The Scorpios

Lilypie Kids Birthday tickers

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Answered Prayers

Or is it a combination of that and a lot of care and attention that finally, my bougainvillea has proudly produced a single bract after 5 years of keeping me waiting? Believe me, many times I have come to the verge of cutting it down but then just left it there for aesthetic reasons. (The real reason is that I am a softie and live in eternal hope that it will flower). So this time I decided that I will put a rockery over my heart and cut it down to the base and wait for it to throw out new branches and in the process probably it will be nudged to flower. And look what I found...
One of the challenges of growing plants in a garden which gets hardly a couple of hours of sunlight is to coax the plants to thrive and flower. While my dream is to grow all the flowers of my childhood in my tiny garden like gulmoher, frangipani, jasmine, all colors of bougainvillea, hibiscus, roses, daisy, lily, crotons, dahliya and marigold...I know that most of them will just thrive as greenery and not flower like what they do in full sunlight.

So while I lust at them common garden bougainvilleas (yes, I have small wishes in life) and roses and even jasmines that were rampant in my childhood garden, I cannot bring them all home.

5 years ago, I was fooled into believing that any damn plant can grow in any damn soil. I had bought exotic hibiscus, jasmines, roses and so on and planted them all over on the front and rear patches and watched them die on me or worse still thrive without flowering even once- reason- lack of full day of direct sunlight.

I have learnt from my mistakes. Instead of spending hard earned money on nursery bought plants, I am always on the lookout. I am experimenting. So if you find a crazy looking woman with windblown unkempt hair tugging at a plant near a vacant plot, don't get scared.. that would be me trying to propagate a piece of vegetation.

This white periwinkle is an example of a tugged out branch sprouting roots finally...I mean who BUYS periwinkles? Unless they are of colors other than the common white & purple!

And what do you think is a huge sigh of relief for an experimentative gardener?

When the adenium that was dormant for 4 years on 5 leaves was cut off after assurance that it will thrive after a cutting and will also branch out in a beautiful shape.

Why do I get stuck with slow growing plants?

Monday, March 30, 2009

Can I Fault Their Logic

When they reply to my questions in the following manner?
Babies, who gives Milk?
Ojas & Tejas - in unison, without a second thought- Mamma
Who gives eggs?
O/T- Mamma
Who gives Wool?
O/T- Sheep
But then Milady has a different thought- she says- because I am one hot chick!
(I wish!)

Friday, March 27, 2009

Shoemaker's Elves

As good friend Deej puts in so precisely - one must suffer for the sake of art...
I give you this....
For the sake of art (blog fodder) hubby suffers getting his black shoes polished with brown polish & brush and also the socks being polished black .

I blame this on the visit to the shoemaker in school.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

How to Give an Impression of Being a Smart Homemaker

Ah well, if one were to drop in unannounced in my mom's home, she could always dish out a quick halwa or yummy pakauras or sometimes even some sinful maalpua...
But alas, self has no such talents and if some one were to drop in unannounced at my home, I would be calling my grocer for juice and biscuits and snacks.
Until I discovered that I could do some tricks that could save face and project that I am a great homemaker.
I list down my quick & not-so-quick, face saving ideas...
  1. Weekends are for preparing for face saving during the weekend. I mean there are only so many number of times that you can pretend that since you are working you have absolutely no time and therefore no snack to serve at home (read, whatever was bought has been eaten up already)
  2. I usually bake cake, caramel pudding (believe me both are very quick to do), make some kheer and retain it to ride over for the next few days. What is good about a kheer is that it can be cooked while you are cooking other stuff. The jaggery and rice kheer stays even longer and according to my taste buds- they get better as they age in the fridge.
  3. Anther good idea is to stock some icecream at times. Add fruits and voila- frut salad can be unleashed on that unsuspecting guest
  4. Did you make some dhokla using the aashirwaad or the MTR mix this morning? Keep a few aside and add curd, mixture, chutney, pickles etc to serve dhokla chaat.
  5. Popcorns anyone? Get your ActII ready...Quick and voluminous...
  6. It helps to have some watermelon deseeded and stored in the weekend. Nothing as jazzy as serving a watermelon juice. Or for someone who wants to do more labour- fresh lime soda, mousambi juice or mango/ banana shake. *ah i can hear them saying wow...such a talented homemaker*
  7. Make your chutneys in the weekend... tomato/ coriander/mint/ raw mango...nothing like serving them as sides if your husband gallantly offers dinner/ lunch without consulting you first.
  8. Keep peanuts handy... very quick to fry and serve
  9. I ensure I have bread handy on weekends. Simple logic...weekends, I make chicken so if someone comes over the weekend I can easily serve an awesome chicken sandwich naa.
  10. Finally have a trusted grocer's number who will send stuff at 5 minutes notice.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Look How We Have Grown

When K's mom came to Chennai last year, we had our first ever blogmeet. And we have come so far now more than a year later.
So this time it was at Coffee Day with K's mom, crazymum, Art, Lavs, DC and Timepass.
I took the tough decision to go without the kids and immediately regretted the same. Felt totally out-of-place without them and useless when I saw the rest of the moms handling their kids and carrying on the conversation.
Well, and the best part of all was meeting Plane Papa at last!

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Just a Phone Call Away

I have never been a big one in making phone calls to home to check on the kids from workplace. Except while travelling.
While the kids have always been communicating on the phone.
From the time they were born.
The first communication was with Nana- sis held the phone while they were being taken in the lift to the neonatal ward - screaming for whatever it was worth
There on Sis woud call from office just to speak to them...right from the time they were a few days old.
I was always discouraged from calling home to "talk" to them as it would set off a scream fest for Mamma/ to Hold the phone and all.
Though I have always encouraged them to talk on phone to their grandparents and uncles!
Cut to present they hold proper conversations on their own and even demand at random to talk to mamu or mausa or nani...
Methinks it could be a good idea to now talk to them from work every afternoon...especially since now they don't really make great noise after I keep the phone down.

Monday, March 23, 2009

For Masks

and Other Artefacts from South East Asia ....
Visit on ECR road after Spencer's in Axis Bank building as we move Southwards from Chennai
Keep looking at your left lest you miss it.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Sleepy Mom Tells Bedtime Story

Goldilocks and the 3 Bears
a sticker book published by Kiddz Book-
So Goldilocks tries to reach Daddy Bear's bed..
Then she tries to settle on Mamma Bear's bed...
Sleepy Mamma continues...
And then she goes off to Mausi House...
Mamma wakes up to Ojas and Tejas questioning Goldilocks slept in Mausi house?
tum mausi house kyon bola?
Baby bear ke bed mein soya naa?
(Why did you say Mausi house? She slept on baby bear's bed na? )

On a different note, the sticker books are now being effectively used as story books as I originally intended. Joy!

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Smart Homemaker Tips

Someone asked me how I manage the morning rush...
So here's my list
1. Prepare prepare the night before itself-
- wash the daal/ rice etc and keep in the fridge
-mix the veggies that go into the rice in a bowl and keep aside in the fridge
- morning just dump them into the cooker
-if the morning menu is to be toaster sandwiches- prepare the sandwiches and leave in the fridge- morning just put them into the sandwich toaster
-I even keep the aataa ready to make rotis for the morning
- if the snack box has to have fry items- I pack them the night before- cake, fried snacks, grapes, papaya.
-water bottle filled night before
-kids' & my clothes ironed, shoes ready & bags packed- leave the clothes ready in the bathroom if you wish
2. Have the quickest menu options for the morning - sandwiches, pasta, curry cooked in pressure cooker, dosa, idly, upma, poha
3. Ready to mix items- always available in the fridge-
- ginger/ garlic paste
-cut onions
-cut and frozen vegetables (I do them all the time, dunno what the nutrition people say)
-washed green chillies/ coriander leaves
-pre roasted sooji/ vermicelli
4. Easily make-able stuff- always available for those days when you are slow and the minutes are whooshing past you-
-beaten rice for poha
-pasta/ noodles
- frozen peas
-may be even sprouts if you are a regular eater
- dosa batter off course
-boiled potatoes - just put in a few extra for next morning incase you are using them today
5. breakfast for kids- have to be such that they can be easily pushed down the throat with minimum chewing- all soft and gooey, fed by spoon

Basically- a minute invested the night before saves more than a minute the next morning!

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Magnetic Board with a Book

Check out phidal site the learning series magnetic board which comes with a book that tells you a tale along with teaching you how to draw step by step. Really helps a mom like me whose drawing skills are the pits.
Infact they have 2 types of board 1 is the type in which the board is made up of tiny dots and the one shown above is like a plastic sheet- this as per me is much more conducive for children.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Floral Cheer

Finally the garden is a happening place now with some blooms showing themselves up.
I leave a few pics...


Monday, March 16, 2009

Sibling Love or Siblings Gang Up

So Mamma asked Tejas to get the nose drops for Ojas who was refusing to eat.
Tejas promptly brings it and also holds his face to help me put the drops in the nose.
As Mamma's hand looms closer with the offending nose drop, Tejas protectively puts his palm on Ojas' nose and says- nahin, nahin karo (don't do )

As Mamma locks the door every night to get the bed ready ie lines up rubber cloth and the works- Tejas bangs the door from outside and shouts- Nahin close karo, kitna baar bolenge (don't close the door, how many times I have to tell you)

Mamma was reading out The Boy Who Cried Wolf with lots of modifications in the story- like the wolf lived in the jungle- the same jungle where Mowgli & Sher Khan lived and that the sheep were not killed but just injured by the wolf ...and as she reaches the part where the villagers are angry with the boy for telling lies, Ojas & Tejas stand up and get a different book.
Mamma asks - what happened? Don't you want to hear this story?
Ojas/ Tejas- No, they are angry in this.

Ojas was crying at some random "chot" (bruise/ hurt)
Mamma wante dto distract him and asked him to get the phone.
He stops crying, gets the phone and climbs on Mamma's lap, and resumes crying.
Mamma says- why are you crying now?
Ojas- abhi chot lagaa naa ( I just got hurt naa)

Friday, March 13, 2009

Just Add Colors

We did whatever was absolutely neccessary- the food
chana daal stuffed paratha (it ought to be pooris but we are dieting naa)
mutton curry
maalpua- complete hit with the kids- none of us got round to eating them
dahi vada- vadas purchased locally and converted to dahi vada (idea patented by my mom)
prawn curry (farm fresh prawns)

and we wore our whites- all of us and went out to the beach and look at the "yellow moon" as per Tejas.
Tejas- We want to go to beach
Mamma- we are on the beach
Tejas- no that side- meant the sandy part til the water
So we did just that- whites and new sandals and all. Ojas & Tejas wan on puppy legs holding Dadda's hands.
Mamma crying out from behind battling the sand with her heels.
Ojas runs back to Mamma and holds her hand saying -we go slowly Mamma, Ojas tired.
Walked up to the water and watched the moon rays on the dark sea.
Now's the moment to get poetic- talk of how the waters, waves, sea look in the reflected moon light etc....but I will let it pass.
We walk/ run back Ojas still bravely holding Mamma's hands while wanting to sprint across. So Mamma removes her sandals- much to the concern of Ojas who threatened that I will also remove sandals Mamma, you wear your sandals.
So Mamma leaves him that you also run with Dadda & Tejas baby and my baby does that and comes back to hold Mamma's hands to ferry her across the sandy path!
Oh yes! not to forget the bike & car ride at teh kiddie go carting

Thursday, March 12, 2009

What's Happening in Ojas-Tejas Land

A long pending longish update of what's going on in the household.
Some good friends pointed out that it's great to have family time together at meal times, on the dining table. And also good practice for the kids to eat what we are eating. So weekends and weeknights we are moving towards a multistage meal which includes a beverage, a portion of fruits and a proper adult meal like french toast, sandwiches, rotis/ curry, upma etc...The kids are allowed to make their choice more often than not on what they wish to eat as long as they finish what is given - well, more or less.
The positives I see are-
- disciplined eating, no eating in front of TV
-developing table manners- rudimentary stage though, they do insist on having a mat under their plate
-less of work- as they eat what we eat on weekends
-variety for all of us
-they have learnt to set the table for 4
-and the most heartening- those evenings when I would have had a quick sandwich after coming home, the kids will ask me, Mamma where is your plate when I sit with them at the table while they are having their dinner.

We have developed a game to be played in the mornings- I ask them to guess what could be in their tiffin boxes for the day. At first they guess the likely stuff available at home- like cake or grapes or papaya.
If they happen to be wrong I say- p for or d for etc... Sometimes they guess some times they don't.
I go on describing the colour of the item...
If they still cannot, I say out the first few letters like -
pop.... they end with corn
cucu...they end with mber
souf...they end it with fle (actually they mean chocolate cake)
The game is played in several rounds and each question has to be followed by intake of a spoonful of food to get an answer or follow up question from Mamma.

The kids are being treated for chronic cold/ snoring etc.
So they are to be administered some nasal drops. Now they thought this is their vitamin and they were very excited to get the drops. I askd them to lie on the bed with their mouth open and eyes shut. The trusting cute fellas did exactly that... then Tejas the forever suspecting fella said- first Ojas...
Well anyway, I dropped a drop into the nostril and Tejas got the shock of his life. I said sorry sorry open the mouth again. Repeat into the next nostril and he turned his head and a few drops fell into his ears.
Now Ojas the brave one faced similar treatment - the drops went by mistake into the nostril.
They spent a good few minutes howling and insisting they wanted to put the medicine in teh mouth.
Next morning I ask Tejas- did Mamma put the drops into the nose.
Tejas- yes, you must not put in nose. there is nosy inside.
Mamma- so shall I put it in the ears
Tejas- No we put hands inside the ears (meaning finger)

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Silly Mamma

Mamma gives Tejas a wash and proceeds to wipe him.
Ojas- Ojas ko kyon wipie kar rahi ho (Why are you wiping me?)
What can I do, when both of you are standing full monty next to each other?

Now Tejas is a big boy, Teja scan go to the toilet on his own.
No, Tejas small ho gaya..
reaches to the TV- tries to touch it and pretends to fail.

Tejas- points at Microwave- Aisa wallah kahan hai- where is (object) like this?
Mamma- It (microwave) is here only.
Tejas- no aisa wallah, turns the knob.
Light dawns
Mamma- Oh, the mixie has gone for repair(white color with knob)
While dropping them to school-
Mamma- if you touch anything I will put nosie medicine for you (nose drops that they dread much to my advantage)
Tejas- Mamma where is the nosie medicine (knows fully well it is at home)
Mamma- in my purse.
On the way back from school
Tejas- MAmma where is the nosie medicine
Mamma- distractedly- at home
Tejas- gleefully- then why did you say purse? jhooth bola ? (you lied?)
Mamma tries to draw a peacock. Draws an oval then the magnificient tail.
Tejas- crying- this is not peacock this is chocolate.
(as it resembled a huge candy with one side of the wrapper drawn)
Seeing a box of Ferrero rocher chocolates...
Ojas/ Tejas- Mamma, what is this?
Mamma- lies effortlessly- That's for decoration
After a while...
Ojas/ Tejas- Mamma, I want this..points at the chocolate
Mamma- what is that?
Ojas/ Tejas- Chocolate laddoo
Dadda is drinking Sprite
Ojas- Mamma I want that juice
Mamma- that's water
Ojas- I want to drink that water.


Tejas is locking the fridge again and again

So Mamma screams- Tejas, unlock the fridge, I want to take eggs out.

Tejas- To lo na eggoo, sout kyon kar raha hai (So take eggs naa, why are you shouting)


Ojas & Tejas are running out of the garden gate at lunch time.

So Mamma shuts the garden door.

The duo enter the house and Mamma hops out of the door to lock the gate.

She turns around to find herself locked out of the house and a giggling pair threatening her- tum Ojas Tejas ko Lock kiya naa.

Mamma had to beg the and cry to make them open the door for Mamma

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Victory is Sweet - Rather Not Spicy

So they say that when someone especially a guy has eaten a type of food for nearly 3 decades, they pretty much treat that as a benchmark and more often than not cannot adjust to a new style of food.
That said, for the last half decade, the spice levels have been at level 1 on the scale of 1 to 10.
Where 10 stands for what was normal, eaten with relish and with repeat servings for the last 3 decades.
5 stands for what is not at all tolerable by the one who sticks to level 1 but found too bland by anyone who is used to level 10.
1 stands for tasteless as if chilly powder has not at all been used. (FYI it means quarter teaspoon of chilly powder on a portion that serves 4)

So when the said person is unable to take a repeat serving of spice level 5 is it considered a minor victory for the one who is cooking at spice level 1?
Did they say habits die hard? Talk to me

Sunday, March 08, 2009

Proud Mamma Preens Again

3rd term results are out and Tejas has overtaken Ojas by 1 point- which means he has one less "developing" than Ojas!
Apparently they are not so great in reciting the phonetics in the 2nd set of alphabets or placing picture card stories in order or relating what happened during the day- probably they are growing up- getting more diplomatic and not telling what happens at home nowadays.
Need to focus on the pencil grip still.
And they have become extra naughty and distracted during classes.
They have started coloring within the ines and it is evident to the teachers (somehow) that Mamma is reading a lot to them at home.
They are teaching them sight words and they are able to recognize a word without really reading the letters. Now an astonished Mamma is testing them at home taking them through a word in the title of the book and asking the to spot the same word inside the pages.

Friday, March 06, 2009

Your Little Brother Has Grown Up

When you email this out to him unabashedly...
And he responds a little too sportingly to that...

Thursday, March 05, 2009

Colours of Food

So it happens that you fall asleep before the kids do and you end up eating their food when they don't.
So Mamma designed this new game guaranteed to make them enjoy their food.
Firstly all 3 of us sit together at the table.
Then Mamma says- Now Ojas will eat anything that's white on his plate.
Ojas nibbles a piece of roti.
Then Mamma says- now Tejas will eat anything that's green on his plate.
Tejas picks up a lady's finger.
Then Ojas says- now Mamma will eat white.
Mamma picks up a roti.
Then Tejas says- now Mamma will eat green.
Mamma picks up lady's finger.
Tejas- Full finish karo
Ojas- Some more lo- gives some lady's finger from his plate.
Mamma to ensure that the spirit is not killed, continues eating and clapping.
And then she realizes that this is totally a What the F moment.
The game was designed to make the kids eat not Mamma!

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Isn't It Odd?

That I would remember a route taken not because I drove that way myself quite a few times, but because I have seen a cluster of white & purple periwinkles outside a house on that lane?

Or that I have created my own "plant" landmarks go down and take a turn at the corner you see the red crotons or the house where the huge cacti grows outside at the gate?

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

And Mamma is So Proud

So it was the Rasputin dance for Ojas- and I realize belatedly that this is why he has been humming rasputin all along and not because we have been playing this CD in the car.
Well, it is a coincidence that this and a few other Boney Ms have been special to us sometime ago and ironical that the son dances to that on his first performance on stage!
Well, in a song that lasted for a minute or so.. Mamma spent palpitating for what seemed like atleast 1 whole minute when Ojas was just staring at the audience doing nothing. To Mamma's relief he soon caught on and raised his hand and moved them to tune and towards the end of the minute or so he was jumping up and down as taught to do.

And Tejas dance to a Goan song- Maria Pitache. The stage shy baby of mine stared at the audience and looked on for what seemed until the end of the song and then slowly, to Mamma's delight, turned around and did a few 360 degrees without deigning to move his hands. A, a fun & frolicky Goan dance it was!

Monday, March 02, 2009

Chatpat Machli Ki Kahani

An easy reader Hindi book by Kiddz Books Publisher - tells the story of Chatpat the Archer fish who overuses her skills and suffers from great exhaustion.
A nice colorful A4 size book with large fonts and pictures that prompt a great deal of description gathering and background building.
This for instance is page 1 of the book
Now the kids had a good time adding on to the story saying that there is a jungle and there lives Mowgli.
Also there seems to be some gaps in teh story which can be filled in by the narrator very easily using the images as guides.
But a few spelling & grammatical mistakes that brings out the mental red pen within me.
Infact it was via this book and then reinforced by animal planet that I came to know of the archer fish.