Exploring Stockholm

We spent today exploring Stockholm, its history, its food and its drink.  Our day started with a wonderful and real authentic continental breakfast.  It wasn’t the paltry continental breakfast every hotel at a hockey tournament tries to sell you.  This breakfast was legit.  There were no watery eggs or overcooked bacon to be had.  The only similarity is that this breakfast also had a waffle maker, which we definitely enjoyed.

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Our time here in Stockholm is short, so we wanted to maximize our time and see as much of the city as possible.  The best way to do this, especially in the winter, is the hop on and hop off buses.  They run continuously throughout the day with several stops and a narrated tour to boot.  If the weather were a bit warmer and my ankle/foot completely healed, this would be a perfect walking city.  Truly, if my foot was better, we’d probably have walked most of the city.

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We grabbed the bus at Stockholm’s Central nation, which is super nice.  We somehow managed to missed it twice.  Once it was our fault, the second time it just drove by.  When the third bus came by, we were sure to be first in line.  We sat atop the bus and rode for about half the tour before realizing we should have grabbed the headphones downstairs.   The bus takes you through all the major neighborhoods in Sweden and provides a lot of great information about the sites.

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We rode the thing throughout the complete loop before deciding to hop off at Gamle Stan near the Royal Palace.  As soon as I exited the bus, I was cold.  We were dropped off right across from the palace and not far from the water.  The wind was whipping off the water with no buildings to slow it.  I was getting cold fast!  We made our way up the palace stairs to check it out.   Our timing was sublime as we entered the courtyard right before they started the changing of the guard.   I filmed it in its entirety, but I almost froze my fingers off!

As soon as the ceremony ended, we made our way into the Palace to check out the Royal Apartments, the museum and find a bathroom.  The Palace is stunning and a beautiful example of the baroque design style.  Throughout the palace, the artwork was sublime.  At every turn, every room there were a myriad of paintings, sculptures and tapestries.   There was one drawing room in particular that was full of portraits of the royal family.  It reminded me of Harry Potter and a couple of other movies where the eyes in the portraits follow you as you move through the room.

After exploring the palace grounds, we headed to find food.  We explored the palace while past the lunch hour, so we decided to go for dinner.   At the recommendation of our bartender last night, we headed to Aifur.  It was an adventure through Gamle Stan to find it with two pit stops at Stortoget, the oldest square in Stockholm, to get coffee and mittens.  Finally, we headed down the hill to Västerlånggatan, the main thoroughfare, to find Aifur.   I tried to behave, but couldn’t help perusing a few of the stores along the way.  Humorously, when we finally found the restaurant it wasn’t opened yet.  Naturally, we killed the half hour at Corner Bar enjoyed  a few drinks.

Dinner at Aifur was quite the experience.  The restaurant is an homage to Scandinavia’s Viking heritage in its decor, its food, and its staff.  Consequently, the dining room was set up with several long tables with benches on both sides.   On the tables, there were candelabra, silverware and glassware in keeping with the theme.  Each of the dishes on the menu were inspired by the Vikings.

We started our meal with a charcuterie board inspired by Ragnor himself.  Largely, it was compiled of different types of sausages, including reindeer heart.  Surprisingly, the reindeer heart sausage was tasty.  I enjoyed the reindeer sausage with some cheddar chess on a cracker.  While I had the elk sausage on bread with cheddar and boiled apples. It was a nice exploration of the different types of sausages from the region.

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Our main courses were just as yummy.  Jon and I enjoyed venison with hash browns on root vegetables served on a creamy mushroom sauce.  Jake had the porcini risotto, which he thought was okay.  I really enjoyed it!  Brandi had the dwarf chicken also served with the risotto, which was also quite tasty.  We accompanied our dinner with Mead from Poland.

The best part of dinner, aside from the company and the food, was the atmosphere.  Every time new guests would arrive, the host/hostess would announce them to the dining room sharing both their party name and where they’re from. It was fun to guess where our other dinners guests hailed from.  I’d be lying if I said we were good at that game.  Nonetheless, it made for a fun night.  Lastly, as we ate, we enjoyed live traditional Scandinavian music keeping with the restaurant’s theme.

Post dinner we walked back to the hotel and then headed up to The Capitol Bar at the Scandic for the first of two night caps.  I ended my night out at the bar downstairs with a great apple beer from Belgium.  While I got ready for bed, the rest of the party closed down the bar and went on a fast food run.  Sadly, there were no Doritos burgers tonight only zombie burgers from Burger King.

Tomorrow we’re off to Helsinki for several days.  Stockholm has been a blast and we’ll definitely be back!

If you go:

Sightseeing bus: Hop On Hop Off Bus

The Palace: Royal Palace Complex: 

The Dinner: Aifur

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Back to Back

Wow, it feels like forever since I’ve actually had the time to post on back to back days.  We had a busy day of hockey and hockey related activities.  The morning started with the Mayor’s team fundraising at a Publix in Coconut Creek.  Thanks to the store’s generous patrons, his squad raised over $800.  Fortunately, he and the hubby were back in time to leave right way for Goalielock’s games.

Goalielock’s and his squad split the day dropping the first contest to the Hawks, but winning their second against the Toros.  I had a blast in the box with Tonya and DB during the first game.  Reunited and it felt so good!  Unfortunately, during he warmups for game two Goalielock’s left leg slid out on him and he pulled his groin.  Long story short, I walked out to hit the restroom pre-game and when I came back he was on the bench in a different jersey.  It only took me almost the entire first period to figure it out.  Needless to say, Goalielocks has been on solid regimen of ice for 20 and heat for 20 since he got home.

I’ve gotta give a shout to fellow hockey mom D. Green for the amazing ribbon she gave me.  I freaking love it.  It makes me wonder how the crafty gene skipped me entirely.  Truly, I have not one crafty bone in my body.  When I try to be crafty, it ends up looking like something you’d see on Netflix’s Nailed It. (love that show!) Nonetheless, since I don’t possess that skillset at all, I’m in awe of those who do it so well.

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Between Goalielock’s game, the Mayor had a four hour clinic.  We sent Goalielock’s to John’s house with the team, while we drove to Palm Beach to drop him off.   After dropping him off, we headed over to meet the team for some grub.  As for my Mayor, he’s completely exhausted after the craziness of his day.   It’s not often that he puts himself to bed this early!  Speaking of which, it’s time for me to head off  to practice my Swedish, read a bit and head to bed.

P.S.  Don’t forget to join Team Deb Force Five!

TMinus Seven

It’s tminus seven until Jake, and my brother and his wife head to Scandinavia for an epic adventure.  Jake and I spent our morning picking up a few last-minute items from Kohl’s. It’s going to be in the 40s-50s, so a light jacket should suffice.  Since we live in Florida our fall wardrobe for Scandinavian weather isn’t quite up to par.

After Kohl’s we headed to Barnes and Noble.  I’ve been reading book after book as I work my way through the top 500 fiction and non-fiction books.  I’m currently reading One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel García Márquez, but should finish it in the coming days.  It’s delightful this far, quite the departures from Tolstoy’s Resurrection.  I’d highly recommend both novels.  For the trip, I bought Stieg Larsson’s Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. Since paperbacks were 3 for $30, I was seriously tempted to by several books.  I behaved and walked out with only two.

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In addition to Larsson’s novel, I picked up a book on Swedish grammar.  I love DuoLingo, but I needed to read through the grammatical rules.  Every night I try to spend at least 30 minutes practicing Swedish before reading for the last hour before bed.  I don’t expect to be fluent, but I hope to at least be able to communicate in Swedish while in Stockholm.  As an aside, there isn’t DuoLingo for Finnish or Finnish grammar books at our Barnes and Noble.    Please see video below for what I imagine I’ll sound like.

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I am super excited, not just for the trip, but for November’s Purple Stride.  This year I’m unable to run due to my left ankle, so I’m taking on a different role.  For this year’s event, I’m happy to announce that I am the Team Chair.  I’ll be in charge to driving team results and recruitment.  Those of you on the fence of joining team Deb Force Five – now it the time to join.   If you’re not in Florida that’s okay!  You can join us as a virtual strider.   Join by clicking here.  I’ll leave you with one of Freddy Mercury’s iconic live performances.  I, for one, cannot wait to see the Queen movie coming out next week.

 

You Know You’re A Hockey Mom When….

You know you’re a hockey mom when Monday brings a respite from the hectic weekend.  Yeah, that’s right.  Today’s case of the MondayA brought a restful peace absent from my insane weekend.  It’s a diametric shift in the way you think for sure.  Who knew perusing emails and reviewing data could be so peaceful. 43951525_995802547265872_7100467683530899456_o

Our weekend was insane from the start.  I began my weekend with Goalielocks and the Mayor finding the perfect outfit for a quince and bar mitzvah respectively.    Shopping with boys is not for the faint at heart or the impatient.  We had the dressing rooms on lock for over an hour much to the chagrin of our fellow shoppers.  Nonetheless, we were successful.  Of course, Colin asked to check out to shoe store in the mall for some new Adidas before my wallet was even back in my purse – about that…

Saturday morning started early with the Mayor having to be at the rink by 9:00 am.  Goalielocks and I drove separately as we had to leave midway through the game for the Purple Stride meeting.  The Mayor’s first game, at least what we were able to see, was fantastic.  He scored an awesome goal, which thanks to poor vision and marked up glass I didn’t get a clear view on it.  Fortunately, the rink has video and I was able to pull down the video later.  Admittedly, I had to film it in slo-mo on my iPhone, so I could see it.

We left half way through the second to head to the Purple Stride meeting at Lucky’s Italian Market in Coral Springs. Once the Purple Stride meeting ended, we headed to Kohl’s to get him dress shoes to accompany his quince outfit.   We definitely had differing opinions over shoes, but he quickly realized comfort over form would win the day.  Goalielocks was a bit disappointed we didn’t have time to get to the mall, but the promise of a Pub sub won him over.

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The Mayor’s second game was a hard-fought contest, but in the end they came up a goal short.  We headed home so Goalielocks could shower.  While we drove the Mayor came into some Panthers’ tickets.  While I dropped Goalielocks off at the quince, the hubby and my Mayor headed to the Panthers’ game.  When all was said and done, we picked up Goalielocks just after 1:00 am and got to bed around 2:00 am.  This weekend left us exhausted.

Here’s some key hockey mom identifiers:

You know you’re a hockey mom when….

Monday is a restful day

Your dog’s crate smells better than your car or garage

$700 is a lot for a pair of shoes, but too little for a goalie helmet

Someone asks you your age and you give them your birth year

You yell at the zebra, but you’re not at the zoo

You’re on a first name basis with local urgent cares and ERs

You online shop at Pure Hockey, Hockey Monkey and Hockey Giant

You bring a megaphone to the rink.. oh wait, that’s just that one psycho hockey mom…..

Moving On

Today was Goalielocks’ moving on ceremony marking the end of a fantastic three years at Logger’s Run Middle School.  Since day one he has flourished in Middle School enjoying the academic offerings and his many friends.  It was apparent tonight how much he enjoyed his school and how well he got along with his classmates.  Of course, for me, it was bittersweet as it marks the end of one stage and the beginning of another stage.  It seems like just yesterday he was graduated from preschool and now he’s off to high school.

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The ceremony itself was at his future high school in West Boca.  We found out yesterday that he has been offered a spot in the medical academy at West Boca with all of his friends.  He was absolutely ecstatic to learn that he’ll be continuing his school journey with the vast majority of his school friends.  We waited until tonight at dinner to give him the good news.

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We waited patiently in the hot, sauna of a gym for ceremony to start.  They started “Pomp and Circumstance” as the graduates filed into the gym.  Maybe it was the contacts or both our bad vision, but we didn’t see Goalielocks walk into the gym at all.  Once they had sat down, we didn’t seem him either.  Naturally, we started to panic a bit.  After a few minutes of concern, my hubby decided to go down and see if we could find him.

He headed down towards the entrance and start chatting with the principal and the police officers working the event, who assured him he was there.  The hubby headed up the other bleachers to try and find him to no avail.  Finally, the principal let him walk down the side and he found him.   Now we could relax and enjoy the show.

As I watched the video with Goalielocks tonight, he quickly pointed out that we actually got him on video.  How we missed him in the first place is beyond me.  Like I said it could be the contacts or the blonde hair.  Nonetheless, it was a fabulous night to celebrate the accomplishments of middle school while looking forward to the challenges and opportunities of high school.  

 

Long Weekend

It was a glorious long weekend of no plans and no obligations.  We sent the Mayor to Key West on Friday for the weekend and he had an epic time.  As for the rest of us, we took advantage of the stormy weather and stayed in and relaxed.  It is hard to believe we only have four days left of the school year.  This year has seemed like a sprint.  Especially the last six months!

This year has been an absolute sprint with trips every month through April (could have used a May vaycay.).   In between the trips, we had a health scare with Goalielocks and possible surgery.   His procedure ended up being delayed because he had a bad cough, which made it too risky for him to go under.  Not even a month later, we were in an ER in New Hampshire with a suspected brain bleed.  Fortunately, the good folks at Mass General were able to quickly rule out the brain bleed, but his recovery would still be lengthy.

We ended up back in the ER in the beginning of March when his headaches changed in severity and type.  Unfortunately, he’ll experience headaches and other post concussion symptoms for the next six to twelve months.  We made it nearly two months before brining him back to the ER for suspected appendicitis.  Fortunately, it wasn’t appendicitis.  Unfortunately, it took a costly visit to the ER to confirm he had a virus with symptoms that mimic appendicitis.  Needless to say, it’s been exhausting and expensive.

I’m ready for some downtime and calm.  (What is that even?)  This Wednesday, we’re headed to West Boca to watch Goalielocks’ Moving on Ceremony.  We’ll officially have one in college, one in high school and one in middle school.  Despite my reticence to let them grow, time continues to march.  It’s a bit bittersweet as he’s absolutely loved his time at Logger’s Run.

Excitedly, we’re back to our normal summer pattern since we have no grand plans this summer.  Goalielocks and the Mayor will be headed North to spend the summer at Camp Grandma and Grandpa.  We couldn’t be more excited, nor could they.  Goalielocks cannot wait to be reunited with his former goalie coach, who is now at MEGA.  While they’re in Minny, they’ll be able to spend time with all of our family. Also, this will give me a break from the endless begging for a sailboat.

The Mayor, as you can probably see in the pictures, had an epic weekend in Key West with Capt. Rob and E.  He loved every single minute of it from being on the water in the driving rain to trying his first oyster!  Yeah, an oyster! I haven’t even had an oyster.  (Don’t judge me I grew up in the Midwest.) They spent their nights on a docked sail boat and spent their days exploring Key West.  Due to the inclement weather, they were some of the only people around.

Boy oh boy, this first period of hockey is amazing.  We still have four minutes left in the period and it’s already 2-1.   This series should be incredible and hopefully for hockey fans everywhere it goes to seven games!  Just a quick update here, I uploaded my pictures and the period has ended in a 2-2 tie!  I cannot wait to see what the second period will bring.

Happy Easter!!

Happy Easter to the blogosphere. I don’t know about you guys, but I started my day with a sensible breakfast of eggs. While the breakfast of eggs part was true, the sensible not so much. Unless, of course, your breakfast of eggs was made up of Cadbury eggs.

Our egg/basket hunt was a bit disjointed as Jake had to leave for work before Goalielocks woke up. While we could have woken him up to hunt the hunt, it’s better to let sleeping beasts lie. Though shall not wake up a teenager unnecessarily. We’ve learned that lesson the hard way.

The boys enjoyed their baskets. Admittedly, they were quite simple, but we’re trying to move towards a less is more kind of lifestyle. Fortunately, I planned the candy but well so as to leave enough extra Cadbury Eggs for the hubby and I to enjoy.

For the majority of the day, we chilled at home binge watching the Trailer Park Boys. If you’ve never watched this show, you’re missing out. The show follows the unbelievable antics of three friends in a trailer park. Unfortunately, for these guys the park provides a pretty toxic environment.

We also made so progress on the remodel project we’re starting in our family room and kitchen. After some debate over paint colors, we narrowed it down to three choices. Consequently, we headed to Home Depot to get some samples. Afterwards, the Hubby painted the sample on to the wall in two areas, so we could make an intelligent case. Here are the colors? What are your thoughts?

Lastly, the Piggie and I got in a good four mile run this afternoon. Admittedly, neither my speed nor my endurance is where I’d like it to be heading into Thursday’s race. While I’d love to finish the corporate run (5K) below thirty minutes, I don’t think I’m there yet. Anyway, I’ll let you know how it goes on Friday.

Tough To Swallow

It’s a bit tough to swallow that our vacation ended days ago and I’m still exhausted. Fortunately, the dinner I made in the Instant Pot was not! I love the convenience and quick turnaround of this magical device.

Tonight’s dish was Ropa Vieja and it did not disappoint. The meat (a roast) took only 90 minutes to cook. Once the 90 minutes had elapsed, I was able to easily shred the beef with my fork. I then added in the peppers, so they could cook without contaminating the entire meat (everyone, but me hates peppers) and added the olives.

What’s even better is that while the roast cooked, the Piggie and I were able to run an arduous 3.5 miles. It was not my best run and the first time in awhile I’ve logged over 3 miles. Fortunately, the weather was entirely perfect. There was not a cloud in the sky. It was a perfect (at least weather wise) run with temperatures in the upper 70s to low 80

During the 3rd mile we alternated walking fast with sprinting. We started with intervals of 1:1 and then moved 1:2 ratio of walking to running. Unfortunately, I still sucked at running. Yesterday’s run was pretty fast and relatively pain free. On the other hand, today’s run was arduous as it’s worst and painstakingly hard at it’s best.

So yesterday’s run was great. Well, except for the squirrelly incident. It was just after mile marker 1, when a grey squirrel popped out from behind the bushes. The Piggie couldn’t control herself, she had to chase. Meanwhile in my head, I’m saying “squirrel” and cracking up. Fortunately, the squirrel quickly made its way up a tree and out of sight. I was dying laughing literally and figuratively, when I had to stop and catch my breath. #squirrel

Despite the difficulty of today’s run, the Piggie and I were able to go the distance. We didn’t quit when it seemed impossible. Rather we kept fighting to breakthrough the wall. Luckily, or perhaps unluckily, we’ll be back at it tomorrow. With only 11 days until the corporate run, I’ve got plenty of work to do! I can’t wait to run tomorrow!

Obsessed With Shipt

Confession time, I’m completely obsessed with Shipt. For the uninitiated, Shipt is the grocery delivery service owned by Target Corporation. When you sign up, you can shop at stores close to your work or home and have the groceries delivered.

The first time I used the service was the day we returned home from the Bahamas. I desperately needed to grocery shopping, but I had no energy to desire to make that Target run. Consequently, I placed an order through Shipt for a Publix run.

It was amazing. My shopper communicated with me whenever necessary. She wasn’t a faceless being on the other side of the app. In the case that an item was out of stock, she did a great job providing replacement options. The entire process was completely seamless.

Naturally, as I got into a rhythm with my housework, my desire to make a Target waned. Frankly, I can’t cope with the snowbirds. Consequently, I sent two separate orders one to Target and one to Publix. While the Shipt App may be slightly more expensive, it does prevent you from buying everything you see at Target. In the end, we got all of our groceries and never left the house. Moreover, I spent less money than I would had I actually gone to the store.

If you’d like to check it out, click here. I can’t recommend the service highly enough. For the hockey mom, busy family on the go, working people, Shipt is the perfect way to save time and get things done without missing a beat.

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Take Me Back

Yep, take me back to the Bahamas. I don’t think I got enough r&r, strawberry daiquiris or sun while I was there, so I should probably go back. Returning to work after vacation is tough especially after such a sublime and peaceful trip. I really should have bought a talisman while on the island to bring me luck and get me through the day.

Nevertheless, with no talisman in hand and only sun kissed complexion to show for the trip, I returned to work and nearly 700 emails. (Hence the take me back!) I finally got through all of the emails, but didn’t feel super productive today. Thankfully, there’s always tomorrow.

We did get fabulous news today at work, which is so very exciting. As of this afternoon, we know service Purdue University Global. I couldn’t be more excited about our collective future!