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.


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


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


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.


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.


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


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.


Our summer nanny

It’s always been very difficult to find a friendly and dedicated NATIVE English speaker nanny. Either they’re too busy to come to us and/or would charge unreasonably high.

This summer we had bilingual Nanny E. with us for few weeks. First, she came to play with E. only, later on she visited Baby L. too.

Both girls enjoyed spending time with her, so I was quite sad from the very beginning as I knew she was available for July and August only. (She went to be an au pair in France.)

She brought fishy colouring sheets for E. and when she talked about the funny masks she ‘d seen at the gift shop of Tropicarium, our new nanny printed some masks that they cut out and coloured together.


Baby L. was looking forward to her arrival every time. They were reading books together, went through her sister’s jewellery box, played with balls and dolls, but the pouring activity was the one L. adored the most.


Baby L. is checking the green box with our summer nanny

Unfortunately, at the beginning of August Nanny E. just realised she had a lot to do before leaving for France and also had some family issues. She wrote me an email in which she gave voice to her displeasure concerning her visits (long travelling, unbearable heat, the low hourly fee and me! taking her granted and speaking rudely to her). Well, I do not need to say how taken-aback I was, but I accepted her dissatisfaction and we said good-bye to each other.

Now I’m in search of a new NATIVE English nanny/babysitter/playmate for my girls. Keep your fingers crossed for me.

E. is 4 – oh my, when did she grow so much?

Writing about Baby Sis’s growing and development made me realised that I haven’t had time to write about my big, big girl. So here is and update on her too.

E. is 104 cms and 15,5 kgs.
Her favourite colours are pink and purple.
Her favourite piece of clothing is the purple blouse with the big butterfly on.

Easter mess in the favourite top

Her favourite foods are tomato soup, pasta, millet, chicken soup and chicken’s feet, meat in bread crumbs, salmon, and cheese.
Her favourite drinks are apple juice and “sour cherry liqueur” (cherry juice), oat milk with magic milk straw -strawberry, vanilla and chocolate flavoured (in this order).

Her favourite book is “Minden napra egy kérdés” (Hungarian) and “The KnowHow Book of Fishing” in English (But this is changing every other week.)

Her favourite cartoon is Paw Patrol.

Her favourite youtube video is the singing fruits.

Her best friend is D., from the nursery.

Picnic with BF

Her favourite season is the summer.

She sleeps with her 5 toy dogs, 3 owls and 2 rabbits but skips the afternoon nap.

Her new hobby is taking photos. (Once she dropped the camera but luckily Daddy managed to have it fixed)

As for her English, she’s fluent but uses rather basic vocabulary and structures. She often searches for some words to express herself. Luckily, most of the time they come to her mind. Her Hungarian is much more varied and she can express herself more easily. (Since she started the kindergarten her Hungarian has been rocketing and her English has been falling behind or staying on the same level to say the best. Unfortunately, kindergarten – Mini Klub – English is very basic and doesn’t help her improve at all. We said good-bye to the English speaking nursery teacher, Ms. R. who really did everything to make E. talk in English but the new one. Ms K. doesn’t make the least effort, not to mention the fact that I haven’t even heard her talk English at all since May. The fact that she’s always on holiday is also worrying. UPDATE: Ms K. left the nursery in August and the new English speaking nursery teacher is Ms. I.)

She doesn’t play in English as her choice, but has no problem whatsoever to communicate with a native speaker. Since the beginning of the year we’ve  had native nannies (the American, L. and now the Canadian, V.) They have been coming twice a week for 90 minutes per session. Most of the time they play with building blocks, balls and the caterpillar tunnel, modelling clay, kitchen and cooking or they read books.

She changes between the two language without any problem, form one minute to the other.

We don’t use flashcards any more (though we should) only every now and then E. finds them and looks through a few topics. As I’m introducing flashcards for Baby Sis we’ll probably have a little revision with E. too.

Little Ms. Teacher showing flashcards to Baby Sis

She can read and write. She’s been reading since she was a bit over 3. At that time just a few words, later more difficult words and simple sentences. But now she reads fluently. Her reading in Hungarian is outstanding (like grade 3 or 4) but she can read basic stories in English as well.

reading Dr. Dog

She mostly write in Hungarian (as the spelling follows pronunciation) and occasionally in English of course with tons of spelling mistakes, which I don’t correct at all. I don’t even understand how she learnt to read in both languages… all by herself.

In this video she’s reading a part from I’m not reading  {HAHA} by Jonathan Allen (one of her favourite books and author I guess)

Every now and them E. refuses to talk in English (the reason I guess is that she can’t express herself so smoothly as in Hungarian, and the other reason is that everything happens to her in Hungarian.)

Tricks I use to redirect her to using the English language:

  • books in English (she’s a bookworm, thank Goodness)
  • songs (this doesn’t work well any more, she refuses to sing or sings VERY rarely – don’t know why, though)
  • fun activities like cooking together (I tell her the recipe’s in English so we need to change)
  • helpers (our new nanny, and my friend who speaks English only to the kids)
  • videos (she loves watching cartoons, music videos so she can watch her favourite ones in English.)
  • she can get an extra smiley on her behaviour chart if we spend a whole morning and/or afternoon in English

For a few weeks I tried to speak only English when we were at home as I was really desperate about our irregular and little English usage. We don’t have a fixed timetable as we used to have and sadly it’s also true for Baby Sis. For this reason I thought I could increase our English time in this way but it didn’t work. All of us mixed languages, there was not consistent usage (even I forgot sometimes that I needed to speak English at all times). I found that it could cause problems, for Baby Sis. So I returned to the English activities and fun tasks, English books for E., and a lot of singing and nursery rhymes for Baby Sis.

And that’s all my stock-in-trade. If you have an idea what else to do to motivate a child for the second language usage, please, share it with me in the comment section.

So here is my smart 4-year old daughter with all her beauty and shyness. I love you, Sweetie Pie!

A bit of Earth Day gardening

Before our American native nanny left Hungary we had a flower planting last session with her. Although I wanted to do this activity on Earth Day, the weather did not favour us so we had to postpone it for a few weeks.

I bought the plants at a flower market that is close to our place: 6 flowers and  a green plant:

Dakota Sunspot
White-edged Swedish Ivy (a kind of mosquito repellent with leaves that has special smell if you rub it, no flower though)



You can download the flower picture here. (Buttercup is also included as E. found one in a field and we needed to check what it was). The names are added both in Hungarian and in English.


What you need:

  • flowers/plants of your choice
  • flower pots
  • soil (we had 5 kg for 7 plants)
  • shovels
  • watering can with water
How we did it:
Best to do it in the garden or on the balcony but the weather has been very windy (still is) so I put down an old wax tablecloth on the floor and we did the planting on it indoors. In this way we did not dirt the whole living-room and it was relatively easier to clean up.
E. doesn’t really like to dirt her hands. I try to come up with ideas when she needs to do so in a fun way so she can overcome this bad feeling of dirty hands.
She touched the soil/dirt with great hesitation, though.
We filled up half of a pot with dirt.
She took the plants out of its small pot and pinched off some ends of its roots (it was L.’s advice that she’d learnt from her mom)


Then, she placed the plant into the bigger pot in the new soil after having created a little hole in the middle and added more dirt on top of the roots.
We have some nice blue buckets which can be hung on our balcony so the final step was that E. put the pot in the bucket.
When we were ready with all the plants she took them all out onto the balcony and hung them up.
Let’s not forget about watering the plants.

For a few days she wanted to go out and water them, but now it’s been a week she last saw her plants. I need to water them, but it’s true that a lot has been going on recently because of her birthday. Not to mention the fact that this strong wind we’ve had nowadays has destroyed the flowers and, to be honest, they are far from nice at the very moment. I can only hope a little later they’ll revive when the weather gets better and E. will show some more interest in them.

All in all, it was great fun, a nice way to have one of our last sessions with our nanny, L. I admit it was quite messy, but E. enjoyed it and learnt a lot about planting, getting your hands dirty, decorating our home and taking care of a living creature.

Her English vocabulary expanded: she learnt quite many synonyms like shoots/sprouts, spade/shovel, throw away/dump, soil/dirt. (For the Hungarian readers: when she told Daddy about our planting project she said: .” …aztán koszt raktunk a cserépbe”)

What gardening project do you do with your kids in the spring? I’m looking forward to your answers in the comment section so we can do something new next year.

Month of goodbyes – our nanny is leaving too

Farewells follow one another. In the middle of May our American nanny has left us, too. She’s spent just a few months with us still her native presence can be felt on E.’ s English improvement.

E. mixed in a lot of Hungarian at the beginning. After a few weeks she did not try to talk to L. in Hungarian; she ran to me instead and asked me if an English word for something didn’t come to her mind.

We also prepared a little farewell present for L. as well.

L. helped E.’s creative side to soar; they drew a lot together, we did some flower crafts, they also created their own planet. The tally mark race was one of their own inventions.

We used most of the drawings and other colouring sheets they did together and I printed some pictures I’d taken while they were playing. Out of all these we put together a little memory booklet for L. to take it home with herself.

I’ll let the pictures speak for themselves:

E. coloured the farewell note for L., too

L. is looking at the cover of the booklet that E. decorated with stickers
The snowdrop craft we made together

The “Lemia” planet they made up 

Secret Garden colouring page

 E. got some small presents from L. Some candies, a pup and two little figurines: a dolphin and a parrot.

Thanks L. for being with us. Take care and good luck wherever life takes you. We’ll miss you.