Gratitude should be year round

Practice Gratitude All Year
Simple ways to practice gratitude every day.

Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays. I love the food, the decorations, and the pumpkins; I did a whole post on my love of all things pumpkin.  The weather in November is perfect sweater weather and a holiday centered around sharing a delicious meal is perfect. But most of all I love the message Thanksgiving sends about counting our blessings and reflecting on what we are thankful for in life. November is a month where gratitude is in style, but I believe gratitude is something that never goes out of style. Gratitude is something we should practice all year round.

Over the last two weeks, I really have enjoyed seeing people’s public declarations of gratitude on Facebook and Instagram. The 30 days of gratitude challenge is a great idea since it helps people get into the habit of thinking of all the ways they are grateful and building reflection into their day.

I have informally practiced gratitude for a long time and I definitely attribute it to my generally happy and positive disposition. I do not always have tangible proof of my practice, so that is something I want to work on and to become more consistent with a tangible process like a gratitude journal.  So in the spirit of gratitude, I wanted to share with you some of the ways I like to practice gratitude.

Simple ways to practice gratitude

I try to do as many of these things on this list, but my real goal is to make some kind of gratitude practice a part of each day.

1. Daily Gratitude Reflection: At some point during the day, think about a few things for which you are grateful. Maybe you could think about it while in the shower, during your commute to or from work, or do it while on a walk.  Make a point to think about 1-3 things each day. Start with the easy ones, such as I am grateful for my family, my health and my employment, etc., but try to come up with new things each day. Try daily gratitude reflection for a week, and see if you feel different? This is the practice I do most often since it only requires me to change the course of my thoughts for a moment, but it has a huge impact on me and how I am feeling.

2. Gratitude Journal: This is one I need to work on. You could get a notebook, any notebook or you could use post-its to jot down the items from your daily gratitude reflection. Another way to record your gratitude reflection, you could make a quick note on your calendar, it could be a paper calendar, or digital. I want to do this since I want to be able to see my gratitude progress.  I think it would be great to see what I was grateful for over the course of a week, a month, and hopefully a year.

3. Verbalize gratitude several times during the week: Make a point to tell someone you appreciate them and most important,  why you appreciate them. It can be anyone!! If you are shy, start with someone you know.

4. ‎Send a thank you card: I love sending and receiving happy mail. My new goal is to send one thank you note each month, this would be different from and in addition to any thank you notes in response to gifts. So take some time to write a nice thank you note to someone.  If you need some cards, check out the ones in my Etsy Shop.

5. ‎Set an example of gratitude and offer opportunities to practice. I want to raise grateful and kind children, so we talk about what we are thankful for, I say thank you to others in front of my kids, I encourage them to say thank you, and my oldest son sends thank you cards for gifts. Right now, he is still too little to fill out thank you cards by himself, but I read the cards back to him and he has to “sign” each one. There are also some great kids books on gratitude, check out my kids’ book Pinterest board.

 

 

Today, I am thankful for the tools to write and publish this blog.  I am also extremely grateful and humbled by the fact the people take time to read this blog. I know we all have busy lives, so thank you for taking time to read my musings. So take some time each day to think about your blessings and who and what you are grateful to have in your life.

 

I hope all of my readers have a wonderful holiday season with their family and friends!!


Cheers,

Amy

Something Whimsical: Pumpkins and my favorite Pumpkin Products

The Best Pumpkin Products
Here is my list of my favorite pumpkin products available.

One of my favorite things about fall is the pumpkins. There is just something so whimsical about them. The bright orange color and their different shapes and sizes are just fun and make me smile.  I love going to the pumpkin patch to pick them out, carving them, roasting their seeds and enjoying all kinds of pumpkin foods during fall. Thank goodness you can get canned pumpkin year-round, sometimes in the heat of summer, I just need some pumpkin muffins!!!  I really love all things pumpkin! Here is a list of my favorite pumpkin products.

 

No affiliate links in this post, just what I think are some of the best pumpkin products, in my opinion.

I will start my list with another favorite ingredient of mine chocolate. My love for chocolate is more than my love for pumpkin, see my post on my favorite way to eat chocolate, but this first item on my pumpkin list combines my love for chocolate and pumpkin, so it is a win-win.

My Favorite Pumpkin Products
My list of my favorite pumpkin products.

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars

Hands down this is my favorite pumpkin recipe and of course, it is by Martha Stewart. This recipe is moist, full of pumpkin flavor and has the perfect amount of chocolate chips. I have been making it for years. It is easy to make and I dare you not to like it.

Pumpkin Snacks/Food

If you are looking for a place where you can get a bunch of pumpkin flavored food all in one place, then Trader Joe’s is your go to pumpkin place. Trader Joe’s really knows how to do pumpkin food.  I really love their Pumpkin Cranberry Crisps.  They taste delicious plain, but I think they pair really well with goat cheese and honey. Their Pumpkin Waffles are also a favorite in our house. Trader Joe’s seems to have pumpkin everything, but it’s the pumpkin bread that we really love.

Favorite Pumpkin Bread

Trader Joe’s Pumpkin Bread. You can’t beat the price, $2.99 a box.  It is easy to whip up and we love the spicy taste. I like to make it in a bunt pan, just to mix things up a bit. I have made pumpkin bread from scratch and really enjoy doing so, but the box is just so darn easy. This pumpkin bread has been a favorite for several years, but this year we found something that is a new favorite.

NEW Favorite

Pumpkin Spice Cheerios

Pumpkin Spice Cheerios: I saw these in Target and thought why not? Not everything that is pumpkin spice is a hit, for example, I was not a fan of Pumpkin Spice M&Ms. I only bought one box of the Pumpkin Spice Cheerios, just in case we did not like them. We tried them and they are so good. They are so good and we enjoyed them so much, I went back to Target the next day and bought 3 more boxes. I thought they really tasted like pumpkin spice. The clove spice in them gives the Cheerios a warming slightly spicy taste. Yum! I know there is a lot of food on this list, but I also have a pumpkin thing and a pumpkin place that I hope you will enjoy as much as we do.

Pumpkin Decorations

There is just something so adorable about them, I collect all kinds of pumpkin decorations for fall. I have found cute pumpkins covered with sweater like fabric from Target. I found some painted plaster ones at the Dollar Store, but my most treasured pumpkins are my glass pumpkins that I selected at a Glass Pumpkin Patch. The Tacoma Glass Blowing Studio takes their beautiful glass blown pumpkins to different locations and they set up a “pumpkin patch” of their beautiful glass pumpkins. They have so many colors and sizes. There are still be a few more glass pumpkin patches from the Tacoma Glass Blowing Studio, check out the schedule here. 

Glass Pumpkin Decorations
High/Low decorations: Glass pumpkins from the Tacoma Glass Blowing Studio sweater pumpkins Target and painted pumpkins from Dollar Store.

Our Favorite Pumpkin Place

I almost don’t want to share this pumpkin place since it is already very popular, but I will because it is so much fun and you should check it out. We have started going each year to Bob’s Corn Maze and Pumpkin Farm. Bob’s is a huge farm in Snohomish county. There several huge fields where you can find great pumpkins. There are hay rides,  play areas for the kids, an apple cannon, country market, corn maze, and our favorite mini fresh made apple and pumpkin doughnuts, yes I said fresh mini PUMPKIN doughnuts. It can get pretty muddy so bring rain boots and a change of clothes for your littles. We have gone the last few years and I am looking forward to going this year.

Picking pumpkins at Bob’s Corn Maze and Pumpkin Farm

So that is my list of my favorite pumpkin things. I hope you check some of them out if you are fall and pumpkin crazy like me. Don’t forget to  sign up for your Free tags in the sidebar!

Cheers, Amy

 

 

 

P.S.

Bucket List Tradition Update

Our little family has really been enjoying our Fall Bucket List Tradition. Big and Little have so much fun pulling cards out of our bucket and my husband enjoys watching me figure out how I am going to cram more activities in to the week. The month of September we pulled so many apple cards; we love apples so it wasn’t too bad. One activity I was looking forward to pulling most  was the Apple Picking card. We picked apples, yeah ,but it was not in Washington. We picked apples when we visited my sister in Montana. I am still on a mission to pick apples in Washington. I am not giving up just yet, we will pick apples in Washington this season! While September was filled with apple activities, I hope the month of October will be full of pumpkin cards.