Back to Fresh: Collard Quiche

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Wow, I can’t begin to tell you how amazing these smelled yesterday afternoon! And better yet how easy they were to whip up! If you’ve been following along lately you know I’m on the hunt for great ways to plug in greens to our daily menu. The kick off of a new school year seemed like the perfect time to get into good habits!

Enter these gorgeous greens! So beautiful and so good for us too! However, my crew can be picky- like most toddlers and preschoolers so I got creative and enlisted the help of Nature’s Greens super simple, ready to use Fresh Greens. I L-O-V-E the simplicity of just opening the bag and having ready to use veggies at the drop of a hat!

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This week I tried my hand at mini homemade quiches. Little people love little things don’t they?! They eat them right up! (no pun intended- haha!) This recipe only requires a couple ingredients and to make life easier- because moms are all about keeping it simple- I used a pre- made pastry sheet for the crust.

This recipe is also perfect for inviting your little ones to join you in the kitchen. Some of our sweetest memories have been made around the kitchen table or up at the kitchen counter. You’ll use a cup/glass slightly larger than your muffin tin opening to cut out circles. Then very gently press them into the muffin tin cups. Next you’ll layer in the ingredients, pour over the egg mixture, and top with a little extra cheese.

They only need to bake for about 20-22 minutes but in that brief passage of time your house will fill with the most delicious aroma. Awakening the senses and hunger in your littles! They’ll be so excited to try this yummy treat they won’t give a second thought to those sometimes challenging greens!

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AND they store well so you can easily double the recipe and toss a few in the fridge or freezer for busy mornings on the go! I’ve even caught my husband grabbing a quiche or two on his way out the door too! :) They’re really irresistible!

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To top it off I’m sharing another set of free printables along with this week’s recipe card! Click the button below to get the recipe, a sweet game, AND lunch box riddles to brighten your little’s day!

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Back to Fresh: Collards, Mac & Cheese

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I think we’re on to something with plugging in green veggies to some of our favorites. I know my crew is more willing to try something new when it’s paired with a trusted favorite. While my little fella is dairy free, both my girls LOVE macaroni with cheese. I’m not talking the kind out of the blue box either. It’s shockingly easy to prepare fresh, homemade macaroni with cheese. This week I decided to test the waters with collards again and I’m happy to report it was another success!

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Macie Jane has a well check up this week and among the number of questions I get asked is the age old, “Is she eating a balanced diet?” Of my crew she typically eats the best but still I’m not satisfied with the amount of vegetables she eats. And my other two? I straight up answer no. They do not eat a balanced diet- not because it’s not provided but because you can not force feed toddlers. If they don’t want it there’s little to no reasoning with them. I can get a few veggies plugged in here or there but the majority of the time it has to be hidden in a fruit squeeze, smoothie, or tucked into quesadilla- even then they catch on to me.

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Needless to say I was thrilled when I discovered how easy it is to grab a bag of Nature’s Greens fresh ready to eat/cook greens. I can zip open the bag, toss them into a pan to sauté or a blender for a smoothie. I’ve been inspired to try them in more of our recipes that I hadn’t before.

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This week’s attempt was in their favorite lunch time meal- Macaroni with Cheese! I love this one because it’s not only awesome on the first day but it’s excellent to reheat for lunch the second day too! On our Bible study days I typically make Macaroni with Cheese the night before so it’s ready to go when we hurry home to squeeze in lunch before naps! I sautéed a cup of chopped collards and mixed it right in with the macaroni- SO GOOD! Y’all, game changer. I’m not sure we’ll ever have plain Macaroni and Cheese again!

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You ready for the recipe? It’s crazy easy and kid tested + approved! Just 5 simple ingredients and I’m willing to bet you have most if not all of them sitting in your kitchen right now! Click the button below to get your set of FREE printables including the recipe!

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Great Gifts for Christmas - Two Year Olds

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Last week I started a series of post on gifts for our little loves. It's the most wonderful time of year again and to help make this holiday season just a little easier for you I've collected ideas on great gifts for babies up through preschool age. So many of the gifts I shared last week would suit well for a younger two year old as well. In this post I'm sharing just 6 ideas for toys that help develop creativity, spark imagination, and are just plain fun for the terrific two year old in your life! 

 

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First up is the Fisher Price Medical Kit. Pretend and Role play begins around 2 years old. This adorable set is perfect to take real life experience and pair it with fun. Everyone visits the doctor for their well check ups. Sometimes those visits come with a negative stigma. Why not help encourage the heart of your little with a medical bag of fun? Our Sadie had a number of doctor/specialist visits early in her life and continues to today. One way we helped alleviate her fears was to play check up at home. From checking her sister's temperature to listening to little brother's heartbeat the doctor kit was a big hit. (We even brought it with us on a check up once to help ease her nervousness!) In addition it, "helps little ones develop healthy habits and sharing skills while giving imagination a big boost." Whether your little loves the doctors office or not this 7 piece set is sure to be a whole lot of fun! Cost: a little over $12

Fisher Price Medical Kit

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This one needs little explanation. What two year old doesn't love a little messy fun!? Paint that you can do with your hands- why not? This kit comes with three tubes of washable color (red, yellow, and blue) and 10 sheets of large sized paper specifically designed to work with finger paint. Read: paint doesn't seep through! :) Washability is always a big factor when I choose paint for the children to play with here as I imagine it is for you. I'm happy to report we have never had a problem washing out any of Crayola's washable paints. It's easily removed from fingers, nail beds, clothes, workspaces, etc. Cost: $9

In addition to this set, I highly recommend IKEA's roll of white paper if you happen to live near one you can hop over to. 

Crayola My First Finger Paints

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Mega Bloks are probably one of the very best ways to support developing creativity and make for perfect open ended play. Dream up, build, or take apart any creation you can think of! Little developing fingers and hands get great practice with hand-eye coordination using Mega Bloks. This is another toy to grow with your child. He/she will enjoy it for years to come as their maturity and creativity grows. For less than $15 you get 80 large sized, easily to build with blocks. The packaging is durable for reusability too! Hello after Christmas organization! Mega bloks are all interchangeable within the brand so should you decide to get more they will all work together! Cost: $14.92

Classic Mega Bloks

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Board books are really perfect for any age but I especially love them for two year olds because they can survive the crib. :) Around 2 we start leaving a board book or two in bed with our children to look through and enjoy should they wake early or as they are preparing to nap. Board books stand up to the test of little fingers tearing, toss, or banging on them. They also play a role in developing that love for reading and learning we all desire for in our children.  [I have, however, lost a few to the washing machine R.I.P. so you definitely want to grab them out of the crib sheet before tossing it into the machine and save yourself the disappointment.] Cost: $7-$15

Little Blue Truck Board Book

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This one I have to say has been a HUGE hit in our house! Even for Rutledge (1) and Macie Jane (4) but especially  Sadie (2). There are plenty of times where she pretends the pot is for coffee and she enjoys her morning "coffee" (AKA an empty cup) with me. The cake comes in 4 pieces for practicing stacking. The teapot has three different levels of play and sings 7 different songs. But most importantly for Mom and Dad- it has an off switch and volume control. One of the kids' favorite feature is it's real pouring sounds when they tilt the teapot! A great gift for the tea party animal in your life. Cost: $20

Fisher Price Laugh and Learn

Smart Stages Tea Set

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I saved my very most favorite for last! You really can't go wrong with anything from Melissa & Doug, but this one takes the cake in our family this year! It's 6 pieces of pretend play- from sweeping to dusting or moping your little is sure to have fun while "helping" around the house. Again, role/pretend play begins at this stage of development and how many times do we hear our little loves ask, "I help?" Wouldn't it be great to say "Yes!" I also love how this toy is made of durable wood and comes with it's own storage rack for easy access and clean up. :) The price really isn't too bad either considering the type of sturdy construction this toy is made with. Cost: $25

Melissa & Doug Let's Play House

There you have it! My favorite toys for two year olds! What does your two year old love? Anything I missed? Sharing is caring- let me know your thoughts! :) 

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Ten Red Apples: Homemade Applesauce

One of my most favorite places to teach my littles is in our kitchen. This morning after we read our story Ten Red Apples by Pat Hutchinson we counted out 10 red apples on the kitchen counter and placed each one through our apple peeler/corer/slicer.

We followed Pioneer Woman's super simple homemade applesauce recipe. All you'll need is a bunch of apples, apple juice, a lemon, brown sugar, and cinnamon. 

Before I turned the burner on I put the pot on the stove and MJ climbed up on a chair beside me. She counted the handfuls of apples as she dumped them in. Then she felt so big pouring the apple juice into the pot as well. 

 

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I turned the burner on medium heat and 20 minutes later not only did our home smell deliciously wonderful but the apples were ready to be blended up. The applesauce turned out perfect and was baby bug approved!

The skills we practiced today were: concepts of print, literacy, numeracy, measuring, life skills, kitchen safety