“Fast away, the old year passes
Fa la la la la, la la la la
Hail the new, ye lads and lasses”
Can you believe it’s already 2023? 2022 (for the most part) just zoomed right by! Here’s a look at how we celebrated New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day this time around.
I like a theme, so we started the day yesterday with hot chocolate rolls:
We spent a lot of the day decorating sugar and gingerbread cookies. Mickey Mouse shapes were very popular this year!
I also (finally!) made eggnog:
We decided that 2022 deserved one more Disney Dinner, so I made one of our favorite recipes from Delicious Disney, Monte Cristo sandwiches:
After Apollo 13, we had our traditional hot chocolate bar, with the addition of hot chocolate bombs that Ladybug and I made!
Another new addition was hot chocolate Chex mix:
My only motivation to stay up until midnight is ringing in the New Year on my Animal Crossing island, and I made it!
New Year’s Day is the perfect excuse to wear something sparkly, am I right?
Of course we started the year with a special dinner, so I set the table with the china again, and this time, I learned a new napkin fold to make things a little fancier!
Pork tenderloin is a fairly traditional New Year’s Day main course here, although I did prepare it differently this time. I also made twice-baked potatoes, roast carrots and parsnips, and for the first time, spiced apple rings, since you apparently can’t buy them in a jar anymore.
It was delicious, and not as much work as Christmas dinner (and way, way less work than Thanksgiving!).
For dessert I made a hot chocolate cake, complete with homemade marshmallow creme (I told you I like a theme!).
So that’s how we said goodbye to 2022 and hello to 2023…and now I’m looking forward to giving the kitchen a bit of a break!
Time for a look back at our family’s Thanksgiving celebration, a three-day affair that always begins with Pie Day (Wednesday), and continues on through Black Friday.
On Thanksgiving morning, we watched the Macy’s Parade (which just wasn’t the same without Al Roker), and in between dinner preparations, I played a bit of Animal Crossing:
While we watched the Dog Show (we were thrilled that the adorable French Bulldog, Winston, won!), I got to work setting the table:
Instead of using a mix of stemmed glasses, this year, I set the table with our “regular” drinking glasses, which I purchased over the summer. They look pretty fancy, even though we use them everyday!
Dinner was ready earlier than I was expecting (I’m glad I checked the turkey when I did, because the pop-up timer, which I never use, had already popped), and I scrambled to get it all together. Our meal was fairly standard, with turkey and everyone’s favorite stuffing, mashed potatoes and gravy, cranberry sauce, carrots and parsnips, green beans with almonds, Brussels sprouts, and rolls, plus one new dish, made with wild rice and mushrooms, that I really liked!
I think it was a pretty amazing feast!
For dessert, we had our standard seven pies, most of which were our usual picks, but I did make one new recipe for a cranberry curd tart with a shortbread crust:
I chose the two main Thanksgiving flavors, pumpkin and cranberry, for my dessert plate:
The next morning, we started the day with pie-for-breakfast…this time, I chose Nutella:
Then we went to see Moose march with his band in the town Santa parade:
Nothing beats a turkey sandwich on Rye bread for the after-Thanksgiving lunch!
I also tried the pecan pie…I updated my recipe, and I just had to see for myself how it turned out (really, really well, if you’re interested!):
This year’s Lego Winter Village set is an adorable Main Street complete with a streetcar:
For dinner, I made turkey soup (of course):
And then Moose, Chickadee, and I went downtown for the tree lighting:
I love our Thanksgiving traditions!
It’s a little later in the month than I would have preferred, but today we finally had our annual Markel Family Oktoberfest! It was a beautiful day, and I thought it was very fitting that we sung a hymn in church this morning that I remember my dad singing in German while I played the piano when I was a child.
I was excited to have a dirndl and lots of edelweiss accessories to wear this year:
When we got home from church, we had our traditional Oktoberfest lunch of fondue with brats, German pickles, and homemade pretzels:
I made most our dinner of schnitzel, spaetzle, rotkohl, and sauerkraut from scratch (the sauerkraut was the only store-bought item).
For dessert I made our favorite Schwarzwälder Kirschtorte:
Oktoberfest is a lot of work…like an actual holiday’s amount of work. But it is a holiday for us, and I love having a way share my heritage with my family!
Today is, as Moose put it, my 5th 39th birthday. We started the day by taking a peek at the rapidly-growing mourning dove squabs in our tree:
We were out early due to the excessive heat warning I was gifted for my birthday. There was only one thing I really wanted to do out of the house…visit a spray park. We ended up driving up to a really nice one in Edwardsville because it was open early, and had fun playing in the water before it got too hot!
When we got home, I opened my presents…I received some very nice things from my family!
Of course I played Animal Crossing New Horizons, and for the second year in a row, Roald came to my party!
The rest of the day was pretty chill…we watched some of my favorite movies (Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, A League of Their Own, and White Christmas), had my favorite frozen pizza for dinner (Home Run Inn), and enjoyed the beautiful birthday cake (with 43 candles) the girls made for me:
In spite of the heat, I had a fantastic birthday…and that’s just the start of the fun this week!
My two favorite things about the month of June, whether we’re talking real life or Animal Crossing, are fireflies and hydrangeas.
Today is World Penguin Day…here’s a look at all of my favorite penguin pals!
And a glimpse at a special World Penguin Day visit to the St. Louis Zoo this morning:
Happy World Penguin Day!
Time for a look back at another Markel Family Easter, which started, as it does every year, on Maundy Thursday:
On Friday, I made hot cross buns (again), but this year, I tried a new recipe:
The Good Friday service was, as always, lovely and moving:
On Saturday morning, while we watched Rick Steves’ European Easter, we made our Paschal Candle for the year…I think this may be the nicest job we’ve ever done!
While I did have work to do on Saturday to prepare for our Easter dinner, most of the day was really spent waiting until it was finally time for my favorite service of the church year, the Great Vigil of Easter:
After church, we stopped at Wendy’s for Frostys and fries:
We’re still getting used to the fact that we don’t have to get up for a sunrise Easter service, so we felt a little more leisurely about getting ready. We were still at church early enough to take pictures outside:
And some indoors, including our traditional by-the-baptismal-font Easter pictures:
The church looked especially beautiful!
Ladybug even got to acolyte:
And we got a nice family picture after the service:
When we got home, I made Easter breakfast, which included Kaiserschmarrn (the Kaiser’s torn pancakes) with Rhabarberkompott (rhubarb compote), hard-boiled eggs (this is really the first time we’ve ever dyed eggs…you’ll see why in a minute), and pomegranate juice:
While we watched Easter Parade and My Big, Fat, Greek Wedding, I found time to play a little Animal Crossing: New Horizons so I could visit with Zipper T. Bunny. I also caught up with Roald, who was wearing an egg suit…I wonder if that’s what he looked like when he hatched?
I spent most of the rest of the day working on dinner and setting the table:
I chose an Italian theme for this year’s dinner. I served the same lamb in the slow cooker we had last year (technically Greek, but more generically Mediterranean, so close enough), lemon parmesan risotto, insalata caprese, roasted cauliflower, panzanella, breaded artichokes, capers, olives, Italian Easter bread, and lemon Italian soda.
I stuck with the Italian theme for dessert…we had cannoli and Italian sprinkle cookies:
This was an especially nice Easter. Maybe it’s because things felt more “normal” (I actually shook hands for the first time in over two years!), maybe it was because the church services were so meaningful, maybe it was because this may be the nicest Easter dinner I’ve ever made. Whatever the reason, I’m thankful we had such a wonderful celebration of Christ’s resurrection!
Yesterday was one of my favorite days of the whole year (and one of the most delicious!)…St. Patrick’s Day!
We set our leprechaun trap:
We still didn’t manage to catch Lucky, though he did leave us a treat:
I wore green, glitter, and rainbows on a St. Patrick’s Day trip to the Missouri Botanical Garden. We didn’t find any shamrocks, but we did read a few of our favorite St. Patrick’s Day books while we were there.
I also had fun choosing just the right outfit in Animal Crossing: New Horizons. I have a full-on leprechaun suit and a clover dress, but in the end, I decided to go with fusion fashion…a green dirndl!
We had our traditional dinner of corned beef and cabbage, roast carrots and potatoes, and soda bread with Irish butter. This year, I picked Ski soda to go with the meal, mostly because the bottle is green (and it’s nice to support local businesses).
And our favorite Guinness cake for dessert. I don’t know if it was just because I decorated it with chocolate sprinkles, but it looked even more like a donut to me than it usually does!
Up next…a two-day celebration of Turkey’s 19th birthday!