This past weekend, Jambo and I went to Drottningholm, the royal family's residential palace. Jamie hadn't been since before he could walk, and he appreciated the mazes and gardens even more than I had hoped. We ran around and hid from each other, climbed trees, at ice cream, and chased geese. We also went on a tour of the royal theatre, but Jamie thought it was a disappointment because we didn't actually get to see a play (I looooove that kid!). We spent several hours there and it started to sprinkle just as we left. In the car on the way home, Jamie said it was the "best day ever"! Bestill my heart!
Are you thirsty? Are you lazy like I am? Is it summer? Yes? Grab a glass, then, folks because I'm going to introduce you to (or remind you about) two of the easiest, most refreshing adult beverages of the season: shandy and Aperol Spritz á la Mara.
I was introduced to Aperol Spritz via Instagram. Some glamorous Italian in my feed had hashtagged it and because I also want to be glamorous I looked up the recipe, and it turned out to be pretty much the best thing I've ever tasted. In the lazy, imprecise version, you take a glass of ice, fill it halfway with bubbly, pour in enough Aperol to give it that gorgeous orange-hospital-jello hue (but not too much because it's quite bitter), top it with a splash of Sprite and enjoy while imagining you're much thinner, richer and possessing of fine sartorialistic sensibilities than you actually are.
My research (a.k.a. a quick Google search) tells me that a shandy is half beer, half soft drink of basically any kind, but the shandy that I've come to know and love is mostly beer with just enough Sprite to make the beer actually taste good. And here's the best thing about it: if you make it with alcohol-free beer you can drink it on your porch ALL DAY LONG. Just put in a plastic cup in that case, though, so your neighbors don't get the wrong idea about you.
If your thirst still isn't quenched, try my favorite drinks from the summer of 2015 or 2016. Happy mixing!
I wish I wasn't such a sucker for marketing, really I do. Obviously I'm not the only one or Pringles Sweden wouldn't have made the investment in new packaging for a four-week period. I excitedly showed them to Linda, who was with me on my lunch-break shopping trip, and she felt that she needed to explain to me that the chips weren't going to look any different than usual. I hope she's wrong because if I open this tube and every chip isn't wearing a flower crown I'm going to be ticked.
Yesterday the fine arts school in our community had an open house for kids where they could test choir, dance, instruments, and more so obviously I took Jambo.
I had high hopes for the choir session, but he wasn't that into it. Dance, however, was a hit, as were the instruments. He got to test a trumpet, trombone, piano, xylophone, and a drum kit. The latter was his favorite and he could keep a decent beat. Don't tell him (or my neighbors) but I put a mini drum set on his birthday list.
For almost five years, Jamie's teachers have been telling us at parent meetings that we should feel free to spend a day with their class. With very few preschool days left, I settled on this past Wednesday. It was honest-to-goodness one of the best days of my life. I got to see what Jamie is like in his own little world and was so impressed with how he handles himself and how self-sufficient he is. We played tag in the woods and learned about which plants you can and cannot eat, and the kids rubbed dandilions all over their faces and argued over who got to hold my hand on the walk home and sit next to me at story time. During lunch, the kids talked about what happens after you die, then they all cleared their own plates. In the afternoon, all of the kids born in 2011 got to visit the school that they'll be starting at in August and meet their teachers and play with their sponsors, kids who will be in second grade in the fall and who will help get them accustomed to the new environment. Jamie's sponsor is named Irma and she's adorable and was holding his hand and showing him around. I was so glad I got to be there. At the end of the day I was exhausted and cannot fathom how Jamie doesn't just collapse in bed after school every day. I certainly wanted to, but then we were invited to dinner at Axel's and the kids were getting along really well and it was hot on their porch and I had a cold bottle of rosé and who could say no to all of that?
Why the Feast of the Ascension is a public holiday is beyond me, but I'll gladly take the paid day off. Yesterday, instead of going to work and school, we met up with The Swede's folks in Trosa, as seriously adorable coastal town just south of Stockholm. Despite being very close both the summer cabin and Söderköping, and despite getting rave reviews from Ingvor and Roland, we'd somehow never been. Mama and Papa Swede were there to watch a fishing competition and since my husband can't resist that sort of thing, it was a given that we would check it out. We walked around for a bit and enjoyed some ice cream and sodas and watched some fishermen we know win during the award ceremony, then I got in my car, and Jamie and The Swede got in Papa Swede's because I had to go home and work on Friday and everybody else was heading to Molsta. I didn't go straight home, though. Just outside of Trosa, I saw signs for Tullgarn Palace and obviously couldn't resist. I just missed the last tour of the day, but they let me peek around on the first floor a bit, plus a took a leisurely walk around the grounds.
The last days of the action-packed month of April had been booked for months as the weekend when Sarianne would give The Swede his birthday present: a cruise to Helsinki! It was to be Sarianne and the girls (Magnus had to stay home to take care of their dog), Mama and Papa Swede, and us, and it was a total surprise for The Swede. I also got a major surprise when, after we left land behind us, I discovered that Annemor and Matt were also on the ship! Sarianne had coordinated with them so that they could also join us from England.
Jamie was thrilled to hang with his cousins, and we all enjoyed an awesome show, a swanky dinner on the Segerstens, and some tax-free shopping on Friday night.
When we landed in Helsinki the next morning, we split up. Elin, Matt, Annemor and I took a cab to the Temppeliaukio church, a really cool, modern church built into a hill right in the middle of the city.
While I can't say that this particular church was my cup of tea architecturally, it was definitely unique and I'm glad we took the time to check it out.
On the way back to meet the rest of our group, who had spent some time at a department store, we admired the way Helsinki chose to advertise that KISS was coming to town.
The weather in Helsinki was horrible and the boat was rocking like crazy for the rest of the trip, but we were too distracted by the all-you-can-eat buffet we enjoyed on the way home to care.
Also, Sarianne debuted her new camera and now her photos look better than real life.
Since we had been out of town every weekend for over a month, we were really looking forward to taking it easy this past weekend. And, oh my goodness, it was so glorious not to have anywhere to go on Saturday.
Then, yesterday, we went to Parken Zoo, one of our favorite warm-weather destinations, for the premier weekend.
We went ahead and splurged on season tickets this year, so we have to go back a couple more times this summer to get our money's worth, so be expecting that.
It's been snowing a bit off and on today, but yesterday's zoo trip felt like the official start of the warm season, the one with a bank holiday every other week, summer vacation, lilacs, Molsta, Jambo's birthday, long evenings with lots of light, morning walks, Aperol spritzes, birds, watermelon, sandals! AH, I love it! Yay for spring!