Happy Birthday Elsa!

Our little baby turns 1 today, so this text is to her. Maybe in a couple of years, she can go back and read this (if our blog still is online). But until then, don’t be a stranger, read it, leave her a comment, and dig in on some pancake cake!

Dear Elsa, if one word would define your first year, it must be Change. During this year, you have learned how to breath, nurse, point at, laugh, sit up, eat, crawl, play, grab, kiss, hug and walk. Every skill learned was soon replaced with a new one. It has been a constant evolvement. A constant change. And as we went on this trip around the world with you, change got a whole new meaning.

You have been flying 15 times during your first year. You have been on 3 different continents. You have been moving from 80°F heat one day, to 5°F and snow two days later, and then on to 100°F one week after that. During this trip you have slept in 47 different locations. 47! Imagine being 9 months old and being put in a new bed, in a new room, in a new city, twice every week. And we haven’t even counted how many time zones that you have crossed. When we think about it, we realize that you could have been seriously messed up by know. But how have you instead reacted to all this change?

Like a total angel. It’s unbelievable. You hit the high score in The-Most-Perfect-Baby-With-A-Backpack-Contest. On the airplanes you always put on a show; you stand up in your seat, wave your hand like a princess, and smile at everyone. And every single person on the airplane always waves back at you. It’s hilarious to watch. You have made new friends everywhere, and at the age of one, you have also become a global food enthusiast. You have been playing in the snow, in the ocean and on the beach. You are not fond of playing alone, but as long as we are close, you are happy. And you have been sleeping for 12 hours each night, no matter where you were. You adapt to change like a chameleon. If you would have been different in any way, this trip would have been much more complicated, or even impossible.

Thank you Elsa for putting up with all these changes, and for changing our world. Happy birthday, we love you more than anything.
/Mom & Dad

Now, let’s eat birthday cake!

We can go on and on about how you should not give small children sugar, sweets or even anything that is sweetened with refined sugar. They don’t need it and they don’t have any natural craving for it. Come to think about it, we will actually go and on about it, but not today. We will save that for another post.

Since we didn’t want to give Elsa a traditional sugar-flour-jam kind of cake, but we did want to give her a treat that she loves, this pancake cake was perfect. It was also perfect since it was the only cake that we could make without an oven or a blender. It is gluten free and sugar free. It is topped with a lovely thai-inspired coconut cream, and served with lots of fresh fruit. You might remember that we also did a pancake cake for Luise’s birthday, you could use that almond & date filling in this cake too.


Coconut & Banana Pancake Cake
10-12 pancakes (6 inch)

4 bananas
6 eggs
1/2 cup (1,2 dl) coconut milk
2/3 cup (2 dl) dried coconut flakes (unsweetened)
coconut oil
fresh fruit

Mash the bananas in a bowl, using a fork. Then whisk in the eggs, add the coconut milk and shredded coconut and stir to combine. Heat coconut oil in a pan and fry the small pancakes a couple of minutes on each side. Let the pancake cool off, one by one, on a big plate. To arrange the stack of pancakes, you start with one pancake, then a layer of mashed fruit, nut butter or jam of choice and continue with the rest of the pancakes. We varied mashed papaya and mashed mango between the layers. Pour over the Coconut Cream (recipe below) just before serving. Garnish with flowers, Happy Birthday!

Coconut Vanilla Cream (inspired by a recipe on Honest Fare)

2 cups (5 dl) coconut milk
1 vanilla bean, seeds scraped
1 cinnamon stick
1 thin slice fresh ginger
2 large soft dates, pitted
2 tbsp corn starch, tapioca starch or arrowroot

Place coconut milk, vanilla, cinnamon, ginger and dates in a small pot on medium heat. Bring to a simmer while stirring, then lower the heat to a bare simmer. Mix starch with 2 tbsp water in a small bowl, add to the pot and let simmer for another 20-30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove the cinnamon stick, vanilla pod, ginger and dates. Transfer the cream to a bowl and place in the fridge for about 30 minutes. It will become a little thicker when it’s cold. Serve.


  • What a wonderful idea, a pancake cake. I have to say, I am very envious of all that Elsa went through her first year! She will find this a wonderful post when she understands it. Something you should print out and keep in a treasure box for her to open when she turns a tween or teen.
    • Thanks Christine, what a brilliant idea to keep this letter in a treasure box for her to read one day! /Luise
  • Valeria
    Happy Belated Birthday Elsa!! This past year you've put a smile on my face countless times with all your beautiful and silly photos (: I want to wish you the best and hope you continue to grow and enjoy all the wonderful things life has to offer you. Best wishes to all, Valeria PS. Congrats to David and Luise also, all the traveling you have managed to pull off with a newborn are such a great accomplishment (it's something I look up to)
    • Thanks Valeria for putting a smile on our faces with your always so clever and sweet comments!
  • Such a sweet and beautiful post. Happy 1st Birthday Elsa!
  • Happy birthday gorgeous Elsa! It is not hard to imagine how you have charmed everyone that has crossed your path :)
  • Happy Birthday Ella! You are beautiful. And so is your parents' blog. You'll have many incredible illustrations of your early life to look back on when you're older :)
  • anna s
    Happy happy birthday cute little Elsa ! Very exciting first year of your life, I wish you all life so colorful and adventurous !
  • Happy Very First Birthday to a world class toddler! Your parents sure know how to make life exciting. Lucky for you they are clever and have documented it sooo well to look back on for when you sprout just a little more. Keep eating all that healthy yummy food they make for you!-and if you keep up the good behavior this might not be the last world trip they take you on! Look forward to hearing about the rest of your adventures in Thailand Elsa.
  • My niece is just over a year and she has gone through all of the same developments as Elsa has. It's such an incredible time... witnessing the changes during that first year. And what year this was for Elsa... and what great parents she has.
  • This also marks the one-year anniversary of my discovery of Green Kitchen Stories. I am in awe of your family, and feel like I know you without ever having met. So many congratulations... So many more blissful years to come!
    • Thank you Sarah! Yes, that's the funny thing about blogging, we sort of know each other!
  • Such a cutie! Happy Birthday little Elsa!
  • There's no year like the first, what a precious birthday. Happy birthday, Elsa!
  • Yebba
    Happy Birthday, Elsa! Keep on moving! I really love this blog ... greetings from Germany.
  • Happy Birthday Elsa!! I hope the day was full of love for your whole family. You are so lucky to have such wonderful parents and to get to grow up as a true child of the world. The post your parents made is beautiful, as they all are. I can't wait to make the pancakes for my little girl Emma. She's 8. Take care of each other, and happy first birthday sweet girl!
  • Mercy
    Grattis Elsa! Hope you all have a great day thanks for the recipe!
  • Soooo cute, happy birthday, little traveler!
  • The first year is truly an amazing experience for all. Happy first birthday Elsa!
  • Daniel
    Grattis Elsa!
  • Happy Birthday, sweet Elsa! She looks like the perfect blend between you two :) What lucky parents you are to have such a good little travel buddy, congrats!
  • Hjördís
    Beautifull post, And a Happy birthday Elsa, you are you beautifull little girl, and I really hope you will continue traveling! Have a great day!
  • Congratulations little Elsa!. I hope you keep rocking and changing your parents world. You are a little gorgeous ray of sunshine no matter which part of the world you are, thank you Mom and Dad for sharing Elsa´s milestones with us. ps. I´m trying this pancakes straight away. love the fact they are flourless!.
  • Dear Elsa, I've grown up nearly my entire life traveling, moving, and experiencing change. They call us TCK's (third culture kids) because we have no culture of our own. We live, breath, experience, and indulge in so many different cultures all across the globe. I only hope that you will continue traveling and experiencing in the years to come. You seem to be quite the little traveler and I'm sure you too will love the experience of being a TCK. You are beautiful. Elena
  • Blessed birthday Elsa sunshine! : ) Indeed, joy radiates from within you! Though I don't know you, I can say this, you are a blessed child! Keep smiling and waving at anyone and everyone, spread the love and overflowing joy God has placed in you! Love you! : )
  • Sini
    Happy birthday, Elsa! You are a truly charming little girl. I absolutely love the first picture of the post. Pure joy.
  • this is incredibly sweet and it will be amazing for her to read it one day. HAPPY BIRTHDAY!
  • Happy Birthday Elsa!
  • Elsa Elizabeth Carlson
    Happy Birthday Elsa! My little namesake! May you be blessed and ALWAYS appreciate your Mommy and Daddy! They love you so! You are an amazing baby, its true! I have seen you with my own eyes...Happy first birthday little girl...and I look forward to see what the NEST year will bring to your young lucky life! Love to you all... from Elsa Carlson and all the Carlsons here in Hollywood!
  • Happy birthday Elsa! You look adorable! Your parents are lucky to have you ... and vice versa!
  • She is so cute and adorable! Happy birthday Elsa! I wish you to find your way in live by making new paths and leaving a trail behind! :)
  • Rosie Kourian
    Beautiful post, dear Luise & David! HAPPY BIRTHDAY, little and most charming Elsa!! I wish you that the journey you have started your life with never ends... and that the blessings that you receive multiply daily! Lots of health and unforgettable moments to the three of you!!! P.S. Since my family and I (including our 18-month son) are flying to the Maldives the following tuesday and it would be a long journey, including 3 plane changes, I wanted to ask you to name a few of the things you would've liked to know before you started the journey with your little one...like tips to flying with a toddler, tips of what to bring, what to feed him with etc. would be appreciated and very helpful! Thank you in advance! All the best on this special day and all the following!
    • Dear Rosie! Thank you so much for your sweet comment! I hope this respond is not too late! Here are a few tricks that we have use when flying with Elsa. 1. During all our flights she has been nursing or gotten a bottle during take offs and landings (this helps to avoid ear pain). 2. The time from that you enter the flight until it takes off (about 30 min) has been the most difficult for us, since they want you to sit still in your seat, and Elsa wants to move around and meet new "friends". So we bring small new toys, that we don't show her until we are on the plane. They usually keep her occupied and sitting still during that time. 3. We also always bring a lot of snacks (fruit, boiled eggs, instant porridge, fruit smoothies from Ella's Kitchen or similar, rice crackers, sprouts etc.). Giving Elsa something to eat, is always a good trick to keep her calm. 4. After take-off, Elsa often falls asleep. When she wakes up we take turns on playing and walking around in the plane with her. Have a safe flight and a wonderful vacation! /Luise

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