Sunday, 31 August 2014

The day before the day

So, the kids and I decided to finish off these long summer holidays with having dinner out. Not very fancy, just something different to the usual humdrum dinners at home. It was nice having a moment together and talk a bit about everybody's hopes and worries for tomorrow and the new school year ahead.



We don't know yet which teachers they are getting, or with who they are in classes with. Apparently it's all posted on some boards in the dining hall, so we better get there early tomorrow so we can find out. With five classes in each year group, they could risk not have many friends from their previous classes with them - although there are probably a ton of new students too, so I'm sure they will be just fine.

Painting station

We got Lucas another small extra desk the other day on a visit to the Mothership. This will be used as his Warhammer painting station. He has it all set up already, with a plastic cover both on the floor and on the desk... :)


Now we just need to find some other Warhammer fans that he can game with!

Saturday, 30 August 2014

Kitchenthusiasm

Ok, so next on my shopping list was a new stand mixer. I had planned on getting a traditional Swedish Ankarsrum while in Sweden this summer. A newer model of the one I had, that was my Grandmother's, but in the end, that didn't happen.
I couldn't figure out how I was going to pack it safely to lug it back here, and I also didn't think I was going to have the extra 10 kg allowance needed left, by the end of the summer... So I had to scrap that idea, and decided to get one here.

I chose to get a KitchenAid machine instead. I have always liked that they are colourful and fun, and look good on your counter top. Also it's such a well known brand and well functioning machine, the KitchenAid design have been basically the same since the 1930s.
I got myself one in Apple Green, isn't it pretty?


Today it was time to give it a first spin. As we got the ice cream attachment in the "Special Offer", we decided to try and make ice cream! Of course, the ice cream mixture is still in the freezer so we wont know if we succeeded until tomorrow.



Then I totally channeled Martha Stewart, when I figured I could use the left-over egg whites to make something else - a Pavlova!


Here's the end result - and yes, it was just as good as it looks! My second Pavlova ever!


Thumbs up!

#ALSicebucketchallenge

I thought I was going to slip by this, seeing it has gone on for quite a while already, helas, yesterday I got nominated by some friends so this morning Lucas and I set out to do the "ALS ice bucket challenge".

Obviously, doing an ice bucket challenge in 42 degrees heat is a challenge in itself, as the water is not particularly cold, and the ice melts as soon as you pour it in the water... But it's not about the ice really is it - it's about raising awareness, and donating what you can.
I donated to two Swedish foundations, Hjärnfonden and Cancerfonden.

Lucas wanted to join in too, but not until we had talked about what ALS is, and why people are doing this challenge all over internet. He decided to donate Dhs50 out of his own money, to ALS research.

video

Thursday, 28 August 2014

Nathan's airport car

Yesterday it was finally time to go pick up Nathan's new airport car.
Until know he has been taking taxis to and from work most of the times. As we live pretty close to the airport it has worked out alright (apart from always having to allocate extra time for the taxis to find our compound...). When the timings were right, I was able to drop him off and pick him up sometimes too.
It really was no big hurry for us to get another car, as our lives weren't that busy before the summer and when the kids and I were in Scandinavia Nathan could use my car. But now that we are back and things are starting to pick up and we all are getting busier, we needed the second car.

Nathan thought long and hard about which car to get while we were away, and he had narrowed it down to either a Golf, or this one - a Mercedes A250 Sport.
All new and shiny!




One happy Nathan, about to drive off from the dealership, vrrrrrooooooom!

Tuesday, 26 August 2014

My precious

I have got a new toy! Behold - the Magic Bullet!

It's supposed to be able to handle chopping onions, garlic, nuts etc and grating cheese and coffee, you can make spreads, sauces, salsa and dips with it or use it to whip up omelettes and much more - but I'll mostly be using it to make my smoothies and iced drinks. 


I needed a new blender since I sold our old one in Brunei. Even though this is a TV-shop kind of product, after having read raving reviews about it in two of my favourite blogs, I decided to give it a go.
It sure is compact and space saving, plus the fact that you mix your drink or smoothie straight in the glass you will enjoy it in, saves dishes too! (It also was a bonus that it is only half the price here, compared to Sweden!)

This morning I had a pineapple, raspberry, pomegranate, mango and banana smoothie - yuuuuum!

Sunday, 24 August 2014

Home away from home

We actually only did one short stop at one IKEA during the summer holidays this time. We did a quick walk about, but it was mostly to use their toilet..! 
But now that we are back, we had some things on the shopping list. Nothing really interesting, a new rolling pin (as I'd had enough of using our broken one), a new pie dish (as I smashed the one I had yesterday), some storage boxes, an extension cord, a plant, some frames for some posters I had got in Sweden, some scented candles, some normal candles - the usual stuff you can never get enough of.

And of course, certain little people had some 1dhs soft ice.


 I like IKEA. It's a bit like my comfort blanket.

Saturday, 23 August 2014

The first return

So, we have returned to the sandbox, for the first time - as our home.

The trip itself was actually (after some initial worry when I could only print boarding cards for the first flight, even though I was certain I had booked firm seats for both!) super easy. It sure makes a difference only traveling for 13 hrs door to door, with an actual travel time of 8 hrs - than my record 36 hrs once from Brunei...
This time we took Air Berlin from Göteborg, via Berlin. Very smooth trip, and all our luggage made it too, which is always a bit of a bonus! :) (I was a whole 4 kg under allowance by the way, for those who wondered!)

It was a very strange feeling coming back to here though. The last few days when we started wrapping things up and I started packing, the kids started to talk more and more about Brunei. I guess they got the "we-are-going-back-home-to-Brunei"-feelings... and we talked a lot about our friends there and what they might be up to right now.
I must admit, I felt a bit the same. Coming back to here, is a new thing for all of us, and even though we have our house, and our things here (and Daddy of course, goes without saying!) - we don't really have a "life" as such to come back to just yet. No routines, no network of friends, noone looking forward to see us etc.
(Plus, it's ugly. Flying in over the sand, endless sand, no greenery at all, just building site after building site... it is not pretty.)

But hey, I know these feelings - it's the blues talking. The blues that always grabs you when you return after a long trip, the "European Hangover". At least we have no jet lag!
I know it'll get better. We just need to get into it, and for real now, when the new year is starting. This is when it's all going to happen, this is our time!

Tuesday, 19 August 2014

That kind of day

Mormor was a bit disappointed waking up to rain this morning, on our last day. Not just rain either, but RAIN!! It is absolutely bucketing down!
I actually don't mind. Yes, a bit of a shame we can't take one last bike ride, but hey, there is always next time. On the other hand, we won't be seeing rain again for a very long time, so I'm kind of enjoying it! I love the noise on the roof and when it hammers against the windows!

The kids quickly decided they didn't want to go anywhere today. They just wanted to stay at home, and wear their onepieces. 


That's totally fine, let's declare this a "wear-your-onepiece-all-day"-day!

The city by Vänern

We had a few last jobs to do yesterday and went to the neighbouring town, Lidköping by Vänern. 
The jobs were fairly quickly done and as it was sunny weather we decided to enjoy some icecream at the town square.





The town square in Lidköping is the largest town square in Northern Europe. The city hall is an old 17th century hunting castle that used to belong to Count Magnus Gabriel De La Gardie. He was the head of the King Charles XI administration.

Lidköping have initiated a pilot project during the summer with free internet for the public here in the middle of the town. Anyone can connect. Apparently it has worked really well and exactly in the way the developers had anticipated, so more cities in the area are now considering starting up with free internet in the city centers as well. 
Thumbs up for that!

The packing process

Honestly I'm expecting it to be slightly different this summer, since I haven't gone completely bananas with the shopping. The need just haven't been there, since we have most things (and some!) in Abu Dhabi; although I haven't completely been able to avoid the sales of course..! So, I have shopped, but not in my usual way.
Therefor I hope that the packing will go a lot smoother this summer, but you never know.
Usually it goes something like this:

1. I look around and think, "I don't have that much this year, it'll be ok".
2. Then I start packing and think, even more relieved, "I've got pleeenty of space, yay".
3. Then I remember the clothes in the cupboard... and all the Lego... and all the other cumbersome toys spread around the house... So I become slightly worried...
4. By now the suitcases are near to full, and I'm instead thinking "This will never ever work!!".
5. Then Mormor usually brings another pile of clothes from the laundry room, and I remember the jackets, and the last shoes... Argh!!!
6. So I pull my hair, pack and repack and move the stuff around in the suitcases, again and again. 
7. I start making a plan B in the event I will get called out at check-in, about what I can remove and leave behind, just in case.
8. But in the end, everything always fits. I never have any overweight, I'm always spot on.
And in the end, I get it all home. 

At this stage, I'm on nr 2 - and apart from probably having to redistribute the weight, I'm pretty sure that I will be skipping straight to nr 8 this time! I'll let you know how I go!

The Last Night Magic Show

Tonight it was time for Morfar's traditional Last-Night-Magic-Show. Technically tomorrow is our last night here for this time, but as Mormor is working then, we did it tonight.
Kids were as excited as always, and they got treated with all sorts of tricks, rope tricks, card tricks, coin tricks - even one involving fire!

Sunday, 17 August 2014

#shareacoke

Linnea was super happy today in the supermarket when we finally found this:


So lucky! We probably wouldn't be able to find her name anywhere else than here in Sweden and we have been looking the whole holiday.

Crayfish dinner

It's August, so we thought - let's have a crayfish party!
Crayfish parties are traditionally held in August because crayfish harvesting was, for most of the 20th century, legally limited to the late summer. Today few Swedes are prepared to abandon this tradition, even though the 7th of August crayfish premier date has no legal significance. The crayfish parties usually mark the end of the summer for most.


We had all the "musts": crayfish boiled in salt water and seasoned with crown dill; Västerbottenpaj, crispbread, baguettes, salad, sauces and... well, prinskorv (sausages)... for those who didn't like the crayfish...

Of course we also had decorative paper lanterns and funny hats!




Lucas had quite a few and he actually really enjoyed his crayfish, even though he struggled a bit with shelling them. Linnea not so much. 


Yes, you eat it with your hands, and sucking noisily to extract all the yummy juices is perfectly acceptable behaviour!

Mmm, yummy yummy in my tummy!


Indoor activities

When the weather is grey and rainy, you have to come up with indoor things to do. Like baking:




Playing with Lego:




Lots of fika, fika is always good!




Keeping order amongst your loom bands:

Friday, 15 August 2014

Come one, come all!

Before we left Karlstad last night, we made a final stop, at the circus!
Circus Wictoria was there, so we took the opportunity to see this years show. It was a pretty solid program this year, and - they had what we missed at the circus in Scotland earlier this summer: both a real circus orchestra and animals; horses, a dog, camels and - goats!

Karlstad

We have been in sunny Karlstad for the last few days visiting a dear friend of mine, Linda, and her family. It's been lovely just hanging out in each others company. Her littlest daughter was away on sleepover with the grandparents, but Linnea and Savannah had fun together, for example in the playhouse.


Being a gadget girl, I managed to solve some longtime technical issues with the boys' iTouches, and help them download Minecraft (with permission of course!). The three boys were then allowed to disappear into the Minecraft universe together for a while:


We had ice cream, of course. It's almost obligatory to have an ice cream a day when it's summer!

 
We enjoyed Mariebergsskogen, which is literally across the road from where they live - such a luxury to have this amazing place as your backyard!




In one section of the park, different nursery schools from around Karlstad, have taken part in building a kitchen garden. Förskolan Solen is Valentina's nursery:


There was lots of differents cultivations and so many different vegetables, cale, carrots, potatoes, pumpkins, corn, dill, parsley, beetroot and many many more. It was really interesting for the kids to walk around and have a good look.


They had also cultivated inside the beautiful green house:


They have plenty of farm animals in the park too, chickens, horses, goats, sheep for example...


 ... and piglets!




After a full on afternoon at the playgrounds it was time to say goodbye - until next year!