Friday, December 22, 2017

It's a Merry Christmas


I have always loved the Christmas carol, "God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen" and this year the first line has really stuck out to me:

 God rest ye merry gentlemen
Let nothing you dismay
Remember Christ our Savior
Was born on Christmas Day
To save us all from Satan's pow'r
When we were gone astray

Oh tidings of comfort and joy
Comfort and joy
Oh tidings of comfort and joy

Did you catch that bold section? All too often I go astray in my daily encounters with children or my husband and my attitude gets sour. But that's exactly why God sent Jesus, since he knows I can't do it on my own. What a relief. 

Merry Christmas from our real-life family, who get into scrapes, argue, fuss at one another, pull each other's hair (okay, Daniel and I don't do this but I bet you can guess who does), and are still learning to turn to Jesus for everything. 

What great tidings of comfort and joy!

P.S. We're back from Denmark...have been for a few months now. This space gets neglected when there's life going on such as homeschooling, trips to the library, reading, playing, cooking, sewing... Yep. Life is full and lovely. 

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Around our Danish Table

Our AirBnB apartment has two rooms; the kitchen/dining room/living room and then the bedroom. So naturally, a lot of life centers around the kitchen table.

Some knitting...

Snack time with Danish pastries...

Learning how to play Solitaire...

Playing Chinese checkers...

Learning to type.

Lego building...



Hand lettering for a wedding card...


And lots of drawing. May I repeat that? I truly mean lots. All 3 of the ink pens I brought have run out on her. It's been the depths of despair each time.




Sunday, August 27, 2017

In Sweden

My first introduction to Sweden was when I was 8 or 9 years old. How? See below:

I soaked up every bit of Kirsten's story from the American Girl Collection and of course, Kirsten is from Sweden. I might have thought that I would want to visit Sweden all those years ago, but probably never thought it would happen. But it has. I've been to Sweden and already want to go back. 

We have been in Scandinavia for almost a month now and Sweden was the second country we visited. The AirBnB house we stayed at was outside Gothenburg and had the nicest little playground just around the corner. I loved how natural it was, with berries growing along the edges, sand toys there for play and the birch log balance beams. We had a slow Sunday morning here and spent some time in the sunshine trying to cure sick children. Natasha still wasn't feeling top notch after developing a cold the morning we flew out of Chicago (groan) and on this particular morning, Lincoln woke up with a fever, serious teething going on and threw up. Welcome to travel life with little ones. 




This was the happiest Lincoln was that day, as the remainder of it was spent in Sadness and Despair. Poor boy. 



Natasha got increasingly better as the days progressed but Lincoln remained pretty miserable without Ibruprofen. Fortunately, we were sight-seeing and walking around, so he stayed cozy in the carrier and just took his naps on my back.


When you're a traveling mum, pictures of food don't get taken before it's already partially consumed. 
Traditional Swedish meatballs with lingonberry sauce here...super good.


Natasha found a jellyfish in the North Sea when we visited the Volkommen Island.


Gothenburg's Botanical Gardens made her so dreamy.


I'll just be honest here: Traveling with children is not as relaxing as it would be without them. But it is an adventure. One that makes you want to scream, laugh, tear your hair out, giggle, persevere, wonder why you're even trying, second-guess yourself, and then step back and realize the memories being made are definitely worth the struggle. There will be plenty of time in my future when these little people are older, to sit quietly over a cup of coffee and pop by the fruit and flower stand instead of dealing with a meltdown. 

We do hard things because sometimes the easy route is too commonplace. 

And, we travel with children because, as Daniel said, "We can't leave them home alone." 

Sweden, you treated us lovely. I want to come back for more than 2 days; maybe in the winter. Without the children, who for sure would complain about the cold and snow. But I won't. 
Until then, I'll think about the fond memories made on our first visit.

P.S. If you want to see more details of our time so far, check out my other blog where I focus more on our travels and adventures.

Thursday, July 6, 2017

These Summer Evenings...

Have been so glorious. Bubbles are a favorite and I'm loving spending it with my people. 

Monday, July 3, 2017

A Woodland Birthday

Lincoln turned one on June 2nd and I'm just now getting around to sharing pictures of his party. It was a small gathering with family, but was just right for celebrating his first year. 

Weeks ago I decided we would use his party as the opening of our summer/pool house, and whatever decor I put up would stay there for the summer house decor. It's been a warehouse for Daniel, but I consolidated boxes, washed the windows, unrolled the carpet and tidied it up for the party as well as for summer. 

Let me preface all the following pictures with a disclaimer: I am firm believer that kid's birthdays can be WAY overdone. Wonderful childhood memories can be made without any theme, decor, games or party favors. Those are all simply fun extras for the child and it's completely up to the mum that feels up to doing it. So while this may look like a lot of work and time and effort, I had fun doing this. I'm not a Martha Stewart, but I really did enjoy decorating and preparing for my little boy's birthday. Plus, I was doing double duty for decorations: 1st birthday AND summer house decor. So most of it stays out there in the summer house now for any upcoming summer gathering. Score!

The cross flag is my rendition of a maritime signal flag for the letter "X". There's no significance to that particular letter for our family; I just liked the design for that letter best. Ha! It's a very simple muslin square with the navy cross machine appliqued on. One day I'd like to have a 13-star American flag to hang out there.

Thanks to Parabo Press, I got 25 free prints of the past year with Lincoln. I tried to take monthly pictures of him sitting in the same chair. It's so fun to see the changes all lined up together, because babies do a LOT of changing in those first few months.

Daniel was good enough to cook our sausage patties and brats over the fire, and the rest of the menu was fairly simple too. I did as much as I could ahead of time. If you search for woodland or forest party ideas on Pinterest, you will probably realize I stole most of my ideas from other parties. I could have made little tags for the food that said things like, "trail mix" or "twigs" (for pretzels) but I thought that was going a little far. ha! We just ate and it was fun.

Fruit trays are very simple, but they can sure be time consuming if you have to wash and slice and arrange it all in an owl shape. ;)

These hedgehog cookies were fun to create. I used my favorite gluten-free sugar cookie recipe and just shaped little hedgehogs by hand before baking. They turned out just right and I dipped them in chocolate before Natasha sprinkled them with chopped pecans or sprinkles. 

 Ah, the cake. I knew I wanted a Schleich animal on top with a somewhat "naked cake" look. It turned out exactly how I had pictured it and that sure can make a Momma happy.  I made Danielle Walker's yellow cake from her book, "Celebrations". In my mind, a bear adorned the top. But, in the end, a moose was perfect. Especially since we were just in Canada last fall and there are a lot of moose up there.

 Lincoln was happy to dig into the cake, but was not fond of eating it. He kept handing me pieces of crumbled cake instead of eating it. :)

 In all the birthday cake fun, I completely forgot to light the candle and have everyone sing before he smashed it. So we did that afterwards. Better late than never! I made it a tradition to always use a brand-new candle for baby's first birthdays, and I kept the one on Natasha's 1st birthday cake and I kept Lincoln's too. It will go in his baby book.

It was so fun having family sitting around our little campfire, laughing and talking and simply...being. 

The cousins went swimming, pretended to be animals and helped Lincoln open his gifts.

It was a grand 1st birthday for a grand little boy.