He enjoyed trying my ham sandwich and Dave's burnt ends. One of the employees was busing a nearby table while we were finishing our meal and commented that Ben must've enjoyed it since he had a ring of sauce around his mouth! Ben just smiled a big barbecue saucy smile at him.
Ben also stole one of my fries while I was taking pictures. Later, he still reached over to my plate several times to steal more ham if he didn't think I was giving him enough!
I have been wanting to make some homemade play dough for Ben but hadn't gotten around to it yet. I made some tonight while he ate dinner (Dave and I are still stuffed from Bryant's. I don't know how Ben was hungry.) and he played with it for nearly an hour! I gave him a choice of colors and he picked blue. I used this recipe but added just a little more oil and some vanilla extract since it smells kind of funky on its own. I was a little worried because it was still sticky after several minutes of stirring, but I kept cooking it on low and it came together nicely. Kneading it after it's off the heat also gets out the lumps. It was too hot for a kid to knead it for several minutes, though.
I got out several cookie cutters and my Pampered Chef rolling pin. The play dough instructions from a toddler art project book we read recommended cookie cutters with handles. I only have one with a handle, but Ben actually did fine with regular cutters.
Ben liked rolling out the dough with the rolling pin. He needed some help to get enough pressure, but it worked better than I anticipated.
Gradually, he got more used to actually manipulating the play dough with his hands and was having a blast squishing the dough balls I made. He also tried to see if they would bounce and felt the need to say hello to them. (Earlier in the day, he said hi to the rain, thunder, Arthur Bryant's portrait, the composer's photo on one of my piano books, and photos of our friends' dogs.)
Here's a video of Ben chattering and enjoying the play dough.