Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Live with Grace and the World Food Program

Thank you all for your positive comments and interest in Live With Grace. I can not tell you how excited I am about this... it just feels so good and so right. It is so much fun!!! After Ava's interest in Africa and helping with hunger, we chose the World Food Program for our first charity. They have a project called, Fill the Cup. Through this program, one quarter can fill a child's cup with food for the day, and also allows them to take food home to ration for the month. The children receive their cup of food at school, so there is an incentive for parents to send their child to school as well. This program is amazing, and it was even recently featured on the Oprah Show when Drew Barrymore donated 1 million dollars of her own money to the program. Wow! Now, we are not shooting for a million dollars here, but we are trying to earn money, teach the kids about what these hungry kiddos go through, how we can help change their lives, and also how changing other peoples lives can improve our own. To be honest with you, the kids do not understand what one million dollars is, it is quite refreshing to watch how thrilled they are over a dime or even a penny. I love to see the pride in their eyes when they add to their jars. They truly can make a difference in a life with simple a quarter.... and a quarter IS something that they can comprehend.
Ava and I made a poster board talking about her Fill the Cup project, and she presented it in two of the classrooms at her day care. Ahhh... what a proud mom I was. It was so much fun (and entertaining)to watch her explain that there are "kids in Africa that do not have any food, any homes, anything! One quarter is all you need to feed them".
It was amazing to see the other children become interested and offer to help. Immediately after her presentation, the teachers pulled out their wallets and gave all of the children money to place in a jar for Live with Grace. I am so excited to say that her day care center is now participating in Live With Grace, and we are raising money through the remainder of the summer for the Fill the Cup project.
The kids at day care are all really excited about the project, and they are having lemonade stands at the school and are doing projects with their parents and siblings to earn money for Live With Grace. On the fourth of July, Ava and Olivia had a lemonade stand to raise money for our jar. There is a huge festival near our home on the fourth, so we had a lot of traffic at our stand. Olivia... she was hilarious... she made a serious dent in our products... she had some candy... some cookies... and lots of lemonade. Ava was much more serious. She had on her American flag baby legs (on a side note.... I LOVE baby legs. It is a local company and we are fortunate enough to have both of our girls in their catalog from last fall. If you buy a pair these days... more than likely you will see Ava's legs on the packaging. Check them out, they are fabulous baby gifts!) She would aggressively wave her flag yelling "Happy fourth of July," and then politely told people they could pay what ever they wanted and that all of the money was for the "hungry children in Africa." The people were wonderful... most of them ended up giving money and paying in meals. They would say... "here is eight meals for those kids... could I have an otter pop please?"If you are interested in supporting Live with Grace and our project to Fill the Cup, please email me at and I would love to tell you how you can help. Click **HERE** to see my previous post with more information on Live with Grace. Please click on the links throughout the post for more information on the World Food Program and the Fill the Cup project.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Live With Grace

One evening our family was sitting around the TV and our 4 year old looked at the TV and said, "Why is that boy sleeping in the road?" It was a show on homeless and hungry children in Africa. We started explaining how some children do not have homes, or beds, or even food. If you could have seen her eyes, she was shocked, I could just read her mind, "How is this possible? How are there children without families, without homes, without toys, or beds or FOOD!" She did not say a lot more that night about it, but two weeks later while we were driving in the car she said, "Mom, I think I want to give that boy from Africa my bed, and I will just sleep with Olivia." I wanted to cry. What a sweet girl... to think about this boy, and to want to do what ever she thought possible to help him.... After that, we came up with the idea of starting a program called Live With Grace. It is a program designed to help our children learn about how fortunate we are to live the lives we have. It is a way for us to teach them about being grateful and giving. It is a fun way for us to all become more aware of the situation in the world around us and even in our community.

We came up with the name Live With Grace from our beautiful girls. Olivia, who is almost three, we often call her "Liv" and our daughter Ava Grace who just turned five. Through Live with Grace, we are going to raise money, clothes, toys, etc. for those less fortunate than we are. Through this program we hope to become closer as a family, learn about the world around us, spread the importance of being grateful, and find the joy in giving.

We would like to invite you to participate with us in Live With Grace. Talk to your children about the world around them, teach them about how to give to others, involve their friends, their school, their cousins. Allow your children to realize the difference that one child can make in this world. We have Live With Grace jars that are available for you to collect money in with your children, you can use them for what ever charity or cause is important to your family.

Here is our Live With Grace mission statement:

Our Lives are so blessed; we have family to love us and keep us safe, homes to rest our heads, food to fill our tummies, clothes to keep us warm, friends to play with, and toys to entertain us. There are children all over the world and even in our own neighborhood who are not nearly as lucky as we are. By living with grace, we are going to try to make a difference. We want to help other children, one penny, one prayer, one T-Shirt, one toy at a time. We hope you join us in helping to change the world. Help us learn what it is to Live With Grace! Thank you, Olivia (Liv) and Ava Grace.

If you and your family are interested in more information about Live with Grace, or if you would like to have a Live With Grace collection jar for your house, please email me at Please leave any comments, suggestions or questions you may have. I would love to hear from you.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Summer Time, Slip and Slides and Turning 5!!

What could be better than a hot summer day, all of your friends and a slip and slide?? How about turning 5. Turning 5 seems to be such a monumental occasion for kids and recently I had the chance to spend Emma's birthday with her. Emma had quite the party... all of the kids brought their suits and we had a hard time getting them off of the slip and slide. I think one of the biggest hits for the kids was that Emma's daddy decided to take a couple trips down the slip and slide too. The party seemed to get better and better as the day went on. Emma's favorite princess Cinderella showed up and even did face painting for the girls. They looked beautiful. It was fun to watch Emma's transformation. Her expression when she saw herself for the first time was priceless.

What a beautiful butterfly princess!!!

Ava, my daughter will be in kindergarten with Emma this fall and she had a great time at the party as well. She threw Cinderella, the face painting princess, for a loop when she requested a, "rainbow heart fairy princess."
When you think this party could not take another turn... it did. Out came the Kung Fu Panda birthday cake. Thank you for a wonderful party Emma. We can not wait to watch you grow and learn in kindergarten this fall!!!

Monday, July 14, 2008

Photo Contest Nomination!

Do you remember my Father's Day post?? If not, here is a link where you can check it out... Father's Day. I entered one of the photos in a contest about fathers and surprisingly enough, it was nominated! I am really excited. The contest is on Me Ra Koh's photography blog. She is an amazing photographer and I am so honored that she even recognized one of my photos as being worthy of any recognition. If you have time, I would love for you to check out her site and see my photo, you can even vote for me if you want! Here is a link to the contest... Father's Day Photo Contest . My photo is number two, the water balloon photo.

I have been out of town for vacation at Steamboat Rock State Park... super fun! Lots of sun, lots of beach, lots of mosquito bites, lots of laughs, lots of food, lots of memories, and only one dislocated elbow. I have so much to share with you, I will try to get busy on some posts! I had a couple of fun shoots before I left that I can not wait to show! I think that the thing I am most excited about is a new project that my family is starting, it is called LIVE WITH GRACE.

LIVE WITH GRACE, is a project in the making, it is named for our children, Olivia (who we call LIV) and Ava (who's middle name is Grace). It is going to be an ongoing adventure to help teach my children and other children about giving back and being grateful. I have so much to say about this, but I will save that for another day.... more to come!!!