The shortest day of the year

Today is the shortest day of the year. I celebrated the day, and the light that is about to come with a long winter walk/hike.

I started out in town, and as I discovered that it wasn’t slippery at all today (yesterday was awful,) I decided to venture further away.

I am so grateful to call Dalarna (Sweden) my home. The nature never gets boring. There are so many lakes, many deep forests, rivers, and mountains. We also have four season, something I appreciate more the older I get. The change, the excitement of the change, and the way nature looks and feels different, the way the air change, the wind on my cheek that is warm for several months in the summer, but cold during the winter months, the snow, the green grass, the colourful leaves – the change of the seasons is a beautiful experience.

A frozen Lake Varpan, the lake I usually ride my bike around, but I walked today.
Reflections in the water.

Today, the shortest day of the year, I feel gratitude.

Love,

Maria

A slippery morning walk

Falun

Last week was a little warmer compared to the two previous weeks, now it’s getting colder again (normal winter temperatures,) and the roads and walkways are insanely slippery. My Christmas break have already started, but my kids have two days of school left. This morning after walking my daughter to her bus I decided to take a long walk. Well that was easier said than done, the walk was a lot shorter than my walks usually are, but it took me two hours to get home safely. I tried walking on several different trails in the forest, sidewalks, and walking paths in the city, all of them were super slippery.

However, it was a very beautiful morning.

It’s been a lot of ice for the past week, and I have not been able to ride my bike at all. I am, actually thinking of joining the nearest gym, to get some exercise. Well, I have been thinking about it for a while, but now I have three long weeks, lots of good food at home… I am going to need some exercise. We’ll see. Our Christmas dinner last night was very nice. All the dishes turned out great, the kids had lots of fun, and there was big smiles all around. I am definitely starting to feel like Christmas ❤

Love,

Maria

Weekend Coffee Share – Christmas traditions in the making

Swedish Christmas Coffee

Welcome to the weekend coffee share. Can I get you a cup of coffee? Or tea? There is even Swedish Christmas beer, if you’d like to try. 

Swedish Christmas Beer

How is your week? It’s been an extremely intense week at work, with several co-workers down with a bad cold, meaning that the rest of us have been working even harder than we usually do to maintain the quality our school is known for (that we are very proud of). Two members of my team (half the team,) worked at a different department four days this week. Despite that it has been a great week with a Lucia celebration on Monday (some of the children at work compared their lucia celebration to the lucia celebration that the Swedish television showcased, and said that theirs were better,) Christmas party on Thursday (traditional Swedish Christmas food enjoyed in a dining area decorated for Christmas,) and a Christmas dance yesterday. We’ve been sledding, and crafting Christmas crafts every day. The kids had a great week.

Gorgeous sunset last night (or afternoon..it was 3pm.) The location is Källviksbacken, Falun. I posted a different photo of the same ski slope last week.

I worked my last day before Christmas yesterday, and now I am going to enjoy three (well deserved) weeks of holiday celebrations with my family. My kids have two more days of school before they start their Christmas break. We are actually going to have our big Christmas dinner tomorrow, since my son is going to spend Christmas with his dad. We are not going to exchange gifts of course, that would be a little weird to do this early, but we are going to enjoy a fabulous meal together. The only Swedish items at our Christmas dinner is meatballs, julmust (a Christmas soft drink,) julöl (The Christmas beer in the photo above,) gingerbread, and knäck.

Knäck, a Swedish version of butterscotch/hard toffee.

We made the knäck last night. Susanne mentioned making Knäck as a part of her Christmas tradition. It’s a Swedish version of butterscotch/hard toffee. In my recipe you boil equal amounts of sugar, heavy whipping cream, and a syrup made out of beet sugar (similar to molasses,) for about 15-20 min. Boil vigorously, and be sure to stir at all times with a wooden spoon, or similar. To see if it’s ready take a table spoon of the knäck and put the spoon in a glass of cold water, if the knäck sticks together it’s ready. I usually try to make a small “marble” with my fingers to see if it stick together. Or you can use a thermometer 120-140C/250-285F depending on how firm you want it to be, higher temperature = harder knäck. (290F is stick to your teeth hard.) Pour it into tiny baking forms, that you store in the fridge (at least to begin with.) 2cups of each ingredients is a doable size of the recipe to begin with, it turns into about 50 pieces of knäck. Some add chopped almond at the end, I like to make it with almonds, but my daughter doesn’t like that. Some add whisky or other hard liquor at the end. I have never tried that. I have tried different types of spices, like gingerbread spices and saffron. Yesterday we made it plain. Knäck is a fabulous candy. It is very sweet, and personally I only eat 1-2 pieces and it is very satisfying. When you eat knäck it’s like your tongue is curling itself due to the sweetness. It is a great, and very easy to make gift. It is commonly gifted in beautiful jars around Christmas time. Made right temperature wise, it does not have to be refrigerated after the initial cooling process.

Knäck is the perfect Christmas snack.

Other items at our Christmas dinner tomorrow will be turkey, sweet potato pie, rice, a green salad, fermented red cabbage, a Christmas rye bread (julvört,) and pumpkin pie. I’m going to have a busy day today preparing everything I can in advance. Including baking the gingerbread. I believe I’m going to start my day with a long walk to maximise my energy levels. What are you up to this weekend? I can’t wait to finally have plenty of time to catch up with all of you! Don’t hesitate to leave a link to your weekend coffee share post in your comment, (I’ve noticed that many bloggers don’t have a working link to their blog in their avatar.)

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

Love,

Maria