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Puja Mandir DIY

Hello Dear Readers,

I am back with a wonderful DIY project which its not just by me but also by the men in the house (my husband and my son) helped me finish this beautiful master piece. 🙂

I am super excited to share it with you all. When we were living in one bedroom apartment, we had a built-in bookshelf to the wall and that is where we place the pictures of God and technically it was our Puja Space (Worship Space). Recently we moved to a new two bed room apartment with spacious rooms and spectacular views through the windows. We are loving the new one as much we loved our one bed room. (So many memories in that home). But here there is neither a bookshelf nor a proper facing or position to place our God to worship. I am not too religious (doesn’t mean I am atheist) I worship HIM and believe in HIM and follow festivals but don’t do too many pujas/mantras for hours and hours. Chaitanya is quite opposite to me. He do all kinds of pujas, chant mantra, hours of meditation and really follow them ritualistically. To such a man, I have no other thought but to gift him a nice puja mandir where he can sit and do his puijas peacefully and also I want to create a beautiful, peaceful home to our GOD. 🙂 Here my creative brain craved for ideas, ideas and more ideas. I want a simple, less expensive, elegant, easy to design models. The only furniture store that helped this want-to-do-something-great-desparetely woman is IKEA. It is a super saver for most of my ideas. I found a nice brown wooden storage shelf unit with doors for $49.00. It has enough storage for puja materials and books. Chaitanya assembled it and then the fun part begins.

To get that divine look to the shelf unit, I have decided to paint with muggullu (Rangoli) hence for this I need a permanent marker rather a paint, because I am not fine in painting with painters brush and it will be little clumsy if I go with that option. So I opted permanent white marker which found it in amazon for $7.05. Soon I received it I started drawing Rangoli’s (famous chukkala muggullu) on the shelf. I drew few and then look over again for updates to make the shelf more traditional and vintage look. Then I thought that it should need a gopuram on the top of the shelf. I went to Lowes (a home improvement departmental store) I walked all the aisles and looked for some wooden pieces that are only in sale. Finally I got some already done wooden crafts and also a Wall Ledge for a pretty reasonable price of $26.00. I also need wood glue which is $4.00 and then the cup hooks to hold the bells which is $3.00 and I wanted some wooden beads and gold ones also the bells. I went to Michaels and got all these for $11.00 (the beads were in sale and I always use the 40% off coupon on regular price items). I also bought the battery operated LED lights which is $13.00 and an Espresso color coat on Wood for $5.00 in Lowes. Just the pictures for you of all the material I bought.

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Chaitanya and Arya helped me with drilling holes to the unit. They did a good job. You will see my final output and I bet you can’t take your eyes off from it. 😉

A picture of my “The BEST DIY” so far. I honestly fell in love with this. Chaitanya was totally mesmerized by this. (More pictures in Facebook)

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Get inspired and give it a try and please drop a message on how it is….

With Love,
Prashanthi

Banana Cupcakes

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Almost after several months, I started baking again and this time the kid friendly, very soft and moist Banana Cupcakes. These are definitely my little one’s demand that he wants to eat the cupcakes after school snack. At the end I make him do a small activity of decorating these cupcakes and I gave him Hershey’s Syrup and Chocolate chips and he turned these to a spooky treats, after all this is the Halloween month. Ha..Ha…Ha

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I’m presenting to you the very easy recipe to try it on your own and the healthy ones too for your little critters.

Ingredients: (yields 12 cupcakes)

1 3/4 Cups All Purpose Flour
1 Large egg at Room temperature
1 Stick Butter at Room temperature
1 Banana
1 tbsp Baking Soda
1 tbsp Baking powder
a pinch Salt
1 Cup Buttermilk
1 tsp Vanilla Essence

Preparation:

Preheat Oven at 350F and place the cupcake liners in the pan.
In a bowl mix all the dry ingredients and keep aside. In a stand mixer, beat the butter and sugar on medium speed until it gets soft. Then add an egg to it and beat for 2-3 minutes on the same speed. Meantime take the banana and mash it smoothly and later add to the mixer and beat the whole thing for a minute. Add Vanilla Essence. Now add the flour mixture and beat slowly. While doing also add the buttermilk and mix for 1-2 minutes. After it is done, pour the batter in the aligned liners and bake the cupcakes for 20-25 minutes. Once done let them cool down and enjoy them.

These are the most soft and fluffy cupcakes I ever had.
Hope you enjoy these!

With love,
♥Prashanthi♥

Volunteerism

“Not all of us can do great things. But we can do small things with great Love.” ~ Mother Teresa.

On march 13th 2014, which is Thursday, I took part in the voluntary service to help the elementary school kids to help bake the cupcakes as after school activity in Jubliee Center at Hoboken, NJ. I signed up this program through Jersey Cares. I wanted to do some volunteer work during my free time. I will do this purely in the honor of my father, Dr Ravinutala Rajendra Prasad.

This is my first project and I was very excited about it because it is Baking cupcakes with the kids. 🙂 I didnt know Jeresy Cares have such programs. when I saw this in their opportunities list, I was totally glued to it and connected to the project. But I was not sure whether I can do this because of the timings ie., 6PM to 7PM and with a 3 year old boy it will not happen. I have no option other than bug my busy husband. Chaitanya is busy at work these days and I hate to disturb him during this time. Well, my sweet husband said YES and he came early from work and dropped me at the venue and the dudes had good time later.

My impression on this project was little different on what I experienced there. I thought I should bring the Cake mix and icing and kids going to taste “My Cupcakes”, but they said to just walk in without those and help the project coordinator. I said to myself then, “that’s Okay, we are going to help them and spend time with kids”. And I entered into the center and its a big size hall with chairs and tables and cubby’s to the corner and a kitchen to the other corner. There are so many kids of different ages having their evening meal. I was not only the volunteer there is also an other young lady who might be in late teens and early twenties. And in our talks, I came to know she is Miss New Jersey, Junior (college level) and she has to do few volunteer projects to contest for Miss America (Junior level). The project coordinator came to us and said it will take 10 minutes to clear up here and then few kids of her party will together bake and talk. And so were seated and waited there till everything is clean up and meantime kids came to us and greeting us. But most of them are around Miss NJ ;-). The project coordinator was getting all the stuff need for baking and I was leading a group and we settled at one table and Kids started working on the ingredients and I was helping in giving instructions. They are such adorable kids that they listen to me and waited for their turn to participate. They even counted numbers 1 to 10 and chance goes to the other kid and the counting starts. More than me instructing them, they themselves knows what to do and how to do. They are very smart. Everyone recognized me that I’m from INDIA by looking at my bindhi.(which they call it a “MARK on my Forehead” 🙂 ) Even I wore an Indo- western attire to represent my country. I was very very happy for that. 🙂

Apart from this, my experience was feel good but I think it should be even well organized by the coordinators. I will keep doing the projects and it feels great to me to be a Volunteer, because doing good to others and enjoying yourself to meet your personal needs is the best thing that can happen to anyone because it is an boon to me to grow the HUMAN SPIRIT in me. Entho trupthi (Satisfaction) vuntadi. 🙂

With Love
Prashanthi

Hare Krishna!

Radhekrishna

Radhekrishna

With all blessings from the lord!
Picture taken at New Vrindavan, West Virginia.