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Showing posts from February, 2015

The New Yorker "Northern Lights"

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Northern LightsDo the Scandinavians really have it all figured out?BY 



Some say that the American Dream is not what it once was: wages are low, retirement is not a parachute glide but a plunge, and those chosen to fix such problems labor at undoing one another’s laws. For these doubters, there are the Swedes. On any given day, a Swedish man—call him Viggo—might be reclining on a sofa underneath a Danish lamp shaped like an artichoke. He is an artist, and he has a pension. He is wearing boldly colored pants. His young wife, Ebba, is a neurosurgeon, though she has never paid a krona in tuition, and her schedule runs between the operating table and the laboratory. Things are busy. She and Viggo have small kids...For more read :http://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2015/02/16/northern-lights-4?mbid=social_facebook
It’s hard to envision the Nordic model ever finding a home on these shores.  CREDIT ILLUSTRATION BY SCRIPT & SEAL

Happy Valentine's Day

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Hopefully you are doing something nice with a loved one today.  We tend to make every holiday a big stressful moment in the States but this one is usually low-key in our house.  One thing I do like to do though is to make the kids school Valentine's Day cards instead of buying them.  I just think it's a great way to work some more arts and crafts into our busy lives, and the snow days we just had were the perfect opportunity for my youngest and I to create.
For her cards we made crayons for classmates from leftover crayons that I had saved for many years (sometimes being a pack rack is a good thing). We melted them in some beautiful Swedish baking forms that my mother gave me which are usually used for whipped cream topped goodies called "mandelmusslor" (recipe). Make sure you spray your forms with baking spray!  (You could use jello molds too.) Bake at the lowest setting like 170 for 15 minutes.

After the multicolored new crayons hardened we popped them out, added …

Melodifestival 2015

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So the first round of singers vying for a chance to go as Sweden's Eurovision entry for 2015 just took place.  In my humble opinion Eric Saade, one of the semi-finalists (see above), will be the clear winner.  He looked so cute and rocked the pop style big time with his back up dancers.  His song "Sting" had a clear rythym and swinging refrain that will stick in your head like all the best "schlager songs".  Jessica Andersson was also a semi-final winner with the song "Can't hurt me now" - kind of sappy for my taste but perfect for one you've had one too many beer and need to sing some sort of anthem after your ex has left.  Not that I would know anything about that ;-)

Happy Sami Day!

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The Sami are the indigenous group who live across the North Pole area in Sweden, Finland, Norway and Russia. Today we celebrate their unique achievements and wonderful contributions!  First of all, did you know that they herd reindeer?  How cool is that?  (Today they are semi-nomadic and only 10% work with reindeer, mostly for meat.  Sorry Santa.)  The Sami can trace their history back some 10,000 years to the Ice Age.   Their population today is about 80,000.  The kolt is their traditional dress, see below, with 12 regional styles.  Their crafts are just beautiful.  I cherish a bracelet that my
mother gave me in Samisk style which is made from pewter strips woven together and sewn onto reindeer skin such as these from SwedArt on Etsy.  Hej SwedArt, giving you a Swedish shout out! Beautiful stuff!

I also wanted to touch upon the music which is gorgeous and reminiscent of Native American songs.  Here is some interesting information on the "yoik" from Sweden.se.
Yoik is traditi…

Let it snow!

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Here is a snölykta that people make in Scandinavia.  I will make one with my son today and post a picture later*. Hopefully it will be as pretty as this one, and provide a nice glow on these wintery nights.  We got socked by Juno and Linus (not sure where the K storm ended up but probably not on the east coast.) Take a look at this!
As you can see it is piling up and was extremely blustery around here.  Today it's snowy, sunny and calm, so look for some nice photos later after I literally drag my soon to be teenage son outside!

For those of you who just want to cuddle inside, here's some fashion pics from the recent Fashion Week in Stockholm for your viewing pleasure.  I have to say I am "underwhelmed".  Inez-NY is my favorite of these featured new Swedish designers because I like the asymetric cut and innovative use of sherling. What do you think?  The 70's, black and beige seemed to be trends throughout.

Check these Swedish designers out at http://www.theloca…

Teaching

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Can I get an amen?
 I am working as an instructional assistant this year and learning a lot about education (my passion).  Mainly I am seeing how hard people try, yet just how stuck in the past we still are. There seems to be a bias still to having children sit and listen.  OK for older children perhaps, but I am working in a kindergarten class, and we are teaching them how to read, write and add at this age!
We know based on the research (Piaget for example) and the evidence that children this age need to move, to explore, to create and to assimilate information at their own speed and in their own way. So why don't we allow them to play more and incorporate the learning into their imaginative lives?  
I am at a loss as to where to go or what to do with this information.  I'd like to help children learn using creative methods, not make them sit still and be so academically focused.  So I am taking a class in new technology which is endorsed and used at the school, and we will …