Sunday, December 18, 2011

Finnish specialties

I don't know the Finnish cuisine yet, only that they eat rutabaga! ugh! which to me tastes horrible and they used to prepare it as one of the must for Christmas Eve. Well, maybe it's similar as with our carp. Whenever I mention this fish to someone from abroad, they ask: and is it any good? Well, yes, for us it is, because this is our old tradition.
Anyway, I didn't make any rutabaga, but another very Finnish and very delicious food, that is lingonberry jam. In fall season the fruits were sold everywhere. They are bright red, small and round and have bitter taste. I don't like them eat raw, but the jam tastes great.
I had just a little of them and it made only one single jar of jam, but still, at least something home made for those winter days.
And so you can see here the final result of my work. It's really easy and not time consuming at all.

Here's how to make it.
Just take lingonberries, add some sugar (I use brown cane sugar) and couple of cloves to add some distinct aroma and cook it for a while - I mean until you'll get a syrupy liquid from the juice and sugar.
When it's still hot pour it to jars.



Than close them and turn lids up until they cool down.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

sunrise, sunset...

OK, I'm much better today, although nothing has changed. But well, after a bad day comes the sun, even if only in my imagination. Sun rose today at 9.19am and went back to sleep at 3.12pm. But this is what the calendar says, because we didn't see it even for a single minute. If you want to feel better and compare how long days are in your countries in December look at this page
Welcome to the Land of Darkness!

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

bad day

Maybe it's the weather - grey and rainy with the ever later mornings and earlier evenings, maybe it's the empty apartment with no sofa and what so ever in the living room or maybe it is the neighborhood we live in or maybe everything mingled together what makes me feel a bit sad, disappointed or just melancholic. I miss our previous place - not the tiny apartment - but the part of the city. Nice, old, well preserved houses, close to the see and nice parks and streets. Whenever I go there I miss it more and more and I feel bad taking the metro back home. Yes, Myllypuro is not the best place. Yesterday afternoon we walked with Wanda around. She didn't want to be at home so we took the stroller and we just walked along. It was dark of course - 5pm and wet. And it looked to me like an old Polish housing estate with apartment buildings and parking lots one next to the other. It was a very depressive feeling. Maybe even more so that I know that beautiful Kruununhaka and other nice places in town. Nice and expensive though... And maybe even more so because on Monday we visited Adam's colleague in his well furnished and decorated apartment with a river view downtown. And there were his friends, who happen to live in Kruununhaka on one of the best streets I know there. And I felt so bad mentioning our Myllypuro and having in mind, that we even don't have a sofa! I know, it's not important what you have and own only who you are, but... sometimes you simply have a bad day.

And this is, where we live:



Sunday, December 11, 2011

Big moments

While time's passing by we're slowly becoming a part of the society. Being a parent makes this assimilation even easier and faster. Comparing to our life in the States, before Wanda was born, I was living there like an outcast on a remote island. I was busy with my writing and I was completely out of the society - I wasn't working for any American employer, I didn't know any people, I felt like I could have leave that place any day and change for any other on the planet Earth. Wanda made me feel in HP like at home. And so it happens here in Helsinki. You learn the society from meeting other moms, from having your child in a day care, from things like doctor's appointments for flu shots or other issues and so on and so forth.
One of such moments we had last Saturday.

It was in the morning. Wanda with all the other kids from the day care had a performance in one of the biggest venues in Helsinki - in Finlandia Hall - designed by Alvar Aalto, the famous Finnish architect. I knew for a long time about this Christmas concert, but I first thought the kids will be the audience not the artists. But the latter was true. So, there it was. Dozens of kids in costumes ages two to six on that big stage with all the staff running around. There was the music, lights, cameras and excitement. Big moment for the kids and perhaps even bigger for the parents watching from afar. They were singing and dancing, which was so funny sometimes. The little kids were constantly forgetting what to do and when, but the preschool ones were quite good. And there was our Wanda with other toddlers - they looked so small. We were so proud of her, that she made it.



Thursday, December 8, 2011

changes

As you can notice, I've made some changes in layout. And maybe there will come some more. I'm a total dummy in creating web pages so unfortunately I didn't manage to do what I wanted. But I promise to dust off my camera and take some winter pics in Helsinki.

Monday, December 5, 2011

home made in Finland

"Home" - because to buy "Made in Finland" is too expensive or I'm too cheap to do this now. Anyway, this year I decided to make DIY Christmas decoration. I'm not particularly skilled and I didn't do anything like that for ages if not zillions of years. Sometime in elementary school perhaps and even than I wasn't that horribly great in crafts. So, why this idea? Only because of money? Yes and no. Last weekend my Finnish friend asked me to join her on a small trip to Helsinki Art School where there were students selling their arts and to another winter fair with Finnish design, arts and crafts. It was a very nice experience and tons of very nice stuff with not that nice prices. And although I only bought two pairs of earrings for myself, I've brought home some inspirations of how to make some crafts myself.
And off we go!
Here's our workshop table:
 We're cutting and ...
... hanging our hand made toys:
and some aroma from oranges and cloves:
And well, the end result was far from what I've seen on those arts and crafts fairs, but at least we had fun for more than two hours and I spent ten instead of hundred or more euros.
And there is another good thing - we won't spend Christmas here, so there is no worry Santa won't come because he will be too offended by our Xmas tree :)
Oh, and shhhh... tonight he's suppose to fly over Helsinki and drop some small gifts for kids. Remember to put your boots close to the windows so he can see them and drop one for you! - This is what I was told and what I believed when I was a very little girl and now - being a mom - I told this story to my two-years-old. Her little boots are already waiting by the window for Santa to come tonight.  Be prepared!