Thankful for Monday: Happiness Through Gratitude

This is a new kind of project I’m forcing myself to do. Having a few scheduled posts a week really works wonders for my over-stimulated brain. I cannot mindlessly list topics and ideas forever, brainstorming over great articles and DIY-material until I’m suddenly too drained to write or publish any of it.. silly! As much as I love lists, I’ve recently realized I’m wasting a lot of time on them. And.. as you may or may not know, a new mother’s time is very precious and limited.

So I’m urging myself to again start keeping a gratitude journal which once helped so much with my positive outlook. I had been keeping one for months on my iPhone previously, another in a journal my doctor encouraged me to start.. I must say that although I enjoy journaling and scribbling nonsense, the gratitude thing worked best digitally because it was always on hand. I could attach photos in a flash and rate my days.. sadly when I updated my iPhone OS, however, my restoration went wonky and my gratitude journal -and all of the photos- were deleted. I had a bit of a melt-down -I’m lying, it was a full-on panic attack- .. I was so upset I couldn’t now see the progress I had made.. the once unhealthy things I was so grateful for and the realization of what I should be grateful for.. to which of course my husband reminded me, “You have what you are grateful for right here, it shouldn’t be hard to start a new one. I see the progress you’ve made and deep down you know you’ve made it.”

So, on Mondays I will begin to look back at all of the wonderful (and even not-so-wonderful!) things I should be and am grateful for. It is said that keeping a gratitude journal is very healthy, a great way to be open to all of the amazing things you have in your life that you might not be noticing. It’s also said to lift your spirits in a way that cannot be denied. I agree and I urge you to try it! Even if just for a month.

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One

The sweet taste of a homegrown strawberry that I happened to rescue from the brink of death! We were in the grocery store and the fluorescent lighting must have left the shriveled plants with much to be desired. I instantly usherd one to the register and planted it in new soil and a large pot — now it’s branching out into my yard and attempting to spread sugary-sweet red fruit to all of the rabbits in the area. I did get to taste one berry, one very delicious berry, however when I watered it today I noticed my other three berries had been eaten. We have a cottontail friend roaming around now and again so I’m sure he was the one who experienced the delight of the fresh berries — at least someone enjoyed them!

Two

Every single coo and grunt my daughter makes. And the fact that I unbelievably have a daughter and can talk about her. It’s absolutely a trip and I never could have imagined how wonderful it would be. She’s been in my dreams for quite awhile so I feel very fortunate that she has arrived in my arms and left me with a scar I will never forget. I can’t to experience every new moment with her and I want to remember absolutely every day.

Three

Heart-wrenching memoirs of hardship and survival. I’m a dark, depressing memoir addict. I think it has something to do with being inspired by overcoming one’s past to become an amazing and creative person. Having been through a rough and tumbly past myself and having watched many of those I love fall to the negativity of their own past, it’s very enlightening to see what can be accomplished if you devote your life to overcoming it.

Four

My husband’s new-found appreciation for cooking. Not just because I get to taste all of his experiments, either, but because I am also passionate about cooking up my own creations and it’s double the excitement! We have yet another interest that we share and it’s the best kind of interest — the kind that tastes delicious. He keeps practicing on fresh Tilapia and I keep inhaling it.

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Five

Thrifting for vintage, kitschy mugs. Thrifting is not only fun alone, it’s even more fun because of the people you do it with. I often go thrifting with my best friend or husband and we have a blast finding kitschy goodies, vintage magazines and trying on 70s bathrobes. It doesn’t get old! You don’t need a lot of money to have a great time combing through pop-culture memorabilia — just a lot of time and patience. Even a box of old records or postcards can become an exciting giggle fest. No matter what their selection, make sure you look through the mugs and vintage cookbooks — they’ll always provide you with some inexpensive, kitschy fun for your kitsch-en!

What are five things that you’re thankful for this week?

Teacakes to Bake in the Microwave

Have only a few minutes or a tiny-kitchen but want to make a yummy cake for yourself or friends? Make sure after you’ve finished the cake to pop a few coffee mugs with water for 1.5 mins and add your favorite tea to each cup!

Applesauce Cakes

Ingredients
microwavable coffee mugs or similar
non-stick spray or butter
mixing bowl
flour: 1 1/2 cup
baking soda: 1/2 tsp
salt: 1/2 tsp
cinnamon: 1 tsp
cloves: 1/2 tsp
nutmeg: 1/2 tsp
allspice: 1/2 tsp
shortening: 1/2 cup
packed brown sugar: 1 cup
egg
unsweetened applesauce: 1 1/4 cup

Instructions
Line a 1 1/2 quart glass baking dish with wax paper. Sift flour, baking soda, salt and spices together into bowl. Cream shortening and brown sugar into mixture. add egg and beat thoroughly. Mix well after each addition. Fill greased mugs half-way with batter. Bake in microwave for 10 minutes.

Cheesecakes

Ingredients
microwavable coffee mugs or similar
non-stick spray or butter
mixing bowl
package of cream cheese: 8 oz
sugar: 1/4 cup
egg
vanilla wafers or cookies
vanilla flavoring: 1/2 tsp

Instructions
Soften cream cheese. Mix in other ingredients and beat well until smooth. Place vanilla wafer or cookie in microwavable coffee mug or tea cup. Spoon cheese filling on top and microwave on high 1 1/2 to 2 minutes until filling is set. This will make 6 cakes. when cool, top with pie filling or piece of fruit.