Penguin Pajama Party–Part Two

It has been nine months since my first “Penguin Pajama Party” post, where I shared pictures of four of my penguin villagers having a pajama party with me. In the interim, I’ve been waiting, and waiting, and waiting, to finally get a photo of Sprinkle at bedtime…she seriously must hardly ever sleep! But I did finally catch her, so here’s a look at the remaining four penguin villagers who reside on Gloriana having a slumber party:

We also did a photoshoot at Harv’s island, so we could have another big pajama party. Stay tuned for a whole group shot with all eight of my penguin neighbors!

I have to admit, I’m kind of glad that this little project is finished, and I don’t have to keep staying up late trying to figure out when everybody’s bedtime is!

Cherry Blossom Season

I really love the cherry blossom event in Animal Crossing: New Horizons. I still don’t like how they handle obtaining the recipes for the special furniture (I’m tired of hunting down balloons!), but I love the pink trees, floating blossoms, and of course the elusive special furniture items. While I didn’t get every recipe for every item, between everyone in the house that plays the game and myself I was able to get all of the items I wanted for my cherry blossom viewing area, including the pond stone, lantern, bonsai, and branches:

This has been one of my favorite events in the game, and I felt less pressure the second time around because I knew what to expect (and what not to get my hopes up about!), which made it even more fun!

Easter in the Time of COVID-19

Time for another look at a Markel Family holiday in the time of COVID-19!

Last year, I was all about keeping as many things as normal as possible for everyone. This year, I decided to embrace the new and different as much as I could. For starters, even though I’m now back to grocery shopping once a week instead of every two weeks, and could have bought hot cross buns from the bakery, I decided to make a batch again this year:

We went to our new church for the evening Maundy Thursday service to begin the Holy Triduum, and it was short, but very nice:

On Good Friday we were back at our new church for an equally moving (and equally short) Tenebrae service:

On Holy Saturday, we watched Rick Steves’ European Easter and made our Paschal candle for the year, as is our tradition. This one didn’t turn out so well, but it still gets the job done!

We attended the Great Vigil of Easter at our new church…I’m so glad they offer that service. More of it was spent outside than we are used to, and that was really nice!

After church, instead of getting sundaes from McDonald’s like we usually do, we got Frosty’s and fries at Wendy’s, and I introduced the Fab Five to the culinary experience that is dipping the fries in the Frosty:

We didn’t have a sunrise service this year, but I was still up early enough to see the sunrise:

And even though we didn’t need to leave the house super-early, I still bought our traditional Pop-Tarts:

It was a beautiful morning!

I took pictures of the Fab Five in the garden outside of church:

Since I couldn’t really take pictures of them inside the church (and especially by the baptismal font) like I usually do, I did that the day of Chickadee’s confirmation:

Our new church is beautiful!

After church, we came home and made Easter breakfast…eggs and sausage, English muffins, pomegranate juice, and every flavor of mini donut I could find…seven varieties. Maybe we’ll be able to go to Easter breakfast at church again in the future, but for now, it’s nice to have the meal at home!

I may have completed all of the Bunny Day goals in Animal Crossing: New Horizons last year, but I still checked in with Zipper T. Bunny:

We had fun watching some of our favorite Easter movies today, including My Big, Fat Greek Wedding, Easter Parade, and It’s the Easter Beagle, Charlie Brown. While we did that, I made sure the table looked pretty for dinner:

And made our Easter feast for dinner. I tried a new leg of lamb recipe in the crock-pot, which was both amazingly delicious and easy. We also had Greek potatoes, carrot fritters, Brussels sprouts, asparagus, breaded artichokes, cherry Jell-O, and popovers:

For dessert, I made carrot cake Oreo truffles:

No matter what stays the same or what is different from year to year, our reason for celebrating remains constant. Christ is risen! He is risen indeed! Alleluia!!!

Nine!

Today is Chickadee’s ninth birthday! First things first…presents! She received some outfits for one of her American Girl dolls, a Lego set from her siblings, and a bunch of new clothes…when you’re the youngest of three girls, getting previously unworn clothes is A Big Deal! There was even an outfit change partway through the day!

When I asked her what she wanted for her birthday breakfast, she requested chocolate waffles. She is the first one of the Fab Five to ask me to actually make something for breakfast instead of getting store-bought cinnamon rolls or Toaster Strudel or something similar. I did cheat a little, and made them last night so they just needed a quick reheat in the waffle iron this morning.

Since we’re still not eating out because of COVID-19, I had her pick something she wanted me to make for dinner. She asked for breakfast again…this time, breakfast casserole and smoothies:

As she often does, she chose an elephant cake for dessert:

This evening, I visited her island in Animal Crossing: New Horizons, and gave her one of the few yellow dresses she didn’t already own as a gift. I also love the birthday shades she got in the game!

It was a rather low-key birthday for the second year in a row…we didn’t go anywhere or have any visitors. We did watch some of her favorite movies, though, and she introduced me to My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic, which I actually liked quite a lot. We had a very fun day celebrating Chickadee!

A Year of Animal Crossing: New Horizons

Today is the one-year anniversary of the day I began living the island life on Gloriana in Animal Crossing: New Horizons!

It’s been a fun year, and a nice way to escape reality, which, let’s face it, was a necessity over the last 12 months! Let’s take a look back, shall we?

One of the first events was “Bunny Day,” where my old friend, Zipper T. Bunny stopped by:

Cherry blossom season was a lot of fun, but I didn’t collect nearly enough recipes, so I hope we get to do it again this year!

Reese and Cyrus arrived at Harv’s Island for a special wedding-themed event:

My neighbors made my birthday a special day:

And a few days later, my very favorite neighbor, Roald, moved in!

Swimming and diving for deep sea creatures was added over the summer:

The day I received my perfect island rating was A Big Deal:

It wouldn’t have been summer without a fireworks show:

Jack, the Czar of Halloween, hosted a special event in October:

There were moments when island life imitated real life a little too well:

My favorite turkey, Franklin, made a special meal for Turkey Day:

After a few failures, I finally built a perfect snowboy…and then enough others to complete the furniture collection:

And Jingle the black-nosed reindeer let me help him hand out gifts for Toy Day:

I think we were all happy to say goodbye to 2020 and hello to 2021 on New Year’s!

I had fun celebrating all of my neighbors’ birthdays throughout the course of the year, but none more so than Roald!

Pavé brought his amazing dance moves to my island for Festivale:

Mario Day was extra fun with special themed items:

Even Pi Day made an appearance in my game!

And just a few days ago, I celebrated Shamrock Day, island style!

It’s been a fun year on my island, and I can’t wait to see what the next year brings…I’m hoping for more familiar characters such as Brewster, Pete, and Kapp’n, and maybe some new events I haven’t even thought of!

St. Patrick’s Day in the Time of COVID-19

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

Can you believe this is the second time we’ve celebrated this holiday in the time of COVID-19?!? Of course, last year, we really didn’t know what we were in for yet, and this year, we’re all hoping that we can see a light at the end of the tunnel, but either way, our family celebration remained largely unchanged, although this year, we did start celebrating pretty early in the month with Shamrock Shakes (almost impossible to find in our area this year, so when we did pinpoint a location that was offering them, we jumped on it!) and a Green River Soda cheesecake from Eli’s:

We started the day with Lucky Charms and the leprechaun trap…spoilers, we didn’t catch him (again!)!

We read all of our favorite St. Patrick’s Day books, watched all of the Ireland episodes of Rick Steves’ Europe we have on disc, and also watched Aerial Ireland. I really enjoyed “Shamrock Day” in Animal Crossing: New Horizons. While it wasn’t a huge event like some, there were some special items, including what look suspiciously like Shamrock Shakes!

I also enjoyed giving a few of my favorite neighbors a Shamrock Suit to match mine:

The highlight of the day (for me at least) was dinner. I love corned beef and cabbage and all the trimmings!

And of course we had Guinness cake for dessert, which is a family favorite!

We had a nice St. Patrick’s Day, as we always do, but I really hope that next time the holiday rolls around, things in the world are a little more normal!

Pi Day

It’s always hard to decide if we’re going to celebrate St. Louis on 314 Day, or the more mathematical holiday of Pi Day, but in the end, I really wanted to make pie, so Pi Day it is!

This year, I went with French silk and lemon meringue:

There was even a way to celebrate Pi Day in Animal Crossing!

Nothing will ever top the Pi Day we celebrated in 2015, but it was still a delicious day!

Chickadee Thursday

Chickadee is working on a Hamilton-themed room in Animal Crossing…I love it! (Please also note that she is wearing a Frozen-style dress…it’s like all of her interests collided in this one picture!)

She was very excited that her birthday reward from American Girl was delivered today, too! In less than two weeks, she’ll be as old as Turkey was when she was born!