Sartorial Saturday–My Favorite Things

“Raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens
Bright copper kettles and warm woolen mittens
Brown paper packages tied up with strings
These are a few of my favorite things.”

The Herbology Dirndl from Rare Dirndl is my fourth dress from them, and it’s the one that most makes me feel like I’ve stepped right out of a scene in The Sound of Music. There’s something about the blue and brown dirndl combined with the plaid apron that just screams frolicking through the Alps to me!

I love the foliage print apron ties!

I also love that this particular style takes some inspiration from Professor Sprout…that makes my Hufflepuff heart happy!

I accessorized with lots of edelweiss (hair clip, earrings, and necklace), plus some beaded bracelets:

I think this will be a great look for fall!

But wait there’s more! When I placed my order, Rare Dirndl was running a special that included a bonus lace apron. According to my middle daughter, this particular pairing makes me look like Cinderella!

There’s such a lovely elegance to a lace apron.

It has the same beautiful foliage print ties as the plaid apron:

But I couldn’t just leave it at that, right? As soon as I saw the colors of the dirndl in person, I knew I had to pair it with my deer print apron from “Die Heimat” dirndl:

That, of course, meant a slight change in accessories, because a deer print apron calls for a bold Hirsch necklace!

This look is just as great as the first two…I love having the ability to mix and match aprons (I have a total of eight of them for my four dirndls).

The best thing about this dirndl is how absolutely versatile it is, and I have yet another styling in mind that I’m planning on trying out for Oktoberfest!

A Tea Party Celebrating Julie Andrews

All summer long, we’ve talked about having a day dedicated to a Julie Andrews’ movies marathon. And while we were talking about the movies we would watch, I realized it was the perfect opportunity to also have a tea party! Today was the big day, and it was a lot of fun!

We started with The Sound of Music. It was so easy to come up with ideas related to the movie (even without serving schnitzel with noodles or crisp apple strudel!). We had tea (of course) with jam and bread. We also had our favorite finger Jell-O… in the shapes of drops of golden sun, and snowflakes that stay on our noses and eyelashes (both Ladybug’s ideas)!

Next up were the two Eloise movies, where Julie Andrews again stars as a nanny. This one was a bit more challenging, in terms of specific ideas, although they do have afternoon tea in Eloise at the Plaza. Remember that bread I mentioned before? I decided to focus on the raisins that Eloise always orders for her turtle in the movies, and made cinnamon raisin bread.

After that was yet another Julie Andrews appearance as a nanny in Mary Poppins. We had “crumpets” (fine, English muffins), and of course a spoonful of sugar!

And finally, we ended our marathon with the two Princess Diaries movies, where Julie Andrews makes a rare appearance as something other than a nanny…instead, she’s Queen of Genovia! Of course we had to have the Genovian specialty, pears, (which also served as part of the table’s centerpiece), and string cheese!

To round out our tea party, we went back to where we started, with The Sound of Music, and our favorite things. Orange poppyseed cake, chocolate chip cookies, cheese straws, roltini, and cucumber sandwiches were all requested.

The table looked very nice, too!

This was an especially fun tea party to plan, and may have been my most creative one yet! I already have plans for another afternoon tea in a few months…stay tuned!


Well, we may not have been able to go with Ryan on his week-long trip to Vienna, but we didn’t waste the opportunity to spend the week learning about the country from which my grandfather came. As a matter of fact, the first thing we did was look through all of his old documents and papers. I have his passport, (stamped in Vienna, just like Ryan’s is now), his naturalization papers, even old Austrian report cards (he was quite a good student!). I think the children liked looking at pieces of their family history; they were especially intrigued by the black and white photos.

We also spent some time in school one morning mapping his plane routes. This wasn’t particularly new information–they know where Washington D.C. and Germany are, and had a good idea of Austria as well. Surprisingly, learning Toronto’s location was new to them, but then again, we haven’t really studied that part of Canada yet. Anyway, even thought they knew most of the locations, it really stresses how far away Europe is to map it on the wall map, and then also trace it out on the globe. The globe also allowed Turkey and Bunny to figure out what time it was in Austria while we were doing school, which amused them.

No study on Austria, however brief, would be complete without looking at famous Austrian musicians. Sure, Mozart is an obvious choice, and believe me, we listened to plenty. But we also looked at other famous Austrians, including Strauss, (all of them!), Beethoven, (not a native Austrian; rather, a German transplant), Haydn, Franz Gruber, (of Silent Night fame), Liszt, Mahler, and Schubert. I often forget how many great musicians called Austria home!

Our book selection to focus on Austria was White Stallion of Lipizza, a classic horse-tale (pardon the pun–it really was unintentional!), by Margurite Henry. This is a great book, and although it’s “out of print” through normal avenues, Beautiful Feet Books seems to have acquired the rights, so it is still available for purchase. I was as interested in this story as the children were, and was very tempted to just read ahead after they went to bed, to find out what happened. I thought Henry did an excellent job depicting the setting…I really felt like I was in Austria when we were reading (or at least what I imagine Austria to be like!). And the amount of history presented in this book was incredible! Not just Viennese history, but the history of the Lipizzan bloodlines. It was obvious a massive amount of research went into this story.

I think we were all disappointed that we couldn’t actually see the Lipizzaners perform, but YouTube allowed for a passable second. (Note, these are the actual horses from the Spanish Riding School, not the American Lipizzan show, which is also beautiful, and uses some horses from the same bloodlines, but doesn’t have the balletic majesty of the original.)

Of course, we couldn’t learn about Austria without watching The Sound of Music. This is a family favorite, so they’re all familiar with the story, but it’s still fun to watch, and sing along. And even though the story’s location is Salzburg, not Vienna, I think knowing that Daddy was actually in that country made the story a little more real.

At some point, I would also like to show the movie Miracle of the White Stallions, the only Disney movie to deal directly with WWII. We ran out of time to watch it last week, but it looks like a really good movie, about the true story of how the Lipizzans were saved from thanks to the efforts of General Patton. I love introducing my children to history, and I’m not ashamed to use different methods to do so!

We also learned some interesting Austrian trivia. For example, Pez were invented there. Vienna is home to the world’s oldest zoo, and also one of the world’s few zoos to house giant pandas. The palace at Vienna (specifically the treasury), is home to one of the world’s largest collections of regalia, including many items from the Holy Roman Empire. As a matter of fact, those items are being kept “until there is again a Holy Roman Emperor of the German Nation,” (talk about positive thinking!). Vienna was occupied in a similar fashion to Berlin following World War II (I had never heard that before!), and residents of Vienna still celebrate the day the occupation ended.

We finished our Viennese studies with a treat–apple strudel. Now, I’m sure my replica is nothing compared to the actual Austrian variety, but it was still fun to make, and good to eat. One of my favorite perks about homeschooling is being able to immerse ourselves in a culture a little bit, by trying out some native dishes–funny how so many of those dishes end up being desserts, isn’t it?

Speaking of desserts, our study of Austria completed once Ryan returned home, bringing with him a real Austrian Sachertorte. We all enjoyed trying this regional specialty, and I think I’m going to try to make the recipe for it I found–I’m sure it won’t be the same, but it’s better than never having it again!

Where’s the Prince?

We watched the Sound of Music tonight as a family. Ladybug has never really seen the movie before, so she was interested in *everything.* Toward the beginning of the movie, when Marie first arrives at the Von Trapp home, and is in the ballroom (where she isn’t supposed to be), Ladybug asked what she was doing. I told her that Maria was peeking at the ballroom.

Ladybug’s response? “Where’s the Prince?”

She may have watched Cinderella too many times!