Thursday, 27 November 2014

Invitation to Christmas play dough

Christmas seems to be everywhere on the internet, and I have to admit that I am getting pretty excited! I've already created a whole bunch of printables and planned loads of Christmas themed shelves and activities for Mr. Toddler! 

Today, I'm starting by sharing a Christmas inspired invitation to play: 



Christmas activities for kids: invation to Christmas playdough #ChristmasActivitiesforKids, #toddleractivities








Christmas activities for kids

Christmas playdough invitation


Wednesday, 26 November 2014

Sinterklaas in the Netherlands

Today, I'm going to be chatting about my expat life, and life here in the Netherlands! With all of the fun holidays happening in the US, I thought it would be nice to share some of the holiday traditions that are important here in the Netherlands, specifically Sinterklaas (Saint Nicholas' Day) on December 6th.  

I'm sharing (as concisely as I can) a bit about how my in laws celebrate and the general Dutch traditions. 

It all starts off with the arrival of Sinterklaas, called the Sinterklaas intocht! This takes place about two to three weeks before the actual holiday. This is when Saint Nicholas comes from Spain to the Netherlands to prepare for the holidays. I was actually surprised to see that even the villages host an event for this, separately from the larger cities near them.

Sinterklaas (Saint Nicholas Day) in the Netherlands {Welcome to Mommyhood}

All of the villagers started gathering outside in anticipation for Saint Nicholas' arrival. There was a host, who had a microphone, and was explaining to the kids and families that he had insider news that Sinterklaas was coming soon! The kids were supposed to search around the village for his boat. 

My son had a lot of fun walking around with his friends (who were waiting and looking for Sinterklaas' boat). 

Last year, we attended in a large city, where he arrived on a large boat, with many little ones surrounding. The city was swamped. Here in the village, there was nothing fancy, but all of the kids living here were outside, cheering with excitement and waiting for Sinterklaas to arrive on his boat. 

Sinterklaas (Saint Nicholas Day) in the Netherlands {Welcome to Mommyhood}

While significantly less 'fancy', this village experience was quite personal in comparison. 

Sinterklaas (Saint Nicholas Day) in the Netherlands {Welcome to Mommyhood}

The kids crowded the boat as Sinterklaas and his Zwarte Pieten arrived. 

Here's a note on the Zwarte Pieten (Black Pete? literally translated). I'm not going to get into this too much, but there is a lot of controversy regarding them. These tend to be Dutch folks with black face paint and gloves. They are Sinterklaas' helpers, and supposedly are black due to ash from climbing into chimneys to deliver gifts. There are a lot of opponents however saying that it's a racist, where as other people argue that it's tradition and has nothing to do with racism. To be honest, I was shocked to see this for the first time. 

My son was not impressed with the strange, bearded man and didn't want to go near him or his helpers, unlike the majority of other the kiddos. 

Sinterklaas (Saint Nicholas Day) in the Netherlands {Welcome to Mommyhood}

The Zwarte Pieten handed out pepernoten to the children (they are a small cookie that tastes a bit like gingerbread). 


Sinterklaas (Saint Nicholas Day) in the Netherlands {Welcome to Mommyhood}

Instead, Sinterklaas' horse and carriage were significantly more interesting, so my son hung out with our neighbours by the horses. 


Sinterklaas (Saint Nicholas Day) in the Netherlands {Welcome to Mommyhood}

Sinterklaas then rode off on the horse led carriage, with the helpers and majority of villagers following. The helpers had hid all sorts of presents (usually drawings from the children to the Sinterklaas) throughout the village. The kids helped to hunt them down.  


Sinterklaas (Saint Nicholas Day) in the Netherlands {Welcome to Mommyhood}

Meanwhile my son enjoyed walking hand in hand with his girlfriends ;) 

Sinterklaas (Saint Nicholas Day) in the Netherlands {Welcome to Mommyhood}

And I saw this cool bike. 


Sinterklaas (Saint Nicholas Day) in the Netherlands {Welcome to Mommyhood}

Random photo- the reason why all of my stiletto heals have been ruined: the dreaded cobblestone road. 


Sinterklaas (Saint Nicholas Day) in the Netherlands {Welcome to Mommyhood}

I didn't wear heels on our exploration, and we had a great time walking around the village with Mr. Toddler! 

What usually happens after the arrival of Sinterklaas, is that kids will lay their shoes out the night before. In the morning, they can find small gifts. Families do this bit differently, but we bought a bunch of small cars, and have been leaving them in Mr. Toddler's shoes on the weekends. We will do this until 5 December. Some families leave a carrot out (for Saint Nicholas' horses).  

We also have a fun celebration with my in laws, before or after the actual holiday. My husband and I then celebrate the day of together. This year, we had the larger celebration on 22 November, the same day that we did all of the above. 

We pick the names of family members from an envelope, and buy gifts only for the people we pick. We make a 'surprise' for them and write a poem about them as if from Sinterklaas. 


Sinterklaas (Saint Nicholas Day) in the Netherlands {Welcome to Mommyhood}



And then eat tons of mashed potatoes! 


Sinterklaas (Saint Nicholas Day) in the Netherlands {Welcome to Mommyhood}

The top ones had saurkraut in them, and the bottom had kale! These take mashed potatoes to a whole new level! Loaded mashed potatoes are absolutely my favourite Dutch dishes, and my favourite dishes that my mother in law cooks! Delicious! 

This really is a fun holiday and we're making up our own traditions in our mixed culture home! It's been a lot of fun to discover our different ways of doing things and the rhythm that works well for my husband and I. 

For more expat stories and more about life in the Netherlands, checkout these expat posts!


Questions


  • What kinds of traditions do you have for the holidays?  
  • Do you celebrate Saint Nicholas' Day? 

PS - Happy Thanksgiving to those of you from the United States! 


Thank you so much for stopping by!
Yuliya

Tuesday, 25 November 2014

WIAW: paleo

Happy Wednesday everyone! If you're located in the US, I wish you guys the best of luck in preparing for Thanksgiving, and ... black Friday. I went to a clothing store with a friend on black Friday. Once. It was chaos. 

To be honest, the entire concept kind of scares me. As in, I keep imagining that people are getting trampled in stampedes of rushed shoppers to get the absolute cheapest electronics they can possible find. Regardless of what you're plans are, I do hope you have a blast carrying them out! 

We've been drowning in house stuff in my neck of the woods. That and holiday preparations. Folks, our house is seriously no where near done. It seems every time one project is completed, we find ten more that need to be done before we can move on to the next. If we could just get the roof back on, the floors on the first floor, electrical, and plumping work done, we could move into the first floor at least. We're so crazy for doing this all ourselves. But! In the end, we'll have a pretty home for current and future offspring to play in. 

Because of all of the aforementioned stuff on our to do list, we have been taking comfort in obnoxious amounts of delicious food. It's all healthy, so I can't say that I'm minding stuffing my face with pumpkin. See: 

Paleo WIAW {Welcome to Mommyhood} #paleo

While pumpkin isn't quite able to fix up our house, it makes a pretty nice comfort food, and I was certainly comforted yesterday! Anyway, here are the other eats and treats from Tuesday: 

Holiday gift guide: for young toddlers (12-24 months)

Today, I am sharing more holiday gift ideas for toddlers! This time, I am focusing on gifts for younger toddlers - or those that are around one year old. 

As I wrote in my Toddler Gift Guide, I have been thinking quite a lot about the types of toys my husband and I prefer for our son. We go for sturdy, wooden toys that also serve an educational purpose. Toys should be fun, for sure, but that doesn't mean that learning doesn't happen while little ones play! 

One thing I was especially particular about when my son was 1 year old was that I didn't want toys that make noise. I don't mean instruments, but ones that sing and beep, and honk, and make a big ole racket, but a lot of my family members didn't quite understand what kind of toys we did want for our son. 

Here is a list of some amazing toys for younger toddlers that are not only wooden, but educational and most importantly fun! 

When picking out gifts for kids, it's of course important to focus on what the particular child enjoys, and then go from there. For the animal lover, finding some wooden blocks with animals on them, could be loads of fun! For the music lover, get them a wooden instrument! For more specific ideas, have a look below!

Holiday gift ideas for toddlers {Welcome to Mommyhood} #holidaygiftideas, #christmas, #holidays, #toddlers

Healthy Thanksgiving Recipes: Desserts

I think after having pretty much every single food related post this month turn out to be Thanksgiving themed, it's pretty evident that I have a minor major obsession with all things Thanksgiving and especially all things pumpkin related. You're shocked. I know. 

Today, I'm sharing a collection of some of my favourite Thanksgiving-y desserts and pumpkin treats. But guess what?! They're all healthy! And almost all of them are also paleo friendly! This is also pretty awesome because I can actually share a few bites with my toddler without getting a sugar crazed little boy running around the house. 

Enough chatting, right? Let's get on to the good stuff! Here is a list of 11 healthy Thanksgiving desserts: 


11 Healthy Thanksgiving Recipes: Desserts {Welcome to Mommyhood} #paleo, #healthythanksgivingrecipes


Healthy Thanksgiving Recipes

Desserts



Monday, 24 November 2014

Healthy Thanksgiving Recipes: side dishes

For those of you located in the US, you are lucky enough to have Thanksgiving approaching! That means loads of delicious turkey, lovely side dishes, and probably a bit too many treats! 

I have been preparing all sorts of healthy Thanksgiving inspired recipes here in the Netherlands as nostalgia has hit me full swing. I've been recreating recipes, testing out new ones, and stuffing my family to capacity. Luckily, these are pretty light recipes, but don't get me wrong - they are delicious! 

Here's a compiled list of 19 healthy side dish recipes you can bring to your Thanksgiving bash that your relatives will thank you for! If you still don't have your menu settled, need some new ideas, or are just on the look out for new and delicious recipes, you are bound to find a bunch of amazing recipes here:


Healthy Thanksgiving Recipes

Side dishes



You will be sure to impress your friends and family with any of these 19 healthy Thanksgiving Recipes: 19 healthy Thanksgiving Side dishes by Welcome to Mommyhood #healthythanksgivingrecipes, #paleo, #easyhealthyrecipes