A Family Feast Mash-Up

In our house, October 31st is pretty much about Reformation Day, because we’re not really into Halloween (or are we?). But this year, since we’ve been so focused on Harry Potter, I wanted something that was both a nod to the series, which celebrates Halloween, as well something that was a reference to our German heritage/Reformation Day. So I came up with what I think was a good compromise…we had a German dinner of brats, sauerkraut, and kartoffelpuffer (potato pancakes), with a pumpkin-themed desert featuring recipes from our Harry Potter Cookbook (pumpkin fizz and pumpkin pasties).

The rest of the day was spent enjoying the “Reformation Polka,” reading about Martin Luther while hearing Lutheran hymns, listening to the Baby Snooks Halloween special, and watching The Wizard of Oz, Rick Steves’ Luther and the Reformation special, Bob Ross’ The Joy of Painting, and Halloween episodes of Sabrina, the Teenage Witch. It’s not really a traditional Halloween celebration, and not only a Reformation Day observance, but it’s very us!

Celebrating Reformation 500 with Little Luther

The 500th anniversary of the Protestant Reformation is far too big a deal to be limited to just one service! Our celebration started with Luther’s Deutsche Messe at Hope Lutheran in St. Louis on Reformation Sunday, and Little Luther was there with us:

There were other services we could have attended between then and now, but the big event was tonight’s Reformation 500 service at Concordia Seminary in St. Louis. We were there early enough to have a nice walk around the campus, and Little Luther got to see all the sights:

Little Luther also joined us for dinner at our favorite restaurant, Seamus McDaniel’s!

The celebration isn’t even over yet…we still have the American Kantorei’s Reformation concert at St. Paul Des Peres on Sunday afternoon!

Quote of the Day

“The Reformation was a time when men went blind, staggering drunk because they had discovered, in the dusty basement of late medievalism, a whole cellarfull of fifteen-hundred-year-old, two-hundred proof Grace – of bottle after bottle of pure distillate of Scripture, one sip of which would convince anyone that God saves us single-handedly. The word of the Gospel – after all those centuries of trying to lift yourself into heaven by worrying about the perfection of your bootstraps – suddenly turned out to be a flat announcement that the saved were home before they started… Grace has to be drunk straight: no water, no ice, and certainly no ginger ale; neither goodness, nor badness, not the flowers that bloom in the spring of super spirituality could be allowed to enter into the case.” Robert Farrar Capon

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!