Visit Erie

Many years ago I used to watch a reality show called the amazing race. Participants start at one place in the US travel around the world and are eliminated as they travel along. I loved every part of the show since the adrenaline rush is high. Visiting different places, doing different activities, meeting different cultural people and in the end winning a prize.

Today I did something similar with my family. I downloaded the Hello Erie App and took a challenge of finishing 5 activities from their bucket list of places to visit. Checking in at 5 places would make me eligible for a 250 dollar gift card at a mall. Check more about it here.

I pre selected nearly ten places from their list two days back and we started the day trip. I had to make sure my aged parents enjoy without taking them to crowded places. Yes, a piece of my heart is still nervous about covid. I needed to engage my special boy but that should not bore my younger teenager. My husband who started out the day with enthusiasm had his back problem return back just as we were leaving. So I was not sure if we would be able to complete visiting five places. But we did leave the house with lot of snacks and home cooked food. With gas prices still high I definitely did not want to spend on restaurant food.

Our first stop was at Asbury woods. The challenge was to see the Grandfather tree in the wooded area. It was an easy walk on the trial (just around a mile) and checked in near the tree and took lot of pictures.

Grandfather with grandchildren at the Grandfather tree

From their we drove to Presque Island to visit the light house. Pictures were taken and we checked in there. My younger one wanted to climb up the light house and we were the last ones to make the trip up. I am so nervous about heights and climbing down is harder. But the 79 steps up and down was really an adventure I was thrilled that I completed the task. (I could have just stayed down with my parents, but I did take the risk of climbing up. No pictures on the way up or down. I was not so sure of those spiral stairs).

In front of the Light House

The third check in was at a bike rental. We rented a beach surrey bike. Ha Ha, I thought this would be easy since four of us would be biking. I was so wrong. Half way through the trail, I realized I had no sensation of my lower extremities. The four of us somehow managed the one hour bike ride through all the ups and downs.

The surrey bike

The fourth check in was an easy one. Ice-cream treat at a restaurant. Sara’s restaurant is supposed to be famous for their orange vanilla twist and after the bike ride this was worth the treat.

the orange vanilla twist ice cream

The last check in was at the bicentennial tower. This is the place my plan didn’t work out properly. We couldn’t find proper parking spot. My husband said he would drop me in front of the tower and I could check in. But my younger one and my Mom enthusiastically joined me and as I reached near the tower I checked into the app. My app congratulated me saying I had completed my challenge. I didn’t win any prize at the moment, but I felt I had finished the amazing race. We didn’t climb the tower. But me, my younger one and my Mom enjoyed the Lake took as many pictures. We then called my husband who came and picked us up.

Lake Erie
The bicentennial tower

Today both my boys got physical activities, my parents enjoyed the beautiful lake and I loved doing the challenge. This is just a short day trip. Next month, second week of August we are going on a 1200 mile road trip for a very special cause. I don’t want to jinx it by writing about it now. So this trip is just teaser for what is to come next month.

Screen shot of me finishing the challenge.

I thought I had taken pictures of the food we got today since my special one helped a lot in the kitchen today. Oops , I had not even made one click. It was all yummy and everything was gone.

Cleaning up

The past few weeks I have been trying to clean up my house. To start the process of clearing things out I found out I needed to have a strong mind. Even a tiny bit of attachment to a piece of cloth or a mug is going to collect dust again. Two weeks back I gave around seven bags to charity. Those seven bags were from my garage alone. I may still have a few more boxes in garage that can be given away but my mind is not ready to put them away yet.

I have ended up with 5 more bags from our closets. There has not been much shopping the past two years so this was an easy process since I knew exactly what to give away. I not only cleaned up the space I also organized a few things and I really love the way my closet looks now.

I decided this was the right time to give away some of my special one’s puzzles. I have got attached to them. These are 48 piece Melissa and Doug wooden ones. Those were the ones that started our puzzle journey. It took us many moons to master them. But it did live through all the tantrums and mini wars. So the attachment towards them is big. We also have a 50 piece USA puzzle and that has a more stronger attachment since he learnt all his states and capitals from it. But I decided that too must go away to pave way for new activities. Yes, two boxes of puzzles and board games have been set aside.

Letting go of things is so hard. The same is true with letting go of our thoughts, wishes and so many other things. As I cleaned my house I kept thinking , I should start cleaning my mind and heart too. Is it going to be easy? No way! I have just put aside 10 to 15 boxes. But my three pound brain and less than a pound heart has so many things in it. Maybe one day at a time.

Sunday on the Montour

When I did my bucket list in June, one activity I wanted to do was a 5k walk. To do a 5k somethings need to be in place and it did not happen.

But today was great. I have an app called map my walk that calculates distance, pace and time so I decided to a 5k with my special one and my husband on the Montour Trail. My younger one decided to bike on the trial. I am really proud that I do 10,000 steps a day but it is my husband who does more and silent about the act. He has a good pace too. This is a win win situation for my kid since, sometimes he has double walks one with me and one with his Dad. Doing 10,000 steps a day for the past five years a 5k walk is much easier.

A quick stop at Dunkin Donuts for their coffee and bagel, my special one had tomato pesto cheese which he calls pizza we started the walk. When I reached the onemile mark, the app told us we had finished it in less than 20 minutes and that is when my anxiety started shooting up. I was really excited since it has been a while since we did a 5k and I did not expect that pace. My mile two was less than 40 minutes and I started rushing my boy.

The trail is full of small pebbles and those get into your shoes. So my Boy had to remove and clear them as we walked. By the time we were nearing the 3 mile mark, we were closing on an hour and I think I lost it when my son’s pace slowed with him getting distracted with the stones. I tried to drag him and found that my husband had applied moisturizer all over his hands and with the sweat he was just slipping and I could not even hold him. But finally we made the 3 mile mark in less than an hour and our 3.1 miles or 5 kilometer happened near the parking lot.

I joined yoga last month and my instructor had stretched me out yesterday. I was really burnt out. I think my consistency in walking helped me do the 5km walk otherwise I would be lying in bed today just complaining about the pain from yoga. I am really happy that I am taking care of myself. Small steps go a long way. Adding yoga to my schedule is hard but I am keeping my fingers crossed. By the way if you want to know more about my online yoga class you can check it out here.

By the way my Mom and Dad are the silent heroes since I had a hot Sunday multi course lunch ready when I came home all tired otherwise it would have been a one pot cooking with frozen vegetables.

tomato pesto cheese
the finale
special mint rasam

Happy 4th of July!

With so many red white and blue projects with my boy in the past six weeks forced me make some American food for my parents. A 4th of July party setting with zero planning. Being vegetarians my younger one shopped for his grandparents so that they can eat at peace without questioning about the ingredients.

The American corn is famous in India it seems. They eat it spicy with red chilly powder and lemons , but here it is taken with butter. Vegan patties were used for our burger and my special one was more than thrilled to make the fries in the air fryer.

I have become diet conscious , so we topped icecream with fruit salad and had a pitcher of water with lemons and mint.

The kids and the family are well fed and would be going to see the fireworks and I have decided to stay home and enjoy some quiet time. I have lived in this country for twenty five years and really grateful for that.

Happy 4th of July! 🇺🇸

Red white and blue table setting
The famous American corn
Burger toppings
vegan patties
icecream with fruit salad

Flippant

Growing up my Grandmother used to give me lot of advice , how to talk and behave with elders was one important piece. Her Dad was a military doctor and had been in both the world wars. She said there wasn’t one day she or her brother had stood before their Dad and made a bold conversation let alone a flippant attitude, it was always respectful, voices down and not unless they were called for.

S’mores

Wow we did a lot of activities!

Day 30!

Final day of my challenge. It was a sweet afternoon that my special one enjoyed so much. An activity he volunteered 💯 percent 😀!

We made s’mores. Of course he loved it since it is just all sugar and chocolate. Few years back during a fall festival I tasted my first smore given out by the boy scout troop and I became an addict that I search for their station every year.

The pre planning was hard since I had to hide the ingredients from my son. I was worried my husband would be nervous since I would be loading my son with sugar but he was fine with it (maybe he thought there is no more use to fight me). So today snack was s’mores, Toasted marshmallows on graham crackers topped with Hershey chocolate 🍫!

Thank you all for joining me this month and I am really happy that I did this challenge. I am glad I did a lot of positive things with my son and I am hoping this is just a beginning and I will be able to build up on and have more fun!

All the s’mores were made by my son and he very carefully toasted the marshmallows in my stove. Hope you enjoy the virtual sweet treat.

The ingredients
Loved toasting it
was quick to blow out the fire
placed it on the cracker
Loaded with Hershey chocolate (Oh that is my Henna tattooed palm Btw)
The smore ready
Feeding Grandpa