Rachael Ray's Nutrish

Hi Friends!

Just so you know, I'm typically an Ina Garten fan in terms of The Food Network superstars. I also feel that all of the products cooking celebs hawk these days gets pretty annoying. So, as a conscientious objector, I hadn't looked into Rachael Ray's Nutrish Dog Food. But I was forced to put my principles aside when I saw an ad that she had introduced a grain-free dog food to her pet food line that would be available at grocery stores. My high-maintenance English Bulldog, Max, eats a grain-free diet for one of his many medical issues - allergies. I currently spend a small fortune on his food and skin care regime (much more than I spend on my own unfortunately!) that I have to order online. How nice would it be to pick up his food while grocery shopping?? So I disdainfully typed Nutrish into my Google search engine....

And who knew what a Do-Gooder Mrs. Ray is!  A portion of the profits from all of her pet food goes to help shelter dogs through her non-profit Rachael's Resue. Straight from her website:

"Heartbroken by the thought of the millions of mistreated and abandoned animals taken in by shelters each year, Rachael has created the Rachael's Rescue website to highlight organizations that are dedicated to helping animals in need. In support of their work, she's also launched a new line of pet food called Rachael Ray Nutrish™. A portion of the proceeds from the sales of these products will go to organizations such as those listed below."

Ugh, I'm such a sucker for these products that help the helpless. I'm going to have to swallow my pride and switch Max to a dog food with the silly name of Nutrish. Somebody stage an intervention if I start abbreviating other words longer than two syllables....


Happy {Belated} Father's Day

 Hi Friends!

{This is a very belated Father's Day post!}

For Father's Day this past year my dad asked me to donate to charity instead of giving him a gift. I really wanted to do something different and unique, so I thought I would try to save up money for something BIG as his gift. I was familiar with a blogger who had raised the funds to buy an incubator for an orphanage in China (see HERE), and I thought my dad, who is an amazing grandfather to 4 kids, would really love that. My plan was to let him know on Father's Day that would be the gift, but also let him know that it would take me six months or so to actually buy it. My dad wanted to join me in saving the money, so we decided between the two of us we would simplify our expenses (sorry Starbucks!!) until Christmas and both put money aside each month to personally donate until we reached our goal of $1400, which is the cost of the incubator. 

The agency I worked with is called Love Without Boundaries, and the incubators are needed for premature babies who are brought into orpanages they work with in China. Besides preemies, they also provide a sterile environment for other young, sick, or in other ways vulnerable babies in the orphanage when needed. We were excited to get started, and then I received an email from the woman I was working with at Love Without Boundaries that they were really in need of TWO incubators, and one was needed very soon. She also sent me this picture of a child in an orphanage in one of the incubators from a previous project:

Ok, after seeing the picture above, my dad and I realized that we needed to change our game plan! Although we hadn't originally planned on "fundraising" per se, knowing vulnerable (and adorable!) babies needed our help made us realize that we needed to buy the incubators as soon as possible. I reeeeeallly didn't want to just ask people for money though. I know that each of you already donate to worthy charities. So, I decided to make something small that I could give to people who were willing to help. And that's where the little cards you see above come in. {The cute borders were done by a very kind woman at Creative Fox Studio on Etsy for basically free when I told her what I was using them for.}
I'm pretty sure I don't have a future in graphic design, but these quote cards are something I make for my own house and tape up on my fridge, my kid's mirrors, use as bookmarks, etc.. Visual reminders are key for me to keep my perspective in this crazy world! They are certainly not anything special, but I would love to send each person who donates a little package of 12 various cards (some shown above). Love Without Boundaries has also made it super easy to donate. Here is a link that you can click on if you are able to help with any amount:
Please put Incubator OA Project in the notes to designate the name of my project. Your donation is tax deductible and MUCH appreciated. I won't know if, or how much, you donate so please let me know if you do and I will get your cards to you. No need to tell me any amounts! My dad and I just thank you for being willing to help. I promise to keep you updated on when the incubator is purchased.
Many, many thanks!

More Information on LWB from their website:
Love Without Boundaries began in the year 2003 after a group of adoptive parents came together to help save the life of one tiny boy in China. Following his successful heart surgery, they realized that people with a pure love for helping children can truly make a difference. LWB incorporated as a charity in the State of Oklahoma, and our worldwide team of volunteers went to work. We have watched our foundation grow from providing a handful of surgeries and baby formula in 2003 to touching the lives of thousands of children today through the following programs: Education, Foster Care, Healing Homes, Medical, Nutrition and Orphanage Assistance.
Love Without Boundaries Foundation is a non-profit, tax exempt corporation under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code. Our tax identification number is 06-1710161. LWB's mission is to transform the lives of orphaned and impoverished children by providing hope and healing.
LWB is known among our supporters as being extremely responsible financially. We have an administrative overhead of less than 10% and are committed to using every dollar donated wisely in order to best help children in need.


Friday Words + Links

Happy Friday!

Source: http://where-the-wild-things-arrrrrrr.tumblr.com

I realize the above words have nothing to do with helping others, but they have everything to do with where my head is today! I'm so ready for Fall!!

On a more DGG relevant note - If you are interested in learning more about how to help the the 750,000 (!) orphans in Haiti, CLICK HERE to read about Help One Now


The Salvation Army

Hi Friends,

Some of my favorite commercials on TV are by The Salvation Army. Have you seen any of them? There are so many good ones. Check this one out: 

A great rendition of "This Little Light of Mine" here:

My favorite one is on TV quite a bit right now, but I can't find a video of it anywhere. The theme of it is something like "Saved" and the camera focuses in on workers at the Salvation Army each saying words like "Not Junk," speaking of the items people drop off, but also - and I probably don't need to point this out to anyone - about themselves. It's incredibly moving! (If anyone finds it, please send me the link.)

In fact, it inspired me to take a carload of our belongings to our local SA this past weekend. And not the old crusty stuff either.... The good stuff! My kids were actually screaming in the car "Why are you giving that away?!?" as they saw me unloading from my trunk, but the spirit of the commercials just moved me.

Here are some interesting facts about the Salvation Army straight from their website:

  • The Salvation Army assists more than 42 million individuals throughout the year in the United States – almost 6 million of those during the holiday season alone.

  • The Salvation Army operates several domestic violence shelters nationwide, where abused women and children can get a fresh start in life, safely and confidentially.

  • Salvation Army adult rehabilitation centers annually help more than 220,000 people from every walk of life fight substance abuse and return to their communities as participating, contributing members.

  • When you shop at Salvation Army thrift stores, you are helping individuals in our 160+ adult rehabilitation centers nationwide through work therapy.

  • The red Christmas kettle debuted in San Francisco in 1891 in the guise of a crab pot. A depression had thrown many out of work, including hundreds of seamen and longshoremen. The campaign proved so successful that by 1900 it was imitated nationwide.

  • The Salvation Army provided an opportunity to camp for more than 186,000 underprivileged children, seniors, and adults last year.

  • 88% of your donation to The Salvation Army goes directly to program funding to help people who need it most.

  • The Salvation Army was at the frontlines in World Wars I and II, offering comfort and pastoral guidance.

  • Peter Drucker called The Salvation Army “by far the most effective organization in the U.S.,” in Forbes magazine.
  • Known for their brass band music, The Salvation Army has approximately 2,500 brass bands worldwide.

  • The phrase “on the wagon” was coined by men and women receiving the services of The Salvation Army. Former National Commander Evangeline Booth – founder William Booth’s daughter – drove a hay wagon through the streets of New York to encourage alcoholics on board for a ride back to The Salvation Army. Hence, alcoholics in recovery were said to be “on the wagon.”

  • The Salvation Army led in the formation of the USO – United Services Organization. The USO operates service units, which serve members of the armed forces abroad.

  • “Strawberry Fields Forever” in the Beatles 1966 song by that name, is John Lennon’s nostalgic reference to a Salvation Army orphanage called Strawberry Field in Woolton, England. Lennon is said to have played with childhood friends in the trees behind the orphanage when he was a boy.

What a neat organization. I plan to be more intentional in supporting the Salvation Army in the future. If you see me outside of Publix ringing a bell in a few months, you'll know why!!


Hatch Maternity Clothes

Hi Friends!

I have found something amazing: stylish maternity clothes!! I truly did not think those two words together were possible. But... check these out from Hatch.

I will definitely say they are on the pricey side, but I usually wear the same 3 outfits over and over again when pregnant, so at least I would only have to buy a few pieces! Even better, Hatch donates $5 to Every Mother Counts each time you make an online purchase. Yay for cute clothes + helping other people!

PS: No, Mom, I am not expecting.


Mission Accomplished!

We successfully completed our first Do Good Mission. It was so fun! And the people at the nursing home were very happy to see us. Here is how we packaged the cookies:

Each ziploc had one cookie and one card. Nothing fancy. Like I said before, this isn't a crafting blog!! Then we put them all in a plastic grocery bag and headed to the nursing home. Here are the kids right before we went in. I didn't take any inside because I thought the staff and residents might think I was crazy!

I hope we brightened up Father's Day for any of the fathers who won't get to see their kids today. And the cookie recipe (see the link in original post) was A-MA-ZING! They probably knocked the socks off those old men!


The First Do Good Mission!

Hi Friends,

I'm sorry for the lack of posts these past couple of weeks. I've had some ideas to tweak the blog a bit and was at a mental standstill until I worked them out. (In my head, late at night, when I should have been sleeping!) Basically, I want to make the Do Good Guide a little more personal. When I started the blog I hesitated to do that, because my life is not super interesting! But, the DGG has been feeling a little remote to me, so I am going to try a few new strategies. Apologies in advance for my messy house, crazy kids, and poor photography skills!

I had the idea to mix in my own attempts to do some good. So, I'll be sending myself out on occasional Do Good Missions, as well as keeping you updated on others doing good. For my first Do Good Mission, I tackled a random act of Father's Day kindness for dads who might not get to see their children on Father's Day. I decided to have my kids help me make cookies and cards for the men at a nursing home close to our house.

We started with the card-making. First, I just want to remind you all that this is not a crafting blog! I have no special skills at making homemade cards, just some basic experience due to the fact that I have kids and I think most store-bought cards are pretty lame, so we make alot of them around here.

Ours turned out very cute. Next we tackled making the cookies/eating huge amounts of cookie dough. I used this recipe: The Only Chocolate Chip Cookie I Will Ever Need To Know How to Make for the Rest of My Life. (Now those are strong words!)

The cookies definitely turned out delicious, and I really appreciated the baking tips from the recipe. I will say that my own personal favorite chocolate chip cookie remains this one from Dash and Bella. However, if you are a chocolate chip cookie purist, and you don't like alot of extra stuff in your cookies, then the ones we made are hard to beat! The only real problem with them is that you are supposed to leave the dough in your refrigerator for 36 hours before you bake them. During that time, unfortunately I ate about 1/3 of it. (Who can do that????)

All along on this Do Good Mission, I tried to talk to Will and Kate (yes, those are their real names, I am not using fake monikers from the royal family) about what we were doing, how important it is to help other people, etc, but I'm not sure how much it resonated. Hopefully when we deliver them on Sunday they will get the idea.

Thank you for reading about our first Do Good Mission! Let me know what you think. And, for any readers who have yet to find the perfect Father's Day gift, here is a link to a cute one that you can print out right at home: 

If anyone has any ideas for future Do Good Missions, please post them in the comments section or leave them on the DGG Facebook page. Also, if you go out on a DGM yourself, please send me a link to the pictures and I will be sure and post them on the blog. Thank you! Have a great weekend!