Wednesday, April 29, 2009

corner view: modes of transportation

i guess transportation is basically a question of getting from a to b. and then a lot more. most days i enjoy transportation whether it's by foot, bike, car or train. and i regularly use all these modes of transportation. the only thing that can destroy the fun is the awful running late (or a flat tire or an annoying person in the seat next to you).

i love to walk. alone, because it's calming and you think so well when doing so, or with the kids, because their energy and ability to forget why we're walking and just have fun is inspiring.

i love to bike, to get the wind in the hair, to feel the body work while moving through space. and when the kids are with me in a seat or in the carriage, it's just an amazing way to be together and connect while getting around.

i love the car, especially when i'm on my own, when i can turn up the music and listen and sing along. and to drive with the kids, because they - usually - accept sitting still in the car (and that's hard to achieve most other places). then we talk about everything and nothing, sing favorite songs or play games. back in the days with no children D and i would take the car and drive away for the weekend, just drive till we found a good place and that was great too, to sit in silence and drive along the highway, just forward and forward.

and then there's the train. my new love. oh my! it's only recently i started to ride the train. i'm freelancing, but sometimes i'll have meetings or meet a friend for coffee in the city and then i'll usually go by train (no traffic jams, no parking hassle). and the train is truly awesome! (ok, i'm usually not taking the train in the packed morning or evening hours, which means it's on time, quiet and there's always a place to sit). here i get a time-out, time to read a book, do some crafting or just stare out the window as the landscape passes by.

but no matter what mode of transportation, there'll always be a knowledge of where i am and where i'm going. the a to b thing of a rational mind (don't laugh, D!). sometimes i can forget myself, but not for long. the awareness of purpose is always present in some way.

but kids... they can just enjoy transportation without having to deal with a's or b's. like when we're walking. or driving. or when they ride around the house on their little scooters, around and around. just for fun.

i wish i could have written about how i also sail around. cause i love to sail and would love to have a little boat. but i really don't do a lot of sailing, so instead i'll count on someone else to write about this. and if not, i'm sure there'll be plenty of other interesting stories about modes of transportation in this week's corner view from all these awesome bloggers from all over the world:

caitlin, joyce, ani, couturecoucou, kim, a day that is dessert, natsumi, epe, kaylovesvintage, trinsch, c.t., jeannette, outi, schanett, ritva, dongdong, francesca, state of bliss, jennifer, dana, denise, cabrizette, bohemia girl, ruth, dianna, isabelle, amber, a girl in the yellow shoes, mister e, janis, kari, jgy, jenna, skymring, elizabeth, audrey, allison, lise, cate, mon, victoria, crescent moon, erin, otli, amy, ida, caroline, lisa, dorte, kimmie, la lune dans le ciel, nicola, malo, samantha

a little comment: so, this week i didn't make the corner view a lecture on israeli traffic culture (actually it is completely out of place to write culture in the same sentence as "israeli traffic"). israeli traffic in general is not for humans (unless, of course, you're into playing that chicken car game with your friends). if i started to tell you about how people drive here then i might end up writing with capital letters in bold to illustrate that i am shouting. angrily. right here in front of the computer. because not only do israelis DRIVE LIKE LUNATICS! they also drive way too much - partly because the public transportation SUCKS!! and partly because, i don't know, they like their cars. maybe another time...

and a tiny disclaimer: if you follow me on flickr, then you might have noticed these photos before. the camera decided to go on strike this morning, so i had to recycle some photos from last month.

Friday, April 24, 2009

the chicken whisperer

these little chicks and their four friends escaped from the chicken coop yesterday. the chicken fence had slipped from one of the nails thereby making just enough space for them to squeeze there little bones and feathers out into freedom.

i completely freaked. in that i'll-handle-this-and-while-i-figure-out-how-i'll-run-around-like-a-headless-chicken way. first i tried to catch them by throwing a blanket over them, but they'd run in to the bushes separating our garden from the field. the boys of course tried to help me, completely scaring the little chicks away (later i realized it might have been me, you know, woman with wild look in her eyes, sneaking up on you with huge blanket in hands). so, for a while i thought we'd lost them. and this was when i decided to call D.

not so much because i expected he'd be able to help me, more because i cannot have a mental breakdown without sharing it with someone who can truly appreciate my ability to whisper hysterically. like you're in control, but it's amazing that you are, because in a few seconds the chicks will be dead, slaughtered by a cat and the kids will see it and be traumatized for life and will never ever again be able to eat chicken, not even granny's chicken soup when they are sick, or chicken mcnuggets when they in some years from now end up at some nasty birthday party hosted by ronald mcdonald and then the other kids will laugh at them and they'll be even more traumatized. and never find true love.

of course D started out calmly by asking what exactly i wanted him to do while at work, and that maybe i could just keep an eye on them and we would catch them together later. of course i explained that this could very well be exactly that thing that would later make us refer to this day as "that day", and there would be "before that day we were happy". and "after that day nothing was the same".

as the chicks reappeared from the bushes, i stopped the conversation, got the boys inside, "play! here! right! now!". then pulled out D's fishing net, but the holes were too big: when i caught a little chick, he'd just run out. then finally it dawned on me: it seemed like they actually wanted to return to the coop. that they were actually trying to, if it wasn't for this crazy woman running around with blankets and giant fishing nets. so i made the hole a bit bigger and made them go there. and just like that - all six jumped happily in to the coop.

i called D to let him know how i had been able to actually read them, and that he might be married to an aspiring chicken whisperer.

at that point D was already on his way home. you could think that this would have made him irritated, but nope. seriously, non of us are very experienced in this whole chicken thing, so as long as there's a good ending it's ok to overreact a little bit. or a little more.

so instead he took the boys for a walk. in their case it would be a run-around. i guess that was what the chicks needed too. and i could sit down with a glass of weekend wine and enjoy the colors of some of the amazing flowers surrounding us these days.

here's to a nice and colorful weekend!

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

corner view: breakfast

this is not an israeli breakfast. at least not a typical one. if i had chosen to show you an israeli breakfast today i could have shown you either a cookie, because lots of israelies like to start the day with a cup of strong coffee and a sweet cookie. and then after an hour or two they will eat the "real" breakfast. which would be the second option for me to show you. this involves - if classical - eggs, boiled or fried, israeli salad, which is a basic salad made of tomato, cucumber, onions and parsley. what makes it israeli, or more precisely what makes it middle eastern is, that all ingredients are finely chopped and sprinkled with olive oil, fresh lemon juice and salt. you might add hummus, because israelies like to add hummus where possible. you might add lebaneh, which is a white cheese, slightly sour. and you will definately add pita bread or whatever bread you prefer. bread is a big deal around here.

but i am not going to show you that today, since i usually don't eat any of these breakfast meals at home.

so, this morning i had one of my typical breakfasts, which is yoghurt with "something". today that something was this delicious homemade shesek jam. and this might just be what makes this breakfast israeli, because i have never seen this fruit outside israel. it grows on beautiful, big leaved trees. it’s a little bit like a cross between a peach and, well, something. and right about now it's ready to eat. we have four shesek trees around the house. and in the evening the bats are going nuts out there: they love it! i'm ok with bats, so no alarm, but since they’re stuffing themselves, they leave droppings like little airfighters dropping bombs all over the garden. natural compost, i guess, but not so natural for me on my garden furniture, so the furniture has to be covered during the night these days.

the jam we made is heavenly. not too sweet, spiced up with cinnamon and a little bit of lemon, also from our garden (i have to say this again: i LOVE all these fruits in the garden!). oh, and if anyone knows the name of this fruit in english, or danish for that matter, please do let me know.

update! a shesek is a loquat. thank you so much those of you who helped solve the mystery. yay!

so, bon appetit to you. or as we say here, beteavon!

other lovely breakfasts from different corners of the world:

Jane from spain daily is hosting the corner view project. next week´s theme is "modes of transportation" from the lovely ladybug-zen.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

a good ending

the first part of the day today i spent at home alone with the kids. it was one of those days, you know, you have the best intentions, but everything seems to go wrong. the kids got to bed late last night and were not really up for anything this morning. and i didn't have that extra energy it takes to activate and make three little ones have fun when tired. when D got back just after 12 he was met by irritated and edgy kids and an even more irritated and edgy me. most of my activities, from playing with water, to picking strawberries, to baking cookies and do a garden picnic... well, we did it, but the atmosphere just really wasn't the best.

if you'd overheard my conversations with my husband for the next hour or two you might have thought - which would have been completely wrong of course - that i was trying to pick a fight.

anyway, at some point we joined forces to fight the bad spell. packed the kids up and left the house for a late afternoon trip to the beach. it just changed everything. so the day ended with happy kids, tired in the good way, and happy parents, filled with fresh air and good feelings.
there's just something about the ocean that clears your mind and makes everything look just nicer and brighter. and that's a good way to end one week. and a good start to a new.

(did you know that the week begins with sunday here in israel? our weekend is friday/saturday. i still have a hard time accepting that saturday night is my sunday night).

Thursday, April 16, 2009

getting around

i got inspired by seeing this post over at CT and thought i'd share a photo i took yesterday when i took the kids for a bike ride.

in tel aviv i used my bike a lot. when i got here 6 years ago biking wasn't so common. but i'm from denmark so obviously i had to have a bike. today bikes are getting popular as i think is the case in many other places, but it's still nothing like in denmark where biking is simply a way or life: taking the kids to kindergarten, going to work, doing grocery shopping, meeting friends at cafes and restaurants, going to the beach in the summer, visiting friends in the winter - a natural part of living.

after we moved to the countryside we use the bike to take the kids to kindergarten and for trips around the neighborhood. like yesterday, where i took all three boys out for a ride, hoping to see the storks again. and yes, they are still around. and you still have to click for a bigger version of the photo if you want to be able to see them :))

when i miss the whole biking scene of copenhagen i visit copenhagen cycle chic with cool pictures of cool people driving their bikes. i love that!

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

corner view

view of our dinner table: matza with nutella - the number one snack for israeli kids the past week.

corner view is hosted by jane from spain daily.

the week of pesach (passover) is the breadless week. passover is all about the jews escaping egypt lead by moses. as they hurried to flee they didn't have time to let the bread rise, thus in this week you're not supposed to eat any leavened bread. some people extend this to pasta, rice, beer (because of the rye) and even chickpeas.

so, what people eat instead is matza bread, which is a biscuit kind of bread. very dry, not very interesting. except for the kids, that is, who during the years have made matza with nutella a popular passover snack. and even though we are not "kosher for pesach" in this house, we have had our fair share of matza snacks this week.

tonight passover ends. D's family is originally from morocco and among moroccan jews it's tradition to end passover with a celebration called mimouna, which is, basically, about baking the s... out of your kitchen after a week without bread (and flour in general).

in the neighborhood of D's parents everyone is visiting eachother bringing the cookies and cakes they've made and tasting what is offered by others. usually everyone ends up offering a mix of everyone else's cookies and cakes served with tea with tons of nana (mint) and sugar. if you're lucky you'll be visiting someone who've made mufleta, which is a very thin crepe served with honey and butter.

even though we've had our usual share of bread this week we are still heading out for the mimouna tonight. wouldn't miss it for the world.

Jane of Spain Daily
bonnie of Simple Beauty
Ian of An Englishman Abroad
Kim of Savannah Gourmet
Esti of Pintame el dia
Sophie of Tout ce que j´aime
Cele of This is not art this is design
Caitlin of Simply Caitlin
Joyce of A Perfect Beginning
Ani of Pancakemama
Lecia of A Day That is Dessert
Epe of Epaepa
Kay of Kay loves vintage
Carmie of C.T.

Monday, April 13, 2009

a week of birds

the last week has been very much about birds around here. and not only because of easter and easter eggs. but on the other hand: all our bird adventures fitted this holiday perfectly. so here it goes:

first of all: we got our first chickens. yay! D brought them home in a box and set them out in our chicken coop. the guy we bought them from had tied their legs together, poor things, and D had his chicken skills tested when trying to cut the strings because the chickens would get really scared and go crazy. the kids were excited, standing outside. i think they were equally excited about the chickens and the fact that dad was out of his league for a moment. they were all buzzing "dad's scared of chickens, dad's scared of chickens". very funny when you're 3, i realize now.
we now have three ladies as number four couldn't be moved while brooding. we'll take her and her chicks when they've hatched.

we had filled their nesting boxes with fresh grass, but the next day we went to the field down the road to collect some hay for their nest. and we saw the most amazing thing: a huge flock of white storks were picking and eating from the field. it was just awesome to watch these giant birds as they were taking a break on their route from africa to russia and europe for the summer. right here in our field. i tried to sneak up on them to take a photo, but they saw me immediately and would move back 10 meter or so everytime i moved forward. and with my little p&s camera i'm afraid the photos don't do the sight any justice. but take my word: it was amazing!

at our return we found the first egg in the nest. Lots of excitement and cheers. everyone had to hold it and luckily it survived the traveling from hand to hand including some minor fights about who's turn was up.

finally, to end this week of birds, i finished my origami crane mobile. it's made of 24 cranes and i have meant to make it for, well, forever. all the bird adventures were exactly the push i needed to get it done. i am very happy about it, but still haven't found the right spot to hang it.

Friday, April 3, 2009

please do try this at home

yesterday i saw these delicious looking butternut squashes at the grocery store and bought one. as i didn't have anything specific in mind i used what was in the house to make this dish. and let me tell you: it was awesome!

i cut it into two halves, scooped out the seeds and put aside for another day, another thing. then scooped out the inside.

as filling i finely chopped a big onion, thinly sliced a small leek, fried and added minced beef. well, i'm not a big fan of minced meat, only this specific kind which my mother in law buys as fresh meat and minces herself. if you're not into meat at all, i think beans would have made an excellent filling too, but i didn't have any that had soaked (and this was a spur of the moment kind of cooking). and of course i also added the lovely light orange inside of the butternut squash i had scooped out.

i then added chopped walnuts (i think cashews might have been better, but didn't have any). then i added some silan. don't know what it's called outside the middle east, but it's also called date honey here as it looks like honey, is sweet like honey, but made entirely out of dates. besides salt i then added some cinnamon, just a tiny bit, but just enough, to give it a little extra something.

while making the filling, i baked the two halves of the butternut squash which i had drizzled with olive oil.
then i added my filling, topped it off with parmesan cheese and chopped walnuts and baked until the cheese melted and became golden.

this was such an amazing dish. we had tomato salad on the side, but i think rice would have made a nice side dish too. This dish is also great when you have dinner guests as you can do most of the work before your guests arrive and then you just need to put them in the oven 5 minutes before you sit down to eat.

but it was also perfect as a sweet dinner for two. i had most of it prepared and when the kids had gone to sleep we sat down and shared our butternut squash meal. there's something about having a half each, like it was meant for just the two of you.

wishing you a sweet weekend.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

fun in the sun

yesterday we painted in the garden. on paper. on the trees. oh, and on the leaves. i used to be a bit frantic when we had painting sessions in the apartment, because my boys, well, they don't like to stick to the paper. that photo at the top...that's like the first 14 seconds. then they move on to the table, their hands, dropping a bit here and a lot there. on clothes and in the hair. mine included. 

but now, in the garden... couldn't be better: "paint wherever you feel like, my boys. i will not worry about where you, little D, will go after rolling your entire body over the table covered in paint. Or about what you will touch next, J, after painting your hands all blue. and i will certainly not have to care one bit about where exactly you're going to paint, N, as you leave the table with your brush and some paint".

and to top the perfect-ness off: the sun and the warm weather seem to have arrived for good. so, i had no problem relaxing while making prints from the leaves the boys had painted. it was fun.