Our little play group had a Valentine's party this week, so we got a little taste of what school celebrations will be like in the future. To tell the truth, though, this party set the bar pretty high, as all the moms were really into it and everyone contributed something really special. For our Valentines, Little Omi and I made recycled crayons (recipe here) and sugar cookies. We attached Baby Bro's cards (found here) to the crayons since Omi's were the folding kind. Gramma had just given us this set of cookie cutters, which sort of combines cookie cutters with a letterpress—how cool is that? So we just had to make personalized cookies for all the kids in the play group.
With all the snow and ice coming down lately, we've been spending a lot of time just shuffling around the house. I guess since it's starting to feel like The Long Winter, I have been wanting to bake some bread. I was perusing my copy of America's Test Kitchen's Baking Illustrated and came across a recipe for soft pretzels. I had never made or eaten a fresh pretzel before! The recipe was pretty basic—I had all the ingredients on hand (although bread flour was required for its extra gluten). The best part was rolling out the dough. Little Omi got in on the act and made a series of rings (she said she liked them better than the traditional pretzel shape). Once the pretzels are shaped, you dip them in boiling water hat has a bit of baking soda added to it before baking them. It's the soda that gives the pretzels their characteristic brown color!
I don't have any photos of the finished product. We ate them before I remembered to take a picture!
We had the best time taking Little Omi and Baby Bro to their first state fair this weekend. Rides were enjoyed (while I watched and had tiny heart attacks each time I saw my first born up in the air), corn dogs were devoured, baby animals were adored, and sunstroke was narrowly avoided.
While we were waiting for the sea lion show to start, Little Omi treated the audience to this impromptu performance:
We planted a garden this year. Just a small one—some tomato and pepper plants, pumpkins, and a few experimental watermelons, corn, and carrots for Little Omi to tend. So far the tomatoes seem to be very happy in their little sunny patch. We thought these were going to be smaller grape tomatoes, but they are more like mini-Romas. Tasty, though, especially when they're still warm from the sun.
Our friends are closing down their farm market stall (husband got a better job and wife is ready to take a much-needed break from the market after 10 years). Little Omi sure did enjoy coming every week and playing with her pal. I think they invigorated the place with their 3-year-old antics. This was the place where folks could buy my sunbonnets, so I think I'll be taking a break from bonnet-making for awhile, although I'm considering putting the rest on Etsy. Feel free to let me know if you're interested in one!