Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Presidential Inspiration

The week of Presidential celebration continues with some inspiration for education, entertainment, and snacks.  First off...

Something to learn:
I came to the realization today that I don't know all that much about our nation's Presidents.  I can't list half of their names let alone when they served, what they stood for, or what they did.  Well, this set wouldn't get me all the way there, but it would be a start:
Uncle Goose Presidential Blocks
This beautiful set of wooden blocks contains 45 blocks: one for each President and one with the Oath of Office.  Each Presidential block contains the President's face, name, years in office, when and where he was born and died, and what party he ran with.  The blocks fit together to depict the American flag.  Although the set is a little pricey ($87.95 on Amazon), I can assure you that this is a top quality product.  My mother-in-law got the Uncle Goose classic alphabet blocks set for Judah for Christmas.  They are beautifully crafted and are sure to be an heirloom for generations to come.  They even offer replacement blocks on their website in case you lose one.  And they are made in the USA.

Something to Watch:
Here are two of my favorite Presidential movies, conveniently offered in a two-pack on Amazon.
The American President was written by Aaron Sorkin, the same man who wrote the West Wing series.  It follows the President (Micheal Douglas) through his re-election campaign, which gets messy when he begins a relationship with environmental lobbyist, Annette Bening.  Its excellent supporting cast (including Martin Sheen and Michael J. Fox) and witty banter make it a highly entertaining experience.

In Dave, a look-alike (Kevin Kline) is hired to take over for the President when he gets sick.  The movie shows how he turns out to be a better President than the real one and falls for the first lady (Sigourney Weaver).  It's a feel-good story about a genuinely good guy doing the right thing and getting the girl.  You can't go wrong with that.

Something to Do:
Did you think making little edible houses was an exclusively Christmasy activity?  Think again.  Martha Stewart offers us these adorable pretzel log cabins in celebration of Lincoln's birthday.
You can find complete instructions here.

Something to Eat:
If pretzels and peanut butter aren't your jam, maybe a little taste of George Washington's cherry tree is more up your alley.  This is a recipe that has become a Giberson girl standard.  It's one of my favorite desserts to make and to eat.  Unfortunately, I don't have a picture, so you'll just have to use your imagination.  They're a shortbread-like cookie bar-ish type treat with sweet cherry pie filling centers.  Hard to explain because I've never had anything else quite like them, but they are oh so good!

Cherry Tarts
1 cup crisco
1 1/2 cups sugar
4 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
2 cups flour
1 can cherry pie filling*
confectioner's sugar
*They've been filling these cans with less cherries and more goop in recent years, so you may want to get 2 cans to make sure you have enough cherries.
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Grease a 9 x 13 pan.
  2. Combine crisco and sugar.  Add 4 eggs, one at a time.  Add vanilla and flour.
  3. Pour batter into pan.  Score batter into 24 squares.  Drop 3 cherries onto the center of each square.
  4. Bake until a toothpick comes out clean (about 30-40 minutes).  Dust with confectioner's sugar, cut, and serve.
The cherries settle into the tarts forming a little heart in the center of each.  So not only are they delicious; they are also pretty adorable.

I hope these little inspirations spark your own Presidential traditions.  How have you been celebrating our nation's Presidents?

1 comment:

  1. What great suggestions!!! I LOVE LOVE LOVE the blocks!!

    I have to also admit that I don't know a lot about the presidents. Jesse's been super interested, so we've been doing some research, and found this one to be pretty helpful (though definitely not written specifically for kids).