I went a bit switchback mad! Here are some simple cheese wraps, surrounded by a tomato, a cucumber, an apple and a beetroot all done with the switchback method, as found here on bento.com
On our way shopping yesterday we decided to pop in at the Oktoberfest seeing as it was on our way. It was also Family Day which means a lot of the stalls have reduced prices on selected items. We bought some food (fish and chips!) and my little boy went on a ride and we got a stick of fluffy white Candy Floss (cotton candy). We’d already been in a Superdrug type shop (called DM here in Germany) where the kids got free balloons (so that saved about 10 Euros having to buy them at the Oktoberfest 😀
I was a Doubting Thomas last week. My Nokia XpressMusic camera phone malfunctioned and had to be sent away for repair. I had very low expectations for any positive news about it being repairable or replaceable. Usually here in Germany as a consumer “No Quibble” certainly does not apply. In fact I once bought a pair of Rubber Gloves from Schlecker and they tore the first time I put them on, but even though I had my receipt they refused to exchange them. Call me petty, but you’d think for a 2 Euro pair of household gloves, it would be a no-brainer. I save my receipts for EVERYTHING in case the item goes wrong within the gurantee period and sometimes if you argue long and hard enough the sales assistant will eventually back down / give in / agree to replace the defective item, seeing as the price of the item (even a 50 Euro electrical item) will pale into insignificance when they realise it would just be easier to issue a cash refund and have done with it.
Since we’ve been living here in Munich, we’ve had disputes with Bauknecht (Dishwasher company), Alice (Telecom / ISP), Postbank, Saturn (electrical goods) and even the British Consulate IN Germany. Rarely has making a formal complaint helped to resolve the issue, but it does make you wonder if nearly every company has some kind of deal with the German version of the Consumer Advice Bureau called the Verbraucherzentrale, because if you PAY the Verbraucherzentrale a fee, they will try and get your dispute reolved by offering a COMPROMISE so that you only have to pay HALF the amount the company is trying to rip you off for. So an 80 euro unwarranted charge from the dishwasher company ended up being settled for 40 Euros PLUS a 10 Euro fee to the consumer advice place. I’m obviously a cynic, and was quite prepared for news that my Nokia phone would be not accepted for free repair due to something I had agreed to when I signed up for the 2 year contract (signed my life away), and that I would be paying for a broken phone for the next 12 months.
But credit where it’s due, O2 took care of sending my phone off to Nokia for repair / re-installation of the software / replacement of the touchscreen. I was only without my phone for a few days and now I’ve got it back, I am a very happy bunny boiler. So thanks O2 and Nokia. 😀
TRYING TO ORGANISE USEFUL CLUTTER
You can’t organise clutter, you have to get rid of it. I know, I know. But there are tools and gadgets we need on a daily basis that get shoved in drawers, left where they were last used or “put to one side”. You know what I’m talking about!
As I have been doing some SERIOUS decluttering this past week, I have found all sorts of USEFUL CLUTTER. I’ve found cables, adapters, connectors, memory cards, jigsaw pieces, belts, bobbles, nail varnish, lens cleaner, nail varnish remover, remote controls, batteries, covers for the remote controls, magnets, pegs, chess pieces, lego pieces, thingamijigs and whatdyacallits.
About a year ago, I made a list of the top 10 items that we seem to need on a daily basis that we need to lay our hands on and could never find. My husband put a new “special” shelf up – high enough that nosy boys and curious fingers can’t wreck the system hehe 😀 and I made labels for the edge of the shelf for each item on my top 10 list.
Here’s my list of items we need regularly but didn’t have a place for:
Stapler / hole punch
Clips / paperclips
Each item has a specially designated, labelled place on the shelf and has its own specially designated, labelled box / container on the correct part of the shelf. So since then, these top 10 items have been a LOT easier to find. This system works best if you put things back straight after you’ve used them. We don’t always put things back straight away because we are not Born Organised. BUT when we are cleaning up (this is the royal “we” of course!) doing FLYLADY 5 min room rescues and stash and dash de-clutters then it is great to have a designated place for the item to call “home”.
Ok so there are 11 on my list but the last one was borderline so we had to include it, they are still referred to as the Top 10 on the “Top 10 shelf” 😀
Well writing about it makes it seem over simplified… I mean, in my kitchen I don’t have labels for the spoons, the forks, the plates etc – everything (everything?! hmm maybe not!) already has its place, and these aren’t labelled. Although thinking about it, I wonder how many cupboards and drawers I could put in good order simply by assigning labels?
I used to have labels on my chest o’ drawers at home as a kid. That way, you could always find a t-shirt or socks. I’m having an epiphany today – I think I might start doing that with my all my drawers and cupboards too, in my bedroom and kitchen!
But first! I will make labels for all these 20 remaining “useful clutter” items, and then let’s see if our home will start to be tidier, AND we will be able to find things more quickly.
“A place for everything and everything in its place” umm, right, ok, lightbulb moment. 😀
Funny that, cos I had an epiphany this morning too as I was using my rubber scrubber to brush soggy cornflakes out of the carpet. I could have prevented the cornflakes being scooped out onto the floor if I’d cleared the breakfast pots away from the dining table STRAIGHT AWAY instead of leaving them out to be interfered with. A stitch in time prevents nine. Right, now I geddit LOL 😀
Yesterday I mentioned Oktoberfest and how I love the colourful gingerbread hearts (Lebkuchenherzen) which gave me an idea for today’s bento! Of course this one is not made of gingerbread; it is a meat sandwich on brown bread cut into a heart shape and decorated with coloured cheese hearts, flowers, leaves and a bow. The swirly lace / icing and white writing is actually mayonnaise (Thanks Diane for your suggestion!) I put a couple of spoonfuls into a homemade piping bag and squished and squeezed away, finally adding a drop of blue colouring for the extra layer of swirly “icing” for the edge.
Hello! Long time no see! Here is one I have been wanting to make for ages, but never got round to it until now, due to not having any food colouring left!
Not having lettuce in is another excuse but I think maybe my perfectionism was trying to get the better of me so I got some new colours and finally just jumped in!
This is a “musubi” type bento – inside the cube is tightly pressed boiled rice and in the centre of the rice is some chopped meat, cucumber and remoulade sauce. The cube of rice is then covered with nori seaweed sheets and decorated with coloured cheese squares. Surrounding the centrepiece are grapes, orange segments, tomatoes and cucumber slices.
Did you know I am a big fan of the Rubiks cube? I have the 3x3x3, the 4x4x4 and the 5x5x5 ! I learned how to solve the 3x3x3 from Dan Brown on his YouTube Channel (user name PogoBat)
I have not forgotten about my Scaredy Cat Challenges! I have given up smoking Praise God! And I have been able to colour in 10 little squares from my weight loss chart – yes each square is worth 1 lb in weight! So gradually very gradually the weight is coming off!
We are currently fasting for the muslim holy month of Ramadan from dawn until sunset. I am trying not to over eat when we break the fast and drinking plenty of water, and although this has helped me to be able to colour in 3 more squares off my chart, I must expect that my weight will go back up slightly after the fasting is over, unless I seriously start to do more exercise. God willing, in October my son is starting Kindergarten so that will be at least 30 mins of exercise per day walking him there and back every day!
For more Scaredy Cat Challenges visit DianeDenmark.com. Diane blogs about life in Denmark, the good things in life and the FlyLady system. She’s currently planning ahead for Christmas, using Flylady’s techniques. I have already started making a list of people who I want to buy presents for, for Eid, birthdays and Christmas. Yes, me! It’s not like me to be this organised LOL (BTW if you ever wondered why there are a lot of birthdays in November, it’s because Valentine’s day is in February!) I have even placed a couple of online orders with Ebay and Tesco. Tesco have already got the huge tins of Roses and Quality Streets in on a Buy One Get One Free!
Oktoberfest is starting here in Munich on the 18th September. The gingerbread hearts are so cute. I think it’s just given me an idea for some more food / cheese art – Watch this space! (Though I don’t know how I would do the white writing – so let me have a think about it!)
Another Scaredy Cat Challenge that I have set for myself is to get a YouTube video done. This means finding the battery charger for the camera and learning how to use video-editing software, and sorting out the lighting. I might be able to use my phone but I think the image will be grainy and not up to much. God Willing, I’ll be able to get something sorted out and achieve another Scaredy Cat Challenge Goal!
It’s a bento! It’s not a real piece of cake! It’s curry flavoured rice, topped with mayo and the “Dolly Mixtures” sweeties on top are made from boiled egg whites, chopped into shapes and coloured with food colouring!
Not exactly a piece of cake to create, but lots of fun! I’d better go and clean up my kitchen now! 😀