Thursday, August 30, 2012

A trip to the Beach

Some of you know that our cottage lies (almost) in the tip of Bruce Peninsual. Over the last weekend in Aug, we took Megha to tip of the land; one side is Lake Huron and the other side is Georgian Bay. We had a little picnic there. Last year when my parents were here, it was raining cats and dogs and we couldnt go see the Flower Pot island in the peninsula. This year, since Meg is too litle, we decided we will postpone the boat ride for another year. We still had lots of fun though.

With dad; in the background is the cruise vessel to take us to the flowerpot island and other islands.
Megha enjoying the cold waters. We didnt swim here though; for one thing, the water was too cold and for another, we didnt feel comfortable in such big waters.
With Mom at the light house
usually we dont get to take pictures where we three are present; here is one of them.
The next day we went to a lake near by to our cottage. Its amazing how natural instincts come to play in unfamiliar terrains. Meg started kicking her legs and hands exactly the way we swim in water. This is the first time ever she is in a lake (Aug 26). She sure didnt behave like its her first time. I think it will be fairly easy to teach her swimming.
Her first merry-go-round ride. In-utero, she had been on this. But outside, its her first time.
If I have to choose just one thing which I really love about this place, its the proximity to nature. We have TV but we hardly ever watch there. Here is a picture of a baby kingfisher. Megha and I watch the birds through the window while having breakfast. Can a weekend get any better? I think not.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

8 months already!!

How fast time flies by. This time last year my parents were here and we were all planning for my seemantham. It seems only like yesterday that I was pregnant and she was kicking me from inside. She was such a curious girl even in-utero. She used to poke me. Anand used to say, "please poke more"! It's his way of feeling the baby. Sometimes she used to poke too hard and it used to hurt, so gently I used to poke her back; which used to upset Anand so much. Well, his insides are not being poked! Lol

Back to Megha in the outside world. She turned 8 months on 15 Aug 2012. Below are the things she can do:

Things she does:
Can crawl backwards.
Can crawl sitting up.
Can roll all around the home like a ball
Can shout on top of her voice to get attention
Can switch off/on the lights when asked (of course I would be picking her up)
Can open/close the door when asked
Did I mention, can shout on top of her voice to get attention

Things she can say:
Mumumumum when hungry of thirsty
Screaming game which we both love and which Anand doesn't particularly love

Things she Loves:
One Two buckle my shoe rhyme
Watching Jake and the never land pirates
Watching baby Einstein dvd's
Mango puree
Licking her dad's head and face
Biting on my footwear
The sunflower musical toy and Sophi, the giraffe
Our morning walks
The swing in the park
most importantly, playing on Anand's and my lap
gentle cleaning of her ears; she enjoys it somehow. 

Things she dislikes:
Food with texture (she likes smooth puree's)
Sunshine on her face
Dad kissing her while being unshaven
Drive after a meal. In fact it makes her sick.
Cleaning her nose after shower

Her Routine:  Its very consistent. Very predictable baby.
Wake up at 6:45
Breakfast, usually cereal at 7:15
Nap at 8:30
Playtime at 9:00
Snack time at 9:45
Walking time at 10:00 (On Mondays and Thursdays,day care for 1 hour since this week)
Nap time at 11:30...since 3 days she has left it
Lunch time at 12:30
Afternoon nap at 1:45
Wake up at 3:35
Snack time at 4:15
Shower at 5
Walking or playing inside until dinner
Dinner time at 6
Cuddles and hugs with dad until bad time
Sleepy time at 7:00

Her Food:
Breakfast is always Nestle Gerber Cereal
Snack is usually fruit or yogurt
Lunch is some kind of vegetable puree
Dinner is rice with dal or veggies or lentils

Mango and avocado purée

I cannot believe that I haven't tried this all these days! Avocado and mango purée is so yum that I decided today that I will make this as a dip for us (Anand and I) as well. I made it this morning but I didn't give it to Megha yet. We are going to the cottage tonight and she will be having this for lunch tomorrow. I am pretty sure she will LOVE this as she loves mango and avocado separately. If she doesn't like it, I will update this page.

I am sure Ragini will like this too as the richness of avocado perfectly compliments the sweetness of a mango.

You will need:
Mango: 1, choose a sweet ripe one
Avocado: 1, choose the one which is ready to be eaten today or tomorrow

Peel the mango and cut into cubes. Take the avocado pulp out. Place both of them in a blender and puree until desired smoothness.

Yummy yum!

Pumpkin and apple purée for 8 months

I have been meaning to give this to Megha for a long time now. Since fall is almost on its way, I though it high time I give this to her so that when fall is truly here, I can make things like pumpkin soup etc.

There is a special twist to this; I specially added this for the benefit of Baby Ragini, my friends daughter. She likes her food sweet and hence this special dish to pacify her sweet tooth. Hope Ragini likes it as much as Megha did. I made this for lunch but Megha tasted this as snack.

You will need:
Apples: 1 cup (appr 1 apple)
Pumpkin: fresh or canned pie pumpkin, 1/2 cup. You can also use pie pumpkin purée
Vanilla essence: 1/2 tsp
Cinnamon:  1/4 tsp (you can reduce this if you want)
Apple juice: 1/2 cup (to make it sweeter)

Peel and core the apples and cut into small pieces
Peel and chop the pumpkin into small pieces. If you are using canned or frozen, that's fine too. I used pie pumpkin pulp.
Place apples and pumpkin in a sauce pan and add vanilla essence, cinnamon and apple juice.
Cook on medium flame; stir occasionally until apples are properly cooked. Take about 20 kins
Cool and purée

Choosing the sweetest apples is the trick. I used royal gala apples
If you want to sweeten this further, you can add dates syrup but that might overpower with sweetness.

Megha had her first taste today. She is ok with it.
Make sure to use pie pumpkins.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Squashed vegetables for 8 month old

Megha had her first taste of this on 21Aug2012. She didnt love it but she didnt hate it either :)

First Day at daycare

For verity of reasons, Anand and I decided that it would be good for Megha if she goes to day care for 1 hour, twice a week. Its not much but for a beginner, it still is. She did me proud. I kept telling her over and over again in the previous days that she is going to be with out momma and papa for one hour but she will be safe, that I will be back in an hour to take her home. Not sure if she understood any of that though.

On the day, Monday, 20Aug2012, she woke up as usual but i was very nervous. She has never been without me or Anand or her maternal grandma. I got her ready, fed her, prayed along with her and off we went.
Above picture was taken 5 minutes before departure. She is sitting along with her diaper bag. My my, she is growing up way too soon.

When I dropped her off, she seemed ok. I reminded her again that i was leaving but will be back in an hour to pick her up.

While driving back (less than 5 mins to home), I couldnt help but cry. I think its normal. She on the other had didnt itseems. She played nicely for 30 minutes and then started saying, "mumumumum". Her provider gave her some water and took her outside to distract her itseems and then she was all fine.
While she didnt greet me with smiles, she didnt cry either. Over all, a big day for both of us.

I am so proud of her. She seems to have taken it well, or, is it too early to judge?

Friday, August 17, 2012

Dad's first birthday with Megha good

Planning for Anands birthday started way back in May. I am not kidding! I wanted to make this day (aug03) special as this would be his first birthday after Megha was born. I decided the best way to make it special will be by inviting very close friends and make it a surprise party.  So, I have sent emails to a few of his very good friends and guess what! 10 out of 12 said that they could make it!
I was elated. Once of them was to fly over from a different city.

One month before the date is when I started properly planning. I had decided already to order food from outside, since making it at home would tip off Anand. I researched a bit and found of that a near by Italian restaurant is one of its kind! One of the days A was working in the nights and so, Megha and I went to the restaurant to order food. When I did to there, I saw that the entree's were over $20! My! That's expensive and that's not even including appetizers, desserts and drinks! After some "talking" the chef agreed to do apps and entrees in my budget; well, I went a little over but only by $50.

Setting a menu was difficult than I had anticipated. We were to have 4 vegetarians and 6 non-vegetarians as guests. So, I couldn't order large portions of the same Kind. After a lot of discussion with the chef, below is the menu:

Fresh garlic bread
Chicken penne
Chicken marcelle
Baked potatoes
Portobello mushroom ravioli

Apart from the above, I had bought some lays chips and tortillas and some salsa. Our good family friend had also brought Samosa's and some dessert.
On the day of the birthday, everyone loved the food. I am so glad I ordered it from the restaurant; everything really was nice.

For drinks, below were bought. I made sure Anand had his favorites, sans Keiths as thats what he normally drinks.

Beer: Heineken, Kingfisher, Tsingtao, Corona
Wine: Since I went for Italian, I got Chianti, like 5 bottles of red and 3 white.
Champagne: Brut and something else which escapes me right now.
We already had so much more in our wine rack, so I didnt buy things like whiskey, rum etc

Of course we didnt drink all of it on the same night :) 

I had decided already that I would be baking one cake to be cut in the morning when Megha is awake and I would buy one for the night.

The day before the birthday: Cake 1:
I started the chocolate cake. So far so good. The trouble began when I decided to make frosting as well. The double trouble began when I had decided that I want to make a two layered chocolate cake!
Trouble one: the cake itself was very moist; in this case, I don't have to frost as it would be a nightmare to apply frosting; frosting doesn't go well, at least not for me on super moist cakes. After the first layer, I started the second layer and the crumbs were falling off; the. And being moist was doing that. The cream just was not sticking.

Trouble two: it was taking waaaay too long. Megha was also fussing a lot and I had to keep washing my hands to run upstairs to comfort her. When it was finally done after 3 hours, it was no way close to how I wanted it to look like. But I guess A would forgive me for messy looking cake as I had the right intentions :)


Something told me that I had to finish all the outside shopping 2 days before the birthday. I was glad I did, as Anand wanted to take my car for work that day (A's car is a standard car and I don't drive stick shift).

I bought a yummy 3 layered fruit cake. I was so mad with the day lady at the confectionary section. It was already 5:30 pm and it was getting closer to Megha's dinner time. The lady looked at me and totally ignored me for good 2 mins! I yelled at her, " lady, if you are too busy to serve me, call your manager, perhaps he/she would assist me". She made some excuse but I got my point across. See, I can be a biyaatch when I want to. I just don't like to be one; doesn't mean I am not capable of being one.

Anyway, I bought the cake I wanted and went home!

As most of you who know me, know that while I try to keep the home as clean as possible, it never comes to a point where I can say, "it's spotless". Since I was going to have so many guests at home, I wanted to make sure everything is spotless. But how? I mean, when I don't do anything extra itself I am so busy with Megha, where do I find time to clean carpets, clean the bathrooms, kitchen, floors, fridge and all the rooms?! I can't start too early as there is a danger of getting everything "back to square 1". So, I had to start 2 weeks before the party date. My Megha was being such a sweetheart; I simply put her in the crib with a few toys while I vacuumed the upper level.

The next day, I did the lower level carpets. The day after I did the bathrooms. Most of the stuff had to be done when she went to bed, which gives me a window of 2 hours every night. unfortunately, she was waking up every 20 mins the first night; that means i hardly got to do anything at all.

Polishing the glasses, polishing the cutlery, rinsing and wiping the china was done on 3rd night. I grossly underestimated the time take to polish the glasses. Of course I had a lot of glasses to polish, for i had no idea what everyone would be drinking. I started with wine glasses, then proceeded to beer mugs, martini glasses and finally to champagne flutes. I am telling you, its a 1 hour job. but i was so glad I did it because at the end of it all, they were all shining, just like crystal should.
Finally the day came. When Anand woke up at 11:30 AM (he was working the night before), we had a cake cutting with Megha in his lap. He also got cuddles, kisses and a card from Megha. Her hand prints frame has not been completed as a gift and hence, I couldnt give it to him.

When the evening came, one of his friends came over to take him out for a drink. By then A guessed that I am up to something as no one shows up unannounced at our home. Our good friends, Neeta and Vishya helped me immensely with getting the food from the restaurant, cleaning up, prepping the backyard etc. It wouldnt have been the same without them two. 

9 of his good friends gathered, including his best buddy Steve who flew over from a different province. Anand was surprised with the guest list, though the party itself wasnt a surprise (his friend showing up unannounced gave him a hint). 

All of had good time and he got so many gifts. But the best gift of all were best wishes of his friends. Anand had a great time and I guess thats all that matters at the end of the day. Would I do this again? Probably not. too much work. certainly not when you dont have anyone to help to maintain the 'surprise factor'.

Summer Savory for 7 month old

Megha had her first taste of summer savory on 09 Aug, 2012. Its the first time I tried today and trust me, she ate every bit of it and was opening her mouth when I was wiping her off!! I am not surprised, it really was yum. try it out.

Summer Savory:
Potatoes: 1 cup peeled and chopped
corn kernels: 1/2 cup (fresh or frozen)
Leeks: the white part, cut in small pieces
Tomato: 1 medium cut into small pieces
Parsley: 1 tbsp (you can substitute this with coriander leaves or chives)
salt and water or Vegetable stock
Ghee: 1 tbsp

Heat ghee in a pan and add the chopped leeks. Fry for 2 mins but do not let it brown. Add the potatoes, corn and tomatoes and fry for 5 mins. Add salt and just enough water to cover the veggies. Alternatively substitute salt and water with low-sodium vegetable stock. Cook until tender and the veggies are soft.
stir in parsley.
Puree or mash to the desired consistency.

Note: If you cant find leeks, you can substitute this with spring onions. Leeks have a subtle flavor than onions.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

First Introduction to Beethoven

Megha loves music. Even when I was pregnant, she was fond of music; she used to move around when she listens to certain songs. So, I thought I would introduce her to classical music. Thats how Megha was introduced to Beethoven on 06 Aug, 2012. Its through Baby Einstein series. She LOVES it; specially the symphony 4 and 9!
We had a choice between Mozart and Beethoven and I chose Beethoven.

Friday, August 10, 2012

Egg Yolk for a 7 month old

Megha had her first taste of egg yolk on July04, 2012. When ever we introduce egg, its important to remember that we have to start with egg yolk and NOT egg white. The high protein content in egg white is supposed to be one of the top 8 foods prone for allergies.
Egg yolk is high source of fat and energy.

You will Need:
Egg: 1, I use organic, omega 3, brown egg
Water: 2 cups

Bring water to a boil in a dish. Gently drop the egg and continue boiling for 13 minutes on medium heat. Cool and peel the shell. gently separate the yolk from the white.
To start with, take 1/4 of the yolk and mix it with anything you like. i started with dal rice. Megha also like egg yolk with sweet potato.

Plums for 6 months and above

Megha had plums for the first time on 09 Aug, 2012. She likes the taste. I have started a snack time for Megha and I pureed 1 plum and gave her. I have removed the skin, just in case her tiny tummy gets irritated with skin.

You will Need:
Very ripe plum: 1

Method: remove the skin and the seed and puree/mash until you reach the desired consistency. I usually taste to see if its sweet. If its sour, I don't give it to her. She is close to 8 months and I don't want her gums to ache (soon she will be teething you see).

Goodness of Plums:
Plums have the laxative properties just like prunes and apricots.

Megha had just taken her first taste of plums below. No expression! this is her, "this-is-not-bad-expression."

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Janmashtami with Megha

Today, 09Aug2012 we celebrated Janmashtami. I wanted to mark this day special but didnt know what to make as nayvedyam. I chose the simplest, Chekkara Pongal. Since Lord Krishna loves butter and since I dont have any at home, I gave him some butter/coconut macaroons.
I also kept Baby mum mum (baby biscuits) as I was thinking maybe we could start her on these. Of course, some fruits.

Megha is in a good mood today. She is showing me with smiles for everything! I dressed her up and she let me without making a fuss. Here are a few pictures.

1. Below are her foot prints (signifying Lord Krishna's entry into our home). I mixed rice flour with water and made them. I know! they dont look anything like a foot print!
Below she is wearing pattu davani/pavadi given by her aunt

She is also wearing the necklace and bangles given by her maternal grand mom.
Puja shelf

Freezing baby food

I started freezing Megha's fruit purees since the time she started on fruits (since the time she was 6 months old). So far, I can clearly say that the only fruits she takes a liking to are Mango, Banana (which I dont freeze) and Papaya.
It makes my like soooo much easier when it comes to snack times! I prepare her lunch and dinner fresh though. I used to freeze sweet potato and beans but I make them fresh now, since I have time.

You will need:
what ever you want to freeze
Ice tray

Usually Megha takes 2 to 2 and half tbsp of fruit as snack. So, I measure the fruit and then fill the ice slots. That way I will not be thawing too much or too little fruit at a time.
Simply take out the required number of cubes and transfer into the fridge 24 hours before serving. I bring them to the room temperature before serving.
The above picture has mango, blueberries and cherries frozen.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Rasam sadam for 7 month old

Megha had her first taste of Rasam sadam on July11, 2012. She LOVES the taste. My baby has started recognizing the tastes and she certainly loves rasam sadam. By this time I have pretty much introduced everything this recipe has in tiny quantities except tamarind.

You will need:
Water: 1.5 cups
Tamarind puree: 1/2 tsp
Turmeric powder: 1 pinch
Salt: 1 pinch
Asafatida (Perungayam): less than a pinch
Cherry tomato: 1 cut into small pieces
Rasam powder (I used home made): 1 pinch

In a bowl, mix all the ingredients in water and bring to a boil. Boil for 5 mins and cool it down. Gently take the above layer of rasam water and mix with rice and ghee. Puree until the required texture and consistency and serve.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

LOL or a PJ?

So, I was watching the Star Wars; something which I had been wanting to for a while now. I finally finished the first of the series and came across really cool 'droids' names. My favorite is R2 D2. Its rhymes with what I named our it is, let me know its a LOL or  a PJ.

Mommy & Megha = M2
Daddy & Daughter = D2

R2 D2 = M2 D2...

LOL! I have gone nuts today. No, am not drunk.

Butternut squash, Beginner food

Megha had her first taste of squash on July10, 2012. One of the first foods we introduce when starting solids is Butternut squash as its easy to digest. I somehow delayed this beginner food.  

You will need:
Any verity of squash

Peel the squash and cube them. Bring that to a boil in water and cook until very tender. Puree on high speed and serve.
She doesnt particularly likes it but doesnt hate it either.

Cherries for 7 Month Old

Megha had her first taste of Cherries on 18th July 2012. I must say, its labor of love. I will know what I mean; look at the recipe below.

Ripe Cherries: 1/2 cup
Water: 1/4 cup

Wash the cherries and pat them dry. Core them in the middle and remove the seed. I simply cut the cherry into halves and removed the seed. Puree on high speed with water until the cherries are soft.

Note: When I kept the cherries in the fridge, it became jelly. I had to mix more water and smooth-en with a wooden spoon for Megha to have. Trust me, its not as easy as it sounds. On top of all that, Megha didnt even like the taste :(
Some kids love it though. Perhaps she will take a liking when she can have it without puree.

Spinach recipe for a 7 month old

Megha had her first taste of Palak paneer on July 16, 2012. Since I have not introduced any dairy products to her yet, I have cut out paneer and followed the rest of the recipe.

Since I have already introduced other ingredients, it was fairly simple to give her this.

Spinach leaves: handful
Garlic: 1/2 clove, cut into pieces
Cumin seeds: 4
Method: Heat ghee in a pan and add cumin seeds, garlic and fry for a min until garlic is completely cooked. Add the spinach leaves and saute with little water. Once the spinach is cooked, remove from heat. Cool it down and blend it fine with salt adding water, if need be.

I served this with pureed rice. Megha LOVED it.