One last kind of Russian meal, as we say goodbye to the Olympics!
We had chicken Kiev (yes, I know Kiev is in Ukraine, but close enough), rice pilaf (again, close, if not totally authentic), and more of the Russian black bread I made for the Opening Ceremonies.
As always, the highpoint of the meal was dessert…a White Russian cake!
Only 2 1/2 more years until the next summer Olympics…I better start planning some Brazilian menus!
Seeing as how we had a tea party for the London 2012 Olympics, I couldn’t very well let the Sochi games go by without doing something! I even found Russian Caravan tea, which was the perfect selection (or seemed like it at the time…I think it may be the most disgusting thing I have ever put in my mouth!)!
My theme was Russian (of course), snowflakes, and blue and white…nice, wintry colors. I got to use my new white tablecloth (with an old blue runner), and our beautiful china. And unscented white tea lights and pillar candles from Target made for the perfect centerpiece:
We has Russian tea cookies:
And a Russian poppy seed bread (which sadly wasn’t very popular):
Meringues (which I actually made correctly for the first time ever!):
Snowflake sugar cookies:
An orange poppy seed cake (Did you know that poppy seeds are actually blue? They fit the theme perfectly!):
English muffins with blueberry preserves:
And fresh blueberries!
I thought that this was going to be really hard to put together, from a menu standpoint. As it turns out, it wasn’t that bad at all!
I loved seeing Carolina Kostner finally get her Olympics figure skating medal yesterday, and I really loved this quote from her afterward:
Life usually surprises you most when you least expect it, so I have no expectations.
This was another crazy week! I’m ready for this ride to stop so I can get off…
On Monday, since Moose had the day off, we had a field trip day. St. Louis is celebrating her 250th birthday this year, and last weekend was the official founding date. In honor of the event, the Missouri History Museum in Forest Park opened a new exhibit, 250 in 250, to share the city’s history. We had a fun time checking it out, and looking in on the other exhibits, too!
We tried to get some regular school work done this week, too. The children kept up with their math, spelling, and reading. I used the Olympics as the basis for all of their writing assignments, though, instead of our standard curriculum. We watched two more ballets: Swan Lake, and our favorite version of the Nutcracker. In total, we watched five productions of four different ballets, and got to see two different Russian ballet companies in the process. We learned more about Russian history and culture (although, I fear that in the end, the only thing the children are going to remember are beets!) We also read a few Olympics and winter sports books, including G is for Gold Medal and The Hockey Sweater.
On Thursday afternoon, we had another field trip, to see a curling demonstration. The children really enjoyed seeing the equipment up close, but we didn’t get to see many stones thrown or swept, because the power went out at the ice rink while we there. That was a little disappointing, but at least it happened after we got to hear how the scoring works and what’s involved in curling well!
On Friday, we had a mostly fun day (after math was out of the way). I had the children pick music and design costumes for a figure skating routine. I love what Turkey came up with…he chose to do a pairs routine, and the costumes were modeled after The Doctor and Rose. And, of course, his music was the theme from Doctor Who. We also watched Anastasia, not for true historical accuracy, but just for a little Russian flavor, and fun, of course!
That’s pretty much it for our Olympics school…we’re having a tea party tomorrow, and a family tabletop hockey tournament tomorrow night. We haven’t had as many activities as we did for the London Olympics, but we’ve still managed to find some things to learn and do!
I think I’m relieved that we don’t have anything special planned for next week…all of these events are exhausting!
This was a really good week of school!
First of all, everybody scored 100% on their math tests…success!
We learned more about Russia and the Winter Olympics…fun!
And, today was Valentine’s Day…more fun!
We did eliminate our regular history and Scottish history studies, to make room for special Russia, Olympics and Valentine’s Day books. We learned about the Winter Olympics and how technology has changed them in Eyewitness: Olympics. We also learned more about figure skating in A is for Axel, a wonderful book by champion figure skater Kurt Browning. And, we read a nice Russian tale in The Littlest Matryoshka, a story about a family of nesting dolls. We also watched the Royal Ballet production of Giselle, one of Bunny’s favorite ballets, as well as the Bolshoi Ballet Nutcracker, and listened to several different Russian composers, as well as some other classical music commonly used in figure skating.
We also made family valentines this week (since we made valentines for others last week). The chidden have gotten very creative in their valentine making! I saw a few Tardis valentines, and I personally received two different valentines that said, “Hello Sweetie!” I guess it’s obvious which show we’ve been watching in the evenings (when we haven’t been watching the Olympics, of course!). Today we read our two favorite Valentine’s Day books…a serious book about the life of Saint Valentine, and a fun little book called The Night Before Valentine’s Day.
Of course, we did our regular schoolwork, too. Turkey and Bunny continued to work on geometry in math, and Ladybug worked more on counting money in different denominations. We continued working on spelling, writing, and reading…we definitely had the “Three Rs” covered! We also started reading The Bronze Bow, and Turkey and Bunny started on the accompanying workbook. Science was another subject that was abandoned this week, in the interest of spending extra time on the arts, but that’s OK…we don’t have very much of the text left, because the children have been so eager to learn about space!
Next week, we’ll probably follow a similar schedule, to make sure we have enough time to finish our Olympics studies. I’m hoping we might fit in a field trip, as well!
I went with a Russian theme for our dinner tonight…tonight’s menu included:
- Beef stroganoff over egg noodles
- Russian black bread
- Pickled beets
- Leinenkugel’s Big Eddy Russian Imperial Stout
For dessert (the real triumph of the evening), I made a Russian biscvit cake with a Ptichye Moloko filling, a whipped cream frosting, and a lovely chocolate drizzle:
We’ll still be having a tea party and a closing ceremonies dinner before the end of the Olympics…there’s more Russian cooking and baking yet to come!
This has been A Year. There’s really no other way to describe it. It was, by far, the best year of my life to date, and there’s a part of me that doubts that there will ever be another year quite as good. The events that occurred, and the timing of those events, was so outstanding that all I can do is sit back and thank God for the way He arranged this year of celebrations for my family!
January was by far the quietest month of the year. We celebrated our 100th day of school, and Ladybug joined in, as she unofficially started kindergarten during that month. We finished preparing our home for Chickadee’s arrival. I was sad to see the end of One Life to Live, although, if it had to end, it certainly went the right way. We also re-subscribed to cable TV, so I spent a lot of my pregnancy-induced sleepless nights catching up on What Not to Wear!
In February, things started to get busy. Ryan rejoined the American Kantorei for the Bach at the Sem series, and we all enjoyed attending his concerts. I got to see Chickadee holding onto her umbilical cord during an ultrasound…it should come as no surprise, then, that she loves holding onto my hair now! We also made sure she’d be well-equipped for her first Opening Day and Cardinals game. Turkey had two teeth pulled, and hardly even noticed it happening. Ladybug picked out new animal print glasses. We had a fun field trip, started a new Lenten tradition, and celebrated Leap Day. Above all, we spent all of February excited knowing that Chickadee would be arriving the next month!
Without a doubt, March was the craziest, most exciting month of the year. The highlight was, of course, the birth of our little Chickadee. A few other things happened, too, though. We finally got a Dunkin’ Donuts, which was very exciting for me. We had fun celebrating St. Patrick’s Day, and even got to help Moose make a Leprechaun trap for school. I spent a lot of time baking, even though I couldn’t indulge in eating many of my creations due to gestational diabetes. Turkey turned nine. The children got to meet their new sister, and we brought her home!
April was almost as busy as March. Turkey and Bunny were confirmed on Palm Sunday, the same day Chickadee was baptized into God’s family. That was one of the most amazing, emotional days of my life. We celebrated Easter a week later. We had our traditional Opening Day food fest at home, and less than a week later, took Chickadee to her first Cardinals game. Much to Bunny’s delight, an American Girl store opened in St. Louis. We found that last year’s bird’s nest was once again in use. We also had the interesting experience of oven shopping.
Things remained busy in May. Chickadee started smiling at us–so cute! Our new oven was delivered. I got a new pair of glasses for the first time in over five years, and I must have been inspired by Ladybug, because they, too, have an animal print. The next generation of baby birds hatched. Ladybug turned five. Ryan and I got to go to the Cardinals game (along with Chickadee), where Tony LaRussa’s number was retired. The following day, Ryan and I (and Chickadee, again), went to the Science Center to see Star Trek: The Exhibition. Moose graduated from kindergarten. We not only went to Art on the Square, but actually bought something for the first time ever. We spent an afternoon at Grant’s Farm, one of our very favorite places to go. Ryan and Ladybug went to a Cardinals game, just the two of them, and got to meet Fredbird and get autographs from two players. We celebrated the birthday of the church on Pentecost Turkey started his third season of parks and rec baseball, and loved every minute of it.
Life finally slowed down a bit in June (but only a bit!). We celebrated Queen Elizabeth’s Diamond Jubilee from afar. As part of our celebration, we had our first tea party of the year. This was one of my favorite non-family related parts of the year, learning all about the Queen and her reign. Turkey and Bunny finished third grade. The summer really started to heat up, making everybody miserable.
July brought an end to the slower pace we enjoyed in June. I spent my first-ever day at the spa, and hope I can go back again sometime. We celebrated the Fourth of July in our typical fashion, but sans fireworks, thanks to a ban on them due to excessive heat and drought. Turkey had his last baseball game of the summer. Bunny turned eight, and we enjoyed tea party number two of the year to celebrate. Chickadee attended her first-ever VBS at our church, along with the rest of the family, of course. She also gave up being swaddled at bedtime, which was a little bittersweet. We enjoyed the beginning of the London Olympics, which included tea party number three, and special lessons in school.
At the beginning of August, we managed to tear ourselves away from the Olympics long enough to go to Build a Bear day at Busch Stadium, which also included a walk along the warning track. It was also a “turn back the clock” night…I loved the throwback uniforms and high socks! We had our own family Olympics, in which “Team Markel” won. We got rid of cable TV–again. I got ready for the start of our fifth year of homeschooling by rearranging the school room–again. Moose started first grade, Ladybug officially started kindergarten, and Turkey and Bunny began fourth grade. We went apple picking and got 12 pounds of apples. Chickadee was our little tagalong in school, and constantly kept the whole family amused with her antics.
At the beginning of September, I worked on creating a logo for our school, with help from the children. We were quite happy with the results. I discovered that one of my favorite books ever had finally been reprinted. Chickadee started crawling. We saw the Thunderbirds perform at the Scott Air Force Base air show. We took in another baseball game, and had a kind usher take the best picture of the seven of us to that date. Chickadee reluctantly started eating solid foods. We had fun making handprint angels on Michaelmas.
We spent the month of October learning about the Reformation and enjoying the beautiful fall colors. We had our annual trip to the pumpkin patch, where we picked over 40 pounds of pumpkins. Moose lost three top teeth…eating became a very interesting activity for him! Ryan and I enjoyed the “Kozmania” that overtook Cardinal Nation, especially since we had seen his very-first major league at-bat the year before. I finally found a hat to wear to church. We watched Felix Baumgartner’s incredible, insane skydive from practically outer-space, some of us with morbid curiosity.
In November, Chickadee figured out how to pull herself up to a standing position. Moose turned seven. I had my best-ever game in Bookworm, and promptly stopped playing so I could go out on top. We started Thanksgiving school, and a “Thankful Tree.” We had a nice Thanksgiving…it was especially fun to share Chickadee’s first Thanksgiving with her! We went to our town’s tree lighting, and then went back downtown on a nicer day to look at all of the gingerbread houses. I rearranged our schoolroom–yet again. I think it will stay this way for quite a while! We started our Christmas celebrations a little early by taking the children to their first Boar’s Head Festival, in preparation for our “Christmas in England” theme in school this year.
December brought our favorite time of the year…the Advent and Christmas seasons! Many of our favorite activities take place in December…Christmas on the Hill, Tuba Christmas, and going to St. Charles for the Christmas Traditions festival. In school, we continued making banners for the church year, and learned about Christmas throughout England’s history, which included reading some great books, such as A Christmas Carol. We had a Christmas tea party (number four for the year!), and an English Christmas dinner to accompany our lessons. It was great fun being so very British this whole year! We added readings for the Great “O” Antiphons to our Advent traditions. We spent a lot of time baking, decorating, and delivering cookies and other treats, and basically kept busy right up until Christmas. It was especially fun to get to celebrate a first Christmas again! We even had a white Christmas, although a few days late…but it was still during the season of Christmas, so it counts! I did a lot of work on my blog this month, too, adding pages for liturgical year things such as feasts, festivals, and commemorations, the Jesse Tree, the Great “O” Antiphons, and the Jesus Tree, that are important to our family.
I can’t wait to see what 2013 holds for our family…I know that there will be lots more holidays and celebrations to look forward to sharing together. I pray that God blesses all of your families as greatly as He has blessed mine!
In accordance with tradition, I declare the Games of the 30th Olympiad closed, and I call upon the youth of the world to assemble four years from now in Rio de Janeiro to celebrate the Games of the 31st Olympiad. From the Closing Ceremony of the Olympics