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New Beginnings Week 2

Welcome to week 2 of New Beginnings January 2023!

28 days of ideas and inspiration to help set goals for the new year.


Together we will begin this new year with an inspired, organized, and grateful spirit.

From little tasks to big undertakings, let's help each other make 2023 a beautifully productive year. By committing to 7 easy to accomplish tasks each week in January (including self care), you will feel revitalized along with the joy of accomplishment.


Each week I will post ideas from the following categories:

Organize | Plan | Clean | Cook (Food) | Care | Beauty | Enjoy

Week by week tips & ideas to help organize your year.


So - did you meet your goals for week 1?


If you were able to keep on track and finish the suggestion for each day, congratulations!

Feels great, right? It's amazing how something so simple can create such a positive feeling of accomplishment, but it does. Keep going you are on a roll. Just 21 more days to go!


Did you fall a little behind with your weekly goal? That's ok! This challenge is not at all about perfection. It is an exercise to help us re-train old habits into productive new ones. As time goes on, with practice, this becomes much easier and practically automatic. Remember, change takes time and patience. Give yourself space. Rejoice in the little things you accomplished. Keep going and do only what you are comfortably able.


Onto the week, let's jump right in....


Day 8

Organize your pantry

For quick and easier meal prep.


Along with your new year resolution to eat healthier, it only makes sense to begin by organizing the pantry. Not only will this make your food preparing efforts much easier, it is also a great time to fill the pantry with healthier food choices, The labeled containers and jars hold rice pasta, nuts, beans, flours, cereals, etc... The bins hold onions, potatoes, root vegetables, and avocados. I like to stock my pantry with cans of whole and diced organic tomatoes, coconut milk, and vegetable broth which come in handy for many of my recipes. I also stock up on herbal teas, coconut water, and healthy snacks.

So this week, take a peek into your own pantry and begin organizing step by step. It will be worth every effort, I promise!


Organized Pantry Tips:

  • Pull everything out.

  • Discard anything you won't use or is expired.

  • Replace bags of flours, nuts , beans etc... with containers appropriate for size.

  • Label each container accordingly and group like things together on pantry shelves. I use peel and stick labels which also remove easily when the contents changes (see below).

  • For pastas rice, quinoa, and other foods that require specific cooking instructions, simply write the instructions on your label.

  • Use a tray to hold small miscellaneous items that otherwise might get lost in the pantry. Samples, pouches, small bottles, and so on...

  • After everything is set and organized outside of the pantry, begin putting things back inside with your new organization in mind. Heavier items work well on lower shelves, as well as your bins with the root vegetables.

Tip: Keep onions and potatoes in separate bins to help keep potatoes from sprouting.


There you have it! Step back and admire your new pantry the give yourself a pat on the back for a job well done!


Below are organization items I use in my own pantry.






Day 9

Plan books you would like to read this year

And begin reading them!


If you are like me, you have a stack of books on your bedside waiting to be read.


This year, lets make a commitment to ourselves to finally read them! I find that lists work well for me to organize my life. So today, I encourage you to plan your reading for the year by creating a list of all the books you'd like to include.


If you need some ideas, below are a few classic favorites you may enjoy.



Let me know what you are reading or if you have a book idea to share.

  1. Moby Dick - Herman Melville (1851) A long read but well worth the effort.

  2. Oliver Twist - Charles Dickens (1837-39) Persevere in the face of adversity.

  3. The Lord of the Rings - J.R.R. Tolkien (1954) Visit another world: triumph with goodness.

  4. Wind in the Willows - Kenneth Grahame (1908) Short read that is nice for families.

  5. Jane Eyre - Charlotte Brontë (1847) Classic Romance in an era of duty.

  6. To the Lighthouse - Virginia Woolf (1927) Find the meaning of life.

  7. The Story of Ruby Bridges - Robert Coles (1995) A inspiring story of courage.

  8. Poems by Emily Dickinson (1850) So simple yet reveals the fragility of humanity.

  9. Sense and Sensibility - Jane Austin (1795) sisters, romance, and social responsibilities.

  10. Robert Frost Poems (1894) - "The road not taken" and "Stopping by the woods".


Find all of the suggested reads at your local library, or splurge on a special additions for your home library.




Day 10

Clean Kitchen Sponges

Extend sponge life and freshen the room

Today I have an easy cleaning/freshening tip for kitchen sponges using an excerpt from my eBook Recipes for Green Cleaning.


Did you know that the average kitchen sponge harbors about 10 million bacteria per square inch? Try this fresh idea to minimize bacteria and prolong the life of your sponge.


Supplies:

· 1 kitchen sponge

Ingredients:

· 3 drops of Lemon essential oil


Directions:

First wash your sponge using hot water and castile soap (or soap of choice). Squeeze out excess water and add about 3-4 drops of lemon essential oil onto both sides of the sponge. Let sit overnight. In the morning your sponge is disinfected and the whole kitchen smells lemony fresh!








Day 11

Prepare soups and stock then freeze

Simply warm and serve

Now is a great time to prepare soups, broths, and stocks for freezing. I make ahead several batches of homemade soup and then freeze them in single serving freezer containers. Its so nice to quickly have a healthy meal on hand. Nothing is more warming than a nourishing bowl of hot soup on a chilly winter day.


Vegetable stock

Prepare a batch of vegetable stock and freeze in 1 quart containers, or in ice cube trays.

Making vegetable stocks are easy. Simply coarsely chop your desired vegetables and them to add to a pot with water (enough to cover the contents), add your desired herbs and spices, salt and pepper and bring to a boil. Partially cover and reduce to a simmer for about an hour. Strain with cheese cloth or fine mesh sieve, and pour broth into containers or ice trays. Let cool then place in the freezer. Now you have homemade vegetable stock on hand at any time. Add wonderful flavor to your soups, stews, sauces, and other recipes.

Note: I like making vegetable stock because of its versatility in recipes. But if you prefer, you can also make a poultry stock or other meat stocks of your choice. Freeze and store the same as vegetable stocks.


 

Easy Vegetable Soup Recipe

1 medium onion, sliced

2 carrots, sliced

2 stalks celery, sliced

4 potatoes (about 2 lbs), 1 inch squares

1 small zucchini (or squash of choice), chopped

1 15 oz can organic chick peas, drained and rinsed

1 garlic clove, minced

1 15oz can organic diced tomatoes

1 tsp Thyme

Salt and pepper to taste

4 cups (1 quart) vegetable stock (homemade or packaged)

2 cups water

(or use 6 cups water and omit the vegetable stock)


Add all ingredients to a stock pot or Dutch oven. Bring to a boil then simmer on low for about an hour. If freezing, pour cooked soup into freezer containers, let cool. when cooled tightly cover, label with name and date, and place in your freezer for a quick meal anytime.

Makes about 4 servings (can be doubled or tripled)


Tip: Soups and stocks can be stored in the refrigerator up to 5 days. Store soups in the freezer up to 3 months. Freeze stocks up to 6 months.



 







Day 12

Check in on an elderly or disabled neighbor or friend

Be their Earth angel

Too often our elderly or disabled neighbors and friends are in need of help, but go without simply because we are unaware of their need. They rarely ask for assistance, so it is important to keep a discerning and watchful eye. The colder months can be particularly difficult. Many people are unable to shovel snow from their walkway, drive to the grocery store, or go to medical appointments. Sometimes it can be difficult for them to prepare food due to cold temperatures and certain medical issues.


Be an Earth angel this winter and reach out to someone who may be in need of extra care. Below are a few ideas of how to help:

  • Stop over for a visit. Make sure they have enough heat and warm food.

  • When you make your next batch of soup, prepare a little extra to share.

  • When you drop off the soup/food try not to rush away. Sit and chat for a few minutes or play a game of cards. It will mean so much (for both!).

  • After a snowstorm, shovel their walkway, and /or offer to pick up groceries or drive them to appointments etc...

Spending time with someone who is not able to get out much in the winter is both valuable for them, and also for you. This a a great chance to get to know someone or to deepen a friendship. I personally find a real blessing in talking with someone who has walked this Earth a little longer. There is such a deep wisdom in their words.






Day 13

TLC for dry winter hands

Soothe and restore

Cold winter air along with home heating can be drying to the skin, especially hands. Not to mention we are washing our hands more frequently due to flu and virus season. For these reasons, hands can become irritated, raw, dry, cracked, and chapped. Ouch! There is no need to suffer endlessly with dry chapped hands as there is an effective solution to help heal and restore them; soft and rash free for the rest of the season. To ease dryness, help prevent cracking, chapping and/or infection try these hand nourishing steps:

  1. Gently wash chapped hands in warm (not hot) water using a sensitive skin cleanser such as Dove soap bar.

  2. Finish with a cool rinse then gently pat (almost) dry with a soft towel.

  3. While hands are still moist spray on frankincense hydrosol. Let soak in for a couple of minutes. Frankincense hydrosol is very healing for the skin along with offering antibacterial properties which can help prevent infection of cracked skin.

  4. Top with a layer of organic aloe gel (either directly from a leaf, or a purchased gel)

  5. After the gel has absorbed spread a thick layer of moisturizing cream all over hands. Massage hands for a few minutes (feels wonderful!) applying more cream as necessary. Creams that contain shea butter work well or consider trying Epionce Medical Barrier Cream as as listed in the links below. I personally love and use it everyday during the winter months.

  6. Ease on cotton gloves and wear them for a few hours (or all night).

In no time your hands will be feeling (and looking) much better! Below are a few things I personally use and love.






Day 14

Gather for a game night

an end of week treat!

Relax this week by gathering for a game night with family and friends. We love playing games and host game night gatherings often. How about classic board games such as Catan, Trivia, Monopoly, Clue, and Scrabble? Or get ready for loads of laughs with party games like Heads up, Balderdash, Pictionary, Jackbox games, One Night Ultimate Werewolf, and blank slate....just to name a few of our tried and true favorites.


If you are looking to inspire conversation around the dinner table, try a game called Table Topics. Or how about hosting a Murder Mystery game night. Ask guests to arrive in character costumes to solve the who-done-it mystery. It's always a fun time!


Below are a couple of new games we enjoyed during the holidays. We laughed so much!




No matter what game you choose, make it a fun evening of relaxation and a great way to end the week!



There you have it, another week completed. It's hard to believe we are half way through the month already! How are you managing? Don't forget to leave your comments below. If you are new to this blog, please take a moment to say hello so I can personally welcome you to our group.


See you in week 3
















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