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 🙂

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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)

    painting
    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.

    Source: http://www.notimeforflashcards.com/2008/12/how-sweet-it-is.html

  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 bebeangol.hu. 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:
    Ingredients:
    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

    Preparation:

    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.