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A Frostbite Shop

February 3rd, 2017

Mr Chiots and I were joking about me having a zipper pouch sweatshop the other evening, though my sewing room is rather cold, so it would be a frostbite shop. If you remember from last month, I’m making loads of zipper pouches to send to South America to hand out at the school that I work with. I’ll be raising funds through the organization I work for to fill them with pencils, erasers, toothbrushes, toothpaste, etc. I’ll need around 400 so each child will get one, which means that’s how many zipper pouches I need to sew.

My original goal was to sew one a day, so far I’m up to 150 as my total number finished. That’s not too shabby. I’m lucky they’re super quick to sew up. I’m noticing a big dent gone in my stash of fabric and thread collections, which was part of the point of this project. I’m really looking forward to seeing how the kids love these, hopefully this summer they will be delivered by a group I have traveling down.

What charitable projects are you involved at the moment?

Love My Job

February 18th, 2014

I always enjoy my job, but twice a year I really love it. February marks the beginning of the school year in Colombia and that means I’m sending out scholarship forms to sponsors. Each year I see these faces on my desk. These are kids that are being sponsored to receive a great education.
They also write heartfelt thank you notes to their sponsors, which I love to read. These kids know how valuable this gift is, not only for them, but for their families as well. With a good education, these kids will be able to bring their families out of the depths of severe poverty. It’s an opportunity that they don’t take lightly. Most of them start in preschool and continue through graduation (which is grade 11 in Colombia).
scholarship picture
I’ve been working with this program for 20 years, not only by finding sponsors for them, but also by being involved in other ways. I’ve worked raising funds to buy microscopes, computers and other supplies for the school. I’ve also helped raised funds to build classrooms so they can expand and teach more kids. My parents have been involved with this charity since it’s inception back when I was a kid. It was started by Colombians as a way to help the poor in their community and has make a huge impact!
colegio peniel kids
There’s nothing better than knowing the work you do makes a huge impact in someone’s life! Doing these scholarships are a highlight of my work year.

Are you involved with any charities?

A Special Delivery

February 20th, 2013

Last week, Mr Chiots and I were in Colombia, South America. It was a work related trip, we were producing videos for the non-profit I work for, which was founded by my parents. In addition to missionary work, my parents do a lot of benevolent work, trying to improve the lives of the poor refugees, those neglected by society. One of the things we did while we were there, was deliver soap.
lavame clean soap 1
This isn’t just any soap, it’s 100% all natural handmade soap, some of the best soap money can buy. You see, Wendy, traveled to Colombia a few years ago. Deeply moved by the poverty and wanting to help in a tangible way, she started Lavemé Clean. She makes all natural soap, for each bar that is purchased, a bar is donated to an impoverished area. Some bars of soap go to Honduras, other to shelters here in the US.
little girl in the slums of Colombia
This is her story in her words:


It all started in the summer of 2011. My oldest son Caleb and I went on a mission trip to an impoverished barrio nestled beneath the Andes Mountains in the heart of South America.

That experience broke us.


Shelter was nothing more than small shanties with bare packed-earth floors; walls of wood pallets, corrugated tin, or whatever material was to be found. For water, the slum area had one well; one small well for many people to drink from, bathe in and wash clothes in. Lice and mange were running rampant.

In North America, for most people, it’s not terribly challenging to procure a bar of soap somewhere. In the slums, it’s simply not readily available, and if it was, it would not be affordable. I watched a construction worker labor from sun up to sun down, working for a monthly paycheck of $100.00, in an economy where a bar of soap costs as much as it does in the States. read the rest of the story on her website

lavame clean soap 2
Mr Chiots and I delivered many bars of her soap on our trip. It’s encouraging to know that there are people like Wendy, who are moved enough by the pain and suffering around them to do something proactive. In a world where liking something on facebook or signing a petition is seen as action, it’s refreshing to meet someone who is actually doing something. A big thanks to Wendy for making this soap, we were honored to deliver it for you!

If you are in need of all natural handmade soap, consider purchasing from Lavamé Clean. Mr Chiots and I are particularly fond of the Eucalyptus Cold Care.

A Garden of Hope

February 19th, 2013

Most of you know that Mr Chiots and I own a business and part of that business involves video production. One of my college girlfriends works for Girl Power 2 Cure, an organization the supports families of girls with Rett Syndrome. My friend Kelly’s daughter Brooklyn was diagnosed with Rett many years ago (to read more about her, head on over to her blog Special Mommy X2). Mr Chiots and have always donated our time and talents for non-profits. Last spring we traveled out to Indiana to make a video about the Girl Power 2 Cure Garden of Hope. Here it is:

Today we are traveling back to the States from South America. We were in Colombia for the past 10 days filming a video for my parents non-profit. Perhaps I’ll share the video soon that we produced while we were down there.

Do you make an effort to donate your time and talents to charities?

Dress Up 2 Cure: Join Me

March 3rd, 2009

du2c083 Many of you know that I have a friend who’s little girl has Rett Syndrome. We first learned about Rett Syndrome back when Brooklyn was diagnosed. We want to help in any way we can, but since we live so far away from our friends it’s difficult. One way we can support them is to help out with a charity that supports them. That’s why we got involved with several Rett Syndrome Charities.
On April 1, there’s an event called Dress Up 2 Cure. This is a great way to get involved to help raise money and awareness for Rett Syndrome through my blog. So here’s what I’m going to do; I’m going to donate $10 to Girl Power 2 Cure for every person that sends me a photo of themselves, their children, or their pet dressed up (I’m particularly excited to get photos of your pets dressed up – hint, hint). You can also post a picture on your own blog if you’d like and link to this post, I’ll donate $10 for you if you do that as well. I also started a Flickr group for this event, you can upload your photos there as well and I’ll donate for that too.
On April 1, 2009 I’m going to post all the photos you send in on my blog (so please don’t send photos you don’t want posted on my blog). I’ll also include the links to all of your posts if you put the photos on your blog. Help us raise money to find a cure for Rett Syndrome. I even have my own page over at the Dress Up 2 Cure website so check it out: Chiot’s Run at Dress up 2 Cure. I would love to raise $500 for this event, that’s only 50 photos. So get dressed up and send them in, let’s show all the little girls with Rett Syndrome that we care!

So, who’s in?

Reading & Watching

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This is a daily journal of my efforts to cultivate a more simple life, through local eating, gardening and so many other things. We used to live in a small suburban neighborhood Ohio but moved to 153 acres in Liberty, Maine in 2012.