Women’s Group and Cinnamon rolls.

Shalom everyone!

Look what I made late last night…

…which means I got to have Cinnamon rolls BOTH for a midnight snack AND for breakfast! Not all bad… (*The truth is, the Norwegian in me didn’t really want it for breakfast, so I had granola first…:) ) And then I brought the cinnamon rolls to our women’s group, and enjoyed them together with my friends there. Nice life!

I so appreciate our women’s group. I always come away from there encouraged and inspired, and also challenged! We are encouraging each other to live the lives God created us to, to be faithful to His calling on our lives as women, wives, mothers, colleagues, whatever the situation. It is so good to have the fellowship and to be able to build up and be built up.

Back to the Cinnamon rolls… The recipe for these yummy baked goods can be found on my favorite baking-blog called Passion4baking, on this link:

Amerikanske cinnamon rolls.

The only problem for some of you would be that it is a Norwegian blog, so I am translating the recipe here (but you really should go over there, -her photos are amazing!!):

1 cup cream (I mixed it with milk, and think it still came out very good)

6 Tbs butter

8 Tbs vanilla pudding powder (this adds a most amazing smell when they are baking in the oven)

2 eggs

1 Tbs sugar

1/2 kilo flour

4 Tbs lukewarm water

50 grams fresh yeast (I used 2 tsp. instant dry yeast)

The frosting:

150 grams cream cheese

8 Tbs powdered sugar

3 Tbs lemon juice

4 Tbs lemon peel (I actually didn’t use the peel, but I’m sure it would also be good)

I doubled the recipe, so that I could put a few in the freezer too. Always nice to be able to pop one in the microwave when you feel like it!

I hope you will enjoy them as much as I did! 🙂

Recharging batteries hiking.

I could literally FEEL my batteries recharging as we were out jeeping and hiking in the mountains surrounding Jerusalem this afternoon. To rest one’s eyes on hill upon hill clothed with green forests, to fill one’s lungs with the fresh air! Oh, that is the life! Then to watch one’s dear ones skip along on the path ahead, to listen to their happy voices, to witness their love for and connection to our Land grow for every step. Yes, that is real riches!

I had wanted to do this type of trip last week for parashat lech lecha, but it is hard to find an afternoon that works for everyone. Today became a spontaneous trip, as our original afternoon plans were canceled. I am so glad we took the opportunity and went out there to walk the land a bit, to put our feet down on something other than a paved road… We sure get dusty, but afterwards we return to our city dwellings and showers etc, so who cares about a little dust?

Doing this hike in Israel, there is of course all kinds of interesting ancient finds that we could explore and learn from along the path. There is history behind just about every rock!

Here we are at a very large old winepress for example.

And here we learn how they made olive oil in the old times.

Of course our cowboy had to climb some tops and rocks and such…

… and sometimes his sister would join him too.

And I return with fully charged batteries, and a husband who is happy my batteries are so easily recharged… 🙂

Growing independence.

I have the type of children who tell me they will never move out, and will always stay close to the home they know. They are also sort of shy, and the “no talking to strangers” has never been an issue for us. (It’s rather “when someone greets you, you greet them back”.) But still, we are watching them grow from one independence level to the other.

Lately we have been practicing crossing the street. And even though our 8 year old has been saying this knowledge will never really be relevant for him, because he is not going anywhere without us, I have been able to see beyond that, to the spark inside of him that really does want independence. This little spark is something I want to encourage. So when today at lunch that same 8 year old thought out loud that when he would be able to cross the street by himself, he could go to the local store and buy ice cream by himself, I jumped at the opportunity.

Magnum™ ice cream

We went through every step. First the importance of absolutely no moving cars in sight when crossing the street. Then what to do at the store, especially when he would like to have as little verbal communication as possible with the people there. He was going to pay with a larger bill, so as to be completely sure that he had enough… (I still remember that feeling from being a child.)

And off they went. Him and his sister. She is almost two years younger, but still, he felt SO much more confident when they would go together.

I watched them run up the street. Mixed feelings. Proud of my big children moving towards independence. A tiny bit worried, – hoping I was doing the right thing, if something, anything was to go wrong, it would afterwards look like a really bad thing to send them alone, and for what??

But before I knew it, they were back. Ice creams in hand! All went well! He had even opened his mouth and asked if he could please have change for the bill he paid with… The man had laughed, but it was OK. Everything was fine. The only thing, they said, they were sorry they didn’t bring home an ice cream for me… But nobody needs to feel sorry for me! I just helped myself to a bowl of my yummy homemade cookie dough ice cream from the freezer. Mmm! We were celebrating, weren’t we??

And when we sat there in the garden, enjoying our ice creams, I tried to sum up the experience and asked him how he felt. He smiled: “I am happy that I succeeded.” And I was so happy that I went with the moment this time. And really, I did have peace about it all along, otherwise I wouldn’t have done it. We have to learn to trust our motherly intuition in these things, I think. All children are different. Some will send their children on these types of missions way earlier, some will wait even longer. But we all know our own children, and what is the best timing for them.

Wishing each other a safe and quiet week.

I have always enjoyed the fact that we have greetings for all kinds of different times and situations here in Israel. People other places can of course also wish each other a good week, but here it is something that is really done.

“Shavua tov” – “Good Week”, we start wishing each other as soon as Shabbat is over.

And then there are several variations of this. One could wish each other “Shavua Mevurach” – “Blessed Week”. Or: – May we have a Shavua Gashum, – a Rainy Week, as we according to the calendar have just started our much needed rainy season.

Or we could say as I hear said these days: “May we have a “Shavua Sheket, – u’be’ikar Batuach”… – A Quiet Week, and most importantly a Safe Week… As soon as you notice this variation used on the radio or TV or something, you know that they are not saying it for no good reason, this means that chances are pretty big things will not actually remain all that quiet and safe.

This was how we started last week, for example, and on one single day that week we had 80 rockets fired at the southern part of our country, with several direct hits on houses. (*What? You didn’t hear about it? Nobody mentioned it on the news you listen to??…why am I not surprised…)

Here, on the other hand, yes, we did hear about it. As I am taking my own children to a local school in our part of Jerusalem, I hear announced on the radio that schools will be closed in several of our major cities in the south. Think of how this influences the life of all those families! Not only are their normal schedules completely thrown off track, – they end up spending most of their time in or in the near vicinity of their bomb shelters! Imagine what that does to all those children! No, stop, and really think about it! Imagine it is some of the people you care about! Put faces to them! Before we do this, it is as though we don’t really care… We just don’t let it come close enough to us.

Beach in Ashkelon, one of the cities where the schools were closed last week.

Israel did hit back to stop this war against our country and our citizens, and yes, it did stop somewhat, for a few days. But then again today, a new week that we wish each other will be quiet, and most importantly safe... And there we go again, – rockets are falling in the south, and schools are closed in Beer Sheva.

English: Looking down on the city of Be\'er Sh...

 And we keep on praying. We keep on hoping. We keep on coping. We keep on living. We actually keep on celebrating life! We keep on building our country in spite of everything!

Most importantly: – God keeps on being faithful to His promises! None of us would be here if it wasn’t for Him…

Shabbat at the Kotel.

On this Shabbat of Parashat Lech Lecha, I felt so privileged to be able to walk to the Kotel, the Western Wall, the only thing we have left from the Temple. I am a firm believer of the fact that you can pray to God anywhere, and He, who is present everywhere, will hear your prayers. But then at the same time, when He chose one place on earth for His presence to dwell in a special way, He chose this very place that we can walk to on Shabbat and pray there! Again, – What a privilege!

Temple Mount and Western Wall during Shabbat

The Kotel was inaccessible to the Jewish people from 1948 to 1967, which makes us appreciate this privilege even more! And today, when we read from Parashat Lech Lecha (Genesis 12 – 17) with all the promises that God gives Abram of giving this Land to him and his descendants, it was a great experience to be right there! I also believe very strongly that we have to walk and be and dwell in all the different parts of our country, in order for them to remain ours, – so I am so glad to see how many people come to the Kotel, and want to keep being part of the community that prays there.

Papers with prayers and wishes that have been ...

There are numerous different minyanim (groups of at least ten praying men) going on at the same time, and the singing of all of them mixes together and very much adds to the atmosphere at the Kotel. The cracks between the large stones are filled with little notes of prayers that have been left there by those coming to pray. When we lift our eyes a little higher up, we see the doves and pigeons finding their homes on the little natural shelves made between the rocks. Tilting our heads even further back, we see the top edge, and we know that up there is the Temple Mount, the place where the Temple stood.

English: Religious Jews prey in the Western Wa...

I looked up there as we were praying the repetition of the amida, and together with those around me I prayed from deep within me:

ממקומך מלכנו תופיע, ותמלוך עלינו, כי מחכים אנחנו לך. מתי תמלך בציון, בקרוב בימינו, לעולם ועד תשכון.תתגדל ותתקדש בתוך ירושלים עירך, לדור ודור ולנצח נצחים ועינינו תראינה מלכותך, כדבר האמור בשירי עזך, על ידי דוד משיח צדקך.

“From Your place, our King, You will appear and reign over us, for we await You. When will You reign in Zion? Soon, in our days – forever and ever – may You dwell there. May You be exalted and sanctified within Jerusalem, Your City, from generation to generation and for all eternity. May our eyes see Your kingdom, as it is expressed in the songs of Your might, written by David, your righteous anointed (Messiah)…”

It is all so great, and we, little us, get to be part of it all! It is so exciting to be alive!!

(None of the pictures in this post are my own, they are all free from the net.)

Shabbat-Flowers.

One of the convenient many fringe benefits of living in Israel, is the abundance of cheap beautiful flowers sold on the streets Friday morning. This makes it possible for just about everyone who would like to, to decorate their Shabbat table with flowers. It is also something nice to bring when you are invited somewhere for a Shabbat meal.

Of course it is nice when my husband brings me flowers, which he started doing even before we officially were a couple (*how romantic…)!

There was also a year when he would pick up our little girl from preschool and they would go together to choose the flowers for Shabbat. She was always so cute bringing the flowers home, being about the same size as them herself!

Right now the way our Friday schedules are made up, it is more practical that I buy them myself. I get them before they have stood out in the sun all day, in the morning on the way home from having taken the children to school. The positive side of this is that I get to choose exactly the ones I like, matching my feeling for the Shabbat with colors and style and other table decorations.

Coming home with the flowers puts me in a good and positive mood for the day ahead, – getting ready for Shabbat.

Because, in addition to buying flowers, I have cleaned the whole house today, and prepared enough food to keep us happy both today and tomorrow. (That is after a nice cup of coffee with a quick look at the paper and the nice magazine that arrived at my doorstep this morning.) Shabbat comes either way, of course, but it is just so much more enjoyable when you have prepared well for it!

So, – with this I am sending you all Shabbat-flowers, all the way from Yerushalayim!

Shabbat shalom!

My Granola Recipe.

Mmmm! I wish I could send you the wonderful smell that fills my kitchen right now! My big batch of granola is in the oven, and I am sitting here mouthwatering waiting to eat some for an afternoon snack as soon as it is done! Meanwhile I will share the recipe with you guys.

First you measure the dry ingredients:

12 cups big oats

5 cups whole wheat flour

2 cups chopped almonds

2 cups coconut

1 Tbs. salt

2 cups mixed seeds (sesame, sunflower, pumpkin, and I always put a lot of ground flax seeds)

You divide this to two baking-sheets.

Oh, and I almost forgot, then I add a healthy amount of cinnamon on top, but that is optional of course.

This all gets mixed up well together.

And it is time to measure the wet ingredients:

2 cups oil (I usually use olive oil or a mixture of olive oil and canola oil)

1 cup honey (very helpful to measure this after the oil, as it then glides out so easily)

2 cups water

3 Tbs. vanilla

3 Tbs. maple flavoring (if you don’t have this, it is OK without as well, but it sure adds a nice flavor, and not the least a wonderful smell…)

(There is also an option for adding brown sugar, for those who like their granola sweeter.)

You mix all of this well together.

And then you get to the part where you pour the wet part over the dry part and mix the two together on the baking sheets. It gets a little messy, but don’t worry, it is worth it! 🙂

You bake it in the oven on 120 degrees Celsius, for about three hours, stirring from time to time to avoil too big lumps.

MMmmm, and then you get to the time that I am in now, – just enjoying the yummy homey smell the granola spreads around the house! Of course there are lots of ready made granolas offered for sale, – but to make it yourself is the only way to get the smell in the house! This way you also know exactly what is in there, and you can make your very own variations depending on your taste and preference.

This also makes for great gifts. I have many times given away a jar of my homemade granola, and it is always well received! 🙂

MMMMmmmmm! Oh, joy and happiness! The granola is now done, and I get to taste it (*not for the first time, because of course I have tasted little bits and pieces as I have stirred it as well…).

At this point you can add raisins, craisins, pecans etc. to your baked granola, but I normally leave that for each one to add to his own bowl as much as each likes.

And now is the time to just enjoooooooyyyyy! 🙂

I like to store my cooled granola in these cute boxes.

Now I am all set for many breakfasts to come. I hope you will enjoy it as much as I do! 🙂

Å leve i land-lovnader.

“Og Herren sa til Abram: Drag bort frå landet ditt og ætta di og frå farshuset ditt til det landet som eg vil syna deg… Så drog Abram av stad, slik som Herren hadde sagt til han… Dei drog ut for å fara til Kanaans-landet, og dei kom dit. Og Abram drog gjennom landet til Sikem-bygda… Derifrå flytte han til fjellet austanfor Betel… Abram drog så vidare mot landet lenger i sør… — …Og Abram flytte telta sine, Han kom til terebinterlunden åt Mamre i Hebron, og busette seg der.” 

Dette er berre eit lite utdrag frå teksta frå Toraen (1.Mos. 12 – 17) som vert studert av jødar over heile verda denne veka, og som vil verte lesen i sin heilhet i synagogane på sabbaten som kjem. Eg har lese teksta fleire gonger sjølv denne veka, og kjenner at eg vert rimeleg begeistra over det eg les!

Lovnadene frå Gud er både mange, store og sentrale. Både før Abram var komen til det lova landet:

“Eg vil gjerna deg til eit stort folk. Eg vil velsigna deg og gjera namnet ditt stort, og du skal verta til velsigning…”

Og etter at han allereide var komen fram:

“Lyft no augo dine og sjå deg ikring frå staden der du står – mot nord, mot sør, mot aust og mot vest! For heile det landet du ser, vil eg gje deg og ætta di til alle tider.”

Det verset som likevel vart mest sentralt for meg denne gongen var det frå 1.Mos. 13,17:

“STÅ OPP OG DRAG GJENNOM LANDET SÅ LANGT OG SÅ BREITT SOM DET ER! FOR DEG VIL EG GJE DET.”

For meg vart dette ei påminning om at Gud vil at me skal gå, røre oss og vere i heile landet vårt! Me må vandre på stiane som forfedrane våre gjekk på! Me må spreie oss og busetje oss over heile Israels land! Det var jo nettopp dette Gud sa til Abram, at han skulle dra gjennom heile landet, – for deg vil eg gje det!!!

Det er ein samanheng her, mellom det å faktisk vere på ein plass og det å ha eit eigarforhold til plassen. På godt norsk vert det som ei slags buplikt… 🙂

Tradisjonen seier at på Abrahams tid var det slik at fotavtrykket ditt, det var underskrifta di. Så når no Abraham gjekk rundt over heile landet og sette sine fotavtrykk overalt, var det ein måte å kommunisere det på, at dette var hans eigedom.

I våre tider er det igrunnen ikkje så heilt ulikt. Dersom me ikkje oppheld oss på ein plass, varer det ikkje lenge før andre oppheld seg der og før eller seinare er det underforstått at det er deira…

På bakgrunn av dette, støtter eg veldig sterkt opp om dei av vårt folk som bur i dei jødiske landsbyane i Judea og Samaria. Det er ikkje eit lett liv dei har valgt, men snakk om kor meiningsfullt, då!! Dei lever verkeleg ut trua si på Israels Guds evige lovnader til sitt folk! Og dei speler ei kjempeviktig rolle for heile landet vårt, – hadde dei ikkje vore der, desse unge familiane med slik ei sterk kjærleik for Israels land og folk, – så er det mykje truleg at desse områda ikkje ville høyrt til under Israels noverande grenser.

Frå tanken om å vandre overalt og slik vise at det tilhøyrer ein, vert me også minna på at dersom me avgrensar området me rører oss i berre slik i dagleglivet også, så er det som om me fråskriv oss retten til det. Det gjeld ikkje berre der ein vel å busetje seg. Folk som ikkje kjenner seg på heimebane i gamlebyen, til dømes, er i dette lys på god veg til å gje opp det området.

Måtte me leve liva våre på Guds evige lovnader og alltid vandre trufast til Hans kall!

Shuk Shopping!

When you visit Jerusalem (note, I don’t say if, but when!) you definitely have to make it to Shuk Mahane Yehuda, our Open Air Market. It is the place to meet the real Jerusalemites! You really do see all kinds of people there; rich and poor, religious and secular, sephardic and ashkenazi, young and old.

I was there on my weekly shopping trip today, and took some quick pictures to give you a taste of what it’s like.

Here is one of the regular booths where I get fruit and vegetables for my family. He has the great combination of low prices and high quality. And you get the shuk-atmosphere as you are there and he yells out for everyone to hear that his oranges are both big and tasty, – over and over and over again. 🙂

Whatever is available at the shuk is very seasonal, so hanging out there helps us city-folks to have some sort of connection to the seasons out on the field as well. 😉 Of course, what is seasonal is also influenced by the holidays, and today I found that they already had sofganiot, jelly doughnuts for chanukkah!

Had to take a picture. But had enough self control to not buy any yet… It just doesn’t feel right to come home with those, before we put in more of a distance between us and Sukkot.

When you need spices, you know where to find them nice and fresh! Today I got a bunch of cinnamon sticks and whole cloves, so as to be well stocked for fall and hot-apple-cider-season. I also bought what I need for making a new batch of my homemade granola. (And when I do, I will share the recipe with you here on the blog!)

Then at the end of my shuk-shopping today, I met up with one of my best friends for a great time of heart-to-heart-conversation and tasty fruit-shakes.

Wouldn’t you say that shuk-shopping is much more of an experience than just going down to the super market??

Footstep craft for Lech Lecha.

We are totally getting into this little project of ours of every week doing something related to that week’s parasha, portion from the Torah. This week we are reading Genesis 12 – 17, and the name of it is Lech Lechawhich is basically the commandment God gave to Abram to get up and walk on his way from the land of his father to the land that God was going to show him.

The whole parasha is full of walking, Abram goes here and there, up and down, arrives somewhere, leaves again, and so on. So I thought the focus of our week would have to include walking. For a craft we did our footprints, which was so much fun and so simple and quick!

We basically just painted the bottoms of our feet, and then while the paint was still wet, stepped without too much movement onto a white sheet of paper.

Yes, even Imma did it… Abba was also offered to join in the fun, but declined. 🙂

The plan was to use finger-paint, but we didn’t have black finger-paint, so the one who chose that color used another crafting type of paint. It all came off in the bath afterwards either way!

Here is the final result. May we always walk in the way that God has called us to!