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Kindness Advent 2019

I’m a little late posting this considering it’s December 16th, but we have been in full on Kelley kindness advent mode since December 1st.  Usually we set aside money to make all the things happen that we choose for our kindness advent, but this year, well this year medical bills are beyond legit…and that’s fine…it is what it is…so we decided to show kindness that required no money or that we already had the supplies for around our home.  I thought it was going to be more challenging than it was, but we totally brainstormed a bunch of great kindness activities that fit and we set off.

It has been really fun and great to watch our daily deliberate kindness activities fall into place.  There is still some planning that needed to happen so we did that in November and now it’s been pretty smooth sailing.  We did lose our day #8 and I could not remember what we were supposed to do that day and I couldn’t find our calendar where we mapped it all out at the time so you know, you win some, you lose some.  No worries.

I did find my list and wanted to share it here for future reference so without further ado:

**Send get well cards.  Give high 5s.  Let someone go ahead of you in line.  Write a teacher a kind note.  Draw a picture for a friend.  Make bookmarks and leave them at the library.  Paint wood circles/rocks and leave them around town.  Clean someone’s car.  Give out compliments.  Leave a treat for our garbage collector.  Send mail.  Pass out stickers.  Share Sonic happy hour.  Breakfast drop.  Return shopping carts.  Treat our teachers to a key fob.  Give out hugs.  Leave a treat for our mail carrier.  Donate some of our books to our pediatrician’s office.  Leave encouraging sticky notes on public bathroom mirrors.  Gift an ornament.  Leave chalk art around town.  Bake for our neighbors.  Leave encouraging notes on cars.  Load bubble gum & trinket machines with quarters.**

To accomplish keeping it spending free we did things like save a Sonic gift card our neighbors gifted us and used some of it to treat someone else to Sonic too.  To make bookmarks we used supplies we already had on hand and cut up cereal boxes from our recycling for our base.  We always have a stash of stickers and shared from that.  For our breakfast drop we made banana bread from bad bananas at the end of our week because bad bananas make the best banana bread.  For treats for our garbage collector and mail carrier we baked goodies from the ingredients we already had on hand and wrote kind notes.  We are donating gently used books from our own home library to our pediatrician’s office.  We made the ornaments we are gifting.  And over the past few months every time I see a quarter laying around our house I have tucked it away so we can load the bubble gum and trinket machines.  This year definitely took a little thinking and creativity, but we have all still so enjoyed our kindness advent.

This is our 9th year of doing our kindness advent and every year I have used the same little envelopes.  This year I made a a brand new set since I taught this craft at Camp Create earlier in November.  It was really fun and my heart needed some creativity…and major bonus…I adore our new advent set up.

We are still moving right along and I am documenting daily in my stories over on my instagram.  If you want to follow along head over HERE.

I always think back to the quote that began it all during my first round of deep grief after losing my mom:
“When your burden is heaviest, you can always lighten a little some other burden. At the times when you cannot see God, there is still open to you this sacred possibility, to show God; for it is the love and kindness of human hearts through which the divine reality comes home to men, whether they name it or not. Let this thought, then, stay with you: there may be times when you cannot find help, but there is no time when you cannot give help.”

-George S. Merriam

Nine years in and it still means just as much, if not more, than it did that very first year.

Kindness Advent Days 5-14

I used to do daily posts on our Kindness Advent for memories and reference for others, but, well, time is lacking these days.  We’ve been carrying on with our kindness advent as best we can.  We did have one rainy day that botched our surprise chalk art…you win some, you lose some and you carry on.

One of my favorite things about our kindness advent is watching and encouraging our kids to use their words to be kind.  Obviously our whole family doesn’t always use our words to build each other up, but instead we get pissed and use our words to bring each other down.  I like watching their little minds think and work and act to bring some kindness into the world.

One of our favorite soups Bacon Cheeseburger Soup…we adore this with tortilla chips…and it’s perfect to give to a friend.  Simply enough and definitely delicious enough.

We scored these ornaments 50% off at Michaels.

Heart explosion!!!!!

Donut Delivery Tip:  If you order 10 or more boxes of Krispy Kreme donuts a few days ahead of time they give you a 25% discount on your order.  Props.

People had a hard time believing me Kroger had peonies for our flower delivery. Hahahaha.  But alas, Kroger does sometimes carry peonies and I scored some just in time.  I also had a coupon for flowers…they come in the mail sometimes along with other personalized coupons for things I buy often from Kroger.

I always keep pickle and salsa jars just for flowers.  I spent about $20 on flowers and then divided them up into 5 jars so $4 a jar!

Our big kids wrote encouraging words on sticky notes and then put them on their classmates lockers at school.  In the past we have put them on public bathroom mirrors, so this was a new twist and they really enjoyed it.  It was funny hearing them talk about how their friends reacted.

Cookies have been our choice of baked good this holiday season.  We’ve been handing out chocolate chip, snickerdoodle and chocolate sea salt cookies like it’s our job.  Leo has been very happy about this. Ha.

And for our Redbox rental bag we bought Redbox codes online, printed them out and the kids picked out their favorite popcorn and treats to go with it.  We’ve left this at the Redbox before for the next customer, we’ve given it to friends and stuffed them in mailboxes.  Any delivery method goes.

This tradition takes some planning and I always get tons of questions about it, but it’s so worth the extra planning for us.  A friend text me recently and said she was enjoying watching us do our advent to which I replied this is basically how we keep from drowning in this season.  Holidays can be really hard in the grief department so our family needs that extra push.  I also know it can seem a bit overwhelming and not for everyone.  Different strokes, for different folks-4-eva!!!!  I feel like we’re all just doing our best and hanging on tight, so carry on friends.  Do this season the best you can.  Solidarity.

Kindness Advent Year #8

It’s that time again for the Kelley family where we make our way through December doing a little something intentionally kind each day leading up to Christmas.  You can read all about how our Kindness Advent came about right after my Mom died in 2011 plus past posts and ideas HERE.

My most favorite grief advice/quote will forever be:

When your burden is heaviest, you can always lighten a little some other burden.  At the times when you cannot see God, there is still open to you this sacred possibility, to show God; for it is the love and kindness of human hearts through which the divine reality comes home to men, whether they name it or not.  Let this thought, then, stay with you:  there may be times when you cannot find help, but there is no time when you cannot give help.  -George S. Merriam

I will carry this quote around for my whole life.

We usually spend November mulling over all our kind ideas we would like to do each day in December, but this year I temporarily lost our advent envelopes and idea cards we’ve made over the years.  And out of sight meant out of mind.  Friday night Josh Kelley found our advent baggie and over dinner we proceeded to come up with all 25 ideas and set our planning into place.

So here is our official kindness list for 2018:

Hand out stickers to kiddos in stores, share breakfast with a family, giveaway candy canes, give a recipe + the ingredients to someone for dinner, ornament delivery, send mail, donuts for our elementary school, surprise chalk art, load bubble gum machines with quarters, giveaway flowers, sticky notes on lockers at school, cards & treats for our funeral home, cards & treats for our pediatrician’s office, Redbox rental bag, surprise a sweet friend, paint wood slices and leave around town, cards & present for our mailman, cards & present for our trash man, thank yous for our janitorial staff, decorate someone’s front door, notes for our favorite gas station worker, leave encouraging notes on cars, buy someone’s lunch, share Sonic happy hour and do some FaceTime caroling.

We’ve already kicked off the 1st, 2nd and 3rd with sharing fun stickers, a yummy breakfast drop and all the Kelley kids (minus Leo) sharing candy canes with their classmates.

Tomorrow we will carry on with our kindness and do our best to carry it through the end of the month.  If you want to follow along daily I’ll be keeping up with it all in my Instagram stories.

Let’s spread some kindness this month!

Kindness Advent 2017

This is our 7th year doing our kindness advent.  This formed after losing my Mom suddenly and being plunged into intense grief.  We do not do this to show off or to make people think we’re amazingly great people.  Let me put your mind to ease real quick…this morning I yelled at my kids BEFORE we got to school, I say too many curse words, sometimes I drink too much, I’ve already had chocolate this morning and sometimes if I decide not to purchase an item in the store I don’t return it to it’s spot and put it on a random shelf.  I mean, we are struggling on SO MANY levels and there is so much more I could say, but yikes, you guys might run away and never look back.

So this isn’t a show off kind of thing, this is a deep rooted tradition that formed from great sorrow and has made it’s residence among our Christmas holiday.  Sometimes we spend more money, sometimes we spend less.  A lot of people get hung up on how much this costs, but you could totally do this completely free…kindness does not always cost money.  And to each their own…different strokes for different folks.  Not everyone’s finances are the same by any means, so just make changes as you need to.  I want to be super transparent so last night I sat down and added up how much this years is going to cost and we came in right under $250.  We have 2 big items on the calendar this year…donuts for our elementary school and sending cookies to Mott Hospital in Michigan…Everett’s heart surgery hospital.  Both of those are running us around $120 together, but they are super important to us this year so we figured it out.  If we cut those costs we would come way down on our money we’re spending this year.

  So here’s the list of our activities this year:

Share candy canes.  Send fun mail.  Buy soap for prison ministry Christmas gifts.  Take treats to our funeral home.  Angel Tree bag in honor of Everett.  Take donuts to school staff.  Decorate someone’s mailbox.  Give away a redox bucket.  Leave sticky notes on public bathroom mirrors.  Take peoples polaroid photos.  Surprise yard inflatable.  Treat for our trashman.  Ornament delivery.  Load bubble gum & trinket machines with quarters.  Share Sonic happy hour.  Take someone breakfast.  Return shopping carts.  Treat for our mail carrier.  Cards & treats for our pediatrician’s office.  Gift card for a single parent.  Cookie delivery to Mott Hospital.  Snack for Salvation Army bell ringer.  Paint wood slices and leave around town.  Give someone flowers.  Leave encouraging notes on cars.

So there’s this year’s list.  I’ll be sharing details here probably on Fridays and daily over on Instagram so feel free to follow along.  If you need more information on how this gig all got started and for lots of ideas THIS POST is a great place to start.  And I do not lose my mind over this.  This is such a fun tradition everyone looks forward to it so there’s zero pressure.  If an activity doesn’t get done, it does’t get done.  No biggie.  No one needs anymore crazy pressure.

You can CLICK HERE to see our list of last years activities.  And CLICK HERE for a recap of other year’s activities and ways we’ve displayed our advent.

Today we kicked things off by sharing candy canes with friends.  I bought some cheap mini candy canes, the kids divided them up for their classmates and they all headed off to school to share away.  Crazy easy.

And tomorrow we are sending fun mail.  Everyone wrote kind notes to a friend last night and I took anyone who wanted to use their own money to purchase a treat for their mail friend to Target last night too.  I loved seeing what they each chose and this was no money out of my pocket.  Harper is a pretty big giver…she’s more of a go big or go home gal…so she has quite the goodies to share.  Sending mail is one of my most favorite things!

(Blocked out addresses because, ummm, privacy & we want our recipients to be surprised.)

Hope you guys enjoy your weekend!  It’s Friday and officially December.  Raise the roof.

Kindness Advent 2016

Year number 6.  Wowzers.  I can hardly believe this is our 6th year doing our kindness advent.  This weekend we sat down and decided on all our activities and when everything would happen when.  Our advent always requires some planning and preparation, but it’s well worth it.  We really let the kids play a huge role in what activities we choose.  They actually chose almost all of the activities and I picked a few of my favorites to throw in.  Once the activities we’re chosen we broke out the calendar and decided when what would happen when.  We always have to keep in mind details like how our trash in only picked up on Tuesday, that our beloved pediatrician is not in the office on Wednesdays, activities requiring more time need to happen on the weekend, make sure anything with our school is done before Christmas break, etc etc etc.

  So here’s the list of our activities this year:

Buy new toys for the Christmas store at church, share Sonic happy hour, paint wood slices and leave on the playground, soap donations for the prison ministry, load bubble gum & trinket machines with quarters, snack & coffee for Salvation Army Bell ringer, ornament delivery, make bookmarks & leave in the library, donuts for our school staff, babysit for another couple, surprise chalk art, treats & cards for pediatricians office, treat for our trash guy, deliver groceries with recipe, give flowers away, decorate someone’s mailbox, breakfast drop, return shopping carts, treat for our mailman, baked goods for our police station, encouraging sticky notes on public bathroom mirrors, send handmade mail, handout kids books, surprise yard inflatable and leave encouraging notes on cars.

So there’s this years list!!  We’re all so excited and cannot wait to kick this off this Thursday!!!!  I’ll be sharing all our details here and and over on Instagram so feel free to follow along.  If you need more information on how this gig all got started and for lots of ideas THIS POST is a great place to start.

Also I combined Black Friday, Small Business Saturday and Cyber Monday all together and kicked off a big sale over in MY SHOP on Friday.  $10 off everything and free shipping and word on the street is everyone you know wants a stationery set and/or an online Bible journaling class for Christmas.  This is a full on true story 🙂  PLUS big bonus, all money goes towards our adoption fund…purchase with a purpose!!  Head over HERE and grab some goodies.

And there are only 3 days left on our LipSense Fundraiser.  Head over HERE, pick our your color, place you order and our family will receive 15% of sales for our adoption expenses.  3 days!  Grab your colors fast.


Hope you guys have an amazing Monday!

Kindness Advent Prep

So yes it is only September and no my Christmas tree is not already up, but every year when we start our Kindness Advent I get lots and lots of emails and questions and inquiries about how we afford doing a Kindness Advent at Christmas time.  First I will say, this isn’t for everyone…let’s all be okay with everyone doing what works for their own family.  We started doing our Kindness Advent at Christmas time in 2011 right after Mom died.  This was part of my survival mode and honestly I cannot imagine our month of December without it now.  It is important to us.  We are not big spenders in our house so we can be big givers.  Again, I know that is not for everyone, but it’s how our family runs best.  We purposefully have cut out lots of “normal” things so we can free up more funds to give with and feed/keep alive 🙂 a tribe of children on a budget.


With all that said, a Kindness Advent also can not require money.  There are plenty of things you can do which cost zero to show kindness.  Think outside the box.  Our advent typically has a mix of things which require money and do not.  Here’s our list from LAST YEAR.


Right now my mind is already thinking about prep work for our advent.  Ours does require some preparation and thinking.  At the end of summer is right about when my mind starts thinking ahead…not because I’m crazy Christmas person, but because I start being able to purchase some items ahead of time cheaper.  A few examples:

We love to do surprise chalk art and those giant boxes of crayola sidewalk chalk are clearanced right about now.  If you don’t snag one now you can always use a coupon at one of your local craft stores too.

School supplies are still on sale right now as well…all the way from pencils & markers to backpacks & lunch boxes.  This can apply to lots of different ways you can bless people from encouraging sticky notes to your local children’s hospital to all those fabulous teachers in your life.


My niece Campbell and our own kids are selling cookie dough for their schools.  Let the school fundraising begin.  I’m a sucker for supporting our local public schools so you better believe I buy up cookie dough so I can make baking a tad less intense right around Christmas time.  I love to make homemade goodies too, but I also like a quick, easy and delicious cookie treat.  It’s a win/win.

Target has already started running their gift cards on sale.  Yes, gift cards on sale.  Some even $5 off.  The perfect time to purchase one and tuck it away to bless someone later.  I also like to watch for when Kroger offers crazy extra gas points for gift cards and saves me money on gas.  Keep your eyes open for great sales even now to pick up the items your advent might include.

And a little known secret of mine is the Scholastic Warehouse Sale.  I know they have others across the the US including our very own Nashville.  It is my fave.  I get to roam through Scholastic’s warehouse and pick up awesome books and other Scholastic items for 50%-80% off.  Google it and thank me later 🙂


So those are a few of my tips for keeping a Kindness Advent a little more affordable if your’s requires some moola, but remember kindness can be completely free.

Happy Wednesday!



CLICK HERE to check out 2015s list of kindness activities.

Fear & Faith, Orders and Kindness Advent

Can you tell I have all kinds of randomness on the brain today?  It’s true.  This is my brain, all the time.  A slew of a million different thoughts all fighting for my attention and then I bounce between them all.

God has really been pinning me down on my fear and lack of faith.  Why do I doubt His plans…He’s the creator of the universe…THE CREATOR OF THE UNIVERSE…He went to the cross for me…He gives me breath and can take it away in an instant…He owes me no explanations and I am here for His glory…why do I doubt His ways?  And I’m beginning to think when we fear something in life, that’s a sure sign we need to run head on into it with Jesus…trusting His faithfulness…giving Him all we’ve got.  Yes, every day He’s meeting me and sticking this idea of being fearless and brimming with faith in Him…believing He will do what He says He will do and acting on His promises.  It’s consuming my heart and mind.

**My Bible is the ESV journaling Bible…bought it on Amazon…several different options**

  I’m still working on orders and I’m moving as quickly as I can.  I’m shooting for fast turnarounds.  I also bought a bunch of new fabric the other day and am working on several key fob sets.  I’ll let you know when they are ready for purchase.  If you’d like to place an order for Christmas or want to pre-order a set of key fobs shoot me a message HERE.

And Christmas is so upon on us.  Josh Kelley mentions every day putting up all our Christmas stuff.  And it isn’t officially Christmas until Amon breaks an ornament and yesterday in Target…well, that poor deer ornament didn’t have a chance.  Bring on Christmas.  Thanksgiving is around the corner which means the end of November is closing in, so last night we got to thinking and brainstorming about our Kindness Advent for this year.  We even threw in some new things…my favorite being Josh Kelley’s recommendation to surprise someone with one of those large Christmas inflatables in their yard or on their door step…just think this over…can you imagine how fun that will be?!?!?!?  I’ve already been in hot pursuit of the apparently oh so coveted 5 foot inflatable Olaf that every store in the surrounding area is sold out of.  No luck yet.  Anyways, he will be mine and then we shall gift him on someone’s front lawn all in the name of spreading kindness and Jesus 🙂  For real, it just doesn’t get much more fun than that.

And I’ll leave you with this…Amon looking all emo and hip to the jive enjoying his lunch in our kitchen floor.  Those eyes and hair…killing it.

Happy Wednesday!

2013 Kindness Advent

So wow, Thanksgiving is this week and then December starts Sunday…this is craziness.  The year is already closing out.  We have a busy week so we got everything ready for our kindness advent this weekend which will start Sunday…December 1…25 acts of kindness leading up to Christmas.  You can read about it HERE along with lots of ideas.

I’ve had several emails and messages about what things we will be doing for this year.  So here’s what the Kelley family has planned for December:  Taking polaroids of shoppers, flowers to Ms. Sherry Harper’s school custodian, treat for our garbage man, buying Christmas for a family, overpay for the Contributor, buy & pump someone’s gas, Redbox rental bucket, paint rocks & leave them on the playground, donuts for school staff, decorate someone’s mailbox, gift card for a single mom, sticky notes on mirrors in a public restroom, treat for our mailman, handout kids books in a store, share a dinner, cookies to our pediatricians office, buy someone’s lunch in the drive thru, load bubble gum machines with quarters, buy school supplies for Harper’s classroom, share Sonic happy hour, babysit for a couple, leave gift cards in shopping carts, give away a recipe with all the needed groceries, bring in neighbors trashcans and give a surprise for a gas station worker.

We’re excited to get busy.  We’re excited to be really intentional with kindness this Christmas season.  We added some new things we’ve never done, but also left several of our favorites.  The kids are ready and already asking when we get to start.

Tell me what you guys are up to for December?  Advent…no or yes?  If yes, what kind do you do…treats, verses, activities, etc.  I’d love to hear your ideas.

Happy Monday.

Oh and almost forgot, the Timbali Crafts Giveaway ends tonight at midnight.  CLICK HERE to see how to enter to win all these goodies.