A Markel Family…Halloween?

As a family, we’ve never been into Halloween. Not once have the children dressed up and gone trick-or-treating, nor have they gone to any Halloween parties. Sure, we visit the pumpkin patch every year, and we listen to the Baby Snooks 1946 Halloween special and watch It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown multiple times every October. But come October 31st each year, we celebrate Reformation Day instead of Halloween.

Kind of. As the years have gone by, we’ve edged a little closer to a traditional Halloween celebration. I think it all started with Legends and Lanterns, which we’ve visited faithfully every year since its inception. While we still don’t go trick-or-treating (and honestly, we only have one, maybe two children who are still of the age for doing so, anyway!), we have carved a pumpkin (an activity that the children thought was fun to try once, but have no desire to do again!). We’ve also started having a special dinner featuring recipes from The Unofficial Harry Potter Cookbook. So I thought this year, I’d take a look at how we’ve come to celebrate Halloween.

Halloween breakfast has always featured either Cap’n Crunch’s Halloween Crunch or one of the General Mills Monster Cereals. This year, it was Franken Berry (while we listened to Baby Snooks):

I also found a special treat to go with lunch…pumpkin pie Rice Krispies Treats:

Of course I had the perfect outfit for the occasion:

And a “Little Luther” thrown in, because it is still Reformation Day, after all!

On to our feast for the day. I made one favorite recipe from the cookbook (pumpkin fizz), and tried three new options…”ghoul”-ash (I came up with that version of the name, and I’m rather proud of it!), and glazed carrots for dinner, and chocolate eclairs for dessert. They were all delicious!

We spent the day watching our favorite movies and TV shows that fit the theme…Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown, Bewitched, The Simpsons, and Sabrina the Teenage Witch (we watched Meet Me in St. Louis recently, which is a family favorite, and has a great Halloween scene, so we didn’t watch it again today, although we often do on Halloween).

So that’s our not-really-Halloween, Halloween celebration. It’s still not my favorite holiday, but I really do love the fun ways we’ve found to put our own spin on it, and it’s definitely something I’ve come to look forward to each October!

Sartorial Saturday–Magically Made

I’ve had the Celestina Reversible Capelet from Pinup Girl Clothing’s Magically Made collection since September, but between the broken ankle and all of my festive fashions, I haven’t really had a chance to share it…until now!

I love the shape of the cape, even from the back:

It’s easy to accessorize with my Hufflepuff pin from Universal, and my Duchess bangles from Splendette:

The best part is the fact that the caplet is reversible, so it’s really like having two pieces! Even just unbuttoning it gives the outfit a totally different look:

And completely reversing it is even more fantastic!

Just for fun, some pictures with Nymphadora Tonks’ wand..she’s my favorite Hufflepuff!

I’m so glad I was finally able to add a cape to my wardrobe, and one that makes me feel like Minerva McGonagall is even more amazing than I could have dreamed!

A Family Feast Mash-Up

In our house, October 31st is pretty much about Reformation Day, because we’re not really into Halloween (or are we?). But this year, since we’ve been so focused on Harry Potter, I wanted something that was both a nod to the series, which celebrates Halloween, as well something that was a reference to our German heritage/Reformation Day. So I came up with what I think was a good compromise…we had a German dinner of brats, sauerkraut, and kartoffelpuffer (potato pancakes), with a pumpkin-themed desert featuring recipes from our Harry Potter Cookbook (pumpkin fizz and pumpkin pasties).

The rest of the day was spent enjoying the “Reformation Polka,” reading about Martin Luther while hearing Lutheran hymns, listening to the Baby Snooks Halloween special, and watching The Wizard of Oz, Rick Steves’ Luther and the Reformation special, Bob Ross’ The Joy of Painting, and Halloween episodes of Sabrina, the Teenage Witch. It’s not really a traditional Halloween celebration, and not only a Reformation Day observance, but it’s very us!

Quote

Quote of the Day

This may be the most Maggie Smith quote ever!

“On Christmas Eve night, we and our guests gather in the Great Hall for a night of well-mannered frivolity.” Maggie Smith as Professor Minerva McGonagall in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire

I need to make sure we have some well-mannered frivolity on the schedule for Christmas this year!

Symphony Sunday

Bunny received an awesome gift for her birthday in July…two tickets to go to Powell Hall and hear the St. Louis Symphony play the score to Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire while they showed the movie on a big screen. Today was the day, and she asked me to with her…we had an amazing time!

We got there just after the doors opened, and had a fun time walking around in our Pinup Girl Clothing House Harlequins, people watching, and enjoying an “Enchanted Brew” at the Met Bar:

The ushers at Powell Hall are extremely nice, and we had no trouble finding our seats, which provided us with a great view, and perfect acoustics:

The performance was outstanding. The St. Louis Symphony was so good, and so unobtrusive, that I occasionally forgot we were hearing a live orchestra. The crowd was great, too. It was clear that everybody there was enjoying the show, and it was really fun to get to see a Harry Potter movie with other fans!

This was my first St. Louis Symphony experience, and I really hope it isn’t my last…everything about our time at Powell Hall was so much fun!

Construo LEGOrum!

Lego has finally added a new line of Harry Potter and Fantastic Beasts sets to their store! We missed out on the Harry Potter sets the last time Lego made them, so we’re very excited about the new wave. In honor of this auspicious occasion, I’ve come up with a special Harry Potter style spell to assist you in your Lego building…Construo LEGOrum!

So far, our family owns three of the sets (Hogwarts Great Hall, Hogwarts Express, and Aragog’s Lair), plus some of the minifigs from the new series. The set we all hope to build someday, however, is the new Hogwarts Castle, which is as beautiful as it is gigantic!

Tasty Tuesday–A Magical Birthday Feast

It’s already been two weeks since Harry Potter’s (and J.K. Rowling’s) birthday! To celebrate that occasion, we tried out some more recipes from The Unofficial Harry Potter Cookbook. I can’t recommend it enough…we’ve loved the recipes we’ve tried so far, and it’s so much fun to have themed dinners!

This time around, we tried Gillywater (a drink made from honeydew melon and mint), hot rolls, Brussel sprouts with béchamel sauce, Chiddingly hotpot (a fantastic stew with many sour notes from two kinds of vinegar and green olives!), and Sirius Black’s coconut cake for dessert (yes, I got Hogwarts paper plates from Walmart!):

No, not all of these recipes appear in the Harry Potter books. J.K. Rowling never explains what Gillywater is, so the author of the cookbook just went with something green and refreshing (which it was!). The coconut cake is also a creation from the author’s imagination, based on the fact that Sirius Black was hiding out in a tropical location, so she decided that when he sent Harry a birthday cake, it would have a tropical flavor. I really appreciate not only the known recipes from the books, but also the author’s interpretation of some of the more vague culinary mentions!

First Day of School 2018

We have officially begun the 2018-19 school year!

Our first day of school is pretty much the same from year to year…the children get their new workbooks, and open their schultüte:

We do a little work (today that included religion, foreign language, and reading time):

And then build our first day of school Lego set…this year, it’s the Hogwarts Great Hall!

Tomorrow we’ll get into more serious work, but for today, we mostly had fun!

Ready for the First Day of School!

Our super-fun summer has just sped by, and tomorrow it’s already time for the first day of school! To make our last week of vacation extra special, I prepared everyone’s favorite meal (with some exceptions…for example, no one was allowed to request Thanksgiving dinner!). Our lineup for the past week was:

  • Amanda–Reuben casserole
  • Turkey–Stromboli
  • Bunny–Brazilian black bean stew with Pao de Queijo and Brazilian lemonade
  • Moose–French toast with bacon and cranberry-pineapple juice
  • Ladybug–Creamy onion soup with Irish soda bread and pumpkin fizz
  • Chickadee–Mac ‘n’ cheese with bacon
  • Ryan–Cock-a-leekie pie

Tonight we had a “Farewell to Summer” dinner of hot dogs (including Chicago-style and chili dogs) and brats, with a special cream puff dessert:

The school room has been cleaned and organized, and for once, there really haven’t been any significant changes in the way it’s arranged! We’ve either found a really good layout that works for us, or we’ve run out of room to make any changes…or most likely, a combination of the two!

And the First Day of School outfits are ready to go…we’re going with a Harry Potter theme this year!

Tomorrow marks the beginning of our 11th year of homeschooling. As always, I am both excited and terrified, but one thing is for sure…I can’t wait to see what this year brings!

Tasty Tuesday–A Magical Feast

Happy Birthday Harry Potter!

We had a special magical feast last week, based on recipes from The Unofficial Harry Potter Cookbook. Since today is Harry Potter’s birthday, it seems like the perfect time to share our feast, which included pumpkin fizz, a new Irish soda bread recipe, creamy onion soup, beef stew with herbed dumplings, butterbeer, and an English strawberry trifle:

It was a delicious meal…we’re definitely looking forward to trying more recipes from the cookbook!