Tuesday, July 31, 2012

12 in 12: July Update

During 2012, Sophia, Olivia, and I are doing a special challenge that we've named 12 in 12. We are doing 12 different activities that help people in need, animals, or the environment. 

This is how we did during July: 

- Take 1 bag of food to the food shelf. We donated 24 packages (two 12-packs) of Ramen Noodle Soup to the food shelf at church. This food shelf serve the local communities of Marine on St. Croix and Scandia.

The girls dropping off food for the food shelf.

- Volunteer 1 hour at a community organization that is chosen each month (can be the same one or different one). We now have collected 841 books to establish a library in Lesotho, Africa, through the African Library Project. Our goal is 1,000 books. This month we focused on storing the books safely here until we can ship them this fall to the African Library Project which will send them onto Lesotho. 

Sophia counting books and putting them in bins 
until they are shipped to 
the African Library Project this fall.

- Donate 1 bag of clothing to a second-hand shop. We had a small bag of of clothing that we donated to Family Pathways (see photo below). Sophia and Olivia found some clothes that no longer fit or that they didn't want to wear any longer when we cleaned out their closet this month.

- Donate 1 bag of toys and other non-clothing items to a second-hand shop. We donated ten bags of household goods and toys plus a guitar to Family Pathways. 

Olivia and Sophia with the items we donated.

We also donated five bags of non-clothing items to Goodwill later in the month. In addition, we brought two pairs of glasses that belonged to Ann's father/the girls' grandpa to the Lions Club collection box so they can be refurbished and given to people who can't afford a pair of glasses.

The girls holding two pairs of glasses and the cases
before donating them to the Lions Club for refurbishing.

- Donate 12 books that we no longer read to organizations needing books. We donated 101 books and 28 learning activities for students and teachers at the library we are collecting books through for the African Library Project.

Above: The girls with some of the books they've read 
that they are donating to the children in Africa.

Below: These are some of the learning materials we are sending
along with the books so the teachers in Africa 
can help their students learn to speak and read English.

- Donate $12 to an organization that helps individuals, animals, or the environment. We donated $12 to Northwoods Humane Society.

Sophia and Olivia with cash and Kitten Chow.

When we arrived, there was a woman who remembered Sophia, Olivia, and I when we adopted Gretel in 2008. She was so happy to be able to see Gretel (who we had in the car with us along with Montague), and recalled taking the photo of us with Gretel on the day we adopted her.

Three of the dogs who are eager to find a family.

She was grateful for our ongoing support...especially since they are trying to raise $60,000 by the end of the calendar year in order to keep the humane society open. It's been a challenging year for them since there are significantly more pets being surrendered and abandoned; and more difficult to secure donations since the economy is still in a state of recovery.

- Write 1 letter to someone who has made a difference in our lives. I wrote to a woman who was instrumental in helping me with my dad's funeral. She was a staff person at the church that my dad and mom attended.

She helped make sure that I had all the necessary components in the funeral (my dad was a deacon in the Catholic Church and there were components that needed to be included that were specific to his faith and role in the church).

She ensured that everything we were hoping for in terms of music (which was important to my dad) was in place.

Also, she coordinated a meal that met what my dad had hoped would be served (scalloped potatoes and ham...and "not rolled ham"...he wanted people to have the "good ham" and be nourished by the meal; and he wanted people to have ice cream with lots of choices of toppings).

Throughout the entire process, she was extraordinarily compassionate, listened, and shared the impact that my dad had on her life. 

While my mom was at the nursing home recovering from her fractured ankle, she would visit my mom regularly and spend about an hour each time listening and talking with her. This greatly helped my mom during what she described as the most difficult part of her entire life.

- Donate 1 bag of pop cans to places that collect them to raise funds. We donated a bag of cans to the collection container that the Lions Club has to support the local projects it does.

 Above and below: The girls donate cans to 
the local Lions club.

- Donate 1 bag of Purina Kitten Chow (dry) to Northwoods Humane Society. There are quite a few kittens at Northwoods, even now in the middle of the summer.

Sophia playing with one of the cats
at Northwoods Humane Society.

We were told how much they appreciate the kitten food that we bring each month. (See photo above of the girls donating money to Northwoods.)

Dougie is looking for a loving family
and a permanent home.
He's about one year old.

- Spend 1 hour outdoors doing projects that help wildlife. We filled the bird feeders around the farm throughout the month. During July, we did not put out suet since it has been very hot (both temperature and humidity).

Olivia filling a measuring cup
with bird seed.

We also have noticed birds that normally don't visit the feeder eating from it - like wrens. Normally, they find little worms and insects to eat. So, it was nice to see one of our favorite birds staying around the farm.

The girls are putting up a finch feeder
in the front yard. The goldfinches and
chickadees enjoy eating at this feeder.

The bird bath has been a favorite spot for many birds this month. The female cardinal, especially, visits quite frequently and takes a bath. The goldfinches, blue jays, and house finches enjoy drinking the water.

Olivia filling the birdfeeder with seeds.
This is outside the living room window where
we can see the birds fly from the feeder 
to the pine trees.

Because so many birds are using the bird bath, it has had to be scrubbed clean several times and the water filled about every other day.

- Make and randomly drop off 1 toy for a child to find as part of The Toy Society. I made a little stuffed owl from wool felt and wool from sheep I raised.

Stuffed wool owl I made.

We put the owl at a local museum called Gammelgarden

The owl in a plastic bag with a note explaining about The Toy Society
and that the toy is free.

The girls and I thought that putting it in a slide as a child came down would be a fun surprise.

A child will be surprised to find the owl 
at the end of the slide.

After we were done, the girls played for a bit on the equipment at Gammelgarden.

Sophia liked how high the swing could go.

It was a nice break after a busy day.

Olivia enjoyed walking up and down the slide.

- Share 1 time the gift of music (piano and/or harp) or singing with others.

Sophia played the piano for her grandma.

Sophia playing the piano at 
her grandma's home.

She also played the harp with another harpist at an audition for the local county fair. She and the other harpist were chosen to perform at the county fair in August.

Sophia doing an introduction to the piece
that she and the other harpist were going to play.

The girls playing "Edelweiss." 

No act of kindness, 
no matter how small,
is ever wasted.
~ Aesop ~

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