Bear Hugs

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Some days just call for extra hugs, and here’s an extra fun way to give them. I first demonstrated on a teddy bear to get Veronika giggling. Give a stuffed bear (or any stuffed animal) a big hug, then…

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… tickle tickle tickle! I gave Veronika the bear so she could hug and tickle, which earned a big smile. Now it was her turn. I scooped her into my arms for a big hug, then started tickling gently over her back and tummy.

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She ended with big giggles before we needed a repeat!

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As with any tickling game, make sure your little one is enjoying the activity and stop as soon as he or she shows discomfort.

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But I’d say we had a bear-y good time.

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Ballpark Pretzels

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Let the games begin! Travis launched into his Game Day Raddish Kids crate with this recipe for classic ballpark pretzels.

First we needed to combine 1 cup warm water in a bowl with 1 packet rapid rise yeast and 1 tablespoon sugar. I had recently boiled water, so we cooled it down quickly with a few ice cubes, a process Travis loved watching! (Ideally your water should be about 110 degrees F for best results with yeast).

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Whisk until the sugar and yeast dissolve.

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Add 2 and 1/2 cups flour and 1 teaspoon salt, stirring to form a dough. Turn out onto a lightly floured surface and knead for about 5 minutes.

Divide the dough into 6 portions. At this point, Travis decided he didn’t want to get his hands messy so he watched as I shaped our dough into two forms.

For half of the dough, I shaped into a classic pretzelĀ  twist, following Raddish’s tutorial on the recipe card. The remaining three pieces were folded in half and then twisted to form long twists. Place the pretzels on a baking sheet.

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In a bowl, whisk together 1/2 cup warm water and 2 teaspoons baking soda. Travis used this month’s keepsake, a pastry brush, to brush the water mixture over the tops of the pretzels.

Sprinkle the classic twists with about 1/2 teaspoon salt. In a small bowl, combine 1 tablespoon sugar and 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon; sprinkle over the long twists.

Bake at 425 degrees for 15 minutes.

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We made a few other serving variations as well. One of the pretzels was brushed with melted Earth Balance butter fresh out of the oven and sprinkled with a little vegan Parmesan. This turned out to be Travis’s favorite!

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Finally, we made a dipping sauce to try with some of the savory pretzels: In a bowl, whisk together 2 tablespoons vegan mayonnaise, 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard, and 2 tablespoons agave nectar.

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We read the facts on the recipe card about other popular stadium snacks, then couldn’t resist watching a few iconic baseball moments as we snacked!

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Upcycled Picture Frame

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This quick craft was a neat way to recycle one of Travis’s Kiwi Crates (the perfect way to showcase his Puzzle Pictures from the latest box), and is a great way to recycle any of the numerous cardboard boxes that come to your doorstep in this Amazon Prime era!

Cut out the bottom of the cardboard crate. Place any art your child wants to frame in the center and trace around it.

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Cut out the resulting cardboard square and tape on the artwork.

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Cut additional pieces of cardboard to be the sides, top, and bottom of the frame. Travis chose to decorate his with strips of colorful tape, but markers would work fine, too!

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It was great motor skills practice to teach him to stretch a piece of washi tape the length of the cardboard piece before tearing off and folding any excess around the back.

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Glue the 4 pieces of the frame together and glue the artwork in the center.

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You can glue a piece of string or yarn to the top of the frame and it’s now ready to display proudly.

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