Thursday, November 21, 2013

So how is it with with TWO kids?

I get asked this question a LOT. As I was telling someone recently, if I had a penny for each time I got asked this quesiton, I would be on track to be a millionaire.
 So seriously, how is it with TWO kids?
Hmm, Like having one kid and one shadow.
My kids are five years apart. So that does help. The older one 'helps' out. No seriously she does. She will entertain the Little Lady whilst I cook dinner or go to the loo or just read a book. Ok, the last one is a stretch, but yes, it is a big help.
 But at the same time, it is a pain, since now whist I sing the ABC's or teach the colors to the little one, I am like: Crap, not again! I am not even thinking about the Potty training time to come soon.
 So how is it with TWO kids?
In all due honesty, I have seen a side of my older one that I could not fathom. The way she looks and cares for her little sister is amazing. She takes out toys, reads books to her and above all is super protective of her. The first thing she does after coming home is kiss the little one. It is the selflessness in her which no book, no social setting would have taught her. Its only since she is an older sister. At the same time she is coping with 'Its not all about her anymore'

For the little one, it is MUCH easier this time around for us at least. I am not freaking out at every missed meal, a single cough. Knowing, 'It all works out soon enough' helps me cope with it. If she is not crawling by 9 months, I look at my older one run around the house. They all get there. Knowing that is so calming.
Plus the shadow I mentioned above is so true. The little one crawls around the house looking for her sister or the dad. She is picking a few things without us teaching her. Whether its sharing toys, waiting while we get to her or even simple thing like: Chilling. Since there are two kids in the house, we cant get to both of them at the same time. So both the kids are learning to be more self-sufficient.
There was no specific reason why we decided to have another kid. Our family felt very complete with just one kid. But now with Little Lady, It feels complete. Again.
There is a special bond. When I see my girls playing with each other now, or just sitting at dinner table or the older one making silly faces at the little one. It all makes me mush and more often than not, I get misty eyed. I know they will have each other. No Matter What.
Yes they will fight, they will have tantrums but at the end of the day, they will have a friend for life.

Having said all that, IT IS BLODDY HARD WORK with two kids schedules, activities, our social life and work. But I llow my Mantra: 'Count to ten and breathe. Life is Good'

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

The tooth story


I never imagined the tooth fairy will be so perfectly timed.
One baby- The Little Lady got her first emergence of tooth last week.
One baby- The chatter Box got her first wiggly tooth last week as well.

Here is what I wam thinking- Tooth Fairy is taking one trip to my house.
Delivering one tooth in the infant and taking the other from the school going kid.
No, I am not thinking that she is taking V's tooth and putting it in S's mouth. But yeah, she is going to make ONE trip.


Sumit and I, both are in professions that ensure business runs efficiently and effectively. We preach and practice this day in and day out.
What I didnt know is that the tooth fairy heard the 'efficiency' rants in our house.

So yup, she is efficient and effective.

This week, we will have one child crying and climbing out of bed middle of the night, since the tooth is wiggly and it hurts and it bleeds.
The same week, we will have another child crying loud enough to make us climb out of bed middle of the night, since the tooth is emerging and it hurts.

I tell you, its perfect. One week- One tooth out, one tooth in. and ONLY one week of sleepless ness.

Effective and Efficient.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Quick Food Fix: Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Poached Apple

Brussels sprouts. I see them stocked on our grocery store all the time and I always shy away from buying them. What to make?
Then I came across this recipe, hmm, it seemed easy enough, so I tried it last night with a full spread. The original recipe called for adding cranberries and Maple Syrup. Somehow sweet salad was not my thing, so I spiced it up ever so slightly
Here is my variation for a quick fix:Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Poached Apple
 Ingredients:
1. Brussels sprouts: trimmed and cut in halves- I used 10-12 sprouts
2. Half apple sliced
3. Olive Oil
4. Salt, Pepper
5. 10-12 Walnuts broken by hand
6. 1-2 tsp Lemon Juice
(You can add chili flakes and garlic, since I wanted to taste the sprouts)
 Process:
1. Pre-heat oven to 325 F
2. Toss the Brussels sprouts in olive oil and add salt. (I skipped black pepper, since Chatterbox is not fond of it).
3. Lay the sprouts and the apple on a baking sheet and put it in the oven
4. In about ten minutes, just flip the sprouts and the apple (The sprouts start getting brown)
5. In another five minutes take the sprouts and apple out.
6. Put it in a dish and mix- Add lemon Juice and walnuts

Enjoy!!!!

We ate it as a salad before our dinner. It actually complimented the food really well. Here was our menu for the evening

Appetizers: Brussels Sprouts with Poached Apple
Main Course: Custom Pizza's
We did the following combinations
1. Pesto with Pepper
2. Red sauce with goat cheese and basil
3. Broccoli with carrots and red sauce
Dessert: Moustache Brownies
Sumit recently got a mold with moustache shapes, so we gave it a shot!

Just another Tuesday night in our house, you see that's how we roll!


Thursday, November 7, 2013

Unnecessary Glorification

You know how it is, there is one good article/ one picture and it gets circulated. A Lot. on facebook, via whats app, via mail, via e-anything. So a simple picture becomes 'Glorified'
 Here it is.

 I saw it, and was very uncomfortable, but I let it go and didn't 'Like' it. It comes up on another Media outlet and before I know it, that one day, I see it every where.
And I kept growing more and more uncomfortable.
 And here is why
 To me, the picture signifies the following
1. The lady has a smile on her face while multi-tasking.
Seriously show me one person who can handle all the stuff without whining. Kids or no kids. It is unrealistic representation of a person. It makes it seem its okay to do all this and if you are not smiling- Shame On you.
 2. She looks more like a sacrificial lamb to me.
It makes whatever the lady is doing 'single handedly' look OK. And I want to stand up and shout. ITS NOT.
3. The guy below the lady has a 'Exclamation' on his head.
Seriously?? What is he amazed at how much the lady can do? Is he amazed that he has two hands which are useless. What?

It's images like these which seem regressive to me.
Yes on any given moment, like all of us, I wear multiple hats. May be of a parent, a corporate executive, a girl, a cook. But so does my husband. How about we create an image to glorify him? The father, a co-parent whose work generally goes un-noticed or un-glorified!

It's images like these which seem like they are judgmental.
I don’t think I do half of the things that a 'good mother' is supposed to.  I think I have ironed Sumit's shirts a total of 3 times in our time together. Does that make me a bad wife? 
I think not.
It's images like these that I NEVER want to show my girls. Never



Thursday, October 31, 2013

Haloween-i-fied!

Yes I am coining a new word: Haloween-i-fied:
\Pronounced\ Ha-low-eeee-niiii-f-ed
\Meaning\ Haloween activity which never ends....
\Usage\  Excalmation:  I am Haloween-i-fied
Let me explain.
Haloween is celebrated on: October 31

In our house:
Costume Search began: September 14
Costumes bought: September 28
Home decorated: October 5
Pumpkin Patch: October 12
Haloween Part'ies: October 26-27
Pumpkin Carving: October 28,29
Haloween Day: More parties, More Trick or Treating and More... Candy

So today is Haloween and I am Haloween-i-fied!

Our first pumkin carved together- Cutting- Sumit, Scooping- Chatter Box, Carving- Garima, Eating pumkin scopped gooey- Little Lady! 
Decorations in our house.... Flying ghosts, witches, stop-if-you-dare signs.... we went all out



nd of course- On day of Haloween even school lunches get Haloween-i-fied!

Happy Haloween All!

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Quick Food Fix: Roasted Asparagus with Dijon Vinagraitte

A couple of weekends ago, we had a dinner party at home and I was in my 'cooking mode'. I wanted to cook something intresting. Not the same old same old. So along with a complete Italian Dinner spread, I tried my hand at Roasted asparagus and trust me, they were delicious. We all gobbled them down and a friend who is not a big asparagus eater also stole them from another plate.

Let me put this way: They were a success.

Its super easy to make and super delicious and I think super healthy. So basically its a Super Super thing to make!

Ingridients:For baseAsparagus- Of course, I used one bunch
Olive Oil - 2 tsp.
Garlic- One clove finely chopped
Sea Salt- Per taste
Fresh crushed Pepper - Per taste
Chilli flakes- Optional
Base Process:1. Toss all the ingredients of the base
2. Bake it in preheated oven(350 F) for 7-10 minutes
And its ready

For DressingHoney Dijon Mustard- 1 tsp
Lemon Juice- 1 tsp
Olive Oil - 1 tsp
Dressing Process:1. Mix all the ingredients of the dressing
And its ready

To serve:1. Scoop out the roasted asparagus, spread dressing as needed.
And its ready!!

I told you, its very simple.
Now mind you, Dijon mustard mixed with lemons has a very tart taste, so go easy on the dressing.
The conundrum, how do you eat them?
1. If you use a fork, the delicious dressing gets left behind on the plate.
2. If you use a spoon, well good luck getting the asparagus on it.
3. If you use a hand, yumm yumm yummm

Let me know how you ate yours?

Sadly no pictures... I guess we are all too busy licking our fingers!

Monday, October 28, 2013

A Date Day is as good as a Date Night

 Recently with the Columbus day holiday, it was perfect. Both Sumit and I had days off. V was to be in school and Little Lady with the nanny.
So we could do one of two things: Either finish off all the projects for the home and errands that have piled up and we have not been able to finish due to work. Alternatively, movie afternoon and no not in the house, but in the theatre.

Needless to say, responsible us chose the latter.
We chose the perfect time, after a heavy, delicious breakfast at home we headed out for Movie Number 1: Gravity 3D. I guess i had high expectations from the movie. But holding hands, enjoying pop corn and hiding in your spouse's shoulder when the meteor comes flying on you is perfect.
After the movie, I was famished. I needed food, so some unhealthy movie theatre food later.
Movie Number 2: Captain Philips. I loved loved loved this movie. It was chilling, real and oh my, Tom Hanks was fabulous and so were the Somali Pirates and so were the scenes and chilling reality of the seas. I was shaking even after the movie.

Yes, we did two movies back to back, such Date-Days come rarely for us, so we try to maximize them. Else date nights, needs a lot more planning- We need the sitter, V to be prepped and explained to why she cant join us. Little Lady to be fed and in bed and above all by the time we are out, we are generally super tired. So days are better, sometimes.

Back to our 'Date-Day': We then rushed to pick up V from school, rushed to come home to relieve the nanny earlier and then picked up the litte one and headed for a family night: Dinner outside. - No one in our family says no to Indian Chinese!
 A perfect date: Time spend reconnecting, laughing and sharing a common theme- Smile.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Absence of screen time

No, I am not going back to the dark ages. Screens, all forms, latest gadgets etc rule our household. They are used as barter, bribe and of course being 'connected' in all forms all the time. But I am 'trying' to make a conscious effort of making screens 'absent' for certain periods of time.

1. When I return home from work, until kids are in bed. I am trying to keep my phone in my purse on 'silent' mode. And the purse far away so I am not distracted by the 'buzz'. The only reason why an iPad is picked up is to start some music and an impromptu dance jig with the girls. This is hard. But it makes me less distracted, I don’t ask V to hold off since I am responding to this one text. I actually sit with Little Lady and not just take her pictures, but enjoy the mini-milestones she reaches each minute.

2. When I hit the bed, the phone is outside. I used to use the 'phone needs charging' excuse to have phone by my side. Now the gadgets and the chargers are all outside of our room. And yes, I have not needed alarm in the last couple of years. Having kids does that to you. This is harder. Since catching up on Facebook, unread emails, witty messages all get piled up. But you know what, I am learning if this really can wait, let it wait. Hence the phone is outside.

3. When I take the bus to and from my work, I keep my phone in the pocket of my jacket and look around. This is the hardest. But this has also made me realize that there are 4 nail spas en route (why does one need 4 in 10 blocks, I really don’t know), couple of bakeries which are so inviting (Must try with the family over weekends). The sun and the sky that I can peek at from the bus, makes me just decompress.
I am learning that I can switch off from screens and be switched on in person.

I can’t make bold statements and say- that’s how it will be all the time. In a week, even if I can do this for a few days, it’s a small step for me. Just to disconnect and really connect.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Baking Experiments: Eggless Pear-Rhubarb Cake

This is  exactly how this recipe came to life.
A week ago, I was walking in my grocery store and saw rhubarb. Perfect, delicious smelling, red rhubarb. I said, hmm. I have never cooked anything with it. So lets try something. Came home, refrigerated it and forgot about it until this weekend.

I realized, oh,Pears are very ripe. Oh, wow. I didnt do anything with this Rhubarb.
Googled, read a few recipes and then said: You know what, this looks easy enough. Lets try.
Here is my recipe adapted from here to make an Eggless Pear Rhubarb Cake.

Ingredients
1 cups finely chopped rhubarb (It felt like celery to chop)
1 1/2 cups finely chopped pears (Mine were pretty ripe, so a juicy chopping board)
1 cups demerara sugar (Next time, I am going to use lesser, since the cake came out sweeter than I like)
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 cups apple sauce (Peeled two apples and pureed them in the Nutri Bullet)- This is my substitute for eggs.
3 cups all-purpose flour (Next time, i will try 1.5 cup All purpose and 1.5 cup wheat flour)
1 cup chopped almonds (Since this was the only nuts at home, am sure walnuts, cashews, macadamia will taste divine as well)
3 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ginger paste (I am in the phase of gingering up all my food)

Process.
1. In a large mixing bowl, mix all of the ingredients except apple sauce, baking powder and nuts
2. Pre-heat the over to 350F and grease the baking dish with butter. I have a dish liner so I used that instead.
3. Now mix the apple sauce, one spoon at a time. Then add the baking powder and nuts. Just save some to put on top.
4. Put the batter in the baking dish. Garnish with the remaining nuts and put it in the oven
5. Bake for about 50 to 60 minutes. You can test by inserting a knife. If it comes out clean, its done!

And now... Enjoy
1. Warm with spreading light butter 0r
2. With a warm cup of tea  or
3. Ask your kids to decorate the slice and enjoy watching them make the mess and the smiles and the scary faces.
 

With Halloween fever in my house, We just used red icing for a 'bloody cake' V's words, not mine!

Kids say the darnest things

I am starting this new label today. With a chatter box around, it was only a matter of time. And I am really hoping as V is growing up REALLY fast, I want to capture this sweet innocence. And yes at some point, hold these stories as ransom for her to oblige!

Point 1:
This weekend, Little Big V, was not in the best of health. It started with a headache and resulted in a full fever, chills etc. Yup, apparantly 5 year olds do get head aches. I didnt know. The three chicas of the house went on a trip to Target for some errands and this is what happened in Aisle 9
Miss V:" I really need to get some coffee for this headache. "

Point 2: We picked up the girls V & her friend M from school yesterday. With two five year olds, its generally random chit chat about this and that. Sumit had played the songs from the movie 'Besharam' for the girls to enjoy
M: What does 'Besharam' mean?
V: It means to not be shy. So I will 'Besharam' all the time.
M: Oh ok, I will tell my mom that I will be 'Besharam' all the time as well.
Both the girls were dead serious, Sumit and I were in splits, the literal meaning went too far.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Seeing the silver line

This past weekend, Sumit was travelling. I was holding the fort with the two kids. I was anxious and excited, two kids by myself, all weekend, alone. I had diligently planned for activities so all of us enjoy.
We had planned, a baking party, a brunch, a kiddie party, a dinner party. But on Friday night, V returned from school with a massive headache and that resulted in fever, chills, tiredness. So all planned stuff went out the window and we stayed home with no park, no TV, no nothing. Yup, not fun.
Looking on the bright side, I did get some 'down time' (Read: In our house hold: Down Time equates to 5 minutes of peace and quiet with no kid demanding attention of ANY sort).
The silver lining. V and I played at least 20 rounds of "Sequence' board games. I love to see V developing the same passion that we have for board games. We did simple craft projects in between her fever spells. We decorated the house in some Halloween delight. It was so much fun to see Little Lady amused by the 'flying ghosts' Little Lady got her round of practicing the crawls, the standing up and the self-feeding. And yes amidst all this we all giggled. A lot. 
I tried my hand at baking experiments- A date cake: Which I dont think I am repeating.
A rhubarb-pear cake: which got over really soon and I am surely going to make it again.
It was so sweet for a dear friend calling time and again and offering to help. It feels good to know and hear a 'I am here for you' message. Sometimes, just a text of 'Can I do something to help' would mean the world.
By 8, I was exhausted EVERY night. I don’t realize how much Sumit helps around. When I had to do it all by myself. It was- Tiring.

But it becoming a lovely girls weekend, I ended it by some TLC for V.
A lovely hair massage, a hair cut followed by V's favorite place for dinner. All for V.



I am glad Sumit is BACK. Phew. AND yes I slept for straight 10 hours once he returned.

Monday, October 7, 2013

I think WE have figured out this parenting thing

Honestly, I think Sumit and I have nailed it.
 And here is why:
 V, my 5 year old wakes up middle of the night wailing and sobbing.
The dad aka Sumit just walks to V's room, asks her to throw up 'properly' and then like machine work- puts every piece of fabric from her room in the laundry. He opens the windows and sprays in the room freshener.
The mom aka Me doles out of bed, cleans up V, asks if all is well. She then gets water for the kid and herself. Hugs and says it’s okay to sleep in mummy-papa's bed tonight.
 And then the perfect family just goes off to sleep, like nothing happened.

It’s another Monday morning of Business As Usual.

This makes me think, we worked like a well-oiled machine and I think we have figured out this 'parenting thing' until next throw up of course

And yep, that’s exactly what happened last night. At Midnight.

Monday, September 30, 2013

Good Job

It's rare to tell yourself that. Especially when you know you have not reached your goal but still pat your back and say, you are on the right track- Great Job.

I realized it, this past weekend when a friend commended Sumit on being fitter than before. I am proud of him. He has been good with his Getting Fit business on the Fit Bit. But he was not happy since its far far away from his goal of 15K steps every single day.

Learning from this, I am taking a step back and appreciating my self- Good Job.

I met my walking targets most days past week on the Fit Bit.
I recently joined a Yoga Studio and went to class 4 times in a week.
I made a few better choices. For example, ordering salad instead of pizza. I actually walked past from my yummy bagel place and ordered oatmeal for breakfast instead. But yes, I did enjoy a fair share of cake and cup cakes.
I have woken up at an ungodly hour of 5:30 am to make it to my class before kick starting the day. Whist V was in her class, me as a chaperone decided to talk the hour in the passage looking like a fanatic. But oh well. I did meet my target of steps!

For me, I don’t have a specific goal with this Getting Fit stint. I just want to be more active than I really am. I don’t think the jeans are any looser or the tummy is any bit in. Or better yet, I have not lost a single pound. But you know what, I am proud of myself. For just getting off my hinds and moving.
So good Job- Garima`

Monday, September 23, 2013

The lesson learned by a daddy-daughter moment

I have had the Fit Bit on for a while now. V has been nagging me let her wear it for One day. This Sunday, I caved and said- Fine wear it.
The whole day, she excitedly kept tapping to see how well she was doing. She would keep checking on how Sumit's Fit Bit progressed as well. She would walk at a place while we ate food. She was running a patio on a crisp afternoon just to see the five lights of Fit Bit.
We returned home after a long day, and she excitedly went on the Fit Bit app on my phone to realise, she is 590 steps away from her goal of the day. She was super tired, but was keen on completing the steps.

Looking at her tired face, I mumbled to Sumit, let her be. Its okay if she does not finish it.
As usual, she overheard us and was like- I want to feel the 'buzzing on hand'. Once you complete the daily goal, the Fit Bit vibrates and on the wrist it feels like a buzzing sound.
Sumit was super supportive of her and much to my dismay encouraged her to finish the goal. Now in reality, 590 steps is two rounds end to end in my apartment. We have one long corridor. But I was super tired myself and could only imagine how tired V was.
To motivate and encourage V and Sumit headed to the deck. In two minutes I heard sqeals of laughter and delight.

I run up to the deck to realise its V who felt the 'buzzing' on her wrist and completed her goal.
She was delighted and Sumit was happy to see that. She kept saying, 'I finished my steps on the firt day I wore it, yeah'. She hopped to her room and slept with the broadest smile.

I, well I learnt a very important lesson. To complete a goal sometimes is as important to start it and the journey to completion is as memorable and fun as you make it.

Monday, September 16, 2013

I ate at the BEST Chicago Restaurant EVER!

Name: Wall Ball 
Location: Very convenient. Lots of parking and best of all, its easily accessible.
Ambience: Kid Friendly yet nice. There were candles on  our table with mood lighting. But at the same time, there was enough light for the kids to play with the table toys handed out at entrance. 
Food: There was lots of variety, ample vegetarian friendly food and spice level completely customized to our taste buds. As Sumit said, in one word: 'Delicious'. The menu was simple to read and the server was lovely in explaining all our options, how its made and above all the healthy part of the meal. Apparantly the menu is hand written by the server every Friday. How intresting, talk about keeping it fun and fresh.
The best of all, the drinks. Sumit ordered a Mango Lemonade. It was a lovely fizzy lemonade with fresh basil and a raspberry in the middle. The server explained, its freshly plucked Basil leaves. Yumm!
Service: Top of the line. No other way to describe it. The server/ waitress was super friendly. She was knowledgeable and happily helped Sumit make the right selection. The food was brought out promptly and in very creative service style.
The server was interested in playing with the 8 month old Little Lady. The server got kid friendly fruits and cheerios for the Little Lady to play with and eat.
At one point, Little Lady was super tired and Sumit wanted to leave, but the server volunteered to hang around the high chair and entertain the baby.
 What can I say, it was the best Friday Night restaurant experience for us a family. We are contemplating making it a weekly tradition. It is the perfect way to unwind from the week, have delicious and well served food and above all, its a restaurant experience which is very relaxing!
 Here is a picture of the lemonade with our server:


Haha! Yes, the server was Vedika and the Chef: A La Moi.
The not so little Miss V, prepared the menu with the price, took the order, commanded the chef to make it look pretty and above all- it was her wonderful idea.
We had a memorable time at : Restaurant Wall Ball (The server: V gets to choose the name!)

 
So to more Friday evenings in the BEST Chicago restaurant EVER.

Plan for next installment:
Chef: Sumit
Server: V
Customers: Little Lady and Me

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Dating of a different kind. Really?

A not so new concept- Girl friends
A not so new concept- Mom Friends
A revelatory concept to me- Mom Dating
No I dont mean 'dating' in its true sense. But mom dating.
Let me elaborate:
Kids have play dates. You schedule these really (really) hoping that you get along with the moms. If you do next steps is play dates as a family. And now you really (really) hope that dad's, if siblings exist all get along well. This whole thing is what I call 'Mom Dating'. And if the family gets along well, chances are you will move to the next step- Get sitters for the kids and the parents go out together for dinner/ drinks/ concerts whatever catches their fancy.
 Hence my revelatory concept: Moms scheduling play dates for their kids in order to 'date' other moms.
This dating is completely different: Its more for moms to have mom-time without feeling like moms. Its for moms to have talk about more things than just 'ballet classes, reading levels and latest kids fad'. But there is no rolled eyes, if you include the 'latest spillage that the kid had on your purse' while you were talking about the NAS Sale.
Kids are likely in similar age group- you will have similar issues at hand, similar victories at hand and above all- for moms, similar frustrations.
This dating becomes imperative. Kids have a good time (They are not in your hair). You have a good time (Since you can let your hair down). See its a win-win situation
In complete disclosure, Have I done the above? May be but without being aware of it. So far its been one of three things for me:
1. We were friends first and so the kids automatically hung out together all the time.
2. If my friends didnt have kids we still hung out all the time, and the kids played with aunts fav. teddy bear.
3. Kids were friends first (or as my 5 year old would say 'She is my BEST friend ever') and the moms hung out enough to realize there is more to us than ferrying the kids around between activities and cursing traffic!

Hence Mom Dating, tread lightly, you don’t want to be a stalker!

Thursday, September 5, 2013

And another update on the Getting Fit business

 Notice how I call it 'Business' since sadly it does take more of my time 'thinking' about it than I would like.
Two weeks ago, I had made a promise to keep up by 10 K a week and sadly health was not the best (See I already am giving excuses) But in all due honesty, minus the days when I preferred to not move if I didnt have to, I did do my 10K. Every Single day.
This week however, is better. Better because Sumit being hugely disappointed in me, re-set my goal to 8K steps a day. And I am meeting it EVERY SINGLE DAY.
I know I should be happy, but sadly I take it with a pinch of salt, since I am not 'pushing myself'. Oh well, small steps as they say, or in this case I should say- Lots of Steps!

What am I doing differently besides walking a little more than I used to?
1. Having a whole some breakfast, I know its counter intuitive to talk about getting fit and then say, oh I have a bigger breakfast. But trust me, its helping. I dont know how, but it is, since I am not cranky come lunch time. And above all, since I am waking at an un godly hour of 5:45 nowadays, the bigger breakfast keeps me sane.
2. Finishing off last meal by 7:30 pm. It helps that this week is Paryusan and I should not eat after sun set anyways. But its helping. How- This I can answer. Late dinners = Evil Sin! and Point 1: Heavier breakfasts comes in handy, since well how to say it--I am famished!
3. More water. This is easy for me, since I love water and trust me I can down a lot. But I am now making a conscious effort of skipping my afternoon coffee and substituting that with more water. I have skipped coffee 2 out of 4 days. Hehe! So thats 50% reduction ya'll!
And besides that nothing.
Sumit however is doing a lot more and I am proud of him. He takes most of his meeting walking. He will try to walk minimum 12K. He is trying to substitute all snacks with fruits or smoothies or more fruits. And above all, he is resuming tennis or will walk for his weekly volley ball game or will go and play more basket ball in the evenings.

See, now I feel super bad, since compared to all of the above, I am doing hmm nothing. So I guess him reducing my goal to 8K should be slap on the wrist.

Ouch Ouch Ouch

So the saga of the 'Getting Fit' business continues.
A friend asked me recently, whats so great about 'Fit Bit' and I honestly responded: It shows you what a sedentary lifestyle you lead.

Friday, August 30, 2013

It feels complete

I keep calling her my baby, my munchkin, my coochie coo and all the terms of endearment that mean 'cutesy baby'
She reminds me politely  (most of the times) and generally with shrugged shoulders: I am not a baby anymore.
She thinks she is a Big Girl.
In all due honesty, with all her achievements in the past few months, she is a matured 5 year old. If I could say the two things in one line.

In the past few months, she has flown to and back from India ON HER OWN as an unaccompanied minor. She relaxed in her summer vacation of 6 weeks sans her parents in the amazing and nurturing company of her naana- naani. She has travelled through India meeting people, going to parties of my parents, playing with neighbors kids in the park, speaking in Hindi, learning Marwari, forming even more opinions and basically doing all this ON HER OWN.

And yes, I cannot say this enough 'I am proud of her'. The pilot on her return flight approached me in the arrivals lounge and said: "You have a wonderful daughter. She was so well behaved and fun to talk to. She had a good flight"
I was in tears- Happy Tears

She has been back a week and I still gush. I still go and give a peck on her cheek just because. I still manage to raise my voice on an unfinished glass of milk, to realize, gosh I missed this commotion. Her incessant 'Mummy why, mummy this, mummy that' feels like the new normal. And I say-  Gosh, I missed this.

I could see coloring books and pens strewn around the house. I could  see her stuffed animals left on our bed. I could see some hair-eating, I could see some tantrums. I could hear her non stop questions. I could hear the foot stomping when things are not going her way. I could see her being her!

But I dont.
I see a house lived in. I see a 5 year old who is wise beyond years but reminds me every other minute, I am still a five year old.
I see a family.  
But yes, I could use 5 minutes of silence from 'Mummy why?'

Friday, August 23, 2013

Story of the brown bagged colorful lunch

Now that I am doing better with my 'Must do 10K steps on weekdays' rule, a thing to compensate that was taking lunches from home.
In spirit of full disclosure, i hate carrying lunch from home. Let me put it another way, I love eating out. Or maybe, I like being away from my desk when I eat just to get the  break. Or yet, with so many options here, why bother with same old same old home cooked lunch!
You get the idea!
On his recent grocery trip, Sumit got 'loads and loads' of vegetables and fruits. It took both of us over an hour to arrange and re-arrange everything in the fridge! His reasoning, they looked so fresh.
I said more lunches, salads, fruit custards, fruit smoothies!
So one of these mornings, I tossed myself this delish salad- Let’s call it '7 min. salad'
Ingredients: All finely chopped:
- Lettuce leaves-4 to 5
- Baby Carrots- 7 or 8
- Cucumber - Half
- Peach - 1
- Raspberry - Handful
- Minced Ginger - 1/4 tea spoon
- Pickled Ginger - 6 or 7 (I used the one which you get along with Sushi!)
Process: Take all of the above and toss them in a big box to carry for lunch! Done!
Dressing:
1 sachet of Black Pepper
1 tsp of Spicy Sauce, yes you read that right, again Sumit's idea! 
The lunch was delicious, the fruits and the spicy sauce compensate each other beautifully. The ginger adds a zing to it and the lack of any salad dressing makes the salad feel lighter and more fresher.
 It really reminded me of this Perfect Salad I had in London a while ago
I wish I had some walnuts or almonds to make it 'nutty'

All in all, this was one delicious brown bagged lunch with loads of color!

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Tch Tch- This Lazy Business is bad!

I should keep up: Well for both, blogging and secondly and more importantly for my 'Getting Fit' business and its reporting!
Its been exactly a month, since I bought the 'Fit Bit'.
The journey has been 'up and down' and sadly 'more down than up'. Ok, let me elaborate.
The first two weeks, the novelty of it was awesome. I was keeping up with it, increased my target to 10000 steps and doing good. I didn’t meet it every day, but met it 5 out of 7 days. Yay!
But in the past two weeks, I have been BAD. Last week, I met my target of 10K steps only ONE day. Yes NOT GOOD.
And on top of it, I relished food way too much and in my case it SHOWS, everywhere and more importantly my jeans are more snug than I want them to be.

So another Monday, another resolution!
Well. My aim for this week is simple- I want to meet my target EVERY SINGLE WEEK DAY!
That's it.
Just meet my target and I promise come next week, I will 'display' my weekly report that Fit Bit sends me and puts me to shape.
 Sumit bought a Fit Bit for himself as well. So its two of us now. Our cousins, who introduced us to this, have been insisting we join them for 'Group Tracking' and I am not up for that YET. So the struggle continues.
I think the best and the worst part of Fit Bit is- It really shows how LAZY your day to day life is. If we cant do 10K steps in a day at the age we are, the future looks a bit well 'podgy'. Yes my initial target was 8K which I meet comfortably, but I want to push myself, just a little at a time.
So wish me luck> I want my 10K badges!!

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Why do people have kids?

Recently I was chatting with a friend about this and that and kids and this and that and kids.
She then point blank asked me: 'Honestly, tell me why people have kids, it sounds like a lot of work!'
I paused, thought and responded: 'They want to, that’s why'
I loved the point blank honesty of the question. I don’t think my answer got any points with her!

And then as we spoke a bit more, I heard myself talk. I did have my kids because I wanted to. Sumit and I knew we wanted to be parents.  For us, it may be because Sumit and I decided to start early on the 'parenting' band wagon. We really didn’t analyze too much. We both wanted kids at some point and in all honesty, earlier felt better. We grew up with V and enjoyed  her childhood innocence immensely. With Little Lady again, we really didn’t want to over-analyze, is now a good time? Is next year? It felt right and we went for it.
We are blessed with V and Little Lady who are AWESOME kids! Yes they are a LOT of work, but they are a LOT of fun. An evening gets colorful with the un-ending chatter box V. A trip to the park becomes a bit more exciting as I swing along my preschooler. A trip to the mall becomes oh so cute, as I browse the infant section with the cutest onesies possible.
But behind all the smiles and giggles, there is a LOT of work, pain, tears (generally mine!), scheduling nightmare, expenses etc etc. But I had my kids for us and its an added advantage that  they are a lot of fun.
She asked me again: 'Do you find them fulfilling?'
Hmm, no, I think my life is pretty fulfilling as it was prior to having V and Little Lady. I was very content with my life even prior to marriage. But with the three important part of my life now, they all make it 'fun'. There is no better way to describe it than that: Fun. Plain and Simple.
I say again, it’s a lot of work, sacrifices, adjustment. But it’s a lot about your own perspective.
Things are no longer, pack your bags and let's make a trip. It's make a list, pack your stuff, re pack, carry all types of first aid things, then pack some more. And then may be make a trip.
Things are no longer, lets catch a movie tonight. They are more like: Schedule a sitter, bribe a friend to baby sit, then find the right movie time after the kids sleep time, run for the movie, come home and sleep if you didnt manage to sleep in the movie since it was too loud.
Work is no longer the continuous hours until it’s done. Its work, come home, do evening chores, and then may be with a big cup of joe, work some more to finish off the work.
EVERYTHING takes twice as long as before!
BUT and a VERY IMPORTANT BUT
I love being a mom, I love the fun and smiles it adds to my life. For me, its de-stressing. You really cannot be angry/tired all the time with kids around. They observe. I really have learned to compartmentalize work and home much better.
Plus when it gets really tiring, there are date nights, movie nights, girls nights, holidays and vacations. And when it gets really long hours, there are extended visits to grandparents!
Sorry babes, I could not answer your question: I don’t know why people have kids! I know why we had ours- They are FUN! What about you, why would you/ did you have kids?
But in spirit of full disclosure. I love the post 7:30 pm bliss, when the kids are sleeping and I am relaxing- just my kind of fun!

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Another Day, Another Try at this "Getting Fit" Thing!

I have documented this business of 'Getting Fit' before and was not very successful. I am all about healthy recipes and the fun stuff. But still, the weighty matters have become integral to me. Mind you, I am not happy about it. But it is what it is.
Luckily or painstakingly, I have come to a point where I don’t have (major) body issues. I am what I am and am comfortable in my skin (most of the times and for the rest, there is Spanx!). With kids, work, life in general, I really don’t get time for working out. Yes, that can be a priority and taking an hour out from my day with such a supporting husband should not be hard.
I get that, but it just falls down the priority list. I can’t even come up with an excuse as to why?

Recently, we had family visiting and my cousin introduced us to this thing called 'FitBit'. Concept is simple, it’s a fancy name for a cooler and more hi tech pedometer. It counts the number of steps you take in a day. Simple.
(Image from google)
But the fun part is, you can set targets for yourself, synch in with the endless possible gadgets to see how far you are from your daily target, challenge with family and friends who have this as well. If you really are into it, you can even include calorie intake in its app and track it from there. The sleep tracking tells you, did you have a restful sleep or now. Somehow this with kids makes me pity myself a bit ;-)
Well, I caved and we bought one for me. I am on day 3. Today
Day 2, I was 1000 steps away from my target of '8000' steps a day.
Day 2: I was 2000 steps OVER from my target of '8000' steps a day.
Hmm> Today, I am hoping to catch up and ensure I meet my target.
Since its new, the novelty factor makes it so much fun. I cant wait to synch it up and see, how I am doing. The cool thing is, you are walking anyways for life in general. This just keeps a tab on it and keeps you accountable. As Sumit says 'It makes you push yourself just a little bit more in your daily routine' And then I am hoping slowly it will encourage me to walk a bit more, to increase my targets slowly and continue this.
I will be realistic; I know I am enthusiastic due to the novelty of the device. But oh well, me being me, lets enjoy the moment and worry about it later!
The only thing I didn’t like about FitBit since I wore it, It's ugly. A black plasticky band on you. The other colors were all sold out. Even this one, took me a good time to get my hand on. Plus with its material, it really looks unfashionable, stocky and eww. But I know it’s for a purpose, so I will suck it up and continue wearing it. But I really DONT like how it looks. It's app for the iPad also has a lot to desire for.
We have ordered a band for Sumit. It should arrive in a couple of weeks and then we will have company in this wonderful misery of the 'Getting Fit Saga'

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Another successful Munch Bunch, Theme: Greek

This time for the Munch Bunch, the theme was Greek. Since I was responsible for one main, I started
hunting for intresting recipes, Surprisingly, it was very Vegetarian friendly. I generally order the
same two things in any greek restraunt. But I was amazed to find such a lovely variety of dishes with
simple steps and complicated flavors.
Here was the menu of the evening:
Drink:
Greek Tiger
Appetisers:
Zuccini Fritters with Tatziki,
Chips and Tirokafteri
Mains:
Spanikopita Lasagne
Peppers with Feta
Dessert:
Cookies
Pannacotta
Yumm Yummm Yummm,,

I wanted to try my hand at dolmades. But the steps scared me away and I will stick to ordering that in
restraunts. I made: Peppers with Feta cheese and 'tirokafteri' a spicy cheese dip.
Here is my take of simplifying the already simple recipes

1. Peppers with Feta CheeseIngredients:Sweet Peppers: 30 medium size
Jalapeno peppers: 2 sliced length wise
Tomatoes : 4 large, (recipe called for grated but I used my foood processer for chunky peices)
Feta cheese:  250g  crumbled- Store baught package
Garlic: 5 cloves, finely chopped. We all love garlicy flavor in food
Basil leaves: 1 bunch, finely chopped
2 tbsp olive oil
Salt to taste
Steps1. Wash the peppers, deseed them and cut them lenght wise.
2. Set them on trays for drying.
3. Heat olive ould and fry the peppers. Peppers will sizzle as soon as put them. Remove from oil when
they look slightly soft.
(Since the original recipe called for frying, I stuck to it. The next time, I am planning to broil them
for making it healthier)
4. Lay the fried pepper in an oven dish and sprinkle salt to taste (I used sea salt)
5. Layer with garlic, the crushed tomatos and the sliced jalapeno peppers.
6. Add salt to taste, but not too much as the feta cheese is rather salty.
7. Sprinkle the olive oil and basil on top.
8. Finally, sprinkle the crumbled feta cheese on top.
9. Bake in the over at 350 F for approx. 20 minutes, until the liquid has been absorbed and the feta
browns a bit.
10. Eat Hot!!!!
Notes: Since this dish calls for only salt, ensure the Feta is good quality so to render good taste.
I am happy to report, that the peppers dissappeared really quickly and my friend M worded it perfectly,
its smoky to tase and so easy on the tongue. I could not agree more.
As an Indian, I love spice in my food, but for once, with the simplicity of flavors in this dish, it
was perfect. No additional 'hot sauce'needed.
Adapted from here


2. Next dip I tried was 'Tirokafteri' a spicy cheese dip.
Though I didnt have to make anything for the appetisers, this recipe looked really simple and since I
had never eaten it, the foodie in me wanted to make and eat it.
Please note, the dip is heavy, cheesy and spicy! So yes, perfect.
IngredientsJalapeno: 1
Thai Chilli: 3-4 (depends on your spice level). Finely chopped
Feta cheese: 250 gm
Greek anthotiro cheese: 125g. I went to three stores and still didnt find it. I used the Ricotta Cheese
as replacement that the original recipe called for
2 teaspoonfuls lemon juice
100ml extra virgin olive oil
Steps:1. Wash the jalapeno and the chillis.
2. Put all the cheeses and peppers in a blender and mix.
Note: I added some milk for assisting the blending process
3. You might have to add salt to adjust seasoning.
4. Add lemon juice
The consistency should be of a thick yogurt.
Garnish with olive oil and enjoy!
This worked really well with the Zucini Fritters that M had prepared and the chips. In all due honesty,
I ate it with all the mains!! Hehe, Yes it did turn out creamy and yummy at the same time.

It was a wonderful Munch Bunch which got topped off by some Cut Throat Mafia at the end of the evening.
Next month: Theme:  Guys cooking. I am looking forward for our girls spa session as the boys dish out
stuff. They need to ONLY make 2 Appetisers, 2 Mains, Drink, Dessert

I cant wait!

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Wild Wild West

The name 'Wild Wild West' was enough to pique my interest. No not the movie but the adventure park. When I got the email to go here in the middle of winter, trust me I jumped on it. Hell, I was interested. Of course the distance from the city was a bit much. But in the middle of dead winter, even an hour plus seems okau. The kids can take a nap. It is a short drive.

On fathers day weekend, I invited another family to join us for this trip. So 5.5 year, 3.5 years and 0.5 year old, four adults made it to the Donley's Wild Wild West and I must start by saying, it was awesome. For all the ages. Within the first twenty minutes we realised we have five kids instead of three's since the fathers became kids here.
While my preschooler enjoyed the canoe rides, my husband and his fried were busy trying their hand at shooting and archery. While the toddler screamed with fun in the roller coaster, the husbands were taking challenges at sling shots. My friend and I were having a blast just looking the kids and the husbands and of course the shooting! Need less to say, I lost all the time to Sumit.
There is a show in the park, which I think left a lot to be desired. It was okay but the little ones didnt find the  jokes entertainig or the story captivating. I am very happy that they started with a warning that playing with guns at all levels is wrong and telling the kids what they should do if they ever see one. Considering the current air in politics around gun control and the impressionable age of the kids, this was the right move.
I am a nursing mother and was a bit dissapointed to find a lack of mothers room or something to give me some privacy. However the front desk was very understanding and kind. They let me sit in there movie theater with an outlet for pumping. I must say, having the entire theatre playing old movies while you pump, was an amazing experience. I really applaud the presence of mind and the consideration I got.
Food wise, I didnt know that outside food was not allowed and we had packed a picnic with us. Which I am glad we did. Being vegetarian, we didnt have much choice there. But again I think the management was adjusting and let us enjoy the picnic.
It was a rainy day, so there were not a lot of people in the park. Which turned out to be advantageous. The kids did multiple pony rides, sling shots, played in the park without any lines and best, without any tantrums. They give you a punch card which lets you do a combination of the activites here. Trust me, we didnt get through all the punches even at the end of the day.

I think the 5.5 and the 3.5 year olds did so many carousel rides that they wont be asking to sit in abother one for a very long time.

Over all it was a wonderful day, at $16.99 for a ticket, its perfectly priced to include lots of rides, experiences, and fun. I think the one hour drive away from the city was so worth it. And it helped that Huntley's outlet mall was on our way back. So nothing like shopping for a bit on your way back.
It was a very good fathers day gift for my husband. I asked my 5 year old what her favorite was and she said:

Searching for gold and carousel and pony and rides and plaing and... you get the idea!!!

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Scheduled life

The one application/ tool that I usethe most is calendar. Yes, its antiquated, old, been around forever. But this is the one thing that I cant live without. Simple reason. All the technology we have also does not help in making mind and memory sharper.

So if its not noted on the calendar, its usually forgotten or over looked. Not Cool.

I maintain the family calendar which means, I track school stuff, important dates, play dates, birthday dates, school commitments, parties, school volunteering etc. Then I track extra curriculars, like classes, missed times, returns for books, gym classes, opeing dates for parks etc. Add in our social commitments for parties, picnics, gatherings, date nights, girls nights, movie nights. The top layer becomes travel shcedule for spouse, just so that I can plan my week around that, include my work commitments outside of regular hours.
The end product is a super busy calendar which is color coded so I know what type of commitment this is. It also has reminders set based on type. If its a birthday party, i will get a reminder a few days before to ensure i have the gift for it. If its a school volunteer, then I will get a reminder the night before to plan for Little Lady. You get the gist.
Yes, its crazy, but its organised. I know what we are doing when the time comes, so we are not double commited. At the same time, I plan so that we have some down time of lazy park walks, chiling at home and just being silly with the girls.
To the reader, it might seem like we are this super wanna be couple who are busy all the time. Well, I dont know about that. We have a good set of friends whom we like to meet regularly, do new activities with them and just relax. At the same time, we have an active toddler who enjoys her friends and company. There are so many Friday mornings that she asks us, who is coming tonight? Or where are we going? At the same time, Sumit and I love each others company so I have to equate for that.

When Sumit says, my weekends are out sourced to the wife. He is correct. He generally has no clue of what we are doing over weekends until I tell him> He however does know when we are doing nothing, he will nudge me to make a 'Plan'.

We like being busy. Its busy doing nothing. But we love this nothingness and hope we are blessed with it all our lives.