August 31, 2016

Thrift shopping

I could make thrift shopping and flea marketing a hobby. While I'm not big on buying anything unless it has a purpose, I do love looking at things and occasionally finding a few gems.

When I first moved to Norway I was convinced these places didn't exist. It turns out my husband was just the wrong person to ask. Many thrift shops go by the name of gjenbrukt and often people advertise for their own personal garage sales as well as school fundraising in the form of a flea market. There are also Fretex stores scattered about for people to purchase used items from. The word antique in Norwegian is antikk, very similar to its English cousin's word antique.

One thing I love collecting is foreign coins. I've been collecting them since I was a little girl. So of course this is one thing I try to look out for when I am at a flea market. I was pleasantly surprised the day I went to a flea market for a school fundraiser this year. I brought my daughter with me and she wanted a toy cash register. I bought it for her and when we came home and she hit the "cash" button she shouted, "Mamma! MONEY!" There was a mixture of play money and real Icelandic money and a euro.

Mainly I just buy things for Pia when I'm thrifting. I've found a nicely used dress for her earlier this summer for about 10 kroner or $1.50 USD. 


Another thing I found earlier this month at a Red Cross thrift store in Denmark was this little green mirror. I only paid 35 Danish kroner for it, which is about 45 Norwegian kroner or a little over $5. I thought it would be a nice addition to my daughter's playroom so she can look at herself as she's playing dress up.

These are a few of my summer finds at thrift stores. It is quite possible to enjoy thrifting and antiquing in Skien, as well as other cities. As you can tell, like every other parent out there, I mostly buy things for the kid. It's only when something really catches my eye that I splash out pocket change at a thrift store.

June 17, 2016

Strawberry Fields

Aside from warmth and sunlight, the other thing I mostly look forward to during the Norwegian summer is the strawberries. Norwegian strawberries are the best. This is simply a fact. No matter what the Danes say or the Swedes for that matter. Norwegian strawberries are the best in the world. Hands down.

I've had a major strawberry craving the past couple of days which is what has inspired me to write this post. 9 bowls of strawberries later (no exaggeration) and here I am writing about my love of Norway's sweet strawberries.

It's hard to describe a taste, isn't it? The strawberries I grew up eating as a child needed to have a bit of sugar on them as they were a bit sour alone. The strawberries here however are really sweet as they take longer to ripen. The whole inside of the strawberry is red in color. Often they're eaten with vanilla sauce. It's really the best thing since sunlight.

Aside from buying norske jordbær (Norwegian strawberries) at the store, I now have around 20 strawberry plants around the garden. I really look forward to picking the ripened berries soon.

Have a great summer, dearest blog readers! :-)

The vanilla sauce we use here as well as a delicious bowl of strawberries. NOM! 

February 28, 2016

Trip Planning

It's that time of year again. I'm counting down until our next America trip. Our tickets are bought, our rental car and hotels have been ordered as we have decided to only take one flight a day. After all we are travelling with a toddler.

I'm racking my brain with lists. A list for what to entertain the kid with on the flight. A list for what to pack. A list for what to buy in America. A list for what we shouldn't forget. The rest my husband takes care of. Where to go, what to do and so on.

Luckily, I planned on this blog post a year ago so I have already prepared this Trip Planning post in pictures.

First, Packing:

I like to pack very lightly on our way to the U.S.

I also fit our carry on bags inside the suitcases. 
Inside that I have gifts for the year to family. Birthdays, Mother's & Father's Day and Christmas. 
I don't like to spend unnecessary money on shipping to the U.S. so it makes sense to have the gifts prepared and packaged for my family to open throughout the year. :-) 

In case our luggage gets lost, we do have some clothes in the "plus one" bags we take on the plane with us. The airport gives out diapers, toiletries, baby food, etc in case your luggage is lost or in our case last year, our luggage was forwarded while our plane was so delayed we spent a night in Newark. 

To demonstrate how much space is in a standard suitcase, I decided to fit myself in one.

The Piazilla climbed in too. 

See! I fit almost perfectly. 

This almost makes me cringe because I want no part of fashion on my blog, BUT
I carefully planned out the outfits I packed.
Again, I pack very lightly on the way to America.
Here is Pia's going away outfit. I thought it was cute and fitting. :-) 

Pia's going away outfit. Leggings, shirt, cardigan and a fleece suit. 

This is how lightly I pack my clothes on the way to America.
I buy more clothes when we're there, so there's no need to pack a lot.
This year I HOPE to do differently.
I just cleaned out our closet and found so many clothes I didn't even know I had.
I don't need to buy so many clothes this year.
(I will repeat this to myself over and over and over again when we go shopping.) 

My going away outfit.
Shirt, cardigan, jeans and a hoodie. 

Pia's clothes I packed for her. I think I overpacked because my family
also enjoys buying her clothes. I won't pack this much this time around.

And for our upcoming trip, I wanted some sort of organization for laundry
and whatnot. So I found these at our local Princess store for Smykker (Jewelry, which
I don't wear, but will use to store Pia's hairbows) Sko (Shoes) and Undertøy (Underwear).

Second, Entertaining the kid: 

I DO NOT look forward to being trapped in a flying steel cylinder over the Atlantic ocean with a bored, tired, confused toddler.  I'd rather hug a cactus quite frankly.
I'm still very new at this and I still have no idea what I'm doing. 
Traveling last year was a bit disastrous on the plane. Pia cried a lot. A LOT. She refused to sleep on any flight we were on. She screamed. She didn't understand what was going on. And she even grabbed coffee creamer and squirted it in the big burly man's beard sitting next to us. 
However, I'm hoping it will go smoother this year as she's older, she talks and she understands more. One can hope. :-) 

The on the plane entertainment supply.
Felt Mr. and Mrs. Potato Head. 

This year I want to be prepared. Really prepared. I've packed her backpack with coloring books and new crayons, a magnet book, hand puppets, Peppa Pig toys, Little People, her Peppa Pig headphones and we will bring the tablet for a source of entertainment. 

Like I said, I'm not here to advise on how to entertain kids on a plane because I'm not so great at it. I am pretty great at having a kid scream their head off on a plane though! ;-) These are just some methods of entertainment that I can only hope lasts at least 2 of the 8 hours of our longest flight. 

Third, The America Shopping List: 

Throughout the year I usually realize I wish I had bought this or that product in the U.S. and feel like kicking myself because it's nowhere to be found. 

My shopping list generally looks something like this: 
As many Reese's as I can pack 

Knorr Pasta sides
Tylenol Cold and Flu
Chloraseptic throat lozenges and throat spray
Pumpkin Spice
And a long list of books in English for myself and Pia
Jeans (Being 4'10" it's nearly impossible to find jeans that fit in Norway)

Before our trip, I print off coupons and use them. Mostly because I miss using coupons, but also because saving money makes me feel like I'm beating the system. ;-) 

Fourth, Gift Buying for Family and Friends: 

I buy birthday, Mother's/ Father's Day and Christmas presents for the next year and wrap the presents to bring to the U.S. This saves on the ridiculous shipping prices. 

While I can't say what I have bought, I will say it's interesting to buy some typical Norwegian things. Everyone loves Norwegian chocolate! Some like salty licorice. Trolls are interesting. Poul Pava design is fun. It's also convenient living close to Porsgrunn Porselen. For the most part, I have Pia make gifts for her American family.  

So there you have it! This is at least my part of trip planning in a nutshell! I'm very much  looking forward to my next America trip!

January 20, 2016


I'm a bit disappointed in myself for not writing as frequently as I used to. I think the reason being I feel more integrated now. Life is just happening and everything is falling into place. I'm settled. Of course that doesn't mean I still don't feel like a bit of an outsider. I don't totally feel like I fit in. I feel like I'm in more of a limbo. I feel like if I were to move back to the United States I'd miss Norway and while I'm here in Norway I miss the United States. My brain is still always churning cultural differences between the two countries. And not a day goes by that I don't complain about how tiny and illogical Norwegian parking spaces are. But more to my point, life has just been happening in my neck of the woods. I have promised myself today I will be lazy and just stop for a bit and write. So I am. :-)

Refleks is a tiny, but important part of your mørketid (dark time) clothing choice. As many people have places to go by walking, or just getting out and enjoying some fresh air, it's extremely smart for one's safety to wear refleks. As shared below are some informative videos on refleks.

Informative video on refleks
Du lyser ikke i mørket
Kjenner du noen som skal ut og gå i kveld, så send dem denne.Del gjerne, for dette er enkelt, men det redder liv.Hvor mange så du?
Posted by NRK Møre og Romsdal on Sunday, November 22, 2015
Refleks on my arm and leg while outside running. 

And even refleks on the stroller. 

November 10, 2015

Autumn Decor

A few weeks ago I was introduced to BloomNation - a flower delivery service and was inspired to share some of my own ideas of how I as an expatriate use my own cultural background in my personal decorating with my blog readers.

My husband and I bought our first house last year. When I first moved here to Norway and moved into his apartment I never had the feeling of fully being in my own place. It just felt like I moved into my husband's bachelor pad. Of course I did change a few things, but once we bought our own home I felt like I could completely let loose and feel like our new house was my blank canvas. I do whatever I set my mind to as far as decorating my home - inside and out.

I do like having a bit of American-ism in my decorating. I really love primitives as can be seen in my kitchen. When in America, I enjoy finding primitive decor and bringing it back to my home in Norway. For example, I have a sign in my kitchen I bought from Tennessee that says, "When mama ain't happy, ain't nobody happy." I incorporate milk cans, milk jugs, the head of a rake (to hang potholders and wine glasses), and my own homemade crafts in my home decorating.

Fall is one of my favorite seasons to decorate for. I love the colors and I enjoy the autumn holidays. With Thanksgiving coming up I needed to decorate with what I have for the festivity. As seen below is my current dinner table decoration.

As pictured: Milkcan bought from
Cotton stems (I twisted 5 small ones together to get one large one)
purchased from Søstrene Grene 3 kr a piece.
Burlap banner with Happy Thanksgiving painted on it.
Pumpkins and leaves bought from Nille
Milk bottles from Clas Ohlsen
Artificial flowers ordered from

Lately I've been trying to use what I can find to help decorate for Thanksgiving. Luckily I make a lot of crafts because being an American living in Norway, I have found nothing with a turkey on it. No surprise there!

Feel free to check out BloomNation on Pinterest and also their own site for some decor inspiration!

August 16, 2015

Berry picking

Why buy berries in the late summer when you can pick them yourself? 

Last fall, my husband and I bought our first home and we now have a spectacular view of the woods. Our daughter has recently discovered the joy of picking raspberries and now that she knows she is welcome to her own free buffet of raspberries, I'm often dragged into the woods by a wild 2 year old shouting, "Here, Mamma!" as soon as we reach the raspberry bushes. 

Picking berries in late summer is a popular thing for the Viking people to do in the untamed Nordic wilderness. ;-) I often see others picking blueberries or raspberries along the forest, or wherever else wild berry bushes can be found. 

My berry sweet partner in berry picking. 

Blueberries picked from my back yard, not the forest. :-)

Wild raspberries.

This was my first time making raspberry jam. :-) 

July 29, 2015

The matpakke

A staple in Norwegian life is the matpakke. An openface sandwich with cheese, leverpostei, or other forms of pålegg (the wonderful word that basically means all types of food you can place on bread) is what a matpakke consists of. 
Bread + pålegg + waxpaper + bread + pålegg + waxpaper 
and continue.

 Simple as that. :-)
The matpakke is brought to work, to the forest, to barnehage and school, to the park, etc. 

A complete matpakke.
2 sandwiches made of polarbrød (the bread of the northern folk) to be shared between me and my little girl. 

Extra food for another matpakke box.
Fruit snacks brought from USA, a banana and a can of leverpostei.

The matpakke is such a large part of Norwegian society that children bring them to school on a daily basis as warm lunches we are so accustomed to in the United States aren't served in Norway.

The typical lunch drink of choice is milk, but also a thermos of saft is acceptable as well.

A walk in the woods. It's the perfect time to put a matpakke to good use.
To be completely typisk norsk (typical Norwegian), bring a Kvikk Lunsj candy bar as a snack. ;-)