A Little Housekeeping

I’m going to be rearranging the blog. Slowly.  I’ve been working on a few features that I want to add, and will try to get back toward what I originally intended this site to be.  If things disappear, they might reappear elsewhere.  Those changes won’t be immediate.  Please let me know if there are specific things you find helpful.

My oldest will be starting his freshman year of college soon, and the summer has been crazy trying to help him get ready.  The younger kids already miss him, and he’s not even gone yet.  My husband and I are both oldest children and have no experience with an older sibling leaving the nest.  We’d like to make this transition easy for everyone but have no idea what to do, so any tips you have would be most welcome.  Right now, our plan is for the entire family to drive him to his school and spend a couple of days so that everyone knows where he’ll be.  We’ll also have the younger kids think of nice things we can do for him, and send periodic care packages – within reason, since I don’t want to set an expensive precedent.

There will continue to be fewer posts, at least until we get child #1 settled in his dorm.  After that, there will continue to be fewer posts, and the blog will get a new look.

Hope your summer is going well!



Follow-up on my last (non-RA-related) post:  Unbeknownst to me, my daughter designed a website so that once she figured out how to do online donations, she’d be ready to go.

She figured it out, and the website has been published.  I’m amazed that she took the initiative to do all this!  Last year when my daughter’s group went to Guatemala, they worked with three or four different organizations.  This weekend we tracked down which organization is in charge of the brick houses that my daughter wants to raise money for, and discovered that they’re already set up to accept online donations.  That was much easier than setting things up with the Secretary of State.

Please click through to her website, Guatemalan Houses.  (I’m not asking for donations; many clicks will bump her site up on google searches.)

Thank you.  Next post will be back to RA related issues.

Red Tape

Guatemala is a beautiful land.  Tourists love to see the ancient Mayan ruins, the steaming volcanoes, the lush jungles, and the gorgeous beaches.

There are other aspects of the country that tourists don’t always see.  Last year, my two oldest kids spent two weeks volunteering in Guatemala.  The group did a little sightseeing as well, so my daughter has a few photos of the tourist sites.  She also has other photos, such as this one:

You and I might see an old tea kettle over a campfire.  In fact, this was the “kitchen” for a family of eight.  The four-cup tea kettle is their cookware.  It is only half full, and that will be the entire family’s meal.

Or this one:


A woman lives here with her four children.  Their “house” consists of some sticks holding up a few pieces of corrugated tin.  My children had never seen such poverty.  In truth, neither have I.

One of the in-country people that my kids worked with hires locals (providing jobs) to build cement-block houses complete with roof, windows, door, and concrete floor.

My daughter wants to raise money to help, but has run into all sorts of red tape.  She had a few terrific ideas (ask for donations, sell products), but contacted the Secretary of State’s office just to make sure there wouldn’t be any legal problems.  It was quite discouraging to learn about government red tape.

First, she wanted to put donation jars in coffee shops, and encourage people to donate, but that’s considered fundraising and would require the organization in Guatemala to file paperwork here.  Then she thought about buying large cases of popcorn/dried fruit at Costco, and selling the individual packages, but doing that would require her have to have a business license and file a tax return.  It just shouldn’t be that hard to get people to donate to help others without having to unravel the various government regulations.

If anyone has ideas on how to get around the red tape so my daughter can do some fundraising to help build houses in Guatemala, I’d love your suggestions.