May 6, 2011

Happy Mother's Day!!! Enjoy every precious moment!






Ethan choosing the most interesting vegetables while shopping at a local Farmer's Market for a special dinner for Mom!





Happy Spring!! I'm wishing a very Happy Mother's Day to all the moms out there! Every time that I hug my little boy, snuggle with him and read a book, hear him say “Mommy I love you” and experience so many other beautiful moments reminds me of how precious life is…how precious children are…and I am truly grateful for this abundant source of my happiness.

Time goes by so fast. It feels like just yesterday, I was holding him in my arms just a few weeks old...anticipating each new day to watch him grow. Now at 5 1/2 years old, he still loves to sit on my lap but he's getting too heavy to pick up! It brought tears to my eyes when I said to him "Ethan...wow...you have grown so much! I think you are now too big for me to carry!" and he replied, "Don't worry Mama, I can still hold your hand!" So sweet!

I love celebrating Mother's Day with my little boy. It is a wonderful time for reflecting on all the wonderful moments I've had as a mom and for remembering to take time everyday to enjoy the precious things in life.

So, how do we spend Mother's Day? No big dinners/brunches at a fancy restaurant or elaborate gifts...just some simple time together. In fact, one of my favorite Mother's Day memories was sitting outside in our backyard...in our pajamas early Mother's Day morning...blowing bubbles when Ethan was 2 1/2. His idea as a gift for me! Loved it! When he was 3 1/2, we went on a wonderful hike in Vermont with a picnic lunch. And last year Ethan was so proud to cook a special dinner for his Mama (with help from Dad of course!). In addition to cooking, he happily set the table and gathered flowers from our yard for a little vase.

This year we are headed on our first camping trip (with a group of families from our local arboretum)! We'll learn how to pull in a seine net, cook dinner on the beach, go on a night hike, and get up early to watch the sun rise! It is certain to be tons of fun and filled with many precious moments!

Here is my wish for all of you: Savor each moment. Do something special together....go for a walk...draw a picture...play a game...read a book. It's all about the moments together: exploring, learning, loving, sharing. And I am absolutely the happiest Mom in the world! Sending lots of love to you and your family on Mother's Day!
xoxo,
Kim

Feb 13, 2011

Have a Heart! Making Recycled Valentine’s Day Cards

Approximately 1 billion cards are sent for Valentine’s Day worldwide. That’s a lot of paper! And a lot of paper means a lot of trees! So we’ve been trying in our house to cut down on how much new paper we purchase. When I received the note from school that the children n Ethan’s class would be exchanging Valentine’s Day cards, I dug into the boxes of old paper (old cards, notebooks, invitations, announcements, etc.) that I’ve saved to find something that could be used to make recycled Valentine’s Day cards. And I found baby themed thank you notes from when Ethan was born. Beautifully designed and printed by a dear friend’s daughter. We sent soooo many of these cards out and we still have some left. I have a few tucked into Ethan's baby book and found an extra 20 that were perfect for Ethan to use to make Valentine’s Day cards.

Ethan’s baby thank you notes:




















So I cut the cards in half and revised the note on the back to read “Original Recycled Design by Ethan Bloom”.

The back of Ethan’s recycled Valentine’s Day cards:

With paper in hand, Ethan was ready to create!

Ethan used Stockmar block crayons and eco-fingerpaints to decorate his recycled Valentine’s Card creations. He drew a heart in red crayon on the front of each of the cards using his crayons (I love the Stockmar crayons…they are made of beeswax, seem to last forever, are easy for little hands to hold, and the colors are lovely!).

Next, Ethan used eco-fingerpaint to paint each of the hearts.

Painting the first heart:




















Ethan chose the “beet” color (the small, dark tiny dots are from the handmade paper not the paint):



















I have to tell you that this set of fingerpaints is awesome. The paint is a powder paint handmade with flour, cornstarch, natural and organic fruit, plant and vegetable extracts from beets, spinach, paprika, carrots, purple sweet potato, red cabbage, blueberries and tomatoes. It comes in 5 individual jars. To activate the paint, you use a 1:1 ratio of water to powder. Each jar (when mixed with water) can make 30 ounces of paint. Can’t beat that! No dried out paints! The jars fit into an easy to store cylinder made of recycled post consumer cardboard. And these paints make the most beautiful natural colors. Ethan LOVED getting his fingers into this paint!

Cool Eco-Fingerpaints:





















Individual jar of powdered fingerpaint:



















Colors included in the Eco-fingerpaint Set:



















This is the first time Ethan has drawn hearts and the range of uniquely shaped hearts was adorable! (Kinda look like kidney beans don't they?)

Ethan’s Valentine’s Day Cards drying:






















After the fingerpaint dried, Ethan signed his name in red crayon on each of the cards.

Ethan’s signature:




















Don’t you just love how children write their names when they are first learning to write? The backwards letters, the extra lines on letters like “E”, running out of space, etc.

Here is one of my favorites, the “goes around” signature:



















And the sideways signature:



















We put each Valentine into an envelope and Ethan sealed it with a heart sticker!

Sealed with a heart:



















Ethan's completed recycled Valentine!!:



















I just love to see what Ethan can create and the enthusiasm that he has for making new things. And he is always so proud when he finishes a project! The Recycled Valentine’s Day cards were such a fun project and NO GUILT for buying more paper!

So, have a heart and save some trees by saving old cards, notebooks, and envelopes and transforming them into new creations!

Happy Valentine’s Day!!!

xoxo,
Kim

Dec 6, 2010

Baby's First Christmas

Ahhh....the joy of a first Christmas with a little one. The wide eyes filled with wonderment as they watch the twinkling Christmas tree lights and the little smile on their face as they hear the tinkling bells of ornaments and holiday songs... Every new experience with a new baby is wonderful, but there is something especially precious about a baby's first Christmas.

Here is a picture of Ethan with our little dog Kayla for his first Christmas:














It was so much fun that first Christmas to watch his face as he explored all the new sights and sounds in the world. To see those little arms and legs waving and kicking with excitement. To see him gaze into the face of each friend or family member as they held him for the first time. Ethan was just a few months old that first Christmas and what a wonderful time to share the joy of our new baby!

Our first Christmas with Ethan was wonderful...simple and beautiful. It was about time with family and friends...and time to explore new things together as a family...a special time as we began to establish our own family traditions. Our gift giving to Ethan was and still is simple...something beautifully crafted that will last for years. Some of my favorites: a lovely wooden rattle (now tucked away in a box for safekeeping), a special huggable bear (still snuggled at night), a handpainted wooden giraffe (still played with over and over again)...

Many of the items that you will find at RosieHippo.com are some of the favorite gifts that we chose for Ethan that first year...or were given to him by friends or family.

So, I hope you find something truly wonderful for the new baby and/or little one in your life...something they will treasure for years.

This little one loved the baby toys at Rosie Hippo:





















Sooooo cute! The baby tumbler and big rollie car are long time customer favorites!

Wishing you a holiday season filled with precious moments. Because it's really about the moments...

xoxo,
Kim
Happy as can be mom to now 5 year old Ethan

Nov 25, 2010

Have a Happy Thanksgiving with Your Little Pumpkin(s)!

Happy Thanksgiving! I hope you had a wonderful time with your family and friends --- and precious moments with your children.

Thanksgiving is always a time for our family to reflect (I just love going around the Thanksgiving table with each person sharing what they are thankful for!)

I am sooooo thankful for so many things. My family and friends. My life. And especially my dear little boy. So today I wanted to share with you a poem that I love and that seems so poignant as my 5 year old son Ethan is growing up so fast:

OUR CHILDREN by Nancy Wood

Our children are like flowers to us.
Each one different.
Each one beautiful.
Each one growing strong with us.

Our children are like stars to us.
Each one sparkles.
Each one moves through the universe.
Each one closer to the heart of us.

Our children are like life to us.
Each one precious.
Each one unpredictable.
Each one having to let go of us.

A favorite picture of Ethan at the pumpkin patch a few years ago. (I forgot my camera this year!) Check out that determination!:















He loved the little red wagons they had at the pumpkin patch! So I was thrilled to find an Amish-made red wooden wagon to add to RosieHippo.com!

Our "Rosie Red Wagon". It's a classic!!
















How many kids can you fit in a Rosie Red Wagon? How many toys? You decide! Available in 2 sizes at RosieHippo.com, 16" x 28" and 18" x 36".

So onward for some wonderful childhood adventures...like pumpkin picking...or hauling your puppy around the yard...or collecting rocks...or helping Mom pick up leaves...to name just a few ideas (yes, these are some of the ways Ethan likes to use his "Rosie Red Wagon"). Sigh....they grow up way too fast, don't they!?

My little pumpkin:















xoxo,
Kim

Nov 22, 2010

Treasured Through the Years: Doll Furniture






















40+ years ago. 2 little girls at Grandma and Grandpas for Christmas. Happy as can be and anxiously awaiting the moment they will be able to open their "special" shared present. They tear away the wrapping paper to find the most beautiful little wooden bunk beds for dolls. Wow!!! Thrilled, they run to find their matching dolls (only 2 years apart, they get lots of "matching" things to keep peace in the house). And they merrily play all day with their new treasure.

Do you remember those moments from your childhood? Well, I do. Especially the Christmas Day that I received the doll bunk beds. Those 2 little girls described above are me and my sister, Tammy (she's 2 years younger than me). And guess what? We still have those bunk beds. And they are --- even after years and years of play --- in great shape. They are now in my possession, since Tammy's daughters have grown past the days of enjoying doll play. Isn't it wonderful that the craftsmanship of some toys enables them to be enjoyed through generations?

So I must tell you that I was absolutely thrilled to find Amish made doll furniture to add to our Rosie Hippo inventory. Beautifully made, solid, sturdy, and lovely, our new doll furniture meets the important criteria of being products that can be enjoyed for generations.

Check out our new Doll Bunk Beds at RosieHippo.com! I just LOVE them!!
























Children love to play with dolls, to play house, to imitate their parents. One of my most touching parenting moments was watching Ethan comfort a doll, hugging it tightly saying "it's OK....you'll be OK...I'm here..." using words that I've used with him.

Pretend play with dolls is particularly important as it allows children to have complete control over a mini-world. Children can do all of the activities they observe parents do each day --- and try these activities out for themselves. This type of pretend play enables children to understand roles, relationships, and needs, as they explore and try to understand their place in the world.

When a new addition to the family is expected, utilizing dolls and doll furniture to prepare the older sibling can be particularly useful. Holding a doll and supporting it's head, speaking quietly, and putting the doll into a doll crib gently can be taught. And having their own "baby" and "baby doll furniture" when the new baby arrives provides an outlet for children to mimic their parents with the new baby....as well as to learn how they can help too!

Perfectly sized Crib for your baby's baby!

























Highchairs for pretend feeding time are available in white or harvest:

























And the tray swings up to easily enable a doll to be seated!

























There is nothing like watching a child explore the world and their place in it. And it is always endearing to see their "view". Ethan was playing yesterday using the crib as the bed for his Mr & Mrs. Mouse (stuffed animal) teachers and the school desks for the students (dolls and a bear) in his pretend sleepaway school. Hmmmm.....some imitating of his preschool with the teachers and students....and I think the sleepaway school concept comes from talking to my friend's daughter who is applying to boarding school...

The little School Desk Chair and the Lid Desk with Chair Set:






















I love this little Cradle. We had a baby-sized one that looked just like this from our great-grandparents that we used when Ethan was a baby!

























This little Canopy Bed is pretty enough for a princess!






















And what child wouldn't love a complete bedroom set that is perfectly doll-sized!






















This year more than ever, it seems like many parents are focusing on value and investing in things that endure. When this season's "hot" plastic toy is long forgotten, broken and discarded, wonderful wood toys will still be bringing more memories to the next generation. And we just love that!

Hope you love our doll furniture! It's absolutely adorable in person!

xoxo,
Kim

Nov 18, 2010

Peek! Our New Catalog is Here!

Our new catalog is here! And we've added lots of wonderful new items to our inventory. It's tough to say we have any favorites....because we love them all! And remember each item is individually hand-selected for its beauty, craftsmanship, quality, and value. I love my job!!!! So, here's a peek!!!! Click on each photo for specifics. And click here to view the entire catalog.

Don't forget:
Enjoy 20% OFF* every item in our new 2011 Catalog and on our website from now until Sunday, November 21, 2010 at midnight PT! Just enter the code RHFF20 at checkout.
*Kitchen furniture, oversized items and products that ship directly from the manufacturer excluded. Offer not valid on previous purchases. Void where prohibited.

Baby's First Blocks - I love the beauty of the wood and the soft edges of these blocks. And they are the perfect size for little hands to hold. What baby doesn't like to stack 'em up and knock 'em down?






















Sailing...sailing.... This sailboat is so beautiful!! And it floats! My son Ethan and I spent quite a few blissful hours sailing this little boat on a little pond in Vermont. And for cold winter days, it's great in the bathtub too!

















Cook up some fun! We have wonderful new options in kitchen play including this hutch! Beautifully designed and made by Amish craftsmen. I'd like one of these adult size in my kitchen!






















Sprinkle some fairy dust! I was thrilled to find beautiful fairy dress-up items (skirts, garlands, leotards, wings), made in the USA to add to RosieHippo.com. Incredibly well-priced, these outfits are just magical!






















Ahoy, Matey! These wool felt hats and eye patches (lined for comfort) make a fun pirate set for pretend play pirates!






















There's an artist in every child... I love this perfectly sized easel....the solid side panels make it incredibly sturdy!






















A snuggly best friend! Betsy the Bunny is made by Kathy Kruse in Germany. She is soft terry and as huggable as can be.






















The little things in life... Love, love, love our new doll furniture. Made to pass through generations!























So, take some time to browse our catalog....I hope you enjoy the view!

xoxo,
Kim

Nov 16, 2010

Announcing our New Catalog....and Lots of New Choices!


Yippee!! Our new catalog is complete. Finally. It is always soooo much fun finding new products and creating our new catalog...and always lots more work than I think it's going to be!

We have lots of great new products that I think you will love....we do! Products that are beautifully made...the highest quality...built to last...toys like we remember from our childhood.

My husband still has a toddler wagon filled with blocks and I still have my old doll furniture from our childhoods! Each are more than 40 years old, and they still look like new. (Watch future blogs for photos!) What wonderful memories they evoke and how great to be able to pass them through generations! Those are the kind of toys you'll find at Rosie Hippo!

This year, more than ever, I have been thinking about value. Not only because it's holiday shopping time and I own an online toy store, but because of my son Ethan and how much I want to give him things that last. And when I say things, I don't really mean just things...I mean memories and experiences and everything that goes into shaping a person who values who they are and what they have.

I am sure you are like me and have been inundated already with holiday shopping offers that focus on low prices, free this and free that. And I know how important price is these days, when money is so hard to come by, and so hard to hold on to for so many families. But I really wish we would also think about value and investing in things that last.

When I think about value, I am reminded of that Oscar Wilde quote about cynics: a person who knows the price of everything and the value of nothing. It is true that we do live in a cynical age, but there are things that endure and their value is beyond measure.

There are so many wonderful choices on the RosieHippo.com website...many beautiful new items...many long-time favorites...and right now we have over 200 toys that are under $25. Each are well-made, natural toys -- many handcrafted or made by caring manufacturers -- that will last well beyond the holiday season. These are the kinds of toys I like to give and get and I know I am not alone. We also have some new handcrafted play kitchens and doll furniture made by Amish artisans that are beautiful pieces that will truly last for generations, and I hope they find a home and provide a teachable moment about value to a child.

Here's a sneak peek:

























Because our Rosie Hippo friends and family are so special to us, we're providing you this special offer:

Enjoy 20% OFF almost* every item in our new 2011 Catalog and on our website from now until Sunday, November 21, 2010 at midnight PT! Just enter the code RHFF20 at checkout.

I hope you find something truly wonderful that will create lasting memories for your family!

xoxo,
Kim

*Kitchen furniture, oversized items and products that ship directly from the manufacturer excluded. Offer not valid on previous purchases. Void where prohibited.