Monthly Archives: April 2012

Kevään??

I was beginning to wonder if spring was ever going to arrive here in Finland.  We had snow into late April and this last snow the Finns were telling us that was it no more.  Not sure how they knew this, but they seem correct.  We were teased with a few days in a row with temps in the 50s and the signs of spring are now starting to arrive.  We have noticed flowers popping through the ground.  They remind me of the famous March Banks at Winterthur Museum in Delaware.  Lots of small purples and white with hints of a golden yellow here and there.  Now that the snow has melted away you can see the beautiful rocky Finnish landscape.  There are also beautiful mosses growing on the rocks.  We are also hearing the wildlife with birds singing.  I even caught two birds doing there thing right out my bedroom window.  The girls and I saw the most gorgeous pheasant today.  Spring is very different here compared to Georgia.  Spring requires what we would call a winter jacket in Georgia.

I think the girls are going to be a little confused by the seasons.  An example was a homeschooling activity I was doing with them that involved the clothing for spring.   The clothing on the worksheet was quite different with what we have to wear here for spring.

The cross-country  skis and ice skates have vanished and the bikes, skateboards and roller blades have all come out.  The popular bike here is called the Jopo.  We see lots of teens and tweens riding these bikes around town.  I think American kids would think the were strange.  Also the kids are so young and riding two wheel bikes.  You see very small kids with the Strider type bikes.  The Finns continue to be very active.

We now have the sun rising at 5:30am and setting at 9:09pm.  This has been adjustment because the sun kind of sits lower and seems to just stay put for awhile.  We have some strong sun beating in our back windows and we are now using our sunshades.

We are still waiting for the leaves to arrive and the grass to turn green and hopefully the ground will be dry and not muddy.  We know it is coming close as some allergies are starting.  Christian experienced the very puffy and tearing eyes just last week.  We were told it was Estonia’s pollen blowing up to Finland because they are experiencing their burst.  We cannot wait to see the green on the trees.

The other big change with the weather are the outdoor kiosks that are opening up.  Lots of small markets.  We have seen strawberry stands, cakes and pastries, ice cream/gelato, crepes and so much more.  The restaurants have put out their tables and we now have the Europe that everyone pictures in their minds.

Looking forward to the Jazz Fest in Tapiola and heading into Helsinki to the Carl Larsson Exhibit.  SuSu will be on our minds while at the exhibit.  We will do our first family adventure on Sunday as we will board a ship/ferry and head to Estonia.  Stay tuned for that adventure…

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Coffee Lovers

I have to say I believe that the Finns and the Swedes really know how to make a cup of coffee.  I love their coffee!  We have also enjoyed some cappuccino.  The Italians might be a little stronger on that front.

We made the mistake of letting the girls try a sip of our cappuccino and now they think they are coffee drinkers.  Well… why not since Finland is #1 in coffee consumption per capita in the world.  Yes they hit  the #1 spot only before Norway, Iceland, Denmark, The Netherlands and Sweden.  Kind of crazy!  I believe the US was like #25.  Finland is getting its first Starbucks this year and that is at the airport.  Not sure if the Finns will want to spend the € like they charge in the US.  They really know how to make their own coffee.

Another really cool thing are their coffee makers.  I love them!  The girls loved the ones we spotted at Stockmanns called the Moccamaster. You can see below why they liked it so much.

The other great thing is that coffee is not just a morning thing it is very popular here to have afternoon coffee.  The Finns have wonderful invitations for coffee.  We will blog about this later because they do such a nice job with this and it’s not just coffee!

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I Love Fresh Herbs

One of my favorite things to pick up at the market are herbs.  I love fresh basil!  Back in the states when we purchase herbs, they are in a package already cut from the plant.  When you purchase your herbs here, you get a little plant.


Some of the stores sell  little white pots for your herbs to place on your counter.  IKEA has the little pots that can hang from your backsplash in the kitchen.  Love this idea.

Another kitchen counter herb pot idea that I like is one I saw at Stockmann’s by Jamie Oliver.

You might see one of these in our home if you come to visit or may be a little something we might bring with us to add into our kitchen in the states.  May be  a little Biz4Kids spring and summer idea when the girls are a little older  would be to sell the little herb plants and pots at the farmer’s market.

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Never-ending Daylight ??

Finns love the summer months! They certainly look forward to the warmth and sun.  We understand.  We are also ready for more sun and warmer temperatures.  Several Finns have told us they will not travel in the summer because it is the best time to be in Finland.  We look forward not only to summer but also to celebrate Midsummer.   Midsummer is a big celebration in Finland and signals the start of “the real summer.” It is a celebration of light, summer and a “night less” night. This year Midsummer falls on June 23.

Northern Finland lies in the “Land off the Midnight Sun” and so has continuous daylight during part of the summer. The number of days of continuous daylight increases as one goes farther north. In northernmost Finland, the sun stays above the horizon for about 2 1/2 months. Southern Finland never has continuous daylight, though it averages 19 hours of daylight a day in midsummer.

In winter it’s the opposite – periods of continuous darkness. In the northernmost areas of the country, above the Arctic Circle, the sun never rises above the horizon for about two months. Southern Finland has some daylight during this time, though it receives only about six hours of daylight a day in midwinter. The winter night sky, especially in the northern areas of Finland, often becomes enriched with brilliant displays of the aurora borealis or northern lights.

Below we have to some charts and graphs of the sunrises, sunsets, dawns and dusks of various places.  It is really cool to compare Ecuador, which is near the equator and to Espoo, Kiruna (Sweden) and Fairbanks (Alaska), places that contain the Arctic Circle. Then consider Alpharetta (Georgia) and how much sun light it gets in comparison.  As you can see in the charts and graphs it varies.  We have been gaining 5 minutes a day of sunlight so there is more sunlight here today than back in Georgia.

Alpharetta, GA USA Sunset, sunrise, dawn and dusk time chart
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Christian and the Tekla Team Marketing Head Out for Pizza Making Fun!

Wednesday night Christian and the marketing team at Tekla headed out for a little team building activity.  Looks like they had a little fun.  It’s nice to see the people he works with and the ones that have been helping us adjust to this new place.

 

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INTO Helsinki

On Saturday, we bundled up and headed into Helsinki.  Here is a short clip of our adventure.

Here are a few still pictures from our adventure into Helsinki – which included walking, a bus, a tram, a boat and a taxi.

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Hyvää Pääsiäistä – Happy Easter

Easter Traditions in Finland

On Palm Sunday children around Finland dress up as little witches and equip themselves with willow branches decorated with colourful feathers and crepe paper. The little witches tour the neighbourhood, knock on doors and recite an old poem that promises health and youthfulness for the coming year and asks for a reward. Whoever opens the door gets one of the decorated willow branches as a gift and the reward is usually a chocolate egg or other seasonal sweets.

Here is what the little witches recite:

Virvon, varvon,
turceks’ terveeks

tulevaks’ vuodeks!
vitsa sullepalkka mulle!
Rauhallista Pääsiäistä

For fresh, for health
for the coming year!
The branch for you,
the treat for me!
Have a Peaceful Easter.

Good Friday Traditions in Finland

It was also believed that on Good Friday and on Saturday (Holy Saturday, although that’s not what it is called in Finland) evil spirits were running wild. Witches were believed to fly on their broomsticks to a mountain called Kyöpelivuori on Saturday night. In parts of Finland, especially in the Ostrobothnia region, bonfires were lit in the evening to ward off witches, and you might still see Easter bonfires in some areas. If you’re visiting Helsinki during the Easter weekend and want to see a traditional Easter bonfire, one of the best places is the Seurasaari Open Air Museum

Here are a few pictures from the Seurasaari Open Air Museum Easter Bonfire

Easter Sunday Traditions in Finland

On Easter Sunday the sun is said to dance in the sky to celebrate Resurrection, but for most modern Finnish children the main event of the day is the Easter egg hunt. Chocolate eggs are not delivered by the more famous Easter Bunny but a cockerel, and eggs may be hidden around the house or under the bed. In most parts of Finland it would be still too cold to go out to hunt for Easter eggs in the garden, and the garden might be covered in snow anyway.

As well as chocolate eggs, Finns eat boiled eggs on Easter Sunday and the eggs are usually painted either with water colours or by adding onion peels into the boiling water. Other  traditional Easter foods in Finland include pasha, an originally Russian sweet dessert, and mämmi. Made with rye flour, rye malt and molasses, mämmi a hugely popular dish but an acquired taste.

We hope all our family and friends had a Hyvää Pääsiäistä  or  Happy Easter!
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Where is Finland?

Here is a little clip of Natalie sharing where Finland is located.

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Still a American College Football Fan

I am still the ultimate “American” College Football Fan!  I hope we can figure out how not to miss next season.  Companies like Hulu, Netflix, YouTube and the internet are making it possible for us not to miss much.  Sometimes we might be off a day or a week, but we can usually see a rerun of a show or event.  We are learning to be Ice Hockey fans here in Finland and have been following our Espoo Blues.  The girls even went to their first ice hockey game.

My friends that know me, know that I love the LONGHORNS and am not a big fan of OU or Texas A&M and I enjoyed following the SEC teams since we lived in that territory.  We plan on finishing our stadium tour of the SEC when we are back in the States.  We were down to 3 stadiums.

I follow the Ellen Show on YouTube and saw this great story about a young woman at LSU.  She is trying to make their football team as a kicker.  She has been through a lot and what an inspiration to young girls and women.  I also think it speaks well for the LSU Football program.   We hope she makes it!  We will be sure to follow LSU a little more closely if they add her to the team.  I had to share this on our blog because I really thought this was a great story.  This was a great clip from the Ellen Show.

 

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Pågen Korvapuusteja – Erickson Breakfast Favorite

Ella is standing by a crate of our family favorite breakfast treat, Pågen korvapuusteja.  Our friends the Binches introduced us to these.  These are like a staple in our family.  Daddy is always surprised when he sees an empty bag in the trash ??  These are little cinnamon rolls.  I prefer them just warmed with good strong Finnish coffee.  The girls just want the bag open and BAM, they are gone in a blink of an eye.  When you decide to come visit I’m sure we will have them available for you!  Hint…Hint…

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