Face to Face

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The other day, my husband attached Veronika’s car seat into the stroller base facing away from me – and it felt so wrong!

It’s a reminder of why I always make sure to face her car seat or stroller attachment toward me, and was the perfect prompt for today’s activity: put in face-to-face time with your infant.

If your baby faces you in the stroller, you can narrate everything you see while shopping or walking. Travis likes to engage Veronika, too!

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Likewise at home, I made a point of engaging Veronika face-to-face while in the Ergo. IĀ  lifted her up slightly so our faces were near each other, and narrated the happenings in our home and kitchen,

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Her big happy eyes tell me she loves the interaction!

Repeat a Simple Story

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By now, you may notice your two-month old starting to show preference for certain stories over others. Ways to tell that a baby this small is engaged with a book? Eyes are alert, face is smiling the gaze is eagerly turned towards the pages. Or perhaps the baby just seems relaxed while you say the words.

I noticed that Veronika seemed particularly peaceful during readings of Time for Bed, a sweet story I used to read to Travis as well.

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That makes it particularly useful when I need to settle her down. Don’t be afraid to read a story more than once through – whether over the course of a day, or a couple of times in one sitting. The repetition of words – both within the text itself, and thanks to a double-reading – will be a comfort to your baby.

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What’s your go-to book with your baby? Please share in the comments!

Cozy Minestrone

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Here is the first of three main recipes from Travis’s firstĀ Raddish Kit, with the theme of a Fireside Feast. A few notes on the subscription, as this was our first box from the company. Each month includes new items for your child’s kitchen. In this introductory box, we received an apron, which Travis proudly donned…

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… plus Travis’s very own set of dry measuring cups.

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These featured a fantastic collapsible interior, perfect not only for kids’ exploratory interest, but also because they will store flat in the kitchen. I told Travis that these cups were his, not mom’s, and we’d only use them for recipes in which he helps me.

Because Raddish is not aimed at a particular age subset (as with Cricket or Koala Crates, for example), the information has to appeal to a wide age range. You can tailor recipes and lessons accordingly. For example, there are extremely detailed lesson plans that accompany each of the three recipes, but much of the info is simply too advanced for my four-year-old chef.

As a result, I’m sticking with the basic lesson on each recipe card, and will save the more detailed info for when Travis is older. For those considering a subscription, I will point out that the lesson plans are fantastic, whether you simply want to teach your child more about food, science, math, etc., or whether you are homeschooling.

But now it was time to tackle Cozy Minestrone!

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Thanks to the recipe card, Travis could go through the ingredient list with me as we gathered the food and tools.

First up was lots of chopping. We sliced two vegan Italian sausages and cooked until brown on each side.

Next, we cut 1 small onion in half, peeled the skin, sliced, and then diced.

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Cut 1 large carrot into round slices.

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Smash 3 garlic cloves with a knife and mince – this was a mommy step in our household. Big kids can definitely tackle it!

Cut 1 large zucchini into slices, then each slice into quarters. At this point, Travis’s hand was tired of chopping, but he avidly watched as I took over.

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Cut the cooked sausage slices into quarters. Combine all these chopped ingredients in a bowl.

Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. Add the chopped ingredients, along with 1 and 1/2 teaspoons salt and 1/2 teaspoon black pepper; cook for 10 minutes. Travis was a bit nervous about the stove.

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Meanwhile, open a 15-ounce can of white beans and drain in a colander.

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Add the beans to the pot, along with broth (we used 4 cups vegetable broth + 2 cups water), 1 (28-ounce) can diced tomatoes, 1 teaspoon dried basil, and 1 teaspoon dried oregano. Bring to a boil.

Reduce heat and stir in 1 cup uncooked ditalini pasta. Continue to cook for 15 minutes, until the pasta is tender.

We served with warm slices of Italian bread, for a meal that was exactly as the recipe promised – cozy!

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The lesson with this recipe was on Eating the Rainbow – a perfect example because the soup includes almost every color of veggie. As he ate, I asked what colors were in the soup. We identified red tomatoes, orange carrots, green zucchini, and white onions. That left the blue/purple group missing from our soup to complete the rainbow.

The culinary skill for this recipe was knife cuts, which big kids should enjoy. Being a bit too advanced for Travis, I set up a plate for him with: matchsticks, rounds, diced, and minced. He enjoyed trying all 4 over lunchtime!

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There was also a fun word scramble; non-readers can still complete the challenge by having you read the clues and guessing the word.

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Overall, I’m very impressed with Raddish so far. We have two more recipes from the Fireside Feast kit to come, so stay tuned!