Friday, December 3

Out of the ashes

Anders built a wonderful 'lavvo' in the garden, complete with bench, sheepskins, Christmas lights and fire outside.
Sunny days and cold. The days are exceptionally short. Light at 9, dark at 4. I think one sleeps more during the winter. At 6pm in the summers we would take an evening trip to the beach, swim and hang out. Now at 6, I am wondering how soon we can go to bed.
House building is on the agenda everyday. Article from the local newspaper. Due to the intense cold we are experiencing now, down to minus 12, progress has slowed down a bit.
Don't forget to follow the blog as well, here is a collage by Anders, taking the twins down to he building site. ( He still takes care of all the kids on Tuesdays and Thursdays, wonderful pappa.)

One needs competent experts to ensure the plumber has actually made holes in the pipes...

Sunday, November 28

Happy First of Advent!

Quick update is in demand. The house building is moving along. For all interested in low energy house, passive standards, and environmental choices on water heating, solar panels and such, check out out house blog, Anders' actually, to see what it will look like. English summery of major posts is coming, I promise.

Our twins are now three years old, I have delivered my thesis and am preparing for the oral exam, and today we off to the  Christmas market at a Waldorf School outside Bergen, for the first time. I am really excited!

Monday, November 15

Where is Your Bicycle?: Before We Left Norway

Where is Your Bicycle?: Before We Left Norway: "We had a lot of fun during our 2+ weeks in Norway... Natalia and Anders manage to get out with their three kids every day, more than once, ..."

Saturday, November 6

Early Winter Goodness

I have been working like crazy this week. Came home late last night after 48 intensive hours at the library. Was met with a pristine, cleaned house, wool clothes laid out for today's swimming and incense burning in the hall. Happy me, and happy husband (though equally exhausted.)

the last autumn table. look at those sunflowers! saved in from the snow and blooming!

Building Day 1. Kids and Lunch with Dad.
Our view.
small glimpse at our outer facade. will publish the digital 3D one asap.
Today was a day off. Recuperation for all of us. A lot of sleep, swimming, warm lunch and books. It now gets dark already at 16.30. A wonderful adventure, if you just embrace it. The children and I made hot Roiboosh Lion Tea, packed the cashews and headed to the playground, in the pitch black. We all have our own headlamps, so the night is as as light as needed, wherever we turn out head. Wonderful. Sometimes I feel like we are living on Svalbard or somewhere more arctic than here.

Jasmin's doll Cecilia had a birthday earlier last week.

Jasmin silk-foot.
Purple girls on purple Monday. Jasmin is kind enough to show Lea her "glansbilde" collection. (Thanks to Bestemor) An old Norwegian tradition.
help with dishes.

Sunday, October 31


Congratulations. The contract on our new house is signed. They start digging tomorrow, and expected to be able to move in March! Amazing. Hard to believe we will have a house on that grassy slope of land we own.
It has been a long and tedious job, of which Anders has had to carry the load pretty much alone.
But as it looks now, insha'allah, we will have a brand new, passive-house with breathing walls, organic paint, solar panels and recycling systems on water and heat.
More to come. We are in the process of setting up a house blog, and I am in the process of finishing my paper. Thus, the lacking activity here. Deadline 20 Novemeber, so I will be back in time to document the twins birthday and the beginnings of Advent. I am really looking forward to that. As it is now, I escape to the office upstairs as soon as they are asleep, and have no time to prepare any activities.

Our good friends Ramona and Joshua are stranded in California for a while, resting and healing a broken foot. We hope they come back asap, as the kids ask about them everyday, and their room is awfully empty. Here is a link to their bicycle blog, adventures across Europe. And a little cross-blogging as well.

We have already had snow, ice and sledding. It is going to be long winter...

Friday, October 8

Apples, Autumn and Dwarves

Autumn Harvest , Ruth Elassar
We have picked the lot of the apples on our property and Anders made A LOT of applesauce, and a wonderful apple cake involving, well, applesauce, and a cake lid made up of ground almonds, a la Jamie Oliver's Plum and Almond Tart (which is dangerously good btw!)

Last of the apples. Notice the kid nibbled ones. 
Rural living: escaped sheep in the garden.

I have hung up a board. But what to hang on it? Current songs and poetry!
This weeks poem: Come little Leaves, from A Journey Through Time with Verse and Rhyme.
Wonderful collection of verse. 
The book also contains quite a few for Michaelsmas, which has just passed with dragons and jewels and quests. Among others, JR Tolkiens epic "Over the Misty Mountains", which I am going to clip in here for you to understand what I speak of:

Far over the Misty Mountains cold, 
To dungeons deep and caverns old, 
We must away, ere break of day, 
To seek our pale enchanted gold. 

For ancient king and elvish lord 
There many a gleaming golden hoard 
They shaped and wrought, and light they caught, 
To hide in gems on hilt of sword. 

On silver necklaces they strung 
The flowering stars, on crowns they hung 
The dragon-fire, on twisted wire 
They meshed the light of moon and sun. 

Far over the Misty Mountains cold, 
To dungeons deep and caverns old, 
We must away, ere break of day, 
To claim our long-forgotten gold. 

Goblets they carved there for themselves, 
And harps of gold, where no man delves 
There lay they long, and many a song 
Was sung unheard by men or elves. 

The bells were ringing in the dale, 
And men looked up with faces pale. 
The dragon's ire, more fierce than fire, 
Laid low their towers and houses frail. 

The mountain smoked beneath the moon. 
The dwarves, they heard the tramp of doom. 
They fled the hall to dying fall 
Beneath his feet, beneath the moon. 

Far over the Misty Mountains grim, 
To dungeons deep and caverns dim, 
We must away, ere break of day, 
To win our harps and gold from him! 

To Rivendell, where Elves yet dwell 
In glades beneath the misty fell. 
Through moor and waste we ride in haste, 
And whither then we cannot tell. 

We must away! We must away! 
We ride before the break of day!

I love Tolkien. I look forward to the day I can read for my children. I think my dad read the Hobbit to me, quite young, but how young? I don't know. Ten years old? Maybe younger. I have to admit I loved the Lord of The Rings films as well, but they are definitely not for children, . The books on the other hand are exquisite. Reading this poem again has reminded me how important verse, poetry and words are. And I believe young children benefit from hearing it, even though they do not understand, the flow of the voice, the beautiful words are enough. And they listen, they move around, but they listen.

Speaking of dwarves, we made a few of our own, since we figured our dwarf of the day was getting a little lonely in his underground house, with only nuts and silly hedgehogs to talk to all day. It took about ten minutes, plus time for the glue to dry overnight. I found the idea in small craft book for gnomes, but I just cut the jackets by freehand and sowed them up with each kid hanging around my neck. Sorry, no pictures of cute little ones putting wool on their little autumn gnome, due to the dangers of picking up a camera in close proximity to glue, scissors and needles.
Two bodies in the making.
Four little gnomes waiting for a beard.
Busy gnomes on a walk outside on the October Table.
Mother Earth welcoming all the flower children home.
Jasmin's reenactment of the Root Children story.

Wednesday, October 6

Two wonderful woman bloggers

Two amazing woman out there doing amazing things.

First Lunchability, she posts her packed lunches everyday. My children get lunch at their Kindergarden, but if they didn't.....

And something that creates order. Jasmin is five, and right in that age where she wants HER things in HER drawer, and she wants to know where things "live", so she has received her own little night stand by her bed, with three drawers. She kindly enough took only one herself, and gave one each to the twins.  And she has her clothing bag, which she opens herself in the morning and gets dressed on her own. Here I found another genius way to put things in order :
Now this is a smart mom.
Shivaya Naturals: Tutorial Tuesday ~ Children's Activity Bag

Monday, October 4

save energy searching

Saving energy possibilities are everywhere. Everything counts, save energy while searching the web. Use Blackle. Then you are preserving energy by not lighting up thousands of pixels you don't need, and you get used to the dark screen quite quick.

Autumn Inspirations

"Fugle uro" -mobile #2 and a lot of fog .
We found a real fairy woods up in Fitjadalen. 

Making food on the Primus putside, a little egg goes along way...
When it comes to meal planning and inspiration to veture outside the box, I highly recommend inviting someone to come and stay for a few weeks, and let their "normailities" rub off. Let them make dinner and bake pies, and go shopping, preferably at an arab grocers in Bergen, and before you know it, you have expanded the horizons and are eating the most wonderful breakfast ever, outside in the sun, of scrambled eggs with kale, which you scoop up in a piece of Nori seaweed dipped in soy sauce and sesame seeds.

Amazing. I would never come up with that! Thank you Joshua and Ramona, for the inspirations and pumpkin pies!

Great day for a row

I has a post earlier on the "monstermasts"- these major power lines to be built across the mountain region here in Hardanger towards Bergen. We are naturally against a total destruction of our pristine mountains and tourist attractions, and hope that there are viable alternatives to this explosive need for electricity, and the fact that they will be importing from abroad (possibly from coal) to work the offshore drilling. One has to make a show when the prime minister of Norway, Mr. Jens S, makes a show as well, in Norheimsund. We all rowed out, with about 7 other boats, and met him on the way in. Was great weather, lots of people and great plums.

Lea and Julia Roberts.
People, flares, bright Autumn sun and Noa.
The PM arrives.
Funny twins. I think they love Ramona...

The three-man row team, Anders, Natalia and Joshua

Friday, October 1

::this moment::

::a friday ritual. a single photo capturing a moment from the week. a simple, special, extraordinary moment. a moment to pause, savor and remember. (inspired by soulemama)::

Ode to lovely people.

There is no way to happiness. Happiness is the way.

Beautiful Lea in pink.
Joshua and Lea carry water.
Joshua the horse, Noa the knight.
My Love. 
As beautiful as his dad.
Mamma and Noa
Ramona and Joshua up at Døgnope, a beautiful hike with the kids.
Helping me bake Lebanese Fatayer, with spinach.
Jasmin reading for the little ones.

Bicycling across Europe is hard on your back. Lucky the one who has a wife.