Sunday, May 8, 2016

We moved again, come Instagram with me.

If you would like to see more of our "Expat Anthology" posts, click HERE!

It has been about a month since we arrived in Sri Lanka and I finally have the mind space to write about it. A little bit before we left I changed the look of Crazy Little Family Adventure, not knowing that soon we would be moving again, I now know it was some kind of serendipity. After the change I had little time to finalize the look of things and that should all be coming soon.

One year in Bangkok, two years in Phuket, one year in Bali have prepared us for a pretty clean relocation. But there is more, Sri Lanka has an energy that none of those other places had, here I feel at home. Feeling at home helps, it helps arrange my emotions in a different way.

The other day my husband and I talked again about how he is the travel brain and I am the home brain. Sri Lanka makes me feel like I can be homey. I can take care of us in a better emotional space.

Even if the move was pretty well oiled, it still caught me off guard and all the new business projects I had going got put on the back burner and I had a hard time getting back on track.

Orana Creative, my artistic business alter ego is my way of taking control of my creative future but lately this blog has been getting unprecedented attention. I thought I was leaving this blog behind but now I know that it has a lot more potential that I could tap into.

Moving again has also given me new ideas to write about, travel stories, food stories, educational stories about the kids and their new school.

I think it's time to write more family stories AND run my business together.

If my Instagram presence is any indication to this idea I believe I am doing the right thing. I am running three accounts that are a team. Instagram is the only thing I have managed to keep alive this entire time and I think it has also been a process of discovery.

Have you been following all three of my accounts? You really should be.


@oranavelarde is the account where you can follow our adventures and this blog. This account was dormant for a long time and I was trying some creative things with it. I decided to keep this one personal and more geared towards our real life. The other two accounts are more creative and you should check them straight away.

@orana.creative  is the account for my business where you will find social media tips and inspiration for your own creative process as a blogger or small business owner.  is the colorful account of my artist brain and all the artistic things we do together with the kids.


Best of Worst

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

ZUS by nonda, our new favorite travel tech

When we are in travel mode we spend a lot of time in cars, mostly rental cars or vans. We also go through Iphone and Ipad chargers pretty quickly. Constant travel takes a toll of on that kind of stuff. I remember having to stop in an little town under the Gunung Agung Volcano someplace in Bali to buy whatever car iPhone charger the local phone shop had, because ours would simply stop working all of a sudden.

I think I have a collection of failed car chargers somewhere, you know, just in case. But I can get rid of them now, because now we have the ZUS double charger from nonda. Not only does it look freaking unbreakable, and charges the iPhone in a jiffy, it has two usb portals so we can charge two phones or one iPhone and the iPad at the same time and it doesn't make it charge any slower either.

I do suggest you use the original iPhone cables or the nonda cables though, the chinese versions work for a little while and then just stop, like any hardware not made by Apple. Since the ZUS is only the charger and not the cable it doesn't have this problem. (UPDATE: Nonda is launching their own cable!) You can charge an android or a camera, or even the external battery for when you know you'll be far from the car for the entire day.

I got the ZUS as a gift from nonda and thought it was pretty cool in terms of packaging and looks, those are important to me since I'm a very visual person.

Our family just moved to Sri Lanka and have decided to not get a long term rental car this time. We take taxis inside the city and when going out of town, we hire a van with a driver.

Last weekend we went to an Elephant Safari Lodge and another place called Singiriya. We did a lot of roadtripping and of course our phones couldn't handle it! Drivers have their own phones to charge so when we use their charges we take away their juice, this time we used our ZUS and everyone could charge their device quickly, efficiently and with admiration for how good it looks.

To top it off, it also works as a gps unit when you can't find where you parked your car. When we came down Singiriya rock, the parking lot was full of van just like ours and there was no way of telling which was ours. The driver was off drinking tea in a little hut and we remembered that the ZUS was inside the car. We turned the locator on and it led us back to the car! You can't beat that.

We love the new addition to our travel gear and won't change it for any other car charger ever again!

Do you want to get a ZUS charger too? Check out their website

Sunday, March 20, 2016

Creative Kids Culture Blog Hop no. 37

Welcome to the Creative Kids Culture Blog Hop!

The Creative Kids Culture Blog Hop is a place where bloggers can share multicultural activities, crafts, recipes, and musings for our creative kids. We can't wait to see what you share this time!

Created by Frances of Discovering the World through My Son's Eyes, the blog hop has now found a new home at Multicultural Kid Blogs.

This month our co-hosts are: 

Creative Kids Culture Blog Hop is a place for you to share your creative kids culture posts. It's very easy, and simple to participate!
Just follow these simple guidelines:
  • Pinterest, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook. Please let us know you're following us, and we will be sure to follow you back.
  • Link up any creative kids culture posts, such as language, culture, books, travel, food, crafts, playdates, activities, heritage, and holidays, etc. Please, link directly to your specific post, and no giveaways, shops, stores, etc.
Creative Kids Culture Blog Hop
  • Please grab the button code above and put it on your blog or the post you’re linking up. You can also add a text link back to this hop on your blog post. Note: By sharing your link up on this blog hop you are giving us permission to feature your blog post with pictures, and to pin your link up in our Creative Kids Culture Feature board on Pinterest.
  • Don't be a stranger, and share some comment love! Visit the other links, and comment. Everyone loves comments!
  • The Creative Kids Culture Blog Hop will go live on the 3rd Sunday of the month. It will run for three weeks. The following blog hop we will feature a previous link up post, and if you're featured, don't forget to grab the button below:
Creative Kids Culture Blog Hop

Here's my favorite from last time:

For today's feature I chose the feature on Multicultural Kid Blogs about the 
7 Women Artists Who Changed History. Meet women artists from all over the world with captivating stories about how their art not only improved their lives but the entire world. I especially liked the story of Yaoyi Kusamen. 

Please visit the post and also link a post in the linky below!

Thank you for linking-up, and we can't wait to see what you've been up to!

Saturday, March 12, 2016

Growing your own Food : A Blogging Carnival

When I was around 11 years old my father and his wife moved to the country and their front yard was a field of potatoes. Little by little they started adding other vegetables and I remember eating broccoli every day for a month, or eggplants in every possible way. The apples were never ending and the lettuce had to be given away. The sweet potatoes filled sacks and the sweet potato pudding was made every week.

My uncle owns a big farm and his wife always cooks with what they grow and I have some friends  who sold me their vegetables and fruit for a while. It has never been something out of the ordinary for me to eat straight from the source. 

I don't eat like that anymore, unless you count buying organic from the online farmer's market.

This month I am in charge of the "Raising Multilingual Children Blogging Carnival" hosted by Piri Piri Lexicon and the topic for the carnival is 

"Growing your own food + gardening with kids"

By: Ketchup Moms

Charu lets her kids eat the herbs straight from the garden. They love it and its good for them! Read More to find out what great properties mint and holy basil have for you and your family.

She has recently added curry leaves and Lemongrass to the kitchen garden and the kids love those too.

Gardening with my picky eater

By: Non Toy Gifts

Growing a tomato plant with her picky eater had a better result than she expected. Her picky eater started eating tomatoes off the plant after watching the plan grow and bear fruit. I am impressed, my tomato plants died very quickly.

Multicultural Children’s Books ‘Growing Your Own Food’

By: Colors of Us

This post has a great collection of Dhildren's Books for all ages and from all over the world. Truly a great library of resources.

Do check out this list, it's really very inspiring.
From Bali to the US, there's something for everyone.

5 DIY Gardening Gifts for the Global Foodie

By: Global Table Adventure

This post has some beautiful ideas for giving gardening gifts with a global flair. Learn about all kinds of herbs from all over the world and how to make wonderful gift baskets.

The extra bonus is an extensive list of herbs and where the come from originally. The idea is to make the gifts with herbs from every continent.

Cooking with Kids : Clemetine Jam
By: Scrambled Nest

This Luxembour family has a great little clementine tree inside their house and the kids love taking care of it

When the tree gave fruit, they decided to make some jam, visit the post to see how it came out!

Read also about how they grow veggies on their balcony.

La cueillette de Torfou 

By: La Citรฉ de Vents

Picking your own vegetables even if it's not on your own farm is a great learning experience not only for your kids but also for you.

Who would have know that eggplantsstung and zucchini leaves are scratchy. 

This family had a great time even after hurt skin and panful backs. They ate their harvest for a few days afterwards.

A new vegetable garden with DIY edging

By: Femme au Foyer

Creating a place to plant some vegetables along the side of a house sounds like a great idea. It takes lots of work but if you put some love into it, then you can get great results!

Watermelon, squash, and even strawberries grace these gorgeous plant beds which replaced a messy layer of woodchips that had become a soggy home for bugs.

By: La Clase de la Sra. Dufault

A story about a group of teachers who did all they could to get a Tower Garden for their school. They not only managed to get one, but five!

These are some lucky kids to get to learn how to garden in a Tower Garden

By: Spanish Mama

With spring coming, it's no better time to start a new garden in a new house! Especially if grandma sends the mulch for the planters.

Getting our and with nature is an important part of childhood and having a garden is a great way to do it.

This round up post is a monthly installment for the "Raising Multilingual Children Blogging Carnival"

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

A #mommitment giveaway to spread the love

Have you heard of Mommitment? 

It's pretty much the best support group any mom could have. 
The women in the Mommitment Facebook Group feel safe to talk about their struggle as a mom knowing they won't be judged but instead supported and loved. 

A few months ago, we got some decals made so that our mommas could spread the love outside of the internet.

When was the last time you put an awesome sticker on your car?

If I had a car I'd be placing this sticker in the back, in the front, inside the car. Although I have seen some moms put the sticker on their computer, and that somehow is much cooler!!!

Mommitment created these decals to spread the word about the Mom Movement and we love them! 

Enter the giveaway for your chance to win! There are two decals, meaning two winners! The giveaway is for US Residents Only.

What did you say?, you need to know more about Mommitment?
Well you are in luck, here are all the deets for you to get involved and feel like you're not alone.

Go over to the Mommitment Website and sign the petition to end the mom wars. While you are there you should check out all our Mommitment Bloggers too!

The Mommitment Facebook page is a great page to follow because we post all sorts of inspirational and fun stuff for all mom. When you enter the giveaway you will me given the option of visiting the page. 

The Mommitment Facebook Group is the best place to be when you feel like you need the support of other moms knowing that you won't be judged.


Now enter the giveaway to be one of two to win the awesome decals! Yay!
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thursday, March 3, 2016

The Power of a Mastermind Group Call

Things are changing


I guess these kinds of things happen with blogs just like with life. Ideas change, moments turn into other moments, feelings twist into new and unexpected creations.

For a few months I've been part of a Blogger Group called Have your Cupcake and we have weekly Mastermind calls. Today's call was epic. So many of us were talking about how we were tired of writing about the same thing over and over again and how we wanted to write about other things but it didn't fit our main focus. 

I wrote this post  before the call and my blogging friends really made me feel better, and not only me, but everyone else felt much better too.

Crazy Little Family Adventure has had a good run for three and a half years, I have written a lot about my family, my kids, our travels, our adventures and misadventures. I started writing a bit about personal stuff this year and that was pretty good too.

Mommitment came around last year and picked me up from the bottom of the un-writing space and I slowly crawled myself out into my new personal place. I need to be creative to be ok, because there are so many things that are not ok (read, Major Anxiety)

It might sounds selfish but I don't feel like writing about my family anymore.
I have decided to start a new blog with a new focus.
I want to write about being creative, in life and especially on Social Media. 

I am moving myself over to a new place, a blank canvas kind of place. I am officially starting a new blog, that is part of a bigger project. I'm not just a blogger anymore, I am now a mompreneur.

Just because I say so.
Remember, whenever and wherever you see that little plane, you know thats me talking!

So the next few weeks things will in both places because I have three posts lined up for this blog still. Who knows maybe I will turn this blog into a guest post platform!

So, why not go over to the NEW BLOG and check it out, subscribe to the newsletter and learn how to be a bit more creative in life and Social Media.
It might look simple in comparison to this blog, and that's on purpose. Blank Canvas remember?



Wednesday, March 2, 2016

When blogging stops being the most important thing

Blogs are hard to keep up with!  

There have been months where I haven't written, not for lack of trying but it just wasn't happening. I was totally word blocked and it wasn't in my system at all. Lately though it's not that I don't want to, I've just been too busy with other projects to remember to come back here and write something. 

I keep logging in and finding things I'd love to change or fix, or improve. I decided a few weeks ago that I would migrate the blog to Wordpress and so I would stop changing things around until I did that.

As soon as I decided that, then things started to change, the blog wasn't talking to me anymore. I can't think of ideas to write about.

I have lots of topics on this blog, like worldschooling, family travel, food, but just none of it I want to write about so much anymore. Would it be too crazy to just not write about that stuff? What would happen to my blog? Would it fizzle and die?

Maybe I need a complete rebranding, should I change the name of the blog? I thought of calling it Orana´s Crazy Little Family Adventure and someone told me it sounded selfish and egocentric.

But isn't this MY blog? I guess what they were saying is that its no just MY adventure but the whole family's. I'm not sure what they mean but it sure got me back down on my haunches again. 

What to do about my blog......

Then I listened to a podcast about blog consolidation and deleting old posts and what not to make the blog tighter, with less posts and easier readability. I went crazy over that. I want to do it! But I also want to migrate. And I want to change my header and I want to have a prettier theme, and I want and I want and I want.

But nothing gets done. I can't even write a new blog post. 

Has this happened to you? I can't figure out what to do.

UPDATE: I figured it out! Here's what I'm gonna do.


Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Saturday, February 20, 2016

"Use Instagram Creatively" and more great tips

I love Instagram, I can't say that enough.

I love Instagram so much that I created a new account that gives tips for great design and Instagram creativity. So far it has been doing pretty well and I love the way it's looking. 

And then I realized, you guys would love to get these tips too! 

Here are some of them.

And if you want to have 13 Little Known Instagram Hacks on your computer, you can GET THEM HERE!

And follow me on Instagram too.

Thursday, February 18, 2016

How Instagram warps your memories

If you would like to read more of my "Mommy Writer" posts, click HERE!
I have been on Instagram A LOT lately, It's because of THIS! 

Once in a while my kids get a hold of my Ipad with our Instagram account open. They love scrolling down and seeing old photos of trips we have taken and of other places we have lived. Yesterday Big Kiddo was looking at all the photos from the year of homeschooling /unschooling we did in Phuket. 

He has been saying that he doesn't want to go to school, but rather do school at home like we did in Phuket. I honestly started freaking out. I live for those four hours in the morning when I have the house to myself and I can get stuff done!

We went through a week of holidays semi fighting about him wanting to do school at home and me pretty much begging that I need my space. I started feeling bad. Cue the mom guilt in all its glory! My kid wants to be unschooled again and I'm being selfish.

This whole ordeal made me start to think about a couple of things....

How much of our Instagram Profile is a lie?
How we change the way we see things by looking at your Instagram photos?

A little Back Story

Before living in Bali, we lived in Phuket for two years. Our house was on the main road that crosses the entire island and the traffic on it was ridiculous. I only crossed that road by foot maybe 6 times and feared for my life every single time. 

I also do no drive and that meant that I couldn't go very far on my own. Taxis are not easy like in Bali (thank you Bali taxis!) and so the furthest I could go on my own or with the kids was the local market and mini-shops that were around it. I very quickly got cabin fever and felt like I was stuck inside the house and very very disoriented and stressed out.

During this time, we decided to homeschool /Unschool Big Kiddo and his little sister. We were after all stuck in the house so it made sense. I took lots of photos. I wrote a lot about it on the blog. looded my Instagram feed with beautiful photos of my kids learning through art and creativity. We did art, created sculptures out of plastic bottles and tape, made marble races on the wall, built cardboard houses, painted murals. Everything was immortalized on Instagram.

Meanwhile I wanted to jump out of the window feeling like a chicken without a head going round in circles. I was not happy, my anxiety and depression was taking a toll.

Disclaimer: I obviously wasn't always stuck at home, it just felt that way. Talking about how feeling and memories are different huh?

And then we moved, things changed.

My Instagram photos from Phuket

When you look at all those photos from back then you really can't tell I was having a hard time, things look amazingly artistic and wonderfully creative!

Now in Bali the kids are going to school and I have freedom of movement. I have projects and work I invented for myself. I still have anxiety and depression but I'm doing things for myself.

And then the kids look at the photos of Phuket and tell me they want it to be like that again!

I can't even start to tell you how frustrated I felt for a while about it. Of course they were having a great time, my 100% was on them!

So now what am I going to do? I am trying to do that stuff we used to do In Phuket in the afternoons here in Bali. After they get home from school we are going to start doing the kinds of things we did back then. And then I can put it all up on Instagram for the future. It doesn't get more ironic than this.

How About YOU?

Are you fully honest in how you portray yourself on the internet? Is your Instagram profile "real"? I won't blame you if it's not. We are all allowed some creative angle on our life. 

I never thought that being creative online would backfire with my own kids! Has anything like this ever happened to you? I would love to hear about it!