.:our favorite toys in our favorite toy shop (+ me in the mirror!) :-)
We're just taking it easy and enjoying the beautiful summery weather...sometimes seeking shade under the protective arcades of our beautiful, medieval old town. Thought I'd share a few images with you!
.:Poor blog, it needs a nice, colorful rainbow to cheer it up after being neglected for so long. xo:.
Let's see. Besides having a chatty, messy toddler underfoot and a 7 year old with a constant stream of big, impossible-to-answer questions, and a large garden which is losing the battle against slugs and weeds, and a husband who was recently sent to a conference all the way in Qatar, and endless heaps of crunchy, air-dried laundry, and a major homeschooling identity crisis...besides all that...everything is just great. :-)
We've made some big changes around here lately and everyone is feeling re-inspired! First, we overhauled our homeschooling priorities. Basically, we had lost track of what was really important to us (mainly due to time/toddler constraints) and started to only do the bare bones stuff. The magic that we started out with and which is the entire reason we even chose this path was completely starting to fade. So we rearranged things and had lots of talks and for the past few weeks we have all been so much happier! yay! We're back to lots of beautiful arts and crafts, enchanting stories, and soulful activities galore. I am so very grateful to have this beautiful life here with my children. It feels like a true luxury to be able to surround them with so much beauty and goodness. My whole heart and soul are in this mama-gig, for sure.
Our family time on the weekends has also started to take on a new rhythm which is now a nice, balanced mix of fun and productivity...ensuring that we're all feeling rested, rejuvenated and ready for the week ahead. One really does have to be organized with little children around or else things can get chaotic surprisingly fast!
Not much excitement recently, our days are pretty quiet and rhythmic. We're outside all the time now and we're all feeling much healthier for it. Being in Sardinia made me especially thankful for all the comforts and blessings that come with life in Switzerland. I am so hopelessly attached to my organic fresh food, our amazing health care system, our public transportation, our clean, orderly neighborhoods. My goodness, it's an abundant life we lead.
We just got back from our trip to Sardinia (Sardegna in Italian). We stayed on the southern coast, and the flight from here was only 1 hour and 25 minutes. The beaches are truly stunning, and we were soooooo happy to be soaking up all that seaside beauty. The boys loved the wide open spaces and all of that sand to play with!
The weather wasn't perfect, but it was much sunnier and warmer than back home in Switzerland, where it was apparently COLD and raining cats and dogs most of the week.
Sardinia is known for the clear, turquoise water. Beautiful to look at, but I didn't dare go in that cold water.
Little brother was acting like he had been on a beach every day of his life, although it was his first time. He loved it...especially making sand cakes and kicking sand up in the air.
and big brother ran and ran and ran. Off season has benefits, mainly that we had entire beaches to ourselves. Wide open spaces is not something we have a lot of in Switzerland.
We stayed in a small, traditional town. It wasn't a beautiful town, but very typical of the region and the locals were extremely friendly...they absolutely adore children! I was disappointed in the food. Everyone talks about the food in Italy being so amazing, and I guess if you find pasta and pizza amazing, it probably is. We ate out a lot and it was nearly impossible to get fresh, live food. No salads! There was a nice farmer's market in town, though, and we were able to stock up on gorgeous fruit.
Basically, this was meant as a beach holiday and that's what we did every day. For that, Sardinia is just right. :-)
We're having so much fun making spring-inspired crafts this year! I made these two little guys above for the boys' Easter baskets this year.
We've been decorating our windows with colorful things to bring even more brightness inside. Like these window stars in springy colors.
We made a window clover for St. Patrick's Day
and these kirigami flowers...these are so easy to make and look so pretty with the light shining through. Now that we've discovered these, you won't be able to stop me from making millions! :-) Big brother can make them on his own, too.
These flowers were fun as there was a lot of tracing and cutting involved. It took big brother a very long time to cut out around all those little fingers!
We dyed our eggs the traditional Swiss way this year, with onion skins. You then press leaves and flowers against the eggs and wrap with nylons and boil them and you get a sort of botanical print right on the egg. The farmers at the farmer's market sell them and they are so beautiful. I have a long way to go before I perfect the technique.
This batch was initially dyed with Yellowwood, but the color was much too pale so we ended up dying color on top of that and they turned out rather pretty in the end.
Here are our sweet boys after their egg hunt in our yard.
Big brother was very nice and made sure to let the little one find some of the eggs for himself.
In German, the word for hibernation is "Winterschlaf" or winter sleep. I have always felt like that word more closely describes how I feel in winter. Things get pretty quiet around here and the world outside of our cozy, warm house does indeed seem to be asleep. Anyway, no more...as the sun has returned, the days are warmer, the daffodils and tulips are coming and things feel very much awake!
The boys and I are venturing out quite a bit more these days, too...lots of day trips. In the photo above, we are visiting a butterfly garden. The cold days aren't entirely behind us, but we feel the new energy of this awakening season and we are inspired by all the changes taking place around us. I am also motivated to do a big spring cleaning, but there is so much to do! Better get to it before our much needed family vacation next month. It's such a great feeling to come back to a fresh, orderly home!
It's really, really nice living in a place where respect for the environment is totally mainstream. Nearly everything can be recycled here...with ease...and more importantly, everyone does it. People ride bikes...even 80 year olds, women with small children, those with a load to haul...and they do it all year round, even when snow is thick on the ground. When they do drive, it's likely to be the smallest car they can possibly manage and normally only 1 per family. You can get everywhere via tram, bus, train, boat, bike or foot.
Also, I don't know any Swiss who dries their clothes in a clothes dryer. They hang it out to air dry. Outside if the weather is good, inside if it's not. These are wealthy people I'm talking about, folks. It's a choice. It may seem like a small thing to you, but I'm constantly amazed at how many inconveniences such an affluent society is willing to put up with for the sake of the greater good. It's inspiring!
We've been working on ways to green up our home life even more. Here are some things we do at the moment:
-air dry all our clothes. we have no dryer...typical Swiss family! I have a love/hate relationship with this one :-)
-reusable grocery bags (have done this for as long as I can remember)
-buy organic food (have done this for years, too)
-use eco laundry detergent/fabric softener
-use natural cosmetics (me)
-natural toiletries for the boys (shampoo, bath soap, etc)
-use cloth diapers (part time)
-use cloth napkins at meal times
things we'd like to improve on:
-less plastic! It's getting harder and harder to buy anything without plastic...crazy! I want to do the majority of our shopping at the farmer's market to try and avoid this
-bathroom cleaning products...the ones i use are fairly eco, but i think we can take it a step further
-shampoo! we're totally mainstream on this one...haven't found a natural one that we like. the next step is to try and make one myself!
-use cloth diapers more than part time (i love them. this is mainly a laundry issue. I need to get organized!)
-less electrosmog in our bedroom. our house has very little electrosmog in general, but our bedroom has too much, scary.
I'm sure there's more. I'm really into all this right now! I'm so grateful for all the environmental lessons I've learned since moving here. It's definitely one of the top reasons to love living in this beautiful place!