Five Kind Things to Do

Makayla

Meet MaKayla, our Kindness Elf

So our Kindess Elf arrived in the mail on Monday, December 1st #perfecttiming. I got her from Etsy (or a small island west of Norway – whichever you’d like to believe). Our elf’s name is MaKayla, and she’s pretty adorbs. A few things we’ve learned about her so far:

  • She loves mini marshmallows. Like a lot.
  • Her favorite stuffed animal in our house is Mr. Fluffers.
  • It’s okay to touch her – unlike Elf on the Shelf who apparently loses his magic and needs to be immediately sprinkled with cinnamon to reestablish his powers. #highmaintenance
  • She doesn’t mind listening to the same song on the piano over and over again. Maybe she’s actually a saint?

Here are the five ‘kind’ things we’ve done with our elf this week. If you’re lucky enough to have a kindness elf in your life these days, these might help with some ideas…

  1. Went around the dinner table and told each person what we like best about them
  2. Wrote letters to friends or family whom we haven’t seen in a long time
  3. Shared a bowl full of candy with some friends
  4. Made a list of “polite” words to try and use as often as we can
  5. Smiled at as many people as we could

I have to say, she’s been fun and hasn’t been too stressful adding into our Christmas traditions. In fact, she’s been pretty special to have around. Rumor has it she’s going to ask us if we want to make some dog toys for the local shelter this weekend. That MaKayla. Always thinking of others – including those with fur.

Have a super awesome weekend and be sure to check back next week for some creative ideas on teacher gifts! What’s your fave thing to give – besides gift cards?!

Fiveonfriday

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Handmade Pet Gifts

Rosie ChristmasThis week’s shout out goes to Rosie, my pet rabbit. We boarded her at the vet while we were out of town last week for Thanksgiving, and I really missed that fuzzy little friend of mine. She’s always well cared for at Dr. Lyon’s. In fact, they give her a private room away from the cats and dogs when she stays there. She’s pretty much the most spoiled rabbit in all the land, but I still missed taking care of her and seeing her sweet face every day.

If you have a pet of any kind, I know you totally understand. Pets have a way of making room in your heart. They’re always ready to snuggle or just sit and chill after a hectic day. They quickly become part of your family. So when it comes time for Christmas, I like to include Miss Rosie on the gift list.

With that said, I recently found some cute DIY pet gifts. While I don’t have a cat or dog (yet), some of my friends and family do, so I have a few ideas in here for them. A happy pet makes a happy owner, you know.

Here are a few of my top picks:

 Rope Toy for Dogs

This project just requires a few clean dish towels. I love the simplicity of this idea. I’m going to make a few of these for our local shelter.

If you and your family are looking for ways to give back to your community, call your local shelter to see what they need. Food is usually welcomed, but sometimes they just need a few extra hands to help wash blankets and socialize with the animals.

Food Tin for Dogs or Cats

Food Tin

Source: Tidy Mom

This goodie is inspired by Ballard Designs. I’m thinking you could use acrylic paint and stencils if you didn’t want to go the route of vinyl stickers. If you’re feeling extra generous, go ahead and fill the tin with some food or treats before gifting.

Feather Toy for Cats

Feather Cat Toy

Source: Martha Stewart

This toy uses felt that’s cut to look like feathers, but you could easily use real feathers from a craft store. We had a neighbor cat that would come to play on our front porch every now and then, and I discovered that a feather is to cats as One Direction is to teenage girls. They. go. crazy.

Treat Box for Rabbits, Hamsters or Guinea Pigs

Bunny Treat Box

Source: Bunny Approved

Kleenex has some of the prettiest tissue boxes right now. I might use one of those as the base. The picture pretty much stops here. I’m going to kick it up a notch by filling the paper tubes with timothy hay and making it a full-on treat box. I’ll wrap the whole thing with tissue paper, secure it with a cute twine bow, and boom – it’ll be fit for any furry friend big or small.

Store-bought treats

If you don’t have time to make anything, not to fret. Check out Three Dog Bakery out of Kansas City for the most amazing treats for dogs – and cats! Any of their items would make perfect stocking stuffers or gifts. I mean, who could resist a cup of Beg Nog? Beg Nog LatteIf you want some bun-bun treats, look no further than the Busy Bunny. Rosie will be getting several of these willow “candy” canes in her stocking this year.CandyCane

Here’s hoping your furry friends have the merriest of Christmases and a hip hoppin’ new year!

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Creative Tip: Take a Walk

Blessed are the Curious

“Blessed are the curious for they shall have adventures.” This darling print is available on Etsy.

The weather outside might be frightfully cold, but bundling up and taking a walk is a wonderful way to ignite your creativity and fresh thinking.

According to a research study at Stanford (I feel so smart just saying that), a person’s creative output increased by an average of 60 percent when walking versus sitting down. No wonder Beethoven was said to have taken long, solitary walks through the valleys of Vienna, and Henry Thoreau claimed that his thoughts began to flow ‘the moment my legs began to move.’

Taking things a step further (sorry for the pun), business innovator Nilofer Merchant delivered a TED talk where she suggests something called “walking meetings” to help ideas flow better.

Why walking works

There are several theories about how and why walking works so well for expanding creativity. Among them include the fact that exercising elevates your mood, which in turn helps open your mind to creative ideas.

Another thought is that walking requires you to take a break from the task at hand. Letting go of the need to produce something allows you to absorb information and ideas around you. This incubation period is easily activated by walking.

Although the exact reason still remains a mystery, research shows that you can boost your creative skills in as little as 10 minutes of walking each day. So why not lace up those tennies, grab your sketchbook and take a spin around the block? You never know where the path will lead you.

Step it UpWhat’s your favorite creative tip? Let me know and I might feature it in an upcoming post! Remember to use #CreativeTipTues on Instagram or Twitter, or tag me @Katejandersen.

Have a creative day!

-Kate

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Holiday Shopping Checklists {printables}

Well, it’s officially December. Time to get serious about Christmas shopping. We have T-minus 24 days and counting, peeps!

Mindy and I have so much in common. Shopping is my cardio, too!

Mindy and I have so much in common. Shopping is MY cardio, too!

I know it’s easy to get overwhelmed and over budget when you’re cruising through the mall or your favorite local shops. One helpful tip is to plan ahead. Sounds ridiculously simple, but it’s also easier said than done. It’s hard to walk past anything that’s more than 25% off. But if you want to respect your sanity, ask yourself, “Does anyone on my gift list really need that waffle iron?” If it’s a “no,” put down the box and step away from the deal.

The very best way to plan ahead is to make lists. I looooove making lists. So I created a couple of list templates to help make shopping easier. Consider it my little Christmas gift to you.

Gift PlannerThe first template is your planner. Think of it as your little personal shopper. You can write down all of the people you need to shop for, along with their clothing sizes, hobbies, favorite colors, etc. Once you map out your list, you can use this for your shopping. I put together a Sample Gift Planner so you can see how it looks filled out.

This template is available to download as a Word document* or PDF.

*Note: I created this on a Mac. If you’re on a PC, the formatting might need to be adjusted a bit. This version is great if you want to type directly into the document. You can email it to yourself and have it on your phone when you shop.

Shopping ListThe second template is more of a tracker. It’s a place to list your purchases and check off details, such as the cost, and if it’s been wrapped and delivered.

This is also available to download as a Word document or PDF.

I hope these are super helpful. Happy shopping and let me know how it goes out there. Remember to stay hydrated doing all that cardio.

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