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A SNOWY AFTERNOON AND AN EASILY DISTRACTED MIND

As the child naps with his dad, I tip toe around the house looking for my spectacles. Chores can wait. I tell myself. Both the dishwasher and dryer may wake up the tired sleepers. That is my justification to put off these chores. I have cookies to bake but again I will not do it now. Clinking spoons may disturb their dreams.

Yes, I have bills to pay. Maybe I will do that now. I switch on my laptop watching the snow outside. Let me get a blanket and feel comfortable. I get a couple of pillows and a blanket and shift closer to the window! I watch my neighbor clearing snow above his car. This is the second time he is going out in this snow. I wonder why for a minute and then tell myself it’s none of my business.window-564287_960_720

 

I check the weather forecast on my laptop. It’s going to snow most of the weekend. That’s okay by me. I have no plans of going out. I check my emails lazily .I remember the bills. But my card is in the drawer of the nightstand in the bedroom. I see that its due in another week. That can wait I think. No need to go in there and risk waking them up.

I see that my to-do list is long. I have 2 reviews to write one of them being a book review. That means I have to read that book. I download the pdf and start reading. It gets interesting but then I remember, I have to finish a blog post on our recent trip to an aquarium. I see 17 drafts as I open this blog site of mine. Some day I will finish them all I tell myself. As I perfect my introductory sentence, I browse through the pictures of the visit. Maybe I will decide which ones to upload, and edit them now. I am not in that creative mood to write the post, I tell myself. That reminds me of my incomplete photo album on a travel site. Maybe I should do that now. It is quick work plus I will get to cross one thing off my list.

I upload a couple lazily. The snow continues outside. I see a family getting down from their car. A little girl jumps out and starts playing in the snow, as her parents get out their shopping bags. She seems delighted as she collects the falling flakes in her hands and then blows them off. Her mother seems to call her and after what seemed like little reluctance to me from the distance, the girl walks in.The mom closes the door behind the man who takes in the last of the shopping bags. The car lock beeps. The scene once again is white and still except for the falling snow.

I look back at my laptop. I have uploaded 3 pics. I remember my Acadia trip as I caption them. I remember summer and the beaches. I wonder what I would have been doing this Saturday afternoon if it had been a summer weekend. Would I be on a sandy beach or pool? Definitely not indoors I think as I get up to get myself some coffee and cookies.

I ignore the pile of dirty dishes on the way back to my seat by the window.  Most of the cookies in the pack are broken. I sip my coffee and browse for a good broken cookie recipe. A winter service vehicle drives by clearing the road. I hear a little stirring from the bedroom. I get up to check if the child woke up. I see the father patting him back to sleep. I return to my seat. He will be up soon I think. I will soon get busy with chores. The quiet will soon be replaced by singing teddys and tumbling blocks.

This is my hour I think. The pictures have been uploaded. I feel a little productive. I get an idea and this time I tell myself to stick to it. I tell myself not to get distracted as I write about my distracted mind. As I get to the end of my article about this Saturday afternoon, I hear faint calls of mommy. I know it’s time to switch off the laptop and pick up the child. Its time to attend dirty dishes and laundry. It’s time to stack blocks. It’s time to put some snacks on the plate. Its time to switch on the lights on the Christmas tree. It’s time to embrace the chilly evening, glad that the afternoon was well spent.

PC: Pixabey

 

 

 

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RETALE: AN APP THAT HELPS YOU SAVE THIS HOLIDAY SEASON!!!

The Holiday season always excites me. With Christmas around the corner, I HAVE SO MUCH TO DO. Decorate my home and give it that Christmassy feeling. Bake some cookies! Wrap some gifts! There is so much to buy. Groceries, decor, gifts, toys to name a few. Maybe it is also time to upgrade to a new phone or gift Daddy a music player. But all that fun shopping might just leave a big hole in the pocket! So if you are on a budget and a big shopping list (like me) then, say hi to my shopping mate here Retale.

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Retale makes looking for deals easier than ever before. Just download this app, set your location by zip code and you are good to go. You can also choose your favourite retailers. Now type in what you want (From baby food to smartphone). It will tell you the best deals for them around you.

I made full use of this app on Black Friday and hope to get more shopping done this Christmas season. We had a big list from a soundbar to toys and some winter wear. I was sure to look up on Retale as well and just like every app, Retale also sends notifications, in this case on weekly ads from retailers.

So that Black Friday morning  I woke up to notifications on deals on the items in my list and I had the day planned by breakfast. After all, what’s better than a 50% off? A 70% off and who told me where that was? RETALE of course!!! With Retale by my side, I was sure to hit the stores that offered the best deals and grab them all with both hands.  I could happily live that day again! So, that Friday evening I was home with all of that stuff saving almost $100. Don’t you believe me? See these awesome deals.

The big pluses

  1. It’s really really easy to get started. Okay again really easy. Why am I repeating it? Because it’s that simple. Download the app here. Then enter your zip code. Select your favourite stores and you are all set.
  2. It doesn’t ask you any personal details like your email id, Fb account, phone number or any thing for that matter. So you don’t have to sign up, confirm email or fill a form, create an account to get started.
  3. It brings all the weekly deals to your smartphone. Like those paper flyers but only digital. Clicking on some products will also take you to the retailers product page.
  4. You can create a shopping list. Now, what’s great about typing in a shopping list? The number of deals that show up right in front of the item typed. You tell Retale what you want and Retale pulls all the deals on that item in a close by radius. (You can also type in the quantity)
  5. There are coupons too. Save your coupons to use them instore or online whenever you want to (before they expire of course).

Now you don’t have to search for sales online or skim through your mails to save on those headphones. Just get RETALE, shop to your heart’s content and save some along the way!! Happy shopping.

Disclaimer: I have corresponded with Retale to facilitate this post, however, it is NOT a sponsored post and all opinions expressed are my own.

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MY FIRST SOUNDS AND WORDS FLASHCARDS REVIEW

As parentswe have all eagerly waited for our child’s first words.  We have been delighted with all those boo boos and gagaas! And, when the words did come along we have marked the date and celebrated!!! Talking is indeed a big milestone and deserves all the encouragement a parent can offer.

This brings us to today’s topic Flashcards! Let me be honest here. I was not a huge fan of flashcards before I knew Kim or her cards. Kim is a licensed speech and language pathologist (and feeding specialist) and has been working for over 23 years with children from birth to three. When she explained me about them, what caught my attention was her claim that they represent early sounds kids can produce and that there are NO OTHER set of flashcards that targets early sounds!

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A lot of flashcards available to parents are  challenging to the little ones. Yes those Bananas and trees may as well be appealing  but that little crawler in your house isn’t ready for it. That’s what Kim is trying to tell you. It takes time to get to the complex words and these cards help you take one step at a time. By avoiding challenging words and introducing the easy sounds you are making learning fun and enjoyable for the child. 

My First Sounds and Words Flashcards contains over 40 flashcards/pictures (yes you read that right! OVER 40) that are easiest for your little one to say. The flashcards contain pictures of sounds and words that are acquired first by a child (M, B, P, H & N). They include a wide variety of words like nouns, pronouns, prepositions, action words among others. There is also an option to personalise a few. They come with an explanation on how to use them and make the most of them.

My 2-year-old adores them. Many have already been familiar to him now and can vocalise a lot from the cards. He relates the pictures with the sound giving you the impression that he is reading.

Simple, colourful these cards introduce your little one to the sounds he or she can easily and naturally  produce. The bright colours and pictures are sure to engage little minds. A big plus for me is the various category of words included. Everyday words like food, veggies, animal sounds, parts of the body among others that are a part of daily conversations.  And once he or she has mastered the sounds, fret not, the cards are still useful. There are action words to say and imitate. So as your baby grows into a toddler he or she is going to learn ‘up’ and ‘hop’ thanks to the cards.

You can buy these cards from Etsy and do visit The Speech Mamma blog for more tips and advice.

Disclaimer:  I was sent the products free of cost to facilitate this post, however, all opinions expressed above are my own.

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A PLAY HOUSE STORY

One things that comes along with moving is Boxes. No, a lot of Boxes. After our big move last January, we ended up with loads of boxes.

So what do you do when you are stuck at home with a toddler and loads of boxes on a snowy day? You glue them and build a play house and that is exactly what I did.

Here is our play house built in January. I used some wrapping paper and letter stickers from Dollar Tree to finish the look.img_1995

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A little balcony …

 

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..That always supported things it was not meant to like the milk can and I told you I had a lot of boxes 

As months passed, the play house became a favorite of even the neighbors and their kids. While they appreciated my creativity and craftsmanship I commended myself  of a house that stood the test time. The snow did pass but the house thrived in critical weather. There were storms (read pounding) , hurricanes (read tearing), rains (especially when my son thought of enjoying his yogurt in the house) among other minor winds. Needless to say I was quick to patch and seal the distortions. However, after August, the house started looking like this

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It looked pathetic in my house and though I ignored it for a while, one rainy afternoon I decided to give it a new look.

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An all-star print to make it look a little livelier. However, I am not betting on its survival till the next winter.

 

 

 

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TWO DAYS WELL SPENT AT ACADIA

Beautiful views here, beautiful views there and beautiful views everywhere. That is Acadia National Park for you. Abundant with nature’s wonders (and Lobster Joints) this is a nature lover’s (and a food lover’s) paradise as it serves tall mountains, blue ocean, lush green jungles, clear lakes, rich avifauna and colorful blooms all in one plate. Its a place to relax, wonder, admire and soak in every bit of nature.

Day 1

We first stopped at the or rather climbed to the  Hulls Cove Visitor Center for the pass. Take your time here  and don’t be in a rush. Grab the maps and other info leaflets. Talk to the people there to make the best out of your visit.

Post the visiting center we drove down the Park Loop Road.

Park loop is a great way to savor the beauty of Acadia especially if you are a first time visitor and haven’t done much research like me. It’s a well-maintained and well-marked road that makes sure you don’t miss any major attraction of the park like the sand beach, Thunder Hole, Otter point to name a few. Part of the road allows only one-way traffic, which you may want to keep in mind while you drive.

We first stopped at the Thunder Hole. Where the crashing waves hit the rocky shore for a thunderous boom owing to the rock crevice leading to a cavern with air trapped inside. p1110868

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The sea was calm during our visit hence did not get to hea much of a thunder.

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We skipped the Beaches because it was quite cold. After stopping for views and pictures at various points we headed to Jordan Pond House for an early lunch.p1110883

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At Jordan Pond House get an outdoor seating if possible to enjoy the view while savoring the delicious food. They are not really fussy about the time you spend there, so no need to rush. I loved their lobster roll and housemade ice cream. And whilst there don’t forget to ask for their beet chips. They are great! Post lunch, walked to the Jordan Pond and stacked some pebbles.p1110905

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After taking rest back at the hotel, we headed up the Cadillac Mountain for the sunset.The drive itself is a treat to the eyes. As you drive up the 3.5-mile summit road, the islands  become smaller and smaller dots amidst the vast sea.  It feels like you will drive into the clouds if you had not tuned with the curve. Once atop, turn any side to be greeted by spectacular views of the park with its mountain peaks, lakes, ocean and islands.   The sunset was great and worth battling the chill and wind.

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Beautiful Evening atop Cadillac Mountain

 

Day 2

We began by driving to the Echo Lake Beach in Mount Desert Island. If you ever wanted one of those pictures with beautiful hills in the background and clear reflection of yourself in the water with ripples and the scenery along, then this is the opportunity. It’s a tranquil beauty. My favorite of the trip.img_7557

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Our second stop was Seawall, which is a natural seawall by the way and then we drove up to Bass Harbor Head Lighthousep1110972

 

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We spotted this little cutie

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The lighthouse and the views from there

Next, we headed to the Schooner Head Overlook a beautiful scenic part of Acadia overlooking Frenchman Bay and its Egg Rock Island with the Lighthouse. We took a trail down from the deck to look for  the sea cave. While I was content to stay atop the cave my husband and a few other tourists went down to find that cave. Apparently, it was too slippery to enter and hence they just clicked a couple of pics of the entrance.

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Tip:  Don’t go looking for it during high tide and if you can’t balance on slippery surfaces like me. It’s dangerous so do your research before you decide to go there. This is a great link about it.

Bar Harbor was our last stop before heading home. We walked the Shore Path before shopping for souvenirs. It has some great harbor views.The boats, yachts, cruise ships, islands, birds and of course fellow tourists. Neat, pleasant and a great sunset point I was told.

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Last but not the least we looked for souvenirs. Lined with shops, opportunities are plenty and so are the options (Tshirts, antiques, handicrafts, jewelry, jams, maple syrup, Tea, candy and candles and many more) We picked ours at The Acadia Shops.

So, that is a summary of my escapade to Acadia for you. I know we did skip a few attractions but we are sure to back again when we get a chance.

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5 THINGS I WISH YOU KNEW BEFORE WELCOMING NEW PARENTS INTO YOUR HOUSE

Knock. Knock. We made it! Finally, we managed to get ourselves together and show up at your doorstep. I know we are late but we made it. It’s going to be fun. Long talks over dinner. Wine and laughs. Just like old times! Oh no wait. Its not. We will not skip the wine. But our long tals are sure to be interupted. We have a baby now, and here is what I wish you knew before you welcomed the new us into your house. The parents us.
1. NO WE ARE NOT EXPECTING GIFTS
We spent last few months taking care of the baby and doing little else. A little socialising is going to do us a ton of good. And that’s all we are looking for. You don’t have to spend your this weeks grocery budget on a fancy toy. Or worse yet, we don’t need that goodie bag with all those hand me downs. Save yourself some trouble. We came here to have some conversations and some good laughs.
2. WE DON’T NEED ADVICE, CRITICISM AND COMPARISONS
I know you have been dying to see if I lost my baby weight and I know you have been keeping tab on all our baby’s milestones and I also know you have tonnes of advice. I know your son had already started crawling at this age. I also know that as new parents we have been doing a few things wrong. But let us be. Allow us to make our mistakes and learn from them. No, I am not disputing your expertise in the subject (that charming 1st grader of yours with all straight A’s) but we are just tired of hearing do’s and don’ts. Of course when we need your advice we will ask and please be understanding at that time but as of now let’s talk about the weather. Did you hear about the new spring sale?
3. WATCH HOW YOUR KIDS BEHAVE AROUND OUR BABY
I would really love if our kids end up as best of pals like us and we will work towards that soon. We will visit zoos and parks together. We will travel and watch movies together. We will have those barbeques and campfires. But as of today my son is a few months old and your kids have to understand that its a baby and not a toy. Trying to lift him or pulling hands, legs or hair is not acceptable behavior. Pressuring me to wake a sleeping baby is also not. Kindly explain to them and it would be best if you had the conversation before we arrived.
4. DON’T FORCE FEED US
You are wonderful people and I really appreciate the amount of work that went into getting that dinner ready. But don’t force feed us anything. Sure I used to love that pudding but now my preferences have changed. It happens to some people postpartum. Again, please don’t take it personally. I am still going to call you when I decide the menu for my childs first birtday party.
Maybe your son had avacado when he was 6 months old but I would like to wait till 8. Also, if my baby is trying a new food, it would rather be at home. Please don’t press much and make it hard for us to refuse. There are other ways of being helpful and nice like packing leftover food, that we can use for dinner tonight. It would save us some work. Thank-you!
5. IF SOMEONE IS SICK PLEASE LET US KNOW.
This might come across as insensitive but we have had our share of sleepless nights. A blocked nose is only going to make it worse. Please let us keep the baby away from the sick person even if it’s just cold. Call us prior if you can. even last minute is okay. We can reschedule.
Sorry if I sound rude. Sorry if I am expecting too much. It’s just that things have been rough. Just give us some time and it will be like the good old days again! Drop by sometime.
Lots of Love

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BEST CATEGORY OF TOYS FOR A 2 YEAR OLD

Now I do have certain considerations when I buy toys. Okay, I have a lot of considerations. I usually forget the dollars I paid as I see my child delightfully open a package and examine it. Ah! The squeals of joy. However, I thank myself when I see my child absorbed playing with it. Why? because well, that stops him from checking out the electric sockets for one and I can finally fold laundry while keeping an eye on him. Having said that, 

Yes, If you run on a budget it’s quite difficult to decide which one to buy. There are untouched toys in the upper rack of my closet laid to rest forever or worse broken and buried at the bottom of my dustbin. We all make those bad buying decisions which we regret again and again. 

While I cannot assure you this toy is going to be a hit with your toddler or with this one he is going to master a math skill, I can give you a few best toys that most2-year-olds like.

1. Mr. potato head:

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First the classic and the best. Watch in wonder as the child struggles to fit the various parts into the potato head to get it right.

2. Building Toys:

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Bricks and Legos. Build that tower or a train track. Colorful and engaging bricks are bound to be a hit with a 2-year-old.

3. Playdough:

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For at least an hour watch your child mold and fold. Great for fine motor skills.

4. Playhouses and Tents:

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Children love them. Playhouses, tents, tunnels. They are sure to give you all the time you want to prep that dinner.

5. Blocks:

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For some stacking, nesting and understanding size and shape. My fav is Melissa and Dough Animal Stacker.

6. Toy vehicles:

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Vroom Vroom. Trucks, Cars, Tractors bring in all with wheels. Little ones will run them all over. Make a little slide with some spare cardboard to give yourself a few minutes of a long distance call.

7. Board Books:

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I will soon list out my  favorite ones but board books are simply awesome. They build language and vocabulary. Read together and bond over the colorful pictures and characters. 

8. Balls:

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Sharpen those reflexes and hand-eye coordination by playing catch or any game for that matter. Balls are fun.

9. Dress-ups:

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Like a fireman or a princess. Put on daddy’s shirt and pretend daddy is home. You will want to take a video of this one.

10. Toy gadgets:

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Like phones, remotes and tablets and laptops.That will make them feel a little more adultish.

11. Soft Toys:

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The soft pals are great for some pretend play or otherwise simply play.  Little children adore them and I am sure a 2-year-old is no different. Get those penguins and teddys

12. Bubbles:

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It’s too much fun chasing bubbles so wave the wand and collect some giggles!

That’s pretty much it if you ask me except of course house old stuff like pots, pans and pillows. But, I am saving that for another post. Do let me know your picks!!