Thursday, 31 December 2009

Day Ten - Family from Scotland (Are Going Home)

Wednesday 30 December

Well, here we are. Day Ten of my Mum, Dad, brother and niece from Scotland visiting us and it's time for them to leave. Where did the time go? Good job I've been writing things up on the blog...we've actually done a heck of a lot! :)

We all got up a bit earlier today. I made up some lasagne and put it in the crockpot for lunch. The family did their packing while DD7, DS10 and I put away some of the Christmas decorations. Our Christmas tree is also now out in the garden, awaiting refuse collection. I managed to trick DD7, DS10 and my niece into taking all the decorations off the Christmas tree by allowing them to keep anything edible that they found while doing it! ;)



My family did some last minute gift shopping for friends back home at our local shops while I took DS10 for a much needed haircut. Then it was time for cake (yes, more cake!) and cups of tea for the adults and milky chai for the kids. A final check to make sure they hadn't left anything behind and off in a taxi to the airport...

DD7 cried for about 15 minutes after they left - she was so sorry to see my brother and niece leave! :(

Feels very quiet here tonight. And the house feels so big again! I'm heading off to bed now at 8.30pm. Going to have a nice, long shower with my new Crabtree & Evelyn bath goodies, taking a glass of white wine with me (and a bar of Ritter Sport peppermint chocolate) and going to read an Italian crime novel in bed (I've started reading one by Donna Leon).

Big night coming up tomorrow - need my beauty sleep! Goodnight! :)

Day Nine - Family From Scotland (and DS9's Birthday)

Tuesday 29 December

It was DS9's birthday today. Imagine...I'm the mother of a 10 year old - eek! :)

First we woke him up in the traditional Danish way, waving Danish flags and singing birthday songs. He's sleeping in DD7 room right now (because we have my family from Scotland visiting), hence the pink carpet ;)



Then he opened his presents - in his jammies :)



We spent the day playing with his new gear (the Meccano robot from my brother and niece was a big hit) and for dinner he was allowed to choose whatever he wanted. He chose sushi from Sticks n' Sushi and chocolate cake. (That boy has exceedingly good taste...) We had a slight problem with the cake, as the bakers we had planned to use are closed between Christmas and New Year, so we ended up buying two cakes from the local supermarket bakery. One was kransekage (the traditional marcipan cake that you eat at 12am when the bells ring in the New Year)



and the other was a gooey chocolate cherry cake. I just added a few flags and a single candle to cheer it up a bit. He actually mentioned the lone, single candle on the cake - and here was me thinking he was too 'old' for that kind of stuff! ;)



After dinner we were all set for a family boardgame - Ticket to Ride (European version) - which he got as a present. But the instructions were so long that we gave up! [I've since had a look on youtube and there are lots of informative videos, so fear not, we will get round to playing it in the New Year.]

The family leave to go home tomorrow, so everyone is having a fairly early night. Sleep well! :)

Wednesday, 30 December 2009

Day Eight - Family from Scotland

Monday 28 December

DH went in to the office this morning and I got up early - 9am ;) - and got to work in the kitchen preparing lunch for Danish family who were coming: brother-in-law, his girlfriend and his two kids (13 and 17).

They arrived at 1pm and opened their Christmas presents...



Then straight on to lunch, which today was: ham, gratin dauphinois, Twinkies salad (raw, tiny florets of broccoli and cauliflower, baby tomatoes, black olives and a sharp Italian dressing), børnegrønt 'kiddie greens' (raw veggie sticks), mustard, cornichons (baby pickles) and baby gem/chive salad. Lots of red wine to go with it. Homemade brownies, chocolates and biscuits for dessert (see yesterday's blogpost). Here's the table, set for 12.



Then the Danes left to go and see Avatar in 3d in the cinema while we (my Danish DH, me, DD7, DS9, Mum, Dad, my brother and my niece) went to Tivoli :) Lots of lovely lights. Unfortunately the iPhone isn't great at taking nighttime photos but this will give you a flavour... Here's my Mum and Dad :)



Then shiver me timbers, those scurvy landlubbers were hungry again so we partook of a mighty fine dinner and lashings of rum aboard Pirateriet (the Pirate Ship on the lake at Tivoli). The lily-livered scallywags cleaned their plates so we didn't make them walk the plank...



Then it was time to watch some Tivoli fireworks, the light/music/water show and try a few of the rides before finally settling down to watch Crazy Christmas Cabaret (something we've done for the last 4/5 years and has become a family tradition). This British pantomime/cabaret (with smatterings of Danish) has been performed at Tivoli for the last 26 years and this year's theme was "Mamma Mafia". DD7 managed to stay awake the whole time this year, partly due to a bag of sweets/two cartons of apple juice! ;)

Then home by train (takes about 15 minutes), a cup of tea and a piece of Christmas cake. Nite! :)

Tuesday, 29 December 2009

Day Seven - Family from Scotland

Sunday 27 December 2009

Another long lie (til almost 10am!!!!) so first of all we had a leisurely breakfast, then a bit of Christmas cleaning up. We moved all the Christmas presents to everyone's bedrooms and tried to throw away as much rubbish as possible (old newspapers, serviettes, wrapping paper, candle ends, etc). A quick hoover all round, fluffed up the pillows/rugs on the sofas and the place looked as good as new! ;)

Then Mum, Dad and my DH settled down for another afternoon of Premier League football, sudoku and reading (DH's new "Kindle" and real books) while I took DD7, DS9, my brother and niece for a bit of exercise. Bowling! :) I love bowling. DH and I used to do it all the time when we lived in Luxembourg, but haven't really done it since we moved to Copenhagen. And it's not really something you do with small kids. Anyway, our kids are now big enough and there is a nice place just beside Copenhagen's main station. So I booked us a lane online and off we went.

Took me a while to get back in the swing (couldn't remember which colour of bowling ball was best, blue for the record) but a good time was had by all :) This is my niece in action...



DD7 refused to use anything but the pink ball at the start but had to concede that yellow was the only way to go if she was actually going to have a chance at knocking any pins down. Especially as we didn't have the 'sides' up.



Then home and dinner. Today I made 'Hurdy Gurdy' Swedish Sausage Stew (very fast, easy, delicious) which I've mentioned before on the blog. The recipe is here if you'd like to try it. We had it with rice from the ricecooker and crunchy 'little gem' salad. Then my niece helped me to make a double batch of brownies. I got the recipe from my good twitter friend Krista @Luvschweetheart and have been making them regularly for months - to everyone's delight. We ate half of them warm after dinner - mmmmmm. The other half are for tomorrow because there are more guests coming - for lunch - eek! ;)



Nite! :)

Sunday, 27 December 2009

Day Six - Family from Scotland

26 December 2009

My Danish sister and brother-in-law left to drive back home to Jutland after breakfast, so it was just the eight of us today :)

DH, my Mum, Dad and brother wanted to watch Premier League football on the telly - a Christmas Boxing Day tradition in the UK. So I took DD7, DS9 and my Scottish niece out for the afternoon to Copenhagen's Experimentarium (a science museum/playground).

Feel the wind in your hair - hurricane force :)



How about a nice little siesta on a bed of nails?



DD7 was chosen to help out with one of the demonstrations...launching a mini hot air balloon inside the museum building.



Up, up and away!



My niece's turn to steer....



We were pretty tired when we got home (at the end of our 3 hour visit) so I was feeling pretty pleased with myself that dinner was Forloren Hare (Danish Mock Hare) which I had prepared a couple of weeks ago and frozen. I had taken it out of the freezer last night, so all I had to do was cook it in the oven. My recipe for it is here. Clean plates all round! ;)

Then we all settled down for a couple of films and some Ben n' Jerry's icecream :) One of the films was a DVD I had given to Mum as a Christmas present..."Plots with a View". You can read why I bought it here. Mum enjoyed it - hooray! She's also just finished reading one of my 'Inspector Montalbano' books and enjoyed that too - double hooray - a woman of good taste! ;)

Another great day with the visiting family. Nite!

Saturday, 26 December 2009

Day Five - Family from (Denmark and) Scotland

DH's (Danish) sister and brother-in-law came for lunch today - 25 December - for the traditional Danish Christmas lunch of smørrebrød, beer and snaps.

We started off with pickled herring topped with egg/mayo. And beer. And Krone snaps.



Fresh prawns. And beer. And 2009 Christmas snaps.



Then we removed the small plates because they are only for fish dishes. Then it was on to homemade hot liver pâté with mushrooms and bacon. And different beer. And Linie snaps. Which has been sailed to the Equator and back. Apparently.



Homemade rolled pork made by my Danish sister-in-law with 'Italian' salad. And more beer. And Porse snaps.


Sausage with red cabbage. Forgot to take the before picture. Sorry. Hic.



Sylte and mustard. You don't want to know what's in this meat/jelly loaf...believe me! Something to do with an animal's head... ;)



Do you know the song "Ten Green bottles"? How about over thirty? And still counting...



After about three hours of lunch, we went for walk in the rain (and by this time it was pitch dark outside) to get a bit of exercise before our next Christmas tradition...pakkeleg. The Parcel Game. Put some parcels in the middle of the table (we used about 25 parcels for the 10 of us).



Take it in turns to throw two dice. If you throw a six, you choose a parcel from the middle. Two sixes mean you can take two parcels. Once all the parcels in the middle have been distributed, the fun begins! ;) Set a timer for about 10-15 minutes and hide it somewhere. Keep taking turns to throw the dice. If you throw a six, you're allowed to 'steal' a parcel from someone else. Enjoy the excitement as the parcels go backwards and forwards and around the table :) And beware. Because sometimes the parcel that looks the most interesting/biggest/with the fanciest wrapping can turn out to be a pair of washing up gloves! ;) When the timer goes off, you get to keep the parcels in front of you. Our parcels this year contained: small books, dressing up hats, scented candles, Christmas decorations, small toys, novelty toilet paper, stickers and keyrings.

Then it was time for Ris à l'amande (dessert) and today it was my Scottish niece who found the almond in her portion and won the prize! :)



Then it was time to put the kids to bed, refill our glasses, break out the crisps and chocolates and watch the Da Vinci code on TV. (Pretty rubbish, but okay when everyone is tired.) Danish sister-in-law and brother-in-law are sleeping here tonight, so it feels very cosy to have 10 of us in the house. Happy families!

And I even managed two (count 'em) loads of washing today. Thank you Flylady! Nite! :)

Day Four - Family from Scotland - Christmas Eve

Christmas Eve! The day we celebrate Christmas here in Denmark.

Started off with a regal breakfast of Bucks Fizz (champagne and orange juice), hot rolls with cheese and marmelade, cinnamon muffins (which I made last month, so just had to take them out of the freezer).



A bit of sledging in the park.





Traditional Christmas dinner of duck, caramelised potatoes, boiled potatoes, red cabbage, hot crisps and gravy.





Then the traditional Danish Christmas dessert of rice pudding and hot cherry sauce for dessert (DD7 found the almond and won the prize). Click here for an explanation ;) My Scottish niece made the pudding. Or I should say, two, because we're keeping one for tomorrow night.



Then we sat down in the living room and sang some Danish and English hymns and Christmas songs. Normally we would dance around the tree but there were too many presents for us to get around it! :) And finally we could start opening the presents, one by one. Took about 1½ hours this year...and everyone was delighted with their gifts.

Refilled our glasses, got out the chocolates/crisps, put the Mamma Mia DVD on and had a bit of a singalong. A really nice evening.

Nite! :)

Wednesday, 23 December 2009

Day Three - Family from Scotland

Long lie in, breakfast at 10am (!), a bit of shopping and then DD7, DS9, niece and my brother made the most of the snow and built some snowmen in the garden



or how about the Loch Ness Snow Monster ;)



It's 'Little Christmas Eve' here today - 23 December - so we decided to have a very 'fresh' dinner (before the heavy fare tomorrow evening) of smoked wild salmon from Skagen, prawns, salad and veggies and my homemade cold-risen bread which went down a bomb! :)



After a little bit of exercise - putting all the Christmas presents under the tree - we had DH's homemade æbleskiver - recipe here - (Danish Christmas donuts) and gløgg (mulled wine) and watched Home Alone on the TV. DS9 declared it was the funniest film he had ever seen :) DD7 seemed to enjoy it too




And now we've put some biscuits and a glass of milk for Santa(and a large carrot for Rudolph...) in the fireplace in the dining room. Here's hoping Santa will come down that chimney and not the one in the living room, because we use the wood burning stove in there and he'll burn his bot-bot ;) So now it's time for bed - nite! :)

Tuesday, 22 December 2009

Day Two - Family from Scotland

It's been a good day :)

The 'Advent Calendar of Beers' (24 specially selected Danish beers, wrapped in cellophane and presented in a beer bucket) that we bought for my Dad and my brother (one bucket each) are now opened.



The Christmas Cake has been cut, digested, discussed and got (at least) two thumbs up (even by those who don't like Christmas cake - me included).



This afternoon we (DD7, DS9 and my niece) baked and made: savoury cheese crisps, dates stuffed with marcipan and dipped in chocolate, chocolate thumbprint cookies, candy canes dipped in choc and sprinkled with smashed candy cane, kransekage (small marcipan cakes) and served them for the guests (extended family) who came for dinner tonight.



Our guests have just left, I've been out to shovel more snow from the pavement and have just done my BBR (before bed routine). So it's time to enjoy a last glass of wine with the family and then lights out. Nite! :)

Monday, 21 December 2009

Merry Christmas!


My family have arrived from Scotland - hooray! :)

So it's time for me to sign off from the blog and wish you all
a very Merry Christmas when it comes!



Sunday, 20 December 2009

Christmas Planning - 20 December 2009

We made it! We're finished! And there's still 4 days until Christmas (or 5 days if you start your celebrations on the 25th). I know I've done the Flylady 'Cruising for the Holidays' missions and used her Holiday Control Journal before, but this year things have going swimmingly. Can you believe that my family in Scotland are coming here tomorrow - to stay for 10 days - and today I even had the time to take the kids for an afternoon at Experimentarium (the science museum/playground) where we had a nice lunch and made some presents at their special Santa's workshop? Neither can I. Changed days! ;)


All the Christmas presents are wrapped and labelled. The pantry is (more than) stocked and I've placed an online order for groceries to be delivered on the evening of 23 December. I've worked out a rough menu plan for the next 10 days and have alternatives.

Yesterday we went to buy the tree and once DH put the star on the very top (I couldn't reach) we put the lights on as fast as we could - it didn't have to be perfect! ;) Then DD7 and DS9 were allowed to dive into the box of decorations and finish it all on their own...



Tomorrow morning I'll do a quick clean (Flyady's WHB or Weekly Home Blessing) with the help of the kids and we're ready for them! As you can see, DD7 has already put one present under the tree - something she made at the After School Club and it's for ME! :)



Thanks to Candace, Pippa and Krista for letting me (and you!) in on their Christmas planning fun. Cheers to the four of us!

So all that's left for me to say is "Merry Christmas" and have an absolutely angelic Advent Sunday! :)

Saturday, 19 December 2009

The icing on the (Christmas) cake

Yesterday DD7 and I got to work icing the Christmas cake that we made in October. If you would like to make the cake, you still have time! Because it's name is Last Minute Christmas cake and the recipe is here

Anyway, on to the icing. If you want to do the same as we did you'll need:

  • small amount of jam or jelly
  • packet of marcipan
  • packet of ready-to-roll icing
  • some springs of holly, remnant of ribbon, edible glitter, what have you...
First of all, unwrap the cake. We've been 'feeding' ours with the dregs of Grand Marnier and Drambuie bottles, so it smells loverly! [hic] Put a little bit of jam over the top of the cake. This is to make it sticky.



Then it's time to roll out the marcipan. I always tear off a piece of baking parchment and roll it between two layers - saves on the mess :) Try and roll it out in a circle the same size as the cake.



Place the circle of marcipan on top of the sticky cake and smooth out. Trim the marcipan and eat what you don't need :) Then do the same with the ready-to-roll icing. Use a bit of elbow power!



Smooth the icing over the cake (and down the sides, if you have enough). Then you can start decorating...



We added some cake toppers (that my Mum bought on sale from John Lewis a couple of years ago), tied a piece of tartan ribbon round the cake and then DD7 wanted to add some glamour with edible red and white glitter ;)  I cut some sprigs from the garden for a bit of greenery.



The cake will sit quite happily in a fairly cold place for the next couple of weeks.
Bon appétit and happy 'Santa-will-soon-be-here' Saturday! :)