Kids comfort food

Staple comfort food for LHB in 15 minutes.

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Rice+toor dal+carrots+potato+spinach
Sambar powder+turmeric powder+jira powder+asafoetida+salt

Add all of this in cooker with 1:2 water ratio and cook for 15 mins. Once cooked, add ghee and mash it.

LHB polishes this off with appalam or home made vathal (chips as he calls them)

Adi also likes it. The leftover, I use it as stuffing for Idli sandwich the next day.

Elective selection

Yesterday evening, the parent portal was opened up to choose elective courses for next year. Adi has two electives to choose every year. We left it completely to her choice on 6th and 7th grade. This year I wanted her to choose one that has fun learning and one where she can learn new techniques though not much fun (according to her). She wanted to choose both on the fun side and was strongly against the one I suggested.

We had to talk it through for about 30 minutes. She had tears rolling down and I felt terrible. All she was repeating is “Whatever, just go ahead and choose anything”. She was not interested in listening to my justifications. I kept telling myself “It is for her good and she will soon realize it”. What made me feel more terrible is that Adi unlike me doesn’t shed tears that often.

Sighhh!! Decision making is such a painful process especially when you have to decide for your kids and both parties are not aligned.

We ended up choosing one of her choice and one of my choice but I promised her that if she absolutely doesn’t like the elective I choose for her after trying it for two months, then I will make every possible attempt to meet with her counsellor and principal to change her elective. Now, I don’t know if it is possible in this school system but I will definitely try if she doesn’t want to continue.

I hope I made the right choice for her and she will appreciate that unique new exposure. Time will tell!!!!

M’s big day

Last year M touched the milestone age that anyone would dread to reach. So as a doting wife I wanted to surprise him. Surprises doesn’t work well at our household but this one I have planned it very carefully and blog played a small role in the overall plan too.

I started with all this process early May 2016.

Plan A was to invite some of M’s friends home along with their family and have a surprise party for M. The staple one most of the people do here. I reached out to one of his ex-colleague’s wife but she said they have plans to go to India around that time and I didn’t like the idea of inviting others without them as this ex-colleague’s family is like a common bond to all other families. So, Plan A was dropped and I squeezed my brain for few weeks to come up with an alternate plan. Thus, Plan B was born.

Plan B was to work from home on his birthday, pickup kids and then go surprise him at work, gather his colleagues and do a cake cutting at office (of course with his colleague’s help) but the said colleague gave me a gyan saying men usually wouldn’t like sharing the big number in public and that too with current situation at work it is not advisable. Plan B was dropped. But he gave another idea. He said men usually prefer to spend their special day in private with family so suggested to take M for a family dinner at a rooftop restaurant at NY.  I liked that idea. So, Plan C was on.

Plan C needed more planning ahead of time. To research for a good rooftop, book in advance etc. Also, what would I tell M to take him to NY. We are not that type of family to just hop on a train for NY visit. We need a good reason or plan ahead for any outing. So, I reached out to this friend’s wife (I want to refer her as friend as we have become more of friend’s now). She did her homework and suggested “The View” at Marriott. I was skeptical to reserve without seeing the view myself. So, took early sign off from work one day, ventured out to the streets, boarded the subway train and visited the restaurant on the other side of the city. The first look was not very pleasing. I wanted M to go “wowww” when he enters the rooftop but this one was not matching my expectation. I shared my feedback with the friend and we were back to square one.

Then, she suggested a different option. To do a surprise cake cutting at Top of the rock and then take him for dinner to an Indian restaurant at Times square. I liked that idea. So, we started planning for the execution of this plan. I blocked tickets for Top of the rock. For the friends, I blocked the slot 30 minutes ahead of us so they can surprise M at the top. Also, she gracefully agreed to get a cake.

Few days before the D day, I told M that one of my blog friend is visiting NY with her family and wanted to meet us at NY. And that she bought the tickets for Top of the rock and sent it to me 🙂 He believed it and couldn’t say no!! Also, as it was summer I suggested to do some more stuff at NY.

On D day, we left in the afternoon, went to central park, kids played in amusement park at central park for couple of hours and then we headed to the Top. M was little suspicious as I denied to show him the reservation. I was on constant texting with the friend confirming their position. As planned, they were at the top before us, M met them as a surprise and cut cake at the top (67th floor). We spent few more hours there for the money spent and then headed to the restaurant. That was a surprise for him too. Had good dinner, parted the friends at train station and reached home past 1am.

This was our first visit to the TOP and I must admit that this is a better choice compared to Empire state as this gives the best view of both central park and Empire state.

The friend took some awesome family pics. Actually, I owe to him for all our family pics. I could not have executed this without their help and support. Adi knew the plan ahead and played along with me. But, I didn’t share with her as how I convinced M to come to NY. She was repeatedly asking “how did you do it Amma?” I didn’t tell her the details as she doesn’t know about my blog.

Some pics from the amusement park and the family pic from the top.

LHB acted to be a beeg boy and ventured into all rides all by himself.

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Gym buddy

I have a gym buddy since last month and she is the secret of success behind all my recent frequent gym visits. We send quick text before going to bed everyday about the plan for next day.  It is weird. I feel happy on days when she says “Let’s skip it tomorrow Ani” as I can cuddle for an extra hour with the kids and I feel happier on days she is on to hit the gym at 515am. I know right? That’s the kind of love hate relationship I have with the gym. I am neither a gym person nor a morning person naturally and it takes a lot to push myself to get out of bed at that unearthly hour. My buddy is that push.

That awesome burn and sweat after workout is priceless. It is a win win situation as we also talk nineteenth to a dozen during workout side by side. On certain days we choose to catch up on a movie and workout at media room. Sauna is reserved for weekend. We try to go at least 4 days in a week. I love this new routine.

Why am I writing about all this today? Because in spite of all that love for new routine, I failed her today morning. For the first time in last one month I gave in to the laziness and ditched her. I know I can justify myself – too much work on weekend, didn’t get enough sleep, it was raining outside anything but no I am not going to do that.  Nothing can match making someone wake up so early and wait for you only to not show up. I am sorry buddy. I will try my best to not repeat this again!!

See ya tomorrow morning at 5:05am at your doorstep 🙂

2016 pictures – part 1

Weekend even if it has an extra day off seems more packed than weekdays. Though I can’t claim to have done anything productive the weekend whiz past like seconds. Hence, resorting to picture post. Its already 430pm and there is truck load of work to complete before tomorrow dawns. Sighhh!!!!

These are some of the pictures from my 2016 photo archive that have either attracted me or have been highlights of the year. I have added caption to each of them.

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Friends forever

We woke up late, I made chicken ghee roast (inspired from masala hut recipes) but it didn’t even come close to how it was shown in the original video. Still it was edible so we ate it for lunch and then set off to a friend’s home.

The friend is RTI this week and we came to help them wrap up. Our plan was to leave in the night but decided to stay back here. We just wanted to spend one last evening staying up in the night and spend some time together. They have been the only family who frequently visit us and we have frequented to stay over.

They are returning to India for a reason and I pray and wish them the best. They will definitely be a big part of Adi’s childhood memories. We will definitely miss them big time.

# Friends forever

Happy Pongal

அனைவருக்கும் இனிய பொங்கல் நல்வாழ்த்துக்கள்

A very happy pongal / makara sankaranti to all.

Pongal season every year takes me back to my school days when we used to celebrate it in my native village in the most traditional way possible along with grand parents and relatives. I feel blessed to have experienced such a rich tradition and witness the principled life led by both sets of grand father. People in those years were definitely smarter and well mannered than us that too with minimal to no support of technology. They used natural resources in the most efficient and respectful way.

Pongal is the time to pay respect and thank farm fields, cattle and people. I am glad to have documented every detail of my good old tradition here.

Miss my village. Miss my thatha. Miss my ethinicity. Basically I am in a miss my identity state today.

Made sakarrai pongal and ulundu vadai for offering. This time we also bought sugarcane and whole coconut for offering. The tradition is to break the coconut while praying and it is usually done by the men.

M made kids sit on the table and they all had lunch together. A rare occurrence at that. It was a sight to watch all the three enjoying pongal and vada though I chose to sit on the couch due to lack of chair. I could have pulled out the hidden chair but was too lazy and very hungry as I was surviving with just a cup of tea since morning.

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