Entries tagged with “compassion”.


Compassion. It’s one of the top characteristics I seek to instill in all six of my kids. While my husband and I work hard to teach compassion and being other’s focused, too often I feel as if we are fighting against a prevalent view in society that sends kids the message that life is all about fun and perpetuates a “me culture”.

As a mom in a blended family, I strive to do things and have products in our home that supports the message of compassion, character and serving others. That’s why I was so excited when I learned about Hearts for Hearts Girls Dolls.

As mothers and stepmothers, we work hard to raise our kids with strong values. Hearts for Hearts Girls is a line of dolls that strives to do the same thing. The company says it best: “we invite all girls to become agents of change – to improve the lives of girls in their communities, across their country and around the world. We promise to deliver meaningful products and experiences and to tell all girls , ‘You can help.’”

So when I was given the opportunity to host a Mommy Party for Hearts for Hearts Girls, I jumped at it. We invited ten girls over to enjoy food from around the world (I made Ethiopian punch, Indian Mac – n – Cheese Bites, American Meatloaf Muffins and French Chocolate Chip Cookies), we played a game from Belarus called Shyla and we made Clean Water Banks and talked about how so many young girls don’t have clean water to drink, or bathe in like we do.

If anyone ever questions whether our youth doesn’t care they should have been sitting in my kitchen when we made the Clean Water Banks and listening to the girls talk. We decorated water bottles and made a slit to put loose change in. I took my jar from my laundry room (I collect loose change from the pockets of all the clothes I wash and when it gets full, I donate it) and gave the girls some coins to get started. The goal is for the girls to fill the banks and when they do to talk to their parents and donate the money to WorldVision Water Fund where the funds can bring clean drinking water to those that don’t have it. The chatter was high among the girls on this topic. One girl said her parents told her “if I get perfect attendance this quarter, I get twenty dollars. I’m going to do it and donate it to other girls for water.” The girls all were so excited to give back. They talked about how much they love swimming in a pool all summer and how most of the world doesn’t have that luxury.

Two of the girls that my daugther invited are not “doll girls” but they loved Hearts for Hearts and they said they love what the dolls are all about. And the dolls not only come from foreign countries like India, Belarus, Laos, Mexico, Brazil, and Ethiopia but also from the United States. Dell, for instance, is from the Applacian Mountains and is committed to helping people in her community. She has a heart of gold. The doll Zelia is from Brazil and she learns how her family can make changes on their coffee bean farm and the impact that can have on the rainforest. I love it!! Teaching our girls that WE ALL MATTER and SMALL CHANGES YIELD BIG RESULTS. 

Each doll comes with her own story of compassion and change along with a book, and accessories.

Let’s be honest, many young girls are dealing with some emotional stress from a variety of life circumstances and as mothers, stepmothers, aunts, grandparents, and friends we want to build character and self-esteem into our girls.  These dolls will help facilate conversation about compassion, giving back, accepting others, loving people of different cultures. They are a toy line that you feel good purchasing and giving to your children and/or to friends and family. They are quality made and spark conversation. Imagine watching your girls playing with their dolls and discussing how they are going to change the world instead of changing their nailpolish (although that is still a fun conversation to have).  

I also want to mention that proceeds from the purchase of each doll goes to World Vision. If you haven’t heard of World Vision, I strongly encourage you to click on the link and get familiar. When I was a single mom, I went to a Casting Crowns concert with my now husband. It was there I learned of WorldVision and the opportunity to sponsor a child. I signed up and six years later, I consider her a part of our family. She blesses us way more than our financial contribution blesses her. We write letters, share our dreams and we pray for her and her family. I shared our sponsor girl with the girls at the party and they loved seeing her photo and looking at pictures she had drawn and were amazed to learn that girls their age live in two room homes with large families and are happy. Teaching our kids that we are so blessed in our country and sharing how other children live is an important and humbling experience.

One added benefit of having the party was how all four of my girls (my two daugthers and two stepdaugthers) all wanted to help and be a part of it. I had a blast cooking with everyone, organizing the day and it was a great bonding experience for all of us. And to be perfectly honest, I don’t get that type of cooperation when I’m making dinner. Working on this had the girls curious about the different cultures of the dolls, food that they ate and they really all wanted to be a part of it. I’d actually recommend throwing your own Hearts for Hearts Party.

With the holidays approaching, this is an amazing line of dolls to start collecting with your daughter and/or stepdaughter. The dolls and their accessories are reasonably priced and as I mentioned they have such a positive message. Here’s a discount code for you. Just go to Heart4HeartsGirls.com and enter in H4HAUG12 and get $5.00 off any Hearts for Hearts Doll (Offer good through October 2012 while supplies last). The code is good for purchasing directly off their site. These dolls can also be found at Target, Amazon and Toys R Us.

If you are looking for a gift for your stepdaughter or daughter and they are between the ages of 6 and 10, I highly recommend these dolls.

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I was selected to be a MommyParties host as part of a promotional program with MomSelect. All opinions are my own. I was not financially compensated for hosting this MommyParty for Hearts for Hearts Girls,  I was given a doll to keep and test and one to giveaway to one of the girls in attendance. As always, I will give you my honest opinion and choose to bring to you products that I personally believe in.

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You can connect with Hearts for Hearts Girls via their website, Facebook Fan Page and have a discussion on Twitter using the hasthag #HeartsforHeartsGirls!

I’d like to hear from you. Do you have experience with these dolls? What do you think of the message they send?

Skadoosh. Why did that Panda have to go and make me cry?

Yes. I admit it. Kung Fu Panda 2 really spoke to my heart. And yes I did cry at this movie.

I don’t typically share my movie selections here but I believe it was divine intervention that I was given the opportunity to see an advanced screening of the movie this past weekend.  My husband and I were planning on taking the whole family to go to the drive-in this upcoming Memorial Day weekend to see Kung Fu Panda 2. Now that I’ve seen the movie, we won’t be taking the whole family.

The trailer for this movie promotes the fight of Po and the furious five to save Kung Fu but this movie weaves multiple story lines. And because of its message and the themes within it, I wanted to share my thoughts and info on the movie as I know many of you have children and/or stepchildren who don’t have both parents active in their lives.

Now, don’t get me wrong. I loved Kung Fu Panda 2. In fact, I think it is much better than the first. I also think that that the overall message is powerful and important.

When You Follow The Noble Path, Anything Is Possible!” – Master Shifu

One theme in the movie is the importance of finding inner peace despite your circumstances. Personally, I feel that creating your own inner peace as a stepmom is the key. Given that we can’t control others around us, we need to focus on us and how we allow the words and actions of others to impact us and our emotional stability. And for children who may not be in a “family situation” they love, the message of creating your own peace is powerful.

While I think everyone can benefit from hearing messages about the importance of inner peace and the probability of achieving it, I do have to talk about the topic of the movie that will hit a cord with my stepdaughters…. dealing with your past and your parents leaving.

Yes, that giant panda comes to realize that the goose he has been calling dad his whole life is really not his birth father. Surprise! Po has flashbacks while fighting his new arch enemy where he sees images of his mother and her walking away and leaving him as a baby. As adults, it is evident why his mother had to hide him and walk away but I don’t know if a child who may have been left by a parent will pick up on it.

Some find it odd that my stepdaughters are sensitive to movie scenes like this since it has been six years since their mom left. I don’t find it strange at all. It is their mother. You never get over that type of loss. My stepdaughters are doing well but they have triggers and seeing certain scenes in movies can trigger their pain and take them right back to the last day they saw her.

Yes, this movie got pretty deep for me and was emotional to watch at times being a stepmom who lives with two beautiful girls who struggle with why their mom left their lives.

I know my stepdaughters well and I know that they are very sensitive to the fact that their mom moved away years ago of her own choice. I’ve sat with my SD10 when she watched High School Musical 2 and cried profusely when Gabriella walked away from Troy. I’ve been there when my SD13 came home from school so distraught over the movie “Sarah, Plain and Tall” because it reminded her of her mom leaving.

Scenes where parents (especially moms) leave their children is really hard for my stepkids and I’m sure for many children who don’t have one of their parents actively involved in their lives.

In the end, it all comes together and Po does find inner peace about who he is, where he comes from and where he is going. I won’t be a spoiler and tell you exactly how it happens.

Having said all that, I think my stepdaughters should see the movie with their dad only. My husband and I talked and I think it may be a wonderful opportunity for him to take each girl separately and then go out for pizza afterwards and talk about the movie. Master Shifu tells Po in the movie that “yes, you were abandoned by your parents but that doesn’t define who you are. You can choose your future.” That’s a great message and a great talking point.

The bottom line is that Kung Fu Panda 2 is better than the first (in my humble opinion) but I wanted you all to know what it is about and be prepared before you see it in case any of your kids are sensitive to a parent leaving. If I hadn’t seen the movie, I would have no idea about the parental portion of the movie and it could have been a tough viewing with my stepdaughters. I wanted to pay the information forward.

So are your kids sensitive to certain topics in movies? Did you see Kung Fu Panda 2? Would love your thoughts?  How do you handle scenes in movies that are difficult for your kids and/or stepkids? Appreciate all your feedback.

Disclaimer:I was given a free ticket because I’m a Klout influencer. I was under no obligation to see the movie or talk about it. I get no additional benefits for talking about this movie.
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