Behind starburst eyes

Lemonade Stand at Baton Rouge

Shortly after the story appeared in the Toronto Sun about the kid’s lemonade stand, Baton Rouge got ahold of me. Today the husband, kids and I went for a lovely lunch at the Whitby location and talked with the GTA Manager as well as the Whitby location’s manager. Both were amazing men, and the offer they gave us was heartwarming. They wanted to set up a date that our kids could come in there and sell lemonade to their customers with the money being raised going to Sick Kids Hospital. Head office has told them that whatever amount is raised that night they will match! To help encourage customers to buy lemonade instead of other drinks, every customer that buys one will recieve a coupon for a free appitizer at their next visit.
All of this is extremely generous and we said “YES!”
I asked Ryan (the GTA manager) why he was offering such gracious help to ensure that for our kids the whole thing is remembered in a positive light, his answer touched home for me. He said that his 6 year old son asked him why it had happened the way that it did for my kids when they were just being good and he couldn’t answer him. He said it’s the first time he hasn’t been able to give his son an answer, and I get that. In such a huge way that resonates with me! With C having Autism it means that he does not always understand social aspects without help, and the first time he asked me why about someone’s actions and I couldn’t answer him hurt greatly. For him specifically it was why another child refused to play with him when he was trying to reach out and be friendly at the park, but the heart of the matter, when trying to be nice or do something good and someone objects or refuses your offer is a hard thing to explain to your child when their still innocent eyes are searching yours for the truth behind the platitudes we often utter to apease our children’s sensibilities without exposing them to the harsher reality that sometimes life isn’t fair, and sometimes people are just mean.
I appreciate that he wants to be able to look his child in the eye and tell him that “Dad helped to fix it” I appreciate the fact that I am able to look my own son in the eyes and tell him that with some help “Momma has fixed it, he can still try and help a hospital that saved his cousin’s lives” in the way that his still fairly innocent mind had originally come up with.
I get to watch him walk around for a couple of hours with a server and inquire if each customer would like a lemonade. This makes me happy, extremely, giddy in fact!
See I too often think of chains or corporations as just being about the money, about the bottom dollar, but the revenue they will lose from other drinks not being ordered, the cost of the lemonade itself, the coupons for free appitizers, and the matching donation from head office is significant to me. It shows me that Ryan and Steve and by extension Baton Rouge in general actually care, they are not paying lip service they are doing something positive to not just raise money for Sick Kids Hospital, BUT they want to help restore the faith that their and my kids have in the world at large as a place where good deeds are appreciated and people help one another because it’s the right thing to do.

SO ladies and gents, PLEASE if you’re in the area (Whitby, Ontario) on August 13th from 5pm-8pm come on out to Baton Rouge and order a lemonade with your meal!


The Lemonade Stand Pt.2

The Global News segment:

The follow up story in the Sun:

Out of all of this, I’m thrilled to say that the Mayor of Oshawa has said that lemonade stands run by kids are exempt from needing permits 😀



Come hell, high water or $5,000 fines the kids were having a lemonade stand for Sick Kids Hospital

For the last 3 years my wee ones have had a lemonade stand on Canada Day. They make lemonade, cookies, jam, and candles and sell them to raise money for Sick Kids Hospital. This year’s experience was NOT what I’d hoped for them.

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It started great, we put up signs, made strawberry lemonade with strawberries we’d picked as a family at a local farm (Pingles) made original lemonade, each child got to take a turn at squeezing lemons into the pitcher. We made gluten-free cookies the night before. They helped to make jam a few days ago from the strawberries we’d picked together on Summer Solstice. I guided them on making star-shaped candles which they did with great pride and excitement and used the broken bits from their little brother’s crayons to color each one. We ran around the neighborhood and they would watch the lights for me from the corners of various streets as I would dash across the cross walks writing with sidewalk chalk across the entire thing “Lemonade Stand 4 Sick Kids Hospital” and an arrow pointing towards our home. Each child would excitedly want to be the one to pour the lemonade when a customer came, or to offer the cookie that was free with each cup.
Starting at about 1pm my son was waving a sign 4 houses down the street at the cross walk of the highway and our street and yelling “Lemonade Stand, all the money goes to Sick Kids Hospital” as cars drove by. A woman who lived across the street from where he was standing came out and told him to stop. She was not nice about it, he came back almost in tears. My brother came by to help support the kids in their endeavour was NOT happy that C was yelled at for trying to raise money for charity. So he stood at the corner with hin while my son did his best to convince every person that went by that they should buy a glass of lemonade to help out a charity that is VERY near and dear to our family.

The lady came out again and yelled again about them stopping, my brother told her that his nephew was allowed to try to help a charity and that he wasn’t harming anyone. She eventually came BACK out AGAIN and tried to give C $5 to go away. He told her “No thanks, I don’t want your money, I just want to keep doing my thing for Sick Kids” She was determined that he take it, and he was determined that he wasn’t going too. Finally, he told her “I’ll take it for Sick Kids, but I’m not going to stop, I want people to come to our lemonade stand so we can give lots of money to them”

My brother had to go so he walked C back to me, and I walked him back to the corner. This is where things got really crappy. A police car slowed down and stopped just past us. The lady had called the cops to force us to stop. As soon as I saw the police cruiser stop I told C to go back to the lemonade stand. The police officer asked a few questions and then told me he was sorry but that he had to ask us to stop as we were causing a disturbance and we didn’t have a vendors permit to run a lemonade stand. I walked back to our front yard to talk with my husband and saw that C was in tears. He was afraid that I was going to be arrested and that he’d lose his mom. I assured him that while the police officer was well within his rights to fine me but that he couldn’t take me to jail.

I then took the sign from my husband and started to walk back to the corner again. My husband asked me why I was doing it and I told him the truth “How can we teach our children to stand up for what is right and to stand strong in their convictions if we cow down instead of standing up for our own personal convictions. My conviction is that what the kids are doing is RIGHT and that they should be allowed to try to help out a charity. I will NOT back down, I will stand up for their right to be kids, to be good people, and to try their best to do good deeds. If they want to call the cops back again than so be it, I’ll pay the fines because standing behind my convictions is more important that being popular or the money it might cost us. They are worth it, the kids knowing no matter what that I support them is worth it!”

I then proceeded to yell at the very top of my momma lungs “Lemonade Stand for Sick Kids Hospital” while waving the sign at the corner for 45 more minutes, until it started to rain.
Stubborn? Yes! But wrong of me? NOPE If I don’t show them that their beliefs are important, that they are important, that I respect their efforts and that I WILL stand behind them come hell, high water or police officers with fines then how can I expect to raise adults that will be honorable, and strong enough to stand up for what they believe no matter what? How can I teach them to root themselves strong in Mother Earth and stand tall no matter the storm for whatever they believe in.


Baking with Besan Flour Part 1: Cookies

So dear readers in an effort to stick to the gluten-free foods I have tried to make gluten-free cookies. I’ve read about Besan flour and how it can be used as a straight equal substitute for wheat flour, so I took my favorite cookie recipe and substituted the wheat flour for Besan flour. WOW!!! They are delicious!!!
The full recipe is:
cappuccino Chocolate Chip Cookies:
2 1/2 cups of Besan flour
1 1/2 cups of dark brown sugar
1 cup of Chocolate Chips
1 cup of Butter
2 Eggs
1 tsp of Salt
1 tsp baking powder
3/4 cup of cappuccino powder
3-4 cappuccino flavored candy canes
2 tbsp. of coffee

Preheat oven to 375F
Cream butter and sugar together in a blender
Add eggs, cappuccino mix, coffee, candy canes, salt, and baking powder together and mix the blender (this crushes up the candy canes)
Sift Besan flour into a separate bowl.
Pour liquid mixture and chocolate chips into flour and mix by hand with a large wooden spoon.
Drop SMALL spoonfuls onto a buttered cookie tray and bake for 7 min or until golden edges appear.

The cookies WILL spread quite wide on the tray as they cook, and will not rise super high. They tend to be fairly thin height wise, but the taste, OH MY!!! SOOOO GOOD 😀 And of course completely gluten-free!!!

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