Tuesday, September 17, 2013

A great cause and an even greater recipe to share with you. Strawberry Cheesecake Bites.

“This shop is part of a social shopper marketing insight campaign with Pollinate Media Group™ and Project 7 but all my opinions are my own. #pmedia #chewforchange  http://cmp.ly/3/8vNxcO

One of the statements that was made by my pastor this past weekend at church talked about the value of giving. "We are put on this Earth to impact it, to change a life, and to serve those in need." He went on to talk about how important it is for us to give back, as much as we can, and to do so whole-heartedly. That we need not be rich, successful, or efluential to make an impact. You don't have to be rich, successful, or efluential. Those words really impacted me.

I had to think about this.

You see, you don't have to be religious, go to church, or even believe in a higher power to be impacted by such words. You just have to believe that there is a need for good, that there is a need for help and healing, and there is a need for giving. Yes, I believe that, but often times I find myself wondering what exactly I could do to give back. How I could impact someone's life or change a little piece of the world. I'm quick to judge myself. Criticize. And bring down. Will this little amount do anything? What do I have that I can give? What areas are more important than others? Do I really make a difference?

Yes the little things count. You have more than you think to give. All areas are important, and there is never a surplus of giving. And every act of giving makes a difference.

I found that I was the person that would take the easy road of giving. Yes, I will donate a dollar at every cash register that requests it. Yes, I will donate money when a life is dramatically changed and a fundraiser has been brought to my attention. Yes, if you want me to write a check, I'll do it. Those things are easy to me. Click of a button. Writing of a check. Done. That should make me feel good...right?

Except, it doesn't.

Sometimes, it's not about the amount of money or money at all that is of importance. Sometimes, it's giving more of our heart and our hands that will make the bigger impact and difference. And it takes a little reminder at times that we need to do a little more. Donate our time, our skills, and our resources in order to help others.

Project 7 is one that has a great message behind it. I love the simplicity of their message. Yet, it speaks volumes. "Projects of Good. We exist to do good around the globe. For every purchase of a Project 7 product, good is done in seven areas of need Feed the Hungry, Heal the Sick, Hope for Peace, House the Homeless, Quench the Thirsty, Teach them Well and Save the Earth."

Feed, Heal, Hope, House, Quench, Teach, and Save. Seven words that define the meaning of giving. Giving back our lives to our community.

One of the components of Project 7 is making products for the greater good. Some of these products include water, coffee, mints, and gum. When I went to pick up my ingredients for my giving back recipe at Meijer, I picked up my first {of 10} packs of Project 7 gum, specifically the FEED the hungry and SAVE the Earth packs. I made sure to leave one for the cashier, one for myself, and one for the librarians. The others we plan to disperse throughout the week with a little message attached to them.   Although these acts may be small, and although they may not initially hold meaning to the recipients, there is a much bigger picture behind the message. To give what we can, when we can. It's a message that I needed to hear for myself, and I believe others are in need of hearing. A little reminder. 

Giving back does not have to be an overwhelming cloud over my head. It should never be forced, and it should always come from the heart. It is neither about the amount of money or size of your giving. Even the smallest moments of giving can have some of the largest of impacts. Even as simple as gong to buy Project 7 products at places you regularly shop {click here to find out where products sold}.

Project 7 WEBSITE | Project 7 Facebook | Project 7 Twitter

I decided that I wanted to make something for our local library. It's a place that we visit at least once a week. A place where we get to experience story time, crafts, and interaction with other little kids. A place that my daughter has attended since she was 18 months old, and one where we have seen the biggest amount of growth in. I am thankful for our library and all that it does for our youth. They always welcome us with the biggest smiles on their faces, stimulate the brains' of our little ones, and make each and every activity inviting and fun for all. Their hard work is much appreciated, and I feel as though our "thank yous" alone just don't truly express our gratitude. And because my daughter enjoys it so much, I thought it would be a great learning opportunity. For me to show her the importance of giving back and showing our appreciation toward others.

We have our toddler time tomorrow, goodie bags are packed, and little messages are waiting to be written. I have a feeling that my daughter may want to share a couple with her favorite librarians.

I mean, I do myself.

Strawberry Cheesecake Bites {recipe adapted from allrecipes.com}


1 block of cream cheese
1/2 cup confectioners sugar
1 package of strawberries {I bought 2}
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
Graham crackers crushed
Semisweet chocolate chips {optional}
1 teaspoon canola oil {optional}


1. Knife out the center of the strawberries in a cone shape.

2. Mix the cream cheese, sugar, and vanilla extract together until smooth. Crush the graham crackers in a bag until very fine crumbs develop.

3. Fill the center of the strawberries with the cream cheese mixture so that it overflows. Then sprinkle the graham crackers on top.

4. {optional} melt the chocolate and canola oil and either drizzle on top, or dip on the bottom of the strawberries.


They turned out amazing. So easy to do. All ingredients purchased at my local Meijer, and it is a recipe that has made it in the books. And my belly.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Straight Talk. Make A Wish Come True.

 I participated in this sponsored campaign for One2One Network. I received monetary compensation, but all opinions stated are my own.

One of the things that I remember quite well growing up, is hearing about the Make-A-Wish foundation and all of the great stories that went along with it. I remember seeing people give back to wonderful causes to make dreams come true for so many children out there that were sick and part of a reality that no child should ever have to go through.  Yet, they're still very much children that have dreams. Dreams that others have the opportunity to make come true.

Sometimes you have to be reminded of these stories and the acts of giving to want to do something yourself. Sometimes we forget about how much we take our own lives for granted and what may be going on in someone's world gives us a new perspective on what is going on in ours. Something that makes our world and our problems seem like nothing in comparison. And therefore, further reminding us of the power helping others in every way possible.

Especially the innocent beautiful children.

Donating our time and efforts can even take us that much further in our quest to helping put a smile on a child's face. A child that has been faced with more than we could ever imagine at such a young age. And all it takes is a dream.

It's great to see companies that also donate their resources for great causes such as Make-A-Wish. Straight Talk is one of those companies that is currently running a campaign called "Give A Minute, Help Make-A-Wish."

Have you heard about it? It really is simple, and is a great way for us, you and I, to be a part of something bigger and life changing.

For every Saturday in the month of September {RIGHT NOW}, you can visit your local Wal-Mart, stop by the Straight Talk Wireless for a minute to learn more about it, and as a result, Straight Talk will donate $1 to Make-A-Wish. For each person that stops by. That means, take your husbands, your parents, your brothers and sisters, and friends!  Straight Talk plans to donate up to 1 million to Make-A-Wish and at the least will donate 500,000. That's amazing! Last year they met their 1 million goal, and let us help them meet that mark again. 

Another great way to help the cause? Share the straight talk video. And by doing so? For every person that watches {per day}, $1 will be donated to Make-A-Wish. 
Don't know what Straight Talk is? It is a cell phone carrier that reaches 300 million people, carries name brand phones such as LG and Apple, and has plans that include unlimited talk, text, and data nationwide!
But personally, I believe the best part of the company is their passion for helping our children by being a part of the Make-A-Wish foundation. And not only can you learn more about this company by visiting Wal-Mart on a Saturday, but you can also be a part of making a sick child's dream come true.
We can all be a part of a dream. And it's as simple as just taking a minute out of our day.