Thursday, March 23, 2017

Small Things

I see my neighbor walking across the field with a friend. He is doing some repair of his bee hives, cutting back some apple trees and bushes, getting ready for the honey and bee season. 

I sit on the bench by the shed, watching the laundry dry, reading and crocheting, having tea and soaking in the warmer temperature and sunshine that peeks out from the clouds every now and then. The Granny cardigan project is showing to be a real challenge. I have frogged it 3 times, and just keep on bumping into more and more hick ups as a go... I'll tell you more another day but I thing I've had it with this cardigan... 

The yellow tree is in bloom, the very first sign of spring coming around. Colorful flowers are sticking up from the ground here and there, the blue ones we call Grandma's Glasses in Swedish.

Luca Bo spends time outside, working on re-design projects like painting the decks of his skateboards. For hours he is entertained by spray cans of paint, sketching and designing. Afterwards he leaves to go skating and comes back home 2 hours later all sweaty and red of his cheeks. "This skateboard is awesome, Mama". I believe him. He made it so of course it is awesome. He is proud and I am proud too.

We have lazy mornings on the weekend, sleeping in and making scones. Izzy won't let me make the bed until late afternoon. She is a lazy primadona... eats, sleeps and goes out just for an hour or so... She is fat. Yes she is. And we love her dearly just the way she is. She is a real character. Knows when to snuggle up with you to give comfort. She always comes when someone is ill in bed. The best snuggle-up-cat ever.

I finished THE blanket. Yes I did! I sat down one evening and weaved in those ends and I was done in less than 40 minutes. Why did it take me so long? We went down to the beach front of the Geneva lake to take some pictures in the late afternoon magic light, me and Nelly Bo, but we missed the great light by 5 or 10 minutes so we just enjoyed the views for a minute and went straight back home. I'm still waiting for the perfect day to take pictures to share.

We make soup. At least twice a week. We have become the family who loves soup. Mixed veggie soup, creamy potato and leek soup, lentil soup, chicken soup, broccoli soup, zucchini soup, yellow pea and ham soup, spinach soup, Minestrone soup... We never get tired of it and it is perfect for those busy evenings with sport activities when everyone comes home at different times. 
The evenings fall and laundry is being folded while watching TV. I've kept the stars form Christmas, not sure when or if I will ever take the down. I love them so.

The time passes 10pm and soon the house is all asleep. Shutters banging in the wind wakes me up at night. It's quite annoying but I always forget to close them at night... Another sunrise arrives around 6.30 am and a new day starts. And maybe it all sounds a bit dull and boring, but lately I've come to appreciate all these small mundane things of everyday life more. They have actually become quite precious. We have had our fair share of dramas here lately, things going on behind the scenes... Why long for special moments, vacations, adventures and a better future? Life is right here, right now with the ones I love the most. And that is all that matters in the big picture, isn't it?

What were your mundane but precious moments this week? I would love to know.


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Monday, March 20, 2017

How I Use Social Media

At times I find myself running around in circles here on the blog and in my social media. Chatting a little bit here and a little bit there. Publishing a blog post, dropping a picture in my IG feed, answering a request on Facebook and replying to a sweet message in my email inbox. It can get quite confusing as of where I spoke to who and what was said on which platform.

In the old days when I only did the blog, it was easier. It was only one place where I shared my stories and pictures. Only one room to have conversations in. It was pretty straight forward. I woke up in the morning, checked my inbox, read the new comments and messages and replied. Easy peasy. But it is not like that anymore and the flow of information, messages and conversation here and there, and everywhere (Dr Seuss...) has made me want to reflect upon my habits on How I Use Social Media.

Inspired by the Blogging Your Way course that I am currently taking, I look at this as a spring clean of my social media habits and I have broken it all down in hope to find a way of structuring myself a little bit better. I also want to invite you to take part of the discussion and tell me about your habits and what works for you. It would be so helpful for me and I know you are full of advice, tips and tricks for me to take part of. So, I'm curious to know:

• How do you communicate and connect in social media?
• What is your favorite platform?
• When do you communicate?
• How much time to you spend on connecting online?

My quick answer to the above is that I blog, use Instagram and Facebook and I'm intrigued and curious about podcasts, although I'm not really watching any crafty podcasts yet. I also use Pinterest but not very often. I have never tweeted on Twitter and will never do. It is just not my thing.

I love all my platforms for different reasons:

MY BLOG is my kitchen, the heart of all my social media. This is where real conversation and sharing takes place. Kick your shoes off (or keep them on for that matter), sit down, get comfortable and have a coffee. Lets laugh, cry and get really serious... or not. Let me show you my latest project! You can stay for as long as you want to. I'm delighted to have you visiting.

MY INSTAGRAM is when I bump into you on the street. Sometimes just to say hi because I'm in a rush, but sometimes we stop for a while and share some phrases about weather, the weekend or what's up. In any situation it keeps me up to date with what you have on your agenda, what project you're working on, where your travels are taken you and how your season changes. It is also my greatest marketing tool. By far.

MY FACEBOOK is a link in between my followers and my blog. It's a news feed informing you when new blog posts are up and I also share pictures from my Instagram there, to keep you in the loop. I find it very easy to have conversations on my Facebook page and I have a loyal crowd of ladies I chat with regularly. It would be lovely to meet them all one day.

MY PINTEREST is a sleeping beauty. I never really got into this pinning thing, as I always feared I would fall into the rabbit hole of pinning away hours of my life instead of living it. However, I do use Pinterest as a search engine, inspiration tool and a place to look at beautiful things and I should probably look over my boards and start using it more frequently from a business point of view.

I FOLLOW PEOPLE mainly through one of their platforms, or maybe two. I might follow a person on her blog, Instagram and Facebook, but hardly ever do I actively VISIT all those platforms. I would say that I on first hand check their Instagram account, secondly their Blog and rarely ever their Facebook page. I feel that one is either an Instagram lover or a Facebook follower. A little bit like "coffee or tea" or "PC or Mac", you just happen to like one media more than the other, and I just happen to be an IG girl.

THE TIME I SPEND ON SOCIAL MEDIA varies. I check my own blog every day (comments, replying, stats etc). I read a couple of blog posts a day from my collection of favorite bloggers, but I don't read everything every day. When I started doing Instagram I checked it at least 20 times a day. Today I can even skip a day or two but most of the time I check it in the morning, at lunch and in the evening or when I myself decide to publish something. I also check my Facebook on a daily basis and respond to comments. I only visit Pinterest a few times a month for the above mentioned reason.

Would you like to hear more about How I Use Social Media, and if so, what would you like to know? It is all about finding balance and not letting online life take over. At the same time I am a small business owner and a part of my business is to be social online... It is a tricky one and I'm looking forward to hear your input on this.


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Saturday, March 18, 2017

Bubbles - the simple toy

I have fallen into all the trap too many times. Bought big expensive toys. Doll houses, electric cars, pirate ships with extra everything, the BIGGEST box of Pet Shops... Every Christmas and every birthday I have battled the pressure of buying something BIG. Something EXPENSIVE. Something OUTSTANDING. Something OVER THE TOP! And the stuff piles up on shelves and in boxes after a few days or weeks of use, never to be touched again... That poor little battery dog who barked, wiggled her tail and sat down... That Star Wars helmet which is just big and ugly and never really worked well with the built in microphone... But it isn't just in preparation for the big gift days that I feel this way.

We go to the grocery store and the nagging and begging starts at the toy shelf. "Please, please, please..." Only one more Pet Shop (to add to the bucket with a million others), only one more Hot Wheels car (to add to any surface, any place, any where in the house to be stumbled upon). Only one more ANYTHING. But I say no. I do. I say NO. Instead I grab some bottles of bubbles and put in my cart, to no ones delight I should add, until we get home and my children - big and small - go outside with their bubbles, and the fun is so incredibly intense. Blowing bubbles, small and big. Many. Merging them, catching them, chasing them. "Mama! Mama! Come and see! We have made the biggest bubble ever! It is bigger than Luca's head!!!"

Bubbles. What a winner. If I only had been smarter all these years and just given bubbles... Think about all the agony I would have saved myself... Think about all the money I would have saved. And think about all those hours of fun my kids would have had with such a simple toy. When it comes down to it - nothing beats simplicity.

PS Did you know that playing with bubbles actually is VERY good for your child. It helps developing fine motor, gross motor and oral motor skills, it helps with speech, with coordination and much much more. Read more here.

PS 2
My son Luca, who was born with a cleft palate, received an ordination from his doctor at a young age to play with bubbles. Through the years it has been a lot of bubble play to stimulate nerves and muscles around his mouth and lips for better movement and flexibility. Read more about Luca and his cleft palate journey here and here.


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