Veggie-loaded Breakfast Bake

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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.

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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&#8221;  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!

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