Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Thanksgiving 2011 - Feeding The Hungry And Homeless

This Thanksgiving season I sat down to make a list of what I was thankful for. As my list grew, it became more apparent to me than usual... I have truly been blessed. While I worried about what to make for Thanksgiving, others living just a few minutes away were not even sure if they would eat on Thanksgiving. 

The next day as I typed out my blog entry for The Thanksgiving Menu 2011, I found myself feeling a little unsettled. I decided that I needed to give someone else something to be thankful for this year. 

After speaking with a coordinator at Feeding America, I discovered that there are many ways to help out. I decided to lend a hand serving the Thanksgiving Meal at the Broward Outreach Center. I spread the word through the Dolphin Women and was delighted to have Ilona Wolpin, Maria Bush, Jenna Clawson, Mindy Joseph, Katie Fields, and Joy Taylor agree to join me. Katie brought her brother too, and Joy works for Mike's Mobile Media Group so they came as well and brought their HUGE Dolphins truck. 

Between Miami, Hollywood, and Pompano Beach locations there were nearly 3,000 Thanksgiving meals served that day to the homeless and hungry of South Florida.Those in attendance were treated to a fantastic meal of turkey, mashed potatoes, green beans, stuffing, pumpkin pie, and other tasty treats.
In addition to the Thanksgiving meal, there was entertainment for both children and adults that included live music, a kid’s corner that had a moon bounce, cotton candy and games as well as other fun activities. Various giveaways occurred throughout the event. Ilona, the public relations personnel for the Dolphins, decided that we could also give away 20 tickets to the New Years game against the Jets. Everyone was filled with excitement over this! Services such as haircuts, shoulder massages and blood pressure checks were also available free of charge to those who could not afford it.  At our particular location, which was 1 of 3, we were able to feed over 650 guests, distribute over 300 personal hygiene bags, give approximately 100 haircuts, and hand out over 1000 pieces of clothing and shoes.

When arriving at the event that day I didn't know what to expect. I did however brace myself. I am not sure why exactly.  Maybe I was frightened that the unsettled feeling I had felt days earlier was only going to grow as the day went on. I figured I would be behind a table sloppin' food on a plate in an assembly and out in no time... Little did I know, I was in for a real treat. 

The street was filled with life and excitement and I was not stuck behind a table. Everyone that I served that day was extremely thankful and very polite. Everywhere I turned people welcomed me with a smile and kind words. In fact, they were so inviting that I couldn't help but stick around after the meal was over. Unexpectedly, I had found myself surrounded by people bursting at the seems with pure joy and happiness...True thankfulness...I had no idea I would find myself leaving hours later than expected, after laughing and dancing my Thanksgiving away with total strangers. Strangers who decided to embraced me for no particular reason except out of pure kindness...just because...

For that I am thankful...thankful for the truly exhilarating experience.
Definitely a new Thanksgiving Tradition...
Below is a video and a few pictures from the day courtesy of MMMG and Sister Jenna. (Please don't judge my dance moves..ha!)

Free Haircuts

Donated Clothes and Shoes

I loved these two. They were a good time:)

Sister Jenna


Saturday, November 19, 2011

Hard Work Pays Off - North Lauderdale Elemantary

     This last Wednesday the 16th, the Miami Dolphins Women's Organization hosted a Papa Johns Pizza Party for a group of hard working students at North Lauderdale Elementary School. These students were chosen by their teachers to be rewarded with a pizza party after proving to be very hard workers.

     What a great bunch of kids! Boy did we have fun! They all enjoyed pizza and dessert pizza, and then we listened to music and had a few dance contests. At one point the kids had me on the stage doing the shuffle with them:) T.D., the Dolphin mascot was there to entertain and sign autographs. The kids LOVED him!

     Overall, a great time was had by all, and I think the energetic students brought just as many smiles to our group as we did theirs. In the end the students chanted with their teachers "Hard work pays off!" After having taught 3rd grade, this brought one last smile to my face.
Photo Courtesy of Miami Dolphins
 Photo Courtesy of Miami Dolphins
 Photo Courtesy of Miami Dolphins

To read more on this topic and see more photos where these came from visit the Miami Dolphins website by clicking here - Miami Dolphins

Thursday, November 17, 2011

20th Annual Thanksgiving Meal Giveaway

Last Tuesday, November 15th, the Miami Dolphins along with Publix Super Markets and Feeding South Florida carried out the 20th Annual Thanksgiving Meal Giveaway at Sunlife Stadium. It is important to giveback to your community year round, but for me it always hits me a little harder when Thanksgiving and Christmas start approaching.

At this years giveaway we handed out Thanksgiving meals that will feed over 12,000 people in need from our community and neighboring communities. Dan handed out meals and while I manned the lines and helped people get their meals to their vehicles. My sister, Jenna and Dan's brother, Scott also helped people to their vehicles. It was fun to be able to take them along so they could see what we usually do on our day off.

Unfortunately hunger in South Florida is still rising, but we are happy to have helped feed over 12,000 people in our community. These meals will not just feed families, but allow them to take the opportunity to use their meal as a tool to gather their loved ones, set their worries aside for a day, sit around the table and make amazing memories on this years Thanksgiving.

This was Dan and my 4th year donating money and lending helping hands to this fabulous giveaway. Every year we enjoy it more and more. We enjoy seeing a few familiar faces every year and catching up on their life happenings. To hear a simple thank you accompanied with a smile is the best reward a person could ask for. Honest appreciation is always the most I could ask for, and from this event I am surrounded by it. It is truly uplifting.

For more on this story please visit Miami Dolphins.

Photo Courtesy of Scott Carpenter

 Photo Courtesy of Miami Dolphins

Photo Courtesy of Miami Dolphins

Photo Courtesy of Miami Dolphins

Saturday, November 12, 2011

"Gobble" This Idea Right Up!

OK all you crafty folks out there! Here is an idea for ya'll to "gobble" right up! Whether you are a sewer or not there are many different ways you can create this cute little tee.

Sewing people - Grab your sewing machines and whip out a couple of these cute little t-shirts for your kids, nieces and nephews, grandchildren, or students. With the hype of Thanksgiving in the air, kids will love to sport these tees the whole month long!

Oh! So you say you are not a sewing type of person but still like crafts? What about going online, or to a Michaels near you and purchase some HUGE wiggly googly eyes and fabric glue! That will get the job done and you can even ask the little people in your life to help you cut and glue the eyes and fabric!

If you happen to prefer not to do crafts, or maybe you just don't have the darn time, here are a few links I found online to purchase the different styles.

Turkey Shirt Up Close

Female Turkey Shirt

Turkey Shirt Letter and Name

Materials Needed
-Paper and writing utensil to make a paper pattern for eyes, beak, and turkey waddle.
-Sewing Machine and Thread OR Material Glue
-HUGE Googly Eyes if you are not sewing the project, but rather gluing.
-Fabric in the colors of red, orange, and if you are sewing the eyes, also black and white

If you do choose to make this project rather than purchase it, have fun! Make your eyes and beak any size you wish! Use a cool printed patterned material with some texture! Go the extra mile and glue or sew tons of fabric on the back of the shirt in the shape and design of turkey feathers! Or possibly you would like to get clever and sew or glue only the tops of the beak and waddle allowing the beak to flap and the waddle free to waddle!  Shoot! Why not make a Turkey Face Tie for the "fun" tie guy in your life:)

If anyone makes their own, feel free to email me pictures of your children in their turkey shirts, or post it to the Cookin' and Kickin' Facebook Wall!

I wish I had kids here to do this project with! Maybe I will make one and force my husband to wear it:)Paahaa!

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Kid's and Fins Publix Shopping Spree

This last Monday evening Dan, my sister Jenna, and myself participated in one of my favorite charity events of the year - The Kids and Fins Publix Shopping Spree. 

At the event, members of the Miami Dolphins give 100 underprivileged children from Miami-Dade and Broward County Public Schools a $100 gift certificate to shop for a Thanksgiving dinner for their loved ones.

The turn out was great! We had many of the players, cheerleaders, and military personnel on site to help the children shop and to make the evening a success.

Bill Fauerbach, Vice President of Retail Operations for Publix Supermarkets is always kind enough to help host the event. Every year his staff puts in the extra effort to make it special.

This was Dan's second year as one of the Hosts and we both really enjoy it. We hope we are as lucky to host again next year.

The little girl we shopped with was very polite. We filled up that cart with a ton of scrumptious food. We left no penny unspent on that gift card, and she even got away with throwing in a bag of Skittles at the end.

(photo courtesy of the Miami Dolphins)
Dan, Myself, and Jenna with our Kids and Fins Guest Shopper.

Read more about this event on the Miami Dolphins Website.

It's Fun Being Five!

A few weeks ago I was blessed with a visit from my sister. She and her three boys, ages 5 (x2) and 11 months, boarded a plane and left her husband and kitty behind to man the house. I tip my hat to any person willing to brave a flight with 3 young children. Especially when it is all the way from North Dakota to South Florida....What can I say! We really wanted to see each other!

The days were filled with water wings, spotting gators on an air boat, gator and frog eating at one of my favorite places, parks, walks, good wine and Margaritas, rides on Dan's new Bass Boat, Dolphin Football, story books, food projects such as Green Eggs and Ham and Spaghetti Hotdog Octopuses, seashell hunting at the beach, and of course lots of laughs and hugs.

Time flew by way too fast and they sadly had to go home. I know they had just as much fun as I did, and I hope that now that I given the boys and their Momma a taste of South Florida, they will come back for more. My hopes are high for my sister giving in and shipping her kids to come stay for a few weeks each summer. Here are a few pictures to take you inside their visit.

To be 5 again! How fun!!

His face was priceless when the waiter set down his crab and lobster. His FAVORITE food is "cwab". Don't let his size fool you folks. When it comes to crab eating, I'd put this pint size up against any grown man.

Being adventurous! 
Having a great time with the idea of eating a frog leg:) 
Love his cute little grin.

Ready for the Dolphin Game!

My sister with her crew at the Dolphin game 

Another favorite place to take all of my out of towners is the Swap Shop. Here people can get cheap souvenirs, fresh produce, and a lot of good people watching. 

Picture is worth a thousand words:)

No explanation needed:)

Compliments of Auntie Jenna:)

Twins holding the baby gator after they were out scouting them on the air boat.  They couldn't wait to hold this guy!

These two morphed from cats to fish lickity-split!

Water wings make great big muscles:)