Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Soups On

Type: craft
Age: over 2

Last night I had the opportunity to serve dinner at a local soup kitchen. It was amazing - we were able to serve 178 hot meals in an hour!! Truly a testament to the organization of the place we were serving. Unfortunately, soup kitchens and food banks in general are not able to accommodate small children due to safety issues and the like. However, that doesn't mean there isn't anything your little heart can do to get involved!

The organization we were working with last night near our home was one called Food Gatherers. They were started by a local restaurant and are supported by donations from local restaurants, food retailers and food distributors. With over 300 donation sources, there are a lot of people to thank for all the support. That is where our little ones can make an impact. One of the Food Gatherers volunteer opportunities is for families to make thank you cards to give a personal message to all their supporters. I can picture a collage project now full of magazine pictures of food pasted to a colorful card! So contact your local food bank or soup kitchen and find out if making special thank yous could be an opportunity for you!

Friday, March 26, 2010

A Call for Ideas - Earth Day

This year Earth Day is April 22nd and I think very few other holiday observations lend themselves to acts of service more than Earth Day. Ready to break out of winter, put our hands in some dirt, spend some time outside - the perfect opportunity to volunteer!

So please send ideas of project, past or present, for our little hearts to undertake! I will begin posting the beginning-ish of April to get your creative juices flowing on all those great ways to help our Earth this year!

As always, please email your ideas to thelittleheartsproject@gmail.com

Thursday, March 25, 2010

A Simple Act of Service

Type: prayer
Age: any
Recently a a women's group I am a member of and I were discussing different types of service. It is easy to get focused on deeds and acts of service, but there are many other types as well. One of the most profound ways we can serve others is through prayer. A fellow group member shared how whenever she sees a firetruck or ambulance, she always says a quick prayer for those in need of their help. This is something that I do with my girls as well. Taking a quick moment to ask for prayer and support for those in need, whether friend, family or stranger is a simple act, but one that can have a HUGE impact. So next time your little one is thrilled by the sight of the flashing lights and the sound of sirens, use this opportunity to remember someone else.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Spring Cards for Seniors

Type: craft, senior
Age: over 2

I recently heard about this service project from fellow mom Katey who decided to enlisted her playgroup friends to join in the fun. Before I go any farther, let me say that I LOVE this! What a wonderful way for playgroups to mix up the 'playdate' routine a little bit by taking on a service project. Inspired to do something nice for an elderly woman in her church, Katey and the playgroup created personalized cards to be delivered to the nursing home where the woman resided.

The finished product can be seen here:
These cute cards were created by photographing each child hugging a teddy pair. Pictures were glued into muffin liners and then stems and other embellishments were added. Depending on your child's skill level, the sky is the limit on the decorations. The cards and bear were then delivered to the nursing home with the message that the teddy bear was "bearing" hugs from all the kids. How cute is that! For complete instructions, you can visit Katey's blog at
A little crafting can certainly go a long way in making someone else's day 'beary' special :)

Friday, March 19, 2010

A note of thanks and a little reward

I can't believe that it has already been over a month since I first created this blog! It has been absolutely amazing finding out that people are reading, and to receive the emails filled with new ideas. I am truly inspired to see the work that is being done out there and I hope that you are as well!

The continued success of the little hearts project does rely so much on you, its readers, so as a thank you I have created the 'featured' button shown to the right. While certainly not all, many people who have emailed me with project ideas have blogs of their own. So from now on, any one who sends in ideas will receive this button to put on their blog as a thank you for their great idea, and as encouragement for their readers to check us out. So please continue to send in your pictures, your ideas, your suggestions and thoughts - I love to read it all and I hope that in the months to come I get to send out lots of my new buttons!

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Easter Ideas - Coin Box for Lent

Type: donation
Age: over 2

During this Lenten season many of us have chosen to go without or to do more - relying on God's strength to help us when we are weak. Surely there is a lesson in this for our little hearts as well. Thanks to reader Jessica for providing this example from her son!

During Sunday School, Jessica's son was given a small box to collect coins which would be used for mission work. I thought it was touching (and quite funny) how she explained it in her message to me, so I will include Jessica's words here...

"My son is desperate to put money in "for Jesus" every chance he can get - so he asks me quite frequently if we have any. He was excited to find some foreign money in his play wallet today and sooo wanted to put it in there. I had to keep a constant eye on it, because what in the world would the church do with all that strange coinage?"

Don't you love that passion and excitement at the prospect of giving!!!! Thanks for sharing this wonderful story and great idea Jessica!

Monday, March 15, 2010

Easter Ideas - Palm Sunday

Type: service
Age: 3 and over

Though many years removed, I can still remember Palm Sunday at my hometown church. The altar was always festooned in rich purple fabric and at the close of the service, each attender received a small palm cross much like the ones shown to the right. I can picture my Dad tucking his into the jacket pocket of his coat, and I bet if I looked, there might still be one of these crossespressed into the pages of my youth Bible.
Reflecting on this, I thought it could be a perfect opportunity for our children to get involved in celebrating the Easter holiday. While making the crosses might be a bit challenging for little hands, distributing them certainly would not be. If your place of worship has a similar palm Sunday tradition, consider asking if you and your little one could hand out these symbols at the close of service. Imagine the joy it would bring the worshipers to see your little one serving, and what better way to help reinforce the message of Easter to your child.
As always, please let me know if you give this project a try. I'd love to hear about the results!

Friday, March 12, 2010

Crayons for Haiti

Type: craft, donation
Age: over 1

I was so excited when my sister-in-law forwarded me a link to Ashley's beautiful blog and saw this amazing project she undertook with her boys. Filled with an overwhelming need to do something to help the children of Haiti, and with her husband boarding a plane to do just that, Ashley created this fun project to bring a little joy into the otherwise devastated hearts of the Haitian children.

Ashely has done an amazing job of including step-by-step directions on how to make this craft, so please check it out at her blog found here: http://ashleyannphotography.com/blog/2010/02/15/diy-notebooks-crayons-to-haiti-with-love/

Essentially she and her boys took small memo pads of paper, affixed elastic to the back to hold the crayons, put the crayons in each and decorated the covers. My description certainly doesn't do it justice, so please check out her amazing photos of this project. As you can see from the photos, there were jobs for the older children (cutting, gluing, decorating) as well as the youngest (drawing and decorating).

In preparation for their Dad's trip and while making the craft, Ashley took the opportunity to talk with her boys about the effects of the earthquake and the great need the country currently has. This act of giving is certain to have a lasting impact on them all. Thanks again Ashley for the awesome idea!

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

National Reading Month Ideas - Birthday Books

Type: donation, books
Age: any

I have written several times about my older daughter, but this particular idea features an idea appropriate for any age child. In this case it is my 1 year old daughter, Brier. When it came time for her first birthday in December, I looked around at the mountains of girly things we already owned and couldn't conjure up any ideas for what family could get her for this occasion. So instead, we decided having guests bring gifts to donate would be the perfect idea!

Each guest to Brier's party brought a book personalized for her to commemorate this big day, and another book that would be donated. As I have previously posted, we LOVE books, and you can always add to your collection, so Brier happily opened all her specially selected new books. Afterwards we wrapped up the dozen or so donated books and headed to Detroit and and a place called the Matrix Organization which has a Headstart program in the heart of the city. For my husband, myself, Schuler and Brier, it was an amazing experience touring the facility and seeing how excited they were to be receiving this gift.

For your child's next birthday, consider making a donation in your child's name. Not only will you be impacting your community, but yours and your child's lives as well.

Monday, March 8, 2010

National Reading Month Ideas - Milk + Bookies

You never know where inspiration is going to come from - and this post is no exception as it came from, of all places, a celebrity mom blog! Seems that many of the cool Hollywood mom's (including my personal fav Jennifer Garner) are supporting an organization called Milk + Bookies. According to their website:

"Milk + Bookies is a non-profit organization that teaches young children how great it feels to give back while celebrating the love of a good book"

I can't think of a mission statement that touches my 'little heart' more - as in addition to identifying with the service portion, I am an avid reader and lover of books. So in honor of National Reading Month, I wanted to highlight the work of this organization.

If you and your little one decide to support Milk + Bookies, please let us know. We'd love to hear how it went. As always, we love your ideas, comments and feedback!

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Baking up a storm

Type: baking, donation
Age: 2 and over

My daughters and I LOVE to bake! It seems every week we are whipping up a batch of cookies, brownies, muffins, bread - you name it! We love eating almost as much, but let's be honest, there's probably a limit on how many cookies one child (or mom!) should be eating. So it seemed like a great idea to find someone else who might benefit from our baking extravaganzas.

I was able to hook up with a local hospice group who was looking for just what we had - baked goods! Many of the hospice patients have lots of family and visitors coming and going, and they thought it would be nice to have some treats available for all those special people. With the help of one of our small groups at church, we enlisted parents and kids age 2 - 16 to help in the baking and decorating of 4 dozen different goodies. The beauty of this activity was that there was truly something for every skill level to participate in from rolling to frosting to adding sprinkles.

So whether a Sunday afternoon at home baking with the kids or an organized group effort, you're sure to find someone in your community who would benefit from some sweet treats!

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