Chickadee and I have been enjoying baking recipes from the My Little Pony Baking Book she received for Christmas. We’ve made at least one recipe from each chapter of the book at this point…here’s a look at everything we’ve tried so far:
Celebration Cinnamon Rolls
Pony Poke Cake
Chocolate Dream Pie
Peanut Butter Candy Cookies
Frosted Sugar Cookie Bars
Apple Fritter Bread
Purple Velvet Cake
The recipes in the book are delicious, but they’re also a lot of fun, and they all look amazing…we’re really looking forward to baking more of them!
Can you stand one more look back at the holiday season? I hope so, because it’s time to wrap-up all of the festive feasts and baked goods I prepared from Thanksgiving through Epiphany!
Our Thanksgiving dinner was fairly standard, although I did make a second kind of stuffing, and instead of just roasted carrots, I made a blend of roasted winter vegetables (which did include carrots):
Our pick-out dinner is always my favorite meal of the year, and I thought it was extra special with the full charcuterie board I prepared:
Our fancy Christmas dinner (which we had on the Sunday after Christmas) featured beef Wellington:
Our New Year’s Eve hot chocolate bar looked a little different this year, but it was still delicious!
Pork tenderloin is becoming something of a tradition on New Year’s Day:
And finally, our most recent “festive feast,” Ryan’s birthday dinner last week:
I made ten pies over the holidays (with a lot of help from the girls):
We baked more cookies than I can count, including several new varieties, my favorite of which was the Linzer Augen:
“Only” six cakes this time around (do Yule logs count as cakes?):
And some other assorted treats, including my first attempt at cannoli and gingerbread Oreo truffles:
It’s not like I’m going to stop cooking anytime soon, because we still need to eat, but I’m looking forward to planning some simpler meals for a bit!
This week was a lot of fun, because it was Christmas School! Once Ladybug took her science test, and Chickadee finished up her science assignments as well, all we did was read A Christmas Carol and Letters from Father Christmas and bake cookies, do crafts, and watch The Nutcracker.
On Monday we watched the Dutch National Ballet Nutcracker, made traditional paper snowflakes, and baked Christmas Island coconut macaroons:
On Tuesday we watched the Royal Ballet Nutcracker, made popsicle stick snowflakes, and baked chocolate Madelines:
On Wednesday we watched the Bolshoi Ballet Nutcracker, made beaded snowflakes, and baked Filipino puto seko:
On Thursday we watched the Vienna Staatsoper Nutcracker, made q-tip snowflakes, and baked Czech poppyseed cookies:
Today we watched the San Francisco Ballet Nutcracker (my favorite!), made 3-D paper snowflakes, and baked chocolate crinkle cookies:
Several of the snowflake crafts we made could be used as ornaments, but we also had a specific ornament for the year…painted clay ornaments cut out with Christmas cookie cutters I bought just for this project:
In the end, we tried three new cookies recipes (plus a variation on Madelines we had never made before) and two new craft projects. It was fun to have both and old new things to try, and it was nice to have a relaxing week of school!
I often take a look back at the holiday baking I did from Thanksgiving through Epiphany; this year, I thought it would be fun to look back at all of the holiday meals and treats we’ve enjoyed, starting with Thanksgiving dinner:
We had our pick out dinner on Christmas Day this time:
And our fancy Christmas dinner on the Sunday after Christmas:
Of course we had our traditional New Year’s Eve hot chocolate bar:
And a special New Year’s Day dinner to start the new year right:
And finally, our Ryan’s Birthday/Epiphany feast:
On to the baking. There were pies for Thanksgiving:
And several cakes throughout the season, for St. Nicholas Day, Santa Lucia Day, Jesus’ Birthday, the fancy Christmas dinner, and New Year’s Day:
We baked so many Christmas cookies!
And an obligatory “other” section, for things like lussekattes, coffee cake, and even some special holiday beverages:
I put in a little extra effort this year, to make up for the fact that we couldn’t go anywhere or do most of our normal Christmas activities. In the end, I think we’ll have a lot of delicious memories from this holiday season!
Hymn of the Week–“Where Shepherds Lately Knelt” (Lutheran Service Book #369)
It’s been a long time since we’ve dedicated a week to “Christmas School,” but if ever a year needed it, it’s 2020. So this week was spent making ornaments, baking cookies, reading Christmas stories, and watching different versions of The Nutcracker.
I was especially excited about the ornaments. I had originally planned for the children to make them two years ago, but that was the year I broke my ankle, and I just didn’t have the energy to deal with it. Last year I found ornament kits that I really wanted to make, so these beautiful sequin ornaments got pushed back one more year. We had lots of options for colors and sizes:
They were definitely worth the wait (and the seed beads that may be rolling around the kitchen forever!), because they are beautiful!
We also decorated gingerbread houses, something we have done in the past, but it’s been a few years, and I’ve never had a house for each child (the mansion was a group project).
Speaking of gingerbread houses, we did get out of the house to see the gingerbread creations in the store windows on Main Street. We might not have been able to do most of the Christmas activities I had planned this year, but it was nice to do one familiar thing!
This was also “Cookie Week.” I decided we should bake a different kind of cookie every day, and they should all be cookies we don’t usually bake. On Monday, we made eggnog blossoms, Tuesday was chocolate crinkles, Wednesday we baked kolacky, Thursday we made both Madelines and palmiers, and today we baked spritz.
We did a lot of reading this week, too. We finished A Christmas Carol, and made it through most of Letters from Father Christmas (I plan on finishing that next week). We also read a bunch of storybooks:
Lucia Morning in Sweden
Lucia: Saint of Light
The Christmas Tale of Peter Rabbit
The Carpenter’s Gift
Fear Not Joseph
The 12 Days of Christmas
The Three Wise Women of Christmas
It was also “Nutcracker Week.” This is not totally unheard of for us, although this year we were supposed to see a live production. We watched a different version every day:
Monday: Ballet Company of The National Opera of Ukraine
Tuesday: Dutch National Ballet
Wednesday: Wiener Staatsballett
Thursday: The Royal Ballet
Friday: The Bolshoi Ballet
We saved our favorite, the San Francisco Ballet production, to watch tomorrow. If we have time next week, we’ll watch the Berlin Nutcracker, too…that’s the only one we have on disc that we didn’t schedule for this week.
This was a really fun week of school, but I’m looking forward to taking a break for a few weeks. Merry Christmas!
Preheat the oven to 325. Line cookie sheets with parchment paper. Sift together the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt; set aside. In a medium bowl, cream together the melted butter, brown sugar, and white sugar until well blended. Beat in the vanilla, eggs, and egg yolks until light and creamy. Mix in the sifted ingredients until just blended. Stir in the baking chips by hand using a wooden spoon. Drop cookie dough 1/4 cup at a time onto the prepared cookie sheets (cookies should be about 3 inches apart). Sprinkle with sea salt. Bake for 15 to 17 minutes in the preheated oven.. Cool on baking sheets for a few minutes before transferring to wire racks to cool completely.
I’m not going to lie…I’m not really sure that I’m ready for the 2020-21 school year. If I’m totally honest, I’m kind of dreading it for several reasons, and the top reason actually has nothing to do with COVID-19. Instead, I’m apprehensive because it’s Turkey and Bunny’s last year of homeschooling. That’s right…this experiment that we began in 2008 when they started kindergarten is now coming to a close, at least for them. And I’m afraid I’m going to spend the entire school year crying, as each “last time” comes up.
But, our homeschooling experiment is far from over, especially now that Moose is joining us at home while doing distance-learning for at least the first semester of his first year of high school (which, again if I’m honest, is a little scary to me), so one way or another, I’m as ready as I’ll ever be for our most unique and challenging year of homeschooling (which includes two twelfth graders, a 9th grader, an 8th grader, and a 3rd grader) yet!
First, a look at some of the fun we’ve had in the last week of summer vacation, including Lego-building and cookie-baking. We may not have been able to travel this summer, or even do the usual local stuff we would during the summer, but we still managed to have fun experiences!
Tonight was our annual “Farewell to Summer” dinner, this time a mail-order meal from Portillo’s, which mirrors a dinner we had shortly before summer break began.
A summer classic for dessert…root beer floats:
Plus some Frango mints, another little taste of Chicago:
This year’s first-day-of-school outfits are Animal Crossing themed. It’s a good reflection of our summer, and they were pretty easy to get in a time when clothes shopping can be a little challenging.
The school room has been cleaned and organized…it looks pretty much like it did for most of last year, with the keyboard being the most recent (but not really new anymore) addition:
I prepared the schultüte for tomorrow, too:
So that’s pretty much it. We’re as ready as we’ll ever be, and our 13th year of homeschooling begins bright and early tomorrow morning!
Last week, the Fab Five and I baked cookies. Actually, that’s not really news…we’ve been baking cookies a lot more recently. But these cookies were special, because they were sugar cookies, and we had frosting and sprinkles to decorate them
That’s not the only reason they were special, though. These are the sugar cookies we were supposed to bake at Christmas and never got around to. So I decided in January that we’d bake sugar cookies for Valentine’s Day instead, and I bought the frosting and sprinkles with that in mind. You guessed it…time got away from us again, so last week we finally got out our spring cookie cutters and got to work. In the end, we had what were originally supposed to be Christmas cookies, decorated in the colors of Valentine’s Day, but in cheerful spring shapes, baked during our time of isolation due to COVID-19.
We never did get around to making and decorating cut-out cookies this year (I think we’ll make that a Valentine’s Day activity!), but I thought it would be fun to take a look back at all of the holiday baking we did do, from Thanksgiving Eve through Epiphany.
16 Dozen Cookies (four different kinds):
11 Pies (a total of eight varieties):
Bûche de Noël:
Apple-Cranberry Bread Pudding:
Lussekattes for Santa Lucia Day:
Even without the cut-out cookies, this may have been the busiest year of baking yet…it was delicious fun!