Fideos with Chorizo, Spinach, and Chickpeas

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The spice in this Spanish take on noodles will challenge little taste buds just enough. But use a milder sausage if your kids don’t like spicy!

Ingredients:

  • 3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 6 ounces angel hair pasta
  • 1 chopped onion
  • 2 vegan spicy sausage links, chopped (such as Field Roast Mexican Chipotle)
  • 1 (15-ounce) can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 1/4 cup frozen spinach or broccoli rabe
  • 1 (14.5-ounce) can diced tomatoes
  • 2 cups water
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  1. Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a large pot. Break the pasta into 2-inch pieces, and add to the pan; cook for about 2 to 3 minutes. (Note: work in 2 batches, if needed, so that the noodles cook evenly). Remove the noodles from the pan and set aside.
  2. Heat the remaining tablespoon oil in the pan. Add the onion and sausage; cook for 5 minutes, until lightly browned.
  3. Add the chickpeas; cook for 2 to 3 minutes.
  4. Stir in the spinach and tomatoes. Return the pasta to the pan, along with the water. Cover and cook for 2 minutes.
  5. Stir, then cover and continue to cook for 5 minutes, or until the noodles are tender. Season with the salt, black pepper, and oregano.

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Try On-Site Day Care

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Today’s activity with Veronika was more of a challenge for me than for her – could I leave her in the hands of strangers for about 30 minutes to work out?

This suggestion in my baby activity book was a needed push; three-months-old is a good age to test out time away from your baby. Separation anxiety has yet to set in, and truth be told, I waited far too long before parting ways with Travis, which made separations like nursery school much harder down the line.

So today, I sought out a gym in town where I could exercise for a daily fee, and my daughter could hang out with the other babies!

Here we go! She looked so innocent and trusting as we checked in, little knowing I was about to leave her side for 30 minutes.

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But did the world end in the 30 minutes we spent apart? The answer was a refreshing…No! Not only was it nice to be in an adult realm…

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…but Veronika did just fine. The excellent caregiver on duty reported she was fine for the first half, and then did get hungry and fussy toward the end. But I had peace of mind knowing that she was in a comforting embrace until my return.

In between, she got to watch other kids play, ranging in age from 9 months to 3 years. I didn’t want to violate the privacy of the other children, else I would have taken many more pics of the great playspace! It had safari-themed structures for bigger kids to climb on, and plenty of toys for the little ones.

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Although I won’t necessarily be doing this again any time soon, it’s nice to know it’s an option. So challenge yourself, mamas! Whether it’s a solo workout, or an exercise class, or a dip in the pool, find a gym near you with a daycare center, and enjoy!

Varsity Tummy Time

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Veronika started with basic tummy time, moved on to advanced activities, and now she’s pulling out the varsity moves!

Once your little one is comfortable up on his or her elbows, try these tricks to encourage them to last longer on their bellies, and make the time more enjoyable. Ideally at 3 months old, you should be fitting in about 20 minutes of tummy time daily.

First, I held up one of her favorite toys, just above eye level. This was great for strengthening her neck muscles even further – a big first step before crawling!

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Next, we played games to encourage her to turn her head. Place a baby-safe mirror first on one side…

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then directly in front…

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and finally on the other side. Good turns, Veronika!

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You can also continue to get right on your belly, face-to-face with your baby. This time I made funny faces, puffed out my cheeks, and talked up a storm of encouragement. Don’t be afraid to get silly if it helps your baby stay a few minutes longer!

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Finally, we did another pre-crawling activity. I placed a toy with lots of colors and parts in front of her, but just out of reach. Well hello toy, Veronika seemed to say!

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I placed a rolled blanket behind her feet to encourage her to press her weight against it, and shift forward, pushing ever so slightly.

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She got the idea right away, although she isn’t quite strong enough yet! Later, I actually pushed against her bare feet and did away with the towel, and this seemed even easier for her.

Overall, have fun with tummy time, and your child will be loving it before long. What’s your favorite tummy time game? Please share in the comments!

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