Ok, so yesterday I turned 40!!! Some people might be bummed out by this but not me. I hear it only gets better after 40, especially for a woman. You’re more confident, secure in who you are, you have experience under your belt- it’s a great time! So I’m really looking forward to seeing if this all is true or not…I feel really good right now though! I had a wonderful celebration this weekend, starting with Friday at work. The kids and adults came out while I was making lunch and lined up in a big group in front of me and began singing Happy Birthday to me in Norwegian!
They made me this great Birthday crown that says Amy 40 Years, on it!! After they were done singing happy birthday I said, “Ahhh I need a hug!” to which 66+ children swarmed around me to give me a hug while the adults were saying, “Wait, wait, we’re not done yet!” After we composed ourselves again the kids began singing We Wish You A Merry Christmas to me in English! That was fun!
After work I came home and finally made some cookies I’ve been wanting to try for a long time called Catchall Cookies in English or in Norwegian we’ll call them Alt Mulig Kjeks! Recipe is below in English, it comes from a Better Homes and Garden special cookie magazine I got at the airport on my way home from Bergen…I’ve been drooling over the cookies in the magazine now since I got home, so I finally tried this one recipe and I was very pleased as was the rest of the gang…it was good….REAL good…and they almost get better several days after…
You start with a basic cookie dough recipe:
1/4 cup butter, softened
1/4 cup shortening (I used margarine)
2 ounces cream cheese softened (Stig figured this out to be a little under 60grams of cream cheese)
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg (muskat)
2 teaspoons vanilla
2.5 cups all purpose flour
In a large bowl combine butter, shortening, and cream cheese. Beat with an electric mixer on medium high speed for about 30 seconds. Add brown sugar, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Beat until combined. Add eggs and vanilla until combined and then beat in as much of the flour as you can. Use a wooden spoon to beat in the rest if you can’t get everything with your mixer (I had no problems).
Next, press 3/4ths of dough evenly into a prepared baking pan ( 13x9x2) Bake at 375F (about 180C) for 10 minutes then take out. Add to this a mixture of the following:
1.5 cups dark chocolate pieces (I used a 200 gram bar of Dronning sjokolade plus about a quarter of a new bar of Dronning sjokolade)
1.5 cups coarsely chopped chocolate covered english toffee bars (again, I used the same amount as the dark chocolate above- and I used DAIM chocolate for this part)
1- 14 ounce can sweetened condensed milk (I used one can at about 375 grams, that I bought at a foreign food store here)
1 cup flaked coconut
1 cup chopped pecans (you can probably use walnuts here also if you don’t have pecans)
Spread this mixture over the prebaked cookie dough and then crumble the rest of the cookie dough you made earlier over the top and bake for 20 minutes at the same temperatures as earlier. Let cool completely and then cut into small squares.
Sarah’s boyfriend Pål (Paul) came over Friday night, he’s in the military so he’s been getting weekends free and spending them with Sarah…we’re very pleased that he is such a good kid and takes such good care of Sarah. They recently celebrated one year together and they are still going strong, which we’re very happy about!
With a house full of people I made a simple dinner Friday- Pizza! Simple and delicious..
Saturday we all got up and had a nice breakfast together. My wonderful family sang Happy Birthday to me and I was given lots of great gifts, several necklaces and earrings- some with a Christmas theme which will be fun to wear at work! I also got a jewlery box and a charm bracelet with two charms from my honey…a sailboat type wheel because he is a sailor, and a heart to show his love for me..he plans to add more charms to it over time! This is an idea he got from Pål who bought a similar bracelet for Sarah and has been adding charms at various important dates to them….who says the older generation can’t learn from the younger??? Hahaha…
Plans for the day included a visit to the cozy town of Lillehammer which is about 45 minutes north of us. It was the host of the 1994 Winter Olympics and still shines as a picturesque winter town. The town was all decked out for the holidays and there were people selling roasted nuts and other craft items in small stands around town, as well as the regular stores that were all decked out for Christmas..A horse drawn carriage gave people rides up and down the main road in Lillehammer. We had taken Bently and Jackson with us and they really had a great day of socializing. Everyone wanted to pet the BIG dogs! I was so proud of both those boys and how well they behaved with all the people, horse, and other dogs around…
After we were good and frozen from walking around town we decided to get some dinner. We were recommended to try Blåmann in Lillehammer. However, I decided it would be better to save us a little money and try Egon instead. Won’t do that again….we were sat in the children’s section (I’m assuming) as there was families with LOTS of kids on either side of us and the play room was right next to our table. I love kids, but was looking forward to a relaxing meal with my family. Another weird thing with Egon is you get seated then to order you have to go up to the bar and order your food and then they bring it to you….so we live and we learn and we won’t make that mistake again…otherwise the food was ok and the company was better…
Totally exhausted after our long and cozy day together (as most 40 year olds would be) I looked forward to coming home and relaxing and catching the last show of the X-factor series I had been watching. Sarah lit the candles on my carrot cake birthday cake and the door knocked…
It was our neighbours and dear friends, Laila and Rune and Anette and Frode. They came bearing gifts, champagne, wine, and cake and lots of good birthday wishes! I was so happy to see them. Stig had told me he tried setting up a little party for me with these four but that Anette and Frode had to perform that evening (they have a band) and so they couldn’t come, so he was just going to drop it and try another time….so he was just as surprised as me when they all showed up! It was a great evening and the last couple left at midnight and my official first day as a 40 year old ended very successfully!
I feel so lucky and so blessed to have friends who care enough to take time out of their busy lives to show me some attention on my birthday. I know everyone lives very busy lives these days and time is the most precious thing we all own…to give it away is very special and has a lot of meaning to me. I was also blown away by all the birthday greetings on Facebook and the personal cards I recieved in emails- again, the fact that people use their precious time on me, warms my heart so much! Thank you to everyone who made my birthday so special!!!
Until next time my friends….