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.
This was our second Easter during the global pandemic. In 2020, our trip to the United States was cancelled. In 2021, our stay at a vacation rental in the nearby Eifel national park was also cancelled. Nevertheless, we tried to make the best of our staycation. We had some tasty food like hard-boiled eggs, chocolate candies, and a lamb cake, which reminded me of a pound cake, but in the shape of a lamb.
We had hoped to do a bunch of hiking, but it turns out the weather was pretty bad most of the week too, alternating between snow, sleet, hail, rain, and graupel. Meg organized a board game marathon. We played a number of rounds of Settlers of Catan, The Game of Life, Azul, King Domino, Skyjo, Hell, Set, Uno, and Monopoly Deal. I think Meg won the tournament overall. There was one game of Hell where I won in 2 rounds. We all seem to have different games that we excel at, which is fun. At some point during the week Meg and Spencer invented Supersiedler, in which they played Settlers of Catan just the two of them, but they used all four colors, so each person played with both colors, and they played up to twenty points. Also a good variation.
Meg also made an Easter card, which you can see above. She wrote the poem herself.
The easter bunny he is so funny he likes to hop and do the pop the kids find his eggs and they run with their legs he eats carrots just like parrots
One of the great traditions I learned from my mom is hot cross buns. I have taken the tradition from her and been making them with the kids for several years now. As a kid I remembered having them for Easter, and at some times during Lent as well, even though one should technically be fasting. The last couple years I had been waiting until Easter to have them, but I learned last year that I had been doing it wrong – they should actually be made and eaten on Good Friday, so that is what I did this year.
Meg and I had lots of fun making them. Spencer helped out with the frosting part. I also decided to put the recipe on the website too, in case you want to try it at your house. They came out particularly good this year.
In addition to hot cross buns, we also made cream cheese mold cookies. I am actually not sure what they are called. My mom made them with Meg a couple years ago when we were visiting them in Michigan, and Meg thought they were super cool. My mom gave us a couple of her candy molds so we could make them ourselves. Clare tried to make them with Meg once last year, but they ran out of powdered sugar and gave up. We also used up so much powdered sugar that we had to ask a friend for some more for the hot cross bun icing.
We made green mint trees, lemon yellow stars, orange sunflowers, and red almond roses ( and also some yellow roses, because the stars didn’t come out very well). I remember my mom making these for church events when I was young, but I don’t really remember helping. After some trial and error with the consistency, I realized that I needed to take the mention of “play-dough” in the recipe seriously. The dough needs to be quite stiff in order for it not to stick in the molds.
In addition to tasty treats, we also have been enjoying all the magnolia trees in bloom. Clare and I took a long walk today while the sun was peaking out and snapped a few pictures.
Meg has been pretty excited about April Fool’s day for a couple years now. This year was no exception. She stayed up late and also woke up early to organize all sorts of different pranks for us to discover. They were mostly all harmless and fun. She really enjoyed it. Probably the best prank, which is not pictured, was putting some dry pasta underneath the toilet seat. Then when you sit on it, it cracks loudly, and you think for a moment that you have just broken the toilet, until you see the cracked pasta on the floor.
Taking pictures of food is fun, isn’t it? I wanted to share a few fun food pictures we have taken over the last couple months, which I have neglected to publish.
This morning I made hard-boiled eggs, and one exploded while cooking. Clare liked it anyways. (I had actually been going for soft-boiled, but they cooked a bit too long).
I heard somewhere that it is healthy to eat a variety of differently colored food. My plate yesterday had green, orange, purple, white, and brown. I don’t think it gets much better than that.
One of my favorite tv shows is Saturday Night Live, and I enjoy watching old skits on YouTube. I have also introduced the kids to these. They particularly like the fake commercials. One of our favorites is the Taco Town commercial, which is making fun of Taco Bell creating ever bigger combinations of food. Clare recently found a Mexican store in town and bought a bunch of hard taco shells, so I got inspired to try the soft and hard shell combination. It works really well. I have not added blueberry pancakes yet though.
Meg has become a big fan of artful plating of food. Here are a couple of her recent creations.
Awhile ago we got a roll from the bakery which ended up having a bit of a strange shape. It looked like it was smiling at us. We were certainly smiling after eating it.
Today I made pizza in celebration of pi day (although I made it square, because that fits our pans better). I used the special pizza flour, which made it really elastic. I also tried my hand at tossing the dough instead of rolling it out, which worked fairly well. I made about 1/3 plain cheese for Spencer and 2/3 veggie for everyone else, with onions, yellow peppers, mushrooms, and onions.
It has been really rainy here the last several days. Last night there was some a big of lightning combined with hail. The forecast for the next several days looks similar. However, in spite of the rain, there are frequently some brief dry periods. Yesterday after dinner we took such an opportunity to take a short walk. It was still a bit chilly and windy, but at least not raining. We saw some daffodils blooming along the way.
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.
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.
Will this coming year be the year he gets taller than mom? Let’s find out!
Today I made two different vegetable purée soups: carrot fennel and pea sage butter and served them together in the same bowl.
Speaking of good combinations, Spencer brought flowers to a Valentine.