Baby’s Beef Stew

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This three-ingredient recipe was a great way to introduce Veronika to the warm flavors of a grown-up beef stew! It was also her first taste of Gardein beefless tips. The results? A big hit!

Ingredients:

  • 1 russet potato
  • 2 carrots
  • 9 Gardein beefless tips
  1. Peel and chop the potato and carrots; cover with water and bring to a boil. Continue to cook for 15 minutes, until very tender.
  2. Meanwhile, saute the beefless tips for about 8 minutes, until browned. Add to the pot with the potatoes and carrots for the last 10 minutes or so. Remove with a slotted spoon.
  3. Finely mince the beef. Mash the potatoes and carrots with a potato masher.

I served these in two little piles on Veronika’s tray, an adorable deconstructed “stew”.

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Create a Sensory Tunnel

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Today, with big brother off to kindergarten (!), I had time for a bigger project than usual with Veronika. Using two old moving boxes from the garage, I opened up all the flaps and then nested them slightly one inside the other to form one long tunnel.

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Hmm, the box was intriguing, but Veronika didn’t head inside just yet.

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Next I poked three holes along the top. I stuffed in three socks, all with different patterns. One sock I left empty, one I stuffed with newspaper for a crinkly effect, and one had a musical rattle inside.

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Interestingly, the empty sock was her favorite. She loved trying to catch it and tug on it.

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She seemed quite determined to pull it all the way from the box, and was amazed every time it sprang back into place (Note: you can knot the socks at the top if needed, to keep them secure).

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I placed a few tantalizing toys inside (balls, cars), and finally that did the trick. In she goes!

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She looked absolute thrilled with her surroundings once inside, her own little fort! If you want, you could even make windows, but my boxes were a bit floppy and I skipped that step so that the tunnel didn’t cave in.

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She did also try lying on her back to kick at the socks, but preferred sitting up to play.

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What a fantastic morning of fun!

Pudding Painting

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Veronika is almost old enough to start making her first works of art, but there’s one problem with this girl: everything goes in her mouth! The solution, if your baby is the same, is edible paint.

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Today, I whipped up a batch of vanilla pudding (Whole Foods 365 is vegan). Let the pudding chill in the fridge, then add food coloring for “paint” colors.

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I gave Veronika a paint brush, which instantly made her look so proud; she’s seen big brother paint, and now it was her turn.

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Turn a little of the pudding paint out onto a highchair tray (or tape down paper, if you prefer) and let your little artist go to town.

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First she just made a few smears. Then she wanted to focus more on the paintbrush. Once the tip of it got in her mouth and she discovered the pudding was yummy…

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…her smile was priceless. Then she really got her hands into the mix.

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I showed her how to make circles and squares, plus a few letters.

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Soon we had green, where or blue and yellow “paints” had mixed.

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This was a fantastic foray into the world of art, as she nears 10 months old!

 

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Solar Energy and Water

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This quick experiment seemed like a good way to illustrate the power of the sun for Travis, especially as he learns about how solar energy can power homes and more. Unfortunately our results weren’t spectacular, but perhaps you’ll have a more clear-cut outcome!

Set two cups of water on 2 pieces of paper, one white, and one black, somewhere that receives direct sunlight. Theoretically, the water on the black paper should warm up more quickly, as the black absorbs the sun’s heat, while the white reflects it.

Travis helped test this in two ways.

First, we tried ice cubes, expecting the one on the black paper’s water to melt faster.

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But oh no, our ice cubes might not have been the same size, because the white side melted more quickly!

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Next we tried a thermometer. We left the two cups of water to heat up in the sun for a few hours, then headed out with a thermometer to check.

Again, sadly, the results weren’t very pronounced. The black water might have been a degree or two warmer, but on our small dial, that was hard for Travis to appreciate.

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Either way, at least the experiment got him thinking, and he got a dose of science and a little sunshine in the morning!