Chicken Breast Parmesan Bake

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Ceramic tableware on the worktop. Black and white kitchen design.
So, one of my lovely readers commented and encouraged me not to give up the 31 Days series…even if it takes me beyond October, I will continue writing until I reach 31 days. I will share a closer look at some of our day to days, including how we do devotions and our favorite recipes.

This past weekend I traveled away from home to the Allume Conference in Greenville, SC. It was amazing. But it is good to be home again, too.

So today, I want to share one of my family’s favorite chicken dinner recipes with you.

Chicken Breast Parmesan Bake
This chicken just melts in your mouth and is super delicious! It doesn’t take long to prep either. I am all about keeping things simple, but eating delicious meals, too.

Chicken Breast Parmesan Bake

1/4 c. grated Parmesan cheese

1/4 c. Italian breadcrumbs

1 t. dried parsley

1/2 t. garlic powder

1/4 t. salt & 1/4 t. pepper

1 1/2 – 2 lbs. chicken breast

1/4 c. butter

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees.

Combine your cheese, breadcrumbs, parsley, garlic powder, salt & pepper into a medium sized bowl. Melt your butter in a separate bowl.

Spray a long 13×9 baking dish with cooking spray. Rinse your chicken breasts. Dip each piece into the melted butter and than into the breadcrumb mixture until covered. Place in baking dish. Do all pieces the same way. Slide dish into oven for 15-20 minutes or until chicken is no longer pink.

Delish!

31 Days 2014

Homemaking From Scratch Online Conference Tickets: Now Available!

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Homemaking From Scratch Online Conference
I am so excited to share this awesome opportunity with you!

Do you want to improve your homemaking skills and grow with other women in a Titus 2 setting?

The first annual Homemaking From Scratch online conference is comprehensive guide to more efficient and effective homemaking! With indefinite access, you can watch the conference at your own pace and go back and re-watch them again and again.

12 amazing homemaking bloggers and authors have come together to offer you a conference packed with Biblical homemaking advice, wisdom, tips, and resources on topics ranging from homemaking routines to Biblical motherhood to natural cleaning and more!

Buy Now Blue

One of the beautiful things about this conference is that all the sessions are pre-recorded so that you can listen at your own pace! You can start a session when YOU have the time, pause it, or come back to it later – anytime, anywhere!

The conference is “live” from October 7 – 9th with live Facebook discussions with the speakers and other attendees going on. But the sessions are yours to keep – forever! Once the session is posted according to it’s schedule, you can watch it however and whenever you like.

Start the process to transform your homemaking today! Here’s what you get:

  • 13 video sessions on various aspects of Biblical Homemaking (See the schedule and all sessions)
  • A Conference Notebook with session outlines, further resources, and more
  • Access to a private Facebook group to connect with other women and grow together
  • 3 Free bonus resources

 

HFS CONFERENCE

 

Titus 2 Mentoring

While online relationships in no way replaces real-life interaction, it is still possible to form real, Titus 2 relationships online. I have been so blessed by the online ministry of these ladies and I am so excited to share the line up of speakers for the conference! Find out more about the conference speakers here!

Don’t Miss Out on the Homemaking Event of the Year!

Buy Now Blue

Homemaking from Scratch {Online} Conference!

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I am sooo excited to share something that has been going on behind the scenes for weeks.

Jami of Young Wife’s Guide and Jolene of The Alabaster Jar having been busy building the site and putting speakers in place.

I will be speaking on Biblical Motherhood and would LOVE for you to join us that weekend!

Homemaking From Scratch Conference 2014
 

Tickets go on sale September 29th, but you can go and sign up to receive an email once the tickets go on sale so you can get yours.

If you purchase your ticket before the conference begins on October 7th, you will receive over $200 in homemaking resources FREE!

The conference is PRE-RECORDED so you can watch at your convenience, pause it, walk away, or finish it the following day.

Also, all attendees will have access to a private Facebook group where you’ll have access to the speakers during the weekend of the Conference–this will be the weekend we release sessions and you the opportunity to watch along with other participating moms and homemakers! So if you have questions, you can ask the speaker right then and there!

Stay tuned for more details…in the mean time, be sure to sign up to be notified when tickets go on sale! I am so excited to invite you into this wonderful opportunity!

Chicken Pot Pie {Recipe}

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Homemade Chicken Pot Pie

Fall is my favorite season and I love pulling out all my Fall comfort foods!

I’m going to share a chicken pot pie recipe that was passed down to me from a friend, who had it passed down to her. :) I will warn you, though: if you’re looking for a quick and easy meal, this is not it. If you’re looking for a healthy, low fat meal; this is not it.

But, this is by far the best meal I’ve ever eaten and it’s worth every bit of effort and calorie. :D

We’re going to start with the filling. So gather your ingredients.

 

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{You can find the recipe at the bottom of this post in it’s entirety}

Measure out the water for the chicken bouillon and get that boiling on the stove. Put a potato in the microwave and begin browning your chicken. I use chicken breast. You can use whatever you want. Even leftovers!
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{My 9-year old daughter helping me} :)

Cut the vegetables: carrots, celery, onions
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Add butter to a large frying pan and add cut up vegetables. Cook until onions are transparent and carrots are firm {but not hard}
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Add your bouillon, milk, and flour. Let simmer on low until thick and bubbly.
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Add your baked potato, peas, and cooked, cut up chicken here. Then, add poultry seasoning, salt & pepper, to taste.
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Now, you can set that aside. Either leave it on the stove while you make the crust or put it in the refridgerator until later. {I make my filling in the morning or early afternoon, when it’s less hectic}.
Next, we’re going to start the dough.

Mix together your flour and salt. You can do this by hand, with a mixer, or in your bread machine on dough setting. If you do it in your bread machine, you’ll want to add all the ingredients at once, following the instructions for the pasta/dough setting. I used my Kitchen Aid mixer. I mixed on the first setting.
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Cut your butter into pieces and add them to the mixer.

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Next, add your water 1 tablespoon at a time.

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Allow it to mix until it comes together in dough form.

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Divide your dough into two balls.

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Roll it out.

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Fit your dough into your pie pan. This is not the time for perfection. Just make it work. Trim the edges and tuck the excess under the dough resting on the edge of the pie pan.

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Add the filling. (I always double the recipe, that’s why you see two pies. The recipe below is for one pie).

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Cover with the other pie crust. Trim the edges and fold under the remainder of the dough to rest on top of the edge of the pie pan. Cut slits in the pie crust to allow for venting. Notice my lack of perfection. It will still taste the same. I promise.

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Bake at 425 degrees for 30 minutes and you have…

Chicken Pot Pie

…need I say more?

Recipe:

Chicken Pot Pie
Makes 1 Pie

Filling

  • 2 carrots
  • 1 stalk celery
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 6 T butter
  • 1/3 c. flour
  • 2 c. chicken bouillon
  • 1 c. milk
  • 1 baked potato, diced
  • 2 c. diced chicken
  • 1/3 c. frozen peas (thaw)
  • Poultry seasoning, salt & pepper to taste
  1. Saute’ the carrots, celery, and onions in butter, until onions are transparent and carrots are firm, but not hard
  2. To make rue: slowly add the bouillon, milk, and flour.
  3. Heat on medium until thick and bubbly, stirring constantly
  4. Add peas, potato, and chicken. Mix well.
  5. Add filling to pie pan lined with pie crust dough

Pie Crust & Completion
Makes two crusts. One for bottom layer, one for covering top.

  • 1/2 c. cold water
  • 1/2 c. butter {cold}
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  1. Mix together flour and salt
  2. Cut in butter with a pastry blender (if doing by hand) or cut butter into pieces and add to mixer
  3. Add water one tablespoon at a time. Knead or continue mixing.
  4. Roll dough on floured surface
  5. Line pan
  6. Add filling
  7. Cover with second pie crust dough
  8. Trim and tuck edges. Cut slits into the top
  9. Bake at 425 degrees for 30 minutes

I highly recommend doubling this recipe any time you make it. Since it is not a “quick” meal in any sense of the word, having a second pie to freeze will be a great when you’re in a pinch one day. Or it allows you to enjoy it a second time without all the work!

I hope you enjoy it as much as we do.

 

Get Organized With This Free Weekly Household Planner {Life Simplified}

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Susan from The Confident Mom is pretty great. And after moving, I cannot even think about creating a new household planner or chore chart. However, my house cannot afford to have no kind of plan either.

That’s why I am SO thankful for Susan’s FREE Weekly Household planner – it is super detailed for people like me, but there’s also a blank planner, so you can type your own information in.
2014 Confident Mom Weekly Household Planner

This planner is in PDF format and there is one sheet for every week of the year.

Susan also offers a wonderful supplement to this terrific planner.

From Susan’s site:

 

The Weekly Household Planner Supplement includes the following digital fill-in forms:

  • Master Family Planner.   Keep track of the entire family’s activities on a daily/weekly basis all in one convenient place.
  • Special Occasion Calendar/Gift Planner.  You’ll always be prepared for the next birthday or special occasion.
  • Holiday Gift Planner Worksheet.  Keep track of your holiday shopping list and purchases and what still needs wrapped or delivered. Never forget that well-hidden gift again!
  • Babysitter Information Form.  This form makes it easy to provide your sitter with all the information he or she needs so you can relax and enjoy your time away.
  • Quick Contacts.  Helps you keep important emergency contacts available for easy reference when you need them in a hurry as well as frequently used numbers.
  • Family Emergency/Medical Information Form.  Record your family’s medical and insurance information on this form—it will be easy to find and share with those that need it.
  • Website/App List for Kids.  An easy way your kids can list the websites they want to visit, or apps or songs they want to buy. This gives you a chance to review first and make sure the content is age appropriate!
  • Website/App List for Me.  A place to record websites you want to visit or apps you want to buy during your downtime.
  • Account Keeper Sheet. Keep track of online accounts, including usernames and passwords. Never get locked out of your account again!
  • Weekly Menu Planner/Shopping List.  Plan your meals for the week so you arrive at the store prepared and don’t over-purchase.
  • NEW—Let’s Plan a Party Form.  An easy way to keep track of party planning details such as guest list, menu, party favors, and activities.
  • NEW—Bible Bookmarks.  Use these monthly reading bookmarks with suggested reading each day of the month, enabling you to read the entire bible in a year.

The Weekly Household Planner Supplement Kit is available for purchase for only $6. 

Use it with the FREE Weekly Household Planner and you have a productive task/organizational tool that will make your household run like a smooth-running machine.

PLANNER-SUPPLEMENT

Get your FREE planner here.

How are you simplifying life this month? Link up any post below that is relevant to simplifying. 

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Trim Healthy Mama {Life: Simplified}

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One of my goals to simplify in 2014 includes my diet. Simplifying the foods that I eat so I can live out my days with optimal energy.

Right now, that is my biggest offender: I always feel tired. I am a big carb loader and a junk food junkie. Sugar has become so much a part of my diet that I don’t even realize all the things I eat that contain sugar. But what I didn’t realize? All those carbs that I load up on? They break down into sugar and after a while, I have a sugar crash.

Fighting Fatigue with Real Food

I struggle to get out of bed in the morning and I frequently crash in the afternoons.

After reading some rather interesting information in the Trim Healthy Mama book, it makes complete sense why I am always tired and having crashes throughout the day.

While I am continue my journey of eating real foods, I remind myself that perfection isn’t the goal here. I am not aiming to never eat a lick of sugar again. Maybe someday I’ll get to that point, but right now, that’s not the goal. After feeding my body {pretty much} toxins for much of it’s existence, shifting that is going to take time.

So, right now my goal isn’t to cut out everything toxic, but rather to include more whole foods. Including more whole foods will automatically push out some of the toxic foods I’ve been accustomed to.

What I am loving about Trim Healthy Mama is that, though this plan has you eat certain foods together, it doesn’t force me to eliminate some of my favorite foods (such as potatoes!). It just has me eat them coupled with the right kinds of foods for optimal performance, and of course in the right portions.

Because I eat so many carbs (carbohydrates), and carbs break down into sugars, I was overloading my system with excess insulin, causing me to crash and store fat.

I am not completely cutting out carbs, I am merely controlling my portions. That’s a start. Last night, I created a meal already part of our regular menu that closely fit the Trim Healthy Mama plan. I will continue to use what I have on hand as I purchase new items to include in the THM plan as I go.

Lemon Pepper Chicken and Jasmine Rice

(Quick recipe: Lemon Pepper Chicken – Take chicken breasts and cook in butter, sprinkle with Lemon Pepper seasoning, splash fresh lemon juice on top! Asparagus – Cook in frying pan with butter and season with garlic powder, salt and pepper. Cook until tender, but not mushy.)

My ultimate goal isn’t weight loss, though I’m sure that will be a lovely perk to this continuous change. No, my overall goal is to have more energy and mental power for my family and myself. I don’t expect any plan will be perfect, but this one seems to deal with some of my personal eating habits.

Each month I will share an aspect of what I’m learning and how my habits have changed as well as the results of those changes. I will also share some new recipes and tidbits from Trim Healthy Mama.

What about you? Are you on a real food journey? What plan are you using?

Follow my Life: Simplified Pinterest board for more resources on simplifying your life.

Follow my new Trim Healthy Mama Pinterest board for all resources Trim Healthy Mama related! 

Life: Simplified ~ Moving Edition

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The last few weeks have been no picnic as we have been forced into living rather simple lives in a staged house. Living a simple life doesn’t mean living an easy life. Oftentimes we forgo the simple for the easy.

Simplifying helps us see better

This move has bumped my goals into overdrive in the Home department of my Life: Simplified project.

Here are a few things I’m learning about simplifying during a move:

Purge as You Pack

Now that we have an offer, I have been able to relax a bit in that area of moving and begin to focus more on packing. As I pack, I am also purging. Since this time requires I touch almost every single object in my home, it allows me to really see what we have that hasn’t been of use.

Although moving is a ginormous task, it is also a wonderful way to jump start a huge purge and start fresh.  I want to start life in a new home where I can breathe easier.

It’s not that we’re big hoarders, or anything. It’s just that we often don’t realize how quickly things can accumulate. A lot of times it’s accepting things from others without really thinking whether we really need them or not.

I am especially focusing on what we have in storage, since those things aren’t items we see on a daily basis.

Live With Less (at least for a while)

Packing and waiting pretty much forces us to live with less. This opens up our senses a little wider since we are limited to what we can pull out. There are less books to choose from, so reading becomes more in depth because there aren’t a million books visible to choose from waiting for me (or my children) to hurry up and finish.

Having fewer options staring us in the face helps minimize those kinds of distractions. It allows us to live more fully in many respects.

Adjust Your Expectations

Expecting everyone in my home to be comfortable with change or understand why they cannot pull out certain toys (such as Play-Doh) during a season of house showings is a bit much.

While I may have a large grasp on the situation and time frame of what’s involved in selling and buying a new home, my children do not. Waiting, for children, seems longer and harder in some respects, than for adults. And it has still been difficult on me, as an adult!

What does this have to do with simplifying? Well, it’s part of recognizing that “simplifying” is not equated with “easy”. I am learning, while also teaching my children, how to be content with less – even if it’s only temporary.

What are you learning about simplifying? Link up your post below! Next week, let’s talk about simplifying our time/schedules. 

Follow our Life: Simplified board on Pinterest for encouraging and helpful resources on simplifying in 2014.

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Homeschooling Through a Move

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Previously, I posted how we decided at the last minute to move. We needed to do a lot of things, fast, so we dropped everything, including homeschooling, and set to work on getting the house ready for listing. The listing went up last Monday.

After the first week and a half of readying the house, I decided it best to continue to keep up on lessons, in some form or another. Allowing my children too much free time and TV time proved to be disastrous. I didn’t think a couple weeks would be a big deal, but it was. And let’s be honest, it takes more than a couple of weeks to sell a house and complete a move. There will be more weeks out of the ordinary ahead of us.

Homeschooling During a Move

So, I decided it best to keep their minds sharp and occupied during this time by setting them up with work that is independent in nature, yet empowers and challenges them to become self-propelled learners. These include:

Book Box

Homeschooling Through a Move - Book Box

Book box is a selection of books hand picked by me, based on what we are learning. I have a set time the children must read something of their choosing from the book box. At times I’ll add in some Literature that may not be specific to the time era we are studying, but it is great Literature none-the-less.

Whatever they choose to read, they must read for 15-30 minutes per session. Some days we have one session some days two or more. This helps them continue to learn by keeping their mind sharp and working. At the end of each session, I ask for an oral narration of what they read.

Math

  Homeschooling Through a Move - Math

Math is always a constant in any season. Too much time off of math and my kids begin to forget the concepts they learned and need to re-learn. We even do math through the summer months. There are days throughout the week we might take off, but I try to avoid taking more than a week off of math at a time.

This does require some help from me at times. Sometimes I’ll have the children work through what they can until I am free to help them, or we’ll finish up what needed to be done together in the evening hours.

Another option for math is to focus on doing drill work; helping my children master the concepts they have already learned and/or memorizing addition/subtraction/multiplication/division facts.

Manipulatives

Homeschooling Through a Move - Manipulatives

For my younger children, I will pull out a set of manipulatives for them to play with and learn independently from. Rotating them keeps their interests piqued.

Some of our favorites are Gears, Gears, Gears (pictured above), Wood Pattern Blocks, Cubes, and Melissa & Doug’s Magnetic Pattern Block Kit.

Among these, we also play educational games, read aloud, and continue with some educational shows on Netflix. Not all of these are done every single day, but having something in the queue helps prevent boredom and sibling fights while continuing to keep their minds

What suggestions do you have for homeschooling through a move?

Follow our Life: Simplified board on Pinterest for encouraging and helpful resources on simplifying in 2014.

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Easy Homemade Chicken Noodle Soup

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Easy Homemade Chicken Noodle Soup

One of the healthiest, easiest, budget friendly meal to make is homemade chicken noodle soup. If you invest in a crock pot for no other reason than making homemade chicken noodle soup, you’ll earn your money back in grocery savings and save time.

Before, I used to use canned chicken broth to make this soup when I had leftover chicken. Now I have learned how to make my own chicken broth, that is also a cinch (especially with a crock pot).

If you’re cooking the chicken fresh, with the soup, the stock makes itself at the same time.

Today I’m going to share two recipes with you. One is for chicken noodle soup and the other is for chicken stock. Learning to make chicken stock was a Life: Simplified Project goal of mine in the Food category.

Chicken Noodle Soup

Serves 4-6 adults

Ingredients

4 Chicken Thighs (or any bone-in chicken)
4 Carrots
2 Stalks Celery
1/2 Medium Onion
1 1/2 T Parsley
1 1/2 T Oregano or Basil
Salt and Pepper to taste
6-8 Cups of Water
Egg Noodles

1. Chop carrots, celery, and onion.
2. Place into crockpot
3. Add Chicken
4. Add seasonings
5. Cover with 6-8 cups of water (depending on crockpot size)
6. Set to low and simmer for 8-10 hours.
7. During the last 15 minutes or so, cook your egg noodles according to package direction. Drain and add to crockpot. I usually make 3-4 cups of egg noodles.

Serve with bread or rolls!

Now, if you find yourself with leftover chicken and want to make soup out of it, don’t grab the canned broth. Think ahead. When you buy a whole chicken or any chicken with bones in it, save the skin and bones to turn into chicken stock/broth.

Homemade Chicken Stock

Ingredients

Whole chicken carcass or bones and skin from previously cooked chicken
3-4 Carrots
2-3 Stalks of Celery
1 Onion
1 1/2 T Parsley
1 1/2 T Basil or Oregano
Salt and Pepper
6-8 Cups of Water

1. Fill Crockpot with all ingredients.
2. Turn on Low and simmer 10+ hours
3. Once complete, drain stock into storage container(s) with a strainer
4. Store in air tight containers and freeze or use within a few days

If you save the bones, you can repeat the process, making another entire batch of stock from them. I cannot think of a more budget friendly, healthy, and easy way to keep chicken stock on hand.

It can be used in soups, casseroles, rice or couscous (in place of water), mashed potatoes in place of milk (a great way to cut calories) and so much more!

The health benefits of making your own stock include vitamins and minerals such as calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, and gelatin which helps maintain healthy cartilage. It’s no secret that homemade broth is medicinal; it boosts the immune system.  With all these health benefits and the simplicity of making this stock, I think everyone needs to know about it. It is one of the easiest foods to simplify in the kitchen.

What are you simplifying this week? Link up your posts below!

Follow our Life: Simplified board on Pinterest for encouraging and helpful resources on simplifying in 2014.

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No More Survival Mode

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In order to make some progress in simplifying, it’s important to have some real, tangible goals that are written down and visible daily.

This post contains affililate links. 

No More Survival Mode

No More Survival Mode - Life: Simplified Project

The goals also need to be broken down so they are not overwhelming. Simplifying your whole house in the first month is not feasible, so don’t even fathom it. Begin with a kitchen drawer or cupboard, a closet, or bookshelf.

 

Boys Closet - Life: Simplified Project

Boys Closet After Purge - Life: Simplified Project

This weeks completed goal was cleaning out my boys closet by thinning out their wardrobe. They had so many clothes that were graciously handed down to us, we were overflowing. I found myself buying more and more hangers in order to be able to hang them all up. On laundry day, I was squeezing clothes into this already tight closet.

Having lots of clothing means having lots more laundry. It also makes for more dirty clothes on the floor rather than down the chute (yes, we have a laundry chute).

If you aim at nothing, you’ll hit it every time.

-Say Goodbye to Survival Mode

Crystal Paine released her latest book, Say Goodbye to Survival Mode in January and let me tell you, this book has been a lifesaver to help me narrow down and flesh out my goals. I had an idea of what I wanted to do, but the goals weren’t detailed enough and didn’t have a specific time frame to work within. She walks you through it step by step and offers her own examples.

Breaking them down into smaller bites and plugging them into my planner puts them right in front of me and tells me to walk them out. They aren’t stuffed somewhere in a notebook, forgotten.

Say Goodbye to Survival Mode Book.jpg

 

Crystal teaches you how to narrow down your goals and make them specific. She also encourages you to be disciplined.

What really grabbed my attention was how to streamline my home management to be more efficient. It gets really frustrated to be constantly cleaning only to turn around and find new messes. It’s a vicious cycle and I couldn’t keep up.

One thing I still struggle with is menu planning and the dreaded, “What’s for dinner?”.  Crystal offers great suggestions on how to be ready for dinner before it’s 5pm.

Sometimes, though, you’re not sure what goals to make. May I make a suggestion?

In other news…

This weekend has offered us an unexpected opportunity and it has forced us into some major purging and simplifying. Have you ever put your house up for sale before at moment’s notice? Yea, that. A few things are still up in the air, but we are proceeding as if the expectations we need met, will in fact be met. More details as it all unfolds!

What are you simplifying this week? Link up your posts below!

Follow our Life: Simplified board on Pinterest for encouraging and helpful resources on simplifying in 2014.

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