After the spider costume last year I was really looking forward to what E. comes up with this year. As she’s been into a new topic: weather, she wanted to be something weather-related. And what else can be more frightening than a …..
Challenge accepted. Again we just needed a black set (sweater and leggings). I found some old, white tulle curtain leftover. I cut a piece and sewed it on the sweater in a zig-zag and some more tulle down on one leg all around.
I created little pockets so we could fill it up with pillow filling (I actually opened an Ikea pillow and used the filling of it) and some objects the wind could pick up while swirling around.
The full-dress rehearsal was at the drama class, but we didn’t add the filling as yet, just the objects.
Later on, we added a little grey to the filling with a marker and tucked it in the tulle together with some plastic toys (spiders, cows, cacti). Some clouds on the face and some more tulle in the hair and it was all done.
Little L. wanted to be a black cat. I bought her these cute cat ears, we added a sock tail to her one-piece cat costume, drew some whiskers on her chubby face and she was ready to purr.
I myself dressed up as a were-wolf. I even bought gloves with claws but I left them at home before the party at the Helen Doron school.
Still, we were quite a sight on the bus on the way to the school. Haha!
At the Helen Doron School the usual unbelievable scariness welcomed us. Spooky decorations,
in one word: FUN!
I’d like to thank the teachers who always put their hearts in these parties, plus their dress-up ideas are magnificent.
E.’s new Helen Doron course started in September 2017. I’ve been planning to write an in-depth post about our experiences, but I was struggling with. I’m not at the lessons, E. is not very chatty about what’s going on the lessons, only if she’s crazy about it, which happens every now and then but not on a regular basis.
So I had an idea. I asked E.’s teacher, Zs., to write a guest post about the present course, and the group. So here comes the very first guest post on nonnativemommy.com.
E.’s been visiting the Helen Doron course called More Jump with Joey. This is a continuation of the course Jump with Joey, where the basic knowledge had been learnt. In these courses we get to know the alphabet a bit better, by following the adventures of Kangi, Joey, Milli and Paul in Storyville. Each adventure is connected to a letter of the alphabet. This is also where students start to read and write, the course has a workbook as well beside the activity books. Starting here, the activity books have all the pages filled with written words, getting more and more complicated according to the age group, not only the usual stickers and coloring pages.
We also use the augmented reality apps, which can be downloaded to smartphones or tablets, and function as magic wands – putting the device above certain pages of the book, the characters start speaking, moving, singing, dancing. Usually we use it every second lesson or so for a few minutes, and all the students are mesmerized and just love it. If they do well during the lesson, it is a little gift for them.
The Jump with Joey material supports the school system’s usual vocab, learning about school items, colors, animals, numbers, household items, lots of adjectives and grammar, but of course many-many more. In More Jump with Joey there is a large variety of vocab.
E. enjoys it a lot – learning about different types of insects, arachnids, naming 6-8 different spiders, also apes, marsupials, pets, flowers, birds, also using grammar a bit more deliberately (e.g. past forms) and so on. This is a perfect course for her, as it is not only about learning the basics in English, which she knows already pretty well, but experiencing the diversity of life, and using our knowledge in different real-life situations. Also using the language with others properly is a great skill for her to improve – asking politely, working in a team, improving our social skills, sharing our ideas with others, speaking up. If it was up to her, she would probably just observe everything with great interest. But, of course, the aim of the course is to get that knowledge out and to use the language, to speak as much as we can. As the students already have a certain level of English by now, we can put the focus on the details, and have more fun by challenging ourselves with new, more complicated games and activities.
There are seven students in the group, three boys and four girls – quite luckily equal. This group is totally an advanced group, most of them have been learning English for 4-5-6 years (and they are only first graders!), and there are two other students who are basically bilingual, too. Spontaneous speaking and discussions are usual with them, they are very motivated and enthusiastic about English. E. is the youngest, still perfectly keeps up with the others. Not every member of the group started writing so far, but every one of them can already read or at least is trying to read the written lines all the time.
E. is brilliant in reading and writing, her speed of working improved a lot in the past year, and she barely makes mistakes. Usually she does not even need help with the spelling, she just knows it by heart. However, asking for help if she is stuck is still something we are practising, but we still have half of the course ahead, and every member of the group has improved amazingly so far. Can’t wait to go on!
More about the school we attend and the course material, click on the link.
… 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.
Our Helen Doron school organised a Halloween party at the weekend before Halloween. As a whole family we were invited.
Little L. grew into E.’s old skeleton costume. E. wanted to become a spider (she’s been into creepy-crawlies recently, which is clearly the influence of her new kindergarten friends). I made her spider costume out of things we found at home. E. also helped a lot make it. Daddy borrowed a wizard‘s cape, and I made myself into a witch (this was the easiest after having put the skeleton PJs on Little L.).
We fooled around at home a bit in our costumes and headed to our Helen Doron School party.
As usual, there were some yummie and scary treats,
…a spooky room, where the kids could touch a BRAIN!
Our teachers read our minds and dressed up as E. and L.:
There was a crafty session as well. Little L couldn’t really take part in it, I made her haunted castle, but E. did her best.
We also made some slime, without which Halloween could be unimaginable. Thank Goodness (and Helen Doron Teachers), we didn’t have to do it at home.
We had fun … again and again. Thanks a million!
And I wonder what costume E. can challenge me with next year.