For a number of various reasons, my spring was really stressful. I spent too many days cloudy from my B-12 deficiency or anxious. But something I tried to push myself to keep doing was run because it sharpened my thinking, calmed my mind, and gave me some very beneficial me-time. During one run in late May, I was thinking about how there were actually many things from the past month that could be celebrated, savored or still enjoyed. Name ten, I told myself as I ran. And I did (see: Ten Things I Loved). From there, I decided to encourage myself to have that perspective every month (here are the lists for June, July, and August). And, now, here’s September’s list.
Things I/ We Did
1. Went to pick apples. On a hot, not at all fall-like Saturday in late September, we went apple picking at a nearby farm. We had to dodge bees, worms, and soft spots and take along the preschool mascot, but a great time was had by all (and we got some YUMMY apples out of it).
2. Met up with a first friend. Just a few hours from us lives a little boy who was in the Ethiopian care center with Happy. We can’t get together as much as we would like but we do try to get together at least once a year for the boys to see each other. We enjoyed that Saturday together a few weeks ago.
3. Biked on the greenway. We attempted a family bike outing on the local greenway. BF and I had to ditch our bags pretty quickly to walk alongside Happy but a good time was had by all. Since then, we’ve done a fair amount of biking around the neighborhood and the kid wants us nowhere near him so I am thinking that the next time we visit the greenway, we an all ride.
4. Said No. A lot. I made the commitment at the beginning of September to not add any new responsibilities to my personal plate, and I’ve kept to it. I’ve said no to at least five offers, and I am sure that each person asking has found someone who was a better match for the responsibility.
5. Met up with new friends. When we were at the beach in June, we met a great family who happened to live reasonably nearby. Their ten year old boy was great with Happy, and Happy loved him so we were delighted to join them at their house for a four course off-the-chain dinner. Great food + lovely company= Good Times
On the Plate
6. Garlicky White Bean Soup. Soup’s my favorite food (well, soup and ice cream. If I could eat all my meals in a bowl (breakfast would be granola and yogurt), I’d be thrilled). I made a double batch of this incredible soup and ended up with enough soup for four families (I’ve got some new mama friends and a friend battling breast cancer so I was looking to share). Yum x 4.
7. Cornbread Souffle. To go with the soup, I made my childhood BFF’s mother-in-law’s cornbread soufflé. It’s off the chain. Here’s the recipe (it makes 2 servings or one big ole’ group- like Thanksgiving- serving), because I love you like that.
2 boxes of Jiffy Corn mix
2 sticks unsalted butter
2-3 tbsps of sugar
16 oz fat free sour cream
1 15 oz can of sweet corn, drained
1 15 oz can of sweet creamed corn
Melt butter. Add Jiffy mix and sugar. Mix. Add sour cream and corn.
Bake at 350 for one hour.
8. Apple Cranberry Crisp. With that many apples, a girl had to do something and since I was making meals for loved ones, I was excited to share some of our fresh picked apples with them. Here’s my recipe, again because I love you.
2 cups peeled, cored, and chopped apples
18 oz. fresh cranberries (or thawed from frozen)
1/3 cup sugar
1.5 cups uncooked quick oats
1/3 cup flour
1.25 cups brown sugar
½ cup melted butter
Mix fruits. Pour into 9 by 7 casserole sprayed with cooking spray. Add sugar and toss. Mix oats, flour, brown sugar in medium bowl. Add butter, mix well, and spread of top of fruit. Bake at 325 for 55 minutes to 1 hour.
Products I Loved
9. Got a new work bag. I met another writer for coffee last week and she had this fabulous bag that could hold all her stuff. I immediately admired it. “I just got it,” she said, and she had purchased it at the little gift shop in our village. “Do you mind if I get one?” “Not at all,” she said, and so I did. And, for realz, it’s awesome. There are three outside pockets and three inside pockets which means I am no longer facing the hassle of having everything fall all the way to the bottom of my bag, under my computer and file folders. Moreover, everything fits in one bag now rather than having different bags for all of my work. Hooray!
Even better than that, the bag is made by Shiraleah. Here’s a little information about Shiraleah from the company’s website:
At Shiraleah, we are committed to environmentally and socially responsible fashion accessories, gifts and home products in unique styles that consumers love. We design our own products and work directly with local artisans and producers to assure quality and workmanship. Our goal is to combine renewable natural resources, reclaimed materials, environamentally friendly technologies and traditional techniques to produce home and fashion goods that show we care. Shiraleah does more than talk about social responsibility – we seek out causes and take action. Recently, we started donating 3% of all purchases of our luxury fabric handbag collection to a center for diabled children in Hanoi, Vietnam. Our funds target improving the children’s diets and healthcare options, including supplementing the daily food budget and purchasing rehabilitation machines.
On the Bookshelf
Today, I want to encourage you to make your own list of ten things that you loved from September. What made it to your list? Can you see this practice working in your life?