31 October, 2019

5 Best Netflix kids' shows right now

Netflix is a great TV subscription service for every age and for every mood. I got introduced to Netflix just 4 years ago. I am impressed with the quality of content. 

I don't know who told that TV is an idiot box, but why can't we make TV time knowledgeable? Here is my opinion on TV time for kids. 

If there is any TV show that a family can watch for fun, relaxation and to gain knowledge as well, Isn't it a great pick? Here are some of our family favorites, especially to my kids who want to watch good shows and also learn something out of it.

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5 Best Netflix Kids' shows


1. Story Bots


You all know if you are a parent that kids ask a lot of questions. Why to brush? Why to sleep early? How the Earth is formed? What is gravity? blah blah.. 

It is always good to encourage curiousness in kids as they learn more by asking questions. But, how much can you explain to little kids who are below 8 yr olds? They are not introduced to all concepts of Physics and Electronics yet, right? This TV show is really helpful in that case.

This TV show answers some of these questions in detail in a way that kids can understand in simple terms. They have songs too in the middle and cool graphics and paintings to make them understand better. If you have young kids, I say, don't miss this show.

2. The Farthest : Voyager in Space


This documentary is about a space ship Voyager which was launched in 1970's. This spaceship sent the closest images of Jupiter, Saturn and Uranus to the Earth.

This 1hr 36 mins documentary is excellent  to watch with kids. This show is inspiring with captivating tales of how the Voyager is made, the people behind it and the events that took place. A must see for your children.

Google images labeled for reuse

3. Lego Ninjago Series 


Unlike other cartoons, Lego Ninjago is both fun and adventurous. Nothing knowledgeable, but a good show for kids. 

I like the way the story shows the importance of morals, love, emotions and heroism with imperfections. This has a whooping 11 seasons of story, so unlimited fun. My kids love this show.



4. Brain Games


Our recent love. The whole family enjoys watching this show. So, we watch this show daily for at least 20 mins in the night before we sleep. Food for brain as well.

Through this show we learnt a lot of new things about our brain.

So, A must-watch show for families with kids. Enjoyable and knowledgeable.

PC:www.pixabay.com

5. One Strange Rock


This documentary series tells us an extraordinary journey of the Earth in unique perspective. Hosted by Will Smith, this show is explained in simple terms so that even kids can understand. 

Each episode delves into the important aspects that make our planet beautiful and unique. They cover some important topics like How oxygen is formed, how this oxygen is enough for all living beings on the Earth, How Amazon Rain forests and a specific bacteria in an ocean help thrive the human species etc.,

A must watch if you want kids to understand our planet.
Google images labeled for reuse


Those are my Netflix recommendations. What shows do you suggest for kids?

I know, there are multiple excellent shows out there for kids, explore and make TV time fun and knowledgeable. What do you say?

Until next time,







Halloween Book Blast



 photo BOOK BLAST_zpslw7xqh2e.png

WELCOME TO THE HALLOWEEN BOOK BLAST! 

Click on any of the below book covers to be taken to the page that has more information on the novel as well as the Buy Links!

Before you leave, don't forget to enter the Giveaway!



29 October, 2019

24 October, 2019

Greenery in the Fall #ThursdayTreeLove

Some greenery too in the fall. 

Eventually all trees shed their leaves by winter but only a few trees like Maple, cottonwood,  Aspen etc will change colors before shedding their leaves.

I didn't know this 4 years ago and I thought all trees will change color in the Fall.






Until next time,







Linking this post to #ThursdayTreeLove blog hop hosted by Parul

Hallowed Ground: The Mystery of the African Fairy Circles by Paul Twivy - [Book Review]



This magical story is inspired by the most haunting and least explored country in the world - Namibia - with its foggy Skeleton Coast, buried goldmines, shocking secrets and awe-inspiring sand dunes.

Spread across the face of its deserts are hundreds of miles of ‘fairy circles’ : vast enough to be seen from space.  They grow and die with the same lifespan as humans, yet no-one has been able to explain why or how they appear.

Then one day, three teenagers and their families arrive from different parts of the globe. Helped by bushmen, the buried possessions of a Victorian explorer, and a golden leopard, they solve the mystery of the African Circles. What will be discovered beneath the hallowed ground? And how will it change the future of the planet above it?

Purchase Links


My Review :

4 teenagers from different countries and places meet at Augustineum, a boarding school in Namibia and become friends. Fred, Joe, Hannah and Selima are curious, intelligent and brave. They are curious to know about the Fairy circles in South Africa, which are expanded hundreds of miles and are vast enough to be seen from space. 

As part of the school science project, they dig deep into the matter and fortunately their parents' backgrounds help them in the discovery. 

The story is a fiction, but it is written so well that we feel every thing mentioned in the book is true and relevant to today's world. I like how the author has maintained the suspense till the end by simultaneously giving a message about the environment sustainability and the connection of humans to the nature. 

The plot is a big plus. This book also gives us a brief about the African culture, the place, weather, their food habits, their problems etc., I am impressed to read about the places in Namibia like the largest sand dunes, the crates, the caves with drawings etc., The book mentions research facts about fairy circles, the previous findings from scientists which made me read more on this topic. 

The title of the book is apt and the book cover is amazing. I have really enjoyed reading this fiction. The author's writing style is impeccable.The pace of the book is perfect.

My Rating : 5/5

PS: I have received this book from Rachel's Random resources for free in exchange for a review and this is my honest opinion on the book.

Author Bio –

Paul Twivy studied English at Oxford University and became one of the most famous British admen. He has written comedy and drama for the stage and radio.  He edited the bestseller Change the World for a Fiver. He is married with five children. He was inspired to write Hallowed Ground by his first-hand experiences of the extraordinary landscapes and culture of Namibia.



Until next time,




22 October, 2019

The Cute Dragons made of Paper plates #wordlesswednesday

These cute dragons and a heart between them are made of only paper plates decorated by all kids in my son's school.
Creative, isn't it?




Until next time,

Linking this post to #wordlesswednesday hosted by Natasha and Esha.


OPOS Cooking - Fast and Healthy way of cooking #MondayMusings

OPOS means - One Pot One Shot

This way of cooking is fast and healthy. It requires minimum vessels, minimum water and less time. This is nothing but pressure cooking that we know from childhood but done at higher pressure in less time.

We, Indians are used to our pressure cookers and depend on them for Rice and Dal especially. So, there is nothing more we need other than 2 Ltr Pressure cooker to experiment this nutritious way of cooking.



OPOS is a set of scientifically validated instructions to cook faster with hygiene. So, without any concerns, you can try this method.

I got introduced to OPOS through a Facebook friend and when I searched on Google, I found a lot of information and multiple basic videos on You tube. The following facebook group helped me to learn the OPOS technique:

https://www.facebook.com/groups/OPOSSupportGroup/

This support group has all the basic lessons and also helps the new comers to clarify their doubts. The OPOS® methodology has been created and copyrighted by Mr. Ramakrishnan of One Page Cookbooks fame.

You can join the facebook group and complete the 2 basic lessons. I tell you.. you can't stop from there.




Why OPOS Cooking?

For me, daily cooking is a boring chore. I try to finish cooking and come out of the place as soon as possible. Kitchen is not my happy place at home. So, when I could cook any curry in 5 mins, Iam all for it.

Added bonus is that the nutrition values are retained in the vegetables due to pressure cooking. Since only one pot is used, reduces the hassle of washing more dishes after cooking.  


How it works?


Usually, we put all the ingredients like Vegetables, spices, 2 spoons of water, around 1 spoon of oil as layers in a pressure cooker and cook them at high pressure. In high heat, you might get 2 whistles within 4 mins. Then, we switch off the stove and release the pressure by some spoon/ wooden stick. Vegetables will be perfectly cooked retaining the color and nutrition. We mix and serve. 

That is a generic recipe for you all to get an idea. But, you should follow exact instructions to get success. So, try and let me know how you feel.

So far, I have tried Cauliflower tomato curry, Beans fry, Paneer butter masala, Penne Pasta and Wheat rava upma in OPOS method. Each of them took just 5 mins. 
Cauliflower fry- the layers in pressure cooker 

Cauliflower fry after mixing



Of course, There is an argument that it won't be as tasty as made in a pan in regular process. But, for me, except Paneer butter masala, everything I tried came out tasty. So, try for yourselves before deciding.

Until next time,




Linking this to #MondayMusings hosted by Corinne at everyday gyaan.



19 October, 2019

Top 5 Black Friday shopping tips #BlackFriday

November 29th is the Black Friday,  which is the most important day for shoppers. With so many in-store promotions,  door busters and online deals, it is kind of overwhelming. So, here are some tips to get the best deals and shop peacefully.

Even though Black Friday is in the end of November,  many stores announce their promotions and deals from first to second week of November itself. So, watch out, note down and plan earlier.




Plan Early:

I know, this tip looks simple but it is very helpful. First, prepare a shopping list. Then, wait for the stores to release their first ad for Black Friday. If the items of your shopping list are present in their ads or door busters or online deals, note down all the details.


Know the timings, terms, refund policies :


Being aware of where to buy the items is not enough. If you are targeting on door busters,  know the terms and timings. Usually,  some stores open very early and give door busters only to the first 50 or 100 customers. So, going to the store early and being in queue first really matters.

Ensure you check the refund policy. If you are planning to buy gifts, remember to get gift receipts. Usually,  many stores allow to refund within a month.


Check Online Deals :

In this generation,  Black Friday shopping changed towards online shopping. Many doesn't have patience to go early and stand in queues. There are multiple sites which help in finding the best deals online.

Slickdeals is one such site which offers money saving offers and best deals. The coupons mentioned in the site will be helpful always but especially during Black Friday shopping,  ensure you check deals in this site.

Slickdeals is the best place to find Black Friday deals and sales. 

If possible,  buy gift cards on discounted price from raise.com. You can use them on your favorite stores on Black Friday to double the money saving.




Focus and don't get carried away :

Shopping is enticing. If you go to kohl's to buy an Instant pot, you might get stuck with other great deals before reaching to Kitchen items section. 

Yes, there is always a chance of overspending and buying unwanted things but sometimes this distraction can make your must-shop items go out of stock.

So, focus. Buy whatever you want first before browsing through other categories.


Start Early or Shop till late to avoid crowds :

Start early after having good breakfast. Leave kids at home so that they don't get irritated and spoil your shopping mood. Carry cash so that billing can be faster in case of big lines.

So, those are some tips that worked for me. What strategies work for you to save more on black Friday and shop peacefully? Do let me know in comments.

Until next time,






PS: I am glad to collaborate with Slickdeals for this post and the tips mentioned are from my own experience. 

18 October, 2019

The Palace of Illusions by Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni - [Book Review]

Book Details :

Title: The Palace of Illusions
Author: Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni
Genre: Mythology, Historical Fiction
Print Length: 388 pages
Publisher: Anchor; Reprint edition (February 6, 2009)
Publication Date: February 10, 2009
Sold by: Random House LLC
Source: A copy from local Library




Blurb:

A reimagining of the world-famous Indian epic, the Mahabharat—told from the point of view of an amazing woman.

Relevant to today’s war-torn world, The Palace of Illusions takes us back to a time that is half history, half myth, and wholly magical. Narrated by Panchaali, the wife of the legendary Pandavas brothers in the Mahabharat, the novel gives us a new interpretation of this ancient tale.

The novel traces the princess Panchaali's life, beginning with her birth in fire and following her spirited balancing act as a woman with five husbands who have been cheated out of their father’s kingdom.

Panchaali is swept into their quest to reclaim their birthright, remaining at their side through years of exile and a terrible civil war involving all the important kings of India. Meanwhile, we never lose sight of her strategic duels with her mother-in-law, her complicated friendship with the enigmatic Krishna, or her secret attraction to the mysterious man who is her husbands' most dangerous enemy. 

Panchaali is a fiery female redefining for us a world of warriors, gods, and the ever-manipulating hands of fate.

Purchase Link:

My Review:

It's really tough to write a mythology/ historical fiction without changing the focus of the epic. Mahabharata is an epic which most of the Indians know from childhood through different stories. Like everyone else, I too listened to all these stories and I am amazed that the author didn't deviate from the actual story and covered all important events. 

This novel is written from the perspective of Drupadi, the wife of Pandavas. The author covered some less known facts which show the personality of Drupadi to the readers - her childhood, her relationship with his brother Dhri and Krishna, her desire for Karna , her feelings about Kunti , her husbands etc., 

Chitra's story telling skills and her narration are astounding. The way she makes her readers learn about the characters is amazing. The character building is exemplary. 

This book made me remember all those multiple stories about each character in Mahabharat once again. 

A few things that didn't strike a chord to me?

There is too much mention of Karna and desire of Drupadi over him and her concern. I don't think it is real but just fiction as no other Mahabharata mentions the relationship between Karna and Druapadi. So, eventhough narration is so interesting and believable , I couldn't accept these episodes.

The final part or the last few pages are very important for the story where Panchali clarifies all her doubts from Krishna, but this episode felt like a lot of dragging and made it boring for some time.

Other than the above mentioned points, this book is the best re-telling of Mahabharata. I appreciate the author as she might have done a lot of research on this epic before writing this book.

My Rating: 5/5

I recommend this to people who love to know more about Draupadi and her role in the Kurukshetra. 

About the Author:

Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni is the award-winning author of 18 books. Her themes include the Indian experience, contemporary America, women, immigration, history, myth, and the joys and challenges of living in a multicultural world. Her work has been published in over 100 magazines and anthologies and translated into 29 languages, including Dutch, Hebrew, Hindi and Japanese. She has won numerous awards, including an American
Book Award and the internation Premio Scanno Prize. Divakaruni also writes for children and young adults.

Two of her books, The Mistress of Spices and Sister of My Heart, have been made into movies. Her novels One Amazing Thing and Palace of Illusions have been optioned. Her collection of stories, Arranged Marriage has been made into a play.

She was born in India and came to the United States to continue her education, receiving a Master’s degree from Wright State University in Dayton, Ohio and a Ph.D. from the University of California, Berkeley.

She lives in Houston with her husband Murthy and has two sons, Anand and Abhay (whose names she has used in her children’s novels).



Until next time,

16 October, 2019

Will this truck fit? #wordlesswednesday

Do you think, this car can go through the tunnel?

It did, anyways. This pic was taken at Custer National park in South Dakota. This road is called Needles highway.


Until next time,

Linking this post to #wordlesswednesday hosted by Natasha and Esha.


10 October, 2019

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