26 March 2013

at home "cabin trip."

I mentioned in my last post that Josh spent Thursday night in a DNT cabin called Tømtehytte and I would be meeting him there on Friday.  Well, on Friday afternoon Josh and I met up at a cabin/restaurant, called Ullevål Seter, in the forest 5 kilometers from our home and we planned to ski up to Tømtehytte together.  When we met up we were both pretty exhausted- Josh from skiing up an unprepared track to the cabin on Thursday and me from skiing to Ullevål Seter with huge skis (I had to borrow some friend's skis and his feet are way bigger than mine).  We caught up on each other's happenings from our time apart and then talked about skiing up to Tømtehytte.  Josh said it was about 11 more kilometers and all uphill.  We both decided that we just didn't feel up for that challenge.  Instead we bought some cake at Ullevål Seter, skied home (all downhill!) and decided to turn our apartment into a cabin.

Josh quickly checked his email and then we decided no more internet for the night.  We also turned off the lights, lit candles and used our headlamps.  We made a tent over our futon by attaching a sheet to hooks on our wall and securing it to our desk and table.  Then we proceeded with our cabin trip; we ate dinner, played games and read a recent sermon of my Grandpa Matt's all under our tent. In the morning we broke our no internet rule to watch our current favorite show, Modern Family, in the tent. It was a really fun alternative to skiing up to a cabin!

Today we leave for Budapest, Hungary for about a week.
Happy Easter!

21 March 2013

what we love about winter: DNT cabin trips

Norway is awesome for many reasons, but right now it's the most awesome for it's trekking association, Den Norsk Turistforeningen (DNT).  As members of this organization, we can get a key to any DNT cabins and stay at the cabins in Oslomarka (Oslo forest) for free! We've been hearing about DNT for a while now, but we just never got around to paying 300 NOK for the membership.  Finally, last week we decided it would be fun to stay at a cabin in the woods, so we bought our membership. It's already been worth it.  This past weekend we took a little trip to a cabin in the Østmarka, called Bøvelstad.  Here's the story of our cabin trip adventure:
We left Thursday afternoon with our friend Jana (more friends would be joining us later).  Unfortunately, between our directions and some advice from a Norwegian man we met, we got a bit confused and had to walk nearly 2 hours.  The forests in Oslo are more geared towards skiers than walkers, so we assumed we'd be skiing to our cabin- this walking business was not so fun.  We were quite discouraged, hungry and cold when we came upon another DNT cabin called Øvresaga.  We figured that we still had at least a few kilometers to Bøvelstad (our intended cabin) and we might have to walk, which could take a while.  Øvresaga was empty, so we gladly made ourselves at home and spent the night there.  It was a wise choice.  We started a fire, lit some candles, fetched water from the stream, cooked dinner, drank tea, played games and finally, went to bed right in from of the fire.  Even though it wasn't our final destination, it was cozy and relaxing.

Most of the DNT cabins don't have electricity, but they are well equipped with everything you need except for food.  It's about as rustic as a cabin trip can be, but still quite cozy.  The cabins have bunk beds with pillows and blankets, although you are advised to bring your own sheet or sleeping bag.  The cabins have wood for the fire, pots, pans, matches, candles, outhouses with toilet paper... well equipped, I tell you.  
We set off on Friday morning for Bøvelstad, but due to our bad directions we ended up walking through the woods in knee deep snow for 1.5 hours.  Finally we wound our way down to the lake (frozen over, of course) and skied in what we thought was the right direction.  Off in the distance we saw a cabin!  As we got closer, we saw a second cabin, which turned out to be Bøvelstad.  We were overjoyed.  It was quite frustrating that our directions didn't lead us to the skiing trails and we didn't have a good map with us.  (Lesson learned.  We've already planned better for our next cabin trip- we have clear directions and a detailed map.)  

We were expecting four friends to meet us at the cabin on Friday evening, so we spent most of Friday afternoon worrying that they would also get lost.  After warming up the cabin, we finally made dinner without our friends.  Josh and Jana had to break a layer of ice off the well before drawing up some water. Just as we were starting to play some games after dinner, Jana went outside and saw lights on the lake.  People were coming!  As they got closer Jana could tell they were speaking German (our expected friends are German) and we excitedly called out to them.  Sure enough, it was our friends!  They were not nearly as excited as we were because they had no problem getting to the cabin.  Thankfully they had gotten better directions and had a map. Whew. Crisis adverted. We made a second dinner for the new comers and played games, ate chocolate and had a merry time.
The next morning three of our friends had to get back to the "real world" for studying and ski jump competition watching. The four of us left (Josh, Jana, Tabea and me) had a nice long breakfast, took a ski trip and ate lunch at a nice, sunny restaurant cabin. We ate soup for dinner, played more games, ate more chocolate and had our own little trivia game.  (Norwegians seem to LOVE trivia games.  I've done more trivia here than in the rest of my life combined.)  The weekend was full of relaxing and enjoying the simplicity of life in the woods. Also, some skiing across long, beautiful, silent lakes.  Bøvelstad is kind of remote; it's tucked away on a lake a few kilometers from other houses and areas where people ski a lot.  It was a bit eery to ski from our cabin out into the more populated areas.  I felt like we could be lost and no one would know.
Josh became a skiing paparazzi, which is pretty awesome.  I like his handiwork. 
The four of us left on Sunday morning after a pancake breakfast and a cabin clean-up.  We had a smooth trek back to the bus stop- we skied whole way (minus 800 meters of walking) and did not get lost!  It was really cool to see another part of Oslo and to get away from the normal pace of life.  I loved the candle light and sitting by the fire.  I loved seeing so many stars on my way to the outhouse.  I loved walking on the lake exploring the crazy ice cracks.  I loved sharing meals with friends.
I loved crawling into bed at night (just like on all camping/backpacking/ski trips) because it just feels so well deserved. Do you know that feeling?
Well, we loved our first DNT cabin experience so much that we're going back to the woods this weekend!  Josh will spend Thursday night in a cabin called Tømtehytte and I will join him on Friday afternoon.  We realized last weekend that there aren't many places in the world where we can simply ski to a cabin in the forest and stay the night.  It's a pretty rare gem that we will miss a lot next winter.  We intend to plan several hiking trips to DNT cabins this spring!

Have you gone on a cabin trip before?  I'd love to hear your stories! 

hand stamped cards in the shop.

Find them here.

18 March 2013

project life in 2013: weeks 23 + 24

week 23:
This week: New Years celebration with friends, Layla's birthday, my Dad's birthday, family ski trip and a sleepover with my old roommates. A pretty great week! This spread isn't really set up chronologically, which is okay with me.  

week 24:
This week:  It was our last week in Greenville, so Josh and I tried to spend all our time with family and friends.  I felt like I was constantly meeting people for a coffee, breakfast, lunch or dinner.  It was busy, but so good.  We visited Jordan and Niqui in Decatur, celebrated my Grandpa's birthday, I knit a hat for Josh (his Christmas gift), we hung out with my Aunt and cousins in STL and we had a last hurrah with our friends the night before we left.  We flew back to Oslo on Sunday after a wonderful church service and potluck at St. Paul's.

I'm moving right along with this project minus the photos part.  My method is to keep track of notable parts of my day with iCal and plan out the spread towards the end of the week.  I choose which photos I want where and I add words to paper.  Towards the end of each month I order photos online through Persnickety Prints.  Then I wait for the photos to come and eventually I will get to put it all together.

Supplies and Tools: American Crafts thickers, washi tape, paper source labels, pretty paper from Dick Blick, random paper from my stash, Design A and B photo pocket pages (this variety pack), Seafoam core kit, Cobalt cardstock, black sharpie, black steadtler fineliner pen.

Project Life is a simple scrapbooking system by Becky Higgins.  I am using this system to document our first year of marriage with photos, words and other fun paper stuff.  You can see my other project life pages here.  

14 March 2013

handmade stamps.

For Christmas I received a really cool make-your-own-rubber-stamp kit.  During the past two months I have used nearly all of the rubber to make seven great stamps.  I'm saving the last bit of rubber for when I get an extra special burst of inspiration.  I love that I was able to make so many different stamps out of 4x6 inches of rubber.  The stamp I made are pretty versatile and can be used together, which I sort of planned.  To be honest, these are not the greatest quality stamps and since they don't have a wooden backing, they can be a bit tricky to use.  Their best quality is definitely that I got to design them myself.  They're not perfect, but I think that's charming.
I got excited one evening and made a bunch of 3x4 cards for project life.
If this sounds interesting to you, I definitely recommend this kit.  It's inexpensive and easy to use (with helpful directions) and the process of carving is rather fun.  In a couple hours the other evening I carved four stamps and made about 10 3x4 cards.  It's simple and inspiring!
Here's a little peak at some new items coming to the shop next week:

11 March 2013

a walk in the woods.

Some photos from a sunny hike last week.
Happy Monday!
I hope there is plenty of sunshine in your week (literally and metaphorically).

07 March 2013

baked potato with herb roasted cauliflower and carrots

Josh and I have eaten this meal a few times in the past month because cauliflower, potatoes and carrots are super cheap this time of year. This recipe is my very own creation. (Although, somewhere in the world someone has probably eaten this already.) I usually like to follow recipes rather than experiment with cooking, so I am excited to share a Rachel original. 

Baked Potatoes with Herb Roasted Cauliflower and Carrots
Serves: two
2 large potatoes (or 4 medium potatoes)
1 medium onion
1 large carrot
2 cups cauliflower florets
3 large garlic cloves
olive oil
Seasonings: salt, pepper, basil, thyme, rosemary, parsley, garlic powder
Plain yogurt (or sour cream) and butter for serving

1. Preheat oven to 425 F (218 C)

2. Bake the potatoes however you like- I just put it in the preheated oven for about an hour.

3. Chop onion in half and thinly slice it. Cut carrot into bite sized pieces and chop the cauliflower into florets.  Toss the veggies with olive oil and sprinkle generously with the seasonings. Toss again.  Put veggies onto a baking sheet and roast for 15-20 minutes in the preheated oven until tender and slightly browned.  Stir occasionally. 

4. Meanwhile, mince the garlic.  Add it to the veggies after 10-15 minutes.

5. When potatoes and veggies are done cooking, slice potato in half and fill with butter.  Top potatoes with the roasted veggies and a dollop of plain yogurt.  I imagine cheese would also be great on this, but we haven’t had cheese around in a while.

Eat and Enjoy!

06 March 2013

what we love about winter: weekend getaways.

Something I love about Norwegian culture is the love for nature.  I've already mentioned how much Norwegians love to ski, but there's also a wonderful habit amoung Norwegians of staying in cabins in the woods for a little weekend getaway to ski, drink coffee and hang out. In February we went on two of these lovely weekend getaways. The first was with Fulbright- they paid for all the fulbrighters and their families to stay at a hotel in Skeikampen near Lillehammer. Our hotel was a minute away from the cross country ski trails.  We took advantage of the blue skies and skied every day while we were there. On Friday we did a short 6 kilometers before dinner, Saturday was our long trek- 18 kilometeres, and on Sunday we went with the Fulbright director, Petter, on a gorgeous 12 kilometer loop. The weather was quite perfect for skiing.  We took our time on Saturday's trek; we went slowly up the steep hills, whizzed down the downhill slopes and stopped to chat and catch our breath. 
Around Oslo we usually ski in the forest with pine trees towering all around us.  In Skeikampen we skied in valleys and over little mountain passes.  The scenery was so open compared to Oslomarka (Oslo forest).  Needless to say, the view was stunning.  In addition to skiing a lot, we did our fair share of relaxing in the spa, chatting with other fulbrighters and their families, and eating way too much food at the all you can eat buffet.  
Our most recent getaway to the woods was with Christian Union two weekends ago.  We skied in to a cabin by Nordmarkskappelet on Friday evening.  This trip was more focused on fellowship than skiing.  The weather happened to be rather warm, resulting in icy ski tracks.  Not so good for skiing.  About 30 of us stayed at this super cozy cabin with a fireplace and ate together, talked about doubt (the topic for the weekend), played soccer in the snow, drank coffee and played card games (Bohnanaza!) late into the night. 
On Saturday night we did a prayer walk around the chapel.  Josh led the worship music, which was a new thing for him. We sang several hymns and a Taize song.  I thought the music really set the right contemplative tone for prayer.  
On Sunday we did chores, attended church and skied home.  That was some of the toughest skiing of my life!  All my limbs were dead tired at the end from pushing along the icy tracks.  I really appreciated the time during the CU weekend to talk and laugh with friends, as well as focus on God and get away from modern technology/distractions.  I like meeting God in the woods.
It's been pretty warm around here lately, so we haven't been skiing as much as early last month.  We are hoping, though, to squeeze in one more cabin/ski trip before the snow turns to mush and we have to return out skis. 

Is winter melting in your part of the world?