Time for Thought On Our Vacation
Princeville, Kauai 

It is that time of the year again! Planning the school year and shopping for school essentials. I simply cannot believe that it is time to start getting ready for school. I just opened my mail with some adds from local stores about back to school discounts. It was an eye opener- is it really time to get ready? That early? Yet, there is something to be said about getting your child ready and organized for a fresh start before all the craziness of the first week of school!

Besides the beginning of the school year I am also packing for a trip. I am noticing that when I take more time to think about the items I would need, I am much more efficient with packing and shopping. If you have the convenience of shopping at home and the time to look through the items and choose carefully, you may find this year's back to school shopping to be less stressful, more efficient, and perhaps even cheaper! Here are some school essentials that you may find helpful!

The Backpack and Clothing.   Most parents like shoping with their child and like going to one store and getting it done. Yet, if you feel like you would like to do your Back to School Clothing shopping online, and add another must to it-a backpack, then check this site! It is a great site that is getting very popular and parents are now raving about! You would need to provide an email in order to glance through their collections.

Labels.  The younger your child is, the more they are likely to loose things! To prevent that you need to pack and label everything well! This year, prepare and send your child to school safely! Mabel's Labels have a great selection of labels and supplies for everything you need! All the fun things in this website may look unnecessary, but you may find out that you are glad you got them after your child starts school! 

Electronics and supplies.  Amazon has become the place where we go for...well pretty much everything. It is no exception that parents may look at Amazon for back to school items, especially when it comes to electronics, books, and educational games. Check these discounted offers.

Education and software.
 The beginning of the school year is time to think about not just supplies for your child but...education itself! You may be interested in looking at different educational materials and resources. With some kids, using technology to teach and focus on their weak subjects can be very effective. Other children may need to get used to technology itself. If this is the case, then check out the Kid's Software Outlet!

Teaching Books and Supplementary Materials
There is one more site I would recommend for educational materials and activities for your child. Whether you want to help them with a specific subject, develop your child's creativity and curiosity about knowledge, or you homeschool and are always looking for new ways to engage your young learner, this is a wonderful site to know about and explore!  Have you heard of teachercreateded? You can find wonderful materials for all subjects! Check it out HERE

Cool School Supplies.   If you wish to get a bit fancier with the school supplies you buy, you may want to check the site below. 3d and customized school supplies can make a great gifts for a child and make a reluctant learner be enthusiastic about going back to school. Take advantage of the discount offered at the moment and through this site. Back to School products in 3D or animation - Notebooks, bookmarks, backpack tags & Rulers! BTS25 for 25% off.

Saving the Earth.  Are you concerned with green products for your child? Then you may want to check this company specializing in eco friendly lunch boxes! Most parents like shoping with their chiod and may like going to one store and getting it done. Yet, if you feel like you would like to do your Bakc to School Clothes shopping online, and add another must to it-a backpack, then check this site!
Waste-Free Lunchware by ECOlunchboxes.com

Disclosure:  this is a sponsored post! We hope that the ideas in the post are helpful and could be a "one way stop" for parents to gather back to school products and to share with other parents. We have selected helpful sites that are teacher tested. Purchasing products through clicking on the link of this page will bring us a small monetary compensation at no extra cost to you. We are hoping that you will consider doing that, but we mostly hope that you would find the post helpful and your child has a wonderful school year ahead!

Don't miss any more parenting tips and products!

Being a teacher comes with its rewards and challenges. But during the summer we, teachers can focus on ourselves and really use that time to do what we love. In my case this is cooking and exploring different cultures through their cuisine.  Using the summer time to cook, explore and connect with friends makes this teacher happy! 

I simply love exploring the taste of other cultures. I also love getting together with people and using cooking as a way to connect with others. Here in the US we can learn a lot from other cultures that cook with simple, fresh ingredients, yet making recipes that are interesting and delicious. I had asked a good friend of mine, Paloma who is from Spain to teach me how to cook some Spanish dishes. And I am glad I did! Here is our recipe for a traditional Spanish gazpacho.

I had been looking at different Gazpacho recipes in the past. I was not sure which recipe would provide a more traditional or authentic taste. Now I am sure! Credit to the recipe entirely to my friend Paloma and her wonderful cooking. My blog is just a place to store the recipe for myself and to share her talents.

Gazpacho is a cold tomato based soup. It is very refreshing and wonderful for the summer. All you need is a blender. It is also very quick and easy to make. Making gazpacho can be a great addition to your healthy summer recipes!

7-8 medium tomatoes, very ripe
1/2 green bell pepper
1/2 cucumber
About 2.5 oz chopped onions
one clove garlic
1/2 cup of olive oil
1/4 white wine vinegar ( or just a bit less that 1/3 cup)
1/2 cup water
Salt to taste

1 apple-optional

You may use one piece of (old) bread instead of the apple if you need a richer taste. If you don't like the sweetness of the apple in a main dish, simply use all the other veggies for a wonderful and fresh taste

Done in:                                            Preparation:                                     Cooking:
Less than 15 min                                  10min                                                  1min

Rinse and chop all vegetables. Put them in a blender. Add the salt, olive oil, vinegar and water. Blend everything together. Just as simple as that!

Blend everything together. Just as simple as that! You may blend till the ingredients become a liquid or blend less to have smaller pieces of vegetables depending on your taste.

This refreshing soup is served chilled. You can out ice cubes in t if you wish to serve it right away or put it in the fridge to cool.


This is all making me very hungry. So I am off to the kitchen! Please, don't forget to leave a comment and pin or share the recipe before you go!

Quinoa Salad with Peppers Cucumbers and Tomatoes
Summer can be lots of fun. But the heat can also drain our energy. Making smart choices of recipes can help us beat the summer heat. Using the wisdom of Ayurvedic cooking and making small changes in our cooking can help us have more energy for the things we want to do. Fruits and vegetables with high water content help us stay cool and hydrated during the summer. That also affects our energy level. Adding vegetables such as cucumbers, eggplants, tomatoes to your summer menu can help you feel fuller, balanced and beat the heat! Certain spices such as mint and coriander also have that effect.

Luckily for me, my home country recipes use a lot of these vegetables. One of my favorite summer recipes is this quinoa salad that very much resembles a salad that we make traditionally in Bulgaria. I added quinoa and changed the spices slightly to match the Ayurvedic . It was a hit!!! Very easy to make, it makes a lot so it is easy to feed a big family or guests. It is healthy and delicious at the same time. Oh, and did I forget? It is vegan! I would love to share!

1 cup white quinoa
1 cucumber
1 medium ripe tomato
1 red bell pepper
1 lime
1/2 tbs coriander
salt to taste


4-6 if served as a side and 2 if served as a main dish.

I like having my salads with mostly vegetables with just a bit of protein, in this case the quinoa. However, if you would like to make it a bit more filling, simply use the same ingredients and double the quinoa. It will be just as delicious and you can use the quinoa dish as a main meal.

Cook the quinoa according to instructions, 1 cup quinoa to 2 cups water. Let boil until the water gets absorbed. Set aside and let cool.

Peal the cucumber and cut all vegetables into a bowl.
Squeeze the juice of one lime (you can use lemon as well). Add salt to taste. Mix the vegetable together.
 Poor the ready quinoa on top. Sprinkle the coriander. You can add more or less coriander depending on your taste.
 Mix everything together. Salad is ready! You may serve it warm right after the quinoa is ready or let stay in the fridge and serve chilled.

Before you rush to the kitchen, please pin the recipe and share on your social media!

What recipes do you like using during the summer? 

Are you interested in buying a piano for you or your child? Not sure where to start and how to choose the right piano for your situation? Enjoy today's guest article by Eugene Hix. He writes for Piano Forte. He is a father of two and a devoted husband – except when he’s writing. When not engrossed in writing though, he’s also into horseback riding, camping, and teaching his boys how to play the piano. 

If you are planning on buying a piano, there are several things that a buyer must consider when picking a piano of your choice. It is important that you are aware of these things to make a sound choice.

TONE - For musicians, it is important that the piano has a good sound quality.

TOUCH and FEEL – Second in the list of important things to consider when buying a piano is how it feels and respond to the touch. You need to be comfortable in touching the keys when you play the piano.

DURABILITY – Another important part of the piano is its durability and how it holds up under use.

DESIGN – Some people or musicians also look for a piano’s appearance, its style, color, and shape. There are certain designs that may not fit into your living room; or there are those that may fit perfectly into a smaller room. Whichever design it maybe, do not just solely rely on the designs alone.

MANUFACTURING and BRAND – Some also consider the piano’s brand and how the piano is built for – extra features. Some piano brands that you might be familiar with includes the Casio Digital Piano, Yamaha Baby Grand Piano, and Upright Piano just to name a few.
Getting familiar with Piano Brands for Beginners
For beginners, here is a list of Piano brands to choose from:
1.     Kawai Pianos have the same price with Yamaha pianos and reliable. Although their sound is a little low in quality.
2.     Petrof or Estonia/ Bohemia Pianos are good quality pianos and value for money is just right.
3.     Bösendorfer Pianos are the best especially if money is not an object. This is a very good quality piano.
4.     Baldwin Full Upright Pianos are good for practicing and mostly used by beginners and professional pianists.
5.     Yamaha Pianos are good for beginners but the sound quality is either too bright, or shrill. Affordability? Easy on the budget.
6.      Casio Pianos are great if you want to get only a keyboard and not a grand piano because they are good and affordable.
7.     Steinway Pianos are expensive but of good quality.
8.     Boston Pianos are also good for beginners.

COST – It is also important to consider the cost of the piano. Cost depends though on the piano’s brand, quality, and design.
Picking your own piano from the rest may mean you have to consider the 4 main factors – quality, durability, touch and design. So the next time you drop by the music store and ready to buy your own piano, make sure you consider these 4 factors. The fifth one can be a bonus if you are interested in a particular brand. For a novice piano player, it might be hard to check the tone quality, but it always helps to have an experienced ear or an expert in pianos accompany you. Having an expert go with you, can be a big help.
Separating the tone quality from the feel can be difficult that even experienced pianists even find it hard to distinguish. Though there are pianos that may have a touch that is difficult to produce a good tone most people would assume that the tone produced will inherently be poor.  Though that is not the case and may just need some adjustments. 

Bulgarian Recipe to Die For
 I found this in an old Bulgarian newspaper. The ones that my aunt used to cut and save for me so that I can try when coming to the US. I have been meaning to try this for awhile as the recipe is very simple, budget friendly, yet tasty with ingredients I love. Finally I had a friend coming over and all the ingredients for the recipe were in my fridge. Perfect timing! After a wonderful afternoon visiting, my friend concluded "This is the best way to eat spinach". And I agree! The recipe is absolutely delicious, it is great to serve for guests or for the family, and it is very budget friendly. It is easy to modify it and make less or more.

4 ounces feta cheese
8 eggs
4 tablespoons shredded cheese (of your choice I used parmesan)
Salt and pepper to taste
1 large onion chopped
Olive oil spray or 1 tablespoon of olive oil

4 Servings
Recipe doubles easily

Time for Prep and Cooking:
Sometimes I do this very quickly by shortening some of the steps. I used pre-cut onion to save time. I also use one pan instead of transferring the batter (as shown below).

1. Heat oven to 400 degrees
2. Boil water in a large pan. Put the spinach in to get soft only for 1-2 minutes. Drain well and cut.
3. Grease a pan with the olive oil. Put the chopped onions in and let brown for about 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Add the spinach let cook for additional 2 minutes. Remove the pan from heat for a minute or two, or lower heat to min. as you don't want the eggs to scramble.
4. In the meantime brake the eggs and the feta cheese in a bowl. Gently stir to make the batter even. Poor over the spinach. Again, the spinach has to be warm but not boiling. Let the eggs bake for a couple of minutes. You want them slightly under done as they would finish cooking in the oven.
5. At this point you can use the batter in the same pan to go to the oven. Or you can transfer the batter into a rectangular pan. I like transferring it when I have guests as it looks more presentable. But when I cook it for myself I save time and simply use one pan. It is just as delicious.
6. Sprinkle the extra yellow cheese on top.
7. Out into the oven for 20 minutes.

While on the stove

After baking


Join me on another journey with books and children's education!

Welcome to the 40th Kid Lit Blog Hop where twice per month (the 1st and 3rd Wednesday) we continue to develop a dynamic and engaged community of children’s books bloggers, authors, publishers, and publicists. So, you are always more than welcome to join us by popping in a post and hopping around to meet some of your fellow Kid Lit bloggers and authors!

Kid Lit Blog Hop

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1. We ask that you kindly follow your hosts. You can follow us any way you choose (Email, GFC, Twitter, Facebook, G+, Pinterest, etc.), but we’ve added our preferences below. If you could just give us a quick “follow” or “like” that would be much appreciated! Make sure to leave us a message if you are following us (i.e., on Twitter or Facebook or on our websites) and we will be sure to follow you back. Thanks!:-)

2. Link up any Kid Lit related post. This can be a link to a children’s book review, a discussion about children’s literature/literacy, or a post on a recently-read children’s book or one that you love from your childhood.
* Don’t link directly to your blog, it must be a specific post.*
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Make sure you include an image relevant to the POST (e.g., book cover), not your blog button or photo of yourself.*
* Feel free to link more than one post.*
3. Please visit AT LEAST the TWO LINKS directly ahead of your own and leave them some love in the form of a comment. We are trying to build a community of bloggers, readers, parents, authors, and others who are as passionate about children’s literature as we are so please CONNECT and follow any or all of the blogs that interest you! 4. If you like, grab the button above and put it somewhere on your blog, preferably the post you’re linking up. If you’d prefer, you can just add a text link back to this Hop so that others can find it and check out all these great book links! 5. It would really help us get the word out about the Kid Lit Blog Hop if you would be so kind as to tweet, share, and spread the word about the Hop!
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Happy Hopping!

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