Friday, December 14, 2012

High Five for Friday

Yay, it's Friday! The last "real" work week this year has ended! I only have some finishing up left next week before heading off to Christmas break! Much awaited one!


So, there must be some really good things to share from this week then, right? That's my I'm revealing my High Five for Friday and linking up with Lauren @ From My Grey Desk.

Number one: Cookie Exchange

I hosted my 2nd annual Cookie/Goodie Exchange this Tuesday. Altogether eight women gathered in our home bringing different kinds of holiday goodies to share with others. This is my contribution of White Chocolate Cranberry Cookies, recipe courtesy of Trisha Yearwood.


Number two: Christmas tree mat

I got this mat for our Christmas tree yesterday. Tomorrow we are bringing in the tree!!! Can't wait!


Number three: Done with grading!

Such a happy thought!


Number four: Holiday greetings

We've received a couple Christmas cards already and I am expecting more next week. I also got some chocolate from a workmate, the gesture made me feel warm inside.


Number five: Rainy Day Seattle Hat

Photo from here
I'm not sure what the correct term for the technique this hat is made in is, please help me out, if you know. Is this intarsia or fair isle technique? Anyway, I think this would be such a cute project to start learning multiple colored pattern knitting. I would be proud to wear Seattle skyline on my head :)

Hope you have a relaxing weekend to look forward to!

Friday, December 7, 2012

High Five For Friday

I've been out of the H54F bandwagon for a while due to super busy end of the weeks, but now I'm enjoying a luxury of an extra day off and I have time to get back on track. High Five for Friday is a link-up by Lauren @ From My Grey Desk and it's a wonderful idea to document the things that have made you happy throughout the week.

Number one: Snow. (And Advent) 

It suddenly got bright again here even though the days keep getting shorter and shorter. But having snow on the ground (and the occasional sun peeking behind the clouds, which has a rare sight this fall) makes a huge difference to my state of mind.


Number two: Finland (And gingerbread cookies)

I love this country and I'm grateful for it.


Number three: Crocheted Snowflake Garland

I started and finished this garland this week and I'm really happy with the result. I'm still missing a tree, but it will look great hung onto it, I'm sure!


Number four: Nativity

I love that now our home proclaims in this way as well why we celebrate Christmas.


Number five: Rice porridge

A Christmas season staple. Love it. Rich, creamy, subtle.


How was your week?


Thursday, December 6, 2012

Finland's Independence Day

Traditional Independence Day candles

Today we here in Finland celebrate our 95-year-old homeland. 
I am so grateful to God for this country and its independence.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Advent decorations

This year, the first Advent Sunday is in December. Most years it's in the end of November. I've seen a lot of these candelabra on people's windowsills already, but for me it just doesn't feel right to set them up before the first Advent. Today, in the morning, still in my jammies, I opened the Christmas closet and took them out.

In the morning

I love that we have snow now! It makes everything so much brighter! It's been coming in bulks since Friday afternoon, only pausing for a while at times. The scenery is completely different now than it was three days ago.

Our guestroom in the morning

* * *

This year I got to set up my Nativity as well. I used some of my birthday money to buy this set by Willow Tree. Just the basic set, but I might add on to it later. I'm so happy we now have a nativity. It just feels right to me to underline Christmas' true meaning that way. I really love Willow Tree's design, it's so simple and pure. This Nativity set is definitely a keeper and I love to think about all the future years I will take it out and set it up!

In the morning

In Finland Christmas trees are usually brought inside only closer to Christmas, so my decor is still somewhat low key. I plan on having our first real Christmas tree this year and probably will get it sooner than most Finns. I've been crafting and making some ornaments for that tree and can't wait to decorate it!

Do you have any special items you take out and set up during Advent?

I wish you a blessed Advent getting ready to celebrate the birth of Jesus!

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Vermont Apple Pie

I guess it might be illegal to post about Thanksgiving in December. But I still wanted to share these photos with you. Thanksgiving isn't celebrated in Finland, but because I'm an EFL (English as a Foreign Language) teacher, I'm a sucker for this holiday and always try to notice it in my personal life some way or another. (This year I did some Thanksgiving stuff with my pupils too, which was fun and I'll definitely keep the tradition going in the future.)
I took a little shortcut with this Vermont Apple Pie and used a store bought pie crust instead of making my own.  I only decided to make this on the day, after work, and the self-made pie crust would have needed to chill for at least four hours. I just didn't have the time for that, if I wanted to savor this on Thanksgiving Day. Next time when I'm making this, however, I will make my own crust, it's worth it to taste that buttery goodness with the beautiful fall flavors. The store bought was good too, just not as good. This tasty pie lasts for quite a while in our family of two, but it's no problem as I really liked the days when I got home from work, had dinner and said to my hubby: 
- "I think there's still some apple pie left in the fridge, would you like a slice?"

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Christmas preparations

I am a Christmas person, there's no doubt about that. I love the atmosphere of that particular holiday. The peace and quiet I've come to associate with it. Being together with family. Celebrating the birth of my Savior into this world.

I love getting ready for Christmas. Even though we tend to spend the actual days away from home at either my or my hubby's parents' home. This year I am planning to put up a real Christmas tree and I have want some self-made ornaments for the tree. I am also considering to buy some new ornaments to add to the few ones we already have. Last week we also bought lights for the Christmas tree. The time of cheer is getting near and I can't wait!

Friday, November 9, 2012

High Five for Friday

Another Friday has rolled in. I'm really glad it has. The week has felt like an glimpse of an eye, but still I'm welcoming Friday with open arms. Here are my Top Five things from this week. This post is a link-up to Lauren's blog From My Grey Desk.

Number one: Zooey Deschanel Fringe

It looks even more like Zooey Deschanel when I have my hair up. I'm really loving the hair.

Number two: Downton Abbey Series Three

This I have waited and waited and waited, and finally Series Three is airing in Finland on Tuesday nights. The first episode was this week. I. Love. Downton Abbey.

Number three: A working data projector lamp

Work got a whole lot simpler once I got a new lamp for the data projector in my class. I'm happy and the pupils are happy.

Number four: Fashion party

I went to a fashion party at my friend's last night, which was great fun. Women everywhere trying on clothes and complimenting each other! I bought a pair of jeans, too.

Number five: A weekend back home

I'm very happy where I live now. That said, my roots are deep down on the northwestern coast of Finland. Last weekend we visited the town I come from I got to spend time with my parents, siblings, grandmas and my niece and nephews. Always a pleasure.

How was your week? Any great plans for the weekend? What was your favorite with my top things?

Friday, November 2, 2012

High Five for Friday

Another Friday, another working week turning into a weekend. I can't believe how quickly time goes, it's November already! Friday also means sharing my top five things from this week as it has become a custom. Lauren is behind this brilliant link-up.

Number one: Ikea

I just really the store. I sometimes go there with no errand to run, just to walk through the upstairs rooms. And I always seem to leave with something. Now I've got fabric for me going-to-be bedroom drapes, among other things.

Nubmer two: 007 Skyfall
Only one word: Brilliant. You should definitely go see this one asap. I loved the song, like I said to you already, and the film... genius.

Number three: Nutty banana cake with friends
So here is MY banana cake, instead of just the promo photo. In the process of translating it into English, but it's coming up. It was delish and it was a great night with friends when we cut into this cake too.

Number four: Approaching Christmas
This is first of series of two Christmas magazines I order every year. The first is about Christmas food and the latter, published later is about gifts, decorations, traditions etc. I like to start thinking Christmas pretty early on, and getting at least part of the presents in good time. Thinking about that peaceful time ahead helps me to get through the sometimes hectic fall term.

Number five: Benno cd/dvd shelves (and what's in them)
Well, this is actually another IKEA thing, isn't it. But had to post this too, just because it cheered me up a lot. We've had the red shelves for quite a while now and we were running out of space in them. They don't sell the red ones anymore, at least in Finland, so we had to decide to go another way. I got the two black ones on my fabric-for-the-bedroom-drapes run and had an idea how to place them. And I'm really happy about the result! Now my Downton Abbeys and all the other good stuff have enough space around them and it's easier to find what you're looking for.

I'm in a car, on my way to my hometown to visit family for the weekend. I hope you all have a wonderful time in the weekend as well!

Friday, October 26, 2012

High Five for Friday

Time for another High Five for Friday! I missed last week, but now I'm back on track! This post idea is from Lauren @ From My Grey Desk.

1. Brownies

My, were these yummy!

2. Sunset

Driving back home from Zumba class on Monday. Had to stop to take this photo.

3. Trying out a new recipe

It's always exciting and fun to try out new recipes!
This is the site photo for the banana cake that's in the oven right now.

4. Flowers

I'm happy I've managed to keep these lovely flowers alive for several weeks already!
Not the be taken for granted in my care.

5. First snow today

This is in the afternoon already, there was even more snow in the morning.

How was your week?

Friday, October 12, 2012

High Five for Friday

Weeks go by so fast! We're almost halfway through October that just started! Well, not quite. But here in Finland that means the sun sets earlier and earlier and the days get shorter. In two weeks we're turning the clocks from Daylight Saving Time and that means the sun will set even sooner... Not looking for to that! Well, not it's Friday anyway and I'm sharing my high fives from this week. This is a post idea by Lauren and I'm linking up with her.

  1.  Zigzag, mittens, knitting, yarn
  2. Fall foliage, maple trees, my favorites this time of year
  3. Evening with Lizzy and other period drama
  4. My cute little pupils <3
  5. Fall Break next week! I know it's not until next week, but the thought of it has kept me going this week!

How has your week been? Have a great weekend you all!


Friday, October 5, 2012

High Five for Friday

Hey you people! It's Friday once again. Here it's a rainy and grey one weather-wise, but still, marks the beginning of the weekend, not bad! I'm again sharing my five favorite things from the last week in this post, linking up with Lauren @ From My Grey Desk.

1. New cell

I received my new cell phone, Sony Xperia Sola in the mail last Friday, but had such a busy Friday that I didn't have time to post my H54F post then. I've been getting to know its different features and so far I'm really satisfied. I even did a blog post on it the other day, and it was really handy too! Loving it.

2. My new blog buttons

By Kira @ Her New Leaf
I used Kira's Freebie social media buttons and her tutorial on how to add them. I think they are so pretty! Thank you Kira for your free buttons! You might notice a new one in there too. That's right, along with the new cell phone, I'm now on Instagram!

3. Girls' weekend

No, we didn't watch all the Disney Princess movies, this is just symbolic :) My three dear friends and I got together for a girls' weekend last week. We haven't met all together since March 2011 and it was just wonderful catching up on talking and spending time together. Naturally the weekend included good food and romantic comedies as well :) I really like this tradition we've started and hope we can arrange another one of these weekends in the spring or summer.

4. My new cake carrier

I bought a cake carrier from Tupperware. Their products are really good quality, but also fairly pricey for my budget. Now I decided it was time. Quite often when I bake, I take whatever I make with me somewhere: to work, to a gathering, to a potluck... But I haven't owned any kind of a cake carrier before, which has been inconvenient at times. But now I have a really good one.

5. The new Bond theme

I love Adele and I love Bond movies. I think the two of them go perfectly together. I've really liked the newest movies with Daniel Craig and I'm sure the next one will be another great film. The new theme song by Adele was released today, on the 50th anniversary of Bond movies. To me, this song is just what a Bond theme sound like.

Well, I hope you all had a great week and are facing an even better weekend! What was your favorite thing this week?

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Crochet Baby Boots

Friends of ours had their third child a little over a week ago and we went to meet the tiny little girl last night. Before we left home I had a busy time crocheting these little boots for her. The pattern was easy and it didn't take a lot of time to whip up a pair of wrap around boots with a scallop edge and buttons on the side. I'm happy with the result.

Btw, this is my first time posting on a cell phone. You'll hear more about that later :)

Monday, September 24, 2012

Apple cake knighted with caramel sauce

Photo and the Finnish recipe from here

During the weekend we had those friends visiting, which I mentioned in my H54F post. I am obsessed with offering something self-made for friends, whenever we have them over and this time was no exception. I still had some of those apples left I picked up a week ago and I came across this stunner recipe, so I decided to give it a try.

Oh. My. Word. 
This has to be my favorite apple cake ever. I would not have done anything differently, except make more of it. My friend said that it would also work well on Christmas and I bet it would. Although I don't know a time when this cake would not work. There cannot be such a time. But I'm taking my friend's advice and I will make this cake this Christmas. And probably a lot of other times as well.
  • a scant ½ cup of butter
  • a scant ½ cup of sugar (same amount as butter)
  • 2 eggs
  • ¾ cup flour
  • ½ tsp of baking powder
  • ½ tsp of cinnamon

  • 1 1/4 cups apple cubes
  • 1 cup of créme fraiche
  • 2 tsp vanilla-infused sugar (or 1 tsp vanilla extract)
  • 1 tsp of potato flour
  • ½ cup cashew nuts and almonds
  • 3 tbs sugar

Grease the springform baking tin ø 7.5-9 inces. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Whisk the room-temperatured butter and sugar. Add the eggs one at a time and beat all the time. Mix the flour, baking powder and cinnamon and add to the dough mixture and stir thoroughly. Spread the dough on the bottom of the pan.

Sprinkle the apple cubes on top. Stir in the cream, vanilla sugar/extract and potato flour and pour the mixture over the apple cubes. Sprinkle the almonds, nuts and sugar on top. Bake in the oven for about 45 minutes on the lower level. Let cool to almost room temperature, remove the ring and slide the cake onto a plate. Pour caramel sauce over the cake just before serving.

I made the caramel sauce myself, but naturally you can also use store-bought. I bet you already have a great caramel sauce recipe yourself, so I'm not going to try to translate mine with awkward, imprecise measurements.

Friday, September 21, 2012

High Five for Friday

Hey y'all! It's Friday again and I'm so happy about that! Have had a lot going on this week, so I'm excited to have a little time to relax. And because it's Friday, I'm going to share you five of my week's highlights to you. Linking up with Lauren as usual.

1. Choir practice

Our local church has these theme nights around 6-8 times a year and there's a band and choir to lead worship there. I've been in the choir since last fall now, since we moved into this area. I had a really really tiring day on Tuesday at work. But the choir practice made it all better, it was like a breath of fresh air! It was so great singing songs to thank our Lord and be with those wonderful people, sharing that fellowship time. It was a real treat!

2. Apples

I got some fresh Finnish apples from a friend of mine on Saturday. I made some pie of them already and have been enjoying munching them in general as well. Some imported apples make my mouth tickle, but these fresh domestic ones aren't like that and I've been happy as a bee, being able to enjoy them.

3. Bible study

I know, I talked about this a couple of weeks back as well, but we had another meeting on Sunday and we had such a good time discussing about God's word and what it means to us and what it means in this time and all that. It was a very nice evening.

4. Sports day at school

Yesterday we had a sports day in my school. We walked to the nearby tracks and had all sorts of competitions, like tug of war, there. The weather was just lovely and we had a great time. As a subject teacher it's wonderful to be able to see the children in a different environment, doing different things, than just practicing the subject that I teach. I can get to know them a lot better because of days like that.

5. Entertaining friends

This hasn't happened yet, but I'm excited to welcome some friends into our home tonight, who haven't yet been in this apartment. I'm sure we will have fun together over dinner and dessert :) It's a great way to start the weekend too!