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Help A Kid, Earn a Pint: 01/29/13

Help A Kid, Earn a Pint.

The Charlotte Beer Babes join forces with #CLTBeerUp on January 29th, 2013, at Good Bottle Company and will be helping out Hope Haven, a local nonprofit geared towards helping homeless & chemically dependent adults and their children. Bring a donation item (list below), get a beer courtesy of the Charlotte BeerBabes & BeerUp! Hope to see you all out there for some good beer with great people to support a wonderful cause!

Items Needed: currently in serious need of children’s books (all ages), book bags, pull-ups, wipes, toiletries, notebooks, shoe laces, uniforms, underwear, tank tops, t-shirts, and socks. They have let us know that the top three items they are in need of would be: pull-ups, wipes, toiletries.

Craft You Later,
Beth

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Giving Thanks Forward

Hello Friends,

It has been crazy and insane of late, and I apologize for the long delay of my posts. Thanks for still coming around to see me, as well, everyone!

So tomorrow, Thursday 11/21, is Thanksgiving Day here in the USA. The day of Turkey, Stuffing, Cranberry Sauce and Pumpkin Pie. The day where family comes together and gives thanks for each other, and all the blessings that have befallen throughout the year. 

In our family, we have a strong tradition that we follow every year: get as many people to gather as we can. When I was in college, my parents started coming down to my place here in Charlotte and having Thanksgiving with, as they called us, “Beth and her band of misfits”. I would basically invite anyone and everyone that didn’t have a place to go or just wanted to come over; and they’d swing in for dinner or dessert times as they could throughout the day.

I think the maximum we ever had come through was 20 for dinner throughout the day, and 20 more for dessert. Pretty sure the fire department would’ve had a problem with the capacity, but hey – it was rotating and fun, and nothing caught on fire!

However having such a great family and friend base that I can treasure the holidays with each year, it makes me really want to give back to those who struggle through the holidays. Honestly that is what started me inviting all of my Thanksgiving Feast-less friends over!

I have recently found quite a few great programs through the holidays that allow me to give thanks and use my blessings to pay it forward for others less fortunate. I wanted to share. None of the “21 days of thanks” or anything – just a concise list (with links of course) for those who care to go further.

My #1 all-time favorite non-profit is Operation Homefront of NC (OHF-NC).

I do a ton of volunteering and donating through them year-round, and consider them a great cause. During the holidays, Operation Homefronts Nationwide participate in Adopt-A-Family programs where sponsors (i.e. individuals, families, businesses, coworkers) adopt a family for the holidays. Each regional OHF office does their own twist on this program, depending upon the needs of their area. Click the region you want for details on their program: the Carolinas, Central Great Lakes (MI, IN, OH), DC Metro, Kansas, Tennessee/Kentucky, Texas, Tri-State (NY, NJ, CT), and Washington State. I have done this with my family, and we’re doing it at work as well to adopt a family as a team. So definitely a great cause I get behind fully!

#2 great cause I’ve found is A Child’s Place, though it is somewhat specific to Mecklenberg County (Charlotte area) in NC.

This Holiday season, they are asking for people to sponsor families through their Holiday Sponsorship program, where you’ll receive the name, age, size and wish list for each family member (1 or more) and purchase a new outfit and one item from the wish list for that person. In addition, you are asked to buy a grocery store gift card for the family member to use toward a holiday meal. Cost Estimate: $75 per family member.

Cause #3a is for Second Harvest Food Bank of Metrolina.

While you can always drop off food donations to one of their locations (unopened, non-glass, non-babyfood, non-perishable food items only, please), they also offer food drives and initiatives through local groceries like Whole Foods and Harris Teeter throughout the year. In addition, they have an event coming up December 16 (Sunday), 2012, for a fundraiser with SHFB as the beneficiary, with a music back-drop: Music 4 Food Concert & Revue, which will be hosted at CPCC’s Halton Theater.

Good Cause#3b is for non-Metrolina-area food bank options, via Feeding America‘s site.

Good Cause #4 is The Salvation Army, another of my personal favorites to support around the Holidays! Links below are for Metro Charlotte area, and each local chapter should have similar links to each of the giving areas.

a) Salvation Army Angel Giving Tree – sponsors chose an Angel from a local tree and buy new items from the ‘wish list’ of the child they have chosen. Drop-offs are at locations throughout the community like FOX Charlotte News Studio, or at the Salvation Army Chrismas Center (for Charlotte, click here). 
b) Salvation Army Stockings – chose a stocking and fill it with a host of toys and activities for a child and age of choice (the stockings are labelled by gender and age). Drop-offs are at the Salvation Army Christmas Center, or at community drop-offs like K104.7 Studios.
c) Salvation Army Silver Bells – chose a senior citizen (age 60+) to adopt and buy for, needed items like clothing, toiletries, shoes and other small gifts. Drop-offs are at the Salvation Army Christmas Center.
d) Salvation Army Red Kettles – volunteers ring the bells outside establishments to raise funds for the Christmas programs. From their site, “The traditional red kettle is an integral part of the Christmas scene, with millions of dollars donated each year to aid needy families, seniors, and the homeless, in keeping with the spirit of the season.”

There are lots of other great opportunities to help out in areas all across the country and the world. Search engines are great tools to find them, however I sincerely hope that I was able to provide some good information for you as well if you’re interested in doing something like this for the 2012 Holidays!

May your Holidays be plentiful and full of love, friends, family and good food, and may those in need find sponsors and donors to help them through the tough times and eventually make it ‘back’ enough to pay it forward to someone else in need!

Happy Thanksgiving and Happy Winter Holidays Everyone!

Craft You Later,
Beth

Craft Meet Up: Letters To Our Troops

Hello Crafting Friends,

I have an idea that I have been tossing around for awhile now in my own mind. I think it would be super fun to meet at a local Park in Charlotte, as a group, and do a craft activity. I also think it would be awesome if said craft served a purpose other than just being fun. Like, say, being something we send to the troops before Veteran’s Day…. hmm? Hmm? Hmm?!?!!!

So I was looking around this place called the internet (you may have heard of it), and I found this organization called Operation Gratitude, which has a whole section of its services being geared towards volunteers writing letters to troops (active, and veterans of past conflicts). HELLO we have a winner!

operation gratitude handmade card marine troops

Handmade Cards to Troops

Because this organization is based in California, and I (we) am in North Carolina, I cannot organize anything to go volunteer at the actual volunteer events. However if you’re reading this in Cali, and want to get some community service in, go check out their volunteer schedule. Or if you’re not in NC nor CA and want to donate to the cause, you can do so here to help send care packages to military personnel overseas.

operation gratitude handmade card army troops

More Handmade Cards to Troops

Anyways, back to my plan. I would like to organize a meet-up for Sunday, October 28, 2012, in order to get a group together to get this started. I have a park in mind, but figure I will see how the date works first before nailing down a park.

Plan:
1) Get together at a specified date and time (Sun Oct 28 @ 3pm?).
2) Everyone brings a few supplies (no glitter!) to decorate cards (markers, crayons, stickers, colored pencils, pens, stencils, stamps, etc) for everyone to share.
3) I will supply a good amount of cream and white card stock cards (pre-folded), based on the amount of participants.
4) Make cards following these guidelines for the troops and veterans of past conflicts (your choice)! This includes possibly including your information for responses, if you so chose, or you can use mine.
5) Everyone gets together and shares in a craft activity for a good cause outdoors for ~1 hour, and maybe makes some new friends as well!
6) I will then ship the cards to the donation location for delivery to the troops, and pass along any responses that I get from OG or the troops to whom our cards are sent.

So… I really need your responses people, for real. Is this something you would be interested in doing? Is this something that sounds fun and crafty to you? Is this something you would actually respond to my blog with a “YES I AM IN!” at all?!? Responses appreciated sooner rather than later, but at least by Monday October 22, so I can plan and plot accordingly! Oh, and please include your email so that I can include you in our plans! (Yes, I am being optimistic here!)

Give me your thoughts, pretty please, and let me know if you would be up for doing this craft volunteer outdoor adventure together! We can adjust the date and time if need be, but please let me know about any interest you have in this!

Craft You Later,
Beth

Wednesday Beer Log – Noda Hope Stout

Hello Beer Friends,

I feel honor-bound, as a full supporter of good causes – in particular causes in honor of/for kids – everywhere, to write today about a beer event that I found out about through a friend at work, via one of his friends who runs CharlotteBeer.Com.

So what is this worthiness I speak of (well, allude to mostly at this point), you ask? Let me tell you about Hope Stout, an inspiring young lady that the world lost too soon. Though from the mark she left on the community and so many people nationwide, you’d never guess she only lived 12 years.

Suffering from a rare bone cancer, osteosarcoma, Hope Stout was diagnosed and in a serious cancer battle over a very short period of time before her death in January 2004. While ill, the Make A Wish Foundation asked her what she wanted for her one wish. Her response was to ask how many kids were waiting for wishes. Upon learning there were 155, she declared her wish was that all of those kids got their wishes granted. When she heard that there wasn’t enough money available to grant the 155 wishes, she decided to raise the money herself. The months-long journey enabled her to raise over $500,000 – and was even more spectacular due to the fact that she did all of this while her disease was trying to take the fight out of her. This amazing girl refused to let it. Her generosity sparked a movement in the Carolinas, and the entire Nation, and eventually the goal was met. Hope did it. She gave hope to so many others. There is way more to this story, of course, but I just wanted to hit the highlights. Also, it’s hard to gather all the facts for you without resorting to emotional mini-meltdown from reading all of this incredibly touching information. Hard to say her life story was tragic when she more than exceeded living up to her name in only 12 years: Hope, indeed.

This young lady was so inspirational, and touched so many people with her selflessness, that there are a few ‘big events’ going on in the near future to honor her memory:

1) A movie is being made about her story, called “Hope’s Wish“. The screenplay is still being written, but big things are happening to memorialize this wonderful and selfless girl.

2) Annual Golf Tourney (October), Gala (March), and Cheerleading (February) Events, as well as various 3rd Party Fundraisers occur throughout the year.

annnnnd 3) NODA Brewing has come out with a beer in Hope’s honor, the Hope Stout. Hence being my Wednesday Beer Blog entry!

This 4% ABV Milk Stout was created by NODA head-brewer Chad in honor of the fact that Hope would have turned 21 on March 4, 2012. The debut of this beer is today (Wednesday 8/8/12) at VBGB Beer Garden in the NC Music Factory starting at 6:30pm. In addition, this beer will start being on the regular line-up starting early fall for NODA Brewing.

I plan to taste this beer soon, and I will do a follow-up with my opinion on it. However I can’t imagine that anything from NODA isn’t going to make my mouth water. And especially something this wonderful, well, the inspiration behind it just will make it that much tastier. So I had to share this with all of you, and I’m sure that many of you will be trying this wonderful concoction in the near future.

So go try a Hope Stout tonight at VBGB if you can, and regardless of where you are – raise a glass in toast to Hope Stout tonight. Happy Belated 21st Birthday, Hope! **cheers**

Craft You Later,
Beth

Baking is Science for Hungry People: Girl Scout Cheesecakelets

Hey all you bakers! All you experimenters! All you scientists in the kitchen! All you girl scout cookie lovers! All you cheesecake lovers! All you people who just love to eat desserts!

I have a treat for you, yes I do!

Girl Scout Cheesecakelets!

Last weekend, before Memorial Day itself, a friend of mine was having a community yard sale that would benefit her daughter’s girl scout troup in Harrisburg, NC. She had bought extra boxes of cookies back in January, just for this purpose – to help make some more money for her girls so they could go to their trip next Summer. I am all about helping out girl scouts, especially since one is my honorary niece!

So when my friend told me she needed my help to make some stuff that has girl scout cookies as  a base for the recipe, so people will realize they can do more than just eat the cookies ‘raw’ (so-to-speak), I of course told her I would do it!

I asked which cookies she had the most of, and found out it was Dulce de Leche, and Thank You Berry Munch. I personally LOVE both cookies, so I bought a box of each for myself. But I also then grabbed a box of each to bake something. Concoction ideas started pouring into my head, so fast that I had to start shaking my head to dislodge them! Some were prospectively great (cookies crumbled on top of frosting on cake) while some were not so great (cookie chunks in brownies). I finally decided on doing cheesecakelets (yes, I made that up, and no I will not take it back!) in cupcake liners so they’d be easy to sell, handle and transport!

So I ran to the store to get some cream cheese, vanilla Greek yogurt, eggs, milk and unsalted butter. I looked up a few cheesecake recipes to get a general feel for what I wanted to do, and then made sure I had my sugar, flour and brown sugar stocked up in the kitchen!

First off, I made the Thank You Berry Munch crust. For this, I took my Magic Bullet Blender and ground up about 8 cookies until they were purèed to the finest crumb possible. Then I combined the crumbs, 1/4 cup brown sugar and 1/4 cup melted butter in a bowl and mixed until evenly distributed, and kind of resembling a paste. 

Crust Ingredients…

The only difference I made for the Dulce de Leche cookie crust is that the cookies kinda had a thicker crumb – almost like peanut butter was mixed in with it. To counter this, I added 1/4 cup flour and 1/8 cup white sugar to the crumbs and brown sugar. I stirred that up good, then added the 1/4 cup melted butter, same as above.

Crust Mixed!

Next, pat the cookie crumbs into the bottom of some cupcake liners. I used about 1/2-2/3 of a teaspoon for each one, and made sure to pat the crumbs evenly to cover the entire bottom of the liner.

Crusts in Liners!

Now it’s time to make the cheesecake filling. In a mixing bowl that fits my stand mixer, I mixed 16 oz softened cream cheese, 6 oz vanilla Greek yogurt, 2 eggs, 1 tspn vanilla extract, and 1/2 cup sugar. Cream this really well until it is nice and smooth.

Cheesecake batter!

Now put about 1 heaping tablespoon of batter onto the crusts in the liners.

Raw Compiled Cheesecakelets!

Bake at 325 for 25-30 minutes, until the cheesecake topping starts to split. Let cool for 10 minutes, then top with cookie pieces from the remaining cookies you have leftover. Store in the refrigerator at least an hour to cool them to enhance the flavor.

And voilà, now you have (roughly 40) Girl Scout Cheesecakelets to show off!

Baked Thank You Berry Munch Cheesecakelets!

Baked Dulce de Leche Cheesecakelets!

Craft You Later,
Beth

Wings For Lia Joy – Fundraiser

Hey Everyone,

I normally am a little goofy in my posts, but this one I am going to be completely serious, and I appreciate your help, time and thoughts in advance.

Lia Joy Frank

There is a 3 year old little girl that needs our help. Her name is Lia Joy, and she has an undiagnosed disease that has been with her since birth, which has caused her to be on oxygen her whole life, and has progressed into neuromuscular problems. The medical and associated expenses have gotten huge, and her family is in need of help. Her 6 year old brother, Zaya, is a real trooper and is being homeschooled to better help the family with meeting Lia’s needs. In addition, Lia is in such pain that she can no longer cuddle with Zaya, and has to resort to sign language instead of speaking as she has so little energy and breath.

Sibling Love

Some kind souls are putting together a fundraiser this riday, 3/9/2012, in Monroe, NC that is an auction and concert combination event. The auction is also going to be online during the ‘auction time’. The restaurant, Bibi – a beautiful taste, is located at 232 E. Franklin St, Monroe, NC 28112.

The auction will be on-site and online as follows: Small pieces 6:30-7:30pm; Medium pieces 7:31-8:30pm; and Large pieces 8:31-9:30pm. The auction items include jewelry, NASCAR collectables, wind-chimes, hand-knit textiles, framed photographs, paintings, drawings and keychains. While some of these items are valued at up to $800, none of them start the auction at higher than $65 – and 100% of the proceeds are going to the family.

The band that is going to be playing is One Big Love, and they will be playing before, during and after the auction.

Now before you say “well how do we know this is real”, let me tell you how I heard about Lia. One of my coworkers and good friends is donating 7 framed photographs to this auction. And he found out about it because this brave little girl is the neice of a good friend of his. So I promise you that this has been verified as a real need, a real cause, and a real wonderful little girl. I do a lot with non-profits and friends’ kids fundraisers, so I know that unfortunately some are not so credible. But hopefully this assurance that this is legitimate will help.

Even if you can’t bid on an item, show up in person, they have a paypal account setup to donate for smaller amounts. Every dollar is appreciated and goes straight to the family. The website fee is actually donated by someone, and kept up by another benefactor, so they don’t even have those fees to expense. And if you can’t do any donation, could you, would you, please just keep them in your thoughts and prayers?

From what they are seeing, they’re not even sure if “Lia’s Disease” is going to be cureable, but at this point they just want Lia as comfortable as possible. And a large part of that is going to involve inner strength from the family to see this through for their little girl.

Thank you SO much for even reading this post, and thank you so very much for any thoughts, time, talent and monetary donations you can provide for this precious little girl and her family.

Craft You Later, and truly THANK YOU for reading!
Beth

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