September 2020 / Mainly Marta :: A Motherhood + Lifestyle Blog



What started as a digital diary to document a newfound journey as a stay at home mom / wife has quickly evolved into my own little corner on the internet where I share all that life brings my way -- the good, the bad, and everything in between. Thanks for stopping by; I hope you stay awhile!


recipe | romanian style puff pastry with apple filling

I posted on my instagram stories over the weekend that I was baking something that involved apples and several of you asked if I would share the recipe, so here I am, coming at you with yet another dessert recipe. today, I am going to share how to make a romanian style puff pastry with apple filling. fair warning, this recipe calls for you to have some time on your hands as prepping the filling can be a little time-consuming (as most romanian recipes are). 

growing up, my great aunt would put this filling into cozonac or placinta  -- which the Romanian version of a sweet loaf and mini pies. my mom would substitute the sweet loaf dough with puff pastry sheets to cut down the prep time and it's probably my favorite hack ever. 

buuuuuuut, enough with the rambling -- let's get to the recipe!


Puff Pastry 
1 box; unthawed at the time of baking.

14 medium-sized.
I used a mix of golden + red delicious apples, but you can use any apple variation in this recipe.


1/3 of a stick

to taste 

to taste

+++++++ PREP TIME: 1 HR ++++++++ BAKE TIME: 30 TO 45 MINS +++++++

How to Make

step one. 
you're going to need to wash your apples and peel them. 
this is really time-consuming, so I used my kitchen aid mixer and a peeling extension!
if you don't have a mixer, then an apple peeler is a good investment for this.

step two. 
you're going to want to remove the stem and halve the apples. 
pit them and take off any remaining skin. 

step three. 
in a large bowl, grate your apples! 
you're going to want to use a medium-sized grater.

as you grate your apples, you're going to notice that there is a lot of juice in your bowl -- this is normal and will be addressed in the next step, so whatever you do, don't panic. 

step four.
strain the apple juice from the grated flesh of the apple.
to do this, take a handful of grated apple and place in a strainer. 
then over another large bowl, press the apple with your fist (or wooden spoon) 
until all the juice comes out. place the freshly pressed apple in a clean large bowl when you're done. 
I do this cycle twice as I do not want a soggy puff pastry. 

mini side step 
after you've completed step four, pour the apple juice into a pitcher and place it in the fridge to chill.
you now have fresh-pressed apple cider at your disposal! drink within five days.

step five. 
take the 1/3 stick of butter and melt in a nonstick frying pan. 
add your apples and then sprinkle cinnamon + sugar on top. 
cook until apples are tender, making sure they do not start to burn. 

in regards to the amount of cinnamon and sugar, it really depends on your preference and on the sweetness of the apples you are using. 

for the sugar -- normally, I take a regular spoon from the utensil drawer, and measure the sugar that way. one spoon of sugar in the mixture, mix it in and taste. I do this until I can taste a hint of sweetness. 

for the cinnamon, sprinkle how much you'd like as cinnamon is an acquired taste. I typically lightly sprinkle some on top of the apples right before I cook them and taste. if I can't taste a little bit of cinnamon midway, I mix in another light sprinkling of cinnamon halfway. 

step six.
after apple mixture is cooked, let sit for about 10 minutes to chill. 
in the meantime, roll out your puff pastry sheets and slowly and gently press upward on the ends to elongate the sheet without tearing it.  

step seven. 
grab your apple filling and place a layer of apples on your pastry sheet, leaving about an inch from the sides.

step eight. 
now, roll the sheet inward and turn over. 
gently press the ends of the sheets together in addition to the body of the roll. 
we're doing this so apple filling won't leak from the roll when in the oven. 

step nine.
now, lightly spray a baking pan with non-stick cooking oil and place your roll on pan. 
take a knife and carefully cut through the roll about half an inch. 

step ten. 
beat an egg and then with a pastry brush, add the egg to the top of your rolls. 
sprinkle cinnamon on top rolls. 
then place into an oven that was preheated to 350 degrees for about 30 to 45 minutes or until pastry is golden brown.

step eleven. 
let pastry cool for about 30 minutes and then cut along the roll and place on a serving dish.
sprinkle powdered sugar on top if desired.
serve and enjoy! 

another mini sidestep.
this pastry is also delicious if served cold.
I place leftovers in the fridge overnight and pair this cold pastry to a creamy cup of coffee! 

annnnnnd that's how you make this delicious mouth-watering dessert. 
it's perfect for a cozy fall day and will fill your home with the most pleasant aroma.  

⇓ PIN IT ⇓


Homeschool Diaries : Bee Unit (+ free printable)

for our first official homeschool unit share, we're talking bees. we took an entire day to talk about these cute little creatures and I thought it would be fun to share a little visual diary of what we did with this unit.  

painted a bumblebee

this bumblebee coloring sheet is from our habitat schoolhouse preschool curriculum. my little men love painting, so we used crayola washable watercolors to minimize the mess. 

practiced counting with a beehive 

another activity from our habitat schoolhouse preschool curriculum. the boys got to practice counting to eleven as well as identifying each number all while giving bees a place to call home in the hive. 

looked at the life cycle of a bee + different types

this was a fun little activity where we sat at the table and looked at each stage of a honey bee's life. we also talked about different kinds of bees. I used this cute little bee collection set from Twig and Moth's Etsy shop to introduce the boys to some native bees. 

made our own bees out of playdoh

my little guys love all things playdoh, so this was something they were so excited about.

read about bees in our big book of bugs

we love the big book of bugs -- it's the perfect book for toddlers and little ones to get acquainted with insects. I prefer it to other bee books because it's simple and since we're a creation focused homeschool, we love that it focuses on the way bugs live and what they do.

other resources

our life cycle tray is from a small shop on Etsy called Cat's Craft Toys; see it here.
our figurines are from safari ltd -- honeybee life cycle set + large honeybee
the anatomy of a honey bee drawing is from Julia Rothman's nature anatomy book.
the honeycomb is actually a trivet from an Etsy shop; see it here

follow @europeanhomestead on instagram for more homeschool content.

free bee anatomy printable

here's bee anatomy printable just in case you don't want to purchase one and are looking to do your own bee unit -- right-click, save to desktop, and print. please note that this print is for my readers and is not meant to be sold / redistributed; personal use only, please. 

if you do end up using this print, snap a picture and tag me on @mainlymarta / @theschoolingsquares on Instagram. 

↓ S H A R E ●  S A V E ●  P I N  ↓


Recipe | Chocolate Pumpkin Muffins (In 4 easy steps)


hey friends, today I'm sharing a quick little recipe to ring in the fall season. it's a healthy(ish) treat that is super simple and easy to make. honestly, these little muffins are great for when you're crunched on time! Just 4 easy steps and you're ready to bake


Betty Crocker German Chocolate Cake Mix
1 box


Canola Oil
1/2 cup

Cold Water
1 1/4 cup 

Pumpkin Puree
12 ounces

a handful 

4 tsp

Brown Sugar
5 tsp

1 tsp

How To Make 

step one.
add a box of german chocolate cake mix, eggs, water, and oil in a large bowl.
mix until you get a batter consistency. ⁣
step two. 
in a separate bowl, mix pumpkin purée, cinnamon, brown sugar, and a handful of oats. ⁣
⁣then. add the pumpkin mix to batter and stir.⁣
step three.
grease muffin pan and add batter to the pan. ⁣

step four.
bake at 350 degrees for 15 to 20 mins. 


these muffins are good as is, but if you're like me and want to add a little extra step to make these muffins look a little more spiffy -- toss about 2 tsp of cinnamon, flour, and brown sugar with a handful of oats and pumpkin seeds (or chopped pecans) in a bowl and mix it around a few times. then, sprinkle this on top of muffins before popping them in the oven.⁣

+++++++ PREP TIME: 7 MINS ++++++++ BAKE TIME: 15 TO 20 MINS +++++++


Toddler Meal Ideas

Hey Friends!

I thought I'd share some simple toddler meal ideas in a visual diary format. I love prepping the boy's meals and thought it'd be fun to document what the boys eat for a while and then blog about it. I sometimes share these on my stories, so if you follow me on Instagram, some of these shots may be familiar. 

Before we dive in, I'd just like to address a question that I repeatedly get regarding the plates we use. When I first started blogging, Nuby sent me these animal silicone plates as a gift and I reviewed them on a whole separate blog post (read that here). It's been a while and we're still using them. They're perfect for little ones as all my boys are ridiculous in the sense that they want their food to not be touching and in a separate container. They're easy to clean and just so cute + fun. I also got a few plates from Target that are just as good! 

You can find these plates on Amazon and so many other cute designs! Also, fair warning, kids are smart and will figure out how to remove the plate, no matter how good the suction is. I see so many reviews say that it's not a good plate because their toddler figured out how to lift it and it makes me laugh because well kids are kids -- curious. Unless you want to superglue the plate to the high chair tray, then be ready for your child to be able to lift the plate / bowl off the tray. Just thought I'd throw that practical bit out there because they really are good plates. 

Anywaaaaaaay, let's get to those toddler meals!


↓ S H A R E ●  S A V E ●  P I N  ↓


Homeschool Diaries : Our Why + Pre-K Curriculum and Plans

Felix is starting pre-k today -- someone pinch me. I can't believe my firstborn is officially a school-aged kid. As we approached the school year, my husband and I have decided that the best place to learn for our kids is at home -- with me. If I'm honest, we've never really thought about placing them in the public school system; it's always been learning at home or private school for us. We cannot currently afford a good private school at the moment, so I am gearing up to start homeschool with the boys. 

Felix is turning four this fall; then I have a two-year-old and a one-year-old at home -- both of whom I plan to incorporate in the studies. My Marcus always wants to have + do what my eldest is doing, so even though he may not understand all the material, it's good exposure. 

I am basing this next year on learning through play and have finally decided on the curriculum + things I am going to purchase and use for the 20-21 school year. I will be mixing material from several sources to teach the boys. The next year of teaching the boys will comprise of: 

The Kindergarten ToolKit

multiple sets of flashcards + lesson booklet with 10 goals that little ones need to have mastered by next fall. I really love that this will be in a physical format and isn't a digital copy like the other curriculum I am getting. It will be the outline I will be going off of.

The Habitat School House

will be the main curriculum that I will be using this year. It's not only beautiful, but it incorporates elements of nature in the studies.  I will be purchasing a digital copy of their curriculum even though they have physical curriculum available. I have two boys and will need two of everything; plus, in a few years, Alex (and maybe a few other babies) will get to use these too. It makes the most sense to print it out, even though I'd love to have the workbooks bound. I am planning to get binders for the boys and place their completed worksheets in them as we complete the material. I will be purchasing the base instead of the comprehensive digital copy because I am supplementing flashcards with other types of learning (chalkboard, sand trays, trace boards, etc).

Chalk Full of Design

I stumbled across them on Instagram last year and knew that I would implement them in my homeschool journey when the time comes. Here are the boards we will be getting throughout the year for the boys / to start our collection. 

While the habitat schoolhouse has a wonderful selection of nature studies, I love the preschool nature guides that the peaceful press offers (bonus points because it offers mini bible studies for our littles). We'll be starting off the fall with their tree guide and then move to something in their nature bundle and the Christmas guide when the holidays roll around. 

Supplementary Curriculum

these shops have the most beautiful mini guides which I will be using to complement lessons as needed. they are the places that I will be coming back to time and time again throughout the year as I prep for each week / lesson theme. 

Safari Ltd

we've basically gotten all their life cycle sets and are collecting their animal figurines + toob sets for our sensory table activities and animal / habitat studies. These are great tools for the homeschool classroom, but when the lessons are over, the boys can use these for open-ended play which they love!

annnnnnd they've so graciously given me a code to share with my followers + blog readers if they want to snag some stuff from their online store. so, use code "mainlymarta" to get a little something off your purchase!

Tiny Theologians

also found them on Instagram and I love their passion for teaching children about the Lord and church history. I'll be getting their ABC bundle and will be using the cards in our alphabetical studies. I'm also going to get their mini-lessons on the fruit of the spirit and prayer cards.

Subscription Boxes

Lovery Play Kit -- this is for Alex, but I am almost sure that his brothers will love this box too. it's filled with toys for baby's developmental stages and I am hoping these toys keep him busy while mama is tending to the big boys in the classroom. 


Upon my research, here are some freebies I found that I will also be utilizing during our homeschooling journey. I thought I'd share these with you because some of these finds are too good not to share. I'll be updating this section as I find them throughout the year.

European Homestead

I've set a space where I will share all things homeschool; in addition to essential oils, food, faith, and home decor.  It's a space where I plan to focus on homey things without the pressures of content numbers. 
You can follow that journey on Instagram at @theschoolingsquares or you can come to the blog and peep at its page -- here

I plan on blogging about our homeschool endeavors + our activities via this space as well. I am going to talk about what I am using, what supplementary things I opt to buy throughout the year + what is working, what isn't and how we're progressing for anyone who is curious!

Free Home School Planning Printables 

I've compiled a few planning worksheets that I will be using to help myself to stay organized and I'd love to share them with you. My plan is to keep a binder of these sheets and keep track of our progress. Right-click on each image and save these files to your desktop, print, and start planning mama!

Ready, Set, Homeschool! 

As we start our journey, I am planning to blog about our journey often and sharing resources / material as often as I can. I am excited and nervous about teaching kids that are not on the same level, but at the same time, I am happy that I can watch my boys grow and learn. I hope to give them the comfort of a steady pace that isn't constantly pressured by things like benchmarks. Here's to a wonderful year! 

↓ S H A R E ●  S A V E ●  P I N  ↓

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the new normal; a short essay of dissent.


I’ll pass.

before you call me selfish know that I wear a mask because my city mandated it, buuuuuuuuut, that’s where it stops. I will never accept any of this as normal because it’s not.

you know what is normal?

- condemning violence no matter what side of the political spectrum you are on.
- letting children hug each other and play together.
- letting people worship in their churches.
- not retorting to ending friendships the moment you find out they’re voting differently than you.
- allowing people to express their views and holding civil discourse on the topics you seem to disagree on instead of harassing them and sending hateful messages.
- having the option to wear a mask / refuse a vaccine.
- recognizing the difference between a protest and riot.
- understanding that diversity and inclusion means you have to mingle with those who do not think like you.
- not rejoicing over the murder of someone who thinks differently than you.
- bringing actual ideas of change to the table instead of trying drown out opposing voices.
- not encouraging bloodshed on the streets.


& they have been thrown out the window.
this is why I am choosing to pass on accepting this as the "new normal."

angry at these words?
that’s okay.
we can disagree.
i respect your point of view.
even if you dislike me for it.

my parents fled a socialistic communist state.
my father’s cousin was shot down in his car trying to escape an actual police state.
my mom has family members that went to prison for distributing bibles.

I know what socialism is.
I know where it leads.

I’ve heard the stories.
I’ve seen the tears.
I’ve felt the painful memories.
... all caused by socialism.

we are applauding the silencing of people’s voices + individual freedoms.
we are embarking on a dark road friends.

we often omit history.
evil always comes disguised as justice or reform.

Russia overthrew the Czar in the name of reform.
Hitler blamed a group of people for all of Germany’s problems.
Mussolini started off wanting to overthrow government and form a new one.

All of these leaders started off with one idea.
that dismantling a current government and implementing socialism would create a utopian society.

but, it did not.
it caused pain, destruction, suffering, and the murder of the innocent.

my heart broke when I saw people on the streets of Portland cheering on a man’s death
all because he thought differently than they did.
this is the state of america's heart.

my heart shattered when the media retorted to blame the victim for being on the street.
citizens who are unhappy with the way their city is being run are told to stay out of the streets.
is this america's definition to freedom; are our rights slowly dissolving?

my heart is sinking as we watch our cities go up in flames.
murder, destruction, and violence is never the answer.
no matter the side you are on.

how is that promoting justice?
how is that preserving humanity?
what part of that is considered part of the road to reform?

they say riots are the voice of the unheard.
they justify violence in the name of reform.
innocent blood spilled on the streets is becoming acceptable in the name of justice.

when does it start to sound like a utopian realm, friend?
when does the arson stop and when does the peace begin?
at what point will we stop drowning out dissenting voices and give them a seat at our table?

when they are all gone?
when they are afraid to speak up?
when they shut up and deal with it?
when we kill them? 

a bit dramatic for your taste, right?

but, do we know:

how will it happen?
who will lead the way?
what will replace what we have now?

answers that no one has. 
chaos is beating a loud drum.
we are falling asleep at the sound of it's rhythm. 

wake up America. 
before it’s too late. 
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