Concrete flooring – Decorative concrete for home flooring

decorative concrete flooring

Concrete flooring is a great option if you want your home interiors to be in harmony with furniture,walls, accessories and all.

concrete floors

                Photo Credits : Les Stockton

Let me clear many wrong notions one has about concrete floors –
Concrete flooring is dull and gray, limited to outdoors and industrial surfaces, and generally very cold and uninviting. But this is far from being true!

Did you know that decorative concrete can be made to imitate natural surfaces like marble and wood ? Lets check  out all this and more on how concrete floors  can make your interiors vibrant and lively!

decorative concrete                     Photo Credits: Photo Credits: Supremecrete

What are concrete floors made up of?

Concrete is a mixture of cement, water and aggregate, when dried becomes hard and looks like stone. Concrete floors are durable and can be used in homes, industries, driveways, parking areas, retail floors and other heavy traffic areas as it is tough and resistant to wear and tear.

Types of Concrete Floors

  • Stained concrete floors

    Special stains and acids are used which chemically react with the  concrete to achieve a blotchy and speckled look. These stains etch and bond color into the concrete surface. Using this technique, a variety of colorful textures and designs can be used to created on the concrete floor.

  • Polished concrete floors

    Concrete flooring is treated using a chemical densifier. Then it undergoes 12 steps of grinding and polishing. Diamond and resin grits are used for this.Polished concrete flooring has a glossy look. This is ideal for retail floors asthe area looks neat and tidy, is easy to clean and is less porous i.e. it prevents water, oil and other chemicals from penetrating the surface.

  • Sealed concrete floors

    Plain concrete floors can be sealed using a coat of tinted sealing solvents either water based or solvent based. Water based sealers are recommended for interiors. Sealing makes the concrete floor surface non-porous and durable when applied in thin layers.

  • Scored concrete floors

    After the applied concrete stain dries away, shallow-cuts are made on  existing concrete surfaces to show tile grout lines,geometric designs and patterns like plain squares, diamond shapes,concentric circles or a mosaic.

  • Painted concrete floors

    Plain concrete floors can be made beautiful by painting. Apply primer, and choose paint specific for concrete applications. You could paint an innovative design of your choice in the center. You can even buy stencils that are meant for floor applications. A combination of stained and scored concrete flooring can be made to resemble natural surfaces like wood and marble.

Advantages of Concrete Floors

Concrete is strong, durable, and cost effective for a variety of applications including floors, walkways, patios and driveways. Concrete flooring is inexpensive. In fact, decorative concrete may  be less expensive as compared to other materials like marble, wood, granite etc. Concrete floors are easy to maintain and clean. Other types of  floors chip, fade, peel and need to be replaced every 15 years. During replacement, the waste that is dumped is not Eco-friendly. Since concrete flooring lasts a life time, you can avoid the waste that comes with replacing floors made of  other materials. Decorative concrete make your floors look elegant and well maintained.

Shrimp recipe in coconut milk

Succulent prawns in coconut milk

Shrimp recipe in  coconut milk is an easy to prepare, nutritious and tasty side dish. Let us check out the recipe.

shrimp recipe in coconut milk

Ingredients for shrimp recipe

You will need –

Prawns/Shrimp (250 gm)
Onions – 3 medium sized ones
Mustard seeds – 1/2 teaspoon
Fenugreek seeds(methi) – 1/4 teaspoon
Green chillies – 3-4
Curry leaves
Coriander powder – 1 teaspoon
Grated coconut – 1/2 coconut. Grind with some water and squeeze coconut milk. Strain.
Coconut milk powder – (Add 3 tablespoons to 2 cups warm water and stir well)
Dried  Kokam – 4-5 pieces ( Gamboge in english)
Oil – 1-2 tablespoons

Method – shrimp recipe using coconut milk

This is an easy to cook shrimp recipe. De-vein prawns. Clean  with water, using salt and turmeric powder. Chop onions and slit  3 green chillies. Heat oil in a fry pan. Allow mustard,curry leaves and fenugreek (methi) seeds to splutter in oil. Add onions and green chillies. Saute till onions turn pink. Add prawns and  saute some more without breaking them. Add coriander powder, some water, kokam(Gamboge or tamarind pulp) and close the lid. Grate 1/2 coconut, grind and take coconut milk 2 times else use Maggi coconut milk powder. After prawns are cooked, add the coconut milk. Cover with lid and cook for 5 more mins. You have succulent prawns prepared in coconut milk. Serve with rice.

Fancy Dress Competition Ideas For Kids

fancy dress competition ideas

Coming up with new Fancy Dress Competition Ideas for school contests is not an easy task. Some parents take it up as a challenge, some worry about how to dress up their child for the event, some surf the internet for ideas and so on. All this leaves parents thoroughly confused. A few are creative enough to tide through the situation.

Here are some images that give you an idea for decking up your child for fancy dress competition. The pictures are of children from India. Click on an image for enlarged view.

Loading Images
Snack In Minutes Contest
Shivaji Maharaj
Unni Archa - a brave lady warrior from Kerala
Mango Tree
Netaji Subhashchandra Bose
Rani Laxmibai
Save The Earth Crusader
Bunny rabbit
Army Man
Vegetable dress
Lord krishna
Spongebob Squarepants
Statue of Liberty
Coconut Tree Climber

Top Fancy Dress Competition Ideas

1. Select a theme for your kids fancy dress.

  • Flowers
    Use paper craft to create petals for sunflower,lotus etc.
  • Fruits and vegetables
    You can create colorful fruits like apple,mango,grapes using paper,colors and balloons. Don’t forget to make a few leaves and a cap with a stem.
  • Slogans
    like Go Green, Save The Earth, Eat healthy etc. You can use different materials with slogans written on them to prove your point.
  • National Leaders
    Here you may have to rent a dress to make your child resemble a well known national leader.
    fancy dress competition ideas Chattrapati Shivaji Maharaj
  • Festivals
    Christmas, Gokul Asthami, Diwali(Indian festivals): a few ideas are Santa Clause, Reindeer, Christmas tree,angel,sledge,gift box,Easter Bunny, Easter egg,kite,lamp(diya),fire cracker,Lord Krishna, Lord Ganesha etc.
  • Cartoons
    You may choose your child’s favorite cartoon character to prepare/rent a dress. Ben10, Flintstones, Simpsons, Barbie,Mickey and Donald,Tom and Jerry etc.
  • Community helpers
    Doctor,Painter, Janitor, tailor, electrician, milk man etc. are a few ideas.
  • Birds,animals and insects
    You can dress up your child to resemble a parrot, tiger, elephant or a butterfly among others.
  • National Costumes of people from different countries.
  • Other ideas
    Clock, Milk Carton, Rainbow, Tree, Clown etc.

2. Then teach a few lines related to the character that your child is supposed to enact, for the fancy dress competition. The lines must provide accurate information about the character  being portrayed and must begin with a proper introduction.

3. Practice patience and do not force the child to learn the lines and how to enact, all at once. Teach the child to begin with a smile.

Video on a child dressed up as Shivaji Maharaj

Done! Your child is all set for the fancy dress competition!

Some more pictures on fancy dress competition ideas from the world!

fancy dress ideas Photo Credits:Some girl named Jen

  fancy dress competition - spiderman
Photo Credits:Justin Beckley

fancy dress ideas Photo Credits:karindalziel

fancy dress ideas Photo Credits:paul schultz

Clams Recipe – How to cook clams

gravy with clams meat,coconut and spices

Clams recipe is for seafood lovers!  A simple gravy made of clams, spices and coconut gravy. Lets take a look at the recipe.

clams recipes


clams meat

Clams Recipe – Ingredients

Scraped coconut – 1 cup
Green chillies – 4
Curry leaves or cilantro(dhania)- a few leaves
Fennel seeds powdered – 1/2 teaspoon
Coriander powder – 1/4  teaspoon
Turmeric powder – a pinch
Tamarind(marble sized ball)
Onion – 1/4
Oil – 2 tablespoons

Clams Recipe – Method

Wash clams thoroughly. Boil clams with water for 20 minutes. As the clams cook, the shells will open. Drain the water and keep aside.Do not throw this water. Allow the clams to cool. Then separate the meat from the shells.

For the gravy

Grind coconut to form a very smooth paste. Heat oil in a fry pan. Add chopped onions, curry leaves and saute till onions turn pink. Add coriander powder, fennel seed powder, green chillies and saute. Add coconut paste and some water as desired. Add the clams meat. Add salt to taste and turmeric powder. Add tamarind. Cook on a slow flame with lid on the frying pan. Keep the lid in such a way that some steam is able to escape. Allow to simmer for 10 minutes till the taste of the spices is absorbed by the meat.

And your clams in coconut gravy is ready.

Serving suggestion

Garnish with chopped cilantro. Serve with rice or chappatis.


clams in coconut gravy

Spinach Dal Recipe – Dal Palak

dal palak

Spinach Dal Recipe – Dal Palak – A healthy gravy dish made of spinach and split pigeon peas.

dal palak - spinach dal recipe

Spinach Dal Recipe – Ingredients

split pigeon peas(toor dal) – 2 small cups
spinach(palak) – 1 small bunch
dried bay leaves(tej patta) – 3
coriander powder(dhania) – 1/4 teaspoon
cumin powder(jeera) – 1/4 teaspoon
turmeric powder – a small pinch
green chillies – 2
onion – 1/2
tomato – 1/2
salt to taste
curry leaves(karipatta) – few leaves
mustard seeds(rai) – 1/4 teaspoon
oil – 1 tablespoon

How to prepare Dal Palak

Clean and chop spinach. Wash and clean the dal.Add spinach to dal and pressure cook till 7 whistles are heard. If you want to reduce pressure cooking time, soak the dal for 20 mins prior to cooking.

Chop onion, tomato. Add oil to a frying pan. Add mustard seeds,bay leaves,chopped green chillies  and curry leaves to the oil when hot. Stay away till the seeds splutter. Add chopped onion,tomato and saute till the tomatoes are mashed and onion is lightly brown. Add coriander,cumin and turmeric powder.Add the cooked dal and spinach mixture.Add salt to taste. Add water to suit the consistency of your choice. Allow it to simmer for 5 mins.

Tasty Dal Palak is ready!

Serving suggestion : Those who are not calorie conscious can add a dash of salted or unsalted butter to the dal palak when it is ready!

How to start potty training – For Toddlers

potty training toddlers

Potty training is an important part of development of your child.

How to start potty training?

The right time to potty train your toddler depends on the following:

  • Your child is between 18 months – 3 years.
  • The child knows specific signals/words to indicate the need to do potty.
  • The child has learned to walk and sit.
  • The child knows how to control bladder movement( this will be indicated by a gap of some hours between urination spells).

Potty seats – types

There are basically two types of potty seats for toddlers and preschool going children.You can potty-train your toddler using these basic types of potty seats.

how to start potty training
Potty chair

Chair type Potty

This comes with a gap in the seat for the stool to pass thru which gets collected in a container attached under the seat.


: It is just the right size for your toddler to sit on. You can place it in a comfortable environment if the child is uncomfortable using the bathroom.


: It can be a tedious task to clean the container every time you child soils it.

how to start potty training
Toilet seat for kids

Kiddy Toilet seat

This can be placed on your regular toilet seat.


Easy to clean and maintain. All you need to do is wash it with a cleaning solution. You can teach your toddler to flush.


Some regular toilet seats are too high for toddlers. You may need to place the child on the attached small toilet seat or keep a stepper for him to climb on.

Its a good idea to start with the chair type potty seat for toddlers who have just started to walk and sit and then slowly upgrade to small toilet seats when they can easily walk and sit. Small toilet seats must be used for preschool going children.

Potty training – Top Tips

  • Set a daily routine. Potty training must be done at a time when your child is most likely to pass stools. Even if he does not pass stools, let him sit on  the potty seat at a predefined time.
  • Make them enjoy the transition from diapers/ nappies to underwear. Take them along for shopping underwear. Let them choose ones with cartoons/pictures that they like.
  • Stop using pull ups or diapers as they prolong the entire procedure of potty training.
  • Keep your toddler busy  giving a small toy in hand. Teach him proper words to indicate passing of stool and urine, like poo and pee. Grabbing his attention will stop the child from getting up and going somewhere else.
  • Initially, your child may show lack of interest or tend to run away. Do not show irritation and shout at the child. The entire potty training exercise will be a form of punishment for him and he will hate it. The idea is to keep the child interested.
  • Get colorful potty chairs and small toilet seats in cute animal shapes or depicting cartoon characters.

Follow these steps patiently. Some toddlers learn in a few weeks while others may take a few months.


Picky Eaters – Tips to handle them

Picky eating habits in children

Picky Eaters – It can get pretty taxing to handle them! Do you have a toddler or preschooler who refuses to eat healthy food? This is generally the case in many households. There are many reasons for this.

Why are kids, picky eaters?

picky eaters Sometimes, parents are to be blamed for poor eating habits of a child. Working parents have no time to prepare nutritious meals for kids and end up serving them packaged food and drinks. Fast food like burgers and hot dogs, fizzy drinks, chocolate bars, fried snacks are kept within easy reach of children. As a result, the child does not wish to eat raw fruits and vegetables which are more nutritious than their packaged counterparts which have preservatives and are far from fresh.

Picky Eaters – How to handle them

Make food look attractive

Parents must make sure the child gets at least 3 servings of fresh fruits and vegetables a day. It does not take much time to serve chopped fruits topped with cream and a cherry. Remember, the more attractive you make food look, the better. You could serve a cheese-vegetable sandwich with a smiley ketchup face and call him Mr Smiley. I tried this and it worked!

Avoid large snacks before meals

Make sure kids do not eat a large snack before dinner. If they are very hungry you could serve them dinner a bit earlier. And if they ask for food later, you could hand over fruits instead. Tell them they can have only fruits or may be munch on some nuts(if not allergic to nuts) and be firm on that.

Story telling with fruits and veggies

Make kids aware of the importance of fruits and vegetables by telling them stories of fruits and vegetables where each fruit/ vegetable is a living character. You could find many stories online or in books.

Serve small meals at short intervals

Instead of having three large meals, serve smaller helpings at regular intervals. The child will not feel stuffed and will be willing to eat.

Flavor plain milk

Many children refuse to drink milk. You could flavor it with chocolate, strawberry, mango flavored nutritional supplements. If this does not work, make sure they have other dairy products like yogurt or cheese.

Be good yourself

Set a good example yourself. Kids learn from you. Make sure you eat salads, sprouts, fruits etc and set an example to your child. When kids in the neighborhood or at school fall sick, you can tell your child that it happened because those kids did not eat healthy food. This will show your child the importance of healthy food.

Avoid junk food

Do not buy junk food. Stock up on nuts and fresh fruits instead. you can show the child that this is not available and he can eat only what is available. Do not give in to tantrums and buy it from out. Let your child help with meal preparation. You could let your child do simple tasks like removing peas from pods, or rolling out small chapatis or tortillas. Let them do tasks that are not messy. When the food is done congratulate your child and encourage him  to taste it.

Force feeding – Avoid it

Never ever force feed your child. Your child will begin to hate the very process of eating and will deliberately pretend to eat very slowly and may even hide food under the table. Be gentle and allow your child to finish his food. Follow these tips to make your child a healthy eater.

Practice patience along with these tips and see your child’s eating habits improve.

Mother-in-law problems

Do you have a difficult mother-in-law who is always hard to please? Do you have a strained relationship with your mother-in-law? Are you always at loggerheads with each other?

Difficult Mother In Law – Why is she like this?

Insecure mother in law

Well, there is a reason behind this, which many of us are unaware of. It is insecurity. A mother lovingly nurtures and develops her son from infancy to adulthood. She takes care of him when he is ill, teaches him to read and write, instills values in him, worries about him when he is late from school. She helps him participate in school competitions, cooks his favorite food, showers gifts on him, buys his favorite toys and books. And the list goes on.

In short, a mother is major a part of her son’s life, that is till he gets married. Now she has to share him with a new woman. This triggers anxiety, jealousy and insecurity in the mother, especially if she fails to accept the fact with an open heart. This insecurity makes the mother feel that her son may abandon her and not care for her when she is too old. So, to show her rights over her son, she resorts to nagging and finding faults with the daughter-in-law. A daughter-in-law on the other hand fails to realize this problem as she has just entered a new phase of life and is not aware of how to deal with it.

To handle this difficult situation, Being a daughter-in-law, realize that your mother-in-law is insecure. She will try to control her son till she realizes that you care for her and will not abandon her in the long run. You cannot possibly control your mother-in-law, but you can definitely change your reaction towards her behavior.

Imagine you are put up with a new room-mate in the first year of your college, in a college hostel. Initially, it takes time for you to build trust with the new room-mate.Your views are different, tastes are different, likes and dislikes are different too. But eventually, by the time you finish your college, you become best friends with your room-mate. Accept your mother-in-law’s choice of food, clothes, home articles, cooking etc. By accept, I mean accept with a smile, not by being submissive. Be confident, smile and tell her that her choice is good even if you think otherwise. When she is tired, give her a glass of juice or a cup of tea. Make her feel secure with you. Ask for her opinion in certain matters like cooking your husband’s favorite food. Tell her, “Your son always praises your style of cooking.” If she is not a great cook, you can praise some other trait of hers.

Slowly, but surely, she will start trusting you. Do not argue and fight over issues. If she starts the argument or instigates you to fight by blaming your relatives, just go to your room, close the door and stay there for some time. Remember, do not expect miraculous results. You have to keep practicing this patiently for at least 6 months to a year. 90 percent of Mother-in-law issues can get sorted out this way.

Keep practicing these tips with lots of patience and you will be able to bounce back to normalcy and out of mother-in-law blues.

When to stop being normal

However, do note that despite your efforts to make peace, if cruelty crosses all limits, then do not hesitate to take legal help or assistance from local social service groups and NGOs.