Archive for the ‘SummerFun2010’ Category

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Winter is about to come and I am still harping about summer? Well, I had ten posts in mind and with this I am finishing this year’s summer series.

Activity 9 – Cooking.

We(the girls and I) got in to the habit of cooking together with some regularity. My mom was here in summer and was responsible for the majority of our meals. So we ended up making fancy dinners once in a while. We made dessert for all the get-to-gethers we had at home. Of the desserts we made, croissant pudding(your every day bread pudding comes out so rich and yummy if you use croissants instead of bread), fruit salad with custard and fruit kebabs were huge hits in terms of ease of making(for kids) and taste.

The above is a part of the tea time snack menu the girls came up with for a friend with diet restrictions. The whole spread here.

One pot wonder soups are a huge hit at home. My recipe is not fixed, it is more like throwing in everything but the kitchen sink. I put a plastic stool next to the counter and the girls are all set. I cut the onions and garlic. They wash, rinse, cut, peel everything else. We dump a can of beans(garbanzo, pinto, red kidney beans, white kidney beans anything that you have in your pantry) and some pasta. My secret ingredients for these soups – fry onions with garam masala and finish the soup with fresh home made rasam powder. Devour as is or pair it with some garlic bread and salad. Hmmmm!

Even if they are not cooking they just like hanging out with me in the kitchen.Literally. Especially Mieja! Look at the picture and you will know what I am talking about :)

Another hit recipe that is a one stop meal is my version of Giada’s Curried Cous Cous salad. I omit the dried berries, substitute cashews with almonds, sometimes use quinoa instead of couscous, cook the grain in low fat vegetable stock, add a whole bunch of desi spices, add a couple of avocados, use regular low fat yogurt instead of greek and serve it lukewarm. R.O.C.K.S!

Another thing we are getting to be crazy about is naan sandwiches. Inspired by Aarti, I started making naan pizzas. My twist is to layer it with left over home made paneer butter masala or palak paneer and bake it with a little cheese. Then it morphed in to sandwiches. I started using mini pizzas. As soon as the paneer butter mini naan pizzas are out of the oven, I slap two together. I find the sandwich version a lot easier to eat, especially when I am taking the left overs for lunch the next day.

Activity 10 – A picture is worth thousand words and this is the better half’s contribution for SummerFun2010 :)

Now you all know what we did this summer.

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  • I Know What We Did This Summer – 8

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    Back with the summer posts. This means three things – got myself a decent digital camera, I am refusing to let go of summer and the girls still dig their summer activities.

    For a long time now Chula has been writing music. Last year’s summer found Chula sitting with a paper and pencil next to the Melissa and Doug wooden piano. She would play one of her favorite songs, she would practice the sounds again and again till she got a line sounding right and then she would write down the keys.

    (Twinkle twinkle little star…. CC GG AA G…..
    How I wonder what you are…. FF EE DD C…)

    This summer found Chula in front of her keyboard with a pencil and paper. The difference is, she would write the notes first and then test the notes she composed on the keyboard. If it satisfies her, she would proceed to add words to the notes and try making it in to a song. What with my practically non existent musical talents ( a post’s worth material right here :) ), I was amazed to see the child do this.

    Mieja must top it some how right?! She came with dance choreography!!!! She traced her foot on paper, cut it out, cut some general directions and arranged it on the floor. Presenting Mieja’s choreograph for Chula’s recent music composition…..

    (From left to right, clockwise, starting @ purple feet…

    feet = step, X = freeze, -> = slide, curled -> = spin, ? = jump)

    PS: The child is a horrible teacher. Absolutely no patience I say. She comes with all this fancy-shamncy slip-n-slide-n-jump-n-flip-n-spin steps and expects me to keep up. She gets so worked up if I don’t do justice to her vision. All I ask is to sit with my head between my knees to control the dizziness from perfecting my spin. Is it too much? So if she invites me for a lesson, I have learnt to say that my tail bone hurts and that my doctor has asked me not to dance.

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  • I Know What We Did This Summer – 7

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    What do you do if you  lurve the feel, smell and flow of glue and if you happen to have a gallon size glue container at home? Glue batik…. and it was a HUGE hit, not just with the kids, I fell head over heels in love with it.

    1)A piece of white cotton fabric. I happened to have about a yard of left over fabric that I trimmed to size for the girls.

    2)Glue. Preferably in some easy squeeze bottles. I cleaned out the nozzle and mixed some water with the glue to make the squeezing process easy on the girls.

    3)Squeeze the glue. Let it drip. Let it flow. Watch it fall. Have fun. When done, let fabric dry over night.

    4)Acrylic paint, thinned down with lots of water. Paint over the fabric. Let fabric dry over night.

    5)The next day soak the fabric in warm-hot water and scrub out the glue. Ta-da!!! Patterned cloth designed by your child. How amazing is that?

    I cut the fabric to size, glued it to tetra-paks and made containers. These are hand made gifts boxes for the girls’ teachers.

    I was so taken with the concept that I made some greeting cards with couple of styles of Ganesh.

    This one is only half done, but I couldn’t wait to share this Ganesha in my favorite blue color. (Original inspiration here, isn’t it lovely?!)

    PS: The activity started with Sruthi’s Aug glue challenge, but we quite didn’t make it before Aug 20.

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  • I Know What We Did This Summer – 6

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    Apologizing in advance for poor picture quality. Our digital cam is shot and I have to make do with pics from phone.

    Just before summer break started, Mieja had started movable alphabets and numbers. For a long time, much to the amusement of people at home, this child was counting “1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 8, 9, 17, 53. I am done amma”. She started counting in order just before summer break and to me it was indicative of her grasp of symbolic representation of objects. Also her KE+O+T+R+U+C+K spelling started getting closer to the norm. During summer break we read a lot of books at home, but looks like she needed the stimulation of writing and sounding out alphabets. Some afternoons, Mieja would ask me to work with her on her writing.

    I would doodle something like this

    on one side of the paper and ask her to try spelling it on the other side. For the most part she did pretty well.

    She was so taken with the concept of picture clues and she started playing quiz master. I have to admit that I struggled quite a bit with a few picture clues. I couldn’t decipher eraser and spoon.

    Mieja’s condition is that she would sound out the word and I write. She would say F-R-A-M for frame and by my conditioning I would write FRAME. Same with words like easel(E-S-E-L). Reminded me of ‘Ek gauv mein ek kissan raguthatha‘ movie clip. She waved her hands, sighed and complained that I am not listening to her sounds :)

    In accordance to Murphy’s law, Chula ploinked herself next to us and demanded that she NEEDS me pronto. So I had  to convience her that she needs challenging work and had her occupied with crosswords such as these. She did pretty well with some help from me and I did pretty well with help from Boo, YaadaYaada and PV :)

    Another toy that helped us with Chula’s addition/substraction phase and Mieja’s counting/addition phase  – the IKEA abacus. May the person who designed this toy live long and prosper.

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  • I Know What We Did This Summer – 5

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    Fuse bead work….

    …..sock puppets…

    ….and the construction of a puppet theater…

    …..lead to many, many, many, m.a.n.y stories :)

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  • I Know What We Did This Summer – 4

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    This is a popular activity at home. I first saw this in FamilyFun Magazine at the pediatrician’s waiting room. This activity has sustained us through last year’s winter vacation.

    1. Two weeks supply of newspaper, tape and  a pencil. Stack five sheets of newspaper. With the pencil at one corner start rolling the newspaper. When done, tape the end so that the tube does not open. Make several tubes.

    2. These tubes are sturdy and can be used to construct pretty much anything. We took our design to the drawing board. I suggested something and the girls suggested the same thing and claimed that it was different from my thing. We agreed to disagree and started construction.

    3. Just staple the ends of the paper tubes to construct.

    4. It started as a tent. Of course during the process of construction, the architects changed the design and ended up looking like this.

    Then it became a beauty salon. Thanks to Fancy Nancy. Introducing SHIVER ME TIMBERS HOUSE OF BEAUTY. I swear I had no part to play w.r.t the naming. Apparently the things in the beauty house are free. ‘If you like it, you can take it amma’ is what I was told. Mr.President one more business outfit for your stimulus package.

    5. I reassured child 2 multiple times that the tent is strong. And what does she do? She climbs on it :(

    So I cut the tips off and the tubes are ready for the next round of construction.

    Try it and I bet you will love it.

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  • I Know What We Did This Summer – 3

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    Kolams with my amma. This particular day, they were experimenting on writing letters with the cylinder shaped kolam maker. They were writing the first letter from our names, that explains the ASS you see a the bottom right :)

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  • I Know What We Did This Summer – 2

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    This continues to be a popular activity since last summer.

    One caddy from Lakeshore @ $4.99
    Two squeegees from IKEA@ $0.99 each
    Two empty spray bottles filled with water
    Two rags
    Hours of fun washing windows = priceless

    Given their love for water, I wouldn’t be surprised if they are as excited about window washing the next year also :)

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  • I Know What We Did This Summer – 1

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    Do you want to know?

    Okay, I will give you a picture, can any one guess how we did this?

    Thanks for your comments. It is spin art. I also showed them how to splash paint to add colors to the finished spin art. Kids were super excited and Chula kept saying, “Amma you are doing just like Jackson Pollack”. I have a feeling that this splashing will come back to bite me.

    What is the deal with Google? They acquired Slide? Now I have this ugly super poke pets ad in the slide show. Click on the X to close the ad. Move mouse over the pictures for captions.

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  • Art Games

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    So what does one do with two little girls for 10 weeks?

    That is 70 days. Time up and awake comes to 840 hours.

    TV/PBS kids games/Wii, not that big at home. It is mainly to give myself a break. We have only one reader and one that pretends to be a reader :)

    We did the usual playdates, block building, drawing, coloring, free play, gardening, bubble blowing, side walk chalk, easel painting, rangoli, trampoline, bubble bath, wading pool, parks, hikes, bicycle ride around the neighborhood, libraries, museums, exploratarium, cross words, puzzles, I spy, planetarium, doctor office trips(Yep, double bronchitis for the whole family including the adults in the middle of summer! Who would’ve thunked?!) botanical garden, camping trips.  Still did not add up to 840 hours! No siree Bob, it did not.

    And that is when I read about the ‘Simon Says’ game and thought that it would be interesting to do at home. I wanted to do shapes – one shape a day. My main goal is to talk to the girls about the different shapes and for them to look around them and see what shapes they can identify in our environment.

    The first day we did circles. Red circle, blue circle, multicolored circle, red circle inside a blue circle, how many circles can you fit inside the biggest circle, draw three circles all three touching, color the smallest blue circle, color outside the green circle….the girls just went with the flow and had a ball.

    The next day we did hearts. The girls quickly took over. Heart = love. I love my family. ‘Mieja look I drew you in my heart, that means I love you’, ‘I am making a flower for you’, ‘I am drawing a family in love’….. I stepped back, picked up a book and answered only when I was specifically called for.

    What did we do on the third day? Duh! Triangles, of course. Mieja had difficulty making the third line straight so that it intersected the first two, while Chula was already doing the triangle things she knows – pizza, triangle maze, ice cream cone, ice cream sundae, flower with triangle petals (okay that was a far one, but whatever) etc. So I had to branch off, giving different instructions for them. Chula wanted to warli. She did one warli image, then our family in warli holding hands and dancing. When she said that she wanted to do spiral warli, I made o-o-o-o-o-o- in a spiral and she figured out how to do the triangles and how to make them hold hands. She walked around the paper, rolled around the paper, looked at angles that would put a cinematographer to shame, but she did it. Mieja wanted to do warli family and was getting upset that she couldn’t do it like her sister. After much talking that it has to be ‘her’ work and must be something ‘she’ enjoys doing, she did do a family with square and rectangle bodies. But she was happy that she made her own family.

    Fourth day we must have done squares. But we took a break :)

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