A week full of love

…and NO I don’t mean just for Valentines Day!
As your children grow older and more demanding, it’s especially important that you remember to spend time together as a couple and not just as a family. My experience has taught me, that to endure some of the tough times in a marriage (and yes there can be quite a bit of those too I’m afraid), then you have to take the initiative for some “everyday-moments” with your spouse and this blogpost is meant as inspiration – for you and a reminder for myself!

This next week will be full of love in our house. Partly because I’ve just started back at work and because we need to prioritize eachother more and also because I miss my hubby and want to do something special for him!

Maybe I can inspire you to do the same for your special someone?

 

A week full of LOVE

Monday massage:

Give your husband a nice relaxing massage. Try to avoid having the television or smartphone on and instead devote your entire attention to him. Light some candles for an intimite mood and maybe some inscents to help him relax. Make it extra special by asking him about his day and really listen!

A week full of LOVE. Give your dear hubby a nice massage! Other great ideas to make your hubby feel loved and to help your marriage endure - visit my blog: www.pennnylane.dk

Tuesday thanks:

Try to spend some time today to think about all the wonderful things your hubby does for you, that you (most likely) take for granted, and be sure and tell him thanks today – because it’s always nice to be validated and appreciated.

A week full of LOVE. Be sure and tell your hubby thanks! Everyone wants to be appreciated. Take time to tell him! To see other great ideas on how to making your marriage endure, visit my blog: www.pennnylane.dk

 

Wednesday treats:

Bake (or buy) a special treat for your hubby. Bake his favorite cake or make his favorite meal. Something edible to tell him, I like to spoil you and take care of you. My mother often jokes that a mans heart is reached through his stomach. Of course it isn’t entirely true, but everyone loves to be spoiled and when someone you love makes you feel special.

A week full of LOVE; make a special treat for your man to show your love. To read the entire post about spoiling your husband with a week full of LOVE, go to my blog: www.pennnylane.dk

 

Thursday touchy-touchy:

Every time you speak with your husband today, make sure to pay special attention to touching him. Maybe just hold his hand at times, stroke his hair, rub his shoulders, cuddle him, kiss him. Show him how much he means to you and that you love his touch.

Touch is great way to communicate desire and of course you want your hubby to feel wanted.

A week full of LOVE; Let your hubby know how much you love him. Read my post about giving him a week full of LOVE, www.pennnylane.dk

 

Friday Funday:

Today you are going to do an activity together – you don’t have to go out, but you have to do something together (no TV or going to the movies!) You have to interact with eachother.

Take a walk in the woods, go shopping for a nice home cooked meal, put on some music and dance together. It doesn’t have to take all day – but the idea is to spend time together on an activity.

A week full of LOVE. It's always nice to spend time together, but after a while we can get into a tired rutine. Break the rutine by reading my blogpost about a week full of LOVE for your husband. www.pennnylane.dk

Sneaky Saturday:

Plan a surprise for today! If it’s possible, arrange for the children to be somewhere else, so he can sleep in. Make him a nice breakfast (maybe in bed *wink-wink*) and let him spend all day on the couch in comfortable pants and watch his favorite movies (DieHard 1-5 or something similar) and spoil him rotten with candy, junkfood and great company! Just let him do nothing!

A week full of LOVE; Spoil your husband and let him just relax for an entire saturday! Other great ideas to spoil your husband and create a week full of LOVE, go to my blog: www.pennnylane.dk

 

Sunday Daze:

Today you are going to whisper sweet words to him. Tell him how wonderful he is; How much you love his body; What you love about him! Build up his confidence, so he knows for sure that he is your one true love! If for some reason you can’t be with him all day, make sure to send loving text messages to him, so he knows that he is on your mind!

 

It probably sounds a bit silly and it seems like it’s a lot of effort, but seriously what is one week out of a lifetime?!? Try some of the ideas or all of them and I am sure you will feel more connected to your husband and he to you.

What is your tip to making your hubby feel loved and appreciated?

As we move toward the light

Tonight is “pork monday” and yesterday we celebrated “Fastelavn” with some very close friends.

"Fastelavn", the danish word for the christian holiday "shrovetide", this is our tradition as a modern pagan family. Visit my blog and read about our traditions. How do you celebrate the coming of spring? www.pennnylane.dk
Good looking people!

 

Fastelavn er mit navn…

”Fastelavn” is the Danish word for the celebration of “Shrovetide”, a carnival of welcoming the spring. This carnival tradition dates back to 7-800 BC, where it was a pagan celebration with the purpose of driving away the darkness of winter and welcoming spring. When Christianity was introduced in europe, the carnival became a Christian tradition called Shrovetide, leading up to the 40 days of lent before Easter.

But this holiday still serves the same purpose as always: To bring light to end the dark time of year.

 

The Danish word for Shrovetide, “fastelavn” comes from the german “vastelavent” meaning the night before lent.  Shrove Sunday always falls on the 7th Sunday before Easter and is followed by Shrove Monday, Shrove Tuesday and Ash Wednesday.

Historically, the three days before Ash Wednesday were used to eat as much meat and sweets as possible, since both were forbidden during lent. This is why Shrove Sunday and Shrove Monday are also known as “flæskesøndag” and “flæskemandag”. (Translated it means “Pork-Sunday and Pork-Monday). Take a guess at what you had for dinner?!? 😉

Shrove Tuesday is also called “hvide tirsdag” (White Tuesday) because you would traditionally eat white foods on this day. This is also the day you would eat “fastelavnsboller” (Shrovetide buns); a sweet bun filled with custard/marzipan and jam.

Fastelavnsboller, shrovetide buns. A danish traditional dessert-bun with custard, marzipan and jam - delicious! www.pennnylane.dk
This years leftovers of fastelavnsboller

 

Back in christian times, Shrovetide was mainly a celebration for adults, who would dress up and celebrate. Today most of the festivities are for children. Children dress up in costumes, and go from house to house singing for “treats”.(A bit like Halloween, but without all the scary costumes).

Shrovetide traditions

An old tradition, which still is practiced, is the Danish tradition of hitting at a barrel, like you would a “pinata”.

After christianity “adopted” the holiday, a black cat, seen as a symbol of evil (also known as a witches familiar or as satan himself), was put into the barrel. The tradition was to beat the barrel with a stick until it broke and killed the cat.

It’s still a very normal tradition, however today the barrel contains sweets or toys. But a part of the old tradition still remains, as the one to break the last board of the barrel is crowned the King of Cats. (And the first to break the barrel is crowned the Queen).

The birch rod

Another tradition we still have is the decorated Shrovetide birch rod. Children decorate birch rods with paper decorations and streamers and we showcase them in our house as a sign of the coming spring.

As a pagan sign of fertility it was considered good luck for young newly wed women to be struck with a birch rod, as it would increase her fertility. This tradition was changed as well as christianity adopted the holiday to symbolize beating evil and sin out of people.

The stores also sell “birchrods” with candy and decorations for those who don’t have the time to make one…

Today the tradition is thankfully much more family-friendly, and many children will decorate their birch rod in school or in kindergarten, and wake their parents on Shrove Sunday by beating the birch on their duvets and singing a special “fastelavns” song:

“Boller op, Boller ned, Boller i min mave…

 Hvis jeg ingen boller får, så laver jeg ballade!”

loosely translated….

“Buns up, Buns down, Buns in my belly…

 If I don’t get any buns, I am going to make trouble!”

Of course you would serve the children “fastelavnsboller”, because who wants trouble?! 🙂

Dianna dressed as a little kitten for Fastelavn. To read more about this danish tradition, go to my blog: www.pennnylane.dk

 Dianna was dressed as a little kitten this year (thx for the costume Uncle Daniel!)

Becoming a mother has reminded me how important it is to celebrate family traditions and to keep them going.

I hope someday she will be the one celebrating fastelavn with her children and friends! 🙂

How do you celebrate the coming of spring?

Irish Coffee

On a cold winter night, there is nothing like a hot irish coffee to warm you up from the inside out!

Supposedly the story goes, that some cold and tired passengers arrived at Joseph Sheridan’s restaurant one day in 1942 and to lift their spirits he added spirits to their coffee, and so the irish coffee was born! Thank you Joseph!! You are my hero!!!

I actually liked irish coffee – before I even liked regular coffee!  – must have been the cream…. hehe

According to Joseph the original recipe is:

“Cream as rich as an Irish brogue; coffee as strong as a friendly hand; sugar sweet as the tongue of a rogue; and whiskey smooth as the wit of the land.”

Simple – but to get a good quality irish coffee, you must use good quality ingridients and for an irish coffee, a nice quality dark roast is a great choice. We like to use Peter Larsen’s Ethiopian espresso blend and of course Tullamore Dew Whiskey.

We ALWAYS mix sugar and whiskey first – add coffee to how weak/strong you want the drink and top with whipped cream – YUMMY!!

 

The perfect hot drink for a winter night - irish coffee. The best recipe can be found at www.pennnylane.dk
I love these cups from “Tivoli” They cost 10 kr (aprox $1,5) and they are so darned cute!

TIP: Don’t whip the cream too hard – make it half-whipped; not too stiff, not too liquid. 

What is your favorite hot-drink for those cold winter nights?

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Ginger Shots

So it’s Flu-season here in Denmark and because I work at a hospital,  I am around sick people every day, and in order not to get sick myself, I try and take my vitamins and generally stay healthy.

AND I also drink a shot of my moms delicious secret health elixir

(sounds exotic…. no??!)

It helps me boost my immunesystem. It’s quite delicious and also good mixed with Gin or vodka 😉

 

It's flu season! Stay healthy by making your own health elixir! Get the recipe for my delicious ginger shots and never worry about the flu again! www.pennnylane.dk

 

Pennie’s “Flu-be-gone” Ginger shot

3 Lemons (Or 2 lemons and 1 lime if that’s what you have…sorry mom!)
1 big hunk of gingerroot.
2 liters of water
It's flu season! Stay healthy by making your own health elixir! Get the recipe for my delicious ginger shots and never worry about the flu again! www.pennnylane.dk
Peel the ginger and slice. Peel lemons (and lime).
Pop everything (ginger, lemon/lime peel and lemon/lime juice  in pot with water and let boil for 20 min.

It's flu season! Stay healthy by making your own health elixir! Get the recipe for my delicious ginger shots and never worry about the flu again! www.pennnylane.dk

Add honey/sugar substitute if you want it sweet. (I like it fine without!)
Sift into a bottle and refrigerate. Kan keep up to 1 month in the fridge.
It's flu season! Stay healthy by making your own health elixir! Get the recipe for my delicious ginger shots and never worry about the flu again! www.pennnylane.dk
Enjoy and say Goodbye to the flu!!
Do you have a secret tip to keeping the flu away??

All that left-over Oatmeal…

The first couple of months of Dianna starting to eat porridges and oatmeal – Oh my Goodness did alot go to waste – and I really mean ALOT!

And not only because she threw it everywhere (but her mouth)… but also because she was a bit of a fussy eater and sometimes just didn’t want to eat breakfast.

(Mommy would of course cave and giver her a bottle… hence it went on for quite a while!!)

After starting daycare and her daycare mother giving me some much needed advice on her diet, I have started to be more strict and not offer her a bottle and of course she has started eating her porridge! Although sometimes my portionsize is still a bit off, and quite a bit is left.

I mostly make oatmeal, because it’s easy to make and (in my opinon) tastes great!

But I have since found some great recipes to make use of all that left-over oatmeal!

 

Leftover Oatmeal Buns

Yields: 10-12

3-4 dl of lukewarm water

Yeast

Salt

Leftover oatmeal

Raisins (sometimes I have it in the oatmeal already)

Vegetable oil

Flour (wholewheat or plain – up to you!)

Leftover-oatmeal buns. Tired of having all that oatmeal go to waste, because your baby's not eating it? Here is a great way to make use of it - bake some oatmeal buns for lunch! www.pennnylane.dk

Pour the lukewarm water into your baking bowl. (NB! It’s important that it’s lukewarm, as the heat helps activate the yeast so your buns rise!)

Add the yeast and stir until it’s dissolved.

Add the left-over oatmeal (and raisins)

Leftover-oatmeal buns. Tired of having all that oatmeal go to waste, because your baby's not eating it? Here is a great way to make use of it - bake some oatmeal buns for lunch! www.pennnylane.dk

Add the salt, oil and finally the flour

Knead until it has the consistency you want.

Let the dough rise for about 1 hour. (If you’re in a hurry less can do as well)

Make into small buns and bake at 180 degrees celcius for aprox. 20 min.

Leftover-oatmeal buns. Tired of having all that oatmeal go to waste, because your baby's not eating it? Here is a great way to make use of it - bake some oatmeal buns for lunch! www.pennnylane.dk

Dianna simply LOVES these with butter and cheese or simply just as they are.

A great and healthy snack for you and your child, especially if you bake them with some wholewheat flour or even rye.

And the best thing is – nothing’s going to waste!!!

Leftover-oatmeal buns. Tired of having all that oatmeal go to waste, because your baby's not eating it? Here is a great way to make use of it - bake some oatmeal buns for lunch! www.pennnylane.dk
YUM!!

Hungarian Gullasch Stew(p)

The weather here in Denmark at the moment is just perfect for slow-cooked, simmerfood;

Soups and Stews…. or Stewps as I say!

And this is one of my favorites! It’s best when it can be cooked over a campfire by the way, which I highly recommend! The smokey flavour from the fire, just makes it more yummy!

Hungarian Gullasch Stewp!

4 servings (+ lunch the next day)

 

Ingridients:

800g Beef
Bacon (aprox. 1 package – but use what you feel like!)
Oil
Paprika
2 diced onions
250 g diced mushrooms
2-3 diced carrots
½ diced celeriac
2 diced red or yellow peppers
8 x garlic
1-3 finely chopped chilies or 2 teaspoons of smoked chili-paste like Chum chum (or both if you like it spicy!)
2 dl. redwine
0,5 liter beef stock
2 laurel leaves
½ teaspoon of cumin
Salt & pepper
1 can of tomatopuré
1 dl. sourcream
Chopped parsley to sprinkle over the dish before serving

 

How to:

Fry the bacon in pieces on the frying pan and let the fat drip off.

Fry the beef on the frying pan in the leftover baconjuices along with the paprika. If you have different kinds of paprika, use a mix of both sweet and spicy, and let the beef marinade in it.

Fry the onion and garlic until it’s see-through with a bit of color. Add the mushrooms and red peppers.

 

Lots of garlic, onions, yellow peppers and mushrooms are some of the ingredients in my wonderful Hungarian Gullasch Stew. To get the recipe, visit my blog: www.pennnylane.dk

 

Dice the carrots and celeriac and add to the mixture.

(You can also add some diced potatoes – although your Stewp won’t be quite so Lowcarb)

Add the redwine, broth, laurels, cumin, salt & pepper and the tomato puré.

Let it simmer for 2-3 hours and serve with bread, a dollop of sourcream and a sprinkle of parsley!

 

My Hungarian Gullasch Stew, a great winter dish to warm you up during these cold months. Get the recipe on my blog: www.pennnylane.dk

ENJOY!!

What is your favorite winter dish??

Dealing with Mommy-guilt

Alright, so it’s week 1 of me returning to work and already the mommyguilt is setting in. Well, maybe “mommyguilt” is the wrong word, I’m not sure.

I thought I could do it all! And boy was I wrong!

  • Back to work (Check √)
  • Great daycare (Check √)
  • New courses for work (Check √)
  • Steady Blog and Instagram posts (Check √)
  • Keeping the house in order (Check …..)
  • Taking care of Dianna as she’s sick (Ch….)
  • Not sleeping any….. oh SH!!!!!!T!

Everything went wrong in just 4 days…

Right… so my plan worked for about 4 days and then completely broke down. Dianna has been sick the last 2 nights (only) and I’ve slept for maybe 4 hours in total.

I’ve had to call in to work taking a “kid-sick day x 2”, so of course no daycare, thankfully I haven’t missed any courses (but did miss 2 days of intro at my work! ARGH!), trying to blog…. but no brainpower, house is a complete mess, Dianna is priority no. 1!…. and sleep what is that again???

And I have such guilt for being a mommy and putting my baby first. I know my coworkers depend on me as well and my boss too – but I just can’t satisfy everyone.

 

So I had a good cry on my husbands shoulders… a BIG cup of coffee, called work and made a new plan with my boss, took a deep breath…

and reminded myself that I am only human and that I am good enough!

I hate it when my baby's sick! ;(

What do you do, when the mommy guilt is overwhelming you??

 

Homemade Chai Latte

I LOVE Chai Lattes - how about you?? There is nothing better on a cold night or day or simply to relax and unwind. Get my recipe for a great cup of home made chai latte on my blog: www.pennnylane.dk

I LOVE a nice cup of Chai Latte and ordinarily I drink this one from Celestial Seasonings…

Oooooh it’s so good! Just add a little bit of milk (or cream, I dare you!!)

Mmmmm…. the best unwind, put your PJ’s on and relax kind of tea!

Today I wanted to do something extra special though. It’s been really tough starting back at work again after a great maternity leave and since we’re still trying to eat lowcarb, the usual treats for myself are no-go, so I decided to treat myself to a great homemade cup of Chai Latte.

 

PenNnyLane’s homemade Chai-Te-Latte:

Ingridients:

2,5 dl Milk (about 1 cup)
2,5 dl Water (same as above!)
2 Black Darjeeling teabags

Let the tea boil for 3-4 minutes and then rest for 5 minutes.

Then add:
1 teaspoon of cinnamon
½ teaspoon of crushed ginger
½ teaspoon of crushed cardamom
2 tablespoons of brown sugar or sweetner equivalent
1 teaspoon of vanilla-sugar (or extract)

Bring the tea to a boil again for about 4-5 minutes.

Strain the spices from the tea and pour into your favorite tea-mug and ENJOY!!!
If you feel like it – add whipped cream or milkfoam and a sprinkle of cinnamon.

YUMMY!

 

 Don’t waste a drop!
What is your favorite healthy treat?

Declutter your home DAY 4

Day 4 of my "How to declutter your home in 4 days" - guide. Go to my blog www.pennnylane.dk and see the full guide for free.

Day 4 is finally here, we’re almost done! We’ve tackled the wardrobe, the bathroom, the kitchen and now your WORKSPACE!

I am a fanatic hoarder when it comes to my workspace. I’m actually a very orderly person, EXCEPT when it comes to this place. I somehow find energy in being surrounded by a “little” chaos. I know, sounds crazy! But there is such a thing as organized chaos, I swear! I know exactly where everything is!!

But because I am going back to work after a long maternity leave (1 whole year!!! – where did the time go?!?), it was crucial for me that my workspace was tidy and ready for me to go back to work.

Last year my husband remodelled our upstairs. We wanted more room, so he moved our staircase from the front of our house to the middel so we could utilize room in both ends of the house. And in doing so he freed up room to make a great work-from-home space for me (and a study area for himself!). It’s amazing and I’m very happy with it. The only downside is there isn’t much storage space, so I have 2 halfsized bookshelves and 2 drawers for ALL my stuff. And my books alone are in 8 moving boxes… sooooo…. as you can imagine it’s quite cluttered.

Not anymore! And here is how…

DAY 4

How to declutter your home in 4 days. This is day 4 - 12 things to get rid of in your workspace! Read my guide to a clutterfree workspace. www.pennnylane.dk

My workspace was full of bad conscience, half finished projects and they kept stopping me from starting new ones – because I felt so bad I wasn’t finished. Now my conscience is clear and I’m ready to go back to work!! Or well at least my workspace is…

It’s sad having to go back to work – but my little Dianna so LOVES her daycare, that I know it’s only me who has the problem, not her!

Still…. Wish me luck!!

Signature for my blog www.pennnylane.dk

Declutter your home DAY 3

Day 4 of my Declutter challenge: How to declutter your kitchen! www.pennnylane.dk

Today I have enlisted some help. Our kitchen is quite big and holds alot of storage space, and I really wanted to get it all done, so my dear hubby was only too happy to help! He is very practical and usually doesn’t get to help me “design” the kitchen space, so this time he jumped at the oppertunity. And I must say he had some very good ideas – things I hadn’t thought of myself.

DAY 3

So my first tip for decluttering is definetly, do it with someone else! They may see things from an entirely different perspective then you and that can be incredibly helpful! Brian had some good ideas to make the flow in the kitchen more natural – for example all coffee-things by the coffee maker, my baking stuff in drawers close to each other and so on. It freed up alot of counter space and we even got a whole cupboard for Diannas things now! I can’t believe we didn’t do this earlier!

We got rid of 2 whole bags!!! TWO?!? (and yes there are still things left in our cupboards) 🙂

Are you tired of your cluttered house? Follow my guide to declutter your home in 4 days. www.pennnylane.dk

I LOVE my kitchen now. Actually it’s one of the places in the house I spend most time (next to my bed!), so of course it’s important that it’s well organized and feels spacious. I try not to have too many appliances at any given time, simply because I know that in the long run we won’t use them. My husband LOVES buying new fancy machines though.

The one appliances I absolutely couldn’t live without is my Kitchenaid!! Next to brian, it’s my true love!

What is your favorite kitchen appliance?

Signature for my blog www.pennnylane.dk