Nikolaustag

Happy Nikolaustag!

We started the day as we start every St. Nick’s Day…with stockings. The children always receive a new ornament, and this year, the ornaments came from our trip to Disney World. I had such a fun time picking them out at Ye Olde Christmas Shoppe the Magic Kingdom’s Liberty Square back in June!

We always decorate the tree on December 6th…in addition to our Mickey Ears ornaments (and the final installation of the “12 Days of Christmas”), we also added an ornament made from marble from the steps of the US Capitol that we picked up when we toured the building over the summer:

For dinner, as I did last year, I made Döner Kebab. One more year, and it will be a full-fledged tradition!

For dessert, I stuck with the Disney theme and made Mini Gingerbread Bundt Cakes with Orange-Vanilla Sauce from a recipe on the Disney Parks Blog:

We always have wassail on Nikolaustag, too:

Now I feel like the Christmas season has really begun!

2022-23 School Year–Week Fifteen

This was a weird week of school because it fell between our short Thanksgiving week and the start of Christmas school. We did wrap some things up, and even though we didn’t read The Fellowship of the Ring this week, we did make three new dishes from Recipes from the World of Tolkien: Beorn’s Warm Baked Cheese (brie baked with honey and topped with pecans and dried cranberries), Westfarthing Fairings (light, crispy cookies flavored with lemon and fall spices), and Traveler’s All-in-One Breakfast in a Pan (which we had for breakfast-for-dinner).

Ladybug worked on isolating a variable in an equation full of variables in algebra. In chemistry, she finished the chapter introducing the concept of moles. We also finished reading The Scarlet Letter. We wrapped up adverb clauses in grammar. In history she read about the Persians and the Byzantines.

Chickadee learned how to identify and measure angles in math. She finished the chapter on rodents and other animals (including rabbits, hedgehogs, armadillos, sloths, and anteaters) in science. In history she read about the Medes and Persians (and Cyrus the Great), as well as Athens and Sparta. She also enjoyed reading The Best Christmas Pageant Ever for the first time!

Up next: two weeks of Christmas school featuring crafts, cookies, and stories related to Christmas in Germany/German-speaking countries!

Pie Day 2022

Welcome to my bakery!

Today, as is our tradition the day before Thanksgiving, we made pies. Seven of them this year, which honestly seemed like nothing after the nine we made in 2021! Most of our creations were old favorites…Nutella, pumpkin, caramel apple, pecan, butterscotch, and s’mores:

The one new addition this year isn’t even technically a pie…I made a tart for the first time. A cranberry curd tart with a shortbread crust. I’m hoping it’s as delicious as it looks!

I’m really looking forward to enjoying the fruits of our labor tomorrow!

2022-23 School Year–Week Fourteen

We started the week with another favorite field trip…we took a hike around Cahokia Mounds. The Interpretive Center is still closed, so we couldn’t go in there, but we did take a trail we’ve never been down before, and really enjoyed seeing some different things (and we also came across several deer!).

Ladybug worked on calculating percents in algebra 2. She learned about moles (the measurement, not the animal) in chemistry. In history, she read about the deaths of Justinian and Khosru of Persia. We started the last section of The Scarlet Letter. She worked on writing non-linear dialogue in creative writing. Although we took a break from reading The Fellowship of the Ring to focus on some of our favorite Thanksgiving stories, we did bake Bilbo’s Eleventy-First Birthday Cake (even though it’s also not currently his birthday!):

Chickadee reviewed time zones in math and worked on converting units of time. She started learning about rodents in science, by learning what makes a rodent a rodent. We continued to read about the ancient Greeks in history, including their alphabet and how it relates to ours, and some of the stories of Homer. She continued to identify prepositional phrases in grammar, focusing on ones that work as adjective phrases.

Next week will be a short week of mostly fun and catching up, and then Thanksgiving!

2022-23 School Year–Week Thirteen

This was a busy and fun (not to mention short!) school week! We had one day that was a field trip day (Tuesday) and one day off (today, for Veteran’s Day). But first…cooking! Ladybug helped me make another three recipes from Recipes from the World of Tolkien…Lembas Bread (spicy cornbread), Sam’s Coney Stew (but actually chicken thighs according to the suggested substitution in the cookbook), and apple and blackberry cake:

Chickadee also did some baking with me this week…we made “Canterlot Cornbread” from the My Little Pony Baking Book. It was some of the best cornbread I’ve ever had!

Our previously mentioned field trip was to Creve Coeur Park for our annual walk on the four-mile loop around the lake. We timed it so Turkey, Bunny, and Moose could come with us, and he had a great time!

We did get some school work done, too. In algebra 2, Ladybug learned how to identify discriminants. In chemistry, she learned about decomposition, formation, and combustion reactions, and did an experiment to break down water into its constituent parts using an electrolysis machine. She read about dynasties in Japan and China in history. She has almost finished the second part of The Scarlett Letter. She tried her hand at crime and horror writing in creative writing.

Chickadee had mostly a review week in math, covering many of the topics she’s worked with so far this year. In science, she learned about chimpanzees, bonobos, and gorillas. She learned about early Greece and the Mycenaeans in history. We continued to read through Centerburg Tales. And we got to tag along with Bunny on a visit to the St. Louis Art Museum today!

Next week we have a full week of school, with some Thanksgiving fun thrown in, and then it will be Thanksgiving Week already!

Tasty Tuesday–More German Cooking

I’ve continued to try German recipes since the last time I shared a look at the German cooking I was doing. Most are new to us (and many of those are recipes I was introduced to through the monthly recipe share in the Rare Dirndl First Looks Club Facebook group), but I also made some old family favorites for Oktoberfest.

  • Schnitzel
  • Rhabarberkompott 
  • Kaiserschmarrn
  • Labskaus
  • Frikadellen
  • Käse-Sahne Torte
  • Eiskaffee
  • Sauerbraten
  • Rotkohl
  • Pflaumenkuchen
  • Toast Hawaii
  • Bavarian Obatzda
  • Dutch Baby
  • Brezel
  • Krautsalat
  • Vegane Fleischpfanzerl
  • Spaetzle
  • Schwarzwälder Kirschtorte
  • Baked Fall Spätzle

I have really enjoyed connecting to my heritage this way, and I’m looking forward to trying even more new German recipes in the future!

2022-23 School Year–Week Twelve

Fun things first! Monday was a mostly fun day, split between reading creepy stories for Halloween (mostly Poe, featuring “The Tell-Tale Heart” and “The Raven”), and stories about Martin Luther and the Reformation. We also worked on our final The Nightmare Before Christmas dinner for October, which included the Witches Cauldron Brew (full of fantastic fall flavors), Christmas Tree Empanadas with picadillo filling (possibly my favorite recipe we tried all month), and a Sally Patchwork Layer Cake, which Ladybug decorated by herself:

And then there was regular school work. Ladybug learned the quadratic formula in algebra 2. She also learned how to balance equations in chemistry, which I think is fun, and she…does not. In history, she had her first introduction to Mecca, and also read about Justinian and Theodora and the Bubonic Plague. In creative writing, she worked on fantasy writing. We finally made it to the part where the fellowship is established and sets off in The Fellowship of the Ring.

Chickadee is really into long division in math now! We finished Homer Price, and began reading Centerburg Tales, just to find out what happens next. She learned about the difference between monkeys and apes in science (not that she didn’t already know that from Veggie Tales!). We started reading about Crete in history, including the story of the Minotaur. In grammar, she reviewed the list of prepositions, and learned how to identify the object of the preposition.

I’m hoping the weather next week is as nice as they’re saying it’s going to be, because we have something fun planned!

Tasty Tuesday–The Nightmare Before Christmas Cookbook

For the month of October, Ladybug and I decided to make recipes from The Nightmare Before Christmas cookbook. Our goal was to make one dinner a week (three total recipes each, from either drinks, side dishes, main courses, or desserts), plus a special Halloween meal. We met our goal, and made a few bonus recipes, too! Not only did we make something from each section of the cookbook, we made all of the drink recipes! Every single thing we tried was excellent, and we have some new family favorites that we’re looking forward to making again!

  • Vampire Brothers Bloody Party Punch
  • Snake and Spider Stew
  • Oogie Boogie Meringues
  • Frog’s Breath Floats
  • Cucumber and Mint Limeade Love Potion
  • Jack Skellington Shepherd’s Pie
  • The Mayor Two-Faced black and white cookies
  • Jack Skellington Black Bean Dip
  • Full Moon Queso Dip
  • Igor Cheesy Breadstick Bones
  • Worm’s Wort and Frog’s Breath Soup
  • Lock, Shock, and Barrel Spiral Peppermint Cookie Pops
  • Mummy Boy Dogs
  • Oogie Boogie Bag of Bugs
  • Christmas Town Gingerbread Snowflakes with Spiders
  • Homemade Christmas Eggnog
  • The Mayor Chocolate Pretzel Spiderwebs 
  • Halloween Town Band Zombie Mocktail
  • Oogie Boogie Pasta Worms
  • Oogie Boogie Double Chocolate Dirt Cake
  • Witches Cauldron Brew
  • Christmas Tree Empanadas
  • Sally Patchwork Layer Cake

This has been a really fun cookbook to work our way through, and I’m looking forward to trying even more of the recipes in the future! Eventually, I hope we’ll get around to some of the craft projects in the book, too!

2022-23 School Year–Week Eleven

Ladybug learned how to complete the square in algebra 2. In chemistry, she learned the difference between chemical and physical changes and we did a few fun experiments to demonstrate the concepts. She read about the Americas in the 600s in history, which put us in the mood to visit Cahokia Mounds in a few weeks. She worked on rewriting selections in her own voice in writing. We also made a few more recipes from The Nightmare Before Christmas cookbook…The Mayor Chocolate Pretzel Spiderwebs, Mummy Boy Dogs, Oogie Boogie Bag of Bugs (roast Brussels sprouts with cranberries and pepitas and a balsamic glaze), and Christmas Town Gingerbread Snowflakes with Spiders.

Chickadee learned how to calculate simple exponents in math, and made more complex factor trees. She started the chapter on primates in science. In history, we read about the return of the Assyrians and Ashurbanipal and the library of Nineveh. She reviewed subject and object pronouns in grammar. We started the final chapter of Homer Price…it’s gone by very quickly!

On Thursday, we took a break from our regular schoolwork and used our Missouri Botanical membership to take a 5 mile hike around Shaw Nature Reserve. It’s the first time we’ve been there for anything other than Prairie Days, so it was really our first chance to explore the property. We especially liked the trail down to the Meremec River, but the whole place is beautiful, and we’d like to go back in the spring!

I can’t believe we’re headed toward November…it’s always one of my favorite months for school!