I am attempting to enforce a new rule in our household of no TV until after dinner. This applies mostly to Juliet who loves running in the house after daycare and laying on the couch with her beloved Peppa Pig. Many days we let her because she has had a full day of activities at daycare with her friends and honestly, she likes to unwind much like Erik and I do when we walk in from work. But I hate that she sits in front of the TV for an hour or more.

So I’ve been trying to plan activities every evening when we walk in the door from work/daycare. Ideas I’ve come up with so far include:

– Painting on her easel while I cook dinner
– Helping momma with dinner
– Playing in her playroom including her favorite activities; tea party, puzzles, letters (on her alphabet mat)
– Calling Grandma on FaceTime
– Playing outside on her playset or jumping in leaves (we will not be able to do this much longer)
–  Baking

We baked these pumpkin gingersnap cookies as one of our “no TV” activities last week. The other day Erik and I agreed that this stander/Learning Tower was one of the best things we ever bought for Juliet. She uses it multiple times a day (she loves to eat breakfast in it and it allows her to be counter height to help cook and bake with me). It isn’t cheap, but over years of use is so worth it. It’s pretty big though, so you should have a fairly decent sized kitchen for it.


About these cookies; they are delicious. The pumpkin gives them a nice twist on traditional gingersnaps and makes them so moist. I sent a bunch of them to daycare with Juliet the next day and um…pretty much stuffed the rest in my face over the course of the next few days.

What can I say, my pregnancy sweet cravings are out of control.

These cookies took us a good 30 minutes to prep and then we played for a while and ate dinner, waiting for the dough to chill in the fridge. After we rolled the dough into little balls and baked we were ready for dessert and then soon after it was time for books and then bed.

We didn’t turn on the TV once. So while my goal is to significantly reduce TV time, each day won’t be perfect. I am dreading the cold winter months when going outdoors isn’t an option. I’d love any other toddler activities you have, please comment and share.

And definitely try these pumpkin gingersnap cookies. Preferably with a cold glass of milk. Enjoy.

pumpkin gingersnap cookies
  • ½ cup of butter, at room temperature
  • 1 cup granulated sugar, plus more for rolling the cookies
  • ½ cup of pure canned pumpkin
  • ¼ cup of molasses
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 ? cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1½ teaspoons ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon ground cloves
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  1. In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat the butter and sugar together until creamy and smooth. Add the pumpkin, molasses, egg, and vanilla extract, mix until well combined.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, spices, and salt. Add dry ingredients to wet ingredients and mix until combined. Refrigerate the cookie dough for at least 1 hour. The dough can be chilled for 2-3 days.
  3. When you are ready to bake, preheat oven to 350° F. Line a baking sheet with a Silpat or parchment paper. Place sugar in a small bowl. Roll tablespoon-sized balls of dough in sugar until well coated and place on prepared baking sheet, about 2 inches apart. Bake for 10–12 minutes, or until cookies look cracked and set at the edges. The cookies will still be soft. Let the cookies cool on the baking sheet for a 2-3 minutes after removing them from the oven, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.