Yosemite with the Brits!

Monday, January 23

The last stop on our California road trip with our British friends was Yosemite. I grew up visiting Yosemite many summers in my childhood, and have still never gotten over the beauty of the valley and the gorgeous rock formations! It honestly takes my breath away each time I'm there. We took Matt and Kate (and little Isaac) to Glacier Point first to see the incredible views of the valley! If you've never been to Yosemite, you should definitely start at Glacier Point as it helps orient you to the park! We only had one day in the park, so this is what we did: 1) Bridalveil Falls: This is a short little hike, but a fun one and you can see the waterfall from the lookout point and climb the rocks around the area. 2) Lunch at Curry Village: We brought a packed lunch, but there are a few restaurants and some fun shops here. We got many an ice cream cone here as kids! There's also a great Information Hub at Curry Village with maps and shuttle information, so if you have questions about what hikes to do or things to do, this is super helpful! 3) Vernal Falls: This is my absolute favorite hike in Yosemite as it's not as hard as others, and you get some really great views. The last stretch of the hike you actually get misted on by the waterfall (which in the summer is SOOO nice!). Matt and Kate did this hike while Kev and I took Isaac. 4) The Awahnee Hotel: This incredibly amazing and historic hotel was built in 1927, and you can walk the grounds outside the hotel (which are stunning), as well as meander through the inside of the hotel (which is equally gorgeous and regal!). My favorite part of this hotel is the massive fire place in the great room. We sat around the table and ordered hot drinks and just took in the stunning landscape!It was so fun to show our British friends around Yosemite which is such a unique California classic! Enjoy the pics!! If you missed any info on our road trip, you can see the posts here:Laguna BeachSan Luis Obispo and Big SurCapitola and Santa Cruz

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