Our Weekends, a New Routine

I make an effort to talk to my daughter about Chicago. I don't want her to forget where she was born, our life there, all the things the city offered us, her nanny and her family (who effectively became our own family). One thing that is a symbol of Chicago for me is the Ferris Wheel. The Ferris Wheel was invented in Chicago for the 1893 World Columbian Exposition. The Ferris Wheel was the showstopper to take on the Eiffel Tower in Paris, which was created for a World's Fair, as well. 

On a drive on the highway here in Central Florida, we passed the Orlando Ferris Wheel and I pointed it out to my daughter, exclaiming that Chicago had a Ferris Wheel, too. She expressed interest to go on it, and I hope that she and I can make that happen by the end of this year. In the meantime, her birthday is coming up, and I'm ordering a few things for her to put the finishing touches on her Chicago World's Fair themed bedroom. One of the new additions being a Ferris Wheel lamp. I hope she always remembers that she is a Chicagoan. 

We've been getting out of the house more, visiting outdoor activities like the farmers market. Biking on Friday evenings after work and school. We pick up our daughter from school together on Fridays, and stop for French fries (effectively creating a new tradition of French Fry Friday), and then we hop on our bikes for a ride through the neighborhood, to a local playground, and catch the sunset on the way home. It's really pleasant, and a nice way to get to know our new neighborhood. 

At the farmers market a few weeks ago, we asked our favorite local bread vendor, Olde Hearth, if they still make the fig and anise baguette that we used to love 6 or so years ago (when we lived here previously). The vendor said they don't make it much anymore, but she might be able to ask them to make a few baguettes. We told her if they could make a few, we'd buy them all and freeze them. A week later, she delivered. She said she'd have 4 loaves for us on Sunday, and we showed up to collect as soon as the farmers market opened. The baguettes are delicious on their own, or with a little brie on top. It tastes like home.

This farmers market where we collected our baguettes is on a lake, super shaded, a little less crowded than other weekly markets in town, and there's even a playground for my tater tot. We start the trip to the market with a hop in the playground, and then hit up our usual produce vendor for our weeks worth of fruits and vegetables. We check to see what the cheese vendor has, we catch whiffs of the kettle corn popping in the sun, and we usually grab a mid-morning snack: sometimes a French pastry, sometimes an Indian Pakistani dish. But on this day, we had a spicy Jamaican beef patty (with cocoa bread, of course). It was delicious. We shared the beef patty while sitting on the side of the lake, looking at the way the sun glistened on the water top, my daughter saying hi to the lone ducks and ibis that swam by. 

I've been making my own bread every week, sometimes twice a week - we go through it so fast. Before I had my daughter, I was keeping a sourdough starter alive in my fridge and would bake sourdough every weekend. Once I had a newborn, I didn't find much time to care for my starter or to bake weekly bread. It's been years since I baked a sourdough loaf, but even longer since using yeast regularly. I wasn't having success with the yeast-based recipes I was finding on Pinterest. And I was still getting used to my new oven in my new home. But thankfully, my friend Shelby to the rescue! She shared with me the bread recipe that she uses weekly, and I've been having very good luck with that one. It's pleasing to smell the loaf as it browns in the oven, and so exciting to see it rise once I take the lid off the cast iron pot. 


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