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Thirteen Facts About the Justice League You Probably Did Not Know

By November 17, 2017 Everything Else, Memes

We are a family of super hero fans (well, all except my DH). When I mentioned to a colleague sometime ago that some of my favorite TV shows (well, actually my favorite!) include The Flash, The Arrow, and a whole bunch of other Netflix Marvel series, the first question was ‘do you watch them because of your kids?’. My answer – ‘my kids watch them because of me!’ So I must be one among the few moms (as far as I know, at least) past 40 watching and loving such shows and movies. I totally devoured all of the Avenger movies and as a kid, read tons of the DC and Marvel comics (it was a miracle that in our sleepy little town in the middle of somewhere, my dad’s friend had a wonderful collection!!).

Justice League November 2017

Image courtesy: Wikipedia – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Justice_League_(film) (fair use under the copyright law of the United States.)

So, while we have not yet headed to the theater to watch ‘Thor: Ragnarok’, the Thanksgiving holiday is just around the corner and it is movie time!!  Many super hero or more specifically, Justice League of America (JLA) fans are waiting for tomorrow – the release of the Justice League movie.  Here are some cool and random facts about the Justice League that you may not already know.

  1. The Justice League is not the first team of superheroes. It was the Justice Society of America which consisted of earlier versions of some of the current JLA members.
  2. Their first villain was a starfish named Starro. (Brave and the Bold #28)
  3. The Atom – one hero we really enjoyed watching on CW – attended meetings in a flying chair!!
  4. Malcolm Merlyn, the villain you(I) want to like, on ‘The Arrow’, is actually a JLA villain. He is now so much part of the Green Arrow world that it might be hard for fans to imagine something else.
  5. They had an annoying non-superhero sidekick in Lucas Snapper Carr (who had to give up his membership after he revealed their hideout to the Joker)
  6. Their hideout – a secret cave outside Happy Harbor, Rhode Island.
  7. Hawkeye is the only superhero who is in both the Avengers and the JLA.
  8. Many believe that the Marvel comics superhero teams, first the Fantastic Four, and later the Avengers, were created because of the success of the JLA.
  9.  Wonder Woman is one of the superhero characters who has successfully wielded the hammer of Thor.
  10.  Flash gave Aquaman his moniker.
  11.  Cyborg, the half-man, half-machine has the ability of ‘technopathy’ – the ability to communicate with technology around him
  12. Wonder Woman had to prove her worthiness on her return to the League after leaving for a brief spell by performing twelve trials comparable to that of Hercules.
  13. The upcoming (well here already) movie is based on the DC Comics relaunch – the New 52.

and one more before I sign off for the day, the JL also has Rex the Wonder Dog.

So, to my readers I ask: 1) will you be watching the movie in theaters? 2) who is your favorite superhero (if you enjoy reading/watching superhero related books/shows)?

And while you are here, have a look at my Holidays related posts for gift ideas and more (click on the Holidays menu link above) and subscribe to receive updates (no spam, I promise) once in a few weeks.

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15 Stocking Stuffers for Kids of all Ages Under $15 – Part 2 of Holiday Gift List

By November 11, 2017 Art, Books, Everything Else

Hi,

This is me here again, with another edition of loved or much-requested items that will be sure hits as gifts. As much as I admit to falling into the trap of giving gift cards as gifts (which tends to be easier sometimes, and usually because I have not spent time planning to look into that perfect gift for a person). But it is possible, I have done that in the past and hope I can keep doing it more often going forward. Opening a wrapped present is so much more fun than opening (well, not really opening) a gift card!!

And if you have any questions about these toys, anything at all, feel free to let me know in the comments, and I will do my best to answer. Having either used almost all of these myself or having heard from the active users, I should hope I can feel qualified to answer at least some of them 🙂

Today’s list will fit in the stocking (some of them in a slightly larger one like we have at home!) and  all currently priced less than $15, some way lesser! These are all gifts I have bought over and over again to gift (and once definitely to keep!):

For kids who enjoy entertaining their audience, this book is perfect – the Laugh-Out-Loud Jokes for Kids. I cannot recall how many jokes I have heard my kids (especially my DD) say to us from this book.

 

 

For kids who love math, this game is cool, colorful, and can be taken on trips – comes in a trendy bag all its own. Sumoku has seen itself being played many a time and am sure was silently shouting out the answers while we pondered upon it. It is fun, smart, and well, fun!!

 


Do you have a budding chef in your family? Then this Toysmith Deluxe Chef Set is for her (and at the current price of less than $14, it is a steal indeed). And you could make it fit in the stocking if you pack it just right!

 

Are you looking for a gift to take with you on your trip? That can possibly fit in your purse and you can whip out anytime for that one kid who needs to be occupied. Currently under $10, Kanoodle fits the bill, literally!! Teases your brain and I am sure you will not be ready to share with your kid once you start playing it 🙂

 

For another perfect travel bag that will fit in your purse and can be played as a family game for hours of imaginative fun, here is Rory’s Story Cubes. I have an idea around for a while to use these to write a book of short stories!! It definitely can get those creative juices flowing for when you are facing writer’s block. But seriously, this is total family fun!

 

 

One more stocking stuffer game to keep that kid who could not fall asleep on the road trip while his sibling is dozing occupied – the the Thinkfun Gordian’s Knot. It definitely baffles me too every time we take it apart and we have already had it for years now!

 

 

This book set is adorable, it is Maurice Sendak, it is a gem. I have enjoyed reading it and it occupies a place of pride in my library (just a teeny bit of space at that). Maurice Sendak’s Nutshell Library is the perfect stocking stuffer.

The Rubiks Cube is listed as one of the most popular toys ever since its inception. This version of the cube is super smooth and easy to move

 

 

 

And if you have not already seen it or heard of it, Spot It here!! The kids make sure they have it with them on road trips (even now at ages 14 and 11 years) – it is fun, addictive, and keeps them busy, and not watching something on a device which makes us parents happy!

 


For more word fun, and if you are a Scrabble addict, then Bananagrams is the stocking stuffer game on the go for you.

 

 


Kangaroo’s Do You Want to Build a Snowman? I am sure hearing these words would lead to your kids singing the song, but really, you can build a snowman with this adorable kit. I do not have this exact kit myself but we do have foam putty that we have used to build snowmen before.

You know Monopoly is a game that can safely keep the kids occupied for hours on end, so here is a version to carry with you as a card game – the Hasbro Gaming Monopoly Deal Card Game.

 

 

 

Letters to me, When I Grow up: Write Now, Read Later, Treasure Forever: I am always partial to anything that promotes writing and this looks and sounds wonderful. This one is definitely making its way home soon for my kids to use.


And if you have a girl that could use some hair ties, these No Crease Hair Ties 20 Pack by Kenz Laurenz are wonderful. They are bright, colorful, and ouchless. I can vouch for them having used them myself (and my little girl loves them too).

 

Crazy Aaron Thinking Putty Clear Glass
This is one item my DD has been asking forever now, so maybe this year? Crazy Aaron’s Thinking Putty is sure to be a super hit in any stocking, and this one featured here is clear glass.

 

 

Hope you found something useful in this list here and end up buying something:)

I will be back with more gift lists for kids and adults; and a whole lot of DIYs too that you will enjoy making, and giving. You can subscribe to my blog so I can keep you updated on all this and more (on the right sidebar)

And for part one of my #holidaygiftlist, click here.

– always wishing you the best

Lady In Read…..

(note: this post contains affiliate links)

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A Holiday Gift Guide for Kids of all Ages – Part One

By November 7, 2017 Art, Books, Everything Else, Reviews

This is the first of the gift-list posts I promised a couple of days ago. Very soon, before you know it, it will be Christmas and here are some gifts that will be sure to bring a smile on the faces of those who receive it. These are books and activity kits all in one and sure to keep your kids occupied with wonderful results to top it off. These books are aimed for kids ages 8+ and I know I have enjoyed them as well (and younger ones too, with some supervision).

Klutz Make Clay Charms Craft Kit – This book is totally ‘charming’, literally too! I bought many copies of the book as gifts before I finally got one for my DD. She was almost convinced I will not get it for her each time a copy arrived by mail in the now familiar shipping box at our home. So when I did finally buy it for her, it took some effort and an additional boKLUTZ Clay Charms Holiday Gift Guideok of charms (which was incidentally a gift once again for a favorite friend) to ensure that she did finally have her own copy of the book. It took her all of 20 minutes to make a half a dozen charms (some pictured below while a couple others were gifted to her little cousins as they worked on them together with my little one leading them both).
With easy to follow instructions for adorable charms, this book is sure to be a hit with all little crafters!!Clay Charms that look yummy enough to eat

And that is not all, the Glitter Clay Charms is also much loved (yet to get for my DD but gifted many times over already) as is the Make your Mini Erasers book which is something I have been thinking about and not yet tried myself or gifted yet (maybe this Christmas?).

 

Considering we love Legos in our home and my 14 yo has made a couple of stop motion movies with Legos before, the KLUTZ LEGO Make Your Own Movie Kit  is a strong contender for our next KLUTZ buy as well along with the Lego Chain Reactions Craft Kit and the Lego Crazy Action Contraptions Kit. The Crazy Action Contraptions Kit has been gifted and loved as well by friends and I can vouch for it.

KLUTZ LEGO Make Your Own Movie Holiday Gift GuideKLUTZ LEGO Crazy Action Contraptions Holiday Gift Guide

And for fun at any time, face painting is always an option. This book was a gift for my little girl a few years ago and has seen a lot oKLUTZ Face Painting Holiday Gift Guidef use. The instructions for the different designs are clear and easy to follow and my DD was a face-painter artiste while the paints lasted (now, we need to get more paints!)

Note: While this is not a sponsored post at all as I have personally bought (as mentioned many times over too) and used many of these items or heard from those I have gifted the items too, this post contains affiliate links.

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3 Ways to Minimize that Candy Mountain In Your Home

By November 3, 2017 Everything Else
Candy Galore

So you are probably drowning in a sea of candy? Or maybe not if your kids made sure to stop trick-or-treating the moment you said they had enough candy :)? In any case, if you have more candy than you need (which is always the case if I consider my own sweet tooth), then here are a few options for you to consider:

  1. Operation Gratitude – You can donate the candy to Operation Gratitude so our troops stationed everywhere have some sweet treats to enjoy too! You can maybe set a collection center at your home or school and then find the nearest center you can send or drop the candy off too – click this link to find that information and enjoy that sweetness in your heart!!
  2. Soldier’s Angels – Similar to the above, Soldier’s Angels donates collected treats to deployed service members and veterans in VA hospitals. You can look for the nearest drop off center and donate your candy there and leave with a warm fuzzy feeling!
  3. Candy Buy Back Programs – If you need an incentive for the kids to donate the candy (I know, it is not really the same, but hey if it helps, go for it!), then this is the perfect solution for you. Businesses around the country have partnered with organizations working with veterans and troops (like above) and it is a win-win-win all around – businesses offer to buy back candy (for example, $2 for every 5 lbs or some other treats like books or toys or toothpaste in exchange for candy) and advertise their business in the process, veterans and troops get sweet treats to enjoy, and as for us, we ensure reduced visits to dentist offices!! Click on the link here to find the nearest buy back location.

Or you could always donate it to local shelters or the fire department or sheriff’s office too.

We have worked with our Scout troops in the past years and sent the collected candy (one year, it was over 60 lbs of candy!!) to Operation Gratitude and that feeling was truly sweeter than all the candy we can eat..

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3 Lessons Learned from 31 Days of Blogging

By October 31, 2017 Everything Else, Learning

Today is the last day of the UltimateBloggingChallenge – October and Write31Days… I made it to the end (I think I missed a couple of days, which means I need to get scheduling posts as a habit next!!). But Yayyy, here we are, all of us who promised to write 31 days and it is great to reach the end of this 31 days which just proves we can do it..

What did I learn

– That it Was Not Scary At All – Spooktober not withstanding, blogging everyday for 31 days might seem daunting, but it is not.. The fact that there are others who are part of the challenge is a big boost to our confidence.

– It is Doable – Commitment to the challenge here showed me that it is doable, so it just means I need to commit to myself now outside the challenge 🙂

– You make great friends and discover you are part of a wonderful virtual community.. so Thank You to all who helped make these 31 days seem a breeze!

So a Big Hurrah to all and looking forward to keep seeing each other even post challenges..

As for me, here are my tentative plans for the next few weeks:

– Work on my blogs – current and new blog and set things up for both by mid November

– Work to have additional posts scheduled as the holiday season gets underway

For Ruby Tuesday: Found – a leaf that made its own way as it glided down the tree away from the heap nearby!

last leaf

For First Chapter, First Paragraph at BibliophileByTheSea

INKLING

There was trouble afoot in Sleepy Hollow. Harry could feel it, although he couldn’t quite put his finger on what was causing his uneasiness. 

For Teaser Tuesday over at The Purple Booker:

It was not the mayor and the band of grave robbers who stepped out of the car. 

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The Why Post

By October 28, 2017 Art, Everything Else, Food, Learning, Memes, Reviews, Travel, Writing

My previous(still actively current as well) blog

I started blogging years ago actually and as part of setting up this new blog earlier this month, I even imported content from there (excluding a couple more recent posts).. So you might be asking, why a why I am blogging post? This is more of a reinventing myself as a blogger post – of moving from a free blog to my own space on the world wide web. If then, why import all content from my previous blog? Because that is a part of me as well, and as part of reinventing, I also plan to refresh and redo some of my posts from earlier.

Writing Fuels me

Writing has been a treasured part of my life forever now (well, since I learned to write anyways, and before that, I made up stories to tell my little brother), and blogging is an extension of that.  As a child, I wrote poems, stories, and participated in writing challenges whenever I could. Everything I wrote, no matter what it was, gave me a sense of accomplishment that it energized me, made me happier, made me ‘me’, and that eventually led to a better me, which meant I was able to also help others (tutoring classmates the previous night before finals and all through the year was one of my first such experiences; mom would worry that I would not be able to focus on what I needed to study for, but teaching and sharing my knowledge made me better at it so it was all gooood!) (By the way, I also experience this same energy-up when I work on art or end up taking a really good photograph or somehow manage to have cooked up something yummy that is also healthy)

What was I blogging about?

My initial blog started out as my spot for my R&R – this could easily mean the traditional ‘rest and recreation’ or my little twist on the traditional ‘Recreation and Relaxation’ or my very own ‘Raving and Ranting’.  In the beginning (and even today), I read many blogs about blogging – and many of them had a central message – “pick a niche”. That led me to thinking – what is my specialty? I realized I am more of a Jack of Many Trades (with some level of mastery in a few) and it would be me being me, if I wrote about all of those passions and interests I have. So I have been writing about reading, travel, participating in memes, sharing recipes, tips, my poetry, and photographs, life’s magical moments, parenting and its many facets, reviews of books and products, and more.

And now 

All those varied things that I (plan to) write about inspired me to add the tagline for my blog – this is not a niche-less blog, but a blog(ful) of niches!!  I am still working on the theme, the logo, updating my older posts so they fall in place with my categories, and some more branding to make it more like home, a cozy place for readers to drop by and explore.

Today, I hope to keep doing all that and also include more posts where I can let my readers relax a bit, learn some more, and leave with a smile on their faces, facts in their brains, a spring in their step, and a desire to return (of course)!!…

So here is my question to my readers (old and new) –

what energized you today? Or made you smile? Do let me know in the comments!!

 

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Cooking our way to a great party

By February 20, 2016 Food, Party

My DD knew exactly what she wanted as the theme for her 10th birthday party (just like she has known since her 3rd birthday party).  After my son’s thirteenth bday party in December, we were still having post-birthday party syndrome. That was a game truck party and a definite success.  I will write more in detail on that soon. But for today, while it is fresh in my memory, here is our cooking party:

Once we had decided on a cooking party, the first thing we got ready was – the guest list and the invite. I had initially planned on printing out a recipe-type invite and handing it out to her guests but as that proved not feasible to do, settled on an evite instead using one of evite’s free cooking based designs. Evite has been around a long time and I have used it for all my party invites – sometimes it tends to get lost in the spam mails but now with other social media options on evite – like sending invites to Facebook friends or posting on twitter or sending shareable links instead – helps avoid this issue when I don’t see responses from guests after sending out the initial invite. The wordings for the invite were
A
dash of laughter,
A
sprinkle of fun,
We
are having a cooking party
Hope
you can come!
Once the invites were sent out, we planned on what we needed for the party itself:
Goody bag items: Aprons and cookie cutters were finally decided upon as the goodies the kids would get to take home and so I ordered those from Amazon.
Aprons: The aprons I ordered were from ChefSkin (Chefskin Lot Apron LOT Chefskin Wholesale Discount (Lot of 15, Assorted Medium (8-12) PLS Email List) and very reasonably priced – I ordered these in different sizes as the guests incluAprons Childrens Party Favors Cooking Partyded chefs  ranging from ages five to thirteen. The sellers send an email promptly and even call to confirm the colors we need for the aprons since I had requested for a mixed color set.  Once I let them know the colors I wanted – a few in every color almost (blues, lavenders, bright pinks, yellows, oranges, reds, whites, and baby pinks as well), the order arrived home very quickly. The colors were as pictured – both the pastels and the brights – and the quality was good.

After all the kids arrived, they were asked to pick an apron in the color of their choice and decorate it with the fabric markers. They  quickly picked spots all around the house to decorate their aprons – my DD had the
brilliant idea to have every guest sign their name on her apron and that made her apron a keepsake automatically (this was totally her idea)!

Here she is working intently on her apron.

The cookie cutters were Wilton’s 101 set from Amazon and the plan was to let each kid pick a couple of their choice (and use it during the wilton's cookie cutters 101 party favorsparty – this did not happen though since the chefs forgot to pick up their cutters in the excitement of tie-dye cookies). The cookie cutters are well made, offering a range of shapes and sizes that cover occasions through the year. They are color coded that makes it easy to find shapes easily; and we can use it for not just cookies but for shaped sandwiches, Indian breads. I plan to use the bigger ones for giant cookies and home-made Indian breads – like rotis/naans and the others for cookies and fun-sandwiches. All in all, a purchase that is worth it.

Decorations: We used an easel we had (the one with a blackboard on one side and white board on the other) to write down the name of the restaurant ‘Sweet S….Savory Shoppe’ on the blackboard, while the whiteboard had the menu for the day. We had a welcome plaque by the door that said ‘Welcome Chefs’. Colorful balloons and a colorful table cloth set the mood for the party.
Party Themed Party Cooking Party Preparations
Other preparations: Ingredients for pretzels and utensils/bake ware set out. Cookie dough prepared and ready to use chilling in the refrigerator.  Don’t forget to have the oven preheated and ready to use as everything in this party involved the oven; the matches, candles, plates, cups, forks and spoons and other such items were also set out ready for use along with the aprons/fabric markers/cookie cutters appropriately.
The Menu: After reading through many ideas across the web, and recalling many Tasty videos and other videos shared on Facebook, we finally decided on the following dishes that the kids would make:
home made pretzels
Pretzels  – the idea was to have all the ingredients ready and let the kids work on the pretzels from scratch all by themselves. The recipe I used was from PBS Kitchen Explorers. The kids had lots of fun getting the dough ready and shaping it as well. And the end result – surprisingly good for a first attempt (yes, I had not tried this earlier at all).
home made pretzels
Cookies – we decided to let the kids make tie-dye cookies and stuffed cookies or stuffed-tie-dye cookies as they chose.  I prepared the dough before hand and kept it in the fridge to chill for use. The recipe used for the basic sugar cookie dough and the idea for the tie-dye cookies were both from Baked Bree and it was super easy and super delicious.
home made rainbow cookies with marshmallows and oreosrainbow cookie doughWhen it was time to have the kids bake the cookies, the dough came out in all its colors, the kids picked the colors they wanted and each was given a small amount of the different colored cookie dough. They worked those together to make 2 to 3 cookies each and picked the stuffing of their choice – mini-Oreos or marshmallows or none at all and the cookies went in to the oven ready to bake. Some of the kids chose to leave the marshmallows on top which meant we had caramelized toppings on the cookies but that worked out well too as they tasted great.
Since a couple of the kids had special dietary needs – I had two sets of pretzel dough getting prepared – one regular and one gluten-free.  (same for the cookies)

In addition to the above, we had also included frozen jalapeno poppers and spring rolls from costco which also spent their time in the oven while the girls prepared the pretzels and the cookies for baking. So everyone had something to munch on while cooking. We ordered pizza and had a crunchy kale salad for anyone who wanted it and ended it with yummy mango mousse cake and a chocolate mocha cake – both super delicious and definitely something we will order again – from a local bakery – La Patisserie Bakery.

The games: During the two baking times – for the pretzels and the cookies – the kids played a cooking game. The game they played was a memory game with food as the theme –the first player says ‘ I went to a picnic and took an apple with me’; and the next one adds to the picnic basket saying ‘I went to a picnic and took an apple and a banana with me’ and so on (and the alphabetical order of the foods is just coincidence – the kids did not play it that way though that can be an added challenge to make it more fun or difficult)

All in all, the party was a success and the little chefs had loads of fun – they got to take their aprons home and I am sure those will last a long time. As they left, they picked a couple of cookie cutters of their choice from the set we had ordered and were given a mini-cook book that included the recipes they had made during the party (with attributes to websites they were taken from included as well).

The recipe booklet was made using a cookbook template available in Microsoft Word – though it can be easily made as a set of recipe cards and put together with ribbons or putting them into small photo albums (also included as part of their take home goodies). Here is a screenshot of the pages that I printed out.

One main thing or tip I want to share out of this experience is to Go With the Flow. So when things went a little not according to plan, like burnt marshmallows, or the girls choosing to make a movie on the iPhone rather than playing the second and third cooking game I had planned for them or when the music was not loud enough for them to dance since they were all talking as well, just go with the flow and join in the fun. It makes it all worthwhile when you see a smile on the face of the one you are doing it for and when you hear that ‘Thank You, Mommy, it was the best birthday party ever‘!
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