I love you because…

Valentine’s day is here and I was lost for what activity to do with E. so I decided to do nothing. This is not totally true, but we didn’t really talk that much of this holiday this year. Instead she read about it. Read about how much I love her.

Every day starting on the 1st of February I put out a new heart on her door saying why I love her so much. It went up to Valetine’s day. At first I thought she wasn’t that much interested (she often forgot to read her daily heart) but then around the 8th February she told me she couldn’t find a new heart on her door.

I made 3-4 hearts at a time and I tried to reinforce the nice and loveable things she had been doing.


Here are some ideas what you can write on your hearts to your kids or to your partner as they work really well in lunch boxes or as secret messages in your hubby’s pocket.

You’re creative.

You’re kind.

You’re the best big sister.

You’re my sunshine.

You are a fantastic friend.

You have a great sense of humour.

You’re one in a million

You’re beautiful.

You’re so creative.

You mean the world to me.

You express your feelings.

Your imagination is wonderful.

You’re a great problem-solver.

You’re helpful.

You’re a great reader.

You speak English very well.

You never give up.

You’re always by my side.

You hug like noone else.

Your kisses are the sweetest.

There are 20 on the list but it is advisable to use the ones that apply to the days of February in case of a child as they can connect to it more easily, what’s more, it can serve as a basis of discussion. In the last couple of days E. asked me why I put on some of the hearts and I gave her examples how caring she was with her little sister or how she helped around the house, how amazingly she communicated with N, our native nanny, or how she shared with me what made her angry or sad that day.

This display of love can work any time of the year, at a birthday or around Christmas but Valentine’s day can serve as a reason if need one at all.

Happy Valentine’s Day!



Valentine’s cupcake

Valentine’s day is not really our holiday but it serves as a good opportunity to do fun activities. Hearts, candies, cakes. Are there any children who are not crazy about them?


In case of E. I tries to concentrate on a more serious content this time: expressing our love towards those who we love. You can read about our I love you because… door decoration on the link above.

With Little L. it’s a bit different. She cannot really gasp the meaning of this activity, what’s more, she can’t read yet, so I decided to make salt-and-flour dough cupcake decoration activity,

I made the dough with the following ingredients:

200 gr flour
200 gr salt
180 ml warm water
1,5 tablespoonful of oil.

I mixed the ingredients and also added some red food colouring. On a tray I added whatever I found at home: buttons, beads, heart-shaped confetti, mosaic tiles, paper cups etc.

She didn’t want to play with the dough although she loves the soft and nice-smelly play doh. It’s true that it’s texture was different: rougher and not at all nice-smelly (maybe next time I’ll put some essential oil in it)


So I put little balls of dough in the paper cups and she decorated them happily. While doing it we were talking about the shapes of the toppings (round, oval, flower-shaped, heart-shapes), the actions she made with them (press, push in, pull out, take it off etc), colours (green, yellow, purple, pink, red).


When she finished her creations we put them on a shelf to dry them. Of course, one cupcake was for Mommy, and there was one for L. When E., and Daddy came home they both got one as a present. Even our native nanny could choose one cupcake (well, L. chose one for her 🙂 ). These cupcakes were L.’s present for the people she loved very much.

5 + 1 tips to sneak in some English time

With a newborn in the house it’s extremely difficult to spend time in English with E. It’s challenging to spend time with her at all when L. needs me 7/11.

Here is a few tricks we sneak some English time in our weekdays:

1. E. goes to the nursery and comes home in the afternoon. Whenever she enters the door I greet her in English. Sometimes she doesn’t want to speak English at all, at other times I tell her that Mommy has been in English with L. all day then she is more likely to give in and we spend the evening (playtime, video time, dinner, bath and bed/story time) or part of it in English.

Bedtime reading – Picture Atlas

2. I rely on her new interests., i.e. at the very moment wind types and the Beaufort scales. She got a book for Christmas from her Godparents (in Hungarian):

She loves the Beaufort scale in the book, so with Daddy’s help we made our English version of it.

3. New nanny: Although our new nanny is only temporary (for max. 2 months as she’s returning to the US) her visits have increased our English playtime.
Making snowdrops with or new native nanny, L.
4. Holidays: preparing for a birthday or St. Patrick’s day for instance has also given us a chance to practice our in English
Heart garland for Valentine’s Day
5. Helping around Baby Sister: E. helps a lot with bathing, dressing or entertaining Baby Sister. Every now and again I manage to convince her to use English in these situations.
Helping Baby Sis get undressed

+1 Cooking/baking together is always a hit with E. She is always happy to help me in the kitchen and it goes without saying we do things there in English most of the time.

String the mixture

Life seems bright again 🙂


Pin the heart

E. found a small box of thumb pins before Valentine’s Day and went back to it time and time again. She was asking how we use them and what they are for. So I decided to put together an activity in which she can use thumb pins and also connected to the upcoming Valentine’s Day.


I printed a do-a dot heart from the net and picked one our IKEA cork trivet. I coloured the dots so it would be more fun to use the right colour thumb pins.

While doing the pinning you can revise the colours and learn the word “cork” itself.

When finished she put more pins in the middle. The next day she pulled them all out and packed them away.

This activity helped her muscles strengthen in her hands as well. We’ll do more of this kind of activity as E. loved it and it’s a great pre-writing task. (We can revise shapes or have a shamrock to pin for St. Patrick’s Day etc.)


Valentine’s Day sensory bin

Last year we didn’t really celebrate Valentine’s Day but used the opportunity to do a lot of fun crafts and activities with the symbols of Valentine’s day, like hearts, candies, chocolates etc.

This year I’ve come up with a sensory bin idea for this occasion.

What I used:

  • one big container (IKEA)
  • coloured rice – red, purple, and white (see how to make it below)
  • hearts, candies, feather, beads (whatever you have) to search for in the bin hidden in the rice
  • cups and bowls
  • tools like ladle, tongs, tweezers (I couldn’t find the tweezers 😦 )
How I coloured the rice:
You need:
  • a zip lock bag (IKEA)
  • 2 cups of rice (any kind of white rice will do)
  • food colouring (liquid type is better than the gel)
  • a bit of alcohol (optional)
How to do it:
Put 2 cups of rice in the zip lock bag, add 1 teaspoonful of red (or any other colour) food colouring and half a teaspoonful of alcohol. The latter is optional. It helps to get brighter colours plus your rice will last long if not forever…
Now give it a shake until the colour is everywhere on the rice. (I didn’t but you can do it with your child. It must be fun for them to see how the rice changes colour)
I did the same with the purple rice. As I didn’t have purple food colouring I mixed it out of red and blue beforehand.
I dried the rice on baking paper to make sure it won’t stain my hand and to get rid of the smell of alcohol.
I put the rice in the container (half red, half purple – my daughter did the mixing) and I also provided some white rice for extra fun.

What I put in the bin:

  1.  wooden muffin
  2. purple butterfly beads
  3. sparkly candies (cut out of a foam sheet but you can add real candy, too)
  4. red jingle bells
  5. wooden hearts
  6. pegs with hearts on
  7. purple pompoms
  8. pink flower-shaped beads
  9.  red feathers
  10. felt hearts
I hid them in the rice as much as I could.
Extras: I cut out 6 hearts and wrote the letters of my daughter’s name on them. I also put them in the bin so she can make her name when she finds them. (The easiest way to make the foam hearts is to use a heart-shaped cookie cutter. I pressed it on the foam sheet and cut along the print it made.)

E. was pretty excited about the bin as soon as she saw it.

She poured in the extra white rice.

She happily used the ladle and the tongs.

She used the bowls to put in whatever she found. (It was interesting to see that she separated them like hearts, round things like pompoms, bells, and beads all by herself)

She also enjoyed mixing the coloured rice with her hands.

After she’d found and taken out everything she asked Daddy to find what she’d hidden. Then they took turns and did the same again and again.

The next day I gave her 2 sheets with the objects she can find in the bin on the top and she selected them in each column. We did a little counting as well.

On the second day I also added the letter of “I LOVE YOU”
With a little help she could put it together.

She’s been playing with it ever since.
-Mommy, we can play with it on the floor, too – she said and continued down there.

TWO other activities to do with the rice:

  1. write with fingers
  2. I spy bottle

What are these? Come back later to check them out. I’ll show them to you in another post.