Monday, April 30, 2012

glada vappen

Or Happy Walpurgis Eve. Here in Swedish-speaking Finland, Valborg (Swedish for Walpurgis) is called Vappen.
If you don’t know what I’m talking about, I wrote a post last year about it that you can read here. If you can’t be bothered, it’s (in a nutshell) the eve exactly 6 months from Halloween celebrating the end of winter and the beginning of summer in many of the countries of Northern Europe.
We celebrated with a masquerade at school today. Joel went as a Sumo Wrestler:
Sofia went as a prisoner:
And I just went in my weekend clothes:
After dinner we had a bonfire, followed by donuts and pop (not the usual mead):
In a completely unrelated matter, have you ever seen anything as cute as Bruno begging for food? (Look at his eyes!)
Glada Vappen!

Thursday, April 26, 2012

life is good

Remember back when I was so excited about spring arriving? We had a fabulous March, but then April arrived and it seemed to bring us new snow every few days. It certainly was a downer.
We even had a huge snowfall 6 days ago. It was starting to feel like we’d never be able to remove the snow tires.
But, now it seems like we’ve turned the corner. The snow tires are off. The sun comes out to play.
Yesterday, there was some eerie fog sitting over the bay, even though it was sunny:
And then, check out what happened today:
Do you realize what that is? Open water! Here’s a closer look:
(The white is ice, the dark grey is ice and then the lighter shade is WATER!)
AHHHH . . . sweet spring!

Sunday, April 15, 2012

not so busy, but busy enough

I took some pictures earlier this week, with every intention of posting them that very day . . . but then I forgot to move them from the camera to the computer . . . and, well . . .  you know . . . I got distracted.
Anyways, Bella turned 1 on Tuesday.
She had a Kung Fu Panda party. Just kidding. Joel wanted to make her a meat cake. I said no.
Bruno took a party favour and escaped to the couch in the Rec Room. Note, he pretty much takes up the whole couch.
Side by side shots of Bella at 1 year and at 2 months:

The only other big news around here is that I wrote a big exam yesterday – a Swedish-language proficiency exam. It was 5 hours long; first reading comprehension, followed by time in the studio doing listening comprehension (answers both written and spoken, which were recorded), then a written portion (3 “essays” which required me to not only write but have opinions about subjects I had no opinions of!) and finally an interview which was video-taped (again, I had to have opinions about 2 topics I was only given 2 minutes to think about!). It will be 2 months before I receive the results, so I’ve put the grammar books away and won’t take them out again unless I need to re-do the test!
That’s all for now,

Saturday, April 7, 2012


My body is tired! I am definitely feeling my age today.
You all know I’m not one for cold weather, but when this is how today looked (at –2C):
I just had to get some chores done. It was perfect weather for bedding, so the washer was running for a good few hours and the clothes line was full of duvets and blankets while the pillows were out on the lawn furniture. Three beds got done.
I had time to paint the final coat on Mattias’ old room which will be our office/crafting room (after a quick trip to town to change the pigment in the paint). So, what used to look like this:
(btw, the stripes were meant to complement the colours in his “Incredibles” bedding, not represent Germany’s flag . . .)
Now looks like this:
(the colour is a green-y beige)
I also had time to make a nice – almost fancy – Easter dinner for us this evening:
And bake a cinnamon bun cake:
The kids and I also, somehow, managed to clean most of the floors in the house before 11am.
In completely unrelated news, I thought I’d share a couple of photos of the moon rising on Thursday evening:
And less than 5 minutes later:
Cool, eh?
That’s all for now. Take care and have a Happy Easter!

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.