Monday, 31 January 2011

Seven Minute Declutter Challenge - Update, zone 3

Last time, I was decluttering the kitchen, zone 2.

So how did I get on with Flylady zone 3 - the bathroom and one other room? Truth to tell, there wasn't much clutter in our bathroom - because we finished a remodel in November - so I'd already been through the towels, washcloths and what not fairly recently. But I did manage to throw out a some old cosmetics and medicine that was past its sell-by date.

The other room? I chose my office. And went gung ho in there! Used my Flylady timer and did seven minutes here and seven minutes there... Why was I keeping these disks from 1995? Because they might 'come in handy'?! Well, I've been moving them from flat to flat,and from Luxembourg to Denmark for 15 years. And they didn't. Flinging, flinging, flung! :D


On the other hand, I did decide to hold on to this. (Do not adjust your sets, I can't turn this picture around, for some strange reason...) A Psion organizer given to me by my boss back in the early 90s. The forerunner of 'smart phones' and now a collectors' item on ebay! I'm keeping my one - not to sell - but to show the grandkids... ;D

 I went through loads and loads of old bank statements etc, manuals for equipment we no longer have, receipts for items we no longer own. Cleared (most) of my desk off. And finally got caught up with accounts. Wow, what a difference. And I'm not just talking about the state of my office but the state of my head...

The office also doubles as my craft room. So I tossed some half-finished projects and sorted through fabric, coloured paper, etc. Another large bag for the After School Club. And the school's sewing room is getting this little lady...

Where did I go next? Zone 4, the Master Bedroom - tune in next Monday for an update...

Have a magnificent Monday! :)

Friday, 28 January 2011

Scaredy Cat Challenge - 28 January 2011

The last time I posted about our Scaredy Cat Challenges was 9 January, so I thought it was about high time I checked in with you all... Did you get started? Do you need a gentle kick up the backside? ;D

My own personal challenge this time round has been learning to play the piano. I have to say that it's still going really well. Practising every day. Because - gasp - I enjoy it! Though, of course, the more I learn, the more I realise that there's just so dang much to learn! (How does that work?!) I'm babystepping my way forward and learning a lot about myself in the process. Hmm, I'm a perfectionist? Now, where did I hear that before? :)


Last week at my lesson, I was playing a piece that had been causing me no end of grief (moving out of my comfort zone of C major to F major). I said afterwards to the teacher that I was annoyed with myself that, a whole week later, there was still one place where I was messing up. And he said (in Danish, with a Norwegian accent), "Okay, that's as maybe. But think of all the other parts where you got it right!". Aha! Yes. Concentrate on the victories. Isn't that what I'm always preaching to the kids? ;D
Anyway, as the piano thing has now become an everyday part of my life (woo hoo, woo hoo!), I think it's time to get out of my comfort zone again and pick a brand new challenge. After all, it's January, the start of a new year. A fresh page!

I'm going to have a look and see what the others are up to for inspiration. I suggest you do the same. And when you're ready for the plunge, we're here to hold your hand and be scared together! Add your blog with the Linky below, or leave a comment.

Have an ivory-tickling-tastic Friday! :)

Thursday, 27 January 2011

Menu plan - Thursday 27 January 2011

I'm excited about this week's menu. And a tad nervous. Cos DH will have his pinny on twice. That's right, read it and weep! ;D You may remember that my (wonderful) DH didn't cook dinner even once during the last decade. But he's cooked dinner twice since the first of January 2011. Yep, things are changing around here...

And the mouthwatering menu?

* 'Breakfast for dinner': cheesey sweetcorn pancakes, sausages, bacon, homemade apple/cinnamon muffins, orange juice and tea (made with teabags all the way from sunny Scotland)

* 'Lunch for dinner': Danish open sandwiches, veggie sticks, yoghurts with müsli topping

* Chicken and bacon wrapped in pastry (readymeal from the freezer), peas and beetroot [on the night I'm out at a school meeting]



* Beef Tikka Masala (cubed beef and a readymade sauce) made in my crockpot with nan bread and basmati rice made in my beloved ricecooker. I'll make double the quantity of rice, so I have leftovers for Egg Fried Rice (see below)

* Egg Fried Rice (using cold rice, see above) with chopped spring onions and cubed ham

* Spaghetti Carbonara with fresh, green salad. DH is making this with DS11

* Medisterpølse (special type of Danish sausage), baby potatoes, red cabbage and sovs (gravy). DH is making this with DD8

Have a thoroughly thrilling Thursday or, as we say here, Little Friday! :)

Wednesday, 26 January 2011

Name that Dane!

Did you know that 'Strange' is a christian name in Denmark? Find out more about those crazy (but lovable) Danes and what they call their baby Vikings in today's post. You can see it over at denmark.dk (the official website of Denmark).

Here's the direct link http://blogs.denmark.dk/diane/2011/01/26/name-that-dane/


Have a wonderful Wednesday! :)

Tuesday, 25 January 2011

Tee hee Tuesday - the Big Knights

I'm not big into watching cartoons with the kids.  Unless, of course, it's an old childhood favourite like Scooby Doo.  This, however, was one series that I bought on video a few years back - more for my viewing pleasure than the kids...  And it tickles me pink that every episode contains those immortal words, "Run for your lives!" :D

Warning: contains gratuitous shouting in an upper-class English accent and scenes of 'angry, old witch'' throwing.




I love Sir Morris who is "...not the finest swordsman in the world. But the most enthusiastic!"  Can I have those words on my gravestone, please? ;D

Hope you have a terrific Tuesday! :)

Monday, 24 January 2011

Seven Minute Declutter Challenge - Update, zone 2

Did you see how I got on in zone 1, the living room and hall?

The next Flylady zone to declutter was zone 2, the kitchen. I set my timer for 7 minutes at a time and started work on the kitchen cupboards - didn't find many dishes or glasses to fling but I did straighten up all the food drawers and got rid of 'junk' like empty boxes and wrappers. Much easier to find things! (And it gave me a few ideas for my menuplan.)


One of the strangest finds in the kitchen cupboards was one of my favourite lipsticks...at the bottom of a tupperware tub filled with chocolates. Now how did that get in there? [whistles innocently]

Some days I didn't set the timer, but used the time waiting for the kettle to boil or coffee to percolate to fling a few bits and pieces from the 'junk' drawer. I also went through the tea/coffee/hot chocolate drawer. Found lots of boxes of tea (that I didn't really fancy) to give away. Kept the little packets that I wanted to try and put them in a tin box and threw away all the cardboard boxes. Loads more space. And have been enjoying more cuppas! :)
All in all it was a great week. And I ended up driving twice to the recycling centre with two carloads of junk - hooray!


Next time I'll be giving you an update on zone 3, the bathroom and my office.Want to join in the Seven Minute Declutter Challenge? It's never too late to get started... Add your blog with the Linky below and let's have a fling! 

Have a marvelous Monday! :)


Friday, 21 January 2011

Brave New World

Last weekend my iPhone finally gave up the ghost. I hadn't been able to sync or update it for months and it was poke-sticks-in-your-eyes slow...eek!

Actually, it was a blessing in disguise. I've dumped Apple and pesky itunes for an HTC telephone. Our telephone provider gives me unlimited access to music. For free. What's not to love?! :)

It's taken me a few days to get the hang of things but I'm giving it a shot and trying to post to the blog via Android. And the swanky telephone camera has a flash which is giving me a lot of gip. But, hey, let's not get all perfectionist, right? Here's a bunch of tulips I bought today to show you...a tad too much light from the flash? Hmm, not even sure the picture's in the right place but, hey, progress not perfection, right?

Have a fabulous Friday and let's just go with the flow! :)
Published with Blogger-droid v1.6.5

Thursday, 20 January 2011

Menu plan - Thursday 20 January 2011

Are you joining me in my Seven Minute Declutter Challenge? I'm still working through the contents of the freezer/fridge and pantry and using as much as possible in this week's menu... Yes, all decluttering counts - even if it's food! And - before you fall off your chair - yes, DH is cooking this week (stone the crows). DD8 and DS11 are helping him...

Declutter Menu:

* Fish curry. Fish fillets (pangasius) baked in the oven on top of curried vegetables (carrot/onion/courgette fried in curry paste and add a can of coconut milk, a little sugar and fish sauce). Rice from the ricecooker on side.

* Tomato/noodle soup with DD8's homemade bread rolls :)


* Kiddies favourite of boiled eggs, toasted bread. Then ricecooker ricepudding for dessert. (On a day that DH isn't home, bien sûr)

* Wholemeal pasta spirals with real, chunky bacon, fresh wilted spinach and Philadelphia cream cheese.

* Wiener Schnitzel (straight from the butchers counter to my frying pan) with baby potatoes and stir-fried cabbage and mushrooms

* Biksemad (Danish 'hash': chopped onions, cubed potatoes and cubed meat, fried up and topped with a fried egg and cubed beetroot)

* DH's gastronomic dinner... Roast chicken with potato wedges and a salad of grated carrot/pineapple/raisins. Dessert is Danish fruit salad: cubed fruit and chunks of chocolate in a vanilla cream sauce. Mmm!


Bon appétit and have a thoroughly thrilling Thursday! :)

Wednesday, 19 January 2011

No sledging, please, we're British!

Head on over to my blog desk at the official website of Denmark for today's post about those crazy (but very lovable...) Danes!

http://blogs.denmark.dk/diane/2011/01/19/no-sledging-please-were-british/


Hope you have a wonderful Wednesday! :)

Tuesday, 18 January 2011

Tee-hee Tuesday! Banana, anyone?

When we were walking to school last week, DD8 said she had a good joke for me. She started telling it and - lo and behold - it was one I told her last year (one my big brother told me). I'd forgotten all about it and it made me laugh out loud at the ungodly hour of 7.45am. No mean feat! The joke made it to the blog back on 23 August but I think that it's worthy of a re-airing. Hope you think so too! :P

* * * * *


A lady got on the number 185 bus with her baby and asked for a ticket to Nørreport (centre of Copenhagen).

"Certainly", said the busdriver. "But, my word, that's the ugliest baby I've ever seen!"

The lady was shocked and didn't know what to reply, so headed straight for the back of the bus and sat down next to a kindly-looking old man.

"Well, I've never been so insulted in all my life!", she said. "That bus driver should be sacked!"

"That's terrible!", the old man replied. "I tell you what, why don't you go and give him a piece of your mind while I hold your monkey?"
* * * * *

Boom boom! ;D


Monkeys courtesy of DD8, bedding by Ikea ;D

Have a thoroughly thrilling tee-hee Tuesday! :)

Monday, 17 January 2011

An apple a day keeps the burnt toast away

If you read last Monday's post, you'll know that the Flylady reminds us Mums that its okay to - occasionally - put our own own needs first.  The family doesn't always have to be first in the (dinner) queue.

I was thinking about this again today.  You see these placemats?


I love them!  (As much as it is possible to love a piece of wannabe-wood with a picture on the top...)  I love their fresh, clear, spring colours (yes, yes, those are the colours of clothes I love too). But I have one particular favourite.  This placemat with the apples...


Well, I've decided that this is the placemat I'm going to use for every breakfast, every lunch and every dinner from now on.  Because I love it!  And, to be perfectly honest, the rest of the family doesn't give a hoot! ;D


Time for DS11 to set the table...and me to get my 'apple-a-day'.  Bon appétit and hope you have a magnificent Monday! :)



Friday, 14 January 2011

Seven Minute Declutter Challenge - Update, zone 1

I wrote last week that I was going to get rid of as much clutter as possible in order to get the New Year off on the right foot. (If you missed that post, it's here...Seven Minute Declutter Challenge). Time for an update! Did I actually start? Did I give up after three days? Did I actually manage to throw anything out?

To be completely honest, on Day One I didn't actually do any decluttering. I shined my sink. With gusto! And did a full-blown Flylady WHB (seven tasks which clean your whole house in 70 minutes). Then I felt that the decks were clean. And ready to be cleared! :)


I have to say that the first couple of days went really well because it was Flylady Zone 1, which includes the entrance way, hall and dining room. When I first started doing Flylady, it would take me about four or five 15 minute sessions to organize the hall cupboard. This time it was a breeze! And it took me less than seven minutes to sort out these shoe baskets in the hall. (If you read There's no business like shoe business... you'll already know that the Danes take their outdoor shoes off indoors. Say that three times fast...)


The next day I attacked the diningroom. Seven minutes at a time. Old placemats went to the rubbish dump. And the After School Club were delighted to receive a large pile of tablecloths, as they always need material for crafts. Why on earth was I hanging on to cloths which didn't even fit the tables I had? :P

I also got DS11 and DD8 in on the act. We started with seven minutes decluttering their Nintendo games. They also have a cupboard in the livingroom which is full of their drawing stuff: papers, pens, etc. And the door doesn't always shut properly because of stuff spilling out... I set the timer for seven minutes and they threw out as many old drawings as they could. (We keep the best ones in a folder.) Another seven minutes trying out every felt pen and flinging it straight into the bin bag if it wasn't up to standard. DD8 said to me, "Mum, you know what's going to happen next, don't you? I'll want to do some drawings when we finish, now that we've found all the good stuff!" Ahh, so wise for such a young age! ;D


Would you like to join in the Seven Minute Declutter Challenge? Add your blog with the Linky below! And tune in next time to see how the decluttering went in Zone 2, the kitchen.

Have a fabulous Friday! :)



Thursday, 13 January 2011

Menu plan - 13 January 2010

Here's what we're eating - and have been eating - this week:

What's this? See end of this post!

* Marinated lamb steaks roasted in the oven, rösti potato cakes from the freezer and sugar snap peas.

* Crockpot lasagne - recipe from Krista's blog

* 'Build your own burger' (burgers, condiments, lettuce leaves, tomato, fried onions, slices of cheese and lots and lots of lovely crispy bacon, mmm!). A handful of crisps and veggie sticks on the side.

* Leftover lasagne with salad and rolls

* Beef Pasta Satay from the Saving Dinner cookbook, with some courgette added

* Svensk Pølsegryde or Swedish Sausage Stew, if you're not quite au fait with the Danish language... ;D (My recipe for that is right here.)

* Going out with friends to celebrate DH's birthday - yaaaay! Dinner at an Indian restaurant then a satire show. Nice! :D

And - just for fun - here's a picture of the birthday cake we made for DS11 to take to school tomorrow. Chocolate cake topped with Maltesers and Mini Snowballs. Fenced in with Chocolate Fingers...mmm! Just a shame I won't get to taste it myself! :P



Bon appétit and happy 'Little Friday'! :)

Wednesday, 12 January 2011

I 'heart' Danish street signs!

Here's something I posted over at blogs.denmark.dk today (the site run by the Danish Ministry of Foreign Affairs). Something I wrote last year but (even if I say it so myself!), it was a great post - so I decided to bring it out, dust it off and revamp it....hope you enjoy!

http://blogs.denmark.dk/diane/2011/01/12/i-heart-danish-street-signs/



Have a wonderful Wednesday! :)

Tuesday, 11 January 2011

Crockpot/Slowcooker Ribs

DS11's current favourite is Crockpot Ribs. Not the prettiest of dishes, I admit. But the meat literally falls off the bone when you take these ribs out the crock. And they're fingerlicking good. But the best thing is that - as they take less than 5 minutes to prep, and there are no hot pans or ovens involved - kids can make them. All. By. Themselves. Child labour, anyone? ;D

You'll need:

a rack of pork ribs for each person
a bottle of barbecue sauce
a crockpot (duh!)



Wash your hands. (Pyjamas can be worn if it's Sunday morning...) Place the ribs in the crock.




Cover them with the whole bottle of barbecue sauce.




Make sure you get every last, lovely drop out...




Put the lid on. Switch the crock on it's lowest setting and go off and enjoy your day. Just for fun, we set the timer for 5 minutes to see if DS11 could beat the clock. There was still one minute remaining...




Bon appétit and have a terrific Tuesday! :)

Monday, 10 January 2011

Pass the burnt toast!

A long, long time ago on the Fly Show (The Flylady's weekly internet radio show), there was a story about 'a Mum who ate burnt toast'. I was puzzled at first. But it was basically another example of why Mums should remember to look after themselves. When you have kids, you always put the kids first. Their needs are Priority Number One. They get the best of everything. They're first in the queue at feeding time - and that often means that Mum gets left with the burnt piece of toast! ;D

Well, that story has stuck in my mind ever since. Food for thought, you might say... Boom, boom!

We often go to Experimentarium (a fantastic hands on/all singing/all dancing/science playground in Copenhagen) and, more often than not, we have a treat in the café. Now, to be perfectly honest, I'm not an icecream freak (unless it's high summer and the living is easy) so I usually opt for coffee and (carrot) cake (mmm). But Mr Ben + Mr Jerry have come up with something I can't resist: peanut butter, vanilla icecream, cookie dough, lots n' lots of lovely, thick dark chocolate and crumbled cookies. Wowza! :D



Unbeknown to the rest of the family, I added one - just one - of these wondrous icecream bars to my weekly online grocery order and hid it deep in the depths of the freezer... Then one night between Christmas and New Year, I ran a huge bubble bath, got out my pamper basket, played an old episode of the Fly show, and relaxed in the bath...


Did I mention I remembered to lock the bathroom door? ;D

It. Was. Heavenly. And - honestly - I was such a sweet Mum afterwards... From now on, I shall definitely 'pass' on the burnt toast! :)

Have a marvellous Monday!

Sunday, 9 January 2011

Scaredy Cat Challenge - remember?

Do you remember that we're doing Scaredy Cat Challenges? My latest personal challenge was to attempt to play the piano at the sprightly age of 43. (You can read the background on that particular challenge here.)



Now that we've moved the piano into the livingroom
(because, woo hoo, I'm using it every day!),
even DH couldn't resist getting in on the act ;D

Well, I finished my set of 10 lessons - with my very nice Norwegian teacher called Odd (isn't that a fantastic christian name?!) - on 17 December.

These lessons have been a godsend. And not just in the musical sense... They've also been a huge kick up the jacksie for a control freak like me. Who wants everything done my way - right here - right now. I laughed out loud when Odd said, "I know you want to be The Master of this instrument [after 5 lessons] but right now the piano controls you! And will do for years. Just s-l-o-w right down. Take your time. One thing at a time. You will get there in the end." Ha! Babysteps, anyone?!




One of the strangest things is that, every single time we start a new piece of music, I look at the (hobbeldy gobbeldy) bunch of notes dancing on the paper and think, "Eek! He expects me to decipher THAT? I caaaaaan't!" And I stare ahead at the notes, fingers fumbling and think, "I was right, this IS impossible. I'll NEVER be able to play this." And yet, one week later, I've deciphered the notes and can play it - albeit shakily - but I know that I can. I CAN! That's pretty strong stuff :)

So I've just signed up for another season and am ready (and willing!) for more scary piano challenges in 2011. Are you working on a Scaredy Cat Challenge or need some inspiration? Check out all the great challenges below... Link up your blog, let's hold hands and be scared together! :D

Have a simply super Sunday!

Friday, 7 January 2011

Fill 'er up!

Do you turn on the oven without thinking? I mean, would you heat up your oven to cook a single dish? I admit that I do sometimes. Eek! Let's not dwell too much on the energy we're wasting and, more importantly, what it's costing... ;D

One of the best memories from my childhood was baking with my Mum on Sunday afternoons :)

Mum would get out the Be-Ro book (one you got free with coupons from bags of flour) and we'd find a recipe that 'matched' the oven temerature of whatever roast she already had in there. Back then, there was no way she'd turn on the oven without planning what was going in and making sure both shelves were filled :)

I try and keep this in mind when menuplanning. Tonight DD8 prepared chicken...




Brussels sprouts. Which, incidentally, she thought were so much fun to prepare? Just wait til she eats them! ;D



And crashed hot potatoes...



No room to spare... Yay!



Bon appétit, fill up those ovens and have a fabulous Friday! :)

Thursday, 6 January 2011

Great Dane-ish Expressions (Part Two)

I've just written another post about those crazy Danes and their crazy Danish expressions. You can read it over at the blogsite of the Danish Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Denmark.dk and blogs.denmark.dk

The direct link is http://blogs.denmark.dk/diane/2011/01/06/great-dane-ish-expressions-part-two/


Hope you have a thoroughly thrilling Thursday! :)

Wednesday, 5 January 2011

Menu planning - Wednesday 5 January 2011

The kids went back to school at 8am (eek!) on Monday, so this week's menu is quick to prepare (we'll no doubt be flagging by the afternoon) and uses up all those things we have hiding in the freezer. Which fits in very nicely with my Seven Minute Declutter Challenge, cos even freezers need a little TLC now and again! :)

Here we go:

* Chicken Nacho Grills - a great freezer/storecupboard standby :)

* Forloren Hare (Danish meatloaf) - I made up a batch of these before Christmas, so I only need to remove it from the freezer. Three cheers for forward planning! ;D Baby potatoes, peas and sovs (gravy) on the side.

* Roasted chicken legs with a big green salad and crash-hot potatoes via The Pioneer Woman who got the recipe from Jill Dupleix using leftover potatoes from the Forloren Hare

* Leftover Forloren Hare served with rice and Jenny's greenbeans with bacon and brown sugar

* Pork chops and carrots made in the crockpot (perhaps with a tin of mushroom soup dumped on top) and I'll use leftover rice to make some fried rice

* That old family favourite Pasta med kødsovs/spag bog/pasta with meatsauce, veggie sticks (cucumber/carrot) on the side. Waffles for dessert, made by DS11. He used the Flylady timer, set for 3 minutes, so he could run off and play computer between batches :)




I don't know about you, but I like my waffles with raspberry jam and lots of squirty cream!



Velbekomme and have a wonderful Wednesday! :)

Tuesday, 4 January 2011

Seven Minute Declutter Challenge

I've had a wonderful Christmas with my Scottish and Danish family. And a fantastic Hogmanay with my best Danish friends and their families. But - hey - don't look back, it's time to look forward to the New Year! ;D

Finally (finally!) the days are getting longer. On sunny mornings I feel like I can do anything. And on (all) the other days, I turn to the Flylady! :)

Flylady's motto this year is "Go for 7 in 2011". Now, you can play this any way you want. I've already got a few ideas of my own: throw away 7 things when I open a drawer, pamper by reading 7 pages of my book before I go to sleep, allow myself 7 minutes to peek on Facebook, do 7 pushups while waiting for the kettle to boil. You get my drift... Other people are planning 7 meals (I already do menu planning, so that's in the bag), writing a to-do list with 7 things on it. Etc, etc, etc.

But I always love a challenge and have decided to kick-start the year with a big declutter. So every day for the month of January I shall be decluttering for 7 minutes. Or multiples thereof. But I will at least do the basic 7 minutes - and pat myself on the back for doing it! ;)  And you, my dear blog readers, will be my witnesses. Or fellow flingers. Feel free to join in and toss your clutter and cares away! You can add your blog with the Linky below, or leave a comment to commit yourself on cyberpaper :)

If you're not familiar with the Flylady, I suggest you go over to her website right away and sign up for babysteps. It's all free, so you have nothing to lose. (Except the chaos that reigns in your head and house.)

And with that, I'm setting my timer and am off and running! :D