Saturday, April 30, 2011

Finnish Friday...

Things have been a bit they always are, I guess. This week I will share a few pictures, and next week will have a story or recipe to share.  Hopefully I will find make the time to sneak in a post or two during the week as well :-)

Beautiful "Horsma"
It is considered a 'weed', but I like to think of it as a beautiful wildflower. The purple Horsma filled fields were so breathtaking. I don't remember it from my first journey in 2002, but I am sure it was there. I am sure I saw some last fall when my hubby and I took a day trip up north for our anniversary...I'd love to have it growing wild in our backyard, up on the hill...

Granite Heart
I love to find heart shaped 'things'. Things that normally wouldn't be heart shaped, but for some reason they are, and they catch my eye. They always make me smile a little. It's the little things, right? This photo was taken at Koli National Park.

A Lovely Lamppost
I just like this picture. It was taken at the home of another Finnish friend (sister-in-law/brother-in-law of my Finnish 'sister').

Friday, April 15, 2011

Finnish Friday - This is for you, Henna!

During my stay in Finland last summer, I learned that many of the items in my friend Henna's beautifully decorated home were from IKEA. When I told her that I had never been to IKEA, she was shocked - mostly because I also told her that there is an IKEA that is just over an hour drive from my home. News of this spread to her sisters-in-law and other family members...

Here is a little more background information as to the 'shock'. The closest IKEA to Henna is in Helsinki. She normally goes with one of her sisters-in-law. They drive for about 5 HOURS to get to IKEA! It is a full day-trip for them. Thus, the shock that I have one so close, yet had never been there.

Well, this past Sunday...

I finally made it to IKEA! (note: the yellow mustang doesn't belong to us :-) My mother-in-law and sister-in-law took me and we had a great time! They have other photo evidence of our trip still on their cameras, so I may have an update when I get them. We started with lunch; I had the Swedish Meatballs with Mashed Potatoes and Lingonberry sauce and a Salad. It was fantastic! I cleaned my plate, and wanted more...

(I should've taken a picture, but my batteries died - so here's a link...yum...)

We shopped and shopped and shopped. I didn't go too crazy, but I got some useful things for our home, and stayed within my $70 budget. After 4 hours of shopping, I couldn't leave without a snack from the Bistro...I'll admit - I got the 2 Hot Dogs, Chips and Soda was a delicious treat! Although, I shared half a Dog with my sister-in-law, because I just couldn't fit it all in :-)

The next trip will be with my mom - she has yet to make her first visit to IKEA!

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Day 1

I have decided that today is the first day of a journey to becoming a new me. Or maybe I should call it a journey to creating a new me. The old me started to slip away about 7 or 8 years ago, and at one point along the way, she disappeared. I understand that I am technically still "me", but who I have become is not me. Not who I want to be, anyways. I gave up on me in order to take care of everyone else, and it's not working. I've not been happy, and it has affected other people in the same way, and neither of us are happy.

Last night was a turning point, and my life is going to change. Our lives are going to change.

There is more to me than what I have become. While I love my children and my husband, I need to love myself too. Otherwise, how can I give it my all, be a good example to my children, and truly enjoy life? And to love myself, I need to find an individuality that is all my own. I need to create that balance in life that allows me to not only be "mom" or "wife" or "housekeeper" or whatever, but also be "me". I want that for my husband also. We are going to work together as a team to find the true happiness we desire.

One of my biggest issues is that I have become a machine that works on auto-pilot to try and keep things up at home. Most of my outings consist of grocery shopping, and my other time is spent caring for the children (and my part-time daycare children), cleaning, cooking, laundry, paying bills, etc. When I left my full-time job last year I knew I would be giving up certain things, I just didn't realize the impact it would have on me. In my job I had worked with hundreds of students everyday. I think the lack of adult interaction is hurting me. Between my job at home, and my husband's Wed-Sat work week with unpredictable hours, I just tend to give up on most attempts to get out, when the chance arises. My husband's job allows him adult interaction, and the weekdays he is home and I have daycare kids allows him the time to work on his projects, but I know he still wants to bring back a part of himself. He is a sculptor. He loves to sculpt, and invest, and cast (bronze) his sculptures. I think his work is amazing, but the past few years have brought about very few sculptures.

We are so excited to work out our plan to ensure that we are getting the time we need to be together, the time we need to be ourselves, the time to create memories with our children, and the ability to keep up the household duties with minimal effort.

It all goes way deeper than what I have written here, but that's for another time, or maybe not. Either way, we are at a new starting point, and while today has just been an ordinary day at home with the kids - my mindset is changing, so it IS a start. My hubby's homework for me today was to create a list of the things I want to do. I told him I've actually had a list for a long time that I've hidden away, with only one thing crossed off. He said I should dig it up and add to it, or just make a new one. Some of the items still apply, but I know most of it has changed. He then stated I should work on one thing at a time (for a couple weeks), decide if it's working for me or not, then continue or cross it off and start something new. I didn't have homework for him because he has already decided to start a sculpture to have ready for the next bronze casting, at the community college where he assists the teacher with the procedure. I am excited for him to get into it because I know it's his thing. Now, to find a thing to call my own...

Tomorrow will be step 1. This sounds silly, but we are going to create an adult "chore chart". It will be in the form of a calendar though, since my daycare schedule varies each week. This will help to divide the housework up a bit, as well as other regular tasks, in an attempt to create more time for each of us to partake in our own hobbies. Hopefully we can start this week...I will update as to how it is coming along.


Friday, April 1, 2011

Finnish Friday

This week will feature a 'recipe' that became one of my favorites when I was in Finland last summer. It's very simple...yet SO YUMMY!

There's not really a name for these, but I'll call them bacon-wrapped-cream cheese stuffed-mushrooms. In Finland, my friend used cream cheese w/chives, but I modified it just a bit. I haven't listed measurements, so use as much as you'd like to create the flavor you prefer.

Large Mushrooms
Cream Cheese, softened

Fire up the grill so it's hot and ready.

Chop the chives and garlic; mix with the cream cheese.

Clean the mushrooms, then pop the stems off.

Fill with the cream cheese mixture.

Wrap bacon around the mushrooms. 2 pieces for the really large mushrooms, 1 if they are a bit smaller.

Stick with a toothpick to hold the bacon on while grilling.