I was reminded of this oath made by Queen Elizabeth when watching The Queen last night. Regardless of your personal opinion of her or the Monarchy, she has certainly kept her promise!
“I declare before you all that my whole life whether it be long or short shall be devoted to your service and the service of our great imperial family to which we all belong.” Queen Elizabeth II
There were many wonderful moments during the Royal Wedding, but here are what I consider to be the best of them:
- The church bells pealing upon the arrival of the groom, and then the bride, and again at the end of the wedding.
- William and Harry arriving at the church and greeting guests, saluting some, shaking hands with others.
- All of the hats–the beautiful and the bizarre. You just don’t see hats like that in America, unless you’re at the Kentucky Derby, and maybe not even then.
- The tradition and ceremony and majesty of it all.
- All of the different uniforms, from the wedding party to all of those serving during the wedding festivities, and even the “uniforms” of all of the varied clergy from the Church of England (beautiful vestments abound!).
- Kate’s dress–it was perfectly regal.
- And her tiara–what a special story behind it. Queen Elizabeth having received it from her mother on her 18th birthday, (possibly her first tiara? just as it was Kate’s first?), and then sharing it with Kate just as she had previously shared it with William’s mother.
- Harry watching Kate coming down the aisle over his shoulder, and reporting back to his brother.
- The smiles on the faces of the bride and groom–they looked so happy and “normal” that you could almost (but not quite) forget it wasn’t just another regular wedding.
- The singing of the congregation in the church…and all of the music, from the beautiful organ to the trumpets to the choirs.
- The curtsy to the Queen following the ceremony–I don’t why, but I found that exchange very touching, especially since the Queen herself looked a bit choked up.
- The carriage procession–a beautiful, historic carriage, beautiful horses, crowds of cheering admirers, and the bride and groom, still looking so very happy (and a bit relieved!).
- The excitement of the people of London–I’ll never forget the way they cheered when William and Kate walked out on the balcony.
- Kate’s “Wow,” when she saw the crowd assembled below the balcony–and how much she seemed to enjoy being out there.
- The kiss on the balcony–both of them! Especially because the Duke looked so embarrassed about it.
- The Royal Air Force jets–I love a flyover!
- The departure from Buckingham palace, with William behind the wheel of his father’s Aston Martin, and a helicopter escort compliments of the RAF.
Yes, I know that I’ve listed a lot of favorite moments. Any wedding has great moments; a royal wedding happens to have a lot of them!
Yesterday morning, (very early in the morning!), when we were upstairs watching the Royal Wedding, I heard a loud “thump” on the roof. It was particularly noticeable because I heard it through the roof, as well as through the open window.
This would have been disconcerting, had it not been immediately obvious what had happened. Following the thump, there was a furious flapping of wings, and then some very irritated sounding honking, (if honking can have an irate tone), which faded off into the distance.
Yes, a goose had crashed into our roof. I’m assuming it’s OK, as it flew off on its own, so I didn’t feel too bad when I laughed out loud. How often does that really happen? I’ve heard of birds flying into clean windows, but a goose crashing into the roof? We must have some very clumsy geese around here!
(Yes, I know I’m an American–I just can’t help myself! And yes, I did wear my wedding tiara for most of the day–the girls insisted!)
I’ve had a good time this week coming up with things we could do in school, (and as a family), to celebrate the Royal Wedding, and learn a little something to boot. While the highlight of the week was watching the wedding (obviously!) beginning at three in the morning (for me–the children got up at 4:30), we needed some additional activities to enhance our education and our fun, especially once the wedding was done for the day.
First, the learning. I picked up a really cool documentary from Amazon about Windsor Castle. It was originally shown on PBS, but as with many DVDs, there’s a lot of bonus footage on the discs that was never shown on TV. It was fascinating for all of us to see how formal events are prepared in an actual castle, as well as the general daily upkeep involved in a place that large. I found the kitchen to be particularly fascinating; the children were amused that in order to light all of the centerpieces on the table (that can seat over 130 people!!!), people were actually allowed to stand on the table, (in stocking feet, of course), to get the job done.
The British Monarchy website is also an awesome tool. You can learn all about the history of the monarchy, the line of succession, the different royal residences, the crown jewels, royal ceremonies, biographies of all of the current royals, even information on the royal animals. We especially enjoyed looking at all of the detailed photos of the different drawing rooms in the palaces, the fancy coaches, and of course, all of the various crowns!
I also thought it would be fun to get some paper dolls for the girls, (and the boys, if they so desire), to play with. It was just a hunch that they might even exist, but I had Princess Diana paper dolls when I was a child, so I went to that same publisher, and lo and behold, there were William and Kate! Of course, the wedding apparel isn’t included, because the book was published before the wedding, but apparently there will be some kind of download available soon. I’d rather there was some kind of mail-in code for higher quality pieces, but I’ll take what I can get. Bunny spent a long time this afternoon trying out all of the different outfits, and posing the newly titled Duke and Duchess together.
Of course, no special event would be complete without a craft. I picked princess hats for the girls, and crowns for the boys. I found a good crown template to make the crowns for the boys, and for the girls, a simple half circle was easily turned into the cone-shaped hats, with ribbons attached through the top. They had fun attaching the “gemstones,” and they liked having both something to do the day before the wedding, and something to wear for the wedding festivities.
Let’s not forget tea time. Being American, our afternoon tea wasn’t very authentic, but it was still fun! We were supposed to have open-faced cucumber and cream cheese sandwiches on cocktail Rye bread, but due to an unfortunate bread-related incident, we ended up having jelly sandwiches cut into flowers (with a cookie cutter). Our tea selection was “English Teatime” tea, (appropriate, no?), and Turkey discovered that just like Daddy, he really likes tea. According to the majority in our house, this was the best part of the day (close seconds were Kate’s dress, the balcony kiss, seeing all of the amazing hats, the departure in the Aston Martin accompanied by a helicopter with William’s RAF buddies, and the choir in the Abbey)!
I’m always looking for an opportunity to make a special meal, too. The obvious choice for a British meal was fish and chips, but seeing as how Lent just ended, I wanted something a little different. I settled on Shepherd’s Pie, as the ingredients are easy to find, and cost-effective. I also picked up a British ale to go with our meal. It was delicious, albeit more labor-intensive than I would have expected.
And no special meal would be complete without a special dessert. Betty Crocker’s website has lots of good ideas, and initially, I hoped to make the replica groom’s cake. I couldn’t find the right tea biscuits locally, though, and I really didn’t want to “cheat” with sugar cookies (not authentic enough), so I chose to make the Royal Blue Velvet Cake instead. So pretty to look at, and while not British, at least matched the engagement ring/dress pretty well!
Once the children were in bed, it was time to watch a wrap-up of the day’s events, (I never would have made it though the day without NBC, The Today Show, Dateline NBC, and Matt, Meredith, Al, and Ann!). I managed to get a second loaf of bread for the aforementioned cucumber sandwiches, to ease my disappointment over the tea issue, and Ryan and I also toasted the happy couple with a bottle of bubbly.
We followed that with a viewing of The Queen, a movie that, when I first saw it, completely changed how I view Queen Elizabeth (in a good way!). Helen Mirren was obviously born to play a British queen, and James Cromwell is very convincing as Prince Philip–an excellent film, all-around!
I hope William and Kate’s marriage is as a happy as they both looked today!
In honor of the Royal Wedding, I thought I’d share two of my favorite quotes from Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon, Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother. I always respected her for being a kind, yet spunky woman, and the more I read about her, the more my admiration of her grows. She was definitely a strong and determined woman, and it showed in the way she lived her life.
On being advised to send her children to Canada during World War II:
“The children won’t go without me. I won’t leave the King. And the King will never leave.”
On the bombing of Buckingham Palace, also during World War II:
“I’m glad we’ve been bombed. It makes me feel I can look the East End in the face.”
What an example of strength and loyalty to her husband and her nation!
Not because I’m sad. No, it’s because of the cake I’m baking.
This is the batter for a “Royal Blue Velvet Cake,” our dessert to celebrate the Royal Wedding tomorrow.
I’m 100% certain I’ve never baked anything this color before. Remember in Beezus and Ramona, when Ramona sneaks her doll into Beezus’s birthday cake while it’s in the oven? Well, I can’t shake the feeling that I’m cooking a smurf!
I’m guessing all teachers, whether public or private school, or homeschool like me, face this problem in the spring.
I am sick to death of what we’re currently studying. Turkey and Bunny, fortunately, don’t share this feeling, but I am just tired of ancient Greece and Rome, and I want to move on.
On the other hand, I am over the moon excited about what we’re going to be learning about next year. I spend time researching everything we will be using, looking for special supplements to add on to our curriculum, planning for our electives, even revising our daily and weekly schedules. I’m looking forward to the day I can order the rest of our materials for next year (because I’ve already assembled about 2/3 of it), and don’t even get me started on box day!
In short, I can’t wait to start third grade. The only problem is, we have to finish second grade first!
I’ve heard it said that Easter is too big of a celebration to be contained in one day, and we’re trying to live that this year, with Monday’s church service, special Bible lessons and storybooks in school, and extra craft projects. There may be no church service for us today, (although the lectionary provides for one, to continue the Easter celebration), but we did indulge in another family holiday tradition–Funfetti!
This is the best carrot cake recipe I’ve made (and I’ve tried a lot of them!). I like it for two reasons: the cake doesn’t have extra “stuff” added, (raisins, chopped nuts, pineapple, coconut, etc.), and the cream cheese frosting isn’t overly sweet (which has been a problem with most of the other recipes I’ve tried).
- 4 eggs
- 3/4 cup vegetable oil
- 1/2 cup applesauce
- 2 cups white sugar
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons baking soda
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 2-3 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 3 cups grated carrots
- 3/4 cup butter, softened
- 12 ounces cream cheese, softened
- 6 cups confectioners’ sugar
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour 3 round cake pans. In a large bowl, beat together eggs, oil, applesauce white sugar and 2 teaspoons vanilla. Mix in flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt and cinnamon. Stir in carrots. Pour into prepared pan. Bake in the preheated oven for 30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. Let cool in pan for 10 minutes, then turn out onto a wire rack and cool completely.
There may not have been a service yesterday evening, but tonight we were able to attend an Easter Monday service at a church about 45 minutes away from us. I’ve always wanted to go to Easter Monday worship, but no church I’ve attended has ever had one. When I learned of the service at St. Paul, Hamel, I figured that was as close as we were going to find.
It was a small gathering, possibly the smallest service I’ve been to. Actually, including our family and the presiding pastor, there were eleven in attendance. So, I ended up getting a glimpse into that locked room, with the Eleven wondering at Jesus in their midst, after all, (as well as the road to Emmaus, which was the text for the evening). And the Word was proclaimed, and the Sacrament administered, the high point of any service, regardless of how many people are in attendance. It was a wonderful way to continue our Easter celebration!