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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.