Friday, August 31, 2012

1-2-3 Travel Activity Bag

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how to make a travel activity kit for kids and toddlers
kids and toddler travel activity kit

Baby Bear is a pretty chill kid, but even the most chill kid can get stir crazy when she has to stay in places like Dr.'s office {for my prenatal visits}, restaurants or friends houses that don't have kids.  I got sick of putting together little things to do every time we wanted to go somewhere or being stuck without toys to play with so I decided to make a kit that we could keep in the car to be ready when we needed it.

bag with pockets
First find a bag with a lot of pockets

diaper bib placemat hand sanitizer snacks

Gather the essentials
  • spare diaper {keep one for those just-in case times your run out}
  • bib & placemat for toddlers 
  • hand sanitizer {ours is a natural Thieves Oil spray}
  • healthy snacks {something that will stay good in a package}

crayola dry erase travel kit

Art Supplies

I prefer this re-useable Crayola Dry Erase Activity Center Travel kit.  This is something that she can easily use over and over again.  If you do not have this, you can put a coloring book and markers or colored pencils in your kit.  The problem with crayons is that they may melt if you keep the kit in your car.  

Crayola also makes a great new product called Color Wonder that only writes on special paper.  

books games playdough

Fun things to engage your child
  • Small Books
I like board books so that they will stay in good condition in the bag
  • Small Games
 I have a numbers game and a matching game any age appropriate game that folds up small will do.  
  • Playdough 
Playdough or silly putty is always fun to keep little hands busy with their imagination
  • Small Toys
Keep some mini toys in your bag that you child can play with

Now you are ready to label your bag to easily organize and find what you need.  You can either attach tags on the zippers or label on the fabric.

Come back and visit for our label tutorial

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Incredibly Awesome Granola

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incredibly awesome granola recipe with soaked oats and kefir
incredibly awesome granola recipe with soaked oats and kefir

I really love to have a granola, fruit and nut parfait for breakfast.  I used to sprout my own buckwheat and make a raw granola, but Mr. BBH will not eat it! 

I made a few versions using oats butter and brown sugar among other ingredients, but I didn't feel like that was the healthy way to go.   I found a recipe that was for a soaked oat granola and decided to try it out.  I changed a few things from the original recipe and perfected it.  It is not for the impatient cook, you have to let it soak for 24 hours and cook for 4 hours.  It is very easy with the prep time if you are prepared to wait for deliciousness! 


8 cups rolled oats
3/4 cup melted coconut oil
1/2 cup melted butter
1 1/2 cups kefir
1 cup water 
1/2 cup honey 
1 cup maple syrup
2 Tbl cinnamon
1 1/2 Tbl Pure Vanilla Extract
1 1/2 cups Raw or Toasted Almonds (not salted)
1/2 cup sesame seeds (or other seeds)
1 1/2 cups Trader Joe's Raisin Medley
1 1/4 cups dried coconut shreds
1 cup chopped apricots (or other dried fruit)

This recipe is best to start in the morning so you will be able to cook it during the day since it has to sit and soak for 24 hours.   

First, melt the coconut oil and butter on low heat and then add them to a very large bowl.  Add the Kefir and mix with the oats.  Add the water now.  You may need more or less water depending on the consistency, it should be a moist mixture.  Cover it with a cloth and let is sit out at room temperature for 24 hours.  (It should not be in a hot area.) Now come the hard part....just wait. {The reason that you soak the oats is so that your body benefits from the broken-down phytic acid found in grains.}

After your 24 hours are up, start the oven on 200 F.  You will want to combine the maple, honey, cinnamon and vanilla with your oat mixture.  Keep mixing until thoroughly coated.

Spray cooking spray on parchment paper lined cookie sheets.   Now spread your mixture on the sheets and place in the oven.

More waiting... Bake for 4 hours on the low temperature.  Stir granola every 30 minutes or so (at least a few times during the baking is OK too!) Just in case you did not read before- KEEP ON 200!! {cooking it slow keeps it nutrient dense and almost raw~ raw would be dehydrating at 190 F}  After 4 hours turn off the oven.  Your granola should be dry.  Now just be patient and let the granola cool.  It should get crispy and may be still slightly soft at the end of the cooking period.  Just let it totally cool in the warm oven before removing.

Now mix in your nuts, seeds, and fruits.  It should be kept airtight in a bag or container in the fridge.  It will stay for up to a month if you don't eat it first!

homemade fruit granola and yogurt parfait

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Kid Friendly Vacationing

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dad and child on the beach with a sand castle South Haven, MI

We were vacationing this past week with Baby Bear in South Haven, MI.  We originally planned to travel to Israel, but being almost in the 3rd trimester, we decided to stay in the US.  I didn't originally want to go within the state, but we decided to meet another family with a child the same age as Baby Bear that was coming from the Chicago area.  

It took us a really really long time to decided on which house to rent and in the end, we have an awesome location! We have not gotten in the car in days since everything is accessible by foot or bike.  We brought our bikes with us from home and Baby Bear LOVES to ride in the bike trailer.  Then we spend much of the day at the beach or at the park.  

South Haven has a lot of great parks for kids all over.  The one that we recommend for hours of pre-bedtime entertainment is called Kid's Corner. It is a super cool wood structure shaped like a pirate ship.  Baby Bear will climb up and down all day on it.

2 kids playing in the sand on the beach south haven, mi

Baby Bear and Curious George playing in the sand. 

South Haven has a lot of great parks for kids all over.  The one that we recommend for hours of pre-bedtime entertainment is called Kid's Corner. It is a super cool wood structure shaped like a pirate ship.  Baby Bear will climb up and down all day on it.  

Monday, August 27, 2012

We're Back!

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We went on vacation this past week to South Haven, MI

I will be posting soon about our vacation, but here is a sneak peek:

Baby riding on a boat

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Guest Post- Scrap Busting Fabric Flower

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Hi Everyone!  My name is Jamie, and I blog over at Scattered Thoughts of a Crafty Mom.  I am so happy to have the chance to guest post for Brooke here at  Baby Bear Hugs.  

If you've never visited my blog before, it's all about sewing, crafting and fun family recipes.  I would love for you to stop by sometime to visit and check out some of my other projects.
Today, I am sharing a tutorial for a fabric flower made using your fabric scraps!

scrap fabric flower, scattered thoughts of a crafty mom
I do a lot of sewing and have quite an overflowing scrap bin.  I'm always very happy to stumble upon a new way to use my scraps.   This little fabric flower certainly fits the bill! I made a few for headbands.
fabric flower, scattered thoughts of a crafty mom
I made a set as flip flop embellishments.
fabric flower, scattered thoughts of a crafty mom
I can think of so many other uses for these little flowers!  Don't be surprised to see them popping up on other projects... Would you like to make some too?  Here is how I did it: Scrap fabric flower tutorial: (so easy, you'll wonder why you didn't think of it yourself!) Materials needed:
  • Scrap fabric, about 80 long in total. (You can use any length, but the longer the scrap piece, the easier it is to cut the strips.  The blue flower was made with a 44 inch long scrap piece and the pink was made with a 20 inch long scrap piece.)
  • needle and thread
  • scissors
  • ruler
  • hot glue
  • felt
  • button or accent piece for the top
Fold your scrap pieces in half a few times and cut into 1/2 inch wide strips.  (Cut as many as you need to get about 80 inches in length.
I cut two strips (4 for the pink flower.)
A quick way to get same size pieces is to wrap the fabric strip around your fingers a few times...
And then just snip the top and bottom with your scissors.
Next, lay out your fabric strips in a cris-cross pattern.
Keep going until your flower is as full as you would like it to be.  Use your needle and thread to make a couple of stitches to hold the fabric strips in place.
Cut a small circle of felt and glue it to the bottom of the flower.
Trim any uneven fabric pieces.
Add your button or other embellishment and there you go, an adorable fabric flower!
Thank you so much Brooke, for inviting me to be a part of your blog today!  I hope you guys will visit me over at Scattered Thoughts of a Crafty Mom sometime.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Pacifier Lovie with Tags

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I am thrilled to have Jamie from Scattered Thoughts of a Crafty Mom  guest post for me tomorrow! 

pacifier lovie with tags tutorial DIY sewing
pacifier tag lovie blanket tutorial logo

I had to make a baby quilt as gift for my best friend's new baby. I decided to use the same fabric for the baby blanket as I used for the older brother's blanket.  His older brother had the elephant on it and for this new baby I chose the alligator.  I wanted to make something small that can travel with the baby when they don't have their blankie.

materials for lovie

1 square of Eco-Fi Felt 
I chose Eco-Fi felt because it is made of post consumer recycled bottles and it is easy to work with. You can substitute any soft fabric.
11"x11" square of fun fabric
Cellophane as a crinkle material
Assorted Ribbon 
1 Plastic loop play ring
snap or Velcro (to secure pacifier)

cutting surface with eco-fi felt

I wanted to make a 9x9 inch lovie, so I started by cutting my felt to a square using my rotary knife and straight edge on a cutting board to get a nice line. 

Cut your fabric so that it is 11"x11" square if it is not already in that shape. 

fabric square laid out for lovie

You will want the crinkle material doubled so that it makes a nice noise.  It should be roughly the same size as your squares, but accuracy is not required.  

felt with fabric square

Now place your felt in the middle and fold the edges under holding it in place with pins.  If you are really ambitious, you can iron your fabric to a 9x9 square.  

Lay out your ribbons and pin them between the two fabrics.  If you are going to use a plastic loop, make sure that you have a ribbon that is the correct size.  I like to join the loop ribbon on the corner so it can easily be attached to a stroller.  

fabri-tac glue bottle and ribbon with velcro

To make your pacifier holder, you will need to sew the edge of your ribbon under so you have a nice clean edge.  Next either attach your snaps with a snap tool or glue on your Velcro with permanent fabric adhesive like Fabri-Tac.

Sew the edges using the side of the fabric as a guide to keep your stitch straight.  I like my needle in the middle of the foot when I am sewing an edge like this.  I chose a red thread so you can see the stitches and to make it more fun. 

lovie with view of stitches

Make sure that your stitches are good and pull out your pins.

~Here is your finished Lovie~

Thank you Scattered Thoughts of a Crafty Mom!!

Thursday, August 16, 2012

8 Healthy Popcorn Recipes

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10 healthy popcorn recipes

I have fond memories cuddling with my siblings and parents growing up and sharing a bowl of popcorn.  It was always a special treat to us.  I think that we did not give the popcorn enough credit because it is such a great wholegrain snack that is packed with fiber when prepared without a lot of oil.  

The best way to make popcorn without oil or butter is to get a Microwave Popcorn Popper by Nordic Ware.  

Put 1/2 cup of popcorn kernels (the higher quality tastes better) 
in your Nordic Ware popper.

Pop in the microwave for approximately 4 minutes. 
 {Listen for the pops to slow.}

Now you are ready to choose a recipe below or eat it as it is!

{I divided the recipes between Sweet/Savory and Spicy}

~Sweet & Savory Recipes~

Marissa's Parmesan and Garlic Popcorn

photo and recipe from serious eats

Garlic is a natural antibiotic and can have a powerful antioxidant effect
4 Tbl Parmesan Cheese finely shreaded
1 Tbl pressed garlic (or 2 Tbl garlic seasoning)
2 Tbl Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Toss with olive oil first and then add additional ingredients, tossing until coated. Eat! 

Dillicious Ranch Popcorn

Dill has many medicinal properties, minerals and certain amino acids. It is known to promote digestion and keep your breath fresh!

2 Tbl powdered buttermilk
1 Tsp ground black pepper
2 Tsp dried dill
1 Tsp ground sea salt
2 Tbl Olive Oil

Toss with Olive Oil and add the rest of the ingrediants, toss again & Eat!

            Yacova's Vegan Cheezy Popcorn
Nutritional Yeast has a cheesy flavor and is a source of protein and vitamins, especially the B-complex vitamins, and is a complete protein. 

3Tbl Nutritional Yeast
2Tbl Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Toss with Olive Oil and then toss with the Nutritional Yeast & EAT!

Photo from

OMG Omega Lemon-y Popcorn
It sounds weird, but is really good, plus you are getting Omega 3 in your delicious mix. 

2 Tbl Lemon Fish Oil {we use Carlson's Brand}
Toss popcorn with Fish Oil and Eat!

Mediterranean Popcorn

2 Tbl Olive Oil
2 Tbl Zatar Spice

Coat with Olive Oil and then toss again with Zatar. Eat!

~Spicy & Hot Recipes~

                                                     Smokin' hot popcorn 
photo and recipe from serious eats

2 Tbl hot or mild smoked pimentón de la vera (smoked paprika)
2 Tbl finely chopped fresh parsley leaves
1 tsp ground sea salt
2 Tbl extra-virgin olive oil

Coat the popcorn with 2Tbl olive oil in a large bowl add the seasoning mix and toss again. Eat!

Red Hot Buffalo Wings Popcorn

photo and recipe from serious eats
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons Frank's Red Hot sauce 

Heat Frank's & butter in a glass bowl on high power at 15 second intervals until completly melted. Toss with popcorn & Eat! 

Betsy's Cumin Cayenne Popcorn
Cumin seeds are rich in iron and Cayenne helps in digestion.                                                Toss with 2 Tbl Butter Add Cumin and Cayenne to taste

Baby Bear with eating lunch with popcorn on the side

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