Friday, November 12, 2010

Ten Things I'm Thankful For

It's time once again for another installment of my "Ten Things" to be thankful for, always varied, always random bits in positively NO particular order.

Some of these are overdue, but here are a few more things in our home the past week or two;

-Purging of many of my older blog posts once abandoned to the draft section many months ago. Wow, that felt great to be able to click the publish button and I only have a few more left to get rid of in there!

- Finding out our fancy thermostats had glowing warnings and realizing (eventually) out all they required were new AAA batteries to replace the original ones. They take batteries? There is something to say about learning something new each day in our lives. Who would have thought THEY would require a battery change?

- Almost having our Christmas shopping complete and ready to package for sending across the miles.

- Remember the coffee pot saga a few months back? Well, guess what? The new coffee pot already bit the dust and when I took it back to Costco, they never questioned me at all, rather used my member number to look up my original purchase and price paid, followed by a full reimbursement of my money. I love Costco!

- I love Costco enough that when I was able to extinguish a small fire in our toaster a week later, I threw that away and my hubby drove back there to purchase a new one, stainless steel this time! You see, I have no idea what happened except that the spring mechanism just stopped working and six inch flames were rising from the toaster towards the kitchen cupboards above it. Yikes!

I am so thankful I was standing nearby or disaster may have happened! Even with the burnt offering removed from it, the toaster itself was tested again, flames rose out of it once more and the outer plastic was so hot to touch, and a little blackened. GONE!

- Having a clean freezer drawer beneath my refrigerator in the kitchen just makes me feel so good inside! I know, I'm strange like that. But, with mystery packages removed (someone doesn't use a marker and they all look the same when frozen, don't they?) and the whole thing scrubbed out, all is now restocked and wonderfully organized again.

- I stumbled upon a super sale on classic leather pump dress shoes at my "Naturalizer" shoe store, and not having purchased a good pair of shoes for years myself, it sure feels great to be able to take my former pairs to the shoe repair man to get them spruced up a bit. I even joined their club and became a recipient of two coupons, saving thirty dollars right there! Now, all those little rubber bits on the heels of my former shoes that have worn down, and the same ones who sport scuffs around their backs from driving damage, will soon be buffed up again.

Meanwhile, I have new shoes, brand new ones at that for the first time in a long time, and not my usual Value Village specials. :) These ones are classic and dressy ones for occasions that warrant wearing them and my former "special" shoes will be more for everyday usage. Feels great to update the shoe wardrobe again! Now to find a good pair of warm boots for winter!

- We used the last extra scapular in the house when I had purchased many ahead before moving east, so I'm wondering if anyone has a recommendation on where to find more at a reasonable price. We like the fabric ones, but not so big that they are uncomfortable. Also, if anyone knows where I can buy a few child sized ones, please let me know.

- We're in rodent control season here, so many traps and things to think about. My husband and son were up surveying the attic already, the garage door rubber replacement makes them nice and tight to foolproof them against mouse entry, so it's only the chipmunks who are wreaking havoc now to deal with. Cute as they are, they can do extreme damage of a property, so we've armed ourselves with information for continued rodent control over them. I feel like a tracker and trapper at best, like Daniel Boone or someone similar these days.

- I've got another appointment all booked for donating blood again in the new year. Did you know you can save three lives with one donation? I'm all about doing this every sixty days or so, now that I am beyond the baby nursing years and in relatively good health, honored in fact to be able to offer this to the blood bank. How about you?

Without further ado, let me present my "Ten Thankful Things", just sparks of thankfulness appearing in my days this past week.

Please know for certain that my own personal thoughts on true thankfulness can obviously never be offered, nor delivered in true completeness within one simple post.
And in case you just might find it interesting and want even more today, you can always skip along to view other "thankful" posts by clicking onto the archives located - right HERE.

1 - I'm thankful for surgical masks this time of year when necessity warrants having to wear one to protect a loved one.

There are two kinds available to us locally, one with elastic over the ears and another with double ties. Each child and adult living here has their own personal style preference, though the one on the left offers much more to safeguard germs from flying free and infecting another here. No matter the reason, even a sore throat warrants protecting someone because when one has serious trachea and bronchial issues on top of respiratory weakness, we are better off not taking a chance at all by omitting this practice.

The signs are back up around our home, and the masks packaged and ready next to them. Packages are also in position in the vehicles, in my husband's desk at work, and a couple in my purse, just in case...

2 - I'm thankful for board games that also teach something educational to our children. I remember playing the game of risk as a youngster with my younger brother. It was a puzzle actually and in order to conquer another land, one had to make the puzzle from one end to the other until both players met up together for a final finish. Sorry to my little bro, but I usually won.

Fast forward a few years until we owned the actual board game, and he usually beat me. No matter who wins, it's a great way to learn world geography, world history and allow for a bit of friendly competition round the dining room table.

3 - I'm thankful for
having my spice cupboard all neat and tidy again. When one home has two cooks sharing use of the kitchen, and one in particular keeps stopping on a whim when the mood to cook hits, doubling up on things just in case we don't already own them, this little area of life can soon become a little battle ground when realizing how many spice bottles it take to keep a pantry well stocked! Rather how many doubles and triples of the same item (when some are rarely used and we will hardly use to rid ourselves of them anytime soon) do we need? And exactly how many empty bottles must remain behind when empty to increase the tally for storage beyond what is acceptably normal for said items? Ode to my husband; please just ask me first before buying more and more... LOL

4 - I'm thankful for
the small set of six lessons this son was able to attend, those offered by a local teacher for guitar orientation. He had his final class this week, my brave son who tootled off to class with only a few middle aged woman in his midst and no males. He did so well, loves the instrument so much, one of the woman (old he said, about your age...) suggested maybe she get his autograph now in case he becomes famous some day. True to form, the testosterone flew and his smile beamed when reiterating this to me later after pickup. Now, back to piano lessons...and maybe some more guitar in the new year.

5 - I'm thankful for
young chefs in my kitchen who insist on creating special items for dinner's dessert. We only occasionally eat dessert here, usually opting for fresh fruit instead, and our younger children have never had the occasion to attend cake decorating classes or such things.
They are homemade, home grown and home loved in their kitchen skills! And I love their attempts at delectable presentations, even though they don't always look to be that way. Rest assured this chocolate cake was DELICIOUS, a tried and true family recipe I will keep forever because it uses all things usually stored already in my pantry.

Here it is below if you'd like to try it in cake form, cupcake or loaf pan.

Wacky Cake
(great for those with dairy or egg allergies because it uses none of them)
1 1/2 cups of flour
4 tbsp. cocoa powder
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. baking soda
1 cup cold water
1/4 cup oil
1 tbsp. vinegar
1 tsp. vanilla
3/4 cups chocolate chips (optional, I rarely use these)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix all ingredients together in a bowl, whisk well. That's it! Bake in square pan, or loaf, or cupcakes, or bundt (might want to double the recipe first) for 25-35 minutes.

6 - I'm thankful for
Autumn (again and again!), a season filled with vibrant colors that have the ability to perk up any weary soul. Now that autumn is fast turning toward winter, and though the color itself has all but disappeared, I'm so grateful for being able to share it all with my parents when they were visiting here last month. It's been such a beautiful season this year!

7 - I'm thankful for
the copper statues depicting the way of the cross at the "Holy Martyrs Shrine". I snapped this photo because I felt emotionally drawn to the heart of Mary shown here, the agony on her face most evident for the love of her son.

The facial expressions of all statues spread about on the shrine grounds touched me so much once I noticed how breathtaking they were, but this one was my very favorite of all. I cannot compare myself to someone like Mary, but I do know and feel that kind of love for my children, to the extent of trying to grasp any unintended pain and/or sorrow surrounding their lives, and feeling the deepest love possible toward those very souls, always reflecting and pondering sincere desires for their journeys here on earth and beyond.

8 - I'm thankful for
these sweet little scarecrows added to our autumn decor this year. This guy stares through my window at me in the morning while I sip on my cup of coffee and attempt to clear the cobwebs from my eyes.

How wonderful to be greeted in such a way when the color of the season has gone, and the smile on this fellow still remains. Very soon he will be brought indoors and stored away until next year, but in the meantime I've really enjoyed he and the other we have set up this year on the property.

9 - I'm thankful for
our little bonfire area we've been able to enjoy this year for it has completed and fast become a gathering spot of choice for many wonderful moments of conversation, cooking food fare and celebration.

Singing round the campfire took on new meaning this year, after our son brought out the guitar and played for us while he sang. That was the start of something really good. It continued with similar evenings of others singing along, even if it happened to be to the tune of Veggie Tales. So fun!

10 - I'm thankful for
my teenage years as a coin collector for these have made their way round to practical show and tells with our children and their friends throughout the years. I have coins from all over the world, not worth a fortune, some filled with memories from my travels only.

I have very old coins; Indian heads, King George of England and others that keep the children in awe when we take them out yet again and buff them to a shine. They have no value other than sentimental worth to me, though perhaps I could get a few dollars for them should I choose to sell them one day. Why bother though? I have grandchildren who will also see them, and get to know any stories behind them some day.

There are a few trivial but random meaningful things I'm thankful for today.

Since gratitude often begets happiness, why not go now and plunge in to creating your own daily gratitude lists!