Insider Tips- How to be Kind to Your Mail Carrier

I have a family member who is a mail carrier. Conversations with him have given me a new appreciation for how hard they work and also an awareness of how small acts of kindness can affect their day in such a positive way.

February 4th is National Thank a Mail Carrier Day and I wanted to give you some insider tips for how you can be kind to your mail carrier all year round.

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Why The Compassion Experience Made Me Want to Be a Better Sponsor

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I think one of the biggest challenges of sponsoring a child is being mindful of them. Our family knew that we wanted to join our community when we were given the challenge to sponsor more kids in the country of Nicaragua than had ever been done before. [Read more…]

How a Fathom Cruise Wrecked My Family in a Good Way

How a Fathom Cruise Wrecked my family in a good way

As a parent, I want to instill in my kids a sense of gratitude and respect for others from all walks of life. It’s so easy for all of us to feel entitled or take things for granted. I can easily fall into the trap of comparison in my own life until I’m brought back to reality with large, humbling doses of perspective. I wanted my kids to be stretched in this area in a new way. That’s where a family adventure on a Fathom cruise came in. I was invited by Fathom to be on the final pilot trip to the Dominican Republic in the spring before Fathom launched their new cruise line focusing on impact travel.

Dominican Republic

So how is this cruise line different?

Well, they are cruising differently.

How?

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How my trip with Fathom in the Dominican Republic impacted me

 

How my trip with Fathom in the Dominican Republic impacted me

There is so much to reflect on from my incredible impact travel experience with Fathom in the Dominican Republic. The people that I met on our team, along with the locals that we interacted with and worked beside, truly left an impression on my heart. I have soooooo many stories to share with you!

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World Down Syndrome Day March 21- A Mother’s Story of Adoption

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Today I’m interviewing my close friend Michelle. We have been friends for a long time and she has been an inspiration to me with her love for people and her love in action by intentionally adopting a child with Down Syndrome. You cannot be around her special son without smiling. He has been such a joy for our family to get to know. As a person who had a sibling with a disability, I admire the sacrifice and grace she handles with each challenge that comes with raising a child with special needs.

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Family Giving Challenges All Year Round With Giving Families

One of my challenges after the holiday season is to continue to model a lifestyle of giving all year round with my family. I feel like giving tends to come easier for our family in the months of November and December because it ties in with thankfulness and gift giving. After the holidays, we have good intentions and sometimes they are that are just that….good intentions.  I’ll think about lots of ways to give…and then I’ll forget about it…or I’ll get a great idea while I’m doing something else, at a time when I can’t stop to put that thought into action. Sometimes giving can feel like another thing on my to do list of what I should be doing. I want our family to give more with more frequency. Sometimes I just need the reminder and the deadline to give myself accountability.

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A potholder from a homeless man

A Potholder from a homeless man

I was involved in a feeding program for the homeless community in downtown Dallas for one semester during college.  Each week we would meet a pastor who would drive 30 miles one way with donated food from local fast food restaurants.  Each week we would spend time getting to know the people who came for a meal.

On my first day, I met a man named Charles.  He was middle aged and great at crocheting things.  The following week, I decided to bring  him some yarn.  As a college student it wasn’t much, but I thought it would be nice for him to have more supplies to make items with.

On one of my next visits I was given a gift from my friend.  A potholder.  That potholder has been in my kitchen since 1998.  It reminds me that someone who had nothing, gave a gift from the heart out of what little he had.

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A Behind the Scenes Tour of the Frisch’s Commissary

 

A Behind the Scenes Tour of the Frisch's Commissary

I was invited to learn a little more about the food prepared for Frisch’s on a behind the scene tour at the Commissary and Processing Center. Frisch’s Big Boy is a chain that has 121 locations in Ohio, Kentucky, and Indiana. One of my favorite parts about fall is the food, and pumpkin pie is at the top of my list. I was really excited to learn more about the process of making Frisch’s award winning pies.

Our tour started in the test kitchen where we learned more about the Commissary from Greg Grisanti who is the Director of Research & Development for Frisch’s. I honestly had no idea that Frisch’s made 80% of their food in house. The more he shared, the more I appreciated the detail that goes into making the menu items at Frisch’s. We learned that the food is fresh and never frozen. Soups are made fresh with no preservatives, they make all of their bread except for their buns, they have a spice room, their own produce department, and own their own truck fleet. They also update their stores every 5 years.

Frisch's Commissary Tour

Next, we put on some fabulous hairnets and started our tour. We learned that Frisch’s Big Boy has been baking pumpkin pies from the same closely guarded secret recipe and the best-available, highest-quality ingredients for more than 50 years. Even during our tour, our guide didn’t give away all of the secrets. They only use 100% pure pumpkins in their pies and their crusts are made fresh daily. The pies are made in small batches each day to ensure the highest quality which means that they are fresh, never frozen. There are over 45,000 pumpkin pies made over the Holiday Season! If you have tried a slice of their pie, you know why.

Group shot of Cincinnati bloggers at Frisch's Commissary

Whole Frisch's Pumpkin Pie

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It was really interesting to see the pie making process in action. The pies are each filled to a predetermined level of the pie crust inside the oven before they bake using a special filling rod.

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Frisch's Commissary Tour 2

During our tour, we learned more about the onions used for the onion rings. The onions are from a special size of seed from onions grown in Oregon and Idaho. Here is a tip for the next time you eat an onion ring, a clean bite means that it’s a fresh onion, a stringy bite means that it was a frozen onion.

When given the opportunity to visit the onion room filled with onions as tall as you are,  you might as well take a selfie right??? What’s amazing is that someone is in that room while a machine is slicing the onions each day.

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Frisch's Commissary Tour 5

We were given a pumpkin pie as a souvenir from our adventure and I must confess that I ate my designated slices as soon as I got home. All of that talk about onion rings and Big Boy sandwiches also meant that I couldn’t think of any other options for dinner. I talked my husband into getting the onion rings and of course I had to dip my fries in the Frisch’s special tartar sauce that is made without sugar.

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Frisch's Pumpkin pie

Frisch's Big Boy

Do you know someone who deserves a little extra recognition?

Frisch’s Big Boy wants to reward people with one of their FREE award-winning pumpkin pies!

Did a grocery store employee go the extra mile and help you to your car with heavy groceries? Did your son’s teacher stay after school to help him understand his math homework? Who do you know that has earned recognition?

Nominate them to win a pumpkin pie today on Frisch’s Facebook page. It only takes a minute.

From October 19 to November 21, 2015five winners will be selected each week.

Everyone knows someone who deserves a FREE Frisch’s pumpkin pie! Send us those nominations!

 

Craving a pumpkin pie yet?

Whole pumpkin pies are available at Frisch’s Big Boy restaurants via carry out or drive-thru. Slices of pumpkin pie are available for dine-in, carry out or drive-thru. A slice of pumpkin pie is priced at $2.70, and a whole pumpkin pie at $10.25.

You can order your holiday pies today! Go to frischs.com to find your closest location.

 

 

Thanks to Frisch’s for providing a gift card for helping get the word out.

Cones for the Cure- Graeter’s Ice Cream for a Great Cause

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It’s that time of year again. You can make a difference for pediatric brain cancer research and enjoy great ice cream from Graeter’s.

The Cure Starts Now and Graeter’s team up once again this September in their annual Cones for the Cure campaign. The campaign will take place September 10-20 at participating Cincinnati, Dayton, Columbus and Chicago Graeter’s locations to help spread the word about The Cure Starts Now and its mission to find a cure for all cancers by focusing on pediatric brain cancer.

As part of their continued support for The Cure Starts Now, Graeter’s will be giving away free scoops of  Elena’s Blueberry Pie ice cream to customers two times during the campaign period. Elena’s Blueberry Pie is a special flavor that was created in honor of 6-year-old Elena Desserich, the inspiration behind The Cure Starts Now.

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“In many ways, this is where it started,” says Chip Graeter of Graeter’s. “Almost seven years ago we joined the charity with the creation of this special flavor and have been committed to the cause ever since. And this time we want to do even more.”

During Cones for the Cure, guests that visit a Graeter’s store during the campaign period have the opportunity to donate a $1 or $5 “Cone for the Cure.” Graeter’s will also offer a $20 savings booklet for every donation of $5 or more to The Cure Starts Now.

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The element of surpise is what makes this such a great campaign as the two free ice cream days will randomly be announced with the help of media outlets, bloggers and social media.

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Be sure to “like” the Cones for the Cure Facebook page at www.facebook.com/conesforthecure for the latest news about the campaign.

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New to the 2015 campaign is a social media photo contest where ice cream lovers can upload a selfie with their Graeter’s ice cream for the chance to be named the “Ultimate Graeter’s Fan” as well as the grand prize of free Graeter’s for a year!

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In 2014, over 40,000 people participated in the campaign which generated $75,000 for The Cure Starts Now. To date, over $200,000 has been raised through the campaign to fund homerun cure research.

 

To learn more about Cones for the Cure, please visit the website at www.conesforthecure.org.

“It may be the very best way to make a difference while treating yourself to the best ice cream around,” says Graeter.

 

 

 

Thanks to Graeter’s for sending me a swag bag of goodies for helping get the word out.