Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Week 1: Food Pantry Donation

The Kindness Countdown is underway! 

For this first random act of kindness, my husband, our children and I had the idea to go to the grocery store to purchase $40 worth of food to donate to a local food pantry. 
On our way to the store, our muffler started making a very. loud. noise.  It has been a titch louder than normal and on our radar this past week; my husband and I have had discussions about looking under the van soon and the possibility of needing to take it in.  But suddenly, as I turned the key to start the van for the first Kindness Countdown adventure, we instantly knew that taking it in was now a necessity...a fact confirmed by each pedestrian who stared as we passed.

This loud noise and the (stressful) talk of needing to pay for a visit to a car repair shop provided the perfect opportunity to once again discuss the mission of the Kindness Countdown with our three children.  It went a little something like this:
We are not a family of great means...but we have more than many.  We work hard for every dollar we make and spend it wisely...and we will be responsible with the money we spend over the next 40 weeks to ensure we spread the kindness wide and reach as many people as we can.  Kindness certainly doesn't have to cost a cent, but we are blessed and want to give to others where we are able.

As we walked the aisles of the grocery store, we compared prices, read ingredients and selected items we thought would be healthy, tasty and satisfying.  When all was said and done we had spent $40.75 (we saved $23.83 thanks to in-store sales) and had purchased the following:
  • 3 containers of natural peanut butter
  • 4 jars of marinara sauce
  • 9 pounds of pasta
  • 7 boxes of macaroni and cheese
  • 5 pounds of rice
  • 5 cans of crushed tomatoes
  • 6 cans of vegetables

I smiled as my children happily picked out their favorite vegetables and shapes of pasta to donate.  I cheerfully began fielded excited questions (the moment the grocery bags were placed in the donation cart) on when/what the next act of kindness would be. And hearing my children say they are grateful for the fresh fruits and vegetables they're able to eat each day confirmed to me that while I started the Kindness Countdown to spread smiles, our family is also being blessed by giving.

We may have only just begun, but already I know this is going to be oh so much fun!

"We rise by lifting others."  - Robert Ingersoll

Monday, September 1, 2014


Hello!  My name is Shannon and I'm a 44 year old real estate agent and homeschooling mom of three children (August, Martha and Hazel), two dogs (Maude and George), and a small flock of chickens.

I had mixed feelings, 5 years ago, about turning 40. I wouldn't say I was feeling old (5 years later, I still don't), and I certainly wasn't dreading turning 40, but I'd be lying if I said I didn't feel different as that milestone approached. I think it was because I could clearly remember when my parents turned 40 (I won't lie, back then, 16 year old me thought it was a pretty huge number)...and I realized my own children were probably paying attention to everything I was doing at this "old" age as well.

As a result, I reflected upon the many trials and countless blessings of my 39 years, and decided to do something big as I approach turning 40 (on June 30, 2015)...something that I hoped would make many people smile.  And that something was the Kindness Countdown.

And so, I completed 40 random acts of kindness over the 40 weeks leading up to my birthday...for complete strangers (and a few people I knew) and documented them here to entertain and hopefully inspire others to spread kindness in their lives.

It was a lot of fun, and a pretty big success! The Kindness Countdown Facebook group has grown to over 750 people, all following along for the positive news articles I've continued to share there. It inspired my family and I to always keep an eye open for someone needing a helping hand, and a lot of the kind things we did over those 40 weeks have become family traditions and healthy habits.

And sooooooo....I'm doing it again!

Over the next 45 weeks, my family and I will once again be completing acts of kindness to countdown to my 45th birthday (June 30, 2020)! But this time it will be bigger and better...45 kind acts we can't wait to share!

I hope you'll follow along!

Like the Facebook page, and follow the Gilded.Living Instagram account to stay up-to-date via your feeds!

(And if you know of anyone looking to buy or sell a home in Wisconsin, give me a call (414.698.1747) or shoot me an email (sschultz@kw.com)!)