Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Can a piece of jewelry change the world?

Jewelry to me had always been about frills. An extra layer of stuff (one that admittedly was pretty low on the must-buy list.)

But the last few weeks have made me wonder: Perhaps jewelry can mean a little bit more.

The backstory: My daughter's Girl Scout troop is earning their Jeweler badge. The girls unanimously wanted to earn it, and I admittedly had squirreled away supplies of donations of leftover items the last couple of months.

I introduced the first project, an upcycled necklace, and let them know they could make as many as they wanted, but they could only keep one. Their response: "Could we sell them for Haiti?"

Within an hour we had designed more than 100 upcycled necklaces, which were donated to church for our Hearts for Haiti ministry, a cause dear to these girls.

Some of the upcycled necklaces made by my daughter's Junior Girl Scout troop. Funds from the sale next month go to our church's Hearts for Haiti ministry.

But it didn't stop there. As we later talked about jewelry, what it symbolized and what it was made from, I shared some stories and jewelry from Uganda that I recently received from Ember Arts, a company that works with jewelry artists in Uganda to create upcycled jewelry with paper beads that are just gorgeous. As I shared the story of some of the artists - some of whom used to earn $1 per day in hard work - the girls' response was "Can we help them too?"

Maybe jewelry in itself doesn't change the world. But perhaps the stories behind them can change hearts.

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Introducing Light of the World Seed & Tea Co.

I'm proud to say we've planted our own seeds of change.

This morning, my children - inspired by our school and church's commitment to a community in Haiti - announced the formation of their new company: Light of the World Seeds and Tea Co. This local business is proud to offer hand-harvested seeds and loose-leaf peppermint tea as a benefit for the Haiti ministry.

I'm inspired. Inspired that they came up with this idea. Inspired that something as small as leftover seeds could make a difference for families miles and miles away. Even if it's a short-lived effort, I love the love for our fellow man that was behind it.

Right now Light of the World has the following seeds to share for a donation to the Hearts for Haiti Ministry: chive, dill, bok choy, asparagus beans and peas. Cantelope is coming soon (still drying).

If you're interested, please send me an email at goinggreenmama@gmail.com.

Friday, September 5, 2014

Failure is an Option

Letting your child fail is a difficult decision. No parent wants to deliberately allow their child to do so. But perhaps we should.

Tonight, I am watching my daughter audition for Shrek the Musical, in a local production. We watched the musical this summer for a review for Indy Social Media Moms, and she fell in love with the story and the characters. And when we learned a small group was producing Shrek on our side of town, she jumped on the opportunity to audition.

My daughter has a will. I was worried about the way.

We managed the issues of cost (the group asks for parents to contribute financially to the production, rather than fundraise) and schedules (we had committed to sports at school, but found a way to make it work.) My daughter even decided that trying out - and winning a part in Shrek - was worth the loss of a birthday party, seeing her brother's games and other sacrifices she would make the next 10 weeks. She picked out a song - the school's song of the year - and I found a copy of the CD at the public library for her accompaniment in the tryout.

This morning, we practiced in the car. And while she's in tune (one point over her mother), she certainly doesn't have the power in her voice. She was drowned out time and again by her little brother.

Tonight, I will watch my daughter audition, full knowing that she only has about a 50 percent chance of the part (based on the number of tryout slots). Full knowing that her voice isn't as strong as her possible competition for a role (more so for Fiona than for the Wicked Witch, her #2 choice). Tonight, I could very much watch my daughter pour her heart into something she wants, knowing that she could very well fail.

But failure is an option.

And those fears become very real in those moments before sleep. As I was tucking my daughter in bed, my daughter, with sad eyes, said, "Mom, what if I don't get a part?"

The very worry I had for her.

And I told her, "Just sing your best, and do the very best you can do, and your dad and I will be proud. And if you don't get a part? You can always try the Girl Scout program on theaterif you do want to learn more about acting, and we can try again another time."

That seemed to satisfy her. Knowing that her mom, who messed up a very bad rendition of Stand By Me for a musical tryout in high school, still turned out ok probably helped too.

It's OK to not be the star in every role. My daughter is an awesome chef at the age of 9. She's a less awesome kickball and soccer player. What kind of actress she does or doesn't become remains to be seen.

It's OK to fail. It's OK to be disappointed. Disappointments and failures will happen in life, and it's how we manage those that matters.

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Treating Lice Naturally (No Chemical Lice Shampoo)

This is the one post I hope you'll never have to use.

Last winter my daughter was distraught. She caught lice. And a couple of the girls were ruthless.

We went through not one but two rounds of the chemical lice shampoo in stores with no breakthrough. The darn things eluded us. And her scalp was the only thing affected. She cried whenever I'd pick her hair, as her scalp was raw.

That's when I wondered, Could we do better? Did we have to use a chemical shampoo that only seemed to hurt rather than help?

We sprung for a metal, professional-use lice comb online, as the plastic ones that came in lice kits didn't seem to help - in fact, they kept breaking. It was the best $10 we could spend.

We also treated her sensitive scalp and hair with essential oils. After doing some research, we ended up creating a blend of coconut oil with tea tree oil, lavender essential oil, euchalyptus essential oil and rosemary essential oil. We diluted it with the coconut oil and rubbed into her scalp and hair, then combed out any nits. We continued this every other day for a week, and we finally broke through!

Even now, we periodically do a check as a precaution - particularly after overnights and camping!

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Back to School Spa Party for Girl Scouts

DIY spa party ideas for a sleepover party or Girl Scout troop meeting. Most items are simple to find in your garden!Back to school mean added stresses; so it's time to destress!

We treated the girls in our Junior Girl Scout troop to a back to school spa party for their first meeting. It was a low-key way to start off the year and subtlely talk about stress!
A back to school spa party can be as elegant (and costly) or inexpensive as your troop's budget allows. Here's what we planned for the girls:

We kept this low-cost without losing the experience; we used bandanas for head wraps to keep banana out of the hair; we took cucumbers and the dill for the nail soak from the garden. 

We did treat the girls to a mini bottle of nail polish for their own pedicures if they remembered the Girl Scout Law.  All told it was less than $15 for the meeting.