What does cozy mean to you?

A hot beverage on a cold day certainly makes things more cozy in my world.

As I am writing this I am coped up in my apartment with my daughter that is sick. She’s been ill since last Wednesday, no, she is not dying. First she had the winter vomiting disease (not fun!) and then it turned into a sore throat and fever. We took a Covid test yesterday and are waiting for the result. What does this have to do with cozy? Well, it’s not fun to be sick, but we are making the very best of the situation. (After the winter vomiting disease left us we are doing so much better, anything is manageable after that.)

A Christmas themed tray that I usually serve seasonal fruit and nuts on during the winter. The house pictured on the tray looks like the traditional houses in my region Dalarna (Sweden.)

It’s 8F outside, the world we see through our window is white, not so much snow yet, but frost. The frost is building up with new layers every day due to the cold. Everything is white. This past Sunday was the 1st of Advent, when you traditionally start decorating for Christmas in Sweden. They light up our town with beautiful decorations starting on the 1st of Advent. I haven’t seen what it looks like yet this year, since I am at home with my daughter, but I cannot wait to see the decorations as soon as she gets well.

I carried our Christmas decorations up from the storage unit in the house next doors, and we washed some Christmas themed tablecloths (we never have tablecloths the rest of the year,) and rinsed of the decorations in warm water (they were a little dusty.) My daughter thinks that the ritual of opening the boxes of Christmas decorations is magical. I think it’s rather cozy to transform our home to match the anticipation for Christmas. I am a minimalist, and I don’t overdo the decorations, but I do appreciate some Christmas feeling. 

Santa in my window
Advent lights in the center of my kitchen window, a very important Nordic Christmas tradition. Everyone have Advent lights. Greetings from Jack Frost on the outside. Yesterday the frost stayed on the windows until 2pm, the sunset was at 3pm..

My daughter told me a couple months ago that she don’t believe in Santa (or the Easter bunny) anymore. She did last year. She also said that she would be very disappointed if I didn’t pretend that he was real, she wanted to keep the magic even if she knows that Santa isn’t real. So while I was hanging up the stockings (not a Swedish tradition, but something we brought with us from the US,) I reminded both of my children that it is not allowed to touch the stockings, because if they do the magic disappears. My daughter kept a straight face and swore that she wouldn’t touch the stockings. LOL. 

Santas helper filled the stockings last night. Kids still haven’t noticed..

We haven’t decorated the Christmas tree yet, but if my daughter have enough energy today, or tomorrow we might do that. We were gifted a beautiful artificial tree last year, it’s going to be perfect for many years to come. Spending time with my family anticipating the holiday season is definitely a cozy time of the year for me. We are expecting more snow this weekend, and I believe the colder weather is here to stay, making things even cosier, as we bundle up with more layer of clothes. 

One of our Christmas themed tablecloths. God Jul = Merry Christmas.
Hot chocolate is a cozy treat on special occasions at our house.

This week I’m linking up with my friend Terri’s Sunday Stills, and the theme for the week is CozyWhat does cozy mean to you? While reading Terri’s post and some of the other participants post the appealing word got an even wider meaning to me. Still, the deepest meaning of the word in my world, would be stress-free time with loved ones. Tell me in a comment what cozy means to you, or write you own post about it. Feel free to leave a link to your post if you choose to write a post about it.

Love,

Maria

Weekend Coffee Share – You are lucky it is a virtual coffee chat!

Welcome to the weekend coffee share. Can I get you a cup of coffee? Or tea? This week I also have some blueberry soup to offer. I felt like having some myself today. It’s cold outside, around 15F. I know it’s probably going to be a lot colder soon, but in the beginning of the season the cold always feels colder, if you know what I mean. Blueberry soup is perfect for cold days, lots of vitamin C and energy. Hot drinks and hot soup is something I consume a lot of during the winter. So far today I’ve had hot coffee, hot tea and hot blueberry soup, not to forget the bean soup I had for lunch.. LOL. The days are shorter, colder, and darker now. The sunrises and sunsets have been very colourful all week. What’s the weather like in your area?

Blueberry soup and cheese sandwiches, made out of homemade bread and locally produced cheese.

On Monday morning I took a long bike ride before work. The world was frozen, but not much snow. During the day it snowed, and the ground had a fine white cover all around in time for my ride home. Next week we are expecting more cold and beautiful weather 10-17F most of the week. I hope we get more snow. 

More than half of my daughter’s school have been down with the winter vomiting disease, teachers and students alike. Good thing this coffee chat is virtual. My daughter became ill on Wednesday morning, at school. I had to leave work quickly and get her (it was really bad timing to not be at work this week..) She was very ill. I’ve lost count on how many times she vomited. She also had a high fever. She started to get better mid day Thursday, after about 30hours of misery. She’s been weak today as well, but no vomiting, or fever. She is still contagious (until Sunday,) but so far neither her brother, nor I have fallen ill, we’ve taken all the precautions we can to stay healthy. 

Due to this unforeseen illness my plans of a big Thanksgiving celebration for my daughter had to be cancelled. Thanksgiving is very important to her. She usually celebrates with her dad and his side of the family. We are going to make a turkey and pumpkin pie for Christmas instead. If you are celebrating Thanksgiving this week: Happy Thanksgiving! I hope you are enjoying a wonderful time with your family.

Frost on my kitchen window early this morning.

Given that things are progressing in the right way the rest of this weekend (my son and I stays healthy,) I am planning on decorating for Christmas on Sunday. I’m looking forward to that. I can’t believe that it will be December in just a few days. When do you usually decorate for Christmas? 

Thank you Natalie for hosting the Weekend Coffee Share! Enjoy the rest of your weekend!

Love,

Maria 

Weekend Coffee Share

Hi, and welcome to the weekend coffee share. Can I get you a cup of coffee? Or tea? I’ll let you decide if you want to sit inside, or out outside. How are you? Are you enjoying a great week?

My balcony garden/sunroom today, Nov 20th, 2021. It’s still enjoyable to have coffee here 🙂

This week have been a little out of the norm. On Monday, at our evening meeting at work, our principal told us that she isn’t going to be our principal for very much longer. That she is going to work for another private school. It came as a shock to all of us. I personally really like working for her. From the very beginning, when she hired me almost two years ago, I’ve felt that she understands me, and appreciate everything I do. Of course I’m wishing her good luck at her new job, but I will miss her for sure. Not knowing who the new boss is going to be, and what he/she is going to be like, has some uncertainty to it. I get along with everyone, but I don’t like everyone as much as I like my current boss. In the end it will work out, I know that. 

Last night’s sunset.

Last night when I got home the sunset was glorious! I took these photos standing in my apartment, looking out the window in my living room.

This morning one of my colleges, and I, went to a nearby ski resort that had a huge sale of last years ski equipment. We waited in line, outside, for almost two hours to get in. They helped everyone in separate rooms, there were no crowds inside. Both my college and I, got new (to us) Dynastar carving skis for a fraction of the cost of a new pair. I like snowboarding more than skiing, but when I take the kids at work to the ski slope it’s easier if I ski. Finding used, quality equipment to use when I go skiing with the kids works perfect for me. In USD I paid $35 for a quality pair of used skis, last years model (they only had smaller scratches on the top, the underneath and the edges were in great shape.) It checks many of the boxes in my world. I really like the thought of reusing perfectly good equipment/things. 

We had number 56 in the waiting line. People were really respectful keeping distances, even though there are no official restrictions like that anymore.

Can I give you a refill on your beverage? What’s the weather like in your neck of the woods? As you can see in the photo from this morning, our snow is gone. It’s been too warm. It’s starting to get colder again, and next week we are expecting snow for at least 3-4 days. Hopefully it stays this time.

What are you doing this weekend? I have some writing to do, an evaluation of my departments work this semester/end of the year report. It is time-consuming, but I actually enjoy writing this sort of things. I also promised my daughter to build a gingerbread house with her.

Thank you Natalie for hosting the Weekend Coffee Share! Enjoy the rest of your weekend!

Love,

Maria 

A frozen bike ride through Falun

I woke up early (4.30am) this Saturday morning. I wrote a bit on the school report I mentioned in my coffee share yesterday, and then I felt that I really needed to go outside for a bike ride.

Falun Skate Park. The big house in the background is a school, Västra Skolan, dating back to the early 1900’s.

It was a cold, 26F, morning. The beauty of the morning, and the fresh air definitely made it worthwhile going outside early. My bike tires crushed some ice on the ground here and there.

At Falu Coppermine

I rode my bike up to Falu Copper mine. It was once the worlds largest copper mine.

You are allowed to enter several of the mining buildings, I didn’t do that today, I choose to stay outside. You can walk, or ride a bike around the big mine. It was icy in some spots and I picked my way carefully.

This is the view of the mine from the opposite side of the entrance. I did look with binoculars, hoping to see the Eagle Howls that have a nest on one of the sides of the mine. I wasn’t lucky to see them today. I’ve seen them many times before. They are enormous.

You can see the town of Falun in the background. Notice that some of the roofs on the older buildings are made out of copper.

Looking down into the great pit.

During my ride this morning I also rode through Kålgården, and Östanfors, popular areas with nice walking trails. Östanfors has many old, beautiful red log houses dating back a century, or two.

It’s difficult to find a place in Falun where you don’t see a church, or the ski jumps. Along with the mine (that everything existed around) those are major landmarks of our town. Thank you for coming with me on this cold, but beautiful frozen bike ride through Falun. I better get back to writing my school report. See you later.

Love,

Maria

Weekend Coffee Share – Winter is coming

Hi, and welcome to the weekend coffee share. Can I get you a cup of coffee? Or tea? How are you? I hope your week is fabulous! I’d say that my week is pretty good so far. It’s late Friday afternoon, and there’s a whole weekend to enjoy ahead of us. I love my job, but I also love that feeling of freedom when the weekend arrives. I do have some writing for school, and work to do this weekend, but still 🙂

Monday morning before work.

What is the weather like in your area? It’s been a beautiful week here in my part of Sweden. We had some snow in the beginning of the week. Most of it is gone now, but not all. We had mild weather yesterday, it’s been cold today (28F) and sunny. I have not been riding my bike this week, but I’ll probably get around to that this weekend. I have been taking several long walks though, and I feel great! 

Tuesday morning before work.
Early this morning before work.

Do you have any fun plans for the weekend? I’m going to relax at home with my daughter tonight, and get started on the writing first thing tomorrow morning. I believe the school report that is due Monday is around 2000 words. I’ve read all the literature, and I’ve made up the framework for the report, but there is a lot of writing to do before it’s done. I’m going to spend at least 6 hours writing tomorrow, and do the finishing touches on Sunday. I enjoy the process, and with some fun breaks of outdoor activities it’s going to be a great weekend. I’ll probably spend a great deal of time helping my daughter with her Swedish as well, I do that most weekends. Her native language is English, but she goes to a regular class in a Swedish school. I do put some time into helping her every week.

Can I give you a refill on your beverage?  Thank you Natalie for hosting the Weekend Coffee Share!

Love,

Maria 

Weekend Coffee Share – first week of November

View from my kitchen towards the living room.

Hi, 

Since Covid numbers are going down drastically, and zero people are being treated at the intensive care unit for Covid in our town (at the moment,) I am inviting you to have coffee in my home! To be on the safe side, let’s keep a distance, but it is SO great to see you here! What can I get you? Can I get you a coffee? Or some tea? I have some delicious green matcha tea, some homemade herbal tea (mix of my own herbs,) and regular black tea (Lipton I believe.) The coffee is dark, rich, and organic, made in the french press. I have to admit the coffee is rather strong, even when I try to make it not as strong as I like it for guests, It always ends up being rather strong. It is good though, that is a promise! Quality coffee is a priority in this home. 

I could honestly say that quality over quantity is true for most things in my life. I try my best to avoid the consumerist lifestyle, only pursue things that adds value to my life, and my children’s life. That filter keeps me content and happy. Speaking of adding value, I’ve arranged a little surprise adventure for my daughter for her winter break. My son usually visits his dad on his breaks, and he is also older, pretty much independent. My daughter on the other hand spend a lot of her free time with me. During Covid I’ve restricted our life to keep us safe, here in Sweden we’ve had recommendations to follow, no lockdowns. I’ve followed the recommendation to the best of my understanding of them, leading to a lot of restrictions for my daughter, like it has for many people around the world. We are still careful, but can allow ourselves a little more freedom now. Because of that I’ve been able to arrange a little surprise, that I believe will lift her spirits. Since it’s a surprise I won’t spoil it by telling you, but I promise that I will write about it in the last coffee share of the year. I’m going to have three weeks off for Christmas/New Year. It’s something to look forward to as the days get shorter. Do you have any plans for Christmas yet? Or is it too early to start thinking about? 

If we were having coffee I would tell you that I baked bread with almond milk, and oats yesterday. It turned out to be delicious. The loaves had a soft, soft inside, and a slightly harder crust (not too hard.) My daughter claimed that this bread is now her favourite. I put some in the freezer. I usually cook and bake a lot in the weekends, and less during the work/school week. I try to make everything we eat from scratch. At least the kids always have the option to eat homemade meals, sometimes they choose other food, but I try my best to give them healthy options. I aim for us to eat by the season, and purchase local ingredients, or grow myself, when possible. Right now we have garlic greens, and an abundance of salad growing at our balcony. There’s some parsnip and other root vegetables on their way (still tiny, I tried some yesterday.) The nights are freezing now, but it is still warm(ish) at my screened in balcony/sunroom. What is the weather like in your area?

Yesterday I took a longer walk all by myself. I walked around two lakes, and taking a shortcut through some picturesque backroads of our town on my way back home. I love going for long walks to clear my head.

The rest of this weekend will be relaxing. I am planning on going for a bike ride later today, I have a little bit of school work to do, I am going to read with my daughter, bake some more bread, and make a nice Sunday dinner for the kids. There is absolutely no stress what so ever. All the important have to’s are already taken cared of. Can I give you a refill on your beverage?  What are you up to this weekend? Thank you Natalie for hosting the Weekend Coffee Share.

Love,

Maria 

Weekend Coffee Share – Halloween

Hi, how is your weekend? Is it spoooooky? Can I get you some coffee, or tea? 

If we were having coffee, or tea, I would tell you that I am very grateful for this weekend. It’s the first weekend in a long time when I haven’t done anything work, or school related. I got off work relatively early on Friday and spent the afternoon/evening doing Halloween crafts with my daughter. On Saturday morning I had some pumpkin carving, and baking of Halloween cupcakes planned, but my daughter didn’t feel like that. I choose to finish my crochet projects that I started earlier this month instead. It was relaxing, almsot meditative. I had already finished a wool hat for a friend’s newborn baby boy, yesterday I finished a scarf for the baby’s big sister. Yesterday afternoon I rode my bike over to their side of town to give them the gifts. 

Last night my daughter and I baked taco-pizza, it was delicious. We stayed up late to see if the clouds was going to give way for a clear night sky, everything except the clouds, was perfect for northern lights. Unfortunately the clouds stayed with us. It was still a great night, even though we did not get to see any northern lights this time.

Today we carved that pumpkin, and roasted pumpkin seeds. The house smells lovely, don’t you think?

Naturally we (mostly my daughter) ate some candy this weekend, but we did not go trick or treating. A lot of folks did, but I’d rather wait until Covid is a more distant memory.

I’m happy with the weekend. How about you my friend? Can I give you a refill on your beverage? Thank you Natalie for hosting the Weekend Coffee Share!

Love,

Maria