Friday, March 28, 2014

Clothes Peg Shapes: Fine Motor Skills Game diy

 I read that clothes pegs are great for practising fine motor skills and dexterity. My son really loves helping me with handing out the washing.
 I thought I would incorporate the his interest in clothes peg with practicing colours and shapes.
Materials used:
Cheerios box
felt tip pen
clothes pegs

I drew some shapes on the box and retraced them with a pen. And coloured them in with crayons. I chose the colours closest to my clothes pegs. So it is easy to customize this activity to the pegs you have at home.

I cut them out:
Here is S playing with the game. I hope this will keep him occupied while we are doing homework with his brother :)

Baking cookies with kids

Two weeks ago we had some friends over and I decided to have the kids have some fun with baking. I made the dough the day before and bought some candy to decorate with.
 The kids used the rolling pin to roll the dough, and cut out some simple shapes
 We used icing and candy for the decorations. I bought some of the candy at a candy stand so there would be a variety to choose from. Most of them turned out to be way too big, but the older ones and I cut them into smaller bits with a knife. We also used strawberry laces which we cut with scissors. A good activity for the little one :)

The end result!

Recipe for the : 

3 eggs ---whisk lightly
3 tablespoons of oil
4 tablespoons of liquid honey
vanilla extract
lemon peel
--- Whisk all above
25 dkg sugar

---Whisk some more
50 dkg flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 salt
--- knead by hand

Spring wreath from repurposed materials

I must confess, I just took down the heart shaped wreath I made for Christmas (  yesterday. Arguably, given its shape there was no reason to take it down before Valentine's Day, but it was really time for a change... Not a big one though...
I removed the Christmas embellishments and added  more spring-appropriate decorations. I used a baby girl dress I bought at a charity shop and a bit of pink felt.

The dress had a bow on it, which I kept. The thread came undone as I cut it off so I had to stitch it to keep it intact, but It was still much nicer than anything I could have made by myself:

I sewed the bird from felt and added buttons for eyes

I removed the hem and used it to hang the bird.

I also removed the belt bit from the front of the dress and used it as the ribbon behind the bow.

I still need to remove the stitches that held the beak in place...
It has a bit of a crafty feel because I did not hem anything, just tried to keep as much of the original hemming, but it just adds to the charm, or at least that is what I'm hoping is true :)

Happy Spring Everyone!

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

International Day project: Hungary

My son's school had International Day about 2 weeks ago. He naturally wanted to represent Hungary. We do not own any traditional clothes, but I found a Primark fedora type straw hat which I embellished with Hungarian tricolor ribbon (sent by mail by my grandma) and waistcoat at a charity shop. My son wore some black trousers and his school shirt underneath. We also got some cocade (kokárda) from our friends. I pinned one on the hat and one on the waistcoat.
In preparation for International Day, A also made a poster. We brainstormed ideas about what he wants on the poster and than found pictures online to print.
A came up with the idea of having a flip-the-flap bit with some Hungarian inventions

 He was very excited about making the poster and it  was a great way for him to practice his English writing and show his own culture to his teachers and friends.

Interestingly there was a bit of confusion about the Biro pens at school. A girl claimed that they came from her country. I googled it, and found that  Laszló Biró presented his first ball-point pen invention in Hungary  at the Budapest International Fair in 1931, patented it in 1938. Later, he moved out of the country due to anti-Jewish laws first to France later to Argentina where he modified it and set up a company that manufactured it. He also invented a lot of other things, many of them in Argentina.

(more here:

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Yummy home remedy :Ginger Root Orange Juice

I came down with something at the end of the week, and thought I would try ginger tea (shredded ginger root in hot water) but a friend suggested that the boiling water would kill most of the active agents in ginger, so why not combine it with orange juice and honey instead. So I did and it tasted fantastic- and made me feel better too. Soon I was well enough to make some for the boys. I must say it it is a much more child friendly option than the usual garlic soaked in fruit brandy that I usually opt for when feeling the flu coming on... :)

I used my small cheese grater to shred the garlic (you need to remove the skin first)

 You can also add honey and fresh lemon juice. Of course, you can also use freshly squeezed oranges, but being able to do that you are probably not that sick. Right?

Oven-Baked Home-Made Bread

Since moving to the UK, bread has been an issue. I've never baked bread before, but I got a bread recipe that is super easy and after 5-6 weeks I finally rolled up my sleeves and tried it out.

The ingredients
500g strong white flour
3.50 ml water
1/2 teaspoon of dried yeast
2 teaspoons of salt
1 tablespoon of oil

knead ingredients ,

 leave the mixed dough in the bowl and but it all in a plastic bag for 11-12 hours 

so it can rise.

I made the dough in the evening, so it would be ready for baking in the morning. When I got up, I put the dough in an warm ovenproof Pyrex dish that I lined with baking paper.

I covered the dish and baked it at 250 C for 40 minutes, and an extra 10 minutes without the lid.

After removing bread from the oven, I placed the bread on a wire rack for a bit so it can cool before we ate it.

Needless to say we were not very patient...


The whole family loved it! My husband said he felt like Robinson Crusoe eating bread for the first time after many years. We even got the kolbász and paranyica out to make a real breakfast feast out of it- Hungarian style. (or at least our Hungarian style as paranyica is Slovak...) 

I have to note that my oven-proof dish was not deep enough and the bread lifted the lid off, but it still turned out fine.
The only tricky thing is the TIMING. This is the reason I had been putting it off for so long.  You need to plan for the dough to rise by a time you have 50 minutes at your disposal to bake it. This probably mean you need to knead it early in the morning and bake it in the evening or knead it in the evening and bake it when you wake up.