Passport to Fun - Scandinavia

Travel the world from the comfort of your living room with this Passport to Fun series!  Whether you use these ideas as a date night, family fun night, or homeschool study, you'll be sure to have some fun and bring a bit of Scandinavia's culture right into your own home!

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You'll remember that I came up with a pretty awesome idea for G's Christmas gift last year.

If you're new here and don't know what I'm talking about, then feel free to wander on over to this post to read all about it.

I'll wait.

Even though we spent all of 2016 traveling to new countries each month, we had so much fun I decided to extend this series indefinitely - so many cool places to learn about and we've even got a list of places we want to return to in the future!

This month, we headed to Scandinavia -- and I know that's not exactly a country, but since this is our final trip for a while, I wanted to do a bit of combining.

Yes, after two full years and 24 trips, we are staying put for a bit.

Actually, we'll probably end up revisiting some of our past trips, because I often found so many movies and activities and recipes, we didn't have time to do them all the first go-around.

Will you miss these trips? Which one was your favorite? Have you tried any out yourself?

December - Scandinavia

Set the Stage

I added this stamp to G's passport, then left it out where he'd find it the next morning before he went to work so he'd see where we were going:

What to Decorate With

The flag thing is our go-to wall art for each trip.  It's something fairly simple for Gv and I to do together, uses supplies we already have, and still lends an air of the locale.

Since I chose a destination technically comprised of three countries, I let Gv choose which flag to create.

Of course, she chose the red one (her favorite color).

All of the Nordic countries (except Greenland) use the Nordic Cross as the basis of their flag, so it really did all come down to color choice.

What to Dress Like

Gv was excited to finally have the opportunity to wear her Elsa dress.

Meanwhile, G went with a cozy sweater and hat and I went the traditional route.

What to Listen to

I created a playlist for this month based off of whatever related songs I already had on my ipod... 

This familiar song is a great way to get things started, along with the rest of Peer Gynt and anything else by Grieg.

If you are enjoying your travels during the holidays like we are, then you'll need to listen to everything by this guy -- and watch all the videos here, because they're just fabulous, too.

Groove out to Ace of Base and Roxette before filling out the majority of your listening time with Abba tunes.

...and I don't have it on my ipod, but we had plenty of opportunities to hear "that hipster song with the whistling" by these guys.

What to Eat

I'm just now realizing that I didn't re-heat my plate before I took this photo the next morning, so this picture probably looks pretty lumpy and unappetizing. If you're wondering what I'm talking about, just look at the next photo and compare!

I immediately knew we'd have to go all Ikea and eat some Swedish Meatballs and lingonberry jam. I debated between mashed potatoes and rye bread or egg noodles to go along with the meatballs, but decided on the noodles. If you've never made your own pasta, be sure to try the easy recipe below!

We washed it all down with some glogg and had aebleskiver for dessert.

Swedish Meatballs

Fresh out of the oven!

What You Need

1 pound ground beef

1 small diced onion

3/4 cup wheat germ (you can use breadcrumbs)

1 egg

1/2 cup milk

1 Tablespoon parsley

1 Tablespoon coconut aminos (you can use Worcestershire sauce)

2 teaspoons salt

1 teaspoon pepper


1/4 cup oil

1/4 cup flour (I used whole wheat)

1 teaspoon paprika

1 Tablespoon salt (This was a bit much for me, but G loved the saltiness. If I were making it for just me, I'd probably cut this in half.)

1 teaspoon pepper

2 cups boiling water

3/4 cup sour cream (I made my own dairy-free version, see below)

What You Do

1.  Combine all the meatball ingredients, form into balls, place in a greased lasagna dish and bake for 30 minutes at 350 degrees.

2.  Meanwhile, make the sauce by combining the oil through pepper in a pan and cooking until it starts to sizzle. Add in the boiling water and sour cream and stir until smooth.

3.  When the oven timer goes off, pour the sauce over the meatballs and bake for another 30 minutes.

4.  Serve over egg noodles or with mashed potatoes.

Dairy-Free Sour Cream

What You Need

1 can coconut milk (stick it in the fridge overnight and then just use the creamy part)

1 1/2 Tablespoons lemon juice

1/2 Tablespoon apple cider vinegar

1/8 teaspoon salt

What You Do

1.  Whisk everything together until smooth.

Homemade Egg Noodles

What You Need

2 cups flour (I used whole wheat)

2 teaspoons salt

2 eggs

2 Tablespoons milk

1 Tablespoon butter

What You Do

1.  Mix everything together and knead for about 5 minutes. I just threw it all into my stand mixer with the dough hook, but I'll often just do this on the counter or a cutting board because sometimes I don't feel like washing mixer pieces.

2.  Let the dough rest about 10 minutes and then divide it into 4 balls. Roll out one section of dough as thin as you can on a floured surface and allow to rest a few more minutes (5 is fine). Use a pizza wheel (or just a butter knife) to cut the dough into lengthwise strips, then cut again crosswise, depending on how long you want each noodle.

3.  If you ever want to just make batches of noodles to have on hand all the time, allow these to fully dry on towels and then package in airtight containers. However, if you're making them to use right away (what I honestly do, because it's just not that difficult to make homemade pasta), then you can just drop them into a pot of boiling water and cook them right then and there. Fresh pasta only takes a minute or two to cook, so just keep a close eye on it and get ready to dig in right away!


What You Need

2 eggs (separated)

2 cups flour (I used whole wheat)

2 teaspoons baking powder (it's so easy to make your own!)

1 Tablespoon honey

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

4 Tablespoons melted butter

2 cups buttermilk (or 2 cups of milk with 2 Tablespoons of lemon juice or vinegar)

What You Do

1.  Beat the egg whites until stiff.

2.  Mix together the rest of the ingredients, then fold in the egg whites.

3.  It's been a "thing" around this part of the world to make these for breakfast in a fancy contraption like this, but I just used my donut maker to cook mine.

4.  Sprinkle with powdered sugar, if you'd like.

What to Do

You've got to spend plenty of time playing with Lego blocks for this trip.

If you have an Ikea nearby, you could take a little field trip over there, just for fun (or for dinner, if you're not in the mood to cook!)

Look up The Scream and ponder its effect on your feelings.

Finally, live it up, hygge-style. Get cozy with plenty of candles, hot tea or cocoa, fuzzy socks and warm blankets, then snuggle together to read and relax in front of a roaring fire.

What to Read

For the grown-ups, I came up with The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo along with the rest of the Millennium Trilogy.

A must-read for the kids is Pippi Longstocking, along with anything by Hans Christian Andersen.

What to Watch

You could watch anything with Mads Mikkelsen (I suggest this one) or even go with The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. You could watch this version of Peer Gynt or hunt down some adaptation of an Ibsen play, like A Doll's House.

We're actually really interested in seeing Headhunters, but ended up watching a few episodes of Unit 1 and Borgen because we had those on our shelf from the library anyway.

Gv loves any excuse to watch Frozen, but if you're sick of letting it go, you could watch this version of Pippi Longstocking, too.

And that wrapped up our "trip." It was another huge success and although we're taking a break from traveling to new countries for a while, I'm sure we'll have loads of fun revisiting spots from the past couple years!

Travel all over the world, without leaving your living room! Can you think of any other ideas to add for a trip to Scandinavia?  I'd love to hear!  Either leave a comment below or email me at lisahealy (at) outlook (dot) com.

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Want more?  Check out some of our other trips:

Italy - India - France - Africa - Ireland - Switzerland - Canada - Greece - England - Germany - Thailand Russia - China - Spain - Jamaica - Egypt - Mexico - Japan - Brazil - Cuba - Scotland - Australia

Love this idea, but want the easy, made-for-you-and-all-you-do-is-print-it version?  Click here to get your own pack and see what inspired me to create this series!