Friday, 30 April 2010

Those crazy Danes - Winter Bathing

Woke up to dark skies this Stor Bededag (Danish Big Prayer Day, it's explained in Wednesday's post, Big Prayer Time). The skies opened on the dot at 9am when I met V and H in the park for a short (3k) NEWO interval run. When we finished running (and stood there, literally, dripping wet) we polished our little halos with gusto...'Go Us' for getting up and exercising in this dreich weather when the rest of our families were cosy at home and still in bed! ;)

DH and I took the kids down to the beach for a quick walk before lunch (before the rain started...again) and DH did his Dad 'thing' and taught DS10 and DD8 how to throw stones into the sea...




Now I don't know if you can see this properly but, if you look at the middle of the bathing jetty in the next photo, there's a tiny figure in blue.




That would be a lady in a blue dressing gown/housecoat. About to peel it off (wearing nothing underneath, brrr!) and take a quick dip into Øresund (The Sound).

Completely nuts. And yet, the sight of people arriving by bike or on foot in a bathrobe, ready to spring into the c-cold water, is completely normal around these parts... Those crazy Danes call it vinter badning (winter bathing) but afficionados do it all year long. Come rain, come shine, come ice on the sea which they have to break! Tee hee, and here was little old me thinking I had been such a health freak this morning ;)

Hope you have a fabulous Friday with lots of exercise. Just add water! :)

Thursday, 29 April 2010

Menu plan Thursday - Letting the kids loose!

Did you have a favourite cookbook as a child? This is my one, "A Young Cook's Calendar" by Katie Stewart. It's from 1978 and cost 45p at the time! There aren't any photos in it (only drawings) but I loved reading about "walks at the weekend and tea by the fire" and "picnic food to carry to a special place"....ahh, so cosy! :)





I bought this mini BBC Good Food cookbook "101 recipes for kids" via Amazon the other day (I actually bought three from the same series - the dangers of trawling the internet after 9pm) and the kids jumped on it when it arrived in the post. They've been looking at all the pictures and drooling. "Can we have this? And this too? Ooo, this looks good!" So I said, "Okay, you plan the menu for this week - you can choose whatever you like as long as you make it!" ;) 





Last night DS10 made us Cheesey Corn Cakes (p.42) for dinner. They turned out so well, I think they look even better than the ones in the book! ;)



Anyway, without further ado, here's what DS10 and DD8 are planning to cook the next 7 days...

THURSDAY

  • Mexican Tortilla Triangles - p.40 We're making them with some leftover chicken and we'll have them with salad
FRIDAY

  • Veggie burgers - p.104 on our own homemade wholewheat rolls

  • Speedy Banana Splits - p.196 Do you see the bananas in the fruit bowl, they need to be eaten! ;)
  • SATURDAY

  • Ham and cheese pizza - p.72

  • Chocolate Fondue and Toasted Marshmallows - p.180 Did someone say 'oooooo'?
SUNDAY

  • Veggie Spaghetti Bolognese - p.60 It's made with red lentils, will be interesting!
MONDAY
  • Sticky Chicken Drumsticks - p. 74 We'll serve it with sushi rice (made in my trusty ricecooker) and readymade Goma dressing (Japanese sesame sauce)
TUESDAY
  • Oven egg and chips - p.102 It's Scout night tonight so we need a quick n' easy dish.
WEDNESDAY
  • Cauli(flower) Macaroni cheese - p.68 This is actually my choice :)
DS10 said to me, "Mum, it doesn't really matter if you change around the days we're making this food...because everything is going to taste yum!" ;)

Child labour? DS10 hard at work making pancakes last Sunday morning...

Hope you have a thoroughly thrilling Thursday with lots of good things on your plate! :)

Wednesday, 28 April 2010

Big Prayer Time

It's a glorious sunny Wednesday here in Copenhagen and there are flags on all the buses again today.



Are we still celebrating the 70th birthday of the Danish Queen 'Daisy'? Nope. This week it's to mark the visit of the Russian President! :)

I'm running errands today to try and avoid the crowds tomorrow. The shops will be busy because of the public holiday on Friday. Which means the whole country shuts down and people go off to their 'summer houses' or get busy with garden tools and barbecues (if the Danish weather gods have mercy on us).

Which public holiday? Stor Bededag. Which translated means 'Big Prayer Day'. No, I'm not making it up. Those crazy (yet practical) Danes decided there were just too many religious holidays during the year so lumped them all together! In days gone by it was a time to fast and pray. These days it means that - the night before (Thursday) - you toast some hveder (very plain bread rolls), spread them with butter and wash them down with lashings of tea...

When you've had your fill of hveder (to tell you the truth, they're huge, fluffy and pretty tasteless) you can then stroll around the city ramparts at Kastellet. Immortalized by my sweetie friend Rasmus and his band, Magtens Korridorer, in their (hit!) song, "Picnic på Kastellet". Watch the vid here on youtube...enjoy! ;) 


Hope you have a wonderful Wednesday!
Pray for good weather! ;)

Tuesday, 27 April 2010

Tee-hee Tuesday! :)

If you've come here looking for Crafty Tuesday (which has been a weekly post on the blog since September last year) then please don't worry - it hasn't completely disappeared! (By the way, did you see last Tuesday's craft post? It was a round-up of everything I've done. So if you're itching to do a craft right now, you can find it right here.)

The Danish spring weather has brought out that 'need to move furniture around' feeling in me and, since DH (and, let's be honest, men in general) don't appreciate that kind of thing, I thought I would move the furniture around in here, my own little blog world :) From now on crafts and recipes will appear on Saturdays. Which makes more sense to me, because that's when the kids and I have more time to do those things. Maybe you too?

But what about Tuesdays, I hear you cry? Well, I'm thinking along the lines of 'Tee-hee Tuesday'. Because after a whirlwind start to my week with a long interval NEWO run and a Flylady WHB (weekly clean) on Mondays, I tend to come down with a bit of a bump on Tuesdays. And just like the Incredible Hulk, you won't like me when I'm angry! ;)

Victor Borge (the famous Danish entertainer) summed it up so well:
"Laughter is the shortest distance between two people."
So I'm going to share the things that make me smile and laugh. And especially tee-hee! ;)


For starters, here are three DVDs that make me laugh out loud. Perhaps I've mentioned them before? ;) They are my 'go to' DVDs for a quick smile fix.

Hope you have a teriff 'tee-hee' Tuesday! :)

    Monday, 26 April 2010

    Pamper Monday - Who's a little sweetie?

    Last week I was pampering my tootsies and - hooray, hooray - we've finally been rewarded with some spring weather, my new sandals have had an airing and the first daffs and tulips are shooting up in the garden before our very eyes :)



    But, as usual on a Monday, I've got another pamper idea for you up my sleeve. Or should I say in my handbag..?



    I'm not a huge fan of sweets (candy, for all you US peeps) but I love a little bit of chocolate and tend to go overboard - oopsie! I especially love chocolate in the afternoon or (for some reason) when I'm at a rock concert. I'm infamous in my circle of friends for producing a giant box of After Eights, a Tupperware box full of M+Ms or a cellophane bag full of homemade chocolate fudge when standing having a beer at the bar. Here's a little peek at what we'll be enjoying at tomorrow night's Ultravox concert ;)




    But have you tried this killer combo? Macadamia nuts and chocolate-covered raisins? I love that it combines sweet and salt, a sort of trail mix for grown-ups :)



    The kids have got some dinky little plastic lunch tubs which I've pinched borrowed for my sweet treats. Just enough room for a handful...




    I ended up with 9 tubs in all, so there'll be one in my handbag every day of the week. And a couple for 'emergencies' ;)



    The pamper message for this week? Remember to be nice to yourself because - just like rich good dark chocolate - a little goes a long way :) If you need more pamper ideas, I've got lots more of them here on the blog and the Flylady has a whole section on her website.

    Have a marvelous Monday! :)

    Sunday, 25 April 2010

    Scaredy Cat Challenge - The Flylady is coming! :)

    Dearest Flylady

    Fantastic news that you and the Flycrew are visiting Copenhagen as part of your 'Moving in May' virtual tour. I can't wait for you all to get here! Thanks to three years of Flylady routines and decluttering, my house is all ready for you and the crew. Though the basement is still a work in progress...not perfection! ;)

    My Scaredy Cat Challenge for the next few weeks is going to be whipping our garden into shape. Because when you come over we'll hopefully be sitting outside, enjoying the Danish spring, my very favourite season. Funnily enough, Missus Smarty Pants says that's the seasonal colours I look best in... I know Leslie loves scarves and shoes, so a shopping day in Copenhagen is definitely on the cards while you're here :)




    Just like my house, I'm going to get our garden ready 15 minutes at a time. I started off the Scaredy Cat Challenge this morning by mowing the lawn - it's the 'shiny sink' of my garden. It's quite a tough job (takes three 15 minute sessions) but I make it into a NEWO workout (I even wear my heart rate monitor) so it doesn't seem like so much of a chore.




    Talking of NEWO exercise, I'm looking forward to taking Jonathan on an interval run down to the beach at the end of our street. Has he seen the North sea before? It's so beautiful at 9am in the morning...




    But back to my garden... I found some bags of potting earth at the back of the garage (during a declutter session), so I'm going to plant lots of pansies and bulbs, so there'll be lots of colour when you get here.




    See the French balcony doors at the top of the house? That's the guestbedroom, where you'll be staying...




    Our guest bedroom is always 'company ready'. There are towels in the cupboard - just help yourself. There's also a hairdryer and straightening irons in there for the Dinner Diva, Leanne. I heard she had problems with those on her visit to Ireland... Normally when we have guests I make Parmesan Chicken (from her 'Saving Dinner' book) but I'll make some traditional Danish dishes for her to try :)

    Anyway, my work on the garden has started and I'm doing it the Flylady way. So now it's time for the most important thing you've taught me - maybe the hardest habit of all - 15 minutes of pamper time!




    See you all next month! Can't wait!

    Love
    Diane, Denmark
    PS: Tell Nikki that I'm taking her to The Tivoli Gardens, Denmark's famous attraction. We'll do all the rides (she likes rollercoasters, right?) and finish the evening with a rock concert! :)

    Saturday, 24 April 2010

    Cool as a Danish Cucumber Salad

    We've been out in the garden today - hanging up the hammock between our two big old apple trees (cooking and eating varieties) and just generally enjoying a spot of April sunshine...though it's still ch-chilly out there.




    If you saw my Thursday menu planning post, you'll know that our dinner tonight is one of DS10's favourites. He's been away at school camp and returned yesterday, complete with a bag full of dirty washing, earth and stones... ;) Dinner is Stegt Flæsk med Persillesovs. Which is pieces of thinly sliced belly pork - grilled in the oven until they are crispy (with a captital C) - and homemade parsley sauce. Boiled baby potatoes and probably some carrots too.

    I'm also making Agurkesalat (Danish cucumber salad). This is a classic Danish dish. Takes no more than five minutes to put together and is really good served with roast chicken and 'fatty' meats. Very delicate looking but gives a nice sharp balance.

    You'll need:
    • a small cucumber
    • 1dl, 100mls or 1/2 a cup of cold water
    • 1dl, 100mls or 1/2 a cup of white vinegar (don't use red or balsamic here)
    • about 3 tablespoons of sugar 
    • salt and pepper



    Slice the cucumber as finely as you can. I use my mandolin...watch those fingers!




    Put the cucumber slices in a dish. Now is a really good time to use one of those glass bowls you got as a wedding present, say, 12 years ago... :)




    Mix up the marinade - water, vinegar, sugar, a dash of salt and a good grind of pepper.




    Mix well until the sugar starts to dissolve.




    Pour over the cucumber slices and leave to sit for an hour before serving (in the fridge or on the kitchen counter - it's your choice). If you want a slightly softer salad, you can let it sit overnight in the fridge.




    I often add a dash chili flakes just before serving...not so much for a 'kick' but just to make it look pretty ;)




    And once again, before you can say 'Bob's your uncle!', we're done! Bon appétit or velbekomme, as we say around these parts.
    Have a super sunny Saturday! :)

    Friday, 23 April 2010

    Hey Mr DJ! - Part One

    DH and I have started the detailed planning for our Copper Anniversary in October. How many years have we been hitched? Em, that would be twelve and a half... For those not familiar with this quaint Danish custom of celebrating wedding anniversaries 12 years and 6 months after the fact, it's all explained in a previous blogpost - Those Crazy Danes (Part 4)




    The celebrations will include a big party and, of course, a professional DJ. And, as DH is  we're paying, we get to choose what he plays - he he! I'm putting together a list of essential tracks, which I'll add to my Flylady Copper Anniversary Control Journal. Lots of stuff from the 90s (when DH and I first met, aww), new hits and, naturally, some oldies but goldies. Guaranteed floorfillers, each and every one... But, as this list is only a starting point, please, please won't you feel free to chime in? Here are the first tunes that popped into my little head. Errors and exceptions (and country music) excluded! ;)

                * * * * * * * * *
    War - Low Rider
    Gil Scott Heron - The Bottle
    Curtis Mayfield - Move on Up
    Rose Royce - Car Wash
    Sugar Hill Gang - Rapper's Delight
    John Paul Young - Love is in the Air
    Oliver Cheatham - Saturday Night
    Blondie - Heart of Glass, Atomic
    Dead or Alive - You Spin Me Round
    Black Box - Ride on Time
    Bizarre Inc - Playing with Knives
    C+C Music Factory - Gonna Make you Sweat
    The KLF - 3am Eternal
    Snap - The Power
    Depeche Mode - Enjoy the Silence, Personal Jesus
    Crystal Waters - Gypsy Woman
    Moby - Go
    Edwyn Collins - Girl Like You
    Dee-Lite - Groove is in the Heart
    Inner City - Good Life
    Faithless - Insomnia
    Bech - Loser
    Oasis - Cigarettes + Alcohol
    New Order - Blue Monday
    Everything But the Girl - Missing
    Stereo Mcs - Connected
    Culture Beat - Mr Vain
    Haddaway - What is Love
    De la Soul - Me Myself and I
    Blur - Boys and Girls
    EMF - Unbelievable
    Deee-Lite - Groove is in the Heart
    Corona - Rhythm of the Night
    Michael Jackson - Thriller, Billie Jean
    House of Pain - Jump Around
    Jamiroquai - Cosmic Girl
    George Michael - Star People, Flawless
    Mylo vs. Miami Sound Machine - Dr Pressure
    Kent - FF
    Justin Timberlake - Sexy Back
    Madonna - Vogue, Hung Up
    Beyoncé - Crazy in Love
    Blackeyed Peas - I Gotta Feeling
    Calvin Harris - Acceptable in the 80s
    Calvin Harris + Dizzee Rascal - Dance Wiv Me
    David Guetta (feat. Kelly Rowland) - When Love Takes Over
    David Guetta - Memories
    Agnes - Release Me

             * * * * * * * *

    Have a fabulous Friday...see you on the dancefloor - mind you don't step on my handbag! ;)

    Thursday, 22 April 2010

    Menu planning - Thursday 22 April 2010

    DS10 is away at school camp...

    ...which means that
    • DD8 gets to choose the menu while he's away (and sleep in his room)
    • we'll have DS10's favourite food when he's back ;)
    The menu this week is still fairly heavy because the spring weather is keeping us guessing. Yesterday we had hail, sleet and snow. Here's a picture of the hail in our garden. The stone underneath the bench reads "Vi er i haven" (We're in the garden). Hmm, fat chance visitors to the house will find us out there any time soon ;) But, as usual, I digress!

     



    So without further ado, here's the men-u!

     
    THURSDAY
    • Fish fingers from a box [cringe], at DD8's special request. We normally make our own 'fingers' from real fish - which she loves - but she thinks the boxed ones are exotic as we've only had them three or four times! DH and I are having salmon wrapped in puff pastry. Also from a box... Will serve with spinach salad and brown rice (from the ricecooker) for a healthier meal :)

     
    FRIDAY
    • Homemade pizza made with spelt flour. I usually make the dough by hand but might try it out in my new breadmachine! :)

     
    SATURDAY
    • Stegt Flæsk med Persillesovs. Which is Danish for thin slices of belly pork grilled within an inch of their lives until crisp, fresh parsley sauce, baby potatoes. And probably steamed carrots (done in the ricecooker, on top of the potatoes).

     
    SUNDAY

     
    MONDAY
    • I love to use my crockpot on Mondays because, after going out for a 5k run in the morning followed by my Flylady 1 hour weekly clean (take a look and don't look back!!), it's nice to be able to serve up something from the pot. Will make a chicken curry, no set recipe, just chicken breasts, coconut milk, curry paste etc. Nan bread, mango chutney from a jar and basmati rice cooked in...the rice cooker ;) 
    TUESDAY
    • Scout night, so always quick n' easy. And tonight it needs to be super easy because DH and I are out to see Ultravox! :) Dinner will be Danish Biksemad: fried cubed potatoes, beef, onions, topped with a fried egg, served with ketchup or brown HP sauce and cubed beetroot. 


     
    WEDNESDAY
    •  Pork chops, breaded and served with the usual suspects...gratin dauphinois (see my own shortcut recipe right here) and peas.
    That's it - hope you have a thoroughly thrilling Thursday! :)

    Wednesday, 21 April 2010

    Those crazy Danes - Recycled!

    In honour of Earth Day tomorrow - 22 April 2010 - I'm doing some recycling today...a blogpost! Though truth to tell, it's really because I've been running around all day and, with DS10 now off at school camp, I'm going to be far too busy having a 'Cosy Night' with DD8 to write a whole new post... ;)

    I often read my own blog (is that terrible to admit to liking your own work?!) and this one always gives me a giggle. And as it's Wednesday here on the blog - the day when you get to learn something exciting about Denmark or those crazy Danes - I think it fits the bill nicely.

    This particular post is from 14 August 2009...when my blog was just two weeks old, aww! Can you believe I've been posting every day since?

    Enjoy and hope you have a wonderful Wednesday! :)

                  * * * * * * * * * *

                  FIRST PUBLISHED: 14 AUGUST 2009

    I've mentioned that the Danes are very liberal. They are also very down-to-earth and very plain spoken. Though certainly not rude. Or, at least, they don't mean to be.


    So I feel it's my duty to warn potential visitors to Denmark about elevator buttons. I took this picture today at Copenhagen Central Station (platform 10). There are two buttons on the exterior of the elevator. The literal English translation of the first button is "in motion", the second is "to here". But I'll let you see for yourself...

    Tuesday, 20 April 2010

    Crafty Tuesday - Round 'em up!

    It's Crafty Tuesday, the day I share something you can make in the safety of your own homes. Something to make with the kids, something that uses bits n' bobs you probably have lying around, something that...shouldn't take more than the golden Flylady 15 minutes to make! :)

    There are a lot of new readers to the blog...welcome everybody, welcome! [she shrilled à la Muzzy in Thoroughly Modern Millie] So I thought it was time for another roundup of all the things we've made since... September - wow, I've been quite the busy bee! ;)

    Don't be put off by the seasonal decorations (Easter, Christmas, etc). They can often be adapted for other occasions by, for example, changing the colours from red to, say, yellow. And, as we're still suffering (at least here in Europe) from the fallout of the Icelandic volcano eruption, maybe you might want to take a closer look at my Homemade Volcano post? ;)

    Are you ready? Set? Here we go!
    Festive Plants
    Garlands
    Halloween 1 (Skeleton Hands and Ghost Cupcakes)
    Halloween 2 (Ghost Lollies and Pumpkin Stones)
    Halloween 3 (Spiders Webs and Snuggly Spiders)
    Halloween 4 (Flying Ghosts)
    Hearts
    Homemade Volcano
    Nappy Cake
    Nifty Noticeboard
    (Hand and Foot) Reindeer
    (Decorate with) Serviettes
    Shaky Cards
    Silly Snowmen (and Snowladies)
    Thingumyjigs
    Window Dressing


    Have a terrif' Tuesday! :)

    Monday, 19 April 2010

    Pamper Monday - Best Foot Forward!

    Welcome back to another week and another Pamper Monday! Is it hotting up where you are? It's certainly been sunny in Copenhagen this last week. Alas, the heat is dragging its feet. So - on that note, boom boom! - this week I'm going to focus on pampering my pins!

    Here are my brand new, metallic strappy sandals. I needed a new, fairly flat pair for pottering around in, and these are going to be great with all my white and silver/grey things for summer. (I already have two pairs of high-heeled Ecco sandals, the same model in two colours, that I love!) And, yes, they have zips at the back - just like the ones Missus Smarty Pants bought! You can see her gladiator sandals here :)




    Have the shoes. Now the legs... I had a nice long shower yesterday morning and followed it up with some fake tan, especially on my feet and toes. And then applied some nice dark purple nail varnish on my toenails. Do you remember my Scaredy Cat Challenge at the end of January when I got myself a professional pedicure? You can read it here, Twinkle Toes. Well, that one session gave me a really good base to start on and I've been applying foot lotion etc (which I got for Christmas) almost every night since. So I'm almost good to go!




    All we need now is the heat... Here's DD8 at 7.30am this morning. I actually had to go and dig out our gloves (which I had just put down in the basement) for the bike ride to school - yikes, it was chilly!




    But I can't go wandering around in big boots until it heats up outside can I? So I was 'forced' to get these too. And if you read yesterday's Scaredy Cat Challenge - Declutter Time 2 - don't worry, lots of old pairs of shoes have already been flung ;)


    Have a marvelous Monday. Best foot forward! :)

    Sunday, 18 April 2010

    Scaredy Cat Challenge - Declutter Time 2

    In last Sunday's Scaredy Cat Challenge post (read it here) I said I would (please excuse the pun) fling myself head first into decluttering. Monday to Friday - 15 minutes a day - the Flylady and the Flylady timer by my side... How did I get on?




    Basement, Cupboard
    Can you imagine the anguish that a travel iron caused? A travel iron that has been used about, um, 5 times. But it was a 21st birthday present...aaaagh, that makes it 21 years old! Complete with a British plug (so it needs an adaptor, unless you're spending your holidays in sunny Blackpool). I think what made it so hard to say 'goodbye' to this treasure was the dinky little water jug that came with it...




    But out it went [sigh...] together with old vases, kitchen utensils and crockery ;)

    Basement, Clothes in storage
    This actually went really well. I hadn't got round to decluttering (or my 6minute NEWO strength train) during the day and was feeling sooooo tired in the evening. But I set my trusty timer for 5 minutes and thought, "Okay, okay! 5 minutes and I'll stop!" Ended up doing 15 minutes and my NEWO! Talk about a clear conscience?! :) I've really been missing the feeling that I got when I first started with the Flylady and humungous amounts of junk were flying out the door. So can you imagine how I felt when, in just that one session, I managed to fill a huge bag with kids things that don't fit/seasonal clothes etc. I 'heart' the power of 15 minutes!



    Living Room, Chest
    This big, ole chest of drawers belonged to DH's dad's family and is great for storage but needs careful policing if it's not to turn into a veritable hot spot of clutter.




    Two 15 minute sessions = two drawers. One filled with linen tablecloths, the other with paper serviettes and candles. Vital ingredients in Danish 'cozy-ness'.




    I decided to move the seasonal serviettes (Easter, Christmas etc) ones down to the basement ;)




    During the course of the week I also managed to zap another couple of hotspots (filing, paperwork) and do Flylady Kelly's daily missions (flinging bathroom junk like old makeup and medicines). So, although it didn't feel like much at the time, I can see now that I write it down here on virtual paper that it all adds up. Funny that! ;)

    Overall? Things have been easier to find. The place feels cleaner. I've been less tempted to buy more junk - ha! So next week I'm going to do the same again. And I promise not to focus on the scales but the other subtle changes that decluttering brings. Want to join in this time around? Or do you have another Scaredy Cat Challenge of your own? Well come on down and join in...add your blog with the MckLinky below. We're here to hold hands and cheer each other on! (You might want to make some cheerleader baton-thingies?)

    Have a super Sunday! :)