Category Archives: parenting

DIY Cute and Easy Cupcake Costume for Halloween and Fancy Dress

This cute DIY cupcake / muffin costume is very easy to make and requires easily available items from around your house or the local store. It is super low budget and it involves very little time to make this Fancy Dress / Halloween costume. Perfect for toddlers and grown ups for fancy dress competitions, theme parties and of course, Halloween!

Mishika dressed up as a Cute Cupcake

So, I made this cupcake costume for Mishika for a Fancy Dress event for kids in our housing complex. She is almost 4 years old and this was her first every costume wearing event. I wanted her to enjoy participating instead of focussing on winning. So I didn’t tell her that there will be prizes involved and all. Getting kids involved in creating something that they will wear, eat or use is always a good idea. She wore the cupcake costume without any hesitation and didn’t ask us to remove it until the fancy dress competition was over and prizes were distributed!

Creating this cute Muffin required very basic items: Cardboard, Wrapping Paper, Glue, Scissors, an old Tutu / Dress with Frills that the kid has outgrown, Lanyard/String/Ribbon to hang the cupcake base bit.

I have uploaded a DIY video on YouTube on how to make this comfortable cupcake costume for Fancy Dress, Halloween, etc. Do check it out! Feel free to share with friends who might find this useful 😊 Save it for future reference as well. It is so super easy to make!

DIY CUPCAKE COSTUME VIDEO

Do let me know in comments if you try this or if you have any queries regarding this cupcake costume. Remember to Like, Share and Subscribe to Mom and Ideas channel on YouTube.

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Lunch box ideas for preschoolers / snack break ideas for school kids

DAY 1 Snack Box Idea (check both images to see what I packed and what came back) 😇

June 22nd was Mishika’s first day of school! They have one snack break and no need to mention that I was worried if she would eat anything at all. But she surprised me when she came home with an empty tiffin box and said she loved everything! So I am very happy for the first day. Thankfully, she finishes her tiffin every single day and it’s been over a month now 🙂

Scroll till the end for a video on 12 days of tiffin ideas.

I will keep sharing her daily lunch box / snack box ideas for every parent like me who is confused about what to pack everyday!

Let me know if you would like to see more tiffin ideas for school kids and I will continue this series. I will also share what she ate and what came back so we know what works and when and how!

Wish this nervous and excited first-time-school-going-kid-mom luck 😊

In the box:

1. Homemade pancakes with jaggery
2. Cashew nuts
3. Roasted salt and pepper phool makhane / fox nuts
4. Kishmish / raisins

So I am very happy for the first day. Thankfully, she finishes her tiffin every single day and it’s been over a month now 🙂

I will keep sharing her daily lunch box / snack box ideas for every parent like me who is confused about what to pack everyday!

Let me know if you would like to see more tiffin ideas for school kids and I will continue this series. I will also share what she ate and what came back so we know what works and when and how!

Wish this nervous and excited first-time-school-going-kid-mom luck 😊

In the box:

1. Homemade pancakes with jaggery
2. Cashew nuts
3. Roasted salt and pepper phool makhane / fox nuts
4. Kishmish / raisins

12 days of tiffin ideas

Following your passion after a long break post childbirth is possible: Deepa Anand – Mom Interview

I spoke to Deepa Anand, an artist mom who shares about her journey as a mom and an artist. Check out her Instagram page @deepa_artwork to see her amazing nature-inspired paintings.

Tell us something about yourself

I am an abstract artist and a mom to a 10-year-old boy. I create abstract paintings, mostly using acrylic paints. Recently, I have started making natural colours that can be used for painting. I also organise workshops like mud play for kids as well as grown-ups. It brings us so much closer to nature and it is kind of meditative. You can say that I am all about the love for nature.

How did you manage career and motherhood?

Honestly, I struggled a lot and ended up taking a long break that was not my initial plan. It took me years to strike a balance but I had to prioritise. Every mom’s circumstances, health, struggles and support system are different and I believe no one should compare moms. For me, it was not quite possible to manage full-time work while raising my kid in his early years.

Tell us about your journey to motherhood and beyond!

I studied art, came to Mumbai for post graduation in Fine Arts and then started working as a web designer for some time. However, deep inside I knew paintings were my true calling.

I left my job when I was eight months pregnant because my workplace did not offer maternity leave. At that point, I was certain that I will start working again once my baby turned one. But, I ended up being at home for three years. I just wanted to be with my child in his early years but also missed working at the same time.

It was a tough phase and I eventually started working part time. I picked a job that was close to my house. I would drop my kid to playgroup, rush to work, rush back to pick him in time and go home. I was perpetually running all the time, it was insanely exhausting with all the household work as well. I used to earn well when I worked full time but the compromised pay of this job was highly unsatisfying. I kept feeling I deserve better, much better.

Eventually, when my kid was seven years old, I stopped working part time as well. I guess it just wasn’t meant for me. I wanted to focus on him rather than doing a job that neither paid me well, nor seemed interesting anymore. The painter in me kept nudging me to paint instead. My husband also encouraged me and supported me in pursuing my passion.

So did you start painting and exhibitions immediately?

I did start practicing my painting skills initially. I also started networking among artists and taking advice from them. I also visited several art galleries. It didn’t take much time then to stock up on my art supplies. The good thing was that I had the liberty to paint as per my convenience and from my home or studio. This way, I could be with my child and give him sufficient time while also focusing on my passion while he was in school.

So we can say that you gradually ‘brushed’ away your mom-guilt!

Yes, of course! It took me a lot of time to strike a work-life balance and follow my true calling, but I am here now. I think life teaches you a lot with the challenges it throws at you.

What tips would you like to give to moms who took a break from their career but are just not able to restart even after a few years?

See, I restarted my career after a gap of some three to four years. Before that I worked part time as well. I had never thought that I would take a break like that. It somehow led me to what I should have always done – painting! I would like to say that don’t lose hope if things are not going as per your initial plan. Keep the spark alive. If and when you think it is possible for you based on your personal circumstances, give it a try again! Don’t worry thinking if you could ever work again, that is if you wish to resume working. It might take a few months or years, but stay positive.

Remember to:

  1. Never give up
  2. Follow your dreams
  3. Start networking
  4. Start writing your goals (be it work or personal)

If you had a full-fledged career before having a child and don’t wish to start working again, that is okay too. You are a good mom raising a wonderful person, that is what matters the most!

Such an inspiring story, right? Personally, I haven’t been able to give more time to income based work since the birth of my child and was worried if and when I will be able to get back on track. Her story does make me feel better, hopeful and motivated! How about you?

You can check out her paintings on her Instagram page @deepa_artwork and for enquiries about paintings, commission work or workshops, email her on deepaanand.artist@gmail.com

M for Memories make the mom strong

Milliseconds after telling Beth that The Command was waiting to have Keith under its control, The Voice suddenly disappeared or was rather inaudible.

Morning was just a few hours away, so Tim, Holly and Dev decided to leave while Daphne and Evelyn stayed back at Beth’s place to comfort her.

Much to Daphne’s surprise, Beth did not wish to talk and headed to her room after ensuring that they were comfortable in the guest bedroom.

Memories are mysterious things –  one never manages to forget the bad times that keep haunting forever, but when a life is at risk, the good memories gently arrive making one feel that life isn’t that bad.

Much of Beth’s night was spent reminiscing about the happy moments with Grace, Keith and Rohit.

Meeting Rohit, her ex-husband, five years ago was one of her fondest memories as they couldn’t take eyes off each other at a common friend’s wedding.

My God Cassie, he is the most amazing single dad! You should have seen how he takes care of his one-year-old baby Keith. You will see, I will marry him someday,” Beth had told her best friend the day she met Rohit; they married only after a few months.

Maternal instincts had kicked in the moment Beth had held Keith in her arms for the first time and they had bonded instantly.

Mom, I love you,” Keith used to tell her daily until Grace was born.

Mom, I love my baby sister the most. I love you and dad also… a little bit,” he was the most loving and caring brother to Grace. 

Maybe if she and Rohit had not separated she could have spent more time with Keith, Beth thought as she regretted managing to meet him only on weekends.

Married or not, we will always try to spend weekends with both the kids and be the best parents ever,” it was Rohit’s idea who still was her 2 a.m. friend.

Misfortune always seemed to find Beth, but this time it was about the safety of her kids and she decided to do everything possible and even impossible to keep them safe.

Might as well put our superpowers to good use, let’s give our hundred percent when The Voice trains us. I don’t know what exactly my superpower is but I will definitely not let that Command hurt my kid or anyone else’s. Daphne, don’t worry about Evelyn, I will take care of her,” Beth surprisingly sounded positive during the breakfast, much to Daphne and Evelyn’s relief.

Meet me at the Andheri stadium at 11.59 pm tonight, you will have no trouble entering,” both Beth and Evelyn heard The Voice speak into their ears.

Man, what is with The Voice and number 59? He always makes me count till 59!” Evelyn said.

Me too,” Beth replied and continued to narrate the turbulent plane incident; it was about time the superheroes knew more about each other.

The story continues tomorrow in the next post. Did you notice that I managed to start each sentence of this chapter of the story with the letter M (I have managed to do the same from B to L posts)! This is my 13th post for this year’s A to Z Challenge (#atozchallenge). Head to my previous posts to read the entire story.
Read all my posts for the challenge in the A to Z links below:
A ➡ B ➡ C ➡ D ➡ E ➡ F ➡ G ➡ H ➡ I ➡ JKLM ➡ N ➡ O ➡ P ➡ Q ➡ R ➡ S ➡ T ➡ U ➡ V ➡ W ➡ X ➡ Y ➡ Z

G for Ghosts of the past

Before I proceed with the story, I would like to thank Aparna Nayak for helping me weave the gluten part in the story. This point onwards, the story has some parenting / motherhood angles so will also cater to the main theme of this blog – Mom and Ideas. I hope you enjoy reading.

Go to sleep now Grace, we can finish the painting tomorrow,” Beth told her four-year-old daughter again.

Gone were the days of being insanely adventurous, going on a solo trips, trying some super powers… all Beth needed now was a peaceful nap.

Grace’s gluten intolerance was not making things any easier and Beth spent any free time researching about it so that Grace could enjoy food like all other kids.

Gluten, a protein found in grains like wheat, barley and rye, finds its way in the junk food that kids love – pizzas, breads, cakes, etc.  wherein extra gluten is added in form of powder to increase the strength, rise, shelf life, and texture of the baked goods, which are not good for their health.

Google would tell her everything except where she could find a treasure of gluten-free foods for kids.

Getting your little ones to eat is like climbing the Everest, but when Gluten sensitivity comes into picture, it’s a whole new challenge!

Grace finally fell asleep as Beth added some gluten-free items to her online shopping cart and decided to check her mail before calling it a day.

Gmail showed her 20 notifications of which three emails were from Daphne – someone who had disappeared when Beth needed her the most.

Getting no replies from her and The Voice despite several desperate attempts had left Beth disturbed for many months after the flight incident six years ago.

Gradually, she had stopped thinking about it and a year later she fell in love with Rohit, an Indian entrepreneur, married him and moved to India.

Grace was born a year later and the couple separated after her second birthday; there was no drama, they realised that they were just not compatible and decided to raise their daughter together in Mumbai.

Going forward, her focus would just be her daughter, Beth had decided unaware that six years after the incident the ghosts of her past would come knocking at her door.

God knows why she is contacting me after so many years, should I read the mails or just delete them, Beth was confused.

———-
Thanking Aparna for the inputs on gluten! She is also participating in the A to Z challenge with wonderful posts that you can read here.

This story continues tomorrow in the next post. Did you notice that I managed to start each sentence of this part of the story with G, the letter of the day (I have managed to do the same from B to F posts)! This is my sixth post for this year’s A to Z Challenge (#atozchallenge). Head to my previous posts to read the entire story.

I’ll be posting daily except Sundays all through the month. Stay tuned. Read all my posts for the challenge in the A to Z links below:
A ➡ B ➡ C ➡ D ➡ E ➡ FG ➡ H ➡ I ➡ J ➡ K ➡ L ➡ M ➡ N ➡ O ➡ P ➡ Q ➡ R ➡ S ➡ T ➡ U ➡ V ➡ W ➡ X ➡ Y ➡ Z

A for Answer my question please, or maybe just be naughty

Mom: Would you like to have your food now?
Kid: (no response)
Mom: Please reply if you would like to have food now or after 10 minutes.
Kid: (no response, continues doing whatever the kid was doing)
Mom: I am asking you something.
Kid: (no response, looks elsewhere)
Mom: Will you please tell me if you are hungry now?
Kid: (no response, big time ignore)
Mom: WOW, look at this chocolate!
Kid: (instant response) Chocolate, where? I want it!

I recently came across the term – threenager. Have you heard this term? Well, my daughter is three years old and I might be using this word a lot I guess 😉 When you Google it, you will find various definitions. So I am not going to bore you with all those versions. Basically, it’s like a teenager phase but the much younger version!

My kid is not very naughty, in fact, she falls under the category where moms tell me that you are lucky that she’s not naughty. She recently started going to daycare for two hours and going out to play, and has discovered the power of certain terms and actions. I am actually glad that she is finally being like a child as she has only been around us grown-ups for really long. See, due to the pandemic, she was mostly indoors for two years (such a terrible thing for all kids that age, right?).

Kids this age in 2022 are actually in a very different phase than those who reached this milestone in the pre-Covid era. These kids have mostly been at home without any exposure to playgroups, preschools, parks, birthday parties and more importantly spending lots of time with kids their age. I am writing from India, so maybe the situation is different in other places, but we went through huge number of Covid cases and never-ending lockdowns. So these kids are suddenly coming out of their home cocoon and I feel really bad that they missed the gradual transition i.e. exposure to the real outdoor world in a way we had.

I, a first-time-mom, am learning new things every single day. More importantly, I am learning how to deal with 3-year-old stuff-that-needs-dealing-with in a very nice-momly way. It is obvious that, just like them, even the parents are not prepared for the sudden change. My daughter has just discovered the power of NO and the power of IGNORING 🙂 As much as I know that we have been lucky in this area as she was indoors for a weirdly long period, and as much as I am glad that she’s now enjoying her childhood the way she should, I do get irritated if I do not get answer to the same question when asked in 10 different ways. Come on, I am a human too and new to this behaviour 😉 It’s really fun when I look back at these incidents and talk or write about it, but it is sometimes really very difficult in that moment.

So, just like kids are now getting used to the normal times, we too need to be quick in adapting. It is like a jumpstart after a two-year gap. A one-year-old child would ideally start gradually mingling with the outside world and discover new things, one day at a time, while you would gradually grow up to parenting and teaching the rights and wrongs accordingly. But due to the coronavirus related delays, these kids are getting all that exposure suddenly and we are often left overwhelmed. So, while I too don’t have it all together at all times, I would like to say to think about the following when you are getting exhausted / irritated with the sudden behavioral changes:
1. Remember, it’s a sudden transition for them and they are exploring what happens when they behave in a certain manner.
2. You might have told the kid that certain things / words / behaviour are not right for kids, but they just found that the other kids do that. So they might be confused.
3. They are all too excited / not very comfortable to come across so many new people / kids suddenly, give them the time.
4. Kids are kids. They will be naughty, throw tantrums at times, not respond how you expect them to, say NO more often than you can imagine, etc. It’s okay. Try not to lose it in their presence.
5. C’mon, they were deprived of the normal childhood complete with all fun, naughtiness, falls from slides, playgroups, parks, zoos, etc. for a really long time. You have actually been lucky to spend so much time with them, right?

Anyway, here’s hoping that covid disappears soon and we stay sane and our kids stay a little naughty and very happy forever!

Taking this moment to pray for the kids in Ukraine and their parents. I can’t even imagine what they must be going through, their daily struggles, fears and challenges. We all know that the news cannot show the real picture and we can’t even watch what they are living through. May there be peace and love and normal times soon.

This is my first post for the letter A as part of the A to Z Blogging Challenge 2022. I’ll be posting daily except Sundays all through the month. Stay tuned.

Read all my posts for the challenge in the A to Z links below:

A ➡ BC ➡ D ➡ E ➡ F ➡ G ➡ H ➡ I ➡ J ➡ K ➡ L ➡ M ➡ N ➡ O ➡ P ➡ Q ➡ R ➡ S ➡ T ➡ U ➡ V ➡ W ➡ X ➡ Y ➡ Z

Don’t brush off your kids: Understand what they are trying to communicate


This is a guest post by Aryssa, a family coach who works with parents and kids.


It may not feel like a big deal to you but it’s a big deal for me!

Child: I fell over in school today and hurt myself.
Parent: Oh really, these things happen, it’s not a big deal. Now what would you like for dinner?

This may seem like a harmless everyday conversation and you know what, you’re right!

However, for your child it looks a little different.

Here your child is trying to communicate that he or she fell over and they want you to show compassion.

However, your casual response may indicate that their emotions are not valid and that you have more pressing things on your mind like – What to cook for dinner.

In your mind, you probably don’t want to make a “big deal” out of it and move forward.

However, your child may want you to ask more questions so he or she can tell you what they are thinking and feeling.

It could be that your child tripped and everyone started laughing which made them feel embarrassed OR It could be that he or she was pushed which is what caused them to fall.

Who said parenting was easy?

Our role as parents is to be conscious of all of the things our children are saying as well as all the things which they aren’t.

When we move on to talk about something else, they interpret that as “mum doesn’t understand me”, “dad isn’t listening to what I’m saying” or worse “my parents don’t care”! When of course you do!

Imagine you are talking to a friend about something that really upset you and they switch the conversation to talk about something else, how would it make you feel? The same is true of a child; only they are likely to be a lot more sensitive and take actions literally because of their level of understanding.

So, I invite you to be conscious when your child is talking to you and try not to brush them off. The more you connect with them, the closer your bond will be!

About the writer:
Aryssa is a family coach who works with parents and children to support them with their daily struggles. Her work is recognised for being fun and thought provoking. She creates a shift in mindset so individuals feel connected and inspired to live with positivity in this ever changing world. You can visit her website www.ryssdom.com and connect with her n Instagram here.

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Happy Parenting!