I'm sitting and writing this as my kid naps, listening to the waves crashing on the beach, and I can hardly believe it'll be the last post I send from Canada. When I was booking my tickets for this summer's trip I hesitated, worrying that six weeks would perhaps be too long.
Well. Let me tell you, it has flown by.
It's been a magical summer, really. I grew up spending summers in this place, and although our cousins are considerably older than us, spending the summers all together is still something I've always known was truly special. Now that my siblings and I have kids who are more or less the same age, the magic has returned to this place in abundance.
Paul asked me what my favourite part of this trip has been, and without hesitation I answered watching Niko play with his cousins and bond with his grandparents, aunts, and uncles. It's been heartwarming to see him get into his groove here, swimming in the ocean, climbing on the rocks, and eating far more candy than is probably reasonable for a three-year-old. It's all skinned knees and salty hair and sticky fingers around here, in the best possible way.
Even the babies have been fascinating to watch as they interact with one another. I thought it would be mostly parallel play at this age, but Odin and his cousin Jacob will follow each other around the house, getting into trouble crawling up the stairs, and grabbing pacifiers out of each other's mouths like little baby ninja thieves.
People always ask me if I think about moving back here, and the answer is both yes and no. We have a good life in Sweden, and much of it would be very hard to turn away from. This year, though, I definitely am feeling the pull of home (as it were) more than I have in other years. It's hard being so far from our families, and seeing everyone bond this year makes me want to soak up even more of it.
Every year when I leave this place I feel like I've been ripped in two, and it takes a few weeks to settle back into my groove in my adopted home across the globe. Now, as the days are slipping away from me, I'm anticipating a tough readjustment for us on the other end.
My biggest joy on this trip is feeling like I reconnected with my big boy in a much needed way. We had a hard year, he and I, with the introduction of a new baby, a never-ending construction nightmare, and my fuse being very, very short. Over the past six weeks we've hung out, relaxed together, played, swum, hiked, snuggled, and just had a really nice time.
I don't know if I'll have another opportunity for such an extended trip down the road, but if it presents itself, I certainly won't hesitate again.
Parents of small ones - any tips to reduce food waste?
As you might imagine with three toddlers and three babies in the house, the amount of food that's getting left behind or tossed on the floor or smooshed under cute little baby butts is quite substantial.
My parents can't have a traditional compost bin outside because of the local wildlife (recall I came face to face with a bear just a few weeks ago) so they've got a mechanical composter that's kept locked up in the tractor shed. It's heated, and has an agitator that turns the food scraps, and a full bucket can be processed into garden-worthy compost in a couple of days.
Except that with the amount of food waste we're currently producing thanks to the ankle biters, right now we're producing more compost than the machine can handle.
My dad, because he's my dad, has mandated that all parents are responsible for consuming whatever their children do not, so my brother took a half-eaten hamburger to my dad and said, "I can't finish this, here you go!" As I'm sure you can imagine, that went over super well.
This past week on Thursday I kissed my boys goodbye and boarded a ferry to Vancouver for 24 gloriously child-free hours to myself. First order of business, I went and got myself a hair cut. I hadn't had my hair cut in nearly two years, and it was so long that I couldn't do anything with it anymore other than twist it into this long, ropey braid that hung halfway down my back.
I couldn't even pull off a messy bun, there was just way too much hair. So I went to see my old hairdresser and told her to Chop. It. Off. My mother tells me I look 10 years younger.
I then went and did a few errands in the city, before checking into a hotel for the night. I considered staying with a friend to save money, but then I also considered that this was my first night off in over 9 months and I just wanted a gloriously good sleep all by myself, so a hotel it was. It was a splurge, but so worth it.
After regrouping, I headed out to meet a couple of friends at a Swirl, a wine store in Yaletown that carries only BC wines. If you're a wine lover and find yourself in Vancouver, I highly recommend this place. They do tasting flights for about $15 per flight of 3-4 wines, so we did a rosé flight, followed by a super premium flight. We were well tipsy by dinner time!
For dinner I booked my favourite Vancouver restaurant, Nightingale, which did not disappoint, and then we finished the night at a bar in Chinatown that had incredible cocktails.
The next morning I had breakfast with my cousin and her husband at a great cafe (Jam Cafe - if you're in Vancouver, it's worth a visit) before being chauffeured to the ferry in a fancy convertible sports car, with a stop to pick up some fresh bagels on the way. It was a truly glorious time.
ON HEY NUTRITION LADY THIS WEEK
This week we kicked things off with an updated version of this post about 10 Simple Ways to Stay Hydrated This Summer. It's a good one, and has some simple tips and recipes to try, so do be sure to check it out.
Next up is a simple and delicious Beluga Lentil Salad with Halloumi Croutons. This recipe looks like it has a lot going on, but I promise that it's really easy and much of it can be prepped ahead of time. I've got some tips for vegan modifications in the recipe post if you want to skip the halloumi.
WHAT’S TRENDING ON HNL
1. 20 Vegetarian Lunch Ideas. This one is climbing the ranks right now!
2. Curried Cauliflower Chickpea Wraps. So tasty. So simple.
3. Is Popcorn Healthy? Let's find out!
4. No Sugar Banana Bran Muffins. Always a good choice.
5. Turmeric Latte Mix. Don't mind if I do!
WHAT’S GOOD AROUND THE WEB
2. Is your gut-healing diet actually hurting you?
4. Cutting 300 calories shows health benefits, but whether it adds to longevity is uncertain.
5. You guys, fake guacamole is a thing and you may have been eating it all along.