mom of all trades

mom of all trades

Listed among the best Indian blogs by mommies

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Breath of life

Last week changed my life.(yes.. I am a drama queen!!!!) It happened when I began to give importance to the most taken for granted aspect in my life- my breathing. I attended a three day workshop conducted by the “Art of living” foundation. It was an eye opener for me to make certain changes in the way I was living and thinking. When I learnt how to become fully aware of my breathing, and started doing it consciously; a wonderful thing happened. I slowly learnt how to immerse myself fully in what I am doing at the moment. For the first time in my life I was able to give my full attention to the present and it was a wonderful feeling. Another thing I will cherish forever is the way I learnt to enjoy daily meals; savor each mouthful , be aware of its texture, its taste, the sensations it produces in my mouth. I try to do it at least one time a day.. even if its just a handful of raisins popped in when I am waiting for my son at school. Try it its addictive.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Annual day. with the king of my heart!!!

This morning marked a sort of land mark in Nachikaet’s social life.. his first stage performance. It was a fantastic debut (well I am his mom guys, what did you expect!!!!)

His class performed to a medley of songs by the late “king of pop”. What amazed me was that the class teacher had managed to transform a group of boisterous four-year olds into dancers, belting out classic Michael Jackson steps, leaving the audience asking for more.

It set me thinking about the efforts teachers put into molding our kids thoughts and actions. Teachers, especially in the nursery levels, are an under paid lot doing a largely thankless job. My son and I decided this afternoon to use these Christmas holidays to make a card together, list out all the things he has learnt from her this year and thank her..all in his own words ( I, being the scribe). Here is a picture of him beaming at the camera in his “beat it’ costume. He sure is the king of my heart!!!!

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Power of praise..try it with your child

Last week I was waiting for my turn at a doctor’s clinic, when I chanced upon an article in a magazine. It made me think about a topic I had never associated with parenting..praise. The article speaks about how praise, if used in the right way, plays a vital role in boosting your child’s confidence levels. As human beings,we all have an inborn need to feel loved and appreciated. As parents we some times forget that children define themselves based on what their parents or peers think about them. They are more likely to turn out into what they constantly visualize themselves to be. I found the ways  suggested by the magazine, to weave praise into our daily lives, very practical and doable. Here are a couple of them. Instead of saying vague things let him know what exactly you are appreciating. So if he helps you lay the table, instead of saying’ you are the sweetest child in the world’; try “that was very helpful of you, mama felt very happy when you helped” This will help the child understand why he  is being praised. In most cases appreciation works better if done privately, rather than in front of everyone. This will avoid situations where the child will feel embarrassed or spark sibling rivalry. Another thing most parents need to be aware of is what they speak of, behind the child’s back. Put off discussing negative behavior till you are sure the child cannot over hear. So try tapping the potent power of praise. You will be surprised by the results.. I was!!!

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Sneaky ways to introduce healthy snacks for kids

For most of us mothers, unhealthy snacking among kids is a reality we face on a daily basis. Fuelled by a daily dose of advertisements and peer pressure, all kinds of processed food find their way into their daily diet. My son was also introduced to this kind of snacking when he started preschool; so it was like “Amma, Nikhil has got chips for break time I want ‘just like that only chips for snacks’.. you get the picture. There were nights when I would lay awake wondering which of the “forbidden foods” he would be introduced to the next day!!! Finally it dawned on me that “if you can’t beat ‘em join em!!!”. That’s when I began to look out for alternative home made substitutes. It is a slow process but the results are worth the effort. My son enjoys these two substitutes most times.

When he wants something crunchy like potato chips, I entice him with chatpata puffed rice chat –sauté puffed rice in a little oil until crisp (don’t over fry), keep aside. Sauté shredded carrot, boiled sweet corn kernels (I use saffal frozen corn), thinly sliced yellow and red capsicum for color... basically any colorful veggies in bite sized pieces in a little oil; add a little chat masala, salt and lemon juice. Mix with the puffed rice and serve hot.

Whole wheat crackers topped with flavored cheese spread with a topping of your choice and zapped in the microwave is another option.

When he wanted ice cream every day I tried out a recipe I read in a magazine and it was very successful. Mix pureed fruit pulp into yogurt, add honey and freeze and scoop out servings into a bowl using an ice cream scoop (to retain some level of authenticity!!)

Please send me any sneaky snacking recipe which you may have tried out!!!!

Let us join hands in this noble endeavor!!!!

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Unlikely Hero

If any one were to ask my son, about his favorite superheroes (yes he has a list of them)
they would be very surprised. Of course there is the ‘chota Bheem” “spiderman” “BenTen” array; but among them, one stands out for the mere reason that my “superior adult mind’ would never have put him in this category. He is my son’s auto driver or auto uncle as he is fondly known as. It all came to light when a well meaning guest asked nachikaet what he wanted to be when he grew up. pat came the reply..”auto uncle’ . The guest and I were equally bewildered. To him, the way his auto uncle maneuvers around traffic to get him to school on time, screams at people who dares to delay their daily jaunts, allows him to drive the auto on by lanes is nothing short of heroic. It set me thinking that if we allow ourselves to look at world around us, through our children’s’ eyes once in a while, I’m sure we can see a hero in the most unlikely places. My son made me realize that the world we live in has so much to teach us if only we choose to open our eyes and ears to its marvels

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

An ‘after school energizer’ smoothie for kids

Last week my friend’s 8 year old came home exhausted from school at 4pm ..what with sports , extra curricular and projects children nowadays are seriously loaded with work. With a quick “hi’ to me he flung his bag down and yelled”Amma no snacks today gimme energizer” My friend gave me a triumphant smile and sailed to the kitchen. This is what she whipped up:

1 .Banana (med sized ) ripe – sliced 2
2 Cottage cheese(panner) ½ cup
3 Milk 1and ¼ cup
4 Dry fruits of your choice ..i used 1tsp almond powder(almonds roasted without oil and ground in a dry mixie jar to a fine powder ..can be stored for 2 weeks) and 1tbsp lion dates syrup)
You can use whole dates, presoaked almonds, figs,apricots..what ever your child fancies.( 3-4 nos)
5 Seasonal fruit of choice ½ cup
6 Ice cubes, large ½ cup
7 sugar/honey (optional)

Wrap the banana slices in a foil and freeze them over night or for a couple of hours.

Mix the frozen bananas with the milk, fruits, dry fruits and cottage cheese. Blend till the consistency is smooth, adding more milk if required. Add ice cover and blend again.
Refrigerate this mixture if using later or serve immediately. You can garnish it with strawberry or slivered almonds or chocolate shavings(grated chocolate)

This is a thick shake. It provides energy and hydration when children are not in a mood to eat normal meals. Nachikaet loves this shake. I’ve invented a name for it and he thinks it’s a magic potion which will grow muscles. It is a sight to see him run to the mirror immediately after drinking to see if his biceps have “grown”.. will post the picture soon

Saturday, November 28, 2009

a delicious lunch box recipe

Apple and carrot sandwich
This is one of my son’s favorite lunch box meal. I chanced upon it in one of my mom’s Tarla Dalal cook book collection. At first it seemed like an unusual combination but my doubts vanished when it got rave reviews from my son’s expanding English vocabulary
(He used up the two words he knows to express delight .. ‘wow’ and ‘too good”). This makes a tasty, nutritious and filling lunch box meal on those time strapped mornings

Bread – 9 slices
Apple spread
1 small apple grated
1tbsp cheese spread
Salt and pepper to taste
Carrot spread
¾ cup grated carrot
2tbsp cheese spread
salt and pepper

1.Lightly warm the bread slices
2.Apply apple spread on one slice of bread. Sandwich with another slice
3.Apply carrot spread on the slice and sandwich with a third slice of bread
4.Repeat to make two more sandwiches
5.Remove the crusts and and cut into triangles
6.Can be served warm or cold..tastes good either way.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Dinosaur mania

It all started when my son stumbled upon a copy of child’s first library series in my in-laws’ place. It had been a gift given to my husband and occupied a place of pride in a locked glass cabinet. I let him choose a book and he chose a book of dinosaurs, mesmerized by a giant “T-rex” on the cover. That was the beginning..he was completely hooked. The dinosaur book replaced all the time tested favorite reads. It was bedtime stories , before school stories, lunchtime stories all rolled into one!!! Soon we were having conversations that would put any self respecting paleontologist to shame. So it was apatosaurus with an 80 bone tail, and stegosaurus with bony plates and maiasauras with materanal instincts that ruled our little world . The icing on the cake goes to…well his b’day cake which was(no marks for guessing!!) a menacing looking T Rex…the last thing those cute frilly frocks piggy tailed girls who attended it might have expected..still it was a great cake..take a look. The mania rages on...

Back with a bang!!!!

I’m back in "blogosphere' after a brief hibernation; the reasons for which are just too long and boring to waste my time (or for that matter anybody’s time) detailing it. So its back to business from today. Happy blogging!!!

Wednesday, August 26, 2009


When some body asked me 6 people I cannot do son's pediatrician featured no 5. It really set me thinking on just how much this person featured in our day to day lives!! It must be a little frustrating to deal with a 'hovering near paranoia'
kind of mom. Every sniff and sniffle has to be analysed and explained to me in detail.. God save him if Nachikaet has get the point.

Well this doctor's day i decided to tell him just how much he means to us!!

So I became ghost writer for Nachikaet and gave him this little note along with a bunch of flowers

" Doctor uncle- I just wanted you to know,
I'll never find another like you even if I look high or low
You make my 'growing up pains' vanish
With sweet medicines and even sweeter words as garnish
The thought that you are just a phone call away
Makes me count my blessings everyday
A passing angel told me to listen to every line you say
'Cause God whispers through you ways to make me fit an fine everyday "

Friday, August 14, 2009

Janmashtami special-My custom made Makhan Chor

I must admit, Janmashtami according to Malayalam calendar comes next month. Still, keeping in with the spirit of Janmashtami nationwide we decided to amuse my son. (God knows we need cheering up- what with the recession and now the swine flu doing the rounds.). Krishna to me symbolizes... the little boy who never really grew up. He portrays in my opinion, eternal hope and courage in the face of adversities. Krishna is my son’s favorite action hero. He never tires of hearing how Krishna defeated the various demons Kansa sent to kill him. He can even repeat the exact order in which the demons were sent-Poothana, Trinavartha... you get the picture. So we dolled up Nachikaet in all the ‘Krishna ware’ complete with a flute and a cardboard crown. We read all his favorite Krishna stories and made sweets which he felt appropriate for the occasion. (He feels semiya payasam is “appropriate’ for all occasions).

One of the highlights of the day was that we had a really nice talk about how he will always be my ‘little Krishna’ and he being the “little chivalrous man’ that he is, promised me that I’m Devaki, Yashoda and super mom all rolled into one!! Talk about ego boost!!

The icing on the cake goes to my maid (who cannot speak any other language except Malayalam to save her life) when she yelled something which sounded like ‘maku joru’-turns out that keeping in with the flavor of the day she yelled ‘makhan chor’ having discovered my son in the forbidden area of the fridge-the chocolate section!!

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Best friends for 70 years-and still going strong

In this age when we change “friends” every year or drift away from old ones, this story is like a refreshing breath of fresh air.

They first met each other when they were 10 years old. One from an orthodox Brahmin household and the other from a family of ‘zamindars’ and freedom fighters. They were as different as chalk and cheese. One was a demure, timid and painfully shy Brahmin girl coming out of the protective circle of home for the first time in her life, to go to school; while the other was a tomboy, climbing mango trees and player for the school throw ball team.

Well, to cut a rather long story short; friendship struck. Since the fateful day the tomboy rescued the timid maiden from the clutches of some bullies, they have been inseparable. They have been a constant presence in each other’s lives through good and bad times. Weddings, births of children, deaths, illness, and domestic problems saw the two of them seek each other out for support. Theirs was a self sufficient world with neither the need nor inclination to invite anybody else into their charmed circle. Last heard the tomboy was on her way for the bedridden shy maiden’s 84th birthday celebrations.

How do I know this? Well the tomboy is my grandmother and she still goes for sleepovers at her friends place. Wonder what they gossip about though!!

Monday, August 10, 2009

Turtle Tales
“Amma, I want to be Tommy the turtle” yelled my son last week, fetching us many a curious stare from fellow pedestrians. Turned out that there was a fancy dress competition happening at his school with the theme “aqua world”. Just in time to coincide with his birthday party preparations and guests staying over for the weekend. The next day morning saw me in “Ram’s costume” (the only costume rental store in our area). The place was already bustling with what seemed to be half the population of parents of kindergarten block!!! After much pushing and jostling I managed to come face to face with my “messiah of the day’- the owner.

Me: Do you have a turtle costume?
Owner: Blank stare
Me: Repeat the above question
Owner: What that is
Me: Show turtle like waddling action with hands
Owner: Giggles
Me: At wits end

Fortunately, a kannada speaking parent kindly translated and the owner with a relieved look dashed in and came out with what looked like a teddy bear body suit with a cap with a turtle head sticking out. The next 10 minutes was spent in assuring me that it’s the best costume I can get. In light of my current “packed schedule”, I quickly paid the advance and booked it. Feeling very happy with myself I sauntered to the school to pick up my son when I got a rude shock. There was a circular with the details of the fancy dress with the menacing words printed in bold’ HIRED COSTUMES WILL NOT BE ENTERTAINED’.

Seething with anger I half dragged my bewildered son back home. Later that afternoon, something in me snapped when I heard my son describing in detail his fancy dress ambitions to his grand mother over the phone. I did some serious soul searching – “Can’t you spend a little time to see a smile on your child’s face?” bellowed the mommy in me…”yes, oh yes” I sobbed. With my new found enthusiasm I scoured the net for ideas. I must say I found some really good ones. One trip to the market and a 15 minute lecture session on ‘good parenting’ to my husband later, I was armed with the raw materials and an assistant. Sunday morning was spent in unleashing the creative demons in me with 2 assistants (my son and husband) at my beck and call. Finally it was over. The fruit of my sweat and blood, lots of the former and a drop of the latter when I pricked my hand on a needle. But the look on my son’s face when he wore the costume -that’s something that I’ll cherish for a long time. Do check him out.