All things Chicago!!

Couple weeks back we traveled to Chicago for a family event. After the event we explored the beautiful city. Kids had so much fun sightseeing. So to make travel even more memorable for them, we did 3 fun craft that would recap all the fun we had in Chicago.

1. Willis Tower (Sears tower)- We went up 103 floors of this skyscraper and even dared to have a little party on the sky ledge. Kids were thrilled to be up on the top. We decided to make our very own tower with legos. Our tower ended up more colorful then the actual Willis tower. Find the instructions here.

2. Cloud gate ( Millennium park)- This was kids second favorite party spot. I can't tell u how much fun they had posing in front of the stainless steel bean n looking at their reflections. We recreated our own cloud gate with play dough and ours is green.

3. Boat ride- Last but not the least was the boat ride we took on Lake Michigan learning about the historical facts of the architecture of the buildings in downtown Chicago and a fun speedboat ride. We decided to make paper boats and sail it in tray filled with water. 

 Check out our very own Chicago downtown.

Hand and Nail care when traveling!

I Love Traveling. That being said, I hate packing, unpacking and how that affects my nails. From cracked cuticles and brittle nails to chipped polish and dry hands..... I suffer from it all.
Below are some tips and tricks that have worked for me and have helped my hands and manicure look presentable.
1. One week before the travel and also a day before the travel I prep my nails with a Nail hardener coat and my cuticles with Cuticle oil. This strengthens the nail and moistens the cuticles. I also trim and shape my nails a day before.
2.  Most of the time I wait until I reach my destination to paint my nail. Unless I know I won’t have time for that when I reach, in that case I paint my nails before the travel and I make sure to carry the nail polish with me if I have to fix any chips.
3.  I apply top coat every day or every other day to avoid the polish from chipping. This tip works just is general too. Reapplying top coat helps last your manicure longer.
4.  I apply, reapply and then apply some more hand lotion. Traveling dries off my hands like anything. And the only thing that can make them feel soft and look moisturized is a hand lotion. So I apply hand lotion after I wake up, before I go to sleep, after every time I wash my hands and practically every time I take my husband’s name (which I take at least a million times in a day).

5.  I always travel with nail polish (the one I have applied or want to apply), base coat, quick dry top coat, nail clippers, nail filers, nail polish remover pads and lot of hand lotion.
Let me know how you deal with nails during travel.

Kitchen Sponge Tip

Believe me when I say that the part of me wanted to start blogging so that I could share tips with you all one day.
As much as I hate washing dishes, I still want my dishes to be sparkly clean. I have seen most people use the dishwashing sponges or the brushes for hand washing dishes. Dishwashing brushes are the best in terms of hygiene as they dry off easily, but they can be awkward to wash with. I personally prefer the dish washing sponges. That being said, I agree that the sponges can be worst as they are the perfect breeding ground for bacteria.
There are some ways to dramatically reduce the risk of cross-contamination that can lead to food poisoning. We need to make sure to wring all the water off after each use. We also need to disinfect it often by washing it in dishwasher with a heat cycle. And last but not the least; we should replace the kitchen sponge very often, as often as once a month or less depending on your use. 
As a mom, it can be nerve wracking knowing that the choice you made could affect your family. So that brings you all to my tip of the day.
“Cut the sponge into half”

Cut the sponge into half
I have been cutting my sponges into halves for more than 2 years now and I can tell you that it has been great. Not only does is fit perfectly in my palms, it is also easy to maneuver through the nooks and crannies of the dishes and cups. Cutting the sponge into half also makes it feasible for me to replace the sponge very often. So while initially I used to replace the big whole sponge every month; now by cutting it into half, I am able to toss it every 15 days. That means I can say ‘bye bye’ to bacteria soon than later and save my family from catching anything due to germs lingering and multiplying on the sponge.

Let me know if you follow any such sponge safety. Or have you made a better choice of using the brush.

First impression is not always the last!

My oldest kid is in Kindergarten and middle one in preschool. So I thought I was an expert in teachers and could differentiate between good ones and not soo good ones just by meeting them once. Until, this year I met my middle daughter's new teacher (who was teaching as assistant for many many years, before becoming the main teacher due to the lack of staff).
Before the school begins, the kids have to go to meet their new teachers and get acquainted with the classrooms; that is when I first met her. She looked lost. She did not even greet the kids when she met them. How rude, right. And then during the back to school night, She confessed that she has been wanting to be a kindergarten teacher for soo long like her daughter and so she sometimes forgets that she is just teaching 4 years olds. Perfect. Such a waste of year for my lil one, I thought. She could no way get what her new teacher was trying to teach. 
And then, we had travel plans.... 2 months in India. I thought it is not going to make any difference if my daughter goes to school or not. So one day while dropping my daughter, I told the teacher about our travel plans. She smiled back saying "she would miss us, but she was happy we were going to see the family". Then the week after, she told me that she was making a 'homework folder' for my 4 yr old to take along on her vacation. Believe me, my heart almost missed a beat when she said so... "what folder?" I asked. Did I hear something wrong? Don't get me wrong, I have traveled before too when my older daughter was in preschool and no one has ever given me a homework folder. In fact, I had to remind my kindergartners teacher twice to get the work for days we missed. 
That started to change the way I was thinking about her. 
I was also getting impressed by what my daughter was bringing home. It was surely more than her age and isn't that a good thing. Then I also realized that at 60 years of age the teacher had to be the main teacher after being an aide for soo many years, who wouldn't be nervous. She was not rude at all during the kids-teacher meet. She had so much going on in her head at that time with soo many parents coming and going and meeting all the kids. I was soo wrong.
Turns out I am not an expert after all. Every time I go to drop my daughter in her class I get a smile  from the teacher and when I go for the special events I get a hug from her. She is so far one of the best teacher my kids have had. I wish my son is lucky enough to get her as a teacher too. 
And she was not just a teacher to my daughter but she taught me too that the first impression is not always the last and we should not judge people so quickly. 
This post is clearly out of guilt for being so judgmental and there was no time better then teachers appreciation week to celebrate her.