Filtering by Category: MINICALENDAR

MINICALENDAR - 22 - miniBOOKS by Françoise

Added on by martine nicolay.

With my two sons, Antoine (5) and Louis (3), reading books before bedtime has become a ritual over the years. It’s that time of the day where you make peace, forget about the trouble and tell your little ones you love them, no matter what. The worst ever punishment to them is « No book tonight ! »

So every night they get to choose 1 book each, which very often turns out to be 2 books each. I have no idea how that happens…

 So here are their top 4 of the moment :

1. « De Maulef an d’Blimmchen ». From a luxemburgish author and illustrator, this is a  very tender book about the seasons and the growing love between a mole and a flower.

Antoine loves this book since, I think, he loves taking care of others.

2. « Lea et le chat Yogi ». (Sina und die Yogakatze o.v.) Did I mention my two boys are very « active » ? So one day I decided yoga would be the perfect solution to get them centered. There are a few yoga books for children on the market, but this one is my favorite. It works very well. My kids do not only love the exercices but also the story about a growing friendship between a little girl and her cat.

3. « Le grand livre des câlins ». We got a few books from Guido Van Genechten, the author of this book. I started to  watch this book with Louis when he was about 1 year old. It is very simply about different animals huging (and about how complicated it sometimes can be…). Very sweet !

4. « Frederick ». Leo Lionni is one of my favourite authors and I got his collection covered ! I discovered his books as a child and it’s very emotional to pass them on to my kids. Frederick is a mouse, a very special one !

MINICALENDAR - 20 - No holiday without some baked goods!

Added on by martine nicolay.

Since the beginning of December, Léonore and I have been baking a few times now together. She loves to help me out in the kitchen, wearing proudly her apron sitting next to me on the counter top. 

Honestly, these days I try to introduce as many special mother-daughter moments as possible before the new baby pops out! I just love hanging out with my little girl, which becomes more lively and communicative every day! It is a blast to see her grow and develop her own personality. 

Some of Léonore's favourite recipes are Boxemännchen (in french) or simple butter-sugar cookies (in german)!

MINICALENDAR - 19 - miniBOOKS by Amandine

Added on by martine nicolay.

I have the honour to introduce you to my sister in law, Amandine. Growing up, we went to the same high school, I did not know her back then, but she was a legend - being the smartest and most beautiful girl around - and to this day, this still stands true. Furthermore, Matthieu and her relationship is just the most beautiful respectful sibling connection I ever witnessed. 

Amandine has two beautiful girls, Lucie (5) and Clara (nearly 3). Léonore adores them and no day goes by without Léonore mentioning her cousins - even if she only sees them only a few times a year. Mostly hair clips and butterflies remind her of them! ;-)

Here we go, for Lucie's and Clara's favourite books:

"Je dois y aller. Dès que je reviens, je vous raconte tout. Salut les amis!"
Lucie, 5ans

"La sorcière a un chat et un très grand chapeau, une natte couleur carotte et bien sûr... un balai! Embarquement immédiat! C'est parti pour un tour! Quel bonheur de voler! Soudain, une rafale de vent emporte le chapeau..."
Lucie, 5ans

"Nino!", rief der Mond, "ich bin müde und brauche eine Pause. Nur für eine Nacht. Kannst du mir vielleicht helfen?"
Clara, 2 ans

"Dans ce livre, c est a toi de jouer et de deviner qui sont les animaux cachés."
Clara, 2 ans

Thank you Lucie, Clara and Amandine! We wish we could be with you at the end of the year - we miss you a lot! 

* Léonore's favourite book at the moment is also MOUK! 

MINICALENDAR - 16 - miniBOOKS by Claudia

Added on by martine nicolay.

I don't think I need to introduce Claudia on my blog. She is the owner of L'Armadio di Oliver, a shop for pre-loved children clothes in Rome (read more here), an unique photographer (I am very sad she is not here to take some pictures of my 9-month bump at the moment), my partner in crime for our LEO+OLI collection last summer, the mother of Léonore's first (and only) love Oliver and one of my best friends, who reminds me to unleash myself from time to time with her cool danish-italian attitude! 

here they are, our favorite books of the moment…

1. We have been reading Mamoko for months - well ever since Leo gave it to Oli ;) - we love it, always follow the bear who is going to a birthday party but falls on the way on his bike (we like bikes), the nice pig lady helps him get there after the fall :) oh! and of course we always check if the giraffe manages to extinguish the fire...

2.  Bamse and his friends is Oli’s favorite danish cartoon, he watches an episode (or two or three) every day and of course we also say goodnight to them before sleeping.

3. Godnathistorier om Anders is a book by a Swedish author my mom read to me when i was little. I love reading this to him, filled with memories. Love reading older kids books in danish to him, even if he leaves the room and goes and plays somewhere else, I continue...

Thank you Claudia + Oliver! We miss them very much here in Dakar! 

If in Rome tomorrow, Wednesday the 17th of December, don't miss Claudia's Shoperitivo event at the Milk Bar - more info here!

MINICALENDAR - 12 - miniBOOKS by Vanessa

Added on by martine nicolay.

Vanessa presents only a tiny part of her boys library today - believe me!

I met Vanessa in Vientiane, Laos in 2010 and this year our paths crossed again in Dakar, Senegal. She is a mother of 2 and created a paradise of every child in her home here in Dakar. Let's just say there is a giant trampoline in front of her house, a playroom on each floor, some niches to cuddle and relax with a book or two or more... the boys birthday parties are famous here in Dakar. She works part time and the rest of the day she is unwinding with her boys at the beach! Vanessa does it all - a super woman! I am glad I ran into her again! 

My boys Thomas (6years old) and Maxime (2years and a half) heart books…

Bedtime stories could last for hours and they love sitting in our library together, putting down the shelves dozens of books. They like to go through them together and the oldest tries to read to his little brother (by heart or slowly by himself).

Thomas (aged 6) had such a difficult time choosing his favourites! He wanted to choose practically everything on the book shelves, and had a hard time separating the books he loved as a young child from his current favourites now. Here is his selection :

 1.     The three robbers by Tomi Ungerer

Even if sometimes they are a bit scared with this story, they keep asking for it (they love the movie also)

 2.     Atlas of Adventures by Lucy Letherland

What I love about the book is that is doesn’t just show you a picture of a city or place, but it allows the reader to experience what it would be like to be there, to join the Carnival in Brazil, to river raft down the Grand Canyon, to visit the penguins in Antarctica, steer a gondola in Venice and a whole host of other fun activities. It’s also filled with fun and engaging illustrations and interesting facts about every destination.

 3.     Lost and Found by Oliver Jeffers and pretty much all the books by Oliver Jeffers

This book is about the friendship, and how important it is to have someone to love and be with. Very charmingly illustrated.

 4.     The very Hungry Caterpillar/The very busy Spider by Eric Carle

These two have been read an hundred of times !

 5.     Go away Big Green Monster by Ed Emberley

Just the perfect one for my two little monsters who knows it by heart !

 6.     Zoo-ology by Joelle Jolivet

I love this book! It has beautifully crafted illustrations and artistic groupings of animals-not the typical ABC animal picture book. I love its larger size and I enjoyed the interesting information tidbits located in the back pages of the book.  Endless hours of watching the animals !

 7.     The Gruffalo, by Julia Donaldson

Wonderful story of an imaginative mouse who while taking a walk through the woods makes up a story about a animal he calls a Gruffalo , he makes up this animal to protect himself from the various predators (fox, owl, snake ) that want to eat him. Very enjoyable for both parent and child. Wonderfully illustrated, I highly recommend the Gruffalo !

 8.     Where the wild things are, by Maurice Sendak

My two sons absolutely love this book. They like the idea of going 'where the wild things are' and the book inspire a lot of play in our house. The book nicely balances the child's need for imaginative thinking with a sense of limits, and the pleasures of home. The illustrations clearly make this book great.. Don't miss it !

 9.     Waddle, by Rufus Butler Seder

A very fascinating scanimated book !

 10. Biggest World Book ever, by Richard Scarry

Just the perfect illustrated book for boys !!!

 And so much more !!!!

Thank you Vanessa! Read her about her Christmas preparations in Dakar (2013) here!

MINICALENDAR - 11 - Decorations are up!

Added on by martine nicolay.

Last weekend, we put up our holiday decorations. It was St Nick's weekend and I believed the timing was appropriate to start off the holiday season. 

Every year, I am in the dilemma which tree to get. A real one - brings back loads of childhood memories, or an artificial one for its convenience? But my ultimate goal would be to make one on my own. 

Every year, I am dreaming of an abstract, DIY, reusable and sustainable tree design like this one, or this wooden beauty and another one, or this deconstructed one, or at least just make something like this, but I haven't found the time to finally make it! 

Maybe I will get to it next year! This year we just attached the decorations to the ceiling and I am very happy with it! 

And I pulled out our old wedding table decorations for Léonore. Little wooden trees where she can hang and unhang decorations as she pleases throughout the season! 

Do you know that MINITECTURE is also on PINTEREST!?

MINICALENDAR - 10 - miniBOOKS by Maria

Added on by martine nicolay.

Today, Maria will present you her favourite children books at the time being. As I interview and talk to other mothers about their kids favourite books, I come to understand that also books as anything else with kids come in phases. You can read a story a million times over days and weeks, and the next day - the book is written off... 

I met Maria back in 2006 in Vienna. Matthieu and Maria were interns at the UN at the same time. They partied while I was pulling all nighters at the university - or that's what it felt like at the time. 

Maria lives now with her husband and kids -  Sofia (2) and Tomas (8 months) in the Dominican Republic. Social networks and "being on the same boat with kids the same age" brought us back together. 

Our (latest) favourite books are :

 "Te quiero, papá" (Giles Andreae/Emma Dodd), called "I Love My Daddy" in English. 

"The Story of Babar" is a true classic. I've always loved elephants and I remember reading the books about Babar as a little girl, so I like to think of it as keeping a tradition alive.

"Possum Magic" is an Australian children's book with beautiful illustrations and an adorable storyline, so it's always a nice read. The last one was given to us by a friend who thought the father and the daughter in the book looked like my husband and my daughter, and they really do! So we love this one too, because Sofia is convinced that the book is about her, and it's a cute little story about a girl and her dad. 

Thank you so much, Maria! I am truly intrigued by the Possum Magic and I am so glad you reminded me of Babar - I read his books as a girl and I know of a girl who would very much appreciate to hear about him! 

MINICALENDAR - 4 - miniBOOKS by Gosia

Added on by martine nicolay.

Last year for the MINICALENDAR, I presented a group of mothers living around the globe and introducing us to their holiday traditions and rituals. This year, dear friends of mine will present you their favourite children books. I hope you will enjoy the miniBOOKLISTS as much as I do! 

Gosia will start off the miniBOOKS - series. I met Gosia in Rome two years ago. We both were freshly arrived expats to Rome and the first obstacle we had to attack was giving birth to our first borns in the eternal city. Our daughters are born just 2 weeks apart, we both lived in Cincinnati, Ohio, in the early 2000s and we are wearing the same wedding rings without being married to each other (pure coincidence - one pair was made in Poland, the other in London). Gosia blogs about her expat life and her motherhood experience on her blog : VACANZE ROMANE

There are different phases of what Gaia ( 2 years old ) likes reading or watching. I chose the books that are absolutely top at this very moment. 


1. LUCA USA IN VASINO is a tutorial book about using a potty. My daughter is completely nuts about this one. We have to read it a few times every night and she knows it by heart. I think it comes with a natural interest in physiological activities at that age...

2. ANIMALI - it's the simplest book with realistic pictures of animals + some description, and she loves it. 

3. BASIA - it's the series of Polish books about a 5-year old girl who is smart, curious and adventeorous. I like its realism: a mum who needs to work on a computer, innocent remarks how difficult it is to do shopping or driving with three kids etc. Unfortunately, only available in Polish.

4. TOON TELLEGEN : Almost everyone can fall over - such a funny and surrealistic book with short stories about a squirrel, elephant and ant. I am laughing every time I read it. I am not sure my 2-year can read the sarcasm in between lines but one day she will. 

5. LEONARDO il MACCHINISTA comes with Gaia's current fascination with trains. We took it from a local library and I can't imagine how painful it will be to bring it back.

6. MAMOKO etc. Again Polish authors but this time with worldly acclaimed books. No words but pictures showing complicated stories of a few personnages in the city of Mamoko. Good for the whole family.

Thank you Gosia. Read Gosia's Christmas story from last year here.