Category Archives: Social Fabric

Simple Service on a Saturday.

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We are Razorback football fans, as are most people in Arkansas. It’s just the way it is when there are no professional teams in the state to cheer for and only one NCAA conference university. So, we enjoy doing anything that combines family time and cheering on the Hogs. That explains why a beautiful Saturday that included the annual Razorback Red & White game and the Champions for Kids Razorfest event inspired us to get out of the house.

I don’t think we’ve attended this event before, even though I’d heard of it. I knew it was kid-centered, and there were autograph sessions with ball players other Razorback personalities and such, but I had no idea how much was going on at this event. We had heard that a local news station was taking donations of non-perishable food, so I loaded up a tote bag with some cans of beans that were never going to be eaten at my house (much to my chagrin…) and a couple of cans of tuna (same as the beans…) and we headed out.

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We parked and started walking… and walking… and walking… uphill… to the stadium. Did I mention that the hubs picked the parking spot?? When we entered the south end of the facility we were immediately met with activities and booths and such. There were vendors galore who support the work done by Champions for Kids to serve and support kids’ health and active lifestyles. And lots of people! Seems we weren’t the only folks who thought it was a great day to get out of the house with the kids.

Cotton candy at #RazorFest

The boy and his dad were grabbing some cotton candy (not quite what I would have expected to find being sold at an event geared toward healthy kids… but whatever) and I checked out a kiosk that looked interesting. Turns out, Champions for Kids promotes these things called Simple Service projects that people take on in their communities. Everything from packing snacks for kids, to helping them learn to read, or teaching the importance of good oral health… all with major corporate partners like Colgate and Disney. According to their website, Champions for Kids has served 132,000 kids through 800 community service organizations that have received donations resulting from these projects. They each have four simple steps:

  • GATHER your friends, family, and co-workers.
  • LEARN about the needs of children in your community.
  • GIVE items to help kids enjoy happier and healthier lives.
  • SHARE your story with us to inspire others.
Elmer's at 2013 RazorFest

Elmer’s supports Simple Service Projects with Champions for Kids.

Pretty easy, right? I’m  looking forward to finding out more about these projects and getting my kids involved. My son has been having a hard time understanding the value of working for an allowance and we’ve had to cut back on impulse buys. Maybe spending some time showing him how important it is to give will help me drive the point home that life is not all about what we can get.

RazorFest 2013 crowd

When we exited the concourse on the north side we were pretty blown away with all the activity in the parking lot affectionately known on campus as “The Pit”. HOLY MOLY. It was kids’ activities and information and music and people as far as the eye could see. I was starting to regret not getting there as soon as it opened. The boy-child had a ball game in a couple of hours, so I already knew we wouldn’t get to do much in this area. We dropped off our canned goods (which fulfilled this Simple Service project, it turns out), watched some of the kids singing on stage, and collected a few freebies here and there, but didn’t have time to stand in the SUPER long lines for the really exciting activities like that “giant rubber-band jumping thing” (I’m sure that’s the technical term).

JDRF at 2013 RazorFest

JDRF was one of dozens of booths sharing information highlighting ways to keep kids healthy in our community.

The boy and I left the hubs with his buddies – they were going to the game – to head back down the hill to the car. It only took 20 minutes to get to it on the return trip. Next year, Razorfest will definitely be on our calendar again, but we’ll be sure to be at the gate as soon as it opens, and to not have anything else planned for the afternoon.

What kinds of projects have you taken on to support kids in your community? For a ton of great ideas, check out the Champions for Kids Pinterest board. You can also get great information year-round by following Champions for Kids on Facebook and Twitter.

 

I am a member of the Collective Bias®  Social Fabric® Community.  This content has been compensated as part of a social shopper insights study for Collective Bias® and Champions For Kids. That said – all opinions and views are my own and I can say whatever I want. 🙂 #cbias #SocialFabric

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Cheaper Than a New Car

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Maybe it’s a natural result of having kids. Maybe we’re just a lazy family. It doesn’t really matter what behavior leads to the smell… it turns out that on any given day my car and my husband’s truck may just have a funky odor. I’ve frantically thrown everything out of my car before looking for THAT SMELL, and rejoiced upon finding a half-full container of orange juice. If you don’t know what spoiled orange juice smells like, believe me when I say it’s not something you want in the 8×6 box that is the interior of your car. Nasty.

So the other day when I climbed into my husband’s truck for an afternoon drive and immediately thought “what’s that smell??” I knew it was time to do something about this apparently chronic issue. We just paid our last car payment, so a new one was out of the question. I was going to have to settle for a #FresherCar. I ran by my local Walmart supercenter at lunch the next day to peruse the air fresheners, and came across air filters. Did you know that the interior of your car is called a “cabin”… just like a boat or a plane?? Yeah, neither did I! More importantly, I found out that there are air filters in our cars that are made to be changed regularly to keep the air inside the cabin clean. I have owned lots of cars, and this is a fact that somehow eluded me. I hope I’m not alone here… feeling like a girl. 🙂

So I found these FRAM Fresh Breeze cabin filters, and they claim to clean the air 6 times better than standard cabin air filters because they use Arm & Hammer baking soda. Just like grandma used to put in the fridge. If grandma used it, it’s gotta be good.

FRAM Fresh Breeze air filter

There was a little catalog hanging off the shelf to help analog users look up the make and model of their vehicle… but do you see the little QR code there on the box? Yeah, I whipped out my iPhone and pulled up my ScanLife app… I feel all hip and tech-savvy when I have a chance to use it. It’s the little things, people.

And what do you know – that little code took me to the FRAM app and let me look for the correct filter number right there. And even better – it included an installation video! We were in business – and that filter was in my cart. (For a complete ride-along of my shopping trip to Walmart, check out my Google+ album here.)

FRAM Fresh Breeze app

The box promised a 15 minute installation, and of course I’m assuming that’s an optimistic prediction. But seriously, it only took me 12 minutes to pop that thing in. I had to un-hinge the glove box (easy), and pull out the old filter… gross… it might be hard to tell, but the one behind is the original (which had probably been in there since we bought the truck) and it was full of grit and bits and nastiness. Can you see the sparkly shine on the new one on top? Maybe it was late and I was hallucinating a little…

FRAM filter vs. old filterJust slide it in and close her up, and we’re done!

FRAM filter install

Have you used the FRAM Fresh Breeze filters? Go check out the FRAM Facebook page and let them know what you thought. And if you’re shopping for filters, be sure to take advantage of this rebate offer! They’ve got my DIY-friendly vote, for sure. And I am definitely looking forward to my next Sunday drive.

I am a member of the Collective Bias® Social Fabric® Community. This content has been compensated as part of a social shopper insights study for Collective Bias® and FRAM #cbias #SocialFabric

Sugar-Free Basketball Anyone?

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For the last couple of years, some of the folks in my office have filled out brackets for the college basketball tournament. It’s painfully (and hilariously) obvious pretty early in the tourney who actually pays attention to college basketball, and who picks the winning teams based on their favorite jersey colors and home towns. I may be in that favorite color group…  And of course, my FAVORITE team is always the Arkansas Razorbacks – GO HOGS!!!

I work at a nonprofit that supports cancer patients in our community, and we decided this year that everyone who participates can donate $5, which will then be donated to our patient assistance programs. We’ll be turning in brackets and turning over our cash tomorrow, and I thought it would be fun to have a few snacks on hand when we get started … some sweet treats (#SnackMadness!) to get us ready for some sweet dunks, so to speak.

Around my house we are trying to maintain a low-carb lifestyle, which can get in the way of having any kind of sweet treat, but when I told my husband of my plans he reminded me he’d picked up some sugar-free candies at Walgreen’s in the past, so I ran in this morning to get some goodies. Let me tell you, there aren’t just a couple of random, generic options – they have LOTS of sugar-free candy! There were Russell Stover varieties, and Werther’s hard candies… but I am all about chocolate, so I was immediately in love with the Reese’s and Hershey offerings. AND, they were on sale!

Reese's sugar-free candy

On top of the sale, I use Walgreen’s Rewards on my iPhone app and earn points on some selected purchases. The basketball tourney gods were smiling down on me, because they have a special running for Reese’s and Hershey’s candies if you buy them with Coca-Cola products. Done!

Walgreen's rewards

A word of caution for anyone trying sugar-free candy for the first time – you don’t want to eat a handful just because they are lower in calories and carbs than the originals. The sugar-alcohols used to make these lovely little treats can cause side effects that can be unpleasant… especially to someone sitting next to you on a crowded bus, if you know what I mean. Take it easy – you’ll thank me later!

I picked up a few bags of sugar-free for me and a couple of other folks at work who are working on losing weight  (but will probably keep some here at home!) and got some “fully loaded” candies as well. Then I headed to the drink aisle to pick up some Coke. We always have drinks in a fridge at work, but Coke Zero is my go-to and it’s not always stocked. I think it’s closer in taste to regular Coke, but with zero carbs. I really appreciate all the nice people in the snack and beverage industries creating products that allow me to pretend I’m not on a diet. 😉

I have a recommendation for the folks at Coca-Cola: The refrigerator boxes need their graphics adjusted… when the box is shelved with the ends placed to be readable the handle that’s built into the box is on the side of the box. There’s no good way to get hold of the thing unless you dig around at the edges to pull it half-way out of the display first. Kind of odd.

So we’re set… got the candy, (and put it in some cute jars I picked up recently) got my own drinks to keep at the office, got my bracket set up on our online work team… now I just have to go look at all the uniforms and decide who’s going to win! Did I mention?? GO HOGS!!!!

Reese's and Hershey's

Coke Zero

To see my shopping trip unfold before your very eyes, take a little peek at my Google+ album here. 🙂

I am a member of the Collective Bias Social Fabric® Community. This shop has been compensated as part of a social shopper insights study for Collective Bias and Walgreens #cbias #SocialFabric. Regardless of this affiliation, all opinions are my own.