Loaded Baked Potato

Loaded Baked Potato

I lived in London the summer I was 12, and there was a restaurant near our flat that specialized in nothing but baked potatoes. You could pretty much stuff your potato with any other food under the sun. To this day, I still think of that restaurant when I load up a baked potato as the entree. Here’s hoping my kids develop as fond a memory for loaded baked potatoes as I have!


  • 4 baking potatoes
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 (15-ounce) drained and rinsed can chickpeas
  • 1/4 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • Chopped chard leaves (to taste)
  • Non-dairy sour cream
  1. Bake the potatoes at 450 degrees F for about 1 hour, or until soft all the way through. Let cool slightly.
  2. Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onion and chickpeas; cook for 5 minutes.
  3. Stir in the paprika, salt, and chard leaves – cook for about 1 minute, until the chard wilts. Use as little or as much chard as your like: leaves from a whole bunch if your family enjoys their greens, just a few leaves if you are slowly introducing the taste!
  4. Dollop with the non-dairy sour cream before serving.


Number Bead Stringing

Number Bead Stringing (5)

This project is great on so many levels! It keeps little hands busy if you’re doing chores around the house, works their number skills, and helps hone their fine motor skills.

The original post I saw for the game said to thread beads onto pipe cleaners, but I didn’t have any at home. Instead, we have several laces from a bead lacing kit, so I attached a piece of masking tape to the end of each and numbered them 1 through 10.

Number Bead Stringing (1)

The task was then to thread the correct number of beads onto each string.

Number Bead Stringing (2)

Travis loved counting along as he threaded, and said his creations were necklaces for mommy and daddy – how sweet!

Number Bead Stringing (6)

Don’t fret if your child doesn’t complete threads 1 through 10 in one sitting, this is the kind of game you can leave lying around for a little while.

Number Bead Stringing (4)


Chalkboard Frame

Chalkboard Frame (6)

I keep hearing about how fun chalkboard paint is, so it was finally time to give it a try! With a simple coat of paint, you can transform a room, wall, or object.

We opted to start out small; a wooden picture frame (picked up cheap at a craft store) made the perfect canvas. Parents, be forewarned: If you’re used to using washable paint with your toddler or preschooler, you’re entering the big leagues here. Chalkboard paint is acrylic, and won’t wash out nearly as easily.

Chalkboard Frame (2)

After we carefully covered our work surface, Travis was so excited at the novelty of the paint. He made sure his black paint got all the way to the edges.

Chalkboard Frame (3)

Ok, and he was so excited he painted over the glass in the middle where a photo would go!

Chalkboard Frame (5)

Aim for 2 layers of paint; Travis was so enthusiastic we probably ended up with closer to 3 or 4.

We had to wait awhile for the chalkboard paint to dry, so this was a good project for the morning. Our busy day distracted him until I could present him with the dry frame.

Now it was time to break out the chalk!

Chalkboard Frame (7)

He loved that he could color over it however he liked, and was thrilled when I said this time there was no need for chalk to dry. A very cute project that would make a nice gift, too.

Chalkboard Frame (8)