Friday, 30 May 2014

Pizza, pizza, pizza!!! Get your healthy pizza recipes here!

Healthy pizza recipes: spinach pizza by Welcome to Mommyhood
We like pizza. A lot. A little too much even. You know what else we absolutely love in my home? I'll give you a hint. It's spinach. What's better than combining the two? Nothing. Seriously. Spinach + pizza = awesomeness. 

Healthy pizza recipes - spinach pizza by Welcome to Mommyhood

Farm themed Montessori Toddler Activities

Welcome to Mommyhood: Farm themed Montessori Toddler Activities
This week's tot school was farm animal themed again! We worked on some Montessori inspired printables that I made up (go to the end of the post to get your own!), and really tried to reinforce some new words like chicken and pig. 

On a side note, the photos below show Russian text on the activities I printed as that is the language we are using at home, but all of the printables I am offering for download are available in English. 


Language


We worked on Matching some Montessori three part cards, that I didn't cut up into three parts. For now, I just identified what each animal was and then asked him to help me match them. The Toddler worked on learning not only what each animal is called, but also the sounds they make. He is much better at the latter, but we're getting there. 

Welcome to Mommyhood: Farm themed Montessori Toddler Activities (free printables)

Thursday, 29 May 2014

Carrot cake oatmeal bake recipe

Welcome to Mommyhood: Carrot cake oatmeal bake recipe
About a month ago, I had my first attempt at baking carrot cake (for my husband's birthday). It wasn't healthy, but oh my! It sure was good and I could barely restrain myself back from devouring the entire thing and not giving it to my husband to take to work. Since then, I've been looking for a way to recreate those flavours in a slightly less unhealthy version. 

Oatmeal was kind of a given for me. I buy unflavored, not instant oatmeal that always requires some kind of flavor enhancement. It's generally pretty easy to bulk it up with tasty additions, while keeping it low on bad fats and sugars that can be found in the instant versions. So... carrot cake oatmeal? Oh yes, it happened. 

Welcome to Mommyhood: Carrot cake oatmeal bake recipe


I really wanted to get it close to the actual cake though so a simple porridge wouldn't do. I combined all of my ingredients, and baked it. Oh. My. Word. It was fantastic! The Toddler gobbled it up and ended up eating about half of the batch in one go! So here ya go: 

Carrot Cake Oatmeal Bake Recipe

Tuesday, 27 May 2014

WIAW - Working out again!

I'm so, so, so, so very excited to say that I finally did it! I have gotten my bum off of the couch and have started working out again! I have officially gone jogging two days in a row. Actually, let's be frank, it wasn't really, officially jogging... it was technically walking really, really fast while flailing my arms like a madwoman in attempt to prevent any mosquitoes and other little bugs from landing on my face, all the while letting out several 'awwws' at the ducklings that are swimming in the canals by the farms where I 'jog'. I'm glad you can't see it and that it's been 5 am when I've gone out so no one else except for the aforementioned ducklings have seen my attempts at getting fit either. But, hey! Swatting at mosquitoes = arms workout. Look at me being so positive! 

On a random note, things in the homeland seem to getting worse and worse as there are increasing quantities of casualties and the new Ukrainian president has officially called Russian separatists terrorists ... Okay, this blog isn't my international relations platform so I'll keep my mouth shut as to my opinion on the current 'Crimean Crisis' beyond the fact that I am utterly heart broken that this is happening in the country where I was born and a country that I love very much. I hope that in a few years, we'll be able to go back and visit. Thank goodness that the last of my family no longer lives there, but I haven't been in touch with friends and have no idea as to how things are going there for civilians other than exceptionally horrible. I'm also so very selfishly relieved that the final paperwork I needed to emigrate to the Netherlands was resolved just about a year before Crimea became... well what is it? An (unofficial) warzone? Sigh. Can you imagine getting on with your daily life and then all of the sudden your country starts breaking up into pieces? 

Well that got serious very quickly. I guess I shouldn't check the news while writing a blog post. I will say though that working out has been a fantastic distraction and a great way to get out some extra tension. It's also a great way to get myself pried away from the computer. 

Now, let's talk about food. Food can certainly be awesome and well, Sunday's eats (what I am sharing) were nothing short of awesome. Seriously folks. It was filled with healthy and unhealthy deliciousness and I most definitely do not regret stuffing myself with way more homemade pizza than I should have. 




Monday, 26 May 2014

Travel series Part II: 20 healthy meals and snacks that are airplane approved!

Welcome to Mommyhood: Air Travel Tips (snacks and meals)
I'm so excited that you came back for part two of my travel series! This time around, I am sharing over twenty snacks and meals for travel day! These are all airline approved (but not per se permitted in the country you are traveling to! You need to check customs for that!) 



Snacks and meals for air travel


Sunday, 25 May 2014

Refreshing chicory salad

Easy Healthy Recipes: Refreshing chicory salad by Welcome to Mommyhood
Now that the weather is warming up it is super hot outside because Dutch weather doesn't know how to be just right, I've been loving salads. You know, the refreshing, tangy ones. I love how easy salad recipes are, and well, as long as you don't drown them in oil or mayo, they are pretty much guaranteed to be healthy. (But it will probably be ridiculously cold and rainy again in a few days because Dutch weather also doesn't know how to stay put). 

My mother in law made a very simple salad the other day that consisted purely of celery and apple. I had never thought and would never have thought to put those two things together, but it was delicious. I knew I had to play around with that combination to give it some oompth because I'm like that. I came up with a few variations before settling down on this version:


Refreshing chicory salad recipe


Easy healthy recipes: chicory salad by Welcome to Mommyhood

Healthy Meal Plan and healthy eating during stressful times

Healthy Meal Plans: staying healthy and paleo during stressful times
I'm going to be mysterious in this post due to extreme paranoia and fear that major jinxing will take place, but it looks that things are looking up on the house front and the horrible, terrible paperwork monster seems to be tackled. Still a few signatures to add, but... I'm not even going to think it because we've had far too many setbacks. I will just say that hopefully in the very near future, some before shots should be coming your way! I'm keeping calm about it though because we already thought we were this far a month ago. 

Instead, this week, I hope to focus more on cookin' up a storm. Paleo and just plain eating healthy has been increasingly difficult with my in laws' temptation filled house and offerings of processed junk food to which I apparently am unable to say no. As my husband very unkindly noticed, I've ... ahhem, packed on a few pounds. So while I do manage to stay healthy Monday - Wednesday, eating crisps on Thursdays - Sundays is just not worth it. I mean, if you offer me a delicious chocolate filled cake or brownie, every day then sure! I'll stuff my face with no regrets, but well, crisps or something deep fried, meh. I do feel guilty eating them because they just don't taste as nice (to me). 

I also eat when I'm stressed, and aside from the house, we've also had some pretty difficult problems in the extended family that have been successfully helping to further reduce the amount of sleep I get. 'Cuz, ya know, getting up at 4.30 in the morning isn't crazy enough, I'm now unable to fall asleep until about midnight. What was it we were talking about? 

Oh yes, foooooood! I've decided that I have had enough of a time period to adjust to living with my in laws and finding a good balance for my diet. I need to regain control over what I put into my body, and realise (again) that I don't need to eat everything offered to me, or that eating a cookie isn't going to really make our house magically finished and make our family member healthy again. 

The reality is that what I eat impacts me. A lot. I didn't realise how much until gradually stepping away from paleo and going back to unhealthy habits that I had previously managed to eschew. 

Eating less sugars, less unhealthy grains, less unhealthy fats should also make me feel more energized. Snacking (health-ily) throughout the day should also prevent my major energy crashes, and back when paleo was going well, I was able to stay fuller for longer periods of time without feeling stuffed. That's also my problem with grains, and eating oats - maybe it's my portion sizes, but I just end up eating too much and feeling lethargic afterwards rather than energized and satisfied. I want to feel that way again, and not just for the first three days of the week. 

I'm also going to start working out again. Going on a short run or doing a few push ups every now and again isn't cutting it anymore. I always feel better about how I look and just generally feel good when I am consistently following some kind of a fitness routine, but haven't been consistent at all. 

Alrighty, let's get onto the food: 

Breakfasts

Fruit bowls
Smoothies
Egg scrambles
Stuffed tomatoes (I hope that I can eat one this time and that my darling son won't want to devour every single one I prepare!) 

Easy healthy recipes: Oven roasted stuffed tomatoes by Welcome to Mommyhood

Friday, 23 May 2014

Vegan Roasted Carrot and Tomato Soup

Easy, healthy recipes: vegan roasted carrot and tomato soup by Welcome to Mommyhood
This seems like it will be the last soup recipe for at least a little while. We have had some gorgeous weather here, but please, let's keep that to ourselves! I don't want to scare the beautiful un-Dutch weather away. We have been getting some suuunnn and the torrential downpours that are typical during this time of year seem to be on their way out. 

Anyhow, for those of you living perhaps in the southern hemisphere, I imagine it's getting cooler, and perhaps for when the cold returns to northern Europe, we can enjoy a creamy carrot and tomato soup! 



Carrot and Tomato Soup

Thursday, 22 May 2014

Red, White, and Blue Tot School and a bunch of free printables!

Welcome to Mommyhood: Memorial Day Activities
Today, we're going to be chatting about Memorial Day activities (and a big ole printable pack!). Even though I don't have American 'roots', I did live there for quite a few years, and feel a connection to the country. Because of that, I want to to teach my son about the United States even though I don't live there anymore. 

Of course, as someone who was not born there (born in Ukraine), doesn't live there now (live in the Netherlands), and didn't grow up in an 'American' household (family immigrated, but at home we were still pretty 'Russian' to the extent that we ate Russian food, spoke in Russian, celebrated Russian holidays, and kept pretty close to our culture), my ability to offer a particularly brilliant insight into the United States is limited. 

However, I do like the idea of sharing my experiences with my son and teaching him about different countries, cultures, and people. Actually, I think he's quite lucky in this regard - my hubby and I are trying to expose him to all of the cultures that make up our backgrounds, and let me tell you - it is a lot! 

But that's enough about me, let's get back to our Memorial Day activities! Given that my toddler is only twenty months old, I kept these pretty basic. I made a lot of printables, most of which we haven't even gotten to yet. I plan to get them out again by the time the fourth of July rolls around. That also makes me quite happy - to be prepared so far in advance! 

This week, we learned about the colors of the US flag, practiced loads of math activities, read a few books we have in English, and looked at our photos from the trip we took to the US when he was a little babe. 

Now, let me show you some photos!

Sensory play


We had fun exploring this sensory bin (for about five minutes): 

Memorial Day Activities: sensory play by Welcome to Mommyhood

Wednesday, 21 May 2014

Oven roasted tomatoes for breakfast, lunch, or dinner!

Easy healthy recipes: Oven roasted stuffed tomatoes by Welcome to Mommyhood
Breakfasts have to be easy for me. I know, I say it all the time, but seriously, those of you that manage to get breakfasts ready for your entire families (or yourself) that goes beyond a cup of coffee and a boiled egg blow my mind. I am not functional come morning time, and have no desire to do anything but sit at the computer, type up a few posts, and drink an unbelievably huge amount of coffee. Then, I can make up a larger meal for lunch and dinner.

Well, it seems, that I (and my son and hubby) are no longer doomed to eat bland breakfasts every morning thanks to these easy and oh so tasty stuffed tomatoes. I say they are a breakfast because ... I don't know, I like them for breakfast, but really, they make a fantastic side dish to a salad or a savory dinner. 

Easy, healthy recipes:

Oven Roasted Stuffed Tomatoes


Easy healthy recipes: Oven roasted stuffed tomatoes by Welcome to Mommyhood

Tuesday, 20 May 2014

Not that Paleo WIAW

Welcome to Mommyhood: easy healthy recipes and toddler meals
Today, we are just going to go straight to the food for today's What I Ate Wednesday, which is really What I Ate Tuesday, but you get the idea:  


Soaked carrot cake oats

I most definitely didn't start out the day with my typical paleo and super awesome breakfast of green smoothie + hard boiled eggs. Instead, I ended up having some carrot cake soaked oats that I had made for my son. 

Welcome to Mommyhood: easy healthy recipes

Welcome to Mommyhood: easy healthy recipes

I don't feel bad for having some of his breakfast though because he ate all of my lunch! 

Breakfast eggs for lunch

Oven roasted sweet potatoes with 'breakfast' oven baked tomatoes. So, so good. It was very much so the Toddler's favourite meal of the day (even though the oatmeal was a close contender). I barely got a chance to have a few bites before he requested my tomato and my sweet potato because he had already finished inhaled his portion. He only left some of the greens, but I did get him to eat a few leaves!

Pre-cooking: 

Welcome to Mommyhood: easy healthy recipes


Monday, 19 May 2014

Travel Series Part I: 20 plus tips and tricks for traveling [with the kids]

Welcome to Mommyhood: Air Travel Tips
I've traveled a lot in my day. Before having my son, I would fly from the Netherlands (or whichever European country I was in at the moment) to the US to visit my family at least once to twice a year, not to mention all of the country hopping I got to do within Europe. 

I still remember how terrified I was the first time I boarded a plane on my own. There was so much to figure out and I was so scared I would forget something, miss the proper boarding time, or just manage to ruin my entire travel experience. Now that the weather is warming up and vacation time is getting close, I can't imagine feeling that way with a small child (or more) in tote! 

That's why I decided to put together this post to share some of my travel 'wisdom'! Or rather, some of the tips and tricks I've picked up along the way. I know it can be scary and overwhelming even if you don't have a child with you. That's why this is going to be my first real series! I'll be posting all sorts of travel related tips on Tuesdays for the next four weeks. Today, I'll be going over some general things to think about, mostly related to air travel tips. Let's dive right in!

20 + Air Travel Tips (with kids!)


Welcome to Mommyhood: air travel tips

Sunday, 18 May 2014

Russian Potato and Beef Stew

Easy Healthy Recipes by Welcome to Mommyhood: Russian Potato and Beef Stew
It's not quite warm here again. I live in the Netherlands. I feel like I should be used to the fact that most days of the year are filled with rain and wind. It's a fact. That really impacts what I eat though because as much as I absolutely adore salads, they just don't happen as often now that I live in such a ... gray country. 

It means that I love warming up with a dish like this - something that offers some good ole comfort. It's a dish that I scoop into a large bowl, something I eat on the couch, with a blanket around my legs, and perhaps a with glass of red wine. 


Saturday, 17 May 2014

Nom Nom Meal Plan Time

Healthy Meal Plans - Paleo Inspired and Toddler Friendly meal plan
Before we get to the good stuff (this week's paleo -rific meal plan), I have a story. The Toddler got his first haircut yesterday. I mean, I've given him an at home hair cut before, but this was real! See:



Hey look! There's me, taking the photo! 

We decided to make a day out of it and went to Sneek, a tiny and oh so quaint city in the Netherlands: 



Sadly, my camera battery ran out after I shot about a billion photos of my child getting his first big boy haircut. Hubby also got a haircut, but that was significantly less exciting. The Toddler and I took that opportunity to explore the city a bit (photo above), and then he got very angry with me because I wouldn't let him climb into every single car that we saw in the parking lot. My child adores cars and thinks every single transportation themed item that ever existed is his. Seriously.  

Even though we had a lovely day, I can't help but feel a bit weird about this whole hair cut thing. Logically, it's not that big of a deal, but I feel like my little boy is all grown up now! He looks so much older! Has anyone else felt so emotional about a haircut? Am I the only strange one out there? 

Okay, okay, enough crazy mommy chat. Let's get onto the good stuff, shall we? Let's talk about food. Our trip to the city was conveniently on a day that the market was set up. It's not nearly as awesome as the one in the big, not so teeny city we used to live in, but we were still able to pick out a bunch of goodies, including two bunches of beets with their greens! I love leafy greens of all sorts, but have only given beet greens a try once. I also picked up some arugula, and a salad mix. This week, greens are going to be consumed. A lot. Partially to make up for the horribly unhealthy eats I had on our day out and about, but 



Breakfasts 

Friday, 16 May 2014

Easy, Healthy Recipes: Paleo or Vegan Stir fry

Easy, Healthy Recipes: Paleo or Vegan Stir fry
I do admit that if I am busy or feeling lazy, my go to meals are either chili or a stir fry. I love dishes like that - easy to put together and very difficult to get wrong. 

Today, I'll be sharing a very easy stir fry - and paleo (or vegan if you prefer), too! I actually should say, I loosely call it a stir fry and the only reason I do that is because it was made in a wok and have to stir it often. Really, this is just a combination of vegetables that is flavored with awesome spices. 

Easy healthy recipes: paleo or vegan stir fry by Welcome to Mommyhood

Teaching my toddler how to do things (Montessori Activities for Toddlers)

Montessori Activities for Toddler
Hi there! I feel the need to say: I love Montessori. A lot. Shocking, I know. I feel like I should explain what it is and do a basic post about it, and I will soon (mostly to share the amazing resources out there), but this isn't going to be that type of post. This post is going to be more of a follow up to the one I wrote about helping toddlers do 'it' themselves. It is going to show case Montessori inspired activities for toddlers, specifically practical life activities that we have been working on this week. 

Wallets, and locks and belts, oh my!


These activities are all straight forward - put the key in the lock, lacing with a belt, and of course, my wallet. 


Welcome to Mommyhood: Montessori Activities for Toddlers

Wednesday, 14 May 2014

Easy, Healthy Recipes: a big bowl of Mexican inspired stew (Vegan option)

Easy, Healthy Recipes: a big bowl of Mexican inspired stew
I had a dilemma when I sat down to write this post. Which recipe do I share? There are currently four million (actually ten, but four million is very close!) recipes written down throughout my idea notebook with so many photos in a draft folder. Which one do I choose? I went with this stew, simply because I kind of wanted to eat it for breakfast, but we don't have any. Crisis! Instead, I settled for a blog post + a gigantic cup of coffee. I mean, looking at photos of food is just as good as eating it, right? No, not really, but I suppose having dinner at 5.30 in the morning is probably better to avoid anyway. 

Welcome to Mommyhood: Easy Healthy Recipes - Mexican inspired stew

Tuesday, 13 May 2014

What I Ate Wednesday - soups, stews, and fruit!

Healthy meals and healthy toddler meals
Hubby (and the Toddler) got me a new camera for Mother's Day. This means that after taking about 10,000 photos of my child, I moved on to the next best thing: food. So be prepared folks, here is some of What I Ate on Monday and Tuesday. I actually forgot to snap a full day of eats, thus the combination. As always, thanks to Jenn at Peas and Crayons for Hosting the WIAW linkup! 

I still don't know what over half of the functions on the camera do, and while the quality of photos around here should most definitely improve, it may take a little while before it becomes consistent. Without further rambling, here ya go a bunch of photos of my food: 

The only breakfast - a huge fruit salad. I was majorly craving some sweets and this most definitely satisfied that craving. It is actually sitting on a whole bunch of leafy greens and spinach. I cannot start my day without something green. 

Welcome to Mommyhood: fruit salad or a giant bowl of sweetness

Monday, 12 May 2014

Tips for helping toddlers to become independent (and help out around the house)

I know I've mentioned it before, but in case you missed, I love the Montessori approach to teaching children. A lot. A lot, a lot. So does my son. I've noticed such a change in his abilities, his speech since we've started with it, and we generally just love it! The order that it provides and the way that Montessori activities are set up, really works for us. 

One of the most well known sayings from Maria Montessori is 'Help me to do it myself.' That cannot be more true for my son. He loves to do anything and everything he can on his own! I love that look of satisfaction on his adorable little face as he accomplishes his tasks. Those same tasks that I find incredibly tedious, but to him, not only are they major accomplishments, but these tasks are also learning experiences. Dusting, vacuuming, loading the dishwasher at 20 months old, all give my child so much satisfaction, while being very educational! 

As we've shifted to allowing the Toddler to do more and more himself, I've seen his confidence in his own skills increase, and I want to foster that as much as possible. Today, I want to share those activities with you! 

Aside from the importance of allowing children to try doing things on their own, Montessori also places emphasis on a tidy and organised space. I find that this is absolutely crucial with my son. We've started rotating toys and keeping clutter minimal. In turn, he has started tidying up his toys and things on his own! I'm baffled at what those tiny hands can accomplish! 

Here are some simple ways to help your Toddler gain independence: 


Sunday, 11 May 2014

Exciting news!!!!

Apologies for all the exclamation points, but I've got some news! I'm so excited to have been nominated for a Liebster award! Twice, even! I was nominated by Janelle over at Run with no regrets and Ciara at Our Little House in the Country! These are both great blogs and I highly recommend you check them out. Janelle writes about running and Ciara about children and children's activities. I'm very grateful to have been nominated by these lovely ladies!

Back to the Liebster award - even though no actual award is given (I know, it's tragic!), it's a fantastic way for bloggers to support each other! Here are the rules: 

  • Thank the person [people] who nominated you and link back to their blog 
  • Provide 11 random facts about yourself
  • Answer the 11 questions from the nominating blogger
  • Nominate 5-11 [small] blogs you feel deserve the award
  • Create 11 new questions for your nominees to answer 
  • Let your nominees know you've nominated them

11 random facts about me

  1. I met my husband in a tram in Prague where we were both on holiday. We were even staying at the same hotel. 
  2. I speak 4 languages fluently, and understand another 2.
  3. I'm terrified of heights.
  4. I'm also a little scared of dogs.
  5. I finally counted and realised I have lived in 5 countries. 
  6. I have a fancy shmancy degree in International Relations, but I'm unbelievably happy as a SAHM. I kind of regret studying so much. 
  7. I love clothes. And shoes. I don't get dolled up much anymore, but I love fashion (and designing outfits I cannot sew). 
  8. Coffee addiction. It's Bad. 
  9. A part of me wants about ten children, but I'll settle for the 3-4 Hubby and I actually agree upon. 
  10. I adore cooking. See my post about Russian culture. Cooking for my family is one of the most rewarding things I do! I love seeking that look of satisfaction on their faces as they dig in! That first bite always tells me if it's good (blog worthy) or if I need to work on the recipe some more. 
  11. I've travelled to too many countries than I care to count, but it was quite a bit! One of my favourite trips was the China! It was so incredible, and I cannot wait to go back sometime in the not so near future. 



Happy Meal Plan Day!

Paleo Meal Plan
Happy Mother's Day everyone! My sidekick gave me a beautiful homemade card and even drew a picture! It'll be framed and hung up in our bedroom, if we ever get into our new house. Theoretically, we should be getting our key in less than two weeks, but that's already three weeks after when we were supposed to have it. So. Frustrating. As much as I am not looking forward to construction, I'd love to actually get going on it and get it over with. 


As far as food goes, this week, I'm continuing on with paleo. I'm so glad that we have finally managed to really stick with our routine again. Even though I would say we still aren't back to 100% paleo meals, but rather about 70 to 80. I'm very happy with that, and find that we are all feeling better again. Eating only sandwiches for breakfast and lunch just doesn't provide us with enough energy to get through the day, especially for Hubby who has a pretty demanding job. I'm hoping to focus on providing him with more nutritional and filling meals for work lunches soon. 

Here's what's on the menu for this week's paleo meal plan: 

Breakfast

  • Sweet potato and carrot hash with egg 
  • Smoothies 
  • Hard boiled eggs or egg muffins or another egg bake

Welcome to Mommyhood's Easy healthy recipes: kale and egg bake

Friday, 9 May 2014

Russian Victory Day and 12 things about Russians

Today, we will be talking about something very near and dear to me - Russia or rather, Russian culture. Yesterday was the Russian Victory Day, and today, I will be sharing a few tidbits about it, as well as Russian culture. 

I am quite the embodiment of a cosmopolitan person - I was born in one country, have an ethnic background from another, and lived in yet another, and then another, ... and then one more! I love all of the countries I have lived in, my birth country, being an immigrant in the US, and then hopping around Europe before settling down in the Netherlands. At the same time, there is always a bit of a special place in my heart for that one culture, that one place where I was born: 



Crimea. It's that peninsula in the south of Ukraine that can be described as  a Russian enclave. [Most] people here speak Russian as their first language, and identify as Russian. To try to keep confusion at a minimum, my family identifies as Russian, but we were born in Ukraine. 

Have you heard of Crimea? It's that peninsula that used to be a part of Ukraine, but is now a part of Russia? Kind of. You see, Ukraine is unstable again. Because of all of the instability, it feels strange to be writing a post about such a nationalistic Russian holiday. I have a few degrees in International Relations and Eastern European studies, and it is very difficult not to turn this into a scholarly article about the current situation. This isn't the platform and I will try to keep all of my rants and theories to myself. You're welcome! 

Let's look at some photos as we transition into the culture talk. 


Thursday, 8 May 2014

Vehicle themed toddler activities and a free Montessori inspired printable!

Vehicle themed toddler activities, and montessori inspired toddler activities!
We've been keeping busy again this week! My father in law dropped off a big bag of little vehicles for the Toddler last week. We're talking a combination of wood, plastic, and metal vehicles of all sizes and shapes! The Toddler loves cars. He loves climbing into Daddy's lap and driving our car (with no key in the ignition and the parking brake on. I get paranoid.)

This week, instead of continuing with our farm theme, most of our activities had to do with vehicles. I thought that the combination of using toys that the Toddler loves for our Tot School activities would really spark his interest. The results were ... we'll, you'll see!

I also tried to incorporate quite a bit of Montessori work into our Tot School activities, which, I think, has been going fairly well. I'm still going back and forth with whether or not I want to stick to a weekly theme, bi-weekly theme, or no theme at all though. 

Regardless of what I do end up choosing, I have a quite the growing collection of printables in my Tot School folder, so at least I won't be short of supplies and ideas! I've been really enjoying researching Montessori, and coming up with what seem to me like Montessori inspired/compatible activities and printables. It's been quite a bit of work, but I've been having fun, and the Toddler is learning, too! 

Here's what we focused on this week sans action shots as my phone officially refuses to charge and I still haven't been to the shop to repair it:

Language building works

Nomenclature cards and toy cars.  

Welcome to Mommyhood: Montessori inspired toddler activities

Wednesday, 7 May 2014

Easy, peasy: Egg bake

Easy healthy recipes: kale and egg bake
Have you noticed a trend around here this week? We've been lovin' on easy (but healthy!) recipes. I've been cooking up a storm, but since my adventures in baking last week, I'm just not in the mood for spending hours in the kitchen. Or maybe it's because we're finally somewhat settled, for now that is. I just adore, easy, convenient recipes. A lot. See, here's another: 

Welcome to Mommyhood's Easy healthy recipes: kale and egg bake

Psst! Here's a not so secret, secret - my family adores eggs! A lot. A dozen eggs seriously does not last in my house for more than a day or two. Recipes like this are most definitely the reason why. I mean, kale + eggs + oven = awesome! 

Tuesday, 6 May 2014

...And we're back to Paleo! (this week's WIAW)

Easy healthy recipes and toddler meals
Do you ever wake up and just know that it's not going to be the best of days? Yesterday was definitely one of those days for both me and the Toddler. We had about four meltdowns and not enough coffee. 

We tried turning it around though with fun cooking! These eats saved my sanity yesterday - the Toddler not only loved eating them, but helping to make them, as well. 

Breakfast 

An egg and an apple (or two). I got up at a quarter to five so by six I was hungry but didn't really feel like eating so egg and apple. 


Snack/Brunch

We had something a bit more satisfying a little bit later when it was Smoothie Time! This base was actually supposed to turn into carrot cake muffins that I really, really want to make, but instead I adapted it to be a Carrots and Cream smoothie. 

Welcome to Mommyhood - Easy healthy recipes: Carrots and cream smoothie


The only thing that was missing was a blender full of spinach. I guess I just can't have a morning smoothie without some greens! 

Lazy Day Dish II: Rosemary potatoes

Easy, healthy recipes: Lazy Day Rosemary potatoes
I had a long post all written out for today. I even got up at 4.30 in the morning to do it. But then! The Toddler woke up too early, which was fine at first. We had some cuddles, enjoyed each other's company and hung out. Sure, I can definitely step away from the computer to give my sidekick some attention! Until it happened... the temper tantrum from hell. The child went crazy on me and we headed into that dreaded territory - foot stomping, belly flopin', full on screaming temper tantrum! For about half an hour. Don't worry though! The crisis has now been contained, and the Toddler is down for a much needed nap. I hope when he wakes up, my sweet little guy will be back and that that crazy pants monster stays away! 

I also don't feel like finishing off anything on my to do list anymore. It's only 9.25 in the morning though, so maybe I'll have time. Instead, I want to finally share this easy peasy recipe that's been sitting in my draft folder for a while. It's so, so easy that I've been contemplating about whether or not I should share. I mean, can I really call it a recipe? 

Yea, I'm definitely going to ... Here's what I'm in the mood for today: 


Easy Rosemary Potatoes




Sunday, 4 May 2014

Easy, healthy recipes: lazy day stew

Easy healthy recipes: Lazy day stew
Hi there and happy Monday! Things around here are still settling down, and I've been in a bit of a food rut last week. There are so many fantastic recipes I want to try. I mean, the ideas are still flowing, but when it comes down to it, I'm too tired to cook or have too many other things to do that distract me from really getting creative. This week, I'm even more determined to turn things around. We have nothing major going on and are mostly unpacked. This means, I should be able to find some time to get busy in the kitchen! I'm also quite excited to get my curious little sidekick more involved in cooking. 

In spite of or maybe because of the cooking rut I've been in, I've really been loving one pot dishes. This lazy stew was so easy to throw together, and I loved that I was still able to provide a healthy meal to my family, in spite of spending about ten minutes prepping it. I love easy, healthy recipes! 



Meal plan: getting back to our normal, whatever that is

Hello there everyone! I hope you are having a lovely weekend! Before we get into meal planning, I thought I would share a little snippet of Dutch life and history with you! Today is Remembrance day, which commemorates all of the lives lost during the Second World War. In 1961, Remembrance Day was expanded to include those that passed in all conflicts and peacekeeping missions since World War II. Tomorrow, May 5 is Liberation day, which is more of a celebration rather than a day of mourning. 

And an extra little tidbit: in Russia, these are celebrated on May 9, which marks the capitulation of Nazi Germany. This is Russia's 4th of July, and is known as Victory Day. We won't be doing much as far as celebrating either except for listening to some fun music, working on some red white and blue crafts (conveniently, the colors of the US, Dutch, and Russian flags), and probably most importantly in my home, we will be making some traditional foods!

I've spent quite a bit of time working on our meals for this week. I plan to cook a lot, try out some new recipes, revamp a few old ones that I have up on here but will not be linking to because the photos are horrible. I'll be fixing that! 

I also really need to get back into healthy eating and our former habits. This move has really caused a huge break from the way we used to do things, and we yet again completely ignored our meal plan last week. I've started viewing meals as a chore and haven't been enjoying cooking. Because of moving, we really just didn't have the same amount of fresh produce (as in my fridge was not stuffed to maximum capacity and then some with greens, veg, and loads of fruits). 

To top it off, I had baked a total of four cakes for my Hubby's birthday and we loads of leftovers. Of course, it was necessary to finish all of them off because, well, throwing out brownie cake, carrot cake, and apple pie is a tragedy! 

This upcoming week, we have no plans, no birthdays, no anything. Just a boring week, and I will be using that time to get us back to healthy eating. We're going to be heading out to the one grocery store that is open today and I'm going to be stocking up on ingredients to get my self excited about food and cooking again! Tuesday, I will be visiting the market, and perhaps Friday, too! I need inspiration folks! 

Wow, that was long. Let's finally get to the meals: 

Breakfast 


  • Business as usual - eggs and smoothies
  • Egg muffins
  • Egg scramble? A frittata? Eggs, eggs, and more eggs baby! We ran out this week due to the massive amount I used for baking and I was miserable at breakfast time. We love our eggs!


Lunch


photo 2-2

Saturday, 3 May 2014

Montessori inspired tot school part II

Montessori inspired toddler activities
Today's post is a continuation of our Montessori Activities Tot School post from yesterday. I showed the sensorial activities/work we worked on, the practical life activities, pouring activities, science experiment, and our nature/farm walk. Today, I'm sharing our language development work, math activities, and music. 


We have really been enjoying Montessori themed activities. I won't say that these are all Montessori or that I know a lot about it. I've only started really researching and have a lot of learning to do myself, but I have been trying to incorporate ideas and inspiration from Montessori into our Tot School. Like I mentioned yesterday, the set up is so easy, which means that we can do so much! I'm spending a lot less time thinking about what we will be doing in 'school', which has made it much less stressful for me! 

Language (and letters)

I mentioned yesterday that we started something really new for us: [Russian] Phonics! 

Welcome to Mommyhood: toddler activities

Now, the Toddler is only 19 months old (just shy of 20). I have seen some awesome youtube mama's (like Jady a) who have gotten their tots reading very young - around 2 years old! That is not even close to being a goal for us, especially because the Toddler does not say too many words. 

What I am trying to do is simply to reinforce the sounds that the Toddler already knows. For now, I only have a few letters on the fridge and we occasionally walk up there and I read them to him (ah, buh, vuh). I don't say letter A or whatnot, but just the sound that they make. 

I thought that since he is making sounds and trying to repeat what we say, that this may be... interesting for him? I did get the idea from the youtuber above. I'm not sure how frequently we will be working on it or what will come of it, but so far, the Toddler is very, very intrigued. He loves walking up to the fridge and pointing at them. He also enjoys taking the magnets off of the letters, and then putting the letters back on the magnets. 

Like I said, he isn't talking very much, and I am trying to talk to him more. I feel responsible for his lack of speech because honestly, I just don't talk to him as much as I should. That in combination with the amount of languages to which he is exposed (primary: Russian and Friesian. He also hears Daddy and I speak in English to each other), I think is a challenge for him. 

I was inspired by the Montessori sand tray letter activity to come up with something similar. I stuck with our spontaneous and pseudo birthday/baking theme this week by using flour (мука) instead of sand, and I presented the Toddler several items that start with the letter M (in Russian of course. I know hammer starts with H in English ;) 

Flour play with letter M things 


Welcome to Mommyhood: toddler activities and Montessori activities

Friday, 2 May 2014

Birthday themed toddler activities & some Montessori love (19 months old) Part I

Toddler activities, sensory play, and Montessori
 We have been very, very busy this week. I've been researching, reading, and sleeping very little, thinking about the direction I want to take our tot school in and about our 'homeschool' future (or lack thereof). 

Now, I'm not going to get into a lot of details with this post, but I will say that I have been reading up on Montessori for a while now - I think I first wrote about it a month or so ago in the Colours Themed Toddler Activities post. I am finally getting around to really trying to work Montessori not only into our Tot School/toddler activities, but also into our daily lives and home set up. 

One of the reasons why I love Montessori so much is how easy our toddler activities have been to set and clean up. Even the really messy ones took no more than five minutes to prepare and/or put away. Clean up became a learning activity itself because I got the Toddler to help! I doubt we are going to be working exclusively on Montessori activities, but I will definitely be making sure to include a lot. 

Shall we get on to these educational and easy peasy to set up toddler activities, or work as Montessori lingo calls it. Thanks to Marnie from Super Smart Mama for pointing that out! 

Okay, okay, one more thing - this past week was my husband's birthday so a lot of 'work'/toddler activities included something birthday related like candles, flour (for baking cakes), sprinkles, etc. 

Sensorial (sensory play)  

I guess this could also be practical life because it's cooking practice. Or math because we measured and talked about numbers? Or Language because we got to discuss so many different things? I'll leave it categorised as sensorial because we got to engage so many senses!  

Welcome to Mommyhood: sensorial (sensory play) activities with spices and herbs and cooking supplies

Thursday, 1 May 2014

13 Healthy Toddler Meals at almost 20 months old

13 Healthy Toddler Meals

Has another month already gone by? Putting these monthly Toddler Meals posts together makes me realise just how quickly time flies! I mean the Toddler is almost 20 months old, and that means he's really almost two, which means he's almost and adult! Okay, okay, not really, but time goes by too quickly! My little baby is so big and I don't know how we got here! 

Tragic realisation aside, let's get back to the real reason why we're here today. It's time for another Munchkin Meals Post where we chat all about what the Toddler is eating. 

Welcome to Mommyhood: 13 healthy toddler meals