Can Simpler Be Better?
Updated: Aug 19, 2020
by Diane Cretin
I have been thinking a lot about how to make my life simpler. I realize that when you remove clutter and distractions, things can start becoming more clear, easier to understand and manage. When I look for a positive about sheltering in place, I realize I have had more time to be reflective. I have been thinking about what new practices I want to keep when we can move about more freely.
During this time I have been able to take part in the Friday book group at noon which I am greatly enjoying. Since I am not going to the church building every day and have not been driving my granddaughter to school, I can chose to start my day more slowly. I can juice celery and water the pots in my garden before starting my work day. I spend more time talking to God and have also been able to spend more time with my family.
I have also been thinking about scheduling more time to unclutter my house. I think it is easier to be thankful when you really focus on all that you have, and it can be easier to focus when life is simpler.
I have known that we in the United States are rich compared to most people in the world. But in Survival Guide for the Soul by Ken Shigematsu (the book we are reading in the Friday book group run by Pastor Emily) I was struck by this sentence, "According to the World Bank, 71 percent of the world lives on ten dollars or less a day. Ten dollars or less a day - just try to imagine that. I realize the cost of living may be less other places, but not that astronomically less. And note the "or less". I have heard of places where people live on one or two dollars a day. I have needed to spend some time talking to God about this statistic. And that has included needing to apologize for any time I was whiny about or envious of something I didn't own yet wanted, even if only in my own head.
I do want to say I do not make light of the fact that some of you may be suffering financially now. You may have become unemployed or closed a business recently. I am sorry if that is the case.
I am not saying that as I strive to make things simpler that everything is ideal. I am fully aware that the start of homeschooling is approaching and homeschooling my granddaughter while working requires some juggling. But I know many people are dealing with this and I am thankful for this time to evaluate what new habits I want to keep.
My granddaughter's godparents got her a Disney cookbook. She loves to cook with people and is learning new skills all the time. She asked me if we could make the Seven Dwarfs' Soup recipe. It is quite simple; it only has 7 ingredients including the salt and pepper - one for each dwarf. They say to be careful of the pepper...it might make you Sneezy.
We made this for lunch and doubled the recipe since we have 5 people to feed and they say it serves 3 or 4. If you like things a little less simple, you could add some herbs but we chose to basically keep to the recipe this first time. We did let Olivia pick the pasta shape she wanted. Also, if you make enough to have leftovers I would have more chicken broth on hand to add when you reheat the soup as the pasta will soak up the broth. We let each person salt and pepper to taste. When Olivia wants to make this again, I would probably also suggest adding a little more celery and carrots. With all of that being said, I did enjoy the soup according to the recipe.
This recipe can easily be done mainly, if not all, by children, depending on their age. This was Olivia's first time cutting carrots and celery herself with a sharp knife that adults use. Peel the carrots and cut into thin slices. Prepare your celery stalks by cutting off the leafy tops and white bottoms. Cut the remaining stalks into thin slices.
The only thing I did to help was to deal with the chicken: cut the chicken breasts in half to make them thinner, cook them, and cut them into cubes.
Olivia then got her ingredients over by the stove so she could start cooking. She had her cut-up chicken and pasta on the other side of the stove to add during the next phase.
If the child is young, have them ask an adult to help combine the chicken broth, carrot slices, and celery slices into a saucepan. Olivia was comfortable doing this herself. Cook over high heat until the broth begins to bubble. Then turn the heat down to low and cook for 3 minutes.
Then stir in the chicken and pasta.
Continue cooking the soup until the pasta is cooked al dente (about 10 more minutes according to the recipe). We only cooked 7 more minutes since we knew it would keep cooking some before Olivia got it served. We let each person add salt and pepper to taste instead of adding it to the pot. Time to serve and enjoy!
If you are interested in the cookbook, it looks like this and can be purchased on the Disney website. https://www.shopdisney.com/the-disney-princess-cookbook-477416540282.html?isProductSearch=1&plpPosition=undefined&searchType=autosuggest-popular&siteSearchTopProduct=1
I hope you take some time to think about how simplifying your life might be beneficial.