Another reason why I love blogging…

.. you get inspired to do all sorts of stuff. Like Origami, which I wouldn’t even have dreamed of trying with daughter, had it not been for Ani and Lifesong.

We started off making some tulips, and then daughter had the idea of making a 3D picture, and this is what came out of it. Tulips, ladybirds(one of them 3D), and lots of Easter eggs scattered in the garden 🙂

The downside? Daughter has planned more 3D pictures, which I will now have to help make!

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This is how we keep busy ..

during term breaks when the weather forces us indoors.

We make pizzas.. with play dough..

image

We do crazy craft things which don’t look they way they should..

That creature is supposed to be a lion, although any self respecting lion would cry if he saw this 🙂

We make our tributes to Easter. Although since mum was too lazy to bake a cupcake, we made do with chocolate mousse.

We dance..

And when we run out of things to do.. we always have our books, don’t we?

We also had a bunny trail at home, and another at the library, but I did not take any pictures of it 🙂

That is the first week of the holidays almost over. We have plans to go away for the weekend, but it all depends on the weather. Hopefully it will be dry enough for us to go. Fingers crossed. Otherwise, we will just relax at home.

Hope all of you have a great break, I’ll see you next week – if we do go away, or else, I will be here reading and commenting 🙂

Breaks of all sorts…

Term break time again! And two weeks at that! Torture, I tell you!

And I don’t even have the luxury of turning to my laptop for comfort! It had to go and get broken at the right time.

Even the weather seems jinxed against me. Last week we had glorious spring, summer weather. Absolutely gorgeous. It felt like summer had come early.

Only for it all to change overnight. So we are back to grey skies and cold, cold weather. Not just cold, they are even predicting snow! Just in time for the Easter holidays.

We are now, back to checking weather every 5 mins, in the vain hope that something will change – for the better. But knowing our luck – California and Florida hit record lows when we visited, I don’t have much hope.

The sad weather also means that all our plans to be outdoors is now out of question. We do plan to do some gardening though. We have some sunflower seeds waiting to get planted.

I do have a lot to talk about, but can’t type on the phone anymore. I so need a tablet 🙂 Did I tell you that daughter is in love with the iPad? Well, she came across one in a shop, and ever since, all she wants is a iPad. Now, she has resigned herself to the fact that she isn’t getting one, so she ‘plays’ with it in malls or shopping centres where they try to lure us into buying one.

So how have you all been? Weather better at your end?

Just because..

..I am too tired to think of a title, but don’t want a lecture from Ashwathy 😉

There are reasons that I tell you that term breaks are pure torture. Reasons like this…


What’s wrong with this? This is a 3D puzzle. The box warns that it takes 2-3 hours to complete – but when we bought it, I somehow managed to miss it. Or perhaps my subconscious must have dismissed it – 2-3 hours – that has to be an exaggeration, right? Wrong. It takes that long and more. As I discovered to my horror.

Last week, Poohi’s school had a Maths puzzle workshop. We had been to it, and they had a little shop. And this was what we picked up from there. Mainly because Poohi loves puzzles, and she is quite good at them. So I thought(mistakenly), that may be it would be fun to do a 3D one. Maybe it would challenge her a bit. Challenge, it sure did. It just challenged the wrong person – me. I know, I know, I should have known!

This week has been a week of broken promises. We had planned to go out for lunch, just the two of us, but it never happened. Today we had planned for it again but there were some last minute change of plans. So we decided that we would go out in the evening. By the evening Poohi was a little tired, so we decided to stay at home and do something fun. That ‘something fun’ turned out to be that 3D puzzle.

Little fiddly pieces, trying to figure out what needs to be done, over the constant chatter of daughter’s(if you have met her, you would know what I mean), eager little fingers which are sometimes a bit too rough with cardboard pieces, with a million and one questions(does the real Tower bridge have giant batteries that makes it open?).. make a deadly combination.

At the end of the  3+ hours, my back is in pieces, I am ready to demolish the whole thing, if I could, and all I want is, for it to be assembled, and out of the way. I can’t help cursing myself for buying the darn thing, when daughter gives me a sudden hug, and says, ‘Amma, that is magic! It almost looks real ‘.

Can’t ask for more than that, can I? I guess a little ‘magic’ does work wonders to soothe a mother’s aching back and grumpy mood 🙂

PS: I haven’t been blog hopping much, haven’t been responding to comments. Come Monday, I will be on it, I promise 🙂 This week has been crazy!

The Basic Cookie/Biscuit Recipe

CR asked me to share the recipe of the cookies that I put up yesterday. That made me realize that it has been ages since I put up recipes here. Also, I realized today as I prepared some snacks for my friend and her kids who came over this afternoon that I seem to have forgetten some tried and tested recipes, so much so that I haven’t made some of my favourite dishes for almost 2 years now! Now that needs to be remedied, doesn’t it?

So remedying happened. I baked a pineapple upside down cake today, and it is almost over 🙂 *Picture me with a wide grin, showing off the crumbs*  Nothing makes me happier than if my food is polished off, because it hardly ever happens to me 😦 I always, always have extra. Especially when I have guests over. Husband claims that I cook for an army – and then force him to eat it till it gets over. So when everything gets polished off, I can’t help but beam with happiness 🙂 Of course, it might just mean that I cooked just enough, but then we don’t want to face that possible fact, do we 🙂

Let me tell you about the cookie recipe before I ramble on and on. On Sunday, Poohi wanted to bake heart shaped cookies, to ‘celebrate’ Valentine’s day before Husband went away on work. It was Sunday evening, and I wanted a fuss free, with minimal ingredients, an easy to make cookie recipe. So I began searching the internet. Although I have to admit, that if I went with the first recipe I landed with, I might have still managed to make it in the same time that I finally made them(the added search time certainly adds to it, doesn’t it?), but that did not cross my mind then. You see, I spend a lot of time reading the comments too. A recipe without comments, I don’t normally try – I don’t want to be the first one taking a risk, you see. Also the comments give you a fair idea about how effective the recipe is. Another thing I have realized while doing my research is how much my personal baking style has changed. Earlier I used to go by the recipe completely. I remember watching a Nigella Lawson programme on TV, where she mentioned that baking is a very exact science – and I totally took it to heart. Now however, I seem to have figured out what I can play around with, and what I can’t. So if I don’t have a particular ingredient, I find a substitute, or might even omit it, if I feel that it will not hamper the final results.

So finally I settled on this recipe from allrecipes.co.uk. Simple, with just three ingredients and the comments sounded like people had given it a shot and were happy. CR, I’m sure you will agree that it is simple enough 🙂

I stuck to the recipe, apart from minor variations(thanks to running out of essential ingredients).

  • 225g butter, softened(I used about 200 gms)
  • 110g caster sugar(I used about 90 gms)
  • 275g plain flour

1. Preheat the oven to 180 C/Gas mark 4

2. Cream the butter and sugar together until fluffy and pale.

3. Sift in the flour and bring the mixture together to form a dough.

Roll out the dough and cut out the shapes, if using cookie cutters. For the teddy bear cookies, shape the dough into the shapes, stick them together(the dough holds quite well), stick a ice cream stick into it, or just leave them  as is. Daughter wanted to make some teapot ones, and star shaped ones, but I did not have the time(or the patience, if I am honest), so we shelved those to the next time 🙂

Apparently we could add different flavours by different substitutions. The website lists out the possible variations – and they certainly look interesting. The only variation I tried was adding some salt to see if I can replicate the sweet and salty cookies from husband’s childhood memories. And that worked. Next time, I plan to try the same recipe with wholemeal flour to see it works as well.

With the half term on, I seem to be cooking a lot more ‘interesting’ recipes. Leaving you with what we feasted on today 🙂 The picture of the cake did not come out well – I took it in a hurry, and by the time I realized how bad the pictures were, I only had crumbs left 😦

If anybody is interested in the cake recipe, I followed the recipe from here. I had to use soft, dark brown sugar instead of light brown sugar in the toppings, because I realized too late that I did not have have light brown sugar. This gave my cake a darker, more caramelized look and flavour – which was still delicious! I also added about 4 tablespoons of pineapple juice instead of the two mentioned in the recipe. Other wise I followed the recipe completely.

Of Weekends, Baking and Term break time

The dreaded time is here. It is term break time again, and that means a week full of chaos.  Whoever designed these term breaks for children, never consulted the parents! And I say this being a SAHM, I can’t even imagine what it does to parents who work.

The only thing that makes it bearable is that we had a great weekend to kick it off. Actually, I had a great weekend. I had a girls night out with my friends, watched Ek main aur ek tu, while husband stayed at home with daughter. We had nothing to do, so we went sofa shopping on Sunday. We have been advised by so many people to buy sofas from here and ship it to India, we decided to at least check it out, and then make an informed decision. As soon as we stepped in the first showroom(, we realized that Husband and I were after 2 totally different things. He wants a recliner, which goes totally flat. Some of them had trays, and cup holders, and had husband go ga ga over them! While I refused to have them in my living room. Can you imagine that monstrosity? Horrible things  – they look like airplane seats(albeit, roomier and more comfy), why why, why would one want to pay ridiculous amounts to put that in the living room? Husband and daughter loved them though. I prefer fabric over leather, something that feels welcoming, and homey, where I could have loads of colourful cushions. Husband, or course, detests cushions! So needless to say, we certainly did not buy a sofa. Daughter fell in love with some children’s bedrooms on display. We had to peel her away from them. Some of them were so cute, I would love to have one for myself. One of them especially appealed to me, it had a bookshelf along the bed, and that felt just perfect! We came home with a bunch of brochures though.

The whole furniture browsing reminded us of the time when we were totally into doing this sort of thing in Bangalore. Both before booking our flat and after, we used to spend hours pouring over interiors, and visiting show flats, just to get design ideas. Some we would love, some would just show us what not to do – but it was totally fun, all the same. Funnily enough, daughter seemed to enjoy it just as much we did. She even gave us her inputs. Some genes have been passed on, I guess!

We came back home after all that window shopping and baked cookies – heart-shaped ones, teddy bear shaped ones(Deeps, inspired by the ones you did long back), and sweet& salty ones that husband wanted. He had had them in his childhood, and he has never been able to get it in the stores. So I gave it a try, and apparently it was spot on 🙂 Now that made me really happy, after all it is rare when any taste matches up with those in our memories 🙂

After a fun weekend, I can’t really complain if it happens to be term break, can I? So how was your weekends?

Holiday Tales 1

This trip of ours was a complete mixed bag, so to speak. Not every thing went as per plan,  but that did not stop us from having a whale of a time!

– First the weather, yes, it got cold. How could it not? And this time, I was over optimistic. I carried a couple of shawls for myself, no coats. I just about survived. The weather was extremely erratic, to say the least. The first day in Athens, I felt that we would get roasted alive. It was scorching! The next day cold and windy. Santorini was gorgeous and warm, most of the time. The rest of the time it was cold and windy. That just meant that we had to be prepared – All THE TIME.

-Greek People. They must be one of the most friendly and helpful people in the world. I could write a full post on how lovely they were.

– The experience. We did everything we wanted to. Did all the touristy things. Saw the Acropolis in Athens, went on the Red Bus Tour( we had never done the city sightseeing tours, we normally explore places in our own way). This time daughter wanted to get the bus with no roof. So we indulged her. It is another story that we always got on the bus when she was tired after hours of walking and they ended up being a sleeping tour for her 🙂

– Ended up living in a ghost town. More on this coming up in a separate post.

– Stayed at an old windmill and a traditional cave house.

– Food. Ate, ate, and ate like there is no tomorrow. Especially a tomorrow when clothes refuse to fit. The Greeks serve cakes at breakfast, and I made the most of it. And their bread – delicious! Stuffed vine leaves – I drool at the thought of them. I should stop talking about food now.

Those of you who wanted Greek gods, let me tell you, there are museums full of them 🙂  Daughter on the other hand is obsessed with Athena. Not a bad thing, I guess, if she is fascinated by strong women, as a lady observing her said. Also, she shows great potential as a future tour guide 🙂

Belated Diwali wishes to you and your families. I can see that most if you have been super-active while we were away. So many new posts !

Off on a short break..

We have real bad luck when it comes to weather on holidays. Not that it really makes a huge difference – we still have a lot of fun, but always end up wondering what is that link between us and the holidays?

For the last couple of years, we ended up going to the US for holdiays. People started asking us if we have relatives there. Each year, by the time, autumn starts, we get antsy. We feel the need to flee from the cold cold weather here. Both times, bad weather dogged us. Once there was a hurricane that almost derailed our trip. And the weather was cold cold cold! Last time as well, the weather was colder than normal. It almost feels as if we take bad weather with us. This time, we decided to stay here during December(why take bad weather to other parts of the world, see, how kind we are ;)) , and travel in autumn instead. We wanted to go to someplace in Europe and that would be difficult in December, given the weather.

I was torn between Turkey and Greece, when a friend of ours uploaded pictures of his holiday here. That settled it. We decided to finalize Greece.

So off we go tomorrow to Athens, and after a couple of days there to Santorini! We are all super excited, packing is yet to be completed, school work still needs doing, haven’t managed to get all the things I had planned, sorted. But nothing matters because our holiday is about to start! All we need is good weather now 🙂 See you all at the other end of the break!

Invisible Eyes, flowers and breaks… Post 25

Daughter believes that I have eyes at the back of my head.

And I am not really complaining. One time, she was up to something naughty, and I figured something was up, and told her to stop it. She was stunned, and wanted to know how I knew. I told her I had eyes behind my head, and she believed it.

So these days whenever she wants to surprise me, she says, ‘Amma, close your eyes, the ones at the back of your head as well’. Those eyes, I have to say certainly come handy when she is on a term break. There are only so many places that I can be at a moment, but my imaginery eyes do ensure that she is not upto to many naughty things.

Talking of term breaks, I feel like we live from one term break to another. Just when we get back to the school routine, it is time for another break. It is all fine if we are on a sunny spell, but if we have the sort of weather we have these days, thundery showers which come on a moment’s notice, drenching us completely. Parks and outdoor activities are almost ruled out. That leaves playdates, or other activities to keep her occupied. We do have plans to do some gardening this week, though. We had planted some sunflowers and marigolds some time back. The marigolds have sprouted beautifully, but the sunflowers seem to have disappeared. So this time, I plan to plant them indoors and the transplant them into the garden once they sprout. Fingers crossed they will grow, daughter desperately wants some sunflowers in our garden, and we are yet to get them to grow. Any sunflower growing tips?

I love the colours all around at this time of the year. Flowers of all sorts, greenery all around, delicious summer fruits. What more could I ask for? Bright sunny days for the next week, would be welcome though. Such a change from spring break when it felt that summer was here already.

On a totally different note, did I mention that I am just not reading much these days. I seem to get no time to read. The book I am reading now, ‘The Wealth and Poverty of Nations’ is a fascinating read. I can’t just put it down. Any interesting books that you have been reading?

We’re on a break..

A half term break, not a blog break. So all you guys who heaved a sigh of relief, that I won’t be bombarding you with posts, well , not so quickly 🙂

It’s daughter’s half term break, and  it’s already driving me crazy 🙂 We are even busier than we are when there is school. We have play dates planned, day outs, and other exciting plans(for her). And you know what is the worst part, I am reading the ‘The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo’ ,which is riveting and daughter is certainly not happy to let me read!

I envy all those parents who use these breaks to get lie-ins and extra time to relax. For me, it is rounds of cleaning up and tidying up. Don’t believe me? Look at my carpet 😦

And did I tell you that the weather has been going crazy? Just when we thought that spring  was round the corner, we got this! Snow, all over again. That should teach me to not rejoice so quickly!

You know, I keep complaining about my dying plants. Now I have a plant growing, and I have no idea what it is. I had planted some tulips and daffodils, but this looks different. Any idea what it could be? Is it some variety of tulips?

So what have you guys been up to? Who else is a fellow term break mum here? And how do you plan to get through the week?