Category Archives: My take on stuff

Diaper bags – a critical accessory for mom!

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My son is almost two. Like most women who love their purses, I am very conscious of my diaper bags, and started out with patterns and colors I liked. I contemplated a coach or LV diaper bag , but not being a celebrity who can afford to change bags when the baby spits up on a $2000 bag, that was out of the question. Over the months (almost years now), I have found that a mother needs more than two hands/arms!When the baby was young, I would wear him everywhere, so carrying a bag with a single strap or small handles wasnt a big deal, and as a first time mother, I was still new to motherhood and conscious of impractical things like appearances!
Fast forward two years, I am a practical person with readjusted priorities. I value sanity over my pretty bags. And now that my son is too independent to be worn, I need the ability to run after him AND carry all the stuff he needs.
Enter the backpack diaper bag…Ive been planning for moths to buy one. So when I got the chance to buy the bag nation diaper bag at a discount, I took that as an omen.
I love this bag! It has enough compartments to satisfy the craziest organization freak! The inner lining is a sturdy, blue, easy to clean material, and the shoulder and back pads are super comfy for the shoulders.

The bag has a top zip that I keep my quick access stuff in (like a pair of glasses, car keys etc). The center pouch is perfect for spoons and paper towel sachets. The third zip from top is a tiny compartment I use to keep my change (so I dont have to dig for quarters in the mall when V wants to ride the carousel!). Since my boy is old enough to not always need a changing pad (yes, we sometimes change diapers standing up if we dont have access to changing tables or if V wont lay down), I put it in the front velcro pouch- there if I need it, but not in the way.

The side compartment on one side is lined with insulating material to store food, drinks etc- perfect for his water bottle. The other side has a compartment for wipes- I LOVE the convenience of this access when said toddler would lie down for a diaper change

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The two large compartments on either side are used for diapers, quick snacks, etc. Now for the main compartment! It is lined in blue, has the two soft pouches sewn in on one side and a small zip space on the other side that I use for my check books. The main compartment is large enough for some additional snack bags, change of clothes, some toys and books, and the additional case that comes with this bag, which I use for my wallet, keys, pen etc.

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I didnt receive the straps that the bag is supposed to come with, to hang the bag on the stroller, but I still love this bag for the freedom and convenience!!

 

Healthy Living – 1

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OK, so now that my toddler is 18 months old, I decided it was high time to get healthy.

Step 1- eat better and drink more water
Step 2- Workout.

So I started step 1 and tried a few water bottles…here is one I like for its ability to infuse taste into water…which, if you are trying to drink over 80 oz a day, makes a difference! You can go wild with trying fruits to flavor your water, which is way healthier than the water flavor powders you get on the market…I think a slice of lemon will zest up any water, dont you think?

I received this bottle at a discount to review, and its early days yet, but I hope to write more about it when I have experimented with the flavor infusing rod!

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Angel baby car seat travel bag

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A couple of weeks ago I blogged about the angel baby travel stroller bag. The car seat bag is another of those items that helps you travel clean with baby. I received this item in exchange for a review, but I have to say I love it!

I now have a toddler- he doesnt travel in the car seat in his troller, but does use the car seat in – well, cars. And he has toys , his favorite car seat canopy etc latched onto the seat. So when we travelled this time, we had to take the car seat and check it in. I was so thankful for this bag!! It kept everything neat and clean, and as is usual for the pacific northwest, it was raining. Thankfully the bag is waterproof so my pretty embroidered canopy stayed white and gorgeous!

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And just like the stroller bag, this one is red, sturdy and zips into a little inbuilt pouch as well, Im really liking this company’s products!!

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Go check it out – http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00OJN7L3I?ref_=cm_cr-mr-title

Book review – Got Luck

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I love reading. If you know me, you know this fact. If you dont know me, but have seen my blog, you still know this fact. So when I got the chance to review a book for a publishing house before it released, I jumped on the chance. The book is a fantasy/suspense novel by Michael Darlings called Got Luck. The title is a little weird for something that is supposed to inspire suspense. But thats ok. The tone of the novel is very modern, so I guess the title goes along with it. And it definitely inspires curiosity.

The book itself is not very long- around 270 pages, so if youre a quick reader, you can read it in a day or two. I like such books as much as the 1000 page ones. If youre on a long flight, this is just the kind of book to keep you from dying of boredom and yet short enough that you dont have to carry the “book baggage” too long.

I liked the book pretty well. If you arent looking to think too much and want to read for the fun of it, Got Luck fits the bill. The language of the protagonist (Goethe ) is extremely annoying to begin with, with silly sarcastic humor that sounds very teenager-like. It improved as the book progresses, and is pretty bearable by the end. The unnecessary sarcasm kind of killed the thrill of the climax a bit, but its ignorable.

The characters are pretty nice – they are well introduced and described. You eventually feel like you know them, and some I even liked, like Beil. The plot of the story flows well, its a little choppy in a couple of places, but on the whole, the author takes the reader through the events without too much of a bumpy ride.

Michael Darling has even left the end open to a sequel, and if one comes out, I believe I would spend money to read it- the story definitely is interesting and leaves you wanting to know what happens to all the characters until you reach everyone’s happily ever after!

Traveling with a toddlers – strollers/babywearing are a must!

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Its common knowledge that airports are breeding grounds for germs, the ticket kiosk, the carts, everything is germ laden. And if you have a toddler who wants to touch everything, keeping them germ-safe is a nightmare!! The last time I traveled long distance, to India, I was glad to just be able to strap my newly mobile baby where I could keep an eye on him. I also wore him when he got cranky and used the stroller to push around my cabin baggage.

While moms are born with extra hands, eyes and multitasking abilities, these just werent enough to maintain sanity while travelling 36 hours with my cranky 1 year old!

Now that my boy is 17 months old, and is a tiny bit less inclined to eat the wrapper someone threw on the airport floor, I have additional worries. Lord knows what he touches before he eats (shudder!!). So Ive taken to wiping surfaces clean in the vain attempt to maintain cleanliness. (Lost battle, right?). He loves to put his crackers / raisins etc on his stroller seat and eat them (I know, gross!), which is OK most of the time since Im always wiping it down, but thats one more thing to worry about when you travel. Enter stroller bags. The last time I flew, I checked in my stroller at the gate without a bag, and it came back with black grease and unnamed stuff on it. Needless to say, it was a painful process to clean out, I wore my baby the whole time because I didnt want to put him in a dirty stroller, and travel was extra tough.

Now that my boy loves his quinny, which is a blue instead of a dirt-friendly black, I decided I wasnt going to go through that again. I was looking for an umbrella stroller bag when I got the chance to try out one from Angel Baby. I love it – its red (which, IMO is the best color for a stroller bag to be). It has a nice name tag and a strong strap to carry the stroller or just haul it onto another piece of luggage if the toddler wants to walk.20160229_230453060_iOS And the best thing is that it zips into an inbuilt pouch. It takes up VERY less room in my backpack and makes having a stroller bag practical instead of a luxury as I used to imagine.

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I like this bag and its definitely recommended. Disclaimer: I did receive the product at a discount in exchange for my review.

Educational implements for kids- alphabet magnets

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As a first time mother, I am eager to try stuff that will help me to entertain, educate or feed my toddler. I guess by the time the second on third child comes along you kinda know what you like. Which may not be what your child likes, in which case, you, like me, are our there looking for new goodies for your kiddo.Essentially, anything to improve the LO’s quality of life.

A couple of months ago, I found fridge phonics- fridge magnets by Fisher price. My boy loves those, and consequently, has lost several of the letters in that alphabet set. So when I found the soma six magnetic letters, I was really excited to try them.

I have mixed feelings on this set. On the one hand I love the colors, they truly do catch the eye, and my LO loves sticking them on the fridge (we have no other surfaces for him to try these on).image

I really enjoy the fact that this set has lower case letters and upper case letters both, along with numbers of course. I remember when I was a little girl in pre K and we were doing lower case letters in school, the lower case ‘a’ was very hard for me to write. I’d learned it a different way, and it was hard for my 3 year old fingers to copy the print. I used my eraser so many times, it tore my note paper and earned me a beating (yes, corporal punishment is OK in Indian schools and definitely was when I was a child). The incident obviously left an impression (I still remember it almost 3 decades later!), so I think it’s very important to introduce lower case letters to little ones along with upper case letters so they can tell the difference and know it is the same letter that just looks a little different.image

A couple of things I am disappointed with – the magnets are really weak. They constantly slide down, and sometimes off, the fridge. I hurt my foot on one of these and I was annoyed at my toddler for leaving these on the floor for everyone to step on, when I saw one slide right off with no encouragement! My toddler’s reaction was hilarious!!!

A few of the pieces in my set are missing magnets too, so the quality control doesn’t seem to have been great. owe ear, as soon as I posted my review on Amazon, the company contacted me with an offer for refund or exchange, which I think is excellent customer service. I will contact them for an exchange because I really do like the set. Let’s see how quickly I get my set fixed 🙂image

Overall, I love magnetic letters for children, there are just so many games you can play that helps grow their intellect and love for words. And even for toddlers, handling letters makes them more familiar with the alphabet while they play with magnets (what kid doesn’t love magnets??)

Disclaimer: I did receive this product at a discounted rate in exchange for my honest review. I did not receive any compensation and the views are my own.

 

 

Bath toy organization

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Anyone who knows me, knows that I am not the most organized person in the world. I have friends who create pinterest boards on organization, spend hours rearranging their pantries and have their kid’s toys organized into bins and baskets, segregated into colors, size etc.

Not I. I honestly dont have the time or energy to put toys into baskets and bags. That said, I love a neat, clutter free zone as much as anybody else. I have achieved a semblance of structure in V’s nursery. He has a box of books, a box of random toys (anything not a book IS a random toy 🙂 ), and his clothes are, for the most part, organized in his little green drawers. I’ll have to give my ex-nanny credit for getting his clothes sorted in the first place, Ive merely been following the pattern.

But given the time, I love to have everything neatly in its place, I used to love arranging his diaper changing station with all the wipes, diapers, washcloths and lotions in neat little compartments….so I do have the organization gene in me somewhere. Its just hidden under a load of exhaustion, work and distraction. And the little energy I manage to salvage, Id rather spend chasing my toddler than organizing his toys.

Anyhow, so today my take on stuff is a bath toy organizer – specifically this one: IMG_20160222_095049647_HDR

This is the bath toy organizer from The Bath Toy Organizer company. I have to say, I was pretty impressed. I usually leave my son’s wet toys in his inflatable tub and just rinse them off the next day before the bath. OK, so thats not super hygienic. But I do replace his toys frequently so there is no risk of contact with any moldy spores.

Why didnt I just get myself one of these organizers before and save myself the trouble (and the icky-gross factor)? No idea, it didnt strike me. But now that I do have this organizer , I LOVE it!. I have it high enough on the wall that my toddler cannot reach. He has the habit of testing the strength of things and I worry that he might try to yank the organizer off the wall. But he gets to stand under it and point to the toys he wants to play with, which is adorable! And now that I have a mesh organizer – tata gross, sliminess and risk of mold! the foam letters and toys air dry easily and so far the suction has held up really well. I have some heavy toys in there, as you can see, but I dont see it straining the suction. I havent used the extra strong suction cups they sent along with the bag, those didnt work for me (maybe my wall?), but Im plenty happy with the default suction cups. The bag is also huge. Way bigger than I thought Id need an organizer to be….you can see so in the picture, I have a big toy boat, a mother duck with baby rubber duckies, foam letters and room to spare.

So far, really liking this purchase, and I definitely recommend. Now, onto organizing another area of the house…..what are your organization tips? Anything specific that has helped you organize your stuff or your kids’?

 

*Disclaimer: I purchased this bath toy organizer at a discounted rate in exchange for my honest and unbiased review. I received NO compensation and the views are my own.

 

FeFit workouts

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FeFit     This is a workout system which has been around a bit, but something I just found. I love workouts, buying them, trying them and completing rotations. So far, in the last 9 years, Ive tried my fair share – SI6, Turbo Jam, Turbo Fire, Chalene Xtreme, P90X, T25, Insanity, Slim Series, 21 Day Fix etc. Mostly BeachBody stuff. I even caved and bought myself PiYo when my son was born – kind of as a push present for myself!

Fast forward 16 months from the PiYo purchase, and the only workout I’ve done is the Align, the first workout you do to familiarize yourself with PiYo. I cant put a finger on it, but I have a mental block as far as PiYo is concerned. And the reviews Ive read arent encouraging. Time is at a steep premium here, and if the 45 min I spend everyday arent going to get me results, Id rather be catching up on other stuff during those precious minutes when my napping toddler will let me do stuff!

21 Day Fix was nice, but I was always hungry (I was breastfeeding so that might explain it), the low carbs hurt my milk supply, and I didnt see results. I was discouraged enough to quit, unfortunately. I tried to start working out again after a move across the country, and signed up for Beachbody on Demand, and tried Power half hour for a few weeks. I even doubled up to see results quicker. While I did get a good workout every morning, it was supremely boring, and after I pulled my hamstring doing one of the leg moves, I stopped PHH.

So……enter Fe Fit. So far, Im on Day 2 of the Summer Challenge. Ive pored over reviews and checkins for Fe Fit and havent found too much information online, Im not going to let that stop me though. So far so good, I did Total Body Toning 3 yesterday and Upper Body 2 today.Here is the rotation for the summer challenge if anyone’s interested. I’ll keep my progress updated here 🙂

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This challenge is no longer available on the fe fit website, so forgive the grainy quality- I got the schedule from someone on videofitness.

If you own Fe Fit and have tried it, or are thinking of trying it- do comment and let me know where you are in your fitness journey. If you’ve tried it – what do you think about it? 🙂

#fefit, #exercise, #fitmom

 

 

What I tried this week : MIO Motiva

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OK, so I am a shopaholic. Spending money makes me happy, at least temporarily. Until I have to pay that credit card! So…I did something that would not be advisable for anyone with issues being thrifty –  I signed up for groupon (coupons for all sorts of things-tickets, goods etc). Thats like a dieter signing up for a membership with a bakery.

Anyhoo, so I saw this awesome deal for a MIO Motiva on groupon. I had been hunting for a good heart rate monitor for a while. Ones with chest straps just aren’t as comfortable, and my bowflex keeps sliding down during a workout, which can be frustrating.

So, after much deliberation, during which time I lost out on the deal for the MIO Active (which does a few additional things), I went ahead and bought the MIO Motiva for $40. That was two weeks ago…

So far, I love it. I have it set to the 3500 calorie countdown setting. It’s great to see how many calories I burn during a walk or a workout (disappointingly lower than I thought !). I wear it when I take my dogs out, though its hard to hang on to 90 lb dogs while trying to measure my heart rate! But unless you measure your heart rate, it will count the calories burned during exercise as 0.

I tried this out, I started the exercise timer when I took Dog 1 out, measured my heart rate once, and thought it would apply that to the whole period. Now the dog in question is not your regular labrador (i.e relaxed, low energy). He does not heel, and bounces  rather than walks. So measuring my heart rate was nowhere in the vicinity of my attention. I was focused on not being dragged face down on the road, and not letting my dog see the lady with the pram. Since I ran most of the 30 minutes trying to avoid everyone else who decided to be on the road at the same time, I know my heart rate mustve been pretty high. Unfortunately, my MIO couldnt see that and decided that I didnt burn any calories. So when I took Dog 2 for his walk, I constantly measured my heart rate. Dog 2, being your regular lab, took the time to smell the roses (or jasmine in this case), watch lizards crossing the road, and admire nature in general etc. You get the point. He is totally laid back and couldnt care less about ladies with prams. So, while I had the leisure to measure my heart rate frequently, it wasnt that high, given as I took double the time to cover the same distance as I did during my earlier walk. End result- my MIO said I burnt 0 calories!!! I was righteously indignant. But when I worked out this evening and checked my HR every 5 min or so, it seemed pretty accurate and told me I used up 437 calories. (Im so proud of myself!)…so, I think I will still trust the MIO. It can obviously not tell if Im running or not if I dont measure my heart rate, fair enough. And probably my heart rate during the second walk was close to normal, considering how slowly we were walking, so I will give the MIO the benefit of the doubt.

Here’s me wearing my MIO. The black glossy fur is Dog 2 trying to paw that huge watch off my wrist.

Wearing my MIO

Yes, it says ET MIO. Go ahead, laugh. Yes, my crazy family calls me ET! Way back when I was a high school kid and my sister was in college, she got this crazy idea of calling me ET (I dont think either of us remembers why)….Unfortunately the name stuck. And my husband, who was then my boyfriend, delighted in embarrassing me with the name. I was so easily embarrassed back then!! He still calls me ET in public, but I am not so easily humiliated any more-even when the name causes everyone in the room to turn and look for the “ET”! I have been attached to the name ever since…here’s one of my ET dolls from Universal- 

Anyway, so I called my MIO, ET MIO and personalized it with my gender, height weight etc….and it told me I need to eat 1200 calories a day to lose an lb a week!! I never eat so few calories!LOL…

Either way, I love my MIO. It is a fashion disaster with a watch face as big as my wrist, but I switched out the black strap for the orange and grey in the hopes that the bright colors would draw attention away from its size. I dont know if it drew attention away from the size, but the watch is definitely drawing attention. People in stores now comment on it and I even found a couple of people with the same kind of strap n all. Pretty cool!

Next post, I will post about my new Ice cream maker and dehydrator…

Until then, have an awesome day/night/weekend!

FitBit

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Plum FitBit

I obsessed and waited for my fitbit to arrive in the mail like a child awaits a brithday present. I wasnt disappointed. Ive worn my fitbit every hour of the last week, except when taking a shower (its not waterproof)., and the few minutes it took to charge it.

It tracks the number of steps I take, the number of stairs I climb, the calories I burn, the hours I sleep. The fitbit website www.fitbit.com also lets you track the food you eat and exercise that is not walking or running (like swimming, exercise bikes etc). I do not use these features, however.  I also love how it displays cute messages when you pick it up and if you have been sitting for too long 🙂

My fitbit telling me it loves me, lol!

I use myfitness pal to track my food and exercise. Its amazing that the fitbit integrates seamlessly with myfitnesspal. So the calories I burn (tracked by my fitbit) syncs to my myfitnesspal account, and that app (which also I love) auto adjusts the number of calories I can eat for the rest of the day based on my weight goals. How cool is that!!!

It is kind of scary though. How much detail of your life will the world know with such devices in the market? Already, there are complete strangers (the fitbit people) out there who know how many hours I slept last night (and this is with my privacy settings high) which of course they may not care to know. But anyhow, it got me thinking about how much of ourselves we put out there in the world.

That aside, here is what the website looks like:

My fitbit dashboard for today

Obviously I havent been very active today. And I had pizza for lunch!!! Not the way to go if I want to get fit!

Summing it up, I think I love the fitbit now, when its a brand new toy. Will I love it as much a few months down the line? I dont know. I sure hope so, since a $100 toy is a bit expensive to only love for a few weeks!

However, if you have money to spare and are fitness cum gadget enthusiast, this is probably one of the cheaper toys you can get your hands on. It does what it says it does, and its cute too! With something thats tiny, inconspicuous and reasonably accurate, I think its an awesome little e-friend to push you along on the road to fitness.

So, how come you are still sitting in front of a computer? As my fitbit would say “Let’s Go! Rock On friend ” 🙂