This past weekend our niece, Meredith, came up to Baltimore and had a special aunt/uncle & niece visit. This trip was our Christmas present to M this year, we wanted to give her something special, something she’d remember, and thought a weekend alone where she got to pick the activities would be perfect. I’m so glad we did, I hope we can make this a tradition. We had such a good time with Meredith, and I hope these visits will be memories she cherishes.
We had a jam-packed weekend. She came up midday on Saturday and after a short reading break (on her request) we headed out. First we went to a park to do some swinging and climbing. Then we chucked the rules out the window and had gelato before dinner (M got strawberry/raspberry, Dan got pistacho/creme, and I got raspberry/mojito). After gelato we walked around Fells Point, listened to a street performer playing the bagpipe, and then headed to dinner. Our original plan was to go to one of our favorite restaurants, Ale Wife, because they have amazing burgers for Dan and I and incredible mac n’ cheese for Meredith. They were packed. So we redirected and went to Pratt Street Ale House. When we got the menu we saw that they didn’t have traditional mac n’ cheese, only mac n’ cheese bites. I was so worried M would be upset, we’d promised her AMAZING mac and who knew if we could deliver. But when it came she looked at me and said “This is great! It’s like macaroni AND chicken nuggets! It’s like NUGGET CHEESE.” I love that kid. She also said, at a different point that day “Mac and cheese is my favorite food! NO! CARROTS!”
On Sunday we didn’t waste much time hitting the town. M and I went to the Walter’s Art Museum to visit their Drop In Studio, where we made a necklace based on the jadeite necklaces in their collection. After a while playing with puppets and reading in their Family Activity Center we headed up the street to the Enoch Pratt Free Library, where they were hosting a Fairytale Festival. This was incredible. We made all sorts of art, pet therapy dogs, M got her face painted, and we spent very much time watching a magician who was the most impressive thing ever. I’m pretty sure M’s take away from the whole weekend might be MAGIC DID YOU SEE HIM MAKE THE COIN DISAPPEAR. We then moved on to the main attraction for the day, the Fluid Movement roller show. As an active member of FM’s summer water ballet, the roller show is so much fun to watch. This year’s show was a tribute to Baltimore’s West Side, which included Frank Sinatra doing a cartwheel (on rollerblades) AND the entire audience going outside to parade around the block. It was excellent. And the best part was that Meredith was able to get both the autograph of and a picture with one of the talented skaters, Jobi.
On Monday Dan went back to work and Meredith and I had the day to ourselves. First she came down to my museum to test out some elementary activity packs I’ve created (she was a wonderful test subject), and then we went home to make strawberry pie. Meredith is planning on competing in the B’Eat More Pie Fest this year (in the Cutie Pies category for bakers under 12), and wanted to test out a strawberry pie. While we both agreed that it was delicious, she’s now considering how a plum pie would work.
All in all, we feel super lucky to have this sweet girl as our niece. I should probably start planning next year’s visit to Bmore… I’ll have to find a way to beat the magician! See more pictures from our weekend here.
Meredith’s Strawberry Pie
2 1/2 cups flour
1 tbsp sugar
1 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/2 sticks butter
1/4 cup shortening
1/4-1/2 cup ice water
1 egg for brushing over
1 pint of strawberries
1/4 cup sugar (or less if the strawberries are very sweet)
1 tbsp corn starch
1 tsp vanilla extract
To make the crust, mix together flour, sugar, and salt. Work the shortening in with your hands. Cube the butter and work it in. Pour in vanilla. Add ice water, a little at a time, until the dough has formed into a ball Wrap and refrigerate for 1 hour.
Clean and quarter the strawberries. Mix with remaining ingredients. Roll half the dough out and place in the bottom of the dish. Scoop in filling. Roll the remaining dough out and cut into strips. Layer the strips on top of the pie, weaving them together. Whisk egg and brush over exposed crust.
Bake at 350 for 25-30 minutes, or until golden brown.