Over-mixed cakes. Cookies that taste like a bit too much something was added. Licking the vanilla spoon. Sampling the dough with no thought of raw eggs. Little floury hand-prints everywhere.
Little helpers in little aprons. They make cooking a joyful mess!
For my oldest daughter Ruth Ann’s second Christmas, when she was just over one year old, her second cousin Aleah gave her a little apron set, complete with hat, towel, and oven mitt. Ruth was so excited. She took it everywhere and wore it for every cooking adventure.
In the pictures above (from two whole years ago—my little girl is getting so big!), we were making a peanut butter cookie recipe. By the time the cookies were in the oven, there was flour and egg white on the floor, not to mention the counter. And there were little pieces of dough everywhere, since Ruth had been rolling out the cookies herself. I let her pour the measuring cups of flour and sugar in. She even measured out the baking powder and soda by herself (it was approximately half a teaspoon). She was positively delighted to be such a big girl. And when her daddy got home, he was greeted by a little girl wearing apron and hat, carrying a plate of peanut butter cookies (tilted precariously, then set down right in front of the cat and quickly rescued!).
In recent months, three-and-a-half-year-old Ruth’s apron has become part of her nurse’s uniform, as well—she’s following in her great grandmother’s footsteps, it seems, and plays “Nurse Nancy” all day long. (Here Mary is helping cousin Jennifer make blueberry muffins while “Nurse Nancy” stands by watching. And yes, Nurse Nancy will receive an entire post unto herself another week—there’s a story and lots of cuteness to share!)
For my second daughter Mary Kate’s second birthday this August, her Nanna made her a little apron to go along with her cooking-themed birthday gifts from the rest of the family. Have you seen the adorable wooden food made by Melissa and Doug, that is put together with Velcro so you can “cut” it apart?! The new wooden knife is chop-chopping fruit all day long, and suddenly my girls are wishing we could grow lemons. And thanks to the hot pan holders Nanna knit for them, the girls frequently worry me when they run around the house yelling, “Something’s hot! Something’s hot!”
Yesterday I decided to let them make their own peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for lunch, in order to get some more apron shots. Much excitement and licking of knives ensued (scroll down for pictures). They opted for eating their sandwiches (Mary’s was more of a roll-up, her own unique creation—perhaps a gourmet chef in the making?) right there at the counter standing on the stool. Ruth’s apron had to go straight to the laundry, but the worst of it was on Mary’s face and hands. Mary wanted a shower afterwards, but I managed to wipe off enough that she wasn’t getting peanut butter on everything she touched. I’m not sure I’m ready yet to let them make their own sandwiches every day!
And these adorable little girls? My sister Jessica and cousin Rebekah receiving their cow aprons, made by Aunt Margie, one Christmas, when they were ages five and six. (Jess still fits hers, as you can see in her apron post!)
“Didn’t you bring an apron?” Ida asked. “Then pin this towel on, so I can’t splash your dress.” Her sleeves were rolled up, her dress was covered by a big apron, and she laughed and chatted while she washed dishes at a great rate and Laura swiftly wiped them.
–Little Town on the Prairie by Laura Ingalls Wilder, page 278
“…wondering how life could be dull to a girl who wore a silk frock, a daintily frilled apron, a pretty locket, and had her hair tied up with a velvet snood.”
–Eight Cousins by Louisa May Alcott, page 5
“Much against her will, Emily wore a coverall apron and a sunbonnet.”
–Emily of New Moon by L.M. Montgomery, page 38
“How I do hate to sew! If aprons only grew without any sewing!” exclaimed Polly, with a deep sigh, as she dropped in her lap the little blue checked gingham pinafore which her mother had given her to hem.
-Delia W. Lyman. “How Polly Saw the Aprons Grow” in St. Nicholas
“Mrs. Landreth,” she said, “I came to ask if you will lend me a pattern of the apron your youngest little girl has on this morning. I noticed it as the children passed my house on their way to school.
“Certainly,” replied Mildred, “I have it here in my work basket;” and, as she spoke, she picked up a little roll of paper, and handed it to her caller.
“Thank you. I’ll send it home when I’ve cut one off it,” said Mrs. Boyle.
Everyone exclaimed when Ma unwrapped her pretty apron. She put it on at once, and stood up for them all to see. She looked at the hem, and smiled at Carrie. “You hem very nicely, Carrie,” she said, then she smiled at Laura, “And Laura’s gathers are even, and well sewed. it is a nice apron.”
–By the Shores of Silver Lake by Laura Ingalls Wilder, page 235
…linking up with small style because little aprons are the cutest of small styles…