… 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.
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.
We made a pine cone Christmas tree with tiny pom-poms and an elf.
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.
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.
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.)
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.
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.)
When all our guests were gone E. did the washing of the cookie cutters all by herself.
And we had some more fun at the dinner table. E. made sure L. can’t take out her hair clip(s).
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.
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.
Of course, more stickers got on our Christmas tree.
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.
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.
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.
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)
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.
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.
We were invited to our Helen Doron school to make some advent crafts. I’ve written a separate blog post on it.
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.
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.)
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.
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:
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
and the girls also got a really pretty Christmas card with N.’s poem written directly to E. and L. How sweet is that?
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.
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.
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.
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:
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.
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)
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
We celebrated Christmas at my mother-in-law’s place.
We celebrated Christmas at my Mom’s. Finally I could have a good use of my new camera.
The girls’ Godparents and their kid came over in the afternoon so we could surprise one another with presents.
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.
LITTLE L.’S 2ND BIRTHDAY PARTY.
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:
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:
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)
We were playing and playing and playing in English with all the toys and games the girls received for Christmas and L’s birthday.
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.
HAPPY NEW YEAR FOR EVERYONE!
I wish you all the best, loads of second language exposure, fun and happiness in 2018.
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:
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.
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.
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.
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)
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.
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:
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:
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.
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.
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.
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.
Decorate the Christmas trees with pompoms – counting activity (Day 19)
Here come the activities of the second week of our Advent:
Christmas wreath from pasta – fail 😦 (Day 7)
What you need: * pasta (farfalle) * green paint * paintbrush * glue * cardboard ring (cut out of a cereal box) * red ribbon/bow * glitter sprinkle (I left it out this time as E. loves to spread it all over the flat)
How to make it: Cut out the cardboard ring beforehand for your child. Let the kid paint the pasta green and let them dry. Glue them on the cardboard ring in a circle. Tie a bow (I tied it) and glue it on. You can hang it on a door with some more ribbon.
In our case E. wasn’t in the mood to finish the wreath after having finished with the painting. She started to paint her apron and hair, then it was time to stop.
here still happily painting the pasta
We’ll get back to this project later on as the outcome is so sweet.
Though we used a lot of English phrases: –This kind of pasta is called farfalle. – I have paint all over my hand. – Can I get some more paint? – I don’t want to do it any more.
—o—o—o—o— UPDATE—o—o—o—o— coming soon—o—o—o—o—
It should have turned out something like this… but better later than never…
Christmas dominoes + Santa patterning and reindeer puzzles with numbers (Day 8)
The domino was a great hit. We needed to play it 3 times and the next day when E. was with her Grandma, she showed the game to her and played it in Hungarian several times as well.
Christmas tree puzzle (Day 9)As E. spent the afternoon with her Grandma, I didn’t want to put great pressure on either of them so I’d just prepared all the previous tasks and this extra one. E. showed them all to her Grandma and played with them all afternoon… this time in Hungarian.
No photos have been taken but here is the source where you can find the Christmas tree puzzle (Part 1) Sticker Christmas tree (Day 10)
I printed out a Christmas tree template from the internet and made some dark green and light green cardboard Christmas trees. St. Nicolas has brought E. loads of Chritsmassy and winter stickers (with owls, snowmen, snowflakes, Christmas trees, presents etc.) so I wanted her to use them in this activity.
She needed to decorate the Christmas trees but there was a tiny bit of educational twist. I wrote letters on the trees and she had to cover each with a sticker. She needed to use a sticker which started with the same letter (C – candy cane or Christmas tree, B – bell, S – star, snowflake, snowman, G – gingerbread man, A – angel, P – present etc.) The dark tree had letters corresponding Hungarian words and the light green trees the English ones. (We did this task in two or three rounds)
She enjoyed it soooo much, she was busy with it for 40-45 minutes each time. (Sometimes she asked for a letter so she could cover it with something special (H for holly, for instance).
As I made the same number of trees as we are in the family, Daddy and I helped out a bit. (Not as if she’d needed any, just for fun. It could be a great family activity.)
When she’d finished with all the trees, I stuck them up on a ribbon in a line and displayed it on her door frame. She likes it a lot. Mostly the little green bell at the bottom (you can’t see it in the photo.)
Make a Christmas card for a friend (Straw Christmas tree) (Day 11)
Again I prepared everything for her beforehand. A A5 size construction paper (yellow) folded in half. Inside I wrote MERRY CHRISTMAS! (in capitals) and signed some spots with crosses where she could stick her stickers (we are in a sticker craze phase). I’d also cut up some straws (red and green) with different length so she can build a Christmas tree in the front (of course I provided her with some glue too.)
First, she stuck in the Christmas stickers.
Second, she traced the letters in Merry Christmas and signed the card.
Lastly, she built the Christmas tree on the front (She wanted to put a star on the top – “Can I get a star? I want to put it on top” so I gave her a golden felt one – this is what I could find.) She needed help with the straws as they were too thin for her little hands. But the final result was really nice. (Here is a very bad quality shot of the card. I had very little time to take photos as B. came earlier and we really needed to focus on finishing the card. But you can get the idea.)
Christmas ornaments: baubles filled with pompoms (Day 12)
(present for the nursery teachers)
From last year I had two plastic baubles which can be taken apart. I gave E. some pompoms (red, yellow and green – some of them sparkly) and jingle bells (gold and silver). She needed to decide what colour combination she wished to fill the baubles with. It was also her choice which bauble would go to which nursery teacher. (The light/dark green is for R. and the red and yellow is for M.)
It’s a real easy craft (the only thing I did at the end was fixing the bottom of the baubles with transparent cello-tape and tied a ribbon on it.) Even a 2 year old can do it. What’s more, you can fill the bauble up with anything: beads, ribbons, nuts, fake snow, coloured rice, tiny Kinder egg objects, torn crepe paper etc. – you name it)
Christmassy pre-writing practice (Day 13)
As I have already mentioned I found a great Christmas pack for preschoolers (it has a version for toddlers too – see the source information bellow), which offers a great number of activities: puzzles, pre-writing activities, find the difference, memory games – just to name a few). So I printed some of the pages and used them separately, like these two types: *Which one is different? *Pre-writing sheets in Christmas style.