Recent Posts

Christmas movies on Netflix

I thought I would save you the trouble of trawling through Netflix for some Christmas movies to watch.  Bare in mind that Netflix have a more limited selection in Norway compared to for example USA. I start watching them in November to get into a festive mood.



National lampoon's Christmas vacation (Hjelp det er juleferie)
Arthur Christmas (Arthurs julegaverace)
Polar express (Polarekspressen)
Deck the halls
Miracle on 34th street (Miraklet på Manhattan)
Solan og Ludvig - jul i flåklypa (norwegian)
Jack Frost
Rise of the Guardians (De fem legendene)

Homemade bird food



The birds are already queuing up on our balcony, waiting for their winter treats, so we decided to make some bird food. It is really easy and you can use up all your leftover seeds and nuts. We used coconut fat, oats, sunflower seeds, almonds and hazelnuts.  Just melt the fat and put all the dry ingredients in. You have to leave the mixture in the fridge to go a bit colder before putting it in the molds, or all the fat will run all over your baking tray. Once all the mixture is in the molds, just leave to set for an hour or so and you are good to go. We made lots of shapes, and keep some in the freezer, so we can decorate for the birds closer to Christmas. They got to try some of the food today as well and they love it. Almost as much as little sister, that found the combination weirdly satisfying. 






A House Doctor Christmas

Some more inspiration for you today this time from the the danish brand House Doctor. I just love their simple, natural, no frills style. Rough and elegant at the same time.

Press image by House Doctor

Press image by House Doctor

Press image by House Doctor

Press image by House Doctor

Press image by House Doctor

Press image by House Doctor

Press image by House Doctor




Concrete egg cups DIY


This autumn the kids and I have had a lot of fun with making things out of concrete. These egg cups we made using a cupcake paper cup and a boiled egg. Put concrete in the cup and pour but not all the way to the top. Put the egg in and tape it to the cup to avoid it falling out. Remember to put some oil on your egg before you put it in the concrete. We forgot - and had to sand the egg shell away after. It took a lot of time!!! We finished them by painting the inside with a copper paint. I think they look soo cool!

A HM Home Christmas


I simply love HM Homes Christmas images. I love the lush green colors in combination with the elegance of the gold. The contrast between the grand setting and the simplicity in the use of brown paper and rough wood is right up my alley. 

Press image HM Home 

Press image HM Home

Press image HM Home 

Press image HM Home 

Press image HM Home

Press image HM Home
Press image HM Home

Stocking stuffers/advent calendar gifts for kids



On the day before Christmas our kids hang up their stockings, and when they wake up it is full of candy and small gifts that will keep them busy early in the day. We celebrate on Christmas eve, so it is a long wait for kids before they get to open gifts. Here are some ideas of gifts that will keep them busy and happy. Most of these are found on Ebay or on Aliexpress. If you order early you can these gifts very cheap - but delivery especially from China can take some time.

Activity advent calendar - do's and don'ts



It is our fifth year of doing an activity calendar now - and it has change a lot since we started. The most important lesson I learnt was to write down the days of the week, note which days we had lots of thing going on after work - and adjust the ambitions accordingly. If you plan vigorous activities every day in December both you and your kids will be exhausted within the first week.

Divide activities into two categories

Write a list of possible activities divided into two categories by how time consuming they will be. If you do the prep work ahead of time this will be so much fun.

Time consuming activites:

* Baking
* Crafts
* Decorating the tree
* Making a ginger bread house
* Game night
* Treasure hunt
* Cinema
* Swimming pool
* Buying gifts


Easy activities for days when you are busy or tired

* Write gift list for Santa
* Play hide and go seek
* Bathing day - pack a box full of fun bath toys and foam.
* Money collector. Hide chocolate coins in each of the kids room, and get them to collect them. See who finds the most.
* Children decide what's for dinner (they always choose pancakes)
* Beads - give them a box of beads and make them create a necklace or bracelet.
* Activity books. Give them a book each which they can do.
* Movie night
* Read a Christmas story


Do 

...Try to clear the schedule as much as you can, before December starts. You can read about it here. Get the gift buying and wrapping done. Shop groceries online. Organize the house and clean before December and just do the last finish before Christmas.

 ...The activities you would normally do, and that you WANT to do - make it and activity for the family - like baking or decorating the tree for example.

 ...Schedule in the other activities so you know which days will be busy and which days you do more time consuming activities.

Don't

...Be over ambitious. Put in resting days were the activity is done in 5 minutes or less, or give the kids a craft or activity where they can do the activity without so much input from you.

...Be surprised by what today's activity is. Write down what you put in the calendar each day so you know what to do each day.

Wooden gift tags and wrapping paper



This year we have made gift tag out of slices of wood. I think they give the presents a very cool crafty look. I used regular black acrylic paint and a white paint marker. Remember to dry your wood slices in the oven on a low temperature for a few hours.


The wrapping paper I found on One O and you can download here.



October


It is officially time to bring out the candles, and snuggle up in front of the fireplace with some crafts and a good tv series. Here are a few things I think would fit in with my autumnal mood.

Pillows from HM, Dahlia blanket by Klippan, Wire basket by Menu, Bloomingville candle holders,  Cone Poster by Paper collective,

Collecting things from nature


On sunny days before Christmas, I pack a lunch and take the kids to the forest to gather things we will use for making presents and decorations. We pick cones, twigs and closer to Christmas we also get branches of spruce that we need for table decorations and making the wreath for the door. You can also pick flower, press them and place them in frames to make beautiful decorations.


We also pick berries (blueberries and lingonberries) to make jam. We use lingonberry jam for our traditional Christmas feast - so that is essential. The blueberries we have to stock up on, and use the whole year for our pancakes. I simply just clean them, and put them straight in the freezer. When I need to use them, I just add sugar and stir - and voila - the best jam ever. No long cooking process needed. The kids loves going on our "treasure hunt" in the forest, and it is great to reconnect and find a little bit of breathing space.

Advent calendar


I love making the kids their advent calendars. We do one activity each day before x-mas. This year these are some of the things hidden in the calendar

  • Christmas window decorating contest
  • Write letters for santa
  • Baking
  • Make bath bombs
  • Make our own gift wrapping paper
  • Read a Christmas story
  • Make a necklace
  • Shopping presents
  • Decorate the tree
  • Visit the Christmas market
  • Activity book
  • Game night
  • Make keyrings
  • Find hidden coin game
  • Bathing day
  • Go sledding
  • Make a ginger bread house
  • The night before X-mas box
  • Treasure hunt

Here are the links for the pictures of the calendars I found on Pinterest
http://www.heimatbaum.com/flohmarkt-adventskalender-diy/
http://www.imidesign.de/
http://venoskamade.blogspot.no/2015/12/adventni-kalendar.html?spref=pi
http://trendspanarna.nu/naturliga-toner-hos-granit-julen-2016/
http://craftandcreativity.com/blog/2016/11/11/teaadventcalendar/
http://www.toga-shop.com/calendrier-de-l-avent-berlingots-noir-et-blanc.html





10 things I do before December 1st


I love spending December relaxing and doing fun activities with the kids, so for me it is all about getting as much done before advent. Here is what I do to keep on top of things and having time to do fun things before Christmas.

1. Plan an advent calendar for someone you love

I do and activity calendar for my kids every year, and I we do an activity together every day before Christmas. It makes the time very special, and we get to spend a lot of time together.


2. Ask people to give you their wish lists

If you ask people for their gift list quite early, the chances are they will have forgotten what they wished for by Christmas, and will get very surprised, and happy you got them exactly what they wanted. 

 3. Get ribbon, gift wrapping and make tags

Make name tags and check that you have plenty wrapping paper, tape and  ribbon.

4. Buy and wrap your gifts

Most things are much cheaper in the autumn sale, so you could spend much less on gifts if you buy them early. Remember to make a budget, and write down what you have bought for everybody and how much it costs. I do most my shopping on the internet and I wrap the presents when they arrive.

5. Make/buy your Christmas cards

Take a picture for the Christmas cards well in advance to ensure you have time to get them printed. I also write a personal greeting on each card.

6. Plan your Christmas meals

I used to buy too much food for Christmas, so I started planning the meals to make sure that nothing went out of date before its is was used. Maybe you need to experiment with some new Christmas recipes too. Start a grocery list and add to it as you can think of things. I also start buying the non-perishable items on my list quite early. 

7. Clean/organize your shelves and drawers

I put one room to organize on my list each week. When you break the job into smaller parts it makes it more manageable. Get rid of out of date products in the kitchen. Go through the kids wardrobes and check if the clothes still fits. Donate, sell and recycle.

8. Get your holiday outfits sorted

Have your kids grown out their nicest clothes? Start before the shops are sold out of the size you need.


9. Invite guest

Find out who is coming to visit your for Christmas and make sure you have enough chairs, glasses, plates and cutlery for everyone.

10. Buy stocking fillers for the kids

My kids put up their stocking the night before Christmas and get lots of candy and small toys when they wake up in the morning. I also plan a treasure hunt around the house for them.

Winter is coming


Ok - so it is still only autumn. But there is plenty of Christmas preparations to get on with. I just wanted to say welcome to old and new readers, and tell you that I am currently preparing this blog for the festive season. Pretty soon there will be new DIY projects, gift ideas, gift wrapping tips and much more!

Christmas lessons learnt

I always write down notes to myself for next year, so I avoid making the same mistakes all over again next year. You will forget in a year!!! Last year I bough too many cakes, so I ended up eating them long into the new year. NOT a good idea. So this year I will buy less, and buy more if I need more. Also I decided last year that it will still be Christmas if I clean a little less. More important to spend time with the kids.


Happy New Year!

Have a happy new year, and I cannot wait to see you all in the new year!


Decorating the tree

When I was little, my parents always decorated the tree after we had gone to bed on the 23rd. When we got up on Christmas tree, we could not wait to see the tree with all the presents under it. Although I liked that tradition, I have just come to the conclusion that I have enough to do on the 23rd and also I want to get more that one week of joy out of the tree, so I have started putting the tree up a week before Christmas. This year the kids were so impatient. They wanted to decorate the tree right after we brought it home. But since it was a part of their advent calendar, we had to wait for the right day.






Do you believe?


I am a bit sad to say that I think our 8 year old no longer believes in Santa. Last year we got a neighbor to come as Santa so he would not recognize any of us playing the bearded man. That did not work either, because he recognized his voice. So this year I think we will just let his father be Santa again for our 2 year old, and let the 8 year old figure it out. It is sad. I wish I could hire a Santa to come. Any volunteers living in Trondheim?

Last minute finishing touches

Suddenly the last week is here, and the last finishing touches has to be done. There is always that last minute present that needs to be wrapped and the last minute shopping to be done. Make sure you finish as well as you start. Add some nature to your present to make them stand out under the tree.


Orange with cloves

Making oranges with cloves in is a tradition I have carried with me since my childhood. They make the house smell sooo good.  This is a great activity you can make the kids do to keep the peace in case you need a moment to yourself. My kids love it, and have started asking to do it early in December. 


Make a place card holder

When I have dinner parties with many guest I always yous place cards. I think about who would enjoy talking to each other, and how to keep the peace at the table. Make these place card holders to make your table extra beautiful. They are easy to make, and all you need are some plyers and metal wire. You can find the recipe on how to make them here.




Baking day

This years baking went down a storm. It is the first year my boy had the patience to stick with the baking until the end. My girl got a bit restless after a while. But it was great fun. We bought ready made dough, and it might be the only baking we do for Christmas, because there are just too many things to do. I wish I could stop time and at the same time not - because we still are looking forward to Christmas. 




We got our Christmas tree!!!

 Here comes some pictures from sundays Christmas tree hunting at a local tree farm. Perfect winter weather for selecting our tree. This time we also brought our Italian friends and they got to make snow angels for the first time. It is great to share our traditions with people from other countries, because you get to see them with "new" eyes. I had forgotten how much fun it is to have a snowball fight!



My little girl thought it was a little too much snow in the forest though, when she got stuck in the snow. We had to sit by the fire to warm her feet after. But after she had some hot chocolate and ginger bread, she was fine again.