Flashback Post: June 29, 2010

In my last post I shared that June 29 is a special day for us: one of several special days we remember as a family united through adoption.

I thought some of you might enjoy taking a look at our blog post from June 29, 2010, as we revealed our son to our friends and family for the first time. He has really grown a lot in four years!

CLICK HERE to read our post from four years ago yesterday.

Four years ago, a family of four

We took his picture four years ago, on a very hot but very happy day in Mariupol Ukraine.

Four years ago, a judge said yes and we were legally a family of four. Not gotcha day as we still had to wait before we busted Elvis out of Graceland (long story, but longtime readers will remember the Elvis talk!), but a special day nonetheless.

Our neighbors to the East

We are enjoying a short visit to Stockholm. We are spending some time with colleagues, and being tourists as well.
I’ll write more later, but here are a few pics from the phone for now. What a fun city!
The Nordica museum is cool. We visited it last year. If nothing else, it’s worth it to check out the beautiful architecture.
We are always looking for free things to do. The Vasa Museum was not one of them. But if you are going to pay for only one thing, this should be it. Very cool.
One of our favorite things to do in a new city is simply strolling up and down the streets. So many beautiful things to see, and especially on a very mild summer day.
Of course we’ve been checking out coffee shops. Drop Coffee Roasters knows their stuff. Highly recommended.
Another gorgeous view.


A kid-free night, thanks to our colleagues! We walked all over Stockholm for a long time. We really enjoy the small streets and shops of Gamla Stan.

P.S. The bracelets are from Agapao Inc. You can check them out and learn more about #loveinaction at http://www.agapaoinc.com.

And you can buy these and other cool Agapao Inc items at http://www.agapaostore.com.

It’s a Little Known Fact #wheniwasyounger

I guess I’m dating myself using that title. Of course, if you immediately thought of Cliff Clavin when you read it, you are admitting your age as well 🙂

I have had some pretty cool opportunities in my life so far. Here are some interesting things – aka little know facts – you might not know about me…
I’ve placed a wreath on the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at Arlington National Cemetery.
  • I’ve been interviewed on both local news and a national television show about university opportunities via the internet.
  • I met Hillary Rodham Clinton in the First Lady’s Rose Garden.
  • I was once an action hero (not quite, but there was a character on a TV show with my maiden name – http://soldiersofthefuture.wikia.com/wiki/Jennifer_Chase)
  • Zack and I were ‘models’ for a bridal and formal wear shop on a local TV show
  • I’ve been on the cover of a magazine.
You’ll have to take me at my word for most of these, as they were pre-digital cameras and the photos are back in the states. But I do have proof of the last one. Here I am, cover model at age 3 1/2 for a local cable television magazine 🙂
I would love to hear some of our readers’ little-known-facts!
Have a great weekend!

Pinterest, and a few of our favorite things

Sometimes the blog becomes my spot for confession.You may recall that in the past I’ve shared my strong attraction to things like

  • Coffee (read that here. and here.)
  • Pizza (read about that here. and here.)
  • Chocolate (read about that here)
And now it’s time to admit one more. I’m here to share that I am addicted to really like Pinterest. A lot.
Pinterest has been our source for a lot of new meals, home remedies, restaurant copycat recipes, and homemade versions of things I can’t find in Norway. I’ve learned to improvise on things we miss from the states, and find healthy alternatives to some of our favorites. And of course, the occasional guilty pleasure is included as well!
One of my Pinterest boards is entitled Pinterest Success, where I save all the things that have received positive reviews from some pretty tough critics…
I thought I’d share a few of of our favorites, and ask if you have any Pinterest success stories to share.
Our Top Five Favorite Pinterest Finds, in no particular order
  1. Avocado Chicken Burgers: we all love avocados. And chicken. So this was a no-brainer. I didn’t have any breadcrumbs so I made some using a couple of slices of my homemade bread (see item #3 below). These were great!
  2. No-mayo Tuna Salad: Zack and I like tuna, but we don’t like mayo. Because of this, we’d never made tuna salad. But thanks to this great recipe, we make it often and really enjoy it!
  3. Peasant Bread: like I’ve talked about in a previous post (here), I make most of our bread from scratch these days. And peasant bread is my go-to recipe. I bake it in a bread pan instead of a bowl, and I change up the types of flour or throw in some seeds or herbs, depending on what’s on hand.
  4. No-yeast No-rise Cinnamon Rolls: here’s one of those guilty pleasures I mentioned. These are not at all healthy (although I do replace some of the white flour with whole wheat). But they are incredible!
  5. Sloppy Joes on Cornbread Waffles: I’m now learning there are lots of non-traditional ways to use your waffle iron. But our first adventure was a HUGE hit with the whole family. I made a healthy sloppy joe mix, with lots of diced veggies and ground chicken. Then we put that on top of waffles made with corn bread batter. Delicious!
What are some of your favorites – or maybe even disasters – from Pinterest?
Here are a just few Pinterest-inspired projects and recipes we’ve tried over the last couple of years…
Easter bunnies & Easter chicks
Coffee filter snowflakes
Paper chain Christmas trees
Peanut butter & jelly muffins
Grinch Christmas cookies
Homemade black bean burgers on
homemade wholewheat buns
Cranberry Sauce
Oven-grilled burgers on homemade buns
No-yeast No-rise cinnamon rolls
Peasant bread

Norwegian Strawberries: what do you think?

It’s that time of year again. The stands are popping up all over the city. Just in front of the mall, in fact, you can find two set up right next to each other.
A price war in the making, perhaps?
Yes, it’s time for Norwegian strawberries again. And people here seem to be quite serious about them. Countless times, we’ve been told of the far-superior berries grown in Norway.
Don’t get me wrong: they are good. Maybe it’s just my inexperienced palette – but I can’t really taste a difference between them and the strawberries we can buy at the grocery stores.
So while many around us are snatching up local berries for 35 – 50 kroner per basket (prices are continuing to drop as supply has greatly increased the last few days), we were happy to buy the Belgian berries at our local Kiwi last week for 18 kroner for a basket.
So to our friends who live in Norway…
What do you think? Can you taste a big difference? Do you spend a little more to get the Norwegian fruit? Are we missing out?

To Zack, on Father’s Day

American Father’s Day is today. Kind of hard for us to celebrate really big because 1) we have to attend Daniel’s end of the year class party this afternoon, 2) It’s not Father’s Day in Norway, and 3) Zack doesn’t like us to make a big deal of things for him.
But I will say this: he is a fantastic dad and I love the way he encourages, equips, leads and provides for our family, and particularly for our boys.Zack, we are thankful for you, we love you, and we hope you have a great day!


Living at the beach

Fifteen minutes. I timed it. That’s how long it takes for us to drive to our favorite beach.
Sections of rock, sections of sand – lots of beauty

Zack and I have never been the kind of folks who live for the beach. We don’t look forward to endless hours laying in the sand. It’s just not our thing. A short trip to the beach and we’re happy, and ready to move on.

And yet, if you pay for a beach vacation, and take the time to drive several hours to the beach (as was always the case when we lived in Georgia), then there is a sense of obligation. You feel like you need to spend a lot of time there.

But ah, the beautiful thing about living in a beach town: it’s quite easy to spend an hour on the beach and not feel like it was a waste of effort.

We’re learning to keep a few things close to the door (beach towels, sunscreen, beach toys), a few things on hand in the kitchen (lomper, sprøstekt løk, pølse, chips, snacks, engangsgrill), and a few things in the car (fishing net, picnic blanket).

William & an engangsgrill (one-use grill)

So if the mood hits and the weather and schedule come allow, we can be ready to go at the drop of a hat.

And if we get there and decide were bored after an hour, it’s no big deal!

The one major drawback? Sand. Everywhere. But I guess I can live with it.

Pizza. Summer. Life is good.

We made pizza for dinner tonight.

That’s not so unusual. We do that a lot. Really. A LOT. Yeah, we love pizza.
You know what made it even better? Check out what I’m wearing: shorts and no sleeves! Summer has arrived and the weather has been great. It reached around 26 C / 79 F today! We’ve even had a number of afternoon showers and thunder storms, much like we would have in Georgia.
Only a week and a half of school stands between us and our official start to summer, we are ready!