Tuesday, 31 May 2016

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!

Thursday, 19 May 2016

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 was 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.

Tuesday, 17 May 2016

Goodbye, Ms R. - a farewell note

Another heart-rending event has entered our lives. E.'s English speaking nursery teacher is leaving the nursery this May.

Ms R. was great with the kids. She's taught them tons of English rhymes and songs. With her help the kids have made a great number of art and craft projects in English, too. She's been always full of life and had a smile both for the children and the parents. (It was rather strange that Mini Klub nursery did not organise any farewell party for her... actually we were not officially informed about Ms. R.'s leaving. She herself told the parents. But this is another matter.)

We are really sorry that she's leaving (for Ireland - good for her). This is the way we said good-bye to Ms R.

I printed a Farewell note (click on the link to download it) and E. coloured the animals. While colouring we were talking about these funny phrases that can be said instead of good-bye. She herself signed her name at the bottom and added some heart.

When I was in Ireland bought a really good guidebook and I thought Ms. R. would make a good use of it so together with E.'s good-bye note we put it in a gift back.

On her last day E. said good-bye to her in a sweet and shy way:

Bye, bye Ms R. Good luck in Ireland! We'll miss you!

Thursday, 12 May 2016

Irish for a day -St. Patrick's Day Parade

I know it's already May but I owe a post on our St. Patrick's Day, which was great fun with some activities at home and a parade in the city centre.

St. Patrick's Day was on a Thursday this year but we didn't have time to celebrate it on that day. Our celebration was left for the weekend.

We starter our Sunday with some St. Patrick's day activities I found online on totschooling.net (nowadays it's easier for me to find something ready-made than making my own material like last year the St. Patrick's Day patterning printable.)

Here is a part of the totschooling.net's St. Paddy pack activities:

Do a dot rainbow:

If you do not have dot markers you can use cotton buds to paint the circles.

Making a rainbow as a writing practice:

Shamrock do-a-dots:

Puzzles with Irish symbols and numbers:

a horseshoe and shamrocks


 Shape matching with pots of gold:

After the activities we got dressed in green,of course, and set off to the Parade in the city centre:
Family ready to go - all in green

Last year we made a shamrock out of all kinds of green scrap paper so this year I added a stick to the back. E. could take it with her and called it Mr. Shamrock.

And she got a clover on her face too.

Let's not forget about the paper beard and Jameson ballon. (Daddy definitely enjoyed his free whiskey too ;) )

Baby Sis was a good girl and on arrival at the Parade's location she fell asleep.We did not join the parade as E. got really tired of the excitement and happenings. Instead we went to a playground nearby to swing a little:

E. was so dead on her feet that she fell asleep on the way home. It was a great family day out in English with fun activities and some culture involved. I hope we can repeat it next year as well.

Sunday, 8 May 2016

Peony petals suncatcher

I've seen tons of suncatcher ideas on pinterest and I've always wanted to try it with E. As the bunch of peonies I'd got from my mum for Mother's Day started to lose their petals, the right time came to make our first sun catcher.

As it was a sudden idea when E. started to play (collect and cut) the fallen petals I didn't have time for too much preparation.

I took out our sticky paper (originally it's self-adhesive school book cover) and drew a flower on it (the transparent backside) with a permanent marker. (You can cut a flower shape outline out of paper and stick on the sticky side but I needed to be on the double). I pulled off the white part and fixed it on the table (with cello tape). I also presented some leftover yarn and green leaves on a tray apart from the petals.

E. did the sticking.

I wanted to talk about the different parts of the flowers but she wasn't interested. Maybe at another time. She was too busy with the sticking.

Then when she told me she'd finished I put another sticky sheet over it (sticky side facing

down) and cut along the flower outline.

The last thing E. needed to do was to stick the suncatcher on the window (with some Cello-tape, but you can also hang it)

I'm sure we'll do some more suncatcher crafts.

Tuesday, 3 May 2016

Sorting rubbish - free printable

Much to my surprise E. remembered last year's home-made selective rubbish collection activity and asked for it again. I didn't plan to do this sort of activity this year, but I was kinda gently forced. However, I prepared a follow up activity for her. (You can find the free printable at the end of the post)

So just like last year I collected some recyclable rubbish like plastic bottles, old newspapers and leaflets, egg carton, dog food cans and beer cans, bottles and containers made of glass etc. It wasn't too difficult as we hadn't emptied our own selective bins. I printed selective bin signs (plastic, paper, glass, metal) and stuck them on 4 shoe boxes. I prepared the recyclable rubbish in a plastic container (originally used for storing toys in it)

E. wasn't as fascinated about it as last year but she did the selection (I might have given her too many items to sort.) This year we added a little twist.

I asked her how she can decide what is made of which material. She didn't know.
I asked her while she was checking the objects:

- Can you rip it?
- Can you crumple it?
- Is it hard or can you squash it?

The bold words were new to her so when I asked these questions I showed her the actions.

So she tested every piece and then threw them in the right box. (Cartons were hard to rip but she tried anyway :)  )

While she was doing the sorting I told her how we use these materials to make other things, like new paper out of old cardboard and newspapers or shoes and backpacks out of plastic. She wasn't talking much but I hope she listened.

To reinforce selective rubbish collection with another activity that is different from the one last year I made a worksheet for her.

She needed to place recyclable rubbish in one group and non-recyclable in the other one. Y

We needed to discuss that dirty napkins cannot go to the recycle bin but should be thrown into the households rubbish bin.


Download free printable for the sorting rubbish task. Just click on the link.

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