Spring Cleaning is in the air! #DonateStuffCreateJobs

Its been a long winter. A LONG winter.

To say we’re ready for spring around here is a huge understatement! We’re ECSTATIC its spring and everything it brings — even allergies and spring cleaning! This week, I’m  carving out time to tackle our closets and get everyone ready for spring!

The kids in particular have closets just FULL of things that don’t fit! They’re growing like weeds and it feels like everything in their closets is too small. I need to go through their closets and really purge all that out of there. We also have outgrown toys, bikes, and more.

I have a three pronged strategy.

  • Sort & Toss: First off is going through the kids rooms and sorting out the trash. I don’t know about you, but my kids collect trash – literally TRASH – in their rooms. Not to mention the stained and torn clothes, broken toys and ripped books. First thing I need to do is plow through all that and figure out what’s worth saving and what’s not!
  • Yard Sale! Our daughter’s school is having a community yard sale to raise money for the school. We’re renting out a table to sell a few pieces of furniture and some old small appliances. Its a great way to support the school while getting rid of what we don’t need!
  • Goodwill: For everything we’re not selling (like kids clothes) and whatever doesn’t get picked up at the yard sale, we’re donating to Goodwill.


Donate to Goodwill and help your community

Did you know that donating one bag of clothing and one bag of books can equal up to 2.3 hours of on-the-job training for someone in your community? Add to that a used lamp, a dusty computer and perhaps a box of DVDs and CDs, and that number nearly doubles to 5.2 hours. A simple item donated to Goodwill® can help provide job training programs, employment placement services and other community-based programs for people who have disabilities, lack education or job experience, or face other challenges to finding employment. In fact, Goodwill is the leading nonprofit provider of job training programs and career services in the United States and Canada. Thanks to the programs and support services made possible by donations of clothes and household items, more than 261,000 people earned jobs in 2013 – that’s one person finding a job every 27 seconds of every business day.

Recycle all over the house!

Most of us have recycling bins in the kitchen. But have you ever thought about all the things in your bathroom that can be recycled as well? According to a recent study conducted for the Ad Council, 52% of Americans don’t know which items can be recycled in the bathroom. And only 10% of Americans have a recycling bin in their bathroom, compared to the 45% who have them in the kitchen.
I am  so pleased to donate time to promote the “I Want to Be Recycled” PSA campaign aims to raise awareness and inspire individuals to recycle more! Personal care products like shampoo and lotion bottles, toilet paper rolls, and toothpaste and soap boxes are significantly less likely to be recycled than kitchen products.
Whether it’s hairspray, leave-in conditioner or dry shampoo, many of your favorite beauty products and packaging can take on another life through recycling. For example, your shampoo bottle could be recycled into a hairbrush, or you might find a great new dress made from the recycled plastic of your favorite bottle of lotion.

Check out the<a href=”http://www.iwanttoberecycled.org/” target=”_blank” rel=”nofollow”> “I Want to Be Recycled” campaign website</a> to learn more about how and where to recycle, see inspired recycled items’ transformations.

PSA: For Tweens, buckling up is NEVER negotiable

Parenting a tween involves compromise. But here’s one rule that should not be up for debate – the car doesn’t move until everyone is wearing a seat belt. If you say it, and if parents buckle up themselves, your tween will buckle up. And if they don’t, that’s a fight worth having. It might just save your tween’s life.

One child passenger age 8 – 14 is injured every 8 minutes in a car crash.  From 2009 – 2013, 1,522 kids ages 8-14 died in car, SUV and van crashes. Of those who died, almost half were unbelted.  As children get older they’re sometimes less likely to buckle up. The percentage of child passengers who die while riding unrestrained generally increases with age and is most pronounced among 13 and 14-year-olds regardless of seating position.

We fully support the U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) to ask for your support of the Seat Belt Safety campaign, which asks parents of children ages 8-14 to make sure their kids are consistently and properly wearing their seat belt every time they get in the car.

Buckling-up is an important habit to instill in children at a young age. Parents can lead by example by wearing a seat belt themselves and by insisting on seat belt use for every passenger in their vehicle. Seat belts and safety seats, if used correctly, dramatically reduce the risk of fatality or injury to children.

Are your kids remembering to brush | Kids Oral Health Care

Anyone else out there feel like they are constantly reminding their kids to brush their teeth?

*Raises hand*

Its not just in our house. 3 in 4 parents report that their kids sometimes or frequently forget to brush their teeth.  In an effort to help parents better understand why ignoring dental health can have serious consequences, and educate families about good dental health habits, the Ad Council and The Partnership for Healthy Mouths, Healthy Lives created Public Service Ads (PSAs) for their Kids’ Healthy Mouths campaign. The PSAs are humorous depictions of life lessons which make the point that while parenting can be tricky at times, getting kids to brush for two minutes, twice a day can be easier than most other things parents will try to teach their children.


The English and Spanish-language PSAs direct parents and caregivers to the campaign website, 2min2x.org  (which is available in English and Spanish, and includes a mobile version), where parents and children can watch entertaining videos—all 2 minutes in length—while brushing their teeth. Additional resources available at 2min2x include:

  • Texting Program Challenge:
    Join the free texting program and take part in a five-day family brushing challenge. You’ll get 2 texts per day for 5 days and will also receive personalized tips and support afterwards. (http://2min2x.org/sms.asp)  or text TOOTH to 97779 to join.
  • Free Toothsavers App: http://2min2x.org/toothsavers/ The widely popular mobile app Toothsavers makes brushing fun and was recently updated with three new characters (Alice in Wonderland, Pinocchio, and Rabbit).  Since its launch, more than 68,400 people have downloaded the app.

In December, the Ad Council kicked off its first ever video contest with Zooppa, the world’s leading crowd sourced marketing platform for producing creative content. The Kids’ Healthy Mouths contest called on Zooppa’s community of over 27,000 amateur and professional video makers to leverage the existing campaign strategy to create their own videos showing parents trying to give important advice in just two minutes. The contest winners capture the spirit of the original PSAs and feature a lighthearted look at parenting today.

“Keep Your Eyes on the Ball”

For more information about the Kids’ Healthy Mouths campaign, visit 2min2x.org and follow the campaign’s social media communities on Facebook and Twitter.

in which my heart melts

There’s nothing quite like seeing your children grow in faith.
Our girls joined the church as communing members recently. Now I’m seeing so much fruit in all of them.

Like this week, when I looked over and saw this:

They brought their own money to give, completely on their own. No nagging, no forcing. And then  my heart melts into a puddle of mush and I may even have teared up a bit. My cup overflows.

You Don’t Have to be Perfect to be a Perfect Parent #AdoptUSKids

Did you know there are currently 402,000 children in the foster care system in the United States of America and nearly 102,000 children (under 18 years of age) waiting for adoption.  Some of them have come through our family. My sister-in-law and her husband have fostered so many children we’ve lost count – we’ve been so blessed to meet several of them on various family vacations and visits. Its so fun to look back at pictures and remember the little faces of these sweet children!

And we have two little nieces – sisters – who have been adopted! Approximately 23% of children and youth actively photolisted on the AdoptUSKids website for placement in adoptive homes were registered with one or more siblings. Sibling relationships are often the longest-lasting relationships for children in foster care.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, AdoptUSKids and the Ad Council work together to spread the word encouraging foster care and adoption. Since the launch of their initial campaign in 2004, more than 22,000 children who were once photo-listed on the AdoptUSKids website are now with their adoptive families and over 35,000 families have registered to adopt through AdoptUSKids.

We want to spread the word about the importance of foster care and adoption. Have you considered fostering or adopting? Consider giving the gift of family to a child – or a set of siblings – this coming year.
Remember – you don’t have to be perfect to be the perfect parent to some kids in need!

For more info, visit AdoptUSKids.org.

Happy Shelter Pet Day

Of all the pets in American homes, only 29% were adopted from a shelter or rescue. Can you believe how low that number is?

Each year approximately 3-4 million pets are adopted, but 2.7 million still lose their lives each year for lack of a home.

Seventeen million people will acquire a pet within the next year. The Shelter Pet Project, a collaborative effort between The Humane Society of the United States, Maddie’s Fund® and the Ad Council, hopes to encourage these prospective pet owners to adopt shelter and rescue pets.


We adopted our dog, Winston, last year and it was one of the best decisions we ever made for our family! Winston has brought so much joy into our house and he is just a doll. It breaks my heart when I think about him being homeless and abandoned… He’s just the sweetest dog we’ve ever met!

My boys


winston and colin


disclosure: this is part of a non-profit campaign with the Ad Council. we were not compensated for supporting this important cause.

September Preparedness Month – Here NOW #NatlPrep

We love to travel which means checking the weather anywhere we are going! This month is September Preparedness Month by Ready.gov who is offering a number of resources that are extremely helpful in case of a natural disaster.

Here are a couple for your reference.

o   Learn how to create evacuation and emergency communication plans

o   Download printable family communications plans for your children here

o   Resources for natural disasters in your area: Hurricanes, Floods, Earthquakes, Tornados, Wildfires and Winter Storms as well as tips about how to prepare.



Below is a PSA recently released by FEMA, created pro bono by Deutsch Inc. These PSA videos show the aftermath of a disaster through two families; one family who have all found each other safely at a shelter they earlier designated as their meeting place, and one set of parents who are frantically searching for their son.  The ads show the harsh reality of what can happen when you don’t have an emergency plan in place.

For more information or to get involved in September activities, check out Ready.gov/September.

Join the conversation on social media:

Like ReadyGov on Facebook &  Twitter

See everywhere you can follow FEMA on social media

“Be Disaster Aware, Take Action to Prepare.”

in which we start school

Gone are the days of dropping kids off at preschool.

Gone are the days of putting them all on a bus. We’re at three schools this year.

Gone are the days of even getting pictures on the first day. Don’t even think of taking pictures of your kids getting on the MIDDLE school bus.

Where did the time go?

Bye, first grader!