Category Archives: helping out

Signs of Love


Here’s a sweet art project that’s perfect for the times right now.

Girls to the Moon offers instructions for how to make Signs of Acceptance to show people that you care about them and are on their side.

The site says:

What are some words you could say to let people know they are safe with you?

If you felt left out, what could someone say to you to make you feel more included?

If you could make a sign to let people know you will always accept and include them, what would it say?

This project, Signs of Acceptance, turns your favorite words, phrases, slogans, and symbols of inclusivity into beautiful pieces of art you can display at home, school or work.

Better yet: Give it to friend, a local business, or leave it in a public place for someone to find as a nice surprise!

All you need are some basic supplies like foam boards (from grocery store packaging), paper and paint.


What a great way to combine art and kindness, which we could all use a little more of right now.


If you do this with your kiddos, please feel free to post links or pics!



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Mama’s Holiday Helpers


I love this sweet idea from Magical Mama Lisa at Simple Gifts Toys.

She says, “I thought I’d show you all how my kids are earning Christmas gifting money while helping me get through the busy season. In the white envelopes are things like cup of cocoa, book with mommy, and a few tiny items from my shop.”

What a lovely idea!

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Help Decorate Our Tree and We’ll Help Kids in Need

I have an odd request to make! 

I would like you to send us an ornament!

Want to know why?

Well, we finally got our tree up this past weekend and to my surprise, almost all of our ornaments were missing.

The glass balls that Daryl and I hand decorated our first Christmas together.

The cloth elves whose knees tuck behind their clasped hands from my childhood.

The zillions of altered ornaments that the kids made even prettier with paint pens and too much glitter over the years.

The engraved ones that were presents for the kids.

The miscellaneous oddballs.

The framed tiny photos of the children as babies.

They’re just gone. All but one little bag of assorted ones that were apparently packed up last.

I’ve cleaned and organized our basement (which is no small task, I should tell you).  I’ve cleaned and organized our storage closet (ditto).  I’ve searched high and low.  I can’t explain it, but all of our boxes of ornaments are just missing.

So we have a rather sparse tree. We put up the few little oddballs that were in that small bag, but it’s a bit pitiful!

To add insult to injury, the first couple of days, one of our cats decided to climb our forlorn tree and hide in the branches, bapping at the ornaments from within.

And it’s made all the more ridiculous by the fact that all of our lights were dead (I did find those!) except one strand, so we used lights my mother-in-law gave us.  Every single strand has a different color of lights — one white, one multi, one red, and one green!  And one has white wires too.

The cat and the lights make me giggle, actually.  I love oddness and it suits us.

But the ornaments?  Sigh.  That’s not really any fun at all.

I thought of hand making a billion with the children. We’re certainly pros at that.  And we will.

But they’ll all be one sort of another, and truth be told, I miss the sentimentality of the ornaments we had collected.  I wanted some variety and sentiment!

So I came up with an idea.

I’m going to ask YOU to send us an ornament!

It can be from your tree, made by your children, picked out at the dollar store, anything.  It can be a tempera painted bit of cardboard, a simple silver ball, anything. 

I truly don’t care in the least, because it will fill our tree with sentimentality, because it will come from you and your children. And that totally makes me smile.

But I can’t just ask you to mail me something without giving anything back. That would be wrong.  So I started to think of what I could do on my end and I came up with an idea.

For every family that sends an ornament, we’ll donate a dollar to the Princess Zev Foundation.

The Princess Zev Foundation is maintained by Magical Mama Caitlin, who I only know online but absolutely adore.  Few people on earth manage to convey goodness and light right through a computer the way Caitlin can. She is a follower of this blog and our Facebook page, and a friend of my fabulous friend Claire.  And she manages to be a bright spot in the universe despite the loss of her utterly magical daughter, Zev.

The Princess Zev Foundation exists to give books and toys to children in need (those who have experienced loss, those in poverty and orphans) and to schools in honor of Zev, her love of books and her giving spirit.

Incidentally The Princess Zev Foundation is also up for a donation through the Pepsi Refresh Project.  You can vote daily and help them win here.  They need your votes!

If you’d like to donate too, you can do so here.

So, if you’d like to send us an ornament for our tree, here’s the address:

Alicia Bayer
PO Box 304
Westbrook, MN 56183

Our whole family is thrilled with the idea of getting ornaments from you, because it may sound sappy but you’re special to all of us. Please tuck in a note about who you are or a drawing by your kids or anything else to let us know about you and your family. 🙂

I’ll post an update at the end of the year with some pictures of our decorated tree and a tally of our donations. If nobody sends an ornament (I understand!  It’s a busy season!), then we’ll still send a donation to the Princess Zev Foundation, and we’ll just get busy making some ornaments.

So will you help us out?  We’d love a bit of your family in our living room on our crazy (but still fabulous) tree.

I promise to keep it safe from the cat.

Happy Tuesday!


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Positively Orphaned

It’s hard to imagine what it must be like to be an orphaned child, but add an HIV diagnosis to that and things get even gloomier.

Enter Positively Orphaned.  This inspirational blog gives readers opportunities to help these children, from small (children post what they’d love to have, such as roller skates or a guitar) to large (profiles of children who are awaiting adoption).

The site offers a wealth of information like:

  • Grants and funding available for adoptive families
  • HIV medical information
  • Children in need of homes
  • Foster families looking for sponsorship
  • Summer camps for HIV kids
  • Foster and adoption web sites
  • Family blogs of others who have adopted HIV kids
  • Fact sheets
  • Lists of books, films and organizations with more info
  • Health resources
  • A list of HIV orphanages
  • Links to humanitarian organizations
  • Videos
  • Information about supplementing health care costs
  • Sites to sponsor an HIV child
  • Articles and personal stories about adopting HIV orphans

All children deserve a magical childhood.  Thanks to this wonderful blog for helping that happen for more children around the world.


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Want to Help? Get a Haircut!

I’m in love with this simple way to help with the oil spill clean up.

It turns out that hair, fur, wool and nylons are some of the best materials for filtering oil out of water, and a non-profit company has been using donated boxes of the stuff to help clean up oil spills for quite some time.

Here’s a video about it (check out the demonstration with the school kids!)…

What a wonderful way to help!  I’m going to do my best to help spread the word to dog groomers, hair salons and… hairy people.  😉

Here’s specific info on how to help– as a salon, as a private family or as a school class.  Here’s pics of the hair mats in action, thanks to wonderful volunteers.

Here’s more ways people can help.

For those on Facebook who want to follow news on other ways to help, the Lousiana Shore Cleanup Page is a great source of info.

I’m thinking it’s time for a haircut!

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Help Kids With Dolly Donations

Have you heard of this neat site?  Dolly Donations offers free, simple cloth doll patterns and coordinates drives to donate dolls to children in need all over the world.

Magical Mama Sarah, who runs the site, just sent 181 dolls (and a few extras!) off to a Haiti orphanage, one for every child in the orphanage.  She’s already at work making more for local children in need.

The site offers free patterns and tutorials to make cloth dollies with a minimum of fabric.  You can even find patterns to knit or crochet, plus instructions on how to paint faces and add embellishments.

Sarah says visitors are free to use the patterns to make dollies for their own kiddos, but asks for people to make an extra (or more!) for children who could really use them.

What a wonderful idea!


Filed under crafts, helping out

Can You Help With a Post Card Drive?

Ten year old Satori is headed to the hospital for some major surgery at the end of this month and her mother is asking folks to send her some post cards.

Details are here.  The address to send the cards is at the bottom in green.

I’m sure we can swing some from our gang and nearby Walnut Grove.

Can you help spread the word and send some cards?

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