This might be a strange time to write a post about things I'm currently loving, but I find that nothing lifts my spirit more than focusing on what I can be thankful for and what I'm enjoying, instead of focusing on the hard stuff.
And right now - there's all the hard stuff.
This started last weekend when I sent out my weekly newsletter (sign up here if you'd like to join that newsletter), I tried something new. Instead of just a summary of all of my new blog posts, I included some things that I am currently loving.
So many of you replied with positive, sweet, and grateful notes - I knew I'd touched on something special so every day, I've been trying to jot down things I'm thankful for and loving right now.
Without further rambling, here we go...
1 : One Line A Day - Five Year Journal
Sometime last December, I discovered One Line a Day Journals. And I knew I had to have one. From the time I was a young teenager, at least through college, I wrote in journals (I called it a diary at the time).
It was therapy for me and I loved it. When I got married, I stopped for the most part but I often missed daily writing my thoughts and keeping track of all the things I was doing and feeling. I'd sporadically start again, but it never stuck.
At some point a few years after I got married, I found out that the outdoor shop where my journals were stored at my parents' house had leaked and they were all molded and ruined. Years of my writing - gone. I was so, so sad. Anyway... to make a long story short, I decided one thing I wanted to change in 2020 was going back to personal writing.
Writing page-long journal entries seemed overwhelming and unlikely, but writing a line (or two or three) each day - totally doable!
The best part? The journal is good for five years and when I'm writing on this day next year, I'll easily be able to look back on what I was doing this year.
Anyway - I've loved doing this! And I've stuck with it. Every day this year so far - I've written. I even continued to write every single day after my surgery, including my surgery day (although it's almost illegible). And now - in the middle of this crazy-upside-down crisis we're living through - I'm especially loving the therapy of writing.
Although admittedly, most days start with "Home again..." Ha! Anyway - if you're looking for a small way to journal your life without being overwhelmed by big, blank pages, order one of these. Funny story - I bought this one for myself, then Sarah saw it, asked about it, then all but begged me for it, so I gave it to her and I now have this one, You might fall in love as I have!
I keep imagining, hoping, that this time next year as I flip the pages, I'll be writing about much happier times and looking back on this year's entries as a time of learning and growing and I'll be glad I journaled these days.
2 : Eat at Home Meal Plans
It's not unusual for me to cook 90% of our meals at home, but for whatever reason, being stuck at home and having to cook every.single.meal has gotten old really fast during this last month.
I have no idea what to cook from one day to the next. We've quickly gotten tired of the same old meals and I'm not inspired at all. But Eat at Home Meal Plans has come to the rescue! I used these Meal Plans a couple of years ago and loved them but had gotten out of the habit.
But now - I'm digging in again!! So many new, simple recipe ideas and never anything crazy or weird. If you're interested - go sign up here. Or wait a few days... there's a sale coming! Just join this list here and I'll send you an email when the sale starts!
Don't want to meal plan? I just signed up for Home Chef with a $35 credit (which seems to be an amazing deal!). In full disclosure, my first box hasn't arrived yet, but I'm hopeful that having a couple of pre-prepped meals delivered to my house will also change things up a bit for us. You can also get a $35 credit when you sign up with this link if you want to give it a try.
3 : Jigsaw Puzzles
When I was a teenager, I would put puzzles together, glue them and hang them on my wall. I had dozens of them. If only I had pictures... gosh I was proud of my work! Then last year, my 15-year-old son Noah started doing the same and I was thrilled! This is currently his side of the room:
I've always loved putting puzzles together and now most of my kids enjoy it too! Thank goodness we already had a handful of puzzles on hand before this chaos started, because now they're sold out in so many online stores and we checked on Walmart.com too to see if we could do pick up at our local store - sold out! Mercy.
But if you're lucky enough to find a puzzle that you can buy somewhere - we find it to be a very relaxing, enjoyable hobby. Sometimes we even compete to see who can find a specific piece first or finish a certain section first. It's fun, doesn't require a lot of thinking, and passes the time!
4 : Card Games
My kids love strategy games but I really don't have the brain energy to play anything I have to think about too hard so instead, we're playing cards. Right now we're loving Sushi Go! It's a simple, fun card game that we can all play and it doesn't require a lot of thinking. I don't know about you, but I don't have mental energy for anything too deep right now.
We're also playing Uno Flip quite a bit. I've always loved Uno and this new version has a fun twist.
5 : Bevara Clips
I've always tried really hard to get my kids to not waste food. It's one of my biggest pet peeves. But no matter how hard I try, they still seem to leave bags of chips open (to get stale) and forget to put away veggies (which wilt and/or rot).
But during this shelter-in-place situation, when I'm shopping a lot less than normal, I sat them down to emphasize again how important it is to not waste. So I ordered another huge pack of these clips (which I regularly use for cake decorating to close my frosting bags) and now we're using them to close chips, cereal, bags of lettuce and carrots, and more!
6 : Cupcake Cards
I've been trying to mail notes here and there to friends having a hard time. A handwritten note really lifts my spirits so I'm hoping it'll do the same for my friends.
These Cupcake Cards are the ones I'm using now. They're pretty, they make me smile, and they're blank on the inside and perfect for random notes (for no particular occasion).
7 : Free Online Cake Decorating Classes
I've mentioned this a few times, but hundreds of you have signed up so I know I'm not the only one loving this! Right now (and through April 9), you can join Bluprint and watch Free Unlimited Cake Decorating classes - no credit card required.
Cake Decorating is only one of many topics you can cover in Bluprint classes, and this is an amazing resource to take advantage of. If your circumstances allow, you can come out of this stronger, smarter, and more ready than ever to chase your dreams! Get more details in this blog post or sign up here.
8 : My Bread Machine
I don't use my bread machine nearly enough, but since this horrible pandemic has struck, I've loved having it. My kids swear they don't remember me using it before (which means it's been way.too.long), but after eating homemade bread, they're determined we'll keep using it!
This Zojirushi is the bread machine I have and love. It's expensive, but I did extensive research before buying it years ago and it's definitely one of the best bread machines on the market.
Okay - that's all I've got for you right now! I hope you'll find a thing or two on this list that will brighten your day!