Vintervitt

 

 

 

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Barnens pepparkakshus

Såhär fina blev barnens pepparkakshus!

Ett torn – pappan och yngsta sonen grejade tillsammans

ett pyttehus gjort av dottern, med härliga blommor på taket och så skeppet som skulle bli Millennium Falcon, men som på nåt sätt blev ett skepp som kraschlandade i Liftarens guide till Galaxen och landade på en godisplanet!

Härliga hus alla tre – jag är så stolt över mina pepparkaksbagare!

 

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Changing my brain, one walk in the woods at a time

The lovely snow melted away last night, but before that it was amazing to be out walking and just enjoying our environs.

We are so fortunate to live in a part of town that is as beautiful as this, with old buildings and streets that have been here for hundreds of years.

Our church was built in the 1300s – it is amazing to think how many people have stood here and looked at the exact building!

But mainly when I go for walks I try to go out into the woods – the piece and quiet there just allows me to relax, and helps to keep my stress hormone levels down. 

About here is when I can feel relaxation take a hold of me. And I am not alone in loving to spend time in nature – more and more studies are made about the impact walks in nature is having on our brains and our health.

There is just something so liberating about not seeing any man made objects or hearing the noises of civilization.

This is where my inspiration lives.

 

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A day in blue and white

We’ve had such a relaxing Independence Day, and it turned out to be much more festive than I had thought – a friend called and suggested a walk, so we started out with my favorite walk in the nature conservation area nearby our home.

We started off by watching the ceremony by the church – men and women, each representing someone who was killed in the war, were honor guards on this solemn occasion, and a choir sang.

The war (WWII) is very much on people’s minds still here in Finland

Then it was time for a walk – perfect winter weather!

Some of us got to play Pokemon Go!

Taking a break from running around with their stick horses.

Back home again for some hot chocolate and games.

We had time for making some Christmas decorations, then it was off to the next activity.

Blue and white flags everywhere.

Our small town invited everyone to a gathering with music, poetry, and an awesome light and sound-show

Some of the buildings were lit up by pictures, all symbolizing something about Finland.

It was a really fun experience!

Even nature obliged with an extraordinarily beautiful winter’s day. Have a happy Independence Day, wherever you are!

 

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Eve of Independence

 

Tomorrow is Finland’s Independence Day, and the whole country celebrates by turning blue and white for a little while – Happy 100 years, Finland! Here’s to many more!

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It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas. A lot!

 

 

 

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Snow – it’s fun while it lasts! (or until I grow bored with this whole concept of winter…)

White and snowy and so lovely this morning. Right now it is dark and rainy and looks more like autumn than anything else! Sometimes winter looks better in pictures than in real life, and this is one of those days!

 

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Feeling the urge for Christmas and christmassing and everything that goes along with that!

I don’t know what happened, but we actually made some Christmas ornaments yesterday! Pics to come once I get them photographed. Our ornaments are so cute, the kids and I had such a fun time making them!

It might have something to do with the nights being just so long and so dark here in southern Finland in November, and also that I have hardly visited a store for ages and haven’t seen all the too early-Christmas items for sale. This year I kind of feel the urge to decorate for Christmas much earlier than I usually do.

So far, I’ve managed to get a hold of myself, and I light so many candles every day and keep my trigger happy hand away from the Christmas music button on Spotify. But next weekend the gloves come off, and the Christmas ornaments come out from their boxes under the stairs!

It’s just too dark here to not have glittery shiny things all around us.

P.S. Lately I’ve been really focused on the differences between English and Swedish, and one thing is we don’t have that debate about the word Christmas that you do (although we do have equally stupid debates about stupid things because people often want to misinterpret things). The word sticks out when you write in English – in Swedish it is just so simple. We still call the holiday Jul (Yule) in spite of it supposedly nowadays being a Christian holiday, and in spite of nobody remembering what the word originally meant. That is a perfect solution to a tricky question, because nobody gets offended by a word they don’t even know the meaning of!

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Age limits

I don’t always adhere to age limits. I let my teenager watch horror movies with me. I let my kids watch RuPaul’s Drag race, despite the sometimes sexual content and explicit language, but the thing is – I do this together with them. I make an assessment as to whether they are mature enough to handle it (my teenager concerning horror – no problem, the two youngest when they are the same age – doubtful).

But the thing is – the age limits are there for a reason, and if you as an adult let your kids do and watch things that they are too young for, that has consequences. Not only for your own kids, but for mine too.

There is a reason there is an age limit on certain parts of the media.

 

Whatsapp has an age limit of 16. Mainly because of advertisements, if I understood it correctly, but from what I’ve seen it is definitely not an app that any children under 13 should use. Children I know whose parents are convinced their child is the most conscientious one, one who would never lie to their parents, erase threads on the app because they know their parents will look through the thread and become upset.

Whatsapp is a great app to use for adults to make appointments, to keep up with each other, but it is not a good app for children! If you as an adult think your child is only using the app to find out about homework, then you are living an illusion. Kids write bad language, they scare each other with scary stories, they bully each other and say mean things about one another.

Snapchat has an age limit of 13 . People tend to think that what someone sends on snapchat disappears immediately, but that is not strictly true. You can always make a screenshot, and besides – the very fact that snapchat supposedly is fleeting, makes it the perfect instrument for bullying.

Instagram also has an age limit of 13. This might be because of advertising, but I don’t think it’s healthy for kids under the age of 13 to be so obsessed with selfies and how they look that some seem to be. This also affects the whole culture in the school your kid is at. If everyone uses filters and tries to look their best in pictures – that can be a huge problem, that spreads to the whole community. Pre-teens and teens are already sensitive to comments about their looks, so what happens when you feel the need to get likes for your selfies all the time?

Grand Theft Auto, GTA had an age limit of 18 This is a game many small children are playing, especially young boys. It teaches an atrocious worldview that is extremely sexist, and when you let your kids play it you give them allowance to use foul language, to behave badly and that seeps into your kids interactions with other children. Don’t think that it doesn’t! The kids pick up the language, they pick up the sexism and then they get a new worldview which makes them treat their fellow human beings as less than that.

 

I get it. It is so much easier to say yes to your kid than say no. Saying no demands effort. You have to stand your kid whining about something, and you might even have to have a long conversation with your kid, and you are tired from working and from all the stressful events that an adult life entails, and you just want to watch TV or read a book and have some peace and quiet.

But guess what. Saying yes all the time doesn’t work.

The thing that is missing from saying yes to your kid is the big picture. The goal of your parenting.

If your goal of parenting is to create a passable human being who goes out into the world not minding others, mainly thinking about their own needs and wants and being really insecure – then go ahead, say yes all the time, because here’s the thing – life doesn’t work that way. There are consequences when you are an adult and bully someone. There are consequences if you are an adult and never clean your house. There are consequences for all your actions when you are an adult, also when you give in to your child’s whining.

Saying no takes courage. Saying no takes that little effort that you didn’t know you still had in you, but if you keep the end goal in sight, you might notice that perhaps you managed to say no that one time, and the next time, it perhaps got a little bit better, a little bit easier. You might have even had a long conversation with your child about values and how to treat other human beings with respect,  because your end goal will hover in your conscious or unconscious mind – creating a human being who is respectful, who has empathy, who takes care of themselves and their property, and who is a contributing member of society.

That should be your end goal. What kind of an adult do you want to raise?

And if you are too tired to even think about what it is your child wants this time – remember the age limits are there for a reason. Most of the time they are there because psychologists and other childcare experts have put them there, and if you don’t have the energy to watch TV/play games/check out what your kid writes on an app – go with the age limits.

In that way both your kid and mine get a better environment to grow up in. One where my kid won’t be the one who keeps hearing ”What kind of a weird mom do you have who won’t let you have Whatsapp?”

 

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Unreliable Narrators-interview & The Vessel of Ra

So many things I want to write about, so little time. I came home from the Writing Excuses cruise in August filled with ideas for millions of blog posts. But there is just not enough time for me to sit down and actually do the blog posts, other than in my head at times when I’m far away from the computer. There’s just been so much writing this fall – first I did the Writing the Other-course, and then it was almost time for NaNoWriMo (which I’ve already won, yay!). I’ve haven’t even had time to read all the wonderful books that I bought on the cruise, but as I finish them I will post about them here on the blog.

My time this fall has been spent

1. trying to learn how to see with my new glasses (I still have double vision)

2. going for long walks trying to get rid of the headaches caused by the glasses

3. writing

4. listening to podcasts about writing

…and then family stuff of course! It’s been an overwhelming period, mainly because of the health issues I’ve had all fall, but now it feels as if I’m on the better side of that. I even have a sort of Christmassy feeling already – and I almost never look forward to Christmas, so this is really huge!

Anyway, when we were at the cruise, Niklas and I were interviewed by the lovely Catherine Schaff-Stump and Chris Cornell – you can listen to the interview here (we’re 24 minutes in, I think).  It was so nice meeting you guys, and spending that day in St Petersburg with Chris! I hope we’ll meet again sometime, if we ever get the means to get on another writing cruise or something similar. Their podcast is called Unreliable Narrators and you can find it here.

We had dinner with Cath on the cruise, and talked about how much I love reading YA and Cath was nice to send me her new novel The Vessel of Ra.

It’s YA, set in the 1800s about magical families in Venice involving Egyptian Gods – that’s a nice mix! Catherine is an accomplished writer who definitely knows her way around sentences, and her characters are so interesting. Plus magic, in Venice – one of the most magical places on earth!

Go check it out here.

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