October Favourites

October went by in a flash! Seriously, where did it go? I love October and it was good!

Studying

Last month, I went on two field trips to different preschools including one Waldorf school which had a VERY different approach to preschool education. Got loads of ideas. I wrote a paper on HighScope preschools and started a paper on Selective Mutism which is where a child is unable to speak in particular situations yet is able to speak easily and fluently at home for instance. Fascinating stuff. LOVE this new part of my life so much.

Come EVERY Autumn, without fail, I start to hanker for Scandinavia. To be clear, I’ve only spent a little time there, it’s not like I’m some kind of Scandinavian expert, but as the nights draw in I find myself longing for some idealised version of Sweden and that kind of ‘hunkering down for Winter’ vibe. I know it’s crazy. So there’s a lot of Swedish stuff this month.

sweden 2
Photo Credit: Sara Ronne

Reading

I managed 5 books last month!

My first Swedish read was The Girl in the Spider’s Web is the new Lisbeth Salander novel but the first not written by Stieg Larsson. As such I was both excited and full of trepidation. In the end, I thought it was pretty decent. Nowhere near as good as The Girl with the Dragon Tatoo but roughly as good as the other two Larsson novels. It had some pretty gripping incidents and was a quick, good read.

Astrid and Veronika by Linda Olsson was lovely. The tale of friendship between a young woman coming to terms with tragic loss and an older woman finally banishing the ghosts of her past, it’s really a lovely read with some very beautiful descriptive writing. Very much recommended.

I finally read The Legend of Sleepy Hollow by Washington Irving. I was a bit horrified to find that I’m losing patience with classic literature, I found the old-fashioned writing cumbersome. I need to get back into the rhythm of it. This short little novella was spooky and fun for Halloween.

Halloween, Ramsden style. No headless horsemen.
Halloween, Ramsden style. No headless horsemen.

The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein is set in Seattle so I read it over the weekend when we were there. The protagonist is a dog, we see things from the dog’s perspective, which initially I was very dubious about, but actually it’s rather lovely. The story is  a bit grim and depressing and the ending inevitable but I will admit to hiding my tears on the aeroplane home. Sweet.

The art of being a tourist in the rain
The art of being a tourist in the rain

I also finally got round to trying out the Neapolitan novels of Elena Ferrante which I’d heard a lot of hype about. My Brilliant Friend is the first one and I really loved it. It reminded me a lot of the books I studied as part of my Italian degree. I’m waiting for my library request for the next book in the series to arrive!

Cooking

I have a couple of good recipes to share this month. For Swedish month, I tried this really good and REALLY cheap yellow split pea soup which is apparently a Swedish weekly staple. You might also want to try this really simple bean stew which came together in about 10 minutes but was really tasty. And if you have a slow cooker, try this delicious veggie chili.

I made the Thai version of this butternut squash soup (scroll down for that particular rift) and it was GOOD!

I’m always keen on a good salad dressing and this lemon mustard dressing is one of the nicest I’ve made for a long time.

But the best recipe of the month is THIS one for beer bread. I’ve been making beer bread for a year or so now and it’s been good but not great – there’s been a funny aftertaste and it’s been a bit ‘dense’. This recipe is the one that finally perfected it. I now need to limit it to once a week because once it’s in my kitchen, I cannot stop eating it.

Surfing

I’ve been a bit hooked on Instagram this month (I’m here if you want to follow me) and I’ve been stalking various Scandinavian IGers. My favourites are Somewhere in Copenhagen which does lovely graphic images, Sweden which posts amazing pictures of….well, Sweden and NikeSverige which does what Nike does best, wonderful images that inspire you to get sporty.

You might also want to check out Sara’s blog – it’s in Swedish but has a translate button (the translations often are unintentionally very funny). She has lovely pictures and the most adorable dog.  (I interviewed Sara about running in Sweden HERE).

sweden 5

Twitter suggested that if I was asked to do something I don’t want to do, I could say no ‘for secret reasons’. I love this.

‘Cat, would you mind making cupcakes for the Kindergarten party?”

‘No, I’m sorry, I can’t…for secret reasons’.

Also, give this a read. A BBC show about the special forces turned down the lovely Sophie Radcliffe because she was a woman! The resulting outcry resulted in them changing their policy and the show was won by a truly remarkable lady who is interviewed by Sophie here.

Finally, read this. Have your hankies ready. People can be so nice.

Music

I’m not cool. You know that. So my best song this month was a kids’ Halloween song called The Pumpkin Tells. It’s amazing. We’ve been singing it all month.

The pumpkin told me to eat all the stuff!
The pumpkin told me to eat all the stuff!

Other stuff

Other important things this month were:

  • going for my first mammogram. Because I’m 40. That was depressing. The whole experience was a little unnerving and sobering. I don’t have my results yet but I am very grateful to live somewhere where I have the opportunity to do this.
  • I did my first First Aid course as part of my preschool teaching training. I can now do CPR (although I would prefer not to), I know how to handle an epileptic fit and how to use an epi-pen in case of anaphylactic shock. I should have done this six years ago when I became a mother.

I’m looking forward to:

SO MUCH!

My parents arrive in 3 sleeps for three weeks. I. Cannot. Wait!

The Dude turns 6. HOW DID THIS HAPPEN?

We’re spending Thanksgiving in Santa Barbara and the parents are running a turkey trot with us! They’re not runners (at present). They will be racing the Dude. It’s a smack down!

Happy November, everyone

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s