Chick’n Enchiladas

Chicken Enchiladas (3)

Enchiladas are a great family meal, but versions made with store-bought enchilada sauce can be too spicy for kids. Swap in mushroom gravy for the enchilada sauce and you’ll hear cries of “yum” instead of cries of pain.

Chicken Enchiladas (2)

Ingredients:

  • 1 tablespoon Earth Balance butter
  • 1/4 cup sliced green onions
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 1 (8-ounce) box mushroom gravy
  • 1 cup vegan sour cream (such as Kite Hill)
  • 2 cups cooked and chopped Gardein chick’n strips
  • 2 chopped tomatoes
  • 1 cup black beans
  • 2 cups shredded vegan cheddar, divided
  • 6 whole-wheat tortillas
  1. To prepare the sauce, melt the butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the green onion and garlic; cook for about 4 minutes, until softened.
  2. Stir in the gravy and sour cream, whisking to combine. Cook for a few minutes until heated through.
  3. Remove 3/4 cup gravy mixture from the pan and set aside. Add the cooked chick’n, tomatoes, black beans, and 1 cup cheddar to the remaining gravy mixture.
  4. Divide the chick’n mixture evenly among the 6 tortillas. Roll up and place, seam side down, in a 9×13-inch baking pan.
  5. Pour the reserved gravy mixture over the top and sprinkle with the remaining 1 cup cheddar. Bake at 350 degrees F for 30 minutes, until the cheese is melted.

Styrofoam Ornaments

Styrofoam Ornaments (8)

Here’s a way to upcycle those Styrofoam trays that come home from the produce department now and then (I’m looking at you, mini cucumbers) and use them in a holiday craft. Today, Veronika and I turned them into ornaments!

Once the tray had been washed and dried, we pulled out a few Christmas cookie cutters and traced around them, then cut out. Veronika loved talking about all the shapes.

Styrofoam Ornaments (1)

Now use the tip of a white crayon to make imprinted designs in the Styrofoam. I showed Veronika an example of lines and dots on a stocking shape. Since it was hard for her to press down the crayon hard enough or with precision, I took directions from her instead. She asked for circles on the candy cane and triangles on the star!

Styrofoam Ornaments (2)

Next, we painted the shapes with acrylic paint. She was so excited when she noticed that the paint had made lines on her paintbrush, at one point.

Styrofoam Ornaments (3)

Finally, it was time to squirt on glitter glue. Aim to use a corresponding color of glitter for each color of paint you’ve used (although with a toddler, be prepared for some mixing and matching). Ideally, once you brush the glitter glue across the surface of the shapes with a paintbrush, it will sink into the etched lines you made with the white crayon.

Styrofoam Ornaments (5)

However, since I was doing this project with a toddler, ours didn’t come out quite that neatly. But Veronika loved simply squirting big globs of glitter glue, which was just fine.

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Punch a hole in the top once dry, thread with string, and hang from the tree!

Styrofoam Ornaments var

Cinnamon Drawings

Cinnamon Drawings (8)

If there’s one scent that evokes Christmas in our home, than cinnamon is it. Here’s a fantastic sensory project that allows toddlers to take in one of the best smells of the season while making art!

To start, I cut out two simple Christmas-themed shapes from sandpaper. I had a coarse grade in green and a medium grade in brown, so it worked out nicely to draw a Christmas tree on the green and a simple gingerbread man on the brown.

Cinnamon Drawings (2)

Cut out your shapes and give to your toddler along with a few whole cinnamon sticks. Of course the first thing to do is take a nice big smell. “I smell with my nose!” Veronika is learning to say of her sense of smell.

Cinnamon Drawings (1)

Then I showed her that if she rubbed the cinnamon against the rough sandpaper, it left behind a trail of scented brown cinnamon.

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Of course we had to smell the artwork again once it was covered!

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Veronika loved both the shapes and the smell, but she was also very interested in transferring the cinnamon sticks in and out of their jar for a while. That meant this turned into a fine motor skills activity, too!

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When the sandpaper was covered, I drew on a few final features with marker, then punched a hole and threaded ribbon through each so they could hang on our tree.

Cinnamon Drawings (7)

Felt Ornaments, 3 Ways

Felt Lollipop (2)

Fancy store-bought ornaments are beautiful, but my favorite ones from over the years have been the homemade ones. All you need for these three options are sheets of felt from the craft store and a little glue!

Felt Lollipops:

For the first version, stack 4 colors of felt together and cut into 3/4-inch wide strips. Glue the layers together at one end with tacky glue, then begin rolling up, adding dots of glue periodically. The mechanics of this were a bit tricky for Travis, but he started to get the hang of it!

Felt Lollipop (4)

Glue the loose ends of each felt color down, then wrap with a rubber band to hold everything in place as the glue dries.

Felt Lollipop (6)

Once dry, glue a loop of string onto the back, along with a lollipop stick. I found that hot glue was better for this step than tacky glue. These looked delicious hanging from the tree!

Felt Lollipop (1)

Felt Garland:

For the garland, cut many two-inch pieces of felt and begin using hot glue to attach them in two long strands. We made one that was all purple, and one that alternated light and dark green. The purple felt was cut thinner, and in retrospect I would have done the green strip just as thin.

Felt Garland (2)

Place a heavy book on one end of the two stands, then begin winding them together, securing with a clothespin at intervals.

Felt Garland (3)

Once it looks the way you want, use hot glue at the ends and everywhere else you had a clothespin. String around the tree as a garland!

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Felt Ribbon Candy:

For the final version, we cut three colors of felt into 1-inch wide strips. Glue them together with tacky glue, then start folding the strand over itself, accordion-style, adding a drop of glue after each fold. Add a rubber band to hold it together until the glue dries.

Felt Ribbon (2)

Now just add a string with one more drop of glue, and it’s ready to hang on the tree!

Felt Ribbon (3)

Which one do your kids enjoy making the most? Please share in the comments!

Felt Garland (6)