Category Archives: Giveaway & Charity

Help NICU Babies with Your Wedding Dress

In just a couple of months, my husband and I will be celebrating our 10th wedding anniversary. It’s hard to believe that it’s already been ten years as I can still recall our wedding day perfectly. Aside from the pictures and our personal memories from that day, the only thing we have left from our wedding is my wedding dress. 

While I love my wedding dress, I have been ready to part with it for a while. Originally, I was saving it in case we had a daughter and she wanted to use it for her wedding. However, after having our two boys, my husband and I have decided that our family is complete so there is really no need for me to continue saving the dress.

I’m not really a sentimental person and don’t see a need to continue to store it, especially since we have an assortment of wedding pictures to look back at. At one point I tried to sell it. There wasn’t any interest then, so I’ve just been holding on to it..

Perhaps, you or someone you know is in the same situation. While they love their wedding dress, they don’t want to continue storing it any longer when it could be used elsewhere? While I have been at a loss for ideas of what to do with my dress for a couple years now, the other night I was on Facebook and saw an article about the NICU Helping Hands organization.

This organization was started to create a support system for families who are going through pain of having a newborn hospitalized in the NICU. Here families can find the support and educational tools they need to help them through this difficult time.

While the technology today is amazing and many babies in the NICU do grow strong enough to go home and live a long life, there are still those who don’t ever get to go home with their loving families. It’s these babies and their families that you can I can help with our wedding gowns.

In the past, the babies that passed away in the NICU were wrapped in a thin hospital blanket before being given to their families for burial. What the volunteers behind NICU Helping Hands are doing now is taking donated wedding dresses and turning them into beautiful “angel gowns” for these precious babies to wear for their final photos and burial services. By the way, the angel gowns are given to the families free of charge.

I cannot imagine the pain (and hope that I never have to) that comes with losing a child, and while I know nothing can take away this pain, I feel like this is a way for me to help. NICU Helping Hands has stated that they can make up to a dozen angel gowns out of one dress and they will send keepsake pieces back to the owner of the donated wedding dress, if desired. Additionally, they will also send a receipt for the donation back to the owner so you can deduct the donation on your taxes as well.

If you are like me and think that this sounds like a great thing to do with your wedding dress, you can find all the information you need regarding the donation process here.

In the Face of Disaster

The horrific thing about this tornado is that it was basically a repeat of the
tornado that passed through the samearea 14 years ago on May 3, 1999.
The ’99 tornado demolished much of the city, just like it did yesterday…
only they are saying yesterday’s tornado was worse.

 – Moore Oklahoma Tornado Monday May 20, 2013.

If you have been following our blog for long, many of you know various things about my family and I. You know that I am married, have been blessed with two little boys, enjoy saving money and several other small details that I’ve scattered here and there within the blog posts that I’ve written in the past. However, one thing that I have never shared with you is where I’m from.

Believe it or not, I was born and raised in Oklahoma. I know a lot of our customers haven’t ever been to Oklahoma before and honestly, probably have no desire to come to visit. If I’m being honest, when I was growing up, moving out of Oklahoma was one of my top priorities. Not because the state isn’t a great place to live or the people are rude, but because as a young kid, I felt like Oklahoma was boring and there was absolutely nothing interesting about the state.
It’s funny how you don’t appreciate things until you “grow up.” Oklahoma may not have all of the attractions that other states boast of, but it does have a lot to offer. The state is full of people who genuinely care about their neighbors like they’re family and treat strangers like friends. In fact, a few families that I know who were transplanted in Oklahoma from the East coast admitted to me how hard it was to get used to shopping at the grocery stores because everyone waves and says hello when you walk in (the cashiers) and it’s impossible to make it through the store without someone starting a conversation. Apparently this is out of the ordinary for people on the East coast? It’s all I’ve ever known… And, about not having anything to do…there are plenty of things to do, you just have to know where to find them. Now, that I’m 30 I can say that I’ve grown to love my home state of Oklahoma.
With all of that said, yesterday I sat in shock as I watched the news coverage regarding the tornado that hit Moore, Oklahoma. Tornados are definitely something that I know a little bit about. I can’t tell you the number of times my parents and I spent an evening in the storm shelter praying that the nearby tornados would pass without hitting our house. However, I’ve never experienced anything like the poor people of Moore did yesterday. And, the horrific thing about this tornado is that it was basically a repeat of the tornado that passed through the samearea 14 years ago on May 3, 1999. The ’99 tornado demolished much of the city, just like it did yesterday…only they are saying yesterday’s tornado was worse.
My heart literally breaks for those people. So many of them lost their homes, but many others lost family members – children, husbands, wives, parents, grandparents, etc. I know that I’m not the only one out there who feels like they need to do something to help those poor people. It doesn’t matter if you live in Oklahoma or have never been to the state before…there are things you can do to help. Here are a few ideas.
  • Donate items. Many communities, all over the nation, are organizing donation drops where people can bring non-perishables, toiletries, diapers and clothing to be sent to those affected by the tornado in Moore. It doesn’t take much to help out as most of us have clothes we have outgrown or don’t wear anymore. If you just cleaned out your closet, then go to the store and buy a case of water…every little bit helps. For those of us with kids, donating items like this shows them what it means to “help thy neighbor” in times of need.
  • Give blood. Tragedies like this quickly drain the local blood banks of the blood they have stored. If you are able to give blood, then I encourage you to go to your local blood bank and give a pint today. You can specify that you want it to go to the people in Moore, Oklahoma and they will see that it helps the victims in need.
  • Go shopping. Sounds kind of dumb, but a lot of places have already pledged to give a percentage of their sales to the Oklahoma Red Cross. This includes online retailers too! All it takes is a little research and you will be able to find the stores donating money from their sales to Oklahoma…in fact, Twitter is abuzz with all kinds of offers today! You can easily use these promotions to help families in need while getting a jump start on your Christmas shopping.
While no one ever wants to see tragedies like this happen, they do happen and one of the cool things that comes out of them is witnessing the amazing people who work together and reach out to those in need. Whether we are talking about a hurricane, tornado, wildfire, tsunami, earthquake or some other horrible natural disaster – it’s the love and compassion of those who reach out to the victims that gets makes the search, rescue, recovery and rebuilding a success.
Therefore, I encourage you to ask yourself what you can do to help when disaster strikes…no matter where it is. Why not use these tragedies as a way to teach your kids what it means to be compassionate and help those in need? Like I said before, all it takes is something simple like donating a case of water to help.

Kids Formal Review and Giveaway

When the UPS truck pulled up to my house yesterday, I hurried outside to greet the delivery man because I knew exactly what he was bringing me. It was this beautiful Charcoal Suit from the Kids Formal warehouse. While, I admit that my son has worn a suit from Kids Formal before, that was a couple years ago when he was in a friend’s wedding (he was 3). So, there’s a good chance that my opinion could have changed regarding the Kids Formal boys suits over the last two years. Therefore, when Kids Formal offered me the chance to review this charcoal suit, I jumped on it!

At 5, this is my son’s first big boy suit and he’s pretty excited about it because now he can look like his daddy and grandpa for special occasions. And now, the exciting part for you! Kids Formal is giving you all the opportunity to win this suit for free! All you have to do is follow the instructions below to get yourself entered in our giveaway.

Before we get to the details of the giveaway, I want to take a minute to describe the suit in detail for you as the picture online does not do it justice. This 5-piece suit comes with the 3-button jacket, matching vest, dress pants, a white dress shirt and a matching clip-on tie. So, here’s how the suit “stacked up” in my book:

The first thing I noticed was the fabric of the suit. The color is just beautiful as it is darker than a normal grey but not quite black – it’s a very solid “charcoal” just like the online description says. Secondly, the material feels exquisite and very high quality. I can tell that my son will not have any problems with the quality of this suit as it is obviously well made. All of this was determined while the suit was hanging on the hanger before my son arrived home from school!

Once my son got home, the fun began as he couldn’t wait to try the suit on when he saw it!

The suit fits true to size, if you take the time to read the sizing chart information before you order. My son is comfortably wearing size 4/5 clothing in boys, so I chose to order the size 5 suit and it fit him perfectly. The white dress shirt was just right as it didn’t hug his body but wasn’t big on him either and the sleeves were the perfect length. It’s the same story with the vest. The vest gave him plenty of room to breathe without being “bulky” and the jacket was absolutely perfect. Not one thing I can complain about, even the sleeves fit great!

I was the most nervous about the pants on this suit because my son is quite skinny and we have a hard time finding pants that fit around the waist and are the right length. This is why I’m such a huge fan of the brands that have built-in elastic “belts” for the kids around the waist.

While the dress pants don’t have built-in “belts,” I didn’t need to worry about it because they also fit perfectly around the waist. The length of the pants was just a hair too long. I think I will probably have them hemmed for holiday events, but in a way where they can easily be let out and worn “as is” once he has another growth spurt. Therefore, the pant length really isn’t an issue for me because I feel like it’s a good thing for them to be just a hair too big so they will last longer.

Finally, the tough part of the review was finding out what my son thought about the suit. After all, you know how picky little boys can be when it comes to formalwear. I’ve heard it all from, “it’s too hot,” “the top button is too tight,” to “I can’t move in it!” So, I was a little nervous to find out what my little guy thought about this (gorgeous) suit.

He loved it! He didn’t complain about one thing on the suit and would have been happy wearing it for the rest of the evening if I would have let him. So, there you go – this Charcoal suit from Kids Formal is a big hit at my house!


So, now for the fun part – getting you entered to win this suit for your little man! All you need to do is follow the following instructions and you may welcome this beauty into your home free of charge this fall!

To enter, simply type your email address and name in the entry form below then click Begin.  To increase your chance of winning, you can enter a comment or share it with your friends.  For each of the optional click, you can earn an additional entry to the final drawing.  Thank you for sharing and good luck!