Lucky And Vin

Our Imagination let loose; Opinions raging; Views bouncing between the pros and cons; Inventions and Solutions; Recipes for Success; Confusion of Relationships – All this and more under one roof between Lucky and Vin

   Dec 16

Sambica Christmas Carnival

Sambica Christmas carnival

Sambica Christmas carnival

Heard of the Sambica Christmas Carnival in Bellevue, Washington? We hadn’t but we are glad we did! It was one of the things we planned to check out during the month of December (as part of our “2012 Christmas list“).

Entrance to Sambica christmas carnival

Entrance to Sambica christmas carnival

Sambica christmas carnival is held at the Sambica (Sammamish Bible Camp Association) conference center at 4114 W Lake Sammamish Pkwy SE, Bellevue from December 7 to December 21, 2012. The event sounded promising with free snacks, fun games and a free pic with Santa. We decided this would be a good opportunity to take our son to see Santa for the first time!

Sambica christmas carnival pamphlet

Sambica christmas carnival pamphlet

We reached there by around 3.30pm. It’s not a very big place but the organizers seemed to have put in a lot of hard work to decorate and squeeze in a multitude of games and stalls. On entry, we were greeted pleasantly and were asked how we heard about the event to which we responded “Bellevue.com“!. We then headed to a large concave mirror, which caught our son’ attention. There was a small stall where volunteers were making balloon animals for the kids. We requested and got a poodle made for our son.

Sambica christmas carnival - First attraction - Concave mirror

Sambica christmas carnival – First attraction – Concave mirror

Unfortunately, our son was a little small to play most, if not all, of the games there so we were just watching other kids play and letting our son walk around and explore on his own. There was an inflatable family jousting area, a bounce house and about 5-6 other small games which would win you candy!!

Sambica christmas carnival - games

Sambica christmas carnival – games

After some time, we caught sight of Santa and Mrs. Claus taking time out to mingle with the kids and that’s when we remembered that we needed to get a pic taken with Santa.

Sambica christmas carnival - Santa

Sambica christmas carnival – Santa

Sambica christmas carnival - Santa with Mrs.Claus

Sambica christmas carnival – Santa with Mrs.Claus

We got into a small adjoining room where we waited patiently in line to get the pic taken. When our turn came, we were pleasantly surprised at how our son sat with Santa without making any fuss (in fact he seemed happy!) and posed for the pic.

Sambica christmas carnival - A beautiful  snowy creation

Sambica christmas carnival – A beautiful snowy creation

We then got a few refreshments while waiting for the pic (a hot chocolate, eggnog latte, popcorn and cookies!). By then our son’ poodle balloon had popped and he was getting restless. One of the boys made a really cute giraffe balloon for him which brought a smile to his face 🙂 We were amazed at how talented, patient and friendly the volunteers were.

Sambica christmas carnival - Complimentary snacks & drinks

Sambica christmas carnival – Complimentary snacks & drinks

Sambica christmas carnival - Complimentary snacks & drinks

Sambica christmas carnival – Complimentary snacks & drinks

When we finally got the pic, we found that it came out really well! It was the best part of this trip! 😀 They gave us a printed copy of the pic and promised to send us a soft copy too.

We had a nice time and really appreciate the efforts of the folks at Sambica. If you have kids, we’re sure they’ll have a great time there.

Wish you a Merry Christmas and a happy New Year! 🙂

PS: How was your experience? We would love to hear from you. Do let us know!

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   Nov 15

Osiris und Isis by Anselm Kiefer

Maybe it is my interest in the Egyptian mythology but of all the displays, the painting “Osiris und Isis” by Anselm Kiefer was which really bowled me over in SF-MOMA (San Francisco Museum of Modern Art). I just sat there and stared at it! Not only its size (which is physically imposing, measuring 150 inches by 220 inches) and the three dimensional effect, but there was something about the painting as though it was something real in front of me.. something that held immense sorrow and destruction.

Osiris und Isis by Anselm Kiefer @ SF-MOMA

Osiris und Isis by Anselm Kiefer @ SF-MOMA

Anselm Kiefer is a German Neo-Expressionist artist. Both a painter and a sculptor, his works incorporate materials such as ash, clay,straw, lead and shellac. He was born in the final months of the second world war in the age that Lauterwein describes as growing up “in a climate of simultaneous amnesia and guilt with no personal experience or memory of the Nazi regime”. Calling Kiefer a landscape painter would be a stretch and yet his powerful works are based in and of the land. Kiefer continually focused on German culture,history and mythology as his source of artistic inspiration. Nazi memory is ever present in his works.

In the epic Egyptian myth, Osiris’s brother Set kills him out of jealousy and scatters his body parts around the kingdom. Isis, both the sister and wife of Osiris, finds her husband’s remains and ultimately resurrects him. By both the title and method of the painting, Kiefer clearly refers to the trauma and destruction of Germany and the hope for reunification and purification.

Now, this painting by Kiefer is an oil and acrylic emulsion with additional three dimensional media. According to the SFO museum, “The parable’s theme of destruction and renewal speaks directly to Kiefer’s interest in reassembling and reclaiming elements of Germany’s history and identity at a time when so many of his compatriots seemed intent on forgetting. The painter illustrates humanity’s quest for heaven through an immense, stepped temple that dominates the scene. A television circuit board connects copper wires and shards of a porcelain plumbing fixture, which, scattered across the vast canvas, allude to Osiris’s strewn body parts. By conflating contemporary elements with a mythological story, Kiefer connects the modern and ancient worlds, forging a new, universal image of reunification and synthesis (with scars still intact).

[Source: http://www.sfmoma.org/explore/collection/artwork/171#ixzz2CHQqw9dE San Francisco Museum of Modern Art“]

Descript for Osiris und Isis by Anselm Kiefer

Descript for Osiris und Isis by Anselm Kiefer

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   Nov 14

Does schooling really prepare you for reality?

Answer this! During those school years, haven’t there been times when you must have thought, “I just can’t wait to leave school and get out into the world!”? The world – A place you believed everything would just fall into place and life would blossom like that fresh rose in your garden. Have you never told yourself while looking into the mirror, “I’m going to climb that ladder of success and wave the golden flag from high up in the sky. Because here I am, equipped with THE most powerful weapon; that weapon which I’ve been sharpening and mastering for the past 12 years – an ‘education’.”

All those 9 am to 3 pm school days sitting in the front seat of the class attentively, so as to not miss any of those precious words my teachers say. Taking down notes, underlining and color coding important sections, weekends rushing between the best tuition teachers and entrance coaching classes, shelves crammed with the thickest guide books and latest sample questionnaires, the daily glasses of Bournvita I drank, to help me grow smarter and reach an IQ where Einstein would hang his head down in shame! Studying under candle light not because of the lack of electricity but just because the newspapers wrote about a poor boy who did and scored 93% – And I thought that would motivate me! Days ruined because I lost that one mark which prevented me from being CLASS FIRST (Oh! The utter shame and disgrace!). And finally, the medals and hard earned certificates which at last got me the report card that said “PASSED WITH DISTINCTION”!

YIPPEEEE HERE I AM WORLD, I AM READY FOR YOU!! BRING IT ON!!

And bring it on it does like a huge splash of puddle water on my beautiful innocent face. Something you were not prepared for or taught about all your blooming years, “REALITY.”!!

The reality, that from now on, you are on your own. From now on life is your teacher. No classrooms, no walls, no report cards or pats on your back. No medals! You want it, you go get it. Nothing comes in a silver platter anymore and you know what’s worse? There are another 10 million like you running their own race, wanting the same things that you want.

How I struggled with differentiations and integrations and those frequent nights when the neighbors wake up hearing the repeating algebraic formulas a+b2=2ab=2cd*4bd (or something of the sort) like a mantra. Futile.

Bernoulli’s theorem, Boyle’s law, Ohms law and Charles law are just names of my ex-boyfriends now.

All I can really remember from lessons learned on World War 1, The Battle of Waterloo, the battles of Panipat, The Boston Tea Party, Huna invasions, Battle of Plassey, treaties signed and resigned, the French, the British – allies…enemies…… – is that Columbus got it wrong, sailed across an entire ocean and thought he reached INDIA. (POOR MATH BROTHER …!)

English poems read and recited passionately did not help my stammering when I wanted to declare my love to all those handsome hunks who other girls snagged away right in front of me year after year..

Learning how an amoeba reproduced surely did not come to my aid when it was my turn. Even when we excitedly reached animal reproduction all we were taught was that a whole bunch of sperms would go in and the egg would select only one lucky sperm and BOOM! After nine months, lo and behold – A baby. I remember my biology teacher answering an inquisitive boy’s question of, “but how does it actually happen as ‘It just happens.’!!!

So then again the whole process had to be learned from Google and other unmentionable sites and some amazing friends who were willing to clarify my doubts. (I take this opportunity to thank them on behalf of my future children)

What’s left of 3 years of French is ‘Bon jour’ and ‘Parle vous France?’ after which anything further asked would be met with a constipated face.. Or now, was it ‘Parlez-vous français’?!

Learning bharathnatyam did not help me when I had to go for parties and visit clubs. Synchronized dancing also did not come to my aid when I had my drunken friends doing moves where judges would have banged their heads on the table.

Economics, social studies and knowledge about democracy and finance management has not helped my feelings when I see my account balance or reading the newspaper about various political parties, elections, corruption, uneducated leaders strikes and bandhs. After 50 years of freedom the ‘rural’ and the ‘urban’ still remains the rural and the urban and the poverty line has decided to stay put.

Twelve years of education did NOT teach me that there are more types of people than just plain good and bad. Twelve years of school did not teach me how to handle a heart break, a cheating boyfriend, spoiled relationships and the death of a friend. The very famous saying, ‘First impressions are the best impressions’ has been disproved more than once now.

I was not taught how to hold on to my values and principles and morale despite the invariable pressures of life – Deadlines, unpaid bills, families to take care of, troublesome bosses, back-stabbing colleagues, people who will do anything and say anything to get what they want. Seen it all survived it all. Now, after a full circle, I realize that the only true people you can rely on are your family and friends.

Reality check! What I did not learn in twelve years, reality taught me in two. REALITY BITES!

So is schooling preparing you for the reality??

I leave it to you to decide.

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   Nov 13

Crème caramel

Crème caramel also known as flan or caramel custard is a custard dessert with a layer of soft caramel on top. It is a very simple and tasty dessert recipe for dinner parties. It has a mellowed sweet taste and can be made upto a day in advance. The best part is that it requires no extra garnishing other than a beautiful plate!

Creme Caramel

Creme Caramel

INGREDIENTS:

2 cup milk

4 eggs

Sugar- as required

Vanilla essence

1 loaf of bread

 

PREPARATION:
First, beat the eggs in a blender. Add milk ( It is better to use evaporated milk). Make sure the milk is cold when you add it to the egg mixture.
Once the milk and eggs have blended together, add sugar and one slice bread (chopped into pieces) and vanilla essence to it. Allow it to blend together for awhile.
Pour this mixture into a microwave safe dish and cook it in the microwave for 5 min.
After 5 min, check if it is done by piercing with a fork. If not, keep for another 2 or 3 minutes more.
TO PREPARE THE CARAMEL:
In a pan, heat the sugar till it starts to melt and starts to brown. To this, add some amount of water. Make sure you stand away from the pan while you add water. There’s going to be quite a bit of sizzling, so be careful – else you could burn yourself.
Once this sugar- water mixture starts to boil and remains in a thick consistency (take care not to let the mixture burn), pour it into the serving bowl while it’s hot.
Keep in the fridge to cool.
You can change flavors by adding stuff like citrus and fruit peels or maybe a pinch of coffee powder. You can even replace milk entirely to use soy, coconut or almond milk.
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   Nov 13

Get your kids to eat Beets!

Frankly, these deep red roots of beetroot aren’t anybody’s favorite. Maybe it’s because of its unique taste – it is kind of sweet and ‘earthy’! In short, “Yuck!”

Beetroot

But, the health benefits of a beetroot is enormous. Not only is beetroot great for boosting stamina and making muscles work harder, it is a storehouse of the minerals potassium, magnesium and iron as well as vitamins A, B6 and C, and folic acid. Beets also contain carbohydrates, proteins, good antioxidants and soluble fibres. It reduces your blood pressure, risk of heart attacks and risk of osteoporosis. Beetroots also lower cholesterol, stabilises the blood sugar, treats anemia and slows progress of dementia!!!

Yet, I myself am not a fan of beets unless you can somehow disguise it’s original taste. That brings me to a recipe which is going to make anyone who hate beets to ask for MORE of it!! Kids love it. (This is the one beetroot recipe that I have always loved!)

There’s this colorful dish called Beetroot Kichadi. It is an authentic Kerala dish prepared during sadyas (feast) and is a kind of raitha which is what makes it so appealing to begin with.

Ingredients ***:

3 grated beetroots (beets)

1/2 cup grated coconut

1 tsp mustard seeds

5 green chillies

2 cups yoghurt

1/2 cup water

3 dried red chilly

A pinch of turmeric powder

Salt to taste

1 tbsp oil

[***This is the most simple and tasty way of cooking this recipe. Some use shallots,ginger, garlic and cumin..but this is unnecessary.]

PREPARATION:

Grind together the grated coconut, mustard seeds, green chilies and the turmeric powder.

Mix it with curd and water. Keep aside.

Heat oil. Splutter mustard seeds.

Add the dried red chilly and grated beetroot into the pan. Saute well.

Pour the prepared yogurt mix into this. Add your required amount of salt, and keep stirring till it is JUST WARM. DO NOT HEAT IT.

Switch off the flame. Serve with plain rice.

Beetroot Kichadi - An authentic Kerala dish

Beetroot Kichadi – An authentic Kerala dish

By the way, for those confused with pachadi and kichadi > When you grind the mustard seeds to make the mixture, it is a kichadi. Else it is a pachadi! Now, that’s an easy way to remember, isn’t it?

 

FUN FACT: I read that since Roman times, beetroot has been viewed as an aphrodisiac! So now, all the more reason to have some beets 😉

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