Monday, July 20, 2015

Fair Trade Friday and a Giveaway

I've followed Kristen Welch's blog We Are That Family for quite a while now and had heard about Mercy House Kenya (a ministry that provides support, shelter, education and medical care for pregnant and new mothers in Kenya).  Well, Fair Trade Friday is another ministry of Mercy House Kenya, a monthly subscription club that sends a box of 3-4 quality fair traded items to your door (think stylish accessories, organic soap, etc).  It provides employment and empowerment to women all over the world, giving the artisans a fair source of income that can help sustain their family as well as introduce them to the gospel.

So when I heard that the Fair Trade Friday and new Fair Trade Earring Club was putting together blogging team to help spread the word about these great ministries, I gladly joined in.  I've been so inspired by the encouragement in the group and the information shared about these ministries.  If you follow me on Facebook or Twitter, you've likely seen some of these great reminders.

As a stay-at-home mom to two preschoolers and an almost 1st grader, it is sometimes hard to see how I can make a difference in the lives of others on the other side of the world, but purchasing fair trade items from ministries like Fair Trade Friday (and spreading the word about them) is a great place to start.

Fair Trade Friday group sent me this adorable pair of earrings below to give me a better idea of what their new Earring club is like.  Now, I'm normally not a big jewelry person but these are so beautiful. I love the meaning and purpose behind a fashion accessory like this- using your purchases to be a blessing to others.
The beautiful earrings from Fair Trade Friday Earring of the month club, made by a woman in India - photos by me :)

So I thought I'd share a bit more and give you a chance to win these gorgeous earrings.  Just do a few simple things to learn about Fair Trade Friday and Mercy House in the rafflecopter link below.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

If you are interested in more information about joining Fair Trade Friday or the monthly Fair Trade Earring Club, please follow the links.  Sometimes there are waitlists for one or the other, but if you're interested, please take the time to join the waitlist so you know when they are able to expand their subscription list (they add new members from the waitlist almost every month and rely on the waitlist to project numbers as they work with the artisan groups).

Learning more about using my purchase to impact others for Christ in the world beyond our Gravelly Road.

* Note: I haven't ordered a FTF box or earrings from Fair Trade Friday yet, but I did order some Christmas presents from the Mercy Shop and was impressed by what I received.

* unless otherwise noted, images provided by Fair Trade Friday

Friday, July 3, 2015

Camping Family Vacation

We just got home from a 5 day family vacation, camping in one of our favorite state parks in the northwoods.  In many ways it was similar to a trip we took a few years ago, but a different park this time.

The kids spotted a wide variety of wildlife while we were there: bears (thankfully only at the bear sanctuary), porcupine, red fox, snapping turtle, deer mouse, and a big buck to name a few.

We made so many family memories: hikes, bike rides, going deep underground to visit a mine, seeing bears at a bear sanctuary, campfire stories, lazy mornings, spending time by the lake and so much more.

We are so lucky to have so many great places to visit not that far from home!

Blessed to spend time exploring God's creation and spending time together as a family of five.  Equally blessed to be back home on the Gravelly Road.

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Book Review: Laugh Out Loud Pocket Doodles books

This post is a different sort of book review than I've done in the past, but I was excited to see what these books were like and give them a try.

Laugh-Out-Loud Pocket Doodles for Boys by Rob Elliott and Laugh-Out-Loud Pocket Doodles for Girls by Rob Elliott are unique combinations of kid humor and doodling.  Each joke includes the beginnings of an illustration that the reader can finish or embellish to fit the joke or just make it crazy.  The books targets ages 9-12 so my 4, 5, and 6 year olds couldn't do them by themselves but they sure had fun paging through them and trying a few out.  I think a 7 or 8 year old though could easily enjoy these books though too.

The day the books came in the mail, the kids sat down with me and we read through some of the jokes.  As expected some went right over their heads but others had them laughing.  Since there was only one "boy" book to preview and BOTH boys wanted to try the joke/doodle with a Star Wars reference that they spotted, we ended up copying a few of the pages when we sat down to try some of the doodles.

Here's a few of our initial favorites.  The center one with the Darth Vader joke is the boys' favorite (Q: "What do you get when you cross an elephant with Darth Vader?" A: "An ele-vader")
doodle jokes for kids

I think that we'll keep these books in our camper for the summer as something we can do together during those rainy times when we are all stuck inside.  Because the books themselves are small, they would also fit well in a large purse, backpack or glove box to have on hand when a restaurant wait is long or other times where its nice to have something for kids to do that isn't electronic.

I look forward to getting these books out a few more times to see what other jokes and doodles the kids are drawn to.  As our oldest continues to improve his reading skills, it won't be long before he'll be able to read these to his brother and sister - making it possible entertainment for car trips too.

These books could be a great gift for a kid in your life that enjoys drawing or loves telling jokes.  And I imagine once they are filled with your child's (or children's) doodles, a book like this would make a unique way to capture their sense of humor and drawing style to pull out when they are older.

A fun way to doodle and laugh together here on the gravelly road.

* I was given a free copy of each book to try in exchange for a review.  All opinions and words are my own.

Friday, June 19, 2015

Father's Day Cards

We are celebrating Father's Day all weekend by camping in our new-to-us camper.  Hopefully I can share some pics etc next week but wanted to share the fun cards the kids painted for their grandpas.

kid made father's day cards

I found the free template here and then the kids used water colors to decorate the shirts, ties and bow ties.  It would also be cute to use solid color printing paper and add detail with crayons and markers.

I think they turned out great and the kids were very excited to send them to our grandpas with love from the Gravelly Road.

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