Wednesday, January 21, 2009

OK so my thirty three year old cheap Kenmore sewing machine is in the shop for repair. I am thinking about buying a new machine and so I wanted some opinions on what to look at. It may be a while before I do this but I want to begin looking now. What I want to have is something that does a great job without going up to the top of the line Viking or other. 

What do you use sisters? I think I know Barb has a Bernina (right?) and Kristi I don't know what you have. When you have time can you tell me what you have, how you like it, what you don't like, etc.? 

There you go Kristi, you can buy a camera and I can at least begin thinking of a new machine.

I am ready to begin sewing/crafting. Kristi Barb wants to have a Christmas bazaar in her house next year (October or November I presume...jump in here at any time Barb). So I was thinking you might want to make some cute things to sell for  some extra money. You are so talented I bet you could come up with lots of cute things.  

Remember I have all these wooden shutters just begging to be painted so any time we can get together this summer this could be a great project.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Passport Around the World - Hungarian Study

We belong to a homeschool co-op. As part of the co-op, we do an educational event once a month together called a Friday Forum. Recently we did a "Passport Around the World" day where each family chose a country and reported on it. Our family chose Hungary. My dad was Hungarian and his parents immigrated from Hungary when they were young and homesteaded in Eastern Oregon. I thought it would be a great opportunity for my family to learn a little more about our heritage. Luckily, there is a lady (Emoke) about my age that lives here in Baker City that is from Hungary. She was awesome about sharing Hungary's culture, etc. (She even shared a new dessert recipe sisters & nieces - watch out - full of different creams - all calories removed of course!) This first picture is of us standing in front of our presentation table wearing Hungarian shirts that Emoke let us borrow. The shirts have embroidery that looks like Hardanger on then. Hardanger is a type of stitching where you wrap the threads around the fabric in a design and then cut the fabric where there is no stitching. It is actually kind of fun to do if you can get over worrying about making the first cut and ruining the whole thing!!!

Here is a close up of the girls showing the shirts. There is also a picture of my dad in the background of when he was in World War II. I believe he wasn't quite 18 -he fibbed about his age to get into the war. You know, back then is was a very honorable thing to fight in a war. How sad that some of us have lost that respect for these brave young men and what they gave for us! My dad passed away when I was 21. Somehow doing this study has made me feel a little close to him and my grandparents - I'm just sentimental I guess!!!!

Here is our presentation board. Emoke was so generous in letting us use some of the items she had. There is a beautiful embroidered table cloth as well as pottery, books and pictures from her. She even let us use an old flask covered in cow hair, that sheepherders would have used to drink from. Wow - we learned so much! I had no idea that Hungary was one of the top 15 tourist destinations! It is a beautiful country!!!! It was a war torn history that is unbelievable. I'll share some of the information we learned below. Sisters and nieces, get ready to learn a little about our heritage!!!

First of all - did you know Hungarians don't call their country Hungary??? They call it "Magyarorszag" after the Magyar Tribe who settled it who came from deep in Russia. In fact, Hungary is one of the oldest countries in Europe, it was settled in 896. It has been invaded many times and was a communist country from 1947-1989. It has been a republic since 1989. After World War I, as a result of the Treaty of Trianon, Hungary lost 72% of their land to neighboring countries. This would be like the US losing most of its land to Canada, Russia, Cuba and Mexico. Sisters we would now live in Russia - imagine all of the sudden being in a foreign country speaking a foreign language. Very difficult for the Hungarians. As a result, it is very important for Hungarians to keep their language, to teach their children their history and traditions. It is a very unique language - no other language like it. It has 14 vowels! There are some English words that have derived from the Hungarian language:

vampir (sounds like vompeer). Here is the English word which you might have guessed: Vampire

paprika (sounds like poe pree ko). Yes, of course in English its paprika.

kocsi (sounds like koe(long o) chee) - The English word is "coach". The came from the Hungarian town of Kocsi where the first "coach" was invented.

hallod (sounds like hal load) - the English word is "hello". What cracks me up about this is its origin. Hallod means "can you hear me". Alexander Graham Bell had a Hungarian assistant who helped him with the invention of the telephone. When they were testing the phone, the assistant would answer with "hallod" or in English it would be "can you hear me?"

Here are some other things you sisters need to learn to say in Hungarian:

sziasztok (sounds like see-os-toke) - it means hello (non formal)

hogy vogytoik (sounds like hoigu vee - oid toke) - it means "how are you?"

koszonom (sounds like ku-sunum) - it means "thank you".

Hungary had a lot of inventions come from it - a strong scientific community. They were very instrumental in the invention of the atomic bomb of all things! Some familiar inventions include the Rubik's Cube - they call it boovish coatszka - which means "magic cube". They also invented the ballpoint pen and the noiseless match and they discovered Vitamin C!

Did you know that Mr. Pulitzer was Hungarian???

Hungary is mostly flat, known as the great plain, its highest peak is at 3, 330 feet - that is how high Baker City is where we live - and we have high mountains surrounding us! The Danube River (they call it the Duna) runs down the middle of the country. It has the largest lake in Europe (Lake Baloton). 80% of the country has thermal water - 1,500 thermal springs - half of which are used for medicinal baths. Obviously they have a big spa culture.

The weather is much like ours in Baker City but it is much more humid. The mountains surrounding Hungary hold the weather in. They have four distinct seasons. The temperature ranges from 25 degrees to 72 degrees. They get about 25 inches of precipitation a year.

Hungary's population is about 10, 198,135 and is decreasing. Families only have 1-2 children and the abortion rate of 70% of live births - how sad.

St. Stephen brought Christianity to Hungary in 1,000 AD. During the Communist Era, the state leaders promoted Atheism as the official religion. As Communism faded in the 1980's, Christianity made a comeback as an example of anti-communism. Today, Hungarians are curious about religion but the church is not an important part of life for most young people.

O.k sisters & nieces - here is a little culture for you:

TAKE YOUR SHOES OFF AT THE DOOR! It is considered VERY RUDE not to take your shoes off! I like this one! Hungarians eat holding both their knife and spoon (one in each hand). Families generally live close and rely on each other for help - here I come sisters (tee hee). Hungarians greet each other with a kiss on each cheek.

Last but not least, Hungarians like to eat awesome food! Surprise, surprise! They eat lots of pork, poultry, fruits and vegetables, paprika, Kielbasa sausage, white, whole-loaf bread and rich desserts with lots of creams! They also drink buttermilk like we would drink milk. Yes, some of their foods are unusual and kind of gross sounding to us: how about lung soup or bone marrow on toast girls? But I want to leave you on a good note, a recipe from Emoke for another awesome Hungarian dessert: Zserbo - Emoke's family makes it at Christmas time:

Here is a close up:

Here is the recipe. I had to convert it from metric so the measurements aren't exact. Does that sound familiar? A little like Grandma Haw's cooking?


3 3/4 cups of flour
2 eggs
4 TBS butter
4 spoonfuls of sour cream (this spoonful is like our bigger eating spoon)
1 3/4 cups powdered sugar
4 spoonfuls of melted honey (again our bigger eating spoon)
1 small spoonful baking soda (use the smaller eating spoon)

Knead this dough and separate it into four parts - roll each part into a thin, rectangle and bake at 325 degrees until it is lightly brown - I don't have the time, just watch it! Cool completely

Cream 1

2 cubes + 2 TBS of butter
1 3/4 cup of powdered sugar
vanilla - I don't know how much - to taste! I put a teaspoon in.
(mix this together with mixer)

Cream 2 - ahhhhhh - more cream!

3 egg yolks
2 spoonfuls flour (yep, the bigger eating spoon)
2 spoonfuls sugar (again, the bigger eating spoon)
Just shy of 2 cups milk

Cook this together, stirring often, until it is thick. Cool it and then mix cream 1 & cream 2.


Crust, then layer of cream, second crust then layer of cream, third crust then layer of raspberry jam, fourth crust then top with this:


4 spoonfuls of water (bigger eating spoon)
2 spoonfuls of sugar (of course the bigger eating spoon)

Melt the sugar with the water, add 1 cup of chocolate chips and 3 1/2 TBS butter and melt all. Thinly spread this on the top crust.

Now, the key is to let this dessert set for 2-3 days! It gets all soft and yummy. After it has set, trim off the edges - then cut and enjoy. Cut in small pieces if you must. It is VERY RICH!