Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Diwali is coming....

Oh my ... I'm off-track by 8 days ... oops... I had decided to blog every day this month but derailed with no post for last 8 days :(

But I'm now back and here is what we did over the last week...
Rangoli, Tealight holders, Diyas and Fort
We got this wonderful craft kit for making Rangoli from Creative Bits and Kuhu enjoyed thinking about the design to make, sticking the beads and the mirror. She is now eagerly waiting for Diwali to put these to use. The craft kit had everything needed to make the Rangoli... the foam base designs, beads of different shapes (even a few extra ones), mirrors and glue. This made it so easy to get started and finish in one shot... we loved it. Thanks Creative Bits !

Sunday evening, Kuhu declared that she wanted to paint so we pulled out the earthen diyas (left from last Diwali) to paint. When she was done painting those, she was in no mood to hang up the brush and paint so I pulled out old coffee jars to make tea-light holders and the old glasses followed. :)

Last Diwali, Kuhu went to see the fort making competition cum exhibition with her cousin Shubhankar. This year we were recounting that experience when she said she wants to make a killa (fort) of her own. That got us started. Kuhu's dad assembled the fort and her Sangeeta maushi made the steps with Kuhu helping them with fetching water and throwing in mustard seeds to grow forest surrounding the killa.

Hope you like it and make your own too.

Monday, October 06, 2014

DIY - Hairband holder

Pre-diwali days at my granny's and mom's place  were days to clean, organize and rearrange. I remember organizing my books for Saraswati pujan on Dassera day and wardrobe and the rest of the house followed till a week before Diwali. It was a fun time with my little sister where we found some hidden treasures ... books, collectibles, frocks, cards... what not !

This weekend I started this pre-diwali cleaning/organizing with my little daughter's stuff assuming it would finish quickly... how off I was in my estimation !! I opened her drawers to be greeted with a bunch of hairbands tangled with each other, screaming to be managed better. So I had to make a holder for those right away. There are tons of tutorials / DIY projects for making these. I choose one that could be a space-saver. But all that I had bookmarked needed a hot glue gun. Only one used a stapler but that didnt give enough strength to hold a dozen (and counting) hairbands. So here is my improvised version of this one... just in case some one needs it.

Materials Needed -

1. Strip of cloth (preferably cotton) of the length of the holder you want to make. (I re-purposed the border from my old Saree to give the holder a rich and ethnic look.)
2. Thread and needle.
3. Satin ribbon or a contrast piece of cloth for the loops.
4. Circular loop to hang the holder. (I used my daughter's used metal bangle.)


1. Hand stitch the cotton strip borders to make the base for the holder.
2. Hand stitch the circular loop at the top of the base.
3. Make the loops from satin ribbon  big enough to remove the hairband easily.
4. Hand stitch the satin ribbon loops on the base.

Variations -
You could add a big towel ring on the lower end of the holder to hang stretchable hairbands.

You're done ! This was one of the simplest and quickest project I did off-late. It took me just 30 mins to make one. Here is how the finished one looked -

This also seems like a good DIY gift for my nieces. So looking forward to making a few more..

Saturday, October 04, 2014

Our first report day

First Report day for my kindergartener... Oh my she has grown so quickly! We saw what she was up to over the last couple of months when we met her teachers. One comment that I liked was "she is very happy child". I'm going to make every effort to help her retain this and would love to hear this from her teachers on every report day! 

So we girls were in a happy mood and what better way to enjoy than shopping !! So we three- my mother-in-law, my daughter & myself, went out to have fun. Wish there was a coffee shop around to end our shopping spree. 

Friday, October 03, 2014


Happy Dassera to all!

The day began with preparation for the festival with rangoli, garlands and all. Food was the next in line to be enjoyed. 

One of the best time of the day was with my dance teacher enjoying the performance of all. The senior students did superbly and rookies were good too. 

The next best was meeting an old friend from Bangalore. We were hoping to meet  one but met many more and that was the best. 

Let our days be satisfying and fun-filled as today. 

Thursday, October 02, 2014

What a day it was....

Late last night, I knew today won't be a day off for me and my team. We were up for a challenge where we were forced to test all that we had in theory and to prove it. While we knew we had to do this some day, we didn't expect it to come at a notice of 6 hrs! And the outcome .....we did it, proved our theory right to ourselves and the rest. This near-24 hour work day was full of excitement, anxiety, coordination, hand-off, huge learning and satisfaction. Loved it.

Today it was great catching up with my parents over lunch. Small pleasures !

Wednesday, October 01, 2014

Write 31 Days: One good thing a day !

Every day presents something that makes me smile, laugh and feel-good about myself. I've been meaning to capture it for long... finally starting today... So for the next 31 days, I will be posting just-about-anything that made my day.

Here is one from today -
It was my day to drop my daughter and her friend to school today. Being girls, we three chat a lot on our 20-min drive, usually about what they did at school the previous day. Today, both the girls demanded that I tell them a story. And that seemed like a planned thing as Kuhu had brought along retell-the-story page from one of her books in her bag! So there I was ... caught in a spot...I was apprehensive honestly.... will I be able to recollect the story? will I be able to make it interesting?  will the girls get the story without any pictures? Oh so many questions ran in my head ! I had never done it before. But I managed...and managed well. Yoohoo.... I could see the excitement in their eyes to know what happened next in the story.  Felt superb.... Loved it... Enjoyed it.... I must do a story-session for kiddos soon...

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Sunday morning breakfast - Appe

This post is for ED (one if the groups I am a part of on FB) friends who post lovely food pics and recipes that you are tempted to go beyond routine cooking. Thanks to all my ED friends for this push. 

So, having pushed to make something different, I planned the long weekend to have mini uttapam, sambhar, chutney and tomato-pudina rice for independent day dinner (I know I know I don't have any pictures because there wasn't anything left by the time I realised that I had forgotten to take pictures) and Appe with chutney got Sunday morning breakfast. 

Here goes the recipe for Appe and chutney -

Makes: 48 Appe 

Dals (urad, green moong, yellow moong, chana) - 1.5 cups total 
Idli rava - 1/2 cup
Dhaniya powder - 2 tbsp
Jeera powder - 1 tbsp
Coriander - 2 tbsp chopped 
Oil - 1 tbsp
Salt to taste

For chutney - 
Coriander - 2 cups chopped
Dry coconut - 1 cup grated
Jeera - 1 tsp
Green chilli - 1
Salt & sugar to taste

1. Soak all dals together for 4 hrs. Drain water and grind into smooth paste. 
2. Add idli rava to it and mix well. 
3. Ferment it overnight. 
4. Add dhaniya powder, jeera powder, salt, coriander and oil. 
5. Mix well and make Appe using Appe pan. 
6. Serve hot with chutney or sauce. 

Grind all the ingredients into a smooth paste. 

• the more this ferments, fluffier are Appe. 
• I add onion & fresh coconut pieces to the batter for variety. 
• this batter makes equally tasty uttapam or dosa. 

Monday, July 21, 2014

Lovebooks Exchange: Charlie and Lola - I Will Never Not Ever Eat a Tomato

As mentioned here, we participated in Love Books exchange organized by The Educator's Spin on It. We enjoyed it to the core.

For the exchange, we sent a package to A spoonfull of ideas and received one from Rashmi. Rashmi sent us a wonderful book from Charlie and Lola series - 'I will Never Not Ever Eat a Tomato'. It is about a fussy eating little sister Lola and her brother Charlie who tricks her into eating everything that she doesn't like. I loved Charlie's imagination in calling carrots orange twiglets from Jupiter or green peas as raindrops from Greenland. The illustrations are simple but so attractive. A wonderful book for fussy eaters. Take a look ...

Thankfully Kuhu is not a fussy-eater or not at least when her mumma is around :) She loved the book as the story gave her ample thoughts to deal with her friends who refuse to eat veggies! I'm hearing all the wild things she is telling her friends at the daycare and pushing them to eat veggies !!

Rashmi put together two lovely activities for the book. See how wonderful they are -

One is the vegetable calender where Kuhu should paste a picture of veggies she ate that day. She jumped up to paste it even before reading the book. She ran to show me her empty lunch box. :) Every night she reminds me to help her paste the day's veggie on the calendar. For me, the calendar is a reminder of what has been eaten already in the week. We are loving this ongoing activity Rashmi. Kuhu is showing off the activity that Rashmi maushi and Swara sent her.

This is our routine these days... read the book, recollect what veggies we eat through the day, paste it and get a 'Smiley Sticker' if she ate it without adding Jam or ghee or butter. I'm loving this.

The 2nd activity is just awesome. Kuhu is excited to plant some seeds in her very own tiny pot. We are now waiting to see what would grow. Every morning she looks at the pot to see what's growing and reciting a Marathi poem 'Zhaad" on how a tree grows which goes like this -

written by La. Ma. Kadu

Ek pakshi udat aala,
chochitla bi takun gela.
Jaminina bi zhelun ghetla,
eka kappyat theun dila.

Kala Dhhaag dhhaun aala,
khup pani deun gela.
Suryana mag oon dila,
oobena bi khoosh zhala.

Attempting to translate the first stanza for my non-Marathi friends (with my non-existent poetry skills...)

One little birdie flying high,
Dropped a seed as it went by.

Mother Earth caught it around,
Kept it safe deep in the ground.

Thanks a lot Kim for organizing this in India.... we would love to do it again. Thanks a lot Rashmi... we have a gala time every night... I'll be making another calendar for fruits shortly.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

We are ready...

.... to send our package to A Spoonfull of Ideas as a part of India Love Book Exchange.

Per the exchange schedule, we are supposed to send out the package to our partner by July 10th. I was worried if we will be able to make it in time. I was expecting it to be hard and so it was. Asking me why?? One... it is hard to select a book which you & your kid will like enough to assume that the partner kid would like it too. Two... you've to think / find at least one activity based on the story. Three.... you need gather all the material you need for the activity. And four.... you need to do the activity your kiddo...why do it? ... to write the instructions ya.... :-) Even if it was hard, it was enjoyable. We loved this process of preparing the package. I'm sure we'll have as much fun when we receive our package. Looking forward to that. So... what all did we do....

For once, I started early.... I looked for a book online (and ordered many except the one I'm sending !) but for books we liked, I couldn't think of an activity and for books where I could, we didn't like enough to send over ! Finally, in one of our trips to Crossword, I found this book... we read it a couple of times right there and liked it so much that I had to cajole Kuhu a lot to share it. :-) Once we had the book, I began thinking on the activities we could do. Everyday, I could think of a few to do but some days I didn't have material at hand to try how it turns out and on other days, the activity was not interesting enough for Kuhu to do it. After a few trials, I got the activities right and then began the hardest part... writing the instructions. Out of habit (of writing technical how-to's), I did a couple of drafts (not sure if these many drafts were really needed !!). When I was ready, I realized that instructions were just complicated for simple enough activities. So I started all over again and made it simple (or so I think!). And now we are ready with the package.

Why did we pick the book?
Kuhu and I loved it. As I read it to her, the book gave me a chance to talk about so many things to Kuhu. We talked about what is big... what is small, helping each other, sharing and how plants grow. So many things packed in one story !

What's the activity?
I drafted two main activities - one has cutting, lacing, scrambling all packed together and the other has coloring, cutting and glueing. One of them also opens up talking and learning about plants.

This is the package that just went out -

Are you asking me to show you the book and activities?? That's for A Spoonfull of Ideas to read, do the activities and let us know....... Got to wait till then....

Friday, June 27, 2014


Ever since Kuhu and I participated in 30-books-in-30-days-challenge, everyone has been asking me three things - are you still reading?, what are you two reading now? and how can I get my kid started on reading?

For the first... yes ... we are reading and reading and reading and we read every day at every opportunity that comes our way. I don't refuse if Kuhu comes up with a book almost anytime ...anywhere...

For the second.... we read whatever Kuhu lays her hand at... and also something that we've not read for a while or something that is relevant to her phase of life like starting school, a trip to the zoo, festivals, I-am-ill, Father's day... anything.

The third one deserves a separate post (too many people asking me this!) so more on that later. :-)

Kuhu and I enjoy our time with books and the 30-books-in-30-days-challenge was so much fun. We did participate in a couple of more online book activities and had good fun. (Yes... I didn't blog about those... :-( ). And we're now up for a new one - INDIA LOVE BOOK EXCHANGE by "The Educator's Spin on it". This is quite different from all that we've done so far and hence exciting. More details here.

We're not so good at doing activities based on a book. Activities and books are still disjoint for us. If we've read something related to the activity, we recollect it, talk about it and even re-read it but the other way round has never happened. We've never done an activity right after we read. Oh yes... I dont blog about what we read either. And I've been meaning to do it for long. "India Love Book Exchange" will be my starting point for it !

Let's see how it goes.... stay tuned....

Saturday, April 19, 2014

30 books in 30 days challenge - Our take away....

It was a wonderful month of March for Kuhu and me. We spent so much more time together reading many many wonderful books ... all thanks to "30 books in 30 days challenge" that we took. And yaay..... we won it too... I captured what we read during the month here.

The Bubble Ink sent us this badge and a wonderful book "Inside your Outside" from Cat in Hat learning series and Kuhu is loving it.

While I keep thinking of what a wonderful month it was, I realized that there was so much that this challenge taught us. Penning it down here -
  1. We read and read and read.... despite being a busy month at work, I and Kuhu kept thinking and finding ways to read every single day.
  2. This challenge introduced us to so many wonderful books, publishers and blogs that review children's books and lots of parents who read to their kids.
  3. Before the challenge, I never looked for a theme in any book, we read a book just as a story. But now, we pick a book, look for the theme and try to read the next ones based on that.
  4. Many of our older books came back in action because they fit in some theme... we were happy to read them again and I'm sure books felt the same :-)
  5. We need to better arrange Kuhu's library to make it easy to find... and given the rate we keep adding, we should think ahead to accommodate the new ones !
Keeping in the spirit of reading and books, we're now attending "Blow a Book Bubble" - A picture book exchange party. Details here.

Tuesday, March 04, 2014

30 Books in 30 Days Challenge

With Feb being a super hectic month, I was nearing frustration of not being able to spend as much time I want to with Kuhu. Just then I saw this "30 books in 30 days" challenge by "The Bubble Ink" on FB and I decided to use it as a force to ensure I get down to sit with Kuhu and read and do anything she is up for.

The challenge started Mar 1st and until today Kuhu and I've managed to read every day. Both of us are super happy... she gets Mumma without any distraction and Mumma gets the much needed time with Kuhu !

Although the challenge has a reading prompt every day, we havent been able to read by it... Hopefully we'll be able to do that over the next 26 days ....

Here is what the prompt was and what we read so far -
  • Day #1 : For the first prompt "Hugs and Kisses", we couldn't find a better read than Monkey Puzzle. This is a beautiful story of a baby monkey who has lost his Mumma and how butterfly tries to help him. The mystery is will he every find his mum?
  • Day #2 : "Dr. Suess" was the reading prompt and we started with "Fox in Socks". But Kuhu couldn't catch the fun and did't let me read beyond the first 3 pages. So we moved over to read "Don't be so nosy Posy". This is a story about a Posy the pig who just has to ask question and his adventures with that. This is very beautifully written and illustrated.
  • Day #3 : The reading prompt was 'Jungle / Zoo' but Kuhu picked "Hic !" so it had to be so. A funny story about a piglet .. perfect to prepare for the April Fool's day !
  • Day #4 : Fix-it Duck. A story about how a duck on fixing things and oh yes.. breaking. Although the prompt was '123 / Numbers' and we have "the very hungry caterpillar" to go well with it, Kuhu wanted Fix-it Duck to be repeated over and over and over....
  • Day #5 : Blue Chameleon. This one is for wordless Wednesday. Though not wordless but with minimal words.
  • Day #6 : "Books -Love" was the reading prompt and I realized that we dont have a single book on 'book'. :( So we read 'The runaway wheel'.
  • Day #7 : The Great Goat Chase. This went well with the theme / reading prompt - Barnyard.
  • Day #8 : Reading prompt was 'Mummy & me' and we had three books on that !! Yay ! We read 'Parnsip' - a story about Mama sheep and her baby and how baby finds her on one snowy night. Next was 'Aai' - a cute little book from the series 'Radha cha ghar' where Radha talks about her mother. And 'Monkey Puzzle' had to be read :-)
  • Day #9 : This being a Sunday and the prompt being "Daddy and me", Kuhu wanted to read with daddy dearest. But she wasn't up for any daddy-themed book. All day (yes... all day) daddy-daughter read "Khadaad Raja" - marathi story by Madhuri Purandare about a foodie king who learns good habits.
  • Day #10 : Prompt was "Toy" and Kuhu decided to give it a twist.... she didn't read toy themed books but read these to her toy Minnie - "Bhintinvarle taare", The silly little rabit, Zhaad, Bruno - the artist, and Better bath times !
  • Day #11 : The prompt was "ABC" and we don't have a single book on it ! We read "Scooby Doo - You everyday Hero" and "Tuby & Speedy" from Drive-along tales.
  • Day #12 : Honoring "Girls Scout day", the prompt was 'Acts of Kindness and Sharing'. It was as-if the theme was whispered into Kuhu's ears last night. Here is what happened today -
    Last night :
    Mumma - baccha.. I've a long day at work tomorrow so I'll be home by your bedtime or may be even later. Play well, sleep well, Enjoy.
    This morning :
    Kuhu - Good morning mumma... can we read a book now? (anticipating a no from me...) You'll be late home today na.. and you'll be tired then how will we read?
    I was speechless... and I just had to drop everything and read to her. We read two wonderful stories about kindness and sharing - "Policeman bear gets a day-off" where teddy bear works out a way to give Policeman bear a break from his routine and "Grandpa's Christmas gift" where Grandpa bear opens his holly garden for entire teddy town for Christmas. Both are from "Now I can read 15 2-minute tales".
  • Day #13 : "Little blue truck", "the runaway wheel " and "Thomas, Bertie and the bumpy line" were our reads for the prompt "Wonder Wheels - Things that go."
  • Day #14 : For the day's theme - "I am I", we read "Sylvester the singing sheep" a beautiful story about being you, "I am special" and "sshh" for world sleeping day.
  • Day #15 : Today's prompt was - "Lift the flap, Pull the tab, Play I Spy"."Who's hiding? Ocean animals", "peek-a-boo", and "does a sheep wear mittens?" were our picks for today's theme. We loved reading through these after a long time.
  • Day #16 : These were our reads today - "shrinking Sam", "pepper is jealous", "pepper throws a tantrum", "pahuni", "kantala" (both by Madhuri Purandare ), and "the watermelon route" for the theme "I feel".
  • Day #17 : It is Holi today... and that's the prompt too... Kuhu is past the color board books now and I was afraid we might not have anything on the theme to read but we did ! yay ! We found "I see colors" from baby Einstein series and "Blue Chameleon" by Emily Gravett. Couldn't have had a better Holi than this... 
  • Day #18 : Today's theme is "Tuck Me In" and I thought it was best to read at bedtime. But Kuhu had planned it otherwise. She pulled out "I'm so sleepy" while heading to bath and said, " Can we read this after bath, Mumma?" I didn't have a reason to say 'No' so I added one of my choice to it as we read two - "I'm so sleepy" and "Sleepy Sam".   
  • Day #19 : "Monsters and Dragons" is the theme today and we read -'monsters munch lunch','dancing dinos' and 'the great goat chase'.
  • Day #20 : "The Very Hungry Caterpillar" is the prompt. Mar 20, 2014 happens to the 45 anniversary of the classic "The Very Hungry Caterpillar". So thats what we read and did a couple of caterpillar themed crafts too.
  • Day #21 : What a prompt this is - 'Sing along' !! We love singing poems and we read
    "a magical morning", "old McDonald had a farm", "a kiss good night", "you are my little star" along with actions !
  • Day #22 : "What I wear?" is the prompt and we just don't have anything to go with it. So we read "three little pigs", "a friend of Ella", and "How many sleeps till my birthday!"
  • Day #23 : The prompt is "My Best Friend" and I was scratching my head if we had any book on this. Just then my sis reminded me of what I have ... it is so easy to forget things when there are many !! Here is what we read - "the watermelon route", "Pahuni", "Mukhavate".
    "Pahuni", "Mukhavate" are wonderful books by Madhuri Purandare about a preschooler Yash and his friends and fun at school.
  • Day #24: Today's prompt is "Inside your outside" and we read "Minu and her Hair", "I'm Special" and "Where did it go?". The challenge is getting tough now... we now need to post our reads within 36 hours. We've been on track so far. Lets see how it goes.
  • Day #25 : A perfect prompt for us in the month of March - "Food". This is a month to hog on cakes for us and so were our reads today - "What does baby Mickey find?" - a book where baby Mickey goes thru the process of baking a cake, "Food for a party" - All the bears in Teddy town prepare food for a party and have it with fellows bears and share it other animals too, "Monsters munch Lunch" and "The very hungry caterpillar".  
  • Day #26 : "Garden" was the theme for today. So we read "Zhaad" - a book abt how one seed grows into a thousand trees and become a garden. Then we read 'Teddy and magic trick' and 'a rainy day adventure'.
  • Day #27 : Today's prompt of "Birthday" is bang on day for Uju aaji's birthday and Kuhu was more than happy to read "How many sleeps till my birthday" and "Hic !".
  • Day #28 : We did have a couple of books for "Grandparents" prompt but Kuhu didnt want to read any those. She just read and re-read "Minu and her Hair" and ran to hug her "Appupaa" (grandfather) just like Minu.
  • Day #29: 'Read in vernacular language' is an interesting prompt. Although we love reading Marathi books, we are seriously short on those.  
  • Day #30 : I thought we would miss to read a book today but Kuhu just got 2 books and said, "We didn't read anything today. Can we read 'Hic!' And 'Thomas, Bertie and the bumpy line'?" And so we did. Today's was the toughest prompt - "My favorite book". 

I'll keep updating this post for our list.

Kuhu and I are loving this ....