Not just for thanksgiving: 7 Ways to be Grateful Everyday



Gratitude. It’s one of the most powerful emotions of our lives. Feeling grateful helps us in all areas of our life: physically, mentally, and even financially. Gratitude can help you make friends, enhances empathy, and boosts self-esteem.

Gratitude is all about noticing the good things. A grateful attitude means being aware of life's messes and nevertheless appreciating all the things that work, that are beautiful, and that bring you joy.

If you're not used to noticing the good things in life, however small, it might take some time to get into the right mindset. Here are some ways to help cultivate gratitude in your life.

Thank you isn’t enough

Saying "thank you" or "thanks"—especially when someone does something is only the beginning. And, frankly, just good manners.

Pick one characteristic or train about the people you spend time with and share with them how much you appreciate that attribute. Maybe it's the way they smile, something witty they said, or that they’re always on time. Whether it’s one of your kiddos or the CEO of your company, everyone should know you appreciate what they bring to your life.

Gratitude also tends to be contagious. Maybe the recipients of your gratitude will share their joy and appreciation with others.

Seal it with a kiss

Write—and deliver!—a letter to someone you’ve never properly thanked. Not for a gift or a favor, but for just being them. For all the things they bring to your life. For all the ways in which they’ve inspired you.

Smile…a lot

Nothing says gratitude like a kind smile. A smile—even from a stranger—lets someone know they’re valued.

Pay it forward

Think about something in your life for which you’re grateful. Share that action with others.

Let's say a teacher made a really positive impact on your life when you were in middle school. Pay it forward by taking time out of your life to mentor a foster care youth. Or, pick something even more simple. Did your hubby or wife do the laundry while you were sick in bed with a cold? When you’re feeling better, give them a special break and do something nice for them. Dishes, perhaps?

Nope, not today

Commit to one day a week on which you won’t complain about anything. At all. Start a complaint bank. If you catch yourself complaining, drop in $1 (or $100!). At the end of one year, donate it.

Spend time with people

Enjoy the people in your life—no matter how major or minor a role they play. Whether it's engaging in a short conversation with the checker at your local grocery store, a heartfelt conversation with a family member, or hugging your bestie.

Share what you have

Doing this makes the things in our lives even more special. What do you have a lot of in your life? Do you enjoy an abundance of beautiful clothes and shoes? Donate the items you no longer wear to a battered women's shelter. Are you fortunate in having a loving family? Invite an elderly neighbor over for tea.

When you stop to look around, you’ll recognize so many things in your life to share—whether it’s unique skills, unneeded possessions, or a bit of wisdom gained from life experience.

Gratitude has a powerful effect on your own life and the lives of others around you. Turn thankfulness into a daily habit—you won’t regret it!

Jillian's Powder Puff Adventure

Jillian was so excited to be selected to play on the Senior Powderpuff Football Team!  She really had to be dedicated and go to practices three times a week in addition to her regular school, dance and homework situation (oh, and scholarship apps that were due!) was a LOT.  In the end, we couldn't go to the game because it was on the Friday night before Cammy's Bat Mitzvah and we were in temple and entertaining out of town guests, but thankfully, there were some great photos taken...Jillian and her friend Tess...



During the game....



Go Jillie GO!!!!  Anyone who thinks this game is easy=just look at those girls faces!!!


and after she was temporarily benched for a little "fight", ROFL!!!


Such awesomeness...breaks our hearts that we had to miss it...especially Eric!!  Well, we are super proud of her anyway!!!


Bat Mitzvah Blessings...

Camryn had her Bat Mitzvah on March 14th and it was beautiful....I don't have many pictures to share yet...just a beautiful Camryn...




During the service...


and from the party...


It was a fantastic evening and Camryn did an AMAZING job during her service...I can't wait to share more pictures!

College Visits.


We had a great New Years with our best friends this year.  Just mellow mellow...good food, good company, and poppers in the street at midnight.  My kind of New Years.  


And the morning after, Jillian and I hit the road to Phoenix, AZ to visit the Downtown Campus of ASU.  We got there as the sun was setting and took a peek from our 14th floor room of the campus below.


And then went for a (very cold) walk around.


This sculpture in the park next to the campus is so cool.  It's supposed to represent the Arizona State Flower...we had a yummy dinner at a cool little restaurant and then went back to our room to watch some TV and relax.  Up bright and early in the (very cold 25 degree morning) and we are off for our tours.

Jillian loved the downtown campus. It's new and slick and has lots of bells and whistles and is right in the heart of Phoenix, giving her loads of opportunity.  I have no question it would be the best program for her.  We also visited the Tempe campus via light rail.  Um.  Let's just say she won't be doing that alone.



The day after we arrived home Jillian was supposed to visit Maddie in Nevada but she wasn't feeling well or up to it, so instead, Maddie threw her stuff in the car and headed home. Until today.  LOL Totally unplanned visit, and she had to sleep on an airmattress in Camryn's room but I don't think she minded.  On Wednesday and Thursday of last week, (which also turned into Friday) Jillian and I visited University of Northern Colorado. What a cute little campus.  Great school.  Too bad it's in such a po-dunk town.  We were pretty disappointed by that.  Cute little downtown area with yummy food. (had the best burger of my life  in a little restaurant called Stuft)



Adorable campus with a very Ivy League feel...


And even if she had been willing to consider it, the fact that our flight was cancelled and we had to sleep in the airport probably clinched the deal that she won't be going to UNC.  Too bad.

So we are still waiting on all the Californina schools to send notifications.  She's applied to 4 of them and we haven't heard from ANY of them yet.  UGH.  This college search saga is still open for discussion and we have a long way to go once we hear from CA!

That one time I forgot to blog...

Ha!  Has that ever happened to you?  You are so busy living life you forget to blog?  Well, it happened here.  I did tell you all that Camryn broke her hip in the middle of November.  Well, homeschooling did not go as smoothly as I would have liked.  It really just reaffirmed to me that we are a public school kind of family.  She missed all her friends SO much.  She misses dance something AWFUL.  And Camryn without physical activity?  Well, let's just say there's a reason she's in dance classes 6 days a week.  So.  There was that, and a very brief few days where Maddie was home for Thanksgiving.  



And then we went back to the dr and got the go ahead for Cammy to go back to school...ahh...finally, silence...for a couple of days it rained and she was at school and it was pure BLISS.  And then I guess the universe decided I needed a new challenge.  So.  (There's a lesson here, friends....) My washer got stuck on the rinse cycle.  ALL NIGHT.  Like for 10 hours. And flooded half my house. My kitchen.  My laundry room.  My dining room.  My family room.  Maddie's room.  And the garage. Sigh.  I didn't even attempt to clean this one up.  Called a water abatement company right away. And now, all of said rooms have been packed and emptied and we are living with about 3 dozen unbelievably loud fans and dehumidifiers all over and we are smashed into about half our normal family room with the deafening fans blowing.  I can barely cook (not to mention most of my stuff was packed and removed so the cabinets could dry out), my refrigerator is where my desk should be and I'm smooshed in the corner of the family room and I really can't hear myself think.  And they keep tripping the circuts.  I reset them no less than 5 times today. Sigh.  I've been sighing a lot.  Not much else I can do.  We just have to wait for the insurance adjuster (supposedly on Friday) to tell us what is going to happen now. So...the moral of the story is...DON'T PUT A LOAD OF LAUNDRY ON BEFORE BED!! Okay.  Enough ranting (well, there was that brief moment where I shared my lovely daughters)...back to our regularly scheduled blogging!!

Life is crazy...

Life is's sort of a freight train.  You can't stop it from happening, you just have to enjoy the ride.  Good, bad, twists, turns, speed, stops...all of it.  No point in getting motion sickness, you really just have the choice to be positive and find the good in the moment.  Some moments are easier than the one where this girl turned 19.


How is she 19??  So hard to be away from her on her birthday.  Thank goodness for modern technology...facetimed 3 x's that!!  There's the silver lining....

And the one where after 9 years of orthodontia and double jaw surgery this girl finally got her braces off...easy to celebrate this moment!!


But this one...the one where we find out she broke her hip?



Yeah.  Not so much.  Out of school for two weeks...out of all activity for 6 weeks.  At least.  Sigh.  Can I please have a dislike button?  I guess all three girls can't seem to keep it together at the same time.  Thank goodness the universe knows I can't really handle drama with more than one at a time.  LOL

So wish us luck homeschooling and keeping her from being bored while she sits in the recliner chair every waking moment.  And I'll continue to make the choice to find the good....

Pumpkin Patch fun!

   We took a super quick run to the Pumpkin Patch today...we just couldn't let all of October go by without a visit.  As I stood there I realized that it was Jillian's last time at the year she'll be away at college and it will only be my Pumpkin Pie at the patch. Sigh.  The hardest part of parenting is watching them grow up!

So here's Jillian...(age 17)


and Camryn (age 12 1/2) 



Ahhh...sisterly, love.  HA!





Camryn can ALWAYS make Jillian laugh.  LOL




And even though it's blurry, I love this one of the three of us!


a fun hour for sure!!

Playing catch-up!

I always forget how crazy life can be in October.  I don't know what it is about it, but between decorating for Halloween (which takes a few days), the high holidays, the kids in midterms, and this year, college applications, I've been a little swamped.  So today I'm bringing you a catch-up post. :)  

On September 30, Jillian got 8 of her top braces off for 48 hours for the express purpose of taking her senior photos.  She looks so much more grown up without the braces it's ridiculous, not to mention beautiful.  It was shortlived as she had to go back on the 2nd to have them put back on, but she loved all the positive feedback she got while they were off.


We should have the senior photo proofs in the next week...I have a feeling it's going to get real to see them...practically every conversation lately has to do with college...whether it's about the ACT or where she is applying or when they are due...sigh.  Craziness.  She is also on the planning committee for a HUGE (several hundred teens) event for BBYO (her youth group).  That is taking a ton of her time and I'm very proud of her for being selected to be on the committee.  It takes place in November, after she hits "send" on the college apps, so she will be able to go and just enjoy.  Plus there is a small chance that she will get the braces off permanently right before then. Small chance. Teeny chance.  Fingers crossed!!

Camryn made the Drill Team (cheer, but since they don't have a team to cheer for they call it Drill Team) in the Spring, but her uniform finally arrived the other day...she couldn't wait to try it on and pose for me!



So cute and she is so proud!  Looking forward to some Cheer Competitions in the spring!  

My college girl and her roomate Jayne have been busy with school and attending concerts at the Knitting Factory...they love the small venue and the fact that they end up with front row every time! (stolen from her snapchat)


As for me, I've been busy, too...last weekend I was in Vegas Henderson, NV for Inspiration Unlimited.  It was my 7th year at the event that was hosted by my sweet friend Ginger Nelson and Teresa Collins.  Heidi Swapp, Paula Cheney and Jodi Sanford of Fancy Pants Designs all taught with Teresa...  Paula Cheney has renewed my love for grungy altering with the fun canvas she taught, Heidi Swapp did a great album class that I need to finish pronto and Teresa's classes were light, easy and fun.  I can't share pics of everything since they will be gifts but suffice it to say I had a great time hanging out with these fun ladies...we did happy hours and dinners and laughed a lot...


and I'm super sad that Inspiration Unlimited is no more.  I don't know what happened between Teresa and Ginger but I don't like the way it was handled by either of them, especially Teresa.  She is usually completely transparent about her life so it came as a big surprise when changes were made (um, yes, not having the same event coordinator for the last 7 years is a change!) and not announced to the group.  People left feeling betrayed and sad.  We all understand that with Teresa's new successes with Fiskars, Canon and Craftwell that she isn't really under her own steam anymore.  She has adult children and employees that work for her and she may not "need" Ginger anymore.  But that should have been said.  Ginger deserved major fanfare and a send off.  And we all deserved the truth.  So I won't be attending Teresa's next event in 2015.  I'm sure that someone who has been on the waiting list for years will appreciate my spot (and the many others from my friends that won't return either) and I will continue to follow Teresa of my own accord. I leave with fond memories of the last 7 years and look forward to seeing what Ginger has on the horizon for us...she has the best events!!  I know Paula Cheney is coming back to teach so that will be my #1!  (and my fingers are crossed that Layle Koncar will be next!)

Also,my 30th High School reunion is this up coming weekend...Don't even get me started on how old that makes me feel or that I don't feel like I'm "perfect" enough to be seen by people who haven't seen me in 10 years.  The vain side of me is losing though as my high school bestie and I are hitting the road Thelma and Louise style once again and going up to the Bay Area for the event.  I'm not 100% thrilled but the time with her will be fun.  We are taking a little extra road trip up to see Maddie and Lake Tahoe and then back down to see her son at college, too.  So that is really why I'm going.  LOL  I'm sure I'll share pics later. ;)  In the mean time, I leave you with a cropped photo of a layout I just did from inspiration from Wilna Furstenburg's Art and Design class...I had no idea how much I love water color painting...I feel a new obsession coming on....


So that's all for back in the next couple days with a layout to share!

A New Jaw Surgery Flipagram!

Monday was a BIG day!  Jillian saw her jaw surgeon, Dr. Relle again and he gave her the go ahead to CHEW FOOD.  This is a Big Deal, people.  For two months, she's only been pushing food around in her mouth, not able to bite or chew but now, well, as you can see in the video, she had a burger (her choice) for her first meal of chewing...and she says it was heavenly!!  It's been an amazing two months and the difference is still totally amazing to's a look in roughly a minute of the last two months...


Winding up summer

It's the last couple of days of summer starts in 4 days!  Yay!  I'm sure I'm supposed to be sad but I'm not!  I crave routine and by this point in the summer break I really have no patience for anyone so it will be a welcome change to get up and get the kids off to school so I can hear myself think.  

Cammy is starting 7th grade, Jillian her Senior year, and Maddie goes back to University of Nevada on Thursday.  Bittersweet that it all is, the next few months will be CRAZY.  It seems I was just doing this, navigating the whole college application process.  Time starts ticking away and I start to realize that we are in that weird push of deciding on where to apply, where to visit, all the while staying focused on those Senior year grades and ACT/SAT test scores.  To think that 365 days from now Jillian will more than likely be headed off to a dorm and starting college is a bit crazy.  Of all my kids she is the least independent.  I know that going to Israel was really good for her but she still likes someone to take care of her.  College is the exact opposite of that. So there's that to consider.  I'm sure you will be hearing more about this here on the blog. In fact, I know it.  I am choosing to NOT hire a college counselor this time around so I will be the one steering this ship...wish me luck!! 

In scrappy news, tomorrow I am up on the Clear Scraps blog with a fun's a little sneak...


Yes, of course it's Heidi Swapp...I totally love her products.  Please stop by for a look at the whole thing tomorrow!  I also have two blog hops coming up with great prizes so be sure to come back next week for the first one!  Thanks for stopping by...