Sunday, August 3, 2008

Sheriff Bear

I decided to dedicate this weekend in honor of our law enforcement agencies. The project was fun from start to finish. I picked a bear that’d easily stand upright with some props. I decided to make him a Sheriff’s Officer.
I started off by making a paper pattern based on the measurements of my bear. I found an old pair of black pants that no longer fit me (Mmmm, wonder why?) and cut the various pieces, using my patterns.
I first prepared the patches for the sleeves using red ribbon as beading. I used yellow and white fabric paint and painted the details on the two patches. Next I cut a piece of leather to make a belt. A ‘D’ ring from my husband’s old watch ended up as a buckle for the belt. I turned a gold colored plastic button bought from Wal-Mart into a badge. I assembled all these to finish dressing up my bear.
I gave my Sheriff’s Officer a suitable name and propped him up on a stool by my front door. Every time I go in and out my door, I smile at my bear. He smiles right back, reassuring me that he’ll keep an eye on my home when I am away!

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Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Eggplant Fry

1. 2 lbs of fresh egg plant (purple) - cut them into 4 pieces, lengthways.
Leave them in a water filled dish to prevent them from turning brown/black.
2. 2 onions (purple) - cut them into thin wedges length ways.
3. 2 Tsp finely chopped ginger.
4. 3 Tsp Sambar powder. ( Refer glossary for details )
5. 6 Tsp cooking oil.( use smart balance oil for low fat )
6. Add Salt as needed.
7. 2 Tsp chopped coriander leaves.


Heat 3 tsp oil in a heavy pan or skillet, add the chopped ginger and onion, and fry for 2 minutes. Add the cut egg plant and fry over low heat. Add salt as required. Cover it for 3 minutes; open and stir frequently, until cooked.

Add the rest of the oil and Sambar powder and stir until the egg plant is tender and cooked. If you like it real spicy, add 2 more spoons of Sambar powder.
Garnish with coriander and serve with plain boiled rice.

The Ultimate Indian Curry Manual

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Nature trek…right in our own backyard - Episode 2 !

Early Sunday morning I was eager to get out to the yard and see what my bird was up to. I was amazed to see her sitting right where I left her yesterday. Camera in hand, I continued my morning stroll and spied another nest with 2 little ones in them. I went nuts with my camera.

I am yet to see the bird that built this nest and cannot wait to find out. I have done my best to capture nature in all its glory and uploaded some photos here to share with all of you. Hope you like them.

Nature trek…right in our own backyard!

It was a sunny Saturday morning and I was strolling around in my front yard, sipping my cup of hot Tazo Chai. I walked around aimlessly, admiring my roses and enjoying their sweet fragrance. I turned around when I heard a sudden flapping of wings and saw a dove taking off from my hanging basket.

I set my tea down and ran inside to grab my camera. I went as close as I could to the basket and clicked a few pictures. The bird just sat there and watched me with unblinking eyes. Curious, I tiptoed over to the basket and peered in. There lay two small eggs nestled between the soft leaves. As soon as I moved away, the dove flew right back and settled down in the basket, over the egg.

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Saturday, February 16, 2008

Pet Rock Pocahontas !

My daughter, a first-grader, brought home an optional school project titled, ‘Pet Rock’. The kids were asked to find an interesting rock (in the yard, at the park, in their collections, etc.), give it a name, a face, and maybe some clothes to wear.

This is what she came up with, of course with some help from me.
My daughter and I were flipping through an illustrated Pocahontas book when we came up with the idea of using several small rocks instead of one big rock. She pulled out her collection of rocks – some were from her last summer camp and some were from our own backyard; she even took some from my fish tank! I drew some outlines for her. She finished the background and colored it using her crayons. I showed her how to glue the rocks around the outline and she quickly got the hang of it. I did some touch up work on the face. We also glued on some hair. I cut a piece of purple suede leather and made a dress for Pocahontas. The images show how our handiwork turned out!
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The book that changed the way I blog!

I stumbled into the world of blogging quite recently. Needless to say, like everyone else, I soon got addicted. I went on a rampage, downloading anything and everything that was ‘free’. Result? Although my blog looked appealing (at least to me it does), I quickly realized I had dug myself into a deep quagmire! I did not know how to take advantage of all the fancy work I had done on my blog and turn it into a money making blog. Monetize?

I dug around the web & blog worlds for help and suddenly came upon an interesting site, Rob Benwell’s e-card caught my attention and I clicked on the e-card and landed in his web site. It sounded very interesting but I had to pay to get his e-book, 'Blogging To The Bank 2.0'! I hesitated since I was not keen on buying stuff when there were several help resources available for free.

But the more I researched his web site, the more convinced I was that here was a guy who knew what he was talking about and ready to share for a modest fee. I decided to take a chance and buy the book, 'Blogging To The Bank 2.0', which was priced just under $50, although I ended up paying a lot less because I was given a special offer at check-out! I was also given a lot of freebies as part of the deal.

As soon as I downloaded the book, I scanned through it and knew that I had finally found the kind of resource I needed. I felt I had to share my thoughts with others who may be in the same boat as I am. Thank you Rob Benwell for revealing your secrets to us novice bloggers.

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Monday, February 11, 2008

Mango Pickle

A South Indian specialty


1. 2 fresh green (sour) hard mangoes
2. 6 tsp red pepper powder
3. 3 tsp salt
4. 1 tsp mustard seeds
5. ½ tsp Asafotida
6. 3 Tsp cooking oil


Cut the mangoes into small even pieces; try to keep the green skin intact on most pieces.

Add salt and red pepper powder, mix it well, taste it and add more salt or red pepper powder if you need. For best results, pick mangoes that are very sour. But if the mango is very sour, then you’ll need more salt and pepper.

Heat the oil in a sauce pan, put the mustard seeds in it. As soon as the mustard seed begin to pop, take it off the heat, add Asafotida and pour the hot mixture on the prepared mangoes and mix thoroughly.

Allow the pickle to season for a day, place it in an air tight bottle and keep refrigerated. Will be good for 15 days.

Goes well with rice, dosa (Indian pancakes) and tortilla.

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From vegetarian Re...

Spicy Potato Fry

A spicy south Indian side dish

1. Fresh golden potatoes 2 lbs ( peel and cut to uniform shape of your choice; put it in water)
2. White onion 1 lb ( peel and cut into log thin wedges )
3. Ginger – finely chopped – 2 tsp
4. Fresh coriander leaves chopped 2 tsp
5. Sambar Powder 2 tsp ( Available at Indian grocery stores)

Heat 3 tsp of your favorite cooking oil in a large heavy pan or skillet, add chopped ginger and onion and fry over low heat, stirring frequently, for 5 minutes.

Take the cut potato out of water and add them to the skillet and add salt as needed and cook over low heat; keep skillet covered.

When the potato is tender add the 2 tsp Sambar powder and sauté; if you wish you can add another 2 or 3 tsp oil as well. Stir well.

If you like it spicier, add more Sambar powder.

Garnish potato fry with chopped coriander leaves. Serve with rice or choice of tortilla.

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Saturday, February 2, 2008

Green Peas Chundel


1.Fresh green peas 2 cups ( removed from the pod )
2.Green mango chopped 1 cup ( Slice one side and chop it into finepieces, preferably with a little green skin on every piece)
3.Grated coconut half cup ( Grated frozen bag or get a fresh coconut and grate it or cut it into small pieces)
4.Ginger - finely chopped - 2 tea spoon ( or use as needed)
5.Fresh Coriander leaves chopped – 2 tea spoon
6.Green peppers 3 ( add if needed)
7.Salt as needed.
8.4 tbsp cooking oil.
9.Keep 3 tsp chopped mango and 1 tsp coriander leaves to garnish.

Heat your favorite cooking oil in a large heavy pan or skillet. Add chopped ginger and green peas and fry over low heat, stirring frequently, for 5 to 10 minutes until the peas are tender and cooked.
Add the cut mango and grated coconut and cook over low heat for 5 minutes.
Garnish Peas Chundel with finely chopped coriander leaves and chopped mango. Serve with plain boiled rice. The Chundel can also be used as a dip for chips.
If you like it real spicy, you can split a few green peppers half way and sauté it with the ginger and green peas.

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Monday, January 14, 2008

Empty Cones to Party Favors! How?

Change your empty thread cones into party favors that are full of surprises.

What you Need:
• Empty thread cones
• Scissors
• Wrapping paper
• Scotch tape
• A shiny new penny for each cone
For Kids: Fill them with small treasures like plastic rings, candy, stickers, hair bands, lip gloss, nail polish etc.
For Adults: Scratch off tickets , Lottery tickets,

1. Cut a piece of wrapping paper and wrap around the cone, secure with tape. Make sure you have an inch of extra paper at each end of the cone.
2. Close the narrow end of the cone with the extra wrapping paper; if needed use some tape.
3. Fill the cone with fun stuff to match the theme of your party.
4. Close the broader end with the extra paper and secure with tape. Arrange it on a tray and place it as a center piece on a table.
5. Have the guests open to find goodies.

Friday, January 11, 2008

Party Games & Favors for Fun!

Party Games & Favors for Fun!

On New Year’s Eve we invited a small group of friends over. To keep everyone engaged, we decided to play some games. Although they were not new ideas, the two games we decided to go with turned out to be a lot of fun.

The first one was a funny face contest. Each of the guests, adults and children, was asked to make a funny face and we went around taking pictures. The fun started from the moment we announced the rules of the game. Our friends started practicing making funny faces right away! It was hilarious to watch a father son duo trying to out do one another. To make it worthwhile, we also threw in a wrapped gift for the winner. The winner was to be picked by the contestants themselves. Once everyone had enough time to prepare, we went around taking pictures. We downloaded the photos to our Laptop and placed the laptop where everyone could see the screen. We then started the slide show, there was a moment of silence and then all hell broke loose. It started with soft giggles but as each funny face was revealed the yelling and screaming started. Out of the fifteen contestants, four faces seemed to have captured the audience. A four year old girl and her father made the short list. Then we started the second round of judging with the four finalists. The crowd unanimously picked the ultimate winner.

The second game was a surprise. I had made little gift cones out of used plastic sewing thread cones. I placed some trinkets and candies inside these cones. I also placed a scratch off ticket in each of the cones along with a shiny new penny. I wrapped the cones with gift wrapping paper to make them look colorful and different. We asked each guest to pick up a cone and open it. When they realized that there was a scratch off ticket in there, everyone began to furiously scratch off to find out how much they won! It was fun to watch the adults help the kids. The disappointing ‘aws’ of the losers and the high fives of the winners were a sight to watch.

If you would like to share with us what you did for fun on NY’s Eve, please feel free to share those ideas with us.