This is a book that I am working on. I will add to the book as I go. Suggestions for edits and comments are appreciated thought the process. Thanks you!
As a stay at home Mom sometimes I feel helpless when people would like me to volunteer for things. Watching kids at Sunday school, being a member on the library board, and helping at our church are just a few.
I have decided that there are some things that I can do with the skills that I have been given. I came up with the thank you note idea because sometimes when I am depressed, being positive can get me out of a slump. I would sit down to write thank you cards to others to stay positive. Sometimes in my depression I did not even give out the cards to people because I did not get out of the house to do this. But just writing the card made me feel better about my current situation.
When I did get the cards to people, even when not in the time frame that I wish I could get them to the person, I at least got a smile and a thank you. Yes, I could do something at home while being a stay at home Mom that was helpful.
This means that I am getting better at saying No. Instead of saying yes, struggling, and then saying I can’t do something anymore, I realize that saying no is easier for everyone involved. I tried to be on the library board in my area. But after 6 months, I realized that being a stay at home Mom with two young kids was not the time in my life to pursue this dream. There will be another place in my life when I can devote more time, energy, and hopefully money to the cause.
So there I am, a Mom of a 4 year old and 1 year old sitting at home with some time between naps and keeping the house in order. How can I help not only my own family and self but help others?
Thank you Note Materials
The first thing I need to do was collect the items needed to do this. I started with thank you notes. While at the dollar store I picked up some thank you notes. The goal is to send out one card a week. I bought ten packs of six cards. That is 60 thank you cards that I can send out to others. Now who do I send them to. I will have to work on that next.
I have thought about the brownies. I would like to make one batch a week for 52 weeks. But who will eat all those brownies? Will they be sad that are not gluten free or healthy? I guess we’ll find out.
First Thank You Notes
(Card 1) I decided to write the first thank you note to my husband who was having a rather long week at work. Saying positive things were difficult for me since I had the girls most of the day. A thank you note was a great way to stay positive and praise him. I think he really liked the letter.
(Card 2) One morning at breakfast my daughter and I were talking about the Presidential election. She said she wanted to visit the White House someday. I told her that we could write him a thank you note. She asked if we could write one now. I said sure. So we wrote a thank you note, and also asked to meet him. I will keep you updated with the reply.
I emailed someone to send me the notes of the child care workers at our church. If I can’t help out I can at least thank them. The person said she would send them to me but she never did.
(Card 3) My daughter’s teacher at school has become an important part of our families lives. I decided to send her a card to thank her for everything she does. Teachers can be amazing people who really care about their students. We can tell through her projects and lessons that she really cares.
I will need to find and bring home the materials for the brownies. Also, how will I package them? I will need to make them look nice too. Time to check out Pinterest to see how other people are doing this well. Some people are making them in a cupcake tin. That is smart. I guess I will use the pans that I have around the house.
I have made brownies before for my husband resident assistants. We use to live in a residence hall. I loved to make brownies but not eat them. Other people can helped with that. I hope that the brownies made them feel appreciated.
I noticed that someone had it packaged in a lunch bag with a nice edge on the front. I have a lunch bag, markers, and the scissors to make nice edges. Since I have all these things that is the packaging I will chose. Will they stick together?
I could choose a plate with plastic wrap. But that does not look as nice. There is a paper plate box I could make too. I would need staples that I currently don’t have. Wax paper between layers will help.
So I decided I needed to make a grocery list for the items. Brownie mix, eggs, oil, parchment paper, and bags. I will then have enough to get started. My goal is to make once a week for fifty two weeks.
Later that day I go back intro pinterest. They show me these cute chinese food containers to store brownies. I like the idea but the container would almost be the same cost as the brownies. Will people see the brownies in the brown paper bag? Would plastic wrap and a plate work better? I will test some options out and see what works best.
Figuring out costs would be the next step. Making brownies is not that expensive, but over a year the items can add up. Using some mental math I calculated that brownies would be $150 and thank you cards with postage would be $35 for a total of $210 a year. What else could I do with $185 that may be more helpful than this? Is this how I want to spend my money to help others or could this money be used in another way. I guess we will both find out over the next year.
How much will this cost? If eggs last a month:
- Brownie Mix $2
- Oil: $.50
- Eggs: $.50
- Container: $1
- Lets say $4 each. For a year about $200.
Thank you Notes
- 52 a year
- 6 for $1
- $10 for thank you notes if they do not include postage.
Keeping a free spreadsheet in google docs will be helpful to keep myself on track and on budget. My goal is to be under $200. I could possibly use the other $15 for something else. Possibly one week of more thank you notes or brownies. A budget of $200 is only $4 a week. That is less than a latte at my favorite coffee shop, Avenue 209 in Lock Haven, PA.
First Batch of Brownies
After I dropped of my daughter at school I started to gather the materials for the brownies while shopping with my one year old. I bought eggs, brownie mix, and oil. I realized that the brownie mix was $1.50 instead of the $1 that I thought. I will have to look for some brownie mix sales.
When I got home I found the items that I needed, mixed the ingredients, and put the pan in the oven. I realized while I was making them I did not even know who the first batch would go. I decided it would be easy to give them to the neighbors across the street. Even if they did not eat them, they could have them for guests.
I am realizing that I am not going to enjoy cleaning out the pan every time I do this. Maybe I can get disposable metal pans. This will solve the packaging issue.
I got the first batch out of the oven. The smell in the house was amazing. Chocolate! The good thing is after I make brownies I don’t actually want to eat them. Half of them did not even come out of the pan nicely to put in the bag. I think buying the tins may be a good idea.
Doing Things for Others
As a stay at home Mom I do many things for my family. With two small kids and a husband that has a full time job, there are many small tasks to do all day. But sometimes I feel sad that I can not help other families. When people even do small things to help us out I appreciate their thought and kindness. Doing these small things make me feel like I can give back now.
Sometimes I get into the mindset that I can give back later. That I don’t have enough money to give back now. Or I don’t have enough time because I am a stay at home Mom. I tell myself things like “When the kids get older I will help out”. Or “I don’t have enough money to help now”. But I believe even little things can help along the way.
Transform Lock Haven
A group of churches in my area are getting together to transform our town. The goal is to help with home project in the area. When I heard about this I thought it was a great idea but knew I did not have the time to help. I did see a spot for food. I can help with that. I added my name to the volunteer form. I wrote that I could make brownies for one of the days. I guess they will get back to me if they are interested. Another possibly brownie delivery.
First Brownie Delivery
You know making something is one thing. But delivering it is another. I don’t really enjoy that part. But I realized that is part of what I am doing. So I got up the courage to go over to the older neighbors. The dog was barking when I was there. But they were excited to see me. The neighbors both said say hi and inquire about my girls. They were excited for the brownies. I guess getting up the courage was with the effort.
“Let each of you look not only t o his own interest, but also the interests of others.” -Philippians 2:4
Well the first batch of brownies and thank you notes have been delivered. I want to send more but I am waiting until next week. Who will I send the gifts to next week? We will see. I do need to find inexpensive brownie plan. I will check at Save-A-Lot next.
Random Thank You
After eating at a local restaurant I wrote thank you on their chalk board on the wall that customers are allowed to write on. I will count this as a thank you note. I write thank you when I share links on social media. I just added my link to a blogger site and wrote “Thank you for Following me.” I am realizing that all thank you do not need to be in note form.
Second Batch of Brownies
I made the second week of brownies. I still don’t know the best method to bake them. This time I added aluminum foil underneath to get them out of the pan more easily. Maybe that will work?
I have friends that are moving to a new to them house. I am sure they can eat the brownies as they are moving or let the people who are helping them have some brownies.
My family woke up with pink eye the day after making the brownies. I am not a medical doctor. I don’t think I should serve anyone the brownies just incase. This batch came out beautifully too.
Well it turned out my daughter had a rash on her skin. I was able to give the brownies to my friends that were moving. They had some friends helping. The person who took the brownies even said a little brownie song when he took them. That put a smile on my face.
Homes for our Troops
I got an email representing friends who is getting a new house from Homes From Our Troops. The family is a local family that goes to our church. They were looking for food donations. Perfect. I can make brownies. Well I know who is getting brownies next week.
I asked my husband if he wanted brownies for a guys game weekend he is having. He said no. Fine with me. More brownies for other people.
Thank You Note
The neighbor who we gave brownies to the other day stopped us on the way to leaving for the country fair. They had free parking and passes to the fair for us. They were not using them and thought we might like them. So I wrote her a thank you note, thanking her for the passes and telling them what we did that day at the fair.