Monday, 11 January 2021

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Homemade Blinis


Ingredients:

1. 100g buckwheat flour

2. 100g flour

3. 2 eggs

4. 300 ml fresh milk

5. 20 g yeast or 1 tsp baking powder

6. 1 tsp salt

7. 1 tsp sugar (optional)

8. 1 TBS cooking oil or butter for frying

Directions:

1. Warm milk to lukewarm and add to a mixing bowl.

2. Add yeast or baking powder, sugar and salt.

3. Crack eggs to separate egg yolks from egg whites.

4. Add egg yolks into the mixer and combine well.

5. Add buckwheat powder and flour into the mixing bowl and mix well.

6. Whisk egg white on a separate bowl until stiff and gently add it to the mixture.

7. If you use yeast instead of baking powder, let the mixture rest for 30 minutes.

8. Heat pan to medium-high heat (np. 7.5 on my stove).

9. Use a tablespoon to scope the mixture and drop into the pan, making it as round as possible. Do so until the pan is full, but leave 1 cm between each blinis.

10. When the side downwards is golden, flip over and fry the other side until golden. You are ready to use your blinis with creme frais, a bit of chopped onions, a bit of dild and some fish egg or smoke salmon.

Additional Information:

I made this as appetizer for Daddy FECS' birthday. Daddy FECS liked it a lot. It is actually very easy to make blinis yourself.

References:

https://www.dr.dk/mad/opskrift/russiske-blinis-med-laks-eller-kaviar

https://www.valdemarsro.dk/blinis-med-stenbiderrogn/












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Encouragement for Your Marriage: Don't Expect Prince Charming or Cinderella


Prince Charming or Cinderella isn't real

Hold and treat your spouse in the highest regard as your Prince Charming or Cinderella with your words and actions, as this is the most affirmative recognition of your spouse as the special person in your life and contributing to the creation of oneness which is the ultimate aspired goal and purpose of marriage. At the heart of every human being, we all want to be deeply cherished by our spouse as her Prince Charming or his Cinderella. Cherish your spouse in the same way you wished to be cherished.

But give him/her grace to fail daily and not expect your spouse to be Prince Charming or Cinderella. Our spouses can love us well, but they will never be like the fictional Prince Charming or Cinderella, completing each other perfectly. Prince Charming or Cinderella isn't real, so your spouse will never be them. 

When we expect Prince Charming or Cinderella, the unrealistic expectations we place on our spouse will only end badly for all involved. Expect to be loved well, but by someone who is human and will most likely mess up time and time again. Move forward in love and forgiveness together. 

Don't expect your spouse to complete you. Our spouses will never complete us. That role can only be fulfilled by Jesus Christ. (John 6:35, Psalm 16:11)

"Then Jesus declared, “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never go hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty." - John 6:35

"耶稣对他们说:“我就是生命的粮。到我这里来的人,绝不饥饿;信我的人,永不干渴。"約翰福音 6:35

"You make known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand." - Psalm 16:11

"你必将生命的道路指示我,在你面前有满足的喜乐,在你右手中有永远的福乐。"詩篇 16:11 

References:

https://www.familylife.com/articles/topics/marriage/staying-married/wives/15-ways-to-be-a-better-wife/




Wednesday, 6 January 2021

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Encouragement for Your Marriage: Don't be afraid to be the one who loves the most

 

"Don't be afraid to be the one who loves the most." *


* Advice from a woman in Georgia who has been married for over 60 years.

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LOVE (Part 1)

 


What is love?

Love is not an emotion. Love is an action that grows out of our attitude and thoughts. Love is a way of thinking and behaving. Emotion is the result of loving actions. 

Love is willing self-sacrifice for the good of the other that doesn't demand reciprocation i.e. love is doing something good for your spouse without expecting any returns. Manipulation is doing something good for your spouse expecting something in return.

There is no such thing as love without sacrifice because we will have to step out of our wants, our needs, our plans and our agenda. Love is always costly.

Love does its most beautiful work when the other person doesn't deserve it. We are all married to an imperfect human being in a fallen world. Our spouse and children are going to have bad days. Our spouse and children are inevitably going to say or do things that will hurt us. That's when love rises and lives out all of its beauty.

If we choose to love our spouse only when he/she deserves it, then none of us will ever express true love.

The good news is that love can be learned because it is not an emotion. If we simply wait for warm emotions to be there, we may wait in vain. But if we choose loving actions toward our spouse, we are setting in motion the cycle which stimulates warm emotion.

let us all build a marriage that goes the distance. 

That's true love.

How do I get this love?

We love because he first loved us (1 John 4:19). In our creepiest most unlovable days, we are still deeply loved by God. What an amazing love! And oh what a privilege it is to experience God so real in our lives. And out of the overflow of God's love overflows the love we give to our spouse and our family.

Here is a podcast that will help you to live out that love:

https://www.familylife.com/podcast/familylife-today/what-is-love/

Here is the post to LOVE (Part 2):

https://www.familyfecs.com/2020/11/love.html

"我们爱,因为神先爱我们。"約翰一書 4:19 


Saturday, 19 December 2020

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Encouragement for Your Marriage: A Princess of Grace is Gentle

     

A Princess of Grace is gentle.

Gentleness is love in action.

Gentleness is love in action - being considerate, meeting the needs of others, allowing time for the other person to talk, and being willing to learn.

Gentleness comes from a state of humility. Someone who lacks gentleness is often prideful and easily angered, and harsh, and feels the need to return a tooth for a tooth.

A gentle person is someone who is calm and rational in a state of anger.

What's the difference between gentleness and kindness?

Gentleness is how one goes about action. Kindness is about what actions one takes and why.

One who is gentle strives in all they do to be harmless, to not hurt the other. To have a soft spirit. 

Everyone is guilty of sinning and making mistakes, and that gentleness and compassion will always be the best response to any situation.

A gentle person learns to reserve judgment.

"Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as braided hair and the wearing of gold jewellery and fine clothes. Rather, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God's sight. For this is the way the holy women of the past who put their hope in God used to make themselves beautiful. They were submissive to their own husbands, like Sarah, who obeyed Abraham and called him her master. You are her daughters if you do what is right and do not give way to fear." - 1 Peter 3:3-6

Being gentle and quiet in spirit really just means being obedient to God and His Word. If we are seeking the Lord above all else, our spirits will become gentler and quieter, keeping peace with everyone and we will become more and more beautiful in God's sight.

"Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruits." - Proverbs 18:21

"生 死 在 舌 头 的 权 下 , 喜 爱 他 的 , 必 吃 他 所 结 的 果 子。" - 箴 言 18:21

Dear God, in our marriage and family, help me to strive towards being a Princess of Grace, to develop a spirit of gentleness in our daily life, to be conscious of my words, to speak words that bring life and not death.



Friday, 18 December 2020

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Let's Tone Down on Christmas Presents Without Guilt

 


In general, the Chinese are stereotyped to be unromantic. Westerners are stereotyped to be romantic.
Well, this can’t play itself out any more clearly than during Christmas.

When it comes to giving gifts, the westerners give presents, and the Chinese give red packets. 
And in this area of gift-giving, I can’t be more hopelessly Chinese!!!

When I first gave “angbaos” to my 9 Danish nieces and nephews for their birthdays instead of presents, I could feel their parents' disbelief. How could she give money in a little red envelope and considered it a present? This is so weird and so unromantic!!! (I hope that my Danish side of the family isn’t reading my Facebook post!!!) Talking about culture-shock!!!

I have since changed to be, ahem, more Danish, only to discover that slowly and slowly, I am noticing that my Danish side of the family is giving more and more “angbaos” to the children during birthdays (except that their angbaos are not red, but money placed in a white envelope)!!! Somewhere along the line, they got tired and stressed to have to shop for birthday presents for 11 nieces and nephews as well!!!

I really struggle with buying presents. As Joshua gets older, it gets harder and harder to find presents for him and to enjoy the process of buying presents for him. And the ultimate is the 24-presents Christmas calendar. This year, we did away with it and introduced the 4-presents Advent calendar instead. Even that, we struggled to find exciting gifts for Joshua, ending up with giving him 3 books of the same series… (oh how boring I know)

To be fun-loving like a true Danish mommy, I ended up feeling stressed. And truth be told, I bet Danish moms can feel stressed over buying presents too!!!

And a stressed mom cannot make things fun for her kids. And a stressed mom cannot make things romantic for her marriage 😉 

Well, for example, Daddy FECS would much prefer that I come over with a cup of tea to him then saying, “Please make your own tea and cook your own dinner okay, because I am stressed out trying to buy presents for everyone.” And isn’t it romantic to be able to serve your hubby tea and dinner cheerfully? Ok, it's probably the Chinese in me that has this perspective!

My struggles with buying present actually enable me to cut Daddy FECS some slack. This Christmas, when I see all the romantic presents husbands give to their wives for Christmas posted all over Facebook, I am better able to say to Daddy FECS, “Don’t stress about not buying any exciting presents for me. I still love you the way you are.”

Now I just have to make sure that I walk my talk, that when all those Facebook posts of presents presented by husbands to their wives appear, my heart doesn’t scream with envy for those wives!!

P.S. To be fair, Daddy FECS does give exciting presents to me. For example, all the expensive machines and pieces of equipment that I asked for in the kitchen 🙂 True, the element of surprise is missing, as I already know what is in the present since I tell him exactly which model to buy. But he sometimes buys a more expensive model and newer model for me, without me asking, and without telling me.
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Tongue-in-Cheek: Traditional Danish Orange Christmas Decoration vs. Coronavirus

 


Hmmm... is it only me who sees a canny similarity between the traditional Danish orange Christmas decoration and the coronavirus?






Thursday, 17 December 2020

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Family FECS' Christmas Traditions


I have made a post on Danish Christmas tradition and some great ideas on Christmas traditions for Christians that I have found on the internet:

http://www.familyfecs.com/2014/12/keeping-christ-in-christmas.html
http://www.familyfecs.com/2014/12/danish-christmas-traditions.html

After going through them, I have picked out those that we wish to keep for our family. Those which we didn't manage to do this year are highlighted in red as a reminder for ourselves next year:

During the month of December...

1. Create an Advent Calendar with 24 days of Christmas that contains a challenge that is fun and educational and activities that teaches your child to give share and include the biblical meaning of Christmas. Here is my post on making Advent Calendar:
http://www.familyfecs.com/2014/12/making-advent-calendar.html

Danish Advent calendar - julekalendar
2. Building up the Nativity scene


3. Set up a Nativity scene without Baby Jesus in the crib to begin with.

Whenever you catch your child doing something nice or doing a chore without being asked, put a colored cotton ball on top of the crib. Whenever he creates trouble, make him take out one colored cotton balls. On the day of Christmas Eve, count how many colored cotton balls remain before placing Baby Jesus on the crib to complete the nativity scene. Your child gets to exchange the cotton balls for Christmas cookies (e.g. Danish pebernødder) to be shared with his friends.

4. Count down Christmas with books.

https://www.goodreads.com/shelf/show/christmas-books-for-children
http://simpleasthatblog.com/2013/11/family-tradition-christmas-book-countdown.html

5. Decorate our home with Christmas star flowers.


6. Decorate the window with Danish Christmas orange and clove.





7. Light the Danish calendar candle to count down the 24 days of Christmas.


8. Light the Advent candles, one for each week. We mount 4 candles at the top of our Christmas tree as our Advent candles.



9. Buy a pine cone and wait for it to open up for the pine nuts.

 

10. Go to the forest or look in your garden to find the nature's raw materials (acorn, moss, pine needles, etc.) to make Christmas decoration adorned with a calendar candle for 24 days of Christmas.


11. Make Danish Christmas wreath


12. Decorate door with Christmas wreath


13. Wear Christmas hat at home, in kindergarten and in school.

14. Participate in a Christmas play.


15. Serve Clementines. The best time to buy them when they are the sweetest is in Beginning to mid December. It cost 25 DKK per wooden crate from Netto.


16. Crack yourselves Christmas nuts (walnuts, pecans, hazelnuts... etc. unshelled)


17. Possibly house-lighting, then step out of the front yard to watch together.

18. Visit Christmas market at Tivoli.


Givings at Christmas...

We have not done so well in this area yet, which we hope to improve.

19.  Bring a less fortunate kid out to see Christmas market:

http://www.frivilligjob.jobbank.dk/job/34463/familiekurser-med/frivillige-til-familiekurser-med

20. Serve Danish Christmas salad

You can make Danish Christmas salad with red cabbage. There is a recipe here:

http://www.greenkitchenstories.com/crispy-red-cabbage-salad/

21. Bake pebernødder or gingerbread men cookies for grandparents, neighbours, etc.




22. Decorate cookies together.


23. Make Danish Christmas marzipan chocolates for grandparents, neighbours, homeless shelters, etc.

 

More pictures here:

24. Practice singing Christmas carols together and go house to house or children's home singing carols together.

25. Encourage your child to write a letter to grandparents telling them he loves them and what he wants to do in the next year.


26. Make a hamper filled with food and goodies. Place a note to the family/people you would like to give to and tell them of the things they did which you are grateful for. We made a hamper for J's teachers from his kindergarten.

27. Let your child shop for kids in his age group (3-5 gifts each) and give to the children at the children's home.

28. Make a hamper filled with food, bread, household items, etc. with a note to a welfare home, children's home or old folk's home. End the note with, "Love, from the Phantom Family"

29. Project Phantom with Christmas cookies with a card, "Love, from the Phantom Family." or "The Phantom Family strikes again!" Ring the door ring and run like wildfire. The thrill of being annoymous, plot, drama and mystery will make a great adventure. It will also teach your children the principle of anonymous service and integrating it into your family life.

During the week before Christmas...

30. Give up a meal, fast and pray during that time instead for the poor and the hungry in the world or cook a meal for the less fortunate.

31. Conducting our Weekly Family Meeting Night in candle light.

32. On the Sunday before Christmas, get up early to make pancakes, croissant with ham and cheese, hot chocolate and freshly squeezed apple/orange juice for breakfast. Then read from the story of Luke 1:30-35, 2:1-20 and Isaiah 7:14, 9: 2-7.

33. Attend the Christmas service together as a family at church.

On Christmas tree...

34. Buy a potted Christmas tree plant instead. Then plant it after Christmas in a forest or in our backyard.


35. Decorate the Christmas tree with ornaments that point to Jesus such as shepherd's staff, star, manger, etc. and explain how each item reminds us of Christ:

The lights - Jesus, the Light of the world
The tree - the Cross
The gifts - God's gift to us

We use the iron bead artworks from our Little FECS for the sheperd's staff, star, heart and the letters "J E S U S". But we are still missing the cross.



36. I got the idea here. Put a set of 24 Nativity-themed ornaments into the Advent Calendar. Each night let our Little FECS to take one out and hang on the Christmas tree. Then read the Bible that tells that part of the Christmas story. Sometimes it only takes two minutes, sometimes we add the reading of a Christmas story book that complements the scripture from that day. It is a great way to tell the story of Christmas. It is at the end of the day, and it reminds our child of what Christmas is really all about, as he goes to bed. 

On Christmas presents...

37. We open the presents earlier on Christmas eve so that the children can concentrate fully on the Christmas story from the Bible and Jesus' birthday on Christmas day.

38. Hide one of the presents, and place an envelope with a clue where to find the present under the Christmas tree instead.

39. Open present one at a time so that everyone can see what everyone got and we can all thank each other. It is much more meaningful than everyone ripping open gifts at once.

40. Tell why we give gifts too - because God gave to us and we want to love others. Explain that Jesus was the reason for Christmas. Because God sent His Son as a gift to us, we could also share gifts with others.

41. One of the gifts will be a new PJ that they will go to sleep on Christmas eve :-)

On Christmas Eve 24th...

42. Wear Christmas hats.

43. Read the birth of Christ from Luke 1:30-35, 2:6-8 and Isaiah 7:14, 9:6-7 at bed time, if you didn't manage to do so during the Christmas party.

On Christmas Day 25th...

44. In the morning, read the nativity story from the gospel of Luke 2:1-20, Isaiah 7:14, 9:6-7 and Matthew 2:1-11 from our bed. If your kids can read, have them read some of the verses too.

45. Put on Christmas carols and lit the Christmas tree in remembrance of Jesus being the light of this world.

46. Make tomato or carrot soup, bake buns, make pancakes, ham and cheese croissants, hot chocolate and freshly squeezed apple/orange juice for brunch. You can find the recipe here:

http://www.familyfecs.com/2014/12/tasty-quick-easy-carrot-soup-made-with.html


47. Place the nativity scene on the coffee table and make and record a Christmas play from the nativity story from Luke 2.



 
25 Dec. 2014 (5Y9M20D)

48. Go for a long walk in the forest or park together and take the local train back to enjoy the scenery.





49. Lit the candles on the Christmas tree, dance and sing carols 'Away in a Manger' around it. Some youtube videos to the song:

http://youtu.be/FnVorT14i4I
http://youtu.be/9v8vBmbGlis
http://youtu.be/AnwO_0DrpCk
http://youtu.be/Guq-iP5jcf0?list=RDGuq-iP5jcf0



50. Read a Christmas story book with pictures from the gospel of Luke and Isaiah and let your child "read it."

51. Talk about Jesus and the real meaning of Christmas.

52. Pray for time together and a special blessing on each one person.

53. Share stories about how God has worked in your life (that year). While the family is together during the holidays, use the time to share your personal stories about faith, redemption and life change. Also, reflect on the previous year and talk about how you have grown in your faith individually and as a family.

54. Watch a movie related to Christ and discuss the movie. We watched the movie "Jerusalem" at the Planetarium (http://planetariet.dk/oplevelser/det-sker/premiere-p%C3%A5-jerusalem). It cost 144 DKK per adult and 94 DKK per kid, and the movie tickets include entry to the museum. FDM card members get 20% off. If you watch the second movie on the same day, it is at half price of the original price.


Here are some videos on Jesus for children on youtube:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dn0iwWrkgb0
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GH46G-n8ulA
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QbtMopFS49o
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l-16Ber1iLo
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hI2z_4fnAVc
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_films_based_on_the_Bible

55. Give up your beds and sleep on pretend hay - the floor together to remember what they have endured, as Mary, Joseph and Jesus did that first Christmas. Read a story on the birth of Jesus as you hit the "hay" :-)
30 Dec 2014 - Since I only thought of this idea after Christmas, it is too late for this year, but I have started to gather our "Pretence Hay" made from shredded paper little-by-little in time for next year :-)





On Boxing Day 26th...

56. Go through the toys and pick out the same number of toys that your child received to give away.

57. Hold a Family Retreat Day.

Look back at the year past: how is your family doing? What would you like to improve? What would you like to immortalize as memory?

Review  your family mission, goal and vision, are you meeting them? Is there anything to be changed?

Look forward to the new year: are there anything you would like to include or change as part of your family tradition....? What are the challenges for the coming year? What are the opportunities? Are there anyway you can improve to help other families, or to volunteer? How can we do better than the year before, in carving out time for volunteer work?

Take out the new year calendar, and start plucking in the dates for our family traditions and activities, before the new year begins.

58. Dry up your christmas tree, go to the beach and burn it on New Year's Eve. Incoporate the burning of regrets into this or:

59. Take out the Christmas tree from the pot and plant it to signifying a new beginning and a new life.

References:

http://simpleasthatblog.com/2013/11/family-tradition-christmas-book-countdown.html

http://joytotheheart.org/2014/12/09/5-ways-to-remember-luke-2/

http://momlifetoday.com/2014/12/family-traditions-keep-kids-pure/


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