Friday, 9 January 2015


I can't think of a better way to kick off the new year than with an old love - the Mora Klok (clock).  While watching my favorite Swedish show, Historieätarna, I got inspired again by the Mora clock.  Let me say that Historieätarna is easily one of the best shows out there.  The concept is that they live, eat, dress and sleep like Swedes of a particular period in history for several days.  Sounds boring, right?  But it's not.  The production value, the way it is shot and the interaction between the two program leaders is fantastic.  I'm a little obsessed, actually.  Lotta Lundgren is stunning and it seems they make a point of showing you a little glimpse of Erik's rumpa (yes, that means what you think it means).  If you're in Sweden check it out on SVT.  Now, back to the Mora clock.
There is such an understated elegance to the Mora design and it is easy to understand why its popularity has lasted for so long.  The girls over at Remodelaholic have not only updated Mora with a fresh bright yellow look but have also shared a DIY tutorial.  Warning: this particular DIY is a little on the advanced side.  Maybe it's a project for the future.  Check it out here.

 And, again, if you are in Sweden check out Historieätarna on SVT or SVTplay.  I think you'll love it too.

Historieätarna via SVT

Wednesday, 10 December 2014


Image via Pinterest

St. Lucia is celebrated on December 13 and is a big deal here in Sweden.  Lucia essentially kick starts the Jul celebrations.  Last year I happened to be at IKEA when I first heard about the Luciatåg - or the Lucia Train.  People seemed pretty excited about it.  Excited is not a term one often finds themselves using to describe Swedes so I thought, "Wow, this is going to be fun!  My first Luciatåg, and at IKEA.  Jätteroligt!"  I had an image in my mind of people in a congaline singing Jul songs in the same spirit as Midsommar's Sma Grodorna or like the Ekdahl's Julafton in Bergman's Fanny and Alexander or even a toy train with godis.

But, I was more than a little deflated to see a group of carolers walk in dressed in white singing, well, carols.  "Oh, is this the Lucy train?"  That was the Lucy "train".  I'll tell you the reason why the Luciatåg is so dry in comparison to Midsommar and Julafton.  It usually happens in the afternoon so there is not any heavy drinking involved. Without the booze this Swedish tradition remains reserved, just like the Swedes themselves.

Click here if you want to get started practicing for the real fun.  Learn to sing Nu Är det Jul Igen, like the Ekdahls.

Friday, 5 December 2014


Pine is not the first thing associated with a Swedish Jul.  Around the beginning of December Swedes fill their homes with newly sprouted bulbs of hyacinth in white, pink or "blue".  In about a week after you water them at home they begin to flower and the house is filled with the colours and scent of a spring garden.

Photo: Angeline Eriksson

At first, I thought the whole thing was strange but now I can't imagine Christmas without them.  Here's our kitchen with our hyacinth in full bloom.

Sunday, 30 November 2014

Posh DIY Christmas Tree

Stockholm is dark this time of year.  We get about seven hours of daylight now and by Christmas that number will fall just below six hours.  If that weren't enough, we also had one of the darkest Novembers in history.  As of three days ago Stockholm had had 3.5 hours of sunlight ALL MONTH!  We were blessed with a few more hours this weekend which I think may have even doubled that number bringing us to approximately 7 hours of sun for November.  Things were getting gloomy.  I decided to get the tree up early so we could add a little cheer and light to our dark Nordic lives.


I've said it before and I'll say it again, everything in Sweden is expensive and Christmas trees (Julgranar) are no exception.  Last year the cheapest one I saw was 450 kr, which is about $70 Canadian.  So, my middle guy and the dog went to the park and collected some sticks.  We tied them in the shape of a tree and hung it in the living room.  The decorations are Brian Gluckstein Home, that we brought with us from Toronto so the only thing we paid for this year was twine.  This DIY tree is bright, makes no mess, takes up no space, cost nothing and no tree has been chopped down.  I think we may have a new family tradition.

Tuesday, 14 October 2014

Oatmeal Sunflower Seed Chocolate Chip Cookies

This recipe was born out of a need to give my kids a healthy after school snack that was budget friendly and healthy but also something that they would actually eat.  Let's face it - for those of us who try to feed our kids ultra healthy real food, we often get the food returned uneaten and/or accompanied by some remark about how gross it was.  If they don't eat it, it doesn't count.  This cookie recipe has passed the test of the picky eater and the concerned parent alike.  While it does have sugar (you can play around with this with honey or maple syrup perhaps), it also has sunflower seeds, oats and dark chocolate.  All of which are extremely good for your little ones, yes even the chocolate.

3/4 cup     unsalted, unroasted sunflower seeds - crushed (I use a hand mixer)
3/4 cup     sugar
1 cup        butter
1 tsp         vanilla extract
1               large egg

2 cups      flour
3 tsp         baking powder
1/2 tsp      salt

1 cup        rolled oats
1 cup        dark chocolate crushed or finely chopped

Preheat oven to 350 degrees

In a large bowl use a hand mixer to blend the butter, sunflower seeds, sugar, egg and vanilla.  I make the mixture as smooth as possible so that the sunflower seeds are barely detectable (you don't want them to be too aware of the nutrition).

In a separate bowl mix the flour, baking powder and salt.  Add the dry ingredients to the first mixture.  You can continue to use the hand mixer for this step.

Once it is as well mixed as possible add the oats and chocolate pieces.  Use a wooden spoon for this step.

You can either grease the cookie sheet with butter or use parchment paper.  I highly recommend the latter.  It makes things much easier.

Use a tablespoon to shape them out onto the cookie sheet.  These cookies are heartier than their not-so-healthy chocolate chip cookie cousins and are therefore less gooey and do not spread out during the baking process.  Their consistency is between a traditional cookie and that of a scone.

Bake for around 10 minutes.  I look for a little bit of a darkening of colour all around and slightly darker around the edges.