Saturday, October 30, 2010

....But we are so small! How can we help?

Recently American Hero Hugs has been working with several groups that organize events and donations for our HEROES. These organizers are not big time charities with huge boards and corporate sponsors. They are just normal people who want to do something good with their time and energy. Many of them have a spouse, parent, sibling or significant other in the military serving in military overseas. We would like to urge you to look at some of these smaller organization when you are thinking about giving. A lot times they are asking for donations that are not just monetary but rather items to go in care packages. No donation is too small. It all adds up when everyone pitches in.

Operation:Sweets for Soldiers is a small organization ran by "Two Army Wives who happen to be married to SOLDIERS who happen to be BROTHERS!" Their mission is to, "Boost morale for our men and women serving overseas from Fort Campbell! You can help by donating candy, and/or money to help pay for the shipping overseas! You can also write a note or send a card with your donated candy!" They also organize events like Calling Card Drive, Christmas Cards for Soldiers and Magazine, books and DVD Drive all of which are very simple ways for people to make small donations that really matters to our soldiers and show gratitude for the important work they are doing. visit their Operation:Sweets for Soldiers website to make a financial contribution.

Another small organization trying to make a difference is Treats 4 Troops They are based out of Bartow, Florida and are a "Non-Profit organization trying to raise funds to be able to send out care packages each month to the US Troops with snacks, Personal Care Items & just little pieces of home." Their mission is to, "Get care packages out to the Troops who may not recieve anything from others & to allow them to know they are thought of all the time." There are many soldiers who go for months without receiving a single package from home. To find out more about Treats 4 Troops follow their Treats 4 Troops blog. They will be launching an auction on Nov 8th and American Hero Hugs will be donating a couple of our products to be auctioned.

Monday, October 11, 2010


Over the past weekend American Hero Hugs held Christmas Card Signing events at two different Walmarts in Kansas. We were not asking for money but did accept donations when offered. We provided the cards and pens for people to sign. We are very thankful to all who were so generous with both donations and their time. We would like to say we got 100% participation but sadly, we got as many rejections as we did people willing to write a message to a soldier. We had our kids with us so it was even more frustrating to get so many rejections. Trying to explain to kids ages 5-14 why people would reject the idea of signing a card of thanks to a soldier, is a pretty impossible task when you don't understand it yourself. Despite that, it was a great experience for us and for our children. We are thankful for the opportunity to participate and for the experience our kids had learning empathy and gratitude for our soldiers and their families, not just from the people who rejected the idea but by the many people who participated and expressed their gratitude. We can never be thankful enough for our HEROES. We were able to get 200 Christmas Cards signed by multiple people on each card and collected $205 in donations to help pay for shipping. The cards and donations will go to Warrant Officer Wives Club and their Christmas Cards For Soldiers and will be shipped to our soldiers in Afghanistan

Monday, September 20, 2010


American Hero Hugs is participating in Christmas Cards for Soldiers. We are very excited about this project. We designed our own special Christmas card and have had 200 cards made. 100 cards have already been sent out to 10 volunteers. Each volunteer received 10 cards to get signed by friends, family, co-workers. They will then send them to the organizer by Nov. 1, 2010. People really do want to help and participate but sometimes they just don't know how. We Can't thank Jessica Lloyd and the Warrant Officers Wives Club for organizing this event and making it so easy for people to participate.
I am very happy with our card because it holds special meaning for me. When my grandmother was alive she used to make homemade cards for birthdays, holidays and sometimes just because. She called them Tightwad Cards. My grandmother loved her country, her state and the small town where she lived. She had so much gratitude for the men and woman that made our freedoms possible. When trying to come up with a card design I immediately thought of her cards. I kept every card she sent so I dug them out and found the Christmas cards. Through the magic of the scanner I was able to scan in her artwork and use it for our card. I'm sure she would be very proud to know that I used her card to produce our American Hero Hugs Thank-You For Your Service Christmas Card. Not only does this experience give us the chance to do something for our soldiers to show that we support them, but on a personal level it gave me a few moments to sit and reflect about of the most amazing and beautiful women that every walked this earth and for that I even more grateful. Click the link above to find out how you can participate.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

It was a tough job but doesn't compare to a HERO's Sacrifice

Recently American Hero Hugs was asked to create gifts for the family of a fallen HERO.

Army Staff Sgt James R Ide V, cause of Death: wounds sustained when insurgents attacked his unit with small-arms fire is survived by his wife and two small children.

We are so honored to be asked to this. It wasn't an easy task. They wanted our American Hero Hugs pillowcase but asked for a different poem so I created the following poem for them.

As you close your eyes to sleep
I leave my love for you to keep.
I am with you night and day,
In your heart I will always stay

We were also asked to create something special for his wife, and with inspirational guidance from my friend Jodi, who is a friend of Ide family and an Army wife herself, I was able to create this poem for her. I hope it brings a small comfort. The words and work for this project have come fairly easy. The emotion it has produced is much more difficult and uncomfortable, but leaves me feeling such gratitude for Staff Sgt James R Ide, his wife and their beautiful children and for all of the other HEROES big and small that sacrifice so much for our freedom.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

I Support Military Kids Slideshow

We recently asked fans on our Facebook fan sites to submit pictures of their little HEROES and we asked the question, "Why do you love your HERO?" We used the pictures that were submitted and the answers to the question to make this slideshow. Bringing awareness to the sacrifices these little HEROES make, goes along with the AmericanHeroHugs mission of "Honoring the HERO and the CHILD."

Sunday, July 18, 2010


I just found this prayer while looking for quotes and wanted to share it and some thoughts it provoked.

Army wives prayer

Dear Lord,
Give me the greatness of heart to see the difference between duty and his love for me. Give me understanding that I may know, when duty calls him he must go. Give me a task to do each day, to fill the time when he's away. And Lord, when he's in a foreign land, keep him safe in your loving hand. And Lord, when duty is in the field, please protect him and be his shield. And Lord, when deployment is so long, please stay with me and keep me strong. Amen.

Often times when we are married to someone with an important job that requires them to put their duty first, it is hard not take it personally. It is important to remember their commitment to their duty doesn't mean they love you less, it is a reflection of the love they have for you. Supporting them to perform their duty is a reflection of the love you have for them.

When left alone during long deployments or sudden changes, it is important to keep yourself busy and utilize all of the support systems available. Do the things that make you happy and bring you joy. Do the things you would do together but only if they bring you comfort. Being able to take care of yourself is a gift you can give your deployed HERO.

Always rely on the power of faith that they will return safely. Never give up your faith and your hope. Staying positive will help you move from day to day. Surround yourself with people who are positive so you can pull each other up when you get down. Turn to your support system in times of need, tell them when you need help. People will help you but you have to be willing to ask.

Always remember to take care of yourself and to take pride in the duty you are performing by being a supportive and committed military spouse. WE ARE SO PROUD OF YOU AND WE THANK-YOU FOR YOUR SERVICE!


Tuesday, July 13, 2010

A picture opens the gateway for support

We recently posted this beautiful picture on our I support military kids facebook fan site. We were not at all surprised that it opened up a dialogue among fans who have experienced a similar moment. This picture for some, represents the moment they said goodbye and for others it represents the long awaited homecoming. This picture invokes so much emotion for those who have lived this experience. Whether it's the sad moment of goodbye or the joy of a homecoming, it's a shared experienced for these brave families. It's a moment of sacrifice we must all notice and be grateful for.

Monday, July 12, 2010

AmericanHeroHugs For Veterans

Recently I was going through old photos and found some of my dad when he was in the military so I decided to try to make dog tags with them. I love the results! A personalized dog tag would make a get gift for your HERO too. How fun would this be for the kids to have of their Grandparent? Recognizing HEROES past and present is not only a gift for the HERO but a great lesson in showing gratitude for those who proudly and bravely served and sacrificed for the freedoms we enjoy in our great country. Order your AmericanHeroHugs dog tag TODAY at

Friday, June 25, 2010

7 Positive Things

1. Focus on just today.
No one can control tomorrow. Try to only focus on what needs to be done Today.

2. Take time for you.
Everyone needs and deserves a break. We are better parents and people when we relax a little. It's amazing what even as little as 10 minutes of personal time can do for your outlook.

3. Think positive!!
Keep a small notebook and write down 5 things at the end of the day that you are grateful for. This one simple thing changes lives because it changes the way we view the world. You begin to view it with gratitude!

4. Choose your battles.
Decide what's really is important to acknowledge. The small stuff that worries us or stresses us out is not worth the energy we choose to put into it.

5. Hug those babies of yours and tell them you love them everyday. Kids are resilient and even when we make mistakes. They just want our love and will forgive.

6. Keep family and friends close.
Having a support system during deployment is critical. Join groups and reach out for help when you need it. Isolation will lead to depression. So many people want to help so be willing to reach out for the help. Their is great strength in numbers. We LOVE to help you!!

7. Laugh when you feel like crying. Lay down on the floor with the kids and each of you put your head on the others belly and start to laugh. It will be fake at first but soon there will be real laughter and you will feel much better. Laughter is not only the best medicine it's the best stress reliever too.

AmericanHeroHugs, are they just for Kids?

AmericanHeroHugs products although designed with children in mind are not just for kids. We often get orders for adults. Some people like to get two pillow cases, one with a picture of the HERO for the child and one with picture of the child to send to their HERO. Adults also love our HERO Jewelry. Often times we will make dogtags with pictures of children for the HERO to wear. HERO night lights although great in bedrooms, can be used to light dark hallways and bathrooms or anywhere you need a little extra light at night. It's important that we show pride in our HEROES and bring awareness to the children who also sacrifice for our freedom. The families left behind need our support. A great way to support our troops is to support their families

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Why did you start American Hero Hugs?

"Why did you start AmericanHeroHugs?" This is a question that Tonya and I get asked a lot. The most important reason we started it was to find a way to honor our HEROES. When thinking about that, we discussed the most important thing to us and we both answered "Our children!" What better way to honor our HEROES than to also honor the people they love most, their children. We both agreed that we had to create something that helped foster a connection between the HERO and the CHILD when faced with long separations due to deployments. Using our combined talents we came up with AmericanHeroHugs. It started with a story told by a personal friend name Larry about his family's story of deployment and how a photo pillow gave them a connection. We have tried to put together products that will provide that connection. A child wearing a dog tag with their HEROES picture on it can open up the opportunity for someone to ask about their HERO giving them the opportunity to talk about them and feel connected. When a child gets into bed at night and sees their hero on their pillow case they can feel connected. We have geared all of our products to things a child can connect to and letting them have their HERO with them in some small way.

We operate AmericanHeroHugs out of our homes to keep operating costs low in order to keep our prices low. We know the financial burden long deployments puts on families. Do we want to make money? We would be lying if we said we didn't, but our intent when starting this was not to get rich but to use our talents to the best of our ability to provide a service to those who provide the ultimate service for us.

Working on adding new products

We are working on adding some new products to our AmericanHeroHugs store. Trying to bulid templates for puzzles, tote bags and clocks. We have two clock options that we are trying to build a good template for. The square offset one will work with most pictures. The round one is a little tricky and won't work with every picture.

We are thinking of adding 12, 30, 48 and 110 piece puzzles. They are really nice puzzles, all will have a high gloss except the 12 piece has a mat finish.
We will also be launching a HOMETOWN HEROES collection very soon.