Desperate Housekeeping for busy mums and dads

From one mother to another

Art Exhibition Vernissage to Support Education of Children

Hello dear readers!

Good things need to be shared, so a great initiative going on definitely needs to reach as many people as we can.

An art exhibition Vernissage is being held at Caves Schlink in Machtum (85 route du Vin) to support the education of children of asylum seekers. How? Well, simple: 10 euros from every ticket sold at 15 euros is going to an education fund that will be used to buy school supplies and a new pair of shoes for every child at the Foyer St Antoine.

You can read the full story on the following article:

http://citysavvyluxembourg.com/expat-essentials/work-and-money/volunteering/vernissage-fundraising-on-the-mosel/

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New blog! Hope to see you there!

Hi all!
As some of you know, I recently launched a new blog: Expat Mum in Luxembourg.

At the begining, I thought it would make sense to maintain both blogs, with separate themes, but quickly I figured it out that my themes are always around Family Life and Kids.

So, I decided that the new blog will be my new online ‘home’, with new and fresh ideas. As for the Desperate Housekeeping for Busy Mums and Dads, I’ll start to gradually migrate the best contents into the new blog as well.

Hope to ‘see’ you at the ‘Expat Mum in Luxembourg‘ blog and, please, don’t forget to “Follow It”.

Cheers!
Rute

Munchkin Snack Products Review

Spring is out there and as the weather gets warmer, it’s really nice to go with the kids to the park. Even the most picky ones enjoy to eat some snacks, especially when it’s a surprise for them.

On my quest to find the best way to keep all sort of snacks fresh and well conditioned, I’ve found very good reviews about the Munchkin products, so I decided to give it a try.

1. Munchkin Tower Snack
These 5 containers can easily be used as 1 single tower or converted into 2 snack towers, so it can actually hold a variety of snacks and treats. It’s ideal for the picky ones, so they can try a pinch of so many different things. It has a slim design, so it fits easily in any kind or crowded bag.

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2. Munchkin Baby Snack Catcher
This bowl is simply fantastic, not only because it prevents messy on-the-go, but also because it’s cute and funny to be used by the little ones.

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Grocery Shopping in Luxembourg

Living in a country with such a high standard of life, one should not be surprised with the equally high cost of groceries. With a wide variety of supermarkets, you should define your own preferences accordingly to your food habits and budget plan.

Large Hypermarkets and traditional supermarkets:

Auchan (http://www.auchan.lu), Cactus (http://www.cactus.lu), Cora (http://www.cora.lu) and Match (http://www.supermarche-match.lu) are the larger sized places and they all have a wide variety of brands. There you can find not only local products, but also a bite from several countries, where at least most of expats can feel a little like home. From time to time, there are also themed weekly promotions from a specific country in most of them.

On the other hand, you can also find more traditional supermarkets all over the country, which includes Delhaize (www.delhaize.lu), Alima (www.alima.lu) and the discount supermarkets Aldi (http://fr.aldi.lu/) and Lidl (www.lidl.lu). Others could also be found, as well as small neighborhood grocery stores.

Main shopping centers and large hypermarkets are usually best friends and the Grand-Duchy is not an exception. Around Luxembourg City you can find three major shopping centers:

– Auchan Centre Commercial
Address: 5, r. Alphonse Weicker,
Website: http://www.auchan.lu
Hypermarket: Auchan

– La Belle Etoile Shopping Center
Address: Route d’Arlon, L-8050 Bertrange
Hypermarket: Cactus
Website: http://www.belle-etoile.lu

– City Concorde
Address: 80, Route de Longwy, L-8060 Bertrange
Hypermarket: Cora
Website: http://www.concorde.lu/

All over the Grand-Duchy you are able to find shopping centers, and most of them have a supermarket as well. Just to mention a few:

– Belvalplaza Shopping Center (http://www.belvalshopping.lu/)
Address: Avenue du Rock’N’Roll, L-4631 Esch-sur-Alzette
Supermarket: Delhaize

– Cactus Shopping Centers (www.cactus.lu)
Various locations: Bascharage, Howald, Ingeldorf, Mersch, Rédange, Remich and Windhof
Supermarket: Cactus

– Knauf Shopping Center – Huldange (http://www.knauf-center.lu/)
Address: 3, op d’Schmett, L-9964 Huldange
Supermarket: Delhaize

– Knauf Shopping Center – Pommerloch (http://www.knauf-center.lu/)
Address: 19, route de Bastogne, L-9638 Pommerloch
Supermarket: Delhaize

– Langwies 1+2 Shopping Centers (http://www.langwies.lu)
Address: Rue Hiehl, L-6131 Junglinster
Supermarket: Delhaize

– Shopping-Center Massen (www.massen.lu)
Address: 24, Op der Haart, L-9999 Wemperhardt
Supermarket: Massen

– Topaze Shopping Center (www.topaze.lu)
Address: route de Colmar-Berg, L-7525 Mersch
Supermarket: Match

– Walfer Shopping Center (http://www.walfer-shopping-center.lu)
Address: 2, rue des Romains, L-7264 Walferdange
Supermarket: Delhaize

You should be aware that opening times in Luxembourg are usually between 8a.m. and 8p.m. from Monday to Thursday with one more hour on Fridays and Saturdays. Also, most of the shopping points are closed in Sundays, with a few exceptions all over the Grand-Duchy. You are able to find some supermarkets opening at Sunday mornings, as well as some others that only occasionally are opened on Sundays. You should always check on their website first.

Specialized supermarkets:

With so many different nationalities in Luxembourg, you should not be surprised to be able to find almost everything for even the finest taste. So, if you are looking for something special, or if you are going on a specific diet, you should try and visit some of the following stores or supermarkets:

Asia Market (http://www.asiamarket.lu/en)
A supermarket specialized in Asian products, including fresh fruits and vegetables.
Address: 5 rue du Fort Elisabeth, L-1463 Luxembourg.

Au Gourmet Grec (http://www.augourmetgrec.com/)
This unique grocery store offers a complete range of food products, wines and spirits, as well as Greek cosmetics and oil olive from Greece.
Address: 87 Rue de Bonnevoie , L-1260 Luxembourg

BIO Lux (www.bio-lux.lu)
A really nice store where you can find a wide range of biological food, fresh vegetables and fruits, cheeses, milk, food complements, wines, breads and gluten-free products.
Address: 234, route d’Arlon, L-8010 Strassen

Enoteca Italiana (http://www.enotecaitaliana.lu/index.php)
A unique Italian specialized store with a great selection of wines and a wide range of Italian delicacies.
Address: 11, rue Jean-Pierre Bicheler, L-3897 Foetz

La Rioja (http://www.larioja.lu/)
This store is specialized in Spanish products, from wines, to cheese, oil and other quality products.
Address: 95 avenue Guillaume, L-1651 Luxembourg

Little Britain (http://www.littlebritain.lu/)
For lovers of UK or US products, this store sells a wide range of grocery products, as well as magazines and other products. Address: 1c route d’Arlon, L-8310 Capellen.

Naturata (www.naturata.lu)
This group has already seven Naturata supermarkets in the country (Rollingergrund, Munsbach, Erpeldange, Hupperdange, Dudelange, Foetz and Merl). It has also the possibility of shopping online.

Polskie (http://www.facebook.com/PolskieSpecjaly)
An itinerant kind of delicatessen store where you can find unique polish products. The locations are announced on its facebook page.

Primavera (www.primavera.lu)
There is also Primavera supermarkets where you can find almost all Portuguese delicacies. Address: Galerie Kons, Gare, L-1616 Luxembourg

ScanShop (http://scanshop.lu/)
Scandinavian and Nordic expats can find a special treat in this store with a wide variety of products from Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden.
Address: 615 rue de Neudorf, L-2220 Luxembourg.

Store Tandoori (www.store.tandoori.lu)
For lovers of Indian, Pakistani or Nepalese cuisine, this store should be a reference. With an enormous variety of products, you will surely find almost all ingredients of your choice. You can also shop online.
Address: 225, Route de Beggen, L-1221 Luxembourg

ThymCitron (http://www.thymcitron.com/)
This lovely store is specialized in fresh fruits and vegetables, as well as a selection of other quality products, such as cheese, wine or jam. You can also shop online.
Address: 50, rue de Strasbourg, L-2562 Luxembourg

Vicente & Fils (http://vinosvicente.lu/)
A place where you can find spanish specialties, from quality wines, ham, cheese or olive oil.
Address: 70, rue de l’Ecole, L- 8353 Garnich

Farmer’s markets:
If you are a lover of fresh products you should definitely try every once and a while a trip to one of the farmer’s markets in Luxembourg. It’s refreshing to see and smell all the colorful stands.

Weekly markets:
(source: National Tourist Board Official Site http://www.visitluxembourg.com)

Tuesday:
Esch-sur-Alzette (Place de l’Hôtel de Ville), 07:00-13:30
Pétange (Place de l’Hôtel de Ville), 14:00-19:00
Diekirch (Rue du Marché, Place Bech & Rue du Curé), 08:00-12:00

Wednesday:
Luxembourg (Place Guillaume II & place de Paris), 07:00-14:00
Luxembourg-Bonnevoie (Place Léon XIII), 07:00-13:30

Thursday:
Differdange (Place du Marché), 14:30-18:30
Dudelange (Place Communale), 07:00-13:30

Friday:
Esch-sur-Alzette (Place de l’Hôtel de Ville), 07:00-13:30
Ettelbruck (Pedestrian Zone), 07:00-13:30

Saturday:
Luxembourg (Place Guillaume II & Place de Paris), 07:00-14:00

Except on holidays.

Monthly markets:
(source: National Tourist Board Official Site http://www.visitluxembourg.com)

Monday:
Grevenmacher, 1st Monday of the month 08:00-12:00
Mersch (Place du Marché), 2nd Monday of the month 09:00-14:00
Schifflange (Place de l’Hôtel de Ville), 2nd Monday of the month 08:00-12:00
Remich, 3rd Monday of the month 08:00-12:00
Hosingen, 4th Monday of the month
Steinfort, last Monday of the month

Tuesday:
Ettelbruck, 1st Tuesday of the month
Differdange, 2nd Tuesday of the month (March-October)
Diekirch (Place Guillaume “Kluuster”), 3rd Tuesday of the month 08:00-12:00
Esch-sur-Alzette, last Tuesday of the month

Wednesday:
Pétange (Place J.F. Kennedy), 1st Wednesday of the month 08:00-13:00
Echternach, 2nd Wednesday of the month
Wasserbillig, 3rd Wednesday of the month
Rédange-sur-Attert, last Wednesday of the month

Thursday:
Dudelange (Place de l’Hôtel de Ville), 1st Thursday of the month 7:30-12:30
Bettembourg, 2nd Thursday of the month 08:00
Clervaux, 3rd Thursday of the month 10:00-18:00
Wiltz (Place Communale), 4th Thursday of the month 08:30-12:00

Friday:
Mamer (Place de l’Indépendance), 1st & 3rd Friday of the month 16:00-19:00
Walferdange (Place de la Mairie), 1st Friday of the month 8:00
Strassen (Parking Centre Culturel Paul Barblé), 2nd & 4th Friday of the month 16:00-19:00
Vianden, 2nd Friday of the month

Saturday:
Mondorf-les-Bains, 1st Saturday of the month
Heinerscheid (“Ourdallermaart”, Cornelyshaff), last Saturday of the month 10:00-16:00 (March-October)
Junglinster (Centre Culturel “Am Duerf “), last Saturday of the month 09:00-13:00

Sunday:
Luxembourg-Limpertsberg (“Glacismaart”, Glacis), 3rd Sunday of the month 10:00-17:00 (March-July & September-November)

Except on holidays.

Online Shopping:

Cactus@Home (http://www.cactusathome.lu/) and Luxcaddy (www.luxcaddy.lu) offer you a home delivery service. In each one you do all your grocery shopping online and they will delivery your items at your home, within a pre-defined delivery cost.

At Auchan drive (http://www.auchandrive.lu/) you would be able to do your shopping online and then schedule the pick up at one of the Auchan Drive warehouses (Munsbach or Cloche D’Or – Gasperich). It’s free of charges and you can actually shop every day of the week, including Sundays.

At Delhaize Direct (www.delhaizedirect.lu) you have a similar rule: you are able to do your shopping online and then you have to choose your closest shop to pick up your items.

Americana (www.americana.lu) provides you american and mexican goods and deliver them to your home for 5€. You can also collect your items at their warehouse in Contern.

At Biobus (www.biobus.de) you are able to find a good variety of organic food, from meat to fruit and veggies.

Bofrost (www.bofrost.com) provides you with the ability to buy frozen products, from fruit and veggies to ready-to-eat meals. Delivery is free of charges.

Besides these options, you have also some delivery services from the specialized stores as mentioned before.

Practical tips:

– In most of traditional supermarkets you will need a €0.50 or a €1.00 coin to use a shopping cart. It will be returned to you once you return the cart. If you are out of coins and you are in one of the large hypermarkets, you can also ask for a free token that will work in place of a coin.

– Always carry several reusable shopping bags, otherwise you will need to buy some from the cashier to carry your groceries.

– Some of the large supermarkets have childcare facilities with an indoor play area and supervision.

Saving tips:

– Planning is always the key, not only to keep into your budget but also to avoid missing ingredients all the time. Success tools include: grocery shopping list, price reference book and grocery shop aisle map.

– Buy in bulk every time there are really good deals. Remember you should always use your price reference book to check the usual unit price and do the math. Sometimes, promotions are not necessarily a good deal. Also, if the deal is on perishable products and you won’t use it immediately, you should consider not buying it or freezing it once you arrive home.

– With a bigger power to negotiate large quantities, it is common to find better deals in Hypermarkets, especially when buying in bulk. But if you are a regular on local farmer’s markets, you should also find good deals once the producers get to know you as a loyal client.

– Most of the big supermarkets have newsletters and fidelity cards. You should really take an advantage of having them, since you will then be eligible to special deals and rewards

Saving Strategies 101 – #2 Organizing

Lesson #2: To Organize

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Hello all!
This post took me a lot more time than I though, as I was really willing to write something usefull as well as simplified, so then everyone could easily follow. And don’t give up! 😉

So, the first lesson of these Saving Strategies focused ‘Decluttering’ as THE very first task to be accomplished if you are determined to simplify your life and skip wasting more money than you need.

Lesson number two will focus on the key details of your organization: the ‘Inbox’, the ‘Family & Household Handbook’ and the ‘Declutter Basket’ as well as other essential tools to organize your home.

The Household Inbox:

If you want to start to simplify your household management, you would definitely have to set up some sort of a household inbox.

This isn’t more than one box that serves as the primary holding spot for all kind of correspondence, papers, bills… Basically, all kind of papers waiting to be sorted out and organized into a filling system as well as papers waiting for some kind of action (bills to pay, letters to answer…)

I crafted my own using an empty cereal box. Yes, a cereal box! 🙂 Very easy, cheap and environmental friendly! 🙂

You should designate a convenient spot in your house, where you can actually find it easy to use whenever you arrive with new ‘papers’ to put somewhere. Personally, I find it easier to keep it by the entrance or in your home office, if you have one.

The Household Filling System:

Next step is to start organizing everything you throw into your Household Inbox. You should establish at least one day per week to do this task as it would be much more time-effective.

You should at least have the following categories which can be distributed into one or more file folders:

1. Personal Information (originals or copies from all important documents: passport, ID Card, health insurance card, social security card, immunization book,…)

2. Financial Records (Account statements, credit card, loans…)

3. Housing Records (all house-related records and statements, appliances warranties and manuals…)

4. Medical Records (insurance information, immunization books, eye exams, dental records…)

5. Employment records (contract, income statements, benefits…)

6. Income Tax (receipts gathered from current year)

7. Others (any other ‘homeless’ important papers to keep)

The Family & Household Handbook:

Please note that some of the information I’m going to recommend you to keep in this handbook is also referred in the Household Filling System. Why? Remember that the Household Filling System is the permanent record for all information. On the other hand, the Family & Household is something precious you keep with you all the times, or most of the times.

1. Personal Information: this would include copies from all the personal info you should have on hand all the time. In my opinion, this should include at least: copies from the ID Cards, Social Security and Health Insurance, copies of banking cards in wallets and bank emergency phone number, Emergency Info (primary contacts, doctors, allergies and blood types)…

2. Family Calendar: this should be The Family Agenda for all important meetings or things to remeber. Consider to have: family and friends birthday calendar, monthly calendar, weekly calendar with meal planning and todo-lists…

3. Home Management: this should include info from your house insurance, car insurance, paying bills, home inventory with serial numbers… This section should also include the cleaning checklists and stain removal guide.

4. Meals and Menus: this should include grocery list, grocery price book, grocery store aisle directory, home grocery inventory, weekly meal plan, recipes…

5. Contacts: This would include important e-mails, phone numbers and addresses from family, friends, doctors, bank, house insurance, car insurance, vet…

6. Others: I personally use this section to write ideas, from blog posting, to recipes, or even kids activities. There’ll be always something to write down!

Printables
One of the most important organization items you should use is a set of very usefull printables:
– ‘Monthly Calendar’ to hang in some place visible for everyone;
– ‘Do Not Forget List’ to hang in the back of your front door. This way you wont forget anything before leaving home;
– ‘Cleaning Checklists’ from Keep-It-Simple Method

So, the next lesson will focus on the How-To’s for each of the organization items. From the DIY of the Household Inbox to the printable checklists.

Hope you enjoy! 🙂

Footmuff Review

Today I woke up and the snow continues out there as well as the freezing temperatures. Even though there are many other countries where the cold is quite strong than here in Luxembourg, for me this is cold as ever! I just wasn’t used to it! 😉 But I’m loving the snow, believe me! (Except when driving!)

So than I remeber to write this review on one of my favourite new items: The Footmuff!

20130116-174406.jpg Photo: Amazon.co.uk

I’ve bought this one from BabyTravel. I’ve found it great as it suits almost every carseats, it’s waterproof of course and warm enough to freezing temperatures. Also, it adjusts to the baby’s head and neck so than the baby is quite protected.

A must have to every mom and dad, unless you live in a warm country! 🙂

Saving Strategies 101 – #1 Decluttering

Declutter should be THE Word at your home from now on, if you want to simplify your life and spend less.

Declutter means to get to know everything you have inside home all the time, and more important, being able to actually find it! 🙂

You can easily find on the web several methods and recommendations on this theme. In this post I’m sumarizing the tips that worked best for me.

The first step to start the decluttering task is to keep in mind this will take some time. So, if you don’t want to find yourself giving up at the begining, I do recommend you to define for example 15 to 30 minutes a day for declutering. It doesn’t seem much, but believe me, it will definitely work best rather than trying to do everything in the first day.

Then, you should find 3 empty boxes and label them with ‘Trash’, ‘Give Away’, ‘Organize’.
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Now, you should choose the room or a cabinet you want to start decluttering. Once more, I suggest you start with the smallest one for the same reasons as mentioned before…

THE Rule is to keep asking yourself the same questions: Did I use this object during the lat year? Am I planning to use it in the next few months? Is it needed for legal purposes? If your answer to these questions is NO, then you should consider to throw it away or give it to someone in need. It’s up to you to choose the right box! 🙂

One common mistake is to go shopping for boxes and cabinets before the decluttering with the excuse of having somewhere to keep your things when decluttering. Please DO NOT do that. You can’t possibly know what you’d really need before knowing what you already have inside your home. At this moment, you should stick to the three boxes you already have. Keep it simple!

And what about you? Any advices to share with us? It would be great to hearing from you! 🙂

Lesson number two will focus on the key details of your organization: the ‘Inbox’, the ‘Household Handbook’, the ‘Family Daily Planner’ and the ‘Declutter Basket’ as well as other essential tools to organize your home.

Saving Strategies 101 – Getting Started

Today I’m starting a new series of posts regarding Saving Strategies at Home. Personally, I believe that even when you think you’re saving in everything, you can always find something more with a little imagination! So, let’s use our imagination! 😉

I’ll divide these series of posts into simple lessons we could easily introduce gradually into our day-to-day life. So, grab your pencil and start taking your notes. At the end, I’m gonna ask for your contribution as well! 😉

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The first lesson will be on ‘Decluttering‘. Keep tuned!! 😉

Luxembourg – Thank You Wort.lu!

I’m very grateful to Wort.lu and particularly to Jess 🙂 who managed to write a lovely article about my recent post about Giving At Luxembourg.

You can easily find the interview in the following link:

Expat mum’s clear-out gives hope to hard-up residents

I must say that the word was really spread away as in just a few hours I got some e-mails of people interested in participate in this idea as well! It’s so wonderful! 🙂

Now it’s time to continue working on helping each other as well as ourselves. And most important, to keep the project alive!

I think it’s also time to all of us re-think the way we live. The installed economical crisis is affecting most of the families around the world, not only the poorest. This shouldn’t mean we’d all get pessimist and negative. In the matter of fact, I believe it’s our chance to reinvent ourselves and be criative!

Be Creative! Be Frugal! Be Happier with Less!

So, I’m starting a new series of posts on 101 Saving Strategies on our day-to-day life. From grocery management to cleaning stuff, from entretaining to kids activities.

Let’s share some great ideas and begin 2013 on the most positive way!

PS: Feel free to send me some ideas directly by e-mail if you prefer.

Carpet Stink – How to get rid of it

20130103-001303.jpgSometimes, more often than we’d like, small accidents happen with all sort of liquids falling on the carpet. It can be a fallen glass of water or juice or even milk. It’s not allways easy to clean it, specially if you cannot clean it and allow it to dry outside.

Recently I had to deal with it too, when a glass of chocolat milk fall on my living room carpet. I used some paper towels to absorb most of the liquid but just one day after it started to smell a lot. It was freezing outside, so washing it and opening the windows wasn’t a solution. So I had to apply an old but really simple technique: using baking soda!

Let me explain how does it work:
– Spread a lot of baking soda all over the ‘affected’ area of the carpet.
– Let it sit over night.
– By the morning, vacuum the area thoroughly.

And say good-bye to the smell! 🙂

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Tip: For an extra care, you could mix some drops of your favourite essential oil into the baking soda before spreading it on th carpet.

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