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. 

 

 

A look back at 2016

We had such a crazy, busy, but really good year!

We bought a house, moved to the suburbs, started new schools, went on the most amazing family vacation (visited THREE new countries in the process) went from having a baby to an almost TWO year old, and so so much more. 

Last year I put together a little slide show and loved looking back on it so much I needed to do it again. So heres our 2016 in a few pictures! 

 

A look at past Halloweens

Halloween was one of those holidays I never really celebrated. It just wasn't a thing in Sweden (though I'm hearing its becoming a thing now? Any Swedes care to confirm?) and by the time we moved to the US I thought I was too hold for that. So as I got older I wasn't into celebrating Halloween either, just didn't get what the big deal was. 

Till I had kids. Now I GET IT. I get what the big deal is! Dressing up, picking out costumes, carving pumpkins, pumpkin patches, the whole shabang (thats not a real word apparently.) But I GET IT. 

Starting these traditions when your kids are young, so much freaking fun!! No one told me just how fun it is to be an adult and get to do these things. 

So anyway Facebook time hop showed me that 7 years ago today (SEVEN!) we took Jasper trick or treating at Boo at the Zoo for the first time, and I don't think we have missed a year since! (We go this weekend)

His first Halloween Jasper was only 2 months old and all we did was dress him in a little pumpkin onesie and wait for trick or treaters (we got Zero) but his second halloween he was the most adorable bumblebee I ever did see. 

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His third Halloween, and the first time he picked his own costume, he was a spider! 

The Halloween when he was three he was Very specific about who he wanted to be... Pippi Longtockings great grandfather... (from a song, Sjorova fabbe) and I kind of, sort of dropped the ball on a costume for this year as we got married in Iowa on October 23rd and spent the whole week before that and a few days after that here, so we got back Right before Halloween...so this is the only year I 'made' a costume. He was happy enough with it and thats all that counts! 

Next came the Harry Potter obsession...maybe my favorite costume ever 

Next Jasper was batman and Tindra was a zebra by day kitty by night! 

The following year Jasper decided to be a pirate, so I just HAD to get TIndra a parrot costume! They were pretty darn cute together. She was mad about having to take a picture here because she just wanted to chase the peacocks at the zoo...i guess she wanted to join their flock, birds of a feather and all that..

Next up it was Pippi Longstocking and Spiderman, probably my favorite costume of Tindras to date, she just made the cutest pippi ever. 

...and I was a pregnant cat apparently. 

Which brings us to last year. It was the first year Tindra picked out her own costume...and it took us probably an hour at Least at the halloween store, she picked up a dozen different costumes. Then when Jasper decided to be a vampire, she needed to be one too. And it was ridiculously adorable. She was SO into it. Wouldn't smile at all because apparently vampires don't smile.. Soren was a Swedish Viking, Soren the Great, and came together the night before as i randomly saw the viking hat at Whole Foods, and I didn't want him being a vampire because I didn't want him having any make up on his face. Drew and I decided to be vampires like 20 minutes before we were going trick or treating, we usually don't dress up or anything. 

Stay tuned to see what our trio will be this year for Halloween! Its probably the only year they will all be 'matching' so I will probably go into picture overload. 

Three Things

I finally got both little ones down (biggest is in school) and I'm itching to blog...but I have a ridiculous amount of housework and editing to do..so 3 quick things!

Yesterday we celebrated 6 years of marriage (just under 12 years together.) Normally after the kids are in bed we celebrate, usually low key, maybe some wine and fancy cheeses, maybe a small gift. But this year we spent it many miles apart. And it was lonelier than I would have thought it was. Even with a house full of kids (Linnea and Walter came over and that helped a TON) as soon as it was quiet and the kids were in bed I definitely through myself a pity part and ate Far too many swedish bullar (cinnamon buns) that we had baked earlier. 

* Drew is in Nicaragua volunteering at an orphanage for 10 days) and I just know its an amazing, unforgettable experience, and I can't wait to hear All about it! 

Second thing. So after the kids were in bed out of boredom and just wanting a SLIGHT change I decided to color my hair...I've done this maybe 3 times in the last decade, and its always turned out fine and barely a difference since I always get a box that says dark brown and...well I already have dark brown hair. But i feel like it makes it look shinier and more even since I sometimes have natural highlights from the sun. Wellllll Drew face time me just as I was finishing up, so in my excited to talk to him I forgot to set a timer to rinse my hair out. And I may have accidentally left the color in for 45 minutes instead of 25 like I was supposed to.... I guess I'll be going as Wednesday Adams for Halloween. 

And third. Even though I already mentioned them...you haven't Truly lived till you have had a swedish Kanel bulle. 

Happy Monday! 

Date Nights at home with Blue Apron

It's no secret that having three young kids and living 700 miles away from family can be hard sometimes. Especially when it comes to getting out with out the kiddos. It just doesn't happen as often as we would like. We found a high schooler across the street in our new neighborhood who we have used (!!!) but it still doesn't happen enough!

We didn't leave Jasper with a babysitter for the first time till he was almost 5 (kind of insane when I type that out..) so over the years we have gotten pretty good at having at home date nights. We pick a night and sometimes just watch a movie together, maybe with some yummy take out, put our phones away, and make us a priority. But we have been trying to come up with more fun ways we can have date nights at home! I'll be sharing some of those with you over the next few months.

One thing we have always enjoyed doing  but don't get the time very often is cooking together. Usually its me, or sometimes on the weekends he will grill for us, but theres not a lot of times we cook just the two of us together, but we enjoy it a lot so we are going to start making that more of a priority for a date night!

Blue Apron sent us two amazing meals to test out, and it was the perfect way to jump into a cooking together date. Usually cooking involves the menu planning, grocery shopping etc. the not so fun part of cooking. Well not with Blue Apron! They send you everything you need for the meal, including the recipe, and all you have to do is throw it together!

If you aren't familiar with Blue Apron, heres the run down.

Blue Apron is a meal delivery service that delivers farm-fresh ingredients delivered straight to you. (It came in a box filled with ice packs so it stays cold even if it sits out on the porch all day waiting for you to come home) 

There are two meal plans: the 2-person plan and the family plan (feeds a family of four hungry adults for $8.74 per person or $69.92 for an 8-serving delivery which consists of two hearty meals).

The meals are always free shipping and there are zero commitments! So you can sign up, try a week, skip a few weeks, whatever you like!
 

When we told the kids last weekend we were heading home to make dinner, Tindra called from the back seat 'Oh so we gotta stop at King Soopers first?' because thats her norm. Every time we go to make dinner we need to run to the store first, so she was super confused when we said nope we have everything we need at home!

When we got home we sent the kids into the play room to play together and Drew and I got to work on dinner alone! We threw on some music (the Oh Hellos to get us ready for their concert next week) and grabbed a drink (have you tried the alcohol cream sodas?? They are Amazingly refreshing) and got to work. 

I always make Drew handle the raw meat if we cook together, I'd rather not touch raw meat if I don't Have to, but the beef for the Housin beef and vegetable stir fry we made came pre chopped and everything! Even I can handle that kind of meat prep. 

One of the funnest things for me with Blue Apron is that in both meals we tried, it called for ingredients I never have on hand. Like Bok Choy? Egg plant? I'm pretty sure those vegetables have never made an appearance in my kitchen. But it turns out, we all loved trying all these 'new to us' vegetables. It made me step out of my comfort zone and step up the dinner game. 

After church on Sunday we made Fransese-Style Chicken with Arugula and Green Bean-Potato Salad. We started during Tindras and Sorens nap and Jasper reading time, so it was perfect to even be able to fit in a little 'day date' while the kids were resting. And then they got to wake up to a delicious late lunch/early dinner. 

Drews favorite meal was definitely the Hoisin Beef and Vegetable Stir-fry, but I was obsessed with the Chicken and green bean-potato salad. And the kids loved all of it also! 

We went with the 4 person family plan, but it fed our family of five AND we had enough leftovers between the two of them to easily fill all of us when we had leftovers after soccer Monday night. They both made HUGE meals. 

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And now for some Super exciting news. If you want a chance to try out Blue Apron, use THIS code and you get two free meals! No commitment! . But I think after you try it, like us, you will be hooked so fair warning there! 

 

 

Cozumel, Mexico

Our last port day during our cruise was Cozumel, Mexico. Its the only day we ventured away from the ship, and not gonna lie I was a liiiiittle nervous about leaving the ship area. But my brother told we just HAD to go to  Chankkanaab National Park    and after seeing pictures I agreed. But when our taxi started driving down a semi remote road and away from the ship I definitely had an 'oh shit, what are we doing' moment. 

My worries were completely unwarranted though. We had nothing to worry about, we were completely safe and when we got to the beach of the Dolfin Discovery we could actually see our ship! My biggest worry was that we weren't going to make it back to the ship in time, and we probably cut it a too closer for comfort this day, but it all ended up being completely fine, and we had probably the best day ever!

When we got there we immediately signed up to swim with the dolphins. We thought Soren was too young and Drew and I were going to take turns each with a big kid in the water while the other stayed with Soren on land, but we were pleasantly surprised that not only was he allowed to go with us in he was also free! Score. *If you go with young babies though, they did say they have to be one to get in with the dolphins so younger than that and you will have to have a different plan*

Our time with the dolphins wasn't till 11:30 so we had an hour first to go swimming. Theres a big beach at     but theres a little alcove on the side which was Perfect for the kiddos. No waves, and clear water. We saw so many fish! 

When it was time to go swim with the dolphins Soren had Just fallen asleep in the stroller, so when we had to wake him up to put a life vest on him he was Not a happy camper. The people we were in line with to get in were shooting us some daggers about our crying one year old. But luckily for everyone as soon as he spotted the dolphins he was probably as happy as I have ever see him. I wish SO badly I had this whole experience on video, but no go pros/cameras were allowed in the water. 

Im so glad Soren knows puss (kiss in swedish) because when it was his turn to give the dolphin a kiss all i had to say was give her a puss and he leaned over and wrapped his arms around her and gave kisses. We were in the water for maybe 30-40 minutes and he was squealing with laughter the entire time. Okay we all were!

Jasper and Tindra absolutely loved the experience also. Tindra seemed a little bit timid at first when we walked down the slippery steps into the pool area (which was really the ocean but they built dividers in between the different 'pools') but as soon as the dolphin kept swimming by she was super excited also. 

I've wanted to pet a dolphin for as long as I can remember, theres just something so magical about them isn't there? So it was amazing to be able to check that one off my bucket list. But having done it once makes me even more excited to do it again some day!

After we were with the dolphins we got to walk down and get in the water with the manatees also. This part Tindra did Not like, she had decided as soon as she even saw a picture of one earlier in the day that they were stinky (they weren't) and she wasn't going to touch them. And she stuck with that. She was fine standing there in the water on the ledge and clinging to me as they s l o w l y swam by, but she refused to touch them. Once that girl has made up her mind about something, thats it. Theres no changing her mind. 

After all that it was lunch time (which was to be honest just O K) and then more swimming in the alcove and the pool there. And we walked around the whole park and saw the crocodiles (not my favorite animal) and HUGe lizards just running around. To clarify, the crocodiles were in their big cages like at a zoo- they were NOT running around. 

We took one of the last taxis out of there to get back to the ship, and spent a little time in the shops right by the cruise port. Drew had decided he had to get a pair of cowboy boots, and bargained them down (a little bit) to get pairs for both of us, even though I kept saying they were Not going to fit in our luggage.

Heres the video we made of our trip if you want to just see the cancun portion, it starts right after 5 minutes 

Long time no see!

Long time no see! Darlene have been running the ship over here while I have been working, traveling and mostly sleeping. Because I am pregnant again and more tired than I have ever been before. It is insane how tiring it is to be pregnant. How do people do it over and over again? During the last weeks of my first pregnancy I though everyone who had more than one kid was insane because by then you should know better!

We are finally in the state of excitement, until now we have been really terrified. Our first kiddo does not sleep through the night yet.. by far. He woke up 4 times last night. And then up for the day by five. Seriously, some parents have kids who sleep! How do you brew those babies? I would be happy to know!

Nesting is kicking in. I am forcing my poor partner to redo the basement… after work.. while I sleep. He is a mighty mighty good man, having patience with me. But it was long overdue..

Any advice from going to one kiddo to two? How to introduce the new baby? Dealing with sibling rivalry? Making enough time for both? (making time for your relationship I guess is just on pause for the next 3 years.. ) Anything to calm me down, please let us know! 

 

PreK

I'm blogging from my phone for the first time, so if it looks weird.. That's why. If it doesn't, I might have just discovered a game changer! It's a lot harder to make the time to go sit at my desk top and blog, but my phone is always handy!  

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Today was a big day for miss Tindra! She started PreK! It will only be two mornings a week for a few hours, but she's been ridiculously excited and ready to start ever since Jasper started school last month. Every time we have driven past her school since we registered she calls out 'hi school, I'll see you soon!' so needless to say, she was ready.  

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I on the other hand, I'm never ready. It's so hard for me to loosen the reigns, to let someone else take charge. I don't think that will ever get easier for me. Some moms Love handing those reigns over to someone else... Not this one.  

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When we got into the room she was super timid which was a little surprising, and she kept saying she didn't want me to leave, but after a few minutes she warmed up to the idea of us leaving and she did fine with it. And was SO excited to tell me about her day when I picked her up. When I asked her if she liked school her response was 'yep and i want to go back there forever'... So that's a good sign? 

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Soren and I kept busy going on a long walk by her school (he napped, I almost hit  my daily 10k steps goal) and then we went to target. Big kids in school means I spent Way too much time in target, I even had time to browse the dollar section. Sorry drew, but I promise you will love the porcelain pumpkins and fox that we just Had to get... 

Haiti

Haiti was our first stop on our cruise, and quite possibly our favorite. Its a toss up between Haiti and Cozumel. 

One of the reasons we loved our day in Haiti so much was because it was the most relaxing day of the whole week. As relaxing as three kids at a beach can be anyway!

When we got off the cruise ship we just walked maybe 10 minutes (probably felt like more because it was Really hot, and I was wearing Soren so I was a sticky mess) and went into the private beach area. The private beach area had chairs to lounge in, cabanas, floating mats to lay on, a tiki bar (the coco loco rum drink was pretty Amazing) and a delicious lunch buffet brought out by the ship. They really think of Everything!

I can't believe these are the only pictures we took of our day in Haiti! And they are just crappy cell phone pictures. I made a point to NOT bring any of my nice big cameras on this trip, just the cell phone and go pro and I don't regret it at all. It allowed us to be so much more in the moment than if we had been lugging the camera around. Plus I would have been worried about it getting sandy, dropped, lost, stolen etc. This was much more relaxing. 

We spent our whole time in Haiti swimming (it was really to hot to Not be in the water, in the water it was perfect) playing with the few sand toys we brought, and using the goggles to look for fish under water. Oh what I wouldn't give to relive that day over and over again..

If you want to see some of the Haiti footage we got from the go pro heres the video we made of the whole week, it starts at :40 in the video!

Allure of the Seas

 

First off here's a little go pro video we made of our week long cruise if you want to just skip all the reading :) 

I'm going to have to break up this post into several posts or it will be a novel. And not a short one. There just too much to say about this trip and I don't want to forget any of it! So this post will be about the actual sea days, and I'll go into more details about this different ports we visited later. 

Sunday is the day Allure leaves and returns to Fort Lauderdale, and since everyone has to get off the ship before anyone is allowed back on, it can get hectic. We left our hotel around 11:30 ish and got to the ship and ready to board around 1 (we met my dad first.) Before getting on the ship you have to go through security, so the whole process was about 90 minutes from walking up to the ship before we were Actually on. 

Until a few months ago Allure of the Seas was the biggest cruise ship in the world...freaking HUGE. For at least 3-4 hours after we were on board Tindra kept asking 'So when are we getting on the boat?', she literally didn't even believe us when we kept telling her over and over again that we Were in fact already on the boat. Not till we were standing on the 15th (out of 17) floor, standing on the back as we were sailing away and Fort Lauderdale was getting smaller and smaller did she realize that the floating city we were in, Was the boat. 

I think there are 24 restaurants on board, and we only had time to visit maybe 6-7 of them? SO MUCH AMAZING FOOD. (And I'm not just saying that because my dad is the executive chef) We didn't have a mediocre meal the entire time vacation (except in cozumel, but that one doesn't count.) We ate at Windjammer, their huge buffet most of the time, just because its easiest with kids. But this buffet is unlike any other buffet I've ever eaten from. They had every type of food for every meal. Want Chinese food? Sure. The rice chips I used to eat daily in Bali and haven't seen since? Yep got those. Gluten free? TONS of options. All the kid friendly food you could ever want? Yep, burgers, fries, chicken, soups, fruit, desserts, literally I can't think of any kind of food that wasn't available up there. We all got in ruts though and started eating the same thing for breakfasts and lunch because there were so many choices it would get over whelming. I stuck with my mini croissants with fresh cheese and cucumber slices most mornings. And of course the hot sticky cinnamon rolls they were walking around with. Mouth. Watering.

SO besides eating SO much food. Probably too much food, we kept ourselves insanely busy. Every morning after breakfast we would head to the pool on sea days. If that was the Only thing we did the entire trip, the kids would have had the best time of their lives. Thats literally the only thing they needed. The pool for the big kids and the little splash park for Soren. Drew and I would take turns in the pool and crawling around with Soren. 

The kids slept insanely good on the cruise. We are blessed with amazing sleepers! But also, they were just exhausted when it was nap/bed time, so that helped also! After naps every day we would walk around and find other things to do, like rock climbing, mini golf, cooking shows, meeting different Madagascar (the kids movie) cast members, carousel rides (every single day Im pretty sure.) There are SO many kid friendly things to do on the boat and we didn't have time for even half of it! Guess we need to go back...

At night we would try different restaurants, all kid friendly. Even the formal dinners catered to kids, though I did have to go walk around with Soren once during the formal lobster dinner. His food came first and by the time mine came he was over sitting at a table. One night my dad ordered us a bunch of different entres to try and we ate that on our 10th floor balcony. 

We kept the kids on Colorado time, so they were up till 10-10:30 most nights (8 in colorado) so that gave us lots of time to do all the things we wanted to do, vs just having them to go to bed at 8. PLUS it meant they 'slept in' till 8 most mornings. 

A few nights after the kid were in bed we left them with my dad and went to do some of the 'adult' things. They have a casino on board (Drew might have loved this the most) water shows, Mama Mia performance, comedy clubs, piano lounge, more  bars than I even know...really SO much to do! Walking back to our room at midnight one night I couldn't believe how many people and even kids were up walking around! It was like a mini city that never slept. 

One of the amazing things we got to do (it pays knowing one of the executives on board!) was go up to 'the bridge'. Thats where they steer the ship, and all of that. The kids thought it was Super amazing to get to hang out up there and steer the ship. And ask all sorts of questions to the captains right hand man. Mom and dad might have also thought that was freakin awesome.

I was a little nervous about going on a week long cruise with three young children (everyone that I know who has been on one has only gone with kids that are older) but it went so smooth, and everyone had SO much fun. There are so many great programs though for the older kids, that it made me Really excited to plan a cruise for when the kids are older, and Drew and I can relax a little more. I saw parents with older kids send them off with the friends they had met in kid/teenage club sit and relax at one of the many small tables playing a card game, or reading a book, or even napping! That was obviously not in the cards for us, but we just had a different kind of amazing vacation. 

So the big questions we kept getting, would we do another cruise? And the answer is absolutely! But we will probably wait till the kids are a bit older. At least maybe at the point they are all done napping? We kept saying the days were flying SO fast, because by the time you factor in the time for eating out three meals a day with kids, and the time it takes to get dressed/changed into swimsuits/ready for dinner etc and then plus a 2.5-3 hour nap every afternoon. it didn't feel like it left a whole lot of time to relax/play/explore. But those kinds of vacations will come, and we will have the rest of our lives to vacation like that. For now we have young children, and even though it can be crazy/hectic/stressful traveling/vacationing with them, I wouldn't have it any other way.

Thank you Royal Caribbean (and my dad!) for such an unforgettable week!

 

My 30th Birthday and Fort Lauderdale

So when we decided to go on a week long cruise we quickly decided we wanted to get down there a few days before the cruise. One just for logistics of making sure plane delays/cancelations didn't make us miss the ship, and two just to add in a few extra days of vacation. We have actually Never done a beach vacation where we don't Do anything. Not as a family anyway. I did a week on the beach in NC last summer with my family, but never with just Drew and the kids. Are vacations are usually busy exploring and go go go the whole time. I honestly have never even Wanted a beach vacation with nothing planned.

Till now. I thought it would get old/boring just being on the beach/pool with nothing planned. OH how wrong was I. Turns out, its Amazing. Im sure most of you aren't as shocked as I was. 

In between flights, we left our house at 3 AM (ENTIRELY too late and almost missed our flight because of it....) so we were all just a little bit tired. 

In between flights, we left our house at 3 AM (ENTIRELY too late and almost missed our flight because of it....) so we were all just a little bit tired. 

We flew in 4 days before getting on the ship, and decided to stay a little bit outside of Fort Lauderdale for a couple of reasons, One we wanted less crows and Two I was able to find better hotel deals a little ways out. It didn't make a difference to us since we weren't planning on really leaving the area anyway. We were able to get a great hotel with a suite (which was actually really big and had two separate bathrooms!) that was right on the beach and had a great pool for the kiddos. Another bonus which we didn't realize when we booked, the pool area had a happy hour every night with free drinks (!!) and snacks, so you can guess where we were every night from 5-7...

Every day in Fort Lauderdale was spent pretty similarly. We would wake up, head downstairs to breakfast by the pool, then we would head up and change and either go to the pool or the beach. Even if we went to the beach we would head to the pool to swim after the beach and most days had lunch right there by the pool. Then we would do naps and swim some more/happy hour and get ready and go to dinner. Once we had dinner at the restaurant at the hotel because we were too tired and hot to walk to dinner, once we were super tired and just ordered pizza, and a couple of the nights we walked the 3/4 of a mile to the pier area where there were lots of restaurants. 

I turned the big 3 0 while in Florida and it was the best day! We went to the beach and then during nap time I went and got a facial at the hotel spa followed by a delicious dinner right on the beach outside. Soren fell asleep on the walk to dinner so he slept through most of it. A sleeping baby makes for a pretty relaxing dinner!

Turning 30, on vacation with my family sure made it nice and relaxing! I had been dreading 30 for a while, till the last couple of months. Im thinking a vacation for every birthday should be the standard! One can wish!

Another super special thing happened while we were in Fort Lauderdale. A friend I met online in a What to Expect group while were were pregnant, so like back in 2011, moved to Florida a year or so ago and when she found out we were going to be in the area she drove the 1.5 hours to come hang out with us one afternoon/evening! It was so amazing to see the babies together (now 4.5) Its so crazy meeting someone you have only known online, but it felt completely normal at the same time, like were were just old friends getting together. Kiddos and husbands all got along great too! Thanks for meeting us Nadine! We Definitely have to do it again!

As we were driving in the car service to the cruise port from the hotel we were talking about how this was probably the first time in our adult lives that we have spent 4 whole days within a mile radius. Crazy huh? We literally never left the blocks surrounding our hotel, which is So not how we normally do things. Next time we are in this area we definitely need to rent a car because I know there is SO much to do, but not having any plans was the perfect way to start this vacation, as our week on the ship was much more the go go go we are used to. 

 

Back again!

Ive said that a few times lately haven't I? This time we are back from our 11 day vacation in Fort Lauderdale and caribbean cruise. We got back at 1:30 Sunday night, or rather Monday morning, and Jasper started school 7 hours later...I hope his teacher realizes that first day was the quietest/calmest he will be all year, from pure exhaustion. 

By now the kids are back to their normal crazy and wild selves, while Drew and I are still exhausted. Oh to have the energy of a 4 or 9 year old. 

Oh yeah, NINE year old. Jasper turned 9 in Jamaica while on vacation (and I turned the big 3 0) more on both of those later!

I'l be back to share a bunch pictures from our trip (though surprisingly i didn't take That many) and a fun go pro video thats in the works, and I'll leave this picture, I believe the only picture of all five of us from the entire trip..typical! 

Wanderlust; YMCA of the Rockies, Snow Mountain Ranch

Last month,before our big move, we had the opportunity to escape the city and head into the mountains for a weekend of fun at YMCA of the Rockies, Snow Mountain Ranch. It ended up being the perfect time to go because Denver reached triple digits the entire weekend we were away..no thanks!

We arrived Friday evening just in time to roast marshmallows by the campfire and play some mini golf in the dusk before it was time to head to our room for bed. We stayed at one of the lodge rooms (they also have yurts and cabins and camping!) which was really good sized with two queen beds, a couch, table/chairs and plenty of room to move around. Perfect size for our family of 5! Plus it had a balcony! We try to get rooms with balconies when we are traveling, its so nice to have a little place to escape to once the kids are in bed to have a drink, talk, watch netflix on the iPad...

Saturday morning we had breakfast at the cafeteria on sight and then had a busy day filled with zip lining (so much fun!!) tubing (also a blast, probably our favorite activity we did) archery shooting for Jasper and Drew, more mini golf and rock climbing. The kids were basically in outdoor heaven. 

We went into Winter Park to grab some medicine for Soren who had a slight fever and was teething so we got back to late to have dinner at the cafeteria, which ended up being a good thing because it made us try the grill on sight. We enjoyed delicious pizza and french fries (why is this the best combination!?!) while enjoying the best views out on their patio. Perfect ending to the busy day. After ice cream and playing at one of the many play grounds on site, we all passed out hard! Something about that mountain air! We all slept in (which never happens in every day life and certainly NEVER happens while we are all sleeping in a room together) so we rushed to eat at the cafeteria and then went to the lake where they were having a fathers day fishing derby, where Jasper caught his very first fish! I think its time to find a lake around here for him to go fishing, because he hasn't stopped talking about it since! 

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After a morning filled with fishing it was time to pack up and head back home. No one wanted to leave! The weekend went way too fast and we didn't have a chance to try so many of the activities! I guess that just means we HAVE to go back. For an entire week next time! There's also mountain biking, an indoor pool, horse back riding, a craft room (which looked Amazing) organized activities like kickball/ hungry hungry hippo (kicking myself for not making it there in time for that) and so many more activities we wanted to try! When traveling with three kids I'm learning to lower my expectations. My instinct is to PACK AS MUCH FUN and activities into our days. I want to DO ALL THE THINGS, but that just doesnt work when you have three kiddos, nap times to deal with and all that, so I am learning to try to stop trying to fit it all in. So hard to do in a place filled with so many fun things to do! We are definitely going to need to plan a trip for the winter also, they have out door activities then too, like snow shoeing and cross country skiing!

Thank you so much YMCA of the Rockies for hosting our family for the weekend! We can't wait to come back again! 

We made a little gopro video of some of the footage from our trip! 

We bought a house!

After delay after delay, its finally OURS. We closed on the 24th, moved on the 25th/26th and then left for a week in Iowa visiting family a week later...so right now. Life is a mess. But I couldn't be more thrilled with this  mess. 

PS I never knew how stressful home buying could be! Its been a long and stressful few months, but I'm really excited to put that behind us and start building new amazing memories in our new home.

We are all still alive

And mostly well. Linnea has been working a Lot. (Super mom right there) And we are in the process of moving (long story) so our lives have been insane the last month. And now school is out for the summer so I'm trying to balance having the three kiddos home all day. I used to be able to count on an hour or so over Tindra and Soren's naps over lapping and getting some alone time to get some work done...now naps are all messed up and Jasper is home also.  But it will get figured out!

The last few weekends have Not been too much fun with all the packing and organizing (how does one little family have SO MUCH STUFF) and this Saturday was the same. So when we woke up Sunday about to do more packing I said NOPE. Today we are doing something fun. 

So after Soren's first nap we headed to a new (to us) pool and had basically the best time ever. This was such a good pool for us. It wasn't too big so we could keep an eye on Jasper but still giving him some freedom. And Tindra was getting super brave practicing swimming under water in her new floaty. And Soren. Oh boy does this kid love water. The biggest challenge was keeping him from sticking his face into the water the whole time. 

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We will be having a Lot more pool days over the coming weeks..the forest cast for the rest of the week is high 90's every day. AKA about 20 degrees too hot for me. 

Life Lately

We have had quite the past week and a half full of health scares, 5 doctors appointments in 6 days. Blood work after blood work. 5 days of soccer practices/games/make ups/end of season parties. Starting the packing up our entire house project..just a lot. And the next week or two aren't slowing down at all. We have preschool graduation. Jaspers school concert. Jaspers 'graduation', school party, field trip chaperoning...and I'm sure more that I can't think of right this second. So life is crazy. But what else is new!

But here are a few quick snaps from our last couple of weeks!

This girl is doing gymnastics all day every day. 

This girl is doing gymnastics all day every day. 

Soren wanting to be one of the balls at Tindras soccer game

Soren wanting to be one of the balls at Tindras soccer game

Diva in training. I really don't know who she gets it from. Not her yoga pants loving mothers. 

Diva in training. I really don't know who she gets it from. Not her yoga pants loving mothers. 

Gymnastics Graduation! She got 'promoted' to the next level which she will start next week!

Gymnastics Graduation! She got 'promoted' to the next level which she will start next week!

Swedish school graduation or all three munchkins! 

Swedish school graduation or all three munchkins! 

All three after Swedish School Graduation

All three after Swedish School Graduation

We went out to eat at Park Burger (one of our favorites) after graduation and decided to sit outside on the patio instead of waiting 20 minutes for a table..it got even chillier fast (maybe 45 degrees) but the kids didn't mind at all. Raising Swedish/Colorado kiddos here!

At one of Jaspers many doctor appointments, she loves her big brother So much. 

At one of Jaspers many doctor appointments, she loves her big brother So much. 

 

 

Swedish Feta Stuffed Meatballs

Last summer when our Swedish friends where here visiting, Sofie made the best dinners for us. I would be with the kids at soccer practice and walk into a delicious meals waiting for us. After having them here I really started to get the whole Sisterwife thing. I mean, if they are going to make dinner for me on crazy nights..I get it sister wives, I get it. 

When  Jones Creek Beef  asked me share a recipe using their ground beef I thought it was the perfect time to try out one of the delicious meals Sofie made while here.

In Swedish its called biffar, which I guess translate to steak, but when I think of steak I think of something entirely different, so I'm going to call these Swedish Feta Stuffed Meatballs

Ingredients

1 pound Jones Creek Beef

2 table spoons onion powder of 1/2 chopped yellow onion ( I used powder)

1 egg

1/2 cup milk

4-5 tablespoons bread crumbs (add more if it doesn't form well) 

salt/pepper/garlic powder 

feta cheese, I used one small container for the meatballs and the feta sauce I made to serve with it

 

Mix all the ingredients except the feta together in a large bowl. Then form the meat mixture into large meatballs, they will shrink down some. Once I had the size I wanted them to be I flattened them a bit in my hand so they looked like hamburgers, grabbed a big chunk of feta and pressed it into a meat, then formed a ball around the feta so the feta is in the middle. 

Then stick the meatballs in a pan on medium heat and turn gently every few minutes so they don't fall apart. Mine took about 20 minutes before they were cooked all the way through. 

Serve with a salad, potatoes and a yummy little feta dip which is just feta and sour cream mixed together. So good! The kids even asked for left overs for lunch the next day. 

Travel Tuesday; Luggage Tips

For our late honeymoon Drew and I went to Sweden for just under two weeks. It was an amazing time (I'm definitely going to blog about it sometime!) but some of the things that stand out in my mind were Not amazing. 

Like the fact that we both majorly over packed. And not only did we over pack, we also brought a couple of empty bags to bring some things back from Sweden for Jasper and also from my grandmothers apartment. She had passed away a few months before and my dad had asked me to go to her apartment and get some special things, photo albums, a harp (yes, a harp) some books, just special 'farmor' things. I even found out then that me and farmor (fathers's mother in Swedish) wore the same size shoes! So I found the best boots in her closet that I brought back with me. Those boots are So special to me now. 

Anyway, back to the luggage. So not only did we over pack, we now had all this extra luggage to bring back to first Stockholm from our stay up in Northern Sweden, and then back home. All while taking public transportation everywhere. 

If we would have had good luggage, lugging around 200 pounds of stuff wouldn't have seemed like such a big deal. 

But at least two of the bags we had from the trip were huge army duffle things, square shaped, so super awkward to carry. Especially when they weigh 50 pounds each.. Lets just say Drew was NOT very happy with me every time he had to get those bags (okay with my help, but it was mainly him) onto the train/buss/into our hotel. It wasn't a fun end to our trip to have to get those bags everywhere. 

After that trip we decided 1, we needed amazing luggage, and 2, we need to work on our packing skills. Especially now, traveling around with three little ones also, its a lot of stuff even if we stick with the minimal. 

I'm happy to report that we have mainly stuck with that (except for when we were in Sweden and I needed to bring back an entire suitcase worth of Swedish food and books...yeah he was thrilled to find out he was lugging around 15 pounds of books all over Scandinavia..

Two summers ago Tom Bihn  sent me a couple of bags to review, and holy cow, they are life changing when traveling. I think we need to buy Jasper his own for this summer so he can be in charge of carrying his own stuff from now on now that he's old enough. We got two of these ones, and they can fit SO much stuff, yet still fit as a carry on. From here on out when we fly we are going to try to stick with carry on bags, its just so much easier and quicker, and also encourages us to pack less of course. 

They are handy/comfortable enough that I could even carry both bags easily, and at times I was carrying one bag, and wearing two year old Tindra at the same time. 

We have used those bags dozens of times now, for trips back to Iowa, weekend trips to the mountain, Drew has flown with them for work, and they never disappoint! 

The goal is this summer during our travels to Florida/Cruise is to fit everything into these two bags, plus a carry on for snacks/entertainment on the plane. Think its doable?!? 

Mothers Day!

Happy Monday! The sun is shining after a not so sunny weekend, so I actually mean happy monday. 

I hope all your mammas out there (and step moms, and foster moms, and soon to be moms, and those who are wanting to badly to be a mom but it hasn't happened quite yet) had an amazing weekend and mothers day. We deserve it! 

Time Hop ( I just LOVE that Facebook feature) showed me that yesterday, 8 years ago I was celebrating my first mothers day, which made me hunt down some other old mothers day pictures. I love revisiting past photos and experiences (it's the main reason I've kept up with blogging over the past 7 years) and without it I wouldn't remember half the things we do!

Blogging for me is a little time capsule of our lives, one day I hope my kids will get to read it and see some of their childhood through pictures and their mothers words. 

My first mothers day, I remember it to clearly! It was a gorgeous sunny day, we went and ate on Pearl Street in Boulder and then headed to Estes Park and went on a little hike in Rocky Mountain National Park. 

My first mothers day, I remember it to clearly! It was a gorgeous sunny day, we went and ate on Pearl Street in Boulder and then headed to Estes Park and went on a little hike in Rocky Mountain National Park. 

My second mothers day was in Sweden! While we were living abroad. Drew surprised me with a gorgeous orange purse (you can see the strap in this picture!) and again we ate outside on a patio and wandered around Karlstad. 

My second mothers day was in Sweden! While we were living abroad. Drew surprised me with a gorgeous orange purse (you can see the strap in this picture!) and again we ate outside on a patio and wandered around Karlstad. 

My 3rd Mothers day we started a fun tradition of heading to Wash Park (probably biggest park in Denver) and hanging out in the sun. I usually bring a book to relax a bit, while Drew is on kiddo duty 100 percent. I know some moms like to get away alone on Mothers Day. I want to spend it with my kids, but I also want to have some 'alone' time but with them there. Not an easy thing to accomplish, but Drew does an amazing time on mothers day giving me that, and its the greatest gift.

Another Mothers Day at Wash Park in the sun 

Another Mothers Day at Wash Park in the sun 

My first mothers day as a mother of two! I honestly don't remember a ton from this mothers day. I know we were out to brunch here and that Tindra took a bottle of pumped milk for the first time. It was a big moment. She was only 3 weeks old and so its basically all a blur! I was just in survival mode at that point. It was probably the first time I got dressed in weeks also.

My first mothers day as a mother of two! I honestly don't remember a ton from this mothers day. I know we were out to brunch here and that Tindra took a bottle of pumped milk for the first time. It was a big moment. She was only 3 weeks old and so its basically all a blur! I was just in survival mode at that point. It was probably the first time I got dressed in weeks also.

This mothers day Drew got me that dress (picked it out himself!) and sent me off for a mani/pedi during nap time and then we went and played at the park (I read my new book) and then again out for lunch on a patio. Im sensing a pattern here.. 

This mothers day Drew got me that dress (picked it out himself!) and sent me off for a mani/pedi during nap time and then we went and played at the park (I read my new book) and then again out for lunch on a patio. Im sensing a pattern here.. 

You will notice that my first 5 mothers days were filled with amazing weather and sunshine. Yeah 2013 put a stop to that. The following TWO mothers days it snowed. We did brunch and then some shopping I think. 

Last year is the only mothers day I don't have a picture, of and I'm super bummed about that! Drew worked all night the night before so I was annoyed that there I was taking care of all three kiddos by myself. Probably threw myself a little pity party. But then he came home and we went shopping and to a movie and the day ended up being just fine anyway. 

That brings us to my 9th mothers day! It rained and stormed on Saturday and it was supposed to do the same yesterday, but luckily the storms held out till afternoon! I got to sleep in a little, woke up to flowers and chocolate covered strawberries, and a new starbucks cup with my favorite drink. Its the little things that really made my day! After Sorens morning nap we went jean shopping and then out to eat at my favorite burger place. The sun held out just long enough to eat outside and then the thunder storm came. All in all it was a great day and my littles made me feel so loved. Jasper made me a flower magnet and Tindra a heart at school. Entering the stage where your kids make you your own mothers day gifts? So much fun.