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
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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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Whats Cooking Today!!

Breakfast Casserole

It was a Saturday morning and the kids were sleeping in, I got up early just to catch up with myself with a cup of tea and some time of silence. I wasn’t sure of what to make for breakfast and I hopped on over to instagram and Richa Gupta put up her version of the Denver Omelette and that just inspired me. This breakfast casserole is pretty indulgent and hearty for a weekend breakfast. Let’s get to it straightaway ~

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INGREDIENTS:

  • Eggs – 10
  • Milk – 2-3 tablespoons
  • Ham – 6 slices
  • Green Capsicum – 1, cut into long strips
  • Mushrooms – 200 grams, roughly chopped
  • Onion – 1 large, finely chopped
  • Tomatoes – 2 small ones, cut into round slices
  • Ginger and Garlic Paste – 1 tsp
  • Paprika powder – 1/2 tsp
  • Salt and Pepper to taste
  • Cheddar Cheese – 1/2 cup

Steps to make the mixture:

Lightly grease a 9 x 13 inch glass baking dish Preheat the oven to 180 C. Into a large frying pan, add some oil and saute the finely chopped onions. Add in the cayenne pepper and ginger garlic paste and saute till the rawness disappears. Then add in the mushrooms and cook till the water from it is all dried up. Tip in the capsicum strips, saute for a minute. Take off  from the fire  and keep the mixture aside. Into a large bowl, whisk the eggs along with the milk, salt and pepper. Take a baking dish of 9 x 13 inch and line the base with the ham. Pour the egg mixture, top it off with cheese and the tomato slices. Bake the dish for about 25-30 minutes till the egg is set. Allow to rest for about 5-7 mins before cutting it.

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MARRIAGE

The C’s of a Healthy Marriage

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Four years ago, we paid a visit to our first Pastor to invite him for my brother’s wedding.  While chatting up with him he shared on the C’s of marriage which just stuck by strongly after all these years.

Commitment, Communication, Compliment, Concern and Compromise

  • Commitment: We all know marriages are for better or for worse, in sickness and in health, for richer or for poorer till death do us part. Commitment is more than just a “feel good” factor in the relationship. Commitment is something played out as deliberate actions towards building a stronger relationship. How do we do that? Its by praying for the marriage and praying for each other. Saying it through words, saying it through actions, your behaviour should reflect that commitment, setting goals together, having good people in your social life that support, counsel and encourage a good marriage.
  • Communication: For things to go well in a marriage, communication has to be effective. These days communication is reduced to logistics, who does what and when. It has even been relegated to silence, criticism and sometimes verbal abuse. When you are newly wed you bring in your individual view on the relationship. Neither of you is a mind reader. So, we have to find out ways to figure out what the other person is thinking. We can do that by having open dialogues with each other, be willing to work on each one’s needs by spending time, getting to know each other constantly. As the marriage grows and thrives, needs change and so do the  desires. Listen to each other keenly because listening skills are a must here. Most often we are focussing on our response than trying to understand the other person. The very point of communication in this regard is to fundamentally understand each other.
  • Compliment: Be intentional and mindful about the other person in your life. Tell him or her that he is a good husband/wife, compliment their appearance, or their ability to handle a difficult situation, or how they handled the kids. Say “Thank You” for understanding, say the words “I love You”. These things make the other person feel valued and appreciated in the relationship. Complimenting each other also heightens the friendship in a couple. (You can check out my post on being friends in your marriage)
  • Concern: The trend of people in cities is to be self absorbed and getting things that “I want”. In a marriage the dynamics should be “what would we want”. Each spouse must be bothered and concerned about what he or she thinks, feels and wants to bring about the balance. Get into a habit of clarifying each other at every level possible. We tend to look at concerns from a self-perspective causing conflict and irritation to the other without taking the other persons viewpoint. Ask questions like “how can I help you?”, “are you well?”, “how are things going?”
  • Compromise: Another crucial element in a marriage. I have heard people say, when we dated my partner was amazing, but after marriage you start to notice things you haven’t seen before which makes you wonder: where did this come from? Everyone has flaws, therefore one should realise the need for forgiveness. Work through the minor disappointments rather than having a marriage meltdown. Be realistic and be willing to compromise for each other.

Ephesians 4:2-3 New Living Translation (NLT) Always be humble and gentle. Be patient with each other, making allowance for each other’s faults because of your love. Make every effort to keep yourselves united in the Spirit, binding yourselves together with peace.

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Credit:Photo by Tiko Giorgadze and Sabina Ciesielska on Unsplash
Other sources : imom.com, www.markmerrill.com, yourprayercloset.wordpress.com, focusonthefamily.com

 

Whats Cooking Today!!

Chocolate Ganache Tart

An elegant, easy and indulgent tart baked with Easter around the corner this is something that could be made to please your guests at the get-togethers.

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INGREDIENTS

  • 1 1/4 cups All Purpose Flour
  • 6 tablespoons Sugar
  • 6 tablespoons Cashew-nuts/ Almonds
  • 2 teaspoons Orange Rind or lemon zest
  • 1/4 teaspoon Salt
  • 6 tablespoons Butter , unsalted , cold and cut into pieces
  • 12 ounces Chocolate
  • 1 1/4 cups Heavy Cream
  • 1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract

Steps to make the tart base:

Preheat oven to 180 C. Make dough: In a food processor, pulse cashew or almond until finely ground. Add sugar, flour, zest (if desired), and salt; pulse until combined. Add butter, pulsing until coarse crumbs form with no large butter lumps (dough should clump together when squeezed with fingers). Immediately transfer the coarse dough to a 9-inch tart pan with a removable bottom. Using a measuring cup, evenly press dough in bottom and up sides of pan Bake in center of oven until golden brown and firm to the touch, about 20 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely, about 1 hour.

Steps to make the ganache filling:

Place chocolate in a large mixing bowl. In a small saucepan, bring cream to a boil. Pour hot cream, through a sieve, over chocolate. Stir until smooth and creamy in texture. Mix in vanilla. Pour chocolate mixture into center of cooled tart shell (if chocolate is lumpy, pass through a sieve). Let stand until set, about 2 hours, or chill for 1 hour.  I used the wilton stencil to create a pattern, and dusted confectioner’s sugar over the stencil just before serving

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Parenting

Rules for Kids Staying Home Alone

There are moments we parents face that requires leaving a child home ‘alone’. I’m not personally comfortable leaving my child behind unless it is absolutely necessary. As much as I trust my child to be at home on his/her own I can’t always be sure that they would be safe or wouldn’t do something that is not safe. So what sort of steps should we take. I have put together 10 Rules that he/she must follow. I also found out an age-wise guideline to consider when leaving your children at home. This is essentially followed in the United States which I found insightful.

  • 7 & under – Should not be left alone at home/in the car/ playground or backyard for any period of time.
  • 8 to 10 years – Should not be left alone for more than 1½ hours and only during daylight and early evening hours.
  • 11 to 12 years – May be left alone for up to 3 hours but not late at night.
  • 13 to 15 years – May be left unsupervised, but not overnight.
  • 16 to 17 years – May be left unsupervised (in some cases, for up to two consecutive overnight periods).

Here are some other things to consider –

  1. How long will you be gone for?
  2. Does your child follow instructions?  Will they follow the rules when you are away?
  3. Are there other kids left home too?  How many and how old?
  4. How safe is your neighborhood/ apartment/colony or society?
  5. Would your child feel safe staying alone?

Here are 10 ground rules that I set while I step out of the house:

  1. Never open the door to anyone, not even to the security personnel of your apartment.
  2. Do not operate anything in the kitchen especially knives or the kitchen stove.
  3. If any emergency call either parent/ emergency relative/ neighbour the child knows the number to dial. (Phone numbers are given for emergency).
  4. Child or parent to Call in every 30 minutes to update or check status.
  5. No friends or neighbours allowed inside the house.
  6. Finish what you were supposed to do (homework/assignement/ projects/tasks/chores).
  7. Keep all the main doors locked.
  8. Do not leave outside the house unless there is a fire and you need to call for help.
  9. Parent to keep one really close neighbour informed.
  10. Activate all security related features installed in your home from CCtv’s to the ‘child safety mode’ on for the cable tv, internet as well as for the Wi-fi.

 

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Here are other related posts:
https://www.theguardian.com/world/2016/mar/04/hidden-crisis-of-small-children-left-home-alone-while-parents-work
http://www.thehealthsite.com/parenting/leaving-child-home-alone-here-are-the-measures-indian-moms-take-z0817/
http://www.babycouture.in/blog/10-rules-lay-leaving-child-home-alone/
https://www.hoganinjury.com/child-safety-on-the-road/
Credit: Image Source Junior Rodriguez on Unsplash.com and www.thirtyhandmadedays.com

 

 

Whats Cooking Today!!

Spicy Honey Chicken Thighs

Another one of those recipes which are for those fuss free weekday dinners. A few ingredients and your in for a true delight.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 8 Skinless Chicken Thighs
  • 2 teaspoons Minced Garlic
  • 1 teaspoon Salt
  • 1 teaspoon Ground Cumin
  • 1 teaspoon Paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon Red Chilly Powder
  • 6 tablespoons Honey
  • 2 teaspoons Apple Cider Vinegar

Steps to grill the chicken:

Combine salt, garlic, paprika, cumin, chilly powder into a bowl. Toss the chicken into the marinade and keep aside for about 30 minutes. Place the chicken onto a oiled tray and grill in a preheated oven of 200 C. Grill the chicken for about 5 minutes. Meanwhile combine the apple vinegar and honey. Take out the chicken from the oven and brush with the vinegar honey mixture onto both sides and put back into the oven for about 10 to 12 minutes till well cooked.

Whats Cooking Today!!

Breton Biscuits

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These cookies are stamped “Pur beurre” meaning pure butter, these are classic French Round Cookies with the fluted edge. A bite of Paris in your own home.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 140 grams Unsalted Butter
  • 1/2 cup Granulated White Sugar
  • 1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract
  • 2 cups All Purpose Flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon Salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon Baking Powder
  • 1 egg

For the Egg Wash:

  • 1 Egg
  • 1 tablespoon Water

Steps to make the cookie:

In the bowl of your electric mixer, beat butter and sugar until light and fluffy for 2-3 minutes. Add the egg and vanilla extract and beat until mixed. In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt. Add the flour mixture to the butter mixture and beat just until incorporated. Careful not to over mix the dough. Transfer the dough to a lightly floured work surface, knead the dough for a few times to bring it together, and then divide the dough in two. Wrap each half in plastic wrap or cling wrap and refrigerate until firm which is about an hour. Preheat oven to 170 C and place rack in the centre of the oven. Line two baking sheets with wax paper and set aside. Remove one portion of the dough from the fridge and place on a lightly floured work surface. Roll out the dough until it is 1/4 inch thick. Using a lightly floured 2 inch round fluted cookie cutter, cut out the cookies, placing them on the prepared sheet. Place the baking sheet of cut out cookies in the refrigerator for about 15 -20 minutes to chill the dough. Remove the cookies from the refrigerator and brush the tops with the egg wash. Bake in the preheated oven for about 12 – 14 minutes or until golden brown around the edges.

Whats Cooking Today!!

Chocolate Banana Loaf

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I get an sms from Prerna, the following day after my birthday asking me – “Are you at home tomorrow @5:30pm?” I sms back saying “Yes I am, wassup?”. Prerna’s sms reads “V are all coming tomorrow”

Surely enough, I knew the ‘v’ (we) meant much more than just her and her little son. The ‘we’ meant, Asma and her two daughters Rafa and Sidra, Sunehra with adorable Dhruv (my son calls him Dhrufee), Soumya with her little Princess Avni (my son is her Prince), Megha with her lil one Anya, Priyanka with adorable baby Hridaan. And of course, the sms sender Prerna, sadly her son Veer was asleep

So with cups of coffee and slices of cakes, there was singing and chatting and lots more merry making. The good thing from it all for me was that I was in the company of women who understand, women who are humbly grounded and women who are there to give you a shoulder hug when you need one.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1/2 cup of Butter, softened
  • 1 cup of Soft Brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup of Coconut Sugar
  • 3 Ripe Bananas (almost blackened)
  • 2 Eggs
  • 2 cups of All purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon of Bicarbonate Soda
  • 1 tablespoon of Unsweetened Cocoa Powder
  • 1 teaspoon of All spice powder
  • 1/3 cup of Yogurt
  • 85 grams of Chocolate chips

**Note: I have used brown sugar and coconut sugar, the original recipe calls in for 1 and 1/3 cup of soft brown sugar.

Steps to make the Cake:

Grease a 9 x 5 x 3inch loaf pan. Preheat the oven to 180C. Put the butter, sugars and eggs into a bowl and beat well. Peel and mash the bananas, then add to the mixture. Stir it well. Sift the flour, soda, all spice, cocoa powder into a separate bowl. Add the flours then to the the banana mixture. Stir in the yogurt and chocolate chips. Spoon the mixture into the prepared loaf pan and level the surface. Bake for an hour until done. Cut into thick slices and serve warm.

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