Thursday, June 4, 2020

Week 41: Focusing on My Family


This week's Kindness Countdown activity took my daughters and I on an adventure, and finally got us out of Wisconsin (three trips to visit family have been cancelled so far this year...this is the longest I've ever stayed so close to home).

You may recall back in Week 30, our family rescued a chicken who had stopped laying and was going to be "used" a different way on an active farm. This week, our family grew once again as I turned my focus for kindness onto my daughters (and some drivers behind us on our journey): we adopted two guinea pigs!

My daughters are very responsible and have taken over the majority of caring for our chickens in the past year. So when my youngest found a pair of guinea pigs in Michigan back in March, during the first week of quarantine, I paid attention and opened my heart to their request to adopt them (despite my fairly firm No Rodent policy).

After a month of walking past an adorable picture of those two fuzzy friends my girls continuously left up on our desktop monitor, after they put together a presentation, complete with facts, a budget, and answers to all of the questions I asked, I said we could contact the rescue to collect some more information.


We were told the guinea pigs had been bounced around quite a bit in their short lives and were looking for their forever home. My daughters loved that they were a rare Swiss breed with longer hair they could care for. I loved that the sparkle that had started to fade with all of their cancelled 2020 plans once again shown bright whenever they talked about adopting them.

I eventually said yes.

Monday morning, my girls and I drove a few hours to New Buffalo, Michigan to meet up with the guinea pigs' foster mom.

If you've ever driven through Illinois and Indiana, you know that paying tolls plays a major part in roadtrips. Kindness Countdown Bonus: On this trip, whenever there was an employee in a tollbox, I paid double and asked them to comp the car behind me. It's always nice to see smiles in other cars on the road. (:

We arrived in town early so we could spend some time at the beach and explore the cute streets of New Buffalo (pro tip: get a fresh strawberry shake from Nancy's if you ever find yourself nearby).


And then we made our way to the meet-up place and met our new family members...and oh, how big my daughters smiled! Which made me smile!

Our drive home was full of more double-paid tolls, lots of thank yous from my girls, commentary on every move made by the guinea pigs (who they have since named Pepper and Spinach), plans for introducing them to their new cage, making toys, and growing vegetables to feed them for snacks.

Everyone is settling in pretty well. The girls are spending lots of time bonding with their new pets who are receiving no shortage of love. My daughters have something positive to focus on that won't be cancelled.

And the sparkle in their eyes is shining bright. <3

Thursday, May 28, 2020

Week 40: Keep On Keeping On


Wow, it's week 40! Only 5 more weeks to go...I'm in the home stretch (literally. at home.).

I thought, since we're starting to see the end of this little project come in sight (for this round anyway, I have future plans rolling around this aging head-o-mine), I'd spend this week focusing on positivity for the future and share one of my favorite things I've discovered this week.

I'm a big Green Bay Packers fan. Actually, a HUGE Packers fan. I'm the person people tag in Packers articles, call with Packers news, and text during games (but there is a very short list of people I text back while the clock is still running, I'm usually too busy high-fiving my family or people near our seats inside Lambeau).

Fun Fact: I was a finalist for the Aaron Rodgers episode of Jimmy Kimmel's show Big Fan a few years ago, but sadly, didn't make the final cut. I would have studied my butt off to have won an opportunity to toss a football around with Rodgers (Aaron, if you're reading this, call me...it would be the BEST birthday gift ever!).

OK, I'm off track. See, this is what happens when I get talking about the Packers. Now, where was I? Kindness-Packers-Community Campaign, that's right...

So, I was on the Packers Pro Shop looking around last week and noticed some colorful, positive, inclusive merchandise. I clicked on the link and voila, I was in love!


The Keep On campaign was started to inspire hope for people all across Wisconsin during this crazy time in our history.
"Help us encourage everyone in our communities to Keep On doing all the right and good things. Keep On staying safe. Keep On supporting one another. We're all in this together. Let's Keep On Wisconsin."
All of the items are really reasonably-priced, being sold at cost, and the yard signs are FREE!

I bought my kids t-shirts, myself a pin for my jean jacket, a set of postcards to mail to friends and family, and I ordered 3 yard signs (one for my house and the other two for my parents and brothers' houses).

Join me in spreading some joy across Wisconsin! Order a free yard sign to make your neighbors smile, a pack of postcards to snail mail to a loved one, and a t-shirt to cheer yourself up. You deserve it!

Keep On keeping on, everyone! We're in this together, and together we can do ANYTHING!

Tuesday, May 19, 2020

Week 39: Surprise Snail Mail


Dear Reader,

Life here in Wisconsin is picking back up. My husband has returned to work, my kids' school is in the home stretch, and my real estate practice is getting increasingly busier as the Spring market has finally arrived (although inventory is low...if you know of anyone in Wisconsin looking to move, send them my way, I have buyers who need houses! 😉)

I know I'm not the only one feeling an increase in to-dos and (places) to-be. This is why I decided to carve out time to surprise special people in my life with some snail mail in hopes of brightening their days as their schedules fill up.

The recipients of my letters spread across all areas of my life, to a friend of 30 years, a mentor I have today, special family members, and more.


I thanked all of my pen pals for the meaningful role they play in my life, I expressed how much I appreciate their unique qualities and talents, and I told them I was rooting for them, their health and happiness.

Writing letters is such a simple thing to do but I know from experience that the ones I've been lucky enough to receive have had a huge impact on me the day they arrived, as well as every other time I've stumbled upon them (I keep them all)!

Who in your life could use a pick-me-up?
Who has played an important role?
Who are you grateful for?

Why not write and tell them?

Sincerely,
Shannon

Saturday, May 9, 2020

Week 38: Signs of the Times


What a time to be alive!

Never did I ever think I'd see my children wearing masks outside of a hospital during flu season.

Never did I ever think I'd be excited to find someone to make matching masks for my daughters and me in Rifle Paper Co. floral fabric.

Never did I ever think I'd be crafting encouraging mask signs.

But here we are.


This week, I painted a half-dozen signs* with a positive message to hang up around my town in hopes of making people smile behind the masks they're wearing to keep our community safe.

I painted them on the back of cereal and snack boxes and then sprayed them with a protectant coating to guard against precipitation (it's May and I wish I could have said "rain" there, but alas, it's Wisconsin and it snowed yesterday and may again tomorrow).

I hung the posters up outside of a couple of restaurants that take window order, on a tree in a park where people exercise, and downtown where lots of families are taking nightly strolls.


I hope the signs provide a boost of encouragement for people to continue wearing their masks (peer pressure is real).

I hope it makes people happy who are hiding their smiles for a while.

I hope everyone continues to care for one another in all of the creative and compassionate ways I've witnessed each day of this surreal season of our lives.

What a time to be alive!

* - Sign design is based off of a photograph someone took and shared online while out on a walk in California. (:



This week's Kindness Countdown activity was photographed and videotaped by the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel for an article they'll soon be running on my little project. I'll share the link when it becomes available! 

Saturday, May 2, 2020

Week 37: May Day Baskets


I was a little girl growing up on the south side of Milwaukee in the 70s and 80s, where May Day was celebrated...at least it was in my family. My mom had us put together baskets of goodies, set them on our neighbor's front steps, ring their doorbells, and run!

Seeing as we're currently social distancing, I thought this would be the perfect year to bring back the tradition of May Day baskets (but not the Maypole...I never understood what that was all about).


My kids and I crafted glittered butterfly cards, cut a half-dozen daffodils from our yard, and assembled some of our hen's fresh eggs in cartons, safely loaded it all in a basket, and walked down our block dropping goodies off on our neighbor's stoops. 

Although our intentions were to "ding dong ditch," we were happy to be caught in the act a couple of times and enjoyed the chats with our neighbors.


It doesn't need to be a special day and you don't have to drop off anything big...however you let your neighbors know, they'll appreciate you thinking of them and wishing them well. 

Hopefully we can all do that in person, complete with hugs and cookouts and such SOON!

Monday, April 27, 2020

Week 36: BOGO Masks


For Kindness Countdown week 36, in an effort to protect my family, along with the doctors and nurses working with the COVID-19 patients in hospitals, I purchased masks from a few generous resources I'd like to bring to your attention.

I bought two denim masks from Food52 and Ft. Lonesome, who are both donating a mask to a frontline worker with each mask purchased. (I love anything denim!)

I also purchased five cotton masks for everyone in my family from a local tactile crafter, annachorism (on Instagram), who is using the profits from the masks she sells to purchase materials to make masks to donate to area hospitals. All five of us love the fabrics we chose, they're really comfortable, and easy to clean!

Times have changed and I don't foresee the need to sport a mask leaving us anytime soon. If you're going to purchase a few to have on hand, why not help others while purchasing quality products to keep you and your family safe?

It's a win-win!
The gorgeous mural behind me is the work of uber talented Milwaukee artist, Mauricio Ramirez, and is titled Frontline Heroes. It's located at 600 W. Lincoln Avenue. 

Sunday, April 26, 2020

Kindness Countdown in Real Simple


I still can't believe this happened!

A few days ago, I clicked on a DM notification in Instagram and saw a message from an editor at Real Simple who had seen the Kindness Countdown project in her feed. She asked if she could ask me some questions and write an article. 

Ummmm, I obviously said YES!

Fast forward 24 hours, and the article was live on their sit. 

Read all about why I started the project, a bit about my daily life, how I've switched things up since the pandemic hit, what future plans hold, and more. 

I tell ya what...you wake up in the morning and you just don't know what the day will bring.

I still can't believe this happened!