Potato Smash Up

Potato Smash Up

A few simple tweaks give this recipe a leg-up over the regular mashed potato competition.


  • 2 sweet potatoes
  • 2 russet potatoes
  • 2 cups frozen butternut squash
  • 1/4 cup Earth Balance butter
  • 1 cup plain non-dairy milk
  1. Peel and cube the sweet potatoes and russets. Place in a pot filled with water and bring to a boil. Add the butternut squash, then continue to cook for 20 minutes, until very tender.
  2. Drain and return the vegetables to the pan. Add the butter and mash with a potato masher to desired consistency. Stir in the milk and heat through before serving.

Feather Printing

Feather Printing (9)

Not to be confused with feather painting, the idea with this craft wasn’t to paint with a feather but to make images of feathers on paper. The resulting craft makes a great piece of Thanksgiving artwork!

I cut small sponges into shapes roughly resembling feathers (although I confess some looked more like leaves). Our sponges had handles, which makes it easy for Veronika to grasp them, but regular kitchen sponges would work, too.

Feather Printing (1)

Next I set out plates of paint in harvest colors, and showed Veronika how to dip in the paint and then press onto paper.

Feather Printing (3)

She loved the little images that appeared. She was so proud when she could make the sponge as flat as possible for a clear print.

Feather Printing (4)

As a variation, we then painted directly on a few craft feathers.

Feather Printing (6)

These made fun prints when pressed down onto the paper, too!

Feather Printing (5)

“Look what I made!” she proudly said when we were done, and narrated back all the paint colors.

Feather Printing (7)

I love seeing her take pride in her artwork.

Feather Printing (8)

Ten Favorite Transportation Books

Best Transportation Books (10)

Who says only boys like books about trucks and cars and things that go? We’ve been reading so many books about vehicles lately that I thought would share some of Veronika’s favorites, which hopefully can help fill your home library, too!

One: Baby’s Very First Truck Book, Usborne Books

This one is almost guaranteed to please because it’s not just a book about a truck… It drives!

Best Transportation Books (3)

We also love that the delivery truck drops off small vehicles (think scooters and bikes) at each stop it makes.

Best Transportation Books (4)

Two: Little Coloring: Things That Go, Usborne Books

Story time can still be hard for Veronika to sit through, which is why we love this coloring book with text. Each page has a short sentence about a vehicle that I can read as Veronika scribbles!

Best Transportation Books (2)

Three: Little Blue Truck, Alice Schertle

What’s not to love about this original book from what has gone on to became an equally lovable series? Animal noises, friends helping friends, fun rhyming words…. And every toddler wants to chime in on that little Beep Beep Beep!

Four: Richard Scarry’s Cars and Trucks and Things That Go

I honestly find this book overwhelming, but my kids love it so much we count it as a favorite. You can read pieces of it here and there, or settle in for a marathon session on days that deserve an extra-long story.

Five: The Little Engine That Could, Watty Piper

This classic features a fun variety of engines for any train lover, but at the heart it’s a story about perseverance and kindness. I still choke up reading the ending every time!

Six: The Big Book of Big Trucks, Usborne Books

If your kids love big trucks (and I mean big!) they’ll love the super-sized fold-out pages in this book about some of the biggest vehicles ever made on the planet.

Seven: Colorful World: Vehicles, Nastja Holtfreter

This book takes Veronika’s favorite theme of vehicles but poses questions that become increasingly tricky as the story goes on. She can readily identify which scooter is different, or which one is a tow truck,. But what about pinpointing a truck driving in a different direction? Or new vocabulary like which one is a convertible. High marks for the writing in this book!

Best Transportation Books (9)

Eight: Shine-a-Light at the Garage, Carron Brown and Charlie Davis

The Shine-a-Light series always makes books intriguing since kids shine a flashlight to uncover a mystery on each page. In this particular volume, kids learn all the goings-on inside a mechanic’s garage. We love the technical details!

Best Transportation Books (8)

Nine: Night, Night Busy Town, Usborne Books

You get multiple books for the price of one here. Each sleepy vehicle on the chunky board book pages has a favorite bedtime story to read.

Best Transportation Books (5)

These mini books pull out with a tab and are just the right size for toddler hands. Each one then features a different learning theme (numbers, shapes, opposites, etc.).

Best Transportation Books (7)

Ten: Goodnight, Goodnight, Construction Site, Sherri Duskey Rinker

The rhymes are fantastic in this one and the construction trucks curl up to sleep with teddy bears. Enough said.

Okay, one last notable mention: We love Little Tug by Stephen Savage for a sweet bedtime read about a sometimes-neglected category of vehicles: boats!

What vehicle books are a must-have in your family? Please share in the comments!