English Muffin Pizzas

English Muffin Pizzas (2)

English muffin pizzas are the perfect alternative to a family-sized pie when everyone has a different favorite topping! Here’s a quick recipe for basic English muffin pizzas and a few of our favorite topping ideas, but these are suggestions only. I recommend setting out bowls with each individual topping ingredient for a make-your-own buffet bar.

To prepare the pizza sauce, combine the following in a bowl: 1 (8-ounce) can tomato sauce, 1/4 cup carrot puree (or butternut squash puree), 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder. 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano, 1/2 teaspoon dried basil, and 1 teaspoon agave nectar. Split English muffins in half and spread each with about 1/8 cup sauce.

Place the English muffin halves on a baking sheet and sprinkle each with about 1/8 cup shredded vegan mozzarella. Bake at 375 degrees F for 10 minutes.

English Muffin Pizzas (1)

Eat ’em just like this, or try these two variations:

The Veggie-Packed: Top with chopped tomato, roasted bell pepper strips, sauteed spinach, and sauteed mushrooms.

English Muffin Pizzas (3)

The Hawaiian: Top with chopped pineapple, cooked and chopped vegan bacon, and sliced olives.

English Muffin Pizzas alt

Which version does your family like best? Please share in the comments!

Get Sculpting

Get Sculpting (7)

It’s not often that we test out a whole new material, but thanks to a tip from Parents magazine, I purchased a roll of plaster cloth (available on Amazon), which lets you make the easiest at-home papier-mache crafts ever, no newspaper strips or messy flour mixtures required!

Our first project was very simple so even a toddler could help: a bowl. To set up, I inflated a balloon, cut strips of the plaster cloth, and filled a tray with a little water.

Get Sculpting (1)

The method is simple, although be prepared for a little mess! Veronika first tried to dip the balloon right in the water, which made it pop! I quickly inflated a second, and this time she realized she needed to dip in the plaster cloth strips instead. I let her have a few to swirl and play with in the water.

Get Sculpting (2)

For the strips that you’ll actually adhere to the balloon, you only want to dip in the water for about 3 seconds and then scrape off any excess liquid. Press onto the balloon and cover halfway until you’ve made a bowl shape. Expect fingers to turn white and messy, making this the best kind of hands-on sensory art.

I set the balloon aside in the sink, which seemed the safest place for it; the plaster cloth only takes about 30 minutes to dry. Next, I popped the balloon, leaving the bowl behind.

Get Sculpting (4)

Time to decorate! First Veronika wanted to add stickers, but these wouldn’t adhere to the slightly damp plaster.

Get Sculpting (5)

We used markers instead, which took on a faded watercolor effect on the plaster. The result was really quite beautiful! Since the bowl is fragile, this particular craft is better suited for display and not storage.

Get Sculpting (6)

There’s plenty of plaster cloth left over on our roll, so we’ll have to think of another project soon!

Get Sculpting (8)

Origami Fidget Spinner

Origami Fidget Spinner (9)

Travis can have a hard time concentrating during school Zoom sessions, and we’ve tested out a few kinds of fidget spinner as a solution. There’s more behind these spinners than just a fad; they really can help kids focus by keeping fingers busy. Here’s a way to make a beautiful fidget spinner at home that rivals any store-bought version!

To start, Travis selected two patterns from our pack of origami paper. Fold in half, then open up and tear each sheet in half (so you now have 4 pieces of paper). Set aside two of these and work with the remaining two.

Origami Fidget Spinner (1)

I loved how focused Travis was as we went through the first few steps together. Fold the pieces of paper in half again, so you have two skinny rectangles. Next bend down at the tops and bottoms so they look almost like Zs. From here, the fingerwork grew too tricky for Travis, and I took over.

Origami Fidget Spinner (2)

Rather than reinvent the wheel, check out the full instructions from Kiwi Co, where the steps for folding are described far better than I can. At the end, you’ll have one finished side of your fidget spinner, which looks like this:

Origami Fidget Spinner (4)

Repeat the folding steps with the two sheets of paper you set aside at the beginning, and both sides of the fidget spinner are now complete. Next, poke a push pin down through the center of each side. Using hot glue, add a small coin (like a dime or penny) to each of the four arms on one side of your spinner.

Origami Fidget Spinner (5)

Hot glue the second half of the spinner over the coins.

Origami Fidget Spinner (6)

Finally, straighten a paper clip and push through the holes you’ve made in the middle, then bend the ends so they provide finger holds.

Origami Fidget Spinner (7)

Give that fidget spinner a whirl! Thanks to the colorful origami paper, these look so beautiful as they spin.

Origami Fidget Spinner (8)

Hammering Tees into a Box

Hammering Tees in Box (7)

Here’s a riff on an activity that Veronika recently enjoyed, hammering golf tees into a large block of Styrofoam. She wanted a repeat, but because I didn’t have any Styrofoam on hand we tested out hammering the tees into a regular old cardboard box!

I had to make the first hole for each tee, since initially getting through the cardboard takes a bit of muscle, especially with only a toy hammer.

Hammering Tees in Box (1)

Veronika loved watching as I added the bright pink, orange, and green tees, and immediately wanted to help out with a few whacks.

Hammering Tees in Box (3)

Once you’ve created each hole, your toddler can take over. Veronika could pull the tees from the holes…

Hammering Tees in Box (2)

…and then insert them again, which is excellent for fine motor skills! She would either hammer them down or sometimes just pop them down with a thumb.

Hammering Tees in Box (4)

Overall, this was a simple but nice way to keep a toddler busy.

Hammering Tees in Box (5)