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How to Make a DIY Doll House out of Recycled Materials

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For generations, Doll Houses have been in most little girls’ wish lists. Nowadays, you get really gorgeous ones in stores, but they are worth a pretty penny. However, you need not dish out all that money when you can make one of your own for practically nothing!! The doll house we’re featuring today was made with materials lying around the house; the only thing I bought exclusively for this DIY was another glue stick!

 Materials Needed:

Sturdy Cardboard Boxes like the ones you get when you shop online

Thinner Cardboard like empty cereal boxes

Fabric Scraps

Toilet Paper Rolls

Leftover scraps of colored paper, gift wrap etc

Old Magazines

Assorted junk like soap & toothpaste boxes, bottle caps etc.

Usual craft supplies like scissors, glue, thread & needle, pipe cleaners, play doh, sticky/double sided tape and lots of glue!

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Doors, Windows, Floors and Roof

1. Decide on how many floors you want and choose boxes accordingly. Mark doors and windows and cut them out with a paper cutter.

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2. For the top floor, open up the box and lean the two long sides towards each other and cut out the two short sides so they line up like this:

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3. Level the floors by placing a piece of cardboard in between the flaps and sticking cello tape over it.

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4. Cover the outside of both the boxes with colored paper, and cut out the paper that covers the windows and doors.

5. Cut little rectangles out of colored paper. Stick them on the roof closely to resemble roof tiles. Repeat on both sides.

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6. Paint on the sides of the boxes left uncovered by the colored paper. You can use acrylic paints and can also decorate with stickers. We used blue for the top floor and green for the ground floor.

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Wallpaper, Carpets, Curtains and Interiors

1. You can wallpaper the inside of the house with old gift wrap or colored paper, or even customized wallpapers downloaded from the internet. First cut the wallpaper to size and roll it. Spread glue all over the inside, and start sticking from one end, unrolling the wallpaper as you go. Once ready, cut out the paper covering the doors and windows.

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2. Use fabric scraps to make curtains. Run a simple running stitch through the top of the fabric and pull it a little tight to make pleats before knotting the thread. Stick it on top of the windows with glue. Repeat for both floors.

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3. Cut out carpets for both floors from felt or thick fabric. You can also download marble or tile prints and stick them on the floors. If you have real carpet samples, great!

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4. Now it’s time to decorate! Sift through old magazines like Good Homes or Good Housekeeping and cut out pictures of furniture, plants, paintings, appliances etc. to stick on the walls of your doll house.

Here’s an example: For the kitchen, we used pictures of pans, a fridge and a framed wall hanging.

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5. For the TV, cut out a picture of a Flat Screen TV and glue it onto thick cardboard of the same size. Then use double sided tape to stick it on the wall to give it a �?3D’ effect.

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The same technique can be used to make a mirror for the bedroom. Find a picture which has a frame-like border, stick it on cardboard and then stick aluminum foil cut to fit within the frame.

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Your house is now ready!! Let’s build some furniture to fill up the rooms!

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Bedroom

1. Cut the sides of a soap box to look like this:

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Stick another small box under it to give it some height. Then cut out the frill of some paper cupcake liners and stuck them to look like the skirt of the bed.

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For bedding, use fabric scraps. For the pillow, cut out two fabric rectangles and sew them together on three sides. Through the open end, stuff in some cotton and then sew it close.

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2. For the lamp, stick a straw into a bottle lid with play doh and cut to desired height. Use the frill of a paper cupcake liner to cover the bottle cap and another one as the lampshade.

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3. To make the dresser, stick a cupcake liner frill around an upturned empty playdoh tub. Cut a small circle of felt to top it.

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There, your pretty little bedroom is complete!

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Kitchen

1. For the stove, take an old box and cover it in aluminum foil to resemble stainless steel. Stick the picture of an oven door on the front and stick some buttons or raised stickers for burners.

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2. Use another aluminum covered box for the sink, along with a bottle cap, toilet paper roll, colored pins and a bent straw. We used one of those bent stick thingies placed inside shoes to keep their shape.

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Cut holes in the box to fit in the bottle cap and the straw on top, and the toilet roll at the bottom. Wrap the toilet paper roll in foil to look like steel. Red and blue pins become hot and cold water taps.

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The kitchen is done! We also added a vintage looking pot and ladles that broke off from an old fridge magnet.

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 Living Room

1. For the armchairs, you’ll need a new kitchen sponge – used ones are gross! This is the only part of the doll house that uses something that isn’t a craft item or recycled. Cut a large size sponge into two and wrap them individually in fabric. Cut out a piece of cardboard to wrap around each sponge, and cut out a shape to resemble the back of the armchair. Stick fabric on the cardboard cutouts and then stick them on the wrapped sponges with fabric glue.

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Then get a piece of leftover fabric border and stick it along the edges of the armchair.

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2. The coffee table is really easy. Cut out a short length of toilet paper roll and paint it to make the stand. Then place the lid of a play doh tub or a piece of cardboard on the stand. Top it off with a piece of felt in a matching color.

3. The living room can be decorated with a few extras, like cushions for the armchairs, made in the same way as the pillows. You can also make flower vases using large beads or bottle caps stuffed with Styrofoam/thermocol. Make flowers and stems out of pipe cleaners and press into the Styrofoam. Here, we’ve also made a bouquet for the bedroom, using the lid of a glue tube and pieces of pink pipe cleaner.

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     Your living room is complete; doesn’t it look comfy?

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And for the final reveal – an eco friendly house, made of recycled materials and completely furnished!!

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Here’s a more detailed view of the individual rooms:

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This is a fun house with lots of playability, but what’s truly great is that it can be customized to your liking – make it rainbow themed, or very vintage. Kids will have lots of ideas and they’ll love to see junk being made use of. Now you’re all set for a weekend of crafting!!

DIY Solar System Model

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Earth Day is observed on April 22 every year, and is the day considered to be the start of a global movement to save the environment. For young kids, this day might not sound very important, but we can always do little things at home to ensure that they are at least aware of how people are trying to help save the earth and everything in it.

This DIY Solar System craft is for the preschoolers and kindergartners, who don’t know that the earth we live on is just one among many planets and how these planets are related to the sun. This is a simple yet useful way to introduce that concept and also for some fun quizzes – Which planet is farthest from the sun? Which is the largest planet?

DIY Solar System

DIY Solar System

Materials needed:

Cereal boxes

Balls of different sizes to make planets

Black chart paper

Pipe cleaners

Star stickers

Paints

Glue, scissors, tape

Construction:

1. The first thing to do is to gather your supplies, most importantly the balls to make your planets. Styrofoam balls are your best bet, as they’re easy to paint and hang. Other options are ping pong balls, balloons, stress balls, pom poms or beads. I used a mix of these. Check out details about the sizes of the planets in relation to each other, to help you select the right size of balls. Since this DIY is an introduction to small kids, it needn’t be very accurate or exactly to scale.

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2. Quite a few of supplies used in this craft were from the Glitter foam for the sun, silver pipe cleaner for Saturn’s rings, star stickers etc. You can also use an orange ball for the sun, but I wanted it to be distinct from the planets.

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3. Cut open a cereal box as shown in the picture. Cut out black chart to fit the open box. Spread glue over the box and stick on the black chart paper.

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4. Paint the planets if needed and let them dry. For Saturn’s rings, I used a bit of silver pipe cleaner, twisted around a Styrofoam ball painted yellow. For the sun, cut out two identical sun shaped pieces out of glitter foam and stick them back to back, so that the glitter is on both sides.

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5. Cut out a circular piece of cardboard and draw 8 orbits with a compass. Mark points on each orbit where the planet will be hung from.

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6. Attach each planet to transparent string and fix each planet in the right orbit according to its distance from the sun. As our focus is on Earth day, you can stick on white squiggles to a plain blue pom pom to make the earth more distinct from the rest!

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7. Attach the orbit circle along with all the attached planets to the bottom of the top of the cereal box, and then cover it with a larger piece of cardboard. Tape everything in place.

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Your solar system is now complete!!

DIY Solar System

 If you want to make it more to scale, use larger balls for Jupiter and Saturn and obviously, a much larger sun! This is a very simple craft project which doesn’t require too many supplies. Perfect to get your little pirate or princess interested in outer space!

Christmas Special DIY – Christmas Diorama

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We’re back with a craft after a really long time!! And since it’s the festive season, we didn’t look too far for a theme – here is an easy to make, colorful Christmas Diorama! The scene shows a room decorated for Christmas, all set for Santa!

This craft uses a lot of recycled materials; only a few Christmas decorations were bought specifically for the craft. If you have old decorations in stock, then you don’t have to spend anything!

CHRISTMAS SPECIAL

DIY CHRISTMAS DIORAMA

Christmas Diorama

Materials Needed:

An empty cereal box

Extra thin cardboard

Colored and patterned paper or gift wrap

Old Magazines

Colored pipe cleaners

Colored pompoms

Felt in red, brown and a light color

A few pieces of sponge

Toilet roll tube

Cotton wool

Glitter foam in yellow, orange or red

A miniature Christmas Tree

Assorted miniature Christmas decorations or ornaments

Basic supplies like scotch tape, glue, scissors and paints

Construction:

1. As for any diorama, we start with the background. Open the cereal box as shown in our solar system post. Stick on patterned paper for the room’s wallpaper. Stick on plain paper to make the skirting on the wall.

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2. Put in a light color felt sheet for the carpet. I’ve used light yellow for the main area and put a darker brown near the wall.

3. Next comes the fireplace. Stick a square of black paper on the wall, in the centre. Cut out cardboard larger than the size of the black paper and stick brown felt on it. Once dry, Cut out the middle portion and use double sided tape to stick it on the wall surrounding the black paper. Stick a painted ice cream horizontally on top of the fireplace to make the mantel.

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4. For the fire, you can cut out a picture from a magazine. I didn’t find one, so I cut out a fire shape out of glitter foam, which you’ll remember as the sun in our solar system model. Stick it in the middle of the black paper and place a few sticks underneath for firewood.

5. Now, the furniture. We’ve made a chair and table. The chair is a single piece of sponge from a watch box. Make a slit along one side and insert patterned paper cut into a semicircle. You can also make a sofa as described in our Doll House post.

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6. For the table, cut a toilet roll to the desired height and cover it with colored paper. Top with a circle of the same patterned paper you used for the sofa to make it match.

7. Now we move on to the decorations. For stockings, cut out shapes from red felt and string them together.

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8. Stick small bits of cotton wool on the tops of the stockings and use cello tape to hang them up by the fireplace.

9. Make mistletoe with red and green pipe cleaners and stick them at either end of the fireplace. We also made some tiny Christmas cards and placed them on the mantel.

10. To make gifts, cut up a sponge into little squares or rectangles. Wrap each one individually and tie up with ribbon.

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11. Next up, the main attraction, the tree! At this time of the year, you usually get miniature trees in stores. But if you don’t you can make one on your own – there are several DIY trees online. I hunted for a green one, but found just red, so I decided to make do with it.

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12. You can use anything to decorate the tree – here’s where the miniature ornaments can help. We’ve used glitter pipe cleaners, little bells, lots of colorful pompoms and a bubble star sticker. Place the wrapped gifts under the tree.

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13. We’re almost done – just final touches remaining! Santa is going to be hungry, so we need to leave behind some milk and cookies. For milk, use any small container (we used the lid of a fevicol bottle) and put white paper inside. For cookies, use anything that’ll work as a dish (we used a Lego dish) and place brown buttons for cookies. String some ribbon along the ceiling and hang an ornament in the centre.

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14. Our diorama is complete!! But there’s still something weird about it, don’t you think? I mean, the presents are here, which means Santa has come and gone. But why didn’t he eat or drink anything?

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15. Oh, he’s back!! Guess he just forgot about the cookies earlier! For Santa, cut a picture out of a magazine or old greeting card, make sure you find a good, jolly version!

You can customize this diorama to your liking: add some pictures on the walls, a dog in front of the fireplace, a window showing snow outside. You can also try an outdoor version with snowmen! This is really easy and kids are going to love decorating a small tree. Make this and display it till the end of the year – it’s sure to be a conversation starter!

meet-the-mom-bully

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Recently my friend Meghana who blogst wrote a heartfelt piece on how judgmental, parents can be of other parents. I loved what she wrote and kept on thinking how often it has happened with me too. Mothers who look at my slim-framed daughter comment on what I could feed her to help her look “healthy” (read fat). How do they know that I am not feeding her all those things already? How do they know whether I even care if my daughter put on more weight? How do I make them understand that my petite little girl has enough attitude and will to go through life as a force to be reckoned with?

But is there a bigger issue involved here? Moms who just like to put down other moms (read bullying) in subtle or clear ways to feel good about themselves. The term Mom bully has been in use for a while now and although in our Indian society where comparisons are a way of life the bully moms might not be so well defined, they do exist.

 If I thought cliques and groups were done with in my school/college days, becoming a mother was a rude reminder for me.

Here are five kinds of mom bullies I have encountered so far in mommyland

 The Complan Mom : This mom is forever on the prowl for a so-called underweight child whose mother she can admonish. She knows all the milestones from a newborn to a teenager and god help you if your child missed the deadline on one of them. The weight by height chart is by heart to her and she is always weighing your child on her mental scale. 

 Mrs India Mom : She is the supermodel next door. Always turned out impeccably whether it is for a morning walk or grocery shopping. Every time she sees you in your sweatpants a shiver goes down her spine and you meekly get out of her way lest she points her manicured finger at you. The brunch or coffee play date is her hangout and she will use every meeting opportunity to inform you well about the latest in fashion and beauty while you feel like the ugly duckling who never grew up into a swan.

Domestic Diva Mom: Chef extraordinaire, she has five course meals at her house every. single. day. While you toil in the kitchen trying to prepare one edible meal, she cooks up a storm with dishes whose names you don’t recognize and can’t even pronounce. Every time you invite her for lunch or dinner you have to face the condescending look when you once again bring out your trusted shahi paneer.

 IIT Mom: She has planned her child’s future and if she had her way she would plan your child’s future too. She knows the best preschools, daycare and their staff like the back of her hand. She is the one who is forever asking if your child started her phonics yet? Reading sentences?  How about the encyclopedia? She is always telling you how you have doomed your child by not enrolling him/her in back to back piano, dance, English, swimming, craft classes.

 The “Foren” mom: No, don’t get me wrong, this is no foreigner mom but a true-blue Indian mom who has either spent a few years abroad (thanks to an H1B visa) or even worse who goes for the customary summer Europe trip and brings back gerber food as souvenirs. Suddenly every thing Indian is just too stupid, whether it be co-sleeping or potty training. Never mind the fact that westerners are now embracing the Indian parenting styles with a fervor.

 Through my encounters one thing I have learnt though is the fact that mom bullying ( or parent bullying) is just like any other form of bullying. If you take it, you get more of it. I have often given an earful to those who tried to make me feel a bad mom and that is enough to deter them from making the same mistake again.

15-defining-moments-that-make-you-a-mom

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Our day-to-day life is mechanical, routine and quite predictable but every once in a while there comes an AHA moment which defines who you are at that point of time and your eyes are opened wide with that revelation.  Similarly there are those “Holy Cow!!” moments which make  you realize that you are now a MOM. Not for today, not for tomorrow but FOREVER. 

These are some of those moments in my life which made me realize-I AM A MOM !

1. The first day when I came back from the hospital and my daughter was sleeping with me, every 3 seconds I kept on getting up to see whether she was still breathing or not. I kid you not, it was a bizarre scene with a zombie like me staring fixedly at my daughter to see her breathing pattern.

2. When the color of my daughter’s poop became the most discussed topic in our household and I caught her puke in my hands so that her outfit doesn’t get spoiled.

3. The day I had gone out for some chores and on coming back to home, my 3 month old who had till then only treated me a source of food (seriously! She would be an angel to everyone else but the moment I held her she would wail for milk) leapt out of her dad’s arms, flashed a brilliant smile and held on to me like I was life itself (without even demanding a feed).

4. When I started hearing Phantom baby cries (you know the kind where you can always hear your baby cry even if she is nowhere near you), ALL THE TIME.

5. When my magazine stash of cosmopolitan and Femina was slowly replaced by piles of Mother & Baby and Child.

6. The first time when I was absolutely alone at home with my daughter who was ill and kept on crying the whole night and yet I managed to keep sane and handled the situation.

7. Every time I have to fill a form for my daughter and write my name under the Parent/Guardian section, I go like “Woah, I am a Mother now!!”

8. Recently when I was feeling quite low, down in the dumps and finding fault with everything about myself, out of the blue my little princess hugged me and said ” I Love you Mamma, you are the best”. I melted into a mush puddle right then and there. Being a mom, has its perks!

9. Every time my daughter fall sick or is hurt, I try behaving unaffected and matter of fact about her illness but my insides are screaming “Oh god, please stop her pain or give it to me but just let my baby smile again”.

10. Each time when I scold my daughter for some mischief and my daughter has this incredulous look on her face which says “How did Mom know? She really must have eyes in the back of her head“.

11. When I saw a little girl who was lost in a busy market (every parent’s worst nightmare) and held the hand of the sobbing, scared girl till her mom found her. All that time, my mind was picturing my daughter in that girl’s place and I was at the verge of crying buckets. Motherhood, I tell you!!

12. Any time I see a film or even an Ad with a mom-child theme my eyes start welling up and I tactfully wipe the tears away before any one sees me.

13. Each time I shoo away a lizard or kill a spider bravely in front of scared daughter even though I am dead afraid to go near those things. 

14. Yesterday when my daughter changed into her PJs all by herself, I felt a knot in my stomach just imagining the day when she won’t need me to do anything for her any more.

15. Every single time I go through her pictures from birth till now and keep thinking “Wow, I really made a human being and a perfect one at that!!”

top-10-mommy-meltdown-moments

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Life as a mom is full of moments that make our life beautiful and wonderful but also of many, many moments that we are not so proud of. I wish tantrums or meltdowns were only a toddler’s domain but unfortunately we moms also suffer these meltdowns, no thanks to our little ones. Here is a funny but real take on top 10 mommy meltdown moments in a mom’s life that make us scream, yell, sob and more.

Disclaimer : All these situations may or may not have occurred with me and I may or may not have exclaimed some four letter expletives. 

 Bedtime antics

You have read The Hungry Caterpillar for the 10th time that night and your tot says “just one more book, mom”. You decide to be magnanimous and decide to oblige her, few minutes later she decides that she is hungry now and only a glass of lukewarm with her favorite chocolate topping will do. Of course, she will take forever to down that cup of milk which will lead to one more round to the bathroom and another battle of the toothbrush. By the end of it mad mommy is at the end of her rope and screaming “GO TO SLEEP NOW”.

The illogical tirade 

The kid is bawling his eyes out, face puffy, nostrils flaring and incoherent words coming out of his mouth. You can make neither head nor tail of what is causing this explosive scene only catching bits and pieces of the one way conversation. “Can’t find teddy”, “cousin P touched my juice”, “wanted the red candy not green” and so on. You try every trick in your armor to turn the situation but no success since you can’t go beyond that screeching whining going on. All mommy wants to do at this time is to put some earplugs and smile like a lunatic.

Privacy pirates

 It has been a hectic day of managing never ending chores, dealing with one after the other situation and all you want to do is soak in a bath for some quiet time or have a refreshing long shower. But 2 minutes into the bath and the door goes BANG BANG BANG. Mommy I need to go pee or poop or worse I have stuck a toy piece stuck up my nose. If only you knew that being a mom meant never going to the bathroom alone, I think most of us would have reconsidered.

 Stuff  my kid ruined 

I have lost two, yes you read right, two Iphones to water (actually one was dunked in cereal), around 10-15 dresses ruined because of paint, food even grease stains and countless number of my books, my precious books torn from cover to cover. You know you have completely lost the plot when your brand new mp3 player is found flushed down the toilet.

Toy room mess

You can’t believe your eyes, the playroom you just organized a few minutes earlier with every toy in its perfect place, all the puzzles in their respective boxes and the stuff toys lined up like they should be, is a MESS. Not an ordinary mess, the –you can look for it all night but you won’t find that missing wooden alphabet– kind of mess. After your umpteenth lesson about putting the toys back in their labelled boxes, nothing has changed. What’s a mom to do but grab a trash bag and dump them out. I meant the toys, not the kids.

Daddy trump 

 It is the ultimate trump card for kids. Mom says” no candy before bedtime” but dad said “it is okay to have one”.  Mom said “no cartoons after 8 pm” but Dad says “okay honey, 5 more minutes”. Aaarrgh!! Mushy Daddy is a pushover and all this angry mom can do is scream in silence.

Going going gone!

 You KNOW that bowl of cereal is going to fall down the way your toddler is carrying it and you say as much. The overconfident tot says no mom, it won’t and then in freeze motion you see your favorite cushion completely drenched in milk and honey loops. Another scenario, you have warned your little one that the way she is slurping her strawberry milk it will fall and stain her favorite t-shirt but to no avail. Not only do you have to change right before you were set to leave but you also have to manage  a distraught child and wish  for 10 more hands to manage all the tasks your klutzy monster creates for you.

The poop plan 

You asked 15 times if she wanted to poop before you went to that crowded fair or wedding or whatever. Every time she said an emphatic NO! Five minutes into the place and she goes I need to poop RIGHT NOW!!  As a mom smelly public bathrooms are something you want to avoid at any cost but thanks to poop machine personified, there you are holding your nose and willing the task to get finished as soon as possible.

Morning Madness

 You pray every night that to god, “please let this school morning be different than every other” but no that is not to be. You wake up a whining, crying child who is contorting her body in ways you didn’t think was possible. You drag the wily body to the bathroom where you have to pry open her mouth to brush her teeth, restrain her to take her bath and develop agile movements to dress her before she collapses on the bed while throwing a tantrum. Somehow you manage to down that glass of milk in her throat, get her to school on time and finally reach home. And realization strikes that you have to repeat all this again tomorrow morning and probably for a long time to come. Gah!!

 It is all in the public

Probably the one thing that affects all mothers equally is how their children behave in the public. Us mothers, we are a judgmental lot and it is most often when we are in public that our sanity and mothering skills are put up to judgement by our munchkins. Remember that time when you son laid down on the mall floor screaming at the top of his lungs for one more overpriced balloon. Or that time when your cherubic daughter suddenly went ballistic and started pulling the hair out of that perfectly innocent play date to your horror. These are the kind of times you wish you were swallowed whole by a black hole or you could at least trade places with your husband.

 As much as we love our children, there are moments in our life when we don’t enjoy being a mom (whether working or a stay-at-home mom) and it is okay to have those bad mommy moments too. Whatever challenges you faced before your pre-mommy days, nothing prepares you for the sheer stress yet the utter joy that motherhood is. It sometimes take these difficult moments for us to realize and cherish the countless wonderful moments that our children bring to our life. We are not perfect and neither are our children but there is always the promise of tomorrow.

Five Lessons in learning to Forgive Others and Yourself

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This blog has always been about the positive and happy parts of parenting, even when we have talked of meltdowns or difficult lessons in parenting. I think there is enough negativity and toxicity in the world and I definitely don’t need to write more about it over here.

That’s why I have decided to start a new category of posts over here called Positive Parenting. No sarcasm, no judgement, no scathing remarks about being a mother but pure positive thoughts about being a parent, raising kids and living a purposeful life.

The first post in the category is dedicated to Forgiveness. But before I write anything else, let me confess something. I have never been really good at forgiving. I had a habit of keeping grudges, sulking and festering thoughts in my mind for a long time and I am still learning how to forgive someone for real. But one of my favorite forgiveness quotes made a lot of difference in my attitude about “Forgiveness”.

Five Lessons in Learning to Forgive Others and Yourself

Forgiving is freedom

It takes a lot out of you to hold on to resentments, anger and regrets. It fills up the place in your mind which should be populated with creativity, inspiration and love but instead you are left going over the past conversations, thinking up ways to confront or get back at the person who hurt you and basically wasting your precious, precious life.

The best part about being able to forgive is that you don’t need the permission of the person who hurt you. You don’t need to confront them, talk to them or even write a letter to them. Just forgive them completely and feel the release and peace it gives you.

If you don’t learn how to forgive and start living in the present, you will keep repeating the same patterns and getting hurt over and over again. You feel like a victim and you are so attached to the memory that you start accepting that as a part of your identity. The person who hurt you may not be even around you or even alive anymore but they keep living in your head and therefore forgiving them not just frees your mind but also those memories of hurt from your mind.

Learning to forgive is an art

It is not easy to forgive someone who hurt you and probably you fear they may do it again. It is perfectly normal to not want to forgive someone but it is important that you do learn to forgive. It is a step by step process of self-realization and you need to practice it like any new skill you want to master.

The first step is to ACKNOWLEDGE that you don’t want to forgive, probably your mind feels that by not forgiving you have an edge over the other person. Accept that feeling. Also identify how this resentment or grudge has affected your life and accept that too.

In the next step just FORGIVE. There are no conditions to it. A complete and unconditional forgiveness. If you have written down your feelings in the first step, then burn that paper now and release yourself from those feelings forever. What is amazing about this step is that you don’t need anyone to talk to or communicate that you are forgiving someone. It is all about you and your mind.

Finally SET BOUNDARIES. Retrace how you reached at a position where the person who hurt you got the power to do so. For example if it was a relative, probably you confided too much in them and they broke your trust or if it was a colleague you shared all your ideas with and who went ahead to use them as his/her own. Now set boundaries, so that you don’t reach the same place again. Make a decision that you will not tolerate a certain behavior, language or beliefs. Create an action plan for how to practice setting these boundaries in your life.

Forgiveness Quotes

Your Child needs to learn to forgive

As a parent you will often witness your child being in situations where they need to forgive someone. May be it is a brother who has broken their favorite toy or a classmate who pulled your daughter’s hair. More often than not they will even feel hurt by you and may even say “I hate you”. But how do you teach kids to forgive and forget when you don’t know how to forgive. 

We all have been through our teens full of resentment and subtle angst over our parents, schools, siblings, teachers and so on. Holding on to these feelings can cause depression or anxiety. If forgiveness is not taught early, kids are prone to take the victim’s role and coast through their life feeling hurt.

Go through the same steps of learning to forgive with your child i.e. understand and acknowledge their feelings, ask them to forgive and also analyze what led to this situation. May be the brother broke the toy because your son wouldn’t ever share it with him. The most important thing is to teach them that forgiving doesn’t mean condoning but instead it means breaking the patterns of hurt-anger and resentment.

Forgiving yourself is the most difficult thing to do

Forgiving ourselves is way more difficult than learning to forgive others. When we make mistakes in our life, when we hurt someone (intentionally or unintentionally), when we think we have failed or when we feel we haven’t achieved what we should have, it seems almost impossible to forgive ourselves.

Understand that forgiving yourself doesn’t mean getting rid of the guilt or not making amendments but instead it means taking responsibility for your actions and not let yourself get buried under that guilt. Repeat the steps you take when you forgive others and set boundaries for yourself.  So if you are angry at yourself for gaining weight then forgive your body and set boundaries by doing regular exercise and eating healthy.

As a parent we often find that we might not be able to forgive ourselves and may be as time passes our kids. But we need to understand that before being a parent we are all human beings. Humans make mistakes and they forgive. 

When forgiveness seems impossible

There are often situations or people in your life you feel don’t deserve forgiveness. Instead you might feel that you want to take the feeling of their hurt to your grave and you are constantly planning how to get back at them. DON’T!

Whole Wheat Chocolate Walnut Muffins -Healthy Lunch Recipe for kids

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The schools have reopened and one of the biggest headache for moms is planning for Lunch recipes for kids. My daughter like most other toddlers of her age likes to have two-three varieties in her lunch box. Although I love to give her variety of food groups in her meal, it is not always easy to think of three-four things to keep in the lunch box every day. I definitely don’t want to put any junk food in her lunch box but would still like to keep the food interesting and attractive for her.

During my quest for healthy, wholesome , tasty and easy recipes for Sam’s lunch box, I came across lots of recipes on Whole wheat Muffins. Now Muffins is universally loved by kids and adults alike. It is a quick baking food which is not as sweet as cakes and can have lots of ingredients to vary the taste.

I decided to make Whole Wheat Chocolate Walnut Muffins which is a great healthy option for lunch box. Here is the recipe for muffins:

Whole Wheat Chocolate Walnut Muffins Recipe
Ingredients

(Makes 12 muffins)

Dry Ingredients

1 Cup Whole Wheat Flour

1/2 Cup All purpose Flour

1/4 cup cocoa powder

3/4 cup sugar ( using palm sugar will make it even healthier)

1 Tsp Baking Powder

1/2 Tsp Baking Soda

1/2 Tsp Salt

Wet Ingredients

1/4 cup oil

1 tsp vanilla extract

1 Egg (If you don’t want to put eggs you can add vinegar or applesauce)

1 cup warm water (or milk)

Other Ingredients

1/2 cup chopped walnuts and raisins

Preparation

Preheat the oven to 200° C.

In a bowl combine all the dry ingredients i.e. flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt.

Combine the wet ingredients i.e. Oil, vanilla extract, egg and milk and whisk for a while.

Combine the dry and wet ingredients and fold them in with a wooden spatula until just combined. The dough will be sticky and not watery. Don’t overmix because it will make the gluten in the flour stringy and the muffins will be hard.

Stir in the walnuts and raisins.

Now spoon the mixture into a greased muffin tray. (You can use Muffin liners but if you have run out of them like I did then simply grease your muffin tray)

You should fill the muffin tray almost to the top.

Bake the muffins for almost 16-17 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.

These will remain in the fridge for a few days and you can add them one at a time to your little ones’ lunchbox as a tasty treat. I baked some with less sugar for the adults which we can have at tea time. Between my 3 year old daughter and my 5 year old niece I don’t think these muffins will survive for more than a day or two. The smiles and “more please” requests make it worthwhile to bake these every once in a while.

What to pack and tips for a beach vacation with a toddler

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If the title of the post was not a good enough hint, I am just back from a refreshing and much awaited vacation from Goa. Yes!! Goa, the land with some of the best beaches in the world, beautiful churches, fun, frolic and amazing seafood. Before I go on a tangent and start describing my vacation in detail, let me get a grip. This post is all about vacation tips for having a memorable beach holiday with kids especially toddlers. So without further ado here we go:

Clothes: The thumb of the rule should be two changes of clothes for each day of your vacation. If your toddler is not potty trained yet, then carry diapers and extra set of clothes. Jeans are not the attire for a beach holiday. Choose airy and lightweight fabric like cotton while heading for a beach destination with kids. You can also carry 2-3 swimsuits for the beach and pool. It usually gets a little chilly at night near the beach so you should carry a light jacket or a shrug which the kids can wear.

Sunblock: Look for “waterproof” or “water-resistant” on the package. A sunscreen with SPF 30 will block almost 97% of the sun’s rays if applied every two hours. Also make sure that it is paraben free for the sensitive skin of children. Make sure that you let the suncream absorb in their skin before they venture into the water. Also once they are out of the water dry their skin completely with a towel before reapplying the cream.

Accessories: Beach toys, hats, sun umbrella, float and sunglasses are a must carry if you are taking the kids for a beach destination. No beach holiday can be complete without making some sand castles so carry a sand bucket and shovel. In case you are travelling by air like we did, you can also buy or rent these from the various shops near the beach. Also carry extra towels for each outing on the beach because believe me you are gonna need it.

Food: While you may enjoy feasting on exotic seafood like prawns, scallops, lobster (*drooling), it may not be a great idea to let your toddler also have these food items unless there are no proven allergies. Also remember, the cooking techniques and ingredients might be different from what you usually have so it is better to err on the side of caution. Fresh fruits, juices, rice, pasta, veggies are great options for children.

Hotel: While you may not spend a lot of time in your hotel while at a beach vacation but it still pays to stay at a kid-friendly hotel when you travel with kids. For those days when the sun is too hot or the tide is too high your toddler might have to spend time indoors and a hotel which has amenities like a kiddie pool, play area or indoor game room will be appreciated. Also read the online reviews of vacation resorts to find out whether the staff is kid friendly, toddlers are welcome at all the restaurants, housekeeping is open to accept requests like ice for a sunburn or a kiddie meal.

Apart from the above you also need to be cautious regarding sea creatures like jellyfishes, unexpected tides, sand getting in the eyes of kids etc while at the beach.

I hope these tips will help you have the perfect relaxing and wonderful vacation at the beach destination with your toddler. And yes, don’t forget to carry your camera because this trip will give you a lot of memory making moments.

A Guide For Interior Design When Choosing Art

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Here are several factors to consider when choosing art for the home or office and often these factors interrelate so I thought it best to break these up into categories for the sake of simplicity.

1 The Composition and the Room: This is a great place to start. There are certain types of compositions that are best fitted to certain rooms. For example, when I think of the kitchen I think of fruits and vegetables, chefs, wine bottles, etc. When I think of the bedroom I think passion, softness and perhaps botanical, like a large rose picture. When I consider the bathroom I might visualize images that portray a clean, fresh, good smelling idea. Yes, it is ideal when the images we choose help the mood of the room. Another consideration with composition involves the application of more than one image in an area. When several pictures carry a common theme a very different feel is given to the room.

2 Color: Color considerations include the walls, furniture, carpeting, window treatments or draperies, trim molding and other room enhancements. The colors in a room should complement one another. An art piece with a well balanced array of color can tie a room together. If a room is empty I like to choose the art first and then the furniture. Usually, people do the reverse, however, choosing the art first makes sense when you think about it. To illustrate, how often does someone walk into a room and say, “That ottoman is majestic! It just takes my breath away!” However, that can happen with a well chosen piece of art. Often, art will be the show piece of a room. So, rather than let the furnishings dictate what your art will look like, allow the art to dictate what kind of furniture you’ll choose.

3 Space: This aspect can be tricky. Say, for example, you have a space above your stove that is a foot and a half tall by four feet wide. It could be hard to find one image to fill this space. However, you could use three images of a similar genre. I might choose three 8 x 10 sized images of grapes placed vertically. Another challenging space might be a very large sized wall or a room with a vaulted ceiling. A grouping of images often does the trick in both of these situations. I have also seen very large prints, 4 x 8 feet tall and larger, put to good effect. Art this large is proportionately more expensive, of course. Another option is to use a single image broken up into several gallery wrapped canvases spaced apart to cover a large area.

4 Genre and Personal Preference: Perhaps there is an art piece that you are particularly fond of but it clashes with the style and architecture of your home, or maybe it just doesn’t match the color scheme of the room you want to put it in. I have seen people change wall colors and room accents to accommodate art. At the end of the day, I guess the real question when it comes to art is, does the art I chose put a smile on my face and on the faces of those who live here? If we can say yes, then everything else is just a rough frame work when it comes to choosing art.