Bye-bye N!

Again the time has come to say good-bye to our 5th, and one of the best nannies we’ve had so far. Our hearts sink but we are lucky to have met her and had her around for such a long time.

We met N, our British nanny, in October 2017 and she stayed with us until the end of June this year. With this length of stay she’s the silver medalist among our nannies (just kidding). However, to be honest, she is the first real nanny to Little L.

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As usual the beginning went a bit difficult; it took more time for E to warm up with her, but after a few weeks she was playing happily with N. Little L was more open from the very beginning and wanted to play with N whenever she was around (even when it was E’s session.)

She came 3 times a week: a session with E only, a session with Little L, and a double session with both girls (theoretically it would have been 1 hour for L and 90 minutes for E but towards the end Little L. wanted to play with them too and it was hard for me to keep her away. Though E needed her time with N as they played more “big-girl” games together.)

We had lots of fun with N, who was always in, no matter how crazy ideas the girls had.

L loved playing cars, trains, play dough, football, catch and boom monster, a game the girls made up with N. But they also drew, painted, read books together. L also enjoyed when we went to the playground together with N.

E took N to the land of her imagination i.e. “Waterland”, or forever and ever talked about chemical elements or birds to her and she didn’t seem to get bored with it. What’s more, she came up with great activities within E.’s favourite topics.

The girls loved when N could stay for dinner, once she even had to watch a Paw Patrol episode with them and few time N supervised the girls during their bath-time.

On her last day we had dinner together again one last time, and handed her a memory book that E and L had prepared for her.

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I suppose she really liked it ūüôā

We stuck pictures in, E. drew the three of them

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and of course, anglers; L drew fire engines, trees and cars.

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Ice cream time and an angler fishing
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The red blob is the tree top, the blue lines is a police car by L

E. noted down all the fantastic memories we had together with N and we also wrote a little poem about the great times.

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No memory book without stickers!

N also gave lovely good-bye presents to the girls: their adventures in rhymes and with funny pictures, E. got a Harry Potter book, L. was gifted with a special jeep, and they also had many boom monsters ūüôā (that E. put on the end of her coloured pencils)

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boom monsters
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the jeep

Bye for now N! We were really glad to have you around and although you’ve left you’ll stay with us for good. Thanks for everything!

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Mix it up!

New York is book lovers’ heaven. After our NYC trip, we returned with tons of children books we bough at a really low price. One of them was Mix it up! by Herv√© Tullet. It’s an interactive book about colours and colour mixing.

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There are several activities online based on the book. You can check them out on pinterest, but I decided to make our own. A simple but fun activity that my 2 and a half year old could do easily and with joy. (You can download your free copy at the end of this blog post.)

Before starting the worksheet, they were just painting for fun in their journals. (We put a piece of cardboard under the page so the paint doesn’t bleed through.)

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Next, I gave them the Mix it up! copy for each of them. First, they painted the primary colours, blue, red and yellow.

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Then came the mixing. Little L. needed help with washing the colours out of her paint brush, but she wanted to do it all by herself.

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E. painted and mixed the colour like  a pro.

In the meantime our native nanny, N. arrived and joined in. They wanted to paint some more so everyone got a sheet of paper and free painting continued.

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Little L. got tired of the limitation of paint brushes and she started to use her fingers. She used more water than paint. In the end she decided to throw her last work of art into the bin. (lucky I could save the others.)

The difficult part came: cleaning up. The girls could choose what to clean up at the end. E. chose to wash the paintbrushes out, L. helped me put away the paint and clean the table.

Now here you can download your free copy of our mixing activity.

I can highly recommend both the book and the painting activity. Have fun!

 

 

Birdwatching

A few months after the periodic table and chemistry craze E. is into birds and nature. I’m really glad that this new topic gives us the opportunity to spend great amount of time outside in nature.

Everything started with this Usborne book of Nature Trail.

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This is an old edition and I bought it second-hand so I’m not sure if this one is still available but I’m positive you can find many beautiful nature books published by Usborne if your kids are little biologists.

Another trigger could have been E.’s Helen Doron course (More jump with Joey) as there was an episode with all kinds of birds and E. was fascinated by them.

One day (when our native nanny came to her) she came home from kindergarten and asked for Daddy’s binoculars, her journal, nature book and markers. We packed them all in her backpack and we dashed to the park to watch the birds.

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Naively I thought she wanted to watch then draw the birds.

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Look, Mommy! It’s a blackbird. It’s a male, because it’s all black.

Instead she took note of what kind of birds they saw with N, our nanny, and the bird’s flight patterns!

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Thanks for the pic, N. ūüôā

 

The next time we went birdwatching (again with our nanny) I asked her to draw the birds instead. And so she did.

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Ok.Ok. N. helped E. a bit with the drawing ūüėČ

While N and E were watching birds, we went to the playground with Little L to make some sand ice-cream. Yummy!

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Every morning when E. wakes up, or to be more precise we wake her up with youtube videos of bird calls. Who wouldn’t want to wake up with birds singing.
You can check out her favourite on the link above.

I used to make basic bird flashcards that I needed to freshen up with some new ones, of course, with E.’s favourite ones like crossbill, eagle owl and nuthatch, to mention few examples.

And it’s not finished yet, well, it’s just the beginning. I’m certain there’s more to come.

 

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. 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.)

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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
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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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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.

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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 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.

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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.

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

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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.

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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.

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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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).

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They are all waiting to dry:

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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.

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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.)

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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.

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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.

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

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

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E.’s bedtime story was Angel Mae:

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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)

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21st December

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

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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.

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

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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. ūüôā

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

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And we tested them too. Yum!

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23rd December

In the morning we made pizza.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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26th December

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

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27th December

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

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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.

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29th December

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.

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

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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.

Update——-09.01.2018—-

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

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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.

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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)

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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.

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Sticky board notes in connection with the new year

HAPPY NEW YEAR FOR EVERYONE!

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.

Monday

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

Tuesday

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

Wednesday

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.

Thursday

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.

Friday

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

Weekend

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.