Thursday, August 27, 2009

100 bags packed!

I can hardly believe it! 100 backpacks/nappy bags have been packed!
Honestly, I wasn't sure people would be into this project, but there has been so much wonderful support and I've met so many inspiring people over the last few months, that I'm just grateful that I began this journey.

A few months ago I sent out an email to my contacts list and didn't really expect too much to happen. Here is a copy of the email -

I'm collecting donations of school backpacks (preferably new, but in good condition is fine too). I'd like to make up some packs to give to charity.
My partner and I have been looking into taking on the role as foster carers and the process has opened my eyes to just how much some kids don't have.
Imagine being taken from your home by strangers (police or DOCS) with nothing but the clothes you are wearing or possibly a rubbish bag hastily stuffed with clothes or toys and then being sent off to live with strangers. Or being in care with one family for a month or so and then being moved on to the next one. Some of these kids have nowhere to call home.
My thoughts behind the backpacks are - the pack stays with the child; it has p.j.'s a little blanket, maybe some clothes, an age appropriate toy or book (depending on what I can get), and a little torch. All underwear sent should be new with tags please.
Donate the backpack with or without contents.
You can purchase a cheap backpack or those cute little kids suitcases on wheels from the Warehouse etc. for not too much.
If you don't have a backpack, just donate what you have in plastic bags and I'll sort it.
Don't forget children of all ages are in care, from newborn babies to teenagers.
All donations are welcome.

I got a few messages of support, but mostly silence! And then it happened . . . people started emailing back, forwarding the original email and writing their own emails to gather support.
The email has been to all parts of the world and I've received donations from Indonesia, Sydney, Perth and interest from the USA and the UK and Ireland!

And now, here we are, the 26th August 2009 and the original goal of 100 bags has been reached.
100 down, 900 to go! And who knows, maybe more . . .

Please email me if you would like more details on this project at

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

New Info Cards have arrived!

What I Wish I Peace and Katy

Thank you to Peace Mitchell and Katy Garner, the authors of 'What I wish I knew before I became a mother'. These wonderful sisters have donated $2 from every online sale of their book for the last month!

This truly beautiful gift book makes the perfect read for the new or expecting mother, as well as a reflective read for someone who is already a mum.

The conversational style of the text immediately puts the reader at ease. It's just like having a chat with a girlfriend over a cuppa about her experiences of being a mother. The highs and lows and strategies to cope are all covered in this simple yet interesting piece of work.

Delightful pictures accompany each page of flowing text, some black and white, some colour but all beautifully photographed moments from the authors personal lives.

If you haven't already got your copy or a copy for a friend, I can't recommend this gift book highly enough.

Just some of the stockists are listed below . . . I apologise if I have left anyone out. Just let me know :o)

Your support has been much appreciated and I am so thankful.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Adopted a virtual pet for B4AK

Backpacks 4 Aussie Kids has just adopted a pet pig called Pigsy. Feel free to feed her as many apples as you want each time you visit. Just click on the 'more' button then click on the apple or the water spray bottle and play with her!
Let's make her feel welcome. She will normally live in the right side bar :o)

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Review of 'That's not a milk carton'

Thank you to author/illustrator Jacque Duffy for donating 5 titles in her 'That's not a ....!' series.
She has donated 10 books of each title, which will make for 50 happy kids!

This is the first book review I am doing for Jacque and the first thing that grabs my attention is the illustrations. In fact I looked at all the pictures in the book before I read the words.
There is a lovely sense of calm and of the 'country life' in the pictures. From the blue mountains in the background to the adorable faces of the calves, the pictures each have their own story to tell.

As a teacher of children in the early years of schooling, I can see why the Education Queensland jumped at the opportunity to include Jacque's books in their libraries.
The story is told in a simple yet interesting way, including facts and local landmarks such as the Malanda Milk Factory. Locals would easily recognise the countryside with the green rolling fence lined hills.

Jacque has included her children in the story, making it all the more personal and meaningful. And what cute kids they are. See the picture at the bottom of this post.

Some of the facts in the story may seem simple to us as adults, but children often don't know the origins of the food they eat. I remember being completely distraught when I found out where veal came from! And as a teacher it has been my job to let the kids know that MacDonald hamburgers are made out of meat, which comes from an animal.

Milk is more easily explained as coming from a cow, but the concept of cheese, butter and yoghurt coming from milk are hard ones to grasp. Jacque has touched on this subject without 'teaching' the point. She has simply stated that it 'is so'.

The process of collecting milk is explained in simple to understand language and is accompanied by delightful illustrations.

I believe the children who receive this book in their backpack will be thrilled!

You can see more of Jacque's work at her website,

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

The Innisfail Markets 15th Aug 2009

Firstly let me say - OMG it was cold! Well, ok. It was cold for Innisfail. Bruce and Kairo (my doggie) and I got to the park at about 6.15 am, in the dark mind you, to find that most stall holders had already set up! They must have used their infra-red night goggles or something because the sun didn't get up till about 6.20am.

Bruce and I (and Kairo) set up the stall and Bruce stood under the tent for a bit while I went and got a cuppa and a pancake with lemon and sugar and strawberries with fresh cream on top. Hmmm, breakfast! Then Bruce went off to fly his plane while the weather was lovely and clear.

We took along the raffle of the Mummy's Gift Pack that you can see on the right of this blog and I had also made some Nappy Cakes. I had to explain to Bruce a number of times that women would want to buy these and they have nothing to do with the yukky, smelly nappies that come off the kids! Nappy Cakes are the fun bit BEFORE the baby has it's way with them.
I should mention here that Bruce has to grown sons, so he's done the nappy thing and wasn't really that fussed on it!

There was lots of interest about the Nappy Cakes and I even sold two. All proceeds go back into the B4AK. About 10 or so women took a business card, so I hope they get in touch. I'll be taking the Nappy Cakes up to the Shopping Spectacular in the Shire Hall on the 29th Aug.

It was also a really great opportunity to meet the locals who have been supporting the project. I was able to catch up with a few friends I hadn't seen for ages, one of whom is a kinship carer. It was interesting talking with her as she has taken on 4 children plus her own 2. She's doing a great job and is able to utilise the respite that it offered so she can still have 'family time' on the weekends with her girls.

My beautiful girl (American/English Staffy) Kairo kept me company the whole time and was very well behaved. In fact, I think she was a bit nervous (big sook!) because she didn't take her eyes off me for the first two hours we were there.

Of course my dear friend Tracy came along with coffee (de caf for me unfortunately), from Gloria Jeans and some yummy mini caramel tarts. I was thankful for the company and the warm drink.

All in all, while I didn't sell a whole heap of Nappy Cakes, we did manage to sell about $80 worth of tickets and a lovely woman made a $20 cash donation.

I think the more visible the project is the better. I was in the medicare office today and the staff asked me how things were going with the backpacks. So, getting out there must be working.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Party 8th Aug

Firstly a great big thank you to Tracy, without whom I never could have done this!
For those who don't know, Saturday night 8th Aug was the first 'event' I have organised for the B4AK.

I had organised 'The Bodyshop @ Home' to come and do a demonstration and decided to turn the evening into something special for the B4AK by sharing information and just generally getting a feel for how the project was being viewed in the community.

But first to the really important things - Yes, there was a chocolate fountain!!!! I now have a 'chocolate headache' but man, it was worth it! There were plates set up around the fountain with lots of yummy things to dip - 5 different coloured marshmallows, tiny pavolva stars, fresh cut strawberries and of course, Dad's home made Turkish Delight....

I'm seriously thinking of having a chocolate fountain installed in the garden as a 'water feature'.

Anyway, back to the evening. I got my make up done by Kylie - from the body shop, and everyone that came got their name in the draw to win the hostess gifts. Congratulations to Rhonda who won $120 of product and 2 half price items. I was only going to buy the mineral make up, but ended up getting moisturiser etc....

During the evening people were able to purchase a 'square' to go into the Partylite Candle gift set. All the squares were sold that night so we were able to draw the winner. Allison Eilers won it, which is great because she has a serious candle addiction!

I also had brochures for Overall Beings Scrabble Tile Pendants. We are working on a fundraiser together. Click here for more info and keep an eye on this blog over the next week for more.

After the Body Shop demo had finished I got up and talked for a bit about the B4AK and what had been achieved so far, how it started (stay tuned in a future post for that), and what we wanted to do next. There was lots of interest from the crowd about what goes into the backpacks and how they could help.

One of the ladies there is currently a foster carer and was able to let people know a few of her experiences. She told us the little girl she has at the moment came to her at 18mths of age at about 9pm one night, with absolutely nothing. The carer was told the girl would be staying only 24 hours, and she still has her 2 years later. There was no start up placement money given to the carer at the time, so she and her partner had to foot the bill for all of this little girls personal items, nappies, bottle, formula, wipes, clothing and so on.

A very moving story indeed. This kind lady also said that she would have welcomed a nappy bag the night she was given the little girl. Having to go shopping just after accepting a traumatised child into her home was very difficult.

We also discussed the possibility of the project becoming a proper incorporated non profit group, I have a few reservations about this, but there are enough interested people to hold our first official meeting as an unincorporated group.

After everyone left and Tracy and I had cleaned up (well, Tracy did most of it while I chatted to people I hadn't had the chance to get to earlier), we sat down and did the till for the evening and made sure the books balanced. We talked about a few other ideas for getting the message out there and we'll look into these over the coming weeks.

And you know? I forgot to take any photo's at all!!! I can't believe it! I do have a few pictures of the scrabble tile pendants so take a look...
Arent' they just delicious!
If you want one with these particular designs just email me and I'll organise it. The necklace on the left is $30 with a gold or silver chain and the keychain on the right is $15.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Mummy's Gift Pack

The count down is on till the draw of this fantastic prize. All proceeds will go towards filling backpacks for children going into foster and kinship care.

Tickets are available - just take a look to your right ---> there is a paypal button with a drop down menu. You can choose how many tickets to buy.

Maybe you know someone who is just about have or just had a baby, or someone with a baby a little older.

The great thing about this prize is that the items are for MUM, the nappy bag could easily just be a tote bag and can you imagine lighting a candle in the bathroom, using the lavender soap to relax and cleanse and afterwards have your man make you a nice cuppa while you kick back and have a read....

(I know you must have a partner, friend or family member who would do this for you!)

And you can rest in the knowledge that your kindness has helped a child feel almost as relaxed as you.

Win this Prize pack worth over $200!

Included in the prize is:

  • Babymel nappy/tote bag (over $100 value)
  • Hand crafted baby bib (locally made by Lisa De'Buck)

Also includes items for Mum to relax with when baby is napping -

  • An autographed copy of

'What I Wish I Knew Before I Became a Mother',
by Peace Mitchell and Katy Garner

  • Mummy's afternoon tea set
  • One dozen lavender votive candles by Partylite
  • Votive candle holder by Partylite
  • A box set of lavender soaps by Partylite

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Monty and Lucy

The following extract was posted on the fanpage on FB.

Just a quick note to make sure I droped the stuff off at the right house!! The two little friends in there are ophans - the dog is Monty, he was left behind in a shop I was working at, he loves cuddles and is the best secret keeper EVER!! Lucy as we call her, is a traveller and loves an adventure - she was passed on to me from a girl who had "out grown" her, since being with me she has been on holidays to brisbane, canberra and new zealand with several friends. I hope you can find good matches for them and I know they will be loved and that they have a lot of love to give some one very special.

What a lovely note. How sweet that these toys were loved and cared for and are now being passed on to the next person. I hope they have a wonderful new life, wherever they end up.
Thank you to this fan and supporter. You made my day.

I had been out doing the shopping at Coles and noticed these toys and several packets of nappies under the house. The instant I saw them, a smile jumped to my lips. People have been so kind and generous, giving up things that were once important to them. Instead of holding on to past items like memories and shoving them in the closet, these toys will have the chance to bring happiness and security to someone new.

More friends

Over the last few days there have been quite a few new friends arrive at my house. Some have come through the post and some have been hand delivered. All the new friends are settling in to the toy bag and getting to know eachother. They will be sent off to new homes over the coming weeks and will make all the difference in a child's life.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

A special letter

Is this the sweetest thing ever?!
A beautiful family dropped off some soft toys at my place today along with this lovely note to the toys.
Nice to know I'm not the only one that talks to the toys!
Thank you so much to these kids who have given up something special in order to help a complete stranger.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Torches and love

I went into town yesterday arvo for a few things and when I arrived home I was greeted by a large box on the back steps. A couple of people had contacted me last week to let me know that various things were on the way, so I was excited to see what the box contained! (I love coming home to 'pressies' on the back steps!).

I grabbed a knife, slit the tape around the top of the box and quickly opened it. Inside I found black and yellow torches and a box of LED keychain torches! But that wasn't all. There was an envelope amongst the packing and the torches. It was address to Backpacks 4 Aussie Kids, which in itself is exciting. People are beginning to more formally recognise that these donations are going to the project, and not to me personally. This is something I have worried about since beginning collections.

Inside the envelope was enough money to enable me to purchase batteries for the torches! Such a nice thought. I realise that batteries are heavy to post and probably puts people off sending them, but these thoughtful people were able to solve this problem but including some cash.

I have to thank them, not just for the donation, but for supporting this project. With people like this spreading the word and helping out, I know we can make a differnce.
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