I was gifted tomato plants

So a week ago, I was out weeding my flower beds in the front of the house, and as I went to get a bag for the weeds in the garage, I ran into one of our neighbours. She was kind enough to offer me a couple of tomato plants, and of course I accepted. It only took a couple of minutes to go inside and get two plants for me, ant they are currently growing in my windowsill, waiting to be big enough to be re-potted.

Two green tomato plants in front of a window.
21 April 2024
Photo: Mittens and Sunglasses © 2024

The tomato plants are of the type Tiny Tim, a sort of cocktail tomatoes. The plants normally doesn’t get more than maybe half a meter high. I must admit I first thought about having them outside in the garden, but after reading about them, I think they’ll be better off on the balcony.

This year I’m very behind on growing anything, so I’m hoping maybe next year, I’ll be able to sow more stuff. I really need to read and learn more about it. This year I need to focus on what’s already there, though, as well as renovating the room I’m making into a library…

Spring flowers in my flower bed

The day before the first snow arrived in late October last year, I planted some bulbs that I had actually bought on sale. I didn’t really pay much attention to what types they were (it was a mix), and I didn’t really know how well it would work, knowing I had bought them on sale, and planing them so late. To my delight, in early March I could see the first flowers peek up.

A few green plants coming up from the dirt.
6 March 2024
Photo: Mittens and Sunglasses © 2024

It was the tulips and crocus that first seemed to grow, and I can’t deny I was excited.

A few green plants in a flowerbed, bu no blooms.
13 March 2024
Photo: Mittens and Sunglasses © 2024

Before long, I could see even more leaves growing in my flower bed, and I loved the purple crocuses!

Flowerbed with some crocuses, as well as the leaves of tulips and other plants.
29 March 2024
Photo: Mittens and Sunglasses © 2024

Unfortunately, we had a new snowfall on 4 and 5 April, and that was something the crocuses didn’t quite like. They looked a bit sad when I got home after spending the following weekend in Oslo. Also, some deer had decided that my tulips were so delicious, so they had munched on them. To be fair, though, they don’t know any better, and I don’t mind it that much. Deer are cute, and now I know there’s not really any point in planting tulips.

A week after the snowfall other flowers decided to bloom, and there were some cute daffodils and some wood squills.

A flower bed with miscellaneous bulb flowers, some blooming.
12 April 2024
Photo: Mittens and Sunglasses © 2024

As we moved into this house in August 2023, I don’t really know what will pop up in my flowerbed. I am excited to see what I have, and to plant some new bulbs come autumn.

Reading Vlog for Mid Month Book Bash, January 2024

For the fist Mid Month Book Bash of 2024, I read the book Skogen : om trær folk og 25 000 andre arter, by Anne Sverdrup-Thygeson. The Mid Month Book Bash (MMBB for short) takes place Friday to Monday the second weekend of the month, and was started by Doris from all D books on YouTube. The purpose for MMBB is to get the reading going, end even though I don’t feel like I really need it, it’s fun to take part. Here’s my MMBB vlog for January 2024:

I’m going to India!

People who know me know that I have been dreaming of going to India for a very long time. For years, I’ve been saving money for a trip. Originally the plan was to arrange everything myself, and travel by myself, but as things are now, I don’t feel safe enough to do so. While I still will be travelling without anyone I know, I will be travelling with others – on an arrange trip by Vilja Reiser, a travel agency that do organised tours for women.

We’ll be leaving Norway 17 October 2024, and arrive in New Delhi the next day. The plan is to rest before lunch, and then head to see India Gate, the parliament building, and Rashtrapati Bhawan. On the 19th we head to Jaipur, and then on the 21st we are to visit the Ranthambore national park. We head to Agra on the 23rd, one of the most visited cities in India, and home to Taj Mahal and Agra Fort. Taj Mahal is our stop the next morning, and I’m really looking forward to seeing it! On 25 October we will be in Varanasi, where we will attend a Ganga Aarti ceremony by the river Ganges at night. In the morning the next day there will be a boat trip on the river to watch the sunrise. Then on the 27th we head back to Norway.

I have taken three weeks off work for this trip, so that I have time to prepare, as well as get over the jet lag. Needless to say, I’m very excited to go!

Have you ever been to India? When did you go, and what did you see?

Photo of Taj Mahal, with a row of trees and a pool in front.

Taj Mahal
Image by يسرا توكل from Pixabay

Three LGBTQIAP+ middle grade books I love (November 2023)

First of all: Representation matters. I think it’s very important for kids to read books where they can see themselves, no matter what age. I’m really happy there are now more middle grade books with more diversity around, and I’ll hopefully get around to read more at some point. That being said, in this blog post I will recommend three English language middlegrade books with LGBTQIAP+ representation. (There definitivle exist some Norwegian ones, but there could have been more).

Too Bright to See, by Kyle Lukoff

This books tells the story of Bug, a kid who lives in a haunted house, and tries to understand a message a ghost is trying to send. Even though it may sound a bit scary, it wasn’t scary at all, but really cute. I don’t really want to give too much away, as it could spoil the reading experience.

Alice Austen Lived Here, by Alex Gino

We meet Sam, who is very in touch with their own queer identity. They’re nonbinary, and their best friend, TJ, is nonbinary too. Sam’s family accepts them for who they are, they still need to do chores, do their homework, and try not to antagonize their teachers too much. Showing the teacher respect can be hard, especially when it comes to their hostory teacher. Their teacher seems to believe that only Dead Straight Cis White Men are responsible for history. So when Sam’s home borough of Staten Island opens up a contest for a new statue, Sam finds the perfect non-DSCWM subject: photographer Alice Austen, whose house has been turned into a museum, and who lived with a female partner for decades. It doesn’t take long before the project becomes more than just winning the contest. Sam discovers a rich queer history, one that they’re a part of: A queer history that no longer needs to be quiet, as long as there are kids like Sam and TJ to stand up for it.

This is truly a feel good read, with lots of diversity.

The Witch Boy, by Molly Knox Ostertag

Aster is 13 years old, and in his family, all the girls are raised to be witches, while boys grow up to be shapeshifters. If you dare to cross that line, you will be exiled. Unfortunately for Aster, he still hasn’t shifted. To top that off, he’s really fascinated by witchery. When something is threatening Aster’s family, he knows he can help – by using witchcraft. By the help by a new, and very non-magical friend, he is encouraged to practise his skills, and must find the courage to save his family.

This is a a sweet graphic novel, and the first in a series. I still haven’t gotten around to read more that the first.

A layout with three pictures. The picture in the middle show some rainbow flags on a table, the photo to the left an e-reader, a lit candle, and a cup of coffee, and the picture to the right a book, and parts of a doughnut.
Photo: Mittens and Sunglasses © 2023

Cook Book Review: Crock Pot Essentials 101 Recipes to Make with Your Slow Cooker, written by Anne Schaeffer

I had just bought a CrockPot Express second hand, and I was browsing through Netgalley’s offers on “read it now” cookbooks for slow cookers. It didn’t take long before I found the book Crock Pot Essentials 101 Recipes to Make with Your Slow Cooker, by Anne Schaeffer, and decided to give it a go. This is clearly not a vegan cookbook, but I thought that there might be recipes I could “veganise”. As I’ve mentioned before, I mainly use cookbooks for inspiration, and I thought that I could at least learn something about how to use my new device.

A tablet laying flat on top of a shawl, showing a tablet with the cover of the cookbook.
Photo: Mittens and Sunglasses © 2023

The beginning of the book started with how to calculate measurements. Fair enough, but not something I care too much about on a day to day basis. There were also a couple of pages on food safety, but after skimming through, I quickly saw it mainly concerned meat (yet another reason for eating plants?).

The book is really quite organised. It has sections for different recipes. It even has one for “meals for two”, which I thought was quite neat. The first section of the book is the section for soups and stews, which I think is a good choice. The slow cooker is perfect for these kinds of recipes! Also, in-between the main recipes there are recipes called “Delicious Due”, that contains recipes with side dishes or similar that goes well with the main dish.

There are a few recipes that are marked “vegetarian”, but I found at least one recipe that was marked incorrectly: It was a chicken soup recipe. I think this must have been a glitch, though, and I hope that this is corrected in the final version of the book. There was also supposed to be an index at the end of the book, but that seems not to have been included in this ARC.

A picture illustrating a chicken soup recipe being labelled as "vegetarian".
Classic Chicken Noodle Soup being marked as “vegetarian”.

I found quite a few recipes I think can be easily veganised, or that inspire me to make something vegan that similar. This book worked well, even for me who have never used a slow cooker before in my life.

Cook Book Review: Vegan Vietnamese – Vibrant Plant-Based Recipes to Enjoy Every Day, written by Helen Le

The cover of a cookbook. I can’t deny it: I’m a sucker for vegan Vietnamese food. Actually, one of my favourite take-away restaurants is Eat Happy Vegan here in Oslo, Norway. When Netgalley offered the cookbook Vegan Vietnamese – Vibrant Plant-Based Recipes to Enjoy Every Day, written by Helen Le, to review, I was not hard to ask. I had no knowledge of Helen Le before seeing the book on Netgalley, and had no knowledge of who she was or what she did.

I quickly learned that Helen Le is the creator of a popular Vietnamese cooking channel on YouTube called Helen’s Recipes. So before even looking at the recipes I wanted to check out her channel. It turned out that her channel is not at all vegan, and she’s not a vegan herself. This normally turns me a bit sceptical towards someone’s cookbook, but I decided to check it out with an open mind.

I use cookbooks mainly for inspiration, and hardly ever follow recipes. Though the book was nice enough looking, I never felt like any of the recipes pushed me to cook anything. I kept thinking “I should probably find a recipe and make something like it”, but I never did. Also, in my opinion, it was quite clear that it was made by a meat eater. It had lots of potential, but for me it didn’t make the right fit. I’m sure others, especially meat eaters looking into cutting down on their meat, will find it helpful. It for sure has it’s audience, I’m unfortunately not among them.