Monday, November 30, 2009

Yay! Free Straps!

If you come tomorrow night, you can enter
a drawing for a free pair of straps!

I love that when you change your straps,
it looks like you have a new pair of shoes.

Sseko Sandal Shindig Tomorrow Night

Don't forget!

We're having a sandal shindig tomorrow night (Tuesday, December 1) at my house.

The fun will begin at 6:30.

In case you missed the post about my favorite new shoes, you can read it here.

In a nutshell, buying ssekos means you're supporting fair trade, know exactly who made your shoes AND your purchase is sending a beautiful young woman to college in Uganda.

The shoe party will be a great excuse to hang out with other ladies, laugh, learn and hear more about Sseko.

I'll have the hot chocolate. If you come, please bring a small snack to share.

I will say it over and over...I have LOVED my sandals. Loved them!!

Anyone who knows me well knows this...

Heather hates winter.

I do.

I'm super cold natured so winter literally hurts me through and through.

I have a long list of reasons why I can't stand the cold.

More laundry (layers look cool but as a mother of lots of kids, I can't even tell you how much laundry layers makes for me)

socks (In the summer my kids are forbidden to wear them)

tying all those shoes (even though most of the boys can tie, they say they like my double knots better...hmmm...I think it's a trick)

my feet being cold (I got big, brown furry boots for my birthday. When Aaron gave them to me he said, "I'm sure you're going to try and sleep in these this winter." Yep.

runny noses (those don't exist in the summer)

jackets (my kids lose jackets all winter long. that makes me nuts. Or, I end up carrying five hundred jackets everywhere we go)

NOW...I've added to my list of reasons why winter is dumb another item...

"I can't wear my ssekos cause my feet are cold"

I might wear them with socks I like them so much.

All you girls who wear flip flops in the dead of winter will do just fine in your ssekos. Every time I look down and see a girl in flip flops in the winter, my whole body hurts. Those "winter flip flop wearers" assure me that they are fine. The cold doesn't bother them. I offer them socks, but they never take me up on my offer.

I don't know how you girls do it.

But since you can, you'll get to look cute in your ssekos year round.

I'm jealous.

Those of you who can't wear flip flops in the cold weather don't be upset. This is Texas. I've worn my ssekos several times a week all November because it's been so warm. December will be the same way. I may even get to wear my ssekos on Christmas day. Ya just never know around these parts.

Come out to the party! Cameron will have shoes to buy if you haven't bought yours.

She will have straps you can purchase that are not listed on the sseko website.

She'll teach us some cool ways to tie our sandals (and hopefully you have tried some new ideas and can share your strap ideas with us).

Come support this incredible business!

If you need directions to my house, please email me!

Hope to see you tomorrow evening!

Now I need to go make sure my toenails are presentable. I think they need some work before a public viewing.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Free Photo Christmas Cards


Remember how I make these for Christmas?

Well...Money Saving Mom has saved be a ton of money today.

I got 100 Photo Christmas cards for free (you only pay shipping). So, I got 100 photo cards for about 4 bucks.

I also got 200 printed pictures for my calendars for free. I had to pay shipping, but that only cost me about $8.

Incredible!

The offers end tomorrow at midnight. Sounds exciting...like Cinderella!

If you want 100 free photo cards, read this post.

If you want 200 free pictures printed, read this post.

The cards are not the cutest in the whole world, but they are "Target cute."

And let's get real..."FREE" has a way of making just about anything look a lot cuter.

You can pick your own photos, backgrounds, text and font.

I LOVED that I got to write what I wanted on our cards, pick my font, pick the size, and put the text exactly where I wanted it.

Wow...my "control freak" streak comes out in the weirdest places. This time, on my Christmas cards.

If you know how to make your cards in photoshop, you can make a super duper cute card, upload it to See Here (the company above), and then you will have the cutest cards on the block for the cheapest price.

So...if you want free cards or pictures, and you have some time between now and tomorrow night, check out those posts!

Advent starts tonight!


I'm at home from church this evening with a feverish baby. Poor guy. But he sure is sweet sitting here in my lap.

I'm getting excited about Advent. It starts tonight.

We don't have our candles yet, but who cares.

This isn't about candles.

It's about preparing our hearts to celebrate the wonder that is Christmas.

In case you missed it, we're using this study.


Happy Advent!

Thanksgiving Wonder

We headed to Yonder Way Farm for Thanksgiving...home of my precious Aunt and my brother's family.


Remember this craft idea I had for the kids?

Well...my attempt to be as cool as the Mahaneys failed. The kids didn't like the hats. Throughout the craft, I heard things like...

"Can my turkey just have two feathers? I want to go play."

"Are we done yet? When will this be over?"

and my favorite..

"Can you just do my craft for me?"

On the outside I was helping the kids make turkeys. On the inside, I was daydreaming about freezing all their underwear that night.

Oh well...

Little cutie looked adorable and he doesn't have a big enough vocabulary to dis my craft (yet).


We tried to show the kids how cool these turkey hats look. Maybe they would see how cool we look in them and want to wear the hats themselves.

Nope.

But seriously...Aaron didn't try too hard to be convincing. Really, Honey...that's the worst, 'These are the coolest hats ever" look I've ever seen.

Aaron made fun of us pretty severely for not knowing what the wattler is and where to put it. He was right. I had no idea. I know that red thing goes somewhere, but I think I showed the kids how to put it on the wrong way. It looked more like our turkeys had nose bleeds than wattlers.

Note to self...(crafts may be for the Mahaney family, but they are not for our family!)

In spite of the craft, Thanksgiving was wonderful.

You know it's a great holiday when you let yourself get talked into staying an extra night. How fun!

There's nothing like staying up late with family talking.

There's nothing like waking up in the mornings to cousins galore.

There is no better breakfast than Jason and Lynsey's breakfast.

And would ya look at these two crazies...


Hayden and Laney Rae are the "hot messes" of this family.
They both wake up at the crack of dawn and
crack us all up the remainder of the day.

It was a sweet time being with our family.

And guess what Aunt Lynsey did while we were there?

Took our family pictures.

She's pretty wicked talented.

This was one of my favs.


Hope your Thanksgiving was a great one.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Advent Study!


I shared before that it was only a few years ago that Aaron and I claimed that this holiday was all about Jesus, but we really never lived like that was true. We could say all the right Christian things about Christmas, but bottom line...our holidays were filled with gift buying, stress, busyness, activities and Jesus was an afterthought.

Then we'd be annoyed that our kids seemed so greedy and acted like Christmas was only about the presents. How silly of us! What else could we have expected?

Last year was our first year to do an advent study in our home. Last year a lot of our traditions changed.

I think sometimes when we throw out the Santa version of Christmas we're left with a stripped down version of Christmas that can be as void of joy and worship as it was when we were distracted with other things.

Have I mentioned lately how much I have loved Noel Piper's book, Treasuring God in our Traditions? The book is not all about Christmas. It's about the value of tradition in a Christian home...special holiday traditions...as well as every day traditions. The goal of tradition is to remember and remind ourselves and our children about the story of God's love, the great length to which He has gone to redeem us and to restore all things.

From Treasuring God in our Traditions...

"The word tradition isn’t in the Old Testament, but the reality is there. In the passages where God gives instructions for the ceremonies he designed, he repeatedly makes clear his purposes for these occasions. When we recognize his purposes, we’ll have a better idea as to what makes a godly tradition in our own homes. About the Passover celebration, for example, we read:

It was a night of watching by the LORD, to bring them out of the land of Egypt; so this same night is a night of watching kept to the LORD by all the people of Israel throughout their generations.
(Exodus 12:42)

Some of the phrases in the verse help us see at least some of what God had intended for his people through their traditions.

• “A night of watching by the LORD”

—God wants his people to remember
what he himself did for them.

• “A night . . . to the LORD”

—God wants them to honor him for what
he’s done.

• “Throughout their generations”

—God wants their children and grandchildren
and great-grandchildren to hear the story of his salvation so they too will remember and honor him.

If we look at God’s instructions for the Festival of Booths commemorating the Jews’ forty years of desert wanderings, we see another important piece of his purpose.

You shall dwell in booths for seven days. All native Israelites shall dwell in booths, that your generations may know that I made the people of Israel dwell in booths when I brought them out of the land of Egypt: I am the LORD your God.
(Leviticus 23:42-43, emphasis added)

As with the Passover, God wants his people to celebrate in a way that re-enacts the story of his mighty deeds. And again he wants the coming generations to hear the story and celebrate him and what he’s done. Then there is an additional piece:

• “I am the LORD your God”

—God was not just part of their history. Their traditions are to proclaim that he is their God now. He is I AM.

Advent is a special time of remembering the Christmas story. It's a time of waiting...of preparation.

It's a time for us to teach our children and remind them like scripture says of all that God has done. It's also a time for us as adults to remember. I need to be reminded of the truths found in the Christmas Story just as much as our little ones need to be reminded.

We will celebrate Christmas again this year by doing an advent study all month long.

There are several different ways to do the advent thing. Some families may choose to do a study every Sunday of advent. Others do a study every evening, or most evenings in December.

Advent begins THIS SUNDAY NIGHT, November 29.

In our home, we bought an advent wreath. We have four red candles with a white one in the middle. It's nothing fancy. This year, I'd like one on the coffee table and on the dining room table, so instead of buying another one, we're going to use Mandi's idea and let the kids make candle holders. Recipe for dough here.

We are using this Advent study. I think someone sent this to us last year (Brandon, Sarah...I can't remember?)

While you're at it, you might want to order this CD. An Advent study plus Andrew Peterson's Behold the Lamb might be all anyone needs to make this holiday a time of worship and joy!

Happy Advent!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Thanksgiving Fun


We're making these cute things right now. They are turning out precious!

I want to put together a Thanksgiving craft for the cousins to do on Thanksgiving Day. I'm thinking these could be fun.

Got any fun Thanksgiving craft ideas?

Monday, November 23, 2009

And the Winner Is...

Wow.

Multiple ways to enter a drawing means a lot of name writing, paper cutting and paper folding.

Thankfully I have several little boys who have mad scissor skills.

Ashton just pulled a name out of the bowl!

The winner of the cute owl from Oh Sweet Joy is:

"Will and Kate"


Yay Kate!

A true testimony to the power of multiple entries, right?

You can email Kim at kimdavis09@gmail.com to claim your owl.

If you haven't claimed it by Wednesday, Kim gets to keep it.

But I know Kate will claim her prize. Hope you love your owl!

Thanks so much Kim for doing this giveaway.

I pray sweet blessing over your work and thank God for your heart! What a joy to know part of the money I sent you for my owl family is not causing social injustice across the globe AND part of the proceeds are going to such great organizations.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

They Turned the Lights on Downtown So...

we met some friends



and had a festive ol' time.

Hudson is not a fan of the opera singing lady.
I kept trying to get him to look at me.
He kept looking away as if to say...
"Maybe if I don't look at the lady singing, she will go away."

crazy how much I love these ladies

And how much I love this little mister

make that ALL these little misters
Hayden lost BOTH front teeth last week.
I didn't think he could get any cuter.

I wish I could say those two teeth fell out on their own.
But I'd be telling a lie.
We left a garage sale in our neighborhood.
As we were leaving, the boys said, "Do we have to buckle up?"
I thought about it for a second being the FREAK about seat belts that I am.
"No." I decided they could live on the edge and travel unbuckled for the half mile it would take us to get home.
Did I mention we were in our neighborhood?

About two seconds later a lady backed out of her driveway and almost ran into us.
Aaron was going about five miles an hour.
He put on the brakes.
Hayden flew forward and hit his mouth on the console between the two front seats.

I wish I could say those teeth were about to fall out anyway.
I'd be telling a lie.
They were "kind of" loose.

After hitting his mouth on the console, Hayden looked up and yep...blood everywhere...and one tooth was not in his mouth. The other one was hanging on for dear life.

He pulled the second tooth when we got home.

We learned our lesson.

ALWAYS WEAR YOUR SEAT BELT!

My poor baby!

He now has a little lisp. Too cute.



Yay for Christmas lights!
Can you believe it's this time of year already?

Then we went and ate dessert.

That's the way every great evening should end.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Shopping Can Be Fun!

photo from Jessica's blog

Our sweet friend, Jessica works for a non-profit called Children At Heart Ministries.

Several months ago, Jessica wrote about her work at Children At Heart Ministries and how this opportunity has changed and grown her. You can read her story here. Or...just go say hi to Jessica. She's one of the coolest people we know. She was one of "our girls" when she was here at Texas A&M. Simply put...we adore her. If she would agree to move back to our town, we would go pick her up and move her here all by ourselves.

We have an amazing opportunity to support the work that Children At Heart Ministries does as we're shopping this Christmas Season.

Hey...I know not everyone is into this "Fair Trade" stuff. So...I wanted you to know of a great way you can help no matter where you shop this holiday season.


More than 1,300 top stores, including Amazon, Toys R Us, Best Buy, Apple, Gap and more, will donate a percentage of virtually every sale to Children At Heart Ministries.

Just go to GoodShop.com.

Designate Children At Heart as the cause you support and then click through to your favorite store.

You pay nothing extra.

You can even save money since GoodShop lists thousands of money-saving coupons and free shipping offers.

I'm pretty sure this is the easiest way to support an incredible ministry this holiday season!

Please go check it out! If you're going to shop online, might as well help a wonderful ministry that helps children in need.

Or look through the list of the nonprofits and see if your favorite cause is listed. How fun!

I didn't think online shopping could get any better than it already is.

I was wrong!

Christa Taylor

Okay...I give up.

There's NO WAY to give all of the remaining great companies some coverage before Monday.

Next week I want to write about advent. However, I'll continue to keep highlighting more of these incredible businesses next week as well.

In the mean time, don't forget about the give away from Oh Sweet Joy. We'll draw Monday for the cutie-patootie owl. You can still enter the drawing by going here.




Looking for cute, modest clothing? Didn't think that was possible this side of heaven?

Well....I've got great news!

Check out Christa Taylor.

These clothes are way chic and Christa Taylor is another company that gives back part of their proceeds to fight social injustice around the world.

I seriously can't get over how much I did not know before doing this series. I had no idea so many great companies like Christa Taylor existed. I appreciate all of you who sent in these wonderful places to shop.

From Christa Taylor's website...

"You've probably experienced the challenges of picking through mainstream collections and small boutique shops searching, seemingly endlessly, for a cute outfit that is not revealing.
Christa Taylor decided that enough was enough. Now, through Christa-Taylor.com, you are an empowered traditionalist!
Christa-Taylor.com is a clothing company with a conscience, donating 5% of all orders to social justice programs around the world. The current recipient is Warm Blankets, an organization in Cambodia that builds and operates orphanages."
Check them out...and spread the word about this great company! Here's a link to the orphanage your money will bless when you buy from Christa Taylor.




You can also read Christa's blog. It is filled with lots of helpful beauty tips without focusing so much on vanity. I read through the articles and learned some new things and didn't leave the site hating myself for not being "beautiful enough" or "groomed enough."

Christa's blog and her clothing line seem like they are for actual, real-life people. Imagine that!


What a cute coat!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Pangea Water Bottles


I told you! OVERLOAD today!

If you can't check out all these great companies today, please come back this weekend and browse around. These places are terrific.

Water bottles are the coolest these days....so trendy...and WAY better on the environment than disposable water bottles.

Not only do I love that Pangea water bottles are made from quality materials that won't give ya cancer (you might get cancer some other way, but it won't be from these bottles) they are also a great company with a great cause.

"Pangea Bottles are made with food grade 18/8 Stainless Steel. This steel is 100% recyclable, non-leeching, and chemical free. (Plus our bottles are extremely durable!)"

These bottles contain no BPA.

photo from Living Water's website

From Pangea's website...

"Pangea Bottles is founded on a simple concept: for every bottle you purchase, Pangea is giving a person in need clean water for four years. By drilling water wells in isolated villages around the world, we are changing people's lives in remarkable ways. Our mission is to provide the people in developing nations clean water by leveraging the power of individuals to make a difference in a sustainable way. A child dies every 15 seconds from a water related disease. It costs Living Water International average of $0.98 to provide clean, safe water to one person for one year."

Pangea partners with Living Water. Please check out Living Water. They are another great ministry that is bringing hope and health to people all over the world.

Wouldn't these bottles fit nicely into a stocking? I think so!

Love You Some Etsy?


Below is another Etsy shop run by "Ness," a reader here at Sit a Spell.

"Ness" pointed out that Etsy is a great place to shop. A lot of the vendors use and sell refurbished goods, recycled products and vintage items.

www.vintagebutterfly94.etsy.com

From Ness...

"Etsy as a whole is an artist collective. Many Etsy sellers are conscientious of the materials they use and where they come from and what impact they have on the world and the people in it."

What I love best about Etsy is you're one step away from the buyer. You can ask questions. You can ask where their materials come from and if they are mindful of fair trade standards. I have been very appreciative of the vendor's honesty when I've asked.

One day I'll write about lessening our ecological/environmental/consumer footprint by purchasing used, refurbished or recycled goods. Etsy is a great place to do that. Maybe a product was originally bought from a company whose business practices violate my conscious for making purchases. If I buy that product used (like in an Etsy shop, or at a garage sale) then I'm no longer contributing financially to the system that causes yuck things to happen in this world. Instead, I'm simply re-using...recycling...and most importantly participating in a small way with the Lord in redeeming all things. That's pretty fun.

I'm so new to Etsy. I thought it would be fun today for you to tell us about your favorite Etsy shops (hopefully Kim's is on your list now).

Give your favorite artists a shout out!

Why My Kids Could Never Go to Public School


Setting: We're learning about the Respiratory System. I had just handed Hayden an in depth diagram of an alveolus (plural=alveoli).

He takes one look at the page and blurts out...

"Gross! Mom. Alveoli look like those things back there behind my wee-wee."

Anson says...

"Your tenders?"

If I wasn't the principal, I would have sent them both to her office.

Freeset Bags


Warning: today I will overload your reader with posts about great companies that either give back to great organizations, fight injustice, practice fair trade, or use American made materials.

I have a bunch of companies left to talk about, and only two more days left in the week.

Next week I want to talk about advent!


Don't forget about the give away from Oh Sweet Joy below!

To enter you can go here.
Drawing will be Monday!




Freeset Bags

What a great company. Please take some time to look around their website...let the faces behind these products soak in.

From Freeset's website:

Freeset is a fair trade business offering employment to women trapped in Kolkata's sex trade. We make quality jute bags and organic tee-shirts, but our business is freedom!

We would like to see the 10,000 sex workers in our neighborhood empowered with the choice of leaving a profession they never chose in the first place.

You can read how this business got started. The story is incredible.

Or you can watch this video.



Is it nuts that this video made crocodile tears run down my face?

I had to do some research. I wanted to know if this couple who up and moved to India with their children to love the poor are believers. They are.

Although these are Christians running a business they make it real clear this is not charity work. They want to empower the women in India, and their products are high quality.

Praise God for the work they are doing!

If you live in the US you can buy from Asha Imports or Better Way Imports.

If you live in another country check out the vendors in your area.

Who knew these great companies existed?

Now we do! So lets spread the word!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Got a Skateboarder in Your Life?

Don't forget about the give away from Oh Sweet Joy below!
To enter you can go here.


Have you heard me talk about my new bloggy friend, Mandi?

I've met her in real life and she's real life friends with my sis-in-law, Lynsey. There is always a link to Mandi's blog, The Herban Homestead right here at Sit a Spell.

Mandi has been a huge help to me on this path to eating better and figuring out how to do stuff on my own instead of paying someone else to do it (like make jelly, bread, yogurt...those kinds of things.) I'm not talking about dentistry, surgery or cosmetology or anything like that. My family is thankful I've left those jobs to the professionals.

for now (hee-hee)


Anywhozers...

All that to say, I love Mandi. I've sent her many a weird email. Emails I don't have to preface with, "I know I'm a weirdo but..."

Mandi is a way bigger, brilliant weirdo than I'll ever be and for that she is near and dear to my heart. She's one of the few people I've felt completely comfortable "letting all my weird out" with at once. I've never had to pace out my weirdness with Mandi.

I love reading her blog. I bet you will too. She makes me get up from my computer ready to go squeeze my kids, go outside, stick my hands in the earth or put my dukes up and fight injustice in this world. Mandi is the epitome of a kindred spirit.

It's not surprising that I had NO IDEA Mandi and her husband run a non-profit skateboarding ministry called Middleman Skateboards.

I'm sure Mandi has about a cu-jillion more tricks and talents up her sleeves that I don't know anything about.

I'm not sure how all that talent and knowledge fits inside her head.

I told ya...I've seen the girl in real life and I'm here to say...

Her head was normal sized when I met her.

exhibit A
normal sized head

If you've got some skaters in your life, please go check out Middleman Skateboards.

From Mandi...

The heart behind Middleman Skateboards

"One of the purposes of Middleman is to train and equip leaders in communities to minister to their local skate boarders. In the past John has designed and built skate parks on church grounds, but we are finding that the best way to reach skaters is to go to them in the public parks. That is where the community outreach person comes in. We offer them the training and equipment they need to go into their community and distribute boards, shirts and stickers for free. For every 2 boards we sell, we are able to give one away for free. Our hope is that through our boards, relationships will be formed and the love of Christ will be shared."

Want to reach out to skaters where you live?

"We are looking for churches around the country that are interested in raising up leaders to reach the skaters in their community."


Need to buy a board?


"Our boards are sourced and made in the USA. That makes the boards a little more for us to buy, but those extra dollars mean a safe work environment and the peace of mind that no human is being exploited. Our screen printing is also done stateside."

Take a look at Middleman's Website.


I think any skater would like one of these cool tees or hoodies.
______________________________________

I hope you don't get tired of me saying this, but I'm incredibly thankful for companies like this one and the ones we've gotten the chance to hear about so far on this blog.

Please help them out by spreading the word about these great companies whose desire is to make quality products in a way that doesn't compromise their beliefs about how sacred life is, how important children are, and how much God wants us to care for the laborers...the people making our stuff that fills our homes and garages. Praise God for companies like these giving so much back...providing money or training for people to do God's work...share the gospel and bring good news to the poor and brokenhearted.

Maybe you're not a skateboarder, baby-shoe buyer, or owl enthusiast. However, maybe those people exist in your life and you can spread the word through all the great mediums we have at our disposal these days (your blog, facebook, that twitter-dee-doo-dah thing and email).

It might be a baby step...but I believe we're ushering in change with every dollar we spend.

That gets my heart-a-pumping and makes my soul sing.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

What is Fair Trade?

I keep throwing around "fair trade" like everyone should know what it means.

I didn't for a long time...and I'm still trying to educate myself.

Our goal this Christmas (who knows if we'll reach it...we're trying, but this is still new to us) is to only buy products from fair trade companies or from businesses where the products and materials are made in America (we have much stronger labor laws in our country). Maybe buying stuff from other stores is fine, but we don't know yet...and until we do we want to ere on the side of caution. One baby step at a time!

In case you are in the dark (we used to be right there with ya) about what Fair Trade means and why it's important check out this great video and site D.O. sent me.




Trade as One


I know what I'll be doing during Hudson's nap time today. Reading all about Trade as One's mission...to change lives with every product we buy.

Sounds exciting.

Bugaloo...Another Great Company

Don't forget about the give away from Oh Sweet Joy below!
To enter you can go here.
Cute as a stinkin' button.

I love the heart behind this business.

You'll be blessed to hear what Heidi and Taylor have to say...please take a second and go hear the scoop about these precious shoes.

Kids shoes for $14.99. These look like they should be in some fancy pants celebrity baby shop. I was shocked to see how little these shoes cost.

"Rich baby" shoes for $14.99. Incredible.

These might be the cutest boy shoes I've ever seen.

Buy three pairs and get free shipping. If you're having a baby shower any time soon you can expect to get a pair of these tiny treasures from the Hendricks.

I wish Heidi would make grown up versions of these.

My favorite part...


Not only does this company care about labor issues, the environment and our wallets, they also send a percentage of every purchase to International Justice Mission.

If you've never heard about IJM, please please take some time to browse their website and get familiar with the work they are doing. Find out how you can be involved, give or pray. IJM is doing mighty work all over the world.

On a side note: Aaron read this post and mentioned again that Terrify No More is one of his all time favorite books. I quote, "It's like reading a Tom Clancy book...but it's real...and about things that actually matter." Terrify No More is a book about the work that IJM does rescuing young girls from slavery and captivity. He recommends everyone read it. We also think it would make a great Christmas gift for a book-lovin' man in your life that enjoys heroic, true stories about people doing brave, selfless things empowered by the love and strength of Christ.

We're not hosting a give away for these shoes, but like I mentioned earlier...

These small companies providing quality, creative products that operate under fair trade standards need our help in getting the word out about their businesses. We won't necessarily "get anything out of it," but I think it would be great if we all spread the word about this company today by blogging about Bugaloo, tweeting about them, facebookin' it up about their company...or simply sending an email to people you think will enjoy these shoes. In that way, we "get a lot out of this" by supporting kingdom minded companies who are giving money to kingdom minded organizations.

You could even take a moment out of your day and write a short, encouraging email to Heidi telling her how cute these shoes are and that you are thankful for her contribution to IJM.

info@bugalookids.com

Will you help us?

If you haven't gone over there yet...here's your chance. Please go check out these adorable shoes at Bugaloo.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Great Cause and A Giveaway!

I should have known this little community at Sit A Spell would come through with so many great companies making and selling products in a way we can all be proud of and support.

Every day this week I'll post about companies like the one featured here today. Hopefully we can all get the word out about these companies that care about labor issues and are giving part of their proceeds to kingdom minded organizations. Hopefully we'll support these businesses with our business and by doing some word of mouth advertising for them.



A sweet girl in my life, Kim Davis has an etsy shop called Oh Sweet Joy. Her work was recently featured in Child Style Magazine.

When I met Kim she was an unmarried college student sitting in the Her Hands class. I always loved to hear what was on Kim's mind. Kim went to church at Living Hope (and can sing so pretty!) She's a beautiful girl inside and out. Kim and her husband Chase are now living in Colorado.

Listen to Kim's heart behind her business and her work:

"I started oh, sweet joy when I needed a break from apparel. I've worked retail for years and refurbished vintage t-shirts for a while, as well. I lost my retail job in early September and started nannying for a family in town. One of the boys, Ollie, had a birthday coming up, and I wanted to make him something unique. I bought some eco-felt, grabbed some of my designer fabric scraps and went to town on a cute little owl. I loved making the little owl, so I kept making more and sold a few at a local art studio tour. Little did I know the Lord had bigger plans for this little project.

I took everything out of one etsy shop and opened another with a new focus. My husband has been encouraging me to be more focused and gospel centered in every endeavor. I couldn't really figure out what that meant until I searched my heart and the Lord revealed and reminded me what He has created me for and what I am passionate about. It took me a while to figure everything out, but the Lord has laid on my heart to bring joy into homes by using my gifts and talents to further the Kingdom and bring children hope (as silly as it sounds...one owl at a time).

One way I am accomplishing this is donating a percentage of all sales to Compassion International and Love 146. 20% of everything I make (after etsy & paypal take their generous cuts haha) will go to truly make a difference in children's lives. I couldn't be more excited about this effort, and I am so thankful that the Lord has changed my selfish heart. He has turned something that started as me wanting to make some extra spending money to something that is so much bigger than myself. He is faithful."

Kim's owls are precious.

I also love the headbands. My niece will be getting one of these!

Kim does custom orders. She also sells an entire family of owls for only $25.

Owls are quite the "in thing" right now (as are any birds, really). Hey...if Anthropologie says owls are "in"...they are.

I also was impressed with Kim's November shipping special. Buy 2 products and get free shipping. Can't beat that.

Please take some time to browse Kim's shop. This would be a great place to buy gifts that are made right her in America and have peace of mind that women and children aren't being exploited in the name of consumerism.

I've placed a custom order with Kim, and I can't tell you how happy it makes my heart to know that some of the money I send her will go to help such great organizations that are out there fighting against so much evil in this world. I'm honored to get to play a small part of bringing God's love, light and truth into places that desperately need to know His peace, grace and strength...all while shopping.

Kim has also agreed to give away that cute owl at the top of this post! Get excited. Isn't that owl adorable? He's a medium sized, "Ollie" owl.

To enter the giveaway you need to have a US shipping address. The winner will be announced next Monday, November 23. There are many ways to enter and you can have up to 6 entries per person. You can do one or all of the following:

1. If you browse Oh Sweet Joy you can come back here and leave your name in a comment and say "I browsed".

2. Tweet about Oh Sweet Joy and then leave a comment telling us you did.

3. Become a fan of Oh Sweet Joy on Facebook then leave a comment telling us you're now a Facebook fan. Go here to become a fan.

4. If you post about this giveaway on Facebook, leave a comment telling us you did so.

5. If you post about Oh Sweet Joy and this give away on your blog you can leave your name in a comment with your blog address.

6. If you have an Etsy account and you "favorite" or "heart" Oh Sweet Joy then you can also leave a comment letting us know.

See...everyone gets a chance to have 6 entries each! I'm not good with math, but I think that really bumps up your odds of winning!

__________________________________

Thank you, Kim, for giving away this treasure. And thanks for the peace of mind you've given me while I'm shopping.

It wasn't long ago that I literally felt helpless. Can I buy anything and know for sure that the money God has given us isn't going to support things the Lord despises (like taking advantage of the weak and the poor?)

Slowly, God is turning my helplessness into hope. There are companies that care. This will be a journey like any other journey in our life. I can start slow, learn more and baby step my way through this.

I hope the readers here are having as much fun as we are buying from wonderful companies this holiday season. I pray we're spending less, being more purposeful in our gift-giving and honoring Jesus on His birthday (and every day).

Please help us support Kim, Compassion, Love 146 and fair trade by spreading the word about Oh Sweet Joy!


CHAMPIONS!

Anson with his coaches

The boys entered the tournament undefeated for the season.

They came out of the tournament undefeated.

Each one of Anson's teammates (and their families) have
become precious to us over the past year and a half.

So proud of this team!

Go Strikers!

We loved watching our boy play.

Way to go Anson!

We love you!

Friday, November 13, 2009

Spreading the Word


I have a favor to ask.

If you know of any companies or organizations that sell products (bags, food, water bottles...things you buy) AND those companies or organizations are giving proceeds to some kingdom minded cause (Living Water, Compassion, Invisible Children, etc) AND those companies and organizations care about labor issues (fair trade) will you email me their information. Or post it in a comment (I won't publish the comments though. I'm saving the information for one big post).

Basically, if you know of a company that...

Sells products under fair trade guidelines then please let me know.

And if those companies give proceeds to a mission minded organization that will be double excellent.

But either way, those are great things, and I want to give those companies a shout out.

hendrickcrew@gmail.com

If you make stuff and sell stuff (and you can account for where your materials come from...as in they are either made in the US or you know for sure that no child is getting sold, traded and beaten in order to make your materials) then let me know.

I'd love to send customers your way.

Hope is rising in my soul.

Hope that we can really make a difference.

My desire is to bring many of these great companies to you in a blog post soon. Let's put our heads together, do some leg work, and then we can all be better informed and have more options.

Advertising is expensive. Many great companies who are putting faces behind the products we're buying can't afford to spread the word.

So, if there are great companies you find out about please let me know and then let's make sure we're helping those companies by posting their information on our blogs or sending out the information through facebook or email.

Jeff Corwin and Buffalo

Jeff Corwin came to town last Friday.

If you don't know who Jeff Corwin is, chances are you don't have a house filled with boys.

Jeff Corwin's show is on Animal Planet. Our boys love to watch any man willingly walk into a dangerous situation. So any guy who will grab a snake or a giant lizard immediately wins "awesomeness" points in this house.

Hayden is the biggest Jeff Corwin fan in our home. He was Jeff Corwin for Halloween. The rest of us think Jeff Corwin is cool and cheesy. Hayden thinks Jeff Corwin is awesome and HE-larious. The way Hayden talks about Jeff Corwin is like they are actual friends. In Haydenland he and Jeff are best buds. Hayden has been known to take the video camera outside and make his own version of the Jeff Corwin show...cheesy humor and all.


We were all supposed to go to the Jeff Corwin show, but Hudson got sick so I stayed home with him. It was the best kind of sick...the slightly sick variety. Little bit of fever...just enough to slow him down and cause him to sit in my lap all night long. I hate to wish sickness on my kids, but if they have to be sick then this is the kind I prefer...the kind that makes them super snuggly.

Hudson and I stayed home in the rocking chair. The boys invited some friends along since we had tickets to spare.

Here they are...waiting for Aaron to say, "Load up."



Getting closer!


I was so proud of my husband.

We had awful tickets. They were in the nosebleed section. We were late buying them...(see...the ol' better late than never thing rides again).

On any trip to something like this my job as the renegade is to wait for the show to start and then convince Aaron to let us move up into seats that are empty closer to the show. Hey...it just seems wrong to let empty, close, expensive seats go to waste.

Aaron is a rule follower. Sneaking into empty seats that do not belong to us gives him an ulcer.

But...I can always convince him to let us move up.

I figured since I was home in the rocking chair my boys would be stuck in the dumb nosebleed section with their dad and his calm intestines.

Then I got a text from Aaron that said, "I snuck the boys into closer seats after the show started."

I cheered in the living room. Go Aaron! I texted him back to tell him how much his act of rebellion meant to me.


This is as close as the boys got to Jeff Corwin.

Aaron said Jeff Corwin didn't seem particularly nice in real life. Offstage he was not very pleasant.

Who knows. Maybe Jeff Corwin was having a bad night. Or...maybe he had to park on campus. That will make anyone a little mean.





I asked Aaron to take lots of pictures since I couldn't go.

He did not dissapoint. Thanks, honey!



This week we headed to Washington on the Brazos.

I had never been.

Incredible! I can't believe this wonderful place filled with history is so close to home and we've never visted.


Our group of friends learned about buffalo...how the Indians used every part of this creature.


Little bit learning about buffalo.




playing dress up

Anson bringing in the water







My favorite picture.

This was all Anson's idea to take a picture pretending they are running from a crazed buffalo.

That boy gets more and more funny every day.

He is so much like his daddy.