Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Summer pasta salad

I was at the grocery store today, running through a list of what sounded good to me to eat this week when I realized that we are well and truly into the realm of summer food. Salad (we're having this one tonight - remind me to take a picture!), wraps, filled pitas... basically anything that calls for lots of fresh veggies and keeps us out of a hot kitchen!

Anyway, thanks to a few pregnancy cravings, I dreamed up this little number a few weeks ago, and have been thinking about it ever since, so I thought I'd share.

Quick, healthy and tasty: the dinner trifecta!

Summer pasta salad

You will need
  • 5 oz./150 g. pasta of your choice. We used shells, but only because Espen chose them. 
  • 2 bell peppers. Different colors are nice for flavor and color variety. 
  • 1/2 cucumber. I get the English/euro version because they're never bitter and you don't have to peel them. 
  • 1/2 to 1 cup of cooked cubed ham, depending on how carnivorous you're feeling. 
  • 3/4 cup cherry tomatoes. We halved them to make them more toddler friendly. 
  • 1/2 cup diced cheese. We used extra sharp white cheddar (Tillamook), which was crazy delicious. 
  • A small handful of fresh basil leaves, chopped. 
Note: This salad is very customizable, and these amounts and ingredients are really just jumping off points. If you want more cherry tomatoes, then you shall have them, my love. 

  1. Cook the pasta according to the packet, drain and cool. I just rinsed my pasta in cold water for a minute. 
  2. Chop and dice all your veggies and cheese. 
  3. Mix your veggies, ham and cheese with the pasta. 
  4. Toss with chopped basil. 
Done! I think this dish is delicious on it's own, but it also pairs really well with some hot, crusty garlic bread. Mhmmm. 

Are there any summer meals that you especially enjoy? Do you eat differently with the seasons? 

Monday, June 25, 2012

Espen plans a party

Party planner extraordinaire.

My birthday is about three weeks away, and Espen has already picked up on that fact. His interest mostly stems from an enthusiasm for presents (which he already associates with birthdays), but during our post-nap snuggle today, I found out that that he has some birthday plans of his own.

I asked Espen if he was going to get me a present for my birthday, and he told me "Oh yes! A plate. It's so nice!" Then he told me I was going to have a blue cake, and when I asked him what flavor it was going to be, he said "tasty!"

We further determined that my birthday party is going to have one guest (our good friend Annika, who will unfortunately be in Norway), and there will maybe candles that will make "light high up there!" Sounds like quite the blaze.

Then we had this little exchange:

Me: Are you going to make me a card for my birthday?
Espen: Oh yes!
Me: What will you draw on my card?
Espen: A man!
Me: Oh really? What kind of man?
Espen: A blue one! A blue man. The man measures the floor!
Me: You're going to draw the man who measured the floor on my birthday card?
Espen: Yeah! It's great!

Let me explain: "The man who measured the floor" is a local contractor who is going to put in tile for us. While he was a perfectly pleasant small business owner, I can't really say that he made quite the same impression on me as he apparently did on Espen, and it hadn't even occurred to me to include him in my birthday celebrations, but there you have it.

It seems my 32nd birthday is in capable hands (although, no blue cake, please!), and I can just sit back in easy anticipation for my big day. And should you have an upcoming event of your own, Espen's party planning services will be available for hire in 2032.

Monday, June 18, 2012

A little reality blogging

Lest this blog has ever given the impression that we live in a constant state of spotless domestic bliss, let me share the current state of our kitchen sink and surrounding areas:

And yet, somehow, I am in the living room blogging.
I could complete this with a house tour featuring basketloads of unfolded laundry, unmade beds, a living room floor strewn with toy cars and in desperate need of vacuuming, and the last bag from our trip that still needs to be unpacked and put away. To name but a few.

Just a little reminder from me that while some mornings are filled with sunshiny walks and clean, beautiful toddlers, others are filled with mountains of dishes, pants that don't fit and little boys that throw themselves screaming onto the floor at the mere mention of nap time.

If we're going to compare ourselves to each other, let's at least make it an honest comparison: I haven't done dishes since Thursday - anyone better?

Thursday, June 14, 2012

A summer stroll with Espen.

This morning Espen packed up a bag full of trains and a zebra, lined himself up by the front door and said "Come on, Mama! Let's go outside!" I was out of excuses for languishing on the couch, so I agreed, and off we went.  

Espen walking his trains. 

 Along the way we had a little wildlife encounter on the lawn. I'm not really bothered by snakes (petrified of moths, however) and I know that grass snakes aren't dangerous, so I called Espen over for a little inspection. He was interested but reserved, and had no problems with my instructions to leave it alone.

Wikipedia just told me that most non-venomous snakes have big round eyes. So there you have it!

After a quick prowl up and down the neighborhood in our bare feet, we headed back to the lawn to
check on the snake again (it had moved about 3 ft), then we settled down at a safe distance to play with Espen's expedition supplies.

Mister Zebra meets the wild. 

Trains without a track. 

And did I mention that this was all done barefoot? Ah, summer.

Little man feet already! 

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

A little bit about the new baby

Today marks one week of back to normal, and I am finally caught up on laundry and down to one last carry-on bag to put away. We're all back on a normal sleep schedule again (thank all that is good and just in this world!) and the random bug I was lucky enough to pick up on the way home has finally left us.

I thought that now might be a good time to talk a little bit about the new baby we're expecting, and I am going to do so in Q&A format, answering a few questions that I would probably want to ask myself if I wasn't me, if you follow. So:

How far along are you? As of this morning, 16 weeks.

When is the baby due? Right around Thanksgiving. Which is the end of November.

Why did you wait so long to spill the beans? Yes and no. We told Nick's parents almost as soon as we knew ourselves, along with a few friends that we wanted to know, but then we promptly swore everyone to secrecy. We knew we were going to see my parents in Norway, and that it would be a rare opportunity to tell them in person. Somehow we managed to keep them out of the loop for about six weeks, and told my parents on the night we arrived.

How did you tell you parents, and how did they react? We brought them a CD with some family pictures we had recently taken, including this photo:

We thought we were all kinds of clever and sneaky, but after a long, busy and emotional day, my parents didn't get it at all. So it took some clues and hinting, and then they were delighted! My mum cried and my dad claimed to have known all along, and it was all exactly as it should be. Then we spent the next couple of weeks trying to talk my mum out of shopping excessively for a baby whose gender is yet to be known.

So when do you find out the gender? Are you going to find out? Hecks yes! We are both such planners and researchers that is there is no way we couldn't know if we are expecting a boy or a girl. There is something appealing about experiencing that moment of "it's a boy/girl!" at the actual birth, and I understand why people choose that, but I just know that not being able to plan and prepare in the way that we enjoy would absolutely kill me. And we find out the gender next month.

How are you feeling? As of right now, pretty good. But it seems I am one of the unlucky few that get pretty bad morning sickness that lasts beyond the first trimester. And that right there is probably one of the main reasons why I haven't blogged very much lately. I was just such a misery to be around for the first six weeks that I really didn't feel like I had much to offer the world, even if I could have told y'all that we were expecting. However, at 16 weeks I feel like I'm feeling a little bit better all the time, and ready to reenter the world of the living.

How was it traveling with a 2 year-old while pregnant? Thankfully I had Nick, and I just could not have done it without him. The actual travel part wasn't too bad: take off and landing were a little rougher than usual for me, and I felt a bit sick on the train to Sweden, but mostly we were both too busy with Espen to really allow for any personal complaints! In all fairness to him, Espen is an excellent traveler, and just deals with whatever it is we ask of him. Things were a bit harder once we arrived in some ways, because Espen struggled with the time change, which meant that we had to be jet lagged whether we wanted to or not. I felt tired a lot in the mornings, but thankfully my mum and Nick let  me sleep in more than I have since Espen was born! Having said that, I felt tremendously relieved to arrive at home and know that I won't have to get on a plane for a very long time, and can now just hunker down and get into baby mode.

How was that? Is everyone back in the loop? If there's something else you are dying to know, please feel free to ask in the comments, and I will tell all. Well, most.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

And we're back! (oh, and a little announcement.)

Weary travelers.

As I carried an exhausted, bewildered Espen off the plane in Salt Lake City on Monday night, he lifted his sleepy head and said "mama, let's get off this plane." I couldn't agree more! We've had a wonderful time (which I can't wait to tell you more about), but I am so glad we won't be undertaking that kind of travel for quite some time.

Especially seeing as next time we visit Granny and Granddad, there will be four of us. We are welcoming our second baby in November, and could not be happier! But more about that later, for now we will just be taking a few days to get unpacked and resettled back into our routine. What have you been up to lately? I've missed you!