This Year’s Midsummer Actually Falls Mid-Summer

This Year’s Midsummer Actually Falls Mid-Summer

Midsommar is usually a bitter-sweet celebration for Swedes. The weather is just starting to warm up and it finally starts to feel like summer weather after a long May of cold, dreary rain with average temperatures in the 6-11 C (43-52 F) range.What's worse is that every Swede you talk to has some sort of Farmer's Almanac approach of predicting how nice or cold a summer will be based on the weather experienced during the winter. How that makes any sense at all is beyond my comprehension."Well, if we have a really hard winter, we'll have a nice summer. If we have a warm winter, the summer will be bad."My eyes narrow skeptically. Umm...ok.Swedish weather is like playing roulette. You look for patterns but there are none. Something has to make sense but it doesn't.The events from the past are totally independent from the events in the future. There is zero influence between summer and winter weather but nonetheless, Swedes need to hang...
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Saturday Candy—Sweden’s Limited Obsession with Candy

Saturday Candy—Sweden’s Limited Obsession with Candy

In a recent  New Yorker article, How to Eat Candy Like a Swedish Person, the general public learned about Sweden's (limited) obsession with lördagsgodis or "Saturday candy."Messages about this article flooded my inbox with questions like, "Is this true?" and "Do you really only eat candy once a week?"I'll admit that this has become such a normal part of our lives that it didn't register in my mind as being anything particularly interesting to share.Yes, we really do limit our kids to eating sweets on Saturdays and let me tell you...it's wonderful.Implementing a nationwide 6-day ban on sweets is an effective way to avoid those arguments about not eating so much candy, juice, or cookies during the week.Whenever my kids ask if they can have juice, I just blame the calendar instead of taking parental responsibility for imposing harsh restrictions on their sugar consumption."It's not up to me, kids, it's not Saturday and those are the rules.""Is it Saturday? Then...
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Feed the Baby Hummus—Book Review and Giveaway

Feed the Baby Hummus—Book Review and Giveaway

Feed the Baby Hummus is the newest book to hit the shelves that dives into international practices related to bonding, soothing, and nurturing babies.Pediatrician, Lisa Lewis, MD, gathered all of the cultural practices related to behavior and development, nutrition, and building immunity and presents it in an easy-to-read format for mothers everywhere.We can learn from what other cultures do and while we may not be able to incorporate every aspect of each cultural tradition into our lives, Dr. Lewis provides slight modifications that allow parents to incorporate what they can into their parenting. Balinese babies are held during their first 105 days of life Balinese babies are held extensively for the first 105 days of their lives—their feet never touch the ground.Dr. Lewis explains that the spiritual practice of never placing a Balinese baby down may not be practical in our everyday busy lives, but that extensive holding benefits both the baby and the often sleep-deprived parents. "I suggest you enlist the...
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Växtförsäljning’s Christmas Market Review

Växtförsäljning’s Christmas Market Review

Don't try to say "växtförsäljning" three times fast unless you are from a Scandinavian country or unless you want a tongue twister challenge.Växtförsäljning translates simply into "plant nursery" and our local nursery sells wonderful plants, bushes, and trees during the year and converts into a Yuletide haven during the third Advent weekend.This Christmas Market was the last in our Christmas Market Marathon and the kids were feeling the holiday fatigue. Too much Christmas cheer, perhaps? You know it's been a few long weeks in a row when the promise of warm waffles and pony rides stirs little excitement in this bunch.But they dug deep and somehow mustered the strength in their little bodies to hop on a cute pony and ride around a few laps.The restaurant/cafe on site at Växtförsäljning is one of those hidden gems that not many people know about in our sleepy town of Åkersberga. I know that because whenever I head there for a casual lunch...
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Länsmånsgården’s Christmas Market Review

Länsmånsgården’s Christmas Market Review

Continue to live vicariously through our journey to various Christmas Markets in our Swedish town and beyond.So far, we have traveled north to Sigtuna, and Gävle, and stayed closer to home to Wira Bruk, and now Länsmansgården.Länsmansgården is an old mid-18th century property featuring a manor and two-story cottage built in 1743.The historic buildings now house antiques and the main manor serves as a local art gallery, and the barn is now a cafe that serves up dynamite fika desserts and coffee with a cozy atmosphere to boot.Our kids love playing in the garden, which also houses school children's class projects as part of an "outdoor classroom." Different classes plant crops and see how they fare during the season.We love visiting Länsmansgården on a regular day and they always host cultural festivities during midsummer and Christmas. New additions from years past:a new Swedish fence surrounds the property, presumably to keep out the wild boar that destroyed Grade 4's...
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The Gävle Goat Survives

The Gävle Goat Survives

Gävle, Sweden is famous for this oversized straw goat. It's only famous because vandals burn it down every year much to the sadness of the townspeople of Gävle.Or are they really sad when the goat burns down? It is hard to tell, exactly, because on one hand, the goat is a main tourist attraction. On the other hand, they sang fire-related "burn it down" songs during the opening ceremony which left this tourist feeling a bit conflicted.So...do they want it burned down or not?My guess is, they want to keep the goat for as long as possible but it is somewhat of a foregone conclusion that the goat will eventually meet it's fiery fate.We traveled the two hours to Gävle and saw this big goat for ourselves. Frankly, it's not much to write home about. The town of Gävle itself is somewhat of a normal place, which means it's kind of boring.It's a place where people live and work—the only...
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Dragon Skulls, Fairies, and Trolls at Wira Bruk’s Christmas Market

Dragon Skulls, Fairies, and Trolls at Wira Bruk’s Christmas Market

Wira Bruk is an old iron works village that was active back in the heyday of Sweden's superpower era when they were cranking out weaponry as fast as they could.It's the site where the King's weapons (read: swords) and townspeople received tax credits for supplying Sweden with iron goods.Visiting Wira Bruk is like taking a stroll back in time and it is well worth a gander.But let's talk about their Christmas market, shall we?Wira Bruk has hosted a julmarknad (Christmas market) for the past three years during the first advent weekend.Be ready to be shocked by sights not usually seen at other Christmas markets.Have you ever seen a dragon's skull (that's surprisingly small)?A fairy skeleton (that's surprisingly big)?Or how about a 7" tall stone troll (that's surprisingly realistic)?No? Then get yourself over to Roslagen's Wira Bruk because they have them all on display.Part of me wondered if these installations were left up from Halloween but the...
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My Review of Steninge Slott’s Christmas Market

My Review of Steninge Slott’s Christmas Market

Steninge Slott's Julmarknad is always a fun trip out to Sigtuna, Sweden.The Christmas market is housed in the stone barn behind the 17th Century palace and the interior is stunning.The vaulted ceilings of the barn give it an airy atmosphere and illuminated advent stars hang from the ceiling begging to go home with you.Our favorite purchases usually involve buying a paper sack of candied almonds and some warm glögg while we walk around the property among the tree-lined pathways.However, Steninge Slott's rustic charm is undergoing a bit of a renovation and the grounds are currently under construction with new housing development on the property.No longer do you feel like you are on a large estate property but now you feel a bit like you're intruding on people's backyard.Another change from years past is that Steninge Slott now sells furniture and home decorations year round. The inventory for this new business has pushed the crafts and local vendors who participate...
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Soul Sighs

Soul Sighs

  Home is...Home is more than a building.More than a house in which we hold breakfasts and dinners every day.More than a place where the kids visit after school.More than a place where we all sleep at night, shower in the morning, and store our toothbrushes.Home is where the morning cuddles happen.It's the space behind my knees where my daughter curls up when we sit together on the couch.It's the Friday night dance parties, silly giggles, and the Candy Land games in the kitchen.Home fills up our essential being, our core.It is fed and nurtured through regular acts of kindness.Home is where your soul sighs upon returning. It is where you do the "comfy dance" after changing into your pajamas after work.Home is the soil between our roots. It is what gets scooped up whenever we are plucked and replanted.We bring our home with us wherever we travel. Wherever we move.It is warmth.It is love.More good stuff from my friends "How fast and seamlessly life changes. We...
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Visiting the Christmas Markets in Sweden

Visiting the Christmas Markets in Sweden

It is Christmas Market (Julmarknad) season in Europe and Sweden has some of the most darling Christmas markets. Glögg (mulled wine), reindeer meat, and candles on evergreen trees are all part and parcel of a good Swedish Christmas market.Kickstarting the Christmas spirit for me entails switching over to the Christmas carols on our Spotify playlist and piling into the car to our local Christmas markets.My kids love the idea of going for a pony ride, drinking warm chocolate, and possibly participating in a fiskdam (where they "fish" for a present and the fees for "fishing" go back into the local community.)I love finding handmade goods from small businesses and local artists. I absolutely love finding small handmade gifts that are perfect for stockings or adding a little flourish to our bookshelves. If you make a cute little elf or anything featuring a long Santa beard, I will probably buy it.This December, we are heading to a different Christmas market every weekend...
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