Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Help and Chat with a Child in Bolivia

Imagine being a child in an extremely poor country and getting a message from someone across the world. All of a sudden you feel like someone knows you exist. You somehow don't feel so alone.

This is part of a new program the World Food Programme has started with the school children of Bolivia.

First a few facts about Bolivia:

-It is one of the poorest countries in Latin America with nearly two thirds or 80% of the country living below the poverty line.
-Stunting in children under 5 years old remains at 27-37% and has for ten years, due to lack of nutrition.
-The income of 40% of the population (once again hight in rural areas at 59%) is insufficient to meet the basic food needs.
-63% of households cannot provide the MINIMUM caloric intake needed for adequate growth.
-They depend mainly on agriculture so in lean seasons or natural disasters they cannot make money nor eat.

You can get more involved with the children of Bolivia. WFP has an amazing tool that allows you to ask questions to these children and then they will reply back. I am just trying this out today and I look forward to their response! This is an amazing tool to use with older children to help open their eyes that the world is much bigger than your family, home, town, or country. It helps them put a face to a need.

Words have so much power, especially to children. Just a simple note or question can make a difference. Imagine someone asking your opinion or what your hopes or dreams are?!

Send your message or question through this site:

The World Food Programme is working to help the children of Bolivia by reducing malnutrition in children. This will allow them to concentrate and learn in school. This will help all children, even those not in school. They are working to enhance emergency preparedness and how to respond during emergencies.

You can donate to the World Food Programme here.

**This is my second post as part of the Global Team of 200! Follow us!**

I would love for you to share your question/message and the response you get from the children of Bolivia!

Trick or Treat with Purpose

I had no idea that you could help other children by Trick or Treating but you can!

Trick-or-Treat for UNICEF was started in 1950 during the aftermath of World War II. It encourages children to collect coins to help those still affected by the war. It is still going on to day and helping children around the world. This program helps show children that they can be active global citizens and help other children all while having fun and dressing up!

It is one of UNICEF's longest -running youth volunteer initiative and is 62 years old this year. In it's 62 Halloweens, $167 million has been raised. This has helped children in over 190 countries and territories. The money goes toward health care, immunizations, clean water, sanitation, nutrition, education, emergency relief and more. Without the money raised during Halloween, children would have to do without some of the basic necessities of life.

They have fun boxes you can use to collect money if you order their free kits in time. Obviously, today is Halloween so you most likely will not have one of their boxes but you can make a box or envelope of your own or help your children make one.

Here is an awesome, short video that introduces the program a bit more:

A few other ideas to help raise money for UNICEF before or after Trick-or-Treating:

-Have them assign a value to each of their candies and treats they get tonight. Then have them "sell" their candy to you for money that can then be sent to UNICEF.
-Have your children go through their piggy bank or chore money and left them buy some of the candy back from you.
-If you have time to set up a cider or hot chocolate booth in your neighborhood, you can collect the money raised from that and send it to UNICEF.
-You can also make a donation online.

I wish I would have known of Trick-or-Treat for UNICEF when I was younger but my daughter will grow up with this as much a part of Halloween as pumpkins!!! This is such an easy way to show children that helping others can be fun and easy!

***This is my first post as part of the Global Team of 200!! Please follow along with us as we blog throughout the next year sharing amazing programs and organizations!!****

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Where to Shop Wednesday: FuzziBunz

FuzziBunz is one of the most widely known cloth diapering names. Tereson Dupuy is the inventor of FuzziBunz and founder and CEO of Mother of Eden. She invented FuzziBunz in January of 1999 after her son was suffering from chronic diaper rash. She couldn't find a solution that was easy or convenient. So became the birth of modern cloth diapers. Some people refer to Tereson Dupuy as "the mother of the modern cloth diaper."

If you aren't familiar with FuzziBunz, here is a brief overview of their diapers and products: Pocket diapers with a fleece lining and snaps. Super fun colors. One Size (Birth to Potty Trained) and Perfect Size (sized XS, S, M, L, XL, XXL), Trainers, Nursing Pads, Hanging Diaper Pails, Diaper Totes, Diaper Sprayers, Mama Pads, Inserts, Detergent, Changing Pads, Mattress Pads. Did I miss anything?

FuzziBunz diapers are amazing diapers. Their products are amazing. And their company is amazing!

Here is a list of the organizations they have helped:

  • Aid for Orphans (Ukraine)
  • Amani Baby Cottage (Uganda)
  • Healing Hands of Haiti
  • Malayka House (Uganda)
  • Miracle Diapers (USA)
  • Raising Malawi 
  • The Home of Hope (Malawi)
  • The Crisis Nursery (Uganda)
  • Autism Speaks

FuzziBunz has given to several different organizations through the FuzziBunz Gives Back Program.   They have provided thousands of cloth diapers to several orphanages around the world. These include orphanages in the U.S., Africa, Haiti, and the Ukraine.  They also raised funds to donate formula and cereal for these babies. Then in their free time (not sure where they find it!) they have sewn blankets and other items to give these precious children something of their own. It that doesn't give you warm fuzzies about this company, nothing will!

When natural disasters hit here in the US and over seas, they also raise funds and help out as they can. Being a Louisiana based company, they see their fair share of natural disasters. During the floods and tornados of 2011, they helped collect and send baby supplies including diapers to families who lost everything.

They have also raised over $13,000 for Autism Speaks through the sale of their Light It Up Blue diaper. If you purchase this diaper $1 of each Light It Up Blue Diaper sale will be donated to Autism Speaks. Tereson's son Eden was diagnosed with Asperger Syndrome at 8 years old so this charity is very dear to her and her family.

What if every company cared this much? They care about their products, their employees, their customers, and their world!

Doesn't shopping feel good?!

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Where to Shop Wednesday: gDiapers

gDiapers are incredibly versatile diapers. The company was started by Jason and Kim Graham-Nye while living in Australia. When they found out that regular disposable diapers were the third largest contributor to landfills in the world while only 5% of the population uses them! That fact gets me too! How does it not make everyone want to use reusable diapers!!

They decided right then that disposables weren't an option. They were living in a drought stricken area of Australia so they had to be extremely water conscious so they couldn't do 100% cloth either. So what's an eco responsible couple to do?! They heard about a company in Tasmania (very near Australia) that made flushable diapers and from their the idea was born. Fast forward to gDiapers.

They are a hybrid: part reusable (the shell) and part biodegradable disposables. You can also use hemp cloth insert inside to make it 100% reusable. They are great for traveling. Did I mention they are super cute?!

gDiapers is involved with many different charities and organizations.

Here is a list of the many different non-profit organizations gDiapers helps out:

Who knew shopping could feel so good?!

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Where to Shop Wednesday: Happy Heinys

Happy Heinys was started in January 2002 by Linda Byerline after the birth of her third child, who was born prematurely. Her doctor suggested cloth diapers to her after the birth of her child and she desired different options than what she found available and so was born Happy Heinys!

For those who aren't familiar with Happy Heinys: They make several different kinds of cloth diapers but their most famous for their one size pocket diapers. They have options for Hook and Loop (velcro) and Snaps. Many moms (and dads) are huge fans of the Hook and Loop option. Happy Heinys is made exclusively in the US (except for Hemp products).

Happy Heinys is very involved with giving to those in need. Here is a quote from the owner about how she started helping orphans around the world:

“Happy Heinys has actually been working with several different orphanages in Africa, Kenya, and Haiti over the last 8 yrs.”, states Linda Byerline CEO. Byerline continues, “It all started 8 yrs ago when we received a picture of an infant no more than 3-4 months old sitting on a small glass pitcher. We soon learned that these babys sat on these homemade potties for hours each day due to the lack of diapering products available. Those who were lucky enough to have a diaper actually had an old worn rag wrapped around their diaper area. As a mom this broke my heart!” Byerline continued, “We quickly realized that we were in the best position to take care of these babies behinds and we have done so ever since. As other companies sell off their seconds, Happy Heinys sends them to babies in need all over the world.”

If the thought of infants sitting on glass pitchers doesn't stir something deep inside of you, check your pulse!

Here is a list of organizations Happy Heinys has helped:

  • 9/11 Red Cross Fund
  • Aid for Orphans 
  • Timothy House in Haiti
  • International Federation of Human Support
  • Autism Speaks
  • Guatemala Stove
  • US Natural Disasters : San Diego Fires and Hurricane Katrina
Most recently, Happy Heinys, has started their own charity called The Heiny Project. 100% of the money collected goes toward providing diapers for families in need. The families take a 1.5 hour course of how to take of the diapers and then receive a certificate to purchase $250 worth of cloth diapers.

Shop for your baby and help other babies!

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Hate: We aren't born with it, we learn it.

I started this post on August 6th. It was the day after the shooting at the Sikh Temple in Wisconsin. I felt it might be too heavy a topic for one of my first few posts so I saved it and didn't finish writing that night. Honestly, I think I was scared to address this topic. Partly because I know I am guilty. But this week, things keep happening that keep stirring this topic in my head and my heart so here it goes. (I apologize if it is really long.)

The founder of World Vision, Bob Pierce, prayed a prayer when he was starting World Vision. In Richard Sterns book, The Hole in Our Gospel, he introduces you to Mr. Pierce and his prayer. I prayed that prayer 3 years ago this Fall and all I can tell you is that, God answered.

“Let my heart be broken by the things that break the heart of God.”Bob Pierce, World Vision founder

I am a Christian but a lot of things about my own religion leaves me befuzzled and full of questions. I don't agree with everything I have been taught. To some people, maybe I am not Christian enough.

But to me, my God is love, He is not hate. He does not promote hate. He gave His Son so we could all know love. When I think of hate, I see God sad. I see it breaking His heart. I think He looks down and shakes His head at us saying, "You are missing it. LOVE. L-O-V-E. The greatest of these commandments is LOVE."

Hate manifests itself in so many different forms. Hate because someone is a different race, religion, ethnicity, sexual orientation, economic status, gender, weight... Hate simply because "they aren't like us."

I looked at my daughter the day of the Sikh Temple shooting in Wisconsin. It hit me that one day there will be a time when I have to explain to her that someone killed another person simply because they are different. Watching her play so innocently and thinking of her playing with her friends at Mother's Day Out or the park, it occurred to me: Hate is a learned.

Hate is learned, so that means someone else teaches, whether intentionally or unintentionally, hate.

Some times children are told to not like certain people because they are different. Other times they aren't told directly but rather observe their parents or families behavior and words and learn it that way.

Why would I do that to my daughter? Why would I do that to this world? What I teach my daughter affects this entire world in one way or another. (Hint the name of the blog.)

If I teach her to look down on others because they are different for whatever reason, I am not doing my job as a parent and I am definitely not doing my job as a Christian parent.

Here are some situations and thoughts on hate with example from my perspective.

Sexual Orientation
The same week I launched this blog was the huge Chick-Fil-A thing. (I am not bashing their company right now, I am just talking about my take away from the situation. I still eat there as I still drink Starbucks). Initially I really thought it was just about freedom of speech. Then I realized that some people participating weren't realizing the underlying message they were sending while others knew good and well what they were doing.

I am a Christian but I also believe homosexual couples should be able to marry. I am glad we are from a country with free speech so yes, Chick-Fil-A can state their beliefs. I am glad I ca shop where I want and eat and drink what I want. But on the day of support Chick-Fil-A, I didn't participate because the majority of the gay community didn't see this as a "free speech" thing, they saw this as a "we hate you" kind of day.

This verse stayed on my mind all week, "Therefore, if food causes my brother to stumble, I will never eat meat again, so that I will not cause my brother to stumble." 1 Corinthians 8:13

When I read this verse, I could see this as, "Don't eat that sandwich today because that might make someone feel hated, not loved."

Religion confuses me. It makes me sad. But it also gives me hope.

When killings happen because someone believes the wrong thing, something different from whomever is doing the killings, the reasoning escapes me.

When people protest a center in a town from being built because it is a different religion than what they are used to, that is hate. In America, we have freedom, freedom to worship whom we choose and how. To teach your child to grow up hating someone because they are a different religion than you are makes no since to me.

This video has been floating around the web and news, of a newscaster who addresses a man who wrote her a degrading email about her weight. I love her reply to him and her message for young people who are being bullied.

Parents, your children are watching and listening to everything you say. They hear the words you call people. The things you say to other adults about other adults and even other children. They learn to think like you. "If my mom and dad say these things then it must be okay to do."

So many kids are bullied and it is so sad. Why must we always pick on people?

Set an example for your kids. Remember the Golden Rule: Treat others the way you want to be treated. Talk about others the way you want others to talk about you. Talk about others the way you want your children to talk about others.

This week's episode of Parenthood addresses the "N" word. This episode was incredibly powerful to me. For those not familiar with the show, their is an interracial couple who have a son. He hears the word in a song. His dad is white and he thought he had fully explained to his young son why this word was inappropriate, until the mother states she needs to address it. I know this was a tv show with a script but it really made an impression on me. I'm a white girl so I can never understand what it feels like to be called that word. To be degraded in such a fashion and to be made to feel you are less of a person or human as said by the actress, breaks my heart. How can this be ok?

The book and movie, The Help, also helped bring this to the surface. How could we treat other human beings as less because of the color of their skin. Growing up in Northeast Louisiana, I am all too familiar with that word and how it can be used and how people can be thought of differently because of their skin color.

There are things I have done and said in my past that I am so incredibly ashamed of. Things that hurt people and promoted hate. I have said things that discriminated on all levels from race, weight, looks, sexual orientation, religion, and even gender. I have said horrible things in my past. I am so sincerely sorry for those hurtful and hateful words I have uttered.

Sometimes I look back at myself and I don't even recognize me and I thank God for that. I am not same Samantha I once was. I am so thankful that my heart has been changed and my eyes have been opened. How did I live that way for so long? How did I walk around with such an ugly heart and think I was really serving my Jesus?

As a mom, I will do everything in my power to make sure my daughter learns love and acceptance. I want to teach her to stand up for her beliefs but not to degrade someone else because of theirs. I want her to believe in herself and not be scared to be different. I want her to not be scared to be friends with people who are different from her. I want to teach her LOVE, not hate.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Introduction to Where to Shop Wednesdays

In June of 2011, I began to get a little stir crazy. I had a 4 month old baby and was now a stay at home mom. Becoming a SAHM meant a big pay cut for us. We thought we were ready for it but we weren't. It was also a huge adjustment to me not bringing home money. We are also normally a charitable couple but all of a sudden we needed every cent we were earning. I figured we couldn't be the only people who had this huge change to our normal life by having a baby and one person of the couple deciding to stay home. 

Late one night after getting our daughter to bed, I was browsing on of my favorite sites: Made By Survivors. They are an incredible organization/business that empowers women. Some women have been rescued from sex slavery and trafficking and others live in poor communities with no rights. They teach and train these women to become artisans and then the items they make are sold around the world. So you buy a beautiful necklace and you empower a woman you will never meet. It's  incredibly powerful for these women, yet so simple for the consumer. 

I started thinking, why couldn't there be a online store or better, physical store that did this geared towards parents. Every baby needs essential items and almost every baby gets gifts. I started researching and planning and then told my husband of my grand plan: I wanted to open a store that sold all things baby but only from companies who were charitable. I also wanted the company to give back. The planning was bumpy but I had some good advisors. After realizing bank don't like to give money to start ups we scaled back and it became simply a cloth diaper store with room to expand. And that is when Teal Elephant was born. 

The name was chosen because Teal was in the green family and our company was "green" just not 100%. Elephant was chosen because elephants are matriarchal animals. If a mother elephant dies, the other female elephants help raise the orphaned elephant. They also work together so no one is left unprotected. These facts amazed me and I fell in love with elephants.

My business would have been open one year on paper this month. I am in the process of closing it because I figured out that I love cloth diapers but I don't have the passion that is needed to help push a business along. I won't say it was a waste of time (maybe a little money here and there). I learned a lot about business and a lot about myself. I met some amazing women and mothers and I loved it. 

Even though I am closing it, I still have a interest in businesses that are charitable. If I know a company gives to others when I purchase there items, I will pay more and I will have a deeper following to that brand. 

I figure there are some other mama elephants that like to shop and like to help people. When money is tight people want to make their dollar stretch as far as it can go. What if we looked at that a little differently? What if we shopped for items that we needed that also helped people in return?

Each Wednesday I will give you a different business that I love that gives back. The first few will be cloth diaper related because, well, I already know about them. 

I have to give credit to an amazing website I found last year in the process of all the business research. They do this same thing except it's almost daily and it is more in depth than I will be doing. It is MilkShake. Check them out and bookmark them (and me too!!) and let your shopping help empower people!!

What is your favorite business that gives back?

Monday, October 1, 2012

October = Breast Cancer Awareness

October seems to be a month with two colors: Orange and Pink.

Today we are discussing the color Pink. You see pink, you think boobs.

As a woman, I am a owner of 2 of them, as are most humans (men and women)!

Breasts are those things that you don't think a lot about unless they are an issue. I will be the first to admit, I rarely do my monthly self breast exams.

According to John Hopkins Medical Center, "Forty percent of diagnosed breast cancers are detected by women who feel a lump, so establishing a regular breast self-exam is very important."

I went in for my yearly check up in August and during the routine visit my doctor found a small lump that he couldn't figure out if it was anything to be of concern. He pointed it out to me and told me to keep an eye on it when doing my monthly exams. I said yes even though I can't even recall the last self exam I had done.

I breast fed my daughter for 13 months. During that time I would check for clogged ducts after getting mastitis when she was two weeks old. Can you say, ouch?! During that time I would massage any lumps until they were soft but that was the end of anything remotely like an exam.

Well, since August, which means one month has past, that being September, I can say I have done my monthly exams!! I have had these breast for going on my whole 29 years. As I was doing my exam I realized two things:

1. I didn't even really know how to perform it. Sure I new one way and that I was searching for a knot or lump but I didn't realize it had three parts (see below).
2. I have no idea what my breasts feel like.

The second realization made me laugh. My dog was just looking at me as I fondled my breasts laughing. How have I had these things so long and I don't know that they feel like this?!?! I bet my husband would notice a change in my breasts faster than I would.

This really made me think. Why is this not something that is automatic to us as women?

My spot hasn't changed but I am watching it. I think it is just normal tissue (dense tissue) as my doctor assumed but I will watch it as I was told. I also want to make this a normal thing for my daughter to see. If she grows up with mommy doing her self breast exams then it won't seem like such an odd idea.

Below are the directions, along with an image, for doing a Self Breast Exam which should be done monthly. I found these on the National Breast Cancer website.



Using the pads of your fingers, move around your entire breast in a circular pattern moving from the outside to the center, checking the entire breast and armpit area. Check both breasts each month feeling for any lump, thickening, or hardened knot. Notice any changes and get lumps evaluated by your healthcare provider.


Visually inspect your breasts with your arms at your sides. Next, raise your arms high overhead.
Look for any changes in the contour, any swelling, or dimpling of the skin, or changes in the nipples. Next, rest your palms on your hips and press firmly to flex your chest muscles. Left and right breasts will not exactly match—few women's breasts do, so look for any dimpling, puckering, or changes, particularly on one side.


When lying down, the breast tissue spreads out evenly along the chest wall. Place a pillow under your right shoulder and your right arm behind your head. Using your left hand, move the pads of your fingers around your right breast gently in small circular motions covering the entire breast area and armpit.
Use light, medium, and firm pressure. Squeeze the nipple; check for discharge and lumps. Repeat these steps for your left breast.
If you need more details, please visit
Who else will agree to set a monthly plan for self breast exams?

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