MFW ECC - Weeks 29-30 in Review - Russia

Saturday, April 4, 2015

Hello from Russia! I may have gone a little over the top these past few weeks. I think I feel the end is near, so we are trying to squeeze in as much fun as possible this year. We did a LOT of cooking this week, but also had so much fun reading through so many wonderful books about Russia's people, land and culture.

This is Silas's art project of the week. Normally art never gets skipped around here. My boys love to create things, but I could never connect with the art book assigned in ECC. I've gone rogue on art because I want to us to make some final memories of our year. We read several stories about Matryoshka dolls, so I thought it would be fun to make do an art project inspired by these wonderful little creations.

Silas choose some colors for his background. We waited for these to dry.

While we waited for his background to dry Silas drew all the faces and clothing on the dolls. We used a combination of this and this template. I had to combine the two so we could get the littlest doll.

I absolutely loved the faces and designs he made. So cute :)

Silas really enjoyed both of these books. He asked if we could buy The Littlest Matryoshka.The story is about a set of Matryoshka dolls that are made in Russia and shipped to a toy store in America. The littlest doll gets lost and finds her way back to her sisters.

I decided a treasure hunt was in order. I've always loved these dolls. I packed up the boys in the car and told them we were on the hunt for Matryoshka dolls. We headed to the closest antique store. I thought we might have to visit a few, but we found this one on the first try. Silas was SO excited to spot it!

In the story there are 6 dolls and the smallest gets lost.

All the sisters are so sad. A little girl buys the doll set on sale even though it is missing the smallest doll. She puts a piece of cotton in the sister who was empty, but eventually the littlest doll makes her way home.

This was an especially fun find because it was actually made in Russia. I wish I could read this! I would love to know if that date says 1889 or 1989. Either way, this set will be loved :)

We learned how to actually say Matryoshka correctly.

This was one of the books I checked out from the library. This is where I find how much gluten, meat and dairy one can cook in a week! I tried a LOT of the recipes. I'm going to need to go on a juice fast, but we had so much fun trying all these new things.

One of the first dishes we tried was Beef Stroganoff. I have my own recipe (which definitely includes wine) but I thought I'd try the recipe from the book this time.

Stroganoff is one of my hubbies favorites, so he was excited. This was definitely a hit. I bought the best egg noodles ever to serve with the stroganoff. Yum!

The next thing we had was Voskresenye Zavtrak which is Sunday Breakfast. We had it at night, but whateves. Sunday breakfast in Russia is a hearty meal that family members spend together.

There are many mentions of Russian Black Bread in the books we read. I had planned to make some from scratch, but my store didn't carry rye flour. I picked up a loaf of pre-made rye bread instead (which we liked by the way.)

Boiled Potatoes or Kartoshka v Mundire is a common dish. I boiled these potatoes and dressed them with a simple vinegar and oil dressing. They are often sprinkled with dill which I forgot to get at the store.

In Russia, Beef or pork sausage may served breakfast, lunch or dinner and is served with mustard.

Sausage is not normal fare around here, but the boys enjoyed it.

This is Kovrizhka Medovaya or Honey Spice Cake. It is a simple cake but had a very interesting batter. The recipe called for a whole cup of honey. It said to cook for 40-50 minutes. At 40 it was soupy and at 48 it was overdone. Sigh. I would like to try this again. It was a tasty cake. I'll just take it out of the oven sooner next time.

The next thing we made was Kotleta Po-kievsky otherwise known as Chicken Kiev.

First you pound the chicken flat. Next you stuff it with a garlic, parsley and butter mixture (yes, please!) Then you roll it in bread crumbs and fry until crispy. Um, hello. Do you see why I'll be needing a fast after all this? The boys thought this was a-mazing.

Someone please rescue me from myself. Um, yes, I still have more recipes! Ha! The next thing we made was Sirniki or Cheese Pancakes. The dough is made of ricotta, flour, sugar and an egg. First you make them into these cute little shapes.

And then again we fried something. I'm out of control! Ha! Fried dough anyone? Always and forever.

We sprinkled them with powdered sugar. These are served with either jam, honey or sour cream, or all three if you're feeling crazy. Delish!

So, apparently I was trying to eat my way to the grave this week. These fancy little meat pies are called Pirozhki. They may be stuffed with meat, cabbage, potatoes or eggs. I sauteed onions and beef and then made little dough pockets. I also made Brussels sprouts to make myself feel better for eating like it was Russian Christmas everyday over the past few weeks. 

We, believe it or not, baked these. You probably wouldn't know it from this post, but we eat pretty healthy food the rest of the time!

This was one of Silas's favorite dishes of Russia. He had 2 and wanted another. That's saying a lot for this picky eater!

I've tried to sneak in as many Five in a Row books as I could this year being that Silas is unfortunately very soon going to outgrow them. I wish I had taken a few years to really give my all to this program. It is SO fun when we have been able to row a book. Another Celebrated Dancing Bear  is a story of two bear friends. One is a circus dancer and the other really admires his friend. The dancer teaches his friend to dance. It's a sweet story of friendship and sharing what we know with the world. I have the FIAR cookbook, so of course we had to make even more Russian food!

So, we made Russian Tea Cakes! The boys helped me roll these delicious little cookies into balls.

Next we sprinkled them with powdered sugar (because we apparently can't get enough sugar or gluten this week.)

Instead of poetry teatime, we had Storytime Teatime. We read Another Celebrated Dancing Bear and a handful of Patricia Polacco books, many of which take place in Russia.

We read the story of Peter and the Wolf and listened to the story on You Tube. The real version is not as friendly as this one, but at least you can hear the character instruments here.

These are Silas's Russia notebook pages for the week.

I have really loved the chance to read through Matthew with Silas. We have prayed for the people of these countries all year. There is nothing better than hearing your 9 year old son pray for God to protect, bless and take care of people halfway across the world. I pray God continues to open his heart as he continues to grow and mature.

Oh, and in case you're wondering, we do actually do school too! Silas is doing really well in Singapore. I'm so glad I went ahead and moved him back to it. It is challenging on some days, but I see him working his math muscles and rising to the challenge. I have lots of math manipulatives that we haven't had the chance to use in some of our other programs. Silas has been learning how to add and grams and kilograms. He had a lot of fun seeing how much different things weighed compared to one another.

This is the set of weights we used. Next week we will use our pounds and ounces.

Math nerdery at its finest! We are so sad to leave Russia, but we'll see you next time in Australia!

This post is linked up with Weird Unsocialized Homeschoolers <3


  1. All the food looks so yummy. I'd love the cake recipe!!!

  2. What a lovely study! Just my style of learning!

    1. Anything that involves food is my kind of learning :)

  3. We LOVED the ECC year of MFW! So much fun! Great nesting doll art project!

    1. Thank you! He did such a good job :)

  4. WOW! You made a feast! What wonderful learning. I love the Matryoshka doll art. I wanted to do something similar when we last 'visited' Russia. We ended up drawing St Basil's Cathedral instead. Next time ... :-)

    1. I almost did a St. Basil's art thing :) He loved those little dolls, so this was perfect. The weeks go by way too fast to do all I'd like to do.

  5. UhmAzInG! This was such a yummy post I had to read it twice. It was also painful as I am trying to go off gluten, haha! What a fun time you had with all the food - totally worth it! Love all the natural learning! And the Another Celebrated Dancing Bear tie in - that was one book that I borrowed from the library to row, fell in love, and had to buy it to keep. Love the Matryoshka doll art, too! Lovely, just lovely!

    1. Thanks friend! Good thing we are going to Antarctica soon and I can get all this cooking out of my system. I ended up buying Another Celebrated Dancing Bear. I sold my FIAR set and I'm now re-buying it all. I figure grandkids will come eventually and I love having books for littles who come over.


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