12.15BestOfMyDays-01It is here! You guys do such a good job reminding me to get these made!

If you are new to the blog, this is a very simple idea I started doing back in 2011. It is kind of like a little notepad, but with a goal of recording something great from each day. Maybe it is a big event or maybe it is just something small. Recording the joys of each day helps me nurture gratitude in my heart. The calendars were actually created with the idea of giving them as a gift at Christmas. It can be something to slip in with gifts for friends, teachers, family and kids.

Step 1: Download the pdf files by clicking here (look for the download button at the top right corner of the screen)

Step 2: Print each pdf on cardstock paper.  I print mine at FedEx Kinkos.

Step 3: Trim each page. Mine are cut to about 3 inches wide.

12.15BestOfMyDays-0212.15BestOfMyDays-03Step 4: punch a hole in the top corner and add a metal ring12.15BestOfMyDays-0512.15BestOfMyDays-07My favorite part is wrapping them up for friends. I just layer and keep layering.12.15BestOfMyDays-08I would love to hear how many of you are still using these and what you have enjoyed about them. Who will you be giving them to this year?

CLICKHEREdiy

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  • Maureen - Yay! I have been waiting for these. I give them to my nieces, sisters, friends and Mom. I wish my boys were interested but so far no. I love wrapping them too. Today I am grateful you posted this. Thank you!

  • Monica - I was actually JUST thinking about wanting something like this for the coming year!!! I’m new to your blog since last year so haven’t used before but will be using/gifting this year! thank you!

  • Mrs.T - I’ve been waiting for these!!! Was so excited to see the title pop up in my blogroll. Last year I gave them to several friends and my daughters. Everyone loved them, so this year I’m giving them to a few more people — my older granddaughters and another friend. Thank you SO much for sharing this with us. I know how busy you are, so really appreciate your sacrifice of time in sharing this gift with your readers.

  • Byron - Excellent idea. I will have to try this.

  • Jennifer - These are great! I have been waiting for these to appear on your blog this year!

    I work at a non-profit and sometimes it’s hard to balance all the heavy stories we hear and hard work that is being done with self-care. I plan to hand this out to my staff. This is a great way to have folks simply reflect, appreciate, and give perspective to their days.

    Thank you for creating and sharing these!

  • Carrie - I love your decorations! The prettiest year yet. :)

  • Rae - Wow!! These are perfect!! I’m gonna have to try them out! Thanks, Ashley! :)

  • Christine - I’m new to the site, but this is a fabulous idea! Thank you!

  • Donzel - I’m so glad that you are doing this again! It was such fun to give them away last year. Planning on doing this gift again, but probably for fewer people…am not sure how many actually filled them out!
    Also, thanks for the bolder font, this will show up better on the darker paper I plan on using.

  • Kelli - YAYYYY! Thank you so much! I love the design and that this year, its just in black and white so I won’t feel like I’m skimping if I don’t print off in color (to save a few bucks, of course)! I will be using this for myself again for the 5th year in a row and will gift it to my daughter’s teacher and some dear friends. :)

  • Kelli - Also – wherrrrrre does one find those adorable, colorful, punch out letters?!

  • Beth - I started this last year for myself. As a new momma the nightly ritual of filling in the best part of each day was very therapeutic. Going from a full-time job out of the house to saying at home has been a challenging adjustment. This little calendar has helped me keep things in perspective. Many days all I could write down was that my little guy took an awesome nap. :) Looking back through each month has been such a joy and encouragement. I am making these for several friends this year!

  • Libby Baker - Oh thank you so much Ashley! I was hoping you would publishing this for 2016. This has been such a positive activity for my daughter and myself. As we go through life it becomes too easy to look at the negative side of things rather than the positive. I love this reminder to change my attitude and thinking. Hope you and your family have a most Merry Christmas!

  • Amy@AtMulberryHill - Thank you, Ashley! These are great. I plan to make a few sets this week for gifts.

  • Jancy - So thankful you make these each year! This will be our third year. I ask my kids to tell me the best of their day and I write it down. I am touched so often by them telling me while we are doing an activity together that it will be the best part of their day. It helps remind us daily to be thankful of our blessings big and small. After finishing our first year, I punched holes along to top edge and did a ribbon binding. I really fell this will be an adorable keepsake for them to look back on years from now. Thank you for sharing and many blessings to you and yours!

  • Silvia - Obrigado !!!

    I’ll use it for the 1º time

  • Lacey - I love this idea … thank you for sharing! Downloaded and ready to print! <3

  • AshleyAnn - Kelli – I got those years ago at Big Lots! They were a markdown Martha Stewart line.

  • Mary - So cool! Thank you! Where did you find the floral patterned paper?

  • wynne - yay! been waiting for this!!!!!

  • Stephani - Happy you created these to share again- it is such a neat thing to look back on and wish I had kept up with it better this year.

  • Debbie Weiner - These are great! Love the idea! Thank you for sharing!

  • Erika Shapiro - Thank you for doing this! I give them every year and am so grateful for them. They are the perfect gift for friends but also for my husband’s counseling ministry and the youth staff I work with. THANK YOU!!!!!!

  • Elizabeth H - i use them!! {{hand raised}}
    my 10 yr old was asking for his new set just prior to your post;
    perfect timing!
    i put them in all my children’s stockings {boys 14,12,10,8,7 and
    Sweet Pea 4}
    thank you & love them!!

  • CATHERINE - Always gretat ! MERCI BEAUCOUP

You guys know I am a fan of Mpix.com…both the products and the company. I’ve ordered my photo prints and products from Mpix long before I was ever given the opportunity to work with them. Big fan here. Yesterday I had the opportunity to guest post a little holiday card display DIY for the Mpix blog. It is simple, fast and less than $10. You know, just the way I like DIY projects!

12.15carddisplay-06click on the image below to visit the Mpix blog and view the tutorial:12.15mpixblogMpix sent me a bunch of sample cards to use for the post. I’m thinking about just keeping them up on display to confuse my kids. They keep asking me who those people are in the pictures!

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  • Sandy C - Thanks for the great day idea! I love it and saying gutter guard, lol.

  • Carol - Reminds me of the time we had a pic frame and never replaced the pic that came in it. I remember you girls asking me who that girl was in the picture. After a while, we just made up a name for her. Still makes me laugh!

  • Shawna - Where did you get the wall mounted mug rack. I have been looking for one and can’t find one. Thank you.

  • Amy K. - I hope to be that lady rocking the sunglasses on her Christmas card when I grow up!!

  • Lynda M. - Such a great idea! Love, love, love your mug rack! Would you please share where you got it – it would be perfect for my Starbuck “You are Here” mug collection!

  • RachelC - Love this idea. At first, I was like….”man, she has a lot of new friends I need to get to know.” Then I read the end…. hahahahaha.

Each year December rolls around and I get bummed that I didn’t plan ahead and create an Advent calendar – one with activities to do as a family and little random acts of kindness. I try very hard to keep this the slowest month of the year for our family. With homeschooling we definitely have the schedule flexibility to add daily activities without it feeling like a weight or one more thing to squeeze into the day. I want to take advantage of that flexibility, but don’t always do so well.

My biggest issue was I just forgot to make it happen or felt like I didn’t have the time to create one of those amazing Advent calendars I saw on some design website.

December arrives and in the past I’ve thought if we didn’t begin by the first day of Advent, well, all was lost.

This year I decided that is ridiculous. I didn’t need to let WHEN we start take away from WHY we were counting down the days.

So, last week (December 3rd) I spent an hour at my kitchen table putting stickers on tags and adding little activities for each day on the back of those tags.

12.15Advent-0112.15Advent-05I wasn’t sure where to hang them, so I just taped them right to the living room wall.12.15Advent-03Christmas Adam. Christmas Eve. Christmas Day got extra fancy with some tape because those are extra special days of celebration.12.15Advent-0712.15Advent-08When my kids came downstairs the next morning not a single one of them asked why the numbers started with “4”. The thing that I got hung up on in years past (not starting on time) was a non-issue for my family. I’m a slow learner.

The visual countdown is exciting, but so are the intentional activities for each day. When I picked the activities, I had my calendar on hand. For busy days, I picked simple things like, “have an epic ‘snowball’ fight with socks” and “research Christmas jokes to tell your grandparents.” On slower days, I chose things like, “buy hot chocolate and deliver to a Salvation Army ringer”, “make cinnamon rolls and take to friends”, and “pile into the car to go see Christmas lights.”

I did searches on Pinterest for “Advent Calendar Activities” and “Advent Random Acts of Kindness” for ideas to include.  I kept a printout for all the activities so I could look ahead or switch around the days if needed.

Our Christmas countdown cost less than a $1, took about an hour to make and we started it ‘late’….pretty much typical Campbell style!

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  • Amy@AtMulberryHill - I so LOVE this! I am a terrible procrastinator and what I don’t put off on purpose often gets left out for sake of time, but I made a similar decison recently. I like to begin personal challenges on the first day of a month, but this time, I told myself that it didn’t matter WHEN; only that I began. Just like you did! And no, kids never have our expectations.

  • Jenn - i love this
    i love that you did it even though it was late. i get wrapped up in the, well we didn’t start on time so lets not (idea as well) thank you for encouraging me to not care about the when but the heart of it all and that the kids won’t care either way. your tags are great. the wall you hung them on……..love it. what did you use to plank that wall, it hasn’t always been that way, has it? 😉

  • Elizabeth - I found your Christmas Planner from a few years ago on Pinterest but couldn’t get it to download. Is this no longer available? It is such a great idea for someone who has to plan ahead.

  • Emily - Last week, Jenny Rosentrach at Dinner: A Love Story (are you familiar with her blog/book? It’s quite enjoyable) talked about family dinners and how what we all really need is something “aspertainable” — aspirational + attainable. It’s my new favorite word and I feel it applies to your life and I am, as always, so grateful that you share with us. Happy Adventing!

  • Rae - Your ideas, Ashley! <3

  • Maddie Long - I love love love this idea! What are some of the activities that you used!?

  • Rochelle - I loved our advent calendar as a child but with my family now I get into the same mode that you did…busy, late start, nevermind… Thanks for the reminder (and motivation) to make this happen. The joy of Advent is a memory I want my kid to have too!

  • Byron - Nice! I think the biggest problem with these types of things is figuring out the activities. I’d be worried about stuff like “buy hot chocolate and deliver to a Salvation Army ringer”–you’ve got 5 kids after all. That’s some travel to find enough ringers! LoL!

    So now all you need to do for next year is set aside an hour to put your calendar together…(on November 30). 😀

  • Tracy - I did the same thing and started on Monday of this week. My kids are little and they don’t care when we count down, they just want to count down. I tried to incorporate kindness activities too, but put candy in three of them, just for fun. I love your ideas though!

  • AshleyAnn - Byron – it will just be one cup for one ringer 😉

  • Jess - Hi Ashley, this works to capture the audio:
    1. you have to put the video on youtube (this can be done so it’s private)
    2) copy the link for the video and go to this site: http://www.youtube-mp3.org/
    3) It converts and you download the mp3
    warning..it’s in French, but it works :)
    I loved your advent calendar..and your thoughts about starting late.

  • katie voorhees - What a fabulously festive idea! Love the idea of adding acts of kindness!! BEAUTIFUL and clever advent calendar!!

  • erica - We do random acts of kindness as our advent each year, and I love hearing other peoples’ ideas – delivering hot chocolate to people standing in the cold collecting for others is a brilliant idea! A few favourites around here: my son put coins inside every gum/toy machine at our local arena, as a surprise for the next kid coming to check out the machines. We left notes and some cookies for our local janitors, thanking them for all they do – and the kids spent one lunch hour cleaning up for the janitors. We took on a task that was being avoided by a local teacher and spent our evening doing it for her, and this week we want to make gingerbread houses but with seedy crackers and cover it with all sorts of treats for birds, to put out in our garden. Have fun:-)

  • Karen - I just love the way you parent. Merry Christmas!

  • Kate @ Songs Kate Sang - Oh, this is just wonderful! Love it.

  • Shauna - As per usual. You make me awe over your level of intention.
    You live life the way that makes memories.
    Here I am stressing over a bedtime routine.

  • Tobi Layton - We did the same thing this year, only minus the adorable tags (love it – and stealing it next year). I got tired of filling those advent boxes with cheapo trinkets that we don’t need. My three boys LOVE the advent activities. I have a suggestion for one: look at old photos (ours turned into “read old blog posts” and they were ROLLING at their younger-self antics and photos!)

  • Stephanie - What a lovely, simple idea. I plan on saving this for next year to do with my little man.