.. in less than a month!
As a military spouse you have to be prepared to move around a lot, and after living in Wales for a year and a half, the Navy has decided that our next destination will be in the United States of America, more precisely South Carolina. Although we have known for a few years, we haven’t been provided with a specific date for departure, however it’s now less than a month until we cross the pond to the land of the free!
Personally I have never visited the U.S. before and as any normal person I’m both excited and nervous at the same time. But because I have never been there before, I thought it would be interesting to write a post about my expectations and how I think our experience will be, and to then revisit this post about a month after moving there to see if I was spot on, or just doing the classical stereotyping of a people and their country.
- The people – I think the typical American is genuinely kind, welcoming, and above average interested in other people (good thing!), but at the same time a bit unaware of the world around them. Perhaps because in such a large country there is simply “no need” to know about anything else? Or because in the neighbouring state you will still find Americans, and not other nationalities like here in Europe (to be fair I don’t know a whole lot about countries outside of Europe!). These are ofc only my speculations, and I am excited to get to know the average American!
- Guns, guns and more guns – While I can’t see it ever changing, I don’t particularly agree with the American gun politics, however, it is what it is! I’m not sure what to expect here, but I think this is one of those things I’m nervous about experiencing. I think maybe the thought of “everyone” carrying a gun will always be in my head and I won’t feel safe, but then again maybe it’s not as visual as I imagine.
- Alligators, spiders and snakes – This is definitely what I’m most worried about. I’m actually more scared of spiders and other insects compared to bigger and more dangerous animals. The thought of them crawling on me or just touching me, freaks me out. I need to invest in some proper insect killers. Not really sure what to expect here, as I know they most certainly ARE there, but how often on a daily basis will I encounter these creatures, God knows.
- Religion – Speaking of God, I imagine religion is still a big part of the life of the average American. This will be new to me as I’m not raised in a religious family whatsoever, and most people from my country do not have a relationship to a god. Nor have I met very religious people, friends, or family in Great Britain. This might be Hollywood’s fault, but I imagine people still go to church on a Sunday, still say prayers at the dinner table, and still say “God bless you” several times during a conversation. It will be interesting to meet different people, and although I’m not religious myself, I have all the respect for all religions in this world. I like to learn about religions, but I also like to question it.
- Still using cash for everything – There are so many more efficient ways of making transactions in these modern digital days, than to pay cash, however I feel like most Americans still put their trust into the physical dollar bill rather than mobile payments. This also makes public transport and cab journeys more difficult than they have to be (do they even exist?). Making things more difficult than they have to be is like going back in time. Efficiency is key!
So there you have it – a few of my expectations. It will be interesting to see how they turn out in reality! I’m excited to find out.
I regularly make these simple protein buns filled with lots of healthy ingredients. All you need is oat flour, cottage cheese, baking powder, and eggs.
- 300g oat flour
- 300g cottage cheese
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 3 eggs
Mix the dry ingredients in a bowl, followed by the cottage cheese and eggs. I usually mix the cottage cheese and eggs together in a blender before adding them to the bowl so that the cottage cheese is smooth and not full of lumps. If you only have oats, and not oat flour, run the oats through the blender as well until you have fine oats. That works just as well.
Create as many round buns as you can out of the though, alternatively make a few and store the rest of the dough in the fridge. This way you can bake fresh buns whenever you like. Bake them in the oven on 200° between 15-20 minutes.
Add your favourite spread and enjoy! My favourites are chocolate, or butter and banana. Full of healthy oats, and protein from both the cottage cheese and eggs, these buns will keep you full for a long time.
It will soon be the time of the year again when we can finally dust off our favourite Christmas sweaters and wear them with pride throughout all of December. And I don’t mean ANY Christmas sweater, I mean the one and only UGLY Christmas sweater.
Although Christmas sweaters have been around for a long time, it is Bill Cosby we can thank for introducing the coolness of tacky looking sweaters, the so called “Cosby sweater”, designed by Koos Van Den Akker, which he often wore in his sitcom “The Cosby show”. Later the sweaters sold around Christmas time were known as “jingle bell sweaters”, however, Cosby nor Van Den Akker refused to take credit for inventing the ugly Christmas sweater.
Black Friday is coming up, a great excuse to purchase another (or your first?) ugly Christmas sweater for the upcoming holidays. Here’s a list of my favourite ones:
- Patrick Bateman from American Psycho, found here
- Birthday Boy Jesus, found here
- Star Wars Christmas Sweater, found here
- Donald Trump – make Christmas Great Again, found here
- Drake Christmas Sweater, found here
Do you have a favourite Christmas sweater?
This year’s Christmas tree will be extra special to me as it is the very first in our own house together as a married couple. Now, considering we do not own ANY Christmas decorations whatsoever, I quickly decided, after realising the average price for 3(!) baubles is about £10 (unless you go tacky), that I had to look for simple designs that are not too pricey. Although I accept that it can take years to collect and hoard Christmas decorations, I do NOT accept a dull looking Christmas tree, ever! So how will I do it?
For the first time ever I have to think of a design – a simple one preferably with no more than two colours. In my family we always decorate with everything we can find, from awful looking objects made by myself and my brother in preschool, Norwegian flags, string lights, tinsel, and decoration that has been passed along through generations. But don’t get me wrong, I absolutely love it because it all has meaning. Every single object on that tree, more or less, has a funny story behind it, and it certainly brings out the Christmas spirit. And although we CAN argue and disagree with certain objects – such as the appropriateness of flags on a Christmas tree, or whether or not the tinsel hangs vertically or horizontally, we never have a special design to follow, which makes life easy.
Now, after reading my previous paragraph about my Scandinavian family, will you believe me if I told you that Scandinavian design is known for its simplicity? Well it is, and that’s exactly where I gathered inspiration from!
Here is a list of my 3 favourite Christmas trees that have inspired me to create something similar:
- Simple tree decoration with home made clay star
ornaments as seen from Amy’s Homey Oh My blog
– Two different coloured and sized baubles (here white and mini gold)
– String lights of your choice
– White clay
– Cookie cutter of whichever shape you like (here star)
It doesn’t get much easier than this. I absolutely love the simplicity of only lights, baubles and clay stars on the tree, and I’m definitely going to give clay ornaments an attempt this year. The best thing about clay? It’s cheap and readily available both online and in craft shops. If you don’t want your ornaments white, you can always paint them whichever colour you like after baking them in the oven. That way you can add your own personal touch! Head over to Amy’s blog here if you want more detailed instructions.
- Pine cone inspired tree as seen from Country Living
– Large baubles (here white)
– Smaller baubles (here gold)
– Paper poinsettia
– Large pine cones
Why not add an extra natural touch to your Christmas tree? If you’re lucky enough to live close to a forest, you could use pine cones without it costing you a penny. To spice them up a bit, it is also possible to paint them a different colour (after gently washing them). Together with large baubles and paper poinsettia (about £1 a pack) you don’t really need more to make the tree pop!
- Christmas tree designed by Selina Lake as seen on her blog
– Different shaped silver baubles
– Gold baubles (optional)
– String lights
Silver baubles and string lights – simple and elegant. Again, if you don’t want to buy countless amounts of baubles, create clay ornaments and paint them silver and/or gold. Stars always look good on a tree, and so do hearts.
The first Sunday in Advent is only 11 days away, and hopefully we will have collected a tree by then considering we’re only staying in Wales for two weeks in December before visiting family in South of England and Norway. I think the first Christmas tree on my list is my favourite, however, I also like the idea of collecting things from nature to add to our tree. I have purchased white clay and I’m quite excited to see if creating home made ornaments is as easy as it sounds! I will definitely give an update on how it turns out. Feel free to write a comment or to give me other ideas of how to decorate the christmas tree. How are you decorating yours?