Saturday, October 17, 2009

Oma's Apfelkuchen

Oma's Apfelkuchen
Originally uploaded by Starrbyrd
I love apples.

I love anything made of apples. I have yet to try an apple-based dessert that I didn't like. This fall I've already made applesauce twice, apple crisp twice and now Oma's Apfelkuchen. You'll have to take my word for it, it's delicious.

Or you could try to make it yourself and taste how delicious it is. It's actually very easy to make and you should have most ingredients to make it on hand. All you need are at least 2 or 3 apples. I used honeycrisp apples for this one and they were quite large so it only took 1 1/2 apples to cover the whole cake.

Oma Herrmann's Apfelkuchen (Apple cake)

1 1/2 sticks of butter (3/4 cup)
1 1/4 cup sugar
3 eggs (I actually used two because I didn't have three and it turned out fine)
1 tsp vanilla
1 1/2 cup flour
1 tsp baking powder
2-3 apples
cinnamon sugar to taste

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Grease cake pan (I use a springform pan) with butter and then dust with cinnamon sugar.

Mix butter, sugar, eggs and vanilla together. Add in flour and baking powder.

Pour into prepared pan.

Cut apples and arrange on top. Sprinkle with cinnamon sugar.

Bake in oven for 1 hour or until toothpick comes out clean.

Eat warm or cool. In Germany it's customary to top with whipped cream and enjoy with a cup of coffee for afternoon "Kaffee".

Enjoy! And let me know if you enjoyed it.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Now he's 5!

The day has come when my "baby" is no longer a baby anymore. He's not a toddler, or a preschooler, but a real "little boy." He no longer needs diapers or pull-ups or a sippy cup. He can feed himself, make his own bed (granted, not very well), get dressed by himself, put on his own shoes and socks (though he hasn't learned to tie laces yet) and can pour his own cereal into his bowl (though I still help with the milk). He can express he needs, desires, wishes and dreams. He can almost ride a bike without training wheels. He draws wonderful pictures full of details and can tell amazing stories. He's beginning to hold his own with his older (bossy) sister, but still gives in to her much of the time simply because he is a peace-keeper and doesn't like to see people unhappy. After a bit of a socially rocky start, he's found his niche among his classmates in preschool and is universally well liked.

My "baby" has developed into this amazingly caring, unbelieveably sweet, stirringly sensitive and highly inquisitive little person.

How can it be that just 5 years ago we went into the hospital anticipating meeting this new little stranger who was going to become a part of our family. We had so many unanswerable questions about who this new little person was going to be and how he'd fit into our family. How could we love another child as much as we loved our first? Who would he look like? Would we love having a son as much as we loved having a daughter?

These questions seem so ridiculous now in retrospect, but at the time they were truly thoughts that were going through our heads. Five years later I feel we know the answers to those questions, though now we have so many more. We know having a son was one of the greatest gifts I could have ever received. I love having a daughter, but I truly believe there is also something very special between a mother and son. Had I had my choice, I would have chosen a 2nd daughter and every day I'm so grateful the choice was not mine to make. Furthermore, to have been blessed with such a sensitive, caring and truly sweet little boy has enriched my life more than I can ever express. As for how he would fit into our family, well, I can't imagine our family without his kind heart and generous, giving nature.

It was impossible to imagine as I first looked into the face of this newly born screaming little stranger 5 years ago today, what a gentle, soft-spoken tender hearted little man he would grow up to be. As for what kind of little boy he'll be in another 5 years, I can't really say. So many new experiences and changes lie ahead of him and all of us and it's hard to say how they will effect him. I'm really nervous about his starting Kindergarten next year. He's so young, so sensitive, so innocent yet, and I worry that he will start to lose those qualities, qualities that I see as such an integral part of who he is. I hope that isn't the case. I hope that while he is bound to grow, change and develop that he will always stay a bit my "sweet little boy" forever.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

What's really appropriate?

Last week Alyssa came home and told me the following story. We have had some good laughs about it already and thought I'd share with you too.

Scene: We are in the car on our way to Gymnastics

Alyssa: Mommy, something bad happened at school today.

Me: Oh, what happened?

Alyssa: At recess we were playing soccer and one of the other boys kicked the ball really hard and hit another boy in the nuts.

Me: (a little surprised and quite amused at her using the term "nuts" since it's not one we've ever used at home) Oh dear. Did he cry?

Alyssa: Yes. He was really crying. Clay ran to get the playground teacher.

Me: Oh dear. Well, that was the right thing to do. That can really hurt. But, what are "nuts"?

Alyssa: That's the word for his "boy bits" or "privates". (wait a few beats....... and after some serious thought...) But I think it's not appropriate to say "boy bits" or "privates" at school, you just say "nuts."

(!!!) LOL

I simply had to laugh. Though I did correct her and say while "nuts" isn't a bad word, it's really more appropriate to say "privates" or "private parts" instead.

Not sure if it translates well to the written word, but let me tell you, her delivery was just TOO funny. She was so serious about the fact that it was more "appropriate" to say "nuts"!

Monday, March 16, 2009

Early Dismissal Days

Today is one of those Early Dismissal days from Alyssa's school for parent-teacher conferences, and perhaps I'm a little crazy, but I'm actually enjoying having both my children home with me for the afternoon. Granted, ask me by Friday and I might be visualizing a "happy place" where both children are in school for 6 hours a day, but right now, this minute, I'm happy they are home.

Perhaps it is because I just signed my "baby" up for Kindergarten next year just last week and it's becoming clear that time is flying faster than I'd care to admit. Possibly it is because I've been having to contemplate finding part-time work due to hubby's unstable work situation and it's dawning on me just how fortunate I've been to be home with my children these last few years. More likely it is because at this very moment they are playing so beautifully together, proof enough of that is that I'm able to type more than one sentence without interruption. Whatever the reason, I'm feeling a bit nostalgic for the days when we actually had more playtime together during the week -- before my daughter went to school full-time.

It's truly a case of "the grass is greener" though, isn't it?

I'm sure another SAHM who is the thick of child rearing with two young preschool or younger children, must think I'm a bit off for not rejoicing more in the time away from children, than mourning the lack of time with them. I certainly felt that way at times when I was busy at home with two young children; and don't get me wrong, there are many days after sending one off to preschool with his father and putting the other one on the bus for school, that I come home, pour myself a cup of tea and rejoice in the peace of my quiet, empty home.

There are certainly days that I'm extremely grateful my children have reached a level of independence that grants me the freedom to sit here and share a few thoughts, indulge in a cup of tea and sneak a personal moment during the hectic day. Yet it is also dawning on me that these same freedoms are paid for in the currency of less down-time for my children, less time for them to play together as they are right now and, most significantly, less snuggle time and play time for us together.

So call me crazy, but I'm grateful today is a half-day of school and that spring break is coming in just a few weeks. We have no big plans, but that's ok. In the end what really matters is simply having time. Heaven knows it flies by much too fast as it is.