Friday, December 17, 2010

Cookie Exchange for Charity

I know that a cookie exchange is a popular tradition for many people during this time of year, but I love the spin that Agnes Hsu, a talented bakery owner, puts on it.

I recently read about her in the December 2010 issue of BHG and had to share her brilliant idea.
She holds a cookie exchange and raises money for a charity all at the same time.
I thought it was a simple enough idea that anyone already holding a cookie swap could adopt.
Better Homes and Gardens
image via BHG
Here's how it works...

Everyone brings their favorite cookies and the name of their charity of choice.

image via BHG
Each cookie is assigned a number to help keep track of which cookie is which. Everyone votes throughout the evening for their favorite cookie with cash. The person with the most votes gets to take all of the donations from the night and give them to their charity of choice.

Then divide and package the cookies just as you usually would. 
See? So simple!

I love this idea. So smart.

Here are a few fun links to help with your own cookie exchange.
Chocolate-Raspberry Tassies
Here is a link from BHG to get you started with their favorite Christmas Cookie Exchange Recipes.

Or try these beauties from Our Best Bites

Try printing off a few of these free cookie exchange tags from Joy Ever After

I love these!

Happy Cookie Swapping -- may you bring more goodness through something already so tasty!!! 

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Double your Grocery Giving

Feeding America is still looking for donations to help feed hungry families this holiday season.

They hope to raise enough money for 3 million bags of groceries.

Proctor and Gamble have teamed up to help.

Right now for every dollar you donate, they will match it for a total donation up to $75,000.

So, for $5 you can now provide 10 bags of groceries.
[A donation of $25 can feed a family of four for 2 weeks!!!]

Go here to donate today!

You can also give the gift of a donation in someone else's name.
Perhaps you have someone difficult to buy for. This would be a great gift.
HOPE honor gift card
Go here to donate in their  name.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Today is the day.....

If you live in blogland even a little, today is the day.
The Bloggers Give Back Project is a fundraising project specifically for the holiday season.
They choose one deserving and in-need family and all of the proceeds go to this family.

Bloggers from all over have donated items that will be auctioned off today. The items range from tax preparation, photography sessions,
interior design services,
jewelry, accessories,
clothing (oh how I love EmersonMade).....all sorts of goodies.

I am personally loving these!

You don't need to have a blog to participate.
Go here.
Look at all of the amazing items and leave a comment with your bid.
You MUST leave your name, email address, and bid.

You also need to have a PayPal Account.
If you don't already have one, quickly go here to set one up.

Get bidding today.
They also promised everything would be shipped in time for Christmas, so perhaps, you can finish up some last minute shopping AND support a good cause.


P.S. Feel free to purchase any of the above items as a gift for me. :)
Just sayin'!

all images via BloggersGiveBack

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Gift for Good

Do you have someone on your list that is difficult to buy for?

It seems we all do.

Over the next while, I'll share with you a few gift ideas that give more than the generic pair of socks. 
(Although, socks are ALWAYS appreciated at a homeless shelter. Just a thought.)


back to the gift idea.

Donate Fruit
Purchase any of their gift boxes or fruit packages and they will donate an equal amount of fresh fruit, pound for pound, to a food bank.

Give a gift.
Help feed the hungry.
Double check.

Go here to learn more.
Happy Holidays

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Make Time for Change

You can join Frigidaire and Jennifer Garner in supporting Save the Children.
You can directly help kids in need this holiday season just by clicking a button on your computer.

It's simple and fast.

Go here.

Set a virtual place at the table.
Every day you do this and register, Frigidaire will donate $1 to Save the Children to help children in need this season.

It takes just a minute and couldn't be easier.

*As a bonus, you'll be entered to win a $50 gift card and a chance at the Grand Prize -- a Frigidaire Profession freestanding gas range.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Santa's Letter and Macy's

It's that time of year already and the countdown has begun.

I'll be sharing with you throughout the season some very simple ways to make a difference and do a little good, all while celebrating one of the greatest holidays of the year.

First up, write a letter to Santa.
Some might think this a selfish act, but not when combined with Macy's and the Make-a-Wish Foundation.

This year, for every stamped letter that Macy's receives in their Santa Mailboxes they will donate $1 to the Make-A-Wish Foundation, up to $1,000,000.

{As of the time of this post they have only received 400,000}

You can download a letter template, create one online and then print it off, or simply write one yourself.

Be sure to STAMP the envelope
Adress it to SANTA at the NORTH POLE
Deliver it to a Santa Mailbox located at Macy's.
{You just helped donate $1 to Make-A-Wish}
The letters will be delivered to the post office and the money from Macy's will go to Make-A-Wish.

Go here for all of the information and to watch a sweet short film.

If you are not familiar with Make-A-Wish go here to learn more.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Thirty Days of Kindness

I hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving break.

I recently found this beautiful idea called "Thirty Days of Kindness" on [dandee].

This gorgeous (and talented) woman is counting down the 30 days before her 30th birthday with Thirty Days of Kindness. The ideas are simple, sweet and could easily be integrated into any of your holiday plans.

Her countdown is already almost half way over, but be sure to look back at some of her past posts and the simple ways to show kindness. She invites any and all to participate.

Today's Act of Kindness:
Read to a child as long as they want

[image via dandee -- original source]

Be sure to join her. Her blog is beautiful. Her ideas are simple.
You are sure to be inspired by her to create your own acts of kindness.

This is such a great idea and a great way to spend time leading up to your own celebration either for the holidays or any special event. 

Be sure to check it out here.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Thankful Trees

Thanksgiving is just a week away! (Can you believe it?!)
But, there is still plenty of time to put all of that gratitude to good use.

Thanks to some of my very clever and creative friends, I thought I'd share a simple idea that I really like. The whole family can even get involved.

Have you heard of a thankful tree?

My good friend Heidi does this activity with her family.

She gathers branches and cuts leaves out of cardstock.
(Of course, she also arranges the branches in a cute container and makes everything look charming.)
Then everyone takes turns writing on the leaves the different things they are thankful for.

I love this idea!
And I love that one of the things is cookie dough ice cream. So funny!

This could be a one time activity that you then display until the holiday or something the family members can add to whenever they feel like it.
Love it!

Here is another version of a thankful tree from my sweet friend Carrie.
(Again, she is very clever, very creative and everything always looks so beautiful.)

This is a similar idea with branches and paper leaves, but she also adds an activity onto each leaf that they can do to help show their gratitude.

They can then add onto the leaves the things they are thankful for.

I love this tradition. I love this idea.

I would show you pictures of one of my own thankful trees, but I haven't ever made one.
I definitely need to.

I love this idea.

Thanks Heidi and Carrie for being willing to share! You are the best!

How does your family show their gratitude?
What traditions do you have?
I'd love to hear from you.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Time to give Thanks

I think most people understand the importance of feeling and offering gratitude, but sometimes taking the time to do it becomes the tricky part.

One Thanksgiving tradition to adopt is to take the time to say "Thank you" to anyone. To everyone.
Take the time to have your family sit down and write out thank you cards.

image via susy*jack
Make it easier with this free printable (and delightfully beautiful) card from Susy Connor of Hey Susy.

You can find it here.

I love it.

Saying thanks just got easier and more beautiful.

P.S. This would even make a great print. OR they would make a great gift if you printed out a set.
Oh and heads up -- she also has a few other gorgeous free downloads -- a birthday card, a just because card. I love them all!

Friday, November 12, 2010

Hearts of Haiti

Did you see this post on DesignMom today? (One of my favorite blogs!)

It's all about an organization that is trying to help orphans in Haiti.

Check out her post about it here.

If you want to see the Hearts of Haiti blog keeping you up to date on their progress with pictures and a direct link to donate, go here.

**There will be a LIVE CHAT today that you can find here.**
They are currently trying to raise $1000 to install a basic playing field for the children.

Check it out.

P.S. They are trying to raise $50,000 to establish the orphanage. This would be a great fundraiser for a small group or family to participate in during the holiday season!

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Local 5K for a good cause

and a good family.

for this lovely family...the Teemants.

It will take place this Saturday, November 13th
9:30 a.m. at Kiwanis Park here in Provo

Just one week after graduating from BYU, Leo was diagnosed with Stage IV Melanoma. Leo is a husband, a father of three small children (including a four-month-old baby), a giving community member, and a friend to many. 

All proceeds from this race benefit the Teemant family.

Go here for more info

or here to register.

If you can't be at the race, you can still donate to the family by going here or you can donate directly t the Teemant family at any Wells Fargo bank.

Our love and prayers to this sweet family.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Leftover Halloween Candy

Do you still have leftover Halloween Candy and need an idea of what to do with it besides eat a piece every 5 minutes while the kids are at school?

Send it to Operation Gratitude

They ship it off to the soldiers. Great idea. There you have it. Easy.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Thank you to those who love me!

I came across this quote today and thought it would be an appropriate way to kick off one of my favorite seasons/holidays -- fall and Thanksgiving.

"Keep away from people who try to belittle your ambitions. Small people always do that, but the really great make you feel that you too, can become great.When you are seeking to bring big plans to fruition, it is important with whom you regularly associate. Hang out with friends who are likeminded and who are also designing purpose-filled lives. Similarly, be that kind of friend for your friends."
Mark Twain

Thank you to all of you who have been that kind of friend. Thank you for loving me despite my many flaws and weaknesses. Thank you for encouraging me. Thank you for lifting me. Thank you for being the type of people that inspire me on a regular basis. I'm truly grateful for all of the really 'great' people in my life who have done and continue to do so much for me, my family, and so many people around us. This quote reminded me of all of the great examples that around me and the type of person I want to be.

Thank you!

Friday, October 22, 2010

Hello my Friends!

Yes. I am alive, although it may not seem like it.

I apologize for the lengthy hiatus. I hope to be back up and running shortly.

In the meantime, if there is anything you would like to see on here or have featured send me an email at:

Thank you for all of the support and encouragement. 

We will be back up and running very soon.

In the meantime here is a quote I love:

"No act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted."
from Aesop's The Lion and the Mouse

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Be Elk River, Minnesota

The Mayor of Elk River, Minnesota challenged the residents to do 
1,000 Random Acts of Kindness.

They responded.

In February of 2010, the mayor challenged the residents to do 1,000 acts of kindness throughout the month.

All they had to do was do something kind for someone else and then tell about it.
They could call the special phone line, mail the pre-printed post card, or email the assigned email address to tell about their act of kindness.
They even made a kind-o-meter to track their progress.

The idea was inspired by the story of patrons of a Philadelphia diner that kept paying each other's bill.

Throughout the month long campaign a man paid for someone's coffee across the room at the cafe, a woman whipped up enough soup for 50 people and took it to the hunger relief kitchen, a teenager helped shovel a car out of a snowbank, an anonymous person hid $100 bill downtown with a note that read "I hope this brightens your day", librarians combined their own money to pay down overdue fines, 150 students at the high school donated money so that someone's electricity wouldn't be turned off, a man paid for the car behind him in the drive-thru, and so much more.
You can read about more of these random acts of kindness here.

I am in love with this town.

I am in love with this idea.

In addition to a city or town, this would be a great project for a school, church group, or even an extended family.

This would also be a great project for a youth to initiate and lead.

For today though, try to do something kind for someone else.

If you feel like emailing me to let me know what you did, you can do so at
I'd love to hear from you.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Calling all Eagle Scouts

Do you know of an Eagle Scout Project recently done in your area?

Are you related to someone who recently completed a project or is currently working on one?

I'd love to hear from you.
Come on all you Eagle Scouts.

Start sharing.

We might be able to get you the help you need.
We might be able to inspire a few others to follow in your footsteps.

Let's hear about your project.

email me at

Saturday, July 24, 2010

I'm on vacation!

I'm on vacation for the next week so there won't be any new posts.

I'm going to spend the rest of my time enjoying my vacation.

If you need something new to look at, browse through the pages above and check out all of the great organizations and causes.
Or scroll through old posts to get caught up.

Hope you have a good week!

Friday, July 23, 2010

Service Project Idea: Making Fleece Blankets

Need a service project idea?

Here is one from the ladies in my local church.

They made no-sew fleece blankets to donate to the children at the 
Utah County Children's Justice Center Logo
Utah County Children's Justice Center.

About the Utah County Children's Justice Center:
The Children's Justice Center is a homelike facility that helps children and families of abuse.

A child stays in this facility when there is an allegation of child abuse or when a child witnesses a crime.
The program is designed to help deal with the trauma associated with such events and help the child feel safe.
Those affected by the alleged abuse are given a place to stay during the investigation as well as counseling services.

Utah County CJC building

The Children's Justice Center is a public/private partnership, meaning they receive some state funding, but also rely on private donations to run the program.
You can learn more about the Utah County Children's Justice Center here.

About the project:
 The service project was a simple one and one that would be easy for any size group to do.

They purchased fleece and cut to an appropriate size for a child.
{Go here for sizing and measurements.}
The fringed edges were cut in advance and then as a group, the ladies tied the fringe into knots to finish off the blankets. 

You can do either a single layer of fleece or a double.

In order to keep costs down and maximize the money they had budgeted for this project, they purchased the fleece when it was on sale and even used one of those famous coupons.

It was a fairly quick evening, (although I'm sure it took some time for the prep work of snipping the edges, but I think that could be done during the project if you needed.)

This would even be a doable project for youth -- all you have to do is tie a single knot. Quite simple.

For tutorial/instructions and measurements, try here or here.

One thing to think about when donating anything to a facility or organization is to ask ahead of time if they need a minimum donation.

The Children's Justice Center did not need a minimum donation, so anything you would like to give would be appreciated. That makes this a good project for a small group (maybe for a family to do at Christmas time.)

They also rotate the children who are in and out of the program, so there is always a need and the children are frequently different.

This is Hannah, one of the lovelies that arranged this activity.

Here is the other lovely, Stephanie.

The Children's Justice Center heavily depends on private donations to keep things running well.
They also depend on volunteers and child mentors. 
To learn more about the ways you can help as a child mentor or volunteer go here for the information.
If you would like to donate money to them directly you can go here.
If you would like to contact them to provide a donation similar to these blankets, you can go here for the contact info.

You can also go here to the FRIENDS of the Utah County Children's Justice Center, a private, non-profit corporation providing support and fundraising for the CJC, You can donate to them here in their efforts to support the CJC or find other ways to help and support.

Not local?
Go here to the National Children's Alliance to find a program in your area and find out more about Children's Advocacy.
(Click on the locator in the orange bar near the top of the page.)

Thursday, July 22, 2010

FeelGood and the Hunger Project


FeelGood: A youth movement and program that transforms students into life-long social entrepreneurs and responsible global citizens.

Their goal is to end world hunger one grilled cheese at a time.

That's right.

You heard me.

One grilled cheese at a time.
Here's how it works.

FeelGood has FeelGood Fellowships.

Essentially, they look for student leadership teams that want to launch and operate a FeelGood non-profit deli on their university campus --specializing in grilled cheese.

The fellowship provides $800 of investment capital the first year, on-demand consulting, access to marketing, branding and educational materials, as well as training camps and international service trips.
Students get practical hands-on experience running a business, skills to launch an educational campaign, and the opportunity to initiate dialog about the root causes of hunger and the possible solutions.

These delis give away gourmet grilled cheese sandwiches (and information on hunger throughout the world)  in exchange for donations.

100% of the profits are invested in organizations with a proven track record in eradicating hunger.

One such organization is 
The Hunger Project.
The Hunger Project Home
You can go here to learn more about it.

If you are in college and interested in starting a chapter you are in luck.

FeelGood is looking to start 10 new chapters across the country.
Go here to learn more.

If you are not a college student, or not interested in taking on such a big project,
you can still support this very clever project by going here.
Next time you eat a grilled cheese, think about how much good that tasty little sandwich could really do.
{Man that looks SO good right now!}