2018 January – books of the month

E.’s list is a little shorter as we’ve started to read chapter books. What’s more, we read them like 3-4 times as she couldn’t get enough of them. A real bookworm. Little L.’s list is longer as she enjoyed the many books she got for Christmas and hadn’t had time to read them due to the busy holiday seasons.

I read for E. before the afternoon nap time when she’s home and before bedtime. L. doesn’t hear these stories as she is too young for these books. But E. is present when I read the books for L.

Colour codes: E.’s favourite, L.’s favourite, Both loved it

E., 5 y 8 m old

Gulliver’s Travels (Usborne)


The story covers only Gulliver’s travel to Lilliput. The story is divided into chapters. It is large print and the language is quite easy so E. could read it for herself. We read it twice and I suppose instead of getting dressed in the morning before leaving for the kindergarten she read it once more.

Jack Frost by Kazuno Kohara


A classic winter story about a little boy who hates winter as he misses company. But then he meets Jack Frost and they have lots of fun. There is one rule only, he shouldn’t mention anything warm or Jack will disappear. Can he manage?

Stick Man by Julia Donaldson


Another winter story. Unfortunately E. didn’t enjoy as much as I did. What a pity as it is a really funny book about Stick man who gets involved some dangerous adventures when a dog wants to play with him or when a boy uses him as an arm for his snowman.

The Wizard of Oz (Usborne)


Another chapter book for E. The same applies here as in case of Gulliver’s travel. A classic story in an easily readable form. I needed to read it 4 times and E. read it another 2. I think her interest escalated when I told her the story of one of my carnivals when my whole class got dressed as the characters in the Wizard of Oz.

Quarks by Ruth Spiro


As we live together with a scientist, I had to buy this book at full price. But it was worth it. It is a baby book but not so much. In a very simple way and with wonderful illustrations atom and molecule structures

The Giraffe, the Pelly, and Me by Roald Dahl (the absolute favourite of the moths!)


An absolutely fantastic and a typical Roald Dahl book. The story is about 3 window cleaners who get the best job in the world. While starting to the job they catch a burglar. We read it 3 times and I was about to make some activities to elaborate some outstanding vocabulary of the book, but alas I had no time. I might try to do it at another time.

L., 2 y 1 m old

Tough Trucks by Tony Mitten


As Little L. is into vehicles this book is the absolute favourite for her. But E. liked it. I can’t recall how many time we read it but approximately 50-60 time minimum. The book presents big vehicles like trucks, articulated trucks, refuse trucks, tow-away trucks and so on. The description is rhyming and the CD that goes with it is really handy. I was especially delighted as the book uses British English vocabulary. After a while L. could finish the end of each line (the rhyming pairs mainly). E. knows the whole book by heart.

The Snow Storm


I love Usborne book, and this farmyard series is so close to my heart. Not for my kids. E. was not interested in it after the first read. Little L. wanted to see only the lamb in the bush (that was born under the hedge). Nice illustration and a fun snowy book though.

You can do it, Sam


L.’s other favourite after Tough Trucks. The story is about a little bear who prepares cakes early in the morning with his mum and deliver them to their friends as a surprise. The little bear needs to be very brave as he hast to take the cakes from the truck to the doorsteps in the big snow. Mama Bear say “of course” several time during the story. Every time L. added “second course”  because for her these 2 phrases sound so similar. 🙂

Maisy goes shopping by Lucy Cousins


Maisy is still in. Read it a million time. As much as they don’t like Peppa Pig, they adore Maisy. l. compared herself and E. to Charley and Maisy. Charley who’s got a bike in the story was E. and she, herself was Maisy. She rides a tricycle.

10 chuckling ducklings by Sally Crabtree


A typical count-backwards board book with plastic 3-D ducks on each page. There is also a button to push to hear the quack-ing. For me it was too much for the kids… well, they were fighting for the button to push or to finger the ducks.

Getting dressed (Mark and Spencer)


A board book teaching kids the order of getting dressed. You can touch different items of clothing. The story is in rhymes. Both kids like the sensory books so a lot of argument was involved around this book too.

A birthday for boots


L.’s been interested in counting lately hence the second count-backwards book. This was E.’s first favourite Dora book. She liked the stories I told her about the time when we’d read it together. L. learnt some of the Spanish numbers from this book. And of course, the shout at the same time: Swiper, no swiping!

This is my puppy (Usborne)


Touchy-feely puppy board book that examines every important dog parts: ears, paws, tail, nose adding a touchy-feely experience and the joy of making the doggie woof-woof with the button.

Fox’s Socks by Julia Donaldson


Little L. enjoyed this board book as well. Julia Donaldson’s rhymes are so easy to learn that she could say the rhyming pairs after a few reads. Lifting the flaps adds to the fun. No wonder the fox finds his clothes in strange places. E.: – Mommy, this fox is very untidy.


Bird feeders

Last December E. made some bird feeders at her one-day winter camp. She loved the idea of feeding the birds when they have real difficulty in getting any food during winter so much we needed to make some more.

The first bird feeder idea came from our Helen Doron school.



What you need:

  • pine cones (you can buy them but easier to collect your own)
  • peanut butter (of any kind)
  • seeds (you can buy canary food in a pet shop, but we mixed our own: corn, sunflower seeds, millets, smashed walnut, sultanas, dried cranberries)
  • knife
  • thread
  • bowl

How to make it:

  1. Mix the seeds, dried fruit, nuts in a bowl


  2. Spread the peanut butter with the knife between the scales of the cone


  3. Roll the cone into the seed bowl


  4. Tie a string or thread so you can hang it up on bushes or trees
  5. Go to your garden, balcony or, as we did it, into a park nearby and hang out your bird feeders

We went back to check on the bird feeder and seeing the seeds and the peanut butter disappear gave E. tremendous joy.

We made the pinecones with our native nanny, N, in English. We spread them around E.’s kindergarten area with I.-Grandma in Hungarian. When we went back to check them we were in English again. So we covered a lot of vocabulary in both languages. (bird feeder, seeds, corn, hang out, hide, quiet-busy, visible, don’t migrate, robin, blackbird, finch etc.)



What you need:

The same as above except for the pine cone and the thread. After pressing some orange/tangerine juice for the girls I kept the rind. Quite a lot of seed mixture remained from the previous bird feeder project so we used it.

How to make it:

  1. Take the pressed out tangerine (or orange) rind and line it with peanut butter.
  2. Sprinkle the seed mixture in it
  3. Place it on and under bushes or just in your patio or on your balcony.

  4. Return to check how fast the seeds are eaten up.

In the second case again we made the little feeders in English and the next day we went out into the snow to play (we were in Hungarian) and put out the tangerine bird feeders.

It’s a lovely winter project even with little kids and you can save the tiny song birds that do not migrate in the long, cold winter. Through this topic you can build your children empathy and teach them how to take care of nature and its creatures.

Two years have passed

L. turned 2 at the end of December. She has changed a lot and grown a lot. Here is an overview on her focusing mainly on her language development (Her words and sentences are in italics).

As for her personality, she’s quite different from her big sister. She is very sociable, both with kids and adults. She likes to hug and give kisses. She is sensitive and emotional. She easily bursts into tears, however, it is easy to calm her down with a bit of cuddling. She often asks me if I’m angry or happy: – Mommy, you happy?


  • playing with cars, trains, diggers, and other vehicles
  • playdough
  • shapes20171024_171159
  • riding a bouncy horse
  • scribbling
  • putting on shoes and boots even at home
  • stealing my mobile phone and looking at the pictures or calling someone
  • pasta, raw broccoli, sausages (“kolbász”)
  • reading books20171224_173756
  • watching Blippi videos
  • carrying handbags around
  • turning on the computer

Her favourite songs in English are:

Her favourite songs in Hungarian are:

Her favourite books are (the list is not exhaustive) – English

  • Maisy books (like Maisy’s bathtime)
  • Touchy-feely books (like Halloween DK book)
  • Lift the flap books (Fox’s socks by Juia Donaldson)
  • Push the button books (like Incy-wincy spider or Busy vehicles)
  • Books about feelings and emotions (like Sometimes I feel sunny by Gillian Shield)
  • We’re going on a bear hunt


  • Berry and Dolly books
  • Mit? Hogyan Miért? book series (like Mentőjárművek)
  • Barátnőm Bori books


  • when I brush her teeth and she can’t do it alone (I do it)
  • putting a musline square around her neck while eating
  • walking up the stairs  (Pick up)
  • meat (except salami and sausage)
  • sleep alone

Her language abilities are amazing in both languages. As far as I can jugde objectively, her Hungarian and English are on the same level. There are words and expressions that she knows in both languages:

napkin – szalvéta

heart –  szivecske

Can I get it? – Kérem szépen.

Thank you. – Köszönöm

car – autó

potty – bili

There are some words she knows only in English:


toilet, loo


Or only in Hungarian:

baba (=doll)

Melyiket választod? (=Which one do you choose?)

Szerintem. (=I think)

She knows synonyms as well:

pants, knickers

toilet, loo

buggy, pushchairDSC00467

(I can’t think of any Hungarian words at the moments)

Her 22nd month was the most outstanding concerning her language development. She started to create her very first and very own sentences. On the same day at the beginning of October she said her first sentences:

We are hungry.

We are eating.

Is it broken?

In December she was capable of saying these utterances:

I can eat the strawberry and the apple too.

What shall we do?

Where are you going? (Asking me when I’m leaving home)

Here is my boob and I can touch it (After bathtime, exploring her body)

Towards the end of last year (around November) she started to mix the 2 languages notably. Even within the same sentece. After 2-3 months she corrects herself when using a word in the wrong language. Still, she is mixing them, which is perfectly normal and quite amusing. (Here is an interesting article to read about code-switching.)

Poor grandparents, sometimes they have a really hard time to figure out what she wants to say.

When trying to crawl under our bed: – Look, Momm, I put my “fej” in (fej=head)

When Daddy was trying to hug her: Nem akarok “hug”-ni. (I don’t want to hug)

When we played hide and seek: – I will “elbúj”

She makes very interesting mistakes both grammar- and vocabulary-wise:

  • Double objects: -Can I get it, tractor?
  • Double possessive: – This is for mine. This is for Mommy’s.
  • Wrong use of past: – Can you seed it? (Could you see it?)
  • Mixing syllables: feke=kefe (brush in Hungarian)
    cesond course=second course

There are a lot of times when E. and L. play together in English.

During the night it’s not unusual to hear her talking in English in her dreams.

L. can easily make herself understood when our native nanny is around.


I’m really proud of my darling. Keep up the good work and always stay a bundle of joy! Happy 2nd birthday, Sweetheart!



An exceptional day

2018 has just begun and I’m full of hope and I have confidence in our future bilingual journey. We have tough days but a day like today always fills me with optimism and confirms we are on the right track.

Today started as nothing special. What’s more, we woke up in Hungarian, which is always a kind of disappointment for me. Half way through the breakfast the girls asked for a book to read. I was hesitating as we were running late from the kindergarten, but I had decided to say more YESes this year so I gave in. We read 2 or 3 short stories in English and somehow we stayed in English.

E. helped L. get dressed into the thick winter clothes, directing and encouraging her to do it alone in English. We were chatting about the day all the way to the kindergarten in English. I promised E. to pick her up early, right after L.’s nap time. She was blue, she wanted to stay with us and go to the playground together.

Right after dropping E. off at the kindergarten we headed to the playground with L. who was singing : “Let’s go to the playground, playground, playground, come on and play”. (see video on this link)

She was sliding, running around, hiding in a little house with her little red nose and cold hands. The weather wasn’t too bad but a bit chilly. We played games in English like in the swing. She was holding on tight and I lifted her swing up higher and higher on the count of 5 and pretending to be aeroplanes flying high. Or she hid in the little house and I was the bear chanting Round and round the garden like a teddy bear. When I reached to the point – one step, two steps – I stepped into the house and once I tickled her at another times kissed her all around. Her laugh was the sweetest and I didn’t have enough of her “again”s.

We went to buy our lunch to the nearby take-away and slowly walked home, L. pushing her buggy or jumping in puddles and shouting out: Yipee!

After lunch L asked for Hush Little Baby and I rocked her to sleep while singing. Then I had a little me-time. I could go on with the unfinished Days of December blog post, as well as the album, plus I finally managed to sew a long forgotten button onto my husband’s coat while watching an episode of the series 24 (in English, of course).

I realised L. woke up when she was playing with a balloon in the dining room, tiptoeing in her sleeping bag and saying: funny balloon.

We quickly got ready – L. helped me choose what snacks to take – “Mommy pretzel yummie” and “fruit puree” and went to pick E. up. She was happy to see us and it was no question that she used English immediately when she heard we’d been in English with L.

The three of us visited the same playground as earlier and had the snacks on a bench before immersing ourself in playing, mainly swinging and trying a little boy’s backhoe in the sandpit. Little L. asked for the digger in English (Can I get it, excavator?) then E. instructed her to ask it in Hungarian instead (Kérem szépen) so they could try digging with the digger.

On the way home E. was holding L.’s little hand explaining her how some building had been “crashed down” (sic) by big machinery. She also pointed out a broken car to L.’ amazement. All in English.

As we were getting closer to our house they started to play a game. E. gave the instructions what to do and also demonstrated it to L. Touch this brick, step into this puddle, hug the water-spout, climb up on these steps, come down etc. L. asked E, for help who eagerly assisted her little sister: lifted her if she couldn’t reach something or held her hand to help.

At home I started to prepare for dinner while they were playing in the living-room. Together. In English. E. helped L. draw some atoms, then they had a look at the “match the lid” box. E. applied imaginary body lotion on L, which she fancied so much. Next I saw them on the floor looking at some books.

Later Daddy came home, we played a card game that E. made up (she made the cards herself in the kindergarten) then he took L. to take a bath. They kept on using English. I stayed with E. and played a few more rounds of her card game (Snap the pair) and we also looked up on the Internet some carnival costume ideas. (She wants to be an atom or some chemical element.)

When L. was ready I took E. to take a shower and her plush spider joined her too, which we scrubbed thoroughly as he was filthy.

We were still in English at the dinner table talking about our day and discussing tomorrow’s programmes.

The girls watched some videos (Blippi mainly) while I took a quick shower myself. Then in bed I read The Giraffe, the Pelly and Me by Roald Dahl, which seemed to capture E.’s imagination as this was the second time within 4 days she’d asked me to read it. (She’s asking a lot about words/expressions like baffled, famished, filthy, swoop and swear on your honour that we met while reading it.)

I could hear Daddy in our bedroom reading to Little L. in English too.

Days like today encourage me and lift me up high. I feel we are capable of anything, no obstacle can stop us on our bilingual odyssey. I needed to write down this ordinary and at the same time extraordinary day to take heart from it on the difficult days. I hope this little writing will give you hope and a little boost when you feel down and disheartened.



New Year’s Eve 2017

We do NOT really celebrate New Year’s Eve in our family. The reasons are numerous, but for the kids I wanted to make it a special day.

For Christmas both of them got a magnetic wand with some colourful discs. I printed a 2018 do-a-dot sheet, one for each girl. They helped me separate the discs according to colours.


They started to put the disc on the numbers.


Well, Little L. was not very interested in this activity… within 1 minute she started to throw the discs away. Therefore I decided to give her the dotmarkers and she painted for max. 2-3 minutes.


As for E., she placed the discs very accurately on the circles. She chose to use different colours for each number.


When she finished, she collected her discs with the magnetic wand and coloured her 2018 with dot markers.

During the evening we played a lot together with the toys they got for Christmas and for L.’s second birthday.


Lucky, we have Baby Sis’ birthday at the end of December. We had plenty of balloons to play with. Even in the bath. (Not for long though as E. freaked out about the fact that the balloons might pop)

Instead of the balloons we had sparklers during their bath-time, which also made the day a little different from the others.
(No pictures, sorry)

We had a fun evening that finished at about half past 10.