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?"