Parenting

Why Kids Need to Do Chores: 5 Reasons

The annual scramble is on during the school break. I found that parents are juggling with care-taker schedules and work schedules just to be able to find time for the “summer activities” to enrich and make it fun for the children. Summer activities are required but how much do we try and focus on other aspects such as “Regular Chores“.

Chores are important so that children learn responsibility and a certain amount of life skills which will serve the purpose throughout their lives. Though they may not thank you for teaching them now, what is being taught is there to stay for a lifetime. Doing the bed, washing the dishes, sweeping the floor, wiping down the counters, polishing shoes, folding laundry, making a bowl of Maggi noddles and frying an egg. In my opinion if you teach kids to make a good cup of chai, that can go a great deal.

In fact here in India especially amongst upper middle class families domestic servants are a common feature so children miss out on doing chores. Instead of having them to get their stuff done they take things for granted. We parents believe they are saving their kids valuable time for studies or more interesting pursuits by not giving them chores to do. Research indicates that those children who do have a set of chores, have a higher self esteem and are more responsible. They are able to deal wth frustration and delay gratification all of which contribute to greater success in school.

5 Reasons to Why Chores are Important:
1. Teaches them responsibility: It really teaches them who does what in the house and sets in them a sense of accountability.

2. Teaches them to live independently when they are away: Young adults struggle with household chores when they move away from home. If you teach them young, they learn to cope and adapt easily especially when they have room-mates.

3. Teaches them to be self disciplined: Imparting this one aspect is very important because it teaches them to do things even when they don’t feel like it and also the importance of completing a task they are doing.

4. Helps them to prioritise, organise and learn time management: They will learn to multitask, create order and also have a sense of self accomplishment. Thus raising their self esteem.

5. Teaches them value of work: Children don’t realise how much it takes to run a household. They want what they want when they want. They really don’t consider others needs above theirs. So we help them develop these traits and also cultivate good habits.

Proverbs 22:6 Start children off on the way they should go, and even when they are old they will not turn from it.

Image Source: Photo by Jonathan Borba on Unsplash

Here are some links for the chore charts:

  1. https://www.amazon.in/Chore-Chart-Things-Around-House/dp/1633838447/ref=sr_1_5?crid=CZNBO0ZMV7H1&keywords=chore+charts+for+kids&qid=1559010638&s=gateway&sprefix=chore+cha%2Caps%2C270&sr=8-5
  2. https://www.amazon.in/Weekly-chore-chart-multiple-kids/dp/1095642022/ref=sr_1_6?crid=PLT4LBQKSR5C&keywords=chore+charts+for+kids+multiple&qid=1559011076&s=gateway&sprefix=chore+charts+%2Caps%2C267&sr=8-6
  3. Free printable from imom https://www.imom.com/printable/customizable-chore-chart/#.XO6hQNMzbVo


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A Mom's Life, MARRIAGE, Parenting

Laugh a lot on Purpose

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Have you ever scheduled time to be happy? It sounds weird and strange at first, but we make scheduled time for annual day functions, doctors appointments, sports days, marriages, coffee outing and possibly even a lunch meeting with our favourite people. Why not schedule in some time for laughter?

The health benefits of humor are well-documented. Norman Cousins, author of the groundbreaking Anatomy of an Illness as Perceived by the Patient: Reflections on Healing and Regeneration, was one of the first to popularize the idea of laughter as medicine, in 1979. Cousins had overcome a painful battle with connective tissue disease by prescribing himself laughter. “I made the joyous discovery that ten minutes of genuine belly laughter had an anesthetic effect and would give me at least two hours of pain-free sleep,” he wrote.

Take a few minutes each to step away from the busyness of life and think about the good things God is doing. Focus on something funny a friend said or something enjoyable that you’re looking forward to. Talk to a friend with a good sense of humor, retell a funny story from the past or play a practical joke on a good friend or family member. Need another idea? Spending time around children or pets is typically a surefire way to ramp up the laughter. Don’t let the stressful events get the minute of your day-schedule time for a little fun.

A joyful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones. Proverbs 17:22, ESV

 

Source:https://www.guideposts.org/inspiration/miracles/gods-grace/divine-humor-how-laughter-benefits-us-spiritually
https://billygraham.org/story/a-time-to-laugh-5-ways-to-add-laughter-to-your-life/
Image Source:Photo by Tim Mossholder on Unsplash

Whats Cooking Today!!

5 Ingredient Toffee Crackle

This is an indulgent treat especially with the summers approaching and a totally stress free sort of thing to make. Its also the perfect thing to gift someone during any holiday season. This recipe is originally from twopeasandtheirpod.

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INGREDIENTS:

  • 15-20 Nutri Choice Biscuits
  • 1 cup Unsalted butter
  • 1 cup Light brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups Chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup Chopped almonds

Steps to make the Crackle:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a large baking sheet with a Silpat baking mat, parchment paper, or aluminium foil. If you are using aluminum foil, spray lightly with nonstick cooking spray. Place graham crackers in a single layer, touching, on the large baking sheet. Set aside. In a medium saucepan, melt butter and brown sugar together over medium-high heat. Bring butter and brown sugar mixture to a boil. Simmer for 4 minutes, stirring constantly. Pour mixture evenly over graham crackers. Bake for 8 minutes. Remove the pan from the oven and immediately sprinkle chocolate chips evenly over the top of the graham crackers. Let the chocolate chips sit for 2 minutes so they have a chance to melt. Spread melted chocolate with a knife or rubber spatula. Sprinkle almonds or pecans on top. Let the graham cracker toffee sit for about 2 hours or until the chocolate hardens. If you are in a hurry, you can refrigerate the toffee for an hour, or freeze for 30 minutes. When chocolate is set up, break the toffee into pieces and enjoy!

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Whats Cooking Today!!

Payyoli Chicken

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This dish is very very popular in the Malabar area of Kerala and it is said to be the protege of Chicken Gopalan’s restaurant in Payyoli. My attempt is to re-create the magic Sangeetha created with this really tempting picture she put up on instagram.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 kg Chicken, bone in, cleaned and cut into small pieces (make gashes in pieces like drumsticks, thighs etc for the marinade to reach well)
  • 3 teaspoons Rice Flour
  • 1 teaspoon Turmeric Powder
  • 1 1/2 tablespoon Meat Masala Powder
  • 3 or 4 Green Chillies slit into two
  • 3 or 4 sprigs Curry Leaves
  • 6 tablespoons Grated Coconut (fresh or desiccated)
  • 3 tablespoons Ginger – Garlic paste, freshly made (not bottled)
  • 4 tablespoons White Vinegar
  • 15 to 20 in number Dried Red Chillies (Kashmiri variety)
  • Coconut Oil and Salt

Steps to make the dish:

Take the dried red chillies in a bowl and pour boiling water from a kettle into it. Cover and let this sit for half an hour. After half hour, take them into the chutney jar of the Indian mixer grinder and grind into a fine paste along with a little water. The consistency should be that of a thick chutney. Keep this aside.
Take the cleaned chicken and marinate it with ginger garlic paste, turmeric powder, meat masala powder, vinegar, half of the red chilli paste and salt. Preferably let this marinate overnight in the refrigerator or at least for 3 to 4 hours.

Heat coconut oil enough to shallow fry chicken pieces in a big pan that can hold all chicken pieces (if you are using a smaller pan, you may have to shallow fry the chicken in batches). I do not deep fry, I shallow fry to quieten my guilt on wasting so much oil.

Add the rice flour into the marinated chicken and mix well. Bring the oil to a smoking point (but not smoking) and add the chicken pieces, then bring the flame to a medium low and cover and cook the chicken till they are done, checking in between. You may need to turn the pieces in between a few times to cook evenly.

Meanwhile mix the grated coconut with the rest of the red chilly paste. Heat very little coconut oil and when it is well heated up, add curry leaves and slit green chillies. As they turn crisp, remove them and keep aside. Then add the grated coconut into the same oil. Fry till it is well browned but take care NOT TO BURN THEM. Remove them from the pan and keep aside.

When the chicken pieces are all done, add the coconut into it and mix well.

When ready to serve, add the curry leaves and green chillies.

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Note:

Rice flour is very important in this recipe, so please do not skip that. You can deep fry the chicken pieces too. But shallow frying is more than enough. Just make sure that chicken is cooked in that process.

Whats Cooking Today!!

Crinkle Top Brownies

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This is one Instagram recipe which just popped up on the feed from Half baked harvest which I couldn’t resist trying. These brownies are the perfect indulgent ones by far the best compliment I have received on having made these. So what’s the secret to that perfect texture and crinkly top? Real melted chocolate, semi-sweet chocolate chips, and a good amount of whisked eggs. So why wait, get cracking on these delicious goodness.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 cup Unsalted butter
  • 4 Large eggs
  • 2 cups Semi sweet chocolate chips
  • 1 1/2 Granulated Sugar
  • 1 tablespoon Vanilla extract
  • 2 teaspoons Instant coffee granules
  • 1/2 cup All purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup Unsweetened cocoa Powder
  • 1 teaspoon Baking Powder

Steps to make the brownie batter:

Preheat the oven to 180 C. Line a 9×13 inch pan with parchment paper. In the microwave, melt together the butter and 1 1/2 cups chocolate chips (stir at 30 second intervals) until melted and smooth. Stir in the sugar, vanilla, and instant coffee. In a small bowl whisk the eggs for a minute until bubbly on top. Stir the eggs into the chocolate mix. Add the flour, cocoa powder, and baking powder. Stir until just combined. Stir in the remaining 1/2 cup chocolate chips. Evenly spread the mixture into the prepared baking pan. Bake for 28-30 minutes or until the brownies are just set. Let cool (or not) and dust with powdered sugar. Enjoy!

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MARRIAGE

Pause, Reflect and Look Ahead

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December has got to be the favourite month of the year. People enjoy a nice family gathering, festive dishes being prepared and put out, the overall atmosphere associated with this season is just so warming.

It is also a month where we get to reflect on all the months that have gone by. The seasons we have been through the last 11 months, the tough ones, the bitter ones, the easy ones, the high and the low ones, the happy ones etcetera. When we start to journal them down is when we realise the magnanimity of God over the phases we went by and how we passed through them all.

Take a moment to pause and relfect at the seasons that we have gone through and look forward to the new year.

  1. Seek new moments to praise and offer gratitude to everoyone in your network. Share your gratitude with them. Not only for their actions but just being who they are and the important role they play in your life.
  2. Honor God. This strengthens our faith. It also strengthens our relationships with other people. We can’t be in a right relationship with God or with anyone without a spirit of thankfulness.
  3. Give Thanks to God.Think through the greatest challenges in your life this year, and give thanks that God can and has used them for your good.
  4. Develop the Thankfulness as a Spiritual discipline. This is a dsiclpine to be devloped in good times and bad. A tree never grows overnight; it grows slowly: day by day, year by year. I want to “work out” my thankfulness muscles each day, not only for strength during difficult times but also to offer God a small sacrifice of thanksgiving for “all” He’s done for me and my family.

Romans 8:28 And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good,for those who are called according to his purpose.

Romans 5:3–5 Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope,and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.

This what John Hagee says, ” Thanksgiving is something that’s caught, not taught. It is a geyser of joy that explodes in your soul, even in the darkest midnight. Thanksgiving is a decision, an act of your will”. 

So lets pause, reflect and be thankful to the year 2018 and look ahead to God’s goodness and endearing promises to be released over our lives for the year 2019.

Wishing all my readers here a Happy and Blessed New Year.

Credit: image source Photo by Dimitri Iakymuk on Unsplash

 

MARRIAGE

40 things I’m Thankful for in my Husband

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The last week of December is always like a blur thanks to the events that we are involved with at church and important dates that fall within the week. Today being the husband’s birthday I don’t think there is any other way than to tell him what a great husband and father he is. This has been on my mind for a very long time and was completely inspired by Sheena Gershom.

Here it goes and in no particular order,

  1. He has a strong relationship with God
  2. His commitment to serve GOD in and through the church and through his worship to lead others
  3. He has a job and works hard at it
  4. His love and priority towards us as his family and equally to his parents and brother
  5. He takes care of the boys
  6. He cleans the house and washes the dishes
  7. He makes chai once in a while
  8. He cleans the car and makes it spotless for us
  9. He ensures he takes us on a family holiday every year
  10. He encourages me and the children
  11. He has music jam sessions with the boys
  12. He catches up with them
  13. He lays the table for meals and clears up once we are done once in a while
  14. He is the handyman around the house before the actual repairman comes
  15. He gives me the freedom to be who I am
  16. He is dependable
  17. He is very protective about his family, his parents, his siblings and in-laws
  18. He is always on time or at-least tries to be considering Bangalore traffic
  19. He ensures we have the best of what he can provide us with within the means
  20. He is my best friend and confidant
  21. He helps with the kid’s homework
  22. He let me go for a quick weekend break this year for the first time all the way to Kerala
  23. He is still plush and cuddly
  24. He reads for the boys
  25. He is organised and neat
  26. He informs me whenever he is late from wherever he is at
  27. His good friends and their wives are now my good friends too
  28. His parents and brother are like my own and love us unconditionally
  29. He insists on family prayer
  30. He lets me catch up with my friends when I can
  31. He always discusses with me on important decisions
  32. He asks me for my opinion
  33. He always pitches in to drop and pick the kids if I have too many tasks at hand
  34. He always asks if there is anything I need to get done personally even if it means a pedicure or haircut
  35. He is very protective
  36. He takes charge of the house
  37. He values me as a stay at home mom
  38. He listens to my ramblings and rantings
  39. He allows the boys to wrestle and rough house with him and end up with scratches on his face
  40. He takes his role as our provider seriously and ensures he disregards his comforts over ours

 

Now how about you? Husbands! you could write one about what your thankful about your wives. This is an exercise which reminds you about the importance of the person you are married to and that God intended for your life. So go ahead and list yours down and let me know.

 

Parenting

The Not So Good Report Card

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Most children bring home a report card that doesn’t look good. The point is the marks don’t meet our expectations and so it not only is disappointing but really upsetting. Here’s how we can help our children to get back on track with a constructive and collaborative effort.

1.Don’t Blow Your Top: It is definitely easy to blow the gasket for their low grades but this is something one of my son’s teachers told me during the parent-teacher meet, “Ma’am don’t judge your son by the marks he gets”. Take some time to step back and review the overall situation. We need to motivate them to work harder in a consistent and systematic manner versus defeating their overall confidence by yelling at them.

2.Talk With the Teachers: Understand from the teacher everything that is going on in class. Is it too many extracurricular activities? Are home-works submitted on time? Is it lack of understanding a concept? Have a discussion with the teacher before charging at them and telling them they are to blame for your child’s academic performance.

3.Talk With the Child: Let the child know that your not happy with the results and make it a point to listen to them, before we get angry. You never know, they could have an insight too to their performance. It may be possible that they have a hard teacher who may or may not be fair in rewarding marks or dealing with doubts they have in a particular concept and subject. Maybe they are distracted or bored and are embarrassed to ask for help.

4.Withhold Privileges: The point of withholding privileges is so that they can maintain a certain discipline. This requires an occasional punishment which could get their attention. Sometimes letting them know your disappointed might be all that’s necessary to turn things around.

Wise discipline imparts wisdom; spoiled adolescents embarrass their parents.
~
King Solomon in Proverbs 19:18; 29:15

5.Create an Action Plan: Brainstorm and come with a study plan or a timetable to help the child be able to complete lessons on a systematic basis. As parents we need  to keep realistic goals. It’s too much for us to ask them to get straight A’s in the next test. Monitor the improvements made and ensure positive praise is given to boost their morale.

You can also read up 8 Encouraging Prayers for Students During Exams as additional reading.

Image Credit: Photo by Lavi Perchik on Unsplash. Others: http://www.schoolfamily.com, http://www.crosswalk.com, http://www.imom.com
Parenting

How to be a Scream Free Parent

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I scream at my children and I’m not afraid to admit it. It’s the truth, and most often we mothers scream and raise our tones because we are tired, we are sleepy, we need a break, we lack patience and of course we need the kids to listen to us. After the kids had gone off to school, me and my husband were discussing about the amount of noise we make and what were the reasons behind the emotional drama. The point was to get the children to obey, at the same time all this screaming and yelling at them is not good for the overall health and also for the atmosphere in the house. There are times when our screaming has reasons and sometime there are no reasons. It certainly becomes a very bad habit, and also becomes the only means we know to get the children to listen, for them to obey and do the things we want them to get done.

I’m just going to share a few tips on how to stop or at the least limit the number of times we scream. By this, we can lessen the stress we have throughout the day.

  1. Why am I screaming?: Take a quick emotional call (reason) or check on why your about to scream. The things they do are sometimes worth the screaming. They would have spilt juice all over the table or broken something, whatever it maybe, its not worth screaming. You need to realise that it affects your mood and that in turn affects your whole day.  Calm down before we get into the mode of just sputtering out our fury.
  2. Remember Children are Children: They are bound to do things accidentally, sometimes on purpose and that’s why we are required to be firm and explain to them what is acceptable and what is not, why they should do something and why they shouldn’t. They listen to you responding, which means we explain to them as plainly as possible rather than reacting to them by way of yelling.
  3. Take a Break: You have had an equally tiring and long day. Everything just happens to add to our misery. The ideal thing to do is just stop what your doing and take a 5-15 min break. Go for a walk, ask the husband to just watch the kids. I sometimes let them watch the TV a little longer so that I can get a breather. I have even let them do what they want in their room so that I can gather myself and ‘let me be.’
  4. Driving a sense of Fear: Each time you scream at the kids, and when they look at our face, you can see that they are scared. Being scared is not a good thing, but them being able to trust us and respect us is what we need to achieve with them. We don’t allow respect and trust to thrive when we are shouting at them all the time.
  5. They imitate our behaviour: When we yell at them all the time, they tend to yell at their siblings and even at us. They think they can get what they want with that sort of behaviour.  This action of theirs would leave us to think where they got that from. Remember we are partially to blame. They have done exactly what we have taught them to do.

The idea behind this post is to direct us into thinking how am I going to respond regardless of their behaviour. Take it up as a challenge, one step at a time, one day at a time at working towards being a scream free mom and parent.

James 1:19-20: Understand this, my dear brothers and sisters: You must all be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to get angry. Human anger does not produce the righteousness God desires.

 

 

Whats Cooking Today!!

Burmese Khow Suey

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This recipe is from Arun and I preferred this version of the recipe maybe because the ingredients were easy to get locally.  This is a burmese delicacy which is a one pot meal  with vegetables/chicken and noodles topped with an array of condiments to make it that perfect bowl of happiness.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 500 grams Chicken
  • 300 grams Egg noodles
  • 1/2 cup Shallots
  • 1/4 cup Garlic
  • 3 red chilies (small)
  • 1 slit green chilli
  • 1 inch ginger
  • 500 ml coconut milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
  • 1 tablespoon gram flour (chickpea flour/besan)
  • 2 sprigs Cilantro (Coriander leaves)
  • 2 sprigs curry leaves
  • 1 spring onions (preferably scallions/green onions)
  • 1 lime
  • Salt to taste

Steps to make the curry base

Cut the chicken into 1 inch cubes and keep it aside. Meanwhile boil the eggs, shell them and cut them into halves. You need to boil the eggs for a good 8 minutes to get a perfect hard-boil and then they are dunked into a bowl of cold water. Onto a chopping board thinly slice all the garlic. Slice the shallots into thin slices. Into a frying pan add some oil and  first fry the garlic slices till nice and crispy. Drain onto a kitchen towel and into the same pan fry the sliced onions till crispy.  Drain the onions onto a another absorbent kitchen towel. Take half the quantity of fried garlic and shallot and return them to the pan, along with chicken, grated ginger and curry leaves till all cooked. Add in the besan powder, turmeric powder and salt. Add the green chillies and saute. Meanwhile get the noodles going in a pot of boiling water. Drain the noodles, and wash them in cold water. Leave it on a colander to drain the water. (Tip: Don’t leave the noodles out for long. They’ll go dry and stick to each other). Your curried chicken should be well cooked and combined by now with a nice aroma filling the kitchen. Add the coconut milk, stir well, and bring to a simmer. Cook in a low-medium heat. If the temperature goes high, the coconut milk will curdle. Check the salt. Switch off the flame.

The best part is to serve this hot – place some noodles and a sliced egg in a bowl, with some finely chopped cilantro, and pour the curried chicken over it. Garnish with spring onions. Provide all other accompaniments in small bowls – fried garlic, fried shallots, lightly toasted peanuts, cilantro, chilies and lime wedges. MUST DO: For the perfect taste, squeeze some lime into your noodle soup just before eating.

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