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Be Kind to One Another

Story and Photos By Amanda Causey Baity

A saying made popular by Ellen DeGeneres, “Be Kind to One Another,” is something we should all adopt. While it can be hard during the holiday season…or while commuting in Northern Virginia traffic, being kind seems to have escaped us all. When I do encounter an act of kindness, I am so blown away that there are still amazing people who want to make this world a better place.

For years, my family has had a tradition of doing random acts of kindness leading up to the holidays. My children love being able to hand out small gifts or pay for the person behind us in line at the fast-food drive-thru. They turn and look behind at the surprise on people’s faces and giggle. That sound warms my heart and gets us all in the spirit of the season.

Last year, after several years of brainstorming, we created a card to go along with our acts of random
kindness to encourage others to pay it forward. Since my husband and I founded a nonprofit several
years ago that works with dogs, we decided to call our campaign B.A.R.K., or Baity Acts of Random
Kindness. When we do something nice, we attach a card, which sends people to a website where we have a custom message and video, challenging others to be kind along  with suggestions on ways they can give back for the holidays…or more importantly every day!

There are so many acts of kindness that can be done; the whole family can easily be involved. I have created 25 Acts of Random Kindness for Your Family printable that you can download at pwliving.com. Each day throughout the holiday, I will be sharing reminders and tips on my business Facebook page (facebook.com/amandabaityblog), so be sure to follow along and see how my family is participating.

Use the list as ideas…your acts should be random, after all.

A go-to is to keep $5 gift cards from your favorite coffee shop on hand to give out as the situation occurs. Here are a few of our favorite gift ideas to give; a recipe for my favorite cookies and a holiday ornament craft. Get the family involved in making something sweet to hand out, but as a tip I would include the ingredients on any food items in case there are dietary restrictions or food allergy concerns.

Wooden Chalkboard Medallion Ornaments
Supplies:
tree limb                                                  chalkboard paint
handsaw/jigsaw/table saw                    paintbrush
twine                                                         sanding paper
drill with small bit                                   chalk

Directions
Find a tree limb that is the width you prefer. Keep in mind larger sizes will not hang properly on a tree so keep it about three inches. Use your saw and slice as many pieces off that you would like. Always do a few more than needed just in case you mess up on something.

Get your sandpaper and sand the side you are going to paint just enough to get the grain of the wood smooth. Go ahead and drill a hole at the top portion…but not too close to the top, to prevent splitting or breaking.

Use chalkboard paint to create your surface. Allow it to dry 12-24 hours.

Prime your chalkboard surface by lightly running the chalk over the chalk paint area and then cleaning off with a dry/lightly damp cloth.

Run your twine through the drilled hole and tie. Create a custom design and include the piece of chalk with your gift. You can buy small gift bags at the dollar store and attach your note or card.

Easy Peanut Butter Cookies
I think I have shared this recipe before. It is so easy and delicious that I have to share it again!
Ingredients
1 egg
1 cup sugar
1 cup peanut butter (I use chunky peanut butter, but you can use creamy.)
Directions
Heat oven to 350°F.
Beat egg in large bowl with mixer until foamy. Add remaining ingredients; mix well.
Shape into one-inch balls. Place, two inches apart, on baking sheets. Flatten, in crisscross pattern, with tines of fork. Bake 10 min. or until lightly browned. Cool on baking sheets 1 min. Remove to wire racks; cool completely.

Amanda Causey Baity ([email protected]), Prince William Living’s director of operations and photo editor, also blogs about thrifty family activities on her blog GreenOwlCrafts.com.

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