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  • Spring often evokes images of new growth, beautiful flowers, and of course Spring Cleaning. There is something life giving and reenergizing about cleaning out and starting fresh. The intentionality of a simplified life is something many of us long for yet easily forego as we are called back to task by the seemingly millions of things that compete for our attention. The energy and effort it takes to achieve and sustain those goals of a simpler life often doesn’t seem worth it. Yet when we take small steps and make decisions that flow with our lifestyle, these goals we set for ourselves can be a lot closer than we ever imagined. In this series of posts, we will be looking at some examples of small steps that can make a big difference in how we feel about our lives. From the grocery store to the laundry to picking up the clutter in your home, the beginning is just a step away.

    “May you have the courage today to live the life that you would love, to postpone your dream no longer but do at last what you came here for and waste you heart on fear no more” – John O’Donohue

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    Spring Cleaning

    Be honest with yourself. Do you actually use that strawberry pitter? How about the chip plate shaped like a sombrero that you got at the white elephant last year?  One of the best ways to simplify your life is to have a place for everything, and then put everything back in its place! It is definitely hard to get over that first hump of being able to let things go, but it can also be very freeing. Here is a small step: Taking 5 minutes a day to go through one drawer or closet and giving yourself permission to throw things out and give things away will leave you with the items that you really do treasure and the space to use them and treasure them.

    But now let’s talk about the cleaning part. Take a look under your sink. Does it seem like you have 500 bottles of toxic chemicals to clean anything and everything from your oven to your bathroom mirror? Well here is a recipe for a spray you can walk around the house with and clean pretty much anything. You can make it with stuff you probably already have too!

    Ingredients:

    1 cup Vinegar

    1 cup distilled water

    1 empty spray bottle

    Optional:

    12-24 drops essential oils (lemon and tea tree oil are great for cleaning!)

    Mix ingredients together in bottle. Spray on surface, let sit for 60 seconds or so, rinse and wipe clean.

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    Grocery shopping

    Grocery shopping, especially on a budget can be a daunting task. How do you make healthy choices for your family, keep your budget down and have time for all the other things on your to do list? Well here is a simple step: shop the outside of the grocery store. If you think about it, the perimeter of the grocery store is where you will find the produce section, the bakery, the deli and the meat counters. It is in the isles where you find the processed and packaged products. Here is a rule of thumb for you- the more packaging a product has, the more expensive it is going to be. For example, cut vegetables in a package with a cup of hummus will be more expensive than individual celery and carrots that you wash and cut yourself. There is a sense of convenience that you are paying for when you buy packaged food.

    But try cooking from scratch a couple nights a week. Especially when you have things prepared ahead, you may find that it takes almost as much time an effort as a frozen pizza. Here is a recipe for an easy meal you can throw in the crock pot in the morning and enjoy for dinner when you come home.

    Easy Chicken Fajitas

    Ingredients:

    1. 2 pounds of boneless skinless chicken breasts, fat trimmed
    2. 2 bell peppers, sliced
    3. 1 small yellow onion, peeled and sliced
    4. 2 cloves of garlic, minced
    5. 1 tablespoon honey
    6. 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
    7. 1 tablespoon chili powder
    8. 2 teaspoons cumin
    9. 1 teaspoon paprika
    10. 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

    TO COOK:

    1. The morning of cooking, put all ingredients into your crockpot and cook on “low” setting for 6 hours or until chicken is tender.
    2.  Shred chicken and serve with cooked onions and peppers on tortillas or with rice.

    * adapted from the humbledhomemaker.com