Thursday, December 2, 2010

Wunschliste fuer den Weihnachtsmann

Our five-year old's list for Santa:

a rabit
a natkakr
a rel pape and a barn pape
a klok
a prid dras
a rokikie
a plea pape
a plea kokatoow
a rel alf from yoo sata
a picsas bok bat a chrptr bok
som pride haeihel shoos
a pau dog bad

Anyone want to translate for Santa?

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Friends ...

This year's Thanksgiving has been rather unique at our house. We didn't really do anything special ... we played outside, we worked, we baked Christmas cookies, we ate Mac & Cheese (oh yes, we did - homemade and delicious), and we watched a movie. With our family all being back under one roof tomorrow we wanted to delay our "feast" and celebration. However, reading everyone's notes, mails, and posts, I started to feel a bit sentimental ... reflections filled my thoughts ... and I couldn't stop thinking about the amazing friends I have in my life. Some are fairly new friends and others have been in my life for almost 30 years. Some live right around the corner and others live on the other side of the globe. Some speak English and some speak German (or Italian, or Spanish, or French, just to name a few others). Some are young and some are not so young.
One thing is for sure - I'm extremely thankful for all of my friends!

After several weeks of unpredictability and uncertainty, I have come to realize how blessed I actually am, to be surrounded by such caring, helpful, and uplifting friends ... friends who out of the blue call and offer to take my kids for dinner and arts and crafts ... friends who give up much of their precious time just to listen to my stories ... friends who send prayers ... friends who drop off a new dishwasher on my porch because they heard that my old one broke ... friends who don't judge me when I have to pull out of a vacation that has been planned for months ... friends who bring over dinner just because ... friends who help financially ... friends who call just to hear how things are going ... friends who repeatedly offer to babysit my kids ... friends who surround me with love ... friends who care ....

I could go on and on, and it already is a rather overwhelming list. The sad part is that it took me being "shaken" out of my predictable life routine to realize what wonderful and amazing people are all around me. I hope I will always remember this and never take friendships for granted. Thank you to all of my friends for their amazing friendship - you all truly inspire me!

Happy Thanksgiving!

Monday, November 15, 2010

Baking ...

Being faced with a broken dishwasher and a sick child, I thought I'd distract myself by writing a bit ...

I love to cook and bake! Not only because I love to eat delicious foods, but also because the act of cooking (or baking) gives me an opportunity to slow down and think. J and C S want to help most of the time, but being reluctant to give up "my" time, I often encourage them to go play instead.

This weekend, however, we had plenty of time so we decided to make Pumpkin Doughnut Muffins together ... the most delicious Pumpkin Doughnut Muffins. I came across this recipe in the Everyday Food magazine and it seemed like a fun one to do with kids as there are many "easy" activities. I took some pictures on the way ...
If you are interested in the recipe for this delicious fall treat, here it is (or you can also get it from the Everyday Food website):

Preheat oven to 350. Butter and flour 12 standard muffin cups.

Batter: In a medium bowl whisk together 3 cups of flour, 2 1/2 tsp of baking powder, 1/4 tsp of baking soda, 1 tsp of coarse salt, 1/2 tsp of ground nutmeg, and 1/4 tsp of ground allspice.

In small bowl whisk together 1 1/4 cup of pumpkin puree and 1/3 cup of buttermilk.

In a large bowl, using an electric mixer, beat 1 1/4 sticks of butter and 3/4 cup of light-brown sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in 2 eggs, one at a time. Add flour and pumpkin mixture (alternating) and beat to combine.

Spoon batter into muffin cups and bake until a toothpick inserted in the center of a muffin comes out clean, about 30 - 35 minutes.

Sugar coating: combine 3/4 cup of granulated sugar and 2 1/2 tsp of cinnamon. Let muffins cool for 10 minutes in the pan on a wire rack. Working with one at a time, remove the muffins from pan, brush all over with melted unsalted butter (you will need 1/2 stick in total), then toss to coat in sugar mixture.


Sunday, November 14, 2010

Weekend adventures ...

Free weekends don't come along very often at our house. Knowing that this was going to be my last free weekend until at least the end of December I knew that I had to get out and do something fun with the kids! In addition, I had to keep my mind busy ...

So a trip on the Frontrunner to Ogden to visit the Ogden Nature Center seemed like the perfect choice! Growing up in the US, J and C S haven't had many chances of riding trains - during the summer they had mentioned several times that they would love to ride on the "doubledecker" train that you can see from the highway sometimes. So, this seemed to be a perfect kid-friendly combination of adventure. For $12 (round-trip including bus transfer to the ONC) we all boarded the train, and of course we had to sit on the top level. The second we started rolling J had to call M on the phone to tell him about every little detail of this train ride. It was good to see him talk with M in such an engaged conversation ... even C S joined in. 

When we arrived in Ogden we had to wait a while for our bus (in America buses only come every hour on Saturdays ... really?!?). No problem for the kids - C S immediately made friends with another girl who was also waiting for the bus, and J discovered a cool train engine to play on.

Once we finally arrived at the Nature Center we were greeted by beautiful views, deserted trails, and "cool" animals (turkeys and deer to be specific ... and a few birds of prey in cages). Oh, and by crisp air ... which of course the kids didn't mind. Their cheeks turned red quickly from running through the leaves, crawling through tunnels made of branches, digging in the water, climbing a tree house, chasing deer (sorry, deer) ... a perfect adventure on a cloudy fall day.

I enjoyed the calmness out on the "trail" - during our two hours there we ran into only one other family (sad, but true ... nobody else seemed to want to take advantage of this great place). The kids were busy and happy and I could put everything aside for a few hours.

We ended our day with a lovely dinner at a restaurant in Ogden, walked back to the train station in the dark, and headed back to SLC on the Frontrunner. Once we got home C S wanted to go to bed and she fell asleep within minutes of being tucked in ... that is when you know that the kids had a good day ... a sunny day!

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Here we go ...

After years of ignoring this whole blog thing I'm finally thinking I should give this a try. I have always been horrible at keeping journals ... I start writing and then about 3 weeks later the entries become scarce and then eventually nonexistent. Well, and then I'm still not convinced that writing a "journal" and then putting it out for everyone to see is my "thing." But I guess I will give it a try ...

What will I be writing about? Good question! I always thought it would be fun to collect stories about all the adventures my family and I are experiencing - our travels, hikes, local explorations, and activities. Many ups ... but maybe also some of our downs.

The kids and I try to be out as much as possible - there is nothing worse for me than to be stuck in the house with an 8 and 5-year old who are constantly getting at each other. So out we go ... hiking, the zoo, the library, the botanical garden, the planetarium, the swimming pool, the ice-cream shop ... the list is long. If it is a gloomy day we "look for the sun" with some fun indoor activities.

I picked the blog name "Der Weg zur Sonne" as it applies to so many things in my life. If it is finding something fun to do with my kids on a "boring" Sunday afternoon, or trusting that there is always something good hidden behind a tragedy, this attitude towards life has helped me through many tough times and continues to inspire me to keep my eyes ahead and my heart open. (Of course there are some things in life where it is hard to find the good ... keeping my eyes on the sun helps me to gravitate towards the people who can help me get my strength back to deal with whatever is going on.)

So here we go ... auf dem Weg zur Sonne ...