When life hands you lemons…

I’m not the only Chapman-Layland concerned about finishing the building project at FOVC-Ethiopia.  Today, my awesome 12 year old hosted a lemonade/fresh brownie/duct tape wallet stand during our friends’ adoption fundraiser yard sale.  That’s right, a duct tape wallet stand, because who doesn’t need a duct tape wallet?

Elliott has been concerned about raising the last funds to finish the FOVC-Ethiopia building project too.  His own allowance is a pittance (and he owes it all to me for the next several centuries, but that’s a story for another day) so he found a way to earn some cash to contribute.

By the end of the day, he had raised almost $20 for the children of FOVC-Ethiopia… pretty good for someone who’s in debt to his eyeballs.

If, like Elliott, you find yourself short on funds, you too can find unique ways to contribute without tapping your own coffers.  Host your own lemonade stand, collect your spare change, or even sell something on ebay or craigslist.  There are so many ways to make a difference.  Choose one, and if you are the first to make a contribution, Elliott will make you a gorgeous duct tape wallet too (really, he’s promised to customize one for you, and I’ll ship it out–pronto)!

We’re just  2600.00 away from finishing the building project at FOVC-Ethiopia.  Every contribution–loose change, or lemonade stand proceeds, helps complete this amazing project.

Run, don’t walk with your contribution–it’s win-win.  A new building for the FOVC-Ethiopia kids, and a new wallet for you sweet!


raindrops keep fallin’ on my head

Here’s the latest update, another 140 bricks for the sweet kids at FOVC.  With these newest bricks added, we’ve donated more than 3700 bricks.  Thank YOU, friends! YOU have chosen to make a difference!

the newest bricks start with the row of white near the top

You know, on days like today, it’s easy to wish for endless hours in the sunshine.  We weren’t the only family to visit the playground at the end of preschool today.  It was beautiful–66 degrees and sunny, without a cloud in the sky.  The moms stood and chatted, idly pushing the nearest swing, and the littles were happy to play–swinging, digging, running.  Within a moment, an hour wooshed by, so we all murmured goodbyes and reluctantly left for a day of errands, or lunch and a nap.

I imagine that the orphans of FOVC feel the same delight when the sun is bright and the air is cool.  It’s fun to run and play, to feel the wind on your face, as you chase a soccer ball.  I imagine it’s less fun to be outside when the wind dumps a layer of dirt on your lunch, or snatches your math paper away.  It’s probably less appealing still, to be outside when the rains come, or the sun shines so brightly that you long for just a little shade.

My four year old was a little resentful when I told her that we’d be spending the afternoon inside rather than in the sun.  My need to work on EOR affairs seems far less exciting than a bike ride, or digging in the sand box.  At 4, she’s all about the power of NOW.  Right NOW, she’d like to be outside on a scooter, or stalking the ice cream truck; she’s too busy to think of others.  Lucky for all of us, YOU are able to think beyond NOW.  You know that while it’s sunny and springlike here (and maybe even in Shanto), very soon, the rainy season starts.  In the next few months, huge downpours will soak Ethiopia for days and days on end.  Thinking about those torrential rains and the kids who have no choice but to live in the wet and the mud, makes it easy for me to dig a little deeper, sell a few more things on craigslist, and put a few little extras back at the grocery store, so I can add to the brick fund.  I hope you can think about that near future too, when you make your own commitment to providing bricks for FOVC.

Paige (who would like you to donate right HERE)

‘Buy a Brick, Build a Legacy’

If, like me, you love to redecorate and remodel, then this is the perfect fundraising campaign for you.

Our partner, FOVC, is building from the ground up, largely thanks to YOUR support.  Currently, this orphan care center and school meets in a large open-air plaza (you would probably think of it as a muddy yard).  As lovely as an open-air classroom sounds, I love the idea of a remodel for these great people.  Initial disbursements from EOR have paid for new sanitation facilities and a few classrooms.  By the end of this “Buy a Brick…” campaign, FOVC will be a lovely grouping of buildings designed as classrooms, dormitories, and activity rooms, with a yard used for play and laundry, not math class or lunch.  I can’t tell you how excited I am to be part of this project.  Desalegn ‘s plan for FOVC will provide for the orphans of FOVC as well as many of the people in the town of Shanto. From clean water to classrooms, to vocational training for widows, Desalegn and his staff are working hard for everyone in the area.

As much as I’d like to hope that someone could write a check for $50,000.00 to pay for the remainder of this project, I’m a realist.  We need 100,000 bricks at 50 cents each, to complete this project.  Every single one of us has the means to provide a brick.  Many of us can pay for more than one.  We welcome every donation, large and small.   If you can’t imagine making a sizable donation right now, why not search the house for loose change, and send us a check?  Maybe you could sell an unwanted item on Craigslist or organize a penny drive at your synagogue or child’s school?  Maybe, you could give the gift of bricks for a birthday or Mother’s Day?  Kim made the most-amazing cards to send to people honored by your gift–we’ll rush them right out to anyone you’d like to honor.

Need more details?  Check out this nifty flier, also made by the terrifically-talented Kim:

We’ll be tracking the campaign with a series of LEGO pictures.  Each pip on a LEGO brick represents a real brick being placed in a real wall in Shanto Ethiopia.  I can’t wait to run out of LEGO  (and really, we have scads) while marking the progress!

As always, we welcome your donations here:

Paige (who’s off to build a LEGO wall!)

You sold what on craigslist? The Septober edition

Apparently, I forgot to report what I sold in August.  And despite my best efforts, the item I tried to sell in September didn’t sell until today.

“Call me irresponsible

call me unreliable

throw in, undependable too…”

Enough about me–I have plenty of stuff to sell from now until next Septober, and every time I sell something, kids in Ethiopia gain clean water,  medical care, and great playgrounds, so I. AM. MOTIVATED!


This sweet little easel has been taking up space in my garage for many, many moons.  Astrid Meklit has a lovely easel from IKEA, so this one was rendered obsolete.  It didn’t fly out the door in a white-hot second, but it does belong to someone else now.  More room to park + a contribution to EOR–pretty sweet!!!


“Super cute, super sturdy Melissa & Doug wooden easel. Other artists have beautified it a bit, but it’s ready for your own little Picasso.    The money from this sale will benefit the programs of Ethiopian Orphan Relief, Inc. http://www.ethiopianorphanrelief.org

You sold what on craigslist?!? The July edition

I know, I know–it’s August already.  Don’t judge!  The item in question actually sold in July.  Wanna know what it is?  So did a lot of other people, apparently.  I got many “I don’t want to buy this, but can you tell me what it is” emails.  Really?  Don’t you have a modern encyclopedia Amazon.com to tell you what it is, buddy?

Anyhoo, in 3 white-hot July seconds, I managed to sell our Kidco Peapod.  Here’s the ad of power:

Kidco Peapod travel bed

Terrific little blue travel bed for your infant or toddler. Like-new condition–used twice by a visitor, sadly now much too small for my own little person.

Stored in original box–much smaller and easier to use than a pack-n-play.

Proceeds will benefit the programs of http://www.ethiopianorphanrelief.org

One less box in the basement, a few more dollars in the EOR treasury!