Showing posts from 2012

Inspirational Winter Shots

It's snowing here, just lightly, but it makes me dream of skiing and winter wonderlands.  Scrolling around the web I found that Swedish designer and blogger Lisbeth of the blog "wabi sabi" provided just the right photo montage for my reveries.  Kind of ties into my last tree post doesn't it?  Enjoy! Pinterest via

A tree is more than a tree

A tree is more than a tree, an interesting article in DN (Dagens Nyheter) today.  See A tree is more than a tree article in Swedish.  I agree.  I love big, gnarled trees.  Interesting trees that have stood the test of time.  Trees that allow for wildlife to flourish, like birds, among their branches and squirrels or other animals in their hidden crevices.  I paint trees often.  This is one of my favorites in Ljunghusen.  It was an old pine on the way to the beach.  I hope to go visit it next summer.  I love to look at the old maple outside our kitchen window too but it's slowly dying.  The tree expert says it's hundreds of years old.  I like to think about the changes it has seen, and I will miss it once its days are over.  The article says that trees remind us of our place on earth. It's about finding our place on earth and the connection between the past and the future.  The thought is a little dizzyning says Charlotte Hagström.  So true.  Hope "my" tree is st…

Hej tomtegubbe

God Jul!  We have had such a nice Christmas, hope you did too.  I made an abbreviated version of a Swedish smörgåsbord which proved to be a hit with our American guests.  We had ham, homemade meatballs, a nice Gouda, breads, salad with red cabbage, mandarin oranges and almonds, janssons frestelse (a potato dish with anchovis and cream), and two kinds of herring.  They even liked the herring!  We sang a couple of songs and enjoyed each others company (plus a nice Malbec) before heading to chuch and more festivities at friends.  The only thing I wasn't satisfied with was the bread so I ferreted out a Swedish sourdough recipe that looks delicious for next time.  Take a look, bread recipe  The next day more good food thanks to my hubby who made crepes with all sorts of filling.  Mums filibaba (Swedish for yummy!).  Thanks H.  (A full smörgäsbord below.  We didn't go this nuts!)

The Hobbit

Sorry for the delay in blogland.  I was rushing around for last Saturday's Christmas market, and then I was rushing around after the market doing all the other things I hadn't gotten around to!!  Last night I baked about 8 dozen hermit cookies, cleaned and packed presents.  Next it's time to finish the cards, make Christmas Eve dinner, and complete shopping.  Then H (handsome, helpful hubby) and I are treating ourselves to a movie.  It was going to be the Hobbit, but now after I read this Hobbit hearsay I may have to resist.  Kidding!  Nothing is stopping us from seeing this movie, not even some Swedish aristocratic-wannabe!  I love this photo is from  


A crazy, busy weekend spent at SWEA's very nicely done Swedish Jul (Christmas) 2012 market... lots to learn and digest. Our children did a wonderful job singing the traditional Santa Lucia songs.  My mother's heart is full of pride and thankfulness for these two wonderful little beings who grace our lives.  So sad about Newtown, CT tragedy - I can't even process it.  I really can't.  Maybe listening to the traditional Saint Lucia carol sung beautifully by these young Swedes will help.

Heja Sverige!

Me at the Swedish presentation (right by the bar of course). Hope you all had a nice weekend and happy 12/12/12!


My presentation went well.  The cable worked.  The computer worked.  The people came.  I was ready in time.  Everything went swimmingly and all my worst nightmares did not come true (again).  Breath deeply!  I was happy to present our year in Sweden and show family snapshots, display my items, and invite everyone to a cup of glögg.  Pictures to follow.  Thanks to those of you who came!  Today it's off to Swedish school where the kids are learning about Raoul Wallenberg who save tens of thousands of Jews during the holocaust during World War II.  If you don't already know about this Swede's great bravery please read here: facts about Raoul Wallenberg.

Flitiga Tina gets ready for Dec 10

There's an expression in Swedish that someone is "flitiga Lisa" (busy beaver I guess is the closest we come to it in America, although I appreciate other suggestions.)    Well I think it should be changed to "flitiga Tina", at least for a limited time to expire end of this month!  I am busy getting ready for the market on 12/15 as well as a presentation on our year abroad this Monday night for friends.  Am I silly to be nervous?  Probably, but nevertheless I am.  The good thing is I know more about my topic - Sweden - than most people here but it's the technology aspect of it all that's making it hard to sleep at night.  (As you may have gathered technology is not my forte.)

Well to put it in perspective I should remember that December 10th is not only a big night for me, but also for all the Nobel prize recipients!  Talk about nervous ... giving a speech in front of 1,500 in the Blue Hall which will be televised across the world is perhaps a wee bit mo…

Who wants to be a reality star?

You too can be a star!  Are you an American of Swedish descent?  Then you too can be on tv for all to gape at in awe as you cry, emote and struggle to learn more your Swedish forefathers and mothers in the old country.  This show is a hoot, we watched it last year when we lived there, and I guess the prize is pretty good.  It must be.  Checkit out:

Christmas Market #2

Feeling sloppily sentimental today - not only has my precious daughter turned 8 today (!) but
I am also reminiscing about last year in Sweden (when we lived there for one year).  I love celebrating the holidays there including visiting XMas markets such as Tivoli in Copenhagen. Check out this link for more ideas:

Tivoli truly gives you that shivery, special Christmas feeling - it feels more like a celebration of magical times than amusement park.  Next year, Stuttgart Germany's Christmas market perhaps?  One can always dream...

Time to turn on the lights!

Sweden is an extra special place in which to celebrate the holiday season -- the traditions, songs, decorations, Christmas markets and tomte make it a great place to enjoy Christmas.  Also the lights are incredibly important.  As you may know December 13th is Santa Lucia, the festival of the lights, is the day young people throughout this long country bring in the lights with song and "Lusse bullar" (special buns scented with saffron).  But there's a downside to being so far north of course, check out this article published by The Local which explains how Umeå, one of Sweden's most northern cities, plans to combat the depression from lack of light with it's special bus stations light.  A shot of vitamin D in this cold, dark place - what a great idea!  But to check out the benefits of living in the cold, dark north look at the gorgeous aurora borealis here: Who turned on the lights?
BTW, if you'd like to check out a Swedish market and you live in or around Bos…


We just said goodbye to our favorite Vikings who are now safely home in Sweden after celebrating Thanksgiving with us.  We all had a great time, here enjoying a walk on the chilly beach.  It makes me cold to even look at this shot, so I've included pictures below of a wonderful warm day visiting the Viking Village in Höllviken, Sweden called "Foteviken".  The kids and I were there last summer for a Viking market and re-enactment of a major battle that took place at the site.  Hope you enjoy them.  See for more information (link to reinactments below) and maybe you too can become a Viking!

Swedish House Mafia

Swedish House Mafia = tomorrow's dance band (dansband) music?  Axel Hedfors (known as Axwell) actually wondered if they could become an old timey band like this on Skavlan Talkshow, aired in Sweden on 11/23 on svt.  Well I don't think the three influential and popular dj's that make up Swedish House Mafia (Axwell, Steve Angelo and Sebastian Ingrosso) could ever get that nerdy even after the current worldwide farewell tour "One Last Tour" has ended.  These guys throw a massive party and have filled arenas with over 100,000 people in Stockholm alone.  Thinking of a road trip ... Toronto in Febuary anyone?  Check out one last tour for tour dates. Maybe they could even do a cover of a classic song like this one by the Swedish dance band The Vikings called appropriately enough "Tack och farväl" (Thanks and goodbye.)  Listen below and njut! :-)

Made from Wormwood, can't be good

(picture from Jeppson's Malört Face Photos, by Phil Dokas)
Happy Thanksgiving everyone!  Want a shot to celebrate?  Well you might not want to try Jeppson's Malört liquor found only in Chicago and suburbs. (It's made from a Swedish recipe so you could possibly buy it in Sweden?)  Take a look at this face, it says it all! More unlucky victims here -  funny faces Even the company admits that only one in 49 people who try it like it.  What a Viking challenge!  Might have to bring it to the East Coast. :-) Happily we enjoyed a delicious turkey dinner in New Hampshire with all the trimmings and a nice white wine to drink. Hope your taste buds were equally happy.  Thankful for many things and especially glad not to have to drink this.  Skål!


Plant pot cozies, the latest and greatest from Nordic Niche's head-office.  In other news, we have dignitaries visiting from Sweden i.e. my mother and stepfather, who are going to celebrate Thanksgiving with us.  I have so looked forward to seeing them, and now that they are here I realize how tired I am from prepping, cooking, cleaning and planning for their visit.  Stupid of me I know.  Oh well, Thanksgiving is a good time for some well deserved R+R.  Enjoy! (The fall leaves are on the hill outside.)


This week I am up to my eyeballs in "pyssel".  "Pyssel" means crafting and it is quite popular in Sweden where people of all ages indulge especially around the holidays and the tissue paper and glitter glue starts flying.  In American of course we are ramping up for Thanksgiving, but in Sweden the Christmas season has already taken off.  This weekend K. and I attended a craft day with the Swedish school.  In addition I am ramping up for the Swedish "Jul Marknad" (Christmas fair) sponsored by SWEA in Boston on 12/15 at Cyclorama. 

So as much as I like to craft I am feeling like my fingers are a little too glue sticky and stained with paint, and my house already a little too full of ornaments even for my liking.  Especially pre-Thanksgiving (and this is my American side speaking).  I really like Thanksgiving and the meaning of the holiday.  So, I am trying to hold off on Christmas off with one hand, as I hold a turkey drumstick with another, unless until a…


Can you believe that incredible scissor kick that Swedish player Zlatan Ibrahimovic used to land a goal against England?  Amazing!  Check it out.  A 30 yard bicycle kick propelled backwards that landed in the corner of the goal post, I can't wait to show it to Luke who is one of his newest fans.  Go Sweden!

Singing, sewing and Swedish School

Hej!  Had a very Swedishy day yesterday sewing together my granny square pillow, and getting ready for Swedish School.  Every Tuesday I lug the kids down there to meet other Swedish children, and learn the basics.  It's a big commitment because we drive during rush hour traffic making a one-way 45 minute drive take 90 minutes or so.  There's a long list of things I need to bring: portable DVD player, DVDs (one for special K, one for Master Luke), their books and pencils, my stuff to do, my aspirin, snacks galore, cash and whatever outdoor clothes they may need for break.  The class is only 2 hours long, but you would think that we were going to be gone for a week!  Last night we needed extra stuff because I volunteered to be substitute teacher for Master Luke's class: the squirmiest, noisiest, liviest bunch of 10 year olds I know.  (I deserve a medal, ha ha.)  :-)  Of course rushing to get there in time, with all my things and the kids, I forgot the most vital bag -- the …

Sweden vs USA

Well, sorry for the delay but I've been sick like a dog.  The good thing is that my followers already know!  ;-)  So, lots of time to think and contemplate about life in the States versus life in Sweden.  My goal really is to live in the States (because my husband loves it and we're happily settled) as if I were in Sweden.  How to do that without universal healthcare, great childcare benefits, equal pay for equal work, five weeks vacation and so on you ask?  Well first you have to be lucky enough to have a husband that works, take care of your own kids, get no money for your work, and take as much vacation as you like.  This may seem tongue in cheek but that's been my best answer to date, having tried a myriad, and I mean a LOT of alternatives like part-time jobs, freelance work, full-time work, seasonal work, shop work... the list goes on.  The idea now is entrepreneurship!  How is it?  Does it work for you?  Would love to hear about you from cyberspace.  Up, up and away!…

Happy Gustaf Adolf Day!

Want a reason to celebrate besides the election?  It's Gustaf Adolf Day!  Yippee!  OK, no idea why this day is important but it's in the Swedish calendar so who am I to quibble?  Break out the beer!  Gustaf VI Adolf was one of the many kings of Sweden with that name.  He ruled from 1950 - 1973.  I remember this picture hanging at my grandparents house in Mälarhusen as it did in homes, post offices, banks, schools around the country.  Today the king is named Carl Gustaf and he is father to the queen to be - Victoria.  Not sure how much power she will actually yield but Swedes do seem to have a soft spot in their hearts for royalty.  At least they do sell magazines!  See Wikipedia link for facts here

Weekend chores

Weekend chores .... one of the things I really "love" as a responsible parent and wife.  Ugh!  I remember the days of lazing around reading the Sunday paper, but no more.  Of course there was thing that my handsome and helpful husband (hereby referred to "H") did for me this weekend that made me smile. (OK, not that, get your minds out of the gutter.) :-) No, H helped me organize our room and put things up on the wall.  Very happy to have my necklaces hanging from this beautiful tin display based on tinkers art ("luffararbete" as it's called in Swedish).  Also, there's the little sheep I bought in Gotland with the famous grey sheepskin, and my favorite metal candlestick holder which is from my mother.  I also love this print!  Chagall is one of my favorite artists. I love his flight of fancies, and in this case the quite literal flight of the young couple on the chicken.  I can't think of anything more romantic than whizzing around the stars …

A trashy post

Hej! When we were living in Sweden last year we all started recycling food waste.  Here's one of the benefits of living in a country of only about 9.5 mill, things like this are do-able.  We all received a special trash barrel on wheels, a new plastic receptacle for the kichen, and breathable brown paper bags with a well-written instructional brochure.  We threw food trash out in the plastic receptacle lined with the brown paper bags and when full placed them in the outside special barrel.  We did just as told - it wasn't hard - and they carted our food trash away at the same time as the regular trash.  The whole country was "mobilized" in no time flat and now Sweden is importing trash. Why?  For energy.  Pretty cool.  Read more about it on NPR: Sweden wants your trash


I'm loving Halloween more as a grown-up than as a kid!  Last year the hubby and I had the best time throwing a party for our Swedish family and friends with ghoulish decorations, games, haunted house, and tricks n' treats for everyone.  This year we continued the "tradition" (of two years) with a party at our local Boys and Girls Club which involved candy, costumes, dodge ball, air hockey, cupcake decorating and bobbing for apples.  The only thing we missed this year beside our wonderful friends in Sweden and my extended family was the beer!  Hopefully next year we'll be able to help the grown ups get into the swing of things and do the monster mash with some liquid courage.  This is not something everyone wants but it can't hurt when you dress up like we did last year (see below).  By the way, the Swedes really got into dressing up and the whole Halloween thing.  Boo!  Blev ni rädda? (Did you get scared?) ;-)

Halloween bash with family 2011

Wedding bells

Well Princess Madeleine is getting married to her Chris.  He's some millionaire financial adviser who looks like a a cold fish.  They've been living together and I hope that they will be very happy together.  Her statement on Vimeo is so cute although his Swedish really needs some work.  Chris came into the picture after her previous engagement to the hunky Jonas Bergström was broken off (he took up with Madeleine's former friend).  The princess and Jonas were together for 8 years and she met Chris only a couple of months after they broke up.  She says that they are "soul mates" but it sounds like a rebound to me.  Keeping my fingers that crossed that everything works out for the beautiful Madeleine and her Chris.

Nordic Exposure

Reading and contemplating the article "Nordic Exposure" in the August edition of Vanity Fair see the article.  My take on it is a little unique as I lived in Sweden in the late '70s - early 1980's and then again last year so I have seen that Sweden has changed and is no longer the same social-democratic bastion as before.  Sweden accepts many immigrants and the look of a "Swede" has changed from the stereotypical blonde blue-eyed babe to be more all inclusive.  Now just like in America a Swede now could have their roots in Africa, be adopted from Korea, or be a born and bred Swede with grandparents from Latin America.  A.A. doesn't seem aware of this.  The author also states that "The watchword of all Nordic people, their mantra, is "conformity".  The worst social sin is to stand out, to appear even obliquely boastful or pleased with yourself".

While it is true that people and even ads are much more modest than we're accustomed …


Let us rise up and be thankful, for if we didn"t learn a lot today, at least we learned a little, and if we didn't learn a little, at least we didn't get sick, and if we got sick, at least we didn't die; so, let us all be thankful. ~Buddha

My friend Jen posted this a couple of days ago.  Not only is it so funny, it sounds a little Swedish to me!  I think we are one of the only groups of people who actively desist in getting too excited about things.  I mean, why get overeager when something bad could happen?  Don't expect too much, and you won't get disappointed seems to be the idea.  This is why my blog is called "living la vida lagom" because although I love Sweden and its people, I definitely chose to ignore some attitudes and make my own decisions about how to react and respond.  For example it is probably pretty un-Swedish to talk about how lucky you are, but I am.  Very lucky and thankful that I got to live another day!

Lukas 10.18

Grattis på namnsdagen Lukas!

My son is having his "namesday" today (Oct. 18).  This is a Swedish tradition that predates birthday celebrations but no longer trumps them.  There is a name for every day of the year as determined by the Swedish church.  My Christina day is in July and this year I was lucky enough to celebrate it this year in Sweden with my mother and daughter who share this middle name.  Lukas doesn't get to celebrate his day in Sweden this year so I compensated by making him "bullar".  I can't wait until the kids come home from school so they can get a whiff of these cinnamon rolls!  The recipe is attached for those of you who like to bake.  Mums!  Cinnamon rolls recipe.

hair today, gone tomorrow

I cut my own hair today.  To be compelled to do so you might think that I am:
a. cheap
b. impatient
c. crazy
or all of the above (which I am) but also in keeping with the lagom life I am trying to lead I thought why should I waste an hour and a lot of money for a trim?  So I watched a you tube video, made a pony, and snipped off some (too) golden locks.  And FYI, it's not like I live out in the boonies.  We live in a beautiful and serviceable little town with probably more than 20 hair salons that would love to charge me an arm and a leg to cut my hair.  That's what I love about the internet.  All you have to do is think "why couldn't I cut my own hair?" and some free spirit has already done so and posted a video for you.  Thanks out there, glad to see I'm not alone. :-)

living la vida lagom

Living the vida lagom - what's that?  Well according to my handy Swedish dictionary lagom means "just enough".  So "everything in moderation" translates nicely to "lagom är bäst" (lagom is best - the Swedish mantra.)  My new mantra too + a little spice and enthusiasm (exemplified by Ricky Martin's classic song "living la vida loca") 'cause a girls gotta have fun = what this blog is about!