Sunday, April 28, 2013

The Norwegian Art of Layering

I've got outdoor gear on my mind these days. Why? First, here in Minnesota it was a cold and snowy April that seemed to drag on forever. And second, I'm headed to Northern Norway in a few weeks, where I'm expecting more brisk weather. Fortunately, I learned a lot while editing Carter Walker's article about the Norwegian art of dressing for the outdoors, "Come Rain or Shine," in the April issue of Viking. Have you had a chance to check it out?

Here are 5 "Tips for the Trail" from the article:
  1. Always start with a non-cotton base layer.
  2. Don't let yourself overheat when outdoors. Peel off or add layers as needed to regulate your temperature.
  3. Consider bringing extra dry clothes to wear after strenuous activity.
  4. Be prepared and flexible, instead of being underdressed and exposed to risks brought on by changing weather conditions. 
  5. Drink plenty of fluids when you are outdoors, since dehydration reduces the body's ability to stay warm. 
These and other useful tips on layering, can be found on Devold of Norway's website. You can learn more about the company, along with other well-known Norwegian gear companies Dale of Norway, Helly Hansen, Bergans of Norway and Norrøna, in Walker's story.

Amy Boxrud is editor of Viking magazine. She lives with her family in Northfield, Minn., where she’s a member of Nordmarka 1-585.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Sons of Norway ISO New Business Representative

This just in: Sons of Norway of Minneapolis, MN is seeking a New Business Representative that will assist in our Insurance Services Division. 

This position is primarily responsible for registering new applications in our New Business system, ordering requirements as part of the underwriting process, and generating certificates of insurance after the application has been approved by the underwriter.  This position will also be handling of all incoming and outgoing mail in the department, and training of new/newer New Business employees by performing the following duties.

Core duties and responsibilities include the following:
  • Prepares and completes initial set up process for all annuity and life applications.
  • Performs the initial underwriting review of all annuity and life applications, and when appropriate, will take them through the approval process.
  • Orders the actual underwriting requirements through assigned vendors as directed by the underwriter.
  • Prepares and submits all the necessary paperwork to existing carriers/custodians, allowing for swift transfer of funds via 1035 exchange, rollover or transfer.
  • Upon underwriter approval of applications, generates and assembles policy pages for immediate distribution to FBCs.  This also includes making sure the producer is paid.
  • Upon receipt of outstanding delivery requirements, changes policy status to in force, and insures that FBC is paid.
  • Processes all new business mail.
  • Reinsurance Administration.
  • Trains new employees.  
Other duties may be assigned. 

In order to be considered for the position, candidates must have the following:
  • Associates Degree 
  • 5+ years demonstrated knowledge and experience related to Insurance processes and procedures preferred.
  • Strong Technical aptitude.  Ability to analyze and use various computer software programs as needed with little training.
  • Strong attention to detail needed to manage new business process .
  • Exceptional communications skills. Ability to ‘lead’ team meetings and effectively work with both external and internal customers.

To apply, please submit your cover letter, salary requirements and resume to:
Sons Of Norway
Attn: Mike Wnek
1455 West Lake Street
Minneapolis, MN 55408

Sons of Norway is an Equal Opportunity Employer

Monday, April 22, 2013

Nearby Norways

Vintage postcard image of Norway, Michigan
The Viking staff loves hearing from readers! Thanks to J.J. Henry of Huntingdon, P.A. for writing us after reading "Discovering Norway" in our April issue. Huntingdon specializes in Norwegian philately, and has assembled a list of post offices with Norway or Norge in the name.

"Note that many of these post offices no longer exist," writes Huntingdon. "Those with zip codes probably are still in service. However, the all of the communities would still exist," he adds.

Norway La Salle IL 60551
Norway White IN
Norway Benton IA 52318
Norway Republic KS 66961
Norway Oxford ME 04268
Norway Dickinson MI 49870
Norway Yazoo MS
Norway Herkimer NY
Norway Coos OR 97458
Norway Marion WV
Norway Thomas NE
Norway Dickey ND
Norway Chester PA
Norway Orangeburg SC 29113
Norway Center Oxford ME
Norway Center Lincoln SD 57034
Norway Center Cass IA
Norway House Milwaukee WI
Norway Lake Oxford ME
Norway Lake Kandiyohi MN
Norway Ridge Monroe WI
Norge Grady OK
Norge James City VA 23127
Little Norway Dane WI 53517
Little Norway Ontario CANADA
Norway Bay Quebec CANADA
Norway House Manitoba CANADA ROB XXX

Is there a Norway near you? We'd love to hear about it. Send us a note at, or by commenting below.

Amy Boxrud is editor of Viking magazine. She lives with her family in Northfield, Minn., where she’s a member of Nordmarka 1-585.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Footnotes Top Off Vesterheim Fundraiser

If you've ever spent an evening kicking up your heels to the Footnotes, which happens to be one of my all time favorite Scandinavian dance bands, you know it's an event you don't want to miss. But for those of us living in the Twin Cities metro area, it's a bit of a drive down to the band's home base in Decorah, Iowa. This Saturday, you can enjoy a rare Twin Cities appearance by the band, as part of the 40th Anniversary Nordic Celebration and Marketplace, hosted by the Twin Cities Area Friends of Vesterheim Norwegian-American Museum. The dance begins 8 pm, Sat., April 20, at the Minneapolis Marriott Southwest in Minnetonka.

The Footnotes' performance tops off a whole day of activities, including a Nordic Marketplace, a dinner, and a style show by Moods of Norway, who announced recently that their newest store will be located at the Mall of America in Minneapolis.

Admission to the dance or the marketplace is $10 at the door. While the dinner requires an RSVP, you can still reserve your spot through Tues., April 16 at 5 pm by contacting Vesterheim at 563-382-9681. For more details, visit Vesterheim's website.

Want to learn more about Vesterheim's Lifelong Learning program? Check out Denise Logeland's article, "Travel to Your Happy Place," in the January issue of Viking!

Amy Boxrud is editor of Viking magazine. She lives with her family in Northfield, Minn., where she’s a member of Nordmarka 1-585.

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Outdoor Clothing for Kids

If you've read Carter Walker's article, "Come Rain or Shine" in the April issue of Viking, you already know about the art of layering clothing for the Norwegian outdoors. But the article didn't address an important segment of the population with its own special needs: children! Norwegian kids spend a ton of time outdoors, and Americans can learn a lesson or two from the Norwegian parents who bundle them up all winter long. Norwegian native Vibeke Kvam Johansen, who recently moved her young family from Oslo to New York City, would agree. After arriving stateside, she founded Ella's Wool, a children's clothing company that specializes in dressing kids for outdoor success.

Viking: The average Norwegian child spends a lot of time outdoors, isn't that right?
Vibeke Kvam Johansen: Yes. In daycare centers and preschools in Norway, the kids play outside most of the day. The temperature limit for going indoors is -10°C (14°F). My daughter Ella used to go to a daycare like that in Oslo. They had a big outdoor area and not even the worst weather kept them from being outside. When my husband and I moved from Norway, I was shocked at how the first signs of winter cold drove all the kids inside. The parks and playgrounds were empty! I was confused at the lack of kids, so I started to ask the few parents who I did see about what sort of clothes the kids were wearing. No one mentioned wool clothing. I explained how in Norway, we dress our kids (and ourselves) with thin layers of wool under our clothes when it's cold.

V: Why wool? Aren't there newer, more hi-tech fabrics out there? 
VKJ: Wool is temperature regulating, water resistant, and can absorb up to 30% of its own weight before it feels wet (and it will still keep you warm when it does get wet). Since wool is resistant to bacteria, you can wear it again and again without having to wash it. And because it’s a natural fiber, wool is sustainable. It even provides a natural sunscreen, which is especially important for sensitive baby skin. The wool that’s used to make base layers designed to go against your skin is Merino wool (from the Merino sheep). Merino wool itself is very soft, but gets even softer when it’s washed in a special way, to make the wool fiber even finer.

V: So that's how Norwegian babies are able to sleep outside in all sorts of weather? 
VKJ: Yes! You've seen the crazy Scandinavian parents who let their babies sleep outside in their strollers. Well, I’m one of them. As an infant, Ella took her naps outside all winter. She wasn’t sick one single day. She actually slept much better outside than inside in her crib.

Vibeke's Tips for Warm, Wooly Kids

40–50°F: Put on one base layer of merino wool under the other clothes. (A base layer set could look like a merino wool top/onesie, merino wool long johns/tights and wool terry socks.) Put normal clothes over (like jeans, sweaters. etc.).

Below 40°F: Add a second layer of thick wool directly on top of the merino wool base layer. Then, add a snowsuit or heavy jacket. Make sure to put on a neck-warmer (these are better for playing than scarfs), a hat or balaclava, mittens and winter boots, too.

Wintertime stroller sleeping: If it’s below 30°F, put a sheepskin in the bottom of the stroller—this creates a warmer and more comfortable stroller for your baby. Then, wrap your baby with two layers of wool in a sleeping bag and snuggle them in there! If it’s windy, you might think twice about sleeping outside. You may need another blanket or a rain cover. If you do this, make sure there is plenty of airflow!

In the summer: Wool onesies are perfect summertime pajama for babies. When babies sleep in cotton on hot nights, they'll be soaking wet by morning. A Merino wool onesie will keep a baby dry and comfortable all night and help them sleep so much better.

Amy Boxrud is editor of Viking magazine. She lives with her family in Northfield, Minn., where she’s a member of Nordmarka 1-585.

Photo courtesy of Ella's Wool.