Wednesday, September 30, 2015

What's Up Wednesday

Wow!  How are we already at the end of September? 

Today I'm linking up with Shay, Sheaffer and Mel to share my What's Up Wednesday post.  

What we're eating this week

 I love chicken tortilla soup and this one looks really good.  There is nothing better than a warm bowl of soup to go along with Fall and football season. 
 And doesn't this Glazed Apple Cinnamon Oatmeal Bread look amazing!  This is gonna happen!

What I'm reminiscing about


I love Montana!  But, I despise being cold.  I just do.  So now that I'm getting cold and having to wear layers and jackets, Hawaii is on my mind.  (Yes, I know that it's not even considered cold out yet.  I'm just a wuss and I fully admit to it. ;)) 

What I'm loving

I am loving being at home.  Nothing like being away for a little bit to make you love it even more.  I try not to ever take it for granted, but I'm human... So even though I'm loving being at home, I'm still dreaming of Hawaii.  Ha!

What we've been up to

Well, the kids started school the first part of September, so there's that and then the older two are in sports.

Dan and I took a trip to Sweden and Finland. 
You can read about the first few days of our trip here, here, and here.

What I'm dreading

Hmm... I can't think of anything that I'm dreading.

What I'm working on

I'm working on getting back into a good routine.  We left for our trip on the kid's second day of school.  We were gone for 10 days and we are now trying to play catch up and get back on our school routine.

I'm also starting to make lists for Christmas.  A little shopping here and there, takes a lot of the stress off, when the season is finally upon us.  Plus I do better if I jot things down as I think of them.  Otherwise when I am running out of time, I feel like my mind goes blank and I can't think of any ideas.

What I'm excited about

I'm excited to keep studying my Beth Moore, "Children of the Day" bible study.  I love having homework, and the accountability of meeting up with a group of women each week to discuss it.

What I'm watching/reading

While on the plane I decided to watch "The Longest Ride" by Nicholas Sparks.  I thought it was really good.  I had tried reading the book when it first came out, but I just couldn't get into it.  I think this was the first time that I loved the movie without being able to read the book.

As far as reading, I read Out of the Ashes by Sandi Rog.  

Ransome's Honor by Kaye Dacus

And I'm currently reading "Ransome's Crossing" by Kaye Dacus, which is the next book in the series.

What I'm listening to

If I'm in the car I'm usually listening to the Message.  Otherwise a lot of time I don't have anything on.  I like to have lots of quiet.  My brain is way more relaxed that way.  I know my Mom, sisters and friends all seem to be the opposite.  The quiet drives them nuts, so they'll turn on the TV or music just to have the background noise.  Not me.

What I'm wearing

Oh, the usual Fall clothes.  This time of year, the weather is all over the board.  One minute, I'm freezing and the next I'm cooking.  So layers are a must.

What I'm doing this weekend

I actually have 2 photo sessions planned this weekend.  I had hoped to have had all of them done before I went on my trip, but things came up and a couple of them got moved to October.  So we're going to get those done this weekend before the weather gets too cold.

What I'm looking forward to next month

My birthday!  :)  I will turn 33 on the 7th.  The older I get, the more I've decided that instead of wishing I was younger or agonizing about turning another year older, I'm going to celebrate and thank God for another year with the people that I love.  So no, I'm not turning 29 again... I'll be 33.  :)

What else is new

Emma has decided that she'd like to take piano lessons.  I need to start researching and see if there is anyone around that gives lessons.  Until then, I've pulled out my old beginners book for her to play around with.


Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Day 5 & 6 in Finland

Today I'm posting about day 5 & 6 of our trip.  To read the first two posts click here & here.

I made myself get up this morning and climb to the top of the boat to get a picture.  I only saw 3 people up and moving and none of them were outside.  It was still pretty dark, cold and very windy.  As I'm standing on the top of the ship, bracing myself against the wind, I was thinking that maybe I should have made Dan come up top with me.  I might be almost 33, but I have watched enough shows, to freak myself out.  I did end up capturing this picture, so I think it was well worth it.  Good morning, Finland!
After we all got off the ship, we loaded onto a bus and set out on the rest of our trip.  After stopping for lunch and a small presentation on "butt reducers", (Not for us, for the trees.  Haha!)  We stopped at this logging site and yours truly got to ride in the Ponsse harvester.   It was sooo much fun.  I told Dan, that I want one.  Unfortunately they cost as much as a house, so I think I'm out of luck.  ;)  But seriously, it was fun.  I can now say that I've logged in Finland.  Glad to know that's off my bucket list.  Phew!  ;)

After we left there, we checked into our hotel room.  We had just a couple of minutes to get situated and then it was time to head out to Mama's Pocket.  This place was one of everybody's favorites from the trip.  It's this neat spot right on the Baltic Sea where they have the old authentic smoke sauna's.   Thankfully everyone was on board with wearing swimsuits.  Swimsuits are not usually worn into the saunas in Sweden or Finland.  So let me repeat, thankfully everyone was on board with wearing swimsuits.  Amen!

We started off with hot drinks in these fun wooden mugs.  

The man who runs the place brought out salmon and hot dogs to cook over the campfire as a snack before we went in the sauna's.  We were having so much fun hanging out and cooking salmon by the campfire.  Kippis!  (That means cheers in Finnish, and we said that a lot on this trip.)

It was rainy and cold out, so we all put on our swimsuits and headed to the hot sauna.  So the tradition is that after you sit in the sauna for awhile, you then run down to the ice cold water and jump in...

Oh, yes we did!

 This is the Baltic Sea and it was around 40 degrees.  And I only jumped in for 3 reasons.  

1. To shock Dan, because he didn't think I would.  He knows I HATE being cold.
2.  For bragging rights.  I mean, it's the Baltic Sea!
 3.  Because like someone on the trip said, "If not now, then when?"

But mostly to shock Dan.  :)

Day 6

We checked out of our room and moved our way up through Finland.  The guys dropped us ladies off at a museum, while they went on another sawmill tour.   After exploring the museum, we decided to walk around outside for a bit.  I loved all the fall colors.  

We took a walk across the bridge over to a little island that had a nice walking path.  After so much traveling, it felt good to get some walking in.

 While waiting for the bus to pick us up, we entertained ourselves with taking pictures.

 We checked into a lodge this night.  It was such a pretty place, but this is what the rooms looked like.  This was the second night of having twin beds.  We asked our host about it, and she explained that people either sleep in separate beds or if they share a bed, they have their own set of covers, like you'd see in my last post when we were on the boat.

After checking in, we headed down stairs to get ready to play a game.  They put us on 4 different teams.  Gave us each a compass and a phone that had the game installed on it.  Our phones would tell each of us how to get to different flags, a treasure and you also had the option of trapping people.  I did okay on the practice round and did awful in the actual game.  
We had so much fun though, and this was another favorite stop on our trip.

 We had another sauna night, but I opted for the hot tub.  A big glass of wine and a hot tub, and I was set.  It's probably a good thing we don't have one at our house.  I would never get anything done.  ;)

Tomorrow I'll be sharing my What's Up Wednesday post, and then I'll be back to finish sharing the last couple days of our trip.

Monday, September 28, 2015

Stockholm Sweden Day 3 & 4

Today I'm writing about day 3 & 4 of our trip.  If you missed the first two days of our trip you can read about it here.

Sunday morning we got up early again, and headed back to Old Town.  We wanted to check out the Royal Palace and get our shopping done, because we needed to meet up with our group that evening for a welcoming party.

 This is the Royal Palace in Stockholm.  I loved seeing this palace more than the one we viewed yesterday.  This one seemed so much more grand, especially on the inside.

 Each room was absolutely beautiful.  I had such a hard time understanding why they wouldn't live there anymore.   I'm assuming that they don't just for lack of privacy, being that it's right in the middle of town.  But man it's pretty.  ;)

I may or may not have pictured myself wearing a beautiful ball gown as I walked up and down these stairs... or through out the whole palace.  But that would be weird, right.  ;)  Haha! 
In the picture above, you can see on the left hand side a small hidden door.  I would have paid big bucks to have walked through all the little secret passageways.  This is why I read books, people. So I can live vicariously through the characters.

This is the Palace's chapel.  I was able to get a couple of pictures before everyone began to arrive.  Isn't it pretty?!

And this man of mine... he was so patient to let me walk through as many rooms as I could and take my sweet old time.  I know I talked his ear off and wore our feet out, but it was just so amazing to see.  The older I get, the more and more I love historical architecture.   I just can't get enough of it.

Leaving the palace, this was our view.  I'm not kidding you, Old Town Stockholm is just breathtaking.  

Holding my coffee while I snapped a couple of pictures... he's a keeper.   

 These little side streets/tunnels are all over and I LOVE them.  I can almost just see the people who used to walk up and down these streets.  Just straight out of a book or movie, almost.

 Day 4

Dan went with the group of men and toured a sawmill outside of Stockholm.  The women and I all stayed behind and did some more sightseeing and a bit of shopping.  Then that evening we all loaded up on this small cruise ship and sailed over to Helsinki Finland.
I snapped this picture of our room to send home to my family.  This is the smallest room I've ever stayed in before.  I don't usually ever feel claustrophobic, but I did when we first walked in.  The window doesn't open, and the room was so small that your suitcases had to stay upright alongside of the bed.  To the left of my suitcase was the bathroom that was just a tiny bit bigger than an airplane bathroom.  The only reason it was bigger was because there was a tiny corner shower.  And by corner shower, I mean just a corner of the bathroom with a little curtain and a shower nozzle.  All part of the adventure, right?!  :)

Since we didn't feel like hanging out in the room for long, Dan and I headed up top to get a drink.  

 We planned on hanging out with everyone that evening after dinner, since this little club was going to have a band.  I say planned, because at dinner my body decided it didn't like being at sea. So that brings me to the 2nd thing that I recommend bringing with you when you travel... motion sickness tablets.  Even if you don't think you'll need them, bring them anyways.  You're welcome! 


Friday, September 25, 2015

Friday Favorites

It's Friday and I'm linking back up with Andrea, Erika and Narci to show you my Friday Favorites! 


One of my best friends talked me into joining her at a Beth Moore bible study at her church.  Yesterday was my first day, and I think I'm going to really enjoy it.  I like the accountability of reading and having "homework".  
Plus, Beth Moore is just funny!  She has a big personality and that makes it so much more fun.


This Jelly Roll...

I haven't had a jelly roll since I was about 10.  My Great Grandma used to make them, and I don't think anyone in my family has since.  When we headed over on our trip this was the main thing that I was looking for.  We didn't find it until the day before we left Finland and only at a Farmers market.  It was definitely a happy moment.  I may or may not have acted like an excited 3 year old.  ;)

I wrote about the first 2 days of our trip yesterday and you can read that here.  I'll be sharing more about our trip next week.


This picture makes me laugh.  It is the perfect picture of a Mom and her teenage daughter.  Haha!  The older I get the more comfortable I am in my own skin.  Gracie on the other hand was mortified that I would take a picture with us looking the way we did while getting our hair done.  I just thought it was fun that she's old enough that we can sit at the hair dressers together. 


Now that football season is underway again, you should know about this jalapeno popper dip.  I made it last season and it was an absolute hit.  Super easy to make and so so good!  I found it on Pinterest, but you can go here to get the recipe.  Make this and you can thank me later.  ;)


Home is always my favorite! 
 I know it might sound corny, but after being gone and coming home... it's just the best feeling.

I hope you all had a great week.  Enjoy your weekend, friends!

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Stockholm Sweden, Day 1 & 2

Day 1 

Here we are on our way to Stockholm.

When we arrived, it was early afternoon.  There was an 8 hour time difference from home and even though we were tired, we decided to stay awake and get on the right schedule.  After checking into our hotel and changing we headed out to explore "Old Town".

Old town Stockholm with its cobbled streets, narrow pathways and multi-colored buildings is the prettiest town that I've ever seen.  Many of the buildings were said to have been built in the 1700's to early 1800's.  A few area's of old town were even said to have been dated back to the 13th century.  Crazy! 

We walked by the Royal Palace, which is beautiful...

And walked through the Parliament.
There was so much character and detail everywhere you looked.

We ended our day with a quick dinner and went to bed early.  I figured it would be okay to go to bed at 8:00 because that's what time I like to be in bed when we are home.  Well, we woke up refreshed and ready to go at 11:30pm.  Yep... we slept 3 1/2 hours and were wide awake.  So one of my number one recommendations for traveling, is make sure and bring sleeping pills.  Thankfully we had brought some, so all turned out well.

Day 2
We got up early the next day and walked down to the Vasa Museum.  This ship was made for the King, but on it's maiden voyage it sank.  It stayed there for over 300 years, before being pulled out and put in a museum.

Next we walked across the city and got on a ferry that took us out to the Drottningholm Palace, where the Swedish royal family now lives.

 It was about a 50 minute boat ride to get there.  The outside of the Palace and the grounds are beautiful.  Since the royal family still lives there, we were limited on how much we got to see.

 Here I am, making a dork out of myself, letting the world know that I had arrived home.  ;) #innerprincess

Look at all those pretty books.

  We had the best couple of days, and just took in as much as we could.  We had so much fun walking around, looking at the neat buildings, cobblestone streets, and shops and trying out fun little restaurants.  We walked everywhere.  I don't know that I've ever walked so much in my life, but it was well worth it.  ;)