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

Exercise

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.