Advent crafts

… at our Helen Doron school. We were invited to creat some Christmas-related decorations. It came really handy as at home it is really difficult to do any arts or crafts lately, as Baby Sis has been doing  nothing else but destroying whatever she puts her hands on. Of course, for her it’s the exploration phase, for us, an “Oh, noooo!” phase.

It was lovely to get out of the house a little just E. and me. As we arrived at the school the Christmas decorations created the vibe just as the Christmas music and the  big screen showing a fireplace.

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E. was really happy to find some treats she could eat (dairy and milk free gingerbread, popcorn, apples, tangerines and peanuts). She decoratively packed a plate for herself with all the goodies and this was the closest she could get to being creative.

She was lying on the floor eating, and sometimes helping me out.

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We made a pine cone Christmas tree with tiny pom-poms and an elf.

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These were the prototypes

When E. finished eating (well, she was munching something all the time) she started to play with the glue coming out of the hot glue gun.

Our new angel socks were admired by everyone.

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All in all, it was fun to be together without high expectations and had a great time in our Helen Doron school, which is always welcoming and offers fantastic programmes.

First, E. didn’t like the elf so much (she called him poopy and blaaah) but on the way home we chatted with Mr Elf and it turned out he’s got magic power and can grant wishes.

We placed our (khm… MY) beautiful creations next to our advent candles, so our table decoration is full now.

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Days of December 2017

Last year I started a hopefully long tradition: taking note of daily memories of December, the advent period, our Christmas itself, the days between holidays and New Years Eve too. Here is the last year’s post.

Now come all the memories of December 2017 day by day in one long post. (This year we’ll be making a paper-based memory booklet as well.)

1st December

The kids were at their grandparents and the Angels have brought us the advent calendar.

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This year the main theme is decorating a Christmas tree with stickers. It’s great as both girls can do it and enjoy it.

Our advent “wreath” is ready. It’s evident we didn’t have much time for it this year either. Perhaps next year.

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2nd December

In the morning we had a family photo shoot in our home.

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Our annual Gingerbread Party was in full swing by the afternoon. Friends came over and we made and decorated more than a kilo of gingerbread (this time it was dairy- and egg-free. If you’re interested in the recipe, just drop me a line. It’s really tasty and soft.)

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Gingerbread team
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In the making
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When all our guests were gone E. did the washing of the cookie cutters all by herself.

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Mommy’s little helper
And we had some more fun at the dinner table. E. made sure L. can’t take out her hair clip(s).20171202_210414[1]

3rd December

  • In the morning we went to buy winter boots for E. as this week it’s started to snow.
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  • We lit the first candle on our Advent wreath today.

 

  • E. has been singing 12 Days of Christmas all day in birdy voice. (Check out this short video if you want to hear how a bird sings 12 Days of Christmas)
  • We’ve been playing with the choo-choo train nearly all afternoon.

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  • E. read The Gingerbread Man for L.

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  • I read How the Grinch stole Christmas by Dr. Seuss to E. as a bedtime story.

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4th December

This was a quiet day. E. was in kindergarten and I was running errands. Little L. spent the whole day at her Grandma. We picked E. up from kindergarten together and we immediately changed into English.

At home E. found an old English writing practice book and started to work on it.

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L. was  walking around in her pretty red shoes the heels of which light up.26123635_W_1

Of course, more stickers got on our Christmas tree.

5th December

In the morning Little L. and I went to the Helen Doron English session (Toddler’s Best Start is the name of our new course) which she enjoyed a lot because our new topic was vehicles (trucks, cars, trains, planes) L.’s been crazy about them lately.

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But the highlight of the day was the play performed by E.’s kindergarten teachers – St Nick’s glove. It was a cute and loveable show.

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My Mum was taking care of Little L while we wer watching the play in the kindergarten. After having arrived home the kids opened some presents that St. Nicolas had brought to their grandma’s house.

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In the evening the girls cleaned their boots and put them out into the window waiting for St. Nick to fill them with goodies. E. was really excited. She wanted to stay up to have a look at Santa.

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6th December

I didn’t have to say twice to the kids to get out of bed in the morning. Within a blink of an eye they were in the living-room checking their boots.

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They opened their gifts with great excitement. Although we were in Hungarian, they got books, and activities in English, some toys and sweets.

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Our native nanny, N. was here in the morning and they tried to paint a magic booklet L. just got from Santa.

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E. met “the real Santa” (as she put it) in her kindergarten.

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In the afternoon Little L. met St. Nick in our main square. At first she was a little scared but then she got a candy (szaloncukor) and she kept saying she wanted to go back. We were in English but Santa and his helpers, of course, spoke Hungarian, still Little L. talked to me in English.

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We didn’t stay out much as it was very cold and windy. All the way home L. buried her little face in my shoulder. At home we made Santa’s beard out of cotton wool balls.

7th December

We had some healthy snacks, like raw broccoli in the market and dried cranberries at home.

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Our native nanny was here and E. showed her what she got from Santa.

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In the advent calendar we found an instruction to put  some Christmas lights on the windows. (If I can take a photo of it I’ll attach later on)

8th December

I was brave enough to give E. our paper-based Days of December album. She was cutting out some photos and I glued them in, but what she enjoyed the most was putting stickers all over the album.

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9th December

In the morning we went shopping with E. as she’d grown so much that all her leggings are short, her socks are too small.

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Fooling around in the changing room

We were invited to our Helen Doron school to make some advent crafts. I’ve written a separate blog post on it.

10th December

We lit the second candle on our advent wreath.

The girls had been eating so much sweets all day that I made them an obstacle race field in our living room where they could burn their energies.

We recieved our Christmas photos. They turned out pretty good.

11th December

Our Advent Christmas tree is getting nicer and nicer with all kinds of stickers.
We made some greeting cards for Chrismas with the girs. (I’ll be writing a separate blog post on the cards and the baubles.)

12the December

Gingerbread party in the kindergarten. L. is a little snotty so she didn’t come but enjoyed the company of her garndma and grandpa. We could spend the day together with E. in her kindergarten. What she enjoyed the most was she could show me her favourite toys and we could play together both inside and out in the playground. After lunch we came home and took a nap. next we prepared some Christmas baubles we’ll give to her teachers.

13th Decemeber

Last Helen Doron lessons of this year for the girls.

Little L. surprised her teacher, Z., with Christmas presents (a Christmassy pen and a Christmas card that we’d made with her hand-and fingerprint) and she said Merry Christmas in the morning.

E. gave her Christmas present to Zs. (her Helen Doron teacher) in the afternoon after her lesson. It was a Christmassy pen, the green-yellow bauble we’d made the day before and her hand Christmas tree card. She wrote Merry Christmas inside.

More fun is to come, stay tuned 🙂

Days of December

Here are our memories of December 2016. Every day I’ll add some picture or a story of the day. A nice memory to look back on. Some activities are in English some are in Hungarian.

1st Dec

Our advent calendar is on

 

2nd Dec

Activity from the advent calendar: a nutcracker puzzle. Of course we read the story too.

 

3rd Dec
Gingerbread party with our Hungarian friends

 

 4th Dec

Auchan shopping before Christmas. We got Auchan stickers and we made a good use of them.

Auchan Christmas tree

New play mats for Baby L. (E. put them together for her little sister)

5th Dec
Merry-go-round at the advent market with E.’s best friend. It was really chilly.

And waiting for St. Nicholas (Santa) to come. E. cleaned Baby Sis’s little shoes.

 

6th Dec
Opening loads of presents in the morning.

 

7th Dec

St. Nicholas (Santa) came to I.-Grandma too.

 

8th Dec

E. made a Christmas tree out of old number stickers. (I wrote numbers on a sheet and she had to put the right stickers on them. She gave it up half way, but I encouraged her to finish it.)

We walked the dog with E. and met a blind lady with her guide dog, Cloud. The 2 dogs were playing and E. was over the moon, running around, calling the dogs and giving them treats.

9th Dec

E. got a new winter jacket and we went to the playground. L. fell asleep in the pushchair and there was some fun Mommy-and-big-daughter time.

E. opened the advent calendar with Daddy. They made a door wreath activity together.

 

 

10th Dec

We went ice-skating in the morning but after 5 minutes E. changed her mind and didn’t want to ice-skate any longer.

The afternoon was about playing together and it was lots of fun. E. is getting better and better at Dobble:

The girls had a bath together for the first time 🙂 (no pictures of it… 😛 )

11th Dec

Our pastor’s wife organised gingerbread decoration for the kids in the morning. We took some of our leftover decor pens and beads.

 

We had a board game afternoon. First, we played a little Dobble again, then E. found out a Fruit board game. You can read about how to play it in the instructions. Everything was her idea. I just drew the fruit. Baby Sis joined in… all she wanted to do was to eat the die.
It’s hard to read the instructions, so here they are: flower – throw again, x – miss a turn, a man – jump over, a fruit – name the fruit.

 

12th Dec

With my cleaning lady we tidied the kitchen cupboards and I gave away a lot of tea canisters and some mugs.

 

 

13th Dec

Helen Doron English session with L.

14th Dec

Not a very Christmassy art project, but these swans were E.’s own idea and she made the one on the left all by herself. Then I needed to follow her instruction and make a Daddy swan (on the right).

 

15th Dec

E. was at the grandparents and I managed to prepare for Christmas. Shopping and gift-wrapping is almost done.

 

16th Dec

Christmassy domino game


We made a home-made Christmas present: nuts and dried fruit in a jar with honey. (In this blog post you can read about it in more detail – coming soon)


Our nanny, V.  was here today and E. enjoyed her time with V. that she wanted her to stay for bath-time  😜

The girls have been enjoying their bath together so much.


17th Dec

Grandpa came and put on these 2 display bookshelves. E. wasn’t much interested as her favourite books are in her room next to her bed, but L. really enjoyed packing the books down and having a look at them.

 

18th Dec

We did some Christmassy craft. Santa’s hat out of popsicle sticks and cotton balls.
At the beginning E. was enthusiastic, then we could hardly finish it. This was the day when the Angels stopped bringing her activities and fun tasks in the advent calendar. We hadn’t opened any of them since 12 Dec. E. didn’t want to… it took me a week to let go. 😩

 

19th Dec

We made Christmas tree ornaments as presents for 3 of our friends.

Then in the afternoon my best friend, B. (who talks to the kids in English only) came and we had a pre-Christmas celebration. E. got bath crayons as a present.

 


20th Dec


I bought a lovely teapot set for L. She loves when we sing I’m a little teapot at the breakfast table every day.


21st Dec

E. and I selected some toys that she doesn’t like to play with any more and we offered it to a family where there won’t be presents under the tree for the kids.

 

22nd Dec

No matter how hard I look for this day in my notes I find   nothing 😕

23rd Dec

I selected the toys and put away 2 small and 1 big IKEA boxes of them before the Christmas presents (and Baby Sis’s birthday presents) arrive.

24th Dec

Christmas Eve 
According to our traditions the Angels bring the decorated Christmas tree, then Baby Jesus puts the presents under the tree. With bells they signal when everything is ready. We opened the presents and played a lot.

 

25th Dec

We celebrated Christmas at my Mom’s

26th Dec

We celebrated Christmas at my mother-in-law’s.


27th Dec

Chilling out and playing… not with the new toys though…

E.’s all time favourite: Water Friends

28th Dec

E. and L.’s godparents and their kid came over to celebrate Christmas together.

29th Dec

We celebrated L.’s first birthday

 

30th Dec

I wrote an article about the present galore at this time of the year. The article is in Hungarian and published on the first week of 2017.

31st Dec

We were invited to a house party to celebrate the new year. We made some chocolate balls with coconut flakes for the “party”.

 

That was all our December. Next year we might be making a paper-based album with the girls.

Advent Calendar Activities Day 21-24

I know it’s February, but only by now have I managed to finish the last post about our advent activities of 2015. It’s hard to find time to work on the blog next to two kids.

So here comes some Christmassy and snowy projects:

  1. Count snowflakes

    I found this easy snowflake counting activity on a website I’ve been returning to a lot lately: Playdough to Plato

    I printed and laminated the snow scene cards. I gave E. a lot of snowflakes (I had different kinds at home, like felt, Styrofoam or shiny plastic)

    I thought putting the right number of snowflakes on the mat as it is shown would be way too easy for E. so I sneaked in some skip counting in the activity. I gave her the card with only the even numbers on – one at a time (2, 4, 6, 8, 10)

    At the beginning she didn’t understand why, but after having finished with card 6 she asked for card 8. So I knew immediately she understood what we were doing.

    After the activity she played a little more with the snowflakes. She grouped them according to their sizes, then made some patterns with the help of them.

  2.  Body swap

    I prepared this activity last year but she didn’t enjoy it so much. This year it wasn’t a hit either.

    I took the idea from itsybitsyfun.com. If you click on the link you’ll find the printable for free. You just need to print and cut out the body parts and give them to your child to make the snowman, the elf, the reindeer, and Santa. If your child enjoys this kind of activity (mine does not) you can build funny bodies, like one with a Santa head but a reindeer body and elf legs.

  3. Make a nativity scene

    When E. was 1,5 years old I made an advent calendar for her in which she found little farm animals every day and, as we were getting closer to the 24th, also some angels and the Holy Family. On the 24th we made the whole scene.

    November 2013 

    The base I made out of a chocolate box. I glued a brown sheet of felt on it added some shiny felt stars. This is what we called the stable and this is where we placed all the animals one by one every day.

    This year she got all the animals and angels, a Christmas tree too (not so authentic, eh?) to make the scene herself. (Although it was Christmas time, she  insisted on wearing her Halloween Jack-o-lantern costume)

  4. Christmas workout

    As I knew the 24th would be very busy time for us, parents, I prepared something dynamic for E. to run around and drain her Christmas excitement with one of her grandmas.

    I printed the Christmas workout cards and the fun could began. I couldn’t take photos as I was busy with the food and decoration for the evening. But as I heard it E. had a good time.

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    Join us next year too. I’m sure there will be some repetition of these activities but I’ll find out some new ones too.

    Have a look at the other advent activities:

    Advent Calendar Activities Day 1-6

    Advent Calendar Activities Day 7-13

    Advent Calendar Activities Day 14-20

Advent Calendar Activities Days 14-20

I know we are past Christmas time but I was busy with giving birth 😉 So here come some more Advent activities we did with E. waiting for Christmas (2015) to come:

  1. Snowflake out of popsicle sticks (Day 14)

    I decided to give some Christmas presents to the nursery teachers (2), the dinner lady (1) and the afternoon nurse (1). In the gift there was a bath bomb, a box of chocolates and something that E. made for them. You can see in the earlier advent post the Christmas baubles she made with pompoms and jingle bells.

    For the other two presents we prepared 2 snowflake ornaments that could be a great decoration for the Christmas tree.

    What you need (for 1 snowflake):
    – 3 popsicle sticks or spatulas (you can buy them in a box of 100 at the chemist’s or in crafts shops but the latter is more expensive)
    – blue and white paint
    – paint brush
    – shiny sprinkle (I had tiny, blue and silver stars)
    – sliver snowflakes (optional)
    – gray ribbon

    How to do it:

    Before she started I glued 3 popsicle sticks together in the shape of a snowflake.

    E. painted the popsicle sticks white and blue. She also experimented to mix the 2 colours to get a light blue hue. She painted both sides of the 2 snowflakes.

    While the paint was wet she scattered some sprinkle on them. This was the time she had enough. She did a great and thorough job with the painting and the sprinkling.

    We needed to wait for the paint to dry, so I put the snowflakes aside to return to them later when they’re dry. She didn’t want to do anything else with them later on, so I needed to finish them. I added the sparkly, silver snowflakes at the end of the stick and also attached a silver ribbon on top so that they can be hung on the Christmas tree.

    Unfortunately, the photo I took of the final result is blurry.

    She helped me put the presents together. She also made a Christmas card to each little packet with stickers and she traced my letters inside but signed them all by herself. This is what they looked:

  2. Roll and Count Christmas (Day 15)

    After the crafty day we played a counting game. I found this activity in the Christmas Tot pack by 3dinosaur. I printed pages 37/38.  I laminated the counting sheet and added green marbles for the counting.

    Opening the activity pack

    I didn’t make the die but cut out the pictures and stuck them on a big Styrofoam die we have at home.

    The whole family played. At the very beginning we all guessed which picture will have 5 counters for the first time. Then we rolled the die and placed the marbles on the mat.

  3. Window stickers (Day 16)

    I didn’t need to prepare much for this activity and still, it was fun. What’s more, this one also involved the whole family.

    I bought (at KIK) winter and Christmas themed window stickers. I just presented to E. and she did the job. Actually she did a great job decorating her windows.

  4. Christmas tree decoration with play dough (Day 17)

    I printed a Christmas tree and coloured it, then laminated it. I put out some play dough, and Christmas related moulds like a candle, a bell, a circle shape for the baubles, a star etc.


    The fun began. E. decorated the Christmas tree and was really proud of the final product.

  5. Christmas patterning  (Day 18)

    I made the Christmas pattern activity back in 2014. We hadn’t got to play with it then but a year later. The set needs retouching and after that I’ll add it as a free printable.

  6. Decorate the Christmas trees with pompoms – counting activity (Day 19)

    I found this counting activity on one of my fav blogs: Welcome to Mommyhood.

    I printed and laminated the tree cards and provided E. with small, colourful pompoms.

    She ordered the number cards then placed the pompoms on them accordingly.

    She wasn’t too fascinated by this activity. It wasn’t too challenging for her, though she liked the pompoms, which she grouped according to colours at the end of the activity.

  7. Roll and build a snowman (Day 20)

    Here is the link to the printable: roll and build a snowman. (ateachingmommy has a Snow and ice pack, which is more than worth downloading including a lot of winter activities for preschoolers)

    You just need to print the snowman parts. It is optional to laminate them but I did as I want to play with it more and probably next year two kids will test its durability.

    E. selected the different shapes and grouped them before the game.

     The hat suited the dog too 🙂

    I presented them with a big die then we could start playing. E. called her Daddy to play:
    – Daddy, come. A lot of people have to play this game.

    So the three of us played.

    We rolled the die and got a body part, a hat or a scarf depending on the number we threw. The first person to finish the snowman was the winner.

    If your little one doesn’t like it if he or she is not the winner, you can build the snowman as a group.

    I’ll be back with 4 more Advent activities you might like and wish to try next Christmas time.