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Emily’s Smile Boxes

30 Nov

On Thanksgiving day, on our way to my parents’ house for our Thanksgiving lunch, we stopped by Cook Children’s Medical Center in downtown Fort Worth to drop off eight Smile Boxes. We had put together the boxes with the help of six of my oldest’s friends at her ninth birthday party a couple months ago. We all left with the best feeling!

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Emily’s Smile Boxes was created by a local girl who saw a need, and decided to do something about it. It is a fantastic charity, helping children in local hospitals. My girls always have two birthday parties each year, one for family (we have a large family) and one for friends, and I had the idea to ask for donations for Smile Boxes at her “friends” birthday party in lieu of gifts. When I asked my daughter what she thought about the idea, she said let’s do it. At the party all the girls put together a box using the items they had donated, and they had fun while doing good. Before you feel sorry for my daughter for having to give up her birthday presents, she still got more than she needed at her family birthday party! At nine years old, I think she is plenty old enough to start learning about giving instead of always getting, and thinking of other before herself. I plan to continue this idea for future birthdays!

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Acton Nature Center 5k

31 Jul

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I am not a runner by any means…it is a struggle for me, and I do not enjoy it. I do enjoy the way I feel after a run though! In September 2011 I ran my first 5k after training all summer (basically a couch to 5k type program). It was HARD, but so exhilarating! I wanted to do it again, and I did…just three weeks later in October.

I have several 5ks under my belt now. I prefer to run in the spring and fall when the weather is better, although I have done a couple in the winter and now one in the summer.

Last fall I co-coached a local group of girls in the Girls on the Run program, in which my oldest participated. At the conclusion of the program we all ran a 5k together, and my daughter has joined me in two other 5ks since then.

This summer we participated in the Acton Nature Center 5k, and she was the youngest runner. This was our first trail run, with hills, and it was a different kind of animal than what I am used to. At some point during the race I twisted my knee and had to walk a lot more than normal for the last half. Despite the challenges we both placed in our gender/age groups!

One of the great things about 5ks is they usually benefit a local, sometimes national, charitable organization. The fees for this particular 5k benefited the Acton Nature Center. So you can feel good about doing something for your health, as well as for a good cause! Win-win. If you’ve never run a 5k, you should…it’s addicting!

Healthy Lifestyles Chair (PTA)

10 May

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I am so excited to have the opportunity to be the first Healthy Lifestyles Chair to serve on the PTA at my daughter’s elementary school during the 2013-2014 school year! This position did not exist at her school, so when I read about it I contacted the PTA president and asked her to let me take it on. She gave me the role!

I will be working under our SHAC (School Health Advisory Council) Representative, and will attend SHAC meetings as well. I will promote healthy lifestyles programs like Walk to School Day, Bike to School Day, etc.

I plan on using my position to try and influence the school to make adjustments to the school cafeteria menu. I recently requested a list of all the items served during the month of April, and I plan on doing a lot of research over the summer to find healthier options. The first issue I plan to tackle is the beverages they are serving the students. I will present my findings to them at the beginning of the school year, and hope to convince the staff to make needed changes.

I feel like this role will put me in a better position to be an agent for change. We need to take steps in the right direction, towards healthy eating and healthy living. I can’t wait to get started!

Teacher Gifts

24 Dec

This year our list of teachers gifts grew, I guess because our youngest is in preschool and dance this year for the first time. This year I tried to be a little extra creative, and put together gift baskets for all to enjoy.

For my oldest daughter’s piano teacher. I stacked three assorted Christmas cookie tins, and wrapped them up with ribbon and a bow.

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For my oldest daughter’s two regular teachers, and her GATES teacher. This gift included a reusable Starbucks tumbler, a Starbucks gift card, and assorted holiday chocolates.

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For my oldest daughter’s specials teachers (Music, Art, P.E., and Library). This gift box had a Starbucks gift card, and assorted chocolates inside.

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For my girl’s dance instructors, all four of them. This gift basket had holiday cookies, assorted milk chocolates, assorted dark chocolates, peppermint candy, candy canes, and Hershey’s kisses.

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I forgot to take a picture of the gifts we put together for my younger daughter’s teacher, and her two assistant teachers, but they were very similar to what we did for my older daughter’s teachers. We felt so much joy putting together gifts for those we love and delivering them! Happy Holidays!

Our Angel Tree Girls

13 Dec

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One of our family traditions this time of year is to choose two angels from a local angel tree to purchase Christmas gifts for. We always choose girls that are the same age as our two, I think that helps our girls relate better to what we are doing when they help pick out and deliver gifts for other girls that they would want themselves.

This year our angels came from a local food bank, and they do things a little differently than we are used to. Instead of the usual card with the age/gender and specific requests, we were given an age/gender and told to purchase appropriate toys and clothes. We purchased clothes and toys for both girls, and delivered them to a local church yesterday that is collecting the items for the food pantry. We wish our two angels a very Merry Christmas!

Next year I want to make a minor adjustment to this tradition, and purchase each angel four things: something they want, something they need, something they’ll wear, and something they’ll read. I recently discovered this gift-giving method from a friend, and I think it is wonderful!