March 15 – cockade cookies and other activities

Perhaps this post should be written in Hungarian as March 15 is one of the most prominent national holidays in Hungary. And it means more to the Hungarians than to anybody else.

Last year we celebrated it with lots of fun activities like the ice experiment or the 3 Ps: pompoms, patterning and painting.

And this year…

I had very little time to prepare for our national holiday so I took the easy way and downloaded/printed/laminated an absolutely fantastic collection of activities from gyereketeto.hu

Here are the activities I prepared:

E. started with the pre-writing practice:

 

 

Then she read (!!!) the questions herself concerning the sheet in front of her (like Which is the biggest cockade? or How many flags turn left?)

Clearly you can see she was enjoying it

A little bit of maths – counting and matching numbers and dice:

 

Finished

After the activities we went on to make cockade cookies. Click for original cockade cookie recipe.

What you need (5-7 cookies):

1 tube (150gr) sweetened condensed milk here you can read about the difference between condensed and evaporated milk– something that I myself have just learnt)
80-100 gr grated coconut
food colouring (in our case red and green)
(In the original recipe the proportions are double)

How to prepare it:

We mix the condensed milk and the coconut so we get a playdoh-like texture. (Well, we did not unfortunately. We need to make it again to experiment with the proportions)

We’ve learnt a new expression: evaporated milk

Halve the mixture and add red food colouring to one part.
Take the one third of the remaining white mixture and add the green food colouring.
Make green balls and place them on baking paper (on a tray).

Yes, yes… that is Baby Sister on me in a sling

Around the green ball make a white “sausage” then around it a red one. They should touch each other. Our mixture didn’t turn out so well. I couldn’t make “sausages” so I just placed the stuff in circles. E. was very helpful… with cleaning (i.e. licking).

Pre-heat the oven at 150 Celsius degrees and dry the cookies out within 15-20 minutes. (We had a problem with this because after 10 minutes they got a little brown. So I turned the oven down to 100 degrees and let them stay in for another 5 minutes)

Before baking

 

A little over-baked still tasted nice

They’re tasty and crunchy; for me a little too sweet so I don’t mind we have fewer cookies than in the original recipe.

Of course, we spent our time in Hungarian and E. learnt quite a few new words, some international ones like huszár and csákó 🙂

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5 + 1 tips to sneak in some English time

With a newborn in the house it’s extremely difficult to spend time in English with E. It’s challenging to spend time with her at all when L. needs me 7/11.

Here is a few tricks we sneak some English time in our weekdays:

1. E. goes to the nursery and comes home in the afternoon. Whenever she enters the door I greet her in English. Sometimes she doesn’t want to speak English at all, at other times I tell her that Mommy has been in English with L. all day then she is more likely to give in and we spend the evening (playtime, video time, dinner, bath and bed/story time) or part of it in English.

Bedtime reading – Picture Atlas

2. I rely on her new interests., i.e. at the very moment wind types and the Beaufort scales. She got a book for Christmas from her Godparents (in Hungarian):

She loves the Beaufort scale in the book, so with Daddy’s help we made our English version of it.

3. New nanny: Although our new nanny is only temporary (for max. 2 months as she’s returning to the US) her visits have increased our English playtime.
Making snowdrops with or new native nanny, L.
4. Holidays: preparing for a birthday or St. Patrick’s day for instance has also given us a chance to practice our in English
Heart garland for Valentine’s Day
5. Helping around Baby Sister: E. helps a lot with bathing, dressing or entertaining Baby Sister. Every now and again I manage to convince her to use English in these situations.
Helping Baby Sis get undressed

+1 Cooking/baking together is always a hit with E. She is always happy to help me in the kitchen and it goes without saying we do things there in English most of the time.

String the mixture

Life seems bright again 🙂

Housework fun

As E. doesn’t really like playing alone and wants to be with Mommy all the time we need to do housework together. Actually, she is a great helper and likes taking part most of the times. I’ve read a lot about Maria Montessori and her method on the net and in this book:

I do not wish to popularise her method, I just found some interesting points I can build in my parenting theories and also in our bilingual journey. One of them is:

“He who is served is limited in his independence”

Doing housework together means a lot of language input, quality time together and E’s preparation for real life assisting her in her developing independence.

IN THE KITCHEN

– Preparing food for cooking

Opening pea pods help to develop E’s fine motor skill.
She could examine how the peas are in the pod.
She also learnt a sequence: taking one pod out of the bag, putting the peas in a bowl, placing the empty pod in the rubbish bag.
She can help wash the peas, but as soon as I turn the hob on she is finished in the kitchen.

Vocabulary newly learnt or practised:

     green peas
     pod

     crack

     separate

     throw it away
     grub
     off
     tiny

     

cutting the butter-bean up

examining the inside
placing the beans into a pot
Using a knife is something E has been longing for. With my very close supervision she had the chance to try it and found it hard: – Mommy, cutting is difficult.
Helping make the bean dish didn’t mean she ate it 😦 although according to some blogger moms, their children became really enthusiastic to eat the food they prepared themselves.
Vocabulary newly learnt or practised:
   chopping board

   knife, knives
   pot (stripy, big, empty, full)

   butter-bean

   bean dish
   What’s yummie for you? (offers the practice or revision of a lot of food)

   wash

   dirty, dirt

– Baking:

whisking

I made this rhubarb cake











Baking a cake has a better chance of success in the eyes of your child. They are more likely to consume what they made. It also involves a lot of kitchen tasks and equipment and the activities have to follow each other quickly, which keeps up the interest of a young kid. Developing gross motor skills is also a key point here, like whisking, mixing, measuring, stirring, pouring etc.

Vocabulary newly learnt or practised:
   flour
   baking powder
   rhubarb

   cake
   scales

   measuring spoon
   wooden/mixing spoon
   bowl
   whisk
   mix
   stir
   grab

   crack an egg
   white/yolk
   lick the spoon 

   apron
   delicious
   tasty
   sweet
   sour
   hot
   dangerous

   baking try
   heat the oven

– Packing in and out of the dishwasher:

emptying the baby bottle into the sink

putting the baby bottle into the dishwasher

placing the cutlery into their draw

 After a while I rearranged a shelf so she can easily reach her spoons, plates and glasses.


This is E’s favourite household chore. No matter when I ask her to help with it, she never refuses. (It’s not the case with hanging the clothes to dry). Also, she practises with this chore how to select and group similar objects, to name the objects and say their colours or material. She also learns where to find things she needs around the house.

Vocabulary newly learnt or practised:
   cupboard

   cutlery
   tablespoon
   fork
   knife
   teaspoon
   ladle
   glass
   mug
   cup
   pot
  bowl
  plate
  draw
  sharp
  dangerous
  carefully
  place
  baby bottle
  plastic
  steal

IN THE BATHROOM

Another pleasant activity for E is to help with the laundry. Packing the clothes in the washing machine is not as much fun as pulling the wet clothes out.

 Usually we put some of her clothes in a separate basket and while I’m putting the adult clothes on the rack, she is putting hers on a smaller rack (which we bought at REGIO toy shop but also available at Fakopáncs online toy shop)

hanging the clothes
opening the dry rack
fixing it with a peg
socks
matching socks with Daddy
on the way to the draw to put the socks away

This is not her favourite activity but she uses her English (and Hungarian) a lot when she is in the mood to help.

Vocabulary newly learnt or practised:
   washing gel
   softener
   dry rack
   hang
   line
   clothes peg
   match
   carry
   fix
   dry
   still wet
   pull out
   pack in
   laundry basket
   dirty
   clean
   take off
   names of clothing (socks, tights, trousers, shorts, T-shirt, blouse, panties, vest etc.)
   Daddy’s, Mommy’s, E’s

MISCELLANEOUS

The best part for me is when we decorate our home together. Of course, when she paints or creates something I put it on the wall or in her room. However, she takes pleasure in decorating for us not only for herself. At the market we bought 2 bunches of flowers and she made them into 4, arranging them in small vases.

adding some green leaves to the dahlias

we need some pink in this composition

She also enjoys watering the plants on the balcony.

Involving her in the household chores was one of the greatest idea and I’m really glad she likes it, too. It gives us the opportunity to be together, to practise her languages, to experience some practicalities of everyday life and to help her become more and more independent.