Thursday, February 27, 2014

Wednesday Wanderings... the Colors of the Deserts...

I know it seems from many of my previous posts that I seem to be exhausted of living in the deserts already, (and its just been 8-9 months) but the fact of the matter is, like every back of beyond station that we Army people are made to live in... this place has also sneaked up on me...
Inspite of my best efforts NOT to like this place- too many sandstorms...
tooo much of the same yellow color in the sands and the buildings, all around me...
too little of the greenery...
too little of anything happening...
too much of extreme weather... hot or cold!
But the desert does seem to surprise you...
whether its the simplicity of the desert folks..
or the beauty of thier dances and the music,
the fun of thier puppets,
or the coool coool evenings....
the clear starry sky....
the silence of the surroundings where you can even hear a dog barking from far away...
and I can go on...
It is also true that come summer when you are cooped up inside your homes and braving the numerous sandstorms that seem as though you are breathing into them, or the blazing sun not letting you venture out from 9 in the mornings to nearly 8 in the evenings... you want to run away!
but summer is still a couple of months away... so lets enjoy the so called spring in the Thar Deserts of India with these beautiful Festivals that are as different in flavor from each other as chalk and cheese!

This is a photo essay of the beauty and color of the various facets of the Thar Desert of India...
and the two desert Festivals that we had the good fortune to see and be a part of.

The First one was on the Government Festival that happens towards the mid February (culminating on Poornima-full moon) on "Sam" Sand dunes... where it was all ethnic, colorful and cultural....
Lots of competitions like "turban tying" to the "most glorious mustache" to even having a Mr Desert competition...
Along with the best dressed camel as well as Camel polo and Camel dance..
There was also a cultural program with ethnic dances and songs on the last day ending with a fantastic fireworks show!
They had a lineup of Langa and Manganiyar musicians and Gair as well as Fire dancers that lit up the evening!
There was also a fun-filled tug of war between Indian and Foreign tourists...
here are a few pictures:

picture(not mine) via: here

After savoring the cultural ambiance of the Desert Festival, what could be better on a nice full moon-lit night, than to experience an absolutely different kind of setting on another part of the Thar deserts... the Khuri Dunes.
These Khuri dunes in fact are much more beautiful than the Sam dunes with a finer sand and seemingly more untouched and non-commercial...
It wasnt untouched that night because there was a fantastic Music Festival -Ragasthan...going on since the 13th of February... the details of this phenomenal and just two yrs old Festival is here
We couldn't make it for the earlier nights because as the saying goes in the Army: "Duty comes first" our men were busy- in fact my man wasn't even in town!
So the only evening that we did make it, the last night, towing along our little ones as well- who much to our surprise had a blast!
They had an amazing array of artists performing- on 3 separate stages, all of which were playing a different genre of music to suit all eclectic tastes.
From Fusion to classical to electric to Indie music- they had it all..
The artists were old, young, established, new, foreign as well as desis...
there was a lot of interesting collaborations and fusions which were mesmerizing to say the least!
They had beautiful Art Installations, yummy eats, Kite flying, comfortable Swiss tents to stay in (if you can afford it) and music and guitar strumming in front of many a tent!
unfortunately we didnt arrive there till it was quite dark but I have promised myself to be there next year, for the entirety of the Festival and maybe even have a stall there? 
what say?
So here are a few pictures that we managed to click. 

keeping ourselves warm with good eats, amazing music and fantastic atmosphere!

Monday, February 24, 2014

My Monday Moment!

For mothers with boys who are up to thier ears with wrestling and boxing...
a WWF wrestling moment of today...

Saturday, February 22, 2014

AWESOME ANGRY BIRD Party! with lots of ideas and FREE printables.

Planning kids' birthdays are a lot of fun- especially if they are theme based!
And I absolutely love theme based ideas if you are living in a big city with all the theme based goodies and decoration available at your corner gift shop.
Then the sky is the limit and you dont have to really think that hard... just go along with the salesman's vision and everything that is available in that theme- from pre-packaged return gifts and theme based decorations and games.
But what if you are like me, who lives in the back-of-beyond where even decent basic return gifts are not available (let alone theme based), then a theme based birthday party idea does seem kind of impossible...
But actually its not.
And I am going to help you plan it!

All you need is a basic printer plugged to a computor- an internet connection(if you are reading this then I guess you have one?)  some basic stationary(chart paper+markers+glue) and paints and brushes.
and lots and lots of enthusiasm..
You can even ask the birthday kid to chip in...if they are old enough to cut+paste!

So first please download this font:  its the Angry bird lookalike free font that I have used in the picture above!  

This font you can use in the invitations and happy birthday banners etc!
So here is the invitation that I had taken out:
had taken out the print on one A4 paper, cut in the middle and voila- two invitations!

PLEASE right click on the image you want- save on desktop/any folder and use.

and this is what you can use if you dont want to use the font given above- just write the name and details with pen and u are done.

This one is for people who want to use the font given above-import on any software and write in the names and take the print outs.

you can also print+cut+stick these given below onto the envelopes and just write the name of the guest with a marker.

now for the return gifts- which is completely your choice and budget- but the bags on my end were an issue...
I could only get spiderman bags-which though cute, could not possibly go with the theme!
so I got out a few red bird printouts- took red kite paper, or any bright paper thats available.

and voila- angry bird gift-bags!

and you can also wrap you prizes is the main color wapping paper of the birds... red, yellow, green, black and blue!  have streamers + balloons also of the same colors!
maybe stick a printout of just the face of the angry birds on the balloons...

Dont they look cute?

Now is the fun-time... planning the games!

1- I planned a bird's egg treasure hunt...where the birthday boy hid the eggs in all the unlikeliest places and the kids who finds the maximum eggs in a limited time...say 5-10 minutes WINS!!
The eggs can be small pebbles that have been painted white with red-green spots or stripes
or if you live in a place that doesnt have stones- you can even crush a small piece of newspaper, cover with tissue and glue... paint it white with spots/stripes.
(I dont have a picture for this coz i forgot to take one before the party and afterwords there were no eggs left! the kids had all taken them) 

 2- Next game is one of pinning the beak on an angry bird painted on full chart paper...
Angry birds are pretty easy to make- just a circle with a few feathers on top of the head and eyes.
Leave the beak... for that, just cut-out triangles out of yellow chart paper, write the kids' names on it.
Blindfold the kid and ask him/her to place the beak with his name on it, on the likeliest place.
the beak closest to the right placement, gets the PRIZE!

3- the other game was toppling over the piggie boxes (I had used shoe boxes) with an angry bird soft toy or if you dont have that, then an angry bird face stuck on a bright red/yellow ball!
this game is for the smaller kids.

4- I also had passing the parcel with music and an angry bird soft-toy as the parcel.

5- Other games that you can try is having green bottles as pins and a red ball for a game of bowling... 
pic via click here

6- or popping the pig balloons with darts.

pic via click here

now come the EATS!!
I made these two cakes because the kids were about 20 and of course some of thier parents were also coming...didn't want the cake to fall short of a second helping!
ummm.... this is my maiden effort at icing with a character and though I was thinking that maybe a fondant cake would have been cuter but..A- you dont get fondant here and B- fresh cream icing is way more delicious!
these were basic sponge cakes- one chocolate flavored and one vanilla
this one was baked as a square, then cut diagonally and joined from the opposite sides to get a triangle for the yellow bird!... the icing is fresh cream inside+outside with pineapple pieces in the layering.

the next cake is chocolate cake with fresh cream and cherries in the layering and strawberry crush giving the cake a nice and gooey red topping....
the kids loved the blood-like red dripping!

Then I also made these cupcakes with the colorful icing and sweet sprinklers which, no surprise here- the kids absolutely loved!
Each cupcake had a matching cupcake topper that made the presentation sweeter!
here is a peek:

and there was also a juice dispenser that we used quite a lot when picnicking in the U.S. and which has been given a facelift of the angry bird! 

For the Angry bird cupcake toppers:
what I did was I took a printout of this image on A4 card stock paper, or if you dont have that, then a printout on a normal paper....

....glued the image on chart paper so it stiffens, cut each circles out, stick a toothpick on the back of them, and just plonk them on each cupcake... it starts looking very pwetty!!

and finally the highlight of the evening... the Angry Bird tattoos...
Now it was impossible to get tattoos in our neck of woods so I did what I always do...Paint them on!

Now you can also take these images of mine given below, (right click+save) and print them and stick them where ever you want...
on balloons, gifts, banners...
Use your imagination and have fun... with a little help from moi!!  :-)

 Please remember that these images are NOT to be used commercially but for your own home based birthday parties! 
And please remember to link back to my page if you want to write about this blogpost or ideas!
thank you

Friday, February 14, 2014

My Valentine treats with the cute loves of my life-my boys...

My husband, as usual is out for a few days... Army business and war strategies and what not...
So no romantic notions in my head for Valentine's Day....
And though I am not usually a valentine's day celebrations person-(the whole week leading upto the D-Day makes you actually tired of the red heart hoopla)
but my kids wanted to celebrate... esp my older one becoz just a year back in his U.N. school there used be a lot of celebrations and treats and cards and parties!
Being back in India doesn't mean everything comes to standstill...
You've still got "mommy" as the best girlfriend you will ever have- or so I like to think...
so I made the typical and cliche "red velvet cupcakes" with cream cheese frosting, strawberry cream tarts and even tried my hand at red velvet marbled cake which didnt actually turn out the way I wanted....  :-/
but what can I say- I am still on a learning curve!

here's a peek into the goodies of my valentine with my two boys!

strawberry fresh cream tarts

Red Velvet Cupcake with a heart shaped out of powdered sugar or castor sugar.

some Red Velvet Cupcakes which were topped with a strawberry crush glaze.

Red Velvet Cupcakes with Strawberry cream cheese icing with sprinklers.

Red Velvet and Chocolate Marbled cake (the chocolate marbling didnt come out as good as a vanilla marbling would have- but like I said... I am still learning)

A bite into the marble cake?

yummy hearty options!
so the recipe of the red velvet cake will follow as soon as me n my two loves get over the sugar rush!

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