28 May 2013

from the weekend: sun and swimming.

This weekend was sunny and just plain good. I put my sea glass collection into a jar, took a walk in the woods (by myself!) and sat in the sun on the side of a lake. Josh and I went for a swim with friends in Sognsvann (that's Molly in the picture). The water was chilly, but the sun was delightfully warm.  We jumped in several times and swam around for a few minutes. Swimming was reinvigorating and a nice break from studying/projects for all of us.

Josh came with me to another artisan market on Sunday, where I attempted to sell some of my handmade goodies.  I made a few sales, but it was much, much slower than it has been in the past. Sunday night, after our long day in the sun, we enjoyed a picnic in the shade with our friends Anna and Rowan. We played a game called "Scottland Yard," which was super fun.  Have you played it?  It's a Russian board game, so I'm not sure if it's spread to the US or other parts of Europe yet.

 I'm feeling blessed and loved. Looking forward to a week filled with picnics and friends.  Not looking forward to the imminent goodbye's.

27 May 2013

project life 2013: weeks 32+33

week 32
march 4-10
What happened this week? This seems like forever ago, but I am determined to keep sharing my pages here.  This week was kind of typical.  Josh was taking classes, I was tutoring and babysitting, we went for a hike and hung out with friends. We also began thinking about our plans for the summer and fall. 
(Click on the photos to see them larger)

Anything special in the spread? To change things up I made my own date card by layering strips of washi tape on a piece of cardstock.  I chose a color scheme and then just put the tape in a random order.  The date is written on a paper source label (paper bag colored). I also added in some fun 3x4 cards that I made myself.  A while ago I wrapped some pink string around cardstock; I'm glad I've found a use for it!  I also stamped green hexagons onto white cardstock.  I like that they coordinate well with the date card. 
Favorite photo: The close-ups of Josh from our hike. I was practicing using different settings on my camera and I am happy with the results.  He's cute.
Overall thoughts? I am loving the seafoam kit, but also working to add in some of my own paper tidbits. I am happy that I recorded some of our thoughts about where to live next year.  As I write this post, we are actually making that decision and it's cool to look back on our thoughts from a couple months ago. 

week 33
march 11-17
What happened this week? A normal week with some tutoring, meeting my language partner who I'm helping with English, eating dinner with friends, touring the chocolate factory for Josh and enjoying our first DNT cabin trip with friends.
(Click on the photos to see them larger)

Anything special in the spread? A trimmed down Design A pocket page insert with photos from our cabin trip and a Kvikk Lunsj wrapper. 
Favorite photo: I love the photo of me skiing.  Josh snapped that while skiing and he was able to capture both the joy and the effort that skiing is for me.
Overall thoughts? I'm happy with the insert and how I was able to use it to tell the story of our cabin trip.  I told the story on two different journaling cards, but it continues from the first to the second. It's nice that the two cards are side by side when first looking at this spread. 
Supplies and Tools: American Crafts thickerswashi 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, slicker writer pens, my own handmade stamps.

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.  

24 May 2013

calligraphy collection no. 1

Here's the first piece in my calligraphy collection!

I want to get better at calligraphy, so I've decided to practice more.  Makes sense right? One thing that's been stopping me is the paper issue.  I don't have any paper that holds my calligraphy ink, except neon colored paper. I would prefer white, but  I don't really want to buy anything new since we'll be leaving Norway in a month or so. Neon will have to do.

Happy weekend!

23 May 2013

project life in 2013: weeks 30 + 31

week 30
february 18-24
(Click on the photos to see them larger)

What happened this week? I was sick early on in the week, but still did tutoring and babysitting.  I was well enough to attend the Local Natives concert, duh.  The concert tickets were a gift from Elise (Josh's sister) and I would not have missed it for anything.  It was awesome. Thanks again, Elise!  The cabin weekend for Christian Union was this week, too.  
Anything special in the spread?  I added an insert with 2.5 x 3 inch pockets to include lots of photos from the CU weekend.  I took a bunch of photos and someone else from CU shared some of his photos with me.  Some of the pictures in the insert measure 2.5 x 3 inches and others are 5 x 3 inches. I also tucked a note I wrote during the prayer walk into a velum envelope and sealed it with washi tape.  Someday I might like to remember what I was thankful for that night.
Favorite photo: The picture of me playing soccer is pretty great (it's in the insert).  A group of us played soccer in the knee-deep snow for about an hour.  It was hilarious, difficult, exhausting and so fun. I also love the shot of Nordmarkskapellet, the chapel in the North forest where we attended church.
Josh's cousin Christopher got married on February 24, so we wrote a note to him & Ali that was read at their rehearsal dinner.  It was cool that we could sort of participate because we were really bummed to not actually be there.  We saw pictures later and it looked like a wonderful wedding!
Overall thoughts? I wish I had taken my camera to the Local Natives concert.  This was my first photo pocket insert and I really like this technique. I also used an insert in our wedding spread, but it's just a big clear pocket that holds our program, invite and wedding cards.  I think I'm starting to get a bit more creative with this project.

week 31
february 25- march 3
What happened this week?  We finally gave Benny his birthday gift, which was a ski trip to Ullevaal Seter, where stopped and bought him a treat + coffee.  His birthday was on Halloween, so this was a long time coming.  The apple pie at Ullevaal Seter was superb. We did a little bedroom rearranging and the normal stuff- work and school.  I participate in Ali's "Day in the Life" challenge on Thursday, but it was kind of a slow day. We did have a pancake breakfast and take a nice walk, but most of the day was spent working/studying. I did some painting that day and I got together with my friend Tabea to make cakes for our friend Ellen's birthday party on Friday. 
Anything special in the spread?  I included my "Day in the Life" description in a small envelope sealed with washi tape.  It's easy to open and read if I or anyone else is curious of our happenings on February 28, 2013.
Favorite photo: The world pie.  Not only is chocolate silk pie delicious, but I am quite proud of the way I made frosting look like a map.  Plus, we made little flags representing the countries of our friends.  Ellen is an International Relations major, so I the pie was right up her alley.
 Overall thoughts: I love the colors this week, but found it hard to take "everyday" photos.  I'm realizing that one of the things I most want to remember about our life in 2013 are really the people.  I want to remember our friends, but I just don't take that many pictures of people.  That's something to work on, I guess.

Supplies and Tools: American Crafts thickerswashi 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, slicker writer pens.

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.  

22 May 2013

our trip to paris, france.

After our time in Taizé, we spent two days in Paris.  Both Josh and I were pretty exhausted from camping, walking and just being in Taizé, but we managed to have fun in Paris. That's not really a difficult task, though.  Paris is pretty large and has awesome architecture around every corner. Since we had our camping gear with us we decided to camp just outside of Paris at Camping Indigo . This saved us some money and made us feel like it was really worth it to lug all the camping gear.
We had no plan for Paris. We had some things in mind; Josh wanted to see Champs Élyseés and Notre Dame and I wanted to see the Eiffel Tour at night.  Each day we packed a bag and set off on foot.  For food we usually found a boulangerie where we bought baguettes and a grocery where we got cheese, tomatoes and peaches.  Seeing Paris on the cheap was our goal and it worked out well.
Day one included: croissants and pan au chocolate for breakfast, walking along the Champs Élyseés (of course we sang the song), picnic lunch in a park, hanging outside and inside of Notre Dame, enjoying a bread festival, eating 23rd birthday cake, walking along the Seine River, picnic dinner in front of the Eiffel Tower (we saw it blink once), avoiding the PSG celebration/riot, and finally flopping into sleeping bag at the end of a nice, long day.
Day two included: More bread, more cheese, more walking.  We had croissants for breakfast again.  Yum! We walked towards Montmartre/Sacré Cœur thinking it's the super cool artsy area of Paris only to find that's is pretty touristy.  Josh misunderstood some advice from Elliot about that area.  Whoops. After eating a small lunch of bread and cheese, we decide to not eat any more bread for the rest of the trip. Promptly after that we found ourselves in a cozy cafe ordering a lunch combo of bread, nutella, cheese, cake and cocoa.  I guess it's unavoidable in Paris.  This cafe was one of the highlights of Paris for us. We really needed some time to rejuvenate; we ate, drank cocoa and coffee, read, I wrote in my journal and Josh wrote ideas for a take home exam.  Our cafe was uncrowded with only a friend of the owner, two American tourists and a French woman with her grandson coming in during our 4 hour lunch break.  We saw the Sacré Cœur, walked down the street with Moulin Rouge (pretty weird), stopped to watch some people play petanque and finally headed back to our campsite. Another good day.  On day three we took down our tent, ate breakfast, took a bus to the airport and flew home.
France was good, but we’re glad to be home.  And it’s cool that Oslo is our home for now. 

Oh yeah, I was actually in Paris too!  Here's proof:

21 May 2013

joy the baker bread.

Mmmm.  I love bread and I love Joy the Baker.  Here's a recipe from Joy's website for two crusty loaves of bread. Josh and I loved this bread so much that we I made it two weeks in a row.

Two Crusty Round Loaves
I found this recipe on Joy the Baker's website. These are mostly her words with a bit of my changes added in. (She found the recipe from Jaden of Steamy Kitchen)

4 cups bread flour (the higher gluten content is important)
2 teaspoons active dry yeast
2 teaspoons salt
1 1/2 cups warm water

Measure out 1/4 cup of bread flour and reserve a clean counter top.  Place the remaining 3 3/4 cup bread flour in the bowl. Measure the salt and place on one side of the flour and add the yeast to the opposite side of the flour.  Pour the warm water in the middle and mix until the dough just comes together.  Joy suggests using a stand mixer, but I did this by hand and it was totally fine.

When the dough forms a mass, mix it a little harder or knead it a bit for 2 minutes.  Dough should clear the sides but may stick to the bottom a bit.  If you feel like the dough is too sticky or too dry, feel free to add a touch more water or flour by the tablespoonful.  After 2 minutes, let the dough rest for five minutes.

After the five minute rest, mix or knead the dough again for 3 minutes. Place the dough on the counter and, using the 1/4 cup of bread flour we reserved in the beginning, knead the dough more.  You may not need to incorporate the entire 1/4 cup.  If the dough feels firm and solid enough, just knead for a few minutes and prepare it to rest.  You should have a satiny, smooth compact ball.

Place the dough in a lightly oiled bowl, and turn the dough over to coat the entire dough lightly in oil.  Cover with plastic wrap and a kitchen towel and place in a warm spot to rest for 1 1/2 hours.  The dough should double in size.  Remove from the bowl, punch down and reform into a ball.  Return to the bowl, cover and allow to rest for another 30 minutes.

After the second short rest, place the dough on a lightly floured surface and cut into 2 pieces.  Form each piece into a smooth, round ball, tucking any haggard edges on the underside of the dough.  Leave to rest, covered with a damp cloth, on the lightly floured surface for 45 minutes to a hour.

During the last 20 minutes of the resting period, preheat the oven to 450 degrees F.  Place a baking rack in the lower third of the oven and leave either a baking stone or an upside down baking sheet in the oven to heat as well. Just before the bread dough is set to go in the oven, slash the top of the loaves with 2 to 4 slashes, using a sharp knife.  This will allow the bread to expand in the oven.  Remove the super hot baking sheet from the oven.  Carefully transfer the dough onto the baking sheets and return to the oven.

This is fun! Just after you put the bread in the oven, take 1/4 cup of water, open the oven door, quickly poor the water onto the hot oven floor and immediately close the oven door.  We’re creating steam here people… it’s exciting.  Wait 2 minutes and repeat the process.

Bake loaves for 20-25 minutes.  They’ll be golden and gorgeous.  Remove from the oven and insert a thermometer.  The temperature should be between 190 to 210 degrees F. Or if you’re not super high tech like me, you can just decide that they look good. Joy suggests letting the bread cool completely before slicing, but that’s hard.  It’s okay if you don’t wait, but if you do let it cool completely I think the outside gets crustier.  Enjoy!

Part of a completely wonderful breakfast :)

20 May 2013

our trip to taizé, france.

For Josh's 23rd birthday we planned a trip to France to visit Taizé, a monastery in the countryside of France where anyone can come for a week or so to spend time in prayer.  Josh went to Taizé two years ago with Dan Overholt, his cousin.  Their experience at Taizé made a big impact on Josh and he really wanted to go back with me.  So we went!  (We also spent 2 full days in Paris, but more about that later.)
Our experience was very different from Josh's first time at Taizé, which is understandable.  Josh is at a different point in his life now, his reason for being at Taizé is quite different this second time around and there was a different group of people at Taizé this past week. We actually heard a couple people say that each stay at Taizé has been completely different for them.  I wasn't totally sure what to expect, but  I had an idea that our visit to Taizé might be quiet, reflective, slow and that we maybe we'd meet some new friends. My expectations were partly true; we prayed a lot, had some quiet time and met some nice Dutch friends, but to be honest some of the time we felt distracted, frustrated and uncomfortable. There were 5, 000 people at Taizé, which is an unsually large mass of people; plus, most of those people were teenagers coming with there youth group. There was a lot of noise and a lot of cigarette smoke. I'm apparently allergic to French trees or flowers, so I was sneezing a lot and had some asthma trouble. And our tent was a little leaky. Yeah, these things are kind of bad, but I am regretful that these factors distracted me more than they should have. I really enjoyed praying and walking through the countryside, but I didn't feel at peace during our stay in Taizé. Josh and I were talking about the experience while we were in Paris and he responded to my thoughts by saying, "so maybe your time at Taizé is not over yet?" I think maybe that's true.  The songs we sang while at Taizé were running through my as we wandered the streets of Paris. I hope to continue singing them with Josh now that we're back in Oslo.
While at Taizé we prayed three times a day before breakfast & lunch and after dinner.  Prayer was what ordered our days and I loved that.  The prayer service was mostly singing chants and songs, along with some scripture reading, a time of silence and eucharist in the morning. The church can be expanded to accommodate 5,000 people and we generally had to get to church 30 minutes early if we wanted to sit near the front or on the stairs. The brothers all sat in the center of the church. I loved the songs. Some moments were really powerful- like when we were singing "Bless the Lord my Soul" and taking communion.  After that I was really hoping we'd sing that song again, but we never did. The church itself is really cool to be in, with stained glass and icons decorating the walls.
The other highlight of our visit to Taizé was wakling around the countryside.  On Josh's first visit to Taizé he actually stayed two weeks; the first week was normal, but the second week he spent in silence.  During his silence week he took long walks through farm country and to the tiny villages scattered throughout the countryside. We set aside two afternoons for really long walks.  Each day we walked for about 5 hours, resting occasionally in small villages or on a conveniently placed bench. We passed through fields, saw lots of cows, made wildflower bouquets, sang, made grass art, talked and walked some more. On Josh's birthday walk we came across a goat farm where we stopped to buy cheese.  That was the best goat cheese I've ever had! These walks were fun (exhausting by the end) and gave us time to talk and think.  
A prayer from Taizé in Spanish:
Dios de consolació 
aunque no sitiéramos nada te presencia
tú estás ahi.  
Tu presencia es invisible
pero tu esperitu santo está siempre en nosotros.