Friday, April 24, 2015

Gift Idea: Photo books as gifts


Hey sweet readers, you might remember the yearbooks I am making for our photos from here. I thought I’d also share these recent photo books that I got made for my mom. I just recently ordered these with photos from our last two visits to them and love how they have turned out! Sometimes it is really hard to find that perfect gift for our families and this is a great idea for such times, for the grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins in your kids lives.

Here’s a glimpse.


I have mostly used Shutterfly in the past but recently ordered one from MyPublisher and have only good things to say about the experience!

And should I let you in on my secret? ;) If you’ve subscribed to the mailing lists, you’ll get to know of the FREE photo book promotions that occur quite a few times every year. All you pay for is the shipping and the effort that goes into it! It is so totally worth it and usually the way I order most of my photo books as gifts. :)


Here are some ideas for Photo Books for loved ones.

- A Yearbook of your baby/kid’s growth and major milestones/events/celebrations from that year. 

- A photo book with photos of your child from a recent vacation.

- A photo book of your/your kid’s time spent with them.

- If any of your family has visited recently, a photo book of their time with you.

-A photo book of your kid’s birthday party if they had a big celebration.


Thanks for stopping by and lots of love.


Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Love thy home

20150122-20150122-IMG_3442 Our home in Peshawer from ‘92-‘94

I grew up in tens of houses and apartments of all shapes and sizes in big and small cities and suburbs all over Pakistan. We loved each and every house that was a part of our story for the few years we lived in it and said goodbye to every house with tears in our eyes and lumps in our throats. I can distinctly remember standing in our empty rooms as our luggage was being loaded outside and noticing how sad our rooms looked without our stuff and our families living in it; and simultaneously remembering all that that particular home had meant to us.

20150119-20150119-292My mom and us in our apartment in Kuwait right before our move back to Pakistan in ‘87

Our last visit to Pakistan was the first one where despite having the amazing time that she was having, Anya would say 'I miss my home', ‘I want to go home’, almost every single night before going to bed. And if Bilal and I are ever discussing future plans about moving houses or cities sometime, there is her persistent voice in the background that keeps telling us, 'Noo I like this home, I don’t want another home', ultimately leading Bilal to explain to her how people make a home really and that even if we moved to another house she would still have her own room just like this one and all of her stuff in it.

This connection Anya feels to her home though, makes me so happy. Each house that I lived in, small or big, new or old, fancy or not, was such an important part of my story and I would love for my daughter to feel the same way. The house we currently live in, is not what you would call a dream home; it is pretty tiny, it is dated, and it is far from what people would consider ideal. But flaws and all, we try to love it and make the most of it. It is easy to get drawn into what you see around yourself, it is easy to judge your home compared to the homes of those around you, it is easy to feel embarrassed of your space if it doesn’t fall into the league of those around you, but for our kids sake, I believe it’s important not to. I feel it is important to give our kids a pride in the place they live in. And the best way to do that is by living the example, appreciating what we have and making good of what we’ve been given. Even if in our hearts we are dreaming of another space, we should enjoy whatever time we have in our current home because really, at the end of the day a house is just that, a structure, a building. The memory-making, the fun, the laughter, the celebrations, the traditions, the love, all of that that happens in it, is just going to be the same in whichever place we call our home. 

20150119-20150119-14320150122-20150122-IMG_335220150122-20150122-IMG_3448(From top to bottom): Our family of 4 standing in the driveway of our house in Quetta from ‘87 – ‘89; My sister and I outside our home in Karachi in ‘92; The three of us outside our Peshawer home in ‘93. 

I have noticed young kids noticing and commenting on how big or fancy their own or their friends houses are or are not and find it a little odd. I would think it happens because of what they unconsciously pick up from their parents and their conversations and realized as parents our own insecurities can easily become our children’s if we’re not careful.

Just something on my mind that I wanted to share. What are your thoughts?

Thanks for reading and lots of love.

20150120-20150120-IMG_3211Our home in Sargodha in ‘99

Also from earlier on the blog: How to love the place you call your home.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

A simple DIY gift box idea


I love giving gifts and thinking of ideas to fancy up simple gifts. Here is something I have tried which I wanted to share earlier but changed my mind when it seemed too common sense and simple! Well, I’m still doing it anyway because maybe one of you hadn’t thought of this before? I hope so!



We all have these random gift boxes that come with some purchases or even with gifts we get. It would be totally fine to use them for gifts as they are, but it feels so much more special with this simple idea.

All you need is : a hot glue gun / any kind of ribbon, lace, fabric strip / the gift box you’d like to repurpose

Just cover up the store name or whatever with the lace/ribbon/fabric etc using the hot glue gun and viola, you’re done!

(Of course this really works with simple gift boxes which don’t have too much going on them, but it would be fun to improvise!)


Please tell me you had not thought of this before?


Thanks for reading and lots of love.



Thursday, April 9, 2015

Cooking with Anya : Tandoori Naan Pizza


I had this recipe pinned for the longest time and finally tried it last week with Anya. Now that she is older it is fun to involve her in the kitchen. And because she is a super picky eater, I thought if she is more involved in the preparation she might eat better.


This quick idea turned out to be so much fun. I had some shredded cooked chicken left over so used that instead and improvised with the ingredients I had on hand. Anya really enjoyed making her own pizza and then eating it. If you’d like to try this out follow the link to the recipe here. And if your kid is impatient like mine, I would suggest having the chicken and vegetables ready before hand and then letting them layer the pizza on their own.

In case you’re wondering this is the naan brand that I usually like to use.


If you have kids and like me usually have naan in your freezer, this is a perfect little snack/activity with your toddlers.

Thanks for stopping by. Lots of love.


Monday, April 6, 2015

Birthday Playdate for Anya’s 4th Birthday



Hey lovelies, I am so sorry about the never-ending birthday related posts I end up doing every year but what can I do, Anya just is a lucky girl and seems to have too many birthday parties mA:)

You probably know from my earlier post, but we had a little birthday playdate celebration for her friends a couple weeks ago. We kept it super simple and invited just her closest friends and their moms for a mommy-and-I birthday afternoon.

Here are some photos from the day taken by my talented photographer friend, Sumera. Take a peek?











More about the Stuffies Birthday Craft here.





Photo Credits: Sumera Naveed.

Don’t know about the guests, but Anya and I had a fabulous time hanging out with our girlfriends and some very special little toddler guy friends:) We are so blessed to have such great friends around us that make celebrations so special. Alhamdullilah.


SOURCES: Invite via Celebrations, Mini Cupcakes from New York Cupcakes, Birthday Hats from Amazon with hot glued pom poms + felt number 4 for the birthday girl, Paper Bags from Target, Thank You gift tags a freebie via The Pretty Blog, DIY felt crowns for the stuffies, DIY washi tape cupcake toppers leftover from her 3rd birthday party, ‘4’ candle from Papyrus, Anya’s dress from Minnie Minors bought by my mom, My kurta top from Generation


Thank you so much for stopping by and lots of love.


Friday, April 3, 2015

Toddler Project: Hand-drawn Stuffie



Did you read the post about the Stuffie Painting craft we did for Anya’s birthday? If you haven’t, maybe go check that out first?

While I was making the stuffies for the party, I had this idea to make one little guy that Anya has drawn herself. My little girl is an artist and loves drawing her version of people and animals all the time. I got her to draw this directly on the fabric with the fabric marker and then made it into a stuffie before I had her paint it.



Adorable, right? A simple little project to celebrate her art and the simple little drawings she makes for us all the time. I love how it turned out and so does Anya.


Thanks for reading. Lots of love.