Monthly Archives: April 2015

Spring Clearing

What runs through your mind when you hear the words spring cleaning?  Perhaps you have a bit of dread or fear as you look around and see piles of clutter with dust on them, and this might even lead to feeling overwhelmed.  Perhaps you feel excitement and happy feelings, looking forward to clearing away that which is no longer useful and having a fresh clean slate.  Perhaps you’ve even thought farther ahead, past the cleaning and purging, to the beautiful new boxes and upgraded items that you hope to bring in afterwards.

I’ve always liked the beautiful therapeutic ritual of spring cleaning, especially the purging of things no longer beneficial, but for a while I struggled with guilt over buying anything new, especially after getting rid of so much stuff.  It was only with a lot of intentional thought about it that I eventually realized that I was not simply cycling through stuff, but rather continually tweaking and optimizing in such a way that I continually created more time, space, and energy to focus on the most important and vital aspects of life.  It took me a long time to realize that what is good one summer may not be best the next summer.  And so, if nature herself renews each year, shedding the loveliest rose in winter, in order to birth forth another more beautiful the next year, so too should I.  This particular round of spring cleaning has been particularly intensive for us (but that’s another post entirely), and we’ve been turning over every item in our little home.  It takes work and time, but the results will be so worth it.

However, this year I want to shift my focus just a little bit, and I encourage you to join me, dear friends.  Beyond the simple spring cleaning to wipe away the grime and dust and grey of winter, let’s also engage in a deep and immersive spring clearing, ridding ourselves not just of possessions that are no longer helpful and clutter, but also of old habits that no longer serve, maybe even old ideas that hold us back.  I’m feeling the need for almost a total cleanse or detox – not really in the usual sense of diet, but taking an inventory and an honest look at what is working and what isn’t, and then acting to release what is not working, and accentuate the positives.  I know that many of us have some minimalist leanings and longings, and it only makes sense that if we desire space and to feel lighter, then we need to let go.  So here are some things in my life that I am looking to release, replace, and increase.

Release & Replace

  • rushing – replace with planning ahead and taking the proper time required
  • stress – replace with gentle morning routine, regular naps, regular relaxing showers & baths, herbal tea, meditation
  • clutter – replace with carefully curated, versatile items and neat organized files
  • processed and artificial foods – replace these with homemade foods that focus on natural and whole ingredients, and to purchase high-quality foods
  • hurried dining style – replace with intentional and more mindful eating, make the meal an event
  • aimless web surfing – replace with purposeful, intentional times

Increase

  • faith – getting more involved with our church
  • sleep – going to bed earlier, having regular naps
  • time spent in thought & intentionality – journaling, dreaming, and just being alone with my thoughts
  • reading – I love reading… self-development, the Bible, fiction – it feeds my mind and my soul
  • exercise – movement that feels good and strengthens my body
  • fresh air – with warm weather come beautiful open skies, sunny beaches, and green parks, and I can’t wait to fully immerse myself in them
  • creating – writing, designing, sewing, cooking, homemaking
  • consistent routines – having a schedule, and morning and evening routines that help me be a better version of me every day

How’s spring cleaning going for you?  Anyone else doing more clearing than cleaning this time around – or even adding new things into your mix?

 

 

 

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Simple Meat & Mushroom Lasagna

Hello, friends!  How has your early spring been so far?  I hope it’s been wonderful, and I know I’ve been happily wearing my bright pink spring coat and new pink purse!  I always find this transitioning time an interesting one, both in terms of style as well as food – one day is warm and beckons of summer, the next is cold and invites you to cozy up like you have all winter.  On one of those cozier days, I decided to cook up dinner with random items I had lying around – and it turned out really well.  So I thought I’d share this with you, my super simple delicious lasagna.

Ingredients

  • 1 lb lean ground beef
  • 2 cans sliced mushrooms, drained and rinsed
  • 830mL tomato-based pasta sauce (marinara, roasted garlic, your choice)
  • 250g cottage cheese
  • 220g cheddar cheese, sliced thinly
  • oven-ready lasagna noodles, about 10

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 375.
  2. Over medium-high heat in a large frying pan, brown the ground beef.  If desired, add salt, pepper, and italian spices such as oregano, basil, etc.  Once browned, add in mushrooms and pasta sauce, and mix until uniform.  Take off heat.
  3. Layer as follows into a 9×13 pan: ⅓ meat sauce mix, one layer of noodles, ½ cottage cheese, ⅓ cheddar, ⅓ meat sauce, one layer of noodles, ½ cottage cheese, ⅓ cheddar, ⅓ meat sauce.  Reserve last ⅓ of the cheddar for later.
  4. Bake for 40-45 minutes, but check for doneness around the 30 minute mark.
  5. Sprinkle the remaining cheddar on top, and bake for an additional 10 minutes for melted crispy cheese topping.
  6. Allow to cool for at least a few minutes before serving.

Et voila!  Delicious, textured, hearty Italian flavour without loads of time and effort spent in the kitchen.  This was quite a hit at our home, and I’ll likely make it again, in between lighter springier foods as well.

What have you been cooking up this spring?