Look at Photos and Paintings

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There’s no need to go to a fancy art gallery to expose your children to artwork (although you certainly can!). For the easiest art lesson of all, look to your own walls. Chances are you have something hanging up, whether an old poster, a family photo, or a painted work of art. Today, Veronika and I took a “gallery” tour of our walls!

There was so much opportunity here for language development. As we paused before each painting, I talked about the objects she could see, like cars or trees.

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We talked about what shapes we saw in this one…

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…the colors of a dark, brooding piece…

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…and even her cultural heritage!

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The frames themselves might delight your little one, too. Veronika loved feeling the texture.

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One piece of art in our home was even painted by a family member, an opportunity to talk about relatives.

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Even more fun, we sat down together to look through old photo albums. Veronika loved turning the pages.

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And seemed so surprised every time she recognized her brother!

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Again, focus on language development here as you name items in each picture, or the shapes and colors you see. What a lovely “museum” tour this was!

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Blueberry Syrup

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Veronika’s favorite finger-food for breakfast these days is mini waffles. Add a little bit of this homemade blueberry syrup on the side and your toddler will love it!


  • 2 cups frozen blueberries
  • 1/3 cup apple juice
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 2 tablespoons water
  1. Combine the blueberries and apple juice in a saucepan; cook over medium heat for about 10 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, whisk the cornstarch into the water. Add the cornstarch mixture to the blueberry mixture and cook for a final 1 to 2 minutes, until thickened.

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Fortune Cookie Gifts

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Travis and I hope to prepare several homemade Christmas gifts this year. This easy twist on fortune cookies is sure to bring a smile to the recipient’s face! It’s what Travis will be gifting to his bus driver this year as well as to a few special neighbors.

You can order fortune cookies online through Amazon, although many packages come in huge bulk quantities. I found one retailer with a more moderate quantity of 50, which was the perfect amount.

To decorate the cookies, heat 6 ounces unsweetened baking chocolate in the microwave at 30 second intervals, until melted.

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Working with one cookie at a time, dip half of it in the melted chocolate, then roll in sprinkles for decoration. White ones made a beautiful contrast to the dark chocolate!

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Transfer to a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and let stand until the chocolate is completely set.

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Travis loved cracking open a few extra cookies to read fortunes as we worked!

To package these, I purchased Christmas-themed takeout containers at the craft store.

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As an alternative, look for clear takeout containers and decorate with holiday stickers. Line each container with wax paper and nestle in about 7 to 8 fortune cookies.

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Add gift tags as a finishing touch!