Yup, water.

What, you may ask, does water have to do with today’s blog post?

Why, everything!  For her birthday, you may recall our darling B gave up all hope of getting gifts and raised money for charity:water. She had read on http://www.cakewrecks.com/ about charity:water, and about how the task of fetching water usually falls to the women and girls in a community, and how the water is often unclean and unsafe for drinking, and yet, with no other options, they drink it anyway. She was particularly struck by the fact that when a girl has to spend 3hours or more a day fetching water, she often does not go to school regularly, or even at all.

And so she did it: she gave up her own materialistic desires (and trust me, she had a lot on her list!) in order to raise money for a great cause. She set her goal at $150. And then she raised her goal when she met the first goal so quickly. And then she raised it again. In the end, she raised $837 — money that has gone towards water projects that are currently underway in Ethiopia and Nepal. Right now, charity:water partners in those communities are getting permits, buying supplies, picking sites, and beginning work.

B is thrilled to have been able to help. She loved getting a progress update from the folks at charity:water letting her know where the money she raised was going.

And then somehow when I wasn’t looking, she sent out an email to various family members announcing that she did NOT want Christmas presents this year. Do NOT buy her a Christmas present. Not a single one. Nope, nope, nope. She wants NOTHING for Christmas.

Because she’s doing it again.

She’s giving up all hope of receiving even a single gift in order to raise money for charity:water, except this time, she’s set her sights on hitting a minimum of $1000.

In B’s words:

“Giving up gifts is easy. Some kids don’t even have water. I don’t need gifts as much as they need water.”

I am so proud of her.

I am also so awed and inspired by the fact that you, dear reader, choose to share some of your day with me here at KidsByHand, and the last time she did this, I was amazed by the number of anonymous donations she received from blog readers. You guys are amazing. Seriously. You rock. Are you willing to thrill her again and help her meet her goal? It would be so amazing if you could.

If you would like to show some love and support for her project, you can make a donation online at http://mycharitywater.org/kidscanwaterchristmas/ . (The entire donation amount – 100% of your donation – goes directly towards the water projects they build.)  Every donation counts – even a single dollar. If you want to get all symbolic about it, you could donate $9 because she is 9 years old, or $25 dollars because Christmas is on December 25, (or $2012 dollars because it is Christmas 2012, if your budget stretches that high).




Christmas is coming…

It’s true. Christmas is on its way. There are less than 6 weeks left until the big day, and I am already way behind.

I hate shopping. I dislike the crowds, and the noise, and the frustration of trying to find exactly what you are looking for in exactly the right size/shape/colour without having to visit 9 different stores and spend all your money and then some.


I dislike all forms of shopping except grocery shopping and garden shopping and craft supply shopping. If you built a Michaels craft store next to a fabulous grocery store next to a great butcher and sandwiched between a quilt shop and a yarn shop, with a garden centre tacked on the end… I would build my house in the parking lot and never, ever leave.


Where was I. Oh yes, Christmas.

Usually, I shop for Christmas all year long. When I see something perfect, I get it. My goal is to be finished with shopping by December 1st, leaving me the rest of December to bake and decorate and do fun things with the kids from our Slightly Different Advent Calendar.

What’s more, I like to craft (no, really?) and I like to gift people with homemade things that I hope they will enjoy.

With 6 weeks left until Christmas, there isn’t much time left for crafting.

With 2 weeks left until December, there isn’t much time for meeting my (admittedly self-imposed) shopping deadline.

It’s a good thing I’ve already got a number of people taken care of thanks to my habit of shopping year round, or I would really be in a panic. And, miracle of miracles, the most impossible man to buy gifts for… has a gift hidden away that I hope will make him jump for joy on Christmas morning.

Or at least smile a lot as he searches everywhere for a plug that isn’t filled with Christmas lights so he can plug in his gift and try it out.

So knowing that there are a number of people to buy for, and a number of people to finish crafting for, and knowing that I just finished binding off a much-anticipated super-soft-and-bulky neck warmer thing that my little Miss B (who is not nearly so little) requested I make her a while back and that would make a perfect handmade Christmas gift?

Why, on the first really cold day this autumn, when you could see your breath in the air and mittens were a necessity, I handed it to her to wear, since of course none of her existing scarves could possibly be warm enough.

What was I thinking???

Trust me, I am kicking myself even now.

Or at least, I was, until yesterday when she announced that, after giving it much thought, she doesn’t want any Christmas gifts this year. Not a single one. Nada. Zip. Zero.

Instead, she wants everyone to donate to Charity:Water on her behalf, since there are people in this world who need water more than she needs gifts.

Have I mentioned how much I love this girl?

I love this girl.

A lot.


And I think I know I don’t need anything for Christmas this year, either.

And yes, of course I’ll let you know as soon as I get her donation page set up.


Wow. Just… Wow.

Do you recall how proud I was of our girl B when I posted a couple of weeks ago about her decision to forgo all hope of getting birthday gifts in favour of raising money for charity:water? She set what we thought was an ambitious goal, to raise $150, and we were excited to see if she could do it.

And then she surpassed her goal. When she saw that her total donations equaled up to $225, she screamed out loud and started jumping up and down. And then she promptly set another goal: $300. And we were thrilled beyond words at the attitude of gratitude and generosity that we were seeing in our girl.

On the day of her party, she had occasion to scream and yell and jump up and down all over again when she saw that she had surpassed her goal again. We were thrilled beyond measure, at the money raised, at how many people will be helped by charity:water, and at how excited our girl was to be helping change the world.

The day before yesterday, I blogged about it yet again (since apparently I just can’t help myself and keep talking about my amazing kids and how proud they make me for so many reasons) and someone over at charity:water noticed. And tweeted about it. And other people saw it. And took the time to donate to our little girl’s campaign. Check it out for yourself. And all I can say is…


Just… Wow.

That one word keeps rolling around in my head every time I look at her campaign page — and I keep looking at it a lot.

I have tears of joy and amazement and pride filling my eyes and spilling over my lashes because of all of you. I do tend to cry easily, but this is so much more than that. I am overwhelmed with gratitude for your generosity – that of our friends and family, and that of complete strangers. You have given our girl a gift that is going to stay with her for the rest of her life: the knowledge that, with a bit of effort, she can change the world for the better. What’s more, you’ve shown her that taking on a challenge like this brings with it a rush of excitement and pride and joy that is unlike any other. No physical gift can match that feeling, and it is a feeling that will stay deep in her heart for the rest of her life.

So I guess there is one more thing to say after all:

Thank you.

World Changing

As you may remember, this year, B decided she didn’t want any gifts for her birthday. Instead, she chose to raise money for charity:water, a fantastic organization that helps developing communities in need build fresh, clean water supplies to enable kids, especially girls, to get an education. She set a goal of $150, hoping that her guests and extended family would donate at least $9 in honour of her 9th birthday.

She didn’t meet her goal.


She blew it right out of the water! So, naturally, she set another goal: $300. And she blew that one out of the water too! Here is what her charity:water page looks like now:

She has raised $362 dollars for charity:water. Have I mentioned how proud we are of our girl?

Afterwards, she said to me “Mama, giving up my presents was really easy. Really easy. I don’t need all that stuff. Not the way some people need clean water. I want to do it again next year!”

To me, one of the amazing things about this little sum we have managed to raise is that lovely number 18 gracing B’s charity:water page. That number represents the number of people who will soon have access to fresh, clean water thanks to charity:water and a 9 year old girl who gave up her birthday presents. Eighteen people will have their lives made easier and healthier because of B. And all she had to do was refuse to accept stuff she didn’t need in the first place.

The other amazing thing is that our kids have, with a little help from a lot of people, learned just how easy it can be to make a change for the better in the world we live in. To be completely honest, so has this Mama.

For you see, our little Miss B is not the only kid in this house who is setting out to change the world, no sirree! In just over a week, K and The Man We Call Dad will be participating in Relay for Life to raise money for the Canadian Cancer Society, and I couldn’t be more proud of them.

I firmly believe that the best way to teach your children to change the world is to change the world with your children. Changing the world isn’t something only rich people or talented people or those inspiring people whose stories amaze and astound us can do. No. Changing the world is something that rests firmly in our own hands, and we can do far more than we believe we can.

I know that now, after watching my dear friend Sharon and her kids raise tens of thousands of dollars and collect 150 ponytails to make wigs for cancer patients over the course of 3 years. She taught her daughters and 150 others how easy it is to change the world by changing the world with them.

I had it reinforced when we joined other friends in a 5K charity walk for their daughter’s birthday and watched her face light up as she practically danced down the path with friends in tow, thrilled with their fundraising prowess and determined to cross the finish line ahead of their parents.

I am ever more convinced of it after watching B’s face light up as she realized just how many people she has been able to help with her little charity:water campaign.

And I know it right down to my bones as I watch The Man We Call Dad choose to take advantage of an opportunity to teach K just how easy it can be to make a difference.

The best way to teach your children to change the world is to change the world with your children.

And so K and his dad will be walking next Friday, all night long, from 7 p.m. to 7 a.m. in the best relay ever invented: Relay for Life.

Will you help K change the world this week by making a small donation, even something as small as $1 or $2, on his Relay For Life page? The Man We Call Dad will be walking too, and so he has his own page as well if you want to support his efforts too. We would be ever so grateful for your support, and your help teaching our children how much good we can do when we just put ourselves out there and try to change the world.


Friday’s Big Thing

Oh. My. Goodness.

Seriously. All I can say is Oh my goodness.

Remember how yesterday I posted about B giving up all hope of receiving birthday gifts in favour of raising money for Charity:Water? My daughter is walking around the house in a daze with about the biggest smile anyone has ever seen, and it is all because of this:

That’s a screen capture taken at her bedtime last night.

Do you see that lovely, lovely number of $225 raised so far?

Yup. She did it! She reached her goal of $150! In fact, she has surpassed her initial goal of $150 and she is thrilled. So thrilled that she has doubled her goal to $300.

All I can say is Oh My Goodness! You guys are amazing. Thanks to you, there are 12 people in the world whose lives have changed — 11 who will soon have water, and 1 little girl who has learned that changing the world for the better is entirely within her grasp.

Thank you so very, very much.

If you haven’t already donated and would like to help her reach (and surpass!) her new goal of raising $300 for Charity:Water, you can go to her campaign page at http:\\mycharitywater.org\kidscanwater and make a donation.

So? Will you do it? Will you donate $1 or $2 or $9 in honour of B’s 9th birthday? Please? Let’s show her what we can really do when we work together to help one little girl with changing the world!