Toddler Treat – Italian Wedding Soup


By Cheryl Tallman,

Italian Wedding Soup is a classic Italian-American dish with a great mix of vegetables, pasta and tiny meatballs. Its name comes from the fact the meat and vegetable taste great together – they are a perfect marriage!


2 quarts (64 oz.) Chicken Stock

1 carrot, diced

1 celery stalk, diced

½ cup Ditalini pasta (or small-shaped pasta)

1 pound ground pork

½ tsp salt and pepper

¼ cup Italian-style bread crumbs

¼ cup parmesan cheese

1 cup cut green beans (fresh or frozen)

1 (15 oz.) can chick peas (garbanzo beans), rinsed and drained


In a large pot, bring chicken stock, carrot, celery and pasta to a boil. Turn heat down to medium and simmer for 7 minutes.

Meanwhile, make the meatballs. Combine ground pork, bread crumbs, parmesan cheese and salt and pepper in a bowl. Form mixture into ½-1-inch meatballs. Drop the meatballs into the simmering soup and cook for 5 minutes. Add the green beans and chick peas and cook an additional 5 minutes.

Serve with bread or homemade muffins. Italian Wedding Soup can be frozen in small portions for terrific warm-up lunches or after school snacks.

About the Author: Cheryl Tallman is the co-founder of Fresh Baby, creators of the award-winning So Easy Baby Food Kit, and author of the So Easy Baby Food Basics: Homemade Baby Food in Less Than 30 Minutes Per Week and So Easy Toddler Food: Survival Tips and Simple Recipes for the Toddler Years. Visit Cheryl online at for more delicious tips.

Learn more about Cheryl’s work:

So Easy Baby Food Kit: Make It Natural, Make It Fresh.
So Easy Baby Food Kit: Make It Natural, Make It Fresh.
Price: $23.85
An award-winning, all-inclusive solution for making baby food in less than 30 minutes per week. The month-by-month Cookbooks uses fresh ingredients with no additives. Kit includes a cookbook, freezer trays, how-to video, and nutrition card, and pays for itself in just three weeks compared to jarred baby food.

So Easy Baby Food Basics: Homemade Baby Food in Less Than 30 Minutes Per Week
So Easy Baby Food Basics: Homemade Baby Food in Less Than 30 Minutes Per Week
Price: $8.95
Baby Food Cookbook including recipes and instruction for making stage 1, 2, and 3 baby foods. This book also includes the basics of introducing solid foods and developing healthy eating habits. Available in English and Spanish.

So Easy Toddler Food: Survival Tips & Simple Receipes for the Toddler Years
So Easy Toddler Food: Survival Tips & Simple Receipes for the Toddler Years
Price: $8.95
When it comes to eating, toddlers can be tough to please. So Easy Toddler Food is the perfect resource for parents looking for survival tips and 35 simple recipes that will win over even the pickiest toddler. Available in English and Spanish.

Teacher Gifts: 7 Frugal Ideas for Meaningful Gifts

This is a great time of year to show our kids’ teachers how much we appreciate them.

If money is tight this time of year, here are a few quick ideas for meaningful ‘teacher gifts’ that won’t break the bank.

1. Words from the heart. The most important part of any teacher’s present will be the accompanying letter or card that expresses your true feelings about the teacher. Make sure to include specific examples of a time when he or she made a difference in the life of your child. It’s even better if you can include a handmade card from your child, too, with a special sentiment. Then you can pair the card(s) with one of the simple and meaningful gifts below.

2. Give food gifts. You can give cakes, cookies and other confections. Save money by doing all of your baking at once (so you can buy the supplies in bulk). Purchase festive tins or boxes from a dollar store.

You can also create a gift that will keep: create cookie or soup jars as gifts. Combine layers of the dry ingredients of your favorite recipe in a large Mason jar and tie a recipe card to the jar with a festive ribbon.

3. Something handmade. Knit a scarf or hat or make a mini scrapbook album. If you have a talent for arts and crafts, making meaningful gifts probably comes easy for you. If you don’t have that particular talent, you’ll find a huge variety of surprisingly inexpensive handmade items on etsy. This site has a fantastic Gift Guide section here: (We’re not affiliated with etsy. We just like it. A lot.)

4.Coffee or tea. Look to specialty stores for inexpensive gourmet brands that don’t cost too much. Pair the gift with some decorative mugs so the teachers can enjoy their drinks immediately. A gourmet truffle or two goes well with this type of gift.

5. Small box of stationery. Visit a warehouse office supply store for inexpensive, yet quality, stationery – or piece a set together with coordinating envelopes and cards. Add a stylish (but inexpensive) new pen and a book of stamps.

6. Make a donation in the teacher’s name. Ask your child about the causes that are near and dear to the teacher’s heart. Present the teacher with the card describing the donation made.

7. Organize a community gift.
Email makes it easy to organize a class gift. Send a quick note to the parents and ask if anyone would like to contribute, all together, for a more meaningful gift. You can ask for a certain amount, $10 or so, perhaps, or leave the amount open and ask everyone to contribute just what they can this holiday season. Some will contribute a small amount. Others will be in a position to contribute more. Use the donations to purchase a card at a bookstore, an office supply store, or a local day spa. Then present the card, signed by the parents of the class, with the gift certificate, gift card, or other special gift.

What are your favorite teacher gifts? Please add your own favorite ideas in the comments section below.

Susie Michelle Cortright is the founder of Momscape.
Follow Momscape on Twitter.
Find Momscape on Facebook