Author: Line West

A Danish Christmas

Originally posted on Happy as a Dane:
Here is a little sample of my Danish Christmas. The old streets of Copenhagen decorated with garlands, lights, hearts and stars. White hyacints and pine cones are important too. But lets not forget the mouth watering marzipan (almond paste) and nougat on coffee tables all around the country… I know bicycles aren’t exactly a Christmas thing but only in Denmark will you see a baby chair that matches the color of the mother’s bicycle! Says so much about the importance of bicycles and design to the Danes. ?

Hygge Ideas for the Fall

It is a misty, grey day. One of those days where the sun will never come out. Now rain is pouring down in heavy streams. And I love it! What better excuse is there to hygge inside? Fall is prime time for hygge. Hygge is giving yourself some love in the darkening, cold months to come. It is really a gift to be able to hygge and this Fall and winter I am determined to make my kids feel a lot of hygge so that one day they will be able to create a home full of hygge. Here are some of my ideas on how to hygge in the Fall. First, go outside and enjoy the beautiful colors before they disappear! It is hard to think of anything more beautiful than the colorful leaves against a crisp blue sky. It almost looks as if the trees have dressed up in golden jewelry. Even on grey days the colors are stunning. After a cold but beautiful walk you will be ready to get some warmth …

Live, Laugh, Love – Truths of Happiness from Children

Sometimes the deep truths of life are pretty simple and cliché like, yet we often forget them. I was having a stressed out day trying to be five steps, or actually months, ahead of myself when a displaced coloring book with the title “Just Breathe” suddenly popped up on the children’s book shelves in Walmart. Normally I would have thought it a little to cheesy but on this day I was desperate for any means of relaxation and I justified the purchase with that it was also for my daughter. When my daughter came home from a long day in kindergarten I let her choose a couple of pages to color and out of all the life wisdom quotes this is what she picked out: There you go. It is that simple. That got me thinking about how good children are at making themselves happy when we give them the chance. If we give children time and freedom to do what they want (within reasonable and safe limits of course;) they will just go out and …

Interview with Iben Sandahl: Play – The Danish Way

It is a beautiful sunny day in August and I am going to meet bestselling author Iben Sandahl for cafe hygge and an interview about her new book Play – The Danish Way. Excited to finally meet one of the two authors behind The Danish Way of Parenting I show up early at Cafe Mig og Annie in Lyngby, Denmark. Before I even begin to get nervous if she has forgotten about me, I see her arrive outside right on time. Even though I have never met her before I just know it is her. There is something radiant about her – the way she carries herself. She is stylish and beautiful yet relaxed and friendly and I immediately feel comfortable knowing that this is going to be a pleasant and interesting interview. We find a table outside in the late-summer sun. While we warm up on big cups of cafe latte and green tea we start talking. Mostly about me. Iben is so engaging and warm that I almost forget that we are also …

Realization upon Returning from Denmark

  Just returned from Denmark and I wish I could have brought back all the people and places I love there, the beautiful design and local foods. But upon recovering from travel fatigue I realize that I am bringing home something far more important… a realization you can call it. That every place has its qualities and weaknesses and that being in Denmark is no guarantee for happiness. In fact, I feel happy to see my home in America again, my friends and my town that welcomes me back. Maybe the most important thing I am bringing home is this realization that the perfect country does not exist anywhere. Happiness is more of an attitude to life. An appreciation of what we have and a letting go of the yearning for what we do not have. This is something the Danes, generally speaking, are pretty good at. Taking time to enjoy things and people they love. Doing something joyful and relaxing is important to people of all kinds and ages. It clears our minds, we …

Weekend Cake: Brunsviger from Fyn

My husband’s absolute favorite cake is a Danish cake called “Brunsviger” originating from the small southern Danish island Fyn (Funen) where Hans Christian Andersen is from. I have no idea how to translate this name into English. It is a yeast bread with a caramelized brown sugar topping. You can find it in most Danish bakeries but there is a big difference between the Copenhagen version and the one from Fyn. Actually, it was not until my husband took me to Fyn where his family is from that I discovered how good brunsviger can be. Of course brunsviger is also delicious in Copenhagen but the version from Fyn tops everything. In Copenhagen the brown sugar topping is thick and sugary whereas on Fyn it is like a sirup-caramel topping. Apparently, it is so unique to Fyn that my husband told me to think of the rolling hills of Fyn when I shaped the cake. As you can hear he is very passionate about this cake and Fyn. This southern Danish island sure is beautiful with …

Fairies, Merpups and Finding Joy When Things Don’t Go as Planned

In my last post I promised to give you an update on my use of the playguide in the book Play – The Danish Way by Iben Sandahl. I am not sure what happened but we went on vacation to Cape Cod and now suddenly half the summer has gone by. I am so excited that we have been electronics free for two entire weeks now (two hours after I published this post my kids were watching “Chuggington”… oops)! The absence of electronics has definitely made room for a greater imaginary universe but the summer still has not been as perfect as I imagined: me sitting in a garden chair, reading books while my children would play joyously for hours by themselves. A lot of times, I have had to dig deep in order not to get (too) frustrated with constant requests for help, questions about every possible thing (“why do people have swimsuits?”) and cleaning in 95 degrees fahrenheit with what seems like max air humidity (Maryland summers are tough for a Dane!). But I …