The Rainbow Loom Project

Fact: Sweet is turning 7 on Tuesday, and I am not ready!

Probably a Fact: We are the only family in America who hasn’t joined in on the Rainbow Loom / rubber band bracelet phenomenon sweeping the country.

Well, that’s all about to change.

The Rainbow Loom Project - Make bracelets and send them to children in Africa!

Some friends asked me if I wanted to join in on their service project to send a bunch of these awesome bracelets to kids in Ethiopia who’ve never even heard of Rainbow Loom. It took about .024 seconds for me to jump right in feet first. I thought, what a great opportunity and fun way to celebrate Sweet’s birthday! The last thing we need around here now is more toys.

We’ll have friends and family stop by, a few Master Rainbow Loomers on hand to help us out, and several thousand colored bands to get us started. Since we’ve never used a loom before, we are reading up on the matter now and looking for fun tutorials we might want to use on Saturday.

I’ve linked to 14 of our favorite bracelets below, I love that there is something for everyone in here – girls, boys, older kids, beginners, shoot there’s probably one or two in here I can even make!

10 Rainbow Loom Bracelets You Must Try

Make Rainbow Loom bracelets for a birthday party

10 DIY Band Bracelets
Kaleidoscope Bracelet
Starburst Rainbow Bracelet
Circle of Hearts
XO Band Bracelet

Want to know more about the cause?

AHOPE – an organization that provides free assistance, housing, clothing, schooling, medical care, etc. to HIV+ orphans in Ethiopia.  

A Hope for Children - a center in Eithipia that raises orphans born HIV+

AHOPE is currently serving 213 orphans – kids and teens.  Many of them have lost their parents to AIDS.  All of them were born HIV+.  At first, AHOPE was a hospice to provide a nurturing, comfortable setting for the orphans to transition with dignity.  Thanks to medical advances in the last few decades, many of these children are thriving and living to become adults! 

Today, I’m joining Susan from Crafterhours, Ashley Ann from Under the Sycamore, Jenny from The Southern Institute and Jen from Upcycled Education in a Joint Rainbow Loom Project to collect bracelets for kids at AHOPE. Extra bracelets will be given to the community surrounding AHOPE.

Want to help? We hoped you might!

The Rainbow Loom Project - Make bracelets and send them to children in Africa!

1. Get your kids making bracelets and talk to them about what you will do with them and the kids they will be going to.

2. Raise money for a good cause – we’re asking for a monetary donation to be send along with your bracelets. It can be as large or small as you need it to be. I am donating $1 for every bracelet my kids make between now and drop off date, up to $200. Ask friends and family if they would be willing to match your donation. Get as many people involved as possible.

3. Mail your bracelets (and donations) by March 15th 2014.

All bracelets, creations, and checks (made out to AHOPE) should be sent directly to:
Jen Lara at Upcycled Education
P.O. Box 950
Savage, Maryland 20763
by March 15th.

If you prefer to make a donation using your credit card, you can do so directly on AHOPE’s website (http://www.ahopeforchildren.org/)

All bracelets will be hand delivered to the children of AHOPE in April.

Simple ways to improve air quality indoors

We’ve really enjoyed the planting a forest campaign this month, together we’ve planted almost 300 trees … but wanted something a little more hands-on.

Have you planted your tree yet?

If we are truly “planting a forest”, then there needs to be some actual planting going on, am I right! So when we spotted these living Christmas trees we knew they’d be the perfect thing! We’ll keep them indoors till spring, then plant them in the backyard.

Help this little guy plant a forest for his 8th birthday

The great thing about these little trees is the learning opportunity that came with them. I like to think we do a pretty good job teaching our children how to care for the environment – we recycle, we compost, we conserve water, and try not to waste energy. We talk to them about using scrap pieces of paper for all their “projects” and we discuss big issues like alternative energy and our carbon footprints.

One thing we’ve never done however, is bring the outdoors in. It’s such a simple thing to do, but one we had overlooked until now.

These little trees aren’t just pretty to look at or fun to have around for the holidays, they are actually serving a significant purpose right now for our family. They are improving air quality in our home.

Indoor air pollution is actually a big deal. The concentration of chemicals, toxins and pollutants is much stronger indoors than the air you breathe outside; it can be a huge health problem if you are sensitive, have allergies, asthma, or other respiratory problems.

The way all of the males in our home do.

The more we talked about the good the plants were doing in our home, the more questions they asked – what other ways can we make the air inside our house cleaner? Here’s the list I came up with for us and it’s easy enough I bet it could help your family too.

Simple ways to improve air quality indoors

1. Open a window, and let some fresh air in.

2. While you’re at it, bring in some living plants too!

3. Take your shoes off and keep them by the door.
You’d be surprised how many chemicals you track in on your feet!

4. Mop & Vacuum Weekly. Make sure your vacuum has a HEPA filter

5. Dust often

6. Use non-toxic, natural cleaners and detergents with natural or no fragrances

7. Do not use aerosol products in your home

8. Ban smoking indoors

9. Stop using store-bought air fresheners
They are made from petroleum-based products and put off a significant amount of VOCs

10. Change you air filters every 30 days

If you have questions about any of these, want me to elaborate or have ideas of your own — I’d love to hear from you in the comments.

We’ve been working hard to raise awareness about New Leaf Energy’s plant a tree initiative on Facebook. We invite you to share your ideas on how to teach our children to go green on any social media platform with the hashtag #PlantingWithPablo.

Share your ideas on how to teach our children to go green #PlantingWithPablo

Spreading Joy and Goodwill in your Community

Simple ways to get your family involved and spreading joy in the community

As my kids get older, I find myself thinking more and more about ways to imprint kindness, generosity, and goodwill on to their hearts. When I sat down to come up with a list of simple ways to spread joy and goodwill in your community, I realized we’re doing a good job already. I truly believe the more ingrained the actions are in our daily lives, the deeper the values I wish to teach my children will be instilled. Simply put, more than talking to them about charity and good deeds, I think showing them on a regular basis through actions will encourage them to grow up to be people with strong character and integrity, who do the right thing simple because it is the right thing to do.

Here are some ways we spread joy and goodwill in our community all year-long:

Be Active

One of my favorite ways to show my children the good in people is to take them on charity walks and fun runs. Not only is it great exercise for all of us, and a way we can spend positive time together on the weekends, but it also supports a great cause. The people who show up to these runs are amazing people and the energy from the group can be felt a mile away. I want my kids to see the hundreds of kind people who wake up early and gather with strangers to support a cause they care about. I want them to learn about those causes and care about them to.

Donate Life

This was our third year walking for Donate Life, in honor of our friend Kim and her family. In that time, we’ve become so close with them they feel like extended family, and I know my children really, truly understand why we’re out there and what we’re doing. There are people who need new organs in order to live, and the only way they will get them is if people donate their own when they don’t need them anymore.

If you haven’t already, please sign up to be an organ donor now.

Shop Local

One of the biggest things you can do to support your local community is to put money back into it. A simple way to do this is by shopping local and frequenting small business owners. Finding stores that also support great causes in your community doubles your efforts.

This year Big Brothers Big Sisters South Texas opened up a unique store, From Me To You, with a great concept. Children can shop with store elves to select presents for family members and wrap them on the spot. No more knowing what your kids got you for Christmas, great prices, and proceeds benefit Big Brothers, Big Sisters. We love it so much, we’ve shopped for the whole family there this year!

Goodwill and the Salvation Army are great examples of places your money can also do double duty. Can you think of any other places near you? Perhaps a thrift store supporting a women’s shelter, orphanage or ministry?

Get involved with your schools

Local support from the community is more important to public schools now more than ever. I urge you to find a way to help out that works for you whether that means donating your time helping in the lunch room or library, joining the PTA, providing financial assistance, or even donating school supplies, or helping out with after school programs. Teachers can’t do it alone and every lit bit helps.

Art Room Aid for Teachers is an incredible place to start looking, search your local community and see if teachers already have projects waiting to be funded.

Volunteer

There are so many ways you can lend a hand in your community. From volunteering at a local soup kitchen or food pantry, to visiting a nursing home, to being a mentor, to ringing the bell for the Salvation Army, to wrapping gifts for Elf Louise.

To find opportunities in your community, visit VolunteerMatch.org
There are 4,355 opportunities in my community — how many did you find in yours?

Do something out of the ordinary

Yes, most of these things are things we do everyday … but every now and then you have to shake things up a bit and remind yourself and your family why you do these things in the first place.

Last Saturday was the coldest day of the year. An abnormally cold day in Texas, I left my house while it was 29 degrees outside and headed to Sea World Aquatica to take the polar plunge for Special Olympics with my fellow Wildsiders.

It was amazing, incredible, invigorating, touching, and memorable. We raised more than $1,000 as a team and so much more as a whole. It bonded me for life with people I hardly knew, or had never met, and made me feel alive. It motivated the community and was seen on television several times during the weekend, meaning hopefully next year will be even bigger and better with lots more plungers willing to participate. It sparked a new tradition for me and one that my children are already excited to do with me … just in a few more years maybe!

If you’re in Texas, find a plunge near you.

Give Back

If you are in a position to do so, give back. Whenever you can, anyway you can. Let your children see you doing this, let them do it too. Whether it’s putting spare change into a donation can or giving food, water, or cash to a person in need, to donating gently used items, or non-perishable can goods. There is something you can give to others.

San Antonio Bloggers pay it forward at Big Brothers Big Sisters South Texas donation store From Me To You

This year, we gathered a group of local bloggers and adopted a few families in our community. We gathered together to shop for our families and give back to BBBST at the same time. We left with huge bags of presents, knowing we’d made a bigger impact as part of a group.


Help Me Plant A Forest


Let's plant a forest! New Leaf Energy will plant one tree for every new like of it's #PlantingWithPablo FB page. Imagine the difference we can make with just a simple click

Tree for a Like

I think by now most of you know I am sucker for a good cause and if the steps to get there are simple things anyone can do, than I am all about spreading the word.

I took the rest of December off from writing, consulting, and pretty much everything that doesn’t involve focusing on my family, but when the opportunity to promote New Leaf Energy came down the pipes and they told me they were planting a tree for every new like they received on Facebook from now till the 23rd of December … visions of fields of trees starting dancing in my head.

* Yes, New Leaf Energy hired me to share easy ways your family can go green, but the idea to plant this forest is mine all mine.
Our simple green story will come in a follow-up post next week.

I just REALLY, REALLY enjoy a fun challenge for a good cause.

So what do you say?
Help me plant 1,000 trees by Christmas?

It only takes 2 seconds of your time and one click of you finger — LET’S DO THIS!!

PLANT YOUR TREE NOW

We’ve planted 60 trees already, I’m betting we can exceed our goal, who’s with me?!

I’ll update this page each day to keep you posted on our progress

Update: We planted 148 trees yesterday! What a day, and an accomplishment we can all be proud of. Do you know 148 trees can provide enough oxygen each day for 592 people?! (source)

12/16: We’ve planted our first 200 trees!

12/23: We’re up to 330 trees – that’s great, but not nearly as much as we’d hoped for. Can you help us?

Share your ideas on how to teach our children to go green #PlantingWithPablo

Bloggers Going Orange for Hunger Action Month

Will you #GoOrange with us?

I can’t tell you how exciting I am to kick off our second annual Moms Fighting Hunger blog hop this September, Hunger Action Month. It began on a whim last year because Jenn & I thought it would be a great way to get bloggers involved and raise awareness for a great cause.

What happened next, has truly changed my life.

We started Moms Fighting Hunger.

Used our collective voice.

Partnered with No Kid Hungry,

Told our stories,

Toured food banks,

Hosted food drives(You can host your own too!)

Made Movies,

Made Lifelong friends

Lives were changed, and before the end of the year we helped raise several thousand dollars for our cause!

But we aren’t stopping there …

… 

Read More »

Pool Party Fun For A Cause

kids and candy pool party photoshoot back to school pool party bloggerbash bloggers collecting school supplies for teachers school supply drive for teachers organized by Kids Stuff World & SA Bloggers Huge thanks to Melissa & Doug, Twizzlers and Jolly Rancher for sponsoring our school supply fundraiser

I finally have a chance to show you a few of the pics from the back to school pool party / school supply fundraiser we threw last month. You know me, I’m always looking for a reason to gather friends together AND do a little good. When I heard about Twizzlers and Jolly Rancher‘s partnership with Gym Class Heroes to create the ultimate Summer Twist List, I immediately thought —

School Fundraiser for Teachers!!!

What? Sound like unobvious pairing? Not really.

Again, I’m applying some of those simple party planning principles I shared with you yesterday:

Planning A Fundraiser? Here's a guaranteed recipe for success

Things that don’t seem necessarily related become perfect partners in the right setting, all it takes is a little creativity.

So here it is, the last minute event we threw together that raised more than $650 for local teachers in our community! Once again San Antonio bloggers really pulled together to support something we so strongly believe in — a great education for our children and a community that lifts up the teachers who are making that happen.

Our teacher left will full hearts and car loads of supplies to take back to their schools. It’s things like this I really enjoy, and hope I get to do much more of in the future!

Thanks so much to our wonderful sponsors Twizzlers, Jolly Rancher, and Melissa And Doug who helped make this happen.

Summer Twist List: Free Download of summer classics covered by Gym Class Heroes <-- been listening to this all summer!

There are still a few more days left to download the FREE summer twist list or connect with it on Spotify. Grab it now before it’s gone.

Fabulous Photos by ARG Photographs

I’d like to buy the world a Nourishmat

Imagine if every house on the block grew their own fresh veggies and urban landscapes, once food deserts, were able to not just thrive, but flourish!

EarthStarter
That’s their dream.

I exchanged a few emails with Phil, the co-founder of Earth Starter, this week. I was so inspired I had to share his kickstarter campaign with you here.

You’re going to flip for the Nourishmat and Herbmat!

kale_nourishmat

“John and I are on a mission to empower consumers to become producers, by giving them easy tools to grow healthy fresh food.

We want people to be able to grow their own food, eat healthy, and not have to worry about GMOs, where their food came from, pesticides, and so on. Not to mention how gratifying it can be when you wait for a delicious veggie to grow and you can finally take a bite!

About Nourishmats and Herbmats:

parsley_herbmat

Our products are designed to help you grow your own fresh herbs without getting down and dirty in the weeds. Best thing, it pays you back in spice. Designed for people with no prior growing knowledge or years of gardening experience. Farm to table just became simpler and without adding an extra project or more costs to peoples lives. Instead of buying expensive tools and searching for plant varieties, just use the Herbmat.

Our mats are like paint by numbers for gardening. You roll the mat out on your garden soil, push in the seedballs (clay, seeds, chili-powder and all-natural nutrients), and hook it up to the hose.

The Nourishmat is a 4’ x 6’ all-in-one roll out garden that empowers people to become food producers. Included in each Nourishmat are seed balls to grow tomato, carrot, marigold, onions, basil, nasturtium, radish, chive, kale, rainbow chard, jalapeno, dill, eggplant, red pepper, and more .

The Herbmat Gardening Systems brings 8 of the most sought after culinary herbs (basil, chive, dill, parsley, mint, thyme, savory, and sage) right to your table – from your own yard.

We think of them as a great way to cultivate the next generation of food growers and our product is the first of its kind.
Every Nourishmat purchased for schools comes with its own curriculum
We also have a commitment to schools, so the next generation can begin learning about gardening and fresh food as soon as possible. Each Nourishmat provided to a school comes with it’s own curriculum. We’ve started working with the Mayor’s office and school district’s in San Francisco, to plant Nourishmat gardens in the school and educational community to commemorate our Kickstarter launch.

Finally, during the Kickstarter campaign (which is wrapping up soon), we’re offering a summer contest for bloggers. We will send you sample seedballs to grow, and if you post about the Kickstarter and what you’ll “nourish” with your plants, we’ll enter you to win a Nourishmat for a school or community organization of your choice so that kids can start learning about gardening and healthy food too!

Support-us-on-Kickstarter
They’ve got a long way to go to make this happen, when I published this post they still needed $32,000 to meet their goal and have just 11 days to make it happen. That’s a huge mountain to climb alone, so please share this post and consider donating to their cause. They have lots of fun bonuses, like seed balls and t-shirts, to make available if you contribute.

I think I’m going to have to try the $89 commitment … how could I not?

Reaching out to families affected by Neurofibromatosis (NF)

Today is World NF Awareness Day.

A day you’ve probably never even heard about, a day the Blazier’s wish everyone knew more about. I urge you to take a few moments today to read this story, a story by an incredible family I am honored to call my friends, my family, my military family. Even if you have never heard of NF or met anyone who has it, please share this story. I would love to help Jordan connect with others also diagnosed with Neurofibromatosis, he’s waited more than 12 years already. Let’s fix that today.

May is NF awareness month

What is NF? Neurofibromatosis (NF) encompasses a set of distinct genetic disorders causing tumors to grow along various types of nerves.

In addition, NF can affect the development of non-nervous tissues such as bones & skin. NF causes tumors to grow anywhere on or in the body. There are several different types of NF & manifestations differ from person to person. From Café-au-lait spots, the most common sign of NF, to Neurofibroma tumors which vary in size and composition, each person carries their own unique symptoms. Roughly 100,000 people in the U.S. have been diagnosed with some form of NF, yet there is no cure & few treatment options available.

Meet the Blaziers

Neurofibromatosis AwarenessMy name is Jennifer, I am the parent to an amazing 13 year old boy, named Jordan, who was diagnosed with NF1 on his 1st birthday. Jordan is like many other teens. He enjoys playing sports, hanging out with his friends, driving his younger sister crazy, hates cleaning his room and has a zest for life that many adults would love to recapture. But, unlike other kids his age, Jordan feels comfortable in hospitals & around doctors because he has spent his entire life being followed and cared for by numerous specialists who monitor his tumor(s) growth and other clinical manifestations.

Jordan’s most recent development and complication has been the growth of an inoperable Astrocytoma brain tumor. Although considered to be a rare tumor, pediatric astrocytoma tumors are considered to be common among NF1 patients; as they are considered to be tumors of the central nervous system. The number of tumor growths and type vary widely among affected individuals from only a few to thousands. Presently, there is no way to predict how many persons will develop NF, how many tumors they may grow or how their specific symptoms will affect them. Therefore, regular checkups and MRI scans are the preferred diagnostic tools to monitor tumor growth. Tumor removal is risky and not always an option (as in Jordan’s case); typically, NF tumors grow along the patient’s nerve ending that originate somewhere along the central nervous system. Complete tumor removal requires the skills of a surgeon who specializes in tumor extractions that remove the tumor; yet, not disturb any affected nerves, which often times could result in paralysis of the affected area.

I am not sure if there are any words in the English dictionary that would adequately convey what it is like to be a parent of a child who has a condition that science has yet to discover a cure for. Yet, at the same time and through all of this craziness, we feel blessed as Jordan’s parents! We give thanks and praise God for choosing us to be Jordan’s parents. We are thankful for the amazing team of physicians that surround us & guide us along this journey. We are appreciative for having the opportunity to watch and learn from our amazing son; who continues to be our teacher almost daily. Most of all, we are thankful that Jordan continues to live and fights the fight. At 13 years of age, he still has much to learn. Yet, at the same time, Jordan has so much to offer this amazing world we live in. As parents, there is not a day that I do not stand in his shadows in awe of his personal courage, his resilience and his zest for life. Since the day we first heard the words and learned of Neurofibromatosis, as Jordan’s parents, we vowed to never allow his medical condition to define him or limit all that he could become. It is for this reason, I honor my son’s wishes today, by sharing Jordan’s story, in hope of giving back to others by bringing awareness to the NF community.

The Children’s Tumor Foundation is the leading foundation for Neurofibromatosis 1; whose mission is to educate, advocate and bring awareness about this medical disorder to one community at a time. Finding cures and treatment options starts with the understanding that an issue exists. A patient registry was initiated in 2012. One of the purposes for the registry is to bring NF families together so they can: gather a more accurate picture of of how NF has affected each individual who has been diagnosed, networking, research studies, etc. Knowledge is important and becomes the power needed for the building blocks to finding a cure.

We are asking any individual diagnosed with NF1 to register at nfregistry.org .

Your confidential information will be used by researchers to help find treatment options and ultimately a cure. To find out more about NF please visit ctf.org which houses a vast variety of information about this diagnosis, the foundation, ongoing research and volunteer opportunities to those who wish to help bring awareness into their Community.

Thank you for taking the time to read a little about our story. Hopefully we have inspired you to help spread awareness about NF and encourage those affected to register at nfregistry.org.

Again, thank you and God Bless.

The Blazier Family

 

Good Girls Give Back

I’ve been following along with the Good Girl’s List To A Glam Holiday over the last few weeks and biding my time … waiting for that perfect moment, like trying to hop in to a game of double dutch. These fabulous ladies have covered everything from the perfect gift to the perfect cocktail in true glam fashion.

The Good List : A Glam Holiday Guide

I almost made it in to the mix a time or two, but I kept missing my opportunity. Now, I finally get my chance. The Good Girl’s have invited me in (confession: I was never really that good at double dutch …) specifically to chat about one of my favorite topics — Doing Social Good. This week the girl’s are looking to do some good deeds of their own, and they came to the perfect place because I know some pretty good girls myself!

This post means a lot to me because it highlights some of the wonderful people I have become friends with this year, and some of the truly amazing things we have managed to accomplish in numbers. I am excited for what 2013 will bring, knowing what we are capable of and confident these girls will help me make it a year to remember!

1. Small Hands Creating Hope


I teamed up with MaryAnne and her crew earlier this year to celebrate a truly special birthday. Her 30th birthday of being cancer free, and to celebrate she wanted to do something BIG. A gesture that really touches my heart, proof that small hands can make a big difference. The result was a fantastic craft book, Small Hands Creating Hope, put together by some amazing bloggers and a fundraiser for the American Cancer Society. We have raised more than $1,200 through this project so far. I gave a copy of this book to my father for Christmas, there is a project in the book dedicated to him and the journey we took when he had cancer.

2. Moms Fighting Hunger

Life has a funny way of leading you to the place you were meant to be all along. That’s what happened to me in September when I partnered up with Jen and started a Facebook page called Mom’s Fighting Hunger. Originally intended to be a place to highlight ways to help during National Hunger Month, it turned in to so much more. Visits to Food Banks, Kids Feeding with Reading and even food drive play dates, the women of Moms Fighting Hunger rallied together and made a huge impact. We decided this was a cause worth supporting all year, so I hope you will take a moment and like the page to stay up to date as we grow and spread our wings. We have a recipe book coming out VERY soon.
Moms Fighting Hunger

3. No Kid Hungry

One of the most amazing things that happened to me as a result of starting Moms Fighting Hunger has been partnering with No Kid Hungry. I started sharing my personal story as it relates to their cause, but havent finished it. This partnership has opened up doors to my past I thought were long closed and paved pathways to the future I cannot wait to explore. They announced it recently but I have yet to post it here, I am now a proud member of their Social Action Council. Look for lots more information and ways we can all make a difference for children who need our support.

I couldn’t mention No Kid Hungry without jumping up and down a bit to tell you about our Giveathon last week, and how we raised $15,000 in one day!! Such an incredible movement and I am so excited to be a part of it. Donations are still being matched through the end of the month, so feel free to contribute anything you can on our fundraising page. It is all tax deductible and 10 meals can be provided for every $1 you give.

4. 31 Days or Service

Next on my list of feel good projects is Mom It Forward’s 31 Days of Service, have you been following along with all the inspiring acts bloggers are doing in conjunction with this project?

I am so inspired by these women and proud of all that they have accomplished in such a short period of time. Catch up on all the acts here and be sure to read the touching story of how one family set out to make a difference in another’s this holiday season. I love this story because it grew so much bigger than any of us and turned in to a real Christmas miracle. Thanks to an article Jen wrote about this family on a news site, someone donated more than $7,000 to help pay for their medical bills!

Amazing! Can you feel the impact we are starting to make already … I get goosebumps just thinking about it.

5. Feel Good Round Up


There are so many other wonderful things going on in the blogosphere right now, I don’t want you to miss any of them! Have you heard about the Snowflakes for Sandy Hook project? MaryAnne has rallied her community together and asks for others to do the same. Rachel is starting a Handmade for Newtown auction to raise money for the families in Connecticut. You can get all the details on that project here. I’d love to see her get a large response.

Megan practiced 24 Days of Christmas Random Acts of Kindness and I love her even more for it than I did already, it reminds me of Katheirne Marie and her 52 smiles project. I am constantly inspired by her, if you have never happened on to Katherine’s site please bookmark it immediately. It is pure gold.

And finally, I love the premise behind the Blog 4 Cause link up Alli and Amy are hosting this month. Please do take a peek and see if you have any links you could add of your own.


I know that was a whole lot of information in one post, take a few moments to check it all out and then head over to Mayhar Design (beautiful!) and see what ideas these stylish sisters have for good girls to give back.

Thanks so much for following along with me this year!
I’ll be back next year with a fresh perspective, fun focus and plenty of ideas on
how to connect with your family and do a little good along the way.

A Season of Giving: 31 Days of Service

I think over the last three holidays, today has become my favorite day of the year. Each December 1st, I sit down with my children and we make a list of all the fun and giving activities we want to take part in over the holidays. You’ve seen me mention it before, here, here and here.

Like most parenting experiences I learn something each year — spending time together is more memorable and usually more enjoyable for everyone than activities that costs us money, planning too many activities away from home makes for a harried and stressful holiday, and my favorite, doing good and giving back is a wonderful family affair and rewarding experience for all.

This year, we are incorporating even more good deeds into our advent activities and I am so excited to have Mom It Forward’s new e-book to help me with some fresh ideas.

31 Days of Service E-Book

I’ll be working on my advent plan with my family today, and I encourage you to do the same with yours. Mom It Forward has made and entire calendar devoted to service projects any family can do together. You can read all about the wonderful ideas by signing up for their newsletter and getting the free e-book in return. It has gorgeous photos, great ideas and fun printables for you too.

I thought it would be fun to try and highlight a friend who has done one of the tasks on the calendar everyday this month. Each day, I’ll update the links here in this post and profile each blogger in an individual article on Sulia, where I am a new contributor to their parenting channel, and also on a very special Pinterest board with Mom It Forward. I invite you all to follow along and be inspired.

Check out all my sweet friends who will be participating and get to know them throughout the month, we have a few days left open if you would like to join us and participate. You can read a detailed description of each days prompts in the e-book.

Day 1 – Create Your Own Service Calendar
Blogger: Stacy of Kids Stuff World

Day 2 – JOY Your Neighborhood
Blog: Leanna of All Done Monkey

Day 3 – Leave Mailbox Goodies
Blogger: Kristina of Toddler Approved

Day 4 – Celebrate the 12 Days of Christmas
Blogger: Jennifer of The Good Long Road

Day 5 – Host a Food Drive
Blogger: JDaniel4′s Mom

Blogger: Helen of Curly Birds – How to Host a Food Drive

Day 6 – Give Groceries
Blogger: Deidre on Kids Activities Blog

Blogger: Colleen of San Antonio Mom Blogs

Day 7 – Celebrate Pearl Harbor Day
Blogger: Rob Hatton

Day 8 – Serve a Food Shelter (for littles)
Blogger: Carolyn of The Pleasantest Thing

Day 9 – Host a Cookie Exchange
Blogger: Mari of Inspired by Family

Day 10 – Spread the Puppy Love
Blogger: Ariana of The Remi Project

Day 11 – Appreciate Culture
Blogger: Beth of Living Life Intentionally

Day 12 – Clear the Way
Blogger: Megan of Coffee Cups and Crayons

Day 13 – Spread Candy Cane Cheer
Blogger: Kendall of Home Learning Journey

Day 14 – Share Your Talents
Blogger: Debbie of Rainbows Within Reach

Day 15 – Sub For Santa
Blogger: Shari Biediger

Day 16 – Go Caroling
Blogger: Carolyn of The Pleasantest Thing

Blogger: Sea World Texas Wildside Bloggers

Day 17 – Clean Your Closet
Blogger: Mari of Inspired by Family

Blogger: Helen of Curly Birds

Day 18 – Serve With Smiles
Blogger: Deborah of Learn With Play At Home

Day 19 – Provide Coloring Comfort
Blogger: Susan Case of Kindergarten & Preschool for Parents & Teachers

Day 20 – Share Compliments
Blogger: Jacquie of Edventures for Kids

Day 21 – Host a Book Drive
Blogger: Joyce of Childhood Beckons

Day 22 – Practice Kindness and Patience
Blogger: Leann of Montessori Tidbits

Day 23 – Hand Out Cheerful Post-Its
Blogger: Melissa of Mama Miss

Day 23 (#2) – Hand Out Cheerful Post-its
Blogger: Jen of Kitchen Counter Chronicle

Day 24 – Give Neighbor Gifts
Blogger: Megan of Coffee Cups and Crayons

Day 25 – Gift It Forward
Blogger: Morena of Morena’s Corner

Day 26 – Get Online
Blogger: Stacy of Kids Stuff World

Day 27 – Donate a Toy
Blogger: Cyn of Creative Cynchroncity

Day 28 – Collect Coupons
Blogger:

Day 29 – Participate in a Drive Through Donation
Blogger:

Day 30 – Thank Public Servants
Blogger: Valerie of Glittering Muffins

Day 31 – Create a January Service Calendar
Blogger: Mom It Forward