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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.

(2011)

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.

(2012)

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.

(2013)

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 🙂

(2014)

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!

 UPDATE:

(2015)

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.

Kindness Advent

I’ve always had the best of intentions to do advent and until last year it never happened…at all.  But last year was different.  And it was good.  After seeing this pin on Pinterest about Random Acts of Kindness, I knew this would be a new Kelley tradition and we would do it fully and we would do it well.  It made my heart happy and I felt like it set the focus for our family in a season that is full to the brim of hustle and bustle.  So began our kindness advent.  We made a list and set out to do one act of kindness everyday in December leading up to Christmas.

Here’s how we did ours from last year…pulled from THIS POST)…ignore the not-so-great-pictures, I was working with a broken camera:)

**I don’t have a lot of room in our house, so I needed an advent that would not take up much space.  I decided on envelopes and today Harper and I made our official advent envelopes.  Here were our supplies:

Glue sticks, small clips, small paper bags (Hobby Lobby), number stickers, plain paper and patterned paper.

First we covered the front of bags with some patterned paper.

Then we cut out some small circles and added number stickers and then glued the circles to the front of the bags.  Josh and I had brainstormed earlier this week, so I re-wrote our ideas on individual pieces of paper.  I had to modify the original ideas because of the 3 small Kelleys.  Let’s face it…we would be a disaster trying to load someones groceries into their car…they may even pay us to leave them alone 🙂

Harper stuffed the envelopes.

Then I hung up our ribbon and attached the envelopes with the small clips.  Easy cheesy.

So that was last year.  This year I wanted to do a little something different because I want to leave up our thankful leaves until Christmas cards start rolling in.

So I bought these cheap little wire hanger things on Pick Your Plum and just clipped all my envelopes to them instead.  Super easy.

Sidenote:  If you do Pick Your Plum deals, go in with a friend and save on shipping.  Courtney and I are notorious Pick Your Plum groupies and it saves us money.  Insert fist bump here.

Here’s a list of lots of different options for your own Kindness Advent.

*Cupcakes to bank  *Leave encouraging notes or gift cards on cars  *Volunteer your time

*Buy someone’s breakfast/lunch/dinner  *Send flowers or giveaway flowers

*Doughnuts to school  *Take balloons and/or treats to hospital

*Pump someone’s gas  *Go caroling  *Carepacks for homeless  *Feed parking meters

*Leave a big tip  *Anonymous chalk art or door hangers  *Food gift cards for homeless

*Give gift card to shopper or leave in shopping carts  *Gift cards for single parent

*Birthday/Christmas bag drop *Make & leave bookmarks at library or bookstore

*Hide $1 bills at Dollar Tree  *Over pay for Contributor newspaper

*Sticky notes on public bathroom mirror  *Treat for Salvation Army bell ringer

*Donations to Crisis Pregnancy Center  *Tip drive-thru worker

*Muffins to pediatricians office  *Hold the door for shoppers  *Decorate someone’s porch or mailbox

*Leave change at laundromat  *Return shopping carts from parking lot

*Tape change to vending machine or bubble gum machines

*Pay strangers over due fees at library  *Gift wrap presents for free

*Treats for library workers  *Help a family for Christmas  *Do free yard work for someone

*Bag of groceries with recipes to a family  *Pass out candy canes  *Paint rocks and leave for others to find

*Popcorn, candy & movie rental bucket to a family *Babysit for couple/single parent

*Handmade cards to nursing home  *Pay for someone’s Santa picture

*Giveaway balloons/stickers/books to kids shopping w/parents

*Treat for mailman, post office workers, trash collector and/or police & fire station

*School supply donations to a classroom  *Bring up neighbors trash can

*Gift or flowers for custodian at school  *Give genuine compliments

*Card for loved one  *Pay for car behind you in drive thru line

*Mail handwritten letters of encouragement  *Pick up trash

*Coffee for people waiting for bus or outdoor workers  *Donate blood

*Treat for bus driver  *Donate non perishables to food pantry

*Gift card for all night gas station/store worker  *Share Sonic happy hour

*Leave surprises at playground (Coins, small toys, filled Easter eggs)  *Read to a classroom

Like last year, I will be documenting each day of our acts of kindness.  I cannot wait.  The kids are getting excited.  This year took a little more planning since Harper is in school and I wanted her to still be able to participate, but I think we took care of everything and planned well.  I hope you will join us.  It’s going to be fun.  Tis’ the season for kindness…you know you want to do it too.

Happy Wednesday.

Kindness Catch-Up

Things are pretty wonky around our house right now and I just don’t have a lot of words to write.  I am slammed with life and work and if you’ve placed an order I promise I’m working just as fast as I can.

We started our Kindness Advent on December 1st and have been moving right along.  This is easily one of my favorite and most intentional times of the year.  Kindness does not have to be big and grand and expensive…it can be small and simple and free, but either way it’s always intentional.  This time of year reminds me and our family that kindness comes with intentionality.

So here’s what we’ve been up to.

December 1st: Buy toys for the Christmas store at church where people in the community who are struggling this time of year can get presents for their kiddos.  We really encouraged the kids to pick things they would love to receive themselves and they did awesome.  Amon might have asked 1000 times when he got to open the Mickey Mouse tool set he picked out to no avail.

December 2nd:  Share Sonic happy hour.  My phone was dead when we went to Sonic, but Harper decorated a cute little note with a Christmas tree and we taped it and a $5 gift card to the ordering board.  Easy easy.

December 3rd:  Paint wood slices and leave them at the park and on the sidewalks.  We added this one last year and it has become a fast favorite.  2 cousins happened to be over that day so we had some extra painting help.  We all walked down the street to enjoy our local Christmas parade and left these along the way too.  The kids absolutely loved this one.

December 4th:  Buy double packs of bar soap for the prison ministry at church.  Regular every day toiletry items cost much more than they should to inmates and the prison ministry at church is trying to help out this Christmas.  When checking out at Walgreens me and the cashier had the sweetest conversation about prison and people in prison.  She has some loved ones who are incarcerated and she shared some really valuable words with me.  Truth be known I wanted to reach across that counter and bear hug her.

December 5th:  Load trinket machines up with quarters.  The kids always love this one and are totally okay walking away empty handed.  This year we had too few machines and quarters leftover so we went ahead and turned some of them, left the trinket or candy under the silvery, metal flap and loaded the machine up again.

December 6th:  Treat and warm drink for our Salvation Army bell ringer.  When the kids got in the car after school the first thing Hudson said was, “Mom I brought a dollar to put in the bucket.”  I absolutely love that the kids love doing this.  I love the intentionality of this time because it’s one of the busiest, bustling times of the year.  There’s a Starbucks in our Kroger grocery store so we slipped past our sweet bell ringer and the kids picked out yummy treats…cake pops to be exact.  We noticed he was already drinking a coffee so we opted for a $5 gift card instead of an actual drink so he could get whatever he liked when he was ready.  We gave him the goodies, dropped in our monies, wished him a Merry Christmas and he was just the sweetest.  As we walked away Hudson said, “That felt good.”

Tomorrow is ornament delivery and everyone has their recipients picked out and ornament ready to go.

If you would like to follow along daily with our advent I’m sharing about it over on Instagram.

Happy Tuesday night!

Advent Ready + Noonday Giveaway

**GIVEAWAY CLOSED**

This week is going to be fun.  So many things I am looking forward to.  First, our kindness advent starts tomorrow…December 1…and we are ready.  Every year I change up how I display our advent envelopes at least a smidgen.  This year I just picked a door frame and went to town with washi tape.  Done and done.  Everyone is pumped and can’t wait to begin tomorrow.

Second, I still have lots of stuff available for sale and ready to ship.  There are no key fobs listed yet, but tons of other stuff.  Hoping to get key fobs listed this week.  Check out everything for sale HERE.

Third, this week there will be Noonday Collection giveaways every day…here and on my instgram.  This company is so legit and lovely and changing the world and we get to get in on the world changing too by purchasing with purpose and spreading the Noonday love.  I basically went through and picked some of my most favorite, favorite items…all the heart eyes.

Fourth, the Timbali Crafts party is Thursday.  You guys, come on out and do some shopping.  No ordering…all the bags are at my house so you will leave with your goodies that night.  You can go home and immediately wrap them right up.  I have so much it’s crazy.  I love companies who are changing the world and Timbali is absolutely doing this.  I get nothing for hosting the party…so there are no incentives…other than the privilege of opening up our home, feeding you guys yummy food and drinks, laughing a ton and shopping incredible products created by incredible women in Swaziland, Africa.  Invite your friends and come shop until you drop.  There will be fun door prizes and a giant pile of free stuff as well!!

And fifth, let’s kick this week off right with the first Noonday giveaway.  Up for grabs first in the metric cuff.  No joke…zero exaggeration…I wear this bracelet almost every single day.  It goes with everything and is my favorite!!!

2 ways to enter:

1:  Leave a comment…any comment will do.  Maybe share something you’re looking forward to this week.

2.  Share this post via social media…Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, whatever suits your fancy.

Please leave a separate comment for each entry.

Winner will be announced tomorrow and the next giveaway will begin.  This is fun, right!?!?!?

Make sure you follow along on instagram too…I’m @pitterpatterart…to enter to win the Funky Paper Bead Bracelet.

 

Alright…that’s it.  Here’s to a great week.  It’s going to be a good one…I can just feel it.

Happy Monday!

**GIVEAWAY CLOSED**