JOY – EMPTY NESTS – AND THE NEXT SEASON

Hello friends.

 

When I started blogging I wanted to be so light and airy and positive and uplifting, and hopefully I’m achieving that.  But also there’s real life.  Homes aren’t perfect, rooms aren’t perfectly decorated or clean and organized all the time.

I know this sounds negative, but I don’t want it to be, I want it to be thought provoking.  I’m at that next season, where for the most part the kids have scooted out and it’s just me, hubby and the pets, (2 dogs and 2 goats!).

Every day is new, full of possibilities, and adventures, but slowly and insidiously lately my days have been wrapped in emotions, a roller coaster of highs and lows.

Joy - Empty Nest

Do you have days like this?  If you do, then can I give you a cyber-hug.

We get up in the morning because … we have to go to work, eat, clean house, etc.

We do all these things all our lives because we have a need to feed and clothe and house ourselves.  But what are we doing for ourselves. Just us.  Things that bring us joy?

Joy Empty Nests Next Season

Do you know what brings you joy?

Joy.  Happiness.  A contentment on doing a particular task.

Joy, Empty Nests, The next season
Photo – Ancientbests.co.nz

Usually we’d say something like our family, friends, home etc., But what about just for you?

It’s all so confusing.  What will make the next years fulfilling, exciting, joy-filled and worthy of me.  Because it’s time to think ABOUT ME.

What do I like to do?

No idea – and that is scary.

Besides I realize (sadly) that some of the things I might have liked to try my now 60-year-old body is no longer capable of.  Mentally, too I’m finding that I can no longer multitask like before. Days where I juggled many balls seem to have evaporated.

So what does that leave me with?

Growing old in a rocking chair.

Hibernating?

Giving up?

That would be so easy and in truth the reality of that is tempting.  But it is also so sad.  Life doesn’t need to be sad.  For most of us life is a series of ups and downs and sometimes debilitating, and it would be easy to focus on the bad.

Joy empty nest the next season
Photo – pinterest.com

At this stage in my life when I’ve sort of left a major career, hubby is now retired too, it’s kinda scary and the thoughts of what next keep nagging at me. What do I want to do? What will fulfil me for the next 20-30 years?

For most women we put ourselves last for a majority of years.  Our children/families/work and home lives come first, our thoughts and needs come in a low pecking order on our lists of must dos.

We’ve hardly stopped all these years to actually consider that.  School runs, jobs, home, elderly parents, there was no time for us and if there was, guilt struck at the time we were taking away from our family and everyone else.  They all came first.  Now don’t get me wrong. I believe that to be absolutely true.  They should come first, especially your children.  You’ve brought them into this world, and it’s our responsibility to guide them until they leave the nest. Mind you being a parent never ends, the role of guide and listener is still happening even now they’re in their 20s.  Maybe that’s a time when we’re needed more so.

Photo – Pinterest.com

 

However, physically and spatially we now have time, and sometimes if we’re lucky a little bit extra dollars to go round.  It’s like moving house to a new neighborhood.  The people around us have all changed.  We’re used to our fellow co-workers, etc, now they aren’t a part of our everyday lives, so what will fill that gap?

So what if you now, for the first time have to think what you’d like to do – and shock horror, scary stuff – you can’t think of anything.  It’s like… so what am I/who am I/ what makes me happy?

Take time to list things you thought you might like to try.  Even if it was waaaay back.

Mine was:

Floral art

Growing herbs

Painting furniture

Joining a women’s group of some sort

(Thinking about) Getting fit!

Trying new recipes

Travel if I can.

See more of my own country

Learn to crochet

 

Do I want to start a business?  And why would I?  I’m 60 years old, it’s kinda time to rest surely?

But does that mean I’m not valuable, not capable of trying.  Of course not, but the commitment, the challenge, the effort, time etc, is that what I want now in my life?

When I read blog posts and see the lovely homes and everything just so, that little green devil in me gets loud!  I love the rooms, admire the talent, but I am a little bit envious too.  I see these vital women working hard to create beautiful homes, lives so full and active and I wonder where my life is taking me and why and how and oh so many questions.

Do you have those too?

As a semi empty nester you think you have so much time, but after years of raising a family and now not needed so much, it’s more about what’s next.  What do I fill my life with now?

One thing I think we must be thankful for as we age is that we are able to actually do that.  So many can’t Some also don’t have the good health to be able to be as vital as they once were or want to be.  Today give those around you who are not as fortunate in this vitality, a hug and compassion and encouragement.

Photo- Pinterest

Something I read recently about smiling, inspired me, and made me stop and …well, smile, and be grateful.  I also remembered that advert on TV where a person smiles as she passes another in the street, then that person smiles at another going passed in a bus and so on?  The smile is contagious.  This simple advert makes me smile and I think the knowledge that my smile could benefit someone else’s day, is awesome.

I’m out to find my pot of gold …. My joy, my reason, my fun. And smile!

Photo – askideas.com

It may be a business, it may be going to floral art classes or creating a myriad of life experiences and adventures, but it will be mine.

So I choose to turn today’s sense of overwhelm into a positive (hence this post) and smile at everyone from the lady at the bakery as we chuckled about giving in to the chocolate cake and the shop assistant who recognised me at Bed bath and Beyond (oops obviously I’ve been shopping too much).

So stop and smile and be grateful for today. And yep, smile and smile and smile.

And because you can’t stop smiling at this little girl, my first grandchild.

 

Happy days

Jane

 

 

Just Some Pretty Stuff

Hello everyone,

It’s been a frantic week this end of the world.  On Monday i drove about 4 hours north to visit my eldest sister who has chronic fatigue and fibromyalgia.  It is so hard seeing her struggle and the limitations these horrible illnesses put on her, especially when she’s such a vital person and still wants to lead that vital life with her family.

That said, age is really enduring as was a testament when i went to Rotorua on Saturday to my mother’s sister’s 90th birthday.  It was a lovely occassion with family from Australia and the USA coming in to celebrate those 90 glorious years.  Saturday too was the start of clocks going forward for daylight saving and New Zealand’s government elections, so three momentous things on one day.  That, unfortunately meant that i was dead toast on Sunday.  We had to leave Rotorua early as our daughter was going to Hawaii and we had to do the airport drop off.

So finally home, catching up on the laundry and real life in full bloom as I juggle getting it all done.  Or at least attempt to.

But rather than focus on what has to be done, and my growing list, i thought i would post a few pics of little bits and pieces i have gotten done lately.

 

My little corner of my garden

First was a few pots getting ready for spring.  My green thumb has turned more black these days and don’t ask me to grow parsley – for some reason I seem to kill all parsley plants.

Cooking up ham and sun dried tomato pinwheel scones, great for Saturday/Sunday lunch was a weekend task

Ham and Cheese and Sun Dried Tomato Pinwheel Scones

 

Next on the agenda was play around with some old front door wreaths I made.  I’m a complete novice at this and am hoping to do a new one in a few days, so check back and see.  I adore seeing ones others have done, but i’m not very up on the technical skills of it, but it is fun to do and that’s the most important thing.

I also wanted to add some interest to the smallest room in the house (yes the toilet!)  Ideally i’d love to paint the walls a dark color, but that’s not happening yet (have to convince hubby).  He thinks it would be too dark, because a small room, but it’s small, nothing is going to change that LOL.  I had the vintage gold mirror that is all curves and scrolls – it was my mothers, so i gathered up some old picture frames, painted them with a gray chalk paint, then i had a can of gold spray paint, dabbed a bit on an old cloth and sort of sponged it on the frames.

I don’t the room is finished yet.  It needs that color.  What do you think?  Any suggestions.

So that’s me lately, doing a few fluffy things, and enjoying the creativity.

A bit of this and a bit of that, a good way to recharge the body, mind and soul.

What have you done lately that helps you recharge.  Do comment below and let me know.

 

Happy days

Jane xxx

HOW TO HAVE A SIMPLY CLEAN HOME WITHOUT THE GUILT

Hello there,

How to have a Simply Clean home without the guilt

How are you all.  Is the week going according to plan?  In all likelihood, if it is anything like my weeks, the answer to that would be a big loud NO.

Is this you?

How to have a simply clean house without the guilt

Why is it that we chase the ever illusive routine, the perfect system whether it be cards, lists, computerised or paper, something that will make our life just flow perfectly, without hitches.  Meals would be on the table on time, and of course nutritious and everyone would comment on a lovely meal.  Then there is the laundry, it’s done, dried, folded and put away, plus all the ironing done, the floors are mopped and vacuumed – daily I might add – bills are paid on time, and the paperwork filed and not left to linger around the kitchen counter for several days…um, okay week.

You’ve been to the gym three times this week, and of course the dusting, polishing, is done, the kitchen is spotless, the freezer foods all labelled and no smelly rotting food would dare dawdle in your refrigerator.  Oh, yes,  life of routines, and list and …. Is perfect…. or NOT. Oh and don’t forget those sparkling clean windows are bereft of paw prints and sticky finger prints.

Now I am the first to acknowledge that THIS IS NOT MY LIFE. Oh, I wish it was, I am you see a would be perfectionist, but somehow I don’t quite hit the grade.  Which is rather frustrating, because really, I really do want to be a perfect housekeeper. I just don’t seem to have the energy to be perfect.

Photo – cleanmama.net

 

But then who would actually notice.  Not the teen who is in one door and out the other with a scrap of left over pizza in their hand, a few anchovies dropped on the floor in their wake.

And I don’t think the Hubby would notice as he finishes his meal and falls asleep on the sofa.

I look around at all the perfectness.  The shiny furniture and floors, the spotless kitchen, bathrooms the beautifully scented and clean laundry.How to have a SIMPLY CLEAN home without the guilt

Who actually notices?  And who actually cares?

Actually… I care and that should be enough – it is enough!  We don’t necessarily clean house for anyone else, even though they may live there.  We do it because – well it could be for a variety of reasons.  It could be to impress others, but we can already see family aren’t quite impressed.

What about our friends?

Well unless they live at your house 24/7 and see it so spotless all the time, they don’t count because as sure as it rains in spring, friends turn up at your doorstep when the house is in chaos.

So really the only person you are doing this for is YOURSELF.  Yes, you may like to have it clean for your children, clean clothes, good meals, house spick and span, but when it comes down to it, doing the house work, however often, is gracing your home – for you – and yes your family also.

It’s about personal pride.  I’m not saying it has to be perfect – though that darn little OCD part of me WOULD LOVE it to be perfect – but I know in reality that aint gonna happen.

So if you want to take pride in your home, in yourself and your environment how do we get it all done.
Reality is we probably don’t.  For years I thought I was a failure if I didn’t get it done, and so mostly (and this is really sad) I would go around feeling like a failure because I hadn’t done xyz on the allocated day/time/week etc. In my head “other people’s” houses were perfect, and I was the only one that failed.

My excuse was, life would get in the way which was really frustrating because I didn’t want it to. I mean I had a house to make perfect, towels to fluff and curtains to vacuum – just because it said so on my list.

But…. Travel down through the years and I have kind of a routine, it works sometimes.

How to have a SIMPLY CLEAN home without the guilt
Photo – CleanMama.net

Then I came upon SIMPLY CLEAN by Becky Rapinchuk, founder of Clean Mamma and finally the guilt dissolved.

This book is about days and weeks and months and routines.  So what makes it different from other household chore/routine books – and believe you me I have read a few (actually lots and lots) this book in the way Becky has written it has given me permission to get rid of the guilt!  And that my friends is HUGE!

Simply Clean is a book of routines and systems but it’s – well –  simple.  A few regular chores each day, plus a weekly chore per day, AND you get Friday to catch up and Sunday to play.

 

What could be better than that?  Time off, time to breathe, time to say okay, I’ll just get so and so finished now.  This book took away my guilt for not being perfect and for that alone I love this book to bits.

This book really ‘got to me’.  Becky was ‘speaking’ to me.  Her writing style is engaging, relaxing and just darn friendly.  I felt like she understood me.  And for that I was grateful.

Is my house perfect yet?

Nope, and it probably never will be.

Do I still hope and pray on bended knees wishing it would be perfect– yes of course, but I know the truth.  People live here, dogs live here.  Perfect doesn’t exist here.  But the routines in this book gives me focus, and at the same time allows me to let life get in the way as it invariably does.

So for my review of Simply Clean I would give it an absolute 5 Stars.

Simply Clean is available at Amazon

 

Happy days – and reading

Jane

 

 

 

 

WORDS TO MOTIVATE YOU WHEN IT’S OVERWHELMING

Words to motivate you when it's overwhelming

Hello everyone,

Morning all, how’s your week, spring has sprung here, and I’ve picked my first bunch of Freesias.  They smell so delicious.

Are you a planner? Whether it be a journal/planner, or simply a list maker.  Apparently when I was a child I was always making lists.  I don’t remember this, but as an adult of significant years, I’m still a list maker and it’s something i do event today, when i need words to motivate when it’s overwhelming.  Life is busy, sometimes like a circus and you feel like the mouse going round and round – and you just want to get off.  That’s when you need words to motivate you.

 

Words to motivate you when it's overwhelming

Do I finish everything on my list – heck no.  Do I care?  Well yes and no.  We women are known to overestimate what we can achieve and get done in any particular amount of time.  Come on, fess up.  Hold your hands up if your list is still huge never seems to decrease.

Sometimes it really does get overwhelming doesn’t it.  Never ending circle of to do, to do, to do……

But it seems to me we need something, anything to motivate us.  Something that says, stop, think, go on, you can do this.

These are some motivational images i found online

Words to motivate you when it's overwhelming

All great words and sayings.  And i can hear my OWN BUT!!!

Life’s journey over the past few years has been rather topsy turvy with losing my mother and then for myself suffering a bout of depression which is ongoing.  This depression annoys me.  I mean I don’t have time to be depressed, I don’t want to be depressed, I want to be joy-filled and excited by life and just well…LIVE. But what these few years has given me has been a time of deep introspection, about wondering about life (sounds like navel gazing I know), but really disseminating what I have in my life, what I do, and what I want my life to be like.  I suppose it’s a mini-mid-life crisis LOL

A few weeks ago I was wide awake and suddenly the word, ASPIRE came racing into the brain-cell fog I call my brain.

Aspire… to what?

Do what? Be what?

What did it mean?

The dictionary tells us this:

Aspire verb

  1. direct one’s hopes or ambitions towards achieving something.

“we never thought that we might aspire to those heights”

  1. literary – rise high; tower

“above the domes of loftiest mosques these pinnacles aspire”

 

So I thought on this a tad, and realized that for me ASPIRE is to dream of something, a goal, target, a wish be it just to get through the day without any aches and pains, or something loftier like move forward to a goal or challenge in life.

 

So big or small I have realized I want to ASPIRE.

 

Then the weirdest thing – another word popped into my mind – now given that this was 3 a.m.  and I am one of those awake/sleep/awake people whose husband is asleep before his head hits the pillow while I lie awake, my brain whizzing with ideas of projects.  Anyhow, words popped into my head as clear as day, surprisingly given that it was a cloudy moonless night.

 

How about the word INTENTION noun

  1. a thing intended; an aim or plan.

“she was full of good intentions”

Aspire   to a goal, a target.

You see the word INTENTION really fits in with Aspire.

Intention – aim/plan.

So I have to have a goal and a plan (to achieve that goal)

But … to me there was something missing.  Another word.  The word …. with   –  it may be the smallest of the 3 words, but I think it is the most important.

Withpreposition

  1. accompanied by (another person or thing).

“a nice steak with a bottle of red wine”

having or possessing (something).

“a flower-sprigged blouse with a white collar”

 

You see you can ASPIRE/have a goal, and you can have INTENTION/plan.  The WITH makes it happen.  BUT you need to the three words to make it work.  To Aspire WITH Intention.

Aspire WITHOUT Intention – nothing will happen.  But Aspire WITH Intention… then your goal with have an action/plan and together Aspire and Intention will happen.

Make sense?

To me it made absolutely perfect sense, and in fact has become my mantra.

Words to motivate you when it's overwhelming

I want to aspire, to achieve, I want to set goals, big and small and all sizes in between too.  I want to have goals that make my day run smoother, goals that tell me it’s time to relax and enjoy the day, life, my family, I want goals and dreams of getting my newest escapade or project off the ground (and completed).  For example, when I have blogged before it has been solely about decorating or organizing, but came to realize I wanted it to be more than that.  I want to inspire others (and myself along the way) to create a home they love and bring joy to their families and nourish them too.

But I need the WITH.

With Intention… with a plan, with a target, with a routine, with joy, and with happiness, with pleasure, with my family, with baby steps I will move toward by goals with intentional action. And you can too.

It really all made sense to me, and is in my little world rather profound and exciting.

So let’s motivate you.

Words to motivate you when it's overwhelming
Photo – thehomestylecollective.co.nz

Grab a pen and paper, heck why not even your prettiest notebook, and make this your book of aspirations with intentions. and let’s get writing.

So my question to you is –

What do you ASPIRE TO?

Is it to finish a project at home, to start a project, to save for a project?  Is it to clear out the garage once and for all, to create routines for yourself, to find time for yourself and your hobbies, or just to BE.

It can be anything, and everything.  That’s the beauty of it.

Come on, write those dreams down.  Maybe even write each dream on a separate page. Give them space to breathe and expand and blossom.

 

Next… take each aspiration, each goal, and break it down to baby steps, you know those steps that sometimes you think are insurmountable, but break them down to tiny, tiny steps so that your dream and aspiration doesn’t seem overwhelming.

You are creating words that motivate you when it’s overwhelming

Words to motivate you when it's overwhelming

Your aspiration may be something as simple as having a family board game night once a week in the winter months.  (it is a goal)

With Intention (with a plan, that aspiration will go ahead)

So where are you going to have your board game?

What games will you play?

Do you have the games?

Dig them out of storage, check you have all the pieces/parts of the game.

Do you need food/drinks etc.?

Set the date with family.

See… easy steps.  Your dream was to have a game night.  You planned (action/intention) what you would play, searched out the games, planned the food, and hey you could even send fun invites to the family and surprise them.

 

You have DREAMED IT, PLANNED IT

You ASIRED WITH INTENTION

YOU HAD A GOAL, A PLAN AND WITH THOSE TWO WORDS YOUR ASPIRATION WAS SUCCESSFUL.

 

Or it could be something of bigger proportions, clearing out that tip of a garage – (yes I absolutely have one of those right at this moment, a dream of a clean space is one of my aspirations with which I need definite intention.

 

So dream of how you want that garage to look – that’s your aspiration

Now write down those baby steps – sort stuff into toss/donate/keep/sell piles etc.  You know the drill and  with INTENTION, i.e. taking the steps necessary you can get it done.

 

Well done, you’ve aspired and created a list of intention/action and now you can go forth and fulfil that dream.

What do you aspire to?  Big or small, whatever it is, it’s worth doing, worth aspiring with intention.

Let me know in the comments below and how you’re breaking the task down.

 

Wishing you a wonderful day and week with whatever plans you have and that they bring you joy.

 

Happy days

Jane

 

 

 

 

 

4 STEPS TO CLEAR DUMPSVILLE FOREVER

Hello friends,

I hope your week is going well and you’ve managed to carve out some YOU time for yourselves.  It’s so important that we get those few minutes to recharge.  For me, I became a grandma last year, so now I can “legally” have nana naps – woohoo.

4 steps to clear dumpsville forever

But there is always something to be done around the house.  Do you have that room or space in the house that is always DUMPSVILLE, no matter how hard you try to keep it clean and organized?

Does it look like this?

Photo – DailyMail.co.uk

Please say you do, even if it is just to make me feel better and that I’m not the only person in the entire world that struggles with this. Why is it that we can keep a beautifully tidy and organized house (okay, mostly, sort of) except for that one (or more) spots that is constant chaos?  It’s like little gremlins follow us around the house and dump stuff.

So let’s start with the 4 steps to clear dumpsville forever.

For many of us it could be any of the following areas:

Mud room

The kitchen counter

The dining table

The front entryway

The garage

The home office.

I hate to admit it, but our front entryway and the home office are dumpsville at chez nous.  I try hard, I really do.  I put out containers, baskets, have family meetings about where they drop all their stuff the moment they enter the house – but does it work – nope nope nope.  It does not!  Is it any wonder my hair is grey!

4 steps to clear dumpsville forever
Photo- Stagemyownhome.com

It is so frustrating, the front entry table has keys, torches, dog leads, flowers (yes I try to make it look pretty), bits of paper, mail, newspapers, folders from hubby’s meetings.  It’s all there, layer upon layer.  Then there are the shoes.  Sneakers, boots, sandals, crocs!  We live in the country and mud is not my best friend, so with dogs and family members coming and going in and out, the front entrance is a bit like a railway station. Always busy, always cluttered. Dumpsville. Certainly not the elegant entryway I envisioned.

Then of course there is the electrical boxes that are for the security and the thingy that is in the roof.  Excuse me, I’m not too technical! That technical stuff is an eyesore, I mean why couldn’t the builders put it just around the corner, or for goodness sakes’ even on the opposite wall.

4 steps to clear dumpsville forever

(apologies for the bad photo, really wouldn’t photo well)

 

So how do we clear Dumpsville forever.

I see the entrance dumpsville as being a two-pronged journey of considerations – Form and Function.  Below is a series of four steps to clear dumpsville forever.

 

STEP 1

Form of course is the pretty stuff, the making it look pleasing to the eye, but without function, without knowing what you need at the entryway, what systems, and tools are necessary to keep the place reasonably clutter free, then no amount of pretty lights, mirrors and ornaments are going to make a bit of difference.

First up answer a few questions?

Where do you enter the house?

Is it via the garage? Is the front door, or off a deck somewhere?  Which of these spaces is your ‘dumpsville’?

Which problem area are we talking about – is it the entry for visitors, or for yourselves?

Once you’ve determined which area (or eeek, maybe it’s both) then you need to work out what/and how you use this space.

 

STEP 2

Analyse what the entryway is used for. What MUST you have there, that are necessities, and probably not negotiable?  It could be one or some or all of the list below.

  • Shoe storage
  • Key storage
  • Mobile/laptop charging station
  • Mail drop off
  • Viewing yourself in the mirror before leaving
  • Dog leads
  • Homework station/school bags.
  • Storage of coats/hats etc.
  • Handbag dumping ground
  • Umbrellas
  • Torches/walking canes.
  • Briefcases/work bags/workout gear.
4 steps to clear dumpsville forever
Photo – hgtv.com

STEP 3 – the function

Shoes

Are you a shoes in the house, or off at the front door?  If it’s remove the shoes, then where are you going to put them.  Because the reality is, family do not take off their shoes when they get home and take them straight to their bedroom – and if they do, what’s your secret and can I come and live at your house!

Some suggestions:

Baskets, boxes (try ones with lids, because hopefully you can close them off and not see a pile of shoes.

4 steps to clear dumpsville forever
Photo – Pinterest.com

Wire baskets with liners, but then they might need washing from time to time – and that’s extra work and if there’s one thing we don’t need – is MORE WORK

A shoe tree hanging inside a closet (if you’re lucky to have one).  The same ideas can be used for those of us that have mudrooms and come in via the garage.  Little cubbyholes/boxes etc., for each person – their name on it – just so there is no confusion!

4 steps to clear dumpsville forever
Photo- Lesinform.com
4 steps to clear dumpsville forever
Photo – bestproducts.

What about a shoe tray?  A metal or wooden tray, with a small layer of stones that will be your ‘drip catcher’.

 

Paraphernalia – umbrellas, canes, etc

An old stone crock, bullet case *** Narrow cane basket.  All these can be used for this type of storage, and be pleasing to the eye and be payoff for the aesthetics.

 

Coats/scarves/hats/gloves

Baskets/hooks/coat racks are all alternatives for these items, even a trunk or chest at the front door, can be used for storing out of season coats and winter accessories.  Hooks are particularly good if you don’t have a large entryway, or closet.  You can even if needs be use the back of the front door.

Make it a feature using hooks that go with your décor style, glossy glass, brass animals, old fashioned school hooks.

4 steps to clear dumpsville forever
Photo- a selection of hooks from Pinterest

Most often we have a table or console of some sort at our entryway, or if no room, then a narrow shelf.  Use a six inch ledge, it’ll be big enough to hold a container for keys and you can screw in some hooks to the underside for hanging bags, scarves etc.

4 steps to clear dumpsville forever
Photo – Pinterest.com

What else do you dump in this spot?

Keys – grab a pretty container, box, basket, try and shop your house .

4 steps to clear dumpsville forever

are some I’ve gathered from around my house, the idea is to create great storage and organization, along with form, so that it’s pleasing to the eye too.  Hopefully pretty might increase the odds of practicality and the family use it and keep it clearer.

Phones:

If you’re going to use this space as a charging station, then create something a bit different.  Use even an old shoebox, covered in wrapping paper, holes at the back for the cords, and an extension cord, and hey presto you’ve got a place to hide your phones while they charge, plus contain all those dratted cables.

Want a great Youtube video for a charging station and entryway.  @bemyguestwithdenise.com

 

Mail/Papers:

Again this accumulates.  I’m sure there is a paper gremlin around who magically doubles the amount of papers in these spots overnight.  It just seems to mushroom.  If you are not a person to deal with the mail as it arrives, then a box/basket again is a good collating spot.  Better yet, a box with a flip lid so that the mail and papers are hidden.  Yes, I know we’d all like to be super organized, but reality is that it takes time/effort and repetition to create a system of opening mail and assigning designated spot for it straight away, so if that is beyond you right now, and that is absolutely fine, really it is, it’s not about perfection, just trying to get things in order, slow is okay.  Baby steps.

Another reasonably cheap storage item for papers is a magazine holder.

Handbags/School bags

Again hooks come to mind for these, though briefcases can be a tad heavy.  But schoolbags are great to hang on hooks as are handbags, but if hooks aren’t available or an option, then what about a cubbyhole system.  An old bookcase laid on its side, with a few pretty baskets (or not) can be used as a storage option for those bags, plus shoes and hats/gloves etc.  One solution for many problems – got to be good!

 

Dog Paraphernalia.

Again baskets, bins, anything that you think is easily reachable and easy to put away again.

That’s the thing with storage, if it’s awkward or difficult to access or use, if the lids don’t open or close easily, or if it’s too small for the items it’s going to hold, then it won’t work in the long run.  So whatever option you choose, make sure it’s the appropriate size and workable for how you want to use it.

 

Step 4

Now what?

Great!  You’re all organized, those pesky things are taken care of.  Function is all sorted.

So what about form?  What about the pretty side of this task?

Hopefully you have been able to use storage items that are pleasing to your aesthetics.  Don’t worry if they’re not the right colour scheme.  A bit of chalk paint or spray paint can work wonders.

A lamp – the soft glow of a lamp on in the evenings, especially at the front door, adds mood lighting

Mirror – great to be able to check yourself before you open the door to visitors.

Artwork/photographs – this is where you can go to town so to speak.  It can be a piece of your own art, get splashing with a few colors and a canvas one afternoon.  Or maybe you can do a photo wall of your children’s art, family ancestors and current members, unusual postcards from your travels, a piece of vintage clothing hung up.  Anything and everything can be used for art work.

 

And great for hiding things as I did here with a great suggestion received from a friend Smillie Henderson on how I could hide those pesky electrics.

A Hat!

4 steps to clear dumpsville forever
Of course i bought the baskets too, I mean, wouldn’t you?

I grabbed these 3 straw hats at the thrift store for about a dollar piece, a few Command hooks, and hey presto it’s done, the electrics are covered and hopefully it looks rather artistic (well not just plopped there like they really were).

4 steps to clear dumpsville forever

 

Console table:

Actually anything can be used, even a chest of drawers, great for storing stuff!!!  I’ve used a marble slab atop an old Singer sewing table.

4 steps to clear dumpsville forever

Plants/live or faux.  Nothing looks better than a bit of ‘life’ on a vignette, and with this one style I used a faux topiary purchased a few years ago in Hawaii, yes I travelled all the way home with 2 of these in my on board luggage!

Really, the world is your oyster in how you style your entryway, whether it’s a styled crowded look or sparse, the most important aspect is function.  Get that right and you’re on your way to a great looking entryway.

4 steps to clear dumpsville forever

What are you doing in your entryway?  What are the hazards and problems, and how have you solved them?  Leave a comment below.

 

Until next time.

Happy days

Jane xxx

 

 

 

 

 

NEED A QUICK AND EASY DESSERT RECIPE

Hello friends,

How’s the week going.  All good down here, spring has sprung, just wish the rain would stop.  But being inside because of the weather, sometimes you get struck with cabin fever, like I did last weekend.  Then we had unexpected visitors and hey presto, I needed a quick and easy desert recipe.

 

Quick and easy is important in cooking.  You know over the next few months there’s lots of opportunity for entertaining.  Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year, and just those impromptu visits from friends, when you have to throw a meal together in a hurry using what you have.

However, I try not to be a slave to the kitchen.  Standing over a hot stove cooking for hours is not my idea of fun.  Nope, i’d never be a Masterchef cook.

Actually do you find you’re just OVER COOKING.  I mean I’ve been married nearly 35 years and at times I am completely over coming up with ideas for meals that everyone will eat without protest!  Mind you, that is where meal planning in advance comes in, because it really does take the brain power required out of the equation at the end of the day when you’re tired.  Quick and easy is best!

My father was one of those cooks. He’d come up with all sorts of things, experiment. Mind you he wasn’t great on cleaning up afterwards – after he’d used just about every pot and pan in the kitchen – and we didn’t have a dishwasher.  Now with our friends arriving, i needed a simple and easy dessert recipe, using what I had in the freezer and pantry.

 

A quick and easy desert recipe

 

Dessert for us is normally a bit of fruit and yogurt, however I wanted something different. I scoured the cupboards and came up with a tin of peaches in light syrup, and in the freezer I had a few sheets of puff pastry – that nicely rolled out stuff. Who wants to be rolling pastry!  Too much like hard work!

I had the idea I’d like to cook some sort of fruit wraps in the pastry, but decided I would add a few other ingredients – jam and cream cheese.

So here’s the recipe.

Jane’s Fruit Wraps  – how does that sound for a made up name!!!)

Need a quick and easy desert recipe

Ready rolled puff pastry – 1 sheet per person

2 x 400g tin of sliced peaches – drained and chopped roughly

2-3 Tbsp. of any type of berry jam (or you could use marmalade for a different taste)

2-3 Tbsp. of cream cheese (optional)

Instructions

Turn oven onto bake/180deg C

Take out pastry sheets and let them defrost naturally

Prepare baking tray with a sheet of baking paper

Drain and chop the peaches

Need a quick and easy desert recipe

Add 2-3 tablespoons of jam and cream cheese (if using)

Mix together lightly. Don’t worry if cream cheese doesn’t break up much – just a little is enough)

 

Need a quick and easy desert recipe

 

Need a quick and easy desert recipe

Divide evenly between the sheets of pastry.

Fold corners in, overlapping and pressing down so that there are no gaps.

 

Tuck all edges and press so that nothing can escape.

Need a quick and easy desert recipe

Bake till pastry cooked/lightly brown – about 20-25 minutes. Do check the pastry is cooked at the bottom, as I had to add a few extra minutes

A quick and easy desert recipe

Can be served with ice cream or yogurt if you’re trying to be extra healthy!

 

My husband tells me they were delicious.  You may be wondering why I don’t know how they tasted.  Well, I left the second one on the bench to cool – silly me, because the dogs and cat thought the second one was delicious too!

I hope you make these, and do experiment with different fruit and jams.  The moral of this recipe is that you can really make anything out of anything LOL.  You don’t necessarily need recipes, all you need to do is have a dig around in your pantry and freezer and see what you’ve got.  Play around with flavors and ideas until you come up with something.  That’s half the fun…the other half is eating it – unless your pets get to it first.

One thing i might do differently next time, bearing in mind this post is about using what you have on hand, but I might use a peach or apricot jam rather than berry.

Some ideas for you:

 

A dip in a hurry – Mix plain unsweetened Greek yogurt with a drained tin of tuna/salmon and add a tablespoon or two of Thai sweet chilli sauce, or alternatively a large spoon of horseradish sauce – yum.

Homemade Pita chips – use those garlic or olive flavoured pita bread pockets. Toast them then break up into sizes to use with dip – or alternatively, cut with kitchen scissors then fry in a lightly sprayed fry pan.

Unexpected guests like the other day can cause mini-panic stations, and so over the years I have compiled a few dishes that I’m comfortable with cooking or have at least tried once before.  I however, do tend to scour recipe books or recipes I’ve collected, and then again there’s the good old internet and Pinterest.

Here are some tips so that you’re prepared next time when visitors arrive out of the blue?

Tip – Do you know if any of your guests has allergies, or food dislikes?  Make sure to check on this.  No use trying to kill your guests.

Tip – ring in your kids!  Bribe if necessary for them to give the house a quick vacuum, a swish and a swipe around the toilet/bathroom. Make sure clean hand towels and soap are out and of course toilet paper – imagine a guest in the bathroom and oops… embarrassing LOL

Tip – thinking ahead of times when you might entertain, if you see nice white dishes in the stores on sale, grab them. White dishes always go well with food, and are easy to decorate around and match with other patterns/colors etc.

Tip – have on hand in an ‘entertaining box’ which you can restock as required.  Chips, jars of olives and pickles, sauces, tooth picks and paper napkins, seasonings for various dips, and maybe in the freezer a spare bag of ice.

Remember simple is best.

Happy cooking

Jane xxx