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Chalkboard ☆ Do More Of What Makes You Happy

September 30, 2014

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Copied from this original on my Pinboard by Lily & Val. I changed up a bit to go with my liking.

Do more of what makes you happy is a simple quote, but I find it easier to be said than done. Why? I think many people have obligations and responsibilities to meet their daily needs before what their hearts tell them to do. Being a mother of 3 kids, I find myself not always being able to allocate the time to do what I desire to do. It even makes me feel guilty if I chose what excites me over being with my kids. It’s a hard balance that I am yet to manage well.

Tonight when my kids were watching an episode of Jessie, I was on my computer. After the TV was turned off for them to go to bed, I continued to be on my computer. My older two girls started complaining that I wasn’t giving them attention because before bed time in our household is my kids’ time to be with me. My oldest said to me “You’ve been on the computer for a while. You forgot us, Mama!” I felt guilty. I apologized to her because I had no excuse. I was in my la-la-land pinning photos onto Pinterest. Pinterest is great, but it’s not more important than my kids. It’s a bad addiction because it’s not like I don’t spend enough time on my computer editing my photos, emailing or working on my blog post.

Do more of what makes you happy. Yes, but finding a peaceful balance between priorities and desire is important. Self control over surfing internet and working on my blog is a challenge to tackle for me. I keep reminding myself that I will have my time to focus more on my passion later. It sometimes feels like I have a piece of delicious-looking cake in front of me that I am not supposed to touch until the time is right. I know that if I eat too many sweets because it makes me happy, I will end up with cavities and gaining weight, which will make me unhappy. Moderation in all things. Yet, it’s a good reminder. We should do more of what makes us happy.

Nathalie, thank you so much for finding this beautiful chalkboard inspiration for me! I had this design on my chalkboard for almost 4 months!!

Do More Of What Makes You Happy

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Monday Mode ☆ Yellow Rhino Shirt & Advantages Of A Third Child ☆ Le Petit Society

September 29, 2014

Le Petit Society Yellow Rhino Safari Shirt

LPS Yello Rhino Safari Shirt

My son got this cool rhino shirt from Le Petit Society which I love. I often put this shirt on him because both my son and I love it, but also it’s very soft and cute! Who said boy clothes are not cute? After 5 years of dressing my oldest and younger girls in pink, pink and more pink and frills (thank goodness they grew out of that phase), it was very refreshing to see other earthy colors displayed in my son’s wardrobe. Le Petit Society does a great job with boy clothes designs. By the way, if you meet the minimum order of HK$1,200 (about US$155), the standard shipping becomes free for the selected countries. Please check here for more details.

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Le Petit Society Yello Rhino Safari Shirt-2

I spend a lot of time with my son especially since this past June. From my own experience, I see many advantages for kids who grow up as the youngest child in a family. My third gets a lot of attention for being the youngest. On top of that, my husband and I have become more experienced as a parent and have definitely learned from our past mistakes, thus we seem to do a better job by the third one came.

One very typical example of how parents focus more on their first child which many people can relate is the photo albums of children. I have created photo albums for my oldest daughter up to she was 3 years old. That’s actually not that good. Then came my second daughter, who only has like a half an album. Not even one complete album! Yikes.

Then, how many printed albums does my youngest have? ZERO.

Ah, too bad.

It, however, seems that I have more digital photos of my youngest as a baby on this blog and I have none of my girls. Obviously I started blogging when my girls are a little older. However, it also means that I spend more time with him than my girls these days because my girls are not around. It strikes me hard how quickly my girls are growing up. As much as I enjoy seeing their growth and independence which means more freedom for myself, I do feel sentimental. This sentiment becomes my desire to capture every moment of the time I share with my kids, especially my youngest who is still around and needs me the most.

Many Japanese mom friends of mine often says to me “you must love him so much (“more than your girls” is inferred behind the words)”. Honestly, I don’t think he’s cuter or more lovable than my girls when they were at that age. I think all toddlers are adorable in their own ways. I do admit that my son wants and needs me more at the moment than my older girls need me and I love being wanted and needed. It seems that this is reflected on the time I spend with him.

LPS Yellow Rhino Safari Shirt & Pants

I hope you enjoyed seeing Le Petit Society Safari shirt! If you would like to see my other photos of Le Petit Society, please click the links below.

Le Petit Society Posts
Le Petit Society Safari Boy Shirt & Tribal Girl Shirts
Le Petit Society Lady’s Gray Safari Shirt + Mia Tui Purse
Le Petit Society Boy Outfits ☆ My First Le Petit Society Post!

Thank you for visiting!

Baan Tao at Hyatt Pune ☆ Pune India

September 25, 2014

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Baan Tao is a lovely Chinese restaurant inside Hyatt Pune. It’s quiet, beautiful and the dim sum lunch was fabulous!

Since my middle and youngest children do not eat much, I asked if they would let me order 2 sets for 4 of us: me, my two girls and 2-year-old son. They kindly accepted it! I was delighted that we’d get to have a nice dim sum lunch with a bargain price and we won’t waste food! If you take two young children, an order of one portion for two kids is plenty.

Baan Tao’s dim sum lunch costs about 890 Rupees (US$16) before tax if I remember correctly. I think that is a great deal to begin with for the quality and amount of food you get at a restaurant in a hotel like Hyatt. We enjoyed our first lunch in Pune at Baan Tao. Since Baan Tao does not open until 12:30, we went to visit the beautiful Aga Khan Palace first, which is right next to Hyatt Pune. Then we went over to Hyatt Pune to have lunch at Baan Tao.

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I usually don’t allow my kids to play with a tablet when we are at a restaurant with a few exceptions with friends and after a meal, so I enjoy taking photos of my kids playing at a restaurant. Baan Tao offered a beautiful set up for photo ops.

My son surprised me with a little drum action and singing performance.

He is quite a character.

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Baan Tao Dim Sum4

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HOT & SPICY!
Don’t worry. She likes to play like that.

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I recommend that you combine a Aga Khan Palace tour and Baan Tao dim sum lunch because they are right next to each other.

I used to be really good about packing my bag and taking off to any place. Now I have 3 kids and pack for all 4 of us for a trip, traveling has become a bit more of a task and is no longer so easy. Having fun moments like this with my kids, though, is what makes it worth the hard work.

I used to envy my husband for his business trips. I don’t any more. I think it’s very healthy and good for any moms to go on a trip without kids once in a while. I am sure I will have a great time during a trip and I did when I made a trip to Ubud in Bali with my girl friend, Kara, her sister and her friends. That being said, I’m okay without traveling by myself for now. My time will come.

For now, I embrace my time with them.

BAAN TAO HYATT PUNE

Hyatt,Adjacent to Aga Khan Palace
Pune Nagar Rd, Nilanjali Society
Kalyani Nagar, Pune, Maharashtra 411006
PHONE:020 4141 8840
HOURS: 12:30–3:00 pm
7:30–11:30 pm

Jogger’s Park in Kalyani Nagar ☆ Pune India

September 24, 2014

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The Damodar Ravji Galande Patil Park is better known as a Jogger’s Park Kalyani Nagar among the locals and expats who live in Pune. It has a really nice grassy area where many families gather during the opening hours. They close between 10:00 am to 4:00 pm. Since the weather in Pune is much cooler than it is in Mumbai, it is beautiful to go there just to hang out. We saw many people sit on the grass and chat or play with their kids. If you are traveling from Mumbai by car and plan on taking your kids to the Jogger’s Park, I recommend bringing a frisbee or ball.

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I believe that eating is not allowed in the park. My friend introduced me to a really cute local cafe only a few minute walk from the Jogger’s Park which would be a perfect place for the visitors to go afterwards or beforehand. Unfortunately, I forgot the name, so here is the location of the beautiful cafe near the park.

Damodar Ravji Galande Patil Garden

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Cafe Jogger's Park Kalyani Nagar

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My kids enjoyed the park so much that we went there twice. The first time was to meet up with my new friend, Beth, and her two kids in the morning and the second time was in the evening after my son had woken up from his afternoon nap!

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Can you tell that I love taking pictures of my child flying?

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He kept saying he wanted to play with the frisbee that two kids are playing with their dad.

Gradually.

He.

Approached…

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This very kind dad threw a frisbee to him so that he could join. That was so nice.

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Mosquitos were out although the number of mosquitos seemed to be much fewer in Pune than in Mumbai, I thought it’s better to be cautious. If you forget to pack mosquito repellant in your suitcase, don’t worry. You can find pharmacies everywhere in Pune. My kids tend to get bitten with mosquito repellant stickers. I would use the stickers along with anti-mosquito cream for a double protection.

My friend who lives in Pune also recommended me the following places for activities.

Pu La Deshpande Japanese Garden
Nice place to go for walks. There is a zoo nearby so you can do them together as they are in the same area and quite far from anything else.

Outside Pune
1. Fort Jadhavgahd– lovely resort which used to be a fort. About an hour’s drive from Pune. Great for lunch and walking. You can stay overnight as well. Very India feel.

2. Jejuri Temple– about an hour and a half away. Very fascinating temple where everything is covered in turmeric powder.

If my son wasn’t taking a nap, I might have tried the Pu La Deshpande Japanese Garden. When I checked on Google Map, it said the Japanese Garden was about a 30-minute drive from The Westin where we stayed. Without traffic, it takes a little less.

I had a hard time locating the Pune Okayama Japanese Garden on Google Map, so here’s what I found. The Japanese Garden is on Sinhagad Road (I also see Narveer Tanaji Malusare Road on Google Map) and the area is called Dattavadi. Here is a site with more information with a map on Pu La Deshpande Japanese Garden.

I hope you enjoyed my photos!!

The Westin Pune Koregaon Park ☆ Pune India

September 23, 2014

The Westin Pune-3

When we went to Pune, we stayed at The Westin Pune Koregaon Park. The decision was made for us because we went to Pune to accompany my husband’s business. We had a suite instead of two adjoining rooms because the suite was slightly less than paying for two rooms for us and it was more fun for the kids. Our girls slept on the L shape couch which was big enough for them, but we also had an option to order an additional bed at no cost. We also requested to have a baby cot which was provided with no cost as well. The room was so spacious that it felt like we had an apartment!

In terms of The Westin’s location, it was great, too. All the restaurants recommended by my friend were very close from The Westin. The Jogger’s Park we went was a 5-minute drive from The Westin. It felt very central and convenient. The Westin Hotel stands on the bank overlooking Mula-Mutha River and the view and the sunset from the hotel was marvelous! I took a photo with my iPod Touch, which didn’t do justice to its real beauty, but I posted it below.

The Westin Pune

The Westin Pune

Yes, when I am taking photos, my son usually goes crazy.

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When we are home, I often get questions these over and over. “Can I have a play date with so and so?” “Who are we having dinner with?” “Who are we going to see?” During our get away trip in Pune, it felt like a luxury to spend a quality time with my kids. It was a guilt-free lazy weekend which I came to realize is the best relaxation I can ever ask.

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The Westin Kids Club

BREAKFAST

The Westin Pune Breakfast

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The Westin provided us with a wonderful retreat. I find the customer service quite good and friendly as well. The staff was especially kind to my kids and that was very nice. I find Indians in general love children and are friendly.

I also heard from other mom friends that they recommended Hyatt Regency Pune and JW Marriott Hotel Pune. Hyatt Regency has an indoor swimming pool which is nice for its cool weather. Hyatt Regency has corporate apartments and for the residences, they offer a play ground. I don’t know if they offer the hotel guests to use the play ground, but if they do, that would be a huge bonus for the families with little kids.

Photos by VSCO Cam on iPod Touch

I love how handy it is to take photos on iPod Touch. I highly recommend VSCO Cam app which takes great photos and has beautiful filters and great photo editing tools!

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Here are Waterlogue pictures I created with a Waterlogue app on my iPod Touch. It’s incredible how app can draw water paint pictures!

The Westin Waterlogue

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SUNSET IN PUNE

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Going to Pune?

I have previously posted a summary of our trip to Pune.

Please click here for the information.

Aga Khan Palace ☆ Pune India

September 18, 2014

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I decided to visit Aga Khan Palace because I was very intrigued by the history with the palace. The Aga Khan Palace played a role in the Indian freedom movement as it was used as a place where Mahatma Gandhi was interned. Mahatma Gandhi is someone whom I have always respected very much. To be able to see where he spent his late life was moving to me.

The Aga Khan Palace was built by Sir Sultan Muhammed Shah Aga Khan III in 1892. I have been reading some about Sir Sultan Muhammed Shah Aga Khan III, his grand son Prince Shah Karim Al Hussaini Aga Khan IV who succeeded Aga Khan after him and Aga Khan IV’s three children: Zahra Aga Khan, Prince Rahim Aga Khan, and Prince Hussain Aga Khan. It’s fascinating.

The Aga Khan Palace was beautiful and interesting to photograph. I enjoyed my time very much and the best of all, my kids thanked me for taking them to the palace!

Aga Khan Palace

Aga Khan Palace Pune

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My son got a lot of attention from the girls who were visiting the palace for a school field trip. I didn’t know that faux hawk is such a girl magnet.

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This photo below is my favorite one.

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I hope you enjoyed my photos.

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Aga Khan Palace
Samrat Ashok Road/Pune Nagar Road near Hyatt Pune

Weekend In Pune ☆ India

September 17, 2014

Aga Khan Palace Pune-2

Sometimes we have so many social engagements for our kids over a weekend that I feel like I don’t really spend time with them. I chaperon my kids everywhere to their activities or parties, have a play date, feed them, socialize with our friends, and a weekend is done.

My oldest daughter is 9 years old. I’m at the half way point till she will take off to go to collage. If the next 9 years will go by as fast as the last 9 years have gone, the day to send her off to collage will come before I know it.

A weekend trip to Pune was a nice remedy for my thought. I loved that I was with my kids: Talking to them, seeing them play, and relaxing with them. It was nothing extravagant, but it was special to me.

So, you might be thinking, what’s in Pune?

Here are a few things that I had a chance to do. Thanks to my new friend, Beth, I was able to realize a fruitful and memorable trip. Beth is a mother of two and a talented photographer and yogi. Thank you, Beth, for your wonderful help and thanks, Zeli, for introducing us to each other!

WEEKEND IN PUNE

This post is more like a summary of our trip to Pune. I will post individual articles on Aga Khan Palace, The Westin Hotel in Pune, the Jogger’s Park, and Baan Tao Restaurant at Hyatt Pune in the near future. I hope you will come back to see them!

ACTIVITIES IN PUNE

AGA KHAN PALACE

Aga Khan Palace was simply beautiful. The lovely weather helped as well. It was worth seeing the place Mahatma Gandhi, someone I learned about in school and I respect, spent some time with his wife when he was interned.

To read more about Aga Khan Palace, click HERE.

Aga Khan Palace Pune

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JOGGER’S PARK IN KALYANI NAGAR
DAMODAR RAVJI GALANDE PATIL PARK

The Jogger’s Park in Kalyani Nagar is listed as The Damodar Ravji Galande Patil Park on a Google Map, but it seems that it is better known as the Jogger’s Park among the locals and expats who live in Pune. It has a nice grassy area where people sit and chat and kids run around. My kids have not been to a park like that in Mumbai and they got very exited. I was excited. The weather was very comfortable. It was neither hot or humid compared to that in Mumbai.

To read more about Jogger’s Park Kalyani Nagar, click HERE.

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There are three activities recommended by Beth that I did not have the time to do, but I would like to share them with you because I think some of you might find them interesting.

Pu La Deshpande Japanese Garden
Nice place to go for walks. There is a zoo nearby so you can do them together as they are in the same area and quite far from anything else.

Outside Pune
1. Fort Jadhavgahd– lovely resort which used to be a fort. About an hour’s drive from Pune. Great for lunch and walking. You can stay overnight as well. Very India feel.

2. Jejuri Temple– about an hour and a half away. Very fascinating temple where everything is covered in turmeric powder.

The Japanese Garden is supposed to be nice. I thought outside Pune activities sounded fantastic if we had more time to spend in the area.

 

RESTAURANT RECOMMENDATIONS

BAAN TAO AT HYATT PUNE

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The Dim Sum lunch at Baan Tao at Hyatt Pune was delicious, relaxing and so fun! Baan Tao was very flexible and they let me order a dim sum lunch for 2 for 4 of us: me and my 3 kids. My second and third kids don’t eat much, so if we order a set for each of us, there would be way too much food to go to waste. The dim sum lunch was wonderful and it made it worth going to Pune for Baan Tao.

To read more about Baan Tao at Hyatt Pune, click HERE.

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I, unfortunately, don’t have the photos of the two restaurants we went out for dinner. It is not a reflection of anything. I simply did not take any photos because the restaurants were too dark for me to take good quality photos and when there is not enough light for me to take photos, I do not feel inspired. I need to get better at it, though.

DARIO’S

Dario’s is a vegetarian Italian restaurant. There are two Dario’s in Pune and we went to Dario’s in Koregaon Park. We all loved all the dishes and even my Texan husband who always asks for some kind of meat for dinner did not complain. That says a lot. It was very filling and we enjoyed our meal to the fullest.

At Hotel Sunderban
Lane 1, No:19, Koregaon Park, Pune, Maharashtra 411001
PHONE: 02026053597

MALAKA SPICE

Malaka Spice is an Asian cuisine restaurant. There are more than one Malaka Spice restaurants in Pune. We went to the one in Koregaon Park, but without realizing I made a reservation at a different location, but arrived at the one near us. They serve Pan Asian inspired dishes which have great spicy kicks to the food. All the dishes were delicious! Their food was quite spicy, but you can ask them to make it mild or non-spicy.

Lane 5, Koregaon Park, Pune, India
PHONE: 09595288288

We did not get to try the restaurants below, but they sound appealing to me.

Great Punjab – Really good Indian food.

Hyatt Regency – A good Sunday brunch with an excellent kids club.

 

THE WESTIN

The Westin Pune-3

I enjoyed the luxurious stay at The Westin. It’s easy for me to stay at a hotel with my son being only two. We had a suite which we liked better than having two connecting rooms.

I really liked The Westin and I would love to stay there again, but I am kind of curious about Hyatt Regency in Pune. I hear that Hyatt Regency has an indoor swimming pool (only one inside a hotel in town apparently), a playground and a kids club. That’s a bonus for parents with little kids, isn’t it? If we go back to Pune, I might try to stay at Hyatt Regency.

To read more about The Westin Pune Koregaon Park, click HERE.

 
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VSCOCam iPod Touch

The landscape on the high way to Pune was pretty. It was very lush and hilly. There were some water falls on the rocky walls which made the drive really fun. Getting in and out of Mumbai and getting in and out of Pune were tough with traffic, though. We spent 3 and a half hours each way, but you can probably shorten the trip to 3 hours if you leave earlier than we did. We left Mumbai on Friday morning at 7:30 a.m. to beat the traffic in Mumbai, but we hit the traffic in Pune. I think leaving by 7:00 a.m. will make a significant difference. We left Pune on Sunday morning at 10:30 a.m. and we still hit the traffic once we entered Mumbai. I was worried about a bathroom break, but we did not have to stop to use a bathroom both ways. There are rest stops on the way there, though.

High Way Caution

I did not experience anything dangerous or see any accidents, but apparently the toll road between Mumbai and Pune is known for accidents. I did see many cars passing by very fast. They flew by when we were driving 100 km per hour. I requested my driver not to exceed the speed of 100 km per hour.

Tip for Parents With Young Kids

Diaper
If you travel with young children under the age of 6, I suggest taking a diaper or two just in case your child needs to go use a bathroom while you are on a high way nowhere near a rest stop.

Sweater
It’s much cooler in Pune than in Mumbai. You might want to bring a light cardigan or sweater for going out at night.

Road to Pune-3

VSCOCam iPod Touch

Road to Pune

VSCOCam iPod Touch

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