Thursday, December 03, 2020

Three Unexpected Joys

When I started keeping a journal again at the beginning of the pandemic (I was a prolific journal writer as an adolescent but stopped when life got busy as a young adult), I also started including in each day's reflection three accomplishments for the day, which could be as major as or as mundane as I liked, and five moments of joy. My goal was to remind myself that even though every day was Blursday and there was so much to be depressed about, I was being productive every day and there were still things that could make me happy if I only looked for them. So because it's Thursday, I'm joining Carole and friends to share three little joys with you.

1. Zoodles in unexpected places
Part of my effort to eat better over the past several years has involved eating more vegetables, so like many people, I have embraced the zoodle, or the spiralized zucchini "noodle." I love pasta and could honestly eat it every day, but that wouldn't be so good for me, so I've occasionally replaced my spaghetti with zucchini. It's a decent substitute but not the real thing, so I've been contemplating how else to use my zoodles.

Then, about a month or so ago, the Mister came home from Trader Joe's with some of their jarred vegetable soup. I usually make my own vegetable soup, but this is obviously a lot more convenient during the work day, and it's delicious and healthy to boot. A couple of weeks ago, I had an epiphany: I could put the zoodles in the soup! They are perfect complements, and adding that bit of "chew" to the soup makes it more satisfying.

2. Whimsical cake pans
Rainbow and I love watching the Great British Baking Show and marveling at the fancy baked goods the contestants create, but we aren't very talented when it comes to baking our own (I'm much more likely to reach for a boxed cake mix). A while back we were looking at cakes pans with fun shapes and spotted this one:

On Monday, when all the sales were going, I remembered that I had a Williams-Sonoma gift card sitting in my nightstand drawer, so on a whim I checked the balance. It turned out to have about $100 on it, so I figured it was a sign! One of these cookie cake pan sets is now on its way to us (and it's still on sale, by the way, if you're interested in getting your own).

3. A new game addiction
Back in the Before Times, a group of girlfriends and I would get together every so often to play Mah Jongg. Obviously we can't do that now. But one of the gals discovered that there's an app that allows you to play online with others (or, if you want to play on your own, with the computer). You do need to have an official card and there is a monthly subscription fee (though you can get a free trial to start), but it's a reasonable substitute. I've been playing on my own with the computer to keep my skills sharp and it's a nice break that provides some intellectual stimulation.

I hope you're able to find some unexpected joys in your life! Have a good end to your week -- stay safe out there!


  1. My daughters and their friend are always talking about GBBS. I rarely bake but I might need to check out this show. I got rid of my noodle maker - it was cumbersome. But I might need to figure out how to get more zoodles on my plate.

  2. I may need to check out the zoodles (though Fletch HATES zucchini...but there are others). I don't really WANT another kitchen gadget, but our stores now sell all different kinds of zoodles.

  3. I love zoodles! I can eat my weight in them just cooked with a little olive oil and some garlic salt. Yum!
    I also love the idea of adding your accomplishments to the daily journaling. One of my how to be better at business books suggests keeping a whole notebook of nothing but a list of your accomplishments. I tried it for a few weeks but it was too much effort to get out a separate book... It never occurred to me to just record the accomplishments in my daily journaling. Duh! Thanks!

  4. Zoodles in soup sound like a great idea! I don't have a zoodle maker because I didn't want a cumbersome kitchen gadget, but I think I've seen some small ones on Amazon. I love GBBS and am a sucker for special cake pans, so I was thrilled to inherit my MiL's tiara cake pan when she passed away. It's just a pan that bakes a cake with a depression that you can fill with fruit, cream, or both. It looks impressive for very little work!

  5. What fun joys! Mahjong is on our list of fun things to learn this winter when we need something to look forward to :) Can't wait to see your cakes--it's so fun to use a gift card on something you might not purchase otherwise. Enjoy!!

    1. I am hoping to convince my daughter and my husband to learn so we can play while we're on break at the end of the month. It would be a nice break from the same games we've been playing over and over!

  6. Yes! I want to add zoodles to vegetable soup too. What a great idea. I got a spiralizer and am just lukewarm on the zucchini spaghetti (although I do have a good recipe for spiralized sweet potato salad). Have fun playing Mah Jongg!

  7. what a fun post, Sarah! I've always wanted to learn to play mahjong ... my aunt plays almost every day and she tried to teach me a couple of years ago. I'm glad you've found a way to keep it up.

  8. Zoodles in soup... what an excellent idea!! (but that cake pan!!) LOVE IT! :)

  9. I love your idea about putting zoodles in store bought soup. It almost makes it feel homemade! Those cake pans are adorable and I'm glad you got to snag a set. I have had a Mah Jongg tile set on my amazon wishlist for years and I think it's time to bump it up. Can you play the tile set by yourself, too? I don't think I'll have anyone interested in playing WITH me for quite a while.

    What a lovely and fun post!

  10. The cookie tins look GREAT!! I just have very simple cookie cutters with no extra "embossings", but I might get something like this one day, they work so well (my sister owns a cookie stamp, and those are great, too).
    Congratulations on your journaling! I do the same (morning pages), and I find that IF you go back once in a while, it can be a big relief to see that the time did NOT pass just like so, but things happened and you did stuff and thought thoughts and everything.

    (Also: I'm glad that you can continue your games, but have to admit, that I always thought Mahjong was something you played by yourself, you know, like solitaire. I think we have a game that could work in a similar fashion though (it's called Rummy here).