Sunday, 30 March 2014

Exploring the Sea Toddler Activities

Under the sea themed toddler activities
Happy Monday everyone! Before we get on to today's topic, I just want to quickly get something out there - today is daylight savings time in the Netherlands. I finally managed to get my behind out of bed before the rest of my family ( at 5am) for the first time in just short of a week. I'm tired. If this post is a little jumbled, please bear with me, the coffee isn't even ready yet! I've also been working on some behind the scenes stuff on the blog and if the format is wonky or things look a bit strange, please do let me know! 

Okay, now, let's get onto the good stuff! I have so many fun activities to share with you guys, and for once, I don't feel underwhelmed by what we managed to accomplish.

Welcome to Mommyhood: under the sea toddler activities

Muffin tin toddler activity

This muffin tin activity was a hit. I continued on with our  blue and green theme and filled the tin with materials that we had on hand: 

Welcome to Mommyhood: under the sea toddler activities 

(Mostly) paleo meal plan

Another week has flown by and it's already time for my weekly meal plan post! I'm really, really excited to share what we'll be eating this week because we're going (mostly) paleo! I've been eating loads of carbs lately, and with the move, my workouts have been replaced by packing boxes. Oops. 

After reading a post by Marnie from Super Smart Mama about her paleo lifestyle, I was really inspired to implement some (more) changes in my family's eating habits. I'm going to cut out most of our carbs this week, and get back into the swing of exercising! I am still planning on including about two to three dinners that will accompanied by whole wheat pasta or black beans though. My main goal is to make sure that our breakfasts and lunches are 100% paleo, while dinners will remain more or less the same as before.  

The Toddler and I prepped for some fantastic meals by heading to the market early Friday morning and picking up loads of fresh veggies and fruits like these gorgeous peppers. Our fridge is stuffed with fresh produce (just the way we like it). Picking up fresh produce always inspires new recipes so I can't wait to get cooking and experiment in the kitchen this week!

Here is our (mostly) paleo meal plan for the week:

Saturday, 29 March 2014

Easy lentil recipes: warm lentil salad

Easy lentil recipes: warm lentil salad or lentil sloppy joes
I love lentils. I love the flavours and how healthy they are, but I don't cook them very often - they intimidate me. If I'm trying out something new, it's crucial that the recipe will be both healthy and easy. That's why I'm excited to share this easy lentil recipe - it met both requirements.  

Welcome to mommyhood: easy lentil recipes

Easy lentil recipes: Warm lentil salad 

Friday, 28 March 2014

Toddler activities: playing with numbers with sea themed activities

Toddler activities: playing with numbers with sea themed activities
I'm really, really excited to share a few sea themed toddler activities. I finally got around to making one of the many felt crafts I have in mind for our Tot School adventures. Even though I am still going to tweak it a bit, I was so excited to get it out for the Toddler! 

Welcome to Mommyhood: under the sea themed toddlers activities for learning numbers

Wednesday, 26 March 2014

WIAW - the day that I stuffed my face

It's that time again! Wednesday - the day I show you guys what the Toddler and I ate the day before. I never do get a chance to snap a photo of the Toddler's portions before he gobbles up his food, but he really does eat the same things as me. Unless of course we are talking about any leafy green, those are still not consumption worthy. 

Anyway, I ate yesterday. A lot. And drank a ridiculous amount of coffee. Since I've decided to make sure I get some me time in my day, I've been waking up at 5 in the morning or earlier. I love it. It makes me far more pleasant during the day to get some time in to write a blog post or two or work out! It also makes me sleep deprived and decaf coffee is no longer doing the trick. Sometimes, I wish I didn't need to sleep. Think about everything that could be done while everyone else is sleeping! 

Enough rambling, here are the goodies: 

Beet Pancakes

Beet pancakes with a small greens salad and egg. 

Welcome to Mommyhood: beet pancakes

Tuesday, 25 March 2014

Toddler activities: Exploring the sea with colorful, homemade sand

Toddler activities: Exploring the sea with colorful, homemade sand sensory play
I'm really excited to write about a fun activity I had set up for the Toddler! We made homemade, colorful sand! 

Toddler activities: Exploring the sea with colorful, homemade sand

This week in Tot School, we are focusing on an Under the Sea theme, and we used this sensory bin to explore crabs, seashells, and our homemade sand. 

Sunday, 23 March 2014

Healthy meal plan week 24 March

Healthy meal plan
I am so, so looking forward to having a normal week this week. I actually kind of have to laugh because it's still going to be busy - I am hoping to start organising our move, pack, and plan for a weekend trip to Germany! I'm really excited about the trip though - we'll be going for about two or three days for my brother in law's birthday party. I've lived in the Netherlands for about 5 years, and I have never been to Germany in spite of only living about an hour from the border. We probably won't be sight seeing though, so that's a small bummer. 

Anyway, because we don't have a million meetings to attend, I'll try to try out a few new things during the week. We're also working on eating away our freezer stash, so I'll have to make it a good mix.

Enough rambling, let's get to the food! 

Healthy meal plan 24 March - 30 March

Toddler activities - Dinosaur theme (Tot school week 3)

Toddler Activities - Dinosaur Theme
This week was hectic. Really, really hectic. We did do quite a few tot school activities in spite of having to do house buying related stuff two days of the week, both of which involved two hours of train/traveling time. I am proud of what we accomplished, but I do think I should have chosen a transportation or train unit this week, instead of dinosaurs. Oh well - we had fun and learned a few things, so that's all that matters, right? 

This week, we focused on recognising the letter D, played in a few sensory bins, and read a lot of books. The Toddler seemed to be less interested in reading the past few weeks, so I was really pleased when during what should have been his free play time on Wednesday, he continuously brought me books to read to him. Here's a closer look at our week: 

Toddler Activities - Dinosaur theme

Sensory activities

Saturday, 22 March 2014

Healthy pizza recipe

Healthy pizza recipe
Hubs and I have been really into pizza the past few weeks. We're making a concerted effort to stop spending and takeout is definitely an easy way to do that. However, we still want to satisfy our cravings from some delicious pizza, with a tomato sauce and some fantastic toppings. What better way to do that then with a healthy pizza recipe? How about a crust filled with spinach for some extra oompth? 

Welcome to Mommyhood: Healthy pizza recipe

Now that is tasty, and honestly, I prefer homemade to the takeout alternative. Hubs and I love thin crust pizzas, and those from a shop tend to be covered in grease (ick), which aside from being unhealthy, also makes the crust a bit soggy. We love a bit of crunch from the crust.

Healthy pizza recipe

Friday, 21 March 2014

Healthy brownie recipe

Healthy brownie recipe
Yes, it's definitely possible! I have a healthy brownie recipe, and don't worry, they still taste great even though this recipes uses zero sugar. These brownies are so good, I'm almost too embarrassed to admit that I ate them for breakfast along with some coffee. But really, once you see the ingredients, it's not that bad! 

Healthy brownie recipe

Thursday, 20 March 2014

Healthy chili recipe with sweet potato

Healthy chili recipe with sweet potato
Chili is one of my favourite comfort foods. I love sitting on the couch with a blanket and a warm bowl of chili. I love the rich flavours, the kick from some spice, and how it leaves me perfectly filled. I love a good, healthy chili recipe. That's what I'm sharing today. A healthy chili recipe! 

Welcome to Mommyhood: healthy chili recipe

Healthy chili recipe

Wednesday, 19 March 2014

What I Ate Wednesday - lazy edition

What I Ate Wednesday quick healthy meals
It's that time of week again - What I Ate Wednesday! Actually, it's really What I Ate Tuesday because I'm sharing my Tuesday eats with you. This is my lazy cooking day - we had a lot to accomplish yesterday, and I didn't want to make complicated meals. All of these eats were very quickly prepared and involved minimal attention. Dinner took the longest to prep at fifteen minutes, and the rest were about five. 

Let's get to the food! 


Oven baked raspberry coconut oatmeal and a grapefruit 

Total breakfast prep time: 3 minutes. Okay, it did take a bit longer to cook, but all I had to do was mix up my ingredients, put it in a casserole dish, and pop it in the oven. Easy. I love making oatmeal in the oven - it turns out kind of like a breakfast casserole and kind of like normal oats, but it also doesn't need much love and leaves me time to focus on the kiddo in the mornings. 

Tuesday, 18 March 2014

Sensory play: Learning the letter D!

Sensory play with the Letter D
I've written before in my Tot School Posts, that I was concerned about the Toddler's speech development. He says words, or parts of words in both Russian (minority language but the one he is exposed to the most) and Frisian (the language spoken in this part of the Netherlands). However, he doesn't say too many. 

We've been working pretty hard on speaking and language development in Tot School, including a lot of sensory play. I've noticed an increase in the quantity of words he is saying! I love that by actually doing Tot School, I am sitting down and really focusing on the Toddler. It's not only letting us bond and spend quality time together, he's actually learning, too! 

This week, we are focusing on a Dinosaur theme. One of the activities we did together was a letter D sensory bin. I cut out a few capital Ds from different paper, and 'hid' them in some dried pasta - macaroni, a few types of spaghetti and a tricolour pasta mix. 

Welcome to Mommyhood: Sensory play letter D

5 spring family activities

This week, much like the rest of the next few months, is already so hectic and it's only Tuesday! It makes sense too that the toddler has decided that napping is completely unnecessary yesterday and today. Of course, these are the days that we have a million things to accomplish and meetings to go to because of that whole house buying process.

It's 11.30 am, and we are currently having a battle of wills at the moment. Will he nap? I doubt it, but I'm sitting down and writing this post while he plays in bed. That gives me about 10 to 15 minutes. Afterwards, we can go outside to burn off some energy and perhaps try again? I'm not sure. I tell ya what folks, naptime is confusing. The Toddler needs a nap, rubs his eyes, yawns, but still fights it. Sometimes. Other times, he takes my hand and takes me upstairs for naptime on his own. What is going on? 

Anyway, in spite of the craziness that is going to accompany buying a fixer upper house, and pretty much rebuilding it, I did make a small bucket list of fun things I want to do this spring. I'm hoping to cut through all of the work and still manage to do a few fun activities together. 

Monday, 17 March 2014

Meal Plan Monday - Healthy meals for a busy week

This week is going to be busy, busy, busy! We have so much to do and so, so much scary paperwork to arrange. I tell ya what folks, buying a house is stressful. We have to go to several appointments, sign so many documents, and it feels like we are selling our souls in order to have a nice place to live. So there's that. 

My focus with our meals is to make large portions so that we can eat leftovers at least twice this week, but to also make sure that we're still eating home cooked meals (week 2 of no takeout will be a success!), and that the foods we are eating are also healthy. Most of the recipes are pretty easy or quick to make, and those that aren't will be made in large batches so we can have leftovers or get a freezer meal out of them. 


Eggs (hard boiled, scrambled)
Oven baked oatmeal

Welcome to Mommyhood: Carrot cake bars

Sunday, 16 March 2014

Tot School Week 2

Tot School Week 2: Saint Patrick's Day Toddler Activities
We made it through another week of Tot School! This week was still hectic, and organisation is still a problem that I need to work on. I didn't really plan very much for this week. This means that even though we worked on a lot of fun activities, the lack of organisation and planning really made me... anxious. I have a system worked out for next week though, and I'm excited for that!

I have a lot to share this week, so I'll just get straight to the point. Here's what we did this week in Tot School:

We started the week with a few Saint Patrick's Day activities. The first was painting a shamrock and adding glitter to it. The glitter was such a mess, but a happy toddler was definitely worth it!

Welcome to Mommyhood Tot School week 2

Saturday, 15 March 2014

Green Mac and Cheese

Healthy Mac and Cheese recipe for green Mac and Cheese
Psst! I have a confession to make. One of the meals that I absolutely detested growing up was mac and cheese. I'm sorry - I loved my mother's cooking, but I refused to eat mac and cheese. Now that I am an expat from the US, and have yet again changed the country I call home, I miss America and American food. Food makes me nostalgic. However, I most certainly do not miss my mom's boxed mac and cheese - and no, not the healthy-ish Annie's version, but the straight up cheapest, boxed, plastic tasting cheese kind of mac and cheese. 

Now that I live in the Netherlands, sometimes, I just want some American style food. And mac and cheese is definitely one of those foods. So, I decided to try making my own, relatively healthy mac and cheese from scratch! Here are my results: 

Welcome to Mommyhood: Healthy mac and cheese recipe

A homemade, skinny version that is also green! Now that was tasty! It's also so easy to make - and it contains so many vitamins! 

Let's move on to the recipe, shall we? 

Friday, 14 March 2014

Dinosaur activities: sensory play

Dinosaur activities: sensory play
I used to hate mornings. The past month or so, I've started getting up before my entire family, which means I've been getting up early. Ridiculously early. Like 5 am early. I have to say though, as much as used to be not a morning person, I've been loving it. I can usually count on having about an hour or hour and a half to slowly sip my coffee while having my me time. This means I either work out or work on blogland stuff. It's wonderful. 

This morning however, the Toddler decided that 4.30 in the morning is an awesome time to be awake. So, I dragged my tired self out of bed, made some mud really strong coffee, and got some early morning/late night cuddles in. Awesome! Insanely early, even for me, but those cuddles are always worth it. 

Anyway, now that the Toddler is down for a nap at 7 in the morning, I wanted to share a quick activity we set up yesterday. We've been loving dinosaur activities, and I actually have several more in mind for next week's tot school. For this one, I made some homemade 'dirt' with the help of my assistant/the Toddler.

Here's the recipe for homemade 'dirt'

Thursday, 13 March 2014

Healthy soup recipe: Beets, beets, beets

One of my favourite healthy soup recipes: beet soup
Beets are one of those foods that I could eat everyday. I looove them. That's why one of my favourite recipes is my grandma's beet soup, or borsch. It's a recipe that takes me back to my childhood in Ukraine, something I want to teach my son about.

Russian culture is very rich, and one of the ways I continue to feel connected to it I grew up in is through food. I love to recreate old recipes with a modern twist (usually trying to find a healthier way to replace all that mayo you can find in Russian food).

When I prepared borsch or beet soup this week, I wanted to give it a new spin, and came up with this version:

Welcome to Mommyhood: Healthy soup recipe Russian beet soup

Wednesday, 12 March 2014

What I Ate Wednesday - Russian Borsch

It's Wednesday, which means it's time to share our Tuesday eats! Before we get to that, I have a story. 

Our rubbish bin was stolen. Who does that? Seriously, why would someone steal a rubbish bin? Ick. We've left car doors unlocked and no one went near it! My father in law left his car running all night once and it was still there in the morning, but our rubbish bin - that gets stolen. Weird. 

I am looking forward to get paperwork on our new house going so we can move! We'd no longer be in a larger city, but rather on the outskirts of a smaller city which would mean - accessible grocery shopping, but the safety and 'quaintness' of a Dutch village. 

Okay, enough rambling, let's talk food. 


Green breakfast - spinach, green onion, and eggs. Of course I ate this with a bunch of arugula, too. 

Tuesday, 11 March 2014

5 healthy recipes I use to get my toddler to eat greens

Easy healthy recipes: 5 healthy recipes I use to get my toddler to eat greens

I'm currently obsessed with leafy greens, and in particular spinach. Seriously. I've been adding spinach to anything and everything I prepare. I only wish the Toddler shared my love for it. I have been getting creative with food around here in order to hide those extra bits of green. The results are great - the Toddler has been loving my creations! 

Here are the easy and healthy recipes I've been using to stuff my toddler full of spinach! 

Sunday, 9 March 2014

Meal Plan Monday - the one where we stop eating take out

Healthy Family Recipes and Healthy Family Meal Plans
We've been eating poorly. Really, really poorly. And then the Husband and I went grocery shopping together and indulged in every single craving that we had. Processed muffins, crisps, whatever it was, it was purchased. 

I guess my decision to get rid of all snack-y foods was a failure. We're going to get back to clean eating this week though! I'm done with take out, unhealthy, processed snacks, and feeling sluggish and bloated. I'm not even sure why we suddenly started eating so much take out because we always have so much fresh produce because of the market. 

This week, we are getting back on track to sticking to healthy family friendly meal plans. We're eating home cooked foods everyday this week. I'm also going to use my self control and not eat any of the junk food that we still have on hand, in favour of the ridiculous amounts of greens we picked up at the market. Seriously, if you look inside of our fridge, you can't see beyond the bunches of fresh spinach, romaine, butter lettuce, and arugula. Yum! 

Tot school Week 1 at 18 months old

We survived our first week of tot school! I've already learned a lot about the way I function, and how my child learns. I have to say, I set out with a clear plan of what I wanted to accomplish this past week, but really, I was overwhelmed with all of the possibilities. Afteral, there are so many resources out there, so many ways to teach, so many ways to learn, and so many activities that the Toddler enjoys. Overwhelming is an understatement.

I made a curriculum for our first week, but we veered off track the very first day, and didn't really get back on track at all. We did however have fun with a lot of new activities, and we had a blast enjoying unusually beautiful weather outside.

Here's a closer look at our week:

Our first day was rough. First of all, I used to think that I spend a pretty large portion of my day playing with the kiddo, or doing various activities. I mean, I was pretty out of it in January and I was severely slacking on pretty much all of my SAHM tasks, but I've been making so much progress... Well, Monday I realised just how little actual progress I had made.

I find it incredibly difficult to just sit down and focus on playing with the kiddo. Monday, I was constantly thinking about the next load of laundry, what I needed to clean, or even the next activity to set up for the kiddo. What I learned was that I need to stop.  I needed to focus on the Toddler and shut out everything else from my mind in order to simply enjoy what we were doing.

Monday night I decided I needed to focus more on the kiddo the next day, but to try to the curriculum again. Well, Tuesday, we yet again veered away from the specific tasks I had thought up.

It was a gorgeous day so we took his little bicycle, and a soccer ball, and went to the park. There were birds there, and we enjoyed counting them, chasing the Toddler's ball, and people watching.

Thursday, 6 March 2014

Healthy Toddler Meals: Saint Patrick's Day Pancakes

Healthy Toddler Meals: Saint Patrick's Day Pancakes
I love easy, healthy breakfasts. Lately, the kiddo has been sleeping through the night, has been self weaning, and is waking up absolutely ravished. 

I need to have breakfast ready to go the moment he gets downstairs. He absolutely detests his morning diaper changes because he wants to eat! Understandable. That's why I love easy breakfasts like pancakes. I make a huge batch, freeze them, and then I have enough for at least three weeks. 

Welcome to Mommyhood: Healthy toddler meals - Green pancakes with avocado hummus and chives #healthytoddlermeals

Okay, maybe not three weeks because we've both been eating these particular pancakes. They're a delicious savory alternative to bread! I love the combination with a savory spread or with some chives and green hummus. 

Healthy toddler meals: 

Green Pancakes


Wednesday, 5 March 2014

Munchkin meals (18 months old)

Psst. I have a secret. A really exciting secret. Weeee are going to be moving! This will be the first house that the Husband and I will buy. I say will buy because we haven't officially signed on the dotted line, and honestly, the Husband and I are still very scared that something will go wrong. We've been negotiating a price with the three (yes three!) parties involved in selling it (former owners, bank and ???). Everything here in the Netherlands when it comes to paperwork is still new and a bit overwhelming for me really.

All in all, the Husband finally announced that our bid was accepted after we raised it three times! When he told me, I turned into a twelve year girl that had been told that she was going to a Justin Beiber concert (pre crazy phase). I was jumping up and down, clapping my hands, all the while emitting a high pitched squeal that probably could be heard by all of the dogs in our neighbourhood. We are so excited and paperwork should be finalised within the next few days.

What does any of this have to do with Munchkin Meals except for me sharing a random bit of news I'm ridiculously excited about? The house was foreclosed upon and as a result needs to be completely renovated because it was empty for so long. We basically bought a piece of amazing land and a lovely garage, but the house doesn't count (that's what our real estate agent said, too). This means we'll be busy with a ridiculous about of DIYing and construction, and I'm pretty sure that the majority of our meals are going to be coming out of the freezer. It will really change our eating habits. We'll see how it goes, but next month's Munchkin Meals will probably be featuring meals that can be prepared very quickly  and frozen meals. That's it.

Okay, I'm done rambling. Here is what the Toddler has been eating this month. Be prepared for a photo overload.


Spinach and pea pancakes with green hummus.  I forgot to snap a photo of the kiddo's, but this is a photo of mine with some chives. For kiddo, I cut up chives pretty fine and he'll eat them. 

Welcome to Mommyhood: Healthy toddler meals Green pancakes with avocado hummus and chives

I froze a big batch of these pancakes and we've been eating them for breakfast for a while now. I really love how easy it is to defrost pre-made pancakes, heat them up, and breakfast is done within ten minutes. If it's not... we have a serious melt down. Actually, ten minutes is still pushing it into meltdown territory. 

Welcome to Mommyhood: Healthy toddler meals Spinach and pea pancakes
What's up with that facial expression? 

What I Ate Wednesday - Arugula edition

What I Ate Wednesday - Arugula edition It's another Wednesday! Time to share the toddler's and my eats from the day before. I'm going to get straight to the point today. Here is what the kiddo and I ate yesterday: 

I am linking up for this week's What I Ate Wednesday with Jenn at Peas and Crayons:

Peas and Crayons


Green pancakes with green hummus and chives. So so so good. These are savory pancakes that basically consist of spinach and peas. 

Green pancakes with avocado hummus and chives

Green pancakes with green hummus

Tuesday, 4 March 2014

Easy, healthy desserts: Lemon sesame bars

Easy, healthy desserts: Lemon sesame chickpea bars
My favourite foods are desserts. Hands down. However, maintaining a healthy diet tends to clash with my desire to eat brownies, cakes, and cookies. This is why I love, love, love, baking easy, healthy desserts. I came up with these lemon bars - they are absolutely delicious, sweet, and oh so soft. Bonus: there is no sugar, no butter, which means the toddler can also dig in!

Easy, healthy desserts Lemon bars stacked

List it Tuesday - My spring cleaning list

Welcome to Mommyhood: Spring cleaning list

It's already March! I've been meaning to get around to organising my home and making a sort of spring cleaning list since January really, but ... There are so many other things to do and my husband and I have so many plans for the rest of this year. For instance: we are hoping *eeek* to move soon-ish and are in the process of negotiating a price on our dream home. Well, I should say, it's a dream plot of land and garage. The house itself is in a terrible state and we will have to fix it up, but the amount of land and water access would be amazing. This is especially awesome considering how rare it is here in Holland, or at least how rare it is for a reasonable price. My long winded point is that if we do end up getting the house, I need to have some preparations for moving done by having everything organised much better than it is now. It'll make our lives much easier regardless of whether or not we do actually get our home. 

Therefore, I am getting my tush into gear and going ahead with organising my home and giving a good, thorough clean. I made a spring cleaning (and organising) list, which I am hoping to accomplish by doing one room a week. I don't want to be overwhelmed, and we are still in the process of negotiating everything regarding this house - a price, mortgage, construction plans, etc. My spring cleaning list isn't an exhaustive one, but it's something that I think will work in my home. At least I hope it will. We need to get a better organisational system for a lot of aspects of running our house in general, especially paperwork organisation, our family binder, crafts/tot school supplies, and our pantry. I'm hoping to achieve this result as I work on specific rooms and areas of our home, which will hopefully result in a tidy, organised household.

Here are my Spring cleaning/organising goals:

Sunday, 2 March 2014

Meal Plan Monday - easy, healthy meals

It's Monday again! The weekend flew by and Hubs and I made a few preparations for a huge change that is going to happen (hopefully) soon. Our meals and cooking will be really affected, which will mean - more convenience foods in the form of freezing easy, healthy meals that we already enjoy.  

For now, this meal plan involves a few new items while I still have the time for it. 


1. Egg and spinach sandwiches

easy, healthy meals avocado and spinach sandwich

2. Smoothies
3. Oatmeal
4. Hard boiled eggs


1. St Patty's Day Hummus with veggies

St Patrick's Day recipes: hummus

Saturday, 1 March 2014

St Patrick's Day Recipes: Hummus

I've mentioned before in my post regarding teaching the kiddo letter recognition that between my husband and I, we live in a trilingual household with about four cultural backgrounds. This means that when it comes to holidays, we have to pick and choose which ones we really pay attention to, especially during the winter months. 

Saint Patrick's day is honestly one of those holidays that is not too important to us, but I do love an excuse to cook up some special, themed foods, or fun activities for the kiddo. This year, that is exactly what I will be doing - no big hoopla, but a few new recipes, and a few Saint Patrick's Day themed activities for the munchkin because... because it's fun! 

Today, I am sharing a healthy green hummus recipe with the upcoming holiday in mind. Oh, yes, it's absolutely delicious, toddler approved, and loaded with all sorts of vitamins! 

St Patrick's Day Recipes:

 Green Hummus