Archive for the Category »Life Lately «

February 2014

2014 got off to a very busy start with work, so not a lot actually happened for most of January/February. At least not a lot that was super worth of photo documentation. But here are a few highlights from February:

 

A big French anti-submarine warfare naval vessel, the FS Primauguet, made a port of call in Stavanger for a few days and offered free open tours during certain hours. We gave it a romp with our friends, Carrie and Kjetil, and their kids.

 

 
Downtown Stavanger is beautiful, even in the middle of winter.
 
And lastly, after MANY failed attempts, I finally managed to make decent homemade corn tortillas! We can't find true corn tortillas here in Norway anywhere, and fish tacos just aren't the same with flour. They were a TON of work, but I'm excited we finally have something useable for special fish taco occasions :)

 

The Great Move of 2013
As soon as our plane landed back in Norway, we had to ignore jetlag and throw ourselves straight into “moving mode.” Our new contract officially began the first week of December, so it was ready…set…MOVE!

Here’s the place before we took it over:

Looking in from the front hall to the kitchen and living/dining room.
Standing in the back corner of the living room looking back towards the kitchen and bathroom.
The master bedroom.
An actual, bona fide walk-in closet! This was definitely one of the main reasons we chose this apartment. After three years of having everything crammed into two tiny wardrobes, this was pretty major. We are in closet heaven!
Notice how there’s no furniture in the apartment? (With the exception of the bookcases and 2 night stands in the bedroom.) We moved in with 4 bookcases and a desk to our name. I guess after being married 3 years it’s high time we act like adults and purchase our own furniture.

We had some great friends who volunteered the use of their time, muscles, and vehicles to help us move all our boxes into the new place (Thank you again Meads and Olsens!). The actual moving bit happened fairly quickly since we were already mostly packed before we left for the States and, as I stated above, we had hardly any furniture. The hard part was getting everything unpacked and organzied once we got it all inside. Especially because, and I’ll say it one last time, no furniture.

The books and computer got unpacked. What more do you really need?
The general state of the apartment for about a month.
 
Skittles adjusted to the move extremely well. I think she’s getting used to frequent changes in scenery with the big move to Norway and the various friends’ houses she’s stayed at while we’ve been out of town.
 
Plus, she really likes boxes, so I’m sure having a hundred of them lying around didn’t hurt.
“Nope….not coming out.”
 
 
Our grand furniture plan was to be all green and hold off buying anything until we could find really awesome items for really cheap on Finn.no (the Craigslist of Norway). Especially the bed. We’ve been sleeping on some pretty awful beds in our furnished apartments ever since we got married so for our first bed purchase we were determined to hold out, save our pennies, do our research, and buy the nicest bed we could find that would be exactly perfect in every way.
Well… we lasted about 3 days on an air mattress before OH MY GOSH WE NEED A REAL BED NOW!!!!
Enter: IKEA
We spent an afternoon testing out pretty much every mattress combination in the store while asking the poor employee in charge of mattresses 500 questions. It turns out Ikea actually has some pretty nice beds! Who knew! We ultimately left feeling really pleased with our choice.
 
However, like most post-IKEA trips, the evening quickly devolved from there.
Thanks to Chris’ manly mastery of his element, we now have a fully functioning bed. And it is one of the best beds we’ve ever slept on. Yay for marital milestones and unfurnished new apartments!
Hillhuset: 3 Years Later

A little while ago I was scanning through old posts on our blog and I came across the photo tour of our apartment when we first moved in. A LOT has changed since then so I thought I'd do an update!

Let's start with the front door:

Turning right down the hall:
Passed the bedrooms, bathroom, and pantry/storage room:
Into the living room:
Our “office” with our hacked Ikea shelves and our jerry-rigged overhead lightbulb (that we put up as a” temporary” lighting solution when we first moved in and that we subsequently forgot about for 3 whole years). Also of note is the clear difference between Chris' side of the desk and my own. Clean and organized vs a giant pile of crazy.
The eating area:
Looking out at the view:
Heading into the kitchen:
The kitchen:

I forgot to take pictures of the bedrooms and bathroom. Whoops. They don't look much different than they did 3 years ago though.

 

So with that done I guess it's time to announce to those of you who don't already know…..we've moved! Crazy, right? We signed the lease right after getting home from Latvia, packed up all our stuff before going back to the US for a few weeks over Thanksgiving and moved into our new apartment at the beginning of December.

 

 

While we loved this first apartment and wrestled for a long time about whether to give it up, it was a good move for us for a number of reasons. For one thing, our 3-year contract was up, which meant that if we were to re-sign another lease they would raise the rent as housing prices in that area have climbed significantly over the past 3 years. Another was the furniture. It was great to have a furnished apartment, but we are ready to start building a furniture collection that is ours. (And not a white cotton couch that was a devil to keep clean). The new place isn't much bigger than our old one, but we'll be able to use our space much more efficiently with our own furniture.

 

For posterity, here are some things we will miss about our first Norwegian apartment:

  • Living right downtown close to everything (now we live in farm country) and within walking distance of almost all forms of public transportation in the area.
  • Having 4 grocery stores within a 5 minute walk (now we have to drive)
  • Seemingly endless hot water
  • Having nicer furniture than we could normally afford, including a big screen TV
  • The 2nd floor view of the park from our window
  • The bigger kitchen
  • The storage unit in the basement

Things we will not miss:

  • The management
  • The aforementioned white cotton couch
  • Having to worry about every mysterious little speck that shows up on the white cotton couch (and other furniture wear and tear for that matter). We learned how to use OxiClean like a boss.
  • Hauling groceries and Christmas trees, Ikea boxes, and other heavy things up 3 flights of stairs from the car.
  • The higher rent
  • The saggy bed
  • The useless desk, weird corner cupboards, janky armchair, and the myriad of other large furniture items we had no use for but couldn't get rid of
  • Not being able to hang anything on the walls (We purchased 3M Command Strips in bulk. Not even exaggerating.)

We loved it while it lasted, but now we're moving on to a new and exciting chapter in our Norwegian story. Bring on the trips to Ikea!

 

1st Anniversary of Chelsea’s Cool Cakes

Chris barely had time to come home and do laundry after our trip to Greece before he was off again to Germany for a three-week NATO exercise. Poor guy had an insanely busy autumn!

 

While he was gone, I celebrated the first birthday of my cake studio! And by celebrated, I mean I thought “Oh hey! Today is the 1-year anniversary of getting the keys!” and then moved right on back to baking. No time to be fancy!

But I thought I would celebrate here on the blog by sharing some photos of the shop, since the last time I shared photos of it it we were in the middle of fixing it up and it was a complete disaster.

It's still not much to look at, but here it is, in all its sugary glory :)

 

The front door.
It looks pretty intense with the gate closed eh? It used to be a dentist office so they had the gate to protect the gas and painkillers. Now it protects my cakes from would-be dessert thieves.
 
The other side of the front door.
 
The consultation/waiting room.

The decorating room and door to the kitchen.

Where the magic happens.

 

I forgot to take a picture of the kitchen, but it's just an oven, a fridge, and a sink. Nothing special.

 

Although it does have a killer view:

This past year has been A LOT of very hard work. Running your own business definitely isn't for the faint of heart. I've been told that I'm brave for starting my own company, but most days I really just feel outta-my-mind-crazy. A lot of blood, sweat, and tears (literally) has gone into making the business what it is today and I have learned A TON about running a company and myself as a person over the past year. While it hasn't been a piece of cake (I'm sorry… I had to!), thankfully it's finally starting to pay off.

Some really great things are in store for Chelsea's Cool Cakes in 2014!

 

 

The Past Few Weeks

You guys… I know my last post was all about the lack of spring… but this weekend spring has sprung! A lot can change in a few weeks! It’s currently 75 degrees F (count-em: 7-5 degrees!). I’m typing this sitting outside on our balcony in a skirt and bare feet feeling the breeze in my hair and listening to the screams of the kids swimming in the pond across the way and the waves from the passing fjord boats. Chris is just inside the door reading in a sunny spot on the couch. It’s absolutely glorious. I swear I can actually FEEL myself soaking the vitamin D into my winter-pale skin!

Now…not to be gloomy on such a beautiful day or anything, but while it appears spring has finally shown it’s face, we’ve been living here long enough to know better now. Based on the past few years, around this time we typically get a major heat wave (meaning hanging out between 70-75 degrees) for a little while and then it dips back into wet and chilly for most of the rest of the “summer”. Even the locals accept that this may very well be the only true summer days we will get. So while it’s a little bittersweet, we are taking advantage of it!

Here are a few Instagram shots from our phones from the past little while to keep you up to speed. We’ve had a busy few weeks! Cousin Patrick and his new wife Anna came to visit, Chris has been working on setting up one of his old computers as a home server, Skittles is adorable as always, cakes and cupcakes continue to rule my life, we celebrated Norway’s Constitution Day,  we’ve been practicing our sailing skills we learned last summer, we watched our first Eurovision Song Contest, we planted a balcony garden, and the weather is finally allowing us to grill for real!

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It has been a good few weeks :)