How to present puzzles in Montessori fashion and what does absorbing from environment actually mean?

In the early phase of development, Maria Montessori distinguished two phases: first one up to 3 years old in which the child absorbs the environment and second period 3-6 years, in which the child realizes the environment by the work of his hands. Also she has already 100 years ago noticed the childs sensitivity for order. Let me make few important quotes:

A childs sensitiveness to order may be noticed even in the first months of his existence. A positive manifestation of it may be seen in the enthusiasm and joy which children who at seeing things in their proper places.

Already from this quote you might notice how important the environment is, since children absorb everything and have a need to find a thing in  a certain spot. Don’t you remember playing hide and seek with your kids when they are young toddlers? They always expect that you will hide at the same spot especially between 1 and 2 years old:D

Obviously the love of order in children is not the same as that of adults. Order provides an adult with a certain amount of external pleasure. But for the small children it is something quite different. It is like the land upon which animals walk or the water in which fish swim. In their first year they derive their principles of orientation from their environment which they must later master. And since a child is formed by his environment he has need of precise and determined guides and not simply some vague constructive formulae.

From my previous blog posts, you already know that Natalia loved puzzles already with 14 months and I have described her journey till 30 months. Even now, every night before going to sleep she takes some puzzles from her shelf (now she takes 30-50 pieces puzzles) and then she has to assemble them at least twice, she is now in this sensitive period for puzzles where she enjoys repetitions. Once done, she says mommy please one more time before goodnight story, and like that usually few times.

Unlike Natalia, her brother is not interested in puzzles at all. And that is fine, we are all different. World would be so boring if we would all have the same interests.

It is necessary, then, to give the child the possibility of developing according to the laws of his nature, so that he can become strong, and, having become strong, can do even more than we dared hope for him. M.M

So far he has enjoyed only wooden puzzles and shape sorter, and thanks to observing him I have realized puzzles should always be presented in assembled and not disassembled fashion. In that way they are much more appealing. At least, they are to my children. You might wonder how did I notice it?

I ll give you few examples. When  Miro was 14 months the circle puzzle presented in such a way that circles were in a separated basked and empty puzzle on a tray he never took it. Whenever I would leave it intact, he would take it to the table and play for 15 minutes, repeating the assembling and disassembling process.

Or one more recent example – on our table we have a decoration in which we place tooth-picks, it consists of few flower petals which you can assemble on the top of each other. Miro just takes it and from time to time reassembles. Few weeks ago he replaced the petals of this plastic decoration with the petals of the real flower since he found it more appealing. I was not very happy he destroyed my plant but I kept my emotions for myself and told him we do not want to hurt plants:D






Avocado-shrimp tasty wonder

Those of you who know me for more than 10 years, know that I used to be a person for who a meal without meat was not a meal at all:D Things change over time, so I ve learned to make some vegetarian dishes during my cooking journey. I experiment a lot. Here I will present one of my pseudo vegeterian dishes:) I love shrimps so with them I experiment the most – I still feel sorry for my better half and Ivica for eating one of my first shrimp experiments evers (shrimp strawberry). You two will always be remembered as brave heroes!!! The recipe described here is well optimised and tested numerous times, so you can relax and enjoy:D

Ingredients you need (for a family of 2 adults and 2 small kids):

1 red onion

4 cloves of garlic

180 g shrimp

2 avocados

400 mL coconut milk

1/2 lemon

300 g noodles

olive oil

Procedure: Put noodles to cook in boiling salty water. In the meantime, fry garlic, onion and shrimps for 5-7 minutes on olive oil and stir all the time. Add coconut milk, squeeze half of the lemon, add avocados which you previously mashed with a fork. Cook additional minute in a wok and then mixed the pasta with it. Voila! Enjoy!!!:D


Preparing bird food

In case your kids love birds just like ours do – they will enjoy in preparing winter snacks for birds.

What do you need to prepare a bird winter snack?

Some seeds – we used sunflower seeds


Coconut fat (or any other animal or plant-based fat)

Muffin form


Let your kids cover the muffin forms bottom with seeds and raisins. Later instruct them to put coconut fat into a bowl and heat for 2 minutes in microwave. Than with a spoon they should transfer the melted fat into the seeds just enough to cover them, leave outside or in the fridge for few minutes. Use toothpicks or something else to make a whole in the middle to put a rope through it and hang on trees in your garden or in the wood close to you:)

Easy and fun practical activity:D

Enjoy and let me know if you try it:D



Let’s spread the awareness and decrease the consequences of post-partum and post-lactation depression

Did you know that up to 80% of women experience some kind of baby blues after the birth of their baby? Baby blues can last from few hours to two weeks. It does not require any special treatment, only support from the environment:D Symptoms are mild and include mood lability, irritability, terfulness, generalised anxiety, sleep and appetite disturbances.

Due to babyblues many people think post-partum depression is something normal, that every woman goes through after birth and it will pass on its own. Well, it might pass on its own after 6 months to a year and resulting in various negative consequences – like negative short-term and long-term effects on child development.

15% of women experience postpartum depression which can appear either few weeks or few months after baby delivery. 15 percent is a lot! It means that if you know 30 girls in childbearing age, 4 of them will experience PPD. Occurence of PPD among teenage mothers is even higher up to 26%. Not every woman will demonstrate same symptoms of PPD but in general they include tearfulnes, despondency, emotional lability, feelings of guilt, loss of appetite, suicidal ideation, sleep disturbances, feelings of inadequacy and inability to cope with infant, poor concentration and memory, fatigue and irritability. Some women worry excessively about baby’s feeding habits and consider themselves as ‘bad’ mothers. Symptoms of post-lactation depression (which I experienced on my own skin) are the same, it’s just that type of depression is much less common and there is not enough data for it. There are some publications which summarise the risk factors which I will present here. So according to one recent review article following are the risk factors for PPD: depression or anxiety during pregnancy, past history of psychiatric illness, life events (e.g. death of loved ones, relationship breakdown, divorce, losing job), lack of good social support, obstetrics factors (C-section gives a slight rise to PPD) and socioeconomic status (low-income, low education, unemployment).

Is there a way out?

Ofcourse there is!:) There are so many of us who went through it. It is just important to seek help in time. If you do not wait till reaching rock-bottom (like me), you will be able to resolve it during few psychotherapeutic sessions.

If you do not have support from your husband, due to the stigmatization of mental illnesses in the country you live in, look for support online! There are many support groups for women experiencing postpartum depression and anxiety on Facebook. Remember in healthy body, there is a healthy spirit! Ask for help in time! Learn on my own mistakes. Remember – HAPPY MOM – HAPPY KIDS🙂

If your husband thinks your PPD will pass on its own, maybe put him some laxative in his coffee and wait till he resolves his diarrhea on it’s on in 1 minute:P

Enjoy and please be support to all your friends and family members who might be going through the difficult time in their lives:D


How to travel cheap around Europe?

Most of us Europeans are not grateful enough for all the cheap possibilities of transport we have. Just recently, I have realised that, for example, in US there are no such thing as 5 euro flights. In order to give a better insight in the Euro travels here is the article.

Best way to cross long distances is by plane. We flew multiple times with our kids, and still do on regular basis. In order to do it on budget you should travel only with backpacks, what more do you need for a weekend trip? The thing is that in all budget companies you need to pay additionally for check-in luggage. More tips on how and when to book cheap airlines ticket here.

So here goes the list of cheap airline companies:

Ryanair – our most beloved one. I still remember one of my first Ryanair flights just after volcano eruption on Iceland, when you could buy a ticket to London for 3 euros from Pula (Croatia) woow, of course I used the opportunity. Now you can not find flights for 3 euros but I am sure after some new volcano eruption there might even be cheaper cause people are afraid to travel then due to media scary news. If you want to go really on budget do not reserve a seat, we never do. Yes it does happen that we are than separated during the flight, like me and Miro on one part of plane, Krzys and Natalia in another, but it is fine, its only for 2 hours:) If you want to seat all together than you need to pay extra, which we find completely unnecessary. Especially if travelling with children, take care how you dress so you pass all security controls as painless as possible, meaning no bracelets, metal bras, keys left over in pocket, boots etc. Do not forget to print your boarding passes at home. In backpack pack some snacks for kids to keep them happy during boarding time, and try  to board last ones, give kids opportunity to run around and waste energy before they ll be forced to sit in a plane. Btw budget airlines – means no free drinks and food – if you want something there will be lots of junk food available to buy on board. You can take two baby things for free on every Ryanair flight, we usually took stroller and car seat, but you can choose for example baby basisnet, it’s up to you. The great thing about ryanair flights is that very often they have great promotions for flights to cost as little as 5 euros,s o you can always make some surprise weekend travel anywhere around europe or even further (they also fly to Morocco and Israel). Laudamotion is owned by Ryanair but can also contain some great budget deals so you should always check it separately.

Wizzair – another great budget airlines (I like their junk food the most:P) I used a lot during my studies since I did my master thesis in Warsaw, and they have lots of great connection from Poland. Now they have connections all around Europe, usually one way ticket with Wizzair costs around 30 euros.

Easyjet – one of the oldest budget airlines in Europe, connecting various cities around. If you book early enough you can get one way ticket for 20 euros.

Eurowings – for example this budget company has now a lot of great Black Friday deals, I am just tempted to buy us ticket to some warm place for some of the following weekends.

Transavia – dutch budget airlines company with which if you book early enough you can buy one way ticket for 25 euros.

Vueling – spanish budget airline company with which you can buy a one way ticket for 15 euros. This is the only budget company we never used since our friends had bad experience of getting their flights cancelled and with two small kids we can not afford a risk of our flight being cancelled. Apparently their service has improved, but still we wait for some better first hand reviews before we book a flight with them:D


Also another cheap transport around Europe is bus – with Flixbus you can get bus tickets in between two countries for as low as 7 euros.

In case you are still a student you can travel quite affordable around Europe with Interrail.

We mostly enjoy road trips around Europe with car, cause we love to have our freedom of movement. If we arrive somewhere by plane, we usually rent a car, and there are a lot of budget rent-a-car companies in Europe, but that deserves a completely separate post:))

Hope you enjoyed reading and let me know what would you like I write about next time:D



How do I use my fifteen to thirty minutes of self-care per day

Self-care is crucial throughout all our life. Sometimes when metamorphosing into parents we forget about its importance, which can result in negative consequences.

So how does my me- time look?

Sometimes my self-care does not necessary mean that I need to do it without the presence of my children. What I found out recently, and works great for us,  is every morning when they wake up (between 5 and 6 since the time change) we do at least 30 minutes of Yoga. And we all have fun. I must say I am super happy with the Children Yoga cards I bought for my kids which makes it inviting for them to join me in doing some yoga exercise. (e.g. lets pretend to be a cat, let’s be a leopard, lets be a tree etc. Natalias favorite is leopard and Miros cat licking milk pose:P)


Sometimes after we practice yoga they go to their own room to play with some duplos or other open-ended toys we have available. That gives me time for some extra exercise:D Here are my favorite tools for doing my pilates excercise:D Miro likes some of them as well (especcially wobble) 😉

After they are asleep, depending on how much energy I have left I try to read some of the books that relax me:D

How do you spend your self-care time?:D

books i like to read

Gardening in November

If you are like us situated on the Northern hemisphere, having snow around at the moment, you must ask yourself what am I talking about -gardening in november?!?

There are plenty of plants that can be planted in November!:) And that is indeed a great thing since my kids love gardening and spending time outside in our garden.

Since we planted tulips in October, Natalia requested we plant some purple plants in November. So our purple choice is depicted in the photo below:


Do your kids also enjoy gardening? What is their favorite thing to do in the garden?


PS As you can see we planted them last week, before the snowfall:D