Thankful Thursday 18 October 2018

Tonight when I arrived home from the library, I had a lovely Halloween card waiting from one of my pen-pals. It was a cute little Halloween card! I am grateful for her friendship. The Halloween card put me in a good mood. 🙂

I’m also thankful for my co-workers from both jobs. Terry is lending me her cupcake tins and decorating pipes so I can make GF cupcakes for my full-time job’s Halloween party next Friday. Our theme is unicorns, I have to make unicorn cupcakes. My co-worker also bought me a unicorn shirt for this contest. I’m grateful.

The weather has also finally cooled down! The days have been sunny and the evenings have been crystal clear. For the past few mornings, I’ve stood outside and looked up at the stars before going to work. Last night I stood outside, watched the stars and moon. I’m thankful for nature’s beauty.

 

What are you thankful for?

Adventures at Mill Grove 14 October 2018

Yesterday I went to the John James Audubon Center at Mill Grove to take photos of the autumn leaves and owls they house. We have had a rainy year with odd weather—last weekend it was hot and humid; we had on our air conditioner and this weekend we dropped 30 degrees Fahrenheit, in the 50s and have the heater on. Leaves are somewhat changing colour, but we think they’ll be full autumn colour in the next ten days.

When I arrived at Mill Grove, I saw a group forming in front of the welcome sign and the leader asked if I was here for the tour. I wasn’t, expressed my regret, then walked over to the trellis and took photos of the lone bee flying among the asters. I heard the guide speaking and he sounded interesting; I walked over and asked if I could join last minute. I was welcomed with opened arms and took a nature walk for two hours. We learned about native and non-native plants and I learned a lot. We also saw deer, the river, and ate the edible berries. I picked some summer grapes and I thought I was going to make a jelly, but I don’t have pectin. I’ll eat the rest tomorrow at lunch.

After the walk, I saw the owls. I spoke with Odin and speaking to my beloved owls bring me so much peace. I didn’t get a chance to see Conrad, the Blue Jay, but I did walk through the museum.

I want to get back there once the leaves turn some more.

Thankful Thursday 11 October 2018

Although this week has been a merry-go-sorry type of week, I still have a lot to be grateful for. My parents went away for a few days, from Sunday until Wednesday, for dad’s birthday and their anniversary. Terry, a co-worker from the library, helped me give Mimi her medicine. She also tried some of the gluten-free food I made and gave me some pointers since her sister is also gluten-free. She loved what I made and I was thankful for the pointers.

Again, I’m thankful for people from both jobs and my friends. In another four weeks, a tough anniversary is approaching and to say that I’ve been anxious is an understatement. Sometimes I feel cowardly for my feelings, but Christina said, “don’t fee that way. It’s normal and it will take you as long as you need.” I have read that the experience will always stay with me and anniversaries are generally hard, which makes sense. I have a project planned for my Happiness Box on that day (7 November). I’m thankful for the love that has been shown.

Last night I decided to make a vision scrapbook page to put into my Happiness Box, but I wasn’t feeling too great. It’s rushed and I don’t like the colour theme… I believe in colours as symbols for different things. Today after my full-time job and before I went to the library, I had Lyft drop me off at Michaels and I bought purple paper. Later, I am going to fix it and I will post the finished image a little later. I am thankful for the encouragement and for the friendly Lyft ride.

I have also been scrapbooking Happiness Box 2017. I am in November 2017 now and the goal is to finish it this weekend. I’ve been working on this since January and I can’t wait to get it done.

What are you thankful for today?

Frightening Treats (But Not So Frightening to Make)

Yesterday, I turned on WRTI and grooved to classical music while I made Halloween inspired treats. On Friday evening I bought a women’s magazine for Halloween meals and although they weren’t gluten-free, I couldn’t pass up the magazine. I could make them GF myself.

I first made the ghost desserts. Joy now sells gluten-free ice cream cones and I made the pound cake to go inside the cones from scratch. I used this recipe: https://www.kingarthurflour.com/recipes/golden-vanilla-pound-cake-recipe. I baked the cones for about fifty minutes, decorated with icing and they are delicious.

20181008_183654

For dinner, I made a mummy meatloaf. This one was naturally GF and it was easy to make. It did call for breadstick dough and I found a mix for GF breadsticks. The recipe:

1 onion

2 lbs ground beef

1 large egg

1 cup quick cooking oats

1 tube breadstick dough

1 cup marinara sauce

I used onion and black beans for the eyes.

20181007_181342

 

I also made mashed potato ghosts as a side dish. It was the normal mashed potato recipe, but I used almond milk instead of dairy milk. I also used black beans for the eyes.

20181007_181643

I had so much fun cooking yesterday and they were easy to make! These treats would be perfect for Halloween parties.

Verklempt Friday

Yesterday my full-time job had their picnic and I feel verklempt. I mentioned to Ms. Ernestine that I packed my own lunch since there weren’t any gluten-free options. Wouldn’t you know, she ran to the store before the picnic and picked up a GF rotisserie chicken and chips for me? She picked up enough for me to have for lunch on Monday! I am beyond verklempt and grateful.

Last night was also a quiet night in the city. After spending an hour in Barnes and Noble, I walked through Rittenhouse Square Park and met Bosley, an adorable pug. He let me get a selfie with him! I am printing this out for my Happiness Box.

20181005_170910

I went to South Street and I was in the mood for pho; I decided on Banh Mi and Bottles. Most of their street snacks could be made gluten-free, I had brisket on rice rolls – my favourite! The pho was amazing too! I chatted non-stop with my waitress, Lin, and before I left she agreed to a selfie. She was fun and a great waitress. I made a friend. 🙂

 

Thankful Thursday 4 October 2018

It’s Thursday, again!? And it’s the beginning of October?! Where did this year go? That’s okay, autumn is one of my favourite times of the year.

I am thankful for co-workers at both jobs – when I returned to the library this week, all of my co-workers asked me how I was feeling post-procedure. I told them I was feeling great. Co-workers at my full-time job also followed up; I am thankful I work with kind people. Tomorrow the full-time job is having a picnic and while I’ll be bringing my own lunch, I made a gluten-free applesauce cake. It’s currently baking.

20181004_192109

I’m also thankful for my friends, both local and internationally. One of my British friends sent me a gift from the UK and Rome. I can’t wait to read the letter later and I can’t wait to take a picture and add it to my Happiness Box. 🙂 I love my friends and family.

20181004_200030

What are you thankful for today?

I’m Now a Young Friend of the Philadelphia Orchestra!

On Friday I signed up for the Young Friends of the Philadelphia Orchestra. It is a free membership for orchestra lovers from ages 21-40 and packs a lot of benefits, such as reduced tickets. I’ll get my membership information later this week, and I am super excited.

Last night I ventured to the Kimmel Center to see the Tchaikovsky Concerto and enjoyed my first concert as a Young Friend. I think I was a little too excited because, at intermission, I told the gentleman I was sitting next to that I just became a young friend. He said to me, “congratulations! We need more young friends because it would be nice to see younger people enjoying the classics. Every show we come to, we always see people who look like us.” At the end of the show, I took a selfie with the group and they all welcomed me to the orchestra family! 🙂

20180929_221035

Anyway, the Philadelphia Orchestra put on an amazing show as always. Yannick Nezet-Seguin is one of my favourite conductors and I am just in love with his style. For the Tchaikovsky Concerto, the Orchestra brought in Lisa Batiashvili on violin and oh my God. Oh my God is all I can say because the ferocity in which she played the guitar, the soulful sound brought tears to my eyes. It was just breathtakingly beautiful. I love classical music for that reason.

Next Saturday I am going to see the harp concerto – I just have to check to see if tickets are still available! I might start spending one Saturday evening a month at the orchestra.

The Happiness Box Initiative Newsletter | Fall 2018

The other day I wrote the Fall edition of the Happiness Box Initiative newsletter and I am rethinking it. Since this is my first time creating newsletters for a project, does it make sense to include experiences from the previous season into the new season’s newsletter or should I wait to the end of the season to include that respective season? Now that I am thinking about it, when I read a company’s newsletter, the company often puts summer earnings or events into the fall newsletter. I’ll continue to do just that for the Happiness Box Initiative newsletter. Enjoy!

—-

The Happiness Box Initiative
Fall 2018

Summer went by quickly! Although it was rainy and humid, I didn’t let the miserable weather damper my spirit. I’ve continued spreading cheer and the word about the Happiness Box Project. This summer I also partnered with others and together we will make the world a more positive place, one note or through one classroom at a time.

I partnered with Notes for People, an activity where the artist sends me carefully crafted envelopes with positive notes tucked inside and the participant must leave the note in a public space where someone can find the note. Unfortunately, the notes arrived after my trip to Long Branch, Asbury Park and New York City, but I’ve left a few notes in the Philadelphia Area and in Baltimore. I’m hoping that these notes inspire the finders; Ajdin sends me updates after I send the photos that I’m doing well with this project. Notes For People is a brilliant idea and adds kindness to our world.

At the end of May, I was featured in Writing.com’s Spiritual Newsletter. Sonali interviewed me and posted links to articles I wrote about my Happiness Box. Surprisingly, in July a school in Africa reached out to me about the project. The school works with children that have experienced trauma and was interested in the Happiness Box activity to help the students. I’ve sent a lesson plan and while communication has been slow, I’m hoping my Happiness Box will help the students and will help others in traumatic situations. That is the goal I am slowly working on and that is my hope with the Happiness Box Initiative.

The fall will be a busy time for the Happiness Box Project Initiative! With cooler weather, I plan on spreading more joy to others and I have a lot of hope attached to the lesson plans I’ve been writing. One day at a time and always with a positive attitude. Have a great pumpkin-spiced filled season!

Thankful Thursday 27 September 2018

Another Thursday where I have a lot to be thankful for. For the past two days, I’ve been off from both jobs; yesterday prepping for the procedure and I had the procedure this morning. My managers from both positions reached out to me yesterday via my personal e-mail address, wished me luck for my procedure and kept me in their prayers. Co-workers from both jobs also texted well wishes too. One of my co-workers from my full-time job checked in on me after my procedure and asked if I was okay. I am grateful that I work with awesome people. Their actions made me verklempt.

Maddie is also a physician’s assistant and checked in on me yesterday too. I was feeling anxious about the prep, and she walked me throughout it – grateful for her patience, and I was thankful for the doctors’ staff today too. They made me comfortable and talked with me, I love kind medical professionals. My doctor met with me afterwards, I am gluten-free for life, she handed me literature and gave me great suggestions for foods that follow halal guidelines. I’m thankful she took the time to meet with me afterwards too.

I’m going to spend the rest of the day relaxing. What are you thankful for today?

Baltimore Ravens vs. Denver Broncos | 23 September 2018

Sunday Funday! On Sunday, dad and I trekked to Baltimore to see our beloved Ravens battle the Denver Broncos. This was his Father’s Day gift, and we hoped for nice weather, but Mother Nature had a different idea of “nice.” It rained.

When we hopped off of Amtrak at Baltimore Penn Station, we took Lyft down to the Camden Yards and walked by the baseball field to get to the Ravenswalk. At the Ravenswalk there were festivities such as a band, photo opportunities, and games. Ray Lewis was honoured at halftime for the Hall of Fame; dad and I took photos with his statue and with the raven mascots. We listened to the music until it was time to go to our seats.

M&T Field doesn’t have coverings; we were sitting in the rain. We were bundled up, but the rain didn’t stop the fun we had. I took a selfie of dad and me, we ended up on the jumbotron since I shared it on Instagram. The Ravens won! We did a celebratory dance and dad kept saying, “this was the best Father’s Day gift! We need to do this more often! We bring them luck.” That made my day too.

We ended our evening at Lebanese Taverna, and this was dad’s first time having Lebanese food. He thought his lamb burger with rice pilaf was delicious! I had grape leaves stuffed with lamb and rice, which was delicious too. When I made the reservation, I wrote that dad’s birthday was 6 October; the waiter brought out baklava with a candle, and it surprised dad. We were in a rush because dad was afraid of missing the train, but that made him slow down a little. We ended up eating only half (significant portions) and taking the rest home.

20180923_174821

On our way home, Amtrak was full, and at first, dad and I had to sit separately. Dad was telling this one gentleman about how I took him to the game for Father’s Day – the gentleman gave his seat to me, he sat next to his colleague, then proceeded to say, “that’s wonderful you took your dad to a game. I hope when my girls are older, they do the same for me.” He turned to my dad and said, “you did a great job in raising her.” I blushed.