…the more time passes, the more priceless they become.

My photographer friend Alicia (who also photographed our family picnic) snapped this picture of me and the bump when she visited us in California last April. Alicia tried to send me the picture before Freia was born, but her message landed straight in my spam folder and I only got it now. And in a way I am glad I only saw it now, because I am sure if I had seen the picture then, I would only have talked about how tired I was and how big I looked – when really, duh, I was fiiiiiiiiiine…but when you’re pregnant you often mix up how you feel and how you look. Three months later this pictures is so much more special – all I see is time, stopped. A slice of my life as we knew it a few months ago. And I know this picture is only going to get more and more special as the years pass and the girls get big.

It’s my favorite thing about photography: bottling up that time so you can enjoy it for years to come.

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We’re flying to Denmark today to see hubby’s family, and so I thought I’d share a quick little morning smoothie recipe with you to celebrate. Buttermilk is very popular in Denmark, especially in the summer where it is often used chilled for dessert and served with small cookies. I first tried this lemon smoothie at my favorite brunch place in Hilleroed when we used to live in Denmark a few years back.

I love the zesty yet sweet taste of it. Kinda like a lemon tart – except for healthier :) And now it’s become one of my favorite smoothies to make on busy mornings. It’s so easy to make and helps me fill my crazy dairy needs these days!

Recipe (makes one tall glass or two small glasses – about 12oz)
1 and 1/2 cup of buttermilk
Zest and juice of one small organic lemon
1 teaspoonful of vanilla extract
1 to 2 teaspoonfuls of sugar (to taste) – you can also use honey if you prefer

In a glass, mix the lemon juice, vanilla and sugar together. Add the zest and buttermilk and stir well with your spoon. For best result, let the drink chill in the fridge for 1/2 and hour so that the lemon zest have time to really infuse the buttermilk. But let’s me honest – I often make this drink in the morning for breakfast and don’t always have the time to let it chill. I gulp it down right after making it, and it’s delicious already as is :)

NB: This recipe uses a real teaspoon (rather than measuring spoons) to measure how much vanilla and sugar you use – Just because I like to use as few utensils as possible in the morning when I make my drinks. Less dishes = happy Audrey :)

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L: Swedish summer house via Hus o Hem | R: Coconut tres leches cake by Local Milk

Sharing this little Swedish summer house with you all today. We leave tomorrow for Denmark, and I can’t wait – I’ve had Scandinavian summers on my mind lately. Summer in France are great, but somehow, there is something extra special about summers in Scandinavia. Walking in the green forests. Jumping in the lake. The extra hours of light that let you eat Al Fresco until 11pm every day. Everything I love.

Cottages and summer houses are extremely common in Scandinavia – so common that, in Denmark for example, houses are categorized as either year-round or summer houses by the state, and different laws apply depending on the category the house falls into. Because the summer houses are a big part of their life, people make a point of giving their summer house a homey feeling – just like this Swedish summer house. The furniture isn’t anything fancy, but each piece brings some personality to the house.I love that the house feels old and fresh at the same…oh, and can we talk about that old stove?! My grandma used to have one like that in her house, I loved watching her put logs in it.

And with that, I’ll take this delicious-looking coconut tres leches cake by Local Milk. I know that the flavors aren’t exactly scandinavian (berries berries berries!), doesn’t that cake look like it stepped right out of that Swedish kitchen?! Love the gorgeous styling with wild flowers.

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Long time no see, friends! I had planned to share a few posts last week, and then…well, life happened :) So I decided to enjoy it rather than spend time rushing to try and finish posts when my head and my heart  just weren’t there. Life happens offline. Time to slow down and smell the flowers, literally – flowers everywhere here! We had no master plan coming here this year, and I love that for once I am letting time sort of flow, no goal, no agenda. A walk in countryside here, a glass of wine there…I was hoping we could go cherry picking with the girls again this year, but the cherry season peaked a couple weeks before we arrived and birds took care of the rest for us. Oh well! The girls have been spending time with their cousins and making little French friends at summer camp – and every day they are learning new words, especially new words that their mama won’t teach them 😉

We’re in France staying at my parents  until then end of the week, and on Friday we’ll head over to Denmark. Hubby will join us there –we miss him so!  His family hasn’t met little Freia yet, and we can’t wait to see them all :) I will *try* to post a bit more the next couple of weeks – but no promises there 😉 Hope you are all having a lovely summer!

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I’ve been obsessed with making my own sugar scrubs ever since I made that great peppermint sugar scrub last Christmas. Scrubs have become one of my favorite thing to gift to girlfriends for birthdays, as party favors etc. So cheap and easy to make and ladies love it – and I always make extra for myself while I am at it 😉

Today I wanted to share my latest sugar scrub addiction: rose + coconut!

Rosewater always brings tons of sweet memories. When I was little my grandma kept a bottle of rosewater in her bathroom. It was the prettiest deep blue bottle with a picture of pink roses on it, and she used the rosewater as her perfume. She was the kindest of women, and making anything with rosewater – like these rosewater cupcakes I made for Madeline’s birthday – brings a smile to my face.

In any case, back to this scrub: it has become my favorite. While I liked the peppermint one, I find the combination of rose and coconut super relaxing. It smells SO delicious that you’ll want to eat that scrubs- and technically you could, since it’s made with all eatable ingredients! Find my recipe below.

What you need

yields about 12oz/350g

1 cup 1/2 of sugar – or about 300 grams
1/3 cup of virgin coconut oil, melted– or about 8 cl
3 teaspoons of rosewater (you can always add a bit more if you prefer a stronger rose smell)
the petals of one rose (about 12 petals, more or less)

What you do

Easy! Put all of the ingredients in a blender and blend together until the rose petals are broken up into smaller pieces and the sugar is all wet – you might need to use a spatula to finish mixing a bit. Transfer the scrub into a jar. If you want to decorate you jars like me, find some pictures of roses (in magazines/catalogues or just print some off the internet), cut and glue on the container with mod podge/white glue. You could also add a little gift tag, ribbon or print a label if giving to a friend.

Tip: make sure to use a container with a wide mouth (like a small mason jar for example). I made the mistake of using these milk bottles for the pictures – while the bottles look very pretty, it’s was a bit too hard to get the scrub out of the bottles as it is more of a wet one.

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Hi friends! We made it to France alive. Alive being the key word here. Ha. I was afraid of the flight with 3 girls, but it was actually a breeze. I was going to scream victory….until I realized that the hardest part of this trip is actually to deal with 3 jet-lagged little girls on top of my own tiredness. We’re getting there, but man…..fun times!

Today I wanted to share a round 2 of books I’ve been enjoying lately – see round 1 here.  No novel this time because as you can imagine, I haven’t quite had the time for any Tolstoy lately 😉 But here are some great books for a little sumer fun!

Decorate with flowers: there is nothing that puts a smile on my face like fresh cut flowers in my home (PS: where do you stand in the great flower debate?), but I don’t always know how to make the most of the pretty blooms I pick up at Trader Joe’s. I’ve always been a big fan of Leslie Shewering’s work with colors and flowers, so when I heard she was working on a book  with Holly from Decor8 on the topic I knew I’d have it in my library. The book is really inspiring – it is filed with great tips, gorgeous photography  & typography, the prettiest moodboards and some fun DIYs to make your own pretty vases to display flowers in your home. And the best thing is you don’t have to be an expert in flowers to start applying all of the tips in this book around your home with what you already have!

POPS!: The lovely woman running Madeline’s day care (hi Bari if you read this!) does something pretty genius: at the end of each day, she sits all of the kids around her little table for story time and gives them popsicles (usually made with yogurt or juice)  to eat. Such a simple and brilliant idea – I mean, don’t you wish your work did the same thing, a popsicle before you wrap up your day? Pretty sure it would make some happy employees everywhere! Anyway, the point here, pops have become a thing in our home, and when I saw this book a few weeks ago at Paper Source I had to get it. It has some super fun options for kids and adults!  Do I see a popsicle birthday party in the near future? 😉  These are not your classic type of pops  but if you like exploring with difference flavors then it is for you! You’ll also learn how to make popsicles in various shapes  and using different kinds of molds etc.

Braids, buns and twists:  I always save tons of hair tutorials in my board on Pinterest, but I have to admit that I have never really used any of them. Why? Because, when I am doing my hair in the bathroom in the morning rush while eating a piece of toast, I just don’t have time to run back to my computer to find that tutorial I pinned weeks before. I LOVE having it in the bathroom next to all my pins – it’s really helped me get more creative with my hair since it’s right there.  It has TONS of tutorials – the girls have been eyeing those pretty Anna and Elsa-like braids 😉 Quite frankly, some of the pictures could be prettier but that’s just me being picky :) The instructions are well-detailed and super clear. I’ve tried a few looks from the book already to get my mane up during the hotter summer days, and was super happy with the results. A great buy!

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L: Home via Hus o Hem| R: Spicy grapefruit margarita via The Life Styled.

hi friends! I am on my way to France with the girls – flying alone with all 3 girls, wish me luck! Today I wanted to share this sweet place from Sweden. The owners of this lovely home are from Iceland and I love the rustic feel that they managed to bring to the place without it being too overwhelming – it’s got a lot of that scandinavian white to break it up a bit. Oh, and can we talk about that gorgeous orange wall? I probably would have never dared that color, but I love how it contrasts with the the wood and rustic furniture. And with that, I’ll have a yummy spicy grapefruit margarita while I stare at that pretty orange wall and sit in that pretty leather chair.

Cheers, and I’ll see you guys on the other side of the Atlantic!

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What are some of the things that define you as a family? I mean, what are the things that you always do together? Maybe it’s hiking or or going to brunch on Saturdays? Maybe it is singing out loud in the car or going to Church on Sundays? For us, picnics are one of those things. I have a picnic bag at home filled with the essentials, always ready the next  adventure. The best thing about picnics is you can make them as fancy or as simple as you’d like, and you can set up a picnic blanket wherever you’d like. You can have a million dollar view without paying a dime for it.

My uber-talented photographer friend Alicia came out from New York to visit us mid-June, and I asked her if she would mind coming with us on one of our little picnics and snapping pictures of our family of 5 – a rare treat since I am usually always behind the lens! So I filled our picnic basket with the beautiful picnic throw and enamel plates that my friends at West Elm sent me for the occasion, a yummi citrus and ginger cake (I’ll share the recipe soon!), some sodas and books to read with the girls…and off we went!

We went to the “kite park” – beautiful open spaces right by the Berkeley marina overlooking San Francisco and the Golden gate bridge. We call it the Kite park because it is always very windy and tons of people come here to fly kites – there is even a kite festival there every summer and I can’t wait to check it out. It’s our special spot. We often come here on Sunday evenings to have a picnic and fly our kites. Sadly, there was barely any wind the day we took the pictures! Madeline was so sad she couldn’t fly the new kite we made together from leftover wallpaper :) But that little girl is determined, and so, we HAD to try anyway!

Since my photographer friend Alicia is originally from Sweden, we also made a couple of flower crowns that turned this picnic into a little mid-summer celebration. And I told the girls that when they wore their flower crown, fairies would come  out of hiding to see them – but that they had to look very carefully to see them since fairies are so fast. Obviously  😉 They were mesmerized and I had so much fun watching them try to spot fairies. Childhood memories in the making.

And as we ate the cake, we watched the sun set over the Golden Gate bridge. I mean, moments like these are just pure perfection. I know that often we dream of an amazing vacation on a faraway island with a pool overlooking the sea. But this, really my friends, this is the real deal. Life really doesn’t get any better than this – a pretty picnic blanket and little girls chasing fairies.

See more pictures of our picnic shoot featured on the West Elm blog here!

Credits: Photography by Alicia Swedenborg. Picnic throw and white enamel plates sent to me for this shoot by West Elm, who offered to partner with me to make our family pictures even more special :)
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Are you guys in vacation mode already? I have a to do list that seems to be multiplying and have a lot do to before we leave for France on Monday, but I just couldn’t care less. All I want to do is eat ice cream, rest on a blanket in the shade of a tree with my girls, hear them laughing as they play in the water. And did I mention eat ice cream? A totally unproductive kinda-summer, some would say. But I would argue just the opposite 😉 Happy Wednesday, friends!

Sources: 1. DIY colorblock food dome by Sugar & Cloth. | 2. Beach radioat Anthropologie | 3. knitted ‘gingham’ Uimi blankets | 4. Citrus curds – lemon, pink grapefruit and blood orange |5. DIY string lights  by a Subtle Revelry |6. Cheese plates via Babsouk

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Letters to my future self letter book by Chronicle books.

Friends – so sorry I’ve been MIA! It’s been a whirlwind here. Hubby got some big (good) news at work, and we’ve been trying to wrap our heads around it all. Our green card process is also finally moving forward – which means tons of paperwork to fill out right now-, and on top of that we’re leaving for Europe in a week. I am traveling to Europe alone with the three girls to get there and trying not to freak out about it! Between all of these things and trying to find a new balance with three kids, this blog has taken a hit, and I am so sorry I haven’t been around more!

Today I wanted to share a little something hubby and I have been doing this week – write letters to our future selves. For Father’s day I was looking for a little present, something simple to give to hubby, and found these “Letters to my future self” by Chronicle Books. I loved the idea right away, and figured I’d pick one up for hubby and I to do together. These have been such amazing conversation starters for us. Like I said, a lot is going on right now in our life, and it will be so great to open letter twenty or thirty years from now and read about all of the things that were going on in our life in 2014, our thoughts, our hopes, our dreams. There are 10 different letters in this little book of letters with different themes – I don’t think I will write them all, but my favorites/the ones I intend on writing are: “A pep talk to the future me“, “Where I want to go” (major wanderlust here!!!), “This is a letter about my love“, “It was an extraordinary day…” and “a promise to myself“. I am sure that as I write these letters tons of thoughts will come up, and I’ll try to share some of these thoughts with you.

Have you ever written a letter to your future self? How was the experience for you? If you haven’t done it…would you? How old do you think I should be before opening the letters?

PS: Also, do you have a bucket list?

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