Tuesday, April 9, 2013

An Optimistic Story for the Pessimistic Mother

Once upon a time, not so long ago, it was summer. And with it came summer vacation. And it was hot. And mostly – there were 2 kids at home. And the kids were B-O-R-E-D. So mommy decided to try and find some activity that will last for more than a minute. And what do kids love? Bubbles, of course. The kids loved mommy's idea and played for almost half and hour. Mommy could drink her coffee quietly and was very very happy.


So here's how I did it – we took a big bowl and poured 1/2 cup dishwashing liquid .
bubbles tutorial

Then added 4 cups of water…
bubbles tutorial

And 1/4 cup glycerin.

bubbles tutorial

Btw, I've heard it should also work with corn syrup, but we never tried it. Anyhow, feel free to change the quantity of the ingredients a bit, if you feel it doesn't work quite well. And one more thing – we found out that the bubbles were better and stronger after the solution sat for a day in the refrigerator.

Then we took a thin wire and made hoops in different sizes. Your hoop can't be bigger than your bowl.
bubbles tutorial

Time to play…
bubbles tutorial

My girl liked the small hoops. The bubbles came out better with it.
bubbles tutorial

bubbles tutorial

I actually liked the big ones better…
bubbles tutorial

It's almost impossible to blow bubbles and take pictures at the same time…
bubbles tutorial

bubbles tutorial

The Day of Atonement

So I decided to write an apology for not being here in the last 2-3 months or so, and when I finished writing, I realized it's exactly the right time for apologizing, since it's the Jewish Day of Atonement, Yom Kippur. So after a long long absence, I'm back. It's not like I don't have an excuse for not writing. I do have. Lots of excuses. First – summer vacation. Well, I could stop here, I guess, but I'll continue anyway. So right when the vacation ended, when I could almost smell MY freedom, right then my mother fell. Nothing serious, just stumbled when walking, but my mom is very special, so she managed to break 2 bones in her ankle, then she had to stay at the hospital for one week, undergo a surgery and had a cast put on, that will stay for at least a month and a half. So we spent a week at the hospital, waiting for the surgery, and then a few more days at home, till she felt she can manage on her own. And after that we went for a family trip in Sweden. I know it sounds like a complaint, but it's not. Really. We had lots of fun, but it was another week in which I had to put my previous life on hold. But really, no complaints about Sweden. And I promise a Scandinavian post sometime. Then we came back home directly for Rosh Hashana (Jewish New Year), and my girl was sick for like 24 hours (the boy got it also 2 days later)…

And so just before Yom Kippur, I managed to find a few quiet moments. The kids are asleep, the house is clean, the dishes are in the dishwasher and the clean laundry is folded (well, truth is, it's not…But I'm waiting with it for tomorrow…).

I'm gonna try to bribe you to stay with me, even though I disappeared for such a long time, so here's a sneak peek for a few things I'll share with you shortly:

Upcycled onesies

upcycled onsies

Home Made Bubbles Tutorial

Home Made Bubbles Tutorial

Erase Board Tutorial

Erase Board Tutorial

Cardboard Cabinet

Cardboard Cabinet

The top part of this cabinet becomes a play kitchen for the kids (This is the Before picture, the after will be ready soon)

soon to be play kitchen

A Tutu Skirt

tutu skirt

OK, that's enough, right? I promise a real post soon!


Another selection from my virtual albums. This time it's all about nature. I love nature photographs and I love (virtually) browsing my nature photo albums.
The first 2 pictures I took in a very green and beautiful park in the middle of Shanghai. I think both are dragonflies, but I'm not sure about it...
This picture is also from the same park. I think it's a water lilly.

water lilly
And that's a Thai elephant, that we met in the middle of the road.

Fire can really hypnotize me, I can stare at it for hours!


And these 2 pictures were taken in our back yard. One morning, in the winter, a few months ago, we woke up to find the wall surrounding our house packed with snails. And when I say packed, I mean p-a-c-k-e-d. I think there were a few hundreds. It was crazy, I've never seen anything like it before. So I ran to get the camera, and these are 2 of my favorite pics from this morning.


Princes & Princesses Birthday Party

My boy had his 5th birthday. Well, actually not yet, but the celebrations have already started a month and a half before the official date, I guess that's what happens when you're born on summer vacation... Here's the cake I made for the party at his preschool

race track birthday cake

So he wanted to invite his friends to a party at our house and then added: but mommy, if we want the boys and the girls to have fun, why don't we make the boys princes and the girls princesses?

Short pause. Mom tries to quickly find an excuse to get away with it, then understands it impossible. Mom agrees and even says: "What a great idea!"

And that's how it all started. Before we begin, I'd like to apologize for the quality of the pictures - most of them were taken during the party, which was crazy, so they're either blurred or out of focus. Sorry about that (even the only picture I took of the cake came out blurred...)

So let's begin with the invitations. They were designed together with the birthday boy as a scroll with burned edges, tied with a red ribbon. But for some reason I don't have a picture of them...

We decorated our backyard with balloons, ribbons, tissue paper pom poms and 'royal' banners.

crown banners

When they arrived, each child got a red cape (although most of them didn't want to put them on...).


The main attraction was a castle I made from 3 cardboard boxes. The kids just loved it! Every single free second they had, they ran to play there.

cardboard castle for princes and princesses birthday party

While we waited for all the kids to arrive, we prepared a table with crayons and coloring pages. The table was actually empty most of the time, because the kids prefered the castle, but some did sit and color. Btw, the faces of some of the kids are hidden in order to protect their privacy.


Then we divided the kids into 5 groups. Each participated in a different activity, and we switched between the groups every 10 minutes or so. One activity was making a dragon out of an empty toilet paper roll. Here's the birthday boy working on his:

making a toilet paper roll dragon

And the dragons

toilet paper roll dragon

In another activity they decorated cookies in different shapes like crowns and dresses, that I made beforehand. We put icing, ganache and lots of colorful candies on the table.

Decorating cookies

Then we had a Kiss the Frog game.

kiss the frog

Another activity was to decortate crowns. They were supposed to make wands as well, but the crowns took a while to make, so the wands will wait for next year.

decorating crowns

But the most popular activity by far was a game that the swedish cousins had tought us - the kids got a fishing rod and tried to fish. They throw the rod over a wall, where my husband hid and connected different objects, like a shoe or a sock, to the rod. They kept on trying until they fished their prize. It was so hard to make them leave this activity - long live Sweden!

fishing game

After that we all played together Pass the Package. The prize was a treasure chest full with chocolate coins.

treasure chest

And of course we had a snacks table, with the traditional snacks, vegetables with Hummus, Tahini and cheese dip and flower shaped melon and watermelon (again no picture, but the I got the idea at Edible Crafts, a great website, btw!)

snacks table

The birthday boy asked for a castle cake.

castle cake

I also made cake pops, but it was a disaster - it was very hard to keep them on the stick... I made some cupcakes as well. Btw, the cupcake stand is a DIY one, I'll post about it later.


Oh, and Marshmallow dipped in chocolate and covered with candies

Marshmallow with chocolate and candies

Dinner included pizza and corn. At the end we also gave them little home-made mini popsicles, that I made in ice trays.

home-made mini popsicles

Each child got a favor bag with all the things they made plus a few small prizes.

favor bag

That's it! The birthday boy was excited and happy, which is obviously the most important thing, and we can rest at least till the litlle one's birthday.

We woudn't be able to arrange this party without the great help that we got from family and friends - so thank you all!

Piggies & Flowers

When I began crocheting, my favorites were crocheted flowers - they're relatively simple and quick. I emphasize the quick part, because I usually tend to begin projects and then finish them years later. But even someone like me can finish a crocheted flower in half an hour. So I made a crocheted necklace with a flower and also added a crocheted flower to a boring tank top, and then I began making more and more flowers. And more. Lots of them. Different colors, different styles and different sizes. At some point I even managed to crochet without a pattern and began improvising. And from these flowers I made headband, like this one, that was shipped all the way to Sweden, to my sister in law's daughter (my model refused to cooperate and handed me over this doll instead...).

crocheted flower headband

crocheted flower headband

crocheted flower headband

Then, at some point, I decided to try and crochet something a bit more complicated, so I googled and googled, and when I saw these sumo piggies, I immediately knew I want them. And I know, mine is not as pretty as the original one and I only had the patience to crochet one, but I love it so much! It's tiny (its height is approx 6-7 cm, with the hair!) and super cute.

crocheted sumo piggie

Anyway, I think I'm going back to crochet flowers...

Sand and Water

There are so many pictures hiding in folders on my computer, just waiting for me to do something with them. As much as I love digital cameras (and I do!), since we got one, I've been taking thousands of pictures, that now wait in thousands of folders in my computer. So I decided to let some of them free. That way, if they don't find themselves in albums anytime soon, at least they'll enjoy wandering around the virtual world.

walking on water