Monday, February 25, 2013

My Happy Jar and Gratitude Journal

"I am determined to be cheerful and happy in whatever situation I may find myself.  For I have learned that the greater part of our misery or unhappiness is determined not by our circumstance, but by our disposition" Martha Washington

Last December was a difficult month for our family; we learned that my father-in-law had brain cancer.  Shortly thereafter, he had brain surgery and was due to begin radiation and chemotherapy in January.  This shocking turn of events caused me to count my blessings, more than ever before.  I felt thankful for every single day and all the little things; things that we all too often take for granted.

When 2013 arrived, I wanted to start the new year on a positive note.  I remembered seeing an online post about starting a memory jar at the beginning of each new year.   You drop in a note every time something good or special happens.  You are supposed to keep adding to it, the whole year long, and at the end of the year, empty it out to see how very blessed and fortunate you have been. I thought this was a great idea and set out to make my own jar.

I looked for a pretty glass jar.  You can make one too!  You can decorate it any way you like.  You can keep it simple or make it fancy, it's all up to you!  This is how mine looks...

I call it my Happy Jar!  Anyone in our family can add to it...Nuno, the girls, and myself.
It's nice and big so we can fill it with many happy things throughout the year.  I keep it on a shelf in the kitchen where we can see it at all times.

I bought the glass jar at Michael's and decorated it with things I already had at home.  The label and ribbon were gifts from friends, which made it even more special!  

My jar is filled with happy notes, receipts from special dates, a champagne cork, hearts, among other things.  It will be fun to empty it out at the end of this year to see what we all wrote.  Isn't it a wonderful idea?

I also started a gratitude journal in mid-January.  My first entry was on January 17th.  At the top of the page, I write the date and the words, "Today, I am thankful for..." or "I am grateful because...".  I take a few minutes every evening before I go to bed or early in the morning before I start my day to write down what I am most thankful for that day.

I've been doing this daily for over one month now and I can't tell you how much I enjoy doing it.  It is so rewarding to flip through the pages and recall all the blessings each day brings.  My girls wanted to start their own gratitude journals.  They, too, own one, and write down things they are thankful for.  Neither of them write in it daily like I do, but it's nice to see them pick up their journals once in a while to count their blessings.  

I bought an inexpensive little journal at the dollar store with blank pages and a ribbon .  You can buy a special journal too, and write in it with your favorite pen.  My pen has flowers all over it.  It was a gift from a sweet friend.  

My happy jar and gratitude journal have been a positive addition to the start of 2013 and to my life.  They serve to remind me how much happiness and blessings fill my daily life, even in the midst of life's most challenging times.  I have never been more thankful for my life, my family, my friends, and the simple little things - which in the end, matter the most of all!  

"If the only prayer you said in your whole life was, 
thank-you, that would suffice" - Meister Eckhart

My blog brings me so much joy.  I am thankful to all of you who take the time to read it.  I really appreciate your comments and feedback. It lets me know that someone out there is actually reading this!  Wishing you all a happy, gratifying week!  xoxo

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

A Week of Celebrations!

The more you praise and celebrate your life, the more there is in life to celebrate Oprah Winfrey

To say that I have had my hands full this past week would be a huge understatement.  In the short span of seven days, we celebrated Shrove Tuesday, Valentine's Day, Family Day, and a few other things in between! 

It all started with our pancake dinner party on Shrove Tuesday...
My nieces Emily and Chloe joined us for our pancake dinner, in pajamas, of course!

We had pancakes, scrambled eggs and bacon for dinner!

For Valentine's day, I baked my first ever heart-shaped cheesecake...
with a cinnamon graham cracker crust.  I baked it in a water bath - a fool-proof method to prevent cracking and sinking.  I topped it with cherries. It looked so pretty and was so delicious! 

This is the gorgeous bouquet of flowers my husband surprised me with on Valentine's day!

And...he cooked a special dinner for us too...
Is there anything more romantic than a man who can cook?

Here's Anita, having a little fun...

One of the best things we celebrated this week, was my father-in-law's last day of chemo and radiation therapy.  We are all thrilled with his progress.  To see him doing so well after everything he has been through these past six weeks, is a blessing!  Our family got together on the weekend, as we do every weekend, and shared a delicious meal lovingly made my mother-in-law.  We are keeping our fingers and toes crossed for good news next month when he follows up with the doctor.  Please keep him in your thoughts.  

Yesterday, we celebrated Family Day - a statutory holiday celebrated in parts of Canada.  We went out for breakfast in the morning and spent the rest of the day indoors, tucked away from the cold.  We relaxed, watched TV, enjoyed a fire and made a yummy mixed seafood platter for dinner.

Crab, shrimp, squid, scallops and clams

...and after

All in all, it was a joyous week filled with happy occasions and many reasons to celebrate.
 How was your week?  Was it busy for you too?  Did you celebrate anything?

Wishing you all a happy week with many little reasons to celebrate!  xoxo

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Valentine Greetings...

Valentine greetings...

Look at these beautiful valentines!  I feel so loved and blessed!

...from my house to yours!

  Today is the day to tell someone you love them.  It can be your partner, your son, daughter, mother, father, your friends, or all of the above!  Share the love!  

Happy Valentine's day!  I love you all! xoxo 

Can you guess what dessert we will be having for dinner tonight?

Friday, February 8, 2013

My Week in Pictures

Mixed green salad with avocado, eggs and sweet onion vinaigrette 

Chicken pot pie 

Baked eggs with kale and pepperoni

A backyard visit from finches on a cold, but sunny winter day

Love, love, love my plain oatmeal with sliced bananas, sprinkled with cinnamon

Yesterday evening...the snow storm begins...

Nothing like chili on a cold, stormy night (topped with cheddar, sour cream, green onion and cilantro)

...and a cozy, bright fire to warm up the night.

A peek out the front door this morning...

and a view of our backyard from our upstairs window

It continues to snow as I write this post.  It's a snow day for us and that means NO SCHOOL!  The girls are still sleeping.  I don't know how they can sleep through the noise of the snow-blowers in our neighborhood.  

Is it snowing where you are?  I know many parts of Canada and the USA are experiencing or expecting winter storms today and tomorrow.  I hope that no matter where you are you are, you are warm and cozy.  Happy Friday...have a safe and happy weekend!

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Oven-Baked Eggs-Recipe for One

Today, I want to share with you,  my recipe for baked eggs.  This is a favorite dish I like to prepare for my lunch.  Not only is it healthy; it is delicious, filling and always looks so darn pretty!  


butter for greasing dish
1 tbsp table cream (10% m.f)
2 or 3 kale leaves; rinsed, chopped, stems removed
6 slices of pepperoni or chorizo
2 large eggs
fresh ground black pepper
fresh thyme (optional)

* keep in mind that the kale leaves may seem like a lot, but they will wilt and shrink while baking 

*you can replace the kale with spinach leaves if you prefer; both are delicious!

  • Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit
  • Grease inside of a small 5 inch oven-safe dish (square or round) with butter
  • Add 1 tablespoon of cream to bottom of dish
  • Place chopped kale leaves over top (sprinkle with salt & pepper if you wish) 
  • Add sliced pepperoni or chorizo
  • Gently crack both eggs on top
  • Sprinkle with salt and pepper and thyme, if so desired

  • Place your dish onto the middle rack of your preheated oven
  • Bake for 20 minutes if you prefer your yolks firm.  If you like them a little runny, 15 minutes should do the trick.

Remove your dish from the oven and let it cool for a couple of minutes before you dig in.  

You can remove the baked eggs onto a plate, but I prefer to eat mine right from the dish!  

Happy Tuesday!