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Finding The Happy

Looking for joy in all the right places

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Where life and home organisation ideas go to die. My collection of articles, research and attempts at self-improvement through reorganisation and renewal.

New address, same house

Very subtle change here, and I’m not sure you’d have even noticed – or cared – but I’ve registered a proper domain address for this blog!

Yes, you can now reach this blog through http://www.yummymummytrain.com OR the old domain name https://updaduff.wordpress.com. Either one works fine. But after being well and truly NOT pregnant for over 18 months, I thought it was about time I got a name that suited this blog a little better.

Okay! Housekeeping over. Go forth and prepare your dinners.

Prayer Project! *squeal*

Mannequin in prayerSo I’ve been trying to reboot my prayer and meditation life, without

  • getting distracted by housework
  • falling asleep in mid-sentence while talking to God. (Happens more often than I’d care to admit.)

Somewhere along the way, I’ve lost the habit of meditating on God’s word daily. And when I do, I find it hurried and broken. This is something I want to fix, and it’s especially something I want to get into the habit of doing before I return to work c. February 2013.

I’ve therefore been using a couple of phone apps for short devotional snippets (works quite well because of built-in reminders!), but ultimately I want to get back into the habit of praying long and deep, alone. Tony and I do pray together, but I’m really itching to sit down once a week and do a solid.

(In the context of potty-training Arddun, that last sentence was rather unfortunate. But I digress.)

To help me along, I’m soliciting prayer requests. It’s like a gym class – always better to plan on going, knowing someone else is counting on you to show up. :)

Check out my new prayer page.

Household cleaning tips to try

Just stumbled upon a few household cleaning tips, and thought I’d pick a few to try out. Here’s a list of things I never knew and haven’t tried. If you’ve tried out any of them, could you let me know how effective it is?

Those marked in red are some I really want to try soon.

  1. Eucalyptus oil removes the gummy residue left by shop stickers.
  2. To remove furniture indentations from pure wool carpet place a tea towel over the area and then press with a warm iron. The heat will lift the fibres. Do not attempt this with synthetic or a wool/synthetic mix carpet.
  3. Light a match and let it burn a few seconds to remove toilet smells.
  4. To stop bathroom mirrors steaming up, regularly rub a dry bar of soap over the surface and rub in with a clean cloth.
  5. Stop clothes with thin straps falling off hangers by sticking small felt furniture pads onto the hanger just beyond where the straps sit.
  6. To keep your car windows ice and frost free when left outside overnight in the wintertime, mix three parts vinegar to one part water, put it in a spray bottle and spray on the windows as needed.
  7. To prevent buttons from becoming loose or undone, dab a little clear nail varnish on the top thread or onto the stem of the thread and leave to dry.
  8. To stop ants entering your house, draw a chalk line on the ground where you want them to stop. If you live in a rainy area where ants are a problem, you must re-draw the chalk lines each time it rains.
  9. To deter silverfish, place whole cloves in wardrobes and drawers.
  10. To remove body oil stains from collars and cuffs of coloured shirts and blouses, rub hair shampoo directly on the stains. Rinse out the shampoo, then wash the clothes as usual.
  11. To revive a vase of wilted flowers, add a teaspoon of mild detergent.
  12. To keep pinking shears or scissors sharp, cut through a sheet of folded aluminium foil or coarse sandpaper.
  13. To leave a room smelling fresh after you have vacuumed, place a few drops of your favourite essential oil (such as lavender or peppermint) near the vent where the hot air is released. The air warms the oil and blows it into the room.
  14. To mask unpleasant odors, put some coffee beans in a saucepan and burn them. The smell of coffee will overpower the other nasty odors.
  15. To clean a microwave oven, add four tablespoons of lemon juice to one cup of water in a microwave-safe bowl. Boil for five minutes in the microwave, allowing the steam to condense on the inside walls of the oven. Then wipe them with a soft cloth.
  16. To clean a stainless-steel sink, put the stopper in the sink with two denture-cleaning tablets and half fill with water; leave for several hours or overnight and the next day it should be sparkling. Then use the water to clean the draining board, too.
  17. To remove fingerprints from stainless-steel appliances, place a small amount of baby oil on a napkin and wipe the affected areas. The fingerprints will just wipe away.
  18. To remove marker pen off hard surfaces, spray on hair spray and then wipe it off.
  19. To restore toilet bowls back to their shiny best, clean with old, flat Coke or Pepsi. To dissolve limescale, leave the soda overnight to soak.
  20. Vacuuming a mattress, particularly along piping and crevices, removes dead skin cells that attract dust mites.
  21. Clove oil (sold in chemists for toothaches) kills mould spores. Mix three drops in one litre of water and then use to wipe down areas susceptible to mould.
  22. To get rid of the smell of garlic from your hands, rub against stainless steel – your sink is ideal. Then wash hands with soap or detergent.

 

Recipe: All things white and beautiful

It’s official: Arddun has an intolerance to salicylates, of all things. And salicylates are in EVERYTHING veggie and good. Actually, they’re even in skincare products and anything that uses plant extracts.

And my girl has a low-to-medium threshold for especially brightly-coloured veggies. Eat too much, and her skin gets ravaged by extra-itchy eczema. The kind she scratches till she bleeds because she cannot stop. So tomatoes are baaaaad. And broccoli can get baaaad. As well as pumpkin, and sweet potato, and carrots, and even corn.

Anyway – long story short, here’s a medley of veggies that don’t give my baby girl the itchy-itchy. And even if your baby doesn’t suffer from such a pesky intolerance, this recipe makes a yummy meal and uses two veggies I’d never bothered eating in my life till now: parsnip, and swede.

Garnished with chopped chives, parmesan cheese and a dash of pepper, this easy dish is surprisingly tasty and uber nutritious for baby.

Ingredients

  • ½ swede the size of your fist, peeled and roughly diced
  • 1 medium potato, peeled and roughly diced
  • ¼ small brown onion, peeled and roughly diced
  • 3 garlic cloves, peeled
  • ½ large parsnip, peeled and roughly diced
  • 100g pork or chicken mince (optional)
To garnish
  • Cracked black pepper
  • Chopped chives
  • Finely grated Parmesan cheese

Instructions

  1. Chuck everything except mince into a small saucepan.
  2. Bring water to a boil, then reduce heat to simmer for 20 minutes or until vegetables are tender.
  3. Add pork mince and mix with vegetables. Simmer for another 5 minutes.
  4. Process mixture to consistency you’re after.
  5. Serve.

Not dull dhal

Whether you make this vegetarian or add a bit of meat, this puree is tasty, colourful, and was a huge hit with Arddun.

Dhal puree

Ingredients

  • ¾ cup (180ml) water
  • 100g pumpkin, chopped coarsely (or 180g if going vegetarian)
  • 90g carrot, chopped coarsely
  • 90g broccoli, chopped coarsely
  • 90g pork mince
  • 2 tablespoons red lentils

Instructions

  1. Chuck everything into a small saucepan.
  2. Bring water to a boil, then reduce heat to simmer for 15 minutes or until vegetables and lentils are tender.
  3. Process mixture to consistency you’re after.
  4. Serve.

Stuck on you

So I’ve decided to bite the bullet and stick with a 3-column layout, even though it’s a tad squishy and it’s not your fave. (For the dozen of you who actually bothered to tell me what you think! xx)

As with all things, I got used to the format and then when I switched back to 2 columns, each blog post stretched too far across for my liking. Once you feel your eyes darting to and fro like an old typewriter head, you know the column widths are just a leeetle too fat.

Still hunting for another template, but this will do for now.

Peas, Corn, Pork, Risoni

Otherwise known around this house as The Yummy Green Gloop

Ingredients

  • 1¼ cups (310ml) homemade chicken broth or water
  • 1 cup (160g) fresh or frozen peas and corn
  • 100g thawed pork mince
  • 1 tablespoon risoni (“Big rice” pasta)
  • Smattering of dried onion flakes (not fried)
  • Dash of pure garlic powder
  • A crack of black pepper

Instructions

  1. Chuck everything into a small saucepan.
  2. Bring water or broth to a boil, then reduce heat to simmer for 10 minutes.
  3. Process mixture to consistency you’re after.
  4. Serve.
Total time taken: 20 minutes. Serves: Approximately 2.
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Variations

It may not look very appetising, but Arddun would snort all of it through her cute button nose if I let her. And she’s developing quite the discerning palate nowadays.

I used to add carrots to the mix, but Arddun gets red and blotchy around the mouth when she goes all Bugs Bunny during mealtimes. So this one is the green and yellow version.

Also, you can use 100g of chicken breast fillet if you prefer. Or any other meat, really. I like to mix it up so Arddun gets exposed to more than just chicken and fish. I also prefer using lean mince, because it thaws so easily. Usually freezer bag them in 100g stashes so I can chuck them all in the freezer and grab a portion when needed.

Enjoy!

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