A Swedish family lunch

Tuesday, January 17

Have I ever mentioned to you all that my dad is Swedish and that we are kinda-sorta-really into being Swedish? We grew up hosting our Swedish cousins (many of them came to live with us), and visiting our Swedish family in the mother land. Some of my most idyllic memories happened around picking berries and milking cows at my family's farm in Sweden, swooning over the quint yellow and red houses, swimming in their endless lakes, eating crayfish dinners on warm breezy nights, and being spellbound in Stockholm's old city of Gamla Stan. The last 8 years or so we've done reunions both in Sweden and in the USA with our cousins in Sweden...you can read about our last reunion in Yosemite here.

Anyway, this past Sunday my sweet Aunt Susan decided it was time to get the family together and have a huge Swedish meal. Everyone was instructed to bring something Swedish, and it was literally a blast! What is Swedish food you might ask? (As my checker at Trader Joe's asked me...) Well...let me tell you:

- Swedish meatballs: This one you may have heard of! Trust me, the homemade ones are 100 times better than what Ikea has to offer. They are literally soo yummy! But a total staple to any Swedish meal!
- Lingonberry sauce: I will forever put lingonberries on everything...they are so delightful!
- Potatoes with herbs: Red potatoes tossed in olive oil or butter, sprinkled with fresh herbs like parsley or dill. So so good!
- Baked Beans (Bruna Bönor): These are your traditional beans, but quite a bit sweeter
- Potato Sausage (Potatis Skorv)
- Pickled cucumbers- they are actually very refreshing and offset the meat and potatoes!
- Pickled Herring- Can't say I like this...at all. All the in-laws were trying it, but for us kids who grew up on it, we knew better than to even take one piece haha! 
- Salmon- Sweden, having so much coastline is known for it's yummy salmon! 
- Swedish Cheesecake (Ostkaka)- I seriously love this version of cheesecake. It's more like curds, and you put this delicious homemade berry sauce on it. 
- Swedish hard bread (Knackbrod)- whenever we are in Sweden, we will find this at almost any meal. It's like a hard cracker you can put cheese or anything on! 

There's more, but i'll stop there, haha! Getting to sit with all my family, including my 91 year old grandpa was such a treat. After thanking God, we dug into the food…and after food, enjoyed a fika (or Swedish coffee break!) There is just nothing like being with family that you love and feel loved by:)

And if you made it through and are interested in some pics from our time in Sweden last summer, here are a few fun posts with pretty Scandinavian pics:

Uto Island
Swedish Style (just LOVE their clean designs!)
Lacko Slot Castle


Bora Bora Day 2

Tuesday, January 10

You may have thought I was finished sharing my photos from our Tahiti cruise...but delightfully, I still have some islands to share with you! If you missed my first few posts, you can catch up here:

An Introduction to Inspiration Cruises & Tours 
Our First Day in Tahiti 
Exploring the Island of Moorea
This Island of Ta'Haa
Exploring Raiatea
Bora Bora Day 1 (swimming with sharks and Manta Rays!) 

Bora Bora was without a doubt my favorite island on the cruise! And to my excitement, we got to enjoy 2 full days there!! Make sure you check out Day 1 in Bora Bora above, as we did some CRAZY bucket list items, like swimming with sharks and kissing manta rays, haha!

Day 2 in Bora Bora was equally awesome as we spent some more time on land (but still got some great reef time!). In the morning, we headed out to a Motu (or a small island off the main island of Bora Bora) to do some incredible snorkeling. Bora Bora is known for it's waters...crystal clear and so many fish! Kevin and I paddle boarded to our heart's content and chased fish, it was great. We then headed back to the yacht and changed our clothes to head to mainland Bora Bora.

One of Kevin's favorite things to do anywhere in the world is drive a scooter...so we rented a scooter and scooted the entire circumference of the island... It was spectacular! Bora Bora is world famous for their huts over the water, and it's pretty big league there...with the Hilton, St. Regis, Four Seasons,  and others! Each part of the island is different, and it was so worth it to see it by scooter!

Once back on the boat, Kevin and I cleaned up and got ready for the big luau on the moto. We were all excitement dressing up and hanging out with our sweet group of people, taking pictures at sunset and enjoying the beautiful view. One of the neatest parts about being on an Inspiration Cruise is that you meet some incredible people.

That night, after a delicious dinner, we got to see the show of a lifetime! Polynesian dancers, fire throwers, and the two combined made for an incredible show. We were even called up to try our hand at shaking our hips...basically a massive fail, but it was hilarious!

That night as we got back on the little dingy to take us back to the yacht I couldn't help but think what a memorable night it was. I felt so grateful to be alive and experience the different cultures of the world. God is so creative, that's for sure!

If you've never heard of Inspiration Cruises & Tours, then don't wait to check them out. The quality programs they put on are exceptional, and the people so wonderful:)

Happy Tuesday Friends!