Creamy Tomato & Sausage Pasta

Sausage Pasta (1)This hearty pasta is a crowd-pleaser for grown-ups and kids alike. Weeknight dinners are solved, at least in this house!

Ingredients:

  • 12 ounces penne pasta
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 Tofurky Italian sausage links, finely chopped
  • 5 ounces baby spinach, chopped
  • 1 and 1/2 cups jarred marinara sauce
  • 1/4 cup plain non-dairy creamer
  1. Cook the pasta according to package directions. Drain, reserving 1/4 cup cooking liquid, and set aside.
  2. Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the sausage and cook for 4 to 5 minutes, until browned.
  3. Add the baby spinach; cook for 1 to 2 minutes, until wilted.
  4. Stir in the marinara sauce and creamer. Bring to a simmer.
  5. Add the pasta and the reserved cooking water, tossing to combine.

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Moving Dollar Trick

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We always love to find new spins on our magnet play, so I thought Travis would enjoy the humor behind this little trick. It’s fun on any random afternoon… or file this one away for April Fools!

To set up, you’ll need two neodymium magnets, the small metal silver ones. I have no idea if our fridge magnets are actually neodymium, but they worked just fine! Tape one magnet onto a dollar bill.

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Tape the other to a piece of string; make sure to tape securely, as these magnets are strong.

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Now place your dollar on a table, and clip the magnets together underneath the tabletop. To fool any passer-by, ask them to pick up the dollar, then gently tug on the string to move it away from the other person’s hand. The key here is to tug gently or the magnets may pull apart from each other.

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Travis loved the trick! He had to move our dollar around the table in all directions and loved snapping the two magnets together again from underneath the table.

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We weren’t truly trying to trick anyone, so a piece of blue twine worked just fine. If you’re in it for the trick, make sure you use a clear-colored thread that will be nearly invisible, and act as casual as possible.

Either way, this is a neat method to show how strong magnetic attraction can be, even through a tabletop!

Pumpkin Emotion Learning Tool

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Okay, we probably should have made this jack o’ lantern-themed craft back in October, but it was still cute to play with here in February! With a lot of big preschooler emotions going on lately, the craft is a fantastic way to get talking about emotions, facial expressions, and sorting through the big feelings your kids might be feeling, no matter their age!

The first step is to upcycle an empty baby wipes container (the kind in a plastic bin), by covering it with orange felt.

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We tried using regular school glue, but waiting for it to dry proved too much for Travis, so I hot glued the felt on.

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Next, I set out craft sticks and asked him to help me brainstorm emotions. In addition to common ones (sad, happy), he said a few that made me laugh, like “when I’m waiting to play with Daddy’s camera stand.”

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Next, I cut shapes out of black felt to go with the emotions we had created, and set all the pieces out in front of him.

We put our craft sticks in the top of the wipe container, and pulled one out – “surprised” was the first.

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I asked Travis which mouth went with surprised, and so on. This turned into a great game not only for identifying the emotions we feel, but also what other people look like when they experience those emotions.

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And of course, it’s just fun to set up the pumpkin with silly faces.

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As a bonus, all of your craft sticks and felt pieces will store inside the wipe container when you’re done, ready for the next time you want to play.

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