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There was a time not long ago that I thought this was the worst year of our lives (and honestly it may have been.) We lost a baby. Landon’s show at Disney for the past 5 years was canceled. And he spent a life-threatening week in the hospital.

But as I look through my photos from this year I realize that along with the bad stuff, there was a lot of good too. Here are some of my favorites from 2015. Happy new year :)

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Early this year we gave the kids an old digital camera, and they both have loved using it to photograph whatever they feel like. Its 300 photo memory card recently filled up, so I imported the pictures to clear it out.

I was kind of amused at all their little captures – it was fun for me to literally see our lives from their perspective. Here’s a handful of my favorites.

Car ride from where Kaden sits.20150812-IMG_1932 20150812-IMG_1933 20150812-IMG_1936Alia wants a turn.20151010-IMG_2052-2Sense of placement.20150814-IMG_1939Playtime.20151021-IMG_2076-2Waiting for lunch.
20151104-IMG_2123Spirograph.20150812-IMG_1916Playing with Legos.20151202-IMG_2186Mom’s in the kitchen again.20151207-IMG_2190Idk.20151126-IMG_2172Water break.20151125-IMG_2153Dad’s working.20151102-IMG_2101Christmas tree’s up!20151125-IMG_2152Arg’s here!20151212-IMG_2206tea time.20151125-IMG_2154:-P20151214-IMG_2219Time to eat again!20151208-IMG_2196<3 Legos20151006-IMG_2029-2Mom’s FaceTiming Grandma Teff. Better go get a word in.20151126-IMG_217320151212-IMG_2202Kaden’s reading.20151104-IMG_2127Merry Christmas!20151215-IMG_2221

Norse Christmas


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I’ve been reading through this book and am just loving learning all the traditions the Norwegians in my family’s past likely celebrated at Christmastime, both in the old country and new.

Thank you Norway for lefse! Alia joined our prep-team this year.20151211-DSC_4765

It was wonderful learning the origins of some of the customs my family still practices, and some that were totally new to me.

My sisters and I hosted a “Norwegian Christmas” table for our church’s Christmas Coffee this year.20151213-DSC_4930

Did you know that in years past, “Christmas cleaning” was a tradition in Norway? They would scour the house from top to bottom so it was spotless for the Christmas celebration, which was especially wonderful in the days of wood burning stoves and pre-running water, when this was one of the few times in the year that the house was really completely clean.

I’ve always felt a desire for my house to be meticulously clean for Christmas, but thought it was kind of an OCD-perfectionist thing. I told Landon now I’m just going to embrace it, say it’s in my DNA passed down from my ancestors, and call it a tradition. Christmas cleaning, I like it :-)

Rolling & eating. 20151211-DSC_4763 20151211-DSC_4784

The “Christmas bath” was another new one, that the families heated a big tub of water and fill it with cranberries and juniper, for an especially festive way to get everyone clean for the holiday. I told Kaden about it and he thought it sounded pretty fun, we may have to get some cranberries so he can have a Christmas bath this year.

This was my first year making krumkakes! The book says they’re the oldest of the sju slags, or “seven Christmas cookies” traditional in Norway, that krumkake irons made by blacksmiths have been found dating back to at least the 1700’s .20151212-DSC_4811 20151213-DSC_4835

Julebukking sounds hilarious, I can hardly imagine all the pioneer farmers in Wilmington going from house to house dressed in ridiculous costumes, but I know from this source that they did, and I suppose it was a pretty fun time. So many more details, from the foods of their Christmas feast, the origins of the Nisse, and even the source of the word “Yule” or “Yuletide” (which comes from the old Viking word Jól, their winter celebration) were so interesting and fun to read.

I’ve so enjoyed the book, it really makes me happy to feel connected to the past generations, especially at Christmastime.20151213-DSC_4828

God Jul!

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DSC_0908I love a cookie recipe that I can use for multiple types of cookies – feels like big payoff for low effort :)

This is a base that can be used to make traditional peanut butter cookies, peanut butter stars (with chocolate centers), & peanut butter “m&m” style cookies.

When I make this I usually first do a pan each of traditional peanut butter & peanut butter stars, and then while they’re in the oven mix in my m&m style candies (I use sunspire drops but I saw Trader Joe’s has some really cute red, green, & white ones in their own brand) into the remaining half of the batter. I get about 15-20 of each 3 types of peanut butter cookie with this recipe (more or less depending on cookie size.)DSC_0782


2 1/2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup honey
1/2 cup maple syrup
1 egg
1 cup peanut butter
Organic sugar to roll in
Sunspire sundrops & round chocolate candies

Mix dry & wet ingredients separately. Add dry ingredients to wet ingredients and mix until combined.

Use a teaspoon to scoop out, roll into a ball, roll in sugar, and place on baking pan.

For traditional peanut butter cookies:
Criss-cross with fork before baking

For “peanut butter stars”:
Press chocolate into center after baked & slightly cooled but still warm. If you use whole foods chocolate disks they will get melty, so I put the cookies in the fridge for a bit and the chocolates harden back up.

For “m&m” style cookies:
Mix 1 cup Sunspire drops in for a full batch of cookies, or 1/2 cup for a 1/2 batch (which I did here), before baking.

Bake 10 minutes at 350, cool 4 minutes on pan before cooling completely on a cookie rack.DSC_0748DSC_0773DSC_0868

coming in may…


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