Barbecue Tofu and Quinoa

Barbecue TofuVeronika’s taste buds are expanding rapidly and now I can cook her dishes with a little spice! A homemade barbecue sauce makes this one nice and mild.


  • 1 (1-pound) package extra firm tofu
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 cup diced cremini mushrooms
  • 1 small diced red bell pepper
  • 1 small diced onion
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup ketchup
  • 3 tablespoons agave nectar
  • 2 cups cooked quinoa
  1. Cut the tofu into cubes; set aside.
  2. Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over high heat. Add the tofu and cook for 3 minutes.
  3. Add the mushrooms, bell pepper, and onion; cook for 5 minutes.
  4. Meanwhile, whisk together the soy sauce, ketchup, and agave in a small bowl. Add to the skillet and cook for a final 5 minutes.
  5. Serve over quinoa, or alongside it if your children prefer. This is also nice over a quinoa-brown rice mix!

I Spot

I Spot (3)

Recently I played a fun game with Veronika just before bed flashing colors through scarves. Tonight, we put the flashlight to a different use!

Simply walk around and shine the light on various objects in your child’s room (or elsewhere in the house). For each item, say in a soft voice, “I spot a…”

I spot the light switch.

I Spot (5)

I spot a treasure box.

I Spot (1)

And so on. Sometimes, Veronika wanted to hold the flashlight and help. I spot a clock.

I Spot (2)

Sometimes she wanted to reach out and touch, and sometimes just look. I spot an apple.

I Spot (4)

This can easily become a cherished routine; if you repeat items nightly, it will reinforce the names of familiar and treasured items, and can also help lull your baby. Veronika loves it!

I Spot (6)

Sleepy Stretches

Sleepy Stretches (6)

Uh oh, Veronika is reaching that age where babies begin to resist naps; the world is just so much fun, mom, why would I sleep, she seems to say until I conk her out in a car ride.

But car rides aren’t always practical or feasible, and having a little routine like this poem can become a cue for baby that it’s time to rest. I sat with Veronika and first acted out this poem:

Stretch up high, as high as a tree (reach arms above head).

Curl up as small as a bumble bee (curl up with arms wrapped around knees).

Now we’re feeling very sleepy (yawn!).

Relax your hands, relax your feet (go limp).

Now close your eyes and go fast asleep (rest cheek on hands).

Then I lay her down and helped her act through the motions.

Sleepy Stretches (2)

She seemed to get the idea that we were relaxing her body.

Sleepy Stretches (3)

At bedtime, we repeated the routine. This time, big brother helped act out the movements, and Veronika did her first deliberate reach up high!

Sleepy Stretches (5)

This might not have settled her down, but it certainly was a milestone. The kids are looking a little sleepy…

Sleepy Stretches (7)

What’s your go-to bedtime routine? Please share in the comments!

Gallant Challenge: Endangered Animal Art

Endangered Animal (2)

Travis is inspired every time he reads the profile on Gallant Kids in his Highlights magazine. This month’s read was about a girl who paints pictures of endangered animals and sends the proceeds from her sales to charities that aid animals. We loved the idea, and immediately decided to make some pictures of our own.

Because Travis loves snakes, we looked up which species have populations that are decreasing or at risk.

Endangered Animal (1)

First, Travis drew a pit viper.

Endangered Animal (3)

He was so proud of the colors he blended together and immediately wanted to draw more snakes.

Endangered Animal (4)

Pretty soon, he had an “art gallery” wall filled with a snake pictures, featuring everything from a yellow-horned lancehead snake…

Endangered Animal (5)

…to mom and baby tropical forest snakes.

Endangered Animal (6)

Obviously Travis won’t be making money from these little drawings, but I loved how proud he was, how the activity got him thinking about conservation and protecting animals, and how it challenged his artistic skills as he thought hard about how a snake’s body and head should appear on the page.