Veggie Burritos

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Homemade refried beans add a nice touch to these veggie burritos. You can prepare the recipe just before serving, or make in advance and wrap up for a lunchbox.

Ingredients:

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/4 cup chopped onion
  • 1 (15-ounce) pinto beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 2 burrito-sized flour tortillas
  • 2 slice vegan cheddar
  • 1/2 cup cooked rice
  • 1/4 cup shredded carrot
  • 1/4 cup sliced or mashed avocado
  1. To prepare the refried beans, heat the olive oil in a saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion and cook for 10 minutes, until very tender.
  2. Add the pinto beans and water. Remove from heat and mash with a fork or potato masher to desired consistency. Set aside.
  3. To prepare the burritos, place a slice of cheddar down the middle of each tortilla. Cover each serving with 1/4 cup refried beans (refrigerate any leftover), 1/4 cup rice, 2 tablespoons carrot, and 2 tablespoons avocado. Wrap up tightly and cut in half to serve.

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Camping Pretend Play

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I have literally been saving this activity for a rainy day (okay, a snowy one, but basically I was waiting for any form of precipitation). I had a never-used camping play set in the closet that included a pop-up tent, fake campfire with plastic s’mores, a lantern, and binoculars. This make-believe camping is the perfect thing to occupy the kids when you have a day too blustery to get outside and camp for real!

I pulled out the set, and from here the idea really was just to let the kids engage in imaginative play. Of course they wanted to climb into the tent right away.

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I wonder what nature treasures Veronika can see through the binoculars!

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The campfire was a big hit, as was the pretend food. Veronika loved slicing at the various sausages and veggies and the kids “roasted” their marshmallows.

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For a little arts & crafts, I printed out camping templates to color in. These featured signs of hikers, a tent label for our “campsite”, and a fire danger warning sign (you can even do a quick review of Smokey Bear while the kids color this one!).

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As a side note, there’s no need purchase a camping set for your kids to enjoy this activity; it just happened to be something in the closet. But any tent (or blankets over chairs!) can be your campsite. For a campfire, use paper towel tubes as the logs and red or orange tissue paper as the flames (tea lights add to the authenticity!).

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Real sticks with cotton balls on the end can be used for s’mores, and two toilet paper tubes taped together become binoculars in an instant.

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Needless to say, this was a great way to imagine we were in the warm camping days of summer while a blizzard raged outside!

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Rice Art

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This easy colored rice not only serves as the base material for a pretty craft, but doubles as a sensory material for toddlers!

You’ll need to prepare the batches of rice the night before. For each color, spoon 1 cup uncooked rice into a small zip-top plastic bag, then add 3 tablespoons white vinegar and 5 to 10 drops of food coloring, depending how saturated you want the color to be. I would have made a full rainbow of 6 colors but only had 5 cups of rice, so we skipped orange!

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Spoon each color onto a paper plate and let dry overnight.

In the morning, Veronika spotted the rice and instantly wanted to play. I spooned it onto a craft tray, where the rows of colors were almost pretty enough to be a game in their own right!

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But we had other plans for this particular rice. I set out pieces of cardboard to be Veronika’s canvas, because you’ll need a sturdy background for this particular art medium. We dumped on big pools of white glue and I showed her how to sprinkle the rice down to make pretty colored designs.

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Veronika loved choosing which colors to add where. As a two-year-old, her design was obviously very abstract, but older kids can make deliberate pictures with the glue before covering with rice. Sunny skies, rainbows, or flowers would all be beautiful made from the rice!

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Whenever you need to, pat the rice onto the glue and then tilt the cardboard over the tray to dump off any excess. Keep working until the design comes out to your child’s satisfaction.

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And of course, when the artwork was done, the leftover rice was a delight for Veronika to scoop through. She loved seeing the beautiful colored grains on her fingers!

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