Thanksgiving 2023

“And that’s how Milly and Mr. Macy started a new holiday tradition. It looked a little like the old country, and a little like America, and a little like something entirely new.”

That quote from Milly and the Macy’s Parade describes pretty well how I felt about Thanksgiving this year. Our holiday was a little different, because this is the first time we’ve had a child away from home who returned to us for the holiday celebration. It was kind of familiar and kind of new, and still lots of fun!

One thing that was different this year was that instead of having “Pie Day” on Wednesday, I started my annual pie baking on Tuesday…I made three pies that day (two s’mores, another new thing because I’ve never made two of the same pie before, and a chocolate hazelnut) plus the cranberries. I got to work on baking early so that I wouldn’t have to be in the kitchen as much once Bunny returned home on Wednesday. The other six pies (plus the stuffing) were made that day, and Bunny even had time to make the caramel apple like she usually does!

Thursday was pretty normal…we watched the Macy’s Parade (Bunny and Ladybug tied at parade bingo) and the National Dog Show and some of our favorite Thanksgiving shows that we didn’t have time for on Wednesday. Chickadee took care of folding the napkins while I set our tables:

And dinner was even ready a little earlier than I expected, which is much better than it being done later! We had a fairly standard meal…turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, carrots, Brussels sprouts, green beans with almonds, cranberries, and rolls. I also made roast fennel for the first time, and it was delicious!

Another change this year involved our Lego Winter Village set. Usually, we build it the day after Thanksgiving, but Bunny had to leave pretty early that day, so we built it after dinner. I love that it looks like it was lifted right from the Alps, and it has so many lovely details…the fireplace is especially cool!

Here’s a look at the previously-mentioned pies. The pineapple pie was the only new addition this year, and it was a good one…I will definitely be making it again!

In the evening, we also played “Chandler’s Dumb States Game” for the first time. I was the undisputed champion…all 50 states in four minutes, and my children are still wondering how I did it! Of course I also had to check in with Franklin and my Animal Crossing neighbors before the day was over:

The day after Thanksgiving started with one of my very favorite traditions…pie for breakfast!

We went to see Moose march in the town Santa Parade for the last time…Bunny was able to stay long enough to see the band, which was nice. After all these years, I can’t believe he won’t be marching in it again!

Of course we had turkey sandwiches for lunch:

And more pie for lunch dessert:

Dinner was another favorite…turkey soup:

After dinner, Chickadee and I went to the town tree lighting, which is always a nice event.

We walked through Christkindlmarkt:

And checked out the gingerbread houses on display on Main Street. There are some very creative and beautiful pieces done by some very talented artists!

Back home, we had even more pie:

Last night, we had one more leftovers meal…Thanksgiving casserole (one of the few casseroles I actually like!):

And one final round of pie for dessert:

So, our celebration was a lot the same, but a little bit different. But we were together for the holiday, and that was the most important thing of all!

Tasty Tuesday–The Anne of Green Gables Cookbook

Chickadee and I are finishing Anne of Green Gables this week, so while we haven’t tried every recipe in The Anne of Green Gables Cookbook, it’s time to take a look back at the recipes we have tried. We made a lot of desserts, and I think the apple dumplings were my favorite (they were also something I had never made before!). I really like the way we’ve been able to tie cooking and literature together for the last few years!

  • Diana Barry’s Favorite Raspberry Cordial
  • Miss Stacy’s Baked Macaroni
  • White Sands Scalloped Tomatoes
  • Anne’s Liniment Cake
  • Chocolate Caramels
  • Old-Fashioned (Pink) Lemonade
  • Cowcumber Boats
  • Chocolate Goblin’s Food Cake
  • Afternoon Ruby Tea Biscuits
  • Coconut Macaroons
  • Creamy Butterscotch Pudding
  • Thick and Creamy Vegetable Soup
  • Orange Angel Cake
  • Miss Ellen’s Pound Cake
  • Puffy Apple Dumplings
  • Rachel Lynde’s North Shore Fish Cakes
  • Fire and Dew Sweet Potatoes
  • Maritime Gingersnaps

We’ll be taking a break from this cookbook for the time being, but I’m looking forward to coming back to it in the future!

Family Oktoberfest 2023

Today I finally got around to preparing our annual family Oktoberfest! Of course I had to wear a dirndl…I think I wore five of my six dresses to various Oktoberfests this year!

I didn’t make fondue this year, but I did make pretzels, and I even experimented with making a few larger ones. I need to work on rolling them out a bit thinner, but they were good!

Of course I had to celebrate in Animal Crossing, too:

I made our favorites for dinner…Schnitzel (which at this point, I think I’ve perfected!), spaetzle, and rotkohl. I still haven’t been brave enough to make sauerkraut from scratch, so that was store-bought. I did make Jäger sauce this year, though!

Yes, our house smells like a German restaurant!

For dessert, I made our favorite Schwarzwälder Kirschtorte…I wouldn’t dare make something else!

This is always a delicious day!

Tasty Tuesday–Even More German Cooking!

It’s been almost a year since the last time I shared a look at the German cooking I’ve been doing, so it’s time for an update. I’ve been cooking at least one German recipe a month thanks to the great suggestions in my Rare Dirndl Facebook group. Some have been new versions of recipes I’ve made in the past (like Kartoffelpuffer, not once, but twice, with two very different recipes and a new serving suggestion of smoked salmon), but most have been new to us. I also made a lot of new German Christmas cookies last Christmas, and I’m really looking forward to making some of them again this year! I really enjoy trying recipes my ancestors might have enjoyed in their home country, and sharing them with my children to help them feel a connection to the past!

  • Martinsbrezeln
  • Lebkuchen
  • Vanillekipferl
  • Pfeffernusse 
  • Kardamom Plaetzchen
  • Zimtsterne
  • Swiss Cheese Fondue
  • Bratkartoffeln
  • Beef Rouladen
  • Kartoffelpuffer
  • Brötchen
  • Lemon Strawberry Dutch Baby
  • Krautsalat
  • Currywurst
  • Summer Flammkuchen
  • Bavarian Obatzda (and pretzels!)
  • Kartoffelpuffer with Smoked Salmon
  • Sacher-Torte

I’m looking forward to continuing my adventures in German cooking!

2023-24 School Year–Week Six

Ladybug read about Origen and Clement of Alexandria and their differing views on pagan philosophy in religion. She worked with angles of elevation and depression in pre-calculus. In physics she started solving problems involving two-dimensional motion. She learned about mental illness in health. We finished The Hound of the Baskervilles…the Divine Comedy is up next! She finished the second section of US history, focusing on the establishment of the colonies. In grammar she moved on to punctuating with quotation marks. She read about Henry II and Thomas Becket in world history.

Chickadee started reading about Moses in religion. She continued to work on long division using estimation in math, and reviewed giving back change. In science we started a unit on the digestive system. She continued to learn about the spread of the Islamic faith in history. In grammar she worked on subject-verb agreement. We continued our study of Anne of Green Gables, and made three more recipes from The Anne of Green Gables Cookbook…Creamy Butterscotch Pudding, Thick and Creamy Vegetable Soup, and Orange Angel Cake (just in time for our Michaelmas celebration today!):

Maybe next week it will actually cool off…we’d really like to get outdoors for a change of pace!

2023-24 School Year–Week Four

Fun things first! We took some time out of our school day today to go to the library and visit our town’s Oktoberfest as long as we were downtown!

Ladybug read about the expansion of the early church in religion. She used the trig table to solve for an unknown in pre-calculus. In writing, she came up with a conflict for a story. She read about Jeong Jung-bu and the overthrow of the Goryeo Empire in Korea. There were even more comma rules in grammar. In physics, she started learning about two-dimensional vectors. She continued her literature study of The Hound of the Baskervilles. We also started reading The Two Towers.

Chickadee reviewed everyone’s favorite, long division, in math. She started a chapter about muscles in science. We started reading Felicity Learns a Lesson. She learned about Justinian and Theodora in history, and then moved on to the Gupta dynasty. In grammar, she reviewed simple, progressive, and perfect tenses. We read my favorite parts of Anne of Green Gables, when Anne cracked her slate over Gilbert’s head, and when Diana inadvertently got drunk when she came to tea. We also baked the Chocolate Goblin’s Food Cake from The Anne of Green Gables Cookbook:

“I just grow cold when I think of my layer cake. Oh, Diana, what if it shouldn’t be good! I dreamed last night that I was chased all around by a fearful goblin with a big layer cake for a head.” –Anne Shirley

2023-24 School Year–Week Three

This week, Ladybug learned how to work with trig tables in trigonometry. She continued to work with one-dimensional motion problems in physics, this week focusing on free fall and vertical velocity and acceleration. In grammar, she continued to work with comma rules. At this point, we’re really excited to see what happens next in The Hound of the Baskervilles! In US history, she started reading about early English colonization of the Americas. In world history, she read about Peter Abelard and his conflicts with Bernard of Clairvaux, as well as the Taira clan in Japan. She learned about neurotransmitters and synapses, as well as different kinds of brain injuries, in health.

Chickadee reviewed properties of multiplication and division in math. She practiced writing summaries of a narrative in both first and third person. In grammar, she reviewed diagramming the subject and predicate of a sentence. She continued learning about the skeletal system in science, including how bones heal. In history she read about the Byzantine Empire. We continued reading Anne of Green Gables, and made three more recipes from The Anne of Green Gables Cookbook: Chocolate Caramels, Old-Fashioned (Pink) Lemonade and “Cowcumber” Boats:

The weather next week is looking pretty promising, so hopefully we’ll get outdoors!

Our Labor Day Tradition

We have one Labor Day tradition that has been going on so long, I can’t even remember how it started…we always have chili and (usually) fry bread Labor Day Weekend!

This year, I tried a new twist. We had extra fry bread, so I made fry bread sundaes for dessert. The crunchy saltiness of the fry bread was the perfect foil to the ice cream, and it was so good! I will definitely be making this again!

I love the little traditions that you don’t plan that just kind of happen!

2023-24 School Year–Week Two

Ladybug read about Gnosticism in her study of the early church. She worked with secant, cosecant, and cotangent in pre-calculus. In grammar, she continued identifying the different comma rules. She started a new chapter in physics, focused on one-dimensional motion equations. In history, she read about Pope Eugenius III and the Second Crusade. She continued to read The Hound of the Baskervilles.

Chickadee reviewed the properties of addition and subtraction in math. In writing, she started constructing one-level outlines. She read more about Britain in the Middle Ages in history. In science we started a chapter on the skeletal system. She picked up her read-through of the American Girl stories with Meet Felicity. We continued reading Anne of Green Gables. We also started making recipes from The Anne of Green Gables Cookbook. For our first dinner, we started with one of the most famous items in Anne of Green Gables, “Diana Barry’s Favorite Raspberry Cordial.” We had “Miss Stacy’s Baked Macaroni” for the main course, and a side of “White Sands Scalloped Tomatoes.” For dessert, we had the other most famous recipe from the book, “Anne’s Liniment Cake” (but we substituted vanilla for the liniment!):

“Mercy on us, Anne, you’ve flavored that cake with Anodyne Liniment. I broke the liniment bottle last week and poured what was left into an old empty vanilla bottle. I suppose it’s partly my fault–I should have warned you–but for pity’s sake, why couldn’t you have smelled it?” –Marilla Cuthbert

We also celebrated “Back to Hogwarts” today, and Ladybug and Chickadee helped me prepare all of the dishes we made from The Unofficial Harry Potter Cookbook. We started the day with Oversized Blueberry Muffins with Crunchy Tops like Mrs. Weasley might have made for Harry on the morning of his hearing in Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. No Harry Potter-themed day would be complete without Butterbeer like Harry enjoyed at Hogsmeade in Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban. We baked Hot Rolls like the ones made by Kreacher in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. For dinner, we had Creamy Onion Soup like Mrs. Weasley cooked in Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince. We finished with Rhubarb Crumble with Custard Sauce from Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix.

I’m so glad it’s September…bring on autumn!

Tasty Tuesday–The Official Disney Parks Cookbook

Summer vacation is coming to an end, which means I won’t have as much time for cooking “fancy” dinners. So even though I still have a lot of recipes left to try in The Official Disney Parks Cookbook, here’s a look at the ones we’ve tried so far. Unlike Delicious Disney: Walt Disney World, a cookbook of recipes from only Disney World which was the inspiration behind many of our Disney Dinners last year, this cookbook contains recipes from Disneyland, Disney California Adventure and beyond, Magic Kingdom, EPCOT, Disney’s Hollywood Studios, Disney’s Animal Kingdom and beyond, and other Disney locations including Vero Beach and Aulani.

  • Mini Strawberry Cheesecakes
  • Walt’s Chili and Beans
  • Shrimp Boil Tacos with Andouille Sausage and Corn
  • Honey Crunch Cake
  • Totchos
  • Tres Leches Cake
  • Key Lime Pie
  • Charred Nebraska Corn Chowder
  • Pork Goulash with Sauerkraut Pierogi
  • Caramel Hawaiian Sweet Bread Pudding
  • Chef Mickey’s Breakfast Pizza
  • Pink Leilani
  • S’mores Gelato Shake
  • Watermelon Lemonade
  • Goofy’s Kitchen Cherry Tomato and Bocconcini Salad
  • BLT Flatbread
  • Red, White, & Blue Sprinkle Whoopie Pies
  • Naan Bread with Cucumber Raita
  • Mango Lassi
  • Tomato Florentine Soup
  • Lemon Soda Float
  • The Hollywood Brown Derby Cobb Salad
  • Beef Sliders with Pimento Cheese
  • White Chocolate Peppermint Bar topped with Peppermint Meringue Kisses

I really love our Disney Dinners, and I’m really excited about the newest cookbook in this series, Delicious Disney: Disneyland, which comes out this fall!