Engaged Kids = Happy and Free Moms!!

summer

 

As the summer holidays approach, all mothers start scouting for summer camps and a plethora of classes to keep their kids engaged. This is of course to keep their hyperactivity in check. But more so I sometimes wonder if it is not to relieve ourselves of the time required to be spent with them. Do we ever ask ourselves – is this what our kids want?

Summer holidays are the time for kids to have fun, without any specific routine, visit grandparents (if not in the same city), enjoy a lot of free play which they otherwise are unable to do.

Above all, this is also the time you get to have those conversations and spend quality time with your kids which is impossible on regular working days. And it really isn’t as cumbersome as it seems :). You can have as much fun as your kid.

Some ideas which I am putting to use this summer vacation are (in addition to the annual holiday):

  1. Regular playdates with  friends (at the park or someone’s house)- this keeps the kids engaged with their friends and also helps us mommies catch up. So its a win-win situation for all.
  2. Visit places of interest – museums, parks in different parts of the city. These places are generally out of bounds on school days owing to the schedules of the child. This will broaden their horizons and yours too!
  3. Picnic at the beach – Nothing better in summers than to reach the beach early morning with a picnic basket and spend 2-3 hours before the sun is at its peak. It provides a lot of opportunities for free play. If other kids and parents can join- nothing like it! The more the merrier!! And its rejuvenating for us as well!!
  4. Farm visit – Today’s children hardly understand the concept of a farm. So some of us mothers have arranged a farm visit during a weekend. Its a learning+fun opportunity fir kids and an awesome way for us parents to have fun as well!!
  5. Visit grandparents  – My parents live in Kolkata. So in the summers around 10-15 days are spent there. Its great for the kids to interact with their grandparents and learn new things from them and we too get some time to relax as a payoff 🙂
  6. At home – worksheets are not as boring as they sound! Include cut-paste activities, reading and writing, painting (allow them to get messy) – these pique their interest. Also games are a lovely way to interact with your kids while having fun and also improve their attention span :). Else, just relax with their favorite movie enjoyed with a big box of popcorn 🙂

There are learnings embedded in all these activities which are more important life skills and cannot be taught in any classroom. These also help you spend quality time with kids which is a dire need currently.

Even for working women, some of the above can be put into action if not all!

Let children be children and enjoy their summer holidays as we did without the pressure of summer camps, mid brain activation classes etc. Lets rediscover our childhood through them

Do let me know how you are planning to spend your child’s summer vacation 🙂

 

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My decision to be a Mother was right!

As a mother, you would agree, we never really know what its like to be a mother before you actually deliver a child. It seems like a rosy picture perfect life with a cute bundle of joy, lots of cuddling, turning up perfectly dressed at birthday parties and play dates….of course then reality hits you!!

No one warns you about the difficulty of breast feeding, the sleepless nights, living in pyjamas, loose t shirts, living like a zombie – definitely for the first 3-4 months at least…

But, the perks outweigh all the troubles we undertake – the sweet baby smell, the cuddling and kissing, the delightful massaging and bathing ritual, watching the munchkins attain their milestones – turning, crawling, walking, baby talk….there are such endless moments which are the essential joys of motherhood 🙂

Motherhood is definitely tough – times are different from those we grew up in, challenges are extremely difficult and quite unforeseen at times; as a first time mother, there is always a doubt on your own decisions which somehow I have not managed to outgrow yet, I believe I will keep learning always (there is no end to it)..

These challenges seem miniscule due to the physical affection bestowed on me by my son- multiple hugs and kisses (even when I am disciplining him) which is a constant affirmation for me – I definitely made the right decision to become a MOM!!

Signing off now, as my son calls me for our “hugging and kissing” sleep ritual …:):)

Happy New Year!! – Puttandu and Vishu

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Tomorrow being the Tamil (Puttandu) and Malayali (Vishu) New Year, this post seemed most apt!!

And both are equally important for me as I am a Tam married to a Malayali 🙂 – so double celebrations. The day will start by viewing the Vishukani which is a display of fruits, raw vegetables, gold, currency – all those things which you wish for in the next year. Its believed that viewing these items first thing in the morning will ensure prosperity and abundance throughout the year. This Vishukani is set the night before by the eldest family member and is the first thing to be viewed by all family members. Also Vishu is the time for the younger members to receive blessings in the form of cash and kind from elders. So a great time to populate the piggy bank as well! 🙂

The dishes cooked on this day for both Vishu and Puttandu are a mix of all tastes – sweet, salty, umami, bitter and sour. This is indicative of the mixed flavours  that life offers and helps us appreciate and prepare for the same.

So in the festive spirit, sharing the recipe of the raw mango chutney we prepare for Puttandu!

Ingredients:

  • Raw mango – 1 or 2 big mangoes
  • Jaggery – can adjust as per the sweetness desired
  • Ghee – 1 tbsp for tempering
  • Mustard seeds – half tsp
  • Dry red chilli – 2-3
  • Fresh neem flowers
  • Salt to taste

Method:

  • Peel and shred the raw mango and keep aside
  • In a kadai, take the raw mango, add just about enough water to submerge it (not too much) and little salt. Cook on medium flame
  • Once the raw mango dissociates and reduces, add the jaggery and cook. The jaggery will melt making the whole mixture slightly runny. This consistency will get adjusted as you cook.
  • Once desired consistency is achieved (like chutney), switch off the gas.
  • In a small pan, heat ghee, mustard seeds. Once the mustard seeds splutter, add neem flowers and red chillies. Once the neem flowers are brownish in color, add this tempering to the chutney.

Hope you try this and like this as well…

Looking forward to hearing from you!!

Puttandu Nalvazhtukal!!

Vishu Ashamsakal!!

Summer Coolers ….Urgent Requirement….Phew!!!

Summertime calls for the need to whip up coolers everyday….and of course with kids, taste is important.

My favorite coolers are more traditional and revolve around yoghurt and lemon.

–  Buttermilk/lassi – sweet or salted – its the ultimate cooler.

– The addition of pudina, coriander leaves, cucumber and asafoetida (hing powder) while blending adds a whole new dimension to the buttermilk, in addition to the natural cooling it provides. You can choose to add chillies and curry leaves as well to make it zingier.
Down South, we also add some tempering of mustard seeds in oil

–  The addition of some rose water or fruit pulp like mango, strawberry, chikoo enhances the flavor of the yoghurt and makes it interesting for children as well.

– Lemon – my favorite addition to the regular lemonade is grinding slices of ginger with the lemonade. It makes the regular lemonade more interesting and also provides health benefits.
Being a South Indian, curd rice is almost staple in the summers. To make it delicious and interesting, I add finely chopped cucumber, raw mango and a tempering of mustard seeds, chana dal, curry leaves, chillies, cashews and raisins…try it…its really yummy!!!

Wishing you a cooooool summer!!! :):)