Monday, 28 February 2011

Day off or off day?

DS8 was diagnosed with scarlet fever yesterday. (Yes, one of those illnesses from the 19th century...like bubonic plage, scurvy and ricketts!) Don't worry - she's doing absolutely fine. She's still coughing but the fever has gone, the bright red rash and goosepimples are fading, the antibiotics have kicked in and - to be honest - she's thoroughly enjoying all the attention! ;D

I decided last night to 'allow' myself an extra half hour in bed this morning. DS11 goes into school by himself and, as I wouldn't be going in with DD8, I could forego my early-morning shower. Because no other mortal soul would see me before my morning jog. (I usually shower/put on makeup/blowdry my hair before the schoolrun and have a second shower - more of a quick hose down really - after my run).

Of course, the whole plan backfired. I actually felt less 'together' than I usually do. I woke up at the usual time and couldn't really get back to sleep (oh my goodness, isn't that what happens to old people? Waaah!), I looked - and therefore felt - sluggish and it took me soooo much longer to get into gear. Hmm, that'll teach me to mess with my Flylady morning rouine. Lesson learned!

So I decided on a 'do over' of my day and restarted my morning routine after my shower. The rest of the morning went much more smoothly. I got on with my 'one-hour-once-a-week-clean' (WHB) while DD8 enjoyed playing 'school' (we followed the weekly work plan that her teachers send out). And - yes - that is a picture of a bar of Ritter Sport in her maths book. Luckily it's the hazlenut one (blech!), so we weren't tempted to break into the sweet drawer! ;D


The rest of the day we chilled and watched Thoroughly Modern Millie (at DD8's request request, tee hee) and made a fastelavnsris for Carnival. It just needs some sweets tied on. (You can see how we make those here.)


So all's well that ends well. And even though DD8 is still off school tomorrow, my alarm will be ringing at the normal time. Ha!

Have a marvelous Monday! :)


Friday, 25 February 2011

Seven Minute Declutter Challenge - Update, zone 5, bedroom

The last time I posted about my Seven Minute Declutter Challenge, I was going 'gung ho' in my office. That was at the end of January.  I had a blog break for the Danish school winter week, so it's high time to bring you up to date and - sniff - bring this particular challenge to a close... :)
Every day in January I did (at least one, usually they snowballed...) a 7 minute stint of decluttering - focusing each week on a different area in the house, according the Flylady zones. The final zone for the month was zone 5, the Master Bedroom. If you follow the Flylady, you'll know that she also did a 'Clean out the Closet' challenge - so the two things tied in nicely together.


First of all, perhaps I should point out that, here in Denmark, we don't physically have closets. You store your clothes in a wardrobe and maybe a chest of drawers. So I only have clothes in my bedroom. No bowling balls, luggage or old books. But I still have a lot of clutter! :D

I started off by sorting through one shelf at a time. Seven minutes at a time. This Flylady lark must be working because one shelf used to take me a whole fifteen minutes... Seems like I've also become more ruthless - I was able to toss out grotty t-shirts without blinking. And if I found anything that wasn't quite the right colour or fit - bing - into a bag for the charity shop or my friend's teenage daughter! ;D


I did the same thing with my 'hanging' wardrobe. My blouses, dresses, skirts and trousers are already all on hangers, sorted by colour. I only needed to go through them, from left to right, and get rid of stuff I really hadn't worn in a while because - surprise, surprise - I didn't actually like it!

So the bedroom declutter was - dare I say it - pretty easy. Spurred on by this, I decided to grab the bull by the horns and tackle a job that I've been avoiding for months. Okay, years. Downstairs in our basement we have some more wardrobes. When we first moved to Copenhagen, I discovered that I wouldn't have much use for my business suits and formalwear. So I kept them in the basement. It was good stuff, right? Expensive and classic. And there it has been. For over 10 years! Occasionally I've actually worn one of those skirts or dresses to a formal do or wedding - so I'd convinced myself that it was necessary to hang on to everything... Eek! I didn't use my timer this time. I opened the cupboard, pulled out seven items, and tried them on in front of a full mirror...

I managed to throw about half of the things away because the colour wasn’t right or the style didn’t suit me. But the funny thing was discovering that I can actually still wear a lot of the items. I found several pairs of classic black trousers (some bootleg, some with a slight flare) that I had completely forgotten about. (Note to self: do not buy black trousers ever again!). And the incredible thing? That all of the clothes still fit - even after two kids! (Once a skinny minnie, always a skinny minnie?)

I also found a couple of items that I liked but wasn’t wearing. Why? Because the length wasn’t right. So they’re on top of the sewing machine, waiting patiently for next 'Anti-Procrastination' Wednesday…

So that's it. The end of this Seven Minute Declutter Challenge. But - bien sûr - the decluttering continues!

Have a fantastic Friday! :)

Thursday, 24 February 2011

Menu plan - Thursday 24 February 2011

Here is it, this week's menu at Ch-chilly C-casa C-copenhagen. Yep, we're back to sub zero temperatures and light snowfall again this week... But at least the sun makes an occasional appearance, just to keep up our flagging spirits! :D

* Homemade enchiladas with salad on the side.

* Chicken, cauliflower and red pepper risotto - all cooked together in my beloved ricecooker...

* Pasta med kødsovs/pasta with meatsauce/spaghetti bolognese.  I cooked up a huge batch of minced beef a couple of months ago. Froze it in 'flat packs' and it has been a lifesaver. Just pull out of the freezer, defrost (doesn't take long, as it's flattened out) and use for bolognese sauce, add kidney beans for enchilada filling etc. Quick and convenient = two thumbs up!

* Lamb steaks roasted in the oven with rösti potato cakes, green beans with honey and bacon. All done together in the oven. Simple!

* Homemade pizza and veggie sticks. DD8 is hosting 'Play + Dinner club' for a group of 5 classmates. Who doesn't love to top their own pizza? And make a funny face out of pepperoni? Icecream for dessert.


* Forloren hare or Danish meatloaf. My recipe is right here.

* Leftover forloren hare with wholemeal pasta and tomato/veggie sauce.

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

Wednesday, 23 February 2011

Carnival in Copenhagen!

Every Wednesday I like to write about those crazy (but lovable) Danes. You can find a lot of those posts over at http://denmark.dk/ (the official website of Denmark).

Here's the direct link to today's post http://blogs.denmark.dk/diane/2011/02/23/carnival-in-copenhagen/



Have a wonderful Wednesday! :)

Thursday, 10 February 2011

Menu plan - Thursday 10 February 2011

We're in the run up to the school winter week (vinterferie) and really looking forward to not having to jump out of bed when it's still dark :)  DH is away travelling for part of this week, so the kids have firmly set their stamp on the menu...

* Homemade pepperoni pizza and veggie sticks, prepared for us by DS11 (maybe we should start calling him Little Chef?)

* Biksemad which is basically Danish 'hash': chopped onions, cubed potatoes and cubed meat, fried up and topped with a fried egg and cubed beetroot. And plenty of ketchup.

* Pasta med kødsovs/spag bog/spaghetti with meatsauce - whatever you like to call it in your corner of the world.  Always hits the spot!  :)  Green spinach salad on the side.

* Stegt flæsk med persillesovs. Mmm, a big family favourite and a Danish classic.  Fried belly pork (til it's super, super crisp) served with homemade parsley sauce and baby potatoes.  And steamed carrots or panfried cabbage, depending on my mood that day.

* Wholemeal pasta shells with a bit of cream, shredded chicken and sugarsnap peas.

Madder - which sounds pretty crazy - but is in fact plain old Danish open sandwiches :)

I won't be blogging next week as we've Scottish family here with us for the week. But the menu includes roast chicken, glazed ham, Danish sausages, several cakes (including our Mazarinkage, a marcipan cake) and no doubt lots of yummy snacks like nachos...

Have a thoroughly thrilling Thursday! :)

Wednesday, 9 February 2011

Mazarinkage - Danish Marcipan Cake

Today's post over at denmark.dk was a yummy Danish cake that only contains 5 ingredients. Why don't you give it a whirl?

http://blogs.denmark.dk/diane/2011/02/09/mazarinkage-danish-marcipan-cake/



Velbekomme and hope you have a wonderful Wednesday! :)

Tuesday, 8 February 2011

Bright and breezy!

A storm passed through Denmark last night and on our way to school this morning we saw plenty of branches on the streets, overturned plantpots and parts of the school playground were cordonned off due to falling rooftiles.  As soon as I got home I went to tidy our garden.  I did not pass 'Go' and go into the house first.  I did not get sidetracked, I got started immediately!  Yep, I've been doing the Flylady thing for so long that I knew that 15 minutes would be more than enough time to get the job done.  I'd battened down the hatches before I went to bed yesterday so, luckily, the damage wasn't too bad.  The wooden furniture in the front garden had - once again - disappeared from view (see my barometer post, Windy Wednesday).  One very old and decrepit table had lost the fight and a couple of lanterns were broken....all easily (and cheaply) replaced on my next trip to Ikea ;D



As the sun was shining (hooray, can you believe it's now light at 7.45am!!!), I decided to don my swanky new gardening gloves. They were a Christmas present. Cost a small fortune compared to the ones you buy at the supermarket but they feel lovely and are machine washable...  A definite thumbs up.  [Postscript: Ha! I've just realised looking at this photo that the gloves are 'Flylady' purple!]



It felt g-r-e-a-t to be out, even though it was still blowing a gale.  I didn't really do very much, just removed twigs and leaves from the front flower beds.  But the beds looked so much better afterwards.  I took a wander around the house and there are definite signs of new life everywhere.  Snowdrops and erantis are definitely pushing their way through.   (And if they can do it, I need to do the same, right?)



Ten minutes on the clock and I was finished. What to do next?  I washed out a couple of old jam jars (which I keep in the garage, for this very purpose), dug up a little clump of snowdrops and added a bit of moss to hide the earth.  We have tons of moss. It's bad for our lawn, but actually rather useful when you're making floral decorations...  I'll get DD8 to tie a colourful bow around them and - voilà - one of them is for us and one is for her teacher's desk.



It felt great to be out and get some dirt underneath my fingernails, or at least on my new gardening gloves ;D  Even if it was only for 15 minutes...

Have a terrific Tuesday, hope it's breezy and bright!

Monday, 7 February 2011

Remember to polish!

When I was out shopping with my sweetie DDSIL (Dear-Danish-Sister-in-Law) on Friday, we stopped by one of my favourite local shops - an Aladdin's cave for girls of all ages - the Pink Flamingo :)  They had some new spring nail colours.  I couldn't resist and bought three of them.  I should point out (mainly for the benefit of DH, who occasionally reads what I write here...) that they were as cheap as chips at the knockdown price of 20 Danish crowns a bottle.  [That would be about £2.50 or $4] 

I've already changed my nail colour twice since Saturday morning (it's 10.30am Monday morning, as I type). And that gave me an 'a-ha' moment. In my pre-Flylady days, I would always wear transparent pink nailvarnish.  Because I could get away with wearing it for about two weeks before anyone noticed it chipping etc...  These days, I change my nail colour at least once or twice a week.  And not just pale pink.  Cherry red to pale lilac, strong peach or turquoise blue. It really doesn't take more than three or four minutes to do the job and it makes me feel great.  And young.  Or at least young-ish... ;D  And some days - by complete accident - the colour even matches the scarf that I'm wearing. Howzat!


Have a marvelous Monday! :)

Friday, 4 February 2011

I could. And I can.

If you've been following my Scaredy Cat Challenges, you'll know that I started learning piano in September. Today I had my fourteenth lesson (each lesson lasts half an hour). It was a turning point. I reached the end of my little red piano book, "Vi spiller klaver 1".


My teacher told me that I had made amazing progress and to order the next book in the series. So, you see, I could. And I can. And it feels fan-flippin-tastic.

Have a fabulous Friday! :D

Thursday, 3 February 2011

Menu plan - Thursday 3 February 2011

Is it already February?! Here's this week's menu - old family favourites and a few new things...

* Quorn fillets (straight from the freezer) covered with tomato sauce (straight from a jar) and peas (straight from the freezer) and baked in the oven, served with wholemeal spaghetti

* Pork barbecue chops (made in the crockpot) and brown rice made in my ricecooker, carrots steamed on the top of the rice in the ricecooker

* Warm beef teriyaki salad: I steep cubes of beef in teriyaki sauce and flash fry them. The other 'salad' ingredients are chinese noodles, sliced cucumber, carrot 'shavings', yellow pepper and fresh spinach. Sprinkle peanuts on the top. Yum! :D


* Veggie burgers on homemade wholemeal rolls, veggie sticks on the side

* Roast chicken legs with nachos (tortilla chips with cheddar cheese, sour cream, salsa, guacamole) and a large spinach salad. Dessert is cinnamon apple crumble (apple crisp, I think, to the yanks?) with cream and icecream.
* DS11 has discovered the joy of enchiladas and, more importantly, can make them himself! ;D He'll fill the tortilla wraps with minced beef/kidney beans. (I'll liquidise the beans first, so the kids can't see them in with the mince...)

* And last - but not least - a day where we eat leftovers or 'lunch for dinner' = smørrebrød or madder (Danish open sandwiches).

Bon appétit and happy 'Little Friday'! :)


Wednesday, 2 February 2011

Good god?

You can find "God" everyhwhere in Denmark! ;D

Today's post is over at denmark.dk (the official website of Denmark). The direct link to my post is

http://blogs.denmark.dk/diane/2011/02/02/good-god/



Have a wonderful Wednesday! :)

Tuesday, 1 February 2011

Writers block(head)

I got a book for Christmas and finished it at the weekend. A fairly run-of-the-mill 'Da Vinci Code' type of thing (which, to be honest, read more like a filmscript than a novel). Now, I know it's a work of fiction, but that doesn't mean it should contain glaring mistakes. Right? Write? ;D

For the record, this photo was taken with my mobile phone... ;D
The action starts off in Copenhagen and there's a fire... "Fluorescent yellow fire trucks were already positioned..." Um, say what?? Fire engines here in Denmark are most definitely red. Ask any Dane. May I suggest that the author - instead of wasting time and money on his (apparently fruitless) research trip - should have gone straight to 'google pictures'? The Danish translation for fire truck is brandbil.

Then later on, while in a church in Lisbon, the main character says, "..we also need a picture of this. Since none of us has a camera, any ideas?". Um, your mobile telephone? For Pete's sake, the book is set in the present (published in 2007), so surely the telephones they're carrying have an in-built camera? (Especially as the two characters are secret agent types...) For goodness sake, I had a camera in my very first (cheapo) mobile telephone from 1999. Gaaaaah!

Anyway, I finished it and can now go back to my usual reading matter - cookbooks and murder mysteries. Hooray!

If you want reviews of books that are worth reading, then go and see what Ms. Caboo is up to... http://bookaliciousbabe.blogspot.com/ She's reading 100 books this year - go her! :D

Have a terrific Tuesday! :)