Moments of happy...
1. Super Bowl snacks. Notice that I didn't count Super Bowl XLVIII as a Moment of Happy? It wasn't a very pretty Super Bowl for Broncos fans (including my firstborn) this year. But we were happy that our Forever Friends (and big Seattle Seahawks fans) were having a good night. They sent us Skittles in the mail to enjoy with the game. As for me, I'm choosing to stay hopeful. The Dallas Cowboys will be back in the Super Bowl again. Right?
2. Vanilla Almond Granola. When John and I started seeing each other, he was traveling a bit for work. The first time I took him to the airport I gave him a tin filled with Snickerdoodles to take with him on his trip, and I told him that if he returned the tin to me empty, it would always return back to him full. I keep that same tin full of oats in the pantry now. I love it.
This granola recipe is my very favorite. It is easy to make and makes the kitchen smell so warm and sweet. I love it sprinkled on top of vanilla Greek yogurt or scooped into a bowl with milk. The kids love to sit and snack on it. I used a 1.87-oz. bottle of McCormick sesame seeds and 1 cup of dried blueberries in this batch.
VANILLA ALMOND GRANOLA
3 c. regular oats, uncooked
2 oz. sesame seeds
1 (3.75-oz.) package salted sunflower kernels
1 (2 1/4-oz.) package sliced almonds
1/2 c. flaked coconut
3/4 c. pure maple syrup
1/2 c. vegetable oil
1 t. cinnamon
1/2 t. nutmeg
1/8 t. salt
2 t. good quality vanilla
1 c. small dried fruit (raisins, cranberries, cherries, blueberries, chopped dates, or chopped apricots, etc.)
Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
Combine the oats, sesame seeds, sunflower kernels, sliced almonds, and coconut in a large bowl and set aside.
Combine the maple syrup, oil, cinnamon, nutmeg, salt, and vanilla in a medium bowl. Pour maple syrup mixture over the oat mixture, and stir well.
Spread evenly in a 15- x 10- x 1-inch jellyroll pan. Bake at 325 degrees for 30 minutes or until golden brown, stirring every 10 minutes. (I usually have to bake mine for 40 minutes to get a nice golden brown color.) Turn oven off, and leave in oven for 5 minutes. Remove from oven, and stir in dried fruit. Let cool. Store granola in an airtight container in a cool, dry place.
Yield: About 7 cups
3. Red robins. We looked up one overcast day after hearing a little bit of a commotion outside in our backyard. We noticed several robins perched in the snow-covered aspens. Then we noticed forty of them scattered all across the yard! Oh, they were so pretty! You can't see their red breasts in these pictures, which makes me want to get myself a telephoto lens so badly. Maybe one day. The next day we saw a little gray, fluffy, baby owlet in the aspen right outside our bedroom window. A group of magpies was fussing at it, trying to chase it off, but it stayed and wouldn't be bothered. Smart little guy.
4. An announcement. A new Mitford book by Jan Karon.Somewhere Safe with Somebody Good. September 2, 2014. Happy, Happy, Joy, Joy!
5. My Valentines. John. Austin. Joel. Emma. The greatest evidences in my life that God truly does give "...beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness..." John sent chocolate-covered strawberries and cheesecakes and ladybug cake pops to me and Em. I gave my three boys bags full of chocolates and hearts and red hots and cinnamon-flavored gummy lips and red licorce and English toffee that I filled up at Fuzziwig's. I went to take a picture of the candy bags later in the afternoon, but they were empty. (!!!) I gave Emma a heart-shaped petit four (Did you know petit four means "small oven"? Cute!) and a big stuffed elephant which she promtly named Shane. Why "Shane"? To go with her hippopotamus "David", of course. Shane and David. The Upside Down Show. I fully expect her next stuffed animal will be named "Mrs. Foil".
6. Happy in a Storm. You have likely already seen this video. A precious little girl goes outside during a storm and discovers rain for the first time. She runs around and claps and dances and giggles and squeals with delight. Such joy!
I love the video for the chance it gives to see life through a child's eyes, but I love it even more for a different reason. What I was reminded of when I looked at this video was the opportunity to smile, to dance, to laugh, to know happiness...even during a storm. A cold winter rain is falling down all around her, and yet, there she stands full of life, embracing the wonder of the moment. Even in the middle of hurt and sadness and pain, there are reasons to laugh, reasons to dance, reasons to count Moments of Happy.
The happiest people don't have the best of everything, they just make the best of everything.