Monday, February 28, 2011

a couple hours in the pit

The ball pit, that is.
I took the youngest 3 to a playground-climbing-fun-house-type-thingy today. Our first time at one in Finland.
P2230018
It was 65km away.
P2230024
We got there about 20 minutes after it opened, and it was b-u-s-y. It got even busier during the 2 hours we were there. I guess everyone had the same idea as us.
P2230025
Stefan’s sister-in-law and here family showed up a few minutes after us. Completely coincidentally.
The kids had a sweaty blast, and that was the whole point.
Happy Monday!
Barb
PS. Looking at the pictures you can’t tell how busy it was, so you’ll have to trust me on that one.
PPS. Sorry for the crummy quality of the photos . . . . I forgot to take my camera, but found the old one in the glove compartment. And, there’s no editing because I can’t figure out the new stuff I have on my computer since I got it back.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

my oscar take

For the first time ever, I have seen all the movies nominated for Picture of the Year. Here’s what  I thought of them, starting with my favourites ad working my way down the list:
The King's Speech – Stefan and I both liked this film. Colin Firth and Geoffrey Rush were great. I love period pieces. I know all the buzz is that it’s the Oscar favourite, and I hope it wins.
True Grit – This one is probably getting bonus points because it was the only one we saw in the theater, and that always makes movies better. I thought Jeff Bridges was really good.
The Social Network – I really enjoyed the quirky, socially awkward-ness with which Mark’s character was portrayed. I thought it was well written.
The Fighter – Generally, I liked this movie. I found some of the relationships hard to figure out. I think Christian Bale did a fantastic job (hope he wins for best supporting actor).
Inception – I was really confused at first, but by the time the concept had settled itself in my brain, I really liked the movie. I’m not really sure how Sato(?) went from being a bad guy at the beginning to a good guy, though. . . .
Toy Story 3 – Another great animated film. Joel has watched it many times.
127 Hours – I thought this was basically a pretty good movie, except for the parts when I had to look away . . . . plus, I was confused about who some of the people were that Aron was thinking about . . .
Winter's Bone – Just okay for me. The storyline could’ve been laid out better so the audience would have a better idea why the girl was in danger when looking for her dad. And, I understand he was “cookin’”, but was it ever known what exactly he was cookin’? Did I miss that? Or am I too naïve?
Black Swan – Sorry. I just didn’t get it. Too dark. Too depressing. And I had no idea what she was imagining and what was real. I didn’t like that. At all. But Natalie Portman will probably win Best Actress.
The Kids Are All Right – I was going to say I hated it, but that would be unfair . . . I could not get past the first 10-15 minutes. The sex scenes were gratuitous and explicit and not necessary. I turned it off.
Well, that’s my little opinion. I originally thought I might get up early to watch the Oscars live on TV, but as midnight nears, I’m thinking I’ll probably enjoy sleeping more and just read the headlines online in the morning;)
Barb












Saturday, February 26, 2011

breaks

Well, I seem to have taken a week’s break from social media . . . I was off Facebook and Blogger this past week, sorta intentionally, but also just cuz we’ve been kinda busy.
We are now on Sportlov (Sports Break) – the nordic version of Spring break. I actually started at 1.15pm on Thursday (since I no longer work on Fridays). So far we have no real plans other than dental appointments.
Mattias went to a birthday party last night and spent 5 hours today at an outdoor event in a local village . .. sledding, snowmobiling, etc. Joel has gone to a sleepover at a friend’s house. Tomorrow, we’re expecting guests  when my broken and now fixed computer gets returned . . . I’m soooo dumb. I got myself a trojan horse on my computer when I was trying to find a good link for the last few minutes of a CSI episode. *banging head on wall* I know better than to just indiscriminately click on links.
Which brings me to backing up data: I had all photos up to September 2010 onto the external hard drive, so I started to panic a bit. Fortunately, I haven’t deleted pics on my camera since mid-November . . . so it would’ve only been about 6 weeks lost. But our friend assured me he would be able to save everything on my computer:) Yay!
So, now I’m working on the old computer. Which is frustrating because the screen isn’t wide enough . . . I can’t see everything I’m typing.
And the spacebar doesn’t always respond.
I actually have to edit/proofread.
Back to our plans. I think I will wake up ridiculously early on Monday to watch the Oscars. They air at about 3am here:)
Stefan and I go to the dentist on Tuesday. Then, his niece’s 9th birthday in the evening.
On Wednesday, Mattias is getting more orthodontic work done – train tracks on the bottom.
Hopefully, we’ll spend some time with relatives visiting Monäs from Sweden.
Hmmmm . . . that’s about it for now.
Nice stream of consciousness, eh? (Do you like that touch of Canadian flair?)
Gotta go . . .  Melodifestivalen starts in 8 minutes:)
Barb

Friday, February 18, 2011

happy friday!

Stefan and I are in Helsinki for the weekend! His parents arrived home from their holiday in Israel in the wee hours between Thursday and Friday, so we took full advantage of available babysitters and took off for a couple days. Our main purpose is to go to the boat show tomorrow.

Here's something I haven't done for awhile:




1. Have you worn the same outfit more than one day in a row?I'm pretty sure I have, but I can't remember exactly. Probably some days when I've just been at home, without any plans of seeing anyone outside the family.

2. If you had to choose any LARGE city to live in, which would it be?Uhm, Vancouver, of course. The most beautiful city in the world. Except, maybe, when it's raining.

3. Fly or drive with the kids on vacation?. I choose driving. Anyone who knows me IRL knows how much I hate flying. Lately, I take prescription drugs for anxiety when flying, and while that is very helpful for me, it's not so helpful for anyone else in my travelling party:) I have actually looked into how it would work for us to drive to EuroDisney in Paris from here in middle Finland:)

4. What is your idea of "spring cleaning"?Let me preface this by saying I hate cleaning, but I love me a clean house. In the spring, it becomes abundantly clear that the windows need cleaning, and I also try to make sure to get all the bedding done, including airing out the duvets and pillows, and I'll usually rearrange furniture while doing some thorough cleaning.

5. What is the best book you have ever read?I love reading and getting totally engrossed in books while reading, but once done, I forget what it was about. This actually works out quite well for me because I can reread books on my bookshelf with only a vague recollection of the characters and plot:)

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

weird stuff

Yesterday evening when I drove home from work the temperature was –29C/-20F. Yikes. That’s cold.
This morning (late morning . . . 11am) when I went to work, it was –23C/-9F.
Really? Is this necessary?
And, it was snowing. Just a bit. But seriously.
Really?
Here’s what that looks like (although you can’t see the snow falling):
P1040302_edited-1 P1040303_edited-1 P1040304_edited-1 P1040305_edited-1
It’s just as cold this evening . . .
So yesterday, I gave the kids each a small gift for Valentine’s day. Mattias got a bag of candy . .. about 350g . . .  a mix of ju-jube-type candy, chocolate and salty licorice.
When I got home from work in the afternoon, I was greeted with, “Mom, we’ve got a problem. Max ate Mattias’s whole bag of candy.”
Well, except for the first few from when he opened the bag.
Max went into his room and took the candy off the desk.
Brat.
So, the rest of the evening we kept an eye on him  . . . wondering if he was going to be sick all over the place.
Instead, he decided to play dress-up:
P1040298_edited-1
This morning I heard strange noises after the kids left for school. I jumped up and said to Stefan, “I think we’ve got a problem.” I assumed Max was into something again.
This was what I found:
P1040300_edited-1
Pepsi found the candy bag that Max emptied yesterday and got it stuck on her head.

Barb

Sunday, February 13, 2011

these days

These days, we’ve been coping with the ridiculously cold weather. However, we have been blessed with blue skies, so that makes it MUCH easier to deal with:) Today was –27C/-16.5F . . .  Wednesday was only –3C/+26F, but the very next day was so cold (colder than –15C/+5F which is the cold boundary) that Sofia’s riding lesson was cancelled. Yesterday was only –12C/+10F, but it was SOOOO hard to be out in it for 3 hours for Max’s second, and final, crate class. Sam and I were so cold.
Today is day 13 of my LCHF (low carb high fat) lifestyle. I’ve done pretty well . . . yesterday was hard when Sam and I had to stop and eat after the class . . . but I’m down 5 pounds (at least I was the last time I weighed myself). I’ve been getting lots of tips and recipes online. This is what I made for dinner on Friday night:
P1040295
Feta cheese stuffed chicken with oven-roasted vegetables. Tonight I made spinach salad and pinenut meatballs with feta dip, but forgot to take a picture.
Friday evening, Mattias went to a Valentine’s Disco. It was at another school, about 30km/18 miles away. Most of his class went, so they were able to all go together. Fun!
P1040297_edited-1
When he got home, he said, “Mom, aren’t you going to take a picture of me?” So, here he is in´his disco-going outfit. He tells me the look is “Rocky-inspired”, but I haven’t seen the movies, so I don’t know . . . .
Anyways, hoping it warms up here soon. I’m really looking forward to spring!
Barb

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

wee bit of me, again

{one} ice: crushed or cubed?
Cubed. For no particular reason.
{two} what is your worst traffic pet peeve?
Well, since I HATE passing on single lane roads/highways, etc., I’d have to say it’s all the tractors that I have to pass . . . Hate it. But I can’t drive 40km/h all the way to town.
{three} what room in your house best represents your personality?
The kitchen, probably, since it’s the only room that has been really renovated since we moved in.
{four} do you save old birthday cards?
Yup. I find them all over the place. It’s becoming a bit of problem. The kids have all theirs, too . . . in boxes with their school work, art, reports, etc.
{five} when was the last time you went on a picnic?
I honestly can’t remember . . . unless you count bringing a packed lunch to a soccer tournament and eating it on a blanket on the grass . . . then it would be last summer.
{six} do you regularly check your horoscope?
nope, never.
{seven} when you’re home, what do you wear on your feet?
Usually socks, but sometimes my “inside shoes” when the floors are dirty because I hate feeling crumbs on my feet (the crumbs are from Pepsi who will only eat her dog food in the middle of a room, never at her bowl).
{eight} what’s your favorite gambling game?
None.
{nine} have you ever written (or started writing) a book?
Yes, in high school . . . didn’t get past the first paragraph though;)
{ten} what is your favorite musical?
Joseph. Saw it starring Donny Osmond, circa 1997 . .?
Barb



























Sunday, February 6, 2011

firsts

This week has brought us a few new firsts . . . .
  1. This is the first week of a new diet for me. It's been awhile since I've dieted, but some of the stress of the past year has let some pounds creep back up on me. In an effort to get back to my post-Atkins weight of 6 years ago, I'm trying the LCHF lifestyle. It's low-carb, and very similar to Atkins, but was founded by a Swedish doctor and I think it's easier for me to find food and recipes for it over here in Scandinavia.
  2. Thursday marked the first time I have driven (myself) in a snowstorm/blizzard. The top speed I got to was 40kmh/25mph. There were sections of the road where I had no clue where I was, despite having driven the route hundreds of times.
  3. Yesterday was Max's first class for his crate-training course. According to the instructor, he appears to be the most troubled by his crate so we have lots of practice to do before heading back again next Saturday.
  4. Thursday was Sofia's first riding lesson. She liked it a lot, so we'll be going back again next week. It was cute to see her leading her pony out of the stable.
P1040293_edited-1
As you can see, it was snowing quite a bit during the lesson, but Sofia still had fun learning how to make the pony stop, walk and trot.
Barb

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

what i'm loving wednesday


Here's what I'm loving this wonderful Wednesday . . . .
  • that the days are growing longer by about 6 minutes every day
  • that the temperature has been milder the past few days (-2C)
  • that the sun has come out the last two days to visit us
  • that nobody in the family has been wearing their "grumpy pants" much these days
  • that a teacher at the secondary school told me how awesome our oldest son is
  • that my husband is recuperating very nicely from his knee surgery on Monday
Hope you're having a wonderful Wednesday, too!

The Holms

Denmark Road Trip

The outskirts of St. Pete

St. Petersburg

Saint Petersburg: Sankt-Peterburg, Russian pronunciation: is a city and a federal subject of Russia located on the Neva River at the head of the Gulf of Finland on the Baltic Sea. The city's other names were Petrograd (1914–1924) and Leningrad (1924–1991). Founded by Tsar Peter I of Russia on 27 May, 1703, it was the capital of the Russian Empire for more than two hundred years (1713–1728, 1732–1918). Saint Petersburg is home to more than two hundred museums, many of them hosted in historic buildings. The largest of the museums is the Hermitage Museum, featuring interiors of the former imperial residence and a vast collection of art. Celebrating the 300th anniversary of its foundation, Saint Petersburg was selected as the main motif in a recent Finnish commemorative coin, the €10 Mannerheim and Saint Petersburg commemorative coin, minted in 2003. The reverse of the coin features a view of Saint Petersburg, with the Peter and Paul Fortress and its three turrets. In the coin the words "St. Petersburg 1703-2003" can be seen.