Simple Living: Summer Vacation Part 2 (My 10 Favorite Things To Do)

Today’s post is all about snap shots from our vacation. We got home yesterday…and now we’re just relaxing and unpacking. We kept our vacation really simple…outdoorsy-foodie-swim-relax-family kinda vacation. Here are my 10 most fave moments. Be prepared for some serious photo spam. :)

1. Time to be (and plenty of kisses).

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2. Swimming (teaching my soon 6-year-old son how to and assure my almost 3-year-old for gazillion time that…no there are no crabs in the water).

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3. Ice cream

icecreamI’m oddly picky when it comes to ice cream….I only like fruit flavors…sorbets (and sometimes chocolate). I can’t do what every normal parent does when their kid can’t finish their huge ice cream….because I just don’t like their choice of ice cream. I had mango ice cream…my son had gigantic one with pistachio-chocolate flavors….which he couldn’t finish.

Note to myself….next time buy him a smaller one.

 

 

 

4. Homemade ice-cold pickles.

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Hands down the best snack on earth. I’m willing to give up many foods for these ones…..even sweets and cheesecake.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

5. Local bookstores

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When I get enough of the heat outside…I love hanging around at local bookstores.

6. Share yum food with family & friends.

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fish1Grilled fish with tomatoes. I’m not over exaggerating if I say…the best meal of this year.

 

 

7. Drink chilling cold soda.

lemonadeThis is my favorite childhood soda. We used to drink it after sauna. It’s sooo good.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

8. Exercise.

swingsPushing the swing for hours requires some serious trained muscles you know…. :D

I did that a lot. I couldn’t run…but I got most out of a local playground.

 

 

 

 

 

 

9. Have evening tea (they had coffee) with the WISE women in my family.

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10. Chillax & view life with fresh pair of eyes.

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That’s what I love about vacations…..to step few steps away from everyday, chill and reevaluate. I got back home with renewed energy and I realize how great my life is.

 

Tell me….. :)

What’s your favorite ice cream flavor?

What are some of your fave activities during your summer vacation?

 

 

Mindful Monday: How to Change Your Life (In 3 Doable Steps)

Change-Your-Life-mission-for-michael-drug-alcohol-treatment-center-orange-county

“Most of us spend too much time on what is urgent and not enough time and not enough time on what is important. “ – Stephen R. Covey

Today I want to talk about how to live on purpose.

Sometimes it’s difficult to remember or notice what matters in life and what’s just urgent. It’s a challenge to pay attention to how we’re really feeling physically and emotionally, because we’re always on-the-go, chasing next something on our agenda. It’s not our fault, it’s the lifestyle we’re living.

It’s our habits, our mindset that messes with our good intention to live a happy life full of purpose.

I know it firsthand. Once I get going in the morning, it’s a constant challenge during the day to pay attention to by emotions, physical body and what’s important in my life. It’s like as soon as I lose connection to myself I also lose sight of what’s what really matters, what’s important. I start making bad decisions for me. And that’s when urgent matters take control. And the result is life lived unauthentically or worst case scenario we make bad choices or hurt ourselves.

My bad choices…I have had many.

Like drinking coffee. I wanted to slow down but kept drinking gazillion cups of coffee. Or when I got caught up in some activities that were not on my agenda….and all my soul wanted was some quiet time with a good book. Or when I got hurt during my run, because I let my head (ambitions) rule over my body and not listen to it. Or when I kept working, while I felt my health was getting worser by an hour….and I just kept going (because that’s what tough people do), before I was forced to listen to my body and soul.

What can I say? I’m human….I make mistakes, I get up and keep going. And I’m still learning. I’ve learned to forgive myself when I mess up.

So what to do? What have I changed? Many things, but here is the main one.

The trick that works for me personally…is to simply pay attention to mind, body, soul and life.

I’m still learning this….but this is how I do it practically.

  • Tune in with your body, thoughts and emotions. I try to tune in as often as I remember during the day. I meditate once a day but then notice how I feel in my body several times a day. When I exercise I feel endorphins kick in, when I get angry I notice my feelings and accept them. I always tried to be a nice person, control my emotions. I still control them, but in a more loving way. Now, I just notice and accept them. Finally, I watch my thoughts. Well, as often as I remember. I’m not obsessed, I just do my best.
  • What’s important? Figure our what’s essential in your life. I used to doubt…until I had kids. It sort of forced me to become really clear with my priorities in life. To narrow it down to only 2…it’s quite simple. It’s my health and my family. If I make choices based on these two simple priorities, I feel good and live an authentic life. So I try to keep it simple. Find 2-3 points in your life and keep them as reminder where you can see them(like a fridge).
  • Good habits. This one is gonna be very individual for each person. I’ve learned that positive habits are like small road signs (reminders really) in my daily life, when things get a little crazy (as they tend to sometimes). I run, do yoga, meditate, eat healthy…daily…it reminds me of my intentions and purpose on daily basis. And I also swim, go to sauna, have alone time, read books and make sure I watch/read/listen to ONLY inspiring stuff….often..these support my daily habits. Good habits help me to live life intentionally and remind me when noise is just that….noise and what’s really important.

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That’s it. Gotta go Eleanor wants to play horse-back-ride….guess who has to be in the role of a horse?!

Tell me ………. :)

Have you ever tried to change your life or habits?

What’s your favorite good habit /hobby?

Photo credit

 

Simple Living: Summer Vacation Part 1

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“Slow down and enjoy life. It’s not only the scenery you miss by going to fast- you also miss the sense of where you are going and why.” Eddie Cantor

Hello from summer vacation 28 C…..doing nothing bubble. This year, I’ve taken doing nothing and just being to the next level. Our days are pretty much about prepping simple food, eating it, swimming, reading and running in grass bare foot.

I absolutely love it. Simple is the key word for me. Can’t imagine spending my summer anywhere else than in Estonia. This can’t be bought for no amount of money. The simplicity…I mean.

And it’s 28 C….. :) Doesn’t get much better. But those mosquitos here…..let’s just say I’ve been cursing a lot.

Ok, here are some pics.

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I’m pretty much eating salads. Any greens work for me.

saladAnd some more food…..we also had freshly caught grilled fish with this.

foodPancakes in progress. Kids ate these with blackcurrant jam….of course home-made version. I love this about Estonian food…everything is home-made.

flowersEyecandy.

summerhouseMy aunt’s 100-year-old summer-house. Imagine no running water, dried fish and herbs hanging in  garage and the house has dry bathroom (toilet)…yikes.

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I got it as a gift…turns out it was wedding gift my parents got 33 years ago. Guess what is it?

kidsMy cute-pie baby Eleanor picking wild strawberries. Yum.

me1Home made version of mosquito protection…..I forgot mosquito spray….they still got me….but luckily my aunt had tea tree oil to treat the bites.

Off to eat home made potato salad (my fave Estonian dish).

Tell me………………… :)

About your best summer vacation?

What’s your favorite food?

Mindful Monday: 9 Ways to Be Happy Now

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Todays post is late because I’ve been chillaxing and enjoying 27 C summer weather.

First I  did my regular work out in the morning (I got no gym but I got creative instead….will tell later). After that, we left to a summer house and spent the whole day there. Imagine…….barefoot in grass, yum salads, berries,sunshine and my laughing kids in playing in water. That’s my day…pretty much.

I can tell ya, there is no better recipe for happiness than this combo. It’s summer vacation time and the time just seems to flow at much slower paste.

Anyway…

I still keep up with some of my regular routines like exercise, meditation, yoga because these just make me feel sooo good.

I created a reminder for myself which is a no brainer, but this list has become an essential part of my day.

1. Meditate (nothing….absolutely nothing can replace meditation for me). I just do 5-10 min normally in the morning. I’ve had difficult time finding time for it during the day, so now I just do it right after I brush my teeth.  I view it as time when I  tune in and get in touch with what’s important

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2. Eat well. I don’t do diets….like ever. Never had backbone to stick with any of them. I just like to eat well= healthy , but yummy food.

3. Sleep more. I take naps. Seriously, I’m not kidding. There are few things better than Sunday afternoon nap.

4. Exercise (at least 10 min). You knew this one was coming. I’m by no means exercise freak…. :D but I’ve come to appreciate my sweaty work outs. Whether it’s running, yoga, swimming or good old abs+lifting weight+some cardio. I normally do like 30 min but to be honest I don’t even look at time anymore. It’s just another ME time that I absolutely l-o-v-e.

5. Practice gratitude. Any time I’m in semi-bad mood, I try to remember gratitude and count the people & things I’m crazy about. It works every time.

6. Help others (as often as you can). This point is on my list, but to be honest, I wish I could be able to do more. I hold doors for others, smile when I can see someone needs it and I do help out mothers with kids…you know everyday stuff. But I guess it’s small gestures that really matter too.

7. Go outside and spend time in nature

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8. Spend time with family and friends. I think this one is BIG one….this is what counts…that we spend time with those we love.

9. Plan a trip. This one makes my soul so happy…..I mean who doesn’t like travelling, right?!

Tell me :D ………………….

What’s you favorite daily routine?

Best summer vacation you ever had?

Next country you want to visit?

………………………………………………………..

Photo source

Simple Living: Traveling Lightly (with 2 kids)

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Whoop, whoop …we’re already in Estonia (for those who are new here…I live in Denmark). I’ve missed my second home. Guess what…I’m already stuffing my face with all sorts of fresh berries..it’s the season for blueberries and raspberries here. I promise, I got like 100000 photos to show you already…as soon as I figure out how to connect wi-fi to my smart phone (=camera).

But for today’s simple living post I wanted to address a skill of travelling lightly.

I’ve always wanted to learn how to carry light luggage with me, whenever I’m travelling, but I’ve always ended up having 1 suitcase for myself and 1 for kids.  I always over pack too many things (read way too many clothes)and travelling with 2 kids has not made travelling lighter any easier.

But this year I’m at least trying.

Ok, I’m not gonna lie …if you’d see my (our) suitcase looks like ….you’d probably go like….who is she kidding….that’s not travelling light like at all… and I bet you’d roll your eyes.

But compared to what I normally carry with me when I travel….I’ve truly come a long way and become (sort of) a minimalist. It’s a process.

Check this…

unnamed1Half of the suitcase is filled with gifts and the other half with (mine & kid’s)clothes (and my 3 pairs of shoes….I know!).

But, I can proudly tell you, that I got only the right corner of my suitcase for my clothes.

Early morning conversation from the airport….between me and my hubby.

Me: Aren’t you proud that I packed so lightly this time? (so you don’t have to drag like 3 suitcases to check-in).

Hubby: (Rolling his eyes and smiles…) Hmmm, if you think this is light..then yeah. But I think you’re just lucky, it’s summer.

We arrive at the check-in counter…

Me: Here is our luggage.

Airport Lady: Suprized…Is that all your luggage?

Me: Yeah.

Me to my hubby: Told ya, no sane woman with 2 kids travels only with 1 little suitcase (for 14 days)….you see, I’ve made progress.

Hubby: Gives up and smiles…if you think so.

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Tell me…..:D

What’s your fave berries?

How many pieces of bags or suitcases to you carry with you when you travel?

Do you have any good tips how you travel lightly?

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Great articles:

36 Great Tips for Keeping Travel As Simple As Possible

Travel Lightly and Be Where You Are

Traveling Lightly Through Life

 

 

Mindful Monday: Love Means…

Love-means-finding-the-beauty-in-someones-imperfections

 

And radical self-love requires we accept our own imperfections….we must learn to love ourselves, before we can truly love others.

A lesson I continue to learn.

Hey what happened to the summer?! :) It’s raining in Copenhagen. My little family is in vacation mood….we enjoy long mornings in our pajamas and allow time to flow without any specific agenda. Very soon we’re gonna visit Estonia to hang around with my family. It’s going to be fun.

Today we’re just baking cinnamon rolls and hanging out….because rain and baking just go so well together.

I let the kids mix the dough and they just love it. Now they’re waiting for it to rise and then we fill it with cinnamon, sugar and butter. Yum.

sandhiracinnamon%20roll13859833365480In our house vacation means baking, hanging, watching football, reading books, going outdoors, beach, daily ice-creams  and just being together.

 

 

Have a great Monday!

Tell me………

What vacation plans do you have?

What’s your favorite activity on a grey rainy day?

Where are you from? How is the weather?

What’s your favorite baked goods?

 

 

Simple Living: How to Downsize Your Life to What Really Matters (and Feel More Content)

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I intend to write posts about my simple living (every Friday).

As a child from Soviet Union time, I grew up with what is now called simple living or minimalistic lifestyle. We didn’t have many material things, but we had each other, lot of time, nature and  all the essential things to life a happy life.

But as a grown up, chasing the idea of success made me forget my roots and where I came from.

It wasn’t until recently, when stressful lifestyle started affecting my health, that I needed to pull the breaks.

 I decided to cut the noise out, focus only on what matters and embrace the principles of more simpler life.

This is how I define noise:

  • appointments I don’t really look forward to (I emptied my calendar and I now only take 2-3 pr. month to leave time for other important things I love to do. As a bonus downsizing my appointments to only 3, forces me evaluate tougher what I commit myself to. I practice saying YES or NO and mean it with every fiber of me and feel OK.)
  • over booking my time (doing that leaves me for no time to do stuff that I really love (reading, running, swimming, yoga, meditation and baking yum cakes….my fave is classic cheesecake with raspberries.)
  • negative habits that drain me of energy (too much TV, coffee, consumerism, Facebook,  news, violent movies, negative people)
  • shallow friendships (you know those “friendships” that don’t really give anything but are just there….I later realized that I attracted some people to my life, because what mattered to me then)
  • clutter (one of the first things I did to deal with stress was to clean up my closet, I got rid of all the clothes that I just tolerated but didn’t love…still cleaning up….it’s a process of letting go and making space)
  • work that sucks energy out of me (I too have a mortgage, daycare bills and I need to feed my family, but I realized that I can never compromise myself and my health again and take a job…. to just pay the bills. I’ll rather live on less, on savings, cut costs but never work to JUST pay the bills. I’m still struggling with this one. I’m trying to integrate the concept of meaningful work in to my new lifestyle.)

The noise doesn’t allow me to live life fully, be fully myself and do what really matters to me, because it distracts my focus from what’s really important.

This is how I keep myself in check.

I wrote a reminder to myself, that keeps me focused on what matters.

  • Take care of myself (emotionally, physically, spiritually, practice being present).
  • Spend fun time with House Bond aka husband :D.
  • Mother my kids well (spend time with them & read books)
  • Build work that allows me to inspire and create a more positive world (the tough thing is that, it starts with myself)
  • Travel (I used to shop a lot, but now I’ve decided to use that money on travelling more….I even changed the name of my savings account to “Travel Savings”, to remind me of this anytime on netbank or want to buy another blouse on sale).

Keep in mind that simplifying doesn’t happen overnight. It’s a process. I downsized my life to what matters to me over a period of 1 year and I’m still not done, because it takes time to rebuild. I spent a lot of time (like months) asking myself what I feel like doing, but I couldn’t answer that question before I made up my mind about what matters the most.

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Tell me………….. :)

What’s your favorite cake?

How do you keep sane during busy periods of life?

What matters to you?

How do you take care of yourself?

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Related articles:

A Day in the Life of a Minimalist

Declutter in Your Life and Embrace Minimalism This Weekend

7 Tiny Steps for the Beginner Minimalist