Archive for » July, 2015 «

Happy Birthday America, Carrie and Erin!

It’s always strange celebrating American holidays here in Norway. Even though there are a lot of Americans here, it just doesn’t feel the same celebrating it outside of your own country where EVERYONE is BBQing, swimming, sporting red/white/blue, eating pies, watching parades and prepping for dusk and the impending fireworks. Pass any Norwegian on the street and they don’t know it’s a special day. The 4th is definitely a day that makes me miss the U.S. We Americans sure know how to have a patriotic holiday!

We got together with a bunch of American friends (and one honorary American friend) to celebrate the 4th with a mocktail night. It was also a celebration of Carrie and Erin’s upcoming birthdays. It was also the Yates’ last week living in Norway so it was also a farewell hurrah for them. Lots of reasons to come together and have food and mocktails.

The idea for a mocktail came from Barrett, as his “5th dream job is to be a bartender.” We also had hors d’oeuvres, American flag cake, and a giant pizookie with ice cream. Erin even managed to locate some poppers so we could have our own little “firework” celebration. God bless the U.S.A!

Crostini with goat cheese and bacon-onion jam.
Caprese bites.
It’s not Independence Day without fruit made to look like a flag!
Kjetil: Our honorary American
Happy Birthday America, Carrie and Erin!!
Aaah friends :)
Note the two babies in the photo. Little stinkers WOULD NOT sleep and after hiding in the back rooms trying to get them down and missing the party, we finally just gave up and let them join the festivities. Why is baby sleep so fleeting and elusive?
Chris and Kjetil modeling what the sky looks like at midnight these days.
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Lily: 5 Months Old


This little girl just keeps getting more and more fun every day!




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Kite Festival


Every summer the Hellestø Kite Festival is held at Hellestø Beach. We’ve wanted to check it out every year since we found out about it, but for one reason or another we’ve never been able to. This year was the year though! We even had a little bit of sun and blue sky, although it returned to being gray, windy and cold pretty quickly so we didn’t stay much more than an hour. Lily seemed to enjoy all the colorful kites waving in the wind as she huddled inside her wrap. It was something fun and different to see, but I definitely think it will be a lot more fun when we can come back with older kids and join in on the kite flying. Adding it to the bucket list for the future!



June Bug

First off, June brought Chris’ birthday. Lily got dressed up especially for the occasion:

For all you non-nerds, she’s wearing a World of Warcraft onesie. Definitely her daddy’s girl!


June also ushers in the Norwegian strawberry season. Oh Norwegian strawberries, you tender, luscious drops of juicy sweetness. Chris’ birthday conveniently falls right when strawberry season and rhubarb season overlap, so OF COURSE we celebrate each year with Chris’ favorite strawberry rhubarb pie. Yet again, I was reminded that we have to buy twice as many strawberries as we think we need if we are going to use them besides eating fresh. “One for the pie. And one for Chelsea! One for the pie. And one for Chelsea!” You just can’t stop! I’ll include the recipe below since this year I feel like I finally nailed it!


Have you tried the “soaking strawberries in vinegar” trick to keep them fresh? It’s awesome! We do it every time we buy strawberries and they last much longer than they usually do (if we happen to have any leftovers, that is. Which is rare.)
Strawberry-rhubarb pie in the making!


We’ve basically been eating our weight in strawberries this season!
Strawberry muffins.


Salads with strawberries, pecans, and poppyseed dressing.


So gorgeous!
Lily being her cute self.
We’ve reached the MUSTCHEWONEVERYTHING!!!! stage. I suspect teething is imminent.


Cloudy walk.


This spring has officially been one of the coldest springs on record here in Stavanger. Not much sun, lots of rain, and cold winds off the coast. Not very springy and a total bummer, especially for my poor garden. This year I went all out and bought a small raised bed gardening box to try my hand at the square foot gardening method (we have awesome landlords who let me take over a portion of our backyard for this experiment). I planned the layout and planting dates over 6 months in advance, I spent a lot of my maternity leave during naps mixing the soil correctly (I think) and felt like I had all my research in order so that this year was going to be the Year of the Garden of Awesome.


Then, as I said before, the coldest spring on record hit. I waited almost 4 weeks for anything to sprout (when it should have taken a 1-2 weeks) and the little seedlings that did manage to sprout eventually were stunted and small. I barely even got some of my radishes to grow, and radishes basically grow themselves. Apparently I seeded WAY too early, despite the guidelines from this planting guide for Stavanger. I tried planting some more later on in hopes that the weather would warm up, and so far I’ve been able to get somewhat of a harvest.


Some lettuces:
The radishes that eventually did grow:


Kale and sugar snap peas have also managed to pull through lately and I have some small shreds of hope left for a broccoli plant. Total failures = Romaine, spinach, butter lettuce, green beans, two broccoli plants, sunflowers, and beets. I’ve replanted everything but the broccoli, so we’ll see how that turns out.


Also, see this sheep?
This jerk managed to hop the fence and get into our backyard. When Chris tried to shoo her back over the fence, she panicked and trampled through my garden patch instead. Thankfully the only major casualties were my spinach and green beans but they were pretty much failures anyway. All in all not a good year for the garden.


Chris also celebrated his first Father’s Day. Dads rock! This is one of his many attempts to convince/trick/bribe Lily to drink from a bottle…to no avail.


One weekend it was pretty sunny out and looked decently warm, so we packed some blankets and headed for a new beach that I happened upon on my way home from a cake delivery. Because it is summer dang it!
Turns out this summery day was a big fat lie and we spent 2 minutes sitting on towels in the sand huddled behind a rock attempting to block the wind before we decided pretending it was summer wasn’t going to actually make it summer. We did see this random fellow wandering down the shore though:
And then he met up with some friends:
Only in Norway…
C2's Strawberry Rhubarb Pie
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Classic strawberry rhubarb pie that isn't watery and runny! Be sure to follow the recipe exactly. Speaking from experience, varying the ingredients too much usually makes for a runny pie and nobody wants that!
Recipe type: Dessert
Serves: 1 pie
  • 1 double pie crust (Use your favorite one. I love this one:
  • 1 cup sugar
  • ½ cup corn starch
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 3 ½ to 4 cups lightly packed diced rhubarb, fresh or frozen
  • 3 ½ cups hulled, quartered fresh strawberries
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • coarse white sparkling sugar, to garnish
  1. To make the crust: Line a 9" pie pan (or two 6" pie pans) with half the crust. Refrigerate while you make the filling, for at least 30 minutes.
  2. To make the filling: Whisk together the sugar, cornstarch, and salt.
  3. Toss the rhubarb and strawberries with the sugar mixture. Spoon the fruit into the pan(s), filling them about ¾ full and mounding the filling a bit in the center.
  4. Place dabs of the butter atop the filling. Return the pie to the refrigerator.
  5. Preheat the oven to 425°F.
  6. Roll out the remaining crust, and cut it into strips for a latice top, or cookie cutter shapes for a festive touch.
  7. Place the pastry atop the filling in a lattice pattern or arrange the shapes however you would like. Brush with egg white wash (beaten egg white and a little bit of water) and sprinkle with coarse white sparkling sugar, if desired.
  8. Bake the pie(s) for 30 minutes (for the 9" pie), or 20 minutes (for the 6" pies), then reduce the oven heat to 375°F and bake for an additional 30 to 40 minutes (9" pie), or 20 to 25 minutes (6" pies), until the filling is bubbling and the crust nicely browned. (Cover top with tin foil if too much browning is occurring.
  9. Remove the pie(s) from the oven, and let them cool to room temperature before serving.
  10. The pie may be served warm, but it'll be a bit messy; it sets as it cools. You can reheat after setting and just before serving if desired. Top with vanilla ice cream or whipped cream, if desired.
Use the ripest, most local strawberries you can find. It really does make a difference!
When making your pie crust, DO NOT OVERMIX. If your butter is cut into the flour in the size of large peas and you don't overmix, you will end up with a lovely flaky crust :)

Lily: 4 Months Old!


Confession: When all our friends were having babies before us we would secretly make fun of them for being obsessed with every little thing their baby did. We would snicker silently to each other when their baby would burp or hiccup or scrunch their face up weird and they would exclaim their delight in their singsong baby voices and snap 500 photos. To all those friends (you know who you are)…we are sorry.
We absolutely, 100% get it now.
Literally EVERYTHING Lily does is adorable and new and wondrous. Even the gross stuff like poop is thrilling in bizarre and delightful ways. Karma has caught up to us and we are now parents who are unequivocally obsess over our little girl just like every other parent who has gone before us. And just like every other parent who has gone before us, we have discovered we LOVE it. How could we not with this lovely little girl in our lives :)


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