Health, Love & Fire: January 2016

Fundraising For A Reason - Unique and Successful Fundraising Ideas

Friday, January 29, 2016

I've been a part of different fundraising events in some capacity for the last eight years from working for nonprofits to volunteering. We all have certain causes that are near and dear to our hearts. Volunteering and fundraising for local organizations has not only been such an amazing and touching experience, but I have also made some of my closest friends through those experiences. Win-Win! I've been lucky enough to have been on teams with friends where we've raised up to $18,000 for just one event. But we are always trying to come up with new and creative fundraising ideas to keep things interesting and get more people involved. Year after year it can get boring and difficult to come up with new ideas to raise money, so I decided to share some of my favorites.

Here are 25 ideas for awesome fundraisers that have been successful in events I've been a part of
1. Bake Sales
2. Team Garage Sale - Host this either at someone's home, ask a local business to use their parking lot, or attend a larger area wide garage sale with your team. One of our teams has attended a large garage sale hosted at the Portland Convention Center which saw TONS of traffic! Check in to these large scale sales in your area.
3. Coin Jars - Place these at people's workplaces, houses and local businesses with permission - that way any spare change people might have can be donated to your team.
4. Raffles - (Check your local raffle rules) We raffled off a Treager (smoker) BBQ that our team pitched in to purchase. We ended up making over $1,000 and sold tickets for $10 each.
5. Car Wash
6. Candy Sales - Places like See's Candy offer different fundraising programs where a percentage of your sales would go back to your team.
7. Pop Can Drive
8. Flock Someone's Lawn - get a flock of fake flamingos and have people pay to have them placed in friends and families' lawns
9. Egg Their Lawn - Have people pay to have Easter eggs put in their yards for their kids to find on Easter morning -  This was a huge hit and a great fundraiser for our team!
10. Bingo Party, Poker Party, or Bunko Party - Make sure to check your local lottery laws first, but a fun way to get your friends and family together and involved in your fundraising!
11. Car Show
12. Host a running event such as a 5k and charge an entry fee
13. Percentage Nights - Ask local restaurants to give back a percentage of their sales for a day or evening
14. Silent Auction
15. Dinner Dance - charge for tickets and provide food, music and dancing
16. Sell Something You Made - We sold homemade necklaces and made over $1,000
17. Face Painting at events
18. Car Crunch - Charge people to take a swing at an old car
19. Pie In The Face
20. Wine Pull - Ask everyone to bring a bottle of wine to your party and then charge people $5 to pick one of the wine's at random.
21. Christmas Tree sales - Partner with a local tree grower or lot and agree to help them publicize their sales if they will give a portion back to your team.
22. Parking Sales at local festivals - Offer to help sell and park cars for a local event or festival in exchange for a percentage going back to your event
23. Sell T-Shirts - Design and print your own shirts and sell them
24. Make Something and sell it - One year we made our own heart pendants for necklaces and sold them. Each one was personalized with beads of the buyers choosing and we made close to $1000
25. On site fundraisers - If your event happens all on one site, charge people to take photos at a photo booth, host a dunk tank, sell lap beads if it's a walking event, or sell different crafts. You have a captive audience at your event that is there for a reason, so try to get them involved in your fundraising!
I really have met some amazing people while fundraising and volunteering. Even now that I don't work for the same organizations, I still look forward to volunteering and fundraising each year for those same events. Every little bit helps when it comes to non-profits so don't think you can't contribute. Even if you're able to raise $100 it all helps the cause. What are some great fundraisers you've heard of or been a part of?

Harper - 5 Month Update

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Harper at five months 
Eventually I will get these up closer to the actual month mark, but it's only been two weeks so I'll consider that a win this month! She's still growing like a weed! She's in 6 month clothes still but almost ready to move into some 9 month! Girlfriend needs to stop getting so big! I'm guessing she's probably around 16 and a half pounds, but won't know exact measurements till her 6 month check up next month. 

What's New
She's rolling all over the place! I literally can't put her down in one
place because she's rolling and turning constantly! She's also really starting to love being in her bouncer and just in the last few days has figured out how to turn the seat all the way around to look at and play with everything. She's also starting to grasp things and really figure out where her hands are and what they can do (besides just being good to put in her mouth). She also started eating some food this month and is slowly figuring that out. I say this every month, but I am just so amazed at how much she is constantly changing and learning something new! 

She loves being outside or looking out the window. She also loves to be standing (with help obviously). This month we tried her out sitting in her high chair and she really likes to be able to watch us cook or sit up and look at everything. She's starting to notice and love the pets even more! Anytime Cooper (the dog) walks by she stops and watches whatever he's doing. I'm sure once she's mobile the two of them will become fast friends. 
She started trying solids this month and is slowly getting the hang of it! She's still breastfeeding when I'm home and taking a bottle during the day while I'm at work. We've had to supplement formula once or twice a day just to keep up with my supply and her demand but it's all still going well. 
She's still sleeping in her own room which has been so nice to have our room back. I love being with her all the time but have also loved to have some time in the evenings where we can catch up on shows or just chat before bed about our day. We started a more set bedtime routine this month and it has been working out really well. She takes a bath around 7, then we get her dressed in her sleeper and she eats one last time, then we read her a book and put her to bed. We are still working on the crib transition but wanted to get her used to her routine and putting herself to sleep first and then we will move her to her crib. Right now she's sleeping in the rock and play in her room. She's been doing great in there and for the most part sleeps through the night. 

Photos from this month 
We celebrated her first Christmas 
She still has her Mimi & Poppy wrapped around her finger! 

She saw snow for the first time! 
And we celebrated NYE with some of our favorite friends! 

New Years New Goals . . . . And New Things To Spend Money On

Thursday, January 14, 2016

I have never really been one of those people who has a new years resolution this year. Maybe it's because I know myself pretty well, and well I'm not the greatest at keeping said resolutions. I have a tendency to over plan and set goals that are WAY too high and basically unachievable and then I get upset when I don't meet those goals. See . . . I'm great at resolutions.

And this year was going to be the same as in past years, I wasn't going to make any resolutions. But then one after the other, goals keep popping up in my head. . . .

I want to make more time for myself to be active
I want to focus more time on my blog and on my etsy shop
I want to cut back one day at work to be home more with Harper
I want to win the power ball

Okay, maybe that last one wasn't really a goal, but the rest of them are. Having a new baby in your life is a huge adjustment, and so is going back to work after having the baby. Throw in there lots of changes with my husband's job coming up in the near future and the crazy life of being married to a firefighter when things aren't changing and things can get a little hectic around our house.

But now that Harper is 5 months old (i promise i'll get her 5 month update posted sometime before she's 6, not 6 months, but 6) and I'm getting in to my new work schedule, it's time to work on some of those resolutions.

So while I'm over here planning out my days, trying to be more meaningful with my time, and figuring out how to fit in my goals, what are your resolutions or goals for the new year?

Maybe some money would help you achieve your goals. Maybe you want new workout gear, or healthy food, or what about throwing some dough into your blog - like a new design or sponsoring your favorite blogger.

options, people. with $250 have options.

you know the drill.

1 | check out all the WONDERFUL women below who brought you this great giveaway! you'll find some new great reads // pinterest boards // instagram accounts // etsy shops...lots of goodies.

2 | get yourself entered below via rafflecopter.

3 | cross your fingers and toes!
jessica | katie
sarah | krista | vicki | hannah | liz
samantha | karli | michelle | danielle | libby
alexis | penny | tawnya | shelly | mae
lauren | jenn | beth | lindsay | jess

and lastly, i'd love to hear how you balance it all and what some of your goals and resolutions are for the new year! Help this new-mom and working mom out!

Post Holiday Catch-Up

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

The holidays seem like they come and go so quickly. Starting from my birthday on the 19th through New Years, the entire time seems like a whirlwind. I'm lucky and actually get from the day before Christmas Eve until the Monday after New Years day off of work. So with that time off and all the business that comes with the holidays it seemed like a natural break from blogging as well. But I didn't want the entire time to come and go without documenting any of it, especially since it's Harper's first holiday season and all. Instead of dragging it out into multiple posts, I decided to save your time and mine and combine them all. So without further ado, here's what we've been up to the last few week (of course I'm including lots of cute pictures of Harper too).

We kicked off the holidays celebrating my birthday . . . first with family - we had my parents over for dinner, and then with friends - our annual Ugly Sweater Party. I just never get sick of hosting a party, especially one that involves a photo booth!
Someone was a little tired at this point :) 
We decided to start a new tradition the night before we celebrate our Christmas to give each other new pajamas and a Christmas book so it obviously necessitated a family selfie! 

We celebrated our family Christmas just the three of us (and the pets) the morning of Christmas Eve and then celebrated with Dan's Mom that afternoon and evening. 
On Christmas day Dan got to spend the morning with us and go in to work at noon so we had breakfast with my parents and opened a few gifts. After Dan headed off to work Harper and I spent the rest of the day at my parents just hanging out. That evening my brother and his girlfriend joined us for a low key dinner. We finished opening all of our gifts the next day once Dan was off of work. 
Our celebrations were definitely drawn out due to Dan's work schedule, but Harper did really well with all the celebrations and being out of her normal routine and was definitely ready to go home and rest at the end of each night! 
For the majority of our other time off together we kept it pretty quiet. We ran a few errands, did a little after Christmas shopping and enjoyed most days home all together. New Years Eve was more of the same, but we spent the evening in Pjs hanging out with friends. It was nice to have a quiet night in with some of our closest friends and their kids! Definitely a change of pace from a few years ago, but a welcomed change! 
I loved all the cuddle time I got with Dan and Harper over break and we even got some snow to finish it off. Unfortunately it came once I was supposed to go back to work and ended up causing me to end up stuck on the side of the road near the top of the mountain/hill I have to go over to get to work, but that's a whole other story. Let's just say I'm safe, my car's safe and after the rescue of a couple cute fireman (one being my husband) all is well and I'm off the icy hill! 
Whew. . . we're all caught up on the holidays, the snow and ice have gone away and I can now safely get to work without worrying about getting stuck, and we are back to our normal schedule. Except now I've started my new schedule and I'm able to stay home with Harper an extra day a week which is amazing! I even started some new projects and planning new blog posts so I'll actually have something other than baby pictures to share! This new year is off to a great start! 

Harper - 4 Month Update

Thursday, January 7, 2016

We are almost to her five month milestone so I figured I better get this posted soon before I'm completely behind! 

Harper at four months 
She got weighed at her four month doctors visit and is weighing 14 pounds 6 ounces and is 24 and a quarter inches long. She's definitely higher percentage wise in the weight category than the height but she seems to be lengthening out . . . or at least we hope. She's wearing 6 month clothes, especially in Carters and the 3-6 month Old Navy and Baby Gap. I swear every time I look through her closet I find more things she's grown out of!

What's New
- Starting a couple weeks ago every time we lay her down she's trying to roll over. She can roll from her tummy to her back, but is still working on the back to tummy, she always gets stuck on her side and hasn't quite figured out how to move her arm to get herself all the way over.
- She's noticing everything and instead of being content just looking around from her car seat, she's wanting to be out and held up to see it all when we are out and about.
- Everything is going in her mouth - hands, toys, your hands . . . everything!
- She's grasping toys and as soon as she does she pulls them right to her face!

- She still loves to be in her room especially on her changing table staring at her bows or in her crib staring at her mobile
- She loves to look outside or be outside staring at the trees. It has been super rainy this month so we haven't been able to go on as many walks but anytime she's in the car she's looking out the window!
- Cooper - She loves to stare at the dog when he walks by!

She's still exclusively breastfeeding, but we may have to add a bottle of formula every now and then because she seems to be eating more on a daily basis than I'm producing. She eats anywhere from every 2-3 hours. She will usually take a long nap in the afternoon where she will go 3-4 hours in between feedings, but the rest of the day I'm lucky if she makes it 2. Our Pediatrician said we can start trying to give her solids just to try out whenever we want, but I will probably wait a little while yet.

We officially moved her to sleeping in her own room. I put this off a couple nights and the first night Dan was back at work I had her back in our room. But she seems to be sleeping better in there so she's officially moved in to her room. Right now she's sleeping in the pack and play still, but our plan is to move her to her crib over my Christmas break from work. Right now she goes down to sleep between 8 and 9pm and wakes up anywhere from 6-8 in the morning. There have been a few nights when she was going through a developmental leap that she woke up in the middle of the night wanting to eat, but for the most part we're doing good in the sleep department. I'm definitely a little nervous about the crib transition, but hopefully it will go smoothly. We borrowed a wedge to put in her crib to create a bit of an incline so hopefully that will help.

Photos from this month 

Check out other monthly updates:
3 Months
2 Months 
1 Month

Holiday Photos

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

A few weeks ago Dan, Harper and I got all dressed up and had some holiday photos taken. A friend from college and his wife are working on adopting a baby and as part of their fundraising efforts they hosted a holiday mini session at their home studio. His wife happens to be a photographer, and adoption tugs at my hear strings so I was excited to be a part of this. Plus, I was all about getting some holiday photos taken for Harper's first Christmas. We ended up using some of them for our holiday card and gifts for family so it worked out perfectly. And I know that now most people have put away their holiday decorations and have moved on to their new years resolutions, but I wanted to share them first! So, here are some of my favorites!

I can't wait to get holiday photos taken for years to come!