Seasons of Joy: Creating a cleaning cupboard

Ribbet collageSeasons of Joy

Finding the joy in the small things is becoming more natural for me as the days go on.  Even seemingly innocuous things like the rhythms of life nurture us all as we go about our days.

Rhythms of Life 

Each morning, sleepy with the blessing of yet another night’s sleep (sleep will never grow old for me, ever), I create a culinary masterpiece in the form of a coffee.  Just the process of grinding the beans, familiar smells wafting up, cause a small satisfied smile to begin to form on my lips.  I breathe in a deep sigh, inhaling all the coffee goodness of the aromatic grains.  Then I stand back and let the coffee machine work its magic.  Gary bought me my very own coffee-making machine when I gave up coffee a few years ago.  He knew how much I missed it and yet we could not afford to keep buying coffees from the local coffee shop (!).  It is a gift I have grown to appreciate more with each passing month.  It is such a small thing which gives such a huge amount of pleasure twice a day (I drink two coffees a day).  This Christmas I received an insulated cup to sip my morning coffee from.  Fifteen minutes of pure hedonistic time alone sets me up for the day.  The children leave me be, knowing they won’t get anything intelligible from me until post coffee.  Sheer bliss:


Each Saturday I go to a little coffee shop with my mum as we catch up on each others news over the past week.  Then we shop.  One thing I always buy is a flat white baguette (we almost never eat white bread at any other time) and bacon.  Once home I make everyone a bacon and egg baguette with a pot of tea using eggs from our chickens.  It is such a small thing and yet the look of appreciation I see in Gary’s eyes speaks to me of his own joy at being cared for:


And buying new roses.  I just love them.  My children comment how beautiful they are.  I pay £1.65 for them and yet they bring such joy….

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…and last indefinitely beautifying my staircase as I dry them each week:

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So much beauty.  Gary’s single roses for the twins are still going strong, but next week I will suggest to the girls the possibility of carefully drying them and keeping the petals.  These petals can be added to each year their Daddy buys them their rose and they can be scattered at their wedding.  A lovely, poignant way of expressing the handing over of a precious daughter to the man they love and the man who will from that day forth be the one who buys their Valentine rose.

The Healthiest Ice Cream Ever

I have been searching for an alternative to ice cream.  Ice cream has lots of unpronounceable ingredients in it and the alternatives are very expensive for the amount you get.  My children love smoothies, so after reading about making your own ice cream from frozen fruit and yogurt, I gave it a go.  I pureed a whole bag of frozen strawberries and bananas with some yogurt and honey:

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It was a huge hit and full of 100% natural ingredients.  I may try to refreeze it for half an hour or so and see if it hardens sufficiently to scoop it out.  I am excited about the possibilities as it is very low in calories and extremely healthy for my growing teens.

Creating a Cleaning Cupboard

My last little project of this week has been to create a cleaning cupboard for me to keep regularly used cleaning supplies and the vacuum cleaner.  I had already earmarked and cleared this cupboard under the stairs:


I found a lovely storage basket upstairs which was perfect for holding cleaning materials.  I went through my cleaning supplies.  We clean using Ecover most of the time and once a week I use stronger chemicals to keep the mold and the lime scale under control.  This basket would be for the once a week cleaning supplies.  I also grabbed a small box to collect things for an up and coming project (the upstairs hallway and bathroom).  The new cleaning cupboard would be the perfect place to store my collection of bits and pieces:

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These all fitted perfectly into the under the stairs space:

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Happy sigh….its the little things in life.

Spurred on by my success downstairs, I put together a basket for the upstairs loo.  This would be used for daily cleaning and would be full of the fairly child-friendly Ecover.  I included a loo cleaner, multipurpose spray, rubber gloves and a pink for the sink sponge and a blue for the loo sponge:


We popped the basket on a high shelf out-of-the-way of the littles yet within easy reach of the older ones (who are the primary users and therefore cleaners of the upstairs loo):


I have had such a lovely week this week.  February has come to an end and the blooos have blown away.  I am loving my word (Nurture) for the year more and more.  Nurture is so full of goodness.  How are you nurturing yourself this year?  And are you having as much fun as I am doing it?

Next week is our unschooling week, which gives me a bit more time to spend on my nurturing projects.  I am turning my attentions to our long thin hallway which has every single solitary centimeter of space put to good use, including a huge book-case and my larder.  I’ve got all sorts of ideas flying about and as usual am way more excited than I maybe ought to be about getting my hands on it!

I hope you all have a wonderful week, nurturing yourselves…


  1. Claire, how would you like to come to the U.S. and do a “little” organizing? I am sure you would have great fun.;) How wonderful to spend a little time with your mum each week. Treasure those moments. I love your roses idea. I wish I had thought of that as Michael has bought flowers for the girls for each birthday. We have dried a few along the way. We have snipped a few very special roses and put them in a glass jar. It is rather pretty. Your ice cream looks delicious. We might have to give it a try. I’ve always loved the smell of coffee, but can’t stand the taste. And I must add, if I had a vacuum cleaner as cute as yours, I might want to use it a little more often. Have a lovely weekend, Angelicscalliwags!
    P.S. Your sandwich looks yummy.

    1. It nurtures Gary. I do it because he always had an Ulster fry on Saturday at home growing up. This is me attempting to replicate with less meat.

  2. How funny! I´ve never seen such a nice vacuum cleaner! I like the idea of the cleaning cupboard, I love your roses and the healthy icecream! Thanks for sharing!

    1. He’s called George. Literally, he has his name printed on his back. There is also a red one called Henry and a small pink one called Henrietta. It makes hoovering a bit more fun!

  3. I love the posts in which you talk about your joys and your daily life. Love hearing about your coffee joy and your baguette sandwiches, which looks yummy. I love flowers, and your idea about scattering the petals at their weddings. Your ice cream sub. sounds delicious. I feel privileged to call you my bloggy friend.

  4. How wonderful that you are able to spend time every Saturday with your mom! I wish I lived close enough to do this with my own mother…

    1. Mum lives next door, which whilst it may not suit most to live next door to a family member, it suits us down to the ground! I love seeing mum!

  5. We always buy a baguette when we’re at the supermarket too – a little junky treat for when we get home.

    Your cleaning cupboard looks great. You’ve been inspiring me to reorganize some of my own spaces!

    1. The baguettes remind me of a childhood holiday to France where we ate freshly baked baguettes with butter and jam each morning. Yummy!

  6. What a beautiful idea to save the girls’ rose petals to be scattered at their wedding – an incredible way to add even more meaning to an important day. Have fun in the hall this week 🙂 (Glad to hear the Feb blues are gone!)

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