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Wednesday, April 30, 2008

WE MADE IT!



$1000

What a Month!

Wow. April is almost over and I'm ready to wrap up Autism Awareness month here on the blog. I've been extremely overwhelmed at the generosity of my family, friends, and blog readers (which most happen to fall in the first two categories). I know I shouldn't be surprised, though. I surround myself with the best people!

I want to give you some stats before I announce the final raffle winner.

46 individuals donated
8 people blogged about autism and referred people for donations in that way (some more than once!)
15 people attended the Open House where we raised some more money
6 people donated raffle prizes and/or giveaways to help with the cause
Our total as of this morning (I'm still waiting for a few donations from Carl's work) is:

$920

Look what we accomplished? I'm sure by the time the walk rolls around (May 24th) I will have reached the $1000 mark. I'm going to leave the donation button up in the sidebar until that time and I will also be having a few days where I will have my etsy sales count towards the fundraiser. I will let you know about that, of course. But, for all intents and purposes, the month long begging for money has ended. Fundraising is never an easy task but I can tell you, that when you're passionate about the cause it becomes a whole lot easier.

The raffle winner for the Stampin' Up products is....

Megan in NM!

I also drew for one last giveaway, too. The winner is... Jill M. She will be getting an awesome green appletini shower gel.

THANK YOU EVERYONE!

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Live Idol Blogging

Here is a reminder of how I thought the night should go:

Brooke--Hello Again
David Archuleta--September Morn
Syesha--Brother Love's Traveling Salvation Show
David Cook--Love on the Rocks (a rocked out version) or America
Jason--Soolaimon

Here are the songs that I thought they would choose for themselves:

Brooke--Hello Again
David Archuleta--I Am, I Said
Syesha-- You Don't Bring Me Flowers
David Cook--Girl, You'll be a Woman Soon
Jason--Red, Red Wine

I think some of them should have gone with my recommendations. The first round is over and I wasn't too impressed. The second round is halfway through. My comments are in with the songs.
Here are the songs they chose:

Brooke--I'm a Believer (I don't think anyone should have picked this song but I think she did it as well as anyone else could have), I Am, I Said (LOVED IT!)
David Archuleta--Sweet Caroline (he should have done September Morn, seriously!), America (no, no, no...so not right for him--the judges are crazy)
Syesha-- Hello Again (should have been Brooke at the piano singing this), Thank the Lord for the Nighttime (okay, I guess)
David Cook--I'm Alive (should have rocked out a more well known song), All I Really Need is You (not bad, but I didn't like it as much as the judges)---the more I think about his song choices, the more I realize that he sang these for his brother (AC--did you notice his jacket and his guitar?) that is dying.
Jason--Forever in Blue Jeans (so bad!), September Morn (even worse! David A. totally should have done this song!)

Long live Neil!!!

Dear Blog,

I only have about $100 more to raise to reach the $1000 mark.


There is ONE more day to enter the raffle for the $50 Stampin' Up gift certificate and other SU goodies.

I know I can make it. But, I know I need your help. Please spread the word!

Monday, April 28, 2008

Diamond Week

It's no secret that I love me some Neil Diamond. After that 2005 concert I said I probably didn't need to see him in concert again. I lied. I can't help myself. It has been 3 years! He's coming to Nebraska in July. I'm considering going by myself. I'm definitely okay with that. I don't know anyone around here that loves him enough to want to go (and if I do go, I'm splurging for the floor seats). It is just that it will be two weeks before I go to NYC and I'm going to be having plenty of fun there. Oh, the dilemma! Can I really pass up an opportunity to see Neil? We shall see...

Tomorrow night they are singing Neil Diamond songs on American Idol. I have mixed emotions about this. I am anxious to see what they sing but there is no way they can compare with the MASTER. It will be fun to see what Neil has to say about them. Here are the songs that I would pick for each idol:

Brooke--Hello Again
David Archuleta--September Morn
Syesha--Brother Love's Traveling Salvation Show
David Cook--Love on the Rocks (a rocked out version) or America
Jason--Soolaimon

Here are the songs that I think they will choose for themselves:

Brooke--Hello Again
David Archuleta--I Am, I Said
Syesha-- You Don't Bring Me Flowers
David Cook--Girl, You'll be a Woman Soon
Jason--Red, Red Wine


Friday morning, Neil will be on the Today show for their concert series. Set your DVRs. Or not. You know I'll have it!

WINNER!

I drew a winner for the Beauticontrol products. Before I announce who won the drawing, I thought I'd give you a little insight onto how all of this goes down...and remind you that you still have a few more days to donate to get into the next raffle (if you've already donated, you're still entered for this prize).

In the beginning of the month I started keeping track of all that had donated. I put them in order from when their donation was received. When I started to do the raffles, I assigned them numbers according to how many "tickets" they received (every $2 increment--rounded up if they donated an odd number). We have just over 40 contributors which equal just over 300 tickets. Then I use a random number generator to see which numbers pop up. This is what I got this morning.

Here are your random numbers:
310 307 110

Timestamp: 2008-04-28 11:57:52 UTC

The first two numbers were for the same person. This person has already won a giveaway...but not a raffle so she is still eligible.


Am I just dragging this out a bit this morning?

The winner is WENDY! Congrats!

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Project 365

04/21/08

The kids were out of school on Monday so we went with "the girls" to get some more of the Lincoln Safari clues.

04/22/08
Just another shot from our Earth Day celebration making paper beads.

04/23/08
Some pink converse booties sent off to a new home.

04/24/08
More cards. Getting ready for the open house.

04/25/08
One of the "areas" in my house. We had a great time and I consider it a success. Come back tomorrow for the winner of one of the raffles!

04/26/08Kerry came to visit!!!! We ate Mexican food, sampled a lot of licorice, and bought some matching bling! Check out that awesome ring on her finger! We got it from Ten Thousand Villages. It was such a good time! Saying goodbye wasn't too difficult knowing that I'll see her again in just over a month at Girls Weekend 2008 in KANSAS CITY!!! I'll be blogging about that in the next day or two.

04/27/08

Check it out! We hung our bathroom mirror. We did it this afternoon. I think it looks pretty nice. Now I want to change out our outlets because they are off white. Probably not going to happen, though. Next on the bathroom list is to finish the vanity (we are putting something on the top), change out the sink and faucet, and then finally...the floors!

What a week!

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Updated Tally

The Open House isn't over yet and as of last night we are at $836!!!! Most of my "big ticket" items from the Open House sold out yesterday so I'm debating whether or not to make some more for today. I guess we'll see how this morning goes. I now have NO DOUBT that we will make the new $1K goal before the walk. Everyone's generosity has been so overwhelming. Thank you so much!

On a totally unrelated subject...I just have to say that ROBIN HOOD starts again tonight!

Friday, April 25, 2008

Shangri-la



Have you ever heard of Orange, Texas? It is the home of the newly opened Shangri La Gardens and Nature Center. Located in the southeast corner of Texas (near the Louisiana border), close to Port Arthur and the Gulf of Mexico, it is a great location for "green" garden. This is only the 50th project in the whole world to be awarded the U.S. Green Building Council's Platinum Certification for LEED®-NC. That means that this site has reached the highest standard for green building and performance. Most of the structures were built from reclaimed bricks and even their parking lot was made from asphalt taken from a local street before it was repaved. Hurricane Rita hit the site when they were in the beginning phases of construction but they used that as an opportunity and salvaged many of the downed trees to use in their plans.

Their website is full of pictures from this beautiful area. It is also a well organized site explaining many of the programs offered there. They have workshops for teachers, a summer science camp for kids called EcoRangers, and in November they will have an Orchid Festival. This very weekend they are celebrating Earth Week and Jack Hanna will be there giving a demonstration with his animals. I'm sure kids of all ages would find something of interest here. What a great example of how we can use our resources wisely for the benefit of everyone.

I really wish we lived closer. I can see how my family would really like this place. I'm sure Caleb and Eva would love to explore the Shape garden or the Color garden. I know Caleb would enjoy the Line Garden and the Texture Garden. A lot of my readers aren't too far away...maybe you could consider a trip to Orange and the Shangri-La Botanical Gardens.



OPEN HOUSE!












The Open House is this weekend!

Drop by anytime April 25, 2008 3pm-7pm

April 26, 2008 4pm-5pm


Anywhere from 50%-100% (depends on items purchased) of the money raised goes towards Caleb's Team. I will also be accepting donations for the raffle.

For the out of towners, I'm going to be adding most of the items that don't sell to my etsy store and having a week in May designated for the fundraiser where a percentage of sales will go to Caleb's Team. Of course, I'll let you know via the blog/email.


THANKS EVERYONE!

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Who R U?



Just a little food for thought for myself today. Please excuse the indulgence.

I'm working really hard on trying to figure out exactly who I am. What defines me? Do I really "get" me? When you strip off my "titles" (Carl's wife, Caleb & Eva's mom, daughter, sister, friend, etc...), what is left? What kind of person am I and/or what kind of person do I want to be?

Anyone else experiencing an identity crisis at the moment?

Raffle still going on HERE.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

More Raffle Prizes!!!!

Living with autism is something we do around here 24/7. It isn't easy but there are many joys that come from it as well. Could your 20 month old sing all sorts of jingles and recognize stores by their signage? That's a pretty good skill, let me tell you. He'd see a Subway sign and say, "Subway! Eat Fresh!". Menard's was the first one we knew he could recognize. He saw an ad from the paper and said, "Nards". Good times. It also helps when I can't remember all the words from any tv show we've ever seen. Caleb remembers. He also knows the names of almost every single person that goes to our church. He says hi to them whenever he sees them (sometimes---okay, most of the time---right in the middle of services).

We have passed one fundraising goal and now I can't be stopped! I've got to reach that $1000 mark. I know it can be done. Caleb's Walk for Autism Team is a way for us to generate awareness and funds for Autism Speaks.

To sweeten the deal for those that donate, I've added another raffle prize. Each $2 donation gets your name in the pot for this:
$50 Gift Certificate to Stampin' Up (redeemable through me)
2008 Spring/Summer idea book/catalog
Brand new Stampin' Pastels
New Stampin' Scrub
New Stampin' Around handle (regular size)
New Stampin' Around ink cartridge (Pixie Pink)
In my best Jeff Probst impression, "Worth playing for?".

Use this button to donate!







All donations are still eligible for the Beauticontrol raffle as well. That drawing will be held on April 28th. The drawing for the Stampin' Up package will be April 30th.

Please pass this along to anyone you think would be interested in winning these great products and/or helping out for a great cause!


THANK YOU!

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Junk Mail Bead Tutorial


In honor of Earth Day, I thought I'd do a little craft with the girls today (Whitney & Eva) involving some items that I can almost guarantee you have in your house. We made paper beads and made them into little bracelets. However, the beads can be used for all sorts of things and you can get as fancy as you want---think scrapbook paper rolled up and finished with a clear lacquer and mixed with glass beads for a funky bracelet or bookmark.

Here is our tutorial.

Supplies: junk mail (magazine paper, brochures, etc...)
toothpicks (we couldn't find ours so we used matches)
Elmer's glue
scissors
string

1.
Pick out your paper. We are using some paper cut from one of those playground brochures.

2.
Get your stick.

3.

Cut your paper into triangles. The longer the triangles, the thicker the bead. Experiment with the size you like best. Then, starting with the largest side, start rolling them (right side down) onto the stick.

4.
When you get to the end, put some glue along the tip and then keep rolling. You want to have a little excess so you can roll it across the rest of the bead. Your fingers will get a little messy---that's what crafting is all about! Using ModPodge would be a better option if you're making beads for more than just play.


5.
Here are some of my finished beads. You can then string them onto string, yarn, or beading cord. We just used some old crochet thread I had lying around (turquoise/silver...oooh la la). The girls loved them!

What's in Your Wallet?

Today's Talk About Tuesday is about what is in your purse. I'm trying not to be shamed by the amazing organized purse described by The Lazy Organizer. Actually, my purse isn't in too bad of shape. Changing purses regularly really helps me keep it clean (er). It works for me. Here is my bag for today.


Contents: wallet
checkbook
planner
coupon organizer
sunglasses (in case)
broken glasses (in case)
a paper telling me what new frames to buy at Lenscrafters
iPod
fairy toy
hair bows/bands
free magazine from grocery store
assorted pens
one used tissue
Caleb's "power card" (it says stuff like I'm a great kid and I won't beat up my family)
some papers from church


When I put everything back in my purse, this is how it looks. I try to keep room in there to add a small organizing bag with my knitting. I also have to add a diaper or two depending on who I have with me and where we are going. Like I said, it works for me. I keep my keys in a pocket by the door and my cellphone is usually with me. When I'm out and about I keep those two items in my pockets. They only go in my purse if I don't have any pockets (rare). Then I usually forget they are in there and freak out. Aaaah. Good times.

Don't forget that the raffle is still going on. Over $100 worth of Beauticontrol products is up for grabs. And, just because I can...I'll be adding another great raffle prize into the mix (like a $50 Stampin' Up gift certificate, some Stampin' Pastels, a Stampin' Scrub, and some other goodies!). I should be posting about that later today or tomorrow.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Discovery Toys

Discovery Toys is a company that has partnered itself with the Princeton Child Development Institute to raise money and provide support to kids with autism. Have you seen their new catalog? The stacking blocks are the best $11 I've ever spent on a toy, that's for sure! They still get played with. They are also having a fundraiser where you can buy a puzzle piece for $1 and it will be part of the Guinness Book of World Records as the largest jigsaw puzzle. How fun is that? If you need to buy some toys---consider purchasing from Discovery Toys* and helping out kids with autism in that way.


The raffle is still going on. You have one more week to donate to be included in that drawing. For the local people, my open house will be Friday April 25th from 3pm-7pm (drop in anytime) and again on Saturday April 26th from 4pm-5pm (just drop in). There will be homemade items from myself as well as a few other people for sale. Anywhere from 50%-100% (depending on the items) of all sales will go to our fundraiser. I gave my knitting group a sneak peak at the jewelry donated by arbee. Over half of it is gone now and it raised another $75! WOW! I haven't done the latest tally yet but I know for sure we are over $650. Will I make it to $1000? Please consider spreading the word on the raffle. Let's get the number up!

THANKS!

*This post is just my own opinion about the company and I have no specific ties with any demonstrator. I'm just a happy customer.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Project 365

My pictures this week are mainly card projects I've worked on each day.

04/14/08
04/15/08The Lincoln Zoo opened today! We went and did our Lincoln Safari rubbing.

04/16/08
My organizing bags are put to good use---storing my knitting projects!

04/17/08

04/18/08

04/19/08

04/20/08
I'm sporting a new haircut. I think it is pretty cute.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

SMART Habit Saturday



I must admit that I'm doing really well on my habit this month. I am extremely motivated to do it. Go figure? I've been working on making some kind of craft every day. This is for my sanity as well as for the Open House I'm having to help raise money for Autism Awareness Month. Yes, I have to mention it. Check out this post to find out about the latest raffle. I'm on my way to raising $1,000 for Autism Speaks. Last night I dreamt that Brad Pitt donated because he loves my blog. Brad Pitt? If you're out there? I need about $400 more to make it to my goal!


Anyway, I have been on a roll these past couple of days working on cards. Having a clean craft room sure does help (thanks, SMART habit Saturday for that one, too!). Not only am I making a bunch of cards, I'm cleaning up after each different card. I put away all the ink, punches, paper, etc... Then, I start fresh when I work on a different design. Seems like a no brainer but I've never worked like that before. I just let it pile on top of pile until I as done and then I might put it away later. It is probably no wonder my craft room looked like it did!

My husband is away this weekend on a scout campout so while the kids were asleep, I didn't have anyone or anything to distract me (besides my self) so I knocked out a good pile of cards and tags. I think in the past 2 days I've made over 50 cards and about that many tags. I LOVE IT!

Now if only I were so motivated to do laundry.

Friday, April 18, 2008

100 Day Kit

In late February, Autism Speaks unveiled a new 100 Day Kit. This kit is specifically designed for families that have just received a diagnosis of autism within the last 6 months. It is personalized with information pertaining to the age of your child. It is also available online (not personalized) for anyone to view. This wasn't available at the time of Caleb's diagnosis but I can see how it is such a valuable resource. When you first find out (if you're like me), you want to get all the information you can and work out a plan for action. It is so well put together and contains a wealth of information. Even now that I'm a few years into this journey, I have found new resources and tips in this guide.

If any of you know someone in the early stages of diagnosis, send them the information about he 100 Day Kit. If you don't, file that information away in your brain because odds are---you'll know someone that will go through this soon enough.

I'd like to think that the money we have raised so far goes directly to things like this kit.

I'm taking donations until the walk (May 24th) but will be closing the raffle on April 28th. THANK YOU!

Thursday, April 17, 2008

To Infinity and Beyond!

We've reached my personal goal of $500. In fact, we blew by it and it is only the 17th!

We are at $572.

WOW!

THANKS!

AMAZING!

LET'S KEEP GOING!

Dare I say we can reach $1000? I think we might.

In honor of passing the goal I am giving away a rag quilt made by Gigi. She made one for Eva when she was born and we LOVE it! She said she will use fun fabric but you'll need to be a little patient because she won't be able to make it and send it off for at least a month. Even though she has enough to deal with in her own life right now, she wanted to be able to help me out this month with the giveaways and fundraiser. Thanks, Gigi!

And the winner is....TIFFANY! Congrats, Tiffany! I'm sending your address along to Gigi and she'll send it to you when it is ready.

Because I'm feeling super good today about what we've accomplished, I've got another thing to giveaway. Some Pineapple Daquiri Cooling Foot Creme goes to LAUREN! Congrats, Lauren. I'll get it to you this Saturday!

There is still time to enter the raffle for the Beauticontrol products.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

And the Winners Are...

The winners are all the kids and parents that are going to benefit from the $468 raised (so far!) by my blog readers. I have no doubt we'll pass the $500 mark soon since I have all these great Beauticontrol products to raffle. I will do that drawing on April 28th.

I guess you want to know who won the bag and yarn?


I was so nervous for everyone before I did the random number generator! I wanted everyone to be able to win the prize. I think it was just meant to be----she got her first granddaughter yesterday so go and congratulate her (or at least go and see the pics of the cute, cute baby!).

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

You Are Beautiful!

We're at the halfway point of Autism Awareness Month and Caleb gives you all a Thumbs Up! We have raised over $400 so far. I'm so grateful to all of you that have taken the time to make a donation in honor of my son for Autism Speaks. This month has been so full of blessings for our family. We've been able to see some major improvements in Caleb's behavior and he is really starting to take off with reading and writing. He's got some great skills that will serve him well in our neurotypical world. A lot of kids on the spectrum might never have that chance. There are so many ways that autism can present itself---it is a spectrum disorder so there are many varying degrees. Early intervention is key in helping our kids (and parents) learn how they tick (or try to, at least). Autism Speaks does a wonderful job in getting the word out, funding research, and lobbying for better medical coverage. Did you know that in most states little to no therapies are funded by insurance? Did you know that there are more kids with autism than those with cancer and diabetes combined? There is really so much to be done and all of you have been helping. That means so much to me! Thank you!

You have until I wake up in the morning on April 16th to get your donations in to qualify for the raffle including the bag and the yarn. I've got another great prize that will be raffled off as well. All previous donations will count as will all donations starting today. Each $2 donation will get you one entry into the drawing. Here is what you will get if you are picked...
1. Pineapple Daquiri Cooling Foot Creme
2. Ozone Therapy Hydrating Spray
3. Vanilla Latte Body Mousse Foaming Cleanser (2)
4. Ambrosia Fragranced Body Mist
5. Moroccan Mist Room & Linen Spray
6. Green Appletini Shower Gel
7. Orange Cream Moisturizing Body Souffle
8. Lemon Meringue Bath Sugar Crystals
9. Strawberry Daquiri Sugar Bath

These items were graciously donated by Pamela Webb for BeautiControl. I met her last year at the Autism Family Network vendor fair and had an awesome spa party (facials and foot rubs!) with her.

You can click on this button or the one on my sidebar to donate and be entered into the drawing.








Pamela also gave me some extra products to giveaway so I thought I'd give away a Green Appletini Shower Gel right now! To be eligible for the giveaways all you have to do is comment on any post (the more comments the more entries), blog about autism, or donate.

AUDRA!!! Audra was really meant to win this one, I guess. I always choose 2 numbers with the random number generator in case the first one has already won a giveaway this month (you're still eligible to win the raffle--that's separate). Both numbers had Audra's name!

Let's see how quickly we can pass that $500 mark! I'll keep you all posted.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Raffle Update

We have passed the $400 mark! Can you all believe it? This includes all donations received since April 1st!

The raffle is still going on! You have until tomorrow to get your donations in to be considered for this particular drawing. I've got another big gift to raffle off during the second part of the month (about $100 worth of Beauticontrol products!). Please check out Pam's BeautiControl website and see if there are some things you can't live without. I did a blog post about their self tanner last year. If you don't win the bag/yarn, you'll still be entered for a chance to win any of my other giveaways plus the raffle prizes.

I don't know if I blogged about this last year, but there is a group that organizes group cruises with Royal Caribbean and they are called AutismOnTheSeas. This sounds like such a great idea. Imagine a vacation where there are activities and staff trained to work with your child? Imagine a vacation where you would be able to get some free time from your kids and know that they are well taken care of? Sounds like the perfect vacation to me. Maybe we'll start saving up for a vacation in 2009 or 2010.

Happy Monday, everyone!

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Project 365

04/07/08


04/08/08


04/09/08


04/10/08


04/11/08


04/12/08


04/13/08