Happy 10th Birthday Meg!

Meg celebrated her first decade on Saturday. She spent to day with one of her quarantine friends Jana. We started off with American pancakes for breakfast, pizza rolls for lunch, and then green mac & cheese for dinner. They also enjoyed the nice weather by playing in the park. Clare spent much of the day constructing the Minecraft themed cake. We sang happy birthday at 17:27, exactly 10 years after Meg took her first breath (9:27 Colorado time).

On Sunday Meg spent most of the day playing Minecraft, which was one of her birthday presents.

Happy 12th Birthday Spencer!

Singing Happy Birthday to Spencer – we are not good singers

Spencer had a great weekend in low key COVID style celebration. Spencer got to celebrate with his friend Andre IRL and other friends met him online. He enjoyed his presents: video games, a capture card for streaming, card games, Oreo ice cream cake, and a football.

Later on Sunday his friend Ella came over. She got him the card game Skyjo, which we have all been enjoying.

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Spencer and Clare

Will this coming year be the year he gets taller than mom? Let’s find out!

schlechtes Wetter

Frozen Fog

This weekend has been a mix of unpleasant weather: freezing rain, sleet, snow, and now the pretty but bone chilling frozen fog. Thank goodness for our warm, dry apartment.

Snow!

We woke up to a world covered in snow. This is probably the biggest snow we have gotten while living in Würselen. The kids made a snowman. Rob brought down a carrot and sticks to decorate their creation. Clare took pictures and make soup and cocoa.

When the sun is shining …

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Go outside!

It’s a simple concept, but easy to forget. The weather forecast for the Aachen region in January is typically rainy and 5? (40 ?). However, the sun usually peaks out for awhile most days. I have learned that when I notice the sun shining, that means that it is time to take a walk or a bike ride. I am lucky enough to have a very flexible work schedule which allows me to do this just about any day.

Lately it has been quite rainy in the afternoons and evenings, and even some pretty hefty storms overnight, but the mornings have often been clear. Today after we finished breakfast, Clare, Meg, and I took a walk to one of our favorite spots – the Milchtankstelle (milk vending machine), where we got some fresh raw milk and eggs, and also some fresh veggies from the adjacent farmer’s stand, which are currently simmering on the stove as lentil soup. We get to walk by the happy cows and chickens on our way, and spotted some pretty flowers and bushes on the way back.

Pumpkin Cornmeal Drop Biscuits

Pumpkin cornmeal drop biscuits fresh from the oven

Thanks to Melanie for introducing these drops of deliciousness into our lives over a decade ago. This recipe is adapted from the Moosewood Restaurant New Classics cookbook, but they use margarine to make this recipe vegan and Clare likes butter.

1/4 cup/ 55g butter
1 1/2 cup white flour
1/2 cup cornmeal
2 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
2 tblsp. brown sugar packed
1/2 c. pumpkin puree (not sweetened)
180 mL (3/4 c. plus 2 tblsp.) apple cider or juice

Preheat oven to 425 F (220 C).

Cut butter into small pieces and place in a medium bowl.

Sift in the flour, cornmeal, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Add the brown sugar and mix until lump free.

In another bowl, combine pumpkin puree and cider/juice.

Pour pumpkin purée mixture into flour mixture and stir briefly just until well blended.

Put parchment paper on baking sheet and
drop biscuits by 1/4 cups onto baking sheet.

Bake for about 20 minutes until puffed and very slightly brown around the edges.

Our family enjoys these biscuits alone, or with cream cheese and/or apple sauce.

Mistletoe & Holly

On our walk today, we got up close and personal with two festive plants. Mistletoe is actually a parasitic plant with poisonous berries. It forms balls in the tree branches. Now is a good time to cut them out of trees because they are highly visible without the leaves. Holly is both a bush and a tree, with pretty silver bark. Only the female holly plant produces berries.

Making Christmas cookies

As part of our St. Nicholas day celebration, we made Christmas cookies. Also pictured is Spencer preparing his shoes yesterday for St. Nick’s visit. It gives an idea of how much his feet have grown since we arrived (and that we still don’t really know how to dispose of old shoes). We all help with the cookies, but Meg has really taken on learning Rob’s Christmas cookie recipes, passed down from his mom. The peppernuts have been in his family for at least 5 generations, counting Meg and Spencer making them.