In November, we donated all of our trick-or-treat for UNICEF money via Coinstar. We had been collecting change in our UNICEF boxes since mid-September and our boxes even traveled with us to Fall Festivas (where we were bestowed with a bag of quarters from Uch's boyfriend Kevin (hi, Kevin - thank you!). Much of the money was collected from Dadda's pockets and the bottom of Mumma's purse too, but overall we were able to collect over $19 dollars (in mostly change - so we consider that a big -and heavy- deal).
We talked to Greyson about how we were keeping money in the boxes for "kids" and some ways that the money might help "the kids." UNICEF understands how to get children to understand the concept, so they already include little graphics of different ways the money is used - so when someone would put change in Grey's UNICEF box, he would say, "Thank you. Maybe the kids will go to school now." or "The kids are going to get medicine!"
And then for the third time, in December, we 'adopted' a family for the holidays through the Salvation Army. This was the first year that our adopt-a-family had little girls. Brandon was totally bumbling through the princess and pink aisles at Toys R Us with this glazed look in his eye. It was good practice for him though as our Gem is well on our ways to dolls and dress-up. We were able to get the girls toys, clothes, hats/gloves, and (like I always get- like a total momma), pajamas & socks. We love this task too because it gives us a chance to talk to the kids about being on 'Santa's team.'
This is Brandon's #1 favorite act of kindness out of the whole year. Even though he had no idea what to buy little girls - he still loves waking up on Christmas morning and knowing that somewhere in our town there are kids waking up to surprises that they might not otherwise have been able to receive. To know that there are smiles on the faces of two little girls somewhere makes our Christmas morning even better.
Now for our debut of our 2013 12Months of Kindness Project list! We are making an effort to keep it a little more local this year with our 12 Months of Kindness - so in case you are curious - here is what our year ahead looks like:
January: Local EMS Membership & Donation
February: Ask grandparents (kids' GREAT grandparents) out for a date
March: bake cookies & deliver thank yous to the local fire department
April: Grey's choice of a donation gift for his birthday at oxfam America Unwrapped
May: 5th annual CV Studer Scholarship (to a high school senior at our alma mater)
June: Donation of goods to the local humane society
July: 5th Annual Studer's Invitational Beer Olympics
August: Serve food at the local Soup Kitchen (and provide birthday cake! - my 30th birthday!)
September: Donor's Choose
October: trick-or-treat for UNICEF
November CV Alumni Turkey Bowl
December: Adopt-a-family with Salvation Army
I also have a big announcement to make: I have opened up a new blog - solely dedicated to our 12 Months of Kindness Project! You can visit it here: 12MoK Project (and feel free to follow too)!
When my blog went big last year because of the 25 Rules post - I was secretly hoping that folks would linger around and discover our 12MoK and be inspired on their own to jump on the bandwagon. And I did hear from a few readers out there (hello!) that they were going to try to do 12MoK with their own families. But it just didn't get the traffic that we believe it deserves. So inspired by Robin (again) from The Birthday Project when I did 29 acts of kindness for my 29th birthday (she started a blog solely dedicated to the Bday project) - I set up a 12MoK Project blog all its own.
I'm hoping to use the blog to be able to do highlights of readers' own stories of kindness and gratitude and also go into more depth on some of the various acts of kindness that we have done (and are doing in the past). I am always on the lookout for inspirational stories and ideas - so my guess is that there are other mommas and women (and dudes too) out there looking for the same sort of thing and how to incorporate generosity and kindness into their lives. It will be a blog in progress and a blog that will hopefully grow and adapt from the response of readers. I am looking forward to adding more resources and tips and tricks to implementing kindness into our daily lives and the way our family enjoys life :)
You will still get updates about our 12MoK tasks over here (personal tidbits), but if you're interested in participating in the 12 Months of Kindness Project with your own family (or on your own!) head over to the new blog and check it out or email me pictures, stories, and ideas so that I can highlight you and your kindness to others. Thanks for your support! I'm really excited about it!!