Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Move it with Movitz!

I am loving this band, Movitz, a wonderful mix of hip hop, swing and Swedish.  You gotta hear it to believe it.  So, what's up?  I hope that everyone is well and enjoying this gorgeous month.  We've gone hiking, apple picking and jumped in leaves - among all the usual junk including working, making dinner, packing lunches and picking kids up only to drop them off on the other side of town a half hour later.  We love our two chillin's so much, but they are work.

Two books that I picked up recently to remind me not to lose my cool include: Listen (5 simple tools to meet your everyday parenting challenges) by Patty Wipfler and Tosha Schore, and Simplify your Life with Kids (100 Ways to Make Family Life Easier and More Fun) by Elaine St. James.  Listen is a lovely book that emphasises enjoying your child, playing with them and listening to them better by for example,"staylistening", which encourages children to express their feelings and get back in touch with you and themselves. (This is suprisingly effective with my teenager I've noticed,)  And Simpify gives some good practical advice like "plan a carpool" to help make life easier or "teach kids to put dishes in the dishwasher".  So obvious but somehow I sort of haven't done either of these!

No One is Alone (with Bernadette Peters by Stephen Sondheim from "Into the Woods") is a wonderful song to end this sort of bittersweet lament about children and how to best help them. Parenting is the most important job and one that we sometimes have the hardest time doing well. Remembering that there are good books out there, people to talk to, teachers to help, and family to guide you can help. You are not alone. And of course, living in Sweden wouldn't hurt to make it easier. ;-) Read more about that here.

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Bob Dylan won the Nobel Prize!

Hej, the Nobel Prizes were announced and for the first time a musician was given the Nobel Prize for literature.  He was lauded for his use of verse and the depth of his poetry which brought to mind Homer and Sappho (?) according to the Swedish press.  Well, I guess that could be true, but I can't understand his diction well enough to know what he is actually singing!  I am a philistine perhaps, but I don't get it when there are soooo many amazing authors.  Here's some more information to read:

Personally I really enjoyed the book The Sellout by Paul Beatty.  Talk about synchronicity with the current election!  Race issues are brought to the fore in a way that is very uncomfortable but extremely interesting for the reader.  My bookclub had an insightful discussion about this book so I feel confident in saying that if you don't mind a lot of swearing, some weird sexual stuff and lots of strange, racist stuff that makes you laugh then you will like this book a lot. Here's a brief snip of what Amazon had to say about this groundbreaking novel --
A biting satire about a young man's isolated upbringing and the race trial that sends him to the Supreme Court, Paul Beatty's The Sellout showcases a comic genius at the top of his game. It challenges the sacred tenets of the United States Constitution, urban life, the civil rights movement, the father-son relationship, and the holy grail of racial equality―the black Chinese restaurant.

Monday, October 10, 2016

Parenting in a crazy world

Parenting is hard.  Let's agree on that.  This is something I happened to listen to and here are some nuggets that I gleaned that may help:

  • Never try to enchance who you are, that should happen within you. 
  • Your child should not be like you.  They are not like you.  
  • Make parenting a joyful process he says.  (OK, that's true, and I need to stop telling my kids what to do.  But there's also restrictions and the pervasive advice from society and all the other people out there who tell you what to do.)

Today I told my highschool aged son to stick with Student Council because it looked good on a college application.  He thinks it's boring, but I felt like he should do it because he could help shape the school.  The swami says to look at myself instead of my child and that the children exagerate what we are doing.  I guess maybe I should do more for his school too.  The swami says I should worry more about how to make myself likeable. The swami says that creating the necessary ambience is a large part of parenting which includes joy, love, care and discipline.  So, am I good enough?

Love, meditiveness, and openess are what he preaches.  I am not one who normally listens to these you-tube things but this practice is something that I can agree with.  I do love my kids and I do try to show them that.  I guess we just need to do our best as parents.  Here is another podcase on how to live happily.  It's good to mull over... wishing you a happy week!

Sunday, October 2, 2016


For those of you who've read my blog before you may already know that we moved into Casa Lagom about two years ago to the day.  It's been an eventful two years, full of parties, laughter, yelling, laundry, cats, and other stuff that keep a four person family moving and grooving.  Mainly the goal has been find the "lagom" - just right in other words - both for me, HH and the kids.  To me that means trying to create the space to have fun but also to relax; as well as the ability to leave the nest and then come home to a clean and well organized space.  Easier said than done right? ;-)

Of course, that damn B word gets in the way all the time, the Budget (basically nill), and a major bummer when it comes to home repair and purchases.  But I persist in trying to get the right balance of old and new, Scandinavian cottage and New England style, and to take my time while creating our home.  Here are some of the blogs that I like to check out for inspiration.  Most are in Swedish, but the photos are gorgeous.  Hope you like them, and this cute picture from Sköna Hem of a young apple picker. (in English)

Thursday, September 29, 2016

Happy National Coffee Day

Who knew? Dunkins is celebrating by selling medium hots for 66 cents.  I'm down with that. (Did you know that Swedes drink more coffee per capita than any other country in the world?!) I do my best to help out the stats from afar. ;) Here's me drinking my kaffe in my old Volvo. It has a cup holder. It only took us a year to figure that out. Ha, ha!  I'm actually serious, it was hidden in the wheel well. So, drinking coffee = Swedish. Drinking coffee in my car = not so much.  I've joined the ranks of soccer moms everywhere and so be it.  At least I'll stay awake at the wheel 😁

Friday, September 23, 2016

Swedish summer houses

Hej everyone!  The weekend is fast approaching (not fast enough if you ask me) and I'm dreaming of summer houses.  (I do that every once in a while.)  The houses I pine for and pin are ones that are in the Swedish countryside and usually involve a lake view or a forest nearby.  I don't know why I do considering we already live near the ocean in a lovely forested area.  Escapism I guess.  To better explain the Swedes love of summer homes, here is is what they write on

The simple life

Anna and PG Wiklund, a teacher and doctor living in Umeå in the north of Sweden, have their own reasons for coming back, year after year, to their summer house in the Hälsingland region of Sweden.
‘It helps you to escape the daily obligations you have back home’, says Anna, whose grandfather bought the lakeside plot of land in 1942 and built the house that she and PG still use today. ‘And because you spend such a long time here, you feel that you live here. If you travel abroad for two weeks, there are so many things to experience and do; it’s not necessarily that relaxing. Most people have some sort of relationship to their summer house environment, through grandparents or through their childhood, so they can completely relax there.’

Ahhh, relaxation!  Sounds good doesn't it?  ;) My grandparents had two summer homes, one in the woods and on the beach. They were both simple homes but it allowed them to escape the town every weekend and just unwind.  No one really should have to clean a summer home!  At least just do the minimum.  I guess it's that simplicity life that I long for sometimes because as much as I love my house it is an obligation and we need to keep it up, and keep it nice. Sometimes I'd like to have an apartment and a summer house that I could just lounge around iny jammies like my Mormor!  :-)

Sunday, September 11, 2016

beach art

Process is one of those arty words I don't like to use a lot but it does describe what went into this beachy art.  I was challenged to create something inspired by El Galeon, a 17th century frigate.
First I worked up a painting, but the lines, lines, lines got me all dizzy.  See my painting and the original photo above?

Then I decided, why not just paint on the rocks instead?  I love rocks and we were at the shore so it seemed to make sense.
Here are some of the finished rocks on the deck.

Our view!  Talk about inspiring.  Can you tell a Swede is "in da house". ;-)
I decided that the rocks shouldn't live on the porch but rather on the beach which is where you would have found El Galeon at one point.  So down the path...
... to the beach I went.  The wrack line to be specific.  I took lots of shots.
This is the photo I chose to print on canvas and give to the auction.  It's to benefit our local maritime museum.  I hope whomever bids on it likes it.