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.


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.


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.


2nd December

In the morning we had a family photo shoot in our home. See the photo collage a little further down.

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.)

Gingerbread team
In the making


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

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.
  • 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.


  • E. read The Gingerbread Man for L.


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


Here are the Christmas books we read at this time of the year

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.


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.


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.


My Mum was taking care of Little L while we were 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.


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.


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.



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


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


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.


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.


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


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.



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.

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 improvised dot-market painting. The end result looked like Christmas lights.


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’ve started to prepare some Christmas presents and cards with E.

We received our Christmas photos. They turned out pretty well.

2017christmas collage (1) (1)

11th December

Our Advent Christmas tree is getting nicer and nicer with all kinds of stickers.

We finished some greeting cards for Christmas with the girls. (I’ll be writing a separate blog post on the cards and the baubles.)



12th December

Gingerbread party in the kindergarten. L. is a little snotty so she didn’t come but enjoyed the company of her grandma 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 outside, in the playground. After lunch we came home and took a nap. Next we prepared some Christmas baubles we’ll give to her teachers and friends.



13th December

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.

Zs. sent me how her bauble looks on her Christmas tree.


In the afternoon we went on to make some more Christmas presents.

With Little L. we made Christmas tree decorations out of air-dry clay and sequins.


With E. we made a clay hand-shaped , which I’d been planning to make for a long time but we didn’t have the time for it (see the source and step-by-step instructions  of the idea on the link above).


They are all waiting to dry:


14th December

Our English-speaking friends visited us. In the morning my friend, B., who speaks only English to the girls, came over and played with E. and L.. She also stayed for lunch too. The kids were excited and a little ill so the whole morning was chaotic and tense. Still, we survived and spent the morning in the company of a much-loved friend.

After nap time N, our native nanny came to have our last session this year. On Tuesday E. invited her for dinner, so she stayed to dine with us. E. gave N. our little mainly home-made Christmas presents

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E. is explaining what she put in the bauble

and the girls also got a really pretty Christmas card with N.’s poem written directly to E. and L. How sweet is that?

15th December

I was preparing for Christmas while the girls spent the day at their grandparents. Both of them have a runny nose. I and my hubby are coming down with the same illness. At least we’re done with it until Christmas. (Fingers crossed)

I was lucky enough to buy white and silver lackmarker with which I’ll be able to decorate out Days of December album.

16th December

L. was really early bird, got up at 5, I managed to keep her quiet and in bed for an hour, hoping for her falling back to sleep but she didn’t. So we started cooking together. She woke up talking to me English. What a nice start, only if it had been at about 8.


When E. got up we prepared her best friend’s present for Christmas. She wanted to save the tatoo for herself, and of course, I needed to apply some body art immediately for both of them (Actually this was L.’s first tattoo ever.)


What’s more, we found some self-adhesive earrings. The girls got all pretty when they went to the library with their Dad.

In the afternoon we went out to buy infrared heat lamp as we are not getting better as for our health. And of course, we just couldn’t miss out on the choo-choo train in the shopping mall.


Late at night I put together the yearly photo book gift for the grandparents.

17th December

Literally, nothing happened today apart from lighting the 3rd candle. Well, it not totally true. In the afternoon I went to meet my friends. A little bit of me time is a big thing around here.

18th December

We went on creating more Christmas gifts, like this pine cone Christmas tree.


Two small snow globes were waiting for the girls in the advent calendar.


We read  Maisy makes gingerbread about 15-20 times. Little L. loooooves it.



E.’s bedtime story was Angel Mae:


19th December

In the morning we “had to” make some more gingerbread. It was a family project. In the making Daddy needed to read Maisy makes gignerbread a few time. L. matched her rolling pin to Maisy’s.


As E. is into the periodic table again (I’ve already written a few words about her craze for the chemical elements in the post when she celebrated her 5th birthday) she and Daddy made the letters for the elements and Little L. and I were making more Christmassy gingerbread.


Today was the Christmas party in the kindergarten. We just went to give the presents to E.’s kindergarten teachers. We didn’t stay for the party due to our viral illness.

We also met E.’s best friend and gave her our Christmas present too. She also got some surprises for E. They played a little outside but it was terrible cold so we soon said our good-byes.

As we got home we finished the ring holder presents for grandmas and prepared our door wreath.

The girls used their second waterbomb at bath time.


20th December

The angels decorated the bedrooms with lights and window decor while the girls were away.

I started to prepare our very first home-made Christmas candy. (If I have time I’ll add the recipe later on)


21st December

Our cleaning lady was here today and we gave her our Christmas present. The girls got 2 beautiful baubles from her.


E. is into the periodic table again. We were listening to it all day instead of Christmas music.

In the evening we finished the Christmas candies with E. We dipped them into hot chocolate and put them in the fridge. There are 50 of them altogether. In the meantime L. was riding on Daddy’s back.


Our mistletoe is hung finally, and there’s been a lot of kissing under it.


22nd December

We celebrated Christmas with my best friend, B., who talks to the girls English only. It was a fun party with really nice presents. (a clever bug, jewellery boxes, snug slippers, just to mention a few) . Below: Clever bug called Cutie came to have lunch with us. She eats only fruit as she’s allergic to veggies – according to E. 🙂


B. got here quite early, so she and E. helped me to wrap the Christmas candies. Just like my Mum.


And we tested them too. Yum!


23rd December

In the morning we made pizza.


In the afternoon Daddy took the girls to their training.

While they were away I was cooking the Christmas dinner. This year there’s no fish. E. and L. like it more or less, but we’d decided that I’d cook their favourite: chicken soup, and stew with noodles.

24th December

In the morning the final touches were done before Christmas Eve, cooking cleaning and decorating. The girls opened the last pocket in the advent calendar where they found the star (in 2 pieces) and stuck it on the top of our paper tree.

Later we played a snowflake matching memory game we’d accidentally found.


While the kids took their afternoon nap the Angels brought us our gorgeously decorated Christmas tree. Nobody could enter the living room, where the Angels were working, until the sound of their bells.

While we were waiting for the jingle we made chestnut balls for dessert and got dressed in pretty clothes.


Around 5 o’clock the door could be opened and the kids were amazed by the sight.

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The whole evening was about opening presents, playing together and having a wonderful Christmas dinner. According to E. this Christmas is not simply great but divine.

She said the best present was the chemical element cards, which she immediately put out according to the periodic table.



Linda loved everything she got she didn’t know what to play with suddenly. Maybe her very favourite one on Christmas Eve was the little pink scooter.

25th December

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


26th December

We celebrated Christmas at my Mom’s. Finally I could have a good use of my new camera.


27th December

The girls’ Godparents and their kid came over in the afternoon so we could surprise one another with presents.


28th December

E. went to the Helen Doron School for a one-day winter camp, where she had English sessions, arts and crafts, film watching all in English. Her favourite activity was making this bird feeder out of pine cone, peanut butter and seeds. As we don’t have a garden we hung it in the park near to our flat.



29th December


In the morning we went to buy balloons for L. with E. We were in English and the lady in the party shop was amazed that E. understood both languages.


On the way we checked out the bird feeder and this scene waited for us:

The seeds had nearly been eaten up

We saw a robin, a finch and a blackbird that suddenly took wing as we were getting closer.


We went to see the bird feeder with Little L. and we saw this:

Few seeds left, even the peanut butter was gone too

At nap time I picked up L.’s birthday cake (dairy and egg-free chocolate cake because of E.’ diet) and decorated the flat for the afternoon birthday party. It was just for our extended family.

Little L. was amazed by the balloons and all decoration but she was over the moon to see presents again, I’m not sure if she understood why there were so many gift at this time of the year (St. Nicolas Day, Christmas and now her birthday)


30th December

We were playing and playing and playing in English with all the toys and games the girls received for Christmas and L’s birthday.

31st December

A quiet New Year’s Eve. The girls cannot stay up until midnight so we celebrated in the evening with New Year’s Eve activity, sparklers and balloons in the bath and paper trumpets. They went to bed at about 9.30 and fell asleep immediately.

Sticky board notes in connection with the new year


I wish you all the best, loads of second language exposure, fun and happiness in 2018.

Our new schedule from September 2017

As we are lucky enough to have a new native nanny, N., from Brighton, we have a new schedule for, hopefully, a year.


Mostly a Hungarian day with some English in the evenings (bath-time, dinner time, bed-time story)


Mainly an English day.
Helen Doron session for Little L. in the morning, English daily routines and playtime in the afternoon
N, our nanny comes to play with E. for 90 mins in the afternoon


Mainly an English day.
Our native nanny comes to L. to play with her in English for an hour in the morning. English daily routines and playtime in the afternoon.
E. has got her Helen Doron lesson in the afternoon. At the beginning of October they start writing too.


English day for Little L. For a while our nanny came to her in the morning but nowadays but we rescheduled it and she comes to her in the afternoon before E.’s playtime with her.


On the whole it’s a Hungarian day with a little English in the evening.


Very chaotic. We have quite a lot of fixed programmes on Saturday, which is, for this reason, mostly in Hungarian, so I try to compensate it on Sunday but not with great success. At the weekend we just go with the flow.

What we do EVERY DAY is reading BOOKS in English. Both girls get one or two new books every week. We read at the dining table after meals, before nap time and before bed time. This reading routine eases my agitated mind.

Sorry about the lack of fancy timetable, but I haven’t had time to make one.


Books for October

This month we’ve read a LOT of books. Our October book list contains quite a few autumn and Halloween related books, though not as many as I wish. Still collecting books for this season. Next year we’ll have the perfect stash of book for this season. Here comes what we’ve read this month:

With E. (5 years)

Funnybones by Janet and Allen Ahlberg


The first book of the Funnybones series. E. LOVED it, just like I did. Two skeletons and their dog live in a cellar and come out to play during the night. The name of the game: scare someone. E. liked it so much that I bought her two other books of the series. What’s more she read the Funnybones books by herself as well.
Funnybones: Dinosaur Dreams

Little Skeleton and Big Skeleton are dreaming about dinos. Dangerous dinos. Luckily Dog Skeleton is dreaming too and saves them. Really funny. Just as good as the other two in this series we’ve read. E. asked to read this one too many many times.

Funnybones: Ghost train

Another great book for Halloween. The Skeletons get on a ghost train at midnight and meet a lot of scary things of which they are not frightened at all. But there is one thing that scares the hell out of them. So funny! Read it a million times.

Little Miss Sunshine and the wicked witch by Roger Hargreaves


Little Miss Sunshine needs to stop the wicked witch who casts a spell on other Misses and Mrs. But Miss Sunshine finds a way to break the spell. An average book. Nothing too exciting.
Caterpillar Butterfly by Viviean French


I loved this book just as much as E. The story is about a little girl who witnesses the metamorphoses of caterpillars into butterflies. I especially enjoyed the beautiful illustrations as they are unique and engaging. The real reason why this book was a hit is our own Caterpillar. (Read more about it on the link I’ll add later)

Gilbert the hero by Jane Clarke


Well, a book about fish is always a winner in our home. Gilbert needs to take care of his little brother at the playground but he wants to go skating with his friend and leaves little bro on the swing. Do you think he could save his brother from the killer whale? 😉

Ribbit! Ribbit! by Anne Marie Herron

large-ribbit ribbit

I gave this book to E. to read while she was waiting for me in the afternoon after snack. it took her 10 minutes to read. The story is about an annoying little boy who pretends to be a frog and says ribbit ribbit in every situation. But there’s a little girl who knows how to stop it. I also made activities for her that she did after reading it. That took her five minutes. I needed that 15 minutes to clean up the mess in the kitchen.

Zack’s Alligator by Shirley Mozelle


Surprisingly we borrowed this book from the library. Yes, in English. E. enjoyed this book a lot because we have a close friend who is named in the same way as the Alligator in this book. Not to mention the fact that the toy alligator comes alive when she gets some water and gets involved in some adventures with Zack.

With L. (22 months)

Touch and Feel Halloween (DK)


Real enjoyment for little hands. You can touch a velvety black cat or a bumpy pumpkin. L. really loved this book even after Halloween.
Cuddle by Beth Shoshan


A sweet little boy keeps cuddling his toy animals and imagines what if they were real. Not only L. liked it (who, by the way, adores cuddling) but E. enjoyed it when I read it to them. there are plenty of conditional sentences in this book which helps to focus (subconsciously) on this complex structure.
Sleepy head by Karma Wilson


A tiny little creature doesn’t want to go to bed and find out all kinds of things just to play for more time. Strange illustrations, real-life story, though nothing special. Whose kid hasn’t asked for another glass of water after bed time?
Guess Who’s Hiding? By Ana Martin-Laranaga


A peek-a-boo book with rhyming words. Sometimes E. read it out for L.
The Big Match by Julia Donaldson


Originally, I bought a few books of this Songbird series, but Little L. enjoys them more that E. This is about a football match played by the Foxes and the Ducks. One of the foxes should learn about fair play. L. likes ball games so this was a hit with her.
Chocolate Mouse For Greedy Goose by Julia Donaldson


A classic. If you have a picky eater this book can ease some tension at lunch time. The well-know rhymes from Julia Donaldson and vivid illustrations from Nick Sharratt (He is one of my favourite children book illustrators)
Busy Garage by Melanie Joyce (Ladybird series)


This was too much for L. And I guess it was boring for E. (I bought it as it a part of a series and E. loved Busy shop when she was about 2.) We read it only twice which is quite unusual in our home. We re-read book until my eyes fall out and my mouth dries out. Another disappointment was that the last page was missing so i had to make up the ending. I’d bought it used but it had never happened before.
Berry and Dolly At kindergarten by Erika Bartos


Erika Bartos is a famous Hungarian children book writer. Her books and poetry are very popular with children (nursery and kindergarten aged kids). Her drawings are very unique, the stories are simple and depict the life of families with children. Some parents find them annoying, but I’m okay with it. These two stories are especially good. L. enjoys going to E.’s kindergarten and the other story is about a big scary spider who turns out to be kind after all. Both stories take place in the autumn. I’m happy that some of Erika’s books are available in English. Berry and Dolly has a youtube channel as well where you can find some stories in English.


Fantastic Mr. Fox

This September we read Fantastic Mr Fox by Roald Dahl and it was a hit with E. So much that she had a great idea: let’s play the story with some props.

As it was a sudden idea we needed to prepare everything on the spot. There was no time to think it over, still it went smoothly and ideas were coming to our mind quickly.

It wasn’t a question who’s going to play the main role.


Originally I presented E. with a plush fox so we can play the story of Gruffalo.
First, the three farmers gave me a hard time but with help of kitchen roll/toilet paper tubes (for the bodies) and plastic balls (for the heads) I managed to make them come alive. More balls represented the chickens, ducks, geese and turkeys.

Mr. Boggis and his chicken farm
Mr. Bunce and his ducks and geese
Mr. Bean, his turkeys, and orchard

E. made an apple tree as a symbol of Mr Bean’s orchard. She also placed some tractors on 2 farms.

The fox hole was created with floor mat puzzles. (The tree above it was imaginary)

Mr Fox is jumping back into his hole when the farmers chase him

E. was really creative. When we realized we didn’t have shovels (the sand toys were in the storage room downstairs) she ran to the kitchen to take some spoons.

As we were creating the props the story unfolded itself.

Mr Fox’s tail hanging out of his hole
After the tail was shot off
Mr Fox is digging a tunnel
Mr Fox’s arrived at the chicken house
Mr Fox is stealing some ducks and geese

There was a chapter we left out, the one with the rat as E. wanted the animals to have their feast 🙂
Our story time lasted almost two hours. It was very very spontaneous, imaginative and much fun. A wonderful experience.