Updated: Aug 25, 2019
As the end of summer quickly approaches, I think about fall and all the lovely things it brings. Like fruit picking and baking! Before I had Johanna, I liked baking but I typically only did it in the fall and winter season. Who knew I would actually love it all year round?!
I've mentioned before that one of my favorite activities to do with Johanna is pick fruit. I'm actually quite shocked at how good she is at picking! It seems like the more we go, the better she gets! Leaving some for me to bake with is another topic of conversation. She loves to eat the fruit right off the vine.
We've picked things from black raspberries, to beans, to peaches and she loves it all! I used to go occasionally but this summer I've made it a point to go a lot! There's nothing like being out there in the orchard, dripping sweat and picking the best of the fruits to bake with, with your 1 year old by your side! I like going with friends but going with just Johanna is a blast too!
Before she could walk well, I would take my carrier with me. Sometimes I would pick with her in it and I'm convinced this is how she learned. I could keep her attention when I'm wearing her. Other times I'd let her sit in the grass and watch and even show her by using her hands to pick the blueberries or raspberries.
Since she's been walking, she can be all over the place. Going with friends makes it easier because she's better focused on what everyone else is doing instead of running through the orchard like a wild child. Either way, we love it! It's become a bit of a tradition that I'd like to keep up throughout her years. That is, until she's tired of me and ready to venture off on her own!
Now let's talk reality for a minute. Picking fruit with a one year can be difficult. Really difficult sometimes. I try to time it around her nap time so that the exhaustion doesn't get to her. It also drives me a bit crazy that she eats the fruit right off the vine. I get antsy about the possibilities of what could happen when you eat fruit that hasn't been washed. Ugh! Nothing has happened, thank God. Now that it's happened so much and I seem to be unable to control it, I don't mind it as much but I still make sure she is eating fruit that is good and ripe. The blueberries that aren't quite finished ripening are typically within her reach so I just make sure to watch that she's not putting those ones in her mouth! Yuck! Also, there are tons of peaches on the ground under the peach trees. Most of them have been smashed and are gross so I keep an eye to make sure she's not eating those. The only thing she seemed to want to do with those was step on them!
Another thing, when she was just learning how to walk, she was falling a lot. Silly me took her to pick black raspberries. It was the first time for the both of us and I had no clue that they had thorns!!!! I mean really, fruit vines and thorns? Who knew! That day was quite a bit of a crap show. At one point her not so sturdy legs gave way and she fell right into the vines! She ended up with some minor scratches but it was a bit of a dramatic situation! If you know me, you know what I mean! Shortly after that, I got a stick or a vine (not really sure) lodged in my sandal and got a huge scratch that started bleeding. Ugh! A little drama for your Mama right there! Luckily, my friend and her daughter were with us that day. I
am 100% sure if she wasn't there, I would have left after the first episode of the thorned vines attacking my daughter (see what I mean about the drama?).
Another not so fun episode happened when we were at an orchard where the raspberries grew on a hill....read that again. It made it nearly impossible for me or Johanna to pick raspberries. She was literally falling all over the place. Drama, drama, drama. I ended up letting her eat the majority of the blueberries that we had picked first while I held her and attempted to pick raspberries one handed. Fun! We left that day with barely any fruit and the blueberry muffins I planned to make were out of the question...
Some days we leave with a lot of fruit! Way too much for her and I to finish before it goes bad. So I do the easy thing and put it to good use! We've made things like pancakes, muffins, bread, cobbler, grilled fruit, smoothies, etc. It's actually quite fun and Johanna enjoys "baking" with me. I'm sure you are thinking, how does Johanna bake with you?! Welp! She's definitely at the "get into everything" phase so I've cleaned out the drawers in the kitchen that she can reach and filled them with baby safe items that she seems to enjoy playing with. The items are things like measuring cups, plastic spoons, cookie cutters (the plastic ones that aren't sharp), kitchen towels, Rubbermaid containers, cupcake holders, etc. Basically anything that she can't hurt herself with but keeps her attention while I bake
is in the drawers.
Obviously, she's too young to mix the ingredients or do anything with a hot stove or oven. But I often let her think she is helping me tremendously. I make a huge deal out her using her measuring cups to pretend to pour ingredients in. They are actually empty but that's okay! She loves it and thinks it's hilarious. We also dance around the kitchen and play music that we can bake to! It's a good time and of course the end result is amazing! We get to eat sweet treats that we made together!
What are some of your favorite things to do with your babes? Even if it doesn't seem kid friendly, you can always adjust and make it kid friendly! I hope you got some tips from this blog on how to do grown up things but make them fun for baby too! Remember, you're doing an amazing job.
Be sure to check out my IG page for highlights on the things we've baked this summer! If you'd like any recipes or good Orchards/Farms to go to around Montgomery County, MD shoot me a DM!