What We’re Reading–Reformation 500

I’ve mentioned books we’ve read during October to learn about the Reformation, as well as books we’ve read to learn about our Lutheran heritage from time to time, but I’ve never put a list together in one place. In honor of the 500th anniversary of the Reformation this month, here’s our list…books about Martin and Katie Luther, (and some of their contemporaries) and the Reformation itself, as well as books about and/or by other notable Lutherans, and books about Lutheran theology, for pretty much all ages:

The Basics:

Children’s Books:

Advanced Readers/Adult Titles:

School Resources:

No “What We’re Reading” list would be complete without a few non-book items, such as CDs and DVDs!

Blessed Reformation Day!

Blessed Reformation Day!

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Our Reformation Day festivities started yesterday at church, where we celebrated Luther’s German Mass, and sang many of my favorite Lutheran hymns:

Today, we had our traditional Reformation Day celebration. We read Martin Luther: A Man Who Changed the World this morning, and watched the “Reformation Polka.” We also had a celebratory dinner…beef stroganoff and buttered egg noodles with roasted carrots, and butterscotch haystacks (instead of Luther’s “Diet of Worms”) for dessert:

I’ve been holding on to this picture of the Fab Five in front of the Luther statue at Concordia University: Chicago since we visited last May…the same statue where I took a picture of Ryan on his graduation day in 2001!

I hope your Reformation Day was as pleasant as ours!

Little Luther and the “Diet of Worms”

Little Luther was spotted at the “Diet of Worms” at the conclusion of our Reformation Day meal:

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I think a new family tradition has been born!

Tasty Tuesday–Diet of Worms a.k.a Dirt Dessert

It’s been a good 20 years since I first made this popular-with-children dessert, but I never even thought of renaming it for the Diet of Worms until CPH made the suggestion this fall. So, here’s my familiar recipe, with a new name, just in time for Reformation Day!

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  • 1 family-size package Oreo cookies
  • 8 oz. cream cheese, softened
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 4 cups milk
  • 8 oz. Cool Whip (can use chocolate)
  • 2  3.9 oz. packages instant chocolate pudding
  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla
  • Gummi worms

Crush Oreos in a bag with a rolling pin, or pulse in food processor until fine crumbs. Put 1/3 of the crushed Oreos into a glass trifle bowl. Add a few “worms” to the “dirt.” Set aside.
Mix butter, cream cheese, sugar, and vanilla until smooth and well blended. Set aside.
Combine milk and pudding mix as directed on pudding box. Let stand about five minutes, then fold Cool Whip into the pudding.
Fold together pudding mixture and butter-cream cheese mixture.
Layer half of the pudding mixture on top of the cookie crumbs in trifle bowl. Add another 1/3 of the Oreos with “worms,” then remaining pudding mixture. Top with remaining Oreos and “worms.”
Chill for 3 to 4 hours before serving.

2013-14 School Year–Week Ten

This was a fun week! Since we started our science lesson on the moon, we watched Apollo 13 in school on Wednesday. This is one of my all-time favorite movies, and the children love it, too. Watching the movie on Wednesday also gave me the opportunity to finish baking for our Reformation Day tea party, which we had on Thursday. That was quite an event, and, as always, a lot of fun!

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On Thursday, we also spent a lot of time learning about the Reformation. We did another lesson in our Martin Luther workbooks, which we’re almost done with now (the original plan was to finish them this week, but our vacation messed up the timing for that). We also read our favorite Martin Luther storybook. I love that even though we’ve read it every year at least once, the children still pick up new things in the story. We listened to “A Mighty Fortress” in both German and English, but we didn’t sing it ourselves, since we had finished it up last week. Instead, we’ve been working on “For All the Saints,” since All Saints’ Day is today, and we’ll be observing it (and almost certainly singing that hymn), in church on Sunday.

We also got to start on our yearly “Thankful Tree” today. The children really look forward to doing this every year…it was one of the first things they said to me this morning! I’m so grateful that being thankful is important to them, and that they can find so many things, big and small, that they should be thankful for! It’s also a lot of fun to see what those things are, and what things are different and what are the same from child to child!

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The rest of the week was pretty standard. Everybody did an excellent job on their math and spelling tests, especially Turkey, who scored 100% on each. Our history and mythology studies collided this week, as we studied ancient Crete and the story of the Minotaur. I love when two or more subjects intersect…it makes learning so much more fun!

Next week, we’ll start easing into our Thanksgiving studies. I’m planning a harvest and thanksgiving related hymn for our memory work, and I think I’ll slip a few Thanksgiving books in the book basket. I love these next two months of homeschool so much!

A Reformation Tea

Today we had a tea party for Reformation Day. The children suggested that I could decorate sugar cookies with Luther’s Seal, but that sounded a little too complicated, so instead our theme was pumpkins, apples, and cranberries; leaves, orange, red, and yellow.

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We had a nice variety of items on the table. If you click on the individual pictures, you can find out what everything was. We even got to try pumpkin Hershey’s kisses!

This was our first fall tea party, and it was a lot of fun to plan, especially since this is my favorite time of year!

Tasty Tuesday–Apple Strudel

Since Reformation Day is this week, here’s a nice German-ish dessert to add to your menu!

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  • 1 sheet puff pastry
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 2 large Granny Smith apples – peeled, cored and thinly sliced
  • 2 tablespoons raisins
  • powdered sugar (optional)

Thaw the pastry sheet at room temperature for 40 minutes or until it’s easy to handle. Heat the oven to 375. Lightly grease a baking sheet. Stir the egg and water in a small bowl. Mix the sugar, flour and cinnamon in a medium bowl. Add the apples and raisins and toss to coat.
Unfold the pastry sheet on a lightly floured surface. Roll the sheet into a 16×12-inch rectangle. With the short side facing you, spoon the apple mixture onto the bottom half of the pastry to within 1 inch of the edges. Starting at the short side closest to you, roll up like a jelly roll. Place seam-side down on the baking sheet. Tuck ends under to seal. Brush with the egg mixture. Cut several 2-inch long slits 2 inches apart on the top.
Bake for 35 minutes or until golden. Cool on the baking sheet on a wire rack for 30 minutes. Slice and serve warm. Sprinkle with confectioners’ sugar, if desired.

Reformation Day Ideas

Since we took the week off this week, and I don’t have a school wrap-up, I thought instead I’d share some ideas for Reformation Day, which is coming up fast! This year, we’ve been making our way through the Luther, Servant of God workbook. It’s a very in-depth look at Luther’s life, but a lot more low-key than the month of lapbooks and activities I planned last year! We’ve also been using a few Luther hymns for our copywork/dictation/memory work this month…the last one will be “A Mighty Fortress,” of course!

Reformation resources

A look at our lapbooks (and other projects)

It’s always fun to make a banner, too…while we do have a red banner for special days like Reformation Day and Pentecost, we also have a Luther’s Seal banner that remains up all year:

Luther's Seal

Luther’s Seal

And, a fun German dessert is always a nice way to cap off a special day:

Black Forest Cherry Torte

Apple Strudel

These are just a few of the ideas I’ve used over the last few years…I’d love to hear what other people have come up with!

Reformation Wrap-Up

Today marks the end of our month-long study of the Reformation. Here’s a review of all the things we learned and the fun we had!

We read lots of books, some out loud, and others as book basket selections. One of our favorites every year is the Luther biography by Paul Maier.

We made eight lapbooks, one as an overview of the people and events of the Reformation, and the other seven focusing on different Reformers.

We also learned about seven rulers (plus Pope Leo X), and completed a notebooking sheet for each.

Of course, everyone’s favorite part of our studies were the crafts. We designed our own coat-of-arms:

Made stained “glass” windows:

Illuminated letters and practiced being scribes:

Made a banner to hang in our school room:

And, of course, made Luther’s Seal:

We also listened to a lot of music, some by Luther, some by Bach, and some by other Lutheran hymn writers.

We were supposed to go on two field trips this month. The first one was a visit to the Saxon Lutheran Memorial Fall Festival in Frohna, MO, I had to cancel that on account of fog, which was disappointing because it’s one of our favorite events every year. Our other field trip, that actually worked out, was going to the Seminary in St. Louis to hear Ryan sing “Ein Feste Burg” with the American Kantorei as part of the Bach at the Sem series. That same day, we also got to attend a fun Reformation Celebration at our church.

We even enjoyed a German meal at home on Reformation Day! Jägerschnitzel with buttered noodles and sauerkraut for dinner (with Leinie’s Oktoberfest beer for those of drinking age!), and homemade apple strudel for dessert…delicious!

This was a fun way to spend the month of October, and I’m glad I finally came up with an in-depth unit for us to learn all about the Reformation!