I have moved

You can mostly find me here these days instead. I'll do cross-posting for a while longer though.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011


Yeah - about that lasagne.

I made the meat sauce but in the end didn't have the energy to do the bechemel sauce. So I'll take a short cut.

I have some kale in the fridge that I have taken out to thaw and I'll mix that with a box of cottage cheese and use that instead of the cheese sauce.
We all like that variation.

That way I won't have to use as much cheese either.


I made a dent in the ironing! Awesome. Now there might actually be room to pin and cut the Nature Walk tomorrow after we come home from the parents' meeting at school.


Sofia has been begging for ages to have one of her favourite daycare friends over on a play date and it has just never fit in our schedule, but new term, new ways. Today I texted the girl's mom and offered to bring E home with us next week.
E was thrilled and Sofia too.

Then I did a double check in my calendar and saw I had forgotten about Sofia's dental appointment that afternoon.
But instead of rescheduling the play date I'll make a new appointment.


I've also gotten around to print the invitations for Isabel's party. Finally. I'll hand them out on Thursday since Rickard's picking the girls up tomorrow.

We're inviting all the girls in Isabel's class. With Sofia that adds up to 12 girls. Now I have the food/cake sorted, I just have to figure out some games or activities for them in case they can't come up with something on their own.


I haven't sewn properly for what feels like weeks. I had a burst the other day when I did buttonholes on the girls' 2+2 blouses.
But since then. Nothing.

I have a pile of laundry to iron and my kitchen is a mess. The bathrooms need a good scrubbing and my wardrobe could do with a sorting.

But in the end, after the girls are in bed I sink into the sofa and do nothing.

Maybe it's the turn of the season, it's been cold and windy here for the past few days.

Isabel has started school and they have gym classes now. It said on the info paper we got that they would be outside as much as possible so I have planned to make her a Nature Walk Pullover and pants as a kind of track suit. The fabric is washed, the pattern is drafted and I just have to pin it and get started.

Tonight the girls and I are making a lasagne in preparation for Thursday when Isabel has riding class. I had planned to make a pie last night for our dinner tonight, but it never happened.
Maybe I'll get that done tonight instead.

For now I should get back to work - but first. Coffee.

Monday, August 29, 2011

A place for everything ...

We have a central vacuuming system that I love but a huge downside is the 9 meter long hose that needs to find a home somewhere when not in use.
We tried the cleaning cupboard, but the container for the system takes up a lot of space there and we ended up not bothering and just leave the hose out for the next time.
With two kids in the house I run the vacuum pretty much daily anyway.

So I got a huge basket that had room for the whole hose and it's lived next to the stairs for a while.

Or rather, that was where I intended it to live but Rickard kept bumping into it when he came down the stairs and kept putting it in the laundry room.

But the laundry room is too small to hold the basket and still have room to sort through the laundry so that in turn caused me to ignore laundry cause there was no room to manoeuvre.
In the end laundry threatened to take over our lives and I moved the basket out to where I considered it to live so I could sort through it all. Then Rickard would stumble over it and move it back and the cycle would start over.

I did some cleaning yesterday while arranging things around the new table.
I'm not a fan of cleaning or tidying so I tend to put it off in favour of sewing, reading or movie watching, but after a bit it just gets out of hand (like with the laundry).

So yesterday as I moved the girls' shoes around in the hall to get that sandbox they tend to bring home in their shoes out of the house I did some re-arranging and suddenly the big basket found a place in the hall, just across the wall from where it was before, in a less trafficked area.

It's still neat and tidy in the basket, it's close to the outlet where we connect it and it's out of the way so that Rickard won't stumble over it.

I'd call that a win-win-win.

Now I'm just considering dumping the basket for this bin. It's a pretty steep price for a stainless steel bin that we don't really need.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Studying nook


We have this area in the living room/dining area that is definitely underused. I have put an extra table there when we had parties to display cake and cookies on.

After the party was over the table just stood there and collected junk and it always looked untidy.

So the other day when the IKEA catalogue arrived in our mailbox (yes, in Sweden it is delivered in the mail once a year and I usually hold on to it to keep it as reference through out the year if we find that we "need" something) I had a brain wave when I saw a table on the front page that would suit our needs. Needs that hadn't been defined until then.


Isabel started First grade last week and even though she won't have a lot of homework I want to instil a homework routine for her if I can.

During my first years in school I recall preferring to do my homework where my parents were. In our case that usually meant the kitchen (or various conference rooms where my parents went to political meetings to discuss boring grown up stuff while I studied maths or Swedish or somethingorother).

I don't know what Isabel will turn out to prefer but just in case she wants to be where we are then I had to prepare a place for her in the living room.

Both Isabel and Sofia loves to paint and craft which added another dimension to the decision.

This table folds down and takes up about 30 cm (1') of space when not in use. It has three drawers down the middle on either side that although too small to keep paper in are perfect for all the crayons and pens and pencils my girls like to use.


The sides folds up individually and both girls can fit on the same side.

The sheet I use as a background for photographing what I sew make a nice wall protector. It has been sort of an unwanted stepchild, always moved around down stairs and always in the way where ever we put it.
We have since added a piece of moulding to the sheet to keep it from getting stuck to the wall.

Another good thing about this table is that it's the same width and height as our kitchen table so when we have lots of guests we can expand that table using this new one. It folds out and becomes 150 cm (60") long which together with our 210 cm (82") table will seat both our families when we celebrate with room for a few stray friends as well.

I'm pretty sure we'll add to the area if Isabel turn out to use it. I'm considering a better notice board. And I have been thinking about dressing the table in oilcloth to protect it a bit more. Sofia loves to do water colours which is a killer on the table surface.

Do you Pinterest?

I love Pinterest.

Rickard is cautiously reluctant to it.

Our conversations lately often start with:

Me: I saw this thing on Pinterest...
Him: Uh huh.
Me: Well, if you move this and change that you could to this!
Him: ...

Well. A few things I see on Pinterest are easy enough to make.

For instance this easy to make dry-erase board. Easy as could be. An empty photo frame of any size you like. In it you put a piece of fabric, wall paper, scrap book paper, news paper clipping, what have you, glass on and it's done!


Well, here's my version. I used a glittery scrap booking paper I had at home and added some hooks to the underside of the frame so I could hang a note book from it where we write our grocery shopping list.
Just copy the info from the board and erase and you won't forget the milk next time.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Out door daycare

I found a bunch of pictures from Isabel's time in outdoor daycare 2007/2008.

Igelknoppen 458

This was taken at the Lucia celebrations in 2007. It was super cold and late in the afternoon so Isabel's a bit tired and vacant.
The baby in the pram to the right is actually Sofia!

Igelknoppen 354

Here they're all seated with individual bowls of pop corn. I guess they were celebrating something. Isabel is fourth from the right wearing a green/black hat.

Igelknoppen 387

Although they were outside all the time they had a shed with some dollies and a doll's pram.
Isabel liked that part.

She moved to a traditional daycare in August 2008 when Sofia started daycare too.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Wild horses couldn't drag me away ...

Isabel started riding classes again tonight. It's her second term and we decided to give her proper riding gear after having ridden in jeans and sweatpants last term.

We went to a horse supply store not far from home to see if we could find some riding pants for her.
Just inside the door they had a rack that said 30 % off Riding Pants. Excellent I thought and started looking through it for a suitable size.

That's when I caught sight of the price tag. Full price 1700 SEK ($270).

Uhm. No.

Just next to that rack they had a more modestly priced selection at 120 SEK.

She also got a pair of boots so she didn't have to ride in her winter boots in 20C degrees.
A pair of gloves and a whip completed it and she was more than happy.

I threw in a pair of stockings too. I had seen some girls at the stables wearing lovely Argyle-patterned stockings over their pants and I liked the look of it.

Going to riding classes

Today when I picked her up I brought the clothes with me and she had to change at school. One of her little friends went with her into the bathroom to watch her change and pleaded with me to be allowed to tag along.
I had to say No since Rickard's taking Isabel to the stables and they usually get home very late. She argued vigorously but had to accept defeat at last.

It was a very tired Isabel who came home tonight at 7 pm. Rickard was bored, bored because the class had been riding a long tour outside and he could not keep up but had to wait at the stables.
Isabel was so tired and sweaty and was sent straight to the shower before dinner.

Next week I'll pack her a more substantial afternoon snack and have her eat it when we fetch Rickard. She insisted she didn't need any food before class but I made her a sandwich that she ate and forced a banana on her as she left.
It was devoured in the car after class in two bites.

She's quick to give up if something is physically demanding (she takes after me there) but when it comes to riding she hangs in there no matter how tired she is. And she goes back for more.

Monday, August 22, 2011

First grade


My little big girl started first grade today. The picture shows her on her first day of preschool and today, first day of first grade.

The daycare that Sofia's been in has been converted to school rooms after the opening of the new daycare Junibacken two weeks ago.
Isabel's home room will be the same room I used to drop Sofia off in just before summer. Weird.


She has a nice teacher, Marie. In Sweden teachers are usually called by their first name by both students and parents. We don't do the mrs/miss/mr thing.
Neither do we do it when talking about the kids' parents. If referring to me or speaking to me Isabel's friends would all call me Lotta (or "Isabel's mom" if they don't know my first name).

We went to the supermarket after school to get gym clothes for Isabel. This will be the first year she'll change clothes for gym class and shower in school. And as a treat I let her chose our dinner tonight. She went through a few different alternatives before she finally settled on fish fingers.


She got home work for her first week of school to be handed in on Friday and she finished it tonight while I cleared up in the kitchen and cleaned delicious chanterelles for our supper (before the fish fingers).

Friday, August 19, 2011

A little bit of everything

I'm slowly "recovering". Not sure what it was last week that had me tired and dizzy, but I've made a point to go to bed earlier this week and drink more water and I feel better.

I do have a suspicion that my iron levels are low and that's why I felt off. I have a bottle of iron supplements in the fridge that isn't opened. I should use that but it tastes vile so I hesitate.

The dizzyness also took away my sewing mojo and it hasn't really returned. I got some done last night and I hope to keep it up tonight to have 2 finished 2+2 blouses by Monday when my big girl starts school. First grade.


Fall is also definitely on its way. I feel the tug to make preserves as I always do at this time of year.
Last weekend I made preserved pears. In lingonberry and in ginger syrup. We haven't tasted them yet. I think we'll eat the lingonberry ones this weekend.


Almost one year ago Rickard and I went to New York where I had my first ever Pumpkin Spice latte and I have been feeling a craving for it for a few days.
If I can get into town this weekend I'll get a can of pumpkin and try my hand at making some syrup for a spiced latte.

I can find a fresh pumpkin in the stores in a few weeks but they are usually HUGE and I'm not sure if they're good for anything other than carving.

Today I'm taking my grandmother grocery shopping. My mom usually does that but she and my dad are in Germany until next week and my aunt is busy at work so I said I'd do it.
I'm so happy the girls are getting old enough to form memories of my grandma. She is the only one left from that generation on both our sides. And she is the only great grandparent Isabel's met more than once, the only one Sofia's even known.

Isn't she stunning?

I knew my great grandmother, grandma Inez (Isabel's second name is after her) and she passed away when I was 20, she would have turned 90 if she had lived to her birthday that year.
I hope my grandma can hang around for that long too - although it's not likely she'll hang around until the girls are 20 or even in their teens. Grandma turned 88 this spring but she's spry and fit so hopefully we'll have her with us for many years to come.

I haven't seen her in a while now so I'm looking forward to it.

Monday, August 15, 2011

At the playground


On Sunday I felt a bit weird. I was dizzy and tired and felt I needed some air. So the girls got their bikes out and we all headed to the playground.

It's a pretty empty playground and there were no other kids there. But they enjoyed climbing, going on the swing and bouncing on the bouncer.

Sofia's not a very good biker yet. Her balance is off and if we try to correct her she'll get anxious and start to cry. She will not be able to ride on her own this year. She had the support wheels and a stick for us to hold her. She fell over once on the way and almost fell over a couple of times. But she got on the bike again and kept trying.

Something to remember


I just had to post this picture of my little cherub Sofia.

Funniest thing - I was looking at her smile and realised that by this time next year she will probably not have those teeth any more. And she will not be gloriously 4 years any more but a really big girl at 5 years.

4 is so wonderful - they are getting out of the troublesome threes (or is it terrible twos?) and have all these ideas and thoughts and musings that are so incredibly wonderful to listen to.

The other day when Rickard was walking home with Sofia from daycare to pick up Isabel at school she wouldn't stop talking for a second and among others was the little gem I posted last week.

"Sometimes when it's quiet and I am thinking it's as if someone is talking inside my head. .. I'm thinking a lot of things. All the time."

Wonderful 4.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

What took me so long?


I saw a bike like this online about two years ago and I managed to track down a dealer in Sweden who could import it for me at a decent price.
My old bike was ok but a bit uncomfortable for my back and neck.


When it finally arrived it was a bit too small for me - or rather it was too low and I couldn't stretch out my leg properly while biking to get the maximum cycle stroke. The bike stood in our shed until a few months ago when we tried to find a new pipe for the seat - not sure why it took so long.

A few weeks ago my FIL took pity on me - we had been to a bike shop and they shut me down and said it was impossible to find a pipe that was longer than the one I had.
He called shenanigans and contacted a proper hardware store that had a pipe cut and lathed for me.


I need to have the pipe finished some how - I'm thinking chrome - because it will rust.
The bike is a dream to ride now with the longer pipe. It has no gears so it's a bit tough to get into cruising speed but once there it just rolls along.

I have also checked back with the web shop that sold me the bike and found a gorgeous light, bell and maybe a bike rack.

Rickard cut up an old wire bike basket I had that didn't really match the bike and kept the "chassi" and instead attached a cane basket to it with ties.
The web shop have gorgeous baskets too, but I'm really keen on the bike rack. I have e-mailed them to make sure it will fit my bike too.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

On the Fence


One day in Rickard's last vacation week, he and his father built us a fence.

Our driveway is adjacent to a bike lane that leads into our communal back area and sometimes the kids coming from the playground cut across our driveway.

This isn't a problem, they do no harm but we plan to put down gravel of some kind there soon and we want to more clearly mark this as ours.

There are also plans to lay down asphalt on the bike lane and we wanted a clear boundary on anticipation of this.

We also have loose plans to build a car port some day and the plinths will then serve as foundations for that roof.


The ground where the plinths were going in were riddled with large stones and it was packed really hard so Rickard had his work cut out for him.

The girls loved to watch and hung out there quite a lot. At least until it started to rain.


Sofia enjoyed keeping an eye on the men at work.


And she did her best to help as well.


This is from day two. You can tell because all the plinths are in, and the edging stones too.
And it's raining.

The day before I took the girls to the grocery store in the afternoon and then we swung by and picked up grandma so we could all have dinner together. When we came back Rickard and his dad had finished work and been driven inside by the torrential rain. Rickard was soaked through. His right sock was dry on the heel otherwise he was wet through and through.

The next day they were better prepared for the weather and it only rained in the morning.


This is the result by early afternoon on day 2.


Here they are building the gate for the fence so we can exit near the house and not have to go all the way around.
Sofia decided to try out a saw as well. She did really good.


Next year she might help us fix up the attic for her and Isabel?

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Beware the voices

Sofia: Sometimes when it's quiet and I am thinking, it sounds as if someone is talking inside my head.

Different candy

We had a parcel in the mail on Friday from the lovely Melani. It had fabric (for me) and candy (also for me - just kidding).

The girls were very interested in the Pop Rocks, and I was curious to try it after having heard so much about it through Mythbusters. (That episode where they (fail to) blow up a pig's stomach with pop rocks and soda was hilarious - and gross).


I saved the candy until Saturday evening when the girls get to eat it, and I had Isabel try it first.

She was expecting a lot more "explosion in your mouth" after seeing the package but after that initial try she had some more and thought it was a lot of fun.

Thank you Melani!!



I came across this picture today and I have to say that even though I disliked her colour choices, that hat was really pretty!

I think I'll have to sneak a denim one in the sewing list before fall. The white one I made her is a bit sensitive to dirt.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Kivik - The King's Grave

One of the last days of Rickard's vacation we drove south to Kivik on the south east coast of Scania*.

My father has family not far from there and when I was little we often drove there to visit them. These days we mostly drive down there because it's a beautiful place to be.

In Kivik you can find all the usual trappings of a touristy place (in fact we managed to drive down there at the last day of the big Kivik Market) but a little bit outside the village there is an Bronze Age grave site called The King's Grave.


It is a circular mound of rocks some 75 meters across and 3.5 meters high. It was believed to have been almost three times as high when it was finished, but over the centuries people have plundered the stones to use in constructions elsewhere.


The grave was discovered underneath the mound in the 18th century and quarrying stopped.
But it wasn't until the 1930's that a proper excavation was done.


Inside the tomb are 9 slabs with petroglyphs on them. The chamber was constructed after the excavation and it is possible to enter and look at the slabs for a modest fee.

When the grave was first discovered it was believed to be a King's grave because of the size of the slabs. It was later discovered that the grave site contained two graves and markers indicated that it had been used as a sacrificial site as well as a grave, and the bodies found were all in their teens rather than the middle aged King you'd think was buried there.


Near the grave site there is an old mill that has been transformed into a café and we stopped there to have some ice cream and home made apple cake.


*Scania (Skåne) is the province where I live. It is the southern most tip of the Scandinavian peninsula and we used to belong to Denmark in the Middle Ages. In 1658, Scania was handed over to Sweden at the Peace treaty at Roskilde.
Our dialect still has many sounds and words in common with Danish.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Sofia at 4

The latest in shoe wear - balloon socks

Sofia appears to be our more imaginative child. She also gets herself into more trouble than Isabel ever did.

- she likes to draw on herself with pens, preferably felt tip
- she cuts her own hair (and refuses to acknowledge me when I ask her about it)
- she will hide clothes she doesn't like to wear so that I won't find them and force them on her (this is a guess after she balled up the latest dress I made her and hid it in a box in the hall where we keep mittens and scarves)
- she will take dvd-sleeves up to her room and cut into them with scissors

Waiting for the boat

- she will bring a purse to town for all her essentials (i.e. lip gloss, nail polish, mirror, comb/brush, scissors, band aids)
- she will wear a Barbie tiara in public that her sister got in a Happy Meal
- she accessorises imaginatively (black satin ribbon around her ankle)
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