Five Things Friday
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Giving Tuesday + Thanksgiving Recap

Five Things Friday
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Giving Tuesday + Thanksgiving Recap
Giving Tuesday + Thanksgiving Recap

Annnnd I’m back. Happy Tuesday, friends! I hope you had a gluttonous Thanksgiving with triple helpings of sweet potato casserole.

Thanksgiving

We spent Wednesday through Saturday with my in-laws. The kids had five cousins to run around with and were in complete bliss most of the time. We watched a movie, a parade, and the ‘Noles trounce some Gators. Quite a successful holiday.

Thanksgiving Day was spent with my husband’s parents and all of his five siblings, plus the seven cousins. It was the perfect kind of chaos with dogs and babies running underfoot, taking turns watching the kids outside, and four women trying to make food in the kitchen. It was busy and loud and exactly what I picture Thanksgiving to be.

 

I made Peanut Butter Fingers’ pineapple souffle, except I used peaches instead of pineapples. It was a little soupy because I didn’t drain the peaches enough but still tasty, especially when drowned in vanilla ice cream.

We stayed in a hotel for the first time while visiting. It was mostly uneventful, except for the haz mat team required for clean up after our children made it through the continental breakfast. And Asher sleeping directly on top of me six inches from the edge of an otherwise empty queen bed. Every night when we came back to the room, he was totally hyped up. It was 10 p.m. and he was running through the room asking for snacks. To calm him down, I laid on the bed facing him and we’d sing and talk. Eventually he would fall asleep as close as possible to me. It was adorable and annoying all at the same time, as most of parenting is.

Somehow, I spent all day last Tuesday cleaning the house and doing laundry to come back home and spend all day Sunday cleaning the house and doing laundry??? How is the house so dirty? We were home for 12 hours. Why is there so much laundry? We were only gone three nights! What kind of black hole of filth is this place?!

I also took a “nap” last night from 7-10 p.m. I may just be a teeny bit worn out.

Obviously the house remains perpetually as a code red disaster zone, but I’m sitting outside writing to you fine folks because it’s 60 degrees, the kids are at school, and my coffee is not going to drink itself.

Small Biz Saturday

While we were away, it was Small Business Saturday! The idea of supporting small businesses has become very close to my heart since I started working with Kaiya Designs. I see Marcy, the owner, every time I’m in the studio. Her mother is in the back sewing the clothes that hang on the racks. Her daughter is there playing and doing schoolwork. Her puppy is there sleeping on the rug. Small businesses are so much more than products; they are about people.

Marcy started the business out of her garage. She built it through word of mouth and hard work into a successful brand that is giving back in incredible ways to our community. I remain in awe of just how big of an impact a small business can have.

Though there are rarely sales, we had a giant Small Business Saturday sale. I was holed up in our hotel room answering questions for clients and helping people navigate the sale. It started at 9 a.m. and by 9:10, the KD crew had broken the site. What a tenacious bunch. Eventually the site was back up and running (thanks to Marcy and the team who had to completely put their Saturday on hold to fix the issues), and a lot of people snagged some sweet deals. Namely, me.

If you were able to shop on Saturday, THANK YOU so much for your support! We had an outrageous goal to be able to donate $4,000 to charitable causes in November through the $11.11 movement. I am still waiting on the numbers, but no matter what, we are making a difference because of people like you believing in the mission, sharing the brand, and supporting the movements.

So why is this important to share in this space? Because next week I’ll be handing a check to a counselor for $500. That money will cover 10 counseling sessions—a full course of treatment–for a mother with postpartum depression, postpartum anxiety, OCD, or other maternal mental health issue. A mother who is struggling just like I was or just like you were, but feels even more hopeless because she can’t afford the help she needs. Except now she can. Now she can take that first step toward healing and wholeness. Because of ordinary people buying cute clothes.

Giving Tuesday

On that charitable note, today is Giving Tuesday. Luckily I’m not completely broke after the KD sale (but close), so I can contribute to some awesome causes. Here are a few places that I’m happy to support:

Emerald M Therapeutic Riding Center
I worked with Lisa, the owner, years ago, and she’s hilarious, savvy, and has a huge heart for those she serves. She used to work in private practice as a physical therapist and now runs this beautiful center helping children and adults through equine-assisted therapy. They are also doing amazing work for veterans. Check them out! You can also shop through Amazon Smile and select Emerald M to receive a portion of sales.

Feeding Tampa Bay
This organization works to feed the 700,000 children and adults in Tampa Bay that don’t have access to safe, nutritionally adequate food. They run several programs focusing on seniors, food distribution, children, disaster relief, and research. I was specifically moved by the Backpack Program to send kids home on the weekends and holiday breaks with a backpack full of food. I heard recently kids who dread vacations because the only meals they receive are at school. It’s heartbreaking and eye-opening.

This week I will be volunteering with a group from my church at the Feeding Tampa Bay warehouse to help inspect and sort donated food. There are other ways to get involved here.

Kaiya Designs Pajama Drive Through Jan.31, 2018
At the KD studio we are collecting new pajamas in sizes preemie to 3T for Voices for Children and Guardian ad Litem of Hillsborough County. The children are often removed from homes and placed in foster care with nothing but the clothes on their backs. You can drop them off or have them shipped to 21326 Coakley Lane, Land O’Lakes, FL 34639. As a bonus, participants will be entered in a drawing for two pieces of KD goodness!

I hope you’re adjusting to normal life this week a bit faster than I am. And if not, Friday’s only four days away. Happy giving!

 

Did you hit up any Black Friday/Small Biz Saturday/Cyber Monday deals? I get over half my Christmas shopping done on Cyber Monday.

Do you have any charities you’re supporting today? Share them!

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Natalie

Hi! I am so glad you stopped by. I am a writer, wife and frequently overwhelmed momma to two young kids. This site is about my own experiences with anxiety and depression and explores ways that we can work toward finding ourselves after having children.