Baby Shower Game Ideas | Baby Shower Activity Ideas

I have been going to many friends’ baby showers lately.  When I saw people in forums ask suggestions for baby shower games, baby shower decoration ideas, baby shower return gifts, etc, I thought of compiling a post on the game ideas I came across in the baby showers I attended.

Game Idea to Play with Friends: Fun Reading Tasks

Few months back I hosted a get-together at my place for my girlfriends.  A week before the get-together when I watched one of episodes of the Ellen DeGeneres show with Meryl Streep and how Ellen asked Meryl to do a couple of tasks, I instantly knew I had to transform that idea into a game to play with my girlfriends.  And boy, we did have fun!

[Note: This game is for adults!]

Here's what I did.  I printed out the tasks on small sheets of paper, folded them, and each one picked one paper.  Then each person had to perform the task given to them.  There is no acting, no props required.  Just sit in circle and read as the task demands.

I adapted the original idea and Indianized it for my Indian friends.  I gave it a lot of thought to come up with various tasks and actually researched a great deal to get proper details for each task.  This game idea was first published on SpushtChats - so if you find any other blog/website copy my ideas you know where to come inform me!

Baby Shower Party Favors | Return Gift Ideas

I was helping someone search for baby shower favor ideas (return gifts for guests) and thought of compiling a post on what I found.  Giving return gifts to guests on baby shower may not be a preference for some people, especially after throwing a grand party.  But a token of thanks conveyed with a return gift as a keepsake for the guests is a practice almost everyone follows these days.  If you are looking for a party favor for your/someone else's baby shower, in this post I am listing out few things and ideas I like and do not like.
[image source: MS Word clip art]

Cupcake Flower Basket / Cupcake Bouquet

You know I like gifting baked goods when we're invited for lunches/dinners.  This time I made a cupcake flower basket with eggless vanilla cupcakes and vanilla buttercream frosting.

Spusht | Cupcake Flower Basket

Why is solar eclipse such a big deal?

There was a partial solar eclipse on 23rd October 2014, and since the date coincided with the festival of Diwali, thousands of people kept debating whether they should celebrate Diwali a day before or on the day of the eclipse.

I heard some people ask whether they should cook before the eclipse and leave a tulsi leaf (considered holy by Hindus) in the food to consume the food after the eclipse.  Or the food that will be cooked in the morning should be thrown away after the eclipse.

I heard some people say that pregnant women should not chop vegetables or cut anything during the eclipse, otherwise it affects the unborn babies.  Three people with different family members told me the story of how one pregnant woman cut something during eclipse and her baby was born with some problem.

Bollywood (Hindi) Songs on Adornments / Jewelry / Ornaments

I searched far and wide on Google for a list of Bollywood songs related to jewelry.  There was a game I was planning for a kitty party for which I needed some examples of Hindi songs on women's ornaments.

There are SO many songs in Bollywood that have to do with earrings, necklace, anklet, henna, bangles, etc!  I was not looking for particularly the "solah shringar" (16 adornments of an Indian bride) or wedding-related songs; just the ones that mention any jewelry or ornament.  But I did not find a single post on the internet where the songs were listed.

So after much research, here's my compilation - remember, this list of songs and this post about Bollywood songs on adornments was first published on this blog SpushtChats!

Cupcake Bar | Creating a Tiered Cupcake Display

I showcased over 200 cupcakes at an event last weekend.  200 mini cupcakes plus two dozen standard size.  I'm not the kind of person who would have invested in cupcake towers or the tier stands for this number of cupcakes.  So, I made a 'cupcake bar' display for the event, that I can now use at any event, and can keep changing the designs as I wish.  Do you want to know how I made this, and how you can also easily make this cupcake display at home?

second birthday surprise for hubby

The first birthday surprise I planned for Alok was a treasure hunt with birthday gifts, two years back.  Last year, I surprised him by inviting our close friends home for dinner.  He had NO idea whatsoever.  I planned a "chaat" menu.  The best part was that my friend who stays just a few units away helped me in shopping and storing things at her place.  So when I started preparing and cooking some dishes a day or two ahead, I passed it on to keep in her refrigerator.  That way, Alok had no idea what was cooking behind his back, literally.

And then, on his birthday...

Preparing for Dinner Parties at Home

Ever since the disorganized dinner I hosted two years back, I learned a few lessons on preparing for dinner parties at home.

I plan my menu as I used to do before, starting from appetizer to dessert, and try to add variety.  Grocery shopping list is prepared and shopped.  While I used to cook and prepare everything the very day of the invite, I have now started chopping and prepping a day ahead - only the things that take time and will not wilt, get soggy, or spoil by the next day.

If I'm planning to make Chhole, I will soak and pressure cook chickpeas a day ahead.  Dessert can easily be prepared ahead of time.  Potatoes can be parboiled and refrigerated.  If I'm planning to make raita, I'll make sure my curd is set a day ahead.  In case anything does not work out, it gives me a chance to change my plans and cook something else.  Rushing to the grocery store for little things is never in my books.

Vegetarian Breakfast or Meal Ideas for Busy People

A friend messaged me few days back: "I need some creative quick meal/lunch bowl recipes. Basically, what a student with lesser than 20 minutes to eat would cook?"

And when I was chatting with my cousin today, she asked me to suggest some "accha naashta fast and tasty".

"Naashta" in Hindi could mean breakfast, or a snack anytime throughout the day, or an appetizer.  The appetizer, in this case, could be quite light or pretty filling - almost like a meal.  My cousin has her hands full with two kids, goes to work, and has a tight schedule, and wanted quick and easy breakfast ideas.  My friend, busy studying for her MBA, has little time to cook.

How to earn money from blogging?

Many people start a blog in their free time.  Many start blogging because they want to share their knowledge.  Many people blog to showcase their talent.  And many people start a blog with the goal of making money.  I received a question from a reader few days back:
hey hi nisha,
i have heard that u earn while u does that go... i mean practically... please explain me how...
There are three ways to earn money from blogging -

1) Advertisements: The ads that you see on any website or blog, whether a still picture or an animated banner - they are either Google AdSense, or some other ad service providers, or some sponsored ones.

Agitated over being addressed as "Aunty"

Yesterday I was following a discussion among some Indian women, who mentioned how annoyed they became if someone addressed them as "aunty" or "didi" - despite being almost the same age or even older than them.  One of the women said, it's probably because of the way she dresses up and looks older than her age that someone addresses her that way.

One particular woman went on to say that just because someone is insecure, has self-doubt, wants to cover up their age, and wants to feel younger - they call the others as "uncle" or "aunty".  And that they are arrogant by calling others as aunty/didi/bhabhi, etc and forcing relationships instead of just calling by the first name.  And by those suffixes of aunty/didi/bhabhi to the first name, it's just "fakeness" and does not bring out the genuine respect.

List of Vegetarian Menu Ideas – from Appetizer to Dessert

Our small circle of family friends back home usually hosted dinner at one or the other person’s place every few weeks.  My aunt was hosting one at her place last year and was discussing some menu ideas with me.  As I mentioned each dish, either she already made it before or she recently ate at someone else’s place.

You know, ‘what to make for dinner?’ and ‘what to cook for a party?’ are the most common questions you and I have as the master chefs of our home.  So while searching through cookbooks and websites for some dishes, I realized having a database at one place would be a good idea – at least starting from Indian food.

Conversations with my husband during dinner...

Me: One last bite, please. Only a little is left, I don’t want to keep it until tomorrow, please finish it up.
Alok: Man, you are making me overeat.
Me: (rolling my eyes) Just one bite does not make you “overeat”.
Alok: If you hang from a mountain with a rope that is about to break and that last thread remains, even if an ant comes on top of you, the rope will break and you will fall down. This one bite is the same thing.
Me: An ant? With a weight of .001 gram? Will make you fall down?
Alok: (with a straight face) Yes.

I tell ya – my husband has made my life entertaining in more ways than I can count.

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Alok: I think I eat a lot.  I don’t see any other colleague eating so much.  I think everyone is health conscious.  But I don’t become fat, so I think it’s okay.  But I really like to eat, I cannot help it.
Me: Come on, it’s fine.  I like to cook for you.  The only problem is the days you go to gym or workout, you think you MUST eat double food to make up for the energy.  That shouldn’t happen.
Alok: But I feel bad you have to cook so much for me.  I’m sorry I eat like a monster.

I had to stop laughing before I could eat the next bite.

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Train Your Brain

I was watching a video by psychologist Shawn Achor on TEDTalks and loved something he said that I'd like to share here:

There are ways we can train our brain to become more positive. If you spend 2 minutes of your time in the day and do the following things continuously for 3 weeks in a row, you can actually rewire your brain and allow it work more optimistically and more successfully.

our recreational activity: assembling furniture

A friend saw pictures of my canvas painting, she thought it was really sweet and said she really liked how Alok and I tried a creative activity together - something not all husbands would be ready for.  Surprisingly, it did not take much persuasion and Alok was ready to try canvas painting for the first time on one of the days of a long weekend, and he enjoyed it.  One of the other pastimes we have enjoyed in the three years together is assembling household furniture.

The glass of juice

Over dinner one day, I served food on our plates and began pouring fruit juice in our glasses. Alok told me he did not want the juice.  Despite that I was continuing to pour the fruit juice in his glass when he got angry and said, “I told you I don’t want.”  But I knew he did.

While eating, he took a sip of the juice from my glass.  Halfway through the dinner, my glass was half empty and I was beginning to get annoyed.  I suggested, “If you want the juice you can take some in your own glass, you know?”

He got angry (for no reason, as always) and said, “If you had a problem with me drinking from your glass you should have just said it.  I’m sorry, I will never drink from your glass again.”

I replied, “I don’t have a problem with that.  I have a problem when you angrily tell me you do not want something when I do it, but continue to do the same on your own.”

He got angrier and said, “Okay, just stop it now.”

He obviously did not appear in a good mood, but one thing was clear – he does not want his own glass of juice just because he wants to take ‘sips’ of juice from mine.

And they say it’s impossible to understand women?

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History repeats itself

Until about four years ago, I was the kind of girl that if I stepped into the kitchen, it would cause stress to my mom and the house help.  I rarely cooked and hardly even looked into the cabinets.  But the day I’d opened the drawers, or look through the containers – I’d complain.
“Why don’t you clean the cutlery tray?  There is so much dust.”
“I still see some spots on this plate and glass, rinse it again.”
“Why don’t you label the containers?  I don’t know what’s what.”
“Why are you keeping these bowls and pans here?”

Non stop.

My mom would be so annoyed: “You don’t come in this kitchen the entire year, and when you do all you want is to complain and mess my whole kitchen.”

Today, I know that drawers and cutlery trays cannot be cleaned every day.  Every container does not need a label.  Some things have to be kept at certain places.  And you organize your kitchen based on YOUR accessibility and convenience – not for others.

But now I have a hard time explaining this to my husband.  Because he does the same thing today.  He will be the exact pain in the ass that I was once upon a time, and grumble about everything that is there and that I do in my kitchen.

Like they say, history repeats itself.

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Need my help?

Two years back…Apurva called, “Is there anything else I can use instead of vanilla extract?”
Last year…Swati Bhabhi called, “I kind of burnt my ghee. Do you have any idea what I can do with it now?”
Few months back…Ipsi called, “I’m getting this red velvet cake mix box, what can I use in place of eggs?  Wanted to check with you if there’s anything I need to buy from the store or I might have at home.”

Those are just few of the phone calls I can recall at the moment.

Some months ago…