You Did It!

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Veronika loves clapping these days, especially now that she’s figured out not just the mechanics, but how to make a loud clapping sound. So today, I gave her a few tasks we could celebrate with a hearty cheer of “you did it!” and some clapping.

First up: making a rabbit pop up from a jack-in-the-box. I let Veronika turn the handle (giving a little assistance until there were only one or two rotations left).

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Pop! She looked so surprised and pleased. “You did it!” I said with a big smile, and clapped. She instantly had to clap along of course.

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Next we rolled a ball down an inclined piece of cardboard. I showed her how to hold the ball, place it at the top…

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…and then let it go. And of course every roll got more clapping and cheers.

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Another fun one for babies this age? Simply ringing the doorbell.

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What other cause-and-effect games do you and your baby enjoy? Please share in the comments!

Bottle-Top Mobile

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I recently recommended a Tupperware cupboard to keep your baby busy while you’re busy in the kitchen. Here’s another DIY toy you can make that will entertain your little one for quite some time.

Collect plastic bottle lids for about a week, and then make a hole in each one. The awl tool of a Swiss army knife did the job easily; lay a piece of cardboard underneath the bottle caps so the awl doesn’t damage any surface on the other side.

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Thread the caps along twine or string.

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Tie the “mobile” between two legs of a table, at about your baby’s chest level.

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Veronika was so intrigued with this toy! She twirled the beads on the string first.

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Next I showed her how to scoot them along the string from side to side.

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Note: She also just loved the string itself, giving it tugs and boings, but supervise carefully if you find that your child is playing more with string than with the bottle caps. One way or another, this certainly entertained her.

Vegan Deviled Eggs

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I’ve long told Travis that any recipe out there can be made vegan. To wit, after a barbecue menu that feature deviled eggs, I knew we had to try a version at home!

To prepare the “yolk”, I first made a batch of Follow Your Heart VeganEgg: whisk 1/4 cup powder into 1 cup ice cold water. Transfer to a heated and oiled skillet; cook for about 6 minutes, until mostly set (Note: This is slightly less time than the company recommends for scrambled eggs, since I wanted it to be more like a hard-boiled yolk).

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Transfer the “yolks” to a bowl and stir in 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard, 1/4 teaspoon salt, 1/8 teaspoon black pepper, and 1/3 cup vegan mayonnaise.

Cut a block of firm tofu into cubes and hollow out a divet in the center of each with a spoon. Fill with the yolk mixture and sprinkle with a pinch of paprika.

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Travis couldn’t get enough! He pretended he was eating emu eggs (ha!) and scooped up every last bite.

Gummy Ocean Vacation

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This snack idea from Highlights magazine is pure summertime fun! We adapted it slightly for our vegan family, and Travis loved the results.

Prepare 1 package of orange-flavored vegan jel dessert (such as Simply Delish) according to package directions. Pour a layer into clear glasses and chill for at least 1 hour, until firm. This will be your beach “sand”.

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Prepare 1 package of clear vegan jel dessert according to package directions. Add drops of blue food coloring a few at a time until desired color is reached.

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Cool slightly, then pour a layer over the orange dessert. Let chill and set for at least 1 hour.

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Now for the real fun! Top your “ocean” with a little swimmer. We used peach gummy rings from Smart Sweets as life preservers and vegan gummy bears from Whole Foods.

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Travis absolutely adored watching his bear go for a swim.

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These were arguably more fun to play with than to eat… but good for eating, too!

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