Thursday, 22 December 2011

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J Summary (2Y10M17D) - Aware of looks and said, "I am Chinese"

We arrived Singapore. J asked where are the Chinese. We said, "there, everywhere". He still asked again the same question. Florian took a picture of the Singapore brochure and showed it to him.

J took a close look, paused for a while and said, "我是中国人, 妈妈是中国人, 爸爸不是中国人中国人." meaning, "I am a Chinese, mommy is a Chinese and daddy is not a Chinese."

We were surprised and amused. We did not teach him that. He is now aware of looks and colours of himself and others.

Sunday, 18 December 2011

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Reflection for 2011, Curriculum and Goals for 2012

I started Montessori activities when Joshua turned 2 years old. It is now the end of the year, and over the 9 months, we have more or less exhausted the Montessori Practical Life Activities. The Montessori activities no longer challenge Joshua nor interest him as much as when we first started out. I can see that he is getting bored and needed more challenge. I will scale down on sensory tubs and Art & Crafts as Joshua is not very interested in those types of activities.

I have achieved almost all of what I set out to achieve this year. Joshua now has rather good fine motor skills exceeding perhaps a little children his age. However, I haven't been so good with having more conversation with Joshua, which is very important for language development, due to the lack of time and tiredness from work. I have to improve on this area next year.

It is the end of the year, and I am reflecting over the activities and curriculum for the next year. I will put less focus on Practical Life activities and will not be spending time creating new activities, unless new ideas pops up and I just have to share them.

For the next year, I will spend more time on strengthening his language skills, on pincer grip activities, language and Maths activities as well as more conversation time with Joshua.

Curriculum

Thus, in a nut shell, my curriculum for next year 2012 will be:

1. Pencil grasp exercises
2. English alphabet
3. English nursery rhymes
4. Chinese Characters
5. Chinese Tang Dynasty Poems
6. Maths - Counting
7. Bible Reading (Chinese and English)
8. Music - Singing and Sukuzi Piano classes
9. Science - Encyclopedia (English, Chinese and Danish) and forest walks
10. Sports - Cycling, catching balls, swimming

Action Plan

Here is the Action Plan:

Daily Montessori Activity Programme for Each Week:
1. Monday Pincer Grip - For fine motor skills development, I will focus more on pincer grip exercises. I will be repeating activities and introducing new actitives that allows Joshua to practise his pincer grip.

2. Tuesday Cutting with Scissors, Gluing and Pasting  - Joshua's scissor usage skills are getting quite good, but can still be perfected. For Montessori activities, I will be giving more priority to cutting activities.

3. Wednesday Numbers and Counting - For now, Joshua seems to be showing some aptitude for numbers and interest in them. I will incorporate activities that continue his progress on Maths.

4. Thursday English Alphabet - I will be spending more time and energy on teaching letters, but it would depend on whether he is interested. He is not particularly interested in it so far. If this persist, I will focus more on reading and talking to him.

5. Friday Chinese Character - I will spend once a week to introduce a new Chinese character.

6. Saturday Free and Easy - I will pick any Montessori activity that comes to mind and repeat some of the Practical Life activities.

7. Sunday Jigsaw Puzzles

Bedtime Routine: Talking, Reading and Singing:

For Bedtime routine for next year, I will concentrate on talking, reading and singing.

1. Music - Joshua loves to sing right now. I will research into more Chinese and English children songs and sing it with Joshua. I have no problem with Danish children songs, as he gets a lot of inputs from the daycare. I will see if Joshua is mature enough to start formal Suzuki piano classes.

2. Reading Science - Joshua seems to gravitate towards books on Science and he loves enclylopedia. Florian on the other hand love to pick the enclyclopedia during reading time. Thus, I will delegate this task to Florian. We will try to incorporate more educational forest walks into our weekends, but I am not going to turn it as a goal for next year.

3. Talking to Joshua about his daily life at the daycare and asking questions.

4. Knowing God - Now at 2.5 years old, Joshua started liking to listen to Bible stories, but it has to be the Rhyme Bible Storybook, and not any other Bible story book (I bought him two Bibles, but this is the only one he likes and me too. The rhyme created by Linda Sattgast flows so beautifully. I will continue to expose Joshua to God through FIBC Nursery. Currently Joshua is no longer interested in going to church and the nursery. If you wish to purchase a rhyme Bible, don't buy any other, but this:


Bedtime Routine Programme

I am going to try out the following Bedtime routine programme for next year and fine-tune along the way:

1. Monday: Read the English Rhyme Bible

2. Tuesday: Sing English children songs

3. Wednesday: Read Chinese Children Bible

4. Thursday: Read English or Danish enclyclopedia

5. Friday: Sing Chinese children songs

6. Saturday: Read Chinese enclyclopedia

7. Sunday: Read English nursery rhymes


Weekends:

1. Sports - This is something which I have not spent so much efforts on this year, which I hope to spend more time on next year. But this year, Florian has been playing catching ball with Joshua. I can't do everything myself. I will be delegating this department to Florian.

2. Zoo - Joshua is getting very interested in the zoo. Thus, for next year, we will be increasing our trips to the zoo.

This has been a year on high gear, juggling work and Montessori, but I am glad that the basic collection of my Montessori activities are not complete. Any addition from now on would be considered bonus.now
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Pretend Play: Vacuum Cleaning



Age: From 1.5 years old

Joshua watches us when we use the vacuum cleaner. He was very thrilled, when he had his own vacuum cleaner. Till this day, whenever we are vacuuming, he would take out his own vacuum cleaner and clean along wtih us.

This vacuum cleaner is actually rather useful as it comes with styrofoam balls which it can actually suck in, when you turn on the power. It trains his eye-hand coordination to be able to suck in the styrofoam balls. This toy is not a necessity, and I won't buy it new. But I saw it at the Flea market and bought it for 10 DKK (2.32 SGD or 2 USD) a the flea market. But if you wish to buy one, there is a nice looking one at Amazon:


Warning: This is not a toy for toddlers who are still mouthing.
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Doodle Sketch


Age: From 1.5 year old

This is a very versatile toy that can be used for many purposes. Here are some ideas:

1. Doodling for the young toddler
2. Drawing for the toddler without creating a mess for mom
2. Learning about shapes for the pre-schooler
3. Practising hand-writing for the pre-schooler
4. Useful for car-rides by asking your child to draw what he sees out of the window. Use this instead of the videos :-)

Joshua loves this very much and return to it very often. So it is a value-for-money purchase. I consider this toy one of the best gifts.

IT is not necessary to buy the expensive fanciful ones. The simpliest one is often the best and most educational as it would not overwhlem or distract your child from his learning. Here is one I like from amazon:

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Pretend Play: Microwaving Food


Age: From 2 years old

Joshua watches us using the microwave everyday and he was very thrilled to have his own microwave. He loves to play with his microwave. He loves to press the button and waiting ot hear it rings. It teaches him the concept of time and waiting for the food to be ready. When it rings, he takes the "food" out to be served. This toy is not a necessity, and I won't buy it new. But I saw it at the Flea market and bought it for 5 DKK (1.16 SGD or 0.97 USD) a the flea market. It is available also in Amazon, but very expensive though:
 
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Introducing New Category Called Toys

I am introducing a new categoryof organizing my blog called Toys. It archives all the toys that Joshua played with or are still playing with.

It is accessible under no. 25 from the right hand side menu.

I have also introduced a category called Cooking Methods under no. 17 of the right hand side menu.

With this, it completes the tidying up of my blog for this year.

I hope to take a blog break (if I can stop myself).

Blessed Christmas and Happy New Year to all.
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Music: Playing Musical Instruments



Age: from 0 years old

I realised that I have focused a lot on Montessori activities and neglected to post other activities. Playing music is something Joshua plays with too, along with other toy instruments. I think around 2.5 years old, Joshua could blow the saxophone, trumpet, harmonica, etc. Before that, he was just playing with it. When he was a baby, I played the musical instruments for him. Hopefully, he will start on the real piano soon :-)

J drumming at 1 year 10 months old
J playing the guitar at 2 years old
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Montessori Acitivity: Drawing Straight Line with Ruler



Age: From 2.5 years old (Level 3)

Activity Duration: 5 - 10 minutes

Objective(s):
1. To provide a systematic way of learning to draw straight line.
2. To provide opportunity to practise pencil grip.

Materials:
1. 1 ruler
2. 1 pencil, coloured pencil, magic pen or marker
3. 1 plain paper
4. 1 tray

Directions:
1. Demonstrate by holding the pencil and drawing a line using hte ruler.

2. Encourage your child to try.

Additional Information:
I am running out of ideas for Montessori Activity... then this morning, Joshua saw the ruler and asked to turn it into a Montessori activity. I was impressed at the originality of his idea, and I asked him if he had tried this activity at his daycare. He said no, he had not tried it in the daycare. So it was totally his own idea.  Good team work. At 2 years 9 months, Joshua is bbeginning to design his own Montessori activities now. It is nice that I don't have to always be the one to crack my brains for new ideas for Montessori :-)

We can't wait to try it after breakfast this morning. It would be hard to have a Clear Your Calendar Day, but hey, this is Joshua's request, so it will still be considered as a Clear Your Calendar Day  :-)

Saturday, 17 December 2011

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Heritage Education: Through Pretend Play - Making Danish Rice Pudding Risengrød



Age: From 2.5 years old

Materials:
1. 1 bowl of rice
2. 1 toy pot
3. 1 ladle or spoon
4. 1 toy stove

Additional Information:
Joshua saw me cooking Danish rice pudding risengrød recently, and this morning he got inspired and cooked it by himself on his own stove.

He asked me to help him to open the container, and then he poured the rice all himself into the pot and started cooking his risengrød. He was very good and did a good job. I did not have to worry that he would abuse the rice and mess up the whole place.

I look forward to the day he will be helping out to make risengrød in our kitchen, just like his cousin Casper.

Friday, 16 December 2011

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J Summary (2Y9M11D) - A Sense of Humour & A Goodnight Kiss

We asked J if he would pray for the bedtime. He agreed. Then he said, "Dear God (pause) Amen". We broke into laughter. So that was his prayer! He laughed too. It seemed that he knew this would make us laugh. He is clearly developing a sense of humour.

J said that God and Jesus are above. I asked him how he knew. He said that the daycre teacher told him. I wondered what the concept of God is in a 2.5 years old brain and heart, but still I am amazed. I must continue to tell J about God, although I am sometimes sceptical that he could understnd. But maybe he could. God has put a need for Hi in our hearts, and maybe this can already be seen from 2.5 years old.

J refused to let me go, even though he had fallen asleep. Just as I was about to step out of the room, he woked up and and put his arms around me. Finally, he wanted to give me a kiss, before allowing me to get out of the room.

J can't wait to go to Singapore. It was a common topic of the day with how we would take the train, then the small plane, then the big plane to Singapore. J also talked about visiting China with Amy. That was rather surprising, as I don't recalled telling him about it. But I talked with my friend about sending J and Amy to China for holiday classes. And J said he would like to visit China. From here, I think that 2.5 years old, they could eavedrop on our conversation and remember them.

Re-citing Numbers

J could count up to 19 in mandarin, but not always consistent. He could not remember 20. But he is starting to count from 21 to 29. He told me that he could see the logic in the Chinese numbering, that it all starts from 1-9 all over again, each time we move to the next set of 10s. I am glad that he could see the logic, as I was wondering how I could best explain it to him.

For counting real objects, he could do so to 10 or sometimes more than 12 objects.

Lanuage Development

J continues to speak only mandarin to me. Now we cna have a conversation on his day at the daycare. He struggled to find the words, but he continued to try to formulate the sentences in mandarin.

J continues to speak Danish with Daddy. His Danish is improving thanks to the exposure at the daycare.

For English, wWhen Daddy speaks to him in English, J protested. After we explained that we would like to have English sessions, and not just alwasy Danish, J seemed to understand. He would replied in English, but often only yes or no in English.
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Chinese Double-Boiled Carrots and Potato Soup with Pressure Cooker



Serves 1-2

Preparation and Cooking Time: 30 mintues

Ingredients:
1. 1 chicken thigh or 2 drum sticks
2. 1/2 medium carrot or 1 small carrot sliced
3. 1 small potato sliced thin
4. 750 - 1000ml of water
5. 5 goji berries (optional)
6. 1/2 stalk spring onion chopped (optional for garnishing)

Materials:
1. 1 large heat-proof bowl
2. 1 metal stand
3. 1 plate or 1 piece of alumimun foil to cover the bowl
4. 1 large pressure cooker

Directions:
1. Put all ingredients a large bowl and prevent moisture loss by covering it with a plate.

2. Place a metal stand into the bottom of the pressure cooker fill it with 2 - 3 inches of water (at least 250ml of water to create steam). Turn on high heat for the water to boil.

3. When the water boils, place the large bowl in the pressure cooker. Then place all the ingredients in the bowl, fill the bowl up with water or soup base. Cover the bowl with a plate or alumimun foil to prevent moisture loss (optional). The bowl should sit on the metal stand.

4. Close the pressure cooker and bring it to pressure on high heat and cook at setting no. 2 (my stove fire at no. 5 - 5.5) for 5 minutes or under setting 1 (my stove fire at no. 4) for 15 minutes. (If you are not using pressure cooker, you can double-boil it for 1 hour under low heat).

5. Wait until the pressure cooker cool down on its own or cool under water and remove pressure cooker lid. Serve :-)

Thursday, 15 December 2011

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Clear Your Calendar Day

I love this great idea from Joy of Grace Full Mama - to have a day with nothing planned, but just spending time with loved ones doing whatever they like.

How to go about having such a "Clear Your Calendar" day? Here's Joy's idea how to free up time for such a day:

"
- Get up extra early to take care of household needs, like laundry and food prep.

- Plan far enough in advance so that grocery shopping, doctor’s appointments, and other important things do not need attending to.

- Make a simple lunch and enjoy it on a blanket in the living room.

- Prepare crafts and things ahead of time so that you can enjoy the day.

- Leave the TV off.

- Don’t go crazy with activities and entertainment, focus on relaxing and just being together.

- Just do it!! "

Being someone who trives on schedule and plan, it would be a challenge for me, but I will try and hopefully I survive without feeling lousy that a day is wasted without achieving anything. But first, I would need to find such a day :-)

Read her full post here.

Wednesday, 14 December 2011

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Chinese Double-boiled Carrot and Chicken Soup Using Pressure Cooker


Serves 1-2

Preparation and Cooking Time: 30 mintues

Ingredients:
1. 1 chicken thigh or 2 drum sticks
2. 1/2 medium carrot or 1 small carrot sliced
3. A handful of Chinese cabbage chopped
4. 750 - 1000ml of water
5. 5 goji berries (optional)
6. 1/2 stalk spring onion chopped  (optional for garnishing)

Materials:
1. 1 large heat-proof bowl
2. 1 metal stand
3. 1 plate or 1 piece of alumimun foil to cover the bowl
4. 1 large pressure cooker

Directions:
1. Put all ingredients a large bowl and prevent moisture loss by covering it with a plate.

2. Place a metal stand into the bottom of the pressure cooker fill it with 2 - 3 inches of water (at least 250ml of water to create steam). Turn on high heat for the water to boil.

3. When the water boils, place the large bowl in the pressure cooker. Then place all the ingredients in the bowl, fill the bowl up with water or soup base. Cover the bowl with a plate or alumimun foil to prevent moisture loss (optional). The bowl should sit on the metal stand.

4. Close the pressure cooker and bring it to pressure on high heat and cook at setting no. 2 (my stove fire at no. 5 - 5.5) for 5 minutes or under setting 1 (my stove fire at no. 4) for 15 minutes. (If you are not using pressure cooker, you can double-boil it for 1 hour under low heat).

5. Wait until the pressure cooker cool down on its own or cool under water and remove pressure cooker lid. Serve :-)

Additional Information:
Using the pressure cooker to double-boil Chinese tonic soup is a fantastic way to save time, and yet achieve the results of full flavoured soup with tender meat derived from Chinese double-boiling soup method :-)

Tuesday, 13 December 2011

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How to Double-Boil Chinese Soup in the Shortest Time for the Busy Working Woman?




Using the pressure cooker to double-boil Chinese tonic soup is a fantastic way to save time :-)

Materials:
1. 1 large bowl
2. 1 metal stand
3. 1 plate to cover the bowl
4. 1 large pressure cooker

Directions:
1. Put all ingredients a large bowl and prevent moisture loss by covering it with a plate.

2. Place a metal stand into the bottom of the pressure cooker fill it with 2 - 3 inches of water (at least 250ml of water to create steam). Turn on high heat for the water to boil.

3. When the water boils, place the large bowl in the pressure cooker. Then place all the soup ingredients in the bowl, fill the bowl up with water or soup base. Cover the bowl with a plate or alumimun foil to prevent moisture loss (optional). The bowl should sit on the metal stand.

4. Close the pressure cooker and bring it to pressure on high heat and cook at setting no. 2 for 5 to 20 minutes, depending of the type of meat used in the soup.

5. Cool under water and remove pressure cooker lid. Serve :-)

Additional Information:
This is a brilliant method I learn from and an Italian's blog www.hippressurecooking.com. I am so happy to learn this. The result - Chinese double boil soup in a short time through an Italian's innovative method of cooking using pressure cooker. It is after all possible to make traditional Chinese double-boil tonic soup for a working mom living in this modern era. I will be experimenting with the recipe and share them in my blog.

I bought my WMF pressure cooker from Amazon and I have been very happy with it:


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Baked Cauliflower "Souffle"/Blomkålssouffle


Serves 4

Preparation and Cooking Time: 1 hour 45 minutes

Ingredients:
1. 1 large cauliflower
2. 3 TBS butter or margarine
3. 4 ½ TBS plain flour
4. 400ml fresh skimmed milk
5. ¼ tsp thyme
6. Salt and white pepper
7. 3 TBS mayonnaise
8. 4 eggs
9. 2 egg whites (from previous day)
10. 3 TBS grated cheese
11. Sprinkle of ground nutmeg
11. Serve with sprinkle of cut spring onions or parsley (optional)

Directions:
1. Wash cauliflower, cut a bit of stalk off, place it in water - till the next day if possible
2. Cut cauliflowers into florets and cook until very tender in lightly salted water for approx. ½ hour.
3. Mash it lightly with a fork.
4. Heat butter on a saucepan and stir in wheat flour and gradually add in the milk.
5. Let the sauce boil gently for 10 minutes, stir occasionally and season with thyme, ground nutmeg, white pepper and a little salt.
6. Remove sauce from heat and stir in egg yolks one at a time.
7. Add the mashed cabbage and mayonnaise.
8. Beat all 6 egg whites very stiff and fold them into batter.
9. Fill it immediately in a very spacious, well-oiled gratinform with vertical sides. Fill the mold about. ⅔.
10. Sprinkle with cheese and put it immediately into the oven and bake at 200 ° C for approx. 30 - 45 minutes. Avoid opening the oven door during the first 20 minutes.
11. Serve soufflés immediately with spicy, touched butter.

Additional Information:
This dish expands in size in the oven. It is quite a time-consuming dish, but Florian told me that this is one of his favourite food as a child, so I would like to try to make it. This is the first time I am making it. I forgot to add ground nutmeg. I baked it in the oven for 35 minutes.

References:
http://www.madabc.dk/frontpage.aspx?id=0&plan=1&week=25&dbid=da8a4c82-17ba-4b94-8cf6-1bef24279c7c

http://www.opskriftdagbog.webbyen.dk/vishjemmeside_privat.asp?mode=top_frame&id=807030&side=&webside=4975628

Sunday, 11 December 2011

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Montessori Activity: Inserting Counters

Age: From 1.5 years old

Objective(s):
1. To train fine motor skills with regards to hand-eye coordination
2. To provide a fun way of teaching colours
3. To provide a fun way of counting
4. To teach sorting

Materials:
4 In a Line game

Directions:
1. Demonstrate to your child how to insert the counters one by one.
2. Encourage your child to try.

Cost:
10 DKK from Tiger

Additional Information:
My Significant Other told me that this is a game he enjoyed a lot, when he was a child. He was much older than J then.This game is good value for money. Although this game is for older kids, it grows with the child. For the young toddler, it can be used to train fine motor skills and teach sorting by colour. For the older toddler, it can be used to teach colours. For the preschooler, it can be used to teach counting. For the child, it is fun to play with another child to see who could have 4 in a line of the same colour.

J (2Y9M6D) tried it for the first time today and he played with it for 30 minutes, which is a long time. But he wasn't too keen to clean up by putting back the counters into the plastic bag. I had to be persistent. It was also too easy for him to insert in the counters. It would be more suited for toddlers 1.5 years old.

You can get 4-In-A-Row game from Amazon:



J sorting the counters into red and green
J having fun with Daddy


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Creamy Danish Rice Pudding with Almonds/Risalamande

Recipe adapted from Ala

Serves 6

Preparation and Cooking Time: 30 minutes

Ingredients:
1. 1 cup or 180-200g Pudding Rice (Grødris) (you can substitute it with sushi rice)
2. 1 liter of fresh skimmed milk
3. 200 g almonds
4. 3 stalks of vanilla pods and use only the beans inside
5. 4 TBS sugar
6. 250ml whipping Cream 38%
7. 250ml water for steaming the rice

Directions:
1. Place a metal stand into the pressure cooker, add 250ml water and lower an empty heat-proof bowl into it.

2. Add rice and milk into the bowl.

3. Close the pressure cooker, turn on high heat till the prssure cooker reaches pressure steam under setting 2. Turn down heat (no. 5 on my stove) to maintain at setting 2 and steam for 20 minutes.

4. When the pressure cooker cools down, remove rice pudding from pressure cooker, and add milk to adjust to desired consistency.

5. When it is cool, cover rice pudding and place it in the fridge for at least 2 hours or until the next day.

6. Blanch almonds with boiling water and remove skin.

7. Take an almond from and chop the rest.

8. Add vanilla grains, sugar and ground almonds into the cold rice pudding.

9. Just before serving, whip the cream into a light foam using a hand-mixer and fold it gently into the porridge together with the chopped and whole almonds.

10. Serve with cherry sauce (optional) or frozen raspberries for a healthier alternative.

Additional Information:
This is a very traditional Danish Christmas dessert. The base is made from the risengrød, which is the Danish Rice Porridge or rice pudding. Thus, to make this dessert, you have to make the risengrød first. It is very delicious and I like it a lot, although with the cream and sugar, it is not exactly a healthy dish. The guest gets to serve a bowl and the person who finds the whole almond in his bowl gets a present.

It is very tedious to make, as it is not easy to cook rice with milk without burning the bottom. It requires frequent stiring and requires one to stand for a long time in the kitchen. Many Danes nowadays will buy store bought rice porridge. But one can make it from scratch and yet do away with the frequrent stiring by using the Chinese double-boiling method. It is the same concept as melting chocolate, using indirect heat source from double-boiling. Furthermore, if you double-boil it using a pressure cooker, the cooking time is greatly reduced to less than half an hour, :-) You can also use the double-boiling method on ordinary pot, but it will take hours under simmering. The advantage of using the double-boiling method, whether you use a normal pot for double boiling or the pressure cooker, is that you don't need to stand in the ktichen to stir it, freeing you time for other things :-)

References:
http://www.arla.dk/opskrifter/risalamande/
http://www.arla.dk/opskrifter/Kirsebarsauce/



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How to Cook Creamy Danish Rice Pudding (Risengrød) Without Burning It?

Risengrød serve with cinnamon and butter
Recipe adapted from Ala

Serves 4

Preparation and Cooking Time: 30 minutes

Ingredients:
1. 1 cup or 180-200g Pudding Rice (Grødris) (you can substitute it with sushi rice)
2. 1 liter of fresh skimmed milk
3. ¼ tsp salt

Directions:
1. Place a metal stand into the pressure cooker, add 250ml water and lower an empty heat-proof bowl into it.

2. Add rice and milk into the bowl.

3. Close the pressure cooker, turn on high heat till the prssure cooker reaches pressure steam under setting 2. Turn down heat (no. 5 on my stove) to maintain at setting 2 and steam for 20 minutes.

4. When the pressure cooker cools down, remove rice pudding from pressure cooker, and add milk to adjust to desired consistency.

5. Add salt and stir well.

6. Serve top with cinnamon sugar and butter (optional, it is good on its own).

Additional Information:
This is a classic Danish dish and its Danish name is "risengrød", which directly translated means The Rice Porridge. When in Denmark, one should try it. The Danish rice pudding is actually porridge cooked with milk. When I first came to Denmark and was introduced to the Danish rice porridge for the first time, I thought it was strange that the Danes eat their porridge sweet. As a Chinese, we only eat our porridge as a savoury dish. I never thought that rice could be cooked like a "dessert". But I like it a lot.

Florian however found it strange that we Chinese eat our porridge savoury, and he would never eat the Chinese porridge, nor would he like to try it. Talking about cultural differences! Florian grew up eating this dish, and he loves to eat it the Danish way with the cinnamon sugar and butter. However, it actually tastes very good without the sugar and the butter topping.

It is very tedious to make, as it is not easy to cook rice with milk without burning the bottom. It requires frequent stiring and requires one to stand for a long time in the kitchen. Many Danes nowadays will buy store bought rice porridge. But one can make it from scratch and yet do away with the frequrent stiring by using the Chinese double-boiling method. It is the same concept as melting chocolate, using indirect heat source from double-boiling. In addition, if you double-boil it using a pressure cooker, the cooking time is greatly reduced to less than half an hour, :-) You can also use the double-boiling method on ordinary pot, but it will take hours under simmering. The advantage of using the double-boiling method, whether you use a normal pot for double boiling or the pressure cooker, is that you don't need to stand in the ktichen to stir it, freeing you time for other things :-)

This is an example of how I embrace the good and discard the bad in my cross-cultural marriage - I learned to cook a new tasty dish, but achieve time-saving by using the Chinese double-boiling method :-)

References:
http://www.arla.dk/opskrifter/Risengrod-med-kanelsukker-og-smorklat/

Friday, 9 December 2011

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Montessori Activity: Practise Pencil Grip with Tracing


Age: From 2 years old

Objective(s): To develop good pencil grip

Materials:
1. Kumon My First Book of Tracing

Directions:
1. Show your child to tracing from one object to the next.
2. Talk about asking your child to help baby kitten find mommy cat, or baby bunny find mommy rabbit.
3. Encourage your child to try.

Additional Information:
Joshua does not have much chance of practising his pincer grip. This is because he is not fond of art - which means painting, drawing, colouring, etc. I tried to encourage him, but it just isn't his interest. He also wasn't interested in learning how to hold a pencil using the pincer grip, no matter how I tried to encourge him. He just prefer to use his fist!

I saw some home-schooling moms using this book, and they described it as being very well designed. I bought it from Amazon:



When it arrived. I thought it was really well-designed and full-coloured, and too nice and wasteful for Joshua to scribble in it. I kept it for a few months, silly me wasn't it!!! I bought the book, but partked it aside, because it was too nice. It reminded me of someone who bought a Mercedes, but could not bear to drive it, and have it nicely covered in his garage.

I thought I will make photocopy of it and let J scribble on the photocopies, but of course, I didn't manage to find time to do it. Finally I pluck up my determination to let Joshua JUST USE THE BOOK.

To my great amazement, Joshua LOVES this book. He could go on pages after pages, and he did this more than one, and in fact many times. Usually for Montessori activity, he gets bored with it after one or two sessions.

He also was willing to listen to me when I showed him how to hold the pencil using the pincer grip. I am not sure whether it was just a coincidence that he is now developmentally ready or my determination of getting J to learn pincer grip or the excellence of this book in motivating toddlers and preschoolers, but he did. And he scribbled most of the time using his pincer grip on the book. I think it was about 1 or perhaps 2 months later, Joshua's ability to draw improved a lot. He (2Y9M) now managers to draw a full circle closing the ends nicely.

It was actually his daycare teacher who wanted me to have a drawing Joshua made today for memories, and she was full of prasie for him. I asked if Joshua actually drew that himself, as he never did that at home. She said yes, and she didn't help him at all.


I didn't know that it was a great leap in development to be able to draw a full circle. She mentioned that he drew very nice circles, cover the full page of the sheet, and at the same time stayed within the frame. She said that this shows that Jsohua's brain has developed and that he is now a child, no longer a toddler.

Kumon was developed by a Japanese. Here are some excellent pages from the book which Joshua scribbled:


Updates:
Joshua completed the whole book on 15 March 2012. He was 3 years and 10 days old (3Y10D).





Monday, 5 December 2011

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Fun with Animal Face Masks


Age: From 2.5 years olf

Additional Information:
We tried, but Joshua wasn't interested in masks when he was younger. Today, we rad a story about Kaj and his tiger mask and all of a sudden, Joshua (2Y9M) asked for the masks I made for him from the library and books. . So we had a lof ot fun with the masks with J today.

Updates:
29.1.2012 (2Y10M14D) - Joshua decided that he wanted to play with face masks today. I decided to build it into our breakfast routine and acting out The Animal family preparing breakfast together and it is all team work...



29.1.2012 (2Y10M14D) - Joshua Little Blue Mouse preparing his breakfast...

This is Daddy Teddy Bear preparing fruit

This is Mommy Pink Rabbit making the Super porridge for the Little Blue Mouse

Sunday, 4 December 2011

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Healthy Danish Meatballs with Oatmeal/Sunde Frikadeller med Havregryn




Serves 4

Preparation and Cooking Time: 30 minutes

Ingredients:
1. 500g minced pork (3-7% fat)
2. 1/2 cup or 100ml oatmeal
3. 2 eggs beaten
4. 200ml fresh skimmed milk
5. 2 onion finely chopped
6. 1 clove garlic squeezed
7. 50g sun dried tomatoes chopped (optional)
8. Handful of basil leaves chopped (optional)
9. 1 tsp brewer's yeast (optional)
10. 1 tsp wheatgerm (optional)
11. 1 tsp salt
12. Sprinkle pepper
13. 2 TBS cooking oil

Directions:
1. Mix all ingredients together (except oil) and make into balls using a tablespoon.
2. Heat cooking oil on a pan and fry on medium fire (no. 5 on our stove) for 5 minutes on each side.
3. Serve with chopped red pepper bells.

Additional Information:
Daddy FECS and I made this for dinner today with our Little FECS. Our Little FECS liked it a lot.

References:
http://frikadelle-opskrifter.blogspot.com/

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