Category Archives: Friends Count Series

What Makes a True Friend?

By Maricris Guadagna of Zensible Mama

The meaning of a true friend varies from person to person, depending on who you ask, but nothing holds truer than that finding a true friend is pretty much like finding a needle in a hay stack or where Aladdin is concerned, it’s like “finding the diamond in the rough.” It’s rare yet priceless and totally rewarding when you do find it!

I lost all my friends when I moved to the US. Finding a true friend in a foreign land, in a foreign culture was relatively challenging and likewise, overwhelming. No family around. Everyone was a stranger, except for my husband, thank God! Looking back at those days, I certainly felt like I was alone in an island.

But I did manage to find friends. And some of them possessed the quality of being true friends! And indeed, it was a blessing.

And what made them true friends?

  • There with you when you’re at your worst and lowest– This to me is the real essence of a true friend which also ties-in with a personal experience. Not too long ago, my family and I went through a terrible crisis and just when we thought the world have forsaken us, the friends we thought were our friends were not there for us. A couple actually came through for us and went out of their way to help us brave the storm we were caught in.
  • Accepts you for who you are – Nothing can be more rewarding when you are accepted for who you are, with all your flaws and imperfections, with open arms and without prejudice!  Being from another country, the greatest gift was to be accepted for being different but not treated as different!
  • Doesn’t want what you have – but rather supports you and is genuinely happy for you. This holds quite true for Oprah with her friendship with Gayle King where she described her as “somebody who cares for her and only wants the best for her”. Especially with her fame, she was not after her fame but rather there supporting her, next to her and rejoicing with her.
  • Respects what you believe in – We all have differing opinions and religions or even the lack thereof. A true friend respects without judging but rather understands and continuously nurtures the friendship. I’m blessed to have friends who are respectful this way.
  • Shows you the world like nobody can – I remember when I was in high school and my best friend at that time took me where she lives and took me to her family’s fishpond out in the country. She taught me how to fish, what life is like in her world and what it’s like to live in a hut next to a fishpond. It was a different world compared to mine. I’ve always lived in the city all my life and that was a wonderful adventure to me!

And here is what a TRUE FRIEND means to others:

Somebody who can tell you when you have spinach in your teeth, both literally and figuratively, and still love you.  - Cindy Dyer,  Get Along Home

Someone that you can care about enough to listen and love but that listens and loves in return. Someone who can celebrate your highs and lows without jealousy or bitterness. Someone that neither distance nor time, distance you from. – Amy Barseghian, From One Mommy to Another

A true friend is a person who sees past your bad moments because they appreciate your good moments. A true friend loves you no matter what. – Di Harrison, Artist, Charlotte NC

A person who is there for you through the good times and the rough ones & a person who always believes in you and your integrity. – Jennifer Leal, Savoring The Thyme

A true friend will tell you when your butt looks too big when you ask, on the flip side, a true friend will look at their friend and hug them for telling the truth. – Tina Kelley, Mad Hatter Mom

A true friend does not judge you, rather they support you & will never lie to you. They are there for the good times and the bad ones. And most importantly they get your twisted sense of humor. – Shana Dieli, Shana Mama

Tell me, what makes a true friend to you?


Friendship Day

By Brandy Walleshauser of No Time Mommy

Friendship Day is August 5th, so make sure you plan a special adventure with your BFF.

Growing up I never really had too many friends. We moved around a lot so I had many long distance friends. It never really seemed to bother me, I had my pets. LOL!

Now that I am a mother, things are different. I am constantly meeting with other moms and getting our kids together for playdates while we chat. I want my kids to know how good it feels to have a true friend by their side.

I have told my kids that a true friend is someone who is there for you no matter what and never talks bad about you to others. It can be hard to find, but it’s out there.

A best friend can even be a sibling.

I always tell my kids that friends are a big part of life, especially when you are little. They make you laugh and smile! My 7 year old says a friend is, “Someone who is nice to you and you know them really good.”

School just got out and my kids found out who their teachers are for next year already. They were upset that some of their friends will not be in class with them next year. I tell them that there will be new friends in your class and all you have to do is say hi to get a conversation started. I also told them just because your friend is not in your class, doesn’t mean you won’t see them at recess, lunch etc.

You can have friends all over; you don’t need to see them every day.

What will you be doing on Friendship Day?


Send a Smile with Red Stamp

By Caitlin Noblitt, Social Media Intern

Today is your best friend’s birthday and you’re scrambling to the nearest store to get her a card full of well wishes just in time for the celebration. You scour through the endless rows of cards and quickly pick one that seems to be about right. You hand over five dollars for a card you hope she will like.

Continue reading


We have Huggable Heroes in our midst!

Molly Saunders – Digital Bear

For the nine years Build-A-Bear Workshop has honored amazing young people doing incredible work in our worldwide community. Through the years more than 100 kids have been named official Build-A-Bear Workshop Huggable Heroes. These heroes have collectively raised millions of dollars and have donated thousands of hours of community service to help make our world a better place.

This year we are celebrating 15 youth from the United States and Canada for making an amazing difFURence! They have raised nearly $1.4 million to support worthy causes such as homelessness and poverty, bullying, literacy, health issues and recycling. Below are some photos from the service art project our Huggable Heroes created in Memphis, Tenn. at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.

Collage of St. Jude photos from the Huggable Heroes service art project


The Traveling Smallfrys™

By Maricris of Zensible Mama


Traveling is probably my family’s best skill, if it’s a skill at all. We can pack a mean luggage at any given time and just go! Frequent traveling will do that to you. It also sharpens your ability to pack right and to bring only what is sensible and easy to carry.  The key is to travel light but not deprived.

This holds true when you’re traveling with your child(ren) like we do. And with children come toys! Not just toys but their favorite toys. And oh boy! Some of them can be big. Fortunately, my daughter prefers to bring her Build-A-Bear animals when she travels, which sometimes double as her “travel pillow”. The only problem with it, is that sometimes because they’re large, she can’t really hold on to them well when she’s dragging her own luggage and there have been instances where she drops them or the worst, almost lost some of them in one of our plane trips.

Thank goodness though, and I do mean real goodness, for Build-A-Bear Workshops’ cute and adorable smallfrys™. They’re small, yet not lacking in the cute factor and travel really well. I can easily stuff them in my shoulder or carry-on bags and they’re great for small hands to hold on to when we’re on the go, on the road, or trying to catch our next plane!

In our recent travel to the beach, we opted to bring only our army, yes army, of smallfrys with us. All four of them, including Pedro, my very own little monkey doo. The great thing about having just them in this trip was that my daughter can easily stuff them in our beach bag and transport them on to the beach. And because they’re small, they’re easily manageable, they don’t take up that much space and it was relatively safe from getting too much sand in the process!

Though my favorite thing was that because the smallfrys are small enough, they fit perfectly in either my hubby’s pocket or my daughter’s to keep them safe when her little hands are busy checking out souvenir items at the shops at the beach.

But I think the best thing about the smallfrys is that we were able to bring all our favorite animal collections but in its smaller versions, creating less hassle because we didn’t have to pack a bulky bag to accommodate them. They’re perfectly-sized and my daughter was happy to have them and was surrounded by them each night while she slept! Now that is what you call perfect complement to a wonderful vacation!

Personal note:

Now, it’s needless to say, that during this trip we detoured, like we always do at every place we go to, at a Build-A-Bear Workshop store in Myrtle Beach and my daughter ended up going home with a store-exclusive animal, the Stingray, as part of her excellent academic achievement rewards and eyed the Lime Leopard smallfrys that she might just get soon enough to add to our growing collections.

And I tell you, the new smallfrys collections are all so adorable, it’s so hard not to get your hands on one of them if not all. They’re great “mini-me” version of your favorite regular-sized Build-A-Bear animals, just ask my daughter…


Play in Camp Happy Heart!

By Caitlin Noblitt, Social Media Intern

Welcome to the world’s biggest summer camp! Hangout, play games, win prizes, and make new friends all from your computer. Staying indoors to beat the heat? Camp Happy Heart is the perfect place to experience summer fun while staying cool!

So how do you go about signing up and joining in on the fun? If you already have an avatar in Bearville, just look for the Camp Happy Heart tent on your map. Players can easily create an avatar on the Bearville home page if they do not have an account.

Campers are randomly placed on teams and can begin playing activities and sports to earn points for their team. You ‘ll even get a team t-shirt & emoticon for your avatar just for signing up! This summer the teams are led by four furbulous counselors: ChloeRocks, GreenTracks, AbbieBright, and MiguelSunshine.

Want more details? Here’s a few to get you started:

- Camp Happy Heart celebrates its 5th annibearsary this summer.
- We take online safety very seriously. We’re dedicated to making all of Bearville a safe environment in which to play!
- Almost 500,000 kids participated in Camp Happy Heart last year.
- Camp is FREE to join & play.

Camp won’t last forever! Sign up and earn points for your team now until July 31st. Are you a first time camper? Be sure to sign in everyday to see what’s new, take on our daily challenges and make new friends.

And don’t furget, if you’re going camping in the great outdoors this summer, use our Happy Camper Checklist to make sure you’re bringing the bare necessities. Whether you’re attending virtual camp or you’re exploring the wilderness, have fun!


Summer Picnic Games

By Tara Ziegmont of Feels Like Home

Summer picnic season is well underway. If you’re going to a picnic or hosting your own, it’s always a good idea to have some games planned for the smaller picnic goers.

Here are the games I organized for my church’s recent picnic. These games were great because the older kids (as old as 13-14) were able to play with the younger ones (as young as 3-4), and everyone had a great time.

  • Water balloon dodgeball – Each child starts with one water balloon. When you get hit with a water balloon, you have to sit down and you’re out of the game. After you’ve thrown your water balloon, you may come back to the bucket and get a new balloon and throw it at someone else. For a group of 14 kids, we used about 60 water balloons in this game. You could also play this game with squirt guns, if you didn’t want to fill all those water balloons.
  • Sponge relay race – Divide the kids into teams of 5-6. Each team needs a big dishpan full of water, a sponge, and a jar or wide mouth container. The dishpans should be at the far end of the area, around 20 feet away from the teams, and the jars should be next to the team. Each child will soak the sponge in the dishpan, keeping as much water as possible in the sponge, then run back to the jar and squeeze the sponge into it. The first team to fill their jar til it’s overflowing is the winner. (This game works best with really big sponges and smallish jars.)
  • Limbo – All you need for this one is a stick. Have two adults hold the limbo bar as all of the kids pass underneath. If anyone falls, touches the ground with their hands or arms, or touches the bar, they’re out. The last kid to successfully pass under the bar is the winner.
  • Tug of war – We used the same teams as we had for the relay race earlier. Tie a knot in the center of the rope, and mark a space about 10 feet apart as the neutral zone. The team that wins is the first to pull the knot over to their own side. Encourage the kids to tie handles into the rope to make it easier to hold on to, and help the little ones to do it.
  • Bubbles and water play – After the organized games were over, I put out bubbles, bocce ball, bean bags, and dishpans full of water with the sponges. The kids had fun making up their own games, blowing bubbles, and playing.

What are your favorite picnic games?


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