Applesauce time!

My mother says the best applesauce apples are Gravensteins. And I must agree! They are full of flavor and no extra sugar or juice is needed.

We discovered, last year, that they have Gravenstein apples in Germany. I’ve never seen them in the grocery store, but found them at a roadside vendor and at a farmers market.

Last weekend we checked out our local roadside vendor and found the Gravensteins were in! YES! Applesauce time…

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Oh the sweet smell of cooking apples. ūüôā

Papa, let’s build a house‚Ķ¬†with a tower!

“Papa B, let’s build a house‚Ķ¬†with a tower!”

Those were the words that started a summer-long project. Papa B, the construction foreman, and his two apprentices, began to work. They have learned to saw, to pound nails, to use clamps, to measure, and many other valuable things. Thanks, Papa B!

It all started, of course, with some conceptual, semi-architectural drawings of what they wanted.
It all started, of course, with some conceptual, semi-architectural drawings of what they wanted.
Just about the right height for two seven year olds… and don't forget the safety helmet!
Just about the right height for two seven year olds‚Ķ¬†and don’t forget the safety helmet!
From the side… it even has a window!
From the side… it even has a window!
Using the screw gun!
Using the screw gun!
Everyone get's a turn!
Everyone get’s a turn!
Working with the clamp.
Working with the clamp.
Measuring with their own measuring tapes.
Measuring with their own measuring tapes.
That's loud!
That’s loud!

Summer time and loving it!

Summer in American with the grandparents is a wonderful time. Exploring, learning, tasting, relating. The time is going too fast!

In America and with the Grandparents
In America and with the Grandparents
"We've got some sawing to do boys."
“We’ve got some sawing to do boys.”
Staining the deck‚Ķ¬†yes, more stain was on the deck than on the kids¬†‚ÄĒbarely.
Staining the deck‚Ķ¬†yes, more stain was on the deck than on the kids¬†‚ÄĒbarely.
The kids discovering a genuine American water fountain.
The kids discovering a genuine American water fountain.
Eating at Zeke's. You have to stop at Zeke's when crossing Stevens Pass.
Eating at Zeke’s. You have to stop at Zeke’s when crossing Stevens Pass.
It was delicious, and so was the view.
It was delicious, and so was the view.
Emile and I celebrating our 44th birthday.
Emile and I celebrating our 44th birthday.
A daddy-date at the local malt shop.
A daddy-date at the local malt shop.
"Look ma, I can ride a bike!"
“Look ma, I can ride a bike!”
Tis blackberry season. You should've seen the pie we made!
Tis blackberry season. You should’ve seen the pie we made!
Just beautiful!
Just beautiful!
Papa B's little helper.
Papa B’s little helper.
Did you know it can snow in July?
Did you know it can snow in July?
On a hiking adventure.
On a hiking adventure.
A rest with Papa B.
A rest with Papa B.
Overview of Wenatchee
Overview of Wenatchee

Wandern ist des M√ľllers Lust‚Ķ¬†

One of the boys’ classes was going on a school outing to an old castle 30 minutes drive south of Erfurt. Papa B was going to be here, too, so we made a Man-Day. A few days before the preparations went into full swing: we bought manly snacks and packed them in our manly backpacks. The email from the organizers said that though you could drive there, some would meet at a bus stop in a nearby village and hike to the castle. Well, that sounded manly, so that’s what we were going to do.

The day arrived, beautiful and sunny. We got everything ready, filled our water bottles and got our hiking shoes on, and set out for the village. We got there, just in time. After the bus came and went on which the other hikers were supposed to come, and no one got off, we knew that we’d missed something.

Well, there was nothing to do but to start hiking.

We saw many wonderful things… 

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… including brilliant fields of raps

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… deer stands

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(‚Ķ¬†and cows, many dandelions which got decapitated, sheep/goats, hippies, but sadly dad didn’t think of taking pictures of those)

‚Ķ¬†and finally, the castle itself (where the hippies live). We got there about 40 minutes too late. I guess dad had done the manly thing and wasn’t detailed enough in his planning.

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And where were the others? They either drove all the way to the castle or started from a nearer village. We ended up walking a total of 10 KM there and back! That’s pretty good. Its good we had our manly snacks along, otherwise we would’ve run out of fuel for the way back.

I was so proud of my boys!

When Gram and Papa B come visiting… 

Planting an apple tree.
Planting an apple tree.
Holding baby.
Holding baby.

Its always wonderful when Gram and Papa B come visiting. On the way home from school one day, Papa B was telling the boys how if you planted an apple core, you might get an apple tree to grow. However, the apples wouldn’t be the same as the one you planted. The boys thought having their very own apple tree would be a good idea. So, when they got home, Papa B got out the spade, and they buried the apple core, watered it, and then put up a sign where we planted it. And now the waiting begins. The boys were sure, they’d see something growing by this summer. We’ll see!

Building Legos with a Bear

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I never knew bears built Legos, but recently this was true in our little town of Erfurt.

One of the amazing ministries in Erfurt that we (as a Student ministry) support is B√§renstark, a Christian initiative to impact kids who come from rough social backgrounds in the “inner city” areas of Erfurt. Besides offering big brother, big sister relationships to the kids, they also put on monthly kids programs.

That’s where the Legos come in. B√§renstark brought in a couple along with their over 200,000 Lego pieces to build a Lego city in the ministry center. Every day kids, and even local school classes, came in to build legos and to hear a little about how God loves them. The boys and I went as well, as something for for the boys to do, and for me to help the kids who came. By the end of the week we stood in amazement at the Lego city that had been built (sorry, I don’t have a picture of it all), as well as the hundreds of kids who had come through the door, many of them for the first time.

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Beautiful Erfurt

Erfurt at Night

Erfurt is a beautiful city and historically very significant. Erfurt is where Martin Luther was a University students, a monk, and later a priest. At that time Erfurt was printing nearly half the books for all of Germany, and every monastic order had a chapter house in the city. If you like European history, Erfurt and the surrounding region had no small part to play in it.

A lesson in dissection

This time of year is always a fantastic time to bone up on your scalpel skills‚Ķ¬†not that ours are particularly good to begin with. One of my fondest memories as a boy is getting dressed up and visiting the local US base (I didn’t live in the U.S.) and supplementing my candy stash. It was a lot of fun.

Three years ago we had just moved in to our apartment. October 31st rolled around when suddenly the door bell rang. Were we surprised to find two or three German kids all dressed up at the door, saying: “S√ľsses oder Saueres!” We were totally surprised (is Halloween here now, too?) and unprepared. Well, this year we were ready. Part of that prep was to carve our first ever pumpkin with the boys. Enjoy!

This, my boys, is the brains…
This, my boys, is the brains…
… which you cut off like so…
… which you cut off like so…
… but, you gotta get your hands in there… 
… but, you gotta get your hands in there… 
… go for it boys!
… go for it boys!
Brains are sticky!
Brains are sticky!
Spoons are also helpful.
Spoons are also helpful.
Time to do plastic surgery! Let's see… the eyes go here.
Time to do plastic surgery! Let’s see‚Ķ¬†the eyes go here.
Surgery!
Surgery!
Looks about right! :D
Looks about right! ūüėÄ