The birthday cake!

I’m a big believer in celebrations and the more over-the-top, creative, yet frugal – the happier I am. Someday I plan to follow in the footsteps of my grandmother and learn baking and bake our own family cakes. But till then I have to rely on the services of others.

I am a sucker for doing things the same way or in other words – love the traditional approach! So last year, I ordered at JustBake. Though the cake was good, it was a little disappointing as it wasn’t as well-made as the one pictured on their website. But still for the kids, the cake rocked. They loved it! And showed their appreciation! (Bless them)

Justbake

This year around, I am again ordering from JustBake. Only this time instead of a monstrous 7 kg cake, I’m ordering two cakes – a 3kg one for the morning party with her classmates and a 4kg one for the evening gala with all her/our friends.

I’m just thrilled with the cakes and hope they turn out as good as in the pictures.

Gift Box

The first one, we’ll cut in the morning. The party theme is the “Three Billy Goats.” But since we couldn’t get anything remotely goaty or farmyard like, we decided to go with these “roses in a green meadow” type cake.

Also helps that her morning frock, have the same colours of green & rose.

Wedding

The second one is actually listed as a wedding cake and not a children’s cake. But the cake is so identical to her dress – the same colour, similar roses and sugar pearls – that I had to have this one.

I actually wanted the theme “Kabulliwallah.” But within a few discussions, we realised it’ll be too complicated and boring a subject for kids (Now you know what I’ll plan 9 years later). So we next thought of “The Jungle Book – Mogwli.” But then again -trying to have a skit or a puppet show – would be difficult. Just imagine the characters! So, we then decided to go with “The Three Billy Goats Gruff.” The playschool owner’s cousin had already staged this puppet show earlier. So the theme, colours, everything got switched within a week of the birthday.

And here we are! So will post most updates of the party to which the “Three Billy Goats Gruff” graced their presence with.

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Birthday up-ahead! LL turning two!

Billy-Goat Gruff Invitation-page-Edit

Invitation in line with the party theme of “The Three Billy Goats Gruff”

Munchkins is turning two this year! And I can’t believe it myself. Its been quite a momentous journey, with her philosophy of “happiness being the most precious commodity.”

Seeing munchkins grow up is bitter-sweet. I remember the little baby who fit in my lap. She’s now half as tall as me. Each physical change has brought with its own memories. At her current height, she’s still able to play horsey on mummy’s legs. She can still hide inside the last shelf in the cupboard – Oh! Sorry! I meant the enchanted cave. We can still play “Open the Gumaiyo” with empty packaging cases. The game consists of munchkins trying to hide inside a carboard box – with the mummy folding and unfolding the four sides as we play “Open the Gumaiyo” and “Close the Gumaiyo.”

Gumaiyo – a word which my daughter uses everyday at least a dozen times – we are sorry to say we still don’t know the meaning of. We have no idea if its a verb, noun, animal, food item, human. In fact, my friends, relatives and other baby-ma well wishers have confessed themselves to be as baffled as amused by “GUMAIYO.” Its pronounced, according to the best authority in the world – its sole proprietor my daughter – as “GUMAAAIYOOOO”!

I think the enchantment of these words will disappear once she learns to talk – which is why its so important to enjoy children at every stage.

குழலினி தியாழினி தென்பதம் மக்கள்
மழலைச்சொல் கேளா தவர்

(“The pipe is sweet, the lute is sweet,” say those who have not heard the sweet lisp of their own children)

So yes, its her birthday week. And the sweetest sound I will hear is her voice!

Baby-ma’s off to school!!

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Baby-ma’s (1 yr, 9 months) all ready for her First Day at School !!! History repeats itself a little earlier! Apparently, I so badly wanted to go to school that my parents were forced to take me to the nearby school when I was only 2 years old. I was so happy that on my first day I hugged & kissed every single kid in the class of 20. However, by the time I was 4 they had to take me kicking, biting & screaming to school! Wondering how long this HAPPY-going-to-SCHOOl spell will last!!

THE BAG

The little one was so happy with her new school bag – that she didn’t want to let go off it from the minute she caught sight of it at the shop. So when it came to billing at Fooba Wooba – I actually had to lift her with bag firmly in place on both shoulders – right onto the counter for scanning the barcode as almost the entire staff stood around grinning and all eager to help.

The bag soon became THE BAG – with it being constantly examined; opened, re-opened, stuffed with her water bottle; stories being told about the two bunnies in their little car & a careful check to see if any of the felt trees, fruits, car or bunny were edible.

Random acts of kindness

Bonnie Harhord

As she stood in front of her 5th grade class on the very first day of school, she told the children an untruth. Like most teachers, she looked at her students and said that she loved them all the same. However, that was impossible, because there in the front row, slumped in his seat, was a little boy named Teddy Stoddard.

Mrs. Thompson had watched Teddy the year before and noticed that he did not play well with the other children, that his clothes were messy and that he constantly needed a bath. In addition, Teddy could be unpleasant.

It got to the point where Mrs. Thompson would actually take delight in marking his papers with a broad red pen, making bold X’s and then putting a big “F” at the top of his papers.

At the school where Mrs. Thompson taught, she was required to review each child’s past records and she put Teddy’s off until last. However, when she reviewed his file, she was in for a surprise.

Teddy’s first grade teacher wrote, “Teddy is a bright child with a ready laugh. He does his work neatly and has good manners… he is a joy to be around..”

His second grade teacher wrote, “Teddy is an excellent student, well liked by his classmates, but he is troubled because his mother has a terminal illness and life at home must be a struggle.”

His third grade teacher wrote, “His mother’s death has been hard on him. He tries to do his best, but his father doesn’t show much interest and his home life will soon affect him if some steps aren’t taken.”

Teddy’s fourth grade teacher wrote, “Teddy is withdrawn and doesn’t show much interest in school. He doesn’t have many friends and he sometimes sleeps in class.”

By now, Mrs. Thompson realized the problem and she was ashamed of herself. She felt even worse when her students brought her Christmas presents, wrapped in beautiful ribbons and bright paper, except for Teddy’s. His present was clumsily wrapped in the heavy, brown paper That he got from a grocery bag Mrs. Thompson took pains to open it in the middle of the other presents. Some of the children started to laugh when she found a rhinestone bracelet with some of the stones missing, and a bottle that was one-quarter full of perfume.. But she stifled the children’s laughter when she exclaimed how pretty the bracelet was, putting it on, and dabbing some of the perfume on her wrist. Teddy Stoddard stayed after school that day just long enough to say, “Mrs. Thompson, today you smelled just like my Mom used to.” After the children left, she cried for at least an hour.

On that very day, she quit teaching reading, writing and arithmetic. Instead, she began to teach children. Mrs. Thompson paid particular attention to Teddy. As she worked with him, his mind seemed to come alive. The more she encouraged him, the faster he responded. By the end of the year, Teddy had become one of the smartest children in the class and, despite her lie that she would love all the children the same, Teddy became one of her “teacher’s pets..”

A year later, she found a note under her door, from Teddy, telling* her that she was still the best teacher he ever had in his whole life.

Six years went by before she got another note from Teddy. He then wrote that he had finished high school, third in his class, and she was still the best teacher he ever had in life.

Four years after that, she got another letter, saying that while things had been tough at times, he’d stayed in school, had stuck with it, and would soon graduate from college with the highest of honors. He assured Mrs. Thompson that she was still the best and favorite teacher he had ever had in his whole life.

Then four more years passed and yet another letter came. This time he explained that after he got his bachelor’s degree, he decided to go a little further. The letter explained that she was still the best and favorite teacher he ever had. But now his name was a little longer…. The letter was signed, Theodore F. Stoddard, MD.

The story does not end there. You see, there was yet another letter that spring. Teddy said he had met this girl and was going to be married. He explained that his father had died a couple of years ago and he was wondering if Mrs. Thompson might agree to sit at the wedding in the place that was usually reserved for the mother of the groom.

Of course, Mrs. Thompson did. And guess what? She wore that bracelet, the one with several rhinestones missing. Moreover, she made sure she was wearing the perfume that Teddy remembered his mother wearing on their last Christmas together.

They hugged each other, and Dr. Stoddard whispered in Mrs. Thompson’s ear, “Thank you Mrs. Thompson for* believing in me. Thank you so much for making me feel important and showing me that I could make a difference.”

Mrs. Thompson, with tears in her eyes, whispered back. She said, “Teddy, you have it all wrong. You were the one who taught me that I could make a difference. I didn’t know how to teach until I met you.”

(For you that don’t know, Teddy Stoddard is the Dr. at Iowa Methodist Hospital in Des Moines that has the Stoddard Cancer Wing.)

Warm someone’s heart today. . . pass this along. I love this story so very much, I cry every time I read it. Just try to make a difference in someone’s life today? tomorrow? Just “do it”.

Random acts of kindness, I think they call it?

A lovely wedding!

A shallow pool lighted up with fairy lights, crystal danglers, tea-lites and daisy pom-poms @ the wedding

A shallow pool lighted up with fairy lights, crystal danglers, tea-lites and daisy pom-poms @ the wedding

This weekend I had the pleasure of attending a very close friend’s wedding. It was a really beautiful affair with lots of fairy lights, lengths of white tulle and white-white flowers everywhere.

What is really remarkable about the wedding is that the entire cost of the wedding was borne by my friend and his lovely bride. They had saved up for nearly a year to make this lovely evening with friends and family happen. Its also a really touching and beautiful thing that they have been dating each other for the last 10 years – from the day the couple turned 20.

Wedding1

The arch – entiwned with bamboo, white tulle, ferns, white gladioli, white tiger lilies and daisy asters. The aisles were lit with white Chinese pom-poms and gigantic two-foot high candles @ the wedding

Since the girl’s people were from Andhra and my friend’s from Bengal – instead of going for the ritual ceremonies of either cultures, the couple decided to be a little un-conventional and went all subtle, white n Western for the wedding. Though many Indian brides have started donning white gowns on their D-Day – still quite a number of people kept coming over and asking if the bride or my friend was a Christian (as if white gowns are the sole prerogative of Goans and Indian Christians!Lol!)

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Lovely daisy pom-poms strung on crystal chains – interspersed with glass tea-lites @ the wedding

There was lots of fun, dancing & great food at the wedding. I don’t think anyone enjoyed the music half as much as baby-ma. My little girl started dancing at 7 and didn’t stop till the clock struck 11 – when she was forcibly carted off to our waiting car. She also managed to have so much zest and energy on a diet of lime juice, pineapple juice and whatever other juice she could lay her little grubby hands . She refused to eat so much as a bite of food as long as the music was on. It was nice to see our friends patiently steering her away from 3-inch stilettos and patent-leather flat-soled shoes as she took her place on the dance floor!

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Lush with flowers n fern @ the wedding

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Chinese box-lanterns add their charm to the subtle fragrances of the flower pom-poms @ the wedding

Another nice thing about the wedding were the wedding vows – my friend apparently promised to “cook n clean; don an apron and look good in it too.”

Here’s wishing them a very happy married life!

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Pretty as a picture @ the wedding

Late night creative sparks!

These days I find it a little difficult to crash after work & baby-ma. Since sleep eludes me, I’ve started reading Perry Masons, crocheting and making costume jewellery to while away the midnight hours.

Yesterday, one of my dear friends from Delhi visited. She was interning with a city NGO and it was lovely meeting up with her. She plans to leave soon for Paris on a scholarship for higher studies (sounds so glamorous, doesn’t it?). For lunch, I had invited her and two of my other colleagues – we had a wonderful time just chatting and talking about the good old times. I was also quite pleased that the pasta, salad and sandwiches turned out well, even if the chicken didn’t measure up to standard.

As a little surprise thank-you gift for her, I made this necklace. I hope she likes it!

Emerald n ruby-lookalike pendant encircled with white stones n green loreals - Rachel Chitra

Emerald n ruby-lookalike pendant encircled with white stones n green loreals – Rachel Chitra

Suspended coffee movement

I love  the whole broad-mindedness of the “Suspended coffee movement”. 

“it’s about more than the coffee”

Unemployed

 

As they say – “Suspended Coffees can be for anyone, sadly right now certain places all over the World are in the middle of a big freeze, share some kindness, but also share some warmth, start with a cup of coffee and then see what else you can do.”

Coffee