Autumn is hitting so hard it is turning into winter already! We had our first snow fall over the weekend.
I think fall is my favorite season in general, but this year everything about it makes me feel good – the warm colors, the cozy layers of clothes, the earthy, heavy foods, etc. I have been especially enjoying the foods. Here are some of my favorites from the past weeks. Note that because of supporting and rebuilding my crazy digestive system, all of the dishes are gluten-free and vegan versions
chestnut cream soup
butternut squash soup
roasted sweet potato slices
roasted pumpkin seeds
I am going to try a butternut squash pie recipe I found through Epicurious. I hope the kids give me some space to try it tonight (sometimes they go nuts when I try to cook, and we end up eating cold dinners).
Aside from the foods, the colors are also inspiring this year. Here is Clair helping me make some decorations while wearing her cookie monster costume from Grandma.
This is what we were making. She is finally big enough that I can make craft projects with her. She made a big developmental leap recently, and she is really into coloring and cutting. She had no interest in that stuff until recently, but she is starting to enjoy doing things with her hands. She colored all of the leaves and squirrels for our tree, and I cut them out and stuck them up.
We also took part of our GIGANTIC store of chesnuts and used them to help make a home made center piece for the table. It keeps changes as I use the parts of it that is food and if we find some nice new leaf or nut, those get added too. We have some acorns now too.
We are still in the princess phase, but she has decided that Princesses do Yoga so that is a bit easier for me to take. Observe, Princess Yoga
She was trying her hand at ‘make-up’ the other day and managed to use up all of her pink face paint mostly on her neck and forehead. I have not served as a very good example for her to learn how to put on makeup.
Clair is really, really liking her new Kindergarten now. I have thought a lot about getting her ready for that and supporting her in her new schedule. Suddenly, however, I realized that there is a second child around here, and she is not a baby anymore! She is home in the mornings with me two days a week, and I have to start planning stuff to do with her now. Luckily, in winter, the shopping centers have a lot of stuff just randomly set up. For example, the police were visiting the one mall where I get groceries sometimes. Lily LOVED sitting on the motorcycle. The cops even took a photo of the two of us on the bike and printed it for us. They were really nice.
In this past week, it was easy to plan a few things. The Krone circus was in Dultplatz (the big plaza two minutes from our house). We could hear lions roaring and seal lions barking throughout the day. They had a huge number of animals and had a zoo set up for people to visit them while they weren’t performing. Honestly, the zoo part was hard to take. There was a lot of documentation on the good care of the animals (who spend the winter in a larger facility in Munich), but it is hard to see a circus animals face and feel happy for them. Clair assured me that they were happy to see us, so they weren’t that sad.
Micha and her girls came with us to the circus itself, which was a three hour show with some animal performances and many acrobats/tumbling performances. The human parts were the best for me. Lily screamed “Wow, wow, wow!!” when the lights came up and there were like ten lions in the lion cage. She has been growling like a lion since then. Clair and her friend Emma didn’t move for like the first hour of the show because they were mesmerized. Luckily, we were in the back near one set of exit stairs so we could go in and out when the kids needed brakes. I think Clair’s favorite part was the popcorn, hands down.
Here is Micha with the girls after the show and what it looked like as they were setting up to start
Since we live in Germany, we get a couple of extra holidays in fall. There is a German Thanksgiving day, which, as far as I can tell, they only celebrate in the schools. Then, there is the St. Martin walk. I didn’t even know about this one until I had kids in the daycare system.
I have no idea how a lantern is tied to the story of the miracles of St. Martin, but the thing to do for the holiday is to make a lantern and then walk with a bunch of people on an evening in November holding your lantern and singing songs about St. Martin. The Kindergarten and daycare that we send our kids to does a week on St. Martin too and teaches the kids more about him than I will ever know. It is a Catholic Kindergarten, as you can tell.
So, we headed over to the Kindergarten one afternoon to work on Lily’s lantern. Clair made one on her own in Kindergarten, and it looks amazing. Since she has the skills, she basically decorated Lily’s all on her own. Lily only wanted to play and eat cookies, so that worked out well. When we get together with the kindergarten for the march, Clair is actually going to do her first march without the parents! Lily will hang out with us and destroy her lantern, and Clair gets to walk in the dark holding her lantern.
But, before they girls get to do St. Martins, we have an important ‘holiday’ from America, Halloween!! Micha is hosting a party at her house. It promises to be freezing by not raining, so there will be a bon fire and lots of warm food. Luckily, the girls have some warm costumes planned.
Clair decided to be a dragon this year, so we spent some time on the weekend converting a hand made cookie monster costume into a dragon. Step one in making a dragon costume is to have your mom send her an awesome cookie monster costume that still fits her!
I’ll post the final costume once I can get a photo of her wearing it. Not so easy at the moment.
In preparation for Halloween, we did the obligatory pumpkin carving.
It was Lily’s first time actually being involved in the process, and I think she is not a big fan yet.
Tentatively looking at the slimy goo I am pulling out.
Bravely touching a seed
touching that one seed was about all of the pumpkin she felt like touching
Clair, on the other had, was totally into it.
We also roasted the pumpkin seeds this year, which was a huge hit with everyone.
So far, the fall has been lovely and nurturing for all of us. We are eating warm, happy food and enjoying the holidays and even the weather. It is the earliest I have seen snow here. Our snow man was covered in leaves because there hasn’t been time to clean them up yet. It is properly cold now too. There is a bite in the air that wasn’t there last week. We have also changed the clocks so the sun sets just before five.
I do love this time of year, but part of me is also smiling at the idea of flying out to Phoenix and six weeks of sunshine in December! Cold weather is best when there are breaks of sunshine in the middle of winter.