25 Days of Giving

christmas!

The Christmas season really is the most wonderful time of the year for me. Seeing all the Christmas lights and decorations puts me in such a great mood that I can’t help but spread that mood to others. This year especially, I’m in the giving spirit, so I thought it would be fun to do a series on 25 days of giving.

Day 1

Today I took my car in for a diagnostic test since my check engine light decided to come on right before Thanksgiving. There are a couple of places I hate in this world, that’s: hospitals, hotels, libraries (don’t ask), and the mechanics. Every time I go to the mechanics they tell me something I don’t want to hear and I can’t help but feel like they make up work to be done that never really needed to be fixed at that time. But I have a new mechanic that I truly trust now and I knew he wouldn’t sell me something just to line his pockets. So as I sat in the waiting area, I decided that today I would give everyone the gift of patience (which is really hard for me because I’m not a patient person). I just sat there and truly waited, not anxious, not ready to get things over with, just waited to see what was wrong with my car and what they could do to fix it. In the end, my patience did not solve my car trouble, I left with a list of things that need to be fixed and a pretty large bill to match it if I decide to get the work done at that shop. But what my patience did get me  was a little less stress in my life, the mechanic even told me that’d he’d talk to me outside of the shop to discuss my other options. And with that, I’m at peace. I know in my heart that everything will work itself out, I’ve just got to wait for it… I think the gift of patience is one that keeps on giving.

patience

Day 2

Today is my best friend (aka my wife) Jennifer’s birthday. She lives in New York and I live in Delaware, so I’m not able to see her as often as I’d like. I’m usually not able to spend her birthday with her since it always falls so close to Thanksgiving and I almost always travel for the holiday, but I always want to celebrate with her, so I needed to find a way that I couldn’t celebrate her birthday even though I’m miles away. This year, I decided to use Day Two of my 25 Days of Giving to celebrate my awesome and wonderful friend. I know that one of her favorite meals is chicken parmigiana, so I took advantage of Seamless.com, a website that connects you to restaurants that deliver in your area,  and ordered a surprise birthday lunch for my friend. I was even able to throw in a chocolate chip cookie as dessert. She loved it so much and even posted a status on Facebook about how even “distance could not come between us”. I’m so glad that I was able to put a smile on my friend’s face for her birthday. Even though I’m not always physically there, I always have her in mind and I’m so glad that I could do something to make her birthday special. Day 2 is the gift of celebration. Happy birthday Jennifer!

 


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Day 3

I got my wisdom teeth removed today and honestly, it wasn’t that bad. I wasn’t put to sleep for the procedure, but I didn’t feel a thing and it was over before I knew it. When I was done, my fiance picked me up and drove me to the pharmacy to get my prescription filled. When we got home, I felt like the novocane was beginning to wear off so I knew I needed to get something in my stomach so that I could take my pain relievers. My fiance made me a smoothie bowl since I’m not able to eat solid foods or use a straw to drink from, and he portioned out my pain reliever and antibiotics I was prescribed and had it ready for me. After I ate and took my meds, I got in bed and brought me an ice pack to put on my swollen cheeks. Although getting extractions are not the most pleasant thing to do, I went into it with the mindset to make the best of it. I started to feel a little pain throughout the day but I tried not to complain and just get through the day. I could have made today a terrible experience by just having a negative attitude, but I chose to do the opposite. Today, I chose to give the gift of peace.

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Day 4

I’m still healing from my wisdom teeth extractions. I’m so thankful that my fiance was able to spend the day with me yesterday, but today, he had to go back to work. My symptoms got a little worse today, because the pain meds have been making me sick. My future mother in law called to check on me and suggested I get some saltines and ginger ale to settle my stomach. At that point, I was home alone and didn’t think it was the best idea to drive anywhere, but I knew her idea was a good one, so I got dressed and walked. Delaware is not a walk friendly state. We hardly have sidewalks, and sometimes the sidewalks we do have end without warning. But there was no one else available to help, so I had to take care of myself. The fresh air was nice and the trip didn’t take that long. I’m so glad I went ahead and walked to the store, despite feeling sick, since the ginger ale and saltines really helped settle my stomach. Today, I was the one who needed a gift from myself. I spent much of the day alone and in need of something, whether it was food or medicine. Giving to others is great, but sometimes, we need to appreciate what we do for ourselves. Today I gave the gift of independence to none other than myself.

 

Day 5

Today we got into the Christmas spirit and decorated our apartment and balcony. It really brings joy to my heart to see Christmas decorations and our complex even has a competition every year where the household who has the best decorated balcony could win $100 off there rent. So many of the residents in our complex don’t participate and I think it’s kind of sad, not only would decorating be fun and nice to see for the people who live in the home, but it’s also a great thing to do for the children in the neighborhood. Every year, my fiance and I get into the Christmas spirit and decorate our home and balcony. This year, was no different, today we gave the gift of Christmas cheer to our community with decorations for all to enjoy.

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Day 6

I’ve been sick all day today. I’m still healing from getting my wisdom teeth removed and my stomach is still super upset. Unfortunately, I couldn’t waste the day and stay in bed because Sunday is my household’s only day to go grocery shopping. Because my fiance and I have such different schedules, we only have the weekends to get important things done and its way too difficult for me to go grocery shopping and bring all the bags in by myself. So despite still not feeling well, I had to pick myself up and get on with things. I’ve gotten into couponing a bit since my mom showed me how she’s been couponing over the Thanksgiving break, so I gathered all my coupons, made my list, and mapped out the different stores we’d be shopping at. One of the stores we stopped at was Walgreens. I had a bunch of coupons I wanted to use at the store but one of the coupons didn’t ring up properly and the cashier had to erase a bunch of things and start all over. I felt bad that she needed to redo everything and partially responsible since I hadn’t separate everything as well as I could have, so I apologized to her, but her response shocked me. She said “it’s no problem at all. At least you’ve been nice to me. The other costumers I’ve worked with today haven’t been so nice”. I was really thrown off by her comment since I didn’t feel like I had treated her with exceptional kindness, just the normal respect that I’d give any person. It made me realize how mistreated people are in their everyday lives and how much more important my normal kindness is. Even on one of my worst days, when I was feeling sick to my stomach, I was still able to give a gift. Today, I gave the gift of kindness.

 

Day 7 & 8

I’ve gotten my friends into couponing. Yesterday, I was telling my co-worker, who also happens to be my friend and bridesmaid, about my awesome deals I got through couponing. I explained how the sales were working this week and what she would need to do to get some deals of her own. I could see the wheels turning in her head, but she wasn’t able to take the leap until I gave her an extra push today. When she told me she would be going grocery shopping after work, I whipped out my coupon folder and handed her some coupons that would come in handy. That’s when she got into it, I helped her download the store’s app and off she went. She began clipping digital coupons and adding them to her rewards card. I can’t wait to hear how it all went when we speak again at work tomorrow. Couponing is not just a great way to save money, but it can also be a fun thing to do if you get into it. Its kind of like a puzzle, Haha. Day 7, I gave my friend the gift of inspiration to get her thinking about the money she could save, and with the gift of coupons I was able to give her today on day 8, she’ll be saving big in no time.

To get your fix of couponing, be sure to download your favorite store’s mobile app. I shop at shoprite for groceries and CVS or Walgreens for household needs. All of those store apps have great coupons that you can clip and save right in the app. In addittion, I like to visit coupons.com to find coupons to the items I’m planning to buy. The best way to get the most bang for your buck is to use coupons on items that are already on sale. Happy couponing!

 

Day 9

Today was nothing out of the ordinary. I went to work, came home, watched a little Youtube like I always do, then prepared to make dinner. I haven’t really been interested in the show Empire this season, so Wednesdays are one of the only days during the work week that I’m not glued to the TV screen. That means on Wednesdays I have more time to spend in the kitchen. Today, I made one of our favorite meals: lasagna rollups. It’s a recipe I found on pinterest, you can find it here. We love the ease that the roll up style brings to serving and eating the dish. Not to mention, lasagna is just delicious to eat to begin with 🙂 Today was the gift of a good meal. Bon Appétit!

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Day 10

My coworker/friend/bridesmaid and I text each other about food all of the time. We love sharing recipes and showing each other our creations. Yesterday, she texted me a picture of the hasselbeck apple dessert she made (from a bag of apples she got using the coupons I gave her, shout out to day 8), to which I responded with a picture of my lasagna rollups. She then text me back and told me that I “won”, so I offered to bring her some for lunch. No big deal, today I gave the gift of lunch to a friend.

 

Day 11

Today we had some friends over for a double date night in. Some college friends of ours just moved nearby, so we thought it would be great to catch up. We played heads up, the game Ellen  Degeneres produced, ate pizza and enjoyed the night in. My fiance and I don’t have a lot of other couples to hang out with in our area so it was awesome to be able to double date again. Everyone had such a great time that it was 1 am before we knew it. We all had a busy day planned for the next day, so we decided to call it a night, but we’ll definitely be hanging out again soon. We hugged and said our goodbyes and were thanked for graciously opening our home up to our friends. Today, I gave the gift of hospitality.

 

Day 12

Today I woke up with a killer head ache. Maybe it was allergies, my sinuses misbehaving, or maybe I had too much wine the night before, but either way, I ended up spending the majority of the day in bed. When I finally felt well enough to get up, I decided to give myself some TLC to get myself back on track. I gave myself a good shampoo with a deep condition, enjoyed a facial mask, painted my nails, and enjoyed the rest of the night watching movies with my fiance. Today, I gave myself the gift of pampering.

Day 13

I’m using my love of couponing to help others. Today on our regular scheduled grocery shopping trip, I managed to purchase everything we needed for home, plus some extra food for the food drive we’re doing at work without going over my grocery budget. Today, I gave the gift of Couponing for good 🙂

 

Day 14

Today I donated the extra money in my wallet to a great cause. The Salvation Army does so much for the community. I do a monthly breast health presentation at one of the homeless shelters and have seen first hand how their programs and services help people in need. Today I gave the gift of a well deserved donation.

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Day 15

Today I did my monthly breast health presentation for the women at the Salvation Army Homeless Shelter. I talk to them about breast cancer screening guidelines, resources for screening, and the 4 key messages of breast health: Knowing you risk, Getting screened, Knowing what’s normal for you, and making healthy lifestyle choices. It’s always my pleasure to share this information with the ladies at the shelter. Whatever I can do to make their transition a little easier and help lighten their load, I’m happy to do. Today, I gave the gift of resources.

Day 16

There’s only 9 days left until Christmas. If you haven’t finished your Christmas shopping, I’ve got you covered. Today, I give you the gift of a Christmas Guide! Check it out here: Last Minute Christmas Gift Guide

Day 17

Today was our annual holiday breakfast party at work. Since our agency is statewide, we always host the holiday breakfast in Dover, DE, which is centrally located for all of the staff, but an hour away from the Wilmington office where a few of us work. Every year we carpool down to the breakfast, but every year everyone avoids having to be the one to actually do the driving. Today, I decided I would take one for the team and offered to drive before anyone had the chance to avoid it. Today, I gave the gift of transportation. Happy holidays!

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Day 18

My coworkers and I always clean up the office on Friday. It’s nothing better than coming into a sparkling clean office on Monday the next week. We always help each other clean out the refrigerator and disinfect the tables and counters. We even take turns taking the office trash to the dump, today it was my turn. Today I gave the gift of cleanliness.

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Day 19

Today my fiance and I completed a lot of errands. We cleaned the house, did laundry, went grocery shopping, and even mailed off Christmas gifts to my fiance’s nephew to make sure he gets them in time for Christmas. Not all of the things on our to do list were things I needed to get done, but I was happy to help my fiance knock things off his to do list. Today I gave the gift of assistance.

 

Day 20

Today we had a pretty chill day. We woke up, went to church, and spent the rest of the day on the couch relaxing. Today was one of my favorite kind of days where I take time out for me and just relax, but I was sure to still take time to give. Today, I gave the gift of an offering at my Church, Arise Movement. I love my church and all that they instill in people who attend.wp-1450654796388.jpg

Day 21

It has officially been 3 years since I big chopped and decided to go fully natural. It has been a long journey full of trail and errors. Today, my gift to you is my Number One Tip for Gorgeous Natural Hair. Ream more here: Three Years Natural Hair Update.

Day 22

I got tons of positive feedback on my snapchat story last night after sharing a few posts of me making dinner. Last night’s menu consisted of stuff peppers and corn on the cob. I woke up this morning to many requests asking for the recipe, so your wish is my command. Today is the gift of Stuffed Peppers.

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I mainly follow the recipe found at Allrecipes.com, but I have a few tricks for you.

#1. Use ground turkey instead of ground beef. It’s healthier for you and tastes just as good.

#2. Use spaghetti sauce instead of tomato sauce. It has way more flavor and makes the dish super yummy.

#3. Season both the meat and the rice with your favorite seasonings, not just what’s listed in the recipe. I use Goya Adobo All Purpose Seasoning, black pepper, onion powder, garlic powder, basil and Worcestershire Sauce for the meat. In the rice, I use Goya Adobo All Purpose Seasoning, black pepper and parsley.

#4. It’s okay to be a little lazy… I never go back to “baste with sauce” and sometimes instead of mixing the rice and meat together, I just put a layer of rice on the bottom and a layer of meat on top. It tastes the same.

#5. Definitely use aluminum foil in the bottom of the pan to make clean up easy.

Happy Cooking!

Day 23

I’m officially on vacation. Yesterday was my last day for the rest of the year where I needed to go into my office and sit at my desk. Every year, I save up as many vacation days as needed to be able to take off the week between Christmas and New Years, it’s my treat to myself. Since my family doesn’t live that close to me, I like to be able to spend that week with them. This year was no different. I saved up my vacation time so that I could be off for 12 while days! But there were already some conference calls that I’d committed to. Although I wasn’t technically working, I had to still take care of my responsibility and not only show up for the call, but carry my weight and deliver on the topics I was responsible for. Although I would have loved to not have any work related activities happening on my vacation I had to do what I had to do. Today was the gift of responsibility.

Day 24

Merry Christmas Eve! It’s officially been a year since I got engaged. Today, I give the gift of 3 Tips for the Moment You get Engaged.

Day 25

Today I am sharing the day with my future in laws. This Christmas as is the first Christmas I’m spending away from my family, but I’m happy to have the new experience and make new experience with my now extended family.  Today, I give the gift of new memories.

Merry Christmas everyone! Thanks for following my series on my 25 days of giving. I started this as challenge to show that every day we can do something to be an asset to the world around us. I hope you’ve enjoyed it. Keep giving and happy holidays!

 

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