Travel & Adventure

Our road trip cum family vacation have begun which means I am doing loads of challenges:

  • Eating healthy- lots of treats consumed 
  • Getting vegetarian options. Since I do not eat eggs, meat, fish, chicken in any form; my choices are limited at restaurants. Then, I have to think about hitting all the food groups.
  • T’s food: I confess, she has had a few more treats than necessary.
  • Not being stressed- tough with sticking to a preschooler’s schedules
  • My lack of confidence in driving: with our rental car being enormous, it’s even more difficult for me.
  • T’s mild motion sickness: not too severe but enough for us to be cautious

But there are good parts too:

  • We mostly ate in. So, we got healthy food with portions I could control
  • We packed plenty of healthy snacks. Nuts and multi grain crackers have kept me from devouring too many unhealthy alternatives. (Yup, I did pack a lot of junk! ūüėź)
  • T sleeps in the car, so her early rising and afternoon naps are compensated. And she’s sleeping not too long past bedtime.
  • Since car times are also naps, T’s  health is ok. Touch Wood!
  • Bonus: I read a book, courtesy my SIL. Yayy!
  • All the places we went had at least one strict vegetarian option on the menu, that included protein and veggies. So far, so good!
  • I have driven our seemingly gigantic car and have lived to tell the tale! So, definitely not an issue of grave (pardon the pun) concern any longer! 

I also realized again that life is indeed full of little troubles and challenges that make us feel helpless, clueless and troubled! But in the same vein, life is filled with many moments of little joys and tiny triumphs! And these are what need to be cherished, remembered and drawn upon when we feel low or inadequate! 

On that optimistic note, Adieu until next week! Be happy and healthy! 

Resolutions : Quarterly Update

This post is the quarterly update on the Year’s Goals. Now, my Resolutions for 2017 were:

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2017 Resolutions

As of today, I have finished reading three books. These are listed on my Books- 2017 Page. Hurrah! I am well on track!

I have managed to add my thoughts every week on this blog as my posting activity shows:

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Posting Activity from WordPress Stats

I managed to steer clear of unhealthy items even during T’s birthday. I even staved off desserts when our¬†friends came over this¬†weekend and we had fun hosting multiple¬†get-togethers and social dos.

Until this week!

What with the snowing, late hours for Hubs and fussiness of my adorable preschooler, it seems like I am using chips as a mood booster! Sure, they are Kettle Cooked, Wavy, and Delicious! But, still unhealthy! It seems like I simply cannot summon any more willpower after holding my patience and words with T. I have indulged twice already: Monday and Tuesday. I greatly fear that my winning streak might bust. Hence, this post in the middle of the week- for boosting my mood and will power! [I have also put away the bag of chips in a dark corner of the pantry where it will be hard to access!]

With great hopes,

Stay warm and healthy!

(Not) Calm- Daily Prompt

Today’s post is in response to the Daily Prompt¬†challenge over at Daily Post- my favorite stop for inspiration.

Here are my thoughts on Calm:

I am not CALM! When you add up the¬†facts: that I am quite diplomatic (yes really), have a good life; have always been comfortable with myself and only chased after stuff I want and not because it’s popular/ trending (thanks Dad! I know I get this trait¬†from you!) ; you’d think I’d be in a nirvana state of mind, happy and calm. But I never am. Happy-mostly! Calm- rarely!

I am quite volatile! Maybe because I am a woman? Is it because I am a mom? Is my creative spirit to blame? Genes? Too much Internet? Who knows? I have never wondered and seriously, I can’t be bothered?

Moving on to things that do calm me down, a few pictures to illustrate the point:

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Sound of water, rustle of leaves- so calming!

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Babies! Who can resist smiling and gushing? Instant mood changers!

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Glorious sunsets, lush verdant grass, vast spaces- never fails to inspire tranquil emotions

I have to add here that I also find gazing at my painted nails rather fun. I know, I am obsessed with feet and painted toes! I wrote at length about it here.

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Vast imposing structures- makes you feel humbled and awed. Definitely rips away any negative emotions

 

At this point, I also have to point out that I rate being happy and feeling blessed and the ability to enjoy life far above being calm. Calm but boring, not bad, but not my cup of tea either. And for the record, I like coffee better. I also like lemonade and kokum juice!

(Kokum is a fruit for the uninitiated. Kokum syrup mixed with generous helping of water, with a dash of rock salt and lemon- ahh!!! Bliss! And when you have it in scorching summers, ooh! A taste of heaven in every sip!)

This has been quite a rambling sort of post- from my not being calm to pondering over the reasons, meandering to ways to calm down to finally a recipe. But that’s me- I think a lot. I opine even more. I care too much and probably share just as much. But that’s just why I will never be calm- too much going on, loads to do and enjoying every minute of it!

 

Challenges- Looking Ahead

This week’s post is about the challenges i am planning for next year. Still undecided, I thought sharing my possible goals for next year (not so far now) would not only be fun but also give me more clarity to take final decisions. 

So, here goes:

  • Reduce sugar in my coffeee and tea- my biggest and possibly only temptation. Ever since turning thirty, I want to be more conscious about my food habits. Plus, I want to set a positive example for T. 
  • Read 12 books
  • Post every week- almost accomplished this year. So, I have hopes for the coming one
  • Keep off screens an hour before bed- my mom is trying this out and I felt it might be a worthy challenge for me as well.
  • Start budgeting. Hubs and I are not spendthrifts- we can hardly be: living on one income. But, I feel after five years of married life, it is high time I start paying closer attention to our finances. Who knows what nuggets I might find to stretch our wallets? Still sitting on this one though!
  • Write another novel. My first one is still unpublished,and that has prevented me from being serious about another one. But, I am beginning to see the merit in starting my second even as I go through the process of finalizing and publishing my first.
  • Stick to the Weekly Diet Guidelines and share my weekly success or failure on this blog. This is a dilemma for me as i am not very particular about logging all my meals. Which is why I am entertaining the thought in the first place. A lot to think about with this challenge as well!

So, what have you planned for the year ahead. Any resolutions? Goals? Share your plans in the comments below and do let me know what you think of mine as well!

Challenges- Updates

This week’s post is an update on the challenges/ resolutions I have completed:

  • #Challenge2016: Over at the awesome micro-volunteering site, HelpFromHome, I had enlisted for the challenge of doing volunteering activities for 2016 seconds. That is about 34 minutes. Well, I did it and more. So, time to celebrate!
  • As far as offering T healthy food items goes, moderate success there. We have been hitting our weekly food requirements most often. Our major setback came with trip to India. But seeing how she rocked jet lag, culture shock, adjustment to all the people, sounds,food and weather and the melee of weddings and functions, I know I have to let it slide.
  • My working out also took a hit in India. And the festive season of last month also made a dent. But, overall three times a week has been achieved. (With great difficulty, but totally done!)
  • Food logging went on and off, but with mindful eating- my weight has improved. And the workouts did help! fingers crossed for the rest of the year!
  • Blogging- I missed eight posts- five¬†of which were during my India trip. No surprises there- when you have a messing to arrange and spearhead with your in-laws; blogging has to take ¬†the backseat! No excuses for the remaining three! ūüė¶

But the year is far from over. Still eight weeks to go and keep up the good streak up!

GO Cubs GO! (Sorry! Can’t resist the infectious enthusiasm of Cubs Fans!)

168 Hours Challenge

It is Day5 of the 168 Hours challenge- head over to¬†Laura Vanderkam’s blog for more on that.

While I do have today and two whole more days to go, I am so glad I joined. I always wondered where my time just went and now I am getting a very good picture. Since, it is only for seven days- I do not even have the pressure of sustaining this effort. (At least that’s what I told myself when I debated joining the challenge initially). It’s seven days only – no big deal, I thought!

And I  am soon glad I joined. Yes, that joyous, that I had to repeat my previous statement. I am getting all sorts of insights into my days and how I am using my time. In fact, I am getting great ideas to use my time more wisely! Yippee!

So, below are few fun facts and Eureka moments:

  • Eat and sleep well.¬†

I am sleeping well- almost seven hours in the night. Sure, I woke up three¬†nights for T’s cough and mine- but still… It sure beats short bursts of sleep and really, really late bedtimes! Woo-hoo!

  • Unstructured Playtime with T.

This week was marked with lots of unstructured Play time with T- oodles and oodles¬†of it. I always felt in the past that I could have played more with T… and now it is¬†apparent that I do. Even though, a lot of occasions I do club with mindless chores, I made time for loads of pure play¬†with her. That is the significant point, after all. Double Dip, as the No Regrets Parenting book says!

  • Every day is different.

Monday morning, I wondered if I should quit. Yup, even before I started. T had a cold. She was not going to school. Hubby needed to leave early. My house was neglected and messy, thanks to Hubs and my cooking projects and two potlucks. I was tired due to two bad nights. And Aunt Flow was in full, nasty¬†form. Luckily, I had read in Laura’s blog about how every day is typical. With a child, every day is different. So, ¬†I just decided to plunge ahead and see what happens. Am I glad or what? Despite everything, we did manage to have some semblance of a schedule. I ate and slept on almost the same times and carved out time for myself. How cool is that? (Plus, Laura¬†and her¬†blog posts are my inspiration- she works, has more kids than me and travels too!!¬†)

  • Mindful multi-tasking is key.

Purely physical and purely mental tasks can be combined- with caution. I talk to T and play with her when I am doing jobs like putting away laundry and cleaning or we are snacking. But, I do not shift my attention when cooking, esp. in oil or while driving or when snacking on hot items. Seven with food prep, I ask T to help when she can or just chat with her while cutting veggies. Again, not always -I usually stand well away from her and just drop knives in a dish in the sink if I have to exit the kitchen. An extra load of dishwasher is well worth the peace of mind. Like I said, mindful multi-tasking works.

  • Ditch perfection.

Club activities. Better some time together than no time at all. I do strive for undivided attention . But, sometimes I have to be content with clubbing activities. Like Hubs had a crazy week these past days. Naturally then, watching an episode of TV and chit-chatting or sipping tea together was our time together. Or we would wake T together with hugs and tickling.  Considering we had a sick child and both of us were beginning colds ourselves, moments like these are all you get! Life gets in the way- ditch an ideal, elusive, perfect moments for multiple, great, practically viable moments.

  • Plan key activities/ main tasks.

I approached every day of this week- with only two or three items that I wanted to accomplish. That helped destress me than a bunch of long items that I needed to do. Sure, I did add a lot of tasks to my list. I’ll be honest- I like checking off activities from a to-do list. It’s thrilling. But, knowing I only had 2 or 3 major activities, helped keep me focussed. Another confession: On Monday & Tuesday, my list said- make T feel better, give her medicine and serve warm meals. (Let’s face it- A Mama’s priority is her child)

  • Use technology.

I use an Excel sheet for my editorial calendar- I do not have to think about topics or ideas. I just view the sheet and day, and bang, start writing. These topics are added form my ideas list (on phone) with notes, so, the process is really smooth. Plus, any new idea that I have material for easily can be inserted . Like , this post on 168 hours challenge. I knew I wanted to write it and had materials, so, quickly replaced the post that I had planned originally. I use food trackers, budget trackers, Hootsuite to schedule my tweets, Google Calendar for reminders and Goals (it is so awesome), Notes to capture my shopping list, Reading lists for saving articles I want to read later. Any time I want to share news about a great event or ¬†person or article, I simply email/message or email immediately. Sure, nice to phone or video call, but I find it slips my mind, or takes¬†too much time or mostly, I am just occupied when the thought strikes me. Enter instant messaging/ emailing. Even if I can’t call or chat for long or I forget while in the call or in-person meet up, at least the info was shared. And people feel good that they are in my¬†thoughts. [I’ve just got a Mommy Brain now! ūüė¶ ]

So. these were some of the observations and insights that I got. Do you track your time? Were you following the challenge or plan to? What hacks/ strategies do you use? I am always all ears to fun suggestions and tips. So, share your recommendations and tips in the comments below. Have  great weekend!