Have you ever traveled somewhere and suddenly felt like you were part of the people? Like you were meant to be there all along?
I know. I feel that way every time I step into Target and IKEA.
But what I wasn’t expecting was how I felt traveling through Scandinavia last year with Casey. We’ve been to various parts of the world over the years, and when we landed in Oslo—it was like a missing part of me was suddenly found. The people, the architecture, the colors, the design, the 7-Elevens (with free wifi), the stripes! YES. There was a museum exhibit all about stripes! What?
It all felt so normal to me…..and so much, like home.
I suddenly felt this connection to an entire culture that embodied what I love about creative arts and design.
This is what I love!
Or in other words—I had a total DUH moment.
I guess I prefer Scandinavian design?
I guess these are sort of my people?
I do have Danish roots….so I guess it’s sort of in my blood.
And while I don’t mean to sound so naive…I guess what I also wasn’t expecting was how bright, and airy, and happy these old buildings made me feel. I have traveled throughout Europe and while I love and appreciate the magnificence of the Sistine Chapel and the grand scale of Notre Dame, walking into this church brought such joy into my heart. The bright white alone captured my eyes. I didn’t know old churches could look this way. It was ornate in the details, but simple in design, with a large beautiful statue of Christ at one end.
And on the other end was a magnificent organ, which on that early morning was playing some of the most beautiful music I’ve ever heard in a church–It was a spiritual moment for me. I wish I could go back to this spot.
Well. Who knew this post would get so serious??
Haah. This was supposed to be about Lucy’s school project!
But I couldn’t very well talk about St. Lucia day, without sharing my love for the Scandinavian culture and how it’s inspired me.
So. Moving on to the less serious part of this post….
I was thrilled when Lucy came home with her assignment for their class “floats” project. Each child was asked to make a shoebox float based on a person or an event, which they would parade down the hall and share with other classes.
And I’m sure it’s no coincidence that LUCY was given St. LUCIA Day.
Here’s what she wrote about it (which was celebrated yesterday! December 13)
Thankfully she had a few points of reference to come up with the float design. She LOVED reading the Kirsten book series by American Girl (such a sweet book set). And as she researched more about the holiday, she remembered the cover of one of the books—an illustration of Kirsten walking into the room dressed like St. Lucia.
She wanted to create a tray that looked just the same, with cookies, hot chocolate, and a candle-lit crown like she wears on her head.
So I made some Rice Krispie treats (because they were quick, and would stack easily–I really should have made Gingerbread softies) And for the hot chocolate, we melted vegetable shortening with some chocolate chips and mixed in a bit of yummy sugar cookie oil (it smelled amazing). Then we poured it into some mini cups and glued fake paper handles on the sides, so they looked like mugs. We used Oilcloth for the tray and plate. And IKEA play spoons.
The candles were made from construction paper and a small set of battery-powered star lights, which (thank you Casey) were rigged up inside each paper tube and secured under the box/float. The crown was made of Christmas tree remnants and M&Ms.
And then came the final detail of decorating the float. I showed Lucy some beautiful towels I had from IKEA and she mimicked the designs on the sides of the box. I loved how transformed the white box.
Part of the project was to give an oral report of your celebration, and I suddenly remember the beautiful St. Lucia day paper doll created by Lily + Thistle, which you can download for free HERE.
So along with her report, we printed off paper dolls for anyone in the class who wanted one.
Then we dressed Lucy up as a modern-day Lucia and she was off to school.
It was so much fun to see the other floats out in the hallway, waiting to be trailed down the hall.
Oh how I love school!
I’m thankful every day for the great teachers and the school that my kids get to be part of.
So from our house to yours, happy one-day-late St. Lucia’s day!
And this post has made me realize two things:
1. I need to post all the pics from our Scandinavian trip.
2. We need to celebrate St. Lucia’s day every year….maybe we’ll make gingerbread softies or saffron buns?
Do you and your family celebrate the tradition?
I’d love to know what you do!