Our summer in pictures

Oh yes, let’s start with this one! It was the first of May. Vappu. When everyone goes out to have a picnic or start the barbecue season but this year our backyard looked like this. The spring was unbelievably cold and this was the crown of it all. As they say, summers in Finland are cold and have only little snow.

In May we had some nice visits to the Helsinki center, underground electrical station and to see presidential funeral among other things. The underground electrical station was so much fun and such a special opportunity but when my son was asked afterwards about the best part of that day he replied it was getting in to that digger you can see there. 😀

I also got out with friends a couple of times and had some dates with the husband. I ate some nice lunches and dinners and had an opportunity to drink my coffee hot for a change.

In June it was finally warm enough to go swimming outside and have some ice cream (like everyday :D). We bought new furniture to our terrace and used them regularly. I love eating outside. Everything seems to taste better there!

The boy got a new sandbox to our backyard and was extremely happy about it. 😊

The next picture was the story of my life this summer. I made this meme early June and sent it to the husband like every day. It says: all kids are sleeping … were sleeping. Since as soon as I got every one asleep and brewed a coup of coffee and was ready to sit down and take a sip, someone was already awake. Like every time.

I didn’t have time to do much in the garden this year. All the weeds were growing wild and free but I try not to worry about it. This is Midsummer rose and the photo is taken on Midsummer when it was blooming beautifully.

The summer was not only sunshine and happiness. First of all it was quite cold and rainy but we also had to take our babies to the hospital a couple of times since they were not feeling well but it was luckily nothing serious. I also took them to cafés and restaurants so that they would get used to it from early on.

Looking back this summer is actually quite emotional. The babies were so little. We did not do as much different activities that I had hoped for but we invited lots of visitors to our home which was nice. I learnt that you don’t have to be always going to places and taking trips and visits as I have done previously. Staying at home with friends and family members is also very nice. Actually we had a good summer. Very good one.

Here was our May and June! This one got so long already that I’ll continue with July and August later.

Have a lovely week!

Mannamaria

Everyday meal ideas

It often seems that all blogs and cook books are full of ideas of what to eat during the weekend, or when friends come over or you’re having a party. In my opinion cooking is easy during the weekend when you have more time.

I’m always struggling with the everyday meals. I feel like I’m making the same dishes week after week. I don’t seem to find new ideas for dishes that wouldn’t take more that 30 minutes of my time preparing. With two babies that really is the maximum time I can spend on cooking in the evening.

My criteria for a good everyday meal are:

  • Shouldn’t take more that 30 minutes to make. Some days I can only use 10-15 minutes.
  • Preferably a big dish that we can eat two days in a row. Soups are always a good idea!
  • As healthy as possible.
  • Vegetarian dish is always a good idea. I’d be vegetarian if I knew how to cook more vegetarian dishes.

Yesterday I made Janssonin kiusaus or Jansson’s frĂ€stelse or Janssons Temptation. It’s one of those dishes I always forget that exists, then I make many of them in a short period of time and then I forget it again.

It is not healthy or vegetarian but it only takes about 5 minutes to put together and tastes delicious. My son loves it. The instructions are at the bottom of this post. Traditionally it’s served with beet root but since it’s quite heavy meal itself I like to make a green salad with it. Sometimes I don’t have time to put the salad together so I just chop some vegetables to the side.

What is your favorite everyday dinner? I welcome all ideas!

Mannamaria

 

I used a large lasagna pan for this one.

 

When I’m making this during the week I buy the ready made potato&onion mix from the freezer. During the week end, with more time, I peel and chop the potatoes to sticks myself.

Here are the instruction if you want to try. You can also check allrecipes.com though their recipe is a little different.

Jansson’s Temptation

You’ll need

1,2 kg potatoes and 2 yellow onions OR

1,5 kg peeled and chopped to sticks potatoes and onion mix from the freezer.

2 cans of sprat/ European anchovy fillets (2x125g/80g)

2 dl double cream

2 dl whole milk

Directions 

  • Preheat the oven to around 200C/400F/Gas 6
  • Layer 500 g of potato and onion mix in the bottom of the ovenproof dish. Then top with the first can of anchovy, the next layer is 500 g potato and onion mix again and then the second can of anchovy fillets. Top with the last 500 g of potatoes and onions.
  • Mix cream, milk and the sprat juice from one of the anchovy cans and pour it over the dish.
  • Bake for about an hour. After one hour the dish is cooked but it’s not mushy as I like it. I like to keep it in the oven for 2 or even 3 hours but turn off the oven at some point. If I’m busy and I usually am… I take the dish out after one hour, give everyone a portion and then put it back to oven.

Sauna at the Heart of Family Life – My Article

I have some exciting news! This summer I was contacted by Sutchitra Parker from phdmama. She asked me to be a guest writer in their new global and multicultural parenting magazine, the Parent Voice,.

I was excited about this opportunity and decided to write my first article about Finnish family sauna since it’s such an integral part of our culture.

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I have shown you photos of our sauna building and it has raised many questions previously.

In the article I write about my childhood memories and what traditions I want to transfer to my children. I have also included some fun facts there. Like, did you know that there are more saunas than cars in Finland?

You can find the full article here.

Have a nice week end!

Mannamaria

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A moment in my twinlife – crispy morning 

Crispy morning. The air is clear and cool. I breath in and out. It smells like autumn. I’ve put the babies in their stroller for their first nap. 

I have a cup of hot coffee in my hand. With the other hand I push and rock the stroller back and forth. Back and forth.

In a distance I hear the highway humming. People are rushing to work. But my backyard is calm and quiet. It’s so early that the birds must still be sleeping. No wait. They’re up. Singing loudly now that I’m listening. Maybe it’s not that early.

Some children pass by. They’re going to school. They are carrying their too big backpacks and have messy, too long, hair under their caps. They’re looking down and kicking rocks. They seem sad. I wonder if everything is ok with them.

I push the stroller. Back and forth. Back and forth.

I take a sip of my coffee. It’s not that hot anymore. Some days this is the only moment when I can drink my coffee in peace. I try to enjoy it slowly. 

I wish I had dressed up already so I could go for a walk. But I’m still wearing my pajamas. I had slept 4 or 5 hours the night before. It’s too early for me  to be up but the babies have already been awake for about an hour and a half. I’m tired but the fresh air helps me wake up.

The morning is cold so I have put my woolen shawl on for the first time this year. My toes are getting cold in my slippers.

The babies fall asleep. I finish my coffee. I go in and start the day.

Mannamaria

Little Accomplishments

Sometimes, especially when you feel exhausted with life, it’s good to stop and look around. Concentrate on the positive. And see the things that we’ve accomplished instead of all that we still have on our to do lists.

Toisinaan, erityisesti silloin jos elÀmÀ tuntuu hengÀstyttÀvÀltÀ, on hyvÀ pysÀhtyÀ ja katsoa ympÀrilleen. KeskittyÀ positiivisuuteen. Ja nÀhdÀ saavutukset tehtÀvÀlistojen sijaan.

Maggie from the blog Dreaming of Guatemala has been doing these Little Accomplishments posts for some time now and I have admired her positivity in them. Here is my SAHM version of little accomplishment and as Maggie says it: “Let’s celebrate all of life’s joys – no matter how small!”

Maggie blogista Dreaming of Guatemala on tehnyt kirjoituksia pienistĂ€ saavutuksistaan jo jonkun aikaa ja mĂ€ olen ihaillut hĂ€nen positiivisuuttaan etÀÀltĂ€. TĂ€ssĂ€ tulee mun kotiĂ€itiversio nĂ€istĂ€ pienistĂ€ saavutuksista. Niin kuin Maggie sen sanoo: “juhlistetaan elĂ€mĂ€n pieniĂ€ iloja – riippumatta siitĂ€, kuinka pieniĂ€ ne ovatkaan!”

It’s only Tuesday but this week I have already… On vasta tiistai mutta tĂ€llĂ€ viikolla olen jo…

Bought the first Christmas presents! There was a move out sale in one book store and I found some children’s book classics that I got for all of my children. And my sister’s children. And my godson. And.. ok, that was it.

Ostanut ensimmÀiset joululahjat! Kirjakaupassa oli muuttomyynti ja löysin joitain lastenkirjaklassikkoja, jotka ostin kaikille meidÀn lapsille. Ja siskon lapsille. Ja kummipojalle. Ja.. no ok, siinÀpÀ se olikin. 

Harvested the first zucchinis! I told you before (here) that I have hard time keeping my plants alive. But I have found the one plant that survives even at my care. It’s zucchini! My mother planted me a small zucchini sapling this spring and told me to water it well. I didn’t water it. Even once. But thank you rainy summer! I have so many zucchinis I don’t know what to do with them.

KerĂ€sin ensimmĂ€iset kesĂ€kurpitsat! Kerroin aiemmin (tÀÀllĂ€), ettĂ€ en tahdo saada millÀÀn pidettyĂ€ mun kasveja elossa. Nyt olen kuitenkin löytĂ€nyt kasvin, joka selviÀÀ jopa mun hoidossa. Se on kesĂ€kurpitsa! Äiti istutti meidĂ€n pihaan kesĂ€kurpitsan taimen kevÀÀllĂ€ ja sanoi, ettĂ€ muista vain kastella. En kastellut. Kertaakaan. Mutta kiitos sateinen kesĂ€! Saatiin tosi paljon kesĂ€kurpitsaa. PitÀÀ vaan keksiĂ€, mitĂ€ nĂ€istĂ€ kaikista tehdÀÀn. 

Cooked two healthy meals for the family. I mean two out of two days is quite good? At this point of my life, cooking well is not always an option. But here it is, as a proof, my simple chicken salad.

Kokkasin kaksi terveellisestÀ ateriaa perheelle. Kaksi kahdessa pÀivÀssÀ on aika hyvÀ, eikö niin? NykyisessÀ arjessa ei oikeasti terveellisiÀ ruokia ehdi aina tehdÀ, joskus mennÀÀn kalapuikoilla. Mutta tÀssÀ on todiste, mun simppeli kanasalaatti.

Picked some chanterelles. I have been wanting to go mushroom picking for a month now and today I finally got to the forest. Ok, I had only 15 minutes and I only found some handfuls of them but they were a great base for my second healthy meal of the week which was vegetarian pasta. (I know, pasta may not be the healthiest choice but it didn’t have any cream or other unhealthy ingredients in it)

KerÀsin myös kanttarelleja. Oon halunnut mennÀ kantarellimetsÀÀn jo kuukauden mutta tÀnÀÀn vihdoin pÀÀsin. KieltÀmÀttÀ se oli vaan vartti ja löysin vaan pari kourallista mutta ne kÀvi hyvin viikon toiseen terveelliseen ateriaan, joka oli vegepasta. (TiedÀn joo, ettÀ pasta ei ole kaikista terveellisin vaihtoehto mutta tÀssÀ ei kuitenkaan ollut kermaa tai muuta epÀterveellistÀ)

Downloaded an app called Momzie. It’s like a Tinder for moms. 😀 I have been chatting with some very nice moms there. It’s such a great idea and a great way to meet new mom friends nearby.

Latasin sovelluksen nimeltĂ€ Momzie. Se on niin kuin Ă€itien Tinder. 😀 Olen jutellut muutamien mukavien Ă€itien kanssa siellĂ€. TĂ€mĂ€ sovellus on hauska idea ja kiva tapa tutustua muihin lĂ€histöllĂ€ oleviin Ă€iteihin.

 

Emptied the laundry basket. It’ll be full in an instant again but I have been doing soooo much laundry the past days that at least at this moment I can say, it’s empty!

Tyhjensin pyykkikorin. Toki se tÀyttyy hetkessÀ mutta olen pessyt niiin paljon pyykkiÀ tÀssÀ pari pÀivÀÀ, ettÀ ainakin just tÀllÀ hetkellÀ voin todeta, se on tyhjÀ!

Found some great stuff from sale and flea market! Finding high quality clothes for a low price always makes me unbelievably happy!

Löysin tosi hyviÀ juttuja alesta ja kirpparilta! Laadukkaiden vaatteiden löytÀminen edukkaaseen hintaan saa mut uskomattoman hyvÀlle tuulelle!

Please let me know your little accomplishment! Jaa ihmeessÀ omat pienet saavutuksesi!

Have a lovely week! Mukavaa viikkoa!

Mannamaria

What’s going on in the garden? 

Today I did little photographing in our garden. I don’t have a green thumb. Not even close. Last year, after living here for one year, our cherry tree died. I don’t know how that’s possible. How can a big tree that has stood there for years die all of a sudden? Oh well.. at least I get a chance to plant some new tree there. Something else than a cherry.

These little guys are some kind of Myosotis. They live wild everywhere but I think they are beautiful. When you look at them from far away they look like a blue sky or a  sea.

We have two different kinds of Rhododendrons. Both of them are in bad condition. I should probably take care of them some way but I don’t know what to do with them. I think they might end up having the same destiny as the cherry tree if I don’t figure out something soon. They are pretty and I hope I can save them somehow.

I guess this next one is called English Hawthorn or Paul’s Scarlet. It will be very beautiful when the buds open but we’re not there yet.

This one you all know. It’s an apple tree. I took this photo couple of days ago. Our apple tree is the kind that has three different breeds in it. I don’t know what they are. It was in a bad condition when we moved in here and we have been cutting it a lot. I think it will either go with the cherry tree and rhododendrons or bloom amazingly in a year or two.

This is a ‘Bleeding heart’. It’s said to bloom very early in the spring but this year it’s blooming now. While googling the English name for this I learnt that it’s native to Siberia, Northern China, Korea and Japan. No wonder I don’t have any problems keeping this one alive.

Dandelion. I was actually planning a post “When your garden gives you dandelions – make an anadem”. I would like to learn to eat them and stuff but the only thing I use them for are anadems. Needless to say I didn’t have time to finish the anadem I started and the flowers went bad so no post about anadems this time.

In the last photo there is just some random tree that has white flowers. I tried to google it but didn’t find it. I kind of like it though.

I’m dreaming about a well kept garden that has some fruit trees and woody shrubs with berries. When the kids are older I would like to have a vegetable garden and a place to grow my herbs. Maybe even a small green house. Also I’d like to double the size of our terrace, have some part of it glazed and add a hot tub. Little this and that as you can see. 😀

One day, but not within the next couple of years, we will renovate this whole backyard and then I will make all of my garden dreams come true.

But before that I must learn to keep my plants alive. 😀

How is your garden or how would your dream garden be like?

Mannamaria

Lately

The boy started his summer holiday this week. It means I’m busier than ever at home and haven’t been able to update this blog as much as I had hoped. I don’t want to take extra stress about this so I think I will update it a little more seldom during the summer and get back to more frequent posting schedule in August.

Some things and happenings from this week…

Last Sunday I put the first baby items on sale. I photographed a changing table and a Manduca baby carrier. In four hours they were picked up. I was surprised how well it worked! Now I have looked for some other stuff to put online. I hope they sell as fast as the first items!

With the twins we don’t have much time to do any renovating. We should for example renew our terrace but maybe next year. Currently we simply don’t have the time or energy. That’s why I’m quite proud that we managed to build the sandbox this week. The boy has been really excited about it. He also got a big digger and he loves it. He has been very dirty every day when he comes in and we have sand everywhere in the house and garden. Oh well…

I have worked hours and hours in the garden fighting with weeds. We bought this house from an old couple who hadn’t taken care of the garden for years. It was in a very bad condition. We don’t have the energy to renew it yet but we try to keep it from getting worse. But even that is soooo much work! I had imagined that we basically just have to mow the lawn but I was naively wrong about that. For someone who has only lived in flats before (đŸ™‹đŸ»), all this garden work feels quite exhausting.

We bought a new dining table and a hanging umbrella to our terrace. If only someone would renovate the terrace itself.

We have tested the new table many times this week and we love it.

The boy learnt this week that there is an ice-cream van. A van that drives around near our home and sells only ice cream! What could be better than that! Needless to say we had to visit.

One day we arranged all toy cars that we could find on the floor. Nearly 100. Not as bad as I had thought.

The baby boy got his first two teeth. I can’t believe he’s that big already!

I also took some photos of our garden and put them there at the end of this post!

Have a lovely weekend!

Mannamaria

I found that horse shoe last year from the flowerbed. In couple of weeks we found out we were expecting twins.