The Gift of Gentleness. How I am working towards raising a gentle and compassionate child.

 

J&J Post

This post was sponsored by JOHNSON’S ®, as always opinions are my own

 

“You cannot give your children what you do not have.”

– Brene Brown

 

This is one of my favorite parenting quotes and a good reminder for us to teach and character-build our children. This also include confidence, resilience, perseverance, kindness and self-esteem. But to teach this, we must first exhibit these characteristics ourselves.

When I was pregnant, I couldn’t stop myself from finding out the gender of my child. One of the biggest reasons was choosing the name early on. It was important to me to bond and connect with the life growing inside me. The feeling of having a child, a baby boy, became more real to us at that moment.

This also helped me prepare for a boy. I’d spent time thinking about how I’d raise a baby boy to be strong and gentle and to not feel forced into the super hero, big muscles and bravery stereotypes. For every car or truck toy I have given to my little boy, I gave him a color book or musical instrument.

While growing up my mom empowered me by laying emphasis on dreaming big and not be confined to society’s boxes. Similarly, I knew I didn’t want to raise my boy with society’s idea of a real man. I want to raise a little man who knows that it’s ok to cry; who knows what it means to respect others, including animals; that showing compassion and empathy is a good thing; and that if he’d rather play with a soft toy than an action figure, that it is just fine with me. Also, I remind myself every day that I too need to be gentle with his dreams and ambitions.

I can’t believe our baby is already a feisty two-year-old, and is growing, learning and exploring the world daily. We are ensuring he learns to be kind with actions and soon with his thoughts. Now that Vir is in full toddler mode, he has become incredibly enthusiastic about both exploring things and asserting his will. Kids at this age don’t understand that pushing and pulling can hurt someone and so we are teaching him how to be gentle to his friends at daycare and to his furry brother at home. By patting or caressing his hand, we tell him, “This is Gentle.” One of the best ways to explain to him this concept has been to practice it with his favorite stuff toy.

When a company too thinks like a parent, you know that they are doing something right. Like how I want to be gentle with my child’s dream and ambitions, and want my child to be kind and caring to the world, JOHNSON’S mission for last 125 years has been to create the gentlest baby products in the world. When I think of JOHNSON’S I think of pure. And for that reason, I grew up using JOHNSON’S products and today, my son is also growing up with the same. The brand recently redesigned all their washes, lotions, and haircare products and reduced the number of ingredients by more than 50%, including removing sulfates and dyes!

What caught my attention is that 96% of the ingredients in their products are naturally derived.

I wanted to share with you why JOHNSON’S new standard of gentle guided by the below five promises to parents struck a chord with me. Here are the 5 promises made by the company:

  1. Use Purposeful ingredients
  2. Never stop raising the bar
  3. Be open and honest
  4. Think like a parent first
  5. Help make the world a gentle place.

I want to use a brand in my daily routine that wants to make the world a better place. In our home we try to practice this in our daily life by choosing goods and services that give back to the community or care for our environment or even source raw materials that are fairly traded. This is the simplest ways to make sure a portion of every dollar or cent we spend goes to a better cause as well.

When I dug deeper to see how JOHNSON’S contributes to the community, I was glad to find that they partner with Save The Children on international efforts to provide healthcare, aid and education to families in communities affected by crisis or poverty. This promise resonated with me at many levels. One of the life lessons taught by my dad was to give back to the poor and needy. And every year on Diwali, we would visit an orphanage in Bombay and celebrate the spirit of Diwali with the kids by playing board games, sharing sweets and gifts and dancing to some Bollywood music. That life lesson did change the world for me and my brother when I was 11 and my brother was 9 years old. We have continued this tradition and have promised to give back to the community what we can, when we can. I want to continue this tradition with my son too and teach him the importance of being kind, generous, loving and help make the world a gentler place.

Here are few things we are working on at our home to make sure we teach our son the characteristics that we as parents can model first.

  • Think before reacting. This is something I am working on myself daily. As moms our patience get tested every minute however, I am trying to take the time to think about how my reactions and responses affect others, especially my kid.
  • React in a calm manner. Screaming only escalates the situation with my toddler, so I have realized approaching a situation more calmly is the best way to react. I sit down at his eye level and look right into eyes to let him know what he did was wrong or he needs to stop it. This is a work in progress lesson. It’s all about the tone in our voice, and so speaking softly is one of them.
  • Teach our kids to empathize with others. As I mentioned above, the best way to tell our kids to not end up hurting anyone is by being gentle. I often tell my son that please don’t give anyone “Ouchie” as it hurts, Mama doesn’t like Ouchies. He has started to understand and relate the concept and we are trying to ensure that there are no signs of hitting, biting or pulling expressed by our child.

  • Always Respond with kindness. Teaching our child ways to treat things with care helps him develop the understanding that actions have consequences. We are ensuring our son understand that he needs to share his toys with kids in the park. Also, I have started to say sorry to my son if I have been short tempered with him. All parents make mistakes. It’s how you address them afterwards that makes the difference. He’ll learn that everyone, even Mom, admits it when she’s wrong.

We have influence in fostering our child’s ability to empathize, with so much hatred and turmoil in the world today, it seems more important than ever to raise kids who can understand and be kind to other people.

Love

arushi

My Mini TV Segment on KHOU 11 News Houston! And more information on Visit Houston’s Pack Your Bag Challenge.

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Left- Christina Kooker (Reporter KHOU 11 News), Center- Our challenge winner,  Simone and on Right ,Yours Truly -Arushi

Hey Friends !

My Instagram and blog has given me some wonderful opportunities in these last 2 years since I started my Micro Influencer journey, and this segment with KHOU 11 News was just one of those ! I like to think of  it as a feather on my blogger hat .

I had an opportunity to work with the amazing team of Visit Houston for their Pack Your Bag Houston Challenge as the “Influencer of the Week”.  And in that process I also got to experience the luxurious Royal Sonesta hotel in Houston and talk about my love for it on the show.

Here is the TV clipping from my mini segment with Great Day Houston with the  lovely host Christina Kooker at the Heritage Society. We spoke about my stay at the hotel and why these STAYCATIONS are the perfect getaway for moms.

 You can also scroll directly to 3:19 minutes to watch my story.

 

Visit Houston is giving away an amazing Staycation every week to its applicants who can either make it to the taping locations of Great Day Houston show or apply online from their home. Click here for more information. 

Also Great Day Houston reporter Cristina Kooker will hit the streets with fun challenges every week .  Two people will compete for the grand prize of a Houston weekend getaway, but there will be other ways to win fantastic giveaways too. Note it is for 12 Weeks,  and there will be 24 Winners! The games are easy and most of all, fun!  Join them on these location for a chance to play the Pack Your Bag Challenge. 

Hope you enjoyed the video !

And once again thanks for all your love and support , it means a lot to me !

XOXO

arushi

My Top 2018 GOALS – Finding the Right Balance

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December is coming to an end and holiday festivities are winding down and pretty soon we’ll have a fresh start for “resolutions” or “promises” for 2018. Honestly I don’t believe in New Year’s resolutions, as in the past I have typically bitten off more than I could chew, which led to disappointment. Have you been there before? I certainly have.

I started to work on making goals few years back that are realistic and logical. I try to work on goals that can be accomplished in a calendar year. As goals force you to look at the big picture and work towards something, instead of just working. I want my goals to be doable and also enjoyable and eventually become second-nature. They should contribute towards a happier life and a healthier body and brain. I followed below simple steps to work on them-

How to make Goal?

Start with some categories like Personal, Health, Family, Financial etc and focus on just a few.

Classify the Goals

Big Goals (Mostly Yearly Goals) , Smaller Goals ( Quarterly Goals) and Tasks (Monthly Goals). In my opinion, the best actionable way to meet goals is to have a mix of the three and then break each down into clear achievable monthly objectives. Remember the saying -“How do you eat an elephant ? One bite at a time”.

Prioritize

We need to set priorities and reminders for our goals. A good way is to maintain a Planner, or simply set reminders on your phone and email calendar that sends you alerts weekly or monthly. I also like to put notes on my refrigerator on a white board or sticky notes.

So before the start of 2018 I took out sometime from my schedule to set my 2018 goals that will help me find a better balance.

  • Find more ME Time – Honestly I have been stretched too thin and have overextended myself this year with my full time job, running behind my toddler, managing my home and all my official and personal travels. So this year I am going to take out more time for myself. Personal space is very important for my sanity and I am going to start by organizing my home, binge watching my favorite shows in my bed and going on a SOLO trip this year (I need to plan this out and it will definitely be somewhere close to nature! )
  • Mixing up my workouts- This year I have focused only on running to maintain a healthy lifestyle and I definitely need to switch it up and start going to the gym. Running has been convenient because my son also joins me in the stroller and I don’t have to worry about leaving him for my workouts right after I finish work. However, this year my goal is to workout at least 4 times a week in the morning instead of evening.
  • Plan a Special Activity every weekend with my kid- Being a busy working mom I end up being away from my kid for a solid chunk of the day while he is in daycare. So my goal is to make sure that every week or weekend we do fun activities together like going out to a Library, children’s museum, the zoo, botanical gardens, open gym etc. I will be making a list of all age appropriate events happening in our city and plan to attend them too.
  • Set Long Term and Short Term financial goals –It’s important to look household finances squarely in the eye, because that’s the only way to control them. It is very important I sit down with my husband and set a family budget. By watching our income and expenses, we can better plan for our vacations, activities, big purchases and plan for future. As distasteful as the task is, it really is important to map out our expenses and purchases so we can see just where our money is going.
  • Learn to cook 1 new healthy recipe weekly – This is definitely something I can accomplish in a calendar year. I am hoping to find new recipes I love, and that I can incorporate into our weekly menu. I want my son to enjoy different types of meals and get introduced to new flavors too. Definitely will be bookmarking many healthy recipes on Pinterest . While my life may be busy, I have found that making the time to learn something new – and eat at least one good meal a week – is always worthwhile.
  • Concentrate on my Relationships– As moms we tend to put our energy into kids and that doesn’t leave much time for anyone else. I want to make sure I am planning Girl’s Night with my gal pals once a month. Find a good babysitter so that I can plan date nights with my husband. Nurture my relationship with distant family members by calling them more regularly. Making these relationships a priority is good for the soul.

I will be giving you updates on my progress on my workout goals, the new recipes I am trying, plus more as the year progresses!

What are YOUR goals for 2018? I’d love to hear! Let me know in the comments!

Arushi (2)

Tricks to Get Your Kids to Eat Vegetables

fruits that you need to try

As a parent, sometimes getting your toddler to eat anything, let alone eat healthy can be very stressful! There are sick days, moody days, fussy days, some really happy and hungry days and this list could go on and on.

For me it is all about teaching my kid to love healthy foods especially fruits and vegetables, and some days we all need to have a backup plan. On my Instagram stories you will see regular updates of my morning latte cups and some days meals, recipes and food pictures of what I am offering my son.

I have been getting several questions from moms on my email and DMs on what I am cooking for Vir requesting for recipes of my favorite spinach and veggie loaded toddler meals. So in this post I am listing out few of my recipes that have worked for us and some great ideas for back up plans on feeding your picky eater.

Also you can check out my previous post that has a list of food items I offered my child as he started solids and a Free Printable with all nutrient information for different food types with nutrients information. Click Here 

My son is 18 months old, and is still figuring out his taste buds, so I try to provide a balanced meal while including veggies in his favorite Pancakes, Pasta, Muffin , Stuffed tortilla and Soup. My tip if your toddler refuses to eat any veggies – SNEAK THEM IN !!! Some might think it’s sending a wrong message, but for us it’s a work in progress. There is ample time to develop my kid’s understanding of his food and I will like take as it goes. However, I am doing this to make sure he has a balance diet.

To sneak in veggies especially on those fussy days :  Boil Spinach, carrot, some kale and blend it. (You can add veggies of your choice depending on how you plan to use them.) Replace water with this mix in all the dishes like Pancakes, Pasta, Muffin , Stuffed tortilla and Soup

Toddler Approved Recipes!

Spinach And Banana Pancakes– Add boiled and blended spinach and carrot mix with Banana, oat flour and 1 egg to make healthy Spinach breakfast.

Veggies loaded Mac and Cheese/ Pasta– Sauté diced pieces of carrot, peas with onion and spinach in butter or olive oil. Add boiled pasta with desired pasta sauce. I add cheese slices in the pasta too, it never hurts to add more. Offering really small pieces of veggies is a good start and later moving to bigger pieces.

Veggie mix Roti/Tortilla-  My son is not a big fan of stuffed breads , so I have started mixing the boiled veggies directly to the flour or you can use the blended mix as an alternative to water while making the dough. I recommend including beets and sweet potatoes too as they look colorful and are nutrient dense.

Veggie and Fruit Muffins- Fruit and veggie muffins have all of the elements to basically be a complete meal!  I recently came across this great recipe on Pinterest and it has been a great success. It is loaded with lots of vitamins and minerals and fiber . Click here for Power Packed Fruit Muffin Recipe from Super Healthy Kids.com

Make a Dip Bar

veggie dip tray

In Dr Sears’ book, The Portable Pediatrician, he suggests serving all types of chopped vegetables and foods in an ice tray, with some yummy dipping sauces on the ends. Making it fun, colorful and full of variety can encourage little ones to eat more vegetables. Marinara sauce, ranch, Parmesan cheese, Coriander chutney are great to start with. I am currently offering steamed carrots , broccoli with Marinara sauce to Vir

 

Cook Veggies in different ways

Raw, Roasted, or Steamed has been a hit in our house.  We all vote for baked and boiled as my son loves grabbing small pieces of sweet potatoes, carrots and peas. Seasoning the veggies is a winner in my friend’s house and I will be starting that soon too. Let me know what seasoning you use.

Beat the Veggies (Smoothies for the WIN )

smoothieSmoothies are a great (and easy) way to get nutrient dense fruits and vegetables into your kids without them really knowing it! Spinach, Kale, Beets and Fruit of course! The best part is that toddlers and kids think that smoothies are the equivalent of having a milkshake.We love the Banana+ Peanut butter+ Spinach+ Kale+ Milk smoothie. Tip : Start adding veggies slowly in the smoothie and get to the right amount of sweetness and taste. I started with small quantities of spinach and kale at first and once my son got used to the taste we added more.Check out this Toddler Approved Smoothie from one of my favorite blogger mom Ashley. I love the Jamba juice cup idea.

Butter them up

Young tongues are particularly sensitive to bitterness, and kids may instinctively repel from bitter foods. Masking the bitterness with butter especially for broccoli is working for us so far . “Everything tastes better with butter, especially vegetables. Try adding 1 tablespoon of butter per half cup of mashed sweet potatoes, green beans, broccoli, and cooked spinach to temper the bitterness.

 

Hope this post helps you get some veggies in your fussy toddler’s meal !! Please do share your tips and tricks and any great recipe .

Now, go get some broccoli and LOVE it

Arushi (2)

Get Your KIDSto LOVE Veggies (1)

 

ONE YEAR BLOGIVERSARY

throw a birthay party

When I began writing this blog a year ago, my plan was for it to be a place for me to share and record my journey to motherhood.

I didn’t have a clue what I was doing when it came to blogging. I was never really into writing. In the past I wrote a few diaries at different stages of my teenage life, but never did I imagine that I would be sharing my personal thoughts and emotions with the world in the voice of a mother.

I realized that I loved writing about an experience and sharing the emotions involved in it as it connected with my readers. I started getting emails and messages on my social media asking for recommendations, advice and guidance. Suddenly the blog started to take on a life of its own.

Before I knew it, The Snazzy Mom was gaining traction and I was slowly starting to come into my own as a writer. I started sharing daily snippets of my life on my blog’s Instagram page while constantly engaging with my followers only to realize that within a year I had gained almost  21000+ followers!

A part of me feels like I’ve had this blog forever and the process of writing, creating, and sharing in community with you all has become a normal part of my life that I love and enjoy. Another part of me can’t believe it’s been a year and feels like I’m still so new to this whole blogging world with lots of things to learn.

Time Management has been one of the biggest challenges I have had with my blogging journey. As you can see I am able to complete only 2 -3 blog posts a month. Honestly a LOT of time and planning goes behind each blog post .It might look easy and appear effortless on Instagram but trust me there is a lot of work involved from taking pictures, writing & editing the photos to constantly engaging with your followers. I wish I could tell you that I have it all figured out but honestly I’m still working on balancing time with my full time job, family and blogging.


As I enter into this new phase of motherhood- running behind an energetic toddler, working full time and managing my home responsibilities, I know that this blog will continue to be an outlet, a place where I can share my heart and connect with other women in beautiful ways.

My goal with my blogging journey is to use this space to inspire women to be self confident and be supportive of one another. I hope my blog posts have managed to speak to moms, new moms or moms-to-be all over the world, who are constantly trying to do the best they can for their children and families.

There are a LOT of exciting new things happening here at The Snazzy Mom in the near future! I’ve spent the past year creating content and providing value to the community. I wholeheartedly promise you that that will never stop. But with continued growth comes new challenges and opportunities as well.

I’ve loved connecting with so many of you through sharing life ramblings, experiences, and advice. Like I said before, I truly would not be where I am today without a community of supportive bloggers from whom I have learned so much from. And not only them, but of course my friends and family too. I couldn’t do this without ANY of you. So thank you, from the bottom of my heart. XOXO

Arushi (2)

The Most Important Family Decision I Made to Protect the Future of My Child !

There are many child-related issues that keep me awake at night. Guilt trips of leaving my son behind while on a work trip, my toddler’s hunger strikes in the evening or even failure to understand the reason why my son was too cranky on a particular day. But lately, the importance of naming a guardian for my child in my will and deciding on a prospect had been on my mind a lot.

Making a will is something that has been on the top of my to-do list since the birth of our son, but I have been putting off for more than a year.  Of course no one likes to face their own mortality. However, it is imperative that we are prepared for the unpredictable.  So finally last weekend my husband and I finished making our wills and appointing a guardian in case something were to happen to us.

My life changed when I lost my dad at 14 years of age. I have seen my mom run around for paper work, settling accounts, finding documents and figuring out everything on her own. Fortunately the entire financial bit was in place due to the proper planning of my parents and we had nothing to worry.

 

Yet, I still cannot forget my mom’s face and her words to my aunt 19 years back at our home in Mumbai “What would have happened to my children if I was also gone?”

 

The loss of a parent had taught me from a very young age that there is nothing guaranteed in life. And after becoming a parent myself I want to take all the right steps possible to ensure a secure future for my child /children.

Creating a will is crucial even if you don’t have a lot of money or property to pass along because it is where you designate a guardian for your minor child. In the absence of a will naming a guardian, a court will appoint one, and he or she could be the last person you would ever have chosen. If something were to happen to both the parents, and no official guardians have been appointed, the children could end up in foster care while the court appoints a guardian of its choosing.

Note below are the questions I had before starting the process of creating a will. I thought this might help my readers too if they plan to make their own wills. I am not a legal expert and this information is limited to my research of the country and state I live in. I encourage you to look up online or consult with an attorney in the country or state you reside to understand the legalities and your options.

What is a will?

A last will and testament is a legal document that lets you, the testator (the person making the will), designate individuals or charities to receive your property and possessions when you pass away. A last will also allows you to name a guardian to care for minor children. The main purpose of a will is to ensure that the testator’s wishes, and not the default laws of the state, will be followed upon the testator’s death

What happens if you die without a will?

Dying without making a will mean you’ll have no say over who receives your property. State laws will decide. In some states, only 1/2 of one’s assets go to the surviving spouse. Depending on your situation, the rest would go to your children, parents or close relatives. If you have minor children, a judge will decide who cares for them, and the situation may not be ideal.

Remember laws vary from state to state and not all states will automatically place children with a family member, even if they are a grandparent, aunt or uncle. Judges weigh placement based on the best interests of the children. Your kids might have a close and loving relationship with your parents, but if your parents are elderly, the court might decide they’re not up to caring for them, especially if they’re very young (LegalZoom.com).

What is the cost of making a will?

Honestly when I heard about the potential price of failing to make a will, and putting my child’s future in jeopardy, I immediately made one in a period of few days without really caring about the cost. However, the cost of any legal endeavor depends on whether you decide to handle it yourself or use the services of an attorney. You can access free templates online or pay for something more complex, or you could pay an attorney to do it all for you. Whether you use an attorney to draft your will or do it yourself, costs will depend on the complexity of your estate

How does a family pick the right guardian?

Appointing guardians who could offer our children the support and love they would need in a horrible situation is the most important decision in the will making process. It can be also be very emotional and political decision.

I and my husband used a website www.legalzoom.com to create a will. It was very effective and fast. We also consulted our family and friends for more information regarding the will making process. (not sponsored)

You can look at more detailed information here –

  1. Baby Center
  2. Wiki How

In the end I would like to say that the decision of safeguarding our children after we are gone is a crucial one, and one that I dread to think of. Who will be my child’s guardian is too important a decision to leave in the hands of someone who doesn’t know me, or my child, or the values that are important to me. We know our children better than anyone. We are in the best position to make the decisions that will affect their lives.

Arushi (2)

Our Much Awaited Vacation to Switzerland 

“The best things in life are the People we love the, Places we have been and the Memories we make”. 

I am very excited to share with you our sweet memories from our recent trip to Switzerland . This was a very special trip and I hope you enjoy looking at these pictures.

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The first picture we took after landing in Zurich

Whenever I am at a vacation I make sure to capture as many memories, as many shots as many beautiful locations and as many sweet moments I can, as I believe there is something very special about reminiscing in the past.

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The magnificent Bernese Oberland region

While planning for our much awaited vacation, I was sure of one thing-  that we needed to be extremely close to nature. And for that reason Switzerland had always been on the top of my 2017 travel goals for its awe-inspiring natural beauty.

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Capture of Mt . Jungfrau from Interlaken

We have travelled earlier with our son to New York and Delhi since his birth last year. However, this trip was our first family vacation, where it was only about traveling, exploring and relaxing. Although he will not remember any of it, he still got to enjoy the experience of traveling in trains, looking at swans, enjoying the long and breezy lake side strolls and so much more.

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Lake Lucerne was one of our top favorite spots

If you follow me on my social media Instagram or Facebook you must be aware that we had a really bumpy start. Not only were our flights cancelled and delayed our baggage also arrived two days later. The stress and anxiety and the  chaos we were caught in didn’t linger once we stepped out of the airport. You cannot be in a negative state of mind when you come across stunning countrysides and the friendly people of that country.

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Views of the beautiful Chapel Bridge at Lucerne

Switzerland has a story book charm to it with ravishing Alpine scenery to quaint villages. From spectacular mountains, flower lined natural paths, lakefront beauty, to picturesque historic centers this beautiful country also has a lot of cultural diversity.

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Breathtaking views from Mt Pilatus

We knew that a week will not be enough to explore all the stunning spots. Yet we planned the itinerary in such a way that we cover some of the best sites of the country. When you travel with a kid there are many considerations to be made and certain restrictions to keep in mind. We had to avoid the Jungfrau region which is the top of Europe and is on a very high elevation. It is extremely cold there and  not recommended to visit with young children.

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A boat trip at the lake is a great way to explore

Traveling in the country between different cities is very convenient. They have an excellent public transportation system. We took trams, boats , buses ,cable cars and of course trains . The ultra-modern trains that operate on the GoldenPass Panoramic are extremely comfortable, they have panoramic windows through which you can immerse yourself in the nature outside.

 

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Panoramic views from our Golden Pass Train ride.

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Changing trains at the Bernese Oberland region

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Views from our cable car to Mt . Pilatus

And did I mention about the food there! Being a vegetarian I didn’t expect to have a lot of food options, but I was pleasantly surprised as almost every restaurant menu had veggie options. The food was extremely tasty but was highly priced. A meal for 2 could easily run upto $60 . We loved the food, fondant , chocolates, pastries ,wine and beer.

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Views of the The Kapellbrücke wooden bridge at Lucerne

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Jet d’Eau Fountain at Geneva

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Vir’s moment with the swans at Lake Lausanne

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Viewing point from Mt. Pilatus

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Mt. Pilatus

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Vir thoroughly enjoyed the lush gardens and lakes at Interlaken

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Old Houses of Switzerland dating back to 16th century

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Hiking on top for the best views from Mt Pilatus. 

 

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Vir wasn’t to happy when I put him on the grass at Interlaken

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The Toboggan ride was an unforgettable experience

We were in Switzerland for 7 days and we traveled to Zurich, Lucerne, Interlaken, Grindelwald, Lauterbrunnen and Geneva. We spent most of our time in Central Switzerland around Lucerne while the rest of the cities were more touch and go.

I feel like we hardly did the places justice in the time that we were there. To truly savour all the country has to offer, one needs to spend at least a couple of weeks there if not an entire month.

Our trip didn’t end in Switzerland as we caught up with 2 of my oldest pals in Europe’s finest city Amsterdam. Stay tuned for more pictures from our reunion!

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One of the best display of mountain flowers at Interlaken