Monthly Archives: October 2012

And the celebrations for birthday continues…

Have I told you before that people around me are so nice ? I had two cakes for my birthday already; one, my favourite lemon tart and another at my party but I got two more still. I normally get more than one cake; I remember 3 in the last year. But this year the count went up to four 🙂

I know I get excited like a kid when these things happen but it really makes me happy that there are so many people around me who care about me.

I got a surprised cake at AS’s cousin‘s house. We had invited them for my party but as they had a prior engagement they couldn’t make it.  So when I went to their place for Dashain tika, they surprised me with a cake. It was a chocolate mousse and it just melted in the mouth. It was really nice of them. I also got a card with it.

They also wanted me to have a puppy as well but we can’t keep one as we live in an apartment. Their german shepard had 9 pups recently so I was so tempted when they asked me if I wanted one but we couldn’t. How sad. :(. I took a photo with the pup instead.

Like every year, I got a cake at work as well but this year was extra special as my manager decided to make it a Halloween themed one. It was so much fun as we decorated our office. I also added some decorations that I had from last year birthday party and went with the flow. We had spider webs, scary skeleton, lots of spiders, balloons and much more.

Even the food was really special as my manager baked Halloween themed cupcakes. It was really nice of her.

For the birthday cake, we got profiterole cake and it is one of my favourite cakes too.

Everyone even posed for the camera wearing some silly gear and we had a great time.

Along with the morning tea, we also had Italian lunch where everyone cooked a dish and we shared it all around. As usual, we over catered but all the food were just yummy. Sharing some photos with you all.

 Happy Halloween everyone!!!

My BBQ Pool Birthday Bash

I guess I am getting too old to celebrate birthdays as I feel really tired after the weekend.

Since I was young, I have loved celebrating birthdays with friends and family. Birthday  was always special to me. After coming to Australia, I kept the tradition and celebrated my birthday with my friends here at first and now I have my family as well.

Many of my friends feel that they are too old to throw a birthday party but I think I will never be old to have some fun in the party. It is all about getting together with loved ones and having some fun.

I always wanted to have a fairy-tale big celebration but until I win lotto, it is not possible so I try my best to make a small celebration with friends and family to make me happy :).

Last year I had a Halloween themed party and it was really fun. To have some fun in the sun, this year we decided to throw a BBQ Pool party. Our apartment has a pool and BBQ area so we decided to make use of it.

I sent my invite more than a month ago and was looking forward for the day. Lots of the people RSVPed but they picked MAYBE as the option. First of all I think Facebook shouldn’t have MAYBE as an option in the invitations as RSVP means YES or NO but some of my friends didn’t even RSVP. So I needed to call them to confirm how many of us were going to be there on the day as I had to shop according to that. But everything went as planned at the end.

The planning had started a month ago. I and AS along with my cousin K didi and her husband sat down and planned things; including food and decorations. I was really excited but as the day can closer it went from exciting to scary. There was shopping to do, decorations to finalise, food to be prepared, and entertainment to be arranged

And unfortunately, I had to work late on Thursday so my BIL and husband went shopping instead. When I got home, most of the shopping was done but there was still preparation to do, so we went to bed late and it was the same story on Friday. So I was bit tired on the big day.

I had invited people from 12 noon so we had to get everything ready really early. I am so glad that I had my cousins and my brother and a friend helping us. Without them, I and my husband couldn’t have accomplished everything.

So some of us tackled the decoration and the rest were busy preparing the food. The entrée was BBQ chicken wings with corn cobs, chips, green salad and Methi (Fenugreek) salad.  It was followed by main which was hot dog, pasta salad, BBQ prawns, and Greek salad. There was beer and soft drinks as well.

It took a while to do the decoration, especially to setup the gazebo, get the banners and balloons up.

Anyway, the decoration was done by 10am and food was prepared by noon. So we waited for the guest to arrive.

The first guest arrived around 1pm and the party began.

The day was not too hot so only a few people went for a swim; the water was cold but it was fun to take a dip.

As the guest arrived, we served them entrée with drinks. When there were enough people, we start the games.

The first was Egg and Spoon Relay but instead of an egg we used table tennis ball. Participants had to carry a ball on a plastic spoon, held between their teeth, across the yard and transport the ball safely across the finish line without dropping it.

I could see how competitive my family and friends were during the game. Some of them were using blue tack and sticky tape to stick the ball to the spoon to win the game but it was a great one to start off the party.

We had competition between boys and then girls.

Then we played bingo which was a long game. Egg and Spoon Relay is a game of probability in which players mark off numbers on cards as the numbers are drawn randomly by a caller, the winner being the first person to mark off all their numbers. Please click here if you want to know the details.

It was fun to call out numbers and my friend DB and my nephew and niece helped me. Everyone was excited to win the game but funny enough out of 6 wins, there were only 4 winners, 2 winning 2 games each.

By then the sun had set and it started getting a bit chilly so we moved the rest of the party upstairs to our apartment.

There we served the mains and we had our usual chitchat. The evening concluded with cake and me getting lots of gifts.

My niece and nephew were more excited than me to blow the candles in the cake so they helped me :).

I am so happy to receive so many wonderful gifts from my family and friends. I was spoiled indeed.

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While looking for games for my own party, I found a few interesting games that can be played during BBQ. Here are some of them.

Clothespin Tag

For those that want physical activity in their picnic game, try a little game of “Clothespin Tag.” Supplies include people (the more the merrier!) and a bag of clothespins. For this picnic game, the clothespins are available at any local variety store. Simply clip 2 or 3 clothespins at various spots on picnic attendee’s shirts. Then yell “GO!” The one with the most clothespins at the end of this picnic game wins!

Chair Balance

Tired, take a seat with this picnic game, “Chair Balance.” See how long you can sit…without a chair! This is a fun activity you can do with your buddies. You’ll need at least six people: four for each chair, one person to remove the chairs, and one person to spot the people on the chairs.

Set four chairs with the front of each chair touching the right side of each chair, making a square. Have your four friends sit on them so each person can lean back and rest his head on another person’s lap. When all four people are lying on each other and their feet are firmly on the ground, take away the chairs. See how long everybody can stay balanced using only your legs.

What in the world are YOU doing?

For those that would enjoy more mental exercise for their picnic game, try this variation on charades, called “What in the world are YOU doing?” To play this picnic game, the first player pretends to do something, like drink water. The next player asks “What in the world are YOU doing?” The first player answers, saying something other than what they were doing. In our example for this game, the first player, who was pretending to drink water might say, “I was driving my car.” Then the second player has to pretend they are driving a car, the third player then goes through the process again. This picnic game is best played fast, and if someone messes up and says what they were actually doing, they are out.


For some more mental exercise, try a picnic game of “Memory”. Here’s a clue: to your memory be true. To play this game you’ll need a tray full of lots of different objects, a towel, a watch to time the game, and a good memory. Everyone who’s playing gets 15 seconds to stare at the tray with all the objects. Use a watch to keep time. Then cover all the objects on the tray with a towel. Each player has 20 seconds to write down every object she can remember. All the players compare their lists. If anyone has the same objects on their lists, those objects get crossed off. Whoever has the most items not crossed off wins this fun picnic game!

Hot Dog Eating Contest

Seat participants behind a long buffet table or around a circular table and tie each players hands behind their back with a scarf or piece of fabric. Assign a couple people to supervise and assist in the competition. Set a time frame such as 10 minutes to see how many hot dogs each player can consume without using his hands. Include hot dog buns, ketchup, relish and mustard to make the competition more difficult. The supervisors will need to be in charge of distributing the hot dogs to the participants.

Egg and Spoon Relay

If boiled eggs are on the menu, use a few for a relay race. Participants must carry an egg on a wooden spoon across the yard and transport the egg safely to the next racer, who waits with his own spoon. You can use raw eggs for this too, but boiled eggs are less messy, and you can eat the leftovers provided they haven’t smashed on the ground.

Three-legged Race

Pair young and old players in a race across the yard to a finish line. Use bandanas to tie players together by one leg. You can have heats with players of different ages or heights. If you want to make the competition tougher, make an obstacle course. Players have to race around the unlit grill, around picnic tables, etc. to reach the finish line.

Wheel barrow races

 Remember this one? I rocked it as a kid and I am hoping to win today. It is like a supported plank in motion. You might want to warm up a little before this one!

Musical chairs

It is a game played by a group of people (usually children), often in an informal setting purely for entertainment such as a birthday party. The game starts with any number of players and a number of chairs one fewer than the number of players; the chairs are arranged in a circle (or other closed figure if space is constrained; a double line is sometimes used) facing outward, with the people standing in a circle just outside of that. A non-playing individual plays recorded music or a musical instrument. While the music is playing, the players in the circle walk in unison around the chairs. When the music player suddenly stops the music, everyone must race to sit down in one of the chairs. The player who is left without a chair is eliminated from the game, and one chair is also removed to ensure that there will always be one fewer chair than there are players. The music resumes and the cycle repeats until there is only one player left in the game, who is the winner. When down to the last two players the chair may be moved as long as the music has stopped before the chair has been touched.

Dashain ko Nakhatey

Dashian is almost finished now. Today is the last day of Dashain and the celebrations are over until mid-November when we celebrate Tihar.

After Tika, last five days of Dashain are celebrated by visiting relatives and getting tika and blessing from them. As far as I know, in Chhetri and Bhaun culture, they normally visit relative to get blessing on Dashami itself. They don’t need invitation for tika so they go to the  their elders’ house and get blessing. That day is a big day for them as they get to meet lots of relatives.

But in Newar culture, we cannot go to anyone’s house until we get an invitation. If a daughter is married, she won’t even go to her parents’ house until the invitation arrives. This invitation is called Nakhatey in Newari. Normally relatives consult each other so so that the Nakhateys don’t fall on the same day and everyone gets to attend all Nakhateys.

Going for the Nakhatey is a big part of Dashain for Newars in Nepal. I remember growing up going to houses of my relatives to get tika, blessings and daskchhina (money). It was a fun filled affair with lots of yummy food as well as money to collect.

In Sydney as well, we had a few Nakhateys. We were invited to AS’s cousin’s house as he is the eldest of AS’s relatives in Sydney. We had tika and Nepali food. I wore my sari and got into a festive mood. We got tika from AS’s cousin and we also put tika to his younger cousins.

We also had tika from my Dai , his wife and we put tika to their daughter.

So my Dashain for this is over 🙂

Colosseum and ruins of Roman Forum: Italy

Most of the time when we visited some place, we had gone to them with our tour guide but it is always great to know more about a place from a local expert. If you don’t like guided tours, make sure to hire a guide when you are in Italy otherwise you will miss out on lots of interesting stuffs.

We went to the Colosseum and the ruins of the Roman Forum with the same guide who took us to the Vatican and she had an amazing amount of interesting information.

The Colosseum

The Colosseum is an elliptical amphitheatre in the centre of the city of Rome, Italy, the largest ever built in the Roman Empire, built of concrete and stone. It is considered one of the greatest works of Roman architecture and Roman engineering. I am sure you will remember it from The Gladiator movie.

The elliptical building is immense, measuring 188m by 156m and reaching a height of more than 48 meter (159 ft). The Colosseum could accommodate some 55,000 spectators who could enter the building through 76 entrances.

Above the ground are four storeys. Each of the four storeys had windows, arches and columns. Once people entered, they walked up ramps to their seats. Seats varied according to how rich people were. Women and the poor stood or sat on wooden benches on the 4th floor. The Emperor and the gladiators who were to compete there had their own special entrances.  Below the ground were rooms with mechanical devices and cages containing wild animals. The cages could be hoisted, enabling the animals to appear in the middle of the arena.

The Colosseum was covered with an enormous awning known as the velarium. This protected the spectators from the sun. It was attached to large poles on top of the Colosseum and anchored to the ground by large ropes. A team of some 1,000 men was used to install the awning.

When it was first built, the arena could be filled with water and mock naval battles enacted. However, this was not good for the floor or the foundations, and the water was drained away. Gladiatorial contests replaced the mock battles. These were fierce combats to the death involving men and wild animals.

Emperors used the Colosseum to entertain the public with free games. Those games were a symbol of prestige and power and they were a way for an emperor to increase his popularity.

Games were held for a whole day or even several days in a row. They usually started with comical acts and displays of exotic animals and ended with fights to the death between animals and gladiators or between gladiators. These fighters were usually slaves, prisoners of war or condemned criminals. Sometimes free Romans and even Emperors took part in the action.

The Colosseum is one of Rome’s most recognizable icons and definitely worth a visit for anyone making the trip to Rome.

After visiting the Colosseum, we went to the Arch of Constantine which is located right next to the Colosseum. The arch is 21 m high, 25.9 m wide and 7.4 m deep. It has three archways, the central one being 11.5 m high and 6.5 m wide, the lateral archways 7.4 m by 3.4 m each. It was erected by the Roman Senate to commemorate Constantine I’s victory over Maxentius at the Battle of Milvian Bridge on October 28, 312. Dedicated in 315, it is the latest of the existing triumphal arches in Rome, and the only one to make extensive use of spolia, re-using several major reliefs from 2nd century imperial monuments, which give a striking and famous stylistic contrast to the sculpture newly-created for the arch.

From there we moved up Via Sacre (the sacred way) where it is still possible to see the marks made by chariots. This road used to be the route taken for religious and triumphal processions towards the capitol and ruins of Roman forum. 

Roman Forum 

The Roman Forum is situated in the area between Piazza Venezia and the Colosseum is one of the most important archaeological sites in the world. Three thousand years ago, this valley between Campidoglio and the Quirinal, which was to become the future social and political centre of one of the greatest empires of ancient times, was submerged in marshland. 

It was really good to walk through the ruins of the Roman Forum, the plaza where Romans met to exchange goods, deliver public speeches, and much more. As you enter the Forum, think about how it must have looked in its prime where masses would flock to see the meetings of the orators, attend criminal trials and discuss internal politics or the latest military campaigns, or quite simply to comment on the games or running races, and visualize yourself in this once-bustling city centre.

Within the Roman forum is the grave of Julius Caesar, which is within a wall of stone marked by a simple plaque.

In the area you will find ruins like basilica of Constantine and Maxentius, Rostra, Temple of Saturn, Temple of Castor and Pollux, House of the Vestal Virgins, temple of Vespasian, and temple of Julius Caesar etc. The list goes on and on actually and it seems like they are still working on excavations on different locations.

Then we went to the Arch of Titus and we moved up to the Palatine hill. This hill is where legend has it that Romulus and Remus were brought up by a wolf and it later became the location of palaces to the Flavian emperors. At the edge of the Faranese Gardens you get a great view of the Forum.

Please click here for more photos.

Birthday Surprise

I am so happy that I am surrounded by people who love me :). Last year it was my mum who surprised me (read here) along with my husband (read here) and  this year I have another one.

My birthday is this weekend and I am looking forward to spending good time with my friends and family. But my birthday surprise came a bit early this week when one of my co-workers bought me a special tart. It was not an ordinary tart; it was my favourite lemon tart from my favourite shop. I have tried lemon tarts from everywhere but the shop close to our work makes the best. The most incredible thing was that it was not the normal small tart that I used to buy every time I felt sugar craving but it was a massive one the size of a birthday cake!

Everyone at my work knows that I just love lemon tart and they always buy me one when they have to bribe me. They even joked that I should have that as my wedding cake as well as on my birthdays. Normally these tarts come in small and medium sizes which are just enough for one person. But to my surprise this year they made sure I got a birthday cake as the lemon tart which is a big sized.

I just loved it. I took it home and shared it with my family in our Dashain get together.

I did realise one thing that even though I love the tart so much there is no way I could eat such a big tart. After finishing the first piece I could not take another bite. :). Anyway it was a great start of my birthday week.

Check out my Halloween theme birthday  party from last year here 🙂