The Book Depository Summer Solstice Promo Starts Now!

My favorite “bookstore” The Book Depository, is running a promo again. :) I really love this company. They really make fostering love of reading books so easy!

I’ve been wanting to read “normal” books again (normal meaning books that aren’t books about babies/kids and business) but due to lack of time and since all my budget now goes to Baby Bear, I have been putting this off. And yes, I’ve been a bit lazy because I preferred to watch my TV shows. Since the TV shows are on a hiatus now and The Book Depository has a promo running too… not much excuse, right? ;)

Here are some of the discounted books that I have been eyeing:

1.) Fifty Shades Trilogy Boxed Set Bundle – 24% off!

Fifty Shades Trilogy Boxed Set Bundle

2.) A Clash of Kings: Book 2 of a Song of Ice and Fire – 33% off!

A Clash of Kings: Book 2 of a Song of Ice and Fire

Yes, I said I would buy books for my own personal reading… but who can resist buying books for their own kids?

3.) Where is the Green Sheep (board book) – 47% off!

Where Is the Green Sheep?

4.) Each Peach Pear Plum (board book) – 35% off!

Each Peach Pear Plum

And… the icing on top of the cake – they have a Summer Solstice Special today. Just enter the code 24SOL when you check out your shopping basket and get a 10% off! What a sweet deal right?  I think this runs for only 24 hours… so you better start book shopping now. Let’s all click, click away!!! Happy Shopping! :)

If you want to check out My Baby Bear’s Reading List, just click here, and yes I bought them all at The Book Depository.

*All images stolen from The Book Depository :)

Busy As A Bee

I haven’t been playing the 30 Days to Hands on Play Challenge for the past 3 days as I’ve had a busy week. Here’s what’s been keeping me busy as a bee:

  • I attended my first Parent’s Orientation for Baby Bears’ school. Her first day starts on Monday. I am one excited Momma Bear. She gets her own lunch bag that is so cool… it is insulated to keep the food warm plus her name is embroidered in front — talk about customized! ;)
  • My mom recently had her executive check-up and she needed to have a Gastroscopy and Endoscopy. I went with her this morning and I’m so glad she passed with flying colors!
  • I had a new client this week for my furniture shop. I blogged about this baby business of mine here. She had me customize an armoire for her 3-year-old daughter. She wanted a wardrobe cabinet that would “grow” with her daughter through the years. It’s really so dainty. Will post pics when the project is finished!
  • For my other business, we are close to sealing a deal with a supplier. I am excited to work with them for our Christmas Gift Items. Yes, you read that right, Christmas! We start this early just to prepare for that oh so, busy season.
  • Baby Bear is finishing up her Gymboree classes. She’s enrolled in Music and Play and Learn 3 :)
  • Looking around for that illusive perfect Fathers’ Day Gift for Papa Bear… I have an idea what to get him but I haven’t squeezed in time to go to the mall to buy his gift. I don’t usually cram when it comes to getting him a present but I’ve really had quite a full week.

No, I am not abandoning the Hands on Play Challenge. I haven’t had time to read on and set up the new challenges. For now, Baby Bear has been repeating the past challenges —  so it’s okay, practice makes perfect, right? ;) I will definitely pick up on where I left off on the challenges soon. For those who are taking on the challenge, you can subscribe to http://handsonaswegrow.com/ so that you can still get updated with the daily challenge.

Advance Happy Fathers’ Day to you, your fathers, grandfathers and or/your husbands. May you have a special celebration with your families.

Signing off for the weekend now… Ta-ta! :)

Day 6 Hands on Play Challenge: Family Time

What a timely play challenge since it’s also a national holiday today (Happy Independence Day) now here in Manila. The challenge is to simply spend some family together time doing whatever you want to do… TOGETHER! Together is the main objective of the challenge. Sometimes we spend time as a family in one room but you see each person doing a different thing. One is watching TV, one is surfing with the iPad and the other one is blogging or twittering. This really doesn’t count as bonding if you think about it.

The activity that we chose to do was to read books. I got a bunch of books for Baby Bear during the last sale at The Book Depository which I blogged about here.

Image representing The Book Depository as depi...

It was delivered last week and we wanted to open them already. We opened them one by one and let her choose a book. She still really likes the Baby Touch series and I’m happy that even though it’s a new book, she is already able to point out words that she learned before like flower, bird, star, and owl, among others. Here is a list of the other books that she currently reads.

Reading books is always a nice bonding activity. It is a learning experience and an avenue to help your baby foster confidence in herself. It teaches a lot and opens up a whole new world for them. Reading is something that can never be replaced with technology. There is a nice experience and memory evoked with every turn of the page, the smell of an old book and the love that you feel when your parents read to you. No technology can ever do that! Agree? :)

Day 5 Hands on Play Challenge: Play Dough Exploration

I have been playing the 30 Days to Hands on Play Challenge and this was the only challenge that I didn’t feel like doing when I saw the email alert pop in my inbox. It looks like a fun activity but I had a lot of issues with it… sticky, icky feeling for the baby, weird clay smell, hardens easily, hard to wash off, and the top issue is “what if she eats it”? :P

I was so glad when I trooped over to the site to read about the challenge for the day and was quite surprised to see a recipe for homemade play dough. Now, that got my attention! :)

The original recipe can be found here, but I also listed this very easy no-cook play dough recipe below. I carried Baby Bear as I was making this so she would be involved even at the preparation stage for the activity.

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups plain all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup salt
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1.5 cups boiling watershould only be handled by adults
  • 2 tablespoons cream of tartarif you don’t have this, just substitute with a squeeze of lemon (optional step)
  • food coloring and/or scent (optional step)
  • few drops of glycerine (optional step – this just adds shine to your clay) :)

Steps:

  • Mix the flour, salt, cream of tartar and oil in a large mixing bowl
  • Add the boiling water
  • Stir continuously until it becomes a sticky, combined dough
  • Add the food colouring and glycerine (both optional ingredients)
  • Allow it to cool down then take it out of the bowl and knead for a couple of minutes until all of the stickiness is gone (for perfect consistency)

Activity Proper:

  • Look for objects to use for your clay play. This is a free-play game so no rules and anything goes.
  • Lay out all the objects in the floor with the clay and start exploring together.

Here’s what happened to our activity. The first thing that Baby Bear did when she touched the clay was to grab some and put it in her mouth! (Thank you Imagination Tree for your recipe – safe, natural and edible!) Next, I gave her some clay in her hands which she just held and she just sat there watching us play, roll, and mold shapes. I decided to involve some of her favorite toys to get her to join us in the fun.

the farmer in the clay, the farmer in the clay… heigh-ho away we go, the farmer in the clay…

That got her a bit excited. Her favorite form of play lately is pretend-eat-play. She hastily gave the piece of clay that she squished in her hand to her toy farmer and pig :) Encouraged with her reaction, I got a few more of her favorite toys and made…

… clay shapes! her fave is the star :)

This also became a learning process as I asked her to randomly pass Momma Bear different shapes. The last activity that we did that got her beaming with laughter the most was when we created her ultimate favorite shape… next to the star…

clay ball!!!

To those who know Baby Bear, she loves round objects so much, she actually has a container case filled with just balls — different sizes, shapes, texture and feel. This one, she really played with for a long time. We played roll and pass the ball, “run” after the ball, throw it into the air, squish it and shape it again and even made a giant ball :)

We would’ve played some more but it was already time for her afternoon nap. Another nice thing about this activity is you can keep your homemade clay in a ziploc bag inside the cupboard and reuse it next time. Btw, 2 thumbs up for the clay recipe!!! It is everything I want in a clay. I can’t wait for our next clay play and I would love to add some new clay colors next time. :)

Here’s a list of other Play Dough Recipes that are all easy to make and here is another way to play with clay dough as blogged about by Rainy Day Mum and another blog here by The Imagination Tree.

See you guys again tomorrow for Day 6 Challenge! Have a happy Monday and a great week ahead to all of you! :)

 

 

 

Day 4 Hands on Play Challenge: Pretend Islands

Sad to say, I failed the challenge today :( The irony of this failure is in the fact that the activity involves Baby Bear‘s interest which is walking, walking, walking.

Day 4 Challenge: Pretend Islands

We got a lot pillows in the bedroom and just threw them on the floor. We were supposed to walk on the pillows only as these are the pretend islands and the floor is water. Baby Bear loves to walk… loves to hop — but no, this was the time she chose to just sit and watch. I did a demonstration of the activity but she didn’t follow suit. She just sat there amazed, watching and giggling. I even got her favorite pet, Bozo the Bulldog to perform the activity (To see a pic of Bozo, click here). Again, she just sat there watching and smiling. I prodded her to join in on the fun and even offered a hand so that I can guide her — to no avail!

This is how fun the activity should have turned out had Baby Bear been a more willing participant — Day 4 Challenge: Pretend Islands. It’s okay though, I think Baby Bear didn’t want to join in probably because this is a new activity. I think she is just silently observing and trying to get how the game works. As I blogged about before here, we probably need to repeat the activity a couple more times… but it’s okay because this is how Baby Bear rolls. We understand that most of the time, she will observe a new situation first before doing anything. She needs to get a hang of it before trying things. Some might call it being overly cautious but at least she is careful, right? ;) It’s okay to fail a challenge… at least we get to do it again… more bonding time for The Bear Family :)

Day 3 Hands on Play Challenge: Building With Blocks

Today’s challenge is fun, fun, fun… especially for Papa Bear. Day 3 Challenge brought to you by The Imagination Tree is Building with Blocks and Duplo! Who doesn’t love Lego, Duplo or blocks, right? ;)

Like all challenges, the first requirement is to always go for 15 minutes of pure, uninterrupted play time with Baby (that means no twitter for me and no iPad for Papa Bear) ;)

Here are some of the challenges that you could do together:

1.) Gather your stash of Legos, Duplos and all sorts of blocks for building.

2.) Build the tallest tower possible. — The highest you can go or as soon as you run out of blocks (whichever happens first)

3.) Count how many blocks you have, count blocks by color, blocks by shape, etc. — This is great for toddlers who are in the process of learning about shapes, colors and numbers… also a great time suck if you want to keep your kids preoccupied ;)

4.) How many blocks can you balance Jenga-like before they all come crashing down?

5.) Building blocks with your eyes closed, one-handed, or with your teeth/mouth? :P

6.) Make a collection of only green, blue, red or yellow blocks?

7.) Build a city, an airport, a mansion, a doll house — the possibilities are endless!

These are the challenges listed above and here’s what happened:

1.) Gather all the blocks you have – Check!  We dumped all our Mega Bloks to the play mat.

2.) Attempt to build the tallest building – Fail! As I mentioned during our Day 1 Challenge here, Baby Bears’ current interest is walking, walking, walking.

baby bearzilla — the aftermath

3.) How many blocks can you balance Jenga-like before they all come crashing down? — 1-2 layers before baby bearzilla wreaks king kong havoc

4.) Building blocks with your eyes closed, one-handed, or with your teeth/mouth? :Psee #3

5.) Make a collection of only green, blue, red or yellow blocks? Count how many blocks you have, count blocks by color, blocks by shape, etc. — see #3

6.) Build a city, an airport, a mansion, a doll house — the possibilities are endless! — check…

papa bear builds a “T” tower

NOT!!! :) Our little Bearzilla simply refused to cooperate. She instantly crumbles the minute we start building or just drags us to walk around. We still wanted to achieve some sort of objective, so here’s what happened.

We got out her Mega Bloks Fill and Dump Wagon out and she pushed this around the room. Hey, we still used “bloks”, right? ;)

You might say we weren’t able to carry out any of the building challenges, but I don’t think we completely failed. The whole point of the Hands on Play Challenge was to spend at least 15 minutes of pure, uninterrupted play with your baby — and yes, we did — played and had FUN! :) 

Til the next challenge! Happy Weekend y’all! :D

Day 2 Hands on Play Challenge: Build A Fort

Day 2 Challenge is to BUILD A FORT! Yay!!! Baby Bear loves forts so this was a FUN task for us. Here’s what our basic fort looks like.

build a fort

We usually build this fort in bed because Baby Bear still stumbles a lot while walking so we want to make sure she can have cushioned falls. What we do is put Baby Bear inside the fort and play peek-a-boo with her. We go all around the 4 sides and she tries to guess where we will ‘pop’ up next. :) Our latest twist to this game is I get an extra pillow and hide behind the pillow while simultaneously moving. This usually prompts her to try to ‘escape’ from the fort in order to catch me. :)

The other version of our fort is this tent that we got her during one of the Toy Kingdom sales here in Manila.

princess tent

We also play peek-a-boo here and we get her to go inside and outside of her tent. This activity is a bit tiring (for both the baby and the parent) but never fails to get her squealing with laughter so that’s all that matters. I see many tea parties and reading sessions with her dollies inside in the near future. I can’t wait to see what will spark her creativity and imagination. Definitely one of the things worth looking forward to.

Good luck with your Day 2 Challenge :) Let me know how it goes!

For more info about the 30 Days to Hands on Play Challenge, just click on the badge found at the right side of my page or go to their website at Hands On As We Grow

 

 

Day 1 Hands on Play Challenge: Mission Statement

I joined the 30 Days to Hands on Play Challenge as I mentioned on my previous post here. Day 1 Challenge was emailed to me a bit shortly after I subscribed. Today’s task is a bit simple but needs a lot of thought put into it. The challenge is simply to write a mission statement of how I would like to be more hands on with Baby Bear and to jot down her current interests. I was excited when the challenge was posted. I love mission statements!!! As I blogged about before here, I believe that all goals can be well executed if it is guided by a general purpose statement.

Here’s my Hands on Play Mission Statement:

I hope to introduce Baby Bear to fun and educational activities in order to effectively play and learn, spend quality time and foster an environment wherein she can grow in love and happiness.

Baby Bears’ Interests:

- Stickers!!!

- Music

- Pretend Play (Feeding her toys)

- Walking, walking, walking

That’s it! Easy peasy! I am excited to get my Day 2 Challenge. What is your Hands on Play Mission Statement? Do share! :)

30 Days to Hands on Play Challenge

I recently stumbled upon this blog – Hands On As We Grow and I joined the 30 Days to Hands on Play Challenge. I think this is a good project to embark on with your kids. Sometimes we can be as creative as we want to be, but we just run out of good ideas for fun activities… especially for babies — we sometimes don’t know how exactly to play with them. By joining this challenge, I am also inspired and motivated to spend more quality time with Baby Bear and hopefully, make it a fun learning process along the way too.

To join the challenge,  simply subscribe to their blog at Hands On As We Grow and play the 30 Days to Hands on Play Challenge. Submit your email address and they will email you the activities everyday.

I am on Day 2 already and so far, loving it. I hope I will be able to execute all the challenges that are emailed to me everyday. I also invite you to join the challenge. May it inspire you to have creative fun with your own family, too. Good luck and do let me know if you guys joined and how you find the activities posted. I will also blog about some of my experience with the challenges soon. Have fun! :)

29 Ways to Stay Creative

I saw this somewhere in the internet a couple of months ago and would like to share it with you guys. I would love to give credit to the person who made this but unfortunately it was anonymous. Give me a shout-out if you own this material. Thank you for this… it has given me the push during the days I feel bored with my work. I look at this on days when I feel stuck in a rut, my mind draws a blank or creativity hits a dead-end. Thanks for the inspiration!

Stay Creative!