Heading south, summer 2014

Screen Shot 2014-02-27 at 20.19.51The outline of the 2014 summer vacation has been sketched little by little this year, before Husband suddenly took out the magic marker and drew with bold lines. The vacation is consequently now planned, booked, and waiting to happen.

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We’re going by car again this year. Our own car, but using a bit of Deutsche Bahn’s (German railway company’s) fuel from Hamburg to Munich. We, and our Skoda, are spending a night each way on the Autozug (cartrain) reducing the mileage and the number of days we would need to travel to Italy.

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This year we’re planning a week by the coast with a group of friends, some nights in Tuscany with our extended family, about a week near the beautiful Garda lake, and a few nights in culinary heaven at the foot of the Alps. I can’t wait!

Pictures are stolen from the hotels’ websites, Le Volpaie, Agriturismo Ai Casoni, and the Cavallino information site.Screen Shot 2014-02-27 at 19.51.33

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Cherishing Tuesday Chatter

IMG_9681Finding something to cherish this tuesday wasn’t all that easy. I have not had an easy day. It all goes back to this weekend:

I have faced one of my most dreaded challenges this weekend. And I now live to tell the tale. Husband is offshore, as he often is. I’ve had my mother-in-law, we call her Bestemor, has been here to babysit Daughter while I’ve been intern-ing(ish). She left of Friday to go back home. On Saturday morning my parents and youngest brother, all living in nearby, left to visit my older two brothers (who live far away). And then, on Saturday around noon I was struck, like lightning from a blue, clear sky, by one of the meanest viruses known to man: the stomach flu! I was out flat with two children to take care of. Many have been through worse, I know, and I am no hero. But I have dreaded this as one of the worse tasks that comes with having a man who works away from home. The stomach flu virus is very attracted to me and will jump me every. single. time. I hear about anyone who’s ill. And it hits me hard! Luckily, this time, the children didn’t get it at the same time…

The days following these 24 hours of pure agony I have, wisely, been following the new hip 3:4 diet. You’ve heard of the 5:2 diet? well, I live hardcore and have for the past 4 days had an intake of no more than 500 calories (on average). Today that resulted in nausea, dizziness, headache, short temper, but an acceptable weight loss. Son has been magnificent and knows not to piss off his momma, Princess darling, on the other hand, has had a day worse than me, or that is at least the message she has tried to get across today. Can you say whining? But now, I got it all out of my system and I can focus on what I want to remember from today:

  • I managed to go for a long walk today. It was windy with a few drops of rain in the air, but then suddenly the sun came out. My route was a large circle, starting off towards the west (towards Shetland) before heading north and walking east to get home. As I turned to start walking north, due to a windy path, I found myself facing east. Staring straight at the rising sun. It blinded me and showered me with light. This is quite amazing after weeks of not having seen the sun properly.
  • I complained to Son earlier today that this place was such a mess. Cleaning the house was not first priority during this weekend. Two hours after Son was supposed to be sleeping he called me from upstairs: “Mom, you know the sink in the bathroom? You know what? (he’s not very good at getting to the point – that could be hereditary) You don’t have to clean that now cause I just did!” He is an amazing wee man. And although he might have flooded the bathroom – that was one proud little man who went to bed again afterwards. He then, finally, fell asleep straight away.

What will you remember from your Tuesday? Please do share!

Cherishing Tuesday Chatter

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My little princess awoke early this morning. We have a set time in the morning when morning starts and the children are not allowed up before then, except for under exceptional circumstances. This was an hour before that set time and I grunted and silently begged for her to turn around and fall asleep; it didn’t work. I picked her up from her bed and placed her in ours and hoped I could trick her into a wee nap; it didn’t work. Finally I placed her in her bed again and told her firmly that it was still night. She objected at first, but then stayed quietly in bed for another half an hour. Disappointed I had lost precious sleep I could feel the morning starting off on the wrong foot. I decided I could not let that happen and instead lay silently in the dark trying to wake myself up and change my state of mind. Negative thoughts started to drift away and were replaced by a positive mindset. Then I heard it, a weak melody prickling the darkness. The song of a robin singing to lure out the first rays of the sun.

My son has some stuffed toy birds that resemble the real ones and even play a melody identical to that of the resembling bird. Thanks to these I could easily recognise the bird.

It’s the first time I’ve ever recognised a bird based on its singing and the moment felt a little magical to me. I lay for a few minutes listening to the beautiful song. When it faded and ended I still had time to read for a few minutes before morning started. Despite the reduced hours of sleep, the morning turned to the better and really has improved the entire day.

What made your tuesday a day to cherish?

Trying something new – interior designs

 
Girl's room nursery Delightful chatterI promise I won’t turn my blog into an interior design blog. It’s just that, well, we’ve decided to stay put where we live now. Make this our permanent residence for time and time to come. Unfortunately it’s not quite big enough for us, and the layout, well, the layout is a different story. So we’ve started tearing down a few walls and building up a few more. (read: my husband does the building and the tearing. Me? I’m architect/project manager – and I do my job well!;) ) Anyway, we’ve made a room for our little princess and I have gone far out of my comfort zone to add colour to it. It’s not all that daring, but to me, wow, I never thought I could add that many different colours to a room and still have it look ok.

Girl's room nursery Delightful chatter

I didn’t plan much before I started, but I wanted a chandelier and a wallpaper that I could vary the look of as our girl grows older. Now, the darkish purple is met with a soft pallet of pastels, but when she’s older it would take on a whole new look if combined with black, metals and mirrors. This time I decided on most of it, next time it’s her turn, but I hope she sees the wallpaper’s potential. 

Girl's room nursery Delightful chatter

The room makes me feel so happy. The sense of achievement lingers and has given me more courage when now taking on my son’s room. Girl's room nursery Delightful chatter

photoI am not one for blog awards. I am honoured to receive them, but I rarely do anything about them. But this time I simply had to. I was given a Liebster-award by Lee over at his blog. He had only passed the award on to a few other bloggers, which made it feel more important than previously received awards. And his questions made the award all the more interesting. He gave me ten questions to answer (which would give you all the information you would ever want or need about me). Here goes:  

  1. If you could be any superhero, who would you be and why?

I would be batgirl, or batman’s mom. My son is groing up to become the next batman and he would like no stranger to play the role of batgirl. My faith here has been signed. 

 2. What is your current favorite book and why?

 I have a deep love for The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit by dear, old Tolkien, and they would probably have to hold on to the awarded role of my favourite books for a little longer.  And except for than I don’t really have any favourites. I just finished a book concerning the terrorist attack in Norway of 2011 (I wrote about that here and here). ‘En av oss (One of us)’ by Åsne Seierstad. It has not been published in English yet, but it has been picked up by American and (or?) British publishers (or publisher in the singular). The book is awful, amazing, disturbing, mindblowing and out of this world. Keep your eyes open for it and check it out when you can find a copy in your language!

3. Dog, cat, or other? Why?

Cat. Because you have to earn their love. But I love canines as well, but I don’t want to make time for one at the moment. 

4. Animal, vegetable, or mineral? Why?

Are we talking food here? or for companionship? I’d stick to animals for the first and veggies for the second; or swap those to around. Carrots aren’t all that funny and had it not been for my serious craving for meat (don’t think like that!) I’d be a vegetarian. So there. 

5. Men: what style of facial hair do you prefer to wear and why? Women, what style do you prefer to see and why?

That depends so much on the man wearing it. Well trimmed or maintained and something that suits your face is good. But Simon Neil shouldn’t wear it too long, I don’t care for that (so now he knows that!). 

6. Do you bike, run, or swim regularly often? If so, what one tip would you offer someone considering starting? If not, why not?

I walk regularly, or I try to. I was better while on maternity leave. Now I try to find time as often as possible. Bike is in dire need of a clean, but will soon be taken out again. It has been neglected due to my inability to leave the house without having a child or two in tow. 

7. Are you tired of being asked why as part of every question?

No, not really. I was more disappointed this question wasn’t followed by a ‘why’.

8. You have been selected for a slot on a reality TV competition. Which show is it? What do you think your chances are of winning the top prize?

I think I would not bother enough to have a chance to win any top prize in any TV competition. I’m more the type who want to prove to myself what I can do, I don’t need the world to know (but sometimes I like to share my success stories, though…). 

 9. Which teacher in grades Kindergarten through 12 has made the biggest impact on your life and why?

We had the same teacher from first through seventh grade and considering the major role she played in my life for so many years it would be silly to try and find someone else. 

 10. What do you estimate your life expectancy to be? How did you arrive at that figure?

My hope is to outlive my grandparents, parents and to see my children grow up and be able to help them with whatever they will need me for until that is no longer required. Everything after that is a bonus, anything before would be a tragedy. I don’t like talking about death, let’s enjoy life!

 

Bonus: Find a writing utensil and something to write on. Write, “The quick brown fox jumps over a lazy dog.” Now write the same sentence with your other hand. Post a picture of your handiwork.

 

Now I’m gonna be bad. I won’t send this off to five to ten bloggers, I’ll settle for two, and I’ll pass this back to Lee. Lee can consider it an award for the all the fame and glory that follows, but shouldn’t have to go through the rituals again. I like his blog so I’ll give him that! (he may answer my questions though if he so pleases), and to my friends Silje, Kine and Hege. These questions are what I’m sending off: 

  1. What was your last instagram photo and do you have a story to follow?
  2. What is the background photo on you phone? 
  3. Where in the world would you like to be teleported to right at this moment, and who would you bring? 
  4. What is the last thing you learned? How did you come across this new knowledge? 
  5. If I ask: what was the last thing you read? what is the first thing that comes to mind? and why do you think that is what you first think of? 
  6. Pen or pencil?
  7. If you had a no-shopping year in front of you what would you buy before starting? 
  8. Who inspire you the most in life? and of course: why? 
  9. What is the last thing that made you smile? 
  10. What was the last compliment you received?

 Norwegian version: 

  1. Hva var på ditt siste instagrambilde? kan du fortelle litt rundt det? 
  2. Hva er bakgrunnsbilde på telefonen din? 
  3. Hvor i verden ville du helst blitt teleportert til akkurat nå og hvem ville du helst hatt med?
  4. Hva er det siste du lærte og hvordan kom du over denne nyvunnede kunnskapen? 
  5. Hvis jeg spør: ‘Hva var det siste du leste?’ Hva er da det første du tenker på? Hvorfor tror du dette er det første du tenker på? 
  6. Penn eller blyant? 
  7. Hvis du skulle hatt shoppestopp i ett år, hva ville du da handlet inn før du slutten med shopping? 
  8. Hvem inspirerer deg mest i livet? og hvorfor? 
  9. Hva er det siste som fikk deg til å smile? 
  10. Hva er det siste komplimentet du fikk? 
  1. Thank the person who nominated you and post a link to their Liebster Award blog post.
  2. Answer the ten questions given to you by the person who nominated you. Bonus questions are optional.
  3. Nominate five to ten of your favorite blogs with fewer than 200 followers. Provide a link to each, and notify them their nomination.
  4. List ten new questions for your nominees to answer. You may include more than ten questions, marked as bonus questions, but remember your nominees only need answer your first ten.
  5. Include the acceptance rules in your post, so your nominees know what to do.

 

Norwegian Cuisine: Taco Spice Mix

Delightful chatter - Taco Spice Mix

One of Norway’s most popular dishes is taco. Yes, very logical and oh so Scandinavian, but we still love it. Many Norwegians eat taco once a week and Friday night seems to be the days where most of us devour our tacos. Well, to be honest, to call it taco might be seriously offensive to those who really know what taco really is, or can be, but it is easily pronounced, easily made, and totally tasty!

Many Norwegians eat the processed versions you find in the store: salsa in a jar, quacamole in a tin, and taco spice mix out of a paper bag. Of course these do not taste like or contain the same as the real deal, but many can’t look past the quick fix. A few years ago I came across a recipe for a mix-yourself-taco-spice-mix, I tried it and have never after gone back to the one-portion bag from the store. This is better in so many ways: it tastes better, it’s cheaper and you control the amount of salt you use. It takes you ten minutes to make the first time, and then your set for several Friday-night-tacos to come.

(! Tablespoons)
3 T chilli powder
1,5-2 T sea salt
2 T cumin
2 T powdered paprika

(! teaspoons)
2,5 t garlic powder
2,5 t crushed chilli flakes2,5 t dried oregano
1-2 t cayenne pepperDelightful chatter - Taco Spice Mix

Norwegians normally use mince meat, and for 400 grams I use one large tablespoon of spice-mix. I also toss in a small teaspoon in salsa and guacamole. The mix is, of course, also perfect for mexican inspired soups or casseroles.

Please let me know if you try!