How Will You Celebrate Random Acts of Kindness Week?

The first piece of artwork Biz sold through his art "store."

The first piece of artwork Biz sold through his art “store.”

“When will we be at the next troll?”

“The next troll?” I asked as I turned to figure out what Biz was talking about. He was drawing away in the backseat of the car.

“The troll, Mom. When will we get there?”

“Do you mean the tollbooth?”

“YES! The troll booth.”

“We’ll be to the next one soon. And it’s called a tollbooth. Why do you ask?”

At this point G and my husband were giggling at Biz’s semantics as we drove along the New York Thruway, heading home from an epic Syracuse trip on New Year’s Day.

“Oh. Toll booth. I have a picture for the tollbooth people.”

My husband often lets whoever is sitting behind the driver hand the money to the person at the tollbooth. As the car slows and the window rolls down, he reminds either G or Biz to greet the person in the tollbooth and to remember to say thank you when we drive away. That day, we wished everyone a happy new year.

Our last two stops at the toll booth included a greeting, a happy new year and an original piece of artwork from Biz. It was completely random and completely Biz’s idea.

The first recipient of the artwork was an older woman with a blank face. She received the money and the small picture and didn’t flinch. Until she realized what she had in her hand. My husband explained that Biz, age 5, wanted to give her a picture he drew. Her face lit up with a huge smile, and she shared that she used to teach preschool. She leaned over to personally thank Biz.

The second recipient was a younger woman. When she saw the picture, she smiled an equally big smile, giggled a bit and told us we made her day.

We’ll probably never see those women again, but I’d like to think that we Biz made them a little happier about working a major holiday in a tollbooth. Who knows? Maybe they responded by performing their own acts of kindness.

five_rak_week_balloons-043efa2ac003ba48dc1c9f0ea7dc8265I share this story with you because today marks the first day of Random Acts of Kindness Week. From February 10-16, 2014, you are encouraged to “step out of your normal routine or comfort zone and attempt a new random act of kindness each day.”

The Random Acts of Kindness Foundation website has tons of kindness ideas and resources. You can even download a RAK Week bookmark, write something kind on it, and leave it in a book you find at a local library or bookstore. Imagine the happiness you’ll spread!

Yesterday, on my Simple Giving Lab tumblr blog, I shared 10 kindness ideas to get you inspired. You can also check out this list I created on SkinnyScoop for even more inspiration.

What will you do to celebrate Random Acts of Kindness Week?

p.s. Be sure to share your own kindness acts on Simple Giving Lab to inspire others!

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Wordless Wednesday: Snowbank Fun

snow bank fun

Wordless Wednesday (1.15.14): Snow Bank Fun by Jennifer Barbour

snow bank fun

Wordless Wednesday (1.15.14): Snow Bank Fun by Jennifer Barbour

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Sponsored Video: Dreaming Through Art

Last Sunday, my kids started their own business. I suppose I shouldn’t be too surprised, their mom being an entrepreneur an all.

The business is called Buying Art Pictures Lane. (Biz came up with the name. G and I went with it.)

We've turned part of our second floor into an art studio and "store." G made the sign with Biz's direction.

We’ve turned part of our second floor into an art studio and “store.” G made the sign with Biz’s direction.

Biz has been talking about selling his art for a while now. I believe my husband and I planted the seed when we noticed how amazed he was with the artwork in some of his books. He would note how good the pictures were while we read to him. I remember telling him one night that maybe he could become an illustrator for kids books when he grew up. He was thoroughly intrigued when I told him people pay artists to draw pictures for books. That could explain why he boldly stated, “We’re going to get dollars for our art and be rich!”

Biz is always drawing. Always. He covers our walls and his daycare’s cupboards with his art. We had to buy him two big bulletin boards for his room because one wasn’t enough to display his art. He also creates a lot of 3-D art. He often works with mixed media. Scotch tape is a staple for him.

G’s no slouch either. Last year, his art was chosen to be shown at our local library. They had an artist’s reception and everything.

One of their favorite books is If I Built a Car by Chris Van Dusen. Between the beautiful illustrations and the creative car that is described, the book inspires my boys to imagine what kind of car they would build if they could.

It never gets old to see a child’s pure unadulterated excitement when they realize the sky is the limit. That they can make their dreams happen. (Sometimes I wish that innocence wasn’t so lost on adults.)

Toyota Dream Car Art Contest

Toyota believes in the power of imagination and the dreams of a child. Their 8th annual Dream Car Art Contest reminded me of my boys’ favorite book. Kids from all over the world are encouraged to share their own artistic ideas of what dream cars of the future should look like. Last year more than 600,000 entries from more than 70 countries were received. One winner from each age category gets the opportunity to visit Japan with their families!

Sadly, the deadline to enter in America (excluding Hawaii) has passed. But there are still chances to enter in other countries and Hawaii. You can find the entry information here. You can bet I’m putting this contest on my calendar for next year.

Take a moment to watch this (sponsored) video from Toyota. It truly is beautiful. Watching the kids and their creativity gave me goosebumps.

What does your dream car look like?

Full disclosure: This post was sponsored by Toyota, but all text and thoughts are my own. 

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