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Meet Christine - Simply Plated - Healthy Recipes

Meet Christine - Simply Plated - Healthy Recipes

Posted by Pam Davis on Sep 11th 2018

We are excited to announce that Christine Tyrrell will be our contributing recipe blogger. I've already shared some of her amazing recipes here. We're thrilled that she's going to be a regular contributor now. She will be providing easy, quick, and healthy recipes that are simply delicious! A registered nurse and nutritional coach with over 25 years of experience supporting health and wellness both clinically and in the community, Christine learned early on that healthy nutrition is the best preventative medicine. Working for a local home health agency, All About You Home Care, gives her the opportunity to share this powerful knowledge with others. So many conditions can be reversed through diet! The healthier you eat, the less medical attention you need. While her infectious smile and kind heart are what draw people to Christine, her cooking is what makes them want to stay! She is an instinctual cook who knows how to combine ingredients that are healthy and satisfying. Each of her recipes has that wow factor – leaving you wondering how she can pack so much flavor into every bite. Cooking is clearly a family affair for Christine. Her 91-year-old grandmother shared with her love of nurture, nature, and good food. Her two children are able to enjoy and reap those benefits. They spend Sunday mornings chopping and prepping while listening to her husband Adam’s favorite playlist. Later in the day, their large extended family shows up for a weekly dinner. Her mother and brother arrive with their own amazing twists on food. Each one more excited than the next to share their creations. They all know that eating for health makes cooking a joy. Christine's Motto: Life, Love, Family Look for Christine's recipes each Friday on our blog.    
Roasted Eggplant Parmigiana with Ground Turkey

Roasted Eggplant Parmigiana with Ground Turkey

Posted by Pam Davis on Sep 7th 2018

I'm so happy to share another farm fresh recipe from my friend Christine! I love having such a good friend who is a whiz in the kitchen. This week eggplant was abundant at the farmers market so Christine whipped up this delicious meal. I hope you enjoy it as much as we did!Ingredients: 1 lb ground turkey 3 medium eggplant 1 jar marinara sauce 1 8 oz package mozzarella ½ cup parmesan Olive oil spray Italian seasoning Garlic powder Sea saltDirections: Spray 2 cookie sheets with olive oil and preheat oven to 425. Peel eggplant if desired, then cut into 1/4" thick slices. Place slices in single layer on cookie sheets, it's ok to slightly overlap the layers. Season with Italian seasoning, garlic powder, and salt. Roast for 20-30 minutes at 425 Flip the slices after 15 minutes and rotate trays so all slices brown. While the eggplant is roasting, saute ground turkey until browned and crumbled, set aside. In a 13x9 pan, place a layer of sauce on the bottom Add the following layers: eggplant sauce ground turkey shredded mozzarella sprinkle of parmesan eggplant sauce ground turkey shredded mozzarella sprinkle of parmesan eggplant sauce shredded mozzarella sprinkle of parmesanBake for 30 minutes at 350. Cut into 12 servings.
Elephant Baby Gift Basket - 9/6/18

Elephant Baby Gift Basket - 9/6/18

Posted by Sonya on Sep 5th 2018

First of all just want to say we love Elephants!  This week our featured Custom Gift Basket is an adorably themed elephant baby gift basket for a mama. The alphabet tote was stuffed with a big-eared selection of organic elephant gifts for her new baby. This gift basket for the newborn boy included: Gift Basket or Container - Monochrome ABC Grey Organic Baby Footie Pink Elephant Shirt Newborn hat in Organic Cotton Wool Felt Elephant Baby Booties Baby Blanket Elephant Themed Elephant Rattle - Organic Organic Elephant Rattle Elephant Gifts for Kids - Puzzle White Ribbon handwritten note card because we feel it is a special touch. Check out our Gift Inspiration page so you can see the creative gift baskets other customers have created using our Make Your Own Gift Basket feature!
First Moments with Baby and Mom

First Moments with Baby and Mom

Posted by Lindsay Gibson on Sep 5th 2018

The moment you have been waiting and preparing for has arrived – your little bundle is born! Your newborn is in your arms for the first time. So many emotions flow through you that you cannot even identify them all. In those first moments with baby, the mixture of tears, laughter, and smiles as you look down at your miracle with your partner - is both magical and overwhelming! Love floods you, and while you may have some thoughts like “I am not sure if I will be a good mom for this sweet baby of mine,” you know one thing – you will do anything in your power to protect this baby! For some moms, in these first moments with baby, love immediately fills them. For others, it may take a while to feel that powerful connection. That is more than okay mama. Becoming a parent is the biggest job in the world. Some of us need extra support to settle into motherhood. For me personally, that connection was felt at a different pace with each of my girls. Let’s focus in on the first few moments after a baby is born and what is happening. First Moments With Baby A baby spends a long 9 months developing in a nice, cozy and warm womb. When he or she is born, their instincts for survival outside of the womb will kick in right away. However, there are some things that we can become conscious about and do to help your little one adjust. The moment of your baby's first breath is intense as this is what you have been waiting for! When the majority of babies are born, you will hear a cry, sputter or a cough as they take that first breath on their own, but some babies will need a little assistant to get going. This is big for the baby because this is the first time their lungs, digestion, and circulation are working independently of you. Now that your baby is breathing - how are they taking it all in? This where you come in to help! How they adjust varies from baby to baby. Some babies come out wide-eyed and quiet. They calmly look around (mostly at you mama!) – soaking it all in. Some babies may take a peek and then, goodnight! Don’t worry though, one of your baby's strong instincts is to feed within the first hour. They will want to find your breast or feed, even if they need a little snooze first. Finally, some babies will make themselves heard by the only way they know how – crying – often loudly at first! No matter how your baby reacts to their new world around them – once they are placed in their mother’s arms and on her chest, skin-to-skin for that magical golden first hour – your baby will feel extremely secure and loved. Skin-to-Skin Benefits: Regulate the baby’s temperature and keep glucose levels higher. Your breasts are able to stabilize your baby's temperature when he or she is placed on them. The contact keeps the baby’s vitals steady and temperature regulated. Keep the baby’s heartbeat stable by synchronizing it with Mom’s heartbeat. A mother’s heartbeat can coordinate with her baby’s heartbeat within seconds! Increase bonding. The hour after birth is the “Sacred” or “Golden” hour. It's during these first moments with baby that both mom and baby are primed to develop their chemical connection. Oxytocin or the “love hormone” is responsible for this connection. Reduce Postpartum Depression. During those first moments with baby, feeling the baby on her chest, smelling, kissing and snuggling rouses these intricate maternal hormones that stimulate mother behaviors and feelings. This can help reduce PPD symptoms of disconnect. A less crying baby! Holding a baby, skin-to-skin, for a few hours a day can help reduce crying in an infant. It keeps them calm and secure. This also lowers stress levels in a mom and helps her to feel more in control. Improve sleep for both baby and Mom. A baby held skin-to-skin sleeps better and stays asleep longer thus allowing a Mother to rest too. Happier tummy and a stronger immune system for baby! Yes – skin-to-skin can help the baby’s digestive system! Contact on Mom’s chest stimulates the vagal nerve which keeps digestion strong and nutrition absorbs better for stronger immunity. BREASTFEEDING! Skin-to-skin contact improves the breastfeeding relationship between Mom and baby very early on. A baby placed on Mom immediately after birth who continues with skin to skin at home is more likely to breastfeed with success and for longer. This helps Mom’s supply build and stay well established. Swaddling a baby away from Mom will hamper building her supply. Read about the power of skin-to-skin and how it helped me and my firstborn daughter tremendously after a traumatic birth. We can also help baby by dimming the lights after birth because their eyes are sensitive and still adjusting. Undisturbed, quiet time lying on mom's chest while breastfeeding is the best thing for baby. Many hospitals are now reserving this golden hour to do just that and holding off on any newborn screenings. Unless of course there are any complications, but your care team will immediately explain these and what they need to do. What about you mama? On top of all of the emotions that you feel as you hold your new baby, your body is rapidly adjusting to not being pregnant. You may shake, feel nauseated and just downright EXHAUSTED. Make sure to get fluids and a snack in as soon as you can to refuel. I've found it's super beneficial to drink 5-6 cups a day (hot or cold) of my post-partum tea blend in those first 48 hours after delivery. Depending on whether or not you had an epidural or a C-Section, you may be able to take a shower a few hours after birth. This will help you feel like a new woman! If you are breastfeeding, it is strongly recommended to wait until your baby has had their first latch and feed. This is because the smell you have to your baby is the same smell as the amniotic fluid that they floated around in for so long! This helps a baby to feel safe after they are born. Nature is amazing, isn't it? Magical Bonding The best tip that I was ever given was to wait as long as possible to welcome visitors (minus other children you have who will be absolutely dying to meet their new sibling!). This time lets you and your partner come down from the intensity of the birth – and ensures calm for your baby who is easily stimulated at this stage. Visitors will, of course, be so excited to hold and see your baby. All the baby really needs and wants at this time though is their parents. There will be plenty of bonding time with others to come! No matter which order you do things such as: taking a shower, eating and getting up to move – within those first moments with baby and hours after birth - having baby relax on your bare chest is the most beneficial thing for both of you because this truly helps both baby and mama to adjust, bond and have a gentle and magical start to their lives together.
Spicy Grilled Shrimp over Harvest Fresh Salsa

Spicy Grilled Shrimp over Harvest Fresh Salsa

Posted by Pam Davis on Aug 30th 2018

It's the peak of summer vegetable season here in Connecticut and as a result, our farmers' markets are loaded with a vibrant medley of harvest fresh veggies! We've had another hot and humid week here, the kind where nobody wants to be spending much time in the kitchen. So when my amazing friend Christine came over the other day, she used lots of the fresh veggies I'd picked up at the market this week to whip us up this light, refreshing dinner. A little time chopping in the kitchen and then outside for a quick grill of the shrimp skewers. Packed with fresh summer veggies and flavorful grilled shrimp, I think it may be my favorite dinner ever! Here's a quick tip for the corn, cook a couple extra ears when you're making fresh corn on the cob. It'll keep for a few days in the fridge and as a result, it'll be easy to cut the cooled corn off the cob for your salsa! Ingredients Shrimp Marinade: 1/2 Lime 1 tsp chili powder 1 tsp garlic powder 1 tsp sea salt 1/4 cup olive oil 2 lbs Jumbo (21-26 ct) shrimp Salsa: 4 fresh tomatoes 1 green bell pepper 1/2 red onion 1/2 jalapeno pepper 1 clove garlic 2 ears cooked corn, cut off the cob 1 can black beans, rinsed & drained fresh cilantro, to taste chili powder, to taste lime juice, to taste salt, to taste Accompaniments: sour cream or plain Greek yogurt avocado slices lime wedge Directions Mix together marinade ingredients, then add the shrimp and marinate for 30 minutes. If using wooden skewers, begin soaking them in some water now also. While the shrimp is marinating, dice your harvest fresh tomatoes, pepper, and onion. Finely dice the jalapeno and mince the garlic. Toss the veggies, corn, and beans into a bowl, then add cilantro, chili powder, lime juice and salt to taste/ Remove shrimp from marinade and skewer and grill over direct, medium heat until brown to bring out the flavor (3-5 minutes per side). Finally, serve the shrimp on a bed of salsa and garnish with sour cream, avocado, and a lime wedge. P.S.  I just love those linen placemats because they're such a great blend of rustic, yet elegant!
Custom Gift Basket - 8/30/18

Custom Gift Basket - 8/30/18

Posted by Sonya on Aug 30th 2018

This week for our featured Custom Gift Basket is an organic corporate gift for parents of a baby boy - filled with soft organic clothing, bath items, nursing shawl and more. This gift basket for the newborn boy included: Gift Baskets or Container - white willow basket Organic Nursing Shawl & Scarf Blue Glass Baby Bottle Little Twig Unscented Organic Baby Wash Blue edged Organic Baby Washcloth Grey Striped Organic Convertible Baby Gown Grey Drops Organic Baby Booties Organic Beanie Baby Hat Grey Edge Stitched Organic Baby Swaddle Blanket Organic Monkey Teething Toy Light Blue and Grey Ribbons and, of course, a handwritten note card congratulating the new parents on the birth of their beautiful baby boy! Check out our Gift Inspiration page to see the creative gift baskets other customers have created using our Make Your Own Gift Basket feature!
Baby Hospital Bag Checklist

Baby Hospital Bag Checklist

Posted by Lindsay Gibson on Aug 29th 2018

You are almost there!You've spent (nearly) nine months preparing in all kinds of ways for your little bundle to arrive and now you are nearing the end! Your birth plan may or may not be written out (here is a birth plan outline you can use in case you don’t!) and the big day is drawing closer and closer. Remember to breathe!What else is there to be done?Pack your baby hospital bag! If you have planned a home birth, make sure your home is stocked with everything you'll need. Talk to your homebirth doula and/or midwife to see what you will need to buy to prepare. However, if you are planning on going to a hospital or birthing center, you will want your baby hospital bag packed and ready to grab when the moment arrives.Once your contractions begin and early labor sets in, you do not want to scramble collecting last minute items. There are things on the list that you will be using every day until it is time to go, like your cell phone charger and purse/wallet to name a couple – so have a list for those items on your bag that your partner can double check before you walk out the door.Quick Reminder: Have you contacted your hospital or birthing center to pre-register with all of your insurance information? You do not want to be doing this while in active labor!What do I need to pack in my baby hospital bag?Enjoy this hospital bag checklist to help you organize what you need to bring with you to the hospital.Things to remember: Your belly will take some time to deflate. (It takes at least 6 weeks for your uterus to contract back down to its pre-pregnancy size.) Therefore whatever maternity pajamas you have been wearing or something in a larger size – is what we suggest to pack. Especially if you have a C-Section, you want it nice and loose around the midsection! Pack enough underwear and clothes for at least three days. While some moms are in and out and may only spend one night in the hospital, everyone is different. It just depends on how your labor goes and if you have a C-Section or not. A bathing suit! Or at least the top. Some hospitals and birthing centers have tubs to be in and while this is not a necessity – you may be more comfortable in a bathing suit versus a sports bra. SNACKS! Most hospitals (although this is changing more and more) do not allow meals while in labor, however, some light protein snacks make a huge difference while in labor. It’s common sense: a mother needs strength to labor and birth her baby! Suggestions: nuts/trail mix, coconut water, dates, protein bars, etc. Something quick that you can pop in your mouth to give you energy. If you plan on having a Doula, you most likely will not need this as she will have it in her Doula bag. However, if you don’t have a Doula, remember to pack: a tennis ball for your partner to massage you with, rice sock or heating pad, or anything else that will help you relax. Last minute things to prepare at home: frozen meals for when you come back home some self-care: haircut, nails and maybe even a nice prenatal massage before birth!This week, on my blog, I went over some extras that I will be using in my own upcoming birth to help with comfort and support. You can read that post here.I always recommend starting to gather items for your bag around 35 weeks so you have it ready shortly after. You just never know when your little one will be ready for their debut!
Organic Cotton Baby Clothes - Our Green Baby

Organic Cotton Baby Clothes - Our Green Baby

Posted by Sonya on Aug 28th 2018

We're so excited to share our new signature line of organic cotton baby clothes with Lindsay - and you! She stopped back into our warehouse after a long hiatus and we caught up with her - and her bump - and showed her our exclusive line of organic baby clothes, blankets, bibs, washcloths and adorable bunnies. See for yourself in this quick video: If only you could reach through the screen to touch these lovely organic cotton baby items. They're SO soft, perfect for wrapping precious baby skin! Our new line of organic cotton baby clothes includes baby footies, side-snap tees, pants, and hats in 2 different sizes: 0-3 months and 3-6 months. We also carry matching bibs, washcloths and swaddle blankets.Items in the Our Green Baby line are made from soft white organic cotton with lovely color stitched edges in your choice of four colors: blue, brown, grey, or pink. Although they're not a part of our exclusive line, we also carry perfectly coordinating solid color organic cotton baby onesies. We've already seen these new items incorporated into some of the unique baby gift baskets that our customers have created.And this bunny!! Where to begin? The handmade knit toy has the most delightful texture, sturdy yet soft. The long ears and arms are easy to grasp and fun to chew – if you are into that sort of thing. (Melissa's baby Fia adores chewing on her little bunny's ears!) These charming stuffed animals are made from organic cotton yarn in Istanbul by talented stay at home moms. We hope their sleepy expression and muted colors will comfort your little ones into an easy slumber.These baby wardrobe staples are lovely additions to any make-your-own organic baby gift basket or your baby registry.
Organic Tea - Why Make Time?

Organic Tea - Why Make Time?

Posted by Sonya on Aug 27th 2018

Like many women, I tend to put my children, my work, and everyone else's needs ahead of my own self care. Recently, I've realized how that has affected me - and my ability to care for others. I'd always thought of self-care as time-consuming tasks such as going for a massage or out to lunch with friends. While those are great things to do for yourself, it's often challenging to make time for them when you're busy with a never-ending to-do list. As part of our Mindful Monday series, we really want to focus on quick and easy tips and reminders for self-care. So, today we're talking about how taking a short pause in your afternoon to make and sip a cup of organic tea can offer many benefits. Mindful Organic Tea Routine The simple routine of intentionally pouring fresh filtered water into your kettle, bringing it to a simmer, and selecting your cup and tea can bring your presence the moment. Set your to-do list to the side for this brief break. Don't worry, it'll still be waiting for you when your break is done. ? Sit all day? Simply getting up out of your chair to prepare your tea will help your circulation. Want an extra circulatory boost? Simply do a few lunges, squats, and/or stretches while waiting for that kettle to simmer! Make it a Moment Don't just take your cup of organic tea back to your desk or daily routine. Make enjoying it a moment. Take your cup to a quiet corner – add some fresh flowers and a nutritious snack to make it more indulgent. Just be. Be mindful of the moment; pay attention to the steam coming off your cup, the color of your tea, the flavor... I love to take mine outside to the porch or deck and listen to nature while I sip. Benefits Spend most of your day staring at screens? This break gives your eyes a much-needed rest. Run around tackling errands and tasks all day? Settle into a cozy corner and open a book of poetry or artwork. Pausing to immerse yourself and reflect on the beauty found in these works while you sip your tea is a great way to inspire creativity in your daily life. Is your day filled with solitary work and/or young children? Take your 15 minutes to call a friend and catch up. That feeling of connection, even if it can't be in person, can really go a long way toward supporting your mental health. While it's sometimes hard to pause what we're doing, taking that tea break has actually been shown to help improve your productivity and creativity for the rest of the day. Studies have shown that the simple act of pausing your day to have a cup of tea may lead to a sustained improvement in mood and well-being and it'll aid in hydration too! In the comments below, share where you enjoy your afternoon tea and what kind of organic tea you prefer!
Roasted fresh tomatoes and garlic chicken sausage

Roasted fresh tomatoes and garlic chicken sausage

Posted by Pam Davis on Aug 24th 2018

Because It’s tomato season we are featuring my favorite cherry tomato recipe!!! Fresh tomatoes are my favorite Farmer’s Market treat, I love these colorful pints that my favorite farmer was selling at the market this week. This week, for our Farm Fresh Friday recipe, my friend Christine has done it again with a super simple, super flavorful, and super healthy recipe that stars loads of them. Enjoy! Ingredients Big container tomatoes/ or 3 pints of cherry tomatoes 2 packages garlic chicken sausage, cut into bite-size pieces White beans 1-2 cans (any combo cannellini/northern/etc) Balsamic vinegar Red wine vinegar Apple cider vinegar Olive oil Sea salt Oregano Fresh Basil Fresh Parsley Fresh Rosemary Fresh Directions: Preheat oven to 425 degrees Place tomatoes in a roasting pan Drizzle with olive oil Sprinkle on some Sea salt Drizzle on a bit of each: red wine vinegar, apple cider vinegar, and balsamic vinegar Sprinkle with fresh herbs: parsley, rosemary, basil, oregano Roast at 425 for 30 minutes Add the cut up chicken sausages Roast for another 20 minutes Add white beans (drained and rinsed) And Roast for another 10 minutes
Baby Boy Gift Baskets - 8/23/18

Baby Boy Gift Baskets - 8/23/18

Posted by Sonya on Aug 22nd 2018

This week our featured gift is baby boy gift baskets - filled with organic skin care products, play items & a hand-knit hat. This gift basket for the newborn boy included: Gift Basket or Container - Mouse Tote Little Twig Organics baby Wash - calming lavender Little Twig Organics Bubble Bath - Calming Organic Lavender Organic Baby Products - Baby Balm Everyone Baby Wipes - Chamomile + Aloe Wooden Baby Brush and Comb Set Hand Knit Organic Baby Hat Eco-Friendly Board Books - Animals Everywhere Wooden Stacking Cone - Old Fashioned Toys Light Blue Ribbon and, of course, a handwritten note card congratulating the new parents on the birth of their son! Check out our Gift Inspiration page to see the creative gift baskets other customers have created using our Make Your Own Gift Basket feature!
What Does a Doula Do?

What Does a Doula Do?

Posted by Lindsay Gibson on Aug 22nd 2018

Keep Calm and Call the Doula Let’s start with a little history of birth. For hundreds of years, women have been the main support through another woman’s birth. Experienced female birth workers, a.k.a doulas and midwives delivered babies (mostly at home) all around the world. Today – the number of midwives used has declined dramatically, with over 90% of births attended by physicians and in a hospital. The choice of where and whom you want handling your pregnancy and birth is, of course, a very personal decision and there is never a “right” or “wrong” choice – as long as the parents are secure with their care. Are Doula’s the same as Midwives? No – they are not the same, which is why many couples still hire a doula for their birth (and even after) alongside their midwives or physicians. While Obstetrician-gynecologists are medical doctors (MDs) who have completed medical school, midwives have not. They are trained with a different philosophy – focusing on whole-body health and prevention (although they are extremely medically knowledgeable in pregnancy, labor, and delivery). They are strong advocates in supporting the mother to make informed decisions with their pregnancy and birth. Three Types of Midwives: Certified Nurse-Midwife (CNM): who is trained both as a nurse and has gone onto graduate-level training as a midwife. Midwife (CM) Certified: they do not hold a nursing degree, but some have had graduate level midwifery training and do take the same certification as CNMs. Certified Professional Midwife (CPM): they obtain their certification from a different governing body versus a CM and CNM. They may or may not hold a bachelor’s or graduate degree. You may find a lot of CPM’s attending births alongside a CNM or CM. A Doula This brings us to a doula – your birth room and postpartum angels on earth! Unlike a midwife – doulas are not medically trained like a CNM. Although – more and more nurses are retiring to do doula care. Regardless, they have a different training and job with mothers and provide non-medical care. Their main focus is providing relief for the mom through gentle physical support such as massages during labor and emotional and mental support – helping the mom to feel safe and secure. Fact is, moms who have a doula during birth and in the postpartum period, have far better positive outcomes. The most important thing is finding the right doula that will fit your needs – check out this questionnaire you can bring with you when interviewing doulas. There are two different kinds of doulas: birth doula and postpartum doula and each have had their own training. Affirmation: I trust my instincts. I trust the wisdom of my body. I believe I can, so I will. Birth Doula A birth doula has one main objective: to make sure mom and dad have a positive and safe birth experience – even if that means intervention or a C-section. They are there to help you through every minute of it and feel empowered as changes may occur. Your doula will usually meet with you twice before birth, if not more, to go over what you hope for, your fears and thoughts and create a birth plan. She will educate you on many parts of the labor experience, so by the time labor starts, you feel more in control, educated and supported. A birth doula’s main jobs during labor: Breathing techniques Relaxation techniques Laboring positions Massage for comfort Making sure you eat and drink enough Advocate for you Emotional and mental support for both mom and dad Postpartum Doula A postpartum doula is there to help a new family in those first days or weeks after bringing the baby home. Having a postpartum doula has shown through research that mom and dad have a much smoother and easier transition into parenthood with a doula there to ensure them, educate them and support them however they need in those early weeks. She is essentially there to “mother the mother”. A postpartum doula can either do daytime hours or overnight hours, whichever the parents decide they need. A postpartum doula’s main jobs: Infant care: Answering all basic care needs and breastfeeding Help you rest and recharge – often holding your newborn for you Practical Help: Laundry, dishes, housework, cooking, errands Emotional Support: Mother the new mother - nurturing her so she can nurture her precious new baby. Listening to her worries, fears and being there so she can express her frustrations. You can find your doula through searching online in your area through the certifying organizations such as: dona.org cappa.net childbirthinternational.com Also – check with your OB or midwife as they might have a referral list. Doula’s range in price and can be costly, however, the care they can provide is worth it! Visit Lindsay's blog for more info about Doulas, including special concerns for mamas with high-risk pregnancies.     Join the Our Green Moms Facebook Group to connect with other women (moms-to-be, new moms, aunts, and grandmas). We'll share tips, discover organic products, and find support among other eco-conscious moms. - Click Below!!!
Practicing Gratitude - Mindful Mondays

Practicing Gratitude - Mindful Mondays

Posted by Sonya on Aug 20th 2018

When life gets busy and overwhelming, it can often be hard to keep a balanced perspective. Developing and sustaining a practice of gratitude can help you keep an even keel when life does hand you lemons (or, occasionally, throws them at you like a game of dodgeball ?). Coping with Life's Lemons I first realized the power of a daily gratitude practice during an intensely overwhelming period in my life. Ending my day by writing down, either on paper or a social media post, 5 things that I was grateful for that day truly was my saving grace. Particularly on days that I didn't think I could handle one minute more of the chaos, pain, exhaustion, and uncertainty of the time. I vividly remember one day when I was *really* struggling to find those five different things. I didn't want to use any I'd previously written down. Suddenly I remembered the shampoo bottle slipping from my hands and hitting my toe in the shower that morning. I'm all about minimizing the use of plastics, but at that moment I chuckled as I realized I was grateful my shampoo wasn't in a glass bottle. My gratitude practice fell to the side after I got through that period. Another challenging season arose a couple years later and renewing my gratitude practice kept me afloat, reminding me of many reasons to smile. Over time it was easier to remember that these challenges are just temporary hurdles in life. Alas, I've let that gratitude practice slip again. Life isn't overwhelming now, thank goodness. However, I've realized that, when I'm practicing gratitude, life just has a bit more joy and ease. So I'm challenging myself to renew my own practice - because finding balance and joy in my busy life is well worth a few minutes of daily focus. How Others Find Joy and Balance Talking to some friends about gratitude recently I learned that we each had embraced this practice for at least one phase in our lives, though we had all used different methods: writing daily in a formal gratitude journal counting as many blessings as possible during each shower beginning the day at the breakfast table with each family member sharing one thing they were grateful for And finally, the fourth method, which resonated with me deeply. This friend keeps a large glass jar on her counter and writes down those things she's grateful for on little strips of paper whenever the thoughts pop into her head. During the course of the year, that jar fills up and is both a visual guide to the wealth of good in her life and a resource. Whenever she's struggling, she'll spend some time with that jar – pulling out the slips of paper and letting her mind drift to the sweetness in her life rather than the lemons life has handed her that currently seem so sour. And you? I'm going to leave you with one of my favorite, refreshing and inspiring videos on gratitude, but before I do, please share in the comments below if, and how, you sustain your own practice of gratitude.