Archive for November, 2009

We celebrated the first Thanksgiving in our new house, by hosting our first Thanksgiving dinner.  We had a total of 8 of us sitting around our table for a wonderful feast created by Christy and her minions (my sister and I).

Chef Christy preparing the kitchen for a cooking extravaganza

Meg making mashed potatoes

Our beautiful table

Carving the turkey all up

Our friend Foster eating his first turkey leg

Enjoying the meal.

There are little bits of good news happening in the “country” of Somalia.  Here is a video from the NYTimes about a Somali refugee who took advantage of what the US and Minneapolis has to offer in terms of education, etc. He then went back to Somalia and is making an impact on his village.  It is a great story.

Sure it won’t change the entire country, but if one person makes a difference in each village, stability will slowly return.

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This past weekend a great man ended his earthly suffering and gained his eternal home.  No more suffering and pleased to be with his wife, Grandpa will be missed here on earth.

We had many memories together over my 28 years.  Building rabbit hutches for 4-H.  Visits to Florida and singing and acting out “Grandpa got runover by a reindeer.”  Talking about stamps and looking through our stamp collections (that he helped me start).   Playing under the ding-dong tree at their house in Cleveland and discussing how Santa would enter their Florida house without a chimney (obviously through the sliding doors).  And who can forget my first time playing golf with the “men” and seeing the competitive side of him come out, maybe even throwing a club or two!

Yes many great memories.  Below are a few pictures I found on my computer, the most recent from our wedding and an older one from when my mom was in high school.  The single one of him is a more recent picture I swiped from my cousin’s Facebook page.  He really loved Grandma and would often talk about her.  He missed her so much.

Now they will both be missed, though we know their suffering is over and their bodies and minds are perfect again.

Week 27 of Harmony Valley Farm‘s CSA (blog) contained the following:

  • Garlic,
  • Red & Yellow onions,
  • Sweet potatoes,
  • Cipollini onions,
  • Parsnip,
  • Beauty heart radish,
  • Scarlet turnip,
  • Festival squash,
  • Cabbage,
  • Green savoy,
  • Tat soi,
  • Chicory,
  • Carrots

We have two more regular deliveries and we signed up for an extended season of four deliveries in January and February of mostly root veggies.  We also got notice that the 2010 signups have started.  We’ll probably sign up again.  Maybe after a year of experience we’ll be better able to handle all of the vegetables as they come in!

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For 24 hours, starting at 8:00 am on November 17th, every donation made through www.GiveMN.org will be eligible to receive a portion of the $500,000 match. These funds were contributed by the Minneapolis Foundation, St. Paul Foundation and Bush Foundation.  Also, generous funders are defraying donation processing fees on this site, so 100% of your gift goes straight to the organization!

In addition to the matching funds, the three nonprofits that receive the most individual donations will receive cash prizes: $5,000 for first prize, $2,500 for second, and $1,000 for third.

Over 36,000 organizations have a profile on the site.  So I helped narrow it down for you.  Below are 21organizations that I’ve had some interaction with and would support with my own money if I had lots and lots of it.  I threw in a random 22nd for diversity’s sake!

Youth Development

  • Longfellow United for Youth and Family have played a huge role on my work here in MN.  LUYF is a coalition of community members and churches that provide a free tutoring program and strongly support the work of the Sanford Job Corps – one of my primary responsibilites at Sanford.
  • Elpis Enterprises has been another great partner for my work in MN. Elpis or Hope provides teenagers the opportunity to gain work-related skills and leadership through screen printing and other businesses.  My first encouter with Elpis was with their bird feeder program.  We bought kits and Paul brought out one of his employees and they helped my kids build 20 bird feeders in 1 hour!
  • Achieve Minneapolis is more or less a foundation that supports programs within the Minneapolis Public Schools.  They provide grants for classrooms, teacher professional development, field trips, host career fairs, and much much more.
  • Urban Ventures is a youth leadership program located in my neighborhood that provides youth opportunities that might not otherwise get.  This includes tutoring, mentoring, family support, entrepreneurship programs and much more.
  • Best Prep does a lot of things surrounding financial education, including supplying classroom volunteers to talk about their career paths. I used them to bring in entrepreneurs to talk about their businesses and ventures they supported.
  • Junior Achievement is a better known cousin of Best Prep.  JA is best known for their Biz Town program where students visit their city and apply themselves in different roles such as CEO, Mayor, barista, etc. JA also does classroom volunteering programs in partnership with corporations.
  • YWCA provides a variety of services to pretty much every population.  They focus primarily on racial justice and empowering women and girls.  In Minneapolis they also operate 3 fitness facilities.  We are a member of the YWCA.
  • YMCA also provides a variety of services and operates a lot of fitness facilities around Minneapolis and the West Metro.  Some of our friends work for the YMCA, though none of their facilities are conveniently located for us.
  • CommonBond Communities provides affordable housing and supportive services in the Twin Cities.  I put CommonBond under youth development because I volunteered with them during the summer of my Americorps*VISTA service.  I served as a program assistant in a summer program that combined fun and learning during the afternoons for children residents of the Seward Towers.  They provide many more services to their residents.
  • Cookie Cart is an innovative teen led and run business venture in North Minneapolis.  Teens make, bake, and sell the cookies out of the West Broadway store front in the midst of a tough part of the city.
  • Search Institute is a nationally recognized leader in youth development.  Most famous for its 40 Developmental Assets I worked alot with these principles while in Indiana.  They provide resources to enable every adult to have a positive impact on the youth in their lives.
  • Bolder Options is a great youth mentoring program that connects youth and mentors through running (and biking) activities.  I would highly recommend volunteering as a mentor with Bolder Options.

Refugee Services

  • World Relief helps refugees adjust to life in Minnesota and America. This is the umbrella organization for the English literacy site that Christy and I co-coordinate.  They also provide job training, initial welcoming services, housing assistance and much more to refugees as they walk off the plane and into the sometimes harsh tundra of MN.
  • Center for Victims of Torture helps refugees and other immigrants who have been tortured in their home countries or at any point in their journey. They are a great advocate of human rights and the dignity of all peoples.
  • MN Literacy Council is probably the largest provider of literacy services in the Twin Cities and around the state.  We have attended their trainings and they are excellent.  They work with refugees, immigrants, children, adults, and families.

Other

  • Books for Africa sends used books to African partners who have a need for books! My school donated a bunch of textbooks that we never used last year.
  • Minnesota Public Radio is a great news source for both local and national issues.  They also have a rocking music station that plays a lot of local bands.
  • Feed My Starving Children is a well-respected Christian organization that pre-packages food here in MN that then gets shipped to over 60 countries.
  • Second Harvest of the Heartland is a large food bank that is helping to end hunger in MN.  It is affiliated with the national Feeding America (formerly Second Harvest Network) and does some great work here in the Twin Cities.
  • Somali TV of MN is my random organization.
  • Citizens League is a nonpartisan grassroots organization that focuses on a civic action for policy change. Think League of Women Voters with a younger group and a focus on grassroots advocacy and information sharing.
  • Team USA – MN is a post-collegiate training center and group for runners to be coached and supported while they strive to fulfill their athletic goals.

I guess the staircase has been done for awhile. We recently got the carpet finished thanks to Home Depot we got a nice frieze carpet – bamboo colored with dark speck. After the pictures I’ll list what we still want to do.

Here is a before:

Here is the after:

The only thing left is to decorate!

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You may recall that we bought a house.  We’ve been here almost 2 months!! It is slowly coming together. If we waited until everything was 100% then we’d never get any pictures up! So here is a quick look at our kitchen.  After the pictures I’ll list what we still want to do.

Here is a before:

Here is the after:

We still need to get a stainless steel range hood, we haven’t decided on what to do with the flooring, and we actually need to decorate!

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