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.

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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.


Advent Calendar Activities Days 1-6

This year we have two ways to prepare ourselves and wait for Christmas. I have already written a post about a Book Advent Calendar, and now I’ll share with you the activities we’ll be doing in the next couple of weeks week by week. Here are the first 6 days:

This Tchibo Advent Calendar that I managed to get a few years ago hides small presents and an activity card every day. Most of the time the cards are written in English so we can spend a little time doing something in the second language on a daily basis apart from the books we read.
Sometimes we have simple instructions in the calendar, like “Clean your boots and put them out in the window for St. Nicolas”. Or we decorate our home together and the ornaments are in the calendar. (They often cannot fit in the pocket so I put them near the calendar and E. can find them easily) In these case, there are no crafts.
Here is the list of activities for Days 1-6:

  1. Cardboard candy cane (Day 1)

    sticking the cotton wool
    on our door

    What I prepared beforehand:

    – 3 cardboard cut-outs
    – red paint
    – paintbrushes
    – glue
    – little cotton wool balls

    We painted the candy cane cardboards red and let them dry (on the radiator).

    We glued lines on the candy cane and stuck on the cotton wool to make it stripy. When we finished we displayed them on our door.


  2. Decorating E.’s window with flashing snowflake ornaments (Day 2)

    On one of our Christmas shopping we bought 2 snowflakes that have little batteries and if you turn them on they have flashing led lights (I didn’t realise the colours are red and blue – so they are a bit strange, but E. loved them at first sight anyway). You can attach them to the window with suction-cups.

    Every evening E. asks us to turn them on.

  3. Write a letter to Santa + Santa counting cards with festive peg + hair bobbles and clip present (Day 3)

    First, she didn’t want to write a letter to Santa (St. Nicolas) so played with the cards. She loved the tiny pegs with Santa, mittens and boots on them. She counted and clipped and counted and clipped. I made the printable myself, and you can download it at the end of the post.

  4. Gingerbread dough making (with a recipe) (Day 4)

    Last year I found a really good gingerbread recipe on It’s easy to make, smells wonderful, and stays soft.

    So on the 4 December (before the next day’s gingerbread party) we prepared the dough with E. So many people were coming we needed to make two batches. E.’s enthusiasm lasted only for one.

    It was rather messy with lots of ingredients and measuring I couldn’t take photos.

    Here is the recipe in English:
    For the dough:
    – 500 g white flour
    – 2 teaspoons of baking soda
    – grated zest of an orange (the colourful part of the peel)
    – grated zest of a lemon
    – 1 egg + 2 egg yolks
    – 2 tablespoons of freshly pressed orange
    – 130 g honey
    – 100 g butter
    – 150 g sugar (powder)
    – 1 tablespoon of gingerbread spice

    For the decoration (optional):
    – 1 or 2 egg’s white
    – about 150 g sugar powder


    Put the honey, butter and sugar into a pot and heat it up until they melt. Let them cool (on the balcony or in the window sill, while you are making the rest of the dough)

    Mix the dry ingredients in a bowl: flour, baking soda, gingerbread spice, grated lemon and orange zest, then add the whole egg and the two egg yolks. (Put the whites in the fridge, you can use it for the decoration). Mix in 2 tablespoonfuls of freshly pressed orange and finally the cool mixture of honey+butter+sugar. Mix them all together with a hand mixer (dough hooks on). In the very end I knead it a little to make it stick together.

    Wrap the dough in cling film and place it in the fridge for 6-8 hours. (The best is if you can prepare it the day before baking and the dough can rest the whole night in the fridge. If you’re pushed for time, it is OK if it rests in the fridge only for a few hours. (I’ve tried it and it worked the same)

    When you’re ready to bake, take the dough out and knead it a bit on a board covered with a thin layer of flour (also add flour to your rolling pin).

    Then roll the dough 3-4 mm thin and use your cookie cutters to cut out the shapes. Put them on baking paper on a tray and bake them for 8-10 minutes in the oven that you’ve preheated at 180 Celsius degrees.

    Let it cool down and decorate it with the whisked mixture of sugar powder and egg whites (whisk them until they are hard and fill them in a plastic bag. Cut a tiny hole in the corner of the bag and push the white stuff out on your gingerbread) or with other decorations (nuts, almonds, sugar sprinkles, hearts or beads etc.) We always use the Dr. Oetker edible decorations.

  5. Clean your boots and put them out in the window for St. Nicolas (Day 5)

    As in Hungary St. Nicolas (Santa) brings presents on the night of 5 December, children need to clean their boots and put them out in the window so St. Nicolas can fill them up with goodies and presents.

    And then in the morning (6 Dec):

  6.  Santa craft from paper plate (Day 6)

    On the 6 December E.’s Godparents and God-sisters came to visit. So we did this advent activity together. They were more than happy to take part.

    (By the way, I saw this Santa paper plate craft activity on Pinterest but after some rethinking I changed it a bit.)

    You need:
    * paper plate
    * red construction paper/foam sheet
    * googly eyes
    * red pompom
    * white cosmetic cotton wool balls
    * scissors
    * glue

    What you need to do:

    I prepared the hats out of the red cardboard in advance and drew a line on the top of the paper plate where the kids could cut along.

    First, stick on the hat, then add the googly eyes, the pompom nose. You can use any kind of glue you have at home. For smaller kids (about age 2 or younger) you can pre-draw the places of the eyes and nose and mouth).

    Next, with a crayon or marker you can draw the mouth.

    To finish with, you can add the cotton balls on the tip of the hat and along the head line. If you have a lot of cotton balls the sticking can go on the beard too.

    There was an extra special activity with Daddy at bath time: tea lights were lit and placed around the bathroom and the tub and they were blowing bubbles while bathing. It was so much fun… unfortunately I couldn’t take photos in the dark and I preferred to watch how they enjoyed the bath 🙂

More activities are to come!

Merry Christmas

I’ve been really busy lately: we’ve had some illneses and I started to learn Spanish, which kept me away from the blog. But next year I’ll catch up. Promise… to myself mainly.

Of course, the last few months have been full of preparation for celebrations (Thanksgiving, Advent, birthdays, Santa Claus day – the Hungarian speciality – and Christmas). We had a lot of English usage in connection with these and in our everyday life too.

Santa arrived on 6th December

Shapes are in – a post will be comming soon on the topic.

Food shapes

We still take part in Helen Doron English sessions – some negative, some positve expereinces. Might share with you later, too.

E. is getting more and more interested in numbers (big numbers in the first place) and letters as well. I’ll also write about how far we’ve got and what we are doing with letters and numbers.

Andvent calendar and its numbers

We’ve put a hold on flashcards as E. doesn’t seem to be excited about them any more (sometimes we do a little revision), and as she speaks continuously and more or less fluently (3-6 word sentences) with a wide range of vocabulary, flashcards are pointless in introducing something new to her. (I have some ideas of car logos, starsigns and Christmas vocab, but she knows a lot about these things aready)

Baking gingerbread was one of the highlights of this season – the time when she learnt how to pose and say ‘cheese’ when someone takes a photo of her.

Is it going to be a Gingerbread man?

Thank you for following us, and giving your feedback.

I wish you and your family a very Happy Christmas and a successful New Year with a lot of second (or third) language.