The Vegetarian Mom

A veggie mom cooking it through the books!

Toddler Tuesday – Handprint Calendar December 20, 2011

Filed under: Arts & Crafts,Christmas,Toddler Tuesday — The Vegetarian Mom @ 12:02 am

I saw this idea on Pinterest and thought it would make an excellent gift for the grandparents. Being me, I waited until the very last minute to start it. I was rushing and trying to get all of the pictures done over the span of two nights. In the process, I discovered that I must have one of the only children in the world who hates to paint. It was like pulling teeth to get him to cooperate. Bribery. That’s about all that worked.



Unfortunately, I failed to take a picture of the final product. I was pleased with it though! I ended up using one 12×12 piece of scrapbook paper for each month. I printed off monthly calendars and used the poems from Little Giraffes.  There are great instructions over there!  I added the calendar, poem, and handprint picture to one sheet of paper and then placed them all with a cover sheet in a 12×12 frame.  Grandma will be able to rotate through them over the course of the year.



Easy (ha!).  Cute.  Grandma loved it.  If your kid loves to paint, go for it.  It’ll be great!  If your kid is like mine, make sure you have lots of iced animal crackers on standby.


Toddler Tuesday ~ Gingerbread House December 7, 2011

Filed under: Christmas,Toddler Tuesday — The Vegetarian Mom @ 9:42 pm

I’m posting this a day late.  This whole “graduate school while working full time and a toddler running around screaming” thing is starting to catch up with me.  Two weeks left… Two weeks left…


This week’s Toddler Tuesday post isn’t very original.  I was at Michael’s craft store picking up a few things for some upcoming sensory boxes.  I saw that all of their foam crafts were 60% off for that day only.  Yay!  I picked up a gingerbread house and promised Little Man we’d build it right after dinner.



His job was to punch out all of the pieces.  He tried to help me put the stickers on the roof, but quickly decided that wasn’t as much fun as actually playing with the little foam gingerbread man.  He started to get frustrated that the door of the house didn’t actually open.


Now, we know that it’s the process, and not the final product that really counts when working with young children.  However, this process was a little less than exciting.  Mommy did all the building while Little Man kept trying to squeeze the pieces through the windows.  Anyway, here’s our final product.



We did have some fun with facial expressions after we finished though!


“Little Man, let’s take a picture with your house to send to Grandma.”



“Come on now, be serious.”



“Little Man!  Smile!”



And there you have it… I still never managed to get a real smile.


Question:  What projects have you tried with your little one that ended up being more work for Mommy?


Toddler Tuesday ~ Pencil Grip Pipe Cleaners November 28, 2011

Filed under: Christmas,Fine Motor,Toddler Tuesday — The Vegetarian Mom @ 10:25 pm

I seriously love Pinterest.  Here is another great idea I found!  I’ve used this in my classroom and at home with my Little Man.  I handed him a handful of pipe cleaners (red and green to make it a little Christmasy and festive) and I showed him how to poke one through a hole in a strainer.  He thought it was neat and tried several more.  Then I tried encouraging him to use one pipe cleaner and poke it into two holes to make an arch.  He thought that was fun, but it was even more fun when one end popped out while he was trying to poke the other end in.

Lots of fun and super easy.  After he filled most of the holes, I had him turn it over and pull them out one by one from the inside of the bowl.  It added in a bit of problem-solving when it came to removing one that was an arch.  It’s so neat to watch the trial and error process of their thinking!

Do you see the tripod grip?  This is an excellent activity for encouraging proper pencil grip.  It is almost impossible to push a pipe cleaner through one of those tiny holes using any other grip.  The easiest, and therefore most natural, is the tripod grip.  I used this in my classroom with students who needed help holding their pencils.  This was a much more fun and practical activity than the old triangle grips you can add to a pencil.

After poking pipe cleaners for about 10 minutes, Little Man decided the pipe cleaners were even more fun if you were running over them with a car.  In an attempt to add some level of skill and organization, I made a “road” for him.  He helped sort the pipe cleaners to pick the color of the road and later I made a curvy path for him to maneuver.

Overall, this was a fun evening activity.  I’ll try giving it to him again tomorrow while I cook dinner and see how he handles it.

Question:  If your little ones are in preschool, what activities do you do at home to encourage skill-building?

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Spotlight Sunday: Christmas November 27, 2011

Filed under: Christmas,Spotlight Sunday — The Vegetarian Mom @ 12:13 pm
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Are you on Pinterest yet?  It’s amazing!  It’s my favorite.  It’s addicting.  If you’re on Pinterest, follow me.  Anyway, every Sunday I’m hoping to spotlight some of my favorite finds.  I’ll highlight a different board each week.  Everyone’s starting to think about Christmas… decorations, food, gifts… everything.   Here are a few favorites from my Christmas board.

Baby Scribble Gift Bows by Lines Across My Face

Felt Christmas Tree by The Empty Bobbin

Soap Neighbor Gift by Crap I’ve Made

Countdown Santa by La Classe della Maestra Valentina

Handprint Calendar by Christmas Your Way

I do believe that all of these things WILL be done sometime this holiday season.  I’m thinking the handprint calendars would make excellent grandparent gifts wrapped up with a baby scribble bow!  And perhaps after we put up the tree today, I’ll run out and get some felt to make the felt Christmas tree for Little Man to decorate until his heart’s content!

Question:  What plans do you have with your little one this season?


Pinot Noir Spiced Cranberry Sauce November 25, 2011

Filed under: Christmas,Recipes,Side Dishes,Thanksgiving — The Vegetarian Mom @ 6:33 pm
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First of all, I want to say that I am NOT a photographer.  I will probably never be a good photographer.  Maybe eventually we’ll get a fancy camera and I can take lots of fancy foodie pictures.  Until then, you get unedited, point and shoot pictures.  🙂  I promise the food will taste better than the picture looks though!  🙂

With all of that said, here’s my first holiday post.  I tried this recipe last year for Thanksgiving and I loved it!  Everyone else seemed to love it too, so I made some for Christmas as well.  This year, I knew it would be on my holiday menu.  Growing up, I sometimes felt like I was the only one who liked cranberry sauce.  I think it’s one of those “love it or hate it” dishes.  In my opinion, Thanksgiving just isn’t Thanksgiving without a plate of cranberry sauce straight from the can… sliced according to the little indentions on the can.  I guess I finally grew up.  Here’s some real cranberry sauce.  And when I saw that it was made with wine???  Yes, please!

Pinot Noir Spiced Cranberry Sauce

(adapted from Better Homes and Gardens)

Active Cooking Time: 30 minutes

Cooling Time:  2 hours

Serves:  8-10

1 cup Pinot Noir (I also pour a glass for myself at this time.  Crucial.)

1 1/4 cup sugar

1 bay leaf

1 (3-4 inch) cinnamon stick (I use two from my jar.  I think they were probably 2 1/2 inches-ish.)

1 tsp. salt

4 cups cranberries (1 bag)

In a medium saucepan, combine wine, sugar, bay leaf, cinnamon sticks, and salt.  Bring to boiling.  Add cranberries.  Bring to boiling again.  Reduce heat and simmer, uncovered, for about 10 minutes (until all the cranberries have popped).  Remove from heat.  Let cool to room temperature (about two hours).  Remove and discard bay leaf and cinnamon stick.

Super easy, right?  And delicious!


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Make-Ahead Meals for Busy Moms