Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Preschool Geometry and with Globes

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preschool elliptical geometry

Baby Bear is learning about planets in school.  She askes me a lot of questions about things in the solar system now.  "What planet is Massachusetts on?"  she asked this morning.  I wanted to teach her more about the planet that we live on, so I took out the globe that my parents got for me when I was younger.  
Inflatable Globe 

Everyone that wants to raise confident and educationally curious needs to get a globe.  You can find an inflatable globe for as little as $6.99 on Amazon or get a nicer one that you can leave on the shelf.  

Start with discovering what exactly a globe is.  Dora the Explorer has a Map.  Her map is flat

flat map versus globe

The first thing to do is familiarize yourself and your child with the globe.  {I say yourself because you will learn a lot about how your child thinks with all of the questions that they ask!}

Things to find:
Places-Locations of friends, family

Next you need some string so that you can measure different places.   We are taking a trip courtesy of Allegiant Air next week from Toledo, OH to Clearwater, FL.  So we used that as a starting place to measure. 

globe string measurement

With the globe, you might find that the shortest place between 2 places is not a straight line.  This is an important phenomenon in elliptical geometry.  At this age, you do not have to give your children answers as to why, just show that that it is different than flat geometry. I do have a really fun riddle to work on that my Math Professor, Dr. Wyneken, gave our class:

 A bear left his house, travelled 1 mile south, turned Left, walked 1 mile. Turned right, walked another mile and was back at home. What color was the bear? 

You can use your string and your globe to find the answer.  If you know what color the bear is, post it in the comments!

Sunday, April 27, 2014

My Summer Toy Crushes!

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Summer is a time that you always want to have something fun up your sleeve for all of those hot days.   We can't wait to get out and start playing after such a long and cold winter. This is my list of summer toys that I have or want to try out with my kids.  We are outside all summer at camp, so we have plenty of time to play! 

YBIKE Balance Bike is the best!  We got this for Baby Bear when she was 1 1/2.  It teaches them balance so that they can go right onto a bike without training wheels.  We got ours at a local toy store called Toyology

Kinderbike Morph- goes from balance to pedal bike
I would love to upgrade Baby Bear to this Balance Bike, the Kinderbike Morph that you can add wheels to.  My parents got her a bike with training wheels and I'm not convinced that is the way to go because suddenly she can't balance like she did on the Ybike. 

We need an outdoor kids seating set for my parents house.  This Teamson Design Outdoor Set matches our Magic Garden Cubby.  There is also an umbrella so that the kids stay in the shade.   I like the idea that kids furniture can be beautiful and whimsical!  

For me, I am thinking about ordering this really cool bike helmet covers by RockiNoggins.  These covers go over existing helmets and are much less than other expensive similar styles that are built onto the helmet. The company also shows them with cute flowers and pins to change the look of the hat by adding them, (or you can add your own creative touch by making your own).  I wish that I could find them in a local store to try on.  You can order them on Amazon. 

KidKraft has this really cool outdoor sandbox with a canopy. My girls will play for hours in the sand at my parents house.  They don't have anything as a border between the grass and the sand, so this might be a great option to make it a defined area.  Kidkraft has a pirate boat sandbox that is also super cool.  

How cute is the Melissa & Doug Seaside Sidekicks Sand Baking Set sandbox kit!  It gives a whole new angle to making a sandcake.  

We also like the Melissa & Doug Blossom Bright Kids' Gardening Tote Set.  I believe in teaching kids to grow food and flowers at a young age.  This makes it fun from them to have their own kit to help sow seeds and water.  Plus the Melissa & Doug things that we purchased in the past are always really nice quality. 

Friday, April 25, 2014

The little sister

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Baby Bear had a friend come over and play and this is the first play date that she has had since Mini can walk. 

Having only been walking unassisted for a few weeks, Mini is very solid on her feet.  She walks around carrying things and also can bend over, somersault, kick, dance, and almost jump.  She ran right after the girls and started playing next to them.  It was OK for a little while, but once Mini left the room, they closed the door.  I don't think that they were consciously trying to exclude her.  It broke my heart to hear her knocking on the door after trying to reach the door herself and not being able.  Mini didn't cry, she just gave a few yells as she knocked.  I told the girls to keep the door open so that Mini could play in the room too.  

I love this photo of Baby Bear holding Mini in their stroller
The problem was avoided and none of the girls got mad.  I told Baby Bear later that Mini likes to watch the big girls play and I was so glad that she allows her to be such a great big sister.    

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Crowdsourcing: Help! We need to find a new stroller!

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seeking stroller for off road terrain

When Mini was born we got a Peg Perego Skate Stroller, mainly because you could get an optional jump seat for an older kid (Baby Bear).  I liked that you could make the main part a bassinet.   We brought it to a wedding in Boston and it was very hard to fold it to get onto public transportation. It is so large and cumbersome We ended up just taking the bassinet off and folding the bottom.  It does not turn easily.  I could not clean it and it took two days to dry when it got rained on without the rain cover.  And lastly, it is really heavy when you have to move it folded and does not fit easily into a car. 

We want to crowdsource to find a better stroller!

We did like 
  • There was a rain cover that came with the stroller 
  • The canopy shielded from bright sun
  • There was a full recline as well as full upright position

We want a stroller that
  • Folds easily 
  • Can work on gravel 
  • Has a canopy that will shield from the sun
  • The seat will sit up straight (some strollers always have a slight incline)
  • Smooth and comfortable ride
  • Easy to wash
We are interested in any feedback! Leave a comment or contact me if you have one that we can review! 
  We were thinking about comparing brands like Britax, City Mini, Valco, Chicco, Bob, Joovy,  Graco, or Jeep 

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Magic Garden Cubby~Perfect Dress Up Storage~Review & Giveaway

Pin It Now! Teamson Design Magic Garden Bench~Review & Giveaway

Dress up and Make Believe are really important parts of a child's development.  We have a bin filled with clothes, shoes, hats, and accessories that really needed organizing.  We were lucky to get the opportunity to review the Magic Garden Cubby by Teamson and found that it is a perfect place for storing all of our things.
magic garden cubby assembly photos

It comes in a flat pack and is very easy to assemble. Even the cams are labeled with which direction to place it in.  Mr. BBH and I put it together in a few minutes.  You can see that it has a lip for the back piece to fit on.  The entire bench is very sturdy and we like the design.  The bottom even has a nice finished edge detail.

magic garden storage cube

The hand painted design is so much fun. Right away Mini wanted to look inside and see what was in the boxes.  We moved it to our play area and Baby Bear helped to organize. 

math skills in sorting

She had to sort out items into three different categories: hats, shoes, costumes.  This is a great math skill to introduce to young children and is a math skill that does not involve number or counting but patterns.  You can also have children group objects by color and teach older kids to fold.  

Inside each bin I put a picture of what is inside the bin.  The images are good for Mini to learn organization and the words are for Baby Bear.  Baby Bear is just starting to write words, so these labels are a way to start teaching reading.  When we read, we recognize words.  By starting with small words, you can build a reading vocabulary at an early age.  Kids start to read their own name first, since this is usually the first word that they learn to spell and read.  I put the words in all capital letters because Baby Bear is only doing capital letters at school.  

When we are having so much fun playing with our dress up clothes not they they are much easier to find. 


Baby Bear also used it as a stage to perform her show.  I encourage my kids to play with their dress up clothes all the time.  Dressing up is a fun way to promote language skills and role play for children of all ages.  

You can hear them imitate the way that people speak to them or things that they hear.   I often hear Baby Bear say things like "you be the mommy, you be the teacher..etc." then she will go on to imitate and say things like "Settle down class" or "Time to get dressed brush your teeth." 

  With this Magic Garden Cubby Dress-Up Storage, they will develop thinking skills and be able to imitate things in their own life or things that they make up.  If they need something to dress up that they do not have, they will learn to create it with their imagination.  

We LOVE Teamson's Magic Garden Cubby and want to give one away!

Hand Painted and Hand Carved
 Since 1997, Teamson has been known for its high standard in designing quality products.
  All of Teamson’s creations are painted by hand by our talented artists, so no two are exactly alike.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Madeliene's Brocco Rice-Passover Dish

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I tried this really easy recipe to get my kids to eat more veggies.  I saw the recipe on Madeliene's blog and decided to try it. 
You use either broccoli rice or cauliflower rice for this alternative to rice and it would be a great addition to any table that doesn't want to eat any rice.
1 head of broccoli or cauliflower
1 Clove Garlic
1Tbl Olive Oil
Salt and Pepper to Taste
1 Onion
*You also need a food processor*
Cut your onion and cut into rings. Lightly brown it in a pan.  Set aside.


Steam your vegetable of choice in a steamer. 
 {I have an Oster Rice cooker that is really easy to steam veggies, make rice, quinoa, and fish in.}
You want to wait until your steamer is boiling, so start it first.
Now cut up the broccoli into chunks and place in the steamer for approximately four minutes.  

After they are cooked, put them on a towel to dry and cool. 

Next use this attachment in your food processor.  Put all of your veggies through the food processor including the garlic and onion.

When you are ready to serve, heat it up and add your olive oil and spices. The cauliflower has a more subtle flavor and looks like rice.  You could flavor it with anything that you would normally flavor rice with. 

Everyone loved it and asked for more!  It is not only great for Passover, but for your everyday table!
Find Madeleine's blog here

Friday, April 11, 2014

Mixed Feeling about a Toddler

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I was so excited that Mini started walking. I worried for months that she wasn't walking and all of the other kids her age were.   Was there an issue with her hips or her legs that she couldn't walk unassisted? I thought about over and over.   

Let me preface this by saying that I love the toddler phase.  A good friend of mine said that she "doesn't have a favorite child, just a favorite age."  I love seeing the growth of the toddler and how fun they are as they learn about the world.  

Now I will just say it, I am sad that Mini is no longer a baby.  I have two kids and no baby.  

I made the longing eyes at Mr. BBH and he said "NO!" 

Instead of focusing on what I miss, I am going to focus on the exciting things that Mini does.  She loves animals and the walking freedom gives her more things to do and look at.

And it is much much much more fun to play with her instead of carry her around. 

Monday, April 7, 2014

BEST Gluten Free Passover Cake!

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This cake is incredible.  I took a recipe that had that included baking soda and baking powder and modified it for Passover.  The frosting is INCREDIBLE.  I would use this for any recipe.  It is so easy and much healthier than buttercream frosting plus no added sugar and it tastes rich and creamy.  

ingredients for cake

2 cups cooked quinoa
7 whole eggs
1/3 cup pareve nut milk (any kind will work. I prefer no sugar)
1 tablespoon vanilla 
1/2 cup pareve margarine or butter (healthy oils are best)
1 cup organic coconut palm sugar (regular sugar can be used)
1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder 
1/2 teaspoon salt (preferably himalayan salt)
Whipped Chocolate Coconut Cream Frosting
1 (13.5 ounce) can of full fat coconut milk, refrigerated overnight
1 (10 ounce) bag chocolate chips
2 circle pans with parchment paper

optional twists
  • Add 1 tablespoon instant coffee for flavor or cinnamon to switch it up
  • Want a different flavor cake? Instead  of cocoa, add 2 bananas or 1 cup of other fruit. 
  • Double the vanilla and make a vanilla cake

1 Can Coconut Cream (chill in the fridge)
1 Bag Chocolate Chips or other chocolate (I prefer to use Dark Chocolate) 
Preheat oven to 350. 

blender by blendtec

You need a good blender or food processor.  First In a food processor or blender put in your wet ingredients: eggs, nut milk and vanilla.  Since your eggs are going to make the cake fluffy, you will want to blend for a minute or so.  Make sure they start to look a little bit puffy.  Add the quinoa and butter. Mix until evenly blended. 

wisking dry ingredients in a bowl

The dry ingredients need to be sifted.  If you do not have a sifter, you can use a whisk to mix the mixture. 

best chocolate quinoa passover cake

Mix everything together and put into baking pans.  Bake for 45 minutes.   Let the cake cool completely before you frost.  {my sister-in-law recommends that you freeze the cake overnight so that you can easily and evenly frost!}

best chocolate quinoa passover cake

Start your frosting while you are baking your cake.  You will need to chill the coconut cream before using it.  I don't know what this makes a difference, but it really does!  Melt your chocolate in a double burner or over low heat.   Stir in the coconut creme.  Cool it in the fridge until it begins to stiffen.  When you are ready to frost the cake, whip it up first.  

best chocolate quinoa passover cake

Share it with others if you can resist eating it all yourself! 

My recipe inspiration is from Sarah Cook.  

This one is a Strawberry Passover Quinoa Cupcake

This one is a Strawberry Passover Quinoa Cupcake

*If you want to make this not for Passover,  use 4 eggs, and add 1/2 teaspoon baking soda, 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder.*

Friday, April 4, 2014

Mini is finally walking!

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I know that I am not supposed to compare my children, but; Baby Bear was walking by her 1st birthday.  Mini's birthday came and went, but she was not showing any interest in walking.  Slowly all of the other kids in her class began to walk and Mini just decided that she would walk on her knees.  

She could walk if you held her hand or she was pushing a toy, but she didn't really want to.  Notice that in the video she was 14 months and we thought that she was ready to walk.  She is so stubborn, that she just tucks her legs if she doesn't want to walk and you were trying to get her to practice.  

She had it down to a science, so she didn't feel like she need to learn to walk on her feet. 

She would pull herself up if she wanted to, but the emphasis was on if SHE wanted to.  This is the gate by the stairs and she wanted to go to work with Mr. BBH, so she stood and yelled for him. 

can you see that they are holding hands!

We took both girls to the mall on Saturday night so that we could get her walking.  We tried this trick before at Ikea.  She walked with a toy shopping cart all over Ikea but didn't want to let go.  We walked around holding her hand.  It was either in the stroller or on her feet.  She was already selectively able to take a few steps.  We were walking around a store and she just let go of Mr. BBH and was off!

We took her again today since it was bad weather outside to walk around.  I am obsessed with her.  Her little barrel chest {a family trait from my dad's side} sticks out forward and her little chubby legs spread far apart!  

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Raising Confident Children

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I want to raise strong confident girls.  I take the simple things that Baby Bear does and make them meaningful and special.  The is a prolific artist.  That does not mean that I take everything that she makes and plaster the house with it.  I do put up some of the artwork on her magnet board in the kitchen.  She gets to help choose what to put on it.  Since there is only a finite amount of space, she gets to choose what goes and what stays.  Giving her choices is a helpful skill and also allows her to edit her own work in a simple way.  

Here is a special cup that Baby Bear made in class for Passover.  It is a cup for Elijah.  I put it into the china cabinet with our other things to show her how special she is.  

china cabinet with kid art

I know that it is just a cup, but by putting it into the cabinet it is also showing that she is very special.  It goes with the rest of the Judaica that we use for holidays and Shabbat.  

Besides the cup, I framed this drawing and put it on the mantel a few weeks ago.  It is the first drawing that she did of our family.  

Start with the small things!
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