#212 Pick Fruit & Make Jam

The best benefit of course, is savoring the sweetness of a warm summer day that was captured in the jar when you made the decision to …

Sharing 365 life lessons, tips, or hacks; the things that make life easier, happier, and more productive. I hope you’ll follow along and find them helpful too.

#212

Pick fruit & make jam

Tis the season for all kinds of fresh fruit to ripen in the summer sun. August is peach season in the mid-Atlantic as well as black raspberries, cherries, and some blueberries. Pick your own fruit orchards have become popular in most states for years now and almost any taste you may have can be satisfied straight from the vine.

Pick your own

Whether you pick apples, apricots or peaches from the tree or perhaps berries from a vine, it’s plausible that you bring home more than you can eat. I stopped by a peach orchard once and bought a bushel of peaches only to find out that they were buy one get one free and two were carried to my car! Even if we all had eaten peaches for breakfast, lunch, and dinner could we have made it through two bushels. The only option was to learn how to make jam. It’s happened with strawberries, blackberries, and cherries more than one year in a row.

Making Jam

Making jam is way easier than one may think! It doesn’t have to be the toil and trouble that our mothers encountered; pouring wax over the top of bubbling fruit. I’m offering a basic recipe straight from the manufacturer of Ball jars, the traditional containers for jam. It uses a ‘water bath’ to seal the jars, a simple process of boiling. Traditional Peach Jam

There’s also a procedure that some would believe more simple; freezer jam. It differs from traditional processes because there is no boiling. Instead of keeping jam in the cupboard, you fill containers and keep it in the freezer. The absence of so much ‘cooking’ allows the fruit to retain more of its sweet, fresh flavor. It’s like having sliced fruit on your toast. Peach Freezer Jam

Have fun

This can be a great family activity or a great way to fill a Sunday afternoon. It’s a fantastic way to savor a little but of summer throughout the year and perhaps save a few dollars along the way. From picking the fruit, eating a bit, finding a recipe, and creating the jam – you’ll have fun experimenting. The best benefit of course, is savoring the sweetness of a warm summer day that was captured in the jar when you made the decision to …

Pick fruit and make jam.

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#261 of 365 Ways to live Easier, Happier, & More Productive

We all have countless recollections of mishaps and momentary errors in judgment that are retrospectively funny or immensely satisfying. Sometimes…

Sharing a daily life lesson, tip, or hack; the things that make life easier, happier, and more productive. I hope you’ll follow along and find them helpful too.

#261

Remember when…

This recommendation might sound a bit like the idea of savoring that I presented earlier but it’s a bit different in its goal. The idea here is to recall random shared memories of minor debacles when you are with another person with whom you have some history. Ideally, you’re thinking of a time that you can laugh about now. A time when you had solved a problem, survived a hazard, or preserved through a challenge.

The goal is laughter or at the very least, an appreciation for the lesson learned. It’s an opportunity to review a moment in time from another perspective and share a sense of satisfaction of a previous experience.

‘Remember when we got that flat tire and…’

‘Remember when I left the cake in the oven for an hour…’

‘Remember when we took the wrong bus…’

We all have countless recollections of mishaps and momentary errors in judgment that are retrospectively funny or immensely satisfying. Sometimes, just recalling the collection of awkward moments we shared with another strengthens our appreciation of their role in our life. It’s another type of walk down memory lane that can have you rolling on the floor laughing or being grateful that it is over now.

Pick up the phone today and share a blast from the past with an old friend or randomly bring it up at the dinner table tonight… “Hey honey…”

Remember when…

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#273 of 365 Ways to live Easier, Happier, & More Productive

My children are always intrigued about my childhood and how I spent time before video games and electronics. They find it interesting to imagine…

Sharing a daily life lesson, tip, or hack; the things that make life easier, happier, and more productive. I hope you’ll follow along and find them helpful too.

#273

Write down a favorite childhood memory.

Close your eyes for a minute and allow yourself to go back in time – back to when you were a child. Allow yourself to remember a moment of laughter, of comfort, or fun. What was happening then? Who was there? What were you thinking and feeling? What about that particular memory stands out?

Go ahead and write down the details – the answer to the above questions – for this memory and then do it again, and again.

Take the time to cherish, even savor, each of those memories as you write them. The act of writing will refresh your memory even more (perhaps stimulating additional details). Remembering pleasant times stimulates those pleasure areas in our brain and while they don’t spur the same level of chemicals that the actual even does, there is some dopamine production with the remembering.

Writing down the fun times helps to honor the experiences so that they balance our perspectives more evenly. Our brains are still wired to be noticing everything that is wrong (survival instinct) and so when we take time to reflect on the positives, we appreciate the true balance that typically exists in our overall existence.

If nothing else, writing down these memories captures them for our later reflection or maybe even more importantly, for the people who love us. My children are always intrigued about my childhood and how I spent time before video games and electronics. They find it interesting to imagine how we lived in a time that they’ve only read about or seen represented on television. The world is continuing to change, so capturing this little slice of history may be impactful to all of our future generations. How fun for all when we sit around and remember that time when Granny…

Write down a favorite childhood memory (or two).

I love hearing your thoughts and ideas. Please share in the comments below.

Photo by Andrew Neel on Unsplash

#283 of 365 Ways to live Easier, Happier, & More Productive

With your mind’s eye… review the memory and all the specifics – noticing each element in great detail. Notice the colors, the sounds, the smells…

Sharing a daily life lesson, tip, or hack; the things that make life easier, happier, and more productive. I hope you’ll follow along and find them helpful too.

#283

Savor a memory

The science of ‘savoring’ is relatively new. It’s a component of Positive Psychology and it has received a fair amount of attention in recent years for its ability to increase feelings of well-being (happiness). The act of savoring is known to most of us. Just sit back and think of the last time you ate something that you exclaimed “was the best thing you’ve ever had!” or the last time you saw “the most beautiful sight you’ve ever seen!”… Chances are you savored that moment.

You probably picked out a part of that experience that was pleasurable and focused on it with intensity. You may have completely absorbed yourself in the event, noticing each little pleasant detail with a feeling of delight and/or enjoyment. THAT was the act of savoring.

Now, to engage in this tip, I am suggesting that you choose a pleasant memory. Take yourself back to that time and space – in your mind, your thoughts. Take some time to imagine yourself reliving an experience that brought you peace, delight, or contentment. Breathe in.

With your mind’s eye… review the memory and all the specifics – noticing each element in great detail. Notice the colors, the sounds, the smells, and the textures. Remember the good feelings, try and recreate the way it felt in your body; the smile, the butterflies, the movement.

Remind yourself of the emotions experienced during this pleasant experience; joy, gratitude, love, appreciation, hope, or awe for example. Breathe in again, imagining that you are able to simply inhale emotion of it all again and again – whenever you wish. Take your time and feel it completely. As the sensation fades, recall another memory and begin the process again.

This process – savoring – is gaining popularity for improving symptoms of depression and has been indicated in the immediate improvement of stress responses when completely activated. It is frequently associated with mindfulness but they are different processes.

When you need a little boost or you’re in a pinch and need an immediate positive distraction …

Savor a memory.

I love hearing your thoughts and ideas. Please share in the comments below.

#342 of 365 Ways to live Easier, Happier, & More Productive

Browsing really old photographs of family and friends can remind us of people who were central to our youth, perhaps acting a reference for our value system or center of strength.

Sharing a daily life lesson, tip, or hack; the things that make life easier, happier, and more productive. I hope you’ll follow along and find them helpful too.

#342

Photographs

Many of the photos we take these days are digital and hence, stored on our mobile device, in the cloud, or on a hard drive. Photos older than ten or so years are yet undeveloped, in a shoebox under a bed, or tucked into albums buried on the bottom of the bookshelf behind the sofa in the Den. If you’re lucky, someone with much patience and creativity created an album of cherished shots with stamps, paper, stickers and jovial comments.

How often do you peruse these memories?

We take photographs to capture moments that are important to us – in that time. In essence, the photograph enables us to savor the experience; not only in the moment, but at anytime that we revisit the photo. Research tells us that savoring increases psychological well-being.

Browsing really old photographs of family and friends can remind us of people who were central to our youth, perhaps acting a reference for our value system or center of strength. Remembering Grandma via a snapshot of Thanksgiving dinner might elicit memories of family and traditions; recentering our concepts if or when we get sidetracked. Additionally, recalling times of love and belonging or times of pleasure and joy can be soothing and comforting.

Clearly, some of us have prints of people and places that may not evoke pleasant memories. A client recently commented that she discarded any and all photos reminding her of a past relationship. I contend that even those photos have value. Looking back at historical events via snapshots can remind us of how far we’ve come. Another client who hated all photographs of her when she was heavy keeps an album of them now to inspire her to maintain new weight loss.

As I go through old photos, I am reminded of all the amazing friends I’ve had along the way. I may not have kept up with them or know anything about their life currently but looking at the memories stimulates great gratitude for their presence in that time of my life. Those thoughts often evoke smiles and laughter which, motivates feelings of well-being.

At the center of this message is the direction to keep taking photos – but more importantly… look at them frequently. Take time to scroll through your phone or tablet when you need a little pick-me-up. If thoughts of missing someone arises… go with it. Honor the memory, honor the missing, and savor the experience that the photograph captured. Embrace your past and savor the memories in your…

Photographs.

I love hearing your thoughts and ideas. Please share in the comments below.

Photo by @boetter on Foter.com / CC BY