“We can’t hate ourselves into a version of ourselves we can love.” ~Lori Deschene
This past week, I caught a cold. A pretty BAD cold. One that I am STILL getting over, 6 days later. As I do whenever I'm sick, once I had the energy, I had a strong urge to clean and get rid of clutter in the house. For some reason, donating items has become easier and easier for me to do. There's a great Ted Talk about possessions, and how you should only keep those items that you really love, because everything else is just clutter keeping you from having a fulfilling life. Stuff is just that. Stuff. Clutter. Stress. Things you trip over. If you're hanging on to something that no longer serves you, donate it. Stuff weighs you down. Think of it like packing for vacation. Do you REALLY need to check that huge suitcase at the airport, or can you make-do on your trip with hand carry? Chances are, hand carry is all you need.
Mentally, if you're hanging on to a memory or experience that no longer serves you, say "thank you" and move on. Push your grudges, fears, anger, and regrets aside, and make room for new experiences. You have learned from these hardships, and now it's time to stop mulling them over and over in your mind. Open up, step out of your comfort zone, and go on. I have 2 experiences coming up this year that are WAY out of my comfort zone (stay tuned for these, t-minus 2 months and t-minus 5 months and counting...), but there is no way I would be even remotely willing to do either of them without having cleared out my mental clutter first.
So there you have it- habit 7 is let go. Let go of physical and emotional baggage. You don't need it, it doesn't serve you, so carry on and make room for the new and wonderful things waiting for you to let in.
Hello everyone! Habit 6 is bulk cooking! It's so nice to get into the habit of making more food than you are going to eat for that particular meal to eat at a later time. There's minimal additional prep, virtually no need to dirty any additional pots or pans, and you cut down on future cooking time, which is especially nice on those busy days!! The above video shows me making a big batch of meatballs to keep in the freezer, but the idea spans to anything that you would be cooking- chicken, meatloaf, hamburgers, bacon, oatmeal, pancakes, veggie patties, mashed potatoes, lasagna.... you name it. Be creative, and cook (a lot of) what works for your family!
There are few things that bug me more than people who boast about their multi-tasking skills.
I'm not talking about throwing in a load of laundry, and while that's running, putting dinner in the crock pot, and while the laundry and crock pot are doing their things, you're working on your TPS reports. That, in my opinion, is great. I'm talking about those people who are working on multiple projects at once, attention all over the place, and ultimately not putting their full attention on one task and being present in the moment. I mean really.... if you're ACTIVELY doing more than one thing at a time, you're doing all of them poorly. And, without being present, you're missing out on a lot of things! If you're at the sink peeling potatoes, for example, you can't pay the electric bill or walk the dog at the same time, so just peel! Feel the floor supporting you beneath your feet, listen to the sound of water running over the potato, and focus on the task at hand. When that's done, move on to the next task. Let yourself do one thing at a time, and your stress levels will come way down. ....and bonus, you'll make less mistakes.
::Steps off soapbox::
So speaking of projects, how about the grand finale of my closet organization series?! Roll camera, aaaandd... ACTION!
It has been almost 3 (3!!!) years since I've done a Trader Joe's haul. The last haul I did was when my husband and I were vegetarians (HOLY COW, errrm... ...KALE), so I thought I was well overdue!! This week, I spent $135 at Trader Joe's, and some of the items I will be cooking and freezing, which will make them last into next week.
The haul video is below! What are some of YOUR favorite Trader Joe's products?? I'd love to hear about them!
So, how's the weather where you are?? Here, it's FREEZING. Actually, it's colder than that. The temperature outside is -5* F right now, but with the wind chill, feels like -30*. That's just too doggone cold. I feel like cuddling up with a big mug of hot soup and a blanket... which leads me to Habit #4, menu planning. I can't tell you how invaluable menu planning is, especially when you're busy and you care about your family's health. Sure, it's easy to get in the car and zip to one of those fast food restaurants to pick up something they refer to as food (which is a lie, by the way), but does that really SAVE time? No. Is it healthy for your family to eat? No.
So, let's get planning! First, print off the planner at the bottom of this page. It's free, my gift to you!
Let's start with breakfast. Make a list of breakfast dishes that you enjoy in the morning. We are creatures of habit, so cater this list to whatever it is you like to eat. Use this time to re-evaluate your diet and try a new recipe or two! Maybe try my Fauxtmeal, Almond Flour Muffins, Pancakes or Breakfast Cookie?? Once you have your 3-4 breakfast meal ideas, write them down on the planner. Breakfast is one of those meals that are incredibly easy to repeat without getting too bored, and you can even make items ahead of time and freeze them. I like making a big batch of muffins and keeping them in the freezer for those mornings that get really busy. Other quick options are smoothies, eggs, fruit, or toast with nut butter. You pick what you like to eat, and write it down on the planner.
Let's skip over lunch for a moment and go to dinner. Woah woah woah, why am I skipping lunch?! Because if you cook an extra portion or two of dinner, you can have those leftovers FOR lunch, ergo, no real lunch plan needed. Sweeeet. For dinner, I like to plan meals that use seasonal ingredients. In the winter I'm drawn to hearty stews, red meat, root vegetables, whereas in the summer I'm more drawn to salads, seafood, and raw food recipes. That's just a personal preference, though. You do what you feel most comfortable with and what your family will eat. Here are some ideas that are easy to make: Pasta Salad (add chicken if desired), Sweet Potato Pancakes, Meatloaf, or Chicken Fingers.
If you're wanting a different lunch plan (aka your hubby MUST HAVE HIS SANDWICH AND POTATO CHIPS OR ELSE!!), then make a lunch plan, too. Make sure that this plan is varied enough to not get mundane, but easy enough for you to stick to. Sandwiches, salads, or soup all work well for lunch, and they can often times be made ahead.
Ok so you've got your list of meals. Now, put them on your calendar. There will always be room for flexibility/moving things around as necessary. As long as you have a framework, this will at least keep you organized. At the bottom, make your grocery list. This will keep you on track at the store, and prevent you from getting things that aren't necessary.
There we have it. Pick your meals, plop them on the calendar, and get thyself to the grocery.
Nothing stresses me out more than all work and no play. Let's be real for a second- I have a very difficult time doing NOTHING. It's hard for my brain to turn off and not think about something that I could be doing. When you're running 2 businesses and a blog (so, 3 businesses...), plus a house, not to mention make most everything you eat, clean with, and apply to your body from scratch, life can get a tad bit stressful. Wait, this blog is called Annie's SIMPLE Life, right? Sometimes, you just need to take a break. Hello Habit #3.
I have heard about a university study in which participants did a relaxation technique of slow breathing and visualization of a peaceful place for 2-3 minutes, and it had the same effect of multiple 15+ minute guided relaxation sessions.
It's so important to take a break. It boost your immune system, improves your mood, and refocuses your mind. Now, it doesn't have to be long, but it does have to be intentional. Spend a few minutes each day reading a good book, taking a nap, meditating, taking a bath with Epsom Salts, taking a walk outside, daydreaming, playing music, doing a crossword, enjoying a cup of tea (Habit 2...) or flipping through a magazine. Just be sure to step away from the screen, silence your phone, turn off the tv.... you know the drill. If you need assistance in taking your mind on a break, try calm.com. This website offers beautiful photos, soothing music, and the option to do a guided meditation for as many minutes as you can spare. This doesn't allow you to step away from the screen as I previously advised, but it's better than nothing! Give yourself a little break each day- you deserve it!
Stay tuned for Habit #4!
The next habit in my 15 habits for the new year is drinking (much) more water. The body is 60+% water, and it's so important to replenish your system with proper fluids. When you are dehydrated, you are more prone to fatigue, headaches, impaired digestion, muscle soreness, and a whole host of other symptoms. Drinking more fluids that are supportive to real hydration is something that isn't a high priority for most people, but it should be! And don't even think about reaching for a soft drink. I haven't had a 'pop', 'soda', or 'Coke' since before 2007, and I'm not about to start now. Dr. Mercola wrote a pretty telling article on what happens to your body after you drink pop. Click here to read the entire article, but here is a quick excerpt to give you an idea about how bad it really is...
Dr. Mercola says:
Pretty scary, huh? I'll stick to my water, thanks.
Never fear, there are some fantastic ways to dress up your water to make it a little less mundane. Here are a few of my favorite ideas:
Cold water infused with berries (affiliate link)
Cold water with lime juice (from a real lime...)
Cold water with cut up mint and cucumber slices (hello spa water)
Carbonated water with a squirt of orange juice (yep, from a real orange)
Hot water with lemon juice (...again, from a real lemon)
Herbal Tea - this is my absolute favorite in the entire world (affiliate link)
Or how about some mineral rich bone broth?? Yeah, it's not water, but oh so good for you.
Stay tuned for Habit #3!