Monday, 28 October 2013


I said a while back that when Munchkin was born I'd saved some things to post that were a bit different to what I normally post. I think now is a good time to start posting them... 

So when I decided to write my own blog, I borrowed some ideas from my friend, Devon...

Firstly, 30 Things:

1. List 20 random facts about yourself.
2. Describe 3 legitimate fears you have and explain how they became fears.
3. Describe your relationship with your parents.
4. List 10 things you would tell your 16 year-old self, if you could.
5. What are the 5 things that make you most happy right now?
6. What is the hardest thing you have ever experienced?
7. What is your dream job, and why?
8. What are 5 passions you have?
9. List 10 people who have influenced you and describe how.
10. Describe your most embarrassing moment.
11. Describe 10 pet peeves you have.
12. Describe a typical day in your current life.
13. Describe 5 weaknesses you have.
14. Describe 5 strengths you have.
15. If you were an animal, what would you be and why?
16. What are your 5 greatest accomplishments?
17. What is the thing you most wish you were great at?
18. What has been the most difficult thing you have had to forgive?
19. If you could live anywhere, where would it be and why?
20. Describe 3 significant memories from your childhood.
21. If you could have one superpower, what would it be and what would you do with it first?
22. Where do you see yourself in 5 years? 10 years? 15 years?
23. List your top 5 hobbies and why you love them.
24. Describe your family dynamic of your childhood vs. your family dynamic now.
25. If you could have dinner with anyone in history, who would it be and what would you eat?
26. What popular notion do you think the world has most wrong?
27. What is your favorite part of your body and why?
28. What is your love language?
29. What do you think people misundertand most about you?
30. List 10 things you would hope to be remembered for.


Friday, 18 October 2013

Food Friday

Well I am writing this knowing it won't be posted for several weeks but I felt a need to today... I am writing this on 3rd October and today IP and I made Jamie Oliver's 'baked camembert pasta' & vegan black bean brownies...

We had been struggling to get IP to eat much recently and having made this dish tonight and waiting impatiently for DP to return home from work, I decided to dish a bit up a bit earlier and she wolfed it down! As per my brownie post, I had altered the recipe a tad, but everyone seemed to enjoy it which was the important thing!

I will post another day about a dilemna on this subject (whether IP should eat at a different time to us) but for now click here for the Jamie Oliver baked camembert pasta recipe - I have made it before but I'm not sure if IP was born and she certainly wasn't weaned if she was born. Anyway it's meant for 4-6 people and we ate it between us and then I felt very full up and sickly. Well tonight I could probably have eaten half of the recipe easily! :/

Oh and I said I changed bits: nothing major, I just hate spinach so put some frozen peas in and we didn't have 100g of parmesan so I just added what we did have. I will probably buy and add some more later...

I  have just checked and I sadly don't have any photo's of our attempts but here's some from google images to give you an idea of how yummy it looks:

Oh yes and I also overdid the olive oil a bit and used garlic puree which exploded a tad! But it still worked out nicely! :) My daughter may be a cheese fiend but at least she eats exciting and stronger cheese! ;)

Monday, 14 October 2013

Boy, what a week!

I'm sure most of you know but for those that don't, we introduced munchkin to our family last Sunday. 

And Boy do we know!

It turns out, 'boy' is not the operative word! Munchkin is a girl, arriving 2 weeks early by medical standards, on lux Father's Day.

I personally have had a hell of a week. All 3 of us - Ip, Dp & I - are physically & mentally exhausted. I will explain more later but I desperately wanted to breast feed as I didn't with ip... And it's been a bit crazy - here the rules are very different and what I thought would be fantastic, really wasn't. (Just to clarify, newborns & breast feeding are very hard work but considering issues with ip at birth, there isn't anything else...)

So we're home now. I am attempting to ensure ip gets some form of routine back as she has a cough so isn't sleeping through amongst other things. 

And I will update properly on here when I'm less exhausted - I don't know right now when that will be but I certainly can't continue for much longer like this, so... I do have some more random posts that I'd saved and whilst I was thinking they're random, right now they are probably how I sound! ;)

So what I hope to update you on: 
Today I hope to encapsulate my placenta. Yep I know, I'm mental! 
Why fast labours are not cool. I had no pain relief this time at all. I find them stressful. A quote recently: 'I hate you just a little bit right now for 'there's no time for paracetamol is there?!'' & Dp 'you're doing really well' me' well it's tough if I'm not isn't it!'... 
My current major challenges with breast feeding & the Luxembourg healthcare system!?
What I wish I'd done differently. A friend did say she didn't have everything ready but as a control freak, despite all my prep, I still could have done more. 

But right now, I need to attend to my family, get ip back into a routine & try to catch up on some sleep... Somewhere. Not sure where with a newborn only sleeping a few hours at a time & we never know when, but still... Oh & I need to do some thinking & make some decisions... For another post I think!

Another sort of silent Sunday... Belated.

Friday, 11 October 2013

Making elephants... Food Friday?

Ok, it's Friday so I should be writing about Food, right? Well, I kinda am and I'm kinda not... I'm writing about 'salt dough' which consists of flour, water and salt. Oh and a bit of oil... So they're technically food items, yes?! ;)

Recently there has been a Parade of elephants throughout Luxembourg & Trier and my sister in law loves elephants. So I suggested to DP, as IP had loved spotting the elephants (note to self: must post some pictures later of IP with said elephants!) and there was an article in the BLC newsletter about making salt dough elephants to hang on the wall, that maybe IP and I could make elephants for IP's aunty's birthday? 

It turned out that IP loved this activity! What she is still talking about is the 'cutting'! Anyway, we did this probably about a month ago but I had to wait for us to post the elephants and for her birthday (JUST in case, I doubt she reads this blog but I would have been upset if I'd assumed and it had spoilt the surprise)...

Rolled out salt dough & I didn't have an elephant cutter to hand so I google image searched, printed & cut this picture out:

'Cutting Mamma!?' - IP LOVED using her toddler knife to cut random pieces! I did not let her use the sharp knife in the bottom right! ;)

That weekend I roped DP into helping me help her to paint them! :)

For the record, I am a real mum. I am not superwoman or supermum. I tend to do these activities a bit 'on the spur of the moment' and take photo's with my iphone because I forget to take photo's with a decent camera... I forget to ensure IP is dressed (she's wearing her pj's in these photo's), hair brushed etc and I forget to clear all the other rubbish out the photo. I then have several pojects on the go and clearing it all up makes a mess. But I feel it's better to take photo's and show you, with mess in the background, than not and you miss out. Feel free to tell me you disagree! ;)

Monday, 7 October 2013

Bonne Luxembourg Fete, Papa!

Well IP slept in 'til about 8:45am so DP happened to miss the start of the Grand Prix! ;) 
Happy Luxembourg Father's Day DP! 
6th October 2013

Un bonbon, c'est bon
Deux bonbon, c'est bon
Trois bonbon, c'est bien
Mais un gros calin
Tout contre ton coeur
C'est encore meilleur
Bonne Fete, Papa!

Google translate:

A sweet, it's good
Two candy is good
Three candy is good
But a big hug
Against all your heart
It's even better
Bonne Fete, Papa!

P.S. Update: Later on, I went into a very fast labour with Munchkin. So DP decided it was the best Father's Day he could have had...

Sunday, 6 October 2013

Sort of silent Sunday ;)

No, she is not having a tantrum, I was trying to get her to pose for a photo! :) (all will be revealed)

Saturday, 5 October 2013

Project 333 - a new phase for IP

I've written about starting Project 333 and even more recently about how a new 'phase' occurs on the 1st October. Well when I first decided to implement Project 333 I wasn't sure I could manage it, being pregnant, having a toddler, the list of excuses could continue. Then I decided in June that I was just making excuses and went for it. And not only that, I went for it on my daughter's wardrobe as well!

So far things have worked out really well. I have to admit, I didn't stick rigidly to it for 3 reasons:

1. For me, being pregnant, in a new country, I felt it was too much. I knew at the start I almost certainly wouldn't wear 3 maternity dresses I owned. But I also knew that I might, as I had a wedding and other events. I didn't wear said dresses but as they're maternity I kept them in the wardrobe just in case. And it's probably a wider issue than that: we've lived here for a year now but I hadn't implemented the Project that entire time so it will probably take another year before I know roughly what I'm doing with things - like when the colder seasons start. But I have REALLY appreciated having guidelines and felt it gave me permission to take certain things out of my wardrobe.

2. I didn't reread the 'rules' so just forgot about coats. etc. But I did go through our shoes and coats afterwards and was just sensible.

3. IP is slightly 'obsessive' over her shoes so would notice in an instant if any were missing. I wasn't about to start having a fight with her over that! Toddler, Europe size 21 shoes don't exactly take up a lot of room, if she wants to keep them then that was fine by me and DP...

 And I admit that I haven't implemented things perfectly this time round, either. But, and I hope Courtney would agree, I feel that having the guidelines there are fantastic right now, I have every intention of restricting my clothing more after Munchkin is born and probably IP's...

Also we've been given lots of clothing from a friend for IP and then we'd bought a few items so given that we hadn't actually had to spend a lot, I think we've only gone to maybe 36 items, for a toddler that grows fast, with so much change occurring and in a country I didn't expect to suddenly get cold on 1st September, I figure 3 extra items isn't too bad! ;)

Sooooo, you are probably more interested in what our wardrobes look like, right? Well this is focusing on IP's wardrobe just because mine's a bit crazy right now!

At the end...

What I took out...

 Where it went... ;)

*When I mentioned on facebook in a group that all my daughter's current clothes fit in 1 drawer pretty much of a chest of drawers and that my baby's would too, other members were shocked and didn't understand how I do it. One lady asked how IP doesn't grow out of her clothes and aren't I getting rid of a lot of clothes that she needs? So whilst I have probably already said this, just to explain more whilst we don't know whether Munchkin is a boy or a girl...

As luck would have it, IP is very small and fits into clothes for 1 year olds, despite being 2.5 yo! So I dug out last years coats and snow suits and they fit her for now. We do need to buy her a new coat but when we went to buy it, she had a total hissy fit and refused to try any of them on and as we were likely to be spending a lot of money on a coat that would probably be too big initially, we decided to wait... 

Also, because I don't know what gender/sex Munchkin is (though we do have a fairly good idea) I have kept most of IP's old clothes. So for simplicity, at the moment all her clothes just go in this 1 sack. If Munchkin is a boy then when he's born one of my first jobs is to go through this sack of clothing and take out all the girly clothes. I have already started but it's become a bit of a mish mash now. Then I'll divide the remaining clothes up into sizes. Under the bed at the moment is their 'momento' suitcase & cloth nappies for when Munchkin's big enough. Oh and a box of shoes, tights, etc. So we'll vaccuum pack this bag and probably sort a few others and they'll stay under the bed. 

Wardrobe space. Our friend is having a Halloween party so the 2 hangers on the left are outfits for that and will be packed away/ donated afterwards...

I think this was another photo...

 Clothes from the washing line! ;)

  • 2 jeans - I think she may even have more now because our friend I think gave us some and we may have bought her some...
  • 3 trousers
  • 3-4 long sleeve tops (I may get rid of one of these, hence the 3-4)
  • 3 short sleeve tops
  • 4 cardi/jumpers
  • 7 dresses
  • 3 shirts
  • 2 snowsuits - 1 is fleece, 1 is waterproof material but they're from last year and DP insists they're good to keep, so...
  • 2 coats - 1 is definitely too small but she has refused to try new coats on as yet so we're going with it for now (a post on my minimalist daughter is coming up, lol!)
  • And as mentioned before, I think right now she has 2 pairs of welly boots but only 1 will definitely continue to fit,
  • 4 pairs of shoes but again, we'll see how we do on them fitting... And 2 of them were 'hand me down's' from her friend... 
Oh and 1 pair of the shoes, ever since I met DP 10 years ago, he has been talking about getting his future offspring a pair of mini trainers (I am not joking, literally our 3rd 'date' we ended up looking in a sports shop & he was the one to say first 'oh isn't that mini pair of trainers cool? When I have kids I'll get them those.' I think I was the one who actually said 'but we're not having kids yet, eh?' to reassure us both!). Then he saw a pair of black Puma trainers in the local supermarket & the week after needed a pair of black shoes/trainers for himself and they had matching. So he ummed and ahhed and I told him to buy them. It's not minimalism & I'm sure I'd be told off by some people but he doesn't buy himself stuff very often, is still feeling guilty a week later so I told him and feel that it's acceptable. And IP LOVES them! ;) 

= 36 items of clothing + hair 'bobbles' & clips!
For those of you that are wondering! So yes, we're currently 3 items over & probably more now but I will worry about it more when Munchkin is born... I think for a 2 year old girl, this isn't bad!

I am also considering making a tick box list for future use. I'd be interested to know what others think and if they'd find it useful? I'm not entirely sure how it would look or work but I have had to take a camera, pen and paper with me each time and now have the guidelines printed out so I was thinking if I had 1 sheet with it all on and space for me to write, that might make life easier?

Friday, 4 October 2013

Food Friday

Well, again this is about food but not meal planning... But it does include some minimalism :)

My 'helper'^


'No photo!'

Going into the oven...

So you may be wondering what this is and how it applies to minimalism? Well, this is my version of Vegan Brownies. I say 'my' version because in DP's words 'it wouldn't be made by Mama Pickle if there wasn't a 'surprise' involved'. I am known for changing random things...

I got talking to a gluten free vegan ages ago when I was out walking with my Dad (I had gone to visit him as a surprise because we hadn't done much for his birthday and I was free so took IP to see him, checking with my mum first) who told me about making things like chocolate brownies with substitutes like black beans and bananas, easily found in my local UK supermarket and was a lot healthier. So when I got home I googled it and made one recipe. I saved a few ideas that I heard and it just made me more open to options. 

When we moved to Luxembourg I couldn't find black beans anywhere, went through a phase of wanting to bake and then quickly realised it wasn't for me. By which point my friend had rather awesomely found a tin of black beans. So I decided this week to use them up and do some baking with IP, having made cakes last week that were lovely to have. 

I would share the recipe but to be honest, part of the joke with DP and I was that I didn't really stick to it: 

  • 1 15 oz. can (~ 1 3/4 cups) black beans, well rinsed and drained - I might have had a bit extra but this did roughly stay the same.
  • 2 large flax eggs (2.5 T flaxseed meal + 6 T water) - I used 1 egg & in the end 1.5 mashed bananas (egg substitute)
  • 3 T coconut oil, melted (or sub other oil of choice) - I used olive oil
  • 3/4 cup cocoa powder (the higher quality the better)
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • heaping 1/2 cup raw sugar, slightly ground or pulsed in a food processor or coffee grinder for refined texture - I used normal sugar
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • Optional toppings: crush walnuts, pecans or semisweet chocolate chips - because the consistency was runny I then added some chocolate chips...

All of this was fine and worked for us because we're not vegan but obviously it's an issue if you are... I only had 1 egg so that's why I substituted an egg - I googled egg substitute & a page called something like 'Iced Jems' gave about 4-6 things you could use, including half a mashed banana. Of course now I can't find said page (*have since found said blog site but can't find the actual page :()!

So here's the original recipe. And I only realised whilst making it that the website is a minimalist based name! :)

TA DA! ;)

DP had a very busy day today at work so when he finally got home we were definitely ready for him & this week none of us were as enthusiastic about decorating the brownies...

Originally I had planned to make these in white muffin cases that IP would have pre decorated and then give them to the people at her creche but I hadn't got her to decorate the cases and I'm not that confident on my baking skills! ;) Other ideas will follow on that! :)

Oh and that has now used up (that needed using up!):
1 large tin of black beans,
1 can of icing
2 packets of chocolate chips at least.

Wednesday, 2 October 2013

Goal Setting

I have felt this past week or 2 like I have been neglecting posts. This has been due to a huge number of reasons, mostly that I am now heavily pregnant but also because there's quite a bit going on! Today (I should add, I don't always post the same day I write) IP is at creche ALL day so I sat down this morning (well, just about still morning) and decided I was going to write posts because otherwise it wouldn't happen. I've been getting lots of ideas for posts and making notes of them, I just hadn't had the inclination to actually write them...

You will be pleased to hear that I am completely normal as a mother and therefore this didn't go according to plan... Firstly everything takes twice as long when you're heavily pregnant so I didn't have everything 'done' house wise and sat down with  my list and a nice cup of coffee at 9am. Like I said, I think it was just about still morning when I finally sat down. But I had achieved a few things off the list already so that was a relief. And it's now 6pm and I've just kinda reversed what I intended to do...

Taken from google images.

So I am now finally writing the post I had intended to implement and write this morning!

I read various blog posts that lead to another post and then another post during the week, to get ideas. And this was one of them. I actually googled something about toys. And that came about because I decided to sort our clothes for Project 333 and it reminded me of other things (a post to follow). But as often happens, I got distracted and ended up reading a post on how to get more done each day... Which led me to another post/ blog (that's in the link above).

So today was the day I was going to sit and check my to do list, follow it, write up my goals and write the posts I keep meaning to on all of it! Funnily enough, it hasn't happened! Buttttt interestingly, the way the above blog writers schedule their priorities, is to divide their goals into different sections (for example, home organisation, project completion, doing something for someone else and focusing on each child). And when I looked at my list of to do's and what I wanted to achieve in terms of goals, a lot of my to do's came under 1 goal heading so it's no wonder I don't achieve the other stuff!?

Then in the above posts one writer divides her goals up weekly, the other was saying she had been doing hers monthly. Admittedly neither of them are in my situation but I struggled, I mean there's a week to go until the end of September and then in October I'm due with baby number 2 so am fully expecting everything to go out the window! I think I might just revisit this...

So, how do you decide your goals and how long it will take to complete them?