Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Solar Panels

In the past, we've considered getting solar panels for the house but decided against it. The cost of solar panels has been coming down in recent years.

BargainBabe has a great article on Solar Panels: How much do they cost?. It's worth a read if you're considering getting solar panels or are frustrated by your electric bills.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

How many gifts for Christmas?

All year, I buy gifts for my daughter. Whenever I see something I think she may like, I get it for her. So I have quite a stock of gifts for her for Christmas. However, I don't want to be wasteful in my spending for her either.

I came across an article on Hip2Save which had a reader tip in it about how many gifts to buy for Christmas? 

Something you wantSomething you needSomething to wearSomething to readAnd something from Santa. 

This struck me as a really nice idea. 5 distinctive gifts with a different purpose. 

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Preparing for baby checklist

One of my friends is pregnant and I made this list for her based on lists which my sister and best friend sent with a few changes.

Essentials for baby:

  1. Infant car seat and stroller (available as combo at stores) or convertible Car Seat
  2. Crib
  3. Changing Table (not essential but helps your back!)
  4. Crib Mattress
  5. Changing table pads
  6. Mattress cover for crib (3 at least)
  7. Changing station pad covers (3 at least)
  8. Boppy (nursing pillow) and a slipcover (this doubles as baby support later)
  9. Diaper bag
  10. Bath tub and cushion that goes in tub for babies
  11. Diaper disposal system

Layette essentials:

  1. Onesies (0-3 months) - at least 3  & (3-6 months) - 3 or more  (baby grows very fast in the first few months, so it is wise to buy more in the 3 to 6 months range)
  2. Sleeper suits with foot covered - at least 3
  3. Button down sweater or hooded fleece siuts (for cold season babies) - at least one
  4. SwaddleMe with the velcro for swaddling baby
  5. Socks/booties/mittens/caps - babies need to keep head, hands and feet covered for the first couple of months since they can't regulate their body temperature yet.. also, their nails tend to scratch their faces.. (socks can work as mittens too)
  6. Bibs/burp cloths - several
  7. Wash cloths - helps when bathing baby
  8. Towels - at least 3 (hooded ones are nicer)
  9. Receiving blankets - at least 4 to 6 (bigger ones to swaddle baby)
  10. Thick blankets - at least 2 if baby is born during cold season
  11. Diaper holder/ organizer - to keep diapers/lotion/oil/wipes etc. handy for diaper and dress changes
  12. Diapers - I prefer Pampers swaddlers sensitive brand coz they were the best for my daughter and most leak proof for her - (babies need at least 7 or 8 diaper changes every day in the first few weeks)
  13. Diaper wipes - the ones that are not perfumed are better for new babies. Sensitive ones are not perfumed, for the most part
  14. Mattress protector sheets (u get these for crib mattress just like the regular ones) - they are waterproof so it is good to have at least one for the mattress)
  15. Dreft laundry detergent (wash baby clothes before use the first time and always separately in baby detergent)
  16. For mom - nursing pads (disposable ones are better)

Bathing and other essentials:

  1. Baby wash (head-to-toe) Aveeno or Burt's Bees is what I used for my daughter
  2. Baby nail cutter (I prefer Safety 1st brand - still use it for the kids)
  3. Nasal aspirator (it is also called nasal bulb) - need to remove stuff from nose
  4. Brush/comb - needed if baby has lots of hair :)
  5. Baby lotion
  6. Petroleum jelly or diaper rash ointment
  7. Temporal thermometer
  8. Regular thermometer (non-mercury - think you get it from the New Baby class)
  9. Baby tylenol (infant drops)
  10. Mylicon gas reliever (check doctor before use - good for gassy babies)

Other extras that are optional:

  1. Glider/ottoman (This was a huge plus for me - saved my life. I still use it to rock my daughter)
  2. Baby sling or carrier - try out several brands to find the right one to work for you.
  3. Baby monitor (needed if u live in 2-level houses) - go with video monitor if baby's sleeping separately at any point.
  4. Bouncer seat (for times when baby is bored of looking up at the ceiling and even for colicky babies)
  5. Swing (helpful in calming baby or swinging baby to sleep) - was very useful for my daughter - she slept in it for a few months.
  6. Play yard (again for 2 level houses since it serves as a crib and diaper changing area)
  7. Bottle feeding supplies (Bottles, nipples, bottle sterilizer, bottle warmer, bottle brush cleaner)
  8. Breast pump & accessories
  9. Nursing cover
  10. Portable Changing pad

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Nice Halloween Frozen Craft Idea!

I was at my Doctor's office yesterday and saw these really cool Frozen items! At some point, I should try to replicate these. My daughter's a huge Frozen fan and she would love these!

Monday, October 20, 2014

Painted Rocks

I came across a bunch of painted rock activities recently and have been wanting to create the same for Agirl. It looks like it would be fun and I think she would enjoy it. The only problem I have is that Agirl still puts stuff in her mouth sometimes and I want the rocks to be big enough that she won't be able to put it in her mouth and swallow.

So what I did is this:

- Big enough river rock stones or pebble stones
- Buy non-toxic acrylic paints from any craft store - a bunch of colors

I painted both sides of the stones and dried them out in the sun. But the problem I'm hitting is that the acrylic paints don't completely cover the color of the rock itself. Either the paint is not thick enough or the stones I chose were not the right ones.

The black & red stones came out pretty well. But the white, yellow, blue and green ones are not that great. I'm hoping multiple coats of the paint will help with this but so far, no luck. I'm going to try another 4-5 coats and then give up if it doesn't work.

You can see from this photo from the black and red look good but the others don't.

Do you have any ideas on what I'm doing wrong?

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Naan Pizza

My husband got some naan bread from Costco the other day and he ate it with some curry. He wasn't too impressed. I remembered that my sister had mentioned she makes pizza with it sometimes. So I thought why not try the same.

I google'd for some recipes and finally a found one I thought I could use with what I already had at home.

Here's the recipe I used from another blogger - I made some minor modifications.

Update: Use fresh shredded mozzarella cheese. I had bought finely shredded mozzarella cheese from the store a couple of weeks ago and tried this recipe again and the cheese didn't melt at all.

Naan Pizza with Peppers & Onions:

Ingredients (for 2 pizzas):

1 Small Green & 1 Small Red Pepper, chopped up
1 Onion, chopped up
2 Naans
Marinara Sauce (store-bought)
Italian seasoning - to taste
Crushed Red Pepper (if you like it more spicy)
Mozzarella Cheese (finely shredded)
Pinch of salt


  1. Chop up the peppers and onions. 
  2. Take the Naan and put it on a baking sheet (I used aluminium foil on a baking tray)
  3. Apply marinara sauce generously and spread it around the pizza
  4. Add the veggies and spread it
  5. Sprinkle the seasoning & crushed red pepper on top
  6. Take a pinch of salt and spread it as well 
  7. Add plenty of cheese and spread it around.
  8. Place in a pre-heated 350 degree oven for about 15 minutes or until golden brown. 
  9. Result = yummy naan pizza!

Friday, October 3, 2014

Being a Good Mom

Recently, as my daughter has been getting older, I feel the pressure of being a mom more. When she was an infant, being a good mom mostly meant feed her, clean her, love her for the most part. But as she gets older, apart from the feeding, cleaning & loving, there's also the responsibility of teaching her & exposing her to so many new things in the world.

Nowadays, the pressure is on to take your kids to many classes like dance and music, bake them stuff and introduce them to different kids of foods, teach them discipline & manners & self-control & patience and so much more. Sometimes it all gets too much. It's not so much the pressure to do what others are doing so much as what you put on yourself. You want to be the best mom you can and provide everything to your kids that you can.

So when I read this article on Babble about Good Moms, it really resonated with me. I'm a good mom and I don't have to be perfect or super-mom to be a good mom.

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Shellshock Vulnerability

I use mostly Linux machines at work and Mac machines at home and when I heard about the Shellshock vulnerability that all Linux and Mac machines were vulnerable too, I immediately checked my machines for them.

My Linux and Mac machines were vulnerable to it and so I updated them.

Here's an article from Lifehacker which tells you how to check if you're vulnerable to this and how to fix it.

Monday, September 29, 2014

Browser Tricks

Most of us spend majority of our time at the computer using a browser. Browser shortcuts are a great way to save some time. I hate taking my fingers off the keyboard to get to the mouse. I have RSI in my shoulders and wrist and according to the ergonomic expert at my work, this is because of short frame and the mouse being too far away. So I try to avoid taking my hands off the keyboard if at all possible.

Here are some browser tricks I recently learned which have helped me.

  • Press Alt+D to go to the address bar and have it selected
  • Press CTRL-Enter to type 'www.' and '.com'
    • Press Alt+D to select the address bar
    • You can type the name of the website. For eg. google
    • Press Ctrl+Enter and it will fill in www. and .com and take you to the website
  • Backspace to reverse one page
(Via About)

Thursday, September 25, 2014


Recently, I made Sundal after a long time. It's a south indian snack made of garbanzo beans or chick peas.

Here's the recipe I used:



2 cans of garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 teaspoon mustard seeds
1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
Curry leaves
3-4 red chilis, broken up in half
Salt to taste
1 tablespoon fresh/frozen grated cocunut              


  1. Drain and rinse the garbanzo beans. Drain again. 
  2. In a deep frying pan on medium heat, add the olive oil and let it get hot
  3. Add the mustard seeds and cumin seeds and wait for it to sizzle
  4. Add the chilis and curry leaves and let it fry in the oil for a few seconds. 
  5. Add the cocunut and let it fry for a few seconds
  6. Add the beans and mix it well. Add salt to taste and mix well. 
  7. Let it cook for a few minutes and turn the heat off. 

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

5 Million Gmail Passwords Leaked, Check Yours Now

5 million gmail passwords have been leaked. It looks like a lot of the passwords were older but still, better safe than sorry. Check to see if your password has been leaked.

5 Million Gmail Passwords Leaked, Check Yours Now

Monday, August 25, 2014

Zucchini chips

We harvested some zucchini from my garden a few days ago and I was planning to make zucchini muffins with it - however, I ended up making banana bread instead. So I ended up making some zucchini chips instead.

I followed the recipe here However, I made 2 big mistakes and that kind of ruined the whole thing. The recipe said to use parchment paper or silicone baking mat and also to take the chips out when they start to brown. I didn't do both.  I waited for another 15 mins and didn't use parchment paper.

The result was my chips browned all over and they stuck to the baking sheet and wouldn't come out. Next time, I think I will follow these instructions and make slightly thicker slices too - I made there 1/8" thick but perhaps I should try the next thickness.

I will post the results with photos on my next round.

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Rise & Shine Challenge Day 7

I completely missed Day 4, 5 & 6 because of various issues. Still, I'm not going to be hard on myself and just catchup.

Day 4's assignment was to have a nightly checklist or to-do list which will help your mornings go better. Day 5's assignment is to plan to use the time you awake before everybody wakes up to recharge and feel great. Day 6's assignment is to write down what you need to do for ourselves to feel more joy each day.

Today's assignment is to ask what you need today, this week and this weekend. And then set your intentions for them carefully.

Day 4:
A couple of things helps my morning go better - knowing what's for lunch for me and my daughter the next day. I go through what's in the pantry and fridge and write down what's for lunch the next day. Also, writing down what's on my to-do list for the next day helps. If there's any prep work needed, I try to get the prep work done for the next morning.

Day 5:
The time I wake up before everybody else goes mostly in getting ready, drinking my milk and relaxing for a few mins and in preparing lunch. The few mins of relaxing I get - whether it's in browsing or just checking email or just sitting is great. And that's what I love about the mornings.

Day 6:
I'm finding it very hard to write down what I need to do for myself to feel more joy - I'm going to have to take some time to do it separately.

Day 7:
What I need today is have a calm day with my daughter who's down with a cough. I need to be patient and loving. What I need this week is to take some initiative with a new project I want to do - so I need lots of energy and motivation and keep the rest of my world as peaceful as it can be. For the weekend, we need to have some fun as a family and spend time together.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Bought a Freezer!

We just recently bought a freezer from Lowe's and it was delivered yesterday. We decided to buy a fairly big freezer instead of buying a smaller one and running short on space.

This is an experiment for us in that we want to try freezer cooking. We want to beable to save time in cooking by cooking in bulk and not having to cook everyday and also, hoping to save money by not eating out and buying food when it's cheaper and store it.

Rise & Shine Challenge Day 3

Today's Day 3 of the Rise & Shine Challenge.

Today's challenge is to focus on the nightly bedtime rituals and actually do it. So this is my plan for tonight's bedtime routine for me.

Get cooking and cleaning done before 8. Put my daughter to sleep with her bedtime routine. Then work on 1-2 To-Do items. Then read for a little bit. Then go to sleep by 9:30.

Today's Morning Report:
  1. Went to sleep at 8:45. Alarm went off at 5:22. Snoozed and woke up at 5:25. 
  2. Got up, Took long relaxing shower and got ready
  3. Had a glass of milk and relaxed for 5 mins. 
  4. Started lunch preparations
  5. Wrote To-Do list for me today
  6. Prepared lunch for me and for my daughter to take to daycare
  7. Woke up my daughter and got her ready

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Rise & Shone Challenge Day 2

Today's Day 2 of the Rise & Shine Challenge.

Today's challenge is:
Today, your challenge is to focus on your nightly bedtime rituals as a family. What nightly ritual can you do before going to sleep to really foster an earlier -- and more sleepy -- bedtime?
To go to bed early, I think eating dinner early and loading up the dishwasher early would help me go to sleep early. My daughter's bedtime routine is well established and she goes to bed around 8-8:15. Generally, I eat dinner, load dishwasher and spend some time relaxing before going to bed but this pushes my bedtime to 11 sometimes. If I can get dinner and dish washing done earlier, then I can do some light housework, spend some time reading or spending time with my husband and go to sleep by 9-9:30.  This would give me a good 8 hours of sleep.

Today's Morning Report:
  1. Went to sleep at 10:15. Alarm went off at 5:00. Snoozed and woke up at 5:15. 
  2. Got up - did not exercise (not feeling well)
  3. Took shower and got ready
  4. Had a glass of milk and relaxed for 5 mins. 
  5. Wrote To-Do list for me today
  6. Prepared lunch for me and for my daughter to take to daycare
  7. Woke up my daughter and got her ready

Monday, August 18, 2014

Rise & Shine Challenge Day 1

I decided to blog about my taking part in the Rise & Shine Challenge. The Challenge starts August 18th. 

For your first challenge this week take some time to dream a little and consider the following ...
What you want your ideal mornings to feel like? 
How do you want them to flow? 
What sounds do you want to hear?
I would like my ideal morning to be calm and purposeful. I would like to get up at 5 am, exercise, shower and get ready. Unload the dishwasher and get breakfast and lunch ready for me and my daughter. I like the sound of quiet in the morning apart from music when I'm exercising.

Today Morning Report:
  1. Alarm went off at 5:00. Snoozed and woke up at 5:15. 
  2. Got up, got ready to exercise but didn't end up exercising.
  3. Took shower and got ready
  4. Had a glass of milk and relaxed for 5 mins.
  5. Prepared lunch for me and for my daughter to take to daycare
  6. Woke up my daughter and got her ready

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Handyman work

We've had some small work which needed to be done around the house for a while now and after much procrastination (not good, i know!), we finally had a handyman come in last weekend to get the work done.

What he did:

- Ceiling Drywall repair (small part of ceiling had been hanging down)
- Caulking in the kitchen countertop
- Caulking the tub the both the guest bathroom and master bathroom

He charged us $300 for all of these together. It took him about 4 hours in all. I felt it was a fair price - what do you think?

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Weekend recap

My in-laws who were visiting us had to unexpectedly go back to India. So we're still getting used to not having them around the house anymore. We've all been missing them and Agirl's been a  little more sensitive.

Overall, we had a good weekend. On Saturday, I did some cleaning and housework, we had a handyman come by for some work around the house and then some friends visited. K, Agirl and me went out for a drive and picked up some dinner.

Sunday was good - mostly relaxed around the house, did some cooking/cleaning stuff and then went out in the evening to a farmstand. We showed Agirl chickens, goals and some ponies there - she was so excited. Then we went to Target for some back-to-school shopping and I saved $12 with coupons. Was mostly crayons and coloring stuff for Anjali and a few groceries.

Agirl's been really enjoying the crayons and coloring recently. However, she still puts crayons in her mouth - I caught her eating a crayon in the car when I took my eye off of her for 2 minutes while talking on the phone. She still can't be trusted alone with them.

Thursday, August 7, 2014

"Septimus Heap" series by Angie Sage

Recently, I've been hooked onto reading the "Septimus Heap" series by Angie Sage.

I had loaded them onto my Paperwhite Kindle a long time ago and hadn't used that kindle in a long time. My husband was searching for something for the road trip we were going on last weekend and came across it. He asked me if I wanted it and I said ok - I figured I could read something on it if I got bored.

A little while into the trip, I didn't have anything to do as my daughter watching a video and so I opened up the kindle to see what was on it to read.

I had loaded the Septimus Heap series books on it a long time ago and discovered them. I started reading and completely got hooked on it. In a week, I've already finished 4 books in the series - Magyk, Flyte, Physik and Queste.

My favorite books were Magyk and Physik. The other 2 books were good too. I'm looking forward to reading the rest of the books in the series.

I'm adding these 4 to my list of books I've read in 2014. :) .. I want to have read at least 20 books by the end of 2014.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

First Trip to the Zoo

This last weekend, we took my daughter Agirl, who's almost 2, to the zoo for the first time. She had a blast. We went to the Franklin Park Zoo in Boston. Agirl saw animals from her books - gorillas, lions, tigers, giraffe, zebras, birds, ducks, snakes and even a camel. We had so much fun visiting the zoo from her eyes.

She wanted to run around everywhere and didn't want to sit in her stroller at all. I think she was the happiest to see the gorilla cause we could see it from real close. One of the gorillas was sitting up against the glass enclosure and Agirl stood right next to the glass and was so happy to see it and she was saying "Hi Gorilla! How are you?"

I was actually surprised by this zoo. While I wasn't expecting a lot, it was fairly big and well maintained. There was a huge playground there and quite a few animals.

My only issue was with the food selection. The food selection at the one place we saw was quite bad for vegetarians and kids too. There was nothing for my daughter to eat.

Here are some photos from the zoo.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Health Update and Accountability

A couple of days ago, I was reading an article in a magazine which talked about pregnancy weight and how that's become a obesity problem for many women. It talked about how they put on weight with one pregnancy, then before they can lose the baby weight, they get pregnant again and the added weight gain from both pregnancies causes health issues.

While my case is different in that I lost all my baby weight gain during breastfeeding, I put it all back on once I stopped breastfeeding and went off the restricted diet I was on for my baby.

I checked my BMI a few days ago and it was 29.3. The range for overweight is 25-29.9. I was well beyond overweight. I'm almost obese. This is really scary. For the last 5-8 years, I've hovered around a BMI of  26 when I was not pregnant. I don't want to become obese.

For the last 1 week, I've been trying to exercise more. I get up at 5:15 and go for a walk for about 20-25 minutes where I alternate between jogging and walking. I want to work up to being able to job for the entire 20 minutes.

I want to lose weight. I want to have some accountability for the weight. For this, I'm going to have to exercise as well as eat better.

My current weight is 135 pounds. I want to get to 115 pounds by April 2015.

Every week, I will give an update on my weight and where I am with respect to exercise and healthy eating.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Immunity Boosting Meal Suggestions for Kids

My daughter hates veggies and is very choosy about the food she eates. She just recovered from a long-lasting low-grade fever that lasted for more than a week.

So I want to give her some foods that increase her immunity but which she will eat. I came across this article on WhatToExpect.com on immunity boosting foods. Here's what I got from the article.

Main foods to aim for seem to be foods rich in Vitamin A, Vitamin C, food which has live cultures, Vitamin D, Vitamin E, antioxidants, Omega-3 fatty acids and Zinc. But how to get these foods inside them? Here are some suggestions from the article.

Suggestions on how to serve:
  • Steamed baby carrots or broccoli
  • Mashed sweet potatoes with some maple syrup if they need the sweetness
  • Fruit based smoothie with spinach or kale and tablespoon of flax oil
  • Greek yoghurt & serve with granola, fruit, nuts or honey
  • Oatmeal with cinnamon and honey
  • Whole grain toast with jam and nut butter
  • Yoghurt with berries and walnuts on top
  • Chicken noodle soup
  • All-natural Almond butter on apple slices
  • Peanut-butter and jelly sandwich
(Disclaimer: This post is just what I got this article. All credit goes to the author of the original article.)

How I saved $428

I wrote a post on my money saving blog about how I made some changes to my utilities recently and saved money.

How I saved $428

Saturday, July 19, 2014


I've been really lagging behind in my exercise schedule. So the last couple of days, I decided to get that out of the way first thing in the morning. So I woke up a little early - around 5:15 - and went for a 20 minute walk around my neighbourhood. 

The weather is so pleasant and so quiet - it's really nice. And I got a really nice picture of a flower in my front yard today morning. 

Friday, July 18, 2014

Baby Shower Gift Ideas

I've always found it difficult to buy gifts for a baby shower. I don't know why. I've had a baby, know quite a bit about toys and baby stuff but still it's hard to guess what the other person would like.

Of course, if there's a wish list given before the event with the invitation, that's the best. That way, you know what to get and there's no confusion.

If not, each mother has different needs and likes/dislikes. Some plan to breastfeed, other bottle-feed. Some may want to breastfeed but may not be able to. Some may be very eco-minded, other not-so. Some may have different brands in mind, etc.

Either way, I will be attending a traditional indian baby shower in the new couple of weeks. So I've been searching for some gift ideas. Generally, whenever I give such gifts I like to give some baby clothes and a baby toy or something of the sort. Also, it helps to have a budget in mind before buying a gift. Most of the gifts I list below are below $20. Most of them are also toys which were hits with my daughter.

Here are some gift ideas:
  • Clothes: I like to buy at BabiesRUs, Kohl's and Gap/OldNavy. Generally, I tend to buy 3-6 months or 6-9 months, based on what's available in stores and on how the weather is going to be at the time the baby would be that age. 
  • Baby Einstein Take Along TunesMy daughter loved this and I used this a lot especially during diaper changes to distract her. Even now at almost 2, she loves the music on it and plays with it sometimes. Current price on Amazon: $8.09
    • Sophie the Giraffe: My daughter loved chewing on Sophie. While she was younger, she mostly just like the squeaking noise but as she grew older and her teeth started popping out, she enjoyed chewing on it. Even now, with her molars coming in, she loves chewing on it. Current Price on Amazon: $20.20
    • Lamaze Cloth Book: This was one of the first books I bought for my daughter. She loved chewing on it and lifting the flaps. Current Price on Amazon: $9.99

    • Lamaze Play & Grow Freddie the Firefly Take Along Toy: This was one of my favorite toys for my daughter - I could clip it to her playmat and she would pull on it, chew on it and play with it. I've also used it in the car to distract her on the way to daycare. Current Price on Amazon: $12.39

    • Bright Starts Rattle and Shake Barbell Rattle: My daughter loved this rattle - it was her favorite among all the rattles I had bought for her. It was extremely light and easy for her grasp this from when she was 4-5 months. Current Price on Amazon: $5.10

    • Summer Infant SwaddleMe Adjustable Infant Wrap: These were a lifesaver for me. My daughter had a lot of difficulty with sleep and she would move her arms and hit herself and wake up. She was so strong she would kick out of regular swaddle blankets. Once I started using the SwaddleMe wraps, they helped a huge lot and were a timesaver as well and it was so easy to use them. Current Price on Amazon: $16.22 (different prices for different colors)
    • Graco Sweet Slumber Sound Machine: I actually received this as an unexpected baby shower gift from a friend. I didn't use it for a long time till I read the book "The Happiest Baby On The Block" where it was suggested to use a sound machine to help the baby sleep better and it actually worked. I still use the sound machine to block out household noise so my daughter doesn't wake up. Current Price on Amazon: $29.98

    (This post contains affliate links)

    Monday, July 14, 2014

    Busy weekend

    This was a relatively busy weekend.

    Saturday morning - my daughter and me met some friends at a new park we hadn't been to before. It was pretty nice, especially for kids. It had a really nice playground - she had fun playing on it. She loves going on the slide and the swing. The park used to be a zoo several years ago and was converted to a park a few years ago. There was a pond and a gorilla cage we explored as well. It was a really hot day - so we couldn't spend more than 90 minutes there.

    Saturday evening - We went to visit some family who had a baby boy recently and we had dinner there as well.

    Sunday - Mostly busy with laundry, cleaning my daughter's outdoor toys with soap and scrubbing them, gardening work, cleaning, etc. It was fun playing with my daughter in the evening with her water toys.

    Tuesday, July 8, 2014

    Love. Encourage. Forgive

    I was reading an article today and something fairly simple in the article really struck me.

    Love. Encourage. Forgive. If we all could learn these things at a young age, I think this world would be a MUCH better place, don’t you think? 

    This really struck me. Forget about teaching these to my daughter - do I follow these myself? Because if I don't follow these myself, how is my daughter going to learn these from me? I don't want her to "do as i say, not as I do".

    While I do follow these to a certain extent, perhaps not to the extent I should. Not to the extent that I would want others to be towards me.

    Tuesday, July 1, 2014

    Lazy weekend

    This weekend was busy and productive.

    On Saturday, we went stroller shopping for my daughter and went to BuyBuyBaby to try out several different strollers. Out of everything we looked at, we liked the Baby Jogger City Mini Single in black. It seemed to fit her well and looked good.

    We went cherry picking. The cherries were awesome - we went early in the morning at 8:45 and so there wasn't much crowd and there were lots of fruits on the trees. It was my daughter's first cherry picking and when I tried to teach her how to pick, she picked one off the tree and popped it in her mouth. I immediately took it out since she doesn't know to spit out seeds yet and it could be a choking hazard for her.

    We also picked up a play kitchen for my daughter at a garage sale for $20. It was in good condition and she has been playing with it.

    I went shopping over the weekend too and picked up some things for the house - a mesh screen for the backdoor to prevent bugs from entering the house. I also went shopping at Kohl's for some tops for me and my daughter. I'm sadly out of clothes that fit me. I also went to BabiesRUs and picked up a small pool for my daughter and a bookshelf for her books.

    Wednesday, June 25, 2014

    Fell off the wagon yesterday

    Yesterday was a bad day in terms of my diet but I learned something.

    I got around 6 hours of sleep the night before and so, was a little bit grumpy. Also, some things happened at work which made my mood worse and I was in a bad mood. I did go for my walk but when I got back, I was still in a bad mood and my sweet cravings hit me again. I caved and ate a bag of chocolate chip cookies. I was eating those cookies again after almost 10 days of resisting.

    The interesting thing was I didn't feel better after eating them. In fact, I felt worse. By the time I got home, I felt nauseous.

    From now on, I'm going to try to bring some fruits with me everyday to eat if I get a sweet craving.

    Tuesday, June 24, 2014

    Blogs on crafts for toddlers

    One of my friends recently posted on Facebook about craft kits for kids and it gave me the idea of coming up with a list of blogs or articles about crafts for kids. Her son is around 3 - so I thought I'd make a list for toddlers.
    1. Gift of Curiosity:- This website has a lot of articles with ideas for toddlers and preschoolers in particular. She explains the activities very well with lots of photos and has printables available for free which we can download and use. 
    2. 1+1+1=1 :- This website has a lot of articles on homeschooling and parenting and also has printables for free.
    3. 3 Dinosaurs :- Has a lot of great suggestions for activities  for toddlers and preschoolers and tons of printables. 
    4. Toddler Approved :- As the name suggests, has a lot of suggestions for activities for toddlers
    5. Kids Activities Blog :- Again, the name is self-explanatory

    Friday, June 20, 2014

    Food for toddler teeth

    I've recently been getting a little concerned with my toddler teeth. I'm not giving her a fluoride supplement and our water doesn't have fluoride. However, she drinks water at daycare and I don't know if that water has fluoride in it. This is something I need to bring up with my toddler's pediatrician/dentist. I'm yet to schedule a dentist appointment for her.

    Regardless, I'm having some major food struggles with her and I came across this article on food choices for better toddler teeth.

    The foods which were mentioned in the article are:

    • Cheese
    • Sweet potatoes
    • Oranges
    • Cranberries
    • Fresh or frozen cranberries
    • Apples
    • Water with fluoride (tap water)

    Some meal/snack suggestions from this list:
    • Cheese kebabs with strawberries
    • Paneer Tikka Masala (go less on the spicy stuff but add flavor)
    • Sweet Potato Fries
    • Put pureed sweet potato in pancake or waffle batter
    • Steamed carrots or broccoli
    • Cranberry Bread or Muffins made with fresh or frozen cranberries
    • Oranges and apples slices

    Wednesday, June 18, 2014

    Hitting a bump in the road

    After my high of Monday, yesterday was a big flop. I only hit 6500 steps - because I was only able to go for a 10 minute walk yesterday.

    Yesterday, I also felt dizzy as I was having my lunch.Even though I didn't walk much yesterday, I felt very tired and bone-heavy and that feeling is continuing into today.

    Today, I'm being a little more careful and eating sometime every 1-2 hours but still feeling very tired. As I was climbing the steps to get the 1st floor of my office, I could feel how difficult it was for me and I was out of breath when I climbed to the top.

    I wonder if the exercise of the last week has caught up to me and I am feeling tired because of it or if there's some other reason for this.

    I'm going to try to work through this and still try to hit my exercise goals.

    Tuesday, June 17, 2014

    Highest Steps Ever!

    For the last 2 weeks, I've been tracking my steps with a Fitbit Zip which I bought from Walmart. Yesterday was my highest step count ever! I hit 11699 steps! 

    I was so proud of myself - I pushed myself a little bit yday and I'm so happy I did.

    Monday, June 16, 2014

    Weekly Health Update

    Over the last two years, my health has declined a lot. After delivery of  my baby and breastfeeding and dealing with my daughter's allergies, I had lost a lot of weight - I weighed 107 pounds. But I was getting very less sleep and my health was in bad shape. I was falling sick a lot. I figured it was because of my restricted diet when I was breast feeding my daughter.

    I stopped breastfeeding my daughter a year ago when she was around 10 months. After that, it was like no-holds-barred for me - I was eating everything I could and shouldn't. After some time, I controlled myself but still could not stop my sweet tooth and my milk/yogurt habit.

    Now, fast-forward one year, I've put on 20 pounds and my health has deteriorated. According to my blood test results, my blood sugar has gone up, cholesterol has gone up and triglycerides has gone up. I haven't received my Vitamin D test results yet but am not expecting good news from that. I keep having aches and pains in my back and start huffing and puffing after some exertion. Because of less sleep and my daughter's clinging to me, I've been very stressed out as well.

    I need to take some strict action to lose weight, exercise and eat more healthy. I'm decided to be more accountable for it. Every week, I will post on my exercise and food - what I did well and where I messed up. I'm going to start slow as I don't think I can go cold-turkey.

    My goal is to try to hit 10000 steps per day. I'm going to try to walk at least 30 mins a day. I will try to eat salads at least 2-3 times a week. I will try to eat dessert only 2 times a week.

    Thursday, June 12, 2014

    Grocery store success trip!

    Yesterday, I had my first ever grocery trip when I went with a shopping list, bought only the items on my list which was all fruits, vegetables and milk and got out. My bill came up to $25.

    I was so proud!

    Tuesday, June 10, 2014

    Goals for 6/11 - 6/18

    Here's an update on last week's goals and next week's goals.

    Last week's Goals:


    1. Go to the library and pick up some books for Anjali
    2. Pay medical bills
    3. Make at least 2 updates on my daughter's memories book (Made 4 updates)
    4. Finish baby blanket I was making (no progress on this one)


    1. Learn about the competitor product and do some research into it (Did some work on this and now it's no longer a priority)
    2. Write at least 3 blog posts for my deals blog
    3. Write at least 3 blog posts for this blog


    1. Read 2 chapters of Vicki Iovine's Girlfriend's guide to Toddlers
    2. Give blood test for yearly checkup
    3. Make Prasadham for temple (not able to get to this)

    Goals for 6/11 - 6/18:

    1. Finish baby blanket I was making
    2. Make at least 2 updates on my daughter's memories book
    3. Switch out my daughter's toys with ones in the closet so she has some fresh toys to play with
    4. Clear and clean laundry room closet
    5. Finish a pet project for my daughter
    6. Call health insurance company and figure out medical bills
    7. Call pest control company to check on clearing out ant hills

    1. Brainstorm goals for next few months and outline of goals
    2. Write at least 3 blog posts for my deals blog
    3. Write at least 3 blog posts for this blog

    1. Visit Indian Parlour
    2. Read 2 chapters of Vicki Iovine's Girlfriend's guide to Toddlers
    3. Make Prasadham for temple
    4. Go for 30 minute walk for at least 5 days

    Memories of reading

    I've always loved reading. I don't really remember how I got into it - my parents never really encouraged me to do it as I was living apart from them at the time and living with my grandparents and books were not really very accessible at that point in time in my life. I was probably in 4-5th grade when I got into reading in earnest.

    The earliest memories I have of reading was reading some comics (Amar Chitra Katha, Archies, etc) in my school during one period which was designated for reading. Some books would be brought to the classroom and we could pick a book to read.

    My other memory of reading is of getting ready to board a flight to go visit my parents with my sister and I was reading a comic while waiting to leave for the airport.

    After that, the memories are stronger - when I moved to the Middle East to live with my parents, my school had a library. A small library to be sure, but a library which I didn't have access to before. Before the year was out, I had finished reading most of the books in the library. I would rent out a book a day and finish reading that book the very same day.

    My mother was a teacher in another school which had a bigger library. I would go to that library with her and get books and read them too. I remember reading a huge book which was a compilation of all of Jane Austen's books.

    I wish I had the time to read books like that now.

    Sunday, June 8, 2014

    Tomato plant

    When we'd gone shopping a few weeks ago to get our plants, we had gotten a fully grown tomato plant in a pot from Home Depot.

    As the days went by, the plant slowly started dying and we couldn't figure out why. The other plants we'd bought were fine and even the other tomato plant was fine. The leaves of the plant were turning yellow and starting to droop.

    The condition of the plant was getting worse and we thought that we had just wasted $15. But I happened to be talking to my friend one day about this plant and she told me that Home Depot has a 1 year warranty on plants and that we could take it back to the store and return it or exchange it.

    Luckily, Home Depot had emailed me the receipt and I was able to dig it up in my email. We took the receipt and plant to the store and were able to return it. We bought another tomato plant - a different variety. Now we just have to wait and see how it does.

    Friday, June 6, 2014

    Toddler Favorites

    My daughter, who is 22 months old now, is very active and her personality's really coming out now. Her favorite word is "Noooooo!", of course as with all toddlers. 

    She's really into reading books right now. She loves bringing me books and saying "Book" and plopping down in my lap. Her favorite nighttime books are currently "Goodnight Moon", "Time to Bed", "Goodnight Gorilla" and the "The Sleepy Little Alphabet". At other times during the day, she loves reading "Bear says Thank You" and "Barnyard Dance". 

    Her favorite toys right now are her dolls. She calls them "babies". She loves feeling them du-du (milk) and putting her to sleep on mats (pillow) and covering them with a baby blankieShe also loves playing with her teapot and pouring into cups. 

    She loves watching Barney videos and listening to Barney songs. Her favorite songs right now are "Pop goes the weasel", "Twinkle Twinkle Little Star", "Five little monkeys", "ABCD..", "I love you, you love me" and "Tap Tap". She likes so many songs it's hard to list them all out but these are her favorites right now. 

    (This post contains some affiliate links)

    Wednesday, June 4, 2014

    My Cilantro plant

    My cilantro plant has grown like a monster and is now tall and thick. Unfortunately, I think I made a mistake it letting it grow so tall without cutting it frequently.

    As I learnt from reading this article How to harvest cilantro, I learnt that you need to harvest frequently and most of the growth is good only in the early spring or early fall as it required moist and cool temperatures. Also, I should probably plant some cilantro seeds soon as my plant will probably start bolting soon.

    This weekend I plan to plant some cilantro seeds and hope that it germinates before this plant starts bolting.

    Tuesday, June 3, 2014

    Goals for this week 6/4 - 6/10

    This is my first post on a series of weekly posts I'm hoping to maintain. My inspiration is from Money Saving Mom and I would like to do weekly posts on my goals for the week and next week, be publicly accountable for how I did on those goals.

    Like MSM, I will split my goals into 3 broad categories - Work, Home, Personal.

    Work is going to include any work projects I have, professional growth, any pet projects I have like my deals blog.

    Home is going to include home-making, being a good mother and my relationships.

    Personal is just all about me - my personal growth, books I want to read, projects I want to do, stuff I want to do for myself.

    Though I hope I can meet my goals every week, life will sometimes get in the way. I'm going to start out slow and hopefully pick up steam as I get better at meeting my goals.


    1. Go to the library and pick up some books for Anjali
    2. Pay medical bills (have been putting this one off)
    3. Post at least 2 updates on my daughter's memories blog
    4. Finish baby blanket I was making


    1. Learn about the competitor product and do some research into it
    2. Write at least 3 blog posts for my deals blog
    3. Write at least 3 blog posts for this blog


    1. Read 2 chapters of Vicki Iovine's Girlfriend's guide to Toddlers
    2. Give blood test for yearly checkup
    3. Make Prasadham for temple

    Experience with Panera Bread

    I've always loved going to Panera Bread and in the last year, with a Panera Bread opening near my office, I've been going to Panera Bread quite often - whenever I forget to get lunch from home or if there's no food at home.

    Recently, I stopped by Panera Bread to pick up some breakfast. I was in a hurry and I love their souffles - so thought I'd get one. I ordered it on my phone through their iOS app.

    I went to pick it up and it was not there in the Rapid Pickup area. I asked some of the cashiers there and they weren't sure. They asked me what was my order and I told them it was a "Spinach and Artichoke souffle" and they got me the bag and said that they did not keep it in the rapid pickup because of food allergies. I said ok and I left.

    10 minutes later, I took a bite and spit it out. They had given me a souffle with meat in it. I am a vegetarian and was quite upset with this. I hadn't expected this from Panera Bread. Not only was I hungry, I had a bad taste in my mouth from the meat.

    I called up Panera Bread and complained to the manager on the phone. He did apologize and offer to give me my next 2 meals free and refund my souffle order if I could bring the receipt in next time I came in.

    I will update on if they actually follow through.

    Monday, June 2, 2014


    Over memorial day weekend, I had gone to a friend's house where we played Croquet in the backyard. It was so much fun and felt like a version of cricket.

    Croquet is a lawn game played with mallets and plastic balls. In the version we played, you use the mallet to hit the ball through hoops and wind through an 8 shape around the lawn and get back to the starting point. There were 7 of us but only 6 players were possible so I played only one game since I had to take care of my daughter as well.

    My daughter had so much fun with the game too - she kept using the mallets as a push toy and pretended it was a lawn mower.

    I believe the game we used was this one.

    Wednesday, May 21, 2014

    Saga of the dishwasher

    One of my daily tasks which I do everyday without fail or my kitchen goes to hell, is loading the dishwasher every night after my daughter goes to sleep. I may not empty the sink but I do load the dishwasher so that the sink is not overflowing the next day.

    A couple of weeks ago, after the dishwasher was done, I noticed there was water still at the bottom of the dishwasher and the dishes had some small deposits on them like they weren't fully clean. I ran the dishwasher again - it still had water. Realizing we didn't have a plunger at home, my husband bought a plunger from the store and used it and after a few tries, the dishwasher started running again. This again happened a week ago  on Monday and we repeated the same. This time, I called our home warranty guys from Sensible Home Warranty and complained. They said they'd call back to file a claim. I called again on Tuesday, same thing - they said they'd call back.

    Then last week on Friday, the same thing happened and this time the plunger did not work. I tried to call the home warranty folks many times that weekend and would get the strangest message when I tried to file a claim - it said "invalid extension". I couldn't figure out what happened and thought maybe they're closed over the weekend (though their website said 24/7) or their system was screwed up. Anyway, I washed vessels by hand the next few days, hoping to keep the sink from getting overwhelmed.

    Monday morning, I go to the website which I still had open on my laptop and refreshed the page. The website says that they are shut down and thanks for your support. I was completely taken aback. We just lost $700 of our 2-year warranty and I still had a dishwasher that wasn't working.

    I then called a plumber who said it's not a plumbing issue (which was strange - he told me that without even coming down to look at it) and then I called an appliance repair person who agreed to come out the next day. He came out yesterday, looked at it, said it was a plumbing issue. He fixed it - said that it looks like most probably, there was a piece of glass which he showed me which was stuck in the pipe from the dishwasher to the sink drain pipe. Once it was dislodged, the dishwasher started working just fine.

    He charged me $120 for fixing the issue, which was reasonable.

    Now, the next question is, should we get another home warranty or should we just forget the whole thing?

    Friday, May 16, 2014

    Feeding a Picky Eater

    My daughter, who is 22 months old, had a lot of food allergies when she was born. As she grew older, she outgrew a lot of them like milk and soy but still is allergic to anything in the bean family like beans, green beans, lentils.

    This has made me very conscious about what I feed her. We are also vegetarians. This narrows down our options for what I feed her a lot and we are Indians as well so our diet is very different from the western diet. She goes to daycare - so what I can give to daycare for lunch and snack has to be daycare-friendly (something she can eat by herself without too much involvement by the teachers, no nuts, etc).

    One of the major issues I have hitting with her diet is that she doesn't like any vegetables and she's low on protein. I was reading the article linked below on What To Expect on some tips. Here's what I took away from the article.

    Make food fun:- Cut sandwiches into fun shapes (though I first need to get her into sandwiches - so far she's not liked bread much at all). Put blueberry smiles on pancakes or on top of cereal. Interactive food like food with dips where they have to dip and eat might be fun. (I tried this - carrot sticks with ranch dressing. She didn't like it at all). Get toddler involved in meal prep - like getting her to help in picking veggies in the store or letting her choose which healthy food to buy. While cooking, have her do some of the small things like stirring or adding ingredients. Make small portions of food - like mini pancakes or mini muffins.

    Sneak in nutrients:- This is where I'm facing a lot of difficulty. Sneak some cauliflower into mac'n'cheese (except she doesn't like mac'n'cheese). Add shredded carrots or sweet potato to pancake batter or omelettes. ( I tried this as her daycare teacher suggested - carrots in omelettes. It worked. ) And fruits are good too - if she likes fruits, let her have them. Her daycare teacher suggested making muffins with veggies and see if that works. She said she'd get me the receipe from her mother.

    Be a good model:- Toddlers mimic mom & dad. So we need to eat better, at the table and eat a lot of veggies for dinner. Avoid junk food.

    Let them choose:- Let her choose what to eat. Give her 2 healthy options and once she's picked one, stick with it. She'll eat if she's hungry. Don't force your toddler to eat.

    Feeding a Picky Eater

    Saving time in the kitchen - Chapattis Part 2

    So, to continue on my with Chapattis story, (Part 1 over here), I made some dough and put it in the freezer. I took it today morning, thinking to thaw it and use it immediately. Unfortunately, even though I waited for it to thaw for 2 hours, it didn't thaw enough for me to make it.

    I then put in the fridge overnight and then used it the next day evening. I waited for some time and then started rolling it out. While the temperature of the dough was still on the cold side, I was able to roll it out but I had to fight with the dough a bit. To make the dough easier to roll, I think I may have to wait for it to completely come to room temperature next time.

    The chapattis, after I fried on the tava or frying pan, were ok but a litte on the thick side since I wasn't able to roll it completely thinner.

    Lessons learned: Put the dough from the freezer in the refrigerator overnight or at least for 5-8 hours before using it. Wait for it to come to room temperature before rolling it out.

    Monday, May 12, 2014

    My plants

    Here are some pictures of my plants as they are right now.

    My tomato plant is already looking to be in very sad shape. It's got yellow spots on its leaves everywhere and I'm not able to figure out what is the cause.

    This is my bell pepper plant. It's still in its pot from the store - I haven't transplanted it yet. 

    My mint plant is doing well. So far, it seems to be the only plant doing well. 

    My cilantro plant is not doing so well either. Some of its leaves have gone yellow but not as bad as the tomato plant and it doesn't really seem to be growing. 

    My other tomato plant is doing ok so far. It's still in its original pot from the store and hasn't been transplanted yet. It's growing new leaves so far. 

    Friday, May 9, 2014

    Saving Time in the Kitchen - Chapattis Part 1

    I've been experimenting recently with trying to save time while making chapattis at home. Chapatti is an unleavened flat bread (also known as roti) from Nepal, Bangladesh, India and Pakistan. I make it at home all the time and it's a integral part of the Indian diet. It's made of whole grain wheat flour. Here are some of the things I've tried and am planning to try to make life easier for myself. 

    Making the dough: Make the dough using the stand mixer. This saves me a ton of time and energy. This is the recipe I use which I got from my sister. 



    2 cups whole grain finely ground wheat flour (available in most South Asian stores)
    1 tbsp milk
    1 tbsp olive oil
    pinch of salt
    1 cup warm water 

    1. Put all the ingredients except the water in the bowl. Start the mixer on low and add about half the water and let the flour mix well with all the ingredients. 
    2. After they are all mixed well, keep an eye on the dough and see if it starts to come together. Add more water in small amounts and wait and see if the dough has become one big ball. 
    3. When it looks like it's become one big ball, stop the mixer and touch the dough to see if it's sticking to the hand. If it's sticking, then too much water has been added. Add some more flour and mix again till the dough doesn't stick to the hand very badly - a little sticky is OK
    4. Now cover dough with a wet cloth, napkin or paper towel and wait for 30 mins. Then use it immediately for making chapattis or put in fridge or freezer. 
    5. To make chapattis, take a small piece of the rough and make it into a ball. Use a flat surface and dust some flour on it and using rolling pin, roll the ball out in the shape of a tortilla. If the ball starts to stick to the rolling pin, dust it with some more flour and continue rolling it out till it's thin and round like a tortilla. 
    6. Now put it on a hot pan and let it cook till it rises. When it does, flip it over and let it cook on both sides.  

    I've heard that chapattis when frozen don't keep fermenting but that it continues to ferment at a slower pace it is kept in the fridge. I experimented with that by making the dough and rolling it out. I put the rolled out dough onto cling wrap sheets so it doesn't get exposed to air and put it in the fridge. When I used it the next day, it didn't taste as good or look as good as freshly rolled out dough. So that experiment didn't work out so well.

    My next experiment is to make the dough and freeze part of the dough for later use and see how that dough looks and tastes.

    Thursday, May 8, 2014

    Count my blessings

    Today's been a hard day and while I'm trying not to be sad or upset, it is not easy. One thing that helps me is when I'm with my 21 month daughter. She makes me smile and I'm happy when I'm with her.

    It makes me think of what I've heard people say helps when they're sad - count your blessings.

    1. I have a beautiful healthy daughter who always brings a smile to my face
    2. I have a wonderful supportive family who have always been there for me
    3. I have best friends who I can always call be it to vent or share my joy
    4. I have a good job which pays me a good salary
    5. I have a beautiful house and fresh clean air to breathe
    6. I am in relatively good health with no major issues
    7. God has always been with me helping me and guiding me.
    8. I am in good financial shape with no major debts except for my mortgage and have a good emergency fund.

    Monday, May 5, 2014

    Gardening adventures

    I've always wanted to grow my own food but my last few attempts at it have been unsuccessful for the most part. So, this year, I've decided to try again. I'm going to be blogging about status every week

    I'm going to try the following this year:

    2 varieties of tomato
    green pepper
    red chili
    curled parsley

    One of the tomato plants already was at maturity in the store. I bought it wanting to see whether I could kill an already grown tomato plant or it's just the seedlings that I kill.

    And this year, I'm just going to try container gardening. If it goes well, I'll look into making a garden next year. 

    I'll post photos of my plants as they grow or not grow as the case may be. 

    Wednesday, April 2, 2014

    The 1800 Minute Challenge

    I've been wanting to exercise, get back in shape and lose some weight for a few months now. I came across this challenge on one of the blogs I follow Rags to stitches and this sounded like a good way to motivate myself to do this. So, though I'm starting a day late, I'm going to try to do this challenge.

    For the months of April and May, I'm going to try to exercise and be active for at least 30 mins a day - whether that exercise is going for a walk or on the treadmill or the elliptical machine or going to the park with my daughter. If I miss a day, I'll make that day up some other day.

    If I make this challenge and complete my 1800 minutes, I'm giving myself permission to buy a gift for myself without any guilt - let's say for around $100.

    I'll post how many minutes I hit every day (hopefully) or every few days.

    The 1800 Minute Challenge (Join us) - lifestyle - Rags to Stitches

    Saturday, January 4, 2014

    Happy New Year!

    It's been a hard few months and life has been very busy. 

    But I'm back and hoping to post at least a short note everyday.

    Slid off again!

    The last few weeks have been extremely busy and I have not spent much time on the computer at all. So I have not been blogging much - hope t...