Book Club, Girls’ Edition: “The Smuggler’s Treasure” An American Girl Mystery

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Smuggler's Treasure

 It’s book club time again!  We ate well this month after reading The Smuggler’s Treasure, an American Girl History Mystery set in New Orleans during the War of 1812.

 
I had the chance to visit New Orleans a few years ago – back before Katrina – and so we talked about the culture and what makes the city unique – the Cajun culture, the heat and humidity, the architecture – and then we talked about the food.  Food is always fun to talk about, but especially when the book you’ve read is set in a bakery!
 
Our club meeting just happened to be scheduled for Fat Tuesday, or Shrove Tuesday, and while that wasn’t mentioned in the book, beignets were – and since I come from an area where doughnuts are the traditional way to fry the fat and sugar out of your cupboards before Lent, we decided to do the same.
 
 
First we got our dough ready.  Beignets use yeast, so we talked about the science of how yeast makes bread rise as we watched it wake up and act.  The girls seemed to think that was pretty cool.
 
 
 When the dough was ready, we rolled it out and used a pizza cutter to shape the squares.  I wasn’t sure we’d have enough at this point, because we really wanted to be able to share outside the club, so we started on another batch.

 

Then we moved them to a tray so we could roll and slice the second batch …

and while all of the dough was rising, we headed off to talk future careers.  The main characters of our story were torn – one wanted to run the bakery someday, while the other wanted a different life.  After the girls each shared their dreams for their own future, they thought about how they would market their bakery – if they had one.  Each girl came up with a name and logo for her bakery – except for these three.  They decided to work together and did the project jointly.

 

Next it was time to fry the beignets.  The girls watched from a safe distance, and then after they drained, we dropped three into their bags on top of a small pile of powdered sugar, just as they’re served in Cafe du Monde now.

 

Then it was time to do the happy beignet dance and shake that sugar all over the hot pastries!  My Little Man couldn’t bear to be left out of this fun, so he grabbed a bag, designed his own logo, and hopped in line.

 

The girls polished off these beignets and some wanted more, so we tried them in the more traditional Amish style, dusted with regular sugar:

Both were great.  This was definitely a fun way to bring a bit of New Orleans’ culture into book club – and it’s one we’ll be repeating again. 
 
What are your kids reading now?
 
Bring the culture of New Orleans to your event with these fun products:
 
 

Book Club, Girls’ Edition: “A Surprise for Lily”

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We are currently experiencing both the best and worst of times in our book club this month.
 
http://anestintherocks.blogspot.com/2014/05/book-club-girls-edition-surprise-for.html
 
The best, because we had a really wonderful time reading and interacting with A Surprise for Lily by Suzanne Woods Fisher.
 
The worst because this is the last in the series.  There are no more Lily Lapp adventures to read.
 
Because Lily had so many outdoor adventures in this book, we decided to make our club meeting a whole-family affair and moved it to a local park.  

 

My husband manned the grill.  Although Lily usually roasts her hot dogs on a stick over the fire, that wasn’t possible for us in the park.  We enjoyed our freshly roasted hot dogs, anyway.  He makes a great grillmaster!

 

The girls enjoyed eating together and discussing the book, although they were really anticipating our next adventure …

boating!  We decided to take to the lake the way that Lily and Hannah did in the family rowboat – hopefully, though, without capsizing.  Together our families rented two canoes and two kayaks.  The kids took turns canoeing around the lake with some dads in charge …

while some of the older kids were able to kayak on their own.  They really loved this part!

 

Afterwards everyone played a spontaneous game of baseball.  The kids get along well together.  We’re happy not to have any rocky Lily-and-Aaron relationships at this point!

We have enjoyed reading this series together.  I’m sad that our time with Lily is ending.  Perhaps Suzanne Woods Fisher will write another great kids’ series.

You can read more about our other Lily Lapp book club adventures here:

“A Big Year for Lily”  by Suzanne Woods Fisher



What are your kids’ favorite books?