Friday, February 27, 2009

favorite thing friday

Ever since they were small toddlers, our children have loved to play with paint. When they were only two-years-old, I would let them fingerpaint on our kitchen table. I would strap them in to their booster seats and cover the table with butcher paper, before squeezing a big dollop of brightly colored paint before them.

This activity was always guaranteed to keep the children busy for a solid seven or eight minutes and generate the largest mess imaginable. But for those seven or eight minutes, they were blissfully happy. Until they realized that they had PAINT ALL OVER THEIR HANDS and they'd fall in to a screaming fit, while grabbing at their hair, faces and anything within reach.

Although we own a PBK Carolina Craft Table, with a built in roll of paper, the children all seem to prefer the Melissa & Doug easel that Santa brought this past Christmas, for painting.

On one side of the easel is a dry erase board, on the other side is a chalk board. Through the middle of the easel, one can pull up a roll of paper that is affixed in the center, transforming one or both sides to a paint center.

Because we have multiple budding artists in our home - I will typically clip paper to both sides of the easel - and at least two children can express their inner artist.

The ability to create two separate paint centers works very well because although only one child may have expressed an interest in painting, whenever the easel is set up and paint cups are filled, everyone wants to be Renoir.

We use our easel every day. When we aren't using it for painting, we are using the chalkboard and dry erase board to practice letter writing and spelling. It is one of my top 10 favorite toys and something that everyone enjoys.

Do you have small children?

Or do you know any one that has small children?

For a $5.00 donation to The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society via either Margaret or Charlie and a comment left on THIS post, you will be entered in to a raffle to win a Melissa & Doug easel AND the Melissa & Doug easel companion set.

(The estimated value including tax and shipping is ~$125.00).

Your donation is 100% tax deductible.

Your donation is fueling research for a cure.

And your donation will enter you in to a raffle to win one of these easels, which will keep your child happily and constructively entertained for hours tens of minutes each and every day.

Personally? I can't think of a better way to invest $5.00.

When I met with my fellow Team-In-Trainers this past weekend, it came to my attention that there are all kinds of accolades and glory bestowed upon those individuals who are capable of raising the most funds since our season has begun.


You mean to tell me that I've been intentionally sending everyone over to Margaret and Charlie's fundraising pages when I should have been telling them to donate to me, me, ME so that I could have won a new purple jacket?!

When the top three fundraisers from my team proudly stood up to be recognized for raising $2,000.00, $1,500.00 and $1,000.00 over the past few weeks, I couldn't help but smile at how awesome it is that we've raised more than twice as much.

To me, it really doesn't matter that one person raises more than another. What matters is that all of us reach our minimum fundraising goals and that all of that money goes to cancer research.

Thanks in large part to so many of you, earlier this week, I reached my minimum fundraising requirement of $1,750.00. My cousin Candy's $250.00 donation put me over. And my eight-year-old nephew, Michael's $5.00 donation (from his very first allowance) was the cherry on top.

Although my goal is to raise as much as we can, at this juncture, my priority is insuring that my fellow "Cancer Crusaders" have reached their minimum fundraising goals, as well. So to enter this contest, please make your donation to either Margaret or Charlie's fundraising page and don't forget to leave a comment on THIS post.

If you donate $10.00, you will be entered 2 times; if you donate $20.00 you will be entered 4 times. And so on. All of the entries will be placed in to an excel spreadsheet and the winner will be selected using a random integer generator on Wednesday March 11.

Is anyone having as much fun as me? Seriously, if I didn't need to actually work to make money to fund these giveaways, I could honestly see doing this for a living.


Do you visit BabySteps? Carolyn's Board? Triplet Connection? Please let people know to head over and enter for a chance to win. In doing so, they will be expediting the cure of a disease that takes one life every 10 minutes and is the number one cause of death for children between the ages of 1 and 14.

OK, ready ... set ... GO!


  1. I sent a donation to Charlie's page in honor of my friend's little one who just had a bone marrow transplant yesterday. I'm so glad you guys are fighting cancer, and I'm amazed at your efforts already!!

  2. I'm not in this for the raffle...but have to commend you for the effort you are putting in... but just had to give you a rainy-day suggestion since your kids like fingerpainting so much. Have you ever stuck them in the bathtub in their swimsuits and let them play with shaving cream? It's so much fun, and pretty easy to clean up at the end since you can just shower them off at the end. They can fingerpaint with shower cream on the walls, play with small cars driving them through the shaving cream, paint themselves, etc.

  3. Hey Jen,

    I donated on Maggie's team page. She's starting to rake it in now! :)


  4. hi...i donated $50 to charlie's team in honor of my mother-in-law who was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin's lymphoma less than 2 months ago. she shaved her head on monday...i am honored to be a part of your fundraising efforts. i am "amazed" at your drive and determination to support LLS. best of luck on FAR EXCEEDING your fundraising goals and let's BTHO of cancer :)

  5. Can I mail a donation since I am one of the very very few people who does not believe in credit cards? That was what held me back in putting my name in for the ipod and your very cute scarf? (Dumb, I know). But whether or not I win the easel set, I do want to contribute to your more than worthwhile cause ... now to find a way to get the money to you!

  6. Can I mail a donation since I am one of the very very few people who does not believe in credit cards? That was what held me back in putting my name in for the ipod and your very cute scarf? (Dumb, I know). But whether or not I win the easel set, I do want to contribute to your more than worthwhile cause ... now to find a way to get the money to you!

  7. Nancy: Yes, you can mail in a donation. I'll also write this in an upcoming blog entry, but for now, you can send any donations (Made out to: The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society) to:

    Jen @ Amazing Trips
    2220 Otay Lakes Road
    Ste. 502, PMB #99
    Chula Vista, CA 91915

    Thanks for helping this important cause!!

    Anita: We love to put the kids in the shower with shaving cream. I'll bet we go through at least three cans a month!!

  8. Hi, I just sent a donation on Maggie's site. First time donating over the internet, but I think it's a great cause. My daughter had thyroid cancer, but luckily she is in the clear and living a productive life.
    Love you blog and your cute kids:)

  9. I just donated $20 to Maggie's page in honor of my step father who is currently battling lung cancer. My mother is terrified of loosing her best friend!

  10. Great news on this blog and the kids are growing so fast. What budding artists they are. I loved the one of William looking up at the painting and thinking.
    Hope you are all feeling better by now.

  11. Thanks. I am glad to help out both the Charlie and the cancer research...

    I LOVE Melissa and Doug...and my kids love to draw/paint/make messes...:)

  12. i just left a donation on Margaret's page. GO TEAM JEN!

  13. I love that picture of William! Classic. A master at work!! Marg.

  14. Donation sent to Charlie's page. I am donating for my grandfather who is struggling with prostate cancer.

  15. I made a donation on Charlie's page, in the amount of $18. In case you don't know, in Hebrew the number 18 and the word for Life are written the same way. What better way to celebrate life than to fight against cancer. God bless you!

  16. I am donating to Charlie's site - (I donated earlier to your site)I feel so bad for him getting rid of those speakers! ha,ha! My husband has leukemia - so this is close to my heart. Also lost my mom to cancer a few months ago, and my father and sister have been battling cancer. I am captain of a team for Relay for Life - American Cancer Society. If I win the raffle - if you would like, you can just contribute some $$ to my team - instead of the easel - (my kids had one like that when they were little and used it all the time). Yes, you are amazing!

  17. I donated on Charlie's page. I think your efforts are amazing! Good luck with the triatholon!

  18. What a great idea! I donated to Charlie's page as MommyB and wish you the best in your fundraising efforts!

  19. I donated $10 to Charlie because this is a wonderful thing you are doing!! (And my 3 year old would LOVE the easel!!)Good luck to you guys!!

  20. I love all the fundraising you are doing Jen! Good luck:)

    Count us in for $25.00 for Charlie.

  21. Hey Jen, I donated to Charlies page in honor of Deana. Thank you for your blog. Thank you for your advocating.

  22. 10.00 donated to Charlie, and continued prayers for Deana and her family.


  23. Just donated to Margaret's page! Hope I can still be in the drawing. We are praying for Deana and her family. Good Luck!

  24. Forgot to mention that I donated $10 to Margaret as anonymous (have my receipt). Thanks Mark.