Tuesday, 29 April 2014

WIAW and getting back to paleo!

What I Ate Wednesdays (hosted by Jenn at Peas and Crayons) around here are really What I Ate Tuesdays! We're skipping the intro and getting into Tuesday's 'eats' today:

Breakfast

We started off with hard boiled eggs and then it was -

Welcome to Mommyhood: healthy breakfast

Smoothie time! This one was so easy and had 2 bananas, way too much spinach, chia seeds, and a wee bit of water (ran out of almond milk). The Toddler was obsessed with this! Bananas never last in my house, and this may be why... 

Lunch

Lunch was weird and happened in 'shifts'. First I made salat Olivier, a Russian salad with eggs, carrots, peas, onion, pickles, eggs, dill (which I didn't have, but is definitely better with), and mayonnaise. I added a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil instead of mayonnaise and spinach. Again, everything is better with spinach. 

Welcome to Mommyhood: healthy salad

I don't want to feed my family antifreeze! Or why we adopted a clean eating lifestyle.

Welcome to Mommyhood: why my family adopted a clean eating lifestyle & tips
Okay, maybe my title is a little dramatic, but today, I want to write about something really, really important in my home: my family's clean eating lifestyle. I grew up in a home where pretty much every meal was home cooked. My Russian grandma, mom, and pretty much every relative ever cook most meals from scratch. I grew up with that, and loved it. For me, cooking from scratch has always been a given, but whether or not those meals are healthy is a whole other story. Where adopting a clean eating way of life has changed eating habits is my snacking. That has really been a challenge, and that has been where I needed to completely overhaul my thinking and choices.

My husband on the other hand, did not grow up with a Russian granny coming over to stock his fridge full of 10 different dinner options just in case he might go hungryWhen I first started living with my husband, his meals consisted of tinned beans - like the ones in sauce, canned veggies (ick), tinned soup, everything came from a tin. After I started cooking and Hubs wanted to help, he realised that great food can be made from scratch without the aid of  packaged, store bought spice mixes with a whole bunch of extra chemicals/additives, or that the sauce that tinned beans come in really doesn't taste good. He actually said that I ruined prepackaged food for him. Yea, I'm not sorry about that one! 

Monday, 28 April 2014

Green bean one pot wonder - a very easy green beans recipe

A very easy (and healthy) green beans recipe
Pssst! Would you like to know a secret? Even though I write about how important a healthy, clean eating or now paleo lifestyle is for my family, I can completely understand why people do not like to eat healthy. 

During our crazy pants moving time, one of the dinners that I made was simple boiled green beans, steamed potatoes, and oven baked chicken wings. Total prep time = three minutes, buuuuut... the food lacked flava and I thought it was boring. I have made much tastier three minute meals before like this super easy pizza. I also learned that I absolutely detest over cooked green beans. They remind me of the stuff in jars. Ick-tastic. 

Now, normally, if I am not in the middle of bossing around three very large Dutch men (telling them where boxes go), I would add loads of seasoning and really amp up the flavors of the beans. I mean green beans + lemon juice + lots of pepper + ginger + garlic + onion = awesomeness, but with half of those ingredients are packed away in a box/bag somewhere, I was left no choice but to serve a very healthy, but bland dinner. 

What was my point? Oh, yes, that I understand why some people don't like eating healthy. I think some may associate healthy eating with bland food, and don't realise how easy (assuming you can find your ingredients!) it can be to whip up a quick yet very healthy and flavorful meal without any boxes, prepackaged things, or even without takeout. 

Now, let's talk about an alternative to boiled green beans: 


Easy and healthy green beans recipe




Sunday, 27 April 2014

Paleo Meal Plan ... when living with the in-laws!

Healthy meal plan
... And we're completely moved out of our old house! It has been a crazy pants weekend, and I am so glad that it's evening, and we are finally able to sit down for a bit. Time that I am using to get this post up, while Hubby enjoys a well deserved beer and zones out to some brainless tv.  

I mentioned before that we are going to be staying with my in-laws while construction is going on. This may or may not have ramifications for how our meal planning looks. Initially we had discussed trading off cooking (dinner), which, while nice to give me some free time, is not something I am per se happy about. 

What?! Someone else cooking for you? I know, I sound crazy, but we have different food ideologies - they aren't paleo, which isn't a big deal. They also don't follow a clean eating lifestyle, which is a very big deal for me. I think I will try to still cook for them, while opting out of meals they cook if they aren't 'clean'? I don't know though. Is that rude?  

Tentatively speaking, here is what I hope to cook while maintaining as close to a paleo menu as I can and simultaneously accommodating their preferences. Breakfasts and lunches will probably be pretty easy to keep clean, whereas dinners are the meals I am concerned about. 

Breakfasts 

  • Smoothies and hard boiled eggs 
  • Omelet or scrambled eggs probably with spinach, mushrooms, and scallions because that's tasty. No milk. 
And if I have time or feel up to it, I really, really want to try making this Bacon and butternut squash paleo quiche from Giselle at My Healthy, Happy Home. I love her blog and healthy recipes!  

Bacon Butternut Squash Quiche

Friday, 25 April 2014

Farm themed Toddler Activities for Tot School

Farm themed toddler activities
Because of this move, I have been having a major case of 'mommy guilt', and have been feeling like I am seriously neglecting the Toddler. We have had so much to do, so much family time spent on packing and moving rather than focusing on the kiddo and enjoying each other's company. And then, I started putting this post together, and realised... we actually did get stuff done! 

Granted, a lot of the themed tot school activities were done within the course of two days, I am still really proud that we worked on them! It's been such a hectic few weeks, and I will be so glad once we are able to get back into the swing of things and having our normal schedule again. While we did get quite a lot done, I still really feeling this nagging guilt for providing less nutritious meals, barely spending any time playing on the floor with the Toddler, and letting him watch several movies while I packed up remaining boxes or helped Hubby load the car for yet another trip to his mom's. 

Enough complaining, right? I mean, an off week is okay! On the positive side of things - I am really looking forward to setting up Montessori friendly spaces for the Toddler at my in laws, and then at our new home! I will have to be really creative during our in-between-houses-construction-time period, but I do have a few ideas, and cannot wait to share our new set up - whatever it will be! The new house, well, I'm just going to go wild there. Hubby knows and I will pretty much have decorating/setup free reign. I only have a million and one ideas for our new home! Alrighty, now that I've given myself a little pep talk, we should really get into today's topic: our Farm Themed Tot School Activities.

Field trip

Our week started off with a field trip. Hubby and I took the Toddler to a local petting zoo last Saturday as part of our Easter-y celebration as we were moving on the day of. We used this trip as a learning opportunity and practiced speech, the names of different animals, and the sounds they make. We also made sure to get in loads of fun running, playing with some other children, and we may have let the Toddler have his first taste of a frozen yogurt.  

The Toddler had so much fun and learned the sounds that cows, goats, and sheep make! 


Toddler activities: farm themed sensory bin and some tasty playdough

Toddler activities: farm themed sensory bin and some tasty playdough
I'm not sure how, but we actually managed to get in some Tot School activities this week! We visited a local petting zoo on Saturday for some family time, and we all an awesome time! The Toddler loved it so much, I knew I had to include some farm animal themed toddler activities! 

Actually, it has really inspired me to sit down and rethink this whole fly by the seat of my pants approach I have been having towards tot school. In fact, I'm getting organised and making my own 'curriculum'! Putting together printables, activities, and planning, planning, planning - all with Montessori in the background! I'll share more on this in a later post though once I have a more thorough plan and life settles down a little bit. For now, let's get onto the good stuff... a few farm themed toddler activities we worked on this week: 

Farm Themed Toddler Sensory bin 1


Welcome to Mommyhood: Toddler activities - farm sensory play

Wednesday, 23 April 2014

Easy healthy recipes: Ginger sweet potato hash

Easy healthy recipes: Ginger sweet potato hash
Let's talk breakfast. How about easy, healthy breakfast recipes? How about this ginger sweet potato hash.



Get ready folks - I'm sharing two versions of this recipe today! A vegan/vegetarian one and a paleo version. Both are pretty spectacular. Just sayin'. 

Tuesday, 22 April 2014

Moving and stuff WIAW

paleo meals
I'm going to keep my rambling short and sweet with this one! We have been busy folks! Really, really busy. Do you know what happens when we are busy? Meal planning becomes pointless because I either a) do not want to cook at all so we get takeout or b) I cook a lot because I am stressed out. We've seen both already this week. 

Yesterday, I woke up early, realised we had zero bananas and took the Toddler to the grocery store right after his breakfast. I, of course, saw all sorts of fantastic veggies, picked up more cabbage, some chicken, and spent his nap time cooking rather than packing. Whateva. I needed a break, and after eating takeout on Monday, I was really excited to get in some healthy meals on Tuesday. So, here is What We Ate on Tuesday: 

Breakfast


Coffee + a banana + a handful of raisins = Fail. 

Lunch


By the time lunch rolled around, I was starving because I obviously skipped breakfast. So I made us something very filling - sweet potato and cabbage hash with sage and eggs

Welcome to Mommyhood: sweet potato hash (Paleo) Welcome to Mommyhood: sweet potato hash (Paleo)

13 reasons why moving to the (Dutch) countryside is going to be awesome

I don't know if you realise this, but we're moving. I mean, I only write about it in every single post for the past month. This move and all of the preparations for it have just been taking over all aspects of my life for the past few months. 

In reality, things on the moving front have been really frustrating and stressful. First of all, the house still isn't officially ours still. Someone somewhere still hasn't signed a specific paper that needed to be delivered to someone else to look over before a specific day so that the tenth person that needed to sign on the fiftieth page could verify the other paper... blah...blah. You get the idea - paperwork is delayed. In turn, we also haven't been able to transfer over all of the utilities, nor have we been able to arrange the major construction projects. Hello frustration! We are behind schedule before even starting!

The second really big thing is that we are going from living in a lovely little home to staying with my in laws. Dun dun dun.  Actually, we will be putting a caravan on our new property and will be staying there during the day, and sleeping/showering at my in laws house. That way, while the Toddler is awake, we can run around outside, cook (err...warm up a freezer meal), hopefully manage to get tot school done, and then while he naps, I will be able to work on the house. We will probably be living between my in laws and the caravan until the fall. 

If anyone has any idea how to fit a two story house into two bedrooms and a caravan, I'd love to read about them as I am a little stumped. That's really the problem with this move. I don't actually feel like we are moving into our new, awesome home... because we aren't!
In spite of being not too thrilled about all of that construction and time, I am excited for the finished product - a permanent home for my family. 

Thus, I am finally going to get to the point of this post! To get excited about the move again, I thought I would share some of the reasons why we are actually doing this - why we were excited to take on this massive project and change our lives so drastically by moving to the countryside! 

The new house is actually located in something that is smaller than a village. We are moving onto a street that has a school, a Texas Steakhouse type of restaurant, and several houses. That is it. It's beautiful and quiet, but it's going to be a major lifestyle change for us because we are leaving the city. 

13 reasons why we can't wait to move to the Dutch countryside


  • We'll have lots of land: 

    

Monday, 21 April 2014

Sesame chickpea patties

Welcome to Mommyhood: Healthy Toddler Meals: Sesame chickpea patties
It's no secret that I love experimenting in the kitchen. This recipe was definitely the result of an experiment - I added a bit of this, a pinch of that, and viola: 


Welcome to Mommyhood: Healthy recipes - sesame chickpea patties

Sunday, 20 April 2014

Moving week meal plan

This past week has been filled with all sorts of craziness. Aside from packing, stressful paperwork, trying to get over my irrational of driving in the Netherlands so I can still be independent once we move, Hubby and I also had a TTC conversation which left me stunned (in a positive way, but still). 

Because we've been so busy, eating healthy let alone sticking to paleo guidelines pretty much went out the window by the end of the week. I veered away from our meal plan pretty early on in the week for the sake of preparing quick meals and have extra time to get stuff done around the house. I've accepted that a few/several meals this upcoming week will also be unhealthy. We'll get back to eating well and cooking from scratch once we get out of this house. 

Anyhow, I'm going to keep this post short and sweet. Here is what I hope we will be eating: 

Breakfast

Smoothies
Hard boiled eggs
Egg scramble 

Lunch

Whatever I feel like making/is easy/convenient. Probably salads me and steamed veggies for the Toddler.


Dinner

Take out x 2
Grab night


Welcome to Mommyhood: healthy soup recipe Borscht

Freezer meal - broccoli cauliflower soup with a side of meat of some sort


A delicious simple and sweet kale salad from Marnie at Super Smart Mama! I am so, so excited to try this!


Curry (didn't get to making one last week). I think I'll try a red thai curry recipe from A Pinch of Yum. It calls for sugar, which I will leave out and will serve with cauliflower rice.

Red Thai Curry Sauce - goes with anything! BEST Thai recipe I've ever made. | pinchofyum.com



I'm linking up with Laura at Mommy Run Fast and Jill Conyers, along with Org Junkie

Thanks for reading,
Yuliya

Friday, 18 April 2014

Tot school - Easter activities and some extra fun

Welcome to Mommyhood: Easter Toddler Activities
This week has been a bit crazy, and unfortunately, that definitely translated into our tot school plans. While I had a list of fun Easter activities planned, we veered away into convenience land and focused on activities with little to no set up and lacked any sort of theme really. 

The biggest 'activity' we worked on was learning facial features and their names. I loved this because there was absolutely no set up. All I did was point to a feature on the Toddler's face and say what it is called. I would also do the same to mine. Then, after doing this a few times, I would ask him to point it himself. So simple. I did this whenever the Toddler was still enough to pay attention to me, which was actually quite a lot because he's apparently super tired from our road trip and has been asking for lots of cuddles. Fine with me! Toddler cuddles are awesome. The Toddler has actually taken to a new 'way' of having a temper tantrum - a very loud cry, followed by perhaps a foot stomp or two before begrudgingly walking up to me with arms extended for a hug. If only all temper tantrums could manifest in the form of hugs and cuddles. 

We have also been working a lot on getting the Toddler to do things on his own. This is something that he has actually shown a lot of initiative for, and I am trying to strengthen his skills and teach him how to do certain tasks like: getting undressed (totally has this one down and enjoys running around in the nude... oops), getting dressed (so if he gets himself nakie, he can also get himself re-dressed), washing hands, using the soap dispenser, washing his hair, cutting up soft veggies/fruits. Phew, I think that's all, but it's quite a list!  


The Toddler also invented a fun activity - unpacking boxes that I just finished packing. Not cool. Not cool at all. I suppose though, I bring these things upon myself by packing while he's playing. 

Anyhow, here are the rest of our activities that I did manage to get on camera: 


Fishing for Easter eggs 

The Toddler loves water play so we set up this simple activity. Because he was only wearing his diaper, I don't really have 'action shots', but believe me, this kept him occupied for well over forty minutes. 

Welcome to Mommyhood: Easter Toddler Activities

Toddler Easter Activities

Welcome to Mommyhood: Toddler Easter Activities
I've been pretty slow at getting around to presenting Easter activities to the Toddler. I never celebrated as a child (gasp, shock!) and while Easter is a pretty big deal here in the Netherlands, my husband isn't in to holidays. This combination left me struggling a bit, trying to think up ways to introduce Easter themed activities into our Tot School routine. 

Oh, and Passover totally snuck up on me and didn't do a single thing for it. I really need to get better at celebrating/teaching the Toddler about holidays. I suppose one of the drawbacks of having so many cultural backgrounds in one home is that there are also a million and one holidays to work around. While fun, it can be a bit overwhelming when it comes to planning. There's always next year though! 

Anyway, let's get into the Easter themed Toddler activities that we did get done this week.

Easter egg matching game


I found a really fun pastel themed paper bundle, and cut out some 'Easter eggs' from it. I presented these to the Toddler by laying one egg on the table, and the others, I put into a pile. He was supposed to lay the matching egg on top. 

Welcome to Mommyhood: Easter Toddler Activities

Wednesday, 16 April 2014

Unstuffed Cabbage: A healthy and paleo recipe

Unstuffed Cabbage: A healthy and paleo recipe
Today, I want to share a simple recipe for unstuffed cabbage. This week has been crazy, and I'm trying really, really hard to make sure that we are still eating healthy and sticking to our paleo meals. I completely abandoned my meal plan though for whatever felt easy and whatever I felt like eating. So, without risking a very long into, let's get to the food: 

Unstuffed cabbage: a paleo recipe 


Welcome to mommyhood Unstuffed cabbage- a paleo recipe

Tuesday, 15 April 2014

Paleo-rific eats throughout the course of the day

Healthy toddler meals and paleo meal ideas
To say that life has been hectic lately is a bit of an understatement. I had three, yes folks, three cups of coffee yesterday. Granted, all except the first were decaf, but still. Three gigantic mugs filled with way too strong coffee.

My head has been spinning at a million miles an hour (or kilometers for those of us living in not the US) with all of the packing and arranging that needs to be done. I keep reminding myself that a bigger house with lots of land is worth it - we can actually have space for more babies, and I can perhaps give gardening a shot! 

In the meantime, I will be enjoying a million cups of super strong coffee and will take this experience as a test of my patience, how calm I can remain while facing stress, and a test of the strength of my marriage because we will barely seeing each other during construction time. Fun, huh? It's worth it, but it will definitely be a challenge!

Actually, speaking of more babies. I am insanely obsessed with TTCing number two at the moment. Like ovaries are full on raging and yelling at me to get a baby brewing. Not good. Not good at all as the timing couldn't be worse and we have yet again put off conceiving number two because of the new house. Once it's done, we're hoping that the timing will be better. I have to admit, that decision was really, really difficult to make. I know we are young, I know there is time, I know that we are putting it off for a fantastic reason, but it's hard.  

Wow. That got serious, fast. Sorry folks. On a lighter note, I bought something for the new house: 


Welcome to Mommyhood: wooden spoons


I'm a little bit obsessed with that teal-ish colour and ran into these super cheap wooden spoons. I'm not sure if we'll be using them or if I may put them up somewhere for decoration or DIY something with them. No idea, but they will serve as inspiration for the kitchen. 

In spite of all of the craziness that has become my life, I am really looking forward to decorating the new house! I am trying to make the most of this situation and think about the lovely new colors that we will be adding and how much more Toddler friendly the new home will be! 

Okay, okay, let's move on to the reason why we're here... the food! 

Breakfast


Monday, 14 April 2014

Road trip with a Toddler survival guide (16 tips)

Road trip with kids
This past weekend, my husband and I survived a road trip to Germany! ... with a Toddler. We only live about an hour and a half from the border, but we went to Berlin, which added another four to five hours. The crazy  thing is we made it and it was relatively painless! 

I felt pretty prepared when we set out. My husband is always disappointed to see my idea of packing light is really, very different than his. Since becoming a mother, whenever I leave the house, I need to be able to take on multiple roles - I go from 'doctor'/boo-boo fixer, to clown, to cook, to this-is-absolutely-terrible-and-it-needs-to-be-fixed-right-now fixer. In order to be able to change my roles easily, I need to have supplies, so yes, I will be packing light by taking a small first aid kit, a bag of snacks, a backpack filled with toys, a diaper bag full of ... diapers, and back up clothes for the inevitable mess or spill that will happen somewhere down the road.

In the end, even though our car was pretty full, I did manage to have a well entertained toddler. So, for today's List it Tuesday post, I thought I would share some of the ways that we managed to get through our long drive! 



Road trip with a toddler tips



Welcome to Mommyhood: 16 tips for surviving a road trip with kids

Sunday, 13 April 2014

Would you like some (healthy) orange pancakes?

Welcome to Mommyhood: three ingredient healthy pancakes recipe Hello there! I just wanted to show you something... I made these 3 ingredient pancakes: 

Welcome to Mommyhood: three ingredient healthy pancakes recipe

Saturday, 12 April 2014

Paleo Meal Plan Week 3

Paleo meal plan
Before we get into the meals we'll be eating, let's talk about how this whole paleo thing is going! 


Paleo update 

The first week, it was kind of hard. Even though I held out most of the time, I did crave breads and sweets. By week 2, something wonderful happened. I no longer craved obnoxious amounts of sweets and bread. I mean, if Hubby would have come home with a delicious chocolate cake again (like he did during week 1), I certainly wouldn't refuse it! At the same time, I didn't think 'Gimmie chocolate nom nom' during the week as I typically do. 


Friday, 11 April 2014

Orange Tot school (19 Months old)

Activities for teaching a Toddler colors and life skills
Another week has flown by! We have been so busy this week making preparations for our move (in two weeks!) and a road trip to Germany, where we probably will be once this post goes live. We need some positive vibes though - we are embarking on what seems like an impossible feat: going on a road trip with a toddler! I'll let you know how it goes!  

This weeks Tot School activities were surprising well organised on my part, and we did a lot! I'm not sure how that happened because I feel like I spent the week running around frantically packing a suitcase for the trip, a box for the move, signing documents for said move, and generally trying to stay on top of everything. I'm exhausted and running on very little sleep because to top it off- I've been drinking coffee with caffeine before bed. Not cool. So, in the mornings, I drink more coffee and so I feel a little less like a zombie. 

Apparently, it's been working though because look at everything we accomplished during this week's Orange Tot School theme 

Fine motor skills

We picked up some buttons and had a blast exploring them. To practice fine motor skills, I set up this very simple activity: putting the buttons onto the feathers.  

Welcome to Mommyhood: feathers and buttons fine motor activity

Welcome to Mommyhood: feathers and buttons fine motor activity

Easter play dough recipe and activity

Homemade play dough activity (dye and food coloring free)

I'm so, so excited to share an Easter inspired activity today! We haven't been doing much for Easter around here, and this week, I finally got around to setting up a few Easter based activities, including this orange, homemade play dough that we used to make Easter carrots! 

Welcome to Mommyhood: homemade play dough - a fun orange play dough that is perfect for Easter


Thursday, 10 April 2014

Healthy stew inspired by the cold, Dutch weather

Healthy chicken recipes
Let's talk stew. How about a healthy chicken recipe that comes in a little personal pot after cooking away in the oven? Mhm, mhm! It's the perfect thing to warm up with after a cold, windy day of rain clouds and thunderstorms. 

Welcome to Mommyhood: healthy chicken recipe for paleo chicken stew


It's good, really good. It's loaded with vegetables, spices and herbs, giving it a ton flavor. The Toddler loved it, and that's all of the evidence I need to know that a recipe is a keeper. This recipe is definitely going to be making more appearances in my kitchen, especially on cold and cloudy days. Maybe in between hailstorms? 

Something else that I love about dishes like these - the ones where you 'dump and go' - they are so adaptable to any diet! Vegan or vegetarian? Leave out the meat and add some beans or more veggies! Is it paleo? Is it vegan? You can really do whatever you want to it, and it will still be good. 


Healthy (Paleo) Chicken Stew Recipe

Wednesday, 9 April 2014

A successful day of delicious paleo eats! And a cookie story

Do you have any go to foods that you have to have everyday? For my son, those foods are bananas and mandarins. If he could eat only those two things every single day for every single meal, I would have a very happy toddler.

For me, those foods are spinach/arugula and apples. I am obsessed with spinach. Seriously guys. Obsessed. I don't like it cooked though. So I have been adding a handful of raw spinach to pretty much every. single. meal. At first the Husband played along (he needs a better nickname, doesn't he?). Now, he's starting to think I'm a bit weird because I add it to meals where it may not really work, but come on! It's spinach! It always works. Always.



Breakfast


And that's why, we've been having green smoothies for breakfast a lot. I get my a spinach fix, the Toddler gets a ba-ba (banana), and I do a little jig because I got the child to consume greens.



See. He really does like them! And that's the only photo of our breakfast. Instead, it's story time! 

So you know mommy brain? It's a real thing that has been known to cause many intelligent women to do nonsensical, completely illogical things. For instance, on Sunday, I set about to make a smoothie. I added all of the ingredients, including a lovely banana on top. I go to put on the lid, and just before turning on the blender, I realise, something didn't look quite right. I took the lid back off and stared at what I had done - I peeled the banana, tossed it, and put the peel in the blender. Great job self. That would not have been tasty. 

Tuesday, 8 April 2014

5 Homemade spice mixes

Welcome to Mommyhood: Homemade spice mixes
I'm writing about spices, spices, and spices! In my home, clean eating is really important. I cook everything almost everything from scratch. Of course we have cheat meals, and we eat out every now and again, but we love a good, home cooked meal completely from scratch. One of the most important aspects of having tasty, home cooked meals has been to add lots o flavah with herbs and spices! I buy our dried herbs and spices at the local market, and have actually started growing my own herbs indoors.

It took us a while to get to the point where hubs was finally convinced that cooking completely from scratch is just as tasty, and more often than not, is actually tastier than pre-packaged foods, and those packages of spice mixes you can buy. You know, the ones with all of those e-somethings, food colouring, and other chemicals that you really shouldn't be eating.  They are so popular here in the Netherlands - people simply don't cook without them or use them more often than not. Hubs says that the spice mixes just contain spices/herbs, so what's the problem?

I read him the ingredients list from one of those packages that we have had stashed in the back of our pantry, gathering dust: paprika, turmeric, garlic powder, ginger, cayenne pepper, serrah. Not too bad, right?

Let's continue, shall we? There is also: flour, oil, more oil, sugar, a third, fourth, and fifth oil, E304, milk, E551, lactose, glucose syrup, 'natural aroma', modified cornmeal (what is this???), salt, anti-caking agent (like what??), milk protein, a sixth oil, colouring agents, caramel. So, we have six spices, the same number of oils in various quantities, flours, milk proteins, sugars, and a few mystery items. Yum! 

After reading this, my husband was convinced and I am given free reign to figure out alternatives that are 'just as tasty'. I had a lot of experimenting to get done before figuring out what works for us.


Welcome to Mommyhood: homemade spice mixes



Healthy stuffed peppers recipe (easy paleo edition!)

Welcome to Mommyhood: healthy stuffed peppers recipe (easy and paleo recipe)
I love easy recipes, but when I can combine an easy peasy recipe with a healthy one - it makes my life so much easier. These stuffed peppers were exactly that: an easy and healthy recipe. 


Welcome to Mommyhood: healthy stuffed peppers (paleo)

Sunday, 6 April 2014

Tot school colours and some thoughts on Montessori

This week's toddler activities focused on colours and simple sensory activities. We continued with a few activities from last week's crabs/sea theme, moved on to learning the color yellow, and then ended with some Montessori inspired life skills activities. 


Last week's theme


Under the sea sensory bin with glass beads and sea shells 


Welcome to Mommyhood: Sea sensory bin


Learning blue and green  


I've been looking into some Montessori activities, and came up with a simple sorting activity using blue and green paper clips.


Welcome to Mommyhood: paper clip sorting

Update on Paleo changes and meal plan

Last week, when I announced that I would be trying to change our lifestyle to be more Paleo friendly, I was nervous. I love cooking, and I love free reign in the kitchen. I thought that by cutting out so many foods, I would be stuck, unable to come up with new things to cook. I'm really pleased to say, that so far, that has been far from the case. 

I still have several new ideas that I want to try out, and can't wait to discover what new recipes I can come up with! That being said, I've 'cheated', but it's my husband's fault! He bought chocolate cake and also a chocolate croissant. He made me eat it! Okay, he didn't really make me eat it, but self control is a concept that is lost on me. If it's in the house, I'll eat it. 


Other than that, I did have oatmeal once, black beans with dinner, and a sandwich on whole wheat bread, so ... overall, not too bad, I suppose. I know that cutting out gluten will be okay, but staples in our home like lentils or beans, that's really going to be tough, and I'm not going to even try to do it. One to two meals a week (dinners), are going to contain some non paleo ingredients, which will probably be beans, lentils, or maybe brown rice.


I realised yesterday after going grocery shopping (of course), that this upcoming weekend, we will be going to Germany! This will be the first time for me even though we only live a few hours away from the border. Anyhow, here is our short Paleo meal plan (except for one dessert, and that doesn't count, right?) 

Saturday, 5 April 2014

Paleo Tuna cakes recipe

Paleo: Tuna cakes recipe
Last week, one of my goals was to really limit my family's gluten intake as we transition into a paleo lifestyle. When thinking up our meal plan, I realised that we rarely eat fish. My son really loves it, but hubby isn't a fan which means we pretty much never eat it for dinner. One of the ways I added fish was to make up these amazing tuna cakes! 

Welcome to Mommyhood: Paleo Tuna cakes recipe

Seriously guys, even if you don't like fish, you'll like them! Bonus: no breadcrumbs, no gluten, 100% paleo, they have veggies and they are so easy to make! Ready for this Tuna cakes recipe? Here it is!

Tuna cakes recipe


Thursday, 3 April 2014

Spring (and Easter) themed sensory activities

Spring (and Easter) themed tot school sensory play
One of the Toddler's favourite activities is sensory play. He absolutely adores getting out our measuring cups, pouring, scooping, and discovering what I have hidden in the bin. 

Before we started tot school, and before I even began to research it, we had already been enjoying some simple sensory play at home. I actually remember showing my in laws a photo of the Toddler at nine months old, covered in flour from one of our adventures. They were pretty surprised and exclaimed something to the extent of 'Wow! He sure is allowed to do everything!' It wasn't a negative comment (certainly wasn't intended that way), but it did get me thinking about our parenting style. 

The Toddler, even as a baby, was always allowed to do a lot. Hubby and I are very laid back and as long as something is not dangerous, the Toddler is mostly likely allowed to do it. We want to encourage him to explore, to use his senses, and develop his skills even if it means we have a mess to clean up. That flour play led to one big mess, but I got some amazing photos out of it, some beautiful memories, while the kiddo worked on developing his fine motor skills, and exploring his senses. No harm done, right? 

Even as he has grown older, sensory play has remained an important part of our weekly routine. The Toddler loves it, and it gives us a fantastic opportunity not only to introduce new vocabulary, but to really refine his fine motor skills. This week, we worked on discovering the color yellow with sensory play, and I tried to tie that in with an Easter-y theme. 


Easter sensory play

I set this up for the Toddler about a month ago, and reintroduced it again this week as we talked about Easter a bit. The Toddler loved it, again!

Welcome to Mommyhood: Easter sensory bin 

You can read more about this activity by visiting the original post I wrote about this sensory bin.

Wednesday, 2 April 2014

Healthy toddler meals (1 year and several months old)

Healthy toddler meals
Hi there! Another month has absolutely flown by! Things at our home have been craaazzzyyyy, but we haven't moved yet. We're still waiting to hear about our mortgage. In theory, everything should be fine, but we have to wait for a few more pieces of paper to arrive. Okay, I'm going to stop thinking about it, and stop rambling about it! 

So how have things been going with the Toddler's meals? Pretty good. He still loves his veggies, adores fruit, and is generally eating healthy meals. He is obsessed with bananas so much that he could eat three in one go. And he's tried. If he gets a banana, he will ask for another. Again and again and again. The same thing with bread. (No, he doesn't actually get to eat that many bananas in one time). 



The bread is becoming a problem, though and I'm working on reducing the whole family's bread consumption. We're making the switch to a more paleo lifestyle, even though I am still not sure what exactly that will entail for the Toddler's meals. 

Anyhow, here's what has been working lately for our toddler meals, but I haven't managed to snap many photos of the Toddler's actual portions. Next month, I promise! The problem is that if the Toddler knows that food prep is going on, my sweet little guy turns into a grumpy grizzly bear and neeeeeds to eat right then and there! 



Tuesday, 1 April 2014

WIAW - the one where I tried that whole paleo thing

Healthy Meals and Paleo Meal Ideas
On Sunday's meal plan post, I announced that I'd try to keep my meals mostly paleo this week. So that failed. Mostly, I like to think, because we ran out of a few essential groceries on Sunday- eggs (a staple anyway), and apples (my go to snack). That combination was a disaster waiting to happen. 

With that being said, let's get to the eats: 


What I Ate (Monday)


Breakfast


Welcome to Mommyhood: Healthy breakfast oven baked oatmeal


7 reasons why prenatal care and giving birth in the Netherlands is awesome!

Alrighty folks, I'm going to finally do it! I'm going to write about something related to being an expat - my experiences with prenatal care and childbirth here in the Netherlands. 

Before I do, I will write a short disclaimer as this can be a topic that women (and men) have very strong opinions on - I am only sharing what works for me, what is a good fit for me and my family. Although there are a few points that I do believe every country should adopt from the Dutch, I'll be specific and keep this post positive! 

What I loved about my birth experience: 


Welcome to mommyhood: having a baby in the Netherlands


My prenatal care and childbirth was 100% covered by my health insurance