Tasty Tuesday–Eckert’s Country Restaurant

Even though we’ve lived in Belleville for eight years now, we hadn’t been to eat at Eckert’s Country Restaurant since I was pregnant with Turkey 12 years ago, and we happened to visit the farm to pick apples. We figured that the time was right to go back, especially since Eckert’s has been chosen as a finalist in US Foods “Family Friendly Restaurant” contest. Much has changed at the restaurant (and country store), since then, especially the building itself!

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The decor is exactly what you’d expect at a country restaurant…very homey. The pails of crayons on the tables (along with paper table”cloths” perfect for a little pre-dinner art), were very popular with the children…and perhaps with their mother, as well!

There are several different dining rooms. We were in the back room, which is equipped with long tables perfect for a large family. I especially loved the sliding barn doors!

The menu at Eckert’s is seasonal, which I think is fantastic. Right now, they’re in the process of switching over to their fall menu. The thing you notice right away on the menu, however, is their famous fried chicken.

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The one thing both Ryan and I remembered from our last meal at Eckert’s was the biscuits and apple butter. We weren’t disappointed…they were as delicious as we remembered!

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The main course also did not disappoint. I ordered the fried chicken, because I figured I might as well get their speciality. It was among the best fried chicken I’ve ever had, and the side dishes were also excellent (who can complain about mashed potatoes and green beans made with bacon?).

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Everybody else enjoyed their various meals, as well, and it was decided unanimously that we’ll be going back, hopefully sometime soon. More than one child mentioned this as a potential birthday dinner location!

And just in case you didn’t order dessert after dinner ( I hear the pie is excellent!), and you’re visiting Eckert’s between April and October, you can walk next door and get some delicious frozen custard!

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Eckert’s was already one of our family’s favorite places, and truly a place where we’ve made lots of memories. It’s nice to know we can add “favorite restaurant” to our list of things we love about Eckert’s!

Cakeway to the West–Kids and Cakes

I’m not going to lie…I didn’t take pictures of all of my children with each cake. Actually, I don’t think I got pictures of the children with even 10% of the cakes, and sometimes, it was only one or two of them in the picture, and not all five. But for me, this wasn’t about taking their pictures with the cakes, it was about taking them to see new places, learn the history of our area, and make sure I recorded what the cakes looked like. That being said, I did try to get pictures at some of their favorite locations, and with their favorite cakes!

Even if they didn’t take pictures with every cake, I know that they’ll remember this birthday year for St. Louis, and that’s all I was really going for!

The Cards-Cubs Game

Today, I finally got to see the Cardinals play their old rivals, the Cubs, at Busch Stadium. This is the game Moose and I were supposed to go to back in May that got rained out. He went to a different game with me in July, so Turkey (and Chickadee, of course!), came to today’s game with me. I was worried for a bit that this game was going to get rained out, too, but eventually, the sun came out. It was a lot of fun watching the grounds crew work with the tarp!

Even though the Cards had to disappoint us and lose, we had a fun time. Our seats in right field gave a new perspective on Ballpark Village, and the view in general was good. For once, Chickadee declined having her picture taken with Fredbird…she was so tired she didn’t want to leave me, although she cried about not seeing him for a good inning afterward! Turkey posed with our favorite mascot, however, and also asked me to take his picture by the foul pole.

I’ve taken each of the children but Bunny to a special, just us game…stay tuned for our girls’ night at the ballpark next week!

2014-15 School Year–Week One

Week one  of the 2014-15 school year is complete!

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This was a fun week, and fairly laid-back. On Monday, we really didn’t do a whole lot of school work…just religion, math, spelling, and the first half of the first chapter of our first read-aloud for the year…The Hobbit. The rest of the day was spent taking pictures, organizing our books and desks, and looking over what we’ll be learning this year.

The rest of the week was spent mostly on review. Nobody learned anything new in math this week, and everybody was happy to learn they hadn’t forgotten anything over the summer! We also reviewed the fall of the Roman Empire in history and picked up our botany lessons, learning about flowers. Language arts was the most intensive subject for everyone…new spelling words, new copy work, new writing assignments, and new vocabulary.

For a “Fun Friday” activity, I got out our new Lego Architecture Studio. I bought this over the summer, with the idea of using it as an elective course. It comes with an amazing book that walks you through the design and building process. I gave the children their first “assignment”…they had to create a building inspired by a frog. I figured they’d come up with something clever, but even I was impressed with just how clever their end result is. They decided that it’s a children’s museum in a big city…they even added a few other building around it! I’m looking forward to seeing what else they come up with over the course of the year.

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Next week, we’ll really be getting into some new topics in various subjects. At some point, I hope to post a list of the curriculum we’ll be using this year, but it’s such a long list, I haven’t had time yet…stay tuned!