GIVEAWAY : Big Bounce America

Okay I'm Really excited about this giveaway guys! And super excited to take my family as a Summer kick off on the last day of school! How's that for a 'schools out for the summer celebration!' Beats the ice cream and park we normally do by Miles!

Okay now for the fun details, if you have seen these videos of Big Bounce America trending on Facebook then I know you are going to want to go also! I've been seeing them forever, and as soon as I found out they were coming to Denver I may have screeched in excitement a little bit. 

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The Big Bounce America is definitely not your average bounce house. Kids and grown ups of all ages are invited to get big-air on the basketball court, compete against one another on an obstacle course, and plummet from a giant slide into a massive ball pit outside the main structure.Sounds amazing right?  On top of that theres also  a professional DJ,  at the center of the bounce house, spins a carefully curated soundtrack with nightclub-quality sound, lights and even blasts of confetti. The Big Bounce America is more than just a bounce house, it's a bouncing festival for all ages; shoes off, party on!

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In addition to the record-breaking main bounce house, you will find Bounce Village which features additional bounce structures, including a four-piece inflatable obstacle course, a giant ball pit, a massive slide, and a separate bounce house for the little bouncers. Bounce Village adds 10,000 square feet to The Big Bounce America, bringing the grand total to 20,000 square feet of inflatable fun!

The world’s biggest bounce house ever assembled is making its way across the  country through November of 2018, visiting 29 states and 59 major cities. Featuring  10,000 square feet of inflatable elation, The Big Bounce America is the most  memorable, exciting experience of the year! Sure, kids will fall in love with the giant candy colored structure, but the adult-only night sessions are what make this event so special. How fun would the adults only session be if you don't have kiddos to bring along? Or make it a date night, you don't even need to tell the kids ;) 

 

Okay now for the Really exciting part!Big bounce America is  giving away TWO sets of FOUR tickets to one of YOU! And you don't even need to be local to enter, because they are traveling the country! Just some of the other cities they will be in this year : Raleigh NC, Washington DC, Salt Lake City, UH, Multiple cities in California, New York...and so many more! Check it out here and see if Big Bounce America is coming to your city! 

Alright, to enter, just leave a comment here below with what city you would love to win tickets to (with your name)! That simple, for other ways to enter, go on over to Facebook and enter there as well And instagram to increase your chances! I'll have my non partial 3 year old select TWO winners on Tuesday! 

*Thanks Big Bounce America for the tickets for my family and the ones to give away to you guys! 

Camping with Kids

Okay we are far far FAR from camping experts, but we have been going up to camp in the mountains for like 7 ish years now? And we recently completed our first 5 day/night camping trip, so I feel a little bit more like a 'real' camper now!

First off, What to Pack

 

Family Camping Checklist 

  • Tent
  • Air mattress and pump or cots 
  • Sleeping bags for everyone
  • Pack n Play if you have a baby/toddler (Soren slept in his pack n play amazingly well) 
  • Sheet/blankets/pillows
  • tarp for under tent
  • extra stakes
  • hammer
  • chairs
  • lanter
  • headlamp
  • chairs
  • table cloth
  • clothes pin
  • portable grill
  • charcoal
  • lighter fluid/matches
  • pot
  • pan
  • dutch oven
  • french press (hot coffee after a cold night of sleeping is bliss)
  • large bucket to wash dishes in
  • cups/plates/silverware
  • knife/spatula/cutting board
  • dish soap/rag
  • aluminum foil/food containers
  • paper towels
  • plastic bags
  • Towels for showers/swimming- we brought one large towel per person
  • first aid kit
  • ziplock bags
  • dust pan/brush (this is something we didn't pack but now its on our list after wishing we had one
  • Mat for outside of tent (again something we wish we would have had to keep dirt outside of the tent 

Some other things we brought that aren't necessary but for us helped

  • Small fan- it got hot during the day and it made napping for Soren a lot easier
  • Ipads for white noise while we slept, the kids all slept in till around 6:45-7 Each day which was 8 colorado time so i was Super impressed with that
  • Lawn games! Yahtzee
  • Sand toys
  • Soccer ball/frisbee/football

Okay now for the fun part, FOOD!

I was most excited about the food for our spring break camping trip. There's something about cooking outside thats exciting after cooking meal after meal in my kitchen. A nice change up!

If you are going somewhere without convenient access to grocery stores (like we did) you will want to bring everything with you, which means you have to MEAL PLAN. I planned out every meal, breakfast lunch and dinner for when we were gone. Left out an lunch because I knew the day we made a day trip to Lake Havasu that we would eat out, plus brought snacks. And yes we definitely had food left over, but thats okay. Better than running out! Heres some of the things we made

Breakfasts while camping

  • Cinnamon roll on a stick
  • Hot ham and cheese croissants
  • dutch baby
  • eggs on english muffins
  • muffins
  • Yogurt with granola 

Lunches while camping

  • PBJ sandwiches
  • Egg salad sandwiches (i made the egg salad before hand)
  • Hot ham and cheese sandwiches
  • pasta salad (made it ahead of time

Diners while camping 

  • Hot dogs with instant mashed potatoes (super easy and it was better than i thought!
  • Burgers
  • nachos (these were So good, I made the meat the day before we left so this was our first dinner while camping and it was Amazing) 
  • Pasta 
  • Really the opportunities are endless, but this is just what we had!

Other food items 

  • Chips
  • pretzels
  • fruit
  • granola bars
  • Stuff for s'mores
  • Condiments 

Something extra we brought that our kids never really have is kool aid, the kind in a little bottle we can squirt into water. It made it really 'fun' for them since its so rare, and they had to drink a whole 20 oz bottle of water first before the next bottle we made a juice, so it kept them nice and hydrated which was important in the desert. 

 

Okay thats all I can think of right now, let me know if you have any questions about camping with kids, or any tips for Me! Cant wait to schedule another camping trip! 

Recipe: Stove Top Lasagna

 

Originally posted on my old blog in 2013! I've made this more than a dozen times and its always a hit with all the kids. 

A few weeks ago this recipe showed up in my weekly emeal recipe, and it's since become a family favorite. And since it was delicious (and easy) enough to be made three times in 3-4 weeks, it was time to take some quick pics and blog it! Make this. You will not regret it!

This makes a lot, feeds our family of four a huge dinner, with plenty of leftovers (we had it again today for lunch and I'm definitely eating it again for dinner) 

Ingredients: 

olive oil

3 cloves garlic, minced

1 1/2 pounds ground beef

2 table spoons italian seasoning

28 oz can of tomatoes

15 can tomato (pasta) sauce

basil

15 oz ricotta cheese

12 oz package of whole wheat lasagna noodles, broken 

2 cups shredded italian cheese (I used sharp cheddar instead)

So it says to use a dutch oven for this, but I don't have one yet (hint for a Christmas gift Drew) so I just used a large pot with a lid and it worked perfectly. 

In large pot (or dutch oven) heat your olive oil (2-3 tablespoons) and your garlic and ground beef and Italian seasoning. When it's no longer pink add your shredded cheese. 

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After cheese has melted a tiny bit (less than a minute) add your broken lasagna noodles to the top of the meat/cheese, and then add your tomatoes, sauce basil and 1/2 a cup of water. Bring it all to a boil, than let it simmer till your noodles are done (about 20 minutes) stirring once in a while. 

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Lastly, add your ricotta cheese to the top, stir it in gently, cover and let melt for another two minutes or so, sprinkle with a bit of basil and enjoy! 

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I've only made lasagna once or twice before this, in the oven the 'regular' way and I was never impressed. In fact I've never been a huge lasagna fan, it was my least favorite of all pasta dishes, but this? This recipe has made me change my mind about lasagna!

Travel Bucketlist

I can't be the only one with major wanderlust, especially as its cold and Not snowy? I love winter and snow, but just cold and no snow just bums me out. 

So naturally I'm thinking of where ELSE we can be. I've had a mental bucket list forever, but I decided its time to put it down. Something about putting your goals and dreams out for the universe and they are more likely to happen? Is that a thing. Lets roll with it. 

(I should say theres really nowhere I Don't want to go, these are just currently further at the top of my list, but I want to see everything and everywhere!) 

North America

Prince Edward Island; I've always wanted to go since being in love with Anne of Green Gables way back in the way

San Diego

Oregon Coast

Forks Washington; Oh yes, you know why

Redwood Forest

Main

Banff

(Ive got a separate Colorado bucket list I'll share separately)

Europe

Italy

Amsterdam

Switzerland

Germany

Spain

Greece

Sweden (always on the list even if I go a million times) 

Iceland (only spent 1 day there, getting ready to cross this one off the list!!) 

The UK

South America

Nicaragua

Costa Rica

Belize

Asia

Maldives

Turkey

Jordan

Israel

UAE

Cyprus

India

Back to Indonesia haven't been since I was a child

Back to Thailand

Japan

Africa

Tanzania

South Africa

Morocco

Rwanda

Egypt

Australia

Kenya

 

I'm sure I've left off so much on this list....its overwhelming how much I want to see! Don't we all just wish we could be the Bucketlist Family and travel full time?!? 

Whats at the top of Your bucket list? 

A boy and his dog

Jasper has had Remi (Remington) since he was 11 months old. And Jasper turns 11 in August. ELEVEN!

I'll never forget when we went to get Remi. After doing research we had decided on Colorado Puppy Rescue , we knew we wanted to adopt but we didn't want to risk an older dog that maybe didn't like kids, and one that could 'grow up' with Jasper. They used to hold their adoptions at a local petco (not sure if thats still the case?) and all the puppies stayed with foster homes till the event. A few days before the event they put their puppies online, and as soon as we saw him we just knew he had to come home with us! So we got there before the event started, put our names on the list and said which puppy we were interested in. We were number two  on the list so I got nervous that the other lady wanted Remi too, but luckily she had her sights on an adorable spaniel pup, which was our number two choice. 

They had big pens set up in the store for people to go in and sit with the pups, and Remi was cowering in the corner, absolutely terrified. We went in and sat down, and as soon as Jasper waddled over to him he started wagging his tail, still scared, but climbed into our laps for Jasper to pet him. It was love at first sight for the two of them. 

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When we got him home, he wouldn't walk, we almost thought something was wrong with him, but if we left the room he would run and hide behind the couch (where he could Barely fit) so we knew he Could walk, he just wouldn't. I had to carry him outside to pee, set him down and then carry him back inside. We couldn't go on walks because he literally would just stand there/sit there, so we would do walks with him and Jasper in the wagon together. It took him weeks to warm up to us all, but he's spent the last 10 years being Jaspers BFF. He waits for him by the door when he's gone. At our 'new' house we have a window seat, he lays up there with his face pressed against the window watching for his boy to come home. If Jasper goes outside to shoot hoops, Remi pushes the door open himself to get out there also. It's heartbreaking to think that one day he won't be here with Jasper. But we sure are grateful that he's here now. 

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Christmas 2017

Sometimes I think, who wants to read these kinds of posts. Probably no one. BUT I started blogging for myself, and I love love looking back to old posts and remember what we did, so I need to do a better job at this! Jasper got a baby book, and an almost daily blog. Tindra got half baby book and a semi frequently blog...Soren gets a page filled out in a baby book and sporadic blogs to look back on...sorry third child. 

Christmas of course came and went all too quickly. 

Christmas eve I had signed up to volunteer for one of the church services with the kiddos, so I had to be at church at like 2:30 and the rest of the gang came after 5. The service was of course Amazing. Really really amazing. 

Drew had invited a friend to come to church with us, so I left to take the kids home, and his friends car didn't start so they spent quite a while dealing with that so Drew wasn't home in time to put kiddos to bed. So by the time he came home kids were in bed and I was playing Santa. 

The kids first woke up at like 4:45 (every year Jasper sleeps in Tindras room on Christmas eve, maybe next year Soren will join them as well!) and after I told them Santa might not have come yet and they needed to go to sleep right away they did and woke up again around 6:15. Much more manageable hour to start the day!

*Side note- does Santa wrap presents at your house or leave them? Here he doesn't wrap, and they are assembled and ready to go*

So kids came down, saw what Santa had brought (light up sketchers, an emoji pillow and a 'tricks' scooter for Jasper, a mini trampoline, the same sketchers, and a fire truck for Soren (who only asked for a fire truck, 'his own lipstick' and a pacifier for Christmas) and a big kid bike, barbie car and art isle for Tindra) and opened their stockings, while I got made coffee and breakfast. We do monkey bread and bacon every year! 

After we ate we spent all morning opening presents and putting together new toys. I remember the first Christmas we didn't get 'toys' to play with, because we weren't playing with toys anymore, and remember thinking what are we supposed to do all morning now? And how big of a change it was. Jasper is already starting to approach that, and I'm So dreading the day when no one wants to play with toys anymore! 

Some of the kids favorite gifts- Jasper it was all the santa stuff (he really really wanted those things and it was the only things he asked for) plus a picture frame Tindra made him at school with a picture of her, he said over and over how special it was, and a digital picture I had made of Remi. Tindra loved her bike the most plus her mermaid tail blanket thing. And soren..well he loved it all and didn't want to stop playing with any of it!

Drew surprised me with a huge mirror that I've been wanting forever! Soren got me a beautiful Swedish pillow and Jasper...oh jaspers gift made me ugly cry. He had been working on it in private for months! Which is hard to do in this crazy house. He got a board and took pictures of me and scanned them with the printer (i didn't even know how to do this and have no idea how He figured out how to dot hat) and taped them on a board, along with a list of things he loves about me...sweetest boy ever? He just might be. He also got me a great pair of shoes (with the help of his dad) Last year after hearing the song 'Christmas shoes' he took a pair of my shoes and traced it so he he would know my shoe size, and picked me out a pair of shoes. Such a giver that one. 

After naps Drews parents came and I got started on dinner (swedish julbord!) and later his brother and sister in law joined us. 

We didn't have any snow, but thats the only thing that can make Christmas even better! Sledding/playing in the snow...one of these years we will have another white Christmas! 

Dillon, CO Ice Castle

As soon as I saw that the Ice Castle was coming to Colorado I May have squealed like a 5 year old girl..just maybe. We have plans to go up soon and make a weekend out of it and I'm SO excited! Ive wanted to visit the Ice Hotel in Sweden for years, so this will do till I can make it over there in the winter!

 

 

 

 

Heres a little info about the Colorado ice castle!

 


WHAT: Elaborate, acre-sized castle in Dillon, CO made entirely from ice. One of four Ice Castles in the United States.
WHERE: Dillon, CO
WHEN: Tickets On Sale Now!
VISUALS: -- Amazing ice formations including icicle-dripped archways, canyons, caverns, and ice-carved tunnels.

-- Attraction includes an interactive winter playground with ice slides, thrones, fountains, and maze-like passages.
-- Kids and families can zip down ice slides, crawl through tunnels, and explore different icy rooms in the stunning Narnia-like wonderland.
-- Experience the natural brilliant blue tones of the ice during the day, or see ever-changing, colorful LED-lights embedded in the ice twinkle to music at night. Built by hand and made from more than 20,000,000 pounds of ice, the Ice Castles in Dillon, CO are pure, unforgettable family fun!

 

Find all of the details for your visit: IceCastles.com

And now for some exciting news for you!
My readers get to save off admission! Fun and Unique experience with your family at Amazing Ice Castles! Save 15% off tickets using promo code "happykids"

 

 

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Stockholm, Sweden with kids

This post has been half written in my drafts forever! And I've recently had a few people asking for Stockholm tips so here it is!

When to GO

Definitely summer. Fall is cool and rainy, winter dark and cold, spring still not quite warm, so summer is definitely best! The whole 'sun doesn't set' in the summer thing is pretty magical as well. But be aware that a lot of businesses close down in parts of july because everyone goes on vacation. 

Where to Stay

This last trip we stayed at two different hotels, one on the first part of our trip, and one on the end. Both were amazing!

J Hotel  was probably the favorite. Its a bit out of the city, right on the water and SO freaking gorgeous. Its a bit more remote, but the main bus line in a 5 minute walk from the hotel, there were restaurants and shops right there PLUS a ferry boat comes right to the hotel dock all day and takes you into the city in just 20 minutes. Such a fun public transportation mode with kids. They Loved it! We used that almost every day. Another bonus was the hotel had a balcony for us to hang out on after we got the kids to bed. 

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Hotel Stureplan was the second hotel we stayed at. This one is Right in the middle of the city and all the action. A super old building that was also really charming. The breakfast was in the courtyard every morning which was super cozy. We didn't have to take any transportation while staying there because it was so close to everything and we just walked everywhere. One amazing thing about this hotel was that right outside of our room was a big common area room with couches and tables, super cool antique looking furniture. So after we would get the kids to sleep in the room we would sit there in the lobby and eat, watch House of Cards on Netflix and relax, all while we could see the room and hear them with the door cracked. It worked out so great! 

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What to Do

Theres So much to do with kids in Stockholm, we barely scratched the service! Here are some of our favorites

Skansen is a Must for all ages. Its a an open air museum/zoo all in one with an amazing playground and great food all in one. In the summer they have concerts there as well. You could easily spend an entire day there. 

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 Junibacken  aka Worlds coolest children museum. The whole museum is based on characters and scenes from Astrid Lindgrens books, and I had goosebumps the entire time I was in there. Theres even a ride that takes you through scenes of the books and ends with Pippi's life size house where  you can play in (adults included!) They also have a great cafeteria style restaurant in there so go in the morning, play for a few hours and have lunch!. Its on the same little island as Skansen and other museums. When we went it was raining so we did the morning at Junibacken, had lunch, and then walked next door to the Vasa Museum for the afternoon. 

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Vasa Museum is another must. Its a ship that sank just a mile or so from the harbor and after 333 years in the 60's I believe, they pulled it up fully intact. This museum is dark and cool and we planned this one for nap time for Tindra (2 at the time) and it worked perfectly. She fell asleep in the stroller on the walk over and napped pretty much the entire time in there because of the dark. Drew walked around pushing her and reading all the millions of signs while Jasper and I explored at a faster pace because what 6 year old wants to stand around while his parents read. But it was enjoyable for everyone! 

Another super fun thing to do, with kids or without! Take a boat ride out to fjaderholmarna Its about a 20 minute boat ride from the city center. Its a tiny island with an ice-cream shop but not much else, so grab a baquette and some cheeses and make a picnic on the 'beach' Its more like big smooth rocks, but its such a fun way to spend a summer afternoon. 

Another fun thing we did was take a boat ride out to Drottningholm Castle. Actually we took the subway out to the castle, walked through the castle and grounds and then caught the ferry back to the city. 

The castle in the 'old town' area of Stockholm is also awesome to see and now part of it is also a museum. Also fun to see the changing of the guards there! You could spend all day at the castle and shopping in 'gamla stan' (old town) there also.

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Kulturehuset in Stockholm is also really cool to visit. The top floor of the building is THE coolest kids library I've ever been in. They also have a cool art room you can pay a super small fee to get a little craft kid. We could have spent hours and hours here also. 

Another fun thing we did was take a boat tour around Stockholm, we wore headphones that gave a ton of history, and being on the water was so much fun for the kids that they let us sit there and listen/enjoy it also. 

For the best views in all of Stockholm, go up kaknastornet. Go up there and grab lunch or fika!

Since Stockholm is all on the water, you have to take a day to get In the (freezing) water. Theres tons of little beaches around, and I wish I remember the way to get to the one we did, but we took a train out to the suburbs and walked through an amazing part and ended up on a public beach that had a great ice cream and hot dog stand. Probably the kids favorite thing we did there! Don't try telling them the water is too cold! 

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Theres SO much more to do in and around Stockholm, these were just a few of our favorites! There are endless parks, shops, restaurants and museums to visit. And you don't need a car for any of it! Sweden has some of The best public transportation in the world. 

Outside of Stockholm

If you are wanting to leave the Stockholm area, here are some great places to go 

Boat to Gotland. We did this with friends, honeymooning together 8 months after our wedding and days after theirs! It was an amazing time and I can't wait to go back! We went camping on the beach, but there are hotels/cabins/airbnbs also. The town has a medieval wall around it and is so freaking cool! 

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Dalarna is another awesome region to visit. We met friends there with Jasper when he was a toddler, rented a little stuga and went to the theme park they have there. I'm sure theres tons more there to do as well! 

I could go on and on and onnnnnn about things to do in Sweden, places to visit. Next time we go I want to see more of the south! 

 

 

Fall break in Vail

We had the Best fall break in Vail last month. We had the perfect weather. Cool crisp fall mountain air with lots of sun and one day of some snow. Weather wise it couldn't have been better!  

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The place we stayed (Drew's boss's condo he so generously loaned us) is the Perfect location. Right at the edge of Vail- surrounded by biking trails. So of course we had to bring up our bikes. It's about a 2.5 mile bike ride along the river into Vail Village, and riding those trails was one of my favorite parts of our vacation. It helps that the kids all love it too (maybe not Jasper Quite as much as the littlest since he actually has to work) but the bike rides were all a success! We need to go back in the summer! The bike rides will be even more enjoyable in 70 degree temps

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We spent the days biking, eating delicious food, playing at a few really cool parks, playing games, watching disney classics at night.. 

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The only day the weather was bad we decided to drive to Glenwood Springs (45-60 minutes away) and spend the day at the hot springs. This might have been the very best day there if I HAD to pick. This was our third time in Glenwood Springs and its always So magical. With the snow and fog in the morning it just added to the magic. We got there about 10:30 ish and spent a few hours at the hot springs, then showered and walked across the bridge to the BEST burger place. Seriously the best. We eat there every time we are there and are never ever disappointed. The kids were all a bit warn out from all the swimming that it ended up being the most relaxing lunch/dinner! And we were there for probably 75 ish minutes just eating and coloring and it was just the best. Seriously if you find yourself find yourself in the Glenwood Springs area, make sure you visit Grind, you WONT regret it! 

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After lunch we walked around town for a little bit hoping Soren would sleep but that didn't happen, and then back to the hot springs for a few more hours. After we got back in the hot springs a second time we actually ran into some people from our church! Small world huh, 3 hours away from home. They also have 3 kids close to the same age as ours so the kids had lots of fun playing with them. Their daughter is actually in Tindras sunday school class- our church is huge, i think 6K plus people? So thats pretty crazy! After the hot springs we went back and had hot chocolate and then BED! I think we all slept Really good that night. 

Theres just something about getting away from the city and up into the mountains. We live so close (well not SO close but you know, not that far) but we can go a couple months with out having a real reason to get up there, and after a certain amount of time I just feel this pull, this Need to get up there. Life is slower, up there. Calmer. The air purer. The smells clearer. If you aren't a mountain lover I can't explain it, but for those of you that are, you get it. 

Until next time Rockies. 

Fall in the Rockies

Last weekend I convinced Drew that instead of watching the first half of the Broncos game we Needed to head up to the mountains to check out the fall color before it disappears. Luckily there was a rain delay for the game so he only ended up missing the first quarter anyway. Win win!

Naturally the photographer in me just HAD to bring my tripod and attempt the perfect family picture. HA. Yeah didn't really happen. Apparently kids Really don't want to look at a camera when there is no one holding it. Also my remote was acting up so I had to keep pushing the button and running to jump into the picture. Also hard to get kids to focus when mom keeps running back and forth. BUT we did get to see some gorgeous yellow fall color, and spent a cozy few hours in the mountains with Zero tears or tantrums so I'm counting it as a win!

Aren't those Aspens just stunning? Sadly they don't last every long here. If fall could last like 3 months, like Legit fall that would be wonderful wouldn't it? Here fall is so short and its usually mixed in with summer and winter. Take today for example, its the first day of fall. But its like high 80's. And this weekend its going to be 50's and rain, which will feel a little like winter. So like 2 seconds of fall? Fickle fickle Colorado. We love you anyway. 

Great Sand Dunes National Park

Oh hey I guess I forgot I had a blog over the summer. I tend to do that every summer. Life is always busy, but having all three kiddos home all day adds to the madness! But the best kind of madness. Mostly. More on summer later.

We started our summer with a trip to the Great Sand Dunes National Park. Its been on my bucket list for years, but theres such a short window of time to go when the creek is flowing (May-mid june) that we always miss it. Theres only a few cabins right there outside the park and they fill up Fast. But when I called in May I asked if they had ANY openings, and we lucked out with an early June opening during the week so we jumped on it. And SO glad we did!

There aren't words to describe the beauty of the sand dunes. Its so unexpected, to be driving through the mountains, and then all of a sudden you are in this valley surrounded by mountains on all sides except for these massive sand dunes in front of you. Just unreal! If the sand dunes aren't on your bucket list they should be! And definitely make sure you go when Medano creek is flowing!

Some tips: 

Stay at the  Oasis  cabins. They are Right outside the park, you can't get closer unless you are tent camping inside the park. They are small and 'rustic' but it was perfect for us with enough room for all 5 of us. 

Bring the food you are going to want to eat. Theres only a tiny store that carried some basic items and a small cafe right there, otherwise you need to drive like 30 minutes or so to the nearest town. We brought a huge cooler and cooked all of our meals except lunch on the first day we arrived, we had that at the cafe. 

SUN SCREEN. I mean thats a given with the altitude and elevation and SUN, but put on more than you think you need and more often than you think you need. Between the sand and the water, you will get fried if you don't wear like a million SPF. No but seriously, we had on 100 SPF and still needed to reapply every 60-90 minutes and we still got some sun. Tindra who never burns was peeling like crazy the next couple of days. 

Other information; you can rent sleds with wax at the little shop at the Oasis cabins, definitely do that. And bring sand toys. Plan on lots of time at the creek. Our kids could have spent all day every day there and done nothing else and would have been happy. Its more like a beach with waves than a creek and its So fun! Also, bring tubes to float in! And water shoes!

 

 

Officially a 'Tindragartner'

Tindras last day of PreK was yesterday and today was their ceremony! It was so stinking cute! It was 'Oh the Places You'll Go' themed, and the teachers gave them all their own copy of the book, with special messages inside from their teachers. So special! The kiddos sang a few songs and got their diplomas. Can't believe we will have two in Elementary school in the fall! 

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 First and last day of PreK! She won the class award for 'Most Stylish'  

First and last day of PreK! She won the class award for 'Most Stylish'  

Mothers day

We finally had amazing weather on Mother's Day! The last few years it's been terrible, even snowing, but not this year!  

We started off the day by riding our bikes to church (about a 5.5 mile round  trip with lots of hills!) and then grabbing brunch at Panera after. We were going to go fishing at the little pond behind our house after naps and I was going to read in the sun (pure bliss!) but Soren ended up taking almost a 4 hour nap (!!!!!) so that messed up our plans a little bit! We ended up just hanging out and then grabbing dinner on a patio. Pretty relaxing Mother's Day! Hope everyone else had an amazing day!  

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Wilmington, NC

*This was originally posted on my other blog (tales of a young mamma) but I want all my travel posts on what blog so I'll be adding different travel posts here*

This was one of those once in a life time trips (that I hope to repeat!) and I'm so so thankful everything worked out the way it did and we were able to make it all happen.

 

Drew drove out with me to Iowa to spend a few days working there before he went to Arizona and we went to NC which was really helpful having him there for that part of the drive. 

My mom and I started the drive at 3 AM after we had gotten a few hours sleep. Our first stop was Asheville and it's about a 13 hr drive from my moms to there and we wanted to get some of the driving done when the kids were asleep. Perfect choice, so by the time we made our first stop for gas/breakfast/feed Soren/ switch drivers the kids had slept the whole way and we were already 4 hours into the drive.I can't say enough about how my kids are amazing travelers. Seriously the best. 

We made it to Asheville in time for dinner and running around a bit before bed. And the next day the kids had the times of their lives running around in the mountains at my aunts and uncle's house. Picking berries, playing in their pond for hours, roasting marshmallows.. as much as I like to think they are city kids, they really thrive out in nature. 

After our time in Asheville we made the 6 hour drive to Wilmington to spent the week on the beach with my sister, brother in law their son, and my brother, sister in law and their son. We had two condo's in a 4 plex literally Right on the beach. We couldn't possibly have been any closer. 

 

We had the best week. We would get up..too early, and my mom would usually take the kids to the beach pretty early while I would stay back with Soren for his first nap before we joined them. Then after lunch and nap often we would go back down to the beach. 

 

The kids absolutely fell in love with the beach. Jasper would have spent every second in the ocean if we would have let him, while Tindra was content to hang back and play in the sand while going in for dips with me or another adult. 

 

 

They had so much cousin time and loved every minute of it.  I thought by the end of the week we would all be sick of the beach, but nope..we could have easily stayed longer and still had a blast. Best part about the beach? Best naps and sleep time. They would be so exhausted they would fall asleep the second their heads in their pillows. Which is a major bonus when on vacation. And then the adults would meet on the deck right outside with baby monitors for game playing and some drinks. 

One day my mom and I took a break from the beach and took the kids to Jungle Rapids, a water park right in Wilmington. We definitely could have stayed there all day! And probably would have if Tindra and Soren weren't so badly needing naps! Tindra really became a fish at this pool and was finally brave enough to put her face under the water(!!!!) and Jasper felt like such a big kid being allowed to go on all the tube rides by himself, with me waiting at the bottom, though I did go on a few with him as well! We also took turns taking them go carting there, which Jasper basically thought was the coolest thing ever, and I definitely won some cool points when I pulled into first place at the very end. 

We lucked out an had amazing weather the entire time we were there, except one afternoon called for rain so we decided it was the perfect time to go to Fort Fisher Aquarium. If you are in the area this is another must do. My kids Love aquariums, and this is definitely the coolest one they have been to. They got to touch a shark (!!) and a star fish and some sort of really big crab. They also have a lorikeet habitat where you go in and feed them, probably the hi light for Jasper especially. One jumped on his head while he was feeding it and he hasn't stopped talking about it since!!

 

After our time in Wilmington we drove to Charlotte to visit family there, I'll save those pictures for the next NC recap!

Thanks to Jungle Rapids and Fort Fisher Aquarium for having us come visit!

Spring is in the air

Last week the pretty white trees (anyone know what these are called?) had bloomed so naturally I dragged T out to 'model' for me. I had to bribe her with jelly beans, and basically she sang the entire time (hence the eyes closed) but I still managed to get some shots! Poor photographers daughter. 

Its finally starting to warm up and Stay warm, which makes me oh so happy. I love winter, I really do. I love all four seasons, maybe even equally. But every time the season changes I get so excited. I guess its part of me that loves change. Craves it. I only stay happy with one season for so long before I'm ready for the next. 

I have noticed the older I get that I'm like that with life also. Only content for so long. Trust me its something I'm working on! Its just so long that we have had something Major happening ever year to look forward to, plan for. Just going back a few years, in 2010 we got married. In 2011 we went on our big Swedish honeymoon (and also got pregnant) in 2012 we had a baby. In 2013 we bought/sold a house and moved. In 2014 we went on our big Sweden/Iceland/Norway adventure (and got pregnant.) In 2015 we had another baby. In 2016 we bought a house and moved to the suburbs And shortly after went on an amazing vacation (florida and caribbean cruise) And now its 2017. And we don't have anything major on the horizon . And thats unusual for us. But we have a great life. We have three healthy, happy, amazing children. Drew has a great job. We love our home. Things are good. And I need to remind myself (often) to be content with that. 

But now Spring is here. Flowers are blooming. Bike rides are happening, patio season is here,  Spring soccer has started . And we are all good, really good. 

Vikings

A couple months ago I had the opportunity to send my DNA into GPS Origins to have them test it. I've always wanted to do this, so naturally I jumped at the opportunity. 

 

They sent me a kit and all I had to do what take some cheek swabs with the large Q-tips they sent and mail it back and wait patiently for a few weeks!

 

Here's a little science lesson for those of us who don't get how this whole gene mapping works. 

 

 

So what I learned was my family is from Sweden (which I obviously already knew given my dad was born and raised there, but what I didn't know was that my ancestors actually traveled to Iceland and settled Iceland. My dad always joked we were Vikings, but turned out my ancestors actually were Vikings. Crazy huh? My ancestors also settled the Orkney Islands ( islands off the coast of Scotland settled by Scandinavian vikings) about 6000 years ago! So amazing to have that knowledge! 

 

 

When we moved to the US from Sweden, my first big school project was to research and dress up as Leif Ericsson (funny side note, there were only two girls on the list to chose from, and I got to choose first because I had literally Just moved here, and I thought I was picking one of the girl names, because from where I sat, and my terrible eyes I thought it said Leah...so yeah I thought I was picking one of the girl names to dress up as, and the whole class assumed I picked the viking because I had just moved from Sweden.) I have a picture somewhere of me dressed in fur, with aluminum horns coming out of a helmet as a viking. Turns out that picture isn't that far of a stretch! 

 

I've always known I'm Swedish on my dads side and Italian and Swedish from my moms side. But I also found out that my ancestors were from Sardinia, Greece, Albania, and The Balkans! I want to go got all of these places so badly, and walk the same places my ancestors did thousands of years ago. Wouldn't that be amazing? 

 

 Oh just hanging out in the Blue Lagoon that my ancestors discovered 

Oh just hanging out in the Blue Lagoon that my ancestors discovered 

 Being Swedish Vikings in Stockholm during Midsummer 2014

Being Swedish Vikings in Stockholm during Midsummer 2014

 

I want to figure out some way to get all this information up on a little map for the kids so they can see where part of their DNA comes from, now we just need to do Drew's so they can have both sides! 

Grand Lake getaway!

Drew has been wanting to get his Grandpa out here (from Nebraska) to go ice fishing forever, and finally they made it happen! My sister in law has family friends that have an amazing house up there that they so generously let us borrow for the long weekend, and we all had such an amazing time!

 

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The guys all went ice fishing two of the days, while my sister and law and I hung out at the house with the kids, played games during nap time, and played in the snow! One of the days they went ice fishing we brought them lunch and hung out for a while, J loved it so much he wanted to stay the rest of the day and went back again the next day. Tindra liked it but insisted on crawling everywhere because the ice was pretty slippery and Soren..well Soren needed to be carried or pulled on the sled the entire time. It was so much fun being out on the ice, reminded me so much of my childhood in Northern Sweden. 

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I've wanted to go snow shoeing forever, and we finally did! After going snow shoeing with a toddler strapped to my back I think I can officially call myself a Coloradan! 

Our last day it snowed in the afternoon, which made the super cozy weekend even cozier! Heres a little clip of the sledding, excuse the coughing and hoarse voice- I came up with a bad cold the day we went up there and it lasted weeks! 

Thanks for everyone who helped put this weekend together, we definitely need to do it again sometime! 

Mini Getaway to Vail

A couple of weeks ago my mom came to town to watch the kiddos and Drew and I went away for the first time since our honeymoon in 2011! I was dreading leaving the kids, but they had a great time with Grammy and the getaway was even more needed that I thought possible. 

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We had an amazing time with amazing food, shopping, relaxation and some adventure!  

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We had been planning on a day of skiing, but once we got up there we decided to try something new- a snow mobiling tour! At the recommendation of a friend we went with Nova guides and they did Not disappoint! Our guide was the best! He picked us up at the condo we were staying and drove us 40 min or so to the lodge.  

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We spent the next 4ish hours riding up and down the mountain, it was seriously amazing. It was snowing off and on the whole time and Really freaking cold (I believe single digits which feels a a lot colder while riding in 30-40 MPH with no cover! The snow suits helped for sure, but towards the end of the trip I couldn't feel my fingers and toes anymore and I was convinced my face had frost bite (spoiler alert, it didn't!)  Because we had a small group, and our tour guide thought we could handle it, he took us to the very very top, i think it was a little above 12,500 feet? We stopped for just a minute up there as it was REALLY FREAKING COLD and low visibility with the wind and it was snowing at that point. I took my glove of for 15 seconds to take a video- mistake! I couldn't even put my phone away before I had to get my gloves on and seriously couldn't feel my hand in that short amount of time. Things could get dangerous up there really quickly! 

When we got back to the lodge lunch was waiting for us! I can't even tell you how amazing that burger, fries and cherry coke tasted after the morning of snow mobiling. Partly from the cold but also partly from the adrenaline I think, but my body was shaking for a good 30 minutes after as we ate lunch waiting for our guide to take us back down.

Basically as soon as we got back to the condo we were staying in it was time to go across the street to our massages we had booked the day before. The spa has an outdoor heated pool/hot tub so we went and sat in there first, followed by the steam room and jacuzzi before it was time for massages. If you were wondering what the best way to spend an afternoon after 4 hours outside in the freezing weather- THIS is it. Couples massages, hot tea, followed by pedicures for both of us. Seriously bliss. Pure bliss.

After all that we had the most amazing dinner at terra bistro. Two whole hours of enjoying dinner just us. Now THAT is un heard of. Even on a night out  just us we don't sit for dinner that long, we try to hurry up and eat and get to a movie or something, so I literally can't think of a single time in the last almost 10 years of being parents that we have sat and enjoyed such a long dinner. And dessert! 

The rest of our stay up in Vail was spent walking around, shopping, eating at several delicious restaurants, and even some outlet shopping on the way home. It really was the Perfect 3 day getaway, but I was Super anxious to get home to my babies. Even turning down going into the Coach outlet just so we could get on the road and home earlier to see them. And they had the most amazing time with grammy while we were gone! She's apparently a lot more fun than we are..no surprise there! I was thinking Soren would wean himself while I was away, but don't you worry he was up 6 times the night I got back reclaiming his territory. Every time he would wake up he would claim 'mamma all done bye bye' Sure is nice to be loved and missed! But he was 100 percent fine when we were gone. 

Vacationing with my kids is my absolute favorite thing in the world to do, but a getaway with just Drew might be a close second. 

 

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Recipe: Super Easy White Bread

Theres something about this time of year that just has me craving fresh warm home made bread. This is the one my mom always made growing up, sometimes she would put bacon bits in it, or sun flower seeds. Its so easy and really really good! 

Ingredients:

3 1/2-4 C flour (I start w 3 1/2 cups and add a little more if its still sticky) 

2 1/2 teaspoons active dry yeast

1 1/2 C water

1 table spoon sugar

1 1/2 teaspoons salt

 

Directions:

Mix water, (a little bit above room temperature) sugar and yeast. Mix it and let it sit for 10 minutes to make sure it 'rises' a bit. You can tell when it does, it looks a lot thicker and 'bigger'.

Next mix in flour and salt with the water/yeast/sugar mixture. Kneed until it's smooth. 

Next place the dough ball into a greased big bowl, cover with a towel and let it rise for an hour. 

After the hour is up, punch it down a bit for a minute, form it into an oval shape and cut three little diagonal lines across it (not sure if this is necessary, I just see everyone else do this) and put it on a lightly greased baking sheet and cover with towel again. Let it rise another hour. 

 

Bake it at 350 for 35-40 minutes and EAT it while it's warm! With Butter! And maybe a slice of cheese! And add a cup of tea. That makes it the best. Just trust me. Last night we had this with spicy Italian soup. We are supposed to get a snow storm tonight/tomorrow so I think I'm going to make another loaf so we can have the leftover soup! 

 

*I have also made it into two bread tins by splitting the dough in two and making oval shaped balls and placing it in the middle, it spread and covered most of the pan. Make sure pan is greased so it comes out nice and easy.