Experiences, Kids, Little Moments

Gardening Experiment

This evening I worked on something that I have long dreamed of. Creating a small flower bed in our front lawn. This flower bed is our experiment with transplantation. We have planted a couple of rose stems from our flourishing rose bush and have planted a couple of \other perennials from the back lawn. Really eager to see how they will turn out! That is assuming that I will not get lost in the humdrum of life and let the poor plants languish.,

While I was experimenting with gardening in one corner, Hari and Ram were conducting their own experiment in the other corner. They created a habitat for the creepy crawlies that were spotted as I dug out. A shoe box layered with dirt, grass, and leaves. Collection for the evening include inch worm, pill bug, earthworm and couple of other crawlies whose names I don’t recall. It was super fun to watch them collaborate, divide and conquer and get excited over worms.

A couple of hours of the day well spent!

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Experiences, Introspection, Learnings, Life, Research

I Pledge

A friend had posted about a two-week detox diet program that a nutritionist is hosting for free via Facebook. God bless the nutritionist and the friend who shared this information! It could not have come at a better time for us.

The amount of junk, processed and convenience food in our meals have followed a geometric progression ever since we started family as a couple. The sheer variety, the cheap access, the addicting taste, and plain convenience made us oblivious to the long term impact of including such food in our daily diet. Only when my parents visited us for Hari’s delivery did I notice the stark contrast in our eating habits. While we seldom stock juices, sodas, and chips, we have been lavish with our intake of instant and processed food. I sense an inflection point in our eating habits over the past year – my fridge is no longer stocked with store bought chutneys, sauces or pickles, I don’t seem to be opening the freezer as often these days, the thought of making Kraft mac n cheese is not enticing, store bought rotis have lost their charm, and even eating out is losing some of its glamor. That is not to say that we have become health nuts or are buying all things organic. Far from that; just that we are beginning to pay attention to the little voice in our heads that’s nudging us to make some small positive changes in our diet.

The detox diet starts on June 2nd and goes on till June 15th. There is a list of things we are not suppose to eat, most of which is very doable but will require some planning. I know I will struggle with giving up tea, and milk. I am traveling for three days in this 15-day period, so sticking to this program will be a challenge. But I want to be committed and give it my best. I want to learn to differentiate the healthy from the unhealthy and inculcate good cooking and eating habits.

As part of the program, we have been asked to take a pledge. I wanted to record it here as another form of reinforcement. Wish us well. Da intends to join me in this program. I will be sure to share my learnings with you.

So here I go… I solemnly pledge that I will give my 100% to this detox prgm, I will make sincere attempts to not given-in to temptations. I am doing this for my own good and if I don’t do it NOW, it will never happen. Thank you Nutriage for giving me this opportunity to transform my health, I will make the best of it.

Off I go to plan the menu for this week. Tudlu, take care and have a great weekend.

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Little Moments

LMT post

Let’s recount the little moments for this week, shall we?

– When we were visiting Zion park during our vacation last month, a fellow traveler commented – “It’s sad that people flock to Disneyland every year, but neglect the national parks.” She had a valid point. National parks are educational, cheap and plain fun. Best of all, you do your thing at your pace soaking in nature’s beauty. Beats Disneyland anyday (it’s fun too in a different way, but can get a little overwhelming beyond a certain point). That statement from a stranger inspired us to be on the look out for national parks in our region. This Memorial Day weekend, we visited a couple of islands close to Boston Harbor and uncovered how a piece of land could be put to myriad uses – in it’s early days, one of the islands was inhabited by the native americans, then it housed a number of factories, and at some point it became a dumping ground for trash (imagine an island covered with trash and trash only!) and finally regained its lost glory when it was converted to national park, where people could come to just revel in the surrounding beauty. The national parks website has a number of activity sheets attached to each of the designated national parks, so Hari worked on the ones associated with this island and earned two national park ranger badges. We learnt in the process of helping him.

– Hari’s before school math team concluded this week. He won the third place in his grade and his name published in the local newspaper. The math team provided the much needed challenge that his regular math at school did not offer. It taught him to show his work, the importance of reviewing his answers, and taking the time to comprehend the questions in its entirety. I loved what Hari recorded in his journal – “I am happy that I won the third prize but I think I can do much better.” Contentment bordering around aspiration rather than complacency.

– I finally got myself a bicycle. There are so many activities that Hari does that we are unable to join due to lack of skills – swimming, skating, skiing, and what not. I know to bike, and Da loves to bike. So why not make biking our family activity? I had forgotten how joyful riding a bicycle can be. Really thrilled and hoping to sneak in some biking time with Hari this summer.

– I have never had a journal or a diary. I discovered a one to my liking during my visit to Barnes and Noble a couple of weeks. Of course, I had to come home and order it online. The thing of beauty is here and I am looking forward to literally putting pen to paper.

That’s it for now. If you are willing to share yours, I am all ears!

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Experiences, Hari Katha, Ram Leela

Cooking fun

Ram is the quintessential Pig Will of our house. He loves to participate in chores, big and small, and in particular hearts cooking. Time will tell whether he is in it for the novelty or for the love of it. But for now, I am lapping it all up. While on the surface having him as my little helper in the kitchen offers bonding opportunities, the underlying benefits are numerous. The child learns about safety – I should not touch food if steam is coming mama? Hot pots can burn you mama? little kids cannot use big people knife, only butter knife, right mama? Then he gets to practice some math – mama, is it a pinch or a spoon of turmeric? can I dump all the water or should I pour little by little? How many red peppers should I count for the soup? It teaches him patience – you have to wait till the oil is hot to put the mustard in, ok? You have to wait till amma finishes chopping and then you can put them in the pathiram. We can turn the dosai only after it is done on one side. And finally, it teaches him the value of doing something with his own hands and bask in the glory of it.

What made tonight’s dinner preparation even more special is Hari wanting to join the fun. I let him chop the veggies with regular knife. I confess that I was nervous, it took a lot of willpower to stop myself from wanting to grab the knife from him. We survived. He learnt to hold the knife the right away, cut decent size veggies, and I did more than fine letting him have that sense of control. Ram poured in the broth, and added salt while Hari added some olive oil and came up with suggestions on how to make it more flavorful – do you think you could add herbs to the soup? do you want to add some cumin seeds to it?

All in all, the extra serving of enthusiasm and eagerness made the dinner extra delicious!

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Experiences, Hari Katha, Ram Leela

Hiya

I have been trapped in the usual being busy-not having time-then finding time-but feeling lazy cycle for the past few weeks. Thanks to my parents for nudging me out of this cycle. A few days of not writing and I have forgotten how much I have enjoyed writing here.

I hope all is well at your end. We are keeping fine and dandy. The weather has turned around, which by itself makes a humongous difference to our day to day living. No more guessing game around whether or not the curd will ferment. No need to come through the garage door. And what is not to love about the fledgling herb garden?

The school year is wrapping up. We just figured out Hari’s summer camp plans. I am nervous and excited at the same time as we are enrolling Hari in part time camps only – a deviation from what we have done in the past. The goal is to provide him some structure within an unstructured framework this summer. Ram will be enrolled in his preschool for the summer as well.

I will come back to share a lot of other happenings in my part of the world but let me sign off today with a Hari katha and a Ram leela.

There was a discussion around career aspirations in Hari’s class, and when it was Hari’s turn his unsurprising response was, “I want to be a cricket player. My back up would be to become a halfpipe skier.” Back at home I added a twist to this discussion – “What if we said you cannot pick a sport,” I asked him curiously wondering what his back up to the backup profession would be. And he said, “I will be video gamer, and will start a company called Mango. Can you tell me a variety of mango?” Totally confused, I asked him, “What does a mango have to do with video games?” “Why not mom, if Steve Jobs can call his company Apple and produce a laptop called Macintosh, why can’t I start a company called mango and name my product after a variety of mango.” I laughed my heart out of course!

Little Ram was being extremely clingy. Just as I was about to step into the kitchen, he said, “Mama I want to play with you.” “I have to cook Ram, ask appa to play with you.” “But mommy, I do not want to play with a boy but I only want to play with girl who is medium sized” Ha, can you say that he has been reading Goldilocks and the Three Bears?

With that tudlu for now.

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