Winter Bucket List 2018

I have said it before and I do so again: For me winter starts with Advent. Screw the metrological calendar and the date December 21. Lets start right now and compile a Winter Bucket List. They are fun. But be before we dive head on in lets have a quick look on my fall list and how I did there.

  1. Making apple sauce. with my friend and it was fun
  2. Sewing a maxi skirt. A picture of me wearing it ended up on this blogpost.
  3. Make a tassel necklace. Do you want to see a picture?
  4. Try a new pumpkin recipe.
  5. Drink lots of tea.
  6. Read even more books. Read about my favorite books 2018 here & here.
  7. Taking walks in the park and cemetery and observe the leaves changing. See here.
  8. Go mushroom picking.
  9. Celebrate my mothers 60th birthday.
  10. Participating in a charity. Here is my blogpost about the experience.
  11. Going to BLOGST a blogging conference. Read about my experience and what I learnt about networking here.
  12. Work on my craft lab. Well, this is semi done I’d say. Not as far as I would like but you can see progress. However I won’t manage my yearly goal I am afraid.
  13. Making a floral arrangement for Sunday of the Dead. I made two arrangements however only for my grandparents grave.
  14. Sitting on the balcony listening to the rain.
  15. Reading more blogs and commenting. Definitely did that and commented almost daily.
  16. ✔ Enjoying a spa day with myself.

Wow I did not expect to have this much crossed of my list. craftaliciousme seeking creative life winter list 2018

Now lets get on with the most happiest season of the years WINTER

  1. Read a Christmas Book
    suggestions welcome, could be a classic too. If I can’t find a new one I might just re-read a Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens.
  2. Spread Random Acts of Kindness
    It’s been on my list last year but it doesn’t hurt to re-activate: smiling to the cashier, meeting the postman half way, let an old lady in front of the line in the post office, etc. something like that.
  3. Ice Skating
    another one that keeps re-appearing on my list but it just hasn’t been cold enough to go on the lake. And no I don’t do ice rinks. This girl doesn’t like going in circles…
  4. Christmas Movies
    I’ve got 5 weeks to watch them all. Already put some on the watchlist. Suggestions welcome.
  5. Cancel all appointments in December
    Last year I read on someones blog that she never schedules doctors appointments or any “friends” meet-up in December. Because why, if you haven’t got time to do so all year why squeeze it in last minute. So I won’t do it. Instead have already planned it in January. If people ask to meet who are not too close – next year. Only things I do is stuff I like – spa days, hair cut, etc.
  6. Planning next years Christmas
    Mr. 🖤 and I want to spend a snowy Christmas in Lapland and trying to convince my family to join for two years now. Cabins are booked early so if we want to make it happen we need to book like right now.
  7. Taking a photo walk
    I love being out and seeing things when I have camera in hand. Somehow the view is different and I start hunting pretty scenes. The focus shifts.
  8. Crafting
    I want to sew, make jewellery and paint. But I set a goal to only use materials I have already at hand and not buy new stuff. It’s kind of cleaning up and making something pretty.
  9. Christmas Concert
    I would love to go to a concert maybe even the Christmas Oratorio. Maybe I can get my Mom to join.
  10. Celebrate Dads 60th
    It’s going to be a big celebration with it’s annual tradition.
  11. Find a word 2019
    I love to Unravel my Year and then set goals for the new one. For many years now I do so by setting a Word of the Year. Who else is doing that?

I am excited for the last month of 2018 however also a bit sad as it means I have only 4 more weeks to get everything done I set out to achieve in 2018. Now let me know if you compiled a winter list so I can steal a few items.

Happy December,

Tobia

Spicy Fruit Punch for winter days

After being locked up for the last few days I needed to get outside today. I knew it got cold but I was still a bit surprised how cold it was. Winter was in the air. I could almost smell snowflakes but not quite yet. When I was strolling the streets I thought to myself this will be a really cold long winter. We hadn’t had those in a while. I am looking forward. Just need to get used to the cold. Cold air makes everything feel fresh and new. However when I came home I was chilled to the bone. Time for a spicy fruit punch to warm me up.

craftaliciousme seeking creative life Spicy fruit punch

Good thing I had all the ingredients already at hand. Let me invite you for a glass and if you are not able to stop by let me share the recipe with you.

What you need:

♥ bag of homemade chai tea
♥ redcurrant juice
♥ mint

Preparations are quite simple. Boil the chai tea in water and let simmer for about 30 mins. Add approx. same amount of juice to the concoction. Heat up. Fill in glass and decorate with min leaves.

craftaliciousme seeking creative life Spicy fruit punch

If you enjoy this recipe you might also like Kuuma Karpalomehu – Finnish Hot Cranberry Juice. Now I wander what your favourite hot drink during winter time is. Let me know so I can give it a try.

Happy winter,

Tobia

spicy fruit punch for cold winter days

The Fascination of Fire

Hello hello,

while I am typing away this evening I have a fire burning. Not a real one – unfortunately. A digital one on my TV but it crackles and flickers like the real thing. I even believe the room has warmth to it and everything feels much more cozy. Fire is just fascinating in that way, isn’t it? I could follow the dance of the flames forever. It is meditative. It is calming. It is peaceful.

craftaliciousme seeking creative life fascination of fire dog

I always liked fall and spring season when my dad had to prune the trees and we had a big bonfire in the garden. It burnt all day and we would put potatoes in the ashes to eat later in the day. Sometimes my mom would make bread we would twist around sticks and bake in the flames. Of course it all got burnt but we didn’t know about cancer and such. Unfortunately I also didn’t know about s’mores. At a later age we would sit around the fire and talk the night away with friends or sing songs and stick bread was exchanged to beer. But the memories are equally fun. When visiting my parents now and we are bbq-ing sooner rather then later there is a fire burning.

Fire seems to be connected to being cozy and happy. Fire is safe. Fire doesn’t scare me.
There is a hotel here in Europe that as a (digital) fire burning when you enter your room. I love it. I remember a city trip to Vienna were we ended up spending lots of time in a the hotel room because it was just so comfy and we were just so exhausted after a stressful year looking at the fire. Now you would assume it was a awful vacation with us being in Vienna and not seeing much but it wasn’t. I believe fire was art of the reason.

craftaliciousme seeking creative life fascination of fire

However essential fire is I do not think I could start a fire myself if I ever needed to. I mean I don’t smoke so I never have any matches or lighter with me. If I end up at an deserted island that’s it. Anyone else be the first to go raw vegan? Up for a speed-survival-training? There are 3 ways to start a fire:

  1. Friction: basically having to sticks and rubbing them at each other until they burn. This is supposed to be the easiest way to start a fire. (Good luck to us!) Other ways here would be drilling a stick into wood or sawing with a stick on wood. all the same process of friction.
  2. Lightbeaming: if you run around with a magnifying glass or a curved mirror you can focus the light and start a fire. I guess if you wear glasses this could work. This article explains how to use this technique with ice and condoms.
  3. Sparking: make a spark to start a fire. To do so you would need a flint and steel. If you don’t have flint you could use quartzite (whatever that is). This option seems to be the worst in my opinion.

How about we just enjoy the fire and not think about it’s lifesaving features tonight. I will stare into the flames for a bit more, let my thoughts drift by and then take a little walk in bogland to see who else was blogging tonights.

Happy evening,

Tobia

Finnish inspired Hot Cranberry Juice – Kuuma Karpalomehu

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Good morning,

Once a year I invite you for a Finnish meal on my blog. We had cake and breakfast and last year some Salmon Soup. High time for a warming drink.

Kuuma Karpalomehu Hot finnish Cranberry Juice

When we enjoyed our honeymoon in Lapland we were often served a hot drink when sitting by the fire warming up after our outdoor adventures with huskies and reindeers.

As vegetation is scarce so far up north it doesn’t surprise that there isn’t a huge variety of juices, fruits and vegetables available. It is mirrored in the food and drink choices. So besides coffee – that is served religiously – you can drink Hot Cranberry Juice everywhere. And I mean everywhere…

For me this was somewhat of a light bolt moment. I mean sure I know of hot cider and shared my recipe here but for some reason I never really thought about heating up other juices. But I really took a liking to it. Now when I drink this it takes me right back to my honeymoon, the snow covered countryside, the crystal clear air, my cold cheeks and this deep felt happiness. Come join my be making yourself a pot!

Here is my personal version of this Finnish Hot Cranberry Juice –  Kuuma Karpalomehu

♥︎ 1/2 cup cranberry sirup (I used the one from here)
♥︎ 2-3 cups of water
♥︎ one bag of my homemade chai tea
♥︎ a slice of ginger

Bring water, ginger and chai tea to boil and let simmer for 30 min. Add sirup and let simmer for 5-10 min. The longer the sirup will cook the sweeter the concoction will get. I prefer spicy over sweet but adapt to your liking.

finnish cranberry juice

I will dream a bit more of my honeymoon, enjoy my fourth wedding anniversary and dream of more trips and vacations. And you stop by for dinner next year. I already know what I am serving.
Or please sooner I don’t mind!

Happy day to you,

Tobia

finnish hot cranberry juice-5

Christmas tree decorating habits

Tomorrow is Christmas Eve. Lot’s of people have there Christmas tree already put up. In Germany maybe not als long as in the US. In my family the tree was brought to the house late on the 23rd or in the morning of Christmas Eve. For us it has always been a real tree. And those need to unfold a bit before being decorated.

When I grew up my mom used to decorate the tree. Usually after she was done with preparations in the kitchen and when my dad took over to prepare his part of the Christmas dinner. (but that is a story for another day.) We children didn’t get to see the tree until Christmas Eve after church. What was usually early evening.

Our tree was rather traditional with some silver balls, wooden toys, straw stars and some chocolate rings with sprinkles (who knows which ones I mean?!). Also there were some more wrapped chocolate figurines. And we had real candles. We had the tradition of undecorating the tree after New Years when we were allowed to pick one of the candies daily from the tree.

I do not know how long this practices lasted. There was a year when I had an idea for a different decorated tree and suggested it to my mom. That was the year when tradition changed and my mom and I started to decorate it together. The “new” tree was decorated mainly by natural things: dried fruits, pinecones, nuts, cinnamon sticks, star anise and such. What we kept was the real candles. Instead of the Christmas balls we used apples. My parents still do that and when I spent Christmas with them, that is the tree I am seeing. And often it is still my “chore” to decorate.

natural christmas treeTo be honest I can hardly remember the first version of the tree and I doubt my little sister knows we once had a different tree.

As you can see the concept of changing up the Christmas decoration yearly as some people do is rather foreign to me – not that I don’t admire that.

So it comes to no surprise that in my own home and with my own tree I also follow the same theme year in and year out. My tree now is always silver and white. Over all it is a rather simple version of a tree. It all starts with white and silver balls. (We received those as a wedding gift by my aunt to be always reminded of snow. I thought that was one great gift.) And then I add my real candles. I have never had a tree with electric lights and wouldn’t even know how to get them on there. In the first years I created one new ornament every year and added them to the tree. I am now at a point were I do have enough and can’t hang all. I do collect some cute little ornaments like my silver bells or my little pottery trees.

white silver christmas treeSince we are usually spending Christmas Eve and Christmas with family I decorated my tree on the 23rd. But I will not light candles before Christmas. It just doesn’t feel right.

I usually take down the tree around January 6th. Often I am a bit lazy though. Because one disadvantage of using real candles is that it will make a huge mess. I have to clean all my glass balls and the candle holders and often the floor. It’s not done in an hour. But it is worth all the trouble to me.

The whole tree decorating business is quite different with everyone. I know a lot of people who do it like I have done all my life and the tree is only being put up Christmas Eve. But I feel like in recent years the trees are being decorated earlier and earlier. Some beginning of Advent some when ever it suits.

I got a real cultural shock when I spent my year in the U.S. and was rather perplex when right after Thanksgiving Dinner a big box was open, a fake Christmas tree unfolded and ornaments put up. It was so weird seeing the tree 5 weeks leading to Christmas. What I really enjoyed though was all the presents being collected underneaths. I liked that tradition a lot and adopted that. What really blew my mind though was when Christmas Day right after everyone open the presents the big box was put out again and the tree put back in the attic. I was really dumbfounded with that. For me Christmas was just beginning and here my host family was done with it. If someone asks me I often say that I didn’t really had a Christmas in 1999.

It is so interesting how everyone is having so different traditions and rituals. So if you have a few minutes to spare please let me know how your tree looks like and when you are putting it up.

Wishing you a wonderful Merry Christmas and the best of times with all your loved ones,

Tobia