Creativity Month 2019! Plus, GRAND Social No. 335 link party for grandparents

Creativity Month 2019! Plus, GRAND Social No. 335 link party for grandparents

Did you know January is officially Creativity Month? Indeed, it is!

If you need inspiration and ideas for creative things to do with grandkids before the month is through, let me point you to the most creative spot I know for simple—and different, educational, and fun—activities. Krokotak, a Bulgarian site, has endless ideas for every season… and many for no specific reason other than finding joy in being creative.

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3 easy ways to give a hand on #GivingTuesday

Today is Giving Tuesday and as a social ambassador for the special campaign that encourages folks to simply give of oneself in any way — monetary or non monetary — I'm here to give you easy peasy ways to give a hand to the effort.

give a hand on giving tuesday

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Child Hunger Ends Here: Something sweet for your support

This is my last post as a blogger ambassador for the ConAgra Foods Child Hunger Ends Here campaign. The campaign isn't over, nor is the need for support for food-insecure children across the country. My ambassadorship, though, comes to an end next week.

In light of that, I'd like to circle back to the beginning, to why I was—and still am—delighted to have been chosen along with a handful of other bloggers nationwide to promote Child Hunger Ends Here. It all boils down to this: I like to feed those I love and care about. And I indeed care about the 16 million kiddos across the country who are not sure where their next meal will come from. Which is why doing what I could to help feed them was and is an honor.

While acting as blogger ambassador for Child Hunger Ends Here, I was also honored—humbled, in fact—by the overwhelming support for the campaign by the Grandma's Briefs readers. You all have read posts, commented, entered codes, shared stories, re-tweeted and, most of all, you cared. I appreciate far more than my words can express your support and your help in putting an end to child hunger.

So, in typical grandma fashion—or at least in a fashion typical of this grandma—I wanted to bake up something sweet to share with each and every one of you to show you how much your support means to me. Which, of course, isn't feasible. I can, though, do the next best thing. I can share with you a recipe for something sweet, then request you do me the honor of making it for yourself.

It's a super fast and super simple recipe, I promise. And this being the finale to my time with the Child Hunger Ends Here campaign and all, it's only fitting that the recipe includes one of the participating products from the campaign. And that the recipe came from ConAgra's ReadySetEat website.

Please accept my token of appreciation for your support of me and your commitment to the Child Hunger Ends Here campaign:

Chocolate Peanut Butter Mug Cake (slightly adapted from ReadySetEat)

Courtesy ReadySetEat    PAM® Original No-Stick Cooking Spray
    2 tablespoons Peter Pan® Creamy Peanut Butter
    Reddi-wip® Original Dairy Whipped Topping (about 2 cups)
    1 egg
    1/2 cup dry chocolate cake mix

    Spray inside of 2 large microwave-safe mugs with cooking spray. Place 1 tablespoon peanut butter in bottom of each mug. Whisk together Reddi-wip, egg and cake mix in medium bowl. Place half of batter in each mug.
    Microwave each mug individually on HIGH 1 minute to 1 minute 15 seconds or until set. Invert each cake onto a plate. Serve immediately with additional Reddi-wip, if desired.

Two servings

See? I told you it was simple. And it's good; Jim and I gobbled it up for dessert just last night. So please, make yourself a mug o' goodness and enjoy. You've earned it!

Of course, as I mentioned above, my blogger ambassadorship may be ending but the Child Hunger Ends Here campaign isn't. It runs until the end of August, and considering that with kids out of school for the summer—school being where many children get their only nutritious meals of the day—the need has never been stronger.

Here's how we all can continue to help end child hunger in America:

Purchase products from ConAgra Foods that are specially marked with the big red pushpin as part of the Child Hunger Ends Here campaign. Participating brands are:

Then visit www.ChildHungerEndsHere.com to enter the eight-digit code from the package. For each code entered, the equivalent of one meal—up to three million meals—will be donated to Feeding America, the nation’s leading domestic hunger-relief charity.

Again, thank you for making a difference—to the campaign and to me.

Disclosure: I have been compensated for my participation in the Child Hunger Ends Here campaign and all posts, tweets and updates related to the campaign.

Cooking, codes, and ending child hunger

Since becoming a blogger ambassador for ConAgra Foods' Child Hunger Ends Here campaign, I've made a concentrated effort to purchase as many of the specially marked products that have a code that converts to a meal for food-insecure children when entered on the Child Hunger Ends Here website.

The product I've bought most of is the Hunt's Pasta Sauce. Next up would be the Hunt's Tomato Sauce. That's because I have recipes I've made for years and years that use exactly those items. But I was ready for something different this week, in terms of recipes and the specially marked products I was purchasing, so I set about searching for a new recipe that used something other than pasta sauce or tomato sauce.

Of course, my go-to spot for recipes anymore is Pinterest, so that's where I headed. I just so happened to find a ConAgra Foods Pinterest board with several recipes, many of which feature products included in the campaign. One using Manwich (a campaign product) struck my fancy. So I purchased my can of Manwich, entered the code, and made the following for dinner Tuesday night.

Savory Chicken and Pasta Skillet (recipe and photo courtesy ReadySetEat)

2 cups dry small penne pasta, uncooked (2 cups = about 8 oz)

1 pound boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into bite-size pieces

1/4 teaspoon garlic powder

1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper

PAM® Original No-Stick Cooking Spray

1/2 cup chopped yellow onion

1 can (15.5 oz) Manwich® Original Sloppy Joe Sauce

1/2 cup water

1 cup shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese

Cook pasta according to package directions, omitting salt. Meanwhile, sprinkle chicken with garlic powder and pepper.

Spray large skillet with cooking spray; heat over medium-high heat. Add chicken and onion; cook 5 minutes or until chicken is lightly browned, stirring occasionally. Add Sloppy Joe sauce and water; bring to a simmer and cook 3 minutes.

Add cooked pasta to skillet; stir to combine. Sprinkle with cheese.

(Makes six servings.)

The dish was fast, easy, and good. Next time I may add a handful of chopped fresh cilantro to give it even a little more zip—and just because I love cilantro and use it any chance I get.

Next time you're planning dinner, consider meals that include specially marked products from ConAgra for an easy way to join in the Child Hunger Ends Here campaign. Here are the products:

Before or after preparing your dish, be sure to visit www.ChildHungerEndsHere.com to enter the eight-digit code from the package. For each code entered, the equivalent of one meal—up to three million meals—will be donated to Feeding America, the nation’s leading domestic hunger-relief charity.

Then be sure to come back here and share your recipe with the rest of us. Together we can help end child hunger—and change up our recipe repertoires.

Disclosure: I have been compensated for my participation in the Child Hunger Ends Here campaign and all posts, tweets and updates related to the campaign.

Today's question:

Of the participating products above, which is your favorite? And which have you never tried? (I, personally, am a pretty huge fan of Orville Redenbacher, but I've tried all of them—far more often than I should probably admit.)

ConAgra employees work (and play) to end child hunger

As a blogger ambassador for ConAgra Foods' Child Hunger Ends Here campaign, I've mentioned a couple times the passionate involvement in the campaign by a handful of musicians. Jewel, Jay Sean, and Owl City are just a few of the celebrities graciously lending their talents to help end child hunger. But regular folk are doing the same, and none more passionately than the employees at ConAgra Foods who sing the campaign's praises and further its progress on a daily basis.

To share that passion and their hope for ending child hunger, hundreds of ConAgra employees across the country came together for the following video. It's proof you don't have to be a celebrity to make a difference—or to make an inspiring video that elicits smiles and warm fuzzies for all who watch it.

It's simple for those who aren't famous musicians or employees of ConAgra to help end child hunger— and no video-making required. Just purchase specially marked packages of select ConAgra Foods brands (see participating brands below), then visit www.ChildHungerEndsHere.com to enter the eight-digit code from the package. For each code entered, the equivalent of one meal—up to three million meals—will be donated to Feeding America, the nation’s leading domestic hunger-relief charity.

Participating brands:

Disclosure: I have been compensated for my participation in the Child Hunger Ends Here campaign and all posts, tweets and updates related to the campaign.

Today's question:

When did you last work with fellow employees who were as much fun as the ConAgra folks seem?

Music feeds the soul and more

I have pretty diverse taste in music. That said, I doubt I would have ever heard of Jay Sean if not for the ConAgra Foods Child Hunger Ends Here campaign. I'm delighted to have "met" him through the campaign, though, and would like to now introduce him to you.

Not only does Jay Sean have a good voice—I know that for a fact because I used the code from a can of Hunt's Pasta Sauce to download his version of Here's Hope—he has a good heart, too, and is passionate about helping end child hunger.

You can help end child hunger, too—without having to record a song. Here's how:

  • Purchase specially marked packages of select ConAgra Foods brands (see list below), then visit www.ChildHungerEndsHere.com to enter the eight-digit code.
  • For each code entered, the equivalent of one meal—up to three million meals*—will be donated to Feeding America.
  • You also can download one song per code. Jay Sean, Jewel, and Owl City have each recorded individually Here's Hope—the Child Hunger Ends Here campaign's original song, written by Hunter Hayes, Luke Laird and Barry Dean—and you can choose one download each time you enter a code.
  • Codes (from packages specially marked with the red push pin) can be redeemed through August 2012.
  • In addition to downloads and access to other content, you can also submit your zip code to enter your local Feeding America food bank into a competition for an 80,000-meal donation. At the end of the campaign, ten food banks in the zip codes with the most entries receive the donation courtesy of ConAgra Foods.

ConAgra Foods brands participating in Child Hunger Ends Here include:

  • Banquet
  • Chef Boyardee
  • Healthy Choice
  • Hunt’s
  • Marie Callendar’s
  • Manwich
  • Orville Redenbacher
  • Peter Pan
  • Snack Pack

*Enter the 8-digit code and a monetary donation will be made to help provide one meal through Feeding America's network of food banks, up to a maximum of 3 million meals for codes entered through 8/31/12. Valid in U.S. only. $1 donated = 8 meals secured by Feeding America on behalf of local food banks.

You can also participate in Child Hunger Ends Here discussions on Facebook at www.facebook.com/ConAgraFoods and tweet along on Twitter by following www.twitter.com/ConAgraFoods and using the #ChildHunger hashtag.

Of course, you are always welcome to record a song about child hunger, if you feel moved to do so. Just be sure to send me a link when you're done. I'd love to hear it.

Like I said, I have pretty diverse taste in music.

 

Disclosure: I have been compensated for my participation in the Child Hunger Ends Here campaign and all posts, tweets and updates related to the campaign. That said, anecdotes and opinions are my own and not influenced by anyone.

Anyone up for show and tell?

It's Friday. It's been a whirlwind of a week for many of us, me included. And I think we should end on an easy note.

Which means: Show and tell time!

Let's all share something from the past week. Something that was awesome, exciting, exhilarating, or, as in my case, scary as <cuss>.

What I'm sharing is that I was on television on Tuesday morning to promote the Child Hunger Ends Here campaign. I've never been on TV before. I've jumped out of an airplane before (tandem jump, of course), and though I didn't write my will in advance of my television spot as I did before bailing from 14,000 feet, I'd have to say the TV spot was nearly as scary as it was pushing myself out of that plane as my three little girls, my husband, and Jim's niece Amanda watched from below.

Here is my scary as <cuss> moment:

Yeah, I looked older than I'd hoped and more tired than I'd hoped—I did get up at 4:30 a.m.—but at least I didn't look as panicked and scared to death on the outside as I was on the inside. I did get the message across, which is good.

If you'd like more information on the Child Hunger Ends Here campaign and how you can help no matter where you live, you can find details at www.childhungerendshere.com.

Now it's your turn!

Today's question:

What is your show and tell for the week? Sharing via just the "tell" part is perfectly fine and welcome, but do feel free to "show" links to your blog or other safe-for-work-and-families spots if you'd like, too.

Finding hope at the grocery store

I went grocery shopping last Friday, which is, I've mentioned before, my least favorite thing in the world to do. As I went up the snack-food aisle, I saw the Orville Redenbacher's popcorn packages marked with a big red push pin designating it as part of ConAgra Foods' Child Hunger Ends Here campaign. Which made me smile despite my grocery-shopping blues.

Then it made me feel like a numskull. Because it reminded me that I had intended to add to my grocery list some of the products included in the Child Hunger Ends Here campaign but had completely forgotten to do so. Which isn't very Blogger Ambassador-like of me.

I did grab the Orville Redenbacher's, though, and I felt a little better knowing I'd make at least a small difference. Yesterday I used the code from the popcorn box to donate one meal to Feeding America and to download Jewel's version of Here's Hope, the song written especially for the campaign. It's a catchy song—and especially poignant sung by Jewel, who has faced food insecurity herself.

Here Jewel talks about her experience with child hunger, the song Here's Hope, and her participation in the Child Hunger Ends Here campaign:

 

To download Here's Hope from Jewel—or from Owl City or Jay Sean—purchase any of these products specially marked as part of the Child Hunger Ends Here campaign:

  • Banquet
  • Chef Boyardee
  • Healthy Choice
  • Hunt’s
  • Marie Callendar’s
  • Manwich
  • Orville Redenbacher
  • Peter Pan
  • Snack Pack

Then, with your code in hand (from the specially marked box), head on over to www.childhungerendshere.com to download your song. You will enjoy a tune, and a child in need will enjoy a meal.*

It's as easy as that to make a difference. And to get a catchy tune—for free.

*Enter the 8-digit code and a monetary donation will be made to help provide one meal through Feeding America's network of food banks, up to a maximum of 3 million meals for codes entered through 8/31/12. Valid in U.S. only. $1 donated = 8 meals secured by Feeding America on behalf of local food banks.

Disclosure: I have been compensated for this post and my participation in the Child Hunger Ends Here campaign. That said, anecdotes and opinions are my own and not influenced by anyone.

The golden ticket: Child Hunger Ends Here

I've been blogging here on Grandma's Briefs for nearly three years. In that time, it's been interesting to go from scrounging for opportunities to review products and services to now getting so many offers that I end up turning down—or ignoring—more than I accept.

While it's cool to have gone from populating the Back Room first with reviews on cleansers and frozen foods to recently getting free clothing and nifty gadgets to try out, the golden ticket for most bloggers—for me—is that elusive offer to become an ambassador for a company, a cause. Ambassadors are handpicked to help promote products and campaigns. They have important duties to perform. They make a difference. And they get nifty badges to decorate their blogs.

Well, folks, I have finally received a golden ticket. And I must say, it is the most golden of golden ticket opportunities because it's for a cause I feel strongly about: child hunger.

I'm honored to announce that I am officially a blogger ambassador for ConAgra Foods’ Child Hunger Ends Here campaign. Now in its third year, ConAgra's Child Hunger Ends Here campaign strives to raise awareness of child hunger in our nation's communities and infuse hope into the fight against it. The campaign goal: Donate five million meals this year to Feeding America, the nation’s largest domestic hunger-relief organization. I look forward to helping ConAgra reach that goal.

With all the cool campaigns and worthy causes out there, why is this one particularly close to my heart? Because as a child for whom making stone soup was not just a story but was at times a reality, child hunger mattered. When dandelions were once pulled from the yard to be cooked and served for dinner because there were no other fruits or vegetables in the house, child hunger mattered. And when one's mother often ate ketchup or mayonnaise sandwiches—nothing but the condiment between two slices of bread—in order to save the nutritious food for her seven kids she'd become single mother to, child hunger mattered.

As a grandmother, child hunger still matters to me. For the second blogiversary of Grandma's Briefs last year, I made a small difference by donating money toward child hunger relief. I now have the opportunity to make an even bigger difference as a blogger ambassador for the Child Hunger Ends Here campaign. Grandmothers are well-known for their penchant for filling the tummies of loved ones, so I consider this my golden grandma opportunity to help fill hungry tummies far beyond just those of my own grandsons.

And there are an overwhelming number of hungry tummies out there. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, food insecurity—the inability to access enough food to live active, healthy lives—affects more than 16 million children in the United States. I find that heartbreaking on so many levels. Here is just one story:

 

My job as ambassador is to raise awareness of the Child Hunger Ends Here campaign. Over the next few months, I'll be posting campaign news and notes. This is just the beginning; I hope you'll follow along with me through to the end.

Easy ways you can help:

Visit www.ChildHungerEndsHere.com to download original versions of the campaign's original song, Here's Hope, written by Hunter Hayes, Luke Laird and Barry Dean with three versions recorded individually by Jewel, Owl City and Jay Sean. While there, enjoy exclusive content from each artist and support the campaign goal of donating five million meals to Feeding America.

  • To participate, purchase specially marked packages of select ConAgra Foods brands (see list below), then visit www.ChildHungerEndsHere.com to enter the eight-digit code.
  • For each code entered, the equivalent of one meal—up to three million meals*—will be donated to Feeding America and one version of “Here’s Hope” can be downloaded.
  • Codes (from packages specially marked with the red push pin) can be redeemed through August 2012.
  • In addition to downloads and access to cool content, you can also submit your zip code to enter your local Feeding America food bank into a competition for an 80,000-meal donation. At the end of the campaign, ten food banks in the zip codes with the most entries receive the donation courtesy of ConAgra Foods.

ConAgra Foods brands participating in Child Hunger Ends Here include:

  • Banquet
  • Chef Boyardee
  • Healthy Choice
  • Hunt’s
  • Marie Callendar’s
  • Manwich
  • Orville Redenbacher
  • Peter Pan
  • Snack Pack

*Enter the 8-digit code and a monetary donation will be made to help provide one meal through Feeding America's network of food banks, up to a maximum of 3 million meals for codes entered through 8/31/12. Valid in U.S. only. $1 donated = 8 meals secured by Feeding America on behalf of local food banks.

And there's more: You can also participate in Child Hunger Ends Here discussions on Facebook at www.facebook.com/ConAgraFoods. Plus, tweet along on Twitter by following www.twitter.com/ConAgraFoods and using the #ChildHunger hashtag.

Disclosure: I have been compensated for my participation in the Child Hunger Ends Here campaign and all posts, tweets and updates related to the campaign. That said, anecdotes and opinions are my own and not influenced by anyone.