Wednesday, July 29, 2015

NY and NJ Trip

My sister and her kids are currently visiting us and we took them on a trip to NY & NJ along with my parents. I have some family in the NJ area and after visiting them, decided to go do some sightseeing.

It was a very hot and humid day - one of the worst days so far. Also, very cloudy and thunderstorm-y.

We parked in the Liberty State Park to visit the Statue of Liberty. We took the ferry to the Statue of Liberty and had a lot of fun on the top level of the ferry. There was a nice breeze which really helped with the heat. Unfortunately, we didn't get tickets to go to the pedestal or the crown. So we just saw Lady Liberty from the bottom and walked around a bit. I loved the view of the NY Skyline from the boat.

We ate a picnic lunch on some benches in Liberty State Park and took the ferry to NYC to the Boardwalk Ferry Station near the 9/11 Memorial. Earlier in the day, on the way to Liberty State Park, we were all sharing our memories of where we were and what we were doing when 9/11 attack happened.

My niece, who is 9 years old, was asking what does a terrorist attack mean and what does 9/11 mean? My sister explained the history of the terrorist attack, what it means and what exactly happened that day. We walked to the 9/11 memorial. The memorial is built beautifully and so differently. I loved the waterfalls and the engravings of the firefighters' names all around the memorial.

We tried to take a taxi to Times Square and that was when the nightmare started - first, we could not find a taxi, my daughter was too exhausted and fell asleep and she needed a diaper change ASAP. There was no place we could do a diaper change nearby and I finally ended up doing it on a park bench nearby as she was sleeping.

Then we waited for a cab and went to TimesSquare. We could barely move in TimesSquare - it was so crowded. Apparently, President Obama was in the area and that caused crowds to go up along with security blocking off some roads. We just went to the ToysRUs in Times Square and got out and tried to get a cab. We could not get a cab for 20 mins - finally we found an Uber Taxi but gave him the wrong direction and we ended up walking for almost 30-40 mins to get to our ferry station to catch the ferry back. We just made it in time with 2 mins to spare before the ferry was at the station.

We were all exhausted by this time. But we all went to dinner to a really nice Indian restaurant, Sapthagiri and the food was really good. They have an awesome Cashew Curry and the Dosas were tasty. My favorite was the Papdi Chaat. It was awesome and so yummy!

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Success, Blogging and Other Tips

Daniel Norris Code Of Success :- I wish I could adopt some parts of this - like reading more, playing outside more and travelling a lot. Sounds great!

How to Start a Successful Blog Today: 27 Tips:- This was a great, in-depth article on how to start a blog and make it successful. I plan to use some of the tips here to try to make my blog better - mainly, focus on content & making it more visible.

5 ways to keep your financial information safer from hackers:- I'm guilty of not following a few of these but it's something I'm working on.

Saturday, July 25, 2015

Money Tips Roundup

12 Items That Pay For Themselves Tenfold or Better :- Great article! I need to try making more crockpot meals and hanging clothes on a clothesline.

Applying SMART Goals to Personal Finance :- This was a great breakdown of how to apply SMART goals we use at work in our personal lives & personal finance. Reading this article made me want to look at my life goals and how I can apply the SMART principles here.

The Benefits Of Paying Yourself First :- I've been trying to use a zero-sum budget but ever since I've started using it, we've had so many unexpected expenses my budget has been going bust every month. I am going to have to try harder with this.

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Girl's Afternoon Out

My friends and I had a girl's afternoon out a few days ago, leaving the children at home.

We went to a paint place - where they teach a group of people how to paint a particular piece of art. It was a lot of fun and the end result is below.

I have never been good at art and I can't even draw a straight line. So I was actually nervous about going to this place and only the fact that I was going with my friends helped me.

I guess the one thing I learnt about art is that there's no right or wrong in art - you just go with what you like and don't be too hard on yourself.

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

How Stress Affects Diabetics - Tidbit of the Day!

Diabetics are advised to avoid stress but why? How does stress affect diabetics?

When we get stressed, the body starts getting into the "Flight-or-Fight" mode. The term "Flight or Fight" was coined by Walter B. Cannon in 1915. He studied the autonomic nervous system and started by studying an animal's response to a threat.

When "Flight or Fight" is triggered, the body produces more cortisol and epinephrine (also known as adrenaline) and the liver produces more glucose for the body to use as energy in an emergency. This excess glucose makes it difficult for diabetics to control their blood sugar.

Monday, July 13, 2015

Tomato Cucumber Feta Salad

One of my favorite salads (of which there are few) is the Greek Salad at Panera Bread. I want to start eating more salads to lose some weight and eat more healthy and one of the salads I came across was a Tomato Cucumber Salad. I made some modifications to it based on what's at home and made a Tomato Cucumber Feta salad with a vinaigrette dressing. It was awesome and I just loved it.

Here's what I did:


2 cucumbers, peeled, seeded and chopped
2 Tomatoes, seeded and chopped
2 tablespoons of red wine vinegar
3 tablespoons of olive oil
3 oz Feta Cheese, crumbled
a few sprigs of flat-leaf parsley, chopped


  1. Peel and take out the seeds from the cucumbers. Then chop them up into small chunks.
  2. Cut the tomatoes and remove the seeds. Then chop them up into small chunks. 
  3. Finely chop and add the flat-leaf parsley.
  4. Make the dressing by adding olive oil, red wine vinegar, salt & pepper and mixing it up. Add this to the cucumbers and tomatoes and toss to coat.  
  5. Crumble the cheese on top. You can mix it up to coat the cheese or leave it on top.  

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

14 Tips for Visiting Disney World

While we had a great Disney World vacation, there were certain things we did right and some things we did wrong.

What To DO:
  1. Buy groceries online: We saved on time and money by order groceries from GardenGrocer and had it delivered to the Disney resort before we arrived. We bought plenty of water, milk, eggs, bread, jam and yoghurt. The prices were expensive and there's a minimum order of $40 but it was worth the time savings in getting a taxi & going to a grocery store and coming back. 
  2. Take a portable induction cooktop: Our daughter's very picky and doesn't eat anything available at restaurants. So we brought an induction cooktop with us in our luggage and used it to make pasta, heat milk, make boiled eggs for her - I don't know what we would have done if not for this. 
  3. Eat lunch early by 11:30am: We ate lunch on all days well before the crowd hit. We had no lines for lunch and were able to hit some attractions without FP+ during those times. 
  4. Take a nap if possible: We went back to the resolrt for a nap on days when possible. On days where we could not do this, it turned out to be a disaster as my daughter could not handle it. Even though she napped in the stroller, she needed a break from the sensory overload and the heat. 
  5. Get Gatorade Powder: One of the best things we did was to buy a box of gatorade powder and mixed it with bottled water to make bottles of gatorade. We would take 2-4 bottles of these to the parks and it really helped us to not dehydrate.
  6. Wear good shoes: We walked a LOT!
  7. Take snacks: We took snacks for my daughter so she could munch while waiting or walking around the parks.
  8. MyDisneyExperience App: Download the MyDisneyExperience App and use it. It was great for FastPass+ and organizing our trip around the park and for information about various attractions and rides. We also used the DisneyWorld wait times app to get approximate wait times before walking to the ride.
  9. Get there early: If possible, be there before the park opens. The shortest lines were from 9-10:30. 
  10. Use Rolling FP+: We used the Rolling FastPass to get into attractions at Magic Kingdom and cut down on wait times - especially Pirates of the Carribean. 
What NOT To Do:
  1. Make Stroller Recognizable: Attach something bright and unique to the stroller to be able to pick it out easily from the sea of strollers. Cast members kept moving strollers around - couple of times we thought for sure we'd lost the stroller.
  2. Clip-on Fan: Take a clip-on stroller fan. It was HOT down there!
  3. Ponchos: We did not take ponchos and had to buy ponchos for the three of us. Thankfully, I did have a rain cover for the stroller which really helped
  4. Magic Kingdom Visit on First Day of Trip: We visited Magic Kingdom on the 3rd day and made a mistake as AGirl had started to get overstimulated at that point and tired with the previous day's visits to the parks. We should have gone to Magic Kingdom the first day after we landed in Orlando and gone there when we had the most energy

Sunday, July 5, 2015

Happy 4th of July!

Hope you all had a great 4th of July! We had a very relaxing weekend at home with my family.

Thursday, July 2, 2015

June Goals Update

June was a fun month for me with travel to Disney and preparing for my parent's visit. They arrived in the 3rd week of July and life has been really busy since. I didn't get a lot done but was still a good month with spending lots of time with family. My husband switched jobs and that's been a change in our routine that we're still adjusting to. I also caught Conjuctivitis and had to wear glasses for a week which gave me massive headaches.
  1. Lose 12 lbs: *sigh* I'm still at 136. However, as per my 30-day walking challenge, I'm trying to hit 10k steps. 
  2. Learn swimming: Honestly, I'm not sure if I can do this. I'm too nervous about getting my vertigo back again. But l want to do this - so I'm going to try. 
  3. Read 12 books this year: Was so busy with Disney trip and preparing for and visiting with family that I didn't read much. I read Family Fun May 2015 magazine and a lot of online reading but that was it. I need to do better this month. 
  4. Do 12 craft or knitting activities this year: Lots of time on gardening and not much other than that. 
  5. Introduce a new experience to AGirl once a month: DisneyWorld was quite an experience for her and with my parents visiting, she's been a little overwhelmed. So we decided not to do too much this month. 
I'm starting a new section below for my parenting goals. I'm hoping the accountability will inspire me to do more.

Parenting Goals:
  1. Potty Training: Been going well. I'm seeing some progress - most days, she goes in the potty in the morning and night when I ask her to. At daycare, she's been peeing more in the potty. While she's still not fully ready yet, she's beginning to get there. 
  2. Teach her to recognize ABCs: More progress on this too - I would say she recognizes about half of the alphabet and numbers from 1-10. I've given her foam letters to play with in the bathtub and have been teaching them to her in the bath. 
  3. Drinking milk from a cup: Not much progress on this. 
How has your progress been on your goals?

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...