It started with planting our vegetable garden in June.
It continued with weeding and thinning out it in July.
It offered us plenty of natural medicine in August.
It gave us many enjoyable moments around the kitchen table in September.
Now it´s October. Time to do the last harvesting.
This day we took all root vegetables into my parents´ dirt cellar. We left only our Jerusalem artichokes and some of the parsnips untouched.
We have a dirt cellar in our new home. I´m SO happy about it! We took one boxful of root vegetables there now. No one has used our dirt cellar for a loooong time so we need to test how it works first. Thumbs up that the temperature stays in the right level when the weather gets colder!
There are many good reasons to have a vegetable garden.
It´s just so COOL to have food that you have grown by yourself!
That´s what I thought when I was holding our huge parsnips in my hands.
Mari ❤ SaimaaLife
When I was only planning my blog I went to see a business advisor. Their work is to help people who’re planning to become entrepreneurs. I wanted to hear the opinion about my blog idea. Would it be something worth to develop?
I also wanted someone to test my opinions about my revenue logic and stuff like that. I wanted difficult questions. I wanted realism. That was what I needed to balance out my idealism.
And well, realism was what I got. In our meeting we calculated how much I would need to earn annually so that I could make a living with my blog. We estimated fixed costs and variable costs. Played with the excel so to speak.
I will give you one advice, said the advisor.
When you go home, start brainstorming. Brainstorm ALL kinds of possible products and services that SaimaaLife could offer to consumers and companies.
And remember, be creative while working for your list, he added in the end.
After all that excel training I was already quite doubtful about my blog idea. I don´t know would I even had started if the advisor wouldn’t have said;
I think your idea is good. I support it, but you just need to develop it. Come back to me when you know exactly how you´re going to make a living with your business idea.
I did how I was asked to. I went home and took paper and pen. And started brainstorming again.
Affiliate marketing. Yes. Blog banners. Yes. Wellbeing lectures. Yes. What else?
“Life in Finland -package” for foreign journalists and bloggers who are interested in Finland and and want to see what Finnish life and wellbeing is really about. Maybe?
I´ve worked many years on tourism and hosted tourist and press groups. And during my university years I´ve also baked Karelian pies with the foreign exchange students many times. I took them to visit my parents farm. They enjoyed it a lot and it was a lot of fun for me too. I thought to myself.
I´ve learned that in business world there´s no point to develop a product if there is no demand for it. I decided to contact VisitFinland and ask their opinion about my idea. I had heard that there are quite a few foreign journalists and bloggers who come to my home country every year invited by VisitFinland to experience Finland.
It was autumn 2012. I made a trip to Helsinki and had a meeting with Visit Finland.
Their answer was YES!
“When you have your product ready, let us know so we can come to test it for our foreign guests” was what they said.
Then Liilia was born. There came time when I was busy with more important things than my business idea and its revenue logic. I took care of our children.
I also went through a personal crisis and growing process. I worked for my body and mind so that I would feel better again. And so that some day I would be able to help also others to feel better.
I went through tough times, but that time turned out to be the most valuable real life degree in wellbeing. Time that helped to find myself and also the basic ingredients for the recipe of natural wellbeing. I had poured the foundation for my blog. And for my surprise as I later noticed, for my business plan too.
After Liilia´s first birthday I again started to think about Life in Finland -package idea. I started to plan what it would really be about. Baking something Finnish with our guests? Picking wild berries and mushrooms?
Authenticity. I decided that to be my guideline.
We would not show our guests the perfect life, but real life. Real Finnish products that we use and real Finnish experiences that are an important part of our family´s everyday life. Yes, that´s what we could give to our guests.
And sources of Finnish wellbeing! Things that are the strengths of my home country. Things that help Finnish people to be well and healthy. Peace and silence of nature. Rye bread. Sauna. Blueberries. Lakes.
Finnish gold. That’s what we would like to give to our guests.
After I had finished breastfeeding I had another meeting with Visit Finland.
By the time I met Eva Kiviranta, the coordinator of PR Network and Social Media, our family had agreed on moving to the cottage by the lake Puruvesi.
Welcome to visit us next autumn! I said to Eva in the end of our meeting.
That day came a week ago. Eva visited us to test Life in Finland -package to our cottage.
We baked cinnamon buns, went to pick lingonberries, had smoke sauna, sat by the lake and listened to the silence. We talked how luxurious silence is in a modern world. How uncommon it is for many, but how normal and everyday thing it is for us here in Saimaa lake area and my home region, Savonlinna.
Eva´s visit went well. I was especially happy about the dinner that we were able to serve her. My husband had caught a lot of perches the day before. So there were fresh perch fillet with homemade butter sauce, parsnip puree, porcini fried in a pan and blueberry delicacy as a dessert. Exactly the kind of food we’d like to offer to our guests!
I´ll be happy to send our guests to visit your family in the future! Eva said to me before she got into the Punkaharju-Helsinki train.
I said thank you and smiled.
Now it´s real! Awesome! How COOL it is to see how just a thought becomes something real! I thought and sucked the joy and happiness out of the feeling that Eva´s visit gave me.
Sauna Yoga instructor training. Checked. Relaxation lessons. Checked. Life in Finland -package. Checked too. I was thinking while driving back home. It´s time to start brainstorming again with something new and work for it, I decided.
And by the way, all of you journalists and bloggers out there who are interested in simple and natural way of Finnish life! If you´re visiting Finland and want to get a real life experience email me firstname.lastname@example.org. We´ll be happy to tell you a few stories about life in Finland and offer you the best pieces of our home country!
Mari ❤ SaimaaLife
Mari ❤ SaimaaLife
It has been a big change in our family to move from the town apartment building to the house in the countryside. Grocery and daycare are further away for example. And we now have to take care of the house just by ourselves.
Many things take more time and energy. But many things also give more.
Our own backyard. That´s has been a BIG source of joy during our autumn. I can´t even describe how much pleasure it has given me to be able to open the door and go playing with the girls outdoors.
After everything was ready inside, we started to work outside to make our backyard cozy and ready for the winter. We´ve build sandboxes to our girls from my parents old potato boxes. There’s s swing and some climbing ropes too. We´ve also cleaned the backyard, I´ve done raking and Henri has chopped wood.
I´ve been so fascinated about our natural backyard! So much that many times I´ve found myself just standing there outside. I´ve looked how our girls have played and how beautifully the sun has colored our big birch trees.
A thing we´ve enjoyed probably the most has been the amazing peace and silence that we´ve had. The sounds of cars and building sites have been replaced by the sounds of nature; wind, waves, swans and geese flying south. All those natural sounds combined to the beauty of the lake scenery next to us has made me even more convinced about the power of natural environment for our wellbeing.
This day my little sister Marianne visited us. We played together in our backyard while my husband went fishing.
I thought how couple of years ago I would have never EVER believed that our family would some day live in a home like this.
I don´t know how long we´re going to live in this house. But I do know already that all the energy and effort that we´ve put into our moving and to this living experiment has been all worth it.
How do I know that? Because I feel that we are a step closer of finding a way of living that is most natural to our family.
A home that takes care of your wellbeing and happiness.
That is something worth looking for.
Mari ❤ SaimaaLife
“I feel like bird in an open cage. Bird, who could just fly away cause she knows that she can. But she won’t, because she’s afraid. She is too uncertain to trust her wings.”
This is how I described my feelings to my husband when we talked about my plans for the future the other day. I was more excited than ever but also terrified. Fear and uncertainty had made me distressed and quiet. They had paralyzed me and filled me with “ifs” and “buts”.
Couple of weeks ago me and my husband were happy to meet Tiina Vainio, the founder of Sauna Yoga International Ltd and her partner Pekka Nikumatti, who I had already met once during my Sauna Yoga instructor training. I had prepared to interview Tiina about wellbeing. After all, I had heard many describing Tiina as “a Finnish wellbeing guru”.
We ended up having a great conversation about life, relationships, courage, emotions and growth so I decided to ask only one question from my list. ”How do you handle negative emotions, like fear and uncertainty?” I thought that a woman who is building an innovative and international business must have needed to face some of these emotions before.
“You know, I don´t see them as negative emotions. I see that they are emotions just like all the other emotions. They are a natural part of life. I like to think that everything will pass. Including difficult emotions. That thought has helped me a lot. ”
Then Tiina showed me this text and said that it has comforted her many times.
Tiina´s answer made me to realize that acceptance was what I needed. I needed to grow to accept that fear and uncertainty are -and will be- a part of my work and life. I don´t need to try to get rid of them. Instead, I need to learn to live with them.
Acceptance releases energy and joy. It helps you to trust yourself. And it gives you the courage to move on.
That´s what I thought while talking with Tiina and Pekka. That´s what I saw in them. If my mom is my biggest role model, and Moominmamma the second, Tiina Vainio is probably the third. After talking with her I realized how she had been able to build up a successful business in a relaxed way and with all that positive energy.
She had clearly accepted that fear and uncertainty are part of life and learned to live with them. Through that acceptancy she had been able to release lots of positive energy and lost her fear of failure. She had found who she really is and what she loves to do. And all this goodness had channelled into her Sauna Yoga business.
I also realized that in the future I want to follow that same path. I want to grow so I can accept my fears and uncertainty. Because only in that way I will be able to trust myself and have courage to follow my heart and intuition, also with SaimaaLife.
I also need something else. A network of inspiring people around me. Positive and supportive people like Tiina and Pekka. People who can help when my fears try to paralyze me.
After our meeting I looked at the English Sauna Yoga manual. In six months I will be giving Sauna Yoga lessons in English. And do many other new things that I haven´t told you about yet.
When I thought about all that, I felt how fear started to paralyze me again. I took a deep breath and I said to myself. “It´s ok to be afraid. Everyone feels uncertain. Have courage to learn and the fear will pass.”
When I opened my eyes I felt excitement. Yes, the fear was still there but in the background now. I was able to just be happy that my next six months will be full of new exciting things!
I was one step closer of spreading my wings.
Mari ❤ SaimaaLife