Category Archives: celebrations

Raising a Toast 🥂

If raising a toast to life, having fun and being romantic is what takes for an anniversary celebration, we’ve been celebrating most days. Yes today is our special day. A day dedicated to you and me. 

Wow, 16 years huh !! It’s been a long journey and a fun one. To me it seems I’ve grown a great deal with you. You’ve always been the more mature, poised and in control while I’ve been ummm crazy, impulsive, short tempered, ever dramatic and impatient me. Actually that makes me sound pretty bad. Nope, today we celebrate both of us. So no criticisms allowed. While I’m all that I’m also the person who loves you like crazy. I’m also the one who has your back. I’m also the same one who’ll be there no matter what. 

For once I don’t want to do a thank you post just because this day is all about both of us. It’s a day I want to remember all our achievements and failures, all the celebrations and all those times we’ve fought, all the times we’ve travelled and all those lazy days at home. It’s a day we celebrate being a couple. All I want to say is I love you and there’s no one I’d rather do this fun ride with. 

So here’s to us !! May the sweet sixteen be the best yet !! Here’s to more happiness, more mistakes, more fights and more makeups. Raising a toast to a lifetime of togetherness 🥂!!

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Making Our Own Traditions- Day 76

Happiness is trying to keep our traditions alive. Living far away from home and especially somewhere, where there aren’t too many Indians forget Bengalis it’s difficult. But I’m trying to keep alive some of the traditions that are close to my and the hubby’s heart.

 Saraswati puja is one such. Saraswati is the goddess of learning, knowledge and arts. Growing up it was one of our most favorite days. It was also called the Bengali Valentines Day. It was the day girls of all ages mostly would be decked up in their favorite yellow colored saree and boys would flaunt their crisp starched kurta-pajamas. There would be pujas not only in every corner of the locality but also some schools, colleges, tutorials and performing arts schools would have their puja. Of course the puja would also be followed by cultural programs performed by the students to please the goddess. So it was a day where you could check out the local guys n gals at their best.

But I digress, that wasn’t why this day was my favorite. As a tradition, early in the morning after bath all our books would be offered to the goddess for blessings. And you could take the books only the day after. And it was also said that this one day, we couldn’t touch our books. Suffice it to say, that was reason enough to make it the most favorite holiday for most of us kids. As most Bengali traditions, any puja day is incomplete without a set of new clothes. And saraswati puja was no exception. 

Often on these days, I wish we stayed in one of those big Indian hubs like Nj where we could be a part of the Bengali association and participate in all our traditional events. But that’s a post for another day. 

So these days, we try to make our own traditions with whatever we can. I make the traditional food, wear traditional clothes and try to do my own little puja with the hubby and Daughter. I sent Daughter to school wearing a new tee to carry on the tradition of new clothes. With today being a school day, we couldn’t fit too many elaborate plans. She loves wearing Indian clothes and I promised her as soon as she’s done with homework she could take a shower and change into something she wishes. She also with the help of hubby decorated our little prayer room with flowers.
Our little puja nook

Lunch was a traditional khichuri and some fritters which was devoured just by the hubby and I. I made a simple dinner of puri or luchi as we bongs call it, alu-dum and kheer which we first offered to the gods and then ate together. This is the fourth year of us celebrating this day in our own little way and I hope we continue this tradition for the many years to come.

Praying for knowledge and wisdom 

Typical Saraswati puja lunch

Dinner

Merry Christmas To All – Day 37

The presents are wrapped, tucked under the tree waiting for Christmas morning. Another couple of hours and soon the littlest pair of hands will keep milk and cookies in anticipation of the jolly old fellow. Anticipation of gifts galore !! Gifts about which neat letters were written. Little gifts that will instill the faith of Christmas magic. 

This night definitely has so many memories. Memories of the long ago time when I was a kid. The belief, the magic, the presents that I hoped to get. The cold Calcutta December. Never as cold as here but still enough for us to shiver in our woolens. Pastries from Kathleen. Fruit cakes from a local bakery. Everything felt so festive. I never wrote letters to Santa but his gifts never disappointed me. This night definitely makes me want to be a kid again.

I leave tonight wishing each one of you a very merry Christmas. I hope all of you get what your heart desires. I hope all of you get a special visit from your secret Santa. From my home to yours Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year !!

Call from North Pole -Day 29

Daughter’s school has this amazing activity organized for kids from kindergarten to 2nd grade. Every year a week before their break starts they get a call from Santa 🎅!! Yes from the man himself !! Needless to say the amount of excitement leading up to this day. So apparently Santa talks to each kid and tells them how wonderful they’ve been and asks what they would like for Christmas. I must say the school puts in a lot of thought and each teacher sends to ‘Santa’ a special message about each kid in their class regarding something good they did. It absolutely amazes these children how Santa has been keeping a track on their behavior. Santa also has his magic way of seeing each child in their outfits on that particular day. This excites them even more since to their little minds it seems Santa can actually see them at that very moment with his special binoculars. 

Today is the day when they are supposed to get this special call. It’s bittersweet since this will be the last year I will hear about this call. Daughter still very much believes in Santa and I’m trying to make this year extra special because it could be the last year she will believe in Santa Clause and Christmas magic. I so hope not !! Most of my friends think they find out around 3rd grade. So will have to wait and watch !!

I’ll be running to get her from the bus stop and can’t wait to see that spark in her eyes and hear her happy chatter about how wonderful Santa Clause is. 

Friendship and Fun – Day 7

Happy Thanksgiving to all you wonderful people !! On this day I just want to count my blessings and be thankful for all the wonderful friends in our lives. We are having the most amazing time with all the friends who feel like extended family. It’s so difficult to write a coherent post amidst this chaos and laughter. 

Yesterday night we danced like crazy and my Daughter grabbed all the attention by being sporting and copying the Bollywood moves that all her aunties were flaunting. She really took the floor and continued till all the adults were tired. But my baby girl didn’t want to stop. One of her uncle kept her company for a very long time. I loved watching her really dance with all abandon. I just wish she never loses her uninhibited spirit.

Today’s post is definitely all about happiness and friendship.

Day 5 – 7th Birthday 

So last year around September, when we were getting ready to plan Daughter’s 7th birthday party she decided that she wanted something simple. Not a big affair. A home birthday party. Every year, we generally have a just-the-three-of-us-kind-of-party on the actual day and a typical kids’ party with friends on a later day. That has always been the case. But this year for some reason she was adamant that she didn’t want a big party with school friends and more. She just wanted a small gathering with our very close friends. 
So after a lot of talking, the hubby and I decided if that’s what our Princess wanted that’s what she’s gonna get !! Her birthday was on a Thursday and that being a school night, we thought it would be better to send the invites for the following Friday. I decided the menu and we also chose a rockstar party theme. Once we finalized everything, we told Daughter about our plans. All that was left for her, was to choose the cake from a local bakery. That’s when she decided, to drop the bomb. 
She wanted the hubby and me to bake a cake for the party. Here I need to mention that baking a cake for birthdays has become a tradition for Daughter. As most girls her age, she loves and gets really excited about baking. So ever since she turned 3, she has been helping me bake a cake for hubby on his birthday. And now she’s roped hubby in baking one for me too. So this time she wanted us to bake one for her party.
 I know it was a fair request except I wasn’t comfortable baking a birthday cake for a party. We tried reasoning with her and told her we could bake a cake for her for the actual bday day but for the party we would have to order. But this little missy has a mind of her own. She insisted that everyone would know it was a homemade cake and no one would expect it to be perfect. I couldn’t refute with her logic either. Except I knew my plate was getting fuller by the minute with cooking, decorations and baking the cake.
In all this back and forth discussion, Daughter had hubby on her side. They thought I could do it. It was a compliment but I wasn’t too sure. Even though I love to bake but making a birthday cake for a party was certainly not my cup of tea. To say I was nervous would be an understatement. I soon zeroed on the type of cake I wanted to make. But the problem was I didn’t want to do a trial run coz that would spoil the surprise. 
My main concern was not the cake or the frosting. That part I was confident but what made me nervous was the presentation and assembly part of it. I know I was stressed to the brim but I managed to pull it through. I will never forget the look on Daughter’s face when she saw the cake. She hugged me tight !! That single moment made everything worth the sleepless nights and anxiety attacks. 
I know it wasn’t perfect and I need to really improve but for the first time it was an ok cake. For the first time, I played my hand with fondant. So I kept it real simple with minimal decorations. I focused on the taste and texture. In the end I was happy with my effort.

 The Princess Cake !! I know there is a lot of room for improvement.   
 For the first time she wasn’t sure about cutting the cake. She literally had to be coaxed to cut it 🙂 . 

 We set up the basement for a dance party with disco lights to go with the Rockstar theme.

Fun, Feast & Friends !!!

What a busy week it was !!! So this year we had thanksgiving at our house. And to say the days leading up to it were crazy busy, would really be an understatement. The hubby has his 4 very close friends living in the neighboring states and we have been trying to make thanksgiving a tradition of sorts !! Each year, someone is hosting the feast. And this year it was our turn.If any of you have hosted a thanksgiving feast, you know how daunting it can be. But if you need to host the feast for some 18 people and have house guests in the days leading up to as well as after, trust me you will be cooking not only in your waking hours but also in your sleep.
But having said that, I can’t deny what fun it was either. Sure we were sleep deprived and stressed to the brim but the laughter and chatter made up for it. The kids had an amazing time. I must say they all behaved very well. Didn’t fight too much. These really are a bunch of good kids !! And they also put up a show for the adults after the thanksgiving feast. It was wonderful to watch them first do a talent show and later it was followed by a play. The script of the play was written by them too. In the end, it was an awesome performance. Kudos to them for their cumulative effort !! I think it was a proud moment for all the parents. These are kids whom we have seen and held since they were little babies, and now they are all so grown up.

Of course a thanksgiving post cannot be complete without noting down things that I’m truly thankful for. And as always my list tops with the three people, I’m blessed to have in my life. My mum, my Daughter and my rock, my anchor, my love, my support system- my hubby. I also feel blessed to have these awesome group of friends. 

   The spread !!

 Turkey Time !!

Anyway all good things come to an end. And this was no different. Saturday after having an elaborate lunch, we waved our goodbyes to everyone. By then I had a pounding headache, but the house was in a total mess. The hubby and I being the kind of people we are, we knew there was no was we could sleep unless the house was back in order. So we worked in unison till all the sheets and towels changed and put in the washer, the bathrooms cleaned and the whole house vacuumed. Daughter helped us too by putting all the toys and books away. It was almost 6 when all of us took a shower and put our feet up.
Since then, I have been down with a severe upper bronchial infection. But I thank God that this happened after everything happened smoothly. At least now I have the luxury to lay in bed and type away sipping ginger tea and having a box of Kleenex by my side. I just hope this bug leaves the house without getting close to the hubby or the Daughter !!

And it’s March …..

How is it that the days are flying by before I can even blink. It’s March already !! February has been a crazy month with back to back snow storms, plummeting temperatures and school delays/cancellations. As I type a snow storm has just subsided leaving us with a fresh blanket of white powder. Hopefully this is going to be the last of the season. I’am so ready with outstretched arms to welcome spring.

Anyway, enough said about February…… March is one of my favorites as its a time for celebrations at our home and its the beginning of spring. My favorite time of the year. It’s the time when our part of the world start getting the colors back after being wrapped in white for what seems like eternity.

It’s our anniversary month as well as the hubby’s Bday. So it’s a month of planning surprises with my darling Daughter for the most important man in our life. I love to see the gleam of excitement in her big black eyes when she lays the minute details on how to surprise her daddy. These days I don’t have much say in planning the menu or the cake. It’s what her highness thinks is appropriate, I just follow instructions. I love the current age she is in, she is so full of consideration, independence and thoughtfulness yet still so innocent. She is at an age where she loves giving as well as receiving surprises. Just like her mommy and daddy 🙂

Also it’s time to celebrate our togetherness. It’s a time when we sit and look back at our life and all that we achieved. We have come a long way as individuals, I think we have matured a lot since the time we tied the knot. Most importantly it’s a time to celebrate our love. So a lot of fun times ahead. This year hubby has decided to take an off day on our anniversary. We don’t have any plans as such except spending time with each other.

I’am also counting on good weather from the next week. Daylight savings begin on Sunday, extra daylight is always a boon. I love long daylight hours. I’am way more productive.

So in general the month of March makes me chirpy and happy. This year more so as I can’t wait for spring to arrive since we will be able use our backyard more. I can’t wait to lay my hands on the outdoor patio set that I have been eyeing for a while.

To me March is like the advent of fun times except the allergy season that comes hand in hand with it 😦 . I love the slow rise in temperatures, the long days, the spring showers that begins during the end of the month and of course the greenery.

So what is your favorite time of the year ??

Day 13 – Planning For Overnight Guests

Today is one of those days when thoughts act so stubborn !! They just refuse to transform into a post no matter how much you coax. The thoughts just sit there while the poor mind hyperventilates knowing I’am going to make it do over time to churn up something in the name of a post. But nothing seems to work. I have been trying to think of topics and crossing all of them it seems. So bear with me guys while I type away some sensible nonsense 🙂 .

This is going to be a short week for Daughter as they have Friday and the following Monday off. We have friends coming over for the weekend. So lots of fun times ahead. Also the usual clean up and the extra cooking. Like I have said before, I’am a planner. I generally need to lay all the details in my head. So according to the plans I do my grocery and stock up the fridge. I’am a very detail oriented person, so making lists of the menu and keeping things handy is something that keeps my sanity in place.

Especially with house guests, it becomes difficult if I don’t plan ahead. Mostly I try to cook in advance and so I’am generally free to have fun when the house is full. I hate being cooped up in the kitchen all day while everyone is playing a game of cards or having fun in general. So while I’ll cook some of the meals and keep them ready, the rest will be prepped and marked into little baggies. That way even after a late night or coming home after a hectic day out, all I need to do is dump everything in a pot and lunch/dinner is pretty much set.

With guests who stay over night, another thing that I almost always try to do is bake a zucchini/banana walnut bread or muffins. They stay very moist and fresh for at least 2-3 days and are a real crowd pleaser with a cup of coffee in the morning. Generally I make pancakes with eggs/sausages/bacon for kids but making pancakes for too many adults can be a back breaking job. And mostly none of us adults want a very heavy breakfast after a late night. So plating these moist slices of homemade bread sure wins a lot of accolades 😀 . What you think I don’t like to hear compliments !! Apart from that, I also try to do a lot of one pot dishes like biryani or rice casserole with veggies and Italian sausage. Prepping for one pot dishes are very easy and they cook in no time. I also stock up the pantry with a lot of snacks for munching whenever the mood strikes.

I generally plan a big spread for the Friday night dinner with appetizer, main course and dessert. And another full course for Saturday lunch. These two I make ahead. Saturday dinner is mostly one of my tried and tested one pot dish. Since a lot of our friends leave after Sunday lunch/brunch, I usually prepare that depending upon the mood and how much time I have.

Living in the US for more than a decade has made me a pretty good planner. Especially because here most of the things, we need to manage single handedly. Of course here I need to mention that hubby helps me immensely on most occasions. Generally he does a very good job of cleaning the whole house and also helps in the kitchen whenever needed. Together I must say, we make a good team. Even though having guests for a few days can be tiring but it also gives us an immense sense of satisfaction and happiness. Most importantly these are friends of my hubby whom I have now known for more than a decade and are almost family.

So looking forward to another fun filled weekend !!!