A day of decluttering & comfort food

1 Reclaiming space Today was a productive day! My chap emptied an ensuite bathroom that had been previously used as storage for so much STUFF it was practically up the ceiling & you couldn’t open the door properly. Well, it’s all gone! Bags and bags chucked & more to sort & sell/charity. The room is now empty! He ripped out a nasty dusty manky carpet & we are planning on revamping the whole room to make a “grown-up” bathroom! Just need to sell some stuff to get some spare pennies.

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Wish we’d taken a before photo when it was rammed full like something from an episode of hoarders!

2) Multitasking mama – managed to list quite a bit on ebay today whilst feeding & cuddling Sylvie AND we have bids already! Promising start & more dosh hopefully towards laptop/bathroom fund.

3 Bread & Butter pudding Had a wonderful roast dinner made by the man, then to follow a big comfort stodgy pudding that I’d never tried, let alone made before. Was made with two day old tiger bread & a recipe from a book called “Just like my mum used to make”. Not the best photo but was rushing!

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4 Smiles a recurring theme but this little lady can never fail to cheer us up!

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5) bedtime two little boys settled in bed, (it’s been a long day!!), snuggling with the 8yo watching Shrek the third, & looking forward to climbing into my own bed to watch Flight of The Conchords & cosying up with my chap & baby πŸ™‚

When best friends marry, and 12 weeks of baby joy…

Today’s five…

1) huge declutter – we have an ensuite bathroom that’s not been used for years, instead it was crammed full of stuff being stored. Today, it’s nearly empty & with some DIY & a bit of love, we will have a bathroom back! Bags still need sorting but it’s a huge progress. It had been one of those “lets put it off another day” jobs. Phew!

2) My mummy – went our briefly with my mama today, only to a supermarket but it was nice to get out with her πŸ™‚

3) 12 weeks my beautiful baby girl is 12 weeks today. What an amazing few weeks we’ve already shared. I love her more than I thought would be possible! She’s slotted right in to our family!

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4) Love – Two of the loveliest friends I know married today! I don’t think I know of a couple more suited to each other! They never fail to make me laugh, & they have completely made my day – Just wonderful news!

5) Saturday nights Snuggling with some of my brood watching The Voice, with nibbles & drinks – perfect!

Yummy & Quick Fish Pie

Been wanting to make a fish pie for ages & having never actually made my own, I decided today was the day. Craving proper comfort food!

I am a member of a lovely cookery group on Facebook & got some tips on there, whilst loosely following a Jamie Oliver recipe.

Ingredients
Approx. 700g of cod & haddock (I used unsmoked as my eldest doesn’t like it)
1kg potatoes -peeled chopped
1 carrot
2 celery
2 medium onions
Red chilli (I used a frozen chopped cube equivalent to 1tsp)
200g (ish!) Good mature cheddar
Butter
Salt
White & black pepper
Knorr fish stock cube
Grated nutmeg
Fresh parsley
Lemon
Small tub 250ml half-fat creme fraiche
Frozen peas
Fresh or frozen spinach – I defrosted two lumps!
4 free range eggs

Method

Preheat oven 200Β°c

Peel & cut potatoes, put in pan salted water to boil for mashing. In separate pan, start boiling eggs.

Put butter in saucepan, put in onions & celery, gently softening for a few minutes.

Meanwhile, butter dish & grate in carrot & cheddar, add chopped fish chunks, drizzle with a squeeze of fresh lemon, add tub creme fraiche, pinch of salt, white pepper, chilli, chopped parsley, grated nutmeg, crumble stock cube, mix all together gently. Add frozen peas & dot with spinach. When eggs boiled, cool them in cold water, peel & quarter eggs & place over top.

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When potatoes are done, drain & mash using drizzle of olive oil/butter & season.

Cover pie & sprinkle with additional grated cheddar.

Cook in oven for around 45 minutes or until golden & bubbling.

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We chose to serve ours with extra peas. It was a big hit with our family – it should serve 6. We had two very hungry adults, two hungry older children & two little ones & polished off the whole lot!

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Enjoy! Let me know if you give it a try πŸ™‚

Sleepy smiles & storytime

Today, I woke up with the intention of having a much more positive day, despite still feeling a bit bleh. Oh, I long for warm weather & no poorliness!

It’s been a mixed day but mostly good…

1) The weekend starts here– Easter holiday & long weekend with family. VERY much needed.

2) Storytime – sat and read Nature by Alain GrΓ©e, with Rocco. Beautiful book. πŸ™‚

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3) Capturing a photo that made my day – my beautiful smily sleepy baby wrapped up close to my heart.

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4) Crochet – made a mouse! Wasn’t the best mouse in the world, (in fact it was supposed to be a bunny!) but my baby liked it, & it has inspired me to practice more amigurumi.

5) Sun – snow is melting more! I can see the bulbs springing through & the promise of Springtime.

Going bananas

Going bananas – literally! One of those days where nothing seems to go as you imagine…I’m still feeling under the weather, house was descending into chaos; plus the two little boys had unpeeled all the bananas for fun, not to eat…. so we made a big smoothie! It always helps to ease a potentially grumpy situation as they love making them and it seems to help with afternoon blood sugar slumps.

Banana, Oatmeal & Peanut butter smoothie

You will need:
We used 3 large ripe bananas
Drizzle of Maple syrup
Handful of organic oatmeal
One large tub 500ml Low fat natural yoghurt
Large splosh milk
Handful of ice cubes
Tablespoon of smooth peanut butter

Blitz like mad and drink!

Went down a treat with the little ones – you can add frozen berries too which we often do.

This fills a large blender so should provide a good few servings. We had loads!!

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Crease-free clothes & Crusts…

My five for today…

1) Food success – My 3 year old ate crusts. He normally eats a mouthful from the middle! Sandwich of choice was houmous & cheddar on seeded batch.

2) Soldiering on & doing a previously hated chore – I am up to my eyeballs in stinking cold, ribs hurt to breath in & sneezing isn’t much fun…but, I’ve managed to achieve some ironing. Never used to do ironing as life is too short to worry about a few creases, but I started doing it in a bid to keep on top of laundry, check what the clothes we wear are like so I can charity/chuck any out; & I discovered much to my horror that ironed clothes look nicer! πŸ˜‰

3) Text convos with a friend – it’s nice to have a conversation, even if it’s via text, with a person that doesn’t scream “mama mama” right in your face or demand you wipe their bottom or sit screeching at you for no reason other than they appear to feel like mentally torturing you. Sometimes, it’s quite lonely being a busy mum of young children. You rarely get out the house, even when you do, it’s virtually impossible to maintain a conversation that isn’t interspersed with “please stop hitting your brother, “we don’t like it when you use those words…”, “could you let me talk please? I’m trying to have a conversation here…”, “The baby doesn’t like being poked in her eye, could you stop it please?”, “Please don’t touch that, put it down, do not break it… Oh too late!”. I am supposed to be positive here aren’t I? Well, I do love them despite this so I guess that will do! πŸ˜‰ I think it’s really hard sometimes trying to make time for friends, with such busy lives & loads of children, but it’s something I want to try and do more.

4) Bank holidays I realised only yesterday that it’s bank holidays coming up & that means my chap is home. We are like ships in the night at the moment, passing each other in the house, barely muttering as we don’t get time to talk. I miss him being here sometimes, & he helps a lot. So I’m looking forward to Thursday night when he comes in from work, ready for a long weekend with family.

5) Sun – it is shining, snow is blinding but the sun is out & that always makes me feel happier!

Carrot & Apple muffins

After yesterday’s post I was disappointed to receive another text from school telling me school was open after all. I’ve not been feeling well over the weekend so selfishly had been looking forward to a lazy day with my children.

So, after the school run this morning, I came home and decided to make some muffins to cheer the boys up when I pick them up later!

I adapted a recipe from Abel & Cole’s Veg Box book for Kiwi muffins…

Ingredients

Dry
2 mugs plain or wholemeal flour
1 mug light brown sugar
1.5 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp mixed spice

Wet
1 large egg
3/4 mug milk
2 tbsp olive or groundnut oil

Rest
1 large carrot finely grated
1 apple finely grated
Handful of sultanas
Golden caster sugar & cinnamon for sprinkling

Muffin cases (I used silicon)

Method

Preheat oven to 220Β°C(200Β° fan)/gas mark 7.

Combine all the dry ingredients in one large mixing bowl. Combine wet ingredients in another bowl. Add the wet mixture to the dry ingredients & mix gently. (I added a splash more milk as I was going as it was quite a heavy mixture, see how you go!)

Add the grated apple, carrot & sultanas and gently fold through the mixture.

Spoon mixture in cases, I filled mine up about 3/4.

Sprinkle over sugar & perhaps extra cinnamon & bake in oven for about 25 minutes.

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Leave to cool on rack, or if you are like me, get kettle on, sit down for five & get taste testing! πŸ˜‰

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The ‘Five Things’ thing & simplifying…

I’d been thinking for a while about starting a blog to document my progress with decluttering, and the process in simplifying and improving my life. Since the birth of my fifth child, my first daughter, my head has been in quite a whirlwind trying to adjust to the chaos and I felt I needed to make some changes to how we do things. It’s a very slow gradual process, but we’ve made a start! My aim is to get rid of things we don’t tend to use or need and along the way, make life easier! Less clutter, means less stress over housework and then I can focus on the more important things, like my family!

So far, we’ve managed to get rid of quite a few bags of things/clothes/stuff to charity or the tip, and anything else has gone on eBay. πŸ™‚ Which leads me on to the “Five Things” – Over on Keep It Simple, Mia has started writing a list of five positive things that happen to her every day, and I thought that would be a good place to start, so here is my list of five…

1) Ebay – We’ve started decluttering and selling some bits on here to try and fund a new laptop for the family. With seven of us (okay, two are still a little bit small to use computers yet!) – there are a number of arguments over computer usage. My older boys need them for completing work, and playing games on occasion, but it’s not working having to share all the time, (plus a laptop would be useful for me!) so, it’s on our list of things we are saving up for. The less arguments and stress in my household, the better, so this is a fairly high on my list of things to get. Sellling stuff feels good! πŸ˜€

2) Crochet – I taught myself to crochet a couple of years ago, and I love it, but it’s hard to find the time. Today, I’ve managed a few rows! This doesn’t sound like much, and that is because it isn’t! πŸ˜‰ But it’s nice to be making things again.

3) Communication – Talking things through when things aren’t quite going to plan can work! Instead of keeping it all stuck in my head, it’s good to get it out, and improve things.

4) Gurgles and Coos – Sylvie is smiling and cooing loads – she does this thing where she looks at you and her eyes seem to well up with love, and then she gurgles at you whilst shrugging her shoulders! It’s a funny thing to try and describe but it warms my heart and today she just makes me smile even though I am feeling a bit poorly. Can’t believe my beautiful little girl is 11 weeks already!!

Me & my girl

5) Texts from school – no school tomorrow because of snow – which means NO school run, and all my brood safe at home! πŸ™‚

Fun in the snow!