What a Doll

Hello Friends! I have been renewing energy and I am feeling much better. However, I am taking the time I need to do as I need for me and mine.

All is spring and flowers around us! I trust and hope you are enjoying spring as well!

Bella and I have been talking about making a doll for a while now. We finally managed to do it! All pictures are posted below. I’ve also added a few pictures at the end of this blog post of our recent family outing to see the beauty of spring.

Wishing you all continued good health, happiness and peace. x

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Busy as a Bee

A very quick blog post today! It is beaucoup busy for me and will be over the next few weeks!

We decided to make a wreath with our glitter painted leaves! Here’s how it turned out…

Autumn Wreath
Glitter painted leaf wreath

The wreath is now hanging on our front window alongside the bats! Yay! We got them all hung! Here’s a peek…

Autumn Wreath and Halloween Bats
Autumn Wreath and Halloween Bats

Bella has been busy as a bee making costumes for her Sylvanian Family friends. She isn’t finished, but here are a few of her amazing creations!

Mr. Carrot Rabbit
Mr. McGregor will never see me disguised as a carrot!
Sylvanian Friends Halloween!
Daddy Squirrel is dressed in his Candy Corn costume!
Skeleton Cat!
Skeleton Cat!
Sylvanian Friends Princess for Halloween!
Everyone wants to be a princess for Halloween!
Sylvanian Friends - Dracula-a-a!
Dracula-a-a!
Ho, ho, ho...Merry Halloween!
Ho, ho, ho…Merry Halloween!

We’re just a little bit excited for Halloween! More news and pictures next week!

All the Comforts of Fall

More fall crafts, fall comfort food baking, and overall good days. We enjoyed our first gathering around the fireplace a couple of nights ago. It was just the right amount of heat to take the edge off the chill in the air. It still isn’t cold enough to use our winter, pellet heat during the day. Fall is mild for now.

Today we glitter painted the fall leaves we gathered up a few days ago. Now we are trying to decide how to display them, what to do with them. We had a good time, and think that they turned out kind of pretty. What do you think? Here are several pictures of the gathering, painting, and scattering.

Morning sun...
Morning sun…
Gathering fallen leaves
Bella…triggered by the outside sounds, but gathering leaves and walking with mom.
Autumn leaves...
Autumn leaves…
Glitter painting autumn leaves...
Bella glitter painting the dried leaves…
Scattered autumn leaves
Glitter painted leaves, scattered and drying…

Bella has decided to enter a couple of coloring / art contests. Here is a picture she is submitting to Sylvanian Families. It is already a winner in my book! 🙂

Coloring Contest
Bella’s coloring contest picture!

We’ve been ambitious with our baking this week! We tried our hand at making apple turnovers! We did cheat and use pre-made, puff pastry, but I did it with a clear conscience. It is organic and much better than I could’ve made as an inexperienced pastry maker.

I made my own alterations to the recipe as I felt it asked for too much sugar. I cut the sugar in half, and it was still almost too sweet for us. The apples are very sweet all on their own. Next go round, I will simply sprinkle about a Tbsp. of sugar on the apples. I feel that will be enough sweet.

The turnovers turned out absolutely delicious! Next time, we plan to make the pastry dough from scratch. I’ve found a pretty good source for gluten free, puff pastry. If it turns out, I’ll share the recipe. Here are pictures of our baking adventure this week.

Fall Baking : Apple Turnovers
Bella staring down the apple. 🙂
Fall Baking : Apple Turnovers
All ready for the skillet!
Fall Baking : Apple Turnovers
2 Tbsp. of butter… in go the apple slices!
Fall Baking : Apple Turnovers
Cheat sheet! Bio (organic), puff pastry sheet!
Fall Baking : Apple Turnovers
The end result…delicious!

Bella is already listening to Christmas music, and making her Christmas list! She has made several Christmas cards, and some adorable Christmas pictures as well. Here’s an example.

Merry Christmas in October!
Merry Christmas in October!

I am sorry to say that our bats are still hanging around, but they are not exactly hanging where we intend them to be. So, …we cannot show you the end result today. That will be forwarded to next week’s blog.

Wishing you all the comforts of fall! See you again next week!

Sunshine through trees...
Sunshine through trees…

Bella’s First Time-Lapse Art Video

We’ve had a great week so far! And you? We’ve stayed very content with projects which we will share below. Bella is doing great with her homeschool studies. Our yoga has dwindled, but we will roll out the mats again this week. Bella continues to do the Macarena every chance she gets! :^)

Bella and I have done something extra special for you today. I recorded Bella drawing the bat you see in the featured image above, and created a time-lapse video! Woot! (Thank you Papa Christian for the suggestion). Here is the time-lapse video, set to the epic music of Bella’s step dad, Phil, featuring the voice of her mama (moi). Enjoy!

1st Time-Lapse Art Video – October, 2018 from Hippo on Vimeo.

Phil came home from the market with marshmallows a few days ago, and had a plan to help Bella with a little game / project of connecting marshmallows with spaghetti. Bella loved this! She was able to build quite a structure. When pieces broke, it was an easy fix with additional spaghetti sticks. Fun! 🙂 Here are a few pictures from this cool project.

Another highlight for Bella this week has been the traditional makings of homemade spiders, bats and other creepy things for Halloween. We’ll show you the final results next week, but for now, here is a quick snippet of Bella painting, and some pictures of our progress.

See you next week with more from the Hippobellamus camp! 🙂

Building Blocks

This week we built fall themed, silly story and sentence blocks to keep our homeschool, writing practice a bit more creative and fun. We built five separate boxes; 1 box each for adjectives, subjects, settings, nouns and verbs. Once the boxes are made, you roll each one, write down the words each box shows on the top after it lands, and then build a sentence, or story from the words. It is nonsensical and silly most of the time which provides a bit of thinking “outside the box” as to what would actually make sense.

Here is a video and a picture of Bella preparing the boxes.

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We’ve been enjoying some fall roses and other happy, yellow flowers from the garden. We know their days are numbered, and are cherishing their beauty.

Rose Close Up
Rose Close Up
Happy Yellow Flowers in the Garden
Happy Yellow Flowers in the Garden

We are simultaneously in a review time and a step forward time regarding math. This week Bella has been reviewing counting by 1’s, 2’s, 5’s, 10’s and 20’s, and is also continuing forward with her daily multiplication work sheets. She is doing very well with this, and is steady on with her daily reading, reading comprehension, and time ordering (..putting pictures in order based on the story she reads). This is in addition to the silly stories and sentences activity we’ve added for fall, which is primarily for learning sentence structure and practicing handwriting.

Here is Bella working on her math and language arts sheets.

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2, 4, 6, 8, ..who do we appreciate.
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Yay! I’m finished! 🙂

If this blog makes life on the spectrum and facilitating homeschool look easy peasy, please know it isn’t. It is a choice to focus on the good, without giving too much reality to difficult situations that arise. They roll in and they roll out as the clouds that roll by. I see Bella’s effort, her heart and baby steps of progress. Somehow, that is enough to keep me rolling forward, and ready to face each day, whatever comes.

It isn’t all about silly stories and fun, but it is about building blocks and keeping things interesting. It is also about staying open, curious and allowing creative answers to emerge from present moment awareness.

Rose
Rose

Room on the Broom

We have jumped the gun on our Halloween fun! How about you? 😉 Who can resist when there are so many wonderful books, arts and crafts and school themed units with the focus of fall/Halloween? Bella is so excited that she has already ordered her Halloween costume and some Halloween toys!

A few days ago, Bella and I discovered Room on the Broom, the book by Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler. We are both in love with the book! We love it so much that we bought it, and watched the movie on our ritual, Monday movie night. We highly recommend it! We also purchased a Room on the Broom speech therapy packet from one of our favorite stores/homeschool resources Teachers Pay Teachers. Even if you aren’t homeschooling your kids, Teachers Pay Teachers has a lot to offer in the way of supplemental materials.

As art is a big love for Bella and therefore a big focus for us within our homeschool curriculum, I offered Bella a simple print out of the Room on the Broom characters on Monday. I am blown away by her version! Check it out!

The Original:

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Bella’s Version:

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I love how Bella’s version emphasizes bright color, shading, the color for the background, and most of all, the lovely expressions on the faces. Kids on the spectrum (sorry to generalize) read expressions first, and hear words second, third or sometimes not at all. So, it makes sense that Bella puts attention on the facial expressions and movement of her characters.

The pictures below are all from our Monday art, watercoloring fun! Just look at the expression in the eyes of the little bat (..see the close up–2nd picture below).

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Even with our bumps in the road this past week, Bella has done well to complete her school work. Her handwriting is much improved from last year, and we are steady on with practicing. The other lovely thing to note is Bella’s continued improvement with the coloring she does on her school papers. Last year she would basically scribble out of the lines and not complete that part of her work. I’m very happy for Bella that for now she is finding joy in doing clean and complete work.

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What Hippobellamus blog post would be complete without the mention of Hotel Transylvania? 😉 Bella continues to love the movies and the characters, but, ..most of all, ..she loves the Macarena dance from Hotel Transylvania 3! She loves it so much that she learned it, and requests that we dance often! Check out her dance moves below!

And…last, but not least, a look at Bella’s capsule wardrobe for fall and the transition into winter. She’s got some nice things to add to this, which are on her Christmas list! All clothes are from one of my favorite clothing stores for children, Zara Kids France.

Bella's Fall_Winter Capsule Wardrobe 6 - purchased

Here’s to a beautiful fall, and to celebrating Halloween from now until November 1st! There’s certainly room on our broom for this!

Best wishes ❤

Note: I am not affiliated with the resources I’ve mentioned in this blog, nor do I receive money for making mention of them.

Three Steps Forward, Two Steps Back

As I mentioned last week, the change of season has been challenging for Bella. This week we’ve observed additional rough edges. The change of season has brought up past pain for  Bella to process, and therefore, additional energy and presence on the part of Phil and I to help her manage.

We are assisting Bella to review social stories that reinforce good breathing and relaxation techniques, we continue to do yoga each morning, and we continue to help Bella review her behavioral green choice vs. red choice list. Our Noodle Jar (I’ll be blogging about the Noodle Jar soon) hasn’t been needed for a while, but we’ve added that back into the mix as well.

After a few days of choppy waters, Bella is self regulating more smoothly today, and seems much happier. Way to go Bella!

Last night, she wanted to see Ferdinand. She has found it challenging to say the titles of books, movies and brands lately. So, ..we’ve made a deal with Bella. If she can say the title, she can watch the movie. Here is a short clip of her finally saying, “Let’s watch Ferdinand!” Woot!

It was a cute movie. Bella enjoyed it immensely, even without the sound.

–<3

Today, while Bella was finishing her sight word papers, I was sitting at the end of the table making curtains for her bedroom. Bella loves the little, multi-colored heart print. It’s a work in progress…we’ll be adding some pink touches, a bit of magic glitter sparkle here and there, and some loo roll unicorns per Bella’s request. I’ve suggested these, and Bella likes these.

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–<3

After tea party today (..a daily ritual here in France..ours is at 5:30pm), we walked down the path to the letter box. Bella has been less than excited to do so the past several days for the reasons I’ve explained above. However, she made it happen today. She did hold onto her headphones halfway down the path, but hey! She made it outside! We praised her for her effort.

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–<3

While Bella is needing additional support, I am staying centered and rested with meditation and morning walks before the day begins…

Until next week…Happy trails…<3