Monday, July 08, 2013

Photo Books

One of my Summer Goals is to make another awesome photo book for Layla. For my last one I used Creative Memories software, which was totally rad. But, the company is going bankrupt so I'm looking for a new one. I just found this GREAT site that compares different companies and tracks printing deals and even has a bunch of tutorials and tips. On there I found out there are like 800 different companies that do this and probably a million hard-core digital scrapbooking fans (some that use a different company for every book depending on which one has the deal). I think if you aren't trying to be complicated you can put together a book in less than 2 hours but I can't imagine being that fast, like ever (it took me over a month to put together my last one, and I was working really hard).

After doing some online research, I went with Blurb, which isn't quite as cool as Creative Memories but about half the price.

Also while we're talking about photos check out these amazing photo cubes from Shutterfly:


Update: I found a more professional review of digital scrapbooking companies here.

Sunday, July 07, 2013

Wallingford Kiddie Parade

Every year, our neighborhood has a parade and festival and a lot of businesses in the community get to march in the parade. Our daycare usually marches, and we had planned to go march with them. How exciting! Except, when we got to the start we couldn't find our group! We looked EVERYWHERE (we found out later they were one of the last to go, so they went to the playground while they waited to to entertain all the kids). So, we joined up with a local business, Family Works, where someone we know is employed. We have NO IDEA what Family Works even is, but they got a lot of cheers as we marched with them. They also gave us some awesome butterfly wings to wear (sorry I didn't get a picture)!!

About halfway through the parade, Layla's shoes became uncomfortable. We pulled aside and fixed her shoe while our "Family Works" group kept on going. I convinced Layla to hang out for a bit and watch (hoping maybe we'd find our daycare group). We had a lot of fun - we saw clowns, got some candy, heard a marching band and saw a dance troupe.


Then, a group from Layla's gymnastics place (The Little Gym) marched past. They all had super-cute matching purple T-shirts and a banner. We didn't recognize anybody, but Layla wanted to join them anyway (she LOVES her gymnastics class!).



So as they passed us, we ventured back into the parade and walked with them. We got a few startled looks from members of the group but nobody said anything. We were the only ones in the group without the matching purple T-shirts, and we didn't know anybody! (Although, I found out later there was someone there from her class).

We finally got to the end, where there were bouncy houses, food venders, lots and lots and LOTS of people, and more music!! We found our daycare friends (finally!) and had a blast until everyone was sunburnt and exhausted.

Some garden posts

There is a hippie gym down the street from us, called "Om Culture." The place is really fun and Layla and I go whenever we get a chance. In front of the building is a wild area that sometimes looks like a garden. Just this week some signs went up that indicate it is indeed meant to be a garden.




This last one explains the part that looks the least like a garden - it's a mess of different stuff on purpose!! I never thought of that. Maybe next time I don't get a chance to weed I can say "it's for the bees..."

Friday, July 05, 2013

SUMMER

This is our LAST summer in Seattle (boo!) so we are LIVING IT UP. So far it has been the Best Summer Ever. Here's why:

1) WEATHER - it's been in the 70s and low-80s almost every day for two months. This is definitely the best weather I've ever seen in Seattle or probably my whole life. Last summer we didn't see the sun or above-70s temps until mid-July.

2) TRAMPOLINE - our neighbor, who we unofficially share backyards with, bought a wicked awesome trampoline and lets us use it whenever we want. It's OVAL-shaped so easily accommodates two people so Layla and I can both jump our hearts out at the same time.

3) the BEACH - last year, we had a few weeks to scope out the beaches and wading pools, and this year we were READY for it when summer came - and we have been hitting the beach hard, sometimes multiple times a day. In Seattle you have lots of choices of different kinds of beaches (saltwater, sandy, shady, sunny, tidepools, on a running trail, near the soccer field, or even in the neighborhood) - we decide which one, then get the sunblock, sunglasses, towel, and GO whenever we can! I have found myself stashing swimsuits for the whole family on a quick run to the grocery store just in case - and then being glad I did!

4) ICE CREAM! Need I say more?

A few more good books

It's really fun to see Layla's taste in books develop. She cherishes her time reading with us every night and LOVES picking up new books from the library. Recently, she started 'reading' in bed by herself after we say good night (with our permission) - she picks out some books and flips through them in bed until she decides she's done, then she turns out her light and goes to sleep! It's amazing that she 1) likes to do this and 2) actually goes to bed within a reasonable time-frame (usually). One day when we opened up a new library book I asked if she had ever read it before and she said 'at night by myself but not with you.' So sweet!

Our baby group just created a 'wish list' on Amazon of all our kids' favorite books (each contributed ~4 suggestions). If you're interested, the link is here.

Layla's favorites these days are:

All the weird books by William Steig, including 'Sylvester and the Pebble' (about a donkey that finds a wishing pebbles and accidentally wishes himself into a rock) and 'Dr. DeSoto (about a mouse dentist that schemes his way out of getting eaten by a fox that's a patient of his).

"Ladybug Girl" by Jackie Davis

the "Pinkalicious" books by Victoria Kann

the "Berenstain Bears" books

"Iggy Peck, Architect" by Andrea Beaty

ALL of the Laura Numeroff books - especially the "Jelly Beans" books

"E-mergency" by Tom Lichtenfeld and Ezra Fields-Meyer. This is just about one of the most clever books I've ever read - and the genius is in the illustrations, which, amazingly were done by a high school kid (Ezra Fields-Meyer). The illustrator also happens to be the autistic subject of his father's famous book, "Following Ezra."

Books about TV shoes and movies, like the Pixar movie books, Curious George, Dora the Explorer, Bubble Guppies etc (she often likes the books BETTER than the TV versions, or has never even seen the TV version)