Sunday, September 28, 2014

Watermelon Birthday Party

I cannot believe it's been a whole month since my little pumpkin's birthday! Time just flies when you are having fun, right? So, better late than never, here is my little girl's 8th birthday party.

Ellie 8th Birthday (20 of 129)

As always, she had a very creative idea for a party- a watermelon theme! 
Ellie 8th Birthday pre (2 of 7)

Everything had to be with watermelon. Even the invites. 
Ellie 8th Birthday pre (3 of 7)

Check out that watermelon gum! :-)
Ellie 8th Birthday pre (4 of 7)

Yes, that is watermelon flavored Honest kids juice.
Ellie 8th Birthday pre (5 of 7)
The stickers and bags were also very cute. 
Ellie 8th Birthday pre (6 of 7)

But of course the most amazing centerpiece was the cake! It was watermelon flavored cake with chocolate chips ( to look like seeds) with cream cheese frosting. Coccadotts just outdid themselves! Awesome flavor and awesome decoration!
Ellie 8th Birthday (25 of 129)

I found these great watermelon plates on Amazon. Real deal! The cups are regular pink color and we drew seeds with a black Sharpie marker.
Ellie 8th Birthday (24 of 129)

We did the same Sharpie trick with the balloons too: 
Ellie 8th Birthday (13 of 129)
What is a watermelon themed birthday party without real watermelon, right?
Ellie 8th Birthday (27 of 129)

It was ALL GIRL party this time and my birthday girl chose a nail salon as the activity to do. It was really great idea!
Ellie 8th Birthday (34 of 129)
Happy birthday girl! 
Ellie 8th Birthday (35 of 129)

Monday, September 22, 2014

I Will Never Forget By Elaine Pereira

When Elaine Pereira first approached me, about 6 months ago, she requested that I write a review of her book " I will never forget". Elaine read a review I wrote awhile ago( I reviewed a different book) and she felt I would like her book, so she decided to send it to me.
Elaine was wrong.
I didn't like her book.
What her book made me feel is way beyond the shallow term "like". But let me go back a bit...

Elaine's book came at an extremely difficult time for me personally. Without breaching the confidentiality of my parents' health issues, I would just say...I had a really tough time reading the book. I started...and then I couldn't read anymore. I would begin again...and halfway through I would be in tears and not able to continue. And yet, I always, always returned. I wanted to hear Elaine's soothing voice, I wanted to laugh with her and cry with her, I wanted her by my side. I wanted to know that when the time comes, it will be OK...

 While I don't know Elaine personally, it felt like I have known her for years. During the time I was reading the book I was constantly asking myself--how would I react to this? In my personal circumstances, I caught myself asking "What would Elaine do?" This is when I knew that Elaine's book was not just good but great. Not only she made me laugh and cry, but she prompted me to act on situations, people and circumstances that otherwise I might have missed or dismissed.

Her book is not about dementia, love and loss. Her book is about parenthood and she portrays it beautifully.When I say parenthood, I am not addressing only Elaine's relationship with her mom. This book is about the different generations and the parental dynamics that form through out the years-- parents and the care for their children, children that become parents, grandparents with their grandchildren and finally, children who take on the responsibility for their parents, eventually taking over the role of the parent in the relationship.

The way Elaine represented the complex situations with her mother's dementia, the impossible circumstances and the great consideration, care and love for her parents, made me rethink the way I communicate with my parents. It also made me rethink my relationship with my own children and helped me improve on my reaction to situations, people and opportunities.

Elaine's book is not easy to read, no doubt. Despite her excellent penmanship and love for detail, this book will be one of the toughest  books I've ever read, and is one of the loveliest, honest and graceful tributes of a child towards the parent that I have ever seen.

 I highly recommend the book and I would love it if you post your own impressions if you decide to read Elaine's book, in the comments section. I am just thankful to Elaine for finding me and allowing me to be a part of her world, her love, her loss and her growth. It has been an honor, a privilege and a pleasure, Mrs. Pereira!
You were right, I will never forget and I thank you for that!

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Happy Birthday Hunger Games Style

My  little boy is not so little anymore. It seems like yesterday, when I was lying in my hospital room, talking to him, reassuring him all will be OK and that we soon will be together. 
Now, I have a cold, lying in bed, and he hugs me and is telling me it's going to be OK. 

He wanted Hunger Games as a theme of his party, and I was happy to oblige. Considering, I really didn't have the time to make any of the designs I knew that Etsy is my way out. And I found exactly what I was looking for at Abracadabra Parties- a Hunger Games Party Pack for printing
Kalin 11th B-day (1 of 69)

All I had to do was print everything, glue, cut and assemble, but boy was it easier than doing everything myself! The envelopes, invitations and seals for the invites were absolutely amazing! 

I was a bit worried about the goodie bags, the theme was the easy one to work with. But, I did find awesome Spiderman Frisbees that I Mod-Podged with the district seals. Cute Hunger Games buttons I found, glow sticks, stickers, magnetic bookmarks and cookies and cream Hershey chocolate, and I was done!

Kalin 11th B-day (13 of 69)

This is the dining room, where we kept all the food and drinks, plus some extra chairs for the kids to sit if they want. 

Kalin 11th B-day (16 of 69)

This is the living room, where we did all the games and stuff. All these goodie bags on the mantelpiece looked really awesome. The posters that I ordered were great! One of the games was building your own "weapon" out of kitchen supplies, demonstrating it and keeping score based on design, name and deadliness. Believe it of not, my tiny daughter won, because while she was demonstrating, she caught one of the older kids from the audience. Yes, her weapon was "deadly" ;-)
Kalin 11th B-day (14 of 69)

Another game was for them to try to throw "spears" made out of straws and tape into jars with different points on them. That was really fun!

Kalin 11th B-day (35 of 69)

I think that the best game was the "Would you rather..." Hunger Games style, as we hid two questions in each golden balloon with a question mark on it. This was so entertaining, that we couldn't stop! The kids were starving by the time we were done, but after was a Hunger games party, right? LoL
Kalin 11th B-day (54 of 69)

And now the food...Vanilla bean yogurt, graham crackers and blueberries = Nightlock Berries cheesecake. Win! 

Kalin 11th B-day (19 of 69)

Real goat cheese and fresh strawberries= Prim's goat cheese and berries 

Kalin 11th B-day (20 of 69)

Some sweets from Mellark bakery ( someone misspelled it, uh-oh ) :-) These are madelines- chocolate dipped and regular.
Kalin 11th B-day (21 of 69)

Fire Crystals ( regular rock-candy)
Kalin 11th B-day (24 of 69)

Kalin 11th B-day (25 of 69)

Effie's tarts = egg and cheese, and spinach tarts in filo dough cups. 
Kalin 11th B-day (26 of 69)

Fire Juice ( regular strawberry juice)
Kalin 11th B-day (29 of 69)

What is a Hunger Games party without mockingjay wings ( aka. chicken wings)? 

Kalin 11th B-day (36 of 69)

And the Pizza Arena is pretty self- explanatory. 
Kalin 11th B-day (37 of 69)

And the cupcakes... Ah, the cupcakes! Courtesy of my friend at Coccadotts Cake Shop, marble cupcakes with raspberry filling and cream cheese frosting, airbrushed to look like flames. Absolutely ah-mazing!!! I got cupcake rings that I placed on top, they were another thing that went into the goodie bags later. Did I mention I forgot to get a platter or something for the cupcakes? I had to the "cupcake stand" is a really last minute thing ( a trifle dish turned upside down and stuffed with extra tissue papers)
Kalin 11th B-day (57 of 69)

As you can tell, we were very happy when it was over too! :-)
 Happy Birthday, Kalin! We love you so much!

Kalin 11th B-day (68 of 69)

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Stephen King 11/22/63- Book trailer

I just realized that I never posted my book trailer that I made last year for graduate school. The project was great in my head, but when I began making it, I encountered problem after problem. I knew what I wanted to do, but :

a) I didn't have the software to do it
b) I didn't have the licensed images to do it
c) I didn't have the licensed sounds to do it.

Frustrating...but it makes you make do with whatever you have. So, it might not be perfect quality, but I think it conveys the idea pretty well. I really liked the book when I read it and I highly recommend it if you are fan of time travel. Very interesting ideas and intriguing development!


P.S: Have you read the book yet?

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