Thursday, September 4, 2014

Celebrating Siblings

In August, India celebrated a big festival called Rakhi, which celebrates siblings.

It's said that it all originated back in the old days when the men were going off to battle and their sisters would give them a blessing to keep them safe, and would tie a bracelet on their wrist in symbol of this. In return, the brother would give his sister a gift of money to provide for her while he was gone.

Present day, it has morphed into a time for brothers and sisters to celebrate each other. The sisters put a tikka mark on the brother's forehead to give him a blessing, feed him an almond or other small snack, and then tie a decorative bracelet on his wrist. The brother then gives the sister a present!

There's one family here in particular that we've become really close to that has adopted us into their family, so they invited us to their home to celebrate Rakhi together! It was so fun, and really neat to take part in the culture!

We got to their house and first they served us some delicious appetizers and juice. I'm not exactly sure what everything was, but one thing was like a fried potato pancake, and it was delicious. They had bought gifts for both of the kids, which were perfect to entertain them in a non kid-proof house :)  Then we did the official Rakhi ceremony. 

Playing with their new toys - a block and car set, and Layla's first Barbie

Ankita tying the bracelet on Kyle

Aditi giving Kyle the tikka

Landon wasn't quite sure what was going on, but he was a good sport

Giving the tikka to Arjun

Layla tying the bracelet on Rajesh's wrist. He's the father of the family

Feeding Rajesh an almond...that she dropped on the floor

Landon showing off his Rakhi bracelets
Kyle bought the girls really cool looking boxes of truffles at a special chocolate store he visited while he was in Delhi the day before. Landon gave them pictures he colored with their names on them :)

After the bracelet tying and gift giving was done, their mom had made us an amazing meal. Their family is from Punjab, so all the food was traditional veg Punjabi food, and I must say...I think Punjabi is my favorite type of Indian food :)

On our way home we swung by the restaurant they own to drop off Megha's gifts because she was working (she's the manager...and this is our favorite restaurant in town). They all loved the chocolates, but Landon stole their hearts with his pictures. 

It was a really fun, although really late evening...we didn't get home till 11, which is obviously way past the kids' bedtime! One of our favorite parts of being in India is getting to experience the true culture...we're so thankful to have met people who include us in their family and allow us to get the genuine experience!

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Layla's Life Goals

She'll get to check two more off in March of 2015!

Due March 10, 2015!

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Their Strange Addiction

Hi, we're Landon and Layla, the adorable little kids who inhabit this blog.

Today we're ready to make a confession. We have a strange addiction.
We like to get out of our nice, comfortable beds, and sleep on the hard floor.
There's really no explanation for why we like to do this, but we do probably 5 out of 7 nights, and sometimes even for naps! Mommy and Daddy have to come in after we're sleeping and move us back into our beds.

 Sometimes I (Landon), even like to sleep on the floor, under my bed, behind all the suitcases stored under there. It's my personal little cave. That's why you can't see me in the above picture.
 But sometimes I sleep in front of the suitcases...
 And sometimes in the corner.

Mommy just doesn't know what to do with us. Good thing we're so cute!

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

My Two Cheeseballs

I was trying to take a picture of the back of their sweet heads together, but Landon turned around.

 Fun at the arcade!

 Layla decided to try to put 5 pairs of underwear on at the same time.

Hopefully this means she's ready to catch on to potty training this time because we started Try Two today!

Saturday, July 5, 2014

Baking Fun!

Last weekend was definitely a first (and super fun!) experience!

Our favorite restaurant, The Corner Courtyard, was hosting a baking demonstration and then book launch signing by India's "first lady of the dessert world", Pooja Dhingra. We are good friends with the family that owns and runs the restaurant, so when the manager, Megha, told us about this event, I knew I wanted to go! I also knew that my friend Laura would LOVE it as well, since she was a food/bakery science major in college!

We arrived in the afternoon to a room full of (mostly) college-aged, eager Indian girls ready to learn some new baking skills. I got to meet Pooja briefly beforehand with Megha, and she was so nice and so sweet! She did an interactive demonstration of 3 of the recipes from her new cookbook, and gave a lot of overall tips about baking. It was so fun!
Although she didn't teach anything that Laura and I didn't already know how to do, she did have some GREAT advice about substitutions/where to get things to bake in India. She studied at Le Cordon Bleu in France, and then came back to India to launch her baking empire, so she understands our pain of not being able to find all the ingredients we have available to bake with back in America!
Of course everyone got to taste the goodies "we" made, and they were scrumptious!

 Laura and me with posing with Pooja!
Megha, me, Pooja and Laura
After the demonstration we bought copies of the cookbook and got them signed :) We were able to ask her a couple of follow up questions about how she converts recipes to India, which was so helpful! The cookbook actually has a lot of great recipes and super useful tips in the front - I'm so glad I have it!

It was SUCH a fun time. Yay for baking in India!

I also am maybe going to have the opportunity to do some "freelance baking" for the restaurant, which I'm really excited about. Here are pictures of the feast I made for Megha as my "audition." I baked alllll day long!
 Chocolate chip cookies, cinnamon crumb cake, cinnamon rolls...

 Cinnamon scones, orange cranberry/orange chocolate chip scones, and banana muffins.

Thankfully we had a staff meeting that night so everyone was able to eat leftovers (and then some!) Pretty sure we were all in a sugar coma that night. It was definitely fun though!!!

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