Family Trip #8

Avery had finally gotten over her croup so we decided to make a trip into the city of Aarhus.

I had already been to Aarhus twice before (Ship Races and the Den Gamle By). This time we went for different sites, IKEA and ARoS Aarhus Art Museum.

Our first stop was IKEA. We were able to drop the girls off at a playroom type area while the husband and I looked around. He had to find a lamp and I was looking for some new pillowcase covers.

This was only our second time in IKEA. Man. IKEA is big. It is also a friendly reminder to me that I have little decorating talent and am cheap. Prices are a bit higher in Denmark than the states so I passed by many items. I did settle on some pillowcases.

The girls didn’t want to leave the play area but after promising food, we made our way to the car for a car picnic. It was raining so this seemed like the best place to eat at the moment.

Our next stop was ARoS which is located in downtown Aarhus. We drove around for a while looking for a parking space before just deciding to pay for parking right next to the museum. With the ongoing downpour, we were very happy with our choice.

The museum is very big and the main draw for our girls was the rainbow top. It is the circular top level of ARoS and gives a colorful, panoramic view of the city through shaded glass. The girls ran around it several times. They laughed at their changing skin color from blue to orange to red. Even with the lack of sunshine, it was still a hit for them.

After that we toured the artwork. Claire had already been there once during a class field trip so she showed us to different parts of the museum. She also had studied art in school so she was telling us the different types she’d learned like realism, abstract and symmetry. She told us that art wasn’t just painting either. It could be dancing and graffiti.

I learned that I am not an art connoisseur. In one corner, there was a pile of candy you could take and eat. It was part of the exhibit. Not sure I get it.

The girls had a decent time though. They got bored pretty quickly but it was a big museum so they were able to run around. There was one exhibit that showed how art can use all the senses. Avery really enjoyed that one, especially smelling the marshmallows.

My favorite exhibit was the infinity mirror. You are able to look over the side and it feels like you are standing on the edge of a building looking into forever. That was pretty neat! Ron Mueck’s Boy (pictured above) was also breathtaking too. The detail was amazing. You could see the skin texture, veins, toenails, so many tiny details in a nearly 15 foot statue.

After only a couple hours, we were ready to go home.

Sunday was spent doing some Danishy things.

First, I made æbleskiver for breakfast. Æbleskiver is a pancake ball. The outside is similar looking to flat pancakes but a much fluffier inside. Maybe more like a popover or something similar. This is likely due to the whisking of egg whites for about 3-5 minutes.

Although the name suggests apples, the version I made did not have apples. One batch was plain, another was stuffed with Nutella.

To make æbleskiver, you also need a special pan. This pan helps to keep them spherical in nature. I also used a wooden skewer to flip them so all sides cooked evenly. It was a little more intensive than regular flat pancakes but they were delicious! I had two little girls coming back for thirds.

By mid morning, we decided to make some Christmas hearts (link to template) or Julehjerte. Jul mean Christmas and hjerte means heart (God Jul means Merry Christmas). These hearts are a staple in Danish houses so Claire and I made some. They involved weaving two different colors (red and white). The result was a heart basket which Claire immediately filled with some leftover Halloween candy.

That night I made another Danish food staple, Flæskesteg. It’s basically pork roast with a crispy rind. It is mainly served at Christmas dinners. You cook it first in water for 30 minutes, then flip it over and salt the rind. I mean SALT IT! You need to be sure the rind is full of salt inside and outside the slits already put there by the butcher. Then it cooks in a low oven for almost two hours. Then blast the oven to broil and let it start crackling. I learned that it needs to be perfectly crackled. I didn’t let mine sit in the oven long enough so some parts were a bit tough.

Claire and I were fans of the crackled top, the husband and Avery were not.

Oh well. Can’t win them all, right?

We hope you all have a Happy Thanksgiving! We’ll be going about our normal routine on Thursday but still Black Friday shopping as that occurs over here too.

Croup! (There It Is)

*Not to be confused with “Whoomp! (There It Is) by Tag Team*

Just a few days after finally getting over my cough, croup hit our house.

Avery had been waking up for a couple nights and coming to my room. She kept saying she was having bad dreams so I didn’t think anything of it.

Saturday she woke up and said her throat hurt. I shined a flashlight down her throat and didn’t see anything. She immediately asked for a sucker so I was convinced she was just faking to get a sucker. (Backstory: I let the girls have suckers if they have sore throats because they can’t have cough drops.)

So we continued with our Saturday plans. Avery and her dad spent the day together and I drove Claire to a play date. I dropped her off and went shopping.

If you didn’t know, I LOVE thrift/consignment shop shopping. It’s better for the environment. It’s cheaper. The thrift stores here all donate to good causes like feeding/clothing the homeless, missionaries in Africa and so on. Win, win, win!

I had opened up our Christmas decoration box I brought from America and realized I was severely lacking. It only had tree decorations and a nativity scene. So Saturday, I hopped from store to store looking for Christmas decorations.

When Claire’s first play date was over, we made our way to pick up Avery and her dad for another play date. This one involved another friend of Claire’s and we were all invited.

The girls had a great time. Claire and her friend even made a movie for us adults. We also had a chance to talk to other parents about the school, living in Denmark and life with kids. It was so enjoyable!

Their home was also gorgeous! I love the Scandinavian decor. It’s sleek, white and simple. Now I want to redecorate our current home, so I need to plan a day to thrift store shop again. *Mental note*

So back to the croup…

Avery started becoming unhappy as the night went on. We figured it was likely just the waking up in the middle of the night issue. She woke up two hours later with a high fever and barking cough.

If you have kids, you know it and can identify it well. Sounds like a seal barking.

She seemed very uncomfortable and was crying about the cough and how her throat hurt. I was able to get her to take some medicine to try and make her a bit more comfortable. She fell back asleep but not for long.

She continued to have coughing attacks and we were often running to the bathroom because 1) she was drinking so much water and 2) she was also throwing up a bit from the coughing.

After a restless night and another high fever in the morning, I decided to call the doctor’s office.

Our local doctor is closed on weekends so we had to call a different number. It’s not like 911 (that’s 112 here) but like a nurse on call number. I was told to take her to the doctor in the neighboring town at the local emergency room at 11:05.

Now this is where the translation got lost or I guess how the NHS is different than back in the states. If you’re from the states, you are likely very familiar with emergency rooms. They are typically attached to a hospital, very busy and it may take a long time to get seen. There are multiple nurses and a receptionist (or two) to assist you. Back in the states, we also have urgent cares too. These are similar to emergency rooms but are located more in a clinic type environment. They are there for when your general practitioner is closed and for non-life threatening situations. You still have to make an appointment (typically) but they are much cheaper than emergency room visits.

So I was looking for an emergency room type setting in the neighboring town. We arrived at the “hospital” but there were hardly any cars. There was no official entrance saying skadestue. I pulled on a couple doors and they were all locked. We did a drive around the block. Nothing.

On the second trip by, we noticed a sign that said lægehus (doctor’s house). I walked inside and tried to speak to those waiting (three people total). Unfortunately, de talte ikke engelsk (they did not speak English). I likely looked foolish to them. It was the only door open and I walked in trying to find a receptionist in this tiny hallway with about 15 chairs and a bathroom.

Fortunately, there was a taxi driver outside. He spoke perfect English. He told me that I was in the right spot and that I didn’t have to check in or anything. I just had to sit and wait for Avery to be called.

We took a seat and waited.

Avery was called in about 10-15 minutes by the doctor. No nurses again (like our first visit to the doctors). He checked her over and asked a few questions. He agreed with my thoughts. She had croup. It was viral; there was nothing she could take and that cold, moist air would be best for her. We were told to keep an eye on her breathing and if she gets worse to bring her to hospital.

The next four days were spent with Avery cuddling with me 24/7. My husband had a scheduled work trip so I was solo parenting. And man, it was tough. Avery and I tried to spend time outside but she complained about the cold. I opened some windows and that worked for a couple days. She was drinking water in copious amounts to calm the coughing attacks so I ended up getting peed on twice. She was also more stubborn than normal due to being sick. We woke up several times a night for coughing attacks and water. When I thought she was better, she got sick on the way to school.

Happily, I can report she’s feeling better. The coughing is much less now. It mainly happens when she’s upset or lying down for extended periods. I’m ready for a good nights sleep and I’m sure she is too.

En Travl Uge

*One Busy Week*

Life has not slowed down in our household.

There’s been a lot of driving, planning and baking.

First, I volunteered for UN Day at my daughters’ school. I wasn’t the leader but agreed to make muffins and work the USA booth during the event.

It was decided that the USA booth would represent its national food with pumpkin muffins and chocolate chip cookies. If you’re reading this from the USA, you know that starting in September, everything is pumpkin spice this and pumpkin spice that. It also seems to be creeping in earlier and earlier every year.

Here in Denmark, much less pumpkin spice. The stores were selling pumpkins and there were a few pumpkin related decorations but no pumpkin spice Oreos, cereal, coffee, etc. I can’t even find pumpkin pie spice.

Since I have celiac, I volunteered to make a batch of mini muffins for UN day that would be allergy safe (no egg, gluten, nuts, dairy). Recipe: Spiced Pumpkin Muffins with Cinnamon Glaze (If you make it, be sure the glaze is thick. And do NOT dip the muffin into the glaze. Your muffins will be a slimy mess (but still taste good).)

UN Day arrived and with muffins in hand, I found the USA booth. A few of the moms were already hard at work. We laughed about “invading” Canada’s booth (Canada had to drop out). With the help of many parents, we were able to decorate both booths. They were covered with red, white and blue, a map of the states, multiple LEGO pieces with USA roots, books about the USA and even a bald eagle mask. We had the food for the kids to grab, activities like drawing your face on a dollar bill and trivia questions ready.

Before the kids arrived, I was able to take a tour of the other countries. Every country represented did an outstanding job. Booths were full of great information about their home country. Food was on almost every table and it was tempting to sample it all (Japan had sushi!). Below are just a few of the booths:

Soon the kids began to arrive. The younger children enjoyed the food and dollar bills. Us USA parents shared trivia and answered any questions they had. Many would tell us they wanted to visit the USA with the most common place being New York City. We placed red dots on a map of the places they had lived, visited and wanted to visit. NYC was covered very quickly.

By the time the older kids arrived, I was falling into my TV persona. I mean you put a TV meteorologist in front of a map and well, I fell into my comfort zone. My co-volunteers were getting a kick out of it.

What I really enjoyed about the older kids was sharing our knowledge. They voiced their opinions on the USA and asked questions. Many enjoyed our trivia (What’s the largest state in the US? HINT: Not Texas) with some even quizzing us back. We had to resort to some trivia off the top of our heads as the kids seemed to enjoy it so much.

I have to say I probably had as much fun as the students. It was great meeting some Americans and sharing the pride we have for our country with others.

After UN Day, we had some USA visitors. The girls were super excited to have some guests. They had never met them before (or didn’t remember them) but were so happy to make new friends.

I was able to take our guests to Aarhus while the girls were in school one day. We checked out the Den Gamle By or The Old City in Aarhus.

The way I would explain the Old City is that it is like the Wild West towns we experience in the United States. Actors/actresses were walking around in clothing of the era. Some were even doing the type of work one would see back around 1800. We stopped at the bakery, learned about the life of a tradesman, looked at vintage toys and went from 1800 to the 1970s.

It was a neat little concept though it was a bit chilly that day. By 1 PM, we were ready to eat. Although there were cafes in the Den Gamle By, we decided to walk to a cafe I knew had gluten free options, Cafe Faust.

The walk towards the cafe was wonderful. I continued to joke with our guests that they weren’t getting the real Denmark experience. The sun was shining and the winds were light. The shopping and food district seemed to all be situated along the Aarhus canal. Lots of shops but it was aesthetically pleasing.

After eating a not very Danish but delicious meal, we headed back to school to experience Halloween in Denmark.

Halloween in Denmark is much different than Halloween in the states with some similarities. First, I need to point out that we are part of an international community. We were able to experience more Halloween spirit than most Danish communities. Many Danes don’t celebrate Halloween. I have noticed some Halloween decorations in a few stores though. People have informed me that Halloween is beginning to make it’s way into Danish culture.

Halloween in Denmark for us consisted of Trunk or Treat first. There were only a few cars and most were out of candy when we arrived. Next, we started hunting down houses handing out candy. It definitely wasn’t as simple as the states. We couldn’t just pick the houses with porch lights on. We had a map of houses that would be handing out candy which was very helpful.

But the international community sure does get into the Halloween spirit! We saw a big costume party, adults dressed up with their kids, a haunted garage, evil clowns and lots of pumpkins!

The sun was setting fast and since we had to walk longer stretches, Avery was tired fast. After just five houses, she was done. I bribed her with a piece of Halloween candy to hit a couple more but it was getting colder and she was falling asleep. So although we didn’t get quite the candy load we likely could have gotten in the states, the girls (and guests) still got to experience Halloween. It was a successful night (and I got a Reeses-SCORE!).

The day after Halloween, the girls went to the dentist. Not to turn in their candy but for an actual appointment.

If you recall in a previous post, I said the medical system was very different than the USA. At the dentist, however, it felt very similar. The checkups were thorough and x-rays were taken. The main difference was that the dentist (tandlæge) did the appointment the whole time. The girls are also covered under the healthcare in Denmark, adults are not.

They both did very well and received toys for their good behavior.

We then took our guests to Ribe. We tried to get into the church but there was a funeral planned so we had to just skip over to the Viking museum (see previous post for details).

After a short day in Ribe, we said goodbye to our guests. The girls were very sad to see them go and there were tears before and after they left. We’re excited for our next visitors in December (grandma and grandpa!!!).

The weekend came to an end after a fun party for Avery’s class. There are no birthdays in Avery’s class until January so a class party was decided on so the families could get to know each other a little more. We had an excellent time full of food, glow sticks, a bonfire and laughter. It was so nice to talk to the parents I see almost every morning at drop off and get to know them a little more.

So needless to say after baking for the party, Halloween and UN day, I needed a break from the kitchen. Sunday was spent recuperating. I’m on week three of a nasty cold so I’m ready to get back into my normal routine of less baking.

The Christmas season has also officially started here. Obviously there is no Thanksgiving, so I’m already starting to put up Christmas decorations (very slowly). Maybe some Christmas cheer can kick this cold…