Monday, December 1, 2014

Sunshine for Seniors

Every year, I want to do more, help more, during the year but more so during the Christmas season. Usually I end up giving money and not doing any actual 'work' because I don't know what to do. But now now that I have kids, I really want to do things with them, let them see that there are those in need, let them know what it feels like to help others.

We took part in Operation Christmas Child this year, and that was great. Our group completed over 120 shoe boxes. My boys took part in the packing party. But still, they didn't "get it". The boxes were filled and shipped "somewhere". At 5 they are too young to totally get it without seeing who is getting the 'gift'. 

I thought about our neighborhood. Then I saw this video about seniors in our neighborhood and cried. 


I wanted to do something for these people. I couldn't solve poverty but I could help put together some stockings for some of the locals. I mentioned it to some friends in a lunch time DNA group. Two were going to GNH that day and said they would ask if they knew a local group or event. And wham, did they ever! When I heard that there was going to be a Christmas lunch for 120 seniors at first I balked then I remembered I'm not alone in this. 

Presenting the first (and likely not last) Sunshine for Seniors

Kids will sing while handing out the stockings; this will help bridge the gap between two age groups often pitted against each other for community space and resources. It is also going to give a face to the work the kids are doing in putting these stockings together.

The stockings need to be stuffed with valuable items such as gift cards, lotions, and handmade items that seniors will use. We have brainstormed some things like
  • Fun/Traditional: chocolates, hard candies, mandarin oranges, candles, small ornaments
  • Practical: slippers, gloves, socks, soaps, I've got between 120 and 180 Avon items including lip balm, hand cream, lotion, perfume etc.
  • Handmade: anything! We had this amazing donation of over 60 items has already come in 
  • Giftcards: grocery and coffee places. We are not going to solve the poverty problem but we can help with the loneliness. For example, McDonalds has a seniors coffee, free refills and the ones by us don't enforce the time limit. To us a coffee is a way to get through the morning, to a senior its a way to be less lonely, to meet friends, make friends and just get out of the apartment for a couple of hours.
  • Cards: We're hoping to get 120 handmade cards, or at least hand colored by kids cards!
We've had enough donations come in to buy the actual 120 stockings we're going to stuff, but have a long way to go to fill them.

If you would like to make a financial contribution to help us purchase whatever is needed to fill the stockings that would be greatly appreciated. You can donate online right here. Follow the prompts. You can get a Canadian tax receipt.

If you are connected with a business that would like to donate to this worthy cause, by all means, see if they will help out!

Anyone who is local (Vancouver), there are links to printable flyers and contact information at Sunshine for Seniors. If you are local, we are also taking donations for items to put in the stockings.
And if you can't help with items to fill the stocking or money for the gift cards, please spread the word to those who might be able to!



Sunday, November 30, 2014

Cyber Monday Weekend Sale - Lovable Labels

Lovable Labels is having a Cyber Monday Weekend SALE!!!! Along with the deals themselves, there is FREE standard shipping on all USA and Canada orders.

Big Deal 1 - 50% off Slimline Labels
I didn't use these labels that much until this year. Now they are a staple and I need more. I needed to label every container and lid for school, every single container and lid, their water bottles, their thermos, all of it. We went through these fast. These are very multipurpose in our home and go on containers and lids with areas too small for Sticker Labels.

Bid Deal 2 - 50% off Sticker Labels 
I have always used these and continue to use them. I use them on anything where they fit that leaves the house with a kid. Heck I use these on my stuff that I take to the office so I remember which blue container is mine when the dishwasher finished with them (yes, they are dishwasher safe)

Big Deal 3 - $5 off Stocking Stuffers
Now we get to the first of the fun holiday products. I love these sets. These are 3 sets of labels for only $10. They are perfect for parents, perfect for grandparents, great for those who do gift exchanges and more.  Each set comes with 6 Sticker Labels, 2 Shoe Labels, 8 Press n' Stick Clothing Dots and 1 Mini-Metal Tag.

Big Deal 4 - $5 off Santa Sampler Gift Pack
This is the other cute holiday product that is part of the sale. You get 15 Sticker Labels, 40 Slimline Labels and 24 Press n' Stick Clothing Dots.

So as you can see there are several options on sale. You can get one or get many. Stickers don't expire. And really, getting these on sale is just a smart move. Add in free shipping and what are you waiting for, head over to Lovable Labels now and get shopping!

Sale ends Monday Dec 1 @11:59 PST so don't miss out.

With each option, you get to chose from a variety of images and colors to make the labels totally personal.


Seriously by now if you haven't heard about how much I love these labels you must be living under a rock! But I will tell you again of a recent and real use we had:
I live in rainy Vancouver, we have umbrellas, even the kids. Nathan has a cute camouflage umbrella bought at (insert big name store  here).  I put a Sticker Label on the handle. One day last week, I picked them up from after school care and Nathan was all excited that he had "found" his umbrella. Um, but it wasn't lost. I asked him to show me and sure enough, it looked the same, but lacked the label. We brought it home and I showed him his. The other went back to lost and found and he spent the next two days telling anyone who would listen about the mix up. Now he checks everything to see if it has his name in it before picking it up.

We got adorable Penguins similar to these last year. The boys were excited to get their winter clothes out and check the labels to see which coat was whos.


Thursday, November 6, 2014

Chemical Free Deodorizers

It is a long slow process but I've been working on making our home chemical free. One of the best things I did, was join Young Living, but more on that later. 

This week I opened the kitchen garbage and p.u.. Sure I could have changed the garbage but the bag was still mostly empty (and it was raining!) So I thought about my options, and decided to experiment. 

Baking soda is so often used for odor absorption and nullification, so I reached for that. Then what to mix it with. After some checking around the apartment I arrived on the ingredients below.


Salt is often thought and sometimes used to absorb moisture. I had two choices Epson salts and sea salt. I picked both. For essential oils I picked Young Living Lemon and Purification. Lemon has such a 'clean' smell. Purification is used to neutralize odors so it was a perfect choice.

I played around with the proportions. In the end this is what I used.

1/2 cup Baking Soda
2 tbsp Epson Salt
2 tbsp Sea Salt
2 drop Purification Oil
1 drop Lemon Oil
Water

For the water, I started with 1 tbsp then slowly added more until I got to the consistency I wanted. The picture below is what I was aiming for, something that looks like a powder but when pressed, stays together. 

I used a 1/2 tbsp measuring spoon. I packed each one full then popped it out and put it down to dry. I let them dry out overnight. In the morning, they were quite hard, and didn't crumble when pressed them. 

I put one in the kitchen garbage can, one in the bathroom and another in the refrigerator. That was this morning and now, 12 hours later, there is no more bad odor, just the scent of lemon. That is the other thing, I used less of the Lemon Oil but it has such a strong (and to me) clean smell. I'm really happy with the outcome. 


I've put the rest in a sealed container and figure as long as they are sealed they should last a couple months (we'll see). 

I love the ingredients are all non-toxic. And while I would not recommend eating them, I'm not worried if one of the kids takes a lick. Can you say the same for most commercial deodorizers? 

They were dirt cheap to make. I think for the volume used, the sea salt was the most expensive ingredient and I'm sure it could have all been Epson Salt. But wait, aren't Essential Oils expensive? Yes and no. They have a price as you invests in them but they go so far! I used 1 drop of Lemon Oil and a 15ml bottle is 17 cdn retail (less wholesale) and has at least 250 drops. Doing the math, that single drop cost me  0.07. For the Purification, it came to a whopping 0.13. Overall, I think all of the 19 deodorizing came to less than 1.00 to make.  0.05 each. 


And that is retail. But who pays retail? I joined Young Living as a Wholesale member. This means I get up to 25% off. I'm excited and want to tell you so much more, but for now I'll point you to my Young Living Information page My Family Health and my Facebook page Healthy Oils Healthy Family Healthy Home  As I do more around home to make it a healthier place, I will share more and more about how Young Living has helped us on that journey. For now though, if you have questions, contact me through this blog or either of the links above.