Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Today's Daily Drawing: Indian Beauty!

Remember I told you all that to cut out the boredom of a small town (where we Army wives usually spend most of our years) and to make new friends I take art classes in my home...
Music playing, birds chirping and the garden in full bloom...
Have a cuppa chai or two and paint away!
some gossip also thrown in to spice up the evenings....
So yesterday I taught my students how to paint faces in soft colors- and am sharing the result with you all:

My Indian Beauty in soft watercolors...

Friday, March 20, 2015

Friday Food for the Soul: Choco-Chip Banana Loaf with Cinnamon Swirls

Chocolate Chip Banana Bread with Cinnamon Swirl

  • 1/3 cup softened unsalted butter- 
  •  3/4 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  •  1 tsp vanilla essence
  • 1 cup sour cream-or 1/2 cup buttermilk (chaaj)
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour 
  • 1 cup maida (refined flour)
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 cup mashed over-ripe bananas 
  • 1/2 cup chocolate chips or finely chopped chocolate chunks.
  • 1/3 cup coarsely chopped walnuts, or any other nuts that you prefer
(for the cinnamom swirl- mix together 2 tbsp cinnamom+1/3 cup powdered sugar- give it a whirl in the mixie and keep aside)
  1. Preheat oven to 160C. 
  2. In a bowl/plate sieve flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Now add the nuts and the chocolate chips to the flour and mix till they are coated
  3. In another large bowl beat the butter and sugar till light and fluffy. Add in the eggs, sour cream and vanilla essence and beat some more.
  4. Add the dry flour mixture to the butter+sugar bowl slowly while now mixing the batter with your hand. 
  5. Add in bananas to the mix and mix gently with a spatula. 
  6. Pour half the batter into a large loaf pan.
  7. Sprinkle the cinnamon+sugar mixture all over the batter, then top with with the remaining batter.
  8. Bake for 45-50 minutes and then check to see if done. The toothpick must come out clean.
  9. Once the bread is cooked, remove the bread from the pan and place on a cooling rack.

Enjoy the sliced goodness with your coffee or hot lemon tea!

Top post on IndiBlogger.in, the community of Indian Bloggers

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

How to Throw a FANTASTIC "WWE" Wrestle Mania Birthday Party!

My son just turned 11 last month, and as he as well as his little follower of a brother are hard core WWE fans, he insisted on having a Wrestle Mania theme for his February Birthday Party!!
Now last year we had done an Angry Bird theme (click here) which was pretty easy and a lotta fun.
And I got a whole lot of ideas from the internet as well as used my own creative reserves.
But this time I was stumped!
WWE doesnt really have too many options, especially as my pre-teen lad is too shy to include wrestling games in the party.
So now how can one host a wrestling theme party and not have at least one wrestling game?
Oh well, as always challenges excite me and I put on my thinking cap and got started!!

And for all of YOU my dear readers I have compiled all the research that I did, as well as all my ideas that I used for the party, so that you can throw a fantastic WWE birthday party too!

First up was the invitation that had my son's favorite star-John Cena in full glory...
Its an All VIP Access Pass ticket that the guests were told to bring with them when they come to the wrestling venue...

Next was doing up the venue...
whether its an indoor event or out door-
you can really have fun doing up the place with a relevant color combination!
The colors of the WWE is red+black+white...
so though I wasnt able to get the black balloons- if things are easily available where you live, then go all out!! Red and black will make a very striking birthday background...in balloons, table covers, streamers, as well as spoons,plates and glasses etc (if you can get them)

image via

You can even have a kind of a runway done up with a black plastic sheet on the ground leading up to the venue... for the guests to come in feeling all important!

image via google

If you live in a big city/town (unlike me) where you can get a bouncy house esp if its WWE themed like shown below- Fantastic!!! 
Or else, a simple bouncy house will be fun for all the kids to have a go at wrestling themselves...

image via

Ok, so now that the color theme is done and the venue decided...
Lets have a wrestling ring? what say? Especially if you have a garden as your venue...
You can string a few ropes around four chairs...

image via

Or like I had done- dig four poles at the corners and two at the entrance...
string up some hessian cloth strips (that we have a surplus of, in the army), unroll a couple of mats and voila- you have yourself a wrestling ring!
Jazz up the place with a few posters of the wrestlers or even a few cut-outs!

So now that the kids are trooping in- welcome them at the gate with a look at their VIP passes...
give out some WWE tattoos to make them all get in the mood...
I ordered them from Amazon (here)  and its a good value for money.

They were also each given a small picture of any of the 3 famous wrestlers- John Cena, the Rock, and Brock Lesnar... so that they all become part of 3 groups.
My son had a jigsaw puzzle of John Cena that had 3 sets... so thats what the first group-game was... All 3 teams assembling the jigsaw puzzle the fastest...

Next game was a card game...
Now you all must be aware of the Slam Attax cards that are all the rage these days- especially among boys.
You have Slam-Attax cards for cricket, and football, and even WWE!!

My sons are obsessed with them and have a separate album for all...
So anyways- they are also available in most Toy stores and also online in Amazon and Flipkart etc.
So what these cards have, are scores... best of thier defense, attack, block....
say a particular wrestler's card shows the reverse score at 50, attack at 66, defence at 51 etc.
So his best score is at "attack-66"
(you get the idea?)
So I made all the kids sit in a row and distributed each one a card at random...
the Birthday Boy was blindfolded and the kid whose shoulder he touched was supposed to say out loud the the best score of anything he had... so the maximum score his card had of say- "block" was compared to all the others' block scores...
whoever had the highest score- won!!
we played a number of rounds (they couldn't get enough of it) with each round having a winner!

Next up was the pinning the champion's belt on Brock Lesnar...
whoever pinned it closest to the right place while being blindfolded- won!

So now that the games are out of the way- the kids want food!!
and if you like you can also do up the food counter in a creative way...
heres a picture to give you some ideas:

image via
And here is my home-made WWE cake with its wobbly icing and red ribbons and drinking straw as the pole! I had to improvise coz I had nothing edible that could have done for the poles.
But if you have the time and you want to make a home-made cake similar to this, then maybe you can use simple breadsticks dipped in melted chocolate for the poles...
just a thought!

And have a look at my banana muffins (had to make it healthy) with a chocolate glaze and its wobbly icing!
My Wilton icing kit has got misplaced and I had to make do with squeezing out the icing out of a normal milk packet.
I told you- I am the queen of all jugaad!

You can serve the kind of food that you usually get at such sporting events-like hotdogs, wraps and pizzas, popcorns etc!!

and then have the return gifts or the "Party Favors" ready to give away before the children leave....
I couldn't manage to get the party favor bags of any kind here where I live- leave alone the WWE themed ones- so I made them out of black chart paper and wrapped the gifts in red glaze paper...

here's a peek at the kiddos with thier Tattoos, the championship belt and thier poses!!

The birthday was a blast and I had so much coming up with ideas that were a little out of the box and a BIG hit with everyone!
I hope I have inspired at least someone to host an awesome WWE party for your son?

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

MARCH 2015 Desktop Calendar: Its Spring!

All the names I know from nurse:
Gardener's garters, Shepherd's purse,
Bachelors buttons, Lady's smock,
And the Lady Hollyhock.

Fairy places, fairy things,
Fairy woods where the wild bees wings,
Tiny trees for tiny dames--
These must all be fairy names.

Tiny woods below whose boughs
Shady fairies weave a house;
Tiny tree-tops, rose or thyme,
Where the braver fairies climb!

Fair are grown up people's trees,
But the fairest woods are these;
Where, if I were not so tall,
I should live for good and all.

                                              -Robert Louis Stevenson

Enjoy March... Enjoy Spring in its full glory!

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