My grand-niece, Elliott Stevens is quite a girl. She is totally funny, without even trying. Her imagination runs wild, and she doesn’t need anyone else to make her fun. Sure, she loves to play with other kids, especially her cousins, but she is just as happy to play at home, totally entertaining her parents, Kayla and Garrett. Elliott sets the pace for the day with her antics.

Elliott loves to play make-believe and dress-up, a fact her grandmother, Alena Stevens knows well, so she is always looking for outfits for Elliott. On our recent trip to Wisconsin, Alena found the perfect birthday gift for Elliott…a chef’s outfit, complete with a chef’s hat, apron, and hot mit. The apron expressed Elliot’s imagination perfectly. It said, “Miss Bossy Boots.” It’s not that Elliott is any “bossier” than any other child of three years, but she does like playing the mom/boss/teacher kind of parts. Well, the outfit was a huge hit, and Elliott spent much of her birthday party wearing the outfit, and serving her guests a make-believe meal, that she had prepared herself…of course. Now we just need to add her adorable cowboy boots to the mix.

Elliott love to swim, and her parents got her a wading pool, which is great for these hot summer days. Elliott also loves to slide, and her pool has a slide, so she can do both things together. She also loves the big pools and the lake. Recently, the Stevens family got together at the lake, and Elliott got the chance to really swim. She loved it…so much so that she didn’t want to get out…even to warm up. Her little lips were so cold that they were almost blue and she was shivering. Nevertheless, she wanted to stay in the water. She finally had to get out, of course. Maybe they coaxed her with smores or something. I don’t know for sure, but I now she had a wonderful time, as she always does. They even managed to tame her many curls with the cutest little braids.

And speaking of wonderful times, Elliott got to go to the fair this year. I don’t know if it was her first, but I know that she had a blast. She rode every ride that could take her on, as well as the fun house, which her daddy had to go with her on. It was comical to see Garrett running after his little princess while trying not to bump his head, because the fun house is mostly designed for little kids. I laughed and laughed when I saw the video. Garrett is a great dad, and little Elliott keeps him wrapped firmly around her little finger…along with her mommy too. They are both quite taken with their little princess, Miss Bossy Boots, tumbling, swimming, entertaining baby girl…as are we all. Today our little Elliott turns 3 years old. Happy birthday Elliott!! Have a great day!! We love you!!

Years ago, my sister, Caryl read a book called “The Middle Sister”. She felt like the book was almost written for her, because she was the middle sister in our family. And the funny thing was that the girl on the book looked a lot like Caryl. They were both blond and wore braids a lot, and the facial features weren’t even too far off. It seemed like Caryl talked about being the middle sister for the rest of her pre-teenaged years.

The book was about a German family with 3 girls, which was it’s only flaw, since we had 5 girls. The middle sister was afraid of lots of things, and thought that if she had the lion’s tooth belonging to her uncle, she could be brave. Her uncle agreed to give her his lion’s tooth when she made him an apple dumpling from the sapling in their yard. That all seemed simple until her parents said they had to move from Ohio to Minnesota. Sarah Samantha, the middle sister was devastated, until her parents told the girls they could each pick one thing to take along. Of course Sarah Samantha picked the apple tree, which was transported and grew well in Minnesota…until Grasshopper Summer threatens the tree, but Sarah Samantha bravely fights off the grasshoppers to save the tree.

When the crop and Uncle Romeo finally come and her family heads to the train station to pick up Uncle Romeo, Sarah Samantha stays behind to make his apple dumpling, but two Indians, a man and a boy come to the house and eat most of the apples. She is too mad to be afraid, and she tells the Indians off, and makes them help with the apple dumpling. There are just enough apples for one small dumpling, which she trades for the lion’s tooth to make her feel brave…not realizing that she already is brave.

I don’t know if the book’s draw was the middle sister or the apple dumpling, but Caryl became obsessed with making them after that. I’m sure she made some, but the funny thing is that I don’t remember eating any of them. Nevertheless, the apple dumpling stayed in the back of my mind from that day forward, as an interesting dessert. Maybe it was because of all Sarah Samantha went through to make it, or maybe because of Caryl’s interest in them. The other day, as I was shopping for groceries at Walmart, I saw, in the frozen dessert section, none other than apple dumplings, and it took me back to the story of the middle sister and Caryl’s love of that book.

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