It’s on!

Christmas is on!

In the last about ten days we have been to the local school’s Christmas market, a Hungarian Santa Claus fest organized by the Danish-Hungarian Union in Aarhus, and the kindergarten’s own Christmas party.

Everything is about the upcoming holidays, and the smell of cookies being baked fills the air – how romantic πŸ™‚ But it is true. We have been baking diligently.Danish treats like Β pebbernΓΈdderΒ andΒ vanilla cookies, and Hungarian treats such asΒ linzer and honey cakes. Luckily I have my children to help me, I think next year I might just give them the order: make 2 boxes of this, and 2 boxes of that, and let them do the work, while I will rest in my armchair, sipping my coffee πŸ™‚ Seriously, they are getting pro πŸ™‚

baking christmas treats

We also went yesterday to pick up our Christmas tree, at a small, local plantage. It was hard to find the best one, just because all of them were so nice and perfect πŸ™‚ Once we picked the one, the owner came and cut it for us.

picking and cutting

We had to set it up right away in our living room, and decorate it. My kids did most of the work again. They are so excited about Christmas, they will do anything connected to it πŸ™‚ I think it turned out lovely, what do you think? πŸ™‚

tree before and after

The First of Advent

Don’t you think it’s absolutely amazing that the first Sunday of Advent was on the 1st December this year? Or is it just me who is an absolute fan of these kind of coincidences?

Also a coincidence, or just good timing from my part, that I was done with my next portion of handmade Christmas-decorations by yesterday:

Star Frames

These lovely crochet stars are the idea of Sandra from Little Golden Nook, which is a beautiful blog. I saw the stars on Pinterest, and followed Sandra’s lovely tutorial to make them. I picked a bag of curtain rings, some yarn of my choice, and some Christmas postcards, and the 10 starts were done surprisingly fast.

let's make frames

 

I really enjoyed making them. Here they are, bathing in sunshine πŸ™‚

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Also, as you can all imagine, we have been very busy with advent preparations all weekend. Actually I have been planning it for quite a long, because the advent calender is something very important in our family. And getting 2 times 24 small, cheap, yet exciting and funny gifts for small kids is a challenge in itself… And then wrapping all of them… Even when I only had to wrap advent gifts for Cherry, I decided that the maximum amount of children in our household is going to be 2. Because there is noone on earth who can handle packing 72 (or more!) tiny little gifts every year, or is there? πŸ™‚

For advent calender we decided to go with the tradition of my husband’s childhood. Every year his parents hung the gifts on a piece of string somewhere in the house, but without numbers on, and he and his sister got to choose one present every morning. And they loved it. So that’s how we do it too. No numbers, but random picking every morning. It has been two mornings so far, and my kids are in absolute trance πŸ˜€

Our Advent Calender

Sorry for the poor picture quality, I made the photo late in the evening on Saturday, when I was done with hanging the packages, and obviously there was no natural light at my disposal in our living room πŸ™‚

We also got out our Christams boxes, placed a few elfes, Santas, candles here and there in the house, and made an advent wreath – well, it is just 4 candles in a box with some dried fruits and branches from our garden really, but it is nice.

nisse collage

 

So, we are ready for the Holiday Season. Is it too much to ask for a little bit of snow as well? πŸ™‚

The season to be… crafty?

I would like to share some family joy with you all: On the 16th of November my beautiful sister-in-law gave birth to a beautiful baby boy πŸ™‚ We obviously all got very happy and excited, and book the ferry tickets for the next Saturday to visit them. The plan was to pick up my mother-in-law on the way there, and spend the day in Copenhagen.

Then, of course, Cherry got the flu 😦 First of all my heart was breaking for her, because I don’t remember her being so sick ever in her little life. My heart was breaking, because it also meant, that there is going to be no baby-visiting for Cherry, and no baby-visiting for her Mum either (that would be me). And I don’t know which one of us was more disappointed about that, the almost 5 years old, who was sooo looking forward to see her new little cousin, or me, who knows that every baby born to family members or friends might be the last chance for me to hold a newborn again in my arms (as we are NOT having more πŸ™‚ ).

Anyway, my husband packed up Paddington last Saturday, picked up his Mum and they sailed over to Sjælland for the visit, while Cherry and I stayed at home.

At this point Cherry was feeling well enough to be bored out of her mind, locked up in the house, but still too sick and contagious to go among other people, so we had to find some activities we can do inside. And then it occured to me: But it is almost advent! So we were going to make some advent/Christmas decorations, hurray πŸ™‚

One thing you have to know about Cherry, that she is obsessed with pearls. She has tons of beads and pearls that she prepares lovely necklaces of, many a day, then she picks her little scissors, cuts the wires, recycles the beads, and starts it all over again πŸ™‚ She also has a huge box of Hama Beads, and sometimes she spends hours sitting on her little chairs, making lovely shapes and figures out of the Hama Beads, then brings them over to me, so I can iron them. So making decorations of Hama Beads was an obvious choice for us πŸ™‚ Cherry made some circles, hearts and other full shapes, and I tried to create some snowflakes.

Hama Snowflakes

 

At the end we hung them up on some branches, collected from the garden, together with some old Christmas cards we had. I am also thinking about making some more, and including them in the postcards we are going to send out this year, as they are so tiny and light.

Hamas and Cards

Later, while she was resting on the sofa, watching some cartoons, I cuddled up next her warm, little body, and crocheted some cute little starts of different sizes. I found this lovely tutorial (on Pinterest, where else) :).

Crochet Starts

Twinkle-twinkle πŸ™‚

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Risalamande

Monday was St. Martin’s day. Another holiday that people usually don’t remember the origins of, but are still looking forward to it, because it means some special, big eating, right… πŸ™‚

In Hungary it means eating goose, but in Denmark it is duck. Since roasted duck is also very usual as a Christmas dish, with potatoes, caramel-potatoes, red cabbage and gravy, it is not unusal for Danes, to celebrate Sankt Mortens Dag (as they call it) with an early Christmas feast. As it happens, that is what we exactly did this year πŸ™‚

I made the complete Danish Christmas menu, and to make it whole, I also prepared the special dessert that goes with it: Risalamande.

Risalamande with cherry sauce

Risalamande is basically chilled rice-porridge, blanded with chopped almonds, vanilla and whipped cream, served with sweet Cherry sauce. Usually on Christmas evening the hostess hides a whole almond piece in the middle of the pudding, she asks a few other people to stir it well, so there could be no cheating (at least that’s what my mother-in-law does), and then she serves it to the family. The one who finds the whole almond in his/her dish, is the winner of a special almond gift πŸ™‚ It’s a little bit like the coin in the British Christmas-pudding, I guess.

Making Risalamande is not very difficult, however it takes its time, especially because of all the cooling.

Here is how it goes:

Risalamande:

  • 3dl water
  • 2,5 dl porridge rice (small and round)
  • 1 liter milk
  • 100 g chopped almonds
  • 2 vanilla sticks
  • 4 sp sugar
  • 2,5 dl cream for whipping
  • cherry sauce or other berry sauce for serving

First you will make rice-porridge: Take a heavy-based saucepan, put water and rice in it and boil them together. Once it is boiling, cook it for an additional 2 mts while stirring it constantly. Add the milk and cook it at a low temperature, still stirring, for another 10 mts. Cover it and cook for half an hour more, stir it once in a while. Once it is done, let it cool in the fridge. It is best, if it can rest for a whole day.

preparing risalamande

Bland the cold porridge, the vanilla seeds of the two sticks, sugar and the chopped almonds together. Whip the cream until you get a light foam, and then carefully fold it into the porridge. Set the risalamande in the fridge for another 2 hours before serving.

For serving take some lovely cherry or berry sauce. In Denmark you can buy hundreds of different types of little cartons of cherry sauce from November until January, in any shop.

Enjoy πŸ™‚

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The Nutcracker

The best Christmas gift I got this year was without doubt a real magical experience from my Mum: She bought tickets (for herself and me) for the ballet performance of The Nutcracker, in the Opera House of Budapest.

This ballet is something she and me wanted to watch basically for ages. But it is very popular (not very surprising) and therefore tickets are extremely hard to get. I remember a few years ago standing in line at the ticket office on the very first day they started to sell tickets to the show, and after hours of waiting I got to know that they were already sold out… This year my Mum used all her connections and somehow got us two tickets, yay! You might wonder why not more, but the male members of our family are not very enthusiastic about opera and ballet…

So one Sunday morning (it was a day-time show, with lot of families coming with their children) we put on our nice dresses and arrived to the beautiful building of the Opera in bright sunshine πŸ™‚

opera from outside

 

The building is not only beautiful from the outside, but also from the inside. That is why it’s always full of tourists, making photos all over the place. I always feel so proud when see all these people from all over the World wanting to come and see this remarkable place and the amazing shows!

opera inside

 

The Nutcracker itself was fantastic! Lovely costumes, beautiful set and amazing dancers! And don’t forget the music… It was the most magical thing that happened to me this Christmas, even a week later I am completely under the influence of the show, pictures coming back together with the feeling of amusement, and now I want to be a ballet dancer when I grow up… oh, wait… damn πŸ™‚

A Little Lookback To The Holiday Season

We are very lucky this Christmas, because we can enjoy the hospitality of my parents for quite a long time. We only go back to Denmark next Friday!

It also means, that my time at the computer is limited. Not that I am that sad about this fact, but it explains the rarity of my posts nowadays πŸ™‚ But now I have some time to write a little bit about our Holidays.

christmas piggy

This year was special, because we celebrated Christmas twice! First we held a little Christmas with my in-laws in Denmark. Cherry helped decorating the tree, she is getting very good at that, this was her second tree for the season πŸ™‚ After that we danced around the Christmas tree, according to Danish traditions. Danes always put a flag garland on their trees, and my mother-in-law made not only a Danish garland, but also a Brittish and a Hungarian one, to please her children-in-law πŸ™‚

danish tree

We ate roasted pork with caramell-potatoes, red cabbage and gravy, yumm πŸ™‚ My husband’s Mum also made a portion of rice-pudding with cherry-sauce, so however we were visiting 3 days before the actual Christmas, it really felt like the real one!

danish yummies

 

Santa came and visited us, leaving very nice and huge gifts behind for the kids, including a Cars pushing car for Paddington, and a pony princess castle for Cherry πŸ™‚

After crazy packing and dropping our puppy off at a dog pension, we flew to Hungary on the 23rd. Due to the lovely snow-storms across Europe, we had to wait 3 hours before our plane could finally set off. It was very stressful, a lot of people trying to get home for Christmas, delayed and cancelled flights, restless children… but finally we got to Budapest.

The Hungarian Christmas tradtitions are quite different from the Scandinavian and Anglo-Saxon traditions. We follow the German line, like in so many other things. Santa doesn’t come to us at Christmas. No. Saint Nicholas visits the Hungarian children on his name day, 6th December. He leaves some chocolate, fruits, small gifts in their polished boots, and some dry branches, if the kids were naughty. Christmas belongs to Jesus Christ. Baby Jesus, and his helpers, the angels leave a fully decorated Christmas tree in the children’s home, and obviously gifts as well πŸ™‚ So on the 24th we heard the magic bells ringing from the living room, went in while singing, and found all the gifts under the tree.

hungarian christmas

We also had the traditional Christmas food, which is fish soup and fried fish on the 24th, and stuffed sour cabbage on the 25th (at least in my family this is the tradition).

hungarian yummies

 

 

And New Year’s Eve? We spent it nice and quiet, just the kids, my parents, my brother, his girlfriend, my husband and me. Playing board games, staying up late, drinking champagne.

champagne

 

What about your Holidays? What are your traditions, how did you spend these few days?

Merry Christmas

After some cozy celebrations in Denmark at my in-laws, and an adventurous trip to Hungary, I wish all of You and Your Loved Ones a very-very Happy Christmas from my childhood home!

Thank you for stopping by, your likes, your follows, your nice comments, they mean a lot to me!

And now: get off of internet, and spend the time with your family instead! πŸ˜€

God Jul! Boldog KarΓ‘csonyt! πŸ™‚

God Jul