Thursday, March 24, 2011

Chi's Birthday Special

Well, most of you have already seen the pics of Chi's Elmo Special birthday, but I've not nothing else to blog about. So here goes...
The face, nose and mouth are made of chart paper. The eyes are googly eyes glued on to foam circles. I designed and printed the text on Microsoft Word (I desperately need photoshop!) and stuck it on the invite. I worked late into the night cutting a zillion circles finishing the invites and I knew they looked decent when Chi woke up the next morning announced 'OH sooo many Elmos!!!' :)

I cut a zillion more circles in orange and red out of chart paper, strung them together with ribbon and glued on alphabets cut out of white foam.
WARNING: VERY time consuming... do not attempt unless very jobless!

Sesame street has taken over our child's life. If not on DVD, then she is watching videos on YouTube. So I thought a CD with most of her favourite songs would be perfect for the goodie bags. I know Chi would approve :)
Bubbles are a huge hit with our lil munchkin too... so I designed some labels on MS Word, printed them out and converted store bought bubble bottles into personalised gifts. Cute no? :)
Again, designed and printed labels on MS Word (YES! I need PHOTOSHOP!) and glued them onto store bought plain party hats. Trés simple!

These bag tags were originally created to be name tags. Then I changed my mind and found a better use for them. I drew the Elmo face on a red circle (yes! more cutting was involved!) and glued on googly eyes and an orange pom pom for the nose.
I designed and printed the Sesame Street 'Thank You' sign... you guessed it on MS Word!, glued them onto gold gift bags and viola!
I created a simple sign for the door, to go with the theme. (At this stage our printer ran out of ink and new cartridges had to be procured overnight!). The cute wreathe is just the Easter Bunny making an early appearance :) 
The CHIARA alphabets are just coloring sheets printed from , colored in and cut out.
The Tissue Paper Pom Poms are made out of paper napkins! (I couldn't bring myself to measure and cut tissue paper... patience was wearing thin at this stage!). Go here to figure how to make them. I would say using tissue paper might be wiser, cause cutting a huge wad of napkins is a Herculean task!

The Buntings are just orange, red and yellow triangles glued onto string.

I removed most regular display pieces and placed Chi's soft toys with birthday cards she had received around the sitting area. The number '2' from her foam playmat was also put to good use :)
I used felt cloth to make this easy game for the party. I must admit that Elmo looks a little mental... but by then I was quite mental too... so I couldn't have cared less!
I thought I would make my life simple so, I baked 2 cakes with readymade cake batter, but had to throw it all away due to some stupidity on part of a very stupid person.... ME!

Anyway, I ended up baking 2 chocolate cakes from scratch, iced them with plain vanilla buttercream icing and decorated the cake with homemade marshmallow fondant. Didn't realise that getting a red color would be so tough.... I must have used half of my precious Wilton Gel color in the process! Only pink cakes for Chi henceforth!

Making 'ELMO' was another disaster! I have never made characters out of fondant so didn't know what to expect. Well for one, I realised that this fellow one was never going to sit on his own! The fondant was too soft and he would just keep going all limp. This explains the 'casually leaning onto the cake Elmo'. Must mention that he started out quite slim, but somehow gravity seemed to be working overtime in his case and he would end up with a huge paunch! So I poked a toothpick right through his chest and camouflaged it with a tie. Another toothpick went through his head and the gruesome evidence was covered with his nose! Anyway, I managed to make something that looked remotely like Elmo's uncle and decided to call it quits! 
The menu for the adults consisted of Chattambade, Meat puffs (minced meat stuffed into pastry sheets) and Pav Bhaji. I do not have any pictoral evidence of the food, but I swear I did feed my guests!
I had also created these Sesame Street characters out of toilet paper rolls and placed them all over the food table.

The kids menu included Cookie Monster's favourite - Chocolate Chip Cookies, Jelly, Fruit Kebabs, Fruit Yoghurts and Peanut Butter and Jelly sandwiches.
My tiny candy bar couldn't withstand the attack of the little monsters (read kids). The fact that our tiny guests were all toddlers, they ended up playing with the candy instead of eating it :) The idea was to have every child fill themselves a bag of candy to take away. Things didn't go according to plan :S

Chi was an absolute angel through the evening. She sat in her chair with a lollipop and behaved like a little girl :) I was quite amazed that she let her cabbage sized hair band stay on for the entire party!  She wasn't scared by all the noise or the people. She gracefully accepted gifts, frowned at a boy who tried to blow her candle, cut her cake, ate jelly and chattambade and gave away goodie bags and loads of kisses :) 

My little baby now announces 'I am TWO years old!'. 

Precious. Precious. Precious. 

Well, that's the party update. The mother then rested for 3 days!

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Birthdays, baby love and buses

It's birthdays galore at the Tauro household.

First it's my husband's turn to turn a year older on March 6th, then my poochie pumpkin turns 2 on March 15th and I follow soon after (the aged and ailing knees don't allow me to move too quickly) in early April. Thankfully the next Tauro is not scheduled to arrive this time of the year! Phew!

By now, you must have it figured out, that I don't have much of a life, and planning silly parties gives me great joy. I've been trying to put together some stuff for Chi's birthday... hopefully she appreciates all the effort :)

It's strange how after the kids arrive, the adult birthdays take a back seat... the hubby will be lucky if he gets a cake and a meal :) Maybe I'll throw in a birthday card as well... ooooh how exciting!!!

The other day, Chi was watching a new 'Elmo's World' DVD, and I was busy doing my own thing. Suddenly the swiss silence was shattered with an ear piercing cry. Like every concerned mother should, I bolted to the scene with images of a cracked skull & oozing blood rushing through my head, only to find my daughter weeping like someone had died. I hugged her and asked her what happened, but the poor child was incapable of uttering a word amidst the gushing tears. After much coaxing she managed to blurt ''Elmo fell downnnn'' followed by even more hysterical wailing (Rudali types). Well, such is her love for that fuzzy little red monster. So as expected, Chi is having a Sesame Street themed party, with the focus being on the love of her life 'Elmo'.

Chi and I have been trying to be more frequent at the playgroup. But as much as we try, the forces of nature seem to work against us. Every monday and friday mornings we rush through our otherwise leisurely routine and make a mad dash to catch the bus... only to watch it whoosh past us each and every time! It is so awful! One day we actually reached the bus stop way ahead of time, so feeling very pleased with ourselves, we decided to walk up to the next stop. There we were happily tramping along, and whoooooosh the friggin bus drives past us, 5 minutes ahead of time! Crap crap crappity crap! Eventually, we walked for half an hour, and got to the playgroup just in time to watch everyone leave.... whooosh!

Moments like these, make me want to let loose a litany of the choicest abuses (learnt from my Bhopali acquaintances), instead I will choose to be ladylike and say, C'est la vie! Hmph!

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Spinach with black-eyed peas

Among some of the food that brings back warm memories of childhood, my favourites are 'Kubey Mutlin' and 'Valchebhaji ani Guley'.

The lazy cook that I am, I discovered this 'no-grinding required' recipe (I honestly hate involving my food processor in any cooking), which provides results that are just as good.

Spinach with Black -Eyed Peas (Valchebhaji ani Guley)
Serves 6

You will need:-
500 gms of fresh or frozen spinach - roughly chopped
1 and 1/2 cups of dried black-eyed peas - soaked overnight or 2 cans of black-eyed peas
1 medium onion - finely chopped
3 cloves of garlic - finely chopped
1 piece of ginger - finely chopped
2 green chillies - Minced
1 large tomato - finely chopped
1/2 tsp garam masala
1/2 tsp turmeric
1/2 tsp chilli powder - or as per your taste
1 tsp cumin powder
1 tsp coriander powder
Salt to taste

1 can of coconut milk

Here's how you make it:-
Pressure cook the dried black-eyed peas in sufficient water - 3 whistles should do the trick.
If using the canned variety, just drain and rinse them.

In a large dish, heat oil and fry the onions until translucent. Add ginger, garlic and green chillies and fry a little bit.

Now add all the spices along with salt and fry for 2-3 minutes. Add the tomato and fry till the tomatoes are squishy.

Throw in the black-eyed peas along with their cooking liquid, add the spinach.

Add the coconut milk (can use coconut milk powder too) and let it simmer on a low heat for 20-30 minutes.

Check your seasonings. Serve hot with steamed rice.

Bun in the oven

Like any Mangalorean would say, "Amchi laanshi Good News asa ba:)" (we have a little good news)!

BREAKING NEWS: Tauro bébe - edition 2.0 expected in August 2011.

Way back in December, when I saw the two bright red lines on the home pregnancy test kit, I must admit, I wasn't exactly thrilled (the ground beneath my feet shook... I swear!), but now 2 months later, the idea of a new little Tauro does bring a smile to my face :)

Thankfully, unlike the first time, I've been feeling very normal this time around - a little too normal I would say, at times making me wonder if the bun was actually in the oven! But then the ultrasound images and my doc have rubbished all such fears. I pray that things stay that way and the pregnancy is a breeze (wishful thinking eh?).

In love with her beloved 'Baba'
Every morning, as instructed, Chi gives good morning kisses to my stomach and chirps "Hi Baby". She is otherwise clueless about bébé 2. I can only hope my little girl doesn't have too many issues sharing her mama.

In preparation, two days ago we moved Chi along with her cot to her own room. I tried sprucing up her room a wee bit (to make it a little more welcoming but nothing wow worthy) and I must say Chi has settled in pretty well. It is the parents who are having trouble letting go! Our bedroom feels simply too large and empty... I can only imagine how I'm gonna feel the day she leaves home :( (makes me want to cry already!)

Wearing Dada's Tie
I don't know if it's just me, but I feel so bad that Chi will no longer be my only baby. I can't imagine loving another child as much as I love her. I feel she will be forced to grow up and be a big sister at just 2 and a half years of age. I know, I'm being silly but I can't deny that these thoughts do take up room in my idiotic head!

But I guess like making space in our bedroom, I've got to make space in my heart and in my silly head too!

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Cute as a Button

Gosh, it's been a while! Happy New Year All!

Though I regularly visit my blog and check what my favourite bloggers are up to, I simply don't have the time to even write a line. It is beyond me, how all these super mom's do what they have to do and find time to be so interesting in the blog world! Simply amazing. I consider my day very productive if I manage to feed my girl on time, clean her, cook a meal for us and get out of my PJs by the end of the day!

As for where I've been all this while, I've been busy with house guests, an emergency trip to India, having fun with Chi, attending weddings and more :)

If I am allowed to say so, Chi is a complete cutie :) I fall more and more in love with her everyday. The India trip was especially good for her, she now speaks in sentences, and has even begun asking questions. She sings full songs, counts up to 10, sings the alphabet from A to Z, makes us play endless games of 'ring-a-ring-a-roses' and does silly things to make us laugh :)

Her obsession with her belly button has gone a step ahead, and now she goes a little berserk when she spots buttons! You can only imagine the button inspector's excitement when she met a Priest in Mangalore wearing a cassock!

Leaving you with a video of her shaking a leg at my nephew's engagement. (Please ignore the high pitched mom in the background). Enjoy :)