A Fresh Take on Gratitude – Our last Meaningful Mondays post!

To fully live a life of gratitude you’ll want to keep things fresh. Open up our gratitude view to the bigger world around you. Make a daily habit of noticing new things you can be grateful for.

Gratitude practices such as journaling, keeping a gratitude jar, writing letters are all ways to help reshape your view on your life’s experiences, but give yourself the freedom to put these aside for a bit while you experiment with other ways to live a grateful life.

Thank you Blue Birchers for taking the time these past 9 weeks to check out my Meaningful Mondays series, it’s been fun!

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Appreciation in Action

We’ve spent the last number of weeks being grateful for the little things that make our lives brighter, the people and places that made a difference to us, our ability to bring energy to the day and to give hope to all those we encounter. As we look to the new year we are going to turn our “Attitude of Gratitude” into “Appreciation in Action”. Using the below format, take time this week to write down 3 or more specific things you are grateful for and use this insight to commit to definitive actions you will take in 2017:

“I am grateful for………., so I will commit to ………..”

For example, “I am grateful for having a healthy and functioning body so I will commit to taking care of it by walking 3 times each week.”; “I am grateful for the success in my career so I will commit to mentoring and supporting a less experienced co-worker to reach their career goals.”

Are you grateful for your expertise in photography, guitar, gardening, etc? Share your knowledge by volunteering at a local library to offer a free class. Are you grateful for the support you received from a friend this year? Everyone needs someone to be in their corner, pay it forward and work to support and promote a friend or acquaintance for the things they do. Are you grateful for your daughter’s independent spirit? Commit to stepping back and letting her unique self shine through this year.

Appreciation in Action 2017…make it happen Blue Birchers!

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A Healthy-ish, Easy-ish Eggnog

Eggnog. This word either brings you warm thoughts of nutmeg and a cozy fire…orrrr…brings on the gag reflex (feel free to look away if you fit into this category, I won’t mind). Me, I do love it, and as luck would have it, so do my kids. So when my son said the other day he was craving eggnog, the thought of buying the stuff from the grocery store just didn’t do it for me. Like most things, the grocery store version just doesn’t compare, often too sweet, kind of blah or downright funky tasting. I thought I’d try making my own that was a little less calorie dense and a whole lot better tasting. I did some research and realized, huh, there’s a bit to this eggnog thing. “Healthy” versions sometimes eliminated the healthy stuff…even eggs (umm…it’s “egg”nog people). Classic versions had a whole lot of cream and sugar, along with quite the process.

But don’t despair, I was able to adapt one that I felt had a pretty easy process and I’ll tell you, it was a big hit with the eggnog experts in this house…to quote my daughter “This is so much better than the normal stuff!” And a new LaMonica Holiday tradition was born.

3 cups whole milk

2 large eggs

2 1/2 tbsp maple syrup*

Dash of salt

½ tsp nutmeg*

½ tsp cinnamon

1 tsp vanilla extract


  • Pour 2 cups of milk in a saucepan and add the eggs, maple syrup, salt, nutmeg and cinnamon.
  • Whisk together and place over medium heat.
  • Keep on whisking while the mixture warms and thickens. This can take 10+ minutes.
  • Do not let the mixture boil.
  • When it begins to thicken start checking the temperature. Once it is at 160 degrees take off the heat and whisk in the 3rd cup of milk and vanilla.
  • Pour into large jar/container and let cool a bit on the counter. Then put in fridge overnight where it will thicken even further.
  • Serve with a sprinkle of nutmeg and cinnamon on top and you’ve got the holidays in a glass!


  • This wasn’t quite sweet enough for my kids so they added a little more maple syrup to their glass or you can up the amount of syrup in the recipe to 1/4 cup. Adults, pretty sure some dark rum would sweeten it right up for you!
  • Nutmeg can be too strong for some people, so if serving to a crowd, reduce or eliminate the nutmeg and people can sprinkle on as they please.

*adapted from – A Healthier Eggnog

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Give Hope…A 5 Day Challenge!

Be grateful for the power you have to give hope to someone’s day. Hope that today will be okay. Hope that kindness wins every time. Hope that we’re all in this crazy world together. Amid the hustle and bustle of this week, I propose a 5 day challenge to each of you Blue Birchers. Starting today, commit to give hope each day using below:

  • Monday: Smile and say “Hi” to strangers and wish them a great day.
  • Tuesday: If you have a coffee shop, restaurant, shop you frequent, attach a nice note to the tip today letting them know what it is they do that keeps you coming back.
  • Wednesday: Be quick to listen and slow to talk today. Ask others about them and their lives.
  • Thursday: Leave surprise post-it notes for your spouse, your kids, a loved one. It can be warm, funny, just saying “Hi’…anything to let them know you were thinking of them.
  • Friday: Show patience with anyone you encounter. Offer help to a coworker having a bad day. Say words of encouragement to a frazzled store employee. Let the rushed shopper in front of you in line.

Thanks for making the world a more hopeful place Blue Birchers!

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Remember and Recognize What You May Forget

Show appreciation for services that you are so used to having that you may forget to be grateful for them. What services do you take for granted but can’t imagine your world without them?

Museums, public radio stations, libraries, conservation land trusts?

Make a donation, buy a membership, give your time to let them know that you believe they make the world a better place.

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An Attitude of Gratitude

Use your newfound superpower of an “Attitude of Gratitude” to amp up the holiday spirit with everything you do and everyone you see this season.

Talk enthusiastically with co-workers about the holiday get-together, do your shopping with pep in your step, sing out loud and proud while you hang the decorations. Energy is infectious, so spread some cheer!

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Challenges are Lessons to be Learned, Resilience to be Earned

You’ve really been honing your gratitude skills over these last few weeks Blue Birchers, well done! This week you’re ready to raise it up a notch by expressing gratitude for a difficult situation you are currently facing in your life.

Take 10 minutes and write down the challenge you are up against. Then ask yourself, what can I learn by going through this experience? When I look back on this years from now, what positive changes will I be thankful for? Add these items to the list and refer back to it whenever you need a motivational boost.

And to each of you as you persevere, I’ll leave you with this Maya Angelou quote:
“I can be changed by what happens to me. But I refuse to be reduced by it.”

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