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



The best way to say it is to show it. 🙂 Here’s a short clip that tells the story of our now, and a few snippets of our Valentine’s Day cooking fun!

In other news, Bella learned how to whistle last week (..note the first sequence in the video clip), and is building her repertoire of songs. 😉

Life is pretty much a song at the moment and we are humming along!

See you next week! x

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! 🙂

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.


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.




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.




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

Paper Roses

Hello again…we have been busy as usual. There is a definite buzz in the air with back to school everything, everywhere! Grateful to be homeschooling Bella which puts us in a different rhythm. Even still, Bella has been a bit more triggered this week. I observe that she is super sensitive to the change of seasons. All of her sensitivities are heightened right now. Observing this, we have made yoga a top priority. We now start our school day with Rodney Yee’s a.m. yoga and we’ve tried his beginner yoga class as well. Gaia is an amazing resource for us (…thank you aunt Donna for this beautiful gift to us). We have lots and lots of yoga teachers to choose from.

Yoga seems to take the edge off Bella’s anxiety. We’ll keep on with it and see how things evolve. Here is a picture of Bella and I doing yoga yesterday in our pj’s!

Hippobellamus blog picture - Bella and Mommy do yoga!
Bella and Mommy do a.m. yoga!

We decided to change things up a bit this week with our Monday watercolor painting. We painted white paper towels with watercolor paint and took on the challenge of making paper roses. We found this lovely idea here if you want to try it with your kids.

I’ve posted a little slide show below so that you can see each phase of this paper towel, rose making adventure! It took two days to complete these cute paper roses, but they really turned out great! Bella decided to put the roses on the desk in her bedroom. Nice bits of playful color to cheer things up during the fall and winter months.

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All else is reading, math, writing practice, types of sentences (a unit we just finished today), sight words, spelling, speech therapy, and French lessons. Our plates runneth over. Still, we’re taking time to smell the roses.

The Potpourri of Life

We’ve been up to our usual and enjoying each moment to the fullest. The weather is finally cooling down a bit, and there is a hint of fall in the air.

The pictures below are from Bella’s Monday art focus. She is learning to follow directions using four step drawing techniques and is learning a little bit of French at the same time.

And here is Bella’s watercolor painting from Monday.

The picture hanging on our kitchen wall (..pictured below) is Bella’s “It’s a Small World” collage from her social studies focus last year. At the end of November this year, we are going to do a social studies unit called, “Christmas Around the World.” Bella is very excited about this. We will also be studying the diversity of celebrations around the world from various religions and cultures.

These cookies are truly as good as they look, and they are made with nut butter (peanut or almond), a bit of organic, cane sugar, salt and one egg. We add organic, chocolate, hazlenut spread (clean version of nutella) to the middle for extra yum. This was a nice treat for all of us on Sunday.

All summer long we gathered flowers as they fell off their stems. Now we have an enormous pile of beautiful petals, leaves, and stems. Bella has helped me a bit with the potpourri, and has especially loved helping me with the blending of essential oils. Her favorite blend is orange, cinnamon, clove, ginger. It is definitely my favorite blend for Christmas.

We’ve finished most of the jars of potpourri, and we are contemplating another large batch with the bounty of hydrangea bushes we have. We’ll have plenty to share as Christmas gifts this year, that is for sure.

We have used the lavender we harvested in July as the fixative for the potourri. Bella wasn’t very interested in crumbling the lavender off its stems. I did that part alone. However, she did love the smell of the freshly removed lavender. It is a plant we use often here at home.

Bella built herself a boat last Saturday. A Lego boat to be exact. She has loved the movie Moana, and requested the Moana and Maui lego set. She’s had a challenge to say the titles of movies and books lately. I told her that if she could say the title of the movie and the brand, Lego we could buy the set. She was able to say the titles, and is doing well to practice each day.

Autism is truly a puzzle. We observe how the pieces connect and disconnect. Doing our best to help Bella reconnect the pieces as needed. Staying in a place of acceptance helps immensely. The unpredictable nature of autism asks for predictability for children who experience autism, and the autism asks for as much flexibility as possible from the parents and caregivers. In remaining as fluid as possible with each situation, we are practicing what we hope Bella will ultimately achieve; flexibility.

And finally, here are a few pictures from our latest movie adventure.

Wishing everyone happiness, love and joy always.

Seaside Vibes

As usual, Bella has been drawing up a storm. However, I observe that her attention to detail is more and more refined. Her handwriting is markedly better and her designs and coloring are more precise.

This attention to detail shows up in her school work, the way she looks after her toys and keeps her room clean as well. She makes her bed each day and organizes her belongings. It is wonderful to watch her growing joy and self confidence in doing these things all by herself, and without any ABA rewards or reinforcements. She is purely doing from a place of being. Anyone who understands autism may get how big of a deal this is. Bella is learning to do things because they make her feel happy in her heart.

Bella’s dad and his wife celebrated their union and marriage recently, which was a lovely energy to participate in. Bella was present for a call from their seaside celebration and then drew some cute pictures to celebrate this special occasion. Here is one that she drew last Saturday.

In closing, here are Bella’s watercolor paintings from last Monday, and a picture of Bella during school this week. She is doing great!

Side Note: I am a believer in whatever works, or shows positive results for your specific child and situation. Both ABA and OT based approaches can be important. Here are a few links for your consideration: ABA: https://www.autismspeaks.org/what-autism/treatment/applied-behavior-analysis-aba, ABA and OT: http://blog.reliasacademy.com/aba-and-occupational-therapy-synergy-for-autism-interventions/ and OT: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Occupational_therapy