Happy New Year!

…just a week late, but nevertheless… I hope you had a lovely holiday. 🙂

Mine was OK. My sisters came for a two-week visit, which was lovely – I hadn’t seen them in about a year and a half. The downside was that we were all sick. Little J had a high fever on Christmas Day and Boxing Day, and he spent the days sleeping. He opened some of his presents on Christmas Eve, as is the Finnish custom, and the rest on the 27th when he finally felt better…

But we did get to do some fun stuff too. We drove up to Whistler for a day, and the best part of the trip really is the scenery…. The highway runs between the mountains and the sea, it was a gorgeous sunny day, and we stopped at few different viewing spots to take photos.

Photo credit: my sister Anna

Photo credit: my sister Anna

On New Year’s Day I remembered a package of puff pastry in the fridge. I had bought it frozen for some Christmas pastries, and hadn’t used it… We also had some apples that were getting old, so I made a quick apple pie that turned out great!

First, layer the pastry into a pie dish. Peel and slice the apples, approx. three of them, and spread the slices on the pastry. Sprinkle cardamom and cinnamon powder on the apples, and add a dash of salt. Really.

Then the secret ingredient…

secret ingredient

Take about half a dozen of these little treats, cut them up into little pieces and spread over the apples.

Fold the edges of the pastry on top of the apples if needed, and brush with egg wash. Bake in 175C / 350F for about 20 min until the edges are golden brown.

And voila!

It was really simple, and really tasty. 🙂 Another good Indian custom is to start a New Year off by eating something sweet – as in, it should be the first thing in your mouth after midnight. 🙂

Oh, talking about Indian customs… I sorted out the new clothing thing by buying a pair of socks and a pair of tights. I needed the socks anyway, and I’ve come to a conclusion that I’ll never manage to make a pair of decent leggings (since I can’t seem to manage a decent t-shirt, and that’s just so much easier…) so I might as well buy a pair since I really need one. I also had a skirt I had knitted last fall but hadn’t worn at all, so that rounded up my three new things to wear on Christmas, birthday and New Year. It’s a bit of a cop-out since it wasn’t three new outfits but it’ll have to do.

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Travels, Old Photos and Distractions

I’ve been absent for a while. You may have noticed. This is the time of the year when I seem to be really busy every time. Christmas craft sales are coming up, and with J around, I have even less time to spare than I used to… And somehow I end up with jobs that get more and more busy, the closer to Christmas we get.

I also took J to Finland to visit mummo and pappa (grandma and grandpa in Finnish) in the beginning of October. It was a good visit, in spite of us all being sick most of the time… I got to spend time with my parents and sisters, and spent a lot of time going through old photos and listening to stories from the days past.

All my grandparents are now gone, but their old photo albums are at my parents’ place. My grandmother (dad’s mom) had a serious Alzheimer’s, and she had torn many photos off her albums and thrown them away. I looked through the rest. There were no names, no dates, just photos. My dad recognized many of the people but more were left unnamed. I took lots of photos from the albums since apparently no one else cares.

Matti & Iida Niemi (my great grandparents) and their daughter Sylvi, 1915

My grandfather (mom’s dad) passed away less than two years ago. He was interested in genealogy, and had written down names, dates and descriptions for the photos. He had albums full of photos, and many loose pictures in a tin. I browsed through, and took many of the photos from the tin, especially because many of them had duplicates in the albums.

Kerttu Varri, my grandmother, 1930s or 1940s

So now I have piles of old photos – family history, WWII photos, people long gone. The plan is to scan them all and then make albums – but considering I’m really bad at getting albums or scrapbooks done for our own photos I’m not sure when that’ll get done… Maybe when I’m retired.

Terttu Niemi, my other grandmother

Now, posting this has been the distraction part… I’ve got work to do.

Holiday

I know I’ve been quiet for a while… We just got back from a two-week trip to Europe. Jason’s cousin celebrated her wedding in Norwich, England, and we spent some time there. It’s a beautiful place, with old houses and cobble stones and, like they say, “a pub for every day of the year and a church for every Sunday”…

Riverside in Norwich

Norwich is small, everything is within walking distance. (Well, OK, for us walking distance can mean a 45-minute walk… But anyway…) And they have a lovely, 900-year-old cathedral with the second-tallest spire in England.

Cathedral

It was just lovely to walk in a place that has history – where people live in houses built 200 years ago. Cousin’s wedding reception was held in a hall that was used as a trading post during middle ages – I think the oldest parts of the building were like 1000 years old… I’ve missed that sense of history and connectedness (is that a word? Is now…) that old cities in Europe give.

From Norwich we continued to Geneva, Switzerland. Jason’s mom lives there, and that’s where we met… So the city has a lot of memories.

Geneva lakeside

Geneva is beautiful as well, by the lake and surrounded by mountains. The old town was as lovely as ever. And the chocolate… 😉 Plus we got to see some old friends we hadn’t seen in years. It was a great trip overall.

Jet d’eau

Today is my last day off before returning to office. I feel rested and have some new ideas; I’ve already started working on some new knitted pieces for the fall sales. But I’m not that excited about going back to office… I could skip on that part and just stay home and craft!