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: The Little Smeerlap

With Thanksgiving come and gone, it is now officially Christmas season! The brisk weather ushers in a time where we may blast carols without being chided, wear obnoxiously bright green and red everything, and throw glitter around like no one’s business. The hustle and bustle of this time of year may be the source of a little stress for some, but deep down we love preparing for and spending this special day celebrating our Lord’s birth with our family and friends. For the month of December, I will be sharing stories close to our family’s heart, stories told to us by our Beppe. These have been the cause of much laughter at our family gatherings but also a source of wisdom, lessons to be learned, and fond memories. Please, grab a cup of coffee, some delicious, flaky banket, and come into our home! You may feel a little cozy squeezed between Aunt Elaine’s laughter, Uncle Gerald’s soft spoken stories, and who knows how many grand kids at your feet. We welcome you!

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We sell these as a fundraiser for a local school!

 

Growing up, we would often spend time with our Pake and Beppe while dad was working and mom ran errands. There have been tales of the grand children being stuck there because a “Nor’easter” blew in and stranded us there for the night. Eventually someone would plow a tractor down the road to pick us up, but we were always more than happy to stay with them until then! Here is a story told by Beppe of one winter when she and Pake took seven grandchildren for a whole week. The Richard in this story is my younger brother, whom has always been a little rascal… still is sometimes!
Katherine

“I often had them sit around the table, playing with play dough. One time, little Richard (this would be Richard Jr., my younger brother) who was four years old, got tired of it and started to throw play dough balls. Pake felt he had to put a stop to that immediately. He said “Quit that, you little smeerlap.” Richard responded promptly, “you’re a little smeerlap yourself.” Smeerlap, translated freely, means “dirty rascal”. It was so funny and Pake loved it, but I told him “Don’t tell Rich and Ann tonight!” When they got tired of the play dough I would send them down to the basement to play. One time, when they went down I heard excited screaming. The basement was flooded! They had already taken their socks off and were ready to wade in the water! So, upstairs again we go!”

Audrey Appel

I can’t imagine trying to entertain all of us, but I do remember playing with play dough quite often! I specifically remember making birds, complete with a nest and little eggs! We also made snakes, but I don’t like those as well 😉

richard
Look at his little angel face!

Creamy Pumpkin Pie

If you had to choose, which pie is absolutely essential on Thanksgiving?

When I was growing up, we gathered each year for Thanksgiving at my Aunt and Uncle’s house.  The cousins all played in the basement while the adults chatted upstairs.  Then, after our prayer of thanks, we would pile our plates with way too much food and scurry off to the “kids table.”  I couldn’t wait until I would be old enough to eat at the adult table.  Turns out, it was more fun at the kids table.  Isn’t that the way it is in life?  You look forward eagerly to the next chapter in life, then realize that you are already pretty blessed right where you are.

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One year my mom was asked to bring “the pies.”  Thinking that it meant ALL of the pies, she churned out seven pies.  Each family also brought a few pies.  At this particular festive gathering, there were 21 people and 22 pies.  We call it, “The Year of the Pies.”  There were fruit pies, cream pies, and mince meat pies, but the pies that disappeared the fastest were the pumpkin pies.

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Creamy Pumpkin Pie

  • 9-inch pastry shell
  • 1 1/2 cups Quark
  • 1 tablespoon frozen orange juice concentrate, thawed
  • 1 1/2 cups canned pumpkin (not pumpkin pie filling)
  • 3 eggs
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1/4 teaspoon cloves

 

Preheat oven to 350° F.  Blend the Quark and orange juice in a mixer on low speed until smooth.  Add pumpkin, eggs, sugar, and spices.  Increase the speed to medium and mix for 2 minutes.  Pour into the pastry shell.  Bake for approximately 1 hour or until a knife inserted in the center of the pie comes out clean.  Cool on a rack for 30 minutes, then chill at least two hours or overnight before serving.  Top with whipped cream if desired.  Makes 6-8 servings.