VIsual Reassurance

Visual Reassure (3)

If your infant has a hard time on car rides, whether that means crying for you, simply fussing, or generally seeming to miss you, then this game is for you!

It can be tough for infants who need to ride backwards, since they can hear your voice, but they can’t see you. I love having a mirror hanging in the backseat so I can see Veronika, but that doesn’t mean she can see me!

Cue this adorable idea: tape up pictures of mom, dad, and other key family members.

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I had cheap prints made at the drugstore, and first let Veronika take a look at them. She was instantly really clued into them, clearly recognizing faces of her caregivers.

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A little tape and voila, I had a collage of family members up on the mirror. She seemed to love gazing up!

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If you want to make the pictures more permanent, laminate them before hanging.

I love that this gives her something interesting to look at, now, as well providing reassurance that I’m there, even when she can’t see me at the wheel. How do you keep your infant happy in the car? Please share in the comments!

Easy Goulash

 

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I’ve been looking for a way to beef up Travis’s pasta dinners, and it turns out that adding vegan, well, beef, did the trick! This is a simplified take on the Hungarian dish of goulash. Parents magazine tells us the stew dates back to the ninth century, and we were more than happy to eat this updated version.

Ingredients:

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 1 (14-ounce) package ground meatless beef (such Lightlife Smart Ground)
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 (15-ounce) can tomato sauce
  • 1 (14.5-ounce) can diced tomatoes
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 teaspoons oregano
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 8 ounces ditalini pasta
  • 1/2 cup shredded Daiya cheddar
  1. Heat the olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add the onion and cook for 5 minutes, until softened. Break the beef into crumbles and add to the pan; cook for an additional 5 minutes, until browned.
  2. Stir in the tomato paste, then add the tomato sauce, diced tomatoes, water, oregano, and paprika. Bring to a boil.
  3. Stir in the ditalini; cover, reduce heat, and simmer for 15 minutes, until the pasta is tender.
  4. Ladle onto plates or bowls, and top the servings evenly with the cheese.

 

Q-Tip Skeleton

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This little craft is great for kids who learning about the body and bones. Big kids can be really exact with it, mapping out locations for the humerus, femur, and more. For my four year old, it was fun just to talk about our bodies and bones, and help him see a skeleton take shape.

To set up the craft, I cut out a skull shape from white construction paper and glued it onto a piece of black paper.

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Next we needed to make bones! To do so, I cut q-tips into varying lengths, including a few that I left whole for bigger bones in the body. This is a fun step because q-tips are quite hard to snip through, which means they go flying when you cut them. Travis became the bone-gathering doctor!

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I asked if he wanted to decide where to place each bone, or preferred to have me lay down lines of glue for him to follow. He asked for the latter, but then it was a great game for him to match the length of my glue stripe to a properly sized “bone.”

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He loved doing the hand. “Look, it’s my pinkie finger!”

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This was a great chance to talk about the differences in the length of our bones. We needed to find a long one for the femur, I explained, which was the biggest bone in the body.

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It was also neat to touch our real, corresponding bones as we worked. He loved feeling his spine.

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When the skeleton looked almost done, I asked him what we still needed. “Hip bones!” he decided, touching his own, so we glued down a few more pieces.

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So proud of my little scientist putting this one together.

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