Postcard from the summer, Ai Casoni

Italian summer

Autumn is upon us, and I love it. Candlelit evenings, large cups of tea, the lemon/honey combination, the crisp air, the wind, the colours; autumn is definitely among my top four favourite seasons.

We’re adding a room to our house. The garden’s a mess. The living-room, kitchen, office and entrance are currently combined, and that room is also a mess. I want to buy flowers, I want to add some prettiness, but the furniture is stacked, layered, or crowded, there’s no room for a vase. So I look back at the days in Italy. This is from the Ai Casoni Agriturismo near Treviso in Italy. A tranquil little spot with flowers in abundance.


Pineapple-coconut summer smoothie-milkshake

We had a few days of perfect summer weather last month. Temperatures above 20 C, blue sky, burning sun, bare, white legs and arms,  and sunburned noses. The children loved it, especially our daughter who was allowed to play in the garden all by herself for the first time. The door to the kitchen was open so I could hear her at all times and she could run in and out as she wanted, euphoria for a toddler. Those days have now passed, but only for now. We need some proper spring days before we can take on the proper summer.


I thought of a pineapple drink that Husband and I used to make some years ago. I couldn’t find the recipe for it during those warm days, but I knew it called for frozen pineapple, so after a Friday taco-dinner I froze the leftover pineapple, to have it ready for the next warm day.

I had a rough day today. I feel the stress of the exams and everything getting to me. And I needed to cheer myself up. This drink, a mix between a milkshake and a smoothie, is summer in a glass and exactly what I needed. I found the recipe without having to tare the house down. A few minutes later I had more than half a litre of sunshine. The children tried it for the first time, Son was particularly suspicious to what he was served, but he downed two glasses. Daughter walked around with her smoothie cup, singing and talking in a perfectly happy mood, but gave out a shrilling scream if anyone came near her cup. A perfect afternoon energy boost.


Also, if drunk properly, it’ll give you a moustache.

  • 4 dl of pineapple juice
  • 1 dl coconut milk (with plenty of the good coconut fat for the kids)
  • 2,5 dl of frozen pineapple
  • 2 small scoops of vanilla ice-cream (or frozen yoghurt)

Mix well in a blender and enjoy the summer!

Breakfast in Cannobio

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Living in Cannobio was a dream. Every morning I would go for a short walk to the local baker where I bought freshly baked bread for breakfast. There are a few bakers along the main road, but I talked to someone at the hotel to hear where they would buy their bread and I was directed to a small narrow street behind the church. In September the town was no longer crowded by tourists and it was nice to see where the Italians themselves went to buy their food.

Roadtripping “summer” 2013

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Roadtripping Denmark in the rain

This year’s summer vacation happened rather late. We left home in the middle of September and went away for about three weeks, not returning before the first days of October. Temperatures at home started to drop the days before we left and the air smelled of autumn. We packed our bathing gear, shorts, t-shirt, summerdresses and short skirts and headed south.


Roadtripping the flatter parts of Switzerland

Leaving home late at night with only a short drive in front of us to catch a ferry to take us to Denmark over night. Drive through Denmark the next day, get on a train in Hamburg, Germany the next day which, during the night, would take us to the German-Swiss border and the city of Lörrach (still in Germany). We had a three-hour-drive to our first main stop: Cannobio, Italy. We would relax there for four nights before driving four hours to Nice, where we would be accompanied by MiL (Mother in Law) and OBiL (Oldest Brother in Law). France would be our home for a full week. Returning home we planned for two nights on the Italian-Swiss border in the town of Ponte Tresa before taking the same route home as we took going south. A perfect road trip with young children aboard.

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Reaching the Alps in Switzerland

It’s been the perfect summer holiday, and we are very likely to travel similarly in future summers. We do have room for improvement: family holidays have their ups and down and minor hiccups, but all in all we’ve had a wonderful time together. Stories and pictures will follow soon first I have an exam…

High summer adventures

Chattering delightfully - High summer adventuresSome kids were visiting. I took them out exploring in the neighbourhood that was unknown and exciting to them. Two little girls, sun-kissed legs under floral summer dresses, one little boy with a bushy blond hair and big blue eyes, the fourth child, a little girl, in a buggy with bare toes pointing straight up at the blue sky.

A turn right and we found two large redcurrant shrubs. All speaking children claimed not to like redcurrants. The baby is still omnivorous, she loved them. I dared the older children to find the brightest coloured berry. Halfway through the competition I told them that if they did find the brightest berry they had to hurry and eat it, before I did.  Suddenly they all liked redcurrants, and always had. Next they learned how to eat all the berries off a cluster, or raceme. Suddenly they loved redcurrants. We picked a few more racemes to bring as snacks on our little venture. We moved on.

Further down the road we found eggs. Huge, round, bright-white eggs. The wee boy claimed they were balls of hay, wrapped in plastic. But after a few winks and raise of the eyebrows followed by a smile he enthusiastically joined in on the story that these eggs were tractor eggs. Each egg containing a wee baby tractor just waiting to grow big enough to come out. Some were probably purple, some were pink, and some had to be red, because the kids had seen that on the telly.

The best surprise came down the opposite direction of the same road. While discussing where the “shrunkens” (tiny little humans who had set up a tiny heliport in one of the gardens around us) might be hiding from us. The the youngest speaking girl let out a shriek and stared at me with terror in her eyes pointing at something I at first didn’t see behind the buggy. A kitten. Coal black and younger than four months. It came running towards us, tail high. It purred and it played and had two of the kids jump around, sweeping, swinging and waving straws for the kitty to play with. The terrified little girl found refuge in my arms, while the youngest of them all had fallen asleep in the buggy.

We played and we ran, we skipped and we jumped. But suddenly our adventure had come to and end. The wee boy was injured. The kitty’s claw had hit a spot of unarmoured flesh and torn it up to the extent where nothing could fix it but a small plaster from the zoo, preferably one with a giraffe on it. The tiger patterned would not do, the tiger being  too closely related to the little cat. To take his mind of the toe, which he was afraid would be his bane, we turned our attention to the flowers growing on the side of the road. By the time we came back to the waiting plaster we had picked ourselves a nice little bouquet.

The flowers decorated the table for some days. The weather changed and summer-dresses gave way to warmer garments. Closing my eyes I can still hear the children laughing, the birds singing, the soft purring of the cat.

Summer’s still here


School’s started, evenings are getting darker, temperature hasn’t changed much, but there’s change in the air. Summer flowers are looking increasingly miserable, plums are just about ripe and Norwegian strawberries are a thing of the past. But summer’s still here. It’s clinging on with a mighty grip, with warm beaming sunshine, clear blue skies and green grass that long for bare feet to hustle through.


I took our kids out walking today. Just a wee stroll around the neighbourhood. We were going mental at home. Poor Son has not spent time with kids his own age for quite some time and seem to need some time to play with someone at his own level. We were nagging and quarrelling when I had enough. I needed to change where this was going. I took the kids out and walked to the beach.


It’s amazing what fresh air does to a weary brain. It is wonderful what the fresh breeze does to your mind. And it is simply amazing what humming bumblebees and white flowers do to your mood. For and hour or so it was all bliss. Sunshine. Sea. Summer heat. Laughing children. I savour that moment.

We returned to “keep your voice down inside”, “leave your sister alone”, “stop jumping up and down while eating dinner”. I’ll scrap those memories. Today we went to the beach!

Summer dinner


Husband, Son and my father-in-law went fishing and came back with four wee mackerels. Mother-in-law did the dirty work, and a few minutes later dinner was served.

One mackerel each. Fried in a pan with a heavy dose of butter, a spoon or two of sour cream and a good sprinkle of freshly cut parsley. Served with boiled potatoes fresh from the soil and a light cucumber salad.

The dish should be followed by rhubarb soup for desert, but unfortunately it is already out of season.