After tomorrow, it's Christmas. For my family it is still very much in the making. I have taken a few days off after the holidays, which means I need to be working 'til the bitter end... Today. at least I can do it from the comfort of my own kitchen.
Again, it has been an eventful fall season. Unfortunately only negative events come to my mind, although there has been, I'm sure, some good stuff, too. And good people - quality makes up for the quantity.
Again, I am making promises for the year to come. It HAS TO be a better year for us, or otherwise... I don't know. I am not ashamed to admit that we have not been feeling great here in Helsinki. Next year is decisive. If after two years, we still don't fit in, we will have to leave. Simple as that.
Had some today. It is rather fitting, too as it is Sunday and we're home: kids, dogs, me, myself and I. Maia is really into some DIY bloggers now, and never ceases to have all these wonderful ideas... This once, quite despite of myself, I was drawn into it as she soon grew tired of cutting those small stars out of tape.
We had such a good time, actually. I came to think of it: sometimes, all it takes is a few glass jars and some toothpaste for you to be able to ask the Universe just stop and hold on for you.
As you already know, I'm a bit of a cleaning freak... To say the least. I L O V E cleaning and I trying new products. Lately, I have been trying to go eco a bit and use things that are more sustainable and less toxic - both for the environment and around my house.
In Finnish 'organic' stores you find this 'soap stone' for about 10€ apiece. It lasts and lasts and lasts and lasts, and is good for all surfaces. It smells like the soap my gramma had... So, for nostalgy reasons, I especially recommend it for Christmas cleaning.
When you don't have much money, you become resourceful... Well, it is that, and the fact that we have so much small stuff already
I made a Christmas calendar for the kids with these old paperbags and inside I wrote little notes of things we'll do together: Bake ginger bread, go for a walk with the dogs (they'll go ecstatic with this one...), go to a Christmas market...
Tomorrow, the 1st of December they will open the first bag and the note inside will say: "Indian head massage". For both. By me :)
I was working from home today and I must say it really rocks. No need to hurry, no need to go nowhere. Just open your laptop and work away from the comfort of your own kitchen. The fridge is right there, should you get hungry. Those coffee refills just an arm's lenght away. My kind of office.
This being the most efficient of the ways to work, of course, I already finished with what I had for today. Just in time, as Luis just got back from school and Maia from "tech club". Let me make a cup of tea now and enjoy some quality reading: I cannot say WHAT on earth it was that made me subscribe to a magazine called "Home and kitchen"...
Last weekend we got some snow. Just a little but it's a promising start as December approaches... Who knows, maybe we'll get white Christmas this year, even in Helsinki! I guess it's goodbye grass for a while again...
Sunday morning Maia woke me up: "Mom, there's some snow on the roofs!" So we set out with the dogs with our coffee and hot chocolate cups, of course. The field behind my house is actually all the "nature" I need but yes, I could do with some more snow, please.
Dis fatso here is Bambi, all happy 'bout the Sunday mornin.
This fall has actually been rather stressy..., like anything ever changes, right? Weeks just go by so fast, days even faster, and I feel I get NOTHING done. It was Halloween like ages ago and I still haven't had the time to put ANY Christmas decorations anywhere. And I really do want to, and think about it every day. Next WEEKEND will be my momentum. I swear.
Here's, however, Maia's this year's Halloween costumesssss. She had a few, I had none and Luis just re-used Maia's long wig for a thug-look.
"Holy crap, she looks like YOU!" her father said to me after he saw the pics.
Maia's usually looked like HIM, but now things are starting to change, I guess:))
It's that time of the year... We'll probably get snow this week, even in Helsinki and generally, the memory most people have of last summer is... quite distant already. I bumped into some pics on my phone lately and saved them for a day like this when it's dark, cloudy, humid and cold. To enjoy the feel of them.
This was the preparation for Helsinki Day festivities near my work at the Senate Square. Some dudes were testing these "giants" and walking them around the square. It was an unusual sight and I stopped to take a few pics on my way to work from a meeting or something. Just shortly took my mind off everything else.
I am trying to start hoping for things to happen, because that is the best way to make sure they do...
Right now, I'm already thinking of Christmas and of how little money I have, AND I'm hoping very very hard we'd be able to travel somewhere warm. If we won't be, it doesn't matter. We'll have a nice Christmas anyway.
As I was again going through old posts, I found some great ideas for a Halloween dinner. Maia is going to have some friends over for a sleep-over on Thursday, and guess who'll be cooking.
I am going to take some short-cuts here and there, but basically it will be a re-do of this magnific dinner party we once had in D.C.. Here's a reminder in pics - you'll find the recipes in the original post.
The year after, in 2012, I went to Maia's class for pictures, that year she was a mermaid and Luis was a zombie. In 2013, as you can see, we had come to the "next level" altogether, together with our friends who were visiting from Europe :)) Maia was a vampire, Luis was a werewolf and I was... Minnie Mouse :)))
I have had a BLOG for nearly five years! Although my enthusiasm and the initial reason to start blogging have gone trough changes, I have continued to feel the need to keep them posts coming. And believe it or not, I still do. Though this year has been my quietest ever...
As I realized it's been full FIVE years (and what an a m a z i n g time we've had!) I thought to actually do some LOOKING BACK. You are welcome to come along, if you wish. It will not be all easy - as God giveth and God taketh away... All in all, I think I have been able to keep what really counts.
MY FIRST EVER POST: was about us getting ready to move to the United States.
Here's also a hilarious VIDEO I recorded before our departure.
Remember, back then, I was married and full of hope: Everything would turn out fantastic as soon as we'd be in a new country, new continent, and in the absolute dream home we'd found. It was a dream come true on so many levels. At first the kids were not too happy... but I knew they would be fine, and was I right on that one!
In 2010, I was actually already a Queen of New Beginnings.
Little did I know that there'd be so many more beginnings to come...
If you travel a lot and have to buy gifts to those back home and if those back home already have EVERYTHING and if you don't always have all the money in the world, buy stuff from grocery stores from foreign places as souveniers. I do that and it works great.
My kids love to get body wash, toothpaste, cookies and candy that are different from those we buy in Finland. Of course most products are multinational and sold everywhere but there are brands of local supermarkets and such cheap stuff to buy.
In Tallinn this October, I bought raspberry jam, tea, crackers, cookies, chocolate and candy. A week later, almost all of it is gone... Gladly, I took some pics at the store.
Hi there! My kids took to their dad's during the fall break and I took to Tallinn with Anne, a great friend of mine! She's been my friend like forever, can you believe it? We first met in 1990, so this year marks our 25th friendship anniversary. (Not that neither of us really cares about the math...)
Anyhow, the first time I ever visited Tallinn was also some 25 years ago, in 1989. It was a school trip at the very end of the Soviet era and everything was just so sad. All the buildings were ugly, all cars were Ladas and there was nothing one could eat, only Vodka. My worst memory ever is that my friend Maria and I got hysterical and could not stop laughing because it was all so ugly. Seriously. We really struggled to keep up a serious appearance but young as we were, could not. Our teachers wanted to kill us.
Today Tallinn is absolutely beautiful! The old city is medieval BUT all the rest is from the 2020s - big time! Helsinki feels like an old s**thole after Tallinn. Great restaurants, coffee shops, stores, beauty salons and groceries. All at very-VERY friendly prices. Me likey type of place. Also, to get there on a boat, to stay one night in a hotel**** and a return cost Anne and myself €97 each. Nice, eh? Enjoy the pics.