Tuesday, April 29, 2014

That's the way we catch the Basketball!

Megha loves basket ball. We had been kicking one around for a very long time now (since Christmas to be specific). Today she wanted to play 'catch' after her dinner. To my surprise, she can now catch the ball when I throw it for her to catch (first time today with me)! Perfect hand-eye coordination! Waaaay to go sweetheart!

Sunday, April 27, 2014

First trip to Cheesecake Factory

We (Anand and I) love the sitcom Big Bang Theory (starring Kaley Cuoco, Jim Parsons, Johnny Gakecki amongst others). Kaley Cuoco who plays the role of a beautiful blond Penny, works at the Cheesecake Factory (known for its cheesecakes and restaurants).

Yesterday, 26th April, we went to New York state to pick up some tools which Anand has ordered and needless to say, our choice of restaurants to have lunch were Olive Garden and Cheesecake Factory.
We decided on Cheesecake Factory as we had been to Olive Garden a few times before.

I did not realize that its such a big place! What they showed in Big Bang Theory was completely understated :) The place was full and we were told that there was gonna be a 45-1 hour wait time. So we decided to sit at the bar as we had to drive back to Canada.

Here is Megha's first ever sitting in a bar! and our first ever visit to Cheesecake Factory.
Anand wasnt too impressed with the menu. It had way too many choices. We brought back 2 cheesecake slices, strawberry and Godiva.

Saturday, April 26, 2014

Aloo Parathas for toddler...

I had been meaning to try make parathas at home for Megha since…since the time she started solids (I know! Shame on me). So far, I never really made some for her and 2+ years is a high time to make parathas! Of course I started with Aloo paratha. I modified the adult version a little bit so that it’s easy on her tummy in terms of spices.
Potato: 1 big
Desired spices: I used salt, pepper powder and a touch of cumin powder.
Whole wheat flour

Peal and boil potato until tender. Let it cool down, add spices and mash until potato pieces are completely mashed and the spices are mixed well.
Mix enough water in the whole wheat flour and knead well. Take a small lemon sized portion of the dough and flatten it out using a rolling pin. Take 3 tbsp of the potato mixture and place it in the middle of the flattened dough. Cover the potato mixture with dough and flatten it out, trying to keep the potato mixture inside.

Heat a flat pan and dry roast the paratha on both sides until well done. You may add some butter or clarified butter (ghee) on both sides.

I cut this paratha into small bell shapes and star shapes using a cookie cutter to make it interesting for Megha. She had 3 bells and a small bit from the star. Not bad for the first time eh? I finished the rest…but of course.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Celebrating Easter with Toddler (2014)

Megha loves any occasion which will need some crafts to be done, which will need celebrations and which will need her to dress up :) This Easter (21st April) we had so much fun! The Easter crafts preparation started 2 weeks before.

Here is a picture of the Easter egg which Megha did. She loves stickers and she put them on the eggs :) I had written names on each bag to make it easier for the daycare provider to distribute.
Behind this egg is a small bag which I filled with Kinder and Cadburys  eggs. She took this small basket to the daycare for everyone there :) On her way back from the daycare, she wanted this basket in her lap and I did let her have it. Little did I know that she can remove the chocolate cover all by herself! She ended up eating at least 5 chocolate eggs by the time we reached home! lol
Here is a eye-mask which she did at the daycare.
Her dad loved to play with it too :)
Here is another one which was done at the daycare...(the little duck and the bunny)
Here is my little bunny playing with the bunny ears! I believe she loved the hair band; who wouldnt? I love it too.
They also had Easter egg hunting at the daycare. Megha wore a pretty dress (a gift from Anita aunty for Christmas). Oh, I absolutely love the color! And it was a perfect fit too :) Here she is getting ready for the hunt with her basket in hand.

Here she is in their backyard, all excited about collecting the eggs which her daycare provider spread around :) Doesnt she look like ballet dancing? Such graceful pose!
Here she is collecting the eggs :) Oh I lost count of how many easter eggs she ate that day!
Apart from the Easter egg hunt she had on Thursday (17th April), we also had a small Easter egg hunt on Saturday too in our backyard. Here I have spread around Kinder chocolates and eggs in the backyard for her to collect. She loved collecting all those candy! 
Her treasure at the end of the hunt :)
On the morning of Saturday (the day before Easter), we also went to the Main street of our town for more easter egg hunting. Not for the chocolates of course as by then we had collected way too much chocolate, but just for the experience sake.  Here she is in the main street. She made me so proud; when someone gave her an egg, she said "Happy Easter" :)
Lastly, on the day of Easter, I baked a red velvet cake with cream cheese frosting :)

Monday, April 21, 2014

Selfie :)

It's not just the celebrities who do these selfies...Megha can do them too! She took this picture all by herself yesterday. Of course, she took a bunch of others too but here is my favorite :)
Up this close, doesn't she look like Anand? The nose specially??

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Kisses to Ouches!

Megha's dad wanted to remember this date: He got slightly hurt on forehead (pretend hurt) and Megha very lovingly kissed him when he said "ouch" :)
This is the first time she kissed an ouch with out being asked :)

Building towers!

Of late, one of Megha's favorite past time is building towers with her blocks. We went to the basement last weekend and look how big she built this tower! Taller than herself!
Here is another one being built at her daycare :)

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

A bruise that wont go away!

Approximately 10 days ago, Megha fell somewhere and she had a small bruise on her left leg. I couldnt be sure if she got hurt at the daycare or at home as she keeps falling on and off with little or no crying. But this particular bruise, unlike the other little ones, isnt going away and I am beginning to get really worried. I do know that if a bruise doesnt go away, there is an underlying reason for it and I need to get it checked. If by Saturday it doesnt go away or at least fade a little, I am taking her to the doctors!

See if you can spot her bruise on her left leg in the picture below...

In the above picture Megha was saying, "All done" after finishing her pasta (as told by her daycare provider). Its her favorite 2 word sentence.

Potty Training Day-1

This morning Sherry, Megha's daycare provider and I decided its time to start the potty training :)
This was started at the daycare. She is off her diapers and is on the toddler potty every hour or so. No luck but the moment a pull-up diaper goes on, she goes :) My lovely silly girl :)

I was asked to send a LOT of pants and underpants tomorrow. I am sure we will get her trained sooner or later :) At this point, when she does go potty and if I ask her if she went potty, she tells me whether or not she went. So, we are 15% there :)

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Fruit Truck!

And this is how a fruit truck looks like. Literally :) Megha loves emptying the fruit basket and puts them all in her truck :)

Sundae on a Saturday!

Megha had been sick for the past few days and today for the first time in 4 days, she started being more like herself. She still refused most of the food I offered and had 2 glasses of milk and some prunes all morning and afternoon....that and a small sundae! We were at the part this afternoon and just before leaving ice cream truck was there. All the kids ran to it yelling "Ice Cream". Megha didn't exactly know what the fuss was about until I asked her if she would like some ice cream and that's that! She was all excited and wanted the ice cream right away. When I told her we need to go home and grab money she didnt want me to! We made a quick run for home and returned with just enough money to buy a sundae :); they are quite expensive compared to stores! lol

Here she is eating her strawberry sundae :); I saved some for tomorrow. Edit: not giving her any more milk products tomorrow. Afraid of colds...she got a little this afternoon. I should have just ignored her attempt in getting me Ice cream.

Friday, April 11, 2014

Flowers and Plants from Jamaica!

From our recent trip to Jamaica, I have understood that most of the flowers and plants which are in India are also in Jamaica! Warm weather plants I guess. It was so nice to see all these beautiful plants; it made me nostalgic. My mom had all these plants in her gardens at one point or the other (She is going to miss gardening after they move into their apartment after dad's retirement).

Anand slept in on the last day of our stay in Jamaica (March 2014) but Megha was up and ready to head out! We stopped by to get breakfast. Here she is with her favorite books, Dr. Suess: Green Eggs and Ham and Fast Train Slow Train (from Thomas the Train series). Nice view isnt it?
The weather was a little cloudy.
After breakfast, we set out to take a walk around the resort to capture the pictures of the flowers.
I do not remember the names of most plants...anyone who reminds me would get $5 a plant :)

Lets just say Plant 1 for the below as I dont know the name. Back home this used to be considered a weed and no one really pays any attention to it:
Plant 1:
Plant 2: This is a very common household plant which requires very little maintenance; Its also used while performing Pooja/prayers at home.
Plant 3: Its a very delicate plant. Soon after you pluck the flower, they start to whither which makes it a poor choice while offering daily prayers in a Hindu household. This looks fairly similar to "December" flowers which are also in purple color but bloom only in winters.
Plant 4: This looks fairly similar to nooru-varahalu plant and I mistook it to be the same plant until I paid close attention to it. These flowers, unlike nooru-varahaalu is purple in color with fairly thin petals compared to nooru-varahaalu plant. But I do remember seeing this too back home.
Plant 5: I simply cannot believe I forgot the name of this plant! I had grown up seeing this practically every single of my life back home! Even in Bangalore my landlords had this! This is very famous plant and is used for various purposes. I remember, my mom used to make small bouquets from these to be given to all the teachers on Teachers Day when we were in school.
Plant 6 and Plant 7: Lets just call these crotons. I never knew the name of these two plants from back home but these are mainly used as fillers in flower vases, both at home and at professional florists.
Kaagitam Puvvulu (in telugu): Ah ha! Finally a name I remember! These are very famous back home and everyone who has a little space in front or backyard are sure to have these. These are called Kaagitam puvvulu (paper-flowers) as they look like flowers made out of paper.
Mandaara puvvu (in Telugu): There are so many verities of hibiscus back home. This is one of them. This is not a fairly common verity but my mom had it on and off in her garden over the years.
Plant 8 and Mudda-Mandaaram: While I dont remember the name of the small cream colored flowers, the one beside it in yellow color is hibiscus. Mudda-mnadaram; mudda meaning think...mandaram meaning hibiscus.
Mudda-mandaram 2: Same as the yellow flowers above, this is also a hibiscus in red color. A very famous and common household plant which is used in daily prayers.
Plant 9: This plant was also called croton by my mom. I am fairly sure it has a name of its own but we always called it croton when we didnt know the specific name. We never had this plant at home (or did we?). I think I had this in Hyderabad when I was working in Bank of America...
Plant 10: This grows a very big tree unlike all the other plants we have seen so far. I dont know the name of this tree either but its not as common as the other plants out here.
Plant 11: This is one of the fancy plants which is seen usually in places like hotels/ resorts. Looks like a banana flower? little bit?

Croton: This for sure is a croton! We had this in every home we lived in back home.

Montego Bay- Jamaica! (March 2014)

Winter this year has been never ending. We had too many cold days and too much snow. Add to that, busy schedules. We decided its time to take a small vacation. We zeroed it down to Montego Bay in Jamaica.

This time Megha brought her Mickey along with her. Here she is awaiting to board the plane.
As soon as we reached MB, we were greeted by lots of sunshine and people letting us know that its OK to drink on the bus taking us to the resort :) It was such a pleasant change from the weather we had been having at home.

As soon as we reached the resort, we headed out to the beach! Lunch was closed by then but we started our vacation with small snack of Jamaican chicken, fries and chili...of course Anand was having his beer and I, Margarita!

Here we are at the beach...the moment Megha had been eagerly waiting for weeks!
In the days leading to the vacation, Anand taught her that we are going to the beach. Before going to Cancun, I taught her that we are going to Chichen Itza...

Me: Where are we going Megha?
Megha: Chichen Itza!
Anand taught her to substitute Chichen Itza with Beach.
After playing in the beach for a while, we showered, changed and came back to the main entertainment area by the pool. We had fresh coconut water after a looong time! Loved it.

Megha ate a small banana. She hadn't really eaten well all day and it made me happy to see her eat at least a small banana.
Mark my words, Megha is going to be famous! In whatever field she chooses her career in. She danced her way around the music, clapping her hands and shaking her...well, shaking her hands, head feet and even hair :) There was a dance competition among 5 ladies (over 18 years of age) and the winner would receive a 20 minute massage. The ladies were dancing so well but Megha takes the cake....when ever the music starts, she would start dancing. At one point, everybody stopped and watched Megha dance and she was on top of the world...I am telling you, she is going to be famous!
Here she is :)
Here is us, as the sun set.
We sat down by the shore and Megha loved throwing small pebbles and sea shells in the water. She would have spent good 30 minutes throwing stones. Of course she said hi to everyone passing by.
The next day, we chose another spot in the beach. We made sand castles and we played away the morning until nap time at 11:30 AM.
Sand castles:
After nap, we went to the kids pool. We played for quite some time there and by 5, we were all tired. Megha of course didnt want to step away from the pool and it took a little persuading to get the moving along. I guess we didnt take any pictures by the pool. 
 Here is us, having a snack and dancing away to the music.
Here is one favorite picture of mine.
That evening (and even that morning), we went to the swings and the childrens play area. Here she is saying, "sun, hiding behind the clouds"...it was a cloudy evening.
We had a BBQ night. With the music on, there was no stopping Megha again :)
The next morning was beach time again! Before that, here is my sweetheart in the lobby.
That day we also went into the Caribbean sea on this...boat. It was so much fun! We should have done this on day one itself, then on day 2 and then again on day 3!
That evening we went to a fancy restaurant. I had famous Jamaican Akee with salt fish, Jamaican chicken with beans rice and oxtail gravy and it was the same with Anand and Megha too :) Here is me!
Here is Megha watching Dora while eating (yes, kids meals are quite big there). I couldnt get a single good picture of Anand as he wouldnt stop a second for me to take a picture.
The next day we left :( Of course we did spend some time at the beach too before we left.

The food was awesome. There was a lot North American food and less of Jamaican. We absolutely loved the fish there; I didnt get enough Jamaican Chicken. We learned new food recipes with simple ground veggies called Ground Provisions. For desserts, custard was awesome :)

We picked up Appletons Rum, Jerk sauce, Jamaican doll for Megha, Blue Mountain coffee powder and Tortuga Rum cake.

All we did was sleep, eat, play, sleep, eat, play and more sleep, more eat and more play! Couldnt have asked for a better vacation!

On the way back, Megha slept through the night. Loved Jamaica.