10 Spring Random Acts of Kindness

In a world full of hatred and fear, let’s take every opportunity to spread a little love and kindness. Spring, along with every other season, is a wonderful time to do Random Acts of Kindness (R.A.K.). Today I would like to share with you 10 R.A.K.s tailored to this season.

spring R.A.K.

1. Leave sidewalk chalk messages

My neighbours did this just last week. We live in a university area and the students are all heading home for the summer. My neighbours wrote “goodbye” and “happy summer” messages to these students. They left the bucket of chalk out so that others walking by could also leave messages.

2. Clean up road-side litter

Somehow, people think that it is okay to litter in the winter time because the snow will hide their trash. But when the snow begins to melt away, the ditches start to look like a garbage dump. Old furniture, toilets, and many other large items can be found in the ditch once spring rolls around. Unfortunately not all of us are able to pick up the big stuff, but we can take time to gather the small trash like paper cups, beer bottles, and food wrappers.

3. Put flowers on a strangers grave

Many graves tend to go without flowers during the wintertime because it is just too difficult to trudge through the deep snow in the cemetery. Many people visit their loved ones’ graves in the spring (especially on Mother’s and Father’s Day). While taking flowers to your own families graves, why not take flowers to a grave that you notice doesn’t usually have flowers on it.

4. Volunteer to clean up a cemetery

We all know that when spring comes our yards sometimes look less than presentable. They can be covered with stray twigs or piles of leaves that blew into corners the previous fall. Even before the grass grows, it seems that weeds seem to sprout in the spring. A cemetery is no exception to this spring mess. This is an excellent time to volunteer to do some spring clean up. Many cemeteries have certain maintenance guidelines, so you might like to contact the caretaker for some advice. This could also be a great time to clean the tombstones, although extra care must be taken when doing this since many historic tombstones are very delicate. Read this article on Cleaning Gravestones for more information.

5. Help an elderly person clean up their yard

As I mentioned in the above point, spring can mean a messy yard. Why not help an elderly person with this task? Since spring is a lovely time to get outside anyway, why not take this opportunity to help someone else?

spring yard cleaning
Help an elderly person clean up their yard a spring R.A.K.

6. Send a special gift to your child’s teacher

Its the time of the year when everyone is feeling a little restless. The kids want to get outside and play. The teacher is ready for a holiday. In my own experience, I found spring to be the toughest time of the school year. Why not send a random gift to your child’s teacher as a way to encourage him/her?

7. Take fresh flowers to an elderly “shut-in”

Many elderly people are not able to get outside to enjoy the loveliness of the season. They would greatly appreciate a fresh bunch of tulips or daffodils that would help them celebrate spring.

take tulips to an elderly person
Take spring tulips to an elderly person as a spring R.A.K.

8. Pay for an extra scoop of ice cream for the person in line behind you

In my area, many ice cream shops close for the winter. When they reopen in the spring, we all flock to their door (even if it is still pretty cold outside). As a gesture of kindness, pay for an extra scoop of ice cream for the person behind you. Try to do it quietly so they don’t know until the get to the cash, and you have already exited.

9. Volunteer to sweep the parking lot of a local church or not-for-profit organization’s office

While we appreciate the use of sand on icy parking lots during the winter, when the ice and snow melt, the sand remains behind. Many churches and organizations can’t afford to hire a truck with a sweeper. It is often the pastor or a staff member who volunteers their own time to this task. Why not make their day by offering to do it for them?

10. Buy summer toys at the dollar store and give out to your friends and neighbours kids.

This might include bubbles, skipping ropes, frisbees, and sidewalk chalk. You might try giving them to strangers, but just be careful about approaching a strange child when their parents/guardians are not in close proximity.

summer toys
Give summer toys to kids as a spring R.A.K. (This little boy stole his sister’s Frisbee!)

I got so excited about this topic that I couldn’t make myself stop at ten. So here is a bonus one!

Give your umbrella to someone who doesn’t have one.

This could be an extra one you carry with you for this purpose (you can buy them at the dollar store). Or, you can truly be sacrificial and give away your own to an elderly person or someone who needs it more than you.

Doing spring R.A.K.s can be a great yearly family tradition. I’d love to hear some of your favourite spring R.A.K.s.

Happy spring!

Joanna

Spring Journal Prompts

I wonder how many of my readers keep a journal. While I don’t write in mine everyday, I find journal writing to be very therapeutic. Not only does it allow me to record my personal thoughts, it also works as an spring board for inspiration. You may have noticed that I missed posting last week. I admit the creative juices where running extremely low. Even though I had a topic in mind, I just couldn’t get my thoughts down on paper (or computer!). It was time to refocus. I did this by getting out my journal and writing down all the things that inspire me. I often do this when I am bored, lonely, or sad. My list might include the smell of fresh cut hay, the sound of a train whistle, the feel of a puppy’s furry head, the sight of a pink sunset, and the taste of my mother’s apple pie. As you can see, in this list I incorporate things that stimulate all of my senses. I also love to make these lists for each season by reflecting on how that particular season stimulates my senses and inspires me. This week in my journal, I am focusing on the spring season.

spring journal prompts

Now let me say that here in Canada, spring seems like it will never come this year. We still have traces of snow on the ground and there is basically no life showing from the trees and plants (although the crocuses have been faithful). However, in my spirit, I know that spring is not too far away, and so I have felt the need to start a series in my journal on the delights of springs. I thought I would share with you my list of spring journal prompts for one week.

Day 1: Sights of Spring

Day 2: Sounds of Spring (Not only does this include the sounds of nature, but for me, it also includes certain songs like This is My Father’s World.)

Day 3: Smells of Spring

Day 4: Tastes of Spring

Day 5: Textures of Spring

Day 6: Books of Spring (It seems that every season there are specific books that I enjoy reading. For instance, I always want to read Anne of Green Gables in the spring.)

Day 7: Activities of Spring (This is where you can list ways in which you can enjoy the things listed above. For example, a walk in the woods allows you to listen to the birds singing, feel the buds on the trees, and see the bright blue eggs in a Robin’s nest.)

Let me know in your comments, what your favourite spring journal prompts are and/or your answers to the prompts listed above.

Happy Spring!

Joanna

Peanut Butter Chocolate Easter Eggs

What says Easter more than chocolate? And what pairs with chocolate better than peanut butter? A few years ago, I found this recipe in the Country Woman magazine and couldn’t resist giving it a try. I was not disappointed. What a tasty, delightful treat these Peanut Butter Chocolate Easter Eggs proved to be. This is a great recipe to use with children. They will have a lot of fun decorating the finished product. These are the perfect Easter eggs since you get to “paint” them and eat them, too!

peanut butter chocolate easter eggs

INGREDIENTS

  • 3/4 cup creamy peanut butter
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2-1/3 cups confectioners’ sugar
  • 1 cup graham cracker crumbs
  • 1-1/2 cups dark chocolate chips
  • 2 tablespoons shortening
  • Confectioners’ sugar icing, optional

DIRECTIONS

In a large bowl, beat peanut butter, butter, and vanilla until well blended. Gradually beat in confectioners’ sugar and cracker crumbs. Shape mixture into 16 eggs;  place on wax paper-lined baking sheets. Refrigerate 30 minutes or until firm.

In a microwave, melt chocolate chips and shortening; stir until smooth. Dip eggs in chocolate mixture; allow excess to drip off..

Return eggs to baking sheets. Refrigerate 30 minutes.

If desired, decorate eggs with icing. Let stand until set. Store in airtight containers in refrigerator. Yield: 16 eggs.

Confectioners’ sugar icing: In a bowl, mix 2 cups confectioners’ sugar, 4 teaspoons corn syrup, 1 teaspoon almond extract and 1-2 tablespoons milk until smooth. Tint with paste food coloring if desired. Yield: 2/3 cup.
*I used gel food colouring tubes that I purchased at my local grocery store.
peanut butter chocolate easter eggs

The other fun thing I enjoyed about this recipe, was the chance to share with others. I enjoyed giving these away as gifts to elderly family members. No one is too old for a little Easter chocolate!

Happy baking and until next Saturday, God Bless,

Joanna

Spring Apartment Tour 2018

The official first day of spring is in just a few days. Even though we still have snow here in Canada, I have been working on making my apartment feel bright and fresh for the coming spring season. So, today, I am excited to participate in a YouTube challenge for Spring DIY and Decor. For this challenge, I am sharing my spring apartment tour.

spring apartment tour

Many of my decorations are DIY projects. If you’d like to see more about how to make these decorations, let me know in the comments below.

Hope you enjoy!

Happy spring and Easter!

Joanna

DIY Floral Challenge – Spring 2018

It might only be the middle of February, but I am starting to feel the call of spring. Here in Canada we are currently having a mild spell; the temperatures have risen, and instead of snowing, there is a gentle rain.  So, I got out my current spring decor to determine what changes I wanted to make and what other items I would like to create. I have learned that whenever I am crafting things, it is important to start early. Too often I have been trying to finish seasonal projects when that season is almost over. One of the projects I decided to make is a spring floral arrangement.

diy spring floral challenge

Recently, I was invited on YouTube to participate in a spring floral challenge. This challenge takes place on Monday, February 19. Make sure to look for the video then. In the meantime, I thought I would give you a quick peak at what I made.

spring floral
DIY Floral Challenge – Spring 2018

I really enjoyed the challenge and will post a link to this YouTube tutorial on Monday.

Until then, have happy spring thoughts!

Joanna

Tips for Beating Seasonal Affective Disorder (S.A.D.) – Part Three

Do you have problems with sleeping too much, eating too much, and losing interest in your favourite activities during the winter? You may be suffering with Seasonal Affective Disorder (S.A.D.). For the last two weeks, I have been posting tips I have found to be useful in helping to beat this disorder. If you didn’t read Part One and Part Two, be sure to read them now. Today’s post is my final one in this series, and I am sharing my last three tips with you.

tips for beating seasonal affective disorder

Grow things

When the outdoors is a blustery, white world, creating a green, garden-like setting indoors can be extremely soothing. This is why growing indoor plants can help alleviate the symptoms of S.A.D. Whether you choose to grow herbs, flowers, or “house plants,” all plants help to produce oxygen which is vital during a season when the windows and doors are closed and the heat is turned up. Tending plants also provides a type of therapy.

indoor plants beneficial to health
Growing indoor plants like ferns can be beneficial to your health

Pets are also another great way to beat S.A.D. They provide great company (I admit I used to talk to my dog all the time!). Knowing you have a pet to care for gives you a reason to get out of bed in the morning. A dog gives you a reason to get outside and get active as does chickens, horses, or other outside animals. Nurturing a living thing can be comforting and calming.

Stay connected

In a season when we are tempted to stay home instead of venturing out in the cold, we might begin to lose connection with friends and family. Communication and social involvement with others needs to be a priority during the winter for those who struggle with S.A.D. Sharing your feelings, laughing, and even crying with someone else, is a vital part of maintaining good mental health. “No man is an island” is most certainly true during the winter.

Be creative

Hobbies such as knitting, wood-carving, painting, quilting, and welding, provide wonderful creative outlets. Making something beautiful and/or useful from simple supplies, gives the feeling of accomplishment. It also creates a connection between the mind and hands. Keeping your hands busy can help keep your mind busy in a positive, useful direction. Creating things also allows for an outlet of our emotions. Something as simple as drawing a picture of how you feel can be a great form of therapy.

painting can bring comfort
Creative hobbies such as painting can bring comfort

I have found these tips to be extremely helpful in my own life, and I hope you have found them inspiring in your own struggle with S.A.D. As always, I want to encourage you to consult a doctor if your symptoms are debilitating or you have frequent thoughts of death or suicide.

Blessings,

Joanna