More Answered Prayers

We have had a whirlwind of activity lately, but things have finally calmed down.  As Micah is fond of saying, “Pheuf!”

The decision of “what’s next?” for our family has been weighing heavily on Aaron and I for a long time now.  We hoped to find the right place for Aaron to practice medicine after residency, in the right location for our family, with the right financial compensation.  Our worry, of course, was that these things would not all fall into place, or that we wouldn’t agree on what was “right.”  Our prayer was that God would make things very clear for us, leading us to the place He wants us to be.  We were really hoping that another difficult, stressful decision would not need to be made.

Our prayers were answered once again!  God did make this decision easy and clear.  (You would think that, by now, we would have learned to trust God, and not bother with all that worrying . . .)  Aaron has accepted a position with the St. Mary’s Physician Group in Walla Walla, WA.  He will start August 3rd, 2009.  We are both very excited about this, and eager to start shopping for our 1st house and planning for our move.  We’ll be taking 6 weeks off between residency and starting the new job, and are very much looking forward to some relaxing family-fun time.

We had a lot to be Thankful for this week, and I’m looking forward to sharing more.

Caramel Apple Crumble

Just in case you need a last-minute dessert for your Thanksgiving meal . . .

I served this dessert, which received many compliments, at the company dinner that we hosted last Tuesday.  Many people asked for the recipe, so I thought I would share the recipe and directions here:

Start with a recipe for Apple Bundt Cake that you tasted at a friend’s house.  Have your good friend write it down for you, and scan the ingredient list before going to the store.  At the store, realize that your dear 3-year old managed to get in the car without shoes on.  Oh well, he can shop in his socks today.  Pick up some OJ, along with the rest of the groceries for your dinner.  Then, realize that you don’t own a bundt pan.  Stop by Value Village to look for a used one.  No bundt pans, but they do have a used pressure-cooker for only $15!  Resist the temptation to buy yet another kitchen item that would only be used once-a-year or so.  Go look at the kid’s shoes so you won’t have to be (as) embarrassed in the next store.  You’re in luck!  They have a nice pair of gently-used hiking boots in sweet toddler’s size for $5.

Head across the parking lot to Linens ‘n’ Things going-out-of-business sale.  Get distracted by all kinds of other really neat kitchen goodies *on sale*!  Again, resist the temptation to a) buy yourself something right before Christmas, and b) buy more kitchen gadgets that would only be used a couple times a year.  You’re in luck, though!  They have a very pretty bundt pan *on sale*!

Return home.  Finally get two boys in bed for their naps, and clean like crazy! You have lots of people coming tomorrow! When kids wake up, figure out something for dinner.  After making, serving, and cleaning up dinner, have your 3-year old “help” you make the cake.  (He’s really good at fetching apples from the garage!)  It turns out it’s quite a bit more involved than you  planned, but it looks like it will be a beautiful cake.  Pop it in the oven.

Mmmmm.  It smells really good, and the top is perfectly golden-brown.  Let it cool enough to touch.  When turning it out on the counter, accidentally dump it all over the place, so it lands in one big crumbling heap instead of the nicely shaped pretty ring-of-fancy-cake.  Resist the temptation to cry – it’s just food.

Ok, now gather yourself together.  Good thing you just cleaned the counter.  Scoop up the mess and put the whole thing into an ordinary 9×11 baking pan.  Finish the crumbling job by breaking up any big pieces.  Call Becky desperately for her caramel sauce recipe.

Look back at the recipe, and notice that it says, “cool for at least one hour.”  The way it was hand-written, it was hard to tell if that part came before or after the “turn cake onto rack.”  Hmmm.  Next time try letting it cool longer.

Shortly before your company arrives the next day, pop the 9×11 into the oven on “warm” for about 45 minutes.  When it comes out, drizzle the caramel sauce over the top.  Serve with a smile.

When dinner is over and guests have gone home, collapse from exhaustion.

Here are the recipes for you to enjoy!

Apple Cake:

  • 4 medium apples (1 1/2 pounds), peeled, cored, and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 5 T. plus 2 1/2 cups sugar
  • 2 tsp. Cinnamon (plus a little extra for the batter.)
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 cup Vegetable oil (I used 1/2 cup applesauce and 1/2 cup vegetable oil)
  • 1/4 cup Orange Juice
  • 1 T. Orange Zest
  • 1 tsp. Vanilla
  • 3 cups Flour
  • 3 1/2 tsp. Baking Powder
  • 1/2 tsp. Salt
  • Preheat Oven to 350.  Grease a 12-cup Bundt Pan
  • Mix the apples with 5 T sugar and cinnamon in a bowl.  Set aside.  Combine 2 1/2 cups sugar with eggs, oil, orange juice, orange zest, and vanilla in a large bowl.  Blend on medium.
  • Measure dry ingredients, sift, and add to batter.  shake in a little cinnamon.  Beat until blended.
  • Spoon 1 1/2 c. batter into bundt pan.  Top with half apple mixture.  Cover with another 1 1/2 c. batter, then top with remaining apples.  Mix apple juices into remaining batter, and spread batter on top.
  • Bake until top is golden and tester shows moist crumbs (about 1hr, 15 min to 1hr, 25 min).  Cool 15 min in pan, loosen edge.  Cool for at least one hour.  Turn cake onto rack. Dust with powdered sugar.

Becky’s Caramel Sauce:

  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • Melt everything and stir together, then boil 3 minutes.

A Busy Couple Weeks

We’ve been very busy these last couple weeks!  Here is a quick overview:

-We hosted 3 big events at our house:  a dinner for Aaron’s work, a “Discovery Toys” party, and Micah’s 3rd birthday!  It was all fun, but exhausting!

-Matthew started pulling himself up to a standing position.  Like most of his other motor skills, he tried it out in the bathtub first.  Saturday night, Aaron was giving the boys a bath, and I heard, “Aaaaammmyyyyyy!”  Thinking it was the usual bathtub disaster, I rushed in to help clean things up, but instead found Matthew standing up, holding on to the edge of the tub!  Aaron said, “He got there all by himself!”  Since then, he has pulled himself up on many other things – he especially likes the laundry basket and Bubbi and Papa’s hearth.

– We left for Spokane after Aaron got home from work on Wednesday.  He interviewed Thursday, and we had an area/housing tour on Friday.  We enjoyed staying at the luxurious Davenport hotel for 2 nights, then came to Aaron’s parents house for the weekend.

We are still in Spokane, and will enjoy an early Thanksgiving dinner with Aaron’s family tonight.  I’m not on my usual computer, so I don’t know how to change the orientation on a couple of these pictures.  I thought I would include them anyway, and can fix them when we get home. 🙂


Blowing out the candles

Blowing out the candles

Licking the frosting off the candles is the best part!

Licking the frosting off the candles is the best part!

Jack enjoying his cupcake

Jack enjoying his cupcake




Monday morning, wearing birthday jammies and playing with new toys

Monday morning, wearing birthday jammies and playing with new toys

My dad gave us some fun new cookie-cutters.  When Micah opened them, he immediately wanted to make cookies.  Unfortunately, I didn’t have time for that, but I was able to make his quesadillas into fun shapes for lunch.  That will do until we have some cookie time. 

Not cookies, but a fun lunch nonetheless

Not cookies, but a fun lunch nonetheless

 We had a lot of fun staying at the Davenport hotel in Spokane.  We finally got a much-needed evening to relax and have fun as a family.



You see a big, fancy shower . . . I see a place to make funny faces!

You see a big, fancy shower . . . I see a place to make funny faces!

Both boys loved the pool!

Swimming at the Davenport

Swimming at the Davenport

That’s all I have time for now!  We’ll share more soon!

Wednesday of a Wordless Week

It feels strange to post a “Wordless Wednesday,” when it has been a wordless week of blogging!  I apologize for not writing more this week.  I have several things I am looking forward to writing about, but need some time to put my thoughts down on paper (or into electrons.)

It has been a very busy week at our house.  Aaron was on-call (read: not at home) all weekend, but started a rotation with a more reasonable schedule on Monday.  Last night, we hosted a dinner for Aaron’s work, which went very well but kept me busy preparing for it.  Also, I have spent my “writing time” this week helping my favorite local high school senior with her college application essays.

Enough of my excuses.  Enjoy the pictures, and I will write more soon!

One of the questions Matthew’s evaluators asked was, “Does he engage you in a game of peek-a-boo?”  Well, he does now!  This is how he keeps busy while I get ready in the morning.

One rainy day this week, Micah and I built a “candy castle” with his Halloween candy.  It was a lot of fun, and I was impressed with the final result considering it was his first time.  Best of all, the candy is now gone, not tempting either of us to eat it!