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square, Abe Hagenston, digital panhandling, homeless, homelessness

A 42-year-old Detroit homeless man, Abe Hagenston better known as Honest Abe, is in the business of being homeless. You read that right, he has taken panhandling to the next level by developing a website for people to use to hire him and other homeless people to do odd jobs. He even bought a square so that he can accept credit cards from his cell phone. He has a business license and merchant’s account and all card swipes go through square.com and they do his merchant processing so he has no access to your credit card info.

I was confused because I thought homelessness was the result of some horrible thing that happened to someone, like getting AIDS, losing your house in a fire or having your child get hit by a car and here in your arms one minute and gone the next. I thought that these things could happen to anyone. That was the tragedy. Any of us could fall victim to this type of travesty at any time through no fault of our own just really shitty circumstances. That’s why I give when I can but when I heard words like square, website and business license, it felt more like a choice than a situation beyond one’s own control. It felt intentional but I didn’t know the whole story.

Apparently, honest Abe has been in the business of being homeless for nearly a decade and just got tired of hearing people say that they wish they could help but they just didn’t have any cash on them. It’s true; we are becoming a cashless society. I seldom have cash and usually, I give food because I can charge it. He got tired of just waiting for something to happen to turn his life around so he created a way to help himself and others.

“Being homeless is my business. Now my business is being homeless,” he said.

At first when I heard this story, I was a little leery. I mean, how the hell can a homeless man afford a phone, a data plan, have a website and think to use a square to get donations? I would never have thought of all of that and I work online in the space. Apparently, Honest Abe has a better business sense than most.

When I heard the blurb on the radio this morning, I firmly believed this guy was a scam artist who was lazy and just trying to find an easy way to make a buck instead of working (because there are people who do that.) There was an entire expose a few years back about suburbanites who made panhandling their jobs to the tune of $65,000 a year because they didn’t want to work. They enjoyed the hustle. That’s when I started giving food.

But then I researched his site, watched his video and read his story and I may have been wrong. I think this guy is just smart and trying to make the best out of a bad situation. He actually doesn’t want a hand out, he wants a hand up and he wants to pass it on.

square, Abe Hagenston, digital panhandling, homeless, homelessness

It seems that my life has been a series of rebuilding.  Along the way I have learned that hard work, determination, ethical and moral decision making, along with a positive attitude is the right combination to pull yourself out of a hole.  However, just once I wish there was someone with a rope to assist.  I have never had the benefit of being assisted.  I have always found myself in the wrong demographic, ineligible for assistance other than food stamps, having to struggle when I could have been making progress.  I have never even heard of a homeless program (let alone seen one) that actually presented itself as a viable pick you up, dust you off and send you running, all the bells and whistles included full package program.

Being homeless gives a person a lot of time to reflect on what went wrong, and what a person could do differently if given the chance.

Hagenston’s cellphone was provided by the federal government’s Lifeline Assistance program and is known as the “Obamaphone.” His website is a free WIX website that he set up and accesses via the public library.

He doesn’t get food stamps and he refuses to lie about his mental state or do anything illegal to get housing. He wants to earn his way but, due to circumstances beyond his control, he is without a home and any identification and this prohibits him from securing employment.

There are 4 options left to me.  I could steal, deal drugs, prostitute, or fly a sign.  The first 3 are out of the question.  I am not slick enough to steal, I am not mean enough to deal drugs, and I am not pretty enough to prostitute.  So, you see me at 8 and Woodward.  I mean what else am I supposed to do?  Just lay down and starve to death?

I think he seems rather bright and business savvy. He may just be a genius. He is not only trying to get himself and other homeless people honest work and pay, he is trying to develop an app to identify the truly needy homeless from those who just pretend to be panhandlers which I would personally love to have because I love to help others but I’d like to know that they are actually in need of food and care not just panhandling because they don’t want to be stuck in a cubicle all day.

If this guy is for real, he is everything we need in this country. We have so many starving, homeless people on our own streets that we need to feed and if they can work for what they earn and provide for themselves, maybe we can help not only feed them but allow them to feel/be productive in society. That is a genuine win win situation for all of us. I find his entrepreneurial sense refreshing. He’s not giving up on himself, he’s reinventing himself within his circumstances.

What do you think of Honest Abe and the business of being homeless?

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Sugar, homeless youth

Most of us are lucky. We may not be wealthy beyond our wildest dreams but we have a roof over our heads and can afford to feed our children. Maybe we can’t give our children everything, but they don’t want for much if anything. I think that is the goal of every parent to learn from his or her own childhood and give our children a better childhood. It’s the natural evolution of parenthood. But sometimes life doesn’t turn out the way you intended it.

This summer when we were in Chicago was the first time my daughters ever saw a homeless person up close and personal. We were walking downtown and group of teenagers holding a sign stating that they were homeless and in desperate need of money for food. My 6-year-old just stared at them. It was hard for her to understand how anyone could survive homeless. She had a lot of questions and specifically wanted to know why any child’s parents would not protect their child and let them be homeless, she was baffled. Why were they homeless on the street when they were just a little bit older than she was?

I had no answers for her. She is too young to understand that financial circumstances may have lead to an entire family without a home and food and all the other bare necessities of life. She is to young to understand that due to sexual molestation or child abuse some children choose to run to survive and living on the street is preferred to being abused at home. She is too young for these conversations and every child is too young to be homeless and on their own.

There is a new movie by executive producer Elliott Broidy called called ‘Sugar’ follows the challenges of a 20-year-old woman thrust into homelessness in Venice Beach, California after the death of her family in a car accident. The ensuing plot spotlights the increased risks of violence, despair and social disconnect faced by homeless youth in a rapidly changing world. She ends up making lasting relationships with other homeless teens. Rotini Rainwater and Elliott Broidy’s Sugar is inspired by real events and has goals to educate people on homelessness in America.

Elliott Broidy has teamed with Director Rotimi Rainwater to document the multiple risks of youth homelessness. The movie’s script is drawn from Rotimi Rainwater’s experiences on the streets of Orlando following his tenure in the United States Navy.

Watch the trailer below!

Sugar does a great job portraying the social challenges faced by today’s homeless youth. For older kids, Sugar is a great movie to answer some of the questions that they might have when they see those forgotten teens on the street. It can help teach our children compassion and tolerance and it may just help us figure out how to explain this difficult situation to our small children and maybe by bringing attention to youth homelessness we can start to work to eradicate it.



Disclaimer:I was compensated and provided information about the movie to share it with my audience but all opinions are my own.

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“Mommy, why is that man with no legs asking you for money?”

My daughter asked me this when she was 3-years-old. We were downtown Chicago for the Christmas lighting ceremony one holiday season and he was the first person who was homeless that she had ever seen.

I saw the man’s sign and I explained to her that he was a veteran of the military who had lost his legs while serving our country. I explained that he had fallen on hard times and now was homeless and had no job. I explained that it is very difficult for someone to get a job when they don’t have an address to put on an application.

I could see it in her face, she wanted to know why someone who did so much to protect us wasn’t being taken care of by the collective “us.” She’s right. Why don’t we take care of our people when they are in need?

She asked us to give the man some money and, of course, we stopped and gave him some money. My husband then bought him something to eat and gave it to him. This is something the Big Guy is known to do quite frequently when he sees someone in need. It’s one of the things I love most about him.

Anyway, it all makes for a great teachable moment but I was a little taken aback by the situation because you don’t expect your preschooler to notice these things and you certainly don’t expect them to ask for an explanation. In all honesty, I think we hope that our children are so tightly encased in their protective bubble that they never have to know. Or maybe we just wish the situation didn’t exist in the first place.

We spend our parental lifetime doing our best to make sure that our children have all that they need so that they don’t have to know that want or need. But the reality is that there are some people who run into problems in life and end up homeless for a multitude of reasons.

Homelessness is an issue plaguing cities and neighborhoods across the country. At some point, most of our children will see a person who is homeless or asking for money and ask us about the situation like my daughter did, all those years ago. How you handle it will certainly shape the way your child reacts to future similar situations.

Here are some suggestions on how to answer your child’s questions and what you can do to make a positive impact not only on the life of people who are homeless but in your child’s life by teaching them compassion, empathy, kindness and love for their fellow man. After all, isn’t that what we want? To raise good human beings?


– Answer the child’s questions honestly. Show empathy and compassion for the person
who is homeless. Answers should be person-centered (the man who is homeless rather
than the homeless man). Using this type of language reinforces empathy and compassion for people.

– Answers should be short and speak to the child’s question. Don’t elaborate if not needed.

– Talk about what it means to be homeless: a person has no place to sleep, to eat, to shower and keep clean, or to keep their belongings.

– Speak about social problems that can cause homelessness.

o A person doesn’t have money to maintain a home – a home costs money.

o A person may not be connected to family/friends to help them.

o A person may have mental illness. Mental illness is when a person’s brain is not working the way it is supposed to.

– Talk about reasons why some people do not have money to maintain a home.

– Don’t attempt to use a person who is homeless as an example of what could happen if the child doesn’t stay in school, go to college, doesn’t get a good job or uses drugs.

– If the child wants to do something to improve the situation, you can:

o Talk about the many different ways to make a difference for people in need, such as making a donation to a local charity, volunteering, organizing a collection effort like a coat drive, food drive or toy drive.

o You can also include a bus pass or some small bills for transportation.

o create homeless hygiene kits to distribute to those in need. Using a large resealable plastic bag, include items and snacks such as granola bars, graham crackers, or fruit snacks; bottled water; socks; hats, scarves; deodorant; toothbrush and toothpaste; band aids; hand sanitizer; Kleenex; hand lotion; shaving cream and disposable razors; toilet paper; chap stick; hand lotion; and shampoo and conditioner.

o Include notes of encouragement or favorite bible verses, or a child’s drawing.

– You can purchase pre-made kits at www.salvationarmystore.com/comfort-pouch-kit.html.

– Or visit https://centralusa.salvationarmy.org/metro/homeless_hygiene_kits for a list of items to include and a downloadable sheet of notecards.

I love the idea of keeping pre-made kits in your car to hand out when you see a person who is homeless and in need. It’s a great way to get the children involved and be proactive. If you are like me, I seldom have cash on me but if you already have kits made with a few dollars in them for a meal, you don’t have to worry about that. Not to mention, you can make the kits a few at a time and give them out as you see the need. It’s a wonderful example to set for your child and it allows them to do something positive to change the situation, rather than just feeling helpless. We need to encourage them to be kind to those in need and give those who need it a hand up.

Last year The Salvation Army provided shelter to 628 men, women and children at the Evangeline Booth Lodge family shelter in Chicago. The Booth Lodge is one of Chicago’s only shelters that keeps families together.

The Salvation Army mobile feeding and outreach program makes 32 stops daily throughout Chicago to provide hot meals and support services to people who are homeless.

I think it’s our duty as parents to teach our children to have compassion for people in need and if they can, do something to help. We have to lead by example and be that change we want to see in the world. If we don’t, how will our children ever learn to care, to fight for what’s right, to stand up against what’s wrong and to be the change this world needs? It all begins with us showing them how to get involved and to choose to do good rather than do nothing. Homelessness is not just someone else’s problem, it is everyone’s problem.

How will you teach your child to help the homeless?[/fusion_builder_column][/fusion_builder_row][/fusion_builder_container]

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Rudy Eugene, Ronald Poppo, Zombie, MacArthur Causeway, Miami Florida, Bath Salts

Throat Punch Thursday,Rudy Eugene, Ronald Poppo, MacArthur CAuseway, Miami Florida

Upon further viewing, maybe this Kangaroo is a Zombie about to eat a face off

Zombie Apocalypse is a real thing? What the hell is the world coming to when unsuspecting (sleeping no less) homeless people, Ronald Poppo, are getting stripped, beaten and having their faces ripped off by out of their mind junkies, Rudy Eugene, who present like something from the Walking Dead? Now, that is one hell of a gruesome way to be woken up. I am never complaining about my 4 year old jumping on me and strangling me with hugs at 5 am, EVER again. I’ll take rambunctious babies out of drug induced zombie ANY day of the week.

Rudy Eugene, Ronald Poppo, Zombie, MacArthur Causeway, Miami Florida, Bath Salts

A drug induced Zombie & his Victim in better days

I’m sure many of you are aware of this story, as it has been hot on the internet since it happened on Saturday. If not, here is the gist of it. A man, Rudy Eugene, supposedly high on a new form of the drug LSD, bath salts, attacked a homeless man, Ronald Poppo, who was asleep on the MacArthur Causeway in Miami, Florida. Mr. Eugene, literally, ripped the flesh off the homeless man’s face, Ronald Poppo, with his teeth not unlike a zombie might do. Yes, you heard me right. Even more unbelievable is that the entire incident took place on the MacArthur Causeway, a busy stretch of road near the beach. Drivers and bikers alike drove past for almost 20 minutes, no one stopped to help the man being attacked but several called 911.Honestly, I am not sure that I would have stopped if I saw, what surely looked like a zombie attack, taking place. I would have been afraid that the attacker might eat my face off too. Call me an asshole but I don’t think that would be a particularly enjoyable way to expire.

Cops arrived on the gruesome scene and tried to get Mr. Eugene to dismount Mr. Poppo and stop cannibalizing his face. Mr. Eugene looked up at them and growled. The cops had to separate Mr. Eugene from Mr. Poppo’s face by shooting him. Even after being shot, just like a zombie, Rudy Eugene kept on eating the man’s face until he was shot to death. By the time it was all said and done, 80% of Mr. Poppo’s face had been removed, including his eyes, nose and mouth.All that remained of Mr. Poppo’s face is his beard. I will not provide the photos of Mr.Poppo’s zombie attacked face because they are unbelievably horrifying.

Throat Punch goes to the drug bath salts that is creating an epidemic of junkies who are behaving like zombies in the worst kind of way. Throat Punch to the asshole drug dealers who continue to sell this drug when this is not the first time something like this has happened. Throat Punch to Rudy Eugene for acting like a zombie and ripping the face off of an unsuspecting homeless man. There is a lot of crazy shit going on in the world, bad things. Can we just say no to a drug induced zombie apocalypse?

Do you think this is a bad drug reaction or could this be the nearest thing we get to a zombie apocalypse?

Is the Zombie Apocalypse Upon Us?

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#ChampionsforKids, hungry, child, Snacks for students

Every once in awhile I get the opportunity to use my piece of the Internet for something good. I love when that happens because it makes me feel like I have a higher purpose than just documenting my life online. It gives me a chance to actively make the world a better place for my girls, to be a good example and give back.

I partnered with The Motherhood and Champions for Kids for their Snacks for Students Program. Champions for Kids is the first of several campaigns to launch nationally, with the goal to provide resources for more than 10 million children in 2015. It makes it simple to give kids in your own community the resources they need to thrive. Since 2004, Champions for Kids has served more than 5.4 million children across all 50 states through in-store donation campaigns, service projects and community events.

Champions for Kids, General Mills, Kellogg’s, Emerald and Kettle Chips have joined forces to make it simple for communities to provide basic resources for students through in-store donations.

The Snacks for Students program is part of the Champions for Kids program that seeks to make it simple for shoppers to purchase and donate items to children in need. I chose to work with a local organization called Charis House for Homeless Mothers and Children. This is a cause close to my heart because there are so many brave women who have to make the decision to leave an abusive relationship, many relinquishing all financial stability in order to give their children and themselves a better chance at life.

From February 16 to March 2, U.S. customers at more than 3,600 participating Walmart stores can purchase snacks and breakfast items for children and place them inside designated donation bins. All donations made in-store will stay in the local community and be distributed through school districts or youth-based organizations. This is the perfect way to give back to the people that should matter the most to you, the children in your own community. Doesn’t every child deserve a full belly?

In addition, Champions for Kids, General Mills, Kellogg’s, Emerald and Kettle Chips will provide 13 awards, totaling $45,000, to school districts and participating youth-based organizations based on the total number of donated items collected in each store.

I am proud to be a part of this program and to be able to help the Charis House for Homeless Mothers and Children. Who will you help feed?

Disclosure: I partnered with The Motherhood, Champions for Kids and Walmart to provide donations for the organization of my choice but all opinions are my own.

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tyrant, child, stubborn, disciplining an obstinant child

My daughter has metamorphosed from a sweet, loving child into a tyrant who rules with a iron fist and a sadistic sense of humor. It feels as if she’s made it her mission to frustrate me to the point of submission. I have to admit, she’s getting close this morning.

I was all set to write my post about this upcoming year…my resolutions. I have them plenty, only mine aren’t resolutions they are revolutions. Nope, no empty threats, just promises to myself to do and be better. I had it all worked out in my mind only I can’t write that post today because I’m laying here on my bed contemplating the meaning of it all. This, my friends, is what happens when you are taken emotionally hostage by a tiny tyrant whom you happen to love unconditionally.

Look, I’ve never been the mom who could say, suck it up and rub some dirt on it and move on. I’m the mom who gasps and kisses booboos, even when it’s not my kid who got hurt. My mommy heart is just too damn big for my own good. My daughters know this.

Sure, I come off like a cold-hearted twat sometimes but I’m not. Not even a little bit, especially when it comes to little people. That’s my soft spot and when they are my own, well, that’s my fucking kryptonite and they know that.

This morning, my littlest one made it her mission to do my head in. There is no other possible explanation for it. You see, my eldest has entered the tween years and is emotional, hormonal and has perfected the eye roll to my dismay. I expect this and I have developed a tolerance as to not lose my mind. We’ve been having long discussions about hormones and puberty and why it’s necessary to wash your face every single day, especially since your dad suffered from acne. She half gets the message. All I can do is offer advice, give her a facial cleaning system and be there, astringent in hand, when the shit hits the fan.

However, when the 8-year-old gets a full on, honest to God pimple on her chin and literally freaks the fuck out, I have no idea what to do. I tried rationale but let’s be honest, you can’t be rational with an 8-year-old with a white head about to burst. She worked herself into such a tizzy that yesterday, I kept her home because she had diarrhea. I know TMI but I honestly, thought the kid had the stomach flu. Not until last night when she came to me with tears in her eyes asking if I could cover up the pimple and told me that her stomach issues were caused by her nerves did I realize the weight of that damn pimple.

I spent yesterday coddling and reassuring her that it’s no big deal and I would help her clean her face and astringent the damn thing to death. I felt bad for her. I know the frustration that comes with pimples and a body that you have no control over. I was understanding and nurturing. I was going to smother that pimple in love and self-confidence if it killed us both. Hell, I even let the little one climb into my bed when she told me she was nervous and her stomach was bothering her at bedtime. However, that was yesterday. This morning was a different story.

In the place where my child who wanted pity and coddling stood yesterday was a defiant, mean spirited tyrant this morning. She woke up tired, because she stayed up too late explaining her stomachache and pimple woes last night. She didn’t want to get out of bed. Finally she got ready. Argued over breakfast. Went to the bathroom, where she proceeded, not to use the bathroom. Cried as I covered up the pimple as she had asked and just when it was completely invisible, she grabbed a tissue and yelled at me that it wasn’t working and smudged the whole thing.

Then she told me that I don’t care about her because if I did I wouldn’t send her to school where she very well might “poop” herself or throw up in mass. I email the teacher to make her aware that my daughter may or may not poop or throw up during mass, either way, please call me to pick her up if she does so and for the love of God, if the kid says she has to go to the toilet…this is not a drill. Heed my warning, woman. What kind of monster am I? (Probably the kind who hasn’t been alone in 3 weeks.)

Meanwhile, I go on feeding her sister and brushing hair, all the while the littlest is dragging her feet and making us late and absolutely refusing to eat. I can do no right. Every single thing I do, including taking breath is annoying her. I wasted so much time trying to cajole her into gear that I have to get myself ready in 1 minute. It’s okay; I have no intention of ever leaving my vehicle. Finally, we head out the door with 4 minutes to get to school that is a minimum of 5 minutes away. She’s fidgeting and sighing exasperation at a deafening tone. I ignore it as I tell myself, this too shall pass.

We get to school and she refuses to kiss me goodbye. Oh the defiance is strong with this one. You know when you’re a child and you piss your mom off and she curses you by saying those fateful words, “I hope you have one just like you when you grow up?” Well, my mom was good at it because I got a Mega mini me on steroids; big heart, big mouth and more stubborn than any mule who has ever lived. It will serve her well in the real world someday but it’s slowly driving me insane.

After all this, in the middle of my daily prayer for them to survive their school day, she walks back to the car and tells me that she’s going to be sick. I offer to walk her in. She refuses and walks away, only to instantly turn around and say, “Are you coming or what?” I jump out of my car, looking like a homeless person (who wasn’t expecting to be seen in public) as I have to chase her down in my boot cast (because I just had surgery a week ago and am back in the boot). She stays at least 15 feet ahead of me all the way into the building.

Finally, I hobble into her classroom, looking even crazier with sweat and explain the possible shit situation to her delightful teacher who looks at me like I might need some lithium in my life. I then walk over to my daughter to confirm that I have, in fact, made the teacher aware of the situation and there will be no shitting or vomiting on herself on my watch to which she responds by giving me the side eye as she maintains her 15-foot buffer and mutters, “Whatever!” I catch up and kiss her goodbye just to show her whose boss.

Just to make the morning even more magnificent than being caught in public wearing leggings as pants and looking like a homeless person covered in sweat and frustration, I was greeted while exiting the building by the annoyingly good looking 20-something year old vice principal who I serve on the school board with. I thought parenting was supposed to get easier as our children got older so why am I feeling like I’ve just been water boarded by a tiny tyrant with a pimple on her chin and a really terrible, no good, very bad Napoleon complex?

If this tyrant attitude is hanging around for the teen years, I may not survive.

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spark goodness, random acts of kindness, teaching kids to be kind, how to raise kind children

Disclosure: Sponsored by author T.A. Barron and the Spark Goodness Program.

How do you teach your kids to be good people? Sounds simple, right? We think its innate but really, we lead by example. It’s not something you learn just from being told to do so. The way it makes you feel also is not something you can explain. It’s like childbirth in that way. The only way to experience it is to do it and to feel it wash over you like a warm rain shower in the summertime. It feels special, beautiful and fulfilling.

I’ve always told my girls that you get out of the world what you put into it. This is something my parents taught me. Life is not about collecting all the things. It is about living a life that is meaningful, intentional and purposeful and at the end of the day, it’s about being the kind of person that you’d like to encounter in the world.

READ ALSO: The Starbucks Effect

It’s summertime and the girls have had a definite lull in their schedule compared to the school year. They are required to do service work throughout the year for school. This is something they have always done. Aside from that, they’ve always seen me volunteer my time, money and experience for many different causes that I support. I do this because I believe in it and I love actively raising awareness. It gives me purpose. It makes me feel fulfilled. I want this for my girls too.

The world is what we make of it. We have to be active participants. Waiting for life to happen to you is not very fulfilling. I want my girls to know that sparking goodness does not have to mean giant, sweeping declarations of righteousness because, honestly, the idea of creating these grand gestures can be quite intimidating and daunting. I’m showing my girls that all it takes is a spark of goodness to ignite a raging fire.

Each act of kindness we perform has ripples and they reverberate and touch everyone around. Maybe it’s nothing more than grabbing an item at the grocery store from the top shelf for an elderly woman. It takes a second but she won’t forget that kindness. Though it was a second of your time, it might have meant everything to an elderly woman struggling to get her green beans. This causes her to smile and it makes her day brighter, her disposition sunnier and that is contagious.

READ ALSO: Random Acts of Kindness

My daughters see these acts every day. They’ve seen my husband buy meals for homeless people many times. They’ve seen us help our elderly neighbors, take meals to sick friends, give clothing to the homeless shelter or friends who could use them. They’ve seen me raise 10000 for Leukemia and Lymphoma. They know that every act of kindness matters.

I see, when they think I’m not looking, holding the door for people. Helping the elderly at the stores. Donating their allowance to special causes. Volunteering their free time which they don’t have much of to begin with. I am proud that they have made this a priority in their lives. I hope they never forget that every small act reaches many lives.

This year, T.A. Barron, well known for his philanthropy and creator of the popular Merlin book series that is currently being made into a film by Disney, wants to help influence children to find their inner hero.

To support this dream of creating more light in the world, he came up with the #SparkGoodness campaign that encourages individuals to bring good and light into the world. He even provided a list of ways families can spark goodness in their own communities.

spark goodness, random acts of kindness, teaching kids to be kind, how to raise kind children

Those that share are highlighted via his social media feeds and entered to win a monthly prize as well as a grand prize at the end of the year. T.A. Barron even provided an easy sheet to track all of your families sparks of goodness this summer.

spark goodness, random acts of kindness, teaching kids to be kind, how to raise kind childrenEven though sparking goodness is its own reward, I’d love to encourage you and your families to enter T.A. Barron’s year long #SparkGoodness contest. Those that share are highlighted via his social media feeds and entered to win a monthly prize, as well as a grand prize at the end of the year. The July prize is a set of family yard games valued at over $ 200!

How do you inspire your children to commit sparks of goodness and rand acts of kindness?


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Jennie-O, Champions for Kids, charity, hunger, children, be the change

Have you ever seen an injustice in the world and thought, someone ought to change that? Me, too. We all do. But why not instead of waiting for the world to change, we choose to be the change we want to see in the world. Why not be the change? Why wait? Just change the damn thing.

We worry about the state of the world; the hungry children, the homeless population, the unemployed and the disabled. We worry but we don’t do anything about it. We walk on in self-induced states of blissful ignorance because to look directly at the world, in all its pain and suffering and walk away is too much to handle. But we don’t have to walk on trying to pretend that all the sadness and injustices in the world don’t exist, we can be the change. We can do something.

That’s why I decided to partner with Jennie-O and Champions for Kids to help make a difference. It is a small thing but I hosted a #Fiesta4Kids which means, I hosted a dinner party at my house and invited some family over and everyone who came to dinner donated canned foods to be donated to our local food bank. We decided on the local Community Harvest Food Bank.

Jennie-O, Champions for Kids, charity, hunger, children, be the change

When most people think #Fiesta4Kids they think taco bar but my kids wanted meatloaf. So for our dinner, I searched the Jennie-O website and found a recipe called Best Ever Turkey Meatloaf and my family concurs. But you don’t have to throw an entire party to do good in the world, start small donate a few cans of food to your own local food bank. Every little bit helps. Teach your children that they can be the change and it’s never too early to start.

When school lets out for the summer, millions of children lose access to the school breakfasts, lunches and after-school snacks they receive during the regular school year. You can help ensure kids have nutritious meals by hosting a Fiesta to Feed Families event! From June 1 to June 30, Champions for Kids is partnering with Jennie-O Turkey to encourage community projects across the country benefiting children in need of nutritious meals this summer.

I want my children to feel compassion for others and to be activists, to do not wit for change to happen. I have to be their example. If you’d like to learn more why not join myself, The Motherhood, Jennie-O and Champions for kids on June 24th at 1 pm EST for a Twitter party.


Details for the Twitter Party

What: For millions of children, the end of the school year means no more access to school breakfasts, lunches or after-school snacks. This month, bloggers from all across the U.S. are leading the way in helping these children by throwing a Fiesta to Feed Families (#Fiesta4Kids), in which they collect food items to benefit kids and families in their local communities! They’ve inspired us so much that we wanted to explore more ways to get involved with community projects at this Twitter party!

The Motherhood is honored to join Champions for Kids along with Jennie-O to share just how simple it is to help local families in need. Champions for Kids SIMPLE Service Projects are an easy way to get involved in helping your community! Every SIMPLE Service Project has 4 basic steps: 1) Gather your friends, family, and co-workers. 2) Learn about the needs of children in your community. 3) Give items to help kids enjoy happier & healthier lives. 4) Share your story with Champions for Kids to inspire others!

Join this Twitter party to learn more about SIMPLE Service projects, as well as to learn about kid-friendly recipe ideas that are both yummy and nutritious!

When: Thursday, June 24, at 1p ET / 12p CT / 10a PT

Where: We’ll be on Twitter – follow the #Fiesta4Kids hashtag to track the conversation. You can see the details and RSVP via this Twtvite: https://twtvite.com/fiesta4kids

Hashtag: #Fiesta4Kids

Prizes: Five prizes will be given to five randomly selected participants who answer the trivia questions correctly. Each prize includes a $25 Wal-Mart gift card and two $5 Jennie-O product coupons.


Disclosure: I participated in this program on behalf of Champions for Kids and The Motherhood. All opinions are my own.

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Friday’s Be a Better Parent Challenge – Day 20 – Keep a journal
I’d love to say I did a fabulous job but that would be a total lie. I had visitors from out of town and it was impossible to find time to post , little lone journal. I am however going to give it a try this week. I’ll keep you posted. How did you ladies do?

Be a Better Parent Challenge – Day 21 – Fake it

Try curtailing your “anger” (which The New Girl determined was more of an impulse control issue rather than anger) by actually faking it. Rolling your eyes, moving along, and pretending.
You’ll see in the comments that she’s not at all saying that you should fake how you’re feeling. Big difference. So that’s not what I’m talking about at all.

But in many cases, we often let ourselves blow up quickly when really, if we just rolled our eyes and looked at the bigger picture, we’d have way fewer massive blow-ups.Basically,we need to fake our reaction. Feel your feelings but fake control:)

Let me know how that works out for you. I know I will have to work hard on this one. I have a quick temper and I have to work hard to step back and think. I am interested to see how this works out.

Be a Better Parent Challenge – Day 22 – Dates with your kids

Whether you’ve got one kid or a bunch, it’s really important to spend individual time with them. It’s obviously a little easier when you have just one, and then, increasingly more challenging the more you add to your brood.God knows I spend most days feeling like one is being left out. It was so much easier for me when I only had one. I adore both, but its hard work making sure everybody gets the same attention and no one feels left out or slighted. Lucky for me, they have no issue with letting me know!

So #22: Plan a date night with your kids
Granted, it doesn’t need to be a night, obviously, and it certainly doesn’t need to be anything extravagant. In fact, it could be something that you always do together, month after month. Breakfast out? Trip to a special playground? An afternoon at a museum? This is difficult for us Mommies who are part time single Mothers or those who are actual full time single mothers but it is possible. It’s hard for me to give them each individual personal time because they are so close in age and I can’t justify leaving one out. I am planning on making the time while my 5 year old is on school, special time for my 3 year old and I. I will do the same for my 5 year old, while the 3 year old naps. It’s the best Ic an do.

There are so many fantastic ways for you to connect individually with your kiddos, especially outside of your home, which always seems to be bogged down with 400 things that you need to do other than spend alone time with them. But if you can look past the laundry and the ignore the dishes, quality time can easily be spent int he comfort of your own home.Let me know what ideas you have fro “Date Night” with your kids. How did it go?
And how did faking it go? 

Be a Better Parent Challenge – Day 23 – Give ’em choices

Only a little over a week left, folks. I hope you’re still with me.I hope that you are feeling like you’re getting something out of this. I am loving the challenges and feel like I am being proactive in my parenting.
I also have noticed by utilizing these techniques I have eliminated a lot of the regular tantrums and meltdowns that we were having, which is AWESOME!!!

And I do hope you found some ideas for date “nights” with your kids. I realize that those are a little hard to do impromptu, but you can certainly plan ahead.

#23: Give ’em choices
Giving your kids choices is a fantastic way to get them to do what you want without a battle (ha) but also to allow them some control, which is super important – particularly for the younger set (i.e. 2-5ish). The key here is to only give them TWO. Yes, and only choices that you actually want to abide by, Don’t make offers that you have no intention of keeping. This is how I have always done choices and it seems to work pretty well. It creates a sense of autonomy without letting them get out of  your realm of control.

Forget “What do you want for lunch?” questions and give them options. Just two.
Or when it comes to getting out of the house “You can put your shoes on and come with us, or leave them off and stay here.”This is one of my favorites, Basically, look kiddo you can do as I say and get to go do something fun or we can just stay here. My girls chomp at the bit to get out of the house ( they have their Mama’s cabin fever gene) so usually it goes as I plan. Of course, if you are dealing with a overtired  or sick child, expect the unexpected sometimes they go rogue and  you find yourself punished and unable to leave the house:(

My favorite: “You can pick up your clothes off the floor or I can pick them up and take them all to Goodwill.” Desperate times, mamas.Desperate measures. This works with my girls because they are clothes fanatics. But you get the picture….”Pick up the Barbie dolls or I will pick them up and give then to the homeless!” See, its easy..just be sure to follow through or you will lose all control….forever!

Anyway, you get the idea. Now go give it a try. Let me know how it goes!

Just a reminder, the Month of September, I will be doing a month long Be a Better Me (You) Challenge in celebration of my Birthday! Hope you can all join me. There’s more to us than just being a Mommy, so next month we will give some attention to that woman:) Also, I am trying to reach a goal of 1000 followers by my birthday September 25, so if you are not already following please do.If you already are please pass it on to your friends who you think might like it, tweet it, Facebook it. Only 432 more followers needed:)Happy Mothering!

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Parenting, unsolicited advice, I can parent my own kids

How to parenting advice ~ Parenting without unsolicited advice or intervention is something that I am happy to do. I love my kids. I had them because I wanted to be a parent. I don’t need anyone else, no matter how well meaning their intentions may be, stepping in and grabbing the parenting reins. We all get our fair share of “how to parenting advice”, sometimes by people are not even parents,but how many of us had had someone actually step in and flex their how to parenting muscles?

how to Parenting, unsolicited advice, I can parent my own kids, children,moms

Kindly STFU, I can parent my own kids. NO how to parenting intervention needed

We are in a situation where we are currently living with the Big Guy’s parents. It is very generous that they allow us to live in their house while our house is on the market. It really is and I truly appreciate the sacrifice they are making. We tried the whole commuter marriage for two years and Sunday’s just became too much to bear. But lately I see the lines becoming blurred. It’s slowly but surely evolving into a too many cooks in the kitchen scenario.

I’ve noticed my MIL raising her voice a little more at my kids lately. She’s taken it upon herself to tell a 4 and 6 year old that they need to help out around the house more. What? 4 and 6, people not 14 and 16. They already set the table, help load the dishwasher and feed the dog. This seems like a lot to me, aside from picking up their toys. After a particularly aggressive conversation between her and the girls my husband stepped in and reminded her of their ages. She responded ,”Well, I just thought I’d teach them some responsibility.” Is she implying that we do not discipline them or are too permissive in our parenting?

How to parenting interventions are Most always Unwanted

I can feel the judging eyes and impatient stares when the children misbehave. I feel like my every parenting move is under scrutiny. How do I stop this? I ‘ve tried the firm yet gentle approach but my efforts seems to go unnoticed.

Sitting at the dinner table the other night, I watched in muted shock as she scolded my children for not eating everything on their plate. I am trying to teach them to eat until they are full and then stop. I have rules that they have to eat certain amounts of fruit, vegetables and milk. They are never obligated to finish carbs. In fact, I prefer they not. But she stepped in and reprimanded them for NOT eating the 3 helpings of carbs in its entirety.

I feel like my hands are tied because of the situation we are in and I really prefer not to be homeless. How do you tell your MIL that her, assumed, well meaning how to parenting interventions are stepping on your parenting toes? I know she loves them and she’s a good parent, after all, she did raise the Big Guy and he’s pretty freaking amazing. But these are our children and we are the only authoritative figures that should be parenting our children. I appreciate wise how to parenting tips from someone who’s been there already but I feel we can parent effectively all on our own.

Don’t get me wrong, I don’t think she is doing this to be nasty or undermine our parenting or even intentionally. I just think she thinks she is doing what is best. She’s a fixer. If there’s a perceived problem she fixes it. I am more concerned with the effect that it is having on the girls. They are getting confused about who is in charge. My 4 year old told me the other day that is was Grandma’s house and she makes the rules. Which we all know is true except for when you live at Grandma’s house. In any case, Mommy and Daddy always have supreme reign over the children. Even worse, I am afraid that going from being the visiting, doting Grandmother who loves to spend time with them to the Grandma who they see every day and she reprimands and has no patience for them may hurt the relationship between her and our girls.

Am I looking a parent resource gift horse in the mouth or am I right in feeling like my parenting skills are being questioned? We all know how hard it is to parent in the first place, try doing it with your every parenting move being under a microscope. Has this ever happened to you? Has a parent or well intentioned family member or friend stepped in and parented on your behalf, without your permission? What did you do? How would you handle this sticky how to parenting situation?

No how to parenting assistance needed

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