Day 1: Welcome 2014!

So it’s a new year. Another year seems to have whizzed by. The last year was full of changes, for us. Actually the last two years have been full of changes. But then, that is what they say, isn’t it? The only thing constant about life is change.

I have to say, though, I could use some stability now, but who knows what life has in store for us. Whatever it might have in store, I can only hope that I’m capable of handling what life deals us with.

So how many of you do New Year Resolutions? I’ve given up on them. Ages ago. I’ve realized that no matter what, it’s not something I can carry through. The only thing I hope to continue doing this year is the review challenge on the Book Blog. Fingers crossed, that I will manage to pull it off. Oh wait! I do have one resolution. I’m going to try and put-together some sandwiches for lunch everyday, so that I can eat at my desk and read, instead of wasting time walking about in search of lunch. Yes. that is something I really want to do.

Oh, before I forget, I decided to participate in the blog marathon that DreamyMommy is hosting at her place. I know, I know, I need to get my head examined. But what’s life without a little madness, eh? So any of you still dithering about joining in? Just jump in, and let’s all have fun 🙂

So here’s hoping that this year brings happiness, content and all the things that matter to all of us. Wishing you all a wonderful year ahead! Happy New Year, everyone!

PS: Tell me, what did you do to usher in 2014?

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The Big Gap..

..between planning and execution is the reason for my downfall.

Rather the reason for the lack of posts this week, and the next week. We’re off home, to my parents(the mere thought of it is so exciting, relaxing and all things warm and cozy :)), and as usual, I’ve got loads of things yet to be done.

I had these huge plans of scheduling posts, book reviews that I had planned on doing. What did I actually do – nothing. Sigh!

I have been reading all your posts, but haven’t had the time to comment. I read on the phone, whenever I get a chance, but commenting gets more difficult. I try to hit ‘like’ when I can, sometimes even tha doesn’t work, because WP logs me out, and to ‘like’ I need to be logged in. After reading Shilpa’s and Bikram’s posts, I’ve been feeling rather guilty. So please consider this an apology – I just don’t seem to get the time to comment properly, or even respond to comments systematically these days. One day…

So all I have now is warm wishes to all of you for the festive season. Hope you all have a great time, and see you on the other side of the holidays.

Oh! Before I go, let me tell you who else is looking out for a job for husband. Yesterday, we had been at our local supermarket, buying a few last minute things, when daughter noticed a ‘Wanted’ sign, advertising jobs. They were looking at SSLC pass candidates to work at the store. All excited, she turns to me and says, ‘Look, Daddy can try and get that job, and then he can live with us forever!’

There it comes again..

..New Year’s Eve..There is something about this time of the year.. The whole festive air, the excitement, the whole atmosphere seems charged. That time when everyone seems to be in the mood for some partying 🙂

Unbelievable, that another year has passed. Another New Year’s Eve is here, and we have to learn to write 2012 instead of 2011 🙂

2012 seemed like a big year. In 2005, when London won the Olympics bid for 2012, we had felt that 2012 is so, so far away. Funnily enough, those years seem to have flown by. 2012 is here! 2012 is also the year for our move back to India – hopefully our last big move of this sort. Hopefully 2012 will be everything we hope for..

Here’s wishing you all a very Happy New Year. May 2012 bring for all of you everything that you want and hope for 🙂

The day we had our first lesson in Politics

This morning while we were having breakfast, Husband switched on the telly, NDTV.  He came over to tell me that BJP activists trying to hoist the flag were stopped by the police.

Daughter, on hearing that jumped up, and asked, ‘Why? Why were those bad people stealing a flag?’ And we both went, ‘No, no’, It’s a long story. And of course, she wanted to hear it. And I had to explain to a 4.5 yr old, how a part of India is not considered  a part of India, and so on. I also tried to explain the concept of our Republic Day. She nodded away. How much she understood, I guess, I will know, when her teacher tells me what she told her in school!

It just reminded me of how difficult it is to explain to a child living in another country, aspects of the country which we come from. When she talks of ‘our country’ she means the UK. The other day, she told me, ‘Our country is an island’, my first instinct was to tell her , ‘No, India is not an island’. Thankfully, I did not 🙂 But you know what I mean, don’t you?

This early morning discussion about the republic day reminded me of my school days. Before long, I was regaling her with tales of all the fun we had back home. Of how we had parades, and schools competing with each other for the best parade at the Tata Motors stadium. It used to be so much fun! And the pride when the national anthem was sung – I don’t think anything could beat that. Even today, when I hear it, my heart swells with pride, and I stand straight, just as we were taught back in school, straight and proud!

Happy Republic Day!

Crafts and challenges and love

This week’s Thursday Challenge is so perfect for a post that had been languishing in my drafts for a while now. This week, it is all about Crafts((Supplies, Knitting, Crocheting, Woodworking, Pottery, Painting,…) And everytime, I hear ‘craft’, all I(and Poohi and husband) can think of is our dear Crafty. So here goes, a post dedicated to Crafty.

And I also cheat, I have a lot more than one picture. I am not sure what the rules are, but does it really matter?

I was holidaying at home, totally out of touch with everybody else but family, when I logged into my blogging email and came across a very angry email from Crafty, demanding that I send her my address. As you guys know, I went underground when on vacation, so I saw this email rather late, and then managed to get Crafty’s number from Swaram and called her. What a bubbly, happy voice! So different from the low, unwell sounding Crafty I spoke to today. Crafty, please get well soon! Your last post had most of us worried. While we are delighted that you are on the way to recovery, we don’t want to hear of you being this unwell ever. Please get well soon! Hugs! And extra special hugs from Poohi.

So coming back to my holiday story, Crafty had made some lovely, lovely stuff for Poohi and me. See the pic below. That is Poohi’s ballerina. Crafty, she has been inseparable from it ever since she got hold of it . She even took it to school and told every body that Crafty Aunty made it for her. So now, everybody, including family, friends and random neighbours know of Crafty Aunty 🙂

And the lovely scarf that Crafty made for Poohi. You know what? Grey is also the colour of her uniform, so she can even wear it to school! What more can a little girl ask for 🙂

And below are some of the goodies that Crafty sent for Poohi and me:), although Poohi thinks that all this is just for her 😦 Aren’t those clips just the cutest? And the bookmarks! I swear, I end up admiring the bookmark instead of reading the book, a lot of times 🙂

I just wish I had half of her talent and heart! Hugs Crafty, get well soon and please do come and become my neighbour as you have been threatening 🙂 Nothing would give us more pleasure 🙂 Hugs again 🙂

Happy New Year.

It is a little late, but I am still going to wish all of you a very happy and prosperous New Year 2010. Hope all your wishes come true and 2010 becomes your best year yet.

We kicked off the New Year over the Atlantic in a choppy, bumpy flight which had us hoping that the plane would be strong enough to take us through 🙂 As you can see, it was.

Hope you all have had a great start to the year and that none of you guys have broken your resoluctions already 🙂

Happy New Year!

Birthday Wishes..

As they say, some people make a difference. Some people connect with the first comment they make on the blog world.

The first time I came across Sakshi, was when she commented on my name mutilation post about how she was called ‘Sexy’ by her son’s friend 🙂 Since then, I have been known to frequent her blog – even when she does not post , hounding her till she posts,along with Deeps and SJ. She is one person totally capable of spicing up comment sections with her comments and making us roll with laughter with her hilarious posts 🙂  And her photo posts – they are a wow!! I am so glad to have known you here, Saksh!

I had been planning to wish her very tamely on Facebook and Orkut, when Deeps came up with an idea of surprising her with something else 🙂 Thanks Deeps, for that Brilliant idea! Here’s wishing one of the warmest, funniest and cutest persons in our blog-samaj a very, very, very Happy Birthday! Sakshi, Hope you have an absolutely wonderful day! May you get all the happiness in the world!

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Saksh, all those gifts you see in the pic are for you – Jimmy Choo shoes and a Jimmy Choo bag, knowing how you love grocery shopping in your JCs 😉 We weren’t sure what your favourite colour was – so decided to get you  Govinda Style multi-coloured ones;)

PS : Comments are disabled here. Please head over to Sakshi’s place to wish her 🙂

Fish, Anybody?

Before you guys think that I am cooking/serving fish here.. it is just a few pics from our vacation.

We had been to a seaside place near here and everywhere we looked we could see fish. Be it, fish and chips or people fishing or the fish at the Sea life centre.. Here’s a few from the Sealife Centre. I am assuming that not many of you would be interested in Fish and Chips 🙂

P1020272A Ray fish – which Poohi insists on calling Raymond!

P1020273These fish were almost transparent – not clear in the photograph, sadly.

P1020281Penguins! I love the way they waddle 🙂

P1020292Look at that naughty seal peaking out 🙂 They were a treat to watch!

P1020302A spider crab which freaked out Poohi – she is terrified of spiders.

P1020309A snake headed turtle – it’s head did look a lot like a snake.

P1020310A bunch of little turtles – they looked incredibly cute as they swam around.

P1020318And finally a sea horse.

Am sure I would have bored you all thoroughly with these, but I don’t know what it is about aquariums.. There is something incredibly peaceful about them.. Must be the green and blue all around. And the fact that nature has such beautiful and diverse treasures. Some so tiny, some huge, all lovely and beautiful in their own way and doing their bit in maintaining the ecological balance. Surely, mankind must the only species which, by its actions does more harm than good….

On a different note, its festivals everywhere! Happy Eid to every one.  Happy Durga Puja and Navaratri! Hope all of you have a lovely festive season!

Onam wishes and dishes

Onam is here, it’s tomorrow! And a lot of us have been waiting for it..

One of the things I enjoy about not working is the fact that I get to celebrate festivals better.  The first time I made a Onasadya was last year – before that, the day would come and go. The last time I actually celebrated Onam was when I was at home with parents, a long long time ago.. Those days, I was not particularly fond of the sadya. I was more fond of north indian cuisine. When I got married to a non mallu, funnily, he turned out more fond of the sadya that I was. But over the years – probably, thanks to the fact that I hardly get to eat it, I have been craving mallu food.

Last year, I did make the sadya and had a friend over for lunch and we had planned to enjoy Onam – but daughter had other plans. She managed to fall and hurt herself and I managed to spend the afternoon in the accident and emergency in the Hospital and my poor friend did not even get to have lunch 😦 This year, hopefully, it will be different, good different hopefully. I also plan to make the pookalam, the flower carpet, welcoming Mavelli home, which I hope daughter enjoys too.

Today, some of us planned to have a virtual Ona sadya – to make some of you drool 🙂 So here are my contributions… Avial and Pal Payasam. Please hop over to Deeps’ for more info and more yummy recipes!

Avial

Avial is a sort of mixed vegetables. And it has been a favourite of mine since years.

Ingredients

Mixed vegetables  – 2 cups.

Vegetables like carrots, yam, raw mango, green beans, drumsticks, snake gourd sliced into 1 1/2 inch pieces – something like french fries.

Turmeric – 1/2 tsp

grated coconut – 1/2 cup

Green chillies – 2 (I use 2 as the chillies I get here are super spicy – please use according to taste)

Cumin seeds  – 1 tsp

Curry leaves – 2 sprigs

Oil – 1 tbsp

Curd – 2 tbsp

Method

Heat the oil in a thick bottomed dish.

Add turmeric and cook the washed and chopped vegetables  on a low flame until they are cooked.

While the vegetables are getting cooked, grind coconut, cumin seeds, green chillies and curd into a smooth paste.

Once the vegetables are done, add salt and the coconut paste and coconut paste and the curry leaves. Cook until any excess water is evaporated.

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And now for the dessert.

Pal Payasam

Ingredients
Milk 1 litre. (Full Cream Milk)
Sugar 100 gms
Water 1 cup (120ml)
Rice 4 tablespoon (I use Basmati rice)

Garnishing
1. Elaichi 3 powdered – I am not too fond of the taste of elaichi – so I normally avoid it.
2. Cashewnuts and raisins – as per taste

Method

Use thick bottomed pressure cooker with vent.
1. Boil Milk – adding water .
2. Add the washed and cleaned rice in boiling milk.
3. Keep the pressure on and cook on low flame for 35 to 40 minutes. (no whistle required).
4. After the pressure has cooled down open the cooker.
Mix thoroughly, boil for 5 minutes in medium flame.
5. Now add the Sugar and cook for another 10 minutes.
6. Garnish with the dry fruits

Slurp up!

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Here’s wishing all of you a very happy Onam. Onaashamsakal!


Happy Birthday, My Baby

I know, that you probably will correct me that ‘I’m not a baby, Amma’ , but for me, my darling, you will always, always be one.. You will probably be my baby even when you turn thirty 🙂

What a journey, this has been – the last three years.. You came into our lives and changed it forever.. From that little baby, who was placed in my arms, to the bouncy little girl of three, today..

As you learnt to feed, I learnt to feed you,

As you learnt to turn over, you taught me to me extra careful,

As you started to crawl, you taught me to keep the floor totally ‘Dettol clean’ 🙂

As you started to walk , I learnt to be there, to ensure that you don’t fall,

As you fell, I learnt to let you fall and learn from that fall – however difficult it was for me :(,

As you learnt to speak, I learnt to be extra careful of what I say in front of you :),

Every time you saw some thing ‘amazing’ in the most routine things – it made me see the world with different eyes,

Every time, I see how easy it is to make you happy, just reminded me of how small things can be so joy full!

As you grew more and more independent, taught me not to be clingy and let my little bird soar!

Baby, as you grew from that little baby, into a toddler and now into a little girl, I was growing too, with you..   I can hardly express what I feel today, when I see you prancing about all excited about your pink cake or your balloons, all I can say, is that you have made my life complete.. you have given your dad and me so much joy, that we will remember and cherish forever… All these years of waking up in the middle of the night, first for night feeds, then because of bed-wetting, and nowadays, just because you want Amma to give you a ‘cuggle'(cuddle) 🙂 – given a chance, I would do it all over again. Everything is worth it for one smile and a BIG HUG of yours 🙂

Happy Birthday, my little girl, my precious gift! I wish you all the happiness in the world!

 

PS: Haven’t been able to reply to any comments since yest 😦 Am a little caught up – but had to do this post… Will reply over the next 2 days 🙂 Wanted to post snaps too – but am running out of time…