Wednesday, October 28, 2015

What To Do With Surplus Greeting Cards

What to do with Surplus Greeting Cards.  Got Leftovers?  Send Some Love!
As a licensed card designer, I am often given large amounts of samples of my recent card designs.  That's always great, but after a while I find I have too many left over and no one to give them to anymore.  Then there are the cards I buy in the store.  Holidays. Everyday. Too many cards just sitting around going to waste.

I know that everyone buys cards and has left overs.  It's nice to know you can put them to good use. But where?

A few years ago I found a great way to share these unused greeting cards by donating them to groups that send them to soldiers.  It's such a simple idea and so meaningful.   They use them to attach to gift baskets, in pen pal programs or just to send greetings and support to servicemen worldwide. That means that new unused greeting cards of many themes are often welcome.  Many times these organizations have local groups will even pick the cards up or have a local drop off.

What about used greeting cards?  Don't forget that St. Judes Greeting Card Program takes all of your used cards for any occasion and they create new ones!


Here is a list of soldier organizations worldwide: 
Check with their website or call and see what their policy is.

American Citizens Encouraging Support
We provide a variety of troop support, from cards, letters, care packages, seeing them off and welcoming them home and much more. 


A Million Thanks
A Million Thanks is a year-round campaign to show our appreciation to our U.S. Military Men and Women, past and present for their sacrifices, dedication, and service to our country through our letters, emails, cards, and prayers. 

Caring Kids Cards
Caring Kids Cards (TM) makes and sends cards to the military in London, Germany, Bangkok, Moscow, Korea, Afghanistan and Iraq. Others are given to orphans, firefighters and police, and senior homes. Their goal is to give out over 10,000 cards, notebooks, school supplies, meals, or gifts by the time they are teenagers. If you make cards or have any questions email CaringKidsCards@live.com or visit www.facebook.com/CaringKidsCards.

Heartillery Group​
Heartillery Group is a non-profit organization who's mission is to show support, love and gratitude to our troops overseas in simple ways. Heartillery Group collects cards from all over the world showing love and gratitude to help boost soldier spirits. We send cards to troops who are stationed throughout the globe. 

Holiday Mail for Heroes Campaign (Christmas Letters)
Each year the American Red Cross provides assistance to more than 2 million service members and many of our nation’s 24 million veterans. We support military families, military and veterans hospitals and provide emergency communications across the globe. And once a year, we get the joy of delivering holiday cards to veterans, military families and active-duty service members at hospitals and installations around the world.

The cards and personal messages, sent by tens of thousands of Americans, provide a welcome “touch of home” for our troops during the holiday season. 

Hugs for Soldiers
Our program is dedicated to offering comforts from home and brightening a Soldier’s day with a care package, card or letter of encouragement. Our “adopted” troops, who are deployed thousands of miles away from home, need to be reassured that America cares about them. We appreciate the great sacrifices they are making, and we will do all we can to boost their morale and lift their spirits during this difficult time. We have been supporting the troops since 2003.

Kidz 4 Troops
Kidz4Troops connects you directly to the men and women in our military. We take your words of encouragement and pass them along.

Letters to the Troops (Flags Across the Nation)
Parents, teachers, children and patriots of all ages, write letters and we will send them to our troops. Download the template - it's ok to reproduce.
  • For children: color the American Flag and write your thoughts.
  • For older children and adults: write letters about yourself, poetry, words of praise, words of wisdom, words of friendship.

Letters to Soldiers
Letters To Soldiers is a volunteer crew sending letters, care packages and support to our troops in Iraq. Your donation will help us ship what soldiers need most - messages from home. Help us send letters and packages, or organize letter-writing in your area!

Mail For Heroes American Red Cross

The 2015 Holiday Mail for Heroes campaign continues to be conducted in local communities across the U.S. There is no longer a national Holiday Mail for Heroes P.O. Box to which cards are sent. Local Red Cross offices will collect, sort, and distributing the holiday cards using an events-based approach in their local communities.




Military Moms in Action
Our mission is to reach out and touch the lives of as many U.S. soldiers with support and encouragement as we can. We do this by sending them boxes of goodies and letters "monthly" wherever they are around the world. We especially want to encourage those not receiving any or little support from home. We desire to lift them up giving them hope and the knowledge that someone cares.


Mollys Adopt A Sailor
Molly's Adopt a Sailor Project, a broad based, collaborative and community initiative to support deployed United States Military Personnel by way of cards, letters, and care packages filled with love, support, and necessities from home.

Operation Appreciation (Blue Star Families)
Write a card for a parent, spouse, child of a servicemember (or a veteran). This is your chance to let America's military community know how much you appreciate all that they have sacrificed in order to keep our country safe.

Operation Gratitude
Our troops tell us the most cherished items in the packages are the personal letters of appreciation from Americans. We welcome as many letters as you can provide. We accept letters year-round. It will only take 5 minutes out of your day to write a letter, but it will bring joy to our troops that will last a lifetime.

Operation Helping Hand/American Angels
Operation Helping Hand Afghanistan was started in 2004 and is made up of volunteer Mom's, Dad's Veterans, Friends and Active Duty service members through out the United States. We want to reassure all members of the armed Forces that they are not forgotten by procuring support through mail, emails and care boxes and displaying continuous Patriotic standards in our city, towns and communities.

Operation Post Card (Blue Star Moms)
There is nothing like a letter or postcard from the home front to let a Soldier, Sailor, Marine or Airman know that he or she is supported and their service is appreciated. Don't underestimate the value of your greeting!


Operation Tarjeta De Navidad (Esposas Militares Hispanas USA)
Sends cards and letters to deployed military personnel and to Hispanic military families!

Este projecto nos permite enviarle tarjetas de navidad a todos los miembros del grupo y a los esposos(as) de militares que esten desplegados "deploy", en training, companias, TDY y/o fuera de la casa, etc.
Si deseas recibir una tarjeta de navidad de nosotros o deseas que le enviemos una a algun militar que va a estar solito dirante la navidad, envianos tu direccion a janet.sanchez@esposasmilitareusa.org 

Soldiers' Angels
The Cards Plus Team is dedicated to supporting service members, their families, and even Angels with encouraging or celebratory cards and notes. Cards can be requested for deployed soldiers for: birthday, encouragement, thinking of you/get well, anniversary, new baby, welcome home. 

Tell Them Thanks
Our mission is to support our military heroes who are deployed abroad.  We want every Soldier, Marine, Airman, Sailor and Guardsman to hear their names called at mail call.  Our dedicated members “adopt” one or more servicemembers and then support them for the length of their deployment. Our members are required to send at least one letter a month, but many of them write more often and send care packages as well.

Treasure our Troops
Treasure Our Troops was started when the founders nephews were deployed to Afghanistan in January of 2009. Finding out that a lot of our soldiers have no one to write to them, send them care packages Treasure our Troops was formed! Our mission is to send as many care packages and written letters as possible to our deployed soldiers overseas as well as our wounded soldiers in the local hospitals.


Monday, October 26, 2015

October Full Moon Fun Facts Frightfully Fun!

October Full Moon Oct 27, 2015

This full moon is at 3 degrees Taurus, at 8:05 AM.with only 3 days to go until Halloween! That means a waning moon ("shrinking" or decreasing in illumination) will light All Hallows Eve.

October full moon names are: Harvest Moon, Hunter's Moon, Kindly Moon, Blackberry Moon, Raven Moon, and Moon when quilting and beading is done. Go here for a complete list of full moon names and the cultures that named them. Learn more about the Full Moon Names,  Moon Phases and Moon Facts at Planetpals!


It's the full moon again Pals!


Monday, October 19, 2015

Eco Friendly Halloween Tips That Are A Howl

Eco Friendly Halloween Tips That Are A Howl
Halloween is fun and games, but it isn't just about getting candy, bobbing for apples and winning prizes for costumes. This Halloween think about helping others while helping the planet. Practice the 3 "r"s: Reduce, Reuse, Recycle.











Here are some quick tips from Planetpals to help you share and care:
.      Share your candy with a less fortunate friend.
.      Have your class collect donations for a good cause.
.      Make your costume out of recycled materials such as cardboard, cans, paper, old clothes or tin foil.
.      Think of ways you can recycle or reuse the candy wrappers and candy bags.
.      Have a Green Halloween Party
.      Have a costume swap
.      Have some healthy Halloween food with friends and classmates
.      Decorate making recycled crafts
.      Recycle your pumpkin, by making delicious dishes and drying the seeds. You can find plenty of recipes for these!
.      Donate your costume and decorations to a thrift shop or swap shop when Halloween is over.
.      Save your decorations to use again next year.
.      You're only limited by your imagination! Maybe you can think of more ideas!

All this and more ideas, tips, costumes, crafts on Planetpals complete GREEN HALLOWEEN GUIDE 
 © judith gorgone www.planetpals.com all rights reserved



Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Costume Swap That Makes Halloween Greener And Lots of Cents

This library has annual costume swap that makes lots of sense and cents!
Photo Tampa Times
Palm Harbor library is one of the most creative libraries I have ever seen. Not only do they have a 50's kids diner for teens (over 18 not allowed), where kids can go in to study in diner booths and at counter stools, but they have a children's rooms that is like a playhouse.
This year, for the fourth year in a row, the kids room hosts a dress up corner full of costumes you can try on, buy or swap. Customers Save some cash, save the planet and have a fun day playing dress-up. 

This library has annual costume swap that makes lots of sense and cents!The "swap" works two ways: If you bring a cotume you can swap it and if you need a costume you can buy it  for a mere $5. Proceeds are used for children's programs and materials. Costumes will be on display in the Children's Room from Oct. 1-Oct. 31. 
This library has annual costume swap that makes lots of sense and cents!
Costumes ranged from Dainty Princesses to Scary Monsters.
So, put  a little green in your Halloween.  Follow the lead of Palm Harbor Library and brew up a costume swap at your school, in your church, with your group or among your friends! How? See Planetpals SWAP how to.

For additional green Halloween ideas, crafts, tips, foods and fun read Planetpals Halloween Journal

Friday, October 9, 2015

Get Crafty With Pumpkin Decorating

12 Crafty and Creative Ways To Decorate Pumpkins

12 Creative Ways To Decorate Pumpkins

The Pumpkin isn't just for Pie or Halloween.  It represents Fall and a good harvest and can be adorned with a myriad of items to make it festive for any Autumn holiday, Winter holiday or simply as seasonal decor.  Think out of the pie pan and into your craft drawer. Adorable or Elegant, Functional or Fun, Anything goes!

Why, you can recycle that pumpkin; Use it for Halloween then repaint and redecorate it for Thanksgiving, later as a snowman for winter!  Other ways to recycle pumpkins.

Enjoy these creative pumpkin ideas...we hope you get inspired:

Ribbon Pumpkins
Use Ribbons and nets and this is what you get.

Painted Pumpkins
Paint or Paper, manufactured Leaves or real ones, you can definitely Fall for this idea.
Whether you add a menu or give thanks this blackboard paint idea is definitely clever 
Carved Pumpkin

Carve it! So many options...sunflowers, turkeys, patterns.  Add a light for night.
Wired Pumpkin
Get wired with this heavy metal pumpkin

Stamped Pumpkin

Stamp it up. Paint, stamp or paste

Sharpie Pumpkin
Talk about sharp!  Draw the line - makers can make a big statement.

Beaded Pumpkin
Just Bead it.  Or add another embellishment...Fall wedding or holiday elegance.
Puffy Paint Pumpkin
Add Puffy paint shabby it ain't!  This could even work for the winter holidays.
Glitter Pumpkin
Everything that glitters is gold.  This pumpkin shimmers and shines.
Decoupage Pumpkin

Recycle holiday cards, newspaper. calendars, gift wrap, paper cu outs, etc.  Use decoupage or glue. Make  an artistic statement.

Activity Pumpkin
Adorn with crayons or lollipops for tabletop fun for kids, for halloween lollipops  a coloring activity for a Halloween party or "giving thanks" writing activity. on Thanksgiving.

See more pumpkin crafts on Planetpals PUMPKIN Decorating Pinterest Board 

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Many Ways To Preserve Fall Leaves

How do you preserve leaves? Let us count the ways!

How to preserve Autumn leaves? Let us count the ways. So many and so simple

So,  it's Autumn and you are sure to Fall for one of these simple ways to preserve those beautiful falling leaves complete with links and instructions.  Among the options, use Glycerine, wax, wax paper, iron, decoupage with Modge Podge.  You can even use your microwave!

Also learn how to preserve Flowers, an exclusive tutorial from Planetpals.

With Glycerine from The Mamas Girls.com



With Wax Found on Martha Stewart.com







Lastly, why not Preserve Flowers, simple instructions. A Planetpals Exclusive


To make trees from recycled materials, Planetpals Exclusive Crafts:
For more Fall ideas and fun crafts using leaves and tree items check out Planetpals Tree Crafts Board on Pinterest



Friday, October 2, 2015

This Vegan Smart Apple Recipe By Bri Watson Master Chef Is Oh So Sweet!

Double Apple Dish With Healthy Alternatives  and Vegan Smart! Healthy Alternatives from Master Chef Bri Watson
Double Apple Dish With Healthy Alternatives  and Vegan Smart!

Apple Crisp And Baked Apple All In One 

by Chef Bri Watson

It's officially Fall in New England! You know what that means; pumpkin spice everything, sweatshirts, football (cough, cough PATRIOTS) and if you're anything like me 4 giant bags of apples sitting on the kitchen floor. Apple picking is a tradition in my family, but sometimes we over-do it. The thought of picking apples all day is so much fun, then you get home and have to think of 28 recipes to get those apples cooked in the next week. I don't know about you but after fall, I don't eat a single apple! Zara however, eats an apple a day, Sometimes two! 

Some of the regular dishes we create with these apples include: apple pie (obviously) apple sauce, apple butter, caramel apples, candied apples, and my absolute favorite APPLE CRISP! It's weird, now that I think about it...fall is the only time out of the entire year we eat or bake these dishes. 

So, about this apple crisp. Zara has been baking with me for about 3 years now and she the perfect mini sous chef! In 2 years she's going to audition for Masterchef JR. Sometimes you need the kids little mind to step out of the box and make suggestions. We didn't want to make a regular apple crisp, "those are boring" says Zara. She looked at me and I could see a little light bulb go off on her head. 

"What if we baked the apple crisp IN THE APPLE?!?!?!" 

Boom, history was made. 


Double Apple Delish Dish: 
An Oh So Sweet Idea for Apple Crisp In A Baked Apple!

You will Fall for this dishy recipe from Master Chef Bri Watson.  Complete with healthy alternativesIngredients:

Here's what you'll need

Tools:
1 med sauce pan
2 med mixing bowls 
Measuring cups
Measuring spoons 
Nice clean hands :) 
Stirring spoon 

Apple filling ingredients:
8 apples (we used Fuji) 
2 tablespoons butter (earth balance vegan butter)
6 tablespoons brown sugar 
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon 
1/4 teaspoon of vanilla bean paste (or extract)
Pinch of nutmeg 
Pinch of ginger
Pinch of salt 


Crumble topping ingredients:
1/2 cup flour
1/4 cup oats
1/4 cup brown sugar 
1/4 cup granulated sugar 
Pinch of salt
1/2 tsp cinnamon 
4 tablespoons cold butter (earth balance vegan butter)

Let's start cooking! 

1) Set your oven to 400 degrees F
2) prepare the topping. Combine flour, oats, sugar, salt, and cinnamon in a mixing bowl. 
3) this is the kids favorite part! Combine the cold butter in the mixing bowl with the dry topping, creating little chunks of oaty-buttery goodness. 
SET ASIDE 
You will Fall for this dishy recipe from Master Chef Bri Watson.  Complete with healthy alternatives

4) peel and cut 4 apples into small 1/2 in pieces. 
5) cut the tops off and hollow out 4 apples. I used a melon baller.
6) bring the cut up apples and all the remaining apple filling ingredients to a simmer until tender. About 10 mins. 
You will Fall for this dishy recipe from Master Chef Bri Watson.  Complete with healthy alternatives
7) fill the hollowed out apples 2/3 of the way up with the cooked apples. Making sure to drain off the extra liquid. (We all saw on Masterchef what happens when you don't strain the liquid) *sad face*
8) top off the filled apples with the crumble topping, pile or as high as you want. 
9) bake for 10-15 mins, or until brown and crunchy.

Now, what is better than warm Apple Crisp? 
Grab a carton of your favorite vegan vanilla ice cream and plop a scoop right on top! 


"Natural Nourishments" by Fun Foodie and Master Chef Bri Watson. Bri recently appeared on Master Chef Season 6. Her recipes are winners!