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

I still can't believe this happened!

Tuesday, April 21, 2020

Week 35: Paper Chain Countdown

Hello, all you cool cats and kittens!

Sorry, I couldn't help's a sign of the times and a subject the friend I'm about to mention and I've exchanged numerous texts about.

I never intended to write about what I'm about to for this week's Kindness Countdown blog post, but it's such a simple idea that my friend said meant a lot, and since the purpose of writing a blog about these acts of kindness each week is to hopefully encourage others to spread some love, I'm sharing it (but I'm keeping the details private).

I have a friend who's counting down to a big day. To help make the waiting a little bit more fun, I made her a paper chain and left it on her back door while she was at work.

I come from a long line of paper-chain makers/lovers. We made them for loads of things when I was growing up...and I've never really stopped.

I can't tell you how many times I've said, "I think I'll make a paper chain" or "You should make a paper chain" when talking with a friend for family member about something exciting and heard them laugh as though it was a joke.

You'd think, after almost 45 years, they'd understand I take excitement, joy, and anticipation quite seriously, that I'd never joke about something as serious as a paper chain, but alas, here we are. Hopefully reading this in black and white will erase all confusion, set the record straight, and garner paper chains everywhere with the respect they've long deserved! ;)

Do you know someone looking forward to something special? Maybe a big birthday? An anniversary? The start of a new job? A family reunion or house closing? An extra-special concert? The end of quarantine? I kid, kind of...

Surprise them with a paper chain!

It's such a simple thing to do, and according to my friend brings upon a smile and is "incredibly thoughtful."

Spread the love! Share in the joy! Make them smile!

Thursday, April 16, 2020

Week 34: A Cup of Calm

It's Kindness Countdown Week 34 and Week 5 of the COVID-19 Quarantine. I am missing my people.

One of the groups I'm missing most are my gym pals. I'm not sure if it's because they were brought into my life at a significant time, if it's because they motivate me to be my best (in more areas than just physical fitness), or if it's just because they're all awesome people (actually I do's all 3!), but I find myself missing them even more than Trader Joe's, and that's saying something! 

Because my gym is located in close proximity to two hospitals, quite a few of my favorite people are healthcare professionals, many of them doctors and nurses in the emergency department. As much as I'm missing my normal life, I'm thinking they wish things could go back to pre-coronavirus a million times more. 

They're the ones taking care of those we're all avoiding with our masks and gloves (keep it up!), they're working insanely long shifts and changing clothes in their garages with the virus exposure at work in the backs of their minds when hugging family members. And you know what? I haven't heard any of them complain.

They are rock stars. 

Deservedly, this week's activity is for them. 

In an attempt to express a fraction of our gratitude, I traced my youngest and then my kids and I decorated this sign for them, packed up a few dozen bags of Bigelow chamomile tea, and shipped it all off to our nearby ER.

Please continue to keep all of them and the countless others on the front lines in your thoughts and prayers. Together-apart is the only way we'll all be able to get back the lives AND PEOPLE we're missing so much. 

Stay safe!

Sunday, April 5, 2020

Week 33: Quarantine Care Kits

Do those of you quarantined in warm places, with views of palm trees, have any idea how good you have it? There are people, like me, who were cooped up indoors for FIVE MONTHS prior to their stay at home orders...and just as the weather inched above freezing, were told to remain indoors.

If you live someplace warm, if you have a view of a mountain, a backyard pool, or sunshine out your window more often than not, take a moment to appreciate it. (:

Here in Wisconsin, the weather is *finally* cooperating. Not only did it hit 50 degrees today, but the sun was shining! It was a great day for me to don some plastic gloves and get to work on this week's Kindness Countdown activity: leaving quarantine care kits on 100 of my neighbor's front doors.

I placed an Amazon order for plastic hanging bags, individually wrapped bags of calming chamomile tea for my neighbors to enjoy today, and packets of flower seeds to look forward to planting when the temperatures rise and then created a note of encouragement.

I included where I live "in the blue house with the big gas station numbers and the Green Bay Boneyard in the front yard (see photo below) during football season" and contact info and told them not to hesitate to reach out if they need anything during this time of social distancing...and to stop by to catch up once this was all over.

It was nice to chat with a few (from a safe distance) and amazing to hear shouts of thanks from across the street as neighbors returned to their homes from walks and bike rides. We promised to take care of ourselves and to get together once this is all over.

I'm really looking forward to it!

(Here is the Green Bay Boneyard I mentioned above. I make a tombstone for each team the Packers beat each season. Go Pack Go!)

Wednesday, April 1, 2020

Week 32: Crafting Kindness

The Kindness Countdown, like the rest of the world, is under quarantine. And while I'm sad a handful of the activities I was planning on doing in the 13 remaining weeks will no longer be possible, the world needs more kindness than ever, and I'm excited to get creative and keep spreading smiles from the safety of my home. (And look forward to doing those other activities at a later, safer date!)

This week, my daughters and I made bracelets for some special ladies, both young and old, in our lives. 

We got the idea for this Perler Bead craft from my favorite blog, HonestlyWTF. We personalized each bracelet with the recipient's name (or nickname) and added their favorite colors or a mix of ones we thought fit their personality. 

I wrote out positive notes and popped each bracelet in the mail on Monday...a few of them have been received and I'm happy to report that they were nice surprises that brought smiles to their recipient's faces. Mission accomplished!

I've already started on this week's activity and am excited to share it all with you over the weekend! 

Stay tuned, stay home, and stay healthy!

Wishing you all well!