Thoughtful Thursday Happy Thanksgiving!

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Happy Thanksgiving!

Time seems to fly by faster and faster because Thanksgiving is here once more. Hopefully you’re able to slow down a bit and enjoy this special holiday. Take the time to really savor the intimate moments with family and friends and create some special memories.

I want to thank you for your continued love and support and for joining me on this creative journey! It really means a lot to me 💖💖

Wishing you a Very Happy and Blessed Thanksgiving!

Thanks for stopping by!

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Thoughtful Thursday Fall Essential Oil Blends

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Living in the South you don’t get to enjoy a lot of the autumn colors and scents so I’m always looking for ways to bring the warmth of the season into my home. One of my favorite ways is to use a diffuser and add drops of essential oils to make some of the most tantalizing autumn scents.

The fragrant oils can affect your mood and give you a sense of complete joy and harmony. They may even bring back some wonderful memories. There are a lot of premixed synthetic oils but most are full with harmful chemicals. Plus many people can’t tolerate them and that’s why essential oils are great because they’re natural.

These are a few fall diffuser blends I found online. If you don’t have a diffuser I would recommend buying one. You can check out the websites below for recommendations or Amazon has plenty to choose from with reviews to help you find the best one. But don’t go crazy buying lots of essential oils. Pick 1 or 2 blends from the choices below and start with that to see what you like. Let me know how it goes.

Have a lovely day and thanks for stopping by!!

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EssentialOilHaven.com gives recommendations for oils and diffusers.

CountryHillCottage.com gives easy ideas and recipes for living well.

TheOilDropper.com has useful information on using essential oils.

Thoughtful Thursday Jack-O-Lanterns

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I always wonder how things got started and who started them. With Halloween approaching in just a few days I thought it would be fun to learn about jack-o-lanterns.

The term jack-o-lantern started in Britain in the 17th century. At the time it was common for the British to call a person Jack when they didn’t know his name. So now we know where the “Jack” part of the term came from but what about the o-latern?

The o-lantern term was also commonly used in the 17th century to refer to a man carrying a lantern or a night watchman. And since they may not have known his name the term jack-o-lantern was born. But how did we go from the term jack-o-lantern to carving a pumpkin for Halloween?

Well there are quite a few theories on that. One is it was a Celtic pagan practice to carve out turnips or some other type of root vegetable and then illuminate it to ward off evil spirits. The custom was then carried on by Christians during the feast of All Hallows Eve.

Another more creepy theory is centered around an Irish folklore. There are several versions of this folklore but they all have certain common elements like a man named Jack, the devil and an illuminated turnip with which Jack’s soul aimlessly wanders the earth.

But here in the states during the 19th century, young kids who liked pranks would carve a grotesque face out of a readily available pumpkin to scare unwary people. Eventually this prank became known as jack-o-lantern. Today this has became a widely used and artistic tradition by many for Halloween.

Which is your favorite theory?

Hope you enjoyed this little history snippet. Thanks for stopping by!!!

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Thoughtful Thursday Vegan Pumpkin Smoothie Recipe

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Pumpkin pie is one of my favorite treats for Thanksgiving but that only comes once a year. So to get into the spirit of Autumn sooner I love making pumpkin smoothies.

When you slowly sip this savory drink bursting with flavors of cinnamon, ginger and nutmeg you can’t help but to sit back and take a moment to truly enjoy the season. This recipe is very easy to make and is super delicious! I always try to use organic ingredients when they’re available.

Pumpkin Smoothie

  • 1 C Unsweetened Almond Milk
  • 1/2 Can Organic Pumpkin Puree
  • 1 Small Ripe Banana
  • 3 Tbsp Organic Rolled Oats
  • 2 Organic Pitted Dates
  • 1.25 tsp Cinnamon
  • 1/4 heaping tsp Ginger
  • 1/8 heaping tsp Nutmeg
  • 1/2 Tbsp Maple Syrup
  • 1 C Ice
  • 1/2 Hass Avocado (optional) *

Place all ingredients in the blender and blend until smooth. Top with sprinkled cinnamon and enjoy! (Makes about 2 glasses)

* Note: If you prefer a thicker, creamier smoothie the avocados do the trick. They have a mild flavor and give you more of a milkshake consistency. But I would try it first without the avocado because you can always add it later, it should be thick enough without it 🎃 Another trick is to use 2 Tbsp Organic Chia seeds. Soak them overnight in water and add them to your smoothie mix and blend.

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Slow Pace of Autumn

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Hard to believe that autumn is officially here today. It’s the time of year to slow down and really take in the beauty of the season. Before long, Mother Nature will repaint her canvas from beautiful greens to stunning hues of yellow, red, orange and brown. Gentle breezes begin to roll in and rustle the fallen leaves bringing much needed cooler temps.

We bid farewell to summer as we watch the days become shorter and nights become longer. We get our warm comfy sweaters out, light a few candles and settle in for the season. It’s a time to rest, reflect and finish what’s needed.

Although here in the South we don’t really see a change in this breathtaking season, I bring warmth into our home by decorating for fall. Being an avid baker the sweet scents of pumpkin, apple and cinnamon fill our home making it even more cozy. How do you spend your autumn months?

Wishing you a peaceful autumn season filled with joy, love and good health!

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Thoughtful Thursday Anna Ruby Falls, Georgia

Anna Ruby Falls photo by Maria Vidaurre

There’s something to be said about slowing down and spending time in nature. This past fall I was fortunate to take a hiking trip to northern Georgia with my husband. One of our visits was to Anna Ruby Falls which is in Unicoi State Park, located just outside of Helen, Georgia. It was a stunning drive to the falls as we drove on the windy road through the forest with accents of mother nature’s foliage of yellow, orange and red leaves glistening in the sunlight.

The hike to the falls is about a half mile on a paved path. Officially it’s .4 of a mile, but my Garmin and phone tracker showed it was a bit more. Nevertheless, it was a majestic hike the entire way as the path followed the creek and you were serenaded by the flowing waters. The path was a little steep but there were plenty of benches along the way to rest if needed.

James H. “Captain” Nichols was a Civil War Colonel who retired and moved to Nacoochee Valley in 1870. Even though he had been promoted to Colonel he was reverently referred to as “Captain.” While out horseback riding one day, Nichols discovered the falls and named them after his daughter, Anna Ruby.

The falls are made up of Curtis and York Creeks that run down the steep slopes of Tray Mountain in 2 falls. In the photo above Curtis Creek Falls is shown on the left and drops 153 feet and York Creek Falls is shown on the right and drops 50 feet. These 2 falls combine to create Smith Creek which is what you see when walking on the path.

I hope you enjoyed this little travel tidbit. Anna Ruby Falls was a beautiful place to visit and I hope you’ll be able to visit it too!

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“Nature does not hurry, yet everything is accomplished.” ~ Lao Tzu

All photos were taken by Maria Vidaurre

Thoughtful Thursday Happy Thanksgiving

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Happy Thanksgiving!

It’s hard to believe that it’s that time of year again. The weather has gotten a little cooler, thank goodness and the leaves are changing. But this is a time of warm gatherings and welcoming family and friends into our homes with lots of love. It’s a time to reflect back on the year and give thanks for all that we have.

More importantly it’s a time for you. This is the time to slow down and take in the beauty around you. Catch your breath and nestle in for the winter with warm soups and hot cocoa. Take time for yourself this season to recharge your energy. Find happiness in the simple, small everyday moments. Allow your soul to linger in the joy and peace of the season.

I want to extend a sincere heartfelt “Thank You” to all of you for your love and support. It’s greatly appreciated!

Wishing you a Very Happy and Blessed Thanksgiving!

Thanks for stopping by!

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“As we express our gratitude we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them.” ~John F Kennedy

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Thoughtful Thursday Veggie Soup Recipe

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With the frigid cold months approaching, it’s always nice to sit down with a warm bowl of soup. I always go into soup mode during the fall and winter seasons. It’s pretty warm down here in the south, but thankfully the temps do cool off enough to enjoy delicious soups.

Soups are especially tasty when you’re feeling under the weather. There’s a certain magic to eating a warm bowl of soup. No matter how bad you feel, you always feel better after eating a bowl.

There are many types of soups. Some are served cool or flat out cold while others are served warm or very hot. The consistency also varies depending on what’s in your soup. Personally, I like a soup full of flavor and hearty enough to satisfy my appetite.

You can buy lots of soups in your grocery store. But that’s all processed food loaded with salt and a lot of other ingredients you can’t pronounce. Not to mention ingredients that shouldn’t be in your food in the first place. Making soup is fairly easy and most definitely worth the effort.

The internet is loaded with tons of recipes. I find vegan soups taste just as good or sometimes even better than non-vegan. Forks-Over-Knives has a ton of delicious soup recipes on their website. Whether you’re vegan or not, these recipes serve as good place to start with and then just add a few of your own ingredients.

One of my favorite soups is made in my Vitamix Blender which has a program setting for hot soup. If you don’t have a setting for hot soup on your blender you can still make this soup using your blender and then warm it on the stove for a few minutes.

Creamy Veggie Soup Recipe

  • 1 Carrot, roughly chopped
  • 1 Stalk Celery, roughly chopped
  • 4-5 Large Pieces of Fresh Broccoli, roughly chopped
  • 1 Tomato, roughly chopped
  • 1/2 Zucchini, roughly chopped
  • 1 Clove of Garlic, roughly chopped
  • 1/4 Cup Raw Almonds
  • 2 Tbsp Unsweetened Shredded Coconut
  • 1 Tbsp Organic Red Miso
  • 1/8 tsp Organic Cayenne Pepper (optional)
  • 1 Cup Water

Place all ingredients in the blender and blend until smooth. If your blender doesn’t have the soup feature, then warm the soup in a small pot on the stove for 10 minutes. Then transfer to a bowl.

Extras

  • 1/2 Hass Avocado, sliced
  • Fresh Organic Cilantro, chopped
  • 1 Slice of Ezekiel Bread

Top your soup with sliced avocado and cilantro. Serve with a slice of bread and enjoy!

Try creating your own variations with this soup, like adding some cooked black beans outside of the blender for texture. There’s lots of options, be creative and add what you love to eat.

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“In every moment of our existence, we are in that field of all possibilities where we have access to an infinity of choices.” ~Deepak Chopra

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Thoughtful Thursday – The Magic of Autumn

Photo taken by Maria Vidaurre

Summer is officially coming to an end on September 22nd as we welcome the Autumn Equinox. Here in South Florida, we don’t really experience a change in scenery. The weather cools a bit but there is no major change in season visually.

This was a photo I had taken while hiking 10 miles on the Appalachian Trail in Shenandoah National Park, Virginia with my husband. The air was cool and crisp on the morning we embarked on our hike and the scent of wet leaves permeated the air. Mother nature had graciously painted a stunning canvas of yellow, red, orange and brown for us to enjoy. The scenery was absolutely breathtaking on the trail.

It was a magical hike where I found myself again and remembered what I was made of. There were parts of the trail where I had to dig deep to find courage and endurance to push on. One section had a small brook covered with leaves which were very slippery. Even though I was super careful, I ended up taking a fall but luckily it was nothing major and just ended up with a bruised knee.

The most treacherous part of the trail was a section that was covered with large boulders from an avalanche that wobbled and moved as we crossed them. This part slowed us down considerably and the sun was setting soon.

To say the least, I wasn’t too keen on the idea of getting stuck on the mountain, at night, out in the cold. I much preferred my warm bed that was calling my name back at the lodge. So with all the grit and determination I could muster, I forged on to reach the end of our hike.

As the sun started to set in the horizon, the temperature began to drop pretty fast and darkness was setting in. Just when I thought we wouldn’t make, we came to the end of the trail. I was so happy and soooo relieved. We did it 😅

Looking back on our hike I felt a sense of accomplishment and pride. It was quite the adventure and I loved every minute I spent with my husband. Time on the trail renewed my energy and sense of wonder. It was a great recharge for my mind, body and soul.

We’re going on another hiking trip on the Appalachian Trail this fall but it will be at a different section of the trail and a shorter hike. Really looking forward to seeing all the beautiful colors again!

What do you like most about autumn?

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“Notice how autumn is more the season of the soul than of nature.” ~Freidrich Nietzsche

Photos taken by Maria Vidaurre

Thoughtful Thursday

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Happy Thanksgiving!

It has been one heck of year and we have all been through a lot. But we have so much to be grateful for. I’m grateful for my family and friends and all of you! Thank you for your love and support, it is so greatly appreciated!

I wish you a very Happy and Blessed Thanksgiving!

Thanks for stopping by, Share the Happy!

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