30 Things to do in 2016- Final Review

Hey, It feels nice to be back! We’ve been gone, like, forever! Hopefully, we’ll be more consistent in 2017!

I decided to try 30 new things to do in my 30th year and by the end of the year, I finished only 22. Here’s what I accomplished-

1. Buy a sewing machine 
2. Learn basic stitches
3. Sew a summer dress/ skirt for Medha 
4. Paint a wall hanging for our hall

5. Scrapbook with Medha of her cousin’s visit. 

6. Make a photobook with Medha’s pictures.

7. Make a photobook with Madhav’ s pictures
8. Turn the spare room into craft/reading room
9. Post before/after pictures of craft/reading room project.
10. Bake a cake and decorate it with Medha

11. Throw a handmade birthday party at home for Medha and Madhav- 
13. Read a kannada book
14. Read the photography book Prasad gifted me
15. Complete Spark ecourse
16. Complete Onward and Upward ecourse
17. Have pictures taken with my sister for the blog
18. Write thank-you letters to the most important people in my life ( I know who they are)
19. Volunteer at Madhav’s playschool 
20. Write to a magazine/ newspaper.
21. Visit a National park
22. Learn to drape a saree beautifully
24. Add 10 new followers to the blog ( to make the count 90)
25. Change the blog’s “about” page
26. A weaving project with Medha 

27. A plush doll with Medha

28. A garland with Medha- 

29. Visit a historical monument/palace with the kids
30. 365 days of journaling

I failed to achieve all the things I set out to do. Yet again. Procrastination, as usual, is the biggest culprit; setting unrealistic goals, like journaling 365 days, is yet another; other reasons too contributed to my less than successful endeavor- inefficient time-management, horrible mind-management etc. Ugh! I failed.

Or… Did I? 22 isn’t so bad after all, is it? It is more than half the number of goals I set for myself! If I never set 30 tiny goals or pushed myself to accomplish them, I wouldn’t have tried a single novel thing- I wouldn’t have gained the courage to invest in a sewing machine nor would I have learnt to hammer nails onto a wooden board from my dad, to make my weaving loom.

I’ve learned so much about myself (I love weaving so much! Reading Kannada books- not so much!) and creativity because of this exercise. I would never have learnt that creativity comes with practice, had I not read the book, “Big Magic”, or tried my hand at sewing, even though I had never even fixed a button or stitched a tear myself.

When I announced my intention to the world, my near and dear ones came forward to help me reach it. My sister created a Pinterest board of craft room organization ideas for me. In fact she was the one who suggested I set 30 goals in the first place. She kept motivating me through the whole thing. My sister-in-law designed and bought the photobooks of my kids. My grandma taught me how to sew and weave.

Despite my higher rate of failure, I won’t stop goal-setting anytime soon. So watch out for more for the brand new year!

Love,

Manasa.

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30 Things to do in 2016- May & June update

The beginning of school year has been crazy. We are still getting used to longer days at school, packing 2 boxes, Weekly tests and lots of other novel stuff. It feels like my life is totally revolving around the kids and their schools and classes and I am running around in circles all day long, without being able to lift my head up and look at the big picture. And by the end of the day (or even during the day), I have no time or energy or enthusiasm to do just the things that perk me up like crafting or reading or simply enjoying a cup of Tea. Hmmm…

I keep telling myself, like everything else in life, nothing lasts forever; these crazy, busy, fleeting days will pass too. So “hang in there Manasa. You’re doing Great! Just Don’t drive yourself and everyone else up the wall, Please!” 

Hey, here are the things we still got accomplished, despite the craziness called LIFE-

1. Buy a sewing machine 
2. Learn basic stitches
3. Sew a summer dress/ skirt for Medha 
4. Paint a wall hanging for our hall

5. Scrapbook with Medha of her cousin’s visit. 

6. Make a photobook with Medha’s pictures.

7. Make a photobook with Madhav’ s pictures
8. Turn the spare room into craft/reading room
9. Post before/after pictures of craft/reading room project.
10. Bake a cake and decorate it with Medha – We baked a cake for Medha’s Birthday. To make the process easy, I bought a Cake mix from Pillsbury. I made costumes out of newspapers for the kids and we got baking! All 3 of us took turns mixing and folding the ingredients. The kids had fun decorating the cake with frosting and gems. And guess what, the cake tasted great too! 

Delicious Cake
11. Throw a handmade birthday party at home for Medha and Madhav- It wasn’t all handmade, to be frank. I didn’t cook all the food or make the return gifts myself, like I wanted to. I bought Poster colors, Paint Brushes, Coloring books and Stickers as party favors so the kids could “Make their own MAGIC”. But still, I enrolled Medha and Madhav in making the decorative banners and wraps for candies. And our friends all had a great time. It was one of the best parties we’ve ever thrown. 

12. Read “Big magic” by Elizabeth Gilbert
13. Read a kannada book
14. Read the photography book Prasad gifted me
15. Complete Spark ecourse
16. Complete Onward and Upward ecourse
17. Have pictures taken with my sister for the blog
18. Write thank-you letters to the most important people in my life ( I know who they are)
19. Volunteer at Madhav’s playschool 
20. Write to a magazine/ newspaper.
21. Visit a National park
22. Learn to drape a saree beautifully
24. Add 10 new followers to the blog ( to make the count 90)
25. Change the blog’s “about” page
26. A weaving project with Medha 

27. A plush doll with Medha

28. A garland with Medha- Medha, Madhav and I together made a few garlands as part of the decorations for the kids’ birthday party. I wanted to sew a fabric garland, but couldn’t. I will try to make one soon.

29. Visit a historical monument/palace with the kids
30. 365 days of journaling

So guys…. do the best you can with the time and resources you have. And please…. remember to have fun along the way!

Love,

Manasa.

 

30 Things to do in 2016- April update

Accomplished a lot of goals; had a nice, relaxing vacation and turned 30 on an upbeat note! What more can a gal ask for?! I thank each and every one of you!

1. Buy a sewing machine 
2. Learn basic stitches
3. Sew a summer dress/ skirt for Medha What an amazing thing it is to be able to make your own dress! I sewed a couple of skirts for Medha. They aren’t perfect, with clean edges or proper fit, but they are almost perfect to me! Medha liked them too…. But the girlie girl that she is, she wanted more design in them! Her next ones surely will. I bought a lot of beautiful fabric from Dubai and can’t wait to use them! 
4. Paint a wall hanging for our hall I thought of making a wall hanging for our hall, but decided not to. Instead, I made a couple for my mom to decorate her new home. The kids helped me make them…


5. Scrapbook with Medha of her cousin’s visit 
6. Make a photobook with Medha’s pictures.
7. Make a photobook with Madhav’ s pictures
8. Turn the spare room into craft/reading room
9. Post before/after pictures of craft/reading room project.
10. Bake a cake and decorate it with Medha
11. Throw a handmade birthday party at home for Medha and Madhav
12. Read “Big magic” by Elizabeth Gilbert
13. Read a kannada book
14. Read the photography book Prasad gifted me
15. Complete Spark ecourse
16. Complete Onward and Upward ecourse
17. Have pictures taken with my sister for the blog
18. Write thank-you letters to the most important people in my life ( I know who they are)
19. Volunteer at Madhav’s playschool I’ve asked so many times to be allowed to help the teachers at Madhav’s school, but I’ve not been given a chance yet. So I approached an NGO called the Reach Beyond and they let me help under-privileged kids with Reading and Math 2 or 3 times a week.
20. Write to a magazine/ newspaper.
21. Visit a National park
22. Learn to drape a saree beautifully “With practice you’ve gotten better and better at wearing Saree, Mama”- my daughter has noticed my improvement too! 🙂
23. Watch a play
24. Add 10 new followers to the blog ( to make the count 90)
25. Change the blog’s “about” page
26. A weaving project with Medha  I got a piece of wood, learnt to hammer nails into it from my dad, prepared a loom, tried to involve my daughter in the actual weaving, but by the end of a couple (maybe more) of hours, we had a pretty mat for my parents’ home phone, a sore back from all that sitting in one place and a Thank you speech by the daughter that went like this- “Weaving is a very difficult thing to do! Thank You!”

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27. A plush doll with Medha  One for the kids and one for my beautiful sister to remind her to “KEEP MAKING”, even though it may not turn not as well as planned.

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28. A garland with Medha
29. Visit a historical monument/palace with the kids
30. 365 days of journaling

Here’s to more DOING and less procrastinating!

Love,

Manasa.

 

Love,

Manasa.

30 Things to do in 2016- March update

We are busy around here, but this is GOOD busy! We’ve been doing a ton of projects, attending Birthday parties, preparing for school activities and slowly but consistently finishing tasks off our to-do lists. I felt much more productive in March than in the month before. I guess It’s because I didn’t force myself to do things I simply didn’t feel like doing, and started my day with journaling. Both these exercises (one mental and the other, physical) helped me deal with the craziness called Life this past month.

Here are the things I’ve accomplished till now-

1. Buy a sewing machine This one should have been the easiest, right? But it wasn’t. Buying a sewing machine is a big investment; Maybe not too big for some, but I wasn’t sure I would put it to good use. Now that I bought this, I’ve been using it regularly! Love my new machine! 
2. Learn basic stitchesIt’s so easy with the machine, even for a beginner like me. Just read the manual thoroughly. And practice, Every Single Day!
3. Sew a summer dress/ skirt for Medha
4. Paint a wall hanging for our hall
5. Scrapbook with Medha of her cousin’s visit This one brought me such joy!
6. Make a photobook with Medha’s pictures.
7. Make a photobook with Madhav’ s pictures
8. Turn the spare room into craft/reading room
9. Post before/after pictures of craft/reading room project.
10. Bake a cake and decorate it with Medha
11. Throw a handmade birthday party at home for Medha and Madhav
12. Read “Big magic” by Elizabeth Gilbert Had saved this one for the end, but HAD to dive into it. I was desperate for some Magic! And boy did I find it!
13. Read a kannada book – this one is taking me forever to finish!
14. Read the photography book Prasad gifted me
15. Complete Spark ecourseFinished this one and mailed Kam, its author, too, to let her know my thoughts. She’s awesome and the course is awesome. It did help me rekindle my lost “Spark”.
16. Complete Onward and Upward ecourse– working on this one now.
17. Have pictures taken with my sister for the blog did you see the new “about us” on the sidebar?
18. Write thank-you letters to the most important people in my life ( I know who they are) this one gave me such joy. I am who I am because of these people and a few others too. I can’t possibly write to each one of you, right? But hey, Thank you!
19. Volunteer at Madhav’s playschool
20. Write to a magazine/ newspaper.
21. Visit a National park read about it here and here.
22. Learn to drape a saree beautifully
23. Watch a play
24. Add 10 new followers to the blog ( to make the count 90)Yay! We did it!
25. Change the blog’s “about” page
26. A weaving project with Medha
27. A plush doll with Medha
28. A garland with Medha
29. Visit a historical monument/palace with the kids
30. 365 days of journaling – March was awesome for journaling! Hope April goes the same way!

Love,

Manasa.

30 Things to do in 2016- February update

February was crazy and not just because of Medha’s exams; I was feeling kinda crazy too. I lost my appetite, felt tired most of the time, lost interest in everything that normally excites me; In short, I wasn’t myself! And not being yourself is the worst thing you can be, I tell you. But I got through it, gradually, with help from family; And by giving  myself time and space to heal.

I found that for the duration of working on a hands-on project, like Scrapbooking, I felt sane, relaxed and, even, joyful. Giving my hands something to do and my mind something other than itself to focus on, is the best way to calm my anxieties and get me out of a funk, I realized.

I accomplished quite a few things, despite the dullness. Here’s an update of my “30 things to do in 2016”-

1. Buy a sewing machine
2. Learn basic stitches
3. Sew a summer dress/ skirt for Medha
4. Paint a wall hanging for our hall
5. Scrapbook with Medha of her cousin’s visit This one brought me such joy!
6. Make a photobook with Medha’s pictures.
7. Make a photobook with Madhav’ s pictures
8. Turn the spare room into craft/reading room
9. Post before/after pictures of craft/reading room project.
10. Bake a cake and decorate it with Medha
11. Throw a handmade birthday party at home for Medha and Madhav
12. Read “Big magic” by Elizabeth Gilbert Had saved this one for the end, but HAD to dive into it. I was desperate for some Magic! And boy did I find it!
13. Read a kannada book – this one is taking me forever to finish!
14. Read the photography book Prasad gifted me
15. Complete Spark ecourseFinished this one and mailed Kam, its author, too, to let her know my thoughts. She’s awesome and the course is awesome. It did help me rekindle my lost “Spark”.
16. Complete Onward and Upward ecourse– working on this one now.
17. Have pictures taken with my sister for the blog did you see the new “about us” on the sidebar?
18. Write thank-you letters to the most important people in my life ( I know who they are) this one gave me such joy. I am who I am because of these people and a few others too. I can’t possibly write to each one of you, right? But hey, Thank you!
19. Volunteer at Madhav’s playschool
20. Write to a magazine/ newspaper.
21. Visit a National park read about it here and here.
22. Learn to drape a saree beautifully
23. Watch a play
24. Add 10 new followers to the blog ( to make the count 90) – 3 more to go.
25. Change the blog’s “about” page
26. A weaving project with Medha
27. A plush doll with Medha
28. A garland with Medha
29. Visit a historical monument/palace with the kids
30. 365 days of journaling – Doing it On and Off. But I’ll still consider this Done, if I don’t give up on it completely.

More to go. Wish me luck!

Love,

Manasa.

Weekly update #1

Start of school

Medha is ready to start school and I’m pretty excited!  We bought her text- and note- books and she kept telling me how excited she is about school and her new books. We are both eagerly awaiting the start of a new phase in her life and I am so looking forward to teaching her (after learning… I will be re-learning with her!) from that bundle of knowledge.

 

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As I spread her books on the floor to have their picture taken, Medha kept kissing them! Sooooo like me….

All the parents of future Dipsites (DPS students are called so.) were invited to attend an Orientation ceremony. And we were asked to arrange childcare for our kids. We understood why. The program ran an hour and a half and it was full of talks given by teachers about the school, its rules, their mission, safety policies etc.. I was bowled over by their “Parents as partners in progress” concept.They couldn’t stress more how much our kids imitate us and learn from us and what we can do to become good role models. Living in the US I had learnt this concept by watching how other moms interacted with their kids but to hear teachers in India emphasizing this was a real eye-opener of how far India has traveled from the days of corporal punishment and rote learning at school.

I was relieved to hear that it was OK for Medha to start nursery without prior understanding of letters and numbers. Having been to a playschool in the US, Medha at 4 isn’t capable of writing letters or counting numbers like kids in India do. There, she just played and sang and danced and talked and crafted. Playschools here in India are mini-schools where education is placed importance over free-play. Thus I was worried about her not having had a head start. Now I know she will be fine. She might lag her friends at school but eventually she will get there. By the way, my little girl will have learnt reading and writing capital and small letters, numbers and 2-letter words by the end of this academic year! Fantastic eh? And scary too!

Project 29 Update

I cleaned up my inbox, bringing the total number of emails down from over 3000 to about 300. Phew! There were too many forwards and promotional mails that I hadn’t even bothered to open and read. Also, there were a ton of mails from friends and family which I’d read but would not read again. So I simply deleted them all- one by one- Click. Delete. Click. Delete.

Now I have separate folders for mails from the online classes I joined and the creativity blogs I subscribed to. That way I can reach them whenever I need to without having to rummage through my inbox.

I finished reading “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s stone”. A book about a new beginning (of a life at Hogwarts school) and adventure ( saving the sorcerer’s stone from the vicious hold of Lord Voldemort). What a book to read as I begin my own new life and adventure in India! It went well with the cloudy weather we’ve been experiencing here in Hyderabad.

A lost phone

I lost my phone recently. But I’m not missing it much. In fact I’m loving the fact that I’ve become more productive since the moment it abandoned me. I’m not spending all my time checking mails, whatsapp messages and facebook updates. All that free time at hand means I’m tearing through the Harry Potter series and working to organize and decorate my new home.

Down with fever

Madhav was down with fever. The doctor at Rainbow Hospital diagnosed it as Pharyngitis, an airborne infection of the throat. A couple of days with fever was enough for the doctor to warrant a prescription of antibiotics to my year old. In the US it had been hard to squeeze a prescription out of our pediatrician. He believed our bodies, even teeny tiny ones, were equipped with defense mechanism to fight diseases (He did advocate administering vaccinations, thank god!) and antibiotics were considered a last resort. I kinda like that idea but I also like that relief is easily available here. It would’ve been hard to watch our baby fight his disease without the aid of an antibiotic.

Now everyone at home is glad Madhav is back to his usual, cheerful, bunny-teeth showing self.

29 things to do.

I love LOVE making lists. I can’t tell you what joy it brings me to cross off as many tasks as I possibly can on my daily to-do list. So I decided to experiment with a BIG Birthday goal of accomplishing 29 things before I turn 29 on the 17th of May, 2015. It was fun coming up with the list. Some tasks can be easily crossed off, others require more effort and time, but all are FUN.

It will be work I know, but I want to do this. I need goals. I’ll update the list as I progress. Here goes:

1. Start a new venture (I have an idea what)
2. Participate in 30 days of lists
3. Cook 29 authentic, traditional South Indian recipes and blog about them
4. Send an article to a newspaper/magazine
5. 29 projects with Medha
6. Learn Photoshop
7. Read the Bhagvad Gita
8. Visit the British Council
9. Read all Harry Potter books
10. Volunteer
11. Make a list of birthdays/anniversaries of family and friends
12. Visit a museum
13. Travel to a place I’ve never been before
14. Watch Smash season 1
15. Learn Telugu
16. Review a fancy restaurant we visit for my blog
17. Have my picture taken with the kids once every month
18. An usie with Prasad every month
19. Get grills done to our home
20. Get a facial done
21. Send out birthday cards
22. Subscribe to highlights genies magazine for Medha
23. Read “the happiness project” once again
24. Clean my inbox
25. Finish onward and upward class
26. Make a folder for the study material related to o&u
27. Once a month list all the things I’m grateful for in my life
28. Finish work on my kids’ album
29. Buy myself something special when I cross the halfway mark.

I hope you feel inspired to come up with your own list. If so, can you please share?