Wednesday, September 30, 2009

My first time on a sailboat and a little history lesson from WW2

I feel embarrassed to admit it. I'm 40 and have never sailed until yesterday... I have been aboard sailboats, but never actually sailed. Yesterday I was invited by friends to spend the day in their beautiful sailboat and I had a blast. It was just a perfect day!

Leaving Hvitsten

Let's raise those sails

Arriving at Oscarsborg, a 350 year old fortress in the Oslo fjord.

Oscarsborg has such an interesting history that I want to share a small portion of it with you all. So here is today's history lesson:

The 9th of April 1940 the german heavy cruiser Blücher sailed through the Oslo fjord not stopping after warning shots further out. Watching the ship approach the commander at Oscarsborg, colonel Birger Erikesen, made the most important decision in norwegian military history. He did not have time to consult his superiors. He did not act on an order, but decided that the large german warship gliding through the water had to be stopped. He gave the order to strike with full force even though Norway was not at war. He had no time to check the nationality of the ship, but gave the order to fire. Blücher sunk, the conquest of Oslo was delayed, the king and government managed to escape and about 1000 soldiers died in the cold waters of the fjord. Nazi-Germany lost one of its most powerful war machines at sea.

What a difference ONE man can make!

One of the canons at the fortress.

The view of the Oslo fjord from the fortress is awesome.

At sea even the simplest lunch tastes like a gourmet meal.


Back at Hvitsten

Saying goodbye!

Monday, September 28, 2009

I ♥ Faces in blue

This is the first time I'm hooking up with I Faces. This week's challenge is to find a photo that features the color blue. I chose this one. It's one of my favorite photos of my son fishing crabs down by the pier. Some of you might have seen this picture in black and white on my right sidebar. He is smart, kind, funny, wise, bold, handsome, cool and thoughtful. He's just the greatest kid EVER and I am so proud of him!

Nantucket Lobster Chowder

Autumn is here and every day nature is changing. Bring your camera when you are out walking and take lots of pictures. I took this picture when we had a picnic at Sagvollen in Hadeland, Norway.

After a long walk in the woods it's time for some comfort food. This soup is easy and wonderful - my favorite combination!


  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 8 cups chicken broth
  • 1/4 cup Chardonnay
  • 2 (3/4-pound) fresh or frozen, thawed lobster tails
  • 2 cups fresh corn kernels (about 4 ears)
  • 1 pound small red potatoes, cubed
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh chives
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh tarragon
  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream


Melt butter in a 6-quart Dutch oven over medium-low heat. Whisk in flour until smooth. Gradually whisk in broth and wine. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer, uncovered, 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, cut top and bottom lobster shells lengthwise down the middle. Carefully separate shell halves, and gently pull lobster meat in 1 piece from shells. Cut shell halves in half crosswise, and add to broth. Cut meat in half lengthwise, then slice it crosswise into bite-size pieces. Refrigerate meat.

When shell mixture has simmered 20 minutes, add corn, potatoes, salt, and cayenne pepper. Return mixture to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer, uncovered, 12 minutes. Remove shells, and discard.

Add lobster meat, chives, and tarragon to broth mixture; simmer 6 minutes. Stir in cream, and cook 2 minutes or until thoroughly heated.

Serve it with fresh bread and a nice glass of Chardonnay. Perfect!

The recipe is from Coastal Living Magazine.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

The Autumn by Elizabeth Barrett Browning

Go, sit upon the lofty hill,
And turn your eyes around,
Where waving woods and waters wild
Do hymn an autumn sound.
The summer sun is faint on them --
The summer flowers depart --
Sit still -- as all transform'd to stone,
Except your musing heart.

How there you sat in summer-time,
May yet be in your mind;
And how you heard the green woods sing
Beneath the freshening wind.
Though the same wind now blows around,
You would its blast recall;
For every breath that stirs the trees,
Doth cause a leaf to fall.

Oh! like that wind, is all the mirth
That flesh and dust impart:
We cannot bear its visitings,
When change is on the heart.
Gay words and jests may make us smile,
When Sorrow is asleep;
But other things must make us smile,
When Sorrow bids us weep!

The dearest hands that clasp our hands, --
Their presence may be o'er;
The dearest voice that meets our ear,
That tone may come no more!
Youth fades; and then, the joys of youth,
Which once refresh'd our mind,
Shall come -- as, on those sighing woods,
The chilling autumn wind.

Hear not the wind -- view not the woods;
Look out o'er vale and hill-
In spring, the sky encircled them --
The sky is round them still.
Come autumn's scathe -- come winter's cold --
Come change -- and human fate!
Whatever prospect Heaven doth bound,
Can ne'er be desolate.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Cakes from Dubai on a Pink Saturday

It's Saturday and again there's a Pink Party going on over at Beverly's at How Sweet the Sound. Visit her to find more lovely pink posts this Satuday.

Today I was all out of pink ideas, so I googled pink to see if anything interesting caught my attention. I found something that was just amazing:
The most incredible cakes I have ever seen - and they are made in Dubai! Who knew... Having spent about an hour browsing their website I can safely say that they have a cake for everyone.

For the fashionista:

Juicy couture

Louis Vuitton

or Chanel?

For the crocklovers:

For the coffee lover

For a birthday girl:
A cake inspired by the mad hatter...

For the babyshower:

For the sleepover party:

For your husband?

For the rich and famous:

A pink Bently!

A pink bottle of Dom Pérignon champagne

You HAVE to check out more of their cakes at Really, you HAVE to!

I would also like to introduce you to another one of Pink Saturday's participants: Suzanne at The Shabby Tiara. I saw her blog for the first time last week and loved her blog. Please take the time to visit her today!

Friday, September 25, 2009

Physical Touch - more than just sex!

This is the last post in my series about the five love languages based on Dr Gary Chapman's book. If the theme interests you, make sure you read all 6 posts.

The 5th love language: Physical Touch

Many mates feel the most loved when they receive physical contact from their partner. For a mate who speaks this love language loudly, physical touch can make or break the relationship.

Many people initially think their love language is Physical Touch. The reason is because they enjoy love making. The fact is that most of us do. But not all of us has Physical Touch as our primary love language. People who speak and hear this language primarily actually feel loved when their partner sits close to them while watching a movie, holds hands on a long walk, or kisses them. They enjoy any form of physical contact as well as sex. To them love making is more than just receiving or giving pleasure, it's the way they give and receive love. If their partner withholds physical contact, they will feel unloved and rejected.

When a "Physical Touch person" is going through a crisis they will more than anything need physical touch from their partner. They would much rather have you hold them and be silent, than offer them advice or encouragement.

It is important to remember that even though sex makes many mates feel secure and loved in a marriage, it is only one dialect of physical touch. Many parts of the body are extremely sensitive to stimulation. It is important to discover how your partner not only physically responds but also psychologically responds to these touches. Some touches are irritating and uncomfortable for your mate. Take the time to learn the touches your mate likes. They can be big acts, such as back massages or lovemaking, or little acts such as touches on the cheek or a hand on the shoulder. It’s important to learn how your mate responds to touch. That is how you will make the most of this love language.

Understanding the languages of love, and which one one's partner speaks and hears most, is vital to healthy communication.

While two partners will likely have two different primary love languages, it is very easy for people to express love when they understand their partner. Those who prefer serving others can very easily give compliments, gifts, time, or affection to their spouses. Sometimes, the best way to know how to do this most effectively is to ask one's partner, "what can I do for you everyday that will make you feel special?"

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Acts of Service

This is the 4th part of my brief summary from Gary Chapman's book The Five Love Languages. I can recommend this book for anyone who wants to improve their relationship with their partner. For my husband and I it gave us a whole new way of expressing our love for eachother.

Number 4: Acts of Service – What Have you Done for me Lately?

Could Acts of Service be the primary way in which you wish to receive love? Does this love language speak louder to you than the others? Do you feel that 'actions definitely speak louder than words'? In this case, acts of service likely ranks higher on your love language list than say, words of affirmation. You may somewhat feel that 'talk is cheap,' but your partner or mate can show you they love you by checking the windshield washer fluid in your car and your tire pressure.

And just as this group feels loved when things are done for them, they convey love in the same manner by doing the laundry, fixing things around the house, and making nice meals. If your partner is constantly doing things for you, don't start taking it for granted. Show that you appreciate it and that you recognize that it's their way of saying "I love you!"

If you suspect your loved ones primary love language is acts of service, look for opportunities to help them and do things for them. This will make them feel so loved by being taken care of!
"Life is filled with opportunities to express love by acts of service," Dr Chapman states.

If you suspect that your own primary love language is acts of service and your mate does not speak this loudly enough to you, teach them about it. Perhaps you could identify some things they could do for you? Gently make some suggestions, but remember it has to be freely given on their part to be an act of service. Acts of service are done out of love and not obligation. A mate who does chores and helps out around the house out of guilt or fear will inevitably not be speaking a language of love, but a language of resentment.

Demonstrating the acts of service can mean stepping out of the stereotypes. Acts of service require both mates to humble themselves into doing some chores and services that they don't necessarily enjoy. However, these little sacrifices will mean the world to your mate. Sometimes simple chores around the house can be an undeniable expression of love. Even simple things like laundry and taking out the trash require some form of planning, time, effort and energy. Doing humble chores can be a very powerful expression of love and devotion to your mate.

Please follow me the next couple of days. On Friday I will post about the last Love Language: Physical Touch. I'll follow up with a personal post about how my husband and I figured out our love languages and a great Giveaway!

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Giving and Receiving Gifts

Until you get your hands on the Five Love Languages book, you can read my brief summaries of the Love Languages that I'm posting this week. Hopefully it will get you thinking about communicating your love in the way that your partner will best perceive it.

The Five Love Languages that Dr. Chapman describes in his book are: physical touch, words of affirmation, quality time, gifts and acts of service.

Which one is yours and which one is your partner’s? Chances are they are totally different.

Even with the best intentions and the highest desire to show true love to your partner, you will miss the boat and deplete their "love tank" if all you do is speak your love language rather than theirs.

Gifts – A Commonly Misunderstood Love Language

Some mates respond well to visual symbols of love. If you speak this love language, you are more likely to treasure any gift as an expression of love and devotion. People who speak this love language often feel that a lack of gifts represents a lack of love from their mate. Luckily, this love language is one of the easiest to learn.

People who feel loved and appreciated by getting exactly what they want for their birthday will feel disappointed if you forget to buy them something. They might also get hurt if they get a gift that's thoughtless. Gift giving is a very sincere form of communicating one's love and admiration, and should not be thought of as mere materialism. These people love to browse the stores and find the perfect gift for the people they love as a sign of their affection. They want the same in return.

If you want to become an effective gift giver, many mates will have to learn to change their attitude about money. If you are naturally a spender, you will have no trouble buying gifts for your mate. However, a person who is used to investing and saving their money may have a tough time adjusting to the concept of spending money as an expression of love. These people must understand that you are investing the money not in gifts, but in deepening your relationship with your mate.

These gifts need not to come every day, or even every week. They don’t even need to cost a lot of money. Free, frequent, expensive, or rare, if your mate relates to the language of receiving gifts, any visible sign of your love will leave them feeling happy and secure in your relationship.
What is most important to them is the thought that you have put into the gift, not the price.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Quality Time

Are you speaking your mate's Love Language?

Do you know how to effectively convey unconditional feelings of respect, love and commitment that will resonate in your partner's soul?

Each person expresses and receives love best through one of five different communication styles. Of course we receive love in all the languages, but which one is perceived in the clearest and loudest voice?

Use the right Love Language and your message of love will come through loud and clear. You can read more about the five love languages in my two previous posts. I also recommend Dr Gary Chapman's book The Five Love Languages.

The second of the Love Languages is what we refer to as "Quality Time".
Quality Time is time focused on something that the person whose language this is feels is important. For example, a man who wants to spend quality time with his wife and children might want to spend the day watching a ball game or going to the park. Just the fact that he is spending his time with them tells them that they are valuable to him.

Some partners might want quality time together that is as simple as talking while they wash dishes or organize a closet. Watching movies together, eating dinner in a restaurant, going for a long walk, sitting on a porch swing, and going to the mall are all forms of spending quality time together. Make sure that you suggest doing something that your partner actually enjoys. (She might not be that excited about going to the Monster Truck show on your anniversary...)

Quality time is more than mere proximity. It’s about focusing all your energy on your mate. A husband watching sports while talking to his wife is NOT spending quality time with her. Unless all of your attention is focused on your mate, even an intimate dinner for two can come and go without a minute of quality time being shared.

If your mate's primary Love Language is Quality Time, they will easily feel hurt and rejected if you do not prioritize spending time with them. Their "love tank" will eventually go empty and they will not be able to meet your needs. In order to show each other love and affection, there has to be a surplus in our own lives.

Quality conversation is very important in a healthy relationship. It involves sharing experiences, thoughts, feelings and desires in a friendly, uninterrupted context. A good mate will not only listen, but offer advice and respond to assure their mate they are truly listening. Many mates don’t expect you to solve their problems. They need a sympathetic listener.

In order for you to communicate with your mate, you must also be in tune with your emotions. It is only when you understand your emotions and inner feelings will you then be able to share quality conversation, and quality time with your mate.

Quality activities are a very important part of quality time. Many mates feel most loved when they spend physical time together, doing activities that they love to do. Spending time together will bring a couple closer, and, in the years to come, will fill up a memory bank that you can reminisce about in the future.Whether it’s sitting on the couch and having a brief conversation or playing together in a tennis league, quality time is a love language that is shared by many. Setting aside focused time with your mate will ensure a happy marriage.

In tomorrow's post I will share about the 3rd Love Language: Giving and Receiving Gifts.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Words of Affirmation

Mark Twain once said “I can live for two months on a good compliment.” Verbal appreciation speaks powerfully to persons whose primary Love Language is “Words of Affirmation.” Simple statements, such as, “You look great in that dress,” or “You must be the best baker in the world! I love your oatmeal cookies,” are sometimes all a person needs to hear to feel loved. A little love note can be enough to fill their "love tank" to the brim.

We all enjoy encouraging and uplifting words, but for some people it is through words they feel loved and the way they show love. If you know someone who is always very good at complimenting, encouraging and praising the people around them, it's likely their Love Language is Words of Affirmation. If you want to make them feel loved and good about themselves, say something nice and heartfelt to them.

Contrastingly, insults can be very damaging. People who's primary love language is Words of Affiramation will feel extremely hurt by harsh comments or unfeeling remarks.

Of course most of us speak more than one Love Language. We appreciate all of the different ways of showing love, but usually there will be one or two of them that will be more important to us.

To learn more about the Love Languages see previous post and follow me the next few days.

The Five Love Languages

It's Monday and this evening my husband and I are doing a Couples Class at our church. Today's topic is "The Five Love Languages" by Gary Chapman. Have you heard about it?

My husband and I read the book together about 5 years ago and we loved it. At the same time we went on a couples retreat where the focus was to get to know eachother's "love languages". It became an eye-opener for us both. Even though we had been married 10 years at the time, we had very different ways of communicating our love for one another.

According to the book, The Five Love Languages: How to Express Heartfelt Commitment to Your Mate, Dr. Gary Chapman began his quest to find the ways in which couples attempt to communicate their feelings to one another.

In his search, Chapman found that people generally express themselves in five ways:
1. Words of Affirmation
2. Quality Time
3. Giving and Receiving Gifts
4. Acts of Service
5. Physical Touch

The "Love Tank" in Relationships:
Dr. Chapman also discusses what he refers to as a "love tank" that has a system of deposits and withdrawals. When a person feels loved, he or she is receiving a deposit. When that same person feels unappreciated, he or she is being withdrawn from.
Too many withdrawals can leave someone with an empty tank. And if your tank is empty you will find it hard to express love for your partner. The problem is that you are speaking two different languages. If you express your love in a manner that your mate doesn't understand, he or she will not realize that you have expressed your love at all. The book focuses on how to better speak and understand the unique languages of love and effectively express your love as well as feel truly loved in return.

On a personal note I can testify that discovering that my husband said "I love you" many times each day without me actually hearing it, opened up a whole new line of communication between the two of us. He also started to understand that I had certain needs that had to be met for me to feel loved.

I recommend the book if you would like to start focusing on how to communicate your love for your mate. You can order it here. It's a very easy read. So easy that you can skim through it in a few hours - but that is not the point. I think the best thing is to read it together. Read one chapter and then talk, talk, talk...
The next couple of days I will give a brief summary of each of the languages. If this topic interest you, please come back and visit me.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Just an afternoon walk

It's been a quiet day. One of those days when time seems to stand still. I had a big stack of papers that I needed to start grading, but since I'm the master of procrastination I decided to go for a walk instead. Along the way I found this gate.

Doesn't it just beckon you to come on in?

I resisted.
Instead I went back home and sat down with the stack of papers. Still not finished...

Have a wonderful week dear blogfriends!

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Is there any pink stuff in my house?

I love my crazy pink lipstick!
But I'm having a hard time finding pink stuff in my house for Pink Saturday hosted by Beverly over at How Sweet the Sound. I had to resort to the room of my little princess, she's got plenty of pinks!

A wall full of wonderful dress-up clothes. All pink and fluffy:

A masque that I bought for her in Venice:

A mirror given to her by her cousin:

A pink bed for a pink-lovin' girl:

Happy Pink Saturday to you all!

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

I'm back from Riga!

Some of you have wondered where I have been hiding lately. I have not been very faithful in my blogging the last couple of weeks. One of the main reasons is of course that school has started and I am working very hard. When I get home I feel so drained that I have absolutely NOTHING interesting to share... Scary!

This last week I have spent with my colleagues in Riga, Latvia. For those of you who do not know where Latvia is - here's a map:
As you can see it's not too far away from my home country of Norway.

Latvia was part of the Soviet Union until 1991. Over the last few years there has been an incredible economical development and it is now a very modernized society. In 2004 Latvia joined the EU and NATO. Walking around in the historic part of Riga you still feel that this nation has a very diverse and interesting past. Riga was founded in 1201 and some of the cobblestone streets look like they are from the set of a movie.

The parks in the centre of Riga are absolutely beautiful. We spent several hours doing fun team-building tasks in this area.

There are some great shopping possibilities in Riga as well, and my credit card was more outside my wallet than inside. Shoes, shoes, shoes! How can a girl resist? The prices: quite reasonable (but not cheap)

Of course we had to try Latvian food and what better place to do it than Lido Restaurant? It's one of those places that you have to visit - just for the experience.

At night it seemed that the Old Town of Riga was just buzzing. There were people everywhere, live music, good food and fun places to hang out.
All in all I found Riga a great place to visit for a few days.

Now I'm just hoping that my inspiration will start to come back...
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