Current Challenges – Revisited

I thought I’d give a nice update on my current challenges for August just like in July.

  • Schooling

T and I have been visiting the library and we are done with our Summer Program. We shall be collecting our gift soon. As of this week, T has read over 250 unique books. [Our reading count is higher since T likes to read her favorites over and over again. This is why we had finished the ‘1000 books before Kindergarten’ summer program last year with ~120 unique books. Not bad for a four year old!]

We are learning about time thanks to the Melissa&Doug clock from our library.

Cycling and walking are among our physical activities and making polite conversation constitute our social activities list.

  • Positivity

I finished more than three weeks of logging my positivity ratio; so, I have learnt what boosts my mood instantly and what automatically puts me in a slump. Accordingly, am trying to increase the good moments and avoid the bad ones. Read about my attempts at measuring positivity here and here.

  • Reading

I finished yet another book this week. Hurray! I am reading three books as of now. One is a physical copy, one an audio book and another an ebook. Having discovered how all the spare moments add up, I have resorted to having books around in multiple formats. This means that I can utilize every extra minute for absorbing a great book depending on the situation. Baby sleeping in my arms, go with the ebook. Ironing my never ending pile: listen to the audio book instead of songs. Supervising the li’l angel: read the hard cover. It’s not a perfect technique, but it works.

  • Camp NaNoWriMo

The one glaring blip on my list of challenges. I did NOT reach my target. No excuses or reasons. I am just glad that I learnt some useful lessons that will aid me in this year’s NaNoWriMo.

Make an outline.

Flesh out story and characters beforehand.

Don’t think, just write, never edit.

  • Personal Projects

I finished my MOOC with 95% score. Yippee!!

My pro bono project is in progress. I need to finish that within this fortnight.

 

It’s amazing how simple, ordinary lives too have so many challenges, big and small! What are you tackling now? Leave your thoughts and challenges in the comments below.

Enjoy the weekend!

 

 

 

Time keeping and Making time

It seems like only last month, I was lamenting to my twin about how I am always hard pressed for time and there is too much work and too little time to do it in. I actually stated that while I know everyone has the same amount of time; it feels sometimes, that someone is possibly stealing my time! I feel that over worked! But no more; I no longer feel so rushed.

The change is definitely because of my time keeping. I followed Laura Vanderkam’s time tracking and in just one week, I got so many insights and ideas. With every activity written down, it is hard to fabricate my over work or miss glaring trouble spots. Also, I have the satisfaction of not having to wonder where my time goes- since I know!

While I still am studying my time, especially our unpredictable weekends and the upcoming holidays, I have been able to identify/ change some activities to better use my time. Here they are:

  • Only work/ study while T is away at school. Those hours are precious and allow me to get solid work done, especially studying, coding and writing. I do not use this time for anything else. It’s doubly benefitting, I cross off important tasks and surge ahead during the day with that happiness of having completed my top priorities.
  • Cooking in the late evenings instead of mid evenings is helping. Since I devote all afternoon and early evenings to T, she is happy to play/ watch iPad while I cook. Staying in the kitchen and clubbing all my culinary and cleaning chores together helps get them done better.
  • Ironing has always been a trouble spot for me. Now I just listen to a good podcast/ video to take my mind off it. In fact I conquered my ironing load both these weeks! Yippee!!
  • I have blocked a few sites where I would mindlessly spend time surfing and waste it.
  • Using the ‘Double Dip’ strategy as suggested in the ‘No Regrets Parenting’ book is immensely useful.
  • Reading list and Save for Later Playlist is a good trick. Whenever, I am taking downtime or simply multitasking, I refer to this list. Since, I know what I have to read/ listen, I no longer go down then surf and lose track of time route.
  • Editorial Calendar is another great trick. I blog here and on my website, so, having a clear topic to write on saves me the heartache, cluelessness and succumbing-to-surf-instead-of-research mistake!

I have improved slightly- won’t say dramatically! But I am happy to feel more relaxed now. I actually did some amazing stuff this week:

  • Watched ‘London Has Fallen’ on Netflix
  • T and I watched ‘Zootopia’
  • On the day she missed school, T and I made Fairy wings, wand and a crown.
  • We also found time to play and do homework quite leisurely.
  • Hubby and I devoured Pani-puris and Dal Makhani on the same night. (I would definitely not have ventured 2 prep-intensive dishes on the same day earlier)
  • I did a lot of frying- 3 days in this week. Another activity I would not have thought possible previously.
  • We had company on 2 evenings- and my schedule worked just fine! I did not even ponder if my schedule would remain on track. (This I felt was a big Win!)

Signing off soon that happy note! Have  good weekend! And since the weather and nature are quite violent in places- stay safe folks!

 

Puzzle Time

ToddlerT loves puzzles. She might still be young enough to need lots of help and encouragement, but it is still an activity she enjoys immensely. No surprise then that my Mom got her a few puzzles as a gift.

Among these were some amazing 3D puzzles that are constructed entirely out of punch-out, pre-cut pieces. No glue, no scissors needed. No mess at all! (I loved this part) All we had to do was remove the cut outs and place the pieces on matching numbers. That is it! 

The puzzles come with four boards – one for the base with numbered positions to place the pieces from the other three punch-out sheets. Suitable for kids 3years and up, I loved the time T and I spent assembling and fixing. Plus, T got to use her motor skills and number recognition and object matching techniques as well; so, it was educational. I was impressed that she managed to stay immersed for the entire ninety minutes to assemble the puzzle. (And hugely pleased too!)

The puzzle does take time. Kids will need to be helped and parents (with unwieldy, large fingers like mine) will need patience even when fixing the puzzle themselves. So many little pieces to put together after all!

But the efforts were well worth it, especially since we hardly had any cleaning up and we enjoyed ourselves thoroughly! 

 

Inspiration

I am always looking for inspiration for crafts and activities to keep T engaged. And as she transforms from a talkative toddler into a lively, quick and extremely shrewd preschooler, I find myself constantly looking for newer ways to keep her engaged and entertained. 

Visiting my mom’s house with its huge library, I scoured for books that could help me. (My mom stocks many books on parenting and engaging kids of all ages even though her youngest class is high school) It was in this search (extended due to many a book reading stops 😜) that I chanced upon an extremely useful  book called ‘The Playskool Toddler’s Busy Play Book’. 

Boasting of more than 500 creative games and activities to keep toddlers busy and happy, I perused it hoping for at least a few that would suit T as she is still on the cusp of becoming a preschooler. I am glad because plenty of activities are not limited to toddler or can be extrapolated to suit older kids as well. While not all activities would be interesting and doing all impractical, I find myself armed with plenty of useful ideas and tips to entertain T and make it teachable moments. 

I always like to combine learning with fun- and now I have been armed with a fresh set of ideas to get ourselves through summer. Hurrah!