Random Acts of Kindness, Week One

Time for reporting in! Remember our December challenge/contest – you do a random act of kindness during the week and then you share it with us via your comment on today’s blog. I know it feels weird to report something that you did out of the kindness of your heart and not for any “glory”.  But I can’t tell you how many people emailed me last year to say they were “so motivated by the comments on the RAKS, that they went out and did xyz as a random act for someone else.” The purpose of sharing them here is to 1) encourage others to go out and do likewise, 2) to give others new ideas to try, and 3) to get your name in the drawing for the weekly prize. (Ok, #1 & 2 are the main reasons.) I’m looking forward to reading about your week.  We’ll do the drawing on Monday for this week’s winner. (If you didn’t commit an act bless someone with a random act yet, you still have time. You can leave comments up until the time I write Monday’s blog and draw the winning name.) And remember – we’re doing these each week in December, so I hope you’ll be ready to share another one on next Friday’s blog.

Today’s recipe is my favorite sandwich. I have tried different variations of this recipe, and this one, with the combination of toasting the bread and baking the sandwiches, is definitely the best.  Enjoy!

Monte Cristo Sandwich (not a diet version, but ohhh, so good)

4 large eggs
1/4 cup heavy cream
2 tsp. sugar
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. dry mustard
1/8 tsp. cayenne pepper
6 Tbl. Dijon mustard
8 slices white sandwich bread, slightly toasted
8 slices provolone or swiss cheese
4 slices cheddar cheese
8 thin slices deli ham
8 thin slices deli turkey
Raspberry Jam
Vegetable Oil
Powdered Sugar

Heat oven to 450 degrees.  Whisk eggs, cream, sugar, salt, dry mustard and cayenne in a shallow dish.  Stir jam and Dijon mustard together in another small bowl.  Spread 2 tsp. of the jam mixture on 1 side of each slice of toast. Layer on top of 1 slice of toast:

1 slice swiss/provolone
2 slices ham, 1 slice cheddar
2 slices turkey
1 slice swiss/provolone

and then top with another piece of toast, jam to the inside. Make sure that the meat and cheese are trimmed to fit inside the bread. Press down lightly to make it all stick together.

Pour 3-5 Tbl. oil into a rimmed baking sheet and preheat in the oven for about 5 min. (Just until it starts smoking lightly.) While it is heating, dip each sandwich into the egg mixture, making sure it is covered with egg on the top, bottom, and all 4 sides. Set on a plate until the baking sheet is ready.  Transfer the sandwiches to the hot baking sheet when ready, and bake until golden brown on both sides (about 4-5 minutes per side.) Sprinkle each sandwich with powdered sugar and serve immediately with extra strawberry jam.

Sheri ImadethoseoverThanksgiving&nowIwanttomakethemagain

234 comments

  1. Instead of buying each other small Christmas presents, a few years ago a group of friends decided that we’d sponsor a family. I bought my toys yesterday! It’s fun to buy things off of someone’s wish list.

  2. While not as big as some of the RAK’s noted above, the next door neighbor has the flu and her DH is out of town for work, I volunteered to come over an supervise the homework, and given that it was 3rd grade math and it has been a long time since 3rd grade for me, it truly was a RAK!

  3. Well, I am not sure this counts as a random act of kindness….

    My 24 year old son has been home for a week. I had asked him to hang our Christmas lights. Bless his heart, he went out sick with a bad cold in the midst of a snowstorm (never mind I had suggetsed he do this long before he got sick and while the weather was still nice, but he procrastinated). When I went outside to admire the display I was horrified to see he had strung them all wrong. They were spaced so at the front of our house, dangling down in all their glory, were the huge, ugly, bright orange extension cords. They have, sadly, become the featured item of the Christmas lights due to their ugliness and extreme visibility.

    My random act of kindness? I chose to not say a word to him about it.

  4. While shoping this weeks I gave each of my kids a handful of coins. We all spent the rest of the day putting those coins in every Red Kettle we could find. They both know where the money goes to help people. and love doing it.This year we don’t have much to give, so I gave them my yarn money

  5. A coworkers house burnt down and they were uninsured. When I heard about it I thought about what I had that they could possibly use. I had a microwave in storage that we were no longer using since our house now has a built in. I brought that and couple of large bags filled with clothes that he and his wife could hopefully use into work and he was very grateful. Having lost everything in Katrina ourselves a few years ago without having renters insurance I know that every little bit helps.

  6. I have been racking my brain trying to think of a RAK and all I can come up with from this week is that I held a few doors open for people. A couple of weeks ago there was one day when I kept running after people who had dropped things. Clearly I need to get into the holiday spirit and try to do a few nice things next week.

  7. Well this is not what I did but what some one did for me. I had to have MOHS surgery to remove a cancer on my face . It was done in a town about 2hours away and on a different time zone. I had to be there at 8am but that was actually 7am here. My friend picked me up at 4:30 am and spent the whole day at the hospital with me and drove me home. She knew i was extra nervous and she just made me feel so much better being there!!!

  8. I bought 4 prepaid phone cards to donate to hospitalized soldiers. A group at my church sends them to the hospital chaplain and he makes sure everyone gets to call home over the holidays. It’s not a big deal, especially compared to what they have done but I still felt better for having done it.

  9. This isn’t really random, but a close friend of mine found out last week that their two-year old daughter has leukemia. They are going to be in the hospital for at least a month and have no time for anything extra. I bought some Christmas presents for their children and shipped them off yesterday….hoping to lighten the load for them.

  10. I was thinking I had nothing and was feeling rather ashamed of myself. Then I remembered a couple of things. I’m going to try harder as I think it’s important to be the kind of person you want others to be.

    Anyway, some of our local grocery stores have coupons you can ask to be scanned which will add certain amounts to your grocery bill and these go to the local foodbank as cash donations.

    We are really feeling the pinch ourselves, we already live very frugally, but I just looked at those coupons and thought “I’m not going to miss a couple of dollars here and there.” So I donated, and I”m going to start doing it on a regular basis. I used to do it, but then got out of the habit when I moved overseas for a few years.

    Also, in todays paper there was a really unpleasant letter to the editor in response to a story about this same foodbank’s service of providing a kind of “restaurant” where homeless people can get a hot meal. One person discussed in the article was a woman who had been homeless herself in the past, and was working at the foodbank in order to give something back to the community now that she was able.

    This letter writer was criticizing the article and said instead of stories like this that instead of focusing on the “weak and lazy” there should be more focus on “decent and hardworking” people.

    I suppose it wasn’t really random, but in response to that I significantly increased my donation to today’s “cans for carriers” food drive done by the post office.

  11. I like the idea of doing one every day, so I need to try harder to look for those opportunities. For this week, my most significant one was joint with my mom and sister. We baked Christmas cookies yesterday, and made an extra dozen or more of all nine kinds to give to a family where the husband/father is struggling with life-threatening health issues (failed stem cell transplant to treat multiple myeloma). The mom has baked with us in the past, and the kids had asked when the event would be happening this year. She had just told them that there wouldn’t be any cookies this year- and then we showed up!

  12. This week I did a number of things. I pulled in buggies for a store on a really rainy, cold night as I walked into the store. And I gave out knit scarves to all the ladies in my office because they always like mine so much. Then I gave all of the guys homemade Christmas cookies (made with Splenda/Sugar blend because one of my guys is diabetic). And on Thursday, we had a Christmas party for my job and at the door we were given free breakfast passes for McDonald’s. One of the ladies in my office was late and didn’t get one, so I gave her mine.

    I feel very Chirstmas spirity this week. 😀

  13. Well, you’re right, this does feel a little weird, but I’ll try it anyway.

    I work at a college, and I’m usually the contact for my building and the guys who do all the custodial/building & grounds type stuff. The other morning, one of the facilities guys (I think he does painting) came by asking if I knew how to get one of the big scary student copiers to collate. Now, I usually use the staff copier, so I’m not really that familiar with how the big copiers work. I figured I might be able to figure it out, though, so I walked over there with him. I took a look at the thing, he gave me his copier card (which deducts money off of it per copy), and I was like “you know what? Forget this. Let’s just use the staff copier and make sure we get this right.” Then he was all nervous, because it was something like forty copies, but I assured him that I didn’t care, brought him downstairs, and got all his stuff properly collated and whatnot. I wouldn’t have considered it a big deal, but he was all “thank you SO MUCH” afterwords, and almost looked like he might cry.

  14. I always hold the door open for others when I am going into or leaving a store. I try to let people waiting to get into traffic out in front of me at random times as I always hope others will do the same for me. I am quick to offer a smile and hello to others, hoping it brightens their day in some small way. I am planning to make cookies to take to my co-workers next week as well, just because.

  15. I have given rides to and from church to a man who has no license and no car. I also gave a ride home from a meeting to a couple who has trouble walking any distance. I read this week that happiness is contagious so I try to smile at everyone and mostly they smile back!

  16. My RAK has to to with Ravelry. I was reading a post on Ravelry about sock yarn. This poor woman has only knit socks with itch department store yarns like Red Heart. I sent her a PM and got her addy so I can send her some nice sock yarn – she’s getting a skein of Lorna’s Laces Maple Grove so she can feel what good sock yarn is all about. The reason she hasn’t tried anything else is because of $$, she didn’t ask for anything or even hint, it was just my idea to help her. I then came to read the blog and saw this so I hope it counts.

  17. We have a family that has difficulty being a unity. To help this I suggested to buy each other Santa Claus (Sinterklaas) presents and thus celebrate a real family happening.
    My daughter didn’t want to.
    But on the afternoon of 6 December, I got inspired and bought one little present for each family member.
    Whilst cooking dinner I started writing a poem for each person to accompany the gift. When my 14 year old girl got a hunch of what I was doing she got interested.
    After dinner, after all the washing up had been done, I rang the doorbell and pretended to just have seen Santa Claus’ red gown flappering around the corner..every one laughed. When each person was reading his/her poem, I couldn’t tell who was beaming away more: my 49 year old husband or my 14 year old daughter..both had refused to celebrate..but my goodness, such a pleasure together, only with a pair of socks for everyone..the best Sinterklaas ever! Emmy

  18. My husband and I live near a single father and his son, who don’t have very much money, due to the father being a disabled veteran. The father bought a wireless router, so his son could have internet access in their apartment. Neither of them knows too much about computers, while my husband is a programmer with extensive computer and networking knowledge. This evening, after we got home from visiting with my mother-in-law, my husband and I went over to the neighbors apartment and set up their wireless network for them. I really wanted them to have Internet access, since they are kind to everyone in our apartment community and we like them a lot.

  19. I’ve spent the week letting drivers into the traffic, in front of me. I used to get upset when the driver didn’t say thank you but now I give myself TWO points if they don’t. Even my kids are shouting “That’s two points, Mum”, now.

  20. So many good deeds that one feels ashamed to report such a little thing…… A friend is going through a very a bad time with money problems. She told me that she did not feel like celebrating Christmas this year. I would share with her but her independence is too great. I decided to give her this wonderful little book “Purpose of Christmas” to cheer her up and thinking that reading it would generate positive feelings. She was thrilled and that made me happy for her.

  21. I always enjoy reading these!

    I dropped off some homemade goodies to someone having a bad day at work. I had just done some baking and it happened to be the person’s favorite Christmas treat, Peppermint Fudge.

    The other thing was saying Yes, when someone called to see if by chance, she could drop her two small boys over for three hours while she got highlights and a haircut. It was a wild three hours with two five year old boys and two climbing, active 1 year olds:)

  22. One of the things our university does every year is collect stuffed bears and toys that they give to local children. Our store donates a bear or 2 and this year my daughter and I did some shopping and added about 6 toys of our own. Just a little thing that we can do, makes us feel good! 🙂

  23. This week I helped my nursing class organize a donation box for the Toy’s For Tot’s. It was a lot of fun, and together we were able to give the Toy’s For Tots so many gifts for children who would otherwise go without Christmas gifts.

  24. Here is some of the list for the last week. Called two different friends to see how they were doing. Bought “good” yarn for a friend who is getting back into knitting after not doing it for so long, I also included patterns. We have talked about all the fun my daughter and I have been having that she decided to try again. When we saw her and her family we gave refresher lessons to her and her daughter.. they are still working at it. =)My daughter and her homeschool group baked 27 dozen cookies for the Cookie Brigade, these will be sent the military. Mikhaila and I have also been making hats through our knitting group to send to the military as well. I made homemade Christmas cards that I plan to send with the next group of hats that get sent out, just to let them know they are appreciated and thought of!
    Go out and Randomly Act Kind to someone… you will really enjoy it!

  25. My RAK is not a big deal or overly unique but I think the recipient was blessed and thats what counts 🙂 I work at a school and one of the elemetary teachers is very much ‘with child’ due in just a couple of weeks. The staff are on a rotating schedule for playground duty outside and true to Canadian form it is darn cold up here. Earlier this week I arranged a new recess duty schedule by setting up so that other staff will take turns filling in and the expectant co-worker will not have to go outside on duty for the rest of the month. Good thing too because she can barely get a coat around her belly much less bend over to pull her boots on! 🙂

  26. It feels weird writing about the things I did this week but I so enjoy reading what others have done so here goes.

    1. left large tips when buying coffee
    2. donation to the salvation army
    3. knit hat for charity
    4. knit a doll outfit for an internet friends little girl. The little girl had lost her dolls hat and her mom asked if I would make her a new one and she would pay me. Of course I don’t want any payment!

  27. BTW, have you ever used Creme Fresh??
    Oh, i can eat that stuff right out of the container!!
    that sandwich, well, todays lunch!!
    Anyway, my RAOK, which this may sound strange, but this time of year and all.
    I was leaving the malll to go to my car. Since I had gotten there earlier in the day, not crazy early, but enough to get a half desent parking spot, as I was walking ot the car, a nice lady w/baby, asked me if I was parked in that row, I said no, one over. She looked disappointed, but I said one over. She didn’t expect to get my space, but I waited until she had turned this lane and was coming, and I waved her and let her know that I was at the spot, so she was able to get that spot. So she didn’t have that fat to lug her baby. I felt i did a good dead 🙂 As I have seen meanness, especially on the road.
    HOpe your reaping benefits of people staying at home and knitting!!!
    As I plan to do today.
    sherry

  28. I took my daughter to ballet on Friday and one of the other moms asked it I would go to the little restaurant next door to get some dinner as she had not had time to get lunch. She told me that her husband had been laid off from his construction job and that they don’t expect a recall for 4-5 months. although we’re trying to save money to build up an emergency fund, I paid for dinner–hey, my husband and I have jobs still!

  29. Yesterday my daughter and I were shopping @ Barnes & Noble and we purchased a book for a book drive. The best part of this little shin dig is that my daughter picked out her favorite book The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants instead of a cheap $1 book. I think sometimes when we give we just give a little so it was nice to see that my daughter really thought about what she would want as a kid.

    🙂

    Lynette and Taryn
    Newport RI

  30. I had 7 college students over for dinner this week. But I think it was a much a blessing for me as for them; it was so much fun!

  31. Reading this thread is making me feel all warm and fuzzy inside (and occasionally making me a bit teary-eyed).

    A lady at work collects toiletries for a local shelter and drops them off around this time every year. I sent her a big box (she works in a different building) of toiletries as well as some gift items (apparently they are starting something new this year – having a “shop” where people in the shelter can pick out gifts for their family members).

  32. As I do every year, I bought some gifts for my church’s Christmas “giving tree”. And I’ve been trying to let people in front of me in line at the grocery store or when holiday shopping, since I am usually not in that much of a hurry.

  33. I guess I have two for the last week – I bought books for a local elementary school supported by the Barnes & Noble I go to. Every year they pick a different school in need and try to collect enough new book for every child to have at least two (Besides the 3 I got, I also ordered a copy of Tales of Beedle the Bard that will be another to donate). And…I bought a Costco membership for a co-worker. She and her husband have lost their home (victims of the mortgage crisis) and they are stretching every penny as they try to recovery. I took her grocery shopping a few times over the fall and summer and have ultimately decided she would probably feel more independent doing some of that on her own, but coming up with that darn $50 to JOIN costco was a huge stickler so I got that for her last week. While there’s always the old joke that you can spend $100 at Costco and go home wondering what to eat for dinner, she and I have found that hitting just the fresh produce, bakery, soups, and meat sections can make your food dollar go a LONG way.

  34. In the UK we had the worse snow we’ve had for about 10 years, even that wasn’t as bad as what some you guys in the US get on a regular basis! But anyway, after clearing our own drive, we cleared that of our next door neighbour who has mobility problems.
    Also this week our UK VAT (value added tax) rate changed, which has caused a mountain of problems, reprogramming tills etc. I work for a concert season and our box office staff are always understaffed and overworked and generally get a raw deal. They have to reprogramme the computerised box office system with the new ticket prices. As I’m quite handy with Excel I created a spreadsheet for the to help work out the new prices, hopefully saved them a few minutes and stress.
    Not much, but hopefully it helped.

  35. I have two random acts of kindness this week. I’ve begun taking time out of my day every day to walk down to our self-contained classroom and read Tale of Desperaux to the kids there or play games with them. It’s something that I hope to continue for the rest of my teaching career. I also taught a dying class yesterday and could see one of the shop regulars eying one of my sample yarns, so I gave it to her. Hope you and the elves are having an awesome week!

  36. There is a great shop close to my house called Baker’s Peak. I’ve successfully hooked a few of my friends on their lunches and baked goods. Every once in a while I take Kelli, Brittany, and Clint a little surprise. A peanut butter cookie for Clint, a snickerdoodle for Kelli, and a chocolate cupcake with white frosting for Brittany.

    Last Thursday was the first day they were open since the Tuesday before Thanksgiving, so I took treats to my friends. It isn’t much, but it makes them happy, and me too.

  37. I really enjoy reading theses posts-to me that is what Christmas and life is all about. I see many people overwhelmed at this time of year with the whole shopping frenzy and it is especially hard when not everyone can afford what we feel we ought to do And we all know that all families are not perfect and that leaves many feeling lost hurt and disappointed .I did some major stash busting ths week for some elderly knitters at my Dad’s home this week-they were thrilled! They knit mittens, hats etc for a childrens charity-I think it keeps them going-hey it keeps me going!!

  38. Mine is actually similar to one I had last year. I was going home from work and noticed a young man escorting a blind woman to the L. It’s our city commuter train here in Chgo. He was only walking her to the station and then went on his way. This is a crazy confusing station so I asked if she needed help. I proceeded to help her up the stairs and over to reload her commuter card. I helped her get to the platform where we had to wait for at least 4 trains. I got her a seat when some women got up to offer their seats but I did not take the extra because for one I did not feel entitled to take it and secondly one of the women to offer her seat was a senior citizen.

  39. My big RAK for the week was to give up my Saturday this weekend — when I desperately needed knitting time!! — to drive 4.5 hours (each way) to help my mom out with some things, because she has a surgically-repaired broken wrist that means she can’t pick up or move or lift anything. She just published a cookbook, and had a book signing, my dad is trying to move their entire house by himself, so I went, picked up mom, took her to the signing, stayed the entire afternoon, did all the inscriptions into the book (she could, barely, manage to sign her name, but couldn’t write anything else), and then took her back home. I was out of the house about 14 hours with her yesterday, but she’s my mom and she needed the help.

    Other than that, it’s been a busy week where I’ve had no time for doing much of anything, and I’m a little short on cash, but I did make sure to tip extra for my coffee the one time I got some, and I make it a point whenever I go anywhere to give everyone a smile and a friendly “hello” when they seem receptive. It’s not a lot, but it surprises me how much just a smile from a stranger can make the day better (as witnessed by the guy who I smiled at on the street on Friday, who stopped and told me that my smile made the day seem less gray to him, and thanked me for it. Such a simple thing, but sometimes, especially this time of year, it’s very beneficial too).

  40. In the spirit of the holidays there are so many folks walking around looking glum. So, when I pass these people, I smile at them. Doesn’t sound like much, but usually they perk up and even smile back and say hello. Simple cheer, that is the spirit of the season.

  41. I feel really weird writing about it, but there’a a gal over on our local Rav group who’s going through a tough time, her husband is very ill and she’s having trouble with one of her wee kids, so we’ve organised a gift bomb for her, where a bunch of us each make up a little package with something sweet, something to play with, something to warm her heart and post them along to her.

    I really hope they make her day when she gets them.

  42. I’m a rabbit judge and yesterday I judged a show. I gave the kids who were showing their rabbits holiday candies whether they won or lost!

  43. RAK for the week was helping a colleague at work with a particularly tough problem she was having; I didn’t have to do much but the job went faster with the two of us.

  44. While in line at a local grocery store Friday night, a gentleman with a strong accent (i.e., not from the US) was asking others for directions to the airport. I offered to provide him with driving directions, and helped him write them down. After loading my groceries into my car, I noticed that this gentleman getting into his rental car. Although it isn’t hard to get to the airport, there is 1 off-ramp that can be tricky. I pulled up next to his car, rolled down my window, and offered to drive in front of them to the airport exit. While it only took me a couple of miles out of my way, I felt better about ensuring that someone from out-of-town got to the airport.

    Diane

  45. While I was at Borders, buying some books for my nephews’ Christmast gifts, I bought and donated a book to the book drive that Borders is doing.

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