Friday, January 30, 2015

Snowstorm Juno!

As you know, the Northeast was hit hard by Juno and as I live there, the last few days were very busy and I wasn't around much here. Here are some photos I took.




I only got about 26-27" of snow, I believe. Other areas within 10 miles of where I was got about a foot of snow more than I did. By the way, that's my foot buried in the snow to my hip when I went to shovel out the exhaust. 

Saturday, January 24, 2015

What I've Been Reading Lately

The Nine Minutes that have the Greatest Impact - While I only have one child, I do spend a good amount of time with her in the morning, when I pick her up from school and at bedtime. I'm generally loving in the 9 minutes but I'm sure there are some days I'm rushed and not so loving and patient. I need to watch this to see how her behavior is on those days.

Report: Amazon Uses Jedi Mind Trick To Convince Shoppers It’ll Always Have The Lowest Prices - It always pays to shop around online before buying something on Amazon.


Friday, January 23, 2015

How to save money at drug stores

Passionate Penny Pincher has a great FREE download on how to save money at drug stores. Check it out and let me know it it helps you out.

I generally prefer to shop at Rite-Aid becoz it's the drug store closest to my office and it's easy for me to pop in there and grab what I want.

A Penny Pincher's Guide To Saving At The Drug Stores - Passionate Penny Pincher

Monday, January 19, 2015

Indian Peer Pressure for a 2 yr old?

In case you don't know this, I'm from India. And we Indians (Asians in general) are very aggressive about academics. They may not do it consciously but it's there always. (This is a generalization and I'm sure there are those who don't do this. My apologies to those for including them in this) Indian parents may not focus on art activities or sensory activities but may focus instead of teaching kids their numbers and ABCs.

Agirl's 2 and a half years old now and I'm now beginning to get concerned as unlike most asian kids, she doesn't know her colors, numbers or ABCs yet. And she doesn't show the least interest in learning them either. She goes to daycare and they don't focus on academics till preschool which only starts at 3 yrs.

A few Indian people I know have told me in the course of conversation that their children knew their ABCs and numbers by 2 and could read by 3. Some of them had even started to write by 3. The other day, I was at a housewarming party and another parent was feeding their almost-3-yr-old daughter lunch and engaging with them by asking the girl to spell out her name and other words and she was actually doing it. I was stunned.

My daughter's nowhere near stage. She's not interested in doing academics or learning her ABCs either. Every time I try to engage her in something like that, she runs away or starts playing with something else. I've spoken to my daughter's teacher and I know she's on-par with the other kids in her age range and she's where they expect her to be. Only thing is none of the other kids in her daycare class are asian. And asian expectations are high. And she's not meeting those expectations. Should I be worried about this?

I want the best for her. I don't want her to be behind in any way. Neither do I want to force her to learn something she's not ready for. I'm stumped... should I try to spend more time teaching her academics outside of daycare or should I let her learn when she's ready to do it in preschool?

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Chores for my daughter

My daughter's two and a half years old and I've been thinking for a few months now that she might be old enough for certain small chores. I've been experimenting slowly in getting her to do some chores. Sometimes she co-operates and most times, she doesn't.

After she drinks her milk, I've been encouraging her to put it in the sink instead of placing it anywhere. I've been asking her to put away her toys. I read some articles to get some ideas on which chores might be suitable for her age. I want to encourage her to develop these good habits now so it gets ingrained into her.

Here's some of the ideas I've had and ones I've read about.

  • Put away her toys after she's done playing with them
  • Put away any utensils like her sippy cup, plate, bowl, spoon, fork, etc in the sink when she's done. 
  • Let her feed herself with spoon and fork and food in bowl
  • Sort toys and put them away
  • Dusting with a cloth or feather duster (keeping fragile stuff out of reach)
  • Helping with laundry - putting dirty clothes into hamper, emptying washer and loading dryer, matching socks from clean laundry
  • Dressing herself - will need help in the beginning. Try easy clothes to begin with
  • Let her brush her own hair 
  • Wash her hands by herself 
  • Let her use a toy broom to clean up messes on the floor
  • Help with preparing food and show how to measure food into bowl & let her do mixing
  • Clearing and setting the table
  • Water the plants
(Disclaimer: Most of these ideas are the WhatToExpect website. All credit to them)

What I've Been Reading Lately

9 Changes That Will Affect Your Money in 2015 - mostly information about changes to 401k plans and retirement plans and tax changes.

Why we spend: Are you falling for these costly biases? - I'm sorry to say I have fallen prey to many of these biases.

The 3-Second Pause That Can Save a Morning & Spare Some Pain - This is making me think about my interactions with Agirl. I'm trying to be more patient and understanding.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Review: Cinder and Ella



I'm an incurable romantic. I love sappy movies, movies that make me cry and smile and I absolutely love happy endings (even if they're implausible). I love fairy tales.

I love chick flicks and I love reading and Cinder and Ella was the perfect cocktail of both. It had everything I love in a great little package. It had the romance, it made me cry and it had a happy ending. It's one of the better romance novels I've read in a long time. It would make a great chick flick. 

The story is about 2 internet best friends - Cinder and Ella (their screen-names) who bond over the latter's blog and their mutual love for the The Druid Prince series of books. After being friends for 3 years, one day Ella gets into a terrible car accident which kills her mother and puts her into a coma and in recovery at the hospital for the next 8 months. It also leaves her with terrible scars - mental and physical. She's also forced to move cross-country to live with her father who abandoned her when she was 8 and his family - his new wife and her 2 daughters. 

She reconnects with Cinder - who is actually a superstar Hollywood actor Brian Oliver who's just starred in The Druid Prince movie adaptation. He has his own problems dealing with a obnoxious co-star/pretend fiancee. How Ella learns to deal with her family, her issues, how she finds out about Cinder and how she deals with all of these forms the rest of the story. 

Monday, January 12, 2015

How to Set a Target Body Weight for Better Chances of Diet Success

This article was a great read and very informative. Especially considering one of my goals for 2015 is to lose 10% of my weight over the course of this year.

Since I've given myself a year to lose that weight and keep it off, according to this article, I'm on the right track.

How to Set a Target Body Weight for Better Chances of Diet Success

How I Save Time, Space, and Money on Kids Clothing

When I read this article, I kept thinking I wish I had done what the author had mentioned. AGirl's closet is a mess. She has lots of clothes and in multiple sizes. I have bought extra clothes a size bigger to save money and while that has been good in some cases, it still has led to some clothing not fitting properly and having to store all these clothes is a mess.

I think from now on, I'll buy in season and whatever fits at that point. It may be easier to limit the number of clothes she wears and easier to organize them too. Also, the number of decisions to make at 7 AM in the morning while getting ready for daycare would reduce. :)

The only thing I probably won't do is buy used clothes from Goodwill or Salvation Army. My husband's not in favor of it and I am not too crazy about it either. If it's from somebody I know, no problem but from a store second-hand, nah! Maybe it comes across as being snobbish but that's just how we feel.

How I Save Time, Space, and Money on Kids Clothing

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

App Review: My PlayHome


We recently came back from a trip to India and one of the major lifesavers for me on the trip and while in India was the My PlayHome app on the iPad.

I had downloaded the lite version of the app at some point in time before my daughter used to play on the iPad. My daughter had played with it for quite some time and there were only 2 rooms on the lite version. Before going to India, I had debated buying the full version. It was $4 and I rarely pay for apps on the iOS store.

But considering we were going to be a flight for a long period of time and travelling a lot in India as well, I decided to splurge and buy the app. One of the best decisions I ever made!

She has spent hours and hours playing on this app. She calls it her "Children" app. She just loves it! She manipulates it so well and has explored the app all over without any input from me.

This one get 5 full stars from me and is well worth the money! I'm now considering buying the other apps in the series - My PlaySchool and My PlayStores as well.

Monday, January 5, 2015

Goals for 2015

I've been thinking out my goals for 2015 - professionally and personally. I'll talk about some of my personal goals for the year and give a monthly update on them at the beginning of each month.
  1. Lose 12 lbs: To get to 120 lbs by the end of year. I'm 132 lbs right now. Losing 12 lbs in a year seems like a reasonable goal. 
  2. Learn swimming: I've been wanting to learn swimming for the last several years. This year, I'm going to do it. 
  3. Read 12 books this year: I'm aiming for mostly non-fiction books but fiction books can count too. 
  4. Do 12 craft or knitting activities this year: These can be anything creative like photography or doing something for the house. 
  5. Introduce a new experience to AGirl once a month: This can be going to the zoo, museum, playground, dance class, etc.

I have some other goals as well but these are not as measurable and I will mention them now and then when the time is right. I hope to be accountable for these 5 goals and see how it goes.

Saturday, January 3, 2015

Back from Vacation!

We had a great trip down to India and we're back! We visited family and did some sightseeing. It was fairly hectic as far as vacations go but was worth it!

I'll post some pics about our trip and what we did in a more detailed post later on.

Lack of diversity in books and movies

I came across this article and it got me to thinking. The Indian American population is about 1% in the US and more concentrated in certain areas like New Jersey, New York, Silicon Valley, etc. We don't have any books or media that Indian American children will be exposed to as they grow up.

While most Indian American children are exposed to their culture when they visit their roots or at home or through their community, not everybody is able to do that. Whenever I visit India, I try to stock up on books about indian history or mythology or moral stories around indian culture so that when my daughter grows up to an age when she can understand these stories, she still gets the indian influence and indian culture and doesn't feel alone.

The Indian American population is one of the fastest-growing population groups in the US and at some point in the next few years, I hope to see some books and media around this cultural group.