I realize the ridiculousness of using the word “new” to describe a ghost sign, but this one is new to me…I think? I don’t remember seeing this Estey Piano advertisement on Main Street in downtown Belleville before, so maybe it was covered up until recently. Or maybe it’s been there all along, and I just now noticed it. Could be a fresh sign done in a retro style? At any rate, I really like this one!
I was very disappointed when I went shopping for our New Year’s dinner and discovered that there are no longer jarred spiced apple rings available in my area. I really, really love spiced apple rings, so I decided to make my own. Most of the recipes I found included large amounts of Cinnamon Imperials, which doesn’t surprise me based on the taste and color of apple rings, but they were almost impossible to find at Christmas, so I had to come up with a recipe that had the right flavors without them. I’m really happy with how it turned out, and they weren’t even that hard to make!
- 1 1/4 cups water
- 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp cloves
- 1/2 tsp ginger
- 1/2 tsp allspice
- 3-4 drops red food coloring (optional…it adds that recognizable color)
- 3 slices lemon
- 3 large cooking apples (I used Granny Smith because they’re my favorite, but if you prefer a uniform red color, you could certainly use a different kind!)
In a large skillet, heat first nine ingredients to boiling. Reduce heat, cover, and let simmer 5 minutes to blend flavors.
While syrup is simmering, core, but don’t peel, apples and slice into 1/4 inch thick rings. Cook half of rings at a time in the syrup. Simmer until tender but firm, 5-10 minutes…you don’t want the apples to get mushy or fall apart. Remove first half of apples rings and cook second half in same syrup (if it gets too thick, add a little extra water).
Discard lemon slices. Place all the apple rings in a wide, shallow dish (I used a pie plate) and pour syrup over. Cover and refrigerate for up to one week.
These famous quotes, which are inscribed at the Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial in Washington D.C., really had an impact on me when we saw them last summer.
“Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly.” Martin Luther King, Jr.
“The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.” Martin Luther King, Jr.
The one thing Ladybug would have like to done while we were at Disney World, or the one thing she’d like to go back and do someday, is go to the “Ohana Breakfast” and share a meal with Stitch at the Polynesian Village Resort. I don’t have a time machine or the ability to produce another trip, but I did find a copycat recipe for the pineapple-coconut bread they serve, and we made it on Friday.
There must have been a big air pocket in the dough, because there’s a tunnel running through the bread, but that doesn’t effect the taste, and it’s a fabulous recipe…it was nice to have a taste of the tropics in the middle of winter!
The Inga-Regina swing dress didn’t make my final cut when I was planning my purchases from the Miss Candyfloss “Smile with Lucy” collection. But then they offered an end-of-season voucher, and when I was browsing their website, I discovered that there was exactly one Inga-Regina left in stock, and it just happened to be in my size…what are you going to do? So that’s how I ended up with one more piece from the collection than I was planning on, and I’m happy I did!
The style of this dress is pretty different from what I usually wear. It has bishop sleeves (which aren’t totally obvious, because the cuffs are surprisingly loose, which is not a problem I usually have). It also has a cutout detail at the neck, with a sweet little bow as an adornment.
I was surprised to discover that the accent color of the dress is actually orange, and not burgundy like I had assumed. So I added an orange Splendette duchess bangle to my accessories, along with sliver hoops à la Lucy Ricardo, an Erstwilder brooch, and a delicate necklace (I didn’t want to compete with the beautiful neckline!).
I also wore a ring over my gloves:
I love the plaid of the dress, and the pops of bright blue from the cuffs and belt!
It was fun to add an unexpected piece to my wardrobe…now it’s time to wait for them to reveal their spring/summer collection!
Following our extended Christmas break, we finally got back to work this week! But we started with something fun…a trip to the St. Louis Zoo. It was the perfect January day to visit, because many of the animals were very active!
We also did actual work. Ladybug did a lesson on ratios in algebra 2. She started reading To Kill a Mockingbird. In history, she read about the life of Muhammad and the continuing decline of the Persian Empire. She identified noun clauses in grammar. She wrote a short play in creative writing, using Stitch from Lilo and Stitch for her inspiration. In chemistry, she worked with the concept of stoichiometry, and found that the math wasn’t too intimidating!
Chickadee worked on identifying polygons and drawing circles with a compass in math. She started a chapter about ungulates in science, beginning with her favorite animal, the elephant. All of her grammar this week was review, which was convenient after so much time off! She read about Greek mythology, and also some of the battles of the Greeks, as well as the first marathon, in history. We started reading The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, and we made Turkish Delight!
We hit the halfway mark in both math classes this week, so it’s all downhill from here!
We were back at the St. Louis Zoo during daylight hours on Monday to see the animals…the weather was surprisingly mild for January, and Chickadee was very excited about how many animals were active!
The holiday season is officially over, so let’s take a look back at all of the festive feasts and holiday baking we enjoyed, starting with Thanksgiving. I think the turkey turned out especially well this time around!
We had our “pick out dinner” on Christmas Day:
And our “fancy” Christmas dinner two days later. I never want to prepare a beef tenderloin any other way!
On New Year’s Eve, we had our traditional hot chocolate bar, but we made it fancy, with the addition of homemade hot chocolate bombs!
And on New Year’s Day, we had our traditional pork tenderloin, with an untraditional (for us) side of twice-baked potatoes:
On to the baking. Of course there were pies (seven!) for Thanksgiving:
We made five types of German Christmas cookies in Christmas School:
And another ten types of Christmas cookies besides!
There were eight different cakes throughout the season:
And some other various treats including Christmas cracker candy and lussekattes:
This was a fun and delicious season, but now the kitchen is closed!
Christmas may be over, but it’s always a good time for Bésame Cosmetics Holiday Red nail polish, which I think is the prettiest shade of red ever! Photos really don’t do it justice, because you just can’t see the lovely gold shimmer or the high shine.