Friday, January 09, 2015

Book Review - Library Lion by Michelle Knudsen / Kevin Hawkes

I got this book in Best Books deals group on Facebook. The title and cover looked interesting and I picked it up. My impression was it was about a lion who loved to read or someone who would talk about books.

The book is about a lion who comes into a library and is allowed to stay on if he does not break the rules of the library (no roaring.. no running..). He goes on to help everyone - from children to visitors to librarian and enjoys the story hour. What does he do when he wants to help a friend but the library staff doesn't understand and breaks the rule? What's punishment and who punishes him?

The illustrations are the highlight of the book. They are soft and warm each one conveying the emotions wonderfully at different points in the story.They build the excitement as the story unfolds. This is one of the books that I didn't have to translate to my 3yr old in Marathi ... pictures said it all.

I liked the book for the brilliant illustrations and story that talks about going by the rules and being responsible for what you do. Every time I read it I discover something new that the story has to tell.

It is a wonderfully entertaining read for young and old.

Thursday, January 08, 2015

Busy bags for road trips

When we decided to take a road trip with our 3-yr old this December, I started to look around for ways to keep her busy on the road. In our previous trip earlier this year, she played a lot with stickers and I was skeptical if she would play with just stickers for long. That's when I came across  the concept of "busy bag". Basically it is just a small bag containing a re-usable activity that can be done independently. I found tons of ideas here and I put together quite a few for our recent trip like -

1. drawing book and crayons
2. paper and scissors
3. beads and pipecleaners
4. decorate your ice cream sticks / any design with stickers
5. Make your tree with crepe paper and cotton.
I also used some of the activity kits that come with our monthly subscription of Little Readers' Nook. 

Some of our busy-bags

One of the activity my daughter did on the way

This was the first time I made something like this and it was a big hit with my daughter (and us).  I made about 12 bags and split those into 2 sets of 6 each - one for onward journey and one for return. With all the bags placed in her back-pack, she could pull out one and entertain herself and us too. Since all activities were in separate bags, every bag was a surprise and we played guessing game to see if she could identify whats in the bag by touching it before pulling it out. It was also easier to clean up when she was done with one activity. Added plus was that I didn't have to spend huge time to put them all together and can surely be reused & replenished when required.

The busy bags were a huge relief for us as we didn't have to entertain her all the time and the journey was almost screen-free (only 40 mins of screen time in 16-hr journey !).

We loved these. Hope you like it too.

Tuesday, January 06, 2015

A round up of 2014

2014 was an interesting year... I did a lot of new things, made new friends and explored new areas. Overall it was a satisfying year I must say.

I enjoyed setting up our new home where we moved in late 2013. Having built a new house, 2014 saw a lot of guests dropping by. This was a year of meeting everyone (well almost..) from our extended family. We also have new, young and enthu neighbors so our apartment was buzzing with events through the year like Ganapati Utsav, Bhondla / Dandiya / Diwali / Christmas party. It was fun.

Kuhu started formal schooling in 2014. I was surprised to see her adjust so quickly and so well in her new school, making new friends and enjoying her day. A report from her teacher saying "she is a happy child and enjoys coming to school" made me happier. She also had a annual concert at school. It was so satisfying to see her dance to a nursery rhyme on stage (this was her first time). Overall schooling started on a good note for us.

Given that Kuhu started school, we had wonderful vacations in 2014 planned in line with her schedule. Our Goa trip in the summer, impromptu Mahabaleshwar trip and Dhamapur trip in winter were just wonderful. Totally relaxing and refreshing. We went back to long-drives with these and am so glad Kuhu enjoyed that too. Goa trip is so itched into her memory that I'm surprised and happy beyond words.

Kuhu and I read a lot together in 2014. Although I had not made a resolution to do so, but I definitely wanted to do it more than we did in 2013 and so we did. I lost the count of how many books we read but we participated (and won) in 30-books-in-30-days challenge, we did #lovebooks exchange and found a fantastic group of reading mommies  on FB who introduced us to new titles and authors. This was apart from our monthly dose of books from Little Readers' Nook managed by a fantastic mom-entreprenur Devaki. A big thanks to all who enriched me and Kuhu with lovely books, exchanges, interactions .. we loved it all.

On the work front, the year was good. I got to do some interesting work, learnt a few new things, had a good team to interact and support. I'm happy to be ready to take more responsibilities after going slow for 3 yrs. 

Another highlight of the year was starting to learn dance again after good 15 years ! I and my sis' learnt Bharatnatyam from my Mom while we were kids. We continued while in school and I can't remember why but I left it. My sis' continued for a few more years but left too. It left so good to be back, learning again from basics with little kids and added bonus is seeing Kuhu enjoy the class !

Health-wise, we did pretty well this. All of us were fit-n-fine .. so all is well.

With a wonderful year behind us, looking forward to yet another exciting year 2015... Happy New Year !