What’s the end game

In today’s competitive world, every parent want their children to stand out in the crowd. All we want is the best for our kids. Sometimes we want for them everything we never had as kids. We want them to get everything they can, out of life, right? There is nothing wrong in wanting the finest to release the best promising potential. But if we are not careful, we can create excessive pressure over them.

 

Sometimes I think about the present scenarios and wonder what’s the end game?

 That’s what I want to know. I ask this question to myself, silently, every time I hear of a second grader going for extra tutoring, extra classes, endless sessions a week; every time one of my daughter’s friends is unavailable for play with her because she has after-school classes for dance on Monday, after-school drama and recital classes on Tuesday, after-school swimming on Wednesday, after-school abacus on Thursday and after-school Trinity grammar classes on Friday. Without skipping the weekends, as well, there are other classes.

I turn down to stop other parents and ask the question aloud. But it blazes me from inside. I would really like to know.

 What’s the end game? Or what the heck are you trying to attain here?

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Back when we were kids, we returned home from a day or any day at school and did three things which were always in this order. First, we had our food, mostly it was lunch. Then, we did our homework. And the third, we played like donkeys (literally). We would meet our neighborhood friends and play until it was dinner time. Really, we did.

Whatever parental logics are applied today, against all those, remarkably, we’ve all wound up doing just fine. Married, kids, homes, careers, contentment.

Today my friends are designers, marketing experts, lawyer and one of them is also the CEO of a company.

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Nowadays, we live in a community where nothing for kids is allowed to come naturally. There is predominated pressure that reigns, the air is tainted by a rising demand to make certain—cost and logic and foolishness—that your child has been placed on the hundred percent list of guaranteed path to success. It’s not enough to have the kid learning at his grade level these days. He has to be one or two notches ahead. It’s no longer OK for the kid to have little to do after school, free time to use as he sees fit. So, now you’re either signing your child up for infinite organized activities, or you’ve somehow allowed him to fall behind. Everything spins around success, success, success, success.

 

Now, can anyone specify what in the world is success?

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Please, I would love someone to tell me. Is it being a class lecturer or an orator? Is it getting into Harvard? Is it earning an MBA or a Ph.D.? Working for NASA? Having your own reality TV show? What exactly is the definition of success?

 Every parent is in such a rush to assure a child’s future, yet nobody has been able to appropriately define the ultimate reward. Parents are heard saying, “We just want to give our child the best opportunity to succeed” endlessly without explanation. And many of the parents are, quite frankly, unhappy even after that. It’s like we are all lined up on a racetrack, and we know we need to dash as fast as possible — only there’s no distinct finish line. Just run hard, spend all your energy, and maybe you’ll find it.

 Children today do have many wonderful opportunities, but they need time to explore things in depth. Many children don’t have time to relax and sigh. Parents put them in so many activities that they are exhausted and drained. Children miss out their childhood experiences if they are over-scheduled. They should be allowed to pursue their interests. Let them have enough time to play and explore their personalities. There is very little time for them to be just kids, if their lives are adult-dominated. Children need time with parents — time to relax, have fun, talk, read, play games, draw, explore and just hang out. Families that are constantly running from one extracurricular activity to the next have little space for these experiences. Simply limiting the amount of time spent in extracurricular activities and not just wasting time running around for classes maybe the key for more time spent together and being stress-free.

 Our kids are gifted with only a few years of childhood. That’s it — less than two decades before the harsh, dark, real world beat their happiness. Yes, of course, I want mine to do well in school, and learn the ethics and virtues of humanity, kindness and hard work. But I also want them to jump, play, rejoice every moment. I aspire for them to climb up the trees, to run and ride until exhausted, to let loose a loud whistle and cheer for their gangs, and much more. Giving them a happy childhood, without defining the limits. If they are happy, I’ll be thrilled.

Common Cold and Nutrition

Changes in seasons generally causes common cold. How much ever we try to control the exposure of kids from the viruses, may not save them. Sometimes a number of viruses may cause upper respiratory tract disorder in kids and also in adults. Kids are more prone to the environmental changes. As we all are experiencing too much changes almost everyday in the temperature, this makes kids susceptible to flu. As moms we cannot stop kids from playing outside or keep them away from the viruses in the air, but we can always take precautions by keeping and eating healthy.

Symptoms of common cold may include sneezing, sniffing and nasal congestion. But are you protected against the common cold?

Winters are here and mothers major concern for kids of getting effected with cold cough and congestion rises. Best way to fight with this issue in children can be natural remedies to fight the disease few options are listed below:

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Rest

Sleep is truly a great medicine; keeping us healthy in good times and helping us heal when sick. Released compounds boost the immune system, so encourage napping. Just don’t layer on too many covers, as that can overheat your child, which, in turn, can elevate his or her temperature

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Chicken Soup

A cup of chicken soup for a cold-and the good news is, whether it’s homemade or store bought makes no difference. The steam helps loosen congestion and the broth hydrates. Studies have also found that the chicken and other ingredients in the soup actually have an anti-inflammatory effect-a very good thing, since inflammation causes coughs and stuffed-up noses.

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Garlic and onion

Onion’s pungent cousin contains allicin, a compound which has been known to have anti-bacterial properties. The only problem you might face is getting your kids to eat it. Try mincing the garlic very finely and adding it to a light pasta sauce at dinner time to avoid its detection.

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Plenty of Fluids

Keeping your child hydrated is essential to flush out germs, so push such drinks as water, fruit juices, herbal teas and broth. Jell-O is another option as are cooling, soothing ice pops. Milk is okay, too; that it thickens mucus is a dis-proven old wives’ tale.

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Elevate the Mattress

Adding a bit of lift to the mattress at the head of the bed helps sinuses drain more readily, thus adding to your child’s comfort. A rolled towel or yoga mat will also do the trick.

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Humidifier and Vaporizer

A cool-mist humidifier goes a long way in relieving dry, stuffed up nasal passages by adding moisture to a room. While a humidifier can help relieve congestion, mold and mildew can build up and be sprayed into the air if not cleaned properly each and every time.

Other things helpful :

Respiratory Ailments

Camphor creams applied to the chest and neck can help relieve congestion and ease coughing. Inhaling camphor fumes relieves airway congestion and loosens mucus. When camphor cream is rubbed into the chest and throat, your body heat helps to release the camphor vapors that act as a decongestant. Camphor oil can be added to a room humidifier for a similar effect.

Menthol/essential oils

Essential oils containing menthol and eucalyptus have been used for centuries for treating coughs and colds. Menthol works as a mild anesthetic and is used to relieve sore throats. It also makes the mouth and throat feel cooler.

Also, Homeopathy medicines can work miracle in  boosting up the immunity to fight cold and cough virus along with a good healthy diet.

Every winter or seasonal changes we catch the cold and the best defense is right in your plate. Eating a well balanced diet can actually strengthen the immune system of course along with exercise and resting adequately. A good diet is also essential for recovering and reducing the duration of any illness. Diet also helps in decreasing the worst side effects like sore throat and stuffy nose.

1. Nutrient rich diet will build the immune system to fight against cold.

2. Increasing the intake of hot and cold liquids like water, green tea, fruit juices or soups. Liquids will help loosen the mucous and get it out of the body.

3. Avoiding caffeine due to its diuretic effects in fluids like tea, coffee and soda makes them less effective than water.

There are some foods that can be eaten while the cold is on. These include oatmeal made with water, whole grain toast, tomato juice, orange juice, decaffeinated hot tea, soups and fruits.

I hope these guidelines can help you with yourself and kids during the aggravated cold.

Cheers !!

Know your OATS

Almost all of us are well aware of the benefits of including oats in our daily diet and many of us know how its useful for its high content of fiber, but there is always a curiosity to know more. So this time I decided to write something about this wonderful cereal.

A bowl of hot oatmeal for breakfast is not only satisfying and filling, it also gets you off to a great start because of its numerous health benefits. Oats are a type of cereal grain that has numerous uses in food. They are most commonly made into oatmeal, which can then be eaten as porridge or added to baked goods, or ground into oat flour and incorporated in baking. As one of the gluten free grains, oats can be safely tolerated by those who must avoid gluten in their diet.

Nutritional bits of Oat
  • 1 cup of oats (whole grain, cooked) contains:
    • Calories: 147 kcal
    • Fat: 2.3 g
    • Carbohydrates: 25.3 g
    • Protein: 6 g
    • Fiber: 3.98 g
    • Glycemic Index (GI): Varies.
      E.g. porridge made from rolled oats (low);
      porridge made from instant oats (high)
although the oats is un-glamorous, but fortunately most of us are aware that oats benefit us in a multitude of ways. Besides being a good source of high quality protein, vitamin E, minerals like zinc, copper, iron, manganese, etc oats are the most well known for their high fiber content . The soluble fiber in oats, beta-glucan, has been shown to reduce LDL cholesterol and help stabilize sugar levels.

Various forms of oats are available on the market, and here is a crash course on oat vocabulary:

  • Steel-cut oats: These have a a dense and chewy texture. They are produced by running the grains through steel blades that thinly slice them.
  • Oat groats: Whole, minimally processed, unflattened kernels of oats. They can be cooked into a porridge, or incorporated into baked goods. Since they are unprocessed, they will take longer to cook – and the upside is that the nutrient density will also be higher.
  • Old-fashioned oats: These are steamed and then rolled, and have a flatter shape.
  • Quick-cooking oats: Like old-fashioned oats, quick-cooking oats are also steamed and rolled. The difference is that they are finely cut before rolling.
  • Instant oatmeal: The oats are first partially precooked, rolled, and then dried. As a result, they cook much faster. Some manufacturers may also add other ingredients such as sugar or salt to instant oatmeal.
  • Oat bran: The outer husk of the grain that resides under the hull. Oat bran is available as a separate product, which can be used to add texture and flavor to baked goods, or simply to boost fiber content.
  • Oat flour: Ground oat grain.

Always refer to the nutritional  values or the label to ensure you are buying healthy and wholesome oatmeal.

CHEERS!!!!!!!!

5 Diet Secrets to Healthy – Looking Skin

True beauty comes from within, so the key to a healthy glow may not come from your cosmetics. Your skin is the largest organ of your body. If you nourish your body from the inside out, you will make a difference in the way your skin looks – and ages.

5 Diet Secrets to Healthy – Looking Skin

  • Swap Your Carbhealthy skin diet foods: Replace refined carbohydrate foods like white bread, cookies, and pasta with their whole-grain cousins. Not only do whole grains provide a lot more anti-aging antioxidants, they also provide the key element of a healthy skin diet – fiber.
    A high-fiber diet with lots of whole grains can help eliminate toxins and act as a detoxifying agent for your body. Experts recommend eating 35 grams of fiber every day.

 

  • Trade In Your Fat
    healthy skin diet foodsToss out the bad fats in your diet – saturated and trans fat – and replace them with good fats. Omega 3 fatty acids from fish sources can reduce skin cancer risk. Experts suggested eating 200 mg of DHA a day – that’s equivalent to two servings of salmon a week. While most of us get plenty of omega 6 fatty acids from our diet, the importance of another good fat – linoleic acid – in preventing dry, flaky skin. Linoleic acid can be found in vegetable oils like safflower oil, sunflower oil and olive oil.

 

  • Citri-cize Your Diethealthy skin diet foods: Citrus fruits play an important role in keeping your skin looking young. That’s because the antioxidant Vitamin C found in citrus is involved in the formation of collagen – a protein that binds cells and tissues together. In other words, collagen helps keep your skin firm and hence reduces wrinkling. Therefore, include more Vitamin C-rich foods such as oranges, grapefruit, kiwis, strawberries, red bell peppers, and broccoli in your diet. Don’t just eat citrus as after-meal fruits – you can always include them in your dishes!

 

  • Keep the Strings and Peelshealthy skin diet foods: There are more health reasons to add fruits and vegetables to your diet. Silica found in plant-based foods can help maintain the elasticity of your skin and improve your complexion. What you probably don’t know is that silica is often found in parts that are often discarded – strings and peels. So if possible, enjoy the whole fruit and vegetable, like cucumber skin and the strings of celery and asparagus.

 

  • healthy skin diet foodsStay hydrated:
    Fluids keep your skin hydrated and help flush toxins. Drink at least 6 cups of fluids – water and tea – every day. Experts recommend drinking black, green, and white teas for their beneficial flavonoid content. Skip the cream and sugar to make them calorie-free =)

 

Stay healthy keep glowing. Cheers!!

When you are DEAD – Don’t leave the dilemma behind for the one’s who depend on you!!!!

No matter how many plans you make or how much in control you are, life is always winging it.

As people are turning all technical and handling everything in a gizmo-freak world through gadgets, it has become a trend to keep data, to-do-list, e-bills, important logins and passwords, etc documented in their laptops or mobiles which in turn are also protected through the passwords.

We never bother to know these passwords until they are really required. How many of us really want to notice the laptop password, until we share the device. Or do we try and ask the pin for their debit card in case we don’t need to withdraw on our own. In almost 9 years of marriage, I never realized these things matter. We were happy, earning well and had our our accounts to take care of. There was no need to get into each others passwords and other details. What was the need?

But when life struck hard I realized that it was just the beginning and I had lot to learn. I found myself lost and standing alone. Being educated and aware about things helped me in more ways than one but it was not enough. I needed a help. I couldn’t break through passwords, none of the documents were accessible as they were in security locks in the devices. There was no nominee for bank accounts, and the one’s existed were not ready to give me the authority.

 

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HIS salary account, savings bank accounts had no nominee. The insurance had the parents as the nominee. But this was just the start. I didn’t know the passwords to his email account and what all to be claimed from office.This house that we bought was in joint name and under insurance (sigh of relief for me).

For everything, I needed a death certificate and there were forms running into pages. Indemnity bonds, surety to stand up, notary and no-objection certificate from your co-heirs.

I learned, even being the co-owner of the flat you don’t become the owner automatically until a series of formalities. Getting a Succession Certificate is another big battle. And when I started changing names on other bills like the gas connection, electricity, property then there is another set of paperwork. Running from pillar to pole and starting things from the scratch was what I kept doing more than a year, and still doing.

And you realize there is no time to mourn or grieve for the love of your life but busy sorting all papers.

 

Lesson learned this hard way is meant to be shared.

My husband and Me had the best relationship, and all the ingredients for a happy married life. The love, understanding, compatibility and everything else needed for an ideal couple. I still love HIM and no one can ever take that place in my heart.

Then why should the people whom we love the most suffer after we are no more?????

Isn’t it important sorting some papers before we go and leave them behind to mourn???

Giving them a better life, allowing them time to mourn, grieve and remember, making things easy for them, as they are already horrified and shocked.

Here are five important things which will help to make lives easy after you leave them, although the pain can’t be subsided.

1. Check all your nominations .Most of us have named our parents as nominees for bank accounts or investments before marriage. We don’t change the same even after years they are no longer with us. Kindly check the bank accounts, Fixed Deposits, NSC, bank lockers, DEMAT accounts, insurance (of car, bike, property), investments, PF pension form.

 

2. Passwords...  although its a techie world but what’s the harm in writing the passwords in a diary or a paper, keep it in a safe place and share with your spouse.

 

3. Even if the investment details are in your laptop, why not keep the hard copies in a folder or a file.

 

4. THE WILL………This reminds me of all those Bollywood movies where the “vasiyat” or the WILL played an important role. Make a WILL. It makes life lot easier and lot less paperwork. No need for providing indemnity bond, getting it notarized, ask for surety to stand up, no objection certificate from others…. if you have a document to state your share, “The WILL”.

 

5. Check for liabilities on loan so that people left behind will not have to worry for something as basic as their own house ( I was lucky in this case as the house was insured).

These documents once prepared, may be a hectic task for you now but will prove a boon for the one’s you leave behind.

 

I am still fighting my battle. No one knows what will happen in the future.

JUST BE PREPARED!!!!


 

I’m FAT, but I’m HUMAN !! and that says it all.

About a week ago, when I went shopping for myself, I was surprised to get my package with something extra. It was a coupon: a coupon to purchase chocolates and cupcakes.

I love cupcakes! But did I really need a coupon to purchase them to come with my clothes?

And yet, I hardly think it’s pure coincidence that I came out with a coupon for cupcakes and chocolates.

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You see, I’m fat. So I went to a plus-size store to buy some great stuff. From a marketing standpoint, it makes a lot of sense, right? Plus-size stores need fat people to stay fat in order to stay in business — so if they toss a coupon to buy some pizzas and cupcakes in, with the clothes, then it’s a win/win for them. I get cupcakes and I remain fat so I have to keep buying my clothes as this store.

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That thinking reckons on one of the biggest stereotypes of fat people: that we (fatties) all eat ample amounts of food, all the time. But we don’t. Or rather, like not all thin people eat salads for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Fat people, like thin people, come in all shapes and sizes, they also come with different appetites, metabolisms, and food preferences. Some days I eat a lot while other days I don’t. Some days I exercise for an hour and other days I don’t and behave lazy.

 

I’m fat but I’m human. Fat people are no more or less likely to eat a bunch of cupcakes in one sitting than a thin person. We must have all noticed at some point, when your friends or cousins or siblings eating lot more than what you eat, still thin. And we just breathing more air and drinking more water, raises the number on the weighing scale. Fat people are fat for any number of reasons, and some just are.

I’m fat for a combination of reasons — everyone in my maternal family is fat, I have hormonal imbalance issue (hypothyroidism), AND also I like to eat! I think that’s probably the case for a lot of people, like, their bodies are the way they are for a multitude of factors.

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Curvy, fit, strong, chubby, heavy, plus sized– I’ve held each of those titles at some point through my life – but never small, never petite. From a long time it seemed as though beautiful only came in one size. At the age of 34 I’ve made peace with most things about me. Yes, I’m plus sized right now, and no I’m not happy about it, but that doesn’t take away my beauty, my spark. I don’t need to sit in the sidelines while others take the stage. It’s where I’m on the scale – it is not where I am in life. With the plus sized status, I’m also beautiful, smart, funny, witty, introspective, creative, open minded and great.

 

Actually, I don’t want anyone to judge other people for their appearance. Most people have something they would like to change about themselves, something they are sensitive about – whether it be their weight or hair or nose or chewed nails, their height or their stature. It doesn’t mean they aren’t good, kind, smart and intelligent people.

 

It doesn’t matter.

That’s right, it really doesn’t matter.

What matters is that you live your life. I plan to live it—fully, unapologetically, and no longer wastefully. Life is not about fat legs, or skinny legs, or being perfect. Life is simply meant to be lived!!

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And now some TRUTH:

  • Fat people don’t hate themselves!! I don’t wake up every day loving myself, but no one does. That’s a problem that disturbs us all, not just fat people.
  • Fat people are not lazy. Many of us fats are quite active, smart, and gorgeous, even if you don’t think so. (Which is okay!).
  • You cannot tell if someone is healthy simply by looking at them. I’m fat but I’ve got no significant health problems. No back issues, my blood pressure is awesome, my cholesterol is perfect.
  • It’s not possible for everyone to “just lose weight” even if they want it bad enough, try hard enough. I would bet you money that most fat people you’ve met have wanted it bad enough, do try incredibly hard, and have tried every way under the sun.
  • And the last of all — All bodies deserve respect. Even if you think I’m gross because I’m fat, I at least deserve to be treated like I’m a human being. Because I am !!!!

THANKSGIVING : Practicing Gratitude

Thanksgiving, a holiday that’s celebrated in the USA. It’s a time to realize gratitude and our many blessings. Traditionally, the families gathers in giant circles and says out loud what they are thankful for. Although we do not celebrate thanksgiving here in India, but it is always good to teach children about such holidays. They should learn to give and share with love, they should be thankful for whatever they receive, and show gratitude. I love sharing stories and knowledge with my kids.

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When at the dinner table we discuss endless things, this time we talked about Thanksgiving. After explaining the importance of the day, I asked my 7 year old girl, what is she thankful for. And her answer rolled instantly, “My new Barbie, the princess dress and the games and books…..” that I got for her. These are exactly the things she should be thankful for. She is just a kid and her list made me smile.

 

All I want my children to think beyond their little world of toys, dolls and friends. I want them to know not every child has a huge number of toys, not every child is privileged to go to a great school, wear fancy clothes and have lavish meal-time.

 

No, we were never living in poverty, but after my husband, those months of very little income and tightening the budget tremendously – taught me that material possessions are something one should never take for granted. There are some weird facts about surviving with very little but I want my children to know and talk about it all.

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Sanmati Baal Niketan Orphanage

This Thanksgiving, gave me the opportunity to talk about it in ways they can understand. As we planned to visit the orphanage SANMATI BAAL NIKETAN again this year, (which I have fixed visiting every year, to mark the date it’s the death anniversary of my husband) we got to talk about donating stuff and food. We discussed how valuable small amounts of food are for families and kids, eating just one meal a day. As a mother,  when I feel about what it means to struggle, I can’t help but want to do something. I try to do what I can and I teach my children to do the same. Even a small gesture of helping others makes a difference. Each small thing is a contribution to a great world.

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Kids enjoying special meal (with sweets)

 

 

I would say in 2015, I’m thankful for. . .

 

My kids, my parents and siblings.

My close friends. I have a few of them.

The fact that I got a really nice job, that redefined my economic standing.

I have a lot to be profoundly thankful for this year. Transition isn’t easy and no one does it alone. This year, I’ve gotten to spread my wings and truly fly. I’ve been both fortunate and privileged and that’s something I don’t ever want to forget.

I am thankful for all I have in my life, I could have more, but I could certainly have a lot less too. I have more than I need and I have the privilege to share, I am indeed a lucky woman.

Happy Thanksgiving everyone !!