Happy Thanksgiving – Free Gratitude Cards Printables

Happy Thanksgiving! I have spent this month noting what I am thankful for and wanted to share with you. I also created these cards that can be used all year round. Feel free to cut them out to use for Thanksgiving. Each card can be read on it’s own or be used as a prompt to expand on what you are thankful for in your life.

I am thankful for the seasons: Living in Chicago I feel that I have always been aware of the seasons and thankful for them (sometimes hard in the winter). This fall has felt extra special now that we are moving to Arizona where the change of seasons is not quite as drastic. I love how the way we feel, how we dress and our activities change with each season. Something I hope I always embrace!

I am thankful for family: This is a common one around the holidays but with our pending move I have been very grateful for the family I have gained by moving to Chicago and marrying my husband. I will miss them all very much and look forward to finding fun ways to stay in touch. I am also very grateful for my family in Arizona that I have not seen regularly in over a decade and for the opportunity to grow closer. (Can’t wait for another hug from my mom!)

I am thankful for memories: I have spent a lot of time lately with Chicago friends reminiscing about good times spent to together over the years. I feel so blessed to have so many wonderful memories!

I am thankful for now: Being a yoga teacher I have learned the power of being in the present moment and the happiness that it can bring. This is very challenging for most people including myself. All we have is the present moment and I am happy for all of the wonderful people and opportunities in my life right now.

I am thankful for passion: Everyday through my work on Handmade Success I am surrounded by people who are passionate about their work and their community. I am so inspired by them. I hope to use this blog to help discover and share my passions with you!

I am thankful for kindness: Whenever I turn on the news I feel overwhelmed by the negative events going on in the world but I am always uplifted by the kindness shown for the people in these horrible situations. Everyone benefits from kindess and I love seeing it shared.

I am thankful for imagination: This one is dedicated to my 4 1/2 year old son, Simon. I am SO thankful for his imagination! He created a whole bunch of projects while he was home sick a couple of weeks ago that included a jack-o-lantern dressed up as Santa Claus, a zebra zoo, and Star Wars at the beach. Talk about thinking outside of the box! I am grateful for his creativity and will continue to nurture it.

I am thankful for change: I am sharing this as a way to look at a difficult situation or one that is not satisfying. I do yoga to change the way I feel, I am moving to change the environment that I live in, I constantly change my attitude about the things that are not in my control. Ah, the power of change!

I am thankful for enthusiasm: This one is dedicated to my 18 month old, Isaak. He does everything with such enthusiasm that it always puts a smile on my face. He has enthusiasm for bananas, me understanding that he is telling me he needs a new diaper, being picked up from daycare, seeing his daddy and brother, and playing with the kitties. He has such excitement for everything in his life and I am so thankful for that because it brings me joy and reminds me to have a little more enthusiasm too!

I am thankful for friends: In good times and bad, it feels so good to have friends who you can talk to or hang hang out with to make you feel that all is right with the world. I am blessed for all of my friends near and far.

I am thankful for support: I receive support from everyone in my life. The support I have experienced over the years from my yoga students has really been amazing. I have a different perspective about the relationship between a yoga teacher and students after working with so many of the same wonderful people over the years. I am so thankful for this unique relationship.

I am thankful for dreams: I am a total dreamer! Sometimes I have beat myself up over being more of a dreamer and less of a doer but the moments I spend dreaming are the ones that fill my heart with joy and make me happy to be alive!

I am thankful for courage: Each day my two little boys show me the courage to learn something new and the feelings of pride that can come from overcoming your fears.

I am thankful for love: Love comes in so many forms but I want to dedicate this one to my husband. I am very grateful for his love for me. He is so amazing, caring, smart, funny, and loving. He loves me and I love him. Perfect!

I am thankful for health: Both of my parents and my brothers had varying degrees of health issues in the last year. I am so thankful for their current good health and the good health of everyone I know including me. This can easily be taken for granted until we do not have it. I try to be aware of all of the things I am capable of everyday because of my good health.

I am thankful for laughter: Ah, yes! Life without laughter would be so dull. I am at that wonderful stage in which there are tickle parties everyday in my house and I love the house filling up with giggles. Laughter carries my worries away makes me feel alive. I am very thankful for that!

I hope you find the time to reflect on the many blessings in your life. Please know that I am very thankful for you and the support I receive by you reading my blog. Just click on the images above to print them out. Enjoy!

Yummy Vegan Flatbread for Thanksgiving

I am so happy to have my sister-in-law, Krissy, contribute a recipe here! She is vegan and loves finding yummy recipes so I asked her to share a favorite of her’s for Thanksgiving. I have tried this one and it is SO yummy!

Autumn Flatbread
You will need:
Store bought pizza dough
Small butternut squash
1 medium red onion
1/2 tsp dried thyme
Small bunch kale
Medium apple
White bean spread:
Can white beans
1/4 c olive oil
Juice of 1/2 lemon
2 cloves garlic, minced
1. Heat oven to 375.
2. Peel butternut squash and cut into 1/2″ cubes.
3. Cut red onion into slices.
4. Put onions and squash on baking dish. Coat with olive oil, s&p, and thyme.
5. Bake for 30-40 minutes until squash is tender.
6. In the meantime, make the bean spread.
7. Put garlic in food processor or blender and process until finely diced.
8. Add beans, olive oil, lemon juice, thyme. Process until smooth.
9. Chop kale and saute in olive oil for 3 minutes until soft.
10. Chop apples into small slices.
11. Assemble pizza. Spread bean spread onto pizza dough. Add butternut squash, onion slices, apple slices and kale. Spread evenly throughout.
12. Bake 10 minutes.

Help from my awesome nephew, Rileigh.

Help from my adorable nephew, Sage.

She also made one with cheese for the kids (hence 2 different pizzas.) Just added shredded mozzarella.

Doesn’t it look delicious?

Ujjayi Breath: Learn + Benefit

I am sharing one of my favorite breathing techniques with you today! It is commonly used during yoga practice and meditation. It can also be a great way to start your day, recharge midday, and to unwind at the end of the day. It is the Ujjayi Breath or Victorious Breath. Make sure you scroll down to catch a peek of my 4 year old Simon sharing his own little video too!

I created two printables that include how to do the breath and list the benefits. I put two on each page so you could have one by your bed and the other at your work space or purse or anywhere! I also created to colorways in case you are not a huge fan of pink. Just click on the image and print! Please let me know if it is easy to read. Also, if you want to do this from your computer without the video just zoom in on the image below or after you open the printable so you can read it on your screen.

After I finished filming this video my son, Simon, came downstairs and asked if he could make a video too. Please check it out, he will be so thrilled!

Summer Fun in the Sun

water fun with simon

strawberries, blueberries, whipped cream + sprinkles

afternoon snack: george + isaak

bocce ball + t-rex shoes

printers row lit fest

sundays at independence park farmers market

making bug jars at the chill and grill fest

ice cream at the sugar bowl in scottsdale

catching sleigh bells with my husband at pitchfork music festival

chicago cubs + star wars fans

– all photos were taken with Instagram – follow me here!

Benefits of Deep Breathing

Hello! I am excited to be sharing my first video on my new website! I started sharing videos that were related to the chakras and I have a really cool one in mind for the 3rd chakra. First I wanted to focus on some breathing techniques that will be the foundation for a lot of future videos.

Most of you probably do not spend your whole day sitting or standing up tall.

You might be hunched over a computer or a sewing machine, picking up little kids or slouching in line at the grocery store. Because of this, you are not taking deep breaths which lessens the amount of oxygen going to your brain. By taking short breaks to take deep breaths you can increase your alertness and feel a whole heck of a lot better!

Sit up tall, you can do this lying down at the beginning or end of your day also. Relax your shoulders. Inhale deeply through your nose and exhale out of your mouth. Relax. Let go of tension. Let go of your morning. Let go of your day. Let go of anything that is not serving you.

Begin to breathe only through your nose. Allow your inhales to go all the way into your belly. This may be challenging at first. We are used to taking shallow breaths that do not go much deeper than the chest. Begin to notice your ribcage expand with each deep breath. Place one hand on your belly. Feel your belly expand with each inhale. Gently draw your belly back towards your spine as you exhale. Focus on allowing each inhale to become deeper than the one before and each exhale longer than the one before.

Continue for 5 breaths, 10 breaths, 1 minute, the length of a song, the length of an article you are reading, a commercial break, the drive to pick your kids up from school.

Notice how good you feel! Notice how deep your breaths are compared to the earlier ones. Enjoy this good feeling.

Pause and take deep breaths any time you need a little pick me up!

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