torsdag 29. desember 2016

Writing a Five Year Plan

The years between finishing high school and starting at university was basically a big mess, going from job to job and sometimes being unemployed (NOT fun) and I honestly felt I was only existing, not living. It was only when I found out I had ADD and non-verbal learning disorder I saw a tiny light in the end of the tunnel. A bigger light came when I finally got accepted into university for an undergrad degree, majoring in English language and literature.

For the first time in YEARS I could finally look a bit ahead and not just day by day/month by month. I also finally got a bit of a hope that I could actually achieve something. Now I'm in my final year at my undergrad degree and I've written the first draft of a five year plan, starting in 2017, so that I can work a bit more on myself, which I felt that I was unable to do during the years inbetween high school and university.

Some of my goals on my five year plan includes finishing my undergrad degree (obviously), take a couple of Coursera courses, get CELTA certified, get a (permanent) job and keep it, write/publish a novel, volunteer, save cash for an MA degree, and obtain a driver's license (even at the age of 28 I still don't have it).

I might sound a bit ludacris, but before starting at university, I felt as if I was in a limbo state and that I now finally can allow myself to dream and have goals for my future. I think a lot of people could potentially benefit from writing a five year plan so they feel that they have something to work towards, especially if they are in a similar situation I was in earlier.

A couple of blog posts that I found helpful writing my five year plan was this one and this one.

Have you written a five year plan or have been thinking about writing one? Regardless of the answer, never be afraid to dream (big).

tirsdag 20. desember 2016

Making a Home; Round Up of Christmas Gifts in a Jar

Christmas is soon upon us and if you need any ideas for some last minute gifts, this blog post might help you with that. I find Christmas gifts in a jar a pretty cute idea and many of them is suitable for a low budget. Personally I feel that it's not the amount of money you spend on a gift that matter, but the thought behind it, and honestly, why spend a lot of cash on a gift you're not even sure the reciever will like?

Here is a little round up of gifts in a jar ideas;
Keep Warm Kit Gift Jar
Tea Time Mason Jar Gifts
101 Gifts in Jars Recipes
Mason Jar Christmas Gift Idea
Christmas in Jars - Linky Party
5 Colourful Handmade Mason Jar Christmas Gift Ideas
Reindeer Noses Mason Gift Jars
10 Ideas for Handmade Hifts in a Jar
51 Christmas Gift in a Jar Ideas
5 DIY Baked Gifts in a Jar With Free Printable Recipe Tags

Do you guys have any great gifts in a jar ideas to recommend? Feel free to post it in a comment. Also, if you need any more inspiration on gift ideas in general, feel free to check out my Christmas gifts board on Pinterest.

torsdag 15. desember 2016

Thirsty Thursday; Slow Cooker Gingerbread Latte

It's less than two weeks to Christmas (where on Earth did the time go?) and yesterday I had a craving for slow cooker latte. I ended up making it a bit Christmassy; I made a gingerbread variety. I think this one could be suitable for Christmas parties as well, as it is gingerbread-flavoured and it doesn't take any space at the stove top, you only need to have in mind how many you're serving, and adjust the measurements accordingly.

Slow Cooker Gingerbread Latte
Yields 3-4 (depending on the mug etc)
1 liter milk
1 dl maple syrup
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1 tea spoon ground ginger
1 tea spoon vanilla sugar
2 cinnamon sticks
1/2 tea spoon whole cloves
Pinch of nutmeg
5 dl strongly brewed coffee
Gingerbread cookies for garnish (optional)

Add all the ingredients (apart from the gingerbread cookies) in the slow cooker and put it on high setting for around 2 hours or until heated through. When serving, use a sieve so you don't end up having cinnamon sticks or whole cloves in the coffee.

tirsdag 13. desember 2016

Making a Home; Recipe for Lussekatter

In Norway and Sweden, it is a tradition celebrating Saint Lucy Day (or Santa Lucia as she is called in Norwegian) on December 13th. 

One of my earliest memories of that day was the procession my kindergaten had at the local primary school where we was dressed up in white gowns/cloaks singing the song "Santa Lucia" while handing out "Lussekatter", a Christmas cookie/treat. Also, one lucky kid at kindergarten had the honour to be "Lucia", wearing the light crown and walking in front of the actual procession (I never got the chance, and I'm still a bit bummed over it, because I remember I desperately wanted to).

Here's a video showing the song and the procession (though not with Lussekatter).

Since I'm anyway writing a post about Santa Lucia and Lussekatter, I wanted to share with you a recipe for, you guessed it, Lussekatter.

1 kg all purpose flour
5 dl whole milk
150 grams white sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cardamom powder
1 gram saffron (can be substituted for 1/2 teaspoon tumeric)
2 eggs, one for the dough and one for brushing the cookies
50 grams fresh yeast (one one sachet dry yeast)
150 grams melted butter, cooled a bit down
Raisins for decoration (optional)

Mix the saffron, egg and the yeast in the milk. Mix all other (dry) ingredients in a bowl. First add the milk mixture in the bowl and blend it a bit before adding the melted butter, so you don't end up with scrambled eggs in the dough.

Let the dough rise for around 45 minutes, and then cut the dough up in small pieces and make figures as pictures showed here. Let the lussekatter rest/rise for another 45 minutes on a baking sheet. Before placing them in the pre-heated oven, brush them with the remaining egg and decorate with raisins. Preheat the oven to 200 degrees Celcius. Put them in the oven for around 8 to 10 minutes.

mandag 12. desember 2016

Menu Plan Monday Week 50

New week and therefore it is probably time for a new Menu Plan Monday post, thanks to the lovely blogger Laura at I'm an Organizing Junkie. This week is my first full week of Christmas break, as I had my last final oral exam on Wednesday (and I've already got the result; I got C.).

At the moment I'm having a bit of trying to use some of the stuff that I've already got in my pantry, freezer and so on, just to try and clear some space, esp. considering that I ordered something from, a Norwegian brick-and-mortar AND online store for overstock groceries and soon past the expiration date, yet still edible/usable goods (yay for ordering 30 packs of noodles for 19 cents a piece, or $5,79 total, which is basically a great bargain when you're a student in Norway. Come on, it's dinner for a month under $6).

I'll probably write a very own post about after I've picked up the package at the post office. Now, over to write about what I was supposed to write about, this week's menu plan.

Here it is;
Monday; Leftovers from Sunday
Tuesday; Fish Fingers
Wednesday; Spaghetti Bolognese
Thursday; Leftovers from Wednesday
Friday; Fish Fingers
Saturday; Thai Red Curry Soup
Sunday; Fish Fingers

Other; I will probably make Slow Cooker Spiced Mulled Wine.

Do you have a menu plan for this week/month?

torsdag 8. desember 2016

Christmas Gifts That Give More

Has everyone started the shopping for Christmas gifts, started to think about them, or are you like me, who is already finished? Finding the "right" gift is often a bit of a challenge, especially if you're going to buy something for someone who has "everything" (I guess we all have at least one person like that on our list).

In order to give you guys a bit of inspiration, I wanted to share with you some charities that you can donate to (and potentially get a symbolic card to give) and/or some actual physical gifts to to purchase. Considering we live in the age of consumerism, I think it's okay to actually give some thoughtful gifts that give a bit more. Not that I say it's wrong with "regular" gifts, but personally I enjoy both giving and recieving gifts that has a thought behind it and I am a big sucker for charities that do good stuff.

I have divided the list into two sections - one for my Norwegian readers and one for my international readers, so no one feels left out (and I'm not saying that my Norwegian readers can't purchase anything from the international ones or vice versa). I could also might mention that this list is a bit for inspiration, so if you want to purchase holiday gifts from a different charity, feel free to do so as I know this list is loaded with animal charities.

Røde Kors
Redd Barna
Kirkens Nødhjelp

Wild Spirit Wolf Sanctuary
Blind Cat Rescue
The Donkey Sanctuary
Wild Cat Sanctuary
Bat World Sanctuary
Bear With Us
Shadowland Foundation
Snow Leopard Trust

An addition is the 2017 calendar from a Canine Epilepsy charity, but I'm not quite sure if it's up for sale yet.

tirsdag 6. desember 2016

Making a Home; Round Up of Christmas Crafts

One of the things I like about Christmas time is doing some crafts. It takes away some of the holiday stress a bit to sit down and make something with my bare hands. I decided that I wanted to share a round up of Christmas crafts with you guys.

Some of them is simple enough that you can do them with your kids (if you have any) and some of the crafts might be suitable as handmade Christmas gifts (an added bonus there, you get the chance to be a bit crafty AND tick off a few Christmas gifts at the same time - great, isn't it?).

So here they are;
DIY Snow Covered Pine Cones
Pipe Cleaner Christmas Tree Craft for Cards
Christmas Mason Jar Luminaries
Carving Twig Gnomes
Felt and Pine Cone Elves
Craft These Formed Yarn Ornaments to Adorn Your Christmas Tree
Gingerbread Sugar Scrub Recipe
DIY Peppermint Sugar Scrub
Epsom Salt Snow Candle
Felted Hearts
Table Decorations: Place-Card Holders
Cinnamon Ornaments

Do you do any Christmas related crafts? If so, feel free to come with ideas in the comment section.

mandag 5. desember 2016

Menu Plan Monday Week 49

After a wee bit of chaos the last couple of weeks due to final exams, I've finally got the time to write a Menu Plan Monday post, hosted by I'm An Organizing Junkie. Like seriously, how do people with kids manage their days? I stuggle as it is and I'm both single and childless, so I want to give parents a wee bit of credit.

Luckily I have my last final exam on Wednesday, so I'm soon getting Christmas break. It is in a sense almost a bit bitterweet as I've finished my final written final exam a couple of weeks ago and this week I'm doing my last final oral exam, as in the spring I'm doing my BA thesis and only that. It's my last Christmas break from uni for crying out loud (and as you might figured out, it's a lot of countdowns/finals to cross out this year). Am I weird for actually enjoyng university a bit, apart from the actual exams of course?

I might need to stop now, otherwise this post is totally going to spiral into a post I didn't plan for. So here we go, here's my menu plan for this week.

Monday; Mexican Tomato Soup
Tuesday; Fish Fingers
Wednesday; Beef Stroganoff
Thursday; Spaghetti Bolognese
Friday; Leftovers from Thursday
Saturday; Fish Fingers
Sunday; Vegetable Soup

torsdag 1. desember 2016

Thirsty Thursday; Hot Spiced Apple Cider

Considering that we're in one of the darkest months of the year, I wanted to share with you my go-to recipe when it comes to hot spiced apple cider. It can be used for those cold nights when you want something "comforting" or you can use it for when you are entertaining (just double or triple the recipe, depending on how much you need).

So here it comes, my recipe for hot spiced apple cider.

Hot Spiced Apple Cider
1 liter apple cider
3 cinnamon sticks or 1/2-1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 desiliter brown sugar
1/2-1 teaspoon whole cloves
1/2 teaspoon ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
A pinch of nutmeg
One orange or two clementines, in wedges

Combine all ingredients in a pot and bring it to a boil. Reduce the heat and let it simmer (under a lid) for 10-15 minutes. When serving it, strain it to remove the spices and wedges of orange/clementines.