Our Hungarian summer

I’ve had so many plans for our summer: many English activities, arts and crafts, whole days spent in English, having my best friend B. over a lot, who speaks to the kids English only, learning to read in English with Little L., reading chapter books in English with E. or snuggling on the sofa on rainy days watching English-speaking animations. Well, it didn’t really work out.

Most of our days we’ve been spending in Hungarian. The girls play with each other in Hungarian (they are in the own, imaginary world of “NOLS” and “NEWIES”), the Hungarian neighbour boys have been coming over to play in the paddling pool in Hungarian, the girls started to watch a Barbie cartoon on TV which cannot be watched in the original language. We go on day trips within Hungary and there is no English environment for the girls at all. So I can put out a large FAIL sign on our SUMMER.

I’ve been really disappointed and desperate about it. Even if I try to speak to them in English they refuse to answer in English. E. started it a few months ago and now Little L is doing the same copying her big sister. Sometimes when I keep trying and I bump into big HUNGARIAN walls I’m on the verge of crying. Often I give up speaking in English to them because the whole situation is so frustrating.

Then there are good moments, but moments only. I’m really scared of losing what we’ve reached in the last 8 years and I do not feel motivated at all. On the one hand I know their English foundation is strong, it’s there in their little heads and they are clever, any time they can take their English out and use it without any problems. On the other hand, our first aim was real bilingualism that we seem to be losing now. And my heart sinks. I feel I can’t turn back on this slope and we’re running into leaving the language behind.

I know these are terribly negative thoughts. I rarely write about my doubts and fears, demotivation, and frustration. However, I feel if I write it out of myself it’ll be easier, this English-less intermission will be over and everything gets back on the right (English-speaking) track. Also, I would like you to see that our language journey is not an easy, sweet ride without any obstacles. There are some highs and there are deep, dark lows, like this period now.

Just for me I’d like to collect what English activities we managed to hold on to in this desperate time:

reading English books (at meal time, nap time and bedtime)

watching some cartoons on TV (e.g.: Pat the dog)

playing with English games (apps like Lingokids)

meeting my English-speaking friend B. once a week

watching films on HBOgo (Frozen 1-2., Bolt)

Well, that’s all. I can’t add anything else to the list at the very moment. This is the most I have energy for after having recieved a lot of negative feedback from my kids. I’ve stopped pushing it. As in Frozen I let go and accept this is a very Hungarian period in our life. And I’ll focus on enjoying it whatever language we’re in.

Earth Day crafts

We started our preparation for Earth Day (22 April) a little earlier as schoolwork is taking up quite a lot of time during lockdown.

Altogether we made 3 craft activities:

Balloon stamping Earth

Recycled egg carton flower

Recycled bottle top scenery

Let’s see them one by one:

Balloon stamping Earth:
This is not so environmentally friendly activity as you need a balloon and we all know how bad it is if balloons get into natural waters or even into the ground. Still, I’d love to try this with the girls as it is really enjoyable to stamp with a balloon and they love painting anyway.

This activity is rather messy as the girls were stamping all over the table, but I’d put an old wax tablecloth on it and we used water based paint to wash it off easily.

On a plate I pushed a bit of blue and green paint and the girls dipped the balloon into it. Then printed their Earth on a piece of paper.

They made many prints and we added more paint, so Little L can paint her hand and make handprints, and Big Sister E. could paint the whole balloon. The balloon was yellow and when her paint dried and here and there some yellow was visible she explained that the yellow patches are the deserts. Fair enough!

Recycled egg carton flower:
You need to cut out a four-holed piece of the egg carton.

You need to cut the excess egg carton on the top, so it forms a flower. The girls painted the inside of the egg carton. E. mixed colours: purple and pickle green.

We glued a yellow sparkly pompom in the middle for the pistil. After having waiting for the paint and the glue to dry, we added the stem. Unfortunately, I couldn’t find a green straw, so the girls picked this stripy red and white one.

Recycled bottle top scenery:
I prepared some colourful bottle tops for the girls. Green for treetops and bushes, yellow for pistils and the Sun, red, white, orange, red for the flowers. We also added some scrap paper for the trunks, stems (brown and green). The base of the picture was a blue A/4 sheet. (However, you can use a cardboard piece and paint the background.) Apart from the tree, flower and sun combo E. added some clouds and a bush under the tree. Little L. made a bird out of the brown paper and her flower is only a but, according to her. Very simple activity with very little preparation.

Little L’s creation
E’s composition

Holy Week Calendar

I’ve been waiting for the time when my daughters are big enough to learn about the real meaning of Easter. It’s not all bunnies and chocolate eggs, and I really wanted them to feel the importance of this special holidays.

I found this great holy week calendar on pinterest and I was determined to do it with E. (and if Little L wanted to join in she could too. Not surprisingly she did want to join in)

From Palm Sunday until Resurrection Sunday every day we made a little craft activity and read from the bible (both in English and in Hungarian).

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We started with cutting up 4 pieces of coloured paper (yellow) and E wrote the days on other coloured stips with her beautiful cursive writing.

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While she was writing I was jotting down some biblical quotes that I found on the Domestic Notebook blog.

The next has been copied from the Domestic Notebook blog as we followed it day by day. The pictures attached are our handiwork

Sunday
TOPIC: Palm Sunday
READING: Mark 11:1-11 and Luke 19:28-44
CRAFT: construction paper palm leaves
MEMORY VERSE: “Hosanna! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!” Mark 11:9
SONGS: “Hosanna!” by Hillsong, “Hosanna! {Blessed is He Who Comes in the Name of the Lord}” by Michael W. Smith

 

We made palm leaves. I prepared some green paper and popsicle sticks. I traced the kids hand and they cut them out (I folded the paper 3 times so we needed to cut only 2 for left and right hands).

 

When finished with the cutting we stuck the hands around the popsicle stick, which formed a palm leaf. Out of the leftover green paper I cut out small palm leaves and E. stuck them on the yellow sheet.
Monday
TOPIC: Jesus Clears the Temple
READING: Mark 11:12-17
CRAFT: construction paper table cut-out with pennies taped on top
MEMORY VERSE: “My house shall be called a house of prayer for all nations.” Mark 11:17/Isaiah 56:7

We did exactly as it was suggested. First, we always read the biblical line and then made the craft based on what we’d read. After sticking the table and some foreign coins on it. E. had a great idea that we should have placed the table upside down and the coins on the floor as Jesus knocked them over.

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Tuesday
TOPIC: Teaching at the Temple
READING: Luke 19:47-48
CRAFT: scrolls made out of paper and two sticks
MEMORY VERSE: “Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light for my path.” Psalm 119:105
SONG: “Thy Word” by Amy Grant

We made the scrolls with the help of the skewers again. The kids cut a small piece of white paper and scribbled some gibberish on it. Or that’s what I thought. E. wrote her name on it as well. Little L. wrote her kindergarten friend’s name on it who she misses a lot due to the lockdown.

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Wednesday
TOPIC: Praying for Anything and Remaining Watchful
READING: Mark 11: 20-26, 13:32-37 and Luke 21:34-36
CRAFT: trace child’s hands to represent praying hands; watchtower or eye to represent remaining watchful
MEMORY VERSE: “Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be ours.” Mark 11:24

E.’s favourite day because of the watchful googly eyes she could stick all over the page. We overdrew her praying hands. We contemplated that next time Little L’s hands need to be overdrawn as E.’s had grown a lot and hardly fitted on the page.

 


Thursday
TOPIC: Communion, Garden of Gethsemane, Judas’ Betrayal
READING: Mark 14:17-26, 32-35, 43-50 and Luke 22:14-23, 39-53
CRAFT: saltine cracker and construction paper cutout of goblet; sack of coins
MEMORY VERSE: “Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me, yet not my will, but yours be done.” Luke 22:42

There are so many things to talk about concerning this day. We chose the last supper as it is the most understandable part of all the happenings. Therefore E. drew a loaf of bread and a goblet.

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Friday
TOPIC: The Cross
READING: Mark 15:16-39 and Luke 23:26-49
CRAFT: 3 popsicle stick crosses
MEMORY VERSE: “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.” Luke 23:34
SONG: “When I Survey The Wondrous Cross” by

Instead of popsicle sticks we used simple skewers to make 3 crosses. Popsicle sticks would have been easier to glue together.

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Saturday
TOPIC: Laid in the Tomb
READING: Mark 15:42-47 and Luke 23:50-56
CRAFT: construction paper tomb and stone
MEMORY VERSE: “[Joseph] came from…Arimathea and he was waiting for the kingdom of God.” Luke 23:51

We made the tomb a little interactive. E. drew the tomb on cardboard. I helped her cut out the hole in the middle. A bigger circle was cut out too and fixed it on the hole with round-headed paper fastener (=jancsiszeg). You can move the big boulder to peep inside.

 

Resurrection Sunday
TOPIC: Resurrection
READING: Luke 24:1-12
CRAFT: folded linen cloth and a picture of an angel
MEMORY VERSE: “He is not here; he has risen!” Luke 24:6
SONG: “He Lives!” {lyrics by Alfred Ackley}; “Christ is Risen” by Matt Maher

E. copied an angel from the net and decorated it with sequins. She wrote He has risen. next to him. We left a little place for L’s angel.

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Parallel with the crafts and reading the Bible, E. also played with a biblical app that I downloaded to my phone from bible.com .

bible app

Here is the result.

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The whole project doesn’t need much daily preparation, and it has turned out beautifully. The kids seem to understand the basics of the Easter holiday. I’m sure we’re going to this next year as well.

Blessed Easter!

 

Mosaic chalk picture

I saw a great post on facebook in which a parent used painter’s tape to make geometric shapes on their wooden fence, then the child coloured the shapes with chalk of different colours. Finally, they removed the tape and a beautiful piece of artwork remained on the fence.

I loved it but we haven’t got a wooden fence we could use, so I racked my brain quite hard to find a solution. Our garden is mostly grassy and outside the fence the ground is covered with driveway tile. So, I decided to think in small and made the first pattern on the narrow pavement that runs around the house.

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The kids got interested and got closer asking what I was doing. I didn’t say anything just started to colour. Of course, they joined in. Both of them scratched their fingers on the pavement as they were colouring with the smaller chalk pieces.

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Little L. gave it up. We had to put a plaster on her finger, and she was off to ride her bike instead. But E. stayed with me after her boo-boo was treated.

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What’s more, she made her own mosaic chalk picture.

She was generous enough to let her little sister peel off the tape, which they found extremely satisfying.

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E. peeled off the tape in case of the first picture

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L. could peel in the second round

The two pictures turned out beautifully.

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My design

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E.’s design

Give it a try! It’s a simple and amazing artistic experience outside in the fresh air. In case of bad weather, you can try to do it on black construction paper or even cardboard and using markers instead of chalk.

Have fun!

 

Paper plate growing flower

Flowers are blooming in our garden, but the weather turned cold, so we brought spring inside our home with this paper plate growing flower craft.

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To be honest, I needed to find some craft project for E. as she needed to hand in some spring related craft for school.

I found this cute paper plate growing flower craft on pinterest. (Check out the link for the original idea.) I thought this will go well with our spring playlist on youtube.

While we were listening to the spring songs our hands were busy with doing  the craft.

What you need:

  • paper plate
  • paint
  • yellow/white/green construction paper
  • popsicle stick/spatula
  • markers/coloured pencils
  • glue
  • scissors
  • yellow button or bead

How we made it:

To begin with, I advise you to prepare the smaller and more time-consuming elements of the craft, like the leaves, or drawing of the little girls who is watering the flower, with smaller kids even the flower petals.

We started with the painting of the ground brown in the lower section of the paper plate. 20200328_093158

Then we let it dry. While it was drying we made the flowers. You can paint the petals with fingertips, but my daughters don’t like to get dirty, so we used dot markers instead. We let them dry as well.

We cut out the green leaves, and coloured and cut the little girl out. (I drew the girl, the kids just coloured it. In case of older kids 10+ you can let them draw their own.)

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When everything dried we drew the roots with a black marker, cut the sun and paste it on the paper plate. The kids drew the rays of the sun.

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When the petals of our flowers were dry we glued the yellow button on as the pistil.

After that we glued the leaves on the popsicle stick (lucky I had green sticks), then the flower head. The girls also glued the little girl on the paper plate. I did the cutting along the ground line with a sharp hobby knife.

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When everything was ready they tried to put the flower through the hole but it always stuck because of the leaves. I folded the middle of the paper plate and problem was solved.

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While playing they were singing (to the tune of Head, shoulders, knees and toes):

Flower, stem, leaves and roots, leaves and roots
Flower, stem, leaves and roots, leaves and roots
And all it takes is sun and showers
And the seed grows into a flower.

Check the song on youtube.