Weekend Coffee Share …and future goals

Can I offer you some coffee? Or tea?

It’s been a busy and inspiring week, I could use a coffee break and a good conversation! It is so good to see you! How are you? 

If we have coffee this weekend I would tell you that I’ve made a big decision this week. I’ve decided that the next step in my career, after finishing the class in Social emotional difficulties and special needs education that I am taking right now, will be working towards a Degree of Master of Science, Main Field of Study: Educational Work. I am planning on working towards the degree over a period of three years, while working as a kindergarten teacher at the same time. I am very interested in special needs education, and at some point I will further my knowledge more in that field, but I’ve came to the conclusion that I should start with a Masters of education. I am excited about this.

What is the weather like in your corner of the world? It’s been a somewhat cloudy and rainy week here, with the exception of some cool, clear nights in the beginning of the week, with some sights of northern lights in my area. (I was sound asleep every night, and missed the northern lights.) This weekend is promising some sunshine. Sunshine equals bike rides, and there will be plenty of that this weekend, mixed in with some lesson planning for work, and some school work. It’s going to be a fabulous weekend, I can feel it! I have not been super active in the blogging world lately, but I do enjoy visiting your blogs when I get a chance. I very much enjoy being a part of the blogging community, sometimes a more active part, and when life is busy a little less active, but I am still here!

Have a refill on your beverage and tell me about your weekend plans! Thank you Natalie for hosting the Weekend Coffee Share! Have a fabulous weekend! 

Love,

Maria 

Weekend Coffee Share – Life is good

Can I offer you some coffee? Or tea? It’s a beautiful fall weekend in my part of Sweden, around 50F/10C. We’ve had a mostly cloudy week, with some rain. The trees are still glorious with golden yellow, and orange colours. Even though I am a single mom of two, working full time, I make time for walking in nature every day. I need that recharge of my mental batteries on a daily basis. Did you have a chance to enjoy nature this week? What is the weather like in your corner of the world?

Walking home from work yesterday.

Work and school have been great this week, very rewarding. My family is in good health. My projects are going in the right direction. I even started a new little project, crocheting a winter hat for a baby boy (not yet born.) I’ll post photos when the project is done, after gifting the hat to my pregnant friend. 

One of my favourite trails last Sunday.

My heart is filled with gratitude. After sleeping in to almost 7am (!) I deep cleaned my entire home this morning. (7am I almost midday for me. LOL. I was extremely tired yesterday.) The weeks laundry is done. Grocery shopping taken cared of, I had groceries for the next three weeks delivered on Thursday. I’m definitely ready for a fabulous weekend! I have school books to read, but I am ahead of my schedule, nothing is really pressing. I’m going to spend time with my children this weekend, ride my bike, do some blogging, and prepare healthy meals for next week. Perhaps I’ll rearrange some plants around the house. How is your week?

A groove of young aspen trees close to work.

Have a refill on your beverage and tell me about your weekend plans! Thank you Natalie for hosting the Weekend Coffee Share! Have a fabulous weekend! 

Love,

Maria 

Weekend Coffee Share

A beautiful fall day

Welcome to the Weekend Coffee Share! Can I offer you some coffee? Or tea? There is a beautiful fall day outside 57F/14C and partly sunny. My children are feeling much better, and I managed to get some me time earlier today. I walked around a lake, and stopped to meditate at a beautiful spot. The sun was reflecting in the water, there was a gentle breeze, and the air was filled with the scent of the surrounding pine trees = a perfect fall day. 

Rowan tree

The rowan trees have tons of berries this year, there is an old saying that if the rowan trees have lots of berries there is going to be lots of snow the coming winter. We’ll see 🙂 I like snow.

My homemade soup mix; red lentils, garbanzo beans, kidney beans, and black beans.

I had some times on my hands this week and among the things I did was preparing my favourite soup mix, just perfect for cold winter days. When I lived in Las Vegas I had Sprouts Farmers Market around the corner. I loved shopping healthy food there, and one of my favourite things was their soup mix, that you can buy in the bulk section. I later started making the mix myself, I use red lentils, garbanzo beans, black beans, and kidney beans. I believe it’s green lentils as well in Sprouts mix. It’s so easy having all these goodies in a beautiful glass jar. The shelf life if properly sealed, and stored in a dark place, is very long, I’d say several years. It would never last that long at our house, but I did prepare several jars of the soup mix. When I make the soup I take 1/4 of a jar in a big bowl, add water and soak overnight. The next day I mince one garlic (not one clove, I like garlic,) I fry the garlic in olive oil, add the soaked soup mix and new water to cover the mix and then some. I let everything boil for a couple minutes, and after that simmer for 1-2 hours. I always add salt and pepper. I sometimes add any fresh herb that I happened to have at home, I often add chili. If I have vegetables that should be used soon I’ll add them to the soup. Sometimes I switch the garlic for freshly grated ginger. The variation you can make are endless. Legumes are a rich source of B vitamins, various minerals, protein and fiber. It’s a very healthy, hearty, and inexpensive soup.

How are you doing? I feel at peace. I deep cleaned my home this morning, and I’ve spent time alone in nature. I have nothing I need to do this weekend. Life is good. Next week is going to be a busy week at work, and a relaxing weekend is perfect. I might go on a longer bike ride tomorrow. Even during a relaxing weekend with no particular plans, I like to get out and get some exercise. My son told me about a lake that I have not seen, I might check it out tomorrow. I’ve been meaning to do it for a while. 

Have a refill on your beverage and tell me about your weekend plans! 

Thank you so much for the lovely company, and an extra thanks to Natalie for hosting the Weekend Coffee Share! Have a fabulous weekend! 

Love,

Maria 

Weekend Coffee Share – The last week of summer vacation

Very close to the parking lot, right when you enter Rottnebyskogen there is a table and a fire pit. We could enjoy our coffee here, or take a walk into the nature reserve first, there are many places suitable for a coffee break.

Welcome to the Weekend Coffee Share! I am delighted that you are here 🙂 This week we’ve been picking blueberries in different nature reserve’s situated in the region of Dalarna, Sweden. I thought that we could enjoy our coffee in Rottnebyskogens nature reserve today. How about that? Would you like to come? There is coffee, tea, and water, along with some homemade taquitos to snack on.

At the entrance, inviting us to enjoy the forest and be mindful of plants and animals.

How are you? How is your week? The weather here have been around 70F most of the week, and perfect for berry picking. The blueberries are ripe in all the surrounding forests. I was planning on going a little further away for a couple days this week, and pick cloudberries, but my daughter wasn’t up for that idea. She really loves where we live, and this summer she have not felt any need of going anywhere else, meaning I’ve also stayed close to home. We have explored living locally all summer, and had a blast doing so. I can live without picking cloudberries. (I did enjoy waffles with cloudberry jam at a cafe last week.)

A short walk up the trail from the parking lot there is a beautiful covered fire pit and picnic area. There is currently a light drizzle, and if you would like to enjoy your coffee out of the weather we can sit here.
The surrounding forest is calming and refreshing. The air is so clean, you can almost touch the scent of the pine trees.

Before my children’s summer break started we sat down around the kitchen table and discussed their expectations and wants for their time off. I had looked into some suggestions that I thought would be positive experiences for our family beforehand, but my main goal was to listen to their thoughts. They both wanted to go swimming as much as the weather allowed, and explore different beaches in the region. Since we choose to not have a car that includes walking, or riding your bike (occasionally taking a bus if it is far away,) which makes me happy since one of the things I wanted for all of us was to get outdoors and exercise. They also wanted to have picnics, and have birthdays parties, and celebrate 4th of July in some way. This is my last (7th) week of vacation and it feels good to know that we visited several beaches together, and that both of them seem really happy about their summer so far. The weather have been most cooperative, all summer actually.

Rottnebyskogens nature reserve. The pine trees around us are about 200-250 years old. Blueberries often grow under pine trees as they offer rich, acidic pine litter for soil and mulch, something the blueberries like a lot.

Going into the summer I had some ideas of beautiful places a little further away in our region that I was thinking that we could visit, and I also had some camping trips planned, but the children enjoyed going swimming here close by so much that I didn’t feel a need to make the other trips happen. Happy and content is what matters, right? My son also went to his dad for a couple weeks. My daughter and I had a lot of time to talk, and hang out together. I am thrilled with how the summer turned out; lots of time with my children, time in nature, and plenty of time to read. I have spent a lot of time reading at the balcony, in the midst of my food forest (another source of happiness,) while my children have been busy with their own games and friends. I’ve also been riding my bike, and taking many walks in the forest by myself. I feel good, and ready to get back to work on Monday. 

I feel that all the time my daughter and I spent together this summer made our relationship even closer.

Do you need a refill on your beverage? Or maybe you would like to have some dessert? Serve yourself to some of the blueberries around us 🙂 Blueberries often grow under pine trees as they offer rich, acidic pine litter for soil and mulch, something the blueberries like a lot. The pine trees around us are about 200-250 years old. I love spending time in old forests like this. Are you comfortable? What’s you favourite type of nature? I really like mountains, but without forests I don’t think I would appreciate them as much as I do. I grew up in the mountains, but as I get older I find comfort in the forest in a way that is new to me. 

Wild blueberries picked in Dalarna, Sweden.

Speaking of nature, I am reading Everything you ever taught me, about a woman in her 50’s (no exact age are mentioned, this is my best guess,) hiking the Pacific Crest Trail 2020. I read about the book in Leanne’s coffee share a couple weeks ago, and ordered it right away. Thank you Leanne! I am halfway through the book right now, and intend to read the last half this weekend. It is written in a very honest and interesting way. If I had to say something that I don’t like about the book, it would be the layout, the pages are crowded, making it not very reader friendly. I still recommend the book since the story is fascinating. The PCT has a special place in my heart. I have hiked, and experienced several sections of the trail in California and Oregon on horseback. I have never hiked the entire length of the trail from Mexico to Canada (although there once was a plan to do so, that is a story for another day…) No-one hiking this trail could do so without being deeply touched by the landscape. 

Me riding a section of the PCT in the Sierra Nevadas (CA,) on my beloved horse Trigger, a little more than nine years ago (notice my big pregnant belly.) My ex-husband, a Marine, did not find anything strange with me riding through most of my pregnancy, something I was very grateful for. He did however carry the supplies on his horse without being asked, when I was pregnant that is. The Sierras are magical, but not a ride in the park.

After finishing this book I will be reading books related to special education needs for a while. I did get into the school I wanted to attend this fall semester. I will be studying Special Education and Social Emotional Difficulties, it’s for teachers that have worked a few years and want to further educate themselves on how to help children with special needs to a better education. I am going to work full time at my current job, and study part time on my own time. I know this will make me busy, but I am excited about adding new tools to my educational toolbox. My plan is that this course is the beginning of getting a degree in special education for young children. It’s going to take me a while to get the degree, as I am going to do it while working, but I do like having a goal. 

I rode my bike around Lake Varpan today. Several of my friends have told me it’s a nice ride, and it truly was. I can’t believe I haven’t done it before. There’s so many great trails in the proximity that I just forgot this one. I can easily see it becoming a new favourite. It’s about 18km/11miles around the lake, and an easy ride, with beautiful views of old cottages and the lake. It took me 50min, including a few stops to enjoy the views. I bet it is going to be amazing with fall colours in a month, or two, I’m going to have to find out!

Part of the road around Lake Varpan. I met seven bicyclist and saw about the same amount of cars, around lunch time Friday, so it wasn’t exactly crowded. I did see some horses, cows, goats, and a sign with fresh produce for sale as I was enjoying the scenery around Varpan.
Here’s the route, and you can see how close it is to my town Falun. You can also see some of the lakes, and forested green areas. There’s so many! About 70% of the region Dalarna is forest. Falun is the capital of Dalarna County.
Feeling most happy and content about how this summer turned out.

Enough sitting around, are you going to help me pick some blueberries? Thank you so much for the lovely company, and an extra thanks to Natalie for hosting the Weekend Coffee Share! I shared photos from another nature reserve earlier this week, that you can see here. If you are curious about how my daughter’s birthday cake turned out, the photos are here. Please share with me all the wonderful things in your world! Have a fabulous weekend! 

Love,

Maria 

Weekly Smile – A Practice of Gratitude

This week I am joining up with my friend Trent sharing a weekly smile with you. I really like the idea of thinking back upon things you are grateful for, something I try to do every day. Today I am really grateful for the past 6 weeks of vacation that I’ve been enjoying, and the remaining days of this last week of vacation.

This morning I went out to look for blueberries in the forest. There is plenty of blueberries this year, something I am very grateful for. Being able to forage blueberries and fill up the freezer with all the nutrients and antioxidants that will keep us healthy this winter is a blessing.

All the green foliage on the ground are wild blueberry bushes. I will admit that I offer my daughter a small incentive for every litre (about 2.2lbs) of blueberries that she picks. It motivates her, and she feels important, knowing that she actually makes a difference for our family. It’s like giving her a summer job I think.

I feel wonderful when I am in the forest, and those times when I manage to get my daughter to come with me she feel wonderful as well, and we share many smiles and laughters.

We recently watched a documentary about forest bathing. It was very interesting. I’ve practiced this my whole life, without knowing that it was a thing. I’ve notice that it makes a huge different in my well-being, and in my childrens well-being when we spend time in nature, compared to those busy times when we need to remind ourselves that it is high time to get outdoors.

“Forest bathing is not just for the wilderness-lover; the practice can be as simple as walking in any natural environment and consciously connecting with what’s around you. For a more structured experience, you can join trained guides for a meditative two- to three-hour ecotherapy excursion.”  

National Geographic

I’ve been really getting into mountain biking this summer, something I used to enjoy a lot as a teen growing up in the mountains. The past two weeks of my vacation I’ve been stepping out of my comfort zone when it comes to difficulty of the trails I ride. I decided that it was time to get a better helmet. I tried it out for the first time this morning, and I am very happy with the fit, and that it keeps my head cool. Hopefully I never have to find out if the Mips safety system works, but it is suppose to be the safest there is for helmets nowadays. (Riding my mountain bike has to be safer than riding wild mustangs anyway, right?)

Before heading to higher elevation this morning there was an area of beautiful fern growing on both sides of the trail. I think ferns are so beautiful when they are healthy and lush like this. I hope you are smiling with me. What are you grateful for today?

Love,

Maria