Swedish Midsummer Party 2022

Monday, July 25

Hooray for traditions, and hosting our 3rd Swedish Midsummer Party. If you're new here, you can see the first two parties here and here

As you know, my dad is Swedish (we visit his family fairly often in Sweden & are always inspired by the landscape and style of dreamy Sweden!). So a few years ago, when I was thinking about the traditions I wanted to start with my own kids, it made so much sense to incorporate my Swedish heritage and throw a Midsummer party! 

Here's the thing I've learned...if you want to try something...GO FOR IT! Who cares if you don't know what you're doing...that's where google comes in haha! When I threw my first party 3 years ago I consulted all my cousins in Sweden, and essentially have done the same few things the last few years...

1) Swedish food! A proper midsummer party has fish, potatoes, and strawberry cake! We always add a salad, and then some fun Swedish cocktail (like the Swedish mules that had elderberry syrup in them!) My favorite salmon recipe I make is here, and you can head to my IG (@hope_ to see the recipe I made for a gluten and dairy strawberry cake with lemon curd that is delicious!! 

2) A midsummer pole! We bought a wooden dowel at Home Depot, put it into an umbrella stand, and then cut ivy or grape vines that we had growing on our fence to wrap the pole in. It's way easier than you think. 

3) Swedish dancing around the midsummer pole! There are tons of songs to dance to, but I've only learned one and its the one we do every year haha. It's a kids song called SmÃ¥ Grodorna and I found it on YouTube and learned the dance, and teach it to everyone every year. 

4) Flower Crowns! I love dressing up, and ask all my guests to wear white and don a flower crown if you're a lady! Avonlea LOVES picking out her crown each year (I bought a handful the first year on amazon so that we always have extra for guests!). Next year my goal is to try to make crowns out of real flowers! 

This year, we played a Swedish lawn game called Kub. Everett got so into it, and you can see his joy when he knocks down a pin and runs over to Emma our Vietnamese exchange student to hug her. It was the sweetest moment! 

Such a fun evening! Even though it can take some work and foresight, it's always worth it when I see the joy and giggles of my kids dancing around the midsummer pole and the adults enjoying a beautiful evening with good food and fellowship! That's the stuff summer memories are made of! xoxo 

A long time dream is coming true, and I'm so excited to share it with you!!

Thursday, June 23


{Photo by my dear friend Katie Drake}

Ok friends...I have an exciting secret to share with you about a dream that I have had in my heart for almost 10 years and that is finally going to come to fruition!!

Almost 10 years ago when we lived in Nepal, the Lord called me to switch careers from international non-profit work and go back to school to become a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist. A very big part of why I wanted to step into this role was so that I could be used to encourage and offer care and support for expat and missionary women serving abroad.  

As I entered my therapy journey, I heard of an amazing organization called Thrive that hosts conferences for missionary women...retreats that have dedicated time to love, pamper, encourage, laugh with, and build relationships with these amazing women. Ever since I learned of them, I have wanted to serve. Between grad school, and birthing babies, and covid...the timing was just never right. 

Until now! 

Friends...this October I am headed to Prague, Czech Republic to spend 10 days volunteering with Thrive! I will be serving in a number of capacities, but one of my main roles will be offering therapy to the women who sign up to meet with me.  I literally can't believe I get to step into this special place after years of dreaming about it. (And i'm also in shock i'll get to ride an airplane alone without a child hanging off of me hahahah) 

Kevin and my family have generously agreed to love on our kids for us in this time (if you're local and want to send in reinforcements in this time, we won't say no haha) 

I would LOVE your prayers for my trip. Being home with 3 kids without much adult interaction makes me wonder if i'll remember how to be a therapist (ha!), but truly I am depending on the Lord for guidance and strength as I work with each individual woman! Serving in a foreign country can be difficult, isolating, and lonely, and my prayer is to be source of encouragement as we build relationships with love and laughter! 

I would also love to invite you to join in my support raising for this trip! I would be so grateful if you felt led to give. It always feels weird asking for money, but to be honest, I LOVE being a part of supporting others as they go out in this world, so wanted to extend the opportunity if anyone feels called! If you feel led to do so, here is the link for my giving page! 

Love you all so much, thank you for encouraging me and being a special part of my journey!! If you have any questions please let me know, I'd love to chat with you and answer! Thanks again:) 

Avonlea's Ballerina Fairy Birthday Party

Wednesday, April 20

Avonlea turned five and to celebrate we hosted a Ballerina Fairy party! It was as magical and "all things pink" as you might imagine, haha! Avonlea, of course, picked the theme, and then I just ran with it using things we had at our house. The party was mostly family members, but Avie invited a few "fairy" friends as well. I asked all the girls to come in their own ballerina tutu's, but then found super cheap fairy wings, flower crowns, and wands on Amazon and gave them to each little girl upon arrival. Their joy and excitement was contagious! 

The night before the party my parents came over to help me set up...I cleaned off an old pallet we had in our yard for the fairy's table, and hung Avonlea's canopy from her bedroom in the tree. It ended up being a very blustery day, so the canopy had to be tied up for most of the day (as the wind kept knocking over the vases with it! oh well!)

I found "fairy houses" (aka bird houses) at Michael's for a $1 each, and with a little paint and jewels, they were a very fun and whimsical craft. My dad also set up an obstacle course in our yard which was a huge hit, and all of the little girls (and little boys at the party) asked to go again and again. My dad always set up obstacle courses at our birthdays growing up, so it was so fun to see the tradition continue! 

I found all sorts of whimsical flowers at Trader joes and had fun making bouquets, as well as topping the cake with the pretty flowers and fairy cake toppers I found on amazon (here)

SUCH a fun and beautiful day, and the most important part is that Avonlea told me repeatedly how much she loved her party. She's such a little extrovert that when everyone left the party, she turned to me and said "ok mama, what are we going to do now? Should we have someone over or go to someone's house?" hahah...cue me ready to fall down dead on the couch! 

Annnddd....since we had all 3 babies within a month of one another....one party down...and 2 to go! Let's do this!!! 

Everett took the cupcake and smashed the WHOLE thing in his mouth hahaha!! And that concludes the party folks, haha!!