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13 Board Games For Those Days of Bored(om)

By January 11, 2018 Everything Else, Family, Learning, Reviews

There are days when you want to cozy up in that little nook, with a cup of something hot (my choice – some peppermint tea or hot chocolate!), and read a book. Or you could still stay in that nook – the slightly larger cozy nook of your home – and play board games with the rest of the family to drive away bored (om). For those days, I have some suggestions that my kids always bring out and love to play (and if mom and dad join in, all the better)

From strategy games that we are still learning the tips and tricks of (like Forbidden Island) or classic strategy games like Battleship to geography games (Scrambled States and Do You Know Where You Are?); from games that require focus (like Jenga) to games of luck/throw of the dice (like Sorry); from classic favorites like Monopoly and Uno to word games like Story Cubes and Taboo – this list covers all of them. (And you might notice the absence of Scrabble – well, that is another favorite too!)

  1. Forbidden Island
    A strategy game top-rated by Mensa, and pretty popular on Amazon, this game does need you to think ahead and strategize. We are still learning the tricks of the game, each time we play.
  2. Qwirkle Board Game – 
    Another strategy game where a little bit of luck is involved too – this can be played by people of all ages – line up tiles matching shapes and/or colors to score higher with smarter matches
  3. Scrambled States of America
    How well do you know your states? Find the Sunshine State; the state that shares borders with the maximum # of states; a state that begins with A; questions on cards range from the obvious to the harder and you learn your states definitely in this fun game
  4. Story Cubes
    This game can provide hours of fun while engaging your imagination. Perfect to come up with story ideas if you are ever facing a writer’s block. A family favorite that all of us play at all odd hours of the
    day. This game is simply put, genius!
  5. Uno 
    Well, you know!
  6. Jenga 
    What is the highest tower you have built ever? Be truthful! Are you a Jenga champion? (I am not!)
  7. Sorry
    We grew up playing games similar to this in India and another perfect game to pass the rainy-days away
  8. Monopoly
    For hours and hours (sometimes over days) of building your business empire, this is it! And hoping we don’t land in that spot with all those houses and hotels built!
  9. Taboo
    Have you played this game? This is definitely one that tests your vocabulary and your attention to what you are saying…
  10. Battleship
    I played this game for the first time on a computer screen of years ago (with those bright green ships and tanks to help you win your battle)! It was smart then and is smart now.
  11. Connect 4
    A family favorite now for years…this might be our 3rd or 4th Connect 4 box..
  12. Do You Know Where You Are? World Challenge Edition
    Another geography game that is really a smart one. Bought on a whim, this is one game that I love playing and am glad I bought it.
  13. Hedbandz
    This is certainly popular (and while we stood in the lines at Disneyworld this last month, the app version of a similar game – Charades – was played often; and by so many people waiting in line that sometimes we stopped playing our game and watched the others spout their clues!)

Note: this post contains Amazon affiliate links

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Holiday Giveaway…

By December 16, 2017 Everything Else, Family


It is the season to be thankful, merry, jolly, and so on….  and to say thank you for being a reader, here is a giveaway given by me. This is not a sponsored post. Click my holiday gift ideas link for cool ideas of what you can do with the gift card you may be the lucky one to win!!

So, without further ado, here are the rules (in the short disclosure below), followed by the Rafflecopter to enter the giveaway. Please note that there are no mandatory entries 🙂

Disclosure: Giveway runs between the 17th and 24th of December. No purchase is necessary to enter. The odds of winning are based on the number of entries received. Must be 18+ and a US resident to enter. Confirmed Winner will be contacted by email. Winner(s) have 48 hours to respond before a new winner is chosen.

For bloggers looking to host giveaways and promote them, here are a few places you can list your giveaway




I Love Giveaways


a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Memeing through…. once again…..

By June 10, 2013 Family, Memes, Writing

An incomplete post making its way through the week:
For 3WW (damaging, ego, legitimate)

legitimate though it was
this mistake they pinned on her
the ego still took a beating
and a lot of damaging..

For ABC Wednesday‘s letter of the week ‘U’ and my theme of women writers, this week I have:

Thrity Umrigar is the only familiar name (that I wanted to read) that I came across for this letter. Her book ‘The Space Between Us’ was a book I wanted to read when I first noticed it on various blogs. I still have it on my TBR and hope to read it soon (or any one of her other books).

My random list of thirteen for Thursday 13 and Alphabe Thursday – letter C:

  1. C is for Crystal – why crystal? You say? DH and I just celebrated 15 years of married sort-of-bliss! 15 years, two darling little ones, and more-ups-than-downs later, we feel like we felt years ago, still learning more about each other, yet ending each other’s sentences since we can
    almost hear the other think.
  2. Clouds – I can watch them for hours and watch them float by telling stories in the sky.
  3. Cardamom,cinnamon, cloves, coriander, cumin, chilies  – spices!
  4. Cooking – not something I loved as a child, indeed, I never did cook before I got married and moved here to the US. But as I learned more, I also learned to love it more, and though I am still nowhere in the leagues of other cooks whose cooking I love (including my mom and mom-in-law), I am better than I was before
  5. Cartoons – ‘Tom and Jerry’, ‘Looney Tunes’, movies galore that fall under this name – love them all, and now love watching them with my little ones.
  6. Comics – Again, a comic by any name – love them all. Comics first introduced me to the wonderful world of reading – in the form of Amar Chitra Katha. I later read many more – Indrajal Comics, DC Comics, Archie, Illustrated Classics – to name a few. I still love reading them.
  7. Chocolate – of course, how did I miss it earlier as I made the list?
  8. Computers – imagine a world without them today? It is tough to, even though I set my eyes on the first computer at age 13 or so and was in awe when I first typed an ‘Hello World’ program in BASIC, and was even more awed playing Battleship in a screen which filled with neon greens
  9. Custrel, czardas, cwm, curmurring culicino, crepehanger, couchee, contranatant, clou, cithara, chirotony, chiliad, cete, cathisophobia –Check out ‘The Phrontistery’ for the meanings of these unusual words
  10. California
  11. Corn, Cacao, Cinchona, Cotton – Four plants that started with the letter C were featured in a book I am reading – non-fiction for kids – called ‘10 Plants that Shook the World’ – a really fascinating book with wonderful facts about these plants and a great read for kids
  12. Challenges – did I pick up too many of them this year – reading challenges, I mean? Of course, I did – well, like this post itself, I am playing major catch-up with them as well. But the good thing about having them as a goal is I am reading – many different types of books – and that is enough for now!
  13. Connections by Correspondence – The concept of letter writing is now so antiquated, it
    seems, charming, even. I loved writing letters – to anyone I could – as a kid, even as an adult in my 20s, but then, it got relegated to the back burners at sometime. I am hoping to reinvent this chain of correspondence to increase familial (and friendly) connections myself and by getting the little ones involved in writing letters – not emails – once every two months at least.

For Theme Thursday, the prompt is ‘Evolution‘: I planned to write a poem, mix up prompts, do other smart things, but then, there was a cog….
As I write this post up, I realize I have a long way to go yet in the evolution of being a blogger. One write up on wikipedia explains that evolution is both fact and theory. In this case, it is fact, not theory. I plan, have ideas, dream up (literally when sleeping) more ideas for posts, explore other wonderful blogs – get even more ideas, and then during this process (of evolution), a cog in the wheel just stops it. It takes a while for it to loosen and when it does, you see a post like this (certainly not an evolved post).. So until I evolve as a blogger, you are bound to see more such posts. 🙂

For Haiku Heights: (moral)

Untruth told, one too
many, tangled in a web
Moral: do not lie
Overslept too long
Missed – one important meeting
Moral: do not lie

For Book Beginnings and Friday 56: From a non-fiction book I picked up ‘Parent’s Playbook for Learning’ – something I really need to read and learn more about.
Book Beginnings from the Introduction: This struck a chord with me – seemed like she was thinking my thoughts for me:)
‘When my daughter was born, it became clear to me very quickly how different her spirit was from both mine and her Dad’s.’

For Friday 56: (again, resonated with me – I still need to get to this page but this line stood out as something I think about my little girl!)
‘Even if your child doesn’t know a lot about a topic, chances are he will voice an opinion about it.’

For Saturday Snapshot and Six Word Saturday

My little girl – a Broadway kid! 

Well, not the Broadway in the Big Apple, but a show at the dance school she goes to. It was their bi-annual show on Saturday and it was a mix of fun, cuteness, talent, and passion as stars of all ages (from the tiny tots of about four to the young ladies ready to head to college soon) performed their hearts and feet out to an enthralled audience.

Sunday: For dVerse Poetics (Entwin(n)ed),Whirl (status park rest thunder spill steps shimmering yard page jets curb spewing), Sunday Scribbling: rain; Magpie Tales: Charleston Farmhouse Door image; SY: hub (sunflowers)



Mommy me, but one entity

That cool yellow flower in the park

That is me – mommy me

Dancing, leaping, playing

With the little ones –

In the shimmering drops of rain,

In the spraying jets across the yard

Lost in the moment across time and space

Mommy work”, “me work”

I hear the thundering somewhere inside,

The faint rustle of a turning page

I walk to the curb – the very edge

Answer the knock on my heart’s door

A chaos of thoughts, of emotions

Spilling, spewing everywhere

I look around at the setting sun

The slightly drooping, tired looks

I run the steps down to that spot

A pitter-patter of raindrops follows

To that restful hub of calm and peace

And now lose myself once again

This time in the quiet realms of dreams

As little ones rest snuggled

Right here next to me.

-Vidya Tiru/LadyInRead

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Treasure Trove Thursday – The Treasure That is Memories

By February 8, 2013 Family, Memes

For dVerse Poets Meeting the Bar prompt – Mining the Memory with Victoria and for Alphabe Thursday‘s letter L(love) as well as Theme Thursday‘s prompt – secrets

My First Sharer of Secrets
A light drizzle softened the heat
as we walked across the street
I recall this scene right down to a T
as if it was playing in front of me on the TV
Across the rain-dropped street we walked –
a three-year old me clinging still, as he held
my hand –  my dear
uncle.  We walked together
forward still, and soon I found myself next to mother.
It was a hospital room, my mom soon relegated
 to the background, while
I looked down, elated,
and in total awe into a cradle,
For the first glimpse of this tiny human male
All bundled up,  looking up at me
Peering at me as if he knew me already,
As if he knew all the secrets of my three- year- old self
I knew I fell in LOVE with him at that moment itself
And I still do – my little baby brother , who troubles me no
Still my baby brother and,  also, my friend.
(Yes, we do share a few secrets, like all good friends do;
Now our little girls – cousins and BFFs – share secrets too!)
For Thursday 13, here are thirteen things I want to do with my little girl before she turns thirteen (well, way before that since I still recall the day she came to the world and tomorrow she turns seven already! – some I have done already but would definitely want to do them again,and maybe regularly):
1. A mommy and me date with her to her favorite place for a treat – Yogurtland 🙂
2. Cook together – she loves helping me so I do want to plan a  whole meal with her and then cook with her
3. Bake with her – almost the same as above, yet different and she always wants to bake cakes, cookies, cupcakes, and more
4. Craft time with her – She has lots of creative ideas and I would like to let her plan an afternoon of crafts for the two of us
5. Dance with her – Either turn on our favorite music and dance to it as we like, or maybe turn on Wii Dance and dance with the Wii,or join a dance class together
6. Read with her – We love taking turns reading from books – sometimes we just read facing pages, other times, when there are enough dialogs to warrant that,we pick specific characters we like and read out their parts while,of course, I read anything that is not read by any character:)
7. Painting – not the house (though she will love that) but posters,paintings,cups, and more
8. Go to a movie together – a totally girly, princessy, maybe not too much since her favorite shows are not too princessy at all
9. Family Game Night – with games of her choice – normally, we end up playing games which everyone can enjoy but not necessarily her favorites (maybe, have a rotation schedule where she gets to pick the games every other week)
10. Girl’s Night Out with her- dress-up and eat out- again just the two of us:)
11. Set up a sweet shop (kind of like a lemonade stand) and she has posters ready for them already:)
12. Pick a language (that I would love her to learn/ or me to learn) and have conversations with her all day long in that language (Languages I would choose and in the order specified – other than English – Tamil (what I grew up speaking at home), Hindi (the national language of India), Spanish (she is learning a little of it at her afterschool), Kannada (the language spoken in Karnataka, where Bangalore is,in southern India), and French (which she would love to learn as would I) -This one is definitely a before 13 goal!
13. Laugh with her – my mom and I had a sort of a mom-daughter laughter club – an impromptu one – and we would find ourselves laughing ourselves silly till our tummies hurt and the males in our family (that is,dad and brother) would pretend not to recognize us (even in our own house) – two ladies who have decidedly lost a few screws up in their heads!!:) – I would love to start this wacky tradition with my daughter and I know she will love it!!And there are so many more things I would love to do with her – go to a play, a museum, a walk just around the neighborhood, plan and have a tea party with her (again), and much much more,like explore theme parks with her – at least one – mostly Disneyland. .

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My Thursday Post of memes…

By December 21, 2012 Everything Else, Family, Memes, Writing

For dVerse (Kyrielles this time), Theme Thursday (Faith),

Some more stories courtesy news
Shootings, inhuman acts, abuse
Amidst all this blatant violation
What do we base our faith on?
Call from school, lockdown mode today
Sign off your child; shooting on highway
Girl harassed, more such goings-on
What do we base our faith on?
Loving tributes, Acts of kindness,
Standing up for right, for goodness
Sweet proofs of love and compassion
This we can base our faith on.
– Vidya Tiru/LadyInRead

For Alphabe Thursday –  letter E and Thursday Thirteen (again):
Thirteen things I plan to do, starting this holiday season, some of them everyday and others every once in a while:

  1. Enjoy the moment
  2. Exercise every day – at least a walk
  3. Emphasize the good – every where and in every one
  4. Educate myself on one new thing – maybe learn something my kids are learning in school
  5. Entertain – invite family and friends over more often than I do now – nothing elaborate but just to hang out
  6. Encourage my kids – in everything they do – more than I do now..
  7. Excel – Improve something I already know and get better at it – I need to pick something:)
  8. Enable someone to achieve something – again, I will look out for the right opportunity to do this
  9. Learn to be more effective in all I say and do
  10. Learn to work more efficiently – there are days when I am totally disorganized and just keep doing things any which way and later realize that if I had just done it differently, would have been hugely better
  11. Be more enthusiastic, in general
  12. Pick one exciting thing I have not done yet (white water rafting for example) and Just Do It
  13. Take it easy if I cannot do all these:)

NaBloPoMo has this prompt for today
Do you think this thought by Samuel Goldwyn is true? “The harder I work, the luckier I get.”

My answer to this: I am not too sure of this thought. When I read it first a few days ago, something did click in my brain and I said to myself – this is maybe true. But as I thought about it some more, I am not too sure I agree with it completely.

Granted, hard work is great, it is wonderful to be able to work hard, to have something to work hard for and to work hard at. But are hard work and luck related? Not sure on that. I agree that hard work does bring in its successes and achievements. There are days when I feel lucky – things seem to happen to me for no reason at all – and I take those at face value – I was lucky at those times – because for some of those things that happen, I have not done anything on my part at all – zero work involved except maybe being somewhere, with someone, at the right time.

On the other hand, I also know quite a few instances where I or someone close to me has worked really hard, and point to note, really well also – deserving of a lot, but did not get anything that was due to them after all that work. If the thought was true, this would not happen.
So the most I can say for hard work is – people do get something as a result of their hard work – more or less than they deserve. And Luck, is just luck..:)

Now that you have read my contributions for these memes, go ahead and check more great contributions by clicking on them – here are the links again, if you do not want to scroll up:
Alphabe Thursday
Thursday Thirteen
Theme Thursday

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Teetotaciously Thursday – Teetotaciously Memes

By December 14, 2012 Family, Memes, Writing

Ode to my TBR book(s) for Theme Thursday(ribbons) and dVerse Poets Pub

You wait for me patiently in the TBR shelf
While you watch me leaf through pages
Watch me making notes to self
You watch, hoping, waiting, longingly –
For time immemorial, or so it seems
as ribbons of dust embrace you lovingly.
Me – towards the tall stack of books to be read
As I progress
You – ‘Yay’ you think with equal parts joy and dread
But , alas you are not picked, but a stranger
You will get your turn, soon
So just hang on there a little while longer

will be read..

-Vidya Tiru/LadyInRead

For Theme Thursday(ribbons):
Growing up, I had to wear pigtails to school everyday – our school frowned upon hair let loose or even pony tails (except when your hair was too short for pigtails). and so my mom faithfully oiled and braided my hair each day and tied it up with ribbons – now there were rules about ribbons too – black ribbons for all days of the week except Thursday, when we wore white ribbons. Now, the colors had no symbolism – it was just that they were part of our uniforms. We wore navy blue uniforms on all days except on Thursday when we wore white uniforms. I did have ribbons of other colors too, to wear outside school, that matched with the outfit I wore – not that we had too many occasions to wear too many others since we had uniforms for school. and then after we got home, we mostly played which meant, anything went. But I loved my ribbons until I grew up, cut my hair shorter and did not need to bother with it anymore (especially now:)). Now I have ribbons only for gift wrapping, and the ribbons my kids receive at their various sports classes as they achieve different levels (swimming, gymnastics), and the ribbons they bring home for Red Ribbon week or other awareness weeks at school.


Today happens to be the Thursday, the 13th for
this Thursday Thirteen .So many different types of ribbons:
1.Ribbons to beautify your hair
2.Bows and rosettes, and 3)gift wrapping too
4.Opening ceremonies, and 5.GUI bars, phew!
6.Next level achieved in sports – a ribbon
7.Show that you care for a cause with a ribbon
8.A ribbon-like strip of land next to glimmering waters
9. Ribbons needed too for typewriters and printers
10. Torn strips of cloth, a little ragged there
11. Reins for saying, whoa, slow down, sweet mare
12. A metal band to take a measure
13. and ribboning is a verb too, and maybe more too, but am at 13, so no pressure.

Another one for Thursday Thirteen and for AlphabeThursday – (letter is D):
This is a list of thirteen different things starting with the letter D that I love:
1. My darling daughter AND 2. My wonderful dad (I put them up here together)
3. Dancing
4. Dreaming – I love my dreams – the ones I have when i am asleep and those I have when wide awake! I encourage my kids to dream big too and follow their dreams
5. Disney – movies, the parks (not the paraphernalia)
6. My Digital camera
7. Decadent and Delicious Desserts – my favorite part of any and every meal
8. Delhi – the city where I was born
9. Daffodils – I love the color yellow and seeing daffodils in my garden always cheers me.
10. Dawn and Dusk – could not pick one from these two so they both go in here – I love watching the sky at these times.
11.The feeling of Deja Vu – Especially when it is something wonderful that gives me this feeling but even otherwise, there is something so mysterious(of course!) about this, I love it
12. Dew
13. dVerse – a new favorite of mine that starts with D

For NaBloPoMo

Are you happier when you’re working or when you’re relaxing?

Depends on the task I am doing for work/relaxation – I am happiest when I am doing work that relaxes me – blogging, watering the plants, washing the dishes(this one, I dread doing it when I see the sink full of dishes but the moment I start, I feel good about it).

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Travel Thursday – Tips for car travel with kids…and memes

By December 15, 2011 Family, Travel

Planning to drive for your holidays? An exciting destination, perhaps? With kids in tow? Then you know that this trip definitely needs some planning and preparation after you have made your hotel reservations and figured out your itinerary but before you open the car door and start loading your bags. Backed up my own previous experiences and mishaps, I came up with this list of tips that works for me along with others I got from others as well which helped a lot too:

Tip 1: Entertainment: Though I should not be saying this, if you have a DVD player, that helps! it is surprising how this otherwise-evil-at-home device reduces the number of ‘Are we there yet?’ questions from the back seat(s). And if you do not have it, do not fret. Any personal mobile device will help as well – an iPhone, iPad/iPod (Fruit Ninja, anyone) or other gaming device – but this will mean multiple devices if you have multiple kids all wanting to play games (and they will, at the same time).
The other option/additional item you can use is audio books and music the kids love. I always have a couple of their favorite music CDs in the car and have to yet try audio books – will try it out the next time we plan a long drive with Harry Potter.

Tip 2: One word – Snacks (actually two words – Accessible snacks)! Hunger strikes kids at the oddest moments – definitely not when we are at the dinner table reminding them to finish every minute of the whole hour they are at the table – but definitely when you are driving down the middle of nowhere stuck in traffic and the nearest snack is in the trunk of the car or maybe not even there. This also includes fluids – meaning water, juice boxes – but remember to not overdo this – remind the kids to have little sips (see #3 below)

Tip 3: Nature’s Call: Make room for restroom breaks and to let the kids stretch out a little, especially when the drive is longer than three hours. This is inevitable – the moment you have passed the closest place that has a restroom, your kid will want to use it – so make sure that the kids use the restroom (not just asking them whether they want to use it) at every stop and before you start.
Note: Best places to use restrooms – a restaurant or a motel near the exit rather than a gas station.

Tip 4: Classic car games are always fun and the best way to spend the time if everyone is well rested – games like trivia,memory game (we pick a theme and then each player adds on to what others have said before – eg: theme: animals , player one says tiger; player two – tiger, lion; and so on – you can make it tougher by making it alphabetical also), multiplication based game (pick two numbers and two words, the multiples of those numbers should be replaced by the words while players take turns counting from one – 1, 2, dog, cat, 5, dog, 7, cat, dog, 10, 11, dogcat, 13 – got it?)

Tip 4: Rest: Have a couple of pillows and sheets/blankets handy to make it comfortable for the kids and create a cozy space for them right in the back seat. The kids love this.

Tip 5: A fun bag: Let your kids pick a few items of fun for the trip and fill their ‘fun bag’ – it can be crayons, small toys, coloring books – as long as it is not too big and not too many – you can decide what works best for you. Books to read are OK too though I am not a big fan of reading while driving or on the bus/train to avoid car sickness.
Note: You can pack one bag as well with treats/surprises for them and keep it with you.Watch their faces light up when you whip up a surprise for them just at the right moment..

Tip 6: Cleanup: Do not forget tissues, wipes, and paper towels – you will need to clean up at least once. Trash bags too.

Tip 7: Prepare: Contact numbers of friends, the destinations (hotels, etc), charged cell phone, maps, directions (and alternate routes), updated GPS (if applicable), a first aid kid, a flashlight, sunscreen, emergency flares, change (quarters, dollar notes) are all helpful to have.

Tip 8: Time of travel: Plan to drive at minimal traffic hours (not rush hour) – though this is obvious, in the excitement of a trip and with other last minute delays, you might miss this. It is better to start a little early or a little late and drive in smooth traffic rather than be stuck in rush hour and deal with frazzled nerves (of everyone, including yourself)

Tip 9: Packing tips: If staying at multiple hotels and you have multiple bags, pack such that you need to open only minimum bags at each place. Take along plastic covers to use as laundry bags for the dirty clothes. Pack clothes in the order you will be using them so you do not need to turn the bag upside down for something you need. Pack  clothes in complete sets – undergarments included – and roll them or fold them into one another – socks, undergarments and the shirt can all be folded and the pants folded over them. Some off-season clothing as well in case the weather changes. One set of clothes for the kids can be kept handy during the drive in case of accidents.

Tip 10: Enjoy! Have fun – you are going on a vacation, so sit back, smile, and drive!

Traveling is fun and if done well, then, of course, sweet success

Thursday Memes:

Theme Thursday over at Theme-Thursday – the theme is ‘Sweet’
Alphabe Thursday offers up the letter ‘F’ this week
Theme Thursdays:
‘Food’ is the theme this time over at ‘Reading
Between the Pages’ who hosts this weekly meme. The rules are:

  • A theme will be posted each week (on Thursday’s)
  • Select a conversation/snippet/sentence from the current book you are reading
  • Mention the author and the title of the book along with your post
  • It is important that the theme is conveyed in the sentence (you don’t necessarily need to have the word)

And to enter all three memes in one sweep, I have the following:

“For the uninitiated, frozen custard is like ice cream,
only smoother and richer thanks to extra egg yolks being whipped in.
Take I-43 north to suburban Glendale and brake at exit 78 for Kopp’s
kitschy, retro building.”

Planet, Lonely (2011-06-22). 5 of the USA’s Best Trips (Kindle Locations 345-346). Lonely Planet Publications. Kindle Edition.

Image from Now@MPL where you can find the recipe for this delicious sweet frozen treat!

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