Farm fresh veggies, making tacos, dog love & some fun STEM activities for the kids.

 

What should you do if you have a craving for tacos on a hot, summer afternoon?

Why! Just mosey on over to your vegetable garden, pluck some fresh vegetables – wiz up some fresh salsa, assemble the tacos and voila, they are good to eat!

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Anyone who has been to India in summer knows how hot it can get, so we do our best to remain as cool as a cucumber. Rules are simple – Stay in the shade, pluck summer vegetables and make delectable food and drink lots of nimbu paani (lemonade)

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It is of utmost importance to let the tired dog rest, even though he does not want to ( he DEFINITELY does not want to!) No one enjoys the farm more than this little mutt.

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He even tried to make friends with a very suspicious cow, who could not understand, for the life of her, why this little runt was sniffing her and whining to be friends. By the end she just squatted him away with her big horns, but does our little guy give up? No he does not! We had to physically pick him up and take him away before he got seriously injured.

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We also did some STEM activities for the kids. All we needed was a 1) A spoonful of washing liquid 2) A spoonful of basking soda 3) Red and yellow food colours 4) 30ml of vinegar and we had ourselves an exploding, erupting, active Volcano. Of course, be prepared to answer lots and lots and lots of questions regarding Volcanos and the what’s and why’s of them, but it’s a fairly simple experiment to do and it does help the children to learn.

We love our weekends at Narnia, and nothing proves it more than the photo below.

Dog Love at its best. ❤️

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Goa Chillers!

Goa is a small, small state in India. Once a Portuguese colony, it is famous for its beautiful beaches, lovely Portuguese architecture, sea-side resorts and cheap alcohol. In short it is the perfect holiday destination for all of us who want a quick getaway.

We go once a year, as one of our closest friends owns a beautiful river touching Goanise house in the midst of a Goan fishing village.

Surrounded by quaint little fisherfolk homes, her house is an absolute delight, steeped in old world traditions and experiences. We even took the children for a boat ride where they saw fisher -men busy fishing, some hunting for oysters and clams and others just sitting with a hook, stick and some bait hoping to catch the evening meal.

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Beach-side destinations are always a hit with kids of any age as it’s a holiday full of fun under the sun! We take along lots of extra clothes, loads of swimsuits and coverups, beach toys and sun block and we are ready to rock and roll!

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While Goa is not an island – it has a very island vibe. Lots of beach side bars always playing music, kids running around and the best way to travel is to hire a scooter and get around from one beach to the other. While we hired a car and went around ( as it’s not safe to travel with children on a scooter) one mandatory bike ride with the children was a-given. The only way to get the feel of Goa is with the wind in your face and the sun shinning brightly down while you manoeuvre though the small lanes and see the world go lingering by.

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We even went to see the Olive Ridley Turtle hatchery. While the turtles hatch late at night and we didn’t see anything during the day, it was a good experience for the children to visit the center and understand the importance of conservation.

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So yes, a beach holiday can be a bit taxing ( as you have to have multiple baths during a day) but the extra effort you put in is completely worth it. It’s a complete family vacation, with something to do for everyone.

Now don’t stress about them getting bored, just pack your beach toys, sun block, a few beach games and book your next holiday to a fun beach side resort OR if you have a friend who owns a house in a tropical destination- even better! Happy holidaying my lovely peeps.

Christmas Play

This year I decided to do a Christmas camp with a Christmas theme play at the end of it.

And when all the children demanded more than 15 lines of dialog each, I realised I had to write the play myself and we called it..

“The North Pole Shenanigans”

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In just 3 days the children learned 38 pages of dialog and went on the stage and OWNED it. They enjoyed the entire process and more than that, the dedication and determination they showed me had me seriosuly impressed.

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We made lots of the props and hardly spent any money on costumes, so anyone who tells you that we need lots of monies to put up a production- it’s really not true.

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The play was quite hilarious ( if I can say so myself) and the parents were in splits. We even    had a character faint before cue and then realise his mistake and faint again later. That is the fun of working with kids, they are so adaptable and very rarely succumb under pressure.

My little Zayne and Zoey absolutely love to be a part of these plays and he was Mc Frosty the Snowman and she was Cinnamon the Elf. Needless to say they forgot their parts!

As if I’d expect anything else.

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Zazou meets Narnia, Painting the Treehouse and other weekend bulletins.

You know you’re a badass when you decide that having 2 babies ain’t enough- I think I need a puppy as well, and to add to that chaotic mix you buy a farm 100km away from home and then decides to take all these high energy elements together in a car!

The person who attempts this all deserves an award; but what she is given is poopy weekends, hyperactive children plus one cuckoo dog and some very entertaining adults. So in other words- The Perfect Weekend.

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If the madness quotient wasn’t topped up enough, I also decided that we should paint the Treehouse this weekend. Good idea in theory but when it comes down to the practicals it is a different story altogether.

RULE NO 1 IN TODDLER PAINTING ETIQUETTE

1) Do not let the children choose the paint colour. We went to the paint shop and I let the kids pick up one colour of their choice. Zayne picked an okay blue- but Zoey managed to pick the pink that is used in hospitals. Needless to say, it was not pretty…

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…And then we had to paint on top of it!

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RULE NO 2 IN TODDLER PAINTING ETIQUETTE

2) Do not use oil paint! If you do, get enough turpentine to wash a small car and then enough soap to wash the turpentine off the children.

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RULE NO 3 IN TODDLER PAINTING ETIQUETTE

3) Do not add a dog to the mix, but then again if you like living on the edge and thrive on adrenaline then go for it, what the heck…you only live once so why not!?

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The pure joy of seeing the kids and the puppy together on the farm is completely worth the extra hard work you have to put in. Zayne, Zoey and Zazou had the best time together exploring every little nook and cranny of the farm and while they had to be supervised right now, I’m pretty sure a few months down the line they won’t even need us around.

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We are in the midst of planning a holiday with the kids and Zayne tells me “ No, I don’t want to leave Zazou and go anywhere, I will miss him”

While I expected a great bond between three of them, this much love, and so much of it so fast has left me quite surprised and extremely happy.

So, here it is. My weekend bulletin. How was yours?!

 

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Zazou our puppy comes Home

I am the first to admit – I’m eating humble pie.

I was not keen on getting a puppy. “Not keen” would be putting it mildly. My babies are still small and I have to admit the idea of another creature to be potty trained and looked after was not appealing AT ALL!

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Zayne, Zoey & Zazou

BUT, boy was I wrong. Since Zazou has come home it all seems so natural, that we always had him as a part of our family, and he and the children have taken to each other better than I could have ever imagined.

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Zayne sleeping with Zazou

Dogs emit a different kind of loving. One that no human can possibly imagine or replicate. This little creature has left his entire life and come home to us, and he instantly gives you all of his love and affection. Such unconditional love cannot a human give.

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Zoey reading to a sleeping puppy

So if you have young kids, and are in two minds about getting a puppy here are a few suggestions:

1) Get a puppy only once your children are potty trained. A puppy is just a few step lower than a newborn in terms of maintenance. Also explain to your child how delicate and fragile a small puppy is. My daughter is very rough with Zazou and we have to constantly monitor her behaviour with him.

2) Make sure you are physically ready to stay up at night with the puppy. They get up every 4-5 hours at night and need to be fed and cleaned.

3) Get a good trainer, dog walker and vet. Once you have this in place it is not so difficult. Just be ready for a pup and the rest is quite easy-peasy-Japanesee.

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Zazou loves to cuddle with Zoey

I have more visitors coming home to meet the pup than what I had with both my babies. People love dogs, and I can understand why. So if you are on the fence about this one, just take the plunge, it will be completely worth it.

So here’s to many thousands  of adventures with my three mutts! Sorry make that FOUR. The original muttling of them is definitely crazier than all of them combined 🙂 .

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Doggy and his papa. I can see the resemblance.
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Have to monitor Zoey as she can be rough with Zazou.

On the mighty tiger’s trail.

I decided to take the kids for a holiday to Ranthambore, one of India’s oldest and most magnificent tiger sanctuaries. It’s an advisory  for any parent considering traveling with young toddlers to any safari that this is no easy task. But despite all warnings all in all it was a fairly smooth trip with these two munchkins.

Tiger safaris are hard work. You have to wait patiently, zoom through the woods, sit quietly for long periods and endure the dusty and bumpy terrain of the forest so decide if this destination is for you, especially if you are travelling with small children.

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Up at 4:30am for a 6:30am flight

We finally saw the Tiger on our 3rd and final safari, but it’s good to warn you that many people don’t see the beast even if they go for 5 safaries. While the guides and naturalists do everything in their power to track the tiger, it’s a waiting game and any sightings depend on the tigers mood and your luck.

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The 2 pug marks of the male and female tiger

We were 20 feet away from 2 tigers mating, we had tracked their pug marks to the tall tiger grass where they go to hide out, we could hear them growling but they refused to come out of the grass. So tiger spotting, like everything in life needs a little bit of LUCK.

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Zayne ready with his binoculars

The mornings were cold, and being from Bombay these kids are really not used to such weather, but not wanting to miss out on anything made them not complain and they sat quietly and sometimes giggled, sometimes cribbed through the bumpy and jumpy terrain while we went looking for this magnificent beast.

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A little grumpy Zoey annoyed for having made to leave her very comfortable and warm bed at 4:30 am.

The entrance to Ranthambore is majestic to say the least. Build around 1100 AD, it’s huge walls canvas the forest. The fort was built mainly to stop any foreign invasion and protect the garh from intruders. To see the real beauty of the fort requires an entire evening and it is a good idea to add it to your itinerary.

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The beautiful Ranthambore Fort that surrounds the wild life sanctuary.
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The old hunting lodge in the middle of the forest in zone 3

The morning safari was a miss for Tigers but we saw so many birds, deers, crocodiles and while the mighty beast eluded us, it really didn’t seem to matter to us.

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No tigers around if the deers are grazing so peacefully.
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Taking a breather from tiger searching
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Zoey enjoying staring at grazing deers.
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Every time we saw the Sambar my daughter would sing Rudolf the red nosed reindeer.

Once we went back to the hotel, we ate lunch, lazed around a bit and then we were ready and excited for our evening safari. While it can be seriously tough juggling 2 toddlers on a safari it CAN be done. Just be prepared for some tantrums, tummy aches, slight fever and a lot of excitement.

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Enjoying the property post the morning safari
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Ready for our evening in the jungles of Ranthambore
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Even when barren, nature wins the contest.
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Ranthambore Sunsets.
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Waiting In anticipation
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These two always find something funny in everything.

So pack those binoculars, bring out the warm clothes and head out a for a safari with the family. It’s a great destination for bonding and if you have some affection for all things outdoorsy, you love nature, and you want to indroduce your children to this magical place called the “Jungle”, then this destination IS definitely for you and your family.

 

 

Swimming Lessons

Learning how to swim is according to me, one of the most important and life saving classes you can enroll your child in. I really don’t know why I waited so long to start them off but they are finally getting swimming lessons.

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As my son is older than the girl, he is enjoying the classes more but I would not take any credit away from her, she does the exercises, jumps the jumps and tries and keeps up with her older brother to the best of her ability.

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But a word of caution, start the smaller ones (below 3) only when they are ready. My children have been used to the pool at the farm so starting swimming classes was not daunting for them, but for some children it can be a traumatic and unpleasant experience.

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Happy Swimming Y’all!