Sunday, November 27, 2011

Week One of Advent - Giving Quest

I took this picture today after church - I love my happy kids!!!
Last night, we began to get out our Christmas decorations - they all had fun helping me decorate and playing with everything!

As I mentioned in my last blog post, we are planning an Advent season full of giving. We have been printing labels and cutting today, thanks to Colby and Abigail. Tomorrow, my mom is coming over and together with my kids we are going to put together some of the things we will be giving away.

Our first Random Act of Kindness is planned for this coming Tuesday afternoon. Tomorrow, we are going to put quarters on the four corners of the card below.
Then, on Tuesday, we will take these cards to a local laundrymat or two and hand them out to people there. I hope there's going to be lots of people washing their clothes after the Thanksgiving break so each of my kids can bless at least one person! I know $1 will not even pay for a load to be washed or dried, but hopefully it WILL bless that person's day & my child's heart in giving something away.

Here's a few other projects we will be assembling tomorrow:
We will be attaching the Christmas story printed below to M&M candy wrappers. I found this story through pintrest and it led me to this site.
We will also be attaching the Legend of the Candy Cane story below to candy canes. I found this cute printable thru pintrest too & it led me to this site.
We are going to hand out the M&Ms and the candy canes at nursing homes and the mall later this month.

I've planned two specific givings each week of Advent. I will be highlighting our plans here each week. I also have a list of other things we can do during the week, depending on where we are. I will have the small cards to explain what we are doing in my purse so I can hand these out as we do something!

These things are:
Grocery Store - buy a gift card and hand it to the person checking out behind me.
Grocery Store - buy a package of gum & give it to the checkout clerk
Grocery Store - buy a coffee or hot chocolate & give it to the Salvation Army bell ringer when leaving the store
Restaurants - hand out coupons that I have or small gift cards before leaving restaurant
Restaurants - Leave a small gift for waiter/waitress
Drive-Thru Restaurant - pay for person behind me in line

Next week, I'll report back with our progress of this week & give the coming week's plan! I hope you will join us on this Advent Giving Quest! Let me know what you and your family have done or are planning on doing!!

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Advent Plan - Random Acts of Kindness

This Advent, I am planning on performing Random Acts of Kindness with my children. I have been searching the internet and Pintrest to find neat ideas. I thought I would compile my list here & would love to add any ideas you may have!

I found this great post about this family's experience with Advent Random Acts of Kindness for last year and am modeling our plan after their's. I ordered cards to put with each of our gifts from when they had their awesome 80% off sale a few weeks ago :-)

On the inside of the card it says:
"Random Acts of Christmas Kindness - You'ved Been RACK'ed"
"This Advent, we are celebrating the true meaning of Christmas by performing Random Acts of Kindness. You are a child of God and we pray you find His blessings this Christmas season."

Here's another blog post I found with lots of great ideas - it was a woman celebrating her 38th birthday by doing 38 Random Acts of Kindness!

During the Advent & Christmas season, it is easy to be self-centered. I hope by blessing others with these random acts of kindness, my children will focus more on how we can help and give to others, rather than what they want to receive for Christmas.

Taping coins on vending machines - toys, snacks, or sodas
Single dollars in toy aisle of dollar store
Candy canes at ATM machines
Hand out $5 Starbucks gift cards at mall
Coloring books & crayons in a waiting room
Donate items to food bank, homeless shelter, etc.
Hand out mylar balloons to children shopping with their parents at mall
Handwritten letter to old friend or family member
Buy gift card at checkout of grocery store & give it to person behind you before leaving
Give gift card or coupon to table at restaurant (good way to use freebie or discount coupons for restaurants)
Read a story to children at book store or library
In drive thru line, pay for person's meal behind you (give cashier the card to give to them)
Make a meal (double your evening's recipe) for a friend or loved one
Giving someone on the street corner a bag with bottled water & granola bars
Take a set of holiday books & leave at the mall play area
Get an angel from an angel tree & buy the needs & wants for the child or person in need
Buy hot cocoa or coffee for a Salvation Army bell ringer
Buy a package of gum or mints for checkout clerk at grocery or convenience clerk
Hand out flowers to random people
Leave a basket of Christmas gifts on doorstep of family in need
Leave note & candy canes on cars in parking lots
Take a bunch of quarters to the laundromat & give them away
Take a roll of pennies or other coins & drop them all over a playground for kids to find

People to bless with small gifts:
Police Officers
Teachers - school, Sunday school, coaches, activity leaders, etc.
Health care professionals
Service people working outside (hot donuts!)
Nursing Homes - gifts, cards or caroling

Small gift ideas:
small amt gift cards
cookies or candy
Here's a few blog posts with good ideas for small gifts:30 Neighbor Gift Ideas and Gifts from Your Kitchen

So, this is our plan!!! We will begin Monday, November 28th, the 2nd day of Advent. To keep us accountable, I am planning on blogging as I can on our progress! I am also wanting to get a tree where we could tie to it all of the blessings and random acts of kindness that we have done throughout the season. I am copying this blog by also planning to pray during our evening prayers for the people that we met or blessed that day.

I invite you to join with us in this project! Please comment with additional ideas of things you can do or have done. Have fun spreading the love of Christ with others!

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Peanut Butter Power Balls

A few years ago, I was searching the internet to find ideas to pack for the kid's lunch. I came across the recipe for Peanut Butter Power Balls. They quickly became a favorite for my kid's for lunch, snack or anytime!

Here's the original recipe:
1 c peanut butter
1/2 c non-fat milk powder or soy protein powder
1/2 c raisins or chocolate chips
1/4 c honey
Graham cracker crumbs

I've amended it to:
1 c creamy peanut butter
1/2 c non-fat milk powder
1/4 c mini chocolate chips
1/4 c quick cooking oats
1/4 c honey
1 t flaxseed meal
Graham cracker crumbs

Mix all ingredients except graham cracker crumbs in large bowl. Shape mixture into 1-inch balls. Roll in crumbs & refrigerate or freeze.

I usually make this recipe times 5, so I can use an entire 40 oz jar of peanut butter! It makes enough to fill a large tupperware to keep in the fridge & the remaining in a ziploc in the freezer. We just made them this morning & it made 85 balls.
I usually get everything mixed up & then whichever of my kids are around, they help me roll them in the graham cracker crumbs. It's a fun activity & great snack!

Friday, November 4, 2011

Five Little Pumpkins

Five Little Pumpkins sitting on a gate,
The first one said, "Oh my, it's getting late!"
The second one said, "There are witches in the air."
The third one said, "But we don't care"
The fourth one said, "Let's run and run and run"
The fifth one said, I'm ready for some fun!"
OO went the wind and out went the light
and the Five Little Pumpkins rolled out of sight.