Tuesday, September 29, 2015

15+ Fantasy Series to Read | Life after Harry Potter

Life After Harry Potter

I love this list of 10 new fantasy series to read after you finish Harry Potter.  I have a few more to add to the list that we loved -

The Chronicles of Narnia

We bought the audio book set on CD for Christmas one year, since we both loved reading them growing up.  We must have listened to the books at least half a dozen times.  We spend a lot of time in the car (even more before we moved), so they really helped fill the time.  It was a wonderful introduction to the worlds of magic and whimsy.  The racism is pretty blatant though, especially in the last book so we skipped that one pretty often.  I tried explaining that being dark doesn't make a person inherently evil but it was definitely confusing for them.

Lord of the Rings and the Hobbit. 

We listened to these with our kids too.  It really made me realize how the movies are much more violent than the books. It was a fun world to get immersed in.

The Princess Bride 

Not a series, but it was so fun to listen to this book.  I grew up with the movie and the book is just as entertaining if not more.  We watched the movie together after listening to this and the kids were transfixed.  They assigned all of their friends characters and staged plays for days.

Lemony Snickets and a Series of Unfortunate Events

Ryan is reading this with Avinash and Nandini in the evening.  They really laugh about it and have quite a few inside jokes from it.  Avinash is constantly looking for hidden meanings in the books but has yet to really find any, heehee.

The Giver

We loved the first book (a lot better than the movie, if you saw that).  The next book was terrible, as were most of the remaining two but we listened to all of them to find out what happened. She shifted worlds from the first book and then tried to integrate different stories and was not very successful.   The beginning of the third was back in the original world and that part I really enjoyed.

The Magicians

A group of college kids learning magic (as opposed to middle schoolers).  It is much darker and not for kids, but is an interesting read for adults.  Especially if you liked the Chronicles of Narnia.  We have listened to and read that series many times so we look it with a more critical eye.  It was interesting to hear this more adult take on it.

Any other good series to read on your list?

(Affiliate links included.  I also highly recommend checking these books out from the library.  Amazon is good too if you want to keep them in your collection.)

Monday, September 28, 2015

In my active wear.

This is my life now. I think I snorted at the line "doing literally nothing in my active wear".

I totally used to mock all those moms who wore sexy work out clothes everywhere.

Not that my outfits were anything spectacular but I always felt like I stuck out like a sore thumb at preschool pick up. Though I highly doubt that a lack of yoga pants was all that was keeping me from fitting in.

Now that I have three kids (and the body to prove it) wearing real clothes feels like something that should come with a trigger warning.

In fact, it totally does.

The only bit of advice from the post-partum depression pamphlet that I remember is to not try on my pre-pregnancy jeans after coming home.

That advice served me well. I wore my maternity jeans for a solid year after Lakshman was born. Sorry, my doctor is making me wear this elastic waist band.

This summer I started working out again in earnest. Well, not really again. I joined this awesome lifting group. We lift weights three times a week. During school or after school or whatever works in between doctor appointments, therapy sessions, karate, dance classes and on and on and on.

So yeah, there isn't a lot of time to run home and change. I even caved and bought some real active wear.

And, I feel like I'm learning so much.

It's a lot of very form fitting tops and neon colors.  

Because it is vital that every single one of your acquaintances be aware of that fact that you are going to the gym. Or have already been to the gym. Or might be planning on going to the gym within.

Now I'm the mom in active wear.   Showing off my baby in my active wear.  Yeah! 

Sunday, September 27, 2015

Cocoa Daisy Memento Kit Sneaks

This month Cocoa Daisy has really put together a fabulous kit!

It is full of yummy animals, especially these cute foxes, florals, arrows, and brush script.  The new Crate Paper Wonder and Pink Paislee Cedar Lane feature heavily - which is awesome because I get to cross those two lines off my list now.  Score! It works really for fall, pumpkin patch, Halloween and school projects but I have done a lot of non-themed pages as well.

The stamps are really great this month too.  I got the DITL kit stamp which features designs my Valerie Wibbens.  I love how whimsical and magical her designs always feel.

The Fall issue of Scrapbook and Cards Today will again be offered for FREE when you purchase an additional $25 in products (beyond your regular subscriptions). This gorgeous edition is packed with beautiful artwork and lots on inspiring ideas!  It has been a long time since I got a real scrapbooking magazine and it felt pretty good to sit and look through it.  There is so much fun inspiration, I especially the regular feature from Ali Edwards in there.

This little fox just makes me so happy.  I really like how much fun it is to layer with the printed transparencies.

This moon is so adorable, I had to use it for a page about the baby.  All of my kids loved this WRMK Wildflower city scene paper.  I normally have trouble with big scene papers like this, but I had so much fun working this one.

I did one more project with Nandini and these adorable Crate Paper critters, this time the cat.  Because she is our little kitten of course.

Also, last but not least, Cocoa Daisy is celebrating FIVE YEARS in business.

We want to celebrate this milestone with you! To get your new* Scrapbook orDay in the Life subscription for only $5 + shipping for the first month (regular price thereafter), enter the appropriate code at checkout. 
For the main Scrapbook kit, use the coupon code 5YEARSMAIN and for the Day in the Life pocket scrapbook kit use 5YEARSDITL. This offer is good now through midnight Eastern on the 30th of September, and then it's over. 
The offer is only available by credit card. We were unable to set up this promotion via Paypal payment therefore these promo codes are only valid on new subscriptions set up via Credit Card payment. We apologize for any inconvenience. Please read on for more important details!

*Not valid on renewals, previously purchased subscriptions, 3-month subscriptions or planner subscriptions. Only valid for new credit card subscriptions. Daisy Points cannot be redeemed on the purchase; subscription will not be processed if Daisy Points are applied. First month at $5. Subsequent months will be billed at the regular subscription rate. Early cancellations will be subject to a cancellation fee of $35 for the DITL kit and $40 for the Scrapbook kit, which is equal to our standard cancellation fee of $15 plus amount of discount. Must enter discount code at checkout. Refunds cannot be issued for misused or non-entered codes. 

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Week in the Life Album | Cover + Monday Pages

I have so many projects that I make for me.  Many started and not all finished (especially mini books), and even less blogged.  

I got off to a slow start with this album, it was so hard to find time!  But I put a lot of effort into photo taking and then recording the stories so I really wanted to get them printed.  I am so glad I at least had the journaling done through daily blog posts at the time while it was still fresh.  

Then Lakshman started attending school two mornings a week, I suddenly find myself with an embarrassment of riches in free time to scrapbook.  Well, not counting the first day which I spent reading the Martian and eating fried potatoes.  Laundry is more of a family activity anyway. 

I have loved seeing Ali Edward's pages go up.  I am working with her kit from last year (which I bought on discount, woo hoo!) and my stash.   I have a few handbook sized albums and ended up choosing a red one. 

 I love the fabric badge from last year's kit.  Plus it reminds me a girl scout patch, which I always felt like I was way behind on as a kid.  One can never have too many after all.

 I added the word art brush from a Craft the Story kit a few months back (the Magic kit, obvi).  One of my favorite kits, and I ended up using the digital kit a ton on different projects, like a kindergarten yearbook for Avi.

The gold arrows are another Craft the Story kit item.  I like that the see through nature is inviting you to see more and look forward.  

Something I loved about last year's kit too were these chipboard numbers.  Planning to repeat this look ever day.

I pulled the journaling from my Monday blog post and used photoshop to add text to the photographs.

I almost always added a little word strip or sticker or label to the text.

Stickers + stamping here.  I love when geotags look delicate like these cork ones do.

I was very low on page protectors at this point and was searching for different materials.  I punched holes in the Story Kit envelope and added some big glittery title stickers.

 No words, just pictures.

I like the vibrant photo next to a black&white photo.  

I lifted this label up on some pop dots.  It adds nice dimension but it's alot less bulky than flair so I don't have to be careful about it.  Last year's album doesn't really close because I put in way too much flair (7 pieces).  It looks pretty though.

I am working through the rest of the week. Stay tuned for Tuesday and Wednesday soon!

You can see all of my Week in the Life posts here.

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Lakshman at 19 months

Lakshman !!!  He is nineteen months old already.  So much has happened in the last month.

He started school.  He is the youngest, not just in your class, but in the whole school.   He really didn't hesitate to go at all though, except he hated wearing the backpack on the first day.

He has such a fun time there, he now comes home completely exhausted and usually takes two naps on school days (it's only twice a week).

We dressed you up as Krishna for a costume contest at Janmashtami.  He hated the jewelry all over him, but he couldn't wait to get on the stage.  He totally cried when he had to get off and kept trying to climb back on.  

Even though he loved meeting Mickey Mouse, he was totally terrified of the talking Yoda doll we bought from Target.   Is it bad that we find it so cute we had to film it? 

We have been trying a lot of different things to help him gain weight too.  He had a GI biopsy, which was basically like a mini-surgery for which he behaved like a champ.  The surgeon carried him to the OR, luckily he is a very sweet doctor.  We found out a little more about why he isn't gaining weight.  They found eosinophilic esophagitis, which explains a lot about his reflux and constant throwing up.  
We took him off dairy and pediasure.  The doctors told us over and over that I should stop breastfeeding.  A few months ago, we were getting by with yogurt pouches for his calories but he totally quit taking those and we switched back to pediasure.  He had a tough time with it while on the NG tube, but he seemed alright with it via bottle.  He was throwing up but less.  

When we took him off of pediasure, his vomiting almost completely disappeared.  He started taking elecare, which is supposed to help EoE kids.  A friend told me that it contained aspartame, so we switched him to Neocate.  It comes in more flavors too, which is good.  

We had been using duocal as a calorie booster, but these days we have been using nesquick powder instead.  It turns out it is dairy free, has the same calories, better flavor and a little more vitamins in it.  
Lately we have also been adding a little PB2 powder to his bottles.  It does get a little gritty, but it adds a lot of protein.  I want to see if a more natural form of protein does better for him weight gain wise than formula.  He has been stuck at around 17 pounds all summer.  

Today I weighed him though and he was back to 18 pounds! The last time he weighed that much was back in June when we took him to Disney World.  I almost thought we should move there.  

We switched from OT to speech therapy.  He still has sensory issues, but he had stopped making progress with OT.  The speech therapist has really helped him learn how to chew.  It sounds funny, but he really could never that before.  For the longest time he only sucked on his food until it was soft enough to swallow.  Now is chewing is much better, but I am pretty sure his swallowing is still off.  He will bite into apples, chew up the pieces and then take it out of his both so he doesn't have to swallow.  

I get frustrated, but the therapist reminded me that it is a long process and doesn't always follow a straight line.  She also told me that I don't know it because I'm his mother, but that he is objectively really cute.  

He so is!  He is adorable and sweet.  He is also at a great age. Ryan said something that really changed how down I was feeling.  He said that we should just quit worrying, slow down and enjoy this age.

Oh my gosh.  I needed to hear that so badly.  I still worry and I still stress.  But I give myself a break whenever I need it.  And, try to sit back and just be

He is such a great little guy.  I still get sad that he may not be eating cake by his second birthday either, but at least we have hope!  

A couple of things that have helped us so far : 
  • switching GI doctors, our first wasn't working out and now his care is much better
  • joining a facebook support group, I have learned so much from there about medications and different diets to try
  • reaching out to friends who have gone through the food allergy issue, it really helps to not feel alone
  • staying positive, this is a long journey and being relaxed helps
  • not being afraid to take a step back, even though being back on the bottle is a regression it is a lot better than the NG tube
  • celebrating little victories, it is very discouraging to keep putting food out for someone who doesn't eat but every once in a while he adds another food to his repertoire. That's how it starts.

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Cocoa Daisy Reveal | Daydream Kit

The Cocoa Daisy September kit is here and it is a fun one!  It has a lot of primary colors which makes it a nice transition to fall and very versatile.  I love all the new Pink Fresh Studio pieces in it, like the rubber charms and triangle die cuts.  

I got the Main Kit, DITL and BYAO embellishments this month. 

Project Life Pages | I love the cards this month.  I made two spreads with them so far and had plenty left over for layouts.  I love the dimension that the rubber tags give to the spread.  

I used the main kit sticker sheet here.  Love being able to mix and match with different fonts, having it all on one sheet made it easy to do. 

Sweet & Lovely | Probably my favorite layout for the month.  I ordered this enlargement from Persnickety Prints in a 9x12 size.  I just cut down some patterned paper to the same size and printed my journaling on it.

I love all the ribbon in this photo and decided to double down and add even more to string the tags on to.  Love the way it turned out.

How awesome are those black Pink Fresh Studio title stickers by the way?

Choose Joy | I have so many pictures from our trip to Disney World at the beginning of summer, I really want to start making a dent in the stack!  This is a favorite photo place for me, the tea cups!  

This paper was so fabulous.  I used half of it on the layout and butchered the other half for parts, ha!  I used pop dots to add the confetti back on the page and add a little depth.  I cut up several of my favorite quote cards from the DITL kit.

The September kits are now live and available for purchase, so head over to the shop and check out the Daydream Kit

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Back to School| First Grade

Avinash started First Grade this week.  (And graduating from high school in another blink.)

We were prepped.  A school tour in the spring to see the chicken coop and classrooms (in that order). New clothes were bought on sale (at Tea Collection!) earlier in the summer. We bought new shoes weeks ago from H&M.  A tiffin lunchbox from the Indian store, hoping to cut down on plastic bags and tupperware to pack food in.  A muffin breakfast the week before to meet the teacher.  A new haircut and new Star Wars backpack purchased the weekend before.   

We planned to take pictures and I set up the chalkboard the night before, but we ended up barely getting ready to make it to school before the second bell rang.

 I walked him in to the cafeteria.  His friend had saved him a seat, but he was so nervous about sitting down.  Unsure if he was in the right place or not even though I stayed right beside him.  I'm glad we live in the age we do because there were several other moms there who wouldn't put their cameras down either.

I walked with them the whole back to his classroom.  His teacher very graciously invited me inside to stay as long as I wanted.

First thing, he very proudly told his teacher about how much he the glitter she gave him helped him sleep the night before.  The second was opening a new pack of crayons.  

Fresh pencils are the best thing.

 I had to get at least one picture with him!

After school I brought some poppers with me for a surprise because confetti makes everything awesome.

 Had a lot more time in the afternoon to set up some photos by the front door.

We continued the poppers at home.  Lakshman loves them just as much as they do, especially those little bundled ones that you throw on the ground.

Avinash came bursting out of school with a big grin and on the lookout for his friends in other classes.  He eagerly told me all about the friends he had so far (four), his lunch (cheese ravioli with a cookie and chocolate milk) and his favorite class (art).   I made a little video too because it is so easy to forget these little details. 

On the second day everything was back to normal, ha! 
  • Avinash wore the same pants and I didn't say anything.   (I totally didn't realize until the afternoon.)
  • There was no mention of breakfast, let alone fried eggs.   
  • At pickup, instead of getting out of the car, I used the carpool lane which was suddenly empty.  Good thing too because I had house only sweats on.  
  • No pictures and no confetti, but he was still excited to tell me about his day (as long as I wouldn't make him talk too long so he could go back to listening to Harry Potter on tape.)

Next week the younger two start pre-school.  Lakshman for the first time!  We are so excited.



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