I've always loved school. Back-to-school was my favorite time of year when I was a kid and I always approached the first day of school with excitement. As I prepare (physically, with school supplies, and emotionally, with tissues handy) to send my first-born to kindergarten in less than three weeks (omg), I've obviously got school on the brain.
For all the families getting ready to go back to school or go for the first time, or maybe if you're homeschooling and need gear: Overstock has partnered with the fabulous PBS KIDS (which is on quite a bit at my house) to create the Overstock Kid Zone.
There are several categories within the shop that include products for school (supplies, desks, and watches to keep older kids on schedule), artistic expression (easels, paint supplies, and craft kits), learning through play (tablets, science activities, play kitchens, dress up clothes), and kids' rooms (beds, storage, and decor).
The Kid Zone page also links directly to PBS KIDS videos and activities families can do together. Best of all, a portion of the proceeds from the sale of products purchased from the Kid Zone goes to support PBS KIDS and its mission of educating children. I know as long as my daughter has access to Peg+Cat and Plum Landing for a long time to come, she'll be happy. And since some students, like my godchildren, have already started back to school: I wish learners of all ages a happy and enriching year!
images via overstock
There are all kinds of resolutions that can be made when the calendar flips to a new year. And while trying to improve ourselves is always worthy, I think the best goals are the ones that involve helping others and making our communities or world a better place to live in.
On Serena & Lily's website, I found the World Repair Kit. Inside the kit is a guidebook, stamps, stickers, and a passport to track progress. It is geared for children, but also for families to work together. The kit fosters engagement with the world around us and gives children a sense of agency and lets them know that they can help to make meaningful change. Throughout the guidebook, kids are encouraged to believe in themselves and to create goals to work toward.
The guidebook's illustrations are graphic and fun, and clearly illustrate big concepts in easy to understand ways. I love this kit because it empowers kids to take on serious issues in age-appropriate language and also offers them ways to help that play to their individual interests or talents: Issues discussed include homelessness, environmental conservation, protecting endangered species, hands-on ways to help those in need of clean water, shelter, food, education, and health care, and being a good citizen of the world. Holding a clothing drive or bake sale, creating friendship bracelets to sell, and hosting a world repair party are just some of the kid-friendly ideas suggested.
100% of the profits from the kit go to the Serena & Lily Foundation which funds youth initiatives worldwide.
Though the kit is recommended and most appropriate for kids ages 8 and up, it's never too early to teach children about the world and our place in it, and our responsibility for making it better. My non-personal goal this year is to do more volunteering because I really miss it, and I want to get my four-year-old daughter involved. My parents involved us in service projects at a young age and I have no doubt that it played a significant role in my lifelong interest in volunteering and affected my perspective on the world.
I distinctly remember going with my parents to load bags for a food bank to deliver, my earliest memory of volunteering. Since then I've helped package meals, cook meals, serve meals, organized a toy drive, helped shop for winter necessities for families, all for various organizations, but I know I can, and should, do so much more.
Do you volunteer? Do you involve your kids? I'd love to hear about the causes that matter to you!
images via serena & lily
I hope everyone had a great weekend. I wasn't originally going to take a break from posting, but then I decided to give myself the days off, especially since I was in a temporary lull from deadlines for my freelance work. I felt guilty about it, but I'm glad I did. We spent a day at the state fair, cooked out twice, swam, and had a good time. My mom even made homemade funnel cake, yum!
But school starts tomorrow and it is already jeans and long-sleeve weather here today, though I hope that doesn't last.
Most of you probably know about the brand OXO, and you probably have some of their kitchen and storage solutions in your house right now; I do. Of course, they do more, but one of the best things OXO does is partner with Cookies for Kids' Cancer, a non-profit organization founded by two of their employees, Gretchen and Larry Witt.
Many of us in magazines know Gretchen from her PR work for OXO. I was working at O Magazine in 2007 when her then-two-year-old son Liam was diagnosed with a rare cancer. At Traditional Home, we had just months before honored Gretchen (as a Classic Woman Award recipient for her work raising money and awareness for pediatric cancer), when Liam lost his courageous battle in January 2011.
When starting the treatment process with their son, the Witts were surprised to learn that despite pediatric cancer being the #1 disease killer of children, there was a significant lack of funding for research and development of safer, more effective treatments. They dedicated themselves to raising money for the cause, and have done so through huge bake sales. The foundation provides the tools and support for fundraising bake sales of all sizes and their own gourmet cookies are for sale at their website.
September is Childhood Cancer Awareness Month and OXO is partnering with Cookies for Kids' Cancer for their annual program: for each specially-marked OXO baking product sold, 25 cents goes to Cookies for Kids' Cancer as part of its pledge to donate up to $100,000.
I know it's a little early to think about the holidays, but if you plan on upgrading or replacing any of your baking tools prior to cookie-baking season, please consider the specially-marked OXO Good Grips products.
I am thankful to have two currently healthy daughters, but I know others who are, or have been, where the Witts were, including a friend of mine. I was honored to meet the unfailingly positive Liam, and his parents are a constant inspiration. Each year, in honor of my daughters' birthdays, I make a donation to Cookies for Kids' Cancer.
Please be a "Good Cookie" and participate! Click here to buy online.
images via OXO
#checkout this blog with shop-themed puns
© 2014 | mrkt