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.