Best gifts for my new born little niece and the parents-to-be

My sister-in-law was about to deliver her first baby and the first girl child in our family. Given my son is now 4.5 years old, I was scratching my head to figure out the best gift I could give the to-be-parents.

My sister-in-law and brother-in-law love to travel. We have a hard time tracking them down on any major weekend or seasonal breaks. I was sure that even after having their first child, travel is going to be a huge part of their life. I started looking for gifts that would assist them in this endeavor. I picked Baby Bjorn products:

Baby Carrier Miracle

    Baby Bjorn Carrier

    BabySitter Balance

Baby Bjorn Bouncer

I was hoping that I picked the right products. I am very happy to report that our healthy one month old niece is enjoying being snug in the carrier. She loves being carried around in the carrier in the house. I am sure she will love traveling in it as well. She is equally loving being bounced in the bouncer and looks very comfortable in it.

Confidence on the go

IMG_1974This year we decided to not travel, to stay back home to relax and take it easy. I am thus going to write on a topic that is not about traveling. It is about everyday life.

It is so easy to tell a tot that he / she is wrong but are we able to equally appreciate everything they are doing right? My recent experience with my four year old has taught me a very important lesson on building confidence. As most Asian moms I started teaching my son to read this past summer. We do 5 pages of reading and some writing everyday. It is a bit taxing for him and like most four year old boys he would get easily distracted, loose patience and want to do be doing something else instead. About two days ago I started to tell him that we need not do this work as he has become a reading expert. I told him that he had gained super reading powers. Given his obsession with Super Heroes currently he surely made a note of this. It is day 3 and he asked me if he could do some reading today. It was the first day I did not probe him and he finished reading 5 pages in 3 minutes without any help at all.

Tots teach you important lessons everyday. Instill a bit of confidence in a person and he will soar. Its almost like filling air in a balloon. Though be careful to not fill too much to create a sense of overconfidence.

Happy Holidays and Happy New Year

TitterTot’s Top 3 Halloween Costume Shops on Etsy

You might agree with me that kids go through a huge transformation when they turn four. They start to develop a strong personality and have a say in everything that affects their lives. This makes Halloween a bit challenging. Last year we did the superhero costume with extruding muscles and body hugging polyester covering feet to head. But I could tell that my son was not very happy seeing himself transform so drastically. During the year I also realized that my son was very content wearing a cape and playing knight with a shield and sword. Not having time on hand to make a costume by myself this year I selected costumes hand made by super creative moms.

After scouring the entire internet I came upon Kari Goodwin’s store on Etsy called “The Tree House Kid”. She makes the best costumes hands down. They are easy to wear, comfortable to keep on, extremely colorful and my son had a lot of fun playing in them. Check out the knight ensemble and then visit her store on Etsy to see her collection:
The Tree House Kid

To have a variety of costumes I also bought a reversible Batman/Superman cape from super hero mom – Connie Hughes. Her store on Etsy is called – “Mummy Hughesy”. Based out of UK, she makes very high quality character capes and masks. I also bought the batman mask made of felt that my son loved as well.
Mummy Hughesy

Mummy Hughesy 3

Mummy Hughesy 2

We had a pirate costume from last year that still fit my son, so I bought foam pirate shield and sword and a pirate visor (as our eye patch does not seem to stay on) from Rebecca Neafus. Her store on Etsy is called “HopewellCreek”. Her shop was selected by Babble.com as one of “The top 50 Etsy Parent Shops for 2012-13”. Visit her shop to check out all the felt toys, décor and accessories besides the costumes.
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The greatest thing about all the costumes we bought this Halloween is that they will last all year long and thanks to Velcro adjusters in all of them, they will be used for many Halloweens to come. Thank you to all these fabulous moms we had a great Halloween.

Apple picking 2013

I am not sure if it is quiet unusual that my tot loves being out in nature. He loves visiting farms and gains immense pleasure participating in related activities. We try to make it out to farms at least three times a year. He enjoyed apple picking last year, so I had to take him out again this year. Last year we enjoyed apple picking at Whitman’s farm in NJ. This year we decided to visit orchards in upstate New York. The plan was to visit “The Wright Family Farm” located Warwick, NY. The online reviews were fantastic, but instead we stopped at Dressler Farms in New Platz, NY.

Collage

The views of the mountains from the farm were stunning, a floral welcome at the facade and the sight of apples from the parking lot made it a tempting stop. Right where we parked, we picked up a bucket and boarded a wagon that took us to the heart of the orchard. My tot enjoyed picking Fuji apples, Red Delicious apples and Golden Delicious apples. The orchard grew several different types of apples besides the three we picked. After picking about 30 apples, we went by the shop to enjoy freshly baked donuts and chilled apple cider. We also bought two different varieties of pears, corn and pumpkin. My tot could not resist climbing on top of a tractor and jumping up on haystacks. While there were not many activities for children at the farm, the loaded apple trees and a fantastic view of the mountains made this a wonderful trip for the entire family.

The only thing to watch out for when visiting Dressler or Wright Farm, it is at least two hours away from the city. On Google it maps out to be much closer but it was a long drive, but during this time of the year a beautiful drive through the fall foliage.

While we were done apple picking in less than an hour, we enjoyed the experience for days. We counted the apples, we arranged them in different shapes and my tot took the three different varieties of apples for show and tell to school.

We can’t wait to get back out on the farms to pick our pumpkins before Halloween. Our recommended farms near New York city based on the past three years of experience are as follows:

New Jersey farms:

1) Alstede Farms – Chester, NJ (1 hour from New York City)
This continues to remain our favorite farm. We have picked pumpkins, strawberries and blue berries here. My son has enjoyed climbing haystacks, riding ponies and kiddie wagons. There is easy access to farms and all the activities from the parking lot, making it a great destination to visit with young children.

2) Wightman’s Farms – Morristown, NJ (45 minutes from New York City)
A easy to reach farm is great for picking apples. The orchard is small but easily accessible with little tots.

New York State Farms

1) Dressler Farms – New Platz, NY (1 hour 35 minutes from New York City)
A great apple orchard with a wide variety of apples to pick. Enjoy wine tasting and freshly baked donuts.