DIY Very Hungry Caterpillar Costume and Beautiful Butterfly Costume

So this post is about a year late but I figure the timing is still right.  Miss K’s taste in costumes has become increasingly more complex over the last several years.  When she was 10 months old, I decided she would be a flower for Halloween.  At a year old, I decided she’d make an adorable elephant (she did).  At two years old, SHE decided she wanted to be an alligator princess.  Luckily Carter’s made an alligator costume that year so I pinned a crown on it and called it a happy Halloween.  Last year, at three years old, she said she wanted to be a “half rainbow, half Anna and Elsa butterfly.”  Sigh.  Seriously?

After thinking about it a bit and coming across some super duper cute costumes, I (skillfully) suggested that it would be fun to be the beautiful butterfly from The Very Hungry Caterpillar and to make things better, her sister could be the caterpillar!  It was so. stinkin. perfect.  Super S WAS a very mobile, hungry little girl and she was at an earlier stage than her big sister, who was actually very fluttery (and of course beautiful).  So she agreed.  But then I realized I needed to get costumes.  Couldn’t find any that I liked so I took a dive and decided to just make them.








It was actually fun putting them together.  They weren’t perfect but my kids enjoyed helping and I was proud and they loved wearing them.  So all in all, it made us happy.


The Very Hungry Catepillar
-Green Felt
-22″ x 24″ in of green fabric
-Red Beanie
-Yellow Felt
-Yard of Ribbon
-Green Thread
-Fabric Glue

Using this post as inspiration, I used this tutorial as a guide to put together the dress.  I could try and spell it all out for you but she does a much better job than I could ever do.  I didn’t even bother using my sewing machine, though.  I just made hand stitches (there are just so few) and then cut pieces of green felt for stripes and sewed those on as well.  I think it took an hour, tops, and I don’t even really know how to sew.

I had considered making my own beanie but then spotted a crochet hat at Joann Fabric and decided that, for my first foray into costume making, I should keep things as simple as possible.  I simply cut out some yellow and green circles for eyes and used some fabric glue to attach them.  Also made a little bitty nose and colored it brown. The best part about these costumes is that Eric Carle’s art doesn’t have perfect lines; they feel a little messy or imperfect.  Good thing messy and imperfect are areas that I have extensive expertise!  Back to what I did…I then rolled up two pieces of felt and sewed them into the beanie.  This was the part of the costumes that I was most bothered by. I couldn’t get the antennae to stand up straight.  They didn’t bend but kept flopping over.  If anyone has suggestions on that, PLEASE comment below.

I picked up a pair of bright green tights from The Childrens Place and the Hungry Little Caterpillar was set!




The Beautiful Butterfly
-36″ x 36″ piece of green felt
-10 pieces of felt in various colors (be sure to include yellow and green for the hat)
-Fabric Glue
-3/8 inch wide elastic, cut into two 15.5 inch long pieces and two 4 inch long pieces)
-Yellow shirt
-Yellow tights
-Red Beanie

For this costume, I used this tutorial as a guide but decorated the wings differently and also didn’t bother making a stencil.  I measured her wingspan from wrist to wrist and made sure my felt piece was the same width at the widest part.  I just drew on the piece of felt and “winged” it (see what I did there?).  Same with the pieces that I attached to decorate the wings.  I kept the book open in front of me and tried to best reproduce some of the designs/patterns. It’s pretty tough to recreate due to the shades and shapes of the actual picture but I did my best.  I made circles, tear drop shapes, and used scraps to fill in the empty spaces.  I actually cut four of the same shapes and glued the pattern on both sides of the wings so that Miss K would look good from the front or the back.  I’d suggest laying out your pattern first and then gluing down.


I used the same process as above for the beanie.  I had a hard time finding yellow leggings so I took a pair of $4 leggings from  Target and dyed them with Rit dye.  I was so excited to see that the color matched pretty darn close to the yellow shirt she had in her closet!  She LOVED being the butterfly for Halloween.  Even when we were handing out candy, she would spread her wings dramatically once we had opened the door so she could show the trick-or-treaters.  It was awesome.


Outside of the research and gathering materials, I’d say these costumes took no more than 3-4 hours total.  I won’t lie.  A couple days before Halloween, I was having doubts about our homemade costumes and almost made a trip to Target to buy something else.  I was worried no one would know what they were or that the girls would look silly.  I sent a picture of the costumes to a couple friends and they knew right away what they were and they said the costumes were awesome.  And we did receive compliments while we were out, so that’s always nice too.  In a sea of Elsas, it was nice to feel unique.  But above all, my girls loved being in the costumes and they enjoyed making them together. I’d call that a success!  Good luck and share if you’ve made similar costumes!

My Ba

Growing up, I didn’t have grandparents.  Well, technically I did.  I had a maternal grandmother and a paternal grandfather that both lived in India.  I was born and raised here and in our simple little imaginations, my brother and I suggested multiple times that they should marry each other.  We had never really known them.

My grandmother fought my Mom off for years when it came to coming to America.  She was a widow and only had one living child – my Mom.  But her health started failing and my parents insisted and went to India and brought her back home with them.  So at last, at 20 years old, I had myself a Ba.  She lived with my parents in the guest room downstairs.  She was legally blind and came with a slew of health issues that my parents diligently cared for.  After about a year, her health improved enough to where she was pretty comfortable.  My gujarati language skills improved dramatically and we taught each other all kids of things.  She asked about me the days of the week, “Monday, Tuesday, Birthday?” and I FINALLY learned to count past 16.  Despite coming from a different world, she never (ever) commented on my choice in revealing clothing, the way I came home late at night, the way I had male friends visit, or even that I ate meat.  You have to understand that for someone of her generation from where she was from, this is pretty remarkable – all of those things were pretty “bad.”  She only had a sixth grade education but in many ways, her mind was open and accepting.


When I was around 23 years old, I came home for a visit (I think I lived in LA so I’d come by on weekends) and she said “All my responsibilities are over. I have lived a good life.  The only thing remaining is to see you get married.”  Sigh.  Oh, the guilt trip laid forth by Indian mother is amplified many-fold when that mother is a grandmother.  But lo and behold, three years later, I was engaged.

I don’t know if she told me things because I was her only granddaughter or because she wasn’t comfortable telling my mom, but she did.  She seldom showed my mother compassion or a soft side but frequently praised her and showed sympathy for her daughter by telling me.  In the 19 years she was here in the US, I only saw her cry once.  At my wedding.  She loved me.  I know she did.  She could never say it to me.  She could never praise me, but she loved me.

Fast forward a few more years and her kidneys really started failing.  A few months before we found out we were pregnant, she was hospitalized.  She went through the speech again about how her responsibilities were through and she was at peace with her life but the only thing left is that she hadn’t seen was my kids.  Mind you, at this point, she had eight great grandkids…but she had a funny way of motivating.  I wasn’t sure she’d be around long enough to meet great grandchild #9 but she was.  And then even #10.

20110115_nn_1783 IMG_20130409_101039


20110115_nn_1816The last five years have been difficult for her and my parents as caretakers.  She was going to dialysis  3-4 times a week, on a myriad of medications, having back pain; all kinds of stuff.  But she still bathed herself, went to the bathroom by herself, brushed her teeth and combed her hair by herself.  My parents became less comfortable leaving her at home alone.  Even when they did, mom would be worried about her and couldn’t enjoy.  The truth of the matter is that her body was failing her.  She did the dialysis for over four years.  All the while, I couldn’t help but wonder what she was getting out of this life she was living.  When I think about all that she had seen in her life – poverty, the deaths of several of her children and her husband, coming to a country where she didn’t speak the language – I’m in awe of her resiliency.  What on earth would keep her keepin’ on?  Yes, she loved her baths – she would be in the bathroom for literally 4+ hours.  She liked watching the news and for a while she even watched Indian soap operas.  But I think it was us, her family, that kept her going.  We somehow brought her joy.  She’d be exhausted but if one of her great grandkids showed up, she perked right up.  She would try to lift my little ones.  She would offer to watch them so I could eat (I mentioned she was pretty much blind, right?).  Despite the effort, she would come to the garage door to wave goodbye to us as we left.  She couldn’t see us waving back but I’m thinking maybe she could feel it.




Although her body starting failing her, her mind was sharp as a tack.  Remembered every birthday, anniversary, and obscure relationship between people she barely knew.  So when she said she didn’t want to go to dialysis, we listened.  In the past, there had been days when she was tired and frustrated and fed up and upon returning home from dialysis would say she was done.  But sure enough, she’d be dressed and ready when the next appointment day came around.  This time was different.  She had her normal dialysis on Friday.  On Monday she said she didn’t want to go.  She was calm.  Not angry.  Not upset.  Just matter of fact.  My parents ensured that she knew what this meant.  They rescheduled for Tuesday just in case.  My cousin came over and tried to convince her.  No dice.  She was done.

Home hospice care was the next step.  The nurse was kind and the process really helped to put things into perspective.  To all of our surprise, she lasted almost two weeks without dialysis.  This is mostly because she wasn’t drinking or eating much.  It was a weird time in our lives, waiting for her pass.  It was scary and peaceful and just plain weird.  But it was comforting knowing that we didn’t have to wish or hope or fight for things to turn around.  The goal was to keep her comfortable.

My mom isn’t one to ask for help.  To this day, my parents try to protect me from the unpleasantries and uglies that life has to offer.  I had been calling a couple times a day to see how mom and Ba were doing.  Everyday I would ask “should I come?” and my mom would say “No, I think it’s ok.  The nurse says it’s not time yet.”  I hadn’t been to their house in two days and I called, thinking that I’d go on Friday (it was Thursday).  Sounded like Ba was ok, no big changes.  I asked, “should I come?” and to my surprise, my mom said “Ya, why don’t you come.”  I don’t know if she needed me or maybe she had a feeling.  So my husband came home to watch the littles and I went.

She wasn’t able to talk much at that point.  She was in and out of sleep from the morphine.  She could communicate that she wanted water but had a hard time drinking from a straw.  She vomited.  I went to get a syringe to make it easier to give her water.  I was in the room and noticed that her breathing was slowing down.  I got my parents and we were all together.  My mom told her we were all here and that everyone had been coming to see her.  In her last breaths I fed her holy water from the Ganges River.  Then the breath stopped.  It was over.  It wasn’t dramatic.  It wasn’t traumatic like we had been fearing.  It was just…over.

I had never seen a dead body.  I didn’t know how I would handle it.  I didn’t know if I COULD handle it.  But it was one of the most natural things I’ve ever experienced.  Having experienced this, death isn’t so scary if it’s on your own terms.

Ba was 85.  She made a decision about her life and how she wanted to go.  In this way, she was blessed.  It was her wish and that makes things a lot easier.  While I’m sad for me, I am not sad for her.  I’m relieved.  Hindus believe that when someone dies, their soul leaves their body and begins a journey to the next body or to return to become one with the universe.  We actually open windows to allow the soul to leave.  I don’t know what that journey is like but I firmly believe that she is at peace.

Does Cloth Diapering (well, gDiapering) Save Money?

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAdisposable                   VS

This is one of the questions I see frequently asked in gDiapers conversations.  Do you save money using gDiapers?  My baby (sigh, she’s not really all that little anymore) is fully potty trained.  We took her out of daytime diapers back in October when she was 19 Months old and haven’t been putting a nighttime diaper on her for the last 6-8 weeks (she’s now 26 months old).  So we’re officially done.  I’ve been wanting to write this post for awhile now but my cost analysis couldn’t be completed until I sold off the very last of my diapers, and I shipped them off today (one of the many benefits of cloth diapering – you can actually make some money back!).  So here we are.  A quick background:

I have two kids; I started using gDiapers with my older daughter at around 3-4 months old and came home from the hospital in gDiapers with my second daughter.  For DD1, I used disposables, gDiapers disposable inserts and cloth inserts.  With my second, we used gDiapers disposable inserts and cloth inserts (no disposables).  I was able to use many of the gDiapers and diaper supplies from my first daughter for my second daughter.  And because they’re cloth diapers, I was able to sell most of the reusable pieces and recoup some of my costs.  Side note: I bought and sold over 120 diapers.  It was fun to collect these but seriously, it’s really not necessary.  So let’s get down to the nitty gritty.  Here’s what it cost me:

gDiapers disposable inserts:   $267.12 ($.25 per insert)
gPants: -$122.88
Cloth Inserts: $39.97
Other Cloth related expenses: $130.96 (diaper sprayer, wet bag, diaper pail)
Wipes: $65.27 ($.02/wipe)
Cost of diapering DD1: $376.37
Note: We did use disposable diapers as well and spent $183.41 ($.26 per diaper)

gDiapers disposable inserts:   $192.71 ($.22 per insert)
gPants: -$26.53
Cloth Inserts: $44.34
Other Cloth related expenses: $-25.51 (pouches)
Disposable Diapers: $0
Flips Diapers: $33.76
Wipes: $55.37 ($.03/wipe)
Cost of diapering DD2: $388.83

Estimated energy/water costs: $375


Alrighty, for you skeptics, there are a few things missing from this estimation. I didn’t include the cost of laundry detergent because I used the same detergent for my diapers as I did the rest of my laundry.  I DID include the cost of the special laundering products that I bought solely for the use of my diapers.  This includes hard water softener, Biokleen bac-out, RLR, and Ammonia Assassin.  I also included the cost of shipping/supplies/ebay/paypal fees to sell the items.  It doesn’t include the cost of my time spent doing laundry or (gulp) online in the gDiapers groups or shopping for gDiapers.  Let’s just say that was an expensive but fun use of my time.

I had trouble figuring out how much it would cost per load of laundry.  Online estimates were anywhere from $.55 to $.85 cents.  I erred on the side of conservative and estimated $375 total (3 loads of laundry per week  x 4 weeks per month x 37 months of diapering).

Sooooo because my mind works this way, I wanted to compare this to what it would have cost us if we used disposable diapers.  I applied a cost of $.26 per diaper because this was the actual amount we spent for diapers for my older daughter.  Then I multiplied an average of 7 changes per day and 30 days per month times 37 months of gDiapering.  Holy smokes.  That’s a lot of diapers.  We’ll assume the cost of wipes would be double since I used cloth wipes along with the disposable wipes we bought.  So if we had used disposables for both, we would have spent $2261.48.  This doesn’t take into account diaper pails or refills that would be required for disposable diapers, so the cost would be slightly higher (around another $100).

We saved $1121.28!  That’s exciting, right?  But there were a whole bunch of other benefits.  Like saving over 7500 disposables from sitting in landfills.  Like not putting chemicals next to my daughters’ most delicate parts.  Like using the product as a gateway to greener habits.  Like finding a community of really great parents.  Like seeing my kids on marketing materials for a company I believe in.  And hell, like seeing my daughters in some ridiculously CUTE diapers.

Your mileage may vary.  My kids potty trained on the early side (about a year earlier than the US average).  So if you’re in diapers for longer, you’ll save even more.  And I was lucky with the gPants.  I was lucky enough to be able to afford as many as I wanted and I bought pretty much at least one of everything I liked when they came out so I didn’t buy at crazy high prices like other moms.   sent out stuff to other gMums for free and gave some pretty awesome deals but ya, there were others that I got at a discount and sold at a premium.  You can’t make any money back on a disposable.

If you take a look at the expenses above, you’ll also notice that a good chunk of the expense is related to disposable items like the disposable inserts and wipes.  I used a lot of those while traveling and I’d say we travel more than most.  So I know we would have saved a few extra hundred dollars there.  And I experimented with inserts – bought the expensive gDiapers brand cloth inserts but in the end found that cheapie, $1 per insert flour sack towels worked best for us.  There are definitely ways to save even more money.

So my conclusion is YES, gDiapering DOES SAVE MONEY.  What do you think?  Did you have a similar experience?  How’s my analysis?  Did I leave anything out?

Miss K – How can so much awesome be packed into one small body?

Miss K is now 45 months old, just a few months shy of 4 years old.  She weighs about 29 pounds (still), is on her way out of 3T clothes and is about 39 inches tall.  She has an awesome/frustrating/adorable/messy head of curly black hair that she likes styled differently everyday.  Her most frequently requested hairstyle is “one braid, like Elsa’s” because naturally, her favorite character is Elsa from Disney’s Frozen.  By the way, I think it’s total BS that all girls want to be Elsa.  She’s not the one who faithfully tried to reconnect with her sister or the one who had an amazing adventure, or who took fate into her own hands or the one who was strong and actually saved herself by a true act of love for her sister.  That was all ANNA and yet…Yet all the girls love Elsa (who, by the way, did barely anything but shirk her familial responsibilities to live in her ice castle so she could dress and walk around more provocatively in her own solitude).  I digress.  Karina loves all things Frozen.


She is able to read.  I’m so happy to see her reading to herself now, not just reading books when we take them out and look at them together.  She’s also writing and can write her name. This learning was really strange.  I would occasionally try here and there to see if she would try to write letters but she wasn’t interested or maybe wasn’t able so I would drop it.  One day I tried by taking out a dry erase marker and her easel.  She wrote the entire alphabet.  Followed by her name.  Granted a few of the letters were goofy but she did it.  She knows the oceans, continents, etc.  She is learning about world geography by doing a world puzzle.  She likes to hear about what countries are on what continents but she sometimes calls them states.  It’s confusing.  Also has been asking to see videos on skeletons and keeps referring to her ibia (?) and fibia (?) and likes to talk about how big her femur is.  Here’s a picture of her in my glasses.  So very intellectual, pensive, and mature looking.IMG_20141003_184414

She is making friends at school – she is starting to play with the same few kids every day, it seems.  She’s not just singing songs but also changing the lyrics to amuse herself and me.  Miss K. goes to gymnastics once a week and she loves it.  She’s so much fun to watch.  She likes being around other kids and seems to get along well with others. She still seems to get a little intimidated by loud noises or crowds of kids but her curiosity typically overshadows any shyness she might have.  Over the last few months, she’s started drawing people and objects.

Her favorite activities these days seem to be playing in the sand (she’s no longer painting EVERYday at school), puzzles (man, this hobby is back with a vengeance), books, crafts involving tape, and caring for ailing stuffed animals.  100 piece puzzles are the right level of challenge for her.  She can climb into her carseat and buckle two of the three buckles herself.  And for some reason, she’s still never tried to unbuckle herself.  How great is that?  Also enjoys helping me with preparing food and making her own pretend meals.


Some of her favorite foods are grilled cheese, burritos, yogurt, peanut butter or sunflower butter sandwiches, fish, and rice.  She’s fancy.  She likes sea bass.  Seriously. You should see her put away fish.  It’s nuts.  Surprisingly, she still loves oatmeal.  Hands down she consumes more oatmeal than anyone else in our family.  She likes most breakfast foods but most often asks for pancakes.  Still loves pretty much all fruit and wants treats all day, everyday.  She’ll take any treat – muffin, cookie, cupcake, ice cream, icee…she’s not particular.  The nice part is that she’s usually accepting when we say that she’s had enough and toss a portion of the treat.  She tells me some things have too much sugar and I shouldn’t eat them.  I can’t argue sometimes.  Favorite veggies are carrots, peas, occasional broccoli, and sweet potatoes.  Says she likes cauliflower but then doesn’t really eat much.

She’s become a really great little helper lately.  She actually helps me put away laundry, make beds, unload the dishwasher, and she’s gotten really good at folding dish towels (bonus is that she’ll put them away after she folds them!).


She can dress and undress herself, washes her own hands/face, and brushes her own teeth but I still do her hair, give her a bath (though she’s close to being able to do most of it herself, I think), wipe her bottom after she goes number two.  She still says “I yuv you” instead of I love you.  And Yuca instead of Luca.  She thought Cheryl’s name was Cherub.  And she often ends sentences with “or sumsing like that.”  She’s been saying “OH. MY. GOSH.” a lot as well as “That’s crazy!” and “Are you SERIOUS?”  She may have picked up a  few of those phrases from me.  Lately her dad’s been playing the Wicked soundtrack and she like Defying Gravity.  He told her that the person who sings that song is the same person who sings Let It Go from Frozen.  So now she keeps referring to Elphaba as Elsaba.

Our biggest challenge with her right now is her choosing to not listen to us.  We know she’s ignoring us sometimes and it can be infuriating. Also, she’s no longer napping most days so by the end of the day, she can get pretty cranky and thought of taking a bath is too much for her to handle.  She seems to do well when we give her choices, so I use that strategy often.  Oh, and I wish she’d eat more vegetables (says every mother everywhere).


She’s getting so big.  A couple weeks ago, she woke up from her nap and was a little weepy so I picked her up and held her and she fell back asleep.  Instead of putting her down, I just held her for long while.  It occurred to me that it had been ages since she had slept in my arms like that.  Ironically, just three short years ago, I was beside myself trying to get her out of my arms for sleep and here I was, soaking in her deliciousness and filling my tank.  The other day I looked back at her in the car and something about her expression reminded me of when she was a baby.  I was so happy to see that face again but it made me a little sad, too.  Made me cry.  She still moves me with her kind heart and the way she just skips and jumps and sings and smiles for no reason.  She’s a great kid.  Please, god, or whoever or whatever oversees this stuff…PLEASE don’t let me mess her up.  There’s no doubt that she’s something extraordinary.


Halloween 2014

We had a phenomenal Halloween this year.  Earlier this week, I read a quote from a guy that was featured on Humans of New York (if you’ve never followed this guy and like human interest stories, give it a try.  The images and quotes are so gripping and interesting).  He said something to the effect of “things aren’t magical when you’re an adult like they are when you’re a kid.”  That stuck with me because it’s kinda true.  There aren’t a lot of things that bring you sheer delight or that consume you to the point of elation when you’re an adult.  Or maybe it’s just me.  But I am finding that I have a lot of moments or days when you just feel good.  And you feel like life is good.  And that everything is going to be ok.  And that things are good.  It happens a lot more now that I have kids – maybe their magic moment feelings are radiating onto me.  I dunno.  But Halloween this year was kind of like that.

It started with decorating.  I had bought a few Halloween lawn signs to put out and my SIL brought us a few more along with some decorations for inside the house.  We also had a skeleton for the door.  Miss K. really enjoyed putting those out.  So much so that when we were done, she went to the edge of the driveway and started yelling “Neighbors, come look at our Halloween decorations!  Come out!  Come look!”  Then I bought some scarecrows and put those out but one fell over so I asked Mr. Crunchycake and Miss K to go fix it.  Apparently one of our neighbors was talking nearby and Miss K asked her dad, “Who’s talking, dad?” And he told her it’s one of our neighbors. My sweet little girl whispered back “Are they talking about our Halloween decorations?”  I just love her.  Her aunt brought a couple small indoor jack o’lantern decorations that have a light inside.  They keep getting moved around because Super S really likes them and brings them over all the time for me to turn on for her, wherever we are.  But I keep finding them in front of Miss K’s Laugh n Learn House.  She puts them out in front of the front door, as if it were a real house and real pumpkins.  So cute!

Miss K and her cousin went to a pumpkin patch event a few weeks before Halloween.  Super S and I didn’t go because we had just started potty training her and I wasn’t ready for that long of an excursion.   I didn’t have a costume for her yet so we put her in her Rapunzel dress and gave her a stuffed version of the little chameleon sidekick, Pasquale.  It sounds like she had a really good time – she decorated a pumpkin with googly eyes, jewels, a feather and a pipe cleaner.  Ya, I don’t know…she was really proud of it.  We put it out on the front step until the day before Halloween when we carved it.20141011_092149 IMG_20141011_090446I really thought the kids would enjoy watching me carve the pumpkin but they weren’t all that interested.  They kept running off.  Miss K did help me make some artistic choices – she was adamant that the nose should be round.  I can confidently say that pumpkin gutting and pumpkin carving are not on the list of things I’m good at.  And can I just say how awesome it is that Miss K shares my love of pumpkin headbands?


Note to self: take a picture of the pumpkin before it rots and insert it here.  :)

We made the kids’ costumes this year.  Frankly, I’m as shocked as you are.  I am not crafty.  I am not terribly creative.  But I am armed with the internet.  We (Miss K and I) decided that Super S would be the Very Hungry Caterpillar and Miss K would be the beautiful butterfly.  She originally wanted to be a half rainbow, half Anna and Elsa butterfly.  Sigh.  But I thought it would be really cute if we did the Very Hungry Caterpillar duo because Super S IS a very hungry little kid.  So I started looking and gathering materials.  Miss K helped with her costume and I hand sewed Super S’ costume one night after they fell asleep.  I could have used my sewing machine…but I don’t know how.  I was a little bummed – I had ordered a pair of yellow pants for Miss K to wear as part of her costume but they weren’t delivered in time for Halloween.  When they hadn’t arrived by Thursday, I decided to go to Michaels to pick up some fabric dye and even though I had never done it before, I successfully transformed a pair of white tights into yellow butterfly bottoms!  I’m really happy about the way the costumes turned out.  Do you know what made it completely worthwhile?  After we finished the wings, my sweet little girl said “Mama, they’re AMAZING!  I love them.”


Super S was really excited to put on her costume after seeing her big sister in hers, although she didn’t really get it.  Instead of putting on the hat that I made as part of the costume, she kept trying to put on her pink polka dot sun hat.  Eventually she did put in on, though and shockingly, she didn’t mess with it or take it off the entire time she was trick or treating!

One thing that was nice about Halloween this year is that it actually felt like Fall.  Living in Southern California, we’ve had some ridiculously warm Halloweens so it was refreshing to feel a slight chill in the air.  Since we’re new to the neighborhood we live in (and because we’ve never really had any trick or treaters in the places we’ve lived), I wasn’t sure if we’d need much candy.  Based on the scant Halloween decorations, I didn’t think we’d have all that many.  So to ensure that we’d be able to give the girls some Halloween experiences, we went to a street in our city that has a bunch of small retailers and restaurants that shuts down the street for trick or treaters.  It’s really nice.  We went for about an hour and it was perfect.  We got to see a whole bunch of awesome costumes.  My favorites were a little boy dressed as Cookie Monster with a Batman mask and a Superman cape and a woman dressed in an In n Out uniform holding her baby who was dressed as a hamburger.  I also saw an itty bitty Wonder Woman that I loved – tiara and all.  I was so relieved that people actually knew what the kids’ costumes were and we actually got compliments.  The day before Halloween I was seriously contemplating going to Target and buying them something instead of putting on the costumes they had made.  Miss K loved going up to the vendors and saying “Trick or Treat!” and even little Super S put out her little pumpkin.  It was nice that they got some treats but not too many.  And the girls loved seeing all the costumes.  We must have seen at LEAST 20 Elsas and 15 Annas.  We also saw a creepy Papa Smurf.  The girls really enjoyed themselves and right when we decided it was time to go home, it started sprinkling.  Perfect.



We went home, listened to some Halloween music, had some dinner and we actually had trick or treaters come to our door!  And they were little kids for the most part, not scary teenagers!  So everytime the doorbell rang, we got excited and ran over.  There were probably 15-20 groups, which is exciting for us!  Karina showed off her costume to a few of them.  We met a few neighbors, which was nice too.  Next year we will trick or treat in our own neighborhood for sure.  In between visitors, the kids were playing and were just happy.  They were running and jumping on their dad.  Miss K wanted to watch Madagascar so that was on and little S went to sleep without too much of a fight.  At around 8:30-8:45 we were starting to really worry that we wouldn’t have enough candy but then soon after, it started to really rain so no more visitors.  All’s well that ends well – trick or treaters start winding down around 9:00, right?  We ended up giving out some of the candy that the kids had scored on Montrose so we didn’t even have a ton of candy that none of should be eating.  Seriously, it was a near perfect Halloween.  This crunchy life sure is sweet.

Blog? What Blog?

I’ve been horribly neglectful of the blog lately.  Actually of both of my blogs.  I don’t know what it is…I feel like writing.  But I don’t.  I want to get some thoughts down.  But I don’t.  I’m not horribly stressed.  But I don’t blog.  Hopefully that changes.  There’s been a lot going on the last few months.  We bought a home and are getting to celebrate our fourth Halloween with kids.  Every year for the last four years we’ve been somewhere different so I’m trying to find out if kids actually come to trick or treat in these parts.  I’m hoping yes.  My kids are growing up.  Miss K is a few short months away from being FOUR.YEARS.OLD.  How did that happen?  And Super S?  She’s 20 months old!  They’re both awesome kids.  I’ll do an update post on them.  What else?  Hubs is working hard, doing great at his job and going to school part time on the side.  I religiously worked out from June through most of August and lost 7 pounds and 12 inches from all over my body.  That was an awesome feeling.  More recently, I’ve started slacking and need some motivation to close out the year on a high note.  I’m cooking more frequently than a few years ago but am convinced that I can’t cook.  It seems that I’m the only one around here who enjoys my food.  Side note: it really blows when you spend time and effort researching, shopping for and preparing meals and no one wants to eat it.  I honestly cannot remember the last healthy, well balanced meal that I’ve made that everyone liked.  It makes me sad.  My grandma’s health (yep, she’s still around) has been off the wall lately.  I can’t help but think that maybe she’s really, actually nearing the end now.  The whole situation makes me worry about my mom (her primary caretaker) and the toll all this taking on her.  In lighter news, working out more often has me showering pretty much daily again (how sad that this is even news) but I still have crappy hair.  Speaking of which, i just dyed it for the first time because I’m going gray.  How sad.  I keep losing stuff.  Not insignificant or inexpensive stuff, either.  Eep.  Everyone in my house is using the toilet now.  And that, my friends, is some awesome news.  I’ll be writing about that whole potty training a second time experience too.  I’m really going to try to get back on this blogging train.  It’s good stuff.  Maybe not for you to read, but for me to write, anyway.

FTF: 5 Things I Won’t Miss About Having Toddlers in the House

There are about a trillion things that I can think of that I will undoubtedly, sorely, heartbreakingly, devestatingly miss about having little bitties living with us.  When they grow up, I just know that I’m going to crave their littleness…The oh so wonderful feeling of carrying their warm sleeping bodies from the car with their heads trustfully resting on your shoulder, the little cries of “Mama!  Mama!  Mama!” for every and no reason, the unexplained head butt into your butt, the unabashed requests for mommy snuggle time. Oh wait.  This is supposed to be five things friday, not gazillion things that make my heart melt.  So let’s get back on track.  There are, however a few things I won’t be missing about having littles running around here:

1.  Bag full o’ crap EVERY single time we leave the house or come back.


2.  Tissue paper out the bathroom all the way into the bedroom.
Why? For the love of corn, WHYYYYYYYYY???

3. Aftermath of #2 and having to keep the trash can out of reach.

4. I have nothing to say about this one.
Ok, I lied. Seriously, WTF?

5. Everyday.  All. Dayam. Day.
No exaggeration, I re-rack the shoes at least 3 times a day.

Another Breastfeeding Journey Comes to an End

It’s happening.  We’re pretty much done with breastfeeding.  I’m actually a little sad over this.  When I weaned my older daughter two years ago, I went through some mixed emotions.  I was really ready to get my body back.  This time, I know that this very well may be the last time I ever get to be that close to someone.  And my baby is growing up some; I kinda didn’t want it to end.  I’m having a hard time accepting it.  And my body seems to be having a hard time with it too.  My metabolism has come to a complete halt – I’ve put on weight at an alarming rate since cutting back.  But it’s time.  We made it to 14 months.

I vividly remember Super S crawling up my stomach and my chest and latching on within minutes of being born.  She was so sweet and just knew what to do.  She had a little jaundice so I fed her every two hours around the clock.  She was a sleepy eater.  So I’d switch her back and forth to help keep her awake.  She did a number on me.  Last week I found a form that a lactation consultant that I visited had filled out.  She  actually used the words “trauma to nipples.”  Funny how nature makes you forget.  She had a shallow latch and that resulted in a very painful time for me for the first several weeks.  The consultant helped with that and then it got better but I remember being in tears (I’m sure the lack of sleep encouraged those tears too).

One thing that surprised me (I suppose it’s a little odd) was that I found myself feeling the urge to feed my older daughter too, even though I hadn’t nursed her in a year.  Kind of bizarre, right?  I wonder if it was because I was nourishing the younger one and that maternal instinct to nurture my kids was on overdrive.  Maybe the process just flooded me with memories from the first time around.  I don’t know.

Luckily my sweet little buttercup grew and gained weight.  Once her body pushed out all the jaundice, I eased up and started feeding her every three hours or so.  Sweet, quiet moments shared between just her and I.  But she was also having a hard time with it.  I guess I had a heavy let down; she would sometimes choke when I fed her and she sounded congested and made lots of wet sounds while sleeping in her crib.  She even coughed, which newborns shouldn’t really do.  I got the feeling she had silent reflux.  Luckily she wasn’t spitting up as much as her sister did but I still felt something wasn’t quite right.  So I tried a few different things.  I would sit her upright for awhile after every feeding and was more diligent about burping her.  We put a wedge in her crib to keep her up at an angle.  What seemed to help the most, though, was feeding her with her body at a decline.  She just needed a little help from gravity, I guess.


Super S was a like a clockwork.  Up every three hours to eat without fail.  Then it happened again.  Blood in her diaper, just like her big sister.  We had been to this rodeo before so we didn’t freak out.  We took her in to see her pediatrician, who had helped us work through allergy issues with our first baby.  She didn’t seem the least bit concerned.  It was most likely a dairy allergy.  Since it seemed that my older daughter was most sensitive to soy and dairy, I cut those out of my diet first because I wanted to keep breastfeeding her.  We never saw blood in her diaper again.  She outgrew the gurgles and was easy to feed.  I just kept dairy and soy out of my diet to the best of my ability until she was 9-10 months old.  She was fine.

I very rarely pumped and fed her with a bottle.  I didn’t even try using a bottle until she was around three months old.  And technically, I knew I should have been more diligent but I was lucky.  Pretty much the only time she used a bottle was when my mom watched her.  And by some miracle, she drank from the bottle without much strife.  I think she just loved drinking milk, wherever it came from.


I just loved how warm my little lovely was.  In the early days, there were a few times when she slept with us and she would just sidle up to me, even without much motor control.  It’s amazing what nature enables.  My favorite feeding was the first nursing of the day.  We almost always did this lying down, her little tummy pressed against mine.  Her little legs kicking and pushing against me.  She was just so content and at peace.  She didn’t make a ton of eye contact with me when I was feeding her but I often couldn’t take my eyes off of her.  I remember there were a few times when her big sister would come in the room and the sound of her voice would make Super S smile, eyes closed, still latched on.  It really was the sweetest thing.  And some of my favorite memories of those crazy days of having a newborn and a toddler were of feeding Super S with my feet propped up on the ottoman, Miss K sitting on my legs. The calm that came with the feeding were energizing.  Miss K would say “Sia’s eeeeeeeeeeating.”  She was just a little bitty two year old and Super S would be sleepily and happily filling her little belly.

Maybe the breastfeeding played a role in bringing Super S and I so close together.  She is clearly attached to me, more so than my older daughter.  Even now, she will sleep with her arms clutched around my neck if we lie down together.  She likes to sleep on my face and pull my hair.  It’s aggravating and so incredibly endearing at the same time.  I love this little girl more than I describe.


At a year old, I was still feeding her twice at night and four times a day.  Then I stretched out the daytime feedings and dropped a night feeding.  Then we accidentally  (but wonderfully!) night weaned her when we left her with my parents for two nights.  I finally was getting some rest!  Hallelujah!  Then, in the next month, I gradually dropped another daytime feeding and was down to just the bedtime and morning feed.  Then we dropped the bedtime feeding and gradually tapered down the morning feeding too.  And here we are.  I didn’t have a plan.  I didn’t know how long I’d be breastfeeding her.  But this weaning has been gradual, feels natural, and hasn’t been too upsetting for her.  And I didn’t have any engorgement issues, clogged ducts, or hormonal surges.  But we’re done and I’m going to miss this part of my life.

Why is this even worth writing about?  Because there is something so special, so precious, so validating about the bond that nourishing one’s child in this way brings.  I was lucky – I’m a stay at home mom.  I had the luxury of not having to pump and was blessed with a good supply of milk, despite my age and lack of fitness.  I could do this with her and I’m so incredibly glad I did.  I’m proud of us.  I’m proud of me.  As wonderful as it is to know that you’re the only one able to provide a milk built so perfectly for this one child, it also meant that the responsibility was 100% on my head.  Five to nine times a day.  No break.  No days off.  But it was worth it.  So to any mom reading this that is considering breastfeeding or is having difficulty with it, I say if you can, stick with it.  It’s not always easy.  It’s not always convenient.  But it’s one of the best things you can do for yourself and for your child.


Five Things Miss K Said This Week that Melted My Heart

Miss K has always been a sweet girl but lately she’s just been getting me in the gut with her golden heart.  She gets that from her dad.  I sometimes wonder if being her primary caretaker was the absolute best thing for her and when I hear her echoing positive words and sentiment that I say to her, then I think ok…maybe it’s good that she and I are together afterall.  I’ll try not to cry while writing this.

1.  “This was a great dinner.”  I don’t know what it is, but I’ve been having a hard time getting on the same wavelength as the rest of the family and it seems like my husband and Miss K haven’t been enjoying the food I’ve been making lately.  She has no idea how much it meant to me that she said those words.  All I made was some vegan phyllo dough egg rolls, cut up and salted some cucumbers, bell peppers, and radishes, and warmed up some fried rice.  I just want to know that she’s enjoying something I made that’s reasonably healthy for her.

2.  “You can do it, Sia!  I know you can!”  I don’t even remember what Sia was trying to do but she was encouraging her sister without any prompting from me.  I wasn’t even in the room, so I know it came from a pure place.

3.  “I’m proud of you, mommy.”  For what?  “For being so good.  And for playing candy crush saga.”  I love this on so many levels.

4.  I wasn’t sure how my kids would react when I unexpectedly turned on the hose and sprayed water.  50% chance of delight, 50% chance of freak out.  So without realizing she was even listening, I said, “Let’s see if mama’s awesome or mean.”  And bless her heart, she said “She’s AWESOME!!!”

5.  “Don’t worry, Sia!  It’s gonna be alright!  Mommy’s coming back!  She loves you!”  Sometimes Super S flips out when I leave the room and my little bitty three year old took it upon herself to comfort her baby.  And I really love that she told her that I loved her.  Whether she’s just repeating the words or she feels it from my actions, I am just so incredibly thankful and relieved that she believes that I love them.

One other thing happened when I went to pick her up from school today.  Super S sometimes gets really REALLY happy when she sees Miss K since they’ve been separated for a few hours (seriously, it’s like 3 hours and in that time Super S also takes a nap but maybe to her it feels like an eternity?).  Today was one of those days.  She tried jumping out of my arms so she could go and hug her big sister and squealed in delight.  When I put her down, Karina hugged her and kissed her and instantly took a carrot from her lunch and tried feeding it to Super S.  Those interactions just slay me.

Indian Food Ingredient Glossary

It turns out my kids like Indian food.  This is ironic because I don’t typically crave it.  Don’t get me wrong – I like it fine, but there are only a few things that I would put on my list of favorite foods, despite having grown up eating Indian food for dinner six days a week.  And many of those things I only like if my mom makes it.  Spoiled, spicesaren’t I?  On top of that, I’ve been thinking about my four parents.  They’re getting older and one day they will need to be cared for.  If that’s the case, then I really should learn to cook Indian food more proficiently than I can today.  My poor mother tried.  Bless her heart…she really did.  I helped make pooris, rotlis, bhakris, dhebras, you name it.  I helped make every vegetable imaginable.  I sifted through endless cups of beans and seeds in thalis.  And yet, I had no interest whatsoever in doing it so the moment I moved out of the house, I stopped making those things and now years later, I am no longer able.  I mean…I have a general knowledge but I couldn’t make an entire meal for anyone or anything like that.  It’s embarrassing really.  And more than anything, i want to be able to feed our parents and bring them comfort in the form of food when they’re no longer able to feed themselves.

So I’ve been looking up recipes and trying to make sense of the disjointed jumble of words, methods, and steps in Indian cooking.  You should have seen the light bulb that went off above my head when I realized that millet (which I had been wanting to try for the longest time) was the same thing as bajri, which my mom always has in her cupboard.  Turns out I had been trying it my whole life.  Or the confusion as I stand in the beans and grains aisles of the multi-ethnic grocery stores I visit, trying to figure out if what I see in front of me is what I *think* it is.  So I’m compiling a glossary of ingredients used in Indian cooking for me to reference.  Hopefully it will help someone else too.  Hopefully I’ll add more words as time goes on.  Let me know if you’re trying to find a translation of an ingredient and I’ll see if I can help,

Note: The words I used are the gujarati versions because, well, I’m gujarati and these are the words I know.

Besan Chickpea/Yellow Split pea mix
Gram Chickpea
Bajri Millet
Udad Black Lentil Flour
Toor Dal Pigeon Peas
Chana/Chole Chickpeas
Val Black Eyed Peas
Rajma Red Kidney beans
Masoor Red Lentils
Herbs & Spices
Jeera Cumin
Haldi Turmeric
Rai Mustard Seeds
Hing Asafoetida
Soonth/Adu Ginger powder
Methi Fenugreek
Elaichi Cardamom
Loving Cloves
Dhaniya Coriander (dry, leaves, or seeds)
Variali Fennel Seeds
Aamchoor Dried Mango Powder
Fudino Mint
Tulsi Thai Basil
Kesar Safron
Tal/Til Sesame Seeds
Amli Tamarind
Powa Flattened Rice
Mamra Puffed Rice