Costumes, Animal Crossing Style

Jack, the Czar of Halloween, will be visiting in just a week…here’s a look at some costume ideas I came up with that seem equal to the event. (My personal favorite for this year is the hot dog suit.)

And just for fun, a Roald cosplay I put together. The beak isn’t quite right, but I think it’s a pretty good approximation, don’t you?

What costume are you planning on wearing this year?

A Peek Inside the St. Louis Aquarium

At the end of the summer, Turkey and I finally got to visit the St. Louis Aquarium at Union Station:

The most beautiful (in my opinion) part of the aquarium is right inside the entrance…a tank fronted with a clock face that is a replica of the original Union Station clock (which is over 125 years old!):

There are other nods to history in the aquarium, as well:

There are many different animals that call the St. Louis Aquarium home, but arguably the most famous are a trio of otters named Thatcher, Sawyer, and Finn, in honor of some of Mark Twain’s most recognizable characters:

Included among the other creatures are a blue lobster named Lord Stanley, which was a gift from a restaurant in Massachusetts following the St. Louis Blues Stanley Cup win in 2019, and other, more typical sea animals like jelly fish and sharks:

I’m very excited with what they’ve done with this property (there are other attractions like a mirror maze, a ropes course, miniature golf, and, of course, the St. Louis Wheel, plus some restaurants, including the delightfully retro Union Station Soda Fountain), and I hope it will continue to be a fun place for people of all ages to visit!

The Top Five–Episodes of The Dick Van Dyke Show

Last night marked exactly 60 years since the debut of The Dick Van Dyke Show. In honor of that milestone, let’s take a look at my favorite episodes!

  • “That’s My Boy?” (season three)–In this episode, Rob recalls worrying that he and Laura brought the wrong baby home from the hospital when Ritchie was born, only to discover that his concerns were beyond impossible.
  • The Alan Brady Show Presents” (season three)–I mean, it’s a Christmas episode…do I really have to say more?
  • “The Ghost of A. Chantz” (season four)–Ghost stories and a hidden camera in a “haunted” cabin make this episode hilarious!
  • “Your Home Sweet Home is My Home Sweet Home” (season four)–I think this episode, which is a flashback to how Rob and Laura and Jerry and Millie ended up buying houses next door to each other, and explains why Rob writes an annual “friendship check” due to the giant rock in his basement, is my very favorite out of all five seasons.
  • “Never Bathe on Sunday” (season four)–If the above episode isn’t my very favorite, this episode, in which Rob and Laura attempt to have a romantic getaway, only to end up having a huge disaster in which Laura gets her toe stuck in the bathtub, is.

Season four is clearly my favorite (although they’re all good!)…which episodes of The Dick Van Dyke Show are your favorite?

The Relatability of My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic

Over the summer, Chickadee, Bunny, and I watched through all nine seasons of My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic (plus the movie and the Christmas special). Other than a few episodes here and there, I hadn’t really seen the show before, and I have to admit, I was a little surprised at just how much I liked it (spoilers: it ended up on my revised “Top Five” favorite TV shows list!). I was also surprised at just how easy it was for each of us (including Ladybug, who didn’t watch all of the episodes with us, but has seen quite a bit of it) to relate to a specific character.

  • Bunny is Fluttershy, the pony who has a pet rabbit. She, like her favorite character, is gentle and sweet, and doesn’t care to be the center of attention…but if someone needs defending, she quickly finds her voice. Fluttershy’s Element of Harmony is kindness, and Bunny has pretty much the kindest spirit of anyone I know!
  • Ladybug is Applejack. She may have been the hardest of us to pin down, because like Twilight Sparkle, she loves books…but so do the rest of us! Like Applejack, she has a very down home, forthright personality, and a competitive and occasionally salty streak. Applejack’s Element of Harmony is honesty, which is a perfect fit, because Ladybug will always tell you what she’s thinking!
  • Chickadee is (no surprise here) Pinkie Pie. She is fun and zany and always up for anything…you just never know what’s going to happen next! Pinkie Pie’s Element of Harmony is laughter, and I can promise you, there is plenty of laughter when Chickadee is around!
  • And I, of course, am Rarity. She loves fashion and beauty, and can be kind of a drama queen, just like me. But her Element of Harmony is generosity, and I really hope that it can be said of me that I am generous, too.

Which My Little Pony character is most like you?

Oktoberfest 2021

For the second year in a row, we didn’t get to go to the inaugural Great North American Oktoberfest in St. Louis (and at this point, I’m kind of thinking that the event will never happen), but we did have a happy Markel Family Oktoberfest at home! I started last week by assembling all of our favorite German foods from Aldi’s Deutsche Küche:

For lunch, we had cheddar and beer fondue with homemade pretzels, German pickles, and Nürnberger Bratwurst, plus more pretzels with beer mustard and nacho cheese sauce for those who don’t like fondue:

Dinner was schnitzel with optional Jäger sauce, spaetzle, sauerkraut, artichoke and cheese strudel, and red cabbage with apples:

And dessert was, of course, Black Forest cherry torte:

I also had a fun Oktoberfest celebration with my neighbors in Animal Crossing: New Horizons:

It wasn’t quite the Oktoberfest I had hoped for (again), especially after I derailed our pretzel-making to go to Urgent Care to have a splinter removed (that was unpleasant!), but it was a fun day of celebrating our German heritage!