Monday, December 21, 2015

Toys For Tots Fundraiser #7, Final Post!

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Here is the final Toys for Tots post for 2015! This might not look like a ton of toys but that's in part to my amazing placement skills. This year was the biggest year yet in terms of funds collected and toys purchased! 

This year makes the 7th year in a row that I've done the TFT Fundraiser. I LOVE doing this each year and am so happy I took the chance to see what would happen that first year back in 2009. It's a lot of work but it's so worth it and I couldn't do it on such a large scale without so many awesome people supporting me through paypal, cash and toy donations. This year I was also able to round up some awesome prizes to give away to all the awesome people that donated something which made me even more happy. I appreciate you all so much. I really wouldn't be able to buy this many toys without all of you helping out. 

This years totals: 

$950
184 toys

That averages out to about $5 per toy. I'm so serious every year when I say it only takes $5 to make a difference and help.

A few people have asked how the shopping part works and also about the items I buy so I'm going to explain a little bit. Skip this next two paragraphs if you're not interested in reading that. ;)

I plan it out so I can take advantage of sales and coupons so I can really maximize the amount of toys I get with the money raised. I actually do a lot of planning with this so I can stretch every dollar. Each shopping trip also takes me at least 90 minutes to get through so I can carefully look through everything and take advantage of any coupons, sales or deals I have available to me. This year, I waited until Target was doing a buy one get one 50% off sale that included brands like Barbie, Marvel and Disney. 

Another question a good number of people have asked about is why I include makeup, nail polish kits and items that look geared towards "older kids." That's because most TFT campaign sites are able to assist children up to the age of 12 and nail polish, make up, craft kits, model car kits and board games are things they request but tend to not get a lot of. Also, several local communities (mine included) offer extended support for ages 13-16. Most people tend to focus on younger children and the 10+ age range ends up being the group they need more things for because they don't get much donated for that age range. They do use their cash and online donations to help fill in the gaps wherever the needs are as well but I like to include a variety of everything.


If you want to see final results of the fundraiser from years passed, you can check all of those out here:

The final results from 2009: Here
The final results from 2010: Here
The final results from 2011: Here 
The final results from 2012: Here
The final results from 2013: Here
The final results from 2014: Here

Ready for some 2015 pictures? Of course if we're Facebook friends, you may have already seen these since I uploaded them there the day I delivered the toys. I've been so busy with work (because bakery jobs in December are HELL) that I haven't had time to get this up here yet. I've been doing it a little at a time as I've had the free time. 

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If you want to see the full album then just *click here* to take a look at the Toys for Tots 2015 Flickr album to view the rest of them. I think there are 60 photos total. 


As for the prize giveaway, most of the prizes were mailed out last week (or given out for the people I know IRL that won stuff) although there are still a few I need to get sent out (I promise, soon!) to people. 

I want to say thank you (again) to those of you that donated this year. Whether it was the first year you donated or the third or the seventh, thank you so much! Whether it was $5, $10, $25, $50 or more; it doesn't matter. I appreciate it and I know the families that benefit from Toys for Tots doing what they do appreciate it, too. I have so much fun being able to do this. I've donated to Toys for Tots since I was a little kid and my mom let us each buy a couple toys of our choosing to give to them and kept doing so for as long as I can remember.  So blame her for getting me started into this one. ;) Doing it on such a large scale the last 7 years has been so awesome. I couldn't do it without all of your help so thank you. I also want to say thank you to everyone who posted on their blogs, tweeted links, pestered people on Facebook and otherwise badgered told their friends and readers alike about what I had going on in hopes of getting more donations. To everyone who donated or helped in some way... thanks so much! You're wonderful and I heart you. :) 


Until next time!

XoXo

Sunday, December 13, 2015

Toys for Tots Fundraiser & Prize Give Away 2015!

***NOTE: THIS POST WILL REMAIN AT THE TOP OF THE BLOG UNTIL I'M DONE WITH THE FUNDRAISER. Scroll down for new posts. :D ****


It's Toys for Tots time! For the SEVENTH YEAR in a row!  :) I really can't believe it's been 7 years since I started doing this but here we are. I've gotten so much help and support through the years from some amazing people. I wouldn't have the success I do without each of you so I hope you all know how much I appreciate your help. We have around 5 weeks this year because I'm not procrastinating as hard as I did last year and I'm in a much better place than I was this time last year.

This year will also be a little different than previous years because this year, everyone that donates will be entered into a contest to win some gift cards. For every $5 you donate, you get an entry into the contest. So $5 gives you one entry into the drawing of your choice. $20 is 4 entries into the drawing(s) of your choice. I say drawings because I have gift cards and some rad handmade items to give away and if you get multiple entries, you can either put them all towards one thing or split them up between multiple things. 


Give away items:

$25 Game Stop Gift card
$15 Studio Movie Grill gift card
5 $25 Sonic Drive-In gift cards
$20 Tiff's Treats gift card
$50 Tiff's Treats gift card
$20 Amazon.com gift card
$25 Target gift card
$25 Barnes & Noble gift card
$25 Twisted Root gift card
$25 Best Buy gift card (digital, will be transferred via email)
$15 Starbucks gift card
Mini Viva La Juicy perfume by Juicy Couture
Too Faced Stardust palette 
Urban Decay Ammo Shadow Box
Urban Decay Smoked palette
6 sets of Cinemark movie passes (2 passes per set)
Handmade soy candle trio in Key Lime scent, 2 large, 1 mini
Handmade knit scarf (I'll post a picture once I receive it)
6 Sweet Boxes (one dozen fresh baked cookies)
Handmade soap set in Citrus Punch, Spearmint Scrub and Cinnamon Oatmeal


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Some of these gift cards are to local businesses so only people that live locally will benefit from trying to win them. And of course the physical items will be fine for anyone to try and win. And there are a few more items I'm working on adding to the list of give aways. (If you want to be generous and donate something to be given away, contact me at amorousrocker [at] gmail [dot] com)

Drawing will be held after the fundraiser ends in mid-December and items will be shipped out to the winners in January. Winners will have a week from drawing day to claim their prize and provide shipping information before another winner will be selected. 

Once you donate, I'll need to know which item you want to be put into contention for and you can do that by emailing me to let me you donated and then letting me know which item (or items depending on the amount of entries you get) you want to be entered in for.

I need to have the donation turned into the Toys for Tots warehouse by December 12th so they have plenty of time for sorting everything out and delivery. So we have around 5 weeks this year to get going! I’ll probably go shopping for toys on December 11th so I’ll need all PayPal donations in by December 9th at the very latest. Then the 12th I’ll be taking everything out to the warehouse for delivery.

The usual:

Every year I donate some toys to Toys for Tots. I pick and choose other things to donate to as well through out the year. I don't think I can make a big dent of change in the world but I can do little things to make things a little better for other people. Be it with toys during the holidays, money for food, donating clothing, etc. I bitch about things that I wish I could fix but really, all that bitching does nothing if you're not willing to step up and do something to help make it better. So, I do what I can when I can to help out. It makes me feel good to know I've done something good and I help out with a lot of different things.

In 2009, I got an idea to do a Blogger Toys for Tots Fundraiser. I got the idea damn late it the year though so there wasn't much time to work with for Toys for Tots. I did it again in 2010 , in 2011 in 20122013 and last year in 2014 as well. And now I'm doing it again this year. Don't know what Toys for Tots is? Let me inform you before I get on with the rest of the post.

Marine Toys for Tots Foundation, an IRS recognized 501(c)(3) not-for-profit public charity is the fund raising, funding and support organization for the U. S. Marine Corps Reserve Toys for Tots Program. The Foundation was created at the behest of the U. S. Marine Corps and provides support in accordance with a Memorandum of Understanding with the Commander, Marine Forces Reserve, who directs the U. S. Marine Corps Reserve Toys for Tots Program. The Foundation has supported Toys for Tots since 1991.

The mission of the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve Toys for Tots Program is to collect new, unwrapped toys during October, November and December each year, and distribute those toys as Christmas gifts to needy children in the community in which the campaign is conducted.

Like I said, I donate something every year. Sometimes in toys and sometimes in money. Sometimes more and sometimes less. Sometimes I don't have much money to spare but I do a little bit anyway because I know even if I'm hurting a little, some little kid and their family is hurting more. I prefer doing toys, though. I like going in to a store and picking out toys that I know will make some little kids happy. I never see the kids who get these but I always wonder if they liked what they got or if they were just happy for something, anything.

In 2009, 2010, 2011, 20122013 and 2014 I did a Fundraiser for Toys for Tots on my blog. The results were far better than I had expected in 2009 and they were amazing in 2010 and surprised me yet again in 2011, 2012, 2013 & 2014. I was beyond touched at all of the help and support I've received with this endeavor year after year. I got so many people who donated little amounts and it all added up to so many toys that I went and purchased. I take plenty of pictures and get it well documented on the blog because it's important to me (and lots of you!) to get pictures to show that I was doing as I said I would. I had so much fun going to get the toys in 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013 & 2014. 


This year, I'm doing it again. :)

The final results from 2009: Here
The final results from 2010: Here

The final results from 2011: Here 
The final results from 2012: Here
The final results from 2013: Here

The final results from 2014: Here

If you want to see more posts with more details and pictures, then just click here or go to the Toys for Tots tab at the top of the blog on the tabs section.


On the right side of this blog on the side section above my profile, you will find that there is a PayPal donation button there. There's also a Toys For Tots tab up above that.  The email address you can paypal donations to is amorousrocker [at] gmail [dot] com. Easy peasy, eh? :)



If you want to donate money to help buy toys for Toys for Tots, just use that or CLICK HERE.

I will take all the money that gets donated and go buy toys. For proof that I'm doing what I say I'll be doing with the donations, there will yet again be pictures of the toys as I buy them and pictures of all those said toys being loaded into the car and more upon being delivered to a Toys for Tots location once I'm done with the fundraiser.

I know some people see this and think about donating but think they only have $5 or $10 to spare and think that's not worth it. Well, that's incorrect because through the years I've received tons of $5 and $10 donations! Every little bit adds up to something bigger!


With $5 I can buy an action figure, toy cars, Legos, a stuffed animal, various kinds of dolls, PlayDoh sets and various other things. $5 will buy a toy and in some cases more than one toy. I can get 8 or 9 Hot Wheels cars on $10 so no amount would be too small. If 15 people donate 5 dollars, I have $75 and that will buy quite a few toys to brighten a child's day. You can do something to help and leave all the work up to me.

And yes, I know Christmas isn't about the toys and other presents but imagine being 7 and not looking forward to waking up Christmas morning because Santa couldn't bring you anything this year. It's a bummer.

If you want, please feel free to post about this on your blog with links and send people over. I would appreciate that quite a bit. If you do pimp this post out on your blog, email me after you do so with the post link so I can include you in a post that's to come later on. Also feel free to tweet about it or post it on Facebook. A few dollars from a lot of different people goes a long way. :)

This post will stay at the top of the blog for quite a while. Actually, it will be up at the top until the time I'm done with the fundraiser. The cut off date to take donations via paypal will be December 10th. I'll go shopping and deliver the toys by the 13th. I know that there isn't a lot of time for this (as I touched on previously) this year but any amount is better than nothing at all in my opinion.

There's also a tab Toys for Tots at the top of the blog if you want to go check out all the previous posts and pictures from the previous two years.



The tab just has pretty much what this post has plus links to the posts I did last year including all of the pictures as well as a donation link.



Happy Monday!

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

The Great Online Cookie Exchange Extravaganza of 2015!

Before I get to the cookie exchange post, I have to note that today is the last day to get your paypal donations on for my 7th annual Toys for Tots holiday fundraiser and prize giveaway! A $5 donation is all it takes to get you into the prize giveaway going on this year for everyone that's donated. Every $5 is another entry to the giveaway towards the prize of your choice or you can split your entries to multiple things if you want to. Check out the giveaway details and see pictures from the previous 6 years of fundraisers here: Toys for Tots 2015!

I did my first round of toy shopping last weekend. Here's a peek at how that went: 



I'll be doing my next round of shopping and delivering all the toys from both rounds to the Toys for Tots warehouse this weekend. Even if you can only donate $5, that helps! That's one more toy for another kiddo this holiday season. Plus, it gets you an entry to the prize giveaway. Win win!

Okay, on to the EXTRAVAGANZA!

It's time for The Great Online Cookie Exchange Extravaganza of 2015!

This is Jz's SIXTH YEAR hosting the cookie exchange so after you've checked mine out, check out the links that follow to check out the good stuff all of the other participants are putting up today!

I'm not putting up cookies this year, I'm doing something a little different. 

I've made this treat a few times and they've been a hit every time. Most recently at a party last weekend where I made 50 bite sized versions and people were inhaling them. No greater compliment than that when it comes to food.


Fruity Pebbles Treats 


INGREDIENTS:


  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/4 cup white chocolate chips, melted
  • 1 package (10 oz., about 40) JET-PUFFED Marshmallows
  • 6 cups Fruity Pebbles cereal


DIRECTIONS:


1. In large saucepan melt butter over low heat. Add vanilla and melted white chocolate, whisk until smooth. Add marshmallows and stir until completely melted. Remove from heat.

2. Add Fruity Pebbles cereal and mix until combined well. I spray my wooden spoon or spatula with non-stick cooking spray lightly, it keeps everything from sticking as much.

3. Use a spatula or wax paper (again, lightly spray with cooking spray to keep from sticking) evenly press mixture into 13 x 9 x 2-inch pan coated with cooking spray.

4. Let them cool completely before cutting into them. 

Tada!





This also works well with Cinnamon Toast Crunch cereal. Make it the same way but instead of adding in melted white chocolate, I added in two tbsp of caramel syrup and they were fantastic.

Other participants, check them out! 
abby
Bleu (private blog, also posted here)
little monkey (private blog, also posted here)

I'll be around after work today to check out everyone's yummies. :)

Happy Wednesday!