Early Explorers Food

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Travis’s latest kit from Early Explorers was about food around the world. It’s not that the information was disappointing (quite the opposite!), only that it was a bit redundant since Travis and I cook together frequently, whether simply for fun or with our Raddish Kids subscription. So while the packet was full of fun facts, projects, and suggestions, it didn’t grab Travis’s interest like previous topics from “Max and Mia” have. Also, because the projects were all culinary, my usual categories of “craft” and “science” didn’t exactly apply here, so I use the terms loosely.

First we went through our usual packet goodies, including stickers for the map, and enjoyed the activities in the booklet

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Food Craft:

For a craft, we made the booklet’s frittata recipe (a culinary journey to Italy), but we needed to adapt it significantly for a vegan version!

I helped Travis blend up what I know works as a vegan frittata base: In a blender, combine 1 package firm tofu, 1/2 cup non-dairy milk, 2 teaspoons cornstarch, 3 tablespoons nutritional yeast, 1 teaspoon mustard, and 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder. Blend until smooth. Stir in 3 slices chopped vegan ham (we used Yves Veggie Canadian bacon) and 1/4 cup shredded Daiya mozzarella. Divide the batter evenly among 12 muffin cups coated with cooking spray.

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Bake at 375 degrees F for 25 minutes, until set. These were a huge hit with a very proud Travis!

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Food Science:

Again, I’m using the term “science” loosely; this activity is more of a social science. Pick a country you love, and cook a meal! We chose India, since Travis is one-quarter Indian and wants to learn more about the country. Little Passport’s website featured this easy dahl recipe.

Sizzling the onions was Travis’s favorite part; he loved watching the onion pieces change color over time. I couldn’t drag him away from the stove!

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We enjoyed serving the dahl with pita bread.

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Food Keepsake:

The little gift inside Travis’s package this month was a delight: mini erasers in the shape of food! Way more fun than erasing, he loved just playing with them.

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Food Field Trip:

We visited a new restaurant of course! This was a special treat, heading downtown after school instead of straight home for lunch. We selected an Indian restaurant in town.

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Travis loved the adventure. He got to sip mango juice…

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…and dine on samosas and aloo gobi. This was possibly the best lunch date I’ve ever had, and certainly the cutest.

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Food Further Activities:

As always, we didn’t stop there. Next up we went to our local farmer’s market, where Travis loved learning about local food and tasting samples.

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He was particular intrigued by a local homesteader who made jellies!

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There was also a card game in his package, a food-themed riff on classic Memory. It was fun both to play, and to sneak in some learning. A match!

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We also made a list of his favorite foods, including avocado toast and sesame tofu. Wanting further exploration, we headed over to Little Passport’s blog to learn more about what people eat in other countries on specific occasions. Travis got a kick out of some of the world lunches.

Finally, I had ordered the sushi kit (and sushi erasers!) from Little Passport’s shop as an extra, which let us have a Japanese sushi night at home. This was easily Travis’s favorite; he was intrigued when we opened up the box, especially by the rolling mat!

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The kit had us mixing up a rice vinegar sauce, simmering the provided rice, and then spreading it out to cool off.

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Place a sheet of nori on the rolling mat, and top with rice and sesame seeds.

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We added California roll fillings (avocado and cuke), then rolled!

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I was so proud of how adventurous he was eating these, and he was so curious about where they eat sushi, and where the seaweed was from.

So yes, it took us nearly a month to work our way through all these activities, but it ended up being good fun.




Enjoy Some Downtime Together

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Here is easily the most relaxing suggestion I’ve found for whiling away time with your infant – and one that I hope Veronika and I can include in our everyday routine moving forward. Or at least on the days that big brother is at school!

Try to take a moment (today and each day!) to play soothing music and just have downtime next to your baby. This sounds so simple, but our house is always filled with noise and movement, and I usually have Veronika playing on the living room rug while I get things done. Very rarely do I sit until the kids sleep!

Today, the goal was to take a pause. I set my Spotify list to slow jazz tunes, and we retreated to her nursery.

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She seemed immediately surprised by the switch to her room, but then seemed to like the jazz right away. Aah, time to read the paper while she kicked and played with toys.

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We switched to Celtic meditation music.

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I got to do the crossword and sip a smoothie! She loved playing with a tactile mat in the background.

We switched to piano sonatas (flute sonatas would be pretty too).

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She had a blast doing tummy time in the relaxing location!

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Finally, we tuned in to Indian classical. She was still so busy playing, that I easily could have spent ages in here with her – if there wasn’t more to get done!

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Happy relaxing!

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Critter Catchall

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Travis always seems to have dozens of tiny knickknacks lying around: favors from birthday parties, tokens from restaurants or museums we’ve been too, and various other miscellany. We needed a catchall to corral all these items, and this cute critter version from Highlights was perfect. Plus it’s a great way to upcycle an empty yogurt container.

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We wanted to make a fox, which meant orange paint, but realized we didn’t have any. Thinking quickly, the project turned into a color lesson, with Travis stirring up red and yellow until we had a nice orange.

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Paint the yogurt cups inside and out, and let dry.

I cut pieces of felt for him to make all our fox parts – faces, tails, eyes, noses, and paws. Older kids can do this themselves, but the shapes were too complicated forr Travis.

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If you use tacky glue, kids can attach everything on; however, I like to use hot glue to ensure that felt projects stay put, so Travis loved watching!

Once the glue dried, it was time to fill the little fox. Travis spread out all his treasures.

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He loved finding the littlest ones that fit best in the fox!

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Now everything is in one place, and it looks cute on his shelf to boot.

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