Living a Grateful Life

Lately I have been thinking about gratitude quite a bit, about how I can live a more grateful life. Of the things I am grateful for, of how I can express my gratitude, and how I can increase thankfulness in my life. Here are my thoughts.

Mindfully Grateful
I think one thing that helps me to be grateful, is to make time at the end of every day to write down three things I was grateful for that day. It is easier for me to take a look back at the end of the day to reflect on those good happenings. After doing this for a while, I have found it's easier during my day to notice the little blessings throughout my day. What about those hard days when everything seems to have fallen apart and didn't meet my expectations? I admit that it's hard at first to think of anything good. Those are the days when I focus on the fact that my husband did the dinner dishes and both my girls still love to snuggle before bedtime. And really, aren't those the things I should be grateful for everyday?

Gratitude Journal
I've posted before about how I like to make journals (see here and here). Having a gratitude journal is a way to write more in depth about those people, life experiences, and items that you are thankful for in your life. At a later date you can look back at those journal entries and realize how much love and how many blessings you have in your life.

Frozen Doll Quilt Giveaway at The Resourceful Mama

Have  you seen the cute doll quilts I have added to my shop on Home Crafts by Ali? I am excited to tell you that my friend Kim is hosting a giveaway on her blog, The Resourceful Mama, for one doll quilt designed in Frozen fabric. This quilt is the perfect size for an 18-inch doll (American Girl, Our Generation, My Life). It measures 15 inches wide and 18.5 inches long.

My girls love to play with their Our Generation dolls and use a quilt the same size as the one that is being given away. Sometimes their doll is camping and the quilt is the tent, or the doll needs a superhero cape, or the quilt has been a picnic blanket for my girls to have their tea parties on.

12 Cookbooks For Every Kitchen

Tired of making the same meals and looking for some inspiration in the kitchen? See the 12 cookbooks that can help you find some new favorite recipes.

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I love books of all kinds. When I tell my husband that I'm going to "just stop in" the bookstore, he knows that means that I'll be home in a few hours. I do have books on my tablet, but there is something about holding a book, flipping through the pages. This goes for cookbooks too. Yes, I do check for certain recipes online, but I like to have cookbooks also that I can pull out and look through.

A portion of my cookbooks are kept in the small cabinet over our microwave. This is only about half of them. There are more on the other side of the cabinet, some in a box, and I also have recipe boxes too.

Delicious Potato Soup

Delicious Potato Soup - a great meal for cool fall evenings

In my home, once the weather starts to get a bit cooler I start to make all of our favorite soups. The first one of the year is always potato soup. It is a quick meal to put together on a busy fall evening that tastes delicious.

My favorite potato to use in soup is Yukon Gold Potatoes. I love their flavor and richness.

Ingredients Needed

8 - 10 medium potatoes - diced (peel if desired)
1/4 onion - diced
1 T butter
2 c chicken stock/broth
3 c water
4 T butter
4 T flour
1/4 t ground mustard
1/4 t salt
1/8 t pepper
1 c milk
2/3 c shredded cheese

Book Review - Instant Happy Journal

Disclaimer: I received this book from Blogging for Books in exchange for writing this review.  All thoughts are my own and are not swayed by receiving a free copy of this book.  This post may contain affiliate links.

So often in life, we tend to focus on the not-so-positive things. When I saw this book, Instant Happy Journalby Karen Salmansohn, as one of the options for my monthly reviews on Blogging for Books I decided to order it. I figured that when using this over the year, I would be able to mindfully add happiness to my life. Who couldn't use more happy in their life?

This journal has daily happiness prompters to encourage you to reflect on those things in your day or life that bring joy, love, and happiness.  I think we all get busy in the day to day life and sometimes forget to think about those things. These daily prompts help you focus on the positive, and that can change your whole outlook on life and benefit you in many ways.

How I Keep My Life Organized

A few weeks ago I posted on Twitter and my Facebook page about how excited I was to get my new planner in the mail and I couldn't wait to use it. I had a friend private message me and ask if I was saying those things as a sponsored post or if I really meant it. I told her that I had no connection at all with the company and just loved their products so much and told her how easy it made keeping track of all the many activities we have going on at our house. So this post is really how I feel about their products - it has changed my life and made day to day life so much easier.

Do you have trouble keeping track of all the many things going on in your life? Soccer games, ballet recitals, piano lessons, job deadlines, when the school science fair is, which weekend to take a quick road trip to see family, meal plans for the week, which day you volunteer at the school.....and the list goes on.

I seem to forget which day the library books are due and if I go to the grocery store without a list I forget what I wanted. It's a nuisance and I had searched for ways to stay more organized in my day to day life. I carried around a little pocket calendar, but there was no place to take notes, make lists, or write down all of the different things that were going on during the week.

Blog Monthly Check-in & Goals ~ Month 9

It's time for another one of my monthly blog check-ins. I'm doing it a little differently than I have in past months. I want to share with you the exciting things for my blog over the past month and what has helped me with my growth.

Home Crafts by Ali Monthly Check-in & Goals ~ Month 9
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The first thing I wanted to share with you is that I joined an amazing blogging group on Facebook. The two ladies in charge of the group are so great and want to help us all be successful. It is about getting back to the essentials of blogging. Each month has a theme and we work on different blogging projects every week. In September they wanted us to think about what direction we wanted to take our blog and the best way to fulfill those blogging dreams. Let me know if any of you want an invite to the group, it is for people that have been blogging for years, new bloggers, and for people that haven't started a blog yet.

During the month I designed a new header for my blog, some business cards that match, and designed a new cover photo for Facebook that shows pictures from some of my best posts.

DIY Watercolor Flower Bouquet

Do you love flowers, but hate when they die after a few days? I have a wonderfully easy DIY project for you then. Learn to make your own watercolor flower bouquet that you can display for as long as you like.

DIY Watercolor Flower Bouquet - a simple paint project so you can make your own flower bouquet
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Last week I shared my book review for the book Paper Goods Crafts. I shared a picture of the project I created based on one that was in the book. I didn't follow their directions though, I made up my own and wanted to share with you how you can replicate this in your own home.

Great Books Every Home Should Have

Join me for a look at great books you can read this week or anytime. These are books that would be a wonderful addition to any home library.

Great Books Every Home Should Have
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October is National Book Month. Books are something I'm very passionate about. I feel they are important to the learning and imagination of, well, everyone. This week, October 5th-11th, is Great Books Week. Being a book lover, this is one I was definitely excited to celebrate.

Great Books Every Home Should Have
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It made me think though, what makes a "great book"? Is it only a great book if it reaches #1 on the New York Times Bestseller list? Or maybe only if it was written 200+ years ago? Or is it a book that you find yourself thinking about, even after you have returned it to your shelf? There are so many books to choose from, and if you look you will find the books that you love, treasure, and deem great.

Blog Buddy Reveal - Becoming A Gilbert

About a month and a half ago, I saw a listing in a facebook blogging group for a sign up for a blog buddy. You would apply, they would set you up with someone you didn't know, then you would get to know each other, encourage each other, become blog buddies, swap sidebar ads, and at the end of the time hopefully find someone that you want to continue being in contact with. The buddy program was hosted by Keeping Up With Ashley and Cody and I can't wait for the next one to start so I can meet another great blogger.

My blog buddy was Sabra from Becoming a Gilbert. Sabra is getting ready to finish college, she has a wonderful blog, she is starting her own photography and design company, she has a cute dog, and totally loves her husband. I have enjoyed reading her blog, texting with her, checking out her Instagram account, and swapping blogs with her.

Oh So Delicious Black Bottom Cupcakes

Are you looking for a wonderfully delicious cupcake recipe?  If so, today is your lucky day. These chocolate cupcakes have the added tastiness of cream cheese and chocolate chips.  Read below to learn to make these oh so delicious cupcakes!
chocolate cupcakes that are the perfect blend of chocolate and cream cheese

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Black Bottom Cupcakes are a special treat at our house.  When my family knows that they are baking, there seems to be extra traffic in the kitchen while waiting for these to cool and be ready to eat. I have never met anyone that doesn't fall in love with these cupcakes after the first bite.
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