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Saving Lives One Drop at a Time- Plus a GIVEAWAY #PowerofClean

I don’t know about you, but lately I feel very overwhelmed by all the bad news. I’m totally over the presidential race (before it has started). I am completely devastated by the refugee crisis. My Facebook feed seems to be filled with friends struggling in ways I cannot help. It is just all so much. And I just sit in the middle of it and feel so helpless!

I love it when I learn about simple ways to make a difference. If you’ve read this blog for any length of time, you know when I find an easy way to partner with a company and do good, I am going to let you know about it. And this one honestly might be the coolest yet.

I take for granted piles of things on a daily basis, but one of the biggest is that with the touch of a faucet I have clean drinking water any time I want. I googled some stats about clean water and found this fact from 2013.

85% of the world population lives in the driest half of the planet. 783 million people do not have access to clean water and almost 2.5 billion do not have access to adequate sanitation. 6 to 8 million people die annually from the consequences of disasters and water-related diseases.

You guys. This is heartbreaking. And it is yet another one of those causes that can make you feel helpless. Until you learn that there is a company doing something about it. Something awesome!

P&G is the brand behind a whole bunch of products I use and love. Tide, Crest, Dawn… the list goes on. But I didn’t know until recently that they are also the brand behind the P&G Children’s Safe Drinking Water Program. The same scientists that figure out how to keep my clothes clean have figured out how to provide clean water across the globe. And I got to put that technology to the test in my very own kitchen.

First I had to dirty up my water. You can see the contrast next to the clean water:

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Then I added the P&G Purifier of Water packet and stirred it up quickly creating a nice little vortex:

Side by Side

After about 5 minutes all the dirt separated from the water in the funkiest, coolest way:

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I filtered out the dirt with a paper towel strainer and was left with clean drinking water. Amazing:

Clean Water

The power of clean water can transform the lives of children and their families. It means they no longer get sick from drinking dirty water so their health will dramatically improve. For children who used to miss school because they were sick, having clean water means they can attend school more regularly and get a better education. Parents who used to get sick or who had to stay home caring for their sick children can now earn a regular income and provide stability for their families. A game changer for sure.

So how can you help?

  • Share the Power of Clean Water video to donate a day of clean drinking water to a child in need on your behalf. 

  • Donate to the program at www.csdw.org. A small amount makes a big difference. It costs about 10 cents to share a P&G packet with a family in a developing country, and each one provides enough drinking water for a family of five for an entire day. $7.50 provides enough water for a year for a child. $30 provides enough water for an entire family for a year. Incredible what so little money can do.

P&G wants to encourage you to help share the message of the “Power of Clean Water”. Leave a comment below about something that struck you from the video. One randomly selected reader will receive a P&G product basket AND, the best part, a $30 donation in their honor to provide clean water for a family in need for one year. Giveaway ends Oct. 7th.

No purchase necessary.  Void where prohibited. Open to legal residents of US & DC who are 18 years of age or older.  Giveaway starts 9/29/2015 and ends 10/07/2015.  Sponsored by The Motherhood in partnership with Procter and Gamble. For the full list of rules, click here.

Good luck and keep spreading the word!!

Disclosure: This post is sponsored by The Motherhood and P&G. But I think it is a pretty awesome cause and all opinions are mine as always. 

On Sabbaticals, Fighting Hunger and ONE REPUBLIC GIVEAWAYS!!

*gingerly steps up to the mic*

*tap, tap*

Is this thing on?

Sorry I disappeared off the face of the earth. Blogging just hasn’t been high on the radar this summer. You know what has been? Sleeping in, hours at the pool, relaxing vacations, family time, lying around in the hammock, etc, etc, etc. I swear to you I have opened the computer less than ten times since school let out. It has been lovely and weird all at the same time.

So I think I am unofficially taking the summer off blogging. It clearly wasn’t a well thought out plan. But it seems to be going that way. EXCEPT.

I have a few commitments this month and next that I am popping back on to share with you. So this week and probably a few times in August I will dust off the old blog and see if anyone is reading anymore. And it just so happens if you are, there might be some great things in store for you (cough, giveaways, cough).

Let’s start with a BIG one right out of the gate.

I’m not sure if anyone remembers, but last summer I had the chance to check out a few events when the Meijer LPGA Classic was in town. I was excited when they reached out to me again and next week I will be heading out to a few things. I would love to have you join me if you are local. There is a 5K walk/run, jr. golf clinics, a celebrity chef cook off and a community concert to choose from. Those and of course, the main event, the LPGA Classic.

Now I gotta be honest with you. I don’t golf. I don’t watch golf. I don’t follow golf. But there are two things happening here that I can totally get behind.

One, as a mom of daughters, I am all about showing my girls women who kick butt in sports, especially ones that are typically male dominated. You better believe we gathered around watching the US women take the world cup and I love showing my girls the dedication and hard work these golfers put into their sport to come out on top. It is inspiring and I want them there on the sidelines with me seeing these ladies get er done. Last year we truly did end up loving it.

Two, for the second year in a row, thanks to Meijer’s title sponsorship, the mission of the tournament is feeding the hungry and improving the quality of life within this place I call home. If you have read this blog for more than a second, you know this is a cause we support time and time again. And once again, the tournament will coincide with the Meijer’s Simply Give program, which has raised nearly $14 million for food pantries across the Midwest since its inception in November 2008. So just like last year, proceeds from the tournament, and each of the week’s festivities including the community concert, will benefit the Simply Give program. Last year $600,000 was raised.

Sometimes giving is made just a little bit more awesome when you get something amazing in exchange for your gift. I mean giving completely selflessly is awesome, but giving and getting to see one of you favorite bands play some of your favorite songs is straight up amazing.

Community Concert

This year’s community concert is ONE REPUBLIC. We are huge fans and I was beyond excited when Meijer contacted me to participate AND give away two tickets to another couple of fans. Of course you must be able to attend the concert July 25th in Grand Rapids to enter. But we can be singing and dancing with each other!!! If you don’t win, please consider grabbing a ticket and supporting local food pantries with your purchase. It doesn’t get more win-win than that!! (This is a quick contest so don’t delay!!)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

State Farm Neighborhood Assist- Helping, One Community at a Time

Disclosure: I participated in an Influencer Activation for State Farm Neighborhood Assist. I received a promotional item to thank me for my participation.

Lately I’ve been thinking a ton about the community I grew up in. Not just the town, but the family I had and the people who surrounded me, encouraged me and built me into the person I am today. As I have been stepping more and more into service others, it is impossible to not see how important where we come from really is. Actually if we don’t stop from time to time and realize that, we might just be doing it wrong.

I am a firm believer in local communities supporting those among us who need a little extra boost. Kind of goes back to that “it takes a village” thing. I think that is what sets apart communities that thrive and communities that don’t. I want to be part of a community that takes care of its own.

Enter State Farm Neighborhood Assist. Led by the Youth Advisory Board, State Farm is helping people find local non-profits who are building safer, better-educated communities. Recently, the Neighborhood Assist program invited individuals to submit a cause important to them for a chance to receive funding towards it, to help make a positive impact in their neighborhood.

The top 200 causes identified by the Youth Advisory Board have been chosen and now it is your turn. You can vote for your favorite cause until June 3 over on Facebook. What I love about the Facebook app is that you can specifically search by your passion or by your local community. Or both. You can vote up to 10 times every day. Not only was I able to vote for a few great non-profits, I found some really awesome charities right in my backyard.

It couldn’t be easier and your votes can make a real difference in your community. The top 40 causes receiving the most votes will each win $25,000 in support! Don’t forget, voting ends June 3rd so head over and start voting.

 

March of Dimes- Mothers. Fathers. You.

Last week I had a few friends over (with a few of their daughters) so we could discuss motherhood, Mother’s Day and babies. There was food, there was wine (of course) and there were some sweet favors for my guests. All of this was planned around a simple message: March of Dimes is doing amazing work on behalf of prematurely born babies. March of Dimes believes that every baby is born to do something great which is why they’ve started their #imbornto campaign.

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I’ve already shared a bit on my blog about why I love this campaign, but now I was able to share it a little more personally with a few of my friends. It seems as though wherever moms are gathered stories about motherhood, birth stories and babies follow. It is like a universal language.

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The best part is that I was able to share about some of the great partners that are supporting the March of Dimes with special offers. There are some amazing companies represented here and a purchase supporting them also supports the March of Dimes. It really is a win for everyone involved.

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One of the partners is Martha Stewart and so I set up a craft area for some of the daughters that accompanied their moms to the party. I must admit, even my non-crafty self got involved in making a necklace. It was so simple and turned out adorable!

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And check out these adorable little socks from Mudpie. Seriously made me consider having another baby!!

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And two of my guests were super excited to get these awesome Special Delivery charm bracelets from Alex and Ani.

I know Mother’s Day just ended, but would you consider supporting one of March of Dimes’ partners for Father’s Day? Yes it will be here before you know it. A few of my favorite Dad’s Day promotions:

  • This May – June, with any $75 fragrance purchase for Dad (or yourself), you can receive a fragrance atomizer for just $1, filled with your choice of fragrance. 100% of the atomizer purchase will benefit the March of Dimes. Plus, when you visit any Bon-Ton, Bergners, Boston Store, Carson’s, Elder-Beerman, Herberger’s or Younkers location from May 26 through June 21 and donate $3, you’ll receive a $10-off coupon for your purchase of $25 or more. Or shop online, donate $3 and receive 25% off!
  • Blue Rhino, America’s #1 brand of propane tank exchange, is proud to support the March of Dimes and its imbornto Campaign. So whether you’re grilling for Dad or just spending time with family and friends, know that Blue Rhino helps honor those special moments with their donation to the March of Dimes. In giving back, they hope that everyone has the chance to share in those special times.And of course continue to share pictures of your children using the #imbornto hashtag letting the world know what your child was born to do.
  • Celebrate Dad with the gift of puppy love. Now through June 20, 2015 Kmart, the #1 March of Dimes fundraiser for more than 30 years, will donate $1 from the in-store or online purchase of each puppy figurine to the March of Dimes (quantities limited, minimum donation of $30,000). Kmart and the March of Dimes are proud to work together for stronger, healthier babies
  • Celebrate dad online! Join the #THX2U movement and share your appreciation of Dad with the world. Upload a baby picture of your child, grandchild, or yourself using the hashtag #THX2U, and $10 of the Emeril/MSLO/Meredith donation will be recognized for each uploaded photo in support of the imbornto campaign.

And of COURSE continue to post pictures of your children or even your dad as a child using the hashtag #imbornto letting the world know exactly what they were born to do.

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This post was sponsored by March of Dimes and The Motherhood. As usual all opinions are my own. 

 

On Gratitude and Giving Back #SnacksForStudents

Yesterday my “assignment” for my Lenten minimalism challenge was to “practice gratitude”. I’d like to think I am an overall grateful person, but I know realistically that I take many many blessing for granted. And frankly I become rather grumbly in the winter. I have realized this week that to truly practice gratitude you really do need to take every negative thought captive. So throughout the day I would try to replace any inner monologue of complaint with a listing of a few blessings.

For me, one of the best ways to practice gratitude is by giving to others. It totally makes sense that the best way to appreciate our own blessing is to share them with others right? What a coincidence (or not) that my day of practicing gratitude coincided with a blog campaign about giving to others!

For the third year in a row I am partnering with Champions for Kids to benefit kids in my local community. In 2012 we made care packages for our foster care agency. In 2013 we donated granola bars to Kids’ Food Basket. And in 2014 we partnered with local school districts to serve healthy snacks to kids in need. This year we are back to helping out Kids’ Food Basket serve the more than 5500 kids who are from food insecure households in Grand Rapids.

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From now until March 4th, you can head to more than 3,600 participating Walmart stores and purchase snacks and breakfast items for children and place them inside designated donation bins. I was so blessed to be able to name Kids’ Food Basket as the local charity for our Grand Rapids Walmart on 28th St. In addition to our donations, Champions for Kids, General Mills, Kellogg’s, Emerald and Kettle Chips will provide 13 awards, totaling $45,000, to school districts and participating youth-based organizations based on the total number of donated items collected in each store. Y’all I REALLY want to win that award for Kid’s Food Basket so I need your help.

I picked up the kids from school on Tuesday and we headed to Walmart armed with a gift card for $100 to buy some healthy snacks. I used Kids’ Food Basket’s wish list as a guide and was amazed at how far $100 could go at Walmart. I actually loaded up my cart and checked out before realizing we had only spent half of what we had on the card. So back we went to grab another cartload. The kids were getting excited picking out snacks and bringing them to the mostly empty boxes in the front of the store. By the time we were done, we had those bins half filled.

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But we need your help. I know all of you aren’t local, but as you can see from the 3,600 participating Walmart stores there are stores all across the country benefiting many amazing organizations. But if you are local, would you consider heading to the 28th St. Grand Rapids Walmart and helping to fill that bin so more children in Grand Rapids can have full bellies at night? Like I mentioned above, your dollar goes a long way at Walmart so it doesn’t take much money to have a big impact. 

I am so grateful to Champions for Kids and their Simple Giving program. They are passionate about helping children around the country. Since 2004, Champions for Kids has served more than 5.4 million children across all 50 states through in-store donation campaigns, service projects and community events. This year their Snacks for Students program has a HUGE goal of providing resources for more than 10 million children. My favorite part about their Snack For Students program is that everything stays in your local community benefiting children in your backyard.

So before March 4th will you head to Walmart, fill a cart with snacks and drop it off at the marked bins in the front of your stores? It seriously couldn’t be easier. The best side effect of giving is that you remember to be grateful for all that you have as well. A very simple way to practice gratitude.

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This post is sponsored by Champions for Kids and The Motherhood. I am so passionate about childhood hunger and am grateful for the opportunity to share about this awesome program. I was provided with a gift card to buy snacks and compensation for my time.