Technically, I’m on day 3.  I started this challenge on paper August 1, so we’ll just flub a little with the dates.  I get to do that because I’m the boss, right?  😉

1.  Friendly, hospitable, generous farmers.  I went to a farm to buy some potatoes, and came home with so much more!  Gardening advice, a bag full of gorgeous zucchini, two containers of freshly picked yellow pear tomatoes, a large ziploc of basil and two heads of garlic.  The kids enjoyed traipsing around, climbing the tractor and picking the vegetables.  Beat that, Wal-Mart!

2.  Reinkemeyer’s Touch of Dutch Country Store.  This place first came across my radar last spring (I think?) with their reasonably priced produce boxes.  I didn’t utilize them because it’s a bit of a trek from my house and that would decrease the savings while increasing the negative environmental impact.  However, this week they had an amazing special on bulk cherries and since I was in that general vicinity anyway to buy potatoes, I could justify going.  Thanks to them, I have over twenty pounds of cherries to eat and freeze for winter.  I also greatly appreciated the layout of their store, which was (thankfully) kid-friendly.  It’s very open and spacious, so my energetic clan was able to move about without knocking things over or inconveniencing other shoppers.  The cherries weren’t in yet when we arrived, so we took advantage of their ridiculously cheap lunch special.  Oh my, it was SO yummy!  The entire staff was also incredibly sweet and patient with my kids, something that seems to be rare these days and for which I am *always* grateful.  I truly believe that compassion, kindness, respect and patience for the young people in our society would transform our culture for the better.

3.  Gas station up the road.  There was one downside to the above store, which was lack of a public restroom.  As someone who has worked places with public restrooms (and had to clean them, yuckola!), I completely understand the decision not to have one.  As someone who had three young people who needed to go and a full bladder myself, I was a bit dismayed.  Luckily, the friendly staff alerted me to the gas station just a block up the street that could accommodate us.  Thank you gas station!!

4.  Flexibility.  I mapped out the day according to what I hoped would be an appropriate nap schedule, but everything took way longer than anticipated…which often happens, so why am I always surprised?  In any case, while we were eating our gas station ice cream on the sidewalk, I realized how lucky I am to have the flexibility to take hours longer than I planned.  It really helped turn inconvenience into a fun little treat.

5.  Cell phone with Facebook.  I’m a space cadet, I admit it.  Or maybe it’s just that I like to “fly by the seat of my pants”?  The point is, more than once I’ve lost my way a bit and had to backtrack or stop for directions.  Thanks to technology, I can just pop on my cell phone, look up the store I knew had a Facebook page and find where I need to go.  Unfortunately, it still didn’t stop me from making a wrong turn!  Oh well, at least it tried.  Maybe next time I’ll use the navigation app that tells me exactly where to turn. 😉

6.  Nursing.  This may seem like a “duh” given that I assist breastfeeding mothers and have nursed all my kids, but some days I feel pretty frustrated and done with it.  Toddler nursing is a bit like having a wild cat attached to your boob…flip-flopping, pulling, twisting head to see what is going on (with boob still in mouth!!).  Anyway, on days like this one where it’s hot and 2 year-old is cranky, but doesn’t really eat or drink much, I am grateful to have ready-made, easy-to-access and FREE sustenance available.

7.  The teenager’s cell phone.  My 14 year-old thoroughly enjoys the freedom to stay home alone whenever possible.  I enjoy participating in that freedom, mostly because I know a) the maturity level is there and b) a cell phone is there in case of emergency.  Yes, I know a neighbor could probably help out in a pinch, but it’s nice to know that’s not the only option.  I only realize how grateful I am every so often, especially on days like this one when it isn’t available!

8.  Mature young person who can stay home.  It is lovely to see the maturity develop and also to acknowledge the autonomy..both intrinsic and legally…to make decisions such as staying home without us.  It’s doubly lovely to know that the house won’t burn down while I’m gone!

9.  Husband who works hard all day, brings home wine and compliments dinner.  I am so, so, SO grateful to have a husband who works hard at his job in order to provide for us.  I try to be extra so on the days when we’re out having fun and he’s stuck there.  Adding to that gratitude, he brought home wine for us on this day and complimented the new way I cooked dinner.  Cooking isn’t my strong suit, so I really appreciate the acknowledgement when I try something new and it works.  It encourages me to try more new things.

10.  Kids who ride pretty well in the car.  For the most part, all the kids now ride in the car, up to a stretch of a few hours, without complaint.  After having all of them dislike the car riding for the first few months – years of their lives, this is a welcome change.  On this day, they tolerated longer than usual drives even though it was hot and they were hungry.

11.  Strong back to carry cherries with.  Or to carry baby with.  Or anything, really.  I’m thankful that my body is still decently supple and strong, even though I often neglect to take care of it the way I should or encourage it to go a little further.

12.  Wine.  Who isn’t thankful for wine???  Seriously, though, I appreciate being able to have a small glass with my dinner every now and then.

13.  This blog.  Is that cheating?  Oh wait, I get to decide!  I do enjoy having this tiny space in the web world to spew whatever is on my mind.  Sometimes it feels weird to think about who might be reading this and sometimes it feels very freeing.  I put it out there and that’s that.

14.  Fast, easy and healthy dinner.  What could be better than those combinations?  Especially after a long day, it’s terrific to come home and throw something together without a lot of thought or effort.  Extra bonus if it actually provides nutrition, like the salmon we ate.  Yum!

15.  Cherries!  A perfect ending to this day.  Cherries that are flavorful, plentiful and inexpensive.  I love cherries!!  Cherry “ice cream” (frozen, whipped bananas), cherry smoothies, cherry pancakes, cherry muffins, cherry pie….




This day’s thank you note goes to #1, Farmer L.

Dear Farmer L,

Thank you so much for inviting us to your farm.  The kids and I thoroughly enjoyed checking out your bountiful garden.  The 4 year-old is especially taken with your tomatoes!  I appreciate that you take the time to mindfully grow your produce, then generously share with the community.  That is such a blessing!  The plentiful food you sent home with us is being eaten with grateful hearts.

Blessings and Peace,