Thursday, 20 October 2016

The Festival Season is On

Following the last post about Dussehra here I am going to tell about another North Indian festival called Karva Chauth which took place on 19th of October - a day when wives fast for a well-being of their husbands. It is a tradition in many North Indian families, and we also follow it. Though this year I didn't keep fast, I followed all other rituals of this day, like applying mehendi (henna), dressing up in suit and wearing bangles, attending pooja in a temple, and at last breaking the fast when the moon rises. This time the moon kept us waiting till 10 pm until it finally became visible behind the houses...
Other than celebrations, we are in our usual mode - office, home, school. Last weekend was particularly enjoyable because in-laws were out of city and we had the house all to ourselves, forgive me announcing this happiness openly, but this is required at times. They also had some break from routine in Delhi, attending a marriage. We had  a lovely family time at home. I indulged in baking again - this time Apple Crust Pie with cinnamon - it was delicious! Easy-peasy to make too.

Little A has got his portion of delight on weekend by playing with colourful dough. I purchased a set of cutters along with four dough pieces.
Look how many shapes we made! He especially likes a star, a circle, a heart and a butterfly :) To my amusement the play dough is still popular with little A.
Today when I was dropping A to his school, his class teacher met us at the reception with a giant spider in her hands! Hehe, they are preparing for Halloween now. After I said "Bye, I love you, baby!" to my boy (while he was too interested in that handmade spider to even look back at, and was about leave the premises, I noticed these cute bats and spiders on the lobby's TV stand - aren't they fun? They made me smile!
 Have a happy day and enjoy time spent with your dear ones :)

Wednesday, 12 October 2016

Indian Festival, Craft Activities and Baking

The festival season has started in North India, revolving around mythological stories about Ram and Sita. One of such holidays is called Dussehra which per Wiki is "Dasa-hara is a form of Dasanan ravan ("Ravana's defeat") and it took place yesterday (11th of October). I have been celebrating this festival since 2010. Nevertheless the most enjoyable  we had so far was this year's because our little A could already understand what was going on and liked the whole thing so much that he didn't want to leave the place. He had already had some knowledge about this festival as it was told to him at school, and brought home this demon Ravaan paper puppet:

The activities, held on this days, always include symbolical burning of the demons, Ravaan and his brothers.  The giant dolls are made much in advance but burned in a matter of minutes. I kind of feel sad every time I look at it.

Indeed, children bring so much joy, happiness and meaning to everything around them, perceiving each and every moment with excitement, curiosity and naivety. My little son was so stunned by the fireworks, repeating again and again that those were the STARS as the sparks were flying up in the sky... For some reason he also took a standing type of the firework for water and kept on shouting excitedly: "Mommy, look, vada, vada!" (voda means "water" in Russian). Till I explained it was kind of fire (ogon' in Russian), very hot. Then he started saying "Mommy, look, hot, hot" and showing with gestures and mimics as if touching something really hot. We had so much fun with A, noticing how young child's mind reacts to different new situations and discovers new subjects to think about.
I tried to contribute to A's entertainment as well when it was possible on weekend. He really likes all the crafty projects. Thus we did simple Diya coloring with some sequins decoration. A likes using cotton swabs and can you see this concentrated face?:)
 The next day I conducted a DIY stamps activity which didn't keep little A busy for long, but at least he tried something new.
Even I amused myself with some fast almost on-the-go project which I had on my mind for a very long time. I made a felt owl of course... Working with felt for the first time was a little tricky, and I should have used another stitch to sew two parts together. Well, I hope for better results in further projects.
Oh yeah, and I had done a little bit of baking last weekend. Tried awesome cinnamon rolls recipe -non-dairy, eggless though uses yeast. I used atta (a kind of wholemeal flour) instead of all purpose flour and omitted apples and raisins (as not everyone actually likes them in our family). As the dough takes time to be ready, I prepared it in the evening and used the next morning.
The best baking was a very dark chocolate cake! I thought I burned it actually when I came to check on the process, lol. The recipe has no eggs and milk as well. The pancakes were also dairy and egg-free. I am not a vegetarian (yet) but due to the fact that there are two vegetarians in our family I have to opt for special recipes for them, so all my baking is eggless now. But to tell the truth it doesn't change the degree of yumminess :)))
Enjoy your week! Be happy and healthy!

Friday, 30 September 2016

Indian Flowers to Cheer You Up

The summer here is slowly getting to its end. The day has become shorter, and by this I mean that it starts getting visually darker outside already at 6 pm. The nights have finally gained much awaited freshness, however, the afternoons are still hot and humid.
For various reasons I have been feeling sad and low in the past few days. It is not that I have any huge problems in life right now (touch wood) or my life is tough or whatever. Sad news of what is happening around the world, especially in Syria, made me reflect on what is really important in life and what is not, and every day I try to spend being grateful for a peaceful sky above, and the fact that my kid has a privilege of worry and fear free childhood days. Additionally, last week D said that he watched an awareness video about dangers of sepsis, especially in young children, and gave me a link to this blog A Mother Without  A Child and added: "Please, try not to cry". I cannot tell how sad the story of this young woman is. Her writing, the words she uses to describe the loss of her little son and how she is dealing with it (or trying to) couldn't have left my eyes dry.
Since the day I read these blog posts I had been thinking about it everyday, and reconsidered how I sometimes deal with my little A's tantrums and crankiness, and his refusals to listen  to my requests. I should be more patient and more understanding even when it is hard to be. I thought that as much as I love him I still sometimes underestimate how much he is dependent on us and how much we mean to him. Our routine can make us believe that the things are always the way they are and will always be, but it is not true. Everyday is unknown and unpredictable, so I would like simply to enjoy these moments with my family and give as much love as I possibly can...
It was a Green colour celebration at little A's class today, so I dressed him in a green shirt and neon green shoes. Unfortunately my boy was resisting to go to school when we approached it, started crying when he understood I had to go. Finally the teacher came to pick him from the reception and he went with her, still weeping, but in a better mood as she promised a toffee. I know he was fine afterwards, playing with other kids, engaged in activities and so on...However my hearts aches each time I have to leave him like this.
My own mood was lifted up by the abundance of various blooming trees when I reached office. Somehow I didn't notice this yesterday.

 I am not aware of how some of the flowers are called, so you could suggest :) Thank you, and I hope you are having happy and joyful days wherever you are.
Have a wonderful weekend, my friends!

Tuesday, 20 September 2016


Nothing much has been happening here. All usual mundane stuff, busy home-spent weekend, busy week ahead, plans for coming up weekend again. Days are rolling and rolling. Little A continues his playschool in a same positive mood, thank god. He learned quite much in just 2 weeks of attending it. W,e in our turn, teach him some things at home too, like colors, counting etc. I try to involve him in Russian books' reading everyday and we learned many Russian words too.  I hope that this trend will continue till his speech establishes properly.
D and I joined French language classes... Hence the post title "Bonjour!" :) Phew! The language is awesome but I barely get time to revise and repeat and learn new lessons. It's been also only two weeks (we joined classes the same day as A joined school) but learned quite a few phrases, and we can read and write (slowly).
On a crafty side, I have been rather slow but on purpose. I said myself not to rush into completing the  blankie but to enjoy making it, one square at a time. I am using a 7 mm aluminium crochet hook of a Russian company "Gamma". These have been the best crochet hooks to work with.
I also managed to create few so to say "side projects". One of them is a long-planned crochet owl!!! Little A picked up that owl сraze his mommy has (we have owls everywhere around the house, including my jewelry, and numerous owls in children's books, lol), so he became very happy when I gave him this:
Should I say that having another owl in our rooms brings enormous joy to me as well :) I have to make few more, probably, as X-mas gifts. In plans to create an autumn leaf garland using this awesome (fast and easy) crochet fall leaves pattern. One leaf  takes hardly 10 minutes to complete. Once I am done with the garland I will definitely showcase it. 
This weekend I should as well buy material for A's cape and a few skeins of yarn for my blanket because some ran out already. Going to be occupied with homely deals as usual. :)
Have a great week!

Monday, 12 September 2016

Autumn Feeling

Hello dear friends! I believe that the place we were born in and belonged to once always leaves a life-long impression on our body and mind. Even though it is hot and humid in India, and it seems that the summer will never end, my whole inner world has tuned into Autumn. I just feel it so much everywhere I go. I think of making some Autumn projects so that little A can be involved in them. His preschool is going to celebrate Halloween, and this is such a happy thought for me because in India  many schools don't do this. I am thinking of designing a really easy costume for him, and the main challenge is to make a cape. I thought of dressing little A up as a wizard or a superhero. I am going to use this Tutorial: DIY Superhero Capes.
What concerns my ongoing projects, I do have one. Perhaps it also appeared because of all the autumnal longing for cozy stuff. I have been very inspired till now. Once again, after having a long crochet-block I told myself that if I don't start crocheting again I will never start it. And I felt very sad and lost. Hence I searched for some eye-candy projects on the net, sucked in all the colors and patterns I saw, and thought of making something for myself like this Movie Night Cocoon Cardi. I liked its' cozy name, and considered it would be indeed great if went out for a movie soon, and me flaunting this handmade shrug. Alas! I never made it, and instead...
I have made 9 squares so far, and planning to make total of 25. If the  pace is the same as now the blanket shall be ready by mid October :) I must say that feeling yarn and a hook in my hands again gave me so much energy and positiveness! This time I haven't bought any special stash but combined and used the skeins left from the previous blankets. Somehow I am very pleased with the color combinations this time. I also did a BIG step in crocheting - I started crocheting in front of little A :) I had some kind of fear before he would start asking for the hooks and yarn, he does of course, so I give him another ones (which I am not using) and he plays with yarn as with a ball :) Hence I can spare a few minutes of crochet this way, without waiting when the night falls.
To bring on more Autumn feel, here are the photos sent by my parents. Autumn flowers blooming at dacha.
 Canna flower started blooming quite late because the summer was rainy and cold.
 Typical dacha style snack -  fried zuccini circles with tomato and garlic. It is so delicious! I wish oh so much to be there again! One month of trip home was not enough.

Have a wonderful week ahead, keep on crafting!
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