Thursday, November 3, 2016

Baby on it's way? I got you covered :)

Watching my 10 month old daughter Gia (who I fondly call G) hold on to furniture and cruise along, with the unsteady gait and the threat of falling on her tush anytime, I am filled with pride and joy! It reminds me of all the times I dreamed of this moment, and how time has flown. Having at least 5 pregnant friends currently, who are among those the internet has successfully managed to overwhelm with it's bottomless pits of information, I am reminded of how I was in a similar situation the same time last year, frantically looking online to see "what newborns need" and "what items a baby should have". Since I didn't have someone to spoon-feed me with this information, I thought I could be the good one here and do my bit :)

What follows in a comprehensive list of what you need for your newborn (into infancy), which I compiled a couple months ago, drawing completely from my own experience.
Use your discretion to buy these items/add them to your registry. 

- Diapers (the hospital should give you a stock in the beginning) Pampers worked better for G than Huggies, but each baby is different. Don't buy plenty in the beginning because you don't know what your baby's size will be. Some completely skip the NB size and start at 0-3 months. So see what the hospital gives then ask the baby daddy to do some diaper buying rounds :)
- Diaper changing pad/table
- Disposable liners for the changing pad/table so it's easy to clean or waterproof pads
- Wipes: Buy the non scented ones, or lightly scented ones from Pampers. They're good for baby's skin. I always wet them with water anyway, then rinse completely and use. Don't use any fancy stuff, there is a chance of baby developing diaper rash. 
- Diaper rash cream (Touch wood, G never had it so never had to use it. That's why I won't be the best person to ask about this :P) or just get petroleum jelly
- Diaper bag, get one with lots of compartments
- Diaper Genie to dispose the dirty ones

The norm is to bathe only after the umbilical cord falls off. Till then only sponge baths. 
- Tub 
- Small mug
- Aveeno shower gel
- Aveeno moisturizer (only start using after a month or 2)

- Aquaphor ointment for dry or irritated skin
- Infant Tylenol (ask your doc, I only kept it as safety when she got her first set of shots)
- Gas Drops (Little Remedies; these things are literally drops of heaven. A lifesaver)
- Vitamin D drops whenever you start formula (again, ask the doc if needed)
- Bulb Syringe (to clear a stuffy nose) which you may get from the hospital, or get Nose Frida
- Digital Thermometer

- 5-6 long onesies (bodysuits)
- 5-6 short onesies
- Caps
- Socks
- Bibs
- Burp cloths
- Pants
- Hooded towels
- Washcloths
- Ready swaddles
- Muslin swaddle cloths
- Mittens to prevent them from scratching their face
- Cotton blankets

Get all sizes in the beginning, ranging from NB - 3-6 months. 

- Very soft bristled hairbrush
- Pacifiers
- Nail clippers for babies
- Nursing bras
- Nursing pads (if you need them only)
- Rattles and small soft toys 
- Laundry detergent (I use Dreft)
- Humidifier
- Teethers
- Activity Gym

- Boppy/feeding pillow
- Lanolin (ointment for healing cracked or bleeding nipples)
- Breast Pump (see what your insurance is covering. Try and get the Medela double electric one)
- Bottle Warmer (Dr. Browns and the first years, both are good)
- Hands free pumping bra
- High Chair (needed only later)

CRIB/BASSINET (Wherever you're planning on keeping the baby)
- A music mobile works wonders to soothe them to sleep.
- Contrary to popular belief, I bought a small pillow for G when she was about 6-10 weeks and she was very comfortable with it.
- Mattress or some other good padding

- Dr. Brown's bottles worked the best. They have a special tube to prevent bubbles so lesser chances of gas. Gas stinks. Both literally and figuratively.
- Bottle cleaning brush
- Bottles/parts dishwasher rack

I never used particular baby oil, only coconut oil occasionally. 

- Car Seat (WE have the Graco one, works super) Comes with a stroller as a set. 
- Infant swing (Graco too)
- Portable pack and play (Again, Graco)

You are probably going to register for most of the stuff and get it then. Don't fret about the other stuff. Sometimes your baby daddy will probably be running out in the middle of the night because you suddenly ran out of diapers :) Just remember to enjoy this phase! Having a baby is awesome no doubt, but being pregnant is a lot of fun too!!

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Kids say the darndest things :)

Being a Pediatric Occupational Therapist by profession primarily, I have had my share of listening to the funniest, most random, and sometimes even awe-inspiring things, kids have to say. Sometimes, I am taken aback; at other times, I simply marvel at the beauty of their tiny brains and its complexities.
Here are some anecdotes that made it to the top of my list, which I think definitely make for an interesting read!

1) Teacher to a 7 year old, who for the first time that week, completed his math assignment without any adults prompting or distractions. She wrote 'awesome' on his assignment sheet.
Teacher - "Do you know why I wrote 'awesome' on your paper?"
(expecting to hear that he did his work without any distractions or assistance)
Boy - "Because I am?"

It's that obvious, really. 

2) Sometimes, we forget how literally kids take things. Whatever you eat, goes into your tummy. Isn't that the basic principle they teach us in school?
5 year old boy to pregnant teacher - "Why is your tummy so big?"
Teacher - "That's because my baby is inside."
Boy (with an incredulous look on his face) - "You ate your baby?"

What kind of a mom does that?

3) Me to 8 year old boy - "Do you like football or baseball?"
    Boy - "Baseball."
    Me - "Do you like baseball or football?"
    Boy - "Football."

What I hear last is what my answer will be. 

4) 8 year old boy handing his book over to me - "Turn this page for me."
    Me - "You can do it yourself."
    Boy - "I can't."
    Me - "Use your nails."
    Boy - "I don't have any."
    Me - "Did you cut them?"
    Boy - "No, I ate them."

You should try them too, they're really tasty.
5) 7 year old girl to me - "I can't work today, I didn't sleep well last night."
     Me - "Why?"
     Girl - "I had a headache."
     Me - "Are you feeling better now?"
     Girl - "Yes, in the morning my head went away."

... and that's how the healing process takes place.

6) Maybe they do know more than us sometimes.
    Me - "Look at this diamond."
    8 year old - "Miss K, it's a rhombus, not a diamond. You need to learn your shapes."

Maybe I do.

7) Overheard in a classroom:
    Teacher to the students - "Pick the odd one out from the following - Doctor, Teacher, Baby,       Lawyer."
    One of the boys - "Baby!"
    Teacher - "That is correct, but why do you say that?"
    Boy - (Who knew the answer, that the rest are all professions while being a baby is not. But here's how he words it) "Well, a doctor is a doctor, a teacher is a teacher, a lawyer is a lawyer, and a baby is... well, just a baby."

That was way too easy.

8) When we were approaching Memorial Day
     Teacher - "Monday we have no school... because?"
     Boy - "Because it's a holiday!"
     Teacher - "Yes, but why?" (wanting to hear that it's Memorial Day)
     Boy - "I just told you, because it's a holiday." (Sits down, as if the conversation is over)

Teachers, you should really listen to us sometimes. 

9) Me - "M, how was your trip to China?"
    M (9 year old) - "Good, but I didn't understand anybody there. They all speak Chinese."
    Me - "You must have enjoyed the food there!" (Since M is a Chinese boy)
    M - "I did! I ate a muffin at Starbucks!"

When in China....

10) My Speech Therapist friend was talking to a group of children about imaginary characters. After that conversation was over, she said:
      SLP - "Okay, let's talk about the real world and real people now."
      6 year old boy - "Okay! I am going to conquer the world someday!"
      SLP rolls her eyes, saying - "We are done talking about imaginary stuff."
      6 year old boy - (Looking devastated) "What!? That's not going to happen?!"

Reality checks can be brutal!

11) Me - "Okay, let's talk about names of places where people live."
      Girl - "The street!"

There is no arguing with that. Kids observe. 

12) We were doing a handwriting assignment about 'My favorite things'.
      Me - "What car does your father have, J?"
       J - "He has a Honda!"
      Me - "And why is that your favorite thing in the whole world?"
      J - "Because it takes me to Chuck-e-cheese!"

That is its sole purpose in life, and it does that well.

13) I was introducing a student of mine to a new teacher who was in his 60's and balding.
      Me - "R, this is Mr. Tom. Let's go say hello to him."
      R - "Sure."
      In Mr. Tom's room:
      R - "Hi, I'm R, where did all your hair go?"

Honesty is the best policy, isn't it?

14) A student was making fun of a girl who could not run as fast as he could.
      Student - "She is so slow!"
      Teacher - "That's not nice, put yourself in her shoes and then you will understand."
      Student - (Actually went and put the girl's shoes on) "They don't fit! Now what?"

I did what you said, didn't I?

15) Teacher was reading out the list of homework to her class.
       Little girl goes up to her discreetly with her hand bunched up and says:
       Girl - "If you don't give me homework, I will give you $5."

Sacrifices kids make, sigh... 

I'm sure I will have more to add to this list. I am privileged after all, to work with this population!
Happy reading!

~ Krupa

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Dear Instagram (ab)users

I love Instagram. I am all for it. Correction: I am all for people using it for the purpose it is meant. What makes it hugely popular is that it transforms ordinary looking pictures into beautiful ones, all thanks to the numerous filters. Yet, why am I seeing a load of crappy pictures all over the app? Some users just don't get it.
I apologize in advance to some of the readers, but for the mere intent of getting my point across, the filter between my brain and my fingers (that are furiously typing currently) is turned off for this particular post.

1) Collages
A collage made from anything more than 3-4 pictures is downright despicable. The more pictures you add, the more it looks like a misshapen quilt out of Old Mother Hubbard's closet.

2) Kids
I love kids, yes, I think they are absolutely adorable. But trust me, even the most loved people in your life are only interested in occasionally watching your child smile or laugh or do something stupid. Remember when your kid yawned? Barfed? Pointed to a random object? Mouthed every inanimate thing in their reach? Good for you, the whole world might just not want to... you get the point (I sure as hell hope you do).

3) TBT
Throwback time (more commonly tbt) most likely refers to some even that occurred years ago, or maybe at least months. Last week is definitely NOT throwback. If you want to post a picture which you think makes you look like Jennifer Aniston, just do so without feeling obliged to title it. Stop the unnecessary overuse of this term.

4) Food
NEWSFLASH! You can actually eat something without posting it on Instagram! :D
Exotic foods, well plated dishes are a delight to the visual senses. If you think you're a culinary Goddess, great! But for pete's sake don't upload pictures of a messy looking salad drenched in dressing, or a half eaten sandwich with cheese droppings and bread crumbs all over. There is a reason you are not the official photographer for The Food Network.

5) Weather
What is it with people uploading weather updates? If you have a great shot at the beach on a sunny day, or of the first snow fall, or some pretty foliage in the rains, share it with the world by all means. But if you think by posting the weather forecast for the week you're doing anybody a favor, think again.

6) What the hell
Randomness is art. Doomed are the people who think thus. And even more doomed are those subject to this nonsense. A messy table, things strewn around your living room, is NOT art. You don't need your camera phone in your hand, you need a broom.

7) Announcements
The banner announcing the flea market next sunday in your neighborhood? The board with the happy hour timings at the bar around the block from your office? Yes, come to think of it, the Valencia filter does make those look prettier. Smh.

If you aren't, please do. That's the whole point of this app!

9) #Don't #use #hashtags #for #every #word
Also, hashtags appear at the beginning of a word/phrase that is trending, not at the end.
Point in case --> Nothing# beats# my# mother's# home# made# food#

Ugh. #Epicfail

See the comments section below? Feel free to add your pet peeves!

Monday, December 30, 2013

Chocolate cream cupcakes

For a novice baker like me who is extremely enthusiastic to try out new recipes (partly because of the huge kitchen I am currently blessed with and partly because of the cute aprons and bake ware I get to play around with; and oh, of course, because of my love for cooking!) it was an easy task to have at least fifty tabs open with 'cupcake recipes' by the likes of Paula Deen and Rachel Ray, and experiment with various recipes till I finally found something that yielded the most finger-licking-ly scrumptious batch of cupcakes.
The recipe that follows is a mix of 3-4 recipes I found online. So you may call it the best of all worlds ;)

Yield: The quantity of ingredients mentioned below is sufficient to completely fill a baking pan of 24 mini cupcakes. Attached below is a picture of the pan I used. 

1/4 cup all purpose flour
1/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 large egg
1/2 cup buttermilk (unsalted)

For the frosting:
1 pack of Nestle semi-sweet chocolate chips
Whipped cream (optional)
1 cup fat free milk
Sugar (adjust quantity to suit individual taste)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line the baking pan with cupcake liners. 

In a large bowl, mix the flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt. In a separate bowl, beat the egg and mix in the oil and buttermilk. Sift the dry ingredients and add them to the wet, until the mixture is smooth and well combined (Note: To avoid lumps, mix in the dry ingredients one spoon at a time). 
An electric mixer or beater is not necessary, you can even do this manually but make sure to stir it with quick even strokes. 

Use a small pouring spoon (to avoid spilling the batter onto the tray) and fill the liners up to 2/3rd their capacity. This is essential because the cupcakes will rise when being baked. Bake in the oven for about 15 minutes, turning the tray once, half way through. Use a toothpick to check whether the cupcakes are done. It should come out completely dry, devoid of any uncooked batter. 

While the cupcakes are baking, start a pan on the stove for the frosting. I started by adding half a cup of the milk and slowly adding the chocolate chips, continually stirring while doing so. Gradually add the remainder of the milk, with about 2 tablespoons of sugar, making sure the mixture isn't losing it's smooth, creamy consistency. Adding whipped cream to the mixture is optional. 

Once the cupcakes are done, let them cool completely before frosting them. The frosting sets once it cools so let the pan cool before you start. 
You can add chopped strawberries for added decoration or use sprinkles as a topping. 


Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Hello suburbia :)

Here it is. The day has arrived. It has finally happened. My husband and I have purchased our first home together and we are now new 'home-owners'. The feel of those keys in my hand, the smell of freshly cleaned carpet and newly painted walls sends me in a tizzy from which I do not want to recover anytime soon.

It's true, you don't really appreciate the suburbs unless you've lived in a crazy cramped city like San Francisco. Plenty of free parking space, cleaner air to breathe, actually being able to see a clear blue sky and white wispy clouds.

Don't misunderstand me; I believe San Francisco is one of the best cities in the world. For the rest of my life and no matter where on the globe I might find myself living, I'll proudly tell anyone who asks that I once lived in San Francisco! The reason I put up for so long with issues like parking and the ginormous amounts of rent was only because I couldn't bear the idea of being away from this gorgeous city. Sometimes my husband and I would decide to try new restaurants not because they were well reviewed or the menu seemed appetizing, but because when I looked it up on Google maps and selected 'street view', I would discover they had a parking lot.
I was afraid that once we left, we would never make it back to 'city life'. After almost two and a half years of being here, I still can't look at the skyline without losing my breath for a minute. Stand anywhere in the city and soak in its majestic aura. I guarantee you'll go weak in the knees. I actually thrive on stimulus bordering on chaos, so navigating my fat SUV through the hordes of people trying to make their way to the Caltrain station with wobbly coffee mugs threatening to fall out of their hands actually enthralled me.
My city can be coarse and brutal, but it is strong and proud to be alive.

But I want to drive five miles and have it take only 2 minutes. I want to stop flushing thousands of dollars down the toilet every year in rent and own a home. I want to be able to host my family and friends during occasions or even generally, without having to worry about space and where to put them up.
I really wanted San Francisco to be all these things but maybe part of the process of growing up is realizing the futility of trying to force everything in the city to change to suit my needs. I can't force the homeless to stop trying to wash my windshield every time I stop to fill gas. I can't bargain and bring down the prices of rent. I can't urge more people to use public transport to avoid being stuck for hours in the horror of city traffic.

So here we are; and I take one look at my beautiful home and know that we've made the right decision.

Friday, October 25, 2013

Goodies - October '13 box

All good things come to an end.
An apt quote to what was a great subscription box service, run by WalmartLabs.
The website bids a warm farewell to all its loyal subscribers and hints at something new bubbling in the pot. Well, we're very excited and look forward!

Until then, let's enjoy the last box of goodies that made its way to my doorstep :)

October 2013 Taster's Box

Peachy keen happy squeeze yogurt - Great tasting, easy squeeze bottle, can't go wrong!

K nourish cereal on the go - Very feasible to carry, for people with crazy work hours who are not allowed the luxury of a relaxed breakfast at work in the morning. The raisins and pecans tasted great. 

Enchanted Chai (Spiced Tea Latte) - Not a big fan of this one.

Guylian Belgian Chocolate - Rich, creamy, delicious indulgence. 

Cherry cobbler gluten free bar - Honestly, I love cherries as a fruit. But in any form other than that I simply don't enjoy it as much. And Gluten free? Apologies to all the gluten free diet lovers but it sure does bring down the taste for sure. 

Easy Make Focaccia Mix - Haven't tried this as yet but I am excited to! Anything to make it easier to enjoy the home made deliciousness of this bread. 

Choco-Pie Fluffy Biscuit - Loved this as a kid. Love it even now. Chocolate and marshmallow in a delectable blend to make this soft, fluffy tasty biscuit a great treat!

Goodbye Goodies; thanks for all the sweetness you brought to my life :)

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Goodies - September '13 box - Presenting here, my box of joy for September :)

September 2013 Taster's box

Hummus Crisps - Delicious and flavorful air-popped chickpea crisps. Not only are they nutritious, they come pretty close to tasting like the ingredients of one of my favorite cuisines, Mediterranean- tomatoes, basil, feta cheese. Yum. 

Savory Tea - Sipped into this thinking it might taste like what it says it is, tea. To put it simply, it tastes different. Made with organic veggies, wild herbs and decaf tea, the recipe is something that can't go wrong! But may not be my daily pick of the afternoon when I want to kick back and enjoy my book with a cuppa. 

Greek Yogurt Chocolate Bar - See the word 'Perfect' on the wrapper? Pretty much sums up what this bar tastes like. Packed with protein and fiber, it's hard to believe this rich chocolate and creamy yogurt combination is actually good for you. Delicioso. 

Flavored water - The healthiest drink in the world splashed with zero-calorie sweeteners and natural fruit flavor. It seemed a little strong to me but nonetheless, I'd be happy to have it!

Pitted snack olives - Olives on the go? I'll take it! Seasoned with natural sea salt, these savory olives are juicy and packed with flavor. One of my favorite pizza toppings converted to a snack in a convenient packet. 

Fuji Apple Chips - Sweet and crisp, high in fiber and low in calories; being a fruit lover, this is happiness in a packet :)

Honey - Small suitably sized packet of honey, perfect to carry in my purse or while traveling. 

Monday, September 23, 2013

Courage, love and a Mother.

I walked into the office with my file in hand, I thought I was running late,
But she smiled and warmly shook my hand, "I'm early, you did not make me wait".

She was there to discuss her son's progress, how he was doing in therapy and more,
Was he getting the necessary support he needed, what is his prognosis, what is in store.

I walked her through the treatment plan, the goals I had proposed for him,
She smiled at every word I said, beaming, "I have big plans for him!"

I took in her illuminated eyes and her nervous, anxious smile,
After a couple hours we were done talking, and I closed my humongous file.

He had quite a complicated diagnosis, this boy, with physical as well as cognitive delays,
How she could help him be as close to typical as possible, she had thought of a thousand ways.

"I'm a single mother," she explained to me, giving me the family and medical history,
My parents are no more, I have no family, I was adopted when I was three."

I waited patiently, and she went on, "I was on a trip by myself when I first saw my boy,
It was in an orphanage in Guatemala, his sight brought me such joy!"

"They told me he won't have an easy childhood, he had spina bifida at birth,
He might never grow typically, the doctor said, for what it's worth."

I was gripped by her story, her courage, her love, and could not look away,
"He is the one I live for," she said, "we only have each other this day."

"I knew he would have a challenging childhood, I knew life would never be the same,
But he is what I was, years ago, and not adopting him would be a shame."

She looked at the clock, and got up to leave, "Have to get to work! she said,
I choked back tears and smiled a weak smile, out of the office, the way I led.

She drove away, leaving me thinking, how strong and courageous a person she was,
I tried to pin down a certain quality, that made her the way she was.

I thought hard, and thought some more, and then I concluded- it was no other,
but the simple virtue of her wanting to be a mother.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Goodies - August '13 box - I must say I am extremely impressed with the usage of the new box. Space saving and very efficient. Bravo Team Goodies!

August 2013 Taster's Box

Bright Alo drink - The bottle I got was a mix of orange and passion fruit flavors. Extremely refreshing. Loved the pulp. The 'Less Sugar' tag on top? Very very enticing. 

Hidden Valley Ranch Sunflower Seeds - I looked it up on this page that these can be roasted and had with ranch. I followed that exactly. Made me a very happy girl :)

Tangy Zangy Twisties - These tart, chewy and sugary twisties had been a part of my box before, was my first thought. No complaints whatsoever, but on careful observation I realized these were different flavors; also, they were a delightful MIX of flavors. Well played!

Veggie Sticks - Very attractive nutrition facts. Great, airy, light snack which I thought went superbly with Ranch! Which pretty much negates some of the positive nutrition facts here but oh well :)

Sea Salt & Butter Poplets - What would normally annoy me by lurking at the bottom of my popcorn packet came as a pleasant surprise! Perfectly crisp and buttery.

Cafe Blues - Coffee in a packet! Taking convenience to a whole new level.

What are you waiting for? Here you go! Register yourself @ and place yourself at the receiving end of this delicious-ness.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Goodies - July '13 box - It's that time of the month again! No, no, not what you're thinking; this is when my goodies box waits at my doorstep  for me to dig into it and make my tummy a tab bit happier :)

This time the box looked a little different. I wouldn't call it smaller, I'd say more compact. The products inside fit in perfectly, and that's what matter right? I personally prefer this just-right size with lesser packing material. And the change in color to green from blue? Good choice!

July 2013 Taster's Box

Jalapeno sea salt chips- Did you notice the packet in my picture looks a little deflated? It does, and that's because it is empty. And the reason is, that this packet was left alone with me for a few minutes before I could take a picture and post it on the blog. These chips do not taste exceptional when you bite into them, but the taste that they leave in your mouth and the punch that the spice of the jalapeno packs in the end is awesome!

Multi seed crackers - Crunchy, healthy, but taste better with an accompaniment rather than plain. Try hummus, salsa, queso, whatever works for you! I slathered some cream cheese on it and devoured the sinful combination. Hey, the crackers are healthy, so the cheese compensates for that. Right?

Cosmos Cinnamon Crunch - Baked corn, crisp and light, dusted with cinnamon. Great idea; satisfies the craving for a snack as well as a sweet tooth. 

Cherry Lovers- I love fruit chews and cherries, so this combination could not possibly go wrong in any way! I haven't tasted all 9 flavors yet, but the ones I did tasted really good! This packet brings the warm, fuzzy, gummy bear kind of joy :)

Orange Fruit water - C'mon you pessimist, view the bottle in his picture as half-full and not the other way round. Okay, honestly, the reason this bottle is half empty? Point fingers at my husband this time. Refreshing, good taste, soda provides the subtle pop, definitely a must-have when the temperatures outside are in the threatening 80's and 90's!

Moral of the July 2013 Taster's box - Take pictures of the products before you dig into them. Because they're so darned good, it's clearly not possible to stop after a bite/sip!

Go beat the heat and get yourself some goodies goodness @