I mentally made a to-do list, while we colored, glittered, painted, and stamped to our hearts content. Even Mari got in the middle of all of it, successfully writing on me, inking her tiny hands a BRIGHT red, and putting her own mark on Zeni's art. (ahh...don't you love it when kids have to sort out the imperfections of life?) Zeni handled it with her typical Jackie-O grace. Seriously, I don't know how that girl has THAT much patience and tact at such a tender age. Incredible!
After we were crafted-out, we played Monopoly waay, way late into the night! Well, it was late for them. I'm still trying to figure out this bedtime routine and because it was Friday, we let them stay up until midnight. We had a fun time playing. Zeni was queen of Monopoly, beating us with just the cash she had on hand, not including her properties. It was a cool night, so I propped open the front window (the one that is hidden by the bush) and within minutes of completing their nightly routine, they were fast asleep and happy.
The next morning, we were up and at 'em at 8:30, which was pretty remarkable, because we were able to sleep in an extra hour and a half. I can't tell you how happy that made me. I guess Mari was worn out from her cousins too, because she was not wanting to get out of bed, but when I reminded her that Zeni and Ian were waiting for her, she perked up and immediately called out for Guapo.
We all dressed to go out for breakfast. The kids were all crowded into our hall bathroom, Mari standing on her frog stool to see. I brushed her hair, while the cousins washed their faces, brushed their teeth, and entertained Mari long enough to finish with her hair. We headed to La Paloma. Zeni and Ian skeptically looked over the menu, not quite sure what to order. Ian is a little less picky, and just pointed to a regular torta and picked out a Jarritos soda. Zeni, just got a burrito and another flavor of Jarritos. I ordered chilaquiles, with a Mexican coke. Don had a Sprite and I don't remember what else he had. Mari had rice with eggs. Although, that was a mistake on our part because she prefers their beans over the rice and they comped us a side of beans for Mari to eat. (LOVE THEM!) While we waited for the meal to finish cooking, we let Mari go for a ride on the mechanical burro. She loves this thing. It's a quarter for the ride and it makes a silly galloping sound while riding, but she doesn't mind it. Fifty cents later and our food was ready.
We piled around the table, happily munching away on our food. Zeni ate all of Mari's rice, Mari ate most of her beans, Don finished up my chilaquiles, and Ian tore up his torta. They both enjoyed their Jarritos drink.
We were sufficiently food drunk when the girls split from the guys. We headed to Target to pick up some essentials, then swung by Kroger to get the ingredients for some cinnamon rolls! Earlier in the week I had the pleasure of reading one of my friend's articles that was published in a magazine. (yes, she's amazing!) Anyway, while I was browsing around, I found a recipe for homemade cinnamon rolls. I figured, why not? The only time I've ever made any myself was popping them out of the Pillsbury can. In any case, this was just the excuse to dust off the ol' apron and get ready for Fall.
When we returned to the house, Ian and Don were in the middle of yard work. Mari was on the edge of a nap, and had Zeni not been there, I would've joined her. Instead, I took three aprons off of the silver hook in the kitchen and handed the yellow and lime green one to Zeni, tied the black and white polka dotted one around Mari, and wrapped the vintage style turquoise one around myself. I handed Mari a wooden spoon, a bowl, and tossed in some dry ingredients for her to play around with. Afterwards, I handed Zeni the recipe and we read it together. I showed her how to measure wet ingredients and informed her that cooking was a good foundation builder for both Chemistry and Math. I gave her a quick overview about fractions and what they meant. I also dreamily told her stories of my childhood spent in the kitchen with her Bisabuela and Nana. How they both cooked and cooked and cooked and how very important it was to wear a delantal so as to not dirty your clothes. Which, is probably why I had so very many aprons handy, that way whomever wants to come to my kitchen to cook, they'll have one. I think she likes to hear those stories. Shortly before we got into the thick of mixing the ingredients together, Mari informed us she was ready for a nap, so we paused, and made her comfortable in her toddler bed.
Zeni and I retreated back to the kitchen and finished our work. Not having really gotten down and dirty with baking in a while, I'd forgotten to take my rings off. Also, we started mixing everything by hand instead of using the mixer. Also, I didn't sift my flour (which probably would have been better, but it didn't specifically say so in the instructions, so I wasn't too guilty). In any case, the first go-round with the dough yielded a very runny dough. I divided it into three parts and made it better by feeling with texture and consistency. Overall, I think we had to add about 2 more cups of flour than what was originally stated.
Zeni made her batch of tiny cinnamon rolls and she really got into rolling it out and spreading on the butter and cinnamon. My hands enjoyed the butter treatment, much more squishy than paraffin that's for sure! On the first batch, I made regular cinnamon rolls (closer to the front of the photo) and for the 2nd batch, I added craisins.
Sidenote: When I was younger, much, much younger than Zeni, I saw the word cinnamon and didn't know how to say it. I pronounced it kin-NAH-mahn. My mom chuckled and annunciated sin-amen, proclaiming "you know, like sins, then say amen! You pray for forgiveness for your sins, followed with amen, right?" Yes, mom, you're right.
In any case, we had a delightful time baking and every tiny crevice of my rings was covered with cinnamon roll dough. Lucky for me, Don took them the next day to be cleaned. That evening, we all enjoyed delicious homemade cinnamon rolls and they turned out to be quite a treat the next morning too!
Let me know if you want the recipe and I'll post it.