Tuesday, September 8, 2015

The Birthday Project

35 Acts of Kindness to celebrate The Birthday Project - idea list at barefeetinthekitchen.com

{I'm sharing this post today for the 3 year anniversary of my first Birthday Project. This has become an awesome tradition for our family and I look forward to repeating several of these things today for my 38th birthday!}

I'm taking a break from the kitchen today; so that I can share my birthday project with you. In lieu of gifts this year, my birthday wish was to complete one Random Act of Kindness for every year of my life. The idea was not my own, it was inspired by this post and this movement that is growing exponentially.

I did not photograph our acts of kindness, because I did not want my birthday project to become all about blogging it. I had a great time blessing my family, friends and complete strangers throughout my birthday celebration.

I made a list and planned some activities ahead of time, but I also enjoyed being spontaneous as we ran into people that we could bless with these things. My kids and I started about a week before my birthday and last Saturday, my husband joined us to finish the list. I'm sharing my list today, at the request of several friends. My hope is that this inspires others to share a bit of kindness with someone else today.

1.       Gave flowers away to the residents at a hospice and nursing care facility
2.       Invited our next door neighbor to dinner
3.       Brought in the neighbors' trashcans
4.       Gave a flower to the door greeter at Costco
5.       Printed my birthday email from Redbox and taped the free movie code along with a note and some tootsie pops to the front of the machine
6.       Snuggled on the couch and watched a kid’s movie with my boys all morning instead of working around the house
7.       Set up the kid’s wading pool and let them play for an hour before we left the house to run errands
8.       Took a flower to the girl working at the hair salon next to the grocery store
9.       Took a flower to our cashier at the produce store
10.   Walked around the produce store giving away candy and telling the shoppers to have a great day
11.   Gave granola bars and water to a homeless man
12.   Anonymously paid for a stranger’s meal at a restaurant
13.   Gave treat bags to the employees working in customer service at the grocery store
14.   Gave miniature chocolate bars to shoppers at the grocery store
15.   Gave a bag full of candy to our cashier at the grocery store, so that she could share with the other cashiers
16.   Bought a gift certificate and then gave it to the person behind me in line at the grocery store
17.   Sent cookies to a friend’s office for her to share with co-workers
18.   Delivered treat bags and thank you notes to the librarians
19.   Handed out lollipops to the rest of the people at the library
20.   My kids and I hung out for a while in the doorway at the grocery store, telling everyone to have a great day
21.   Made a big birthday breakfast for my kids and my husband – traditionally this is one of my husband’s gifts to me on my birthday
22.   Delivered a carton of ice cream, cookies and homemade chocolate and caramel sauces to the fire station
23.   Bought and then delivered toiletries to donate to the Phoenix Rescue Mission
24.   Delivered cartons of ice cream and homemade chocolate or caramel sauce to the neighbors in our cul-de-sac
25.   Took a bouquet of flowers to a neighbor living alone
26.   Delivered flowers to some friends
27.   Ran into a Jiffy Lube to deliver a bag of tootsie pops to the employees
28.   Delivered a meal to my sister and her family when they were sick
29.   Left candy and a thank you note for the mail carrier
30.   Taped quarters to toy machines at the grocery store
31.   Gave food to a homeless woman
32.   Traded my fancy birthday dinner date night for taking my kids to see a movie on Saturday afternoon
33.   Ran into a restaurant to give a free birthday dessert coupon to a table of strangers
34.   Ran into another restaurant to give a free birthday appetizer coupon to a group of strangers
35.   Gave jars of homemade salad dressings to the women in my small group


My 8 year old: “This is so much fun! I’m so happy. I can’t stop laughing and I feel like I’m going to burst.” Three days into this project –“ I still can’t believe how much fun this is. I never knew it was more fun to give things away than it is to get things!”

My 6 year old: “This is awesome! I want to give away a bunch of my toys now and make more people happy.” “I wish we had more bags of stuff to give away to strangers!”

My 2 year old: Telling every person he handed a treat bag to, “Have a good day!!” Sitting through his very first movie in a theater and looking over at us every 20 minutes or so and saying “Thank you much, thank you very much!”

Thank you for letting me share my joy with you. Hearing back from friends and family members with stories of how they blessed other friends and strangers on my birthday was quite possibly the most fun of all.

35 Acts of Kindness to celebrate The Birthday Project - idea list at barefeetinthekitchen.com


  1. This is incredible. So sorry I missed your 35th birthday! Since I am getting pretty old I guess I better get started thinking about this - it is a tremendous project, a blessing and a gift to all those you shared with, and for those of us in your blogging audience, thank you for sharing. Lovely way to start the day!

  2. First.. Happy belated birthday!!! Second.. what a great thing to do not only on your birthday, but any day. This is a great movement for sure. Thank you so much for sharing this with us!

  3. Oh, Miss Mary, no word of a lie, this post has moved me to tears! With every number I read, the smile on my face just kept getting bigger, but the best part was reading about how incredibly wonderful your kids thought the whole experience was. Oh my goodness. The tears just started streaming down my face when I could actually "see" your youngest thanking you in the movie theater!
    Wow. You have brought joy to SO very many people. What a GREAT birthday and WONDERFUL way to give back!!
    MUCH love and may you have many, many more beautiful birthdays such as this!
    You have absolutely made. my. day.

  4. Wow Mary, I'm in awe of you. I could just picture you doing these things as I was reading down the list. You're setting such an example for those adorable munchkins of yours. Happy Happy Birthday!

  5. Awesome & inspiring! I love that your kids loved it so much. Happy birthday!

  6. This is simply beautiful my friend. What a wonderful gesture of kindness and generosity. Inspiring, to say the very least. Thank you for sharing, my friend, and for making my day a bit more happy. I hope you are having a wonderful week!

  7. What a great idea and such a good example to your kids. I'd like to think about doing something like that for Christmas. I get tired of all the shopping and buying gifts just to buy something. It's much better to give something to others who really need it or need some encouragement.

    Happy birthday to you!

  8. This is so AWESOME Mary! Happy belated birthday! I may do this for my birthday this year! What a beautiful way to celebrate life! I have over 2 months to plan and 46 random acts to come up with! ;)

  9. Such a sweet way to spend your birthday, I'm sure it brought way more joy than focusing on yourself!

  10. Wow! You are amazing...thanks for inspiring us all.

  11. This is such a terrific idea I just had to share it. Truly inspirational. I'll be doing this when my birthday comes up. Happy Birthday!

  12. Beautifully done. It sounds like it was just as much fun for your children.

    Happy belated Birthday!

  13. Mary, you are 101 kinds of beautiful. Your family is so lucky, and so are we. What a gift to the world you are. God bless your beautiful soul! (And Happy belated bday, sugarpie!)

  14. Beautiful idea, and I loved how simple and effective your execution was - your kids' words are inspirational too! Happy belated birthday, and thanks for the reminder that it doesn't take much time to make someone's day!

  15. I'm loving this...will try to find a way do some of these throughout the year.

  16. You're awesome!! Happy Birthday

  17. What a cool way to celebrate a birthday!

  18. I have enjoyed so many of your wonderful recipes and the stories that accompany them, but this is the most wonderful recipe ever! Happy Birthday, and thank you for sharing this sweet and moving story

  19. Wow Mary, I'm in awe of you. I could just picture you doing these things as I was reading down the list. You're setting such an example for those adorable munchkins of yours. Happy Happy Birthday!

    - See more at: http://www.barefeetinthekitchen.com/2012/09/the-birthday-project.html#sthash.o80d5icY.dpuf