Monday, November 11, 2013

Face mask!

I always wanted to hang a face mask in the house to remove dristi but didn't want it to scare my daughter! I found this not so scary terracotta face in India. I  painted the plain face with  vibrant  acrylic colors.
The face has found its spot on  the wall connecting our family room and living room and it seems to be following me everywhere !

Face mask

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Terracotta vase painting

My cousin Ramya introduced me to an awesome terracotta shop in India. She buys plain terracotta items and paints them. I thought I should give it a try too. I started with a simple vase and painted with acrylic colors. It was fun painting it. 

Children playing from dawn to dusk and their mothers calling out for them. 

Thursday, September 19, 2013

New look to ikea clock

I wanted to get a red clock that would go with the colors in our living room but my husband had set  a hard limit of < $10 for the clock! I searched a couple of places but did not get a nice one for that price. So I got a plain red clock from ikea for 5 dollars and painted some patterns on it. Here is the new look !

Reverse glass painting!

I wanted to have a try at reverse glass painting but  I had no idea how to do it. After some searching on the Internet I realized it is achieveble .  List of things needed.
- Glass frame
- Silver glitter paper
- Black glass outliner tube
- Acrylic paints
- An outline of the picture you want to frame ( My pictiure was that of  lord ganesha )
I flipped a picture of lord ganesha on the Internet (mirror image) , scaled it to the size of the glass frame and took a printout of it.
I placed the printout behind the correct side of the frame and started painting the lord in layers (the outline first and then the background colors). Finally I placed the silver glitter paper to complete my painting. Here's a picture of my first attempt.

Friday, August 23, 2013

Ganesha clay idol

Ganesh chathurthi is very special to me .   This year I thought I would make a clay idol of the god myself! I got "air dry terracotta" clay from Michaels and made this idol and used black eye peas for the eyes!

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Passing on the knowledge to first time moms...

I am sure by your third trimester every new mom  would have done all the research and started preparing for the baby to come. I just thought I would blog a list of things that  may be useful from my experience. I have listed essentials that I got for myself and baby before my delivery.  I have also marked things that I had packed in the hospital bag I took on my delivery day. Hope this helps!

For you
- Loose night dresses in cotton. Night gowns with zippers or shirts and pants. Shirts are easy to use while nursing (Hospital bag)
- Nursing pillows
- Nursing covers (Hospital bag )
- Nursing bras (Hospital bag )
- Nursing pads (Hospital bag )
- Lots of sanitary napkins (Hospital bag )
- A cleaning bottle to use after you use the rest room.
- Mesh or Stretch panties.
- Sheets to sit till your bleeding stops. You don't want to stain your bedsheets.
- Postpartum support waist band (to keep your tummy in place and not stand out after delivery)
- Please get a strip of stool softener tablets and ibuprofen just in case you may need it. If they stitch you up you cannot be constipated and you need the stool softener. Sometimes they ask you to take ibuprofen too for helping you through the first couple of days. They say that there is a small percentage of ibuprofen that gets into your breast milk but thats ok ..Just use it for 3 days after delivery and thats it.
- Palmers coco butter cream for removing stretch marks
- Nipple balm  (helps soften the nipple after feeding).
- Towels and toiletries to use on delivery day ( Hospital bag )
- Bathroom slippers to use on delivery day. ( Hospital bag )

For baby
- Subscribe to Amazon mom  and subscribe and save on  diapers and other stuff
- Get a lot of full cotton/fleece sleep and play full pyjamas for baby.  I  preferred pajamas with zippers instead of buttons for ease of use.
- Get onepiece dress with footies , without footies, onsies and bodysuits. Dont get things with ropes etc or button near the chest as babies tend to put it in their mouth. (Hospital bag pack atleast 20 dresses)
- Hats and mittens to protect ears and hands (Hospital bag - pack one pair each)
- Receiving blankets(Hospital bag -3)
- Swaddle blankets (Hospital bag - 3 )
- Fleece blankets (Hospital bag - 2  )
- Wash cloths (Hospital bag - 10-15)
- Newborn diapers. I have tried huggies snug and dry brand but there are multiple brands to explore . Some people go for organic diapers too. I tried pampers organic diapers for some time but I found that it gave out some white white particles after an hour or 2-3 pees of the baby. I also tried using cloth diapers but it didnt suite my baby.(Hospital bag - 36 diapers ..usually its good to  change every 2 hours)
- Dreft laundry detergent to use for washing baby clothes in washer. Dont use any fabric softners for baby clothes in dryer.
- Wipes  (please get unscented ones) (Hospital bag - 1 bag)
- Baby monitor
- Baby lotion (again get unscented ones - I liked Aveeno)
- Baby wash (tear free Aveeno)
- Use kasturi manjal on babies during bath to prevent lot of hair growth in hands, legs and forehead
- Coconut oil. I used parachute oil while giving my daughter a bath so that her skin does not dry out.
- Bath tub
- Humidifier ...babies nose often gets dried out ...esp if we use the heater during winter.
- Suction bulb to get mucus out of baby nose. I did not use this though . I used a clean vesti cloth ..made it into a needle shape stick and pulled out the mucus.
- Hand sanitizes if you want to use them. Please get organic unscented ones if possible. I never used it ..we used to wash hands before we handled the baby.
- Get a diaper rash cream just in case.
- Keep a thermometer for sure. You need it for a long time . Better to get one that we can use to check temperature on the forehead.
- Baby vicks vapour rub
- Gripe water . In case the baby has gas you can give it to the baby for relief .
- Saline nose drops. I use the drop on my daughter everyday to prevent infections.
- Infant Tylenol dont get this everywhere. I got it in CVS pharmacy.
- Infant nail clipper to cut their nails
- Baby towels (Hospital bag -1)
- Cone sambrani. After giving a hair wash I used to apply sambrani for her so that her hair drys faster and sambrani prevents baby from catching a cold. I got it from madras groceries in Sunnyvale.
- Naatu marundhu or home made remedies from India.
- Diaper bag!!!
- Changing pads for baby. I had one that came with the diaper bag and got a couple of rubber sheets from India and a $40 sheet from tiny tots in Campbell!
- Washing brush from India to scrub baby soiled clothes or blankets before washing

On the Delivery day
- I took a fully charged laptop to watch F.R.I.E.N.D.S series during my labour period. It made the labour fun. (Hospital bag )
- Dont forget to take camera and ipad or tablet for taking videos. (Hospital bag )
- Pack clothes for  husband and mom too.
- Carseat and stroller are a must ... without which they wont discharge the baby in the hospital
- keep some snacks just in case. (if not for you ..waiting  husband or parents may need it)
- Birth plan (You may not be in a mood to think rationally) . The birth plan will list down your preferences or choice of delivery. You can submit it to your doctor before delivery too so that the nurse/doctor who will be there for your delivery will know your preferences from the file
- Keep your documents (ID proof and insurance ready to take)

Also choose a pediatrician before delivery as you need to give the doctor's name to the hospital when the baby is born. The pediatrician will see the baby the next day after baby is born.

For the house
- Drying rack maybe to dry baby clothes that you need immediately
- Setup room such that it will be easy to manage after coming home from hospital.

Good shops that I got stuff from
- Tiny tots in Campbell
- Baby land in sanjose
- Toys r us / Babies r us
- Motherhood maternity
- Naidu hall in Chennai,India
- Elcamino hospital store for mothers and newborns

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Mendocino watercolor

My husband and I went to Mendocino town for a weekend and we decided that we pick 3 activities each. I choose to register us for an hour of watercolor painting :) We painted a scene through the art teachers window. Here is my painting ...

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Happy first birthday!

I cannot imagine how a whole year flew by since my daughter was born and how much she has grown. She is such a darling kid and wins everyone's heart easily. I wanted to make her first birthday very special and so I started planning a month ahead!
We sent out invites from evite a month ago to get RSVPs from everyone. Once I got a count of all the kids who would be coming to the party we got them return gifts from India. (Cute lunch boxes and books!!!) . I love the panchatantra tales and we got a dozen of them from Naidu hall in chennai.

My husband and I compiled 12 pictures of our daughter (one for every month) and decorated the party hall using them. We had shaved my daughter's head in India just before she turned one and wanted to put up pictures of how she looked very cute with all her hair.

We had invited everyone to the party at 3pm on a Sunday till 6pm. So we were planning on serving some snacks during the party. I put in most of the party effort on having a food theme and a very different spread (a good mix of sweet and savories). Most of the food was based on a disney character or some generic animal character. Around 40 adults came to the party and so the key to the spread was a lot of prep work and easy decorating ideas that would scale :)

Panda sandwich
Panda/Pig/Frog Sandwiches
I got panda/frog/pig sandwich cutters from  Previous day we cut the breads into shapes using the cutter.
On the day of the party we spread chocolate nuttella on the base and made the yummy pandas.We used mint chutney for the frog sandwiches and strawberry jam for the pigs !
Made around 60  mini sandwiches and only a couple were left.

Pig sandwich

Frog sandwich

Mickey mouse kaju katili
This  Indian sweet is everyone's favorite. Since I was very pressed for time and didnt have the bandwidth to make the sweet itself we got 2 boxes from an India store nearby. I combined 3 store bought kaju katlis into one round ball and flattened it with a vessel. I used mickey mouse cookie cutters from to cut the flattened kaju katli into mickey shapes and used edible food markers to draw mickey faces on the sweet. Made 30 mickey mouse katlis!

Mickey mouse kaju katli

Ducks in a bath juice

In between all the yummy food I wanted to serve something to drink too. I got some Hawaiian punch from safeway and filled a brita water filter with the juice so that  guests can take juice from the tap. I put some bath toys of my daughter to take a bath in the juice !
Ducks in a bath juice

Fruit flowers
I got a big pineapple and  a bunch of kiwis and decided to make flowers out of the fruits for all the fruit lovers in the party. I got long bamboo sticks to support the flowers. On the previous day we cut the pineapples into circles and made the flower shapes with cookie cutters. Kiwi looks pretty by itself. So all we needed to do was to cut it into circles. On the day of the party I pierced the flowers into the sticks and arranged them into my daughter's humidifier :)

Fruit flowers

Spongebob dokhlas

Spongebob dokhlas
My daughter was always amused by spongebob and I wanted to include him in the party. I saw a striking resemblance between him and dokhlas! They would make an awesome snack. I had ordered the Wilton candy eyes for spongebobs eyes and got masala tapioca chips to make the hands. I used grated coconut as spongebobs teeth!

Cat pizzas 
Cat pizzas
I wanted to include something that would be a filling snack. The first thing that came to my mind was pizza. I ordered small personal pizzas from hot breads and turned them into cats.
Cut cheese into circles to use as face for the cats. Eyes are made of black olives, used shredded  carrots for whiskers and tomato ketchup for the lips.

  Animal muffins

I knew there were enough sweets in the the spread but I still went ahead and made some muffins just because I had the Nordic ware Pro cast zoo animal muffin pan with me :) The pan is great and the animal features came out very well.
Animal muffins

Alphabet/Shapes maida chips 
My mom makes the best maida chips for me  in diamond shapes. So I wanted to serve that for the party and thought it will be fun cutting the dough into different shapes instead of diamonds. So we used alphabet cookie cutters to make my daughter's name and also made some star and heart shaped chips.
Alphabet chips

Caterpillar  croissant 
I wanted a caterpillar in my spread and felt that indian panner croissant from hot breads looked like one. I used wilton candy eyes for the caterpillar's eyes and tapioca chips for its antennas! To stick the candy eyes on the caterpillar I used yellow mustard sauce.

Caterpillar croissants

Princess cake for my little princess

I knew it would be hard to make a cake that would serve 40 - 45 people! But I really really wanted to make one for my little girl! So I decided to  make a small cake for the kids and order a big one from safeway for the rest of the party.
I decided to make a princess cake and got the wilton mold cake kit to make it. I made chocolate cake with pink buttercream icing for the dress. I made patterns with edible pearls and decorated with flowers. I set the princess on my lazysusan base.. so that we can rotate her nicely during the party!
Princess cake for my little princess

- The main decorations in the room were my daughters 12 blown up photos. 
- I  borrowed some character humidifiers from my sister and friends (spongebob , frog and disney princess) for decorations.
-  I used my daughter's bottle drying rack for holding paper cups.
-  Used our plate holder at home for holding paper plates
-  We arranged the sandwiches on refrigerator glass trays from the fridge in the party hall and the glass turntable from the microwave!
- Used my daughter's rubber sheets/quick dry sheets for table cloth
- Used her white board to write a "happy birthday" message
- Also got some decorations from party city!

Love my little girl and thanks to all my friends , sister and family , cousin and  family and my dear husband for helping me and making my daughter's day very special.

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Checklist for India while carrying an Infant!

I took my daughter to India for her first birthday ceremony.  Here is a  checklist of things I had carried on the trip.

 -- Make sure you take your baby's one year vaccinations before you go on the trip. Discuss your trip with your pediatrician atleast 3 weeks in advance.
- Toys !!! Pack toys for the flight journey alone. You dont need any toys for the stay in India. My daughter had tooo many new things to explore and too many people to engage her :)
- Pedialyte freezer pops will be good to have if baby is refusing any food and not feeding milk also. Helps to keep baby hydrated. I don't like them personally as they have too much sugar content and artificial coloring. However I carried them in case I had to use it in flight.
- Diapers and wipes!! The quality of diapers are not so good in India and you wont have time getting them there with your packed schedule! Its best to pack enough diapers from here for the entire trip. Please carry enough wipes too.
- Pack lots of cotton full sleeve dresses. I  covered my daughter from neck to toe during the trip. It helps prevent insect bites and also save the skin from sun. I did not use any baby sunscreen on my daughter.
- If  you plan on  head tonsuring for your baby  it is good to schedule it as soon as you reach India. I scheduled my daughter's head tonsuring the first week we were there and it helped prevent additional sweating due to the density of her hair! Make sure the knife used is washed in dettol and just apply sandal paste on the scalp after the head tonsuring.
- Food:
   -- For the flight journey and for temple trips its always a good idea to carry some organic gerber/earth's best  food jars and  some finger food(rice crispies and corn puffs).  Take more than can return the jars if you didn't have to use it all.
  -- Always carry lots of yogurt! My daughter ate a lot of yogurt  during the trip ...... too much heat I guess!
  -- When at home, I gave her mostly lots of fruits (banana especially) , idli, dosa, vegetable/dhal soup, pongal, sevai, upma, curd rice and chappathi. Somehow she did not want to eat her usual rasam and paruppu rice.
  -- I kept giving her sips of water at frequent intervals throughout the trip. Also its good to let your baby suck on a bottle/feed milk during flight take off and landing.
  -- The stroller was useful only for the flight journey and we didn't take it along anywhere in India.
  -- Carry all the usual baby medicines -  Nasal drops, Infant thylenol, Infant Ibuprofhen, Gripe water, Baby shampoo and moisturizer, Baby vicks and diaper rash cream.
 --  Carry enough bottles/ sippi cups  with you.
 --  Even if you are breast feeding your baby its best to carry some formula from here in case of emergency.
 -- To sterilize the bottles I used a big rice cooker.
 -- Baby monitor !!! I did  not take it but strongly  feel it would have helped a lot. If we put the baby down to sleep in a closed AC room we might not hear the baby's cries from the living room. The downside is that you need adapters for the monitor to work but it is safe to have it if setting up other monitoring techniques like a skype session or a phone call ( they are all charged btw)  does not work well.

Hope this helps! Have an awesome trip. My daughter loved every moment in India and she misses her grandparents and all our relatives very much !