How to Entertain Your Toddler during School Work


Things are a lot different around here compared to when I first posted about homeschooling. That little guy in my old images is in middle school now, and he's got three younger siblings!

The addition of siblings means my time is divided, and if we're being honest, it means I'm pretty much always distracted.

I try to set everyone up for success during school times, and for the youngest, that means having a variety of engaging activities ready. 

Here in our home, suitable activities are:

1. Independent.

2. Quiet. 

3. Reserved only for work times. Otherwise, they're stored out of sight.


Some of our activities are simple. Like an empty tissue box and a big pile of craft pom poms or cotton balls, paper and crayons, or playdough.

Other activities are Amazon purchases. Our little collection of manipulatives and hands-on tasks has served us well so far!


Pictured here, from left to right... 

1. Skoolzy Brand Peg Board

2. Counting Bears: ours is a mix of two sets, like this and this

3. Skoolzy Nuts and Bolts

4. Lacing beads, similar to this set.

How do you entertain your toddlers while your older children do their school work??


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I don't always use my own recipes...

 


I wanted to take a minute to share my most favorite cookbook with you. This has quickly become my go-to book!

Each recipes we've made has been requested again and again since purchasing the book earlier this summer. 

Our most favorite? Hamburger helper!! My kids haven't ever eaten the boxed version, so I'm confident they were thoroughly confused about what "hamburger helper" could mean... but they were definitely not disappointed. This dish is requested multiple times each week!

It's not our only favorite, either. I've made sichuan chicken several times, and the chicken pot pie pasta again and again. Street tacos? Yes please!

Seriously. You need this book. You won't be disappointed.



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Gluten Free, Vegan Chocolate Chip Protein Cookie Dough

 


I'm so hooked on this quick, easy snack. It's become a household favorite since our Arbonne journey began.

Wait! Arbonne journey? 

Yep--that happened. Six months ago, I decided I was fed up. I was tired of feeling sick and tired, and I desperately needed a change. I knew I needed to act now, and take charge of my life. I found that change in the form of a simple thirty day reset. 

What I didn't know, however, was just how drastically that choice would change the path I was on. Where I saw a quick, one-month refresh, I actually found a whole-life makeover. I found a passion I didn't know existed, I found a missing puzzle piece for feeling good and fueling my body, and I found an opportunity to stsrt my own little side hustle. 

If you had told me seven months ago that I'd be an Arbonne convert, I'd have laughed in your face! But, well, here we are. I wake up thankful every day for this addition to my life. 

Anyway--enough about me. You're here for a snack! 

It's a simple snack to make, and so satisfying!


You'll Need:

One heaping scoop vanilla protein

Two tablespoons almond meal

A quick sprinkle of salt and a dash of vanilla

Chocolate chips

Walnuts (or not, you decide!)

One tablespoon-ish of mixed nut butter

Almond milk, to desired consistency (start with a tablespoon or so, and mix slowly) 


To Make:

Mix it all up, adding almond milk slowly to achieve your desired consistency, and roll into balls... or just grab a spoon like I did!


If you've got leftovers (ha!) or you wish to make a bigger batch, protein balls store well in the fridge for a couple of days. Make sure they're covered! 




Gluten Free, Vegan Breakfast Cookies



Well, hello! It's been a while, hasn't it? I'll simply claim, "life!" In the time I've been away, some new food concerns have popped up, and those concerns mean I'm now avoiding corn and eggs in addition to my usual gluten, dairy, and soy. So, helloooo egg-free baking!

Moving along, though. We're in love with these breakfast cookies. They're decently clean--not perfect--but decent for an occasional treat or grab-and-go breakfast. They come together quickly, and they only dirty a couple of dishes. I call that a win!

You'll Need:
2 Cups Gluten Free Oats
1 Cup Gluten Free Flour {I use Bob's Red Mill}
2 tsp. Cinnamon
1 tsp. Baking Soda
1/2 Cup Chocolate Chips {I use Enjoy Life}
1/2 Cup Coconut Flakes
1/2 Cup {smooth} Nut Butter, like cashew or almond
1/2 Cup Applesauce, unsweetened
1/4 Cup Maple Syrup
3 Tbsp. Brown Sugar {or coconut sugar}
1 Flax Egg {combine one Tbsp. ground flax with three Tbsp. water, and set aside for several minutes}


To Make:
Combine oats, flour, cinnamon, baking soda, chocolate chips, and coconut flakes in a large mixing bowl.
Add nut butter, applesauce, syrup, brown sugar, and flax egg. Stir well to combine.
Drop rounded scoops onto a parchment-lined baking sheet, and bake cookies at 350 degrees for about ten minutes.

When the cookies come out of the oven, they'll likely still be pretty round. Mine didn't spread even a bit while baking. I wanted them to cool a bit more quickly, and for my littlest to be able to handle them, so I squished each cookie a little as I took it off the baking sheet. Much like making fork marks in the top of a peanut butter cookie!

Makes about two dozen cookies.