The Gift of Time
Heidi Håvan Grosch
What do you want for Christmas this year? Instead of asking for something that you must buy, why not make memories instead?
Music is one way to make memories and the famous Norwegian Christmas song “Musevisa” is a great place to start.
In 1946, Alf Prøysen was asked to write a Christmas song for the NRK (Norwegian Broadcasting Corporation) children’s radio show, Barnetimen (the Children’s Hour). After he wrote “Musevisa,” a song about a family of mice preparing for Christmas, Alf Prøysen became very famous and wrote many more songs and stories.
You can watch a little cartoon and hear Alf Prøysen singing on this YouTube video: www.youtube.com/watch?v=VxIwbbr2ymI&spfreload=10
Here are some ideas on what you can do with the song “Musevisa.”
Make mice to eat! Stiff meringue
4 egg whites
125 g sugar
100 g powdered sugar
1 ½ tbsps potato flour
Beat the egg whites until stiff. Add the sugar a little at a time. Mix the powdered sugar and the potato flour together. Add to the egg/sugar mixture by hand (use a spatula).
Put parchment paper on a few cookie sheets. Warm up your oven to 100 C (~210 F).
Put the meringue mixture into a pastry bag. Make small mouse shapes (fatter at one end than the other). If you need to make the bigger end flatter, you can do that with the flat edge of a knife.
Use silver candy balls (used for decorating cupcakes) for the eyes, flat almond slivers for the ears, and a silver candy ball (or another type of cupcake decoration candy) for the nose. You could also use dried cranberries, currents, or pieces of a raisin. Use your imagination, but remember not to use anything that melts easily.
Bake for two hours or until stiff and a very light golden color. This is something you have to check. If you have a warm air oven (if you have one, you know what I mean), you can bake the mice for about 45 minutes. The point is to have a low temperature over a longer period of time so the mice “dry out.”
When they are cool, use a piece of black licorice or a squirt of black frosting (you can buy that ready made at many U.S. grocery stores) for the tail.
Make a cartoon movie with your drawings
1. Read the words to the song to the song in Norwegian, English, or both.
2. Draw pictures to go with each part of the song.
3. Make a stop motion (or stop frame) animation with your own drawings. You can download a free program onto an iPad (look for stop motion animation in the App Store to find apps). I use a program called iMotion, but it costs a bit. There is also one called Stop Motion—Animation Maker Pro (free) that I have used, but there are many more so just experiment!
4. Move your drawings a tiny bit at a time, taking a picture each time. When you are done, the program will put all the images together. You can then play the Alf Prøysen song and watch your own animated movie!
Act out the story
You can find mice masks if you Google “mice masks to print.” Here are a few places I found free masks to make out of paper:
This article is a part of Barneblad, a monthly feature by Heidi Håvan Grosch to share with kids and grandkids.
This article originally appeared in the Nov. 21, 2014, issue of the Norwegian American Weekly.