Fall for Nordic Film

If you like Nordic film—and who doesn’t—you’ll be happy to know that Nordic film season is right around the corner! The Nordic Lights Film Festival takes place in Minneapolis Nov. 19 – 24. Since 2008, the festival has brought contemporary films from Norway, Sweden, Finland, Denmark and Iceland to the Twin Cities. This year, there’s even one for the kids!

If you don’t live in Minnesota, pull out your August issue of Viking for a list of Nordic film festivals around the U.S., many of which take place in the fall and winter. For example, both Seattle and Los Angeles host festivals in January. Can’t wait that long? As a Sons of Norway member, you don’t have to. You have access to a treasure trove of Norwegian movies and other media any time by taking advantage of Sons of Norway’s Media Lending Library. For more information about the service, log in to the members’ section of sonsofnorway.com.

Amy Boxrud is editor of Viking magazine. She lives with her family in Northfield, Minn., where she’s a member of Nordmarka 1-585.

Countdown to Halloween

This time of year is so much fun!  Halloween festivities are everywhere, so we're taking advantage with a week-long celebration.  We kicked off our fun plans with a trip to the pumpkin patch on Saturday morning.  It was kind of chilly and windy, but this is Idaho and we're used to a cold end to October.  In fact, I'm pretty sure it's going to snow by Halloween.  Psh.

Pumpkin patches are so much more fun than just picking up a gourd at the grocery store.  The boys loved tromping through the rows of pumpkins, while Neil had a great time being pulled in the wagon.  Everyone had a stipulation for the type of pumpkin he wanted:  Chris likes a huge one for his annual large-mouthed jack-o-lantern (see below) and he likes to have a handle; I like short, fat, round ones; Thomas wanted the first pumpkin he saw; Gordon required a pumpkin that was "all orange, no green"; and Neil wanted a "baby".  Lucky for us, we hit the jack-o- jackpot!

You can see how windy it was by my Trump-inspired comb over!

 A pumpkin is no good for Halloween until it's carved, so our next festivity meant a lot of work for Chris, and a lot of fun for everyone else.  Chris loves carving pumpkins and readily volunteers to do all of the dirty work-- including carving the boys' hand-drawn faces.  Gordon drew three faces, while Thomas drew one face, then a bunch of other stuff.  My pumpkin isn't pictured, but Chris punched out a bunch of little holes in the pumpkin and I put white Christmas lights in them to make something that looks a bit like Cinderella's coach.  So fun!

 We started the week off just right today by making caramel apples-- yum, yum, yum.  I'm a purist when it comes to caramel, so I made my own (no Kraft here!).  The boys dipped their apples in assorted sprinkles and toffee bits and they turned out so tasty.  I think a new Halloween tradition was born.  

Happy Anniversary, Dear Blog (two weeks late)

One year my husband and I were so busy with work and children, etc. that we forgot our wedding anniversary. Please note sometimes the ‘etceras’ push you over the edge. The date just kind of slipped our harried minds.

Since we moved to the prairie, my life has moved at a slower pace…one I enjoy. This fall things are speeding up, which is good, but my multitasking skills are a little rusty. I used to juggle a full-time job at a large university, writing deadlines, and all things children-related in addition to trying to be a decent wife and a good daughter. Not worth delving into how successful I was at any of these.

Fortunately multitasking is like riding a bike...the ability comes back to you after you crash.

But it hit me tonight I missed another anniversary. It was a year ago this month that I started blogging about my sons and my fear of turning fifty, etc. Please note other times the ‘etceras’ are just fine.

The boys are good, fifty is more fabulous than frightening, and I’m still plugging away at holding on and letting go.

Happy Anniversary to me.

Havregrynsbrød Recipe Correction

The Viking team recently discovered an error in the Havregrynsbrød (oatmeal bread) recipe in our October issue. The correct amount of rolled oats should be 2¾ cups, not 2¼ cups as printed in the magazine. Here’s a corrected copy of the recipe. Apologies for any inconvenience this may have caused our readers!

4 cups skimmed milk
½ oz. dry yeast or 2 oz. fresh yeast
3 Tbsp. vegetable oil
2 Tbsp. dark cane syrup
1½ tsp. salt
2¾ cups rolled oats
2¾ cups finely milled whole-wheat flour
2¾ cups white flour (approximately)
Rolled oats for topping

Heat milk to 105 to 115 degrees F. In a mixing bowl, dissolve the yeast in warm milk and let stand 5 minutes.

Add vegetable oil, syrup and salt. Stir in rolled oats, whole-wheat flour and most of the white flour. Knead the flour until the dough is firm and pliant, but not tough. As an alternative, beat the dough for about 5 minutes with an electric mixer. Roll into a ball and return the dough to the bowl.

Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and leave to rise in a warm area for about 40 minutes. Turn out the dough on a floured surface. Divide in two. Knead in a little more flour and shape two oval loaves. Place in well-greased 1½-quart loaf pans.

Cover with a clean dishcloth and allow dough to rise again in a warm location for about 30 minutes.

Brush the surface with a little lukewarm water and sprinkle with rolled oats. Bake at 375 degrees F for about one hour, on the lowest oven rack. Cool loaves on a rack. Let oat bread stand overnight before slicing.

Photo: John Mowers/Unleashed Productions

Amy Boxrud is editor of Viking magazine. She lives with her family in Northfield, Minn., where she’s a member of Nordmarka 1-585.

Mmmm... Baking!

The older boys are at school and the youngest is fast asleep (ah! I love it when they still take naps!), so what's a girl to do?  Bake, of course!

We got Boo'd last night-- a fabulous tradition that makes me just love our neighborhood all the more.  Today, of course, it's my turn to make some treats and pass them to three unsuspecting families.  That part will wait until tonight, when I have pint-sized accomplices, but today, during my quiet time, I'm doing the baking.

You know I have a penchant for peanut butter treats, so I stuck with my favorite theme and made the Reese's Chewy Chocolate Cookies from the recipe found on the back of the peanut butter chips bag (and at the Hershey's site).  Oh yum.  It's a good thing that I'm giving most of these away today because otherwise, I'd eat the whole batch myself.  I love how they're almost Halloween-y, too, with the orange and brown.  Delicious!

Eurovision Time Capsule

Today I came across something that’s just plain fun. Concordia’s Norwegian Language Village, Skogfjorden, recently posted a retrospective summary of Norway’s participation in the Eurovision Song Contest. There’s a short history of the contest (many North Americans are unfamiliar with it but it’s a big deal in Europe, with more than 40 countries participating), a list of Norway’s representatives each year since 1960, and some great video clips of memorable performances over the years.

Alexander Rybak made history for Norway in 2009 when his winning performance received the most votes in Eurovision history. Since Norway was the winner last year, it became the host of the event this year. (You may remember reading about this in the May 2010 issue of Viking.) After all the dust settled and the beans were counted, NRK, Norway’s public broadcasting corporation, lost an estimated NOK 5 million on hosting the event. Ouch! They won’t have to worry about hosting next year’s contest, however, since Norway’s 2010 entry—Didrik Solli-Tangen singing My Heart is Yours—took 20th place.

Amy Boxrud is editor of Viking magazine. She lives with her family in Northfield, Minn., where she’s a member of Nordmarka 1-585.

New Addition to Sons of Norway Team

For those of you who may not know, there is a new face in the Fraternal Department at Sons of Norway headquarters. His name is Joe Eggers and he will be working with our members and lodges as our new Membership Coordinator.

Since Joe is quickly learning the in’s & out’s of Sons of Norway, let’s take a minute to learn more about him.

Where did you work before joining Sons of Norway?

I worked for two years with the Minnesota Public Interest Resource Group (MPIRG). During my time at MPIRG I worked closely with students at the University of Minnesota and Augsburg College to empower and teach students the skills needed to support the causes they were passionate about by utilizing grass roots campaigns, lobbying and working with the media. We also focused heavily on recruitment and retention and giving the students the skills to appeal to others with a common interest.

Where are you from originally?

I am originally from Appleton, Wisconsin. After graduating from college I moved to Minnesota.

(Writer’s note: I have to interject and say that as a fellow proud Wisconsinite I am happy to have another Fraternal department team member who likes green and gold and badger-red.)

What is your educational background?
I have a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science and International Studies from the University of Wisconsin – River Falls.

So, I have to ask…Are you Norwegian?
No, I am not Norwegian or even Scandinavian. Although, my girlfriend does work for the Danish Institute for Study Abroad so maybe we should complete the Scandinavian trifecta and see if our dog could volunteer at the American Swedish Institute.

As the newest member of the Fraternal team, what are you most looking forward to in working at Sons of Norway?

I am really looking forward to getting out and meeting the members and learning the lodge structure. I’ve never worked in a cubicle before so I really hope to be able to spend some time with lodges, attending meetings and building those relationships. During my time at MPIRG, I worked really closely with young people and was able to hone my skills to fit the challenges that were presented. Now I have the opportunity to broaden those skills and apply all that I have learned to the members at Sons of Norway.

Any hobbies?
I really enjoy traveling. I’ve had the opportunity to go to Europe 3 or 4 times and have been all over the U.S., Mexico and Canada. I also really enjoy the outdoors and like to spend hiking and camping or playing golf and tennis.

Do you have any hidden talents that will be handy at Sons of Norway?

Just this past summer I became a pretty good cook. So I am looking forward to testing out some Norwegian recipes. I also have a completely different talent in that I am very well versed in parliamentary procedure and Robert’s Rules of Order. I also have a knack for remembering factual information.

Have you ever had any experience with Norwegian food? Lefse or Lutefisk? If so, what did you think of it?
I’ve never had any experiences with Norwegian food. Growing up in North-Eastern Wisconsin I wasn’t really exposed to Norwegian culture and cuisine until I moved to Minnesota. I’ve heard that some of the headquarters staff usually makes lefse at Christmas so I am looking forward to giving it a try!

It is only your first week, but are there any things at Headquarters that you’ve learned or experienced that have surprised you?
As an International Studies major I always had an interest in history and culture but I was surprised how fascinating Norwegian history is. I’ve spent some time this week familiarizing myself with Viking magazine and catching up on a number of the older issues and stories. I’ve especially enjoyed learning more about Norway during WWII.

Any closing thoughts or things you want the members to know about you that we haven’t talked about?
Just that I am really excited to meet them and share ideas!

We at headquarters are all very excited to welcome Joe to the team and look forward to working with him. So if you wish to extend your own words of welcome to Joe or just want to say hi, just leave a comment on the blog or email Joe at jeggers@sofn.com.

Soccer Mom

That's Soccer Mom with a capitol "S".  Somehow, last Spring, when I signed Thomas and Gordon up for Fall soccer, I managed to check the wrong box in the "are you willing to be the coach?" section.  Actually, I don't think I checked the wrong box at all-- I think no one else volunteered either, so they just picked the first person to respond to their e-mail!  Whatever happened, I'm coaching a U6 team, the "Rockets", and I *mostly* enjoy it.  I'm pretty sure I would enjoy it even more if Gord could have played more than 1/4 of the very short season!

Since I have never played soccer, and don't know much beyond the rule that you can't use your hands, this has been a real learning experience for me.  Here are a few tips I've learned for the soccer mom/coach:

1.  Offense, Defense... whatever.  In U6, as long as your kids are all kicking the ball in the same direction, you have a good thing going.  You'll notice in the picture above that this isn't happening at this point in the game!  I've yelled, "The other way!  The other way!" at pretty much every game.  Ha!

2.  Don't EVER forget the water.  Despite their seemingly endless amounts of energy, five-year-olds will actually drop like flies if they aren't properly hydrated.  They will also whine the entire time.

3.  Even though you have a bag with enough balls for everyone, after a couple of practices each player will have picked "their" ball.  Trying to give the wrong ball to the wrong person is not a good idea.

 4.  Coaching your own kid is both really fun and kind of tricky.  You can't play favorites, and you also can't be harder on your child than anyone else.  The good news is that you can take your own kids out for ice cream after the game, and that pretty much ensures that you'll be their favorite coach ever.

5.  Two-year-olds are especially cute cheering on the sidelines.  This one loves to say, "GOOOOO!"

6.  No matter how hot, tired and thirsty they are after a grueling 32 minutes, a cheer for the other team, high fives and "good game", and, most importantly, treats from one of the parents will restore all of their energy and team spirit in no time!

One more game this Saturday-- and I'm going to try to get more action shots of my cute Gordon.  


Momz in the Hood

I wore the following to book group last night: faded black capri pants; awesome lime green t-shirt with an orange ‘Catstronaut’ imprinted on it, (made by Alex, one of son Erik's best friends, a sophomore at Rhode Island School of Design); sandals; and a sweater ‘purloined’ this summer from my friend Karin, columnist extraordinaire for the Charleston, WV Sunday Gazette.

Note to Karin: I will return it and the adorable peasant blouse but will keep the ‘hoochie mama’ dress you gave me, which I am too chicken to wear.

Because I couldn’t find my black zip-up hooded sweatshirt (bought specifically to wear with hideous black wide-legged sweat pants on the plane for our flight to Germany three springs ago), I grabbed (gently, Karin, I promise!) the sweater.

A combination shrug/capelet garment with ¾ length sleeves, it’s adorable, and chi-chi and, sadly, not me. My book group pals agreed with me, in the kindest possible way. A friend, nearly 20 years my junior (clad in an adorable short colorful trench coat) said it was definitely the kind of thing she’d wear. Columnist Karin, several inches taller with patrician cheekbones, would look stunning in it too. If I ever get it mailed back to her.

Karin is an expert bargain hunter and a trip several years ago to a Coldwater Creek Outlet store yielded some amazing finds for me, thanks to her. And she’s similarly gifted in her surroundings. Like my dear friend Gwen (who single-handedly transformed her backyard into something out of House Beautiful, pond included), Karin has the interior design ‘touch.’ Both women are frugal, uber creative, and talented.

Me, I once had a friend tell me my design style was ‘house mediocre’ and years ago had a colleague earnestly offer to nominate me for TLC’s What Not to Wear due to my summer teaching ‘uniform’ of capris (I think the same pair I wore last night), Tevas, and polo shirts.

Yeah, yeah, yeah…I know I have other ‘talents’…well, at least one. But just once I’d like to be able to accessorize a room or an outfit, heck, even decorate a Christmas cookie with panache!

But I can’t so I’ll just bask in the glow of having wonderful friends who can…and try to remember to return articles of clothing I filch from them.

Is T-Sand a MONSTER. In a word, yes!


T-Sand is indeed a monster of the worst kind. Clay Keys, a.k.a. T-Sand/ Roar for Truth, is a person who landed on the sex offender registry for violently raping a child. Instead of owning up to his crimes, he has decided to pretend it never happened (denial) and plays "pedo-hunter" (projection). He already displays two classic cognitive distortions just in his "about me" section on his blog.

T-Sand's behavior is worrisome because he takes pleasure in watching others suffer. Recently he mocked the suffering of a mother who may have cancer, high-fiving Doh-dia Fae and talking about how "karma is a bitch." Today he's decided to continue his obsession with me and revel in my moment of despair. T-Sand still shows a lack of empathy, which is a significant risk factor in recidivism. It is ironic coming from the same guy who was using a picture of Jessica Lunsford as an avatar back when he was attacking AZU. How did the Florida Risk Assessment Board miss this lack of empathy? And unlike me, there was actual violence involved in T-Sand's crime.

T-Sand is a lot like Mark Foley. While Foley was running on a child safety platform and signing the Adam Walsh on one hand, he was sending sexual chats to teenage pages with the other hand. With T-Sand's lack of empathy, a pattern of attacking others, and denial of his own status, he's likely offending today, and AZU is enabling his destructive behavior. They, as usual, turn a blind eye to signs of his imminent re-offense so long as he is attacking those they hate. Like we need any more reasons to celebrate AZU's demise.

Buy Less ... Knit More!

If you’re a knitter (or want to be), I hope you enjoyed September's issue of Viking. Our cover story, “Knit, Purl, Improvise,” by Denise Logeland, provides plenty of inspiration, resources and even a couple of great patterns to get your needles clicking. On page 9, you’ll find an article about the popularity of Norwegian sweater designs from Oleana. The brand got a boost recently when Michelle Obama bought four sweaters while visiting Norway.

Viking isn’t the only magazine lauding Oleana. In her article, “Wearable Art from Norway,” (which appeared originally in Nordic Reach magazine) writer Eva Stenskär highlights Oleana’s feminist philosophy, its profit-sharing practices and its refusal to outsource its labor. Stenskär quotes Oleana’s founder Signe Aarhus: “Our sweaters aren’t cheap, but we want to teach people that they need [fewer] but more beautiful clothes. It’s better to buy one beautiful item that you can wear for a long, long time than a lot of cheap stuff that you end up not wearing more than once anyway. This is in keeping with the ecological movement, too. We should all buy less.”

Yes to beautiful sweaters. Yes to buying less. And knitting more, I might add.

Amy Boxrud is editor of Viking magazine. She lives with her family in Northfield, Minn., where she’s a member of Nordmarka 1-585.

Oleana photo courtesy of Flickr user lazysaturday.

Dodia Fae and T-Sand = Beavis and Butthead

Maybe comparing DOH!-dia Fae and T-Sand to Beavis and Butthead is an insult to the latter duo.

Recently Dumb and Dumber have made it a point to mock Mary Duval's personal battles with a serious illness.

T-Sand: I do not care to wish evil upon this person but really, Karma is a bitch! Supporting a RSOL pro pedophile agenda is not good is it?

DOH-dia Fae: While I wouldn't wish that on my worst enemy, I have trouble feeling badly for her. I see it as Karma's kick in the ass for her. On another note, I have always had trouble believing that those pictures of Mary weren't photo-shopped to make her look... deformed... so I did a google image search. Wow. Both she and Ricky look like they're right out of "The Hills Have Eyes". Scary.

If Karma causes diseases, I wonder what is in store for members of Absolute Zero. I wonder if DOH-dia is as butt ugly as those malformed women who showed up at the Columbus rally back in 2007.

Since we are on the subject of stupidity, did anyone catch T-Sand's latest snafu? From his only Sept. 2010 entry in his snore 4 truth blog:

Once upon a time, I was a FB member. I was often searching for pedophile sex offenders. I "reported" many to FB.

Imagine that--T-Sand the sex offender ADMITTING to having a Facebook page? I wonder if the authorities have been notified.

The only question now is, between DOHdia Fae and T-Sand, which one is Beavis and which one is Butthead? T-vis and Doh-head!

Doh-head: Hey T-vis, uh-huh-huh-huh, check this out! uh-huh-huh-huh
T-Vis: heh-heh-heh. This sucks! heh-heh-heh!
Doh-head: I don't like stuff that sucks, lets watch something cool.
T-vis: Fire! Fire! heh-heh-heh
Doh-head: Let's go break something! uh-huh-huh-huh
T-Vis: yeah! Yeah! This rules! heh-heh-heh

We love the fall!

And we love having a couple of trees in the yard that give us enough leaves to jump into!

Michael Molgard obituary

Happy Birthday to two cute boys!

Happy Birthday to two of my favorite people on the planet:  my wonderful hubster, Chris, and my little stinker, Neil.  Before I forget, if you want to see a truly awesome montage of these two, be sure to check out my mother-in-law's blog here!  Such great pictures-- aren't they handsome?

Two years ago, I secretly wished that our third little boy would be born on October 4th, Chris's birthday.  I thought it would be fun to have a double celebration every year.  Instead, Neil was 90 minutes late and now has his own day, which is really even better.  Now we get back-to-back parties!  

Last night, we celebrated Chris's 34th (man, he's getting old!) with a delicious dinner followed by three kinds of pie.  And today, we had a fun birthday cake with yummy fudge frosting for 2-year-old Neil.  Such fun, and Neil has almost figured out how to sing "Happy Birthday to you!"

For the past week or so, we've been teaching Neil to answer, "I'm TWO!" when you ask, "How old are you?"  In his baby babble, he also says something that sounds like capisce (ka-peesh), so we've taught him how to say it like an Italian gangster.  "I'm two, capisce?!"  It's pretty funny.

I love these two and I love celebrating them two days in a row!  Happy Birthday boys!

September Recap!

I miss blogging.  Sure, I enjoy sharing little bits of my life with all of you (ie: Nonny), but even more than that, I miss having a regular journal to look back on.  The other day, the boys were looking at old pictures and videos on the computer.  It was so fun to hear them laugh at themselves and remember all of the fun they had on this occasion or that.  The moment reminded me why I enjoy pictures, scrapbooks, and yes, blogs, so much in the first place-- it's all about creating memories.

So, in that spirit, I'm going to try harder to keep this online journal updated more regularly.  And you, my bloggy friends, are welcome to read along.

It's October 1st-- I can't believe it!  This year is flying by way too fast!  We did have a very fun September, so I thought I'd document a few of our memorable moments tonight.

First off, the boys went back to school.  Well, Thomas went back and Gordon started for the first time.  Things are going really well in the school department.  I feel very fortunate that both Tom and Gord love to learn and that they both enjoy participating in their classes.  And look how cute they are on their first day!

Gordon was quite the celebrity on his first day of school, due in part to his charming personality, but mostly because of this...

Yep, that's right-- he broke his leg.  It actually happened a couple of weeks before school, but he wore his cast until a couple of weeks ago.  Despite the stress and anxiety, mostly felt by me, I think the whole broken leg mess may have actually taught us both a little bit of patience.   Funny how that works sometimes.

Having a broken leg was a bit of a problem for Gordon's soccer team.  I'm the coach (don't ask me how that happened, I'm still not sure!) and it has been kind of sad to have my own kid sitting on the sidelines.  Luckily, he's back in motion and has been okayed to play in his last two games.  Hopefully we'll get some good pictures to share!

Tom is playing soccer, too, and is on the "Meteors" team with one of his best friends, Nathaniel.  These two are a couple of peas in a pod and they have a great time together.  Neither is very aggressive when it comes to soccer, however, so we've resorted to bribing them for just kicking the ball.  No goals have been scored yet (that would equal a giant king-sized candy bar!), but at least they're both trying.  And most importantly, they're both having fun and being great sports!

As for me, I've been keeping busy with a few active outings of my own.  A couple of weeks ago, some friends and I hiked Table Mountain, a pretty grueling, not-recommended-for-children hike on the West side of the Tetons.  It was tough, and long (more than 12 miles total), but man, it was gorgeous.  I'm talking about take-your-breath-away beautiful!  

I did this hike once before-- I think I was 17-- so I  *kind of* remembered how difficult it is.  Even though I had seen it before, though, the view from the top of Table Rock was just as glorious and awe-inspiring as ever.  I am sure that I don't want to wait another 13 years to do it again-- in fact, these ladies are already talking about next year.  

Some of the same group also teamed up for Idaho Falls' 4th Annual Run for the Cure.  It was a 5K and my goal was to run (er... jog....) the whole time.  And yay-- I met my goal!  I felt pretty good, too, and I think I may have gotten a decent time.  I would post it, but the race organizers still haven't posted the results.  LAME.  It doesn't really matter, since my goal had nothing to do with time, but still.

That's about all I had time for this time-- it feels good to get a little bit caught up!