Sweet Potato Fries

These easy homemade fries have a great crunch from the panko coating!


  • 3 sweet potatoes
  • 2 tablespoon ground flaxseed
  • 6 tablespoons water
  • 1/8 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 cup Italian-seasoned panko
  1. Peel the sweet potatoes and cut into matchstick pieces. Place in a pot and cover with water, then bring to a boil. Continue to cook for 5 minutes; drain and immediately rinse with cold water.
  2. Meanwhile, whisk together the flaxseed, 6 tablespoons water, and garlic powder in a bowl. Add the sweet potatoes and toss to coat.
  3. Working with one sweet potato piece at a time, dredge in the panko and transfer to a baking sheet lined with foil. Repeat with the remaining sweet potato pieces.
  4. Bake at 450 degrees for 14 minutes, turning over halfway through.

Sensory Paint, Inside and Outside

Lately, Veronika has loved sensory play where we begin with a material contained in some way (a bottle, a zip-top plastic bag) but then take it out of the container for something much messier! To wit, today we started with paint in the bag and then moved it out.

For the inside version, I squirted a generous amount of hair gel into sandwich-sized zip-top plastic bags, then added bright neon colors of tempera paint to each. Bright food coloring gel would work, too. I deliberately chose colors that felt just right for a hot sunny day: think neon oranges, pinks, and yellows. Press out most of the air, then seal the bags. You can add a little duct tape at the top if you’re worried about curious fingers opening the bag.

Veronika briefly squished the vibrant colors all around, and liked tossing them to the floor with a splat.

They were also fun to stomp on with bare toes! But, as I anticipated, they didn’t hold her interest long.

Neither did a second sensory bag for writing practice. For this one, I used a gallon-sized zip-top bag and only a thin layer of paint so that the squiggles and shapes she made would show up clearly.

I showed her a few letters like V for Veronika, and we even could make hand prints. Still, she lost interest after a few swirly lines.

It was time for something decidedly messier. Lay down a piece of cardboard to protect your patio or lawn, and place sheets of white paper on top.

We made blobs of paint on the paper and then covered each with a cotton pad. (Note: You could also apply the paint directly to the cotton pad, and then set down on the paper). Now whack with a wooden spoon!

Similar to fly swatter painting, whacking the paper is sure to be irresistible for kids. The clear winner once more? The outside messy way!