Twenty Years

Today, Ryan and I are celebrating our 20th wedding anniversary!

The traditional 20th anniversary gift is china, so Ryan gave me this beautiful vintage brooch (from England!):

I had Cardinals jerseys customized as my gift to him:

We’re still not comfortable eating out, so we had Portillo’s Italian beef and sausage shipped right to our door:

And I made s’mores bark for dessert:

We couldn’t go on the trip to London that Ryan had planned for our 20th anniversary (maybe next year…or the year after), but he could take a trip to visit my island of Gloriana, which I had ready for a wedding celebration:

It’s hard to believe it’s been 20 years…I hope the next 20 don’t fly by quite as quickly!

Children’s China

On Friday, we took a field trip to The Magic House to see the special exhibit “Children’s China: Celebrating Culture, Character and Confucius” before it closed down. This exhibit was the perfect complement to our study of Asia this school year, and our specialized study of China, which began when we went to the Lantern Festival at the Missouri Botanical Garden in May.


Our first stop was at the restaurant, where the children could pretend to cook an authentic Chinese meal, set the table, and take part in an ancient tea ceremony.

We also got to visit a Chinese market…the scooter was a big hit!

There was a park, complete with exercise equipment and table tennis. We all had fun trying all of it out (even if some of us can’t play table tennis to save our lives)!

We got to experience home life in China, as well. The shutters in all of these settings opened up, with pictures of what a view from the window might actually be like, which was a nice touch.



We took a peek at a Longtang (a traditional Chinese neighborhood):

We spent a great deal of time in the Chinese school. There were tangrams, crafts, and a place to practice Chinese character writing. I was amazed at what the school schedule looks like, especially the daily 80 minutes of calisthenics!

The other area we spent a great deal of time in was the panda reserve. We learned all about pandas, and about how they care for baby pandas in China. The children enjoyed having a chance to name a cub with a traditional Chinese two character name, weigh it, and care for it. They also liked the panda playground!


In addition to those settings, there was also a hands-on area dedicated to crafts (like making paper lanterns) and music.

This was without a doubt the best┬áspecial exhibit we’ve been to at The Magic House. I loved how hands-on and immersive everything was…I think we all got a very good and realistic glimpse into Chinese life and culture!

Thanksgiving Dinner 2013

The table:


The feast:


Just desserts:


In case you hadn’t heard, I made six pies this year…one for each family member that could actually ask for a variety. (Poor Chickadee didn’t get her own request, but she didn’t seem to mind!) Ryan picked caramel apple, Turkey asked for pecan, Bunny wanted butterscotch, Moose requested S’mores, Ladybug chose pumpkin, and I made my favorite “wassail pie” for myself!

This was a very special Thanksgiving, because we had china on our table for the first time. The children were so excited to be using something that belonged to their great-grandmother, so I made it a little extra special and added our champagne flutes for their sparkling grape juice. This is by far the prettiest table I’ve ever set…I love having a piece of family history!