How a Social Worker is Inspiring Her School to Get Healthier

How a Social Worker is Inspiring Her School to Get Healthier

I met Karen several years ago as the sponsor of a program that I’m a part of that helps encourage middle and high school students to make good choices. Over the years we have become friends, and I’ve observed her passion for health through CrossFit continue to grow. As someone who prided themselves on never trying CrossFit, I’ve always appreciated that people were really into it… from a distance.

When Cheddar’s Scratch Kitchen invited me to partner with them and help recognize, share and reward goodness this year, Karen was the 1st person that came to mind. They also want you to share stories and nominate inspirational people, like Karen, to be rewarded for doing great things in your community, too!

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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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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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LifeStraw® Go- A Water Bottle That Gives Back

LifeStraw® Go- A Water Bottle
I was given the opportunity to check out the LifeStraw® Go. I was interested in the product for two reasons.
You can take this water bottle on adventures and you don’t have to worry about if you run out of bottled water because LifeStraw® Go can filter water from a stream or river to become safe for drinking.
LifeStraw® Go- A Water Bottle
The second reason I was interested in this product was because of its give back concept for each filter purchased.
LifeStraw® Go- A Water Bottle

‘Follow the Liters’ Program:

  • LifeStraw®’s  ’Follow the Liters’ cause marketing campaign harnesses the collaborative power of individuals to help solve one of the world’s most pressing issues – lack of access to safe drinking water for people in developing countries.
  • Under the ’Follow the Liters’ campaign,  when a consumer purchases any LifeStraw® water filter, a portion of the funds are used to provide one school child in Africa with safe drinking water for an entire school year.

LifeStraw® Go- A Water Bottle

The filtration process is extremely simple.

Unscrew the top and take the filter out.

LifeStraw® Go- A Water Bottle

Fill up the water bottle with water.

LifeStraw® Go- A Water Bottle

Screw the top back on and let your kid test the water first.

LifeStraw® Go- A Water Bottle

Why would I let my son test it first???

Here is why

LifeStraw Go:

  • LifeStraw® Go converts microbiologically contaminated water into safe drinking water, removing 99.9999%

After each drinking session, unscrew lid and blow through the LifeStraw® to expel dirty water. This water bottle can filter up to 1,000 liters!





The LifeStraw® Go Retails for $34.95


You can connect with LifeStraw®

LifeStraw®  website

LifeStraw®  Facebook Page

LifeStraw® Pinterest Page

LifeStraw® Twitter Page

 I’ve been given a LifeStraw® Go to giveaway!



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Disclosure: Lifestraw Go, information, and additional product have all been provided by Vestergaard. All opinions are my own. 



  • LifeStraw® is manufactured by Vestergaard a Swiss-based global company dedicated to improving the health of disadvantaged people with game-changing solutions that fight malaria, HIV/AIDS, diarrheal disease and neglected tropical diseases.
  • The company is the largest producer of long-lasting insecticidal bed nets that prevent malaria under the PermaNet® brand, and its award-winning LifeStraw® water filters have been designed for individual, family and community uses.

Venice on Vine ~ Good Food for a Great Cause


My family has been going to Over the Rhine pretty frequently and we had been curious about Venice on Vine for a while.  A few weeks ago, I attended a blogger event to find out more about the heart behind Venice on Vine that included sampling a variety of food from their restaurant and catering menu.

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Bluegrass for Babies Concert

In an earlier post, Ann, the co founder of Bluegrass for Babies, shared about why they started their non profit.

bluegrass for babies pic

You can read her interview here.


There is also an upcoming event that you can support and enjoy with your whole family.


The 5th Annual Bluegrass Concert  is coming up on Saturday, September 21, 2013

Bluegrass for Babies

What is it?

Running from 3-9pm, the concert will feature performances by some of the region’s top bluegrass bands, plenty of family-friendly activities, a variety of vendors, local and organic concessions and more.

In celebration of its 5th anniversary, Bluegrass for Babies has brought together a concert lineup featuring performances by some of the region’s top bluegrass bands – Wild Carrot, Comet Bluegrass All-Stars, and The 23 String Band.

Wild Carrot will kick things off, performing at 3:00pm in its inaugural appearance with the Comet Bluegrass All-Stars taking to the stage at 5:00pm. Rounding out the evening at 6:45 pm will be newcomer and rising star, The 23 String Band out of Louisville.  Special guest Jennifer Ellis will also perform her popular children’s songs at 4:15pm.

What to look forward to this year

Today Bluegrass for Babies is a year-round non-profit organization focused on improving children’s health and becoming a go-to resource when it comes to helping parents create an environment to raise healthy children, right from the start.  This year’s concert-goers can partake in six interactive experiences – Farmer’s Market, Healthy Home, Family Wellness, Art and Music, Movement, and Special Needs.

Farmer’s Market: Enjoy local, sustainably raised food from our Green B.E.A.N. Delivery Concession Stands, sample free guacamole from Chipotle, and choose from several locally made desserts. This area will also be the hub of a variety of farm-to-table themed kids’ activities

Healthy Home:  Learn simple steps to create a healthier home environment.

Family Wellnes:  Take part in activities promoting healthy habits and disease prevention.

Movement: Burn off energy through exercise activities such as soccer, basketball, and more!

Art & Music: Nurture childhood development through numerous art and music activities.

Special Needs Quiet Area: In the event of overstimulation, the Special Needs Quiet Area will provide a quiet refuge for special needs children and their families.  This area is sponsored by the Merrill Lynch YHSA Group of Dayton.

What makes this concert and it’s vendors so special

All of the participating exhibitors and vendors were handpicked to be a part of the Bluegrass for Babies experience based on their commitment to provide products or services to help create a safe environment to raise healthy children.

“What really sets up apart is that we use our fundraising events, such as the Bluegrass for Babies Benefit Concert, as a way for families to experience a healthy lifestyle.  No matter the size of our event, we offer healthy real food choices, we limit any potential exposure to environmental toxins, and we aim to create zero waste.  Last year, we even won the 2012 Excellence in Public Recycling Award by Hamilton County Recycling and Solid Waste District,” said co-founder Anne Schneider.


**New this year, kids 12 and under eat free with the purchase of an adult meal from the Green B.E.A.N. Delivery concession stand until 6:00 pm.  One free kids meal per one purchased adult meal.  

Tickets for the Bluegrass for Babies benefit concert

** $15 for adults in advance and $20 day of, with children admitted for FREE.

Presale period ends Friday, September 20, 2013 at 10:00 PM.  Tickets can be purchased at

Parking is $8 in the Sawyer Point parking lot. Discounted tickets are available for groups of 10+ adults until Friday, September 20.

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Also new in 2013, Bluegrass for Babies is offering sponsorship packages for families and organizations within the Bluegrass for Babies community.  This is a great way for supporters to enjoy VIP perks at the benefit concert, like guaranteed parking. For more information, please visit

The Bluegrass for Babies benefit concert has raised nearly $80,000 for Cincinnati Children’s since its inception in 2009. For more information, visit the Bluegrass for Babies website at

About Bluegrass for Babies:

Founded in 2009, Bluegrass for Babies, Inc. is a non-profit 501 (c) 3 focused on improving children’s health. Launched as an annual bluegrass benefit concert, Bluegrass for Babies has evolved into an organization that provides tools, resources, and year-round special events centered on helping parents create an environment to raise healthy children, right from the start. The organization supports the Perinatal Institute at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center, which provides comprehensive care for infants before, during and after delivery so that all children can have the best start to life. More information is available online at

I’ve been given 2 tickets to giveaway to the Bluegrass for Babies Benefit Concert on September 21st!

(Remember kids 12 and under are FREE)

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Disclosure: I was given tickets for giveaway and review purposes. All opinions are my own. 

Interview with the founders of Bluegrass for Babies

bluegrass for babies pic

Over the summer, my husband and I were invited to attend a fundraiser at Gorman Heritage Farms for Bluegrass for Babies.


The setting was gorgeous, the local food from some of the city’s best local chefs was incredible and the heart behind Anne and Matt, who started this non profit, helped me understand why they are so passionate about their organization, Bluegrass for Babies.

I asked Anne a few questions to tell us more about Bluegrass for Babies.

What is the story behind Bluegrass for Babies?


My husband Matt and I started Bluegrass for Babies as a way to give back to Cincinnati Children’s Hospital. Our son Nicholas required life-saving surgery at the hospital when he was less than two days old and after receiving world-class emergency care; we wanted to be able to show our gratitude.  We married our passion for the roots of American music – bluegrass music, to the roots of planting a healthy start for children.


When did you start Bluegrass for Babies?


In September 2009, we repurposed our annual backyard neighborhood barbecue into a benefit for Children’s and Bluegrass for Babies was born.


What was an obstacle/challenge you had to overcome in achieving your goals?


Bluegrass for Babies has evolved into an organization that provides tools, resources, and year-round special events centered on helping parents create an environment to raise healthy children, right from the start.  There is a huge need for these resources currently because of the prevalence of health issues with our children and so many unknowns surrounding our present environment. We have an incredible amount of opportunity, and the greatest challenge we have is to pace ourselves so that we grow effectively.



How do you balance running a non profit with your other responsibilities?


I have to be very conscious of managing my time.  My kids were really babies when Bluegrass for Babies began and now my youngest is starting Pre K.  Next fall they will both be in school full time.  I have had to be very efficient with my kid free time.  I try not to do anything during this time that I can easily do with kids.  So, that means that I am not cleaning the house while the kids are at school.  Additionally, I have been fortunate enough to arrange “ babysitting swaps” with friends for some budget friendly childcare.  For instance, I will watch my friend’s girls one afternoon a week and she will watch my boys one afternoon a week.  That way the kids get to play together, and we both manage to get some time to ourselves.  It is definitely full of its challenges, but the end results are worth it.


What are some of your favorite experiences with Bluegrass for Babies so far?



I have really enjoyed the sense of community I have discovered in Cincinnati and nationally with so many people who have the same goals – to give back to our children and to our future.  It gives me hope that collectively we can make a difference.  Additionally, it has been such an honor to work with the leaders of Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center.  We are truly very fortunate to have such talent in our backyards, and I am humbled to be able to partner with Cincinnati Children’s to change the outcome.



Do you have any favorite reactions or responses from Bluegrass for Babies recipients?


My favorite response is seeing the educational lessons we provide taking place in the community.  It is motivating to have individuals and organizations contact us about how they can implement more nutritious food options, minimize toxins and reduce waste in their homes, events and companies.


What would you like to see Bluegrass for Babies doing in the future?


I would like to see Bluegrass for Babies continue to grow as a resource to help advance perinatal environmental research and to continue to educate the community on ways to improve our environment to directly improve children’s health.


What advice would you give to someone who wants to start something in their community as a way to give back?


I would advise them to start small, engage your friends, reach out to like-minded influencers and just do it.  I also think you always need to be flexible and adapt.


How can someone get involved with Bluegrass for Babies?

Bluegrass for Babies

There are many ways to get involved with Bluegrass for Babies.  We are always looking for volunteers for a variety of positions.  Additionally, we are constantly seeking business partners and sponsors who have similar goals.  We also have many community and family sponsor opportunities or you can attend one of our events.


Thanks to Anne for sharing her story.


Bluegrass for Babies has an upcoming fundraiser concert coming up that you can support.


Firehouse Subs

A few weeks ago, I had the opportunity to join several local bloggers to hear from Firehouse Subs Co-founder, Robin Sorensen. This resturaunt was founded by former firemen who are brothers.

IMG_4102 2

I was not familar with the national chain before but I’m definitely excited to go back. Firehouse Subs was started by fireman. They have a love of quality food, a passion for excellent customer service and a heart to give back.

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