Sunday, September 29, 2013

A Simple Feast and a Very Special Ker-prize.

Our Michaelmas celebrations are simple.  They're not meant to be another Christmas or Thanksgiving - just a reasons to eat good food together and reflect on the changing seasons.  I think the reason Michaelmas is celebrated around the turn on the season is that, in the past, we've needed something to inspire us to be brave and courageous when facing a long winter.  One last hurrah before things changed.

My first homemade Michaelmas chicken turned out perfectly.  I followed this recipe for spices, temperature, etc. and then took a suggestion to add some butter under the skin which I think made this recipe perfect.  The chicken basically cooked in browned butter for three or four hours.  Delicious.

The whole meal was simple, but special.  Just the roast chicken, the veggies, bread and apple cider, but all oh so good!  I also made my Cinnamon Cream Cheese Blackberry Tarts, and my grandparents are still shouting their praises.

And of course there was our special Michaelmas surprise (or Ker-prize if you're a certain adorable 2.5 year old).  We had some friends join us.  Let me introduce you to Sir Michael, Louie and the Very Helpful Dragon .

Mister Very Helpful Dragon looks rather fierce, but I assure you it's all hot air and he has already saved Sir Michael and his faithful servant Louie from many unfortunate falls from high ledges.  It is rather lucky that he is a nice dragon because Sir Michael is currently in an unfortunate habit of forget to bring his sword on his quests.  (Oops)

Sir Michael and Louie were made a few weekends ago by my mother and I based on the Knight and Squire Pattern from Wee Folk Art and using Wooden Rope Dolls from A Child's Dream.  These were actually quite easy to make and probably only took about 3-4 hours total (if you factor in picking out the felt, cutting fabric, etc.)  I have another set of figures that will hopefully become our child's nativity set this year and I can't wait to see how that turns out.

I'm not getting paid or reimbursed to say this - but I was above and beyond pleased with the speed of my transaction with A Child's Dream - my order was shipped under 24 hours after purchase and I had a box on my doorstep within days.

Sir Michael, Louie and the Very Helpful Dragon helped to guard our dessert from invaders.

I can definitely see more of these little guys finding their way into our home in the future - they're the perfect size for figures of Saints and Heroes that little ones can really play with.

We finished off the weekend with a trip with cousins to a pumpkin patch to see animals and point out all the "yucky" pumpkins.  The last time these boys got together they couldn't really talk with each other and it's great to see them acting like old friends.

How was your Michaelmas weekend?  If you celebrated Michaelmas or just the coming Fall this weekend feel free to leave a link!

Friday, September 27, 2013

Celebrating Michaelmas

This weekend we'll be observing our second Michaelmas, or the Feast of Sts. Michael, Raphael, and Gabriel the Archangels.  Even though it is a new tradition for us I have been looking forward to this for a long time.  While I find myself wishing more people around us celebrated these Holy Days it's nice to have a holiday just to our selves.  If you want a glimpse into what our Michaelmas looked like last year hop back here.

These are a few of the traditions we'll be repeating this year:

  • We'll be making a small feast of roast chicken, carrots, and other fall foods.  I have the weekend off this year so I'll be trying to cook my first whole chicken this year.
  • We'll be making our cinnamon cream cheese blackberry deserts that were such a hit last year.
  • I'm really tempted to make Jamie's Apple Cake too because we're swimming in apples!
  • Since there aren't a lot of books about Michael the Archangel we make do with books about knights and dragons.

New Additions:
  • We have a few new friends to help us learn about Michaelmas this year - but you'll have to come back on Monday to see what they are!

With Henry being a little older I think we'll try our hand a few more projects:
Are you celebrating Michaelmas?  Perhaps this will be your first year?  I'll be back on Monday to show you a few pictures from our celebration and I'd love to hear about your festivities too!

    Monday, September 23, 2013

    11 {Banned} Books You Should Be Reading WITH Your Child

    A while back a friend mentioned that she was reading "The Giver" for the first time because her junior high aged daughter was assigned the book for class.  "Get to the end before she does," I warned. "Or at least get to the scene the baby twin before her.  It's a doosey.:"

    She did finish the book before her daughter and was glad to have done so.  That scene where you learn what the father is really in charge of doing at his job haunts me to this day.  It's gripping, terrifying and incredibly sad, but it's worth reading.

    I recommend to most of my friends with older children, as they begin to navigate their schools literature selections that it's not about keeping books out of a child's reach, but knowing what they're reading and when.  I encourage all parents to read the books their children are reading in school whether it's Little House on the Prairie or Animal Farm.  Be able to engage your children about what they're reading; challenge the lessons that other take away from the books particularly if you're worried about the lessons they might be learning from other.  Encourage them to be the Devil's Advocate in class and challenge (intelligently and respectfully) the notions of others.

    In honor of Banned Books Week I offer my list of  
    11 Banned Books You Should Be Reading WITH Your Child.

    This is far from a complete list, rather a short list of books commonly found on English Class reading lists.  These are books that challenge our ideas of morality, government, sexuality, race and gender  These are challenged books because they are challenging.
    There are so many more - Black Beauty, Harry Potter, The Bridge to Terebithia, Frankenstein, Howl, In the Night Kitchen, A Light in the Attic, The Witches, Their Eyes Were Watching God, - that you'll encounter as your children discovery their library !

     I would encourage any parent to request a reading list from your children's teachers each year  This is not a stunt to control your child's reading material, but rather to encourage you, the parent, to have a better understanding of what issues and ideas are going on in your child's mind. You children will come face to face with very challenging reading material as they get older - I encourage you, as a parent, to face that challenge head on by engaging with your children as they read and  creating a dialogue at home about the images and ideas they're confronting for the first time. 

    This is not about approving of everything your child might be assigned to read at school or every book they find at the library or is recommended by a friend - it's about walking alongside your child as they develop their tastes, interests and opinions.

    Go Here to see a more complete list of challenged and banned books - what's your favorite?

    This post contains Amazon Affiliate Links.

    "You Want Weapons?  We're in a Library!  
    The Best Weapons in the World!"
    - Doctor Who 

    Saturday, September 21, 2013

    Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...