Thursday, October 4, 2012

Giant in the house

Conversations quickly turn comic and verge on the ridiculous at my home.

Here's a sampling from a half hour ago, when Little Miss M. came back from playschool exhausted, cranky and ready for her afternoon nap.

M: Mommy, I want milk!

Me: Here you go.

I pour some milk into her Toy Story cup and hand it to her.

M: Nooooo! I want milk in my Minnie Mouse cup!

Me: Its in the dishwasher. Why don't you pick a mug from the shelf?

Little Miss M picks our biggest coffee mug. I pour out the milk from the Toy Story cup into it. It barely fills a quarter of the mug.

M (pouting): Why you giving me so little milk?

Me: Its a giant mug! That's why the milk looks less! Drink up.

M (eyes growing wide): Did you say giant mug? Does that mean a GIANT come to my house when I was in school?

Me (sighing): Yes. A giant came to...

M: The giant from Jack and the Beanstalk?

Me: Yes...Can you finish drinking your...

M (wailing now): I don't want a giant to come to my house!

Me (in damage control mode): No, no...he came to see me on some work...he needed me to write a press release....

M (wailing): I don't want a Fee Fie Fo Fum giant to come to my house. Its scary!

Me: OK I'll tell him never to come home again when I see him next.

M: Never ever ever...but, but...don't tell him that!

Me: Why?

M: I don't want you to meet him at home. I'm scared!

Me: I'll tell him in a restaurant, not at home OK? Drink up now.

M: No send him an email! Then you don't have to meet him!

Me: OK now will you just finish your milk?

M: Tell him: Dear Giant, Maya doesn't want you here. So never ever come here again ever! OK?

Living with a three year old sure has its moments.

Friday, June 1, 2012

150 hot samosas for Saturday's Spring Fair

My husband and I have promised to make 150 samosas on June 2. 

Yes. You read that right. One hundred and fifty to be exact. More if we can summon the energy. But 150 is a good number, don't you think?

We will spend tomorrow boiling pounds and pounds of Yukon Gold potatoes in their jackets, then peeling and sautéing them in fragrant Indian spices to make a savory filling. Then we will place them in the freezer until the next day, when we are ready to deep fry them in a borrowed commercial deep fryer, after wrapping each of them in a shell made of plain flour.

Are we insane? Probably. But its all for a good cause, so we don't mind.

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Deliciously divine sweet potato mash curry

Sweet potatoes are one of my favorite vegetables ever. And when they are cooked with coconut oil something magical happens.

They turn divine.

This dish always makes me close my eyes and smack my lips.  

And the best part? Its super easy to make!

Most of the ingredients can be found at the International Grocery closest to where you live.

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Feed the birds in style!

Make a Recycled Milk Jug Bird Feeder

Snot, snot and more snot. The past week has been full of it, with all three of us down with colds, fever and chest congestion. The husband took two days off work, the kid stayed home from playschool and we all just kept each other company, coughing in chorus and balling up wads of tissue all over the house.

When Little Miss M. was feeling a bit better, I came up with a fun activity that would keep her occupied but not sap all her energy and mine. A recycled milk jug bird feeder. 

You will need:

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Dental drama

Yesterday was torturous. I sat with my mouth stretched open wide for three and a half hours, while my dentist and his hygienist had their way with my teeth.

Did I hear you say what was the matter? I needed three fillings and a crown replaced. 

Really minor stuff compared to having a wisdom tooth pulled or root canal surgery. Yet here I was with heart in my mouth and utter dread slowly eating away at me.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Running the 5K

My two-year-old participated in her first official race, this Sunday. Oh she was so excited! She could barely stand it.

The Neighborhood Co-op Grocery in Carbondale hosted the Nutrition 5K and Kid K for the 14th year in a row and they did a splendid job. What a perfect way to start our Tamil New Year which happened to fall on the same day.

Friday, April 13, 2012

No more black thumb!

Nothing like spending a few hours in the garden digging dirt.

My back is sore and my thigh muscles twinge every time I move, from all that exercise. Maybe I'm getting old. A few hours of gardening have done me in! But in a pleasant, happy sort of way.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Toddler tantrums

A child's smile is one of life's greatest blessings, goes a popular saying. Its true. When a child smiles, you fall in love, head-over-heels, madly, deeply in love.

But when she has a series of tantrums, it can sap the very life out of you.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Recipes: Curried banana flower & spinach peas curry

Wondering what to cook for dinner today, I peeked into my refrigerator. All I found were a few tomatoes staring sadly back at me.

It's obvious I need to visit Fresh Foods, our local fruit and vegetable store in Carbondale. But I didn't have the energy to do that today.

So I looked in the freezer, hoping there was something else and found a bag each of frozen spinach and peas. 

My virtual desi closet

Clothes by Sabyasachi Mukherjee            

I grew up in India and lived there for what seemed like my whole life then - until I was a quarter-century-old.

Then I moved to the United States in pursuit of a boy (and higher studies) and ended up making a life here. But that's another story for another day!

Nine years in the United States and I have become a true 'desi'. Pronounced 'they see', the term is an ethnic adjective of sorts, an identity marker, referring to a person or product from the Indian sub-continent who is now an immigrant in another part of the world.

As a desi, I often find myself looking back with untamed nostalgia at the food, fashions, music, language and culture I grew up with in India.

Monday, April 9, 2012

The lazy person's guide to making a sandbox

Fact: Toddlers love playing with sand.

My two and a half-year-old is no exception. She can spend hours-on-end immersed in sand-play and not be bored.

The past month, I have been looking at DIY sandbox design projects. I figure I could get so much writing done if Little Miss M. is busy playing in her sandbox!

Inspiration: I saw this Indian tent display at The Magic House, St. Louis Children's Museum and thought it might be a nice topper for a sandbox.

You know, it provides shade from the sun and a cover of sorts to protect the play sand from creepy crawlies at night.

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Easter parties and cake eating

Gorgeous day for an Easter egg hunt and fancy cake at a friend's place.

This is going to be a photo-blog today as a direct result of too much cake eating, relaxing in the sunshine, chitchatting with friends, playing in our new sandbox (more on that later) and having a totally awesome day. 

Easter egg hunting with dad

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Hindus celebrate Rama Navami in Southern Illinois

What a beautiful, sunshine-y day to celebrate the birth of Lord Rama!

Hindu devotees showering rice grains on the Rama-Sita deities. 
The Hindu Temple and Cultural Society of Southern Illinois celebrated Sri Rama Navami this afternoon.

A holy festival spread over nine days, Rama Navami celebrates the birth of Lord Rama, considered to be the seventh avatar of the Supreme God Vishnu and the hero of the great Indian epic, The Ramayana.

A hundred or more Hindus joyously attended Sri Rama Kalyanam (ceremonial divine marriage ceremony of Lord Rama and Sita) performed by a priest who was brought to Carbondale all the way from The Hindu Temple of St. Louis.

Friday, April 6, 2012

Indian Spice Box

My Indian spice box or masala dabba  
For the past year or more, I've been looking for an authentic, Indian-style spice box.

For years we've been making do with a plastic version and I was just about ready to toss it into the recycle bin.

We tend to cook a LOT of desi food at home and I craved for an efficient and attractive spice box that would make all the difference.

So I looked high and low in Southern Illinois shops and online storefronts, but was unable to find the aluminium or steel spice box my heart desired.

Glitter-tastic Toddlers and Easter Egg Crafts

Glittery Easter Eggs ready to go home
Its been a glitter-tastic kind of day!

I spent the morning helping a bunch of cute toddlers - ranging in age from 1.5 to 4 - decorate cardboard Easter eggs with plant clippings and glitter.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Kitchen and Linen Closet Organization

I'm the president of organizing and decluttering in my household.

Ever since its warmed up outside I've been tackling one small area at a time to work my spring cleaning magic on. So far its working wonders.  

But progress is sloooow, especially when there is a toddler calling your name every ten seconds. I wish I could just snap my fingers and it would all get done.

So the other day I decided to spruce up my rice and lentils cabinet in the kitchen and this is how it ended up looking.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Recycled nature crafts Easter egg

Ever since Little Miss M. was born I've been itching to do all kinds of arts and crafts with her, for I am an artistic kind of gal; not very skilled I'm afraid, but just really interested.

So we spend many a leisurely evening having a blast, creating art (and making a great big mess)!

The more successful pieces go up on Little Miss M.'s wall of art and she simply loves the fact we put it up there for all to see. 
Here's what we did last evening: a recycled nature crafts Easter Egg.

Monday, April 2, 2012

Southern Illinois petting zoo

Soaking in the March sunshine in Southern IL
You know something is up when the ticks are out in full force by the end of March!

The news media is reporting record breaking warm weather for March across 90 cities or more in the US.

As I looked at my photo stream from March 2012, I was struck my the number of animals, reptiles, insects and sea life we've been interacting with the whole of March!

We really did take advantage of the sunshine and let Little Miss M. enjoy one of the many perks of living in Southern Illinois: daily interaction with random animal life.

No one would ever guess we don't have a petting zoo out here!

Here's a peek.

Toddler Room DIY

Five years ago, my husband and I bought a charming 1960's single-storey home in a part of town commonly referred to as the faculty ghetto of Carbondale.

Coming from an upbringing in India, where we didn't so much as put a nail into a wall, without first calling for a carpenter, it never ceases to amaze me how handy and knowledgeable we have become over the years, as we systematically remodeled, renovated and reworked every room in the house, to better reflect our personalities and design aesthetic.

Our latest DIY project is hopefully our last for a long while.

Saturday, March 31, 2012

Your clock is ticking!

The moment you get married, there is only one burning question in the minds of all of your family and random busybodies in India.

"When are you going to have a baby?"

My typical answer repeated at least a few hundred times was, "Not now! We want to enjoy being married first!" 

Of course in my head I always added, "And remind me again how I know you?"

At first I found it hilarious that folks expected me to get pregnant within the first year of being married. Then I began to find their constant questions irritating and by the third year of my marriage, I found it downright rude and overly intrusive.