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!

Chickadee Thursday

Chickadee was very excited to receive an abridged version of Luther’s Small Catechism at catechesis yesterday, and she was even more excited to pair it with our Little Luther for Reformation Day today!

Celebrating Reformation 500 with Little Luther

The 500th anniversary of the Protestant Reformation is far too big a deal to be limited to just one service! Our celebration started with Luther’s Deutsche Messe at Hope Lutheran in St. Louis on Reformation Sunday, and Little Luther was there with us:

There were other services we could have attended between then and now, but the big event was tonight’s Reformation 500 service at Concordia Seminary in St. Louis. We were there early enough to have a nice walk around the campus, and Little Luther got to see all the sights:

Little Luther also joined us for dinner at our favorite restaurant, Seamus McDaniel’s!

The celebration isn’t even over yet…we still have the American Kantorei’s Reformation concert at St. Paul Des Peres on Sunday afternoon!

Advent with Little Luther

A reformer, a bishop, and an angel gather under a Jesse Tree…sounds like the beginning of a very strange Advent joke…

We’ve had some fun with Little Luther this year, and I figured Advent should be no different:

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I got him a few seasonally appropriate Playmobil friends (I have to imagine Luther would have enjoyed spending time with a heretic-slapper!), and they’re all hanging out under our Jesse Tree. Just a little Lutheran fun in our Advent season!

Little Luther and the “Diet of Worms”

Little Luther was spotted at the “Diet of Worms” at the conclusion of our Reformation Day meal:

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I think a new family tradition has been born!

Summer Fun 2015

Now that everyone is back in school, Labor Day has come and gone, all of our regular activities have started up again, and Ryan’s sabbatical is over, I guess summer has really ended. But what a summer it has been!

We kicked off our summer at the end of May by going to the Lantern Festival at the Missouri Botanical Garden.

Turkey played in his sixth season of parks and rec baseball…or tried to. We had so much rain in the first half of the summer (including a tropical depression that made it to the St. Louis area), that almost half of his games were cancelled, which was a huge disappointment.

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We visited the St, Louis Zoo to see Kali, the zoo’s new polar bear. We were impressed not only with the bear, but with the new exhibit, Polar Bear Point.

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The four oldest children attended a week-long choir camp at one of our sister congregations in the city of St. Louis. They had a great time learning about music, got to go on a few field trips, and decided that they want to join the Kantorei at Hope. Chickadee had a fun time that week having me all to herself!

Tim Horton’s finally opened a store in St. Louis, and we were there on opening day! (This was also the week that Ryan’s sabbatical began!)

This summer in school, we learned about Illinois state history. We went to Cahokia Mounds on the first of our summer school field trips. We’ve been there several times, but there is always something new to learn!

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July was the busiest month of the summer. We started with our traditional, Markel family Fourth of July celebration, which is always lots of fun.

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Bunny went to Camp Wartburg for a week of theatre camp. We missed her at home, but she had a great time!

The week after she got home, Bunny celebrated her 11th birthday. The celebration included a trip to the spray park and a bunny cake, of course!

A few days after that, we left on our first-ever Markel family summer vacation/road trip. We visited Bowling Green, KY, Atlanta, GA, and our main destination of Charleston, SC. Even though there were a few bumps along the way, it was more fun than I could have imagined, and we covered all the vacation bases–family, food, baseball, history, architecture, and the beach!

Back home, the girls and I went with Grandma to American Girl Night at Busch Stadium.

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We also drove to Kaskaskia, IL, to see the location of the first Illinois state capital and the Liberty Bell of the West.

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August saw a bit more road-tripping. First, a drive to Vandalia, IL, to tour the oldest existing Capitol Building in Illinois.

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We also drove to Springfield, IL, to visit the Lincoln Home, the Old State Capitol, and the current Capitol Building, as well as a few other locations.

Moose went back to school…he’s in the fourth grade this year! Still not ready to say goodbye to summer, though…

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Turkey, Bunny, and Ladybug also went back to school. Since Ryan was still on sabbatical, though, I still wasn’t convinced that summer was done.

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We had a fun time taking Little Luther with us on all of our travels!

Ryan and I even found time to build not one, but two Lego modular buildings!

Moose got to miss a day of school for our field trip to The Magic House, where we learned what life is like in China, and did a lot of other fun things, too.

That same day (and the day after), we also drove down to Carbondale for a college women’s volleyball tournament.

And just last week, we celebrated the historic reign of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II with a tea party!

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We traveled this summer…a lot. We visited not only spray parks, but pools and the beach, as well.

Most of all, though, we spent a ton of time together as a family, creating memories that I hope will last several lifetimes! It was a more amazing summer than I could have imagined, and I’ll never forget it!

Adventures with Little Luther

I was so excited earlier this summer when I learned that the Playmobil Martin Luther figure was going to be released in the U.S. I must have been one of the first to pre-order it from Concordia Publishing House, and when I found out that they were encouraging people to share Martin Luther’s adventures over the summer with the hashtag #LittleLuther, I knew that was right up my alley.

My first photo was our Luther collection at home…what can I say? We’re very Lutheran!

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Little Luther was spotted at our Fourth of July celebration:

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Bunny was the first of our children to go away to camp, so Little Luther came with us to Camp Wartburg in Waterloo when we dropped her off:

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I had Little Luther with us on our vacation to Bowling Green, KY, Atlanta, GA, and Charleston, SC, but I only ever remembered to take his picture at the Corsair Distillery in Bowling Green. Have no fear, though…he visited places like Turner Field, Forts Sumter and Moultrie, and the beach at the Isle of Palms!

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He also accompanied us on our travels around Illinois, including Vandalia, home of the second state capital, and Springfield, where we visited the old and new Capitol buildings and the Lincoln Home, while we were learning about state history.

And he went on a few trips with us a bit closer to home…he was spotted at the Missouri Botanical Garden, Ted Drewes, Anheuser-Busch, and the Missouri History Museum.

He was even seen visiting our Lego Main Street!

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Chickadee is a big fan of Little Luther!

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She’s also a fan of Big Little Luther!

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This was a fun little promotion to add to our regularly scheduled summer activities!