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. 

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. 

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 

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... 

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! 

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. 

Cruising With Kids

Have you done it? 

We are super excited to be taking a family cruise this summer. But I'm also a little nervous never having done it with kids! My sister and I went on an Hawaiian cruise the spring break of my Senior year of high school. It was obviously so much fun, but I know cruising with three young children will be a very different experience!

I would LOVE to hear if you have any tips and tricks for a successful cruise vacation with kids! We will be flying to Fort Lauderdale, spending a few days there (my 30th birthday!!) and then hopping onboard with Royal Caribbean .

We will be sailing to Cozumel, Haiti and Jamaica, I have never been do either of those locations and would love to hear tips for there as well! 

I'm a planner and I already have a list going in my phone of everything we will need so please feel free to help me add to that list!

 Image from cruiseline.com

Image from cruiseline.com

Zucchini Lasagna

Last night I made Zucchini Lasagna (for the third time this month!) and changed it up just a tiny bit. It turned out A m a z i n g if I may say so, and since this is my post, I May say so :)

A few friends have asked for the recipe, so if you are one of them, here it is! Warning: It takes kind of a long time to make, but it makes a big pan and its delicious as leftovers!

Ingredients: 

  • 4 medium/large zucchinis 
  • large can of crushed tomatoes 
  • small can of tomato paste
  • 3-4 garlic cloves
  • large container of fresh mozzarella (about 5-6 cups)
  • 1/3 cup of fresh grated parmesan
  • 1 small container ricotta cheese
  • red pepper flakes, salt, oregano, basil
  • 1 pound of ground beef or ground pork

Start off by slicing your zucchini, I used my mandolin (cheap one from target) on the thickest setting. Some of the slices were thinner than others but that doesn't matter. 

Since zucchini is super watery when you cook it, you are going to want to grill the slices first. Yo could throw them on the grill super easily, or you can do it the slower way on a grill pan like I do. Mainly just because I hate turning the grill on, but if Drew would be one when making this sometime I would just throw them on the grill. Grilling them takes out the extra moisture, then set the slices on some paper towels while you do the rest of the steps to really make sure theres no more moisture. 

While grilling the zucchini slices (2-4 minutes per side) brown your ground beef with a little bit of salt. When the ground beef is just about done push it to the side in your pan (if you use a big one like I do, otherwise you might need to use an extra pan, and who wants More dirty dishes) and sauté your (chopped) garlic for a couple of minutes, then blend it all together, add the tomato past, can of crushed tomatoes and sprinkle just a bit of hot pepper flakes and some oregano and fresh basil. Keep that meat mixture simmering for about 20 minutes while you finish up grilling your zucchini slices. 

Next mix the ricotta, parmesan and an egg together in a bowl. 

When its all ready to go in the oven (375 degrees) layer all your ingredients in a big baking dish, i think the one i use is 9x12. Start off with about 3/4 of a cup of the meat mixture, than add some of the cheese mixture, then zucchini slices and top with some mozzarella, repeat till all your ingredients are used. For me it makes about 3 layers. Save some of the mozzarella to sprinkle on at the end. 

Bake covered in foil for about 35 minutes, then remove the foil, sprinkle on the remaining mozzarella and bake another 8-10 minutes. I like to broil for the last minute or two to get the top a little crispy, but make sure you are standing there watching it during this part!

Serve with a side salad and enjoy! I don't think my kids even realized they were eating zucchini 'noodles' instead of actual pasta.

April Snow brings...?

If you have lived in Colorado in the spring for more than 5 minutes you know we usually get a big blizzard every April. At least we have every year for the past 5-6 years (maybe more but that's as far back as I can remember right now) So I expect it every year. But I'm still somehow always shocked by it. 

We had that big blizzard last weekend. It started Friday night and by late Saturday we had about 10 inches of snow in our yard. Naturally all of our soccer plans (even Swedish school and they NEVER cancel) were canceled and we had a lazy weekend together. The last of many. So we made the best of our snowy weekend with lots of snow play (spring snow is the Best to play in, its not super cold and its nice and thick and fluffy) movies and shopping. We decided to brave the weather (roads were fine) and head to brunch at our favorite place since no way there would be a crowd in a blizzard....WRONG. There was an hour wait for a table. Coloradans are Not afraid of a little snow. Unless your one of the bazillion of  transplants from Texas. They do NOT like to drive in snow I've noticed. But the rest of us don't let a foot of snow stop us from brunch. 

When I realized friday morning that we were going to get snow that night (yeah I don't pay attention to the weather apparently) I decided I NEEDED to take some pictures of Tindra in front of our cherry blossom before they snow ruined the bloom...good thing I did because we lost 4 HUGE branches to the storm and of course, the beautiful flowers. 

And yes, that's my 3 year old (okay 4 year old now since these were taken!) wearing a flower girl dress. Mom insisted on taking pictures, she insisted on wearing her old flower girl dress. It was either this dress or an Elsa dress so we will call it a win. 

-Darlene 

 

Oh and DONT forget to enter our amazing giveaway! http://www.thewanderlustmoms.com/blog/2016/4/19/review-and-giveaway-sandgren-clogs  It ends tomorrow night! 

Chores.

This is another topic Linnea came up with for me to blog about. What chores do the kids do and what age did they start.

I grew up doing chores, but maybe not enough since I don't have many memories of it? Maybe my mom can chime in and let me know what we did..

Jasper is almost 9 and for the past 2 years or so he's had specific regular jobs. For instance every day he unloads the dishwasher and feeds and gives his dog water. And on the weekends he cleans up the dog poop in the yard. Super glamorous job. During the summer I'll add another daily job to keep him 'busy', like sweep the kitchen. Those are his regular jobs. But he also does extra things on the weekends when we are all cleaning. Like clean the 'boys bathroom' downstairs. He actually does a really good job with that. He is also in charge of cleaning his own room, bringing his laundry into the laundry room and putting his shirts on a hanger. (The rest I fold but he puts away.) 

He Does get a weekly allowance, but he knows he's not getting 'paid' for the chores, thats just his job as a member of the family who lives here. 

Tindra is 3 (4 next week!!) and doesn't have specific chores just yet except for cleaning up her toys/helping clean the playroom. She loves to wipe down the table/counters when I'm cleaning and cooking, but I'm thinking it's time for her to start having some specific jobs to do as well.

I pulled some friends and asked what chores their kiddos did...and now I'm thinking it's time to start making these kids pull their weights more! They all gave some great suggestions for age appropriate chores for me to share.

Ages 3-4

  • Help Load Dishwasher 
  • Help Unload dishwasher
  • Wipe down tables/counters
  • Clean up toys
  • Feed animals
  • Dust

Ages 5-7

  • Yard work
  • Clean own room
  • Clean Play Room
  • Fold and put clothes away
  • Vacuum 
  • Make bed

8+

  • Everything on the previous lists plus...
  • Wash own laundry
  • Take out trash
  • Clean bathrooms/kitchen 
  • Watch/entertain siblings while mom makes dinner/takes a shower

What about you guys? Do your kids have chores? I think I need to get more organized and write a clear chore list for the kids to do, definitely be summer! 

 

 

 

Mediterranean Chicken Salad

Linnea shared one of her favorite salads a couple of weeks ago, and now it's my turn to share one of my favorite salads!

Drew and I started making this salad 4-5 years ago when we lived in the tiiiiiniest house ever, but had the biggest grill ever. So we utilized that grill a lot. We stopped making it for a while (probably because when I get obsessed with someone I make it a Lot..and then I get sick of it and never want it again) but I was craving some grilled chicken a few days ago and decided to go the healthier route and throw it on a salad. 

 Mediterranean Chicken Salad 

Mediterranean Chicken Salad 

Ingredients

  • Chicken breasts
  • Sun dried tomato dressing
  • Oregano
  • Romain lettuce
  • Black Olives
  • Feta Cheese
  • Red Peppers

First marinate the chicken in the dressing with some oregano (this time I also added some paprika and hot pepper flakes and it was a great addition) 

Next, throw the chicken and red peppers on the grill. 

While thats grilling, chop up your lettuce and black olives. When the chicken and peppers are finished, throw it on the salad, add a tiny bit of dressing (you don't need much at all) and sprinkle some (okay a lot) of feta on it. 

We like to make it with asparagus (just in a little olive oil with salt and pepper.)

Thats it! Super simple, and delicious. Even all of our kiddos love it. I always make extra chicken and then the next day throw it in a quesadilla for dinner. 

 

Travel Tuesday; Karlstad Sweden

Travel Tuesday on Wednesday..lets just roll with it. 

When we were in Sweden last we knew we wanted to spend one day in Karlstad, where we used to live. *Drew and I studied abroad there for 7 months in 2009 when Jasper was just 1* We wanted to take Jasper back and show him where he used to live. We have so many amazing memories from this town and period in our lives.

We took the train to Karlstad and we were supposed to arrive at like 2-3, something like that..well there was a major train delay, there was one broken on the tracks so we had to wait for like 2 hours not moving and then elbow our way onto a bus to take us the last hour to Karlstad. They announced that a bunch of busses were going to be coming to get us and anyone traveling with small children should take the first bus- naturally that was us with a 2 and 6 year old. But people were sick of waiting and not following that 'rule' so the bus was completely packed and Drew was helping a mom traveling by herself with a baby and almost missed the bus. I had to shove my way to the front of the bus and beg them to let Drew on after they had already closed the doors saying they were full. NOT a fun traveling moment. 

Anyway we made it to Karlstad hours late after a full day of traveling and had to make our way to our hotel to drop our bags off.

Heres where I have to take a moment to talk about how amazing blogging is. 

Years ago, I'm talking like 4 years ago? A mom in Sweden found my blog through Early Mama and emailed me. We emailed back and forth and had so much in common. Fast forward two years and we are heading to Sweden and when she found out we were going to be in Karlstad she said she would come and meet us! I think it was about an hour or 1.5 hour train ride for her.

So back to our horrible train/bus ordeal. We get off the bus, and there is Sarah! So amazing to finally get to meet in person after being 'online friends' for a couple of years. She was a saint and helped us get ours bags to the hotel, and then we took the kids to a park while Drew went and picked up pizza. Since we were so delayed in getting there, she moved her return trip to later that night, and after Drew took the kids back to the hotel for bed we just got to talk and talk till her train came. It was so much fun to get to meet her, and I'm hoping we will get to again some day! And next time get all the kiddos together! Between the two of us we have added 3 kiddos to the mix since we 'met' online and I know the 7 of them would have so much fun together!

 This was our old apartment building. That little top balcony to the left is where I would spent nap time, reading/blogging. 

This was our old apartment building. That little top balcony to the left is where I would spent nap time, reading/blogging. 

The next day we were heading to Oslo to visit more friends, but we spent the morning walking o our favorite spots, showing the kiddos our old apartment in the town square and just reminiscing. 

 Karlstad has some of the best parks in the world. This one, Mariebergskogen especially. Playgrounds, petting zoo, forest, trails, beach, ice skating, ice cream, it truly has it all. 

Karlstad has some of the best parks in the world. This one, Mariebergskogen especially. Playgrounds, petting zoo, forest, trails, beach, ice skating, ice cream, it truly has it all. 

I can't wait to be able to take the kids back there again some day! 

Currently

Doing: Sipping my coffee slowly while Tindra plays with her kitchen and Soren naps, trying to meal plan for the week before we head to the grocery store. While I was doing Whole30  I was really good about meal planning, but now that we have been done a week..haven't done any planning so it's time to start that again. 

Thinking about: house hunting. We have outgrown this 3 bedroom bungalow in the city. And while we have loved it, and love our neighborhood SO much, it's time for more space. We have started house hunting and trying to figure out which neighborhood we want to live in. SO much harder than I thought it would be! Do we want to have a smaller house (still more space than now) but be in a great place to be able to bike to restaurants (yes please!)? Or a bit farther out with more space and the houses with the high ceilings I love (yes please!) OR the neighborhood with smaller lots but backs to amazing open space and paths running right in between the houses? Its impossible to pick! Each of the neighborhoods we have looked at have some big positives and negatives. So wish us luck! We don't have at on of time to decide before we want to move in June. 

Watching: Currently Drew and I are really into House of Cards. Who isn't? We are trying to only watch an episode at a time though, we don't want to rush through it and be done! We first got hooked two summers ago while in Sweden and we needed something quietly to do in our hotel room after the kiddos were asleep. So we started watching in on the iPad and got hooked instantly. The second season came out right before Soren was born, so I'll always remember those first nights with a brand new baby, laying in bed at night with the two of them finishing the season. *Side note, aren't those first few weeks at home with a brand new baby an equal mixture of magical and pure craziness?? Its my favorite* We also have really gotten into the new show Quantico! So intense every week. Other favorite; Scandal, How to Get Away with Murder, Tiny House...and my guilty pleasure, Pretty Little Liars.

Looking Forward To: Jaspers spring break next week! Since we aren't going anywhere, I want to plan a super fun 'Staycation'. The weather has gotten super cold the last week so I'm hoping next week is more spring type weather so we can go to the zoo at least!

Reading: Nothing! I just finished 3 books that I was reading at the same time (bad idea, I kept getting confused) so I need some new recommendations! Any new favorites ?

Loving: These  work outs! I was doing them for a while before Christmas, and then Life got in the way. But a couple weeks ago I started back up again and I'm LOVING spending those 30 minutes a day to myself (okay its usually not by myself with three kids around) but I have so much more energy when I get the work outs in! Also, I got a lot of hair chopped off this weekend and I'm loving how healthy my hair feels! I have such bad regrowth after Soren (okay after all the kids) and I'm hoping this will help!

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*I used to follow a blog that did these link ups but now I can't find her blog anymore so if you know who started these please let me know!*