Mar 22

Egg Knocking and Lamb Cake

by Hannah Holt »


Easter is an important holiday for our family. We like to keep it simple but significant.

But we also like to have fun. We’ve developed a few kids friendly traditions that remind us of the reason for the season.

The first tradition is egg knocking.

egg knocking

My husband first learned this game while serving a mission in Bulgaria. We play it by giving each Easter dinner guest a red hard-boiled egg. The first player says, “He is risen!” To which the second replies, “Yea, verily He is risen!”

Then the two players knock eggs. Only one of the eggs will break. The player with the unbroken egg continues around the table until only one person is left with an unbroken egg.

red egg

The last person with the unbroken egg gets the honor of serving up our second Easter tradition– Lamb Cake!

Lamb cake

There a little bit of skill and luck involved in winning the egg knocking contest. One year my 28 year-old brother won the prize and the next my three-year-old son won. My three-year-old loooved serving the cake!


  • two frozen rectangular pound cakes*
  • one unfrosted cupcake
  • butter cream frosting
  • a bag of miniature marshmallows
  • 2 jumbo marshmallow
  • 2 M&Ms (for the eyes)
  • rope licorice (for the mouth)
  • colored sprinkles (for the ears and nose)

Lamb cake instructions


*Family-sized pound cake rectangles are available at many stores. If you can’t find them, you can do what I do and bake pound cake in two large bread loaf pans. You need an extra cupcake anyway and baking your own cakes means you can pour the extra batter into cupcakes. BTW, It has to be pound cake, not white cake or chocolate cake, because only pound cake has the structural integrity to make a cake like this (with the odd overhanging piece).

Happy Easter!


Mar 15

Spring and Southwest Style Stuffed Peppers

by Hannah Holt »


Next Wednesday may be the first day of spring, but I can already feel the turn of the season in the air. The trees on our street are budding. It had me in the mood to write something springy.


When prayers of birds sound in the air,
and crocuses play double-dare —
a splash of purple through the ice —
the loosened stream says, “Ah, that’s nice.”
When bees and beetles start to sing,
wake up, Bear! It’s time for spring.

 crocuses in ice

Speaking of alarms, I was trying to figure out what to make for dinner the other night when a bell went off in my head. At the time I was staring at four red bell peppers, trying to figure out how to conjure them into dinner. Stuffed peppers seemed like the obvious choice, but I’ve never been a fan of meat and rice slathered in pasta sauce. Then I thought, why not substitute the meat for beans and corn and change the pasta sauce into taco seasoning. Suddenly stuffed peppers sounded delicious.

They were good. And besides the yum factor, I also liked it because the kids could easily help with the preparation.

Vegetarian Southwest Style Stuffed Peppers

southwest stuffed peppers


  • four large red bell peppers
  • 2 cups cooked rice
  • 1 15oz can black beans (rinsed and drained)
  • 1 cup salsa (you choose your spice level)
  • 2 cups shredded cheese
  • 1 cup frozen corn
  • 1 Tbl lime juice
  • 1 Tbl chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1 tsp cumin

1. Preheat the oven to 375º F.

2. Remove the stems and membranes from the peppers and cut them in half lengthwise. Place them face size up in an ungreased 9×13 inch glass dish or casserole pan, like so…


3. Set one cup of cheese off to the side. Mix the remaining ingredients together in a big bowl. (Go ahead and let the kids just dump them all in and stir!)


Note: I didn’t think the mix needed any salt or pepper, but now would be a good time to check that this is seasoned to taste.

4. Fill the peppers with the stuffing and top with the remaining cheese.


5. Cover the peppers tightly with foil (or the casserole dish lid) and bake in the preheated oven for 45 minutes.

6. Once the peppers are tender, uncover the peppers and bake for an additional 10 minutes until the cheese on top is nice and bubbly.

southwest stuffed peppers1

Bell peppers really make for an excellent taco. Yum!


Mar 12

Lightsabers for Renn

by Hannah Holt »


A special boy named Renn is back in the hospital for another round of epilepsy tests. This post is part of a blog party to encourage/entertain him during his hospital stay

Hi Renn,

When my daughter was younger, we went to a hospital in Denver, and scientists studied the electrical pulses in her brain.

Char sleep study 1

It didn’t hurt her. In fact, her job was to take a nap. She was good at her job.

I’ll bet you know a lot of different ways that doctors can study the brain. Some of the machines have fancy names. I think it’s fun to learn about all the tools doctors have to help us. Do you?


But I also know it can be boring hanging out in the hospital all day. Another time while my daughter was staying in the hospital, she was bored and kept pulling off her oxygen sensor. Every time she pulled it off, little lights would blink and machines would beep. She may have been small, but she really knew how to keep those nurses running!


You must be very brave and strong and patient to handle all the different tests. But then again, I hear you are training to be a Jedi.

Well, even Jedi Warriors need a little fun now and then. So I made a lightsaber paper craft for you. In the end, you’ll have a finger-sized lightsaber, like this:

free lightsaber printable

I made a few options for you because I’m not sure which might be the most powerful in a hospital (Instructions are included on each sheet.):

1. Luke Skywalker Lightsaber

2. Yoda Lightsaber

3. Obi-Wan Kenobi Lightsaber

4. Darth Vader Lightsaber

My daughter is now a bubbly two-year-old, and thankfully she’s as healthy as can be. Sometimes I wish she and her sister moved a little slower…

babies in flour

I could use a good Jedi around here to convince them they “don’t need to play in the pantry.” Ah, well. Keep practicing and maybe you could do your tricks long distance for me some day.

May the Force be with you, Renn!

-Hannah Holt

Mar 05

Bringing the Great Outdoors Inside with Dramatic Play

by Hannah Holt »


We love playing outside. However, during the winter and early spring it’s not always possible to get all the fresh air we’d like (darn rotating nap schedule and bad weather). Here are a few ways we try to mix it up on rainy days.


dramatic play camping

We used daddy’s black socks to create a fire ring and  yellow and orange shirts for the flames. Then we set up a blanket-fort tent and taped a cotton ball to a stick (for pretend marshmallows). If you wanted to go crazy, you could use real marshmallows.

Brainstorm: What do you need to go camping? A shovel? A flashlight? A backpack?


dramatic play bird watching

I don’t recommend releasing a flock of wild geese in your house, but you could hide pictures of birds around the living room. I recommend using google images to search for bird families. Younger children might be able to distinguish between groups of birds, like owls, ducks, geese, etc. While older children might be able to identify unique species. Cardboard-tube binoculars and a log book helped us feel like legitimate ornithologists.

Brainstorm: What types of birds are in your area? What kinds of food do they eat? What is your favorite bird?


geocaching dramatic play

I took an empty check box and fashioned it into a “GPS” unit. Then I hid another box of trinkets somewhere in the house and gave them clues to it’s location. Once they found the initial box, I had them trade toys and set up a new hunt on their own.

Brainstorm: What does GPS stand for? How does a GPS device work? Is there geocaching in your area?

Feb 26

Boy Paper Dolls

by Hannah Holt »


A while ago a fan suggested I make some boy paper dolls. I thought, What a great idea!

I have other paper dolls and all the dolls have interchangeable accessories. So if you want more career choices for any character, click over to this list of paper dolls.

If you want to know why I started making paper dolls in the first place, you can read the background post.

But for now, here are the guys!

We have Steve and Matt the preschool teachers:

Preschool Teacher Paper Doll  Preschool Teacher Paper Doll bw

Adam is loving life as a stay-at-home-dad:

Stay at home Dad paper doll  Stay at Home Dad paper doll bw

Finally, we have Sean the pediatric nurse:

Nurse Paper Doll  Nurse Paper Doll Coloring bw

I made pdfs for these, but uploading all the files was making me cross-eyed. You should be able to click on the pictures and access a letter sized image (300 dpi printing quality). If you have any trouble let me know, and maybe I’ll put the pdfs up later.

In the mean time, I’ll keep more dolls coming. I hope you enjoy!