Sunday, 30 September 2007

Back to square one..

Photo: IKEA

Very stressed out today about Dora coming tomorrow. The house looks a mess *really, I can see that is the very point of hiring her*, I just cringe at the prospect of it all.

So, today I have tried to do everything: organizing our things, unpacking boxes, etc not succeeding and eventually O packed us all up in the car and off we went to IKEA.

We don't have any wardrobe in our bedroom, nowhere to hang our clothes and we cannot decide what to buy *or rather, we cannot really afford what we would really like at the moment*, so eventually we decided to go to IKEA to buy a clothes rail *to start with*. We are also in need of some organization in the kitchen, so I made a list and off we went.

After our arrival all pretty much went down hill. C broke down in in tears when the Småland playarea had closed for the day *well, they hadn't closed, but they didn't allow any more children in, so he could still see all the other children having fun and it was all a bit to much to bare*. His mood quickly transfered to little sister who started wailing for not going upstairs *which she decide was the one activity in the whole wide world that would be able to make her change her mood*

By the time we got to our first department *beds*, J was really going for the big concert style wailing, we split and I started walking towards the "organization department" *boxes and stuff*, still hearing her behind me. By the time they caught up with me, my shopping list was gone *had given it to J, so she could draw a picture with the Butterfly pen that made her sooo happy in the car on our way to IKEA..* and so was all our patience, so we started walking towards the checkout.

By the time we arrived there we looked in our shopping trolley and realized we had bought:
  • 1 picture and frame of 2 parrots (for C)
  • 2 witches brooms (at least it's halloween soon!)
  • Orange and black candles in all shapes and forms.
  • 1 lamp with hippos printed all around.
  • 2 frames for some pictures we have at home. *she liked the picture department*
  • Father Christmas-shaped sweets.
We did NOT have any:
  • litter bins
  • recycling set for under the sink.
  • clothes rail

Friday, 28 September 2007

Yes!! We've got Miss D!

The family jumped out of bed at 7.30 today. After a short breakfast we all started clearing and cleaning the flat. After my chef adventure yesterday, I wasn't able to do my daily gymnastic pleasure of walking like a cotton picker throughout the flat, picking up the kids toys, so we had some serious work to do.

*We were contemplating on showing Miss D the real deal*, but decided that that was probably going to scare her away, so we put all our efforts in 3/4 of the flat and then closed the door to our bedroom (where we have our patio furniture leaning against the wall *among other handy things needed in a flat on 3rd floor without a balcony..*

At 10.25 we were all sitting groomed on the sofa waiting, a bit nervous actually, for her. She was punctual (1point), well dressed (1 point, I felt very dressed down!), very sweet (many points) *When speaking on the phone the other day, we had a very awkward conversation (I babbling and she saying yes... and no... and really nothing else.)*

J wasn't shy at all, she greeted Miss D with a Hello and shook her hand, to her amusement.

C was quite shy and but he warmed to her after a little while. Afterwards he explained that she didn't look the way he had expected her to. When asked what he expected, he told me: "I thought she was going to wear a blue dress and a pink ribbon in her hair.." *very similar to Dora the Explorer on a Princess Adventure...*
Anyway, we agreed she would start on Monday, so YIPPEEE, I am not alone with this chaos any longer. From now on we are going to be fed Hungarian goulash and other lovely meals. She was also very sweet with the children.

*I still felt babbly and awkward, hoping Monday will break the ice..*

Comment of the day: when sitting on the sofa with Miss D, J started babbling her normal gobbeldygoo *ababbada a dodo a dooa doo* and I said: J, you have to speak English with D, J replied: "I, DID!" *oh..*

Thursday, 27 September 2007

One big step towards the new me..

I have never understood why anyone would sit down in front of the tv and watch someone else cook. *boooooring*

But then we both ended up watching Nigella Lawson Express on Sunday evening.

Maybe it was the fact that she slipped in "but frankly, I couldn't be bother with that, so I just..." every now and then, which kept my interest going.

She also had gorgeous cookware, which I now also would like to add to my growing birthday wishlist
Photo: Blueshots

On Monday evening I ordered groceries online and ordered everything for one of her recipes, Chicken alla cacciatora.

So today was the big, historic day when I was to start my new life as a cooking-tv-chef-dinners-mum.

I realized as I lined up all ingredients that I didn't have the garlic olive oil, so I added one tiny garlic clove and used butter instead. Neither did I have bay leaves. *I don't understand why the store didn't give me dried bay leaves when didn't have fresh ones..when they could exchange my gooseberry yogurt to raspberry*


I fried the garlic a little bit and added the bacon, spring onions and rosemary. Fine, no problemo *feeling the italian ease..*

I had some trouble getting the chicken nicely golden, but eventually I was satisfied *or rather I thought about the boiling time..* Here, I think I have poured the wine into the pan. Poured 2dl (and also added some more later on).
*still quite pleased, I wasn't sure about the celery salt, but it smelled beautiful when sprinkled onto the frying chicken*

My heart sank a bit when I added the crushed tomatoes, it is not a favorite of mine, but still hoped for a good result.

I don't really understand the 10-30minutes cooking time, as the chicken was to simmer for 20minutes even before the beans was added, so it took quite a while. By the time the food was finished, I was so hungry, I didn't bother trying to get a nice photo of the plate, so here it is:

  • C cleared his plate, but wasn't too keen on the beans.
  • J tried several times, but it didn't go down to well, but I served it really hot (when she walked past the computer while I was posting this, she pointed at the screen saying "ajaj", which means ouch in Swedish)
  • I think it was nice, ok, but I would love to do it again with tomato puree and with garlic olive oil and bay leafs.
  • O had a look in here, told me he was very impressed and then *ca 2min later* asked me if we had anything to eat at home...
Comment of the day: C, when sitting with me in the sofa in the evening, watching *surprice, surprice Nigella Lawson Express*: "Mamma, jag älskar att sitta här bara du och jag. Det e så mysigt att jag tror att jag får hjärtaögon *som i de tecknade serierna*. Det här ögat e golden *pekar på sitt vänstra öga* och detta är alldeles rosa..
which translated to english is:
"Mummy, I love sitting here just the two of us. It is so cosy, so I think I have "heart eyes" (heart shaped eyes like in the cartoons). This one *pointing at his left eye* is golden and this one is all pink..

Wednesday, 26 September 2007

The Daunting Task

I have a problem. Well, not a problem as a dilemma, really.

I have the Daunting-Task-syndrome.

Like today, or actually it started yesterday when realizing that O had taken the buggy to the airport (it was in the car, which he parked there to spare me from popping to the parking meter every four hours). I instantly realized that today, which was "go-to-pharmacy-day", was going to be a bit of a challenge. J, being 2years old, is as stubborn as an old horse when it comes to walking nicely and my physique is not really compliant with carrying stubborn toddler halfway across city.

O reminded me yesterday evening, when I was sharing my worries with him *very pleased with my substitute for complaining there..*, that we actually have a second buggy, however with an acute need of tire pumping *oh, in which of the remaining 76 boxes did we put the pump?..*

So this morning I woke up with quite a lot of energy, managed to clean the kitchen spotless, including clearing and wiping out the refrigerator before my grocery delivery arrived *many grownup housewife points there*. I made pancakes and put J down for a nap, played with C on the computer for half an hour and then my thoughts went to the Daunting Task.

I realized that any normal sane person would just check the wheels of the buggy, dress the children and go, but did I? No..

I search the whole flat for that miracle little pill, who would make my daunting task slip into tomorrow. I actually searched for 1h, I emailed O asking if he knew of any odd place where he had seen my medicine lying around and I even contemplated surviving on only half a dose!

Eventually I gave up, unfolded the buggy *in which moment I realized that our former nanny, had actually taken the buggy to the bicycle shop and had the tires filled*, and took the children downstairs and out.

It was BEAUTIFUL outside. The weather was lovely, sunny, cool and crisp. The children were so well behaved, 6 people smiled and said hello, one woman even complimenting the children of their colorful coats. The pharmacy *ok, I have a bit of a pharmacy phobia, after the last comment I had in the big city: "Are you sure this is right (looking at my prescription), this is more than the usual dose that your on!" This guy was seriously scary, he even remembered how many Otrivin drops O had bought at one point.

Where was I? Ah, the pharmacy people were really, really nice and part from J refusing to go upstairs when arriving back home, it all went very smoothly. All sorted in 35 minutes.

So what is the deal with The Daunting Task, I wonder? Is it just me?

Back up in the flat, we made rocket ships out of a Pringles tube and party hats, whilst I made dinner. That was not the least bit stressful.

Beats me..
Comment of the day: C, when seeing a yellow autumn leaf on the pavement. He picked it up and said: Look, this must be from granddad, because there are no trees around, so it must have fallen from his tree in heaven, where he lives.

Tuesday, 25 September 2007

My wishlist

There are some drawbacks to having birthday in the autumn.

You are among the youngest in your class (that is if your school enters pupils by calendar year).

Come to think of it, nowadays I don't really consider it a drawback on my part..

The other drawback is Halloween... Last year, I didn't really wish for anything more then a home made birthday cake. When my birthday arrived, I was thrown a lovely birthday party by my family, but our life was really chaotic that week and I wasn't well, so O was shopping for the party, kind of in the last minute, and bought me a cake instead, or rather, he let the children choose between the one's in the store.

I got one with a marzipan witch riding a broom on top...

So this year I am using this place to give little hints on what would really make my day.

1) A home made cake.
2) if there is not time for baking, I woud LOVE to have something like this accompaning the halloween cake:

Photo: Fairmont & Main, John Lewis

..for our kitchen. I would also love to have any of these gorgeous items for our new utility room:

Photo: John Lewis

Comment of the day: When playing musical statues and I stopped the music: C: "George is out!!"
"George who??"
C pointing at one of the cuddly toys, not really moving around to the music in the first place.

Monday, 24 September 2007

Finding Dora..

We might have found someone to make our *read my* life a little bit easier and enjoyable!

I have found someone called Dora, who loves to cook *too good to be true*. The children are really excited about the prospect of having a Dora in the house, but J realizes it's not the real hero, it's a "mummy Dora".

*Fingers crossed* we all get along when she visits on Friday!

Promises, promises

I am sure most parents have made promises to their children, that they later wish they had not done.

When driving past the bicycle store on Saturday evening at 5.56, faced with the daunting task of whisking the children through the doors, up the stairs where the bicycles department is situated and then manage to make a decision on who is getting which helmet and then leaving with 2 happy children, all within the time frame of 4 minutes, that was such a moment for me and O.

"But we'll come back tomorrow and buy bicycle helmets!" And just to make it even better: "C, look at the sign. When do they open? Oh 10, we'll be here at 10then!! *brilliant*

So obviously I woke up with a migraine on Sunday, J had a cold and C a tummy ache.

By 3 o'clock we were all feeling ok, so off we went to the bicycle store. J immediately chose a bright pink one with daisies on. C wanted something scary like Power Rangers, only problem was, I pointed at the only Power Rangers helmet on the shelf, and because I did, HE wasn't the one to choose it... after some discussions and trying on every single helmet in the children's department, HE chose the Power Rangers one.

We had to try them out at our new favorite location off course!

The excitement of trying on his new gear for the first time!

We also had pic nic today again. The children found it very exciting to sit opposite us on the promenade.

J really seemed to relax och enjoy her apple, very appreciated by walkers-by..

Sunday, 23 September 2007

Remembering the reasons

Saturday was a very good reminder of why we moved here.

10 minutes from our new home lies this beach.

Part from watching O play with the children, I had some time to contemplate, studying the sand...*also, I had the pleasure of overseeing the buggy. It had a tendency to fall over with the whole picnic content spilling over*

We picked sea shells for future art projects.

I tried to catch J on camera, but she was head down in the sand every second of the visit:

The children ran around and we mostly smiled, very pleased with our new neighboring beach.

Love my happy O.

Friday, 21 September 2007

5 things I miss from my former life..

  1. My American style washing machine and dryer.
  2. Luciane, never able to arrive on time and always full of the most complex stories on why she was late, but boy did she make my life a lot easier.
  3. Cobham, *why on earth would I miss that place now?* Maybe it was the anticipation of a weekend of leisure that always made me feel very good there. (We usually did our weekend shopping there as well as renting films from Blockbusters.)
  4. My GP *how sad is that??*
  5. My good friend C, I miss you and the girls tremendously!

Thursday, 20 September 2007

The kind of skills one develop as a mother

is really under-estimated in the world of today.

I was very pleased with myself being able to put together C's castle this morning. Especially after realizing the instructions were missing.

I also have to add, to anyone reading this without the daily pleasure of doing any task requiring a little bit of concentration in the company of 2 children, J was obviously taking off any piece I manged to put in the right place and C putting it elsewhere, excitedly exclaiming "We are doing it any way we like, right mummy?"

If anyone wonder what is featured at the bottom right hand corner of the picture, it is obviously a Partying Crocodile..

Comment of the day: C on daddy's return after 3 days in the big city: I love you so much, it is as if my heart is glued (har klister) , and when daddy comes home the sticky tape comes loose and it breaks.

Quiet Wednesday

Surely it's just a say?...

So Wednesday morning started off with a bang, but that was really the big happening. Managed to score some house wife points on the washing and hoovering. C and J was playing nicely.

I caught J in the kitchen window, she told me she was waiting for "woff, woff" (dog downstairs). She usually stands in the kitchen window shouting "hello woff woff!" and loves when the little furry thing goes mad, barking from the bottom of the garden..

C was in a particularly good mood in the evening, tickeling both me and J.

Tuesday, 18 September 2007

*brrrr* It is cold today!

I have been talking about how glorious it is going to be to live on a more northernly latitude, being Swedish and actually 75% Finnish, meaning I practically have it in my genes to do ice bathing in the middle of winter.

Went outside yesterday and I had a complete shock to the system. 2 degrees when going shopping in September is nothing we're used to!

Today it was around 7 degrees outside *my goodness, I am starting to sound like my father* in the morning and after some desperate fiddling with the central heating, the heat is slowly filling the flat.

O is working in the big city today, so I have been trying to get some work done with the children as company, Julia doing her best to distract me.

Thank you Bolibompa, for supplying some Swedish distraction around the world!

Comment of the day : J, after spilling her glas of apple juice all over table including big brothers top and trousers and noticing it was empty: "Bla (bra) J, J dricke upp!!", which actually is more correct when translated into English. "Well done J, J has finished her juice!"
C was very calm as I wiped up all juice and then he said: "I think we have to give J to someone else, but then again, we wouldn't want to do that, would we?"

Monday, 17 September 2007

Boxes, boxes..

Yesterday we put all our efforts into the flat. O drove to the recycling center with endless piles of empty cardboard boxes. I tried to unpack both our private stuff as well work (we work from home) stuff.

Our motivation came from the fact that a sales person was coming to meet me the day after. After 6h of unpacking our hallway looked like this...

I started to seriously wondering, how we were to pull off this sales meeting. Maybe if I made a little path down the middle, put on a convincing smile and whisked him into the living room with the speed of lightning?..

After a another couple of hours it all fell into place and the floor was at least noticable.

Carl's room is showing straight ahead and office to the left.

We did some unpacking in C's room room on Saturday, so here it is:

He has 2 doors in his room, the one featured in the picture is his "secret door" into the living room.

Since we're at it, I can show you the living room as well..

Report after sales meeting: Sales person very funny man in his 60s *I think*, very nice indeed and he had a striking recemblance to a Swedish actor/comedian known to Swedes as "Kurtan". His real name is Lars Brandeby. He is actually from the same town as me in Sweden, so this might help me feel more at home here.

My own Kurtan.

Friday, 14 September 2007

The smell

There has been many a discussions between O and me about "The Smell".

When moving in to our flat, we realized the first evening a strange smell, when going to bed. After sniffing around our bedroom *I did the sniffing around, O just lay calmly in bed*, we came to the conclusion that it was the empty IKEA cardboard boxes, left from when we received our delivery of wardrobes.

Then the mystery tightens. There was no smell in the office, where we have most of the empty boxes, but only in our bedroom and hallway. After contemplating this fact for a while, I realized it was our nosy neightbour's fault. *off course!!*. She told me her flat was smaller than ours, so naturally her kitchen must be somewhere under part our hallway, part our bedroom! Got it, mystery solved!

During my many trips down to the car *we still don't have a parking permit, so I am constantly enjoying the pleasure of running down to pop coins in the parking machine every four hours..*, I have peaked up towards the neighbour's windows. *Surely, you can see a wall where we don't have one?* meaning she obviously has a kitchen under part of our bedroom (and hallway) where the smell is coming from!

Hubbie and I decided we would put laminate flooring in our hallway. *The floorboards are extremely squeeky and we actually se lights coming from the downstairs flat between the floorboards at night, so it's not altogether a bad idea..* We are also going to seal the floorboards in our bedroom with some sort of silicone or something to keep the smell out. It is only there at around 22-24 in the evening, when I picture my neighbour downstairs cooking for a whole batallion and never cleaning her kitchen..

A couple of days ago, I was on my normal route to the car, when I realized it smelled outside our house, the whole neightbourhood was smelling! Starting looking for enormous ventilation holes from some neighbour with a serious kitchen sanitary problem and failing, I started peering down sewage holes by the pavement. Everyone around me was walking around as if there was not a terrible smell around..

So, what is the smell like, you must wonder? It is a very sweet smell, as in the Swedish word "sliskig", which means overpoweringly sweet, and also like wet hay interpretation was it must be an old kitchen fan or something similarly yuckie..

Anyway, so when O returns home from work last night, I told him how was very odd it was that it was smelling outside. He then told me he felt the smell as he came into the the city from the airport with the taxi.

What IS this??!!

So today I googled on my smelly city and yes, the WHOLE city is smelling and apparently most of it's population love it! The reason for the smell is it's breweries...why we only have the smell in our bedroom and hallway is still a mystery, I've been studying a map of breweries *I know, I've got to let this go, I am going to be a specialist on the subject of the brewing process and it's excess smell if I keep this up!*

After 1 month here, I have to admit, I can't stand the smell of my new home town!

So sealing the bedroom floor is not really going to help. Laminates in the hallway is still on, since it is terribly squeeky and my 2year old wakes up by the smallest sound of that floor. And we have to pass her door everytime me need a little nibble when watching television in the evening.

As to the smell, I think I have to decorate with wunderbaums..

Thursday, 13 September 2007

Conversation at the Supermarket

We have just moved to this new city. Or rather a big town compared to our last city.

When the removal van was loaded and hubbie (O) was about to drive off, he received a phone call. Afterwards he came to me and exclaimed: "We cannot move there!!"

"My goodness, what is it NOW", I thought, tired of all things going wrong with our move.

"I don't understand a word they say..."

Oh, only that. Haha! Easy peasy, that won't be a problem for ME, I thought very unsupportingly. Until my 3rd visit to the supermarket proved me wrong.

There was a very nice gentleman as cashier. He spoke with the military guy in front of me, who was meticulously lining everything up with millimeter precision on the till. (Fancy living with him, I though with a shudder (I am not the most tidy person in the world)). When it was my turn to be served, the nice man turned to me. I tried to focus on his strong accent to try to find the melody that breaks the code (if you only get the hang of when a word starts and finishes, you're not to bad off!) and at the same time tried to keep an eye on the children making balancing acts by the window, having grown tired of waiting in line with promises of chocolate if they only stood still..

Somehow the man managed to make me tell him I was Swedish. Oh, he had read a lot about the..*what is he saying?* ... Islands. How many different types of islands can there be in Sweden, surely I would be able to keep a general discussion going about this Swedish archipelago for the duration of packing my grocery bags? Yes, the fishermen there are fantastic men, ehum...very brave indeed. Just as I was about to put the last item in my bag, he asks: "which country do they really belong to? Is it Finland or Sweden?"

*I knew it! I am one of those people who can never EVER get away with the tiniest lie or misdoing*
"Ehum...what islands?" blushing now.
"Aland" Aha, Åland!! That's what he was talking about!!
Now he looks a bit confused.

Finland, I say before I rush off with children in tow. Why am I so incredibly inable to just nod and hum? Have to practice my nodding and humming. I think I will order online this week.