Archive for the ‘Announcements’ Category

Back-To-School Pinterest Party

Tuesday, August 12th, 2014

Back to School Party on Pinterest! Get great DIY ideas and a chance to win fun prizes.

It’s school time and I’m excited to be hosting a Back to School Pinterest Party with 12 other talented DIY bloggers this Sunday and YOU’RE INVITED!

 

What is a Pinterest Party?

It’s a fun night of doing one of our favorite things… pinning!! Each party host will be pinning their BEST Back to School Ideas on the DIY Creative Ideas board so you can get great ideas all in one place! There will be crafts, teacher gift ideas, fashion, hair styles, recipes, organization tips, parenting tips, free printables, photography tips, party ideas and more!

You’ll want to be there to repin and save your favorite ideas. The BEST part is, we’ll be giving away some awesome party prizes throughout the night. You won’t want to miss the fun!!!

  • When: Sunday, August 17, 2014
  • Time: 6-7 pm PST, 7-8 pm MST, 8-9 pm CST, 9-10 pm EST (Make sure to show up in the correct time zone!)
  • Prizes: There will be 4 awesome party prizes!

You must follow the directions on the giveaway widget below to RSVP and be entered to win the giveaway prizes.

Back to School Party on Pinterest! Get great DIY ideas and a chance to win fun prizes.

IMPORTANT: You MUST be present to win. We will be announcing winners LIVE on Pinterest.

Joining the Party is Simple…

  1. Click here –> to Follow the DIY Creative Ideas Pinterest Board.
  2. Follow the party hosts on the widget below to RSVP and be entered to win the party prizes.
  3. Show up online at the DIY Creative Ideas Pinterest Board, Sunday, August 17th at the correct time for your time zone.
  4. Repin your favorite DIY ideas, leave comments and have fun!
  5. Be present and watch to see if your name is announced as a winner!
  6. If you win a prize – you must claim your prize in a comment under the announcement pin so we know you are at the party. We’ll give the winners 5 minutes and if nobody claims it, we’ll assume you are not there and will choose another winner.

Looking forward to seeing you at the party! Be sure to invite a friend:-)

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Sundays With Writers: Hush Little Baby by Suzanne Redfearn

Sunday, April 6th, 2014

Sundays_With_Writers-1

One of the highlights of running our MomAdvice Book Club has been our author interviews. It is truly a dream come true to share these interviews with you and to get to ask writers my questions about their process, their pieces, and their own recommendations for great books.

With that in mind, I am starting a new series called, “Sundays With Writers.” It will not be a weekly feature, but as I read books that I think you will love, I will share an interview with you about them and about their books.  It gives me the chance to continue sharing about incredible books and the beautiful minds and thoughts behind their creation. It also gives me a chance to swim a bit more in their words and hopefully share about an author you may not know about.  So grab your coffee and let’s chat about beautiful books together!

We will begin our series with an incredible book that I hope you will run out and pick up! It is called, “Hush Little Baby,” written by Suzanne Redfearn. It is a well-paced psychological thriller that I could not put down. The recommendation came from my friend Kristen, at Dine & Dish, and as I closed on the final pages, I knew that I needed to interview her.

Hush Little Baby by Suzanne Redfearn

Hush Little Baby is the story of a woman named Jillian Kane who has the life that she always dreamed of. She is a successful businesswoman, she has two beautiful kids, she wants for nothing financially, and her husband is a well-respected cop who every woman wish she had. Jillian is living with a secret though.  For nine years, her husband has abused her and he is calculating enough to abuse her in ways that no one would ever suspect that she is a victim.

When things escalate too far, Jillian decides to run away from him with her two kids. Unfortunately, she has no money, no plan, and no one that she can turn to.  It is in this most pivotal moment of her life that she develops unlikely friendships and learns to finally save herself and her kids. Her husband though, is a cop and is determined to do everything in his power to get his children back…and kill her.

I could not put this book down because I was so worried about Jillian and her kids. For two days, every moment I had, I was reading this to make sure that they could get to safety. When I say that I had my heart all wrapped up in this one, it would not be an understatement.

Today I am talking with Suzanne about her amazing book and a little bit about her process in writing this!

Suzanne_Redfearn

The abuse that Jillian suffers is so painful to read through and yet illustrates how important it is for her to break free. Did you struggle with this as you were writing these scenes?

In order to accurately depict what Jillian was going through, I needed to do extensive research on domestic violence and reading the first person accounts and testimonials of victims was very difficult.  And then internalizing what I’d read so I could use it in the story was exhausting.  Writing is a lot like acting, in order to do it well, you need to get inside your character’s head, put yourself in their life, and experience what they are going through.  Jillian is a lot like me in some ways, so it wasn’t difficult to feel her plight.  The nice thing about being an author is that, unlike my characters, when it gets to be too much, I can step away and return to my real life, the one that is loving and warm and not full of violence and fear.

 One thing that really struck me in your book was that Jillian often thinks of herself in pivotal moments and not her children. This part really pulled at my heartstrings, but I wonder if it was meant to do that. Was this meant to showcase the guilt that we all have as mothers in putting our own needs first?

Great question and one I haven’t been asked.  This was a result of the research I did as well as my experience of being a mom myself.  Oftentimes this is the dilemma an abused woman faces, save herself or stay to protect her kids.  Fear plays havoc on the psyche and self preservation is an instinct that is hard to override.  But you’re right about the resulting guilt that occurs after a woman has those treacherous thoughts.  Even if she doesn’t act on them, it can be devastating.  Some readers have told me they didn’t like Jillian because they didn’t think she was a good mother.  I would defend that she is a real mother, one who is not perfect, who sometimes made mistakes and had selfish thoughts (haven’t we all?), who had been beat down to believe she wasn’t a good mother, but who ultimately risked everything to save her kids.

There is a pretty scary scene for me, as a mom, when Jillian finds her son torturing a frog at a birthday party. Was this meant to show us how the abuse had weaved its way into Drew’s life?

Thank you for picking up on that.  I think it was a pivotal moment foretelling of the perilous path Drew was on to follow in his dad’s footsteps.  Abuse begets abuse, and I believe it is because of that moment that Jillian realizes something needs to change, if not to save herself, to save her kids.  I contrasted the frog scene with the gift scene of the Hollyhock seeds to show that Drew is at a crossroads and that there is still hope to save him.

I had a secret hope that you would bring Jillian back to the Flying Goat and reunite her with the people that helped keep her safe. Did you consider bringing her back or weaving those characters in at the end?

So many readers have mentioned this, and I too fell in love with Goat and Paul and the entire crew from Elmer City, but the story told itself and ended where it was supposed to.  I will leave it to the readers’ imaginations to figure out when and where their paths cross again.

 I find it so unbelievable that this is your first novel- the writing is so beautiful and the scenes were woven together so well. It reminded me a lot of some of my favorite books from Heather Gudenkauf or Diane Chamberlain. Since you are an architect by profession, what brought you to this moment in your life to pursue writing and was this a difficult career transition for you?

 I am what someone termed an accidental author.  I did not go to school for writing and never considered becoming an author, but one day I sat down with an idea for a story and started to write and it poured out of me (that was seven years ago and it was not Hush Little Baby), and I discovered that I love to tell stories.  My grandfather was a storyteller, and I believe I inherited the gift from him.  I was hooked, and since architecture had tanked with the recession, I had time on my hands, so I set out to learn the craft and kept writing.  Hush Little Baby is the fifth novel I wrote but the first one to get published.  I still love architecture, and, if inspired, I will switch hats again and build something.  It’s not one or the other for me, it’s wherever I’m at in any given moment of time.  For now, the stories continue to flow, so I continue to peck at the keys, but who knows where this crazy path will lead or what I will do next.

 If you could tell anyone to read one book (other than your own) what would that book be?

 The Power of One by Bryce Courtenay.

 What do you have in store for us with your next project?

I am very excited about the next project.  It is another story about a mother protecting her children but in a very different context and with a very different protagonist.  I can’t disclose more than that, other than to say, it’s another rollercoaster ride of emotion.

*This series may contain affiliate links! 

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The New Flourish Boutique

Friday, April 4th, 2014

The New Flourish Boutique

We are so excited to share that our amazing site sponsor, Flourish Boutique, has relocated into a beautiful and more spacious home. Emily & I were invited to the Grand Opening event this Thursday evening and had the best time browsing all of the beautiful items that they have in their new place.

If you haven’t had the chance to check it out, you will be in for a treat.  Not only does the store carry an expanded line of clothing and jewelry, they have now added shoes, beautiful handbags, bath/beauty products, and fun gifts for everyone in your life (babies, kids, furry friends, and even bridal fun!)

The New Flourish Boutique

The New Flourish Boutique

The New Flourish Boutique

As you can see, they rolled out the red carpet for us to show you around. The new location is right next to the new Gigi’s Cupcakes on 310 West Cleveland Road in Granger.

I don’t know what you are waiting for… let’s head on in!

The New Flourish Boutique

The New Flourish Boutique

The New Flourish Boutique

The New Flourish Boutique

It was hard to take very many pictures to really show you everything because there were so many Flourish friends shopping that night. We had the best time browsing all of the items in the store. Of course, our eyes always go to the jewels whenever we are out and about.  Pictured here is just half of the store, if you can believe it, and an amazing little Clearance section is tucked in the back of the store.

The New Flourish Boutique

The New Flourish Boutique

The New Flourish Boutique

The New Flourish Boutique

The evening included a fashion show. If you know us, you know we love fashion. Everywhere we turned, we saw something we loved.  Flourish Boutique has a ton of new merchandise that you can order or find in their store. MomAdvice readers can get 25% off any of their regular priced merchandise using the code WEB25!

Pretty in Pleats Maxi (Flourish Boutique)

Pretty in Pleats Maxi (Flourish Boutique)

Pretty in Pleats Maxi (Flourish Boutique)

Pretty in Pleats Maxi (Flourish Boutique)

Mystree Jacket (Flourish Boutique)

Mystree Jacket (Flourish Boutique)

Scarf (Flourish Boutique)

Here are some of my FAVORITE finds that I scored last night. This Pretty In Pleats skirt in white & black are my new favorite summer item! I am barely over five feet, and a maxi like this is a DREAM COME TRUE for me. I love that the lining is also an appropriate length and adds to the breeziness of this skirt. Did I mention the belt is included? Swoon! Be sure to check out the What’s New link to see all the updates (as I am sure some of these I have pictured haven’t made it on the site yet!) You can always cash in on our coupon code- woohoo!

We feel so blessed to have this partnership with Flourish Boutique and are so thankful for their continued support and sponsorship over the years! It has been a dream come true that they sponsor and support my little business- thank you, Flourish!

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MomAdvice Summer Book Club Selection: Love With a Chance of Drowning

Friday, March 28th, 2014

Love With a Chance of Drowning

First, I just want to thank everyone for your feedback today about the MomAdvice Book Club. I hope you didn’t feel like I was coming down too hard about it, but the MomAdvice Book Club was a special project for me this year.  I have spent an unbelievable amount of time investing into reading so many books to find the perfect books, coordinating with publishing houses to get free books to giveaway, gathering questions for authors, and then posting/sharing each discussion. In all honesty, it became a little part-time job for me on top of my full-time job.

I didn’t mind doing it until the discussion and participation dwindled.

Based on your feedback, you are 1) very busy mamas 2) are waiting for library copies 3) didn’t have time to read this year.

Again, I get that! I totally do.

In order to make things more relaxed and fun again, we will be selecting a quarterly selection moving forward. This gives you plenty of time to get books, read them, and have questions for our featured authors. On alternate months, I will just share my book reviews as we have done in the past. 

Love With a Chance of Drowning

This summer we will be reading the AMAZING memoir of Torre DeRoche called, “Love With a Chance of Drowning.” It is our first non-fiction selection and I am so excited to share this book with you because I am enjoying it so much.

Not sure if you can get on board with a non-fiction pick? Just picture me laughing until tears are rolling down my cheeks ever since I picked this book up. Then picture me reading aloud almost the entire book to my husband, while trying to read it to him, still laughing with tears rolling down my cheeks and trying to catch my breath so I can read every word to him. It is that funny and that awesome.

Here is a book synopsis from Amazon…

City girl, Torre DeRoche,  isn’t looking for love, but a chance encounter in a San Francisco bar sparks an instant connection with a soulful Argentinean man who unexpectedly sweeps her off her feet. The problem? He’s just about to cast the dock lines and voyage around the world on his small sailboat, and Torre is terrified of deep water. However, lovesick Torre determines that to keep the man of her dreams, she must embark on the voyage of her nightmares, so she waves good-bye to dry land and braces for a life-changing journey that’s as exhilarating as it is terrifying.

 

Somewhere mid-Pacific, she finds herself battling to keep the old boat, the new relationship, and her floundering sanity afloat. . . .

 

This sometimes hilarious, often harrowing, and always poignant memoir is set against a backdrop of the world’s most beautiful and remote destinations. Equal parts love story and travel memoir, Love with a Chance of Drowning is witty, charming, and proof positive that there are some risks worth taking.

Our discussion for this book will be the last Tuesday in July! I will touch base with you in the upcoming month if I am able to secure a discussion with our author. If not, I still think this is a book that is perfect for your beach bag!

the_bear_claire_cameron_book_cover

In the meantime, this month’s selection, “The Bear,” is a short and powerful novel that I think you will be able to finish in just a couple of short days. It is hard to put down and is an author discussion that I am excited to participate in. I am doubly honored since Claire was featured in a glowing review from People Magazine, that she would take the time to chat with us.

I hope that you can join in and thank you for being candid in your thoughts about what works best for you!

xo,
Amy

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How We Successfully Raised $6,000 in Two Weeks for Burkina Faso

Saturday, February 1st, 2014

 

How to Successfully Raise Funds for Your Favorite Charities from MomAdvice.com.

I could not be prouder of my friends and readers than I am today. Today we were able to give $6,000 in raised funds to our Wells of Hope campaign for Burkina Faso and pitched in another $2,000 raising our total to an incredible $8,000 to build wells. This gift gives up to 4,000 men, women, & children access to clean water.

How did we do it? I am baffled myself! When we initially pitched the idea to the ministry team at our church that we wanted to do this, I had no clue if we would ever be able to pull it off. I am no Momastery, in traffic or in size of influence, but I did believe that my passion for this project could be contagious, if seen in front of the right eyes.

If you are trying to raise funds for a passion project of your own, I want to share with you the strategies I used for this campaign. I believe that there is enough love and money to go around to fund these projects, but it is finding ways to make that voice heard that is essential for funding.

Start With a Clear Plan & Goals

I am a big believer in getting everything on paper and when I came to the team with my big dreams of birthday wishes I didn’t speak vaguely of what I believed I could do. Let me be clear though, saying it out loud is hard. I did not want to let a single person down.  At the same time, knowing that I was trying to commit to a goal, offered motivation for me to really pull through for Burkina Faso. We shared that our family was financially committed to one well and we hoped to raise enough funds for at least two more wells.

I shared every avenue I was willing to tap into, how we could gather our funds, what I would need from the team to get people to connect to our cause, and what would be happening each day in that first week on our site.

How to Successfully Raise Funds for Your Favorite Charities from MomAdvice.com.

Get People Curious About What You Are Doing

I began posting teasers that we were up to something a couple of weeks in advance of launching our project. We wanted to get people excited that something big was going to be happening and that we would be calling on them to be a part of it.  You can do this even if you don’t have a blog or website, but just through your social media channels.

How to Successfully Raise Funds for Your Favorite Charities from MomAdvice.com.

State Your Needs Clearly So People Know Who They Are Helping

People need to know what they are funding and what organizations they are helping. In a case like ours where there are numerous organizations involved, I tried to clearly state exactly who the partners in this project were, facts about the community & people that would be impacted, and what a donation would mean to this cause.

Saying that we need clean water for people in Africa would not be as impactful as, “One out of three children will probably die before they ever reach the age of ten. The deaths are mostly due to a lack of fresh water. The women of Burkina Faso often walk several miles to a dirty stream or stagnant pool, just to fill a bowl with water.”

Children dying before they are ten?

Women walking for miles to find a water source?

It is awful, but truthful information that calls upon people to help in a very visual way.

 

How to Successfully Raise Funds for Your Favorite Charities from MomAdvice.com.

Find an Avenue for Easy Collection

I have been a longtime fan of Pure Charity and knew that I wanted to use this site to spread the message of what we needed. I cannot recommend their site enough for what they can bring to your passion projects.

I could go on and on about why I love them so much, but it all boils down to people being able to connect with your cause, see their money grow, and know how many they have impacted. You can take a peek at my campaign to see how this looked.  I can’t tell you how many people went back in and donated a little more after their first donation to the project, just see the money bar go up a little more. After each donation is given, through Pure Charity, the person is told exactly how many lives their donation impacts. Even if you were only about to offer $10, you knew that you had impacted five people that day once your funds were submitted.

This method of collection was easy and you can connect your organization right to the funds.

How to Successfully Raise Funds for Your Favorite Charities from MomAdvice.com.

Donations Are Great- Whether Big or Small

Unless the organization’s collection form states that you need to have a minimum donation, show people small and approachable ways of donating. Anything over $1 was considered a donation on Pure Charity so I tried to think of things that were a little over $1 that people could “give up” to give a child clean water. A Redbox flick, a Starbucks coffee, a ticket to the latest movie, or a quick stop for a burrito is money that could be spent to give clean water to Burkina Faso.

It worked so well that people were donating after they went through the drive-thru or they gave up their weekly latte run or pizza night for my cause.

The point of this was to prove that you don’t have to be a millionaire to give. Every donation was important to me. Every. Dollar.

Connect Your Cause With Your Social Media Channels

If you are active on social media, use it to your advantage and ask your friends to spread the word. My two biggest audiences on social media are Facebook & Instagram.

Here’s a fun fact, I absolutely despise video or hearing myself on video or anything to do with video. That being said, some people like pictures, some people like videos, and some people just like to read a status. I tried to utilize every avenue from the beginning. An intro video connected you to our cause, I did a couple of thank you videos to thank people as we met goals, and we shared lots of pictures. If you want to make quick banners or collages for your cause, PicMonkey is great for your websites and if you are looking to add text to your phone images, I love Rhonna Designs app.

Thank Everyone for Everything Often

Each time we received a donation, I thanked them, whether publicly or privately. I was so grateful to everyone who gave, whether it was a dollar or a hundred dollars. The fact that they connected with my cause and helped meant the world to me.

Anytime I have ever donated to someone and received a thank you, it acted as double validation for what I did. With 121 contributors to our campaign, I tried not to overlook a single person and sent an email or message to them as soon as I could to say thank you.

After all, if we didn’t have these AMAZING friends we could never be sharing our success story with you today. My friends ROCK!

Don’t Stop Once You Reach Your Goal

How to Successfully Raise Funds for Your Favorite Charities from MomAdvice.com.Our goal was to raise enough funds for three wells. In the end, the money kept trickling in and bit by bit we were inching closer to our fourth well. If we would have given up when we reached our goal, we would have never known we could have achieved an additional well.

I’m not done with Burkina Faso though. The water of funds will continue to trickle as I knit my way to another well this year. I am working on my first round of wares for an Etsy shop to give all the profit to Burkina Faso.

If you have a talent for something and a burning desire like this amazing young lady that shared her story with our readers, you can continue raising funds in whatever little ways and pockets of time you have in your day.

How to Successfully Raise Funds for Your Favorite Charities from MomAdvice.com.

Whatever your project, I pray that God blesses you abundantly in it. I also thank each of you for helping us reach and surpass our goal of giving clean water to the people of Burkina Faso. Thanks to your donations, we will have water for up to 4,000 people. What an incredible gift you have given us and these people.

Thank you for celebrating the site’s tenth anniversary with us in such a grand and beautiful way! It solidifies my belief that this is just what God wants me to be doing with my life.

xoxo,

Amy

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Winter Activity Idea: Baking With Kids

Thursday, January 16th, 2014

Tips & Tricks for Cooking With Your Kids

Today is my 36th birthday and someone special wanted to bake me cupcakes for my special day. We decided to test-drive the new Betty Crocker Gluten-Free Cake Mixes and wanted to offer some pointers for getting your kids in the kitchen… so they can bake your birthday cake.

Aren’t I a smart mom?

Walmart asked me to share a beloved winter activity with you that we do with our kids. Of course, one of my favorite activities in the winter is baking. What I appreciate most about my kids is their enthusiasm for learning and helping in my kitchen.

Cooking together can teach your kids so much. Here are just a few lessons we worked on while baking a cake together.

Tips & Tricks for Cooking With Your Kids

Cooking Together Builds Reading Skills

One of the best parts about having your kids help you in the kitchen is that they can practice their reading skills. With picture tutorials on the back of many box mixes, it can help beginning readers navigate the ingredient list and list of supplies needed to cook.

Tips & Tricks for Cooking With Your Kids

Cooking Together Builds Math Skills

Cooking with your kids isn’t only helpful in just the reading department.  In fact, the biggest challenge for me as a chef involves all that math that goes into recipes. For young kids, understanding fractions and measurements of the ingredients can be tricky, but can offer an important lesson.

Don’t just have them do the measuring, but explain all those different spoon sizes or read the packaging of the butter to have them figure out how much a 1/2 cup equals.

Tips & Tricks for Cooking With Your Kids

Tips & Tricks for Cooking With Your Kids

Cooking Together Can Lead to Independence

One of the hardest things I have found about being a parent is having the patience to let them do it themselves. It is the same patience that I needed when teaching them to tie their shoes, to clean up after themselves, and to help in the kitchen. Yes, it is so much faster for me to just do it myself, BUT when they become adults, how will they ever know how to do anything if their mama always did it for them?

Instead of using things like stand mixers and big appliances to get the jobs done in the kitchen, invest in the time of having them mix and beat things by hand or with hand mixers. Allow extra time when cooking with your children to give them time to figure things out themselves and to create it on their own.

 

Tips & Tricks for Cooking With Your Kids Tips & Tricks for Cooking With Your Kids

Cooking Together Can Build Confidence

When we eat the food our  kids make we do a lot of oohing and ahhing over it. Really take in the details of their work and compliment them on their presentation and flavors of their dish.

We have always tried to do this with our kids and I get such a kick out of them when I hear them mimicking back to me what a great job I have done on dishes or on the flavors of the foods I put together for them.

 Betty Crocker Gluten-Free Cake Mix Betty Crocker Gluten-Free Cake Mix Betty Crocker Gluten-Free Cake Mix

For those that asked about this Betty Crocker gluten-free cake mix, I will be honest, and say that it really hit the spot. We baked these at 325 degrees for about 20 minutes and the cake was surprisingly light and resembled a sponge cake texture. The cake mix yielded 12 cupcakes and the cost on the mix was just $4.58.

When I shared about it on Facebook, friends chimed in with recommendations like adding a pudding mix to the cake or even a little extra vanilla, to boost the flavor. I am definitely going to have to try these additions! Layered with a thick layer of chocolate frosting though, and my daughter’s signature sprinkles, this cake was truly delicious.

If you are hosting a birthday party or need to bring in a gluten-free treat to school, I would highly recommend this cake mix for a fast and easy treat. The only difference  between making this and traditional boxed cake mixes is adding softened butter versus the oil.

Burkina Faso Fundraiser

On a personal note, I also wanted to thank you all for helping me celebrate my birthday this year by funding our wells for Burkina Faso. At this point, I am the proud owner of ONE WELL of clean water, which will give water to ONE THOUSAND people, through your donations. I am also almost halfway to my SECOND WELL. Can you believe that? In just three short days, we have collected almost $3,000 dollars! 

burkina_faso_collage_2

We still need to collect $1,000 for our second well. You can donate as little as $2 towards our cause. Here are four things you could “give up,” this week to help me give clean water to women & children. Just think of the lives you can help me save this week!

Thank you for celebrating my birthday with me!! It has been the best year yet!

 

walmart_mom_disclaimer

 

 

 

 

 

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Teaching Our Kids to Give: Inspiring Guest Post by Hannah Foust

Wednesday, January 15th, 2014

Teaching Our Kids to Give by Hannah Foust

As we continue to fundraise today for Burkina Faso, I wanted to share with you the most incredible young lady that has inspired me in such a big way to give to Burkina Faso. She truly helped to plant the seed for us that we wanted to raise funds for wells for Burkina Faso.

 

Here’s the crazy part…she is just 12 years old and she is doing it by doing small job projects. This is a great post to read to your kids and Hannah’s story inspired my own family to give in these ways too. You can read all about it at the end of her post! For now… just read this!

 

I have recently learned of a place, called Burkina Faso, Africa through Clay Church and Engage Burkina. Burkina Faso is the third most miserable place ON EARTH! Where water is scarce, where children have to choose between working to feed their family or going to school, and starvation, death and illness are part of daily life for so many. It is a place so overwhelmed by poverty, that we as Americans cannot even attempt to imagine the struggles they face. When I first heard of this country, I went to bed praying, please God tell me there isn’t really a place like this.

When I woke up the next morning, I felt compelled by God to help the people of Burkina Faso. I am determined to make an impact in two ways:

(1) by funding a well and

(2) by being a light of inspiration for others.

Teaching Our Kids to Give

Why a Well?

Many people in Burkina Faso travel extremely far distances only to collect (and sometimes pay for) water that is dirty, diseased and sometimes deadly. One well can provide water for up to 1,000 people and drastically improve their lives. One well costs $2000. I’m not too good at math, in fact it is my least favorite subject in school, but I know that’s only $2 per person. That’s not a whole lot of money to save a life.

Why Be An Inspirer?

I feel like this is probably the most important part of my call to help the people of Burkina Faso. I think sometimes we get tunnel vision and can’t look beyond ourselves. I think sometimes it takes another person to help us expand our vision to see a bigger picture. I hope to inspire others to see the needs of not just the people in Burkina Faso, but also people in our communities and beyond.

I believe this world has gifted and beautiful people who are “Noticers.” Noticers see things- the broken, the hopeless, the beautiful, the wounded, the tragic, the lost, the possibilities. Noticers respond by doing. Doing whatever it takes to help meet needs and create more beauty, joy and peace in the world. Noticers inspire!

Noticers help make other noticers, and together they do great things to change the world. Jesus gathered Disciples by walking along a dirty road and inviting them to become Noticers of the hungry, the sick, the lost, the forgotten and the hurt, and to help them see a tiny glimpse of the love and greatness of our God. I would like to say that I am a Noticer… but I have only just begun the process…

Will You Join Me?

I know that with Gods help, anything is possible, this means that kids and adults of all ages can impact the world, when they ask God to guide them, but you have to take the first step. The world needs more Noticers, and World Changers, and I know that, with God’s help, YOU can take those steps.

Teaching Our Kids to Give

How do you get started?

 

Pray

You want to know that this is God’s plan for you. Ask God to help you see the needs of others and to help you to meet those needs. My story begins with becoming aware of a need in Burkina Faso, then praying to God to help me know how to help. Now, He is helping me to do things I never thought were possible!

Tell Everyone You Know

They will be excited to see such a young person working for such a good cause. I receive letters almost every week from someone who has been inspired by my story. Teachers, friends, family, and even strangers, have been inspired by my story.

Social Media really helps! I am only 12, so I can’t have a Facebook account, but I do have a Facebook page that I use to share news about my project. I am also on Twitter.  Make sure your social media interactions are professional and that you represent your cause well. You can use social media to share your story, invite others to participate and ask your supporters to share your story. It is a great way to reach people you don’t know! Just remember to be positive!

Be Passionate

If you care deeply about something, then others will care, too! I feel a responsibility to help children in Burkina Faso, like I am their older sister. This has impacted the way I live life every day. Telling people about my project has become a big part of my life.

Do Some Research

I jumped into sharing my story in front of large and small audiences all over Indiana pretty quickly. At one of my first churches, I was asked questions I could not answer (where exactly is Burkina Faso and how deep are the wells.) It would have been great if I knew those answers. Sometimes “why” we are doing things is more important that all of the tiny details, but it helps to build support when you can clearly articulate all of the details.

Work Hard

Don’t just ask people to give you money. Find a job in the community, or start a club at school, to raise money and awareness of your project. I have raked leaves, shoveled snow, watched pets, and cleaned yards. When my neighbors need something done, I am the first one they call! I live in a very religiously diverse community. People of all faiths and backgrounds have been inspired to help in some way. Continue working, until you’ve raised enough money. Better yet, keep working until God tells you to do something else.

Get Your Friends and Family Involved!

I earned most of my money raking leaves in the fall. The jobs kept coming, and I needed lots of help! My whole family pitched in to help.  At first, my younger sister, Emma, felt left out as we talked about Burkina Faso over meals and in the car. Now, she feels like she’s part of the project, and she is! I really believe this project has brought our family closer together.

For my birthday, we invited friends and family to hear about Burkina Faso and the well project. Instead of gifts, friends donated to my project. We had a traditional West African meal and even had a time of worship! It was the best Birthday party I ever had! Since my birthday, friends have told me they have been inspired to live differently. Getting your friends involved helps them to make a difference, too!

I hope this list of ideas helps you to get started. Now, I have to ask! What are you waiting for? You can make a difference TODAY!

Teaching Our Kids to Give

Isn’t Hannah the most inspiring kid? I have learned so much from her and so have my children. What an example she is leading for other kids her age. I love her idea of becoming a “noticer.” What if we all made it our goal to be that type of person? It really would make the world a better place.

Teaching Our Kids to Give

Teaching Our Kids to Give

Hannah’s idea that we all have some skills that we can use to help the world truly resonated with me. God gave me the ability to knit and I thought that might be a great way to donate to Burkina Faso. While we were snowed in, I knitted up some baby hats to get a future Etsy shop going. It will be called, “A Well of Hope,” and all proceeds (minus my materials cost) will go directly to Burkina Faso.

Hannah’s story inspired me that we all have time & talent to share and what better way to use it then giving the gift of water to those in need. I hope I can knit my way to another well. Wouldn’t that just be amazing?

Won’t You Give Us a Present?

Let’s make a global impact for MomAdvice’s birthday and give clean water so that children, mothers, and fathers may live. Let’s celebrate doing something bigger than ourselves. Let’s make miracles happen!  I can’t do it without you! 

Just as Hannah has shared, every little bit helps. The best part about making a donation to Burkina Faso is that you can donate as little or as much as you like. Consider just one replacement of a Starbucks coffee, a movie ticket, a dinner out with your family, or just one less birthday gift this year. Any amount (great or small!) will help us reach our goal to providing Burkina Faso clean water!

DONATE NOW PLEASE!  To read more about why we chose Burkina Faso, check out our initial post over here!

 

Happy Birthday, MomAdvice: A Well of Hope for Burkina Faso

Tuesday, January 14th, 2014

Burkina_Faso_Collage

Did someone say it is my BIRTHDAY WEEK? I don’t know if you know it or not, but this week I am celebrating my 36th year on this planet and I am also celebrating a decade of running this little corner of the internet.

A DECADE.

Something so special calls for something big. Last year, my husband just made the biggest deal over me to celebrate my first book and my 35th birthday. I said that this could never be topped.

I have a feeling that I am going to be wrong about that. You know why?

Because this year it isn’t about me. 

This year it is about helping others in the biggest way that I know possible.

A Well of Hope for Burkina Faso

A Well of Hope for Burkina Faso

A Well of Hope for Burkina Faso A Well of Hope for Burkina Faso

I’ve decided to celebrate this moment and help those in need this year, by focusing all my efforts this week on fundraising for Burkina Faso. Have you heard of Burkina Faso?

I had never heard of it until this became the passion project for my church. It is the third poorest country in the world and more than anything these people need something so simple…something we take for granted every single day…

They need CLEAN WATER. 

Why Did We Choose Burkina Faso?

There are few things that break my heart more than children in need. The United Nations ranks Burkina Faso as the third poorest country in the world. The population of Burkina Faso is approximately 14.8 million people, the average income is only about $400 per year. The average life expectancy of men is 51 years and women is 54 years.

One out of three children will probably die before they ever reach the age of ten. The deaths are mostly due to a lack of fresh water. The women of Burkina Faso often walk several miles to a dirty stream or stagnant pool, just to fill a bowl with water.

A Well of Hope for Burkina Faso

I started this fundraiser on Pure Charity to raise $4,000. Every penny of this goes to fund wells that can provide clean water to thousands of people in need. Each well costs $2,000 to give clean water to 1,000 people. My goal is to raise enough funds for two wells.

I have partnered with Clay Church (our congregation) who partners with a variety of organizations to assist with establishing wells for Burkina Faso:

Who Are You Helping With Your Donations?

Engage Burkina is an organization that has come alongside the Burkinabe leaders, providing access to clean water, educational opportunities, and sustainable financial opportunities for widows and young women, while also serving those with malnutrition and bringing hope and a future to the people living there.

Clean Water in Africa, Inc. is an organization that is committed to making a difference in the country of Burkina Faso, Africa, by engaging the community and providing clean water resources. Its mission is to build over 1,000 wells in Burkina Faso, which is the third-poorest country in the world where one in three children die due to a lack of clean water.

Hearts for Burkina is a group of people with a heart for spreading Jesus’ love that continues to fund more wells in Burkina Faso, and develops ongoing relationships with the people of Burkina Faso who desperately need both literal water and the life saving living water of Jesus Christ.

Notre Dame Initiative for Global Development helps provide clean water through various partners and churches as well as research & studies to discover how wells impact these communities.

A Well of Hope for Burkina Faso

How MomAdvice Is Helping?

MomAdvice.com has pledged for one well and we are hoping you will give us a birthday gift this year of ANY AMOUNT to help us raise the funds to dig two more additional wells for Burkina Faso. Just imagine, what a difference we could make if we could give water to 3,000 people in need.

JUST IMAGINE.

A Well of Hope for Burkina Faso

Won’t You Give Us a Present?

Let’s make a global impact for MomAdvice’s birthday and give clean water so that children, mothers, and fathers may live. Let’s celebrate doing something bigger than ourselves. Let’s make miracles happen!  I can’t do it without you!

DONATE NOW PLEASE! 

We realize, typically for a blog celebration, I would host giveaways and give back to you. Over the ten years of our site, we have never charged you a dime for your experience here. I wouldn’t think of it.
If you have learned one thing on here, if one of my recipes has become a family favorite, if you saved on your family’s bills with a tip from our site, if Christmas was extra special because of a handmade idea on here… consider this just a small way to repay us for the research and time.
I beg you to make this year the birthday to remember. I beg you to impact these women and children.
I beg you. 

MomAdvice 10th Anniversary Gift Reveal from Clay Church on Vimeo.

Meet The New MomAdvice Contributors

Monday, January 6th, 2014

Contributor Collage

I am so excited to announce that we now have an amazing team of contributors for the MomAdvice website. As I shared with you last week, it is time for me to loosen those reigns on the site and allow some new voices in that can really showcase what MomAdvice is all about… empowering you and giving you the tools you need to live a great life on a budget.

We had over two hundred applicants and I really prayed hard about really bringing you what you might need as a mom. With that in mind, we now have contributors to assist you in food preparation, money management, and advice on parenting & motherhood.

MomAdvice Contributor Team

Money: Kelly Whalen (The Centsible Life)

DIY/Craft: Sarah Milne (Daffodil Design & Sarah M Style)

Marriage/Parenting: Mary Carver (Giving Up on Perfect)

Food: Shaina Olmanson (Food For My Family)

Food: Diana Bauman (My Humble Kitchen)

Managing Editor/ My Right Arm: Jami Boys (An Oregon Cottage)

Our contributor’s posts will be going live starting in the month of February! I can’t wait to share their words and ideas with you- I have no doubt that they will be awesome.
Thank you all for weathering the changes this week as we redesigned the site. My husband and I have looked like two zombies for the last week and with the snow storms blowing through here, I am enjoying a week to get back on my feet again.
snow_storm-1 snow_storm-2 snow_storm-3
Speaking of weather…holy snowfall! We are snowed in over in Indiana! I am hoping that I can resume a normal work schedule (if my kids ever return to school!)
In the meantime, one more big announcement coming your way on Monday! Did you know it is my birthday week (yes, that is a thing!)? We are giving myself a big birthday gift for our ten year MomAdvice birthday and my 21st birthday…
A girl can dream.
In all seriousness, I can’t wait to share that with you! In the meantime, be sure to browse our new contributor’s sites! They are AWESOME!
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Welcome to the NEW MomAdvice.com.

Wednesday, January 1st, 2014

10yearcelebration Happy New Year, friends! This is a big year for us as we celebrate the site’s tenth birthday. My husband and I have both been working behind-the-scenes on a brand new website for you.

Well…he’s been working and I have been nagging.

I digress.

As you can see, we are still a website under construction, but our foundation has been laid for all the new things to come… and there are oh-so-many great things to come!

Bear with us as we get settled into our new home. It has been no easy task for my husband to create all of this while maintaining his own full-time design job. We are still working out some kinks and will be adding on more layers as we get settled. For now, I hope you can browse and click around to see the site in all of it’s beauty. I may be biased, but I think it is pretty incredible.

Along with these design changes, in the upcoming weeks we will be announcing a fresh list of contributors who will be blogging along with me on all of the topics you care about- family, marriage, parenting, recipes, DIY, and personal finance. We had almost 160 applicants for these four positions and I have a feeling you are going to love the talent that we unleash on here. It will be just what you might expect from me, but even better because each one of these contributors is an expert in their topic. I can’t wait to blog along with them and to allow myself to finally let go a bit of all the creative control.

I am looking forward to what they will bring, what this new site will bring, and how we will grow with this new foundation in place. I am looking forward to celebrating MomAdvice.com’s 10th birthday with you on January 12th. The year of surprises is not over! Thank you for your love and support over the years- this would have never been possible without you! amy_signature