Monthly Archives: August 2012

Smelly Car, Smelly Car, What did they Spill in you?

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Remember Seinfeld?  To be precise, it is Seinfeld Season 4, Episode 21 [Reference:].    See the Seinfeld mini-episode here about the “smelly car” here and then keep that in mind as you read the rest of this because most days, I feel like my life is one long, crazy and funny Seinfeld episode.  This is just one example.  And if you did not get my title because you were born after the show, Friends was off the air, here is the smelly cat video from that show too – come on now, it’s an oldie but definitely a goodie.  If you got it, whew!

Two days after I returned from a trip to Colorado Springs where I was for the weekend, a horrid, a nasty smell cropped up in my car.  I can’t even describe it because it was so bad and every time I got out of the car, went to the office, went anywhere, I felt like the smell was an entity and had attached itself to me and others.  I could smell it everywhere even if it wasn’t really there.  I tried everything short of re-detailing the car.  I paid to get it professionally cleaned, spot steam cleaned the area where I thought it was coming from, used a cleaning/scrubbing agent in the car, put Lysol (c) everywhere, and I even paid for a new car smell which smelled so good but then the car smelled like new car plus nasty stink.  Finally, I had had enough.  Short of abandoning the car, I was thinking of everything else I could do.

Sprinkle some baking soda under the floor mat, then cover the mess up with the floor mat. Oh and it does vacuum right up too!

But then, someone in my office who is a genius asked if we had tried baking soda yet.  I responded, “yeah like that’s gonna work when I have tried all this other stuff but hey what the heck, I will try it out.”  She also suggested putting a small amount under the floor mat of the area I believed the stank was originating from.  I initially just cracked open a box of generic baking soda, and left it in the car.  The smell started to dissipate but I could still smell it – for example, we went on a trip for 5 days and the car was parked in an outdoor lot.  When we returned, I could still smell it but it was super faint now and dissipating.  Nonetheless, 5 days in an open, uncovered lot is a lot for a stank-prone car to be sitting so, I decided to go ahead and now sprinkle the baking soda in the area where I believe the smell emanated the strongest and since then … Stank be gone!  Whew… thank you, 58 cent box of baking soda, for saving my relationship with my beautiful car that I love and have gotten attached to.  A fifty-eight cents box of baking soda!

Anyway, this is my daily life- a story about nothing and while my car has had a happier ending (for now), I have to say I did consider Jerry’s option of just losing the car. A bad smell can do that to a person’s brain. Life Lesson:  practical solutions that cost the least are often the best ones.


Growing an Herb Garden- What is your favorite Herb?

Sweet Basil – How I love thee – now, please grow

I have never had a green thumb. Growing up, my dad had a green thumb – the greenest one in town! He grew vegetables, planted flowers, we had red roses in our garden, and he still loves gardening.  It is therapeutic for him and he enjoys it.  I used to despise it because I did not want to get my hands dirty.  Lately though as I pay $2.99 here and $3.25 there for simple herbs that I love to cook with like Basil, Mint, and Oregano, I have opted to try my hand at an herb garden in my bay window that I have available in my kitchen.  It gets good sun exposure in the mornings, and I can peel off a basil leaf and cook right there! Ah, so convenient, ah… all so scary.  I swore a long time to never to bring living things into my home.  I used to kill plants all the time when I lived alone and generally I keep my plants at work but even there they are not doing well.

But recently I grew some marigolds and zinnias and it went alright so I think, why not grow something you can eat and see if it works.  So, I went by a local gardening store and man, the options were endless!  I thought of planting seeds but with herbs it is almost better to start off with a plant – it reduces your chances of screwing things up big time.  I also picked up some potting soil, and some plant food to help things along and hopefully keep them alive.   I am so excited about this new project because if it works, I am tempted to do a vegetable garden and grow tomatoes, ginger, cabbage, lettuce, and other things I can eat.  Of course, I will need a well-covered area with barbed wire for that since the squirrels and wildlife in my backyard are rampant.   Shhh.. don’t tell my husband of this grand plans yet- he just pulled weeds and was not happy.

Up top you can see the Sweet Basil plant.  Everything smells so darn good too! I just want to start cooking already.  To the left is a mint plant because we love to make virgin mojitos, and mint is so yummy in chai tea.  Then, in the 3-planter set you can see to the left Oregano and yes it smells quite good – is it Italian night yet? And, to the right is Sage.  I love sage in Italian food and you can even use it some Indian dishes.

In any case, it is an experiment and one that I hope succeeds.  Only time will tell but all I can do is try right?  I often joked like the character Carrie Bradshaw did in a Sex and the City episode when Aidan brought a plant into her apartment since they moved in together. “The man brought a living thing into my home. I mean – come on!”  That is how I used to be but I am hoping to break the spell of bad luck with house plants by seeing this herb garden flourish.

Oh, and readers, there is room for one more small herb plant in the middle planter- do you have a suggestion?  What herb or plant do you recommend in the middle?  What is your favorite herb of all?  Please do share.  I’d love to plant one more if this works out.



Milestones & Memories – First Day of Kindergarten

All dressed up and ready to go – first day of K

The big day is finally here!  She started Kindergarten today.  My mother-in-law said, “it’s not like you dropped her off at college or anything… relax.”  She is right but, it is these moments, little by little, step by step, moment by moment, and all the memories in between that prepare us for the day they leave, right?  The anticipation of every new milestone, getting through each one with grace, as few tears as possible, and enjoying every moment you possibly can – that is what will get us through the day they finally fly the nest- or will it?

Great things will come!



As you can see from the pictures, it is not my daughter that freaked out because she is starting a whole new chapter in her life with a brand new school, a brand new teacher, and all new friends.  It was me- I freaked out.  Of course, that is how it is.  It was a process to start this day too.  In our County, we get the option to choose either our neighborhood school which is amazing by the way or choice enroll our kids into a plethora of other public charter schools.  We tried to do the latter just so we could compare all the local schools, and see what shook out.  It was an opportunity to see all the different curriculum, teachers, administrative staff, and of course, the schools and facilities too.  For us, the biggest draw to the school we chose was the way the curriculum is taught and the leveling.  So, if a child is reading at the 6th grade level, they will actually read at that level in this school!  Not that my child is a super star by any means and not that I expect that but I like the concept of making sure the kids that need to be at the K level or lower are in the proper group, and the kids that need 2nd and 3rd grade advancement get that so they do not get bored or irritate others in the class by being mixed in with those who may need a little extra help reading.  Similarly, for math if she is higher level, she would be placed with a higher group.  So, it works out well all around.  The drawbacks for our choice school: the time that it starts (super early) and no bus she can ride but maybe we can set up a carpool someday.  Ho hum!  All in all, we are excited and nervous at the same time.  I think the change is harder on us than her.

November 2009 – first day of daycare

Of course, all this being said, moving schools and going to school all day (even up to 12 hours a day) is not new to our family.  Here is a picture of our Kindergartener as she started her first day care in November of 2009, after being in home care where she was the only kid since she was 6 months old!  We both work so our kiddos have been in some sort of care since they were each 4-5 months old.  Luckily, for a lot of it it was family-like care which is very nice.  We were so comfortable with home care but we knew she was ready for interaction with other kids and needed to learn some things so it was time to cut the cord and ship her off to a good day care and then two years later, we changed day cares so she could be closer to home- that was just last year!  I was a nervous wreck and was so worried she would not like the new place but not surprisingly, she did fine- it was an adjustment for me!  You can read about her starting a new day care here when I posted around this time last year.  Our big adjustment last year was packing lunches.  Now, it’s a whole new game and we are all geared to set alarms all over the house too!  That is unheard of because our children are generally our alarm clocks.

Our Kindergartener at only 3 months old!

Our little girl is growing up- it’s only Kindergarten after all but it is these milestones and the memories that will come that will all help prepare us to release them into the world… slowly, but surely.  A good friend once said to me, when I was debating quitting work and staying at home because I had a hard time letting her go at daycare, “Ratna, we raise them to let them go. We raise them to become mature, good, kind people to go out in the world and do great things. We slowly learn to let go- we have to.” She was right and I hold on to her words every time we reach a new milestone.  We raise our kids to let them go just like our parents did to us.  And, no matter what they do, we need to know that we tried so hard every single day even on the days we couldn’t keep our eyes open from the fatigue. Milestones and memories, memories and milestones- enjoy every moment I say… it ends too quickly.  Now, I pray for strength to not stalk her school all week long, then all will be fine.

Letter we wrote to her and put in her backpack – for her first day. Words of love and encouragement

The Odd Life of Timothy Green

I was able to see a special free screening of this very cute, very much fictional movie a couple weeks back and it’s now in theaters, starting August 15- TODAY!  It’s a cute watch and at a rating of PG it is perfect for kids over 5 too.  My 5-year old still likes cartoons so it is hard for her to get into these but when I saw it the audience was full of excited kids who laughed and didn’t cry as much as the moms did but nonetheless, they laughed.

It’s a very cute story (albeit remember, it is meant to fictional and a fairytale) about a couple who cannot conceive and they are hitting a wall with adoption and so, they move, and they are finally trying to come to terms with the idea that it will just be the two of them when Timothy Green shows up in their lives, changing all those who meets forever and for the better.  It is a tale that warms the heart.  You will laugh hard, you will cry, you will leave the theater asking questions but The Odd Life of Timothy Green will not be a waste of money for you.  It is a cute Disney movie that audiences of all ages can fall in love with.  But you have to go in with the mindset that it is make believe, and a strange theory and then, you can definitely have a magical time.  Pack some kleenex, and have fun!


Taste of Colorado in Denver, Labor Day weekend- only 3 weeks away!

As promised when I first wrote about the Taste of Colorado, here we go with a detailed review, schedule of events, and some ways you can have fun with your family at one of Denver’s funnest, most talked about events of the year!  You won’t wanna miss the Taste of Colorado.  It runs daily, with free admission August 31- September 3, which is Labor Day Weekend.  The best website to get information especially for family fun events and kids’ concerts is this link through

And if you enter here, through Colorado Kids, you can win $50 in tickets for your family to spend on food, entertainment, and drink at the free admission festival held at downtown’s Civic Center Park each year.

Human Hamsterball at Taste of Colorado

There is something for everyone.  Lots of food and drink vendors scattered throughout, and of course, there are kids events too including crafts for the kids, a lego exhibit and play area where kids’ imaginations can run wild, and of course, the rides.  The Kidzone is open daily – check out the hours here and this area is a family-friendly area offering play equipment and a great variety of free, hands-on craft activities for children of all ages. Enjoy Carnival Rides and Games Saturday through Monday, presented by KOOL 105. EARLY BIRD wristbands can be purchased for $15 from 10:30 a.m. – 3 p.m., Saturday through Monday. These wristbands are good for unlimited rides on the day of purchase until 5 p.m. ALL DAY wristbands can be purchased for $25 anytime from 10:30 a.m. to two hours before closing Saturday through Monday and are good for unlimited rides on the day purchased until closing. Individual rides are also available for generally two to ten tickets per ride. Check out all the fun family events and schedule of events for mainstage and more here. 

If music is your thing, then check out the schedule for the main stage as well.  The tickets for rides can be bought in increments of 15 for $10 and believe me, you will use them all and go back for more.  I would say in any given Taste of Colorado that I have attended, you can easily spend upwards of $40 for a family so bring cash or there are credit card machines as well and ATMs.   Hope to see you there!