If you know our family, you know we love learning by reading and doing! Presidents' Day is no different. This year we have some simple plans to make the day memorable for our kids. We figured you might be interested in some learning resources, too! My boys have specifically asked to do some things related to George Washington, so our themes this year are specific to him.
Some excellent books for reading on Presidents' Day:
George Washington's Breakfast (click here to hear it read aloud) by Jean Fritz
So You Want to be President by Judith St. George
We plan on eating some foods that President Washington may have eaten during his day.
It is said President Washington ate hoe cakes and tea for breakfast, so we are making some! Be sure and prepare the hoecakes the night before at the yeast needs time to work.
1. Mix the yeast and 1 1/4 cups of cornmeal with 1 cup of warm water. You want a pancake batter consistency, so add a little extra water to thin as needed.
2. Cover and let sit on the counter overnight (about 8 hours).
3. Preheat the oven to 200 degrees F.
4. Add 1 cup of warm water and the remaining cornmeal to the batter. Add salt and egg and stir. Set it aside for 20 minutes to rest.
5. Heat a cast iron pan on medium heat and grease lightly.
6. Drop 1/4 cup of batter into the hot pan and let it cook 5 minutes. Flip and cook another 5 minutes. Place the finished cake on a plate in the warmed oven while you make the rest.
7. Serve with a little maple syrup or honey mixed into warmed butter.
Rules and manners
Presidents' Day is a great day to review and/or introduce etiquette. President Washington wrote in his school book some very special Rules of Civility. They are historic and interesting. For copywork this week, my boys will each choose a few "rules" to copy and consider. During our weekly tea times we typically practice etiquette, but another dose can't hurt.
Some of these "rules" are funny to consider (there is one about how to handle lice and fleas in good company) and some are outdated, but many are useful and help us think about how our behavior impacts others.
One of our favorite monthly read alouds is A Time to Keep by Tasha Tudor. On the February pages there is a reference to Washington Pie. Being the mother of three little boys, they did not let this one slip by! I have been asked again and again when we shall have some Washington Pie, so Presidents' Day is now the day we have Washington Pie.
There are two types of Washington Pie. One is a layer cake with a cream or jelly filling and one is a pie crust filled with leftover cake. It is my understanding that the first is the most traditional, so here is the best recipe we have tried!
1. Sift the dry ingredients together.
2. Beat the eggs and vanilla in a stand mixer for 3 minutes, then add sugar, milk, and butter.
3. Incorporate the dry ingredients into the wet and mix for 2 minutes.
4. Bakes 10 minutes in two round pans at 375. Then reduce the heat to 350 for 20 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.
5. Freeze cakes for 1 hour.
6. Remove from pan and layer with preserves of your choice in between.
7. Top with some powdered sugar.
Additional resources we like
Free Presidents' Day Music Lesson
George Washington's Inaugural Speech
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Isabel, I am terribly sorry I didn’t see this back in February! There is not oven proofing for this particular recipe. The warmed oven is just to keep the hoecakes heated while you cook the rest. The second portion of the cornmeal goes in with the water, eggs, etc.
Hi SarahRuth, in the Hoe Cakes recipe, when do I mix in the rest of the cornmeal? and do you put the batter in the oven to proof? sorry, im a little confused.
thank you, my kids can’t wait to have a president’s day breakfast!!