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Pumpkin Pie WAY from Scratch… Like Really

This is going to be my THIRD Thanksgiving in Norway… I know, what the heck.

The first year, I went ALL OUT (seriously). I made a huge meal for my roommates that left me full for the entire next day. My friend Sara helped me and it was such a success! 

In 2012 I had volleyball from 8-10:30, and was nannying until 6 that day, so the Norwegian and I celebrated on Friday. He downloaded the parade for me, so we had “Fakesgiving” and I made a small chicken (a turkey for two people was too much), stuffing, mashed potatoes and yams with marshmellows. It was low key but delicious! Also the parade made it feel really homey. The Norwegian loved it, but maintains that there is no way candied yams are not a dessert. 

I think I am going to have a few people over this year for another big(ish) meal, but the point of this post is that I have not had pumpkin pie in three years! Tragic! It is my favorite holiday pie by FAR.

I could not find Libby’s Pumpkin Pie puree in a can, so I decided to use a small pie pumpkin (they are everywhere) and make a pumpkin pie from scratch in honor of Halloween!

While I was at it, why not make the dough from scratch too?

I used Martha Stewart’s pie dough recipe, halved because I did not need a top layer of dough.

It was super easy. Cube the butter, add to flower and salt, pulse in a food processor, add ice water, pulse 30 seconds, turn onto floured work surface, form into disc, chill in fridge for at least one hour.

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Next up, was the pumpkin! I have made dough before, but never pumpkin puree. I used the Pioneer Woman’s tutorial and it was great! Very easy. 

Sorry, punk. I am about to puree you.

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First take his stem off, just like you are going to carve him.

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Chop the pumpkin down the middle.

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Remove seeds. Our avocado slicer worked so well! It has a curved edge that is sharp, so it was perfect. 

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Save the seeds if you want to roast them later, and use the HDR filter on the picture of them because it is cool. 

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Arrange on a tray and bake at 375 for 45 minutes or until “fork tender”.

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They started to smell GREAT! Who knew? They were hissing and stuff when they came out of the oven. And when I tested them with a fork, liquid bubbled out of the fork marks! They were definitely done.

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Time to puree! Let cool on a drying rack. One website I checked said for an hour… but I am way too impatient and it was like 10:45 at night so I waited maybe 10. They were kind of warm to peel, but it was fine.

1. peel

2. collect pumpkin “meat” in a bowl.

3. mash with a potato masher? Or go right to a food processor, but mine is too small and I wanted to do it in one batch.

4. I used a stick blender at this point because we have one and I love it, but you can use a blender, food processor, Vitamix if you are very special and I am jealous of you, Magic Bullet if you love infomercials like I do.

5. add some water if yours is dry, mine was not. Keep pulsing and mixing until lumps are gone, or any strings if you have them, and it looks like libbys from a can! (Kind of)

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I actually wondered if I would have enough for my pie because the pumpkin seemed so small! (Maybe 8-9 inches tall not counting the stem? It was 2.1 kilos.)

My yield: 15 oz for the pie (the same as Libby’s can), and 2.5 more cups that I bagged and placed in the freezer. Wahoo!

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Now collect your pie stuff. I used Libby’s basic recipe, I found it on Martha’s website, she is kind of my idol. http://www.marthastewart.com/315393/libbys-famous-pumpkin-pie

Add spices to sugar, put eggs in a new bowl, beat eggs, add mixed up spices, add pumpkin, mix, add VIKING MELK (how hardcore is that? It is the same as evaporated milk from carnation), mix again!

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Now take your dough out of the fridge and roll it out. Mine was super hard, I had to massage it (oo la la) to get it workable.

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At this point it dawned on me we do not have a pie pan… what the heck. So my pie ended up looking a bit.. funky. I swear it was delicious!

Anyway, wrestle your dough into your pie pan if you are lucky enough to own one. Or into your square casserole dish if you are a weirdo who did not plan ahead.

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Pour in pie batter! Mine was SO liquidy I was worried it was the fault of my puree.

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45 minutes later, PIE! (425 for 15 minutes, then down to 350 for 30 minutes). Yours might take less time, I checked mine after 20 minutes at 350 and it was really loose int he middle, so I left it in 10 more minutes (Martha said 20-30 at that temp so it was allowed).

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Okay there was a small flaw in the corner, and I went to push the bubble down and accidentally ate a spoonful. Then I remembered I wanted to post a picture and got embarrassed. 

It is not a pretty pie.. but it is whats on the inside that counts!

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YUM. Square pie pieces are much prettier than a square pie, yes? I let the pie cool for 2 hours, then in the fridge overnight before cutting a piece for… breakfast. Breakfast of champions!

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So there it is! It definitely took a lot of time… but the pie was delicious! I think it was tastier than with the canned, but I love it with canned too, this was just a Norway doesn’t have my ingredient moment that I had to cope with. 

Happy Halloween and YAY for Thanksgiving right around the corner!

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New Job! (And taking advantage of free food samples…)

I officially have my first job in Norway! (Other than being a nanny last fall for my precious nephew, but this is my first job the government knows about).

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The interview and everything was in Norwegian, so I was not nervous at ALL going into it, since I absolutely figured I would not get it. (I am getting very close to fluent, but not quite there, this is amazing to me since at some point I literally thought I would never ever be fluent).

My very relaxed attitude got me the job! At the end of the entirely Norwegian interview, they asked me when I could start and if the salary was ok! SHOCKED and excited!

I am working part time at a small, upscale boutique near my house. The store is SO cute. It is called Fire Årstider, “Four Seasons” in English. http://www.fireaarstider.no/ They mostly cater to women in their 40s and up, but besides very classy and conservative clothes, they have super adorable stuff I will definitely wear! (First paycheck is tomorrow, first purchase coming SOON.)

My FAVE brand we carry is called Basler, from Germany, http://basler-fashion.com/. I cannot find the stuff I love at our store online! But here are two things I really like (we carry the first, and the second one we have one very similar that I might buy).

We have this jacket, a matching plaid skirt, and the top in black which is SO cute for under jackets. When I have an office job again one day I will be ALL over these kinds of outfits.

Basler has lots of cardigans like this, really beautiful colors like tan, black, bright blue, etc. I love how simple they are, but with fun details. Also they are so flattering!

So the job is great, very fun and my co workers are really nice and patient With me, BUT one of the best things is the location! First, it is very close to my apartment. It is about a 7 minute bus ride directly to the shopping center it is located in, called CC Vest.

That is the other great thing. CC Vest has a TON of great stores (specialty food stores, a big grocery store, flower shop, clothing stores, book store, you name it).

But omgosh, you guys… the samples. The other day I got to work early, around 12:15 for my 1:00 shift since I had been out and about and did not have time to go home in between, and WOW. I seriously walked around the mall and sampled the following (I had brought lunch but did not even eat it after this until a few hours later!)

First, I went into the big grocery store called Meny. It is a large grocery store, but a bit more expensive and fancier food. Lots of times I have needed an American ingredient (like a specialty cheese, or condensed milk) and have found it at Meny. It is famous for samples (at least in my mind… not sure if Norwegians feel the same).

First, I tasted these delicious Prosciutto and breadsticks!
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A few aisles down from the ham, there was a Peppes Pizza stand! They were showing off their frozen pizza and special dressing. SO good.

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When I walked out of Meny, I headed to my favorite specialty food store, Oliviers & Co. I always go there for samples.  The Norwegian’s sister and brother-in-law got us a bunch of stuff from there once as a gift (garlic olive oil and special spice mixes and gourmet crackers) and I use the spices and oil ALL the time! (Obviously we ate the crackers immediately).

So in one part of the mall they had a whole table set up with samples of garlic oil and apple vinegar, and breads to dip! 

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And then in another part of the mall you could sample garlic infused olive oil  with sea salt and bread…

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And chili-infused oilive oil and tomato puree! Too spicy for me, but I did try it and I am sure people who are not super tasters (self diagnosed, obviously), would love it!

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Right next store is a second gourmet food store which I did not even know existed (I think it gets a bit overshadowed by Oliviers and Co). They were giving out samples of pesto, red pesto and olive tapenade with crackers to taste, as well as sun dried tomatos you could eat with a spoon! All four were SO GOOD. And only about 10 dollars a jar, not bad for Norway (or the US? or I am becoming jaded?)!

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FInally after hitting the specialty food stores, I was heading to the coffee shop near Fire Årstider to do some reading and get a coffee (we get a discount for working right next store, yay!), and found an unexpected sample stand!

This is a home goods and electronics store. They were giving out samples of freshly made apple juice and ginger from this awesome juicer!

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Anyway, of course the job is the exciting part, but omgosh CC Vest, you blow me away with your free delicious food! These were ALL from last Thursday! I think the key time to go is on a week day around noon or one… housewives are out and about, as well as older people, AND people stopping in on their lunch break from work. Oh and of course it helps that it is around lunch time, and everything tastes way better when you are hungry, at least for me :)

Happy Hump Day!

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New Everyday Hairstyle…

While this is a bit of a silly post, I am too excited about my new hairdo not to share. Seriously. I found this on a blog the other day and immediately went to the mirror to try it out. And it worked!

This is the perfect hair style for when your hair is relatively clean, but not just washed (for instance you showered the afternoon or evening before and slept on it). If it is perfectly clean it doesn’t work as well, since clean hair is kind of slippery and doesn’t hold braids as well.  

The reason I love this style is because its the PERFECT ‘do for when your hair is clean-ish, but a hot mess. If I sleep with my hair wet, it is crazy town the next morning and I never know what to do. If I have had a braid or something the previous afternoon, it is very wavy and I never know how to do it without washing it again (even though it is clean enough!).

Solution, Heidi braids! With my favorite filter ever, HDR-ish (no idea what this means but it always looks super cool). Not sure why I look SO serious, but this picture took me forever to get so it will have to do. 

You can see the tutorial I used here http://orchidgrey.blogspot.no/2010/09/hair-do-how-to-5-heidi-braids.html or follow mine below!

First, part your hair, I like mine a bit off center, but striaght down the back. Pull each side in front of your shoulders OR put them in low ponytails.

Next, braid one side and fasten at the end! The tutorial calls for small, clear hair ties, which I do not have, so I just used a regular one that I will take out later. 

Now braid the other side!

This is a good look, yes? At this point I thought, welp this hair style is not going to work…. but I kept on!

Okay now make sure you have bobby pins (luckily I had just tidied the living room and bedroom so invariably found 50 billion of them).

Pin up the right braid, and fasten with two to three pins, as many as you need to hold it in place.

And now remove the black hair tie (or keep your clear hair band in if you used one), and pin the other side against your head like so:

Ta da! Bird’s eye view: 

You are now ready to roam the countryside, or whatever it was Heidi was up to… it should be noted that the fiance said I looked like a Helga with this ‘do (although he did like it).

Happy Braiding!

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Things I Love About my Neighborhood!

The Norwegian and I apartment searched last winter/spring for about four months before finally buying our current two bedroom apartment. We primarily looked at three different areas of Oslo: Majorstuen (the downtown area that is slightly smaller and cuter than the actual city center located one metro stop southeast), Skøyen (a neighborhood in the west part of Oslo that is primarily known for its huge train station), and Smestad (a western Oslo neighborhood two stops from Majorstuen). 

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Our apartment, located at Gullkroken 5, is approximately halfway between Smestad and Skøyen, but definitely closer to Smestad. I love that we are a 10 minute walk from the metro and a major bus stop, but if we walk the opposite way out of our building we are a 10 minute walk from the tram, and another 5 minutes to the major train station of Skøyen (the airport express train comes there, which is super convenient!).

In a few weeks we will have lived here for one whole year! We bought the apartment in May 2012, but did not move in until August after an entire summer of renovating. I have been thinking a lot lately about how much I love our neighborhood (I love Oslo in general and I am sure I would be happy in a lot of neighborhoods), so I decided to make a list to share!

1. The nature. It occurred to me on my walk home from the metro the other day that I am almost always kind of mimicking my girl scout days by investigating and wondering about all of the nature around me. I am constantly seeing bushes, flowers, small bugs or frogs, birds, berries etc. that I have not seen before or at least not very often. Oslo is this wonderful mix of city and country, as keeping the outdoors natural and beautiful is really important to Norwegians, as a whole. 

First of all, wild raspberries abound here and I do not know why other humans or animals have not already eaten them by the time I get to them. Several times a day I find a bush like this (literally on my path, I am not even veering from the route I take to the metro):

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and snatch about five berries before moving on. If there is someone around, I sometimes feel kind of silly… I almost never see someone else eating them! I asked the Norwegian yesterday, “do other people eat wild raspberries around town like I do?” and he answered, “kids.” He said I never know if a dog has recently peed on the bush which I had NOT thought of before.. but I am still taking my chances especially if it has just rained. 

The other day I snapped a shot of this HUGE snail:

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I think he is kind of cute, his antennae look like eyes kind of!

Last summer Norway was having a huge problem with a certain brown slug, brunsnegl in Norwegian. They were EVERYWHERE and were really detrimental to the wildlife here (mostly the plants, I believe). This article http://theforeigner.no/pages/columns/the-great-norwegian-garden-slug-invasion/ calls it “one of the 100 worst alien species in Europe” and the first commenter called it “one of Norway’s most wanted villains.”

We were instructed in the newspaper to kill them on sight! Kind of sad and super gross… but I will confess that the Norwegian’s sister and I had a few glasses of wine last July and each speared about 30 on a sharp stick in her backyard (in the rain, clad head to toe in rain gear, and if I remember correctly, wine glass in hand). There was an elderly Norwegian woman in the paper who had killed something like 30,000 (it could have been even more, but I cannot find the article). Apparently the brunsnegl can have up to 90,000 descendants in a year… so everyone really had to do their part. 

This year, I have only seen two! Granted I was gone all July, but last year I seriously saw a minimum of ten every time I left the house. Originally I was thinking, “way to go, Norway, eradicating the brown slug in one season!” but the Norwegian thinks last year may have been a peak season for them which is why it was SUCH a problem. Still I like to believe it was that good old Norwegian hard work and tenacity that did away with them. Anyway, here is the culprit in all his glory. They seriously can be up to like five inches long, GROSS.

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We also have a huge lawn around our building, a creek complete with a cute little bridge I cross on my way to the tram and grocery store, cute froggies that live in the creek, and bushes and trees everywhere! 

2. The children!!!

On my walk to the metro I pass a barnehage (literally this means “kindergarten” but kids go here from ages 1 to 5, so its really more like preschool in American English) AND an elementary school.

The kids are always. outside. It is amazing. I will be walking home, head down, snow falling, desperate to get to my apartment, and the kids are out on the playground in full snow gear yelling and having fun. In a snow shower is one thing, but the same happens in rain! All kids have a full rain suit (water proof pants, jacket, boots) that they keep at school for days when it rains. 

The elementary kids have several fifteen minute breaks throughout the day, and they spend them outside! I think it is really great for kids to get so much fresh air. I had recess once a day, I think for about 45 minutes after lunch, and I LOVED it! On days where it rained and we stayed inside and watched a movie or something, it was always a bummer. These Norwegians are out in their rain pants (I have never owned rain pants in my life, everyone here has them), splashing around in puddles! It is great to see them out there. They say hi to me (my Norwegian is good enough to call back, “hei!”) and are always playing cute games, building things with rocks, drawing with sidewalk chalk, taking turns on the swingsets etc.

It is also totally normal for your baby to sleep outside (even in the winter… the Norwegian winter…I am talking about below freezing temps in January) for naps during the day. They are bundled up in wool, a down sleeping sack, another zipper thing over the stroller, and sometimes a wind or rain cover if necessary, so they are plenty warm. Every school has a bunch of strollers parked outside and often I walk by them and see a little foot or arm sticking out! The preschool teachers leave the window open near the baby so they can hear if they cry. 

Can you spy the lil baby legs? 

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I snapped this picture the other day of another kindergarten, these are babies napping on a rainy day! Still outside!

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3. Vigelandsparken (The Vigeland Park)

About 15 minute’s walk from our apartment is a famous park called Vigeland’s park  named for the artist Gustav Vigeland, a Norwegian who lived from 1869 to 1943. He designed all 212 bronze and granite sculptures in the park, making it “the world’s largest sculpture park accomplished by one single artist.”

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The Vigeland Park is seriously stunning… it is always listed as one of the top 10 things to see in Oslo and everytime I go there (which is a lot) I am blown away by how cool it is. I always see a new sculpture or detail that I am impressed by. 

Here is the monolith, which is 121 bodies all struggling to the top of the tower:

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Standing from where the monolith is, you can look down on the other side of the park. The fountain has four nude men holding up the bowl, and the bridge features 58 bronze sculptures of (mostly or possibly all nude…) men, women and children interacting. 

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Here are just a few of the bridge statues. I love them! I find this one super sweet:

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Mommy and baby:

Another sweet father and son sculpture:

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This angry baby is famous. His hand is a different color bronze, since it is supposedly lucky to touch it. Also! He also has a slight line on his left ankle where someone sawed him off of his stand and stole him! I do not know all of the details, but clearly he was recovered. 

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This little toddler is SO quintessentially Norwegian looking to me! Round cheeks, a little button nose, a cute baby belly…. he may or may not look remind me of a certain little (future) nephew of mine!

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4. Random Park near the Vigeland Park

A bit before Vigelandsparken (if you are walking from the west where our apartment is), there is a school called Skøyen Skole and a HUGE park. There are running trails, a basketball court, a few soccer fields (one turf, two grass), a frisbee golf course, and… (drum roll)… some sort of dog show training park. Seriously. The first time we saw it, it looked like a tiny playground of some sort. But soon enough we saw people running their dogs around on these elaborate mazes! Too funny. 

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While the weather is nice, the Norwegian and I try to go pretty often (three times a week? four?) to play either soccer or basketball. If it were up to him, we would go everyday, but I am the lazy one! There are always a bunch of people around working out, which is nice! Sometimes we are there until 9:30 (it is still light here pretty late) and other people are always out and about. 

This picture was last week on a rainy day (the sun came out around 7:30 so we headed down to shoot some hoops… I am terrible but have occasionally beaten the Norwegian at 21 through sheer luck) :

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5. Our Laundry Room!

Okay, so since it is in our building, it is not technically our neighboorhood, but I am putting it in here since I seriously love our basement laundry room!

When we first moved into our apartment, we decided to remodel the bathroom at a later date. It is totally fine; the cabinets, toilet and sink are a bit old but it has white tiles, a good shower, and new inset lighting we installed in the ceiling. We decided that if we re did it, we could fit a washer there, but in the mean time we would use the communal room downstairs until it became a problem.

One year later and it is not a problem! There is a board outside the laundry room with the numbers 1-31 on it, and two hooks under each number (one for am and one for pm). We each have a lock that you place on the hook, indicating what day of the month and which time slot you want. THEN, you have reserved the room from either 8am to 2pm or 2pm to 8pm. We usually go for the evening spot (we get the room every 10 days or so, but could even get it every week if we wanted, I think a lot of people have a washer in their own apartment and do not need the room). 

Here it is, in all of its glory:

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We have two HUGE washing machines, and a pretty sizeable dryer, and an ironing machine you can run sheets or table cloths through (I have not used it yet, it is there with the hot pink towel on it, not ours, someone left it… I swear…).

Okay, this is my favorite part! We have two HUGE rooms with drying lines and a big machine that blows hot air through the room! So if we wash our clothes at 6 or 7, we hang them up around 8 and go down to get them at 11pm (if we are lazy, we go early in the morning before its someone elses turn at 8am), and wallah! Hang dried clothes not damaged by a dryer, but still dry super fast. 

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When we first moved in, the Norwegian noticed this clock in the laundry room:

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It is a clock that has been there since the 1960s, made by a super famous designer named Arne Jacobsen. I researched it and apparently it retails for over like 500 dollars. What the heck! The Norwegian said when we move out, we are stealing it (he is joking… I think).

That is all for now! Hope everyone has had (is having? it feels almost over!) a great summer. 

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Finished (pretty much…) apartment photos!

**I wrote this post in DECEMBER, and literally have been procrastinating posting it due to ONE room that I did not deem photograph ready until this afternoon.**

Although we STILL have a few ongoing projects (a few small things to paint, a serious need for a dining room sideboard, and some new bathroom fixtures), the apartment is looking pretty finished! Very exciting. The Norwegian’s mother oh so graciously bought us a beautiful living room rug a few weeks ago, and it is unbelievable how much it brought the entire living space together. So, keeping in mind that we still have a ways to go, here is the (semi) finished product!

I am going to give before, during and after photos just because it is shocking how crazy this place used to look (mostly DURING the remodel). 

Kitchen

Before (as the super small guestroom!)

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And then we removed the doorway to the hallway and tore the wall down between the guest room and the dining room…

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Before the contractors could redo the walls and floor, there was (OF COURSE) endless wall paper scraping.

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After!

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Dining Room

Before

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During

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After!

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Living Room

Before

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During

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After!

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Hallway

Before

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During

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After (from the door, and from the living room)

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Bedroom

Before

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During

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first room to get new floors!

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After

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The Guestroom

Before (used to be the kitchen)

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During (I wish you could know how hard it was to remove the tiles from these walls, but you would have to ask the Norwegian who was in charge of that god awful task….)

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This was the LAST room to get floors! I helped put in the last six(ish) boards (the Norwegian and the Norwegian brother-in-law had to do the very last board since that is always the trickiest). 

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After (now the guestroom!)

**Ok so we got a new duvet for the master bedroom since these photos, and I just made up the guestroom and now I am slightly frustrated that both rooms have the same bedding for this post! You will have to believe me when I say I did NOT make one bed and then lazily move the cover to the other room and make the next bed with the SAME DUVET just for photos!**

With the cute little light on!

On the right is a closet with mirror doors, left side is a fold open desk, Montana bedside table and a lamp (which I LOVE, a gift from the Norwegian’s brother-in-law that will one day take its rightful place on our dining room sideboard). We had a sliding door put in to save space! 

And finally, the bathroom! Which is the only room in the apartment we didn’t make major changes to (yet!). So far, we’ve only had inset lighting put into the ceiling (like the spot lights in the hallway). We will keep the tiles the same, but change the sink, toilet, cabinetry and POSSIBLY the tub. 

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And that’s the tour! It has been a TON of hard work, but ridiculously rewarding. Numerous times (now that we are mostly finished) we’ve looked at each other from across the apartment and been like wow, we are so lucky…. I feel especially fortunate and calm when in the kitchen looking out the window. We take pictures from the dining room table or the kitchen window all the time, but I will just share one of the sunrise now. (Please note that the time stamp on this is 9:15am… and this was a few weeks ago so the sun comes up even LATER now!) Can you spot the cruise ship?

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**Updated view photos from TODAY, February 7. We have so much more light now! And the snow helps as well.**

The waterside view from the dining room and kitchen…

and the Holmenkollen side from the living room.

Love,

the 9th floor of the Golden Nook

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“There is no season when such pleasant and sunny spots may be lighted on, and produce so pleasant an effect on the feelings, as now in October”

- Nathaniel Hawthorne (my god in HEAVEN I hated The Scarlett Letter, but I do really enjoy this quote about October so fine, at least you did something right, Mr. Hawthorne.)

We are having a beautiful fall here in Oslo!

For a moment, I will complain that it has been a TAD cold (like, below freezing in the rapidly darkening mornings), but in general we have had lots of sun, (relatively) inexpensive apples, fun flea markets (these only exist in spring and fall in Norway, take advantage!), and only a few terribly rainy days. I think. I tend to hole up inside our apartment or the library and eat soup and drink coffee when it rains all day, so they kind of blur together and I forget them. 

Life updates: School is going well, despite my admittely slow start on my masters thesis. The fact that I know it is due in like 9 months is not helping. Weird, I just did the math, its really seven months. Scary. But, my runology class is going great! And convincing me that I need to just learn ancient Greek already and dedicate my life to dead languages. I have no idea why they interest me so….

The apartment is finished, despite all of the furnishings we would like! We sat in every single living room chair in Norway until we found the ones we wanted… only to be sent from London the wrong color!!! Infuriating. They gave us slate instead of this beautiful chartreuse green and our living room is sadtown right now with the gray couch AND chairs. Anyway, I will put up pictures when things are looking better, hopefully soon!

I am employed! Kind of. I am nannying three days a week for the Norwegian’s adorable 9 month old nephew, Sigurd. It is seriously my dream come true to be paid Norwegian money to babysit. He is a joy. Today we read lots of books, played with toys as well as “non toys” (why are babies SO determined to try and play with wires, electrical sockets, and anything at all dangerous? so confusing). Anyway today we had highly supervised play time with his current favorite “non toy”, the curtains. He was seriously laughing hysterically at the plain white curtains… very precious and confusing. In the afternoon we went to feed the ducks the uneaten bread of his older brother’s breakfast! Okay, I actually fed the ducks while Sigurd napped. I also had to somewhat speedily stroll him away from 1. SWANS (goodness they are so aggressive and mean to the other ducks!), 2. PIGEONS - a woman came to the huge pond and sat RIGHT next to me (where I was calmly reading thesis stuff like a good little student) and threw birdseed  around until I was sufficiently scared a pigeon would fly into the stroller and 3. a yippy little dog who would’ve woken Sigurd up if he wasnt such a good and sound little sleeper. I swear, the duck pond was more relaxing than it is sounding right now….

What else have I been up to? Baking things like homemade oreos (danger… you WILL eat these until you feel ill… http://www.bakerella.com/homemade-oreos/).

Learning Norwegian! It is really coming along. I have a serious problem differentiating “o” sounds and “u” sounds, but I am learning! Only studying a non spoken language throughout highschool AND college is kind of biting me in the butt right now. 

Playing vball…I made the D4 team! Last year I was on the D5 team. Just like last year, it is tons of fun and essential in forcing me to work out. Yay for team sports!

Making elaborate lists of fiction books I would like to read but have limited access to as well as time to read them. (I HAVE discovered that I can download books on my ipad and read while walking. It is wonderful slash dangerous). Even though I already have too many, does anyone have suggestions for the best fiction book ever?! I am embarrassed to say I read the hunger games trilogy and then nearly went into a depression upon finishing it. I enjoyed them SO SO SO MUCH. It was like friends moving away when I finished. God, I am lame.

I’ve also found this website, goodreads.com, and it is great! I have actually been a member for at least a year, but didn’t investigate it until recently. Anyway you can rate all of the books you’ve read and then it gives your recommendations based on your choices. So great. You can also see what your friends have read and are reading, the stars/reviews they gave each book, and popular lists people have made! (Best Books Ever, Best Books of the 20th century, Best Books of 2010, etc). Seriously great. 

Obessisively bookmarking recipes from food blogs that I may or may not ever make.

(side note, http://mimithorisson.com/ is the most gorgeous blog EVER, and makes me want to move to southern France IMMEDIATELY and live there forever). 

Changing my ipad screen saver to different fall images All. The. Time.

Learning about RUNES!!! Check out this cool 7th century writing tablet with a pseudo-runic (actually etruscan) alphabet. Oh yes. Super cool stuff.

Staring at images like this and wondering HOW people are SO AWESOME. (These are actually Nasa hubble telescope images made into a mosaic of the starry night! SO COOL!)

Witnessing impromptu FIREWORKS from our ninth floor apartment on a Saturday night. These were much cooler than my ipad camera is letting on… not sure why I am even posting such a sad picture. 

Saving pictures of tiny koalas from imgur.com because… well I mean look at him!

Finding lady bugs on my bike before riding to class! This is a sign of good LUCK, isn’t it?!

And always, always cloud watching here in Oslo, where clouds are CRAZY due to the whole fjord situation. This picture is from September and I don’t think it really captures how ridiculously menacing this rain storm was on my way to volleyball one evening. The clouds were SO WEIRD. They kind of look like a down comforter to me in this picture which I think accurately reflects my personality and love affair with naps….

Making delicious chicken, avocado, tomato, feta and corn salads and then photographing them in my very fancy bowl because that is normal. 

Another fake food blog photo to show you a super easy and super delicious chicken drumstick recipe. (http://www.recipe.com/oven-fried-parmesan-chicken-1/

Aren’t those star pasta thingies CUTE? I got half a kilo for 8 kroner!!! (less than a dollar) at Grønland market, and cooked them in water flavored with chicken bullion, they were yummyyyy. 

That is about all! I wish I could put up apartment pictures but it is just not QUITE there yet… After a few more projects I will definitely post some since our beautiful, light and airy space makes me oh so happy every day :) 

Happy Fall!

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Cool things from the internet! (part 1)

Another procrastination post… but I promise things of substance are to come. 

Sooo I was looking through my pictures the other day and realized whenever I find something cool online I save it, and then hardly ever go back to look at them. I’ve decided to put them all here!

I have no idea how to cite pictures from the internet, these are all found from random google searches or imgur.com (unless otherwise stated). Please no one sue me. I am pretty sure not enough people read this for me to be taking any fame/money from anyone….

Here goes!

1. Photo cred, my newsfeed

2. Imgur! Story of mine and the Norwegian’s life (seriously, on group reunions my friends all fight over who has to sleep with me, meaning everyone is desperate not to, GOD I am a terrible bedmate and have NO control over it due to the whole being unconscious thing. sad).

3. Imgur! Yay for Norway randomly on the world wide web. Also I am told this is true (not that I know any of the languages).

not sure why that picture is so tiny? 

4. Desperate to make this… (from  http://www.howsweeteats.com/ , LOVE HER WEBSITE, favorite food blog ever).

shrimp burgers with chipotle cream and coconut peach salsa. I have no idea why that word chipotle is in there, but I think the word cream can balance it out. Recipe: http://www.howsweeteats.com/2012/07/shrimp-burgers-with-chipotle-cream-and-coconut-peach-salsa/

5. Imgur!

6. Imgur also… sorry for the profanity!

7. Imgur, this guy was hiking in Laos and this bug was on his hand! CRAZY. I love bugs (except for the awful ones like roaches, bees, etc.)

8. UMMM coolest way to be buried EVER. you can be a tree! (imgur)

9. Look at the happiness! (cred: http://dailypicksandflicks.com/2012/01/23/daily-picdump-371/laughing-camel-and-little-girl/)

10. Imgur from a long time ago (the Olympics!) ha haaaaaaaaaa.

11. This could absolutely have been me because I 100% write to do lists like this. From imgur!

12. Imgur inspiration about “overcoming life’s disappointments” (I think that is a title of a book my mom once read aloud to me on the phone from Okinawa during a hard time in college… Ohhh motherhood).

13. I WANT. teensy fish tank from imgur!

14. Imgur tree! I forget where this is unfortunately… 

15. This picture is from the Faroe Islands. I AM DYING to go here! It was a major Viking thoroughfare during the Medieval Ages and it just seems awesome. Unfortunately it has little to offer other than history stuff and nature… sooo who wants to go with me?! This is from imgur and is a lake AND the ocean in one part of the island, so cool!

Thats all for now! YAY for the internet it is SO COOl and such a good procrastination tool!

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Syd Pretends This is a Food Blog, part 1

While I SHOULD be posting about my new classes, our new apartment, my mom and brothers’ trip to Norway in July, or maybe the Dublin trip (ummmm that is more than four months overdue… depressing), those things all take a lot more time than have at this moment, and SO I will share with you this lovely dinner post. 

I read a LOT of food blogs… which has inspired me to occasionally (and completely randomly) take pictures of my food while making it. And then I do nothing with it…. so this time I am posting them here! Sorry if this is super boring. 

Let me also just tell you that Picasa photo editor is AWESOME. It has made my photo editing “process” so much fun. Also I am pretty sure an actual photographer would scratch their eyes out if they watched me edit these… I just randomly click buttons like “Lomo-ish” and “Cross Process” and oo and ahh until the photo looks really pretty but still resembles food.

The Norwegian was DYING for burgers with guacamole tonight. So we stopped by the closest store (sadly, also the most expensive, ICA) and got ground beef and flour. Even though we are doing a shopping trip tomorrow at Coop Obs, (I refer to this as America because it is a gigantic grocery store AND things are cheaper there, kind of like a Costco situation), I still tried to get things at ICA like cinnamon, oatmeal, conditioner, and items that are twice as expensive at ICA than Obs, simply because I have the patience of a toddler. Why am I like this? The Norwegian talked me down. 

So! I laid out our ingredients.

Ground beef plus egg plus flour… really letting the meat stand on its own here.

This photo is hard evidence that true love does exist. I put BLACK PEPPER (which I hate) in the meat! Because I know that in this situation I am the super weirdo, so the Norwegian should not have to suffer. Also I can’t actually taste it when it is cooked in, so win/win!

Burgs in the pan! I love this pan. The handle is removable so its easier to wash in the sink! Genius. Also it weighs about 10,000 pounds and takes 20 minutes to heat up… but it is worth it; it cooks everything perfectly!

Now time to make the guacamole. Five small avocados, four of which looked like this:

And one looked like this!! God I hate when this happens. Avocado, get your life together. This is Oslo, you were not cheap.

Now… I am not proud of this, but one of the biggest fights the Norwegian and I have ever had is about guacamole… I believe it should be mild and creamy made with just garlic salt and lime juice, but HE thinks it should be REAL guacamole with raw onions and spicy stuff and tomatoes! Yuck.

Ok but it turns out (after a lot of friend polling and wikipedia-ing) I am dead wrong (ugh that sucks), but I cannot help the way I like my guac! Solution? 

Now for the cheese! Norwegians invented the cheese cutter, which is a kitchen utensil I now cannot live without. 

All the fixins! (yes, Norwegians eat their mayo out of a bag, I’ve decided to find it charming and not weird. You cut a tiny hole in corner of the bag so you can spread your mayonaise like you are icing a cake! fun).

All set!

me: Hey draw a picture with the ketchup!

him: I did. It’s the stock market. It’s very volatile right now. 

ha ha.

Oh hello, delicious and creamy non-guacamole…

We sat down to eat at around 8:00 (SUPER late for us…) and the sky looked like this…

Crazy rainstorm coming in off the harbor! Ok then I hit an editing button called HDR-ish. THANK YOU, PICASA: 

More posts to come! Once the apartment is totally clean and set up (we are getting there!) I will put up a full round of photos. :)