Clare’s Carrot Cake

Every year, Clare has carrot cake for her birthday. Clare likes more carrots and more spices than most, so ideally, she can bake her own cake each year.

Clare‘s birthday

We celebrated in Thomas and Uli‘s garden. They got Indian take out that was so good. Then we had carrot cake. It was a good start to 43.

Late May

This May has been cold and wet, but there have also been some rainbows. When the clouds clear, we ride to some local parks. Rob and the kids play Ping Pong or basketball and I play Pokémon Go.

Thomas and Uli Shared some rhubarb from their garden. Among other things, I made a tasty rhubarb infused gin and tonic.

Meg got a starter for a sourdough „friendship cake“ and cared for it all week before baking it and sharing new starts with other friends. We flavored ours with a cinnamon bun ribbon swirled in and cinnamon Creme cheese frosting with a pecan smiley face. It was very tasty and a fun rainy day project.

It feels like summer is finally here

After almost a month of grey clouds and rain, the sun is shining and it is warm. We are so ready!

Meg helped me get a COVID Schnelltest so we could go shopping at Bauhaus with Uli to repair their tomato house at their garden. They are watching my plants during my US visit, including growing a tomato I started. It’s good to have friends. Thomas made us a delicious lunch while we worked.

Meg also has a friend spending the night today. We had a sushi feast on the balcony and watched a movie. Spencer is at another friend‘s house.

I also included a picture of Spencer‘s soccer practice. It’s far away because we are not yet supposed to go in the arena yet. But I walked by and got a picture because we don’t want to miss too much.

On my walk, I also found some roses that remind me of my childhood. It turns out that many of the special plants my mom‘s family liked are also popular in Germany. Mom says it is a Florabunda and that she started it from a start from her Aunt Margie. Fun to see it again here.

Happy German Father‘s Day Rob!

Germans celebrate Father‘s Day on Himmelfahrtstagen, or Ascension when celebrated in English. Typically guys go on a hike or bike ride. Here are some pictures from our ride to and hike around the Würselener Wald. The rapeseed fields are so photogenic! Clare made strawberry rhubarb filling and Rob made a delicious pie. Following are pictures from the next day when Spencer chose to join us. You can see he is thrilled.

Happy Mother’s Day

Enjoying ice cream by a fountain

It seems like Meg gets more excited about Mother’s Day each year. With the Corona pandemic, the kids have only been going to school every other day, and most activities are still cancelled, so Meg had extra time to work on gifts for Clare. She made a variety of different cards and paintings and such. I really like the pop-up style of cards she has been doing lately. They are really fun and creative.

One new idea Meg had this year was to make a room service menu. There are so many stories and movies in which kids make breakfast-in-bed for mom on Mother’s Day. The thing is, Clare doesn’t really like to eat breakfast in bed (and I agree). So instead, we just had breakfast at the table, but made it a bit special, and we let Clare decide ahead of time what she wanted. She decided on omelettes. I made the omelettes, while Meg made a fresh fruit salad.

After breakfast, we migrated upstairs to give Clare all of her presents.

Even though the weather in the week leading up to Mother’s Day was mostly wet and dreary, Mother’s Day itself turned out to be beautiful – almost too warm in fact, at about 26C (79F). We decided to take a bike ride to the park we recently discovered in Bardenberg. They have a nice table tennis table and basketball court, a large field great for picnics, and a sort of rope swing from a tree which Meg really likes. Spencer surpassed Rob at soccer and running a couple years ago already, but Rob frequently can still win at table tennis. It seems unlikely that will be the case for too much longer.

We also finally got to try out the new ice cream place – Delzepich. They have had a store in Aachen for a number of years, and are quite famous, but only recently opened a store in Würselen. They make the ice cream fresh every day, and when they run out, they close. They sell out nearly every day, and there is almost always a line. The lines are a lot longer at all places right now because of Corona, and you are not allowed to eat the ice cream within 50 meters of the establishment. Basically, they don’t want crowds of people without masks on, and you have to take off your mask to eat. No problem, we found a bench by a peaceful little pond full of turtles and fish. The ice cream was quite good, although I think that I might like Peppone better, and the line is usually shorter. Clare happened to have a gift certificate from as part of her going away present from her work colleagues, so the ice cream was already paid for (and we still have some money left, so we will be forced to go back 🙂 )

Vegan (Cashew) Nacho Cheese or Queso Dip

20210501_171813

Want a healthy, vegan alternative to nacho cheese dip? This recipe is what you are looking for! Though not required, I like the cooked version better than the uncooked.

Uno de Mayo

20210501_194858

Clare really wanted to celebrate Cinco de Mayo with a Mexican feast this year. We decided to do it a couple days early – on May 1st. It is a bit hard to come by Mexican ingredients here, but there is a Mexican grocery store in Aachen. It is mostly intended for restaurants, so has stuff in pretty big quantities usually, but that’s okay. They are also usually only open Monday through Friday 9-5, but fortunately Clare had some time to stop by.

Per our usual dinner party strategy, Rob focused on cleaning house and drinks, while Clare focused on the food; Meg focused on decorations and games to play. Spencer spent the night at a friend’s house, so he wasn’t around.

The menu included:

  • Tortilla chips with Vegan Queso Dip, salsa, and guacamole
  • Jalapeno poppers
  • Black beans
  • Pulled chicken
  • Rice
  • Mexican cabbage salad
  • Traditional margaritas
  • Virgin mandarin orange margaritas

For breakfast Thomas and Ulli made fresh blue corn tortillas with their tortilla press, and we used them, along with a bunch of the other leftovers, to make huevos rancheros.