After a very fulfilling long weekend of laughter, stories and, of course, food, I got to thinking a bit more about gratitude. Obviously, I love Thanksgiving because it's all about eating. And if you recall anything from my post last year, in my family it most certainly is! However, the giving thanks part is definitely not lost on me.

So in honor of the occasion, I will share what we've been doing to keep the happy energy alive and well within our home. First, let's go back a bit:

Years ago, on one weekend morning, I pulled out a leftover slice of red velvet cake from the fridge, sat on the couch and dug in. Hubby smirked, acknowledging this wasn't at all out of character for me. For him, however, sugary dessert for breakfast really wasn't his thing. I smirked back because I knew that too.

But then, he surprised me. He got off the couch, grabbed a fork of his own and dug in. Usually I wouldn't welcome guests to my sweets party for one, but I smiled from ear to ear. It wasn't his thing, but it was my thing and he wanted to embrace it and be part of it too.

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I looked at him endearingly and felt even more in love. The next day when he left for work, I sent him an e-mail with the subject line, "I love you because..." and the message simply read, "You ate cake with me for breakfast." I didn't sign it, didn't explain, just got right to the point.

Later, he responded with a note of his own in the same exact format. These e-mails continued for more than a year (and made a beautiful anniversary gift when compiled into a keepsake book!). From time to time, we still send each other those notes, but while the messaging is no longer consistent, the thoughts are. In fact, every year for my birthday, Hubby lists the amount of reasons why he loves me per the age I'm turning and cleverly displays them all over the house. This year, he wrote them on 28 individual balloons.

All this reminds me how important it is to constantly be aware and appreciative of the little things the other does, says, is etc. and how we can apply that to everyday life.

In the theme of the "30 days of grateful" going around Facebook this month, we've started our own "every day of grateful" right in our home. We keep a little box, notepad and pen on the kitchen counter, and try to make a daily effort to write down something for which we are grateful. It could be a successful day at work, a meaningful call with a friend, the first snowfall, a romantic outing together. Then, once a week during dinner we take turns reading them aloud. Sometimes it's on a Monday to start the week off right. Sometimes it's on Friday with a glass of wine. Sometimes it's just whenever we both need a smile.

Nonetheless, it takes us out of our typical routine of stuffing our faces in front of the TV and gets us into some great conversations at the kitchen or dining room table.

So whether or not you choose to share your own thoughts over supper this evening, I encourage you to take a moment away from this season's gift-giving lists to think about the people and events that matter most in life. And if you have a few minutes, jot them down.

Now, please pass the leftovers.

Jenn Press Arata is a food writer and blogger. She has also worked in production on Food Network's "Iron Chef America" and "Chopped." Visit her blog at