kids

Is your kid “foodthusiastic” at the dining table?

Do you cook once and eat it for a week? yuck! (sorry, I honestly didn’t mean to insult you) Are you killing your kid’s taste buds and enthusiasm with stale, reheated, boring food? Don’t you agree defrozen items from a Microwave Oven can never ever compare with a Mother’s warm and fresh magic delicacy?
In a world obsessed with Calories but not Kitchen Wisdom, at times when eating out is considered convenient and fashionable but cooking your daily food is looked down, with families hardly having enough time to cook, sit down and eat together, if your kid is NOT saying this everyday, every week, at least once in an year, then you as a parent is a complete failure:

“<grins>Mommy! You are the best cook in the world</grins>”

PYKFTW – NTWFYK

In the Pic below is one of the super man snacks that a kid can get… minapasunni

“ఇంటికి ఇనుము – ఒంటికి మినుము” కదా మరి 🙂
minapasunni

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Categories: తెలుగు, family, food, fun, health, indian, kids, kitchen, my, suggestions, traditional recipes | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Travel log: Six days in SoCal

Roadtrips in Southern California are sure a true mix of technology and nature. 2 days in Los Angeles, 2 days in Joshua Tree National Park and 2 more days in Legoland gave us a perfect blend of fun, infocation and entertainment.

Day-1:

what else goes first? The Universal Studios, yey.  Start early if you are visiting for the first time because you need to catch up with a lot of rides. And if its December-31st, then you would get to enjoy live music and frenzy crowd dancing until midnight and finish it with a brief but amazing fireworks.

Day-2:

Here you have a really lot of options. We went to the Science Museum for a leisure day of infotainment. Don’t miss the IMAX movie experience, its one of the biggest screens in the world.  You may prefer to stroll among the exhibits, but let kids roll all day and tire them with some science 🙂 You may drive to the BAPS swaminarayan temple if you have spare time and energy in the evening.

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Lotus Pond — BAPS Swaminarayan Temple, LA

Do you have the heat image of your family? :P

Do you have the heat image of your family? 😛

Day-3,4:

Drive to the Joshua Tree National Park, to slow down your watch and mind. Mesmerize yourself with a million stars in the sky and a zillion cacti on the ground :). The skull rock is silly but together with one of its kind — cholla cactus garden — would make a day full of fun for your kids. I think the baby cholla cacti  are some of the cutest in their category, no wonder they are called the “teddy bear cholla” 🙂 We did our first exotic hike of the year on the “hidden valley trail”,  with tall boulders all around, walk by the world-famous climbing destination the “Burrito rock” and of course watch your kids jump, climb and run in every direction. Its important to keep them on the trail, watch the plants and other micro organisms.  Test your leg muscles too and your shoe grip. There are no cabins inside the park, only campgrounds but there are many hotels just outside the park entrance.   If you are an astro enthusiast, then you are in the right place. Just go out after dark and grab yourself an experience of a life time.

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At the “Hidden Valley Trail” head

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It takes to become a Junior Ranger.

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Ranger’s check point

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Cactus cactus lots of cactus

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Skull Rock

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Cholla Cactus Garden

Day-5,6:

LegoLand. This is a place that sure entices every kid with a lifetime of memories. Their Lego characters coming live, trivial but funny rides and lots of walking and excitement around.

Legoland -- you can never leave without buying something :P

Legoland — You can never leave without buying something in that shop.

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Hero Factory 🙂

Bonus:

They say the roadtrip between SFO and LA would take at least a week if you are serious about all the places in between, thats so very true. But when you are doing it for the first time, don’t miss the Carrizo Plain National Monument and the Soda Lake.

Watching the San Andreas Fault stretch a hundred miles with your naked eye  leaves you in awe.

The Petroleum Highway and the thousands of “Oil Derricks” swinging like giant dolphins doing Sine curves will bring smile onto your face and explains something that drives that metal body under your steering wheel.  The “driving buds” in your brain would sure get some satiation 🙂

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Thats one grand plain and my next campground for star gazing 🙂

thats my best possible shot at the San Andreas Fault

thats my best possible shot at the San Andreas Fault — it stretches hundreds of miles on the West coast… Just from the Soda Lake with a good wide-angle lens, you can capture at least a few miles of it.. An iphone camera doesn’t do any justice to that spectacular view 😦

bumblebee on the south bed of Soda Lake

Bumblebee at the south bed of Soda Lake

Road in Carrizo Plain approaching Soda Lake south bed

Road between Taft and Carrizo Plain National Monument

Petroleum Highway & the Oil Derricks

Petroleum Highway — thousands of Oil Derricks

Right, thats all. There are many other places worth your time :).. Just start driving first.

thanks for reading.
B

Categories: California, car, family, fun, hike, infotainment, kids, national parks, outdoors, roadtrips, secret, travel | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Why is a Tooth-fairy so important?

why is a Tooth-fairy so important?  Enriching a childhood doesn’t always take a lot of planning or effort. You must ensure their imagination goes on and on and up and deep.. Because :

Better you imagine, better you create

and we need more creators in this world than consumers 🙂

Tooth-fairies probably are the most basic points of interaction with a kid’s imaginary world 🙂

Here is Kartik’s letter to the fairy and the gift she left on the window sill overnight. He is already excited about teleporting 🙂

 

Categories: family, fathering, home, kids | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

What the heck do kids learn outdoors?

For fun they played in snow
In pain they cried in snow
The contrast taught them a lesson which they don’t realize now

Take your kids to the great outdoors and face the elements, let them handle the inconveniences and they will quickly stop crying and start thinking solutions.

You can’t give them anything better as a parent… Anything.
    
what the heck do kids learn outdoors?

Categories: california, entertainment, family, fathering, fun, hike, kids, my, national parks, outdoors, roadtrips, winter | Tags: , , , , , , | Leave a comment

What do you want to be? happily rich? or richly happy?

What do you want to be? happily rich? or richly happy?

Categories: family, fathering, fun, kids, life, my, philosophy, urban | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment

French Fry Bajji

Don’t laugh but my new invention today is an instant hit with the kids and of course my wife’s exclusive letter of appreciation. Presenting to you the “French Fry Bajji”. After the kids’ rounds, add lot of chilli flakes to make your evening and also welcome the winter, hot hot 🙂
French Fry Bajji -- my new invention :)

Categories: family, food, fun, kids, kitchen, recipes | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment

Half-moon bay beach camping on a full moon day

My kids were camping for the first time and I wanted them to start big 🙂 so whats better than a beach front on the night of a full moon?  Book your campsite on the Half-moon bay, arrange for lots of food n drinks, carry a ton of firewood, plan your barbeque ahead, pitch your tent,  exhaust them on the sand, split the woods, fire the pit, show them how to manage fire, make a few smoking corn and let them avoid burning their lips, lights on, open the sleeping bags, teach them how to go to bed comfortably… All this when the waves of the great Pacific ocean are splashing heavily just a 100 yards away, with a chilling breeze making your fire most valuable.. 🙂

Enjoy the life with most basic amenities and appreciate the value

The cozy small place to stay for the night:
our tent a 100 yards away from the Pacific waves

Thats all you have:
car camping

smoking corn for the evening:
smoking corm for the evening

good night with no electricity:
good night

Thanks for reading, hope this inspires you to go out into the nature.

B

Categories: california, family, kids, life, moon, my, outdoors, roadtrips, state parks, summer | Tags: , , , , , | 2 Comments

Mussel Rock, McCluers Beach and the San Andreas fault in between

Not many would be interested to go to an Earthquake fault on a weekend road trip but what if you add a beautiful beach to it, and a stunning rock floor all filled with mussels, and a big tunnel in the rock with the high waves crashing and trying to close both sides of it? That would be one awesome day, trust me!

As for the record, Mussel Rock is the place where the San Andreas fault re-enters the land mass. The “Pacific Plate” and the “North American Plate” just rubbed against each other and made an 800 mile long fault that looks like a scar on the Earth’s cheek.. Isn’t it creepy?

And touching the edge of such a ” tectonic plate” with your human hands is like a crazy dream.

And then, all the rocks on the shore are filled with tiny black mussels, wow, why? Don’t miss the “hole in the rock” which is just one wonderful experience to sit in the tunnel and hear the crashing waves at both sides.  And another point close to the fault but far away from here is the McCluers Beach. We will do Fort Ross some other day, but this beach is hidden from the public view by few hillocks and the hike down took just 0.5 miles and you enter a private beach thats all your own 🙂

hole in the rock

mussels on the rocks

ever ever sand

ever ever sand

Thanks for reading. You have nice time too.

Categories: california, family, fun, hike, kids, my, outdoors, roadtrips | Tags: , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Travel log: Journey to the HOTTEST place ever recorded on the Earth

The HOTTEST place ever recorded on the Earth;
The LOWEST elevation below sea level in the entire Western Hemisphere;
The DRIEST place in the Western Hemisphere;
The TALLEST place in all of the lower US states;
The LARGEST National Park in the USA;

It may sound like crazy that I wanted to visit these places but the privilege of a Californian is to be able to cover them all in a day or two, so why not on a long weekend?  🙂 Yes, I am talking about the famous “Death Valley National Park” which is the largest (in fact larger than Yellowstone, yes, yes).  I never thought it would be so beautiful even though exhausting and dehydrating. We drove through the heart of the valley, its all a dry and barren land with extreme temperature and aridity but God made it “hellafa” beauty, I vouch.

  • Furnace Creek and Stovepipe are aptly named 🙂
  • Badwater Basin is a bold beauty and drains all the water out of you. It was 109°F (43ºC) when we were there
  • Natural Bridge intrigues you sure
  • Mesquite Dunes mesmerizes you
  • the “Death Valley Scenic Highway” is certainly scenic with multiple stops for water and pictures 🙂
  • Mount Whitney stands tall and makes all this rain shadow region what it is
  • Family trek to the Lone Pine Lake at 10k

And we didn’t actually get time to visit many other places like Zebriskie point, Devil’s cornfield, Ubehebe crater and Eurake Dunes etc.. Next time 🙂

Trip tips:   Carry lots and lots of water with you, sun screen, cooling glasses, hat, umbrella and whatever else that can protect you from the scorching sun and dehydration.

My Kids tried to breach the 10k elevation mark but had to turn back at 9153 due to bad weather. It still was a 4 mile hike on the slopes of Mount Whitney. We got two new friends and the 3 year old “Ashrita” was the most energetic:
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Badwater Basin at 282 feet below sea level
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Bumblebee’s “Off road” to the “Natural Bridge”:
"off road" to the "Natural Bridge"

“Salt Carpet” at the Badwater Basin
"Salt Carpet" welcomes you

“Natural Bridge” — It was cut thru by flowing water, once upon a time 🙂
Natural Bridge, Death Valley National Park

“Mesquite Dunes” — a desert in the heart of “redwood” state
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Another 1200 miles in the log.. um..and special thanks to Manoj and Punnami for accompanying us.

thanks for reading.

Categories: 2016, california, car, family, hike, kids, my, national parks, national parks, outdoors, roadtrips, summer, sun, trails challenge, travel | Tags: , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

kids’ saplings

Its important they plant seeds and then grow their understanding of nature along with the sprouts and saplings 🙂

kids' sapplings

Categories: family, fathering, fun, gardening, kids, my, outdoors | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

hiking thru Bear Gulch caves at Pinnacles

A superb start to the Spring 2016 with a 3.2 mile hike in the deep talus caverns of the Pinnacle National Park in the Bear Gulch Nature Reserve. My 5 year old kids did this full loop along with my senior citizen mother-in-law and everyone liked the narrow passages laughing heartily squeezing thru the wet rugged rocks 🙂

Don’t forget your headlamps:   Moses Springs Trail -> Bear Gulch Cave Trail -> Rim Trail -> High Peaks Trail -> Bear Gulch Nature center;

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Categories: 2016, california, family, fun, hike, kids, life, my, outdoors, state parks, summer, trails challenge | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

real time lessons

Daddy is painting after a long time 🙂 and his brief 5-minute lesson on drawing real time objects looks overly simple on paper but kids picked it up quickly and they even started drawing objects that are NOT displayed… If only you appreciate how difficult it is to imagine something in your mind and put it on paper whether its a painting or a write-up that you will spend those 5 minutes with your kids and give them a certain opportunity to open a new door in their minds 🙂

Its never too early to buy them easels..

Daddy's real-time-drawing lesson

Categories: drawing, family, fathering, fun, kids, life, me | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

unintentionally emotional blackmail :)


My kid innocently said:

Naannaa! Today after taking bath, I went to Puja room and chanted the sloka ‘Shuklam Bharadham…’ and then asked the Elephant God to give me ‘skating boots, helmet, walkie-talkie and binoculars’.

Daddy laughed his heart out but fainted with responsibility and of course happy (i) seeing him ask all outdoorsy items; (ii) that my kid’s correlation of his toys to be a grant of God;

Ain’t this the daily dose of warmth that is worth writing in my life book? 🙂  Whatz yours today?


 

Categories: emotions, family, fathering, fun, kids, life, my | Tags: , , , , , , | Leave a comment

earlier-better

earlier-better

Categories: california, family, fun, kids, life, my, outdoors, philosophy, suggestions, travel | Tags: , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

వెన్న మురుకులు

Packed with energy, this traditional snack made with fine grained black grams, lot of butter, generous amounts of ajwain with the rice flour base., is an instant hit and a childhood memory for every generation of tired kids.
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Categories: తెలుగు, food, health, indian, kids, kitchen, my, traditional recipes | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

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