Noisy Toys

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Veronika has been reaching for her toys for a few weeks now, and is starting to get a good grip on those that I hold within reach – so it was time to teach her a little bit about cause and effect!

Toys that make noise are great for this purpose. The more your baby holds a toy, moves it, and then hears a noise, the better he or she will start to realize that they were able to create the noise through their actions.

So I put together a big pile of toys from our baby bin that made various sounds. Classic rattles are great for this of course, but I also added some with bells, crinkly sounds, and various other auditory fun.

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One by one, I held them out for Veronika, and let her take hold. She loved crinkling this one!

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When I rolled the beads inside this rattle, she began kicking her feet at it, almost like she was peddling a little stationary bike. She was clearly delighted at her actions and the effect!

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Noisy toys are also great on the go, as with this rattle book on a trip to the library.

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While she was on her play mat today, I left the noisy toys scattered within reach, so that when her hand came down on one, she could grasp it and give it a try.

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Overall, a super fun way to introduce her to new toys and new concepts.

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The result of all that fun and mental stimulation in the morning? Napping soundly all afternoon!

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Classic Slow-Cooker Pot Roast

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This recipe is officially my new go-to stew for cold winter nights. I can set it cooking around lunchtime, and by dinner it’s perfect – plus it makes the entire house smell amazingly cozy.


  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 package Gardein beefless tips
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • 2 cups vegetable broth
  • 2 tablespoons tomato sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups roughly chopped carrots
  • 3 roughly chopped celery sticks
  • 2 small red potatoes, quartered
  1. Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a skillet over medium heat; add the beefless tips and cook for about 8 minutes, until browned.
  2. Heat the remaining tablespoon oil in a slow cooker over high heat. Add the beefless tips, along with all the remaining ingredients. Cover and cook on high for 6 to 7 hours.

We love this served with a warm baguette!

Glow in the Dark Moon and Stars Painting

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Travis loves the craters on the moon, and is always asking how they’re made. So we’ve done a few fun projects where he gets to make craters, everything from poking holes into clay to makingĀ explosions outside. This little project was also another way to add a comforting glow to his bedroom at night. We just needed glow-in-the-dark paint, and a fun tool – q-tips! – and we were ready to start.

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First, I marked off a section of dark construction paper with masking tape. The area within the tape would be the moon, and the rest of the paper was for the stars.

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We filled in the moon with glow-in-the-dark paint, then used a q-tip to form lots of craters.

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The only glow paint we had is actually meant to be squeezed from a tube, not brushed on, so to make stars we squeezed out dots of paint and then smooshed them with a q-tip.

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Travis loved this step!

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Now we just had to wait until dark. We let the painting dry under bright lights, and transferred to his room at bedtime.

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A beautiful glowing (crater-filled!) moon.