Archives

Holiday crafts

Looks like I am still relying on 2012 for my posts. Squeezing my brain to recollect the incidents that I have missed to record in 2012 to make it a post for marathon. If only I had a Pensieve like Dumbledore I can just review the memories of 2012 and make a post every day 🙂

Adi had winter break towards end of December for almost 10 days and this year we had spent all ten days inside four walls. It was a herculean task to keep her occupied on these days. The most dreaded question was “what can I do now?” and I had to constantly rack my brain to avoid this question. I had ordered for few workbooks which she hardly touched after all its her holiday break and this is meant to have fun, fun and only fun.

So, the only sane way for both of us was to do get indulged in some crafting. Here are few crafts that we did during this break

Origami

I have ordered for this origami kit and it helped to keep the little lady busy for most days. She has tried most of the origami’s from this collection including the throwing away and crashing of papers if the folds or creases doesn’t come out the way it is supposed to be. The kit comes with an step by step instruction book and I would highly recommend this to kids and even adults who love origami.

origami

Ginger bread house

One of our friend gifted Adi with a Gingerbread house kit and two days were spent in assembling the house and decorating it. This time, most of the decorations were done by Adi and she took her own time to do it which gave me some time to breathe.

ginger-bread-collage

Christmas tree ornaments

We made a bunch of ornaments using salt dough and she spent few hours every day in painting some of them. Details are explained here

Timeline collage

I bought a white chart paper and asked Adi to make a timeline collage with her pictures. Usually, when we start with a craft or project I try my best to make her finish it the same day but this time around I took it easy and let Adi do the things at her own pace. This means, she will do the craft/project for a while and then move on to something else. I did not remind her to complete the craft as the next time when she asked “What can I do now?” I had my answer ready 🙂 🙂

timeline-collage

One of the weekend we had mommy/daughter day out. We watched “Life of Pi” in big screen. I was surprised to hear the tamil lullaby as title song. Wishing Bombay Jayashree to win the academy awards for her mesmerizing voice.  Adi didn’t like the movie much and was not ready to discuss about it. She was scared about all the fights between Pi and the bengal tiger.

Rest of the times during holidays were spent by sleeping, eating, being mad over something, watching TV, playing in gadgets, playing board games and so on…

Jan 1 2013 – A good start

Hope the year continues to treat us the same way it treated us on day one. After years, not really may be months, 1st of Jan felt like a peaceful day in all aspects. Recording it in this space to come back when I need some cheer while feeling down..

On this new year day I decided to treat the little girl with her favorite food for every meal. So, this was our day

I woke up at around 7:30am, brushed, put the potatoes in cooker for boiling, had my cuppa bournvita, kneaded the dough for poori, took a relaxing head bath, light diyas/agarbatis at pooja room, prayed and started with the poori/aloo masala preparations for breakfast.

Daddy/daughter duo woke up around 10am, brushed, took bath, prayed and had breakfast. Adi polished off her plate with extra cashews from the masala and thanked me for the special breakfast. She didn’t know that this was just the beginning. After breakfast, I right away started with lunch preparation. I prepared her favorite yellow bean (lilva bean), drumstick kara kuzhambu with rice.  For the records, this kuzhambu tops her all time favorite food list and I have no idea why she named it as “yellow bean kuzhambu” though the lilva beans are in green color. She did some math worksheets post breakfast, behaved like a zen kid and got permission to watch one TV show before lunch. Usually, the screening times are restricted to post lunch on weekends and holidays but there are exception days like this day if she behaves extremely well 🙂 I mean she earns it.

Then, we had lunch followed by some random browsing, wishing family and friends, movie watching and a long siesta. Adi was glued to her shows in TV. Around 4pm, we got ready and went to the Sai baba temple, had good darshan, returned home and started with the preparation for dinner. One of our relative was planning to visit us in the evening so I planned to make pav bhaji. They came home around 6pm, we had a nice chat for next one hour and relished on the pav bhaji. I presented it on the restaurant style like with chopped onions, chopped coriander leaves and butter toasted pav buns (psst I couldn’t get the lemons).  Adi has been asking for pav bhaji for a long time. So, there she got poori/masala, yellow bean kuzhambu and pav bhaji all on the same day. She appreciated my efforts with a hug and kiss 🙂 :).  If only elders also learn to appreciate this way (am I giving hints to someone? 😉 😉 )

The aunty who visited us was so sweet that in the one hour she spent with us she helped me to clean the dishes and patiently listened to all the show off’s by Adi.  She will definitely remain as a great inspiration for me for the rest of my life. A woman who has been practicing medicine in US of A for more than 25 years, who is playing a key management role in one of the NY hospital yet so down to earth. People like her teach us the value of humanity and the importance to stay hale and healthy. Her stamina for her age is mind blowing. She had always treated us with sumptuous Indian meal when we visited their home in spite of the continuous night shifts and numerous calls that never seizes to stop. She makes me realize that once’s action speaks volume than their words.

They left home around 7:30pm, then we had our desserts (sweets brought by the guests), cleaned the house and went to bed at 9pm.  Adi, played the good girl part all through the day and gave me a big big hand in cleaning up the house.  Though, every day I keep saying that we should go to bed at 9pm it usually takes 9:30 or sometimes even 10pm to go to bed especially with the winter break the girl was spoiled to the core. Her sleeping routine was 11pm to 10am or 11am. I don’t know if its good or not but I never have the heart to wake her up in the morning on holidays. I let her sleep as long as she wants sometimes even till 12pm and this is one of the constant topic myself and M argue over every now and then. So, after more than 10 days of irregular sleeping pattern it was a pleasant feel to hit the bed early and actually start sleeping by 9:30pm after brushing, book reading and all those bedtime rituals.

Oh, actually the fun started on new year’s eve itself. We took a stroll around the neighborhood, went to a chat shop, had bhel puri, samosa, chai and returned home in a more relaxed way, made calls to India to wish family and went to bed early. It has been ages since we even had a family walk and the new year’s eve has proved how much I missed it all these days. Partly I was blaming the weather though that was not the main reason..

It was a pleasant and peaceful day with no skirmishes (as RM says), no bad moods, no yelling, no curling up into your own shell. We also discussed about our resolutions.  Adi’s main resolution is “not to yell and keep up her promise” which she already broke yesterday by watching TV for 20 minutes more than the allowance and mine was “not to yell and not to pinch her”. There I said it.  Yes, we do pinch her slightly (most times it will be pretend pinching only but still decided to not even do that) when she decides to test the patience of our already irritated mood. The general resolution of the family is to lower our decibel. I am going steady on my resolutions still. I sound like as if I have been following it for months. It has been only 3 days so far. Sigh!!!

The mind that was in tremendous turmoil for past few months was put to peace. It could be because my inner self wanted the new year to dawn better or the inner self has finally succeeded in persuading my mind to forgive or it has decided to move on or it understood that certain things will never see change however hard you try.  Whatever be it the mind has finally come in terms (though not fully) to have some hope on this new beginning of the year.  After all hope is all we have when other matters fail us miserably.

There are bigger challenges to face in 2013. Hope things fall in place at least the vital ones. Hope the year continues to treat us the same way it treated us on day one.  Hello 2013 !!!!!

Merry Christmas

ETA: Linking to Shruti’s Artsy Craftsy Dec 2013 challenge.

to one and all. Adi’s school is closed until next year. That reminds me of all that crazy stuff we used to talk on Dec 31st during childhood days like I will brush only next year, I will take bath only next year, I will eat only next year or I will not talk to you until next year 🙂

We made ornaments (posted the details in IMC) over the weekend and the sudden snow on Christmas eve brought up some cheer. We took a stroll in the snow and it felt so magical and peaceful to feel the Christmas snow for few minutes from nowhere that reinforced the existence of God.  The ruffling thoughts of mind was put to peace in a moment when eyes witnessed the Snow through the window. A magical moment that was.

Merry Christmas and happy holidays to you and your family.

Ornaments: (We made a lot but Adi gave away most of them before I got a chance to click).

IMG_0526

Fun Friday

Last Friday was a day to cherish for rest of my life.  The mommy and daughter day turned out to be more than just perfect. We woke up around 8am, jumped into morning routine, had breakfast and got ready by 10:30am.  We reserved our car for the day as you know we had many many important commitments for the day.  So many places to cover in one single day. I wanted to visit all the art and craft places and studios I have shortlisted from internet to see if we can celebrate Adi’s birthday (that’s a month away) in one of that place. The theme for this year’s birthday would be arts and crafts as the girl is now more inclined towards it.  What better day to check the places than Friday where we don’t have to unnecessarily test M’s patience by visiting numerous places on the same day, give the girl a chance to choose the place she likes and allow us to take our own time at every stop again without testing M’s patience.

I had given enough heads up to Adi in the morning as we are only going to check the places and the party may or may not happen at all, as  I don’t want her to throw a tantrum end of day, as I need her help in choosing a better place but again we might end up not choosing any place too, as I am looking for her honest opinion about every place, as we will discuss the pros and cons of every place so on and so forth.. Phew I wonder how her marriage arrangements are going to be if I can’t just decide on a party plan for her 7th birthday.  So, we roamed around the whole day. Here is a glimpse of our Itinerary.

Bags were packed with water bottle, snacks, juice boxes, puzzle book, kindle. What if we were lost, get hungry on the way, Adi is busy in one of the crafts shop and I get bored. So basically we just left the beds and pillows at home and packed everything under the roof with so many what ifs popping out of our mind.  Isn’t this bound to happen when the mom-daughter duo is set to venture out whole day that too to unknown places just relying on GPS.

Our first few stops (A to D) were at places nearby and by the time we were done with D our tummies were already ringing bell.  I choose the local pizzeria whereas the “born-with-golden-spoon” girl  (or at least the way she was treated pampered by her father) choose the grand Indian buffet. Only later I came to know that the girl choose grand buffet for the cantaloupes they serve. Whatever I hogged on the food, she hogged on the fruits/desserts and we left the place with a happy smile and of course a happy tummy:)  By the way, from the places we visited so far Adi liked place B that was a small arts and craft shop where the lady plans the party theme based on kid’s interest and likes.

Second half was a long journey so much so that Adi started complaining that she feels like being on the road for the whole day.  Next stop was at a place where she played bowling, arcade games, won some 64 tickets and got a ring and tattoo as prize. When I agreed to let her play there she was shell shocked and asked “Mommy, why are you being so nice to me today?”,  “Is it because I helped you to cleanup yesterday?” **rolls eyes** I replied in an ek dum filmy style as “Anything for Adi”.. This is your day. Have fun.

Next stop was at an art studio where a party was already happening and kids were busy with painting on their canvas. It was a love at first sight for both of us but the studio is small,  I cannot make it a drop-off party considering the distance and the lady doesn’t have dates until mid of June to come to my home so our love is still on waiting list 😦

Next stop at the backyard of a lady’s house. We reached her place at 5:15pm and met her when she was running to catch a flight.  She does paper mache, face mask, painting and stuff but we were not impressed with the place.

Next stop at another craft store which usually closes at 5pm but was open till 7pm that day much to our delight.  Adi got to do an hour of craft there and we had an once in an lifetime experience on that store. We witnessed an egg hatching a baby chick. Adi was literally shouting in joy and I couldn’t thank my stars enough. I mean after spending more than 25 years at India especially visiting my village for every summer where chicks are quiet common I am here witnessing an egg hatching at US of A for the first time.  Can you believe it?

Here is a video I tried to capture in my phone

 

 

Didn’t I mention earlier that it was more than just a perfect day. Things were just falling in place for us. I never imagined that we will be able to visit all the places marked in my list but we did. Meeting up with a lady at the last minute, not missing even one single route on the way, driving hillside, visiting a craft store to see an egg hatching and what not.

The craft store we visited last was closer to M’s workplace so picked him up, reached home around 8:30pm, made amma’s trademark Kathirika gothsu (recipe coming up soon) as side dish for dosa, ate and hit the sack with back and calf muscles pleading to rest. To my surprise M appreciated the gothsu dish unlike his usual self that always complains about my Chutney’s and Sambar. I never get them right. never ever period. With his praise I had to admit that it is MY day.  A day that dawned just to make me happy 🙂

This day also showed me that the girl has grown-up beyond my imagination. She was analyzing every place more than me and jumped in with ideas. We are yet to decide on the option and she is perfectly fine with it understanding the pros and cons of every place. It was more like a girls day out rather than a mommy/baby day out. I loved every bit of it and saved all the memories deep inside me to cherish for lifetime.  The table we shared at lunch with both of us seated opposite to each other relishing our food, the songs we listened to and sang along while driving on lake side and hill side, the word games we played while struck on traffic, the laughs we shared.. ahhh is there any word superior than bliss?  This day also reminded me of the days I used to roam around Chennai with amma.  I assumed those good old days will never come back but this day proved me wrong.  I only wish to share at least half the kind of relationship with Adi that amma shared with me.. Lucky me to have Adi in my life.. Touchwood Touchwood…

Spring break and books

Long post alert..

I start the post wondering what to type, proceeding to type few lines and then the post grows like a Hanuman tail forcing me to warn my readers. Does this happen to you too?

Spring break is here. The school was closed on last Thursday afternoon and is reopening on 16th April.

On Thursday afternoon Adi came home with her friend N as her parents requested us to pick up the kid. Both of them spent the afternoon at home, exploring Adi’s long touched toys, playing board games, watching Alvin and the Chipmunks and I was working from home watching over them. Around 4pm I asked the girls if they want to visit the nearby library. They agreed provided I promise to treat them with pizza. So, after mutual agreement we spent a good one hour at library. Adi was happy to find the latest Magic tree house book # 47 “Abe Lincoln At Last” and settled with it, N settled with few reading books and myself with “Palace of Illusions” on my Kindle. I was determined to finish it on that day and did finish it at 1am 🙂 . I know I know I must be the last one in the blog world to read this book but I deserve a pat on my back as at last I pulled myself to stay up late to finish the book rather I couldn’t really put it down.  It was mesmerizing to read about all those familiar characters again especially Karna though some details were contradicting to what I knew about the epic.  The very next night I watched the age old tamil film “Karna”  and listened to this song at least hundred times so far to quench my thirst. I have not got over it yet. The song sung by Krishna when Karna is at his death bed at Kurukshetra war. Krishna sings this song praising Karna’s qualities and the fate of his life.

Here is a translation I found from google search for the mind blowing lyrics by kavignar Kannadasan. Planning to watch the digitized version of this film that is soon to be re-released.

With this not being enough I have now started with the next book “Parthiban Kanavu” by the great legend “Kalki“. This is a re-read after almost a decade for me.  I am loving it :). Hoping to finish it in a day or two.  Special thanks to SnS who shared the books, Smitha and Scribby whose constant book reviews kept me reminding of the pile I had, all of you who have been posting book reviews as part of Blogadda book review program, to my daughter who is developing her reading habits and my friend who gifted me the Kindle :). I kept reminding myself if all those really busy people can find time to read I can definitely find the time to read and here I am.  Hope I continue with this 🙂

Enough of hijacking, coming back to Aditi’s spring break (sounds like a break to me from the post so far huh?) I took the girls to the library, we hanged out there until I reached my reading target for that evening and then took them to Dominos. Treated them and self with cheese pizza, chicken pizza and came back home. When N’s dad came home to pickup and asked how was the play date the girls said in unison that “I spoiled it by taking them to library” 😦 though they enjoyed the pizza on the way back home.

Friday was mommy/daughter day as M had to go to work. We set out in the morning, watched Lorax 3D in big screen,  went to a friend’s home as his wife called to check what we were doing on a holiday and invited us, played Carrom and surprisingly I pocketed the queen and follow :), had yummy food, a nice chat session post lunch, Adi watched back to back 4 Dinosaur Train episodes and left their home around 4ish in the evening. The girl was asking me about this big escalator at Exchange place train station. So, we walked to that station via a beautiful boardwalk and climbed the escalator at least 4 times 🙂 and then boarded the train to home. We reached home around 5pm and Adi right away started to play in backyard with the kid from next door when I was about to crash on the bed with my laptop. Man I wonder how does kids have so much energy?  Only the film was a planned, rest all was unplanned and the day turned out to be a pleasant day.

Saturday, the plan was to take her to an Easter egg hunt at a distant NY place but we dropped the plan at last moment, woke up late, then decided to go but again dropped the plan as it was already late and the place is around one hour away by drive. The girl was very much upset so I searched for some egg hunt at local, luckily found one and in the next 15 recording minutes we were there from the just-up-from-bed state to the park 🙂 I can assure that we brushed, don’t ask me about bathing and other sorts 😉 ok?. The girl hunted hand picked the plastic eggs lying around and had fun for next two hours. When I asked if she enjoyed the Easter egg hunt she corrected me that it was not a hunt but it was an “Easter egg pickup” event. lol.. She is using the language better than us :). Then, we had buffet lunch at an Indian restaurant near home and literally rolled home with an about to explode tummy.

Rest of the weekend was spent at home reading books, playing board games and having our own “ME” times without stepping on other’s shoe. We are good or rather bad in that ways. Adi at living room glued to her TV or craft or book, your truly at Kitchen or bedroom glued to her laptop or book and your’s truly’s other half at the other bedroom glued to his office laptop.

Oh did I mention it has become a weekend ritual at home. Adi making breakfast. She is so adamant about this and after enjoying the breakfast for past three weeks I can now proudly record it in this blog. No No No child labour and all. She wanted to do it guys and gets mad if we don’t let her to. So, as a so-called-democratic parent I sat back and said “Go ahead indulge me darling”.  She wins her share too as she can get all the things done from us for rest of the day. She goes like this “Guys since I made breakfast for you today I want you to ….”. We will hear this line at least a hundred times on the day she chooses to make the breakfast. This is what I am getting for my breakfast. Toasted wheat bread with Kissan jam spread. The fact that more jam finds its way to her tummy during preparation can be ignored. Can one of you please show her the other breakfast ideas too? You see I am already bored with just this one option 🙂

On Monday I was working from home and today its M’s turn. We will alternate this for rest of this week and I might take a day off but no plans  to step out 😦

Next post will feature her recent drawings and clay models. I am impressed with her work so far.

Winter show and treat

I know I am late but need to record this in this space as a tradition.

2009 & before 

2010

Adi’s Winter recital happened on Dec 6th and the girl was rocking on the stage as usual. She was part of two performances and at the end her classmate’s dad came to us and said “you guys have a dancer in your family” 🙂 🙂 Well I wanted to shout as my gene, my gene.. For those who are not aware I have learned Bharathanatyam for few years, did my Salangai poojai at Music academy, Mylapore when I was at my first job with few more kids (yes that’s the crazy part of me.. Imagine a working girl dancing with fellow 2nd,3rd,4th grader on stage).  Given a chance I will go back to my dance lessons anytime.. I lovvvee them.. So do you agree its my gene? 😉

Dance class performance

First grade class performance

For the records Adi still believes Santa. We convinced her that Santa used the same gift wrapper as we have at home just to confuse her. She was convinced more by the note left by Santa. He wrote that all in cursive and she strongly believes that we both don’t know to write in cursive. Reading the note she said “Now I know that its really Santa who gave these gifts because you guys cannot write like this”.. Whatever my trick worked ;).. Couple of times I told her “You see that’s why I bought you this gift and when I bit my tongue for saying it loud she innocently corrected me saying amma its not you its Santa who gave me the gifts” and I hurriedly replied with a big “yes, yes” nod. I must confess that I have a bigmouth.

She also asked Amma why didn’t you get any gift from Santa? Are you on his naughty list? What to say 😦

We visited Pittsburgh perumal temple during the long New Year weekend.  It was 7 hours drive from home and we stayed at Pittsburgh for 2 days and did local sight seeing. The trip was great and adventurous with some unexpected pleasant and unpleasant twists and turns. Details coming up in next post..

And for the virtual treat here is a double layered strawberry flavored cake which I baked for Christmas.. Please to enjoy this until we meet in person for the bigger treat.

I assume this was the bite taken by you all 😀 😀 😀

Spring break

We tried our best to keep Adi engaged and happy on the spring break and guess we succeeded in it.  She was mighty happy when she headed back to school after the break.

We started off with spending the Friday evening at friend’s place. Myself and my friend made murukku, omapodi, strawberry cake and cupcakes on that evening. Then, I also made one batch of rava laddu and stocked them all for the girl to enjoy for next 10 days.

On Monday I worked from home, Tuesday and Wednesday she was at different friend’s home playing with their kids/visiting park, Thursday M worked from home and Friday was holiday for me (Good Friday).

We bought few gifts (mostly dollar items that she likes) and one grand (in her terms) gift the week before spring break and planned to play treasure hunt every day.  M prepared the clues and played with her every evening.  Each clue will have the details for next hop and the final clue will say “Hurray hop to this place for the gift”.  This idea was borrowed from Adi. She has been giving us surprises for a while now. When I open snack cupboard I see this.

M sees this closer to the place where he keeps throws his keys and id card. Ignore the b in “inside”. She still gets confused at times but definitely not like before when she was confidently writing b as d and d as b not missing even one time.

It is very thoughtful of her to stick these notes at our frequently accessed points and even chose the right color marker to write down.  She knows green is my favorite.  One fine day after being tired of giving surprises she said very sadly “why is it only I am giving surprise to you guys? I know you guys don’t love me”. Thus the treasure hunt happened.

This is the grand gift. We spent around two hours on Friday morning to make these gemstone ornaments and stepped out in the evening for a cultural affair with Adi holding this purse proudly and wearing the jewels. She would have opened the purse a million times in that ten minute ride.

She also made few crafts on her own and this is the one I got to click.

We wrapped up the weekend with watching Rio 3D in big screen,  roaming around a mall till we cannot take a step further and inviting friend’s family for lunch.

I called her with a special name this whole week. Just the very thought of the name brings a broad smile in my face :).

I called her “Jimikki” as she wore Jimikki (long earrings) all that week.  She loved this name. The moment I call out as “Jimikki” from kitchen she would promptly respond with a “enna amma?” (did you call me?) .

Overall she watched less TV than expected, played more, crafted few, snacked enough (for the record omapodi and murukku containers are empty) and had loads of fun. This is like a preview to the long summer break coming up soon.