school feeding programs and crisis relief around the world.  
                At you can order a Dinner Party in a Box for a twenty-five dollar donation.  This box includes a Stop Hunger Now meal bag (feeds 6), invitations, instructions which include hunger facts and discussion questions, recipes from some of the countries they serve and six place cards with photos and stories of some of the children that receive meals.   

                So think about five friends that you could invite.  If you have more than five friends, invite eleven and order two boxes.  It’s a great way to start a conversation about hunger in your community and around the world, while experiencing for one night a meal that others survive on.  

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Baby It's Cold Outside

                Well, we had our first snowfall of the season last night.  My hands about froze while I was scraping my windshields.  I thought I had a pair of gloves in my coat pockets, but I was mistaken.  Luckily, I have a Chevy and the heat was in full force when I finished the task.  I haven’t owned a Chevy yet that didn’t have good heat. 

                This gives some food for thought for this year’s “Giving Tuesday.”  Do you have leftover skeins of yarn from projects finished long ago?  You can put it to good use by crocheting or knitting scarves and hats for the homeless.  Or you can make squares to take to Michael’s for “Warm up America” and they’ll put them into an afghan.  Either way, you will help someone else while reducing your clutter.    

Monday, November 11, 2013

Feed'Em Soup

                Dignity.  That’s a word that came to mind when I browsed the “Feed’Em Soup” site.  Feed ‘em Soup is a non-profit organization in DeKalb that serves a community meal every Wednesday from 5 to 7.  Everyone is welcome.  It is a pay what you can meal, even if that is nothing.  To me the dignity part comes with the restaurant type atmosphere.  It’s not just a soup kitchen.  It’s a place to sit down and have a good meal.  A choice of soup or salad is offered along with a main course.  Again, the meal is open to everyone.  The entire community, old, young, economically advantaged and disadvantaged can come and share a meal. 

                On Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights from 9 pm to 3 am, Feed’em Soup offers Tapas for a price.  All proceeds go to the Wednesday night meal.  The eats are just $2 for sliders and about a dollar for sides. So, if you have a college student at Northern Illinois University, pass this information along.  It’s inexpensive food to satisfy their late night cravings and their money will go to a good cause.  Who knows, they might decide to volunteer there and have an additional great experience.

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Pajama Party

                The temperature is dropping.  It’s time to pull out the comfy jammies.  I love the fleece pants!
When my daughter was a toddler the “Good Night Show” on Nickelodeon used to have Pajama drives.  I imagine they still do.  Recently I received an email from Scholastic Book Clubs which offered, “You Donate Pajamas, We’ll Match with Books.”  They have easy instructions on their website to get your child’s classroom involved.  Donations ultimately go to the “Pajama Program.”   The “Pajama Program” website also has easy instructions on how to hold a pajama and/or book drive to support their program which gets new pajamas and books into the hands of children in need.

                So, in the spirit of Giving Tuesday, why not have a Pajama Party?  Invite your friends and family over for a video and ask them to bring a new set of pajamas.  Or the weekend before, allow your kids to have a pajama party on the condition that their friends bring pajamas.  Then when you lose sleep, you will know it’s for a good cause!  

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Do You Want to Play a Game?

                My first idea to bring to the table for “Giving Tuesday” actually came to me as I was browsing their site.  A gaming company in England is holding “Gaming Tuesday” where you sign up to play video games and you sponsor one of the charities that they partner with.  I tried to get more information, but my surfing skills are limited and I wiped out when looking for how to sign up and choose your charity.  But, it sparked a thought. 
                Hold a game night through your organization, or just family and friends.  Pick a charity and have an “entrance fee” that would go to that charity.  Then have a great night with friends and family while knowing that you helped others.  To get the brain in gear, here are some suggestions for charities to benefit from your game night.
                If you wish to keep the game night theme, you could ask people to bring a game or toy with them to donate to “Toys for Tots.” 

Entrance fee can be food items to go to the food pantry.  Scarves, hats mittens and gloves would be a fee that would help others keep warm this winter.  A box of diapers or formula could help out a struggling mom.  Or you could choose something from Heifer International by either asking people to buy a share (most things go for around $10/share) or you could collect $5 per person and ten people could give a gift of a healthy home.  The possibilities are endless.   

Friday, November 8, 2013

Weddings and Funerals

                I was browsing Facebook this morning and a friend had posted a photo that said, “You don’t need a reason to help people.”  It was from a liberal posting.  Full disclosure…I’m a registered Republican that believes in helping people.  I just like to do it on my terms.  Anyway, I agree with the photo.  You don’t need a reason.  You should help people because you have that undeniable urge to.  When someone drops something, you automatically stop and pick it up for them.  It’s what we humans do.  So, why are there movements to help people?  Why do I write this post?  Two words.  “Weddings” and “Funerals.”  What?
                If you’re from a family like mine, life gets in the way and the only time you really see those in your extended family, is at weddings and funerals.  You mean to call them, but you just haven’t gotten around to it.  Sound familiar? 
                We all want to do good, but life gets so busy, we forget about our fellow man until the bell ringers stand at the door in front of the store as we hurriedly run in looking for the latest gizmo to buy our nephews and/or nieces.  I’m not judging.  It is what it is.  I get busy too.  I’ve been “too busy” to write in this blog. 

                So, for my first bit of advice, in preparation of Giving Tuesday, I say take a deep breath, be still and listen.  Listen to what your friends are saying.  Listen to what the world is saying.  You’d be surprised at what ideas pop into your head.  

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Giving Tuesday 2013

               Last year at around this time, I wrote about “Giving Tuesday.”  It’s a movement to give back on the Tuesday after Thanksgiving.  That is a mere 25 days from now, December 3.  I will do my best to help you generate ideas in order to participate.  I will start by giving you information.  The website is  Once you decide what you are doing, you’re encouraged to tell people about it.  Some may consider this bragging…and some people might use it to brag.  But, it is more about spreading the seed of good deeds out there.   The intent is to get the word out.  Together we can make the world a better place.  I understand the hesitance though, but take this story for an example.

                Jennifer writes an article for her church’s newsletter about care packages for the military.  Terry sees Jennifer after church and mentions a group that sends pizza’s to the troops overseas.  The choir director stops Jennifer the next week and excitedly talks about sending batteries and headphones to the troops because batteries are always needed and the head phones/ear buds get dry and cracked in the heat over there.  Two extra ideas generated from one article.  What ideas can be generated by the conversation that you start?  

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

The Versatile Shoebox

Shoeboxes have been used for a variety of reasons.  I remember scrounging for a shoebox to make my diorama project for a grade school history project.  Before the invention of plastic boxes, shoeboxes held records of bills paid.  Old broken crayons, glue and scraps of papers found their way to a home recently vacated by my new high tops.  Picture frames can be made from the lids.  If you Google it, you can find even more uses that I have not mentioned.
This week, I found another use for shoe boxes in my daughter’s backpack.  The “Change the World Club” at her school is participating in the “Operation Christmas Child” project.  The informational flyer sent home requested small objects that fit into a shoe box.  Things like school supplies (pens, papers, crayons, etc…), Toys (small cars, ball, dolls, stuffed animals, musical instruments etc…), Hygiene items, (toothbrush, toothpaste, washcloth), and miscellaneous stuff (hairclips, toy jewelry, sunglasses, etc..).  The cost to ship is $7 per box and the boxes go to children in need for Christmas.  It’s a great idea for a Christmas charity project for your youth group.

For more information, you can visit and click on “Operation Christmas Child.”