A Is for Adeline, Apples, and Auntie Pam

Dear Joey,

Months ago we talked about starting at-home preschool curriculum with Addie, and this week, finally, we’ve started Learn Your Letters, Learn to Serve. We’ve talked about the letter A, the sounds it makes, words that start with A, and found and circled A’s in her name. We’ve talked about all kinds of animals (including alligators) and the Ark that Noah built. We have eaten apples and practiced and memorized what you do for work (Daddy’s a PA! He works on arms! That starts with A!) We’re even working on memorizing our address. And as of today, all I have to say is Addie is a genius.

Now to be fair, I knew A would be easy for her. She has known the alphabet for quite some time now, she can recognize the letter A on her own, knows the sounds it makes, and even knows a few words that start with the letter A (like Adeline, Amelia, apple . . .). She can find and circle A’s in words easily and is even pretty good at writing an A herself (although at the moment it looks more like a big H). And really, I’m fairly certain she’ll do nearly as well with the other letters in the coming weeks. What I’m most excited about with this curriculum is teaching her what it means to think of others above herself and how to go out of her way to serve someone else.

Teaching a self-centered two year old how to serve someone isn’t exactly easy. I think for this age, teaching a child to serve has more to do with modeling than it does instructing. Lucky for me Addie is very observant and eager to help, so into the kitchen we went, Addie donning her apron to make dip for apples. (And if you look closely, you’ll even see Ariel hanging out with us. Addie gave her a prime spot to watch the action–on top of the milk jug.)

When we talked about who to give the apples and dip to, I thought perhaps she wouldn’t understand completely, or that she would say “Adeline” (since clearly, she thoroughly enjoys this dip…). But after narrowing it down to two people, she chose Auntie Pam.  

Not just that, but she seemed genuinely excited to pack up the apples, dip and a note for Auntie Pam, and when it came time to hand off the basket, she was shyly smiling and seemed to be genuinely happy to share what she had made with someone else.

Perhaps I underestimated her: perhaps she has a servant’s heart that has been waiting to be given the opportunity to shine, or perhaps she was responding to my prompting and saw that giving something away could be fun for her as well. (But maybe, just maybe the dip was just that good that somewhere deep down inside of her, she just had to share.) 

Peanut Butter Dip
This dip is smooth and creamy with a hint of tartness from the yogurt and is delicious with any number of dippers (like strawberries, bananas, or graham crackers), but our favorite is sliced apples. Make sure to use Greek yogurt so that the dip has a thick, rich consistency. Also, I used Stevia powder, but you could use any sweetener you like (including sugar). Quantities will differ, of course, but with a little trial and error, you’ll strike a balance you like.

3/4 c smooth natural peanut butter
3/4 c Greek  yogurt (we used nonfat, but any would work–make sure it’s Greek!)
1/2 c milk
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
3/4 T powdered stevia, plus more to taste

Measure all ingredients together and mix (either whisking by hand or using an electric mixer) until smooth. Chill for an hour or two until the mixture has firmed up a bit and the flavors have melded together.

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