Wednesday, February 29, 2012

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wednesday stamp

Baby Bear loves to play with my iPhone.     Baby Bear is obsessed with my iPhone.  UGH.... Groan. See the old thing that I cannot get upset about is the fact that she actually CAN use it.  I keep meaning to take a video of her doing it.  She will unlock the phone and then go to the game that she likes.  I guess that is just the life of a digital native. We must have been taking pictures before she got a hold of the phone this time because the camera was facing her.  She had fun snapping some photos of herself.  I did not know that this was on the phone and I was laughing hysterically over this.  Plus the way that it captures her face, she looks like a carbon copy of Mr. BBH!

stole the camera
Self Portrait of a 16 Month Old

I like to call this collage- I stole your iPhone  

Here is the set played in order so you can see how she is playing with the buttons 

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

DIY Dorothy Costume!

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Baby Bear is going to be 
Dorothy from the Wizard of Oz for Purim


White Dress
Blue Gingham material (I only had 1/8 yard!)
Red Shoes preferable with sparkles! (Mine came from Once Upon A Child) 
Blue Bow or Ribbon 

ruby slippers

Baby Bear LOVES shoes and these sparkly shoes are so much fun.  She calls them "ish".  I wanted to do a cute-sy costume since she is so little, but I could not resist the slippers and it is much easier to make a costume that is all about the clothing.  I had a white dress that she got as a gift.  It is not my taste, but I kept it to the side just in case.  It is perfect for the white dress under the blue apron.  I then looked all over for a blue and white piece of fabric and asked some friends, but no luck.  I happened to have a black and white gingham scrap at the bottom of my pile, so I am going to make due with that.  

I cut a square the size of the top area and hemmed the edges under.  

Then i took the small piece that I had left and took off a 1 1/2 inch strip the hot dog way to save for the straps.  

Next, I sewed the edges under and attached the top square.  

Lastly, I folded the edges over for the straps and hemmed the edges.  I attached them to the top and to the back to tie together.  

I had a blue bow to put in her 'hair' as a final touch. 

dorothy costume photo

I will update with a photo of her wearing the dress, I was so excited that I had to post this right away!

My computer is getting fixed (can't live without photoshop) , so you please follow the blog so that you can get the pattern when I put it up

Monday, February 27, 2012

Coloring Fun Without Paper!

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BBH into drawing without paper

Baby Bear is so eager to try new things and loves to do art projects.  I got these cool Sharpie Poster Paint Pens and thought that they were really fun to try out on a new surface.  We have not tried using an easel yet, so this it our first vertical paint experience.

Sharpie Poster Paint Pen(s)
A window, glass, or mirror (that is kid friendly & accessible)
Cloth Rag/ Sponge
Clothes that are OK to get messy in


First I showed Baby Bear what to do with the pen and then she got creative.  She has really good fine motor skills and she can hold the marker like a pro.

baby bear with paint on window

She even smeared it like paint in some places.

color on window collage

relax, and don't worry...

Sharpie Poster Paint Pens wash off  with a rag 

Wipe off the Sharpie

They are also AP certified non-toxic paint

PS. I have NO affiliation with Sharpie

Wipe off the Sharpie pinterest

please share your thoughts, experiences, and photos!

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Team Ashley Auction

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I am sure that all of you have noticed that cool button on the side of the blog that says "Team Ashley" Auction and benefit and wondered what it was all about...

Ashley Hackshaw {from lil blue boois my Blogging/Crafting/Sewing Idol 

this photo is propertly of
Ashley has amazing stories, ideas and tutorials on her site.  This past year was very tragic for her family, and she always has a positive outlook on life (I spoke about this in my Celebrating Life post).  First, her father passed away suddenly and then she miscarried a pregnancy.  It was a molar pregnancy and caused a type of cancer called Choriocarcinoma. This is a rapidly moving cancer and it spread so fast that she end up having an emergency hysterectomy because she almost bleed to death when the surgeons tried to remove it.  This is also a cancer that is hard to treat and is chemo-resistant at this point.  She is so inspiring and her story touches me every time I read her honest thoughts.  

Ashley is a young mom. Just like me. She has a little girl, very close in age to my little boy. She owns a handmade clothing line, just as I do. And she blogs. She blogs lovely heartfelt blogs about life, crafting, DIY projects and her business. She’s beautiful- tall and thin with gorgeous blonde hair and a stunning face. When Ashley and her husband began to work on expanding their family from three to four, their attempt resulted in a miscarriage. To make the miscarriage even more heartbreaking, it happened just a few weeks after her father suddenly passed away.  But she was brave and in October, 2011, they tried to get pregnant again. However this time, she had even worse luck. Her pregnancy was a continuation of her first pregnancy, a molar pregnancy, which resulted in a form of cancer called Choriocarcinoma.  

I encourage you to watch this video, but be sure to have a box of kleenex.

And please, check out the auction and register here so that you are ready when it opens

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

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wednesday stamp

Baby Bear loves to cuddle in the morning after she wakes up.  We go back in my bed and snuggle for a while before we get up and I LOVE it!  Today Mr. BBH was also home so he wanted to cuddle.  Baby Bear said "No, Ma!"   I felt sad for Mr.BBH but secretly rejoiced that she loves me so much!

Share your experiences!

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Maybe Upcycling is in my genes....

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I had lunch with my mom today!   We were talking about some of the  projects that I want to do and what kind of crazy materials I needed.  

She reminded me that my Great Grandfather invented a technique to clean out transportation barrels and re-use them.  The business is called Belfer Drum & Barrel in Grand Rapids, MI.  (My cousins that run the business recently sold to Industrial Container Services)

In my head I picture this:            but they look more like this:


Monday, February 20, 2012

How to Introduce Finger Painting

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My friend came over with her son A and I was not sure if he was ready to do some finger painting.  I got the idea that morning that I could make edible finger paints with whipping cream and fruit for natural coloring.  So here is our experiment 


 Whip Cream Paint
a Finger Paint Intro for Small Kids 

Paint with whip cream 

  • Mixer or Blender with Whip Function
  • Whole Whipping Cream (preferable in a carton that you can whip yourself) 
  • Fruits that have a dark color like berries, oranges, kiwi or pomegranate (or food coloring with no artificial colors)
Whip cream paint colored

First, grind up your fruit first, then add 1/2 cup half of the cream and whip until it stiffens.  (when we tried it with the can of whip cream it deflated when we mixed the color in).  Put it in the fridge until you are ready to use and do any additional colors.

Then either put your kid in clothes that they can get messy in, or just a diaper {much easier clean-up}.

Cover your table and put a large piece of paper where you are going to 'paint'.  Then show your child first what you do with the paint and then use their fingers to do it.  

Show them how to use the 'paint' 

Some Notes:
I was not happy with how the coloring and texture turned out, so I made adjustments in my recommendations. 

A only into was into eating the paint and my dog Azit (ah-zeet) was really happy about that!  
eating whip cream

Baby Bear knows how to finger paint and was able to do similar with the whip cream but would have been kept busy for longer if there were more vivid colors when she painted. 

clean up from whip cream paint
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Baby Bear and her friend Mr. A in the play house

 We brought some of her toys in and got some carpet tiles made from recycled plastic for the floor.   We also put up some artwork that was made by my friend that Baby Bear Loves.  She likes to point to the animals and try to do the animal sounds, so it is better that they are at her height, rather then on the wall of the playroom.  

Even with all of the toys, BB & A had the most fun ripping apart the puzzles that were decorating the walls!

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Natural Materials for Exploring with Small Children

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I want to share with you a really simple but fun activity to do with young children or even older kids 

natural materials for exploring with small children

materials: bag of dried beans
                long metal pan
                kid-safe kitchen items 
I did this activity because Baby Bear was really agitated since she was teething and I needed a new activity to focus on. She has lots of toys, but new things are always engaging.  

bean project with 3 view

I prefer natural materials when I can to help out Mother Earth.    At first, I was thinking rice, but who wants to clean up little white lines off of the floor!  I had an unopened bag of dried black beans that was perfect (note: you can get them very inexpensive at the grocery store!). 

I took out a metal pan (so they would clink and make fun sounds when she was playing) and some other kitchen items that she could use to explore the pan of beans. You can see all of the digging, pouring, and mixing going on:

beans activity for children

Since the beans were large and black, it was easy to sweep them off the floor for cleaning.  Plus, I don't mind cleaning up if the activity was an engaging learning activity.  It helps improve small motor skills and hand eye coordination.

note: not all children are ready to play with small pieces because of choking hazards.  It is up to your discretion and children should be watched carefully. 

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

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lesson in a jar
lesson in a jar
I am teaching about different parts of the Jewish life-cycle.  We are on the topic of Bar Mitzvah (the Jewish coming-of-age where they get to take on adult religious responsibilities) and my students are going to go through this ritual in the next year, so they know something about the topic already.  

I wanted a fun way to get them to teach each other about the parts of the Bar Mitzvah.  I got these cool glass jars- by posting on freecycle- to use for this project.   I gave them the assignment that they needed to put things in the jar so that if someone finds it they will be able to understand what a Bar/Bat Mitzvah is.  

They will get to go home and bring in objects/printouts/ religious texts/objects- etc to add to the jar.  They will also write instructions if it is not obvious how to use the items inside.   

There are so many different applications that you can use the 'jar' idea for.  The students love the look and feel of holding an empty jar that they get to fill with their knowledge.  

Let me know how you use it!  

jar project

mitzvah writing
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Give your students the KEY 
Today I gave my students the key to their own [Jewish] Identity.
They also now have a reminder that they own the KEY to pursue knowledge 
You can use this activity and change to to be what you want it to be!

The goal of this trigger with the KEYS was to do things
  1. Introduce the topic in a memorable way
  2. Give out something that would divide the class randomly into pairs
There was an additional part to the activity, but the key trigger can be used to start out any project/ youth group program, etc.   Before they started the second part, they all were able to decorate the keys with paint pens.  My original plan was to use nail polish, but it got really smelly when I did a sample piece, so I recommend that you go outside.  


So how did I get so many keys?  I LOVE freecycle!  I posted that I was looking for a bunch of keys and had a large amount of replies that people wanted to give me old keys. {go me & go upcycling}  They were all shapes and sizes which made it really fun for the students to look at.  

finished syd
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I secretly love it when Baby Bear wakes up in the middle of the night and I get to cuddle her back to sleep. She is so warm and cuddly and even though I don't get a good nights sleep, I know that I will be able to have that memory even when she is all grown up.    

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

A Play House for Baby Bear

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Just to remind you, this is what our basement looks like

sketch of what our basement layout is before the play house build
playhouse build before
photos showing the way the basement looked before the play house was built under the stairs
Here is what the area looked like before.  As you can see, we stored the play house in that corner and that also was a spark for this idea.  

Mr. Baby Bear Hugs and I both had different ideas of how we were going to do this.  We decided that the first step was to open up the wall so we could see what was inside and if there were any studs under the landing (the landing is right where the ceiling pitches).  You can see under the stairs since they are only slats, so we knew that there was an empty space there, but we could not see anything in detail.  We held the side of the house that we wanted to put on the Left side first and made sure that we knew it would be below the landing.  

dry wall with the cut through it for the window
Mr. BBH took an electric saw and cut a hole through where we drew the square opening for the window.  We did have some studs on that side, and we decided it was OK to cut right through them for the hole.  

piece of the play house attached to the wall with a hole for the window
The play house wall was not flat, so we cut off the plastic with the electric saw so that it would lay flat against the wall.  We secured it to the studs with decking screws that hold very strong into the wood.  Now that there was a hole, we could see that there were no studs on the wall where the ceiling pitches. 

opening the door hole
Mr. BBH cutting though the dry wall to make a door hole.
Next we cut a hole in the wall where we wanted the opening for the door.  We wanted to make it as tall as possible to Baby Bear could potentially stand up and walk though (for now).  It also needed to be wide enough that an adult could go inside in case we needed to.  We measured the hole after it was cut so we could get wood to frame it out with.  

putting up molding
Mr. BBH adding the molding around the door
We chose a flat molding for the edges. Since there was no studs, we had to use wood glue to make the door frame.  We glued it and secured it with a clamp while it was drying.  We ended up screwing more wood on the reverse side so that the opening was strong and sturdy.  

view of the door almost finished
Next we added a piece of the plastic play house roof over the door and secured it into the stud and reinforced it with an L bracket on the right corner (you can see a little glimpse of it in the corner of the green roof).  Lastly, we installed a light inside so that it was bright and put some foam squares on the floor.  


Then we cleaned up so that we could see what Baby Bear thought about it (you can see our dog enjoying it too).  We will add more things as we go to make it a posh hideaway! 

collage of play house

promo for house

I submitted this to Tip Me Tuesday!  Lets cross our fingers!
Tip Junkie handmade projects
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