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13 Board Games For Those Days of Bored(om)

By January 11, 2018 Everything Else, Family, Learning, Reviews

There are days when you want to cozy up in that little nook, with a cup of something hot (my choice – some peppermint tea or hot chocolate!), and read a book. Or you could still stay in that nook – the slightly larger cozy nook of your home – and play board games with the rest of the family to drive away bored (om). For those days, I have some suggestions that my kids always bring out and love to play (and if mom and dad join in, all the better)

From strategy games that we are still learning the tips and tricks of (like Forbidden Island) or classic strategy games like Battleship to geography games (Scrambled States and Do You Know Where You Are?); from games that require focus (like Jenga) to games of luck/throw of the dice (like Sorry); from classic favorites like Monopoly and Uno to word games like Story Cubes and Taboo – this list covers all of them. (And you might notice the absence of Scrabble – well, that is another favorite too!)

  1. Forbidden Island
    A strategy game top-rated by Mensa, and pretty popular on Amazon, this game does need you to think ahead and strategize. We are still learning the tricks of the game, each time we play.
  2. Qwirkle Board Game – 
    Another strategy game where a little bit of luck is involved too – this can be played by people of all ages – line up tiles matching shapes and/or colors to score higher with smarter matches
  3. Scrambled States of America
    How well do you know your states? Find the Sunshine State; the state that shares borders with the maximum # of states; a state that begins with A; questions on cards range from the obvious to the harder and you learn your states definitely in this fun game
  4. Story Cubes
    This game can provide hours of fun while engaging your imagination. Perfect to come up with story ideas if you are ever facing a writer’s block. A family favorite that all of us play at all odd hours of the
    day. This game is simply put, genius!
  5. Uno 
    Well, you know!
  6. Jenga 
    What is the highest tower you have built ever? Be truthful! Are you a Jenga champion? (I am not!)
  7. Sorry
    We grew up playing games similar to this in India and another perfect game to pass the rainy-days away
  8. Monopoly
    For hours and hours (sometimes over days) of building your business empire, this is it! And hoping we don’t land in that spot with all those houses and hotels built!
  9. Taboo
    Have you played this game? This is definitely one that tests your vocabulary and your attention to what you are saying…
  10. Battleship
    I played this game for the first time on a computer screen of years ago (with those bright green ships and tanks to help you win your battle)! It was smart then and is smart now.
  11. Connect 4
    A family favorite now for years…this might be our 3rd or 4th Connect 4 box..
  12. Do You Know Where You Are? World Challenge Edition
    Another geography game that is really a smart one. Bought on a whim, this is one game that I love playing and am glad I bought it.
  13. Hedbandz
    This is certainly popular (and while we stood in the lines at Disneyworld this last month, the app version of a similar game – Charades – was played often; and by so many people waiting in line that sometimes we stopped playing our game and watched the others spout their clues!)

Note: this post contains Amazon affiliate links

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And the Liebster goes to….

By January 5, 2018 Everything Else

Thank you to Brenda Marie and to Roy Ackerman for awarding the Liebster to me! (displayed below) I love both their blogs and definitely thrilled that they thought I deserve this award. Thank you to UBC as well for being a wonderful support group, and introducing to so many bloggers, and some now friends.

Liebster Award

The rules for The Liebster Award are:

  • Acknowledge the blog(s) that gave it to you and display the award
  • Answer the 11 questions that the blogger gives you
  • Give 11 random facts about yourself
  • Nominate 11 blogs and notify them of their nomination
  • Give these blogs 11 questions to answer

Here are my answers to the 11 questions :

  1.  What made you start blogging? – I started blogging because I love writing but you can find more details in my About Me page!
  2. What do you do when you are bored? – This does not happen often but if it does, then I guess I read (which I am mostly already doing and hence not bored in the first place) or write or draw or binge-watch!!
  3. What is a long term goal of yours? – Someday, be able to publish in a nationally recognized magazine or paper; someday, publish a book (for children); well, that is enough for now 🙂
  4. What are your favorite  TV shows/ movies?  (not including the ones I watch and love because of my kids as well as not including any Bollywood related movies/TV shows)Movies – Some of my Hollywood favorites are Shawshank Redemption/Gone with the Wind/Arlington Road/Roman Holiday/Clueless/ Inception; TV Shows – US TV shows – The Flash/Arrow/Seinfeld/Jeopardy/Gilmore Girls
  5. What are your top three favorite songs of all time? Not including Bollywood songs, a random picking of three of my favorite songs (difficult to pick just three) – ‘Maria’ from the Sound of Music (sung by the Nuns),  ‘Can’t Stop the Feeling’ Justin Timberlake, ‘All I Want is You’ from Juno
  6. What is your goal for 2018? – To be healthier, wealthier, and wiser!! And I have a list of specific ways to get to that goal(s).
  7. Do you have any pets? – No pets.. Had a pair of love-birds that a friend left with us when they had to move (and sadly, I was the one to note when one of them died because a cat somehow got in to our balcony on the first floor– second floor in the US); and we kept gold-fish for a few months a couple of years ago.. here is a post about what happened to them
  8. What are you passionate about? – I am passionate about being fair, not wasting resources, my family, books, dancing, food….well, many things, in short.
  9. Do you speak any other languages besides English? –  I can speak four languages in total (English, my mother tongue – Tamil, Hindi (which is the national language of India), and Kannada (the language of the southern Indian state of Karnataka). I can also read and write all four of them with varying degrees of expertise. And hopefully add one more (at least) in the years to come. Part of my goals this year
  10. What would your ideal way to spend the weekend? – With family – doing something together; or if they are all off doing their own thing, then with a book.
  11. What is your favorite season? – No favorite season really; here in California, the weather does not change overly much through the year. But I loved the monsoon growing up in India and do love to watch the cherry blossoms in our neighborhood (March)

11 Random Facts: (and 11 more in my previous Liebster award post if you want to read them!)

  1. Like Roy before me, I cry at movies… and I recall my mom and brother watching me instead of the screen to see when the tears would start.. Now, it is not open season for tears, but my eyes glisten instead
  2. My favorite color is sunflower-yellow. I once paired a plain yellow tshirt with a plain yellow skirt and blinded everyone around!
  3. Dessert is my favorite meal of anyday.
  4. The first time I used the dishwasher, I ended up using regular dish detergent; and my husband returned home to a kitchen floor of soapsuds! To be fair to myself, we did not have a dishwasher at home growing up in India…
  5. This is the second time I have been nominated for the Liebster (excluding the fact that two people nominated me this time around). My first post is here (and I might have just used some of those random facts here as well).
  6. I love to dance, anytime, anywhere… dancing to ‘can’t stop the feeling’ which I was belting out while we waited in the early morning hours of a pre-debate tournament for my son’s debate team on the Berkeley campus (did I succeed in embarrassing my son? totally!)
  7. I love discovering new, obscure words – check out phrontistery (one of my favorite haunts online)
  8. My kids find it really funny that I am a memeaholic (I am talking about memes like ABC Wednesday, while they are picturing those funny, viral cat memes or such!)
  9. I was once chased by a langur across a park for what seemed like forever. He was half as big as me at least, at that time, he seemed way bigger to my maybe 8 year old self; and to be fair to the langur, I was carrying a banana and he stopped chasing me once I threw the banana at him.
  10. I love solving logic puzzles. One favorite question I was asked in an interview – You are given 10 bags of coins, each containing x number of coins (let us say, 500 coins each), but one bag contains coins that are fake. You only know that the fake coins weigh one gram lesser than the real coins. You are also handed a digital kitchen scale (with just one weighing pan/not a balance). How can you find out which bag contains the fake coins with just ONE weighing?  (Let me know – You can email me the answer –  vidya@ladyinreadwrites.com . and i will post it on my blog post on Monday)
  11. This is the second time I am writing a Liebster award related post. The first one was for my blogspot blog years ago.

The 11 blogs I am nominating (and adding one note here to my nominees, thanks to Lillian’s post, you all totally deserve the award, and I leave it up to you to continue the Liebster – not mandatory at all 🙂 )

  1. Jeanine at The Hygge Blog, where she blogs about, well, Hygge!! Check it out to learn more..
  2. Rachel at Rachel and Co, her goal setting posts totally rocked!
  3. Emily at More Coffee for Mama – her About Me page brought a smile to my face
  4. Lavanda at her lifestyle blog
  5. Marya at Beau Traveler blogging about, of course, traveling .. useful tips and destinations..
  6. Karina at Lovemade Handmade, where she blogs about her handmade projects (many sewing related ones that caught my attention due to my daughter’s interest in sewing)
  7. Agnes at Bits-en-Pieces where she writes about a little bit of this and a piece of that!
  8. Kate at Homebound But Hopeful – her words ‘blogging from the intersection where children’s literature and design meet’ caught my attention completely
  9. Lillian at Human in Recovery, where she writes about growth and healing
  10. Prerna at All She Things can be relied upon to give me tips on home decor, and style.
  11. Dee Jackson at her lifestyle blog; her posts inspire:)

My questions for them (borrowed shamelessly from my past Liebster post):

  1. If you could take a vacation anywhere in the world, where would it be?
  2. What is your favorite food to eat?
  3. What advice would you give your younger self if you could go back in time ten years?
  4. What would be the first thing you’d do if you won the lottery?
  5. Night owl or early bird?
  6. What superpower would you like to have?
  7. Your favorite way to relax?
  8. eBook or the printed book or audio book or no books at all?
  9. What four words would you use to describe yourself?
  10. Who is the most influential person in your life?
  11. Do you make resolutions? If yes, what is your top resolution for 2018?

 

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Goals For The Year

By January 4, 2018 Everything Else, Learning, Memes, Writing

The past couple of years, I made and updated for myself a treasure map of goals to reach. While I did not yet reach them/achieve them fully, I did try to work towards (most of) them. And that point is why, at four days into this new year, I am planning my goals for this year. And reusing some of the ones from earlier, here are my 2018 goals – to be healthy, wealthy, and wise; and a 13 point list to help work towards them!! And if I am even halfway through some or most of them, that is still more than where I am at today and I will be happy…

  1. Exercise – I need to work on this seriously, so to break it down more specifically
    • Walk towards 10k steps everyday
    • Zumba twice a week (love dancing!)
    • Yoga once a week
  2. Hydrate
  3. Eat well (reduce dessert intake/plan and follow a weekly menu)
  4. Sleep – better sleep habits, as in the saying ‘Early to bed, early to rise, makes a (wo)man healthy, wealthy, and wise.’ So am going to work towards this habit and here are some tips I plan to use to achieve that.
  5. Spend wisely.
  6. Be in touch with family and friends more often than now
  7. Volunteer – at the shelter/soup-kitchen – with both my kids in scouting, I do get more opportunities to do this, so will work on doing it more often this year and do a RAK every week
  8. Start seriously working on my 52 week list made years ago (update as needed, but work towards checking it off)
  9. Read – My reading challenges, will hopefully take care of my reading goals
  10. Write –
    • in my journal everyday – just a line or two
    • poems – keeping a goal of six a month
    • posts on my blog – everyday during UBCs; and other months too if possible (excuse myself from this 5 days a month)
    • reviews that are overdue – book and product reviews I have been planning to complete
    • reviews for books that I read this year promptly
    • product reviews for products I truly enjoy using and know others will love too promptly
    • letters by hand – at least one a month
  11.  Learn – complete a course (even online) and earn a certificate, if possible
    • in something I love
    • in something that will be useful (even if I don’t love it!)
  12. Start learning a new language (Spanish might be a good choice as my son is learning it in high school now)
  13. Learn one new skill (need to figure out what) and relearn an older, left-in-the-sidelines one (drawing and painting)
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Yet another Year ….

By December 26, 2017 Everything Else

As another Year nears its end, I look back to see, as many of us do, what has been done, all that has transpired, and all that remains to be done in the next Year to come..

This post is a brief look back and look forward for the year that is almost done and the year to come..

Resolutions/Goals for the year 2017: As always, I wrote up some resolutions/goals for the year in this post and while I cannot say I accomplished all of them or reached all my goals, I did try and that really is what matters to me.. and I know that trying just a little bit harder can help me reach them easily (for example, this month of December has been a month of walking everyday, though not the planned goal of 10k but an active consistent walking of enough steps to keep me feeling good about myself)

  • One a day – I took photos but not every day, though often enough to make my family wonder what I was doing with my camera 🙂 the journaling sadly fell behind
  • Two letters – this was a no unless I count the letters I wrote to my DD to read at her summer camp…
  • Three posts a week – not throughout the year but often enough!
  • exercise Four times a week – again, this was not consistent but better than last year
  • Five reading challenges – joined but not completed – see below
  • Six poems a month – not always but often enough to make me feel good
  • Seven non-fiction books – though I did not finish reading all of them, I did get started on more than 7 books and read most/part of all the books..
  • As for the rest, the 8, 11, 12 – i think I accomplished fairly enough.. #9 – not at all while #10, I am getting to it, as I mentioned at the beginning..
  • Below is my treasure map of resolutions/goals that I had created for the year 🙂

resolutions

Reading Challenges for 2017: I did not go overboard this year but still took on more that I thought I could do, and sadly, left them all floundering half-way/or even lesser-than-half-way through. These were my reading challenges signed up for the year and while I might have actually finished up some of them unintentionally, I did not consciously update them so will practice that for my next year’s challenges

Speaking of reading challenges, I plan to host one myself on my blog by the end of the week. A little late than most others but look forward to it – something easy, something for everyone, hopefully..

Here is wishing everyone a wonderful Holiday Season once again as we all reflect on the year almost gone by, and a new year to look forward to coming soon…

Linking to ABC Wednesday‘s letter Y …

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X is for X-Mas

By December 25, 2017 Everything Else, Travel

Merry X-Mas and a Very Happy Holidays to everyone…

Pictured below  is the tree at Epcot (Walt Disney World) which has Happy Holidays/similar message in different languages placed all over the tree.. our last week (and explaining my absence at the blog) was spent having an Xcellent and Xtraordinary holiday at Orlando, where we Xplored the wonders of two theme parks – Animal Kingdom and Epcot Center, as well as two non-theme park attractions – Kennedy Space Center and the swamps of Kissimee on an Xquisitely wonderful airboat ride (via Marsh Landing Adventures)…

and thus ends my post for this week’s ABC Wednesday..

epcot christmas tree

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Holiday Giveaway…

By December 16, 2017 Everything Else, Family

amazon-or-paypal

It is the season to be thankful, merry, jolly, and so on….  and to say thank you for being a reader, here is a giveaway given by me. This is not a sponsored post. Click my holiday gift ideas link for cool ideas of what you can do with the gift card you may be the lucky one to win!!

So, without further ado, here are the rules (in the short disclosure below), followed by the Rafflecopter to enter the giveaway. Please note that there are no mandatory entries 🙂

Disclosure: Giveway runs between the 17th and 24th of December. No purchase is necessary to enter. The odds of winning are based on the number of entries received. Must be 18+ and a US resident to enter. Confirmed Winner will be contacted by email. Winner(s) have 48 hours to respond before a new winner is chosen.

For bloggers looking to host giveaways and promote them, here are a few places you can list your giveaway

ContestGirl

BlogGiveawayDirectory

GiveawayMonkey

I Love Giveaways

Sweepstake

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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13 Things We Learned From Our First Craft Fair

By December 8, 2017 Art, Everything Else, Learning

Note: Affiliate links in this post

The concept of fairs (and as such, craft fairs too) is not new to me. Growing up in a small town, we had annual fairs, where the women folk of the town would get to set up their stalls and sell food and wares (including small decor, crafts, jewelry, clothes, and more). I would help my mom setup the booth and sell as well. Mom is a stupendous cook and her stall would always be super busy. It was fun and aptly named ‘Anand Bazaar’. Anand meaning happiness and Bazaar meaning market – so market of happiness.

Today, I am a mom, and this past weekend, had craft and activity booths to setup at our very first craft fair – the Girl Scouts’ Craftapalooza event. I realized that what I did as a child to help my mom was only part of all that needs to be done.

Now that the event is done, here is what we learned from our craft fair experience. This is assuming you have booked the booth for a fair/similar event already.

Before the fair:

  1. Listen to the buyers.  In this case, the makers and the primary buyers were all going to be girls, primarily in the age range of five to fifteen! And while they did sit and make the ornaments very happily, what they really, really, really wanted to make – slime.
    Slime on couple of nearby booths was selling off their tables, literally, while we were contemplating reducing prices on our products. So, the next time, I plan to ensure we have items the girls want to make (because that is what they will want to buy) in addition to items we adults believe the parents will want to buy.
  2. Make a few items of different types/sizes/prices to appeal to all the different people who visit the event. A few paintings and tons of ornaments were what we had this time around, but in hindsight we should have had a few more paintings, lot lesser ornaments and few of couple more things.. OR just a few of higher priced items
  3. Plan ahead – months ahead if possible – order items online to save (eg: alibaba or other discount craft stores). Spend a few hours each week on making the items where possible so does not seem overwhelming. We spent a couple of hours or more over three weeks of Girl Scout meetings on this, but could be next time, 1/2 hour of a few months of meetings set aside for this would work better?
  4. Dress rehearsal – we did not do this but it would have definitely helped to have a dress rehearsal of sorts at home, and have friends and family enact potential customers with our table/booth setup as we want it.
  5. Schedule who is going to be doing what and where at all times of the event

At the fair:craft fair decor snowman

    1. Setup – decor: Prep decor for your booth beforehand. Our booth had a snowman that people aawed over and remarked how cute he was.. not sure if he really helped in sales but it did increase the curb appeal of our booth a bit. And the paintings did get sold – 4 out of the 5 we had!
    2. Setup – for item prices and for cash: Mark items with price tags clearly … we had smaller items – ornaments mainly so kept different priced ones in different sections (small trees/hangers where they hung off of and baskets for the remaining pieces). We also had a small poster with prices but I think that small chalkboard easels would have been a better tactic – both in terms of looks and clarity of items and prices (pictured below – I got this for an event at home earlier but could not find these at all:( ).
      For storing the cash, we used a fancy photo storage box (one I got at Michaels) to store the cash but if you plan to do multiple sales over the year, then a regular cash box might be good. I saw many booths had those and it looked cool.

    1. Setup – for your actual items themselves: Ensure you keep the right quantity of items outside for display and to sell – do not overcrowd your table. You can keep replenishing as you sell the items. We realized that we had too much and then toned it down to something more visually appealing an hour into the fair.
      Ensure you have additional items readily accessible (under the tables in boxes might be the only option, like in our case). Also, do not forget to have carry bags for customers to take what they buy from you. We almost forgot these and ended up getting a combination of different bags from parents in our troop towards the end. But many customers opted to put their purchases (small wooden ornaments in our case) directly into their bags. Also plan ahead and think of any other items you might need that will help to complete the setup for your booth.

  1. Ensure you have change in all denominations if possible. So you are ready for customers who would otherwise not have bought goods from you because they/you did not have the right cash amount.
  2. An option for people to use credit cards. The Girl Scouts of Northern California recommended option – Square. Square is a nifty little tool (which I am waiting for in the mail at this time, and did not get to use at this craft fair) that lets you connect it to your phone and swipe cards for payment. You order the card-reader (for free when you request them to mail it to you), download their app, connect to the correct bank accounts, and you are done!
  3. Walk around the fair, visit other booths, make friends with other fair hosts, and you will surely get help and tons of ideas.

After the fair

  1. Talk to everyone on your team(be it family, friends, or in our case, our Girl Scouts and parent volunteers) about the highlights for each of them, what each felt they learned, what we could do better next time, and what they enjoyed the most
  2. And last, but not the least, celebrate – you have accomplished something.

What we earned:

  • Loads of fun
  • A great experience – in both selling and the activity booths, as well as trying out different activities themselves, and checking other books to see what they were selling
  • Tons of ideas for our next Craft fair event (we are already ready to setup our next craft fair!!) and
  • $67.50 in cash 🙂 yay!!!

Our expenses:  more than what we earned above definitely so we did not make a monetary profit, but like the Mastercard ad says – what we got out of this whole experience – it was priceless.

Linking this towards one more of the memes I love participating in – Thursday 13.

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Black and White Blog Photo Challenge – Day Seven

By December 4, 2017 Art, Everything Else

The challenge:  You can read about it here in my day one post and it is exactly what it says it is – a black and white blog photo challenge.

Additional Notes for today: Today is the last day of this challenge (yay). I am glad that it got me going on looking for photos that I took and editing them and sharing them, so here is hoping I will get to photographing more often (have not been doing it as much as I used to and love to). Thank you Martha for this opportunity!!

The rules:

  1. Share black and white photos daily for 7 days;

  2. There must be no animals or people in the photos;

  3. No captions, explanations, or other words to accompany the images;

  4. Nominate one person to participate each day of the challenge.

Today’s nomination:

Today, I am nominating Kate at Homebound but Hopeful – another newly discovered blogger who I hope I can connect with as her About Me page itself totally resonated with me 🙂 Kate – you will be seeing me at your blog often…

Today’s photo:

Wagon Black and White

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Black and White Blog Photo Challenge – Day Six

By December 3, 2017 Art, Everything Else

The challenge:  You can read about it here in my day one post and it is exactly what it says it is – a black and white blog photo challenge.

The rules:

  1. Share black and white photos daily for 7 days;

  2. There must be no animals or people in the photos;

  3. No captions, explanations, or other words to accompany the images;

  4. Nominate one person to participate each day of the challenge.

Today’s nomination:

Today, I am nominating Karina from over at Love Made Hand Made. Sew-perfect is her blog, that both my DD (who wants to learn to sew using her machine) and I love it. I found her blog in the recent few weeks and I know that we will be visiting again as my DD learns sewing..

Today’s photo:art

 

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Black and White Blog Photo Challenge – Day Five

By December 2, 2017 Art, Everything Else

The challenge:  You can read about it here in my day one post and it is exactly what it says it is – a black and white blog photo challenge.

The rules:

  1. Share black and white photos daily for 7 days;

  2. There must be no animals or people in the photos;

  3. No captions, explanations, or other words to accompany the images;

  4. Nominate one person to participate each day of the challenge.

Today’s nomination:

Today, I am nominating Puneeta from Maple and Marigold. I discovered her blog recently and it resonates with me in many ways. While I am yet to actively interact with her (commenting, etc), I am hoping to use this as a start..

Today’s photo:

Ferndale

 

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