Veggie-loaded Breakfast Bake

IMG_3106

Veggie-loaded Break­fast Bake!

You will need:

Enough eggs to feed your family

A few avo­ca­dos, diced

Bell pep­per, diced (I used red and green)

Chopped cilantro, to taste

½ onion, diced

Cheese of your choice, I used pepperjack

Pota­toes

Break­fast sausages (we used sausages from a local, organic farm)

This break­fast was inspired by the beau­ti­ful state of New Mex­ico.  We went there three years ago, when our son was 9 months old.  Some of the best food I’ve eaten was on that trip!

IMG_3116 Breakfast Bake 02

I wanted to spare as many dirty dishes as I could, so I decided to bake my eggs in a glass pan.  If you’ve never tried eggs cooked in coconut oil, this would be a good chance to do so! Add a bit to your glass pan to avoid stuck eggs.  If I was out of coconut oil, I’d reach for my lard from a pas­tured pig.  Pas­tured lard is full of omega fatty acids and vit­a­min D.  Use what you have and pre­fer. Put your thawed sausages in the pan, and bake at 350 for 10 minutes.

I saw a pic­ture online of hash browns being made in a waf­fle iron, and decided to try it. Plug it in to let it pre­heat, than shred the pota­toes while your sausages cook. You could also use a food proces­sor, but I fig­ured the cheese grater would save a few pieces of wash­ing later!  I pre­fer skin on, so I didn’t peel mine.  After shred­ding, rinse with cool water until it runs clear.  You want to wash away the excess starches.  Squeeze the water out with your hands.  Put the potato shreds in the greased waf­fle iron, add salt and pep­per, and cook on high until crunchy, about 7 min­utes.  I did two rounds of hash browns.  The sec­ond round had some chopped onion thrown in.  That caramelized up well!

Let’s get back to the oven and check on those sausages.  If they aren’t totally done, it’s okay.  They can fin­ish cook­ing with the eggs.  I love my eggs with a creamy yolk, so I don’t scram­ble them.  Just crack them in and cover them with all of those veg­gies.  Put the shred­ded cheese and cilantro on top, and pop it back in the oven.  I gave it about 6 min­utes, and then turned the broiler on for a minute to melt the cheese a bit more.

The fin­ished prod­uct is pretty, tasty, and healthy!  Enjoy!

Rose Scented Rice Valentine’s Day Sensory Bin

It’s been awhile since I’ve posted, I know! Life got in the way of cre­at­ing fab­u­lous blog posts. Lucky for you guys, I made a mas­sive list of posts I wanted to cre­ate in my absence, so I have plenty of mate­r­ial wait­ing to be cre­ated. Hope­fully there won’t be any more long breaks around here!

Things have changed, we’re in our new house, the new baby is here and we’ve adjusted to all of it! I’m excited to start shar­ing with you guys again! Since Valentine’s day is fast approach­ing, I thought I’d kick off blog­ging again with a great idea for the hol­i­day. This activ­ity had my first-grade niece ask­ing me if I had any more cool cre­ations while she was here the other day it was so much fun, while my 4-year-old nephew and Peanut were elbow deep in it.

Rose Scented Valentine's Day Sensory Bin

Sup­plies:
*2 bags of uncooked white rice
*Food col­or­ing
*One gal­lon ziplock bags
*Vine­gar
*Rose Absolute Essen­tial Oil
*Var­i­ous valentine’s day items, such as:
Rose Petals
Felt Roses
–Plas­tic heart shaped bracelets
–Any­thing you have around the house that relates to Valentine’s day or roses!

This activ­ity does take some prepa­ra­tion, but it’s worth it in the end! The day before you want to intro­duce this sen­sory bin, pre­pare your rice. It’s sim­ple to do, you just need some time for it to dry or your lit­tle ones will end up with fin­gers dyed the color of your rice.

How to:

1. Select your food col­or­ing. I used one food dye to get the dark pink and light pink in this sen­sory bin, I just used a dif­fer­ent method of dying for both.

2. Dye our rice using one of two meth­ods:

Dying method #1:

Dry Rice Dying Method
Step 1: Add 10–12 drops of food col­or­ing to an empty one gal­lon ziplock bag.
Step 2: Add one bag of uncooked rice to the ziplock bag.
Step 3: Add 10–20 drops of essen­tial oil and driz­zle a bit more food col­or­ing to the top of your rice.
Step 4: Seal the bag and shake until your food col­or­ing & the EO is mixed in and the rice is dyed.
Step 5: Lay the rice out on a cookie sheet or some parch­ment paper. Spread it out to a thin layer and dry over night.

Dying method #2: To cre­ate the lighter color, dye your rice using vinegar.

Vinegar rice dying methodStep 1: Add about a cup of vine­gar to an empty one gal­lon ziplock bag.
Step 2: Add 10–20 drops of food col­or­ing to the vine­gar along with 10–20 drops of essen­tial oil. Mix the vine­gar until the food col­or­ing is evenly dis­trib­uted.
Step 3: Add one bag of rice to the ziplock bag. Seal and shake.
Step 4: When the color is evenly dis­trib­uted, use a fine mesh strainer and drain the rice over the sink. Let sit for 10–15 min­utes so the excess vine­gar can drain off.
Step 5: When the vine­gar is drained, spread on a cookie sheet or parch­ment paper in a thin layer and dry over night. Mix rice up from time to time, if pos­si­ble, to ensure it drys evenly.

3. When your rice is good and dry, add it to a shal­low, long tub. Add your Valentine’s good­ies, and let your lit­tles have at it!

Rose Scented Valentine's Sensory Bin

4. Tip: Place your tub on a table cloth so the rice stays a bit more con­tained. When your kid­dos are done play­ing, gather the rice in the mid­dle of the table cloth and put it back in the sen­sory bin!

5. When you’re done, the rice can be saved and used again as often as you feel comfortable!

What was said while we played:
Peanut’s vocab­u­lary has exploded since the last time I posted! We talk about all kinds of stuff and she give me all kinds of great responses! When she dove into this activ­ity she kept telling me, “Me hav­ing very fun, Mommy!”

I asked her, “What color is the rice?”, “How does it smell?”, “What are you doing with the rice?”, “What else can you do with it?” I also let her ask me ques­tions about what she was play­ing with. She did ask me what it was when she first started play­ing. She spent a lot of time repeat­ing the color back while she was play­ing and also pick­ing up the small roses and telling me what they were, once I had iden­ti­fied them for her.

Attribute Apple Sorting for Toddlers

Attrib­utes are an impor­tant part of math in ele­men­tary school, so when I saw these Learn­ing Resources Attribute Apples
the teacher in me was jump­ing up and down. Not only would they be fan­tas­tic for a vari­ety of activ­i­ties for Peanut while she was lit­tle, we could con­tinue to use them for years to come!

Attribute Apples Color Sorting for Toddlers | Eat Clean Play Hard

Sup­plies:
Learn­ing Resources Attribute Apples
Or, if you don’t want to buy the attribute apples you can use real apples in 3 dif­fer­ent colors

There are three col­ors of apples in the Attribute Apples, which is what we focused on for our activ­ity. And con­ve­niently, the box for the apples is divided into three com­part­ments to sort the apples. I dumped the apples out on the floor and let Peanut explore them for a few min­utes. We talked about what they were, she pre­tended to eat them and we talked about how yummy they were. Then, I pointed out their col­ors and stuck one apple of each color in a com­part­ment, nam­ing the color as I did so. Then, I picked up an apple and asked Peanut where it went. She hap­pened to place the apple in the cor­rect com­part­ment, so I got all excited.

Attribute Apples | Eat Clean Play HardShe didn’t get all the apples in the right place and I tried to help point here in the right direc­tion when I saw she was going to make an incor­rect choice. We haven’t done much color sort­ing yet, so I knew this would be a chal­lenge for her. I really want to work on more color sort­ing as we work towards learn­ing our colors.

attributeapples1.jpg

Remem­ber­ing she’s only 19 months old, I only had her work on sort­ing for a few min­utes (less than 10!) and then let her play, putting the apples where she please and dump­ing the con­tainer over and over. I really do like the Attribute Apples. They’re plas­tic and will be great for sev­eral activ­i­ties, durable, and super fun!

What was said while we played: 
“There are three dif­fer­ent col­ors.”
“That apple is red.”
“What color is this apple?”
“Where does this apple go?”
“Are apples yummy?”
“Oops, does that apple look like the others?”

Weekly Toddler Activity Plan, August Week 3

Here is this week’s activ­ity plan! All of this weeks ideas come from won­der­ful blogs around the web since we’ve been super busy with the move and get­ting set­tled in. Credit has been given to all of the blogs, so please be sure to check out the blogs I’ve linked to and fol­low them as well!

Weekly Toddler Activity Plan, Week 3, August 2013

Impor­tant! To use the embed­ded hyper­links in the activ­ity plan, please click on the arrow in the upper right hand cor­ner to make the les­son plan full size. Then, select “Down­load Orig­i­nal” from the upper right hand menu. Once you have the orig­i­nal down­loaded, all links should take you directly to the activity!

Tod­dler Activ­ity Plan August Week 3 2013

Thanks! Hope to see you back for next week’s plan!

5 Things to do With Your Toddler When You’re Moving

5 Ways to Entertain Your Toddler When MovingIt became clear very early in the mov­ing process that Peanut was going to make my job more dif­fi­cult. A LOT more dif­fi­cult. When I started try­ing to pack, no mat­ter what super fun activ­ity I set out for her to do, she was much more inter­ested in what I was doing and unpack­ing every­thing I put in the box or adding unwanted sur­prises to the box. I almost packed up a cup of grapes she snuck in at one point….so, I had to get a bit more cre­ative and find a way for Peanut to get involved in moving.

The good news is, I was suc­cess­ful. I found a few activ­i­ties that kept her busy and feel­ing like she was help­ing Mommy out. Unfor­tu­nately, I was so busy I didn’t always get pic­tures so I’ll try to explain it well! Also, tell us of any ideas you had while mov­ing that kept your tod­dler enter­tained and out of trouble!

1. Big box col­or­ing. I found a giant box Peanut would have a hard time get­ting out of, threw in some mark­ers (since she doesn’t get to use mark­ers very often I knew she’d be excited about it), stripped her down to her dia­per, and put her in the box. I took the cap off a few of the mark­ers and showed her how she could color all over the box. She hap­pily started repeat­ing “color” over and over and mak­ing a mas­ter piece in the box.

5 Ways to Entertain Your Toddler When Moving

2. Big box stick­ers. The big box worked out so well at keep­ing Peanut con­tained where I knew she wouldn’t get into some­thing and get hurt that I wanted to use it for some­thing else. So, what else do tod­dlers love besides mark­ers? Stick­ers! I grabbed some sheets and put Peanut in the box with a vari­ety of her favorite stick­ers. She had so much fun. To make the activ­ity inde­pen­dent I folded the sticker pages back so she could grab the stick­ers with­out my help. Before she was done, she had all kinds of stick­ers all over the box and her self…but she was happy and I got stuff done!

5 Ways to Entertain Your Toddler When Moving

3. Box races. Peanut came up with this idea on her own and I just encour­aged it. When she stole my empty box I was just about to start fill­ing and ran away push­ing it all over. I put her baby doll in the box and told her to push her baby. When she was done push­ing her baby, I had her push the mark­ers around, which made a fun sound in the box. When she was done with the mark­ers, I switched out the mark­ers for a stuffed ani­mal. Switch­ing out what she pushed around seems to re-spark her inter­est in the fun and she dis­cov­ered what would hap­pen to that item as she pushed it along.

4. Toy pack­ing. After watch­ing me pack away room after room, Peanut really wanted to help and kept try­ing to put what­ever she could find in the box I was fill­ing. I gave her a box of her own, a stack of toys, some news­pa­per and let her pack away her toys. She packed and unpacked the box sev­eral times and it kept her from sneak­ing sur­prises into the real mov­ing boxes!

5. Stuff­ing boxes. This was one of the first things I tried to keep Peanut enter­tained while I was busy pack­ing. She loved fill­ing the box with news­pa­per, emp­ty­ing the box, rip­ping the paper up and crum­pling it up more, then stuff­ing it back in the box. It kept her enter­tained for a good long while. She even tipped the box over and crawled in with the news­pa­per, which she thought was hilar­i­ous. It was such a sim­ple way to enter­tain her, but it worked!

5 Ways to Entertain Your Toddler When Moving

Hope­fully these ideas will help keep your tod­dler out of your hair while you’re pack­ing and mov­ing! We all love our kid­dos, but we all know how hard it can be to pack while your lit­tle love is try­ing to undo every­thing you’re doing or sneak in an extra item (or 10!) into the box!

Now, if you have any tips on get­ting life back to nor­mal quickly after you’ve moved, I’d love to hear those. We are still trying…but stick with us, we’ll be back at it soon!

Weekly Toddler Activity Plan, July 29th to August 2nd, 2013

Here’s this weeks activ­ity plan! Please print it and the shop­ping list and keep it in a place where you can eas­ily see it to make your toddler’s day meaningful!

Weekly Toddler Activity Plan, July 29th to August 2nd. A complete weekly plan with a shopping list and links to every activity!

Impor­tant! To use the embed­ded hyper­links in the activ­ity plan, please click on the arrow in the upper right hand cor­ner to make the les­son plan full size. Then, select “Down­load Orig­i­nal” from the upper right hand menu. Once you have the orig­i­nal down­loaded, all links should take you directly to the activity!

Tod­dler Activ­ity Plan July 29th to August 2nd

Pretend Play: Sandbox Garden

While walk­ing through the dol­lar store, I came across their flo­ral depart­ment and won­dered what I could do with some of their brightly col­ored silk flow­ers. At first I thought about a sen­sory box, but then thought it would be much bet­ter to get out­side for the activ­ity and take the “gar­den­ing” to the sandbox!

Pretend Play for Toddlers: Gardening in the Sandbox

 Supplies:

  • Silk flow­ers in a vari­ety of colors
  • Water­ing can
  • Kid-friendly hand hoe
  • Kid-friendly spade
  • Plas­tic flower pots
  • Any other kid-friendly gar­den­ing tools you have on hand

I stuck the flow­ers in her sand­box, tossed in the tools, and called Peanut over (not that she hadn’t spot­ted the fun and was headed over already). She dug right in with the tools, but didn’t show much inter­est in the flow­ers. In fact, she really only played with the flow­ers for a few min­utes. She mostly focused on dig­ging with the shovel and the hoe. She also enjoyed fill­ing the flower pots, scoop­ing sand into them, dump­ing them out, and start­ing all over again.

Pretend Play for Toddlers: Gardening in the Sandbox

I have to admit…she prob­a­bly didn’t know what to do with the flow­ers because Mommy is ter­ri­ble at grow­ing flow­ers and we don’t have many around our yard. She sees flow­ers as pretty things you smell when you’re in a park! :/ I really need to work on that skill. Haha!

What we talked about dur­ing play:
“Look at the pretty flow­ers!”
“You sure are good at fill­ing that flower pot.”
“Can you put the flower in the flower pot?”
“What are you plant­ing?”
“Did you find any seeds?”
“I see that you dug a hole. That’s a big hole!”

Keep­ing these sup­plies in the sand­box for a few days is easy and your kiddo will love it. It’s a change from the nor­mal sand­box toys that take up all the real estate in the box that pro­vide a chance for your tod­dler to be like you and gar­den away.

<img  title=”The Weekly Kids Co-Op”  src=”http://b-inspiredmama.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/05/The-Weekly-Kids-Co-Op-150px-Button.jpg”  alt=”The Weekly Kids Co-Op” target=”_blank”  />

Basting Water Fine Motor Activity

Using a baster is a great way for lit­tle ones to build hand strength, plus they love them!

Basting Water Fine Motor Activities for toddlers

Sup­plies:

  • 2 bowls or plas­tic containers 
  • A kitchen baster

Had it not felt like 104 degrees out­side, we might have taken this activ­ity out­side. Since it was way too hot to sit out­side if you weren’t in a pool, I laid out the messy mat table cloth and set up the bowls. I sim­ply filled one bowl about half way with water and set out an empty one.

Basting Water Fine Motor Activities for toddlers

I had Peanut come over and sit down next to the con­tain­ers. I showed her the baster and then helped her squeeze the water into the baster and into the empty bowl. Then I let her do her thing. Basters are hard for lit­tle hands to squeeze, but she was try­ing so hard. She’d get a lit­tle bit in and try to put it in the other bowl. I could see her lit­tle mus­cles work­ing and I loved it.

Basting Water Fine Motor Activities for toddlers

After a while she just started mix­ing the water with the bulb and then switch­ing it over to the open end and mix­ing for a while.

What we talked about:
“This is a baster. Mommy uses it for cook­ing, but you’re going to play with it today.”
“That is water.”
“Squeeze it like this.”
“It’s hard to squeeze, isn’t it?”
“Good, you got the water in the other bowl!”

This activ­ity was sim­ple and easy to set up, but a great work­out for those fine motor muscles!

Hula-Hoop Ball Roll For Toddlers

What tod­dler doesn’t love balls? I think “ball” was one of the first 5 words Peanut and all her friends said. They’re just so much fun! This activ­ity incor­po­rates a hula-hoop to trap the balls in and work on refin­ing those gross motor skills.

Hula Hoop Ball Roll For Toddlers

Sup­plies:

  • A vari­ety of balls, var­i­ous col­ors, sizes, tex­tures, and bounciness
  • A hula-hoop

By toss­ing the balls in the cen­ter of the hula-hoop I tried to cre­ate a bar­rier for them that Peanut could attempt to keep the balls in. I knew this was going to be a chal­leng­ing task, since she’d prob­a­bly run right up to the hoop and try to fling all the balls around as hard as she cool….which is exactly what she did.

Hula-Hoop Ball Roll for Toddlers

So, I had her chase down the run­away balls and bring them back in the hoop. Then I mod­eled a gen­tle roll for her and showed her how it stayed in the hoop. She tried, with a bit too much gusto and the ball still escaped. But, we con­tin­ued to work on it and even­tu­ally she was able to keep the ball she rolled in the hoop some­times. She liked aim­ing for other balls and mak­ing all of the balls move around in the hoop at once and she also enjoyed chas­ing the run­aways down, claim­ing they were “crazy!” with big gig­gle. Peanut also liked pick­ing up the hoop and shak­ing it around to make the balls move.

We switched out what balls were in the hoop from time to time to see how they acted dif­fer­ently when she rolled them and the balls ran into each other. Some proved impos­si­ble to keep in the hoop (even for me!) and some were so bouncy they’d hop right over all the other balls and out of the hoop. Chang­ing the balls out lit­tle by lit­tle allowed this activ­ity to keep Peanut engaged longer than sim­ply throw­ing all of the balls in at the same time. Dif­fer­ent com­bi­na­tions made for dif­fer­ent kinds of fun!

What we talked about in play: 
“There are a lot of balls in the hoop!”
“What color is that one? It’s blue.”
“The red one got away! Go get it and bring it back!”
“Gen­tly roll the ball, like this.”
“That was a nice roll.”
“Look at all the balls rolling around in there!”
“That was a crazy toss!”

This was a sim­ple activ­ity that worked at hand-eye coor­di­na­tion, gross motor for the whole body, and our col­ors all along the way!

P.S. I also learned, with quick mov­ing activ­i­ties like this I should use my DSLR instead of my iPhone….all my pic­tures came out blurry so I don’t have many to share with you, sorry!

Relaxing Lavender Rice Sensory Bin

There’s just some­thing relax­ing about play­ing with rice. I used to catch myself play­ing in our rice bins while teach­ing preschool, just because I enjoyed it. Adding laven­der essen­tial oil to your died rice cre­ates an even more relax­ing sen­sory activity.

Relaxing Lavender Rice Sensory Bin

Sup­plies:

  • 2–3 stan­dard sized bags of white rice
  • 2.5 gal­lon Ziploc bag
  • Pur­ple food coloring
  • 20–30 drops of laven­der essen­tial oil
  • Sea shells
  • A small, cloth bag
  • Bin for play­ing in

The night before you want to do this activ­ity, die and scent your rice. It’s very sim­ple: put all of the rice in a large Ziploc bag, add a gen­er­ous amount of food col­or­ing, zip the bag, and shake up the rice to dis­trib­ute the food col­or­ing. If you didn’t reach the desired color you wanted, add more food col­or­ing and mix again. When your rice is the desired color, add 20–30 drops of laven­der essen­tial oil and mix the rice again. When every­thing was mixed in, I opened the Ziploc bag and let it dry over night. The next morn­ing, I dumped the rice into our sen­sory bin and added the sea shells and cloth bag.

Relaxing Lavender Rice Sensory Bin

I pre­sented the bin to Peanut on our lam­i­nate floors, incase some of the rice found it’s way out of the bin (which it did). At first she poked around at the rice for a while. Then, I showed her she could burry the shells in the rice and she began copy­ing what I was doing. Even­tu­ally I showed her how she could take a hand full of rice and fill the bag or scoop up some rice with the shells to fill the bag.

Relaxing Lavender Rice Sensory Bin

We squished the bag when it was full of rice, smelled the rice in the bin and bag. We talked about what color the rice was. After a lit­tle while, I just let Peanut play and relax with the scent and feel of the rice. She played qui­etly for quite a while, only becom­ing dis­turbed when she acci­den­tally dis­cov­ered the fun sound the rice made when it hit the lam­i­nate floor. Then I decided play time was up.

What we talked about: 
“Does that feel soft?”
“There are lots of lit­tle pieces, aren’t there?”
“It sounds nice when you mix it.”
“That smells deli­cious.”
“The bag is squishy.”
“That’s a shell. Can you find the one I buried?”

This is a great sen­sory bin to keep around for a late-night play expe­ri­ence. The laven­der essen­tial oil can calm a crabby kiddo down no time and get them ready for peace­ful sleep. Keep your Ziploc bag you mixed your rice in to store the rice when not in use. Dyed rice is def­i­nitely not a one-time-only use sen­sory bin filler. Use it again and again!

1 2 3 7