Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Stocking stuffer idea

What can I say? The boy loves tape. He went through a 3-pack of scotch tape in one weekend. 
I let him because he was quiet and wasn't breaking anything.
 Then I ordered him his very own set of 11 colored masking tape rolls. I could only find 8 of his rolls for this picture. He has one roll in each pocket and another in his hand at all times.
He has a particular fondness for taping the floor, doorknobs and chairs.
His sister made a kite and he made a ring and a handle for his water bottle.
Here's a frugal holiday gift idea:
A large empty box (which every parent knows is usually played with more than the toy inside),
with a few rolls of colorful tape,
and maybe a large lollipop for good measure.
What more could a kid want?

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Chai Tea party

It's been incredibly dreary outside this week, so I tried to cheer myself up by having a tea party with my son. I simmered fennel seeds, sliced ginger, a cinnamon stick, a bay leaf, whole cloves, white peppercorns, and cardamom seeds in 3 cups of water for about 10 minutes. Then I turned off the heat, added 2 English Breakfast tea bags, 2 teaspoons of honey and let it steep another 10 minutes.
 Add 1 1/2 cups of milk
and voila, a delightful pot of chai tea!
My daughter would have dressed up like she was dining at the Ritz.
My son? Jelly on the sleeve and filthy hands.
He lapped up the tea like a dog.

Friday, October 7, 2011

honorary Indian

I have two words for you people:
Chaat Masala.

How have I lived 36 years on this planet,
had 3 Indian friends - I'm so worldly, I know,
(One happens to be a midwestern girl whose hubby is Indian, but still)
and somehow missed out on the wonder that is Chaat Masala?
SOMEBODY has been holding out on me!

I have Garam Masala in my cupboard,
mango powder,
black mustard seeds,
but nobody told me about chaat masala!?

A couple of weeks ago Manashi's mom made this unbelievably tasty cucumber dish for us
and I dreamt about it for days.
 I called Manashi in NYC and she walked me through the Indian grocery store here in Georgia
where I bought my very own box.
It cost $1.

Sprinkle it on cucumbers with a little lemon juice and salt.
You can thank the Mukherjee family later.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Patti Digh (rhymes with high)

In the spirit of putting my own mask on first, I'm going to leave my family to their own devices for the evening so I can hear author/blogger Patti Digh speak at the library tonight. A couple of years ago I ordered one of Patti's books, life is a verb, based solely on the fact that it was illustrated with artwork created by her readers. I read a chapter or two, but mostly admired the book for its beauty. This is not unusual for me. I have 6 or 7 books stacked next to my bed, mostly non-fiction, but I rarely finish an entire book. I picked the book back up a couple of weeks ago and have surprised myself by nearly finishing it. I'm always a little squeamish about self-help books, but there is so much more to this book than advice. It's full of stories about learning to live intentionally and it gives writing prompts to help the readers discover and retell their own stories. One of my favorite sections of the book, Say 'hi' to Yaron, can be read at her blog.

Years ago, Patti Digh's step-father was diagnosed with lung cancer and died 37 days later. That's how her blog got its name. She and her mother helped him die at home, an experience which she describes as both profound and painful. It made her dig deep to discover what she would do with her life if she only had 37 days left.

Tonight she'll be talking about her new book, what I wish for you (simple wisdom for a happy life), a book written for her eldest daughter who recently left for college. It includes lessons she's learned in life, as well as stories and advice from her readers.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Camping on Deep Creek

Over Lil's fall break, we went camping with Alan's sister, Teresa, and her hubby, John, on Deep Creek in Bryson City, North Carolina. We borrowed this pop-up camper from Alan's other sister, Kendra, and now I'm obsessed with getting one of our own. I have no idea where we'll park it, but I MUST have one. It's very compact when folded up and can easily be pulled by a mid-sized car. You just pop it up, plug it in and hook up the water and you're all set. You can get a good one used for about $3,000
and I have fantasies of popping it up in our backyard and making it a room of my own,
a place to escape to.

We were right on the creek, so we went tubing a couple of times.

Sleeping to the sound of the creek was delightful. Is there anything more relaxing than sitting in front of a camp fire? We weren't exactly roughing it, as my husband so sarcastically reminded me. The campground had a bathroom with showers (and only a few creepy crawly things).

The children were so happy. They were thrilled that they got to eat marshmallows every night! Lilly said I'm nicer to her when we're camping. Isn't that another good reason to buy a pop-up camper?