30 Day Giving Challenge 2012

It’s November 1st. What does that mean in your house?

Well, I mean besides that fact that you’re trying to figure out what you’re going to do with all your kids’ Halloween candy. I mean a person can only eat so many Butterfingers before they explode. Don’t ask me how I know this.

But really, what does November mean for you and your family? For most of us here in the U.S., it means being thankful, listing our blessings, family time, turkey.

At the House of Hills, November means GIVING. For the last two years, we’ve participated in the 30 Day Giving Challenge. I tried to document every day in 2010 and in 2011, but I always seem to slack off once we get past our BIG GIVE, my Operation Christmas Child Birthday Party. I’m having that earlier in the month this year. Hopefully, that will give me enough energy to make it to the end sharing with you each day how we gave at the House of Hills.

The thing is we are a giving group at our house. It’s the way we are wired. We all get excited when we’re able to give a small gift, help someone, or just give our time in some way. Because it’s not that hard for us, we sometimes aren’t intentional about it. Then, it can fall by the wayside. We love the 30 Day Giving Challenge because it recalibrates our giving senses. It makes us look for ways we can help others—ways we might have missed if we weren’t being intentional.

There are so many ways to give and love others, but sometimes we need help thinking of them. When I posted last month that I never went into a teacher conference empty-handed, I got amazing responses that basically said, “I’ve never thought of that. Thanks for the idea!”

We want to share our giving ideas with you this month! So check in each day to see what we did to give. And, you can check out the 30 Day Giving Challenge Pinterest Board that several bloggers are working on together.

Whether you’re able to give every day of November or maybe just one, I challenge you to play along with us. You’ll be thankful that you did.

What’s the best “give” you’ve ever received?


Operation Christmas Child Party 2012

This box came in the mail this week! I’m so excited. Do you know why?


Wait? What does Operation Christmas Child have to do with my birthday you say? If you’ve been around the House of Hills for a few years, then you know.


Two years ago, I began participating in the 30 Day Give during the month of November. I wanted to do something special for my birthday, and since National Collection Week for OCC is always right after my birthday, I thought, “That’s perfect!”

In 2010, we had the party at our temporary house. We packed 89 boxes that day! It was so much fun!

In 2011, for my 40th birthday, our goal was to hit 120 boxes… 3 for every year of my life. We almost made it. We dropped off 110 boxes. I was so pleased.

This year, we’re changing it up and doing the party a bit earlier, on November 6th. Yes, that’s election day. And, because of schools being polling places, there is no school for the kids. I thought “Why not give the kids something to do!” We’re having it at my house this year. Sweet Hubby is taking the day off to help, and we’re going to use every inch of our tiny space.

If you’re a local friend, you’ve probably been invited to my OCC Birthday Party Facebook page. If not and you want to be, let me know!

Here’s what I’m providing this year at my OCC party:

  • The box
  • Bouncy balls
  • Small stuffed animals
  • Wash cloths
  • Crayons
  • Stickers
  • Candy
  • Miscellaneous extras
  • Snacks and drinks

Here’s what you need to bring to the OCC party:

  • Age specific toys
  • Age specific clothing (optional)
  • Toothbrush and toothpaste
  • Bar of soap double baggied
  • $7 cash or check per box (have to put in each box) – or you can print labels to track your box online before you come by visiting here.

For more information about what to pack in an Operation Christmas Child shoebox, visit Samaritan’s Purse.

This party has become one of my favorite days of the years. I can’t wait to have fun with all my friends. My goal this year is to do another 100 boxes (that’s all I’ve got to pack). I think we can do it!

Update: I started an Operation Christmas Child Pinboard to help you get ideas!

Do you pack boxes for Operation Christmas Child? Do you give in a different way?


If you are coming to the party and want to help victims of Superstorm Sandy, please bring:

  • Feminine products
  • Bottles
  • First Aid Kits
  • Cough Drops
  • Cough Medicine

I will box up everything contributed and pay for the shipping to get it to those who need it. I’m getting an address from this blogger who is in the thick of it.

Contents on this site are ©2012 HouseofHills. All Rights Reserved. Please contact me through this blog if you would like to publish this content somewhere.

30 Day Give : Day 14

Today we almost forgot to give.

The girl has bronchitis. This is NOT FUN!

However, even in her misery the girl reminded me that we needed to do a give today while we were in the checkout at the grocery store.

So, we gave money to the food drive.

Proud of my girl. Very proud.

30 Day Give : Day 13

Today I cleaned the bathrooms.

Yes, I consider this a “give.” I DO NOT like to clean the bathrooms. Nobody in this house does. So, when I do it, I consider it a give.

In fact, today I cleaned the bathrooms, did several loads of laundry, cleaned up the kitchen, and multiple other things.

On my birthday.

And you know what… I was SO VERY THANKFUL the entire time I was doing it.

Thankful for bathrooms to clean.

Thankful for a house to live in.

Thankful that I could stop and have a snack when I wanted.

Thankful I had a daughter to care for (she’s got bronchitis).

Thankful for my family.

Just, thankful.

So, my give to my family was cleaning the bathrooms.

The give I received from my Heavenly Father – so very much more.


It’s Birthday Party Day!!!

Today is the day! It’s BIRTHDAY PARTY DAY!

The boxes are ready!!

The supplies are ready!!

There are toothbrushes…

There are bouncy balls…

There are plush animals…

There are crayons…

All that’s missing is YOU! Are you coming to my Operation Christmas Child Birthday Party? We’d love to have you!!

If you’re not able to come to my Birthday Party today, why don’t you plan on packing a box at home. Check the OCC website for a drop off place near you.

I’ll be tweeting as we prep for and during the party today. Follow me to see the fun!

30 Day Give : Day 11

Today we prepped for my Operation Christmas Child


Tomorrow, many of my friends, family, and co-workers will descend upon our office for a OCC Shoebox packing party.

The girl helped me set up all the buckets of goodies and then packed a sample shoebox so that people could see how full to pack them.

We are ready to get the party started in the morning.

The girl is just as excited as I am!!



If you would like to pack a shoebox for Operation Christmas Child (and can’t come to my party), check out their website for details and a drop off location near you!


30 Day Give : Day 10

Looking back over my 30 Day Give posts, I’m realizing A LOT of them involve food. It seems I really like to give to people in the form of a delicious bite.

I guess it shouldn’t surprise me knowing that one of my spiritual gifts is hospitality. And, knowing that my love language is acts of service. There is no greater act of service than providing a meal for someone… at least that seems to be the way I think.

Today, I served my writing team. We held our monthly meeting at my house, and I served them both breakfast and lunch. Did I have to serve them homemade food? NO. Could I have gotten it catered? YES. I will say that some of my initial motivation for cooking for them was to save a bit of money from my budget, but that’s not why I decided to really SERVE them. I served them good, warm, homemade food because I care about each and every one of them, and I wanted them to know it.

For breakfast we had sausage balls and these AMAZING cinnamon rolls that I’m making better and better each time I try. Practice makes perfect right?


For lunch I made this awesome crock pot pasta dish with a few variations. I shall blog my version soon. It is SO EASY and SO GOOD.


I also made Bubble Bread. Anyone who has been around my family long enough knows about Bubble Bread. Again, SO EASY and SO GOOD!


Both were thoroughly enjoyed by the team! I served some veggies and fruit too just to give us a bit of nutrition.

It was a great time of savoring not only the food but one another while we took a break from our massive to do list. We got a lot accomplished during the meeting, but even better we got to do it with friends.


30 Day Give : Day 9

Today I took my Orange Specialists pottery painting at Glazed and Fired. These ladies are AMAZING and an integral part of my team at work. Many of them live out of town but were in town for a multiple day retreat. I wanted us to have some time to just hang out and have fun together.

Painting pottery together was the PERFECT activity. They all painted owls as an owl is a part of our branding. Their efforts showed that not only are they amazing at what they do each day, but they’re all REALLY ARTISTIC as well. I can’t wait to see these beauties once they’ve finished the process!

Do you take time to have fun with your co-workers? What do you do?

30 Day Give : Day 7

Today’s give was a yummy one! I cooked cinnamon rolls (a first for me) and took them to our staff meeting. They were a HUGE hit and well appreciated.

Then, in the afternoon, I ran back up to the office and started THREE crock pots of taco soup for a group of co-workers that were having meetings late into the evenings. I also brought them chopped veggies with homemade dip.

I finished their meal up with a delicious Lime Cake that I learned to make a few months ago. It was the perfect finish to the somewhat spicy meal.



I love cooking for other people. It’s such a fun way to give!

If you’ve missed the first few days of the 30 Day Giving Challenge, you can catch up here.

Day 6: Giving By Serving
Day 5: Packing Candy Bags for OCC
Day 4: Giving Your Time
Day 3: Appreciating Teachers
Day 2: A Day at the Library
Day 1: Giving School Spirit Wear

We are really having a blast with 30 Day Giving Challenge here at the House of Hills. Are you participating?!

 Linked to Keeping the Kingdom First.