The Danes call it Hygge

Monday, February 08, 2016

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The Danes call it Hygge (pronounced hoo-ga)

Norwegians call it Koselig

It has no English translation and…. I can’t stop thinking about it.

“Hygge was never meant to be translated- it was meant to be felt”

ToveMaren Stakkestad

What is it?  

I first came across something similar in France, the French saying Joie de Vivre, and it struck a cord. Then through a friend, I was introduced to the concept of Hygge and how it can be embraced, even in homeschooling. 

Hygge, Koselig, Joie de Vivre- is a feeling, that’s much more than a “word”.  It’s an attitude, a setting, a way of life, and it’s a big part of some of the world’s happiest people. 

Norway, Switzerland, and Sweden rank among the world's top 5 happiest countries on earth. When I initially think of these countries, I think of dark (up to 17 hours a day), cold, and even dreary.  I don’t know about you, but “happy” doesn’t exactly call out to me.  However, the Danes have figured out a way to live quite happily.  

Hygge is an atmosphere of coziness, enjoyment, thankfulness, and peace.  Think of American Thanksgiving, or at least what it used to be, a time spent with friends and family, a cozy atmosphere, filled with candles, flowers, and delicious food. It’s not about any of the things exactly, it’s about the attitude each of these things creates in us. And above all Hygge isn’t a production. It’s simple everyday considerations. 

Maybe it’s my love of coffee, candles, and good food, three important pieces of living Hygge.  In Denmark, candles are so important to Hygge that they are often used in board rooms and classrooms. I don’t know about you, but none of my corporate experiences involved any sort of coziness or candles. 

My husband works with many countries all over the world, and he has often remarks on the benefit packages/work life balance of those compared to Americans. Most notably the  amount of hours they don’t spend working. I love how I witnessed long workday lunches in Paris.  Even little daycare toddler’s sitting (not strapped into a high chair) eating off real plates, using actual silverware, eating a meal I would be envious of. 

“Danes have been proven to be less materialistic than other cultures- and we appreciate low cost actives and simple things in life, like having a coffee and lighting some candles to create a cosy atmosphere”

Meik Wiking CEO of the Happiness Research Institute in Copenhagen.

The French and Italians so value a long slow meal, one that is about the event not about the speed of consumption. It’s also not about binging. When most Americans are dieting and “cutting back” after our yo-yo of feast and famine, I think about a culture that makes the best of things by embracing a kinder warmer approach to living. 

I want more Hygge in my life. I want Hygge in our home, homeschooling, and friendships.  It shouldn’t be a “luxury" to sit and count our blessings in an intentionally cozy environment.  I don’t need a special occasion or life altering event to make the everyday dreary into something special. 

So… I’m going to keep lighting the candles, turning on the twinkly lights, and making an effort to have a home and life filled with more Hygge.  

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Back To School 2015-2016

Sunday, September 13, 2015

It's that time of year again. Time to return to routine, structure, and schedule. Can you tell I'm a little reluctant?! We've thoroughly enjoyed our sunny Summer and carefree days. Homeschooling is serious business and it requires a lot from all of us. Never the less, this post is about celebrating not bemoaning the start of our new school year! 

My sweet smart Boo picked out this red coat and begged to wear it on the first day for pictures. She's starting 6th grade and is truly a joy to be able to "teach"... really we learn together. I'm so glad I get this precious time with her. My girl is growing up! 

This cute little third grader is so excited about her new math program. She's growing up too and I'm excited to watch her become more independent in her studies. She is always surprising me in what she knows and her learning style.

These two.... Oh boy! They are adding some "school work" into their daily routine. They are eager to do "school" and their desire makes it fun to watch them learn. 

Ready or not.... Here we go!

I pray that the Holy Spirit guides us and fills our home with His presence. Ella chose the word GRACEFUL for our word of the year. At first it didn't seem like a "school themed" word, but if we can reside in grace then will be a beautiful year. 

Homeschool Room 2015-2016

Friday, August 28, 2015

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As we prepare for the upcoming official start of the homeschool year, here is a tour of our ever evolving homeschool room. It’s crazy to think that there will be 5 of us working together, learning, and playing in this space.  It seems like just last year, I only had a kindergartner and a baby.  Soon we will have 4 full time little learners around this table.  

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Typically a lover of neutrals, this is the only room in the house that goes against the flow, with lots of color. 

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Keeping 3 different levels of schooling organized is a challenge, especially when the curriculum keeps growing with each passing year. I also typically lean toward a more sparse environment, but that doesn’t work with schooling.  Kids need many books, resources, and supplies to learn. 


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Praying for a year that is blessed with plenty of grace!



A Day In the Life Of Our Homeschool

Wednesday, October 01, 2014

I thought it would be fun to chronicle a typical day of homeschooling.  The day (as is typical) didn’t go exactly as planned but then that is real LIFE.  

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8 A.M. : The girls are doing really well about coming down for breakfast dressed and beds made. Breakfast this morning was nothing to get excited about- toast and cider. We also do our daily Bible reading.

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J : is for James.  We are up to the first 11 verses now.  After breakfast we reviewed the verses and we sang our hymn for the week- The Lord’s My Shepherd.

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9 A.M. : We try to start school by 8:45. Brooklyn is doing her Bible work from Boy Have I Got Problems and Ella is starting Language with me.

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T : Is for my Teacher’s manual.  I live and breathe by this thing.

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B : Is for boys.  Not dressed yet. Playing downstairs for a little while.

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10 A.M. : Spanish with Elsa over Skype. Today they learned the words for family members.

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M : Is for Math.  Brooklyn’s pursed lips say it all.  Ella had a great day which is a small MIRACLE considering the day before I thought we might throw the book out the window!

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H : Is for History and Horn books.  We are studying the Massachusetts’s Bay Company and we made Horn books which were tablets that served as primers for colonial children. 

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P : is for Patience or Preschool.  By this time the boys are bored and need some attention.  They have moved up to the school room and are generally just “over it”.  Notice they are still in their Pajamas.

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1 P.M. : A late lunch.  We are running behind today.

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S : is for Spelling and eating Soup.  Double timing lunch and school work.

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A : is for Animals.  We are studying Marsupials this week.

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G : is for Grammar.  Adverbs are on the docket this week.  

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T : is for Typing.  Not as enjoyable as we’d hoped it would be.  Never the less a really important skill to master.

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P : Another P but this time for Piano and Practice

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D : Is for Done and Dutch Bros.  After a long day we broke out of the house and walked to our new Dutch Bros.  The walk back and the belly full of dinner and hot chocolate was too much for one of them and they left it all in the middle of the road.  Oy Vey!!

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Finally R : For Read-a-louds with Dad.

And then it’s almost time to do it all over again. 

Homeschool Room 2014-2015

Sunday, August 24, 2014

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This will be our third year (can that be true?) in our formal living room converted to school room.  The kids spend more time in this room then any other room in the entire house, so for us it’s been a good investment of space. The barn doors are still one of my favorite DIY projects. Not only are they beautiful but they also come in handy when we want to close the room off.

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The one drawback is that we have very little wall space, not ideal for a school room, where information needs to be displayed and accessible. This year we added another large map to our studies and the homeschool table became just about the last large available space. So, I bought clear vinyl from and covered the entire map and table. It turned out better than I expected and I think in the end we will glean a lot more information having the map literally right under our fingertips all day long.  

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I get nervous every pre September about how we are going to get it all done. This year is no exception.  We’ve changed up our Language Art’s curriculum and added in additional studies. The girls are taking immersion Spanish via Skype, something we’ve never done before.  We are also memorizing the ENTIRE book of James- all 108 verses!  I’m excited about all of it, but also feel challenged.  I’ve tried to work it out on paper and pray we can actually finish school before dinner, the schedule continues on the back in case it looks like we are free and clear by 12:45! It’s a tedious balance between an open and relaxed home environment and getting everything accomplished each day. 

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There are easily 100 books that we are going to fully use this year, quite a bit more than previous years. Thankfully, we are really excited about each subject and I can see this year being one of our favorites.  The girls are already talking about dissecting frogs, fish, and earth worms.  We are going to walk part of the Oregon Trail in the Spring.  Brooklyn is excited to learn to type.  It’s gonna be fun.

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If I could I would buy each of you blog readers a bouquet of freshly sharpened pencils (Can you name that movie?).  Happy September!

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Keeping Them Responsible & Motivated

Sunday, September 15, 2013

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The start of the school year called for the start of a new responsibility "chart".  My girls each have things they are responsible for doing everyday, and then there are the things that they get asked to help with, because they are part of the family. Throughout the day, I am pulling them in to help me as much as possible.  One little girl visiting our house even made the comment, "Your kids sure have to do a lot of work"!  

We don't give our kids allowances, but I do like to reward them for being consistent and responsible. Last school year we used this chart along with rewards from the EFS- The Everett Family Store. It worked great and you can still access it here (it's customizable) but I was ready for something different for the new school year.  

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The inspiration for the new chart came from here.  For the record, I am sure their's is waaaay cuter! I am not exactly the most crafty of gals. Anyway!  The idea of the chart is that as a task is completed they each move their clothespins from the top of the board to the side/bottom, whatever.  Once all the tasks are completed for the day they get a punch on their punch cards, and once they hit 6 punches (which should happen every week) they get a prize or reward.  I made the customized punchcards at Zazzle. 

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Last week was our first week with the new system. It was also our first week of school.  Unfortunately, getting back on the wagon wasn't as easy as I had hoped.  There were a few days that the girls didn't practice piano, etc. so they didn't get a punch on the card.    I am hoping we do better week 2!  




Back To School 2013-2014

Monday, September 09, 2013

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Oh my gosh. This picture totally cracks me up.  This is kinda what school is like these days.  Truthfully, emotionally I am not ready to start.  I have everything together.  I am more organized that I have ever been, but I would prefer to start school with fewer distractions and a home that isn't occupied by a construction crew. In my mind, this day had looked different.  The reality is we need to get started and the calendar is telling me it's time. I've been flip flopping on my start date and there really didn't seem like a perfect time, so in the end we chose to just jump in. 

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The girls will be studying Rome to Reformation together this year.  Ella is really excited to be learning with big sister.  It will be a leap for her, but I sense she is up for the challenge.  Both will do grade level appropriate math and English.

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My big 4th grader.  Wasn't it just yesterday we were here?

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Then there is this girl.  My little 1st/2nd grader.  She is pushing ahead. She is excited to learn.  I am truly very blessed to be on that journey with both of them.

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I have many thoughts and goals for this year, but for today I will stop with these cute faces. 


Have a blessed school year!





2013-2014 Homeschool Room (In Progress)

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

2013 Homeschool Room

As the new school year is right on our heels, I thought I would post a few pictures of our homeschool room for the homeschool room tour at the iHomeschool Network.

This is our second year homeschooling in what was our former formal living room.  Even with the basement addition, I think we are going to stay put in this room for awhile.  Granted, someday it would be nice to have my living room back, this location is the most convenient for us to school in while I am also going about the business of our daily lives and keeping track of 2 two year olds. 

I have some new things to add to the room for this school year, but I can't do it until the basement is complete and I move furniture around.  You'll have to come back for the reveal sometime in…. October?!

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For some reason, builders don't put actual lights in formal living rooms?!  So lighting in this room is tough.  Thankfully, we do get natural morning light and these two cute lights from Huck Duck provide enough light to study, not necessarily enough for good pictures, though! They are one of my favorite things in the room, besides the barn doors.

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I would love to brighten up the room by eventually switching out the dark chairs.  Something like this would be fun, but I am not sure they are actually comfortable?!

As with all things in our home right now, things are about to change.  Come back in a few months and see what's up.  Hopefully, we will have enough energy to homeschool and tackle a few projects. 

Happy Schooling!



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