Its summer and its hot, fun, and loaded with outdoor stuff. So why not we have July dedicated to Summer. Share a summer story, plenty of summer pics, taken by you or the kid, summer snacks and treats for the kids, a summer vacation story, anything and everything that summer means to you and your kids.
Theme for July -- Summer Fun with Kids
The same rules apply. Every week Thursday to Saturday,feel free to post on the Theme of the Month.Non members can send articles to the e mail provided on the sidebar
Also I have a request for all DMC members. If each of you take up a month, decide on the theme and conduct the theme of the month the way you choose, we will get a more broader spectrum of ideas here. Indosungod already has a Theme for August. So please send me a mail at email@example.com to take up a month you prefer.
Also please send your ideas, feedbacks about what you want to have at DMC. Its everyone’s blog and if any of you have the desire, idea for monthly columns or some such thing please come up with it.
Tharini has made a lovely icon for the Club. Please feel free to download and use it. Give her the credits when you use the logo
Icon Credits: Tharini of Winkies Way
Thursday, June 28, 2007
Friday, June 22, 2007
Sometimes they go through phases of eating just peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for every meal.. And sometimes this phase goes longer than what a mom can take. So, you swallow your disappointment and try to cook it differently, more interestingly. You put a plate of fancy cut sandwiches and cute looking veggies and dips in front of them - all very colorful and keep your fingers and toes crossed- Does that work? NO! You try to tell them - Veggies are good, darling... If you eat them, you can grow as tall as 'Barney' or 'Diego' or whomever your kid fancies at the time... and then hope and pray that this works... - does it work?
Well, With some kids, some of these ploys work, but with most, it doesn't. So, what does a mom do? Sneak them!!! Yep, Missy Chase Lapine says 'sneak those veggies in the foods kids love'.
Some of her free recipes found in the web and from the Author's website.
- Make-Ahead Recipe: Green Juice
- Make-Ahead Recipe: Purple Puree
- Make-Ahead Recipe: White Puree
- Make-Ahead Recipe - Orange Puree
- Sneaky Chef Brainy Brownies
- Earth Day Milk Shake
- Tomato Sauce
- Mac and Cheese
- Power Pizza
- Peanut butter & Jelly muffins
While I haven't had the chance to try these stuff on my kiddo yet (She's just 9 mo and eating what I stuff in her mouth) but if she grows up into the kind of kid who hates veggies, I wouldn't hesitate to try this approach.
A mom's gotta do what a mom's gotta do. ;)
P.s. Not affiliated or associated with 'The Sneaky Chef' or 'Amazon.com' or any other links mentioned above.
Wednesday, June 20, 2007
So, dear Shweta, if you are reading this, do send me a line at (tabtomorrow AT gmail DOT com)
If any other moms (or moms-to-be/I'd-like-to-be-a-mom-someday/No children-don't plan on having them, but I don't hate them) in Toronto or GTA are interested, I'd love to meet you too. Send me a line and we can arrange for a day.
The only 2 criteria to meet
- you should be a lady
- don't talk about amway/quickstar/any other mlm stuff :) It doesn't matter if you are affiliated with them, but just don't try to get me into it.
Tease: Moms of picky eaters and veggie haters, expect a book review in the next few days. :)
Monday, June 18, 2007
[Kodi pens a few words to his Bapa.]
Dearest Bapa of mine,
I love Fai-lays. I learnt to say Fai-lay (Friday), just so I would know when you were coming home every week. Our time together each weekend is so short that despite my non-stop yapping, I don't get to say it all. Hence this letter.
Amma tells me that you were the first to hold me after I was born. That I was screaming long after I needed to scream and she took me from your arms, and talked in my ear, hoping that would calm me down. That her efforts didn't work at all. That you took me back, held me in your strong hands, and stroked my cheek gently. That, seconds after that, I quieted down and stared back at you. That I had declared my loyalty to you right then.
That, much to Amma's amusement, you were your methodical self even with diaper changing and used gloves each time. That you spent several nights up just checking on me even though I was fast asleep. That, even when I have a simple cold, you call in from your corner of the country, in the middle of your busy day just to make sure I am recovering ok.
That for my first birthday, you directed your first video - Kodicles - the Musical, using only my pictures and some background help from Beethoven.
That you regularly read the Kronicles and even leave comments, much to Amma's delight.
Last Father's Day, I said my first word and that word was Bapa. I hope that is further proof of my parental preferance. But, when Amma asks me to pick between her and you, I have to resort to my diplomatic answer and pick her. I have to live with her during the week, don't I? But don't let that fool you. You are definitely a whole lot cooler ... and saner than Amma.
You are like the train engineer who keeps us chugging along on our right tracks, and in the right direction. Without you, we'd be lost, going around in circles.
For me, Bapa, every day I spend with you is Father's Day.
And I don't have to say it - but for the record, I love you tons and tons!
Your one and only,
ps: I know, I know, this letter is a little too mushy for our taste. But not my fault, that Amma of mine made me do it!
Sunday, June 17, 2007
Every time I sat down to write a post about you during the last 10 days, I seemed to hit a wall - not because of dearth of things to say, but, realizing that nothing I say would seem adequate, would convey the right emotion...
It is Father's Day already and if I don't record a few thoughts now (knowing you would read it), I would have missed a beautiful opportunity. So here goes...
My earliest memories are riding in the front seat on your bicycle. I must've been 4 or so then, and used to love it. When you pedaled a bit before you got on, when the bike reached a dangerous 45° angle and I was sure I'd fall down, you'd swing your leg over and seat yourself and we'd be off... Those days seem idyllic now.
When I was sick, I'd insist you take me to our family doctor; I remember hanging on to your arms and hiding behind you in an attempt to ward off the impending "injection" (shots) that our doctor always gave me...
When I cooked my first few meals and had you sample them, you would praise them to heaven and I'd be all beaming until I tasted them myself and realize I hadn't added any salt. When I call your bluff, you'd insist that less salt is good for health and that I am smart enough to know that already!
When in 5th and 6th grade, I used to love making posters. Some were alright, most were mediocre at best if I look at it objectively now, but, you were so proud of my work that you let me put them up on our living room wall... you encouraged me to hone my artistic skills.
I am not sure if you remember: when I was in 2nd grade, you bought me a cone ice cream for the first time. I had eaten popsicles and ice cream in a cup, but, edible sugar cones filled with ice cream was a novelty. I started at the top and finding the ice cream all over my nose and cheeks, I decided to eat it the smart way - by biting off the bottom! In no time at all, i was a sticky mess. I was quite sure I had done something terrible and that you'd never take me out again and buy me ice cream, but, you just laughed and rode us home on your bike and I got washed up, leaving just an embarrassing story behind for my dear brother to leverage :-)
I was not a pleasant teenager - I was angry about a lot of things and didn't quite know how to deal with your generosity.
While most kids would have the opposite problem, you always asked me for my "Buy List" and I used to be hard-pressed to put anything on the list: You and amma provided me with everything I needed to grow up well-rounded.
When I started experimenting with baking, and failing, you just joked about it, turning it into a ritual: "Sheela's Annual Cake-baking Ceremony", emphasizing on the Annual so I will not experiment so often:-)
Your sense of humor is incredible. You constantly keep up the cheer in the house and sometimes I think you would have been a successful comedian, if you wanted to...
As I grew up, we talked about Vedic philosophy, about God about how to lead a good life. We've argued a lot. You've never used your authority as my Father to shut me up.
Your generosity and blessings are the best gifts I can ask for, and I have never needed to ask for it, you and amma have been freely giving it to me.
This Father's Day, I just want to say Thank You! Thank you for being there and raising us as best as you did.
I wish you were visiting me now so I could say it in person... Happy Father's Day, Appa!
Toddlers love to finger paint and get messy. Usually, the work is not frame-worthy and gets saved for a while and then tossed out. One way to preserve them for a while is to make a keepsake out of some of the special work they do: like, turn them into a piece of art, or into greeting card...
Ana likes to finger paint and has been finger painting since about one year old. I have saved most her "work" so far and have used them in hand-made greeting cards and such. I like the vivid colors of the tempera paints, and the milder hues of the finger-painting paints.
I was wondering what to do for Father's Day... and Ana gave me the start!
Last weekend, she had finished painting a piece - usually, that's when she asks me to unroll some more paper on her easel so she can paint on blank paper again... While unrolling some more for her, I decided to tear the piece she had just finished and turn it into "art" for Appa. The painting you see is entirely Ana's work.
While there is more of that story in my blog , I just wanted to quickly share one way to make little gifts for close friends and family (who else is going to appreciate this, right??!)
To make her painting into a quick souvenir and gift for her Appa, I simply mounted Ana's art on a mat I had, added a loop to hang it from. And then, gave a few stickers to Ana to paste it on the mat just for added effect :-)
Of course, Ana cannot write yet, so, I added some words and a stamp and...
Voila! Daddy has a nice little Father's Day gift made (mostly) by his baby girl to proudly hang on his office wall!
Friday, June 15, 2007
I'll just take a min. to introduce myself for those of you who don't know me. I'm Linda, age 42 (it's just a number, really!) -- resident of Massachusetts, lover of Michigan, cats, agates, cooking (particularly Indian cuisine and culture too) and proud and lucky mom to Michael, 18 (almost 19) and Meg (15). I have a food blog at Out Of The Garden.
My kids each have their issues -- Michael has Asperger's (form of autism) and Meg has juvenile (insulin-dependent) diabetes. Rather than go on and on about that, I would rather say they have both found their comfort zone in terms of handling their challenges, and I am extremely proud of them. I think having a disability has made them both better people -- they have more insight into reality than many of the "normal" adults I know ;)
Now having said that, here's a little cross-post about my guilty non-cake years. Lovely to meet you all and thanks for having me!
Following in the footsteps of fabulous cake decorators Shilpa, Archana, Hema and more, I took the plunge into cake-decorating class. Baking was never my strong suit; when my kids were small it made me keenly aware of my Jewish heritage (read: a guilt complex extraordinaire!). Growing up, my little M 'n Ms didn't know the meaning of mik-and-cookies. Cookie was a monster on Sesame Street and milk was a healthy drink that went with breakfast. They suffered through store-bought cookies or cake for class parties, and for birthdays, well -- the few times I tried cakes from mixes, they were a disaster. After a while I did manage to make cupcakes turn out ok (but not like these!) -- those were always panicked affairs iced with store-bought frosting and little finesse. Forget about gooey chocolatey goodness in marshmallow-covered brownies, fancy colored decorations on numberless Christmas cookies, and all that jazz. Yes, my kids were deprived and I feel it to this day. Thank God for their grandparents, or they'd never have had a sweet tooth at all ;) A few weeks ago my colleague decided to join a cake decorating class and asked for my company -- I agreed to go along. I was so thrilled with the outcome of my first project, I thought I'd share it. My daughter nearly fell over when she saw the cake come out of *our* oven. When she learned I was going to a class to decorate it, she asked for her *face* on the cake!!! Well, I am no da Vinci, so instead, she got her name. Not a particularly creative design, but it was conveniently portion-controlled... and I did manage to make a Cookie Monster smile on the sides.
Meg loved this 'cause she's a drama queen -- she loves her name in lights, even on a cake. Wasn't I proud when she wanted to take a piece to school and show it off to her friends -- a kid of her age. That made me smile inside and out -- not at my cake, but at my daughter's great big heart :)
And speaking of great big hearts and names in lights -- don't miss our own dear Trupti's exciting news. Congrats, Trupti! :)
I have been meaning to write this letter for a long time but everytime I sit down I get flooded with so many thoughts I want to pen down that I don't know where to start. Let me begin by saying that I love you and that you are my hero! Growing up , I have always held you as my idol and tried to emulate your positive qualities and always dreamt of being as successful as you were when I grew up. I love to hear stories from your childhood. I think 'Swami' from Malgudi days was a direct lift from your childhood :) Even though you were the tenth son of a government school teacher, you worked your way to own a company ! Your honesty , hardwork and leadership sense have always held me in awe.
I know I am a very pampered daughter. I still remember the Sunday morning oil baths you used to give Vivek and me. I still remember the 'thachi mummam' dinners you used to hand feed Vivek and me when amma was taking care of her botique. Not to mention the grammar lessons and the 'learning to read time from the clock' episode (where you would constantly lose patience trying to teach me :) ). I know you did not have the time to actively take part in all my school activities (I forgive you that you forgot what class I studied in sometimes :)), but you have given me far more valuable lessons than anyone else ever can.
I am proud of the fact that you wanted a girl child and were the happiest person when I was born! There was never a single point in my life when you laid different rules for Vivek than for me. Amma and you always gave me full freedom and made me learn my limits without restricting me. You always made sure that every need of ours was always met even before we would ask for it. I love your spirituality and am greatful that I developed an interest in it through you.
You know you got a new lease of life after your heart attack just a couple of months before Chintu was born. I will be ever greatful to you for flying back here just 15 days after your surgery , just to be with me and see your grandson! I will be ever greatful to you for helping amma and me out after my delivery...for making me my favorite soups, keeping the house clean, helping amma in cooking, because without you chipping in , amma would have had a stressful life. You are mentally a very strong person and you have amazing will power.
Today, Chintu is crazy about his tatha. He remembers you when he eats oranges, when he sees someone working in the garden, when I give him salad leaves, when he sees a moustache, when I sing him your lullaby....oh the list is endless - he adores his 'thaachi tatha!'
Appa...I can go on and on...but words cannot express my true feelings for you. You are simply the best , period. I know you will forgive me for all my immaturity through the years.
I want you to live a very long and healthy life...for me and for my Chintu. You are the only person that can teach him the things you taught me...
I LOVE YOU PA....
Thursday, June 14, 2007
This is a nice little project for 4-6 year olds who can either copy a pattern or come up with their own whimsical ones. The nice thing about this project is that it is small, it is useful and can be done during birthday parties and given away as party favors. And, probably can work as an incentive to read books :-)
Ana is too little to color "properly" with her crayons and markers, let alone color within boundaries and draw designs. But, I remember doing a few craft projects with my cousins when I was baby sitting them and wanted to try it with Ana anyway...
I used card stock paper, had Ana scribble with her crayons, and cut out bookmark shapes around it to incorporate her work. Then, of course, I had to finish it myself as my 2-yr old simply does not have the skills in place to do it herself.
Any thick paper would do. Perhaps start the kids off with some pattern that you draw and have them color whimsically... this is a very simple project, nothing much to it, really... feels silly posting it here as a craft project, but, I've posted this on my blog, and, just thought I'd share it here as well.
I remember only snatches of my life with my Daddy.
Him carrying me on his shoulder and having me pat my mother's shoulder when she was cooking, so that she would turn around and talk to him after they had an argument.
Or him doing a 'Statue' game with us and always freezing in the most contorted silly way possible.
His curly mop and mole on his forehead, a face that looks remarkably like my own.
His death. The expression on my mother's face when she saw my uncle return from the hospital one morning with my dad's blankets and pillows. The wailing that ensued. And me and my sister giggling because we didn't know the gravity of the situation.
These are all the things I remember. The rest I was told about, by family and by my mom. About what a gentle person he was, how notorious he was in his childhood, his escapades to the night show at the movies after arranging pillows under the blankets and so on.
My mom would always tell me that he never raised his voice during an argument. After a few minutes of screaming when my mom asked him why he was so quiet, he would say that it took two hands to clap (meaning it takes two people to make an argument). He frequently brought sleeveless blouses for my mom (which she promptly attached sleeves to) and was the one with the wailing babies outside the theater, while my mom watched the movie in peace. He waited patiently outside the locked door when he came back home unexpectedly early from office, while my mom was still not back from her shopping trips.
He was a teetotaller. And a good kind liberal man. The circumstances of his death are unclear to me. I know that he had a relapse of jaundice, then had a kidney failure. Then painful dialysis followed by heart attacks. He finally died after a massive heart attack at the age of 38. I later discovered that he had high cholesterol.
Aaaha, now we come to the title.
So now, the other daddy in my life aka poppin's daddy recently got himself a health checkup. He's only 31, is very physically active and other than an extreme liking for oily snacks, is quite a good eater. But he discovered that he has borderline high cholesterol. That has got me nervous.
When I was living in the US, I used to be careful about cooking. My own personal history with my dad, had ensured that I try to cook healthy. I have done enough research on that to earn a diploma and I am quite aware of the calorific value of my food. But I have slipped recently. Ever since I got pregnant, I relaxed quite a bit and my moving to India has not helped any.
This recent health checkup however had made me pull my socks a little bit. Now I am back to watching the oil content, stocking the pantry with heart healthy foods and cooking in olive oil. I don't want to sound morbid, but I don't want my poppin to miss out on a lifetime with her daddy.
My message to everyone on Father's day is to take care of the Daddies in your life. At the risk of sounding regressive, I will say that we women do the bulk of the cooking and it is in our hands to provide a heart healthy diet. Also since stress is a key component, I think a bit (or more) of loving all around will help :-) For the physically lazy dads, let's inspire them to join us for walks or a game of tennis.
Happy Father's day. Here's to a happy healthy year !
Crossposted at my blog
For as long as I can remember, my dad has always been more than just my dad. He's my friend, my teacher, my rock. He is my hero.
Not because of what he has achieved, although it is a lot to be proud of. A boy who grew up in a small village in Kerala and studied up to class 10 in a Malayalam medium school. Who would run barefoot to school, and return to take the buffalos out to graze. Whose family thought he had arrived in life when he got a job as a lecturer in a rural college. Who dreamed of being more, quit and financed his higher education (and supported his family) through hard-won scholarships. Who is today, a published author and respected professor at one of the finest institutes in the country.
Not because he is an enlightened, involved husband and father, and was one even at a time when it was considered infra dig for a Mallu man to help the wife out in the kitchen or deal with the kids' night time tantrums and other messy tasks involved in child-rearing.
Not because he is the most fair-minded person I know. Or because I can talk to him about anything - anything at all - without fear of judgement or recrimination. I know he will always tell me the truth, even if it is unpleasant.
Not because of his fierce integrity, the courage to live by his principles, and his straightforward honesty. Not even because of his warm heart and generous soul.
Not because of the fact that despite his achievements, he is always striving to be better - both professionally and personally. Last year he asked me for feedback on his parenting approach. He wanted to know if I wished he had done anything differently. I cannot begin to describe how touched and amazed I am by that gesture.
Yes, all of this makes my father an amazing person. It makes me strive every day to be more like him, but that is not why he's my hero.
He is my hero and always will be, simply because he's my Dadda.
Wednesday, June 13, 2007
Many many years ago....some 24 years ago in fact, in the land of Ethiopia in the sleepy little town of Nazareth, lived a family. Father, mother, and 2 sisters. Father was a teacher. Mother stayed at home to bring up the daughters. They didn't have a lot of money. In fact, it was just enough to make ends meet. But they were happy. Father would take on little odd jobs every now and then. He had an avid interest in mechanics and people called on him to come and fix their little broken gadgets.
One such time, he had to make a trip to Addis Ababa and he took his older daughter along. It was evening when they reached the house of the person who had called on him. Their son's Meccano train set wasn't working properly. Could he fix it? Of course he could. He could fix anything!! That's what the little girl thought, as she watched her father intently at work. The family was in another room, and the Father and little girl were sitting on the floor of the living room. As he worked steadily, a little desire took flame within him. He wanted to buy a similar set for his children. He looked over at his little girl and she was sitting quietly beside him, looking longingly at the expensive toy. He told her, "I'll buy you one too....just like this." She looked up at him, taken a little aback by the intensity in his voice, and felt a surging pride for her father.
..........................................................................[Pic courtesy of Meccano]
I feel that same surging pride to this day. I was a 6 year old girl back then, and I remember all my feelings from that evening. It was a beautiful train set and my father got it back into working order. He gave it many test runs to make sure it was working fine, and we enjoyed the toy like it were ours exclusively, for those few precious minutes. And I wanted that meccano Train set so badly. Not for myself. But for my father. I wanted it for the longing I sensed in him to satiate all our wants and be the best possible provider. I wanted it for the sense of satisfaction it would give him. I just wanted it for him, because he wanted it for us. It was that simple. And this incident is one of the biggest stand alone memories I have of my father.
He was true to his word. He saved up money diligently over the next 2 years and once we returned to India, he wrote to the company in Amsterdam and placed the order. But they took a long time to fulfil it. And when it did arrive, it was in damaged condition. So, he asked for a refund and that was the end of that. But even now he talks to me about it and Winkie's fascination with trains has renewed that desire in him.
My father is a teacher. I say this again and again, because it is perhaps, the biggest part of who he is and what makes him tick. He doesn't just teach, he lives it. He was one of the biggest favorites among the teaching faculty at Hindu High School in Chennai. To this day, his students from that time still keep in touch with him and come to meet him. But money was tight and he had to meet the needs of a growing family. So when the opportunity in Ethiopia came up, he jumped at it. The money wasn't substantial, but he wanted the foreign exposure and the experience of teaching in a different setting. So he went alone at first. Family members urged him to finish his stint there alone and return, but he refused to be separated from his wife and kids. So after 6 months, we went too. An impressionable 6 year old, a very naughty 1 year old and my mother with the lure of foreign lands beckoning.
We spent a good 1 year there. My Dad once again won the hearts of all his students there and was named the Best Teacher of the year. He didn't renew his contract since I couldn't be enrolled in school there due to language issues, and we returned to India a year later. My little brother was born, and after a few months, the teaching offer from Bahrain came along. Once again he took it up with gusto. It was probably the best decision he ever made, for it changed all our lives, and for the better. And I'll always remember and think of Bahrain as my first real home, where I had the most happy memories growing up.
Fitting into the role of teacher there came naturally to him. He was passionate about his profession, which to him was nothing short of a calling. He loved being with his students and they became drawn to him too. All the girls in the class were darlings and the all the boys chimp, gibbon and orangutans!!! Year after year he taught, and with every year he got younger. During those early growing years, I don't remember having much of a bond with him. I think we shared the regular father-daughter relationship, whatever that might be and time passed by. And it was not until I was into my teens did I realise what a gem of a person I had for a father.
When I was in 9th standard, he was my Physics teacher. I still remember that first day, when we had the Physics period, and I was sooo nervous at the prospect of having my father walk in and take the class. For everybody knew who I was. And all eyes were on me to see how I would react. I just remember blushing furiously the whole time. He walked in, right on time. I don't remember what happened next. I wish I did...but my mind draws a complete blank. Maybe because I was all keyed up about it? Anyways, the initial trepidation wore off and he started talking Physics and then it wasn't so bad. I think, once in between, he looked at me and we smiled at each other. 45 minutes went by, and the bell rang. He walked out, and the murmur of voices began. A classmate who was sitting right across the aisle from me, turned around with a wide smile and declared....Tharini....I love your Dad, he's so cool!
Having a parent teach in the same school you go to, has its pros and cons. For instance, you can't get away with a whole lot of things, like bunking classes, a missed assignment, poor grades etc. News had a way of reaching with lightning speed. But thankfully, it wasn't something I worried about much, because I was a good student on the whole. The pro of course was that you gain a sort of celebrity status among your peers and seniors. I've walked along the corridors many a times, to have people whisper amongst themselves...that's Mr. Shiva's daughter. Its hard not to get pumped up with that kind of attention especially when you're a teen. The fun part was when I crossed him, by chance, in the corridoors and we had this little game that we played with each other. I'd look his way, smile brightly and chirp...Good morning, Sir....formally and he'd reply...Good Morning Ma'am...with equal formality. In many a recess, me and my friends would prefer to amble over to his staffroom and chat with him, to chatting amongst ourselves. And we'd always find one or the other student there ahead of us. He has been a counseller, friend, confidant and guide. And its no wonder that he won the Best Teacher's Award there as well. It was one of the most satisfying moments of his career, I think.
There is a single incident that captures the spirit of my father, my teacher. It happened when I was in the 10th standard, and he was taking a class. He was talking about the Big Bang Theory I think, and it started to rain outside. Now rain in Bahrain, the way I remember it, was not a regular occurence, and so there was a novelty attached to it when it happened. All our eyes darted to the window and we tried hard to stay focussed in class but we were clearly distracted. He noticed. He got up from the table that he was leaning against, and put down the piece of chalk. He dusted his hands off and declared the rest of the period free. And he watched the rain with us. I've never felt more proud of him than in that one single moment when he became one among us. As we continued to watch the rain and hear the thunder, he talked of a song....a rain song which he had listened some years ago and liked so much...he tried to remember the words....and then he hummed the song out for us...
Listen to the rhythm of the falling rain
Telling me just what a fool I've been
I wish that it would go and let me crying then
And let me be alone again.
The only girl I've cared about is gone away
Looking for her brand new start.
But little does she know that when she left that day
Along with her she took my heart.
Rain please tell her that I love her so
Please ask the sun to set her heart aglow
Rain in her heart and let the love we knew start to grow.
Oh listen to the falling rain....pitter patter pitter patter...
My school to me was nothing short of a second home, given that both my parents worked there for the biggest part of their lives. I have walked through every corridoor in every building and I love it with all my heart. One of the biggest highlights was when I walked along the same corridoors wth my father, as he held a 9 month old Winkie. That day was unforgettable.
I owe my father a lot more than just my education. He's the catalyst that propelled me towards books and music. And if I have any knowledge and appreciation for the music of the yesteryears, it is because of the special magic wand he waved over me. He's 61 years old and gives the phrase young at heart a whole new spin. He'd probably gasp at that number and tell me....I don't feel 61 ma. Flip the number....that's how old I am. :)
So celebrating him this Father's Day comes naturally to me. I wish he were in front of me so I could give him a big huge hug, but since I can't....I'll just say....Happy Father's Day to you Pops. You are my teacher, you are my friend, you are my inspiration, you are my love. And you are the legend that comes to life every single day. Here's dedicating to you something you wrote me once, when we had to part...
Tuesday, June 12, 2007
First of all, I would like to share with all of you the news that I am pregnant, again! 7 weeks, today!! We are very excited.
I read a very interesting post and the ensuing discussion about growing up Indian kids the American way. We came back to India after living in the US for 10 years (and loving every day of it) just this year and my son, E who is now 2 & 1/2 yrs old was born there. I was very happy and impressed with the education system that I came across there and I did spend some time trying to understand it even though my baby was too young at that time.
After coming here, I am nervous that he will not be exposed to that kind of learning environment but instead the Indian system that we are too familiar with. I have been trying to get as much information as possible about the Indian system too for it has changed tremendously since we were last in school!! And in a lot of positive ways,too.
I am just wondering if there is anybody who is in a similar situation like we are and would love to hear about things that you all are doing. We are very happy with our decision to come back to India and i just want to make sure I can give my kids the best of both worlds!
I had requested Asha to do a post on Trisha at DMC and I thought why not we come up with some questions we could ask Asha and Trisha to clear our doubts and to know what it takes to be a STAR.
What I would like to know :
A peek into Trisha’s daily routine
Why she decided to be a doctor and how does she prepare her self ?
What is her study routine ?
It seems a good SAT score and GPA is not enough to get into a good school. What more is needed ?
A couple of months ago I heard on NPR that High School kids stress out a lot, what with SAT, voluntary work, AP classes etc. How does Trisha cope with it ? What does she do to relax ?
If possible a bit of explanation on what is AP, how do you take such Advanced classes etc. ?What are her hobbies ?
What is your question Moms ? Asha, I hope its ok for you and Trisha to come up with answers to our questions.
Most of the Moms in this group have small kids. But some of you have middle school-ers at home, right ? Rads…Saheli…anyone ? It would be great if you could do similar posts on your kids in middle/high school. It would help not only the members but also others visiting our Club
Sunday, June 10, 2007
In March , I had written about my Daddy...It was his birthday...He would have been 57 this year....
I thought I would share my post with all of you....I miss him a lot..
We were to go and watch The Namesake over the weekend.... and I hadn't read the book till then... so I made it a point to read it ASAP.... Am glad I did....The book was fabulous.... I couldn't put it down.... I felt criminal..when I would find excuses to leave my son with the maid... just so that I could go and finish reading the book....
There were times when I would just read the words and see the whole story happen in front of my own eyes..... I could see a number of people I knew ..I loved...I missed.... in the pages of that book..... Most of all my Father..... Daddy.....
Its been seven years since we celebrated his birthday with him......he's been gone for almost seven years now.....but even today when I go over to my mum's place... I expect to see him sitting on his chair in the living room watching cricket or chatting with someone or the other.....
I still expect to be asked "Hey! T ... pour me some T..." with a grin on his face... I still expect to see him walking around the dinning table when we eat..straightenning the table mats , forks and spoons..... I still hear him call my brother "minky"....I still see him giving a look of exasperation -looking at my Dida laying out a lunch consisting of 15 different dishes when he had categorically asked her to make just two...I still hear him ask my Thakuma to make "maacher jhol with bori"... I still see him pouring himself a cup of tea at the dining table and stirring in the sugar noisely till all the sugar dissolved ..much to my irritation...I still see him playing with my lil neices and nephews.....showing them the cars that passed by... I still hear him teaching them to stand at attention and call him "commando dadu....." which in turn made my poor mother "commando thakuma" for no fault of her own.....I still see him.... hear him .....and ....feel him....
He would have been 57 on the 23rd of March....I miss him a lot....... As I was reading The Namesake...I missed him all the more..... Jhumpa Lahiri.....took a few chapters out of my life when she wrote that book...... I immediately telephoned my brother and asked him to read the book..... knowing that he would understand what I was feeling.....
Now when I look down at my son....I miss Daddy all the more...He isn't there to play with his grandson....he isn't there to show him how to stand straight... chest out ..stomach in......he isn't there to show him the cars and race with him like he did with my brother....he isn't there to be called 'Dadu'...he isn't there to see his grandson twirl the lil lock of hair on his forehead the same way he used to do........
This year Joy, my son, sent some beautiful flowers to his Dadu on his 57th birthday.....and you aren't here to give him a hug...Daddy...... It's just not fair....
Am sending out this first post to everyone in the club....so that you get to know me....
I have a energetic 9 month old... who makes my head whirl with all his activity most of the time.... when I get a break from all the dizziness..I blog....about our lives as a family...my son's escapades, the husband and life in general.
You can read my blog at :
I will be posting on Desi Momz club as well.. so read on...
Thursday, June 7, 2007
How did we do?
We got birthday banner, caps and decorations related to cars theme and balloons
We ordered cake from Amphora Bakery (they make delicious cakes) again cars theme and got cars theme cake plates.
Goody Bags for kids
We got small paper bags from Michael’s (craft store), Cars tumblers, chocolates and cars lollipops. We filled each tumbler with chocolates and cars lollipops and wrapped with transparent bag and placed in the paper bag.
Got return gifts according to age. Actually we wanted to stick with cars theme and we saw “Lighting Mc Queen” plates in Disney store and wanted to give them as return gifts unfortunately it was out of stock.
It was a dinner party so I made few at home with my families help and few we ordered. Here is the list of items we had at party
Appetizer: Onion pakoras
Entrées & Main course: Roti, Green Pulav, White rice, Dal Makhani, Mixed vegetable kurma, Ratia (onions, tomatoes & cucumber), Sambar, Dosa avakaya and Curd.
Desert: Jalebi & Cake
Beverages: Soda’s & water. And after having all these dishes every one would love to have some Pan, so we served home made “Meeta Pan”. Pan was my atta's idea.
We ordered roties, mix curry & desert all other dishes were made by me and my cousin.
I will post the tips and more idea soon so till then Happy blogging.
For adults you can make samosa /tikki and char or pav bhaji. If you have extra help you can make pakora's . Both tikki and pav bhaji is easy to prepare and you a make in advance and you can order samosa.
For goodies you can check party stores, along with the theme they have cool stuff you can use like we did for "N". Check out the pictures.
For return gifts you can buy gifts cards from "chucky cheese" , B&N and Toys urs like Maha Vishnu suggested.
Hope this will help you.
A few months ago, I watched a programme on the BBC channel. In it, a lady was trying to restore the garden which once belonged to her father, who was no more. She had given up her busy job and social circle in London and returned to her family home which she had inherited. She was also the full time carer of her mother who was terminally ill.
The lady was very attached to her father, for whom the garden had a special place. During his lifetime, he nurtured it like a baby. She, now, with some help from professionals, was trying to restore it to its former glory. In other words, she was trying to keep her father's memories alive. It was really touching , when the work had been completed. One could sense the many emotions that were running through her mind. She was virtually trying to visualise the many years of joy that she had experienced in that very garden . There was no doubt about the very strong bond that she must have shared with her father.
The pain of losing one's parents hits very hard-but it is more so if one is particularly attached to that parent. I could'nt help but recollect the memories of my father (God rest his soul in peace!!). We lost him on a July morning nearly thirteen years ago, the victim of a haemmorhage.
Deuta (pronounced de-oo-ta, meaning father in Assamese) was a little man with a big personality. By 'little', I literally mean 'Little'. He did not have an imposing figure. In fact sometimes , I wonder at the amount of respect he commanded from everyone....family, friends,colleagues, even his subordinates at work. And he always did so with his quiet presence. He was never a boisterous personality.
Forever the independent spirit, he never waited for anyone to do things which he could do just as well. His sense of dignity of labour was very high and he never shirked from getting into a job, hands-on!!
Deuta followed the principle of practising what he preached. He liked punctuality...and that meant being punctual to the dot . There was once a local community meeting for which no one turned up at the designated time.....except Deuta of course. He was really put off by this , especially considering the fact that the other members were all much younger than him. Needless to say, from the next meeting onwards, all of them were on time .
In a world full of corruption, Deuta kept his resolve never to be swayed by it . And his principles saw him through even in the hardest of times.
Oh I can go on and on about him... I have so much respect and love for him.
I still believe I share a special bond with him. I am the youngest among three children. My elder sister and brother are older to me by eight and six years respectively. So, obviously, during my childhood, I did not have siblings to share my playtime....for they had both grown out of it, too busy with their new teenage experiences. But, I still remember that Deuta was always there for me. He would drag me outdoors (for I had this habit of losing myself in a book most of the time, losing all sense of time and space) and play with me(usually a game of badminton), take me for walks, involve me in his garden(which he was really passionate about) and ensured that I did not feel left out. As the days went by, he was more like a friend to me. At times, I can feel the warmth of his hands , leading the way, helping me cross a busy street.
The great thing about Deuta was that he had an enthusiasm for and interest in all the small pleasures of family life...a well cooked meal by Ma, a good school report about us, our extra curricular achievements, birthdays ,anniversaries, our studies, a football match(an avid footballer himself in his heydays), taking us to the circus or the zoo, and even sharing a laugh over a screen comedy...you name it ...he did it all. He was there by our side, even in our failures, never discouraging us, but urging us to learn from our mistakes and move on.
Deuta was a diciplinarian but in a calm sort of way . We restrained from vices probably because we were afraid to face him.... he was not going to punish us, but because we felt ashamed at letting him down.
Ma and Deuta's marriage was one made in heaven-what one lacked, the other made up for it . Probably, the other reason that Deuta was able to abide by his principles was because he had the full and strong support of Ma. She has always stood by him - whatever the circumstances.
Sometimes I wish he was here. He would have made a wonderful kokadeuta (grandfather). There was so much to learn from him. But, then, I think of one of my cousins who had lost her father in her early teens and her brother was too young to remember him properly. It makes me feel blessed to have received so many years of paternal love and that too from such a genuine man. I cherish all the fond memories that I have of him and tuck them away in a special corner of my heart.
Deuta, I really miss you....even after all these years it still hurts as much.....but wherever you are, I hope you will look down with fond eyes and lead me on like a "kindly light, amidst the encircling gloom".
I was not lucky enough to meet Dinesh's father as both his parents had expired much before we were married. I have heard from him though as well as from family friends about the strong personality that he was. It seems he was a bit of an adventurer, raring to go anywhere. Pity I did not get to know him better.
As for my kids' 'deuta', I don't think it would be fair to compare him to mine or for that matter to anyone else...all that I can say is that he really tries his best and I hope that a great many years from now on, both Rengoni and Agastya will talk about him with the same fondness as I do about mine and Dinesh about his.
As it is soon going to be father's day, I pray for all those who are no longer in our midst but who have managed to touch our lives, leaving a lifelong impression... and to those who are still there, I wish them many more happy years of fathering.
(Most parts of this post have already been published at Sunita's World)
Sunday, June 3, 2007
We are about 2 weeks away from Akhil's 4th birthday. And it didn't require much of thinking on our parts on how to celebrate it. He was having a grand time at his classes in My Gym, and that's where he would have his friends over to help him commemorate the occasion. We decided to call all his friends from school, and some of our personal friends with kids. I think that would total about 18-20 kids in all. The date of the party is June 16th, just the day after his actual birthday. So once the venue was decided and booked, we turned our attention to the rest of the stuff.
Starting with the invitations. I thought it would be a neat craft idea for Winkie to do all the invites himself. It would give him some involvement in planning for the occasion and we could constructively spend some time together. We started off in good earnest. I wanted to make hand painted invites (like what you see in the picture) for all his young friends. We made about 7 in the course of 2 days. I drew a rough outline in pencil and he painted inside it. After the 7, he bailed out on me and refused to do anymore. That's a boy's attention span for you!!!
So to make it complete, I added little inserts on the inside of the card as to place, time, agenda etc. Phew!! It took up quite a bit of time to do manually. After that I took stock of things again and decided I cudn't quite repeat this for another 13 more invites and decided to scan his best work in, and email it to the rest to my friends. Good choice! I was done inviting within the next 24 hours.
Now the next thing to decide on is the cake....but we already know what we want and who is going to make it, so not much work there either. Rajesh has been charged with the task of buying for the goody bags. Now I have to think about how to celebrate the occasion in school on the 15th. Last year I did pizza and cupcakes and that was that. This time, we already have pizza on the 16th, with proper cake. Should I do a repeat one on the 15th? No clear thoughts on this yet. I would welcome your suggestions. As far as I know, all the kids are coming for the party.
Also, since it is mainly a kiddy party, the kids will have pizza and juice. What about the adults then? We were thinking to order extra pizza for them. I don't think it would be feasible to get any other type of refreshment there, as in any typical Indian snacks.
I would love to have some of your ideas on this. Please help me out if any ideas come your way. Thanks!
A Mom has a hectic life I agree. She zips around doing trillion things, stuff she wouldn’t have imagined doing for herself. All her work is done with a single goal to do the best for her kids. If she wants home cooked food it’s because she doesn’t want her kids to eat unhealthy junk.
If she simply HAS to do the 3 loads of laundry each week its because she can’t bear to see the kids go around in soiled clothes.
So in addition to the daily stuff she does for the kids, the feeding, bathing, playing, entertaining she has to get the household chores done too and that can get overwhelming at times.
Heres some pointers on how to make the load a little lighter and the journey more entertaining
This is a major part I agree, especially in an Indian household where you are cooking and serving Indian food. I love to cook but doing it every day is difficult and on weekdays it takes up a considerable amount of time.
What can You Do ?
Cooking in bulk. On a Saturday or Sunday I cook enough to last me till mid week. Then on Wednesday I cook something again but the mid week cooking is lighter, quicker stuff.
For my daughter I make a stew with different kind of veggies and refrigerate. Then I add either chicken or fish to it during the week. So I will fry a fish filet and add it to the stew say on Monday and then say add some cooked chicken to the stew on Tuesday. Chicken does not taste good if kept cooked for long so at the most a day or two should be ok.
Saheli said “I make tuvar dal a lot(plain dal/sambar etc.,) so, on weekends I boil it in bulk and store in different containers in the freezer and use them as needed during weekdays.”
SJ said “Daals, chole, rajma, chicken dishes, matar paneer, etc all are very freezer friendly. Just keep in mind, once it comes out of the freezer it should be finished the same day. Palak paneer, cook a lot of the palak base, divide into 3 parts and freeze 2. Next time take out one part, add some fresh seasonings, throw in fresh paneer and you are good to go.”
Chopping Veggies: I usually chop veggies on a day when I am not cooking. So say if I am watching a movie on Friday night, I utilize that time to chop up some of the veggies that I would cook during the weekend. For stuff like Spinach I always get a Bag of washed Baby Spincah which I use in Dal. That way I don’t have to chop the spinach.
On weekends I make onion paste and sometimes ginger and garlic paste and refrigerate. That way mid week cooking gets easy.
Saheli said “I also keep frozen vegs available like beans, karela, broccoli and guvar for days when I don't have time to chop. I also keep the 'instant" items ready like idli mix, dosa mix, dokhla mix.”
Also get your hubby to help with cooking, chopping, doing the dishes etc.. Relax about having home cooked meal every day, have a Sandwich or a salad on a day you are very tired or order out once in a while.
Laundry is ok… you just sort and dump and then the washer does the rest. The biggest chore for both me and D is folding them. Oh how I hate folding laundry !!! I just hope someone would come up with a gadget that folds.
Usually I do 3 loads of laundry and I start from Friday. The folding is another story….
What can You Do ?
Get your kids involved. Sometimes me and my daughter we sit and chat and I fold while she pretends to.
Reena said “ put clothes for washing and drying and let your husband fold it at night.”. Try, might work out and then you are one happy Momma
Sogno said “I used to fold the clothes at night after E fell asleep and while watching TV”
Dee said” Engage your kids in the laundry room and fold the dried clothes when you watch tv or listen to music after the little ones sleep”
If everything fails do what I do. I sometimes dump the dried up laundry in the spare room, shut the door, forget that the room ever existed and then on a day when I am less tired I go and fold. Ok that day has to be sometime during the same week of course, I cannot postpone to next year or something
With small kids around it becomes a bit stressful to do the house cleaning like vaccum etc.
What can You Do ?
Hire help for cleaning. You can get someone weekly, twice a week or monthly. My help comes in once every three weeks. In between we vaccum a bit and clean the bathrooms but NO Deep cleaning for us. So that leaves the weekends less stressed.
The kitchen is cleaned soon after I cook and hubby helps in that, I think kitchen is the most frequently cleaned room actually. Keep boxes of the "Clorox" Wet Kitchen wipes. A quick wiping of the counter tops with those help a lot. Also keep a box of Swiffer dry wipes handy. They are very useful to quickly wipe the floor.
Also restrict the kids to certain areas of the house to make a mess of. That way it’s ok if you only clean those areas each week and leave the rest for major cleaning days.
Teach kids to clean up toys etc. by having a large easily accessible toy chest where they can at least dump their toys and as long as junk is “out of sight” I consider it clean.
Serve meals for kids sitting them on their high chair and in the kitchen or dining area. Don’t let them run around the house with food. That might get messy
Running around grocery stores might be taking up a lot of your time. You loose out on your time with family you think.
What can You Do ?
Make grocery a fun family outing. Doing grocery helps me de-stress too. There are usually 2-3 grocery/farmers market to run around. Some days I just go on my own say on a Thursday evening while hubby takes care of the little one. Roaming around the aisles and looking at the produce gives me real pleasure.
Some weeks on Fridays we all go “to do grocery” . Getting the grocery done before Saturday helps me plan meals and start cooking from Saturday. When we all go together its like a family outing kind. Might not sound hep like going to a “Theme Park” but it IS a family bonding thing. If the family is not interested try to reduce the family trips to “once” a month and rest of the days go on your own to get some me time.
Shweta says “We always our grocery shopping -american/indian/ everything on thursday !!! I usually come back by 4.30 and the entire family goes on the trip..!! we pick up pizza on the go as a snack..!!SO even if we do run out of something unless it is very essential we just put it on list for thursdays !!”
Saheli says "Also, I always go with a list for grocery shopping and never ever go empty stomach"
Socializing is a part of a Moms life. Be it her friends or her kids friends. There are parties or get together to arrange or some that you need to attend to. This takes up some amount of the family time and though fun might make the days more hectic.
This I want suggestions about. I love my friends and spending time with them have always been fun. Being away from family its they who are more like family for us and my daughter too. But some weekends there is a bevy of socializing which upsets my plans. So maybe I am attending a party or cooking for one which leaves the weekends more hectic than relaxed. Does this happen to anyone ? How do you handle such situations ? What if this happens almost every other weekend ?
However we handle it, to keep us sane the mantra should be -- Take it easy and let go. You don’t have to be perfect. It’s fine if your kid eats chicken nuggets for dinner once in a while instead of the home cooked meal. Share work with hubby. He might not like you dictating which I tend to do often but let him take up a task he likes and he will excel. To get more quality time with family involve everyone while you are cooking or doing laundry. So let your hubby play with the kids some where nearby while you cook, so that you can join in too.
Do not look at motherhood as a chore, its not, to get the fun out of it do whatever suits you best.
Got ideas -- chip in please
Friday, June 1, 2007
Hi mommies, hope you are all enjoying the Sunshine and enjoyed sharing your wonderful stories for the whole month of Mother's day. Now it's our fathers turn to be loved and cherished who are equally important in our lives,specially for daughters.He may be out of the house a lot, but remember the stories he told you,the love and that special bond you shared with him.
So, let's make the theme for the month of June, "Father's day!"
The same rules and guidelines apply.Every week Thursday to Saturday,feel free to say thank you to your dads and share any sweet tidbits you might have.Non members can send articles to the e mail provided on the sidebar to Sandeepa so she can post your's as well.Thank you,let's make it special for dads too! Go ahead and share your thoughts!:)
A tribute to my own:
My father has always been a very special person and a great friend to me.I adore my dad and he is the one person nobody can replace in my life! He is a wonderful, very talkative(was a lawyer and then a judge,can you blame him?!),fun loving,positive thinking person and I shared my most of my private thoughts and talks with him as a young girl rather than with my mother.He is the most understanding and rational guy, gave me many great advice regarding important decisions I had to make in my life.Let me take this opportunity and say to him "I love you Daddy and I cherish your presence every second of my life.Thank you for being a great dad.Happy Father's day!"
Father's Day is celebrated in USA on Sunday, June 17.
Here are some beautiful quotes and history of how Father's Day came about in USA.
A father carries pictures where his money used to be. — Unknown
When I was a boy of fourteen, my father was so ignorant I could hardly stand to have the old man around. But when I got to be twenty-one, I was astonished at how much the old man had learned in seven years. — Mark Twain
"A father is always making his baby into a little woman. And when she is a woman he turns her back again." -- Enid Bagnold
"It doesn't matter who my father was; it matters who I remember he was." -- Anne Sexton
"I cannot think of any need in childhood as strong as the need for a father's protection." -- Sigmund Freud
A history of Father's day:
"The history of Father's Day is very interesting. The thought for creating a day for children to honor their fathers began in Spokane, Washington. The idea of having the Father's Day came to the mind of Sonora Smart while listening to a Mother's Day sermon in 1909.
After the death of her mother, she along with her siblings was raised by her father, William Jackson Smart. Sonora wanted to tell her father how special he was. Sonora's father was born in June, so she chose to hold the first Father's Day celebration in Spokane, Washington on the 19th of June, 1910.
The National Father's Day Committee was formed in New York City in 1926. A Joint Resolution of Congress recognized the Father's day in 1956 and in 1966 President Richard Nixon established a permanent national observance of Father's Day to be held on the third Sunday of June. Thus, the Father's Day was born in memory and appreciation by a daughter who believed that her father and all other fathers should be honored with a special day.
In the United States, the first modern Father's Day celebration was held on July 5, 1908, in Fairmont, West Virginia. It was first celebrated as a church service at Williams Memorial Methodist Episcopal Church South, now known as Central United Methodist Church". (Info from WIKIPEDIA)
Make it special for your dads and don't forget your kids' dad as well!! Go ahead, let's hear it ladies:))