Penne with Cheesy Chard

Penne Cheesy Chard (2)

The cheesy flavor in this quick main dish meal comes from a mix of nutritional yeast and vegan Parmesan sprinkles.


  • 1 (12-ounce) box whole wheat penne pasta
  • 3 Tofurky Italian sausages
  • 1 bunch chard
  • 1/2 cup vegan Parmesan sprinkles
  • 1/2 cup nutritional yeast
  • 1/2 cup panko breadcrumbs
  1. Cook the pasta according to package directions.
  2. Meanwhile, chop the sausage and cook in a large skillet coated with cooking spray over medium heat for about 5 minutes, until browned. Add the finely chopped stems from the chard; cook for 4 minutes. If you use rainbow chard, this step will look beautiful!Penne Cheesy Chard (1)
  3. Drain the pasta, reserving 1/2 cup pasta water. Add the reserved water to the sausage mixture, along with the pasta and the finely chopped leaves of the chard. Cook about 1 minute, until the leaves wilt.
  4. Stir in the Parmesan, nutritional yeast, and breadcrumbs, tossing to combine.

Paper Plate Frog

Paper Plate Frog (9)

Travis has just started camp, and every day the teacher gathers everyone together for craft time. It has renewed his interest in simple hands-on activities – painting, gluing – which lately he seemed to have tired of when it was just mom in charge! Now he comes home and wants to play camp, so we threw together this easy frog with items we had on hand.

For the mouth, fold a paper plate in half; paint the outside green, and the inside black. Travis didn’t even want my help making sure the paint got all the way to the edges.

Paper Plate Frog (1)

For the legs and arms, I drew simple outlines on green craft foam and cut them out.

Paper Plate Frog (3)

Travis was a big helper putting on globs of glue so we could set the legs and arms in the right place once the paint was dry. A pink construction paper tongue was added as well.

Paper Plate Frog (4)

I glued on googly eyes as the final touch. When the frog was ready, Travis decided all on his own that we needed to make flies to feed it. “Let’s paint them white!” White flies? Why not!

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A hoppin’ good time.

Paper Plate Frog (8)

Summer Fun Watermelon Shakers


Watermelon Maraca alt

Watermelon is arguably the perfect summer food. Take the enjoyment beyond the edible and continue the watermelon theme with these easy shakers. They’re perfect to shake around the house or to bring along on your next picnic!

First we needed to fill a paper coffee cup with rice – Travis was very excited for this step!

Watermelon Maraca (1)

Place a second coffee cup over the first, and add pink duct tape around the middle – you’ll probably want to use careful adult supervision until the seam where rice can escape is completely covered.

Watermelon Maraca (3)

Now cover the tops and bottoms of the cups with green duct tape – voila, a watermelon in a rind!

Watermelon Maraca (2)

We added black dots with a permanent marker for seeds.

Watermelon Maraca (10)

Now shake-shake-shake!

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Surprisingly, the maraca held Travis’s attention for only a short while.

But he did soon want to make his own tape and cup creations. He told me this was a cow and a pig:

Watermelon Maraca (8)

And that this was a lantern!

Watermelon Maraca (9)

Just goes to show you never know what creativity one craft will spark in your child.