Archive for the ‘Gratitude Challenge’ Category


I had the best intentions of posting my gratitude every day, and while I do have many, many things for which I am grateful, I just don’t have enough stinkin’ time to write daily posts.

So we’ll just do the best we can throughout the rest of the challenge, okay?  No promises of posts every day or feelings of guilt for abandoning the blog for a week. Just live each day and express our gratitude any way we can.

Today I want to express my gratitude for the fall harvest. I’ve written about my canning escapades, which turned into a three-weekend canning extravaganza that culminated with my husband making five quarts of homemade pasta sauce all by himself.

Yeah, I know. He rocks.

This past weekend we also went apple picking at Crane Orchards in Fennville, Michigan.  It was their one and only weekend to pick Honey Crisp apples and we bought a bunch of them along with some Macs and a new breed of apple called the Blondee.  All of them are delicious.

Can you believe I have lived in Michigan all my life and this was the first time I’ve ever been apple picking? We really enjoyed ourselves and I think a new family tradition has been born, especially since it ended with fresh donuts and Crane’s apple cider.

I had my camera with me that day and snapped a few pictures at the orchard and the farmer’s market.  This was apparently our last trip to the market this year as the harvest season is now coming to a close.  I posted the photo set below, though if you’re an e-mail subscriber or perusing from a feed reader you may have to click through to actually see them.

And while I do wave goodbye to summer with a little bit of sadness, I also love this time of year.  The crisp, chilly air, the brilliant colors and coziness of making comfort food like soups and stews are all things that make this my favorite season.

There is a reason I named my daughter Autumn, you know.

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Here we are on day six of the Gratitude Challenge, and while I did say I was going to post every day, I suffered a minor gratitude fail yesterday by not posting at all.  It wasn’t intentional, but the day got away from me because I actually cooked dinner, washed the dishes and made eight mini loaves of chocolate chip zucchini bread.

The manicotti dish was a little more challenging than I thought it would be.  How does one fill a cooked manicotti shell without ripping the thing apart?  How do you even cook the manicotti without them falling apart in the pot? The recipe was a win win win with everyone, but presentation most surely would have elicited an ass chewing and a few f-bombs from Gordon Ramsay.

So anyway, considering yesterday’s oversight, you get a Gratitude twofer today and I’m going to start with one of the most hilarious tweets of all time. OF ALL TIME!


Is that not brilliant?  It combines the timeliness of Swayze’s death with the train-wreck douchebaggery of Kanye’s display at the MTV Video awards (Drunk? Ya think?) and spins it into something you might hear in an opening monologue on the Tonight Show.  The best part is that this came from a gal in Oklahoma who happens to be a good friend of mine.  She’s someone I’m grateful to have in my life so go follow her. She rocks!

The second bit of gratitude comes from being able to improvise this morning.  Improvisation is one of those skills you develop when you become a parent because you always have to be ready to turn things around when they go bad.  This morning things went bad when I spilled coffee on my white (why? why do I continue to wear white?) tank top and found out my Tide pen was empty.

In the grand scheme of things this was not an epic tragedy, but the stain was huge and right smack dab in the middle of my shirt where anyone who bothered to look at me would see it.  So I went to the bathroom and turned the thing around.  Voila! A clean canvass on which I can spill manicotti leftovers later.  It doesn’t even look like I’m wearing it backwards and the tag is gone so that I’m not getting scratched in the throat.

I still smell like coffee, though.  I love the smell of coffee, but the lingering scent of spilled coffee on clothing does nothing other than remind me that I will forever be that woman with the Tide pen in her purse who has to brush crumbs from her chest after every meal.

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Note: This is the fourth installment of my three-week daily Gratitude Challenge. If you’d like to catch up, you can start at the first post and read on from there

Last night Autumn did not go down very easily.  Some nights are like that and she repeatedly gets out of bed for one reason or another.  When she does this, I’m almost guaranteed to get attitude from her the next morning because she didn’t get enough sleep.

Imagine my surprise when I stepped into the kitchen this morning to make breakfast and found I had a little Autumn-sized shadow. She had gotten up on her own without any prompting from me and very politely asked for something to eat.  It was a very body snatcher-like moment.

Nathan was sick today, so Autumn’s great mood was a gift for which I am very grateful because I hate mornings in which I am solely responsible for getting her out the door.  The mornings when I desperately need her to cooperate are usually the mornings when she doesn’t cooperate at all, so today was an unexpected treat and I loved it.

If only every morning could be just like it.


I stopped at the store after work with Autumn in tow. My only goal was to pick up baking soda, but of course I wound up with baking soda, ice cream and two bottles of pop.

My first indication that things were not going to go well was when Autumn tossed her Pooh Bear into the dairy case. I asked her to stop throwing Pooh around and she claimed she couldn’t stop so I confiscated him and put him in my purse.

When I wouldn’t return him, Autumn plopped herself on the floor and wailed repeatedly while I waited in line at the checkout.

“Pooh Bear! I want my Pooh Bear back! Pooooh Beeaarrrr!”

First I tried to pick her up and reason with her. Then I tried to ignore her, but the more I heard


the more I couldn’t control my laughter. People around me were shooting dirty looks. The woman in front of me with the very docile-looking one year-old sucking on a paci looked at me with a pained expression.

“How old is she?” she asked.

“She’ll be four in November.”

And I could just see her mentally calculating how much time she has left before she’s the one pretending the child on the floor is not hers.

After we checked out and got back into the car, I explained to my daughter that her behavior was unacceptable and that she would be going to bed right after dinner.

So now I’m left feeling the victory of this morning was negated by the horrible grocery store tantrum.  However, I can at least be grateful for the extra hour and a half of peace and quiet we received when Autumn went to bed after dinner and immediately fell asleep.

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Lazy Sundays

Note: This is the third installment of my three-week daily Gratitude Challenge. If you’d like to catch up, you can start at the first post and read on from there.

Since both Nathan and I work full time, the weekends are when we catch up on all the things we didn’t get to do during the week.  We run errands, do laundry and buy groceries.  Sometimes we really clean up the house or attempt a huge cooking project like we did yesterday, but most weekends are pretty routine.

Today, however, was a very lazy day.  It was a beautiful today, probably one of the few gorgeous Sundays we’ll get yet this year, and I spent the entire day inside.  It’s 9:30 at night and I haven’t gotten all my chores done, nor do I intend to.  There’s a teensy part of me that feels like I should be guilty about all this, but I did get out yesterday and spent the whole afternoon in the kitchen.  In my book the scales are pretty balanced.

Once in awhile you just have to take a day to chill and I’m grateful to have been able to do that today.

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We’re winding down another day, most of which has been spent in the kitchen.  We went to the farmer’s market again and this time bought tomatoes (for homemade tomato soup), some zucchini (for bread), onions, jalapeno peppers, a huge spaghetti squash, some very good trail mix and overpriced cheese popcorn.

The whole tomato soup project has taken a good part of our day.  Nathan has become just as addicted to canning the summer harvest as I have and found a recipe he wanted to try for canning our own tomato soup.  Just the one recipe called for a whole half bushel and we spent a good hour cutting slits into the tomatoes, dunking them into boiling water, and peeling the tender skins off of them.

The tomatoes went into our biggest pot with some celery, onion, cloves and bay leaves.  They cooked for a good half hour or so and my husband is now bent over the stove, ladling the cooked tomato mixture into a (too) small sieve in order to extract the juice.

I never would have attempted this without him.  Even last week’s pickles, which weren’t nearly as much work as the soup, would have been a difficult project without his help.  He’s always loved working in the kitchen and has happily served as the household chef since the first trimester of my pregnancy over four years ago.

So today I’m grateful  to have a husband who likes to cook, especially one who likes to cook almost every day.

Back off, ladies. He’s mine.

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Yesterday I found a wonderful site called The Gratitude Challenge, a project in which several bloggers have been asked to find joy in the little things life has to offer and blog about them for three weeks.  So often we overlook our blessings, opting instead to focus on what we have lost or what has been taken from us, not realizing there are gifts to be found in every day.

I am not a natural optimist so taking this challenge is something that will no doubt do me some good. Of course I’d have to find the site just as the project is coming to a close, but I figured there’s no reason why I can’t start my own gratitude challenge and keep it going over the next three weeks.  I can also think of no better day than September 11th to start it.

Given that today is Patriot Day, one might expect me to write about how I’m grateful for my freedom.  I am free to have my own political and religious views without fear of persecution.  I am free to walk down the street without fear of violence against me or my family. I am free to vote and voice my opinions and yes, I am grateful for all these things.

But what is most important to me today is that I am just grateful to be here.  Today I am grateful for my life and what that life means to the people I love.  I revel in the knowledge that my presence on this earth means my daughter gets a hug and a kiss before school each day.  I am grateful be be one of the people she looks to for security.  I am grateful to be there for my husband and for the voice that allows me to reciprocate when he says, “I love you.”

There are good things and bad things about my life, but the really great thing is that on this day I have a life.  Today I am living and for that I am grateful

My goal for this challenge is to blog about the bright side of life over the next three weeks.  For those of you who don’t have a calendar handy, this means I’ll be writing one Gratitude Challenge post a day until October 2nd.  Not as challenging as NaBloPoMo, but challenging enough when I think about how many times I let negativity get in the way of enjoying a pretty good life.

So what are you grateful for today?

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