Thursday, April 21, 2016

Clean Eating Dinosaur-themed Snacks

Here are a couple of healthy snacks I made for Dinosaur Week at our house.

Using a pear, persimmon, and celery, I made a stegosaurus, grass and a tree. Sometimes when I make this snack, if I am not serving any other protein in the meal, I will use pumpkin or sunflower seeds for the spikes.

For the brachiosaurus, I usually make clouds out of yogurt or cottage cheese. The body is made from a pear with a small bit of blackberry for her eye. And pomegranate and blackberries help make the trees.

 If you like what you see here, check out my Amazon Author page for my Bollywood themed adult coloring book, picture books, (including 3 Raksha Bandhan books, 12 Indian language books for kids, The Booger Fairy and Nishi Goes to India), and The Chosen One, my YA novel.   If you have a minute, I'd love some more reviews.
 You can also click here to see my blog posts on The Huffington Post. 
Follow me on Twitter @soups25

Sunday, April 3, 2016

Outer Space Themed Card Table Panel #2: Astronauts



Last year, I showed you how I made the first panel of our outer space themed card table fort:


To make the American and Indian astronauts, I took a large piece of white felt to size out how big I wanted my astronauts to be. I first sketched the astronauts out lightly with a ballpoint pen:

I then cut the shapes out and placed them on the felt. I sewed them in place.


I then went over the drawing with a Sharpie Stained fabric pen and added in details with other colors as well.
Then I cut a shape out in each helmet for my kids to be able to stick their faces in, and sewed along the openings to hold the astronauts to the black felt.
And my astronaut panel was done!

This panel leads to great photo ops with the kids and their friends.  Check back for the rest of the fort and lots more!


If you like what you see here, check out my Amazon Author page for my picture books, (including 2 Elimination Communication books, 3 Raksha Bandhan books, 12 Indian language books for kids, The Booger Fairy and Nishi Goes to India), and The Chosen One, my YA novel.   If you have a minute, I'd love some more reviews.
 You can also click here to see my blog posts on The Huffington Post. 
Follow me on Twitter @soups25





Wednesday, March 16, 2016

2 Free Elimination Communication Picture Books!


I hope you had fun coloring my adult coloring book, Bollywood: An Adult Coloring Book.

I am excited to share two new picture books for kids with you.

As frequent readers of this blog know, I practiced Elimination Communication with my kids. That is when you take your child to the bathroom from birth. For my detailed post on EC, click here.

After EC'ing my children, I realized there was not a picture book on the subject for common phases in EC like when my oldest started having a few accidents when my youngest was born, or when we first make the switch from diapers to underwear, after a pee-strike. And so, Zuni's New Brother: An Elimination Communication Picture Book, and Nikhil's New Brother: An Elimination Communication Picture Book were born. 

Scroll down for more information and pictures from the books below.

Both books are available as paperbacks and e-books. And for a limited time, (3/17/2016 to 3/20/2016) the e-books are free! Just click on the links above during those dates and make sure you have selected the free Kindle version of both books if you want the free one. 


You can see all my books here. I have been able to give away thousands of copies of my Kindle books for free, and am happy to continue to do so. If you enjoyed any of my books, I would really appreciate some more reviews on Amazon. 

The illustrations are all done in collage, made out of old cards and magazines. Since I don't like to promote sexist stereotypes, the boys in my book happily wear pink. And since I don't want to contribute to the shadeism that is prevalent in the Indian community, I try to show picture book characters in various skin tones. Here are some of the images from Nikhil's New Underwear




And here are some illustrations from Zuni's New Brother:




So be sure to check out the books and get your free copies. And please take a minute to write a review on Amazon. Thanks!

Check back for new posts, including info on green products and DIY toys.
And if you like what you see here, check out my Amazon Author page for my picture books, (including 3 Raksha Bandhan books, 12 Indian language books for kids, The Booger Fairy and Nishi Goes to India), and The Chosen One, my YA novel.   If you have a minute, I'd love some more reviews.
 You can also click here to see my blog posts on The Huffington Post. 
Follow me on Twitter @soups25

Friday, February 19, 2016

Bollywood: An Adult Coloring Book

Adult coloring books are all the rage but even though many designs are based on Indian mandalas or common henna designs used in India, I didn't find many Indian-themed books. So I decided to make one, and Bollywood: An Adult Coloring Book was born.

As a lifelong fan of Bollywood, and a Bollywood screenwriter, I thought this was the perfect, fun topic for Hindi Film fans and for anyone who likes to color.

You can purchase the book on Amazon by clicking here.

Here are just some of the images (they are black and white in the book, of course):

Switzerland
The 2000s
Sindoor Shortage
The 1990s
The Evil Mother-in-Law

There are 26 one-sided coloring pages total in the book, with homages to common themes and characters in Bollywood:

  1. Singing in the Rain - featuring the romantic rains of the Monsoon.
  2. Comic Relief
  3. The Item Number- the sultry dance highlight of many movies.
  4. The Evil Mother-in-Law - you know the one from the 1960s and 1970s, who was always torturing her daughter in law, and always had a bottle of poison ready on the top of her dresser, just in case she needed to slip it to someone or threaten to take it herself.
  5. The Tribal Dance
  6. Kashmir 
  7. The Bus Song - because nothing makes you feel like singing and dancing than a bus ride.
  8. Dhishoom Dhishoom - the classic sounds of a good Hindi movie fight.
  9. The Bike Song
  10. The Widow
  11. The Courtesan
  12. Disco
  13. The 1980s
  14. The Snake-Person
  15. The Over-the-top, Insane Villain
  16. Pigeon Pal
  17. Switzerland
  18. The Bangles
  19. Twins Separated at Birth
  20. Sindoor Shortage- When you really need to elope but there is no sindoor around so you have to cut your finger open and use some romantic blood in its place.
  21. The 1990s
  22. The Thakur
  23. The Village
  24. The Gunda
  25. Kutte! - man's best friend.
  26. The 2000s.

Check back for new posts, including info on green products and DIY toys.
And if you like what you see here, check out my Amazon Author page for my picture books, (including 3 Raksha Bandhan books, 12 Indian language books for kids, The Booger Fairy and Nishi Goes to India), and The Chosen One, my YA novel.   If you have a minute, I'd love some more reviews.
 You can also click here to see my blog posts on The Huffington Post. 
Follow me on Twitter @soups25

Thursday, February 11, 2016

Finding a Bathroom Vanity that is Free of Triclosan, Microban and other Antibacterials/Antimicrobials

While looking to update a bathroom vanity top, I found that several of the vanity tops in the big box stores and even in specialty stores, were touting that they were antibacterial or antimicrobial!  I even found that a few vanity tops that didn't mention having those properties did end up having Triclosan or Microban applied to them, by writing each manufacturer to find out what was in their vanity tops.

If you're a frequent reader of this blog, you know I do not use Triclosan (click here on what antibacterials are linked to, where they can be found, and how to avoid them).

It was beginning to look hopeless.  Either companies didn't know what was in their vanity tops, or they didn't respond, or they had an antimicrobial or antibacterial coating. Finally, I got this response from Kohler, so I am going with them:



Unfortunately, it isn't just vanity tops that companies have been coating with antimicrobials. One of the leading faucet manufacturers makes several products with Microban. So I do the best I can before making any changes, to contact the companies I want to give my business to, and ensure that I am not exposing my family to chemicals I want to avoid.

Check back for new posts, including more info on green products and DIY toys.
And if you like what you see here, check out my Amazon Author page for my picture books, (including 3 Raksha Bandhan books, 12 Indian language books for kids, The Booger Fairy and Nishi Goes to India), and The Chosen One, my YA novel.   If you have a minute, I'd love some more reviews.
 You can also click here to see my blog posts on The Huffington Post. 
Follow me on Twitter @soups25

Friday, January 29, 2016

Koalabu Natural Unfinished Wooden Peg Doll Bodies

Over the past month, I have had the pleasure of trying out some wooden peg doll bodies, made in America by Koalabu.
(Note: I received complimentary Koalabu peg doll bodies.  All opinions are my own).

From L to R: Koalabu Man, Woman, Angel, Boy and Tot dolls

I had always wanted to try making some peg dolls for my boys but the quality of the ones found at my local craft store were not fantastic. They looked splintery and made no mention of whether or not the trees they made the dolls out of were sprayed with pesticides or fungicides, so I was thrilled when I found Koalabu dolls on Amazon.

Koalabu's wood is not treated with chemicals. They make their dolls out of untreated, unfinished, non-toxic hardwood, in America!  They come in a variety of sizes and shapes:

Men - 2-3/8" tall x 7/8" diameter
Women - 2-1/4" x 5/8"
Angels - 2" x 7/8"
Boys - 1-11/16" x 5/8"
Tots - 1-3/16" x 5/8"

They also make XL Men and Angel doll bodies.

You can purchase the wooden peg doll bodies by clicking here for their product page on Amazon, or by clicking here, for their website, www.koalabu.com. 

Below are just a few of the fun dolls I have been able to make with these awesome wooden peg doll bodies by Koalabu.  I had so much fun I even purchased a couple more bags from Amazon of the Men and Angels. The quality is so great and the price is so reasonable, I couldn't resist, and now have a full-fledged peg doll making addiction.  I will post individual tutorials on how I made these over the next year so make sure to check back.



Here is the Koalabu Man Peg Doll Body.  I used this to make a blue butterfly gnome:



Here is the Koalabu Boy Peg Doll Body. 



I used it to make a blue butterfly pupa and gave the pupa a chrysalis to sleep in:



Here is the Koalabu Woman Peg Doll Body. 
I used it to make a mother doll.


And I used this Koalabu Tot Peg Doll Body to make a baby for her to wear, but since my youngest still mouths on toys occasionally, this cute little doll is going to stay out of his reach until he outgrows that stage. 


Finally, I used the Koalabu Angel Peg Doll Body above to make 7 weather and season Gnomes, 3 mushroom gnomes, 3 Indian-themed gnomes for Diwali (henna, peacock and lotus-themed), a sunflower gnome, and Little Red Riding Hood and the Big Bad Wolf.








The possibilities with wooden peg doll bodies are endless, and I feel great using Koalabu Wooden Peg Doll Bodies, knowing the bodies are free of chemicals for my kids to play with.


Check back for new posts, including more info on green products and DIY toys.
And if you like what you see here, check out my Amazon Author page for my picture books, (including 3 Raksha Bandhan books, 12 Indian language books for kids, The Booger Fairy and Nishi Goes to India), and The Chosen One, my YA novel.   If you have a minute, I'd love some more reviews.
 You can also click here to see my blog posts on The Huffington Post. 
Follow me on Twitter @soups25




Sunday, January 10, 2016

DIY Busy Mat - Upcycle Jeans into a Busy Mat!

 

We don't do Time Outs in our house since so much research has come out showing that children's brains are still developing and they need an adult to help them process what has happened and how to correct it. So instead, we do Time Ins. We sit with our Threenager and refocus him before correcting the behavior when he is in a calmer state to receive the information. We refocus him with puzzles, books and this busy mat that I made out of felt and old pants.

Remember, I don't use clothes that are wrinkle-free, no-iron or treated with antibacterials/Microban/antimicrobials. To see the reasons why and where else these chemicals can be found, click above to read my earlier posts on the subject.

I used a large piece of felt that I had leftover from the no-sew ocean playmats I had made as the party favor for my child's birthday.

I then cut up an old pair of my husband's jeans and used a scrap of my old cotton pajamas that I had saved (the drawstring in the bottom middle part of the busy mat).

Here is what I did, section by section:

1.) To make the Hungry Monster, I cut out food from scraps of felt I had leftover from other projects, and eyes and a nose and a heart, and the gray face. I sewed the face down and drew eyeballs on with a Sharpie Stained fabric pen.

I then cut out the fly of the jeans to look like lips and a chin and sewed it down to the mat.


So kids can unzip his mouth and feed him like so:


2.) Next up was a Marble Maze. I would not use a marble if my kid was at an age where he or she could possibly choke on it.

I cut a back pocket out of the jeans. I sewed two hearts, one at either end of the maze, and then sewed my maze lines into the pocket. Before I closed it up, I sewed the marble into one end. So my child can push the marble inside the pocket from one heart to another.

And with that, my top row was complete.

3.) Next up was the washing machine. I cut out a side pocket in a circular shape, and cut a square of gray felt. I sewed along the border of the pocket, sewing it to the gray square and then sewed that square down to the blue felt mat. I wrote some laundry controls down on the "machine" with a black Sharpie Fabric Pen.

4.) Next I cut out socks, a shirt and pants out of felt. Using felt I made grass, a tree and a clothesline. And I found an old friendship bracelet from my childhood in my fabric scraps and sewed the two outer knots down to the clothes line. I bought small clothespins from a craft store (I wouldn't use tiny clothespins with kids who could choke on them) and clipped them to the line. Then I cut the other back pocket out, cut it in half, and sewed that down in the grass to be a laundry basket.


So my middle row was complete and my child could wash the clothes and hang them to dry.

5.) For the bottom row, I cut the button portion of the jeans out and sewed it down for my son to practice using a button with.


6.) I sewed the bit of my cotton pajama drawstring down for the middle of the bottom row to practice tying knots.


7.) And finally, I sewed down part of the belt loop section of the jeans and used a scrap of off-white fabric that I sewed down on one end to work on stringing or looping a belt.


All that was left was to cut off the extra blue felt on the mat and it was done!

The mat was so much fun to make and because half the components were already sewed, it didn't take as much time as if I had made everything from scratch. This is a great way to repurpose an old pair of jeans in a constructive way for my kids.





If you like what you see here, check out my Amazon Author page for my picture books, (including 3 Raksha Bandhan books, 12 Indian language books for kids, The Booger Fairy and Nishi Goes to India), and The Chosen One, my YA novel.   If you have a minute, I'd love some more reviews.
 You can also click here to see my blog posts on The Huffington Post. 
Follow me on Twitter @soups25