Tuesday, December 10, 2013
Heifer International, where your gift turns into something very tangible that can be put to work right away; Kiva - one of the best example of world-wide communities supporting small businesses everywhere; or Kickstarter - the place to seek out and participate in some unorthodox discovery and innovation in every imaginable area. If you are TRULY well off, consider making significant gifts - like closing off a few Kiva loans at once, splurging on a Heifer Ark, or funding an entire Kickstarter project. If you want to be holiday-specific, one of my favorite places to donate is Southwest Indian Foundation - their holiday gift baskets and woodburning stoves have been making a huge difference in many lives for years. If your charity budget is small, you can still work with the organizations I listed above, just on a more modest scale: the honeybee gift at Heifer costs $30, a share of a trees package is $10, the minimum amount for a Kiva loan is $25. And while I am not a Christian and do not agree with everything Samaritan's Purse says and does, I gladly support their Operation Christmas Child program, where you can send a gift box to a child across the world for $30. Another venue for small, targeted donations is supporting American Troops and their families. Here is a fantastic source that takes you to all sorts of organizations providing various volunteer services to the service members and their loved ones. If you have no spare money, but know you have stuff you can donate off to where it will do some good - it's time to organize the mother of all cleanings and sortings. Considering how much stuff we accumulate, even when we are on a very limited budget, it is bound to be a sizable chore. Consider making it a fun day with your kids or with your friends - with maybe a potluck buffet to munch on through the course of the day. You can sort stuff into boxes and simply take it to Goodwill - that works. If there is a homeless shelter in your area, consider contacting them and finding out what they need - there is always a shortage of blankets, sheets, towels, toiletries, just some very basic things. If you are ready to part with some of your books or DVDs and want to make sure they go to where they will be appreciated, consider contacting a local library, a school, or hooking up with Books for Soldiers. Almost every household has leftover home improvement supplies - tiles, paint, brushes, nails, extra tools, etc. Such things are always in demand at Habitat for Humanity ReStore centers. If you have nothing to donate off, but have the energy and reliable means of transportation, consider donating your time. Someone recently complained in an article, that soup kitchens are filled to the brim with volunteers at holiday time, but are completely deserted at other times. Well, here you go - turn it around. People need to fed year-round, not just during the holidays. Become that person who can be counted on regardless of the season. If you are well and truly in dire straits and have not a penny of spare change to give, nothing to donate, and no means (or health) to get around to volunteer sites, there are still things you can do. First of all - do not be afraid to ask for help yourself. There is nothing weak or demeaning about it. I wish I knew that when I was broke and hungry. It may not seem like it, but the world is a much nicer place than it appears with a lot more fantastic generous people in it than you may think. Speak up. Someone out there wants to pull you up and help you get on your feet. With computers being pretty much a necessity these days (both for work and school), most families have them, even those in the low income bracket. If you are on line, you can send e-cards to service members; you can sign and share petitions supporting benefit programs for people who are struggling - people like you; you can join affiliate programs with book sellers and promote your favorite authors, while making a little bit of affiliate revenue on the side; you can put together some fun graphics and positive messages and create a bunch of stuff with them on Zazzle; the last but not the least, you can post a funny picture of your cat or a great photo or a poem on Facebook and make someone smile, feel inspired, and think. And that is not so little. Happy holidays!
Monday, December 2, 2013
FDA is stepping in. On the other hand, this reveals two problems: 1. Too many people don't do enough on their own to minimize trans-fats in their diet, and so the government has to step in and curb it for them. 2. Too many inexpensive easy-to-make foods (that might be all a lot of people can afford) include trans-fats. Once again, instead of food manufacturers taking responsibility to come up with healthier, more affordable recipes, the government has to intervene and tell them to do so. This is intriguing... I might try it out... - Heat your room for 8 pence per day. We were at Joseph A Bank just today and saw the sign for this - awesome idea - Uniform of Success Program. Adding a step aerobics routine to my morning. Nothing major - just 2-3 songs to get the blood pumping. If you have something that would work as a step - a sturdy flat crate or some such - feel free to join me. I am using a small platform my husband made many years ago to mount floor lights at various events we used to help set up. Just received an e-mail about this from a former co-worker who is originally from Bulgaria. Disabilities have been ignored for many years in Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union. So, it's great to see that organizations improving the quality of life for people with disabilities have come such a long way in the last 20 years. What one person can do. When people pitch in to help others - a powerful message. Public service announcements Recycle in style. Shop vintage at Nifty Thrifty. Mill Village Farm. We need more of these. Come and join us on Facebook.
Wednesday, November 27, 2013
Thursday, November 21, 2013
We all know about the circle of life (don't you start breaking into song, Sir Elton!). However, another shape that is very useable when considering various situations is a triangle. There are at least two triangles that most people are familiar with. One is for fire, demonstrating that the three components necessary to produce fire are fuel, oxygen, and heat. Another one is for project management, showing the interconnection between the three crucial factors that drive any project - time, cost, and resources.
Friday, November 1, 2013
A photo series of one week's groceries in different parts of the world. Excellent summary on what we can grow in the winter and still enjoy some fresh greens and veggies. The Landshare program - sadly this is UK only, but maybe there's something similar in the States? I know I have many nature lovers here in general, and wolf lovers specifically. If that is the case - this book is for you. We have a copy, and it is absolutely beyond marvelous. A word from our resident Guinea Pig, "Natural guinea pig toys!!!! Forget those plastic thingies and mirrors and fleece tubes. Weee don't need things to play with. What makes MEEEEE happy??? TONS of timothy hay. I can make a pigloo and a tunnel and hidey house -- AND I can eat the hay!!!! Hay keeps me warm in winter and cool in summer, too. And it's good for me. It's got vitamins and roughage, and I can eat all I want without worrying about getting chunky, AND I can wear down my teeth. Rodent teeth grow continuously, you know. We need wear them down or else they get long and cause problems." Got the latest Heifer catalog couple of days ago. Of course, instantly had fantasies of doing $15,000 to buy goats for a village, or $5,000 to do the Heifer ark. Unfortunately, not at this point - not yet. But I am definitely doing one of the easier ones - the chickens, the geese, or the rabbits. Public service announcements A source of medicinal herbs. Information about local incentives, rules and regulations for using solar. And a very happy Halloween to you all. http://simplemom.net/chocolate/