Showing posts from November, 2012

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