How to live a clutter free life?

I have read the books, blogs, discussed with friends etc.  and it is clear to me that despite all of this effort, I still have not got a handle on my clutter situation.

After some analysis, it appears that the problem is not with sorting the clutter into the recommended piles, it lies in dealing with the piles once created!  The ‘Rubbish’ pile is ejected immediately, the ‘Keep’ pile finds a new home within the house, the ‘Charity’ pile goes straight in the boot of the car to drop off.  The problem lies with the ‘Sell’ pile.

Please tell me I am not alone in carefully saving all items which I believe may have a value and would then, once sold, provide cash for other things?  The issue, I believe, is how best to dispose of these items.  Obviously you could put them in the local paper or newsagents window for very little cost.  There are also many sites available for selling items, such as Ebay or Gumtree, but in the case of Ebay particularly the actual of selling cost of the item is quite high in relation to price achieved at sale.

I have taken a look at my ‘Sell’ pile and have decided that it is time to take action as money raised would help towards getting Katie Says off the ground and that can only be a good thing (obviously in my opinion)!  And judging by the size of the pile accumulated, would definitely go quite some way to helping me achieve a clutter free home!

So I will be loading all the items I have collected over a longgggg period of time into an album on the Katie Says Facebook page and as there are so many items, it will be a gradual process, but I hope you will take a look and maybe find something which takes your fancy.  Please do tell your friends about it too and maybe ‘Like’ the page to help spread the word.

Thank you for your help.

xx

Where does the time go??

My little one is getting ready to join big school and all the preparations involved, as well as the end of term for DD1 mean that very little time has been left to work on my projects, namely getting Katie Says Sew up and running.

I have decided to shelf that a little until the girls are both back at school in September and I will then have lots of free time to myself – well that’s the theory anyway!

In the meantime, I am trying to make a few things and have set up a Folksy shop, which I hope to stock soon.

The Facebook page is now up and running – photos added of past makes, so please do take a look.

Introducing our kittens

We recently decided that it was time to add to our family as the goldfish, although looked after and now huge, were not really very engaging for the girls.  I am not a ‘dog person’ and as I would be the one doing most (all!) of the looking after, it was decided that a kitten would be the best solution.

Having contacted the Croydon Animal Samaritans, the lovely Lois asked us to visit some kittens and we ended up falling in love with and adopting two.  They are brother and sister and came from an overcrowded house with their mum and 2 other kittens.  They are always looking for kind forever homes for the animals they rescue and I can safely say that they provided us with all the help we needed in order to make taking on the kittens and enjoyable experience for all.  If you are looking for a new pet, I would recommend you take a look at their website.

So it is with great pleasure that I introduce our little bundles of joy – Bertie and Betty Boo!

The MAD Awards make the world seem smaller

Isn’t it funny how you can be pootling through life when all of a sudden the world seems smaller, just through some random connection?  I had seen mention of  The MAD Awards on Twitter and various other blogs so went to check it out.

Turns out that there were various ‘worth a follow’ blogs that I had not yet discovered, so I subscribed to some of the finalist’s feeds and got back to work.

I went to read (clear out) my backlog of posts and suddenly much to my surprise recognised someone!  The blog is SuburbanMummyUK and her daughter went to baby ballet with my youngest right here in Chislehurst.  So I went from feeling that the world is a big place, to suddenly thinking it is sometimes quite small.

It happened on another occasion, when my Auntie who lives in Vancouver, Canada, suddenly announced that she had started talking to an English guy at a bus stop when he asked directions.  It turned out (after a bit of discussion) that he was actually in my class in Secondary School and was just over there doing a bit of travelling.  He and his girlfriend ended up spending the night at my Aunties and having a meal and beers – how random is that?!

Have you ever had that feeling?

Sowing Time

We have been very busy now that the weather has improved and started the preparations for our little vegetable garden.  We do not have a great big allotment type plot (did, but that is a whole other story!), more of a collection of pots and containers on the patio, but hopefully we will still be able to harvest some crops eventually.

We have started the ball rolling with 4 types of tomatoes, 2 types of peppers, 5 types of chillies, runner beans and sweet peas.  We already have strawberries, as they managed to resurrect themselves despite the horrible winter that they weathered.  In a week or two we will sow some courgettes (although only 2 plants this year as we had a courgette mountain last year from 4 plants), aubergines, spinach and lots of different salad leaves.

The kids really enjoyed getting mucky and helping to sow all of the seeds.  We even had enough toilet roll tubes for the runner beans despite the binoculars incident (see previous post)!

Just have to keep fingers and toes crossed now that some veggies grow or the kids gardening enthusiasm will not last very long!

What are you growing this year?  Are there any vegetables that you would recommend we try?

Baked Macaroni Frittata – Recipe Alert!

Ingredients 

1/2 tsp. olive oil
85g/3oz fusilli or macaroni
1 leek, thinly sliced
85g/3oz frozen or canned sweetcorn
85g/3oz frozen peas
1 red pepper, seeded and chopped
2 large eggs
150ml/ 1/4pt semi skimmed milk
1 tblsp. fresh thyme leaves
50g/2oz grated cheddar
2 tbsp. parmesan, finely grated
 

1. Heat the oven to 190c / fan 170c /gas 5. Grease a 1.2 litre baking dish with the olive oil.

2. Cook the pasta in salted boiling water in a large pan for eight minutes.

Add all the veg and cook for another two to three minutes until the pasta is tender and vegetables slightly softened. Drain, then tip into the baking dish and stir together.

3. Beat together the eggs and milk in a jug and add the thyme. Mix the two cheeses together and add most of it to the egg mixture. Grind in some black pepper and a sprinkling of salt.

4. Pour into the baking dish, stir gently, then scatter the rest of the

cheese on top.  Bake for 35-40 minutes until set and golden.   Cool for a

few minutes, then cut into four and serve with a salad.

Birthday Cake Pressure

Each year, I feel a pressure to make from scratch, birthday cakes for my two girls.  It started straight away on my eldest daughter’s first birthday – I even got as far as hiring two cake tins from the local cake decorating shop.  One for her party – Winnie the Pooh shaped and one for the family get together – rocking horse shaped.  What on earth was I thinking!!

Princess Birthday CakeFriends quickly pointed me in the direction of the local supermarket, telling me I was mad to even think about making my own, it wasn’t good to start a precedent, I was already too stressed and busy, etc etc.  So, I have always purchased their birthday cakes from said supermarket, until last year, when finally, I succumbed to the pressure of cake making discussions occurring on the playground and made my first birthday cake (which I am very proud of – see picture)!

My girls are happy as long as they have a nice cake, bought or made, but I did feel a warm fuzzy glow at making it myself with love (sweat, swearing and late night included!).  This year, she is having a horse riding party and I really don’t think I am up to making a horse shaped cake!!

So, what do you do – buy or make?  Please do show us your cakes if you have been brave and made your own.

Chicken Lasagne to die for – Recipe Alert!

If you are on a diet or have high cholesterol, look away now as this is a seriously indulgent lasagne!!  We have this lasagne when some comfort food is in order, but also it works really well for a hot buffet at a special occasion and when you have friends over for a get together. 

Ingredients:

1 large uncooked whole fresh chicken (if your local supermarket has a rotisserie, then much easier to buy a ready cooked one)

1 large pot of double cream 284ml 

1-2  large onions (or however much you like)

Mushrooms (I like quite a few but again, depends how much you like)

Garlic (no more than one clove)

Mixed herbs

X2 small cans of Campbells mushroom condensed soup (small tins)

Fresh washed spinach

2 pots of grated parmesan  (100g x 2) 

Mozzarella cheese (you can use the low fat mozzarella but with this dish, it’s probably not worth it anyway!)

6-8 lasagne sheets (depending on size of your dish I suppose)!! 

 Method:

 Roast the chicken until cooked through & then shred all the breast meat and underneath until you have got all the meat off & put in a separate dish (if you buy a ready cooked one, just do the shredding part!!!)

Chop the onions and mushrooms while chicken is cooking.

Cook the onions, mushrooms, garlic and fresh herbs until soft in olive oil & put to one side.

Then put the double cream into a large saucepan, then add 1 pot of the parmesan and the 2 cans of mushroom soup.  Keep stirring on a low heat until the mixture is smooth and runny and its all mixed in.

Now time to make the layers.

How to layer the lasagne:

 Layer 1:

Thin layer of onion/mushroom mix

Layer of fresh chicken

Spinach leaves

Creamy sauce

3 lasagne sheets (1 layer but you will need 3 which will be side by side)

Layer 2:

Layer of onion/mushroom mix

Layer of fresh chicken

Spinach leaves

Creamy sauce

3 lasagne sheets

 Then on top of last layer of lasagne, put rest of onion, then rest of chicken, then only a few spinach leaves and finish with the remainder of the sauce until everything is covered with sauce.  

Then lastly, sprinkle entire top with the 2nd pot of parmesan and slice mozzarella and randomly place on top.

Cook for about 45 mins or until top goes brown.

Do let us know what you think of this dish and we would love to see photos of your finished creations!

Teaching an old dog new tricks!

I realised the other day that I had done nothing for myself, as in ’me time’ in seven years, yes you read that correctly, seven years – shocking isn’t it!!  Basically pre marriage and kids.  So this obviously required immediate correction.

I had spotted a sewing course for free machine embroidery on another blog and decided this would be just the thing to get the ‘Me Time’ ball rolling.  So my husband was informed that he would looking after his kids for two days and a night (for the first time ever!) and I arranged to attend the course with my Auntie.

It was fantastic, a full day of sewing, learning a great new craft (which I will continue), eating lovely home made cake and generally relaxing.  I did manage to produce a finished article of my own design no less – a family tree cushion – see pics!  And would highly recommend the course if you fancy a great day of sewing – get in touch with Lara Sparks.

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