After a week of talking about Johnny Appleseed’s birthday, we finally got around to celebrating it today … with homemade apple pie. Yes, I know September 26th marked the actual anniversary of his birth, and we’re three days past that. Shhhh! Neither my child nor the honorable Mr. Jonathan Chapman will know the difference! We kicked off the day by reading a preschooler-friendly biography of Johnny Appleseed, written and illustrated by Steven Kellogg. Kellogg has a talent for bringing folk heroes to life, and his portrayal of Johnny Appleseed does not disappoint. Little Bear sat entranced from beginning to end, then pleaded “Read it again, Mommy! Please!”
We flipped through the book a second time, with her using the pictures as a springboard to recall the story. Then, we moved on to a stack of apple-themed books, both fictional and non-fictional:
Baby Bear, as usual, interspersed her book selections with the planned read-alouds, so we made it only part way through the stack before nap time. Then, with the tiny tornado safely asleep, the real fun began. While I washed our bag full of Granny Smith apples, Daddy set up his apple peeler/slicer gadget (because gadgets make everything better — wink, wink!) and showed Little Bear how it worked. Together, they peeled and spiral sliced eight apples:
Next, I pulled out our Kuhn Rikon Kinderkitchen Dog Knife, the first knife I’ve found that’s sharp enough to cut, but safe for little hands, and showed Little Bear how to cut the spiral-sliced apples into bite-sized pie pieces:
Little Bear listened as I read our pie recipe aloud and helped locate sugar, flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, and lemon juice. She also helped measure ingredients, correctly deducing that we needed three 1/4 cup measures of sugar to equal 3/4 of a cup and that 2 Tbsp. of flour was less than 1/4 cup.
We poured the sweet apple mixture into our pie crust and topped it with better. Little Bear paused for one more picture before we hid all the apple-y goodness beneath a second crust:
As we were crimping the edge of the crust, she spied an old bunch of bananas on the counter and asked if we could make banana bread too. The oven was already hot, Little Bear and the counter top were already covered in flour, the bananas needed to be used, and Baby Bear was still asleep. So we also threw together a pan of whole wheat banana-zucchini bread before ending our cooking fun and tackling the less-fun kitchen clean-up. (Clean up isn’t too bad of a chore with the scent of apples, cinnamon, and freshly-grated nutmeg wafting through the air!)
Baby Bear woke up just in time to join in our post-baking cuddle and story time. The girls played and sampled banana bread while I threw dinner in the oven. Then, we headed outside to see how full the pool was after a day and a half of rain that dumped nearly 6 inches of water on our drought-stricken region. Of course, the puddles practically screamed “Come play in us!” So we had to take time for some splishing, splashing, jumping, dancing fun before heading in to clean up and enjoy dinner, complete with homemade apple pie for dessert.
Thank you, Johnny Appleseed, for your legacy and a fun-filled day.