Saturday, June 28, 2014

Be Nice Box

OK. I haven’t tried this yet because I just heard of it, but OH, how I love the idea! It’s a month worth of ideas and items to spread kindness. You can sign up to get them for one month, six months or 12 months!

Here is how the founder Heather Shugarman describes the Be Nice box:

Each month, the box will center around a theme & all contents will be a surprise until you open the box.
But, each month you will receive a list of 13-15 fun, awesome & affordable ideas to practice kindness in your area. along with the list, you will also find 5-7 materials, items & handmade products to help you fulfill some of those tasks. and finally, each box will contain a cool, handmade surprise for YOU!

Also, $1 from every box goes to a charity. The Be Nice Box has supported Ten Thousand Things, Himalayan Cataract Project, Open Arms MN, Blessings Basket Project, Project Success and LIFEline Fashion, Share Our Strength and Meals on Wheels since they opened in October of 2013.

I have to get one of these boxes! You can even see some of the past boxes here. When I get one, I'll be sure to share about it.

And last of all, you may have noticed I’ve been a little sketchy on blog posting days lately. I am contemplating changing my blog post day from Friday to possibly Thursday, Saturday or Sunday.

I would love to get your feedback, so please respond in a comment below or email me at if you have a preference. God Bless and have a great weekend!

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Bored Teens No More

The summer solstice is behind us now but there’s still a couple months of summer left. This is the first summer I’ve had a teen in the house before (since my son turned 13 this year) and I thought maybe it’s time to do a blog about teens volunteering during the summer.

In Florida, your high school aged teen can use the summer to get volunteer hours for the Bright Futures Scholarship, but no matter where you are, bored teens can be a boon for charities.

So, what can they do anyway? Well, my son likes cats and we’ve volunteered at our local cat shelter SOCKS (Save our cats and kittens). We go pet the cats and can also clean litter boxes and sort items for the thrift store they run.

Truth is, many teens love animals. I looked on VolunteerMatch for volunteer opportunities in the area and found a few more related to animals, including the local zoo asking for help cleaning out cages and preparing food for animals and the wildlife refuge wanting volunteers for day-to-day activities.

What else? I don’t know about where you are, but here in Florida, it’s hot! So, I found out about one fundraising opportunity that’s really cool—swimming for MS. MS stands for multiple sclerosis and is a disease that attacks people most often in their 20s and 30s. The protective covering to the nerves of the brain and spinal cord become damaged and people have muscle problems, weakness, numbness, and for some, reduced mobility.

This summer, your teen can set a goal to swim a certain amount of laps over a set period of time (a day, month or whatever) and raise money per lap for MS. Or, if you have your own pool, you can have a fundraiser like a volleyball tournament, cannonball jumping contest or turn your next pool party into an MS Pool Party. What a fun way to support young people with a debilitating disease.

One last idea. In looking again at VolunteerMatch, I found two hospice organizations that wanted help. As you may know, hospice is for those who are not long for this world, whatever age they might be.

One hospice even has a special teen volunteer program, visiting hospice patients in nursing homes and assisted living facilities, providing computer support and other administrative assistance and helping with fundraising and community outreach. What a way for teens to realize that life is precious.

These are just a few ideas, but as with any kind of volunteering, passion takes precedence. Find something your teen is passionate about and he or she will enjoy what they’re doing and keep doing it!

Good luck and God Bless.

Friday, June 6, 2014

Common what?

I was watching a TV show set in the future that said the common cold had died out. What a wonderful world that would be to live in. The common cold is not a big deal for adults, just annoying, but imagine if you got it before your immune system had really kicked in.

Cytomegalovirus (CMV) is a common virus that infects people of all ages and is usually harmless to people with a healthy immune system, but it is not so harmless to babies still developing in the mother’s womb.

According to Stop CMV, permanent health problems or disabilities that may occur due to congenital CMV infection (which means infection with CMV while still in the womb) include hearing loss, vision loss, mental disability, feeding issues/Failure to Thrive (FTT), sleeping issues, sensory issues, behavior issues, small head/small brain (Microcephaly), intercranial calcifications, lack of coordination, cerebral palsy, seizures, and even death.

About 1 in 150 children is born with congenital CMV in the United States, but like the common cold, it is preventable by keeping saliva and urine that might contain CMV away from pregnant mothers. Here are some tips to do so:

§  Wash your hands often with soap and water for 15-20 seconds, especially after changing diapers, feeding a young child, wiping a young child's nose or drool, and handling children's toys

§  Do not share food, drinks, or eating utensils used by young children

§  Do not put a child's pacifier in your mouth

§  Do not share a toothbrush with a young child

§  Avoid contact with saliva when kissing a child

§  Clean toys, countertops, and other surfaces that come into contact with children's urine or saliva

I have done all of the “do not” suggestions myself so although this may seem obvious, it isn’t once you have a child for they are all things I never thought I would do.

The main thing is that only 13 percent of women have heard of CMV, so now you know about it, spread the word. It’s not just in wintertime that you need to wash your hands often. It’s all the time, especially if you deal with other people’s saliva, urine or other bodily fluids.

These are lifesaving prevention tips. So, as they say, spread the word, not the disease! God Bless.