Mixing & Chopping

Photo courtesy of www.biltema.com

I would imagine you have a room, activity or place that is your go-to when you need to unwind or decompress. For me, it is the kitchen. Cooking is like therapy for me. I am able to be creative, try new things, and provide for my family. I can work out frustrations, think things through, or maybe even disconnect and zone out a bit while mixing, kneading, chopping, and mixing. I also love being in there with any one of my three guys. And I love trying out new tools and gadgets, too.

This is my new best friend in the kitchen. I love this versatile – and rather inexpensive – gadget. We bought it last week, and so far I’ve had quite a few success. I created some restaurant-style salsa, made creamy black bean dip, whipped up eggs for omelettes, and chopped veggies for my tuna salad (in about a quarter of the usual time!). But my favorite thing to make? Peanut butter. Yum! It is so much better than the stuff we can buy here, and cheaper & healthier, too. We are also looking forward to trying our hand at smoothies soon!

Do you have a favorite kitchen gadget or tool?

Confessions of a Coffee Addict

We love coffee. We enjoy trying different roasts and checking out different ways of preparing. Zack loves all the gadgets and experimenting with various brewing methods.

A cute wall quote we picked up
at a local shop this week
(‘Life is too short for bad coffee’)

We live in what I consider a coffee culture. Coffee is good here. Like, really good. It’s strong. Flavorful. And in abundance. Coffee and conversation: it’s a big part of our lives here. Coffee is something we like to enjoy together, and something we share with others often.

So when our anniversary was approaching, we decided we’d really like to buy a new coffee machine (aka coffee maker, kaffetrakter) as our gift to each other. For the past 14 months we’ve been using the one that was left in our apartment. It was probably the cheapest model on the market and most of the time the coffee tasted scorched. We often use our french press, espresso pot, pour over, or aeropress when we have extra time and just want a cup or two. But we really like to have a machine for the mornings, so we can make a full pot.

We started doing some research and discovered MoccaMaster. They are handmade in the Netherlands and are reported to be the best. However, while they are super nice, the price wasn’t exactly in our budget. But thanks to an unexpected gift card from our power company, we were able to get the machine we really wanted for a REALLY good price!

I didn’t think it would make that big of a difference, but this machine rocks. A complete brew in six minutes, two heat settings for the burner so the coffee in the pot doesn’t get too hot, and the water is kept at optimal temperature throughout the brewing process. I love our new toy, and look forward to many happy years with it!

Weekend fun & preteen celebrations

As I shared on Saturday (HERE), our William turned 12 years old. It really is hard to believe!We had a fun weekend celebrating him, and enjoying some fantastic weather. It was around 23 – 25 C (73 – 77 Fahrenheit) most of the weekend, with lots of sunshine. So most of the weekend, you could find us outdoors!

Friday afternoon we picked up a friend at the airport who was visiting us for the weekend from England. We then met up with friends to grill at the beach. It had rained in the afternoon, so the evening was a little cooler. But the boys and one of their local friends decided to go for a swim. Everyone is estimating that the water was around 10-12 C. The only word I can come up with is crazy.

 

 

 

Saturday we went for a hike, then came back to the house for lunch and William opened gifts.
(He received his gift from us several weeks ago: a much-needed new bike)

After that, we headed to William’s football club for the grand opening of their new artificial turf fields, and to celebrate the club’s 40th birthday. Daniel was excited to meet some of Sandefjord’s players!

Saturday night, William chose to eat at his favorite place: Star Grill. It is a small kiosk in our town that serves excellent burgers.

Then the boys were off to the small tivoli downtown (carnival). They enjoyed three of the four ‘big’ rides. They both looked a little green afterwards!

 

 

We finished up with William’s requested dessert: yellow cake with chocolate frosting, and of course, 12 candles.

Sunday was spent with more friends. We started off with brunch at our house. We introduced some of our friends to a true southern breakfast: biscuits and gravy, bacon, grits, breakfast potatoes, and grits. Then after a nice long walk, we finished it off with dinner at a friends house, and even got to meet a new family that has two boys almost the exact same ages as our boys!
I think it turned out to be a great weekend for our entire family.

One year away from a teen: Happy birthday William!

He is growing up so fast. The boy loves his family. He enjoys football (soccer), biking, reading, going to school, posting (too many?) photos on Instagram, and being outdoors. He is patient, kind, sarcastic (like his dad and mom), pensive at times, and a natural-born leader. I enjoy watching the way he looks out for his younger brother, and the way he also doesn’t put up with his antics too much. I look forward to seeing God’s plans for him as they begin to unfold.

Happy 12th birthday, William!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sweet Sixteen #happyanniversary

Sixteen years ago, I vowed to stand by his side, no matter what. What a ride is has been so far! I thank God for allowing me to wake up next to this man each morning.Happy anniversary to my best friend! What we have is what that lady in Hawaii would call “very rare,” 😉

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Gratulerer med dagen: how we celebrated 17.mai

Last year I shared a little about the seventeenth of May (syttende mai), Norway’s constitution day. (You can read about May 17 HERE and the rest of the weekend HERE).This year is the 200 year anniversary of Norway’s constitution*. This was our second year to celebrate syttende mai in Norway.

Syttende mai is a fun day, and especially when the weather is as great as it was this past Saturday! We enjoyed a nice walk to the boys schools to start the day. Their classes then proceeded into the city to join all the other area schools for a program and parade.

After some music and speeches, the ‘barnetog’ began. The barnetog is the children’s parade. Much of syttende mai is focused on children, remembering that they are the future. Zack and I enjoyed watching the parade with three families from our neighborhood. Lots of language practice!

After the parade, we had lunch in the city. A big theme of the day is food, especially pølser (hot dogs) and is (ice cream).

We took a short break at home, so everyone could rest a little. Next up, we were back to the city for the ‘borgertog’. Borgertoget is the citizens parade. It includes teams, clubs, corps (marching bands) singing groups, etc. William participated with his football team. Zack, Daniel and I met up with several friends to watch the borgertog.

After the second parade, and an obligatory ice cream, we drove to Larvik/Faris Bad for a cookout and evening with friends: really good food, lots more Norwegian practice, and plenty of time to relax, Plus, the boys got to drive a boat and relax (yeah, right!) in the hot tub!

It was a really fun day, and we all slept great afterwards! Thanks to so many wonderful friends for including us and making us feel at home on your country’s special day.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

*A quick bit of history, if you’re interested in it: Norway boasts the second oldest constitution in the world that is still in use. The constitution was signed on May 17, 1814 in Eidsvoll, just north of Oslo. It was the first major step the nation took towards becoming a democracy. (Norway and Sweden ultimately dissolved their union on June 7, 1905, as the first Norwegian king took the throne on November 18th of that year.)

Passion: about William

William loves football (soccer). The boy is borderline obsessed. He watches it. He plays, with a local club and every day at school. He reads about it. He talks about it. I imagine he dreams about it.
And while he can make your head spin as he quotes statistics and records, it is a joy to watch him play.He has one or two games a week with his club. Last week he scored his first regular season goal (he had only scored in a weekend tournament before that). Then on Saturday, he joined six of his classmates and played in the local Skolecup tournament. He scored two goals, including one on a header. He also played keeper in one game. He did well in that position, too, though it totally stressed me out!

We are thankful that he has found something he really enjoys. It is a great way for him to stay active, to make friends, and to learn some language

It’s amazing to think back to his first season, when he was that tiny 5 year old that had only been with us in America for about two months. Speaking no English and understanding very little, he surprised us with his ability to follow and play appropriately so quickly. Six years later, he is still playing the game he loves, while learning yet another language.

My prayer is that he will always pursue his dreams with passion, that he will live for Jesus with passion, and that he will find the passion and desire to learn this newest language.

 

14.mai #thankfulthree

Three things about today…
  1. I enjoyed an evening at home, something that doesn’t happen often.
  2. I was happy to have nice weather so we could walk to pick up the boys from school.
  3. I am thankful we were able to accomplish several major items on our To Do list.

What are your three positive things about today?

What’s it like: oppvaskbørste… is that a vegetable brush?!?

Those of you who know me well are likely not
surprised that I have a purple oppvaskbørste!

When we first moved into our home, I discovered that the landlord left two things for us next to the sink: dishwashing soap, and a vegetable brush.

Okay, nice that you would leave these things. But why a vegetable brush? I was puzzled.

And then we had dinner with a local family, and I quickly discovered that what I thought was a vegetable brush was in fact an oppvaskbørste, or a dish brush.

I had never used a brush for this purpose. But after 15 months it has become my weapon of choice when hand washing.

What is typically used for washing dishes where you live: a brush, a sponge, a cloth, or something else?