Category Archives: Holidays

Land of the free because of the brave

Our neighborhood leprechaun has a pot of gold

Our Christmas fails 2016

Yes, Fox Valley, there is a Santa Claus

I Griswolded our Christmas lights…again!

Thankful for U.S.

Captain’s log Stardate 2016: The pre-Thanksgiving grocery shop

Hip! Hip! Hooray! for Halloween

Patriot Pies — a post by Molly

Before the first fireworks flew into the sky on Monday, I started my own Independence Day celebration with my own Declaration of Independence: I turned the oven on.

The tone of the oven when it reached its set 350o rang through the empty kitchen and could be heard ’round the air condition-less house.

After an afternoon of overbearing expectations and regulations from the ruling summer heat, I couldn’t help but resort to kitchen warfare. The summer heat had melted my butter, caked my sugar, and spoiled my strawberries; and I had had enough.

Of course these are ordinary issues for bakers further south, and they rarely complain, but they live subject to the summer heat all year round, of course they are used to his influence in their kitchen.

It is simple common sense that a ruler, who can only be bothered to stick around for a few short months, should not have control of his subjects’ entire lives.

So I marched to the oven, armed with my troops of star-shaped mini pie shells, and waited until the late afternoon when I knew the heat would be lazily complacent. Under cover of SPF 30, I slipped the shells into the oven. Despite the best efforts of the heat to break my spirit and force me to turn of the oven in some dehydrated delirium, I held my ground and the pie shells came out golden and unscathed.

After my afternoon struggle, I became even more grateful to the American patriots for fighting the actual rebellion, so that I and many others could fight silly rebellions every day. So go ahead light those fireworks on your residential street, grill all those burgers for just a few people, and bake a pie when it’s 90o out. Save the rule following and meat pies for the Brits, Fourth of July belongs to the rebels.


Star Spangled Kitchen Pies

1 cup Butter

1 cup sugar

2 cups flour

2 tbsp milk


1 cup favorite pie filling (I recommend Apple, Cherry, or Berry for max patriotism)


  1. Mix all of your ingredients (besides the filling) until they form a stiff dough, it should be too wet. Wrap the dough tightly in plastic wrap and put it in the fridge for at least 30 minutes.


  1. On a well floured surface or between two sheets of plastic wrap, roll out the dough until it’s only a few millimeters thick (you might have to divide into two pieces).


  1. Using a star shaped cookie cutter, cut the sheets into stars and place the stars in a well-greased mini muffin tin.


  1. Bake in a 350o oven for 15 minutes, cool and remove from pan by twisting the shells.


  1. Place 1/2 tbsp of your favorite pie filling (I used mixed berry left over from my own Independence/Graduation party) in each shell and chill in the fridge until ready.
They call me the Betsy Ross of the kitchen

They call me the Betsy Ross of the kitchen

I would hang these pie pans from a flagpole if the pie wasn't so delicious

I would hang these pie pans from a flagpole if the pie wasn’t so delicious

This pie filling also helped us celebrate my Independence from high school

This pie filling also helped us celebrate my Independence from high school

Leave the meat pies to Sweeny Todd

Leave the meat pies to Sweeny Todd

May our crusts always be flaky and our fillings free from liver and other nasty bits, from sea to shining sea.

May our crusts always be flaky and our fillings free from liver and other nasty bits, from pan to shining pan.

Turkey in the straw Ha Ha Ha

On Black Friday, we woke to the sound of a turkey dance.

They came from the woods, gathered in the sun, and thumbed their little beards at us from the cornfield next to our cabin.

Still a little doped up on tryptophan from our Thanksgiving feast, we gathered at the window to watch them play.

Turkey in the straw. Ha Ha Ha.

All hepped up on the sweet taste of freedom, they partied in honor of their national holiday. They looked like middle school students lined up in the gym on a Friday night; the Toms strutted, the hens preened and they all flirted a bit with their wattles and snoods. It took a while for the actual dancing to begin.

The cocky ones looked up disdainfully a time or two, having caught a movement from behind the cabin window. Nobody likes a chaperone.

Still jammied up, I stuck my feet in borrowed slippers, stepped out on the front porch, poked my head around the chimney and tried to snap a photo or two.

This irritated them in a noisy, OMG-do-you-have-to-do-that-now way, so I left them alone.

The birds prattled on, gossiping about the season and supremely happy we hadn’t gobble, gobbled them.


Turkey in the straw beautiful morning

Black Friday dawned all sparkly white.

Turkey in the straw turkeys take over

We knew this because the turkeys told us so as they gathered loudly in the field next to our cabin.

Turkey in the straw dance

They looked like middle schoolers lined up at a dance.

Turkey in the straw closeup

Ever see a turkey do the chicken dance?

Turkey in the straw hokey pokey

They did the hokey pokey and they turned themselves around. 

Turkey in the straw turkey dinner no. 1

We did some celebrating too. In fact, this year we enjoyed two Thanksgiving dinners. One as a Packer game tailgate…

Thanksgiving 2015 088

…and one at the cabin the next day.

Turkey in the straw turkey dinner

Too soon?