No Longer Needed

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I am sure I have mentioned it before but I am not a fan of the ‘massive purge’ style of decluttering.  I liken it to any radical lifestyle change.  If it is too violent a disruption to the status quo it is almost certain to be unsustainable in the long-term.

A much better option is to work slowly and intentionally on reducing your possessions.  This should always be a two-pronged approach – minimise things coming into your home and move along those things which are no longer required or loved.

This weekend I have found new homes for several items by listing them in a couple of local groups on Facebook.

The dolls’ house was sourced from Gumtree several years ago and has provided many hours of entertainment for our granddaughters.  They are now a little old for this and so with the consent of the younger one, I listed it to giveaway and it was picked up yesterday by a very excited little girl and her parents.

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Today I listed 3 more items.  The first was this bag which I used for work as I carried a laptop as well as my lunch and general handbag item to and fro.  It removed the weight from my neck and shoulders.  I no longer have a need for the bag and it has sat in the corner of my bedroom for 6 months so it was time to go.  The bag is showing some signs of wear and tear, however, it was quickly snapped up and will be collected tomorrow.

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Finally, there were 2 pairs of footwear.  The well-worn RM Williams boots will last for many more years with a bit of refurbishment are taken and will be collected tomorrow.  The red shoes have not had a lot of wear but are probably marginally too small so it is time to fin a new owner.  I am sure someone will find them suitable.

I find it worthwhile to take the time to find recipients for specific items if possible as this reduces the chance of them being deemed to be unsuitable for sale and ending up in landfill.

Volunteering

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What do you think of when the discussion turns to volunteering?  Meals of Wheels?  The committee of a local organisation?  Assisting communities in Africa or Timor?  Assisting injured wildlife?  Planting trees?

These are all worthwhile and valid forms of volunteering but there are many others.  There are almost as many forms of volunteering as there are people in the world.  Sometimes we do it while it barely registers.

Yesterday I visited the small retirement village where my mother lives.  I gave a slideshow presentation of some of the photos from our trip to Scotland last year.  Mum had asked me if I would consider doing this as she felt that several of the residents would enjoy seeing them.

The presentation was advertised in the village newsletter, I assembled about 30 photos which I felt best reflected our travels and made some notes with specific details about the various places.

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The armchair travellers assembled and we were set to traverse the ‘Islands and Highlands of Scotland’.

I was delighted with the level of engagement by the audience and thoroughly enjoyed retelling some of the anecdotes of our travels.  However, I was completely unprepared for the overwhelmingly positive feedback and thanks which I received.  I was thanked profusely for donating my time.  I had not even thought of it like that – I was simply having fun sharing my passion for some of the places we had visited.  There may well be more travel slideshows of other destinations in the future.

Today was a completely different story.  A small but committed group of us gathered to print more pockets for the Boomerang bags which are made by our local group.  Boomerang bags utilise salvaged and secondhand fabrics to create reusable carry bags.  These are sold for a very modest $5.00 and we were pleased to be able to make a substantial donation to the local Neighbourhood Centre at the end of last year.  The centre supports disadvantaged and vulnerable people in our community.  The Boomerang Bag project saves fabric from landfill, limits single use plastics and supports our community and I am glad to be a part of it.

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A reminder that you are never to young to be involved in volunteering and making a contribution.

I would love to hear about your volunteering contributions.

 

Multipurpose

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Our house is not huge but there is plenty of space with only 2 of us living in a 3 bedroom house.  We have the luxury of a dedicated guest room which is listed on Air BnB as well as being available for family and friends.  The other bedroom is primarily my sewing and craft room, however, I do have a single bed with a trundle bed in the room.

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The beds are not shown in this photo but are along the wall on the left-hand side.

Yesterday I did some minor rearrangements to turn this room into a bedroom for our 2 granddaughters who a visiting for the last week of the school holidays.

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The sewing table has been moved.  I added a towel rail and a small desk which are normally in the guest room.

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The repositioned sewing table allowed space for the trundle bed.

The girls have their own bedroom with minimal disruption to the household.

Finding Balance

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It is a little over 6 months since I finished work and I am now beginning to look at how I manage my time at home.

While I was working it was the time available which dictated what I achieved at home.  However, now that has all changed as my time is my own.

The first 6 months were taken up with the final preparations for our overseas trip followed by 9 weeks overseas then it was less than 2 months until Christmas and a road trip and family Christmas.

My activities can be roughly divided into the following categories (in alphabetical order, not priority):

Cooking – meal preparation – sometimes in bulk
Exercise – aquarobics, gym and walking
Gardening – growing vegetables, flowers and shrubs
Household maintenance/renovations – usually in conjunction with GMan
Online/Computer – blog, Facebook, emails
Relaxing – reading, music, television
Routine housework – making bed, washing, ironing, sweeping, vacuuming
Sewing – clothes, mending, patchwork and Boomerang bags
Socialising – book club, film society, theatre, friends, family, Air BnB guests
Shopping – groceries and miscellaneous
Travel – local, interstate and overseas

By their very nature, housework and cooking tend to occur everyday.  Formal exercise is twice a week but I am trying to include either some walking or gardening every other day.

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I try to find time for some gardening, relaxing and computer work each day.

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Sewing and socialising usually happen several days a week.

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Shopping is as little as possible but groceries are mostly once a week.

Some activities cross over such as aquarobics and socialising.  I also try to combine activities and errands to limit the number of trips I make into our local town (8km away).

From time to time a particular activity may demand a substantial block of time to the exclusion of almost everything else but I generally try to keep a mix of activities each day or so.

 

 

 

Gluten Free Veggie Rolls

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Regular sausage rolls are quite obviously not vegetarian.  Nor are they gluten free.  So, here is an alternative.

GLUTEN FREE SHORTCRUST PASTRY

Ingredients

1 & 1/2 cups gluten free self-raising flour
90g butter
1/3 cup cold water

Method

Place flour in a bowl.  Finely shred the butter and rub into the flour until crumbly.  Add cold water and stir in with a knife blade to make a firm dough.  Knead on a lightly floured surface and roll out as thinly as possible.  Use as desired for quiche, savoury pie, sausage rolls etc.

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VEG FILLING

1 cup red lentils (soaked for 3-4 hours)
1 onion diced
1 clove garlic, crushed
300g sweet potato
2 tablespoons hummus
2 tablespoons freshly grated parmesan cheese
2 teaspoons dried powdered tomato
2 teaspoons dried mixed herbs
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon smoky paprika
1/4 teaspoon salt
Ground black pepper

GLAZE

1 egg
1 tablespoon milk

Cook the sweet potato and mash roughly.  Saute the onion and garlic.  Drain the lentils and combine all of the ingredients thoroughly.

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Whisk the egg and milk together for the glaze.

Roll out the pastry on a flexible surface which will assist in rolling the pastry.  A baking sheet works well.  Spread mixture on pastry.  Create a roll and use a little of the glaze to seal the join of the pastry.  Cut into suitable sizes.  Glaze with egg mixture and bake for approximately 20 minutes at 190C.

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NOTES

I use this mix of gluten free flour and add 2 teaspoons baking powder for each cup of flour used.

The filling ingredients can be varied depending on personal tastes and what you have on hand.  For example the hummus was in the fridge and needed to be used up.  The main thing is that you are looking for a mixture which will stick together and is adequately seasoned to your liking.

These can be part of a main meal as well as a substantial snack.

I served them with quinoa tabouli and some homemade tomato sauce for dinner.

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The remainder have been packed up for the freezer.

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Ugly Duckling

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A quick Google search will yield numerous results for the term ‘ugly fruit and vegetables’.  I do not know where or how the description originated but it simply refers to that produce which does not meet the consumer’s expectation of perfection.  There is a new wave of consumers who have realised that imperfect shape or non-conforming size do not render produce useless and destined for the waste bin.

While not specifically designated as ‘ugly fruit’ our local fruit and vegetable stall does have less than perfect items available from time to time.  You need to be prepared to chop, puree, freeze or preserve the entire quantity as soon as possible as it generally has a limited shelf life.  You can turn ‘ugly ducklings’ into ‘beautiful swans’.

Although I always write a shopping list for my shopping, including fruit and vegetables, I am always on the lookout for anything extra that I can use.

About a month ago I found a box of ripe yellow peaches that were most definitely seconds.  I decided that I could not go wrong when I noticed they were priced at $5 for the box.  I discovered that there were 6kg of peaches and I only needed to discard 2 peaches and removes spots from a couple of others.  Some were pureed and frozen to go on my cereal in the future and others being dehydrated while more were set aside in the refrigerator to be used fresh during the following days.  My favourite was the 5 jars of peach and chilli chutney made from this recipe.

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Yesterday we needed to replenish our supplies after our holidays and I spied another box for $5 at the fruit and vegetable stall.  This time it was pineapples.  12 small pineapples for $5 was a bargain not to be passed up.  Once again, despite not looking great from the outside, there was only a small portion that I needed to discard.

I did not make anything particularly fancy but I have plenty of pineapple frozen and ready to use.  Some is pureed for use on my cereal and the remainder is small slices packed into containers.  It is quite easy to remove as much or as little as is required for a particular recipe.

This is the haul (after I had eaten a couple of pieces).

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Do you look for seconds or bargains when buying fruit and vegetables?  What have you found and how did you process it?

 

Love a List

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We arrived home a little over 2 days ago after being away for almost 3 weeks.  There was the inevitable washing and ironing as well as grocery shopping but there seemed to be a million and one other things whirling around in my head that required my attention.

So, the first step was to write a list.

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I started writing this on Wednesday evening and have worked through many of the items but there are plenty left to do.  Some may not even get done but that is OK.  I know that some people advocate against “endless ‘TO DO’ lists” but I find that the clarity that a list provides far outweighs any perceived pressure.

I don’t have fancy journals or bulletin boards – just a simple unused notebook is sufficient.  I add things to it as I think of them and there is no specific time-frame so it is more of a memory prompt than anything else.

My list is a mix some regular tasks – washing, ironing, handwashing, digital tasks – send email to ………, update Outlook calendar, clear out inbox, food preparation – cut up pineapple, make Tabasco sauce and completely miscellaneous jobs such as writing up notes for a presentation of our Scotland holiday photos.

List-making minimises the stress of feeling like I am juggling too many balls, provides a reminder of what needs to be done and provides a sense of focus and accomplishment as I tick things off the list.

What about you? Lists?  Yes or no?