As we move toward the light

Tonight is “pork monday” and yesterday we celebrated “Fastelavn” with some very close friends.

"Fastelavn", the danish word for the christian holiday "shrovetide", this is our tradition as a modern pagan family. Visit my blog and read about our traditions. How do you celebrate the coming of spring? www.pennnylane.dk
Good looking people!

 

Fastelavn er mit navn…

”Fastelavn” is the Danish word for the celebration of “Shrovetide”, a carnival of welcoming the spring. This carnival tradition dates back to 7-800 BC, where it was a pagan celebration with the purpose of driving away the darkness of winter and welcoming spring. When Christianity was introduced in europe, the carnival became a Christian tradition called Shrovetide, leading up to the 40 days of lent before Easter.

But this holiday still serves the same purpose as always: To bring light to end the dark time of year.

 

The Danish word for Shrovetide, “fastelavn” comes from the german “vastelavent” meaning the night before lent.  Shrove Sunday always falls on the 7th Sunday before Easter and is followed by Shrove Monday, Shrove Tuesday and Ash Wednesday.

Historically, the three days before Ash Wednesday were used to eat as much meat and sweets as possible, since both were forbidden during lent. This is why Shrove Sunday and Shrove Monday are also known as “flæskesøndag” and “flæskemandag”. (Translated it means “Pork-Sunday and Pork-Monday). Take a guess at what you had for dinner?!? 😉

Shrove Tuesday is also called “hvide tirsdag” (White Tuesday) because you would traditionally eat white foods on this day. This is also the day you would eat “fastelavnsboller” (Shrovetide buns); a sweet bun filled with custard/marzipan and jam.

Fastelavnsboller, shrovetide buns. A danish traditional dessert-bun with custard, marzipan and jam - delicious! www.pennnylane.dk
This years leftovers of fastelavnsboller

 

Back in christian times, Shrovetide was mainly a celebration for adults, who would dress up and celebrate. Today most of the festivities are for children. Children dress up in costumes, and go from house to house singing for “treats”.(A bit like Halloween, but without all the scary costumes).

Shrovetide traditions

An old tradition, which still is practiced, is the Danish tradition of hitting at a barrel, like you would a “pinata”.

After christianity “adopted” the holiday, a black cat, seen as a symbol of evil (also known as a witches familiar or as satan himself), was put into the barrel. The tradition was to beat the barrel with a stick until it broke and killed the cat.

It’s still a very normal tradition, however today the barrel contains sweets or toys. But a part of the old tradition still remains, as the one to break the last board of the barrel is crowned the King of Cats. (And the first to break the barrel is crowned the Queen).

The birch rod

Another tradition we still have is the decorated Shrovetide birch rod. Children decorate birch rods with paper decorations and streamers and we showcase them in our house as a sign of the coming spring.

As a pagan sign of fertility it was considered good luck for young newly wed women to be struck with a birch rod, as it would increase her fertility. This tradition was changed as well as christianity adopted the holiday to symbolize beating evil and sin out of people.

The stores also sell “birchrods” with candy and decorations for those who don’t have the time to make one…

Today the tradition is thankfully much more family-friendly, and many children will decorate their birch rod in school or in kindergarten, and wake their parents on Shrove Sunday by beating the birch on their duvets and singing a special “fastelavns” song:

“Boller op, Boller ned, Boller i min mave…

 Hvis jeg ingen boller får, så laver jeg ballade!”

loosely translated….

“Buns up, Buns down, Buns in my belly…

 If I don’t get any buns, I am going to make trouble!”

Of course you would serve the children “fastelavnsboller”, because who wants trouble?! 🙂

Dianna dressed as a little kitten for Fastelavn. To read more about this danish tradition, go to my blog: www.pennnylane.dk

 Dianna was dressed as a little kitten this year (thx for the costume Uncle Daniel!)

Becoming a mother has reminded me how important it is to celebrate family traditions and to keep them going.

I hope someday she will be the one celebrating fastelavn with her children and friends! 🙂

How do you celebrate the coming of spring?

All that left-over Oatmeal…

The first couple of months of Dianna starting to eat porridges and oatmeal – Oh my Goodness did alot go to waste – and I really mean ALOT!

And not only because she threw it everywhere (but her mouth)… but also because she was a bit of a fussy eater and sometimes just didn’t want to eat breakfast.

(Mommy would of course cave and giver her a bottle… hence it went on for quite a while!!)

After starting daycare and her daycare mother giving me some much needed advice on her diet, I have started to be more strict and not offer her a bottle and of course she has started eating her porridge! Although sometimes my portionsize is still a bit off, and quite a bit is left.

I mostly make oatmeal, because it’s easy to make and (in my opinon) tastes great!

But I have since found some great recipes to make use of all that left-over oatmeal!

 

Leftover Oatmeal Buns

Yields: 10-12

3-4 dl of lukewarm water

Yeast

Salt

Leftover oatmeal

Raisins (sometimes I have it in the oatmeal already)

Vegetable oil

Flour (wholewheat or plain – up to you!)

Leftover-oatmeal buns. Tired of having all that oatmeal go to waste, because your baby's not eating it? Here is a great way to make use of it - bake some oatmeal buns for lunch! www.pennnylane.dk

Pour the lukewarm water into your baking bowl. (NB! It’s important that it’s lukewarm, as the heat helps activate the yeast so your buns rise!)

Add the yeast and stir until it’s dissolved.

Add the left-over oatmeal (and raisins)

Leftover-oatmeal buns. Tired of having all that oatmeal go to waste, because your baby's not eating it? Here is a great way to make use of it - bake some oatmeal buns for lunch! www.pennnylane.dk

Add the salt, oil and finally the flour

Knead until it has the consistency you want.

Let the dough rise for about 1 hour. (If you’re in a hurry less can do as well)

Make into small buns and bake at 180 degrees celcius for aprox. 20 min.

Leftover-oatmeal buns. Tired of having all that oatmeal go to waste, because your baby's not eating it? Here is a great way to make use of it - bake some oatmeal buns for lunch! www.pennnylane.dk

Dianna simply LOVES these with butter and cheese or simply just as they are.

A great and healthy snack for you and your child, especially if you bake them with some wholewheat flour or even rye.

And the best thing is – nothing’s going to waste!!!

Leftover-oatmeal buns. Tired of having all that oatmeal go to waste, because your baby's not eating it? Here is a great way to make use of it - bake some oatmeal buns for lunch! www.pennnylane.dk
YUM!!

Declutter your home DAY 4

Day 4 of my "How to declutter your home in 4 days" - guide. Go to my blog www.pennnylane.dk and see the full guide for free.

Day 4 is finally here, we’re almost done! We’ve tackled the wardrobe, the bathroom, the kitchen and now your WORKSPACE!

I am a fanatic hoarder when it comes to my workspace. I’m actually a very orderly person, EXCEPT when it comes to this place. I somehow find energy in being surrounded by a “little” chaos. I know, sounds crazy! But there is such a thing as organized chaos, I swear! I know exactly where everything is!!

But because I am going back to work after a long maternity leave (1 whole year!!! – where did the time go?!?), it was crucial for me that my workspace was tidy and ready for me to go back to work.

Last year my husband remodelled our upstairs. We wanted more room, so he moved our staircase from the front of our house to the middel so we could utilize room in both ends of the house. And in doing so he freed up room to make a great work-from-home space for me (and a study area for himself!). It’s amazing and I’m very happy with it. The only downside is there isn’t much storage space, so I have 2 halfsized bookshelves and 2 drawers for ALL my stuff. And my books alone are in 8 moving boxes… sooooo…. as you can imagine it’s quite cluttered.

Not anymore! And here is how…

DAY 4

How to declutter your home in 4 days. This is day 4 - 12 things to get rid of in your workspace! Read my guide to a clutterfree workspace. www.pennnylane.dk

My workspace was full of bad conscience, half finished projects and they kept stopping me from starting new ones – because I felt so bad I wasn’t finished. Now my conscience is clear and I’m ready to go back to work!! Or well at least my workspace is…

It’s sad having to go back to work – but my little Dianna so LOVES her daycare, that I know it’s only me who has the problem, not her!

Still…. Wish me luck!!

Signature for my blog www.pennnylane.dk

Checklist: Ways to soothe your baby

Checklist: How to soothe your baby. Many different ways to soothe your fussy baby. Try this, it work!!! Visit my blog: www.pennnylane.dk to see more likeminded articles on babycare.

It has been a tough couple of weeks…. phew…

Dianna has turned 8 months and has up til now slept like… well like a baby! But suddenly she is more aware of me and her daddy, that we are independent from her and have our own will. We can move away from her – and we can stay away (of course we wouldn’t!!) and we can come back. And so she wants to keep us in sight at all times!

Get some advice on how to soothe your baby, when she's fussy. Visit my blog at: www.pennnylane.dk

Boy is it exhausting… but it makes you creative and voila… I have this great post for you… because my trials are for your benefit!

 

Ways to soothe your baby

First of all, there are 4 things to always check, if your baby is fussy:

Baby’s basic needs

  1. Is baby hungry?
  2. Does baby need to be burped?
  3. Is there a dirty diaper?
  4. Is baby tired?

If all of these are out of the question… I ask myself

Is my baby in good health?

Does your baby have trouble with gas?

  • Cycle baby’s legs while she lies on her back
  • Lay your baby across your knees and rub her back
  • Give her a gentle oil massage on her stomach, always rubbing from (your) left to right in circle
  • Ask your pediatrician about using infant gas drops

Does your baby have a fever?

  • Check baby’s temperature
  • Ask your pediatrcian about using infant pain reliever (paracetemol)

Is your baby having teething pain?

  • Offer your baby a teething ring, soft toothbrush or something cold.

I like to keep some pacifiers in the freezer – it helps her sore gums!

  • Ask your pediatrician about using teething gel for babies

 

If everything is fine with my baby’s health, I wonder….

Does baby want to cuddle?

  • Hold your baby close, skin-to-skin
  • Wear your baby in a wrap or carrier
  • Offer baby a pacifier
  • Swaddle your baby

Is baby comfortable?

  • Check baby’s temperature – is she too hot or too cold?
  • Undress baby, incase a clothing tag or material is bothering her
  • Go outside and get some fresh air
  • Maybe baby is over-stimulated; stop eye-contact, remove toys and other stimuli, dim the lights
  • Maybe baby is under-stimulated; talk and interact with baby, show baby toys and household items

Maybe baby wants to move?

  • Gently bounce or swing your baby
  • Take baby for a walk in the baby carrier
  • Place baby in a swing or bouncy chair
  • Go for a car ride

Maybe baby wants some sound?

  • Play some music or sing to baby
  • Turn on some “white noise” – tv or vacuum cleaner
  • Make a “shushing” noise close to baby’s ear

 

There are a million other things to try -and some days nothing seems to work. Try to listen to your intuition.

Babies are like us – we have good and bad days too. They have to learn so much in such a little time! It must be exhausting!!! (just like being a mom!) 🙂 and some days they are just fussy without reason…

However, if you’ve tried this checklist repeatedly and your baby still is fussy – I would talk to my pediatrician, just to rule out any medical issue.

 

Do you have any tips I need to add to my checklist??

Signature from my blog: www.pennnylane.dk

Baby and mommy yoga

Help your baby understand her body with babyyoga. How I learned to enjoy yoga and it helped me connect with my daughter. To read more visit my blog at: www.pennnylane.dk

I have never really gotten the yoga-craze. I mean I have several girlfriends who do it – but I just never really understood it! That was, until I became a mother!

Dianna is really big – well I mean long! She is 7 months now – but wears clothes for a 1 year old, because she’s so tall!

That being said, she is also a bit slow in her development (not late tho – just a bit slower). I think a part of it, is because of her looooong body. It’s hard to control long limbs and it requires more strength as well.

So in an effort to help her a long the best I can – a mother in my maternity-group suggested I try “Baby and mommy yoga”.

And you know what?!?…. It’s AMAZING!

Now I have never been the most coordinated or athletic person (I can just hear my husband laughing at that comment…), but even I can do this!

It’s easy and so relaxing (some of the time) and best of all – Dianna loves it as well! We really connect on another level during some of these exercises 🙂

Our economy isn’t really well enough for me to pay for classes or travel somewhere like in a gym to go to a class… sooo what do you do?!

Youtube !!! 😉

If you search “Baby yoga” – a million (or so) videos will appear.

My faves so far are:

 

Depending on Diannas mood and how long I want to carry on for, I choose between the videos.

The first is a long one, with both yoga for mom and for baby. The second is mainly focused on mommy and the last on baby.

If you haven’t tried it yet – HURRY up and do it! You will love it!

 

What is your favorite exercise for you and your baby to do together?

 

Signature from my blog: www.pennnylane.dk