RAKs Winners and New RAK Posts

elves-themselvesI’m so glad it’s Friday. That means another RAK Reporting Day! Did you find fun things to do for others this week? Leave your report in the comments today and I’ll pick winners again and will announce them next week. The three randomly-drawn winners from last week are: Lisa in PA, Brigitte in MD, and Sara in TX. Each one has been contacted, and wins two skeins of The Loopy Ewe Solid Series yarn and a pattern, in their choice of colors, plus a tub of my favorite Heel Creme by Soak.

I loved reading the comments on last Friday’s Reporting Day. I think it’s great that so many of you are including your kids in the RAKs that you’ve been doing (like Karla and her baggie of change for the Salvation Army kettles, that her 4 year old hands out, or Elle who is working with her 3 year old to pick out gifts for their church’s gift drive.) What a great way to teach them the spirit of giving and doing for others. Many of you are reaching out and adopting kids or families who have no money for the holidays, and are doing things to provide them with cheer. Others of you have looked for impromptu opportunities to pass something on (like Brigette, who literally gave the coat off of her back, and Megan who passed her daughter’s new coat on to a child that didn’t have one.) And even things as simple as Kathy bringing hot cocoa to her mail lady, or Chris delivering coffee and donuts to the Pharmacy staff that prepares her dad’s medicine, or Sarah F. making homemade chicken noodle soup for sick neighbors. Your acts of kindness are  a reminder to all of us that this season is more about giving than getting. Keep up the blessings and keep reporting in on Fridays so that we can all enjoy them and be inspired.

Today’s recipe is one from a blog called Sing For Your Supper. These cookies look so pretty, and taste great, too.

peppermint-cookiesPeppermint Kisses

4 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. baking powder
2/3 cup candy cane powder*
2 sticks plus 4 Tbl. unsalted butter, room temperature
2 cups sugar
2 large eggs
2 egg yolks
2 tsp. vanilla extract
crushed peppermints (I used about 15 regular-sized candy canes, crushed)
White almond bark (about 12 oz.)

* Candy cane powder is made by crushing candy canes into a fine powder. I crushed these with a hammer and then dumped them into a strainer. The finest pieces went through to the bowl below (and was used for the candy cane powder) and the larger pieces in the top of the strainer were used to garnish the cookies when finished. (Note: when using a hammer to crush candy, keep your fingers out of the way. Why would I mention this? Oh, no reason. No reason at all.)

Mix all dry ingredients together.

In a large bowl, beat the butter at medium speed until smooth (about a minute). Add sugar and beat for about two more minutes until the mixture is light and fluffy. Add in the eggs and yolks, one at a time, then add in the vanilla.

Reduce mixing speed to low and slowly add in the flour mixture, mixing just until it has been fully incorporated.

Drop the dough by rounded spoonful onto baking sheets covered with parchment paper or a silicone mat. Bake at 350 degrees for 9-12 minutes.  Cool completely.

Melt almond bark and drizzle or spread on top of cookies. Add chopped candy cane pieces for garnish. Makes 40-50 cookies.

Now – back to the RAKs – tell us what you did this week!

Sheri usingleftoverpeppermintpiecestoflavormycoffee,yum!

103 comments

  1. First off, I feel like I need the caveat that this isn’t *my* random act of kindness, but it’s too wonderful of one not to be shared.

    My aunt has been going through some tough times financially — she was out of work for a while and is substitute teaching at a school that pays peanuts, and her support payments from her ex-husband are being trimmed this month. I already planned to get her some large gift cards to a grocery store and gas station, just so she’d have a little less of a burden for some necessities. I asked my boyfriend if he would mind passing along one of his old computers — he has a little netbook he doesn’t use anymore and I had noticed the last time I visited my aunt that her desktop computer was extremely slow.

    My boyfriend reformatted the little netbook but said he didn’t want to give her a sluggish computer. So he decided to buy her a new computer — a laptop he found on Amazon. I was blown away by his generosity. I protested that he was spending too much of his money, and he said “you’re my only family. I don’t buy gifts for anyone else. Let me do this for your aunt.”

    His thoughtfulness makes me cry! He’s such a wonderful person.

  2. i have been knitting shawls, my design called Salish shawls for Hope Lodge run by Pam Roach, I have been knitting shawls for them for several years now but wanted to get a few more in for christmas

  3. I knit 2 hats for an online project now called “Hats for Sailors.” A knitter named Shanti is taking command of a Navy ship, and her mom wanted to give each sailor on the ship a hand-knitted hat, plus other goodies like candy and toiletries. Over 500 hats, enough for 2 ships, were knitted and sent to the sailors, and the project is continuing. For more information, see ravelry.com/groups/hats-for-sailors.

  4. Alright. This week was buying two Angel Tree gifts for teenagers who wouldn’t have Christmas otherwise. Also, picking up trash on my walk with our dogs and putting most of it in the recycle bin. A RAK for our environment.

  5. I work with a fellow who loves to make origami and gives them to folks at work. So I stopped by the Hobby Lobby and got him a packet of origami papers. He makes lovely things.

  6. The line at the post office was out the door, with only one (harried) clerk. The woman behind me was in a panic, worrying about getting to work on time. I let her go in front of me. Small thing, but she was happy. 🙂

  7. Small things this week…taking an extra Angel Tree name for somebody that hadn’t been picked…one of the adult refugees. The kids get snapped up quickly because it’s more fun to buy for them. And I let somebody in line in front of me at Target because he was in a hurry and had small kids.

  8. After going through the McDonald drive through window in the early mornings throughout the year; I gave the lady taking the orders and the lady handing me my order each an unsigned Christmas card with a gift certificate for a nice lunch at a local restraurant. Then I didn’t go back for several months to let them forget about who gave it to them. No names were exchanged I just got a thank you from them for the card.

  9. This week, my husband and I decided to donate a portion of our Christmas fund to Save Darfur. As adults, it’s not like we need to spend a bunch of money on each other – there are people who could use a little of our money far more than we need more stuff!

  10. The RAK I want to share today isn’t mine but something I saw while out shopping today. I saw many families buying gifts for whole families from various caring trees. I think that is such a great way to spread love and caring. Growing up my mother and I always tried to pick at least one child we could help buy gifts for, a tradition I’ve carried through with my daughter. We stopped last night to pick our own cards from the caring tree and will be shopping this week for our “adopted children” as my daughter says.

  11. Made several meals for my niece & her family & then bought a bunch from Time for Dinner for them. My niece just had a hysterectomy after a cervical pregnancy so we’ve been trying to do as much as she will let us do to help her out. I truly wish I could find a RAK that could take away her grief & hurting.

  12. I have a 17 & 5 yr old boys. The 17 yr old is getting ready to leave home. I set up a little tent, and wrapped gifts to both boys and left them in the tent. It has been a lot of fun to watch the boys play and enjoy each other. Taking pictures and enjoying these last moments. Hoping that it will ease the transition of the change somewhat for them.

  13. congrats rak winners… though in an event like this everyone wins! smiles

    In the past few days we found out that our neighbors stove died… they had had it close to 20 years. Our stove had one burner go out a bit back but was less than 5 years old. Hubby and i decided to pick up a new convection stove with all the baking i do and had the burner fixed on the other stove and delivered it to the neighbors yesterday. They were so happy being on a very fixed income… and it looks great in their kitchen too!

    Yesterday morning i helped our other neighbor lug firewood in, we are due for some good storms these next 3 days and power may not be around… so she will have some dry wood for heat if needed.

  14. These are such generous and wonderful RAKs, it is inspiring to read them. I am trying to be more generous than just the red kettles and church things. I often notice our elderly patients are so grateful for just a little attention. When they come to the office and share something on their hearts before they see the doctor, I”ve been asking them if they need a hug (if they aren’t contagious). Every one I ask, says “yes!” It’s amazing.

  15. Congrats to all the RAK winners!

    Yesterday, Friday, I didn’t even realize that I had RAKed someone until late evening!

    I was at school, getting a package of Scantron sheets from the bookstore for my math exam 10 minutes later. As I was waiting for the elevator, one of my classmates passed and excitedly said hi (I missed last class due to illness). She said she couldn’t take the exam because she didn’t have any scantrons, so I gave her one of my new ones. I’ve been in her shoes and been RAKed a scantron, so I know how nice it is! 🙂

  16. I stopped at the animal shelter to drop off some cat food, and there was a dad and about 5 year old girl looking at the cats for adoption. The shelter is having a no adoption fee special for cats, but the little girl was looking at 2 cats that had come in together. I pulled dad aside, and he explained that their apartment charged rent per pet, and that he just could not afford to pay for 2 cats, while it’s winter and his construction job was slow. I gave him the money for the 2nd cats’s rent for 4 months, since he said that he’d be able to afford it as his job picked up. It was a triple win–the 2 cats AND the little girl;!

  17. I loved reading about all the people who gave their store coupons away. Such an easy thing to do! So this week, I was at Target and my local grocery store with fistfuls of coupons… I looked for people that could use them, and slipped them the coupons in the checkout line. All in all only about $10-$15 worth of coupons, but the bright (and suprised) faces were worth double that amount!

    Can I just say that all the RAKs I’ve read are just awesome!! You guys are what make the world a better place!

  18. My daughter and I picked a child off of the Salvation Army “angel tree” and went Christmas shopping for her. She is a 3 year old named Amy, and she wanted bath toys. We got her new PJs, a new outfit, some games as well as bath foam, a floating bath target game, squirters, soap crayons and paints, this boat thingy. Every bath toy we could find that wasn’t obviously for little babies. We also got her a Tink stocking and filled it up with crazy pencils, crayons, playdoh, lip balm, candy and other little doodads that were okay for ages 3 and up..
    When we were done, we were both really happy about what we accomplished. We knew we had done something to make a little girl’s Christmas morning a happy one. That felt really good for both of us, and now my 9 year old knows what that feels like, and that made me feel like I’d done a good thing for her as well.

  19. This week, when I was picking up my Sunday paper, I tipped the little old man selling them an extra $10 because the poor thing was having to stand out in the cold! It definitely made me feel good, and I hope it helps him have a better holiday season.

    I also switched shifts with my coworker so she could go to a holiday party, which meant having to rearrange some of my own plans. She’s been going through a rough time lately (her grandpa is very sick) so I just wanted her to have a good night out. I think it refreshed her a bit, because she’s been much more animated since she got a chance to go out and get some stress out!

  20. This week I surprised a few people with treats, batts, and food. I bought something from someone that I didn’t need because they needed the $$. It just so happened that we had a windfall this month and I have been able to share. The thing I bought is lovely as well and will be passed on to someone that needs it more than I.

    I have gotten a lot of ideas from the comments, and resolve to do more this year. I have to say tho its hard to buy coffee for the person behind you in a lineup at the counter…LOL I never use the drive thru. Maybe I should start?

    I also bought gift cards for all the guys on my shift so that they can run out for dinner in an emergency..

  21. Does it count if I also received the RAK? I was at Target buying a huge bunch of mostly frivolous items. The woman behind me had a $15 off coupon if you purchased $150 of items. Since she had a smaller order, she gave it to me. I thanked her generously, but also knew that she certainly could use the $$$$ more than I. Afterall, I was paying with a card that had been gifted to me previously. So, after receiving the new giftcard and thanking her many times over, I re-gifted it back to her.

    I also knit and donated a bunch of hats for the homeless shelter.

  22. I explained how the complicated city bus system worked to a new bus rider. DH shoveled and saleted the walk for a neighbor with back problems.

  23. I made a bunch of hats for Shanti’s sailors and knit some red scarves for the Red Scarf project, but that didn’t really feel like enough. So when a lady who volunteers for a women’s shelter in Philadelphia posted asking for donations of yarn and crochet hooks for the women to use, I went through my entire stash and loaded up a huge bag with large left-over balls of wool and full skeins of yarn I hadn’t looked at in years. Then I packed another bag with all the hats I’d made over the years that didn’t have homes, and weren’t 100% wool so I couldn’t send them to the sailors. There were a lot of colorful, girly hats in there–I’m sure some of the women in the shelter will like them!

    The woman who’d asked for the donations looked shocked when I handed over all that stuff, and it made me feel so good to know that I could help someone, even if it was so little work for me.

  24. Once again this week my RAK’s aren’t so random. But I also recieved as well as gave a few.
    I’m still passing out candy canes.
    Also, I was in ON this week. They had a fabulous sale on gloves, the one size fits all knit ones. I went back Saturday morning & purchased enough so that DD#2’s gymnastics team and DD#3’s cheer team would each get a pair. While checking out a woman handed me her coupon since she would not be spending the $50. As I was leaving I passed the coupon on to a gramma that was shopping since it had 2 options to save.
    The gymnastics team was having a bake sale Sat am so I handed off the gloves to my DD to make sure that each girl got a pair while they were standing out in the cold.
    I love this tradition. Keep up all the great work

  25. I facilitated the Christmas Sharing Tree at our workplace again this year. My favorite part is seeing my co-workers get as excited about giving as they do. The kids are allowed to ask for one gift up to $40 in value, but they list a second back up gift just in case the first one can’t be found. Many of my co-workers knew that they only needed to get one gift for the child they sponsored, but bought both of them anyway. More than 100 toys came were donated by my company this year. The generosity is infectious, and I always feel like we get more out of the program than the gift recipients do.

  26. I was leaving A.C. Moore after shopping with my daughter for supplies for a school project, and still had a 51% off coupon good for that day only. Someone was looking at things outside, checking the price on something big, and put it back — I gave her my coupon. She was so surprised and happy.

  27. A fellow knitter who was mid-way through knitting scarf and broke a needle. The needle was made by a company that use to make a 4.25mm needle but has since stopped making that size. She didn’t want to switch needle sizes because the yarn was striping up perfectly so she posted an ISO on Ravelry. I just so happened to have a pair of needles in the exact same size so I said I would send them to her free of charge. The sweet thing is she offer to pay for shipping and or get me a pattern of my choice, but I said that she would be my RAK (which made me feel great, so it was a win-win).

  28. Ok I’m not really a Santa’s Elf but must remain unknown due to some eyeballs that may read this blog.

    I bought 3 $5 gift cards from Starbucks to hand out at random to others. I have only given out 1 card so far to a young lady that is a bell-ringer for the Salvation Army at a local Walmart. I have seen her numerous times no matter how frigid the temps may be and she always has a smile on her face.

    We bought 2 $25 gift cards from Walmart to donate to our church for church families that are really having a hard time this Christmas season.

    I have knitted about 20 washcloths(ongoing for couple months cause I can’t knit that fast…lol) and going to place with some goat’s milk soap. These will be going to some wonderful knitting buddies that are a true blessing from God. I love you ladies!

  29. Among all the holiday knitting I’ve been working on, I dug around in my stash on a whim and found some bright cotton colors that were perfect for a Project Linus blanket. Started knitting and hope to have it in the mail before Christmas!

  30. My son’s girlfriend lives in North Carolina and cannot be with us for Christmas because of work obligations. So I just sent out a big box of “good things” for her to enjoy for Christmas including knitted socks and, if course, chocolate.

  31. I was in the drive-thru for fast food yesterday and on the spur of the moment paid for the guy in the car behind me. I was gone before he got up to the window – very fun!

  32. I knit a pair of mittens for my daughter’s roommate for Christmas. College girl didn’t think she would have time and didn’t know when she would be able to work on them in secret, so mom volunteered her services. : ))

    Those cookies look scrumptious

  33. My mother is in her 80’s and likes to send out a Christmas letter. Instead of her having to go out to Kinko’s, make copies, etc. I did it for her this year. Typed it on the computer and printed it out and then when the snow was too bad to get out this weekend of envelopes, I gave her the ones I had bought for my Christmas letter.

  34. The cookies look great. Do you have a trader Joe’s in your neighbor hood? If you do, they have a peppermint Oreo type cookie that is out of this world. I paid for the order for the person in line behind me at Caribou. Merry Christmas!

  35. I almost fell over when I looked at this blog entry again! Now, I see one of the little Zim’s Elves Themselves sitting up there. I have several of these little guys sitting around the house and they make me smile each time I see them during the holidays. I wish they were still available! There used to be one knitting, before I became a knitter and I didn’t get her! Anyway, the RAKs are wonderul to read over again.

  36. Last week a friend’s neighbor’s home burned to the ground. We’ve been collecting clothes and toys and other things to get them going temporarily. I decided that the best thing I could do was get to knittin’. I figured that I can’t get any better than RAKs that WIP and stash bust. I finished up a couple of ancient WIPs that I was mad at (and thus would never finish without new purpose) and started a couple of additional hats for their kids.

  37. I went over to my dad’s wife’s house to fix her computer after she discovered it had viruses.

    And, a girlfriend had ordered some online gift cards that didn’t arrive so I tracked down the customer support number and got them working on her problem.

  38. Sunday went with husband and church choir to local nursing home to sing some Christmas carols and listen to some scripture about the Christmas story. It was much more enjoyable than I thought it was going to be

  39. We took our 11 year old to the store to buy angel gifts for 14 boys and girls from the 3rd to 6th grade at an elementary school in central Phoenix. Each boy got a soccer ball and either a Sorry game or Trouble game, and each girl got a Password Journal with batteries and some Hello Kitty nail polish and fingernail decals. Our son picked out the gifts. He swore the girls would love those Password Journals!

  40. I have a wonderful newspaper carrier who is always on time every day and he gets out of his car and walks my paper up to the front door. I sent him a $100 tip today for Christmas.
    My friend did a wonderful thing. She knit up several little santa hats for kids and went to the mall and handed them out to random kids. She said the look on their faces was worth a million dollars!

  41. I was nice to the woman who called me back only after I had contacted the company and waited on hold 20 minutes so I could get someone else to refill the prescription that I had called her about five days ago — and multiple phone calls too. I was kind instead of being angry, but at the time it sure felt like a major RAK.

  42. This week I (finally!) finished knitting the 5 scarves and 2 baby hats I donated to the annual raffle to benefit the MakeAWish Foundation. I’m so happy with them- I hope they make someone else very happy too, and to benefit a good cause!

  43. My department holiday party fell through and no one participated, so i donated the scarf i made for the ‘yankee swap’ to someone who could use a nice scarf 🙂

  44. I gave some chocolate chip cookies to my co-worker’s wife who is struggling through health issues. I figure chocolate chip cookies always bring cheer, and I hope it helped her to know others are thinking about her.

  45. My RAK this week is that I sorted through some of my yarn bins. I bagged up a huge bunch of yarn that needs to find new homes where it will be knit up and loved. I have given it to the local thrift shop so that they can sell it cheaply! The thrift shop is run to earn money to run the local food pantry, and I’m sure that there will be some knitters out there who are excited to score yarn for a bargain!
    More yarn sorting this weekend if time permits. If not, it will wait until after the new year.

  46. First of all – I am sure that we all want to know where Mary R lives?

    My random act of kindness this week has been to take care of as much work as I can for one of my co-workers. She is always overwhelmed and distracted at Christmas. We share an email in box and she doesn’t even know about most of the thinks that have quickly been dispatched.

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