Sunday, August 31, 2008

Last day of summer

Sunday was a restful day....warm...even's how we spent our last official day of summer. Maya and Granpa made a bird house together. Then Granpa and Maya painted the new bathroom walls outside the "stuga" (little cabin). Aren't they cute?!
Then Mormor and Maya studied a book for about an hour (one of those books you have to find all kinds of little things in the clues on each page).
After an entertaining lunch of BEE (wasp) watching....(we were catching them in one of those glass bottle traps over the outdoor table)....we all went down to the beach! Maya "swam" with her mermaid fin for a few moments but mostly rode on "Sharky". (Her blow up shark rafty thing). We collected LOTS of little clam like shells to make crafty stuff later...what? I don't know!
And when we got back to the house ....ONE of us continued to soak up some golden rays of sun before packing up the car to come back home. What a life that dog leads! Eat, swim, sleep!
And now it's back to the grind stone for another parents return to the USA on Friday morning. I will drive them to Copenhagen on Thursday where they will spend the night with our Danish/Swiss/Eyptian cousins. (yes, that's another story, I will write about later!)

I always feel a little sad and "empty" when my folks go back to the states. Somehow the distance between us feels greater just after they leave. Things will get back to normal again quickly....and then it doesn't ache so much. Who else lives far from family? What do you do to ease the "goodbye" feelings?

Farewell to Summer Party

Most every August we have a "crayfish" party....a tradition in Sweden to end the summer on a tasty note! This year we strayed from the usual food and did our own thing. But we did hang up the paper moons in the summer house's garden! The weather all weekend was marvelous and we were able to be outside most of the day & night! Dad fixed a very delicious salmon with halibut "muffin" roll that he baked in the oven (over water...poaching?). He got the recipe from the Joy of Cooking Book (that was one of their wedding presents from 1952). I'm cooking another batch of these simple and so good!
Outside Mom peeled the fabulous Göteborg crayfish that Bo's cousin brought to us! Much better than the frozen ones we usually get at the market. Thank you Georg and Victoria!
Maya received this adorable cap made by Victoria to wear to school this fall. Stylish!
It was so much fun to have baby Alexander waddling about the party! Victoria is an excellent seamstress with lots of talent for design. Her 3 children take up most of her time now but she still gets moments to make something now and then. She's one of those people who don't use patterns...she just looks at (or imagines) what she wants to make and does it. WoW!
These are the famous CRAYFISH of Sweden that everyone drools for in August! These were particularly yummy with or without butter! like mini lobsters!
Bo's cousin, Georg, his wife Victoria (from Spain) and their daughter, Desiree dig into the crayfish!
Although these three did eat some crayfish, they were happier playing and playing together!

Didn't take a good photo during the party (and no photos of my dear husband!)....but here's what it looked like afterwards. We didn't party into the night as you are supposed to...when the children are bigger, perhaps!

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Away for the weekend...

It's my folks last weekend with us here in Sweden so we are staying with them at the summer house for a couple of days. BEAUTIFUL weather! Hope to get down to comb the beach for shells and other delights. We're expecting my husband's cousin's family of 5 (3 kids) to arrive later today from Göteborg. Maya and one of her 2nd cousins are a year apart...and they have such a grand time playing together. Bo's cousin's wife is from Malaga, Spain so all their children speak both Swedish and Spanish! The languages of today will mostly be Spanish and Swedish with a little English mixed in. (My parents also speak Spanish as we lived in Peru when I was young.) We're fixing salmon rolled in halibut on the grill...and looks as though we'll be able to eat outside! Usually we have a 'crayfish' party this time of year but last year we decided we didn't really like the imported crayfish from China.(The Swedish crayfish are nearly endangered so the ones you can buy are extremely expensive.) So we are bending the traditional faire just a little! But we'll still use the "end of the summer" decorations that are used for the traditional crayfish parties in Sweden.

I've just spent an hour looking at something over the internet (since I couldn't watch it live earlier this week) which thrilled me to the point of tears! I'm so proud to be an AMERICAN at this moment and I REALLY wish I could be "home" to participate in the fall's activities! CHANGE is in the air...a real positive change! I will do my best to be a part of it in some way!

Wednesday, August 27, 2008


1. Where is your cell phone? in the car
2. Your significant other? Bo
3. Your Hair? BROWN
4. Your Skin? semi-tan, freckles
5. Your mother? always busy
6. Your favorite thing/things? flowers, fabrics, fruits
7. Your dream last night? scary....was given a lost child to care for
8. Your favorite drink? cold beer on hot day, real water, coffee in morning
9.Your dream/goal? TRAVEL, Travel, travel
10. The room you're in? messy home office
11. Your ex? which one?
12. Your fear? losing my family members
13. Where do you want to be in 6 years? comfortable and happy
14. WHERE were you last night? HOME
15. What you're not? skinny
16. Muffins? alright... but cookies are best
17. One of your wish list items? Time to do what I want to do....
18. Where you grew up? Peru, Indiana, and Florida
19. What are you wearing? khaki capris, Winnie-the-Pooh shirt, white socks
21. Your TV? off
22. Your pets? DOG, CAT, 5 Goldfish
23. Your computer? iMac
24. Your life? busy
25. Your mood? up and down but mostly happy
26. Missing someone? friends in the USA
27. Your car? 4 Runner (12 yrs old), RAV4 and saving for a Prius (All Toyotas)
28. Something you're not wearing?
a watch
29. Favorite Store?
ICA MAXI or IKEA (TARGET when I am State side)
30. Your summer?
It was lovely and now it's over...

31. Like someone? myself, most of the time
32.Your favorite color? Cobalt blue
33. When is the last time you laughed? TODAY
34. Last time you cried? 2 weeks ago maybe
35. Who will respond to this? someone who likes to do these from my BLOG WORLD
36. Who's Answers are you anxious to see? Anyone's

Monday, August 25, 2008

Postcards from overseas!

My new friend, Rhonda in Texas, made this for ME! Isn't it nice? My initials and a pincushion that was just the kind my grandmother mother too! The ol' tomato (apple?) and strawberry! I used to be so fascinated by that cute little needle sharpening strawberry! Thank you Rhonda!
And a real postcard from Valerie of Australia....who is travelling in Scotland just now! Thanks Valerie! Did you know that I collect REAL postcards, too? Yup...have about 4 shoe boxes full at this point...I use them at times in my classroom to show kids sights from around the globe! What fun to receive your message in the mail!

Unfortunately, I haven't had time to work on my cards....too much with having all my family here for weeks and weeks....but once they leave I'll be back to a routine! I hope!
If you would like to join our FABRIC POST CARD SWAP, please click HERE to find out more!

Sunday's trip to the east coast....

About every other fall we take a road trip to the east coast of husband is usually in pursuit of a specific type of apple or pear. The east coast is filled with many family orchards along the coastline's rolling hills. It's a sight to see in the fall while the apples and pears are nearly ripe for the picking! (It's also lovely to see in the spring with all the blooms!) In September there is a HUGE apple festival there with large art mosaics made of apples! One day we'll make it to that festival! Kiviks is the biggiest apple product producers in Sweden...juices, jellies, chutneys, puddings, wines, ciders, etc.....Here is one of MY FAVORITE apple varieties...AROMA....lovely pinky color! Another reason we travel to Kiviks is to eat seafood brought into this little harbor by local fishermen.
YUMMMY....seafood soup!
Maya choose the seafood buffet meal....10 kronor for every year ...that was 60 kronors for Maya's plate. She picked out her own food and ate most of it! That's about $10.oo. One of Maya's most famous quotes (when she was 3 years old) "I'll start with the caviar!" She's a seafood lover!
Couldn't resist photographing this little guy on my Dad's "fresh beer" (unpasteurized, unstrained)....have you ever seen an angel with a beer mug?!

The REAL reason why we drive to the east coast..... for the REAL reason we drive over an hour to the east coast...not the seafood, not the apples and pears, not the National Park....Cafe Annorlunda : Cookie House!!!! All you can eat cookies with coffee, tea, milk, or juice! Yes, the ultimate FIKA place!!! Grab your plate and head on over to the cookie table...filled with homemade gingerbread cake, sugar cake, saffron buns, chocolate cookies, sugar cookies, lemon crisps, almond crunch.....the menu has stayed the same for at least 11 years (the first I went in 1997!) but probably longer! It's a house with old furniture, old handiworks, and chinaware. Each little table and chair cluster is different...very cozy! A perfect place for a cold rainy day inside ...or a sunny sit-in-the-garden day outside.
Tips: the gluten free plate has a delicious variety with more chocolate than the regular table. My husband always shares his plate with us as it is more than he can eat at one time.
We were so busy eating and drinking ....I took an 'after' shot instead...Mom and I love the needlework all around the place!
After chowing down on cookies....we went off to the National Park and ran off some of our calories on the beach!

Stenshuvud National Park on Sunday

On Sunday, since it wasn't raining too much, we loaded up our cars and took a drive out to the east coast of Sweden (about an hour+ drive from our house). The landscape is a little different than our area of Skåne...more hilly, less cultivated land, more cows. You can even see cows grazing around ancient bronze age rune stones! I love this coastline...REAL waves! This is Stenshuvud National Park.
It's a wonderful place for finding smooth, colorful stones and of these days we will find AMBER here! I just know it! I have stones from here that I collected in 1997, they flew to Los Angeles with me then moved back to Sweden with me in 1999! Some well travelled stones! They look so beautiful resting in a shallow bowl of water with floating candles! (something I stopped doing while Maya was little...I think she's old enough now not to eat them! with them but not eat them!) Maya has turned out like her parents...she's also a stone collector! My pockets were loaded with her (and my) finds when we returned to the car.
WEEEEE....running with the waves! Hands full of pebbles!
On the way home we were bathed in bright sunlight....this is around 7:30 pm.
And so ends another wonderful day in Sweden!

The great thing about having family for a visit....

picking mushrooms! Since moving to Sweden I have learned to pick mushrooms...edible ones with no side affects! ;-) My father-in-law is an expert on them and he has shown us all the tricks to finding the best ones. As a result, my own family is also learning to find the most delicious of mushrooms in the forest by our house (and sometimes, even in our yard!). With the warm temperatures we've had this summer plus the rain, it is turning out to be a FANTASTIC MUSHROOM SEASON! Here's what my family picked while I was at work......mostly Karl Johan now (porchinni) but we've gotten chanter ells too! And the other great thing is.....everyone likes to prepare our meals with mushrooms! Tonight (Monday) Tom will be cooking up something delightful! This is Tom concentrating on the mushrooms on Saturday when it was so rainy! (We didn't go anywhere, it was a cozy day at home.)
Apples are ripening...and dropping from the summer house's wild apple tree. Mom makes a yummy, flavorful apple sauce with all the little apples. It's good on ice cream, yogurt, cereal...alone! I hope there will be enough to freeze for later.
And my Dad....well, I'm so lucky! Every night that they stay here in our house...HE DOES THE DISHES!!!! I"m being spoiled big time!
Guess who I found making out in my kitchen after supper!???? Geez...gotta keep my eye on them! BTW---sunset is around 8:30 pm here so that's why it's light outside after dinner!
It's wonderful to have my family visiting us...and I'm so grateful that my darling husband enjoys their visits, too! All this togetherness feeling has to last long after they leave because it will be several months before we see each other again!

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Malmö Festivalen on Friday

The clan took a road trip down to Malmö to visit the MalmöFestivalen that takes place every August for one week. Of course, we waited until the last day to go ! The down-town streets and squares of Malmö are full with food vendors (a huge variety...Lebanese, Hungarian, Thai, African, Tex-Mexican, etc.) and booths with handicrafts and other booths with imported "junk" (sunglasses, plastic stuff). My favorite food vendor to watch and listen to is the CHILEAN chorizo place...the grills are surrounded by musicians dancing and tapping their BBQ forks to the beat of the salsa music! Que Divertido!!! I saw the Vietnamese vendor across the way shaking her hips to their sounds.
Lots of booths with all kinds of fun stuff to buy! As we walked through the festival, I heard so many languages (Arabic, Spanish, French, English, Vietnamese, Chinese, Polish...etc) makes me realize how diverse southern Sweden really is when everyone comes out into the center!
My husband's parents met us for lunch (they live in Malmö)...each person purchased the food that they had a hankering for and we could eat together under the shade trees. YUMMY!
More was hard to take photos that captured the diversity of the festival and the colorful vending booths. I'll try harder next year! At night, the live music dominates the festival with venues for all types of music spread out throughout the center. When Maya is older....we'll check those out.

Friday, August 22, 2008

My Baby started school on Thursday....

My Baby woke up in a great mood.....Then she had some cereal for breakfast (and a warm bowl of grits with västerbotten cheese)....
Before we left, she packed her bag....
And then, in a blink of the eye, she was READY FOR KINDERGARTEN!!!
And Mommy cried because she was so happy, excited, nervous and proud that her little baby girl was starting school! It seems like only yesterday .....time sure does fly!
When Maya came home, she announced that "School was GREAT!" She seemed to enjoy all of it and had lots to tell including that she and some other kids "got lost in the cafeteria". I asked her how that could have happened and she replied, "I just wasn't paying attention to my teachers." (A good lesson on the first day as she promised to pay better attention to them on Monday!) We are VERY pleased with the two teachers she has at the school and with their program for the term. More stories come forth!

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

one more little surprise....

My good friend, Kelly Sue, (who needs to make up her own blogsite one of these days) just sent me this little goodie project! Let's do it on our next crafty day!!!!
Ipod holder

Last surprise for the day!


Here's a surprise I got in the mail yesterday! So cutie! Quack Quack...I"m sending something back! (soon) It's from Brenda, organizer of the no-stress Fabric Post Card Swap! Surprise! The little bathroom is ready for use on the "stuga" (guest house at the beach house) guest won't have to pee-pee in the little training potty or run back to the main house in the middle of the night! It will be painted it matches the rest of the stuga.
It's a composting toilet! Nothing fancy but very functional! Dad did a great job putting it all together! There is even a simple sink to wash hands and brush teeth.

No more surprises for now!

Monday, August 18, 2008

First Post card swap....

Thanks Brenda! I got my post card today!
I'll take a photo tomorrow...too tired to dig out my camera tonight.
It's so cute!

Off to work I go.....

I've often complained about my commutes to work here in's about 45 minutes one way to Helsingborg from our little village. It gets to be tedious in the rain and dark winter but the rest of the times it can sometimes be a relaxing journey with glorious sky views, luscious crops in various colors of maturity, neat and tidy farm clusters, and when I'm lucky, I'll see a wild animal or two. (deer, foxes, hawks, rabbits, swans, and even MOOSE) When I compare this commute with those I used to have in Los Angeles...well, it's really nothing to complain about at all! As long as I have a 'book on CD' or good tunes on the radio or many thoughts in my head, I'm rather content driving along these safe roads! I'm often by you can see from the photos! (Bad girl, I took these while I was driving! don't try it at home!) Oh....careful, this is the only intersection along my commute where I've witnessed a BAD accident (with a double trailer truck and car, no one badly hurt) ...the other two accidents I've ever seen were 1- at a stoplight in Helsingborg (city) and 2- with a moose at dusk. (which can be very bad!) There are relatively few traffic accidents in Sweden....stricter tests for a Driver's Licsence (must be 18 yrs./ 3 tests involved), stricter alcohol regulations and random controls (I've been breath tested 3 times, NEVER in LA!), better street conditions and yearly car inspections for all vehicles. Those are the reasons I think it's safer to drive here....
Maya is with my parents and brother for a couple of days at their summer house while Bo and I are back at work after summer holidays. Seems strange not having her (or the dog) around.....we've been eating dinner on the couch and watching the Olympics!