Christmas at the Appel’s

Christmas at the Appel household is always a special time. Laughter and hugs abound as we try to fit five families into one living room, but before we bow our heads to pray (and then eat!) we have a tradition. We read from a passage in the Bible, and listen to a few stories about the incredible workings of the Lord in our family. This quote is from the book Beppe put together, a precious thought to remember during this season.

“Who can describe the love, joy, and feeling of fulfillment that comes with a first born? Our Lord came in to the world that way. Such a humble beginning on earth for the Prince of Peace. It is a great mystery, and it changed the world. How can we ever be thankful enough for His unchanging love and mercy for us, His children?”

-Audrey Appel

Then, after our devotions, we sing!

 

Not going to lie, we have a pretty solid chorus of clear, strong voices complete with various harmonies. However, what stands out even more is the passion behind these voices. Voices reflecting lives broken, but pulled together again by the grace of God. Whole families who have had their trials, but are together for this day, because we are celebrating the birth of our Savior, and no squabble tops that. Hearts open in praise, because they can’t, and won’t, be held back.

I know Pake is singing his heart out in heaven, joining his rich baritone voice with his brothers and sisters in continuous praise to our Lord. But I also like to think maybe he takes a little break to peer into our living room full of family, and listen. The lessons he taught along with Beppe, continue to be taught by their sons and daughters, and someday will hopefully be taught by their grandchildren. A legacy of unchanging love and mercy never to be forgotten, and a Lord who deserves our highest praise.

Chris, Tyler, Shelby

Merry Christmas everyone! May you find your song, whatever it may be, and sing your heart out this Christmas season. Thank you for reading along 🙂

 

Stories from Beppe: Christmas Treats

Christmas time brings about some of the most delicious treats, reserved specifically for the holidays. The fall kicks off with Pumpkin flavored everything while the holiday season ushers in a festive selection of eggnog, candy canes, and star shaped cookies. We joyfully plunge into decor and gifting with anticipation of the big day, while trying to keep our calm weaving through the madness that is the mall.

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These classic sugar cookies are sold in our baked goods case! Can you guess our secret ingredient?

Let me, or rather Beppe, take you back to a simpler time. At the young age of 7, Beppe’s first Christmas away from home was spent with some local relatives. She has fond memories of her first Christmas tree and the treats that made the day special.

During Christmas vacation, I went to stay with some relatives about 8 miles away from where we lived. My uncle and aunt had one son and one daughter, both much older than I. Never in all the times I spent with them through the years did I ever feel unwelcome. It was in their home I saw a Christmas tree for the first time. The little tree was just a small artificial one, but oh, the wonder of it! I helped my cousin decorate it with glittering balls, real candles, and a little angel on the top!

In the Netherlands, we celebrated First Christmas Day and Second Christmas Day. First Christmas Day, (the 25th of December) was like any other Sunday except the pastor preached from the book of Luke or on the prophesies of Jesus’ birth. On Second Christmas Day, (the 26th) we attended church again, but this time the choir sang. Then in the afternoon service, the Sunday school children recited some Bible verses and we each got a cup of hot chocolate. We as Sunday school children also received a book and an orange. I too, got an orange. When we arrived home, my aunt cut a little hole in the top of the orange into which she put a little sugar. I could spoon the delicious juice into my mouth, what a treat!

Do you have a favorite treat? Some little thing to transport you back to a simpler time? For Beppe, it is a little orange with a spoon full of sugar. For me, it’s a pretty tin can filled with flavored (and somewhat stale) popcorn. This was the traditional Christmas tree decorating snack in our farmhouse. Even in my new home, I can’t help but grab a tin while holiday shopping! I hope you find that simple pleasure this Christmas season, and I hope even more you find the time to enjoy it!

Marshmallows

 

 

Cranberry Bundt Cake

Christmas time at the Cheese Shop is a magical time.  One of my favorite things is having all the kids coming Christmas shopping with their parents.  Kids get so excited about the season and the joy is contagious.

Child looking at the cheese
Checking out the variety of cheeses in the case
Daisy at the cow
Every child should learn where milk comes from

Christmas is the laughter of the children, smells of baking, frosty mornings, and warm fires.  Christmas is home, family, faith, and tradition.

Cranberry Bundt Cake

Christmas is also cranberries!  Cranberry Bundt Cake has been a family favorite for several years now.  Quark makes the cake moist and rich, without being heavy.  This is my son’s all time favorite holiday dessert, he has been known to bring home a can of cranberry sauce from the grocery store and hand it to me along with my bundt pan.

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Cranberry Bundt Cake

Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup butter, softened
  • 1-1/2 cups sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons almond extract
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 cups Quark
  • 1 can (14 ounces) whole-berry cranberry sauce

Icing (optional)

  • 3/4 cup confectioners’ sugar
  • 4 teaspoons milk (approximately)
  • 1/2 teaspoon almond extract

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350  Grease and flour a 10 inch bundt pan.
  2. Combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a small bowl.  Set aside.
  3. In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Stir in extract.
  4. Add the flour to the creamed mixture alternately with Quark, beating well after each addition.
  5. Spoon 2/3 of the batter into the bundt pan. Top with the cranberry sauce. Spoon the remaining batter over the cranberry sauce and smooth to the edges.
  6. Bake for 65-70 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool for 10 minutes before removing from pan to a wire rack.
  7. Sprinkle cooled cake with sifted powdered sugar or drizzle warm cake with icing.
  8. For Icing: combine icing ingredients until smooth, add more milk if necessary to get the right consistency.

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