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Showing posts from February, 2011

Day 73- Gander Area Food Bank and Electricity

After being as into the Olympics last year as I could possibly be without actually being in them, I was thankful for Canada.  It's fabulous to be able to watch sports 24/7.  It's fun that everyone else watches and it provides great conversation for a few weeks.  I am also a huuuuuge sucker for the touching moments.  Oh, those touching moments!  I know other people completely disagree and just want the events, and I do find myself a bit weary of the back stories by the end, but I love me an emotional story.

One story in particular that touched me last year was that of the town of Gander, CA.  When the planes crashed into NYC on 9/11, many other planes were rerouted to other places.  That's how Gander factors into the whole thing.  Many Americans were stranded there for days, and the people of this town took them in and treated them as if they were family.  There's much more to it than that, and I encourage you to look it up.  It really moved me.

Anyway... short story lo…

Day 72- Piast Institute and PS 22 Choir

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In honor of my girl Justyna Kowalczyk representing for all of us Polish ladies last year, I made a donation to the Piast Institute.  This is the National Institute for Polish and Polish American Affairs.
Piast Institute is the only independent think tank and research center in North America devoted to Polish and Polish American affairs. It is also one of fifty-six United States Census Bureau Census Information Centers, the only such center with a special focus on a major European ethnic group.

With its staff, boards and international network of fellows, Piast develops conferences, seminars, publications, public programs, lectures, and exhibits that provide accurate, timely and current information about Poland, Poles, and Polish Americans. It also has a special interest in the role of Ethnicity in American Life.

With its resources and its position as a Census Information Center, Piast Institute also acts as a data resource center helping Polish, Polish American and other community group…

Wizard of Oz

I turned my computer off last night before I blogged because we were having some weather!  There were tornado sirens and everything.  It kind of reminded me of the beginning of The Wizard of Oz, and I was even a bit surprised to find this morning that our house had not blown to a new location.  It was half scary, half fun.  Well, since we were safe inside (and because we still have power), maybe it was 1/4-3/4.

I'll catch up later :).

Day 71- Parsons New School for Design and Vacation Fever

In honor of my love for Tim Gunn on this day last year (and every day, really), I made a donation today to the Parsons School for Design.  This is the school featured on Project Runway, another one of those guilty pleasure shows I find myself addicted to season after season.  Tim was on the faculty there for a while and has been a mentor to many who have passed through their doors.

Tim and Parsons are fabbbbbb-u-lous!

https://epay.newschool.edu/C21120_ustores/web/store_main.jsp?STOREID=1&SINGLESTORE=true

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Within a span of less than five minutes this afternoon, I got my passport in the mail (name change) and found a cute bathing suit that only cost me $13 (plus shipping and the cost of that other suit I got too). 

When I went out with great friends for great times tonight, I wore my "Sun Your Buns" t-shirt.  I can't remember is Manda found this gem at Goodwill or if I did, but I was sporting it today.

My vacation fever has kicked in fully and completely!  Could …

Day 70- Sweet Sleep and Five-year-old Feminist

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Man.

Last year I wrote about an amazing couch nap experience.  Those experiences are rare lately, and this made me feel a little nostalgic for those drooling good times.  However, the good news is that even if I'm not the best sleeper these days, I did find a way today to hopefully make a few other people sleep better.

http://www.sweetsleep.org/aboutus/index.html

Sweet Sleep is an organization focused on providing beds for orphaned and abandoned children.  And this is important?  Heck yeah it is!

Orphaned and abandoned children around the world suffer from lack of sufficient or healthy places to sleep. These children often sleep on old, broken and soiled beds or have no beds at all – forcing them to sleep on paper-thin mats or cold, hard floors, making them susceptible to crawling, biting insects and disease.

Donations help get these kids into "healthy, comfortable beds" and provide mosquito nets to protect them.  I would imagine that giving another a good night's slee…

Day 69- Fisher House Programs (Hero Miles) and Test Scores

This one is exciting.  A solid connection!

I was all excited last year to have Tom home.  I was so excited that I thanked American Airlines for bringing him home.  I'm not an airlines groupie, but that's just how excited I was.  My idea for today was to find some kind of way to donate airline miles to someone else to try to create a similar kind of moment to make someone else's day.  With the assistance of my wonderful assistant (Tom), I found one!

The Fisher House Programs help military families in all kinds of different ways.  It just so happens that one of their programs, Hero Miles, fits what I was looking for perfectly.  Through their website,

http://209.20.92.145/programs/heromiles.html

people can donate unused airline miles to help members of the military to fly to their families (or to help their families fly to them at one of the medical centers). 

Tom and I are truly honored to take this opportunity to donate miles to the men and women who serve our country.  US…

Day 68- iheartmom and Puppy Participation

Here's a first.  My donation for the day was in Canadian dollars.  This makes sense because last year I wrote about a Canadian who inspired me and touched my heart, Joannie Rochette.  Joannie lost her mother to a heart attack just days before she was scheduled to figure skate in the Olympics.  She chose to continue in the competition, to skate in honor of her mom. 

Joannie ended up earning a bronze medal, but her performance was so much more than that.  She exuded such poise and grace in the most difficult circumstances.  It was more than most of us can hope to demonstrate in our everyday lives.  Her moment trascended a skating competition, a sport, and even an Olympics. 

I was delighted to discover that Ms. Rochette has since become the spokesperson for a charity in honor of her mom.  She supports the "Heart Your Health" campaign, fighting the number one killer of women and speaking out about the importance of a healthy heart.

I trust Joannie.  I saw her heart last ye…

Day 67- Diabetes Action and Mr. Schuester's Shenanigans

http://www.diabetesaction.org/site/PageServer?pagename=index

Last year... Nestle Tollhouse
This year.... Diabetes Action

Connection made?  It works in my head in a roundabout kind of way.

Their focus
Alternative and complementary research Grants for nutritional research Promising research to find a cure for diabetes Innovative research to prevent and treat diabetes International medical assistance Children's camp scholarship program Education and prevention programs Donate.  Just do it.

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Tonight's Glee, although enjoyable, was a bit inapproriate for much of its young audience.  By a bit, I mean a whole lot.  There were a few shining moments that I couldn't help but laugh at, though.

1. Mr. Schue got a little tipsy and graded papers.  This completely cracked me up.  He was giving an A+ to each and every student, regardless of the other comments he was making.  He got to one paper, paused, and said, "Who are you?  I don't even know you!"  Maybe it's a…

Day 66- Ordway Center for the Performing Arts and Modern Technology

Today was another one of those days where I wondered what in the world I had gotten myself into.  How exactly would I go about making some sort of donation connection to the ABBA entry of yore?  I thought about what I had written and why ABBA had made my day.  I realized that I probably could have written about ABBA at least enough days to fill a month last year, not just a day, and one word kept running through my head.

JOY.

I like to surround myself with things that bring me pure unfiltered joy.  I plugged "joy" into the search on charitynavigator.com and found a more than suitable answer to today's donation question.  My contribution has been made to the Ordway Center for the Performing Arts.  After reading this little blurb on charitynavigator,

The Ordway is widely recognized as one of the nation's leading nonprofit performing arts centers and Saint Paul's most elegant and inviting performance space. The Ordway's Music Theater and McKnight stages attract d…

Day 65- GenerationOn and Mini Shopping Spree

Last year's board games= this year's GenerationOn donation

http://www.generationon.org/

This is an organization sponsored by the Hasboro Children's Fund (and there's our connection).  Their mission?

To inspire, equip, and mobilize youth to take action that changes the world and themselves through service. generationOn is the global youth service movement igniting the power of all kids to make their mark on the world. generationOn has brought the nation's leading youth service organizations and programs under one umbrella including New York-based Children for Children, The League, Learning to Give, Points of Light Institute's Kids Care Clubs, HandsOn Schools, and HandsOn Network's youth-driven programs. By partnering with teachers, parents, schools, community organizations and businesses, generationOn gives kids the opportunity to see firsthand the issues in their communities and the tools and resources they need to respond and become part of the solution.





The…

Day 64- Little Sisters of the Poor and Bleu Ribbon Burger

http://www.littlesistersofthepoor.org/

I wrote last year about my old lady Hallmark tendencies and a candle scent that brought back memories of tender moments with my grandma.  Hmm...

Here's what I came up with.  Little Sisters of the Poor

- help actual older ladies and gentleman (not those of us with senior citizen tendencies)... check!
- provide nursing and assisted living services to those in need.  My grandma was a nurse... check!
- give senior citizens the opportunity to participate in activities... check!
- is run by Sisters (not of the relative kind, more like the nun kind, so no one is drawing a salary from my donation)... check!

I think you can tell a lot about a society or a country by the way they treat certain groups of people.  I think the elderly are one of these groups, and I am pleased to donate to a charity with this cause in mind.

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Sometimes I have no idea what I want to eat, and I consume whatever is at hand.  Other times I think I know exactly what I want…

Day 63- Lance* and Lunch Pop

An opportunity presented itself at dinner tonight.  I was delighted to find that Tom and I had a waiter who also just so happened to be a former student of mine last year.  I had thoroughly enjoyed having him in class, and it was nice to see him again.  We chatted for a bit, and he caught me up on what he's been up to.  He's in college now, majoring in all kinds of different things, and it's wonderful to see that he's happy and doing well.

I had not yet figured out where to donate today in honor of the men's figure skating I wrote about last year.  I decided that I had a different kind of idea instead.  Let me start by saying that my husband is a great tipper.  He always has been, and this pleases me.  However, I tip even more than he does.  This probably has a whole lot to do with the fact that I waited tables for a few years in college, and I understand how exciting it is to get good tips.  He'll always ask me at the end of dinner what I'd like to leave b…

Day 62- Church and Soulologie

Where do you donate when you're trying to get money to God?  How do you decide which people or which places are really doing His work?

This is a rather daunting task.  I decided that in honor of last year's post, I would do two things today (or this week, maybe I should say).

1. Set aside $5 extra to put into the collection at church on Sunday.  That is the place where I go for my soul refresh and the place where I make sure to turn off all the noise in my life and focus.  It's the place where my heart sings loudly... and sometimes I do too (like a few weeks ago when the guy behind me sang with a voice so robust that I figured no one would notice my own joyful-yet-out of tune sound).  It's the place that reminds me how imperfect I am but inspires me to continue to strive to be better.

2.  Consciously find one way each day this week to let His light shine through me.  This is something that should be a focus each and every day, but some days I am better at this than oth…

Day 61- SC4K and Mom Call

** There's a new post from "yesterday" under this one too :) **

Since I wrote about shoes last year, it was time to find another charity that donates shoes to other people. 

search + charitynavigator.com + shoes = JACKPOT! (SC4K)

Shoes and Clothes for Kids (SC4K) popped up today.  They seem awesome.  Not only do they provide shoes and clothes for kids, but they also donate Payless gift cards to kids in order to let them choose their own shoes. 

Their mission blurb from charitynavigator.com

Founded in 1969, Shoes and Clothes for Kids is devoted to fulfilling the needs of the Greater Cleveland area's most deserving children - those without shoes or clothing. Shoes and Clothes for Kids provides the unique service of distributing brand-new quality clothing such as shirts, underwear, socks, pants, mittens and infant layette items to thousands of families. We also provide Payless shoe gift cards for children to choose their own new shoes. Utilizing a community-wide distri…

Day 60- Operation Smile and RENT on GLEE

My body used to work in a way that really ticked other people off.  I used to be able to eat anything and everything I wanted (which was A LOT of stuff... cheesy, gooey, steaky, buttery, saucy, baaaaaaaaad stuff), and I spent a good six years or so operating on just a few hours of sleep a night.

These days all the butter and sauces go straight to my food baby, and I have learned that sleep actually has become a crucial part of my ability to function.  Last year I was great about throwing something together for the blog every single night.  This year I have a whole lot going on.  Some nights I stay up late to get things done.  There are other nights when I fall asleep on the couch way earlier than intended as a result.  Sometimes the blog just doesn't come together.  I'm learning not to beat myself up about that.  That's not the point of this whole thing.  I will always catch up.  That being said... here's what I would have written last night had I not fallen into an ea…

Oops!

I fell asleep on the couch tonight before I took care of this.  Oops!

It's bedtime now.  I'll be back tomorrow :).

Day 59- Hands On Network and "Blind Date"

DISCLAIMER: All of the projects have been graded at last!  Hallelujah!  As a result, I cannot possibly bring  myself to edit or proofread anything else.  I just can't.  Please excuse the mistakes I am sure I will make. : )

I spent a romantic day hanging out with my Depot Family last year on February 14.  Oh... is that a holiday? 

It was easy to find a good place to donate to.  One of the things I adored about the Depot was the people.  They were so giving and loving and willing.  The company really ends up employing people with big hearts one way or another.  They are also deeply involved in a number of charitable organizations.  I had the privilege of volunteering with Team Depot when I worked there, and it was such a nice experience.

The charity I've decided to support today is another way that HD gets involved in the community.  The name of the organization is the Hands On Network.  Here's a description of the valuable work they do:

HandsOn Network inspires, equips and …

Day 58- Active Giving (Gilda's Club) and Lunch Lady Corn

The wife of one of Tom's good friends posted a link today asking for donations.  She will be running a 25k and is trying to raise money for Gilda's Club, an organization that "lends a helping hand to local families dealing with cancer."  She said that even $5 would help.  That's when the little bells in my head rang.

Hey, I'm giving $5 today.  Why not use this opportunity to make a donation to someone I know?

This was a no brainer, and I hope NN reaches her fundraising goal!  Here's where you can go to add to the pot.  This is a place where you know your $5 will count and make a little impact.

http://www.active.com/donate/gildasclubgr2011/nniemi

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When I was in elementary school, I had a strange obsession with school lunch corn.  I was not a fan of mystery meat pizza, I had to pinch my nose sometimes to eat entrees named for their colors (rather than their ingredients), and I smothered fish sticks in a ridiculous amount of sauce to make them bearable.…

Day 57- Teach for America (STL Region) and Heather

I get to donate to education today-- yahoo!

In honor of my entry about my classmates last year, I thought it was only fitting that I donate to something we all have in common... and by this I do not mean liquid refreshments or our suspicion that one of our professors also enjoyed liquid refreshments... before class (him, not us). 

Instead, I thought the most important thing we all have in common is our belief in education and public school systems.  One organization that really fits in with all of this is Teach for America.  Here's some information about them:

Since its inception in 1990, Teach For America has worked to close the education achievement gap by placing a corps of our most talented future leaders in under-served communities, providing students with excellent teachers and creating an alumni force of influential advocates working for systematic change from every sector. Your donation will help us continue to recruit, train, and provide ongoing support to our corps membe…

Day 56- Save the Music Foundation and Valentine's Sweets

I wrote about one of my students coming out of her shell last year.  It's fitting that I just got an e-mail from her the other day.  I'm thrilled that she keeps in touch with me and still remembers me every now and then even though I'm not still at her school.  She reminds me a lot of myself at her age, and she's special to me :).

This particular student is really involved in instrumental music, so I thought I'd donate to a place that supports programs like the one she loves so much.  My donation was made to the Save the Music Foundation.  Their primary goal is to "restore instrumental music programs" to give all students access to music instruction.  They believe in getting instruments into the hands of our students. 

Music has been proven in study after study to impact students in a number of positive ways.  I've seen the research, and I have also seen numerous real life examples of this, including the student I mentioned last year. 

Another donat…

Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

See you in the morning!

Day 55- StuCo Fundraiser and Deceptions Story

I am still a bit drowsy, as I am freshly awake from an amazing couch nap.  I'm not actually really "up" this late.  So... allow me to somewhat be brief this evening, if you would please :).

I donated to a fundraiser at school today for Student Council.  This had been postponed a bit because of all of the recent snow days, and they were worried that this might lead to not making very much money.  What better place is there to drop a few dollars than my very own school?  The money will go to people who need it, and there are a whole lot of people who need it in our neck of the woods.

While there's no link to post to hopefully inspire someone else to donate to this same cause today, I can certainly post an idea.  When I donated, I got to send a little "heart gram" for each $0.50 increment I spent.  This means that I sent out ten notes that people in the building will receive on Monday, ten notes that will hopefully make ten people's days just a little bit …

Day 54- Wildlife Conservation Network and Course Map

On this day last year, I had a snow day.  Thank goodness we didn't today!  It has been nice to have some time at school to teach.  Snow days are wonderful in moderation, but it's about time we have enough days in a row to really get down to business again.

When I typed in "snow" to charity navigator, nothing came up that really linked in with the idea of a snow day.  So, I picked one from the results that did come up, the Wildlife Conservation Network.  Here's what they do:

Wildlife Conservation Network is dedicated to protecting endangered species and preserving their natural habitats. We support innovative strategies for people and wildlife to co-exist and thrive.

WCN fosters the entrepreneurial spirit in the field of conservation. We partner with independent, community-based conservationists around the world and provide them with the capital and tools they need to develop solutions for human-wildlife coexistence. To magnify the effectiveness of their work, we s…

Day 53- Ozarks Food Harvest and Random Coworker Acts of Kindness

Last year I wrote about a wonderful dinner we had, one of my home-cooked favorites.  I think I wrote about food just about as much as anything else throughout the course of the year.  I am becoming increasingly aware of how lucky I am to have food in surplus and to have never truly felt what it is to be hungry with no food fix.  This becomes even more clear on these "food days" when I search for food related charities to donate to.  At times, I find so many of them that I can't even comprehend where to start. 

Since the St. Louis Foodbank has already made my donation list for the year, I found another special place to send my donation to today.  The Ozarks Food Harvest Food Bank is an amazing organization, and I was thrilled to find them.  They distribute food and goods to over 300 agencies around Missouri.  Beyond that, they have a number of programs through which they can provide direct relief to people in need.  There's a mobile pantry and a kid cafe and all kind…

Day 52- Action for Healthy Kids and Positive Parents

Are you ready to play fast and loose trying to make connections to last year's gratitude?

During the Super Bowl last year, I looooooved a romantic Google commercial.  I like the slapstick comedy junk commercials as much as the next guy (unless the next guy is Tom... he REALLY loves those and sometimes laughs so hard he cries), but this Google commercial was warm and fuzzy and special, and I had to write about it.

I found all kinds of charity work that Google does, but I couldn't figure out how to donate to any of it.  Instead, I donated to a charity today that has kind of a connection to the Super Bowl.  It's called Action for Healthy Kids.

http://www.actionforhealthykids.org/

The NFL just so happens to be one of the main sponsors of many of their big programs.  The basic goal of the organization is to fight the national epidemics of childhood obesity and undernourishment.  As the site points out, these things are not cosmetic issues.  They are health, academic, and economi…

Day 51- West Michigan Cancer Center and Six-year-old's Dream Dinner

While I was away, I also missed my Aunt Peach's donation.  Her choice for the day is the West Michigan Cancer Center. 

http://www.wmcc.org/

Their tagline is quite simple, and I love it.  Together, we win.

I love winning.  I also love doing things together and being a part of something bigger than myself.  Therefore, of course I'm excited at the idea of winning together!  Who wouldn't love to kick cancer's butt?  I know the West Michigan Cancer Center would like that.  Me too.

I often like to share the mission of the charities I select on here.  This one should be pretty self-explanatory, though.  Instead, I'd like to share the WMCC plans for the future (as they're stated on the website).

We have great plans for the immediate future. Before another 16 years pass by, we will add several more tumor-specific clinics so patients can experience even more seamless, integrated treatment. We will deploy even more sophisticated technologies for detection and treatment of …

Day 43-50- ConnectUS and My Husband

I'm baaaaaaaack!

After a brief sickly hiatus, I am happy to be back to blogging and donating.  This project is as important to me as it has ever been, and I hope that people are still reading after a few days away.  Now to the good stuff... rather than throwing some things together to make up for the days I was "out", I have decided to donate a lump sum to one place to make it count more.

I wrote about Carolyn Whalen at the end of January last year because she is near and dear to my heart.  Today I am honored to donate $40 to a charity that is near and dear to her heart, ConnectUS.  Here's why the organization is so important to Carolyn (in her own words):

This is actually a charity my mom started with two of her friends for people like my brother.  When you are disabled like him and reach the age of 26 in Michigan you can no longer go to school, which leaves you with the options of group homes or sitting at your house all day (not spectacular options).  So, what they…

Ohhhh Dear

For the first time since I started this blog more than a year and a half ago, I ran into some unforseen circumstances.  I am guilty of neglect.  Please take the following as an attempt at an explanation and NOT as an excuse or rant.

On Friday night/Saturday morning, I felt exhausted and achy.  I thought this was just that end-of-the-week-fall-asleep-on-the-couch feeling I get every now and then, topped off with a little extra helping of stress.  It turns out that at that point my body was already in a big fight with a nasty little bug (of the illness kind, not the insect kind). 

By Sunday, I was out of it in every way possible.  I couldn't eat or sleep, I was simultaneously sweating and shaking, I had a runny nose, I was hacking up a lung every two minutes, and I was in a bad place.  I tried my trusty chocolate milkshake fix, but that idea quickly went down the drain... literally... and into a trash can or two along the way.  Yet, I was still trying to convince Tom that I would N…