Esther in Amsterdam

BIRTHDAY PARTIES
Cooking for a big group of people
Tamar's birthday was a few weeks ago. Because his birthday is so close after the Christmas and New Year celebrations, we don't always know if we feel like celebrating with even more food and drinks. So I waited 'til pretty much last minute until deciding I was up for organising a party... but in the end I did ...
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RECIPES
A healthy and hearty vegetable and bean soup
Wintery Fridays are lazy days for us. We spend the afternoon at the manege for horse riding lessons, then we stop at our local shop to pick up bread, cheese and dips. We put on our pyjamas, light a fire, and watch a film together (or recently, we have been following the Dutch edition of ...
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TUESDAY TIPS
Tuesday Tips: the toothbrush ABCs
This is a little tip/trick I learned from Courtney when we were still living in London. Easton and Sara were both tiny little toddlers, playing so sweetly together (if they weren't pulling each other's hair out). We would meet up for dinner ever so often, feed our babies their purees, give them their baths together and ...
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TIPS FROM LOCALS
Tips from a local: Joanna in Haarlemmerbuurt
Joanna is a Brit married to a Dutchman and they live in one of the most beautiful neighbourhoods of Amsterdam together with their two little girls. Their neighbourhood is called the Haarlemmerbuurt and their house is squeezed in between the Brouwersgracht (voted the most beautiful canal in Amsterdam) and The Haarlemmerstraat/dijk (often voted the best shopping ...
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CRAFTS AND DIY
Making snowflakes, and some thoughts about embracing the seasons
Christmas is over, the New Year has been rung in -- it is January. It's slowly getting lighter, but it's still freezing cold and we're hoping for snow. Perhaps this is what the first months of the year are all about -- bundling up and going outside to play in the cold, and then retreating ...
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COOK BOOKS AND MAGAZINES
Little Tables -- Breakfasts from around the World
According to this article, Dutch children enjoy one of the happiest childhoods in the world, and one of the reasons given for this is the fact that many of them start their morning with 'hagelslag' (chocolate sprinkles) on their bread. I'm not sure how much influence the exact sort of breakfast has on the overall happiness of ...
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HOUSEKEEPING, ORGANIZATION AND TIPS
Stuffel -- a clever storage solution for all those little Lego pieces.
Do you have a Lego obsessed child? And do you struggle to find a good storage solution for all those nasty little pieces? I have tried all sorts of baskets and boxes before. I have even tried boxes with different inserts so Lego could be organised according to shape and colour. But in the end, the one Lego ...
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TOYS & GAMES
The sweetest little felt Flower Fairies
Here in Amsterdam, we have a little shop I love. It is called De Zaailing, and it sells all sorts of beautiful and natural toys, clothes, crafting materials and books. On the counter, they keep a wicker basket full of the most beautiful little felt fairies -- perfect little presents for birthdays, or just because. My ...
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COLOURING AND ACTIVITY BOOKS
'Me' by Wee Gallery
Ava was recently given 'Me' by Wee Society, and it's such a lovely activity book -- perfect for her age now that she just started to read and write this school year. The book is actually a fill-in journal, with super cool kid-friendly illustrations. It challenges the child who is the owner of the book to ...
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CHRISTMAS RECIPES
Some yummy seasonal cookies
We love baking during the Christmas season and these two cookie recipes we make every year. Speculaas (just like pepernoten) are very specific to December as we relate them to Sinterklaas, but where pepernoten really only hit the scene when the Saint is in town, we like to enjoy speculaas the rest of the year as ...
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PICTURE BOOKS
Illuminature, a magical discovery of some of the world's most diverse habitats
We are big fans of the British publisher Wide Eyed Editions. Their books are always so educative and informative, tapping into children's (and adults'!) natural curiosity for the world around them. They are also known for working with some of the worlds most talented illustrators, making their books not only a feast for the brain, but also ...
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KIDS
The best basics! From Mabo Clothier
This is the time of year when I'm on the hunt for great pyjamas, cosy lounge wear, good layering pieces, warm underwear... We spend more time inside, so we want to be comfortable, and when we are outside in the cold, we want to be warm! The cute collection of mabo basics ticks all of the ...
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MAMA
Personalised jewellery from Merci Maman. The perfect present!
Did you write your letter to Santa yet? It's not too late to tell him about the gorgeous personalised jewellery from Merci Maman! ; ) Merci Maman is the brainchild of French mama Béatrice, who started engraving jewellery from her kitchen table in London, and now leads a team of twenty together with her husband ...
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CHRISTMAS CRAFTS
Easy December craft: 3D paper snowflakes
I took the children to school yesterday and noticed that Pim's classroom was so beautifully decorated with the prettiest paper snowflakes hanging from the ceiling. All white and delicate -- it looked so lovely and festive! I asked him to show us how they had made them later at home, which he did. It is super ...
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CRAFTS AND DIY
A DIY wooden warrior friend from Conscious Craft
Over the summer my children received this cool wooden ninja construction kit, available from one of my favourite toys & crafts shops, Conscious Craft. It was a curious little package -- a box full of wooden construction pieces, steel bolts, and allen keys. Thankfully a clear instruction leaflet was included, or otherwise we would have been lost. Because DIY kits ...
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FOOD
Yummy tea for the entire family
It's getting darker, wetter and chillier here in Amsterdam. Time to spend more time inside with cosy candles and big pots of tea on the table! Our children love tea as well, so I'm always on the look-out for tanine-free concoctions that we all love. The vanilla-rooibos tea from Løv has been very popular in our ...
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TOYS & GAMES
Pretty building blocks from Hape Toys
Building blocks are perhaps the most basic and classic toy existing. It's also the one toy I feel every child should own -- a couple of blocks not only makes a great tower, but it also makes structures, houses and fences for all sorts of pretend play. US based toy company Hape recently came out with a set of ...
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EDUCATION
A pretty times table poster by Lollipop Design
How are your kids' multiplication skills? We recently sat down with the pretty multiplication poster by Lollipop -- a design based upon the 'wheel' method of learning tables, which makes it easier for children to understand and memorise the times tables. (You might remember Courtney's post from last year, where she spoke about homeschooling and introduced the multiplication flowers.) With the ...
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TOYS & GAMES
Sweet stocking fillers (and the cutest clothes and toys!) from Lublue
It's the time of year to think about stocking stuffers! Even though we don't traditionally hang stockings in the Netherlands, I have happily adopted the custom after living in the US and the UK. I remember sitting at our table in London and sewing our stockings from fabric remnant I had cheaply gotten at the John Lewis curtain department ...
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KIDS ROOMS
Whimsical felted fairies from Dorimu
Živa and Saša from Dorimu are a sweet couple from Austria who together create the most whimsical little works of art -- tiny (tiny!) little needle-felted fairies. Made from wire, thread and wool and with details made of pearls, the little fairies are so stunningly beautiful. They sit on little pieces of driftwood, and have a clever ...
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KIDS
A Christmas Box of YAY! from ShortStitch
We have written about the great convenience of the ShortStich private shopping service before. The idea is that you fill out the (very straightforward) questionnaire to indicate what sort of occasion or activity your child needs clothes for (for example school, sports, or party), and a personal stylist will put together a box of clothes, taking into account ...
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CHRISTMAS CELEBRATIONS
Our activity advent calendar -- redesigned and ready to print!
Two years ago I started our first activity advent calendar and it has quickly become a firm family tradition. The children are so excited each morning of advent -- taking turns to open an envelope and discovering what special thing we'll be doing that day. This year, I wanted to make a bit more of ...
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CHRISTMAS CELEBRATIONS
KalenderHaus, a beautiful advent activity by Clever Gretel
We just enjoyed a lovely long weekend, in which we didn't do much more than cozying up inside our house in our pyjamas. The children played together endlessly -- they built huts, set up a shop, made a city on our living room floor using masking tape, set up their Playmobil horse farm, crafted mini ...
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TOYS & GAMES
Niddle Noddle at the London ShopUp (and some favourite gifts)
One of the things I really enjoy at our ShopUp events, next to the obviously GREAT shopping, is the community behind it. In London, our 4th (!!) ShopUp is coming up on the 4th and the 5th of December (so mark your agendas if you haven't done so already!) and I can't wait to hang out ...
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