Posts tagged The Happiness Project
Happiness: Wrapping Up the Book

I can't believe it, but we've finally come to the close of The Happiness Project. I flipped open the first page of chapter 12 and reminded myself that Gretchen spread her monthly project over exactly one year...and here we are.

No worries, though, thanks to all my buds and the BeHappy linkup, I'll continue to share happiness every Thursday. Next Thursday will be extra special with the continuation of my collaboration with Joy and the Turn It series!

I'm also thinking of diving into Gretchen's latest book (it's on hold waiting for me at the library!) Happier at Home. Have you read it yet? I'm really interested to see what she has to say about some common struggles we all face.

To wrap up her quest for happiness, Gretchen instituted Boot Camp Perfect, wherein she set out to follow all of her resolutions all at the same time. Reading this made me nervous for her. :) Seemed like a lot to tackle, and remember, and evaluate. True to form, she kept on track, and when she didn't she was still happy because she had her plan to return to happiness already in place.

I took careful note of how she came back to happiness when a bad mood hit. I am one very prone to moodiness (in the most positive and negative ways), and if I'm not careful I can let a mood determine my thoughts on an entire day.  And so I think I want to revisit and have at the ready my own mood-boosting strategies. Here are some that she used:

  • Go to the gym.
  • Get some work done.
  • Cross a nagging task off my to-do list
  • Spend some time having fun.

Do you have a go-to list of mood busters? I'd love to know!

Here's a happy thought for you, one that always busts me out of a bad mood, and one that Gretchen shared as one of her husband's gifts:


PS. Be sure to check out all of the happiness posts by stopping over at Art Social.

Be Happy: Be Content

Shortly after having my second child, I signed up for a parenting class offered through my Church. I was ready for a fresh perspective and some new ideas as I headed into life with 2 kiddos. One of the opening exercises we did was to reflect on the question of what kind of children you wanted to raise. I wrote down a sheet full of adjectives that I would use to describe my dreams for my children. During the group sharing portion, I offered one idea. "Content", I blurted out. "Content?" he questioned. "Well, let's leave that off the list. That one has so much more to do with how they feel about themselves. And do you really want contentment? Isn't it better to be going FOR something?"

I left that evening puzzled. Contentment, as I had seen it, was a good thing - a state of being that said I am pleased (enough) with myself and my surroundings that I can be happy.

Enter Gretchen Rubin's The Happiness Project. I've been reading it all summer and posting my reflections on each chapter. My curiosity was piqued when I came to Chapter 11 entitled Keep a Content Heart. Hmm. What would she have to say about contentment?

Her resolutions were these:

  • Laugh out loud.
  • Use good manners.
  • Give positive reviews.
  • Find an area of refuge.

She talks about "a heart to be contented" Do I have a heart to be contented? Much like Gretchen, I weigh in more on the dissatisfied, fretful, and a pain to please. Just ask my husband. Oh, wait, don't. :)

Contentment is our perception of happiness. It is in some ways the highest form of happiness because it adds the rest together and makes the broadest brushstroke, and, when actively present, contentment allows us to evaluate ourselves as happy.

As Gretchen quoted in this chapter, "It is easy to be heavy; hard to be light." Perhaps contentment is the lifting off of the heavy to allow the inner lightness to float up and out.

Let me leave it with this. I read this sign, that was in fact over my head on the ceiling today, as I went for a yearly check-up. It's where I am with contentment.


Happiness: Being it & Spreading it

Who doesn't love to be happy?

I've been breaking open Gretchen Rubin's Happiness Project throughout the summer. We're deep into this great read, and I have a new opportunity to continue the happiness even after we bring these final chapters to a close. Wanna join in the fun?


If you tuned in last Thursday, you saw this lovely graphic at the end of my post on Mindfulness. Erin of Art SocialLisa of Joycreation, and Rita of TOMORROWtoday have teamed together (and invited us to join along) to talk about happiness every Thursday.

Oh, yes, I'm joining in the fun, and I'm kicking off a resurgence of happiness with a charming giveaway. First off, I won (Can you say first-time winner?) this contest from Sandra over at Raincoast Cottage, and now I get to pass along my own version of paying it forward!

Here's the skinny:

The very first three people to comment right down there will receive a gift, handmade lovely, from moi. And it will be awesome. And you'll be so gosh darn happy you won. Yes.

To get this super-duper one-of-a-kind present:

  • Within a year (I'll be sending out these goodies in the next month), I work long, hard hours to craft the amazingness and mail it to you.
  • FINE PRINT: To win this present (as one of the first three) you have to pay it forward.  Your job is to spread happiness on your own blog (whatever kind of happiness you create) and offer a giveaway to the first three commenters.
  • CAVIAT: Dear first three commenters, you have 72 hours from noon today to post your giveaway. Send me an email at when it's up. If you aren't able to do so, the next commenter (think here runner-up in the Miss America pagaent) wins the prize.

It's so simply good, just like applesauce (What? Play along, please.)

Best of luck, dear readers. I dare say that when I get my creation hat on some great things come about so get in on this early.




A Summer of Happiness: It's passion

Welcome again, friends! We're exploring Gretchen Rubin's book The Happiness Project every Thursday here on the blog.

This week, we pursue passion. Va va va voom. Sorry, no, we explore A passion (important article there).


Gretchen's resolutions are:

  • Write a novel.
  • Make time. (wow)
  • Forget about results.
  • Master a new technology.

The first step in pursuing a passion? Recognizing what you're passionate about. A helpful way to find what this is? Think back to when you were 10...or what you might do if you had a free Saturday afternoon.

Gretchen wanted to make more time...for her, reading is one of the greatest joys. She wanted to carve out more time to dive into the books she loved. To make more time she stopped reading books she didn't love.  Giving yourself permission is an important part of this chapter.

At 10 (let's see that was 5th grade), I loved to draw, craft, read, be outside... Pretty much, if I have a free Saturday (which happens so rarely as a momma of 3 kids under 7) I will start a project...something crafty for me or our home or a friend. And I find that Gretchen's reminder - featured at the top of this post - is really important. Since my time to pursue a passion really only pops up here and there, I have to be okay when I don't finish a project in one sitting or I experience DIY fail. The process is where the passion lies.

So I'll be trying to forget about the results this week, friends.

Where are you finding your passion these days? How do you allow yourself time to foster that passion? I could use some of your insight.




A Summer of Happiness: Contemplate the Heavens


Hi friends! We're switching it up and moving bookclub featuring the lovely read, The Happiness Project, to today. I'll be back tomorrow with some thoughts on Mommy & Daddy School.

This week, we're thinking deep, profound thoughts as Gretchen takes on the topic of spirituality. Her resolutions for this chapter:

  • Read memoirs of a catastrophe.
  • Keep a gratitude notebook.
  • Imitate a spiritual master.

As my subtitle up in the header of this blog suggests, I love my faith, and I rely upon it, too, so this chapter was a particular treat to read and digest.

Here are some keeper ideas for you to take with you this week:

1. From William Edward Hartpole Lecky, "There are times in the lives of most of us when we would have given all the world to be as we were but yesterday, though that yesterday had passed over us unappreciated and unenjoyed." Oof. Yes.

2. Start a one-sentence daily journal. I love, love this idea. I've done lots of different, commitment-heavy journals, and I am intrigued by the idea of capturing a moment from the day through one simple sentence.

3. Gratitude is an important element in our happiness. Try simple ways to incorporate it like focusing on something for which you're thankful while you wait for your computer to wake up in the morning or while waiting for the coffee to brew or at the bus stop.

4. "Knowing what you admire in others is a wonderful mirror into your deepest, as yet unborn, self." Aha.

5. As a Catholic, I relished Gretchen's depiction of the life of St. Therese. I hadn't looked at her life in quite the same way. And I find it so important what Gretchen pulled out for her own path to happiness. "I set out to imitate Therese by doing a better job of acting happy when I knew that my happiness would make someone else happy."

I have so much work to do in my prayer life and spiritual journey. My focus for this week echoes Gretchen's...I will seek to show my happiness and in turn to be happy for the goodness of all those around me.

Here's a pinnable for you...and me.

What thoughts resonated with you? Do you reflect upon any spiritual masters or heroes for your daily living?


A Summer of Happiness with money?

Before we get into the meat of our bookclub this week, I need to offer my condolences to our friend, Denise, upon the passing of her father. Of course she's taking some time away from blogging and bookclub to process, and my prayers and thoughts are with her.

In her spirit, we continue forward with this week's chapter from The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin. Money, money, money to happiness is the topic. Does filling your bucket with money lead you to happiness? Here are Gretchen's resolutions revolving around money:

  • Indulge in a modest splurge.
  • Buy needful things.
  • Spend out.
  • Give something up.


Happiness and money are complicated companions. Gretchen explores the push and pull extensively.

Here are two thoughts I found surprising about our views on money:

1. People measure themselves agains their age if you feel like you make more money than others your tend to feel happier. People measure their happiness with their pay based on their perceptions of where they fit relative to others.

2. We Americans living in great relative wealth don't rate our quality of life much higher than people living in poverty in Calcutta. (Most people give themselves a mildly happy rating.)

Two thoughts I considered longer:

1. "What makes me happy is to spend money on the things I value–and it takes self-knowledge and discipline to discover what I really want, instead of parroting the desires of other people."

2. "It's easy to make the mistake of thinking that if you have something you love or there's something you want, you'll be happier with more."

In this chapter, for the first time, we get to read how Gretchen handled a perceived failure of her Happiness Project. She begins to doubt all of her resolutions and exercises. I appreciated her simple story of children bickering, bad moods, inconsistent marital messages and how they all led her to want to give up the cause of happiness. She resolved to get more sleep and things looked better after a few days... I can relate to wanting so much to start a plan, focus on positivity, then to have an event (or 7) compound forces against your I was happy to be able to relate to her a bit better through her struggle.

So, here's what I'm taking on for this week. Give Something Up. I kind of love the contrary nature of the statement to all associations of happiness and money. I'm still deciding what exactly this might be for me. Perhaps the occasional Starbucks coffee? Maybe that extra cosmetic that I don't really need?

What would it be for you? What role does money play in happiness?

A pinnable for you:

Happy Thursday, friends. XOXO, MJ

The Summer of Happiness: For Parents

And, we're back! Hope your fourth was a great one. I had a lot of fun welcoming some great ladies over for a virtual pool party. For reals, we had a fabulous time with friends, lounging and watching children play.

When I see my children comfortably interacting with new and old friends, I find it easy to be happy in my role as parent...but this is not always the case, right? Parenting is our topic for this week's bookclub. Just to recap, we're doing a tag-along bookclub with Denise over at Hello Moxie. She posted on this chapter last week (while we have our fabulous guests staying over).

Here's what Gretchen Rubin, author of The Happiness Project set forth for herself as she came to April and exploring the relationship of parent and child: 
  • Sing in the morning. 
  • Acknowledge the reality of people's feelings.
  • Be a treasure house of happy memories. 
  • Take time for projects. 
I always cheat and read ahead to see what the goals for the next chapter will be and then in my head I assess whether I'd have any, some, or all of the same goals. This list of four struck me as an usual quad for parenting, and I was intrigued to read more. Her pairing of the title "Lighten Up" with Parenthood hit home for sure.

I'm proud to be the mom of two daughters - 7 yo M and 5 yo C - and one son, little L, age 2.
And when I read about what Gretchen described as fog happiness, I totally got it. Check this:

The experience of having children gives me tremendous fog happiness. It surrounds me, I see it everywhere, despite the fact that when I zoom in on any particular moment, it can be hard to identify.
Sometimes I grow frustrated with myself or my children because I don't feel, moment to moment, happy with where we are (I often feel tired, excited, ready). When I can have a bit of separation and can see more clearly, I realize how profoundly happy I am to be their mother and to walk with them through the many stages of development, and it all makes sense under the fog of happiness.

"To become more tender and playful..." is the target for Gretchen. I too have put this as a goal for my mom self on a number of different occasions.  I actually find it very helpful to observe other moms doing this well, and I think of a mom friend that I see in Church. She has 7 little people under her tutelage, and she handles them each with what I call, "soft hands." No matter how her children react/behave (good or bad), she always has a soft hand to encourage, console, correct. She's always reaching out to them, physically and sending them signals of her love through gentility and tenderness.

I adored her strategies for really listening to children's feelings. She's right, and I need to take into account how they feel more often (rather than pushing through with my agenda).

  1. Write it down - eg: "I'm going to write that down. Eleanor does not like to wear snowboots."
  2. Don't feel as if you have to say anything - Yes! More true with some of our children than others, but when C is frustrated, it's so good to just hug her for 2 minutes than always talk through a situation.
  3. Don't say no - eg: instead of saying, "No, not until after lunch" try "Yes, as soon as we're finished with lunch."
  4. Wave my magic wand - eg: "If I had a magic wand, I'd make it warm outside so we wouldn't have to wear coats."
  5. Admit that a task is difficult - eg: "Socks can be tough to get off."

I think the recommendation of being a treasure house of happy memories is a really smart one.
Because people remember events better when they fit with their present mood, happy people remember happy events better, and depressed people remember sad events better. Depressed people have as many nice experiences as other people - they just don't recall them as well.
I'm all about making up traditions, celebrating and reliving great moments, and this cause me to pause to think about how I share this all with my children.

So here's what I'm taking on for this week:

Acknowledge the reality of my children's feelings.

I feel powerful to have five strategies in which to do this so I'm excited for the happiness that's coming my way. 

Here's a final thought (aka pinnable) to leave you with...the four stages of happiness!
Happy reading, friends!! Do tell, how do you keep happiness alive in your relationships with your children?



Summer of Happiness: Does what you do all day bring you joy?

It's Thursday, friends, and that means it's time for some Happiness. Catching you up to speed, we're tagging along to Denise's great summer bookclub of the Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin. If you want to hear my take on adding energy to your life or decreasing negativity in your relationships, follow those cheery pink word links.

First a recap of last week. I followed my own path on the resolution list and made a conscious effort to create less negative experiences. Can I break this down for you, friends? Going into this last week, I really thought, "this will have no effect." But, huh, it did. There were a few moments this past week where I could have pressed an issue (like I typically do) or turned a comment into sarcasm (yup, guilty), and I didn't. I took that one extra inhale and kept it to myself. My hubby and I have had some long work nights this week, and eliminating unnecessary negativity (is any negativity necessary? Talk amongst yourselves) helped both us move through the hills and valleys more easily. And even have a sense of humor about it.

This week: a topic near and dear (and always here), happiness in our work.

Gretchen's five resolutions start this chapter titled: Aim Higher
  • Launch a blog
  • Enjoy the fun of failure
  • Ask for help
  • Work smart
  • Enjoy now
Let me just go sprinting from the gates here...ENJOY THE FUN of failure? Say what? I knew this was going to be a challenge for me to read. Yes on the perfectionist. Yes on the fear of failure. Yes on the need to please.

Moving on.

First nod of agreement: "Being happy can make a big difference in your work life." I have been both happy and unhappy with my worklife at various stages in my career, and as I look back with my brilliant hindsight, I see how some doors closed and windows opened because of my experience. Have you seen this, too?

Here's another that rang a bell: Challenge and novelty are key elements to happiness. Yes. I get this. In the doldrums of day-to-day, if I can insert a surprising twist or turn the mundane into race for myself, I find energy and capacity just waiting to be tapped.

"One reason that challenge brings happiness is that it allows you to expand your self-definition."

As she wrote about blogging, I found myself wanting to pull out a highlighter, which I never use (and of course this is a library book). I've only been blogging since April, and so that rush, the adrenaline of hitting the publish button is still fresh and this wondering of "where in the world do I think this is headed?", still palpable.

I appreciated her ideas on Working Smarter. I don't work in the same way. I find myself setting small goals (send those three emails, finish that project, make phone call) and then adding a bonus to meet that (connect with coworker, take a walk, put on a new song) to add happiness and my version of effectiveness in my work.

And, lastly, I can never get enough of Enjoy Now sorts of themes. I can never be reminded enough. It's really an outcry, a prayer, to be reminded of all the Good gifts we've been given. I really loved reading her positive letter to the negative book review.

This week I'm going to enjoy now and sit back to drink in her first resolution - launch a blog. I'll be busy doing my work in the coming week and away from Pars Caeli as I invite friends over the housesit and entertain (oh, and will you ever be entertained!). And my intuitions tell me I'm going to be a little homesick, too. So, if you're on the fence, not sure if you should or if it's the right time, let me be the one to encourage you:

Launch a blog.

And here's my golden nugget to motivate us both.
Happy work week, friends. That's what the majority are, right? So we might as well make them happy.

How do you add happiness to your job or your vocation?


A Summer of Happiness in the Second Week

The talented Denise at Hello Moxie (hello, have you seen her photos? Wowzer.) has inspired a Summer of Goodness here on Pars Caeli, the weekly bookclub capturing the best elements of The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin.

Last week I challenged myself to Act More Energetic, a resolution that Gretchen had set for herself in Chapter 1. Real quick recap: Done with Difficulty. In the last seven days, I've had both daughters up vomiting through the night, causing worry, mess, and less sleep for all of us. They both recovered quickly but the witching hour of 4pm (that's our roughest hour with everyone between meals and ready for a break. Do you have one of these in your house?) fought me and drained what little bit of zeal I had left in me from sheer determination. Nevertheless, I do think focusing on energy and being more present and awake in the moment was really helpful, and I saw the positive ways my children responded to this effort.

Chapter Two takes us to Marriage

Here are the resolutions that Gretchen set out:

  • Quit nagging
  • Don't expect praise or appreciation
  • Fight right
  • No dumping
  • Give proofs of love 
My hubby and I have been married ten years in August, and we've been in love for fifteen. I first admired and respected him as a man of great integrity and character. I fell for his wit, his enveloping expressions of love, and his determination. I can be a self-doubter, but I am sure, and I was sure as I've never been before or since, that he was the man for me...the one with whom I wanted to live in happiness for the rest of our lives.

Marriages are as different as the individuals who vow to be a part of them. I thought this, often, as I read through Gretchen's struggles and solutions in this chapter. Had I made a list on how to be happy + married (which I'm crafting) I don't know that I would include points one, two, or four...and I'm not sure if three and five would make my top resolutions.

In fact, in a similar way to Denise, I was pretty frustrated with Gretchen early on in the chapter. I believe that good marriages necessitate both individuals being loudly, passionately, and lovingly themselves. Simple eg: If you feel like sending Valentine cards is an important part of who you are, then your spouse should know this. He/she does not always have to honor every request and whim, but simply swallowing your needs and wants does not lead to happiness (in my experience).

It also felt strange to me that she didn't let her husband into the research and practice more (part of me even felt bad for him as she was experimenting with different approaches to see his reaction).

But I get it. This book is about the process, the project.

Here are some take aways that I did love:

#1. I was entirely engaged with the Fight Right section. I'm fiesty and often too defensive. I could use help here. I am, like Gretchen, a snapper. Her description of couples who fight right made sense.

Couples...tackle only one difficult topic at a time...these couples ease into arguments instead of blowing up immediately-and avoid bombs such as "You never..." and "You always.
 Ewh, yuck, I utter both of those.

#2. I've been rolling this one over and over in my head:

In marriage, it's less important to have many pleasant experiences than it is to have fewer unpleasant experiences, because people have a "negativity bias"; our reactions to bad events are faster, stronger, and stickier than our reactions to good events.
YES! I get this. In fact, my husband just brought up a morning conversation he had with a blogger about how much more attention negative posts get than positive. Our media is geared toward negativity and drama, and our brains are wired for it, too.

#3. Loved this one:

Although men and women agree that sharing activities and self-disclosure are important, women's idea of an intimate moment is a face-to-face conversation, while men feel close when they work or play sitting along someone.
 From the moment I met my husband, I was struck by what a great companion he was. Never had I met someone so open to accompanying and going alongside of me (and not directing, negotiating, or just letting me go on my own). We both work a lot from home, and even the simplest gesture of the dualing laptops, sitting close on the couch means a lot.

#4. The good word from Yeats:

Happiness is neither virtue nor pleasure nor this thing nor that, but simply growth. We are happy when we are growing.

Definitely, yes. I have always been given a lovely space to grow and find new pathways to life fulfillments but am I offering the same? How are we helping each other to grow?

So here's what I'm working on for the week. It's not exactly one of Gretchen's resolutions, but she touched on it in her research.

#2 from my takeaways:

Create less negative experiences.

In many ways this ties up all of the resolutions. I am going to work on fighting right & offering more expressions of love. And I'm going to focus on him, and in the forefront of my mind, even with all the craziness that is life, I will create (meaning I have control of this) less negative. And I will naturally create more positive.

What are your thoughts, readers? Did you identify more with Gretchen's resolutions?

What will you take on this week?

Here's a pinnable for you. I've been talking with my kids about this a lot since reading. We've been practicing hugging each other while saying, "I love you, I love you." thoughtfully. That's about six seconds. So far, it's fabulous!


The Happiness Project for Summer

When Denise over at Hello Moxie mentioned in 140 characters or less (go Twitter), that she was planning a summer bookclub on her blog, I knew I wanted to join in the fun.

Are you a fan of the combo of summer & reading? I remember the utter joy I felt when breaking open the stack of chapter books I was required to read in the months before my sixth grade summer. I have such happy memories of those days, lounged across my bed or sitting on the lawn, soaking up mounds of memorable stories.

Jess over at Curated Style put our her own summer reading challenge of 30 books this summer, and I was inspired (and intimidated).

So this piece of Heaven is starting slow but not small with a tag along bookclub of The Happiness Project. Author Gretchen Rubin started out on this adventure to find what makes her happy and multiply it. Throughout the year-long experience, Gretchen offers great research and quotes from great leaders and researchers on the study of happiness. As a collector of words, I find these snippets to be my favorite part.

Those and the Note to Readers in the beginning which lays out the Secrets of Adulthood (lessons learned sometimes too late and ones that Gretchen kept in mind while going through her own happiness project).

It's an awesome list, short and to the point. One in particular caught my eye and I had to read it aloud to my hubby,we're right in the midst of this very thing with summer events about to begin:

"You can't profoundly change your children's natures by nagging or signing them up for classes."
Okay, we'll cancel the yoga sessions.

Chapter 1 takes us through her first month of resolution setting and accomplishments. I found Gretchen's goals approachable and ones I might write for myself:

  • Go to sleep earlier
  • Exercise better
  • Toss, restore, organize
  • Tackle a nagging task
  • Act more energetic
As an educator, I kind of wanted her to set measurable goals (less "better" and "earlier", more 1 hour earlier or 45 minutes jogging). This is likely part of what I need to work on in my own Happiness Project, but I'll try to keep with her #11 commandment here and suggest that there should be no calculation.

Certainly I could use a good dose of all five of these resolutions, but the one that intrigued me the most was number 5. 

Act more energetic


That's the one I'm taking away for this week, and I have a feeling it's going to bring a little more happiness my way. How about you? Is there a resolution that strikes a chord with your life right now?

We'll be exploring more of The Happiness Project here and feel invited to tweet with the #HappinessProject to add to the discussion on Twitter.

And a quotable to pin:

Happy Thursday, friends! See you back here tomorrow...bring your happiness. Or leave it behind, you'll find some here.


Hunger Games Bookclub Fun

Last night I had the pleasure of hosting my super smart and always entertaining book club ladies. A strong-minded group of eight, we can make any book into interesting, extended controversy and conversation.

I had made a strong push that our May book should be Hunger Games. I, unlike the rest of the civilized world, had not yet read the book, but I knew that I could add some spunk to the menu and decor for our evening. I love being able to throw myself into hosting, and thinking about each person in attendance, and how I might surprise them with a little extra goodness.

The good thing about being way behind the times is that there are now oodles of resources out in libraries and interwebs, and I'm excited to show you what made its way to the final round.

Most helpful spots to visit:
Fictional Food: a full list of every (there are a ton!) food mentioned in the book with many, many recipes attached
DaFont: always a source of awesomeness at beautiful prices (!) and for this night a key Hunger Games font. Downloaded, check.
Pinterest: search for boards with Hunger Games in the title and you'll find memes, quotes, and recipes galore.

In the story, early on, Katniss receives the ointment she needs to heal her wounds in a silver pouch from the sponsors. I decided we definitely needed some silver pouches. It was so much fun to capture memorable quotes and wrap them up in a silver (foil) bundle, sealed off with an arrow (also known as a doodled-upon bamboo skewer).

One quote for each silver bundle, one bundle for each of us. The recipient of the "May the odds be ever in your favor" was the winner.
I wrapped each quote in aluminum foil, hole punched the top, and then speared each with one of Katniss's arrows.
Sign accompanying: The sponsors have found you worth and sent you this.

Our eats and treats:
1. Prim’s wrapped goat cheese: goat cheese wrapped in our very own basil leaves
2. Peeta's saved bread: purchased cranberry bread with homemade brown sugar and cinnamon butter (mmmm)
3. Mr. Mellark's cookies: recipe here with some of our own District 12 sparkle sprinkles.

4. Fresh strawberries - just as Katniss and her family had eaten the night of the reaping.
5. "Cheese that melts on your tongue served with sweet blue grapes": baked brie with cranberries and gigantic purple (as close as we get) grapes
6. Mint tea (and mint/blackberry refreshing!) just as Katniss recalls enjoying with her family after meals.
7. Nightlock berries: raspberries filled with chocolate chips (a super easy, yummy idea from a friend of mine). The opposite of poison.
7. Wine - nothing to do with the book, but what's a bookclub and great friends without wine?

We rate our book 0-4 starts (4 stars is tops), and we had a great range of reviews and philosophical discussion.

I started out as a 3 for the book, and since we re-rate at the end of the discussions, I found myself eeking up to a 3.5.

Undoubtedly a fun one to prepare and share with my pals.

Have you read Hunger Games or seen the movie? What did you think? I'm intrigued to see how the movie will compare to the film I created in my head.

If you're hosting a party or just a Hunger Games uber fan, drop a comment, and I'll happily send off to you all of our sponsor's quotes in PDF.

Thanks for stopping over, friends!! You should totally try those raspberries stuffed with chocolate chips, simple goodness!


PS. We'll be tagging along here and there with Hello Moxie for a summer read of The Happiness Project. Hope you'll be inspired to more happy with us. :)