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Friday, December 24, 2010

Merry Christmas

I wish you all a peaceful Christmas filled with the ingredients that means something good to you.

Warm hugs, Anne Marie

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Would you come along with us?

Are you done with your Christmas shopping yet? If not, would you like to come along with us? I’m thinking I could take you to the area called Grünerløkka.

They have lots of small shops with irresistible home décor, Christmas signs, candles, cups, lanterns, door knobs and Christmas tree ornaments.

Then we could do a stop at the Café Bügge and have a chicken club sandwich or a veggie burger (… or anything else you fancy from the menu). We could finish with a warm café latte before we continued to do some more shopping.

Perhaps visit Noah, Noah to find something warm to wear over our shoulders

Or my favourite toy shop where I am sure we could find something for both small and big children (read: grown ups young at heart).

And before we all went back home to our own places we could go for a round of ice skating, or just watch this toy and dream away.

What do you say? Are you up for some Christmas shopping with us?

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

bird feeder part deux

I don’t know if it can be called decoration, but I wanted to keep it simple and natural. I assume it will attract the birds easier this way. Although I have doubts about if they will find the food hanging from the branch.

I think I read some where that birds look for food in the places they have found food before and that it might take some time for them to discover new food places. Persistency is my game then. Persistency and hope. And ten bird seed balls.

The bird seed ball hanging from the blue 100% merino yarn (of course) is also very easy to make. Simply put a selection of bird seeds into paper cups, heat up fat and pour the warm fat over the seeds while still warm and runny. Once the fat has cooled take the fat balls out of the paper cups. If they are stuck, you can tear the paper cup off.

Oh, and I tied the yarn to a coin with a hole in the middle (the one kroner coin has a hole in the middle. I did not do that myself). The coin was pushed down among the bird seeds before I poured the warm fat over the seeds.

Now I will sit down by the window with a cup of tea and a couple of my favourite Christmas books and wait.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Birds on the balcony

I had so many things to share with you last week and then I got caught by the big dreadful stomach flu, the Norovirus. I have done little except from visiting the ladies room (…no, not to powder my nose), drinking water mixed with apple juice and sleeping… don’t worry I will not go into further details. Instead I will share my bird attraction experiment.

We live close to the forest in an area with lots of small birds. I love seeing the variety of birds that gather to eat seeds from the feeders people hang up in the trees. If we had a house I would put a food tray for the birds right outside our kitchen window. But we don’t have a house (my cup is half full).

So I need to find a way to attract the birds to our balcony. I am not sure if it is possible to attract birds to a balcony but I'm willing to give it a try. Since I haven’t found a balcony bird feeder I’m trying my own invention.

You need a few branches off a tree, an empty milk carton or equivalent, water and temperatures below freezing point.

Cut the milk carton to you get the desired height. Fill with water and put in the branches you have chosen. Leave outdoors (or in a really big freezer) until frozen. When completely frozen tear off the milk carton. Put into a wider container. I used an old wash basin. Pour water just to cover an inch of the wash basin or chosen container leave to freeze. Repeat this until the basin is at least half full of frozen ice. This is to give the base weight and sturdyness (if not the weight of the branches would make your frozen milk carton fall over).

I’ll show you how I decorated it later this week.

Monday, December 13, 2010

3rd Sunday of Advent

Having Astrid has made me think more thoroughly on how we would like to celebrate Christmas… and what we in a busy life can expect from ourselves to manage. We need to find the right balance between this so that we grown ups can enjoy the season as much as Astrid and any future kids.

I am big on traditions even if I have had to learn to be flexible the last 10 years. If Astrid is anything like me… or just 10 % like me she will want her Christmas to be the same every year. So we need to think our celebration through, because once it is “set” I suspect it might be difficult to change.

One thing I think we want to do is having friends over to bake ginger bread cookies. It is a tradition that can be implemented in an advent activity calendar; as well as unite us with friends in an otherwise busy time.

As a fun Advent experiment we tried out gingerbread cookies baking with neighbours and friends on Saturday. The experiment went well and I think this is a keeper for our tradition.

Christmas music was played, dough and cookies were eaten. I whipped together an apple cake for the grown ups (it disappeared shortly after the picture was taken… not a crumb was left) with some Gløgg. Glasses of cold milk were consumed by the shorties wee guests.

(I was going to check the spelling of shorty in plural when I found out through urban dictionary that shorty originally used to mean a young man and that commercial rappers now use the word as an affectionate term for a girlfriend, attractive female or concubine…would you, my English speaking readers, have made me aware of this mistake or would you have let it go by and stored it under “crazy norwegian”… *smile* ...Wonder how many other blunts like this I have made in the past).

To add to the Advent cozyness I took out some of our Christmas stuff and decorated the house for the occasion. This year our house will be decorated with some reds, greens and whites + a dash of nature.

The gingerbread cookie tradition is now set in Yonder.

What are traditions in your households that you try to do every year?

Friday, December 10, 2010

December goodies from around blogland

December is the grand month of sharing. Opening my blog feeder is like having my own advent calendar filled with ideas & freebies. There are so many beautiful things.

I want to share some of all the goodies I have seen these last days. Find yourself a cup with something warm to drink (or cold if you live somewhere warm), put some Christmas music on and enjoy.
  • Gift list by Benign Objects (She has 25 days of freebies and Giveaways)
  • Gift tags on Epheriell Designs
  • Gift tags from Eat, drink, chick
  • Labels for jars, CD cases (make someone marmelade or chutney and put a beautiful label on it, voila!)
  • Ornaments from Whip Up
  • Owl Calendar that you can costumize to your own liking and give away or keep yourself to begin planning fun stuff for 2011
Wishing you a Happy Friday!

Wednesday, December 08, 2010

Cloud blue

I just finished this hat. All the other hats I have knitted have been given away. This one is for me. My ears need it. And so does my head. Brain freeze!

It's knitted with soft, soft Rowan. Expensive yarn, but since I only needed one skein for this hat I think it is OK. It will last me for years, is soft & warm, what more can I want?. This is a fast knit, if you are in need of a last minute knitted Christmas gift.

Monday, December 06, 2010

A winter wonderland walk

On Friday Mr. Yonder and I had our first night out in a long time. Astrid stayed over at her kindergarten friend whose parents I have known since Astrid was just a few weeks old which means I feel safe to leave her there. It is also very practical since their place is only a five minute walk from our place.

Friday night was spent with colleagues of Mr. Yonder at the old fashion and fancy restaurant right beside the new ski jump at Holmekollen. The restaurant looks absolutely beautiful with its old new look. A five meal course there was followed by a concert with a-ha (their second last concert as a group), and then dancing & champagne at one of Oslo’s night clubs. We had so much fun!

Saturday morning after sleeping in for the first time since I don’t know when, I picked up Astrid at 12:00 (12pm)!!! And she and I went for a walk in the neighbourhood.

On our walk I discovered this ice rink. In summer time it is an ordinary play ground, but in wintertime it is magically turned into a skating area (around the playground). I love discovering neighbour gems like this.

And I love seeing kids in action, moving around outdoors no matter how cold or warm it is

On our way home we spotted this little squirrel climbing up & down the trees

And these beautiful birds sunbathing in the low winter sun.

Wishing you all a good week!

Wednesday, December 01, 2010

comfort food

The temperatures have crept down this last week. Today we had – 15ºC (5ºF) degrees. This is a temperature that we usually don’t have until January and February. It is definitely not common for November and December.

Cold days call for good wintery flavourful food. Today we made a typical Catalan Turkey recipe. It is usually made for Christmas but I’m flexible, it is the first of December and almost Christmas.

There are plenty of ways to make this. We used a big chicken instead of Turkey and added sweet potatoes as garnish.

One big chicken
100g prunes, chopped
100g dried peaches, chopped
200g grounded pork meat
100g bacon, diced
100g onion, chopped
50-100g pine nuts
Breadcrumbs from one slice of bread
1/2 cup of white wine or brandy
½ cup water
¼ teaspoon cinnamon
Olive oil
White pepper

Preheat the oven to 150 ºC (300ºF)

Wash and dry the chicken/turkey.

Mix prunes, peaches, grounded pork meat, bacon, onion and pine nuts, and bread crumbs with some salt and pepper. Stuff the chicken with the mixture.

Sew the skin around the opening together, and truss the turkey (I used some left over wool thread that I put in water first) so that the stuffing don’t sieve out during the cooking.

Slice the sweet potatoes. Put in the bottom of your roasting tin. Put the chicken/turkey in the roasting tin as well (on or beside the potatoes you choose).

Season the whole chicken/turkey with the salt and pepper. Add olive oil, water and brandy into the roasting tin, and put the tin into the oven.

Roast for 90 minutes on 150 ºC. Baste the turkey by pouring the cooking juices over it every now and then. This cooking time is for a big free range chicken (and not a turkey)

After the 90 minutes, turn up the heat to 200 ºC (392 ºF) and let roast for another 30 minutes.

Let the bird rest at least 20 minutes before carving so that it can redistribute the juices.


Friday, November 26, 2010

my always smiling friend

This is a wisp I started knitting two years ago and just finished last week. I made it for my dear friend Gunn. Three years ago we began working at the same place with just a month between us. She was a smiling, and including co-worker from day one. And she has been a friend since then. This wisp shawl is to keep her warm during cold Norwegian (and Italian) winters.

This is a very easy knit. I haven’t knitted with mohair yarn before but it is perfect for this pattern as I was going for a light, big warm shawl. One you can rap yourself in before snuggling into the sofa with a book or a cup of tea.

Wishing you all a great weekend!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

big society - part 2

Your response to my big society post a couple of weeks ago was amazing. Thank you for participating!

I always enjoy hearing from you. This time was not different. I loved hearing what you thought when reading the post and I also loved reading what you thought of other people’s comments. It felt like I was part of a conversation.


I know all posts can't be equally engaging, and that is not a goal either. But I do hope to be part of this kind of engaging conversations once in while.

Last week I saw an interview with the American writer Jonathan Franzen. He is on a tour to promote his new book “Freedom” and did an interview here in Oslo.

One part of the interview that especially caught my mind was when the Norwegian interviewer (Siss Vik) asked him about “competition” and how competition was a theme in his book. What caught my attention was his answer. He said that in the US no one asked him this question, while in several European countries he had been asked that same question.


…He then went on to explain his theory on why he is not asked about the “competition” aspect in his book. Interestingly enough he said that one reason why the competition theme is not asked about in his book is because it is an uncomfortable subject and because of politeness. It is not nice to be competitive, so we don’t talk about it…

….on some level I think that comparison is related to competition. We compare to see where we stand in this unannounced continuous competition. Anyhow the interview reminded me of you and our conversation.

(...and why I would like a kindle or some other e-reading device, now!)

You can see the interview (in English from aproximately minute 8) here

Saturday, November 20, 2010

little sister neighborly

Thanks for all you concern and well wishes. We are still coughing around here but I hope we are glimpsing the end of it. In between all the sickness I have knitted another neighbourly.

I know, it’s my third neighbourly and number two with hearts. This one is for the little sister of the other heart neighbourly. These vests are so fast to make and so practical for active kids. If you are still wondering what to make for Christmas you are still in time to make two or three of these (depending on the size) in good time before Christmas.

Wishing you all a good weekend!

Ravelry link

PS. I should have washed and ironed it before posting, but I just didn't have the time.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

tea with honey

Astrid and I have been coughing our lungs inside out since before we had our sunny friend’s weekend. We can’t seem to shake this one off. I have been more at home than at work the last two weeks and work is piling up on my desk as is my bad conscience for not being at work.

My head will not work and my ears are plugged. I have difficulties breathing after walking up a simple stair case. I am trying to take care of Astrid at the same time as I am wishing my mom would come and take care of me.

And now over to something more positive - at least for me: I have won Denise’s giveaway!!! I am getting a lush and warm scarf knitted with Brooklyn tweed Shelter by her. I can’t believe my luck and I am so excited & happy! If you don’t know her blog yet, take a tour. I love her texts and photos. They always make me ponder and think new thoughts. I like that.

Tuesday, November 09, 2010

sunny friends weekend

Saturday and Sunday we spent together with friends baking buns, drawing, playing Lego, strolling in the neighbourhood + wining and dining after the kids were off to bed. Us girls also through in a few knitted rounds in between here and there.

I took the opportunity to take photos of Astrid modelling this fresh from the needles neighbourly with our friends’ kitchen and our bun making as a back drop. There is a few changes to the original pattern and I added three rows of hearts. This is a gift, but after seeing it on Astrid I realize I need to make her one as well.

These two pumpkins used to fight two out of three times, now however it looks like were are heading towards one out of three which is the kind of progress we like.

Wednesday, November 03, 2010

corner view {famous}

Some time ago I read an article about how today’s big society and big world makes it more difficult to be famous or to feel that we exceed in one talent or one activity. It is more difficult to feel that we are good at something compared to before.

Before, when we lived in small villages or towns everyone could be “the best” at one thing, excel in one activity or be famous for one thing. There were less of us. We knew of less people. We compared ourselves with fewer and so it was easier to feel good about ourselves or be famous even if just for one thing.

Today, not only has cities and communities become bigger. We also have TV and internet which makes the smallest village or town big. You can compare yourself with people from all around the world. People you have never met. To excel in something, be among the best or be famous is far more difficult.

I do this myself. Compare me with others. Compare my blog with others. Compare. It is not good. Sometimes it makes you feel small. Sometimes it can make you feel alone.

The only thing I find that helps from getting further down a negative comparing spiral is to go back to the initial thought or the initial feeling of why I do what I do. I do what I do because I get a satisfaction from the mere activity. I master a personal challenge. I experience flow.

Yesterday I came across Susanna’s lovely blog. She has an interesting video post on digital detox (I found her through Hei Astrid). Doing a Digital clean up is a great idea. As well as having a respite from Digital medias.

I think a digital detox or clean up is a great idea for several reasons. One of the reasons Susanna mention for doing a digital clean up is because she comes across blogs that wind her up, or that triggers her. Sometimes she reads blogs that fascinates her, but that makes her feel anxious, jealous, competitive, not good enough or less than… all crappy feelings. I can only say that this resonates with me, I have felt the same.

Today however, after thinking about her words, I have been wondering. Is it necessary to eliminate people from our digital life or real life to feel good? Eliminate the person we compare ourselves to, because if not it becomes too much? Is it them or is it us? What if we instead work with ourselves, and our feeling. Ask ourselves why does this thing, this word, this person or blog trigger this funny feeling in me?

I am sure that neither her nor I are the only ones feeling like this. Everyone has funny days when other people’s success gets to us. So if everyone feels the same once in while, is it not better to be together than alone about it? Be together, and learn to live with these funny feelings while we also take strength from eachother, from eachothers creativity, thoughts and energy? Turn it into an upward spiral.

… A few weeks ago I saw the French movie “Ensemble, c'est tout”, with Audrey Tatou and Guillaume Canet (side note: I have just replaced the Clooney poster hanging on the inside of my wardrobe with this to die for cutie!).

The Norwegian name of the movie is “Together we are less alone” (Sammen er vi mindre alene).

Let’s be together about experiencing funny feelings. About not being famous ( for the record: it's OK to be famous if you are). About doing things for the inherit feeling of doing it. Let us work on being content with the everyday encouragement we get from our friends and family. Let us feel good together and crappy together.

All these feeling are part of life. They are part of us. Together we are less alone.