Monday, April 24, 2017

Ziggi Ziggi

Ziggi Ziggi

Meaning Ok Ok... and that was not the only word we learned in our ten day trip to Phenomenal Philippines.
The trip was wayyy more that Ziggi Ziggi, it was simply astounding!


Philippine’s is a cluster of 7500 plus islands, breathtaking natural beauty and really simple and happy people. We are left mesmerized and would love to go back and explore more of the islands some day!
We visited two main islands: Cebu and Palawan. Our itinerary is shared below with more details to follow soon

Part 1: Cebu
Day 1     Reach Cebu @ 10 am, Meet friends, beach, pool, private pool and luxurious dinners
Day 2     Full day trip to Oslob and Kawasan falls: Swimming with the Whale Sharks yay!
Day 3     Rainy days, but a stay at the plush resort with friends: Pool time, chill time, Catch Up time!
Day 4     A morning flight to Palawan and a long 7 hour drive to El Nido : Looong travel day

Part 2: El Nido/ Palawan
Day 5     El Nido: Tour A: Caldao Tours : The lagoons, the day at the sea and the lovely Asian hospitality
Day 6     El Nido: Tour C: The beaches, the boat and the sun and breathtaking views and snorkling
Day 7     Early am drive back to Palawan via the Underground Caves @ Sabang: A Natural wonder of the world along with a zip line with the kids… the longest zipline over the ocean!
Day 8     Stay at the resort with Sandbar, boat rides, water slides and a local dinner, a relaxing and pampering day
Day 9     A few more water slides and then fly back to Cebu for more beach/ water and local candy shopping
Day 10   11 am: fly back to Chicago and day dreaming of the beach!
Day 11  Settle back to reality and relive the fun of the trip


This trip was dotted with a combination of really action packed days, some long travels, some really chillaxed days and meeting our dear friends after 5 years!!! Yes we did all this in only 10 days and we all wished it was longer. Philippine’s though really far from Chicago was totally worth it.

Thursday, March 30, 2017

Before the trip, an update on 'Getting Fit'

Spring Break is here! Yay, well let me restate, spring break for my 9 and 4 year old is here, yay and instead of maniacally looking for child care and classes, we are using the time wisely and heading to the beach.

So before start our beach bumming and lazing around on the soft sand under a gentle sea breeze and the sun making us relaxed, here is an update on the wonderful buddying up and Getting Fitter business.

My buddies are ‘at it’ along with me; we are sharingdelicious yet healthier variations of recipes, tracking our meals in My Fitness pal and above all are nudging each other to push a little harder in the gym. And the support helps, it really does!
We are just nudging and not nagging and my husband, Sumit will be quick to remind me that I am on the 'edge between nudging and nagging' so back off! :-)
Trust me when I say this: NOT A SINGLE POUND LOST- in 65 days of continuous logging in my meals painstakingly in Fitness Pal and 45 days of waking up at idiotic 5:30 am on weekdays for my gym class, NOT A SINGLE POUND LOST!


BUT, and this But is important: I am feeling so much healthier, I can hold a plank for 41 seconds instead of three seconds, I can do 14 continuous push-ups instead of zero and above all, I can carry 2-2 gallons of milk on my 4th floor walkup unit without crashing on the couch right after!
Yes, my standards of fitness are very basic, I call them 'achievable goals' or 'baby steps' or even 'let me get to this goal and then move a small step up'.

Trust me, for as long as I remember, I have felt 'unhappy about my shape or my arms or my flab or my F-A-T or just hating myself after I chow down that cake' and for right now, just doing something about it is making me feel happy.

The other day my 9 year old was talking about fitness and Sumit asked her, who is fit according to her and why: She very casually said: You and mummy, since you do yoga every day or go to the gym and are happy.

Of course we were gushing and explaining her about the three pillars of being Fit according to us: Good food, good work out but above all Mental Peace. With the most emphasis on the last one ‘mental peace’

BUT, my 9 year old's comments made me very happy; she does not look at me as ‘as I view myself’. She looks at me being F-I-T and being happy and that itself is the best body image lesson I could ever give her without even trying to.


Now, all heavy conversation aside....... be safe and be happy and I will be back from my beach vacation all relaxed and sun-tanned and craving more fun in the sun!

Monday, March 27, 2017

Keep it Simple Silly!

This past weekend weather wise was gloomy, rainy and a little cold. Well its Chicago in Spring time :-)
All right, no weather comments, our winter was really good this year.

But in this weekend in midst of meeting friends, celebrating our friend's kids milestone birthday's by Sunday evening we were all 'spent', not tired but just really needed a relaxed evening in.
Sisters, Friends for life!

So what did we do? Really nothing but still a lot!

Both the girls received long oil massages a la moi, followed by their long baths. And then the sisters unwind-ed with a board game while I sat with them and hand fed them- by choice.

The girls are now 9 and 4 and really self sufficient (the 4 year old does get fed her last few bites at mealtime), but it felt really good- Just to feed them with no time crunch.
From a while ago, remembering their baby zone

The little angels are growing up and there is only I realize as they get older, the time for cuddling and 'I Love you's' will reduce.... and so this Sunday evening, they played, while I hand fed them their favorite meals and time stood still for me to get amazed and just enjoy them be in their normal zone!

From even more 'long time ago'

Keeping is simple, really simple!

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Femi-Nazi….. No Thank You Please!

Here is what Mira Rajput, Shahid Kapoor's wife said" “I love being at home, I love being a mother to my child, I wouldn’t want to spend one hour a day with my child and rush off to work, why did I have her? She is not a puppy; I want to be there for her as a mother.”
 
Does her line bother me? Like the hoards of posts out there, of how her thoughts are antiquated. Honestly no!

I think it’s a very matter of fact line and often I have felt the guilt of only spending one hour with my kids and just hugging them before jumping back on a conference line. So Yes, it’s actually a true statement. I have wondered why it feels like I am juggling the world to ONLY get an hour with the kids. Is it worth it?

What Mira says is actually true. Whether I like it or no, for us mothers the guilt follows no matter what our path.

Privilege of not working, privilege of making a choice of working, privilege of husbands pitching in, not having the privilege to choose, all aside. I think as mothers, if one thing we have not learned is being supportive of each other as mothers!

I have my own village of friends, my mom friends and it’s not based on if they work or not, it’s based on 'we genuinely like each other and have shared core values (yes cussing and bitching is also a shared common value)'.

Our friendship is based on ‘Please can you pick up my child since I am not well', It’s based on, “Can you talk to her, I am loosing it right now with her” Its based on 'I am just too tired today, can you please.. .' It’s based on ‘Let me pick up the school play costume for your daughter”.
Its a village of MY friends and trust me working or not has nothing to do with it. It’s just a support system in place.

I actually agree with every single thing Mira has said. So let me break up her lines and give my two cents...

Mira: I love being at home...
Garima: and I am sure she has to go out supporting her hotness-Greek- god- of- a- husband (Sumit, sorry!!!) in his media events, or running errands or whatever. Don’t we all?  I do love being home and just putting my feet up or folding laundry while Netflix binge watching on or just having a board game night with my friends and family!

Mira: I love being a mother to my child... 
Garima: I mean I have posts and posts gushing on them and gmail accounts filled to the brim with their pictures! I am who I am with my two beautiful kids in tow.

Mira: I wouldn’t want to spend one hour a day with my child and rush off to work... 
Garima: Oh yes, the mommy guilt. I even feel guilty when I am out with my girlfriends on a spa party (true, I just think of them a little less though while getting my nails done as compared to a conference call). It doesn’t mean I don’t live my life, but I do miss them. And I do wish I could pause time and just watch them sleep or just not be yelling 'Lets go we are late' ALL THE TIME!

Mira: Why did I have her? She is not a puppy; I want to be there for her as a mother.”... 
Garima: I have had this similar feeling more than I would like to confess! This one I differ a little though. I feel with whatever I do, work or not, I want to be there mentally, emotionally and physically for my child.

Currently I am a working mother of two, I have tried being a Stay at home mommy for two and that really didn’t work out well for me, I was really cranky all the time and snappy and generally nasty. I was there physically but not happy emotionally.

And I realized FOR MYSELF (Yes Sumit you can now say I-Told-You-So). I am better person and a happier person when I do something for myself, be it working, be it going to the gym, be it sleeping in, be it sending my kids for summer in India and reconnect with my partner in crime.

And I very strongly believe in, If I am happy, it shows and overall my family will be happier!!

My social media stream filled up with dishing Mira on a platter and saying 'Its' not the right example for the daughters, it’s not with today's age' etc etc. . I STRONGLY disagree; I am daughter of a home maker, a very strong, extremely well educated and really awesome example of a mother. And I think she has set an amazing example for me, and she reminds me and my sister in law often: working or not, Be yourself, be happy and you need to be there for your kids, for your family!

Me working right now does not make my choices wrong or right. It just makes it something that makes me happier, more content! Of course, I do fantasize about the other side, grass on the other side is always greener isn’t it?

More diplomatically, every mother is a working mother.
Trust me, food does not magically appear, snots don’t get magically cleaned up, laundry does not get magically folded, schedules don’t magically work like a well-oiled machine, homework’s don’t get turned in on time, family balance does not magically happen.

All mothers are working; it’s a lot of freaking work to be a mother, a parent!


Monday, March 13, 2017

Sometime I get fancy without trying...

.....or rather I get fancy when I make a mistake.

Now Mac N Cheese, at times is like the quick fix dinner on those days when you'd rather not do anything else. The Aunt Annies's and the veggie loaded Mc N. Cheese quiet a staple in our family for the simplicity of it.

Blob of the pasta!
The other evening, Sumit said, lets make the mac n cheese from scratch instead, and it had been a while, and I said why not. Long story short, my pasta/ mac n cheese looked like a 'blob' of too much sauce and over cooked pasta. I was quiet confident that the kids and me would not like to eat it. Sorry, we are vain that way, food needs to look good.

That evening, I was on the mend from a nasty flu and was in no mood to start over or even order in. So the brain sparks flew and 'Mac N Cheese Balls' were born!

Mac N Cheese Balls Recipe
1. 3 bowls of cooked Mc N Cheese (it being gooey and sticky is not required)
2. For crisping: 2 cups Panko, 1/2 cup shredded cheese, 1/4 cup finely chopped parsley
3. Oil for roasting/ crisping the Mac N Cheese balls

Note: I have this cup pan which makes quite a lot of things in my kitchen, and is non stick, so easy to clean and its an amazing alternative to frying. It gives amazing round shaped whatever you want with 1/10 of the oil needed for frying. I have made, Veg. Manchurian, Kofta Balls, Lauki Kofta, Appa, and now mac n cheese balls!


Process
1. Mix all ingredients of the crisping and lay it in a flat plate
2. Let you ready to eat Mc n cheese cool down and make balls of it. Roll it in the crisping flour (Panko, Cheese+ herbs)
3. Heat the pan, and place a little oil add the ready to cook balls and let it get crisp (Yes you can fry them as well, but then you will need more panko and more oil.... and more time in the gy ot burn it off!)
4. It takes about 2-3 minutes to get crisp on each end

Note: Since Mc N Cheese is soft, you have to be careful in turning the 'balls over'. One can even make a 'Mc N Cheese' patty/ burger on a regular pan, like this Falafel recipe of mine. and enjoy!!


The girls and us loved it. I think Miss V was excited to have 'appetizers for dinner' and Miss Chatterbox S loved dipping this in Ketchup and enjoying!


For me, I enjoyed the 'fanciness of cooking' and getting complimented 'Such fancy every day cooking mom'

Monday, March 6, 2017

Sometime you don't need to say 'I love you'

It was one of those days.... those tired long days where you are just exhausted and you still have a lot on your plate left...

It was one of those days and I am driving home around 6:30 pm with the two girls in the car listening in while I whine to my husband, "I am so tired tonight honey'. He acknowledges and says, 'I hear you, see you soon!'

I pull into the garage and climb up to the house and am left astounded.

The husband has done the following: moved his meetings around for an hour to complete dinner preparations and emptied the dishwasher and I am greeted with a quick peck on the cheek and he runs to get back on his work calls.

I was left speechless and misty eyed!

The Panini that night could not have tasted better!

This one evening was way more that any amount of "I Love you” s we have said to one another.

It's the empathy of " I understand”, it’s the acknowledgment of “It’s tough and I got your back” and it’s the true sense of feeling “We are in this together


Miss V was quick to observe and say 'Thank you papa for dinner tonight'.

We all talk about gender equality, empowering our next generation of children but actions speak louder than words. I am hoping my girls realize that being in this world today: It’s the partnership and it’s the support of one another which makes a successful person, a successful spouse and a successful family.

Girl or Boy at this point really does not really matter.

Thank you Sumit for always being there for me and the girls and actually following the ideology you believe in so strongly!





Thursday, March 2, 2017

They are only this little.... now

Kids say the darnest things....


This qualifies more as 'mis pronunciations' rather that funny anecdotes and as my final baby is growing up, I want to make sure I track this and embarrass her later as she grows older!

'Lipzoc'... Mummy can you please put strawberries in my lipzoc.
---It is funny as hell, we corrected her once saying its Ziploc and she thought we were making fun of her, so she said 'You don’t know, its 'lipzoc' and not 'Ziploc'

'Valina'... Little Lady says... my favorite flavor is Vallina
--- We know its Vanilla, but I just don’t want to correct her, Vallina ice-creams are just so good, what do I say!

'Ear is broken'...Little lady sadly gets ear aches pretty often and then she says the next mornings 'My ear is broken please be careful around it!'
--- Yes, I can tell her its ear ache, but where is the fun in that, Ear is broken is just so innocent.


Kids grow up way too quickly (cliche but true) and in a few years when I am reading these posts, it will me remind of 'Valina icecreams' and the giggles that surround my house!


Life is too short, enjoy the silliness!