Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Christmas home tour almost there

Being from Norway my traditions are a little different than most people here. For example my house if I were in Norway would be dressed mostly in purple now to celebrate Advent. Then on the 23rd of December we go all the way and clean our house from top to bottom while finishing all our Christmas baking of 7 kinds of cookies before we decorate our houses for Christmas and decorate the tree in the evening.

Since I came here with only two suitcases four years ago I weren’t able to bring much of my Advent or Christmas decor. My mom has sent me some and I have picked up some on my trips home. Some I have made since I came here and some I have purchased.

I don’t have any Advent decor yet except for my daughters Advent calendar and my Advent star.


CIMG3491 I have got my mantel done and all my little snowmen and Santas out on the shelves.






The little Santa in this last picture with a purple bow was the first little Santa I ever made in school when I was 7.

The painted wineglass with a candle between the angel and Mary with Jesus and Joseph  was made by my oldest daughter when she was about 18 months old. She attended a daycare in Norway and this was one of the activities the kids got to do making Christmas presents for their parents. It is precious to me.

Thank you for visiting me.

Linking up to the Shabby Chic Cottage


Monday, December 13, 2010

Family stockings

After Sofie was born last year I knew we I had to do something about our Christmas stocking situation.

We had stockings going in all directions from our mantel. There were my old one that I made when I were in fourth grade which had shrunk in the wash some ten years ago. My husband loved it as it kept it easy for him to fill it….

There were my husbands two that his mom insisted he had to have from his childhood and the one I made for him when we got married. He didn’t even remember the two his mom gave him….

And then there were the one I had made for Isabel when she was born. Hand embroidered by myself, I just never got happy with it. Isabel really didn’t like it either….

I didn’t want to buy any, but I needed it to be easy.

So out of felt, pompoms and rick rack came this….

Christmas trees and poinsettias



CIMG3481 Linking up to Craft Envy and the rest of the party at


also linking up to

Make it Yours @ My Backyard Eden

Homemade gifts 2010

This year I decided to give only homemade gifts to my family. It is something I strive to do almost every year and fail miserably at.

Having no siblings my cousins became very important to me growing up. I have nine cousins and seven of them receive gifts from me. All together they have eleven children and nine of them receive gifts from my children.

My parents, aunts and uncles count a total of eight people, but only four gifts as only my parents get one gift each and my aunt and uncles get couples gifts.

So all together I needed to make 20 gifts, I almost made it.

So sorry about the quality of my pictures.

Kitchen towels and Potholders

CIMG3433 CIMG3473

These towels and potholders were a fast project that ended up being my most expensive one, but it is the one that I am the most happy with. The fabric just makes me so happy. I just wish my hubby would let me use all those colors in my kitchen.

For all my cousins.

Post it holder, Clothes pin, Clip board, Drawing box

CIMG3431 These Post it holders are so easy and inexpensive to make and I think I all together made about 20 of them. I gave some to my cousins and some to my ladies at my MOPS table, some to my aunts and uncles and one to my dad.

I was able to find post its for only 50 cents a block and each holder ended up costing 1 dollar each.

CIMG3334These clothes pins were so easy to make and on a couple I put magnets for them to be able to hang somewhere and some I left as is so they can stand holding a picture or the likes.

They were quite reasonable priced to make. Altogether about 3 dollar a piece.

CIMG3335 These clip boards where a tutorial I found here at Controlling My Chaos.

Only $2 a piece as the clipboards were a Dollarstore find and the paper is only about a dollar.


For the youngest kids I bought the smallest tin boxes I could find and converted them into little drawing boxes. I kept one for my oldest daughter and she loves it. It is so handy to just keep in my bag for those boring times at the doctors office when she has nothing to do.

CIMG3477 The paper is just ordinary copy paper that I cut to the right size and what was expensive here is the Crayola Twistables that I bought, but they were just to cool to pass.

For some of my cousins kids.

I didn’t get all the way to 20 as I found it hard to make anything for teenage boys, but that was only four and I am really happy about making it to 16 this year.

Right now I am working on a playhouse for my girls and I hope I will be able to finish it before Christmas.

Thanks for visiting.


Linking up to Tatertots and Jello


Friday, November 5, 2010

Saying NO…


If there is one thing I am not good at, it is saying NO.

It does come easy when it is my kids asking, almost to easy sometimes.

As soon as school started I knew I were in trouble. Mom groups asked me to volunteer, school PTA asked me to volunteer, friends wanted help, family wanted help, my kids needed me, my husband needed me and I had projects I wanted to do on my own too.

After a few weeks I was feeling stressed and anxious. I knew I had to do something about it. I had to learn to say no.

First I said no at church when they asked for more volunteers in the children ministry. It is my space and time during the weekend to have some quality time by myself without the children and it is precious to me.

Then I chose to only do volunteer services that would give me something either socially, creatively, or professionally. With moms groups I am a small group leader and I create a newsletter. At my daughters school I run a volunteer group that meet once a week to help teachers with projects for their classes, this gives me ideas to use myself when I go back to work as a teacher.

I have friends wanting my help with decorating and I have said yes to two just because I think it is fun and I get to do something socially and creative all at once. I also have friends who want me to arrange and host gatherings ever so often and I chose to say no as it was more stressful than enjoyable for me.

I am helping my mother in law clean her house once a week, but she gives back in form of a little pocket money and helping me with the kids. Still I had to say no to her when she wanted to help me by taking my oldest daughter three of the school nights. It just gave me more stress as she would fall behind on her Norwegian studies. Now Isabel gets picked up from school  by grandma two days a week and it is really nice for me.

I am slowly getting my schedule set and everything balanced out. Things are getting done and my stress and anxiety level is slowly going down.

How are you handling the stresses of the daily demands and requests? Are you good at saying no?

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

A little of track

Energized life button

September 9th I launched my little project of “On the road to a energized life” where I asked everyone to join me in getting physically active to gain energy on a day to day basis.

And that was it. It went of track on the blog and I didn’t even touch my blog until last week again.

So how did I do otherwise?

I started running. First I bought my first pair of proper running shoes. I spent as much money as I could on a pair of fancy shoes at a specialty store, thinking that it would get me motivated by making me feel bad for wasting money if I didn’t use them for running.

Let me tell you, it really worked.

I actually got a few friends to join me. We started out being 4 and it went pretty well. We used a running program called from Sedentary to 5 K and it was at least not killing us easy, at least in the beginning.

As the amount of time spent running got higher, one after the other couldn’t keep it up.

Now we are two and we are totally off the charts. No we have not reached our goal of 5 K, we just decided we needed some more time building up our stamina to get there. I actually did 2 K today.

Our goal now is to be able to do a 5 K by Christmas. And as long as we are able to do 3 runs a week we are happy.

In September I felt myself being full of High Negative Energy and Low Negative Energy. Self assessing myself again I find that I am still full of Low Negative Energy, but I am also full of High Positive Energy. This to me is a good sign.

The High Positive Energy I know for sure comes from running. I actually feel like running now and get jittery if I miss my running one day.

The Low Negative Energy is probably because I have had a lot going on these last few months. I am slowly finding ways to work on these issues and I will talk more about it at another time.

For now I will just celebrate that I am back at blogging and I ran 2 K today.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Quick kitchen tip #1


As you who have followed my blog for a while knows, I don’t have a dishwasher.

I opted to remove my dishwasher and replace with a kitchen cart that gives me a lower surface to knead bread doughs on. Do I regret doing this? No, so far I am really happy about it.

Due to this however I am a big user of sponges to clean everything. Nearly every tip I have read to prolong the life of my sponges have suggested I clean them in my “dishwasher” once a week to prevent bacteria buildup in them.

We all know about the bacterial buildup. It is especially noticeable the morning after your husband or kid used it to clean yesterdays dinner dishes before going to bed. The sour smell stings the nose as you squeeze out the standing water of which it has been laying in.

Here comes my 2 for 1 tip. Drum roll please…..

Once a week or however more often you would like. Place your dripping wet sponge in you microwave. Turn it on full for three minutes. Carefully take out and rinse well. Add dish soap to the sponge and work it to a lather. Place it once more dripping wet and full of soap in the microwave. Turn on full for three minutes. Carefully take out and rinse well.

This as a matter of fact proven to kill 99% of all bacteria and that after only 2 minutes in the microwave. I might be doing some overkill with my routine, but it works for me.

Here is an article I found on this. Microwaving kitchen sponges for just two minutes can kill 99% of living pathogens, a US study in the Journal of Environmental Health claims. Link to article.

Take a moist microfiber cloth and wipe down the inside of you microwave. Not only has the damp from the sponge loosened all the almost burned in splatters in there, but the soap has made it smell good.

So 2 for 1, your sponge is all clean and bacteria free, and your microwave is all clean and shiny.

Do you have helpful little tips like this that helps you in your day to day life?

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Getting ready for Christmas

Every year when November gets near I near panic by the thought of getting Christmas cards and gifts ready to send home to Norway.

Every year I tell myself I will start earlier next year.

Every year I fail and I scramble to get everything done before it is too late.

This year I have found help through Shutterfly with at least half the job. All I have to do is choose one of their many Christmas layouts and a few of my best pictures and they will print the cards and ship them to me. Then all I will have to do is send them out.

Not only do they have Christmas cards but they also have New Year's cards and Thank you cards and I am almost considering ordering some Thank you notes this year on behalf of the kids.

For us having our family living so far away it is nice to be able to find ways to keep them close, showing them glimpses of our life here and doing it through these beautiful picture cards.

I am so relieved. If I could only find someone to finish all my gifts for me too.

These are three cards that I really like, but which one should I choose. I like number 1 because I can incorporate a short Christmas letter at the same time, I like number 2 because I can incorporate lots of pictures, and I like number 3 because I can write a little something about every singe person in our family to let everyone know each one of us.

Option 1 Option 2 Option 3

I am really having a hard time choosing though.

Would you like 50 free holiday cards from Shutterfly? Click here to go to Shutterfly for information on how you can get 50 free holiday cards.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

On the road to a energized life - Getting started

I am going to warn you right now... I have fallen in love with a book.

Based on principles from the Human Performance Institute the authors of this book wants to show everyone that managing energy, not time, is vital to sustained high performance.

What is important is to integrate physical activity to your daily routine, tweaking eating habits, and apply key tactics that the authors teach you throughout the book.

There is absolutely no talk about being on a diet. A no no word for me as I always start cheating on my diets after only a few hours. And as it speak about physical activity, it is not about loosing weight, but about using it as a means to more energy to heighten your performance both in your work life and your personal life.

There is according to them four different types of energy levels.

The "Low Negative Energy" where you feel exhaustion, burned out, sadness, hopelessness, moodiness, irritability, and impatience, usually comes from stress and overwhelming challenges that comes in your way.

The "Low Positive Energy" which is a strategic disengagement where you seek rest and recovery, it is a critical need for sufficient time to renew yourself and enabling your embracing the next challenge that comes your way. It is about feeling carefree, peaceful, relieved, mellow, relaxed and unfocused.

The "High Negative Energy" is positive when there is a physical emergency and your goal is to survive, but long term this is counterproductive as the emotions it carries with it in terms of frustration, anger, anxiety, tenseness, and fear might interfere with how you think and react to things.

The "High Positive Energy" is full of feelings of hopefulness, passion, focus, challenge, connection, alertness, enthusiasm, and optimism that makes you embrace challenges, respond in high quality ways, and always with full engagement and in full performance.

I can definitely say that I am mostly full of High Negative Energy and Low Negative Energy. I need to change this because I can tell that my family is having a hard time with it too.

Are you in for this? Think back to your past few weeks... Have you taken time for some intentional Low positive energy? Are you in constant combat mode of High negative energy?

Please join me in the quest for more energy in our life. If you would like to join I would appreciate it if you would sport my little button too. Please let me know if it doesn't work though. I don't know if it works yet as it is the first time I have ever made one. Any tips are gratefully appreciated.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Grateful Monday 11

holy experience
I must say that this week has been a roller coaster week. A lot of fast rides down and slow going up again. I know there will be more ups and downs as school starts this week, but I am looking forward to it.
This week I am grateful for:
101. two weeks of a healthy Sofie.
102. time to make a craft and feeling rejuvenated afterwards.
103. a surgery that went as planned.
104. Isabels recovery going pretty fast and well.
105. little girls giving lots of hugs and kisses.
106. a kitchen that is clean in the morning.
107. little girls snuggling against me.
108. freshly baked peach pie.
109. cream of wheat, finally a breakfast that we all like and is easy to make.
110. a day of having only one child at home, getting some rest finally.
I hope you all find something you are grateful for this week and I hope it will come to me easier than it has to find things to be grateful for.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

On the road to a energized life

This summer have been very draining on me. At one point I actually went to the doctor to have her check whether or not I was getting sick. She pointed out the obvious:

  1. I had one very sick little girl who needed me 24/7.
  2. I was not taking any time to myself.
  3. I was not exercising.
  4. I was not eating very well.
  5. I barely slept.

I had drained the last drop of energy out of my body and my doctors prescription was to take time to myself to re-energize again.

"How do I do that?" I asked. She told me to go into myself and think back to what would energize me before, even as long ago as when I was a teen.

It took me a while and when I did discover the answer I did a lot of research too as my body and lifestyle has changed drasticly the past ten years. I didn't want to do something that potentially could make me feel even worse.

My answer was exercise. As a teenager I did gymnastic at least 4 hours a week, I played European handball 3 hours a week and I would run or do cross country skiing at least 4 hours a week. Still with 11 hours of training a week, I never fell behind on my school assignments. Then in college I coached both gymnastics and soccer, while working and going to school. Still training up to 10 hours a week I had a active social life and kept up with school.

Now I hardly exercise, I am tired all the time and just can't keep up with hardly anything. I realize I really need to start exercising, but I have to do it carefully. I am not the same person I was 10 years ago in college. I am 35 lbs heavier, I have had two kids and I have had accidents that have given me cronic pain in my back, shoulders, neck and feet. These are all things that might all go away, well except for my kids, I'd rather keep them.

So I invite you with me on this journey. Not a journey to loose weight essentially, but to gain energy. Energy for my family and my friends and myself.

Share this with your friends and together we will make a difference in our own lifes and inevitably in our families lives.

Linking up to 30 days: Pity party.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Almost there

I know Amy at New Nostalgia is not doing her Anti-Procrastination Tuesday today, but I will still post an entry in relation to this as I really need it to keep me on track.
I am almost there. I have almost created my own blogparty. I just need some help.
I just can't figure it out.
Ok, first off. I did manage to make my own blog party button using Picnik. One thing to cross off my list. I just have not managed to figure out how to put it in my blog with the Html code for others to use it too. What I want to be able to do is putting it in the sidebar just like Amy at New Nostalgia has it. (I would have e-mailed and asked, but I can't figure out how to bypass outlook and use g-mail instead when trying to e-mail other bloggers :s)
As soon as I figure this out, please someone help me, I will launch my party. It really needs to be done soon though. Till then I will be doing more research and work on that first post.
I am trying to clean up my blog too, but it is more of a work in progress than a thing I can cross off and say that it is now done. I have a plan at least and that is half the job just there.
Anyways, I have hung the new curtains in the kids bedroom and I am so happy with them. It looks great and the room is darker and cooler.
The new design for my mantel is done. I will make a shelf similar to my shelfs and tables from IKEA, that way it will tie in with the rest of my furniture. We will try to sell our place furnished and making the shelf match the rest might help. We will also paint the wall of the fireplace a darker color than the rest of the walls, most likely a blue.
I have contacted two of my friends and asked what times would work for them to meet up this year. To top it off I am planning to do this with other groups of friends too. I realize that I will only be here a few more years and I am therefore trying to live in the now and spend as much time as possible with the friends I have been blessed with here.

As for the chore charts, that is a work in progress too. I am still trying to figure out how I want to do it and what actually need to be on it. It might actually be easier to just wait till after school starts to finish this one.
I have also managed to save up enough money to buy a pair of running shoes. Now I just have to start running. I will give you an update on that later.
I have not started to work on any of the rooms yet, but I have been doing a lot of research and planning and I will write more about it later as well.
Isabel had her surgery today and is doing okey. The doctor says that the worst day will be Wednesday. For the next few days I will have to make sure she takes her pain medicin every four hours. I am not sure how much I will be able to do while she is recovering. I am however hoping to do a few things.
By next Tuesday I hope to
  • take Isabel to the hairdresser and make a before and after picture of her.

  • make an ad to sell some of the baby stuff, toys and clothes that we have.

  • keep fixing up my blog and actually start my party.

  • make a tutorial.
  • clean out my car.

Should be doable and I might even be able to add to that, but I just don't want to get overwhelmed right now.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Grateful Monday 10

holy experience
After a somewhat frustrating week it is good to sit down and think back on all the good things in life that I am grateful for.
91. My mom teaching me the importance of strategy when cleaning.
92. The independency and helpfulness that Isabel is showing.
93. Time to do what is important; being with family and friends.
94. Good food in good company.
95. Snuggles from a baby.
96. The sweet smell of newly bathed children.
97. The warmth and softness of a cat taking a nap with you.
98. The baby taking a three hour nap on the day I really needed her to.
99. Bananabread that was actually not a total disaster, but actually eatable.
100. Skinnyjeans that makes me look 10 pounds lighter.
(just don't take a picture of me in my new jeans to show me though)

Monday, August 23, 2010

Getting somewhere

I actually got a lot done last week.

Tuesday was Sofies surgery and since it didn't take as long as I anticipated we spent the whole day at the beach. Fun for Isabel and relaxing for me as Sofie slept most of the day.

Wednesday I got the upstairs cleaned, I shopped for clothes for Isabel and a MOPS steering meeting in the evening. That sure felt good.

Thursday my husband, kids and I all went to Point Defiance Zoo. We had never been there before and it was awesome. We loved the Walruses and Meerkats. Even though it rained as we got there, the weather turned out beautiful and Jesse got a little sunburned as usual.

Friday I was supposed to go blueberry picking, but ended up going on a ferry ride with a very good friend and her kids. It was a good way of spending the day.

Saturday was filled with two birthday parties and the best part was that I got to go by myself to the first one while my sister in law watched the kids.

Sunday we went to church, then had coffee at the mall with good friends before going home to make plans for the start of school.

Monday I managed to clean my mother in laws house in 1.5 hour. Good for her as she gets a very clean house, but bad for me as I get paid hourly. Oh well, I had friends invited over for lunch and I actually made a really good lunch for once. Okay, that sounds bad, but we are a peanut butter and jelly sandwich kind of family. This time though I went all the way out and made Italian sausage omelet and fruit salad with thin buns. Oh so good.

Last week I promised myself that I would get something done till today. I've not done all of it, Isabel still needs a haircut, still got no pictures of the kids, still need to make banana bread, but I bought new curtains for the kids room and I got some paint samples that I am trying around the house to see what will work. I am also making design drawings of my rooms to see what I need and try to find how much it will cost me to fix the place up.

School is starting up September 7th and I have big plans for this next school year. It will be busy, but I am planning a few things:

  • my own blog linkup party
  • baking and making more tutorials
  • fixing up one room at the time in my home
  • work on keeping myself and my family organized
  • starting to exercise and actually stick to it

I have to learn how to make my own buttons and I have to get to my husbands computer to get more pictures to showcase on my blog.

By next Tuesday I will have: contacted friends to set up times to meet on a regular basis for the next year; made chore charts for the whole family; hung the curtains in the kids room; clean up my blog; design a new mantel for the living room.

Thanks again for your encouragement and prayers for my kids. Isabel is due for her surgery having her adenoids and tonsils removed and ear tubes put in on Monday the 30th. And thanks to you who read this far today. I guess I had a lot on my mind. Looking forward to visiting you all later.

Grateful Monday 9

holy experience

Life is good as I am still taking one day at the time, if I think further ahead I get anxious because I know it can all change in a heartbeat.

This is what I am grateful for this week:

81. Sofies surgery going so well.

82. my neighbors little baby boy who was born this week.

83. the love and support pure strangers can shower upon you.

84. being able to reconnect with old friends.

85. free pretzels.

86. rapping and dancing hamsters on TV.

87. my sister in law babysitting the kids for me on Saturday.

88. fun birthday party with friends.

89. chocolate ganache cake oh so good.

90. my children with spunk.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

A procrastinating kind of day

I have been sitting by my dining room table, in front of my computer, for the past 3 hours. I still have not been able to get anything done. I am procrastinating.
Having sick kids during the summer is really making me behind on everything. I like going with the flow, do what I feel like and just pick up afterwards. Usually it works out good, but at the end of the day I am exhausted and nothing gets done.
Today I want to get a to do list together and try to cross as much off of it as possible, but I am Procrastinating.
Instead I am playing with my $96 budget for house projects thinking I might redo my bathroom with new paint, light fixture and shower curtain; redo my dining room with wainscoting, new paint and a counter; or redo my living room with new paint and a new fireplace mantel.
I should probably just get my bathrooms cleaned and floors washed, then bake a banana bread and some muffins.
Or maybe I should take the kids out shopping for clothes and maybe get Isabel a haircut. Get pictures taken of them, something I have not done since last August.
I am getting so annoyed with myself that I am still sitting here doing nothing.
This is it. I will make a list now and I will cross all of it off and next Tuesday I will be in a better place in a cleaner house, but first there is a little girl with a big job for her mama ;)
Thank you all for all your nice comments.
Sofie is doing good after having her ear tubes put in yesterday.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Grateful Monday 8

holy experience
This last week was exhausting with us having to go to doctors offices 5 out of 7 days, all of them because of Sofie. A lot of bad news and lot of good news.
This week I am grateful for
71. Sofie having an ear infection that is not caused by multi resistant bacterias.
72. Isabel finally getting a diagnosis of sleep apnea that explains all her health problems.
73. Sofie getting scheduled so quickly for surgery to get ear tubes.
74. Isabel getting scheduled quickly to get ear tubes, tonsillectomy and adenoid removal.
75. trips to IKEA that becomes more about being together with friends than shopping.
76. a day to myself together with a good book at the mall having lunch and coffee all alone.
77. Isabel loving the quilt I made her.
78. my children comforting me when I start crying in the check in line at the doctors office because I just had it.
79. Java Chip Ice Cream.
80. good authors and inspired books.

Monday, August 9, 2010

I'm not a quilter/quitter

First of all, thank you so much to all of you who came over to my blog and took your time to write some encouraging words to me. I truly appreciate all your prayers and I have put my trust in God. Thank you too to Amy for your kind and wonderful words you wrote as you featured me yet again. I can't believe you even read my Gratitude post. That really means a lot to me.

My husband and I are doing better, but I am still struggeling with feeling overwhelmed with everything. I am now trying to take one week at the time and I try to spend some time by my sewing table being creative again as that calms my mind and makes me feel good. And from this good things are coming.

I am done. So incredibly done. A little over two years ago I started on a quilt for Isabel. She had fallen in love with a quilt at Land of Nod, but there were no way I could afford it. Instead I took her to my local fabric store where I picked out several fabrics that reminded me of the quilt she had picked out and I let her choose her favorites. Then I went to work on her quilt.

I chose a pattern from Pat Sloan's I can't believe I'm Quilting beyond the basics The Get to the Point quilt. It was difficult. I should probably have started out with somethings easier, but I thought I knew what I was doing. I have made many smaller quilts and they have always come out nicely, but this time I decided to do a twin size quilt. I don't know what I was thinking.

It has taken me over two years. A lot of procrastination in working on it and it has caused me a lot of procrastination in starting other projects because I never wanted to start something new before this was done. Still there is a lot of things I have learned in this process

1. I am not a quilter.
2. Neither am I a quitter.
3. I am not patient.
4. I don't read instructions very well.
5. Needles for my sewing machine costs a lot of money.
6. I am terrible at assembling the quilt.
7. When you don't assemble a quilt properly it does not look very nice when you then quilt it.
8. I have finally learned to do machine-sewn binding properly.
9. You are actually supposed to zigzag around the quilt to close the raw edges and then trim the backing and batting.
10. Potholders are a fun and easy project to do.

Since I finished the quilt, I have made two sets of potholders. They are so fun and easy to make and I have already given one set to my mother in law. I now have a few more projects on my planner, but first I have to finish up a few smaller projects that just need the finishing touches.

Thank you for coming over to visit.
Linking up to Amy's Anti-procrastionation Tuesday.