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As Chris mentioned, this past week we were in Gatlinburg, Tennessee enjoying our mountain-top cabin overlooking the beautiful Smoky Mountains (More about this in tomorrow’s post!). Our “non-doing” vacations are exactly what we love and one of my daily activities that I was able to give up for the week was cooking – thank you, Chris! You may be thinking that we ate out A LOT but we actually only “enjoyed” a few fast-food stops on our travel days. Not exactly luxury but it kept us sustained until we arrived to our destination. And though Chris and I rarely ever eat out at home, we normally love to enjoy this luxury while on vacation…until dear Miss Isa came along. Leisurely waiting for food no longer has the same appeal when you have a small child in tow. So, we opted to stay in and grill every.single.night. And, yes, Chris did all the cooking – even the bountiful breakfasts of pancakes, eggs, bacon, fruit, and coffee each morning. Oh, it was bliss!

Cooking, yes, I would love to give up this one chore. So much work for enjoyment that lasts for so little. Oh, and then the mess that it creates. I like things organized and clean (no, my house is not like this all the time…I’m also a bit of a hoarder!) and cooking does just the opposite. And meal planning…I do it, but it doesn’t come naturally. Even with the help of having each day be a different category (i.e: Mondays – pasta, Tuesdays – Mexican, etc.) I still struggle. My weekly meal plan takes very little time now that I’ve gotten pretty good at it but throw a curveball at me with a carry-in at church, a gathering with friends or family, or unexpected guests and well, I may occasionally come un-done. It’s a point of stress.

Chris and I are actively trying to rid these points of stress out of our lives. After a refresher week living in someone else’s simplified space (only 6 plates, bowls, cups; simplified furniture; few decorations; and our limited number of toys that we brought for Isa), we were both decidedly ready to come home and do a thorough spring cleaning of our material possessions and do some decision management.

Decision management – We are blessed as a nation and in this day in age to have an ABUNDANCE of choices. Walk down any supermarket aisle and you’ll have a myriad of choices for the same product. Do I buy the least expensive or the name brand that I know is good but twice as much? Do I buy organic and which organic brand? And in some instances, do I buy diced, sliced, whole, or whatever the new option is? Add online shopping and then you have the pages of reviews for each product. Is it less expensive to get it online than in the store? Can I get free shipping? Or find coupon codes online? You know the addiction that begins…since I have the option of getting the best deal, I WANT the best deal. It just takes me an hour for ONE item. The decisions can be overwhelming. During our year living in Ecuador there were many times that we found an item we were looking for but there was only one kind. It may have cost a lot more than what we would pay for it in the States but the decision was easy. Sometimes we bought the item, other times we decided the price wasn’t worth it. But it was a simple decision.

We noticed there are areas in our lives that need some decision management. Meal planning is one of mine. There are SO many recipes that I want to try that I can never remember them while I’m meal planning or I can’t find the recipe in my stack(s) of recipes. Do you have a recipe binder, box, email category, Pinterest boards, and Facebook group like I do?

So our simplified meal plan idea was born. Chris was willing to do the same meal plan every.single.week. I couldn’t do it. I like enchiladas a lot but don’t want them weekly. So, we decided on a two-week meal plan. It makes me cringe. The options are limited but I keep reminding myself that I’m not bound to this. It allows for almost no planning and the stress is diminished. We can eventually add another week or two once we mastered this. And in addition to this we will also have a list of four or five carry-in foods as well as a list of main dishes and desserts for dinner parties.

You all may be cringing too but the point I’m trying to make is that we are all bombarded by decisions and have areas in our life where we need to do some decision management. So, though we haven’t come up with our meal plan yet, it is on our list of things to do this week. I will share our finished list in two weeks. In the meantime, you will find me purging and organizing every corner of my house these days. Before and after pictures are great and I’ll share them when the house is complete.

What areas in your life need some decision management?

MEAL PLAN FOR THIS COMING WEEK:

Monday ~ Pasta salad with garbanzo beans

Tuesday ~ Amish baked chicken and baked sweet potatoes

Wednesday ~ Tacos with baked tortilla chips and guacamole

Thursday ~ Curried lentils and rice

Friday ~ Pizza and salad

Saturday ~ Roast & root veggies in crockpot

Sunday ~ Popcorn and smoothies

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This post was shared at Simple Living Wednesday at Our Simple Farm, Women Living Well Wednesday at Women Living Well, Real Food Wednesday at Kelly the Kitchen Kop, Frugal Days, Sustainable Ways at Frugally Sustainable, Simple Lives Thursday at GNOWFGLINS, Your Green Resource at A Delightful Home, Fight Back Friday at Food Renegade, Fresh Bites Friday at Real Food, Whole Health, The Sunday School Blog Hop at Butter Believer, Seasonal Celebrations at Natural Mother’s Network, Real Food 101 at Ruth’s Real Food, Monday Mania at The Health Home Economist, The Welcome Home Linkup at Raising Arrows,  Fat Tuesdays at Real Food Forager, Traditional Tuesdays at Cooking TF

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