Healthy Homemade Popsicle Recipes for Toddlers + Kids

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I have been lately posting a lot of stories on my Instagram of the popsicles batches I have been preparing for my son to be beat the H town heat. And as promised to all my followers who sent me so many DMs, here are the recipes to Vir’s favorite popsicles that are easy to make and healthy too!

It’s hotter than hot in Houston and so these nutritious and healthy popsicles end up as snacks and even sometimes as a meal on those hard days with a toddler.

The recipes are extremely simple and has almost 3- 4 ingredients max.

You need these 2 very important things to start with the process.

1)      Ice Cream Mold

2)      Blender

I planned a trip to my local grocer Kroger on the weekend to get all the fresh fruits, yogurt and ice cream molds. While shopping I came across the Brawny Tear-A-Square® paper towel! I cannot tell you how much I hate wasting paper napkins and tearing an entire sheet to just clean a little spill or to have to use as a napkin while feeding.

The award-winning Brawny Tear-A-Square® just solved such a huge waste problem for me, as the quarter sheet size works for both clean-up and as a napkin! Just the right size of paper towels a toddler can use. It is perfect for home use, picnics, barbeques, road trips, just anywhere. I highly recommend getting this product and trying it out. I wished I found them during Vir’s Birthday Party, I threw so many napkins out that just had a little bit of cake on it or were just left on the floor.

Below are my most recommended popsicles that you and your kids can enjoy. To make them interesting I added some layers with yogurt for a bit extra!

Strawberry, Blueberry Watermelon Smash

IMG_6422These are 90 % fruit and 10% yogurt for that extra zing. It helps balance your electrolytes.

I hate wasting food and fruit especially. A big watermelon sometimes at our home gets wasted and so I made sure I blend it with other fruits to get the taste, strawberries add some more sweetness and the blueberry adds the deep dark colors ( It can also make it tangy ). You can choose to add sugar or replace blueberry with lime for a zing.  I didn’t add either.

Pour the blended mixture in ice mold upto ¾ till top and freeze for 3 hours.

After 3 hours use some store bought strawberry or vanilla organic yogurt. And pour it in the remaining portion of molds to fill up the rest and add a layer.

Check after a few hours. It should be ready to eat!

These are beautiful looking, tastes awesome like any other fruit popsicle in the market minus the sugar.

Mango Mania!

IMG_6454I had been wanting to introduce mangoes to Vir, he somehow hasn’t appreciated the fruit as much. I guess because it’s a bit tangy and not as sweet as alphonso mangoes.

So, I took 1 whole peeled mango, added 2 tbsp sugar and some whole milk to make it smoothie like and not entirely fruity. Please see how much sugar you need to add as some mangoes can be tangy.

Like above I poured the blended smoothie in ice mold upto ¾ till top and freeze for 3 hours.

After 3 hours use some store-bought vanilla organic yogurt. And pour it in the remaining portion of molds to fill up the rest and add a layer.

Check after a few hours. It should be ready to eat!

This was a hit, as Vir got excited about the yellow color. You can also add pineapple and make it a tropical smoothie without the milk.

Peanut Butter, Banana and Chocolate Pop!

IMG_6478This was a hit especially last week when my son was sick and wasn’t eating a lot. I tried to give him milk and he kept refusing it. So, I took his store-bought chocolate milk, add 1 tbsp of peanut butter and half banana and blended it.

You can add sugar too or even honey. I added 1 tbsp of sugar as the peanut butter had no sugar added to it. Taste the smooth mixture when you are done blending and add accordingly.

Pour the mixture in mold and added the rest of the banana pieces in the mold and set it to freeze. Check after 3 hours.

I had fun making these popsicles as they are super easy, healthy and flavorful. To beat the mess while cleaning up or just simply holding the popsicle Brawny Tear-A-Square® came to our rescue. The sheets are durable, strong and the perfect size! You can find them at a Kroger near you.

For the Tangy Coconut and Kiwi Kicker click here. I posted this a while back.

Tip: While removing the popsicles from the mold, make sure you run hot tap water on the mold to easily remove the popsicles.

Have a fantastic summer and do share with me your favorite popsicle flavor!

 **This post is sponsored by Kroger as always, all opinions are mine**

XOXO

Arushi (2)

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The 10 Best Educational, Interactive & Engaging Apps For Toddlers & Preschoolers

TOP 10 APPS FOR TODDLERS AND PRESCHOOLERS (2)

The right amount of screen time is a completely personal choice for all the parents to make and I would like to stress I am not promoting the use of devices on this post today. However, we live in a device obsessed world and setting limits on screen time is a more crucial point to think over than ruling it out completely. One of the greatest struggles we’ve experienced as new parents has been how to foster digital savvy‐ness in our child– while we don’t want to shield him from today’s latest technology.

Responsible use of media currently is important, and tablets or phones can be used for either reading books out loud, or for learning apps and games that could be like educational toys. Or for example sometimes watching language promoting cartoons (in our case Hindi cartoons) while eating dinner or having lunch at the restaurant. (moms just banish that mom guilt, we can eat at least 1 meal in peace)

Note: The American Academy of Pediatrics has offered guidance on children’s and adolescents’ media use saying, “Limit entertainment screen time to less than one or two hours per day; in children under two, discourage screen media exposure.” 

We are constantly looking for some new ways to entertain our energetic toddler without feeling guilty about, while offering something that offers creativity, is educational and engaging!

So, I am rounding up some apps that is my top picks. We have often used these on our long flights and have usually downloaded them just days before to keep him interested.

Recommending apps for kids of age  1-5 year below

  1. Lego Duplo Train (Age 2+ )– This app is a lot of fun – first it FREE,it’s Lego there are Trains ! One of Vir’s favorite, build tracks, choose the wagons, load the train , drive it and also make bridges. It is almost like a puzzlelego
  2. Talu Town for (Age 5 and under) – Another app we recently introduced to Vir. In this app kids drive around a virtual city and help friendly characters with various tasks—disguised as mini games. I love how all the tasks help in practice counting, matching, sorting, shapes, puzzles, and more. Completing each task allows them to earn stars, which can be used to buy new cars and outfits.talu
  3.  Artie’s World (Age 3-6) – We started using this a month back and love it. Artie’s World is a playful app that teaches kids how to draw with a dot-to-dot system. Kids trace basic and irregular shapes to draw toys, vehicles, and animals, then watch as their creations come to life with funny animations. The app is simple enough for young kids, and there is no reading requiredartie
  4. Woodie Hoo Animal Friends Ages 2+ . This game can be played  at the kid’s own pace and stimulates to learn with fun, colorful, high quality animations and pictures. I like how it hold’s the attention for a good amount of time. Note there are in app purchases.

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 5. Alphabet Flash cards 3+ to Pre-Schoolers -This app helps to learn the alphabet by using digital flashcards. Our son has learnt all alphabets with practice and this was helpful too part from books.

6. Sago Trucks and Diggers (Age 2+) One of my son’s favorite he likes to play it till date. Kids can drive a dump truck, pile dirt high and dig deep in the ground with diggers, cranes and bulldozers. Great for motor skills and no in app purchases.

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7.My Very Hungry Caterpillar (Age 2+) This is a unique app and promotes imaginative play. The app is basically an extension of Eric Carle’s classic book. Vir really enjoyed it as he was reading the book and could see the caterpillar in action. On the app daily, the caterpillar is up to some new challenges and things to play with including painting, making music, and watering your garden. After around 6 days, your caterpillar is quite large and makes a cocoon, emerging the next day as a beautiful butterfly. A great lesson on the life cycle!

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8.Daniel Tiger’s Stop and Go Potty (Age 2+) – This app helps in toilet training and helps in understanding important bathroom routines. There are some games too that  are simple and appropriate for the target age, and the narration is excellent.

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9. Bimi Boo Kids Baby Piano (Age 1+) This app has been one of the first musical apps Vir started with. It allows little ones to develop creativity, an ear for music, hand-eye coordination, fine motor and attention.

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10. Peek a Boo Barn (Age 1+) was one of the first few apps that we introduced to our son when he was 2. He learnt the names of animals and sounds within days. They have many other apps but first definitely try this.

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Please do share with me in comments your most recommended apps too.

Thanks

Arushi (2)

Top 5 Legacy Gift Ideas for Father’s Day – My Fox 26 Houston segment

Hey Friends!!

I am so excited to share with you all my segment today with Fox 26 Houston. I was invited to do a Legacy Gift Special for Father’s Day and share some unique and quintessential gifts the network’s viewers on 14th June 2019 in Houston, Texas.

This is truly such a fantastic feature for me and my blog right before my blog’s Third year anniversary and I am so grateful to you all for all the support. It means a lot!

Unfortunately I hadn’t slept the entire night prior to this segment as my son is sick and is having a temperature which keeps coming back every few hours. And at 3:30 am in the morning it went over 102 and poor guy was shivering too much. He slept at 6 am and I caught a cat nap of 30 mins, since I had to be ready by 7:30 am and wanted to make sure I am able to hide my tired eyes with all the concealer 🙂

Thankfully my mom is here for few months and was able to take care of him when I had to leave at 8am and my husband too went late to his office.

To watch my segment CLICK on the image above

For the segment I wanted to make sure I share some timeless treasures for Father’s Day. Legacy gifts are increasing in popularity. And they truly are special and unique. Thanks to the amazing anchor Jose Grinan and Sally Macdonald for having me on their show.

Life Untold: This Father’s Day wouldn’t it be amazing if you could share dad’s life’s story including photos with your children and their children and future generations?  A Life Untold is a rare, story-telling company that makes it easy to turn anyone’s life story into a captivating and professionally designed hardcover book.  Think of it as a “do-it-yourself” autobiography where your dad answers over 100 detailed, thought-provoking questions.  Then A Life Untold captures those answers and turns them into a beautiful book for anyone to read.  Hard-copy or digital, these books will forever tell the history of your cherished father. This concept is meant not only for the person being talked about in the book (your dad,) but also for all who want to read it. Imagine all the great stories and experiences in dad’s lifetime put to paper and printed. This concept of encapsulating a person’s life story is not like anything else out there.  After all, it is not just a  gift  …. it’s a legacy left for generations to come.

Personalized pottery at The Mad Potter in Houston : Simply visit a pottery studio with the kids and paint a special gift for dad on a ceramic piece. I made the ceramic plate with Vir’s feet when he was under 6 months. His feet are so tiny here and this is one of the cutest pieces of art in our house. I am going to save this forever hopefully and maybe pass it on to my son’s wife.

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DNA kit: Here is no one quite like Dad. After all, he is the story-book-reader, the scraped-knee-healer, and the piggy-back-ride hero of childhood. And even though no one is exactly like dad, there is someone who is at least partially like him: YOU. In addition to the piggy-back rides, your father also gave you half of his DNA.  This year how about thanking your dad (as you wouldn’t be you without him) by giving him generations of knowledge about his own family line?   Family Tree DNA is home to the world’s largest genealogical DNA database.  With the simple swab of a cheek….in 6 weeks’ time your dad can find out his unique ethnic origins, can locate  relatives dating back hundreds of years with 99.9% accuracy and so much more.  So this year how about giving dad a FamilyTreeDNA genealogy test for $69 which is a gift that will last a lifetime.  After all it’s not just a gift ……it is his legacy!!

The Articulate Gallery: Melt dad’s heart this year with hand print-art made from their infants, toddlers or small children’s hands or have a photo taken of dad with the kids and then display that art in the coolest line of frames ever! Articulate Galleryframes come fully equipped with awesome slot-sides that make it super easy to display 2D and 3D children’s artwork versus just putting stuff on the fridge! The frames allow for easy rotation of the art and provide easy access to switch out pics without ever having to remove the frame from the wall thanks to the slot sided function.  So whether it’s a picture of your little ones painted hand art or perhaps a photo of dad with the kids…. Articulate Gallery Frames make some of this year’s greatest dad gifts around.  Please see more detailed information below. I am excited to gift this to my husband so he can place it on his office cabin wall. You can buy them for just $26 on Amazon.

A Night Sky: I wasn’t able to share this amazing piece on the segment as unfortunately there was a shipping delay. But I can’t wait to see the package when it arrives. How about giving dad a framed picture of the Night Sky Star Map of the day he was born or the day he turned to be a dad!  After all, that was a day or night that changed the world.   The Night Sky makes an incredible, memorable gift with a star map of the night in history that you choose!  This framed artwork and memento will be treasured for years to come as it is a way to memorialize a special dad in dad’s life. With this service, it is simple to create an 18″ x 24″ star map of any night in history! Your unique and personalized star map is printed on high-quality, Art Matte paper with over 190g weight. Choose from 8 different styles at any place or time in the world to memorialize what is special to you or to the recipient.

I hope you like all of the above legacy gift ideas that are unique and a great alternative to the traditional Dad’s Day presents.

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Love

Arushi (2)

The snazzy mom

Vir’s Construction Themed Birthday Party

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Unlike last year where we decided to go on a vacation with our 2-year-old to Los Cabos on his birthday, this year we celebrated our son’s third birthday party at our place. One of the major reasons I wanted to have it at our home was that I hardly got to invite my friends and family over last year. With all my travels, pending projects and of course never having enough time to complete errands- planning a party, potluck or dinner was never on my list. However, this year I am hoping to host more parties and get together for our friends and especially now when our son is getting older and making so many memories.

Vir’s Third Birthday is such an important milestone for us. He is a preschooler (unbelievable), full of energy and questions, finally potty trained (Thank god!) yet still in that adorable toddler stage where he wants his independence but still wants mom and dad around for everything. I made sure to make his big day truly special and so we went and choose a theme that is exactly what he wanted and cared about at this age. TRUCKS and TRUCKS and all kinds of trucks. He clearly knows way more heavy-duty vehicles than me and often corrects me if I call a dump truck just a truck.

I took me 2 weeks to put together his Construction Theme Birthday Party at our place. I think this was by far my biggest Pinterest mom moment. I thought through every detail and scanned several stores to land the items I needed for the party and visualized in my head.

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Invitation: I wanted to make an invite for Vir’s party, I always make the invitations on apps like Canva or order from Shutterfly. But I decided to buy a template from Etsy store, I looks for the right card and was very happy with my choice.

 

Decorations: The most important element that truly brings out the theme of a party are the decor pieces. From Amazon, to Etsy, to local Boutique shops and party stores I went and shopped everywhere. We used our dining table as the main table to display the cake and construction items. The key pieces I used for the construction theme birthday party were:

You can also get

  • Yard Signs
  • Banners
  • DIY cardboard dump trucks backdrops

 

Dinner wear: For adults I kept the simple and goodquality plastic plates and cups, but for kids we stuck to the theme and included the below

I avoided black as much as I could and used more yellow and blue colors for the theme. I used a lot of black and grey on Vir’s first birthday party.

Snacks and Kids Table: For kids we rented 2 small center tables with 16 chairs from a party place so that the kids could comfortably sit, eat and play the games there. It was tough to have them all seated in 1 place for long, but I was so happy at different times of the party several kids sat to eat, chat and play. Apart from candy on the center table I has these items on the kids table

  • Fruit Punch flavor Juice packs
  • Veggie sticks
  • Fruit Salad
  • Sandwiches
  • And of course, Cakeimg_5277

 

Construction Birthday Cake: I had so many designs in mind for the cake and found so many great ideas on Pinterest. Having visualized a lot of yellow on the center table I stuck with a blue 2 tier cake for 40 people in chocolate flavor. The kids loved it and most of all Vir was so happy! We got it from Alphorn Bakery, I have ordered all our event cakes from there.

Party Activities and Games for Toddlers : This Birthday party had 15 kids mostly of the age 3 and under, except for a couple of 6-year-old. Initially I was looking for a party entertainer mostly a balloon twister and I couldn’t find a good one as it was too last minute.

Not many party entertainers fit in a construction theme, so we made 2 simple activities, but the biggest hit were the 20 construction trucks out of which Vir owned most and few I borrowed from our friend who has a 4 year old equally obsessed with trucks as Vir.. All the kids found their favorite toys and played together. It was amazing that there was no crying and yelling for any toy!!

Truck Coloring Pages and Crayons– I downloaded this  that I found online and gave it to the kids.

 

  • Pound the Nail Game: I was sure that kids will enjoy a fun pounding session. Just give each item to the kids and ask them to pound the nails. Offer more nails and Styrofoam when kids are done with one session. The game was huge hit and surprised everyone. You need:
  • Styrofoam cubes
  • Plastic Golf Picks
  • Toy Hammer

 

Sand Play Site: You can also make a sand play area if you have a backyard and can take the party outdoor. We didn’t do it as we have a town home and no backyard or outdoor space.

  • Construction Pop up photo booth– This was also a huge hit. I forgot about it until the end of the party but all the kids who hadn’t left loved taking their pictures and seeing them too. I got this from Arnes in Houston.

Party Favor for kids: I found the cutest party favor box from here ! The sell 12 boxes per pack so I ordered 2 bags. In the favors I kept sunglasses, whistle, fun bracelet, small trucks and candy for kids. Also, the hard hats, hammer and a gas balloon each was used as a favor. For older kids and babies, I got age appropriate gifts.

Party Food for Family and Adults- All the parents and adults in the house got good few good hours to chat and indulge in adult conversation as kids the were busy having fun. We had drinks and snacks items as the party was from 3pm-6pm. Here is the food we kept which hardly got wasted

  • Cheese Platter- 5 Cheeses,Dry fuits and jams with crackers from Whole Foods
  • Tomato Basil Bruschetta from Whole Foods
  • Caprese Sandwiches from Whole Foods
  • Cut Fruit Platter from Whole Foods
  • Samosas from Tarka Indian Kitchen
  • Chips
  • Dry fruit
  • Chocolate Balls
  • Lemonade
  • Wine
  • Beer

Family Matching Outfits: We also coordinated our outfits with yellow as the primary color. Instead of wearing the family construction T shirts we wore our regular outfits but stayed in theme through color. I wore a Yellow Striped Jumpsuit (sold out), Vir and Deep wore matching yellow bow ties and my mom wore a yellow shirt.

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I hope you have a great celebration and these ideas help you prepare better!

XOXO

Arushi (2)

 

Our Family Friendly Adventure near Cancun.Fun activities & Things We Did With Our Toddler

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One country or city that I have been returning every year for a vacation is Cancun, Mexico. Of course, the proximity and cheap flights from Houston is a huge advantage! The place is a haven for the conventional beach goer looking to lounge by the turquoise water or the emerald green waters in Playa Del Carmen, but the unique and remarkable experiences Cancun has to offer is amazing. The three times I have been to Cancun earlier I not only relaxed at the beaches but got the opportunity to truly experience the nature, history and ecotourism of the place.

The last family vacation the three of us took outside of US was to Portugal in Sept 2017. Although I travel a lot for work and recently got back from India on a 2-week vacation with my son, me and my husband and my son needed to go on a full family trip together. I had been craving this family getaway a lot and so just 3 days prior to our travel, I went and booked everything for my birthday weekend in April.

Yes just 3 days ahead of booking and planning is not very efficient as I like it to be, but I have realized spontaneous plans have their own fulfillment and excitement even after having a toddler. Having been to Cancun before I knew what to expect in terms of logistics and so it was tad bit easier to plan a 4-day itinerary.  Our focus of the vacation was to relax and enjoy the simple moments. So, it simply meant avoiding any huge water parks, historic sites, or long drives with our son unlike our previous trips.

You can catch a snapshot of our travel on my Instagram Highlights .

Accommodation

We simply choose to relax at our favorite All Inclusive hotel Sandos Caracol that has been our top choice for staying in Cancun and also in Los Cabo. You can read my previous post on our Cabo getaway here.  We loved the Cancun resort too when we stayed there 4 years back when our son wasn’t born and were truly impressed by the amount of activities it had for children. It was a no brainier that we wanted to stay at this property with our son this year too. I love it so much that my review for the property got selected in the online Trivago magazine. Also, when travelling with kids it is easier to go for all inclusive restaurants as there is no worry about meals and meal prep and we being vegetarians always check the cuisines available at any resort and see their menu too before booking. Sandos Caracol was rated by Expedia as the first place in the world to spend an eco-friendly vacation.

Flights

We booked our flights from Kayak.com it gives you excellent pricing comparisons with several airlines and is extremely easy to navigate. I often put price alerts on it for destinations I plan to travel in future and get a great deal. Cheapoair and Google flights are also other sites where I like to compare and explore pricing.  Google flights has a fantastic map capability that shows you where all you can travel for the filters you put in at the time of your search.

Local Transport

For local travel within the city I recommend booking cabs at the hotel or at the airport itself. They are legit and give you best pricing. Our hotel pick up and drop off 1 way costed $100. It depends where you are staying. We stayed in Playa Del Carmen which is 45 mins away from the airport.  Also we have always traveled locally in a cab or in the tourist buses for any activity or excursions we signed for. They pick and drop you at the hotel, are safe and you also become friends with other travelers.

Important Things to carry

 While travelling with children you end up carrying a lot of gear. However, minimizing it has become key if you travel a lot. This time I chose not to carry any stroller. It really depends what stage your child is in and what you prefer, and are comfortable with. As Vir is growing I have got him the habit of using the Micro Scooter more often to travel in parks and on sidewalks at a controlled speed. One of us is constantly jogging with him or navigating him as he is still learning the sense of direction. The scooter was very useful in the resort, especially for exploring new sites and we also used it as an activity in the evening. The resorts are very big, and kids tend to get tired. Umbrella strollers help a lot in such cases too.

I also ensured we had only one suitcase with all our stuff in it and 1 backpack for each one of us without any carry on luggage. I only carried Horizon milk packs for my son as I wanted Vir to drink the same milk he has at home. They are convenient  to carry everywhere. We also packed some snacks for the flight but apart from that we didn’t worry about his food. At our resort there were 4 restaurants that had a full buffet every day with a kid’s section too and of course a huge spread of desserts.

Things we did

Honestly this family vacation was all about less hassle more fun. And from our previous trips I have realized planning long itineraries and things to do takes away all the fun. So, we relaxed for 4 full days in our resort and didn’t step out at all! One of the reasons was also because of the weather , we couldn’t make it to the swimming with the dolphin activity on the last day as it started to rain. Yet we don’t think we missed anything.

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Beach and the Swimming Pools

Seriously Sandos Caracol has so much to do!! From heading to the beach every day and to lounging in the different pools in the afternoon, we made sure we spent the most time outside. Vir is at an age where he is not yet ready to go in the water and preferred playing in the sand. So while he got to play in sand, I also got to catch up on beach Zumba and sports throughout our trip and my husband got to read.

 

Animal Farm

One of our top things from the hotel was the little animal farm. We went there at least 5 times a day as Vir is such an animal lover. They have donkeys, pigs, sheep, ducks, deer and even peacocks and peahens. The birds were free to roam around and were not in any cages and were very friendly as well. Vir fed the ducks and even the peacock. Also, there were monkeys iguana, raccoons and herds of coati that roamed freely in the resort and didn’t bother anyone.

 

Cycling to Mayan Sites

There were free bikes for adults and kids and with toddler seats too. We biked twice around the biking trails in the resort and stopped at 2 historic Mayan ruin sites.

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Cenotes and Eco tours

I love how Cancun have so many Eco tours and excursions to offer and there is a huge list if you look here. But with a toddler we were limited to some activities only. I am glad I did soo much in my earlier trips with excursions, but I also got to a take a dip and experience the cenote in the resort and spot turtles and fishes while snorkeling. The gear was provided for free and was open to adults and kids of a certain age.

Daily Shows

If you followed my IG stories we landed on my birthday at the resort and I was so glad they had a Dream Girls show that night and it was perfect way to end the night with some dance and music. The resorts literally have its own theater where every evening there was a new show. For kids they had a superheroes show which I found hilarious! My son had a blast. However, our favorite is the elaborate Mayan show with elaborate costumes, music and great performances in a great atmosphere outdoor with an open buffet.

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SPA

No trip end without a good spa break. Me and my husband did an alternate day of getting some deep tissue massage therapy during our son’s naptime in afternoon. It was reasonably priced. They also had some specials every day, and I also got a body scrub for free!

I feel like there was soo much to do already at resort we didn’t even think of venturing outside. However, we plan to go back soon and hopefully by then Vir will be able to join us in some excursions and fun activities and sports. Next thing on my list to do in Cancun is to swim with the Whale Sharks. They are gentle creatures and are, for the most part, solitary by nature. In contrast, during the summer months from June through September, the area just north of Isla Mujeres attracts a huge number of whale sharks gathering together to enjoy the plankton-rich waters.

 

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Where are you planning to go this summer with your kids?

XOXO

Arushi (2)

 

 

 

 

Tips and Tricks on Flying with Babies and Toddlers

Texas Hill Country with family

The first time I traveled to India or outside US with my son was, when he was almost 8 months old. My husband also accompanied me on that trip as we were nervous first-time parents flying with a tiny human ocean apart. During that visit we only stayed in Delhi and avoided any local travels within the country. You can read my experience on taking the long-haul flight with a baby here. There are some tips, tricks and details that might help you plan your flight experiences with an infant.

This trip was planned almost 2 weeks before I booked my tickets, as I found the perfect travel window and dates to take leave from my work. My family was very excited to see Vir as they hadn’t met him since our last visit and was so eager to see him all grown up. With all the excitement also came a lot of planning.

I wanted to make sure we visited Mumbai, Kota and Delhi on these two and a half weeks visit, so my son can meet my immediate and extended family as well my in-laws. I wasn’t sure when I will go next, so I did my best to cover as much I could on this vacation.

The thought of travelling to India can often make parents filled with dread or awe or possibly with a combination of both. The last time I traveled my son got sick and lost a lot of weight, he even stopped breast feeding and it turned out to be an emotional experience to see my baby in that position. Yet I knew this is the perfect age to take him, as now his immunity was way better from going to the school and that now I had better control of his diet and hygiene. I followed the recommendations and tips from a Pediatrician on this post .

Booking flights for smooth travel 

This is one of the most important steps to a stress-free trip. I booked our flights with Turkish Airlines from Houston since I wanted a red eye flight where Vir can sleep in most of the commute. I categorically stuck to this airline, because it was a 13-hour journey one way. I wanted to break the journey with a short 3-hour layover before we hop on the second flight which was another 7 hours to give us a break from flying while also not spending too much time at the airport. Also, since I had planned my journey within India to major cities Mumbai and Delhi, I booked my return tickets from Delhi. This fit perfectly in plan and dint have a huge difference in fare.

My Top Kid’s Travel Gear recommendations 

For details on how I kept my son busy in flight, at the airports and on my Top items for travelling with kids read here

Preparing your toddler for the travel

Once I booked the tickets I started preparing Vir that he will be travelling with only mummy and going in a very big airplane to visit Nani, Mama and Mami. Every night I would talk to him about the fun he is going to have there from sitting in a train, to seeing some animals to visiting new places.

Repeating this daily helped him be mentally ready to travel without daddy, meet new faces and most of all be excited about the long-haul flight. This worked wonders as he didn’t shed a tear while my husband dropped us off. He was in a good mood at the airport spotting airplanes and enjoying the in flight experience on the way to India and this really helped me stay stress free.

My In Flight & Layover Experience during arrival and departure.

46 hours of flight travel is way too much especially if you are doing it alone. I was nervous and was really praying everything goes well. I packed extremely light and kept a small backpack for myself for all the necessities, a busy bag for Vir and a JetKids Bed Box for converting Vir’s seat into a bed and ditched the umbrella stroller. Read my full review here on the JetKids Bed box and Top items to travel with here

As we sat in our 1st 23-hour flight to India, Vir deleted the you tube app which had all downloaded videos!! Awesome I said to myself while fearing the start already but hey I had a plan B – The Busy Bag rescued me.

Vir hardly saw the Tv in flight although he enjoyed pressing all the buttons. He slept most of the way to Istanbul and then to Mumbai. I packed lots of snacks that kept him entertained and full. I got to use the restroom once in flight and asked an attendant to watch over Vir and changed his diaper on the seat only when he was asleep to avoid all the hassle.  (I did the same while coming back too)

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BUSY BAG Ideas

Both the times are layover was in Istanbul and although it was tiring to be out of the plane and go through another round of security. We stopped at Starbucks to have some snacks and at the duty free to buy him a car. The new car was a reward for good behavior and hope for keeping him occupied in the 2nd flight to our destination. This tactic worked on our return journey to Houston too.

Although on our way back Vir was more grumpy than usual, it seemed like his excitement for being in an airplane had faded away. However, I made sure we have ample number of videos and games on iPad to keep him busy. At one-point Vir was frustrated with the iPad and so I bought the WiFi in flight and allowed him to see some new cartoons. The person sitting next to me was kind enough to entertain him for an hour, so I could get a break from all the whining and it did help a lot!

How to overcome Jet lag with toddler

My only worry on this travel was jet lag and so I made sure we stayed longer in Mumbai for our first stop in the country to be well rested. It took Vir 5 days to recover and be back to a normal schedule. He would sleep at 6 pm and wake at 3am for the first 2 days. From the third day I started to push his sleeping time to 7pm, following by 8pm and 9pm and within 5 days he was started getting 10 hours of sleep at a stretch. His afternoon naps started off with 4 hours and slowly brought it down to 2 hours from day 3 of arrival. We tried staying in the sun most of the day. My brother’s society had an amazing open space, pool and play area for kids. In evenings we took short Auto rickshaw rides that my son was obsessed with. Staying active, eating sufficiently and really waiting it out with my son helped us overcome jet lag.

Honestly the first week I must have slept for an average of 5 hours daily.

Best way to travel within the country

Cars/ Uber/Taxis – I didn’t carry a car seat. And I don’t advice on not taking one. Please choose as per your comfort and discretion. We mostly took Uber within the country or auto rickshaws, carrying a car seat didn’t seem practical as we dint have our own car. My son sat in my lap and honestly it wasn’t as easy as I thought since we two weren’t used to it and he would try to stand up most of the time. I only traveled in cars when it was needed, but we stayed at home most of the time. If you are planning to travel to India for a long time and have your own transportation, pl do carry a car seat or buy one there.

 

Trains I love the Indian railways and I was so excited for Vir to experience it again. Vir has been lucky to experience the Swiss Golden Pass when he was one year old and now the Indian Railways. He just loved being in a train and watching the train tracks and engines pass by.  We traveled by AC first as it was most convenient and safe from Mumbai to Kota. We took special care of sanitizing hands and avoided eating in train.

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Adjusting to Co sleeping while traveling 

My son slept on his crib since he was 3-month-old and we rarely co slept as that was the arrangement I wanted, due to my monthly work travels. This was the first time I traveled somewhere without worrying about having a crib or pack and play for my son to sleep in. I knew we were going to co-sleep and was looking forward to seeing how it went. Being a light sleeper, I woke up several times in the night when Vir moved, but within a few days we both were loving the cuddles and the idea of sharing the same bed. However, I can’t remember the amount of time I was punched and kicked while sleeping by a toddler!

Getting the kids back to original sleeping schedule at home

Once we were back, I made sure my son had the same routine. I sent him to school the next day and picked him up within 5 hours. It really helped get him back to sleeping at night for longer hours. I also kept the same bedtime routine of having a bubble bath right before he sleeps, our favorite story time and a body massage. All this prepared my son, that he will be sleeping back in his crib. Staying in his room and assuring him I am there helped him sleep in his crib from the very first day we came back. I stayed there for at least thirty minutes. He did wake up in the night and came to our room for the first few days, but I remained consistent and put him back in his bed. The key is staying consistent. Within five days Vir was back to the same sleep schedule of sleeping at 9pm and waking up at 8am.

Hope this post helps all parents travelling with their kids .

Please use the comment thread to share, ask or recommend anything related to the topic.

Have a fabulous trip !!

arushi

Top 10 Products For Kids That Can Make Traveling Easier For Parents.

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Vir at the Delhi International Airport all set for the long flight

After travelling to over 6 countries and taking several long haul flights with my son when he was baby to now when he is a toddler, I have come across several brands and products that I have loved and hated. We parents on our travel come across so many hiccups like a frantic airport terminal, rogue luggage carts, judgmental passengers and thousands other possible hiccups that can make daily parenting battles a bit more strenuous? So being prepared with the right travel gear and travelling light has become my mantra for traveling!

The key to successfully flying with kids boils down to three things:getting to the airport early, planning, and packing light and the right gear. And extra snacks always help.

Below is a list of items I recommend for travelling with toddlers.

1.) JetKids BedBox

I highly recommend this JetKids Bedbox to all parents who are traveling with their kids in flights especially on long haul flights. We got this for our 23 hour journey to India and I knew that it would simplify traveling for me and my son. This suitcase comes with adjustable strap,two sheets of decorative stickers and a mattress with seat extension.

Although Vir is young to have his feet on the floor to roll the bedbox, he comfortably sat on it while I pulled the jet-box around the airport. The mattress is convenient to extend the seat in the flight and turn it into a bed. It is great for keeping little children’s feet up and also gives space to stretch especially on long flights.

 

 

While sleeping my son’s legs were curled up and although it helped a lot as now there was more space to sleep, the area between the seats is still limited for growing kids to stretch comfortably. It will be perfect for infants! Also I recommend getting an economy plus or the front row seats for more leg room if your are traveling coach. The jetbox also had ample of storage space to hold some snacks,books, iPad and headphones . When my son didn’t feel like sitting on it while we were waking around the airport, he enjoyed pulling it . Since he is still young to understand proper directions , I had to assist him while walking . But older kids will be able to navigate the bedbox very conveniently. We also used the JetKids Bedbox in a train chair car from Kota to Delhi which was a 7 hours journey! And I seriously felt I hit the jackpot as my son slept comfortably on it. Also there was way more leg space than in a flight.

2. A Busy Bag

In my previous post I shared a lot of ideas for toys and activities you need to have ready in case your in flight entertainment is not going as you preferred. I added below items on my list. With growing kids, we need activities that keeps them interested and occupied.

water wow book

Water Wow color book – If you don’t already know about it, the Water Wow! is pretty much the greatest coloring book ever invented. I love that there is no hassle of taking markers, paints, or crayons. I bought 2 new books for Vir to keep him busy!

Play dough with new shapes and cutters.

New books -We love reading and so I got some new Pete the Cat books for my son. For older kids I recommend some cultural books that can educate them more about the destination. Please send me recommendations if you have any for India.

3. Foldable earphones

earphones JL BuddyWe have the J Buddies folding headphones that are east to pack in a bag and not bulky. Also they aren’t too expensive so I am not worried about misplacing them.

 

 

4.Tablet

We can’t leave without one anywhere. And the tablet or ipad is absolutely a must when locked in an aircraft. I took it out only when Vir was done with everything else or when I needed to catch a nap for atleast 1 hour. We took the youtube subscription where you can download the videos in offline mode. I also downloaded his favorite Nat Geo animal documentary series and many games.  I highly recommend having a variety of age appropriate games to keep them busy. And one tip, definitely download some new games and videos that you think the kids will enjoy.

5. Fold-able potty seat

potty seatWe are still working on potty training so I made sure we had a convenient potty seat that I can carry with me anywhere. Thanks to my cousin I was introduced to this easy to carry potty seat that came with liners and a carry bag. And yes it was so convenient than buying a potty seat in India and carrying it within the cities I was going too.

 

 

6.Hand sanitizer and wipes

We cant do without wipes, but we carried a big and small pack for lots of cleaning. The hand sanitizer is very important on travels. I didn’t want Vir to be sick for any reason and was almost sanitizing hands almost every few hours in flight and outdoors.

7.Blanket and sleeping toy

I definitely recommend carrying your child’s favorite blanket and plush toy. Its is especially helpful in a long flight and also when you are sleeping in new places and  beds. My son slept comfortably with his Pooh everywhere and I carried it with me on flight and in train too.

8. Collapsible bottle 

BOTTLEOne of my favorite gift items and must have item for people on the go. This collapsible bottle from Hydaway is truly the best. It is ultra portable, easy to pack , non toxic and leak proof. This is one of the portable bottles that have a spout , so my son was able to sip easily. I carry it with me everywhere, and the best part is that there is no need to carry any plastic bottles that take space in a backpack or bag.

 

 

9.Insulated food jar

Thermos jarThis jar has saved us so many times. If your baby or toddler is eating solids but is picky, likes warm snacks, or is just not into eating restaurant food yet (and you aren’t too keen on always giving them jars of pre-packaged food), I would bring along one of these Thermos insulated jars.

 

10. Tegu Blocks

We love the Tegu Blocks  as they are so easy to carry and stick to each other. I love the convenience of having a simple and compact toy that is so versatile. Definitely get a new one for a long flight so it keeps them interested.tegu blocks

I hope you find these recommendations helpful . Also you can read some more information on travelling with kids/ babies below on my previous blog posts.

 

 

Airplane Busy Bag Must Haves + Tips on Flying Internationally with a Baby or Toddler

A Pediatrician’s advice on caring for your child’s health while travelling to a new country

Tips for Traveling with a baby. (Our short trip to New York)

How I Survived a Long Haul Flight With a Lap Baby

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