Something is stressing me out, Imma…

– Something is stressing me out, imma… My 9 year old was pouring out his heart to me. He was unable to relax, something was stressing him out, but he didn’t know what exactly.

Hmmm, I’m thinking, – Could it be that your abba is out there defending the borders of our little country, right now… Or could it have anything to do with the fact that we just had an exercise where you had to run to the bomb shelter twice in one day, once at school and once at home??

My children in our bomb shelter during an exercise earlier this week.

Our children in the bomb shelter during an exercise earlier this week.

However, what I am saying out loud, is that everyone goes through periods like this from time to time, and maybe he should try a relaxing bath and then we’ll read a book together on the couch.

And afterwards I am telling myself, who is also getting kind of stressed out by the combination of everything, that everyone is going through times like this, and maybe I should think of something relaxing to do… how about tea and chocolate after the kids are in bed??

bomb shelter

Life…

It can be so wonderfully beautiful, and also so incredibly complicated!

– God, please give me wisdom to give my children what they need when they need it! Oh, God, please fill them with Your Peace, in the way that only You can!!

Our daughter was drawing the whole time we were in the bomb shelter. Here is the finished product:

drawing

She did a pretty detailed job. (Note to self: Next time remove the vacuum cleaner and pack of toilet paper before the exercise…) However, I like how she drew the “music” as we were singing songs together while we were in there. And then she added this thought bubble, with a single question mark, because she didn’t know what we were thinking…

Well, – what is there to think?? What are we doing this exercise for? What is going to happen? Is anything going to happen??

May the focus of our thoughts be that whatever may come, we are safe in His Hands! He that keepeth Israel neither slumbers nor sleeps!

When I was in this same bomb shelter by myself earlier in the day, when the children were at school, I came across this verse from the Psalms:

“I cried out to You, O LORD: I said, “You are my refuge, My portion is in the land of the living.” Psalm 142, 6

Quite powerful, don’t you think? HE is our refuge!!

Here we go again.

This is a photo from a nice candle lit dinner I shared with my husband in our garden one of the evenings in the beginning of last week.

candle lit dinner

And here is a photo from our breakfast the morning after.

breakfast

And since then, the love of my life has looked pretty much like this:

soldier

Somehow this is just a natural part of life in Israel. Like it or not.

We are proud of our abba, our soldier. We pray for him, and think of him and miss him. But at the same time, both him and us are glad that he gets to take this active part in defending our beloved country. This is something we deeply believe in!

We are thankful to get to live our lives building and defending this Ancient Jewish Land, this young State of Israel!

Shavuot, 17th of May and Fun Cousin Times.

Almost a week has passed, and I have taken photos and written blogposts in my head, but none on the blog… We had a lovely Shavuot here in Jerusalem, and we ate plenty of cheesecakes.

Shavuot

And our little gardener even decorated one of the cakes with strawberries from his own “field”! 🙂

decorating with strawberries

This year my brother and his family were visiting for the holiday, and they offered to stay with the kids so my husband and I could go out to hear shiurim (teachings) on leil shavuot together. How nice for us! I think it is always a blessing to be out on the streets of Jerusalem on this special night. To walk along and meet plenty of others out there during hours when most of us normally are fast asleep. Most people dressed in white, all wishing each other Chag Sameah, a Happy Holiday. And the views of Jerusalem are just fantastic! The wall around the old city all lit up, it is just beautiful. I am sooo blessed to get to live my life right here!

The children have been so excited to have two of their Norwegian cousins visiting for the last week or so. Here are the two girls matchingly dressed in white for Shavuot:

Shavuot girlsAnd of course they had to freshen up a bit before the holiday:

little girls manicure session...What do you think of their manicure table…?? Hehe…

little girl's manicure table

The two boys are not as close in age, but they sure had a great time together. The little one looking so much up to the older one, and wanting to do everything he did. And the older one totally loving it!

boys bath time

On the day of Shavuot I had the joy of hanging out with these guys, and as we walked to a neighborhood park, we had a perfect view of the mountains of Moab. What a perfect setting to talk about the story from the book of Ruth! – Naomi and Elimelech left with their two sons from Bethlehem right over there, because there was no rain and hardly any food in the land. They walked all the way to over there, to the mountains that you can see right over there. And so on and so on. Again, – I am soooo blessed to get to raise my children in this place!

table setting for Shavuot

Guess if the four cousins had a great time having their erev Shavuot meal together all of them together on one bench! Very good times indeed!

And a few days later, Friday, the 17th of May we celebrated the Norwegian independence day together. Us Norwegian Jerusalemites were very happy to have other Norwegians to celebrate with, – and our Shabbat table probably looked a lot different than most other Shabbat tables…

17. mai i Jerusalem

We have had such a great time with our guests! Now they have just left, and we are very much missing them already. But we are thankful for lots and lots of wonderful shared memories.

swimmers

My brother is exceptionally good with children… And they all know how to take advantage of it…!

pool fun

Yeay for family!

happy girls!

Biscuit Cake

Biscuit cake

We are in the Cheese Cake Baking Business over here these days. Shavuot, The Festival of Weeks, starts tomorrow night, and it is traditionally celebrated with a festive dairy meal, – complete with a dessert of yummy cheesecakes. Since many cheesecake get better after a night in the fridge, we made ours today.

I prefer the European cold and unbaked version, while my American better half prefers the New York style baked cheesecake. So I made one of each. 🙂 We will be about fifteen of us around our holiday table, so it is anyway good to have plenty.

Our princess has been talking about wanting to make “ugat biskvitim”, biscuit cake, for a long time already, and I have always replied, – let’s do that for Shavuot. Of course I have to keep my promise, so tonight was the night, – she got to make her biscuit cake.

biscuit cake

deep concentration is always helped by the tongue… 😉

It couldn’t get much easier, really. And I must admit, the cake tastes really good too, – just judging from licking the bowls and such… Here is a quick run through of how you do it. You make a mix of whipped cream, vanilla cream and cream cheese (or a simpler white cheese, like we do in Israel). You dip biscuits in milk to soften them a little bit, and then layer the biscuits and the cream-mixture, starting with biscuits, doing three layers and finishing with cream.

making biscuit  cake

On top most people put grated chocolate, but we happened to have these cute heart shaped thin chocolates, so we decorated with them. (And ideally we should have made it in a square or rectangle pan, but we need that one for the Lasagna we are making tomorrow…)

biscuit cake

MMMMmmmmmmm! We LOVE ugat biskvitim!!!

Mmmmm! Biscuit cake!!

A little gardener…

We are blessed to have a little bit of a garden. It is not big, but by Jerusalem standards it can be called a garden. I am very thankful for this little bit of space where the kids can run and play freely, and we have also had fun with different types of plants and trees.

strawberries

I grew up on a farm, and my husband grew up eating a lot of homegrown vegetables, but none of us can brag about particularly green thumbs. Still, there is the satisfaction of homegrown local produce, and our little bit of dirt provides an opportunity to at least try that out on a very small level.

strawberries

Our son has shown an interest in gardening, and has tried out various projects, the last one being strawberries. He earns pocket-money by reading books, and this winter, just before the snow, he spent some of his money buying some strawberry-plants. For months he has been caring for the plants, there were lots of leaves, flowers came and went, but it took a long time for the berries themselves to come around.

eating strawberries

The joy was great the other morning, when he picked his first berries, and shared with everyone in the family. What satisfaction! The work brought fruit! I believe little things like these can play central parts in the process called life. 

strawberry satisfaction

Yom Yerushalayim.

This is one of my favorite days of the year. Really. This is a VERY special day. It is Jerusalem Day. Yom Yerushalayim. Today we celebrated 46 years since Jerusalem’s reunification. And what a celebration it was!!! The streets of Jerusalem were filled with singing and dancing, joy and laughter! We celebrated God’s faithfulness to His People, His Land and particularly to His city!

my mom and children by flowers planted to spell the name, Jerusalem.

my mom and children by flowers planted to spell the name, Jerusalem.

I think I will let the pictures speak for themselves mostly.

dancing in the streets of Jerusalem

It was again a beautiful experience. Spiritual. Building. Uplifting. Strengthening. Encouraging. Unifying. Wonderful, really.

dancing on Yom YerushalayimIf I forget thee, Yerushalayim…

dancing on Yom Yerushalayim

After having celebrated in the new part of the city of Jerusalem for a few hours, we headed towards the Old City and the Western Wall together with thousands of others. The flags and crowds were like rivers in the streets. The music filled the air completely, and the whole experience was just amazing.

on the walls of Jerusalem

We even got to walk on the walls of Jerusalem for a little bit.

on the walls of Jerusalem

I am very thankful to get to raise my children in Jerusalem. They feel so at home here. Naturally.

on the walls of Jerusalem

And then we ended up at the Kotel, the Western Wall. Beautiful as always.

the western wall

I was just trying to imagine what it must have been like to see this sight for those who came here 46 years ago, after not being able to access the place for the last 19 years, from 1948 to 1967. How special! And it is still unique today. There is no place like it. And, there is certainly no place like Yerushalayim.

Free IKEA-visit and New Garden-couch.

It has been a while since I last wrote a blog post. Here, anyway. And this is the only blog I have, so the other place I have written blog-posts is in my head. Like, – I was going to write about how much fun one could have without spending any money. Going flower-picking, or rather, picking wild herbs like rosemary or lavender, in our case. Or, going biking, if you already have the bikes, that is. Or just hanging out reading books or playing games. Or going to IKEA.

Fun 2 shekel IKEA ice-creams!

Fun 2 shekel IKEA ice-creams!

Yes, we did that the other day, when we had errands to do around the country, and one of them was something my husband had to do near IKEA, and the kids and I decided to wait for him in the nicely air-conditioned IKEA for about three hours! Without buying anything at all, other than cheap meals for the kids!! They had a GREAT time! We had so much time at every place, the playroom, the movie-place, the shop itself, the restaurant, – everywhere! The children said, – this is so much fun, it is like we LIVE at IKEA! 🙂 And then they asked; – Imma, do we have to pay to get into IKEA??? – No, I answered, – normally we have to pay quite a bit to get OUT… hehe… 😉

watching a movie at IKEA, while eating the ice cream.

watching a movie at IKEA, while enjoying the ice-creams. Nice life.

And, what I have looked forward to showing you is this new garden-couch or bench-thing that I made out of our old baby-bed!

garden couch

I just put it up with only one of the long sides, and the mattress placed high up, painted it white, sewed some new pillow-cases for it, and walla, – I have a whole new look on my terrace!!

my terrace

It made me SO happy, – and the whole thing was totally free! How satisfying! Reusing everything! (*By the way, if you want to do this yourself, also get some type of strengthening for the seating, because of course, most of us are heavier than babies… I found some pieces of wood that others had thrown away, that I just added on top of the support that was already there, and now it is nice and strong.)

The other night, just as we came home from gymnastics and baseball practice, we got some big drops of rain filled with dust, which equals mud, and we quickly brought our “new” garden furniture inside, and found that this garden couch works very well as a bench at the end of our dining room table too! How convenient!

garden couch inside

I even found another good use for the one side-piece of the bed that there was no use for here, but I will show you that in another post. Haven’t painted it white yet. It is such a blessing to be able to renew the look of one’s home by just using what one already has. Really makes me happy!

To be. To be alive. How wonderful!

To be. To be alive. How wonderful!

Summer has most definitely arrived in Israel, and we enjoy beautiful candle-lit evenings outside. Like, right now, I sit here on my new garden-couch. Candles and wine on the table in front of me. Nice Life.