Family Umlaut

5 Apr 2017

Living in a small space - The Sitting Room

This is the smallest sitting room we ever had 
in any of the houses we've lived in.
It is tiny.
And it's not only a sitting room/good room
but also the children's play room.

So we decided to use shelves and boxes to store all the toys,
The Lego and Lego Duplo,
the cars and the train set,
the musical instruments and the cuddle toys,
the nappies and the wipes.
All these things live in individual boxes
which are kept in Kallax shelves.

The TV is a little oversized for the room
but we had it before the last move.
And it's actually fine.

The cables that connect the PS4 with the PS3 with the sattelite receiver 
and the DVD player, with the indirect LED lighting 
and with the surround system... all these cables being all over the place
drive me bananas sometimes.
But there's nothing I can do about them. 

Gerd had the idea to put a few more Kallax shelves up high,
right under the ceiling, over the couch, 
to store our board games and his whiskey collection.
That was really clever and he did a brilliant job!

We used to have a bigger couch,
 but it didn't fit into this small room.
So we've replaced it by a smaller one
that can be converted into a double bed.
Smart, eh?
So now it functions as our 
nursing table, 
play area,
hiding place,
reading spot,
cuddle zone 
and guest room.

We love this space!
It's small,
it's bright,
it's colourful,
it makes us all happy,
it suits us.
A lovely room to make childhood memories.

Coming soon:

The Bedrooms.
Stay tuned!

3 Apr 2017

Vegetarian Chilli Beans

 I don't want to waste a lot of time in the kitchen cooking dinners
but am also not in the mood for chips or frozen pizzas
and that's usually a day when we end up
having a stew, a curry or a soup. 
A "one pot wonder", as those dishes can also be called 
if you wish to give them a fancier name.

Yesterday, I was craving a hearty, healthy dinner 
and as we are going on holidays soon, 
my goal is to empty the fridge within the next few days
without dumping what's in it. 

So I had a good look through the content of the vegetable compartment of the fridge
and thought, that the carrots, sweet potatoes, a pepper, garlic and onions
would make a nice chili bean stew.
If I added one or two tins of beans, obviously. 

So I gathered the stuff I wanted to throw into a pot
and to turn into our family dinner. 
Within 10 mins the prep work was done
and another 20 mins later, dinner was ready.

If you want to make this stew,
feel free to swap ingredients around 
or add something else you think would go well with beans.

I used:

-two sweet potatoes
-a huge green bell pepper
-one onion
-one garlic clove
-1/2 tube tomato puree
-one tin of chopped tomatoes
-one tin of cannellini beans
-one tin of kidney beans
-500ml vegetable stock
-frozen sweetcorn
-frozen quorn mince
-ground coriander
-dried leaf coriander
-ground cumin
-smoked paprika powder
-some fresh, finely chopped chili
-salt & pepper


Preheat some oil in a large pot.
Chop the onion and add to the oil and fry over a medium heat until softened.
Finely chop or crush the garlic, add to the onion.
Peel and chop the carrots and sweet potatoes into cubes and toss into the pot.
Wash, trim and chop the bell pepper and add to the veg mixture.
Stir occasionally to avoid burning.
Add the tomato puree.
Add the chopped tomatoes.
Add the stock.
Drain and rinse the beans.
Put into the pot.
Bring to the boil, reduce the heat.
Add the spices and chilis.
Let the stew simmer for about 10 mins.
Add the sweetcorn and quorn mince and bring to the boil again.
Simmer for another 10 mins.
 And add salt, pepper and a LITTLE sugar to taste.

I topped it with a few green jalapenos and served it with some 
pizza dough rolls and fresh garlic and chive butter.

You can keep leftovers in the fridge 
and reheat them a day or two later for a quick lunch.


Enjoy cooking and let me know what you think!

Our pets

May I introduce you to our pets!?
We've got quite a few.
Well, we used to have more but this is our current zoo.

He's a Labrador - Collie Mix and we've adopted him in August 2010.
When Gerd was visiting a customer, Bobby jumped into his van.
He was approximately 14 weeks old, had been found in a ditch with his 3 siblings
and nobody wanted him. 
He was in a very bad state.
He had mange and was malnourished and therefore needed very expensive medical treatment.
It was all worth it.
All the visits to the vet, the injections, the baths, the medicine... 
we wouldn't want to be without Bob anymore.

He's really gentle, very good with the kids, patient and calm.
And funny.
Look at him! Look what he does when I try to take a photo of him!

"Bobby! Look! Bobby! Look at me!

Who is a good boy, Bobby!? Look over here!
Aaaah... nearly! THAT's a good boy!

I'm here... BOBBIIIIIE!!! 

Look up! Just for TWO seconds.
Bobby! BOBBY!

I don't know whether he is camera-shy
or simply taking the piss.

Then, there's 

She's a Labrador - English Setter Mix 
and we've adopted her in May 2012.
She's always living in her own little world,
likes to chase her tail and starts barking
as soon as we try to get the kids to sleep. 
Every evening.
She's very friendly, too, a lovely, lively, happy girl but quite nuts most of the time. 
She's a really funny, furry friend and adores the kids
and the kids adore her.

There's just this ONE thing she does that REALLY, REALLY annoys me.
She eats her own poop.
And Bobby's poop.
And Gizmo's poop.
And cat poop.
I'm sure she's got issues there.

Oh... and she doesn't like the beep-beep sound of my camera.
That why she looks at me like this when I forget to turn off that beep-beep:

(Did you get it? Bob and Marley... Bob & Marley...??
Aren't we JUST FUNNY!?? 
Admit it... German's can be funny!)

The youngest member of the gang is

He's a Chihuahua and we've adopted him in March 2016.
He's smaller than a rabbit but he really is the boss
and he behaves like a Rottweiler.
A dangerous, 2 meter tall Rottweiler with shark's teeth.
He barks at strangers, doesn't like adult visitors and is very protective.
He's the only guard dog we have but he
gets on very well with the kids and the kids' buddies
and forgives them all those tiny "accidents" that occur
when a toddler lives with a dog that is as tiny as a toy cat.
Sorry, Gizmo.

Gizmo and Marley are great buddies!
He protects her and uses her as a cushion 
when the ground is too cold for his aristocratic, pure-bred, bare belly.

Last but not least:

We named them Henny, Henny, Henny, Henny and Henny.
They are rescue hens and used to live on a battery farm.
We originally had 9 hens but despite having the vet visiting to treat them 
and to give them injections a few times,
we've lost 4 of them to a parasite. :-(

But these 5 ladies live happy lifes now.
They had very little feathers and looked desperate when they moved in
but now they have fluffy bums and are really noisy chatty.
And they lay delicious, lucky eggs.

These are the animals that live with us at the moment.
Klara would love to have some guinea pigs
and I'd like to have two cats.
But looking after eight animals
and two children is enough for now.

I think.

2 Apr 2017

Living in a small space - The Kitchen

Over the next few days or weeks
I am going to take you on a tour 
around the house we are currently renting.
It's really small for a family of four, soon five,
and we had to find smart storage solutions
and furniture arrangements to fit everything in.
And even though we're living here nearly 1 1/2 years now,
we're still not finished decorating and personalizing 
to make this house suit our taste and needs.
I'd like to change the curtains 
and some of the lamps are still not the ones I'd have picked myself.
But apart from that, we all LOVE our new home.
It is cozy and warm,
bright and airy
and has beautiful views and a lovely, big garden.

I'll start with the kitchen.
It's the biggest room in the house,
the room where we spend most of the time together.
It has big windows facing the garden and a lovely rural landscape.

My cookbook collection
Hot press, toy kitchen and toy workbench.

Table and chairs are Domedeal findings
we have bought and painted a few years ago.

The laptop and Silhouette plotter aren't always there.
They usually live in my workshop.
This corner.
Originally planned to be a small office space.
Now the "let's put all the shit here that has no home but needs to be put somewhere until someone tidies it up or dumps it and where the dog sleeps" space.
The messiest corner in the house.
Needs further attention.

Coming soon:
The Sitting Room.

Stay tuned!

1 Apr 2017

Hello Spring! Hello Garden!

With the weather getting a little nicer,
the sun shining a little warmer and longer
and the rain taking the odd break from falling onto Ireland, 
the gardening season starts again.
And we LOVE working in our garden.

Today, my favourite husband picked up a tiller
at Tullamore Tool Hire
to save a few days time digging over the MAHOOOSIVE potato plot. 

 Boys and their toys. 

A little while ago, my mum and I have sowed peas
and today, Alfie and I discovered some tiny baby pea plants
growing happily in the sheep poop in one of the raised beds. 
How exciting!

Also the herb garden looks quite well.
The lemon balm,...


...and leafy chives are already growing again.

But we've managed to kill the oregano, rosemary and lovage.

We also discovered baby beetroot plants...

baby butterhead lettuce,...

and baby spinach.

The lion's tooth didn't fail to impress!

And our hens! The non-stop cackling in the chicken run!
Cackling hens make me SO HAPPY! 

My mum had planted some spring flowers 
into some of our gazillion flower pots
and arranged them at our front door.
Look at the colours!

And even the babies in our tiny indoor nursery 
are springing up like mad
to catch some of that very rare springtime light!

Like this apple tree...

... as well as these sunflower, lovage and mint seedlings.
They will have to move out, soon. 

Finally, the gardening season is back. 
The winter was really, really long and we can't wait
to work on a few new garden projects we have in mind for this summer.

Enjoy the sun!
Plant a few primroses,
sow some summer flower seeds
or keep a few little pots with herbs on your kitchen windowsill!
Happy gardening, everyone!