As I was cleaning my kitchen, I got this one – an old 10-kg rice bag.


The image of baby Krishna was too beautiful to be tossed in the trashcan. So, it got me thinking in to what could be done with this bag.

Just the earlier day, my younger daughter Anjana spilt yogurt on her uniform shirt while eating by herself. I wanted to make a bib.

Usually, the rice bags are made of jute or canvas. But this one was of a different material and had a lamination inside which made it waterproof. So, why not make it into a bib? I could, but there was one problem – my elder daughter Santoshi might (read will) blame me for making something special only for Anjana and how I don’t love her and so on.

But, Krishna saved me with a smaller image on the other side of the bag which could be used for Anjana and the bigger image for Santoshi.


Things I used:

  • The old, 10-kg, waterproof rice bag (see pics above)
  • Scissors
  • Pieces of scrap fabric (pics below along with the steps)
  • Velcro
  • Sewing machine

Step 1: Cut two rectangles out of the bag (leaving enough margins on all sides of the image of Krishna for folding/ seam allowance).


Step 2: Choose and cut fabric for the top of the bib (to cover the ‘Since 1972 – Gokul super premium raw rice’ text and also so that the bag does not scrape the skin) and the straps to go around the neck.

Fabric for the top portion:


I used the ribbons from Anjana’s old frock for straps:


Step 3: Align the right sides together of the fabric for the top and the bib. Fold the seam and sew the fabric just below the ‘super premium raw rice text’ so that once it is folded up, it will cover the text.


Step 4: Fold the top of the bag twice and sew the seam on all four sides.


Step 5: Fold the fabric over and sew the top end of the fabric to the top end of the bag and you will end up with this:


Step 6: Cut each of the ribbons into half.


Step 7: Attach velcro patches to one end of each ribbon and align and sew them to the top of the bib.


Here is the finished piece! This one (with the bigger image) is for Santoshi.

I know it still looks like a bag (the straps looking like the handles of the bag) but I think it will serve the purpose of saving the clothes from the stains and spills. The bib could be shaped at the neckline and also have rounded corners. Doing so will require casing or piping and i have never tried them. So, I decided to keep it simple.

I have to do the bib for Anjana, may be over the weekend.

Thanks for stopping by!


Road trip from Chennai to Varahur via Trichy

When our second daughter was due for her third tonsure at a temple in Vaharur, my husband and I decided to go by road. We had arranged for a chauffeur-driven Honda Civic for the trip. The plan was to drive to Trichy, stay there overnight and proceed to Varahur early morning the next day.

We left at 1 pm on 10 September 2016 from Chennai. In the process of making my daughter sleep on my shoulder, I fell asleep soon after she did and opened half an eye to see that we had crossed Vandalur close to 3 pm. I hung on to my sleep and finally forced myself to wake up by 3:30 pm. By that time, we were miles past Haritam and 99km, where we could have stopped for a cup of coffee and some light snacks.  We told the driver to stop at a decent restaurant for coffee. We almost parked outside of ‘Padmma Vilasam’ but soon realized that we were closer to Aaryas and Vasantha Bhavan at Tindivanam, though both were on the right side of the road.

We made a stop at Aryas intending to have a cup of coffee each and use the restroom and be back on NH45 towards Trichy. AC restaurant did not have tables free so sat at a table in the non-AC space.  We found ourselves ordering a plate of dosa and parotta kurma.  The table had a tray of three kinds of chutneys, a type of pickle and chili powder mixed with oil. Two pieces of parotta were served with small portions of vegetable kurma and channa.  Though the parottas were not even luke warm, they were reasonably soft and were served quickly.  My husband’s dosa took a long time and we had to remind them to get the dosa.  Dosa was hot, crisp and tasty.  We had to remind them to bring sambar.  Sambar arrived in a small bucket. When I tasted the sambar, I realized that I should have ordered dosa in order to enjoy more of the sambar. Coffee was strong, tasty and hot! We had spent about 20 to 25 minutes at Aaryas including the use of restroom (which was clean).  By about 4:10 pm, we were on our way to Trichy when it started drizzling.  We decided to stop there again on our way back the next day.

After enjoying some of my parotta and a cup of milk followed by youtube, our daughter became somewhat cranky. Luckily, I lulled her back to sleep for another 90 minutes while my husband and I enjoyed the scenery on both sides of the road.  Light showers once in a while did not impede in any way in reaching our destination.

near Aaryas at Tindivanam

We reached Hotel Sangam at 7 pm. We were impressed by the tastefully decorated lounge. We were served with a glass of cool, fizzy panneer soda as we filled out the forms.  Our room was overlooking the entrance and the parking. The room was well-furnished and comfortable. We had cream of mushroom soup, sangam special tomato soup, paneer butter masala, phulkas, Cannelloni Florentine, mango milkshake and chocolate milkshake.  Nothing special about either of the soups or the milkshakes. Panner butter masala was good, but the Cannelloni Florentine was excellent! We never expected a restaurant in Trichy to make such a delicious continental dish.  The next morning, we had a cup of coffee each and checked out.  Check-out was quite quick and without any hassles.

A few things which would have the hotel unbeatable

  • We had asked for the wifi password during check-in. The front office manager told us that he needs to generate a coupon for the password and would have it sent to our room. We waited for an hour and reminded them for the password for which we got the polite and assuring reply “We will send it right away”. We never got the wifi password. 
  • The light in the corridor outside our room was not working. We noticed it when we entered the room. The staff member who accompanied us assured that it will be looked into immediately. We reminded them again, but still it did not happen.
  • There was no night lamp in the room so we opened the curtains by a few millimeters to let some light in.


Uchi Pillayar Koil on our way to Chennai 

We started for Varahur by 6:40 am from Hotel Sangam. After an early lunch, we left for Chennai from Thirukkattupalli by 11:45 am. Instead of stopping at Aaryas at Tindivanam as planned the previous day, we decided to try Haritam or 99km, which we reached by 3:30 pm. We chose 99km over Haritam which turned out to be a mistake. We ordered vazahaipoo vadai, milagai bajji and coffee. Neither the vadais nor the bajjis had any amount of salt in them. They were served hot but were not tasty. Coffee was tolerable. My husband wished that the men’s restroom could have been maintained better while I found the women’s restroom not so bad.

outside 99km

We spent about 15 minutes at 99km and continued our trip to Chennai. We reached home by 6 pm which was not bad for a Sunday evening.

When we go on another road trip in NH45, Haritam and Vasantha Bhavan will be need to tried and tested.


Learning with “Wild Kratts” – Honey Badger and Honeyguide

Wild Kratts was one of my favourite shows while we were in San Francisco.  It was a fun way of learning about animals.  After getting back to India, though the show was available in Discovery Kids, we never watched it.  Currently, with Netflix subscription, I am back to watching Wild Kratts, but with a different purpose altogether, thanks to my husband.  My 5 year old daughter Santoshi and I watch one or two episodes in the afternoon and we discuss about what we learnt from that episode.

The first episode that we saw together was about honey badger and honey guide.  We watched the episode and quietly let Santoshi assimilate whatever she could.

Then, we started the discussion (nothing formal). I asked her to explain what she understood and she was terrified.  Thankfully, my husband intervened and asked very pointed and specific questions.  Then, she opened up and told us what she had understood.  At that point, I realised that I should not do the mistake that I did while trying to teach numbers to her.  I learnt that it was unrealistic to get her to understand everything, leave alone explain her understanding.

Back to the episode, I was happy that we chose this episode as our first because it started with honeybees, how they collect honey, etc. which Santoshi was aware of.  The episode taught us these also, apart from the honeybees:

  • The honey badger – it got Santoshi excited because it looks akin to a skunk with a similar defence mechanism when the honeybees are about to sting it.  Now that we talked about honeybees stinging, we strayed away to how honey is collected and how we can protect ourselves from getting stung by the honeybees.
  • The honey guide – the bird worked with the honey badger to find honey and how the honey badger shared some honey with the bird.
We talked about team work, how the honeyguide and the honey badger teamed up and worked to get honey, etc.  At the end of it, I  guess Santoshi was thrilled that she learnt something new and that she could draw parallels from what she already knew.
Wild Kratts has given us not only a good platform to learning and discussing about animals, but also a time to bond with each other.
The next episode that we watched together was about fireflies.

Fun with Water


My daughter Santoshi and I were hosting a play date on a rainy Sunday morning.  Apart from the usual colouring activity and building blocks, we opened a pack of play doh and let the children have fun.  A pink snail made by Santoshi:

IMG_20151108_121649.jpgWe read three books – The Diggingest Dog, Duckie’s Rainbow and Baby Chipmunk.IMG_20151108_114931.jpg

The theme of the month at school was water – sink and float, mixing items with water, etc.  My kitchen gave us all the items for this activity – a few bowls, a jug of water, a spoonful each of turmeric powder (for colour yellow), chilly powder (for red), all purpose flour (for white), coriander seeds (for “float”) and semolina (for “sink”) and a spoon for stirring.

We took all the items to the balcony and started with our fun experiments.

  1. Mixing items with water – turmeric powder first, chilly powder next and all purpose flour at the end.  The kids were excited to see the water take the colour of the powder each time.
  2. Mixing colours – we poured a few drops of water mixed with turmeric powder into the bowl of water mixed with chilly powder, making it more orange than red.  Next was yellow and white to make light yellow and then white and orange to a make a lighter shade of orange.
  3. Now, sink and float.  First, the kids had to be taught the concepts of “sinking” and “floating”.  One of the first stories that they had learnt at school was ‘The Thirsty Crow‘.  They understood “sink” when I told them how the pebbles went down and the water level came up.  “Float” was explained more easily – how a boat sails on water, rather than going into the water.  Then, they eagerly watched the bowl of water into which a spoonful of coriander seeds were added.  The seeds were floating.  Next was semolina which started sinking.  They also noticed that after sometime, the semolina had become soggy.
I guess, this was the best part of that day’s playdate.  I don’t know how many of the kids bothered their mothers in doing similar experiments after they reached home.

I will post more if we happen to do anything interesting in the upcoming playdate sessions.  Bye till then!


Meal Time Surprises for Kids


My daughter Santoshi was (and still is) like most of the kids her age; she didn’t like eating regular food and preferred a glass of milk or potato chips over a typical meal.  The same went with the snacks that I pack to school.  We have tried fruits (apple, orange, pineapple, etc.), vegetables (carrot and cucumber slices), pasta (mac and penne), sandwiches, chapatis, etc.  While apple and pasta never came back on most days, other fruits and carrots always greeted me in the snack box every evening.

As there are restrictions in terms of duration of the snack reak and what cant be sent for snacks (no greasy, messy items allowed; preferably dry snacks which are healthy and nutritious – these were the instructions given to parents), my experiments were mostly on bread, dosa and chapatti.  I tried making them visually appealing.  I am posting pictures of some of surprises that my daughter got during breakfast or snack time.  Some of them worked very well (in terms of Santoshi finishing the meal), while a few didn’t.


This is a house made of bread slices and jam – has a roof, wall, door, window and a chimney.  Banana wafer and the rajaram’s masala wheels are just a bonus!


A Kite with a string and two bows.   The kite and the bows are made of bread slices, ketchup for the design on the kite and the string.  Masala wheels and gummy bears on the side.IMG_20150618_080645.jpg

Dosas (made of ragi powder, whole wheat flour, rice flour in equal proportion, with a pinch of salt, made like a pancake on a greased pan) arranged to look like a paw with pumpkin sambar and tomato ketchup on the side for breakfast.


Dosa sandwich with ketchup for snack time at school.


A slice of bread cut into thin long rectangles, mildly toasted on a pan; mashed potato made to look like a small mountain and tomato ketchup on the side.  Bread sticks, as Santoshi calls them, became one of her favourite snacks.


Double decker sandwich with slices of bread cut into circles, with ketchup in between and a masala wheel and a banana wafer on top.


Chapati made into different shapes (using a knife).  Shapes was the theme of the month at school.


Chapatis (again) cut into a semi circle and flower shapes (using a cookie cutter).




I wanted to put up all my crazy thoughts (which take the form of craft, recycling used things, stories for my little daughter, etc.) into a forum for me and others to see.

Take a look and you may be surprised!