Finding Balance with the Swedish Word ‘Lagom’, and a Recipe For Applesauce Cake

The perfect Friday Fika…

Have you heard of ‘lagom’? I’ve been meaning to post about it forever and so here I am, finally…

 Lagom : a Swedish word meaning “just enough, not too much.”

Lagom is about that ‘sweet spot’ if you will; it’s just right. Lagom is about finding balance, something that we can so easily stray from in the modern world. I try to embrace lagom as I bake for us each week. We indulge, yes, but it is a once a week, made-from-scratch indulgence. It’s about the togetherness of sharing a sweet treat together, rather than eating enough sugar to feel sick. So in life and in baking, remember ‘lagom’ and eat ‘just enough’ cake…

When you practice lagom…you’ll find that ‘just enough’ is plenty.

Applesauce Cake

Ingredients

½ cup butter

1 cup sugar

1 egg (lightly beaten)

1 cup raisins

1 cup chopped walnuts

¼ teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon cinnamon

½ teaspoon cloves

1 cup applesauce (I use the kind that is simply apples, no added sugar or ingredients) You’ll want to heat it up in a pan or in the microwave and pour it in hot

1 and ¾ cup flour (or use a gluten free flour blend + 2 tsp xanthan gum)

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

Directions

Cream butter and sugar

Add egg, raisins, and nuts

Add flour sifted with soda and baking powder

Add spices

Add hot applesauce

Add 1 teaspoon vanilla

This can be eaten without icing and is delicious. Since it was for fika, and it looks creamy and beautiful, I made a simple icing to coat it with (icing recipe here).

Bake in loaf pan at 350 for 1 hour.

Alternatively, I prefer to bake mine in a cake pan so that it is round as pictured above. However, it will typically cook quicker in a cake pan, so check it every so often as it bakes.

Saturday Morning Hangs

Saturday morning  hygge with lopsided ponytails, half-empty tea cups and this diy linen rack. It is actually a frame but since when do I ever use anything how it’s meant to be used? Instead of filling it with photos we hung it from the ceiling with organic hemp twine and “voilà!” A linen rack now hangs.

The photo above this is how I had it set on the kitchen table before we hung it, but I find it much more beautiful (and functional) hanging from the ceiling…

To make your own linen rack:

Picture frame + twine + ceiling + hammer and nail + stool to stand on to reach ceiling, and of course linens to hang!

That’s it. Easy like Saturday morning.

Amish Hour

What is Amish Hour??

Earlier this year my husband and I made a family resolution to practice ‘Amish hour’, in which there is no technology (barring things like the oven) used in our home during the hour before bed. This time reminds me that I don’t NEED technology for everything…I do a lot of my baking during this time…writing, crafts, projects around the house. And of course, the hour is quite often spent wrapped in a big blanket, chatting the evening away with my husband . . .

Since putting this practice into place, I have noticed some major benefits in my life from having this ‘Amish Hour’ to do things without technology.

The benefits I’ve noticed from practicing Amish Hour :

I have more time to do things I love without distraction . . . I can focus completely on the actions of baking a cake, sewing, drawing, writing with pen and paper . . . it is so relaxing for the mind to focus on just one thing, without the constant influx of distraction.

I have read a lot of books already this year. If you like to read, this practice is for you.

I have made our home a better place. Cleaning, organizing and doing little diy projects around the house are all things I personally find fun. For me they are both relaxing and rewarding, so having time to do them has been nice.

I am closer to my husband. One on one time without distraction (especially the distraction of technology) will do wonders for your marriage.

I go to bed on time. I don’t sit on my laptop with 100 tabs open just calling my name to stay up a little longer. I go to bed on time, which for me is a huge win.

I fall asleep more easily, and sleep better. When I avoid technology for the hour before bed, I find I wake up feeling more rejuvenated in the morning because I toss and turn less at night.

There’s nothing like dipping into a warm bath for an hour at the end of a long day. Especially with a book in hand. Queue coconut milk and Himalayan salt for soft skin and you have yourself a spa.

I make time for hygge. I find that all of the things above are very hyggelig for me. So Amish Hour is, essentially, an hour every day devoted to hygge and nothing else.

How would you use an hour of technology-free time?

An Intentional Morning: Simple Living Begins in the Morning

Yesterday when I wrote about getting back on the simple living wagon, I mentioned that one way to get back on track with your intentions is to take control of your mornings. Our mornings set the pace for our days, and our days add up to our lives. So if you’re striving to live a simpler lifestyle, the best way to begin is by taking a look at your mornings…

Make Your Mornings Intentional

What do your mornings look like? Do they set the pace for an intentional day?

Over the years I’ve tried countless morning ‘routines’ that haven’t worked for me. However, this year I started setting ‘morning intentions’ and they’ve completely changed how my mornings look. What time you wake up will depend on your schedule and really, how early you can get yourself up  (and to bed at night). I get up 5 am because it means I have two and a half hours of beautiful, empty time before my son wakes up. I use this time to set my pace for the day and find that when I follow my morning intentions, by the time my son begins to stir at 7:30, I am relaxed, content, and ready to give him my time and attention. This may not be the case for you, but maybe you have to get to work or another obligation…the idea is beginning the day feeling intentional, so you can face the stresses of the day with a calm and quiet mind.

Getting out of bed: Make it hygge.

My intentional morning begins with waking up at 5, and ‘getting cozy.’ I often don’t like getting out of bed because I don’t want to stop being cozy. So I realized that if I take a couple of minutes to put on wool socks and my favorite sweater as soon as I get out of bed, I’m much more apt to getting up early. I then go and make a cup of tea and wrap in a blanket as I sit down at my desk. These little things help me to feel like I’m treating myself to a cozy moment…instead of dragging myself out of bed.

Journaling: Morning Thoughts, Intentions, Inspirational Thoughts

I begin with journaling. My journaling intentions include: morning thoughts, intentions, and inspirational thoughts. My morning thoughts is whatever I need it to be: a list, a note, anything that has come to mind in the moments I’ve been waking up that I’d like to write down. There are no requirements for how long I have to write or how much. It’s just to get any thoughts down that are floating around in my head.

Intentions are my intentions for the morning (which consist of one or two things I’d like to accomplish before my baby wakes up), my intentions for the day, and where I check in with my weekly intentions. I call them intentions and not to-do’s because while some of them are measurable tasks, others are simply things like ‘slow down’ or ‘quiet my mind.’ Setting my intentions does not mean making a lengthy to-do list. They instead consist of my most important couple of tasks for the day, written down in a way that I know I can easily accomplish them, so that I don’t have to stress out and do them while my baby cries or skip brushing my hair that day to get them done. The idea is writing down a couple of tasks that you feel good about, things that it would be nice to get done but without making you feel like you have to rush.

Inspirational thoughts are what get me feeling inspired and ready to create. I simply find an inspirational quote and use it as a journaling prompt to get my thoughts flowing.

Getting things done before baby wakes up…

After journaling, I sometimes have a couple of tasks that I’d like to accomplish before my son wakes up. No matter how much you’re embracing slow living or simplicity, we all have things that have to get done. However, doing them before my baby is up allows me to do them calmly and quietly, instead of with one hand as I hurry to get him dressed with my other hand and hold a bottle between my elbow and my leg… Setting morning intentions allows us to stop multi-tasking, because I’ve accomplished my must-do things before my son even wakes up, I’m free to do all of the cuddling, pancake-making and taking long walks that I want to with the rest of the morning.

Waking up and having intentions for my morning allows me to move more slowly as I go through the morning, because I know what I want to do, and I know it is achievable without rushing or stressing. Setting up my mornings this ways allows me to start my day with a cozy, hygge moment to myself and then move into more hygglig moments throughout the day…because I have created the time and mindset…to seek them.

What is your morning routine like? Does it set you up for an intentional day? Does it help you to live a simple lifestyle?

Tips for Getting Back on the Simple-Living Wagon: When Simple Living Falls by the Wayside

We all begin the year with the best of intentions…we write them down, we say them out loud, do a little jig and try our best…for a while. And then as the year really gets going we get busy, we get hurried, and we begin to let well-meaning intentions fall to the wayside…

I know I go through periods of being really aligned with my intentions, and times when I’ve definitely fallen off the wagon. So from someone who has had to get back on the wagon many a time.. I’ve collected some tips over the years for realigning with your intentions and getting back on the simple path. And I wanted to share them with you along with some questions to help prompt you to think about your own intentions…

Tips for Getting Back on the Simple-Living Wagon

The first thing we have to do is to really be honest with ourselves. Simple living is hard and it’s okay that sometimes we get distracted…

Take a moment to tell yourself it’s okay…

and take a deep, cleansing breath…

Now that you’ve been honest with yourself, set some intentions to help remember your purpose in living this lifestyle. I am a big believer in journaling and in the power of putting pen to paper when it comes to setting intentions.

Some questions to ask yourself as you write:

Why am I drawn to this lifestyle?

What inspires me to continue to try and live simply?

What things have I done in the past that have helped me align with simple living? Have I been doing those things lately or have I stopped?

What things in my life currently are taking away from my ability to slow down and be intentional? Or find hygge?

Are there things in my life that are causing stress that I could decrease or eliminate? Have I committed to too many things?

Getting back to the basics and making sure that you aren’t spreading yourself too thin will help you to get back to what’s important…and have the energy to focus on your intentions.

In addition to answering these questions for yourself, taking control of your daily habits can make all the difference in being more intentional…

Ask yourself, how can I slow down or be intentional in little bits throughout my day?

Maybe a couple minutes journaling…

Or taking the time to just be, instead of pulling out your phone during any lag or down time…

You may also look at your mornings and evenings…

Even if you just make a goal to embrace simple living in the morning (by sitting down at the kitchen table to eat a quiet breakfast, or taking a moment to be still before rushing off to work) it will make a big difference in getting you back on the simple path…

Or taking a moment to tune out in the evening…doing something without technology, can help to slow us down and end our day with a more intentional mindset.

Do you feel like you’ve ever fallen off of the simple living wagon? How do you realign with your intentions? What intentions do you set for yourself in regards to simple living?